Weekend Links, Moving Day Edition

“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” 
― Rodney Dangerfield

Kittens! I type the final notes on this week’s links drop to you from my absolutely madhouse of an apartment just before the movers show up. Please send prayers, votive offerings, or appropriately slaughtered sacrifices to your deity of choice on our behalf today. I leave you in the comforting arms of a nice bunch of reading material.

I cannot go into everything that happened in British politics this week, suffice to say it’s been BONKERS. I recommend The Guardian’s news podcast Today in Focus for several of their most recent episodes regarding the recent slings and arrows, but also their Brexit updates over previous months to try and catch up.

Too much advice about going green involves pushing slightly less toxic alternatives to things we don’t particularly need, to distract us from thinking about whether they were necessary in the first place.”

More information on the Second Hand September campaign.

Two articles, one British and one American, about who has really benefited from property and development investment in recent years.

It’s sacrilegious but I chuckled.

Hurricanes are getting stronger, and here’s some science as to why.

Who doesn’t love baby pandas?

Know her name.

If you’ve ever wondered about the afterlife of famous puppets, wonder no more!

My generation may be losing its faith in, well, faith. And not just religiously.

The ONLY perspective I am sharing on the sheer stupidity that is Sharpiegate: “He has a tremendous skill for controlling and crafting narrative, but instead of using that for any kind of shared vision, it’s always only about himself.”

ETA: FFS. He’s so fucking good at reality TV marketing that it sometimes makes my teeth hurt.

Here, clean your eyes and soul by donating to the INCREDIBLE humanitarian work coordinated by Chef Jose Andres who is setting the standard for crisis responsiveness with food at this point.

Three of these are absolutely our love languages.

Etsy was supposed to be different.”

Because 2019 is a shitshow and the universe knew we all needed a win and that Lizzo was the one to deliver.

Speaking of Lizzo, I’m excited for Hustlers and did not know it was inspired by true events.

On the flipside, Lana Del Ray reacted very poorly to what was (I and a lot of other people thought) a very thoughtful and in depth review from one of the best respected critics in the biz. Sorry, LDL, but this ain’t it.

Dear god, why?! Why would anyone give that hellsite more of their intimate life details?

Ronan Farrow has dropped a book on the tactics wealth men have used to systematically silence victims bury evidence of their abuse. He’s also dropped some serious reporting on how notable organizations courted Jeffrey Epstein’s wealth, showing how this system works in detail. Keep going, Mr. Farrow.

The Atlantic is going to a subscriber model but I will absolutely be spending money on a subscription because their wide-ranging reporting–never anything to sniff at–has been especially brilliant of late. Especially in the health and lifestyle arena. This week in shocking but not surprising: vaping is problematic.

Retaliatory politics. Cool cool cool.

STIFLING politics. Cooler cooler cooler.

Gerrymandered politics from known biased operatives (see the citizenship question for the census). Coolest coolest coolest.

Who on earth thought this was going to be an okay (or intelligent!) move?

Another pop culture item I am late to is Schitt’s Creek, which is just as wonderful as everyone says. This summary of the dating history of the daughter of the house/motel had me in stitches. Spoilers, duh.

This…this is a tale….

September Moodboard

“Caught in the doldrums of August we may have regretted the departing summer, having sighed over the vanished strawberries and all that they signified. Now, however, we look forward almost eagerly to winter’s approach. We forget the fogs, the slush, the sore throats an the price of coal, we think only of long evenings by lamplight, of the books which we are really going to read this time, of the bright shop windows and the keen edge of the early frosts.” 
― Denis Mackail, Greenery Street

September is here! This may be my favorite month of the year, my love of the winter holidays notwithstanding. We’ve still got the summer sunlight for a while yet, but you can start to taste autumn on your tongue. This past weekend was suddenly noticeably cooler, and the leaves in our neighborhood are starting to go gold around the edges. Britain being Britain, I’m sure we’ll get some kind of freak heat wave (or indeed a freak blizzard!) before Mother Nature settles into the usual rhythms, but I’m ready for it when she does.

This month is going to be frantic. We’re officially all systems go for the move this weekend and I’m going to be boxing and packing every evening of this week in preparation. I’ve hired movers and we pick up the keys on Saturday…pray for us!

Meanwhile Jeff is dealing with the minor busy season that comes halfway through the financial year and my work projects are kicking back into overdrive as people return from their August holidays away. There are some big and bold tasks on the horizon, mostly fun I’m pleased to say! I’m trying to fight any feelings of overwhelm in favour of looking at the big picture possibilities.

This month, I’m determined to stay as calm as possible in the middle of a lot of potential chaos. Let’s channel any drama into our lipstick choices, find ways to marry cozy with comfy with stylish, and enjoy the in-between time of transitions. If there’s mess, let’s at least try to make it look good in the process.

What mood are you going for this month, kittens? What are your priorities? What are you looking forward to?

Weekend Links

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”
―Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

It’s been a week, kittens; let’s hop straight into it. Don’t worry, there is plenty of good stuff in here to help you swallow the news pills in between.

Tell me what you’re up to this weekend in the comments. I’m frantically preparing for a move and even typing this up is distracting me from my purpose! Keep up on any shenanigans here but otherwise, let’s catch up in September!

Please god, let her live to be a million.

I cannot believe I missed this piece when it came out in July, but it’s brilliant. “I am told that routine and structure are good for the nerves. I’m told predictability and mindfulness will give me strength and peace. I believe them, but consider this too: What if my goals have nothing to do with peace and calm? What if peace and calm are the last things I want?”

EXCUSE ME WHERE CAN I BUY THESE?

I also didn’t know a thing about this musical which should be a crime because this is EXACTLY my lane. My best friend literally wrote the book.

ANOTHER thing I missed (I can’t ever go on holiday again, the FOMO is insane) was this style gallery. Yes, it’s ridiculously white and rich, but I don’t care. I have my new vision board.

Speaking of ridiculous, (probably) white, and rich: this story!

If destroyed or degraded, the Amazon, as a system, is simply beyond humanity’s ability to get back: Even if people were to replant half a continent’s worth of trees, the diversity of creatures across Amazonia, once lost, will not be replenished for roughly 10 million years. And that is 33 times longer than Homo sapiens, as a species, has existed.”

Here’s some ways to help.

Who wants to go on a mini-London road trip?

So…we’d essentially plumet right back to the 19th century. Cool cool cool. Sounds about right.

I completely missed this last week…WUT.

The tragedy of digital media isn’t that it’s run by ruthless, profiteering guys in ill-fitting suits; it’s that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen.”

A criminal first!

Policy and culture go together inextricably. This piece on why America still hasn’t implemented child care options on the scale of some other countries cuts right to the heart of the matter: a significant portion of the American populace believes that mothers should be the primary carers for their children. That’s it. We have so structured society (married, straight, middle class, supported on a single mostly-male-earned income), and thereby made it difficult for individuals and families who cannot make that paradigm work for them to cope. And even though that paradigm is less and less sustainable, even for the groups of people it supposedly benefits, a lot of people are still clinging to it and refusing to allow other paradigms to come to the fore. It’s maddening.

A feast for the eyes!

Mother Earth is such a strange and wondrous dame.

GUYS, we need to talk about the VMAs. Missy Elliot took home her long overdue Video Vanguard award, and delivered a blazer of a performance in her undeniable style and with a bunch of throwbacks.

And yes, LIZZO ALERT. She’s a great performer live, but this is easily her best so far. It’s a sermon of self-love and acceptance and I am here for it!

Two music profiles dropped this week, one on Harry Styles and one on Taylor Swift, and both are masterful versions of the craft.

Riveting!

How does an industry navigate a crisis of conscious and purpose? On a cult-like meditation campus, apparently. Honestly, the piece is really interesting and raises good questions, but doesn’t do much to convince me that the people who created the problems we’re going to face in the third decade of the 21st century are the right people to fix ’em.

An aesthetic!

Speaking of cult-like meditation! The Atlantic had another fire week and I’ve got three pieces to share starting with this reported piece on GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness empire and what she’s really selling.

Then a pivot to the traditional male space with a piece on Andrew Luck announcing his retirement from professional American Football because, to put it mildly, it’s broken his body. The negative response from “fans” was horrible to watch and betrayed the almost gladiatorial perspective American’s have of their sports figures. Our hostility to their personhood (whether it’s political opinion or pain) or the willingness to turn a blind eye (especially to domestic abuse and sexual violence) are two sides of the same coin: we don’t care as long as we are entertained. The players seem to be pushing to change this more quickly than the viewing public is willing to accept.

Finally, this piece. Because I’m not anxious enough already. Also this.

ETA: ANOTHER Atlantic piece because General Mattis breaks his silence and while I still have a lot of issues and disagreements with him, I also retain a very real respect in some key areas.

I fell in love with Gabriela Hearst when I first saw this handbag many years ago. Of course I did: it’s un-get-able. That love as continued. She dresses who I want to be when I grow up.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the Tea Party and what’s happened since.

We’re doomed.

Is the purpose of business changing? The Business Roundtable updated their own definitions this week to include the statement that businesses have more stakeholders (including communities) that just shareholders. As you might have guessed, everyone seems made about it from capitalism “purists” to revolutionaries.

Reader, I might have cried reading this.

There was a social media kerfuffle this week when a prominent opinion columnist at the New York Times (most famous for his idea that free speech shouldn’t be curtailed when it hurts people’s feelings…which is relevant) got mad at something someone said about him, threw a tantrum, asked to metaphorically speak to the manager in a move he claims was not about getting the person in trouble (“Sure, Jan.”), and flounced off the platform. He also got a speaking invitation out of it?! Men really can just…fail upwards, can’t they? This story is a textbook temptest in a teacup, but seems to have taken hold because it once again put some hypocrisy on display, and also reveals how ill-qualified a lot of our most prominent opinion-havers seem to be.

Update: Dave Karpf, the target of this outburst, responded and frankly wiped the floor with Mr. Stephens. “Stephens reached out to me in the mistaken belief that I would feel ashamed. He reached out believing my university would chastise me for provoking the ire of a writer at The New York Times. That’s an abuse of his social station. It cost me nothing, but it is an abuse of his power that would carry a real penalty for a younger or less privileged academic.”

Someone from NYC, please report!

All 2019 was missing was a challenge to the Fermi Paradox

A palate cleanser. I LIVE.

In Brexit news, PM Johnson wants the queen to suspend Parliament. Cool. Last time a monarch did something similar there was a tiny little Civil War. (The Guardian, as per usual, has a really comprehensive set of updates posted as this story broke which is worth a read. Includes information on the parliamentary process–called proroguing–works.)

I’m watching this story as a military brat, and thus far even with the hasty “clarifications” issued following the initial story breaking, I’m really angry about this. As an expat, I have a lot of questions about how similar policies may affect the civilian world. (Lisa DeJardins of PBS NewsHour did the breaking news and excellent follow up reporting for a play by play.)

Finally, because apparently we need to have this discussion:

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Year of Discipline: August

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” 
― Sylvia Plath

It’s time to recount how my Year of Discipline went down in the month of August, ducklings. I cannot believe we’re nearly three quarters of the way through 2019. This year is going by way too quickly and while I’m not feeling as successful in my theme as I wished to by this point, I have to admit that there are individual months that are dizzying in their productivity. This felt like one of them

General Motivation

This was a tiring month and anyone who thinks of a family wedding as a vacation is deranged, but all things considered it was a good month for motivation. I got a lot done–not always what I would have wished, but a lot nonetheless. Work continues at a manic pace, but that’s on par for the course, and I’m actually seeing some traction on things that I’ve been advocating and pushing for for a long time. Now I just need to pull them off–gulp!

Health

This was a meh month on the health front. I had all kinds of goals that I wanted to meet before the wedding and threw every last one of them unceremoniously out the window. Sometimes you just need to prioritize, and this month the priority was on family and our living situation. Now that we’re back I’m refocusing on food and exercise and hope to focus even better once we’re through the move to a new apartment next month. One thing at a time is okay, sometimes. Don’t ask me why I find it easier to get “into shape” for cold weather season rather than warmer, there is no explaining it.

Financial

As you might imagine, we’re still coping with the double whammy of deciding to move house and immigration costs so belts were tightened this house. Yes, in spite of the travel to the States! My parents were unbelievably generous and paid for our tickets (as well as my little sister’s from Japan) because we couldn’t have afforded it by ourselves, but we also stayed in check. The only thing we really paid for were meals, including a lovely siblings-only brunch the day of my brother’s wedding.

My one indulgence during our travels was a pair of earrings purchased from a jeweler in Corvallis–a pair of gold hoops. They are the most basic things you can imagine, and yet I’ve worn them pretty much nonstop because they are perfect in their basic-ness and filled a distinct void in my jewelry case which is filled exclusively with studs. I added this happily to the annual tally of purchases. Anyone going to the Corvallis area, look up this local and artisan shop in the historic downtown. They make their designs in house, focus on recycled metals, and have a lovely colored gemstone offering. Very much Small Dog approved!

Food was a priority this month and I’m ticking off a goal related to limiting our takeaway purchases. I gave us a little leeway the day before and immediately after returning from the wedding when the cupboards were bare by design, but consider the spirit of this goal well and truly fulfilled. As you may expect, it’s was ridiculous to be confronted with how much money we waste on food, by virtue of how much extra cash I had on hand when restricting myself to homemade meals. We know this to be one of our largest expenditures after rent, and I’m determined to continue with the good habits instilled. I’m also two months into a three month no-takeaway-coffee goal, also with reasonable allowances for things like flights and meetings.

Grooming

I booked a haircut the Friday before my brother’s wedding, only to have my trusted stylist have to cancel last minute. My options were to look like a scraggly mess due to hair loss, or to risk a chop from an unknown entity. Risking dignity, I booked an alternative appointment with a total stranger and ended up looking great! Of course I also had a massive outbreak of eczema on my scalp, torso, arms, and face. Win some, lose some.

I continue to struggle overall with getting up at my designated waking time, but historically that’s been due to failure to get enough sleep in the first place. During my really anxious high points this year, my insomnia was running me ragged and made any kind of routine impossible. As my brain health has trended upward, my body is managing more normal sleep patterns while still clinging to bag snooze habits. Things like running a capsule wardrobe project have helped get me out the door in some semblance of order…even if I still hate doing my hair.

Other:

Got a new piercing per my goal list. Love ’em!

Knocked out another credit card balance.

Did my first of two capsule wardrobe projects.

Submitted my passport re-application.

Subscribed to another news publication per goals, putting money where my mouth is.

Squeezed in an extra debt payment with the money I saved elsewhere.

Five Things I Loved in August – Summer Beauty Edition

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Ducklings, it’s been a hectic August, but there is always time to celebrate the things that bring us joy. I thought I’d mix things up and bring you a bit of a themed batch this month as beauty products and content are things that I use to regularly sooth myself, enhance my life, and add a top of of non-guilty pleasure. All notions perfectly aligned with a summertime salute!

Here is a roundup of my favorite products that have helped me lean into that Hot Girl Summer aesthetic, and all of which get a hearty recommendation from me. Lest you think this is the mad ravings of an ignoramus, don’t worry, I’ve also called in the experts!

The Beauty Podcast with Sali Hughes

I’m kicking off with this latest podcast offering by the great and good Sali Hughes firstly because she’s brilliant, and second because she’s single handedly responsible for two other items on this. With three books under her belt and a solid career in beauty journalism, she is is a professional in a world of mere influencers and my love for her knows no bounds. Her book Pretty Honest is a solid read for anyone looking to navigate the world of grooming and beauty care and in need of a Virgil to lead you through the trickier depths of knowledge. Her In The Bathroom series is a wonderful interview anthology from some of the best writers, personalities, and professionals out there. All that was missing is a podcast and low and behold, Sali delivers! Go forth and shove it into your ears, it’s really good.

 

Smashbox Look Less Tired Color Corrector – Light

Between months of poor sleep and unfortunate genetics, my dark circles have grown more prominent this year. Unfortunately I also think this is somewhat tied to aging and other factors utterly beyond my control; deep tear grooves and darker under eye coloring has been my lot in life. I’ve never been a heavy foundation or concealer user, preferring thin and fluid coverage that I can build to more coverage where I require it, but as I’ve moved into my 30s I’ve noticed my subconscious layering more and more under eye concealer in an attempt to fight a losing battle. It doesn’t look as natural as I would wish and it took a Sali Hughes column to smack me upside the head with the realization why: I didn’t need a concealer. I needed a color correcter! This super cream pencil in a peachy, salmon-y shade for lighter skintones did the trick nicely and the difference it has made when worn WITH a concealer has been night and day.

Paula’s Choice Vitamin C Booster

Religious as I am about sunscreen (more on that presently), I still have acquired a few freckles and damage patches thanks to our favorite glowing death ball in the sky and my rare but hormonally-driven pimples. Vitamin C is considered one of the best ingredients to help with this hyperpigmentation, though the type and quality is important. As per my vitamin A mention below, there is a lot of bullshit out there so do your reading about what’s effective and what won’t make a difference no matter how much you spend (Into the Gloss has a decent primer) and then read the packing of your products very carefully when looking to pick one out. Paula’s Choice came almost universally recommended from the experts, journalists, and talented amateurs I either follow or know personally. It was a good recommendation, and is helping out with some post spot…er, spots. A very slightly viscose, watery consistency, it’s easily layered with other products for day or night. Especially SPF during the day!

Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Renewal Retinol Treatment

Yes, ANOTHER Sali Hughes recommendation. I’ve wanted to add a Vitamin A (retinol or retinoid, depending on strength and need for a prescription) to my skincare for a while to help combat some dullness and other issues related to skin cell turnover. There’s a lot of non-scientific bullshit out there when it comes to skincare, so I did quite a bit of reading on retinol options. Lower concentration, gradual results, and available over the counter were all fine by me, but it’s a famously tricky ingredient which can lead sensitive skins to get irritated or even flake/peel. I was looking for an option that came in an oil or cream formula with other ingredients that would help calm any flare ups. Between the ingredient list and the Hughes recommendation, I decided to try it out. I’ve been using it twice a week for over a month–it should take several weeks for most ingredients to have a permanent effect, anything else is just marketing bull–and the results have been slow but noticeable. It’s a pricier tube of goo than most, but it works. Just make sure you wear your sunscreen for the love of chocolate! Which leads me finally to…

 

Thank You Farmer SPF

Yes, another shout out for my longstanding favorite sunscreen. I’ve converted multiple friends to its use and have no regrets about any of my actions. Japanese and Korean sunscreen is where it’s at, people. I will die on this hill.

A Double Weekend Links

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
– Henry James

Beloved ducklings, we have returned from the West Coast of the US, exhausted but unbowed. It’s been a bonkers couple of weeks and as I type the finishing touches on this, it’s barely the middle of the day in the US. Plenty of time for more crazy to happen!

However, the links wait for no man. I’ve compiled two weeks worth of reading to get you through the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. As always, some of it is political, some of it is social, some of it is chock full of jewels. We are a niche bunch, we in Small Dog Nation, but we know what we like!

Emerald. Engagement. Rings.

Britain and America aren’t ready for their next elections. Our understanding of our data, our electoral protections, are simply not robust enough…

When four to five generations ahead of you have succeeded, and you come along and fail, you don’t see it as not your fault. You snap.”

This longform piece is scary, but feels like required reading. This follow up piece regarding YouTube is also worth your time.

This is a global problem.

We’re having an important family fight in public as a a culture about what individual racism looks like (hello, two-year anniversary of Heather Heyer’s murder in Charlottesville) versus what systemic but more subtle forms look like. It’s an important fight and words matter. And everybody who wishes to be an ally to the marginalized needs to do some hard work of reexamining their own frailties and preconceived notions.

Brief pop culture interlude: what a specific set of limitations!

but I thought China was bearing the costs of these…?

This girl is magnificent and deserves all the laurels!

HAHAHAHAHAHA! First of all, good luck. Second of all, seems like once again conservatives don’t actually value half the things they claim to. Maybe we can stop taking most of them in good faith until they give us better cause to do so.

Seriously, you think people can police this? We don’t need (just) law enforcement, we need armies of therapists.

We live in the upside down.

I might be over-emotionally invested in this, but the trailer looks so good!

Oh, my youth!

Just as Americans today look back wistfully to the Founding Fathers as patrons of an age of rugged independence and virtue, so did the Founding Fathers look back with an equal wistfulness to the early years of Rome.”

I can’t with the QAnon conspiracy theories. I. Just. Can’t. However, this piece is a good reason why people like me should stop rolling their eyes and actually consider how and why this thing is as powerful as it is, lest we fall for something similar down the line. The metaphor in the piece is particularly clever and useful as well.

This is pop culture gold reading!

We don’t do enough thinking about the fact that humanity has only been a scientific blip, but this piece does a good start.

Simon Biles is a scientific marvel!

The 1619 Project is just as powerful and necessary as everyone says it is.

I have been thinking about the service industry a lot recently for many reasons, not least of all my professional background, and wondering about its relationship to growing wealth disparity, technology shifts, and basically the world at large. This piece from The Atlantic is timely reading. There are a lot of memes out there about “disruptive” companies and technologies basically reinventing age old concepts…are we doing the same with servants?

Elizabeth Bruenig’s latest for the Washington Post on Mr. Trump’s appeal to evangelical christian voters is brilliant–open minded, open hearted, and deeply insightful.

Farcical.

SAD, as his former boss would say.

I love fieldmice to an unreasonable and fierce degree.

The Amazon is on fire, people. (This headline is a metaphor for more than Balsonaro, of course.)

Miley Cyrus on her divorce: a surprisingly self-aware and well-adjusted sounding thread. Pop culture will never cease to surprise me!

What a great story.

Regarding immigration, I have always found it telling whom the crackdowns target. Seldom the owners of businesses who knowingly employee illegal workers, and often than the (usually poor, often marginalized, and by definition outside the normal resources to legal and social assistance) workers themselves. I can’t help but feel cracking down on the former is a better way to accomplish the goals without victimizing those whose vulnerability is already being turned to profit. Oh, you say that the pay is too poor to attract American workers? Excellent. Raise it. And let’s form some new unions while we’re at it. Oh, that will make our food more expensive you say? …yeah. That’s the result. Put your literal money where your mouth is if you hold these policies and deal with the consequences.

I spend a lot of time consuming beauty products, and reading and thinking about the industry. I’m not surprised to read that consumption trends are shifting, given the glut of product that has been thrown at us, and the whole new models of selling (social media influencer as a career) invented to do so. If we’ve reached peak makeup and peak wellness, peak skincare can’t be far behind…then what?

Meet the unfluencer, the person who makes me want to do the opposite of whatever she’s doing and throw out whatever I already own that she has posted about.”

Oh look. Monetary policy cannot fully compensate for diplomatic and trade batshittery. Huh.

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Weekend Links

“They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.” 
― Howard Zinn

Hi ducklings. It’s been another hard week for a lot of reasons. My country is struggling openly with the human cost of its original sin once again, and the price is devastating. I don’t really have much more to say than I continue to be disappointed with how many people have doubled down on their decisions to exploit the worst of human nature for personal and political gain. The vulgarity and cruelty of this was on display this week and the weight of it is exhausting.

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GOOD. For our next trick, let’s get the activists who campaigned for this out of jail and end guardianship laws.

Being a woman is absolutely exhausting. Yes, I recognize the privilege in this piece, but also the prison.

We must–MUST–be savvier about social media manipulation looking ahead to all future elections in the West.

If you have ever wondering about space imagery, have I got a vid for you!

We’re wonderfully innovative as a species. But we’re still [checks notes] running out of drinking water. From cities imposing water quotas to massive changes in climate and seasonal changes impacting our historic reservoirs…we are changing our planet and we are not doing the work as societies to adapt to that change quickly enough. We’re going to need to get really creative, really quickly.

There was something in the water (pun intended) this week.

We could just…pay them more?

I loved this piece in The Guardian about women’s fertility and the shifting realities that come from having and not having babies. Far from the usual rightwing spewings about gender roles and ethnic nationlism, it’s equally candid about the realities to leftwing ideals about nation states and welfare that result from falling birthrates. Finally, and just as important, it addresses the human and emotional issues that come for women who are more privileged than ever before when it comes to their biology, but in exchange have to grapple with new choices that our foremothers could never have envisioned. “The more motherhood comes to be seen as a choice, rather than an unavoidable fact of female existence or some kind of great romantic destiny, the greater the anxiety both about making the wrong choice and about living with the ghost of the life not chosen. Trying to counter all that by nagging young women to knuckle down to it in order to avoid a future global pensions deficit is destined for the failure such emotionally tin-eared tactics deserve.”

If there is one thing we at Small Dog Nation go in for, it’s buried or hidden treasure with a cultural heritage angle!

Female anger feeds me. We owe so much to our elders.

What are the conflicting obligations to speech and safety in a world where hate online is transitioning to violence in the real world? (ETA, this story moved fast!)

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A sermon.

Climate change is happening and it’s coming for your kitchen, especially you privileged people.

We live in the goddamned upside down.

I don’t think we learned anything from 2016

The cruelty aside, this era as encapsulated by this man is horrifying in its vulgarity.

What if we really, really studied this? Some academics are leading the way, of course, but I mean on an collaborative and international scale? I suspect that, like unto ISIS and other fringe groups who have managed to parlay their ideology into influence which should exceed their size, we’ll find a fairly small and interconnected community of dangerous individuals who we can monitor the way we monitor other threats

Gaming culture is the source of some really important social conversations right now. The latest episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act on Netflix is worth a view to understand how the industry is driving important questions of labor rights. On the flipside, understanding game culture is also important to understand the uptick in radicalized white male violence.

Whew, time for a break. Have some wholesome bread content!

You need another pick me up, you say? Please enjoy this absolute banger of a gay anthem that I had no idea existed but am immeasurably blessed to have stumbled across.

Long live the weirdos.

What a bonkers tale

Archaeology!

This happened, and the conspiracy theories are gonna flow, especially now that several documents are unsealed. It needs to be thoroughly investigated, but I can’t imagine any outcome that isn’t horribly twisted into even more theorizing.

Rest in power, ma’am. (Worth a re-watch.)

 

Weekend Links

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
―Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Welcome to the first links drop of August, my piglets! While I’m still somewhat in dread and awe as to how quickly this year is flying by, I’m never sad to have another weekend upon us wherein a lovingly box up the internet for you. There is an extra good drop this week, with less political outrage than usual…although our usual mix of feminism and Lizzo-stanning is very much in evidence.

Here’s your links, tell me your favorite finds in the comments, and let’s go into the weekend with the same energy as a mediocre white male politician, convinced that he’s [insert preferred in group here]’s salvation.

What a great podcast episode on modern gesture language!

Actively good news!

I legitimately think Lil Nas X should ride this train as long as he can with whatever remixes he wants. He is incredibly smart about picking options that keep him at the top of the charts, which seems to be the goal. The haters can stay mad and if this is the sum total of his career, fine. (Edited to add: I cackle with delight at everyone who’s mad about it!)

A piece in The New Yorker made the rounds this week, with new and devastating information about Mr. Dershowitz and his relationship with Mr. Epstein. It’s a hard, hard read, but it’s important.

REALLY enjoying the exchange rate this week…a non-stop string of good news

I’m pretty well convinced that economist Mark Blyth is right and there are some really clear lines between austerity policy and nationalistic rises, including the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, the nationalists are in power and the problems are not getting better. Boris was just given £10m to run what amounts to a No Deal propaganda campaign and meanwhile, poverty in the UK is crippling whole communities.

What a gem of an insight into a person and a time.

Space is great!

Because God and the Devil both know how susceptible we are

I am choosing to believe this op-ed piece contains wisdom. Because the President has clearly chosen the double down on batshit, shameful, racist, lying nonsense and thus far has paid no price for any of his speech or behavior at all. And I’m pretty pessimistic on my worst days.

This week I learned that the historic marker on the spot where Emmett Till’s broken body was pulled from a river is the subject of repeated vandalism. It’s being updated, thank god, but our original wounding sin as a nation is still festering.

Never a bad time for more Drunk History.

This is corruption, pure and simple.

Interesting idea for a nation state to try. I think we’re going to have to become much more experimental as a society overall so I’m curious to see what the long term outcome of this is. Someone please go for a universal basic income next!

No kidding! I’m very glad to see reporting that this is being treated seriously by the Pentagon, but there have been a lot of cultural issues unearthed in recent years and like so many institutions whose abuses are being exposed, system change is required and won’t be easy.

More women means organizations change, you say? Excellent.

Why yes, I am interested in fall fashion already. September will be upon us soon!

Oh, my youth.

A worthy long read to round out your understanding of human progress.

BLESS US, LIZZO, WE NEED YOUR MAGNIFICENT ENERGY.

Year of Discipline: July Accountability

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.” 
–  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Hells bells, how on earth is it AUGUST already? Let’s not dwell on this too much as I may get dizzy. It’s time again to recap the successes and failures of the month against my yearly theme and this time I have a rather smug report to offer!

General Motivation

Kittens, I seem to have emerged from my funk…it only took half a year apparently! July was the month of Getting **** Done. From run of the mill adulting to bigger life planning, I felt more productive and simultaneously less overwhelmed by stupid stuff this month than I have in a long time. My anxiety seems to have mellowed a bit in the background and while still ever-present and humming, I’ve not been experiencing the spikes and flares that I was in the first six month of 2019. Here’s hoping the trend continues. Lots of small tasks and projects kept me on track this month and I was able to use the launch of my new 101/1001 list as a great jumpstarter for motivation overall.

Health

I’m still not exercising as much as I should, but I am exercising. I’ve been doing the occasional spin classes at the gym, yoga at home, and then supplementing this with basic activity like walking home from work and taking long walks at the weekend with Jeff rather than using public transport.

We’ve been eschewing takeaway food while at home, and I’ve been eschewing takeaway coffee in favor of homemade cold brew. Huzzah, summer! Cooking has been a huge priority this month as a result and I’ve been trying to eat much more diversely thanks to our continued grocery box delivery system, which I continue to heartily endorse.

Both in this category and financial below, I’m in the midst of a couple of 101/1001 projects that are helping me focus on both expenses and some basic life admin and not default to laziness when that would be the easy option. My normal grocery delivery service includes some recipe boxes for salads, which I used a few times to eat more veg in general and to try new recipes overall (a goal), and make meal prep (another goal) more easily accomplished. When we are at our least organized, food can become our biggest expense after rent so deciding to focus on this from both a health and money perspective–and as both a couple and individuals–has been an extremely positive choice this month. Which leads me to…

Financial

We did do some shopping this month. I purchased a top and work appropriate summer shoes to replace yet another pair of victims to London’s cobblestones (this city is extraordinarily hard on heels), both heavily discounted on sale. Less justifiably, I picked up another maxi dress and an unnecessary lipstick (because Lisa Eldridge released her second collection and I guess I wear pink now…) and some personal items that don’t fall in my restricted categories (underwear or socks and so forth). Jeff replaced athletic shoes that he had literally shredded.

However, those choices aside, this was a month for pretty successful discipline. Having changed up our budget and finances so significantly in June, and having reached the decision to move when our current lease is up…let’s just say that this was not a month that I was going to let my/our goals slide. This month we paid off the majority of our credit cards in full, paid for our immigration process, and tucked a sum into savings to begin building our emergency fund and also prep for the move. We want to accomplish as much of that as possible using cash! Once back from the wedding, the second half of August and early September are going to be dedicated to the move…and that’s going to come sooner than my brain can comfortably deal with!

Grooming

Ducklings, a revelation: I now understand why people pay to have professional blow drys. I had a work event this month that I wanted to look especially nice at and so splurged for a blow dry service and it was a game changer. My hair has never been as smooth in my life. Alas for poverty but if I were stupidly wealthy, I would absolutely pay for a glam squad to manage my hair for me and consider it money well spent. However, the experience was doubly useful because the pro gamely answered a ton of questions about product and technique for me and gave me a lot of pointers which I used throughout the rest of the month. See?! This is the kind of knowledge you lose when you only get your hair cut a couple of times a year and are too timid to ask questions!

A bit of a side note, my hair also offered a bit of a visual history of my general health and wellbeing travails over the first six months of the year. It turns out I had a hilarious ton of “regrowth” that was only a couple of months old but very evenly distributed all over my head, indicating when I previously had a lot of hair loss due to stress. Yikes. YIKES. At least it’s growing back.

Otherwise, I’m streamlining my style for summer (see the Other goals below), so am trying to put more emphasis on the “finishing touches” of accessories and presentation. This was a good month for that.

Other

Made a decision: we’re moving due to financial motivation. Therefore, did a LOT of property research, arranged viewings, found a great options and put in an offer for this fall. Fingers crossed that nothing falls through, we’d be really happy with this apartment even if it would be bittersweet to leave our current home.

I built my warm weather capsule wardrobe both to meet a challenge and to begin to prepare for a move. I used this challenge as an excuse to get a headstart on packing and begin boxing up other items, continuing to clean/cull/donate/sell as needed. Keep an eye out for the summary blog post on this project at the end of August

Upgraded lingerie drawer, and threw out old and worn items.

Finally, immigration paperwork submitted and residency successfully achieved! This was our big (and by far most expensive) task this month and I’m delighted to have it behind us.