I walked with you once upon a dream...
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Olympic National Forest

Fantasy of the Interior

I took this photo in May in the Olympic National Forest. I turned to my friend Matt and told him I'd finally found what I wanted my bedroom to look like. A fantasy of plants and trees and green, a bed to lay down at the end of day. A walk in the forest.

As I child, I watched Sleeping Beauty relentlessly. I sang the songs to my black cat Aurora like she'd suddenly dance with me. Sleeping Beauty isn't without problems. But it's a ballet. It's an allegory. It features the best villains of any Disney movie, fight me.

This is the forest Aurora lived in, hidden in the cabin with the three fairies. Where she made friends with the animals. This is the forest Maleficent owned, a forest which holds a dragon. Its hand-painted cell animation bleeds with the love of creation and dedication. You can see each line and knot on every tree.

What's the in-between of an animated film and forest? How much of the living can be brought indoors?

An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments), or debris accumulating around it. You may know the air plant. The air plants and other epiphytes make great mounted plants.

Maybe those mounted plants will bring the forest into my bedroom. And maybe I'll be able to find a world once upon a dream.

Bookworm corner

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo 5/5 stars
If you're keeping track, I've run out of Bardugo books to read. The sequel to Six of Crows was filled with surprises, lots of emotional growth, more madcap schemes, and a few consequences. Also, this was one of the first books I've read where all the characters were paired off, and it didn't feel forced. Still had a bit of trouble with the ages of the protagonists being so young; it particularly made it hard to ship a certain couple when everything said yes, until I thought about their age difference. I largely listened to this on audiobook when I was sick and couldn't read, or couldn't read aloud as Jacob and I read it together.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner no rating
This world is a harsh place, especially for teenage girls. Gloeckner's graphic novel was turned into a movie, and is highly acclaimed, and she says its partially based on her actual experiences and diaries as a teenager. But the abuse, specifically the sexual abuse and statutory rape of the girl by her mother's boyfriend were too much for me to continue reading it.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan 5/5 stars
The second half of my review coming soon on my comic book blog, but wanted to put it in this section as the gaphic novel collection is due out at the end of August. It may have been my favorite book I've read this year. I never expected a story of pink lion to shatter my world and feel this relevant.

Things I wrote recently

On Patron:

Other places:

Inside CMX Summit’s Processes: Speakers, Stage Inclusion, Budgets, and More! — If you ever wanted to know what I think about as I program speakers and how much a conference costs, this is the post for you.

Political days

Vote in the primary, WA friends and everyone else having primaries right now.

Smith vs Smith — Representative Adam Smith (D WA-9) has a Brand New Congress candidate Sarah Smith (D) running against him.

Rep Smith is like an 11th term incumbent, and let's face it, WA 9th's boundaries have moved so many times that half of us think Rep Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) is our congressional representative. (She's the best, and walked with balloons tied to her in the Seattle Pride Parade, while some sad Rep Smith supporters had a couple signs.) Rep Smith is a smooth politician, who knows how to play to the working class, to the people of color, and to the military personnel in our incredibly diverse district (Tacoma, South King County, South Seattle, and Bellevue!), but he's pretty moderate and approves bills he believes to be $100 billion over what the military needs in budget increases.

Sarah Smith's values and platforms are more progressive; however, she seems to be light on actually canvasing in the ways other progressive candidates who've taken out established Democrats without the aid of corporate funding. And every time I see her listed as a "Berniecrat," I vomit a little in my mouth. She did an AMA on Reddit this week.

I don't think Sarah Smith will beat Rep Smith. I live in WA 9th, and I hadn't heard of her until I read my primary ballot and was like "who's this?" (And I knew who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) before the NYT, or even Pod Save America, discovered she was a rad political candidate.) I ended up voting for Sarah Smith.

I'd like Sarah Smith to put a little fire under Rep Smith's butt, and see him take more progressive stances. His co-signing of a bill with Rep Jayapal to abolish ICE is a start, and maybe in 2020, we can run a progressive woman of color against him.

Green thumb update

The biggest garden change is that I took down the peas. The tomatoes grew large enough that they began to tip over, and I needed my 6' poles to support them. All the peas left on the vine were being dried for seed anyway.

I also pulled up the dill, which never really produced, and in the hot weather, went immediately to seed. And I took down the cilantro/coriander, collecting about a half pound of seeds. Anyone need coriander?

The rat has evaded capture, despite a live trap being set for it. It managed to steal the cheese without trapping itself. It slowly munches on all my carrots.

The jalapeños are exploding, and I expect to have a bumper crop in the next couple weeks. Getting a few cucumbers here and there, mostly from my lemon cucumber plants. Have two ripening pumpkins and three spaghetti squashes. The tomatillo has a boatload of developing fruits. Salsa verde, anyone?

North garden bed
South garden bed

Other Things

[AMERICA] "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." — James Baldwin, who would've celebrated his 94th birthday this week and whose words, observations, and criticism still ring true today. If you've never had the immersive experience of reading his writing, I highly suggest you do. Few authors have Baldwin's level of craft and insights into America.

[FINANCE] The Racist History of Banking. A couple months ago, I read The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran, and this video is a great primer on the topic of black wealth inequality and banking. If you're interested in learning more, highly recommend the book.

[STAR TREK] Never in a million years would I have believed you if you'd told me Patrick Stewart would be back for another Star Trek series. Maybe he will find Sisko?

[AI & HUMANITY] The Quantified Heart: Artificial intelligence promises ever more control over the highs and lows of our emotions. Uneasy? Perhaps you should be. by Polina Aronson and Judith Duportail

"In this way, neither Siri or Alexa, nor Google Assistant or Russian Alisa, are detached higher minds, untainted by human pettiness. Instead, they’re somewhat grotesque but still recognisable embodiments of certain emotional regimes – rules that regulate the ways in which we conceive of and express our feelings.

These norms of emotional self-governance vary from one society to the next. Unsurprising then that the willing-to-hug Google Assistant, developed in Mountain View, California looks like nothing so much as a patchouli-smelling, flip-flop-wearing, talking-circle groupie. It’s a product of what the sociologist Eva Illouz calls emotional capitalism – a regime that considers feelings to be rationally manageable and subdued to the logic of marketed self-interest. Relationships are things into which we must ‘invest’; partnerships involve a ‘trade-off’ of emotional ‘needs’; and the primacy of individual happiness, a kind of affective profit, is key. Sure, Google Assistant will give you a hug, but only because its creators believe that hugging is a productive way to eliminate the ‘negativity’ preventing you from being the best version of yourself.

By contrast, Alisa is a dispenser of hard truths and tough love; she encapsulates the Russian ideal: a woman who is capable of halting a galloping horse and entering a burning hut (to cite the 19th-century poet Nikolai Nekrasov). Alisa is a product of emotional socialism, a regime that, according to the sociologist Julia Lerner, accepts suffering as unavoidable, and thus better taken with a clenched jaw rather than with a soft embrace. Anchored in the 19th-century Russian literary tradition, emotional socialism doesn’t rate individual happiness terribly highly, but prizes one’s ability to live with atrocity."

And with that I'll say, adiós!


Erica McGillivray

Copyright © 2018 Erica McGillivray, All rights reserved.

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