Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Sept 18-24, 2022

As we say farewell to September, fortify yourself for the last quarter of the year by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Janelle Griffith: ex-Minneapolis police office sentenced to three years in George Floyd’s murder. NBC News

Erin Doherty: Cambridge joins elite universities grappling with ties to slavery. Axios

Erin Doherty reports that another nuclear power plant is at risk from Russian missiles. Axios

Karl Ritter: Putin issues partial military call-up, risking protests. Associated Press

Kim Fahner says Laurentian must rebuild, appeal to a variety of students. The Sudbury Star

The sharp axe method. Struthless

Theresa Massony says six planets are retrograde right now, which explains everything. Pop Sugar

Lori Cuthbert explains why the autumn equinox ushers in fall. National Geographic

Emily Zarevich introduces us to the lady who might have been Queen of England. JSTOR Daily

Rachel E. Gross: “feminist science” is not an oxymoron. Slate

Marshall Sheppard shares lessons from a mermaid about representation in science and engineering. Forbes

Mitochondia are the powerhouses of … Alzheimer’s? SciShow

Leila Gray take us beyond AlphaFold: AI excels at creating new proteins. University of Washington (UW) Medicine

Moss repair team also works in humans. Potential progress for the treatment of hereditary diseases. University of Bonn

Nina Bai announces that Emmanuel Mignot wins Breakthrough Prize for discovering the cause of narcolepsy. Stanford Medicine

New and ancient lessons from lunar eclipses. SciShow Space

NASA’s InSight “hears” its first meteoroid impacts on Mars. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Robert Lea: JWST’s first images of Mars reveal atmospheric secrets. Space.com

Laura Betz, Hannah Braun, and Christine Pulliam: new Webb image captures the clearest view of Neptune’s rings in decades. NASA

Grace Ebert: a rare glimpse of Comet Leonard’s last moments wins Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. And the runners up aren’t bad, either. This is Colossal

Why it took 200,000 years to invent the wheel. Answer in Progress

Jesus Diaz says this new wind turbine concept isn’t like any we’ve seen before. Fast Company

Check out Audubon’s new Bird Migration Explorer! I could get lost in this for HOURS.

Rivka Galchen: peak cuteness and other revelations from the science of puppies. The New Yorker

Thanks for visiting! I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

I should be posting my next chapter update for September this weekend.

Until then, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 18-24, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of September. Finish off the month in style by filling up on informal writerly learnings!

Disha Walia advises what not to include in the first chapter. Then, Angela Yeh helps you move past the middle muddle mood. Best line: “Writing a novel isn’t all sunshine and unicorn butts.” Adam W. Burgess presents LGBTQ+ literature in translation: Notes of a Desolate Man. Helen Scheurerer offers a masterclass in planning and writing a series. Later in the week, Diane Cohen Schneider shares five tips on how to add facts to fiction without sounding wonky. DIY MFA

Why Marilyn Monroe deserved much, much better from us. The Take

Matthew Norman recounts the thrill of changing lanes. Then, Dave King shares the view from inside. Barbara Linn Probst tell some wild and crazy research tales, or the things we do for our stories. Then, Julie Carrick Dalton explains how to attend a literary conference without checking a bag: keep calm and carry-on. Writer Unboxed

What’s up with your shoes? Another armour tier list. Jill Bearup

Janice Hardy suggests five ways to revive a novel that doesn’t work. Fiction University

Penny C. Sansevieri explains why writing conferences matter for writers. Then, Lynette M. Burrows helps you make music with character voices. Ellen Buikema is writing minor characters that matter. Writers in the Storm

Kahina Necaise presents the top four challenges of fantasy worldbuilding and how to overcome them. Live, Write, Thrive

Valkyries: the real story behind these warriors of legend. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Di Ann Mills shares the art and purpose of subtext. Then, Jennifer Browdy is transforming coal into diamonds: telling painful true stories through fiction. Jane expands on her DOJ vs. PRH antitrust trial coverage in The Hot Sheet to explain why it doesn’t change the game for authors, regardless of outcome. Lisa Cooper Ellison says, to nail your book proposal, think synergies, not sections. Jane Friedman

Worldbuilding with giant monsters. Tale Foundry

Lucy V. Hay helps you reach the finishing line and celebrate a completed book. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford warns, don’t let your opening cement in your mind.

Literally no one likes a grammar cop. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Kristen Lamb explains how shame, regret, and guilt shape story.

Christina Delay advises us about avoiding blocks and refreshing ideas. Jami Gold

How much does it cost to self-publish a book? Reedsy

Chris Winkle points out seven easy sources of real-world danger. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six stories with cheap cop-outs. Mythcreants

Lucy Knight announces that Hilary Mantel, celebrated author of Wolf Hall, dies aged 70. The Guardian

The five principles of revision. Shaelin Writes

Leah Drayton reveals Toni Morrison’s advocacy against censorship: truth is trouble. The New York Public Library

Stephanie Morris shares autumnal equinox writing tips and rituals. Write of Die Tribe

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something toe support your current work(s) in progress, whatever stage they’re at.

Until Thursday, keep stay safe and well, my writerly friends!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Sept 11-17, 2022

Happy equinox, to those who celebrate. Welcome fall!

It’s time to get your mental corn popping in time for the weekend.

Robin Maynard: Canadian education is steeped in anti-Black racism. The Walrus

Michelle Cyca presents the curious case of Gina Adams, “pretendian.” McLean’s

Vasilisa Stepanenko: Zelenskyy states burial site contains torture victims. Associated Press

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: a visual explainer. The International Crisis Group

Greg Allen: in a surprise, the defense rests early in the Parkland School shooting trial. GPB News

Michael Tarm and Joey Cappelletti report that R. Kelly convicted of child porn, enticing girls for sex. Associated Press

Julia Métreaux says, before long covid, there was post-polio syndrome. JSTOR Daily

New study reveals mechanism for how disease-spreading prions migrate from one species to another. Phys.org

Sanah Ahsan is a psychologist, and she believes we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health. The Guardian

Simon Lewson takes us inside the mental health crisis facing college and university students. The Walrus

Where did Mercury’s spots come from? SciShow Space

Jesus Diaz says a new satellite brighter than any star could ruin the night sky. Fast Company

Will Sullivan: scientists discover planet with the potential to support life. The Smithsonian Magazine

Hannah Devlin reports that Saturn’s rings could be the result of a moon that strayed too close. The Guardian

Connie Lin explains why Changesite-(Y) could fuel a goldrush for lunar mining. Fast Company

Wyatte Grantham-Philips reports that NASA’s Perseverance rover finds organic matter in rock samples, begging the question, did life ever exist on Mars? USA Today

Two new papers on the Fagradalsfjall eruption published in the newest issue of Nature. Institute of Earth Sciences

Bob Yirka reports that a new study of the Gough map shows what might be the lost islands of Welsh folklore. Phys.org

Laura Fletcher reveals a breakthrough discovery in carbon capture conversion for ethylene production. Phys.org

The biggest myth about climate change. Be Smart

Chinese researchers test maglev cars. The Byte | Futurism

Ian Rose tells a precautionary tale. JSTOR Daily

Adele Peters: a NASA scientist designed a platform to track the carbon in every tree on the planet. Fast Company

Conifer communication is complex and can be altered by air pollution. The University of Eastern Finland

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 11-17, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Therese Walsh reveals the problem behind the problem. Then, Jim Dempsey offers all the writing advice you’ll ever need. Juliet Marillier loves the magic of a writing retreat. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more writing wisdom on us: escalations 1, 2, and 3. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers this simple equation: conflict + choices = character agency. Helping Writers Become Authors

Let’s cosplay like it’s 1499. Jill Bearup

Janice Hardy says that the catalyst for character change is the dark night of the soul. Fiction University

Lori Freeland: not just another post on POV. Then, Colleen M. Story explains how your author platform helps you do more than sell books. Lisa Norman: welcome to the future, part 1. Writers in the Storm

Monstrous plants and the people who invent them. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Lisa Poisso says that feedback and editing are matters of the right eyes at the right time. Jami Gold considers point of view: is deeper always better? Writers Helping Writers

Jami follows up with this post on her own site: is deep POV always the best choice?

Junji Ito’s most disturbing story. Tale Foundry

Colice Sanders is rethinking transgender narratives. Then, Disha Wallia explains how to write a hook for speculative fiction. Carol Van Den Hende talks to Deborah Mortimer about intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, and design marks, oh my! Later in the week, Heather Davis poses five questions that will guarantee you novel has a sturdy structure. DIY MFA

Kristen Tsetsi interviews Kern Carter about how business and creativity go hand in hand. Then, Susan DeFreitas lists three ways writerly grit leads to publishing success. Jane Friedman

How to structure your novel’s climax | Fourth quarter story structure. Ellen Brock

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders how you value your creative worth. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb lists the seven deadly sins of prologues.

Chris Winkle lists six ways to add emotion to your writing. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts a head-to-head-to-head ANTS showdown between Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel. Mythcreants

How to figure out what’s wrong with your story. Reedsy

Guy Kawasaki interviews Elizabeth Gruner about the Zen of writing, reading, and learning. The Remarkable People Podcast

Cait Gordon: the ableism and privilege behind “You must write every day.”

Rebecca Jennings says, in The Rings of Power, it’s not horrifying to be a woman. Vox

Alexi Duggins reports that The Rings of Power stars speak out against racist “threats, harassment, and abuse.” The Guardian

And that was tipsday.

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Sept 4-10, 2022

Tomorrow is Friday, and we’re halfway through September (!). Get your mental corn popping in time for the weekend 🙂

Jordan Laird provides a timeline of the Columbus police fatal shooting of Donovan Lewis. The Columbus Dispatch

Jamie Ducharme reports that US medical schools are struggling to overcome centuries of racism in healthcare. Time

Matthew Wills reveals the truth about Isabella Van Wagenen. JSTOR Daily

Lorenzo Tondo and Julian Borger: UN calls for demilitarised zone around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. The Guardian

Hanna Arhirova and Yuras Karmanau report that Ukraine claws back territory. Associated Press

China earthquake death count rises to 74 as lockdown anger grows. Associated Press

Two suspects sought for Saskatchewan stabbings now face charges, 10 dead and injured count rises to 18. CBC

Julie Steenhuysen and Jennifer Rigby reveal long covid’s link to suicide: scientists warn of hidden crisis. Reuters

James Gallagher: new malaria vaccine is world-changing, say scientists. BBC

Buckingham Castle announces that Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022. BBC

Clark Quinn recommends you test and tune your learning solutions. Learnlets

Derek Thompson: your career is just one eighth of your life. The Atlantic

Why you should daydream. Elizabeth Cox | TED-Ed

Simon Lewson explains what Canada’s largest art heist reveals about the art world’s shady side. The Walrus

Manuel Ausloos and Sybille de La Hamaide report that restoration of Notre Dame’s smoke-damaged stained glass begins. Reuters

Maggie Zhou: you’re not scared of failing, you’re scared of succeeding. Refinery 29

Guy Kawasaki interviews Cassie Holmes about applying the science of happiness to life. The Remakable People Podcast

Hasima Khatib tells you how to survive 2022’s third Mercury retrograde starting September 9th. Vogue

Will Sullivan reveals that a lunchbox-sized device is making oxygen on Mars. The Smithsonian Magazine

Donna Lu reports that a new solar-powered invention creates hydrogen fuel from the atmosphere. The Guardian

Scott FaLee explains how changes in length of day affect the brain and subsequent behaviour. UC San Diego

Yvaine Ye reports that embryos with DNA from three people develop normally in first safety study. Nature

Brian Handwerk: the earliest known amputation was performed 31,000 years ago in Borneo. The Smithsonian Magazine

Yvonne Gordon wonders what ancient secrets lie beneath this little-known Irish bog? National Geographic

Bob Yirka reports that over 90% of identifiable trash in the North Pacific Garbage Patch comes from just six countries. And Canada and the US are two of them 😦 Phys.org

Clodagh Kilcoyne and Conor Humphries: Irish nuns bid to turn their convent green. Reuters

True facts: parasitic birds. Ze Frank

How tardigrades bear dehydration. University of Tokyo

Giulia de Amicis presents a fascinating infographic depicting 40 different animal sleep patterns. Visual Capitalist

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 4-10, 2022

So far, September has been an awesome month, weather-wise. We’ve even had to use the portable air conditioner here and there.

Without further ado, here are your informal writerly learnings for the week. Enjoy!

LA Bourgeois suggests you boost your creativity with a break. Then, F.E. Choe helps you overcome the preciousness of your prose. Lori Walker interview Khirsten Wierman about overcoming differences and the ability to change. Kyomi O’Connor explains how she uses writing as a healing tool. Later in the week, Ellen Barker shares five ways to use literary fiction to write about the pressing topics of today. DIY MFA

How we overcorrected the damsel in distress. The Take

Greer Macallister points out the second most important thing. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, are you telling yourself the wrong stories? Donald Maass considers novels that shouldn’t work, but do—and why. Then, Kathryn Craft is exposing inner conflict in non-POV characters. David Corbett checks out a new model for self-publishing—Emily Kimelman. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy helps you take the work out of writing a scene. Then, Angela Ackerman explains how to use conflict to show character development. Fiction University

Chinnamasta: the headless goddess of self-sacrifice. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland wonders, do you need personal experience to write about something? Helping Writers Become Authors

Angela Ackerman explains how to amp up your conflict. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Angela Ackerman says, if you want to build tension, encourage your reader to ask questions. Then, Tom Bentley explains why persistence pays the weary writer. Allison K. Williams reveals how to get published in Modern Love, McSweeney’s, or anywhere else you want.  Jane Friedman

Kris Maze offers more ways to fix filler words. Then, Piper Bayard is writing about robberies and burglaries. Writers in the Storm

How to stay creative as a writer. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford says, don’t criticize a book’s editing unless you saw the original manuscript.

Chris Winkle shares some lessons learned from the cursed writing of Vicious. Then, Oren Ashkenazi evaluates five tropes that sound cool but rarely work. Mythcreants

Tiffany Yates Martin offers a caveat scriptor: when creators become the customers. Fox Print Editorial

Lincoln Michel unpacks some of the stats emerging from the PRH/SS Merger trial: no, most books don’t sell only a dozen copies. It’s a substack newsletter, but you can read one article for free.

We added 370 new words to the dictionary for September 2022. Merriam-Webster

And that was tipsday.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Aug 28-Sept 3, 2022

We’re rounding the bend and almost to the weekend. Pour on that last bit of speed by getting your mental corn popping!

Dr. Torvi, mid-operation.

No charges in police killing of Rayshard Brooks. BBC

How did Al Sharpton become a joke? Princess Weekes

Yessica Fisch reports that Russia, Ukraine trade claims of nuclear plant attacks. Associated Press

Dave Lawler: Ukraine launches counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied Kherson. Axios

Jamey Keaten and Edith M. Lederer announce that the UN cites possible crimes against humanity in China’s Xinjiang. Associated Press

Jessica Stillman explains how to spot an emotional vampire and a 5-step process to defeat one, when you do. Inc.

Dr. Patricia Lockwood: scientists pinpoint the brain area responsible for effortful helping behaviour (AKA altruism). The University of Birmingham

Bill Hathaway wonders what makes the human brain different? Yale neuroscientists reveal clues. Yale News

Stefan Van der Stigchel reveals what the science says about daydreaming and concentration. The MIT Press Reader

Guy Kawasaki interviews Fran Houser about how to kindly, gently, and powerfully embrace your work. The Remarkable People Podcast

Laura Ungar: zombie cells central to quest for active, vital old age. Associated Press

The world’s highest jumping robot. Veritasium

Tariq Malik reports that NASA calls off Artemis I moon rocket launch over engine cooling issue. Space.com

Webb inspects the heart of the phantom galaxy. The European Space Agency

Hannah Devlin reveals historic JWST images showing exoplanet in unprecedented detail. The Guardian

S.N. Johnson-Roehr: Caroline Herschel claims her comet. JSTOR Daily

The ominous reason Phobos has lines on it. SciShow Space

Mount Sinai Hospital researchers find spaceflight may be associated with DNA mutations, increased risk of heart disease, and cancer. Phys.org

Dinah Voyles Pulver: melting Greenland ice sheet will raise sea levels nearly a foot, study finds. USA Today

Leo Sands reports on the Pakistan floods: one third of the country is under water, minister says. BBC News

Abir Ahmar: parched UAE turns to science to squeeze more rainfall from clouds. Reuters

Sarah Keartes explains how giant isopods got supersized. Hakai Magazine

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 28-Sept 3, 2022

Well, hello, Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday! Launch yourself into this short week with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares seven tips for adding complexity to your story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Eldred Bird explains what blogging has taught him about writing. Then, James Preston warns of three common traps that can hurt your story (and how to avoid them). Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig helps you finish writing-related tasks quickly.

The secret to a well-paced plot (and it’s ridiculously easy). Shaelin Writes

Janice Hardy explains how writing a novel is like gardening. Fiction University

Alexander Lewis helps you grow your writing business by stepping away from your computer. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: what is the “narrative voice”?

How to find time to write. Reedsy

Abigail K. Perry analyses the first chapter of Red, White, and Royal Blue. Then, Angela Yeh interviews Leslie Wheeler about how to take poetry personally. Mason Engel explains how to beat your writer’s burnout: a seven-step guide to tuning up your creative engine. Later in the week, Jennifer Craven shares five tips for writing multi-POV stories. DIY MFA

Yasmin Angoe relates the trials and tribulations of writing the second novel. Then, Kasey LeBlanc considers ebb and flow: a season for writing … and forgiveness. Liza Nash Taylor says, writer, edit thyself! Writer Unboxed

When the monster is hiding in plain sight. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how Elisa Lorello revises: rediscovering joy. Fox Print Editorial

Jordan Kantey lists seven ways to ensure you reach your writing goals. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle wonders, can framing devices be better than terrible? Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Simmons scattered his world: building Hyperion. Mythcreants

Plot armour is good (sometimes). Hello, Future Me

Tavi Gevinson waxes on not being afraid to change up your process. The Creative Independent

Leanne Ogasawara is reassessing the workshop in light of culture shock. The Millions

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

The next chapter: August 2022 update

Ah, the weather’s already getting cooler. This summer was a good one up in northeastern Ontario. I’m sad to see the shortening days, this year.

Having said that, it’s pumpkin spice latte season!

Your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until Black, Indigenous, and people of colour lives matter.

Continue to observe public health guidelines (washing hands, maintaining physical distance, masking where you can’t, getting your vaccinations as recommended). Covid is endemic and new variants continue to crop up. Take care of yourselves and the people you love.

Russia’s unprovoked war in the Ukraine continues and continues to be deplorable. It’s been six months and there’s still no end in sight. I stand with the Ukraine.

Reproductive rights are everyone’s fight.

The month in writing

I was all over place in August. Some revision on Reality Bomb, a little short fiction, a little poetry, blogging, a little work on the Ascension series, some review of Alice in Thunderland (my alt-history/steampunk project), and I worked on a beta review as part of an exchange.

In terms of projects I’m tracking, here’s how the month worked out:

For RB, I didn’t put a revision goal up, but my main thrust is to cut 25k words from the last draft while also strengthening the plot and character arc. I didn’t count the days when I cut but noted when I added words. I’m still in the first half of the novel, which doesn’t need a lot of cutting.

I added 626 words but reduced the overall wordcount by just over 200 words. Not bad.

In terms of blogging, my massive July update contributed to achieving 142% of my 5,500-word goal (7818 words).

Short fiction stalled partway through the month after only writing 232 words. That’s 15% of my 1,500-word goal.

I set my poetry goal at 10 poems again and only wrote 8 (80%). I’m trying to turn my hand to capturing my autistic journey in poetry on the recommendation of a friend, but the result isn’t satisfactory. They’re all rather pedestrian. Lists of events, symptoms, reactions. I’ll have to revisit the lot of them at some future time. They’re not coming to life for me. Maybe poetry isn’t the medium for this? I don’t know.

With regard to projects I’m not tracking, I worked a little on the Ascension series master document based on the reading I’d completed to date. Then, I set it aside once other priorities started to take precedence.

I worked on my critique for the author I’d agreed to do a critique exchange with. It’s almost done. I’m hoping to be finished in the next day or so.

And I worked on my OAC grant application (see next section for more on that).

On Friday, August 12, I read an excerpt of “Torvi, Viking Queen” at the launch of Pirating Pups at When Words Collide (WWC). It was a lovely, intimate reading, done virtually. More on WWC in “filling the well.”

I also started my search for an editor/book coach to get RB ready to query. I’m now thinking that I’ll be ready to work with someone in October. There have been emails, intake forms, zoom meetings, and all kinds of administrivia going on around that effort.

I attended the CAA Board orientation on August 22nd. It’s the first time I’ve actually been able to attend one of these. Informative, but intimidating.

And I attended a special general meeting for SFCanada focused on the implementation of a new anti-harassment policy and amendment of the bylaws on August 27th.

Filling the well

I attended an information session from the Ontario Arts Council about applying for grants on Tuesday, August 9th. And … I started working on my application (!) for a literary creation project grant.

On the weekend of August 12 to 14, it was WWC 2022. I actually signed up for a couple of workshops on Thursday and Friday, and watched a few sessions live over the course of the weekend. I’m hoping that this year, more sessions will be made available on their YouTube channel, because there are always 10 sessions going on at the same time, and I can’t attend everything.

I signed up for a CAA/SFCanada webinar on August 17th with the intent of attending but didn’t have the spoons and ended up watching the replay. The session was presented by Den Valdron on publishing contracts, and he sent an impressive array of samples and resources.

Then, I attended a webinar about writing interiority delivered by agent Cece Lyra of PS Literary on the 18th. It was a-MA-zing. I found out about it after starting to listen to “The Shit No One Tells You About Writing” podcast. I think I’m going to watch the recording a few more times before I lose access.

I also signed up for a Mary Robinette Kowal webinar called “Earth’s future climate: a proactive SF approach” with Dr. Tom Wagner on August 23rd.

The next Tiffany Yates Martin webinar hosted by Jane Friedman focused on suspense and tension. It was during the day on August 24th, so I watched the replay.

Finally, Jane Friedman hosted a free roundtable discussion about the Department of Justice-Penguin Random House antitrust trial on the 26th. Again, it was during the day, and I watched the replay.

I also had an appointment with my optometrist and got myself some new (very expensive) glasses. Progressive lenses, anti-glare, and transitions. I’ll probably take a new headshot when I get them so y’all can see.

What I’m watching and reading

In the viewing department, I watched Lightyear (Disney +). It was fun and, as with most Pixar offerings, sentimental. Poor Buzz is so focused on completing his mission, he doesn’t realize he’s failed to live. The reveal of who Zurg is—I’ll leave that to you to find out. A recommended watch.

Then, I rented Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. Oh. My. God. So good. Everyone’s already said all the things about the movie that I could and then some, so I won’t waste your time. Best movie I’ve seen all year. This is one I want to own. Love and google-eyes, y’all.

The Groot shorts on Disney + were cute. I felt sorry for the … squirrel-bird? And the bonsai. And the mimic. And the little whatever-they-were. Admittedly, in the last instance, Groot felt bad about squishing them, too. And he tried to make it up to the bonsai. Emphasis on tried. Just a root-ball ‘o’ chaos, Groot.

I watched the last episode of season 4 of WestWorld on August 14th. The writers’ collective fondness for not letting their audience know when they’re watching continues to be irritating. Everything comes together, eventually, but until it does, the viewer is left feeling confused and stupid.

Dolores is now Christina, who works at a gaming company, writing stories for in-game characters. Her alternate, Charlotte Hale, has now *SPOILERS* created a world in which most people have been infected by what I assume is a technological virus, which makes them subservient to the AIs. There’s a resistance cell of people who’ve managed to avoid or are resistant to the virus (delivered by fly—I get it, but ew!) and they’re trying to defeat the AIs and free the humans.

Caleb, who died last season, appears to be back, but his consciousness has been repeatedly uploaded into a host body, which we know from past seasons never works out well. His daughter, Frankie/Cookie/C, leads the outliers as the resistance is called, and one of her main missions is to find her father.

Bernard returns from the Sublime, having run infinite simulations about how things in the world outside will turn out. Stubbs has been his faithful guardian in the meantime and the two set off to find the outliers, resurrect Maeve, who was killed early in the season (and then again later—but what is later, really?), infiltrate Hale’s city to rescue what’s left of Caleb, and set the next iteration of WW into motion.

Almost everyone dies in the end, but Christina is returned to the Sublime by Hale (after which Hale commits suicide) and begins her final, most dangerous experiment, which looks suspiciously like the original WW she was built for. Frankie gets back to her people, which are the only humans left alive after AI-William sets every other AI and human into a homicidal/suicidal frenzy. *END SPOILERS*

I guess we’ll see what Dolores has in store for us some time in 2023 or 4, now that Ed Harris spilled the beans that filming on season five will begin next spring.

I watched Luck (Apple +) next. I like anything Simon Pegg’s in, even if he’s a cat 🙂 It’s a cute story. Sam is the unluckiest person in the world. She’s just aged out of an adoption centre but wants better for a young friend (a forever home). She has her own apartment and new job. We follow her through a typical day, just to set up the fact that if any can go wrong for Sam, it will. Until she shares a panini with a black cat and finds a lucky penny for her friend when it leaves.

The next day, penny in pocket, Sam can do no wrong. Despite enjoying the hell out of her new luck, she’s going to give the lucky penny to her friend. Until she accidentally flushes it down a toilet. Re-enter the black cat, to whom she tells her tale of woe. And when he demands, in a Scottish accent, “What did you do that for?” Sam’s whole world changes. Fun and sweet and feel-good.

Phil and I watch Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of Scar (Netflix). This is the second of the live-action FMA movies and does follow the FMA: Brotherhood series of events. Phil and I have seen all the iterations of the anime, animated movies, and now the live-action movies. If you’re a fan, you’ll want to watch it.

After a month of being locked out of Goodreads, they’ve finally fixed the issue. And I’m still five books behind in my reading challenge, even after entering the books I read during the outage 😦

I read Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. While it appears to be the first book published, it’s the third in the series (as its title implies). On his site, Gladstone says each book is standalone and I found this to be true. There was only a little bit of disorientation, but I find that I like books that expect me to figure things out on my own. I enjoyed the legal/spiritual/craft interweave in the novel and the world building, based on the magic system, is superb.

Then, I finished Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. It’s been a while since I watched the series on Amazon, but, in this instance, I like the book better. It’s cleaner than the series and more direct. Cora’s journey is Cora’s alone and the cruelties of the slave owners and catchers aren’t explained. There’s no need for explanation.

Next, I read The North-West is Our Mother by Jean Teillet. It’s a non-fiction book about the history of the Métis Nation. It was an interesting and informative read.

I read Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds in gulps (it was just so tasty!). Traversers are recruited for a peculiar reason: they die a lot—in alternate realities. Because you can’t traverse to a world in which your alternate exists. The multiverse kills you for the offense.

Earth Zero identifies worlds that are similar enough to have the same resources and similar technologies because the main thrust of the traversers is information. Once the prospect world’s resources and technologies are identified, automated missions extract them to enrich Earth Zero.

I don’t want to get into the plot because it would be major spoilage and I don’t want to deny you the treat of reading this book for yourself.

Then, I finished Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays. I’ll be brief about this one too. It’s another fabulous read.

Tom Barren is a chrononaut, but he’s also a fuck-up and after he manages to derail the inaugural time travel mission, he breaks his timeline. How he tries to fix it is the story. And it’s hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Aug 21-27, 2022

And hello, September! Can I trot out the pumpkin spice guinea pigs, yet? Lots of stuff to get your mental corn popping this week.

Andrew Wolfson and Billy Kobin: former Louisville police officer pleads guilty to lying on Breonna Taylor search warrant. USA Today

Guy Foulconbridge provides this explainer: blood, treasure, and chaos — the cost of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Reuters

Rozina Ali: the Afgan women left behind. The New Yorker

Terry Spencer reports that defense for Parkland school shooter’s trial set to present its case. Associated Press

Singapore to end colonial-era ban on gay sex after years of debate. France24

Andrew Marshall and Josef Tanfani report on “Skew-Tube”: the new breed of video sites thriving on misinformation and hate. Reuters

Amy Meeker says, to keep people from procrastinating, don’t give them a deadline. Harvard Business Review

Jessica Stillman reveals that remote workers are wasting more than an hour a day on “productivity theatre,” new report finds. Inc.

Men are lonely … but should we care? Khadija Mbowe | You Can Always Change Your Mind

When Alzheimer’s degrades cells that cross hemispheres, visual memory suffers. The Picower Institute at MIT

The role of dementia proteins in normal memory. Flinders University

Noah Fromson: early blood tests predict death, severe disability for traumatic brain injury. University of Michigan Health Lab

Catherine Caruso explains what happens when recovery goes awry. Harvard Medical School

Matt Shipman reports that ancient skulls may place human and neanderthal interbreeding. Futurity

Brian Handwerk reveals that seven million years ago, the oldest-known early human was already walking. The Smithsonian Magazine

Daniel Jones and Hui Li report that scientists have discovered how to destroy “forever chemicals” (PFAS). Fast Company

Lauren Saria: this restaurant is run entirely by robots. Eater

The crime wave we can blame on … neutron stars? Be Smart

Devan McGuinness reports NASA just revealed what a black hole sounds like … and it’s haunting. Fatherly

Alise Fisher reveals Webb’s images showcasing Jupiter’s auroras and hazes. NASA JWST

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti: JWST detects “unequivocal” carbon dioxide in an exoplanet’s atmosphere for the first time. IFLS

Will Dunham announces that rock-hunting NASA rover reveals crater’s surprising geology. Yup. Percy’s still at it 🙂 Reuters

Vishwam Sankaran reports that researchers identify the first plant that should be grown on Mars. The Independent

Jack Wallington recommends a drought-resistant garden for a changing climate. The Guardian

Katie Hunt reports that dogs’ eyes well up with tears of joy when reunited with their people. CNN

And that was thoughty Thursday. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

This weekend, I should be posting my next chapter update for August.

Until then, keep staying safe and well.