Where I Got Published This Week

Bankrate

Why no balance is good balance on a 0% interest card

Forge

Can an Electronic Shock Bracelet Kill Your Bad Habits?

Haven Life

What new dads should know about paternity leave

5 moms explain how they successfully returned to work after having a child

Lifehacker

Why You Might Not Get $125 in Equifax Settlement Money

What the Federal Reserve Interest Rate Cut Might Mean for You

How to Remember What You’ve Learned Each Day

Understand Whether You Should Focus on the Process or the Product

You Might Be Entitled to an American Airlines Fuel Surcharge Refund

Find Out If You’re Rich With This Quiz

Use a Short Mantra to Stick to Your Goals

Get Priority Pass Restaurant Credits With These Credit Cards

How to Make Sure You Don’t Lose Your Credit Card Rewards When You Close the Card

Happy open thread, y’all! ❤️

Where I Got Published This Week

Maybe I’ll start doing this weekly, instead of daily. What do you all think?

Also, the thread is open. ❤️

Bankrate

How to Avoid Late Payment Fees

Lifehacker

If Your Compensation Package Includes Stock, You Should Know About This Tax Rule

Wear Loose Clothing on a Long Flight

Plan Your Day With a Morning Brain Dump

Use Relaxation and Meditation Apps During Turbulence

Who Gets the Armrests When You Fly Economy?

Keep the Bare Minimum In Your Checking Account

Is a Business Class Ticket the Better Deal on International Trips?

What’s the Safest Seat on an Airplane?

How to Keep Negative Compounding From Derailing Your Financial Goals

Vox

Money Talks: One friend got married, the other was her maid of honor

A Phryne Fisher Open Thread

I told you I’d tell you which cozy mystery series has recently captured my attention. Not that this particular series is recent, of course; the Phryne Fisher books began publishing in 1989 and the television series (which I watched on Netflix a few years ago) premiered in 2012.

But I was searching the internet for “murder mysteries set in big old houses that aren’t by Agatha Christie,” which does in fact yield a relevant search result on a cozy mystery blog, and that blog post’s mention of the Murder She Wrote tie-in novels (two of which I gave to my brother-in-law this past Christmas, since he is a huge Jessica Fletcher fan) reminded me that in Phryne Fisher’s case, the books came before the television series—and I hadn’t read any of them.

Now I’ve read the first six and am halfway through number seven. The library has ’em all on ebook, and every time I get to the end of one book it’s both easy and irresistible to return it and check out the next one (in other words, if you’re curious whether the Netflix binge-episode model works just as well for books, YES IT DOES).

What I love about these books is the long game going on between all of the murders. Although you could theoretically read the books out of order, or start with the third one or whatever, author Kerry Greenwood sets up this delightful slow-build character development in which, for example, characters reflect on decisions they made two books ago and use that self-understanding to make a different decision this time around.

Which is also why we all loved the television series, right? We wanted to see people grow and change and learn and begin to trust each other and so on.

(We also wanted to see all the clothes, which are just as lavishly presented in the novels.)

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading lately and I wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying it. The thread is open—have a good weekend! ❤️

Friday Open Thread

This is one of those days where it’s hard to be all “Friday FriYAY” because, like, have you been reading the news?

I keep reminding myself that my locus of control is limited, and that I should do what I can to help people in need (today I called my representatives and asked them to do their part to improve the treatment of people in border detention camps) and then, well… it’s like this combination of not dwelling on it while not forgetting about it and not becoming desensitized to it.

Which is an easier plan of action when I’m worried about something like the threat of nuclear war. The thought pattern in that case goes:

Are we in a nuclear war right now? NO.

Is there anything you can do to prevent a nuclear war? NO. (UNLESS YOU COUNT VOTING, WHICH ISN’T AN OPTION IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE.)

In that case, what is the best use of your time? LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST, TO BORROW A CLICHE.

When I’m thinking about the abuse of individuals and families in U.S. detention centers, on the other hand, it’s more like:

Are people being abused in detention camps right now? YES, ACCORDING TO ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE.

Is there anything you can do to prevent or stop this abuse? NOT DIRECTLY. (VOTING IS STILL NOT AN OPTION AT PRESENT.)

In that case, what is the best use of your time? UM… I CALLED MY REPRESENTATIVES AND WROTE A “HOW TO PROTEST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES” POST FOR LIFEHACKER, SO… I MEAN, DO YOU JUST GO BACK TO “LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST” AFTER THAT? NOT REALLY. BUT ALSO MAYBE. I’M STILL GOING TO WRITE MY 1000 WORDS TODAY, AFTER ALL.

So that’s what I’m thinking about today.

The thread is open. ❤️

Friday Open Thread

Time to discuss anything you want!

I’ll start off with this: I was at the library the other day, looking for Jennifer Weiner books (since she’s visiting Cedar Rapids in June), and I saw a copy of The Princess Bride in a featured display—so of course I grabbed it.

And of course I’ve read it before, but it was when I was, like, twelve. I remember it included the scariest scene in any book I’d ever read (it involves a spider, and it’s not in the movie) and I have this mental image of me sitting on my bed—which is how I know this took place when I was twelve and not fourteen, because my bed was still next to the window at the time—and literally tossing the school library copy away from me because I did not want to turn the page and keep reading.

And then of course I did.

(And then I was too keyed up to go to sleep, which is what I was supposed to be doing all along.)

Well. It turns out that the scene in question isn’t that scary anymore, at least not from my 37-year-old perspective, and it’s also a lot shorter than I remember it being.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been scared by a book in a long time. That might be one of the privileges of youth (also, these days I tend to read fewer books that include full-page illustrations of young girls with spiders crawling out of their faces*).

But it was also kinda fun to throw the book away from me—like, on my bed, I knew it wasn’t going to get damaged or anything—and then decide to steel my nerves and pick it up again. ❤️

*If you don’t recognize what book I’m referencing by that description alone, it’s… not The Princess Bride. But it also includes some horrifying spiders.

Friday Open Thread

Today I’m thinking about how I’ll be at Walt Disney World in TWO WEEKS—like, I’m thinking about a bunch of other stuff too, such as NEXT BOOK and the jazz concert I’ll be singing in this evening and the work I’m prepping for my freelance clients and the last episode of Game of Thrones, but in the back of my mind there’s this little voice that’s just going disney disney disney vacation vacation vacation over and over.

On that note, you really need to read Abigail Disney’s thoughts on Disney and capitalism if you haven’t already. Here’s an excerpt, courtesy of Vox:

Disney, after its merger with Fox, will be the largest media entity the world has ever known.

All the company lacks to lead, ironically enough, is the imagination to do so.

I want to make it clear that I have raised all of these issues with Bob Iger in the past, quietly and politely and behind the scenes with decorum and deference. I was quickly and condescendingly brushed aside. A public position is the only choice I have left to try to influence this.

What could Disney do? It could raise the salary of its lowest paid workers to a living wage. There are plenty of economists who would be only too happy to help them figure out what that living wage is.

And when you cry out that they can’t make a profit while paying a living wage, keep in mind that right now the company has never been more profitable, and is paying record compensation out to management. I hope you’ll forgive me if that claim gets a cynical groan from me. This is merely a question of priorities.

It’s an incredible essay, and one that makes me wish Abigail Disney (granddaughter of Roy Disney, great-niece of Walt) could take on leadership of the Disney company and brand.

Discuss—or discuss anything you like. The thread is open. ❤️

Friday Open Thread

It’s Friday, so let’s THREAD IT UP.

Today, I’m thinking about how the best things you made in the past still get to be part of your present.

Like… nine years ago (almost to the day) I set myself the goal of writing or covering a song a week because I wanted to be like Jonathan Coulton.

Then I spent a couple of years performing those songs up and down both the East and the West Coasts, at various comic conventions and house concerts and JoCo Shadow Cruises.*

A lot of those songs were just okay, and many of them were made better by my performance (which is to say that if you’re able to make an audience laugh, you can cover at least some of your creative shortcomings).

But a few were pretty good.

And I’m going to get to sing one of the best ones at a jazz concert next Friday.

(I’m also going to cut the last repeat of the chorus, where I make the Firefly joke, because Joss Whedon’s Firefly isn’t as culturally relevant as it was in 2012.)

Anyway, what I mean to say is that even as we get older and our identities change, the best stuff from our past doesn’t have to go away.

We can still keep it, and share it with people. ❤️

*So… Jonathan Coulton has an annual cruise called the JoCo Cruise, and cruise attendees create their own slate of performances/events/etc. to accompany the official performances/events/etc., called the Shadow Cruise. I got to be part of many Shadow Cruises.

Friday Open Thread

Happy Friday! Happy Open Thread!

The NEXT BOOK draft is currently at 28,594 words.

I get to perform the Brahms Requiem this weekend.

I am tired, but it isn’t the physical/emotional/mental exhaustion that comes with putting long hours towards stuff you don’t want.

It’s more like “tired but happy.” ❤️

How about you?