Inside Tom's Head - May 2021
10 Jun 2021
May was a heck of a month. I continued my trend of running behind on these posts, but I did manage to write some stuff for this site that I haven’t posted yet (I’m hoping to send at least some of it out in June).
Two things happen every May, yardwork and the Bicycle Commuter Challenge. This was an ambitious year on both counts. We built a final raised bed in our garden (the open space is now all claimed), which took some doing. It was also the year that I decided to make another attempt at 300 miles in 31 days, one of my long-term goals (it kind of felt like cheating, since all rides counted, but whatever). Combined with work being just brutal for the past few weeks, and I haven’t done much writing.
In any case, enough whining about all that, I’m going to try to get this posted so that I can get some of the other stuff I’ve written recently posted, too.
New Stuff Elsewhere
- One of the things that prevents governments from making roads human-scale is that fire departments need them to be large enough to accomodate huge fire engines. This is in spite of the fact that most calls that fire departments go out on are not for fires, but ironically for things like car crashes that are exacerbated by speeding that those same wide roads encourage. It’s starting to look like fire departments are starting to consider smaller vehicles, though.
- We don’t need a moonhshot for faux burgers, we need to hold big meat accountable.
- As bad as the police violence in Portland was in 2020, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if they hadn’t been under federal supervision since 2012. As it was, they did nothing to convince me of their good intentions
- Agroforestry (food forests) is really neat.
- Why would we expect police to make our steets safer when they repeatedly demonstrate that they consider themselves to be above the law? I mean, I understand that off-duty police speed, roll through stop signs, and generally act like everyone else (except for domestic violence, which police officers report committing at a rate 2-4x the general population), but the willingness to engage in street racing in squad cars is something else entirely.
- A short video of Representative Katie Porter demonstrating how ridiculous the claim that drug prices need to be high to fund R&D is.
- All of the cycling deaths in the US during 2020.
- Some good news for the climate. Since one of these is coming from oil company investors, I’m more hopeful than usual.
- A look at how Germany does housing and why it works better than the current system in the US.
- Researchers have found a coronavirus that can infect humans from dogs, although they haven’t yet been able to find human-to-human spread. I’m taking this as a good sign rather than another reason to worry, since it means that we are looking for these rather than just waiting. I think that thanks to all of the virus research that we have done in the past ~year, COVID-19 will be the last viral pandemic that we are wholly unprepared for.
- I’ve been reading more of The Shadow Campaigns series by Django Wexler, Shadows of Elysium (a short story that takes place between books 2 & 3) and The Price of Valor. It wasn’t so long ago that I turned my nose up at flintlock/musket/whatever fantasy, saying it wasn’t really fantasy, but I’m glad to have dropped that particular bit of snobbery, since it means I get to enjoy stuff like this.
- We watched The Mitchells vs the Machines on Netflix, and it was fantastic. We’re going to have to watch it again, since I definitely missed stuff on account of laughing too hard.
- We watched Shadow & Bone, also on Netflix. It was pretty solid, seeming to lean hard into teen fiction tropes but then doing something interesting. I’m looking forward to the next season.
- I purchased another pass for the Bicycle Film Festival (New York this time) in order to watch Together We Cycle, a documentary about how Dutch cities became so bicycle friendly. It was interesting, but I was really hoping for a more structured narrative. It could be that I’ve been watching a lot of Not Just Bikes on YouTube and I was looking for a more technical look at things.
- I reread Daemon, which holds up surprisingly well. I’m looking forward to a reread of the other book in the series, which I’ll probably get to in June.
- Disney+ has really been hitting it out of the park with their original content. We enjoyed the heck out of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (which had a bit of a family-friendly Ted Lasso vibe) and are really liking what they are doing with The Bad Batch. I’m won’t be surprised if Loki doesn’t turn out to be lots of fun, too.