work in the time of covid-19

work in the time of covid-19

nate last night “these essential services and stay at home mandates are just a way to keep rich people safe.”

:/

i can’t deny that 🙁 i’m working from home right now, yet nate still heads to holiday every night for his overnight shift. he says there are still some people who come in, but it’s not anywhere near what it was.

it feels like the essential worker industries are all subjective, too. there’s a concrete place in albany that manufactures concrete countertops that has deemed itself. how is that essential? i’d choose my massages to release my intense neck knots as essential over a new countertop at this point.

all this to say, i am an essential worker. i get it! we ended up pausing right in the middle of the semester, and to disrupt a college degree by pushing everything back by 6 months is kind of weird. so education goes on. it’s understandable. a lot of our classes are moving online, which sucks for a lot of students who don’t really like online classes. i know i couldn’t do an online class.

but while education is essential, all employees are encouraged to work from home. so i’ve got my setup.

when i first set this up, the two monitors on the left were my work computer and the two on the right my personal. after 3 days of trying to throw windows on the 3rd monitor from the left, i bought a connector and now three screens are for work and one for personal.

my coworkers are nice. they sleep most of the time, and occasionally they want attention and come sit on my lap and snuggle. and now that covid communication has died down a little bit, it’s possible that i might just get some actual work done. which will be really nice when there are no distractions of the workplace.

except now i’ve got the distraction of a dirty house!

running in the time of covid19

running in the time of covid19

the earth day half marathon in st cloud has been postponed until september – ugh! i know this is good for all, but i still think being outdoors and keeping distance would be ok for runners. no runner willingly runs a half marathon race while sick.

now i have to decide if i want to stick to my current training schedule or kick it to the curb and start up again in july. right now i’m about 3 weeks away from the goal of 13.1 miles (i was supposed to run 11 miles this weekend). so the question is, do i stick to the schedule and run 13 miles on earth day anyway, or take a pause? or do i continue on in training and maybe try to get to a full marathon?

for me, running has always been more of a solitary activity anyway. i will run with a buddy during race day, and i’m surrounded by others on race day, but the training is always about personal resolve more than anything else.

you set your goals. you get dressed. you head out the door when it works for your schedule. and then you immerse yourself in the singular goal for yourself, because running is not a team sport. and that’s why i like it. my mistakes are just mine and my victories are mine. i can’t let anyone down if i’m having a crappy running day except for myself. at the same time, if i want to share personal bests, i can. no special equipment save some runderwear and fancy shoes, and no special physical settings. just me, myself, and the great outdoors (or indoors in the winter).

so when shelter in place gets implemented, i’ve got a small worry about getting outside. everything i’ve read has said that outdoor activities will be allowed, and i highly doubt that the avon PD is going to be policing my front door. but what if they DO limit outdoor activity? especially during the upcoming three months, arguably the BEST time of the year?

being outdoors can only be good for people during this pandemic, both mentally and physically. and because i don’t plan to run with anyone else in the near future, i think this is the perfect time to run. i guess i’ve convinced myself to continue with my training and to see where it takes me. the forecast looks good.

guv in the time of covid-19

guv in the time of covid-19

i don’t think we need another soapbox about the government reaction to the coronavirus. that’s just clutter in the onlineverse.

instead, here are a few personal CV takeaways:

  1. you already heard the proximity alert i’m currently under in regards to nate. bad news bears.
  2. tomorrow i bring home my big imac from work to set up at home for working from home until further notice. all state employees are under orders to work from home if they are non-essential. of course, there may be times when i need to head in to campus to do some physical stuff (for instance, we are working on getting some 360º tour videos recorded and i will probably head in for those couple days). but i can do 99.9% of my job right now from home, so that’s what i guess i’m going to do. good news is that the VPN works and i’m able access all my files! (this is the “guv” part of this post from the title.)
  3. this whole quarantine/isolation thing won’t be too difficult, and i can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a heavily populated area right now. i’m glad i live in the country-ish and have space.
  4. i have got to stop looking at twitter and the news. an 23-hour-a-day info dump does nothing for the anxiety. during normal times, i wake up with little to no anxiety, and it slowly ramps up through the day. this is normal for me and something i just live with (i do have a prescription antihistamine/anti-anxiety pill i can take at night if it gets bad). now i wake up with that nighttime level of anxiety, and it just gets more intense as i learn more. some good news is that i think twitter has gotten over the PANIC hump and is moving into the QUARANTINE CONTENT phase.

takeaways are over, and now it’s just ramble time.

i like that because of CV, people aren’t out as much, making as much pollution. i’ve read some good things about air pollution in china being drastically reduced, which probably helps them out with getting through CV, when you think about it. fewer tourists in venice or someplace similar means clearer, cleaner water, and wildlife is coming back. maybe this will be a wake up call.

i like that even though the people of the world are hunkered down in their homes during this time, life goes on. the birds are coming back, flitting around in my trees outside, and i’m hearing bird calls that i haven’t heard in 6 months. rodents chitter and chatter at me when i get in my car in the morning to go to work. now that i won’t be driving to work, maybe the chatter will follow me as i go on a quick morning walk before sitting down at my desk at home. more birds will come, the grass will green, the froggies will fill my pond and fill the night with their songs. spring is coming.

i like that the minnesota dnr is leaving open the state parks. even though we need to stay 6′ away from each other, that doesn’t mean that we need to spend our entire lives in our homes. getting outside, breathing fresh air, being with nature and among the trees can do nothing but help, both physically and mentally.

i like that we’re at this moment where a reaction to a threat is social. to see reactions that are highly personal and interactional instead of a violent reaction is a really fascinating thing to take in, whether the reaction is extreme stocking up and isolation or going on spring break because you’re young and clueless. i’m not sure how this will end, with people being furloughed en masse and low-wage workers being paid overtime. i’m not sure if something will come from people finally seeing the value of teachers. i’m not sure that this will be the end of face-to-face education (i really doubt it). the social implications of the pandemic are bizarre. the people who get paid the most are sitting around with nothing to do while grocery store workers are considered emergency personnel.  (the former making an obscene amount of money while the latter make minimum wage.) will the value of work be examined? will healthcare get an overhaul? will “socialism” be less stigmatized? i think what may come out of this is that we learn how difficult it actually is to stay away from others and how much we do need personal interaction. we might say we live in a digital age of distancing, but we are social creatures. yes, even we introverts generally want to be closer than 6′ from others, especially people we like.

i like that my cats get to be my coworkers for the foreseeable future.

i recently read “beautiful country, burn again,” which pointed out that the US goes through a major overhaul about every 75 years (civil war, great depression). then it posits that we are at the cusp of another 75-year overhaul; this may be the trigger. while we may go back to life as we know it, it’s entirely possible that we may not. change is upon us whether we want it or not. so get outside. read that pile of books. do yoga 3x a day during your work breaks. thank your furry friends for absorbing some anxiety. live in this moment for now because we don’t know what’s coming. and stay healthy.

i tried

i tried

so i wrote you a nice, long blog post about CV and it was lost to internet oblivion. i’ll try again tomorrow. 🙁

i think the only thing of REAL note at this point is:

  1. nate’s coworker is being tested for CV. if she comes back positive, his store is shut down completely and he’s on quarantine. which means i’m on quarantine. EXCELLENT TIMES, MY FRIENDS.
road etiquette

road etiquette

i ran outside saturday and sunday this weekend, and hooo boy do drivers need a refresher in how to treat pedestrians on the road.

first of all, you should know that, while i live in a nice little neighborhood, i can only get half a mile before i need to set foot on a 55-mph county road. now, rural stearns county roads are at least a little less sparse on the traffic side than, say, a state highway or a metro county road.

but there are still trucks and golf carts and cars and semis and sometimes even tractors on the road, and even though there is a considerable shoulder, drivers still need to give a little bit of a berth to a pedestrian or biker. and it’s like they forgot how to deal with us over the wintertime.

first, a reminder to pedestrains: USE THE LEFT SIDE. you want to see if you’re going to die by old man driver who’s drifting over the shoulder like what happened to me today. you need to know when you need to jump into the ditch! so use the left side so you can see traffic! ok. now that that’s out of the way.

tips and tricks for drivers!

  1. give us a berth: you don’t need to haul it over to the opposite shoulder, but you do need to allow a few feet for the ped – maybe you can roll right down the center of the road. while running, i generally try to hug the very left edge of the shoulder when i see a car, and if i’m not, it’s because there is something weird on the asphalt or i’m running past a mailbox. but don’t ride the white line, either, if you see me as far over as possible on the shoulder. that’s just rude. even if there are cars coming the opposite way, you can easily hug the center line a bit so you give me some room. i actually had a dude on the white shoulder line today with no one coming the opposite way, so i had to run into the muddy ditch while he drove past. i wanted to shake my fist. i’ve also had a few people not move over at all (but who weren’t riding the white line). seriously?
  2. give the other car a berth: see a ped/car/car situation coming up and you’re on the opposite side of the ped? why not move over onto YOUR shoulder so the car in the other lane can move over for the ped. now if it’s a ped/car/car/ped situation, that’s a whole other problem that doesn’t come up very often for me. just slow down if that’s the case. speaking of speed…
  3. don’t slow down to 15mph. PLEASE. just go the speed you were going. as long as you’re moving over for me, i don’t care if you’re going 70. actually, the faster you get around me, the faster i can relax.
  4. don’t honk: i KNOW you’re there. no need to honk and scare the crap out of me. and i usually have headphones in, so i won’t even hear you that well. just…don’t.
  5. don’t expect me to wave: unless i’m running in my little neighborhood, i won’t wave. this is because women runners are subject to a lot of weird reactions, and i don’t need to make any eye contact with strangers. if you wave, i probably won’t see you.
  6. don’t move over yet!!! this one his HUGE. so many times i see drivers give a huge berth, starting a block away from me, only to start moving back over into the lane before they pass me!! MAKE SURE YOU’VE PASSED THE THE PED BEFORE YOU MOVE BACK OVER. especially if you have a trailer!! this one baffles me.
  7. here’s an in-town tip: if you see a runner approaching an intersection where you have no stop sign, and s/he slows down and bends over to strech or pulls out a phone to look at something, just go. don’t stop and back up traffic to wave her/him across and s/he doesn’t even notice because of the stretching and music in the ears. and chances are, this was a planned break! you will know when a ped is waiting to get across, and stretching time is not it. i was intersection stretching and happened to look up to see a minivan holding up 3 cars in st. charles and was like “what lady, just go” and waved emphatically at her to go. she looked pissed. good grief.

ok, that’s all i’ve got for now. hopefully you’re more aware of the ped sitch from the ped’s point of view and can help us out. any other peds have more tips and tricks for drivers?

what to wear, what to wear

what to wear, what to wear

let’s talk what to wear while running, since the weather is heading toward “comfortable-ish” for me to run. (i know people run in sub-freezing temps, but that’s just not something i like to do.)

so all winter long i hit the treadmill and wear my regular summertime running clothes: shorts and a tank top. but when the weather regularly hits 40º or above? oh boy, it’s time for the only existential running question i have: WHAT DO I WEAR.

if it’s 65º+, there is no question that it’s shorts and a tank. 55º-65º? tshirt and shorts, or closer to 55 – i put on my arm sleeves.

but 40? ugh. it’s so difficult. i wear long pants, and i will put on tight shorts underneath because my butt gets cold, but what to wear on top? i am always freezing when i start out, but if i wear too many layers, i get so warm. and sometimes it’s windy, so one way i’m freezing and the other way i’m dying of a heat stroke.

a couple weeks ago when it was 40 and sunny out, i wore a merino wool long sleeved shirt and a windbreaker, and i was chilly on top. this was after i tried on 3 different combos and stood outside for a couple minutes in each. i had to keep moving to make sure i didn’t get downright cold. that may have called for one more layer – maybe a tight tank top under the wool shirt.

what gets really sticky is when it’s 40 and overcast and kind of damp outside. the dampness almost makes it a little colder and you don’t have the sun to warm you up. is it time for a hat at that point?

so this weekend when i run my 9 miles outside, i’m both looking forward to it and not. it’s supposed to be closer to 50 and sunny, which should be a little easier and might be time for the outfit i wore a couple weeks ago.

but really what i’m looking forward to is 60º+ and not having to worry about what to wear.

here’s my somewhat useful breakdown, in addition to socks, shoes, runderwear:

65+: tank and shorts

55-65: tshirt and shorts – sometimes arm warmers

45-55: long sleeved shirt and light jacket (or tshirt over top of shirt) and running capris or long pants. maybe gloves if you’re feeling them and it’s windy.

40-45: tank, long sleeved shirt, fleece/windbreaker/light jacket, two layers of bottoms (could be a pair of tight short and long pants or longjohns and long pants). gloves.

35-40: tank, shirt, fleece/light sweatshirt or jacket, and windbreaker if it’s windy, three layers of bottoms (longjohns, shorts, and long pants for me and my cold butt). headwear of some sort, gloves, and maybe a removeable light scarf (depending on your collar of your jacket/s)

below 35: get on the treadmill.

march run 2017 – probably the 40-45 range. note the fleece and the neck protection/zipper action on fleece. lots of times cooling off or warming up the neck will do wonders for temperature control.

on LJ, randos, and the good ol’ days

on LJ, randos, and the good ol’ days

just yesterday, one of my grad school classmates posted on FB about livejournal and how she misses it regularly. LJ was the place where i first started blogging, after getting an invite since it was invitation only at the point. it was one of the first times i’d realized how the internet could be more than just a clunky HTML angelfire site, where i had inadvertently sort of set up a blog manually.

but what about LJ sets it apart from what i’m doing now? sure, there was a library of avatars you could use for each post, so you could set one that matched the theme of your journal for the day. perhaps it was an excerpt from some fantasy short story i was working on: time for the little fairy avatar. maybe it was about how much i missed xena being on the air: time for my gabrielle avatar. what if i was just feeling like shouting what was happening out into the world? just a cute little square closeup of chaseycat.

the most recent list of avatars i was using on LJ. omg why is tony bourdain not with us anymore 🙁

there were integrations that were fun. if you had downloaded and installed the editor on your computer, you could have it pull what you were listening to on itunes and that would show up on your post. my rage-y post could match the rob zombie i was listening to at the moment. LJ of course had a ton of plugins you could use, and one of them was a different little icon for each “mood” you got to show you were feeling when writing. mine, of course, was a set of little kitty faces with different facial expressions. an early set of emojis, as it were.

but it wasn’t the integrations and fun customizations you could do that made LJ something wonderful. i could do that with my blog now if i wanted to set it up like that. one of the things that made LJ wonderful was the community surrounding it. sure, you had your regular readers: friends, relatives, people you know. you followed them and they followed you; you saw what each other wrote in long-form social networking. but you also had access to millions of other LJ user blogs, and all you had to do was take a look.

this isn’t unlike following a hashtag on twitter now, except that long-form content is much more personal, much more involved, and much more interesting. you had duds – to be expected. but many times you stumbled across a goldmine of wonderfulness in blog form. in reverse, they sometimes stumbled across you. it wasn’t unheard of to have comments from strangers alongside your friends, and they ended up subscribing to your LJ (and most times i would reciprocate). this was the wonderful randomness of the anonymous internet.

i remember following a woman in grand forks and her journey as a non-trad student. there was a woman who was going through a messy divorce. several others, but the thing that drew me to them was their near-perfect grammar (what can i say – snob from the start). then there was one blog i started following very early on, probably in 2004 or 2005, that i just happened to stumble across. and i still read her blog to this day because SHE STILL BLOGS. and on a regular basis. (sure, i blog, but it’s not as regular as she does.) i follow her on twitter, but her blog posts are where it’s at. (don’t ever stop blogging, erin.)

which brings me to point two of what made LJ wonderful. in the current age of constant information streaming and sharing what is happeningRIGHTNOWomg, blogging is so intentional. you have to take a moment to put together a coherent post; maybe you have photos that you need to upload, let alone edit; your words need to make sense and flow for a successful post; perhaps you need to do hours of research (i often do). whatever your post is about, it takes time and effort to put what you want to say into words on the screen. in world where short-form bursts of at-the-moment feelings and 280 characters are king, LJ was its emperor. LJ posts took planning, persistence, and precision. and then you sent it into the ether and hoped for the best.

and it was a two-way street. while you wrote your post and said “yes world, you may now read this,” you also needed to comment on others’ posts you found helpful or interesting or fun. much like FB today, the reaction to LJ posts was just as important as the post itself. although i might argue that a blog post is just as much for the recording of events on a personal level as it is for the reaction, moreso than our current social posting habits today.

i think the art of long-form content is slowly dwindling. oh, we’ll still have books. we’ll still have news articles. i’ll still be blogging when i’m 65. but attention spans are shortening up and the age of video is in full force. maybe short-form is where it’s at, but there’s something about constructing a written piece that isn’t required, or isn’t 2 sentences of poorly written text, or isn’t just for the likes. and there’s something about the possibility of finding a random blog that’s just what you’re looking for, and hoping your words can speak to someone in the same way. our random, anonymous internet is lost forever, i think, and punchy status updates in 280 characters just isn’t cutting it.

check out my livejournal! it’s still active, i guess! i wrote on LJ from 2004-2011. 

some recent updates

some recent updates

here’s my sunday six.

  1. remember when i tried out all those weather apps? i paid about $41 in all for testing, then an additional $20 for the wunderground subscription. i’m ok with the $20 subscription, and i was able to get a refund on a $12 subscription. but apple won’t refund any app purchases. “All transactions are final”  – so sayeth their terms and conditions. nate says the google app store will refund app purchases no problem. #thanksapple. so i’m out $29 for trying out all those stupid weather apps that i will never use again. #thanksapple. ugh i hate that their products are so easy to use, otherwise i’d switch to android or some weirdo OS.
  2. i’ve been working on reducing my waste! here’s what i’ve gotten so far:
    1. who gives a crap toilet paper, which uses recycled paper and no plastic in its packaging. what would be even better is if it would just ship the rolls of toilet paper in a cardboard box, no individual wrapping of each roll separately in paper (although it does look pretty).
    2. i ordered a sampler pack of hair shampoo and conditioner bars that come in cardboard boxes. i’m working my way through all my bottled shampoo and conditioners first, so a review of that is yet to come.
    3. i got a deodorant bar that’s aluminum free. so far it works for everyday stuff (no complaints from anyone at work anyway), and i use it for running since i sweat like a horse anyway and keeping my pits free from sweat won’t do anything. the couple times i know i’ll be moving a lot at work i’ve used my anti-perspirant stuff, but so far the bar has been good. it came wrapped in paper and a cardboard box instead of a bulky, non-recyclable plastic thing.
    4. i sent a message to amazon that i wanted all my packages to come with paper packaging from now on, and they said that they were working toward using all paper unless specified by the manufacturer. of course, the next two packages i got were full of plastic filler (and no breakable stuff in the box). #thanksamazon
    5. i got dropps dishwasher pods, and so far they seem to be working out well.
  3. WHO AM I GOING TO VOTE FOR IN THE PRIMARY???? UGH.
  4. training for the half marathon is going! i’m up to 7 miles for the long run, and i ran outside for it. usually there are a couple days in february that are good for running, and yesterday was one of them. up and out the door for a slog through 7 miles. february runs are always so tough, mainly because i forget how to dress and i’m transitioning from treadmill to road. no matter which way the transition it, it’s tough. but i’ll be running 13 miles in april, so gotta do it!
  5. speaking of activities, i went skiing with liz on friday, and woofda, my legs still hurt from the one blue run i went on. the older i get, the less i want to go fast and run into a tree. or even fall over because that would also hurt. i definitely used my brakes while heading down that run. then went on the easy slope for the rest of the time.
  6. it’s getting lighter out! and the sun has been out more this month! so far, 2020 february is loads better than 2020 january. we’ll see what march brings. early spring?
weathering the weather apps

weathering the weather apps

[this post is for my mom, the source of my weather nerdiness.]

yesterday morning, i thought it would be a good idea to update my wunderground weather app. i’ve been using wunderground for years, so much so that two or three years ago i actually paid for the app (maybe $3-4) to go ad- free and to be able to utilize smart forecasts. smart forecasts let me set parameters to know when the weather was ideal for running or star watching (or whatever), and it’d show me my weekly “forecasts” for those. it’d give me a percentage of how close it was to my ideal running weather, which included temp, wind, and daylight. stargazing was dependent on clouds, sunlight, and moonrise/set. and i got no ads!

so when i updated yesterday, imagine my dismay when i saw a GIANT AD at the top of the app, a weird temp dial (which i could get used to i guess), and my smart forecasts GONE. wunderground was bought out by IBM, and this not just included a redesign, but a new way of finagling money out of users: a yearly subscription of $20. no mention of those of us who paid for the app back in the day. (let’s take a moment to bask on the golden days of phone apps, i guess. much like the golden days of the internet, we did get a lot out of apps for a while for very little.)

after frantically checking my phone backups and looking at the internet for about an hour to see if i could revert back (i foolishly didn’t transfer my app purchases last backup), i resigned myself to finding a replacement. i was mad at wunderground for not grandfathering in those of us who paid for the app.

so i did some research on the internet, and then i downloaded a crap-ton of weather apps.

my stipulations:

  • i wanted weather,
  • i wanted 10-day,
  • i wanted hourly,
  • i wanted a radar map,
  • i wanted sun/moon info,
  • possible pollen info,
  • and i really wanted the ability to create a smart forecast.

and here’s what i found out.

carrot: my first try after finding it on reddit. carrot’s big thing is its privacy terms and the fact that it has different “personalities.” unfortunately, that’s about all carrot has going for it. its interface is cute, but it didn’t have much past weather info. none of the sun/moon stuff, air quality, etc. on top of that, it cost $5 to download, and if i wanted a couple more radar layer options, i had to upgrade to a yearly subscription of $12 at least. :/

weatherbug and weatherbug elite: this app is pretty popular, and i did like the ability to move around the tiles within the app so i could have wind and precip first, then move down traffic cams and weather blogs to the bottom. it has a lot of options: pollen, air quality, sunrise/set and the moon phase (no moonrise/set times tho), UV, lightning, humidity, and some pretty nice radar layers. then i did some research and found weatherbug elite, which cost $20 up front (ouch) BUT i had read that lifestyle forecasts were a part of that (oooh! close to a smart forecast!). so i ponied up. (i think i spent close to $50 finding the perfect weather app in the last couple days). and i COULDN’T FIND IT. i have searched that app, and i can’t find anything even close to resembling a lifestyle forecast. the ads are gone, but i don’t see much difference between WB and WBElite besides the ads, which i could get rid of much more cheaply in WB without buying the elite. internet research is fruitless. on top of that, it pulls weather from sauk rapids HS (15 miles away), and i do think there is a weather station at st. john’s, just 4 miles away.

dark sky: dark sky was another app recommended by reddit, mostly for its simplicity, “umbrella alerts,” and its accuracy/hyperlocal options. it costs $4 to download. it, like carrot, has a “time machine” option where you can input a future date to see what the weather will be like, although i’d rather just have a 15- or 20-day forecast at that point. the umbrella alerts are actual alerts; you can’t just open the app to see the alert – it needs to send an alert to your phone. i tried to see if i could set up a running alert, but that doesn’t help me in the long run. (heh.)

NOAA: poor NOAA – it used to be a free app, but now you need to purchase it to use it ($5 if i remember correctly). i guess that’s what happens when you lose federal funding. you’d think that NOAA would be one of the better apps out there, but i find it kind of cumbersome to use unless you’re looking specifically for storm radar. it opens up on radar and you have to choose what weather you want to see before trying to get it to swipe up. you get hourly and the 7-day forecast, and sunrise and weather conditions for each day. even if i star a location, i still need to choose it on the map before it shows up. i don’t know if that’s user error or what at this point.

accuweather: accuweather has been in my arsenal for a while now, actually. what i like about accuweather? i like that it shows ALL the allergens in the air, not just pollen. when all other weather tells me pollen counts are low but my eyes and nose tell me something’s up, i open up accuweather to see that the dust and dander count is EXTREME. i also like that it has a 15-day forecast on its free app, unlike most other apps that just have a 10-day. i would totally go with accuweather as my go-to IF it had a smart forecast option. it checks all other items i want in a weather app. as it is, i did upgrade to the platinum edition to get rid of ads and open up a 25-day forecast (!). accuweather, you’re almost perfect!

photopills: photopills is NOT a weather app per se, but it does give me all the info i need about sun and moon activity that i need. it’s a photography app that cost $10, and it was totally worth it. it shows me stars in AR as well as the best times of the day to get out for taking pics. it does pull forecasts and has a trip planner that will tell me when and where to stand while taking pics. i thought i would review this one for you since it’s got a much more detailed sun/moon option and star map if that’s what you’re looking for. (it also has some photo stuff like how long to keep your aperture open with what setting and all that jazz. but you’re not here for that!)

apple weather:  apple weather is just sad. sure, it does its job with current conditions and gives us basic weather, but it’s not much else. i’m sure this works for several people who just want the weather, but those of us who like to know what’s going on in a little more depth would want to download a more robust app.

weather channel: i have avoided the WC app for a long time (ever since i got wunderground) but for this exercise, i decided to see what was up. especially since the WC and wunderground are both owned by the same people at this point. i was actually pleasantly surprised! the one thing i liked about it at this point is seen on that second slide above: the running forecast! nice! i do like that it tells me there is no good running weather on the horizon, but i also didn’t see an easy way to customize that. for instance, at this point i would say 40º, sunny, no wind is good running weather, but i doubt WC would consider it good. it also doesn’t give me a true smart forecast. but WC has outdoor conditions as a tile, like dry skin, chill, umbrella, and a mosquito index! i would take this as a backup, despite its corporate proclivities.

wunderground: and yet….through it all… i still want to come back to wunderground. accuweather is dang close, but wunderground just has everything i’m looking for. i like the smart forecasts. i really like the sun and moon interface. buying the premium subscription opens up a 25-day forecast. and even though it’s technically owned by WC at this point (both IBM companies), i can change where it pulls weather from so it’s more accurate*, and despite the thermometer type display, the interface is still close to what it was. i mad tweeted them yesterday for charging $20 a year and not recognizing my purchase. but when i think about it, $3 for 2 years of ad-free use? not bad. $20/yr for ad-free use and a feature i would really use? not bad. i pay $20/yr to use runkeeper. i’ve certainly spent more money on less productive things. *sigh* might need to undo my mad tweets and just purchase.

*************

what did i learn?

  1. apps are a racket.
  2. if you’re used to something good, maybe i you should pay for it.
  3. top 3 weather apps: wunderground, accuweather, weather channel, (NOAA if you want radar)

and now it’s time to go to apple’s website and request a refund on $41 of app purchases. and then just get wunderground premium. it’s worth it.

*at no point was i looking at the accuracy of the temperatures on these apps, though at one point i checked all within a minute of each other, and they all showed different current temps (all within a reasonable variable: n=+/-3 maybe? hahaha)

PS: this is obviously NOT a comprehensive list of weather apps. if you know of another app that does all the things i want that i didn’t download, send it my way! also, what weather app do you use, and why do you like it?

book review: unspeakable things

book review: unspeakable things

the author jess lourey is an instructor at my school, so the library has all the books she’s written. she just came out with a new book inspired by the jacob wetterling kidnapping; she grew up in paynesville, and if you’ve listened to the “in the dark” podcast, you know that was a hotbed of unsavory behavior in the 80s and 90s.

so i was at the school library the other day and swiped it off the shelf; it’s #54 in amazon’s most-purchased books today, which she is super excited about (and for good reason!). i picked it up friday night and finished it this morning.

the book is told from the viewpoint of a 12/13-year-old girl who lives in rural, small-town stearns county; it’s always so weird to be reading a book and see references to places i know – i’m sure people run into this all the time, which means i need to up my minnesota author game. the parallels between her fiction narrative and the actual crimes that happened here were unsettling at times – the music teacher who lives with his parents; mother of the abducted/murdered child with the name mrs. wellstone; the syllables in jacob wetterling’s name equals the syllables in the fictionalized child’s name.

and add in all the other creepy things that were going on in the narrator’s life, which were very adult, very ick-inducing for that age – swingers parties, drug dealing, pedophilia themes, an abusive father – and it painted a very disgusting portrait of central minnesota residents. but what is very apparent in her writing is the shimmer of truth surrounding some of the themes. paynesville boys were abused in the 80s and 90s, and someone was doing it – someone who was a resident of this area.

despite the ick-factor themes of the books, i loved the narration by our 13-year-old heroine, cassie. the book is written such that it’s the looking-back narration by the present-day woman narrator. i loved the description of the band room at her school, sucking on a clarinet reed while assembling it, calling out “i seen it” or “can you borrow me that” as minnesota-isms, the clique-y-ness of lunchtime and trying to fit in.

i know this book is not for everyone. but i even liked that it made me uncomfortable at times, which i’m sure was the author’s intent. people don’t get through childhood unscathed, and some more scathed than others. multiple times it was highlighted how adults just don’t believe the kids, how it’s just boys messing around for attention. it’s even called out that what finally forced big action was that the kid who was abducted was middle class. the other victims had been from “the wrong side of the tracks” (so to speak). by making readers uncomfortable, maybe it will nudge some to start believing kids and encouraging them to speak out about assaults and prevent future assaults.