We Meet Again.

Hello, again. We haven’t talked in awhile – 31 months to be exact. Well, that’s not true. I’ve updated my tumblr (ROBINÜMBLR) a bit in the last 2.5 years, but we all know that’s mostly reblogging. I stopped updated this because frankly, after so long, I really didn’t have much to say anymore. Everyone has a blog now, and everyone’s saying the same thing, reposting the same links. Or they’re talking about their kids. Which isn’t a dig – I just don’t really read family blogs unless its a friend’s family blog. Thus, I actually care about their lives & the growth of their kids. Otherwise, I don’t have kids; it’s just not relevant to me.

But, I suppose now I have something to talk about, more original things to post (sometimes). Because I’m moving! After years of talking about leaving Arizona, I’m finally doing it, and it feels pretty strange.

Everyone’s asked if I’m excited. Yes, definitely. But I’m very reserved at the same time. You can’t just jump at these things without major hiccups (or spending TONS of money), so I’ve had to plan. Of course, I’m a planner anyway, so it’s been all sorts of exciting in that way, too! Thank goodness for Remember the Milk for helping me keep my To-Do’s in line, even if I’ve postponed nearly every task in the last week. (That’s gonna bite me in the ass tomorrow. I work well under pressure, though, I swear!)

My destination is San Antonio, TX, which is not a place I ever expected to be. It wasn’t even on my radar. But as it happens, I’ve been seeing a guy at a distance for about 2.5 years (since right around the time this ol’ website halted, imagine that) and that is where he lays his head. It’s a nice town, though. Not all that dissimilar from Phoenix, except they get a bit more varied weather. I hear it even rains more than twice a year; finally, my weather app serves a purpose higher than “bragging” about 110F heat. I’m also back in school, honing and solidifying some of my more geekier skills for a professional future.

It’s a lot of change, but I’ve always handled such things with a degree of control… since it’s on my terms. Heh. But, I will say this: I’ve never felt more adult than when shopping for independent health insurance.

Paying for Print (sorta)

Ever since deciding I should contribute financially to the journalism world I enjoy daily, I’ve been debating and considering various publications over the last few months. Of course, my top pick was the New York Times, the paper I read near-daily either in print or online (mostly online), and the local choice of the Arizona Republic (after EV Tribune became free). I was also thinking of USA Today mostly because they don’t have a costly Sunday edition with loads of adverts I don’t need, and they had an introductory rate that was highly appeasing.

However, when I finally had the financial stability to pay for such a thing, that introductory rate disappeared for a much longer option, and I struggled with whether I wanted to just read the news or actually be challenged by it, which USA Today unfortunately doesn’t do. It was an option, but a backburner one. Then, while looking at the Republic, there was only one solid subscription: Sunday – Saturday. It’s not that I don’t read parts of a paper everyday, but factoring in cost, the amount of time I have to read it, and how annoying it is to try to recycle in my complex, I can’t justify a full-week subscription filled with some local/national/world news and a bunch of fluff.

So, my initial pick seemed to be my best choice. The Times offered multiple types of subscriptions, and best of all, as I was reading Kristof’s blog, he mentioned the paper’s digital reader, TimesReader.


It’s available on limited access for free, or $15/mo for the whole paper. It seemed the Mac version gave me the full Reader for free, but I mostly read at work anyway (on a PC, which is definitely limited.) You can click through the articles, print/email/save articles, heading links dim once they’ve been read, & syncs with the NYT server throughout the day.

In the end, I signed up at the introductory Sunday-only sub for 12 weeks, which gave me the full TR for free, after which point I’ll just go solely TR. (The price was a little cheaper for the intro, but double after that 12-week period. Yeah.) I doubt the NYT is seriously going anywhere this century over the lesser established dailies, so I doubt my money really helps. But if keeps Nicholas Kristof heading overseas and Frank Rich‘s weekly 1500, I’m happy to contribute. Pass on Ms. Dowd.

Stop the aid to Africa?

From Sunday’s New York Times Magazine:

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.
Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.

Maybe that’s because they have so much money that we here in the U.S. are begging the Chinese for loans.
Forty years ago, China was poorer than many African countries. Yes, they have money today, but where did that money come from? They built that, they worked very hard to create a situation where they are not dependent on aid.

What do you think has held back Africans?
I believe it’s largely aid. You get the corruption — historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty — and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people.

An interesting perspective that I’d be interested in hearing more about than the short interview provides. Hopefully she’ll do the radio circuit. Thoughts?

Recent (or recently-read) selected interviews

5 Year old Oscar interviewing Chelsea & England captain, John Terry:

Oscar: Um, sometimes things are scary. What do you do when you get scared?
JT: Oh, when I get scared – we all get scared a little bit sometimes, don’t we? I’ve got children, and sometimes I hold their hand and tell them I’m not scared, but I am really, but I try and be there for them, so they don’t get scared. When I was little, I didn’t like being left on my own in the dark.
Dad [To Oscar]: Do you get scared of the dark?
Oscar: No!
JT: No, he’s too big for that. Are you scared of spiders?
Oscar: No… but I don’t like spiders.

Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel interviewing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard:

“You learn a lot about people in those times. [emblematic former Chelsea manager] Jose Mourinho texting me every day; [interim Chelsea first team coach post-JM] Avram Grant was so clever and kind; people who were not in my life suddenly appeared, and in a good way. Fans, too, from places like Liverpool and West Ham, who generally don’t like me, writing letters. That really touched me. We get caught up in the rivalry, then something like this happens and you realise it is all bullshit. None of it matters.”

Freelance writer Marissa Moss interviewing singer/songwriter/awesomebadass (and house favorite) Ted Leo:

Do you think it’s the musician’s place, especially one in the public eye, to speak about and engage youth culture and activism via their work?

Absolutely. Is there a place? There certainly is. It blows my mind when people suggest that there isn’t. It’s not as if art in general doesn’t have a millennial history of exactly this sort of thing- the idea that anyone, a musician, should stick to pure entertainment is ridiculous. It’s absolutely fine if that’s what a particular artist wants to do, gods knows there is also certainly a place for the songs. But there’s plenty of immediate social commentary in Dante, and that’s going way back…there are a lot of people who just say “shut up and sing.” But the idea that art should somehow be separated from commentary is completely ridiculous….

God made dirt, & dirt don’t hurt.

Earlier last week, I caught an article listed in the “most emailed” list on the NYT website that immediately resondated with, the oh-so-rambuncious child:

“What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, “Why Dirt Is Good” (Kaplan). “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”

The article goes on to talk about how ultraclean environments don’t help build a baby’s (or any young child’s) immune system because it isn’t being put through this sort of must-have training. I knew all that digging in the yard did some good!