So, the hurricane is bearing down on me. I’m at my parent’s home in DC. Since my Baltimore apartment is below street level, it’s not impossible that it’s filling with water even as we speak (though hopefully that’s not true…) I fully expect that at some point we’ll lose power here in DC, since we’ve lost power for much less severe storms than this. But my parents have a generator, so we should be fine-ish.
But I thought I’d throw out a blog entry right now, while I still have internet. Umm…stuff is good. Now, I believe in climate change, but I also believe that you can’t really point to any specific storm or event and be like, “This is climate change in action.” That’s a judgment that can really only be made by statisticians who can look at the data over time and conclude that storms, over time, are getting larger and more intense. Climate change is a trend; a storm is just a datapoint.
But I will say that I’ve never before had to flee a hurricane. And it does seem like there’ve been a lot low-probability weather events in DC lately, like the derecho thunderstorms that left the area without power over the summer or the Snowmageddon that crippled us back in January of 2010. Part of that is just that I notice weather more nowadays (as compared to when I was growing up), since when it happens, I actually have to do things about it.
But anyway, I was thinking about all this extreme weather as I was driving to Baltimore, and I was like, “You know, this is kind of what climate change would feel like.” It wouldn’t be stuff like living in domes or behind sea-walls, it’d just be these things that happen: hurricanes and power outages and heat waves and snow storms and floods. You just deal with each one and you go on living your life. But, of course, each one kills a few people and wrecks a few lives and does a few billion dollars worth of damage. And that slowly accumulates (along with the other, more chronic impacts of climate change) and life is, in some small way, worse than it would otherwise have been. It’s a far cry from some crazy Population Bomb type scenario where 90% of the Earth’s population dies, but it’s certainly not particularly optimal.
In other news, I read an issue of Wired today. It was, err…good. But it was a compilation issue: articles taken from magazines throughout the decade–so it was easy to spot some really interesting trends in Wired. For instance, Wired runs a lot of articles about entrepreneurs who get diagnosed with a disease (or are somehow affected by it) and then use their business savvy (and millions of dollars) to revolutionize research into that disease. It’s become a slightly-ridiculous Silicon Valley trope, to the point where I wonder if millionaires feel ashamed if they get diagnosed with a disease and just go to the world’s best doctor and do what he tells them to do.
Yes, my reading has been light lately. I’ve also been reading David Lodge novels. Over the weekend, I read the first of his “Campus Trilogy”. They’re really light and fun. But they’re also about adultery, in this way that’s almost kind of serious, but is, to me, totally laughable. Adultery is such a complex narrative trope and has so much moral and emotional and cultural weight and has been treated so many times and in such a stylized manner, that it’s hard to remember that it’s a real thing that actually forms the emotional crux of peoples’ lives.
And finally, I’ve continued submitting to literary journals. I’ve made a godawful high number of submissions to lit journals in the past six days, and I’m seriously considering submitting to another dozen more once I have access to my printer again (so far, I’ve only been sending out electronic submissions). I’ve realized that payment is an extremely imperfect way to figure out which journal to submit to (since payment information is kept so secret), but just googling “ranking of literary journals” brought to what look like two very fine indexes. The first ranks journals by the number of stories they’ve published that’ve been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. And the second ranks them by the number of stories they’ve published that’ve received mentions in the Best American Short Stories. Now, obviously, neither of these is that great a measure, since they’re basically indexes of the opinion and reading habits of a very tiny and homogenous number of jurors and editors. But still, at least it’s something.