Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Didn't get Everything Everywhere All at Once? Maybe I can help.

I normally try to keep my blog PG-rated, but I want to talk this once about an R-rated movie since it won so many awards, and so many people are talking about it. This post is still PG, or even G. I just went to make it clear the movie isn't.

Some of my friends are saying they didn't get Everything Everywhere All at Once.

I'm about to get boring and sciencey, but here's my (over-simplified) explanation. 

According the the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every choice creates a new world. We can access any possible world that stems from a choice, but only until that choice is made. After that, we're stuck with the world created by our choice - but that doesn't stop the other worlds from existing. They continue to exist. We just can't access them. 

This means that there are worlds where you are a martial arts expert, worlds where you are a famous actress, and worlds where you are a chef. There are worlds with every possible version of you.

Many science-fiction stories ask What If? and EEAAO is no different. It asks, "What if you could access those infinite other versions of you by making insanely unlikely choices?" And the beautiful moral of the story is that given every possible version of herself in every possible world, the mom would still choose to be in the world where she is her daughter's mother.  

I don't know if that makes things any clearer, but I hope it helps.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

TIP: My Email Was Hacked, So I Changed the Password. So Why Did I Stop Getting Email?

TIP: Think the only thing you have to do when your email gets hacked is change the password? It's not. 

What most people don't know is that you should also click on the three dots at the top of your page on a computer and check to see if the hacker added any rules to your account. After running anti-virus software, changing your password, and adding 2-step verification (if you don't already have it), delete the hacker's rules. 

Sorry to anyone who got a spam email from my account while a hacker controlled it. Thankfully, they weren't able to change the password, so I was able to get it back. I did the first steps, but wasn't aware of how hackers use rules until I looked up what to do if you haven't received any emails since your account was hacked. The rule they set up forwarded all my email to their account and stored it in my archive. After deleting it, I'm once again able to receive email in that account. 

I'm usually VERY careful and suspect my new (or possibly old) phone was vulnerable when I was switching them over. I hope you never get hacked, but if you do, I hope this helps. 

Please feel free to share. Thanks!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Five Graphic Novels

I read five graphic novels this Shabbat. 

Marshmallow and Jordan is a beautiful book about a girl from Indonesia who loves basketball but can't play on her school's team anymore after an accident leaves her paralyzed from the waist down. She befriends a young white elephant, who is more than what he seems. I was a little annoyed that the big reveal was left to the end of the book and told instead of shown, but it's still a delightful graphic novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Allergic was my favorite of the graphic novels I read this Shabbat. It's about a girl who loves animals more then anything, until she gets a puppy for her tenth birthday and discovers she's very allergic to anything with fur or feathers. Still, she never gives up on her dream. She just has to tweak it a little. This is a great slice-of-life middle-grade graphic novel, similar in style to Sisters and Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and it teaches kids about how allergies should be taken seriously. Highly recommended 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The other three books were the last three in the 5 Worlds series. This is a beautifully drawn sci-fi series about a young sand-dancer who needs to light the five beacons on the five worlds in her planetary system to save from it multi-planet global warming. Oona makes friends along the way, and together they set out to accomplish the impossible.

While the plot was fun and exciting, and the art beautiful, I do feel that some things were missing. Some of the science is wrong. (I hope kids who read the series don't come away thinking it's possible to live inside a star.) And Oona doesn't feel authentically female. In the past, I might have been okay with that, but not today when there are so many women writing terrific graphic novels starring authentic girls. The main characters are also impetuous sometimes, which I feel is kind of an insult to kids, and sometimes the characters are just too lucky, finding exactly what they need in the unlikeliest of places. It's still a delightful series, though. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

And that's it for this week!

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

What's the best way to get books in English in Israel?

I'm in center city Jerusalem, where there are probably a dozen new and used bookstores that sell books in English within walking distance of where I live. There are also a few libraries a little farther away with very limited selections. I have at least twice as many books as any of them. The American Consul library stopped offering books at all a long time ago, but the British library in Baka I understand has a good selection. My understanding is that it charges a membership fee, though. The selections in all the bookstores, both new and old, are very, very limited. They never have what I want. 

The "free" shipping from BookDepository and BetterWorldBooks really just means they up the price of books to include shipping. If you use a VPN and list the USA as your address, you'll get a different, much lower price. Still, sometimes they have decent prices for books, especially BD with books from the UK.  BWB might have that with some old used books. 

Amazon has real free shipping on most new books if you order $49 or more for many but not all items. (If you order books from some local bookstores, they'll just buy them on Amazon for you.) 

If you're into comics and/or graphic novels MyComicShop sells new ones at 35 percent off with preorders, and you can set up shipping so your orders only go out when they top $50. Their international shipping is $25, so it pretty much evens out. They do an excellent job packing everything, and their customer service is wonderful. But they do only deal with comic books, graphic novels, and comic book novel adaptations. You can also add older comics, graphic novels, and comic strip collections, to your preorder orders if they have them in stock. Prices vary depending on collectibility and condition. (You can also sell in demand issues in good condition back to them, but I don't know how that works.)

Someone recommended AwesomeBooks to me, so I'm ordering 10 used books from AwesomeBooks, and shipping is £11.90. Still, most of the books are 60% off with an additional 20% off coupon code (awesome20 for new customers), so it's still a good deal. These aren't books on my want list, just books they have on sale. The total cost for the order is about $40, so that turns out to about $4 per used book. We'll see if it turns out to be worth it or not.

I hope this helps.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Frankie's World, The Golden Hour, and Goddess Girls

I read three graphic novels this Shabbat.

Frankie's World by Aoife Dooley is a book that should be in every middle-school classroom and every children’s library. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

Frankie is an 11-year-old Irish girl who thinks she might be an alien. Her brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s she knows, and she keeps saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. She wants to meet her father, because she believes he might be able to explain why she is the way she is. The book is a wonderful introduction to autism in girls, written and drawn by a woman with autism. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith is a modern masterpiece that deserves the great reviews it has received. It deals with the tough topics of school shootings (one teacher is shot, but she recovers) and PTSD in young people, but against a gorgeous rural backdrop and through the lens of an adolescent who loves photography. The story is funny and touching, and the art is gorgeous. This might be a good graphic novel for a young person either dealing with anxiety or PTSD or who knows someone dealing with anxiety or PTSD. The book also teaches a little about photography and composition, as well as farm life. It’s a great book.

Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams reimagines Zeus as the principal of a high school and the other characters of Greek mythology as the students. Athena has no idea she’s a goddess until she gets a letter from Zeus, who tells her she is his daughter and Hermes will be picking her up to take her to Olympus Academy. There she makes friends with Aphrodite and Pandora.

This book is okay. The writing and art are both fine. It’s a nice introduction to Greek mythology, but there’s no real conflict and no depth. The main girls are cheerleaders, and most of the girls in the book are a bit too boy obsessed. Personalities really don't go very far beyond “this is the smart one, this is the pretty one, and this is the curious one.” Still, I do think this could appeal to some very young girls, maybe in grades three and four, as an alternative to all the fairy and princess books.

And that’s it. I also started a fourth graphic novel I’m really enjoying, and I look forward to reviewing it next week. 

Happy reading!