Olio tag square by Mary Warner, October 2020.
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Olio: October 18, 2020

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things (or, when I was trying to remember the definition of olio, what popped to mind was “random shit”).

When I started this blog 6 years ago, I wanted a way to share miscellaneous stuff that I found interesting but with a heading I could use habitually, so I could find this stuff again. Hence, “olio.” My last olio post was in April 2016. Not sure how I lost track of this, but today, when casting about for blog post ideas, it came back to me and I decided to revive it. I’ve even created a new blog post tag square (that’s what I call them) image to open my olio posts.

My favorite place to read random stuff is on Twitter. Even though the place is often a cesspool of trollish comments, if you follow decent people and sources, you can minimize some of that yuckiness and end up with a lot of interesting content and inspiration. My Twitter bookmarks page is filled with content that has attracted my attention for whatever reason, some of which I have to get back to because I don’t have time to read it when I find it, some of which I’m saving because I want to remember it.

Before I launch into my olio list for today, I’d like to point out that the artist Austin Kleon does this sort of thing with his weekly email newsletter and I often find something inspirational in his lists, which usually run about 10 items.

My monthly newsletter, 3 O’Clock Punch!, on the other hand, only focuses on 3 items, a couple of which are wrap-ups of what I’ve written about here for those who want a reminder to come back. (I appreciate having reminders from my favorite bloggers because there’s just so much to keep track of online.) I also share a new piece of digital art in each 3 O’Clock Punch! Give a girl a follow if you want the reminder and art.

Okay, here’s my list of random shit that I’ve found interesting or inspiring lately.

  1. First up is not online. My husband got me Enya’s CD “And Winter Came” and I’ve been taken by these lovely winter-themed songs. A particular favorite is “My! My! Time Flies!“, which is upbeat and features … an electric guitar! Enya music with an electric guitar! Mind blown!
  2. Time has a list of The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time that gives me ideas for further reading. I’ve read a few of the books on the list, but there’s room to explore. I’d really like to read something by N.K. Jemisin, who wrote an intro to Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower.”
  3. Yesterday I ordered a subscription to Mother Jones magazine (print and digital) based on a Twitter thread about how Facebook (evil, evil Facebook) deep-sixed liberal news sources and elevated conservative ones. Mother Jones was one of the targets because it does hard-hitting journalism based on facts. Remember facts? Check out this article from Mother Jones: This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated. (Yes, it brings up evil, evil Facebook – my description, not theirs.)
  4. Because I have a weakness for Duran Duran and they are darned near senior citizens and thus worthy of articles that analyze their musical and stylistic influence on the world, check out How sex, money, and fame thrust Duran Duran to the fore.
  5. If Duran Duran are almost senior citizens, that means I’m not far behind. I’m over 50, which doesn’t feel all that old when you reach it. Here’s an article I found this afternoon when looking for blogging ideas: The Unlikely Style Icon Teaching Older Women to Be Fashion Rebels. It’s about “style activist” Judith Rizzio, who teaches women over 50 (that’s me!) how not to disappear into the background through the use of fashion.
  6. Why Are All Swedish Cottages Painted Red? I thought maybe it was to allow people to spot their houses in a blizzard, but, no. This Smithsonian article talks about a number of reasons for the distinctive red cottages.
  7. Want some eye-opening history to read? I’m an in the middle of “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson. The book is about the decades-long migration of Black people out of the South. Wilkerson is a captivating writer, bringing the fascinating and in-depth stories of 3 migrants to light. This is history you likely never studied in K-12.
  8. Here’s a funky tarot deck I found on Amazon that I’d like to get: Murder of Crows Tarot. (Christmas is coming, the crow is getting fat!)
  9. Hubby and I have been rewatching episodes of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. It dawned on me that someone should create a list of every outlandish past experience Alexis Rose has had after she said something about having a Class F license for driving a transport truck (if memory serves – it’s from the episode when David Rose needs to renew his driver’s license). Well, guess what? A quick online search and it looks like this is not a novel idea. Here is Alexis Rose’s Fandom page with some of these escapades mentioned. And Esquire magazine has “An Exhaustive List of Every Misadventure Alexis Rose Mentions on Schitt’s Creek.”

What random stuff are you finding inspiring or interesting right now?

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