Sunday, May 20, 2018

So glad I'm so far down the alphabet list as an author

I don't think I'm going to be targeted any time soon by cry-bullies. 

It's a damn good thing, too--I have a strategy in mind that I can't afford to use, yet.  Maybe (probably) not for a very long time, assuming I ever get there. 

If I ever get targeted by cry-bullies, and I can afford to hire a lawyer, I'm going to sue for three things:

1. A public, written apology, published at the instigator's cost in at least four "reputable" national publications (NYT, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Time, for example).

2. Said apology will include a detailed retraction of the lies (i.e., what was said, what the truth was, and an analysis of the difference between the two) as well as a statement explaining their motivation (to silence someone they disagree with), and that they're a failure at life in general so feel inclined to attempt to ruin others' reputations.

3. All court costs are their responsibility. 

Honestly, I think all authors who run into this kind of terrorism should sue for something similar (not money, because they frequently don't have it). 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Woah, the stupid...it burns...

To quote Han Solo, I've got a bad feeling about this

Basically, several states have decided to work on legislation to hand the state's electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote nationwide. 

This is what is known as "a very bad thing." 

What this does is ensure that whoever wins the East and West Coast votes wins the whole shebang, no matter who wins the vote in the states passing this.  It silences the voices of the state's voters. 

That's gonna end badly for absolutely everyone involved.  Really, really badly.  As in, CW2 badly. 

I don't want that.  I don't want that for my kids.  I don't want that even for the idiots who haven't the sense God gave a domesticated turkey that are pushing for this.  Because they're the ones that are going to die first, and they're going to die ugly, in ways I don't want for even child molesters. 

It would be far quicker and more humane to start enforcing the laws about sedition and treason written into the Constitution, and executing those working against the direct best interest of the nation in favor of failed political ideologies that would see the Constitution scrapped. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Huge load off my mind.

Last fall, I was let go from my teaching position. It was, overall, a good thing, but...

My income had been going straight to savings to pay tuition for the kids to go to private school for the past four years. 

This year, tuition went up by about $500 for the both of them.  It's still relatively low, but I wasn't sure it wasn't going to put it out of reach.  I talked to the business office, and they said there's financial aid through the school available. 

So, I applied.  I've been squirreling money away like we'd have to pay full tuition.  I currently have their full tuition bill in the savings, and have had for a couple weeks.  That, and Missouri just changed the rules on the education savings accounts to permit payment to private schools from that. 

We do have the money, even without financial aid, but we'd go from "can weather an emergency" to "can maybe keep the money market account open."  Maybe.

I applied for the financial aid in March, when it opened up.  I've been watching my email like a hawk.
The announcement didn't go to my email.  It went to Odysseus's.  We only noticed because his mom emailed something to both of us, and he wanted to read the details.  We found the email from the kids' school, then.  

We got it.  The school has granted us a good-sized tuition reduction, over the sibling discount that the pixie was already getting. 

That puts us from "can maybe keep the money market open" to "fully funded emergency fund." 

Yes, we're going to celebrate somehow.  Haven't decided just how, yet. 

No, I'm not going to stop squirreling money away like crazy.  In spite of the fact that our tax refund check next year should be bigger, partially because of tax code changes (thank you, Mr. President, for pushing the extra child tax credit and decreasing taxes a little bit in other areas for most workers), and partially because the EITC will be a little bigger without the $9K/yr pre-tax that was my salary for teaching college classes, I'm not going to stop squirreling money away.  Because insurance is coming up in October, then taxes in December.  And tuition next year.  And I want a fully funded emergency fund, plus all of the rest.

But for now, I'm just basking in the relief that our current load is going to be far less than I'd anticipated. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I don't miss it.

It's the end of the first semester I haven't taught since I started teaching in fall of '03 as a graduate teaching assistant. 

When I first started teaching, I loved it.  I loved helping students go from terrified of writing to kind of taking for granted that they'd be able to do it, and do it well.  I didn't think I'd ever stop loving it.

I was wrong.  I don't know exactly when it happened, but at some point, I just...stopped enjoying it.  I'm not sure when, so it had to have been a gradual process.  I can't even put my finger on where I started to hate it, even. 

It wasn't just the grading.  I always hated that.  I came to hate student attitudes toward classes, professors, and each other. 

I am glad to be off campus.  Literally the only thing I miss about teaching is the paycheck.  And I may be able to eventually replace that income by writing (even if I'm not holding my breath). 

This post was brought to you by Facebook's ridiculous "your memories" suggested posts, and the post about turning in final grades last spring.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Guess what?

I started the publication process on the new book, last night.  Said it would take up to 72 hours to go live (and it usually takes a good while). 

Nuh-uh.  It was live when I woke up this morning.

It's the first of a new series: The Liquid Diet Chronicles.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Oof.

I picked up a cold last week.  Started feeling it on Friday.  I mostly have it shaken off, now, but I'm at the point of getting over it where I feel a constant need to cough and my throat's dry, but there's nothing there

During this mess, I had an outside editing project to do.  And I kept zoning out to the point I'd blink, be aware my eyes were painfully dry, and realize it was half an hour or more after I'd last glanced at the clock.  Because I was sick. 

Yeah, I do that anyway, but not for that length of time, and I'm usually thinking.  This was a lot more like falling asleep without actually closing my eyes. 

I'm feeling a lot better.  Hell, I was starting to feel better as of Sunday (even if I was still feeling pretty awful).  But I'm definitely on the mend. 

Which means it's time to get back to work, this time on my own stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Almost there...

I have been looking for a good, gluten free, thin-crust pizza crust recipe.

I think I've found the base of one.  I'm playing with it.  It's based on this one, sort of.  Maybe.  A little.  Well, that one and the more biscuit style pizza crust on the back of the gluten free Bisquick box.

I've cut it down significantly, since I'm the only one in the house that can't eat real pizza.  I've taken it down from 2 c flour to 1/2 c.  And I'm using Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour.

Following the other recipe, though, had a heavy, doughy crust.  Really heavy.  Like, break the floor if you drop it heavy.  I talked to my sister, who's a pretty gifted baker, and she suggested adding baking soda.  Asked me about how much flour I was using, and suggested half a teaspoon.

It helped.

But now, I need to play with other proportions.

Because baking soda makes it taste salty.  And I am still working on finding the right amount of salt.

At the moment, what I've got is this:

1/2 c gluten free flour
1/2 t baking soda
some salt (still playing with amounts)  Leave the salt out, and it's perfect

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Italian herb blend
about 1/4 c water, give or take

It's easiest to mix this with your hands.  Because you've got to be able to feel the texture of the dough: too sticky, and you need more flour; too crumbly/dry, and you need more liquid.  Getting the dough to stick to itself actually works best if you sort of knead it in your mixing bowl.  Then you sort of shape it into a ball, and roll it out on your pizza pan (if you can--it's easiest if you can get a flat pan or stone instead of a pan with a lip).  Or, you can roll it out between sheets of waxed paper.  Roll it THIN, too.

Oil the top, or it won't brown, and it will absorb the sauce.  Hell, it tries anyway.  Then bake it at 425 for about 5 minutes.  Pull it out, top it, then put it back for about 5-8 more minutes, or until the cheese is browned.  If you're feeling adventurous, slide it off the pan/stone onto the bare rack for that last bit of baking. 

It's still crumbly.  But it's better than most of the gluten free crusts and pizzas I've tried.  And it's a hell of a lot cheaper to do it that way than to get the frozen Udi's crusts (2 for $6), or any of the frozen gluten free pizzas (one half-naked one for $6).  And a giant FUCKING hell of a lot cheaper than getting a gluten free pizza at any place that actually makes/serves them.*

I'm pretty happy with this recipe.  But I'm going to keep playing with it until I get it as close to right as pizza crust substitute can get.

*One place locally charges the same for a 10" gluten free pizza as they do a medium hand-tossed crust.  The other charges as much as a medium deep dish pizza.  And you're also trusting that the kitchen is keeping your pizza away from the ones that will bring gut pain.