Monday, September 30, 2013

Time to write.

I ran a dishwasher full of dirty dishes (dishes that had been sitting since the sink started flooding on Friday) this afternoon.  Then I unloaded all of those, and put the wet ones in the drainer, and reloaded all of my metal and ceramic dishes that were waiting.  Those can tolerate heat dry; my plastic dishes warp.  Now, the last load--all of my plastic dishes, the kids' supper dishes, and my bowl and spoon--is going. 

I have accomplished much in getting my kitchen back into livable shape.

Now, I'm gonna go write.  Hopefully, I can finish the story chapter I've been working on.

Yay!

Sink is unclogged!

Boo!  Kids are being flaky, loud, obnoxious twits, and I can't actually spend even fifteen minutes on housework, because every five or so, I have to go diffuse a fight, or discipline a rule-breaker.

Papers...papers...papers.

My two classes will be writing five papers over the course of the semester.  My Comp II classes just handed in their third paper; I'll be getting the third paper from the Comp I class on Friday. 

We are entering week seven out of sixteen.  Two weeks from today, we have Fall Break (Mon & Tues classes are cancelled); six weeks after that, we have Thanksgiving Break (Wed-Fri classes are cancelled).  The week after Thanksgiving Break is the last week of classes.

This semester is absolutely flying by. 

And a good bit of the reason for that is because my students are freakin' awesome.

Long day, yesterday.

The kids and I spent the day with my mother and sister, while Odysseus tried to get his homework done.  He got most of it, but not all of it, done between about 10:30 and 5:00, mostly because of the overly-complex nature of one of the assignments taking three full hours of that. 

Today, I'm picking up papers, and right now, I'm helping out a colleague with his online class.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A day late...

Clogged sinks can FUCK THE FUCKING FUCK off.  Especially clogged sinks that resist baking soda and vinegar, Drano, Drano Foaming, the drain snake, and everything else we could fucking think of.  Odysseus has been working on it on and off all fucking day, and nothing.  We can't even find it.  And the snake?  is fifteen feet long.  And he dismantled the drain down to the floor of the cabinet before trying the snake the last time. 

Fuck.

Random ramblings

My mom visited briefly yesterday, with my sister, and two of my aunts.  Right at about the kids' nap time.  So, the kids went down late.  And got up late.  Which meant that they refused to go to bed on time. 

They sure as shootin' didn't get up late.  The pixie tried to get up at six thirty, and they were both up before seven thirty. 

The imp has outgrown most of his pants.  So, we're transitioning from fours to fives and sixes for him.  His old sweats were about three inches above his ankle bones--fine for sleeping, but not so good for when the weather turns colder. 

The pixie is outgrowing her clothes, too, but not at the same rate. 

Our cats have been acting like mice have been coming in: they'll crouch next to the stove or fridge, then suddenly pounce, then run off to the pantry (where their food, water, and litter box reside). 

Wait...yes, there are mice trying to come in.  I forgot that I've been finding what's left in the litter box.  A bloody tail here...a freakin' mouse skull in the poop there...you get the picture.  My cats are awesome mousers.

The dog has been a little poop factory, recently.  I mean really--in the last week, she's rarely failed to crap before I can get up and get her out (which is why I said screw it last night, and put the kids to bed late in vain hope that they'd wake up late).  She's out, now.  It's supposed to start raining, later, so she's going to have to spend most of the day indoors, something she's not real fond of doing. 

Yesterday morning, while I was walking her (the only morning she didn't poo before I got her outside...and didn't poo while I had her outside), I heard, very faintly, geese calling.  I listened hard, and then looked up.  They were high up, and moving south very fast. 

I'm not surprised.  In recent weeks, every time it hits the mid eighties for the high, we have a series of thunderstorms that take us back down into the low seventies for a few days before it creeps back up...and starts all over again.  So, for once, fall kinda started with the official start, instead of a month later.

So, last night, I made stew.  A giant, five quart pot of the stuff.  Comfort food.  Since the temps are projected to drop into the mid sixties by supper time, I figured we'd have next day stew (better than first day), and fresh, hot biscuits for supper...and cobbler for dessert.

Anyone up for joining us?

Friday, September 27, 2013

If you're the praying type...

Pray for TinCan Assassin.  He made the right choice, yesterday (punched a wall, not a customer who richly deserved it), and is in surgery today to pin the break in his hand.

Even if you're not the praying type, send him good thoughts.

FFOT:...

I'm honestly feeling too bad to even come up with a good FFOT sendoff.  Why don't y'all unload in the comments before going into the weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Three more story chapters...

I'm done with my grading, as of yesterday.  I don't pick up the third set of papers from my 102 class until Monday (tomorrow's workshop--they trade papers, and go through a set of questions to help them make sure that their peers are staying within the guidelines I set).

I finished another story chapter (and discovered that another old goddess wanted in on things).  It added about a thousand words to the last count--up to 58,500, now.  And now, I have three more stories to write, then vignettes to add throughout to give a picture of how the main six are getting on in the trip they're on.  And then, I'm done.  So, DaddyBear and TinCan Assassin can look for Highway to Tartarus end up in their email inbox for beta reading by mid-October.  Definitely. 

With a bit of luck, I will be able to get this published by the end of this year, and focus on writing the sequel to Pendragon over Christmas Break (our last day of fall semester is Dec 6; the first day of spring semester is Jan 13--just enough time to get enough of a start to be able to finish it and get it out by May or June). 

After that, I've got another in the Modern Gods series to write (this one will be more for the gals, since it's going to feature a lot of romance and romantic comedy), as well as a few stand-alone books to choose from.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Y'know...

I spent ten minutes in Sam's Club standing in line at the pharmacy.  Then, I gave up, went and did my shopping in the hopes that the fucking idiots at the front of the line would have cleared out, permitting the line of a dozen and a half other customers to freakin' move

So, I handed the kids, cart, and groceries off to Odysseus (who'd been checking the tire center for possibilities for the Civic), and went back to the pharmacy, picking up two pounds of deli sliced cheddar on the way. 

The line had barely moved.  The back had mostly vanished, but only one customer had been served in the fifteen minutes I'd been gone.

And then...I saw why.

There was one pharmacist, and one tech behind the door.  And the fucking fucknuts in line ahead of me were fucking paying for basketloads of fucking groceries.

I was about to the point of finding out if that two pound package of cheese slices would have made a good sap.

The stupid tax got kinda high for these dimwits.

Bunch of idiots believed the politico-religious propaganda over the actual, scientific measurements.

Because the politico-religious claim that this summer would have an ice free arctic, dozens of people in boats (and one bunch on jet skis) tried to make the Northwest Passage.

Because of reality (arctic ice expanding by 60%, Pacific Ocean entering a 60 year cooling cycle, lower summer temperatures, etc,), these craft--expensive yachts and sailboats, jet skis--are trapped in the ice. 

Total loss.

I hope it's not covered by their insurance.  And I hope their insurance refuses their business from here on out because of their obvious and rampant stupidity.

And I wish to goodness that the money to rescue them this time hadn't been wasted. 

Big win in the student papers!!!

"...President Obama can stop being the world's spanker in chief..."

Priceless awesome.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guh...

I went out and got the dog to bring her in, earlier.  It looked like she'd gotten something in her eye, and maybe got a little infection, and I wanted a closer look (it wasn't). 

I got her in the house, and realized...she reeked.  Horribly.  So, I walked her, stripped her harness off of her, and dunked her in a sink full of warm water.

And the dog?  Groaned, and deflated.  She loves a warm bath--at least, she does, until I put the soap on her.  Although...tonight, she tucked her head under my armpit, and leaned into me scrubbing her good. 

We do bathe the dog on a regular basis.  You wouldn't know it by the look of her bathwater.  Wound up having to pull the plug and rinse her again, after I got her rinsed the first time.  She was standing in sludge.

After I got her washed and dried as best I could with a towel, I sat down on the floor and let her dry herself off the rest of the way on my jeans and tee shirt. 

And then, after she decided it was time to go to bed, I Ajaxed the hell out of the sink.  Twice.

But now, I'm tired, and about ready to just...fall apart. 

Guess it's time to write some, and then hit the sack after Odysseus gets home.

Oh, God help me...

...it's still three hours 'til bedtime. 

Lots to do...

I've finished another story chapter first draft (though that doesn't mean that it's the final draft).  Highway to Tartarus is up to 57,500 words--about 186 pages at the same print size as The Godshead.  I'm hoping to finish the last three plot-related stories this week, and add a few other stories to the mix. 

Also on the back burner is...grading.  My Comp I papers were handed in on Friday.  I've got five done out of twenty.  I need to see how many I can get graded later, after I get the story bouncing around in my head to come out. 

Speaking of those papers...I have a student to email.  This particular student has a lot going on in their lives, and they've turned in both of the first two papers late.  I accepted the first one late because they had a sick eight month old baby. The second?  I didn't accept.  I have no clue what's going on with that student--they've missed ten class periods.  We've been going for five full weeks, three times a week.  In other words, the student has missed two thirds of the class.  Student needs to drop the class before their failing grade goes on their transcript.

I have more clutter to deal with in the master bedroom, too.  It's a lot better than it used to be, but I need to sort through my nightstand's drawers and take out worn out stuff, and stuff I just don't wear anymore for give away. 

The rest of what needs done is kind of a waiting game.  I need to wait until this weekend for something before I can plan anything else.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My kids' rooms?

Right now, they're the cleanest, least cluttered rooms in the house. 

Last week, we took the pixie's crib apart, wrapped it in bubble wrap, and took it to the storage unit.  Now, both she and the imp have two-shelf-high shelving units to use to put their toys away. 

And they do.  They pick their rooms up before naps and before bed. 

It wasn't so hard to get the habit started--it got started with Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Now, all I have to do is get the rest of the house in shape.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

So...

Neither Odysseus nor I have the time, energy, or knowledge of how to do more than take the deck apart.  Do we call a contractor or a landscaper to do everything we need for the yard (deck torn out, fence extended from the corner of the deck to the corner of the house--about 10'--and repaired in other places, and a patio of paver stones laid down)?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's not the weapon.

A few (*cough* more than ten *cough*) years ago, I was a freshman in college.  About nineteen years old, and pretty much alone except during class times, lunch times, and weekends.  Which really sucked, when I was in Theater Appreciation (useless class).

See, one of the requirements of the class was that I had to see two of the three plays.  All playing at night, during the week.  And did I mention that I'm under five foot tall, and have always had a rack that wouldn't look out of place on a woman a foot taller than me?

And that, at that time, I was suffering from the aftermath of a PE injury to my knee in high school, and gimping around on a cane whenever it was cold?

The play was in mid-February.  I was heading back to my dorm at about ten, and I noticed I was being followed.  By a grungy-looking man in his late thirties or forties.  Who hurried up to catch up to me when I turned the corner and got out of sight of the small crowd leaving the theater.

I will fully acknowledge that that scared the holy living shit out of me.  I was nineteen, a small woman under five feet tall, and under a hundred pounds at the time, and crippled.  I looked like the perfect target: helpless prey.

I got off the sidewalk to ground I walked across every day, and knew where the uneven footing was and what it was like, snapped my cane up off the ground and slapped across my other palm, feet spread and braced, staring Mr. Creepy down.  He muttered something, and then yells to me that he got turned around, and could I tell him where the library was (across the quad, brightly lit--the only building that was at that time of night).

I'm pretty sure that he thought that, at the very least, he'd be coming out of any possible encounter injured, and perhaps badly (and he'd have been right--my cane?  An inch diameter hickory stick with a knob handle on one end, and a rubber crutch foot on the other).  Made me not worth it.

I'll be honest--I'd have probably gotten hurt pretty bad.  But my plan was to try to take out a knee, then jab the knob end into his face as hard as I could, then slam it down into his throat if I could.

It isn't the weapon that's the dangerous part of any equation.  It's the person holding it.

I am not dangerous because I carry a gun.  Not to the standard, every-day, law-abiding schmuck.

I am dangerous to those who think that I am prey.  Because I am not, and have never been.

random ramblings

My in-laws are leaving for a vacation next week.  They requested another overnight visit with each of the grandkids, so the imp has gone to spend tonight, and the pixie will go to spend tomorrow night. 

We got the pixie a new potty chair.  The foam seat ring on her old one was...absorbent.  And starting to stink.  She's absolutely delighted with the new one--it's pink.  Almost violently so. 

I'm beginning to think that we need to find something else for the infestation we're having issues with.  It looked like the boric acid was working...at first.  Now?  Not so much.  I'm thinking we need to find some closed baits that the critters can't get into. 

I picked up the second set of papers from my Comp I class yesterday.  I picked up twenty papers--which means if I get ten graded today, and ten tomorrow, I can hand them back on Monday and have nothing to worry about for a week.

Well, nothing work-related, at least.  I've got something else on my mind.

Writing is still going pretty well.  We'll see what the finished first draft looks like before the beginning of October.  Mid October should see a revised draft done for my beta readers. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Should I...or shouldn't I?

I want to know what y'all think of the idea of adding an appendix of drinks recipes at the end of Highway to Tartarus of drinks served at The Godshead Tavern...and if y'all have any recipes to suggest.

FFOT: mainstream media

The mainstream media can FTFO, for various reasons too numerous for me to have the time to go into.  Especially as I have grading to do before class, and I leave in an hour.

If anyone has had a bad week, sound off in the comments.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weird.

My mother told me to get some powdered sugar to mix with the boric acid I've laid down for the roaches.  It sounded like a good idea, so I put it on my shopping list.

I've taken it back off. 

I was in the bedroom cleaning up a bit for the past half hour or so, and just came out for some ice water.  I found Shadow, our little black cat, contorted and crouched inside one of the bookcases I use for extra storage space in the kitchen licking around the lid of my jug of honey (if you get it in the 5 lb size, it's a jug).  I scooped her out and tossed her, and she went over to the cabinets, hopped up, found the sugar, and started sniffing around that.  Pawing at it. 

So, I scooped her and tossed her again.  And she runs across the kitchen to the table, hops up, and starts trying to figure out how to get into the cinnamon sugar.  And then the honey whiskey.

I'm thinking adding powdered sugar to the boric acid would be a very bad idea.

Catching up.

I have housework to do today--too busy with papers and with feeling like crud earlier this week--and writing. 

I haven't been entirely unproductive--I finished another story chapter for Highway to Tartarus (sequel to The Godshead) last night, and I'm about 500 words/one page into the next one.  I have four plot-related stories left, and then I'm planning on writing some short pieces to flesh some of the characters out a bit more.  I may be done with preliminary writing by the end of next week, if all goes as well with grading Comp I papers as it did with Comp II.

After this is done, I'll be focusing on writing Resurgent (sequel to The Last Pendragon).  If I can manage two books per year, I've got another four years of book ideas and outlines to write.  If not...I've got eight years or so, with more ideas hitting me all the time. 

And maybe someday, I can actually run around and market my work.  Right now, with the kids, I'm kinda tied to home. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I am impressed.

My comp II class is blowing through the material as fast as I can feed it to them.  I'd planned today as topic selection, but everybody came to class with a topic...so, I moved on to helping them with criteria (evaluation arguments--I'll have everything from movie/book/play reviews to smartphone comparisons to evaluating a possible career choice to the latest installment in the Ford F-150 vs. the Chevy Silverado debate).  And began discussing thesis statements. 

I suppose Friday will be thesis statements/organization/types of evidence.  A class day early.

I'm debating between moving the entire schedule up a class period and having a free write day that's only free write, not development lecture for fifteen minutes, then free write. 

I'll put it to my students, but I'm impressed, proud, and incredibly happy to have this class.

I love A papers.

Why?  Because I graded all 21 papers I picked up on Monday already.  And, with feeling too awful to grade yesterday, that means I managed all of them within three hours this morning (part during Comp I's workshop time, but most during my two office hours). 

And now, I'm done. 

Until I pick up the Comp I papers on Friday, at least...

*snicker*

I just read a paper written by one of my young men on what happens when a man makes a woman angry (focusing on best friends, mothers, and significant others).

I'm still smirking. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

general malaise

I have it.  Feeling like crap, and like I'm trying to think with my head crammed with molasses.  Can't focus on grading, don't have the energy to do housework (nor do I feel up to it).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Irritated.

About four months ago, a house two houses down had the tenants evicted.  The owners spent the past several months cleaning the place, including ripping out ruined carpet. 

About two months ago, we started seeing fallout from this renovation: apparently, the evicted tenants were flat nasty, and when the owners started cleaning the place up, a host of roaches fled in every direction. 

Including my next door neighbor's place.  And mine. 

No worries, I thought--I put out a butt-ton of baits, and figured the population would dwindle and die off. 

That...hasn't happened.  In fact, it seems as if I have about quadrupled my roach population. 

I do not know what to do.  I don't want to spray--I have cats and kids.  I don't want to set out unsheltered poison for the same reason.  Same with bug bombs. 

Anybody have any suggestions?

Wow. I'd best be getting several papers by email today...

I have twenty-three students (one has already failed on absences alone, because she's SHOWN UP ONE TIME in the first FOUR WEEKS).  I have had one student ask for an extension (which I've granted). 

I have, in front of me on my desk, eleven papers, with four more indicating that they'll email it to me by midnight, tonight.

That leaves seven out.  Seven possible zeroes. 

And this is an otherwise excellent class.

Oh, well.  If they don't turn in papers, it's no skin off my nose, and fewer papers I have to grade.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I've been thinking...

Two weeks ago, I had one of my students thank me for my textbook.  He said it was the first of its type that he understood without needing a dictionary every other word.  I said that textbooks like that were written by people who had no idea what their readers actually knew, or how to take their readers from where they currently are, skills-wise, to where they need to be. 

Last week, another one of my students approached me and told me that he really liked how everything we did for class was definitively and obviously linked to the paper.  He said that he'd had Comp I with one of my colleagues, who used a shit-ton of skills worksheets--busy work, in other words.  Especially since she didn't explicitly state how the worksheets were connected to the assignment that the class was working on. 

And a few years ago, before I had the kids, one of my colleagues criticized my teaching style because I use templates.  I use explicit instruction, rather than expecting my kids to figure things out for themselves, and she thought that I was making things too easy for my students.  Said that they wouldn't actually learn anything through using templates.

I've come to the conclusion that my colleagues have lost sight of what we're here for.  We aren't here to stroke our own egos.  We aren't here to take perfect students and make them better--when your students don't know what a thesis statement is in the first place, telling them they don't have one without explaining how to create one does nothing but frustrate the student into giving up. 

We are here to take a student who's been failed by the education system, and teach them what they should have already been taught.  We are here to meet them on the level where they are, and help them make the connections between what we're doing now, and what we will be doing in the future, so that we can take them to the level they should have been at in the first place. 

It bothers me that not a single damn one of my colleagues sees this.

Oh, great.

I recently found out that our university is jumping on the "Writing Across the Curriculum" bandwagon.  This means that, instead of writing (and the teaching thereof) being concentrated mostly in the English department, or the departments that do a lot of writing in the jobs they're purportedly preparing their majors for, every department is supposed to assign papers, and teach their students how to write them. 

Every department.  Including the math department, criminal justice, dental hygiene, and nursing. 

I've already heard grumbling in the library coffee shop from other departments' professors: "Why are we supposed to do the job the English department is supposed to be doing?  It's not like they're doing it anyway, but why are they pushing it off on us?"

I think this, more than anything else, is going to finish the job of making the English department fade into irrelevancy.  It's already halfway there with the way composition and literature classes are taught.

thanks, and welcome

Thank you, Dreamer, for hitting that follow button.  Make yourself at home.  I've got fresh coffee in the pot; help yourself.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

random ramblings

So, the pixie spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa.  When I called last night at six or so, more to check up on how Grandma and Grandpa were holding up, she was sitting with Grandpa, watching bluegrass.  Which Grandma hates.  However, Grandma thought it was so cute she couldn't bear to say anything.

The imp enjoyed having Mommy all to himself, but didn't enjoy not having his baby sister home with him, nor did he enjoy the knowledge that she was at Grandma and Grandpa's, and he wasn't.

We went to see Spamalot at a nearby little theater.  It was awesome.  My ribs still hurt from laughing so much.

The cats swarmed the pixie as soon as she got in the door, begging pets (and Shadow begging for little-girl hugs).  I think they missed her.

As for the rest of things...I'll be picking up papers on Monday from my Comp II class, and Friday from my Comp I.  So, after Comp II, I'll be spending most of the following seven days grading papers.

I've finished another story chapter for Highway to Tartarus.  That brings current word count up to about 53,000 words, with about five more story chapters to go--between 10 and 15,000 more words.  I've got a few more vignette ideas for this one, and some revising to do (which will likely lengthen things).  I think the finished version will run just under 80,000 words, or about 250 pages.


Friday, September 13, 2013

"I want my pixie!"

I honestly thought the pixie would be the more upset of the two.  Not so.  My imp wants the pixie home: "I want my pixie back here, where she belongs.  She belongs with us, not with Grandma and Grandpa!"

And I thought "Oh, that's so sweet that I'm gonna get cavities!"

And then, he goes and spoils it: "I belong with Grandma and Grandpa!"

FFOT: bad night

Whatever kept waking my children up screaming and in tears can fuck off so hard...they didn't sleep well, and don't feel too good this morning.  Same with me.

Go ahead and blow off steam about whatever's bugging you in the comments.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Movie review

Yesterday, while we were doing a Wal-Mart run, we happened to see that Star Trek: Into Darkness was on the shelves.  We snapped it up in a freakin' heartbeat.  Star Trek (2009) was an awesome reset--basically, bad guys angry at Kirk and Spock traveled back in time, did a lot of bad shit (including killing Kirk's father as he was being born, then later destroying Vulcan), and completely changed how the timeline was going to run.  With that in mind, we knew we were going to want to see the second movie.

With the reset having happened, the whole universe is moving at a much faster clip.  Instead of moving up through the ranks, Kirk is shoved into the captain's seat pretty much fresh out of the academy.  They've done a few missions, but the whole "five year mission...to boldly go where no man has gone before" hasn't happened yet.  Not even close.

Yet...with the bad guys in the first movie having shown the Federation how weak it really is, things have changed.  And one of my favorite villains from the Original Series (and the only villain to repeat in the movies) has been found and awakened early.  Very early.  Like about ten years or so earlier than he was in the series, and by a war-hawk admiral, Admiral Marcus, who parlayed his gains into putting himself in command of Star Fleet.

The bad guy is played--magnificently--by Benedict Cumberbatch.  He may not be of the ethnic background the character of Khan should have been, but truthfully, that really didn't matter.  He brilliantly portrayed Khan's arrogance and his certainty that, as a genetically engineered super human, he's better than everyone else around him. 

The pacing of the movie was incredible.  A two hour and ten minute adrenaline rush.  And it took me more than an hour and a half to settle down for bed.

Which leads me to my recommendation: if you have children, or a job, that gets you up early every morning, watch this early in the evening.  We started it around nine or so, finished it a bit after eleven, and I didn't get to sleep until a bit after one this morning.  And was awakened promptly at seven thirty this morning by the kids...like always.

I very much enjoyed the movie.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban have completely nailed the chemistry and interaction between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and Simon Pegg is a more than credible Scotty.  This movie is going to be getting watched a couple more times before we loan it to my family in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I have never had that happen before.

So, one of my students broke one of my rules, today.  I let them use their smartphones in class to do quick research...and most of them do.  They're actually really good about doing research instead of texting friends or getting on whatever social media site they're addicted to.  What I don't permit is listening to music while in class.  I often get questions from one student that they all need the answer to, whether they know it or not, especially on free write days (like today). 

So, today was a freewrite day.  I tend to make abouut three or four circuits around the class, checking up on my students as they write.  This morning, I helped a Saudi foreign exchange student with their American English phrasing, made suggestions about what kind of evidence would work for another student's main claims, and helped a third find the best way to find evidence--the library databases. 

Between helping the second and third student, I rounded the end of a table...and stopped.  One of my students, rather a smartass, has an earbud attached to his iPhone, tucked in his ear. 

So, I plant my hands on the table, lean into them, and stare at the kid.  He screamed, clapped both hands over his face, and starts whining at me: "Oh, my God, you scared the shit out of me.  Why do you do these things to me?  Stop starin' at me!"

I asked him "What did you do wrong?"

"Ma'am, I was born black!"

"So...being born black forced you to choose to break my rules?"

"No, no.  That was...uh, that was all her fault," he says pointing at the girl sitting next to him.  "She told me to listen to music.  She was going to shoot me if I didn't."

My other student goes "Shut up!  My guns are all at home!"

"You got guns?" he squealed.  "See?  See?  She's gonna kill me." 

Then, he looks up, sees me still staring at him, and squawks.  "Oh, please, stop staring at me.  I can feel it boring a hole in my head."

"What did you do wrong?" 

"I let you catch me."  He bows his head. 

"No, you chose to break a rule.  That was a choice, and your responsibility."

"Yeah, okay.  It was all on me."  And at this point, he's real subdued.  So I pat his shoulder, tell him not to do it again, and ask if there was anything he needed help with. 

I have had students texting in class, answering a phone in class, checking facebook in class.  I have never before had a student listen to music after that rule having been announced.  I have never had a student try to bluff his way out of having broken a rule by claiming that I was picking on him because he was black. 

And I have never, ever had a student wilt, then take the lesson of making his own choice, either way, so well.

Another anniversary of an already forgotten day.

I first wrote on the anniversary of September 11 here.  I wrote again, and again.  I still remember that day with a fine, cold rage that would leave me sleeping fine if I were called to put a bullet in the back of Hassan's head. 

I think, if our "leaders" remember the day and the incident at all, they use it as an excuse to take more and more of our freedoms.  And they count on us to not know our history, nor anything about our Founding Fathers.  Benjamin Franklin warned us about this, more than two hundred years before the republic began disintegrating: "If we restrict liberty to attain security we will lose them both."


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Maybe I should get sick and spend the morning in bed more often!

I finished a chapter/story from Highway to Tartarus, this morning--another 2,500 words, bringing the current total for the novel to just over 50,000, with a bit more to go. 

I know which story I'm working on next, too, and have the plot outline in my head.

I think I overdid it, yesterday.

I got the laundry done, the clean dishes put up, and the dishwasher reloaded--and this after teaching two classes, and sitting two office hours. 

I feel worse this morning than I did yesterday.  After Odysseus gets up, I'm going back to bed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Done.

I finished grading late last night, and turned papers back to my students this morning.  Friday, my Comp II class will be peer reviewing the second paper to turn in on Monday. 

I have the rest of the week marginally free to write and catch up on housework.  So far, I've gotten the kids' clean clothes put away, my clean clothes put away, and the laundry done.  I've got the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded--it's ready to run when I can motivate myself to get back up again. 

Oh, and I finished another story chapter from Highway to Tartarus.  I've got one ready to work on as soon as I get done with the blog, here, and hope to get that one finished tonight.  I have a third one set up to write tomorrow, with a fourth (but closely related) one set up for tomorrow night or Wednesday during office hours. 

I really do think I can get the first draft finished before mid-September, and a second draft ready to place into my beta-readers' hands in mid-October.  I know TinCan Assassin is already planning to be a beta reader--not so sure about MSgt B this time, not with his work schedule (drop me an email or a comment if you want to).  If anyone else is interested, let me know.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Had a thought...

My second to youngest aunt is picking on the youngest, trying to (and succeeding in) drive the youngest out of the church congregation they are both members of.  The youngest aunt recently escaped a very badly physically abusive marriage, and is suffering memory problems and PTSD from repeated blows to the head.  She's applied for disability, and I think she deserves and needs the help.

The second to youngest aunt, her immediate elder sister, is very much against the youngest aunt getting disability.  Says she should just suck it up and get a job.

And the church is turning on my youngest aunt.  Somehow, she's a sinner that they want nothing to do with because she's a victim.

Disclaimer, here: that aunt doesn't have a job.  Doesn't have a driver's license.  Doesn't do anything except sit on her butt during the week, then expect the aunt that has a job to pick her up so that she can get away from her disabled husband (upon whose pension she's living) on the weekend.  The only reason she's treating her baby sister this way is because she's not getting the attention.  She is a vile, vicious, backbiting bitch, and I am done with her.  I will not reward behavior like that from my kids--why the fuck should I put up with it from a nominal adult?

In any case, I've been thinking about what I want to do for Christmas for my family.  I'm thinking I'm going to get my youngest aunt something nice, something fun.  I'll have to think on what to put into a "movie night" type basket for her. 

My second to youngest aunt--the shrew--is really on my shit list.  I think nothing will say that clearer than getting her something that I know she's going to find distasteful, and including a sharp message with it.  Something like a bottle of honey whiskey to sweeten that sour, bitter disposition, and maybe relax her into a bit more of a tolerant state of mind.  Since she disapproves of any type of alcohol--even red wine, like the doctors prescribed to her husband to try to improve his heart health just a bit--that should do the trick. 

What do y'all think?  Should I do it, or is it just a waste of good whiskey?

(I know, I know--get on your grading HH.  No more using blogging as a procrastination method.)

Kids are abed...

Time for a hot tea with honey whiskey while I plow through the rest of my papers.  I've got ten left, and then I'm done for another...two weeks, I think.  Might be a bit less, since I'm trying to push them on the easy papers to save enough time to add for the harder ones (analyzing an advertisement for Comp I; and a practical proposal, and then the researched persuasive for Comp II).

Guh.

The imp, the pixie, and I have all come down with a cold.  It hit the pixie, first, on Friday; then me, yesterday morning; and hit the imp right after nap time yesterday.

So, they've been cranky and impossible for the past couple of days while I've been grading.  I blew through ten during their naps--most of which were in the A range, making me think I need to focus on sentence-level improvements--and I only have twelve to go (felt bad enough yesterday that I only managed about two). 

Tomorrow's going to be dedicated to catching up on housework: putting away clean clothes, running a load of dirty clothes through the washer, putting away clean dishes, and probably making cookies.  Of some type.  Because I feel like it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Only two more hours...

It's been a very long day.  We hosted some friends over for a sort-of birthday celebration (a few days after the fact), with a promised blackberry cobbler for the birthday "cake." 

So, we had a four hour visit with friends.  Much preferable to grading papers. 

But I've still got papers to grade.  And I've been trying to do that since they left almost three hours ago.  I've finished one, while I've had to chase the kids around, feed the kids, and deal with the dog's needs, since today was too hot for her to stay outside in her pen without having had another haircut. 

I've got thirteen papers to go for the day, since I fell so far behind trying to get crap organized for class and life management. 

Another hour and a half, and it'll be time to wrangle the kids around for bed (use bathroom, get a diaper on the pixie, get teeth brushed for both, and each tucked in and sang to in turn.  Takes about a half an hour overall.

So, by eight thirty, I'll be settling in to grade papers with a tumbler of Scotch over a couple of ice cubes. 

Random ramblings

My imp decided to throw a temper tantrum upon leaving the park, last Wednesday.  That meant that the kids didn't get to go to the park on Friday.  He's been testing boundaries, lately, testing them hard, and not just with Odysseus and me.  I know it'll ease up soon, but damn if it's not got me ready to run screaming for the hills. 

Even worse is that he knows that the crap he's pulling earns a spank, but he does it anyway.  And when I go to deal with it, he runs from me, screaming, "NO!  Don't spank me!" 

"Son, did you do such and so?"

"Yes."  (Said with a pushed out lower lip, and bowed head.)

"What happens when you do that?"

"I get spanks." 

"Would you rather stand in the corner?"

"NO!!  No, no, no, no--" and here, he bursts into tears. 

I wouldn't do it anyway, short of a repeat of the same behavior within about ten minutes of the spank.  He's claustrophobic, and the nose-in-the-corner is downright torture.  I find that more abusive than a spank.

I think I wound up pushing a bit too hard with potty-training the pixie.  She went several days dry (or mostly so--she'd catch herself and run for the bathroom), but went without pooping for the days that she was in undies. 

I do not understand why, but she got herself so bound up it wasn't funny.  She's back in diapers and pull-ups until we can get her trained to go poop sitting down on her potty, instead of hiding and squatting.

The dog has gone back into her "I'm a big, tough, outside terrier" mode.  I went to try to get her to come inside yesterday afternoon--before the hottest part of the day--and she jumped to the back of her pen and started spinning circles in sheer doggy enjoyment of teasing me. 

Okay.  Fine.  I went back inside and got her a cup of food, then left her out.  It's really what she prefers. 

We've put the cats on some new food--designed to keep spayed and neutered cats from turning into lazy lumps of chub and fur.  It works.  I wonder exactly what they put in that stuff that turns the cats in to spastic lunatics for about an hour after they go eat.  Because that's exactly what it does.  And I need something like that for weight loss.

I've got about half a dozen students in each class that came to me already knowing how to write a good, solid thesis statement from high school.  That's something that's never happened to me before.  The best I've ever had was about four in one class, and one in the other, plus one more that had a general idea of what to do, but still needed to polish the specifics.  I'm thinking that I'm going to be spending some of my time actually working on grammar and punctuation rules, because all they seem to need is a bit of polish.  They've already picked up focus and purpose, organization, and development.

I've still got about fifteen or sixteen papers to grade over the next two days.  After that, I'll be back to writing for a week, then grading again the week after.  I'm still pretty sure I can have Highway to Tartarus ready for beta-reading by mid-October.

Friday, September 6, 2013

...Mine is an evil laugh...

My composition I class has an essay we're starting: a summary/strong response essay.  They summarize, then respond to one of four essays.  This one and this one in particular have elicited strong reactions of distaste and anger. 

My girls are stunned and horrified by the image they've been given of radical feminists...which is the first step toward rejecting the feminist ideals altogether. 

Another group--the one reading Williams's piece--were completely horrified and outraged by the progressive federal government's mostly-successful attempts to enslave the American population by creating a permanent underclass of (mostly black) dependents, and workers whose paychecks are confiscated in ever-increasing percentages to pay for that permanent underclass.

See what I did there? 

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm not telling them what to think, just providing things to think about.  I'd've been just as happy if they'd questioned it all, and done research to prove the essays wrong.

FFOT: I got nothin'.

Other than having a fuck-ton of grading to do (basically, a metric shit-ton, which is a metric butt-ton), I haven't really got anything to complain about. 

That doesn't mean that y'all ain't welcome to bitch in the comments, though.  Have at it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grading.

I got ten papers graded in about two and a half hours (took a couple of short breaks).

It's not the reading through the paper that takes so long, nor yet marking the errors (checkmarks in the right margin, one per grammar/punctuation mistake).  Nope, it's writing comments on what they're doing right, and what they need to fix to do better on what they're doing wrong.

And, after four years of doing that on electronic documents, doing that longhand hurts.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pardon my language. I'm in a bit of shock.

Ever seen somebody SLAP A FUCKING COBRA??? 



Can you believe the balls on that guy?

(via Wirecutter)

It's nice to have a day off from teaching

Especially so that I can go to the park with the other half and the kids, since it's part of their daily routine on MWF now, while I'm teaching.  A couple of friends of ours will be joining us--the pixie's godparents.  They need to go to Sam's Club afterwards, so they'll be going on our membership.  What they need is only on the more expensive membership that they can't afford (and which I've figured that we can't afford not to have).

After that, I'm planning on getting some writing done.  I've added about five hundred words (or one page, single spaced, in 12 pt font) to one of the early stories, and changed wording in several more.  I've got three stories on the back burner that need to be worked on, and I think I might be able to get them done today.  That will probably bring the current total word count up to about 55,000 words.  And I've got about four more plot-based stories to go, and several ideas that Odysseus came up with.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Interesting juxtaposition in my email spam...

There was an ad inviting me to sign up for a service that sends a bible verse every day to my inbox.  Yes, I'm Christian.  No, I do not believe it's wise to take verses out of context, not even the famous and beloved John 3:16. 

Right below that was an email hawking Ashley Madison married "dating"--we set up your affairs for you, so you don't get caught, or your money back, or some shit like that.

Um...no.  Just no.  Not even by itself, for several reasons.

First, my Odysseus is my best friend, my other half, and I can sooner imagine doing something to deliberately harm myself than I could something that would hurt him. 

Second, that harms the foundation upon which my children's life is built.

Third...I really have a hate-on for oathbreakers.  Really, really.  It's the root of my hatred of all of the congresscritters, cabinet, Supreme Court Justices, and pretty much anyone working in D.C. today.  And cheating on your spouse is breaking an oath, unless you specifically wrote that OUT of your vows.

But the two landing in my spam box kinda made me snicker.