Monday, March 31, 2014


And people wonder why I don't want to live anywhere near a permanent military facility.  You get fuckers like Hassan at Fort Hood, and this son of a goat-fellating whore, who enlisted for the sole purpose of copying Hassan's actions, running around.

I'm two hours south of this.  And there's very little info on where the hunt is taking place. 

I am so very glad that the little camel-cock riding sand-nigger wanna-be was dumb enough to talk about his plans before he had the chance to carry them out, and even more glad that he didn't have the sense to make sure his audience wouldn't report him. 

I hope he gets sent to Ft. Leavenworth for this attempt.  I really doubt that even the dregs stored there will be particularly happy about his plans, and will likely beat the holy living fuck out of him, before shoving a whole, bone-in ham up his ass.

New pasta sauce tried...

Prego has some interesting flavors.  I was looking for a simple red sauce with some Italian sausage in it, to go into a tortellini pasta bake.*  Found some, but right next to it was a bacon provolone red sauce.  Odysseus expressed a distinct preference for that, so that was what we got.

It was...good.  Not great, but good.  Very, very rich--too rich to go well with tortellini. 

I can, however, see how it would be good over a breaded chicken patty, with a mozzarella or a slice of provolone melted over the top. 

We probably won't be getting that one again. 

*For the tortellini version of pasta bake, you get the 12 oz bag of the dry pasta, and bake it for 40 minutes, not 30, like you'd do with plain, unfilled pasta.  It'll have a little more sauce to it than a full pound of pasta, but it's a little better, in my opinion, especially if you have bread.


Apparently, my cable provider is going to drop Viacom channels.  I don't know which channels I'm supposed to be sad about--after all, that means no more trying to head off SpongeBob, no more MTV/VH1, etc. 

I strongly doubt my price will drop, and that this is to keep my price from going up. 

So tell me again: why should I care?

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Pixie: "Mommy, I want a hangabur for supper, too!"

So, Odysseus went out and grilled a burger for the adorable little pixie, without barbecue sauce. 

Beautiful day...

Odysseus is sitting on the front porch, assembling a new grill.  We had a small, round, table-top model, but it's starting to rust through on the bottom, and just generally wear out.  Not surprising--we paid $10 for it, and have used it fairly heavily for the past four years.

Our new grill is about 2'x2', square 2' diameter round, and has a removable ash can on the bottom--handy, that.  It's definitely big enough for the two of us plus a couple of friends.

Once the grill gets assembled, we're going to barbecue some burgers. 

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Growing up, I always got into trouble if I invoked the word "God" anywhere but in prayer.  Never mind that, in my mind, when I say "Oh, God," I'm usually intending it in a "What the hell are you doing, and why hasn't anybody stopped you?  I'll pray for your safety" type of way. 

I never once felt I was taking His name in vain.  No, there were people all around me that I saw doing that. 

"Did you know that when you do that/don't do that, you make Jesus cry?"  I heard that one from my grandmother a lot.  It was an attempt to guilt trip me into behaving myself.  I'm pretty sure that she made Jesus cry taking His name in vain like that.

"God is on our side!"  No, he isn't.  He is on the side of those who are on His side, and it's pretty demonstrable that most people claiming that He is on theirs are not on His, solely by their actions.

"God hates fags."  No, he doesn't.  The Bible pretty clearly says that He loves everyone, even those who sin against Him.  There's even two or three parables where the return of the lost sinner to the fold of the faithful is cause for celebration. 

"If you don't go to our church, you're not hearing God's word, and He's gonna send you to hell."  Um...see above.  All of the above.  People who go to churches that think this are definitely taking His name in vain.  

Considering that almost every church I've ever visited thinks this, even if they don't outright say it, that's sad.

"God loves you, but everyone else thinks you're a jerk."  I can't really say anything about that.  It's probably true in a lot of cases.  I know it definitely can be said accurately a lot of the time in mine.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Random ramblings

So, the imp has let me know that he really likes the Johnny Cash greatest hits CD that my in-laws copied off for us.  "Mama, I want to listen to that music.  It's got fire.  It's got a fire ring.  And it burns!"  He's listened to it every night in the bathtub since I put the CD player in the bathroom.

I put Within Temptation's The Unforgiving on the CD player in the living room, last night, and discovered that the kids are happier with music to play by than they are with something they have to sit still and watch.  They just don't like a quiet house.

Thing is, I not only don't mind a house full of music, I actively like it.

Now, all I have to do is make sure they don't knock themselves into corners of things in the living room while they're dancing.  I don't need to be investigated for beating them, when they're hurting themselves because they're not hearing me when I tell them to stop what they're doing.

I ended up having to cut the pixie's bangs last night.  They were hanging into her eyes, and she was starting to run into things.

It's really hard to cut her hair--it's got a lot of random curl to it (some is straight, some is...decidedly not, and sometimes the straight and the curly are right next to each other).  Her bangs, in particular, tend to curl under.  So, while her hair was wet from being washed last night, I combed her bangs down--and wet, they went to the end of her nose, even though they were barely in her eyes dry--and trimmed them to her eyebrows.  This morning, with her hair dry, and the curl in full evidence, her bangs are halfway between her eyebrows and her hairline.  It's relatively cute on her, but with the uneven curl, she's got some bits that look longer than the rest.

She gets to go pick out a dolly, today.  She's gone a whole week without wearing a pull-up.

Now, we just have to wean her off of using the potty chair and onto the toilet, and she'll be completely potty trained.

I'll keep a handful of pull-ups around for times when the kids are too sick to want to get up to go use the bathroom.  It's happened, a couple of times.

Does anyone else have a cat that likes to steal foam earplugs (related to, but different from a ferret that eats rubber butt-pads on rifles)?  I do.  Shadow has stolen one of the pair I keep on my nightstand two nights in a row: she nudges the pillowcase I hide them under out of the way, then she picks one up and slinks off to hide in the new black bookcase.  Thinks she's hidden.  She would be, when I don't wear my glasses, but for one thing: she purrs loud enough to hear from down the hall when she's got one of my orange foam earplugs. 

What she does when she gets it away is funny: she lays it down, pins it under a paw, and nuzzles it.

But.  I need those for bad allergy nights.

The pets get shut in the pantry overnights, partially because there's not a door separating the living area from the sleeping area (and the pets are NOISY while the kids are sleeping), and partially because the living room has too many toys that are too tempting for a small dog to chew on.

Last night, Cricket somehow got missed.  I got up this morning to find the big, spastic kitty running around crying.  I think she woke the pixie, yowling in the hall, trying to find somebody, anybody, to pet her.  Or feed her.  Or feed her and pet her.  When I went back to let the other critters out (and let the dog out into the front yard on her extra-long leash for her morning doody), Cricket nearly knocked me down, running into the back of my knee on her way to the litter box.

The dog...has been a happy dog, except for Thursday, when we had rain and she had to spend most of the day inside.  She loves her outdoor pen.

Odysseus wants to try jacking the middle of the deck in the back up, and putting supports under the middle.  Does anyone have any experience with doing deck repairs like that?  Whoever built our deck to start with built it HUGE (it's 12' from the back door to the steps, and 17' side to side).  With only the four corner posts sunk into the ground.  There.  Is. No. Support.  The middle is sagging a good six or eight inches lower than the sides.  The whole thing, frame and all, is built of 2x4s and 2x6s, with the only 4x4s being the corners.  And the planking needs replaced, and so do the steps.  Anybody have any advice on what to do?  I'm afraid the wood will split, and we'll just need to tear it down anyway.

This is not my preference, but Odysseus's.  I think he just wants to be able to make big deck jokes.

I picked up paper 4 (I teach five per semester) on Thursday.  Didn't get around to downloading and grading papers from email until last night.  Didn't get around to grading until last night, but still got almost half done.  I think tonight may well see me finished, and if not, it won't take longer than Monday to get done.  They took the proposal format and ran with it.  I've had a few of my excellent students turn in work not quite up to their usual standards, but everybody seems to have done pretty well.  So far.  I started with the good class, not the one that's not so good.

I'm hoping to be able to send my children's book to my favorite cover artist tonight or tomorrow.  I think it may come out about the same time as Pendragon Resurgent.  I hope the little girl I wrote it for likes it.  I wasn't very flattering to childhood behaviors.  I wasn't aiming them at her--I've seen the exact same behaviors exhibited in my own children (except for the cutting of their own hair, since I don't trust them with scissors at all).  And I don't like it in any child I see, so I was less than flattering about the behaviors and the whining. But I think I was accurate.

I've decided what I'm going to do about the epilogue for Pendragon Resurgent.  I'm going to write it separately, and see if it improves the story, or if it just...sits there.  If it doesn't improve the story, I can just cut it, and hold it back for a possible new series in the world.

I do not, however, want to become Mercedes Lackey.  If you don't know what I mean, start looking into her Valdamar series: several sets of books, all set in the same world.  They are awesome stories, but...after a certain point, it just strikes me as a naked money-grab.

Although, I have nothing against naked money grabs.  I could certainly use a chance at it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Good, but....

The stuffed pepper soup was good.  Really good. 

But...I'm going to play with the recipe a bit before I post it.  Mom's stuffed peppers were always more like peppers stuffed with taco meat and Spanish rice.

I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually, and I can happily eat the evidence of failed experiments.

A day for comfort food.

It's chilly, but not cold.  Damp, but not (yet) raining.  Perfect day for comfort food.

One of my old favorites from my early teen years is stuffed peppers.  I haven't ever made it, because I'm a good simple cook.  Stuffed peppers are a bit more complex than I'm comfortable with.  But I do miss them.

I found a recipe that I'm going to try: stuffed pepper soup.  I'm pretty sure Odysseus doesn't like stuffed peppers, and I know he's not a big fan of soup.  He's working tonight, though.  So, sometime after he leaves for work, I'm going to follow the recipe I found.  I'll share it if it ends up as good as it sounds.

FFOT: lethargy

I can't really get worked up about anything.  I've tried.

Leland Yee?  Nope.  I may not have known the name, but he was a politician, and the behavior is what I've come to expect.

The fact that I'm not surprised (disgusted, yes, but not surprised) by corruption and hypocrisy on this level in anyone can fuck the fuck off.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Well, that was interesting.

I just had a conference with a student.  A married female Saudi student whose husband is also in my class with her (and having much less trouble). 

Come to find out, I have a lot more common ground with her than I do most of the American women I'm around. 

Maybe I need to look for friends in the more traditional cultures--ones that the religion doesn't give me the suspicious heebie-jeebies. 


There are several computers marked with a reserved sign in the library computer lab, today.  Apparently, they're holding a workshop to help foreign exchange students who work on campus with their income taxes.  I've seen a dozen students walk through the computer lab, looking at each of the empty computers hopefully, only to sigh in resignation at the reserved signs over each one and wander off.

What they say is Reserved in big red letters at the top, followed by International student tax workshop in green, then Thursday March 27 in yellow.  And this is as far as anyone goes.

If they read the whole thing, they'd have noticed the double-sized font beneath the date that reads 5PM-8PM.  I have not yet seen anyone that noticed.  All of the reserved computers are still empty.

Such stunningly developed skills of observation these twits have!  I'd bet most of 'em have homework, too.

My long day...

I have been looking forward to this since last week.  It's going to be a long, quiet afternoon.  I'm going to take a pair of headphones, and listen to music while I work on writing. 

I'm picking up paper 4 today.  We have one more paper to do--the research paper--and that will be done over all of the next month.  We'll have time to do a little bit of blogging, thank goodness.  Because I got an email announcement from the department head that our temporary president had announced that every class must have something for the students to do, and it must be a graded thing to do, during scheduled final exam time. 

Um...once my students hand in their research papers, there is nothing else that they need to do for my comp class.  I had decided to not do a final, and to turn in grades the first second that I possibly could. The requirement is just a temporary president's attempts to make his presence felt.  So, I've told my students that they are required to turn in one extra blog post, due during their final exam time.  And the temporary president?  Can go fuck himself with a nail-studded baseball bat if he's not happy with that.

I won't be starting to grade today.  I'm going to spend today getting organized to start grading.  My office hours will be spent writing.  I've got four hours--should be able to finish the children's story, and revise it.  I'll also be working on revising Pendragon Resurgent

So, yes, it's going to be a long day.  I'm pretty sure it will also be a pleasant one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Led Zeppelin is alive in the new generation of rock

Andrew Stockdale and Wolfmother have stepped up to (almost) fill those shoes.  "By the Sword," a piece done with Slash (former guitarist for Guns & Roses--and a genius) made me think it was one of Zepplin's songs that I somehow hadn't heard.  Here--have a listen:

And then I found this.  Close your eyes.  Listen.  Tell me it doesn't sound like Zeppelin:

I may have to look up more by this band.  I am impressed.  And looking for more quality music my kids can listen to, without me having to worry about language they're picking up.


Odysseus brought back half a dozen big boxes and tubs full of books.  They're in the shelves--all except for the half a box that's destined for the second-hand book shops...or charity. 

I feel better...we have three forty inch wide shelves stacked two layers deep of paperbacks, and several more shelves in the bookcases in our bedroom stacked two layers deep of hardbacks then paperbacks. 

Books soothe me, even when I don't have the luxury of reading them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Awesome video, better with alcohol

This got stuck in my head like nobody's business, this evening, so I thought I'd share.  Enjoy!


The imp had an interview with the local non-Catholic K-12 parochial school, today.  Odysseus and I were very, very nervous, because one of the imp's favorite tricks is to pretend he doesn't know as much as he does. 

He impressed the superintendent by adding 2+2: "Grama and Granpa have two [things I can't remember] and two more [things I can't remember]."

Me: "So, how many things is that?"

Imp (with no hesitation whatsoever): "Dat's four." 

Superintendent: "I think he'll do very well with us.  How would you like to go to Kindergarten here in the fall?"

Imp:  "I would like that.  Can I go today?"

So, the next step (which I am just about to take) is to go get the online enrollment done. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

I am done.

I am completely done for the night.  Done in. 

I'm not sure if my thyroid meds I got last month just weren't potent (the pill tastes like chalk, rather than the slightly sweet it's been up to then), or if I suddenly need a higher dose, but I have had no energy, have had my nails breaking and/or tearing at the slightest stress, have had brain fog worse than I had when I was getting less sleep, and I've been constantly cold, even on decent days. 

I said screw it, and refilled the scrip with about a week's worth to go.  If that doesn't fix things, then I'll call the doc's office.

The other reason I'm kinda done in is the imp has been really trying to get himself killed today.  Beyond the misbehavior this morning?  He started harassing his dining companions this evening (the pixie, and TCA's Progeny, who'd earned herself a pizza for supper), multiple times, even after being told to stop (and subsequently getting sent to his room).  Then, after Progeny finished eating, she asked if she could go play with him--to which I said yes. 

Maybe I shouldn't have.  The two of them got to playing, and the imp started getting over-excited, and then Progeny comes out, her eyes big, and tells me that the imp threw a large, plush soccer ball straight up in the air, towards his ceiling.  He's broken the glass shades on his ceiling fan light fixture, doing that in the past, so throwing anything is against the rules in the house.  As she's telling me, he's screaming "NO!  Don't tell my mom!  I get in trouble!" 

And then...he slams the door, then runs from me when I go in. 

Yeah, he got spanked.  Yeah, he got double the swats. 

Fast forward to bathtime.  Progeny has been gone for an hour.  Pixie has been permitted time to play in the bath.  I called the imp in, chased the pixie down and wrestled her panties on her while she giggled and tried to get away, and go back in to find the imp ready to get in. 

And he?  "Run my freakin' bath, you bitch."


Yeah, that got him slapped.  Kinda shocked it out of me, too.  I really didn't mean to slap him.  I explained that that was a grown-up word, and that it was a bad word, even for grownups.  I asked him where he heard it, and finally got out of him that he heard it on a song on the radio. 

I'm going to toss the bathroom radio, and replace it with a CD player, I think.  I do not recall hearing that word on the radio when I started ignoring Mom's orders, and started listening to a rock station back in the mid nineties. 

People say that standards aren't declining.  I beg to differ.

I'm done. 

If the interview with the school doesn't get the imp into parochial school, I'm using the tax refunds to order the stinkin' curriculum and homeschooling.


My only quibble is that I can't tell if the trigger guard and trigger are covered or not.  If not...that ain't good.

Food fights

Did you know that it can sometimes take my three year old daughter three hours to eat something she likes?  And that my son frequently harasses other people at the table until I have to send him back to his room to wait until everyone else is done eating?

Is this normal behavior for three and five?  Or are mine just...infuriating?

Lack of foresight...

"Imp, what are you doing?"

"Going up and down the hall..."

"Are you supposed to be doing that?"*


"Then why were you doing it?"

"Because I want to."

"Are you supposed to be doing that?"


"Do you want to get in trouble?"


"Will you keep doing it?"



"Because I want to."

"If you do it again, you will spend the day in your room by yourself with the door shut.  Are you going to keep doing it?"

*sigh*  "No..."

What he means by "no" is "not right now."  He'll forget in an hour or so--he always does--and he'll get sent to his room for the day, to play by himself.  Like always happens.  

I am so tired of dealing with a total lack of logic, a disregard for the rules of the house, and complete shock when I punish the kids for breaking the rules.  It's expected, right now, because they're only five and three. 

No, the problem is that I see the same behavior traits in eighteen year old kids, in young people in their twenties and thirties, and adults in their forties and fifties.  I see these behavior traits in my students, in my classes.  "I turned my paper in late because *insert random pathetic excuse here* and I want you to take it late because I want you to.  I don't care that it's against your rules."

I don't know if it's a dearth of parenting, or a complete and total lack of ability to predict the consequences of a choice/an action. 

It's why we have a drooling moron for VP, and an anti-American, cock-riding, vapid twat in the White House.  It's why I see so many on welfare with tattoos, or so many with debt that could be half wiped out by their tax returns spending said tax returns on unnecessary luxuries (do you know how many iPhones I see in my classes, while my students whine about never having money?).  It's why we had such a thing as a NINJA loan, why so many adjustable-rate balloon mortgages were taken out.  It's why we had so many foreclosures.

This behavior is expected in small children that haven't quite grasped cause and effect, or how to predict the results of a choice or behavior. 

I am sick unto death of seeing the same behavior in adults.

*It's against the rules for the imp to simply wander up and down the hall.  He has a tendency to shove his sister when he's doing this, or simply run over her.  Not to mention that it's irritating as hell. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Same-old, same-old.

There is nothing new in the news, and the news is nothing but depressing. 

King Putt is aggregating more and more power unto himself, and not one of the people we hired to do our will is doing a damn thing to stop him. 

Detroit is Detroit is Detroit.

Health"Care" dot gov is putting up ads featuring people saying "I'm Covered!" all over the place, despite the fact that most of America is unable to access the websites, or afford the "affordable" coverage, or the "awesome, affordable" coverage costs more and covers less than the plans stolen by the government. 

Russia is re-taking old territories with impunity.  And no one but the people being re-subjugated seems to care about anything but that the natural gas must flow. 

I am sickened and frightened by the state the world is falling into. 

Stock up on beans, bullets, and bandages, folks--it's likely to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Personal preferences

That's what everything comes down to, especially in the non-professional shooters' gun world. 

My personal preferences are mine, not anyone else's.  I like what I like, and I have solid reasons for what I like.  I don't think my choices are better than anyone else's, and I'm sure that there are those out there who make better choices than I do.

For instance...I love my bolt-action rifles.  Love them to death.  I love loading them one cartridge at a time, love slamming the bolt forward to pick up a round (have to slap the dog shit out of my M44 and my 91/30, but that's part of the experience), love the feel of the rifle snuggled into my shoulder, the feel of the trigger take-up, and the kick of the rifle.  It's almost a ritual, for me, now.  It's calming.  And I need that, because it's one of two things that take the five separate trains of thought in my head (two of which are ADD) and get them all focused on the same thing.  Makes things get quiet.

I know modern semi-auto rifles are just as accurate as (if not more so than) a good bolt-action.  It honestly doesn't matter to me.  I don't have a singe rifle that isn't capable of more than what I can do with it, especially after five years of little to now practice.  My SAR is capable of almost as much accuracy as my husband's AR-15.  I love the rifle, but I don't love it as much as I love my bolt rifles. 

I am aware that wheel guns are more reliable, for the most part, than a semi-auto handgun.  I don't care.  Yes, they're pretty, but the angle of the grip, the feel of the gun in my hand, just isn't right.  They're fine guns, but my personal preferences lie with my CZ-82...or my Colt 1903, both of which I'm quite capable with. 

I do not like Glocks.  I don't like that the sole safety is a DAO trigger, I don't like the angle of the grip, and I honestly prefer hammer-fired over striker-fired guns (and really like DA/SA...which is part of what explains why I prefer semi-autos over revolvers). 

Personal taste.  My guns are not better than yours, any more than yours are better than mine (unless you've spent a shit ton of money, and are a professional).  I like mine.  They're better for me, not better in general.

And I'm pretty sure your guns are the same to you.

Now that was satisfying!

So, I get onto Facebook to check on my friend who has breast cancer, and up pops an ad with a "testimonial" for the "Affordable" Care Act medical insurance exchanges. 

I hunted around, found this little down-pointing arrow that drops a menu of options, and marked that piece of shit as spam.  FB asked me to mark why I thought it was spam, and I clicked on the false and inaccurate choice. 

I've been smiling since.

random ramblings

We had to get the imp and pixie new shoes, a size up from what they'd been in.  The pixie picked a couple of pair of thin, flimsy canvas ballet flat style shoes, with straps across the arches of her feet.  The two together cost about the same as the one pair we found in the imp's size. 

The imp's shoes are a medium gray with orange lining, orange soles, and orange laces.  Yes, laces.  I'm starting to try to teach him to tie his shoes.  It's not easy when he doesn't listen. 

The reason he's got lace-up shoes is because those were the only ones in a reasonable price range actually in his size.  I'm not spending fifteen dollars on a pair that has a Marvel character or lights up, when they're going to be destroyed in three months' time by a rambunctious little boy.  Or outgrown in six months. 

Speaking of those shoes, the pixie did something incredibly cute with them, and with one of the imp's stuffed toy, a Japanese monster toy that he picked out for himself when he was about eight months old.  (TinCan Assassin took the picture)

If that's not cute, I'm not sure what is. 

The kids are watching The Sword in the Stone, this morning, due to a dearth of quality children's programming on television.  They seem to really like the old Disney cartoons, with the old style of animation, a lot better than they like the current trend toward a more computer graphics style of animation.  Pixie didn't much care one way or the other for Frozen.  To be honest, I didn't really like it much, either. 

Shadow vanished for about six hours on Tuesday.  I knew she hadn't gotten out, so I wasn't terribly concerned.  Cricket was missing her lost brain, though (she doesn't have one of her own, I think, so she uses Shadow's).  Eventually, about an hour and a half after the imp went to bed, I hear a soft mew, and soft scratching at his bedroom door.

She'd managed to hide well enough in the imp's room that I missed her when I was checking the kids' rooms before putting the kids to bed. 

The dog has been a very happy dog, lately.  She's spent the majority of every day outside, and the neighbor to the south has acquired an adorable (and quite lovely) little Shi Tzu male.  The two have become fence friends.  It's cute--they yap at each other, and run back and forth along the fence line, playing. 

That neighbor's dog is very good with kids.  The pixie and I took the neighbor a third of a cup of dried minced onions (about one onion, reconstituted), and the dog heard the pixie, dodged legs positioned to keep him inside, and dashed right into her open arms, leaning into the hug with his tail sweeping up a dust cloud on the neighbor's porch. 

My dog?  Not so much.  She's still very much puppy between the ears.  Rambunctious.  And twenty plus pounds to the pixie's thirty (and the imp's forty).

Classes start back up next week--they're workshopping on Tuesday, and their papers are due on Thursday.  I'd planned to get the corner around the sewing machine fixed up this week, maybe use the sewing table as a desk for grading to see if that would work better for me, and I've failed.  Badly.  I don't even have last week's clean laundry put away, much less any of the cleaning/straightening/decluttering I'd planned for this week.  Kinda sucks, really.  

I haven't gotten any more done on Pendragon Resurgent.  I'll try to work on that next week, if I can get caught up on housework.  I've just not had the energy to do more than load and unload the dishwasher.  I cannot seem to shake this damn cold.

I've nearly finished Progeny's horse story--tentatively titled Lizzy's Tail.  I'm thinking it'll be around 75 pages, plus or minus about ten, when it's published in paperback.  Both of her parents have read an unfinished draft, and approved it.  TCA has asked for a couple of copies to donate to the Catholic school Progeny attends.  I have no problem with that.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Looking forward to office hours, next week.

Very, very much looking forward to office hours.  I am so bloody sick of the constant fighting--over toys, spots on the couch, who gets to play with Progeny--that I could start screaming.  I need the day off from minding my children before I do go batshit insane and start screaming profanity at the top of my lungs.

Except I can't.  Because I still have no voice, thanks to the fucking cold I came down with at the beginning of Spring Break.

Must have gotten a degree in the humanities.

The above wouldn't have happened, if the individual had gotten a STEM degree.

I am perfectly aware that I teach a core class in the humanities.  I would love to see my job phased out because it isn't needed anymore, but given the generally falling quality of education, I don't see that happening any time soon. 

FFOT: sick on break

Today is the last week day of Spring Break.  I step back in front of the class on Tuesday.  And I still don't have my voice. 

Being sick on break really sucks.  And it can fuck off.  I've gotten nothing done.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh, look!

Another gun-free zone fulfilling its function!


I mean, sometimes smart people miss sarcasm.  The TSA--in any country--is not made up of smart people.  I do not understand how this guy could imagine telling the bright bulbs that make up the TSA that he had a bomb up his ass could result in anything other than what he obviously got.  I really don't understand where he found the chutzpah to say that "he never anticipated the consequences of his remarks...and by consequences, he meant such an extensive cavity search."

I understand his frustration.  I really do.  However.  

Stupid should hurt...and this time, it did. 

Overheard in the living room:

Pixie: There's too much talking! I really want to go out and play in the back yard!

Better than Gaga's "Poker Face"...

...but it still gets stuck in your head like nobody's business.

(By the way, my kids love Bubble Guppies--both of them jump up to dance to this.  I think perhaps the cuteness is what makes the obnoxious thing tolerable.)


I have a cold.  It started out as a head cold, and migrated down to become a chest cold, as my colds often do.  However annoying that is, what happened next was worse: it has caused me to lose my voice.  I cannot speak above a soft croak, and whispers are less painful. 

It has been a royal pain and a half to ride herd on the kids today. 

Odysseus is taking them to the park.  TinCan Assassin and his Progeny are joining them. 

I can't go.  I'd be worse than useless if I did, and it's probably a bad idea with the wind. 

So...I'll be staying home and writing.  I'm going to see how much of Progeny's horse story I can get finished before they get back. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


So, on Sunday, we had snow.  Monday was nicer--in the fifties.  Yesterday was in the mid sixties.  Today was in the mid fifties.  Tomorrow is in the seventies. 

Mother Nature needs to go on bipolar meds.


I'm busy writing on the children's book I had the idea for.  I'm thinking it'll be around 75 pages, and cost about $4.99 for the paperback.  I doubt it will take me more than a few days to write the first draft, since it's unlikely to be more than about 10,000 words (as opposed to Pendragon, which topped out around 60,000). 

I'm a bit over 2,000 words in, and I've roughed out a general outline, so I know where it's going.  I've just finished the very beginning of the story of the stuffed horse.  It's been given a gender (female) and a name by the little girl that picked it out.  Next comes the adventures.

Yes, I am planning on publishing this.  The first copy goes to the little girl that asked for it. 

I love my son...

The imp decided to clean his room, yesterday.  Did a pretty fair job of it...took almost all of his toys into his sister's room, and left them there. 

Strike one, although he didn't know that that wasn't acceptable (although I think he kinda did--I'd just never set it as a rule).

Then, he spent a good portion of the afternoon acting like a boy: playing in the back yard, getting wet and muddy.  He managed to get muddy enough that it squished through his jeans and got his bare legs muddy all the way up to the thighs.  Since he'd been digging up the wild garlic in the yard, all over the yard instead of just under his slide (which is where he's permitted to dig), I made him come in and I cleaned him up.  Had strip him to the skin (his underwear was wet), and wash his hands up to the elbows, and wash his feet and legs before I could get him dressed in clean clothes

Strike two.

I got him, his sister, and TinCan Assassin's Progeny all set up on the couch, watching Tom and Jerry, eating peanut butter crackers, and each with a cup of water.  All was well for about fifteen minutes, until I had to get up and go work on the dishes...and then the imp decided to kick his sister in the face. 

Strike three.  He got told to put his snack down, and go to his room.  Stayed there until supper, because by that point, I was incredibly angry with him...and I never, ever spank when I'm angry. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I think I'm gonna have Odysseus move the summer clothes into the back room, in the corner between the two sets of shelves.  There just isn't room in the bedroom for them, the gun stuff, and the sewing corner.  The gun stuff can all go in the closet, but the off-season clothes will have to be put somewhere out of the way, so that I can sort the sewing corner.

I also need at least one more full-size bookcase.  That's been purchased--it just needs to be put together.

It seems, sometimes, like every bit of progress made in organizing and cleaning my house is accompanied by another area getting out of control.  Right now, that's really not being helped by this nasty cold sapping all of my energy and making me feel like crap. 

Odysseus has plans for tomorrow--while the weather isn't bad, but is too cold to be a lot of fun--to head down to a nearby small town that has a free, public shooting range, to test some repairs made to one of our guns that wasn't feeding from the magazine properly.  A friend who has forgotten more about gun function and maintenence than we know told us that the feed ramp had a ridge at the edge of it, and the round was catching on that.  Told us to get a stone and smooth it off. 

And now, that needs function-tested.  If it works, it may become a summer carry piece for me. 

After that, he's going to be keeping an eye on the kids while I do stuff to try to get our bedroom back into such shape that I can get to the dresser to put Odysseus's clothes up.  Because right now?  I can't.  Which also means that his clean clothes are taking up one of the dirty clothes baskets.  Which means...that we have less capacity for dirty clothes, and his clothes are MUCH bigger than mine (he's about a quarter inch away from being 6'4", and I'm 4'11"). 

Part of the problem is a huge basket of fabric pieces that my family foisted off on me, so that I can teach myself how to sew.  I need to separate that out between useful and not, and between different fabric types (cottons, jerseys, etc).  Right now, that's just been juggled back and forth between the sewing table and the end of the bed and the floor at the end of the bed...where it's tripped over, and put back onto the table...where it's in the way for making use of the table as a desk. 

Thursday, we are planning on taking the kids to a park, at least for a while.  The weather is supposed to be just too nice not to.  And way too nice to go down to go shooting, and find the range anything other than packed.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

I spoke too soon.

Odysseus had today scheduled off.  TinCan Assassin was scheduled to work. 

Mrs. TinCan Assassin had a fibromyalgia flare up.  She could use some prayers from those who pray, and positive thoughts and energy for well-being from those who don't. 

So, Odysseus and TinCan Assassin have traded days off so that TinCan Assassin can stay home and take care of his wife. 

Still an easy enough day for me, but not for either TinCan Assassin or Odysseus. 

Well, well.

We're working on getting the Subie licensed today, and the sales tax paid. 

After that, we need to get the bug spray out for around the foundation, when the snow finishes melting. 

I have clean clothes to put away, and Odysseus has some other general gun maintenance to do.

Other than that (and the usual kid wrangling, and a bit of babysitting), I should have a fairly easy day lined up. 

Not quite Frosted Lucky Charms...

I always wondered where the rabbit's feet were in that cereal...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This sucks.

The Curse of the Birthday Visit strikes again.  It always happens: I have a birthday, and if it's during the week, the weather's nice.  As soon as I get a chance to visit my mother, the weather turns to shit.  Often, that takes the form of snow, like today.

Yes, we had snow today.  It started three hours earlier than predicted, and has kept going all day.

Made for some hair-raising driving conditions.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Two chapters of the children's story I'm working on done.  I have no real, clear idea where this is going...should be fun to see how it all ends up. 

That hissing you hear is the blogger slowly deflating...

I'm beat.  Since Odysseus left for work, I've gotten three loads run through the washer (and the second of the three is in the dryer), the kids turned loose from solitary and fed, the kitchen trash taken out, the clean dishes unloaded from the dishwasher and the dirty put in, one child bathed, and the other child entertained while the one that needed a bath got it.  After that, I got them fed a little more (peanut butter crackers are a life saver), then put to bed. 

And then, I remembered that the dog was still out (thank God it hadn't started raining, yet).  Got her out of her pen, jerked her off her feet when I noticed that she was booking it towards a toad (poor thing--we're supposed to get snow tomorrow), and finally wrestled the creature in the house.

Noticed that the cats were out of food, fed the cats, brought my cat into the kitchen with a small handful of food, because she tends to gorge then puke if she's been without for too long...and had her gorge and puke on the handful I'd given her.  Cleaned that up, and got her a little more, then let the other cat out.  Then put the other cat back, because she was after the dummy's food, despite having had solo access to the full dish for the past fifteen minutes (did all this while I was working on reloading the dishes).

I am done.  I don't have everything that needs done finished, but I can't do anymore.  I have come down with a nasty cold that includes, apparently, my ears clogging at random intervals, inducing vertigo. 

It's been a hell of an afternoon.  And the pixie is wailing that she needs to go potty. 

Irritating little...

I love my children.  I love my children.  I love my children.  I really, really do.  

They wait.  They behave themselves.  They play quietly and well, together.  I sneak off to a different room, out of easy earshot, to spend five minutes on housework.  Next thing I know?

CRASH!!! "NO!  GET OUTA MY ROOM!!" *screams*

Pixie screeches "OUCH!"

Five minutes.  Five freakin' minutes. 

And in that five minutes, they each get sent to their own rooms, to stay until supper. 

So much for having them help me with laundry. 

Random Ramblings

With the weather steadily improving (between thunderstorms and rainy days--normal for this time of year), the imp has spent more and more time in the back yard playing.  We have a trench under the slide, where it's hard for Odysseus to mow, anyway.  He's spent most of the last several days playing out there, and, according to the weather, can spend until dinner playing out there today.  Around dinner time, it's supposed to start raining again.  He's been, for the most part, very well behaved with plenty of outside time. 

He's been sleeping for the past two years on a queen-sized memory foam mattress on the floor in his room.  He'd had a toddler bed, and had been sleeping in it for a while when we replaced our mattress with a thicker one.  We stood our old one on edge in his room, and he played behind it until he'd knocked it flat.  Then he laid down on it, and when bedtime came, he laid down in his bed, then got up, dragged his pillow and blanket over, and curled up on the queen-sized memory foam mattress on the floor.  He's slept on it since--until last night.

We needed to replace the pixie's toddler bed--the frame was splitting under children's abuse, and you could run your hand down the mattress and feel the outlines of the springs.  Well, the imp asked what kind of bed I was ordering from Amazon for the pixie, and I explained that I was getting her a mattress like his, only smaller.  He then asked for a smaller bed, so that he can have more room to play in his room. 

The mattresses--for which I paid $99 each (marked down from nearly $500)--arrived on our porch on Wednesday.  We unpacked them yesterday, let them air out, and set them up in the kids' rooms.  Both kids are thrilled.  Although, the pixie wants us to replace her salmon pink top sheet with the purple one.  Easily done...

I wish the nicer weather came with less wind, or with warmer wind.  The imp has been able to play outside nearly all day, every day last week.  The pixie can't.  She's prone to awful earaches when she plays outside when it's windy.  Yes, we have hats, but we can't keep one on her. 

The other problem with the pixie playing outside has to do with her behavior: the imp stays within the boundaries we set (stay inside the fence, stay away from the deck, don't go up to the fence on the north side of the house), but the pixie doesn't.  And, while the imp would not use the adult-sized gap between the fence and the house to get out of the back yard, the pixie would.  And then, she'd go exploring.  She cannot be out in the back yard without close supervision.  

I haven't said anything about it to her, mostly because I haven't felt up to going out with her.  I've been slammed with yet another cold, which comes with a sinus headache, earache, and nasty sore throat. 

The imp can be trusted, which means he only needs to be checked on every half an hour or so, especially with the barky little Scotty out in her pen. 

Speaking of, we had the world's happiest little dog, last night.  I did a roast in the crock pot, yesterday (Odysseus almost prefers them as sandwich-sliced leftovers), and gave the dog a couple of bites of the fat.  Dog's eyes glazed over, her ears went limp, and she licked the bits of fat out of my fingers very slowly, kinda like a little kid with an ice cream cone. 

Cricket found one of her jingle balls, last night.  Scared the snot out of Shadow, who then went and hid--quite well--in the imp's room.  It was only fair, though.  Cricket had been wandering into the kitchen, toward the food in the back room, when Shadow perked up, and jumped down off the back of the couch with a very loud thud*--at which point, Cricket arches her back, goes fuzzy, tries to turn to face the "threat", looses her footing on the linoleum floor, and falls on her butt. 

Those two crack me up.

Yay!  Spring Break!  I get to see my husband more often than just in passing!  If anything drives me back into teaching the poorly designed online class, it will be either getting pregnant before we're financially stable with one income, or because I hate just seeing my best friend in passing.

I also haven't been able to make it up to visit my mother for almost a month.  Haven't seen my in-laws in a while, either.  Having to hold all of my office hours on Thursdays kinda sucks.

So, I've finished the first draft of Pendragon Resurgent.  It's sitting on the printer, waiting until I've had a bit of a break from what I've just written, so that I can go through and revise it with fresh eyes.  I'm planning on starting on Monday. 

For right now, I've pulled up the children's story I've been working on.  I'm thinking that it won't be longer than about 20,000 words or so.  We'll see.  I'd like to see if I can finish it before April.

After that, I'm going to start on the next Modern Gods book, Fire and Forge.  I've been asked to include an appendix of characters--what pantheon they're from, what position they held, any tales and prophesies attached to them.  I'm also planning on putting it up on the other blog.  Hopefully, it'll increase my readership of those books. 

After that, I'm debating between a couple of different books--either a near-future speculative, or an urban fantasy involving elves.  If Lost Girls comes unstuck, I might well write that to get it out of the way, since I'm planning on it being a stand-alone.

Lots to do, limited time...

Friday, March 14, 2014


Today, pi day, inspired me to dig through my freezer for one of the pies my mother-in-law made for us.  Peach was what was on top. 

Yum.  Peach pie with ice cream.  Very little better than that.

FFOT: I got nothin'

I managed to finish a draft last night, and I'm feeling less than with it this morning, kinda wrung out and out of it.  Have at it: tell the world what's gotten on your tits this past week. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

And done.

I finished the first draft (sans epilogue--which I'm still not sure it needs).  I'll be printing it and putting it into a binder tomorrow, and I'll start revising the last 11,500 words or so, on Monday.

As for right now, I'm heading for bed.

Top Gear went to Burma

I happened to glance up as Odysseus was watching with the imp as they showed the map and traced the route the guys were following, and it showed they were heading in the general direction of Mandalay...

...which brought to mind this:

Which was inspired by (lifted from) this.


I'm finishing up the last chapter of Pendragon Resurgent.  I have a little bit to go--maybe another thousand words, or so. 

But now, I'm debating over whether I should pull a Rowling, and create an epilogue set twenty years down the road.  I'd initially planned it, but now I'm kinda leaning toward not writing it.  Not because I don't think it's worth a story or two, but because I think maybe it is.  In a couple of years.

What do y'all think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Awesome cover of an old favorite.  Sorry about the ad at the beginning.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gonna be a good day

Yes, I work today; however, it's after work that's going to be awesome. 

We have a good friend coming over sometime this morning, right around 11:30.  He's going to watch the kids while Odysseus and I take TinCan Assassin to our local shooting range.  Another friend of ours is going to meet us there.

I'm probably going to start with my standard carry pieces, just to make sure and keep practice up, but then I'm moving to rifles.  I have two that need sighted in--my 91/30 and my Mauser.  I'm planning to spend a goodly portion of the afternoon messing with those two, and just vegging.  Getting all five trains of thought lined up and focused on the same thing, and having some quiet time in my own head.

I am very, very much looking forward to this.  Haven't had a similar range day for a long time--not since I first had kids. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


So, DST hasn't fucked with the kids' sleeping schedules.  They still go to bed at the same time of day, despite what the clock says.

Not a problem with the imp.  Once he's in bed, he stays there until he wakes up in the morning.

But the pixie, who went to the bathroom just before she went to bed, just now "hadda go to da bafroom."  And then, when she was done, she paused in the doorway to tell me, "I running out of energy."

*Takes deep breath...lets it out slowly...*  "Well, sweetie, you need to go to bed and go to sleep.  That way you'll have energy tomorrow."

*Threat of tears, chin goes down, voice warbles*  "Oh, okay." 

And she's STILL STANDING THERE.  While my patience is running out. 

I finally got her to go to bed, but I'm about to just spank her the next time she gets up, after that.

This reminds me of something...

*snerk*  Okay, I know what it's reminding me of, now.

Did you know...

...that a Cadillac Escalade loses $30,000 of its value in the first three years (according to the local dealer's website, the new one is $76,000, and a three year old certified pre-owned is $45,000) ?  And that a Subaru of any type loses at most $3,000 in three years (again, going by comparing new and certified pre-owned)?

It makes me feel a little less like choking in terror at the debt to value ratio of the new Forester sitting under our carport.

And yes, I do love that car.  It is fucking awesome. 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Career tracking meets Brave New World

Take a look at this.  Then tell me why it's a good idea, when I've seen twenty year old kids changing majors three or four times before they find the right fit.

And see if you can spot the telling admission the school system is making about its own previous failure.

Daylight savings time

On the one hand, my other half loves the light later in the evenings.  It gives kids more time outside after school (if their parents let them play outside in the first place).  It gives people with daytime work schedules more light after work to get more things done outside.

But...there's a thing attributed to an old Indian who was told about DST: "Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot of the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket." 

It's stupid.  It would be just as easy for everyone to adjust their schedules back by an hour as it would be to adjust their clocks forward. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

And...time to get to work

Kids are abed, movie is loaded and ready to play (Tin Man, if anyone is interested--I like it a lot better than I like the Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz).  As soon as the little noises stop, I start the movie, and start grading. 

Honestly, I really do enjoy reading the papers.  Some of the things the kids come up with are an absolute giggle-fest, like the image of a giant panda eating a handful of Viagra like they were Skittles, in one kid's paper (and yes, he did put it almost word-for-word exactly that way).  It's assigning the grades that I hate doing.

Just a little longer...

I have an hour and ten minutes before the kids get corralled on the couch for the last hour before bed.  Two hours before they go to bed.

I can put up with Miss Whiny Butt that long.  And Mr. I Gotta Run Up and Down the Hall. 

But I'm about ready to scream with frustration.

More for the Better Dead list...

These three

How the fuck can a mother set up her own child's rape?

random ramblings

Odysseus took the kids up to visit their grandparents on Thursday, while I was at work.  The imp stayed Thursday night and last night.  He comes home around noon today.  I'm looking forward to seeing him.

I made cookies last week--chocolate with peanut butter chips.  I left them setting on top of the stove in their sheets to cool, and the next thing I know, I hear the folding, two-step ladder I use to reach stuff (and that the imp uses as a personal picnic table) sliding around, and then the pixie comes running into the living room holding a cookie in each hand, waving them above her head in triumph with a dimpled grin that wrinkled her nose and made her eyes disappear.

Smart as a whip, she is.  I asked her if I'd told her she could have a cookie, and she holds up both of her prizes: "I got two cookies."

Since I hadn't told her she couldn't...the  only thing I could reasonably get her in trouble for was going into the kitchen without permission.

The imp really doesn't like them.  He tried a bite of one of the pixie's cookies that she left on the coffee table while she went to the bathroom, made the most horrible face, and then started wiping his tongue.  Then he licked the couch, since he couldn't get it all with his hands.

We've managed to sell our non-running Ford Ranger to someone who wants to fix it for his own use in beekeeping, and who can do all of the work on it himself.  He brought the money by yesterday, took possession of the title, and took his wife home.  He came back around dinner time, messed around, and took the starter out of the truck to go buy a new one.  Said he'd be back today to try to get the truck started to get it home.

And we've taken it off of our insurance.  The Lexus is next.  That's gonna happen on Monday or Tuesday.

Speaking of Tuesday, Odysseus and I are going to get some range time.  I've arranged with the friend of ours we've handed the Lexus off to to come babysit for the afternoon, and we'll help him get the registration paid for.  He doesn't need much, just about what babysitting two kids for four or five hours would pay.

We'll be taking TinCan Assassin to the range with us, partially to show him where it is, since he's new to the area.  Partially to let him play with some of our toys.

Cricket, our black and white cat, has taken to eating so fast she throws up.  Not in the bowl, thank goodness, but anywhere else is fair game.

Shadow has become a heat-seeking creature.  Anywhere warm is where you'll find her.  Yesterday, that was in the back room, in the two-level cat tree/scratching post, in the top curve.  Under Cricket.  Last night, she took over the footrest of my recliner while I was grading.  Slapped my legs until I folded them up under me.  I'd have done something about cognitive recalibration,* but I had a set of papers in my lap that would have ended up scattered all over the place, and I really needed to get my work done.

The dog has been gleefully taking advantage of the oncoming spring weather to spend every waking moment outside in her pen.  We has a sad dog today, though.  We had a mild thunderstorm roll in around five thirty this morning, and it's been raining since.

I managed to get one of my two classes finished last night.  Most of the papers were good--as the semester goes on, they're getting better, and taking less time to grade.  I'm hoping to get the other one done today.  If not today, then definitely tomorrow.  I have eighteen left in that class. And midterm grades are due by 10:00 Monday morning.  I'm hoping to be able to enter everything Sunday night.

With grading taking up my time, I haven't had any time to write after I put the pixie to bed since Thursday.  I got some done Thursday night, just before I started grading while watching a movie with Odysseus, but nothing other than that.

I've noticed that falling action is a lot harder for me to write than the rest of the book. 

Oh, well.  I'll have this done in first draft before Spring Break--which runs from the 17th to the 21st--and then I'll revise it.  Second draft is what gets passed to my beta readers.  So, it's coming.  Hopefully, I'll be able to publish by May.

*Hit her really hard in the head--an Avengers reference.

Friday, March 7, 2014

FFOT bonus: cancer.


Cancer can fuck off and die in a crotch fire.

One of my dear friends has a particularly vicious form of breast cancer.  It's not fair.  She's only 35, has a two year old son, and has breast-fed this boy for both of his years on earth.  That was supposed to cut her risk drastically.

I found out earlier this afternoon.

The shock has just worn off.

FFOT: losing track of days

I can fuck off.  I forgot it was Friday.

This losing track of time shit has got to stop.

Education problems

Part of the problems with today's teachers aren't the teachers,* but the teachers' teachers, the "experts" coming up with pedagogy, and the parents who don't give a shit what their "angel" does away from home so long as they come home with excellent grades (earned or not).  Some of the material is good, but most of it is nowhere near good.  And most teachers have no choices what curriculum they use--that's dictated by the state or the school (or the federal government, in the case of Common Core).

It doesn't get a whole lot better, either.  I don't have to listen to the "experts" coming up with pedagogy--I'm considered an "expert" in my own right in my field.  I'm not permitted to give out information on my students to their parents, even to the point of admitting that they're in my class.  I can choose what's taught in my class, and I can choose my materials.

That is, overall, a much better deal than most public school teachers have, but it can (and often does) backfire spectacularly.  I don't think there's more than just a handbook and maybe the literature anthologies held in common through the writing and literature classes, and nearly nobody teaches the exact same readings.  The ones that do take such a different approach that it might as well be a different work for the meaning taken away.  And most of my colleagues cannot agree on what students need to learn in the classes we teach. 

That's not the worst of it, either.  The administration can't seem to make up their minds of what they want us to teach, and how much they expect us to do outside of actually teaching.

If anything drives me out of teaching, it'll be the admin insisting that we all must give a final exam in the scheduled time (even when our class is a skills class, not a knowledge class), and that we all must make a huge point of telling the students exactly what intended learning outcomes are fulfilled by each day's lessons and how (which bores the shit out of them, and ensures that class will go OVER THE ALLOTTED TIME to fit everything they actually need in), and that we have to keep meticulous records proving that we have actually done exactly what they're telling us to do.

I once added up all of the time I spent in class and office hours in a month, and divided the number into my monthly paycheck.  It came out to $23/hour.  When I added in all of the hours I spent outside of class looking for new material to use (readings and such), grading papers, and planning lessons, it went to $4.25/hour.  I don't make lesson plans, anymore, and our pay has been increased, so my hourly rate has almost reached minimum wage: $6.25/hour.

That's really not worth my time.

Want to know what keeps me in the job?

Quelling the fear of writing that has been ingrained into my students.  Showing them that it actually  is a lot easier than they've always thought it was.  Helping them to take the skills they already have, and improve them.  Watching the light come on as they suddenly understand what they never have before.

I don't get a large paycheck.  I don't get health insurance through my employer, or a retirement plan.  What keeps me in the job is a massive love for teaching.

Job satisfaction.

If everyone was a quarter as happy as me in their jobs, the world would be a much better place.

And this is precisely what the administration is threatening to remove with the addition of all their stupid rules and check boxes, on all levels, all the way from Kindergarten through doctoral studies. 

*I will admit that one of the problems with teachers is that teacher education majors tend to either be dumb going into the declared major, or smart enough to drop the major when they realize just how awful it will be.  The incoming freshmen ACT/SAT score going into teacher education is the lowest of any major...and drops as the smart ones drop the major, and people too dumb for more rigorous Women's Studies degrees drop into teacher ed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen...Margaret Sanger

The founder of Planned Parenthood, the majority of whose abortions are perpetrated on the poor and minorities:

Shamelessly stolen from KurtP.

Grading papers...

...and watching The Avengers.  With a cat curled up on the foot rest of my recliner, between my ankles.

Not a bad night.


It's easier to write in an out-of-the-way alcove in the library than it is the horrible, shared office with badly placed (for me) seating and desks, but it's still hard to relax enough to do much.  I've managed seven thousand words in two weeks. 

Last semester, my office hours were held in my classroom, and I managed seven thousand words in two days.

This semester, there's some dumb twat* in my classroom after me, so I have to vacate pretty promptly.

Which has cut harshly into my productivity.

Well, live and learn.

*Said twat teaches the "University Experience" class--what used to be the six-week Freshman Orientation, which was useless then, and is more so now, stretched to a full semester--and leaves their shit on the board for me to clean up.


I've been reminded, three times today, why I hold my office hours in the library: two students have come to ask for help (the first one came back about an hour and a half after the first question with a second). 

If I were holding my hours in the (shared) office, I'd never have seen hide nor hair of them.

I have no interest.

I got an email today, from a textbook publisher's rep, asking if he can invade my office hours to try to sell me some overpriced, useless bullshit to foist onto my students.   No I will not let some idiot salescritter bother me during my office hours.  Those are reserved for my students, not some twat trying to sell me a poor quality version of something I can make a better version of myself.  If he shows up regardless of me ignoring his email, I'll politely invite him to go fuck himself. 

I have better things to do with my time.  Like finish Pendragon Resurgent, revise my textbook to fix a few typos, or grade papers.  Or maybe hit myself in the knee with a hammer.  Or put a knitting needle through my hand.  Yeah, that sounds like a better use of my time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

OMG!!! WTF????

I'm listening to a local radio station while my pixie is in the bathtub, and I hear an advertisement for a fucking midget stripper show at a local "gentleman's" club.

Now, at first, I actually thought I wasn't hearing it right, so I looked up their website.


Midget stripper.

Right there on their main page, and in their events calendar.

Okay.  That...that's fucked up.


I can't imagine doing this.  My children drive me mad, but I would never strap them into my car then drive into a body of water to drown them.  No way, no how.  That woman needs to have her current pregnancy delivered, then be tossed into a setting where she would never be anywhere near children ever again...maybe after having a sterilization procedure. 

But there was one thing I noticed in the piece: the kids are going to their grandparents.  Where is their father?  Or fathers? 

I can't watch The Americans.

Don't get me wrong: it's awesome.  Well executed (pardon the pun).  I haven't seen many anachronisms breaking the setting of the early eighties. 


I can't watch it.  It scares the crap out of me. 

I was born in '79.  I don't remember the early eighties, but I do remember the Iron Curtain.  I remember the pressure Regan put on the Russians, and I remember the tension.  I remember when the wall fell, and I remember watching the relief that everyone around me felt that the cold war with Russia was "over." 

I remember thinking, "Just wait.  This isn't over, and we haven't beaten Communism." 

I remember feeling the encroachment of communism into our own government and society. 

Khrushchev was right. 

The America I remembered is falling, and is falling from within. 

Russia is re-emerging as a nasty enemy, and our own government isn't seeing that.  Because their ideology parallels Putin's. 

This time, there won't be an Iron Curtain between freedom and tyranny, because there will be no freedom.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hey, cool!

Apparently, OldNFO has read The Godshead and Highway...and liked them! 

OldNFO, if you see this, thanks for the reviews, and there's more to come...and maybe drop a comment to let me know if you had a favorite character/story/situation.

A problem with common core...

It's moving away from literature.  Away from the character-building, cultural transmission, and toward non-fiction pieces like executive orders and scientific reports, which, while important, aren't going to do anything except engender a hatred of reading in younger generations, much like my beloved classics do when taught poorly.

Another problem I've seen is that it uses a single tool to teach the texts it actually uses: New Criticism, which was cutting edge in the fifties, and debunked as a useful tool to look at literature less than ten years later.  It looks solely at the text to determine the true meaning, without looking at the author's intent (which doesn't matter, for New Criticism), or author experiences that might have shaped the work, or historical events surrounding either the author's life or the work's setting.  New Criticism looks at vocabulary choices and sentence structure to determine everything.

I will admit that some of the newer LitCrit theories are bullshit, but...some of them do give the readers a lens through which to better understand the classics.  Readers just have to be careful to not try to pick a favorite theory and hammer everything else into that shape.*

Mostly, though, I feel that the most important thing to raise reading and reasoning skills in children and teens is to find what they like to read, then challenge them to learn to describe the works by character archetypes, plot and theme, and by the writer's intent, experiences, and historical influences. 

And for those who insist that the classics must be taught...use them to illustrate culture, and how culture was shaped by and shapes history.  Use them to demonstrate how human nature, at its base, doesn't change. 

And for the teachers who "never took Shakespeare/literature classes, and don't know what they can teach" someone who has an advanced understanding of literature through constant reading...just don't even try to teach the classics.  If they can't understand the works and/or their placement in (and illustration of) culture, the only thing they're going to accomplish is to engender a hatred of literature at best, and of Western Civilization culture at worst. 

Common Core isn't going to help any of that.

*One glaring example of trying to fit a piece of literature into one favorite critical theory that doesn't work for the literature from my grad school days is the boy who tried to tell me that Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights was a closeted queer.  Not so: he was a not-so-closeted necrophiliac after the woman he loved died.  And I quoted chapter and edition page numbers to support my reading, and the little twit told me I wasn't being fair, because he hadn't read the book itself yet. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

random ramblings

We went out today, working on getting stuff done before we got the forecast ice and snow--two inches of ice and three to five of snow. 

I'd rather have all snow.  Even if that means two feet of the stuff. 

Did I mention that I'm bloody tired of winter precipitation?

The pixie spent a night with Grandma and Grandpa, earlier this week.  Went up on Wednesday afternoon, after Odysseus's class, and came home on Thursday afternoon, while I was in office hours.  Since she's been home, she's been a clingy, whiny little pain in the neck. 

The imp wailed several times, "I miss my [Pixie]!"  While she was gone, at least.  Since she's been home, it's been business as usual: he glares at her until she notices him, then snorts or snarls at her to try to get her to hit him, so that she's the one that gets in trouble. 

Yeah, no.  Not happening that way.  They both get in trouble: the imp for instigating, and the pixie for escalating. 

Cricket managed to demolish one of her toys last week: a two foot long cord that I knitted (four stitches in the round), then knotted up until it was the same general size and shape as a mouse, then sprayed down with catnip spray.  Cricket loved that thing: she'd carry it around in her mouth, talking to it (while it was still in her mouth, mind you), flop down, fling it in the air and chase it--talking and yelling the whole time.  For an hour at a time. 

Well, it is now in two (or more) pieces.  I'll find a piece, throw it away, and a little bit later Cricket's playing with another piece.  Either she's got it torn in several pieces (possible), or she's digging it out of the trash while my back is turned (also possible). 

So, today, we went and got her a couple of jingle balls. 

Shadow is still annoyed with us for that one.  She hates jingle balls. 

Guess I'll have to give her a catnip tea bag to sweeten her up.

My dog thinks I'm awesome: I went out and got her from the yard after it got cold, and she found that I'd dropped a treat in her bed for her.  She has been happily curled up sleeping since then--except for her two minute out the front door on the 20' leash for a bathroom break. 

Poor dog's gonna hate that, after the nasty weather moves in and shits on us tomorrow.

I've just handed back paper two as of last Thursday (had it done, but forgot to hand it back on Tuesday), and will be picking up paper three on Tuesday.  I had one of my students either not understand that I DO NOT take late work, or try to bully me into taking a paper by pretending they didn't (English is a poorly spoken second language--don't know why this kid is in a foreign exchange program to the Midwest).  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I've got my time very carefully scheduled out so that I can half-ass everything: housework, keeping up with grading, and keeping up with other responsibilities.  The only thing I try not to half-ass is taking care of my kids, and I cannot do that if I have dipshits who shouldn't be there in the first place trying to hand me a paper that's a week and a half late.  I will not even try

As for writing...I finally managed to get past the bit that's been blocking me on Pendragon Resurgent.  I've got just a bit more to go, and then it's done.  Anybody want to beta-read it a month late?

So, after that, I'm going to write the next Modern Gods book.  It's going to be more of a collection of stories than a book, but it's going to foreshadow the next one.  After that?  I'll try to see if I can get Lost Girls (vampire story) unstuck, and if not, I'll probably try to write another one I've got in mind.