Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back...

This year has been...different.  There've been some major changes, and there's been a lot of issues. 

January: pneumonia.  I missed the first week of classes because of this monster.  Didn't have office hours the second week, either. 

February: stomach flu for a week, acquired food allergy to wheat, discovered chest colds are a lot nastier when you've had pneumonia.  By the end of February, I'd lost something like thirty or thirty-five pounds, and drastically curtailed my diet. 

There are, honestly, a lot of foods I miss: real biscuits (the gluten-free kind are NOT biscuits), crispy thin crust pizza, Club crackers, pie, and Christmas cookies.  That said, I don't miss them that much, since I've always been a meat and potatoes type person.

March: UTI.  Weight started to come back.

May: UTI.  Fifteen pounds regained (WTF???  I don't eat a whole lot, and have usually been good at maintaining weight lost).

June: yet another UTI. 

July: Odysseus finished his second degree and got a job, all in the same week.  He's loving that job, by the way--I haven't seen him so happy with work since he sold a computer shop he owned and ran in '03. 

Also, by this point, I'd regained twenty-five pounds.  I've managed to pry off five, but it takes eating less than a thousand calories per day, and I literally cannot eat that little and do housework on a regular basis.

August: School started for the kids, then for me.  I've had to start driving on a daily basis.  I don't like it, but I am competent at it. 

October: the pixie caused me a panic attack, and routine changed.  For her.  Because she now has to wait in the car with her seatbelt fastened while I get the imp from his teacher at the pickup point.

November: the onset of new and nasty viruses thoughtfully brought home and shared by the kids. 

Yeah, 2015 has kind of sucked.  Yeah, there were good points, but they've been offset by multiple health issues.  I am glad that, for the most part, the year is over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We're okay.

Christmas passed.  It went about as well as it could, with my family and my mom and sister being sick. 

After Christmas, things got a little hairy.  It started to rain.  And rain.  And rain.  And flood.  I think I read that we got something like between eight and ten inches in 72 hrs. 

Roads started closing.  I-44 is closed in areas it wasn't during the last big flood.  Out east of Carthage, 96 hwy (Old Rte 66) runs next to a spillover pond, a medium sized park, and over Spring River.  Sunday, there was no park, and no separation between the river and Kellogg "Lake." 

There have been water rescues galore, including a crew of a freight train that was washed off the tracks. 

And there have been water rescues of people who moved the barricade so that they could drive through.  Into water.  And then they get washed away.

That last group...I have issues with prioritizing those rescues.  The people disregarding "road closed" signs and barricades are making a choice.*  I think they need to either be left to the consequences, or be charged out the nose for the rescue.  I don't like leaving the idiocy to continue on its way without any repercussions. 

We didn't have to do anything special to avoid flooding.  We didn't have to evacuate, didn't have to make any changes to our routine, didn't have to worry about utilities going out (some areas lost electricity, others lost water), or being wonky (the south end of Joplin had issues with the sewer and water treatment plant being overwhelmed, and people were asked to not wash dishes or clothes...or flush). 

When we bought, we were careful to stay OUT of the flood plains. 

One of my aunts had to evacuate with all of her critters (chickens and dogs and cats) and her husband, and lost one or two of her chickens.  And maybe her beehive.  She didn't take up any state resources--she called one of my other aunts to come help her get out. 

From what I've read, we crested at nearly twenty feet above flood stage throughout most of the area sometime yesterday, when the rain finally switched over to snow, thankfully without more than a few minutes of freezing rain/sleet added into the mix.

*People who build in flood plains are also making a choice...however, for the most part, most people who were flooded out this time were not in areas that were flooded out the last time that it did this, in October of '93.  This time, the water was just a bit higher in places.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief. Dead Hooker Magazine

Saw something absolutely despicable posted on FB by Tam's roomie (I think).  I've quoted it in full below: 
Dan Zimmerman, widely held to be a longtime intellectual property thief and, I am given to understand, founder of _Dead Hooker Magazine_, has stolen Tamara Keel's "Fun Show Song" and posted the lovely video made as a Christmas present for Tam by Ambulance Driver and Squeaky and posted it over at TTAG, the other sink of iniquity and inequity with which he is associated, utterly without attribution to anyone but himself.

Other than polite reminders (already issued) and the distant possibility of lawyering up -- Tam's a writer and her stock in trade is the unique groupings of words she creates -- there's not a whole lot that can be done.

But there is one thing. Cato famously ended every speech he made in the Roman Senate with "Carthage must be destroyed," even if all he was talking about was proclaiming Junior Vestal Day. The phrase I'd like you to remember and to post all over the Internet is "Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief. Dead Hooker Magazine." And good morning, search engines!
I cannot fully imagine the disgust and outrage Tam's dealing with right now.  Yes, I'm a writer, too, and a teacher of writing, but I've never been plagiarized.  It's bad enough when I find it in my students' writing; it has to be far worse when it's your own words and ideas stolen.  I'd imagine it's a worse violation than theft, but not as bad as being raped.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Little bit of a new spin on things...

Like a friend asked on FB when they linked this story: Why in the hell is this not reported in the mainstream media?

And why do they expect us to believe that the multiple bulk cell phone purchases were legitimate?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Difficult conversations

So, my kids are getting old enough to start really listening to song lyrics, and thinking about them.  Thinking about them in surprisingly complex ways for as young as they are.

One of the albums I have on a jump drive in the Subaru is Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies.  The title track, in particular, recently sparked a conversation.



The line "Has the shepherd led his lambs astray/to the bigot and the gun?" really distressed both kids.

"Mama...why did...why would...how could a preacher tell the people in the church to do bad things?"

And thus, I found myself giving an abbreviated, age-appropriate lecture over the Troubles in Northern Ireland to my seven year old son and five year old daughter last Friday, on the way home from school.

My kids have no chance of being normal.  And that's a good thing.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shit.

Dozens of cell phones--pre-paid, all of them--bought by a few individuals in Lebanon, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Macon, Missouri. 

There's no telling where shit's gonna go down, but five dozen phones bought in Columbia can set off how many IEDs?  Four dozen in Lebanon?  No, the part of Missouri where I live doesn't really have a whole lot of target value, but there's Ft. Wood, Jefferson City itself, St. Louis, KC, Whiteman AF Base, Columbia...

Watch for new construction on Missouri roads (especially in KC and St. Louis, where it never stops), and bits of junk on the side of the road, and maybe in the middles of intersections.  This is not looking good. 

On the bright side, should the likely perps set bombs in the wrong neighborhoods, we could very well see those most prone to violence wreaking bloody revenge, and all the rest of us would have to do was make sure we'd laid in enough popcorn.  


Monday, December 7, 2015

Yeah, I know, I disappeared.

It's been a rough semester, getting into the swing of things.  With Odysseus's new job,* I've had to pick up a whole lot more that I didn't used to have to do.

So, this past semester, I've been running the kids in to school, and either heading in myself on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, or heading back home to clean without small monsters underfoot (Tuesday) or to run errands without small monsters in tow...though I still refuse to go to Walmart--even when it's not busy, the people in the parking lot have a fine disregard for their cars and others, as well as their own safety. 

Everything put together ate up not only my blogging time, but my writing time, too.  I haven't done more than scribble in my draft books for a couple of months.** 

(Why, yes, I'm hearing voices.  No worries--it's just the characters in the book/stories I'm working on, agitating for me to get to writing again ASAP.)

Add in with that the cats' stupid-crazy behavior--Shadow's funny jumping bug was only one incident; remind me later, and I'll tell y'all about Cricket eating a chili pepper that I'd left out to dehydrate naturally--and family obligations, and grading obligations, and other tripping hazards that life left out like my kids leave toys laying around...

(One of my cousins' wife needs prayers--she had a double bypass, and surgery took twice as long and was more complicated than it should have been, because she has MD, and two of the initial attempts at grafting tissue didn't take)

...and you have a five month period where I've been lucky to tread water. 

Thank God for auto-draft billing on the utilities.

There's also the factor that I've been outright avoiding the news, especially politics.  I'm...not apathetic, but definitely believing less and less that I actually have a voice that counts and is heard.  Not that that keeps me from voting, just from writing about the stupidity that we witness every day.  There really is only so much of that I can take.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving, and that I can get my feet under me after the crazy part of break is over.


*He was hired before the end of finals week of the summer semester, about three days before official graduation.

**I have more time--and stamina--to read others' work than I do to write my own.  I think I may be developing arthritis in the joint where my index finger meets my palm, and it's worse in my dominant hand...and acts up worse when the weather is typical SW MO weather (i.e., schizophrenic and bipolar) than when it's just cold and damp.  And no, I don't need to be paid to read stuff and offer feedback when I don't have to turn in a grade for it.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Silly cat tricks

So, last week, we had one of those nasty looking translucent brown crickets come in.  Shadow found it, just inside the back door of the kitchen (between the utility room and the kitchen), and was playing with it.  She had her head cocked all the way to one side, the cricket on the floor between her front paws.  Eyes dilated to the point where all you saw was black, with a thin rim of amber gold.  And then, she gently poked the cricket in the butt, just to see it jump.  She was very, very careful not to harm the funny jumping bug. 

Then Cricket, the cat, got scared half to death of something in the living room, tore through the kitchen, and ran over Shadow...squishing her funny jumping bug in the process. 

Shadow's head crooked the other way, her pupils shrank, her ears laid back...and she went after Cricket.  She chased her all through the house, running on her hind feet only while she beat the thunder out of Cricket with her front paws.  I have never, in my life, seen a cat chase and beat another cat like that: running only on the hind paws while giving alternate slaps around the head and ears with the front paws.  Slow, hard slaps that actually knocked Cricket half off her feet a couple of times.

All over a nasty, wet-looking brown cricket that Shadow thought the most marvelous funny jumping bug she'd ever found to play with.

Friday, November 27, 2015

stuck in my head all day

I hadn't even thought of this song for years...and then, boom.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I can't say I'm surprised.

Reports I've heard out of France put the toll at between 120-160 dead; some reports say the perps are also dead, others aren't sure.

I am...unsurprised, to say the least.  I am also, to some extent, unsympathetic.

The people of France, like us, choose their "rulers" in elections.  Their "ruling class" chose to permit the waves of invaders inside their borders, apparently without even bothering to check baggage.  That, in turn, both permitted and damn near encouraged the recent events.

I cannot feel sorry for people who invited in and welcomed those who seek wage war, with or without a nation* backing them up.

Does that mean that I'm going to be unsympathetic to our own people if it happens here?

In a word?  Yes.

To an extent.  However, I don't think they'll find Americans as easy of targets, unless they deliberately hit gun-free zones (which they likely would).  However, after what's happened in Paris, I strongly doubt otherwise law-abiding carriers will leave their means of self-defense behind.

Other than that...again, the American people have permitted gleefully placed in charge those who would welcome in our enemies with open arms (and perhaps the hope that those enemies will take out a few of those who vote against the socialist/fascist/progressive agenda, and remove enough "no" votes to change the political landscape).

So, yeah.  I'm not feeling a whole lot of sympathy.

I am not Charlie Hedbo.  I am not a Parisian.  I am not a victim.

And I don't feel too sorry for those who choose to be a victim in some weird version of Sister Bertha virtue signalling.  

*If world governments bothered asking the radicals, they'd find that the radicals see "islam" as their nation, rather than any particular acknowledged nation state.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Exhaustion.

I has it.

No, not from juggling schedules, nor from trying to keep up with grading (though that's there), nor yet from health issues (migraine, anyone?  I'll share). 

I am exhausted by humanity.  Lately, I've seen so many examples of self-absorption that I've begun to assume the worst of people, moreso than I usually do.  I am so very much looking forward to my Christmas Break, this year...

Last week, I went from my classroom to the ladies' room across the library from my classroom.  I noted a young woman of a specific type pull out what looked like a brand new iPhone, and make a call.  As I was coming back, she was still there, leaning against the outer wall of the glassed-in quiet room, complaining about her commodities basket: whoever had compiled it hadn't given her any mac 'n' cheese, no name brand anything, and had had the sheer, unmitigated gall to include a bag of flour and a bag of sugar.

How dare they.  No name brands, and expecting her to cook.

Now, contrast this with another young person of the same specific demographic.  One of my students, in fact--they asked for an extension on paper 5 (which I'm happy to grant) because they were breaking under the pressure of being a full time college student and working two jobs.  Two, not one.  This student uses an older Android phone, and a two year old Acer laptop, much like the one my husband has.  Student is working two jobs because their family has had to cut funding because of a pregnant sibling.  Student hasn't asked for help, hasn't applied for food stamps, just quietly went and got another job.

And when that student broke down in tears this morning, I could not help contrasting them with Ms. NameBrandsOnlyPlease. 

Especially since my student broke down in that study room, and nobody else paid a bit of attention. 

The two other students (not mine, thankfully) were too busy discussing one of the Kardashians.*

*I will admit that I have no idea which one or why--I tuned out as soon as I heard the name.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Huh. Weird.

Did you know that bacon contains a really high amount of choline?  I didn't.  I did, however, notice the results: my mind has been clearer today than it is when I take my thyroid pill and thyroid support supplements at breakfast and lunch.

I made fried potatoes for supper, last night, using bacon, bacon grease, hash browns, onions, and green bell peppers.  A lot of bacon.  And I kept nipping into the meat candy I'd cooked to gather the bacon grease into a jar in the fridge to cook with. 

So, I got about two or three servings of bacon.  Which contains about 135 mg of choline per serving--more than you find in anything but liver (which I categorically refuse to eat from any animal, whether beef [300+ mg] or chicken [200+ mg]). 

What does choline do?  It supports brain function. 

I have had little to no brain fog today. 

I have a bottle of choline supplement on the way.

I'll also still be eating more meat candy.  Because bacon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ugh...I really need my brain to function.

I don't remember a whole lot of Monday afternoon.  And I'm missing big chunks of time from yesterday.

My daughter nearly caused me a panic attack.  It took everything I had to fight it off until Odysseus got home and could take over, and I could do something to derail it.  Which is why I don't remember Monday. 

I took the pixie with me to pick up the imp.  We were a bit later than normal, and she was cranky because she'd refused to go to sleep until around a quarter after two (we leave no later than 2:45, most days, and she'd stretched it until 2:50).  I parked on the opposite side of the parking lot from usual, and she barely paid attention.  We snagged her brother as he was released by his teacher, and I took them to the car.  I let go of the pixie's hand so she could get in the car, and she started to run to where we usually park...across the parking lot.  I screamed at her, and she froze--thank God; there was some fucking oblivious cunt actually speeding in the parking lot (probably doing a solid thirty mph while twisted around yelling at the kids in the back of the minivan/giant SUV), and would have creamed the pixie if she hadn't stopped. 

I'm prone to panic attacks.  Used to have them all the time.  My biggest triggers were my dad or anything to do with him (he's dead, so that trigger's gone), CPS/Family Services, cops, and feeling helpless. 

The feeling helpless thing?  Yeah, that's still a trigger.  A big one.  And there was literally nothing I could do, as the pixie ran past the rear bumper, except scream at her to stop.  I felt helpless; I was helpless. 

Thanks be to God that I remembered all the old tricks for postponing the panic attack until I had time and space and it was safe to deal with (having one while driving?  the opposite of safe): shutting down mentally and emotionally and functioning on autopilot, chugging coffee, and listening to music while ignoring the TV (something else that can trigger a panic attack, if there's already one lurking and waiting to happen). 

And I've since learned how to shut one down entirely: have a double or triple shot of something very strong.  Which I did, once I'd eaten supper. 

But, all of this still leaves me dealing with the aftermath: exhaustion, occasional fugue states when I don't have something I have to focus on (the lost time yesterday), an inability to concentrate for longer than about fifteen minutes, and sore muscles and joints. 

My brain has started moving back to normal function, and I've slept off most of the exhaustion; however, the muscle soreness will probably take a few more days.  Which is, almost by necessity, going to postpone my grading, since it hit me worst in my forearms, shoulders, and legs, this time--I can't hold a pencil for long without my forearm screaming at me, and my fingers losing strength. 

Fun stuff! 

And why I didn't get my planned blog post done Monday.  Or yesterday.  Or today.  I literally cannot remember what I was going to write about.  Can't even remember the subject.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

To modern parents:

I'm a parent.  I have been a parent for a bit over seven years (I started being a parent before my oldest was born by choosing what was best for him while I was pregnant, over what I wanted). 

As a parent, I do make mistakes.  I fully admit that. 

I do not, however, make nearly as many mistakes as I see most other parents making. 

Yes, I judge you and your parenting by your sprogs, and by your choices. 

If you give your young sprogs caffeinated beverages, I'm judging you.  Unless your child is honestly chemically ADHD, and you're using caffeine to control symptoms instead of medicating your child into a zombie, you're turning your child into a jittery, cranky, uncontrollable monster, and I'm judging you to be a bad parent on that basis.  Your kid's not a bad kid--you are a bad parent turning your kid into a monster. 

If you give your sprogs more soda and kool-aid than you do juice, water, and milk, I'm judging you.  You're setting your kid up for health problems in the future.  I will admit, I do lean toward convenience foods, but chicken nuggets and pizza rolls ain't the same thing as drinks laden with empty calories and absolutely no redeeming qualities other than "it tastes good." 

If I see your sprog running up and down the aisles of Walmart or the local sporting goods stores, dribbling a basketball, running into people, screaming, and throwing the ball into clothing displays, I'm judging you.  You, not your sprog.  Your sprog doesn't know any better than to behave like a savage.  It's what children do, when they're left to their own devices because you've got your phone stuck to your face because it's either more interesting or easier than controlling your sprog.  There are no bad kids.  Just parents who suck because they don't give as much of a shit about their kid as they do about themselves.  And you, Ms. Sunshine, scowling at me for scowling at your small, screaming savage, are a shit parent for not teaching your sprog--who happens to be a few years older than my oldest, and behaving three or four years younger than my youngest--how to behave.

When I hear you chatting with your friends about how you refuse to breastfeed because you don't want your breasts ruined, and/or formula's just more convenient...yeah, I'm judging you, too.  You are a fucking idiot.  Formula is NOT more convenient, and I promise you I got a lot more sleep even doing all of the feedings for both of my breast-fed babies than you're going to get formula feeding one, especially since demographics* predict that you're probably a single mom who's going to be "raising" the child on your own. 

On the other hand, when I hear you self-righteously pontificating over all of the activities you're paying for your sprog to be involved in...yeah, I'm judging you, too.  You are damaging your child.  Study after study have proven that unscheduled play time does far more in creating beneficial thought patterns than structured activity does, especially in children younger than ten.  Over-scheduling your sprog for structured activities creates a stressed-out, neurotic monster.  If you hate your child enough that you refuse to spend time with them, spend that same money and hire a fucking nanny who'll love your child enough to make sure they grow up with as few hang-ups as possible.

When I hear you self-righteously pontificating over your vegetarian lifestyle, and how healthy your young child is on it, I start wondering if I should call CPS.  Especially when I see your tiny, wan, washed-out child who's smaller than my youngest and the same age as my eldest.  And especially when I hear how far behind your sprog is mentally.  Your sprog NEEDS meat and fish in their diet up until about puberty.  Their brain needs the fats and proteins.    And I'm judging you for forcing your own unhealthy eating habits onto your child, especially if you're also eyeing your child and muttering about obesity. 

And last, but not least, if you have your children in public school at all, without a court order from a family court judge demanded by your ex...yeah, I'm judging you.  If your sprog gets on a bus before seven, they're under ten, and are playing outside until 9pm every night...I've moved past judging you into the realm of I want to slap the dog shit out of you and put your kids to bed so that they don't fail in the shit-hole you've heaved them into, and can maybe make a success of themselves despite you and the public "education" system.

With all due consideration,

An Old-Fashioned Mom

*The demographic I'm talking about is 16-19 year old teen moms.  Of all races, colors, and creeds. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review

Tom Rogneby is a magnificent bastard who ended a page turner on a cliff-hanger only a little less painful than the last few seconds of Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I." 

And it's going to be a lot longer than just the summer break before the next season before I get my hands on the next book.  Damn it.

Via Serica is Rogneby's second published work of fiction.  His first is fun.  Brain candy in a high fantasy/horror flavor.  This one, though...this one is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire, and follows a disgraced Roman senator through the first stages of his exile/death sentence. 

Rogneby has grown immensely as a writer.  As I said, Tales of the Minivandians is fun--brain candy fun.  It's descriptive enough to transport the reader, but not so much as to prevent the reader from setting it aside to do vital functions like eat, drink, sleep, etc.  Via Serica is much more difficult to set aside--the setting is more richly detailed, and the character development and growth is impressive.  The charactars behave believably to their station and change with their experiences and environment.  There were a few, here and there, where I'd have liked a little more interaction, but that's true with any book (and differs from person to person.

The plot, though.  The plot, the story--that's where Rogneby really shines (except for ending the damn book too soon, in my opinion).  The story is believable, and the pacing of the plot is nearly spot-on perfect. 

In case my readers can't tell, I really enjoyed the book, and highly recommend it. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

FFOT: being sick

I'm still down with this nasty, flu-like crap that hit me more than two weeks ago, then came back for a second round last Friday. 

It can seriously take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. 

I am so ready for this year to be over, in the hopes that next year has me sick less frequently.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frabjuous.

The freezer door got propped open overnight, weekend before last weekend.  I didn't realize it until mid-morning, and I didn't realize that the food I kept in the door for convenience got thawed.  And warmed. 

What was in the door?  Chicken nuggets, sausage links, pizza rolls, and other convenience foods that the kids make for themselves when they don't care for what I make. 

The chicken nuggets, in particular, caused issues.  Projectile issues.  Issues I initially thought were simply viral when my son got it Saturday, was fine Sunday, then not fine again on Monday. 

And then my daughter got hit on Wednesday morning. 

I had a kid under elbow and underfoot--at least one--all last week.  For something I thought was viral, and turned out to be mild food poisoning. 

I'm exhausted.

I also feel like a terrible mother.

And no, this doesn't count the actual nasty cold that all of us have, and still have, and are still fighting off (and cranky from). 

But yeah.  I was busy as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, last week.  I'm actually slightly stunned I had time for personal hygiene, what with running buckets into the bathroom every few minutes for a wash-out Monday, Tuesday morning, and Wednesday.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

oops

I forgot.  I was going to post something, but I'm fried--graded fifty awful papers in three days (three of which read like they were written in another language and put through Google Translate or something, and one more of which was written in AAVE*). 

And, on top of that, the imp threw up on Saturday, was fine all day Sunday, and threw up in class on Monday.  And the pixie woke up then threw up this morning.

So, I forgot.  Forgot all about posting something. 

Sorry.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Forcibly fornicate a web-footed water fowl

My pixie has caught my cold.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, the imp threw up on the way back from a Sam's Club trip...in the floorboard of the Subaru (which is what I drive throughout the week). 

I have papers to grade.  The kids are down for naps, so I'm going to print all of the rest of them off.  Here's hoping I can manage to get that done while taking care of puking imp and sniffling pixie.


Friday, September 25, 2015

FFOT: a list

My health is at the top of it.  I have not been so sick so often as I have this year since high school.  I'm fucking sick of it. 

My son's behavior, including waking up and playing at completely unreasonable times, is next on the list.  I do not know what time he woke up this morning, but he was draggy and exhausted when it was time for school.  I may well have to put him down for a nap this afternoon.

Life in general.  It has been majorly fucking with my schedule for getting things done.  Between getting sick, and having surprise bombs dropped on me by the kids' teachers, I'm having to scramble to keep up, and I'm not keeping up. 

Grading.  Grading can fuck right the fuck off, just in general.  I enjoy reading the papers and engaging with student ideas, for the most part.*  I hate--HATE--putting a number/letter value to the work.  Even with the rubric helping it's a difficult pain in the ass. 

Politics, politicians, and "leaders" who kick kids with cancer out of a park.  Enough said.

Twatwaffles who haven't the first clue how to use a 4-way stop.

I think that's all, for the moment, but I'm sure more will crop up as my day goes on.

What's bugging you?  Sound off in the comments.

*I do enjoy reading my students' writing.  When it's intelligible, and isn't just random words strung together in no particular order, which has no bearing on the fact that language is supposed to convey meaning.  Unfortunately, intelligible papers are in the minority this semester.  




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Free is worth what you pay for it.

I think I've figured something important out. 

A few years ago, before I had the kids, I worked with the football team.  I tutored, and helped them correct, their writing about five hours a week.  Was paid about $10/hour for it.  I'd've been happy to do it for free, but for something a colleague (the one who set the whole thing up) said: "You have to set a price.  If you don't, they won't value what you're offering."

Most of my students don't pay for their own college tuition and/or fees.  They get grants, scholarships, and loans for that.  They don't have to bust their asses at work, trying to earn the money to pay $300+ per class, plus the approximately $700 for all the other assorted fees and textbooks.

From what I've seen, few of the traditional students--those who take out the most in loans and grants--don't value their classes.  They love classes like the "university experience" class (what used to be Freshman Orientation, and was a 1 cr hr 6 week course, but is now a 3 cr hr 16 week course), because they're "easy A" classes, or classes that it's "okay to skip because the professor doesn't care." 

And Bernie Sanders wants to make all undergraduate work "free." 

The thing is, most people see the grants and loans as "free" money.  They don't think about how much it's going to take to pay off the loans.  They don't think about the future.  And they damn sure don't think about what others have to do to earn the money for the federal grants.  It's "free."  Not worth anything.

I think I'm beginning to understand why so few value their voting rights.  Free is worth what you, yourself, pay for it. 

Because, with most of these kids, if they're not the ones earning it, then it's worth nothing.  They don't see others' sacrifice, and absolutely don't look toward the future. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fuck.

I cannot write of how many times I snapped awake--like, all the way awake--from flashback nightmares, last night.  I lost count after the third time within about an hour. 

And I'm picking up papers today.  And will be grading for the rest of the week. 

Speaking of which...that's what I'm doing now: grading revisions and extensions. 

I need more coffee.  Lots and lots more coffee. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Now THAT is feminism on the level of the original movement!

The ladies who began the feminist movement, way back in the eighteenth century, faced danger.  Physical danger.  They faced being jailed and beaten by the authorities.  They faced being beaten by their fathers and husbands, and occasionally, by strangers.  They knew the danger existed, and faced it with courage and dignity, protesting despite the dangers, demanding equal protection under the law, the right to own their own property, and demanding the right to be acknowledged as having an existence separate from their fathers or husbands.  Or sons.

Yes, at one point it really was that bad: women did not legally exist in their own right.  Their protection under the law was nil.  Their existence was solely as property of the men in their lives.

They won their battles.  Women do have equal protection under the law, judging by some arguments--looking at facts, it can be argued that women now have greater protection under the law than men do.

At least in America.

Yet the feminist movement has not quietly stepped back in triumph, waiting to see whether those changes are sufficient--they've kept attacking.  They have, in this country, begun to attack their own: other women who do not want a career outside the home; children, for having the temerity to need their mothers; men, for having the temerity not to roll over and be dominated by feminism while trying to protect their families.

They do this despite the fact that not all women everywhere enjoy the same protections that American women enjoy.

American feminists behave this way for one reason, and one reason only.

American feminists are cowards.

There is another feminist movement overseas that I do admire.  The women in Russia, and in the Middle East, and in Eastern Europe do not have the same rights and protections that we American women have.  They do not have the same guarantee of safety.  They face beatings, incarceration, mutilation with acid, and even murder when they demand the same protections before the laws that men have, demand the same rights.

Yet, despite the very real physical danger that they know they face by protesting their treatment and making demands for fairer treatment, they protest anyway.

I admire that.  I admire that deeply.

And I regret, just as deeply, that I once, many years ago in my early college years, considered myself an American feminist.

I am not that kind of a coward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If not now, then when?

As a parent, I have a policy.  My policy is that I am not raising children, I'm raising adults.  I expect a lot out of my kids, and most of the time, they rise to the levels of my expectations. 

Examples? 

They clean their own rooms every night. 

The imp makes his own breakfast, packs his lunchbox after I've made his sandwich, makes sure he has everything he needs in his backpack, and does for himself as soon as I get him to his classroom door. 

The pixie, when we get to her classroom, hangs up her backpack and pulls her folder out.  She keeps track of her own folder and hands it to her teacher as she goes into the classroom to find her seat, then starts on her seat-work. 

Each of my children is responsible for their own choices and actions, and is responsible for the rewards and/or consequences they earn.  And they know it. 

Last Friday, the pixie forgot her folder on the bench where we wait for her classroom to open up.  We got all the way to her classroom door before I noticed it, but when I did, I stopped her, reminded her that she'd forgotten her folder, and that she was the one responsible for it, not me.  She chirped "Oh!  Let me go get that!" and trotted off to go grab it. 

I got a lot of weird looks from the parents dropping their kids off.  One of them muttered, "She's only four!" 

What I have seen with regards to how the other parents handle their four year old children rather...upsets and disgusts me. 

I have not seen one single, other person that doesn't either carry their child's backpack for them, or strip the backpack off the kids' backs to hang it up, pull the folder, and hand the folder directly to the teacher. 

What I want to know is this: do they expect their child to grow up to be a well-adjusted, responsible, functional member of society?  And if so, how can they possibly expect that when they're teaching their kids that mom/dad/grandma/grandpa will do absolutely everything for them, leaving them with nothing that they, themselves, need to keep track of?

I refuse to do anything for my kids that they can do for themselves.  And by doing that, I'm teaching them that they are responsible for themselves.  By doing that, I'm teaching them that nobody owes them anything.

By doing that, I'm working to ensure that they grow up into independent, responsible, hardworking, functional adults.   

Friday, September 11, 2015

We didn't learn anything.

Fourteen years ago, the most egregious attack on American soil sent us to war.  Thousands of American civilians were murdered, and our main military headquarters was attacked.

The most visible of the multiple attacks was this:
Take a good look.  Remember.  Remember the fires.  Remember the people who jumped from the upper floors because they couldn't escape, and didn't want to burn, only for their bodies to break on the concrete and pavement hundreds of feet below.

Now.

Tell me you don't still carry the rage from that day in your heart.

Tell me you're not horrified and angry that we are still letting this ideology flourish. 

Tell me you're not terrified by our open borders that permits this ideology to sneak through.

Tell me you're not disgusted that we still let these...creatures...enter our country legally, through diplomatic envoys and student visas.

Tell me you're not outraged by the slow drain of our liberty to create a "safer" nation.

Tell me you're not revolted by the spineless mouth-breathers in congress that did not permit our last halfway-decent president to prosecute the war they unanimously declared to the point where the ideology was defeated, the way we did after the second most egregious attack in December 1941.

If you can honestly say that you don't feel that way, and that nobody you know does, then we, as a nation have forgotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Und now...

Now, it's time to get off my ass and get the things done I couldn't earlier in the week because I was grading papers...

Things like laundry, dishes, more cleaning in the kitchen, and a bit of cleaning in the living room to try to stave off the avalanche of stuff teetering on the edge of the coffee table. 

Time to break out the Metallica.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

OMFG.

Y'know, I've been horrified by the way my discipline has been taught in public schools for the past several decades. 

I have just had it brought to my attention that history has had it worse.  I had a student argue that the national security agencies need more authority to better protect us from internal terrorists and saboteurs in time of war, and that were it not for such agencies, Pearl Harbor and the September 11 attacks would have had far higher casualty rates. 

Oh. 

Oh, no.

OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!  This kid had NO IDEA that the LAST TIME we were protected from internal terrorists and saboteurs was during WWII, when FDR rounded up the Japanese and put them in concentration camps. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the proud product of public education: the active idiot.

Please.  Drop out.  And go die in a ditch, somewhere.  I wouldn't trust you with an idiot stick, and you'd probably be demanding $15/hr to mop floors even if I did.

That's all of the emailed drafts...

I've finished up going through the emailed drafts--a total of eleven papers graded this morning.  Not too bad, considering how shitty they are.  Honestly, they're lucky I've set a maximum number of points that can be deducted based on mechanics, punctuation, run-on sentences, and fragments.  They're also lucky that punctuation and mechanics errors count for a quarter point each.  Several have gone way past the max points that I'd deduct from their final grades. 

And, looking at the first course site submitted student draft, the rest aren't going to be much better. 

Grading's going to take me a fuck-ton longer, per paper, than I had anticipated, judging by the last four semesters' papers.

I wanna go 'round slapping language arts teachers, right now, all the way from elementary up through high school. 

Six more graded in 2 hours.

Seems the ones submitted by email and/or the course site's assignment links for turning things in are much better than the ones handed in via hardcopy...but this semester's students are notably worse than last semester's.

Once more unto the breach...

I'll be taking the kids in to school in about ten minutes, and then I'll have around 3 hours child free to see how much grading I can get done. 

Wish me luck. 

After I pick up the pixie, I'll have to feed her lunch, then get her down for a nap, then grade MORE papers.  I'm too far behind to do otherwise.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oh, bloody hell...

I started grading papers last night.  It's been really fucking hectic.  I'm going to have to bust ass tonight and all day tomorrow to get stuff ready to hand back by Wednesday. 

Last night, I spent two hours, and got three papers graded.  Most of that was spent on two papers. 

They.

Were.

Terrible.

I could tell from reading the paper that neither student understands spoken English, nor comprehends it written.  Nor can they write coherently in it. 

No, they don't speak Spanish.  They speak Arabic. 

I've left each a long, handwritten note on the back page of their paper, and have suggested they go find a tutor.

The rest of their class shouldn't be so much of a challenge.  

I have two more, just like 'em, in the other class.  We'll see how well that works out.

Mind you, I do not believe that they're all so fucking incompetent in English--the third student I graded also speaks Arabic as a first language, and his paper was MUCH better.  I also watched and walked him through the composition of that paper, so I know it's his.  Want to know what I think made the difference?

He sought out a tutor to help him before peer review day. 

Seriously, can we just give an English competency test as a requirement for college, for both native and foreign exchange students?  It would make my job so much easier...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Random ramblings

We went up to my in-laws' house, yesterday.  Odysseus's much-older sister and her grandson (our kids' second cousin) visited yesterday, too, and the bigger boy brought water guns.  He'd obviously put significant thought into matching his water blasters to my kids' sizes.  The three kids had a blast, although the pixie wasn't happy with the aftermath: she got stripped down to the skin, and dry shorts put on (with no underwear).  She told me she was "terribly not comfortable" and wanted to go to the store for dry panties.

The imp...well, we had recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy with him.  He loved it.  Loved Groot, and loved Rocket.  The other boy had the refill bucket covered, and squirted the imp every time he tried to reload.  The imp, however, was using a watergun with a magazine.  Odysseus showed him how to detach it, reload it in the garage bathroom sink, and put it back.  The imp slaps the magazine home 'til it clicks, gets this huge smile, and says, "Oh, yeah."  Just like Rocket in the movie when he got ahold of a blaster (which the imp's watergun resembled). 

It was hilarious.

The imp also had a milestone this week: he lost his first tooth.  Poor little guy lost it at recess, and lost it in the rocks on the playground.  He bawled.  A lot. 

(The tooth fairy left him a note that she'd found his tooth on the playground, and brought him money anyway.)

I ordered a 10 pack of Hero 616 pens.  They arrived this last week--some of the nibs are slightly off-center with the hood, and in one or two, the nib tines were misaligned, which will make them scratchy and unreliable (but which is easily fixed).  I have two of them loaded with ink--green and red--and I'm very satisfied with the quality.  The pens themselves are slightly smaller than the 616 my mother bought for me, and have stainless steel nibs, rather than gold (like the one my mom gave me has).  They write incredibly well, and seem like they'll be nice, reliable writers. 

The cats are still trying to adjust to a different lifestyle and schedule of most of us being gone most mornings.  Sometimes, Shadow gets clingy, and sometimes she gets mad and won't interact with us at all.  Cricket...I'm not sure she remembers we've been gone after we get home. 

I've picked up my first set of papers from my students.  No, I haven't started grading yet.  I'll be working on grading starting later this afternoon; we'll be going to the local range after babysitting gets here for the pixie.  After that, I'll be much more relaxed, and in a far better mood for actually figuring the grades (which is the part I HATE).   We'll also likely be watching Clint Eastwood comedies later this evening, after the pixie goes to bed. 

I've got about four pages handwritten of The Schrodinger Paradox.  I've been too busy this week to sit down and type them up--the handwritten bits were written during a few minutes snatched here and there, while I was waiting for something, or when I had the draft book at hand and nothing else that needed done at the moment.  I should hopefully have some time for transcription this coming week.

Friday, September 4, 2015

FFOT: careless, oblivious fucktards

Specifc ones.  Ones with kids.

Two incidents that I personally witnessed this week:

1.  A mother about my age with a two year old, picking up her four year old at the same time I was.  She brought the family puppy (cute dog, by-the-by), and permitted the toddler to control the leash and harass the puppy the whole time we waited for the preschoolers.  While she herself played on her fucking smartphone, and ignored the small child and puppy.  The puppy, after almost fifteen minutes of constant harassment by the toddler, attempted to bite--I put my purse between dog and toddler arm, and the woman FINALLY picked the dog up.

2. A grandmother, waiting for a four year old from my pixie's class, had two smaller grandsons (about 2 yrs, and maybe 8 months) in the car...in the sun...with the windows down.  I pointed out the shaded parking spots just behind her, and she said she was fine.  And the boys in the back were in the shade, so they were fine.*  AND THEN SHE FUCKING LEFT THEM IN THE CAR TO STAND IN LINE TO PICK UP THE FOUR YEAR OLD because she could still see the car. 

Parents: first, never let a small child be around an animal unattended.  That the first woman not only did so but let her small child control the dog's leash, AND IGNORED THE CHILD, is stupid.  That particular woman can fuck off, and I'd be happy to help her take a selfie of the interior of her esophagus after I've shoved her phone so far up her ass that she'll taste shit for a month.

Second: yes, the car's roof shades kids in the back seat at certain angles.  HOWever.  A black car roof GENERATES heat into the interior, and it's a lot more comfortable to small children strapped into car seats to have the CAR'S roof shaded.  I can attempt to shove the grandparent's car up her ass, but I'm sure the keys would be sufficient.  I imagine having the car alarm go off every time she twists around or something might draw attention to the fact that SHE LEFT HOT KIDS IN A HOT CAR TO STAND IN LINE IN WHAT BREEZE THERE WAS.

I'm sorry, people but the safety of a child FAR outweighs convenience or boredom.  If it doesn't, then that person does not deserve to have care of a plant, much less a child.

*Lethargic, panting, and literally having clothing soaked with sweat is NOT FINE.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I'm dyin', here!

Shamelessly stolen from FB:


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WTF???

Who studies these things?  How much money was wasted on this study?  And who fucking cares about why Tutenkhamun was mummified with a stiffie?

Honestly, my despair at the state of academia is only partially fueled by my own discipline. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

random ramblings

I'm late, on this.  In my defense, it's been a hell of a week.  Tuesday, I called a pest control service.  I asked for soonest available, assuming that it would be a week out. 

Nope.  The lady I spoke with told me they'd be out on Wednesday afternoon.  And I had that long to get my cabinets emptied out. 

With Odysseus's help, I got that done.  Started clearing the countertops, but didn't finish that part.  They came, they sprayed, they left, and I looked at the mess, and declared that I was not cooking supper that night.  I couldn't even really get to the stove. 

I spent Thursday morning trying to put the kitchen back together, and did well enough that I was able to make supper, and made chili.  It was delicious chili, and the person who came in to babysit the pixie (who had not woke up from her nap) stayed to eat chili with us.  Because I made a lot--somewhere around 3 quarts. 

Continued trying to put kitchen back together on Friday, between things going wrong (it only started with bad imp behavior--and didn't get better throughout the day).  Yesterday was a trip up to visit my in-laws, then grocery shopping, and we didn't get back home until around 5:30.  By which point I was exhausted. 

Note to self: definitely talk to doctor about this.  It cannot be normal.

The kids have continued acting up.  Maybe it was the so-called "supermoon" last night affecting behavior--I don't know.  I do know I'm about at the end of my patience with all the tantrums and refusal to follow instructions that both have been displaying.  Yesterday, when it was time to leave the grandparents' house, the imp set up a wailing, tearful fit that he didn't want to go, because he wanted to go outside and play some more. 

And that has been par for the course all fucking week.  If it was the "supermoon," then I anticipate another week of similar behavior...and I'm not sure my sanity will survive that intact.  Not without the application of more whiskey than I'm willing to drink, with my family history of alcoholism. 

The cats have been really flighty since Tuesday.  Their world got shook up with the kitchen being taken apart, and with strangers tramping through their house.  They're friendly kitties, and will come up to someone who's sitting on the couch that they don't know to check them out and maybe get some affection, but are rather frightened by a high level of activity by said strangers. 

I was ready to kill the last two students in the classroom, on Friday.  They decided to stay put in the room, despite being finished with the day's work, surfing the net right up to the last minute of class...which put me almost late picking up the pixie.  At which point I was faced by the tears of a small child who feared she'd been forgotten. 

I'm going to start kicking them out ten minutes from the end of class at the latest.  I hated that. 

I got 3K words written, last week.  Only 3K.  I've been too busy running like a chicken with its head chopped off.  I've gotten some of the second draft of a friend's book read, but nowhere near what I'd intended to have done.  I'm going to work on the reading today, while the next bit of my book gels in my head.  I'll have morning office hours on Monday to get more done, if I don't finish today (which I'm intending to do).

So far, I've got 30K words done on The Schrodinger Paradox, with another 8-10K words to go in part 1, and two more parts to write.  I'm doing my best to write, but life is getting in the way big time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Need moar coffee...

It's been one fucking long fucking bad day.  Starting with the kids' egregious behavior this morning, continuing through hitting every intersection where I didn't have the right-of-way exactly wrong, and with two of my students keeping me right up to the last second of class to the point I was met with pixie tears because I was almost late to pick her up.  And she wouldn't nap.  And hasn't left my general vicinity since, and I need some fucking space after the fucking awful day.  

Cricket left me a lovely gift in the middle of the floor: a hairball the size of a tennis ball.  Right about the time I had to leave to pick up the imp.

And the kids' behavior has not improved over the morning.  It's not necessarily bad behavior, not constantly, but they are a lot more prone to fighting than they even usually are.  And I am less patient with their spats and their carelessness with each other, with toys, and with the dry-erase marker caps than I usually am.  

I want coffee.  I need coffee.  Coffee is my comfort drink.* 

I also need sleep tonight, because we have plans tomorrow. 

Fuck it.  If I don't get coffee, I'm going to end up screaming.  Either at the ceiling, or at one of the children.

FFOT: antics

I did not get my coffee*, this morning.  Due to various antics perpetrated mostly by the imp, we were running late.  Coffee got made, got put into a travel mug, but got left behind as I was trying to get the kids out the door.  And we were running late enough, courtesy of the imp, that I could not go back and get it.

I am NOT HAPPY. 

The antics can definitely fuck off.  When, not if, they're repeated, Mama's gonna come down on the perpetrator (whichever child it is) like a ton of bricks.  

*I am not un-caffeinated, because I had a massive sinus headache for which I took a dose of Midol. But damn it, I wanted that cup of coffee.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once more unto the breach...

Exterminators came yesterday.  Sprayed roach birth control all over the place, put out baits, and sprayed poison (non-toxic to children and animals, after it's dry) everywhere in the kitchen, bathrooms, a couple of places in the living room, and in a barrier outside. 

It's now dry, and I've got a kitchen to put back together. 

You never realize just how much crap you have shoved into your cabinets until you have to clear them all out for someone to come in and spray for bugs...

Wish me luck getting it done today...without causing myself harm. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sometimes, it's the little things...

It's been a rough day.  I don't deal well with dealing with the public--pretty bad case of social anxiety disorder--and I managed, despite that, to go grocery shopping alone, call to cancel the health insurance that we'd had for nine years, and call around to find a pest control company that wanted our money.*

On top of that, I've got a solid case of cramps.  I want to just curl up around a heat pad and drink 'til they stop, but I've got to go get the boy in an hour and a half, and I've got housework to do.

However.  At the grocery store, I found something that happens to be one of my all-time favorite things: jalapeno bologna.  I hadn't even seen jalapeno bologna in years.  And I found rice flour penne.**

Yes, I have a fuckton of work to do (clear out all the cabinets in the kitchen) before tomorrow morning.  Yes, I'm still jittery from my morning of doing things way the hell outside my comfort zone.  Yes, I probably should be taking some thyroid support supplements (and some B vitamins) and getting off my ass and getting to work.

But.  I've had a fried jalapeno bologna and sharp cheddar cheese sandwich, and another cup of coffee, and I feel like I can manage what I still need to do.

The little things bring great comfort.

*We've contacted two that wouldn't return our calls. 

**I wanted some pasta bake, and I've found I prefer the taste and texture of rice pasta over corn or quinoa.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

My take on the Hugo Awards*

Why bother?  I mean really, why?  It seriously doesn't even fucking matter. 

I read through the list of winners and placers from the beginning of the award (including the retro-award).  Most of the time, the better books did not win.  And the rot started around ten years before I was born (so, somewhere around 46 years ago).  Before that?  Some real, quality books were nominated, and often won.  Now?**  Yeah.  Not so much.

The only function that the Hugo Awards serve is as a popularity contest among a small group of people in a circle jerk, kind of like voting for homecoming/prom king/queen. 

And that...that is my take.

The Sad Puppies really need to tell the Hugo Award judges to go fuck themselves, and instead judge by what people are reading--and buying. 

*I have no dog in this fight.  I've looked at the Hugos for a suggestion of what not to pick up for two decades, now.  The books are, for the most part, badly written, preachy, and boring--except for when somebody manages to slip in a good story and it makes it all the way in.  

**Come on.  Two Harry Potter books have won or placed in the 2000's.  They are entertaining, but are, by no means good.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

random ramblings

The kids had a good week, this past week.  The imp is really shaping up, behavior wise.  I'm really proud of him.  His new kindergarten teacher knew him last year, and says that there's a huge difference in his emotional and mental maturity and readiness for school.  I'm thankful for that.

The imp is settling into his new routine fairly nicely; however, he's starting to get up at five thirty or earlier to play before school.  And he gets just loud enough to wake the pixie so that she comes to play with him. 

It's not as big of a problem on school days: I get up sometime between 5:30 and 6:00.  However, he also did that this morning.  And got loud enough, more than once, to wake us up.

I put him down for a nap when I put the pixie down.  And I explained to him that he'd gotten up far too early for him to have gotten enough sleep.  He isn't happy, but I think he gets it.  And he grew about an inch over the summer, when I was making him take naps every day, so...yeah.  I think he's not getting enough sleep, not because his bedtime is too late, but because he gets up too early. 

The pixie managed to hurt her foot--she tripped over one of the imp's toys, and managed to scrape between her littlest toe and the slightly bigger one next to it.  She's been subdued and whiny, since--apparently, it hurts.  A lot.  Most of the time.  Whether she's playing or sitting still. 

Last weekend, we got a laser pointer to try to get the cats to play a bit more (especially Shadow, the fat one).  It was...a dismal failure.  Even Cricket didn't care to play with it.  I might take it up for my sister to try out on her cat. 

I have two classes full of engaged, interested students, this semester.  I'm pleased.  I'm much less pleased to have three or four single Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 40 in my classes, partially because I trust them a whole fuckton less than my colleagues do, and partially because they don't understand, speak, or write well in English.  I mind them a lot less when they have no problems understanding the lecture, and can write a decent paper, because then I can interact with them a lot less.

So.  This week was rather non-productive for office hours.  Monday, I had to spend the first forty-five minutes rushing to the department to sign my contract, then back to the library...only to find that there was already a Comp II class in my classroom.  Wednesday, I needed to run to IT, but couldn't on foot (and wouldn't in the car because campus is batshit insane for the first three weeks or so).  It was raining.  So, I scouted around and found a good place for office hours.  It's the same as a couple of semesters ago, a cozy nook in the bottom floor that's fairly quiet and out of the way.  Friday, since it was dry, I had to run over to the IT department and get them to set me up with internet access.  Took up the first hour of my office hours again, but worth it.

I'll be starting standard office hours--and back into the writing--as of Monday.  I'll have next week to go through and write, and then the week after, I'll be picking up papers.

Tuesday and Thursday, I drop the pixie off, come home, do housework that I can't do with "help" quickly or efficiently, then go pick her back up at noon.  I haven't gotten caught up with that to the point that I can write, yet.  I'm sure I'll eventually get there.

Yup.  Routine.  Settling.  Getting frustrated, because the most I've been able to write is a few words here and there in my various draft books on three or four different projects.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FFOT: WTF???

To the brainless, mouth-breathing, flaming bag of douche that drove the tractor with the chop-trees-apart brush-hog attachement at 15 mph in a 35 mph zone for three miles through a main north-south route between my daughter's school and my lunch, I hope your tractor gets plowed into by a speeding, giant dumptruck, overturns, and pins you away from your phone, on which you spent the entire twenty-five minute drive (which should have taken about half that long, at most) alternately yammering, and braking without warning.  You, sirrah, can fuck right the fuck off with the brush-hog attachment directly powered by your rear exhaust.

To the oddly unChristian individuals in the Christian school parking lot, are you sure this is the example you want to set for your kids?  Really?  Running up on my bumper, flipping me off, and screaming invective that I can almost understand despite having closed windows because I chose to slow and let one of my fellow parents of a pre-K student (3-4 years old) into the queue to leave?  If so, you may fuck off with a poster-board of "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" made of rusty razor blades and barbed wire embedded in it, sideways, up your ass.  This is the second time you've done this, and I am glad my daughter was distracted enough to miss it.

To the students who...no, I can't tell students who needed help to fuck off just because I'm late enough getting off campus to go pick up my daughter that I don't get to wave at my son through the door as he goes to lunch.  But that did kinda suck, since I missed one of the little things that brightened my day just a little every day this week.

To the stinking twatwaffle that shoved me sideways into a wall because you have such piss-poor planning skills that you were already fifteen minutes late for class: you need to lose about two hundred fifty pounds, at minimum, and start dressing like a respectable college student, rather than like you're advertising for specialized services to a certain demographic that prefers to fuck things with five times their body mass.  And you can fuck off chasing a rolling plate of nachos to help you drop at least a little bit of that weight.

Yes, my day has rather sucked.  If yours has, too, sound off in the comments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In a perfect world...

This individual (can't call him a man, and calling him a pussy insults vaginas) would never have faced the test he failed.

Couple of kids decided to commit a home-invasion robbery.  Individual stood in their way and begged them not to go in his house, where his wife and kids were.  The kids shot him in the legs, and left him crying and bleeding on the floor while they chased down his wife and infant daughter to steal his wife's phone, then robbed the house.  The thugs escaped unharmed. 

As he was loaded up by paramedics, he was reciting Christ's prayer when he was nailed to the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  

The individual's mother in law called him a hero, but admitted that the thugs were likely to do it again, and were still out there. 

I'm gonna cut in here, with a little bit of commentary. 

This individual is NOT a hero.  He's a failure.  He's a failure as a man, he's a failure as a citizen, he's a failure as a husband, and he's a failure as a father.

First.  A man does not react as he did.  A man has the means, ability, and willingness to protect himself.  He had none of the above. 

A citizen does not rely on others to protect him or her.  And does not permit those committing violent crimes against him or her to walk away to continue perpetrating those crimes.  Any thug trying that at my home--my home where my children are playing and/or sleeping--is getting perforated.  Several times.  I have the tools and mindset to shoot until the threat stops.  I am a citizen.  The individual in question is government- and church-owned livestock. 

A husband that is not a failure does not permit the thugs to chase his wife, nor does a father who is not a failure permit said thugs to have access to his children.  This individual succeeded only in incapacitating himself, not in protecting his children or his family. 

Forgiveness follows contrition, or else it isn't forgiveness.  It's nothing more than a cloak for cowardice. 

This individual is not a hero.  He simply used Christ's words to excuse his own inadequacies. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Busy days...

I make a round trip between the kids' school and home twice on MWF, and three times on TTh.  It's four miles, one way.  Ninty-six miles per week. 

Monday, I spent trudging across campus, first one way from the parking lot near my class building, all the way across campus to the department I teach for, then back.  I got to campus a bit more than an hour and a half before class; I got my business done and back to my building about a half an hour before class. 

Today was less busy, but a whole lot more brain-dead.  I got the kids in to school...and managed to get my left foot tangled in my right shoelaces, and wound up with a skinned knee.  The pixie almost cried about it. 

Got the kids safely to class, got home, went to get a pixie...and discovered that clouds had rolled in.  The day went, in less than three hours, from bright, sunny, and pretty, to cloudy, windy, and sporadically spitting rain.  It got a bit heavier before I had to go get the imp, but did let up before I had to be on the road. 

I am not sure what tomorrow's going to bring.  I've got a laptop that won't access the internet, an IT department that wants me to bring it to them to mess with (and take God only knows how long), a single parking lot that I'm comfortable parking in, across campus from the IT department, and a forecast of more rain.  I'll have to see how things look in the morning.

On the upside, Odysseus is really enjoying his new job.  I haven't seen him enjoy a job this much since 2003, before he sold the computer shop. 

I'll try to write something for y'all tomorrow, with a bit more thought and substance, but I need to find a good spot for office hours, first.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Random ramblings

So.  Week one down of school.  Yeah, I know: two days is hardly the first week, but I think it counts.  Both kids did well, according to their teachers.  I'm hopeful for the rest of the year, in some respects, but the imp went into it sick and subdued (a cold), and the pixie picked it up from the imp as of yesterday. 

For that matter, so did I.  As I'm sitting here, typing this, an hour after the kids went to bed, I have a lemon and honey and honey whiskey hot toddy at my left elbow. 

I think the imp is settling into the new routine (and school is incredibly helpful with that).  Yes, he's still whiny and a little prone to weeping and tantrums, but it's lessening as the boundaries don't change, and he gets used to Daddy going to work just before he leaves for school, and getting home right around supper time. 

He's getting bigger, and some things that used to bother him worse in the past don't seem to bother him as much anymore.  Others...not so much.

One thing the imp is absolutely delighted by is his first loose tooth.  He spends a lot of time wiggling it.  

How is the pixie taking the changes?  Quite well, I do believe.  She hasn't seemed upset by anything.  In fact, she loves seeing Daddy in his work clothes: "Oh, Daddy, you look so handsome!"

I think she's also adjusting well to the five day per week pre-K.  She doesn't thrive in daily routines like the imp does, but it certainly does her no harm. 

The cats...are adjusting.  Both of them get a little bit clingy with the kids as soon as they get home, but that doesn't last too long.  I mean, yeah.  Cats. 

Speaking of cats, Cricket forgot how to cat yet again, yesterday.  She flung herself from the arm of the couch into the kitchen (crossing around four feet of carpet without touching the floor), skidded all the length of the kitchen, and body-slammed the bottom of a folded-up stepstool...which toppled over and squished a kitty.  I chased her down and ensured that nothing was actually hurt but her non-existent dignity (and it wasn't...seriously).  And after ensuring that she had nothing worse than bruises, I had a good, hard laugh at the scramble. 

Monday, I start back.  I've got both sites all set up, so all I have to do is get the kids dropped off, get myself in and parked, then walk across the campus--twice--to check in at the department, then go teach my classes.  Think I'm wearing these instead of these for that first day.  I also have the stuff I need printed already stuck in my class binder.  I'll need to take in a couple of books to leave in my classroom for student use and reference. 

I'll also need to figure out where I'm holding my office hours.  I do not want to share a large space with many desks and many leftist leaning, well-meaning morons with whom I get along (for the most part) until politics comes up.  I'd rather have a small room all to myself...maybe I'll talk to the library secretary about reserving one of the small study rooms for a couple of hours per class day...

I'm still working on writing.  It's taken a bit of a back seat to the mad scramble to get the new routines set.  And we're still working on that--it's a bit of a change to have to get up a bit before six to get myself ready, then the kids, then the kids' and husband's lunches (one kid eats at the school, the other in the car on the way home from school), and then get my coffee and catch my breath.  I've been crashing by ten or before for the past week, and that cuts into my kids are sleeping writing time.  Thankfully, office hours will fix that.

Once I get my music transferred from either the old laptop or the flash drive acting as a music player in the Subaru, that is.  I got most of it transferred, but somehow missed grabbing Starset's Transmissions album.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Deep breath of relief

The imp's teacher said he did great.  She seems easier going than the other teacher; we'll see how the imp does with her.  I'm hopeful that this will be a trend, but we'll see.  This morning, he was a very whiny, tearful imp that wasn't very well-behaved.  I really hope today's not any different from yesterday. 

I got one class site set up yesterday, while the kids were either out or asleep.  I just finished the other one a few minutes ago.  I have another forty minutes before I go pick up the pixie, so...break time. 

After the pixie gets home, it's lunch time, then work time while she's napping. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

1st day: half over.

I got a bit done--I've got the semester schedule set up for my classes.  And then, my laptop decided it was time to update and restart.

And then, it was time to pick up the pixie.

I'm going to spend the time she's asleep (what little there is) to get started on building my classes.  Should only take about four hours altogether--an hour and a half while she sleeps for nap, before I go pick up the imp, and two and a half after the kids go to bed.  And then, tomorrow, I'll have just a free morning to get some cleaning done.

I half dread picking up the imp.  I am afraid he was a very badly behaved imp.  I hope otherwise, but I'm braced for bad behavior.  It's been par for the course for the past two weeks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

rebuilding a professional work wardrobe

So...Odysseus is back to work.  Work attire is slacks (which he needs more of), button down shirts (ditto, and in colors other than white), and ties.  Ties he has, ties he can find. 

He's just under 6'4".  The slacks and shirts are a bit more of a challenge to find.  Most of what's sold in town doesn't fit where length is concerned. 

Thank God for Amazon.  Easier to find things that fit through Amazon than to hunt through all the stores in town.  Better yet, most things aren't taxed, and I can usually find what we need with free shipping.

My professional wardrobe is still under construction.  I need tops that don't gape at the buttons (which means, with my build, absolutely no button down shirts).  I have pants, some of which I haven't been able to wear in years.  I still need some nice blazers, mostly because my classroom is freakin' cold, summer and winter, because there are a couple of computer labs on my floor, and the computers function better that way, given the heavy use they see. 

Or so we all have been told.  No, it's not a sexist conspiracy--the men I work with whine about it more than the women do.  The women just dress in layers and bring blankets. 

The kids' school wardrobes are mostly done.  I had to order something for the imp that our local stores don't seem to carry, anymore: orange jeans.  We found some for him two years in a row, and those pants were his absolute favorites, to the point he wore them out before he outgrew them. 

His grandma turned them into shorts for him, with hemmed edges and everything.

I'll probably have to supplement as time goes on for the kids (the imp is outgrowing his socks, and between sizes in underwear), but their wardrobe is done for the year, and we only paid county sales tax due to the state and city suspending sales tax last weekend. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

And so, it begins...

Odysseus had an early day, today.  He's already on his way to work--has to be there by 7:15, for orientation.  He's looking forward to the challenge, and to the work environment.

I've been up since six.  I'll be getting up at that time from here on through the end of the school year--it'll be easier to get me ready before I chase the kids through their morning routines, especially on days I work.  I'm just about ready for my second cup of coffee (and it's just about ready for me).

I don't know what time Odysseus will be home, tonight.  Normal days, he'll go in by eight a.m., and be done by 4:30 p.m.; however, today, he's got orientation.  I don't have any clue what he's going to be up to, today.   He did to say goodbye to the boy--the imp wakes up around 6:15-6:30 a.m.  The pixie didn't wake until an hour later.  Most days, that will be the time he leaves for work. 

Tomorrow night is the back-to-school open house, for parents and students to meet teachers, and drop supplies off in classrooms.  I should be able to find out teachers' names and room numbers this evening. 

We'll have Wednesday with nothing to worry about for school for the kids, then school starts on Thursday.  Imp will be in all-day kindergarten, and the pixie will be in daily half-day pre-K 4 classes. 

I start back a week from today.  I'm going to spend this week getting into a morning routine for getting myself ready before I mess with the kids. 

Deep breath...I think I can do this.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Random ramblings

So, apparently, my imp is way more perceptive that even I thought.  He's been really insecure and upset about the rapid changes happening around here, and spent all of last week testing boundaries.  As of last month, Odysseus graduated college with an accounting degree, and was employed less than two weeks after graduation in the accounting department of a large local employer.  I think getting into a solid routine will help immensely--if I can manage to not strangle him beforehand.

I can't tell whether the pixie has noticed the changes or not.  I'm pretty sure that the cats either don't notice, or don't care.

Odysseus starts Monday.  He's got to be in by 7:15, which means he needs to leave between 6:30 and a quarter till seven.  He should be home by about five, most days--enough time for me to pick up the imp, feed the kids small snacks, get homework done, and start supper.

School starts for the kids next Thursday.  We have a back to school night at six on Tuesday (which means my dinner plans will have to be fairly quick and easy, since Odysseus will get home around five), and then the kids start back at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday.  The pixie will have a four hour day, five days a week, and the imp has a full school day. 

And I will have those two mornings in a row to myself.  I'll need to get my class sites built before then so that I can use those days to work on housework. 

I start back the next Monday.  I'll drop the kids off, then go find somewhere to set up for office hours.  I'll have about an hour and a half per day, then two classes, and will be done to go pick up the pixie at noon.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll have free.  I'm planning on doing what I can to keep up with the house on those two days.  Grading and writing will happen during my office hours.

It's going to be a hell of a juggling act.  We'll just see how well I can keep the balls in the air.  Hopefully, it'll be easier with both kids in school every day.

As for writing...I have the first part (of three projected) of The Schrodinger Paradox nearly done.  I've got three more chapters, and about 27K words.  I think part 1 will be nearly 40K words, if it doesn't tip all the way over.  Part 2, I've got 2.5K words done on, and have it set up to really take off when I can focus on it.  It should be about the same length.  Not sure about part 3.  I've got it semi-mapped.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be my longest work, to date.  Also my most complex. 

I'm having a blast with it.  The problem is finding the time and mental energy (and right headspace) to write.  Thankfully, 90% of the time all it takes is picking up my draft book, picking out and picking up a pen, and drafting longhand. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Much done, much to do.

We got out the door a bit before eight this morning, and avoided the "I ain't gettin' up 'fore noon, even to buy my kids' shit for school" crowd.  Got the kids' basic school wardrobes, supplies, etc. 

And, from here through the end of the weekend, I'm fucking hiding.  I want nothing to do with the crazy that will be clogging stores for the rest of the sales tax holiday weekend. 

Much to do refers to catching up on housework.  I seem to have a limited amount of ability to get up and get things done, and that kinda fell by the wayside Tuesday and Wednesday, and yesterday was me recovering.  I've gotten some more done, but...yeah.

And, of course, the ants took my lapse in getting dishes done promptly as a signal to riot around my sink.  Damn them. 

I also still have much to do in preparing for classes, and getting things organized and together for back to school night (which is this coming Tuesday), and then school (this coming Thursday morning--I'll have two half days next week in which to do housework without anyone getting underfoot). 

Monday will bring another huge change for my family.  My other half, Odysseus, has graduated from the university where I teach, and has acquired a job related to the second degree he has earned.  It's a done deal, papers signed and everything, and he starts orientation on Monday.  I cannot be prouder of him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Time for one, deep breath...

We have been insanely busy for the past two days, since the weather was cool enough to take the kids and do some fun things.

Tuesday, we took the kids up to Prairie State Park where they have bison that roam free through the park.*  The visitor's center has a display of all the different things you might run across in that particular environment in an area about the same square footage as my living room, as well as a tank with a couple of fish and a turtle, and another tank with a tiny bull snake.  We went ahead and got them each a noisy little bird stuffed animal, made by the Audubon Society with accurate to the bird calls.  The imp has a rainbow bunting, and the pixie chose an eastern oriole.

After they explored the visitor's center (and touched buffalo hides the park had had stretched over some low tables for kids to touch), we took them to the picnic area for lunch, play time, and exploration.  Next time, we'll make sure the kids and I have water shoes so I can take them wading and see if I can't find something of interest to teach them about in the water, like mussels or crawdads, or something.

Then it was up to my mom's for supper.  We'd taken a roast up for her, and she fixed that.  Sadly, it hadn't been feed-lotted long enough for her tastes, and was a little gamey.  I liked it just fine--closer to venison than what you'd think of for beef.  The leftovers came home with us.  Think I'll get potatoes and do up a nice dinner built around the leftovers for supper tonight.

Yesterday, we took the kids to Branson.  No, we did not do any shows, or go to Steal-Your-Dollar City**--we took them on the two hour scenic train ride.  It was pretty fun.  They really enjoyed exploring the train.  Twice, for the imp.  I enjoyed sitting in the dome car and watching the scenery (I'm unstable enough on my feet when the floor's not moving.  No way am I going to go wandering a train without absolute necessity).

On the way back, we took them to Bass Pro's nature center in Springfield.  Yes, it's a huge store.  But there are alligators, fish, ducks, and turtles.  The kids really enjoyed the animals.

Today, we will be taking the imp to drop with his grandparents, and that's it.  All the plans we have for the day.  It's going to be nice to have a day to breathe without worrying about what-all needs to happen when.

Because tomorrow?  Starts the state back-to-school sales tax holiday, and we're going to get their school shopping done as early as we can tomorrow morning to avoid the worst of the crowds of morons and leaches, who tend not to appear until closer to midday--can't interrupt their sleep for school clothes and supplies, after all. 

*If you want to see the herd of buffalo, they're at the far corner of the park from you.  If you want to walk a trail, they're where you want to walk.

**Silver Dollar City.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Again, it's culture. NOT race.

So.  Recently, there was a black thug that got himself ventilated by a cop because he either (at the very least) started to drive away from a traffic stop that discovered his license was suspended, or (likely, but can't tell from the video) he grabbed the cop as he started to drive away, trying to drag the cop under the car. 

I say likely, because it's become a popular move with certain, inner city cultures. 

There is a certain crop of social justice warriors bullies out there that are aghast that black people almost invariably* have negative interactions with the police.   Well, maybe a large segment of the black population does have negative interactions with the police; however, how much of that is the fault of their own behavior?  They act out, getting up in the cop's face, and trying to intimidate them into going away.  They curse at them, act belligerent. 

How the fuck do they think police will react to a valid threat to their lives and safety?  Because that is what they are presenting themselves as. 

I've seen plenty of white people do the exact same things.  And I've seen whites have the exact same reaction from the police.

The neighbors from a couple years ago living in the house across and down from us with no electricity, heat, or water...their trouble with their kids getting yanked started when the cops saw the kids (three years, and eighteen months) playing in the unfenced yard, didn't see their mother watching them from the open door while she changed a diaper, and stopped to investigate.  She got belligerent and a bit nasty with them, her husband got verbally abusive, and their kids got yanked, and he got arrested.  No, he didn't get physical, just mouthy.  And no, he wasn't flung to the ground and beat--but he had been in the past, when he did get physical. 

He learned.  He learned from the consequences of his own actions, and he learned from watching what happened to others. 

You'd think that a certain segment of the population would be capable of learning the same. 

I am, by no means, trusting of the police.  The county cops around this area, yes, but not the city.  I've had too many belligerent officers (probably high school bullies) try to tell me and my family that we don't have the rights that I know we do.  I likely will not call the police for help with problems, and not unless it's absolutely necessary.

But.

We do not act, nor do we react, with the same stupid, saving-face behaviors that the tribal-minded inner city thugs tend to, so I am absolutely unafraid that we will be physically harmed. 



*Buried amonst the other stories are ones like this, or this, that don't fit the narrative of racist cops murdering innocent black choir boys. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Random ramblings

This weekend is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Two weeks from Monday is my mother's birthday--she's two years younger.  Ironically, Odysseus's mother and mine had both of us at almost the exact same age to the day: he's almost exactly the same amount older than me. 
 
Yeah, we went to see my in-laws today, and permitted the pixie to overnight with them.  The imp chose playing outside for a while, then his Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon series, then playing a kids' computer game on the desktop over watching a movie.  The imp has just gone to bed with a book, and with the door cracked to let the cat in to sleep on him if she wants to.

We had some cooler weather this week.  It wasn't bad weather, just a cool front with drier air coming through--no storms for us. 

The kids enjoyed it a bit, but the nicest day was one where neither Odysseus nor I really felt up to taking them outside to play.  So, today, they took advantage of being at Grandma and Grandpa's (and the weather still being halfway decent) by playing outside until they were content with it.

The cats have been discomfited, yet again.  I got one of the things I'd intended to do done: I pitched the old printer, and got a pair of shelves to hold a bunch of stuff on top of the long set of heavy wooden shelves that act as an entertainment center/storage unit.  I'd cleared the clutter, first, so Cricket thought she'd found a wonderful, new sleepy spot. 

Sad kitty.  I won't even let her climb into the new shelves to sleep.

I discovered that I hadn't gotten all of my music off of my old laptop.  I may or may not be missing files, as well.  I'm going to ask Odysseus to try the trick that had it working all day the first time it started in with this little trick, and see if I can't get the rest of my stuff off. 

As I've done research on what may or may not have been going on, it seems like the cooling fan is going.  It may be fixable, at least enough for the kids to play with it.  I'm probably not going to trust it for writing and work, though. 

One of the things that didn't transfer was the album I've been writing to for the past couple of months.  I really do need that--it helps me think in this particular world.

I've pulled through and finished the chapter I was working on for the current Project.  Yes, with a capital P.  It's bigger than the short story I thought it was at first, and it's a lot more complex than the other things I've worked on, and has me jumping to research things more than once per chapter.  And it's getting more and more complex all the time.  I'm having fun with it, but I'm probably going to try shopping it out with Baen after I finish it.  It's...yeah.  It's some hard science, some social science sci-fi.  I'll probably finish sometime within the next six months or so, then go back to work on another project for a while.  After that, I'll do the edit thing, and send it off to whomever wants to beta read for me before I submit it to a real publishing house. 

I've got other news to announce next week.  Don't want to announce it too soon, though.