Baltimore. I just...don't care. The people of Baltimore have chosen the course that has led to the consequences they're facing. They voted for the shitheaps that created policy that led to the repeated incidences of police brutality that had everybody believing that the cops there severed Gray's spinal cord.
It isn't going to matter if evidence and autopsies prove that he did it to himself in the hopes of being able to sue the city. Like with Ferguson, rioters are converging on Baltimore to destroy it, and no inconvenient fact is going to interfere with their beliefs that the cops murdered another undeserving black man.
I cannot bring myself to feel for the "victims" of the rioting. They chose this, through their voting patterns, and through remaining in the situation. The only ones I feel sorry for is those who are trying to keep family-owned businesses that have been in the same place for generations, businesses who literally could not survive without their long-built-up customer bases...and I question how many of those there actually are.
I do not feel sorry for the rioters--they aren't there for Gray, or for any honest protests about police brutality.* So fucking what if their bail is "unfair" (according to lawyers)? They earned the price the judges set on their heads, every penny.
I do not feel sorry for the scumbag's family. If they'd really cared for the young man, they'd have stepped in a long time ago and taught him real, civilized values, instead of turning him into a stupid sociopath predator.
I do not feel sorry for the scumbag. Especially since evidence has come out showing he'd done it to himself.
I do not feel sorry for the police force. From what I've read, they've been predators on the law abiding almost as bad as Gray was.
I do feel sorry for the good ones amongst the bad, but that's limited by the fact that they have not stepped up to boot the scumbags out of uniform and out of the force. They are as much at fault for the current situation as the bad cops. Remember what they say about what allows evil to flourish.
Seriously. At this point, after all of this, my ability to care, which is sorely limited by my own borderline sociopathic tendencies to not care about other people, has been completely worn out.
I've been waffling between selling my pens on Amazon and selling them on ebay. Amazon charges a per-item fee, plus ten percent; ebay charges ten percent plus a couple of little fees that are determined by whether I pay the shipping or my customer does. And PayPal takes a chunk, too.
On the one hand, I can set my price in either place; however, ebay doesn't guarantee that it will sell, because there's almost always something just exactly the same selling at someone else's auction for a little bit less.
I decided on another option. I opened an Etsy store: PensandKnits. It's not just pens I want to sell--I also have knitted scarves and hats and shawls and other small things like that (LORD, do I!) that I'm running out of space to store. They charge a lower per item fee, and a lower percentage of the sold item price fee.
Right now, all I have listed are the three of my pens that are functional and ready to be sold. I've got to hunt up where I stored all of the knit stuff, and put it through the washer and take pictures.
(And if anyone has a particular color combo they'd like to have of hat and/or scarf, or shawl, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain..." Exodus 20:7 KJV
I was taught as a child that this commandment was simple: you don't say the words "Lord," "God," or "Jesus" unless you're talking about the bible, about your faith, or praying. If you didn't do that, you were fine on this commandment.
I really did think it was that simple, as a child. As I got older, my understanding changed, because I actually thought about it. It isn't just saying taboo words that breaks the commandment. It's claiming that your actions are justified because God is on your side when you know you're doing evil.
What does that mean? That means that attacking someone in God's name is breaking the commandment. I do not mean self defense--I mean out of the blue: invading another country without provocation, claiming "God told us to invade, destroy, and rape those not killed, and sell them into slavery because they follow a variation of our faith differently from us."
Does this mean I think the fights between Catholic and Protestant in England was breaking this commandment? Yes. Same with Ireland more recently.
I couldn't tell you if Islam still follows the Talmud (the first five books supposedly set down by Moses), but if they do, their extremists break this one all the fucking time.
So do individuals.
The person who claims to be a Christian and then cheats their clients (builders, etc.) takes God's name in vain.
The person who makes $60-80K/year by sitting on the side of the road with a sign saying "For God's sake, please help," is taking His name in vain...but far worse than the first guy.
The people who claim to be Christians and squat in a property that the homeowner cannot afford, but refuse to vacate despite being repeatedly told to, are absolutely breaking that particular commandment--with malice. Especially considering the way they've also borne false witness against the blogger whose house they're attempting to steal (commandment 9), the way they apparently covet the house (commandment 10), and are using the legal system to aid them in their theft (commandment 8). (The whole filthy story is here--and is what prompted this particular post. If you want to help, there's a fundraiser here.)
I cannot say what will happen to those who break this commandment. It's above my pay grade. However, the second half of the commandment reads "for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain," so I'd bet that the payback will be...rather warm...for those who've broken this one.
I would think that Christians would be far more careful about this.
Monday evening, I came down with something. I went down hard, with a fever, body aches, and everything. Yesterday, I felt some better--only the headache remained. But oh, the headache! I felt like somebody was taking a sledgehammer to it anytime I moved my head.
The headache is not gone today. Improved, but not gone. But, since I am a responsible adult, I am in my classroom, instead of still in my bed.
And I'm starting to do the grading for my classes' blogs (and the extensions I gave for the fifth paper). Despite really not wanting to.
Because I am a responsible adult...no matter how much I sometimes wish otherwise.
May be more blogging later over other stuff. I feel a rant about another blogger's situation coming on...
This one is going to be mine: it's another Waltham--a pen company which has fascinated me since I learned of the company's shenanigans and ultimate fate. I mean, seriously: a pen company whose owners were such stellar individuals that they cut one of the three brothers out of the war profiteering and tax evasion, which is what led to the company's downfall and breakup, has an interesting story, even if the pens are "third tier" pens (pretty or not).
And this one is a pretty pen. Unfortunately, the nib is bent.
Here, you can see some of it--it's bent a little bit to one side, but bent down pretty significantly.
See what I mean? Poor thing...
This pen is a button filler: unscrew the black cap on the back end to uncover the button (it squeals, by the way), push the button down, put the entire nib and a little of the section into the ink, then let go of the button and wait for about 5-10 seconds for the rubber sack to fill with ink.
Unfortunately, the button wouldn't depress. It took a bit of application of the heat gun to pull the pen apart, where I found...pen poop.
Impacted pen poop.
That's fairly solid hardened rubber and ink pieces. It came out, with the aid of a pair of forceps, bit by bit...and with the pressure bar attached.
Unfortunately, the pressure bar was rusted. (Pictured with the dental pick I used to scrape out the inside of the pen barrel).
I have one on order--it should arrive just after the sacs do, sometime around the end of the week, right when my grading schedule clears up.
Once I have everything I need to fix the pen, I'll show pictures reversing the process, ending with a pen ready to load with ink and write with.
...that causes a six year old to try to lie, even when he knows that the lie will get him in four times the trouble that simply admitting what he'd done wrong would have?
He got a green day...which he then colored blue (first attempt), then tried to tell Daddy was green when the teacher had written yellow in Sharpie (second attempt). All of which stemmed from some misbehavior on the playground that would have gotten him scolded at worst. A green day would have seen him permitted to watch TV. A yellow day would have seen him permitted to play in his room. He's being treated as if he'd gotten a red day, simply for the lies.
Seriously. Why? This simply does not compute for me. I do not lie, and have done my best to teach him not to.
Today was the last regular classday Monday. There are two more class days to go before semester is done.
I am so ready for that.
So are my students--hell, all of the students I've talked to or overheard on my way to or from the classroom.
For some reason, few have had a good semester, and it has seemed endless; however, it's almost over. As of Friday, I will not be going back to campus. Because I refuse to hold a final for a skills class, and the students that need to can turn in revisions by email.
Gave the kids each a dose of Zyrtec syrup just before taking them up to my mom's today. It seemed to help the pixie...but it made the imp sick. Really sick. Badly upset stomach and awful headache and fever sick.
He started getting better as it started wearing off...right before bedtime.
But the poor little guy spent a miserable day, and I spent an afternoon with little boy pointy bits (I swear, the kid's all angles--he's about 4'2", and 43lbs) poking me in the legs and stomach where he'd curled up in my lap.
One of the pens that came in the second lot of pens I ordered off of ebay really caught my eye because of the color: a lovely bright green. It didn't rattle, and the section wouldn't come out of the barrel of the pen, so I set it aside until I had time to mess with it a bit.
The brand name on the clip is Arnold; Made in U.S.A. is engraved on the lever. On doing some research, I found that there is still a pen company under the name of Arnold or Parrot Pens, but that company doesn't make fountain pens at all anymore, if it ever did. The Fountain Pen Network is where I've found the most info: Arnold was a third-tier cheap pen company at best. They were supposedly low quality, and sold at $1.75 for a dozen.
I'm not so sure about the quality assessment--the nib is a bit skippy, but the plastic of the barrel is in incredibly good condition: it feels solid, and is mostly unscuffed. It's very plain, especially compared to the ones pictured in the thread I linked.
Here--why don't I just show you the pen, and the writing sample?
Simple little pen. Kinda plain, since I can tell you're not seeing the color properly.
The shape is a lot prettier with the cap removed, isn't it? And the color shows a little better in this picture.
Yes, I was tempted to keep it. Out of all of the pens I have, I don't have a green one. I have several in burgundy, in black, in blue, and some reds. But the only green I have is a Parker Vector with a medium nib, cracked barrel, and wrecked clip, and that one is a sort of pale gray-green that Parker calls Jade. Not a true green.
But it is a nice pen, and I have several. I'd like to sell it to someone else who'll enjoy having and using it, someone who'll appreciate it.
And there are no modestly priced modern lever fill fountain pens, and so few vintage lever fills that don't need worked on before they'll work...I'd like to give someone else a chance to try out the filling system, and have fun with it.
I'm getting really tired of the ongoing fight to teach my daughter to eat quickly and efficiently. It's coming to the end of the time when she can just graze all day. She won't get snacks today. She'll get meals at mealtimes. I am too tired of dealing with it, and completely out of patience today.
The imp had two really, really good days, this week...and then he quit behaving and went from purple one day to orange the next. He only just got green yesterday, and that after getting 9/10 on his spelling test. I do not know why, or what to do with the boy, sometimes.
Right now, the two are playing in the pixie's room. I can tell she's starting to wind down and get tired: she's getting extra-sensitive and whiny. Which means she's getting sleepy.
I do not know what I'm going to do with the imp while she's sleeping today. He'd be too loud outside, and he'd be chattering at me if I made him stay on the couch...I'd make him take a nap, too, but he doesn't really need one.
Couch and movie it'll be, I guess. He's been pretty good since he got up. I'll probably try to bribe him with Thomas the Tank Engine. And maybe he'll conk out on the couch while he watches, and I can get a few quiet minutes...
Especially if I give him his V8, which he gets every other day*...
Last Wednesday, I was standing in the kitchen, making a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich for the pixie, when I noted Shadow creep under the chair the pixie's booster seat is fastened to. A few seconds later, Cricket walked past. Shadow waited until she was nearly all the way past, then jumped out and grabbed Cricket by the butt. Cricket leaped three feet straight up in the air, then vanished. Didn't see her again for almost half an hour, and don't have a clue where she hid.
But Shadow was very satisfied with herself.
As I mentioned yesterday, I found a bit of time--about an hour and a half--to work with my pens. I got all of them either tested, or pulled apart and inspected, and I've put in an order for twenty latex pen sacs between 14/64" and 20/64", and one J-bar for the pen whose bar had rusted through and broken across the bottom of the J. I should get them sometime within the next five business days. Looking forward to it so that I can start fixing pens and getting them sold off.
I'll be posting another pen post, likely tomorrow sometime. One of the lever fill pens I function checked with water yesterday checked out. It's the green Arnold I was half-tempted to keep. I have it inked up (with Noodler's burgundy to contrast with the green so I can spot any leaks or other issues--and found only some minor burping), and have been using it today. I'll tell y'all what I can find out about it tomorrow, and post some pictures of the pen, and of the pen with a writing sample. It is a fairly nice little pen--a true green, like a wheat field, with a bit of chrome trim on the pen proper, and a chrome cap with a gold-toned clip.
I have one more week on campus before I'm done, and I'll be using that to get caught all the way up on grading so that I can turn in final grades for the 8:00 class by 11:00 on Monday, and for the 9:00 class by 12:00 on Wednesday (just after the end of the final exam times for those classes). All I have left is the workshop for paper 5, the papers I offered extensions to, the blogs, and any revisions turned in, so not much.
It really shouldn't take all of my office hours, so I'll have some time for writing. I'm still pecking away on a science fiction short story and Detritus. I am still working on them when I get a few minutes to, but it's usually in a draft book long hand when I'm in the elevator, or waiting on being picked up. I have a few paragraphs' worth written on both, but haven't had the time to transcribe and continue, given the time spent grading.
(Speaking of...I've been working on that a little while I've written this post.)
*There's 260% of the RDA of vitamin A for an adult in the juice. I don't want my six year old son turning orange, even if it is his favorite color.
Okay, at second look, I think I have a second pen that is in good shape where the sac is concerned...it expels bubbles in water when the lever is lifted. It's a gorgeous green Arnold pen with a silver toned cap. It's really, really ink clogged in the nib, though--I've got it soaking to try to get it all the way back in working order before I take pictures (and yes, I do plan on selling it despite how pretty it is).
One of the pens, a Collins lever fill, had a sac. Had. Some nitwit had tried refurbishing the pen, and had put the nib section and sac back into the pen before the rubber cement was dry, and wound up gluing the bar inside to the sac...and the bar to the lever (though not too bad, on that--pulling everything got the lever to work). It's going to be second to last on my list to repair, and will go up for sale as soon as I get it fixed and running right.
Sadly, I cannot find a pen feed for the Waltham with the broken feed glued together with dried ink, nor for the cute little Eclipse pendant pen. Nor can I find a nib to fit the Eclipse pen. I think those two, and the two pencil/pen combos are going to have to be parts pens. Also, one of the Wearever pens I have (the one that was badly refurbished) is going to have to be a parts pen, due to the splits in the barrel.
I have two more Wearever pens, one lever fill one cartridge. The cartridges haven't been made in about fifty years, and the piercing tip that punctured the cartridge is just a little too big for anything made modern. I even tried a Lamy converter, and it wasn't quite big enough. I've seen it recommended that the Wearever cartridge pens that are in good shape and without cracks can/should be converted to eyedropper fill...and I guess that's what's going to have to happen (yes, I'll post pictures--it looks to be an easy process, even if messy with the silicon grease). That pen has a medium nib, while the lever fill (which is bent quite badly just past the lever box) has a flex nib.
I have another nameless fountain pen--the only markings on it are "Made in USA" and the engraved, gold-leafed name of whoever had the pen--that I managed to pull apart today. It took the application of a heat gun and a pair of section pliers,* but it came apart. I took pictures of the pen pulled apart, and with the shattered sac laying in shards next to it.
On the left side of the top, there's a ring that fits down over the top of the barrel and lets the cap fit down tightly over the nib. The cap is a sort of dulled gold-tone, sort of with a bit of brass look to it (probably cheap). You can sorta see that the section where you hold the pen is shaped: a rounded triangle that makes it really comfortable to hold. It's burgundy, which is difficult to make out with the lighting and the way the pic turned out.
Right next to the barrel, between it and the pair of forceps I used to pull the bigger pieces out, you can see the rubber shards.
Here's a better picture of the hardened/shattered rubber sac:
I've taken to calling the rubber shards "pen poop," mostly because they can sometimes be small enough to sift out through the lever box, and into my hand when I shake the pen.
Although, I may need to find a different thing to call them. Some of the pieces can be really sharp...
I took the pixie up to my mom's, today. I had grading to do, and she was being particularly demanding of attention.
On the upside, I got caught up.
On the downside...just as I got caught up, the class platform decided to shit the bed. After the third time I got kicked all the way out of the entire site when I tried to enter a comment, I gave up.
It's still doing it.
I fucking give up. I'm too bloody tired of dealing with it to keep trying tonight. I'll try again tomorrow during office hours.
Which means writing is going to be pushed off for at least one more day.
Damn the stupid fucking platform all the fucking way to hell.
The only reason I'm as calm as I am (since I could be finished with papers were it not for the devil's queef of a website platform) is because my wonderful other half poured me a rye whiskey on the rocks, and it's already gone.
A few years ago, when I started teaching blogging, I had one student write an anti-gay-marriage post. Another one of my students verbally blasted them in their comments, calling her a bigot. The first student fired back, quoting scripture and telling the second student that they weren't a bigot, just following their beliefs.
Had it ended there, it would have been one thing.
It didn't end there.
The first student continued leaving hateful followup comments to the second student, starting with telling the second student that they were going to hell, and devolving from there.
And then, the first student followed the second student back to their own blog, and clogged their comments on all of their posts--on topic or off--with a lot more of the same.
Since then, I've had to make it clear that trolling is grounds for losing all blogging points for the week it happens in. I haven't really had the problem with it since that I had then. Now, students will snipe back once in comments, then they'll agree to disagree on contentious issues.
Don't get me wrong: they link to each other and write long screeds about why this person's opinion is so different from their own (and why they're wrong), but they remain civil in their comments, and in the comments on classmates' blogs. They simply relate their own side of the issue in their own blog and move on, rather than trying to sway the other person's audience on the other person's blog.
Would that older adults could be as civil as eighteen and nineteen year old college students...
I'm done with the fun part of semester--the teaching--but I'm still stuck grading the stuff that has been turned in. I've got research papers to get caught up on, since I didn't get started when I'd planned, and then I'll have blogs to grade on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I'm currently working on grading now. I may have a post later (I'm certainly going to try, at least).
Part of my problems making and keeping friends are that so many aren't comfortable with the reality behind personal responsibility. I've learned not to tell friends and family that I hold little sympathy for their plights that they manage to get into through their own dumb decisions (my mother and sister, for example, "stuck" in a town where my mom is certain she has a "reputation" built on lies told by my male genetic donor; or for people wailing about being broke while they faff about with their iThings, and smoke Marlboro Reds).
The rest? It's because I am too conservative on some things (i.e., fiscal and foreign policy) for a lot of people, and too liberal in the classical sense on others (social policy).
I think Congress should be limited to their responsibilities enumerated within the Constitution. Davy Crockett said something about the forcible distribution of wealth from those who earned it to those who did not. Yes, there is now written into the contracts of all soldiers that they're entitled to medical services and some education costs reimbursed. I do not, however, recall that we as a nation have a contract like that to provide for the leeches that could get a job, but prefer not to.
Does that mean I think welfare is wrong? Yes. Is it necessary? Only very occasionally, and much of the time, if the government wasn't forcibly robbing all of us at gunpoint, we would all be willing to help pitch in with helping those who truly need it.
I don't have a problem with tax breaks for parents, or for tax breaks for certain things. Despite benefiting from the Earned Income Tax Credit, I'd also like to see that go away; it is, despite its name, simply more welfare with the way it's set up: we get back around ten times what we pay in, total, including Social Security.* It is not a tax break--it's taking money from some that work harder and/or luck out in their connections, and giving it to those who don't make as much.
One of the biggest reasons I am so harshly against welfare programs of all types is this: it is nowhere found as a Constitutional right and/or responsibility enjoyed by congress and is a blatant vote-buying scheme. Another reason I have issues with it is because of what it's done: it has created a permanent, generational underclass of single mothers begetting babydaddies and babymamas. And it's not just any one race--it bridges races more than anything beneficial does.
My lefty friends disagree with me on this, to some extent. Now that many of them are paying taxes, they agree that there's a lot of fraud, and that the fraud needs cleared out. They also believe that it's the responsibility of everybody to pay taxes to take care of those who need it.
I, on the other hand, believe it should be up to the individual to help...or not. And most will. Especially if the government ceases doing jobs that they're not supposed to.
I also believe that we are not the world's police force. An army is not supposed to be forcibly restrained from the soldiers defending themselves with ridiculously restricted ROE. An army is not supposed to engage in nation building. An army is supposed to kill people and break things in defense of their nation. We haven't done that since WWII, in the Pacific front, except for in Afghanistan and in Iraq. This is something that most of my lefty friends strongly disagree with me on: they believe we shouldn't be over there, or that we should be the world's social workers.
Welfare isn't just limited to individuals. I assume most, if not all, of my readers are fully aware of just how much money our government hands out to other nations (who are frequently our enemies). That also needs to stop.
I do believe that the government has set all the social policy it needs to with the decree that no one can discriminate against anyone else on the basis of religion, creed, race, or sex. The government has no business saying who can marry whom (and who they cannot marry), nor does it have any business forcing business owners to act against their faith while protecting people who simply do not want to do the job for which they're hired from being forced to act against theirs (like selling pork or alcohol in a store which sells both). A government that enforces morality is tyrannical, no matter whose morality (right or left) it enforces, and it seems that both sides want to get into power just for that purpose.
Another issue that gets me into trouble, ironically enough, with everybody, is abortion. I am not conservative enough for my conservative friends, and I am not leftist enough for my leftist friends. I do not believe that it should be an option that a pregnant woman can choose if she doesn't want children--there is, after all, always the option of walking out of the hospital without a baby. And it was most often a choice that put her there to start with: having sex without using a barrier method, or a hormonal contraceptive.
I have had two children. I know for a fact that by the time most women know they're pregnant, the baby is already more than just a clump of cells. My two were moving at their first doctor's appointment when I was eight weeks pregnant--actively moving away from Doppler and sonogram.
I also do not believe that abortions should be illegal for a doctor to perform if it is the life of the mother on the line, or if a baby is developing in such a way that their condition is incompatible with life, and incredibly painful. I do believe that it should be a woman's choice to refuse such, but I do not believe it is hers to choose to murder her baby.
So. Too far right for my left friends, and too far left for my right friends. How many others are in the same situation?
So, today, I picked up the last paper from the students handing in a physical copy (few enough that I'll get them graded tonight). The electronic copies are due in my email or through the course site by midnight tonight.
And today's assignment is setting up a blog and posting the address on the discussion board. Tomorrow, their first post is due. They've got four posts, total, and I'm assuming this week is going to be a shakedown week for getting it going, and will be lenient on grading the blog posts.
We have five class days left for the semester, since today's are over. And final exam time (which is going to be thus: they email any revised papers to me, since it doesn't make sense to hold a final exam for a skills-based class).
Teaching, actually standing up and teaching the class, is now done. For the rest of the semester, I'm doing nothing but grading, and perhaps answering questions for students who need a bit of help. I hate setting it up like this, but I know how my university's professors work: they all, each and every one of them, wait until the last two weeks to either assign big projects due the last day of class, or have more than one major project (that they assigned within the last week or two) due during the last two weeks of class...or else they're cramming three more tests that they'd planned into the last two weeks. My students do not need to be stressing about my writing course when everything else is being dumped in their laps at once.
So, for the last two weeks, they're blogging. And actually physically being in class is optional, since they've got more stressful classes all dumping on them at once, and there are only so many hours in a day for homework.
When I'm not grading, I plan to be writing. I got on a roll during the last half hour of office hours today, and managed to transcribe a bit of Detritus, bringing the wc total on that one up to 21,500--which is fast typing, for me.
And then...then, after May 1, I'm done with campus. I'll be picking the girl-child up from preschool on the next Monday, while Odysseus is taking his final in one of his classes, but that's about it. The kids will have school until May 22, so Odysseus and I will have four hours, three days a week, for two weeks with no kids underfoot.
It's the beginning of the end of the school year. And while I'm done with the part of class I enjoy, it won't be long until I'm done with the part I hate, until the last of August or the first of September, whenever the first paper of the next semester is due.
I feel horribly guilty. I sent my in-laws to hell, yesterday, to be tortured by a Christian school's Christian rock praise band concert. In my defense, I meant to do it not at all. I thought the grandparents' day thing would be more focused on the school stuff and less on the Church stuff that the school is attached to.
Then, we went out to lunch. The pixie went home with them, and the imp came home with us and went to his very first birthday party. He had an absolute blast--the kid's mother rented our local bounce house for a couple hours. Odysseus described it as joyful chaos...and reported that the little girls in the imp's class like him very much, and constantly wanted him to chase them.
The mistake he made was that he said this in the imp's hearing, and now the imp swears that he loves chaos.
He's spent today fairly quietly--let us sleep in until we got a delivery left on the doorstep that I wasn't expecting until sometime next week. Since the pixie isn't here, he's actually spent the day watching Iron Man* and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The pixie is home, now, so the quiet that I've been enjoying has come to an end: I've promised the imp that he can use this little lightweight fabric frisbee to teach the pixie how to throw it properly...up and down the hall, probably with a lot of shrieking and laughter. Possibly with some fighting. Since I've put them both down for naps because of the severe crankies, that won't happen until later.
The imp got himself into trouble, this morning. Both he and the pixie love my fountain pens, and the imp in particular loves the one with the orange lines marbled through the black, both because orange is his favorite color, and because the pen is loaded with green ink, which he loves.
I've got the pens cleaned up and refurbished that I can until I get the time to sit down, scrape rubber fragments off of feed sections, measure the diameter, and order feed sacs. And j-bars for one or two.
Shadow has been exiled to the laundry room for the duration of the naps. She was being an asshole, and clawing at the imp's closed door.
We've put a couch cover over the couch--it's one of the slip covers that's a general shape secured by tied bows. Cricket loves playing with them, which is going to get her fuzzy little head thumped. Thankfully, she's not doing that right now, but...yeah. She'll probably start pretty much when Odysseus reappears from where he's studying and doing homework in the master bedroom.
I'll be picking up the last papers on Monday, and starting them on blogging. To be honest, I'm foreseeing a lot of them taking off with the blogging, and just turning in the work without making any more appearances. I've got one that's notified me that they won't be there due to a death in the family, but they're pretty good about coming in if they need help.
I finished another story for the collection. Brought it up to nearly 26K words. I've outlined the next five chapters of Detritus, and gotten a good start on one--it's just at 21K words. And I'm nearly a thousand words into a story of indeterminate length in a world that's still unfolding a bit.
*The animated series from the '90's, not the movies.
First: the fucking idiot twatwaffles that re-did the living room wiring can fuck the fucking fuck off. In simply replacing a ceiling fan that badly needed it, we found the wiring is FUBARed enough that turning the wall switch ON kicks the breaker OFF.
Second: My own guts. My own guts can fuck the fucking fuck off. With cheese. I have somehow managed to develop a gluten intolerance. I get something with wheat ingredients, even with "less than 2%" such as in canned soups, I wind up with sharp pain, cramping from one end of digestion to the other, headache, brain fog, bad gas, and horrible dreams. Thank GOD this does not extend to whiskey, or I really WOULD cry. And cuss. And cry some more. Because bourbon.
So. Back in February, I got a stomach bug that took a week for me to get over. It was no fun at all. And I developed an intolerance to eating things made with wheat.
Everything is made with wheat: my favorite gravy mix, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup. Everything I like to cook with is made with at least a little bit of wheat.
Restaurants are an interesting minefield: apparently, either the pulled pork or the twice-baked mashed potatoes yesterday had wheat ingredients. The Mexican restaurant brought me flour tortillas instead of the corn ones I asked for.
Yeah, they make stuff that's supposed to help when symptoms have set in, but that's all it does: help. A bit. For a while.
I can't make and eat beef enchilada or chicken enchilada casseroles, anymore. I can't use dry onion soup mix to make roast. I can't make and eat the potato soup by the recipe I have. No more cookies, unless I make them with special flour. Same with biscuits.
I thought this would go away. I thought it was a temporary thing, brought on by my entire digestive system deciding to scour itself over a five day virus, and causing some sort of imbalance. So, I avoided the foods, and didn't bother looking up my symptoms.
And I've been having symptoms for a lot longer than I'd thought: frequent headaches (often migraine level), brain fog, and chronic fatigue are also symptoms of this. It's not just a painful gut--there's a lot more to it that has only come clear months after I stopped eating most things with any wheat in them (and the rest of the symptoms mostly vanished). Yes, my energy levels are still limited; I still have an underactive thyroid.
But a lot of the other symptoms have mostly abated, with exceptions for times when I eat something that I don't know has wheat in it.
It's frustrating, honestly. I can't carelessly and thoughtlessly eat a burger, anymore, complete with bun and salad. I can't eat a cheesy hash-brown casserole (cream of mushroom soup) if I don't want to be having to curl up somewhere out of the way to not bother the rest of the family visiting. I can't just eat, anymore, without having to carefully consider whether I'm going to be in pain later.
Thank God this doesn't seem to extend to bourbon. If it did, I think I might cry.
Okay. This pen is not going up for sale. No way, no how. I've fallen head over heels in love with it.
Yes, that's my handwriting with this pen. No, you can't have it. ;)
I have no idea what kind of pen it is, just that it's a second tier (not the absolute best, but definitely not the cheapest there is), going by the silver-palladium alloy nib--the middle ground between a very nice gold nib and the cheap, sorta scratchy stainless steel nibs, like what my Parker pens* came with.
My pen has a very fine nib that has a little bit of flex to it, not as much as some of the reports I've read of the 14 kt gold nibs that are made to flex, but much more than the pretty Noodler's pen that Odysseus got me for my birthday--handy for getting it started when it doesn't want to write immediately. It's fine enough that it hasn't bled through or feathered on paper that every other one of my pens does that with, in a color of ink that always bleeds through (Parker Quink Black).
No, the pen isn't really that pretty--some of my cheap, Jinhao pens are a lot prettier--and it's got a lot of wear marks under where the clip used to be on the top and bottom of the cap. It's got scratches and rubbed spots on the body of the pen. I'm not sure how old it is, but the ink sac is still in very good condition, and the pen holds quite a bit of ink for its size, and doesn't put down a flood of it, conserving what I've loaded quite well.
So far, everyone who's been brave enough to try it has been very disappointed that I'm not selling it. Even the students who've never used one before, and been curious enough to try it out for the novelty.
The pen's only fault that I've found is that it has somewhat of a tendency to "burp"--the air in the ink sac can expand with either weather pressure changes or temperature changes, and push the ink that's in the feed's channel out through the nib, or up and out around the feed's filler hole right up against the section. I've learned that it needs wiped down with a paper towel when the weather changes significantly.
(The pictures for this post were taken on a college ruled notebook I had handy, with the camera case used to keep the pen rolled to the angle I wanted the picture taken from, and taken in my lap.)
*The first pen I bought was a Parker Vector in red with a fine nib, then a bright blue Parker Reflex with a badly-made medium nib that never wrote right until after I took an emery board to it and turned it into a fine, then a medium nibbed Parker Vector in jade green.
There's a church, a Baptist church, that is not too far from the campus. We drive past it every time we take the kids to school, or Odysseus goes to class, or I go to teach. Often times, their moveable type billboard is amusing ("Forbidden fruit makes for some interesting jams"), but recently, their message makes me want to slap somebody:
"Jesus died just for you."
What kind of special snowflake narcissist does it take to accept that message? That they are, personally, more important to God and Christ than the rest of us. Seriously? Jesus died just for me?
Hardly. I am one soul, in two thousand years of lost ones. How am I more important that the uncounted billions between then and now? My kids are, in my opinion, far more important than I am.
No. Christ didn't die "just for you." He didn't die just for me. He did something far more ballsy: he took on the sins of all of us, from the moment Adam fell through when the last human being goes poof because God decided he'd had enough of all of us. He didn't die for any single one, but took on the sins of, and died to atone for, all of us.
Yes, I have grading still to do (which I'm not currently working on because I'm REALLY not in the right mindset), but I'll have most of the morning to do it, and won't have to deal with laundry, dishes, or mediating between fighting children. Nor will I have the hellacious sinus headache that's been plaguing me all day...hopefully.
It hasn't been an awful day, per se, but it has been uncomfortable and very, very long.
The imp is doing a lot better with his spelling tests, but that's not surprising, since his memory work has always been really strong. Last week's words included could, would, and should--words I couldn't reliably spell correctly until third grade--and he got 10/10. I'm really proud of him when he actually tries. And I tend to get annoyed because he's one of those who doesn't see the point in trying on the things that he doesn't see the point in. And that attitude (and the actions and decisions it spawns) has him at risk of repeating kindergarten because he lacks the maturity and responsibility to go to first grade.
Sometimes, the difficulties he has at school makes me feel like a failure as a parent.
The pixie is doing better with her alphabet. She recognizes almost all of the letters, but is still fuzzy on a half a dozen or so. Mostly because she was absent when her class worked on them. I'm still going to need to work with her on the things she missed being sick, but she really is learning a lot, and thriving in the environment at the little church school they go to.
We got the cats a package of new rabbit fur catnip mice last night. They're skittering around in the kitchen playing with them as we speak. It's pretty funny--Shadow's kinda chunky, and hasn't realized that she can't still pull the same type of maneuvers as she used to be able to without losing her balance.
I'm having...issues...with the gmail account that I have listed as an email contact here. I'm just about ready to write it off and create a different account for this blog as a contact point.
We're at the last stretch of class. My classes have their last paper due for workshop next Wednesday, and it's due to me next Friday. After that, I'll lecture on blogging, help students set up their blogs, and then we have another week or two of class, during which they'll be blogging, and coming in to pick up their last paper. The last day of classes is 5/1.
I've actually made some progress on the novel--about 1,500 words' worth of progress. Not much, but...better than nothing. I haven't actually finished typing what I have written up, either. And as I type what I have written longhand, I usually modify and add to it as I go.
I have maybe another 1,500-2,000 words in the short story that will be going into the short story collection I have going, and another short story started. Barely started. This one is...different. I'll probably email it to my beta readers when I have it finished with a synopsis of what the collection is doing before I decide what to do with it.
Another one of the pens that I got is a neat, nice little British made Platignum Silverline with a broad Italic nib. It's one of the classics, with a squeeze filler, which was still in very good shape. All it needed was cleaned up. Who ever had owned it before me had emptied it, but hadn't bothered to clean it.
The Platignum pen company has been around since 1919, and still produces fountain pens. I couldn't tell you when this pen was made--it's in great shape. It's a neat little pen, and the nib reminds me a lot of my Sheaffer No Nonsense calligraphy pen.
Inked up with Noodler's Burgundy and with a writing sample.
Shot of the broad nib.
This is a nice pen. A very nice pen. I know it's a third tier, student-level pen, made to be affordable, but it's honestly a great calligraphy pen.
...they can email me at email@example.com before I put them up for sale on ebay or Amazon, whichever costs me less. There'll be a listing with photos somewhere in a tab of my pages above the blog proper of the pens I've got ready as I get them ready, until I put them up for sale on one of the two sites mentioned.
Right now, I've got two cleaned up and ready.
Parker 45 with original converter--$55
1948 Parker 21--$40
I found the camera earlier when I was retrieving something one of the cats knocked behind the end table. Here's the Parker 45 I was talking about:
Capped, with a writing sample. As it says, it has a medium nib (in stainless steel, I'm pretty sure), and was inked with Parker Quink.
The pen would probably be long enough to write comfortably with the cap laid off to the side, for those who prefer that, but it does post well, too.
Since it comes with the squeeze converter Parker used to make their pens with, whoever buys this on Amazon will be able to use bottled ink; however, since it's a removable converter, they don't have to--they could conceivably use Parker Quink cartridges.
It is a fairly nice pen, much nicer than the Vector that I used all through grad school and all the way up to...last July, when Odysseus got me a new fountain pen for our tenth anniversary. The Vector still works, by the way--it's just too skinny for comfort when the weather's being normal Missouri weather. The Parker 45 is likely as reliable, if not more so, since it is a nicer pen.
It's already been a hell of a day. The imp was whiny and uncooperative this morning (which bodes ill for his day at school). First, he didn't want to get dressed. Then, he didn't want either of the options for breakfast that were offered (wanted something that's weekend food because of how long it takes for them to eat it). And finally, he yanked the tongue out of his new pair of (cheap) shoes, then burst into tears because I said he couldn't wear them to school.
I've got grading to do. And I simply don't want to do it. But...I'll be leaving at 11:30 to go pick up the pixie, and probably won't have time to do any of it until after they go to bed if I don't do some of it now.
Two weeks ago Friday, I won a lot of about a dozen pens on auction at ebay. I was a nervous wreck--I sniped it at the last possible second.
Out of those pens was one that will be going up for sale as soon as I test it, then re-clean it: a Parker 45 in a dark blue. It's a very pretty pen, with a medium nib (not my preference, honestly).
A little bit of history, here: the Parker 45 was the first cartridge fountain pen that Parker made. I'm not precisely sure when the specific one in my possession was made and sold, but it does come with something that newer ones don't: an original squeeze converter. The converter that has the metal frame around the rubber sac, with a squeeze-bar as part of the whole thing. You dip the nib into the ink up to the grip section, then squeeze and let go slowly about three or four times for a full fill.
It's supposed to be one of the nicer, under-appreciated pens of Parker's lineup, but I haven't inked it up to try it out, yet, and don't really have the time to do so and try it out. I need to have already started grading...and I haven't, yet. I'm half a mind to do it anyway...
Never mind. I'd intended to write with it, and take pictures to use to sell it (and post the pictures for y'all) but I can't find the damned camera.
Sorry about that, but today's been rather hectic. Our new washer arrived today, amidst a bit of a clusterfuck. See, we don't get home until 12:30, at the earliest, and we asked the store to arrange an afternoon delivery.
That got fucked up. And the delivery guys tried to deliver an hour before we got home.
Thank God they were willing to come back today, since it wasn't their fuckup, or that would have fucked tomorrow and Wednesday, too.
In any case, we have a new washer...and we've really put it through its paces. It's working on its fifth load (three loads are dry, one's in the dryer). I think it's safe to say that it works, and works quite well.
I am rather beat. Because along with that? I've also unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, put away things drug out to try to make room to bring in the new washer, and gathered more dirty clothes from various parts of the house. And supervised homework, and showed the kids a bunny I saw sitting in the neighbor's yard eating his grass.*
I don't think I have the energy to do much grading tonight. I can do a few, but then I'm going to go to bed. Tomorrow's going to be a long day, too.
But I'll try to find the camera and get pictures of the pens I got. And maybe a bit of a writing sample of the one lever pen that's not freakin' going anywhere because I fell in love with it. And I can do a writing sample with the Parker 45 that I'll also be putting up for sale when I do the Parker 21.
*I wish the bunny would bring all of his/her little friends and mow the back yard. It needs it already, and we're not going to have enough dry days for our ancient little mower to survive trying to chew through the tall, wet stuff.
I got another dozen in the mail, yesterday. Between the Parker 21 I already acquired, and the 45 in the lot, I already had pens enough to cover what I spent acquiring twenty pens. Also in the lot is a Sheaffer Fineline, with the goldtone cap. Which will also be a nice bit of change when I sell it.
Odysseus compared my pen lots as panning for gold. I haven't found anything incredibly valuable, but the ones I have found have been able to recoup enough for me to be able to keep the few little oddities that I like--like the Universal fountain pen with a stupid-huge screw in glass cartridge. Or this nameless little lever-fill with the silver-palladium alloy fine point nib that writes like a fucking dream. Or the adorable, elegant little Marlowe ladies' pen, with someone's name inscribed on it. (Yes, I'll post pictures later. If anyone's interested.)
Some of the pens that aren't worth a whole lot will probably be fixed, and the ones I don't plan to keep will either get sold at flea markets, on Amazon, or handed off to anyone who wants to buy one on campus (or as gifts--I have a transparent Sheaffer students' cartridge pen with a medium nib in a blue plastic section that should work fine now that I have it cleaned up, but isn't worth more than about $5).
Out of the two dozen pens I have, I'm planning on keeping five or six--the Eclipse ladies' pen is too damaged to sell, otherwise it'd be going, too, despite how cute it is. One is the Waltham (for which I cannot find a clip), one is the slim and elegant little Marlowe pen, and then there's the lever fill I've been playing with all day. I'm planning on keeping the glass cartridge Universal pen, since I'd get maybe five or ten for that. I'm undecided on the Arnold pen (it's a very pretty green, and isn't worth much...but it is in very good shape, and should be a simple fix). There are another six that are either in awful shape, and/or will take more time to identify and find caps for. The rest will be put up for sale as I get them rehabbed. And/or figure out an alternate for a cartridge that's no longer made (*cough*Wearever*cough*).
Sometimes, I really hate not home schooling the kids.
Both were sick on Wednesday (which meant that the pixie missed her class's Easter party), but the imp was good to go for Thursday...just in time for his class's party. Where they served Easter colored treats. Like sugar cookies with orange frosting, and (probably) kool-aid.
Both of which had red food coloring, judging by his behavior.
We've asked his teacher, and asked his teacher, and asked his teacher to make sure he doesn't get anything with red food coloring in it, and pointed out that his behavior becomes uncontrollable, and it's not his fault. And it still happened, and he still got in big trouble, and we didn't realize what was going on until I found the remains of his goodie bag in his backpack.
I am seriously so angry about it I could spit. And I am inclined to ask for him to be sent to the office for all parties next year (with treats being given when he gets home).
It's a damn good thing that he doesn't have a life-threatening allergic reaction to red food coloring. Otherwise, I'd have had to sue the school, and I hate the thought of that.
I'm really thankful the pixie doesn't have any similar problems with food coloring.
I'm going to have to work with her on the alphabet, though. She's missed enough school to be a bit behind her classmates. I hate that she gets so sick so easily, and I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to get her a boys' coat next fall, and save her cute little wool-blend coat for special dress-up occasions. Because the imp's coat has an elastic band that keeps the hood close around his ears, and hers doesn't. And she is the one with ear trouble.
We had a tornado warning that sent us to shelter, Wednesday night. Unfortunately, I'd given the imp a dose of Benedryl when he went to bed, and couldn't get him to wake up. I wound up walking him down the hall by kicking his heels because he's too big for me to carry, now. He's over four feet tall, and I'm four feet eleven inches. He wound up curling up on the bathroom floor and going back to sleep. Odysseus had to carry him back to bed.
Cricket flipped out and wouldn't settle while we were in the bathroom, but Shadow found a comfy spot and refused to move. She was still there when we went looking for the cats to put them in the utility room for the night.
I'm still really angry about having my chalkboard taken out of my room. Worse was that they'd already taken it down before class started, and I'd needed the damn thing. I wound up only able to do about half of what I'd planned to do, because I didn't have a chalkboard. And Monday, I'll have a piece of shit dry erase board to work with. If I'm lucky enough to have anything at all.
I'm about two thirds of the way through with another short story. I've got just over 20K words in the short story collection I've tentatively titled Normalcy Bias. I've got maybe a quarter done on Detritus, and it's just under 20K words. And...I forgot the draft book at my mother's, last week, so didn't get any work done on it last week.
I think that's it, for the time being...I'm waiting on the mail to run, because there's another 12 fountain pens coming today. One of them is the first cartridge pen that Parker made, and I'm a little excited to see it, and test it out.
The head of maintenance (read: chief janitor) of the library has decided that he hates my chalkboard, and will replace it with a whiteboard.
Never mind that I never make a mess with it, and I tend to clean up messes as I find them left by the other twits using my classroom. Never mind that I bring my own chalk. Never mind that whiteboards glare under any lighting, always over the text Never mind that the fucking whiteboards are never readable. Never mind that the markers never work (and chalk always does). My chalkboard will be replaced by someone who doesn't do their job anyway to excuse the fact that I am the one that does their job in my classroom.
At the point where I no longer care one way or the other, I may bring in a fucking Sharpie to write notes on their wonderful whiteboard.
I picked up the fourth paper from my classes, today. And we started the lecture over the last paper, the research paper.
It's due in 17 days. After that, we'll do the blogging while I grade papers. Any revisions needing done will be due by email during final exam time (adheres to the letter of the requirement that I schedule something for the final exam time set for a fucking skills class, the true final exam for which is the research paper). While they're blogging, I'll have a four hour bloc where I sit in a quiet room, by myself, three days per week--about six class days.
And then, we're done. The last day of semester is the first of May. The next week is finals.
The kids will have three more weeks where they're in school, so I'll have three weeks of half days, on MWF, with no children underfoot.
And, over the summer, I plan to pick a day every couple of weeks where I run the kids up and drop them off with my mother, and have the day to myself.
One of the things I plan to do is work on refurbishing fountain pens. I've got twelve, now, seven with caps, four that need them, and one that's not worth trying to mess with, with another twelve shipping from Chicago soon. There is at least one Parker in that bunch, and two Sheaffers. At the moment, though, I have one pen ready for sale right now, six pens that are worth refurbing (but two that I'll be keeping--the Waltham and the ladies' Eclipse), four that I'm not sure about because they don't have fitting caps, and one that was badly redone, and cannot be repaired without a new pen body.
(One of the pens I found at a flea market yesterday is interesting, and quite pretty: it's a Remington, and looks like this...but lacks the cap for the fountain pen end of the pen/pencil combo.)
This fall, the imp will likely* start first grade, and the pixie will be in every day half day classes for pre-K for four year olds. And I'll be back on campus (I think--I haven't gotten my class assignments, yet). Odysseus graduates this summer (end of July) with an accounting degree, so I don't know what his schedule will be this fall.
But for now, that's not really what I need to be focusing on. Right now, I need to be focusing on watching my sick kids, and getting things around here ready to be gotten out of the way for the new washer, which will be coming in sometime Monday afternoon. And the eight plus loads of laundry that are awaiting it.