Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Okay. That was gross.

The cats were fighting.  The cats never fight.  So I got up to see what was going on.

They were fighting over half of a baby mouse.  The back half. 

Good kitty, but gross.

To celebrate:

Semester is almost over.  My last two class meetings will be on Thursday.  After that I am so done until August 12. 

To celebrate that, and to celebrate the awesomeness that is the librarian who made sure I've got my classroom for a four hour block (two hours before my classes), I'm going to be putting Survivors back on the free list this weekend, 5/2-5/4. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sometimes, they crack me up.

Imp: [wordlessly babbling in the pixie's room]

Pixie: Shut up, talking blanket!

...I assume he was hiding under a blanket while he was babbling.

What's with the need to migrate?

Why in the world do my kids seem to feel the need to wander pointlessly around?  Up the hall, down the hall, up the hall, down the hall, up the hall to detour into the living room and circle around staring at me, back to the hall and up and down some more.

It's driving me to distraction.  And I cannot afford distraction until after I've got grades turned in on Monday. 

I swear I'm tempted to put a harness and tether on them, and tie them to one of the front porch posts, like one of the neighbors a couple of blocks away has done to their Samoyed.

Monday, April 28, 2014 laptop is once again functional.

I got my replacement keyboard this morning, slapped it in just after lunch, and it's working, now.  Working well, except for the left hand shift key, but that may be because I need to get used to the silicon keyboard cover my mom got me for my birthday (I tend to eat while I work, and get crumbs under the keys).

This is what I ordered Friday (and installed today):

And this is what I got for my birthday (and now must get used to):

Mine is in blue, since one child or the other would have stolen almost any other color to play with (pixie loves purple, pink, and yellow, and the imp would have snuck off with the green).  One thing I can say for it is that it does quiet the click of the keys somewhat while I'm writing (not an inconsiderable side benefit, considering the volume of writing I do, between fiction, blogging, and grading).

It's nice to not have to balance a USB keyboard over the top of the non-functional keyboard actually on the laptop.

It's also nice to not have to pay more than the part's cost (retail, yes, but...) to get my laptop repaired.  There are definitely things to be said for fixing things like this yourself.

I think the next thing I may have to do will be to eventually (like within the next year) replace the small heat-sink fan.  That, however, may have to be handed off to someone else to accomplish.

Here goes...

After much fiddling, I think I've got it:

Life is much better when nobody is trying to kill you.  

Sara Hawke, now a university professor, has had five years where nobody was trying to kill her…if you don’t count her course load’s grading.  Five years of watching over and helping raise orphaned young dragons.

Her comfortable life comes to an end when she’s attacked by Eastern Dragons, once again—this time, though, her attackers aren’t in the ruling elite.  She’s in for the fight of her life again, only this time, Mordred is on the other side of the world, and she must first reach his side before they can succeed.

The running fight to survive brings to light old treachery, blackest magic…and new hope and new allies.

What do y'all think?

Working on the back cover for Pendragon Resurgent

I have come to the conclusion that I suck.  I can write engaging stories, but I can't write teasers for the back cover without sounding lame.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tornado season is off to a start.

I won't say a good start, because a good start is no tornadoes.  And we had two spotted and confirmed right around ten til six, to our west, and to our south.

One class down.

I graded all of the papers turned in by my 9:30 class (barring the ones that I've granted extensions to), but it meant I didn't get to bed until after one this morning.  And, of course, the kids were up before eight.

And I'll be doing it again tonight, because I have one more class's worth of papers to grade (and will be working on smaller things I still need to grade/give points for having done tomorrow).

I have class from 9:30-12:15 on Tuesday, and will be giving papers back then.  After that, I'll have from 9:30-5:00 on Thursday, and then I'll be done for the semester.

Forgive me if this is disjointed--I feel like a four cylinder car that has one cylinder not cycling at all, and another one misfiring every few strokes.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

It's time...

The kids are (finally) abed.  It's time for grading.

random ramblings

So.  Back around Christmas, I got a replacement for my laptop's keyboard (it had lost a couple of keys, and I've just been using it anyway).  Yesterday, I finally got stuff together and went to install it.

And there was a sticker, and a few dents, on the contact areas on the back side of the keyboard.  It.  Doesn't.  Work.  So, I was without a working keyboard yesterday evening.  I've ordered another new keyboard, but it won't arrive 'til Monday. 

So, for right now, I'm using a USB keyboard balanced across my laptop's keyboard.  It's kinda different--the backspace key is a regular key, and the enter key is a big, huge L shape.  I'm used to the enter key being the same width as the shift key, and the same height as standard, and the backspace key being a double-wide key.  This has messed me up a bit, but I'm getting used to it.

Now that I'm getting used to it, I can write again.  Last night kinda sucked, because I couldn't. 

There's something in the air that the kids are allergic to.  It's causing behavioral issues in both, hyperactivity in the pixie, and difficulty sleeping for the pixie, and suppressed appetite in the imp. Things have gotten a little better with the application of a half teaspoon of Zyrtec syrup before bed, but they're still acting up more than usual. 

So yesterday, the imp ate better than he had been for breakfast: three sausage links.  Then, he asked for more, and had the last two (which I'd been planning to have for myself).  And ate both of those.  It made him kinda sick to his stomach. 

(He's kinda sick, now, but I think that's because he got to playing too hard outside, and got too hot.)

And the pixie took a three hour nap today (she just got up a little bit ago).

I think the Zyrtec is working.

I wish I could find something that would work to calm down my spastic cat.  Cricket has been spending a couple of hours per day running and somersaulting up and down the hall.  She's run over the pixie twice, the imp once, and the dog a half a dozen times (while the dog is eating, usually).  She's very spastically affectionate, too--she won't settle down and snuggle; rather, she runs circles across my lap, climbs my shoulders on on one side then down the other, and grabs my head and nibbles on my nose.  Or tries to eat my hair. 

Shadow, on the other hand, has been too warm lately to want to snuggle.  She loves to be petted, but she's been a very long cat any time she's laid down anywhere.  Sometimes, like this morning, it gets comical: when I got out of the shower, she was stretched full length on the foot of the bed.  On her back.  With her front paws folded across her chest, and her hind legs sprawled apart.  Purring and staring at me.  That's her version of a request to have her belly petted (which she loves). 

The dog has wanted to go outside first thing in the morning, and refuses to come inside until ten or later, when it's not raining.  I've not seen much of the dog, other than when I feed her, lately.

I picked up papers last Tuesday.  That's honestly part of why I was so upset about being unable to do anything last night: I need to get the papers graded and back by Tuesday, so that they have time to revise by Thursday...which is our last class day.  After Thursday, I won't be back on campus until August, when fall semester starts (and when my kids start to school).

So, after Thursday (when I plan to have "Bar Tabs" finished), I'll be writing full time until August 12.  I'm going to try to finish the first draft of Fire and Forge, as well as start working on the first draft of what I hope to finish over next Christmas break.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

FFOT: kids' allergies, and their reactions to them

Whatever it is that has turned my marginally good children into unreasonable and terribly behaved little beasts can fuck the fuck off.  I'm pretty sure it's allergies, but I don't know what's causing it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Okay, I've gotten Pendragon Resurgent edited according to suggestions from Grumpy Bastard (thanks, btw), and I'm starting "Bar Tabs."  Hopefully, this won't take more than a couple of days.


Grumpy Bastard got Pendragon Resurgent to beta read last night, at around 10:00 pm CDT.  He's already gotten feedback to me--the email landed in my inbox at 6:30 am. 

I think that's one of the fastest turn-around times I've seen yet--the last beta reader that did that didn't sleep that night. 

Since TinCan Assassin moved up here to a place five blocs from mine, I'm just going to print a copy for him, and one for his wife, after I correct what Grumpy Bastard spotted. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I have finished the revision draft of Pendragon Resurgent.  Now to start work on the back cover blurb, finding front cover art, and waiting on feedback from my beta readers.

And in our local public school district...

...we have this.

Granted, innocent until proven guilty, and it's entirely possible that some kid that wanted something he didn't get made something up, but I'd rather not have my kids in public schools where getting screwed by a teacher is a greater likelihood than in private, parochial school. 

I'd be happiest if they'd cooperate with being home schooled.

Our librarian is expecting.

The one that works the circulation desk (hands me my classroom key most mornings).  She had a plate of cookies to share the joy. 

I am incredibly happy for her, and flabbergasted.  I'm pretty sure she's planning to keep working her full time job after the baby comes, and I don't understand how anybody can do it, or why they would. 

She looked kinda green, so I told her about the trick I learned with my two: sour candy eases morning sickness. She was rather enthusiastic in thanking me, so I guess I was timely with that tip.  I only wish I'd had some to hand over to her.

(I also suggested a Sam's Club membership.  200+ diapers in a package for $35 is well worth a $45/year membership.)

I do wish her joy and happiness, pray for a healthy, happy pregnancy, and hope she doesn't over-stretch herself between home, baby, and job. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


Imp [whining]: Momma, I want a drink.

Me: Stop whining, and eat your supper.

Imp [still whining]: Momma, I want a drink.

Me: You have a cup of chocolate milk in the fridge that you can have after you eat your supper.  The sooner you stop whining and eat, the sooner you can have it.

(a couple of minutes pass)

Imp [still whining]: Momma, I want a napkin.

Me: No.  Now stop whining, and eat.  You have three more chances.  If you don't stop whining, you will be spending the entire evening alone in your room, and you won't be allowed to watch anything later.

(a couple of minutes pass)

Imp [still whining]: Momma, I gotta poop.

Me: You went just before supper.  Stop whining and eat.

Imp [still whining]: Momma, I gotta pee.

Me: No.  Last chance, son.  Stop whining, and eat.

Imp [whining with the addition of crocodile tears]: Momma, I want a drink!

Me: I warned you.  You will be spending the evening by yourself in your room.

Of course, that was followed up by genuine tears, and a promise that he'd stopped, and that he'd eat his supper, and that he'd be good, but...too late.  He's going to be going to his room as soon as he's done in the bathroom, and he'll not be coming out until it's time to brush teeth, then go to bed. 

I witnessed, during my office hours two weeks ago, the results of not placing and enforcing consequences: a whole flood of students who'd not turned in work on time bugging the communications computer lab tech about why couldn't they see their assignments to turn in two months ago, and could they still make that up, and could he fix things for them. 

That wasn't all I saw: I saw a grown man, in his thirties or forties, throw a fit at the nice Vietnamese lady who makes Starbucks' black coffee taste good because they'd run out of the blueberry scones in the case.  And when I say throw a fit, I mean screaming, red-faced, stomping, slapping his hands down on the counter, making everybody stare at him fit.  And no, I don't think he was special needs, just spoiled.

Both of those things could have been avoided by these individuals running up against firmly enforced, clear, fair consequences for poor choices and bad behavior in their childhood. 

Holy shit...

I've actually gotten caught up with the housework I'd fallen two months behind on. 

Now to pick back up going forward. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

As seen on an older friend's facebook:

"[Spouse*] and I have found that Medicare is the best thing since sliced bread.  Too bad our kids probably won't get it."

Okay.  Let me calm the fuck down for a couple of minutes, because that just hit my rage button.




Nope, not helping. 



That's it: I'm done.  That was the absolute last of my mental fortitude and energy.  I'm going to bed. 

*Name redacted to protect any children and/or grandchildren these cock-biting cumleaches may or may not have, by preventing them from being linked to such utter stupidity.

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Random ramblings

Sorry for the late blogging start--I've fallen behind really badly in my housework, and I'm trying to get caught back up now that I'm feeling a bit better. 

Two months ago, I noticed that it felt like my thyroid meds quit working not too long after I got the refill.  I thought I'd gotten a weak or off batch, and jumped early on the refill.  It worked well enough to lift the brain fog somewhat, but my energy never came back up.

My next thought was that I'd need a stronger prescription, and we'd see next fall when I got my blood tests done. 

Odysseus didn't want to wait that long, and so he went looking online to see if there was anything that could be done to help support thyroid function--if I was eating something I shouldn't, or wasn't eating something I should--and found that there were a few vitamins, herbs, and minerals that might help.  He went on Thursday to the local health food store, and looked for them, finding a bottle marked "Thyroid."  So, he got it for me.  It was close to $19 for 90 capsules, but it's working.  I have enough energy to do housework for the first time in a couple of months.

So far, I have the living room most of the way cleaned up, the kitchen halfway cleaned up, the heaviest of the winter clothes packed away, and the tee shirts pulled out.  I've also got the laundry all washed, but for the bedding and the towels.  I still need to put away all the clean clothes, finish picking stuff up off the floor to vacuum in the living room, sweep and mop the kitchen, and finish with all the little stuff I've been ignoring in favor of getting the big stuff done.

And yes, the kids have been helping.  They've been helping enough that they're going to get extra in their allowance next weekend. 

The imp has been begging for new toys, lately.  So, we looked around Walmart for something he could buy with his allowance, and we found that there were some new engines and things from Thomas the Tank Engine Take 'n' Play sets.  We helped him count out five dollars of quarters, and then let him pay for his own toy separately.

The pixie asked to buy a toy, too.  I agreed to loan her the money, with the understanding that she'd pay me back as soon as we got home.  She chose a baby Disney Princess--Ariel.  And she handed the baby and the money over to the cashier herself.  She was so proud of herself (and so dang adorable).

She has since been singing to her new dolly and rocking her and feeding her with the bottle that came with her.

The imp played outside for quite a while.

She's still down for a nap.

He's trying to be quiet.

The cats, on the other hand, are not trying to be quiet.  Up until a few moments ago, they were thundering up and down the hall, chasing and tackling one another.

The dog has been up to her old antics: snatching the brush out of my hand and flinging it across the kitchen, throwing her squeaky toys under my foot as I'm stepping down when I have an armload of stuff (kids' breakfasts, this morning) and startling the shit out of me, and refusing to come in when I go out to get her.  I'm beginning to think I'm going to just need to feed her in her pen, because she wouldn't come inside until nearly eleven last night.

I have one more day of lecture on Tuesday, then working my ass off grading papers as fast as I can while they blog for the rest of the semester.  I only have four more class days, two of which are days with office hours.

(And part of the reason I'm working so hard on trying to catch up with housework is so that I can get caught up with what I'd let slide before class on Tuesday.)

Writing had, quite frankly, stalled again.  Between the lack of physical energy, having trouble focusing, and having had a tendency to fall asleep when I try to work, I've gotten very little done.  I've gotten back into it as of last night after I got the kids to bed.  So the revision of Pendragon Resurgent is coming along slowly but surely. 

I'm waiting for the final feedback on Lizzy's Tail (or Tale--I'm having trouble deciding), and waiting on the cover art, and then I'll be pushing that through the publication process.  I'm planning on putting that at the $3.99 minimum price, plus a $0.99 Kindle version.  

I've started building the bare bones of the story lines in Fire and Forge, the next installment in Modern Gods.  I've also decided how I'm going to write the appendix to make it worthy of a $0.99 price point as a Kindle story (and it's going to be my next project).  So, once I'm done with the children's book, and Pendragon is sent off to my beta readers, I'll be working on "Bar Tabs."

I think that's pretty much it for the week...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Self punishing...

My imp just now went to bed.  I am absolutely out of patience with him, and just want some damn quiet time. 

He wasn't too badly behaved until just a few minutes ago.  He came out and told me he was done cleaning up (he wasn't), and wanted some snuggles.  I told him to go in his room and wait for just a minute, while I said goodnight to his aunt, with whom I was speaking on the phone. 

He did not. 

Instead, he chose to do the opposite of what I said, and actually ran toward me.  He is not permitted to run in the house because he does not watch where he's going, and tends to trip over random crap that appears in the floor for him to trip over. 

So, he disobeyed once with coming over in the first place, then disobeyed a set rule by running.  And he tripped over the shoes he left on the floor in front of the couch, falls forward, and smacked the bridge of his nose (right below his eyebrows) on the edge of my end table.

I feel no sympathy for him at this point.  None. 

I guess I am just going to have to let him hurt himself to figure out the hard way why the rules are there, because the little twerp simply does not listen to my explanations, nor does he obey the rules.

FFOT: my thyroid

Apparently, either my meds have been too near their expiration date, have been watered down, or I've quit responding to them.  It's been two months since I had the energy to do clean the living room, sort and put away laundry, or more than the bare minimum with the dishes. 

And that can fuck the fucking fuck off, because I have a shit ton of work to do. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cooler than shit.

Apparently, there is a music school in Holland--called The Metal Factory--that does more than just music.  They also do "entrepreneurship: the management side, booking, merchandising... also history and music theory": something that university music programs here don't do. 

Here, in the U.S., a degree in music is almost worthless, outside of teaching.  The only things my university's program requires are dedication, a willingness to spend almost twice as long as anyone else (and rack up debt so doing), and a butt-ton of instruments and vocals classes, as well as a complete and total lack of stage fright (concerts and recitals are very, very much required).  It doesn't require something students can use to make a living.  It doesn't seem to hold the expectation that the students can make a living with it.

I like that the Dutch school emphasizes the practical with the music, the theory, and the history.

Now, that's a good sign.

So.  We're back to this.  Only, this time, it's in Ukraine. 

Last time, the Jews were rounded up and shoved into ghettos--where they were easy targets for the local governments to aim angry citizens at, and where it was simple to blast through and hand out beatings, rapes, pillaging, and burning. 

And that was just in eastern Europe and Asia. 

And it got worse, as it always does.

Worse yet? They don't have an effective means of self-defense, as everyone in the US has access to, legally or not.

And this is what our own government wants us to face.

No, thanks.

Oh, ow...I rolled my eyes too hard.

Remember my post about my take on taking the Lord's name in vain?  Well, here's an egregious example of some dumb twat doing exactly that.. 

I really don't think God's gonna be happy about this one.  The arrogance of announcing that his place in heaven is assured when the fruit of his tree is rotten is probably gonna work against him. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Okay.  We are about three weeks out from the end of semester.  Almost done. 

I have a colleague who I help with his online class's grading from time to time--he's older, has eye dryness problems that cause pain and damage if he's not careful, and has more on his plate than he needs because he's one of the department's go-to guys. 

So, he emails me today, and asks me to pick up with what they turned in last night.  Easy stuff--Thoreau's Walden.  My colleague asked some easy questions to make sure they'd read and comprehended the piece.

And one of his students...three weeks from the end of the semester...on a simple, short, three question post, copied and pasted from Cliff Notes. 

Okay, dearie.  I understand that the end of the semester is always rough.  I get that.  Most of the professors on campus simply don't think about all of the homework that will be piled on you right at the end.  Most of the professors don't think about what kind of grading that sets them up for, and a few who do know, don't care. 

I get that.

That said, my colleague has had those assignments posted all damn semester.  A couple of his students have already finished the class's work.  She easily could have, too, but instead chose to plagiarize.  Copy and paste plagiarism, even. 

With maybe twelve posts to go. 

And this girl threw away a high B/low A in so doing.

She needs to either re-prioritize her life and the things she chooses to do, or drop the fuck out.

My colleague forgives a not-done assignment before he does a plagiarized one. 

If I hadn't ruled out public school already...

...this would do it. 

This is about fifteen or twenty minutes north of us. 

The thing I don't get is why, with charges of statutory rape and sodomy, this creature has a bail bond of only $5,000. 

Yes, you read that right.  Only five thousand dollars.  Not fifty, not five hundred.  Five thousand. 

And people wonder why I equate public school with child abuse.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


That's how much of our tax money is spent on things that are within the federal government's realm of responsibility. 

49% goes on Welfare/foodstamps/social security.  A further 20% goes on "income security and other benefits."* 

Read this.  And tell me you're not pissed off.

*Full disclosure: we get the earned income tax credit.  Yes, it adds up to more than we pay in, total.  We would refuse it in a heartbeat if it meant that the federal government would cease handing out money taken from those who have earned it to give to those who refuse to earn it.  As it is, we look at it as a refund of all the social security money that we will pay into the system, but never see a penny back from.


Now this is funny.  "If you have a Boehner lasting more than 23 years..."



I warned him...

The imp was playing outside until just a few minutes ago.  Now?  Now, he's down for a nap.

Y'see, a few minutes prior to that, he'd decided to come inside, then go back out, then come back in, and go back out.  I told him, the last time he came in, that he could either go back out and stay outside until I called him in after the pixie wakes up, or he could go down for a nap of his own.

Yeah, guess what?  He didn't stay outside.

Now, he has to take a nap.

I am nothing if not consistent in enforcing the promises of consequences I make. 

I hate online forms.

There are instructions for enrolling kids into the school we're putting the kids into on the school's website.  A few pages of online forms to fill out.

I can't get the pixie enrolled.  I follow the instructions...and all I see is the info for the imp's enrollment, which is already done.

I am beyond frustrated at this point.

Update: It's not me.  Well, it is, but not entirely my fault.  For some weird reason, their computer system has flubbed up because I enrolled the kids at different times, instead of both at once, because I wasn't anticipating putting the pixie into preschool this fall.  Until I got my classes assigned, and Odysseus enrolled in his.

So it's not just my fault.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Achievement unlocked: dog torture

Yep.  I did it.  I brushed the dog.  Got enough undercoat stripped out that we could almost have another dog.  She's a shaggy little thing--we haven't shaved her since last spring--and has a lot of needed-to-shed undercoat that just got matted in her top coat when it came loose. 

She put up one hell of a fight.  No blood was drawn, but I'm exhausted, she's exhausted, and there's hair all over the floor (even if I did get most of it pried out of the brush and into the bucket next to me--and the bucket's about a third of the way full of Scotty dog hair). 

But I did it.  I tortured the dog.

At least, she thinks it's torture. 

Yep--she made it.

The pixie is enrolled in preschool for the fall.  Her classes will be 8:00-12:00 on MWF.

She impressed the superintendent, too.  She hid her face on me and refused to show off for him, so I showed her a stack of coasters on the corner of his desk, and asked how many there were.  She peeked around and glanced, then looked up at me: "Three." 

She, if I may remind you, is three.  She told us all what color things were ("My dress is pink and purple, with hearts"), and finally warmed up a bit--enough to smile and show dimple, and announce that she loves baby dolls. 

So, both of my kids will be in school in the fall. 

Time flies.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier

It.  Was.  AWESOME!

Although, I will say that it did poke me in all of my paranoid tender spots. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oh, come on, people!

So, kids are suspended if they fight back when bullied.  Now, they get felony charges for wiretapping for recording the bullying?

I have one thing to say, here:

The kid's parents enabled their son's abuse by putting him in that environment, and they are further abusing him by leaving him there.  It was not an easy decision for me to agree to put my kids in private school.  There is no way on earth I'd ever put them in public school.

Public school = child abuse.  End of story. 

Random ramblings

So, the imp has spent the days this week playing outside.  Today is supposed to be very nice, up to the lower eighties (and when I stepped outside with the dog, the wind actually didn't have teeth), so I'll take the pixie out to play. 

The imp is decidedly looking forward to school.  He's been asking almost daily if he gets to go to school today.  I'm sure that once the pixie has her interview and gets her place assured, she'll be the same way. 

I'm in the process of putting up the heaviest of the winter clothes, and pulling out the summer clothes.  We're in that part of spring where one day is in the eighties, and the next is in the forties, so we need some long sleeves, but not the heavy sweaters and long underwear and flannel lined jeans we spent the winter in.

I am also coming to the realization that I'm going to have to get some new clothes for both kids.  The imp's shorts and shirts from last year should fit, for the most part, but some of the shirts will need replaced--they're too short.  The pixie's shirts, especially, are too small. 

We'll be going up to visit Odysseus's parents tomorrow.  We'll leave the kids with them, and go watch Captain America: Winter Soldier.  When we go home, we'll leave the imp with them.  We need him watched on Monday, and he is in desperate need of a haircut, which he insists he will only get at Grandma and Grandpa's. 

So, the other night, Cricket came out of the hall way, and stood in the edge of the living room looking around and trying to figure out what to do next.  Shadow came rushing up behind her and grabbed her butt with both front paws, and Cricket levitated and teleported onto the back of the couch (about six feet from where she'd been) facing the other way, back arched and every hair on her body standing up.  Shadow falls over on her side and rolls onto her back like she was cracking up laughing.  Seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen the cats do. 

I cut the drawstring out of one of my pair of yoga-pants style sweat pants--it'd gotten double-knotted, then had some of my hair tangled through it to the point where it couldn't be untied, and wasn't very comfortable to begin with.  So, I cut it just beside the knot, and pulled the drawstring out.  Shadow grabbed the knot and started to play with it.  At one point, she had it clutched between her front paws, sitting up on her haunches, and started hopping.  Straight up and down.  Flung the knot in the air, then caught it.  She played like that for about fifteen minutes on the end of the bed, and kept me giggling like an idiot when I should have been trying to go to sleep.

Last night, I went out to get the dog at 8:30, and she ran from me.  Tried again at 9:00, and she wouldn't even come out of her dog house.  Tried again at 10:30, and found her in the back of her pen, trying to poop.  And trying to poop.  And nothing happened.  She was a very subdued little dog, very unhappy.  I got her to walk a bit, and she ate some grass, then tried again, with no luck. 

Come to find out, she had some poop stuck right up against her butt, smashed into her butt fur.  It was acting like a cork.  I think I may know what happened, because I've seen her do it before: she probably saw a squirrel while she was squatted, tried to jump toward it, lost her balance and fell on her poop while she was doing it.  Like I said, this is something I have personally witnessed.

I sat her in some warm water, and worked that out, then took her out for a walk...where she pooped.  And then, after that, the normally hyper, happy dog returned. 

My classes are almost done.  We are done for the semester on 5/1.  This Tuesday, we'll be going over citing sources (discussing in-text citations as well as how to put together a Works Cited page), and I'll check on their progress and see if they need more time, more help, or if they're ready for a freewrite day on Thursday.  After that, they'll workshop, then turn the papers in to me.  After that, I'll do a brief, two week unit on blogging.  And then, we'll be done.  I'll be done until August 12.  

We've got some things to do today--we need to go to Sam's Club to fill some prescriptions for me, and we need to get some canned dog food for the pup, and a few other things at Wal-Mart (and maybe some more shirts and stuff for the kids, and some stretchy bicycle style shorts for the pixie, for under her dresses).  Right now, the kids are watching Cinderella, but after that, I'll turn 'em loose to go play (and wake their daddy).  I'm hoping to have some time today where I get to go hide back in the bedroom and work on Pendragon Resurgent, but I may have too much to do.  I'll see what I can manage. 

I'm still waiting on the beta readers for Lizzy's Tail (or should I just use Tale instead?).  And the cover art.  But I'm pretty sure I'll have that published before I get Pendragon done.

Friday, April 11, 2014


So, I'm going to be teaching from 11:00-1:00 next semester, on MWF.  Office hours will be mornings before class.  Odysseus is going to have class at 10:00. 

The imp will be in kindergarten starting in August, but we weren't sure what we were going to do with the pixie...well, now we do. 

We applied to get her into the preschool at the same school the imp will be attending.  She was waitlisted, but...she has an interview on Monday, right after Odysseus gets out of class. 

I am almost certain that she will get in.  Almost certain. 

She's gonna have a ball.  She's one of the most social little critters I've ever been around. 

Stuffed pepper soup

So, I decided I'd post both stuffed pepper soup recipes--the original, and my adapted version to taste more like what I grew up with, since my mother made stuffed peppers with taco meat and Spanish rice.

First, the original version:

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Serve 6 (or 3 hungry bikers)
398 cals 5.6g fat (1.9g saturated) (without cheese)

1lb LEAN ground beef
1 lg onion, diced
1cupsuncooked, 2 cups cooked rice (I love to use wild rice)
1 can Hunts flavored diced tomatoes (Red pepper and fennel, roasted garlic, sweet onion etc) (14.5oz can)
1 can tomato sauce (14.5oz can)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 box chicken stock (32oz)
2 cups water
2 tbsp powdered beef stock
3 bell peppers (I use 1 big green pepper then 4-5 red and 4-5 yellow BABY bell peppers)
Cheese for topping (optional)

1. In a large soup pot coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat, brown the grown beef with the onions and rice. I know that sounds odd, but browning the rice gives it a nice nutty flavor – do not allow it to burn!! 2.  Meanwhile dice your peppers into small ½" pieces, set side. 3.  Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, water, and powdered beef stock, then allow it to come to a boil. 4.  Reduce heat, cover and allow it to cook 20 minutes then add the peppers and allow it to cook another 20-30 minutes (some types of rice may need longer cooking times)

Serve with cheese on top (optional)

Now, I used garlic and onion canned diced tomatoes, and it turned out really good.

And then, I got a couple of new things and tried again:

Mexican Stuffed Pepper Soup

1lb LEAN ground beef
1 lg onion, diced
1cups uncooked rice
1 can Hunts flavored diced tomatoes
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp taco seasoning
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 box chicken stock (32oz)
2 cups water
2 tbsp powdered beef stock
3 bell peppers (I use 1 big green pepper then 4-5 red and 4-5 yellow BABY bell peppers)
Cheese for topping (optional)
The instructions are, obviously, the same.  The enchilada sauce comes in 10 oz cans, and is a lot thinner than tomato sauce, so I added the tomato paste.  I also only have 14.5 oz cans of chicken stock on hand, so I used that, and don't have any beef stock--however, I've noticed that Swansons is starting to sell canned and boxed beef stock in our local stores.

Both versions are absolutely delicious, filling, and they actually keep you from getting hungry again later, unlike a lot of soups.  Personally, I like my version better, but your mileage may vary.

It really does make a lot, so you'll want a 5-7 quart dutch oven or stock pot to make this in.  There is no way you can do this in a standard 2.5 quart pot.  And unless you're feeding a hoarde, you will have leftovers.  And a lot of them.

But that's okay--this is something that's almost better the second (or third) day. 

FFOT: The dumbing-down

On Wednesday, I wrote about the dumbing-down of an economics course.  Yesterday, as a faculty member, I got an email from the same twit in the econ department announcing a dumbing-down of the entire fucking degree.  They've just announced that they have a "new Bachelor of Science in Economics degree that we are beginning in the fall semester.  This is a 30 hour degree that does not require students to complete the Business core, but does require a second major or a minor."  

And yes, that is a direct quote from the email.  

In other words, a student can decide that that business degree is just too hard, but they've always wanted to go into finance, and by golly, it looks like now they can!!!  

I am so unbelievably angry about this that I can't even find the right words.  I don't comprehend why this is happening in the first place--aren't we, as a university, supposed to challenge the students to do as much as they possibly can do?  Aren't we supposed to refuse to cater to the little darlings that need to do more work than they're willing to do?

Why the fuck are we repudiating what we're supposed to be????

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good show, boys.

The whole situation in Nevada stinks.  Either the federal government thinks that the general public won't do anything should they perpetrate another mass murder a la Ruby Ridge or Waco, or the federal government is trying to provoke a fight.  Either sickening, or terrifying. 

It really doesn't look like people are taking this lying down, this time: twenty cowboys bypassed the unconstitutional Bureau of Land Management, and rounded up some of Bundy's cattle, and returned them to his property.  Good show, there.

What I want to know is this: since when is the federal government permitted to appropriate land without due compensation.  Since they seized lands held in common, they should have paid the full market value to each person who owned/used the land for grazing. 

Since they didn't, it's my read of the situation that Bundy is entirely in the right, and the federal government is entirely in the wrong.

Then again, any time the government is up against the citizen who has committed no crime, the citizen is always in the right, and the government is always in the wrong. 

Our Founding Fathers knew this.  It's why they wrote into the constitution that the government is not permitted to write a law naming someone a criminal, nor are they allowed to criminalize behavior after it's been committed, then prosecute, to deliberately turn someone into a criminal. 

I really miss my country. 


I found a story about a Harvard study that states that the average worker's share of the federal debt is $106,000.

I haven't made that much--total--in my years of teaching.  I have made somewhere just under $90,000 in ten years of teaching as a GTA/adjunct.  That is one of the myriad ways it's outrageous.

Second, this implies that the leeches don't owe a dime--that we owe their share, as well as ours.  I say fuck that: chain them all together and make them work off their share at half minimum wage for as long as they're leeching off of the rest of society by breaking rocks.  And since the feminist movement swears up and down that men and women are equal, chain the women up right next to the men.  And if any particular individual can't break rocks because of physical issues, set them in front of a computer doing data entry.

Third, this implies that I, personally, had a hand in running this tab up so far.

I did not.  Not only have I not spent one single fucking dime of this abortion, I've consistently voted against the thieves that did.

I am beyond angry about this.  This is not my debt.  This is putting a gun to my head and telling me that I have to pay some random stranger's credit cards off.

Fuck.  That.  Shit.  I will not pay more than I must.  And I deeply, deeply resent that my tax money is going to fund a certain segment of the population's choice to sit on their ass and do nothing.


I have a little bit of lecture to do today--my students had two research days, and now I have to explain how to use that research.  I'll be explaining when to use quotes, when to paraphrase, and how to do both correctly.  They already know that their research takes the place of the evidence in their paragraph development.  I think.

And after that, I've got an afternoon of office hours, off doing my own thing after I have lunch.  I'm really looking forward to the quiet time. 

I've got a short scene written to add to Pendragon Resurgent...actually, it's less a new scene, and more an expansion scene.  That will be done this afternoon, and I'll see how much more I can get done. 

If I get stuck, I'll probably start working on the guide to the gods in the Modern Gods series.  I've decided I'm going to write it in novella form for independent publication, and it will be titled Bartabs.  It's going to be told from the bartender's point of view.

I will have a good, productive day...just as soon as class gets done, and after I get some more caffeine, which will be directly following class.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I have a happy little girl.

She has five new dresses.  Every one of them has yellow in it.  She'd been begging for some daily wear dresses--specifically yellow dresses--since Christmas.  I just need to find her some bicycle-type stretchy shorts to go under the dresses.

The imp chose one tee shirt: it's gray, and has Captain America's shield on it.  He's good on clothes...except for socks.  It seems like the washer and/or dryer have been eating his, because his disappear.  He and the pixie got an equal number of socks about a month or two ago, and he's only got half of his left.  The rest have vanished.

Aw, fuck.

"As registration begins, you might have some advisees who ask if ECON 180 is being offered in the fall.  We have created a new course, ECON 101 Economics of Social Issues*, that replaces ECON 180 beginning in the fall.  ECON 101 will satisfy the same general education requirement as ECON 180. We think the new course will be a greatly improved course for non-business majors over ECON 180.  This summer semester will be the last time ECON 180 is offered."
Great.  We're going from teaching the principles of how economics actually works through supply and demand to the unicorn farts and rainbows model that the speshul snowflakes wish was real.  

I don't know whether to ascribe this to active malice or active stupid.

*Emphasis is mine.

Sharp dressed men

I've been watching the kids on campus for the past eight months.  I generally see two types of guys getting lots of female attention: the guys that you can tell spend a lot of time working out, and wear pretty nice clothes that fit well, and then there are the guys that wear business casual (including blazer) to business dress--sometimes, complete with vest. 

One guy is really badly crippled--can't walk without a cane, and uses a walker to be able to walk with a load of books and laptop.  His legs seem to be the problem.  He gets a lot of the girls flirting with him, regardless, because he's smart (runs the communications tech help desk), wears well-fitting jeans, a button-down shirt, and a blazer.  Every day. 

Then, there are guys that are well-built, but who wear the baggy clothes, or ratty clothes get some looks, but not as many as the guys who dress as nice as they look, either in well-cut jeans and nice shirts or business clothes.

And then, you get the schlubs.  Scrawny or fat, pimply or pale, the one thing they have in common is that they aren't attractive, and don't seem to care.  They don't dress for their body types, and don't seem to care what they look like.  A lot of them really stare at the girls, mouths hanging open, kinda creepy, like nobody explained the rules of what's socially acceptable to them.  I'm pretty sure nobody ever has.  I've been friends with a lot of the type, and they're quite nice--but they're labeled creepy because they don't know how to behave in public.

And the girls don't seem to see them at all.  Unless it's to sneer, or get uncomfortable and report the young schlubs for sexual harassment for being creepers. 

I've heard some of the girls making fun of the schlubs not because of their behavior, but because of the way they're dressed--ill fitting pants (too short, and too big or too small around the waist), faded and ratty tee shirts that aren't the right size for the person wearing them, and sometimes, their clothes aren't clean. 

I know the type: they have other things on their minds.  They're usually already focused on their homework, or on the code they're writing, or on the RPG* coming up that night or that weekend.  They don't think about their clothes--despite the fact that they should be--because to them, almost everything else is more important.

Odysseus's everyday wear trends toward tan cargo pants, and an un-tucked tee shirt.  There's a career fair on campus, today, and since he's working towards his CPA, he's supposed to go in business dress.  He needed to pick up his suit from the tailor (the pants needed to be adjusted a bit), so he wore a pair of nice khakis, a white button-down, a nice tie, and a blazer, and took his suit jacket with him to change into after class.  He looked really good, and the kids thought so, too.  The imp almost didn't recognize him: "Oh, excuse me, sir.  Oh, Daddy!  Wow!  You look good!"

Odysseus understands the importance of dress.  Most of the time around home, he doesn't care so much--we're too busy kid wrangling, or dealing with the house or pets.  He has a hard time finding pants long enough to fit well, since he's very tall, so he ends up being one of those guys that the girls just don't notice because he's not one of the super-well-dressed, and also not a creeper. 

Today, though, he's going to be one of the guys the girls on campus really notice

And it's all in the way he's dressed. 

I really wish that somebody could take the schlubs under their wing, and help them put together a wardrobe for going out in public that takes minimal care, and teach them that their appearance is what makes the biggest difference in how they're treated.  I really wish that someone could explain the difference between gaming-appropriate clothes, and class and campus clothes. 

Because the schlubs?  Are often the really nice guys that will end up doing really well in later life.

*RPG in this context is a role play game, not a rocket propelled grenade.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rewarding day.

So, I spent the three hours of class time in some pretty solid discomfort, but it was worth it.  I had one of my students come in and tell me that he'd started doing research on his topic, and then realized that he'd hate every minute he worked on the paper, and needed a different topic.

The kid's a good writer.  He's smart.  He's another leave-me-the-hell-alone-libertarian.

We spent the first class period discussing college costs, paying for college (turns out his mother abandoned him, and his father gets disability--and makes more than I do, which this kid doesn't think is right).  Then, we started talking books.

Turns out, the kid's a major Harry Potter fan.  Made fun of the books until he read the first one, but now loves them.  So, I pointed out that he could write about the Harry Potter books.

He thought I was kidding...until I told him of some of the scholarly work I've seen on Rowling's work: that Potter is a Christ figure, that Dumbledore is evil, and other rot like that.

So, when I pointed out the current discussions about the books, the kid flipped.  Snapped that people are reading way too much into the books, and decided he was going to go read some of the criticism and jump in.

He also gave me a few suspicious looks like I'd just peed in his lemonade.  I pointed out that I didn't really agree with the theories, that they're just the mental wankings of the minds incapable of creativity onto someone else's creative work.

To be honest, I agree with my student: the books are written for kids, and show a boy's coming of age.  The themes and motifs in the works are simple.  The symbology is Christian, but until recently, Britain (like the United States) was a Christian nation.  The symbology is important in the culture, or at least, it used to be, and that shows in the works. 

He thanked me and left, and a few students from my other class came in.  Two of them thanked me profusely for pointing them toward JSTOR*, and I got into a discussion about language acquisition with another, whose paper is proposing that teaching a foreign language begins too late for most kids to be able to learn it.  I pointed out that my intro to modern linguistics textbook has a whole chapter on language acquisition, and has already made the argument--that sometime around puberty, language is set--and proved it with solid research.  His eyes lit up, and he hurried off to go find a copy of it.**

So yeah, all in all, I had a good, productive day of actually helping students.

*JSTOR is the most awesome of databases for scholars: it has hundreds of arts, sciences, and humanities peer reviewed journal articles--archived by journal and volume--available for download in PDF format.  Completely identical to the print version.  And accessible from off campus, by using your log in.  I spent five hours in the library, total, when I was in grad school--and four of them were in supervising my classes' research time, not doing my own.

**Our library keeps copies of all textbooks used for all classes.  All my student had to do was go down to the circulation desk and ask to see that book.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Pain.  Pain sucks.  I've been dealing with a lot of it all day (in case you couldn't tell by the snarkier than usual posts earlier today).  Got nothing besides keeping the kids fed and watered done.  Moving hurt.  I stayed curled up in the recliner around a heat pad, trying to decide what had to be done, and what could be put off. 

Liquid pain reliever in rye flavor is awesome.  Nothing hurts anymore.  I still don't want to get up, though, and will probably go straight to bed as soon as Odysseus gets home.  With the absence of pain, I'm really feeling the exhaustion.

I'm just not used to this anymore. 


No, really! 

New York City has had a 30% increase in crime (especially violent crime committed with a firearm) in its public housing projects!

I cannot believe it.  It's completely shocking.  I mean, really--only 30%? 

That's a massive sign that their law enforcement is actually somewhat effective.  I would have expected 50%, easy.  Maybe even 100%.

After all, it is New York City--the city that's only a couple of steps behind Chicago in allowing only criminals and the rich and powerful to have armed protection.  We can't have the peons thinking they're the equals of the political classes, after all.  Where do they think they are, America?


We've got to confiscate all guns so that women sleeping in hotels won't be randomly attacked!!!

Oh, wait...whups, my bad. 

It happened in London, where guns are already banned.  The attacker used a hammer, not a gun.

If someone is going to be violent, it's the person, not the tool, that is the important part of the equation. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Well, I just got told.

So, not too long ago (before hustling them off to bed), the kids were sitting on the couch watching something.  They start bouncing around--which kinda defeats the purpose of getting them to settle down--and I asked them twice to stop that, be quiet, and be still. 

No such luck.  They weren't listening.

So I got loud. 

And the imp flinches, whips around to look at me, and says, "Momma!  Use your inside voice, not your outside voice, please!  Lower your volume!"

I will admit, I thought I was going to break a rib trying not to laugh.  But I did manage to explain, with a straight face, that I had asked nicely and quietly twice before I yelled, and that they hadn't listened.  I told him that if he doesn't like me to yell, he needs to listen and to do things the first time. 

His response?  "Oh, I sorry.  I will be better next time."