Thursday, November 30, 2017

Last paper...

On Tuesday, I picked up the last paper I will ever teach.  Or grade.  I'm working on grading them, now. 

Yesterday was an utter bust on the work front--I had a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning, and spent most of the rest of the day with Odysseus.  I really enjoyed most of that, but we wound up INCREDIBLY frustrated, at one point.  We had received the tax bills for the old house and for the cars, but not one for the new house (we don't do escrow for things like this or insurance--I'd rather that money sit  in savings while we're building it up and earn interest for us).  So, we went to the county seat to get it printed, because whether we're actually sent the tax bill or not, we're still responsible for it.

I am glad we did, and incredibly annoyed at our title place.  Either they or the assessor's office had screwed up, and we do not, at the moment, have clean title.  Probate paperwork wasn't filed, or was filed incorrectly, and our house was still in the previous owner's name (and she's been dead for three years). 

But yeah, between finding that out, running around trying to get things arranged with the doctor's office, finalize pixie birthday presents, grabbing some gluten-free things that are only carried by one store on the far side of town (diagonally) from my house, and doing a few other things, I got jack shit done where grading is concerned. 

Writing is another issue, and is done long-hand, while waiting for the doctor to actually poke her head in, spend three minutes talking to me about how my meds are working, and take off again because as one of THREE endos in the only office in the area, she's overbooked.  I just have to transcribe what I have scribbled.

My next several days are going to be eaten up with the last grading I will ever do, though.  I have two more class days next week, and last chance finals* during the week after.  Tuesday, 12/12, will see me turning in my last class's final grades. 

Until then, however...grading.

*My university's absolute SUPERgenius of a president had decreed that EVERY class MUST have something graded during the two hour block set aside for that class's finals (including choir).  I teach a skills class.  I do not teach a knowledge class.  But because the SUPERgenius has made an executive order, I HAVE to do something, and I set this up before I was fired, so it's unfair to change it now.  I set up that I will accept, by email attachment ONLY, during the two hour block set aside for THAT CLASS'S FINALS ONLY, any paper that didn't make the due date.  No revision allowed, but a 50% is better than a 0. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Occasionally, very occasionally...

...the deals are worth venturing out (the day after) for.

I found out, during a recent flare-up of the CFS, that my desk chair I'd bought to fit the desk wouldn't work when I was feeling bad.  It's not that uncomfortable when I'm okay, but it's really not very soft, and isn't very good at all when I hurt all over.

The kids, however, love it.  So it will be serving its purpose as a second homework chair at the homework table. 

Today, I got an email flyer from Office Depot.  One of the chairs I'd been eyeing (which had already been marked down from $199.99 to $99.99) was marked down further.  Down to $67.99.  For Black Friday.  I glanced at the time/date stamp on the email, fairly certain that the deal was done, since it was wasn't.  The email was sent this morning, and the chair was still marked down.  So.  I have a new chair.  I have a $200 office chair--a burgundy leather executive's chair--that I paid $75 for, after the government's share had been levied.* 

It's damn comfortable.  And fairly attractive, as office chairs go. 

I should be really good writing in this thing for a long time.  Odysseus has had his comfy office chair for going on seven years, now.

Speaking of writing...I'm working hard on that front.  I finished Detritus last week, in first draft.  I'm working on finishing off Normalcy Bias--I think there's one more story in that, and I don't know how long it is.  Next will be The Schrodinger Paradox.  

I have found that children in the house are not conducive to productivity, so I'll be treating this like a full time job...during the school year.  The rest of the time, it'll have to take a back seat to parenting.  But I should still be able to keep the ambitious publication schedule I set for myself, of something coming out every other month.

*You know, I really would not mind having the federal government/state governments funded by an end use tax...on the condition that the amendment permitting the income tax is repealed, and the tax on income ended entirely and forever.  Barring that, I am not now, and nor will I ever be in favor of an end-use tax being levied as a "fair tax."  A flat tax on all income over about $15K/yr for singles, or $40K/yr per family of four is a far better option.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Because laws work so well...

I've heard lots of screeching about banning guns recently.  One ignorant twatwaffle even went so far as to whine "Well, at least then we'll know the people with guns are criminals!"

Right.  Like that prevents mass shootings...or any shootings, really.  Because the law abiding don't ever do anything to prevent and/or stop those.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  Tell that to the church shooter in Texas (oh, wait--you can't, because an NRA shooting instructor shot him). 

California was the scene of the latest shooting splattered all over the news.  Shooter chose a gun free zone to minimize anyone shooting back (as most of them do).  A school.  During morning drop-off time. 

Well, why didn't we just take his guns?  Why don't we take everybody's guns so that more children aren't being brutally dismembered in their mothers' wombs (oh, wait--that's abortion, not a school shooting)--er, shot going into their school building?

Well, as it turns out, he had had his guns removed.  And it worked so well to stop him that--well, it didn't.  He stole two, and built two more.  Yes, built.  Because guns are such complicated machines that it's possible to build them with enough time and a few power tools.  Especially since the LOWER RECEIVER is what determines that it's a firearm.  You know, one of the less complicated parts. 

The best way to prevent mass shootings is to remove the shooting galleries gun free zones.  Let the law abiding carry...and shoot back when one of these scumbuckets tries this on. 

You know, there's a good reason why I do not venture into a posted gun free zone.  Any gun free zone that is not also a police department/sheriff's department.   I am not an easy victim, and will not permit some paper pushing trembling twatstain who's terrified of their own lack of emotional control and projects that on everybody to make me a disarmed victim. 

Just another reason I'm relieved to be leaving the university.  My last day on campus is Pearl Harbor Day. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Counting down, now.

I have five class days left of the semester.  Only that.  I have the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (which might as well be cancelled, given the likely attendance), and two Tuesday classes and two Thursday classes after.  Last day of class is 12/7; final exams week is FUBARed, so I'll actually have one class have its final exam on a Monday.  For a Tuesday/Thursday class.  The other one is half an hour off on its times on Tuesday.  The bad side is that the university has completely screwed up a final exams scheduling system that has worked for decades; the good side is that I'll have final grades turned in by Tuesday night.  And then I'm completely done with academia after my last check cleared.

As for what I'll do without that job...I'll be writing.

I'm also counting down on Detritus.  I'm on the next to last chapter.  It might stretch to 40K words, but that'll be it.  It has fought me every step of the way since I decided that it was going to have a hopeful ending. 

Probably not going to publish in hard copy for this one.  Just Kindle.  Look for it in January.

I've got two more short stories to write for the collection I'm putting together, and one to edit and revise.  Probably get that done in fair short order, since the stories aren't fighting me.  I can knock out a short story in about two or three hours, depending on length.  I'm not that fast of a typist. 

Sales and KU reads are spiraling up slowly.  I'm trying to figure a balance between promoting my work (with NO budget for advertising, or for book signings in my local bookstore that does that sort of thing) and spamming my Facebook/blog contacts.  I really don't want to do the spamming thing; if I'm headed in that direction, let me know. 

One of the projects I'm considering for the future is a short manual on Adulting 101, including things like how to do your laundry, how to build a budget, how to plan a menu for a week, how to shop wisely...things that parents are supposed to teach their kids but often don't, either through being to busy or through thinking that it's faster and easier on the household if they just do it for their kids. 

I think I can turn this into an alternate career.  I'm certainly trying.  The time between being employed and being self-employed is certainly ticking away faster than I'd thought it would.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Second to last

Last week, I got hit with a CFS flare.  A bad one.  I'm recovering, now, but I had to cancel office hours Thursday and come home to go to bed. 

I probably should have spent all of Wednesday in bed, but I'm just too stupid-stubborn--there was writing to be done.

No, I didn't get it done.  I got a few words added, but brain fog makes functioning, much less braining, really hard.  I should have just gone to bed.  It might not have gotten so bad if I had.  Or at least I should have moved to my recliner, laptop, keyboard, and all.

Thursday, I picked up the practical proposal paper.  The fourth paper of five papers (plus a blogging assignment).  The last ones I will likely ever grade.  I am wistful about this, but also glad. 

I truly enjoy reading papers and offering feedback on what went wrong, how to fix it, and how to not do it again in the future.  I don't enjoy not being allowed to do more than mark that there IS a mistake, much less what mistake they've made, in grammar, structure, or punctuation.  I don't enjoy deciding what grade to put on a paper, either. 

And then, I introduced the last full paper the class will write.  Like always, I use this final paper as an unofficial final exam (that they're allowed to revise if they earn under 90%.  And some do, not because the paper's bad, but because they somehow missed out on doing some part of citing the sources). 

I am not a low-energy teacher.  Even when I have none to spare. 

So, Thursday, I spent half of it teaching, and the other half in bed.  And never managed to get my brain working well enough to finish the last little bit of Detritus before I picked up the paper, or get any of the drafts I picked up graded. 

This coming week is going to be busy grading the second to last paper, and teaching the source credibility guidelines and citation guidelines for the last paper.  The next week will be Thanksgiving Break.  The following week is when paper 5 is due. 

But that's future workloads.  Right now, I need to grade the second to last paper instead of worrying about the last one coming in.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


It's NaNoWriMo once again.  National Novel Writers' Month.  Yes, I am participating...sort of.  I'm going to be trying to finish three unfinished projects this month--four, if I can manage it. 

Current project: Not yet sure if it's a short novel or long novella.  Detritus.*  Started out with 21.5K words (about 47 pgs, typed, single-spaced, in 12 pt font in Word).  Reviewed and revised all 21.5 K words, and added 2K today.  I know where it's going, and how it's getting there; I'm only limited by typing time and speed (including almost 5 hrs spent on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though tomorrow is freewrite/research day for my students).  I may be finished with a first draft of this one before the weekend's out.  I'm planning on releasing it sometime in January.  Whether I release it as Kindle only or as a CreateSpace paperback is still up in the air.

Next project: Normalcy Bias.  I've got two more stories in that collection to pull from my draft book and type.  Probably will wind up at around 45-50K words, altogether; currently sitting at 36K or so.  I plan on either picking that up immediately following finishing the previous, or just after I finish grading the papers I pick up a week from tomorrow.  Hoping to release it sometime in March or so.

End of the month: The Schrodinger Paradox.**  Again, I know where that one's going, and how it's getting there, but there's a LOT more typing to do--something like another 30K words.  I hope to have it totally finished before the kids are out for Christmas Break, but considering end of semester stuff/catch up housecleaning/Christmas decorating and shopping, I'm not going to be guaranteeing it.  I'm just hoping I can get the first draft finished, and get the alpha readers' feedback incorporated into a second draft before the start of the year.  This one is going to a publishing house's slush pile.  I should hear back in 9 months to a year. 

Assuming I get the first draft of Schrodinger totally finished, and have time left, I'll pick up a vampire story I'd set down a few years ago, and see what I can finish of that.***

Don't worry--this will be the last post I write about writing this month.  I will not spend the whole month griping about how it is (or isn't) going according to plan, and messing with my life (what there is of that).  

*I've found for this one, The Rolling Stones or Shaman's Harvest really gets the words flowing from the keys.  The Pretty Reckless almost does it, but not quite.  

**Figured out that it's not the music stalling things.  It was the fact that I wanted to start it in a place/time it didn't want to be started.  Music is still Starset. 

***The story of how the main character wakes up dead is one of the ones in Normalcy Bias.