Monday, April 20, 2020

Shopping, today.

I...yeah.  I'm going to have to go shopping today.  When I made last week's list, I hadn't realized how low I was on some things.  Bread, for example.  And cheese. 

For the past two or three years, I'd been doing the bulk of the grocery shopping: I'd drop the kids off, then go to Walmart, then Sam's Club.  Because Walmart never closed, that was easy.  And Walmart was the next best thing to empty, that early.  And I got to Sam's Club well within the Advantage Membership-only hours. 

Two things that have since disappeared.  Ironically, in an attempt to "clean, disinfect, and protect our customers," both stores have ended up cramming more people into fewer hours. 

I haven't gone shopping since the second week of March. 

Until today. 

I went to Sam's Club.  About an hour after it opened.  Last time we tried to go right when it opened, there was a massively long line stretching from the entrance, down the side of the store, and wrapping around the end of the side parking lot.  Thank you, no.

I got a lot done.  Got stocked up on quite a bit.  Still putting it away, slowly.  But I did get it done. 

Yes, I still resent the absolute fuck out of Sam's Club cutting the hours, and opening to the general membership at 9:00 instead of 10:00.  I resent the fuck out of Walmart cutting hours and cramming everybody into fewer hours--given a choice, I'd go really fucking early, and miss everyone who's either working or sleeping in, and have a NOT CROWDED STORE to visit. 

It took everything I had to not mock the morons wearing masks that do jack and shit to protect them.  There was one elderly couple that were wearing cone coffee filters as masks: they'd opened the cones up and used a paper punch to thread a shoestring through the corners.  Wore 'em like beaks.  Yeah, that is going to protect them from...maybe allergens?  I don't know.  But it won't protect them from anything else.  Nor will the jack-wagons using a folded, no-sew, bandana-and-rubber-band mask be protected from anything.  Except maybe fathering children.  Yeah, it's effective to see where the idiots are to be avoided. 

There were several using painting masks (not the N95).  Such worked just fine protecting my mom during flu seasons while she could still wear them and get enough air.  Not going to say anything against such.  There were several using medical masks.  And a few using the actual protective gear advocated by the "experts" as something we should leave/donate to the front-line workers (which, arguably, are the people stocking stores, serving customers, and bringing carts back to the front from the cart corrals; and I recognized a lady I'd spoken with the last time I'd shopped, who said she cleaned houses for the elderly for a local company, and I'd also argue that she is a front-line worker). 

But the vast majority were nothing more or less than morons dancing in security kabuki theater displays, trying to signal their virtue.  Most of which would have been at work if the stupid fucking governor would back the fuck off on the utterly stupid and useless "stay-at-home" order, and the "all non-essential businesses (as defined by closet communists) must close" order. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


I've had to quit listening to the radio.  Last night, there was a PSA on one of my favorite stations that made me want to scream.  Referred to what's going on as "unprecedented." 

It's not.  Not even followed by "emergency" or "viral plague." 

Well, I take that back.  It is unprecedented.  I have never, in my forty-one years on this ball of rock, seen this level of unwarranted, unmitigated panic in this nation.  This level of mass stupidity.  This level of sheer ignorance

Because the actions being taken? are not without precedent.  They're common

They've happened world-wide. 






North Korea. 


In fact, through the 1930s, there were a series of actions taken in Germany with a familiar catchphrase: "It's for your safety."  It started with neighbors calling the authorities on neighbors doing things that were deemed "non-essential" and ended with people reporting on their neighbors hiding people in attics and basement crawlspaces.

It's not unprecedented.  And I'm tired of people who are fucking pig-ignorant insisting that it is, and that it's anything other than what it is. 

"Unprecedented" my ass.

Friday, April 10, 2020

School's out.

The governor of Missouri has declared school done for the year.  So, admitting that a full quarter is useless in terms of information taught. 

The kids' private school has gone along with the public school order. 

I am...less than pleased.  I'm also trying to figure things out. 

I was hopeful that the kids were going to go back to school at the end of the month, for four weeks.  I really was.  Not totally for my sake, either.  For theirs.  They desperately miss their friends, and they miss their teachers. 

This is horribly unfair to them, especially given that we don't live in a hot spot. 

It's unfair to us, as a family, because some portion of a full quarter's tuition has not been, and will not be, used.  And I have heard nothing about it being credited toward next year's tuition. 

And, given the way the government keeps moving the goalposts, I'm dubious of the value of paying next year's tuition in the first place.  Where's the guarantee that school will start back up in August?  Or won't cut the last however long the twats in charge feel is "necessary for the good of all?"

It's really bad for my imp.  My imp who does not do well without an externally-applied routine.  He's been all over the place...with the help of his meds.  He misses his friends, he misses his teacher, he misses...well, everything except the school work. 

The pixie...well, she's not a whole lot better, but has a much better handle on controlling herself and her reactions to her disappointment and misery. 

I'm contemplating what should be done, and what can be done.  And how is best to do it.  Because while the murder of the nation's economy has pissed me off something fierce, my kids are far more important.  I need to figure out how to get them through this mess with their knowledge base as well-supported as I can manage, and their emotional needs as well-met as I can manage.  I need to figure out how best to set a routine on them to help them settle into adapting to the sudden knowledge that a government large enough to give people things is also large enough to successfully take almost everything away. 

And I'm worrying about their physical and emotional well-being for the short, medium, and long term. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Gonna self-isolate for non-Covid reasons...

I am...done.  I'm done following the data on the current virus.  The media's dishonest, and is stirring up panic where it isn't warranted; the government on all levels are taking actions both unwarranted and illegal; the economy is dying, if not already dead; and all of this is raising my stress levels to the point of anxiety attacks.  I'm done.

I am an intelligent human being that is capable of holding worry about more than one thing at a time.  I'm most concerned, at this point, about the actions the government is taking to "combat the virus."*

With everything being forced closed, there is nothing of value being created.  There are no services being exchanged.  Our economy isn't dying, it's been murdered.  Because of a 2% chance of death for some. 
That said.  I am NOT denying that the virus isn't nasty.  It is.  For a few.  However, I have family in those few that are in the most danger.  I am not in favor of those family members doing stupid shit and catching this.

I am also not in favor of people calling the police over a man playing catch with his daughter in an empty park.  I am not in favor of the police patrolling out on open water and arresting a single person alone in a kayak, paddle-boat, or on a surf board.  I am not in favor of police pulling people over and writing tickets for simply going for a their cars.  I am not in favor of anyone telling me what is and is not a necessary purchase, because how the fuck does anyone but me know what I need? 

Gas prices are in free-fall.  Given that gas is what is referred to as an inelastic commodity, that is alarming.  Supply is way up because demand--that which is not supposed to change--is way down. 

There are landlords out there that have waved rent for the month of April.  I would assume that said landlords own the properties, free and clear, and do not rely on the rent payments to make their loan payments.  Others have not--cannot--because they do have loan payments.  What happens when they can't make those payments? 

What happens when over-extended homeowners can't make their house payments? 

Only, with landlords, it's a whole lot more people going to be turned out of their homes due to foreclosure. 

So many people have been living paycheck to paycheck for so's normal.  It's not just those on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder, either.  It's normal for everybody.  And right now, a lot of people simply...don't have a paycheck coming in.  And for a lot of those people, there won't ever be another paycheck from that particular job because of so many businesses going out of business.  Because businesses have those same habits--businesses are run by people who are used to going paycheck to paycheck. 

All for 2% of the population, the majority of which are already sick and dying with something else.  Or who have just a few years of their allotted time left. 

*I hate to say it, but I don't think the actions being taken by the various governments at the city, state, and federal levels are being taken solely to combat the virus.  I think there are bad actors at each level that are watching how we react, how we obey, and gleefully planning something different.  Too bad they're not paying attention to how many new background checks and gun purchases are happening daily, too.  Because they are not the only ones watching. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

It's live.

Gods and Monsters is available for purchase in Kindle or paperback, and can be borrowed and read for free through Kindle Unlimited. 

It's the fourth book in the Modern Gods series, starting with The Godshead, and moving through Highway to Tartarus, "Bar Tabs" (a Kindle-only short story), and Fire and Forge.  There's more to the world, but I'm not sure when the next book will emerge.  I don't really have control over these--they kinda just come at their own pace, in their own time. 

In the meantime, I'm about a third of the way through the second book of the Liquid Diet Chronicles.  The current, working title is Having a Pint.  Meg's irritated it's taken me so long to get back to her story.  The bits I'd written down long hand are almost exhausted, have been tripled in content, and my hands are killing me. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Gods and Monsters Sample Chapter

All Kraken Must Be Kept on a Leash

A deep, gurgling, howling, reverberating moan shook Poseidon out of a deep sleep.  Medusa stirred next to him, humming as she woke, too.  “What was that?” she mumbled, spitting hair out of her mouth.  She wrinkled her nose and smiled, petting the dampened strands of hair, enjoying the feel of hair that didn’t try to bite her. 
“I’m not entirely sure,” Poseidon hedged, rolling out of bed.  “It sounds like it’s coming from deep water, though.  I’m going to go check it out.  Be back as soon as I can.”
“You do that,” Medusa groaned, turning over onto her side and hitching the covers higher.  “Just tell me what it was in the morning.”
Poseidon chuckled, planting a kiss on her bare shoulder.  He bent and picked his cutoffs up from where he’d kicked them the night before and padded from the bedroom.  He leaned against the wall in the hallway and untwisted them, then pulled them on, buttoning and zipping carefully.  He’d shed them when he went into the water, but people nowadays frowned on nudity at nearly any time, on this continent. 
The god of the sea could have gone back to the old world, but the people—and their priests—had made clear to him that he wasn’t welcome in any of the old places.  He’d stayed away for centuries, and now that he was welcome again, he wouldn’t go back.  Not for any price, not after the way he’d been rejected by his lands and people.
The sand under his feet had lost most of the heat from the day as he made his way down to the water’s edge.  He stripped the shorts off, felt for how strong the tides were and would be, and wadded them up to chuck them farther up the beach than the water would go, even with the added reach of a storm out in the ocean proper boosting the waves’ power.     There was a storm, but it was a lot further out despite what the cloud cover suggested, and he hoped to be done before it hit land.  He waded until the warm water lapped at his chest before he dove in.
Another burbling moan echoed through the water.  Poseidon relaxed and directed the currents to bring him and whatever was making that gawdawful noise together.  It had been a while since one of the creatures living deep had needed help, but that sound, now that he was in the water and could hear properly, was absolutely a cry for help.  And there was pain involved. 
Poseidon frowned as he darted through the water, and directed the current to move him faster.  He closed his eyes, relishing the caress of his ocean on his skin, and reached out with his power, checking through the rest of his domain for more trouble…or more trouble brewing.  There was…something, right at the edge of his perception, but he couldn’t figure it out, and he had other, more pressing concerns at the moment.
The overcast night, clouds speeding toward land, heralded the storm that Poseidon had sensed pushing the waves ahead of it.  He hadn’t left the daylight zone depth, yet, but with the cloud cover, he might as well have done.
And the storm in the Atlantic was picking up speed and force.  The currents would have it making landfall not far from where his home stood.  But by that time, he’d be long back, and the barrier islands would weaken it by a good bit.
It likely would do damage, even weakened, were he not who he was.  The ocean couldn’t harm him, or his home. 
But it could and would do damage to the homes around him.  He sighed.  Made a mental note to watch out for idiots doing stupid things in flood waters.  He couldn’t prevent the storm from making landfall, and wouldn’t redirect it, but he could prevent loss of life to water. 
Something loomed, changing the way the currents flowed, pushed by a different current from behind.  The conflicting currents eddied around, then slowed and stopped at Poseidon’s will.  A huge tentacle—almost as big around as he was—reached out, gently gathering him in while a massive body curled around him to protect him from the last of the eddying currents.  As he made contact with the creature’s body with both hands, he realized exactly what it was: the Kraken.  The Greater Kraken, the last of its kind that hid from sailors and scientists alike. 
The burbling moan shook the water again, vibrating along Poseidon’s bones, accompanied by a rumble from the creature’s digestive tract. 
Poseidon reached hard with his power and made contact with the Kraken’s mind.  “What’s wrong?” he murmured.
It answered.  Not in words, but in impressions that Poseidon’s mind automatically translated.  [belly.  Hurts.  Bad food.]
Poseidon took one hand off the Kraken.  Now that contact had been made for the first time, he didn’t need to touch to maintain it.  He only needed to maintain his position relative to it in the water.  He scratched the stubble along his jaw.  “Bad food?”
[bad.  Bad food.] the Kraken agreed.  [did not want to be eaten.  Still lives, still fights, hurts belly.  It bites.  It thrashes.  Bad food.]
Poseidon rubbed his forehead.  The alien thought processes were starting to give him a headache.  “What?  What was it?”
[do not know.  Rose from deepest.  Weak.  Strange.  Like food, not like.  I hungered.  I ate.  Bad food still lives, still fights, hurts belly.]
Poseidon shivered.  That sounded something like what his father had been warning them about.  “Can you bring it up?”
Poseidon winced as the thought stabbed through his head, from temple to temple.  The confusion in the thoughts was even more painful than the straightforward thoughts had been.  “Vomit.  Can you?”
The Kraken’s body heaved, then heaved again.  The great beak opened, and the beast heaved again.  Pieces started coming up.  Pieces of something Poseidon didn’t recognize until the Kraken managed to expel the head.  The head’s tentacles were thrashing, and the polydexterous hand-things were twitching.  No wonder it had harmed the poor Kraken.
“Ah,” Poseidon breathed out.  He gathered the fluid around the thing, using the salts from the waters and the acid from the Kraken’s digestive juices to create a massive crystalline prison that kept all the pieces separated.  He managed to finish trapping it just before the whirlpool it attempted to create was able to form and propel it to the surface.  “Charibdis.  I was wondering where you went, you cunt.”
[bad food what?] the Kraken asked. 
“Something I thought was dead that apparently only slept in the deep.  I had no idea she was immortal.  She was trying to make a whirlpool in your guts and eat you…no wonder it hurt.”  Poseidon sighed.  Patted the poor creature, reached deep with his power over all the creatures in the sea, and pushed healing until the Kraken twitched. 
[hurt gone.  Hungry.  Go hunt, now…]
“Go deep,” Poseidon ordered absently, considering asking for a mate for the monster from someone who could help him make it.  “There’s a lot of not-food on the surface.  Will hurt you again if you try to eat it, and some of it will try to hurt you if it sees you.”
[I go.] 
The Kraken flipped, surfaced for a moment, eyeing the clouds balefully, then dove down to the rocky bottom, below where Poseidon could see.  He could feel it scudding toward a trench in the deepest part of the ocean, where the waters were warmed by volcanic vents, and occasional food drifted close enough for the Kraken to grab without coming where it could be noticed. 
He sighed, then smirked as he felt the monster in the salt crystal prison trying to form whirlpools and put herself back together.  It…wasn’t working.  She couldn’t break the walls between the different parts of herself, mostly because there wasn’t enough water in any given chamber to really give it a good try. 
Poseidon grinned, set his waters to reject the prison, then followed it to the surface.  He urged the current to nudge the ball full of angry, hungry, dismembered immortal to shore, and followed.  He made it to the entrance of his private bay, and used the mouth of the bay to form a portal to his brother’s realm. 
He smirked, made the ball utterly indestructible with smooth coral growths, then launched it through to bounce to Cerberus’s feet.  A happy yelp echoed through the portal and he grinned as he closed it.  He started for shore but stopped as a cigarette boat flashed lights and blipped the siren as it pulled up and slowed to a stop. 
“You, in the water,” a young voice called out. 
“Yes?” he asked, using the water to push him upright so he could cross his arms across his chest. 
“If you happen to be Poseidon,” a young voice called respectfully, “I would appreciate you taking the time to have a word.”
Poseidon sighed, stepping up out of the water’s embrace (even as he kept a modesty-protecting ring of water around his hips—for the youngster’s sake, since he didn’t give a shit).  He moved over the suddenly glassy-smooth surface of the water to the boat.  He started to seat himself on nothing, and ended up seated gracefully on the throne that the waters put up for him.  “Yes?”
“About twenty minutes ago, I had a speedboat of Cuban cartel members turn themselves over, begging to be run in.  They said they’d dumped the drugs overboard, and just wanted off the water before the monster got them.”
“Sounds helpful,” Poseidon commented. 
“Was there, in fact, a sea monster?” the young voice—a woman, Poseidon thought—asked, “or were they sampling their own merchandise?”
“I suppose they may have seen the Kraken on his way in.  He’d eaten something that disagreed with him, and came to me for help,” he mused, feeling through the depths for the drugs.  He found them and fished them out of where they’d dropped, bringing them to himself. 
“Kraken.  Is that a sea monster?” she asked.  “Because the only Kraken I know of is the black rum my dad drinks.”
“Good rum.  Hundred fifty foot squid, not a monster,” Poseidon corrected.  “Why?”
“Do they even get that big?” she asked dubiously.
“Oh, yes.”  Poseidon paused in thought, then shrugged regretfully.  “Or at least, they used to.  The Greater Kraken are all but extinct, now, though.”
“Does it swim at the surface waving tentacles?” the young woman persisted. 
Poseidon nodded slowly.  “Rarely, but it does happen sometimes.  When it’s been hurt, or something it’s eaten has disagreed with it.  Like tonight.”
“That means they were telling the truth about the sea monster,” she mused.  “Maybe even about the dumped drugs, too.”
Poseidon smirked and brought the drugs—a bale of white the size of his torso, wrapped in plastic—to the surface, then flipped it into the boat.  “They were telling the truth about all of it,” he agreed.
"Wow.  Thanks," she said breathlessly.  "But I need to ask you to keep sea creatures that size out where they don't panic boaters.  Out of sight.  Or under obvious control.  It helped with the drug bust, but there's a lot of legit fishers out here, too.  And I do appreciate the assist, but I don't want to hear about Cthulu rising ever again," she said, her voice rising.  "Especially not on a night like this where it looks like he could!"

Friday, April 3, 2020

And now for something completely different

From the back cover of Gods and Monsters:

Here there be dragons…again, damn it.  

Deshayna has her sanity back, and forces older than the gods have granted her a new purpose.  Chronos, his freedom restored, fights for his sanity, and with it, a purpose in helping Deshayna—now called Shay—with hers.  The gods are starting to pull together more…and it’s about time.  

Millennia after the last dragons to threaten human existence have been hunted down, they’ve started to reappear, hinting to the surviving gods that something more sinister appeared first: Tiamat.  

Instead of a confrontation, though, the gods—major, minor, and genus loci—are drawn into a frustrating hunt for a predator that flees rather than attempting to strike. 
And yes, this does mean I'm right at the point of publishing.  

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Are they TRYING to start the dance early?

I've been seeing stories: Hobby Lobby forced closed in some areas, others decreeing that the sale of "non-essentials" are banned.

I...have some questions.

First, hobby stores in general: most people "self-isolating" like good little proles don't have a whole lot of keep-busy supplies on hand.  Not a lot of games, models, or what have you.  I do, but I am, as I have come to find out, quite the odd duck.* 

Given that lack...what are people supposed to do?  There's only so much TV any individual can tolerate...and, as I have also come to find out, most people don't read.** 

So yeah.  People head out for a quick trip to the hobby store for whatever they enjoy doing, whether that's building models, painting minis, painting, calligraphy, sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet--whatever.  Something.  To.  DO.

Same with home improvement stores.  My other half has built two bookcases, and a kitchen cart*** for me since this bullshit started.  But people are whining that those need to close, too.  Because "mah health, damn it!"****

Okay.  Fine.  Whatever.  You know, some things can be ordered through Amazon...wait.  Now, Amazon's employees are screeching "mah health!!" too.  And "Dildos aren't a necessity!"

Really.  Cool.  You don't want to load boxes for people obeying the illegal orders to stay home, then stay home and somebody else with more sense can have your job.  Because, yes, damn it--they are a necessity to continue this charade, this bit of security/safety theater--because there are women out there that would like to get laid even if you've never met one, and the choice is between a battery operated bit of plastic or going out.

And the whole mess of big box stores being FORBIDDEN to compete with small stores forced to close  to sell nonessential items*****

That.  That right there.  That picture.  Notice what's blocked off?  That's right: future food.  Yes, people are being forbidden from buying the materials to grow their own damn food for later.  That's "nonessential."

Other places are banning the sale of books.  And toys.  For kids.

Dude.  Those politicians are going to get tarred, feathered, and then lynched--if they're lucky--by the parents of the children booted out of school by the same, panicking politicians.  If they're not lucky, they're going to be rounded up and shoved into a SMALL ROOM with ALL the children they've sentenced to murderous boredom.

I really think that these things, more than any other, are going to be what sets Americans off.

Because as a generalization, generations younger than mine sort of lack anything resembling delayed gratification.

*I'm not bored.  I have a ton of yarn, all sizes of knitting needles, more books than I have shelf space for (though that is changing), fountain pens, pretty ink, paper, and all sorts of ideas for knitting projects, and stories to write.  

**I have a friend who'd love to read for fun, but never has been able to get into that habit.  Another friend has learned that she needs audiobooks because her eyes don't want to work together to read for as long as she wants to.  Most of my other half's coworkers for the past two decades don't read at all for entertainment.  

***Kitchen cart: basically a bookcase frame on wheels with a drawer pull, with slats on both sides to keep potatoes and onions from falling off the shelves.  Fits perfectly in the 8" dead space between the end of my cabinets and my fridge, and doesn't block the dishwasher from opening all the way.  

****Yes, I've heard calls by employees for stores to close.  I don't think these twits realize how replaceable they are--they're basically no-skills workers that slide a bar-code across a scanner.  They are perfectly welcome to stay home, and let braver, smarter, healthier people who've been laid off take those jobs.  

*****Seriously, who's determining what's "essential" and what's "non-essential"?  Inquiring minds want to know, so that we know specifically who needs a new coat of tar and feathers.