In which Amazon is still being assholes, and I try to read a book and fail

So Amazon’s still fucking with me.  I don’t really want to generate another 6000-word post right now but the latest is that they’ve pushed back the delivery to Friday the 23rd– another two entire weeks— and that 1) their Twitter help team promised me a phone call within 24 hours that never happened, then 2) I got back on online help and actually got someone who seemed to know what KDP was who promised I’d get a different response within 24 hours, and then two days later I got a response that was in such broken English that I can barely comprehend it that basically boiled down to “it says they’re getting delivered the 23rd, what’s the problem?”

None of these fuckers know what KDP is.  It’s their service.  They are literally the people printing the books.  There’s no way it takes this long.  And most of the time the people I’m corresponding with don’t even seem to know what the service is.  Clearly I need to move my entire production over to Ingram Spark, because I can’t have this happen again.  Redoing all the files is going to take a lot of time and cost an obnoxious amount of money so I’m not looking forward to it.  Hell, at this point I don’t even know who to gripe to at Amazon.  I need a motherfucker who lives in America, speaks English, and knows what the hell KDP is to get my shit moving, and hell if I know how to get ahold of that person right now.

91mF49yIKmLYou ever feel like you’re being unfair to a book because of your timing while reading it?  I loved The Traitor Baru Cormorant, ordered its sequel on the day it came out, and started reading it almost immediately, only to hit a massive goddamn wall when I realized that 1) I didn’t remember the first book all that well, what with having read it three years and probably 280 books ago; and 2) I just have not had the brain space for the last couple of weeks to read something with the complexity of a Seth Dickinson book.

So I’m like 100 pages from the end of Monster, and I can barely tell you what it’s been about, and I should have just put it back on the shelf a week and a half ago until I had the time and the headspace to reread the first book and then go straight into this one.  It’s not a bad book, but it’s going to prove unreviewable because I can’t trust my own impressions of it.  Trying to read this thing the same month as the election has just completely undone me.  I’ll probably finish it this weekend and four-star it just for the hell of it, and I need to reread it cover-to-cover before the (I assume) next book in the series comes out.  And then I need to spend some time reading, I dunno, picture books until I get my brainmeats back.  Because right now, I’m not reading this book.  I’m just looking at the words.  It’s a shame.


Someone has decided I’m done blogging for the night, so … yeah.  Have a good evening.

Stan Lee, 1922-2018

Stan Lee.jpg

I never met Stan Lee.  I almost certainly could have at some point, if I’d wanted to; half the nerds I know have a picture of themselves with him at some con or another.  He passed away two full days ago and I’m still struggling with tears trying to write this.  That seems an odd thing to say about a man I never met.  Odd, but true.

Also true: I can think of two people, only one still with us, since JRR Tolkien passed away three years before I was born, whose work has had even close to as much of an influence on my life as Stan Lee’s did.  I have been buying comic books for 3/4 of my life, and I probably have 80% of all the Iron Man comics ever printed.  Today is Wednesday.  It’s new comic book day.  I went to the comic shop.

I go to the comic shop every Wednesday.  And I have gone to the comic shop every Wednesday for goddamn near my entire adult life, excepting only a short period of time where I lived in Chicago and didn’t have a comic shop in Chicago yet so I was still getting my comics from my local store in South Bend.  My two favorite superheroes are Iron Man and the Hulk.  Spider-Man is right behind Superman.  Number five probably slides around a bit more than the others, but Captain America is as good a choice as any.

Stan Lee created three of those five characters, and had an enormous influence on the history of the fifth.  Did he come up with everything about them completely on his own?  No, of course not.  Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Jack Kirby; the contributions of these men can’t be denied, and they were towering figures in their own right.  And we just lost Steve Ditko earlier this year, so it’s been a really bad year to be a Spider-Man fan.

(Steve Ditko designed the classic red-and-gold Iron Man armor.  I just found that out.  I don’t think I knew that before.)

This is one hundred percent true:  I have no idea what my life would look like if Stan Lee had not been a part of it.  I have no idea who I would be if I had never encountered Stan’s creations.  You don’t get to spend most of your life marinating your brain in stories about superheroes every single week and not be changed by them.  To say that Stan Lee was one of my heroes feels like it’s minimizing him.

It’s not enough.  He was too big for this.  I don’t have the words.  I’m reading this over and the whole thing just feels stupid, like I’m not trying hard enough.

Stan was Jewish.  Jews typically, or at least traditionally, don’t say “rest in peace.”  A more appropriately Jewish phrase to honor the recently dead is May his memory be a blessing.  And it’s also more appropriate to describe my relationship with Stan, a man who I never met and whose life’s nevertheless influenced me so deeply and thoroughly that I am unable to untangle what my life would be like had he never lived.  His memory– and his creations– will live on, if not forever, but certainly well beyond whatever years may be left to me.  Every day.  But especially, and undeniably, every Wednesday.

Stan Lee’s life was a blessing.  May his memory continue to be.

In which I can’t really cope today

CR-Health-AH-Supplements_ss-Drugs-11-15I mentioned a few days ago that I took a Clonazepam the night of the election because the stress had gotten too thick to operate through, and after not touching the stuff for a couple of years it’s not impossible that I’ll decide to take another tonight.  The event didn’t go well yesterday at all — or, at least, was a crashing financial disaster, although some good things are going to end up coming from it, there were literally more authors present than there were people who wanted to buy books.  I’m not mad about it, necessarily, but it was a long damn weekend.  Today was an immensely stressful day at work, and the majority of that stress was due to various acts of incompetence on my part that I can’t even pretend to lay at anyone else’s feet.  And the rest of it, that isn’t part of that majority … well, it’s bad, and I can’t fucking talk about it right now for a variety of reasons.

The books still haven’t shipped, by the way, so Amazon’s blown past the most recent of their guarantees as of today.  The site now says I’ll get them on Friday, which will be six days shy of a month since these books– which are print-on-demand, remember– were ordered.

And Stan Lee died.  And … I just can’t.  The guy was 95 and he’s been in poor health for a long time but Stan Lee cannot be dead right now.  The last few days have been too fucking exhausting; I can’t process it.

So, yeah.  It may be time for another Clonazepam tonight.  After I finish typing this I plan to spend at least an hour with a kitten sleeping on my chest; we’ll see if that works first.  But if not?  Yeah, bring the brain pills on.


1100 Elizabeth Street in Lafayette! COME SEE ME and help raise money for adult education!

View from my hotel room: Lafayette, IN

… Fuck daylight saving time, is the lesson you should be drawing here. Also, first floor room. So please do not figure out where I am and come stare creepily into my window.

Oh, and the books haven’t shipped yet, either.