Gimpery

(Shut up: Gimp is the name of the software program I’m using.)

This is a business card.  Right?  Sure it is:

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Color is the front, B&W is the back.  I’m still doing the bookmarks but I need something business card sized I can hand out for other reasons.

Thoughts?  How much do these suck?  And I’m still fiddling with the tagline.  And the fonts.  Everyone always hates my font choices.

Gah.

Eric the half a blog

It is amazing to me that fully eight years after the end of the Bush administration I still can’t blog properly about politics without getting a headache.  Every post I have in mind right now touches on the presidential race in some way, and I don’t want to write any of them because Christ am I tired of talking about politics, despite the fact that outside of education policy (and there’s been precious little of that lately) I almost never talk about politics around here.(*)

Some of you know this; there was a Previous Blog; back when Xanga was a thing (google it) and that blog was basically politics 24/7.  I burned out.  I can’t do it anymore.  Which is why, for example, Jeb Bush can shoot a “Heckuva job, Brownie” over at Governor Rick “Why the fuck am I not in jail yet” Snyder over the way he poisoned thousands of children and then gave a nice speech about it and the only mention it gets around here is this sentence.  I can’t make myself write the post.  It’s too hurty.  I don’t have the energy for it.

Or, for example, and this is a real thing, how I just don’t have the energy to argue with people who think referring to Hillary Clinton as “Hillary” is hugely sexist when this is Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo:

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The “H” stands for “Calling me Hillary is sexist,” obviously.

(And, for that matter, while Carly Fiorina is more likely to use her full name than just “Carly,” I can find a fair amount of campaign material that just calls her “Carly” and nothing that just says “Fiorina.”)

And there is still ten fucking months until the election.

Sooner or later either the dam is going to burst, and the torrent of bile that will be unleashed around here will drive away each and every one of my previous readers, because I love you fuckers but you have no idea what I’m actually like once I get going on this shit, or my head’s just going to explode, which is probably the best solution for everyone outside of maybe my immediate family.  My son will miss me; my wife and other adult family members will probably just be glad they don’t have to put up with my shit any more.

Fuuuuuuuck.  

(*) I got curious and checked my categories; I have sixty-some-odd posts categorized as “politics,” but virtually none of them are Washington/election politics, which is specifically what I’m referring to here.  Frankly, most of them are about feminism, which may perhaps deserve its own category by now.

#Review, sorta, maybe? MR. FOX, by Helen Oyeyemi

41y023A+qtL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMy dirty little secret is that I’m not actually a very good reader.

It’s true: for someone who reads as much as I do (I’ll start my 12th book of 2016 tonight, although a bunch of them have been graphic novels) I have terrible recall of what I’ve read and little ability to pick up on subtext.  I am godawful at the types of things that English majors do and say and think about books; I can barely tell you what they are.

I have, and this is related, never been a good reading teacher.

What this means is that when I read fiction I prefer books with strong and clear central narratives.  Things like unreliable narrators and books where you have to hunt to find the plot drive me crazy, and I have to be careful sometimes to make sure I’m distinguishing between a book that is genuinely bad and a book that just isn’t “my” kind of book.  And the last two books I’ve read have both been books where you sorta have to hunt around to figure out what was going on.  A Brief History of Seven Killings was all multiple-narrator first person where a lot of stuff happened between the lines and sometimes he’d go off on a stream-of-consciousness tear and have three pages where there was no punctuation, especially if a character was high or terrified or dying during the events they were describing– which happened more often than you’d guess.

Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi, does something a little different, where she’s playing with narrative more than James was in Killings, and while the overall arc of the book is a little murky what’s going on at any given moment in a chapter is always pretty clear.  I loved this book, which sort of surprises me; the three main characters are a writer, the titular Mr. Fox; his wife, and his muse, who is only real for bits and pieces of the book.  Sometimes she’s a ghost.  Sometimes she’s clearly physical and can be seen and interacted with by people who are not the three central characters.  Sometimes the three central characters show up as characters in a story it turns out Mr. Fox is writing, and his habit of killing off his female characters at the end of his stories can be a little jarring.  It lends the whole book this weirdly dreamy quality; you’re never sure whether anything going on in a given section is “real” or not and sometimes even the bits that are clearly fairy tales or fiction-within-the-fiction have characters who turn out to have been “real” but fictionalized when they show up later.

One way or another, I started the thing before bed last night and I just finished it about an hour ago despite this being a weekend and me having, like, stuff to do.  So I devoured the crap outta this book.  S’good.  I promise.

So … if you read like me, and you like your narratives straightforward?  Believe me that this turns out fascinatingly anyway, and just roll with it.  If you’re an English Lit Sort of Person, knock a motherfucker down to get your hands on this if you need to, because I suspect you’ll love it.  I five-starred it at Goodreads; it may end up on my 2016 shortlist but I’m going to give it a couple of weeks first to see how my thoughts of it hold up over a bit of time.

Now, I’m going to go read some YA to clear my brain, because there’s a China Miéville novella sitting on my TBR shelf and my ass is not ready.  

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I write books.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’m the author of Skylights, available for $4.95 from Amazon, and The Benevolence Archives.  Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 is 99 cents from Amazon.  Volume 2, The Sanctum of the Sphere, is $4.95.  All three books are available in print as well, and the print edition of Sanctum includes BA 1 as a bonus!   My newest book is a nonfiction memoir about teaching called Searching for Malumba: Why Teaching is Terrible, and Why We Do It Anyway.  The ebook is $4.95 and the print edition is $15.95.

Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

Here’s where to find Luther Siler on the interwebtron:

  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  I am on Twitter pretty frequently; I use it for liveblogging TV, whining about anything that strikes me as whine-worthy, and for short, Facebook-style posts.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • Sign up for my mailing list here.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I accept any and all friend requests.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts.
  • And, of course, you’re already at infinitefreetime.com, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Prostetnic hi-res cropped

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Pop Culture Edition

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If we were having coffee, I’d likely be humming a Bob Marley song to myself, or possibly Pon de Replay, which, okay, I recognize that Rihanna isn’t Jamaican but I can’t help what my brain does.  I just finished– as in literally ten minutes ago– Man Booker Prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James, a 700-page book containing far more than seven killings.

Probably 2/3 of the book is in Jamaican patois, which means that if I get through the entire conversation without the word bumbacloth or, God forbid, pussyhole falling out of my mouth, you should consider yourself lucky.  I’ve read more Jamaican profanity in the last four or five days than I will encounter in the entire rest of my life, and it’s sorta infected my brain.

Feel free to ask me if I liked it; I’ll trail off after a few seconds and change the subject.  I understand why it won the Booker Prize, but I don’t think I liked reading it at all. So… three stars?  Four?  Fuckit, I dunno.

But, yeah, let’s talk about movies and TV and stuff.  I still haven’t seen Force Awakens a second time yet, and I want to, and the trailer for Suicide Squad that just came out made me all sorts of excited about that, which surprises me.  Deadpool is going to be awesome.  And then there’s that maybe-sequel to Cloverfield, a movie I unapologetically love the hell out of, so I’m all excited about seeing that too.

TV?  You should be watching The Expanse, although if you’re like me you’re watching it with the closed captions on because half the time people are talking through masks, half the time they have thick accents, and oh, speaking of patois, half the time they’re not speaking English.  Yes, I know that’s three halves; I’ll sketch the Venn diagram out for you on a napkin if you don’t get it.  Point is, the sound mixing could be a lot better.  We watched the first episode of The Shannara Chronicles last night and I only got through it by mocking the hell out of everything I saw; the show appears to be unredeemably terrible unless making fun of it proves to have more legs than I thought.  Flash and Supergirl both remain better than they have any right to be.  One of these days I’ll get into Arrow.

What good comic books are you reading?  You should be reading Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and I enjoyed the Captain Marvel relaunch that just started.  I’m working through the Jessica Jones trades.  And Clean Room is insane and depraved and you should check that out too.  Unfollow looks like it might have potential.

But for right now, I need to read something that’s going to drive all this r’asscloth patois out of my brain; I just don’t know what that is.  You, for your part, should go read Searching for Malumba, because it’s free today and tomorrow.

Man, I need a nap.