Unread Shelf: January 31, 2020

I only bought, like, three books in January. That doesn’t happen very often.

Mama cooked a breakfast with no hog

I’ve talked about this before– my seventh hour class is absolutely my problem children this year, and rearranging about half of them at the semester break somehow made no real differences in the overall attitude and vibe of the class. Yesterday I introduced solving systems of equations with substitution, which frankly is one of the more difficult bits of mathematics they’re going to have to deal with this year, at least in terms of the number of steps involved. And they did a decent job! I’d been warning them in advance that it was going to be tricky and I needed everyone focused while I was going over it, and I more or less got what I needed from them.

Today my co-teacher and I split the group up, if only to keep the noise level down a bit, and I ended up sitting at a table with five of my boys for the majority of the class.

And the five of them spent probably about half an hour working through the assignment with me, with varying levels of teacherly assistance, and after maybe fifteen minutes I found myself wishing I was recording them. They were genuinely working together– not one of the five was waiting for the others to get the answer– discussing their ideas on how to solve problems productively and without arguing, explaining their thinking, and generally doing every single God damn thing I want my students to do when working through math that they find challenging.

Three of the five failed math at least one of the two quarters last semester, too, which made the whole thing even more amazing.

It was a damn good day today.

Important announcement!

I survived work today and now I’m going to play video games until bedtime.

The end.

In which you should read this book

Today was a bad day, probably the worst mental health day I’ve had since … well, since before Mom died, honestly, because for most of the time since then I’ve been busy and it’s been keeping the demons away, so to speak. But everything hit me like a ton of bricks this morning as I was getting ready for work and I just couldn’t cope today. I’ve spent most of the day either asleep or staring mindlessly at TikTok, which isn’t something I should ever be doing.

I don’t have the headspace for a full review right now, but if you’ve been paying attention you know what a fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky I’ve become since discovering his work last year. I finished his book Spiderlight (dude loves his spiders) yesterday. It’s high fantasy as opposed to the hard sci-fi of Children of Time and Children of Ruin, and it’s … really different. Bits of it almost come off as parody, particularly chapter titles, but there is some really interesting character work and examination of the typical fantasy dark vs. light trope going on in there that makes the whole book absolutely worth checking out. This is going to start off looking really straightforward and then by the end of it is something very different, and I liked it a lot, but not for the same reasons I liked his other books. I know he has a several-book megaseries out there somewhere; I should probably get around to reading that soon. The guy’s the real deal.

This is how much I don’t want to be grading

There is a new, canonical Benevolence Archives microfiction up at Patreon right now. I don’t update my Patreon nearly as often as I ought to but I’m also prone to not charging people during the months where I don’t update much, and there’s definitely enough content up over there now to justify your $1 or $2 every couple of months. So if the idea of more BA excites you at all, maybe check it out.

In other news, I am watching basketball again. IU is up four on Maryland at the moment with two minutes left; we’ll see if me posting that fact here ends up losing the game for them.(*)

(Yes, I have managed to more or less eradicate paying attention to sports from my life. No, I will never manage to eradicate being deeply superstitious about IU basketball. Never, as long as I live; it’s ground in there too deeply.)

That said, I’ve now blogged, written actual fiction, done a bit of light cleaning around the house, showered and gotten dressed today, so I’m much closer to an adult than I usually am on a typical Sunday and there is at least a chance that some of the ridiculous pile of grading I need to take care of is going to have some headway made on it after dinner.

Just a chance, mind you, not a guarantee. Just because I’m close to being an adult today doesn’t mean I’m a responsible one. 🙂

(*) Did Maryland end the game with a 7-0 run and win by a point, despite the fact that I waited to post this until after the game ended? Yes, they did. Am I nonetheless responsible for the loss, even though I could very well have deleted the evidence and not said anything about it to anyone? Yes. Yes, I am.