In which I am old, incompetent, aggravated, and also blind

Today was stupid.

I couldn’t sleep for crap last night, so when I finally dragged myself out of bed it was less because I was done sleeping and more because I was done trying. That’s kind of a basic body function; you’d think I would be okay at it by now. I spent the next four hours getting myself set up to take my Google Level 2 Certification test tomorrow and writing twenty-nine blog posts that will pop one per day over the next twenty-nine days. Only once during that process did I accidentally set the post to display immediately, so some of y’all got a little sneak peek of what day 28 is gonna be.

I then decided to shave and did something I’ve never managed to do before: I cut my upper lip while trimming my mustache with my electric razor. I have had facial hair since starting college at 18; I am now 42 and some change and I was today years old when I made my freaking lips bleed while shaving for the first time. Protip: don’t do this! It hurts quite a lot more than you think it’s going to!

It is now supposedly about six hours later. The clock tells me it’s just barely after 8 PM but I’m pretty convinced it has to be at least twenty-seven o’clock; it has been rainy and gross outside all day and our internet inexplicably shit the bed again about two hours ago and reporting the outage was much more complicated than it should have been– Comcast appears to have “improved” their website again, and I spent far more time than I should have just staring at the goddamn computer screen (tethered through my phone, using mobile data, which is how I’m posting right now as well) trying to figure out how the hell I was supposed to report the outage. This is either a sign that Comcast’s website has genuinely crappy UI or that I’m slowly becoming completely stupid; I’d blame Comcast but not being able to figure simple shit out is becoming a fuckin’ theme with me lately and it’s starting to become a little worrying.

Also, I’ve spent all day staring at screens or text and my eyes are blurry as fuck and the cat is getting spayed tomorrow and there’s gonna be a Comcast technician out between 10 and noon as well, and hopefully they’ll get the internet fixed because I kinda wanted to take this certification test in the morning and it’s three hours long so the earlier I can get started the better. There’s crap going on tomorrow, is what I’m saying, and I don’t have time to be non-internetted and blind.

So. Yeah. If you were wondering how long I’d continue to feel the Christmas spirit, it’s good and gone by now. So less than 48 hours.

Blech.

Oh what fresh hell is this

qwertee_whatever_1519078342-fullEvery time WordPress decides we need a new editor I spend some time wanting to murder things.  I’m not sure who exactly was clamoring for being able to start blog posts with drop caps, but what the hell, I’ll check them out.   Only everything is “blocks” now, and I seem to have somehow lost the ability to insert an “image” “block” into a “text” “block,” so I don’t really see how this shit helps me any.  I mean, hey, drop caps, though.

I’ve had nothing going on for the last couple of days.  I spent all day reading today, after finally finishing The Monster Baru Cormorant last night.  Which I still will need to reread at some point in the future.

Still can’t figure out how to put a picture into a block of text.  I mean, I can set wrap options on the picture, but I can’t move it.  Does that make sense?  No.  No it does not.

I can do a drop cap on every paragraph, though.

(It’s at this point where I realize that the new editor, which is going to “level up my layout,” really doesn’t seem to have an option to do images inline with text, lose all will to live, and switch back to the old editor.  Just once, just once, motherfuckers, I’d like you to roll out a new feature that works when you roll it out.  I don’t have the patience for incompetent dumbfuckery right now.  I just don’t.)

(Also, I want to point out that when I switched back to the “classic” editor, the one that, to me, is still not up to snuff with the editor before it, it got rid of one of those drop caps for no clear reason, but kept the other.  Fuuuuuck this.)

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Ravioli edition

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee (and I feel like I need to point out that, unlike last time, I actually am having coffee while writing this) I would spend most of the conversation being interrupted by the kitten, who has decided that my feet are the tastiest thing in the universe, regardless of whether I’m barefoot, in socks, or wearing my shoes.  This started off as cute and endearing and now I’m seriously trying to think of a way to bash together some shame cones to wear over my feet whenever I’m in a room that she can get into because the assaults are constant and she’s too small to kick.

I could probably get her halfway across the house if I tried, though.

(I’m not going to of course I’m not going to Jesus but Goddammit leave my feet alone.)

Anyway.

We had Thanksgiving yesterday.  There have been persistent rumors that my wife’s family is planning some sort of extravagant event in Michigan for Actual Thanksgiving, and my brother and his wife just bought a new house, so we decided to kill a couple of birds with one stone and we all went up to his place north of Chicago for Very Early Thanksgiving yesterday.  We are mostly German and Polish with a smattering of English and Welsh; he married into an Italian family and brought all of them over as well, so yesterday was Teach the Polacks How to Make Ravioli Day, because why wouldn’t it be?  So we spent probably three or four hours making a couple hundred raviolis.  I didn’t actually make the pasta itself– my mom was handling that– but my brother and my dad and I were responsible for filling the raviolis and then covering them and, in general, finishing everything up.  It went pretty well:

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The darker ones are sausage and spinach, the rest are a five-cheese mix.

It went very well– I’ve actually never made fresh pasta before, and while I sort of wanted to be in the kitchen for the actual pasta-making part at least once, being the last person in the process means you get to pretend the whole thing was your doing, which is still kinda fun.  Dinner was delicious and I even managed to not pass out and die on the way home, which was also a plus.

We would probably start hinting around this election thing on Tuesday at some point and I would change the subject as fast as I possibly fucking could.  I have Tuesday off; part of me feels like this was a very good decision (there will be violence at polling places this week) and part of me is mourning the idea that I’m going to be home all day by myself to go crazy.  I’m going to spend the whole day playing Red Dead Redemption 2 just to keep from going insane.

The other thing on my mind: the Pegasus Author Expo coming up next Sunday in Lafayette:

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I am super excited about this event; I’m doing a panel on book production at 12:00 and a reading/Q&A for half an hour or so at 11:30.  I’m currently killing myself trying to figure out what to read (current theory: the prologue to Skylights and something funny from one of the Benevolence Archives books) and trying to mentally prepare for anything from a big crowd (a “big crowd,” in this context, means “any number of people that I cannot accurately count in less than a couple of seconds”) to my wife and my assistant (I have an assistant!) and no one else.  This is the first time this group has done something like this and nobody really knows what to expect in terms of attendance so I’m deciding to look at it mostly as a networking event with a chance to practice some public-speaking skills.  If I make some money and sell some books along the way, awesome.  If not?  That’s a whole lot of Indiana authors to touch base with.  Which is absolutely a good thing regardless.

You should come.  You should bring everyone you have ever met.

Okay, coffee’s cold so I’ve yapped enough.  How’re you?

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Guess Who’s Back edition

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If we were having coffee … well, I’d be really confused, because it’s 7:15, and what the hell are we having coffee for at 7:15 on a Sunday night when I have to be back at work tomorrow?  But I was gonna write this post this morning, and it was going to be my probably-not-actually-long-awaited return to Weekend Coffee Share, which I haven’t participated in in forever.  So it’s still a WCS post and to hell with making sense.

So.  If we were having coffee, first I’d tell you about this book I started yesterday, and the reason I didn’t get a post up this morning is that I couldn’t put the damn book down until I was finished with it.  Do you like Sherlock Holmes?  Of course you do.  So you need to check out A Study in Honor, by Claire O’Dell, which is a Sherlock Holmes story, only it’s set in the future after the Second Civil War (Watson is still a veteran, and in fact has pretty bad PTSD) and Holmes and Watson are both queer black women.

I read it in about three hours– maybe an hour before bed last night and another two this morning, and I’m already reloading Amazon over and over again waiting for a sequel.  Go check it out, it’s great.

After that we might get into talking about religion a bit, believe it or not.  One of my oldest friends was in town this weekend with her three kids– her oldest daughter is twelve, her middle child (the only boy) is eight, putting him more or less at my son’s age, and her youngest, another daughter, is five.  We went to the zoo the first day they were in town and took them over to look around on Notre Dame’s campus the next day which, believe it or not, was the first time I’d ever seen the Grotto or the inside of the Basilica despite having lived in South Bend for 2/3 of my life or so.  The Basilica is absolutely amazing even if you have my, uh, somewhat unorthodox views on Christianity and religion in general– I may be a mean old atheist with a couple of degrees in religious studies, which, believe me, is the worst kind of mean old atheist, but I sure as hell can appreciate me some architecture.

It turns out that they keep docents around to give impromptu tours to the people who randomly wander into the place, and once ours determined that the oldest of the four kids was interested in being an architect she got real interesting real fast.  And then we got to the reliquary, which contains something like sixteen hundred relics of saints, and … man, it has been a minute since I have been around seriously religious people in a context where their serious-religiousness had a chance of playing a major role in the conversation.  And I’m not enough of an asshole to start a fight about this stuff, but I’ll admit it threw me for a hell of a loop when she pointed at one particular ornate cross and stated that it contained all of the following:

  • A piece of Jesus’ manger
  • A piece of the table the Last Supper was eaten at
  • A piece of Jesus’ burial shroud and
  • A fragment of the True Cross

And I had this moment of oh, holy shit, you genuinely believe every word you just said is true, and knew myself to be wholly in the presence of someone who does not view any part of the world the way I do.  Which, don’t get me wrong, is fine.  I don’t care.  She’s explaining her faith to me and my family and my friends and she’s being very very nice about it and frankly I’m in her house and I’m not about to start being a dick about her believing stuff I don’t believe.  You do you, nice lady.  There’s no problem here.

And then my son started talking, and as it turns out Daddy’s Little Empiricist has had absolutely no religious training of any kind at all, and, well, there’s some stuff that we kinda just assumed the wider culture would take care of for us?  I mean, we didn’t tell him about Santa Claus, and he knows all about that, and …

… well, as it turns out my son doesn’t know a god damn thing about Jesus.  And I think this lady has probably been doing her job for a good long time and she’s probably been asked a bunch of stuff and she’s probably had a handful of argumentative old atheists in that basilica on a couple of occasions and she was nonetheless not prepared for my son and his we-stole-him-from-a-South-American-jungle level of Don’t Know Nothin’ Bout Jesus.

He can tell you anything about the Avengers, though.

So yeah.  That happened.  How’s the coffee?

Well look at that

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You knew there was no way I was going to be able to resist trying to figure out how many words I’d written over the lifetime of the blog.  Turns out WordPress did it for me, and I don’t have to figure it out!

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The answer is that sometime in the next day or so I will cross over 850,000 words written here, since I only need about 700 more to hit that milestone.  That’s a lot of words.

Also, I miss 2014.