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.

In which I am dialed back

2973026I am trying– I have said this to a number of people in the Real World, but I don’t think I’ve made it clear here– to maintain a very healthy sense of what Is and Is Not My Problem in this job.  I have absolutely no doubt that I will frequently be doing things at work that are, officially at least, outside my purview.  Hell, I already am.  I did twelve of them today.  But there’s shit that’s not my problem and then there’s Shit That’s Not My Problem, if you know what I mean, and while every previous teaching job I’ve ever had has been positively riddled with capital-letter Not My Problem stuff, I am bound and determined that I’m not letting it happen here.  I need to keep reminding myself that I’m coming back to education because the last time I had a job in a school it led to ambulances taking me from the building twice and I had to go on fucking medical leave and then resign.  I am not letting that shit happen again, and one of the ways I’m doing it is by very strictly monitoring my boundaries.

Not that anything in particular happened today that’s making me bring that up.  Not really, at least; I walked away from a couple of student conferences that I might have sat in on and participated in in the past, and I got an email during dinner just now that I’m not taking time away from my evening to respond to, because here’s another rule: when I walk out of that building at the end of my day, I’m done, and barring special circumstances of some sort or another I’m not gonna be doing Work Shit once I get home.  I kind of wish I could figure out a way to tell my work email to stop pinging the server for new messages after 4:30 every day.

Hell, there’s probably a way to *do* that, come to think of it.  But seriously: I was talking about getting too much email the other day?  I got two work emails at 10:30 last night as I was going to bed, and I damn near replied to them and told the people who had sent them to put their phones down and go to sleep.  At which point I decided not to bother and, instead, took my own advice, put my phone down, and … well, okay, I read for another hour– Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep is starting off well— but I did it in bed and without anything electronic staring at me.


I didn’t mention this yesterday, because I hadn’t pieced it together until today, but along with talking to Auntie No-Pants’ niece I had a bizarre moment at the end of the day where I heard someone shout “Bye, Mr. (my real name)!  I liked your book!” as he– it was definitely a boy– was leaving the building.

This was a problem in a couple of ways, prime among which was the fact that I was pretty sure there weren’t more than one or two kids in the building who knew my name in the first place, and none of those knew me well enough to yell goodbye at me on the way out the door– today was the fifth day of school, after all– and there damn sure shouldn’t be anyone who knows who the hell Luther Siler is.  The fact that the kid yelled goodbye at me as I was facing a different direction and he was headed out the door and I wasn’t able to get a good look at him beyond “one of the boys in the midst of this large group of students” wasn’t helping.  I couldn’t have picked this kid out of a lineup if my life had depended on it.

It had me a bit concerned, if I’m being honest.  I’ve never been anything other than clear-eyed about my own anonymity here; I’ve left enough clues lying around over the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of words I’ve written here in the past several years that a dedicated interloper could probably figure out where I work and even where I live within a few miles’ radius given a day or two of reading, at most.  I’m not anonymous to keep people from figuring out who Luther Siler really is.  I’m anonymous to keep kids from Googling my real name and finding their way here.

Oh God, now I want a word count for the blog no goddammit I’m not doing that.

Anyway, this story has a happy ending, of sorts: I managed to completely randomly discover that a certain 8th grade student has a rather distinctive last name that matches the last name of a couple of kids I had in my very first group of Indiana 6th graders, kids who I just happen to still be in fairly regular touch with, and I dropped one of them a quick text message and discovered that yes her little brother does go to my school, and then a moment after that I realized that I’d actually had a conversation with his mom at Open House and had somehow not connected that conversation with the fact that since she was at the school she probably had a kid there somewhere.

How her son’s existence didn’t come up while we were talking, I have no idea.  In my defense, it had been an incredibly long day and I was both 1) really tired and 2) trying to get out of the building so that I could get to my kid’s Open House, which was the same night.

So yeah.  I don’t have to shut the blog down or anything.

On new habits

article-2421505-1AA2E1E3000005DC-504_964x740First of all, I have no idea where this image came from.  I can reconstruct the original Google search but I sort of fell down a rabbit hole after that and I can’t be held responsible for pictures of dogs climbing on elephants.  I just can’t.

I completed my final act of outstanding customer service this morning, which required an hour-long drive up to Michigan to return the now-repaired piece of furniture I had picked up last week.  Everything went fine; the piece was fixed to my and their satisfaction, the drive was pleasant, everyone was happy,  and the hell-rain that filled up the entire afternoon didn’t start until after I got home.

I spent most of the drive up there listening to podcasts.  I’ve got a handful that I’m pretty fond of now, meaning that pretty much any time I have time to listen to them there are going to be a handful of new episodes on my phone.  A few notables:

  • Pod Save the People
  • Lore
  • Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Nightlight: The Black Horror Podcast
  • Feminist Frequency Radio
  • Females in Fantasy
  • Mass for Shut-Ins

And just today I noticed one called Subliminally Correct, which I haven’t actually listened to yet but it’s a couple of psychologists talking about subconscious messaging and propaganda in politics, which definitely sounds up my alley.

It hit me on the way home that starting in a couple of weeks I will have no time to listen to any of these, ever, unless I radically change how I interact with podcasts.  Because podcasts are for the car, and what with my drive to work having been cut down by about 90% I’m just not going to be spending any time in the car any longer.

It’s interesting, right?  You think of a new job as just a change of job, but in this case there are all these ancillary lifestyle changes that are coming with it– and, really, it’s not unfair to say that the lifestyle changes were a huge part of I wanted the new job in the first place.  My wife and I were sitting on the couch yesterday evening after she got home from work, each of us trying to get the other one to commit to some sort of plan for dinner, when she looked at me and said “This is what our lives are going to be forever, now.”  It hit me that in a real sort of way, after two years of me working every weekend and until 8 three nights a week, there’s going to be a real element of my wife and I having to relearn how to live together again.  And to be clear, I am not not not complaining about that, and I’m looking way forward to it, because it’s what I want.  But there’s no reason to pretend it’s not going to be a thing.  I haven’t cooked dinner in a while!  Maybe I’ll start cooking again!  I mean, we’ll have to, right, what with being home together for dinner for– gulp– seven nights a week.

Crazytown.

On milestones

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This is the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this blog.  Starting tomorrow, it will be my longest-lived Web presence.  My very last post at my original blog site at Xanga, of blessed memory, was also a fifth anniversary post, but by that point the blog was all but abandoned anyway and I just happened to notice and post on the right day.

Amazingly, this is also a milestone for the number of posts I have made on the blog.  It is, believe it or not, post number two thousand and five hundred.  I have somehow averaged five hundred posts a year over the last five years, a number that don’t even believe, except that I’ve checked it half a dozen ways and WordPress is insisting that it’s true.

I did have a two-year run of posting every day at one point, and I had over 700 posts in 2014.  It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.

It is rather difficult to express just how important writing for this site has been for me over the past five years.  I can’t really say that it’s brought me fame or fortune, but seeing as how this is the site that has launched my writing career (such as it is) it has genuinely changed my life.  I’ve written six books during that five years, started a company, and started going to conventions to promote my books.  With the help of my new Patreon site, I’m going to be experimenting with new ways to promote the site and my work, so the remainder of 2018 has a chance to be really big for me.   If I ever do gain fame and fortune– and, to be honest, I’ll gladly settle for “moderately well known” and “don’t have to worry about my bills”– the work I’ve done here will be the foundation for it.

Genuinely, to everyone who has ever commented, linked, Liked, shared, forwarded, followed, anything around here:  thank you.  Thank you so very, very much.

Onward.

Sunday morning Patreon bleg

UnknownInstead of the usual biweekly Station Identification post, let’s do this: My Patreon site is four days old and I’m already up to five Patrons, which is both more people and more money than I was imagining before I put it up.  That said, I’m gonna be pushing this hard around here for at least a week.

Enjoy this blog?  Enjoy my work?  Consider sending me a dollar or two a month through my Patreon site, where Patrons gain access to exclusive short stories and microfictions, early access to novels (and, at the $15 level, free autographed books!) and much more!  There’s a brand new, e-reader ready Jayashree story up right now!  My Patrons are persons of refined taste and superior intellect.  You want to be a person of refined taste and superior intellect, right?  Click here!