April 6, Status Report

…because everything lengthy I might want to write fills me with horror, have a Random Bits post:

  • HEALTH UPDATE: I have not taken any medicine for the last several days and woke up this morning without having a coughing fit. I also made it through last night without getting up and having to blow my nose or wipe anything disgusting off of my face. I’m still coughing occasionally so I’m not 100% yet but my going-on-five-weeks-long Upper Respiratory Thing appears to be on the wane, finally.
  • So I’ll have COVID-19 by next week.
  • Speaking of: I left the house today for only the second time since March 16, to take some stuff to (and have lunch with) my dad and then to get some banking stuff done that could not be done over the phone or the Internet. The last time I left was also to see Dad. He’s only leaving the house once a week to go to the grocery, so we have lots to talk about.
  • That was sarcasm. I never have anything to talk about anymore. I play Nioh 2 and read books. That’s it.
  • SPRING BREEEEEAAAAAAAAKKKKKKK!!!!!
  • Gas was $1.23 a gallon. I’m going to put the boy in the car tomorrow and drive to Kokomo and back just for the sheer hell of it.
  • I was wearing this shirt the last time I posted a picture of myself to the blog. That was not intentional.
  • I never mentioned it here, but school is officially E-learning-only for the rest of the school year, so the next time I will be expected to “go” to a “job” will be in August. Which is insane. I am actually planning on spending some time over this week trying to figure out how to make my lessons more engaging for the kids who are still bothering to tune in.
  • Obligatory reminder: I am incredibly lucky in that between my job, which can be done from home, and my wife’s job, which is in the health care sector, we are reasonably well insulated from the utter carnage that the job market has turned into. I was planning on spending the summer at least casually looking around; that plan is no longer in effect. I will return to my current job this fall unless I am actively prevented from doing so, which given my seniority can be reasonably described as unlikely.
  • CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Billie Eilish. Her *first* album, which tells you that I own her first album.
  • SPEAKING OF MUSIC: You may recall me being super happy about the new Pearl Jam album that came out … recently. How recently? I think it was in March, so somewhere between seven days and seventeen years. I haven’t mentioned it since. I won’t quite go so far as to say I was disappointed, but I was disappointed.
  • Wait.
  • Damn.
  • Gigaton is, so far, an intensely forgettable album, which is not a word I’ve used to describe many Pearl Jam albums. It deserves a couple more listens but I do most of my music listening in the car, notwithstanding the current playing of Billie Eilish, and I haven’t been driving much.
  • There is a song on the album called Comes Then Goes, which sounds so much like Parting Ways, released in 2000, that I’m actually weirdly angry about it.
  • I am listening to old Billie Eilish instead of new Pearl Jam, though, which probably should tell you something.
  • Related: I’m way behind on my podcasts, and I even found a couple of new ones to look into that I haven’t found time to listen to, because my “listening to things” time is disrupted.
  • VAGUEBOOKING: If you’re going to write speculative fiction, your world needs to have some rules to it, even if the characters don’t necessarily know what they are. You gotta spend some time on worldbuilding. Anything Can Happen At Any Time isn’t a plot, it’s a 12-year-old’s power fantasy.
  • UTTERLY UNRELATED: I have said good things about Daniel Ford’s Jack Dixon detective series, which I’ve read the first book from and am eagerly anticipating the release of the second. I recently finished the first book of his epic fantasy Paladin Trilogy, which is already interesting just because who the hell writes both detective novels and epic fantasy? and is also interesting because, well, it was interesting. I liked ORDINATION a lot and you should check it out.
  • The Billie Eilish album is over so now I’m listening to Pearl Jam. The back half, specifically, because why not.
  • I miss Bill Withers.
  • I keep almost writing a post about Tara Reade. If you know who Tara Reade is, you can probably guess why I haven’t written the post yet, because it’s going to be a damned tricky thing to write one way or another.
  • I would like to remind everyone that I wanted to vote for a woman.
  • Indiana still doesn’t vote until fucking June, which is still two months away. So my opinion about Tara Reade, regardless of where I land on it, may not be relevant anyway.
  • As of right now, 5:41 PM on Monday April 6: 356,942 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 10,524 deaths.
  • AN HOUR AND TEN MINUTES LATER: I finished Gigaton and have been listening to Binaural. My god, what a fucking amazing album Binaural is. Also, an additional 257 people have been reported dead in America while I’ve been sitting here listening to music.
  • If you happen to have noticed the headline change, it’s because I popped over to Scalzi’s site and saw this, and feel like since I saw the article yesterday I accidentally stole the post title. So it’s different now.

Mark Oshiro reads The Benevolence Archives!

Through a series of shenanigans involving a mutual Patreon supporter (thank you, Hatstand4510!) Mark Oshiro of Mark Does Stuff has done a blind YouTube reading of the first two short stories in The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1. I was aware this was coming, and I was terrified to actually watch the video, but Mark is a really engaging reader and he is at least convincingly faking enjoying the story.

It’s really odd as an author to watch someone reacting to your work in real-time; people talk to me after they read things sometimes, and once in a while I see reviews, but this react-as-you-go approach to reading is really fascinating, and it was really cool to see some of my jokes and hints toward future stories hit the mark (no pun intended) as Mark was reading through them. The video is half an hour long, so it’s a bit of an investment, but we all have time on our hands now, right? Check it out, and follow Mark on YouTube and Patreon if you want to see more!

Monthly Reads: March 2020

Home isolation edition! Book of the Month: either THE CITY WE BECAME or TIAMAT’S WRATH. You pick.

Unread Shelf: March 31, 2020

Still out of control!

#52booksbywomenofcolor: March update

You may recall that I’m doing this little project where I want to read 52 books by women of color this year. I’m on track right now, as this is the last week of March and I’m just over 1/4 of the way to that magic number– technically, The Book of M is book 14 and I’m reading book 15 right now. That said, I haven’t mentioned all of these books on the site, so I thought I’d do a quick cover gallery for the first quarter of the year.

So. So far, 1/4 of the way through #52booksbywomenofcolor, I’ve read the following:

I’ve done official reviews of a few of them, but not all; let me know if there’s anything any of y’all are curious about.