In which I am fat and grouchy

Just got back from a performance at my kid’s school, made up entirely of fifth and sixth graders, that the drama teacher decided to call a “cabaret,” which put me not so much in mind of things starring fifth and sixth graders. There were puppet shows and speeches and some sort of weirdly avant-garde and possibly partially improvised performance that really had me wondering if I should be snapping my fingers rather than clapping at the end of each part of it.

Meanwhile, my ass still hurts from the chair. I have a fairly ample ass. No chair should be able to do this to me, but at one point during the performance I’m pretty sure I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had my arm around my wife, because they pack those damn chairs so close together that I didn’t have room for my shoulders otherwise, and that was falling asleep too, and … it wasn’t pleasant.

My kid’s puppet show about Icarus and Daedalus was pretty okay, though, especially when they managed to work the “Father, Help” meme into it. Raised that boy right, I have.

CPAP update: I continue to be unable to use the nasal pillows, and my “events” have stabilized around six an hour; still more than they want (the target is less than five) but way less than eighty. I must admit after three days of waking up feeling reasonably energetic (still nothing earthshaking, mind you, but three good night’s sleeps) I was dying on the drive in to work today. I have today and tomorrow and then I have a couple of weeks where I can sleep in. Everything will be fine. I can do this.

In which my timing is poor

I discovered two things on Friday: one, that not only had my job already been posted, but that my district had actually managed to announce my resignation before I got around to telling anyone about it. The school board has to approve all hires, which makes sense, but they also have to approve resignations and terminations, which makes a little less sense, and it turns out that the agenda for the next meeting got posted on Friday, and … oops. I got a couple of “What the hell is this?” type of emails and had to hurriedly compose a group email to everyone who I might have told in person. I didn’t tell the whole staff, just the teams I work with, but schools being what they are I’m sure everyone in the building knows by now. I have to tell the kids on Monday, and I’m not looking forward to that at all. The next few days are going to suck pretty much no matter what I do.

The second thing? I’ve talked about what a nightmare class coverage has been around here, and I believe I’ve discussed the fact that I ended up picking up two extra sections of math classes, meaning that I am responsible for roughly 2/3 more students than I am supposed to be. Now, I’m getting paid for both the class coverage and the extra math classes, mind you. I have receipts and everything because I made absolutely sure to get shit in writing before I agreed to do it.

And, well, I took a few spare minutes of my time and added up exactly how much class coverage I’ve done since school started.

With two days of school left before I leave forever, I am owed five thousand six hundred and seventy dollars for all the class coverage I’ve been doing. And I get paid on the 20th, and I should have at least one more paycheck after that if not two, but I can smell fuckery afoot, and I decided to get ahead of the issue by emailing my boss and asking her to confirm for me that that money would be on my last couple of paychecks, because I hope no one is foolish enough to think I’m just going to leave five and a half grand on the table. You owe me a hundred bucks? I might not make a stink. $5600 is more than I currently make in a month, and I will be getting my money.

Come to think of it, I need to check and find out how my summer money works too. I don’t remember what happened the last time I quit these guys back in 2016, but they ought to owe me another couple grand for the funds they usually hold back for summertime too.

Also, it’s been definitively established that I can’t start at the other place until November 10th, so I’m going to have a nice little between-jobs vacation. I should come up with a project. Other than yelling FUCK YOU PAY ME at HR flacks, mind you.


The_Girl_with_All_the_Gifts.jpgThis has been, in general, a pretty goddamn good year for reading.  I’ve been trying to aggressively diversify the authors I’m reading; my goal is that at the end of the year 75% of my books will have been by women and/or people of color, and so far just under half of the books I’ve read this year have been by authors that I’d not previously read anything by.  So I’ve been doing a lot of “Let’s read this person’s best book!” so far this year, which leads to a lot of good books.

What I haven’t really had is a book that’s fucking blown me away to the point where I was recommending it to everyone I know.  That only happens a few times a year, obviously.  Well, I’ve got my first one for 2016, and it’s M.R. Carey’s THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

Carey isn’t quite a new author to me, as he’s got a long and storied history as a writer of comic books, but this is the first of his novels that I’ve read.  And, to be honest, this is where reviewing it gets difficult, as it’s the type of book that I feel like you want to go into knowing as little as humanly possible about beforehand.  There’s a movie coming; I happened to chance upon the trailer, which caught my interest immediately, and then saw two or three positive references to the book in the same day and ordered it immediately.  I cannot wait to see this story on the big screen.  Hunt down the trailer if you want to, but I’d prefer you just take my word on it and go in blind.

What can I tell you?  Well, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS takes what has, lately, become somewhat of a worn-out genre and immediately makes it fresh again by putting a twist on it that as far as I can tell I haven’t seen anywhere at all.  And the twist makes the setting horrific as hell; the book got under my skin immediately and stayed there, and I read the whole 400+ page novel in two or three big gulps, staying up later than I wanted to on more than one occasion because I couldn’t put it down.  The book is fast-paced and action-packed, and once it gets its setting in place it doesn’t slow down for a second until the ending, which is as bleak and haunting and exactly what it needed to be as anything I’ve read in years.  This is the type of book that could easily have been ruined by the wrong ending, so it’s good Carey found the right one.

So, yeah.  I’m not going to tell you too much about this book, or why you should read it, other than it’s awesome and horrifying and you should take my damn word on it.

But you should.  Because I say so.   And it’ll be worth the surprises.  Don’t even read the blurb on the back.  Just go buy this and read it right now.  It’s the best damn book I’ve read this year.  Trust me.

Maybe think twice before you do that

baddecisions_10d830_3567715So, this is interesting.  I’m fairly certain that the campaign manager of the candidate for City Clerk whose mailing I criticized the other day has made an incredibly ill-advised attempt to start shit with me on Facebook.  At the moment it’s just a couple of posts, to which I have responded in what I’ve come to think of as my I’m Being Gentle Right Now but It Won’t Last Much Longer tone.  The follow-up to IBGRNbIWLML is I Have Fourteen Thousand Followers Between My Blog and Twitter; Do You Want the Internet Dropped On Your Head Two Days Before the Election?

That one may need a snappier name.

At any rate, I’m hoping that the silly people recognize that antagonizing voters before a low-turnout primary election is a real bad idea and back off.  We’ll see.

Stuff what I wanna do today: I have tickets to Age of Ultron at 3:00, and the wife and I plan to have dinner together somewhere civilized afterward; there is a final wrap-up A to Z post to write, and I’d like to spend some time planning out what’s next in what I’m pretending is my writing career.

Speaking of that:  my story for the Swords v. Cthulhu anthology made it to the final round but was rejected.  It is, at the moment, directly Cthulhu-linked.  In other words, it directly references Shub-Niggurath, as you might expect from a story entitled Warrior Jayashree and the Young.  It’ll therefore need a touch of rewriting before I can submit it to other markets.

Or I could just post it here.  I haven’t posted any short fiction in a while. What say you?

In which DO NOT WANT

drama_masks_lToday was exhausting.  We had a snow day yesterday for what turned out to be damn near no reason at all, and I kinda needed yesterday, as this is one of my Busy Weeks, so today was even more nuts than usual, especially since the AP began my day by handing me a stack of referrals from the last hour of Wednesday and asking me to deal with them.

For reasons that I can’t get into, I had to call a couple of seventh grade girls out of class and into my office toward the end of the day today.  I picked them from a list of kids I could have chosen because I know both of them fairly well, relatively speaking, and because as near as I’ve been able to tell they’re both relatively smart and honest kids.  They both happened to be in the same class and so came down together.

They walk into my office and one of them asks if they can shut the door.  “I don’t want to talk about this with the door open,” she says.

I raise an eyebrow.  There is literally no way that she can have any idea what I want to talk to them about.  It’s flatly impossible.

“You two are in so much trouble,” I say.  I am doing this to fuck with them.  They’re not in the tiniest shred of trouble, but I know they’re both good kids and they’re going to temporarily freak out if I tell them I’m mad at them.

And they don’t react.


“So, uh, why do you think I called you down here?”

“The Ellie Mae thing,” one of them says.  Now, I don’t know who Ellie Mae is, and that’s not her name, but it’s close enough in a way that entertains me.

I look at the other one.  “You’re both involved in this, right?”  She nods.

Note that I didn’t even know they were friends.  This is hilarious.

“Tell me your side of the story,” I say.

Two minutes later, having been led through a dizzying shitstorm of names and social media accounts and a web of cousins and aunts and uncles so thick that I halfway want to start drawing a map, I halt the conversation and tell them why they’re actually down in my office.  “We will deal with this other thing afterwards,” I say, parts of my brain screaming at other parts of my brain to run.  Because this has every sign of a Sally told Sherry that Susie told Sammie that Sharon saw Shayna say to Shalynn that Sally’s sister’s boyfriend’s third cousin was a slut, and I want nothing to do with it.

But, because I am a rockstar, I sort everything out and issue instructions for what is to be done on Monday. Only problem is that what was supposed to be a five-minute conversation ended up taking 25.

But I love it when they accidentally rat themselves out like this.