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.
  • 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 I was planning on spending the summer at least casually looking around; that plan is no longer in effect.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.

In which I left the house!

… I didn’t go far, mind you. I literally went out the front door to go get the mail and then sat on the porch and read for a while because somehow all the snow that was out there the last time I looked outside was gone and it was like 62 degrees. But I literally don’t think I’d been outside for any longer than it took to snatch a package off my front porch in … well, many days. I don’t know how many days. I only barely know what day it is right now.

(That’s not true. It’s Wednesday, and I just recorded tomorrow’s instructional video and got tomorrow’s e-learning assignment ready, completing them early for the first time since we’ve been in this whole mess. I know what day it is, I just can’t relate that to anything else I’ve done on any other days.)

Also, WordPress appears to have “updated” again, which right now means that the image looks like it’s broken and is pushing up against the words up there. If that’s what’s going on once this posts it’s not my fault. The whole time I’ve been with WordPress every time they try to “improve” something it starts with breaking what they have, so here we go on a new cycle, I guess.


I did a thing earlier today that I really don’t like to do, which is bail on a book by an author, not only whose work I generally really like, but who has achieved a level of acclaim and accolades for his work that I can say with no fear of condemnation or argument that I will never, ever achieve.

(No, this isn’t me being down on myself. Dude has been knighted. I may have many accomplishments left in the time that is left to me, but I will never be a knight.)

Anyway, this particular example of his work wasn’t going to be something that was going to work right now for several reasons:

  1. It foregrounded several aspects of his writing that I have never been terribly fond of, while ignoring and/or leaving out the themes that I really like about his work;
  2. It turns out that the shitgibbon is not only the inspiration for a major character, but will be at least indirectly playing a more direct role in the final third of the book, and, uh, no thank you; that motherfucker does not get to show up in my fiction that I read when I’m trying to escape from the hellscape he has transformed the actual world into;
  3. I am trying very hard to clear up a huge backlog while I’m home as much as I am, and that’s going to leave me less patient than I might be otherwise for things about a book that are annoying me.

Why am I being coy about the author? Because the last time I wrote a bad review about a book by an author I liked the post got way more popular than I wanted it to– more popular than any of the good pieces I’d written about that person’s work, and, well, my Goodreads is right there, and I am not about to have a post that becomes the This Is The One Where Luther Siler, Utterly Unknown Person, Shits on Famous Author XXX XXX again.

So, yeah, if you’re super curious, click the link, and look for recent books by people who can legally call themselves Sir, and … it won’t be hard to find.

In which I forgot to post yesterday

Literally just forgot. Like it never even occurred to me. How the hell does that even happen?

(I know exactly how; the answer is “my entire routine is screwed to hell, along with everyone else’s,” but still.)

Anyway, I’m only posting right now to briefly vaguebook for a moment, since it popped into my head to do so: sometimes, you avoid having a conversation with someone for a while because you think it’s going to be obnoxious and lead to drama, and then when you finally say “fuck it” and have the conversation, the person on the other end of the line literally just goes “Oh! Okay, that’s fine,” and then it’s over, and the voicemails are going to actually stop, even though you didn’t think that was actually on the list of ways the situation might go.

I know. It’s 2020; things aren’t supposed to go right any longer. I’m sure this will find a way to end up pear-shaped sooner or later, but right now it feels like something might have actually been taken off my plate. Crazy!

still here

The antibiotics are … helping? I think? But I’m not sure? And I’ve mostly been playing Nioh 2 and occasionally emailing students and trying to sleep a lot. If I were to write a real post right now it would just be 700 words calling on Bernie Sanders to drop out, or maybe something about how I can’t seem to keep myself from checking in on this website a dozen times a day to watch the world end, so you aren’t missing much.

In which I’m getting paranoid

Spent the day at home with the boy, who hasn’t been at school for the last couple of days. Most of the time when he’s sick my wife is able to work from home, but she wasn’t today on account of various Meetings What Could Not Be Emails. I am mostly feeling better; my voice has more or less recovered, although I do have an annoying throat cough still lingering.

I’ve spent most of the day in a state of vague horror at the world, honestly, both as various places and institutions either do or don’t react to the continuing spread of the coronavirus. It’s an open question as to how my district is going to react to it; attendance has been shitty for several weeks now and I suspect it’s only going to get worse, and I’m absolutely certain that there are already students in our buildings who are carriers; if there aren’t, there will be by the end of the week. Meanwhile, you may be aware there’s another batch of primaries tonight; I’m sure that won’t cause any particular stress.

I dunno. Despite everything I’ve always been a person who more or less feels like most people are basically competent and trying their best, and that brings with it a certain amount of trust in institutions, something that really should have been bred out of me by now. And what frustrates me about this is that no one anywhere, from national governments on down, who has any sort of a plan for how to deal with this shit before it gets much, much worse. Like, I’m hearing about schools that have confirmed cases shutting down for two weeks. Well, okay. What happens when in two weeks the epidemic isn’t over and you have another student test positive? Do we shut down for another two weeks at that point? How many times do we do this?

Anyone? Bueller?


On the I Know Nothing About Politics front, I suspect Sanders is going to be in an awful lot of trouble after tonight’s primaries are tallied, but I got this wrong last time too, so we’ll see what happens. Lord knows the fucker won’t be dropping out anytime soon one way or another.