In which I stay in my square

Be it known that I managed to accomplish nearly all of the tasks on my list yesterday– and the one that I didn’t get to, the beta read, is being worked on right now. Amazingly, this means that I not only posted to Patreon for the first time in a while but that I wrote fiction. I actually have some decent ideas rattling around right now, and I just need the wherewithal to actually get them set to screen.

I made it official today that I plan on returning to my current job and my current building next year, meaning that for the first time in a while I will hold the same teaching position for two years in succession. For most of the year I was planning on taking at least some time to look around for a new job this summer in a sort of relaxed, no-big-deal, no-panic sort of way, but at this point everything else in the world is so screwed up that I’m going to be happy to have something secure and not fuck around with it. It’s always possible that something is going to magically drop into my lap, but that’s going to be what it takes for me to not be back teaching 8th grade math again next year.

Speaking of teaching, I’m experimenting with office hours again, where I basically post a link to a Meet video chat on my Google Classroom and then sit in front of the computer for an hour to see if anyone comes to talk to me. So far in about three hours of sessions I’ve had one kid that popped in for maybe two minutes and two kids who were in the room just long enough for me to get the notification and then bailed. So … fuck it, I’m trying, right? We’ll see if today’s afternoon session goes any better; if nothing else, it’s forcing me to be in front of the computer, which means that I’m mostly listening to music, reading comic books, and getting work done. There are worse ways to spend my afternoons.

Is it a bad idea to admit that the election results in Wisconsin yesterday give me a little bit of hope for this fall? It’s a bad idea, isn’t it? I won’t say it.


2:11 PM, Tuesday April 14th: 584,073 confirmed cases and 24,485 Americans dead.

Y’all cain’t kill me, Chapter 16

How many years have I taught for again? Is this sixteen? Seventeen? I think it’s sixteen. At any rate: I have certainly had harder Last Days Before Winter Break, and I survived this one without any real stress or even any particular stories to tell.(*) My main problem at the moment is that I keep forgetting that, yes, I do have to go to work tomorrow for the teacher record day even if my grades are all already finished. I’ve got some stuff to finalize, some redecorating to do, and a classroom to rearrange as I’ve grown tired of my current layout. That should keep me busy through the district-mandated half day; I was already planning on leaving early as I currently work in a building whose principal isn’t going to be watching us, but they’ve officially announced that anyone who showed up for Parent-Teacher conferences can go home at lunchtime if we want.

And I do, and I will.

I have, as per usual, all sorts of plans for shit I want to accomplish over the next two weeks; we will see if I get around to any of it, and whether I’m much inclined to care about what I didn’t get around to at the end of the break. I’d like to get at least a little fiction written; I’ve been off of that particular horse for far too long and I need to either start writing again or start removing any references to being an author around here. It’s time, damn it.

Then again, maybe I’ll spend a week playing video games and sleep for an entire day at some point. That wouldn’t be bad either! Not bad at all.

(*) This is not quite true, as I distinctly remember at least one conversation with a student that led to me thinking remember this and blog about it later and as I sit here I swear to you that I can’t even remember the gender of the student I was talking to much less any actual content of the conversation. Perhaps it’ll come to me tomorrow, who knows.

PS: I am as startled as you are that I appear to have nothing to say about the impeachment of the piece of shit in the White House. It may be that I will have something to say about it soon, or this may fall into the same hole that the piece about Kamala Harris dropping out of the Presidential race fell into. We’ll see.

And the livin’ is easy

So today’s my first real day of summer vacation, or at least I’m counting it as such– I suppose I could have counted Friday but I had all kinds of shit to do and the boy started his summer camp today so let’s say it was today.

I am, therefore, at the same place I’m always at whenever summertime starts: looking at something like seven or eight weeks off before school starts to ramp up again and pretending that I’m gonna be super efficient with all that extra time and Make My Summer Count.

Let’s take a moment and just contemplate the pure American-ness of being given time off and immediately feeling guilt that I, in the future, won’t spend it working hard enough, and mourn our deeply stupid culture.

But anyway. This is the first summer in a very long time that I haven’t actually had a job. Since the summer The Sanctum of the Sphere was written, I think, and technically I did have a part-time job that summer so this may be the first genuinely job-free summer since early in high school.

So, therefore, knowing that my one real responsibility all summer long during the weekdays will be to get the boy to his summer camp and pick him up a few hours later, I would like to do each or at least most of the following things every day until school starts again, excepting weekends and major holidays:

  • Eat something vaguely resembling breakfast;
  • Write a blog post;
  • Write a minimum of 500 words fiction and preferably 1500;
  • Be showered and dressed by 10 AM, if not before I take the boy to camp;
  • Once a week, at least, put something on Patreon, preferably a microfiction or excerpt from item #3 up there;
  • Play video games (yes, I have to schedule this);
  • Clean and/or organize and/or maintain something;
  • Move around a bit somehow so I don’t gain 300 pounds in the next two months;
  • Spend an hour reading, and time before bed doesn’t count.

So far today I have done all but three of those things, and I’m betting you can guess which three if you’ve been around here for more than a couple of weeks.

I want a new book ready by Kokomo-Con X in October. And unlike my last several I want to launch this one right. That’s only gonna work if I get to work now.

Anybody wanna take bets? Let’s take bets.

On ConGlomeration

So it occurred to me that I never really talked about ConGlomeration. Cool thing, first: I am right now listening to an MP3 of my first panel, which was on writing dialogue. I have recordings of two of the four panels, both of which will be posted to Patreon as soon as I have listened to them and made sure everything sounds good and that I’ve edited out the one place where I randomly blurted out what school I work at to someone. There aren’t a huge number of people in the crowd, but it’s still a fun talk.

Three of the four panels went really well; the fourth didn’t precisely go badly, but I quickly found myself not feeling like I belonged at the table. I really liked the people I was neighbors with in the vendor room. For the most part the folks who were there as con-goers were nice people. I sold … decently? I’ve had better shows, but I’ve had some that went way worse.

A couple of minor announcements: there will be second editions of both Skylights and The Sanctum of the Sphere coming, once I’ve sold out of my current physical stock of both of those books. Skylights is going to be slightly updated (no story changes) to eliminate references to the year it takes place in, and Sanctum is going to be released as a standalone single volume without The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 in it. I’m hoping this happens by the end of the year, but again, it’s depending on selling out or getting close to selling out the books I have which may take a while.

But, man, y’all … Kentucky.

I opted out of one of my panels because one of the people I was supposed to be sitting with is well-known in the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies movement. If you don’t know what that is, don’t look it up, just trust me that it was not a good idea for me to be on a stage with this guy.

(Man, I really talk too much on this first panel. Granted, there’s only two of us, but I didn’t realize I was talking as much as I do. Geez.)

Anyway. The thing about being in an area that is much much much more conservative than what you’re used to is the weird phenomenon where motherfuckers will say absolutely anything to you if you’re a white guy and assume you’re just going to agree with it. And … fuck, did I spend a lot of time not starting, or at least not continuing, shit with people. Like the guy who had three different wildly offensive Second Amendment/ MAGA/ anti-Obama shirts, one for each day of the show, and kept insisting on parking himself right in front of me at my panels. Or the three or four people who randomly brought up wanting to shoot people if they find themselves in certain neighborhoods. And … shit. It just got to be too fuckin’ much sometimes, y’know?

(Meanwhile, the other half of the crowd is the LGBTQIA+ hyper-liberal types who I’m much more comfortable and friendly with, and those folks were all cool.)

So, yeah. I was having fun, for the most part, interspersed with these occasional weird moments where I’m either just cringing or trying to keep myself from losing my shit at somebody. So … is that a decent show? Sure, why not, right?


Still haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, as family medical drama continues. So I’m still spoiler-dodging and mostly avoiding the internet. I’m hoping to rectify the problem by this weekend. Just FYI.

IT BEGINS

I got home from work at about 2:30 after a nearly three-hour “lunch meeting” on the last day before Winter Break officially kicked in, and I’ve spent most of the time since then in my recliner with a book in my hand. (Which has finally gotten interesting; I was on the verge of abandoning a Tana French novel, the very concept of which hurts my heart.)

I am trying to decide if I want this to be a Winter Break of Great Accomplishment or a Winter Break of I Sat Around And Read Books And Played Video Games. Right now it could go either way. And both would be a perfectly valid way to spend the next two weeks.

Also, I keep looking at that picture of myself I posted yesterday and reflecting on how much I’ve fallen apart physically since 2004. I need to get out of this mood or I’ll end up making New Year’s Resolutions, and those are always to be avoided by sensible people.