Today kinda sucked

Trigger warning: suicide.

Spoiler alert: everybody is OK.

Note that, at least if you’re reading this on desktop, there’s a “pages” link underneath the like button at the bottom of the post. Or you can just click here, I guess.

#Review: DREADNOUGHT, by April Daniels

51CxH4-aSoL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI don’t remember buying this book.  I don’t remember where I first encountered it, either, but it must have impressed me, as I must have pre-ordered it immediately.  I got a notification from Amazon that it had been shipped and actually had to look it up to figure out what it was.  And then I read the blurb and I was like, oh, right, this is definitely something I want to read.

I can’t call this the first great book I’ve read in 2017– it’s the third, actually– but one of those three was a kids’ book and the other was the third book in a trilogy.  So is it okay if I call this the first new hotness of the year?  It’s my blog, so yeah, it is.

This is one of those books where the premise will let you know right away whether you should buy the book or not: Daniel Tozer is a fifteen-year-old boy who happens to be the closest person when the world’s greatest superhero is killed, and he inherits the powers of that superhero, Dreadnought, when he dies.

And the first thing Dreadnought’s new powers do is remake Daniel’s body into the perfect body Daniel has always wanted.  Which means that Daniel becomes Danielle, and wakes up with unimaginable power and a woman’s body.

So that’s the first three pages, and there we go from there.  The broader beats of the story are sorta predictable, and you can probably imagine several of the complications that work their way into the story– friends, parents, a superteam that may not be what Danny thinks they are, and another high school friend who turns out to be a hero too.  The worldbuilding is solid (this is the first book of a series, so there’s room for not everything to be explained) and the action is solidly written– as fascinating as the premise is, you absolutely have to be able to nail action sequences to properly write a superhero novel, and Daniels excels at it.

So, whoever it was that turned me on to this book (Charlie Jane Anders blurbs it, so maybe it was her?), thank you.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series, and you should go read Dreadnought right the hell now.

The holy water story, plus some other stuff

article-2185554-14656D19000005DC-909_306x423I have some really angry kids in my class this year.

That’s new.

I should explain.  I’ve had plenty of kids with anger management issues.  I’ve had plenty of kids who had explosive tempers.  That’s part and parcel of working in an urban middle school, and frankly is probably part and parcel of working with middle schoolers no matter where you find them.  But I’ve got a handful of girls in my afternoon class for whom pissed off at the world seems to be their only available emotional state.  They walk in angry and they somehow manage to stay angry for the entire time they’re in the room.  That’s the weird part.  Kids get angry all the time; they get angry at me all the time.  I’m used to that.  They don’t stay that way for long.  For a kid to keep up an angry mood for three successive class periods is exceptionally rare, and to do it for multiple days in a row practically unheard of.   Being mad is hard.  It takes work.  Most of them don’t have it in them.

And somehow in this group I have more than one of them.

I’m being weird today.  My son’s birthday was last Sunday, and today he got a gift card for Toys R’ Us in the mail from my aunt, so the three of us went to the comic shop (it’s Wednesday, after all) and to the toy store after I got home from work.  And the toy store managed to depress me.  I don’t even know why, but I’m still fighting it off.

I owe you two stories, I think.  The first one is the Holy Water story I teased the other day. One of my girls in my afternoon class– not one of the angry ones– came up to me on Monday and asked if she could go to her locker.  Later in the year this will be met with a near-automatic “no” except in case of emergencies, but they’re fifth graders and they’re not used to having to bring all of their stuff with them into classrooms so I’m being nice.  I do generally ask what they need, though.

“I need to put something in my locker,” she says.

Ah.  This is automatically lower-priority than needing to get something from a locker.  “What do you need to put in your locker?”

“My holy water.”


“You’re carrying holy water with you?”


Parts of my brain immediately start a cage match with other parts of my brain, doing their best to starve the entire thing of any residual oxygen.

“Why, my dear, do you have holy water with you in class?”  Because Holy shit this is actually a new one.

“It helps me concentrate.”

“And… you have decided that you don’t need to concentrate any longer?  We still have an entire class period left after we finish with math.”

“No.  I’m tired and I think I’m done concentrating for today.”

“I think your holy water needs to stay with you, then.  Perhaps it could use a recharge this Sunday; it appears to be losing some of its potency.”

“So I need to keep concentrating?”


She stands there and stares at me for a minute.

“Back to your seat, dear.”

She turns and leaves.

Today, as we’re working on two-digit multiplication, a concept they all appeared to have a decent grasp of until I began trying to teach it, one of my girls came up to me and demanded that I yell at her.

“Why do you need me to do that?”

“Because you yelled at me yesterday and I went back to my seat and did my work.”

I think about this.  I didn’t yell at anyone yesterday.  In fact, I’ve made a big deal with this class that I didn’t even need to raise my voice on Monday or Tuesday after a reasonably rough first couple of days.

“I don’t remember yelling at you yesterday.”

She thinks for a minute.  “That was my teacher last year.  Sorry.  Can you yell at me anyway?”

Brain, cage match, starving, etc.

“Honey, I don’t think–”

“I really think it’ll help.”

What in the blue sadomasochistic fuck is going on right now.

She finally got me to bark GET AWAY FROM ME RIGHT NOW at her, at which point she smiled, thanked me, and literally skipped off back to her seat.  I watched her for a moment and then looked over my shoulder, fully convinced that one of my bosses would have taken that moment to appear in my classroom for the first time all year.  No one was there.  The kids all looked shocked for a moment, then realized what was going on and went back to what they were doing.  They were so blasé about it, in fact, that I find myself suspecting that this was a regular move that this kid pulled last year.  Which… hell, I don’t even know what to do about that.

I’ll stop being tired all the time soon, right?  How the fuck is it 9 PM already?

On miracles and odd decisions

anigif_enhanced-13157-1412364097-6I walked into the building in less than a fully chipper mood this morning, said “good morning” to the first several students I saw anyway, and was rewarded with nothing but sullen stares for my trouble.  Well, fine, fuck ’em; I went into my office and started working on paperwork that had been building up over the last several weeks.

I apparently managed to create an aura of hatred and anger and evil so powerful that no one bothered me all day.  I spent from 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM in my office doing paperwork, completely clearing my desk of every single thing I had to do, and no one came in and asked me for anything all day.

I expect I will have to pay for that tomorrow, but hey, at least I’m not behind any longer.

In other news, I’ve decided I’m done with the Song of Ice and Fire books.  Oddly, it was the events on the show last night that made me decide I wasn’t reading any more of the books.  This makes sense, but requires a long explanation in order to make my reasoning clear, and I’m still angry enough about the show– a show I don’t watch, mind you— that I really am not interested in talking about it beyond the few short rants I’ve put on Twitter.  But yeah.  I’m done; those are out of my life now.

So that was my Monday.  How’re you?

Two things

First, this image, which is more of a Facebook post than a blog post, but I laughed like a hyena so you get to see it:


The British makes it funnier.

Second, that the largest of our local high schools had their Prom last night, and we had a group of about a dozen kids attending that prom show up to play miniature golf in all of their finery last night.  I am now old enough that kids dressed up for Prom generally all look like charmingly awkward dorks to me, which may sound like it’s an insult but really isn’t supposed to be.  Prom is going to be one of the first times you’ve ever worn clothes like that and kids that age aren’t really all that used to inhabiting their bodies in the first place so there’s just going to be a bit of a mismatch from most of them in the grace and poise department most of the time.  It’s not their fault.

That said, this particular group of kids looked good.  Startlingly so.  The girls in particular impressed me; my understanding is that the trend in prom dresses lately has been toward the…we’ll say minimalistic, but the six of them had all picked dresses that were dresses and not excuses to show off a bunch of skin.  Several of the guys had white tuxes on, and– particularly when paired with the right color vest (I always preferred vests to cummerbunds)– white can be really striking.

At any rate, I’d just commented to my co-worker about how the kids looked quite a bit classier than several of the Prom groups we’d had in the past when I happened to look up and see one of the girls cup both hands under her breasts and jump, adjusting her dress in some not-entirely-clear and probably none of my business fashion while in midair.

And in spike heels, which made the whole thing quite a bit more impressive.

So yeah.  Still teenagers.