In which this is stupid and that is stupid and everything is stupid set it all on fire

An overstatement? Maybe. But probably not.

Today has been ridiculous; every time I’ve turned around all day it has been suddenly hours later than I thought it was. This odd temporal phenomenon started when my wife and I both woke up at the exact same second at 8:30 this morning, I said good morning to her, mumbled something about both of us waking up and reaching for our phones at the exact same moment, and then four seconds later it was 10:30 and I was still in bed. Then she went to the grocery, which she does every Saturday, and during that time I clean up the kitchen and do various and sundry things around the house, only today somehow that took an hour longer than usual, and by the time she got home it was somehow past 1:00.

Then it was 4:30.

Nothing happened in between. I mean, she took a shower, but I don’t think that shower took three and a half hours, and I spent some amount of time X bouncing back and forth between trying to figure out why several of the streaming apps on my office TV suddenly wouldn’t work (never try to solve TV tech support issues online; Googling these things properly is impossible) and then, moments later (or maybe it was an hour, who knows) realizing that I’d somehow uploaded the wrong video to YouTube for today, only the video that actually got uploaded shouldn’t have existed in the first place, and that’ll take longer to explain than it’s probably worth, just trust me that the video that got uploaded shouldn’t have been real and roll with it.

Anyway, I fixed the YouTube thing (follow me on YouTube!) but the TV thing still eludes me; the error message has changed since earlier today, so I’m currently suspecting something on LG’s end, but we’ll see.

Tomorrow I am making this:

I discovered this delightful man’s TikTok account this weekend, and he is my new favorite person– do not miss the fact that he wears an actual fucking wrist-mounted bandolier of hot sauces– and I not only want to make his food, I want him to be my dad. Now, understand something; my actual dad reads my blog, so he’s going to see that sentence. He’s also going to be here tomorrow to eat the chicken and dumplings, and I think once he watches a few of Pepper Belly Pete’s videos he will not only agree that Pepper Belly Pete should be my dad, he should also be my dad’s dad, and therefore also my grandfather. He’s just that delightful.

I look forward to discovering he’s a milkshake duck in a couple of days, now that I’ve pronounced my affection for him, but the time in between now and then will be full of good food.

On my ten-year Dadiversary

I don’t have specific memories of many of my birthdays, at least not without sitting down and thinking hard about it. My 21st, which probably wasn’t as exciting as you think it was. My 22nd, which happened while I was in Israel. My 16th, where my family managed to arrange a surprise pool party for me. And my 10th, where I remember being very unhappy for at least part of it, and very upset that whatever was upsetting me had dared to intrude on my “double digit day.”

Do I remember what I was upset about? Not a bit. I don’t have even the vaguest idea, and I’ve been kind of racking my brain about it for the last few days. It could have been my fault; perhaps I was being a shithead that day, and pissed my parents off. Something may have had to be cancelled, or maybe I didn’t get something I really wanted. No idea at all. And I’m pretty sure my Dad will see this, and I’ll be surprised if he remembers either– if he does, I’ll let y’all know. I just remember being upset.

My son turns 10 tomorrow. The three of us went out and went shopping today and blew all of his birthday money– close to a couple hundred dollars, when you roll in everybody who sent him something– and we came home with a pretty respectable haul, for a 10-year-old: a couple of Lego sets, a couple of Switch games, five or six books (he is my kid, after all) and a ridiculous new Nerf gun with a bloody ammo drum attached to it that I’m terrified he’s going to turn on me the next time I walk into the same room with him. Plus $25 in Roblox money that he can spend on nonsense digital stuff. Surprisingly, he did not want to go to the comic shop and buy a bunch of blind boxes.

Weird, to think we’ve been parents for ten years. Weirder, to think that his last couple of birthdays have been fucked up by Covid. He wanted to have a birthday party at a local trampoline park this year; we had to tell him no. He didn’t even ask last year. I think we’ll try and get some of his friends over next weekend to frolic in the pool for a few hours, though, if the weather cooperates.

I don’t know that I have any more complicated observations than that; I think so far his 10th birthday is going better than mine did, even if I don’t remember why, and I’m feeling a deep melancholy at the idea that my little boy is growing up.

(And just to keep this post from being completely sappy, in the process of getting his gift card transferred to his Roblox account, I discovered that the young master appears to have figured out how to delete his YouTube history. I will wait until after his birthday to perform the necessary interrogations about that, however.)

EDITED TO ADD: My father suspects that the USS FLAGG, or rather my lack of same, may have been the culprit. I looked and discovered that yes, in fact, the Flagg was available in 1985-86, which means it was out there for buying on my 10th birthday. I can only say that as the goddamned thing was seven and a half feet long and something north of $200 in 2020-equivalent funds, I’d have let my kid sit on the couch and cry too. That said, if anyone wants to buy me one to make up for my childhood trauma, I am an adult now who lives in a house, and I will make room for the motherfucker.

Holy shit it’s 8 PM

We ended up holding the 8th grade recognition indoors, avoiding any need to worry about the weather, which made my day easier (and dryer) than it was originally supposed to be, and I’ve kind of been wandering around in a daze for the rest of the day, trying to convince myself that it’s Wednesday and despite feeling like my school year is over– because it is— I still have to go to work for the next few days. Like, tomorrow I have to go to work. It’s not Friday.

And somehow the evening has completely gotten away from me, and it’s 8:00 already, and … like, I had stuff I wanted to do tonight, damn it. I demand at least two of those hours back.

Yeah… uh… never mind.

First things first– I’m trying to post this via email. Any wonkiness in the formatting is therefore because of that, and I’ll try and fix it later today.

I have decided, regretfully, that I don’t have time for Pitch Wars this year. Not to enter, mind you– the manuscript I was going to use is done, although having looked at it recently it does still need some work. The query letter wasn’t going to be a huge deal to write. This actually just really hit me last night as I was fiddling with the query: I don’t have time to win.

Leaving my job aside, I have no less than three books (yes, three– mwahahaha) on my plate right now. One needs to be beaten into releasable shape within a month. One is half-finished and currently languishing, and if I don’t find the time to get back to it with a quickness it’s going to die on the vine and that would be very, very bad. One is a Big Sekrit and I don’t wanna talk about it right now.

I don’t have the damn time to add a fourth. If I were to write a wonderful query letter (and mine was basically fully-formed in my head, needing only to be put onto pixels, which would have taken about an hour and which I absolutely have time to get done today) and it would win, that would mean I’d either have to put everything else aside to work on CLICK between now and the agent round, which is in… November?… or I’d have to find a way to work on four different damn book projects, plus care and feeding of the blog, plus my job, plus my wife and son.

Naaa gaaa dooo it.

So. As much as I like the idea of Pitch Wars, and as much as I’ve enjoyed poking fun at the other authors and the mentors and interacting with people about it over the last month or so… it ain’t gonna happen this year.


On doing the math

math-imageJust before going to sleep last night (and yes, we made it past midnight thanks to a three-episode binge of Orange is the New Black, which we’ve just discovered) my wife and I had a brief conversation about whether our parents/other people older than us had the weird feeling of Perpetually Living in the Future that we’ve had for the last fifteen years, except in the 1980s and 1990s.  While I haven’t actually asked anyone (because that would spoil my fun) I have to imagine that the answer’s yes, but that post-2000 This Is The Future Syndrome has got to be a lot worse.  With the obvious exception of 1984 aside, most speculative fiction, even from early in the 20th century, still used years beginning with a 2 as an indicator of The Future.  I’m sure there are more books and stories set in the near future from the perspective of the early-to-mid twentieth century, but there’s a lot more stuff set in the 2000s and beyond.

The other weird thing that living in The Future has done to me– and I really hope that I’m not the only one here, but who knows– is that it’s perpetually screwed up my perspective of how long ago anything happened.  If something happened in this century, I’m fine.  2005 was eight/nine years ago, right?  Got it, no problem.  But I still, fourteen years into the 21st century, am doing “subtract from 2000” whenever I have to quickly determine how long ago any event that happened in the 20th century was.  I referred to 1992 as “ten years ago” last week.  I just realized this morning that the hundredth anniversary of World War I was coming up in July.  I perpetually refer to WWI as “eighty or ninety years ago” (for some reason, saying “85” is too precise, but still wrong) during the rare occasions when I speak of it to my students.  The 1960s?  Forty years ago.  The fifties?  Fifty years ago.

It’s been the 21st century now for a bit.  I probably ought to stop this.

Also, judging from the math I’ve done during this post and corrected, I appear to be skipping 2014 altogether and going straight to 2015.  Sooner or later I’ll need to start rounding to 2020.  That’s fucked.  I can’t be alive in 2020.  That’s the goddamn future.  It can’t be the present; it breaks all of my stories.