Quick question

Has the number of white people losing their shit in public over trivial and sometimes imaginary violations of either their “rights” or the sort of behavior they expect from other people actually skyrocketed in the last six months, or is it just that, much like police brutality, it’s always been there and the difference is now as soon as someone starts showing their ass in public six people whip out cameras?

I’m not even necessarily talking about covid-related stuff. I’ve seen so many videos over the last couple of week of people just purple-faced and incoherent with rage over absolutely nothing that it’s genuinely shocking, and it’s not like I’m going to look for this kind of stuff. And there have been a number where it’s clearly crossed a line from misplaced rage and landed straight on mental illness. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s funny to watch somebody lose their damn mind at a cashier who clearly doesn’t give a shit because their burger had too many pickles on it or whatever but I’m starting to see a subgenre where by the time they’re done they’re not funny anymore and I just want someone to put the poor person in a place where they can get help.

Theories?

In which somehow that worked

Pictured: not my pile of branches. I didn’t get a picture for some reason.

I made a terrible mistake today and did some yard work on purpose. We have a large tree in the front yard whose branches hang too low, so that if you’re mowing or whatever they need to be moved out of the way to take care of the part of the yard under the tree. I was all ready to post something on Twitter or whatever commenting on how it had turned out to be one of those jobs that you dread for forever and then takes like fifteen minutes when you actually do it, and then I discovered my neighbor standing behind me. I had headphones in, so this isn’t terribly surprising, mind you.

At any rate, I then got to have a lovely conversation about how too much of my tree was overhanging her yard and also overhanging the roof of her house. Now, this tree is really tall— I’m terrible at estimating distances, but it’s easily over twice as tall as my house, so obviously doing something like cutting a straight line along the property line wasn’t going to happen. I pointed out that we were having some folks out sometime soon to cut down the locust tree in the back yard and that I’d ask if they could hack this one back a bit on the taller branches, and that I’d take care of the stuff I could reach today.

And then it occurred to me that somehow the following had happened: one of my neighbors came over, complained about the state of my yard, demanded that I fix the state of my yard, and that somehow I not only did it but I’m not even mad about it. Like, that’s got to be a tricky conversation to have with somebody, right? I can see that going poorly. Were the situations reversed I’d have just asked if she minded if I cut the damn branches myself to avoid the chance of a confrontation going south and ending up on YouTube or some shit.

The problem here is that I’d already cut enough branches to fill our two allocated yard waste bins, so now there’s a giant pile of branches in front of my house the size of a car that are just going to have to sit there until what’s in the bins now gets taken away, and then I can cut them apart and fill the bins again. And frankly it’s not impossible that the process will have to be repeated twice. In the meantime, I’ve been sweaty and tired all afternoon and a lot more achy than I intended to be, because using a pole saw for an hour is tiring.

Also, I made sure that not one single inch of that pile of branches is on her yard. I’m considerate like that.

In which this is never going to stop

Had a full-blown Teacher Anxiety Dream last night, where I was in my first Chicago classroom in my first post-certification job, and I decided midway through class that I needed to quit. Only somehow I was also still working in my current district, only at a different school, and I was very concerned that everyone understood that I was quitting only the Chicago job and not the Indiana job, because the Indiana job was better.

And then, because I was quitting, I had to talk to the assistant principal about it, only it was my current assistant principal, which in the weird awareness of dreams I knew wasn’t quite right but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t right. And she brought me downstairs, carrying the few possessions I’d decided I was taking with me, and then I realized that the building had been extensively renovated on the bottom floor, somehow looking like yet another middle school, one I’ve never actually worked in, but hugely ornate and gorgeous inside the rooms.

I’m pretty sure I actually woke up and fell asleep at least once during the dream, too, and went right back into it.

Stupid brain.

Wait, what?

So I’m watching a School Board meeting right now, as they’re talking about what the plan is for us to return to school– incidentally, the superintendent is clearly on his phone right now and doesn’t appear aware that his camera is still on, which is just wonderful— and they are talking about a hybrid model, where kids above 6th grade attend part of the week, based on their last names.

One thing I did see that was different was that they appear to have realized that many of our kids have siblings with different last names; the rule is that each family attends based on the last name of the oldest kid. Okay, cool.

But never once to my knowledge has anyone actually discussed what the kids who aren’t in school are supposed to be doing. So, if Billy is supposed to be physically in class on Monday and Tuesday, and everybody’s e-learning on Wednesday … is Billy doing anything on Thursday and Friday? And if so, who’s instructing him?

That’s kind of a big oversight, y’all. I’m starting to wonder if they’ve even realized it’s a problem.

Jesus, what a clusterfuck. Just keep them the fuck home.

Two book reviewlets

Two days ago I reviewed Rin Chupeco’s The Girl From the Well, a book that I enjoyed an awful goddamned lot, and I mentioned in the post that due to a screw-up where I ordered the sequel without realizing it was a sequel, I had it on hand already and would be going directly into it. Well, I burned through The Suffering almost as fast as I finished Well, and while I’m not quite jumping up and down and shouting read this read this read this the way was with the first one, it’s definitely still a good read. Call it four and a half stars to the first book’s five; the POV character moves from the ghost to the boy she is (newly) possessing, and the two of them have basically evolved into a sort of supernatural, psychic version of The Punisher, seeking out and messily taking apart murderers of the innocent. The majority of the book takes place in Aokigahara Woods, Japan’s “suicide forest,” and it absolutely continues the original book’s excellent level of creepiness, but I really loved the narration style that the ghost had in the first book and the tone shifts a little from supernatural vengeance ghost to something that, possibly not intentionally, scans a trifle more superhero-ey, and mostly because of those two things it’s not quite the triumph the first book was. Definitely read Well, and allow your reaction to that one to determine if you pick this one up. I suspect most folks will want to read both.


Jon Richter’s oddly-named Auxiliary: London 2039 is a book and not a bullet hell video game shooter from the late 1990s, and it’s another book that I was sent for free, on the condition that I review it for the site.

Let me boil this down for you in the quickest way I know how: are you interested in reading a book that features rape robots? If so, please continue. If not, read no further, and go nowhere near this book.

This was a four-star or so read until the last 25 pages or so, and I have never seen a book more effectively shoot itself in the dick before than this one does. I’ve got it at two stars on Goodreads right now, and I genuinely might bump it down to one. Because this book starts off interesting– a sort of Lock Inesque gritty detective story set in a near future that is probably a little bit too close to now to be realistic (hi, Skylights!) that is as much science fiction as it is a murder mystery. The book goes a little bit off the rails in chapter three, where the following events happen:

  • Our hard-boiled detective hero, Dremmler, creeps on a woman on the train. He is wearing smartglasses called Spex, which inform him of the woman’s name, her age, that she is bisexual, currently single, and that she has no criminal convictions. He “discerns”– the actual verb used– her “ample” breasts. He gets an erection. On the train. While sitting across from this woman.
  • He goes home, where he is greeted by his live-in maidbot, who is wearing a French maid’s outfit. She offers him a beer, which he accepts, offers to pour the beer, which he rudely declines, then offers him a blow job. He accepts that as well. So I guess she’s a fuckbot in addition to a maidbot.
  • That is the entire chapter. It is three pages long.

We know entirely too much about Dremmler’s erections throughout this book, and there is at least one place where another character decides to sleep with him for no reason at all that I can discern. But the mystery, which involves a pervasive, all-knowing AI and a prosthetic arm that murders someone independent of the desires of the person owning the arm, was interesting enough that I kept going. Then there’s a chapter where Dremmler has a nightmare that he is actually someone else who is actually basically roleplaying Dremmler in a simulation (shades of Ready Player One,) and that person actually uses the word “misogynist” to describe Dremmler before dying messily and, okay, I guess that was just a nightmare after all, and Dremmler is real? Sure, OK–

And then in the last 25 pages the Bad Guys literally use the impending gang-rape of Dremmler’s ex-wife, a woman responsible for the death of his child, by a bunch of misshapen sex bots (the first robot to do the raping has a “foot-long” penis and a hammerhead shark’s head) as a means of extracting information from Dremmler, and then there’s an enormous, AI drone-driven massacre of “thousands” of people, and then the book ends with either a cliffhanger or Dremmler’s actual death at the hands of the AI.

Spoiler alert, I guess.

I did not like this book; I was liking this book with some reservations (there’s something hinky going on with almost every female character in the book, a few too many of which are described as Asian in a way that feels weirdly fetishistic to me, and then there’s the erections) up until the rape bots, and if I hadn’t agreed to review this in return for the copy that would have been the end of it, the book nearly being finished be damned. I hate to say “this is not a good book and you should not read it” about something somebody sent me for free, but … this is not a good book, and you should not read it.