Saturday, October 30, 2010

Living in the Future

Me: (Snerk)

Kid: (Passing through the room): What?

Me: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.  Did you see today's?

Kid:  Ah.  No.  I'm doing an Archive trawl, so I won't be reading current comics for awhile.

Me: ---- ---- ----

Kid:  (Kindly) : Is it about engineers?  He doesn't like engineers much, does he.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amazing Essay

In reply to the horrifyingly depressing essay on the Apex blog the other day, here is Athena's essay, which I cannot even begin to encapsulate -- and so will not -- but I will say this:  it was worth being torqued over that "PC Parrots" crap, if it propelled Athena to write this.

One of my favorite bits, a teaser:

Our curiosity and inventiveness are endless and our enlarged frontal cortex allows dizzying permutations.  We shape the dark by dreaming it, in science as much as in art; at the same time, we constantly peer outside our portholes to see how close the constructs in our heads come to reflecting the real world.  Sometimes, our approximations are good enough to carry us along; sometimes, it becomes obvious we need to “dream other dreams, and better.”  In storytelling we imagine, remember, invent and reinvent, and each story is an echo-filled song faceted by the kaleidoscope of our context.  To confine ourselves to single notes is to condemn ourselves to prison, to sensory and mental deprivation.  Endless looping of a single tune is not pleasure but a recognized method of torture. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Um, nine times what now?

So as part of the great homeschooling, I am teaching the kid math.

Since she is better at math than I am, you can imagine.  But we are making progress, especially now that Heebie-Geebie and one of my homeschooling students have hooked me up with some books that actually make sense.  (Thanks, y'all!)

OTOH, as I discovered recently, the kid has not ever learned her times table.  Or "times facts" as they are apparently called now.  In fact, when I drew out a times table for her to fill in, she was mesmerized. 

"What is that?" she demanded.  

I showed her how it worked, filling in a few of the squares.

She yanked the table from under my hands.  "Look," she said, filling in more.  "Look!  It's all patterns!"

"Uh," I said.  "Yeah.  That's the cool part.  But--"

"Look!  Diagonals!"

She sees patterns in numbers where I see nothing at all.  "Okay, but--"

"And look what the nines do!"

"But you still have to memorize them!"

"Oh, Ma.  You're no fun."

Where's Fall?

It's almost November and we're still hitting the 80's or mid-seventies every day here.

I had to put on the AC this week.  

Come on, Winter.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Patriarchy? What Patriarchy?

Men are just better workers, that's all!

I occasionally talk about feminism in my classes; and generally my students (my male students nearly invariably, and nearly always also my female students) aren't interested.

Male students shut down, turn off, or respond with contempt. Female students will occasionally argue with me. "Of course women are equal, but someone has to be in charge, and God said it should be men, so--" "Well, maybe women just aren't interested in those jobs!" "Women don't either make less money than men!"

And hardly ever do they want to call themselves feminists. Feminists are evil.

Sometimes I will point out that they are only in that classroom at all because feminists put them there. That gets me blank stares. Whatever can I mean?

Even after I explain, they shrug it off. Well, that was years ago (yeah, right). Now they have equality. Why should they care about feminism now?

Why should they?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Martin!

Gack!  I forgot it was Martin Tuesday!

(Go here to start at the beginning.)

Parenting Nightmare

The kid keeps singing this song to me.

I may have to kill her.

Oh dear...

Christine O'Donnell is an easy target, I know.  But, really?

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."

"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fred at Slacktivist

Fred at Slacktivist is why I haven't quite given up on Christians yet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


What is with these short unbelievably dull posts lately?

I've been booked solid, that's what.

(1) Midterms.  Which I am almost on the other side of, but still.  Only one class, my English Grammar class, had an actual midterm, but the other three classes, two of them First Year Composition classes and the other, Fiction Workshop, both require heaps of time, especially Fiction Workshop.  I love Fiction Workshop.  I do keep giving them assignments, however, which means I have to read and comment on those assignments and get them back again, and eighteen students are in the workshop (For those of you who have not taught a fiction workshop, this is Too Many.  The class was capped at 15, and THAT was too many -- it ought to have been 12, probably -- and I foolishly let three extra into the class because I knew them and they were wonderfully talented students and oh well how much extra work could it be, HA!)

(2) Crossed Genres. We're doing a double issue this month.  Wonderful stories, so I'm deeply enjoying the editing work, but still it's a heavy load.

(3) Broken Slate.  Editing chapters as they come in.

(4) Writing/Revising In The North Country, the sequel to Broken Slate, to get it ready to send out to agents/publishers.

(5) Sending out short stories/writing short stories.

(6) The APA convention this past weekend.  Which I may blog about yet.  I gave a paper ("RaceFail, or Whose Future is this?: People of Color, Science Fiction, and Cultural Appropriation in the 21st Century") and coincidentally the keynote speaker gave a speech all about how English professors and English departments focusing on issues of race, class, and gender were PRECISELY what was destroy not JUST English departments but Western Civilization, nay, Civilization in toto!

I think he actually slid into Latin at several points, the better to make his point to the great unwashed among his audience.  (His pronunciation, I noted, was high church.)  He had a degree from Princeton.  He taught Chaucer and other medieval works, not (as he noted) comic books.  (Btw, I am teaching Chaucer in the spring, so I've got nothing against teaching Chaucer, per se.  In fact, during a recent faculty meeting at our university, I became quite violent in the defense of keeping both Chaucer and Shakespeare as required classes in our curriculum.)  

"The Lolitas," he said, "have become our focus these days, not Lolita."  This was after his remarks about how students these days are not as educated as "high school girls" were in the 1890s.  

Ah, dear. Ah, me.  

In any case, besides the fulminating I had to do to get over that brief episode, the APA took up a great deal of my time.

(7) The continuing home-schooling of the 12 year old.  Man, this is a ton of work.  Maybe we should send her to a boarding school after all.

(8) Kitten!  Why didn't y'all tell me a kitten was so much fun?  All this time I should be working, I'm lying on the floor playing with the kitten.  We play get the kleenex, we play chase the cork on the string, we play where's the catnip mouse, when I'm trying to grade midterms, we play sit on the test and look innocent.  I love the kitty!

(9) Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, putting books away, etc...oh, well, actually none of these get done.

(10) So that is why none to light blogging lately.  But possibly more soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

President Does Not Have Unlimited Right to Kill You

Um, Yay ACLU?

As with other Leftist around the 'sphere, I'll mention I'm glad that the ACLU is arguing this case, and at the same time I'll say that, wow: we're really arguing about this one?

Or I would say that, I guess, if I hadn't gone through the past decade, in which I got to watch my fine fellow citizens argue with apparent sincerity that torture was just nifty if we had a good reason to torture, or if we were torturing someone who wasn't an American citizen, or if it was battlefield torture, or if it wasn't "really" torture (I never did parse that one out); where I got told it was fine to attack a country that had not attacked us because "they did it first," or else because attacking the terrorist over there was better than them attacking us here, or because otherwise it showed we hated America; or where slaughtering thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East in order to show that we're tough on terrorism (or something -- if anyone can figure out what that fucking war was or is over, please, please, let me know) is a good and serious and necessary act by a righteous and virtuous and moral country, but building a civic center in NY City is wicked and evil, an act of depravity; or where trying to provide health care for your fellow citizens shows you're the anti-Christ, or maybe Hitler/Stalin in stealth-armor, but robbing senior citizens of their pennies via a gold-marketing scam, why, that makes you a fine upstanding Xtian!


Thursday, October 07, 2010

The New Anthology is Here!

Those of you who have been dying to see me in print, here's your chance!

Crossed Genres has announced the selections for the Year Two anthology, and my story, "Lunch Money," is one of the stories.  (Yay me!)  Other cool stories include fiction by Cat Rambo and Polenth Blake.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

New Issue

New stories up at Crossed Genres.

Go read!

Also: If you're a science writer?  See this!