Saturday, April 29, 2023

Spring in Arkansas

We're having a cool, wet spring so far. The trees are thick with bright green leaves, and the grass is filled with wild flowers. I moved here during a ten-year drought, so I'm still impressed by how beautiful this place is when it gets enough rain.

Highs in the low 70s for the next ten days. It's bliss.

Also, I see the rabbits almost every day, so the fox hasn't gotten them yet. (My yard is a wildlife drama.)

ETA: I tried to get a picture of the rabbits, but they ran away, so I took a picture of the trees instead. Look how green!

Thursday, April 27, 2023


Before I noticed that one of my posts (blogger does not say which one) is too shocking for normal people, I was going to do a post called something like "Checking on the Right," but honestly, it's just too sad what's happening to that fragment of America which used to be called conservative.

They aren't conservative anymore. Now they're reactionary bigots, heading full steam ahead for fascism. The entire purpose of the party, at present, seems to be stifling -- and by stifling I mean attempting to make illegal -- any sort of behavior that doesn't fit into their rigidly narrow worldview.

So: the COVID-19 pandemic never happened, and vaccines are not necessary. In fact, COVID-19 vaccines probably caused all those millions of deaths.

So: parents of trans kids should have those kids taken from them, to be raised in good Christian foster homes.

So: trans kids AND trans adults should be banned from access transition-related medical care. And bathrooms.

So: all children should be kept from reading books about anything but white straight conservative Americans, and if libraries persist in having any other sort of books on their shelves, those libraries should be closed.

So: dolls, Santa, television shows, any sort of culture should only feature straight white "normal" people (Steve Crowder, that famed pro-lifer, mocks the release of a Down Syndrome Barbie doll, using the R-slur as he does so; and also mocks the release of a Black Barbie.)

So: trans people and black people who get elected to office should be banned from speaking in legislatures.

So: the state has a right to force people to continue pregnancies, no matter the circumstances.

So: we should ignore the fact that more "grooming" happens in good Christian churches and in Evangelical Christian homes than in any public school.

So: Public schools should be shut down, because teachers hate America and love LGBTQ people and teaching nothing but Marxism and how white people are evil.

So: Teachers in public school should all be armed




Now What Now?

I got a notice from Blogger that one of my posts has been "put behind a warning" for readers because it contains "sensitive content." I can't see any such thing on my end -- what did I write that's too sensitive for the average reader? I'm dying to know.

Ooo, is it the one about Manhunt? I admit that cover makes me flinch every time.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Bye, Tuck!

Both Tucker Carlson and Rod Dreher have been fired this year so far. 

Q: What do you say about two Right-Wing lying sacks of trash losing their jobs? 

A: It's a start!

ETA: From Pharyngula:

In another message, Carlson referred to management with an expletive: “Those f—–s are destroying our credibility.” He later wrote: “A combination of incompetent liberals and top leadership with too much pride to back down is what’s happening.”

The funniest part of that is not that Tucker thinks Fox News is run by liberals, but that he thinks Fox News has any credibility to lose.


Saturday, April 22, 2023


 My roses are also in bloom:

You can see my herb garden there too -- sage, rosemary, basil, and thyme, so far.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


 Spiderwort grows wild in my yard. Here, I took a picture:

My Latest Review for Asimov's!

 I look at six books. Go here to read more!

What I'm Reading Now

I'm still reading a lot of SF/F books for reviews I'm writing for Asimov's and Interzone, but those will not appear here. These are books I've been reading for fun. (Dr. Skull walks in: "What are you reading?" I show him the cover. He frowns. "Why are you reading that?" Me: "For fun. Can't I read things for fun anymore?" Dr. Skull shakes his head and walks out again.)

Rosamunde Pilcher, Coming Home

One of my favorite genres is books written by women in England from about 1930 to about 1950, and this one reads like that sort of book, except it was written in the 1990s. We follow one main character, Judith Dunbar, and a bunch of minor characters who connect with Judith's life, from 1935 to 1945. At the start of the book, Judith is being sent to boarding school in England while her mother and four-year-old sister travel back to South Asia (eventually to Singapore) to join her father, a business tycoon of some sort. Judith is upset about being parted from her mother and sister, but also stoic -- this is just what life is like for those whose (British) parents work in the tropics. The first part of the book is relatively idyllic, since Judith befriends a wealthy schoolmate and is adopted by her family; but then WWII first looms and then strikes, and Judith's family, in Singapore when it falls, stop sending her letters.

This is the sort of novel which, if you like me love this sort of novel, you will like well enough. It's absorbing if a trifle sentimental at parts, and the focus on the women characters (there are men, but the women are the main characters) is nice. I would have liked a little more depth, but I enjoyed this enough to order couple other works by Pilcher which my library owns.

Rex Stout, Some Buried Caesar et al

I am, apparently, once again re-reading all of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels. I started on this series when I was maybe 20 years old, when my Intro to American Lit professor assigned Some Buried Caesar to the class as one of our texts and every other student in the class had a melt-down. "How can we read this?" they demanded. "What are we supposed to do with this?" they wailed.

"I thought you might enjoy reading it," he said, and they howled with confused fury. Eventually he took it off the syllabus, but I had already bought it and I did enjoy reading it, far more than Hawthorne, if I'm being honest. I've been reading Rex Stout ever since. These are mysteries, more or less, but their real attraction is life in New York in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as well as the relationship between Nero Wolfe and his amanuensis Archie Goodwin. Some Buried Caesar is a great place to start -- Wolfe and Archie go to a state fair in upstate New York, where in order to achieve a comfortable bed after their car breaks down, Wolfe embroils them in a murder mystery in which the original victim is a bull named Caesar. There's a lot of detail about live in 1938 and state fairs in 1938 and jails in 1938. It's a lot of fun.

Once I'd reread that, it was inevitable that I read on through the rest of them. I have several, and the local public library has the rest. It does not have the Nero Wolfe cookbook, but I have found a way to access a free copy of that online.

Antimatter Blues, Edward Ashton

This is a sequel to Mickey7, which I read some time ago. It's readable in a way that made me finish it, but I wouldn't say a loved it. It's about a colony on a new planet that is having an unusual amount of trouble, and Mickey, who is now turning into the colony's leader.

Mickey7 was about Mickey being the colony's "expendable," which is a low-skill, low-education human who can be printed up as needed to handle the nasty jobs. Most of these jobs kill him, but his experience is uploaded each time -- his consciousness and memory are -- and then downloaded into the body when they print a new human. It's an interesting concept. Sort of like the Ship of Theseus, Mickey thinks, only with him. The 7 in Mickey7 is because the Mickey we start with in the seventh interation.

So some interesting SF concepts, and pretty cool aliens, a found-family kind of space colony going on, and lots of banter. No real thinking about whether it's ethical to colonize planets, even though these people know that at least a couple of the planets they have landed on have intelligent life on them. There is one moment of introspection, and Mickey worries a little about slaughtering the intelligent aliens (two kinds) on the planet, but I wouldn't say it's about colonization. It's about a bunch of humans and their interpersonal relationships and conflicts, but on a planet that isn't earth. 

If you like John Scalzi, you'd probably like this one.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Interview with Chana Porter

You can read my interview with Chana Porter over on IZ Digital here!

Porter has just written an dystopian sort of novel about life in a society where food consumption is seen as shameful while sex acts are "totally destigmatized," in Porter's words. Plus there's class issues! I liked this book very much, and Porter's interview was great.

My favorite bit from the interview:

I found Octavia Butler when I was 19 in a public library. By some stroke of luck, I pulled Dawn down from the shelf. I had no idea who she was. And that book rewired my brain. I don’t think I would have written The Seep without the Lilith’s Brood series – an alien invasion of Earth that solves as many problems as it creates, and thinks so expansively about gender and sexuality.

Remember you can subscribe to IZ Digital!

Saturday, April 15, 2023


I've heard of golf-ball sized hail, but this is the first time I've seen it.

You can hear it hitting the tin roof of the carport better than you can see it in this video, but if you watch carefully, you'll see some hail bouncing out in the yard.

Luckily a brief if violent storm, because I have to get to the library before it closes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


Since I am only teaching on Tuesday and Thursday, and only teaching two classes, I try to focus on writing from Thursday afternoon through Monday afternoon. This means my Wednesdays are jammed back with grading and prep. Worse, today there is a faculty meeting and my chair wants us to be there in person, not just zoom in. UGH.

Also I have to take the cat to the vet to have her eyes looked at, again.

Can't I just spend every day drinking coffee and writing? Is that so much to ask?

Monday, April 10, 2023

Arkansas Evening

My house from the backyard -- the green light is a gift from Uncle Charger, supposed to help with my headaches. 

If you look carefully, you can see the first start of evening over the house.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Faculty Appreciation Day

It's the annual faculty appreciation day at my university. I've been there 20 years, so I got a $2000 bonus.

Ha ha ha, no. I got a fleece jacket. I hate fleece, so idk what I'll do with it. Give it to the poor, maybe.

Anyway, awards were given for five years of service, for ten years, for fifteen, and so on. It was amusing to watch how the 20 year people hobbled up to get our awards. I mean, it's not mining coal, but apparently 20 years in the classroom does take its toll. As I said to my kid, "Twenty years! People have done less time for murder."

Thursday, April 06, 2023


Last night was the first night of Passover, and we held our seder. The kid ran it for the first time, though Dr. Skull was accused more than once of back-seat sedering. My SIL came down to celebrate with us. Uncle Charger had to travel out of town.

The menu:
  • Matzo ball soup
  • Gefilte fish
  • brisket
  • potato kugel
  • asparagus
  • Deviled eggs
  • coffee cake of affliction
Sadly I forgot to take photos, but it was very photogenic.

ETA: The kid took photos!

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

My Review of Moths and Manhunt

My review of Gretchen Felker-Martin's Manhunt and Jane Hennigan's Moths is out on IZ Digital. Read it here! (I also have some things to say about gendercide novels!)

You can get a subscription to the print edition of Interzone here, or an e-subscription here. Well worth the cost!

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Passover Approaches

Passover starts at sundown tomorrow, and we're supposed to go get the kid and his fiance today, but a GIANT STORM is bearing down on the entire state. As you know, we had a massive tornado hit Little Rock a few days ago, so this has us all worried.

Update: He's getting off work early so we can get them and get home before the storm.

Life: One crisis after the next.

MEANWHILE: Easter also approaches, and someone with excellent handwriting and a lot of chalk has written messages about Jesus on sidewalks all over the campus: 





JESUS WILL RETURN, surrounded by very nice cartoon flames -- the lettering and art in general was very nice. There was a stained glass cross in multi-colored chalk, for instance, and like 1000 other passive-aggressive messages. I can't help remembering a few years ago when one of the student clubs wrote a couple of chalk messages on the sidewalk, and the provost had a hissy fit and made them get out and scrub the sidewalk clean right that minute.

There's also picture from a church sign being shared on FB saying that Peter Rabbit is a boy and can't lay eggs, so maybe TRY JESUS, who apparently despite being a nice Jewish boy does in fact lay eggs. Who knew.

Monday, April 03, 2023

Temperatures Plummet!

Temperatures plummet, the weather gizmo tells me, but currently they have plummeting to 86 degrees so I am skeptical.

Ugh, I wanted a longer spring than this one.

What I Did on Sunday

 (Stolen shamelessly from Dame Eleanor Hull)

(1) Got up. At 11:30. Honestly if I could arrange the world to my liking, I would always go to bed at 3:00 a.m. and wake up at 11:00 a.m. And even then I lie in bed awhile after waking and wonder whether I really have to get up now or could I sleep forever instead.

(2) Made coffee. Thank God for coffee, that's all I say. You can visualize me drinking coffee through the next five items.

(3) Took the dog out, fed him, gave him his insulin. It's a lovely summery day for early April, sunny and cool, though the weather page says it'll be hitting the high 80s later, which, ugh.

(4) Brought up Google Classroom, downloaded the poems from my student poets, created and posted a worksheet for these poems. This is Tuesday's class. I'll have to do the same tomorrow for Thursday's class.

(5) Started some baps, because there is nothing in the house to eat, so at least I can eat those. 

(6) Worked on my novel, the third in the Escape Velocity series

(7) Make the baps. 

(8) Had a shower

(9) Read some of a book I'm reviewing, The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennett, Witch, which I am liking a lot so far. Lydia's story from Pride & Prejudice, but she's a witch.

(10) Did French and Latin on Duolingo

(11) Fed the dog and gave him his insulin again.

(12) Listened to my current audio book, Sense & Sensibility, while I crocheted 

Now it might be time for bed.

Saturday, April 01, 2023

It's On Its WAY!

 You know how we've been saving up for a new car? Well, today I bought it!

It's a Hummer Convertible, and I got a real deal, 10% off and the dealer is paying to have it shipped here. Only $110,000! They're letting me pay it off over three years at five percent interest!

Mine isn't green, though, it's bright pink. I want it to really stand out on the highway.

Should be here by midnight, the guy in Canada says.