Thursday, November 30, 2023

Buy My Books

 Polyamory, found families, spaceships -- what more do you want?

If you buy them from the publisher, you're supporting a small press!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

My Kid Does Art

I commissioned these -- they're marker on paper, done from photographs I took myself. The Green Night one is of our house from the rear with a migraine bulb burning in a lamp. Snowy evening is from another photo I took, last winter when it snowed so much.

 His Patreon page is here.

Conversation at the delagar Household

(Scene: In the bedroom, DR. SKULL is getting ready to lie down for a nap. DELAGAR enters stage left. DR. SKULL gives her a look of mild surprise.)

Dr. Skull: Oh!

(DELAGAR glances at him in inquiry)

Dr. Skull: I thought you were gone.

delagar: Where would I go? It's Sunday, and I already went to Wal-Mart.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Giving November

Apparently November 28 is the "National Day of Giving." Who knew!

I've been giving all along, but if you're looking for places to give, might I recommend giving cash (rather than canned goods) to your local food bank? If you want to give food, give things that can be eaten without cooking, and especially canned or boxed milk; or sanitary items. Partners in Health is also a good organization.

Give also to the ACLU, who are fighting for us all. 

And buy comics for the children of Gaza.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Turning into my Father

I remember one time when the SIL and I were cooking, and I put down a potholder on the counter, only one corner of it was touching the stove top. "Don't put that there," my father snapped at me. "What if someone turns the stove on?"

I snatched the potholder away. "Why would someone turn the stove on if a potholder was on it?" I snapped back.

I have just returned from the kitchen, where I snapped at Dr. Skull for putting a sheet of paper with a recipe scrawled on it on the stove top. "Don't put that there!" I snapped. "What if someone turns the stove on?"

(In my father's defense, there were about a dozen people in the house, including two small children. In my defense, it's just me and Dr. Skull here. Uh, wait...)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving for Everyone Who Doesn't Work Retail!

We're having Thanksgiving on Saturday this year because the Kid's fiancé has to work Thanksgiving Day. He's not in retail; he works for a small business that boards dogs, and of course they're busy over holidays; so it's not unexpected. He'd probably have to work (or someone would have to work) even if it weren't for Black Friday nonsense. 

My nephew and my SIL may be able to come down; and Uncle Charger is coming down. The kid and I are going to do most of the cooking this year, as Dr. Skull is still finding it hard to get around (he's got an issue with a disc in his back). I'm not sure what we will cook. I should think about that soon.

Meanwhile, winter is here -- it froze last night, and today the high is predicted to be in the 40s. My cats are not pleased. I had terrible insomnia last night, so I was awake when the icy weather arrived. I took the dog out around four a.m. and the world was frozen and still, the sky absolutely clear and filled with stars. I enjoyed it, even though I was so tired my bones ached.

Stupid insomnia. 

The Trapper, Rockwell Kent

Monday, November 20, 2023

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Comics for Gaza's Children

My kid has comics in this bundle -- you can get 121 comics for $10, with all the proceeds going to help the children in Gaza.

Get some comics, do some good!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

What I'm (Not) Reading Now

Over the past decade I have noticed that I start a great many more books* than I finish. I used to finish most of the books I read -- at least 90%, I'd say. Now, looking at the last 20 books I've checked out of the library (excluding cookbooks), I see that I have finished nine. 

(I'm only able to do this because our library page now has a "Reading History" link for everyone's account. I'm not sure how I feel about this. In theory, this data is available only to me. In fact, obviously, if the data exists, it can be made available to anyone. In these days when Moms for Liberty and indeed the entire "conservative" camp, is looking to make certain ways of existing a legal offense, collecting data in this fashion worries me, just a bit.)

If we go back 50 books, for a broader sample, I have finished 24/50. (Again, excluding cookbooks.) 

If we go back 100 -- excluding cookbooks and re-reads -- it's 42/100, but some of those are re-reads, so I don't know how to evaluate that number. Let's stick with 24/50. I'm finishing less than half the (new) books I check out of the library.

Is this because the quality of books being published is worse than it was ten years ago? 


But there are other possibilities: 

(1) I am less exacting about the books I check out than I used to be. I'm pretty sure this is true, since I can remember noticing that when I "took a chance" on a book I wasn't sure I would like, sometimes I really, really liked it, and that gave me a new writer, even a new genre, to read. (I'm looking at Georgette Heyer here.) So it's possible I'm taking more chances on what I check out.

(2) I'm less interested in finishing books I'm not enjoying. This is to say, I've given myself permission not to finish a book if I'm not having a good time. File under life-is-too-short.

(3) I'm reading, or at least sampling, books in the SF/F books I would not have checked out before, because I'm looking for books I might want to use in a review. This would explain an increase in DNF over the past couple years, since I started reviewing seriously for two SF magazines. I'd say maybe five or six books out of the hundred fit that category. On the other hand, I finished a couple of books I would not have, because I was hoping to review them. So that probably washes out.

It could also be that books are in fact getting worse. I don't think you can prove it with my data, is all I'm saying.

*I thought about giving examples of the books I wasn't finishing here, but I think that would be too mean. It may have nothing to do with the quality of the books. It may just be that I'm the wrong reader for whatever the book is. Anyway, if you're an author googling for your book, your book is wonderful! I'm absolutely not talking about your book here!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

More Horrific Parenting

There was a lot of pushback to the tweet yesterday, the one where the woman bragged about hitting her three year old for being insufficiently cheery. Most of the tweets said things like, This isn't Christianity! and Christians don't parent this way! But quite a few claimed this sort of parenting was better than the way liberals parent, which is to raise kids without a "moral code." 

That shit is hilarious to me, since half my kid's childhood was spent debating morality. Why do we do this? Why is that better? What if I want to do this? Also, Why do all my friends' parents hit them?

The people making those tweets didn't mean that kind of morality, of course. What they meant was authoritarian morality. There's rules, and those rules are made by God, and so we don't examine or question or discuss, we just obey. (Not God, of course. Children obey parents, who pretend or actually believe they know what God wants; and the woman obeys the husband, ditto.) This kind of morality leads to an unexamined life, which -- as we know -- is not worth living. And often fairly evil, besides.

Anyway, here's another tweet from Marissa Burt about this horrific kind of parenting: 

The clip mainly focuses on Douglas Wilson, the slavery apologist (slavery must be good because in the Bible it's good), but as Marissa Burt says elsewhere, there are dozens of Christian parenting "experts" who teach people to parent this way, and tens of thousands of Christian parents who listen to them and parent in this horrific fashion.

If you can make it through that video -- I could only handle about half of it -- you'll find a dad laughing with delight as he recounts how when his daughter (disobeying his command to eat her hamburger) vomited up food, he rinsed off the remaining burger and made her eat that. 

Christian parenting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Terrible Parenting

This is awful. I saw the same sort of "parenting" among some of the Christian kids my kid went to school with, especially the girls. Disappointment, sadness, grief -- none of those were allowed. Kids had to be happy, or else they were punished, usually with beatings. These kids grow up to be like one woman I had in my class once, who explained that her husband expected her to have a smile on her face at all times. When I expressed mild alarm at this, she smiled sweetly at me and explained he just wanted her to be happy, all the time. What could possibly be wrong with that?

And this too: 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Baby Jasper

 Look what came up in my memories today: 13 years ago:

Baby Jasper

Friday, November 10, 2023

Newsie News

 It rained all day yesterday and also got cold, and today, though sunny, was also cold. I had to be at school yesterday from seven until 3:30, walking across campus several times, and I had forgotten my umbrella, but the very nice guy in the office next to mine, who used to be my student but is now running a program through the writing center, loaned me his, luckily.

Anyway, I came home at 4:30, having stopped for groceries, and kind of collapsed. I may be too old for this high-paced professor life.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 and drank tea and wrote something and then it was only 11:00, so I went to the gym. This is a terrible time to go to the gym, as it develops. Not only was everyone in the Fort there, there were several exercise classes being held and each instructor had music and loudspeaker and a microphone through which they were bellowing instructions.

I do not do well with noise and tons of people all talking and moving at once. But I rode my stationary bike and did weights and managed to walk a little, leaving after 30 minutes instead of 40. I took heart from this post, over at Nicole & Maggie's, where a guy in the comments says even a little exercise is better than no exercise. But ugh.

The dog was very glad when I came home early. Dr. Skull was having a nap.

I spent the afternoon reading a book I'm going to review for Interzone, and then fell asleep around 3:00 and slept until five. Getting up at dawn does not suit me.

Also the kid sent me a text: Remember when will smith slapped a guy and then for like two weeks after there were a bunch of very serious thinkpieces about Will smith slapping a guy

Ah, internet culture. You gotta love it.

I'm going to watch something on YouTube and go to bed early.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Is This an Omen?

 I had to cancel class because my classroom was full of wasps.

ETA: Ever since I posted this on FB, I've had people stopping by my office to tell me about various insect-swarm related catastrophes. It made for a fun afternoon!

Ohio and the USA

 John Scalzi's post on what happened in the Ohio elections and what it means is pretty good. Go have a look.

It's also worth noting that only rabid gerrymandering has allowed the GOP to win elections in most places, and that the courts (even Trump-dominated courts) are cracking down on that particular practice, which bodes well for the country.

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Formerly Known As Twitter

I mostly stay off Twitter these days, since it's become an utter sewer; but I followed this tweet from Pharyngula over there, and wow. Not only have the hate-filled tweets continued, but now it's about 50% non-stop ads.

That Elon Musk. He sure knows how to build things. No, wait. Not "build." That's not what I meant. Appropriate, gut, and destroy things, while sucking all the profit he can from the twitching corpse. That's what I meant.

In other news, I still have three Bluesky invite codes -- send me an email if you'd like one!

Friday, November 03, 2023

Banning Books From the Left

This story in the Washington Post today deals with a group of teachers who are asking that no one in their school district be allowed to assign To Kill a Mockingbird to their students.

Their argument is that the book, which in part deals with racism in the South in the 1930s, centers around white characters and the white savior, Atticus Finch, and does not deal realistically with black characters or allow black characters realistic agency. There's also the fact that the novel uses the n-word, though as I recall it's only used by "trashy" and bigoted characters. As I recall, Atticus mildly tells Scout not to use the word, at one point, because it's "common." (The classism of the book is not discussed.)

These are good points, and I can't help noticing that the defenders of the book in the article are all white. I do think Harper Lee's book appeals to white moderates, who were, after all, her intended audience. And having read Lee's sequel, Go Set a Watchman, I can't help reading back the reactionary politics of that book into Mockingbird. So I understand where these teachers are coming from, I guess is what I'm saying. And I certainly am not defending Lee's book, even though I loved it to pieces as a kid.

On the other hand, banning books is banning books. If they had wanted, as was their apparent first motive, to just removed the book from the required curriculum, I would have been with them 100%. Their point about how using a book by a black author which deals with racism would be a better approach -- that's a solid argument. 

Also, I don't think teachers should be forced to assign specific books. We have a thing here at our university where we assign a common text to all the freshmen students in our Comp II class, but we also allow teachers not to assign that text and sub in a different one. One year when the book assigned was an apologetic for Nazis (not the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but one like that one), I honestly could not teach it. Even thinking about teaching it made me queasy.

But they wanted to keep anyone in the school district from assigning the book in their classroom. The book can stay on the library shelf, they said, but no student should be forced to read it. (As a side note, I'd like to see anyone force a student to read anything. I mean, have these people met students?) That, I think, is a step too far. And I think the school district did the right thing -- the decision they made was that the book could be assigned, but no longer *had* to be assigned.

Anyway, it's a thoughtful piece, which I recommend if you have access to the Washington Post.

These two paragraphs encapsulate the issue:

“We profoundly question why we should read a book by a White author, in which Black characters are secondary, voiceless, meek, and two-dimensional,” Kuzmany of Kamiak said, according to a copy of her prepared remarks.

“I am standing against taking books out of the hands of our students for any reason,” Freemon of Mariner said, according to a copy of her prepared remarks. “There is not one novel that we teach at the high school that is not offensive to someone, in some capacity.”


Thursday, November 02, 2023

The Woke Mind Virus

 Apparently, "the woke mind virus" is something conservatives actually believe in? I mean, it's hilarious, but also sad. 

On the other hand, Bluesky is having fun with it.

Invitations to Bluesky

 Bluesky has given me FIVE invitation codes, so hit me up if you still haven't joined!

I admit the app image always cheers me up. I have no idea why.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Halloween in the Bible Belt

As usual, we had no trick-r-treaters last night. That's partly because this is an elderly neighborhood with no sidewalks, and mostly because in the Fort, Halloween is the Devil's birthday. Or something. I can't remember the current explanation.

Just file it under Fundamentalist Christians love to ruin everything.

Some of my students did dress up, and I gave everyone in my classes candy, so there was that. 

ETA: This was on FB this morning -- the local churches do this thing called a "harvest festival" at which they have "trunk or treat," with kids running around from car to car in their parking lots getting candy and little Jesus statues and so on. 

Which is perfectly fine, because that's not worshipping Satan, unlike what those evil liberals do.