Sunday, March 18, 2018

Next Door

So I don't know if you've heard about this... wiki, maybe? App?... called Next Door.

Basically, you join it by giving your name and address. Then you're in this group with all your neighbors who have also joined, within what seems to me to be a two or three mile radius. People can then post information or questions they have.

For instance, a guy who will do lawn work in the area may post. Then you could hire him to mow your lawn.

Or if you've lost your dog, you can post a picture of the dog and ask your neighbors to keep an eye out.

I joined a few weeks ago, mainly to see what it was about.

What it's mostly about, as it turns out, is scared white people posting about how
"some man" knocked on their door. "This man," they post breathlessly, "knocked on my door today! Twice!" (Picture posted of a young brown man heading down the sidewalk.)

Or: "This man was walking down our street! He is looking at all the houses!" (Picture posted of an older white man.)

Or: "This man is running in our neighborhood! Should I call the police?" (Picture posted of a young black man in sweat pants and a jersey, running down the street, obviously jogging.)

Or: "I think this man is looking for drugs! He's been on our street twice!" (Picture of an older black man. FYI no one would be stupid enough to come to my neighborhood looking for drugs.)

People reply to these posts, mostly, with such terror and paranoia that you would think this neighborhood, instead of being one of the most boring and safest in the entire nation, was a literal war zone. They'll say things like, "I never answer the door unless I'm expecting a family member! You can't be too careful!"

Or: "Yes! Call the police! He's probably running away from them!"

Occasionally someone will post something like, "I think people on here are just a little paranoid," but that meets with screechy rebuttals about how "crime is out of control!" and "My friend's cousin just got her lawn decorations stolen by someone JUST LIKE that man!"

Lawn decorations. I kid you not. It was a cement pig, for those who are curious.

The part where people find and return one another's dogs is nice. But otherwise, jeez, all this app is doing is making me think less of my neighbors.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What I'm Reading

It's almost spring break, which means -- you guessed it! -- more reading time!

Though we're also planning a trip to Crystal Bridges and also a hiking trip.

Here's what I've read lately:

John M. Barry, The Great Influenza

This is an excellent examination of both the terrible influenza that killed somewhere around fifty million people in 1918-1919, and of the doctors whose research helped stop the pandemic.

It's very methodical -- by which I mean it takes its time even getting to the pandemic -- but Barry tells us essentially everything. The information on the state of medical training / research at the end of the 19th and early 20th century is excellent; and the information about the pandemic itself is also very good.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday Links!

Rod Dreher is still a snowflake. See also this one. Apparently little girls in social justice teeshirts trigger you, if you're a modern conservative.

The fifth year reboot

Monday, March 12, 2018


Poor me, I broke a tooth.

My teeth are pretty awful anyway, since I grew up in Louisiana, which (at least then) did not fluoridate its drinking water. So I got billions of cavities. Having so many fillings means my teeth are easy to break.

I'm going in tomorrow to have the break assessed. I'm expecting to need a crown. More money on medical costs, in other words.

On the other hand, I'm writing pretty steadily again. So that's good.

Next week is Spring Break, and the week after that, Passover begins on Friday. The kid will be home for both of these. Something to look forward to!

Here's some of their latest art:

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Writing and the Weather

The weather here in Arkansas has been all over the spectrum -- we have 80 degree days one day, and two days later it's 30 degrees and sleeting.

My favorite writing weather is snowy and cold. I bury myself in my writing chair under a giant duvet, drink coffee, and write. The cats sleep on my feet. The dog curls up on the sofa where he can keep an eye on me. The day rolls wonderfully on.

This winter, though, we had no snow, and no long stretches of cold weather. More than once, we've had to put the AC on at night in order to sleep -- this was in January and February. Plus, the lack of long cold stretches mean the bugs don't ever really die off.

Between this and the terrible flu and my new terrible schedule, I'm finding it hard to write productively.  I'm looking for a way to snap out of this slump.

One thing I'm trying is I now get do all my prep work and paperwork at school. This is easy to do, since I have three days on campus, most of which time is spent in my office -- not teaching, I mean. (I can't go home since Dr. Skull and I have only one car, and he's almost always at work on these days. He drops me off at 7:00 a.m. and picks me up at 4:00.)

Another thing I'm trying is to just write SOMETHING every day, even if it's just a paragraph.

I need more strategies, though.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Saturday Links

I am very nearly recovered from that horrible flu, but very nearly ain't 100%. All y'all stay well out there.

Have some links for your Saturday:

Probably only language nerds will love this as much as I do

I am too amused

Incorrect theories

Yet another way Trump is destroying the country

And here too

This is the new favorite argument from the alt.right -- and it's entirely incorrect, as anyone who knows anything about the Holocaust actually knows

Long read, but excellent, on why the alt.right racists are wrong about their IQ "science."

I can't stop laughing (NSFW):

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Crumbs from the Tax Scam

As I already noted, my big prize from Trump's yuuuuge tax cut for "middle class families" is just over $30/month, which will be eaten up by the increases in healthcare costs that resulted from his gutting of Obamacare.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

What I'm Reading

I had the flu (I'm almost over it), and I always read a lot when I'm sick, since I usually can't do much except that and sleep.

So I've plowed through more than the usual number of books lately. Some are re-reads -- re-reading for comfort when sick is also a habit of mine.

But here are the new books:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Wow! BIG TAX BREAK! Thanks, Donald!

I've seen my first post-tax scam paycheck, and Donald Trump, our benevolent overlord, has saved me just over $30 dollars.

That's over $350/year!

What wealth! What riches! I'm definitely switching my vote to GOP over this!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Links for Your Friday

I'm down with the flu, and have been for about three days now (the past days are a blur). Today I feel a bit better, though I am still swaddled up in blankets and drinking hot tea. At least I'm not coughing non-stop, with bones that feel like hot iron.

Have some links:

Your go-to link when someone repeats the vile lie that "most" or "all" mass shooters are Democrats (I've seen this one several time, over the Right side of the net).

Gun-myths shot down

Rod Dreher is still unhinged

I was dying on President's Day, but this is interesting

I already mentioned this, but in case you missed it

And there's also this!

A wonderful FB thread

My kid introduced me to Pop Culture Detective -- if you don't know this series, and you like pop culture as much as I do, you'll love it too. Here's a sample:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review Live

My latest review, this one of Meg Elison's two books, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta, is now live over at Strange Horizons.

Three of the issues examined in this book—as well as in its sequel, The Book of Etta—are, first, the status of women in the post-apocalyptic world; and second, the question of whether and to what extent women should use violence to defend themselves; and finally, the subject of gender and identity.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Gwyneth Jones Talks about Fault Lines

Gwyneth Jones, one of the advance readers for my novel, Fault Lines, discussed it recently on her blog. I'm still dancing over her comments.

Kelly has been compared with C.J Cherryh, and I think deservedly. Fault Lines isn't burdened with the awful angst of Cherryh's greatest novel, Cyteen, but it has the same intensity and conviction.

More here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Will Barnet

Our local museum is having a Will Barnet exhibit. We went by this morning.

Barnet is one of my favorite artists, and though this is a small exhibit -- it's a very small museum, sort of a tiny branch of Crystal Bridges -- it has some wonderful pieces.

If you live in the Fort, or nearby, don't miss it!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Links

Links for your Tuesday!

Bald eagle cam -- two chicks expected soon UPDATE: They hatched!

The Kid turned me on to Pop Culture Detective. Here, he explains Toxic Masculinity, which is a term a lot of fragile snowflake manboys seem to be confused about. (Sarcastic? Me? Sorry, but when you've spent as much time as I have coddling tender little man fee-fees, you'll snap too.)

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Kid Does Art

Right now in the Kid's Studio Art class they are working on a collage project. I don't think I ever wrote about the Kid's Troubles with Scissors, but when they were in preschool, their scissors skills were so inferior (who knew toddlers got graded on Scissor Skills?) that the teacher wanted us to have them evaluated by a neurologist.

Time-jump to 2018, and the Kid can cut with scissors now, but boy do they hate it.

On the other hand, I present the collages they have (so far) created: