Thursday, August 25, 2016


I'm having the worst insomnia, y'all.

I've always had trouble sleeping -- I'm talking since infancy. One of my earliest memories is being four years old (we had just moved into our new house, out of the trailer) and wandering around in the dark in the middle of the night after everyone else was asleep. This wasn't just once, either. I did this all the time.

Later, I came to learn that I might well suffer from something called delayed sleep phrase disorder -- that is, my circadian rhythm is out of phase with the planet, more or less. When I was younger, I just suffered with it, getting to sleep (usually) at two or three a.m. and waking (when I had to, which was when I was in school or when I started working) three or four hours later.

University schedules sometimes let me arrange to start my day later, which helped a little.

(My younger brother (the one who is dead now) also suffered from similar insomnia. He used whiskey to self-medicate, which I can't really advise.)

In my early thirties, I discovered melatonin, which helped more than anything else. I've been taking five to ten mgs of melatonin every night for over 20 years now. It worked for a very long time, but lately not so much.

I remember this feeling from when I was a kid, and a young adult -- this miserable exhaustion, the ache in my skull and bones, the absolutely bleak depression and certainty that nothing will ever be all right again. (DSPD is linked to depression, my sources tell me.  Oh, ya think?)

I suppose I should go see my physician. Though, given this is Arkansas, I know what she'll tell me. "Get more exercise." "Drink warm milk!" "Try going to bed earlier."

Oh, thanks. Why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Good Thing From Our Pre-School Training...

This was shown during the Title IX Training session:

It's from the folks at College Humor. Watch it to the end, as those kids today say.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What's up with Me?

I've been writing and writing, which is why no posting.

Other news: I went in for a EGD, which is what they call it when they run a camera down your gullet to look at your throat and belly and decide if you need surgery to correct your ulcer or not. (Spoilers: Yep.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

I may have mentioned to y'all, a few dozen or a few hundred times, that the kid is genderqueer.

And, as you know, Bob, we live in a Red State, and in a severely conservative area, and deeply Evangelical Christian area, of that state.

All this by way of saying that her adolescence has been rough.

Just recently, and once again, she was treated to another adolescent informing her, piously, that while he didn't have anything against LGBTQ people himself, and while he certainly believed that they should have equal rights, nevertheless he believed, due to his religious convictions, that what they did was a sin.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Could This Be Good News at Last?

Why, yes, it is!

I have sold a story to Fantasy & Science Fiction. I cannot even tell you how pleased I am. F&SF is one of the "big three," the top SF print magazines, and also this story, "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs," is one I like a lot.

The editor, C.C. Finley, was just great, working with me during the submission process.

I'll let you know when it comes out!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

New Office

So I heard from the Committee for Central Planning. My new office has been selected.

I have to admit I was in denial about all this. The CCP has been threatening to tear down our building for years, and nothing ever came of it. Sure, every other professor in the building except me and one other has been moved out over the past year... but surely the CCP was just, um, surely...

Nope. I'm out too, as of this month.

The new office is in a (slightly) newer building, which I suppose is good news.  It has a window (yay!) and only one bookshelf, but a much bigger desk. It's on a long hallway filled with my colleagues, so that's nice. The one bookshelf is going to be a problem -- I have three here in this office, and they are crammed full. I think I can fit the small one into the new office. Aside from that, I am going to have to weed out books, I guess. (NOOOOO.)

It's a nicer office in general, except for the bookcase issue -- by which I mean it doesn't look like it was built in a day and a half, which this office does, since it was. The walls aren't made of sheetrock, and the floor isn't indoor-outdoor carpeting laid over cement slab. That sort of thing.

Also I'd imagine the mold and dust issue is better over there.

I'd be pleased, in general -- and I will be pleased -- except for how I now have to moved. Once the move is done, I'm sure I will be pleased.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

So Where Have I Been

Laid low, y'all.  Laid low.

I got some sort of evil virus, or flu, or demonic infestation, which made me sicker than I have been in year. For a few days there I did almost nothing but sleep. Seriously, at once point, clawing my way to consciousness, I googled sleeping sickness to see if, you know, maybe....

It's not endemic in Arkansas, though.

I went back to school on Monday, which was probably a mistake, even though all I had to do was meet students for conferences over their papers; and on Tuesday, which was definitely a mistake. I taught for about forty minutes (I do not remember most of what I said -- I vaguely remember going off on a rant about Plato), realized I was very close to passing out, and sent them home.

Today, like a miracle, I am all but well.

Lying there on the sofa at my sickest, though, racked with misery, fever, and pain, I thought about Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- who lived for years like that, in pain like that, unable to move from a sofa, and all the while managed to write poetry*.

A better man than I am.

*I couldn't write. I read, during the hours I managed to stay away, straight through Kage Baker's Company series. The entire thing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Here's What I'm Doing

Two of the kid's friends have come to visit, so I have a house filled with young adults.

These are her two best friends, Rabid and Neon (those are net names). She met them over the internet, which according to internet lore means they ought to be 57 year old pedophiles. Instead they are nineteen and twenty-two and delightful.

They've spent the week talking comics (they are all web comic artists), catching Pokemon, drawing and discussing their drawings, and watching movies. On Friday we went up to Crystal Bridges.

Crystal Bridges has a wonderful new painting, by the way, by  George Copeland Ault.  This one:

It's much more amazing in person. I tried to find prints in their gift shop, but no go.

Then yesterday we drove up to Devil's Den to hike Yellow Rock trail. It was hot and humid, but due to all the rain we've been having lately, so green. And so many flowers. More hikers than I've ever seen up there as well. My little pack of artists were hiking on only five or six hours of sleep (they have also been staying up until four-thirty every night) but seemed to enjoy the climb nonetheless. Many hikers had their dogs along which helped. Also we saw tiny toads, lizards, and also one snake.

When we reached the top, some adorable Christian had used the loose rocks of the scree to spell out GOD! in big rock letters.

My kid (making an annoyed face): "Rabid. Help me change this to GOD IS DEAD, okay?"

But instead, what they did was rearrange the rocks to read DOG.

"After all," as they put it, "God is probably a dog. Or at least he likes dogs."

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Book Review: Ringworld

Apparently this summer I have decided to read a great deal of 1960s/1970s SF written by men.

Why? I do not know.

Ringworld, written by Larry Niven, was published in 1970. I read it as a kid. I can't remember when, exactly, although it would have been sometime after it was published, probably when I was fourteen or fifteen.

It was the first Niven I read, and I do remember liking it. I liked it a lot. I liked it so much, that I read every book I could find by Niven, no matter how terrible they were, right up until Footfall, when I just gave up. I couldn't take anymore.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Reviews of 1960's SF

I am currently reading -- I can't even remember why -- two SF novels published in the 1960s, both by men. One is Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, which I read I was (much) younger, and a big Heinlein fan.

The other is William Nolan's Logan's Run, which I had never read before.

One point I'm going to make up front is that, wow, science fiction is terrible at predicting the future.

The second is that these particular SF writers certainly have an interesting attitude toward women.

The third point I will only mention: LGBT issues. Yeah, wow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So my kid received a comment from someone on her currently running comic asking if she could make it "a bit more obvious" who is male and who is female in the comic, since the reader was having trouble deciding this important issue.

My kid's reply: (a direct quotation here): "nah the gender binary is bullshit my friend"

Yep, I do parenting right.

Friday, June 17, 2016


While our AC was down, I was just not able to function. I am not functional when in an environment where the temperature is 90+ and the humidity is 80+, though mad props to all y'all who are. (Dr. Skull is one who is. He loved the AC crisis.)

Essentially all I did was teach (the university AC was wonderful -- I'm the only one left on our hallway, as our building is scheduled to be torn down soon, so I could crank our AC down to 66 degrees, and I did), and -- when I reluctantly returned to the pit of hell that is our house, slouch in my chair in the middle of three different fans and under a ceiling fan and read.

Here is what I read: