Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Dark Inside Her Bones: First Period

Kate was almost to her next class when Kisha stepped out of the bathroom, stopped abruptly, and gave her almost the same look that Julian had. She slowed, stopped, and returned the girl's regard. "Yes?"

"Girl..." Kisha drew the word out, then stopped and said, in a clipped, precise, academic accent: "What have you done?"

Kate opened her mouth, closed it again, then made herself take a breath. "Okay," she said. "I know you aren't working with Julian, so what the hell is going on? Why do you guys keep staring at me?"

Kisha stopped, eyes wide and head slightly turned. Then her eyes narrowed, and she grabbed Kate's hand and pulled her into the bathroom. Kate didn't fight it; privacy suddenly seemed like a very good idea.

When the door swung shut behind them, Kisha stepped back and looked her over. "You're... more than you were yesterday. And it wasn't one of those half-assed white-boy rituals that Julian and his friends with Families are so proud of, either."

That was when everything fell into place. "Oh, shit," said Kate, stepping back and leaning against the wall. "There was a shadow in my brother's room. He's afraid of the dark, and it kept coming back, and he was waking up. He was waking us up."

Kisha looked puzzled. "So you...?"

"I got tired of it. I told it to stop bothering us."

Kisha's eyes widened. "You took it into you."

Kate nodded warily.

"That's..." Kisha shook her head. "You've got some balls, girl."

Kate shook her head and looked away. "I was just frustrated and angry."

"...But you must have walked into the dark. You must have spoken with it. It must have understood you."

Kate stopped, frozen by the memory, and felt the shadow raise itself to look out through her eyes again. It curled around her spine, wary and interested, then withdrew. "...Yes," she said, when that moment had passed.

"And Julian noticed too? Dismore?"

Kate nodded uncertainly.

Kisha let out a breath, eyes narrowed. "Maybe we can confuse him. Get to your class, I'll find you after."

Kate nodded, turned towards the door, and then turned back. "Kisha?"

The other girl looked at her. "Yeah?"

"Thank you."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fluidized Sand

It's been a while since the Mad Scientist has checked in, but here's a bit of coolness in case you've been missing it:

This was the genesis of Firstborn's Science Fair project. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the guy in the video say something like, "We went through about twenty-five versions before we got it to work." Annnnnnnnnd, yeah, that sounds about right. Sheesh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Urgle Blarg

Who am I, again? What was I doing? What century is this anyway? Does anybody here remember my name, and if so could you remind me what it is?

This morning was seriously like:

...Except I don't get any cool transformations out of it.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Send Whiskey, STAT

We're attempting to deal with the underlying intestinal issues that resulted in Secondborn having hernia surgery back at the beginning of the summer. This involves the child drinking a very great deal of some of the foulest-tasting medicines imaginable. And if there's one thing an eight-year-old boy wants to know when he finds himself in such dire straits, it's that someone else is suffering as he suffers. On this day, his mother is the chosen sacrifice. She, too, is Taking The Medicine. She, too, partakes of the suffering.

I, meanwhile, have had to pop into work twice because the automated job I'm running to clean up my database and make it run better is also locking people out of the database and making it (effectively) not run at all, at least until I go in and reset the connection. Which means I've got to find a better way to do this, because there is literally never a time when we have nobody in the system. This, however, is more of a practical annoyance and an existential worry; what's killing me right now is Firstborn's Science Fair Project, which is due Tuesday, and which has been "almost done" for perhaps four weeks now.

"Almost done" (for those of you who aren't parents or are otherwise unfamiliar with the phrase) means "we've got some of it put together but we haven't tested anything, and it's almost certainly not going to work the way we want it to, but we really don't have time to rebuild it from the ground up." In this particular case, it also means that I keep moving the thing outdoor to test it, then back indoors because I can't be sure that it isn't going to rain. This would all be much easier if I had an unlimited budget and a team of engineers and craftsmen under my direction. I'd look like a fucking genius if I had an unlimited budget and a team of engineers and craftsmen under my direction. Instead, I have a recalcitrant twelve-year-old, a lot of pvc, an air pump, some sand, a hot glue gun, and the rapidly receding hope that all this will somehow come together into a working fluidized sand bed.

Don't send hopes and prayers.

Send whiskey.

(I'd hoped to crank out a few more pages of story this weekend, but... no. Just, no. But that's okay, I'm not bitter.)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Human Nature

I'm beginning to think that a surprisingly large number of problems in our society actually boil down to the fact that a large percentage of the population can't tell the difference between Decisive Leadership and Basic Assholery.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Post-Midterm Elections Hot Take

Well, we didn't blow up the Death Star last night. At least, I wouldn't read it that way. But then, that was always a longshot - you know, like trying to hit a thermal exhaust port that's only two meters wide with proton torpedoes while engaged in a dog fight with Imperial Tie Fighters.

What we did do, I think, was more on the order of sabotaging the Imperial shipyards. And if we can halt production there, then that sets us up with more of an advantage for the next big battle.

This election was never going to fix everything. There is no quick fix for this. Where we are now? It's the culmination of years (and in some areas, centuries) of people gimmicking our political system. It's going to take years to try to fix, and if the best we can do right now is put the brakes on some of the worst abuses, well...

It's a start. And it's a start worth celebrating.

So we take what we got. And then we get back to work.

Sometimes the best you can do is rescue your friends and get the hell out of Cloud City. We did a lot better than that.

And... if you don't find me encouraging enough? Read this whole thread. Fewer Star Wars references, but a good look at where we are and why even the losses matter.

Martha Wells also has an excellent take (which I fully agree with) on why she's sick of people blaming Texas for remaining weighted-Republican. Texas actually did pretty well, under the circumstances.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The thing about victory...

...is that even if we get a victory, we're not done.

You don't get to just blow up the Death Star and go home. That's the kind of thinking that gets you frozen in carbonite. I mean, sure - stop and celebrate. If we pull it off, we'll have put a big damper on the Empire's ability to just go around blowing up planets. But they'll still fall back on fleets and stormtroopers and Imperial bureaucracy. We'll still need to keep working to minimize the damage that they're trying to do.

They're not going to stop. Even if we do blow up the Death Star -- and that's not even remotely guaranteed -- they're just going to try to build another one. So we have to stick with it. We have stay organized and keep up the opposition. (And we can't keep expecting the murder-bears of Endor to save us, either.)

So get out there and vote today, but be ready to keep at it tomorrow (or day after, or the day after that -- it's okay if you need a bit of a rest after all this).

(I mean, we all know perfectly well that Luke and Han and Chewbacca all went down to the cantina and got thoroughly drunk and then slept for like fourteen hours after they got back to the Rebel base, right? There was some serious recuperation time between Blowing Up The Death Star and the Victory Awards Celebration.)