Friday, June 20, 2014

Will Review for Books

Today I got the strangest e-mail on my hotmail account from these folks:

They seemed to be under the mistaken impression that I was a blogger of note.  Maybe, it's just that not a lot of people blog at all anymore and so the pool of names to pick from is very, very tiiiiiiiny. Because, let's be straight with one another, I haven't blogged here with any regularly since the Late Jurassic.  So, it can't be THIS site that got them interested, especially since it's very obviously connected to my gmail address (I don't actually think you can use blogspot without gmail.)  The Wyrdsmiths blog, likewise, is gmail connected and fairly static, so.. that kind of leaves LJ (Live Journal) which would make ZERO sense.

My Facebook and Klout accounts attach to my dusty hotmail address, as do my super-static web pages.  But again... WTF? Really?

I still think you'd have to be high or desperate (or both!) to count me as any kind of influential book recommender.

Regardless of how they got to me and whether I'm really what they want, we're talking about FREE BOOKS.  They're willing to send me review copies if I'll post honest reviews on their site (and presumably link the review to all my social media places.)  So, what the hey... I signed up.  I've requested my first book-- a graphic novel by the same guy who did World War Z called "Harlem Hellcats" (I think.)  It's a historical graphic novel about a WWII black regiment and their struggles on and off the battlefield.  I actually read something about this somewhere else (a Random House tweet, maybe?) and thought it sounded interesting.

So you might be hearing more about the things I'm reading here and elsewhere.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Dragon of Awkward

I feel somewhat bad for the nameless Loft photographer who attempted to come into my classroom today to take pictures.  When the door opened, I looked at him and my lectured screeched to a halt.  I stared at him for what felt like a long time (though it was probably only a matter of seconds), trying to figure out what was happening and who would just barge into to a class in-progress--and then I saw the high-powered camera he had in his hands and everything clicked into place.

Being who I am, I pretty much narrated my entire thought process, "Oh, and who are you... a photographer?  Are you here to take pictures of the class?"

Even as I was talking, another part of my brain was thinking, "No, just no.  Not these kids."

I should stop for a moment and explain.  Last year when I taught a class of the same name, I had a rowdy room full of self-confident, smart-a$$, BRILLIANT kids.  Seeing a camera, they would have jumped up to pose dramatically or come up with an on-the-spot reenactment of a battle of wits involving pens and origami hats or something even sillier and outlandish.  I never had to worry when I asked, "Who would like to share?" that I was going to get crickets.  They were those geeks--the ones not unlike myself, really rather relish the theatre of it all and who would, if provoked, recite all of Monty Python's skits while on the city bus.

This year, I have a slightly smaller group of utterly BRILLIANT, deeply shy, perfectly NERDY kids.  I had a couple of students desperate to share their work but so unable to read in front of a group that they had me read their entries for them.  Only now, four days in, have they, with my coaxing, very, very, vvvveeerryyyy slowly begun to trust me and each other enough to flail around and squee a bit when things are going well in class.  (Today, in fact, one of them was bold enough to say to *me*, "Hey, now, settle down!" because I was waxing nerd-ly about science and bouncing on the balls of my feet.)  But my geeky side has proven that I am one of them, but I suspect they see me as a squirrelly, eccentric auntie who is just a little too loud in public.

So, when this photographer came in my mama-bear side came roaring out.  I looked at him in the middle of my stream of consciousness chatter and said, "Oh, no, that's going to be awkward."

He looked at me.

He looked at my class (half of whom were giving him the stare of doom, the other half of whom were trying to find something to hide behind). He put his camera down.  Very slowly as if hoping not to anger us, he backed out of the room and said, "Yeah, a little too awkward."

It was like we'd defeated a dragon together.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Double-Feature MangaKast

Because I'm sure you've all been waiting on the edges of your seats for our return to MangaKast.  Well, the wait is over, my friends.  Here it is:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Update

Just a quickie post to let you know that there is a new bit of UNJUST CAUSE up on Wattpad.  Check it out:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Well, that was... flail.

Today was the first day of my "More than Just the Zombie Apocalypse" week-long class at the Loft as part of their Summer Youth Writing Program.  It was... yeah, it could have gone better.

Several factors were working against me, however.  First of all, I could *not* find a copy of my syllabus anywhere. It took me forever to remember that I had a copy stored on Google Drive.  I got that transferred to a usb drive and then had to make a dash to Kinko's/FedEx in order to print it out and make enough copies.  The only thing working in my favor was that I guesstimated that I'd have 10 students and I was exactly right.  (Last head count was seven and I always plan for a few extra.)

So, I already started out a bit frazzled and feeling like I was running behind.  The frustration was added to by the fact that there was a woman at Kinko's who insisted she was still on the copy machine when all she was doing was collating her things on the table nearby.  Finally, she gave into my frantic hovering and muttering about how I had class in less than a half hour and NO SYLLABUS if I couldn't get to the copy machine.

My copies done, I busted out and hit the highway only to discover... no parking spaces.  I ended up parking in a very weird "services" parking lot for an apartment building and, as I left, I thought, "No, this isn't right.   I'm going to get towed."  So, when I found the Loft education coordinator I asked her about it and she graciously allowed me to park in the Loft Staff spot, but that meant I had to rush back out, move my car, and get to my third floor class all within about ten minutes.

So, I came to class feeling flustered and out of sorts, and then... it occurred to me:


Not, just "oh, crap, no time for lunch," but a full-blown, "oh, sh*t, I forgot breakfast as well as lunch."  So I was literally running on empty the entire class.  It's probably a miracle that I didn't faint dead away an hour into my hour and a half class.  But, that's extroversion for you.  I got the energy I needed from being in front of people and being expected to perform.

And there was a lot of dancing monkey and flailing, let me tell you.

A lot of flail.

All I can hope is that the students will be forgiving and all show up tomorrow.  I tell myself they've paid and probably have nowhere else better to be.  Also, the first class is usually just introduction at any rate, and I did manage that (though they must be all thinking instructor = moron.)  I also introduced the ideas of the wiggly definitions of science fiction and fantasy and how we'd probably end up covering both since: wiggly-wobbily define-y whine-y thing.