Monthly Archives: October 2015

Weekend Coffee Share: The Week that Got Away

Cold / Flu Meme

So this week is kind of the week that never was for David and I. Specifically I got sick and not just a little cold or even a flu sick. I ended up with tonsillitis and it spread to my eyes in the form of conjunctivitis. Starting Monday I had a little tickle in my throat that felt like it was turning into a cold at first. Then Monday night I ended up with a fever of 101, body aches, and chills. Now I am thinking that I have the flu, even though I got a flu vaccine.

At this point this is the worst timing ever. I have a ton of stuff at work right now and I really do not need David or Geek Baby getting sick. I am thinking this will just be a couple days, am hoping that it might be just a 24 hour bug. This turned out to not be the case. My throat was killing me all week. My fever went down and I got some energy back by Thursday, but I could hardly swallow without some pretty severe pain still. Then on Friday it spread to my eyes and I just want to scream at something.

Since my body turned into a petri dish this last week I ended up binge watching Arrow and Flash on Netflix because I was trying to relax. Now since I was sick and was not sure how contagious I was I did not want to handle Geek Baby too much. That put David in the hot seat of being the main caretaker for Geek Baby without me to relieve him. There were thoughts of us doing things this week that have gone entirely out of the window. So this is the week that didn’t happen for us. 

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To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo…

Editor’s Note: this is by one of our contributors. David is currently contemplating and planning on a modified NaNoWriMo himself – where a picture is worth a 1000 words. Literally.

I feel like at least fifty percent of the time when I mention to people that I write/want to be an author/need to work on my writing discipline, they ask me if I do NaNoWriMo. The answer, until this year, has been a hard pass.

This is the first year I’ve even kicked around the idea. Which I’m realizing I’ll need to settle on in…like…three days. For once, I’m not employed or in school. I’m currently not employed because I want to give my writing a fair shot…and now that I’m more settled into our new apartment, I definitely could. My husband is at work all day, and I could literally sit with my lovebird on my shoulder and just write. I even have a story I’ve been developing that I’m certain I could easily start a draft on. I’ve been meaning to force myself to write daily and make it an actual routine, much like a 9-5 job, and I think this would be a great way to get into that habit and schedule.

Yet even with all of those wonderful positives for why I should do it, I’m hesitant to try.

I think I don’t like the social and competition aspects. Just me, personally, but I hate talking with people about what I’m working on. My husband peeks over my shoulder and asks what I’m doing and I clam up. I’ve tried discussing ideas with him before, and I turn into this shy awkward creature who literally buries my head under blankets and pillows. I realize that’s something I need to work past, especially if I want to publish novels and have anyone anywhere read them (which I do), but it’s harder for me than I thought, even with someone who loves me unconditionally and supports me being a writer. The idea of having strangers cheering me on while writing is off putting. The idea of having other writers judge my work in discussion while they work on The Hunger Games 2.0 gives me anxiety, and I obviously have a bit of a judgment issue with the idea of talking with other people about their work. Plus, I’m an awful cheerleader. ‘Go Sportsball’ or whatever…

Also, I don’t feel like I want to “win” at writing 50,000 words. It doesn’t guarantee getting published, it’s not a full novel and it will still take several months if not longer to edit and flush it all out… Getting a badge online that says “you won NaNoWriMo” is not exactly a slot on the New York Times bestsellers list. I’m not an incredibly competitive person, and I don’t think I’ll want to be until I actually am competing for a spot on the NYT bestsellers list (move over The Bible, I’m coming for your longest running streak record!)

I think a bit of me is curious to try it though. As I said, maybe it would actually create the discipline of “writing is my job and I do it from 10-3 everyday.” Worst case scenario, I make an account, try it for a week, find out it really isn’t for me, and I don’t get a participation/victory badge. Boo Hoo.

Does anyone else do NaNoWriMo? Any thoughts, advice, disagreeing ideas? Any random comments on how Mona Lisa Sapperstein is the woooooooooorst?

Interview of Luther Siler: Author, Teacher, Geek

Our blogging friend Luther Siler of infinitefreetime.com has a book that came out this week, Searching for Malumba. It’s about Education, a topic we’re passionate about. Links below to get you to the book and many other writings by Luther!

CG: Hi Luther, you’re a new name here on Comparative Geeks. How about a quick bio for those new to you. You know… Kind of a station identification, if you will.
L: I’m a teacher and independent author who has spent most of my life bouncing around between Indiana and Chicago.  I’m married to a lovely and patient woman and have a four-year-old son.  I spend most of my time online at my blog,www.infinitefreetime.com, and on Twitter at @nfinitefreetime.  I have at least three books out right now depending on when you run this interview, since the fourth, a book about teaching called SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA: WHY TEACHING IS TERRIBLE… AND WHY WE DO IT ANYWAY comes out on October 27th.
One of these days, I hope to own an ocelot.
Snowpiercer CoverCG: So one of the most interesting posts I’ve read on infinitefreetime.com is your Snowpiercer review… A movie you did not like. You made me go back and read my own review… And how I talked about it being such a departure from the comic. Hmmm, not really a question there… tell me a blog post that you really liked!
L: Aaugh, that Snowpiercer review.  It’s the #1 Google result if you search for “Snowpiercer stupid.”  A bit of perspective: my site right now has just under 200,000 pageviews over its entire lifetime.  The Snowpiercer review is responsible for sixteen thousand of them.  My wife keeps telling me I should watch the movie again, liveblog why it’s stupid minute by minute, and then put the entire thing on Amazon for $2.99.  It would outsell all of my other books by a ridiculous margin, I think.
As far as a blog post I really liked?  Hmm.  There is a story of attempting to be a good parent called MOAR BUTTZ that I think is pretty good.  My wife nearly laughed herself into a heart attack the first time she read it.  It’s here.
CG: OH. MY. GOD. Everyone should follow that link.
It sounds like you’ve turned some of your blogging and other non-fiction writing into Searching for Malumba. Tell us a little about what that process has been like.
Searching for MalumbaL: I’ve known the title of my book about teaching was going to be called SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA (available here, in print and digitally!) for almost as long as I’ve had a teaching career, and I started in 2000.  Most of the material in the book has been previously published somewhere, but the majority of it isn’t available any longer and you would have to have been reading me for a really, really long time, I think, to feel like you weren’t getting your money’s worth. It’s basically a Best of Luther Siler on Teaching; if you read my blog and you’ve enjoyed my talking about my job, I think you’ll like MALUMBA quite a lot.
The process itself involved learning to work with a new program– this was my first book written in Scrivener– and an awful lot of reading and thinking about my career.  I’m so ADORABLE in those early essays.  I almost left them out, but every teacher is adorable during their first year or two.
CG: I haven’t spent too much time with it, but I do really like the IDEA of Scrivener.
Malumba is about education, and so I have to ask, a topic we’ve hit on a few times here on the blog… what do you think is the Purpose of Education?
L: That’s a difficult question for me to answer, honestly; it’s like asking what the purpose of light or air or gravity is: I dunno that it has a purpose, per se, but I know I can’t live without it.  I’m one of those people who is almost never satisfied with how much I know about anything, and one of my lifelong difficulties with my job is a serious inability to connect with kids who don’t want to know things.  I don’t care what it is.  I want to know more about it than I do now.  Education is the background radiation of my entire life.
CG: I now have a burning desire to write a series of posts about the Purpose of Air/Gravity.
Of course, education isn’t the only thing you blog about… read any good comics lately?
L: Man, I’ve read almost nothing BUT good comics lately.  The Iron Man relaunch is really promising.  Gail Simone’s CLEAN ROOM just started and it’s great.  DOCTOR STRANGE.  THOR.  KARNAK.  MS. MARVEL. SAGA.  COPPERHEAD.  All of the comics– yes, ALL of them– in the recent STAR WARS relaunch have been great.  So long as you don’t touch DC, we’re in the midst of quite a renaissance right now.  There’s more good stuff out there than I can read.
(There have been times where I’ve been quite the DC fan.  Right now nothing they’re doing appeals to me.  I keep trying, though.)
CG: Yeah, I had almost gotten into the New 52 when they ended it.
Comics related question: if you could have any one superpower, what would it be?
I’d go for one of the super-scientists, Tony Stark or Batman or Reed Richards or Hank Pym without the domestic violence.  The ability to make stuff to solve whatever other superpower needs I happen to have seems promising.
CG: So basically, you want to be Forge. Sounds good!
When you’re not writing non-fiction, I hear you write fiction. I think it’s my Amazon account telling me that, since I’ve picked up a couple of your books (as yet unread, sorry…). You’ve got short stories and novels both – which do you find easier to write?
The Benevolence ArchivesL: Short stories are easier, but novels are a lot more fun.  My BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES series is a novella with six short stories and a full-length novel, and the next project in that series will be another (novel-length) short story collection.  My other series, which is going to be called THE JOHANNES CYCLE as soon as the second book is out, is full-length novels, the first of which is called SKYLIGHTS.  That said, what I’m working on this week is two short stories.  So what the heck do I know?  🙂
CG: I hear you know something about promoting Mars exploration stories around the time Mars exploration movies come out…
You have self-published your work. Any advice for others looking at self-publishing – or finding a publisher?
L: I have an article here I keep pointing people toward, about how to publish your book.
My problem in life is that I have very little patience, and my computer skills are versatile enough that I’m not especially terrified by any of the technical demands that come with self-publishing.  Since I have no patience, the thought of slaving over query letters so that I can wait six months to be told no and then start all over again is not something I’m super interested in.  As of this precise second, my books have been downloaded or purchased 2,244 times since May of 2014.  There are writers who are not that successful and there are writers who are ENORMOUSLY more successful than that.  But not a single one of those books would be out there had I not decided to self-publish.  Sooner or later, someone with some pull will read something I’ve written, and if it’s good enough, that’s the day my life is gonna change.  I’m just gonna keep hustling until that happens rather than waiting to get lucky in a slush pile somewhere.
As far as advice?  Write every day.  And if you decide to write a book, start writing it and DO NOT STOP until it is good.  That’s how you write a book: you start, and you don’t stop until it’s good.  It sounds snide, but it’s as close to the truth as I’ve been able to get.
SkylightsCG: You have to choose, favorite thing you’ve published. Go!
L: It’s actually not that hard of a choice:  SKYLIGHTS, the first book of the Johannes cycle.  SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA is really close, though.  I love THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES a lot, but it’s not as personal as either of the other books.
CG: And finally, have I talked you into reading the Snowpiercer comic yet?…
L: I’ll try anything once.
CG: How about Hickman’s Avengers?
L: One of these days, man, I’m gonna have some extra money in my pocket at the comic shop and come home with a ton of Hickman trade paperbacks.  (Sidenote: I just bought the TPB of Warren Ellis’ INJECTION, a series I’d bought on inertia without any real idea what was going on, and it was SO MUCH BETTER in trade form.)  For my money, the best Avengers story ever told was the “Under Siege” arc Roger Stern wrote, in issues 270-276.
Thanks so much for the interview, David and Holly!  I really appreciate it!

And thanks to Luther for the interview! Hopefully you’re not even here reading this now… you’re off perusing Luther’s books and blog – or maybe some of his stuff on Sourcerer! In closing: #LutherForHugos!

The Last Witch Hunter

Last weekend I got to go see the Last Witch Hunter. I had mixed feelings about seeing it because reviews had been pretty bad, but I really like Vin Diesel and know that he is actually a big fantasy fan. I also realize that there are a lot of movies that I enjoy that do not get good reviews. In the end I decided to go and see for myself.

Now it is not the greatest movie ever, but I still had a good time for a couple of hours, which in my book is a win. There were definitely some elements of the movie that I really appreciated and made it a more enjoyable experience. So I’ll try to avoid spoilers and give you a couple of reasons I enjoyed The Last Witch Hunter!

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Netflix Discovery: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Have you tried playing Netflix’s “Max,” their quiz program that is supposed to help you decide what to watch when you’re at a loss? I have…

And it tends to recommend rubbish. Or at least things that don’t fit my mood. I think I told it I liked Mulan once (who doesn’t?) and suddenly all it would recommend to me was Eddie Murphy movies, and not even the good ones. It’s a fantastic idea, just usually poorly executed.

I generally have more luck reading the descriptions and saying, “why not?” Based on the description for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which combined the terms “flapper” and “lady detective,” I figured this was a show I would love. I was right!

Set in late 1920’s Melbourne, the show focuses on the Honourable Phryne (pronounced fry-knee) Fisher, who has returned to her hometown of Melbourne for good after over a decade in Europe. Almost as soon as she arrives, she stumbles upon the apparent murder of her friend Lydia’s husband, which leads to a cocaine smuggling ring and also an illegal abortionist. Along the way, she meets Detective Jack Robinson and his Constable Hugh Collins, who resist her help and yet, as with any good amateur detective show, they start working together over the series.

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