Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I Thought the Showers Were Supposed to Be in April

Howdy, squiders. When it rains, it pours, eh?

Had a remediation company out today finally. The drywall is still wet, and while we don’t have the official estimate yet, the guy thought it would be like $12,000 to fix everything. So that’s fun.

She said sarcastically.

Also I’m sick. I developed a cough last Thursday, which has been getting steadily worse since then, so yesterday I went to the doctor. I guess they have a flu test now? It’s like a COVID test, a swab up your nose.

Anyway I came back positive for the flu.

Not awesome.

I haven’t really slept since Thursday night because I keep coughing myself awake, which is also not awesome. I generally sleep pretty well so this ongoing insomnia is new and disconcerting to me. But apparently there is medication you can take to help with the flu, so I am on it now.

Being sick as an adult, and especially a parent, is the not fun. When the small, mobile ones are sick, they get the special “sick TV” in their room and get to hang out on screens all day. I have to “do my responsibilities” and whatnot.

That being said, I did take today off work today (after going in yesterday, which was probably not the best idea, but I thought I just had a cold that had morphed into bronchitis–a fairly common thing when I was younger–and also knew there was a bunch to be done that only I was going to do) and have had most of the day to myself.

It is weird!

The medication, which, like many medications, has a warning about operating heavy machinery and, unlike many medications, has actually turned my brain into cotton. So far I’ve only texted the wrong person once, but it’s probably just best that I don’t try to do anything that requires any thinking.

When I have a day to myself, my instinct is always to catch up on projects that have fallen a bit behind, but today I’ve actually managed to rest. I read 75% of and finished We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen, which is scifi…well, not horror, but horror-adjacent. I really enjoyed it. Five stars. Riveting. I’d probably say the same thing even if I was thinking clearly.

Anyway, things continue to suck in this corner of the world. I hope yours is better!


Not Dead, Just Drowning

Hey, squiders, just wanted to give you a heads up. I didn’t mean to go all radio silence on you.

Our basement flooded overnight last Thursday night. (Our best guess is that the sump pump, which was already elderly, just gave up. Or that it got behind and, once the water hit other electronics, tripped the outlet and then it gave up.) We had over a third of our yearly rainfall in 48 hours which, as you can imagine, went poorly. Especially because we’re borderline a desert.

Anyway, Thursday night when we went to bed the basement was dry, and Friday morning when I got up early to do a medical test, there was three inches of standing water across the entire basement.

Our basement is partially finished, and while we’ve always had a bit of an issue figuring out what to do with it, we had begun converting the finished part to a kids’ hangout area. So, unfortunately, we had a fair amount of stuff on the floor. We’d recently moved all our movies and video games down but had yet to put them back on the shelves they go on. We had two retro gaming systems out that the small, mobile ones had been using. My mom had just given me several watercolor books that I was looking forward to going through.

Friday was spent desperately trying to dry the basement out. We managed to get the sump pump going again, which dried out the unfinished portion decently fast, but every water remediation company in a 50-mile radius had a 4-day waiting list, and every equipment rental place in a 150-mile radius was also out of water remediation equipment. You couldn’t even buy anything.

Because, it turns out, everyone’s basements flooded.

I mean, no, not everyone. Definitely an exaggeration. But a LOT of people’s. And since we live in a place where it doesn’t really rain (see: desert) we don’t have the infrastructure in place to deal with massive flooding.

After checking four different stores I finally managed to secure a RugDoctor, with the idea that we would suck the water out of the carpet. Friends, we sucked so much water out of the carpet, and yet it did not seem to actually be getting any drier. Late Friday night we came to the very sad realization that the carpet could not be saved. Not only was it not drying out (and we couldn’t get anyone to help us), but it was full of dirty water and was going to be near impossible to ever get clean again.

So Saturday we spent the day tearing out the carpet. Waterlogged carpets and pads are very heavy, so I actually reinjured my back a bit, right after I’d finally gotten it feeling pretty good. That took most of the day, though we had to duck out for a few hours to go to a dance recital for the smaller, mobile one.

When we came back from that, we discovered that the sump pump had well and truly died. We could get it to run for five minutes at a time before it would give up yet again, and we had to let it cool down for 45 minutes before it would start up again. We had a small fountain pump from a landscaping project that we put down in the sump well, but it really only was powerful enough to keep the water from overflowing again.

As you can imagine, you also could not buy a sump pump anywhere in a gazillion-mile radius. We ended up buying one off of Amazon, but it wouldn’t arrive until Sunday night. So Saturday afternoon, night (we woke up a few times overnight to check on the status of the basement), and Sunday day, we had to keep checking and occasionally running the sump pump to keep things contained.

Sunday afternoon we got the new sump pump and replaced it.

And all this time, it has kept raining, on and off.

Work this week has been crazy–I’ve put in six hours of overtime, four today alone–which is not helping.

I still have not gotten a remediation company to come look at the basement (are the walls growing mold? Possibly!) or a plumber to come look at our utility room drain, which is apparently completely clogged and was no help whatsoever. The floors are mostly dry? A week later? But they’re not all dry.

We tried to save the movies/video games by laying them out for a week upstairs/in the garage, but apparently they smell like mildew now so that bodes ill.

Long story short (too late), the basement is a huge problem, and one that continues to have further complications. And that is why I have not been around.

Wish us luck, squiders. We’re going to need it.

Today’s Post is Delayed Due to Tornado Warnings

Oof. The weather today has been something, squiders. We almost never get tornado warnings here–the mountains tend to disrupt the weather systems that make them. In fact, I can’t actually remember having to shelter in place for one ever, though we did do tornado drills as a kid.

(I had to bring the dog into the basement, and she’s never been down there before. She was not a fan.)

Anyway, nothing got done during the tornado warning because the basement isn’t the best place to work, I was anxious about family members and where they were (the small, mobile ones weren’t released from school until an hour after they were supposed to be because of the tornado warning), and because I just couldn’t focus.


So, what’s up?

My 1000 words a day goal on Book 1 is being very spotty. Oh well. On we blindly stumble.

What else is happening?

Let’s see, I told you guys about the big deal review for Hidden Worlds already.

I sold a short story this week, so that’s also exciting for me! It’s a British publication which doesn’t really mean anything except I don’t think I’ve sold to one before.

Due to the larger, mobile one’s battery incident on Friday I’ve learned there’s a national battery ingestion hotline.

Eurovision is happening this week, and I love Eurovision, so I’m super excited. Not sure who I’m hoping to win.

My mother moved closer yesterday, so hopefully I’m going to get to see her more.

Otherwise, May is just being May, and no one is really surprised.

Sorry for the disjointed entry, squiders. I didn’t want you guys to think I’d forgotten you. See you probably Friday, with more coherency. Fingers crossed, anyway.

There is an Angry Crow Outside My House

Good evening, squiders. I have an angry crow outside my house. It’s been there since we got back from Scotland, so I’m pretty sure we, personally, have not done anything to make it mad, but who knows?

It is, however, very annoying. We’ve been taking the dog for a walk every morning about 6, 6:30 am (before it gets too hot to function) and it will sit there and yell at us. And then it will follow us up the street, yelling at us. Today it kind of swooped at me. Like, as a warning, not like it was actually going to attack.

(It is not just me. It is swooping/yelling at pretty much everyone. I think it might be the dog? I am not generally out front without the dog and other people on the street are also walking their dogs, so more data might be needed. Sometimes it yells at me while I’m watering the flowers, but this is typically immediately after the walk so I’m not sure if it’s not because of dog association.)

Anyway, as I said, it is annoying, and I would like to be able to be outside with being yelled at by an angry crow. However, I’m not sure what to do here. I’ve heard stories about crows, about how they’re smart and they’ll remember you and they will tell crows you’ve never even seen about you, so I don’t want to do anything actively antagonizing.

But I also want to be able to be outside. And I’m sure my neighbors would prefer if the crow were not yelling at me at 6 am.

Sometimes there are more crows, but only one is actively upset, as far as I can tell.

Does anyone have experience with crows? Is there a good way to figure out why it’s mad/get it to stop being mad?

Part of me wonders if it hasn’t nested in one of the trees, and that’s why it’s being so aggressive, but it seems like it’s too late in the year for that.

And, you know, barring calming it down, is there a good way to get rid of it, in a way that’s not going to make me Enemy Number One for the local crow population?

Please help. It is so loud.

Have Some Castles

Good morning, squiders! I’ve just returned from two weeks in Scotland. We had a lovely trip, and perhaps I’ll talk more about it in a bit, but it turns out when you’re out of the country for two weeks there’s a lot of catch-up that needs to be done.

However, I didn’t want to leave you with nothing, so here’s some pictures of some (not all) of the castles we went and saw while there. There’s over 1000 castles in Scotland, ranging from ruins to still-lived-in homes, which does say something about the state of the country during the medieval time period. But as someone who comes from someplace without castles, I think they’re neat, and so did the small, mobile ones.

A lot of the ruins we looked at had been destroyed (either by defenders or by attackers) during the Jacobite Revolution, which took place over the first half of the 1700s. (Carnasserie was destroyed earlier. Carnasserie was surprisingly neat though because they’ve fixed it up enough that you can climb all five stories up to the top of the castle ruins. Also it was free.)

(Eilean means island, by the by.)

Inveraray, Dunvegan, and Eilean Donan are active homes used by the Campbell, Macleod, and Macrae clans respectively. Dunvegan has been continuously lived in for 800 years, which is pretty cool (and surprisingly rare). Eilean Donan was destroyed in the early 1700s but was rebuilt in the early 1900s, which is quite a feat.

I’ve got pictures of other structures too–standing stones and circles, neolithic burial cairns, iron age forts, stuff along those lines. It is interesting, living in a place where there are seemingly people everywhere, to go some place where things have been standing for sometimes thousands of years, and people have mostly…left them alone.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the castles! Thursday we’ll start on the Master Plot summer series, so I shall see you then! (There is a small chance that all gets delayed until Friday. But it will happen this week, no worries.)

Still Irrationally Mad at SETI

Story time, squiders. Hooray!

Recently I was on YouTube, catching up on my subscriptions (I’m doing better about not just sitting in front of YT and letting it suck away all my time, but I do sometimes purposefully build in time for it) and watched a video from Buzzfeed Unsolved about aliens.

One of the stops they made was to SETI, and I was reminded that I am mad at them.

Childhood is a funny thing, squiders. Sometimes the things you went through and the emotions you felt linger, into adulthood and more than they probably should, and my anger at SETI is one of those.

(Of course, til said video, the last time I even thought about SETI was…oh, who even knows.)

As a kid, I want to say middle school, but it may have been early high school or late elementary school–I really do not remember–we had to write a 10-15 page research paper. Now, 10-15 pages these days is nothing, but as a kid, that is the Longest Thing Ever, and I wanted to make sure that I picked an interesting topic that I could stick with and find enough information on.

Being a giant nerd, I decided my subject would be whether life was possible on other planets. However, one of the requirements of the assignment was that at least two of your resources had to be interviews that you, yourself, did with appropriate subject matter experts.

Extremely-introverted child!Kit did not like that. Oh no.

Luckily, email-based interviews counted, so I did my research and sent out emails to people who seemed like they would be good fits. And one of those emails went to SETI. I don’t remember who, exactly, but it was a person, and not just the organization.

And whoever-SETI-person-was sent back an extremely nasty email, saying that they didn’t have time to talk to me and to not bother them.

Imagine being somewhere in the 12-15-year-old age range and getting a mean email from an adult in response to a simple request for a school report. To this day, it’s still one of the meanest emails I’ve ever gotten.

And the kicker? I also sent emails off to a university professor and a NASA scientist, both of who were more than happy to help me and were very nice people. I remember thinking it was so weird at the time, that the SETI person–objectively the least prestigious of the bunch–was the one who couldn’t be bothered.

And it did leave a lingering bad opinion of SETI in my mind. Like, as an adult, I can realize that one bad apple does not a bad organization make, and that maybe that person was just having a bad day or whatever, but the logic doesn’t override the emotion of being a child and having an adult tell you that you’re not worth their time or respect.

And I also realize that it was a single email, not lingering abuse or any other number of worse things that a child can experience, but childhood emotion doesn’t care about that logic either.

So here we are. Years and years later.

I guess, like Mr. Darcy, my good opinion once lost is lost forever.

But, seriously, if you’re going to send a mean email to a child, maybe just don’t reply at all.


A sneak peek at my inner monologue right now, squiders.

You know, I suspect at one point in my life, I got a lot more done than I do regularly now.

Con starts tomorrow! How ready am I for it?

Eh, I’d say middling. The list from last week looks like this:

  • Sign up for author co-op table slot
  • File sales permits with the usual government agencies
  • Figure out what horse panel is supposed to be about (alas, no descriptions are available yet)
  • Research how far a horse can actually travel
  • Prepare moderator questions for editing panel
  • Costumes? (Probably too late, but ponder anyway)
  • Make Writers’ Motivation Series fliers to put out
  • Order fun masks?

Also, according to the schedule the con sent out very early this morning, I have autographs at 5 o’clock tomorrow? I don’t think I’ve ever had autographs before. I am unsure what this means, actually.

(The answer on the costumes was no, it was much too late to get on that. I could re-wear something but I’m not feeling anything.)

Panel information is out, so I just need to sit down and write things down (horse panel is about realistic travel in fantasy, which I generally know about, but it would be good to have some facts at hand about how long horses can generally go in a day, how fast a sailing ship can go, etc.) and think up some moderator questions for the editing panel (none provided this year, can probably steal/modify from my questions for last year’s panel).

Masks are unlikely to happen at this point. It moving weekends this year really did throw me off.

Actually, I didn’t really check book stock either. Uh. I hope I have enough with the added autograph session (whatever that is–I’m just going to ask when I get there).

Oh, no, I forgot about the laundry.

*kermit flails*

In non-con news, I started my new job outside the house this weekend, which is going fine. It’s weird, not going to lie, but it’s probably good for me, except I am definitely drinking too much coffee.

And I finally put together my revision plan for Book One! It only took me about 20-30 minutes. An example of one of those things that keeps getting put off that doesn’t actually take too long.

And now, alas, September is over. Or, yay, September is over? September always feels like a weird transition month to me, with no substance of its own. Part of me is sad, because my creative work took a back seat to other things I needed to do. The rest of me is like YAY OCTOBER, which is counterproductive, really.

I am excited for the con this weekend, even though I’m not as prepared as normal for it. It’s always nice to just get out of the house and hang out, and I normally get a lot of work done between panels and feel productive.

Well, wish me luck, squiders! I’ll see you next week for the wrap-up.

Butterflies, Part Deux

Apologies if I spelled Deux wrong. I don’t actually speak any French. My sister asked me to help her with a French dialogue once, back in high school, and after a few lines she said, “Never mind,” and took it away.

So, if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got unnecessarily invested, and it was all very emotional.

Fast forward to her birthday this year. We get her a fish tank, with the promise of fish sometime in the future. (It is now the future and she has a Betta named Bubbles, who I am again unnecessarily invested in. Apparently I am a lover of all animals.) My sister, however, got her a butterfly kit. With caterpillars.

(The same sister who was disgusted by my French, yes.)

However, the caterpillars were essentially at the chrysalis phase (ginormous) and this was a problem, because we spent most of the next month out of town. So I had to foist the butterflies/caterpillars off on a friend, who dutifully took pictures and videos so smaller, mobile one could live vicariously.

My sister felt bad about the smaller, mobile one missing the butterflies, so she ordered replacement caterpillars with the idea that we would reuse the same butterfly kit otherwise.

About a week later, the caterpillars arrived–dead. And not even caterpillars. Chrysalises. But they were very obviously dead.

Apparently they’d taken three times as long to arrive as expected, and had probably been baked because, you know, summer.

But imagine, if you will, a small child, very excitedly opening the very obvious box of caterpillars–only to find death waiting for them.

Good times. Good times for all.

Anyway, I returned them (got to wonder what the UPS employee thought about that) and my sister ordered replacements, and shortly thereafter we received four alive caterpillars and all was well.

They all made it to the chrysalis phase without incident (perhaps having learned to not shake them around from last year). They all hatched! But, alas, one of our butterflies did not form correctly in their chrysalis. It was more obviously deformed than the one last year (I think it only had one wing, and it was shriveled and wrapped around its body) but much more mobile, so, while still sad, not overwhelmingly so.

Smaller, mobile one did not name them this year. Perhaps this helped. With the attachment issues.

Yesterday we released them (surprisingly difficult to get them up and out of the butterfly kit) and put the deformed one on our last remaining flower that survived the hailstorm on Friday (guess what! We need a new roof in addition to almost every plant in the yard being torn to ribbons. Glee). I’m not 100% sure what the butterflies are going to do, because everyone’s yards/flowers are decimated due to the hailstorm, but hopefully they’ll find food somewhere.

I also forgot to check on the other one to see if it had gotten eaten yet.

I actually feel a little bad about not being so invested this year. Godspeed, nameless butterflies, wherever you are.

I’ve Been Playing in an Among Us Tournament

Sorry to talk about Among Us YET AGAIN, but it continues to be fun. Well, my group is fun, and I like hanging out with them, so by extension, the game is fun.

Anyway, my Among Us discord has been hosting a tournament for the last three weeks. I signed up because it seemed like a safe environment to get some good practice. I mean, there’s games going on fairly regularly within the group, but they aren’t always serious affairs. Sometimes we play variations like Hide and Seek or Vent Tag, sometimes everyone is feeling silly and are more focused on being silly than finding the imposters, etc. It’s fun, but not always good practice.

They had 12 tournament sessions, and your first three were scored (I only did three, because that was all I could make). I ended up doing one on each map: Mira, Skeld, and Polus. Today all the points got added up, the top ten got announced, and the final is set for Saturday afternoon, my time.

(We have a lot of members from the UK, plus other European countries, so games are sometimes at weird times. For me.)

And I actually did really well. I was sick my first session, which was on my best map, Mira, but came in second for that session, which felt pretty good.

(I love Mira. I think it confuses a lot of people which means if you have any sort of semblance of an idea of how to use it, it’s really powerful.)

(Also all the vents are connected.)

My second session was on Skeld, which I am awful at. I can’t seem to figure out how to 1) kill without someone immediately walking in on me, or 2) not die immediately. I went into it dreading it, and it somehow went worse than I thought it would. I came in second to last.

Yesterday I did my final session, on Polus. And man, I crushed it. Everything went perfectly–I was voting right, I was staying alive, and the one game I got imposter, me and my partner won by the second round. I was only on the losing side one game.

I came in first for the session, which is madness.

So, for the tournament, I’m in 12th place. Way higher than I expected. I thought I’d be more, like, 18th-22nd. (There’s 35 people total.)

So I’m pretty proud of myself.

There’s also a chance I might play in the final. One of the top 10 people can’t play, so the 11th person has already been moved into the final, so if someone else can’t make it, I’m in the bullpen, so to speak.

I don’t really want to play in the final–that seems a little too exciting–but for my first video game tournament of any sort, it’s been pretty good. And it has been fun to really focus on the strategy of the game, though I don’t think I’d want to do it all the time.

(Also, perhaps I should never enter a tournament again. That way I can always think back to this time and remember how well I did this one time.)


Reading through the story continues. I’m deeper into the story, but finding it hard to focus on critiquing myself versus getting sucked into the story. But we persevere.

Hope you have a good weekend, squiders!

There is an Impostor…

So, squiders. I did it. I jumped on the Among Us bandwagon.

Among Us, for those who haven’t heard of it (unlike the bigger, mobile one, who apparently knows all about it from school, sigh), is an online computer game where you are one of up to 10 little astronaut guys trying to get things done on your spaceship/station/planet (depending on the map). But one (or two or three) person is an impostor, who runs around killing the other astronauts and sabotaging things.

(Here is more information, if interested.)

It’s essentially an online version of Werewolf or Mafia, if you’ve played those.

The game is about two years old, though I first became aware of it about a month ago when the memes started circulating on Tumblr. At the time I did just enough research to understand where the cute little astronaut things came from, and called it good.

But then it kept showing up.

And then there was the livestream AOC did of her playing it, which people kept talking about, so I went to check it out. And it looked fun. That’s when I began to consider maybe playing it myself.

And then my video game newsletter featured it. I went and looked–the game is only $5 (and apparently the mobile version is free, though I haven’t tried that version).

$5 for a game is not very much. That’s like, one less trip to the coffee shop for me.

So I left it open for a few days while I considered what I wanted to do. And Tuesday was, well, Tuesday, so I decided I deserved a little fun.

Good Lord is it addictive.

Like all online things, it depends on the other people there. If you can find a good group of people, you can happily play several games in a row, and it’s a great time. The game’s not complicated, though there is strategy to it, both as an impostor and a crewmate (such as figuring out how to do tasks in electrical without getting murdered).

(Alternately, there are some very immature people out there, who are probably literal twelve year olds. The good news is that it’s easy to find a new game.)

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday playing it, which was not the best use of my time, but I had fun and now it’s mostly out of my system. But I do feel like I’ve gotten my $5 out of it, and the replay-ability is high.

If you’ve been considering it, give it a try. Especially since the mobile version is free.

As for Nano, well, I’m a day behind due to election shenanigans/Among Us, but I’ll catch up by the end of the day. My MC found the dead body right before I headed this way, and so far so good.

See you next week, squiders!