Tag Archives: standoffs

Sometimes…


Sometimes I don’t want to wear the big boy pants. Especially when I’m not feeling so adult, or even competent.
I need to listen more, and to learn not to spread myself so thin. I get caught up in things, enthusiastic, and sometimes will go off without completely understanding what I’m trying to accomplish, or why.

There are times when I miss key details. Because I want to badly to DO GOOD. To be PART OF THINGS.
“Yeah,” you say, “don’t we all?”

Well, yeah. But I’ve been a certified “weird person” all of my life. Couldn’t help it. I’m still a misfit most places. Hell, everywhere. Continue reading

where it’s at


Oops. Well, I forget to post here for a bit. There was way too much life happening. Some of it had to do with the increasingly wayward child, some of it had to do with deadlines (most of them self-imposed), some of it had to do with other folks. During the last month or so, we’ve had to relocate for two days so that the complex could spray for bugs (seems to have worked), I’ve finalized the cover and contents of my book. somehow finagled renewing most of my web properties despite not having enough  money to do so (I spent the money on eating out during the two days we were in the hotel), and cooked a semi-gourmet meal damn near every night.

Did see the new pulmonologist. He spewed some hope, saying that there had to be some reason why the scarring in my lungs isn’t healing, and they’re not returning to full capacity. The last guy said that to, and tried to put me on the Atkins diet to fix it.

Wrong answer. I distrust fad diets, and, though I’m sure he had his reasons for recommending that (mostly having to do with my weight), I have my own reasons not to do it. We’ll talk about willful disobedience later. though, and in another context.

Continue reading

Edison Nuthouse


Sunday dawned bright and early. I know, because I was awake. I fell awake at about 4:30…watched tv for a bit–preseason football. Miami and Jacksonville. The Dolphins won going away, though Jacksonville’s run game looked impressive at times. They could move between the twenties but they couldn’t get the rock into the end zone.

The Bears rebroadcast was scheduled at 7. I set the dvr to record the thing, made a pot of coffee for my wife, took my morning meds and waited for the percocet to knock me out for a bit. Figured I could get a little rest that way.

It would have worked, except that the child woke up and decided to have a chat with the rabbits.

I’m a notoriously light sleeper, and that did the trick. I got up and started the pot running, got myself something to eat (wholegrain toast and a cup of yogurt), and made ready to deal with the teeny drama queen, our eight-year-old grandchild.

She would want to watch cartoons, I knew, and that wasn’t going to happen, because the Bears game supercedes cartoons. Televised sports are the reason why we have a tv. So if the Cubs, Bears, or BlackHawks are on, they are a priority item. The child knows this. But that won’t stop her from wanting cartoons, or netflix.

Because the electronic babysitter is what she knows.

And Triscuits is what she wanted for breakfast. I told her that she should have some yogurt with those, to make it a better meal. She had just the yogurt, not enough food…later she complained that she had a little stomach ache, and was sent up to bed to rest, since she was getting cranky about it.

The smell of frying bacon brought her back down an hour or so later. I made some pancakes to wrap around the bacon strips, and one of those fixed the tummyache. She was just hungry.

Still cranky though. The child has this weird habit of clamming up when asked almost any question. She makes the pouty face, goes all glassy-eyed and just stands there with her face hanging out.

You’d think it autism or something, but it’s deliberate. She controls when she does this. And we’re trying to fix it.

Not easy. I’ve ordered her a special surprise, something to make her trips to and from school easier. She knows she has a surprise coming, but not what it is.

That’s our lever. She’s been told that she has to behave properly, not be a smartass or have a sassy mouth, answer direct questions, do her schoolwork and chores. Nothing extraordinary. She’s eight. You can only expect so much.

Her impulse control is so weak that she’s really in danger of me sending the thing back. Instead we’re going to have a black mark/gold star thing. Every time she is disobedient or otherwise misbehaves, a black mark appears on the whiteboard, and she is sent to the corner for a while. Every time she does her chores or homework without being asked, a gold star appears and she gets positive attention.

Because it’s the attention she wants. She thinks that she should be the center of attention at all times. I mean she really thinks that. For no reason other than simple selfishness and narcissism. She’s said so.

My wife told her that two-year-olds think like that, and that it wasn’t a reasonable expectation.

That’s when the baby-show ban started. No more cartoons for the preschooler. She loves Dora and Max and Ruby.

On the other hand, she also loves those ridiculous Disney tween situation comedies. The problem with that is that the characters are all sophisticated and sassy, and she mimics the smartass comments and sarcastic attitudes.

So we’ve instituted a ban on those too.

Hell, I’d ban tv altogether if I thought it would help. This kid has spent so much time nodding mindlessly at the boob tube that she’s incapable of thinking things out.

She needs to be reading and reading and reading, and she hates reading. It’s too hard, we’re told. Same circus as usual.

It feels like we’re getting closer to cooperation, but there’s still a long way to go.

Unnecessary stress. I have this giant pain in my shoulder that no meds can dent, and my neck muscles are like rocks.

So I’m not stressing over it. The kid gets the message, or doesn’t. She doesn’t, she spends the rest of her life in the corner. There are rules everywhere. Nobody is going to give her 24/7 attention.

That’s it.

I left the writing forum. Left a kinda nasty flounce post, which was taken down within ten minutes of its posting, talking about some of the things detailed in the previous blogpost. I don’t need that kind of stress anymore either. One of my friends there remarked “…most of these people have spent maybe one or two years writing, and they haven’t even finished one story.” And they expect parades for the first paragraph. And they won’t listen to advice. They know everything.

Screw those people. I don’t have anything to say to them. I don’t need them to critique my writing, I don’t want to read theirs, I don’t care what song they’re listening to now or how they prepare to write their one ungrammatical paragraph a day.  I’m too busy writing my own things.

Even this thousand words or so a day of stream-of-conscious semirant is preferable.

I did work for a while on the Letters from Outside stuff. It’s almost done. I’ll unveil the archive in due time. And the new short story is in polishing now. Tomorrow I’ll finish the hospital portion of “abed”, and put it up somewhere on the website so folks can read it. Then I’ll edit the whole thing into readable shape…hopefully by the end of the week, so I can move into a new project as I begin moving my things from this office into the bedroom, clearing the way for the kid to have her own room. Maybe that’ll help. Couldn’t do it before because of the hernia surgery.

Yay.  I get to squeeze all of my stuff into a corner of the bedroom. I think my friend Scott is right–I’ll need to get vertical with it. At least as much as I can. Isn’t really possible to stack guitars.

The Bears lost, though the first string looked okay. Cubs lost but took the series against the Cardinals 3-1. The Disney Three Musketeers wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and I think I even chuckled once or twice. I was going to let the child watch Free Willy 2 after that, but she got mouthy and presumptuous and canceled that bit of goodwill. If her plan was to avoid reading by being an asshole, she succeeded admirably. Louis CK is right, you know.

More tomorrow. Gotta catch up on my correspondence. Related article

Dorkday


NSFW

Today was one of those days too…but a different kind of one of those days. We actually seem to be making some progress with the kid. While she’s still often defiant, she spends time thinking about what she should do before she does it (at least most of the time), and that’s one of the primary lessons we’re trying to get across.

That’s a plus-even though the process is maddening.

On the other hand, I was surrounded by stupid and by obstinate on the internet. I interrupted that parade of nincompoops to watch and excellent Cubs game, but the poop is still there.

Most of us on the net belong to a hobby forum of some kind at one time or another. Involvement is cyclical and depends on time and desire. I’m not much of a joiner. I’ve belonged to seven forums in the nearly 20 years I’ve been online. Most of them I drifted away from.

One forum I’ve been a member of for nine years, first as ______________, a username I shan’t disclose, and then under my usual title moderan. It’s ostensibly a forum for writers. Most of the time it’s tolerable, and I have some good friends there. Once in a while it’s fun, and someone shows real wit and makes time pass easily.

Other times…well, it sucks. Currently it’s going through such massive suck that I’m contemplating a hiatus. Hell, I’m thinking about leaving completely, and flouncing just to make it official, before something actually blows up.

The culture of this site is such that all of these tyro writers expect candy and awards all of the time, and advice from people who have “been there”, and “done that” fall into the same category as “wannabes” with no discernible publication history or expertise.

Anything contradictory is seen as negative, as “no fun.” It’s much like kindergarten. I’ve spent the better part of three days having an argument via personal message with a moderator who cannot admit that he was wrong, and instead indulges in armchair psychoanalysis. “Skodt” is this worthy’s appellation.

The impetus for this whole thing was a poster that asked how to describe the smell and taste of pot.

Mr. Skodt chimed in, saying that he had no personal experience, but that burning weed smelled like skunk or like garbage. You know, that kinda cliched bullshit.

I basically told him he had his head up his ass, adding that I have had extensive personal experience which said that he was wrong.

He stood his ground. Still is standing the same ground, despite repeated proof. His ego cannot even conceive that he’s been schooled, and without effort.

His English usage is so bad that I could not reasonably call him a competent writer. He has no business teaching other people to do what he does.

I copied off all of the pm exchanges and sent the file to the administrators. Since I have been a longtime member, have been staff at this place, and have otherwise given my time and talent generously, I feel entitled to better treatment than writing messages to a sneering buffoon.

And not the only one. There’s a whole list of moderators and other staff who are just useless, who have no expertise in writing, publishing, or anything else, who feel free to give advice to similarly struggling people, most of them young.

From my “advanced perspective” (I’ve sold at last count one hundred and ten stories, thirty-two poems or lyrics, about two hundred news articles, and one book back in the 80s), this is maddening. It’s just clamor, and it has no direction.

I’m also tired of asking my friends on staff to mediate disputes that arise because people get their egos in an uproar when they’re hip-checked.

Another poster has a book coming out. She’s publishing through one of those pay-by-the-book schlock outfits, something that I ferreted out yesterday. She’s not good enough to publish traditionally, and apparently too stupid to do the research that would have resulted in a self or indie-pubbed volume. She refuses all help anyway. She knows what she is doing, in her own head.

Another cannot write coherently, edit, proof, or do anything resembling story, but claims that he will have a book out, has an editor and proofreader, and aspires to be an editor. I offered him a green visor I bought on eBay some time ago. Among other things.

These people need to be told the truth. I think it’s better that I do it than some editor or publisher do it when it counts. What happened to realistic self-assessment?

“Well, it has three 4-star reviews and two three-star reviews. I want to fire back at the 3-star reviewer because he only looked at the flaws and I only want smoke blown in my direction if not actually up my ass.”

I swear on a stack of Necronomicons that this is really the person’s attitude. It’s only slightly paraphrased.

I got a copy of the ebook from the publisher. Sad trash it is, about as literate and creative as Disney’s Mulan, a candidate for worst movie ever made in my not so humble opinion. Approximately as many grammarical/spelling errors per page as a Stephenie Meyer tome, and about as entertaining.

That’s the only review that will appear from this source. This party’s attitude has from the very start been so bad that I’m almost not sorry she’s being taken for a ride. And of course Moderator A refuses to do anything to help;it’s not his job.

The site almost slipped away before. I think it’s going this time. There’s no there, there, anymore. I haven’t had anything approaching an intelligent conversation since before my hernia surgery.

Sad. I know, your hearts bleed for me. I’ve pretty much decided not to go back, even if it means abandoning a couple of decent projects I have going. My former favorite part of the site, the monthly Literary Maneuvers, has been broken down by these dimbulbs and their demands also. My last entry, a first draft that I didn’t bother to edit, took the red ribbon.

It stopped being fun.

I don’t have time anymore, during those few precious hours when I can do what I want to do, to argue with people about anything. I sure as hell don’t want to be disrespected by some yutz forum mod with an ego problem.

So, in the spirit of Soundgarden’s Whitey Ford, here’s my take on the matter.

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Go fuck yourself. Do it in the road.

Hey, you, tyro writer with the gossamer skin. Fuck you too. Fuck you on wheels, with fire.

Hey, you writingforums litfic pencil dicks. Yeah, you. Fuck you with a rhino horn. When you turn to profile, I can see the sun through your ears.

This has been a recording.

 

 

names: Skodt, Lewdog, Shadowalker, Jamie. If you go there, you are forewarned of their assholishness. There Are more, but that’s a good start.

Wakin’ up is hard to do


We’ve been spending much time this last week trying to figure out how to best insinuate the idea for “good taste” and “taking on a little more responsibility” into the life of our eight-year-old girlchild. She’s pretty independent, definitely a bit of a dramamama, definitely intelligent though just as definitely not as book-learned as she should be.

She loves the pets…so feeding/taking care of the rabbits has become her main job task. Playing with Buster is one of her favorite things. I suspect he likes it too, but he’s still suspicious of this small interloper. He has also taken on a great degree of independence, and is very good at making his wishes known (for example, the litterbox was let go a couple of days too long. He took the paper garbage bag, tore a hole in the side of it, pissed about a quart of ammoniac boycatpiss into and onto it, and then sidled over to give me a quick headbonk.)

Took half a roll of two-ply to fix that. Hard to be mad at him though. I’d feel the same way.

Which brings us to the subject of empathy, which the child does not seem to have much of. She’s been shuttled about so much that a lot of her feelings are locked up. Eventually they’ll surface-I imagine it’ll happen when hormonal challenges start setting in, a couple of years down the road.

We’ve banned the viewing of Spongebob, which I just can’t stand, and have severley limited the viewing of “baby shows”, i.e., programs that are way below her age level. Mind you, they’re not below her reading or ‘rithmetic level-but that’s the point. The child can barely add, and hasn’t yet learned the technique of sounding out words to produce the result. Nobody has ever taken the time to work with her on these things.

At least until recently. I’ve begun working with her on reading and on math skills, trying to show the relationships between numbers and methods so that she’ll have a good overview, and alternating pages of books. It’ll be a while til there are results-she seems to enjoy the process for the most part, but gets all stubborn and pouty when pressed. She puts on the “Can’t-Make-Me” face, which some kid is one day gonna slap right off 0f her.

Bad attitude, directly inherited.

I work on a reward system. Yesterday she walked halfway to school  by herself, as the daily round trip is too hard for me. Today she went all by herself. I don’t anticipate any problems. Once she’s past our block of condos, there’s the main intersection, with a crossing guard who already knows her, and another a block away by the driveway into the school property.

For making the half-trip, she was rewarded with a giant Mountain Dew slurpee, which lasted until almost 8 pm with a trip to the fridge for a couple of hours to stay cold.

Homework and chores come first after arrival. This is agreed to by all. I try to take a little extra time to explain things, and to exercise more patience than I ordinarily would.

She’s doing okay…and the daily trip will get easier in a week or so when her scooter arrives. Provided that she continues to act like a young lady and not a spoiled brat, she’ll get the thing right away.

Brattiness isn’t treasured, nor is drama. But that’s her wake-up routine. I’m not an easy waker either-if I don’t feel that what I was awakened for is worth being awake for. Otherwise I wake immediately and head for the medicine cabinet.

The child squalls or won’t get up. We’ll work on that.

Could be way worse. She says “I love you, grandpa”, at least 20 times a day. Hard to get tired of that.

It’s an Eight-Year-Old’s World


(and I live in it).

We’ve recently become custodians of an eight year old girl, my wife and I. It’s unusual to have one at such an advanced age (I’m 52, she’s ageless of course), but that’s the situation.

We make the best of it. The care and feeding of a young being require much attention to detail, and one must pay especial attention to consistency, since one is going to be called on it constantly.

“A deal’s a deal,” I was informed one afternoon when that worthy was being told she could go to the pool after all. I daved this situation in my memory bank, knowing it would come in handy.

Sure enough, the next day, she wanted to avoid sweeping the living room, under the birdcage, as she had done before, and announced that “this is what I do”, while performing said deed.

Making mention of this omission severely dented my momentary rapport with the child. I was favored with a pout.

She likes to pout; she’s a bad sport. Correcting both behaviors and keeping them corrected will take time. I just do a little course correction from time to time. That’s my job-I’m the designated driver.

I am the dreaded lecture dispenser in our household.

I refuse to babytalk and “I don’t know” is not an acceptable excuse. So there are lots of little standoffs. I do believe that the child thinks these are contests of will. To me it’s Pavlovian. I just don’t use a bell.

She loves attention-it comes with the territory. But lectures swiftly turn out to be unwanted attention. Especially when they contain the dreaded unanswerable question. Each lecture has one, it’s in the contract.

Today it was why should we let you keep a bunny and have it for your very own when you don’t actually care for it?

The desired answer was “I”ll care for it. I will water it and feed it promptly and properly, and the other rabbits, too.”

She does, when asked. She volunteers at other idiosyncratic times. She is always going to ” check on them” but doesn’t always address the food, drink, and litter situation. Heavens know what she is actually doing.

This was addressed. “If you go in to ‘check on the bunnies’, you should see if their water bottles are full, if their dishes are empty. You can let them out far enough to pet them, but don’t pick them up. They are fragile.”

My wife maintains that I am nitpicky. I don’t necessarily deny this accusation.

It’s about the welfare of the child. I feel that she’ll fare much better if she has her wits about her. Developing a sense of humor can come later.

I’ve devised math homework for the first time in years, a couple of tables of figures that show the relationship between “added numbers” and “multipliers”, to use two of the terms from the assignment.

The child cannot do her multiplication tables, but says math is easy.

It does come easy to her, seemingly, but she still has to learn it. Her peers will, and she knows that now, and that’s a righteous tool.

Monday we are doing more. I’ve come up with another couple of pages of notebook paper, in which we discuss the previous, and work with fives and tens before seguing into simple subtraction by introducing story problems.

That’ll allow me to branch into book-reading later.

I have a final two days left to relax and recuperate from my recent (successful) surgery. Today I didn’t feel so well and so was uncommunicative to the world at large. I watched baseball, and am heartened by my Cubs, who bear every earmark of the .500 record except the actual numbers (yet). They have some good young players.

The child hates the baseball. She likes cartoons and the things that the Disney and Nick channels offer only, and her attention wanders when anything else is presented.

This is often when she indulges in cleaning and sweeping and the like, a practice which I am loath to discourage, though it’d be best to follow after her with a little broom and collect the remnants. Attention to detail is not her specialty. Oh, wait, was that nitpicking?

Until now, I had for years enjoyed children most when they were going to go away. This is different. I have to change, but I don’t have to surrender.

More stuff about kids and pets and other oddities tomorrow.