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Okay. New year’s here again.

I got a decent amount of stuff done last year. Read a lot of books, wrote a decent number of reviews. V and I sold our first house and bought a bigger one to have room for all of us. I showed off my home bartender skills (twice!). We reconnected with some folks in my home town, and took some of the kids out there for their first ever visit to my parents’ house. I lost some friends, and made others.

And now, here we are in 2023.

I’m hoping to get more writing done this year. It’s been way too long since I let myself just dive into a creative project, even just quick poetry. While I’m looking forward to a lot of book reviews, I want to actually tell a story again. On a related note, I want to do more drawing this year too. I know that part of the difficulty I’ve had with creative ventures is the fact that I’ve had to split my attention with work and school and parenting and other work and other hobbies. Most of my original work in the last six months was dedicated to crafting cocktails for amateur bartending competitions. That was fun, and I hope to participate in one again this year, but it shouldn’t be my only outlet. It’s an expensive hobby, after all.

I’m planning to continue in my current position with the library, although I won’t say no if the right opportunity for advancement comes along. Last year, I participated in a leadership training program my employer provides, and so I’m feeling a little more prepared for that than I was before. The combination of that and my MLS makes me more valuable, I guess, depending on what openings are available.

As things currently stand, I’ll be returning to my position at the Colorado Renaissance Festival again this year as well. I’m looking forward to another summer of piracy and not sleeping enough. I may see about using some of my vacation time in the middle of the season this time around, though, rather than just working 7 days a week for 2 months. I think that V and the kids would be grateful. Honestly, so would I. I love doing the whole thing, working the festival, but it’s exhausting and stressful for the whole family.

There’s a lot of books to look forward to this year. As it stands, I’m most excited for the following:

1.) Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire. Every January, I’m 100% here for the next book in the Wayward Children series. These novellas are beautiful and heartbreaking, and I can’t wait for this one. It’s out next week.

2.) Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones. This one is a sequel to 2021’s phenomenal My Heart is a Chainsaw, and a slasher spectacular in its own right. It drops on February 7th, and is shaping up to be the exceptional middle child in a horror trilogy.

3.) The Witch King by Martha Wells. I’ve read all of the Murderbot Diaries, but I’ve not tackled any of Martha Wells’ fantasy titles before. This one comes out in May.

4.) Alecto the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. We don’t have an official release date for this one yet, but I’m hoping that it will still publish on schedule around September. I need to know how The Locked Tomb Series ends, and I need to fall in love and get stabbed in the back by Muir’s prose at least twice along the way.

5.) The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon. I’m absolutely hooked by the concept of this one. AI deities and dead cities and Evangelion references, oh my! Look for it at the end of June.

I’m pretty pumped for a lot of movies this year too. John Wick comes back to theatres, we swing back across the Spider-Verse, and Nicolas Cage plays Dracula. I’ll probably stick to DVD/streaming releases for most things, but the timing of John Wick 4 might just be enough to tempt me (albeit masked) back to the theatre.

Then there’s the video game side of things. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes out just in time for my birthday, so you can bet that I’ll be revisiting Breath of the Wild between now and then.

Anyway, I’m coming up on twelve years of posting here, so thanks to those of you who have been around the whole time, and welcome to those who are just starting to pay attention to my ramblings. I’ll have book reviews starting soon. See you then.

It’s my WordPress Anniversary! I usually forget the exact day I started this whole project, and so it was a pleasant surprise to see the notification that I’d made it back on time when I signed in today.

I’ve been writing here for eleven years, as of today. In the last year, I finished my master’s degree and welcomed another child to my and V’s family. I’m looking forward to having some time to dedicate to writing things for myself (and all of you lovely readers) during the next year. I’ll be catching up on some media that I’ve missed thanks to school, so stand by for some upcoming reviews. First up is going to be Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin, shortly followed by John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society.

I’m in the middle of buying a house right now. It’s not a fun process, per se, but it does have its own sort of charm. We’ve been in our current place for almost five years, but with the arrival of additional children since moving in, we’re out of space. Thanks to buying our current home, we’re in a decent place financially to be upgrading, despite the volatility of the housing market right now. This does add somewhat to the general disorder of life, but that’s part of things, isn’t it? Wouldn’t change it for the world. Hello, sweet chaos…

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for sticking around for the last eleven years. Let’s grow and change and improve ourselves together, shall we?

Final papers are submitted, and grades are in.

With a 4.0 GPA for my last semester, I’ve completed my graduate school career with a 3.83 cumulative average. My status has moved from “Graduation Pending” to “Degree Awarded,” and my actual physical diploma will be mailed out within the next few weeks. Now, I can rest.

You know. Sort of.

You see, yesterday was my first day back at work in almost three months. My parental leave/FMLA time has come to an end, and so I’ve begun the long process of getting back into the rhythm of the outside world. My Tiniest Child arrived in October, and I’m already missing being at home with all of the kids. It’s almost a month since the last school paper was turned in, and I’m still trying to make peace with the fact that I didn’t really do a lot other than take care of them during the last few weeks. I didn’t really need to do anything beyond just being Dad. It was peaceful.

So, what’s next?

I mean, ideally I’ll keep working in my current position in Young Adult Services until a titled “Librarian” position opens, and throw applications at them for the next year or two. I have no plans to leave the area within the next decade, so I’m perfectly content to keep working where I am. The shift in position would be nice, of course, and include a pay raise, so I’m not going to say no to an opportunity to move up.

This is the end of the Dispatches From Library School, but I’ll be able to return the blog to more of my standard content of book reviews and original fiction/poetry. I’m pretty excited about not having to spend every spare moment trying to carve out concentration time for school. Thanks to all of you for sticking around.

It begins.

Again.

Soon.

My next semester of library school is about to start.

I’m sitting at about 2 1/2 weeks before my second round of classes kicks off. I’m grateful to Clarion University for providing me with the opportunity to take a course that’s 100% online (I mean, it kind of has to be for me, since the school’s in Pennsylvania).

I’m better prepared this semester than I was at the beginning of the year. I’ve already gotten my financial aid paperwork completed, and my textbooks are already being shipped. I’m not scrambling to get anything ready.

I’m taking three classes again this semester: Administration and Management of Libraries, Integrated Systems in Libraries, and Library Literature and Young Adults. I’m especially excited about the YA literature class. It’s my first elective of my grad school career, and is right in line with my current library job.

I’m nervous, though that’s more to do with the current global situation more than anything with school. Regardless, I’ll move forward as best I can.

It’s done, y’all. I made it through my first semester of grad school.

At this point, I’ve actually been done for over a month. I turned in my last assignments during the first weekend of May, and I’ve already received my grades. Despite the anxiety brought on by COVID-19, I managed to power through my online classes and secure an A in each of my three classes for the semester.

I’m registered for my next round of classes, beginning this fall. I’ll ideally have knocked out all of my required classes (aside from my capstone) within my first year, leaving more room for exploration through elective classes next spring.

Right now, then, it’s just a matter of getting through until the fall. Hang in there, y’all. It’s been a wild year so far, and it’s not even halfway through.

I can see the finish line, y’all.

I’m a week (roughly) from the end of my first semester of my MLS. Two big papers, one little paper, and it’s done. I’ll be 1/4 of the way to my Master’s degree.

It’s been odd doing this in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, since the library closures have meant that I’ve had way more time at home than I would’ve initially expected. On the other hand, though, it’s given me great insight into how libraries handle a pandemic, both good and bad.

I’m trying to decide if I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Because I’ve worked in libraries for 14 years or so, there was a lot of overlap with my existing knowledge base. I’ve learned stuff about specifics of library science that I didn’t know in the same way before taking these classes, though. I’m glad that I’m pushing for this degree right now. I know that the working world I’ll return to after COVID-19 is not going to be the same one that I left. Still, I want to be striving for something by way of professional development. I look forward to advancing my career, and I look forward to my classes that I’m registered for in the fall.

Time to wrap this up.

In which I am supposed to leave my home only for the essentials.

I’m in the 4th week of not working, and it’s more than a little surreal. My library has been closed since the middle of March due to COVID-19. In the last few days, I’ve played on the backyard swing set and slide with my kids, shoveled 4 – 5 inches of snow off of my and my neighbor’s driveway, read a couple of books, re-dyed my hair (thanks, V), participated in a couple of games of D&D online, soloed the last few missions of Halo 4 on Heroic, maintained my elliptical running schedule, and done some baking.

But I’m keeping up with my grad school stuff, first and foremost. 

It’s kind of fun, because a lot of the information from my classes has places where it overlaps. At this stage in the semester, I’ve been able to cycle through some material faster because I’ve already covered a form of it in a different class. 

Oh, and I’ve registered for classes for the fall, too. Right now, I’m signed up for a library admin/management class, a class on integrated systems in libraries, and a course about literature and young adults. I’m pretty psyched for the YA class, because it will be my first elective! If all goes well, I’ll have knocked out all but one of my required classes within my first two semesters. That’s pretty exciting. Oh, and the integrated systems class is a half semester course, too. It’ll be a front-loaded semester, but once I’m halfway through, it’ll ease up a lot going into the winter break. On top of all of that, one of my classes is supposed to be with a professor I currently have. It’s shaping up to be a really good semester. 

Our governor has ordered residents to stay home whenever possible until at least April 26th, so I know that I have at least two more full weeks of quarantine ahead of me. I’m going to try to knuckle down and get through the last few weeks of the school year. My semester ends on May first. Holy shit, my semester ends on May first… Uh… Anyway…

After that, I may have some free time for whatever again. I’m trying to read/write more, but I always say that. I always mean it, too. 

But tonight, it’s late, and I’ve got to help teach/grade some homeschool stuff for my stepdaughters in the morning. Gonna go curl up in bed with a non-textbook and fall asleep. 

I have made it to mid-semester.

Seven weeks down, seven to go, with a few glorious days of breathing room in between. I’m going to try to get some early work done for next week, but I’m also going to be reading some stuff for fun.

So far, so good.

Good afternoon, everyone! I promise that I am, in fact, still alive, despite the best efforts of parenthood, full-time employment, and grad school.

I’ve almost made it to my mid-semester break, and I’m honestly feeling pretty good about this whole thing. It has, however, made it more difficult for me to keep up with my usual pace of writing for fun. I’m still working on a full review of the other best book that I read in 2019, Tamsyn Muir’s beautifully dark Gideon the Ninth.

But fear not. These things and more will arrive for your reading pleasure in due time.

Meanwhile, I’m taking three online classes through Clarion University. Organization of Information, Information Sources and Services, and Intro to Information Professions. It’s a pretty solid introduction to the whole job that I hope to be doing when I’m all done, and a decent refresher course on a lot of what I currently do.

For now, though, I must go. I’ve got a presentation on Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable to complete.

 

WordPress has informed me that today is my 9th anniversary of setting up this blog.

It’s pretty close. My first post was on the 20th of January, 2011. Either way, I’ve been at this nonsense for almost a decade. Thanks to those of you who have put up with me for so long, and thanks to those who have joined along the way.

Things have changed a lot since the outset of this blog, and I’m happy to say that I’m a better person than I was back then (albeit still not a published novelist, but hey, you win some, you lose some).

For the foreseeable future, stay tuned for poetry, short stories, book reviews, and random insights into my current status as a grad student.