Home > My Fiction > The upside of introversion

The upside of introversion

I don’t tend to follow the news as much as I should (since it tends to be depressing, especially under the current administration), but it’s been hard to miss the building crisis with the COVID-19 coronavirus and the impact it’s having on society. The thing is, all the stuff that’s being advised for how to minimize the risk — social distancing, washing hands frequently, staying home, avoiding crowds — is pretty much stuff I already did anyway. As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, I’ve let myself become rather socially isolated in recent years, especially with my money problems lately. I’d just been on the verge of trying to change that, to get out into the world more, but now it seems I’m better off sticking with my current way of living for a while longer.

As far as my money situation goes, it’s showing signs of improvement. I’ve gotten a number of donations from my very generous fans, and I’ve finally gotten some writing work lined up, hopefully just in the nick of time. I’m still kind of worried about whether I’ll have enough to pay taxes when the time comes, especially since there’s no telling if the tax preparer appointment I made for two weeks from now will have to be postponed due to the virus. But I’m still planning to start that Patreon page soon, which hopefully will help. I could still use some other kind of work in the near future, but the pandemic situation has made me think I should refocus on prospects for online work I can do from home, which was something I was already considering anyway.

So far, the only way the burgeoning emergency has really affected my life is that the library closed for at least 3 weeks as of tonight, which is delaying me from finishing the first set of reviews I’m planning for the Patreon page. See, I picked something I own as a DVD box set, but it turns out the discs are defective and have deteriorated over the years — for some reason, every one (correction: every damaged one, since the first two worked okay) only plays the first two episodes normally and freezes up on the last two. So I’ve had to request additional copies from the library (and interestingly the DVD player remembered my place even when I switched to a different copy of the same disc), and the last two discs were still en route to my local branch when they closed for the duration. Well, I’ve still got enough reviews to last a while, and if it comes to that, I suppose I can pay to stream the episodes online, out of whatever profits I hopefully make from the earlier reviews.

My other library news is good, though. By coincidence, I’ve just recently gotten around at long last to exploring the options for borrowing e-books from the library. I signed up for the Hoopla service, which can be used by anyone with a library card from a participating library, and I’ve discovered it has a ton of digital comics available, which has let me catch up with a lot of things I’ve had trouble finding in print form. You can borrow them for 3 weeks, but the downside is that they only let you borrow 10 items a month for some reason, and I’ve exhausted that quite quickly both this month and last. Hoopla also has movies, TV shows, music, and audiobooks (including my own Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder), though I haven’t borrowed any of those yet.

I also looked into the Overdrive lending service which partners with schools and libraries and lets you borrow e-books and audiobooks — including quite a few Star Trek novels, mine and others’. You can borrow 20 per month, though only for 2 weeks, at least for the ones I’ve borrowed. You can even borrow them in Kindle format, or for other e-readers, which has proven quite handy. What’s more, when I decided a couple of days ago to look into the possibility of installing a Kindle app on my phone so I could read e-books away from my computer, I found I already had one that had come pre-installed with the phone (along with a bunch of other apps I never use). I just had to sign in, and there all my books were! What’s more, the two Kindles communicate and keep track of how far I’ve advanced in a book. So far I’m finding that I quite like reading books on my phone, even though it’s a pretty small phone. I’m used to reading websites or playing games on my phone, so reading books on it feels quite comfortable. If anything, I think my eyes are getting close to the point that it’s easier to read on a screen where I can adjust the font size than from a printed page. I have a feeling I’m going to do a lot more reading now that it’s suddenly become so easy to get a library book delivered in seconds. I’m finding it quite enjoyable.

Between that and the new writing gig (which I’ve gotten a great idea for that I’m pretty excited by), plus my readers’ generosity, I’m feeling much better than I was a couple of weeks ago. I was so panicked before that when I finally got this job offer, I ended up just lying on the floor for a few minutes, overcome with relief. But it wasn’t until the past couple of days, with this neat new idea falling into place and with the discovery of the wonders of library e-books, that I’m finally starting to smile again and actually be in a good mood. My work situation is still not fully stabilized, and at best it’s no better than the tenuous state it’s been in for the past three years, but this renewed optimism may be what I need to take things further. Hopefully this time I can finally make progress beyond that status quo, what with Patreon and the upcoming release of Arachne’s Crime and maybe some payoff for one or two other job feelers I’ve set in motion.

Of course, I’m having this burst of optimism just as our nation descends into a state of emergency, and there’s no telling what the next few weeks will bring. But I guess that’s better than facing such a crisis from a state of deep depression. And it kind of helps that all I really have to do to cope with the crisis is keep doing what I was already doing anyway. It makes me feel somewhat better about my introverted tendencies.

Categories: My Fiction Tags: , , ,
  1. Bill Buchanan
    March 13, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    You should check out the Kanopy streaming app. It’s available for free through most libraries. It has all sorts of movies including lots of rarely seen ones and stuff from the Criterion Collection.

  2. March 14, 2020 at 4:50 am

    That´s fantastic news.

    I wouldn`t throw those D.V.D.s away just yet. Sometimes players can develop quirks (or perhaps need a session with a head cleaner). My Deep Space Nine D.V.D.s cut oout a bit in in my D.V.D. player, all of them, but they work just fine in my newer Bluray player, or my computer, when it´s drive still worked.

    • March 14, 2020 at 5:28 am

      I tried the discs in both my DVD players and my laptop — I even tried the first one in my old backup laptop too. They wouldn’t even play at all on my laptops.

      Not to mention, again, that my main player recognized the library copies as the same discs, remembering where I’d left off of my own copies, and it played them just fine. So it doesn’t seem to be a problem with the player.

  3. Joey
    March 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Re: your DVDs, it sounds like they’re probably dual-layer discs, and the layers have separated (probably due to poor disc sealing during the manufacturing process). That’s why the first couple of episodes — i.e., the first layer data — play fine, but when the player tries to switch to the second layer, it can’t read the data because of the slight layer separation. (As you might imagine, the calibration of the layers has to be pretty precise for the laser to be able to make the layer change properly.)

    FWIW, gaffin is right that a player can make a big difference — when I replaced my ancient Panasonic DVD player with a new Samsung Blu-ray, I was amazed how the Samsung powered flawlessly over scratches and other defects that the Panny couldn’t cope with. But no player is going to be able to compensate for significant layer separation.

    • March 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      That makes a lot of sense, thanks. Although I wonder why it didn’t affect the first two discs in the set.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: