Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm considering a new holiday tradition

I don't send out Christmas cards, but maybe I could send out cards after the holidays. Something along the lines of "I'm sorry I was a grouch during the holiday season" cards. 

In my own mind, I will refer to them as "Cartes Blanches," although the recipients of such cards shall never know that they're called that.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Summer Holidays

It's occurred to me recently that I don't travel much.  

Sure, I've been all over Ontario for a number of reasons.  I've worked in different cities, seen the ballet in another, visited the big nickle, and once drove 6.5 hours for love*.  My most recent summer holiday was spent only an hour away from my own apartment.  I always think I'm done with Ontario, but if I have the chance at a cottage holiday, I usually take that over the exotic.

Most other travel seems out of my league. It's never been a priority for me.  Here's a short list of the places I've been to:

Vancouver

We visited my aunt in Vancouver.  I was about 13. She took us to Whistler to go snowboarding.  I pulled my groin.  That's it.

Dartmouth/Halifax

Been there a couple of times.  Probably two of my favourite places.  My stepmother is from here.

Florida 

Ah, Florida!  Spring break paradise, with hot bodies and drinks and beaches everywhere.  I was 10 years old on a family vacation.  I was excited about snorkeling right up until my first gulp of sea water.  My first vomit in the ocean followed immediately thereafter**.    After that, it was pools the rest of the time.  Going out on a boat to snorkel in deep water*** ended with me waiting on the boat and the rest of the family out there. My fear/distaste of the ocean really disappointed me; I had (and still have) an interest in saltwater fish.

This also included Disney World (fun), Busch Gardens (super fun), and Universal Studios (waste of time and money).  I got a Ren and Stimpy shirt out of the trip.

Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  Unless you're a 12 year old who won't shut up.  I still don't understand the rationale behind dragging a 12 year old on this trip.  Yes, Vegas!  Where the booze flows like water, and then porn flows like, well, water.  Not even kidding, was being handed porn**** on the streets wherever I went.  I was clearly underage.   I could walk through the casinos, but I wasn't allowed to look at anything.  And everywhere was a casino. 

Also, at the beginning of the trip, my mother's boyfriend (ex now) had given me a fistful of cash to spend on myself while I was there.  Everywhere we went had valet parking, and him and my mom didn't carry any small bills on them, so I always tipped for parking.  This meant that I ended up spending absolutely none of that money on myself.  Awesome. If you're wondering if this man was a total douche, he was.






*"Car, don't fail me now!"
**I wish this was hyperbole.
***not deep if you're a boat.  Deep if you're a 10 year old.  Also, there were barracuda.  Cool in books, frightening in person. 
****Well, pamphlets full of naked people.  Advertising for porn, with nothing pixelated.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pretty sure I'm becoming a terrible person


There seems to be a recent trend towards awkwardness, particularly amount young adults.   I’m not sure I can be classified as a young adult anymore*, but I get the sense that I have a bit of a grasp on being awkward at times.  Due to a number of reasons, the trendiness of an awkward demeanor grates on my nerves the same way attractive, popular woman do when they put on a pair of black frame glasses and then call themselves nerd**.  It’s as though there is a belief among some people that if you put any amount of thought into absolutely anything, it makes you a nerd.  It should be mentioned at this point that I will not venture into the nerd vs. geek argument here.  There are plenty of places on the internet that welcome such discourse and this blog is certainly not one of them***.


I’m not going to try to convince you that I’m an awkward person, as a whole.  When I’m at my best, I find that I can venture through life and social transactions without problems, and I even enjoy myself.  However, when I’m going through a hard time in my personal life, I find interacting with other people to be quite the chore.  I’m never more socially awesome than when I’m in the middle of a low point. 

There are a number of small nuisances to existing that I tend to try and ignore when I’m not having a good time.  For the past month or so, I have not been having a good time.  I’m in a downswing of my mood.

Example 1: while buying pajama pants from popular plus size store

Her: do you have our rewards card?
Me: *tired, unshowered* um, no.
Her: Oh! Well, let me sign you up!
Me: No, thank you.
Her: It's completely free! I'll just sign you up!
Me: Does this wallet look like it needs more bullshit in it? Ha ha? (the "haha" was clearly to try and lighten the comment I'd just made)
Her: ...
Me: Sorry, I should have just reiterated "no, thank you"
Her: Do you mean you should have just repeated "no, thank you"?
Me: ...what?

I guess I just looked like a bitch, but I really can't handle baloney when I'm tired and stressed out. I'm so tired of all the useless noise that floats around.  Companies track my spending and eating habits closer than I do, and I just don't understand the current attitude that privacy for privacy's sake isn't worth holding onto.

Example 2: bumping into my neighbour across the hall and his freaking dog, Milhouse, in the hallway. My neighbour and his GF are always yelling at Milhouse to "shut the fuck up****" because every noise in the building scares him.

Me: Hi
Him: Hi
Milhouse: Grrrrrrr...woof woof woof!
Him: Hey! Knock it off, that's your neighbour!
Me: *bends over to let dog sniff her hand* Aww, hi, Milhouse.
My brain: Oh, fuck!
Him:  ...how do you know my dog's name?
Me: *dropping the nice neighbour act* Dude, everyone in the building knows your dog's name.

I'm sure at some points I'm just coming across as an awful human being, but I think I'm beginning to truly grasp something I never really understood.  I don't really need people to like me to have an okay existence.  I mean, some people yes, but some others...no, not at all.

I have a strange relationship with the boys downstairs from me.  I always thought it was one sided, with me just laughing at them a little or getting annoyed at their habits (shower wars are still a thing in small apartment buildings).  This past Sunday, I was puttering around the kitchen, washing dishes, making spaghetti sauce, when I hear:

Downstairs: OMG, PICK UP YOUR FEET!
Me: WTF? *nice and loud*
Downstairs: *silence*
Me: *dance a stompy jig*
Downstairs: HAHAHA!

I had my slippers on, so I guess I was shuffling.  A few days prior to this was a small water battle which resulted several facebook posts:
  • The guy below me keeps saying "Holy Fuck" and then running the taps for a few seconds over and over. Should I be concerned?
  • I've started responding by running my taps when he shuts his off. Not sure if he's onto me yet.
  • "WTF???"  HAHAHAHAHAHA
  • Now I can't move because if I walk away, he'll hear my footsteps. Bring me a tea?

No one brought me that tea, by the way.  In re-reading this post, I'm presuming it's because I'm turning into an asshole.

How will I sleep tonight?  Like a damn baby.





*Lord knows I keep away from that section of the book store

**As in “I’m a total fashion/makeup nerd” or “I’m such a nerd for having so many dates all the time.” You're not fooling anyone, you gorgeous twat.

***my feelings towards these conversations usually involve the expression “rat’s ass.”
****Good thing he's not a parrot. OMG, now I wish he were a parrot!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best intentions

I really really want to write a blog post, I promise I do.  But I've returned to the computer several times today and I've found this remains blank.

Back to the paper journal, at least for today.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Late November melt-down: a new Christmas tradition?




Every so often, I'll rethink the name of this blog.  I'll look at my attitude and the things around me and show gratitude.  I'll think, "you know, the whole 'neurosis' thing really isn't true anymore.  I should rename the blog."  Then, I'll experience something like Friday.  

I let things get to me quite easily.  In recent weeks, I've been experience setback after setback.  After each one, I feel really optimistic that my losing streak is over.  One of the lowest points was that my stepmother was in a car accident.  The car accident was serious enough that the difference of a few inches would have been fatal.  Incredibly scary stuff.  On a small level, my bad luck may have begun with the breaking of the teapot (sad, but not financially devastating), then the breaking of my favourite mug (oh, come on now), and then the breaking of my computer and the tune up of my car.  This was all compounded by stress at my workplace.  You'll have to trust me on this one, because I won't be writing about it here.  I still really like my job, even when I'm not enjoying it in the moment.  Adding everything up, the main stressor was money, at least, on the surface.



In some ways,  I've done all of this to myself.  I'm currently in the middle of a course at the university.  I'm finding the course material to be meaty, but the professor to be, well, easy.  There's nothing here for me, and if he's not interested in really teaching it, I'm not interested in learning it.  Part of the course is a recap presentation of the previous weeks' material.  To be performed in groups.  My computer decided to crap out on me, the weekend before we were supposed to have the slides ready (for each other, not for the prof or anything. In retrospect, I don't know why I was so worried.  I guess I didn't want the other people in my group to think I was a slacker).  We agreed to have them to each other on Monday. To cut the story a little short, I ran around to different computers I knew.  I borrowed my brother's old one (which then proceeded to freeze on me and run updates forever), then went to the library (sat beside a thirteen year old who had not discovered deodorant yet.  Also, he was having trouble with the mouse; he kept picking it up and slamming it down again).  Then, near tears, I called my parents and asked if I could come out and do the work at their place (at least partially because I didn't want to go to jail for beating the shit out of a thirteen year old boy).  Also, I didn't completely understand the material*.  Luckily, my stepmother did, and helped me finish my slides for it.

The following Monday, my group and I stayed after class and went through our slides.  The long-winded "I'm-so-fucking-smart" douchebag had submitted 20 slides. 20!  ("The Lord is testing me," I thought.)  I had submitted 10, and the other girl had submitted 10.  The last guy, was putting them all together into a cohesive slideshow for us. At 40 slides, we knew we had to cull a lot.  I was quiet throughout the process, seething to myself.

"Guys," the woman said, "you've just cut out all her slides."
"Oh.  Really?" said the douchebag.
"Yes," I said, "I wrote ten slides and you've decided we don't need them."  And fuck you very much, I thought.

Most of my slides are back in now, but not before making me feel like my work (which was an incredible pain in the ass to complete), wasn't worthwhile.  The hatred I have for this course is officially at 11. 

I took my computer into the shop, because I really couldn't deal with purchasing a new computer this close to Christmas and I needed a computer**.  The cost of the fix was less than $100 - it was just labour - so that was good, I suppose.  When I went to pick it up, the lady said to me, in her thick accent:

"This computer is very old.  It breaks again, you don't bring it back, you buy new one!"  Then we both laughed and I explained how attached I'd become to my computer***. Being a computer nerd, she understood.

On Monday, I took my car in to have the snow tires put on.  My car's been stuttering a little bit as well, so I had them look at that, too.  I had the bring the car back in later in the week, to the tune of $650.00 (this included the tires and an oil change).  A small part of me can't help but feel that my previous mechanic - now out of my reach, being near my parents' place - wouldn't have charged me as much.  In reality, though, my car is getting long in the tooth, and this kind of bill is only going to be more frequent as time goes on.  I need to look at buying a new car.

I went to visit my parents on Friday night.  After trying to sit and fix my father's computer****.  My dad's laptop had  been taken over by some rather nasty malware.  A malwarebites scan showed 393 objects. 393!  I sat to take care of the issues while they tried to coerce me into watching a movie and having a drink with them.  That was when it all became too much and the tears started.  I've just not been having a good time, and it would be helped if I had a healthier relationship with money.  

As usual, when I'm having these terrible knee jerk reactions to any situation, I have to analyze it a bit.  Money was tight after my parents broke up.  I'm not sure if it was actually tight, or if this was my fears coupled with parental anxiety.

Every time I get exceedingly emotional around my mother or father, they ask the same thing: "have you told your counselor about this?"  No, we just eat cookies for an hour and then I pay her a lot of money once every two weeks.  It's not like I'm running out of things to talk to her about. I suppose they ask because they both still feel guilty that I'm still going to see one.  I know that I'm my own person, and responsible for my own feelings, but I don't necessarily think they're off the hook for their feelings of responsibility. A large part of me thinks that they suspect I'm not working as hard at getting better or taking therapy seriously, as though I could just focus really hard on that for a month and then "all better!"  Well, for September, I focused on being an adult, my abandonment issues, my overeating, and generally getting over everything in the universe, and then in October, I reorganized my closets!  Life is full of projects! I'm king of the world!  Come to my wedding and then meet my house and my baby!  Wouldn't want to do any of it in the wrong order!  Oh, do you like those ornaments?  I built them myself out of my own hair and vomit!  Which is incidentally how I lost all this weight!  Yup, my back teeth are rotten now, but there's now a gap in my thighs, happy day! You should totally pin that on a Pinterest board! Wowee! Zap! Pow!

I should probably stop here.  This is my story to tell, but I don't want to feel like I'm betraying my parents by saying too much. They still deserve at least a little privacy, especially in this online world of tattletales and braggarts.

At this point, I should mention that I did manage to order a computer online this weekend.  My friend had a good lead on a deal, and her fella was able to help me decide between a few, so it's on its way to me in a little while.  

hi-ho.



*It was on Net Present Value, a concept that is so simple, and yet textbooks tend to over explain.  For clarity, Present Value is the amount of money you have to set aside today, in order to gain interest and have a certain amount some time from now.  That's it. The numbers change, and the formulas change, but that's the basic principle. 
**I had taken on another project and was determined not to fail this time.  I'm really tired of starting things and then not finishing them, but I needed my computer for this.
***Entirely true.  I can't believe how much I love TankGirl, my Lenovo R61
****Kind of a touchy subject for me.  My father, like many parents, will experience troubles with his computer and then blame it on the one time I've used it to check my email  weeks ago.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"How to write a successful blog" or "Another open letter to my friend Colleen"

"For a great many of us, I suspect the urge to be read is inherent in the urge to write."
- Lawrence Block, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

I was recently corresponding with my friend, Colleen, and we discussed her importance to me as a reader.   I receive a small amount of traffic to this blog (about thirty hits in one day, when I post a link to twitter), and Colleen is always a part of that.  At times, I'll have only one hit, and I know it was her.  I greatly appreciate this, but it does put a bit of pressure on her as a reader.  What if she woke up one day and decided she was tired of my bullshit, like a number of men I've known*.  Maybe it was time to take things a little more seriously.
Once I had started looking, I realized I'd been down this path before.  Most blogs have a goal or theme that brings in a particular set of readers.  Many articles on writing a good blog lists having a niche topic as one of the cornerstones to good blogging.  Too vague a topic, like "technology" and you wouldn't draw people in.  "Technology for black lesbians", on the other hand might be just the angle you need. "Technology for black lesbians between the ages of of 17 and 23" might be getting a little confusing and narrow, and quite frankly, I do not have my finger on the pulse of what they would want anyway**. 


There were times when I would wander around the internet trying to figure out what lovely specialty I could write about.  I have a tendency to binge on my interests for months at a time, and then I lose interest in them for the next 18 months before picking them up again.
My Mondo Film Blog would last about 5 minutes before I got disgusted with myself for having such an interest, no matter how thoughtful I am about it.
There are a lot of popular blogs out there surrounding clothing, cooking***, crafts, and reorganizing your home that I'm not going to wander into that territory.  My knowledge of those topics is so limited, I should probably give up my vagina permit****.  
An example of organizational skills.
Well, that settled it.  My blog will continue to be about my navel*****.  Having decided to ignore finding a niche market, I'll move past that and move forward with one of the next popular tip.
 
Tip number 2: keep writing great content.  Oh, is that all? All we need to do is keep writing great content?!  THAT'S SUPER FUCKING EASY!  Clearly, my goal here is to write crummy content.  Upon further reflection, I suppose the article is telling us to try and change things up a bit, and not make the same post several times over (eg. my bitching about how lazy I am here and here).

I like my blog, and I enjoy writing. I also keep a paper journal, which helps.  There's a strange restlessness I get when I haven't written in either.  I think I turn into a bit of an irritable asshole, as other people have commented on it (usually my parents).  Sometimes, it's just better to have written it than it is to actually write it******. 

A number of tips I stumbled across were mired in tips on how to handle blogging technology, with words like 'analytics' and 'search engine optimization (SEO)' thrown around.  I'm not prepared to really start venturing into that world just yet.
I get enough of that junk at work.
Almost every post offering tips mentions getting involved in the blogging community.  Honestly, I don't know where to start on this one, and I'm a little worry I'll infringe on some etiquette that I didn't even know existed.  If you've found this post, and have a blog of your own, please post a link in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.  (Hi, Colleen*******!)

*Actually, it's often been me who waves the white flag in areas of romance.
**I don't have my fingers anywhere near them, actually.
***One very popular cooking blog will post pictures of every single step in a recipe.  This seemed helpful until she went back to apologize and edit a post to include a photo of 6 eggs in a mixing bowl that she'd originally left out.  WE KNOW WHAT EGGS LOOK LIKE IN A BOWL, WOMAN.  I haven't rolled my eyes that hard since I was in high school.
****If you don't have one, get one.  You'll need it after the upcoming election.
*****Stargazing has never been a big hobby of mine. 
******Like expressing a dog's anal glands.  
*******Colleen's blog can be found here.

I should really learn how to do proper footnoting, this is getting out of hand.

(This is probably the post on blogging I enjoyed the most - http://www.theminimalists.com/blog/ - it's thoughtfully written, and it seems to cover all the angles.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I should probably call the cops.

Starting around the 4am mark, someone in the next building has been playing their music nice and loud.  At 4 in the morning.  I can't be certain that it's what woke me up, but I can confirm that I'm not usually awake at that hour for no reason. 

What the hell is wrong with people?  When I first moved in, that building was full of young people with young children.  Sure, they weren't my cup of tea, but they were reasonable enough.  Once or twice on a weekend, I would hear loud music, but I kind of enjoyed it.  I live in the city, and I like hearing other people enjoy music.  The boys below me play music a bit loudly some days while I'm reading upstairs, and it actually makes me smile more than anything.  I hope that doesn't make the creepy old lady in the building.

Returning to the matter at hand, about 6 months ago, the building next door changed hands, and it seems to have fallen apart.  The yard is full of crap, including a giant garbage can that never seems to be emptied.  People drive their cars right up to the door, and one of the dwellers is the sort of douchebag who will lean out the window to yell obscenities at his friend who just pulled up*.  The window-leaner is often seen sporting a baseball cap that is far too clean, and a wife-beater that is far too dirty.  Unfortunately, this may be the most reasonable inhabitant of the building; leaning out is his only source of escaping the dwelling, if only for a moment.

The police have been by the building several times, once blocking my road enough that I went around the block and came in the back way.  One of the apartments has a couple in it comprising of two people who can't bear to be single, but also beat the hell out of each other whenever their hectic schedules allow.

I like my building, and I'm not planning on moving.  My landlord's reasonable, and so are the other people in my building, even if I have facepalm moments with them**.  If I were in the other building, though, I would have serious issues.  Just an entire building of assholes.


*I have reason to believe the previous owner of the building took all the screens with her.
**Thanks for not holding the door for me when I had two arms full of groceries, bitch.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"If you don't mind, babe, I'm going to put my phone away awhile."

I once ran into some bullshit on Pinterest. It goes like this "People cry not because they are weak.  They cry because they've been strong for too long."  And then there's a picture of something completely irrelevant, like a lake or a pair of shoes.  I've never cried enough for a lake, even when I was a teenager and crying was cool*.

I have decided tonight is a night for a good cry.  I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately in my life, most of it internal.   12 days ago, a Thursday, I was bombarded with compliments and comments about my writing ("She should write a blog" etc.**).  When I say 'bombarded,' I mean, 5 in one day.  Writing it down now, it doesn't seem like much, but this occurred on a workday when I generally kept my head down and work.  I would call it a sign, if I believed in that sort of thing. 

By the morning of the following Sunday, I decided I was going to believe in that sort of thing.  I called my friend, Liz, and invited her over for coffee.  I hadn't really said anything in particular about why I wanted to see her, something along the lines of "I have a proposition for you***." 

My friend Liz is a visual artist.  She's recently gotten back into her work, finding time here and there for sketching and painting.  It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that her and I were on the same page, that we were starting our...fuck, I hate the word journey, so if I come up with something better, I'll come back and edit this post.  When she showed up, I was going to ask her if we could bolster each other in our artistic goals.  Eventually, I was going to ask her if she would explore a twelve week self-guided art course.  I was going to ask her to do The Artist's Way alongside me.

Pictured: going sane?
 

About 15 minutes before she arrived, I got incredibly nervous.  What if she thought I was crazy?  Worse, what if she thought I was being flaky****?  She arrived and we looked at the work she'd brought.  I thought it would be nice to see what she was working on.  On some level, I also thought that, if I saw her work, I could confirm for myself that we were at the same point of development of our art (if I could call my writing art).   I served her a coffee, and we looked at the art, and then I told her my plan.  I say plan here, because that's what you call something that worked out okay.  She liked the idea, agreed we should do this together, and ordered a copy of the book herself.  Success.

After this, work exploded for me. Sadly, I don't mean writing work, I mean actual work, the work that pays my bills. 

Who needs electricity?

The difficult thing here is, if I choose to believe in the signs that I should write and work towards this goal, then the signs of the next week was telling me to give it up and quit.  I'm really feeling like I'm being tested lately.  I think my best bet is to trust the process and continue, but for tonight?  A good cry, I think.




*my soul is black. 
**I told them about the blog, and I had thirty hits that day, so that's good.
***which is always awkward to hear from your bi friend.
****I think my worst nightmare is being called flaky. Okay, maybe third, after cancer and being left alone the rest of my life.  Sorry, this asterisk got dark.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cutie

Having been in a few relationships now, I realize I have a difficult relationship with the word "cutie."  The boy - it's almost always a boy - I've been seeing will start peppering his sentences with "cutie,"  and I'll completely fall for it, thinking he means "I think you're cute."

The word is actually a haunting prediction.  The boy is never at fault for this, it is simply a message from the universe.  Many of my relationships* will blossom and flower into a beautiful thing, leading to the act of making love**.  Shortly thereafter, I learn the true meaning of cutie.

Chronic Urinary Tract Infection

Yes, I am up early to google 24 grocery stores, where I will run in and make a purchase.  Two of your finest bottles of cranberry flavoured shame, please!  For I am clearly still up from partying, and not in any discomfort at all!

Certain purchases are obvious signs that one is having sex, has had sex, or is planning on having sex***.   Cranberry juice may or may not be a sign.  Putting it in your cart during your weekly shop just means you might like cranberry juice.  Running out at 5:30 in the morning does not convey that message.  The small triumph of "yes, I have had sex recently," is far outweighed by the discomfort of "wipe that knowing smile off your face, Cash-Register-Betty."




*Not a slut.  But if I were, slut-shaming is bad.  Stay in school, kids.
**We can still call it making love if it happens in the back of a car, right?
***The boy who buys condoms we may roll our eyes at, but the man who buys condoms and lube is intriguing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

As is often the case: Brain Dump

1)  I think Rob Ford is amazing.  To clarify, I think the storyline playing out in the headlines is amazing.  I hate the expression "you can't write this shit," because I just picture some smart-ass egotistical writer leaning back and saying "no, sweetie, you can't write this shit. I could write this shit with my eyes closed."  And then he would get hit by a car, because this is my fantasy, dammit.

That said, I totally feel like that expression applies here! 

Some guy from a website says there's a video of the mayor smoking crack!  But he doesn't have the video!  
Oh, that's funny.  That could be a fun side plot "smear campaign against the beloved mayor."

Mayor denies it and refuses to step down.
Of course he does. Who wouldn't? There's no video.

Mayor's brother stands up for him.
As a good brother should.

Mayor keeps shooting his mouth off about everything but the accusation.
Wait, this guy's kind of an asshole.
Video surfaces.
Ooh!  They're gonna git 'im!
Mayor cannot be charged criminally, and he cannot be impeached.  Oh, and he refuses to step down.  So, this is just how your mayor is now.
*chucks book across the room* Bullshit, in the real world he would totally be charged and kicked out of office, we have those kind of systems in place...what? ...we don't?

2)  Gratitude journals are fantastic, providing you don't lose them 1 week into starting them.

I will find you, fucker. And then I'll be grateful as hell for having found you, mostly because I'll have no idea what to write next.




3)   I should consider double-bagging my garbage.  Yesterday was garbage day, and now a bunch of mine is strewn across the front yard.  Some of it is bathroom garbage, too.  I haven't looked closely, so I hope it doesn't have anything too embarrassing in it.  I keep meaning to go pick it up, but I want to wait until it's really dark.  I'll set my alarm for the middle of the night.

4)  Work is going well, but I had a mini-fantasy of quitting today.  It was more of a reminder that I could do it, in theory.  Truthfully, I should have done it when I was working in fast food, and didn't have to worry about bills.  Maybe in a next life.



Monday, November 4, 2013

I unsubscribed from hellogiggles.com this morning

And I had the chance to give them a reason for leaving.

Good morning,

I'm happy to see while unsubscribing that I have a chance to give a proper reason for leaving. I apologize for saying this, but both the Hello Giggles site and the emails lack meat and real discussion.  The site does 'touch' on some interesting topics, but then flutters off to deal with something inconsequential.  At the moment, there's an article about chipping away at your debt, and reads "try setting a milestone to free up $100 in credit," but gives absolutely no advice on how someone is to determine what can and can't be cut from their budget to do so.  There's another article about women's rights, but it's focusing on a recent ad campaign from a large agency. 

If I may make a small suggestion, perhaps you should welcome or encourage writers to expand on their ideas more.  The women's rights article clocks in at a mile 420ish words, the end of which seems to be the point at where a writer can really start presenting an idea and making an impression on their reader.

I realize that - at 31 years old - I may be outside your target market, but the core creators of the site are in their thirties as well.  Hello Giggles has a large following now (kudos), and a chance to be more than just another girly site.

This is simply my opinion, of course.  Thank you for reading and letting me share it with you.


-Amy XXXXX (I put my full name - nothing to hide)

Clicking submit, I realize I'm probably yelling into a black hole...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The post none of you asked for!

Today is the third day of Nanowrimo (http://nanowrimo.org).  Every year, there is an online challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November, presumably using the time you'd spend shaving.  I get the itch to write around this time of year, and the fact that it's Nanowrimo time is a bit of motivation for me.  Despite my laziness, I do feel a need to write.  When I arrive to work early, I take the time to send one of my friends a 'just because' email that's filled with wit and humour (they agree with me that it's wit and humour, at any rate. It's more likely to be caffeine filled drivel, similar to the blog.)

I logged in recently, and my profile indicates that I've been a member for six years.  This is an impressive badge to carry, particularly given that I've written exactly zero books, and submitted 0 words to my word count for all years combined.

The webpage is pretty.  It's got the two shades of blue, with the dark brown writing, very stylish.  It has a crest that's cartoonish, but nice and crisp.  That incredibly trendy, kinda hipsterish* look that actually makes me want to gouge my eyes out.  As I said, it's a nice website, and it runs smoothly, which is actually the most important feature.

The top of the page reads "the world needs your novel."  I actually have two issues with this sentence:

1.  Don't blow smoke up my ass.
2.  The world needs a lot of things.  It needs me to pay attention when I'm at work.  It needs me to pay my taxes, and be a good citizen.  What it genuinely doesn't need is another novel.**

The site then boasts 259,261 novelists.  Provided that I'm one of those, I can only assume their definition of 'novelist' is looser than a Florida retirees sexual mores.

It is usually at this point during an angry rant I remind myself that "it takes all kinds."*** If everyone in the world were like me, nothing would get done.****

Herein lies the real truth.  The amount of willpower I have is embarrassingly small. 

Pictured: My willpower.  Enlarged to show texture.
If our attitude towards willpower were the same as our attitudes towards penises, I would have the coolest convertible in my city.  As a small example, I didn't sit down to write this post until after I convinced myself I needed a tomato sandwich, which meant I had to go buy bread and I didn't even stop at the first store, but kept driving because I really liked the song that was on the radio.  I think Nanowrimo interests me, because it feels like maybe there will be an outside force pushing me to write, but where's the pressure?  A bunch of people I don't really know are going to judge me (not even me, because I've used a different screenname.)  Without the consequences, there's just no pressure.

Truth be told, a large part me - including when I'm in a fantastic mood - feels that Nanowrimo is for people who do not have full time jobs and responsibilities outside of those jobs..  If we genuinely think about it, it boils down to about 6-7 pages per day (50,000 words divided by 30 days = 1,666.6666and-so-on, divided by, say 250 words per page = 6.66666and-so-on pages per day).  Actually, it seems reasonable, but when you consider that includes weekends, and someone like me is in front a computer all day at work.  Then we can play with it again, and say "what if you just did it on weekends?" which totals 23.333333and-so-on pages per day on the weekend.

What if I were to cut the goal in half, just to get things off the ground (so, only write 25,000 words)? Well, yes, but then we're back to our previous concerns of consequences.  And I don't make the kind of money this guy does, to pay someone to keep me on point.

I need someone to slap me.



*Every time I use the word Hipster, I have a creeping sense that the damn definition has changed again. "You can't define us, man."  Fuck you.
**Someone should tell Iceland.  In actuality, I love that news story, no matter how crabby I am. 
***This is a whole other phrase I can rant about for hours.  You complain to your friend about the way someone does something, and they shrug and say "it takes all kinds," effectively dismissing your complaint without any analysis of potential issues.  It's a polite "shut up, asshole."
****Also, there would be more car accidents; I'm not the best driver.
 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dewey Wrap Up

Which hour was most daunting for you?
We went for a walk at around 11pm last night.  The moments leading up that were pretty difficult.  In complete fairness, and in the interest of full-disclosure, we all needed to get a fair bit of sleep last night.  This is Canada's Thanksgiving weekend, and we need to be in different places with family today.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I'm really enjoying Stephen King's "On Writing."  It's my second time reading it, and there's something incredibly warm and engaging in his voice.  I would recommend it to anyone interested in writing, regardless of whether they like horror or not. 

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I feel that having more engagement from the cheerleaders would have been nice.  

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The challenges are nice.  I wish I had the time to do the tea stain doodle challenge (can't remember what it's called).  I enjoyed spending time with my friends.

How many books did you read?
I started and finished The Witches.
I started and am halfway through "Dark Companions" by Ramsey Campbell and "On Writing" by Stephen King.

What were the names of the books you read?
See above.

Which book did you enjoy most?
No preference.

Which did you enjoy least?
No preference, really.  They were all quite different, and they're all from writers I like.  I chose them because they were sure thing.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Well, I was only hit by one cheerleader during my experience, so I'm not seeing a lot of impact at the moment. Disappointing, to be honest.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Pretty likely.  Would probably just be a reader again.  :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Audiobook Dream Date

From the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog:

Super simple: Pick a book and assign who would be your dream narrator!

There are so many fantastic answers to this...
I would absolutely love to hear Robert Webb read Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.  I love his voice:




Dewey's Readathon Progress

This is my second readathon, although it is my first participating in "the Dewey*"  Given that we're close to Halloween,   I'm focusing on horror or creepy. 

Today,  I'm reading with two of my oldest friends**, and they seem to be making better progress than me.  When I spend time with them and we chat about books, it becomes clear to me that I read the least of the three of us.  This is a little saddening for me, as I used to pride myself on being well read. Each time I spend a good block of time reading, I have the sad realization that I'm not a quick reader.  Truthfully, I'm not incredibly well read, and I'm a slow reader.  I don't know if there's an anonymous group for it - probably in the realm of 'whiny babies anonymous' or 'spoiled brat douchebaggery' - but if I find one, I may attend a meeting or two.  At the very least, I'll find someone who's worse off than I, and nothing warms the soul better than finding someone you can look down upon***.

Moving on, I did manage to finish one book this time around so far (still many hours to go).   This is what I've dipped into so far:





I had started out reading Dark Companions, the short story collection of Ramsey Campbell's.  His stuff is quite chilly, more atmospheric than most modern popular horror (like something's not quite right until the final, horrifying reveal. Not to say it's formulaic in any way, because it's not.)

Stephen King's "On Writing," is a re-read for me.  Like a conversation with an old friend.

And I started and finished "The Witches," by Roald Dahl.  Delightful.  I almost brought "Switch Bitch," a collection of short stories for adults, but I'm glad I went with this one.


At any rate, back to it.





*I apologize if referencing it this way is not proper.  I certainly mean no disrespect in any way.
**Meaning, I've known them the longest.  I'm not here to get myself in trouble.
***For those who haven't met or read me: yes, that was tongue in cheek.

Mini-challenge: hour 2!

From  http://www.rivercityreading.com/2013/10/deweys-mini-challenge-hour-2-book-tunes.html

Choose a song that best suits the book you're reading so far and why:

Currently reading "Dark Companions," a short story collection by Ramsey Campbell.  It's delightfully spooky. 
choose a song that best suits the book you're reading so far and explain why - See more at: http://www.rivercityreading.com/2013/10/deweys-mini-challenge-hour-2-book-tunes.html#sthash.oEXZD4w1.dpuf

choose a song that best suits the book you're reading so far and explain why - See more at: http://www.rivercityreading.com/2013/10/deweys-mini-challenge-hour-2-book-tunes.html#sthash.oEXZD4w1.dpuf

choose a song that best suits the book you're reading so far and explain why - See more at: http://www.rivercityreading.com/2013/10/deweys-mini-challenge-hour-2-book-tunes.html#sthash.oEXZD4w1.dpuf




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJKqUw39GNU

Hello all! Let's get ready to reeeeeead!!!!!!!!!!

Dewey's Readathon - Post 1

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from Guelph Ontario!  My home is located in London, Ontario, but I've come out here to read with my lovely friends, Janey Canuck (janeycanuck.com) and Katy (http://seekatydo101thingsin1001days.blogspot.ca/)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
A collection of short stories by Ramsey Campbell.  Today may end up being entirely horror filled.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I brewed a bunch of fresh iced tea yesterday for today.


4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm a law clerk, hailing from London, Ontario.  I enjoy movies and music and have an interest in the strange and unusual. And a strange love for English comedians.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This is my first Dewey!  I look forward to meeting some cheerleaders and spending time with friends, and reading of course.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Snob's High Summer Read-a-Thon Reading Challenge

Saturday morning, my friend Colleen will be on her way to my place for a day of reading.  We each have our piles of books set aside ("Call me when you get here, so I can help you carry your books up," I said), and I have plenty of lamps, pillows, and blankets, in the living room, so we can each build our reading nests.  I'm going to have both the tassimo and the drip coffee maker ready to go, and fresh fruit and bagels for fuel.  I'm setting up the blow up mattress in the library for myself and making up my bed for her, so either of us can take a nap without bothering the other.

The read-a-thon is for the entire week, but both of us have been working the whole week, so we're doing a blitz.  I am quite excited.

For the Reading Challenge, I'm reading Caitlin Moran's "Moranthology".  It's none-fiction, so I'm not certain this will count, but she writes about an interview with Keith Richards, and an entire evening with Lady Gaga.  Well, I found a pic with both of them in it.

Gorgeous Gaga proving vertical stripes do no one any favours.
Incredibly straightforward.  Sorry.  :P