Teenage Anthems

Howdy, howdy! How is everyone doing? What kinds of things have you found to help you pass the time during the quarantine? I’ve been listening to a lot of older music. Stuff from my teen years. I hate to call it old, but late ’90s to 2004ish is 16+ years ago. I’m getting old. I know. It’s before I got into Japanese and Korean music. It’s before I even got into Lifehouse and James Blunt and other groups that lean more towards the soft and sappy. These are my depressed and angry teenage anthems. The songs that made me feel less alone. And they still make me feel better. I think they always will. Anyway, I don’t have much to talk about on the writing front, so I thought I’d share some music with you.

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1. “I Feel Fine” by the Riddlin’ Kids. It was released in 2001. I never really got into any of their other music, but I really liked this particular song. Maybe it’s because I felt alone a lot.

2. “Sympathetic” by Seether. I first heard it when I bought Disclaimer (2002). It quickly became one of my favorites. A lot of Seether songs still rank among my favorites. “Fine Again” and “Broken” from the same album. “The Gift” and “Truth” from Karma And Effect. “Like Suicide” and “Walk Away from the Sun” from Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces. I could go on, but I think that’s enough of them.

3. “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty from More Than You Think You Are (2002). They’re one of the more poppy bands I liked back then and a lot of their songs just made me happy. “Disease” from the same album. “Mad Season” and “Bent” from Mad Season. “Long Day” and “Push” from Yourself Or Someone Like You. But “Unwell” will always be number one.

4. “A Quiet Mind” by Blue October from History For Sale (2003). I don’t even know where to begin with them. Their music got me through a lot. Aside from “A Quiet Mind” there’s also “Inner Glow” from the same album. “She’s My Ride Home” and “Into the Ocean” from Foiled. “Picking up Pieces” and “Jump Rope” from Approaching Normal. The list goes on, but I’ll stop here.

5. “Pieces” by Sum 41 from Chuck (2004). I enjoy a lot of their music, but this song is by far my favorite. They didn’t exactly play my favorite genre, so I never got attached to them the same way I did other bands. Mostly I got attached to specific songs from similar bands. “Adam’s Song” by Blink182 for example. But I won’t dive too far into those songs.

 

So, yeah. I’m spending a lot of time doing the same stuff I did as a teenager: listening to music and reading. It might not be productive, but it makes me feel better and that’s all that really matters. What makes you feel better these days? What are some of your teenage anthems or songs that got you through those years? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

Early Christmas Break

Hello, hello!  Is everyone ready for the holidays?  I hope so.  Anyway, I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to come up with a topic for this week’s post and I keep coming up blank.  Since I’m doing a book review on Christmas instead of taking a break, I figured I would take this week off.  So, here are some festive photos of my chair that Dad decorated and a couple from the MDA Holiday Party in lieu of an actual post!

Merry (early) Christmas!

A Quick Explanation

Howdy, howdy!  Last week was a series of unfortunate events.  On Sunday (the 20th), I had a mishap and injured my knee.  Spent Monday in bed to baby it.  Got sick on Tuesday  with one of those illnesses no one wants to know about and have been struggling to recover ever since.  This past Monday, I got a shot and some amoxicillin.  I’m slowly on the mend.  But!  I haven’t been productive and I haven’t even finished reading my book that I was supposed to review this week.  Hopefully, I’ll be back next week to review that and get on track!  I think I’m going to go rest now.

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Thoughts On THE WICKED DEEP

Hello, hello!  It’s the last Wednesday of the month already.  Time flies when you’re having fun (or just going about daily life), I suppose.  Anyway, you all know what happens today: a book review!  This week, I’ll be talking about The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.  It was published back in March of this year by Simon and Schuster.  I read it with the reading group I’m in and decided that I have too many thoughts about it to not write a post.  I usually try to keep my posts as close to spoiler free as possible (sometimes a couple will slip through), but that’s going to be impossible here.  Spoilers this way lie.  You’ve been warned.

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I absolutely love the cover.

The Wicked Deep is the story of a small town called Sparrow and the curse that has plagued it every summer for two centuries.  Why is there a curse?  Because the town sentenced three sisters to death by drowning for acts of witchcraft, of course.  What is the curse?  The three sisters possess the bodies of three girls from the town and lure boys to their death in the harbor.  Poor Penny, a seventeen-year-old who lives on an island with her not-quite-all-there mother, has accepted that it’s the town’s fate to suffer the wrath of the witches every year.  That is until Bo, an unwitting outsider, shows up and she decides it’s her mission to protect him.  Things go all kinds of wrong from there.

I have to admit that I was totally in love with this book as I was reading it.  The setting was wonderful and the writing pulled me along.  Even after I finished it, I was prepared to give it five stars.  Then, I took a breath and started thinking about it.  Really thinking about it.  That was when things got super dark, and not in a good way.

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It really did.

*spoilers ahead*

I ended up feeling sooooo bad for Penny. First, she’s possessed by Hazel (violation much?), but then there’s the whole Bo thing. I mean, there’s sex.  That means Penny is basically ghost roofied and forced into sex without any say. To be fair, Bo doesn’t know about Penny being Hazel at first.  But after everything is over, he keeps dating Penny like everything is normal and he was in love with her all along. At the same time, he keeps pining over Hazel. So, he’s not in love with Penny, which means she’s stuck in a relationship with some guy who’s not really into her.  It all just got very rapey the more I thought about it.  By itself that’s fine (not every story has to be a happy one), but there will be people who think this is a great love story and that’s what really makes me sad.

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Me after really thinking about things.

Aside from that, I also expected more from Penny’s mom.  She supposedly has some kind of psychic powers and knows when people are on her island and all that, but she doesn’t kick Hazel’s ghostly ass?  She doesn’t really do much at all.  It’s apparent during her conversation with Hazel that she knows things, but she doesn’t act.  It was just a little disappointing.

Ultimately, I had a love/hate relationship with The Wicked Deep.  I’ll still keep a look out for other books by Shea Ernshaw, though.  It was good enough that I was swept along, which makes it worth looking into other stories by her.

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Overall, my issues with it dropped my rating down to a 3 out of 5.  I definitely suggest picking it up if you’re into stuff like that, but really think about the story.  Maybe I’m making too much out of something small.  Maybe you’ll find it creepy too.  Who knows?

Mindless Games and Why I Play Them

Happy new year, everyone!  I hope the year has started off pleasantly for you.  I’ve just been working on revisions to G&G and relaxing.  I have a tendency to play mindless games when I relax.  You know the ones.  Candy Crush, Diner Dash, Papa’s Pizzeria.  Pretty much anything with an alliterative name is bound to be mindless.  Match three games or hidden objects games or time management games.  The types of games that give you something to do with your hands and pretty images to stare at, but require little to no deep thinking.  However, some people don’t really understand why I play them and even pick on me for it (in a funny haha way, not a mean one), so I thought I would explain a little bit.

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May your year be filled with love and light!

Mindless games are simply a way for me to shut down my brain and stop overthinking things, especially when I’m dwelling on something.  They allow me to focus on something mundane and ignore the voices in my head for a while.  When I’m upset at life or stuck on a story or whatever, the games help to clear my thoughts.  It’s kind of like when you get sucked into a TV show or a movie or a book and everything else fades away for that hour or however long.  It’s a way to bring peace into my head, like my own little meditation.  When your brain is constantly on high speed over the stupidest things, it’s a really nice feeling to just relax.

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I can stop whenever I want.  I just don’t want to.

There’s also this weird side effect of mindless games that I don’t get from TV or books: I find solutions to plot problems when I play.  With TV and books, I have to focus on their plots and follow along.  Mindless games don’t require that much interaction, so my subconscious is free to roam wild.  In its roaming, it finds solutions to problems organically.  It finds things I would never come up with even after hours or days of plotting.  I know a lot of people who have these revelations in the shower, and others who keep dream journals for this type of stuff, but not me.  Mindless games are where it’s at for me.

So, laugh at my stupid games all you want, but there’s a method to my madness.  Plus, and this is important, I enjoy the games.  I like matching games.  I like the games that simulate tasks like waiting tables and cooking and all the other stuff I can’t do.  It’s fun and stupid and makes me a huge nerd.  I fully accept that.

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I’m right here!

Do you play any mindless games?  How do you go about clearing your mind?  Do you find your aha moments in the shower or driving down the road or in your dreams?  Thoughts, comments, questions, and everything in between are welcome in the comment section here or on my social media pages.

Season’s Greetings and Songs

Merry (almost) Christmas!  I don’t have much to talk about this week, so I thought I would share some of my favorite songs to listen to around this time of year.  They’re not all Christmas songs, some just feel right about now.  Are there any songs you can’t go without during the holiday season?

First up, Gayla Peevey’s I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

 I don’t really know why, but it’s been one of my favorites since I was a kid.  For a while, I even wanted a hippopotamus, but they’re actually pretty deadly, so I changed my mind.

Next is Nakashima Mika’s Yuki no Hana (Snow Flower).

It’s not a Christmas song or anything, just a pretty wintry song.  It’s been so long since I’ve looked up the lyrics that I can’t even tell you what it’s about anymore.  Shame on me.  I chose a live version because it’s what I like, no other reason.

Sinatra’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Okay, maybe it doesn’t have to be this particular song, but you know those iconic Christmas songs sung by Frankie and Dean Martin and the like?  Yeah, those kinds of songs.

And, of course no Christmas is complete without the Royal Guardsmen’s Snoopy’s Christmas.

Who doesn’t love that song?  It’s impossible not to like it.

I left out tons of songs, I know, but this is a start.  There’s the music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and a bunch of others I’m surely forgetting.  What are your favorites?   Go ahead and send me a link!

Have a merry Christmas!  I’ll be back once more before the new year.  See you then.