Arguing With A Brick Wall

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful day? It’s that time of year where all of the doctor check ups/appointments seem to pop up together. Dad and I had the one with our PCP last week, he has one with a shoulder specialist this week, I have a dentist appointment that I’ve been putting off since the pandemic began next week, at the end of the month I see the pulmonologist, then early next month we both have at least one more appointment. Anyway, it has me thinking about masks and how people refuse to wear them. It’s annoying. It’s idiotic. It’s just people being assholes. And I’ve already ranted about it before, but I guess I’ll do it again.

I laughed.

Despite what people say, there’s no reason not to wear a mask. Other countries have been wearing face masks for years. In Japan, it started about 150 years ago as a way for miners to cut back on inhaling dust. In 1918 they became more popular to help stop the spread of influenza. And from there it’s just become a normal part of life. It’s common courtesy to wear a mask, especially when sick, so you don’t spread your germs. Yes, having to wear it every time you go somewhere can be annoying if you’re not used to it, but that’s no reason to flip out about it. So, why are Americans so opposed to the little piece of cloth? It’s ridiculous.

I even got bored enough that when a friend made a snide comment on another friend’s Facebook post, I engaged in a stupid argument that ended up being about how masks are bad for kids, physically and mentally. I asked for sources. He sent three articles and a YouTube video. I didn’t watch the video (I had stuff to do and I prefer to read), but I did go through the articles. The first one quoted a study, but the study they link to is for something completely different and doesn’t mention the quote at all. The second article made claims without research to back it up (the research papers it did reference weren’t horrible, but left a lot of questions open), didn’t mention that solutions have been found for many of the issues, and was obviously skewed in what it mentioned or neglected to mention. The third article wasn’t even relevant since the study it was based on has been formally retracted due to questionable methodology. It took me a few clicks and some light reading to see how many holes these articles were full of. I didn’t even have to Google anything. I just followed their own links. Why don’t other people do that? It’s not usually hard, unless the sources and effort put into the article are legitimate. If everything is legit, it’s much harder to find flaws. And yet people still insist on using this stuff as “facts.” Just stop.

Yeah, I know. It’s all a conspiracy by the Left to control people. Right? Just like pants and shirts and shoes and every other item of clothing. That’s all masks are. New clothing. Why don’t you run around naked if you’re so against a piece of clothing? It’d be more entertaining than hearing another rant about civil liberties. Or is it because you don’t believe in Covid? I guess people are just dropping dead for no reason. Seriously. I don’t understand people. And it’s like arguing with a brick wall. Non-maskers are fucking idiots and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

I’ll try not to go off on a rant next week. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages as usual, but I will be monitoring any arguments and intervene if things devolve too far into chaos.

5 Things I Should Be Doing

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s August already? That means Christmas is some time next week, right? Time just won’t stop. But I did find out the world still exists. Had a doctor’s appointment, so I had to leave the house. I have to do it again later this month. There were people without masks. It was annoying. But I expected it. Anyway, I should be doing things besides worrying about the state of the world. And since I have nothing else to ramble about, I figured now was as good a time as any to try talking myself into being productive again.

1. Start writing again. I haven’t written much of anything aside from blog posts since mid-June. I know. Shame on me. I just have to decide whether I want to jump back into my last novel attempt or finish up some short stories. Probably the latter, so I have new stuff to submit. Just have to make myself do it.

2. Catch up on submissions. I’m three weeks behind, so I need to submit to six places on top of the two for this week. No idea why I started slacking on this. Yes, it’s getting more difficult to find paying markets to send these stories to, but not impossible. Also, writing a few new short stories or flash fiction pieces will help make submitting easier. I know this, yet I’m still lazy. Motivation is hard.

I haven’t had this happen yet, but I check at least ten times before I send anything and a couple of times after I send it. Just in case.

3. Query some more agents. I think I’ve waited long enough for the “only responds when interested” agents, so I can send out the last ten or so agent queries for DS1, then wait a while for replies before trying publishers. Or maybe I should just go right for the publishers? I don’t know. I’ll figure it out.

4. Get excited about reading again. I read every day, but it’s felt like a slog for the last month. It doesn’t seem to matter what I read. Nothing holds my attention for more than a few minutes. It’s weird. Maybe I’m just burned out. No idea. Hopefully something will grab my attention soon.

WIPs = works in progress.

5. Finish something. Anything. A story, the shawl, whatever. Sometimes, I think if I could just feel the accomplishment of finishing something, my creativity would start flowing again. I know that’s not how it actually works, but it’s how I feel. The biggest problem is forcing myself to do the thing.

There you go. Sorry I didn’t come up with anything better to ramble about. Blogging is even harder than writing stories. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or comments or questions or whatever here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on JUST ONE LOOK

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing on this lovely day? Can you believe it’s already the last Wednesday in July? That means it’s book review time. I wasn’t really sure what I felt like reading this month, so I just browsed through late July releases until I found something that seemed interesting. That happened to be a mystery/thriller called Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron. It was released on the 27th from Ballantine Books (an imprint of Random House). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

It’s pretty colors.

Just One Look follows Cassie Woodson who is trying to find her way back to normal after an epic break up with a coworker gets her fired and forces her from her upward trajectory in a prestigious law firm down into the basements of another firm with all the other temps just trying to scrape by. That’s where she finds the perfect man. Not in person, but via his emails which have mistakenly been included in a high profile case’s discovery files. Her job is to sift through that information for anything relevant to the case, not to snoop through personal emails. But he’s perfect and she’s in love. What could go wrong?

Characters: meh. The only one we really get any insight into is Cassie and she’s super unreliable. Don’t get me wrong. Unreliable narrators can be great as long as we can look back and see where they twist things and where the truth shines through. There is no truth with Cassie. She gets black out drunk just about every night and doesn’t remember doing creepy stalker things. And by the end, she hasn’t changed or evolved at all. The perfect guy ends up being a douchenozzle (who didn’t see that coming a mile away?), though I admit things escalate quickly and beyond what we’re set up for in the story. And the only dude with any potential at being a normal person ends up being the mystery death in this thriller. In other words, there wasn’t enough character development to make me feel one way or the other about any of them.

Me to everyone in this book.

Plot: about what you’d expect. I haven’t read many stalker stories, but they all seem pretty much the same. Girl falls for perfect dude despite never officially meeting him, finds ways to insert herself in his life, confirms/encourages the exit of any significant others, ignores all warning signs, finds out perfect dude is a douche. And if the story is a thriller, there’s usually some kind of murder or abuse involved. That’s what we have here. It gets boring fast, which is why I don’t read many books like it. But that’s just me.

Pacing: not great. The first two-thirds of this book are a slog. Sure, we get a ton of information, but no real progress. And the information we get doesn’t give any hint to the escalation in the last third of the book. If you don’t automatically assume people are asshats, there’s not really anything on the page to suggest things will go the way they do. It’s annoying. It also makes the last third of the story feel super rushed.

Yup.

Writing: nothing special. It was fine, but nothing that stood out. The problems with the pacing made it harder to read than anything. If it wasn’t for that, the writing itself could’ve made for a smooth, quick read.

Ultimately, Just One Look was okay, but not something I’ll ever think about again. I’m not mad I wasted time on it, I just wasn’t impressed by it. That’s all.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. It was fine. People who are into the whole stalker thriller genre will probably enjoy it and should check it out. If that’s not your thing, you aren’t really missing anything.

Good News, Everyone

Hello, hello! How is everyone this beautiful day? Things are pretty much the same as they’ve been around here. Lots of slacking on all fronts. You know how it goes. Anyway, if you follow my personal Facebook, you already know this, but today’s post is just to let you know that my flash fiction piece “The Water Horse” will be appearing in Improbable Press’s forthcoming anthology. Right now, the only release details I have is that it’ll be coming in early 2022. I will post my usual shameless self-promotions when I know more. But I wanted to let everyone know that writerly things are still happening even though I’m slacking. I’ll be back next week with my usual end-of-month book review!

Murder Mysteries Because I’m Out of Ideas

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this week? I’m still slacking on most things. I have zero desire to do anything. Even reading is a slog, despite both books I’m currently reading being halfway decent. I’ve been sitting here for over two hours, trying to figure out what to blog about. I’m trying to think of summery things. That’s not working. Writerly things are eluding me. No one wants another list of books or goals. I even considered making a list of a few summertime crochet things I can try making when I finish that shawl I’ve been working on forever. But I don’t have any examples handy and it’s a little overwhelming to try to find examples on short notice. Maybe I’ll do that next week. So, what am I going to blog about today? I’m still thinking. All I’ve really been doing is watching murder mystery shows. I guess I can ramble about the three I’m currently watching with Dad.

1. Agatha Christie’s Poirot. It’s on Britbox (except for series 7 and 8, both of which just left AcornTV and haven’t landed anywhere else yet). We’re still in series 3, I think. It’s an okay show. The old cars and stuff are pretty. It started out where an hour episode felt like 2 or 3 hours, but it’s gotten better. Things seem to move more smoothly. There are some laughs. Poirot kind of reminds me of Monk (the American show with Tony Shalhoub). Actually, I guess Monk reminds me of him since he came first. It’s probably just the OCD thing. Anyway, it’s getting better and it’s cute.

2. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s on AcornTV. It’s set in 1920’s Melbourne, so the vehicles and clothing are interesting. There are cute moments. And, of course, she’s a strong, independent woman. She also has a habit of collecting people. It’s weird. We’re still in series one (there are 3, plus a movie and a spin-off), so it’s still early, but it’s another one that’s cute and entertaining. Plus, it doesn’t seem to drag too much so far, so there’s that.

3. The Brokenwood Mysteries. It’s a New Zealand show, also on AcornTV. It’s got some laughs. I’m not sure what I expected out of New Zealand scenery, but this (basically reminds me of small town America) was not it. It’s set nowadays, so the only old car you get to see is the main dude’s 1971 Holden Kingswood (it’s not pretty, so I have no feelings one way or the other about it). All of the episodes are about an hour and a half, so it’s a little long, but I’m enjoying it so far.

There you go. That’s what Dad and I are watching lately. I know. I’m a boring person. But I’m okay with that. I’ll try to think of something more exciting for next week. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

You Thought You Were Done With Pride Month, Didn’t You?

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? I hope everyone survived the fireworks and what have you with their sanities, pets, and houses intact. Three days to celebrate the 4th. Why did it take three days? Anyway, I don’t really have anything to ramble about, so I thought I would take the chance to remind people that the LGBT+’s Pride month might be over, but July happens to be Disability Pride Month! Most people still don’t even know it exists. I didn’t know until last year. Apparently some cities even have parades and crap for it. Not mine, but Chicago has been doing one for like 18 years. I believe NYC and LA usually do something too. There’s even a flag.

It’s not my favorite flag in the world, but it’s something.

So, why do we need a Disability Pride month? A few reasons, really. One, to help normalize disabilities and fight against the ableism that runs rampant in the world. I’ve always rambled on this blog about the various ways people treat me just because I’m cripple, especially when I get ignored at restaurants. I brush it off as people being idiots, but it’s blatant ableism. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of ableism that it’s hard to keep track. Aside from the way people treat the disabled community, there’s also lack of physical access because for some reason the government here in the U.S. thinks old architecture is more important than making it accessible. So, they grandfather buildings to make it so they don’t have to be ADA compliant. And these are just examples of things I have to deal with. There are many other disabilities, all of which have their own issues to face. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that even I’m guilty of it. I’m trying to be better, but it’s hard. Helping people to understand disability and to recognize that it’s a normal part of life is the only way to move forward towards a more inclusive future.

Two, to help fight for equal rights. In the U.S., people with disabilities are discriminated against all the time. Most of that stems from ableism, but we also have to contend with idiotic laws. We’re forced to choose between our benefits and things like jobs or marriage. And most of us can’t live without those benefits. I can’t live without Medicaid because it funds the program that pays for someone to take care of me. If I lose Medicaid, I lose that. But because the only way I could get Medicaid was by getting on SSI, a program designed for the indigent, I’ll get kicked off if I make too much money. So, I can’t get a job unless it’s a ridiculously good one (for someone with no real experience and zero references, hahaha) and I can’t get married (they would start counting my spouse’s income against my benefits). It’s basically forced poverty and it’s ridiculous. Disabled people deserve to be able to contribute to society or get married without risking our benefits. Sure, if I get rich and no longer need the benefits, kick me off, but I can’t get to that point without working.

Me after dealing with the government.

Three, to help disabled people remember that they are indeed people and that they aren’t alone. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Disabled people internalize ableism as well. It’s hard not to feel like a burden, especially when you have to ask for help or accommodations or whatever. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was constantly reminded of everything my mother sacrificed for me (she was a toxic narcissist, but she’s dead now, so yeah). I still have a hard time even asking for stuff I need (like having my nose wiped or needing pillows moved at night or whatever) when I know it will inconvenience someone (usually Dad). Part of that struggle is just left over from my mother, but part of it is the whole cripple burden thing. Seeing that I’m not alone, that other disabled people exist and live happy lives, helps a lot. So, yeah. Disability Pride Month is good for educating others, but it’s also good for people who live with disabilities every day.

I chose a creepy picture because that’s who I am, but it’s good to see I’m not alone in my struggles.

Like I said, the examples in this post are my own. Other disabilities have other issues, but there’s always going to be some overlap. Anyway, happy Disability Pride Month! As always, feel free to leave your comments, questions and thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES

Howdy, howdy! How is everyone doing? It’s the last Wednesday of June. Can you believe it? I have no idea where time is going. But that means it’s time for another book review! I wanted something a little more intense this month, so I decided to request a thriller mystery instead of a cozy. Walking Through Needles by Heather Levy sounded like just the ticket. It was released from Polis Books on the 29th. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. So, let’s get to it!

Not a bad cover, but I don’t really understand why the lightning is there.

Walking Through Needles follows Sam as she struggles to deal with the repercussions of the abuse she suffered as a teenager. When she discovers her abuser has been murdered, it forces her to relive that time and the confusion and inner turmoil that went with it. But she needs to focus on the here and now in order to keep an innocent man from being charged with the crime, as well as keeping herself out of the spotlight. But who actually killed him? Sam isn’t sure she really wants to know.

I have to be honest. This book feels more like an excuse to write softcore stepsibling porn that dabbles in kink than an actual thriller. I mean, the very first scene is Sam masturbating while choking herself. That’s an awkward start to a book when you’re not prepared for it. However, the whole porn vibe isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Porn is fine. It can even be great. This porn is not. It’s rape-y and underage (she’s 16-17 during the rape parts). And the murder plot feels like an afterthought. Something thrown in to make the actual story more palatable to a wider audience. It was super easy to figure out who killed the dude. So easy that the red herrings (those side plots meant to throw you off the scent) came across as ridiculous. Aside from the lack of actual mystery, it was a story (neither good nor horrible) if you’re into dark stuff. It at least tries to handle the complexities of rape, especially when it comes to a grown ass man taking advantage of a teenager’s willingness when she really has no clue what she’s getting into. It just doesn’t do it well. There’s this whole “I was asking for it” mentality when Sam’s younger and it never really addresses when she finally stops blaming herself. Everything is skimmed over. Anyway, it just wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for, so I wasn’t ready for it.

My face after reading that opening scene.

The characters are all a little on the flat side. Sam’s a budding masochist who matures into the role as an adult, but she never really becomes an actual person for me. She’s pretty stereotypical. Isaac has the potential to be an interesting character, but we never get a glimpse into his motivations/why he’s the way he is, so he ends up being a typical asshat. Arrow is the most interesting character because he actually demonstrates a willingness to change and adapt, but even he doesn’t get his due. Mom and Grandma are caricatures. Everyone else is just meh. They all have some kind of potential, but sadly fall flat.

Me to every single character.

As far as the writing goes, it was fine. There was nothing captivating about it, but nothing to complain about either. It was just words on the page. That’s about it. But I should probably stop thinking about this book because the more I do, the more I dislike it.

Ultimately, Walking Through Needles was not my cup of tea. I have no desire to pick up another book by Heather Levy just because of this one. It might be because I wasn’t in the mind space for something like this. It’s not like I haven’t read and enjoyed things even darker than this. But this one didn’t do anything for me.

starstarstar outlinestar outlinestar outline

Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. Closer to 1.5 stars. Mostly because there are people who apparently enjoyed it, even if I’m not one of them. If you’re into softcore porn with a super dark storyline, you might enjoy this. If you’re looking for a thriller, this is not the story you want.

No Big Surprise

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful June day? I’m still being a bad little writer and have nothing new to share. It’s getting really hard to find things to ramble about on here, so if you have questions or suggestions, they’d be welcome. I would say that I could just switch to book reviews all the time, but I can’t read that fast. Two-ish books a month is the best I can do. Oh well. I guess I’ll just keep coming up with stuff at the last minute. Anyway, since it’s still June, I guess I can do a Pride post. Or whatever. Just a post full of pretty colors, really.

I’ve never once felt the need or desire to come out. However, I’ve also never felt the need to hide my preferences. I’m lucky that way. People either think I’m joking when I make comments about being attracted to people or they just don’t care. And I don’t correct them if it’s the former. Most of the people I care about are in the latter category. They don’t care who I ogle. It’s no ones business but mine. Even the people I’m attracted to don’t get to know because I’m socially awkward and just keep my feelings to myself. As nature intended.

But yeah. I’m pansexual. Big surprise, right? Basically, I get the hots for people regardless of gender (the social construct) or sex (biology). If I find someone attractive, then I find them attractive. That’s all. They don’t need to have specific equipment or present a certain way. I also acknowledge that gender is not a binary, so bisexual never really felt like the right label. Technically, sex isn’t a binary either, but I don’t feel like arguing science with people, so I’m just focusing on gender. If you can’t wrap your head around gender being a spectrum, just make believe I’m bi. I don’t actually mind either way.

A pan flag with a cute little batty! By Evara Hargreaves.

“But you’re perpetually single! I know you like boys because you’re a girl, but how can you know you like girls and other people who aren’t boys?” Honestly? The same way a lot of people figure this crap out. I look at people and get those weird tingles thanks to hormones. How did you know you liked the opposite sex? Have you ever tried anything with someone of the same sex? No? Then how do you know you’re really straight? C’mon, people. You just figure these things out as you go. The first non-boy I had naughty thoughts about was Tia Carrera from her Relic Hunter days (1999-2002, so really the perfect time for me realize boys weren’t the only hot ones). Then, I eventually found boys in skirts and things just spiraled from there. So, gender and sex don’t matter to me. As long as I have eye candy, I’m happy. Personality is important too, but only if I’m actually looking to get to know someone. My social skills are not prepared for actually getting to know people, though. Ah well.

Kaya. They’re gorgeous. And one of my early-ish boy-in-a-skirt experiences.

There. If there were any doubts in your mind about my sexuality, now you know. If this is somehow surprising, you haven’t been paying attention. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages! I’ll be back next week with the regularly scheduled book review.

Peopling is Hard

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? I’m still stuck in a procrastination rut. I start projects, it goes well for a few days, then I just hit a wall. I try to work through it for a couple of days, but after staring at the same pages for a while, I get disgusted with it and take a few days off. It’s an endless cycle. I need to break it, but I can’t figure out how. So, I decided to try being social instead. Change up the routine. Maybe getting out of my comfort zone would help get the writing muscles going again. That was the hope, anyway. It’s not going too well.

It’s me!

I randomly joined some Facebook groups a week or so ago, mostly for pretty pictures of bats and cephalopods. Apparently, I also decided to join a couple of groups for people who are pansexual and their supporters (happy Pride!), which I never do because… well, people. One of the current fads in one of those groups are those stupid friendship application posts where newbies basically introduce themselves. I don’t do that stuff. I am horrible at peopling. Everyone knows this. I make no secret of it. But I did the thing despite my aversion to socializing.

All of the comments on the post were super sweet and accepting. Yes, I even included pictures. And, instead of being self-deprecating like I usually am, I tried very hard to just say thank you to the handful of folks who said I was pretty or whatever. It was weird. And I admit that I met a couple of people who are cool and I’ve enjoyed our conversations and will definitely keep talking to them. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t get like twenty DMs from douchenozzles (you know the ones, those who expect cyber sex or whatever it’s called nowadays without even attempting to hide it behind getting to know you) who ended up blocked. It totally reminded me of the Yahoo chat days, and not in the good way. Sifting through the asshats to find the interesting people is just not my thing anymore. I’m too lazy for all that. And way too comfortable with being alone (or talking to my current peoples) to make that effort.

Or I can be alone by myself. Either way works.

It doesn’t help that I have a lot of social anxiety. I can’t even make doctor appointments over the phone without freaking out unless I practice the conversation in my head fifty times. Goddess forbid they go off script. And even if it goes perfectly, I still feel like I screwed something up with the interaction. I’m not as bad with text based exchanges, because I can see and edit what I’m saying. Especially when it comes to professional correspondence. That, I have no problem with. As long as I can write it out, I’m okay. I really only have issues with socializing like a normal human being. I know people who I only knew by screen names for the first ten years of our friendship. That’s how horrible at peopling I am. I didn’t even think to ask for names until we’d run into each on Facebook or something. Peopling is hard.

Maybe.

But that’s enough about my lack of humaning skills. I probably should’ve thought of a better topic instead of rambling about nothing. But there you have it. As always, feel free to leave your comments or questions or whatever here or on my social media pages!

For My Little Sis

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this beautiful June day? It’s actually kind of overcast as I’m writing this, but whatever. I’m sure that’s beautiful to someone. I have zero writing or publishing news. I’m a big slacker, I know. So, I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about until I remembered what today (June 8th, because that’s when I’m writing this) is: Jen’s birthday! I know I’ve talked about her a little bit on here since she’s the one always drawing pictures for me to use as avatars, but I don’t think I’ve ever fully explained who she is to me. Today, I will properly introduce you.

I remembered yesterday too, but still.

I met Jen when we were 18 or 19 in a Yahoo chatroom. Oh goddesses. Was it really that long ago? Have we really known each other over 15 years? We’re getting old. But I digress. Honestly, I don’t even remember which one of us initiated contact or why, but that one random moment led to years of fun and friendship and sisterhood. We spent long nights (into early mornings) talking and RPing and complaining about the douchenozzles who kept telling us we weren’t doing it right if we didn’t adhere to their arbitrary and ridiculously detailed rules of that particular RP. She knows the main dude I’m talking about. It got to the point where we’d deliberately break his rules just to see how long it would take him to rage quit and sign off. Those were some good times.

The Yahoo chat years were great and sometimes weird and even downright sucky occasionally, but so much came after. She went to art school and got married and had kids. She’s constantly done artistic things over the years, like stained glass or making dolls or drawing. I’m always so proud of Jen. And, of course, there were not so good times. Stress, people disappearing without a word (because that’s a hazard of having Internet friends who live in different states or countries), family deaths. All the crappy stuff life throws at you. But we’ve made it through it all so far.

A picture she drew of us.

Jen is my little sis. She may not be blood and we haven’t gotten a chance to meet in person yet, but she’s part of my chosen family. I probably shouldn’t make assumptions, but I think I’m part of hers, too. (I better be!) We talk about anything and everything even though we constantly apologize for TMI. But it’s not really TMI because I’ve never really felt like anything was off limits. And I hope she feels the same. So, I’m going to say something I don’t say enough to anyone. I appreciate you, sis. And I love you. And now I’m going to stop because this is beginning to feel sappy. I’m not good at that.

Isn’t that just a glomp?

So, say hi and happy belated birthday to Jen! As always, feel free to leave your comments here or on my social media pages! Or you can go to her artist Instagram page! Later days.