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Writer, Messenger, and Professional Weirdo
2014 was such a weird year that I don’t even know where to start.
I abandoned the blog sometime in *looks* January because at the time I was working the night shift at my full time job, and had just snagged myself a nice, high strung little gig as a web designer/sales support monkey/writer/graphics-go-to-girl. So I was working two jobs for the better part of the beginning of last year. Something had to give. My design job started as 15 hours a week, then went up to 20, then in April it went to 40 and I left the midnight shift at the answering service for good and got paid to be a full time art person, which is a job that happens (alas) during the day.
So I got thrown into the deep end and it’s taken me this long to figure out how to doggy paddle, but I think I’ve got a handle on it now. Maybe.
On top of the graphic design stuff (I should note that I’m still somewhat of a novice), I’ve learned a proverbial crapton of stuff. I can do some minor IT work, and my co-worker and I are working on certifications (her for IT work and me for the loony bin–er, also for IT work, I guess).
Things that happened last year:
Stuff that I plan to make happen in 2015:
Those aren’t resolutions, because nobody ever keeps resolutions.
I have a review of a book that was recommended to me by the person I hope will be my editor. I also have January’s short story, so that makes plenty of post material for now. I’ll try and come up with some for later.
I’ve been re-reading The Hobbit. I don’t know why. Papa Tolkien and I have never actually gotten along, prose wise. I love the stories, but my armor class is useless against Giant Walls of Text and I usually end up KOed by the first page and then I miss out on the loot while the rest of the party dances on the corpses of the R-O-U-S and since this is my game we’re talking about, they probably also burned down an orphanage without me. The bastards.
No, it …it really is like that.
The Hobbit is easy though. I can handle The Hobbit. And if I keep telling myself that, it might actually turn out to be true.
/salute Hobbit! I enjoyed your latest cinematic endeavor and look forward to listening to the geek chorus whine about your movie continuity all over again a year from now. And by geek chorus, I mean my husband.
I think maybe I mentioned once or twice, in passing, that I was a mom. I have a 16 year old son (I mentioned my age before, and if you remember then yes, you can do the math and yes, yes I was that young). I don’t talk about my family much because my comfort zone doesn’t extend that far. But since we’re pushing comfort boundaries here, let me tell you internets, being a parent is an interesting experience. I’m not good at it. My kid is fantastic and I have no idea how he ended up that way, because it’s not me.
The Universe is a tricky bastard. I don’t think it’s out to get me and mine, per se, but it is having some fun experimenting at my expense. The dialogue goes something like this:
Universe: I see you are turning 18 and graduating from high school soon. I see also that you are taking birth control and antibiotics at the same time. Did you know that antibiotics can negate the effects of the pill? Oh, well that condom broke and you do now.
Universe: Motherhood is fun huh? Well here’s a new job that pays you $50 a week. Make it work!
Me: Yeah okay.
Universe: I see you made it. Good, good. Time to go back to school!
Me: Yeah okay, I’m on the deans list?
Universe: …Here. Have a husband.
Me: I like my husband!
Universe: Congratulations on finding a decent paying job in this struggling economy! You’re digging yourself out of debt and have a nice place to live! Everything is going smoothly! Your kid is doing well in school! By the way, he’s gay.
Me: I am almost guaranteed not to be a grandmother by accident! *happy party dance*
Universe: Right. Okay. You shrugged off everything else but how do you handle your kid questioning his gender identity?
Let’s stop there.
Look, every 16 year old on the planet has gone through a period where they’re figuring out who they are, who they like, what interests them, and what they want to do. So what’s going on here is a) normal and b) no big deal. What makes me angry is when the rest of the world tells him that it’s a) not normal and b) a big deal.
I don’t like watching my kiddo look down, stutter, twist his hands together and nervously admit that things don’t fit. Like he thinks he’s broken. Like he’s wrong. Like I’m going to get angry with him, even though he knows better. That sense of shame is not something my kid should ever be carrying around, and yet here we are.
And I am angry.
I can’t snap my fingers and make the rest of the world fall into line, but I can make sure my kid gets what he needs. So I spent the majority of my days off hunting down information because while I’m moderately more informed than average, I still had no idea where to even begin. When your kid asks to play on the computer when he’s in the dog house for bad grades, the obvious answer is no. When your kid asks to speak to a therapist to help him figure out who he is the answer is ohshitGoogle and you start making shot-in-the-dark calls.
And you have no idea how the person on the other end of the line is going to react, so you have no idea how to phrase things. You officially become the bulwark between the rest of the world and your kiddo because you’re mom and that’s your friggin job. I got a lot of blank uncomfortable silences when I asked about gender identity so I dropped the coyness and started straight up asking about kids who are possibly transgender (even though the kiddo isn’t sure he is at this point, it’s the word that got the most “Oh!” responses and then I got to back up and explain). Do you know anyone who works with kids in this group? Do you know anyone who would know anyone who would… etc etc.
And I live in a moderately rural area. The closest metropolitan area is Green Bay (yeah, metropolitan in the loosest sense of the word) and that’s about a four-five hour drive away. So the answer to the question, “Is there a therapist in the area who works with kids questioning their gender identity?” is a resounding nope. There are several councilors who work with kids who identify as gay/bi/lesbian, but gender-queries are an entirely separate thing that has nothing to do with one’s orientation. What I needed was someone who knew what questions to ask and who was experienced in this area.
Nope, nada, nyet, non, zilch, zero, go fuck yourself.
But pester enough people and dig deep enough and someone will eventually point you in the right direction, if for no other reason than to get rid of you. I was put in touch with a councilor from downstate who gave me some good direction, a list of medical tests to get done to rule out any sort of chemical/medical causes, and the name of a local doctor to call and get them done.
So I called and the doctor works for the university and therefore won’t see anyone who isn’t a student/faculty/staff or their families. Well bugger me then. Their suggestion was to call the behavioral health center at the hospital. They couldn’t handle medical requests (I don’t know) and said that the best thing to do was contact his regular pediatrician and get them to do the tests, which puts us back at square one. I should note, in case it’s not obvious, that my faith in humanity is pretty low, so it wasn’t without a little trepidation that I put in the call to the pediatrician. Like all my initial calls, I had no idea how they were going to react, and that made me put my guard up, just in case.
I was actually very impressed. After the initial blink blink, the receptionist put me over to the nurse who also had a very brief blink blink moment before shrugging and getting into the nitty gritty. She took the list of tests and the name and number of the councilor I spoke to so she could call and make sure they were getting the right labs ordered. Then she made sure we got an appointment with kiddo’s regular doctor. That was it. No judgement, very helpful, and after the initial brief confusion (which I can’t fault them for, honestly, because I’m a wreck at explaining things verbally), got down to business and got things done.
So until then we’re in hover mode. The appointment isn’t until January, so there’s time. After the initial rush, the kiddo’s fine with waiting, because things are actually happening. It’s just slow, which is life. Once we get the test results we’re on to phase two which is…
…You know what. I have no idea. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I have completed the gauntlet that is the end of July and the beginning of August! A winner is me! My voice is cracking, and I’ve spent the majority of that time battling a migraine, but I managed to not call in and will have about 38 hours of overtime pay coming to me on Thursday. Now I have two glorious days off before heading back to my regular four days on. Once I get through those I have vacation! Twelve days, most of which will be spent in Stratford, Canada, watching the Stratford Shakespeare Company do their thing. And then it’s back to my normal four on, four off with however much overtime I want to pick up in between.
I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it.
But today is my Friday! Which means I get to come home and transcribe the new Chapter One. I’m actually mostly happy with the way it turned out. It needs some tweaking, of course, but that I can do on the rebound. I also threw together a possible prologue, but I’m not sure if I’m going to use it as a prologue or a flashback, since it would work both ways. I am stupidly happy with how it turned out, so I may toss it out here to see how people react. We’ll see if I’m still happy about it when I get it transcribed into a computer.
The problem with working as much as I have is handwriting things. When I’m up, the words don’t wait for me to get home to a keyboard I can actually use for the Project. As a result, my wrist is a bit sore. Oddly enough, my throat isn’t sore, I’m just losing my voice. That should make the raid tomorrow night interesting (I can raid!).
But first things first: Sleep. I haven’t gotten as much of that as I’ve wanted to the past couple weeks. And tonight? Real, honest to goodness, cooked food. Nom.
Oh, and guess what I found on sale at Walgreens last night?
Considering it’s a cheep knockoff brand, I don’t expect it to last long, but hey – it works for now so I’ll take it. This is my cheap “Congrats on nearly working yourself to death” present to myself. My more expensive “Congrats on nearly working yourself to death” present will happen when PayPal gets off its duff and finishes recognizing that money exists.
June was not a good month for me. July is shaping up to be not much better. On the upside: I found an editor that will professionally tear apart The World Outside and that includes copy-editing! And I won’t have to take out a massive loan to make it happen! I am so excited! More emotional black eyes! YAY! Additional upside: My mom made scotcharoos for the fourth and I, like, snagged a bunch before I left so NOOOOMYAY!
I’ve been working a lot, and there’s a lot of new things for me to do at work now so that’s sapped any and all energy I’ve had. So while I have been reading a lot (dear Hitchhikers Guide: you have been defeated! Love, me), no creative juices have been flowing, really. At least, not many. Bear with me here kids. Hopefully the upswing is coming. It usually does.
So anyway, because I’m keen to prove that I have been really busy the following is a paraphrased conversation I had earlier this morning with a guildmate:
Her: Yeah, I’m gonna log off and go play this other game now, k?
Me: No worries! How is that anyway?
Her: I love the events! And since it’s free–
Me: Wait. It’s free now? As in, the whole game is free?
And then a co-worker had to go and post a screenshot of a raid or instance or whatever that was happening in a game I used to play where, to quote a mutual friend: “Warcraft and Cthulhu had a baby.”
So I’ve been really busy with work and stuff. Really.
Sorry about flaking on Friday. Last week was something of a busy and not very good week for me. Erk.
Anyway, I come to you this morning looking for some help! I read my escapist stuff sort of fast, so having finished Y: The Last Man I’m on the hunt for something new.
As for Y: The Last Man, I enjoyed it, actually. I only had two issues with it:
Evolution doesn’t work that way and shock! deaths always tick me off because there was absolutely no reason for the deaths that happened other than the author wanted to tug at the proverbial heart strings. It’s 99% of the reason I don’t really watch anything Joss Whedon puts out these days unless it’s been vetted to be Not Typical Joss, because it’s sort of pointless to get invested in his stories and characters because they’ll all just randomly die whenever Joss gets bored.
Why yes, I did find end of the Harry Potter series to be as satisfying as a cake made out of dirt, why do you ask?
Anyway, seriously, I could’ve taken any other explanation for the “plague” – anything! I’ll buy aliens, fairies, magic artifacts, A Wizard Did It – any bloody thing but pseudo-magic-science that they used. When you try to have a real world explanation for something that is obviously absurd, try to make sure it’s something that can actually happen or at least reasonably believable.
I’ve got the rest of Fables to catch up on, and a couple “new” series – Unwritten and Locke & Key – in the to-read pole. They’re all comics and I’m sort of comic-ed out at the moment. I’m slowly, painfully slogging my way through The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and while it’s fun, I don’t remember it being this much of a chore the first time through. I’m eying Neil Gaiman’s new book but while I acknowledge that Gaiman is brilliant and ten times the writer I will ever be, the books themselves are hit or miss for me. I’m not quite up to paying almost thirteen bucks for a book that I might end up loving as much as American Gods, but could just as easily end up bored with it ala Stardust (confession: one of the few times in my life where I’ve enjoyed the movie more than the book eek).
So what I basically want, at this point, is fun, escapist easy read stuff that I can get through in a night (so anywhere from 200-300 pages) and after looking at this and this (or hey, even closer to my own genre: this) I’m totally open to suggestions because what the heck.
I’m sure some of those books are actually very good but does there exist a book in the urban fantasy/modern-ish supernatural genre that does not have on its cover a sultry white woman (matching white dude and his washboard abs optional)? Because they’re all appearing the same to me and that makes me sad because variety, spice of life, etc.
Here’s (essentially) what I’m lookin’ for:
The floor is now open to suggestions!
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