Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 12:20 pm
has anyone been to Costa Rica recently?

Brainstorming a "Girl's Trip" for February and this was my friend's suggestion (and it is for her - she is a Mom of two and I suggested we get away for a few days so she can just have some time to herself and leave the kiddos with Dad).

I mean, I've been practicing my Spanish for a few months now! Duolingo says I'm 50% fluent so that should at least be able to get us to a hotel and airport...and the library LOL (because every foreign language teaches you how to ask where the library is!)

Anyway, if you've been to Costa Rica and have any tips/tricks, let me know!
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 07:41 pm



Eliza Dushku, explaining to me how to position myself for the picture: "You stand here, and I--I'm gonna come onto you."

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 08:52 pm

Surprise! Val's handler (who is a DOLL, btw), called Emily this afternoon to tell her that Val would be able to see me today. I hadn't brought my books because I didn't think I'd need them, but long story short, I had to run to the hotel and back to be in time for our meeting. I am not in condition to be doing that, btw. My pancreassssssss.

So Emily, my copies of The Kilmer Cure, and I came into Val's room, and he was just there, like it's a normal thing to walk into a room and see Val Kilmer sitting there. He said hi and I said hi, and I handed him a copy of my book. He asked why I wrote it, why him, and when I explained it to him, he seemed genuinely touched. I thanked him for getting me through that rough time in my life, and he took my hand and squeezed it, and just kind of nodded.

He insisted on signing everything. I brought seven copies of the book (it was all I had on hand, and I wasn't sure how many I'd need). I gave one to Val, and he signed the rest:



A couple of the books I had signed for a bookstore in Savannah, and for those he signed them like this:



THAT IS THE CUTEST THING EVER, I CAN'T.



There was a rose in a vase on his table, and he gave it to me (signing the vase, of course), saying, "Women should have flowers." I am dead. It was amazing. My heart has grown so many sizes.




Thursday, September 21st, 2017 02:49 pm
I'm currently on the hunt for a beta for some poetry and original fiction. I would like to help with some of the short stories and poems I have been working on recently, but I will also have novel-length work that needs revision in the future.

I have some amazing friends who have helped me with beta-ing before, but since it's been a while and life circumstances may have changed, I'm sending out the open call.

Let me know if you're interested in taking a look at any of my work! I could really use the help.

Thanks! :)
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:14 pm
Yeah, I made a Senua icon. I'm obsessed. Deal with it.

I can already feel the gaming hangover setting in - anything else I pick up to play I'm like "Ugh, this is not as emotionally engaging as Hellblade!"

I did pick up Witcher 2 again. I do enjoy that game but I can't play it when Tim's daughter is around because the Witcher does love to get it on with the ladies. The sex scenes are pretty explicit, even if they are a little ridiculous since the graphics are not top notch (the game is several years old). I need to read the novels, Tim has all of them, and they seem like fantasy I could actually get into.

If you are in need of a spooky game for October, we just finished Layers of Fear and it was CREEPY! Tim could hear me screaming from downstairs because there were so many jump scares and startling moments. I actually made Sylvia control the character because I was too terrified. It says to play with headphones on but I couldn't even play with the lights off LOL. It doesn't have a whole lot of replay value but if you can get it for $10 or less, it's worth it.

We are going to see "IT" tomorrow after work. Which means it will be a long night because the movie is just over 2 hours LOL. Oh well...I may have failed to mention the run time to Tim. Shhhhh
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 10:19 pm
just back from the london crystal maze experience. booked this about when i joined this current job - and three months later, it finally arrived! i thought it was both very good (really nice, knowing, silly recreation of the television show game style, really good host) and not QUITE as fun as i had hoped. admittedly i think i thought it would be a lifechanging super high, and it was actually just pretty pleasant and really neat seeing all the different zones. perhaps the fact that you don't win a prize, which takes the pressure off (though i went with a lot of SUPER competitive people, so maybe not. we all wanted to win, whether or not we could actually win anything)(spoilers - we did win. nailed it).

i'd say - yes, recommended. but it is a lot of money for an hour of mostly shouting instructions at your friends.

started watching the most recent episode of the new show this morning to get in the "zone" as it were - but didn't finish it until this evening, which is good as, after a strong start, they failed abysmally. i pointed out to an only minimally interested erin that while the show had chosen to call these contestants 'the cosplay group'... they were actually and very obviously furries.

quite funny.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 02:26 pm
Come work with me! My library system is hiring Library Associates. All you need is your bachelor's degree in ANYTHING and fantastic customer service skills - though a willingness to do storytimes would also help in most cases.

Click here for details

Feel free to share with anyone you know who lives in Maryland and is job hunting. This is a great gateway position into public library work! (Outside of Maryland is fine too, but it is expensive to live here so just know that going into it)
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 10:22 pm

I could totally fix my tattoo like this, right?



Tags:
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 08:39 pm


So, I can't stop thinking about this game. I flew through the 8 hours of gameplay time (well, it took me more than that because I am a very cautious fighter LOL) and I miss Senua already.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is the story of a warrior woman whose lover was murdered by invading Norsemen and she has decided to go into hell to free his soul.

But Senua is not a normal woman - she hears voices. Her mother heard them too. They whisper to her, constant companions since she was young. These voices have kept her separated from the rest of her tribe, which is why she wants so badly to find Dillion's soul - he was the one person who truly cared for her. I know this sounds cliche, but I have to say that love is the one force out there that will make people challenge gods, even if those gods are not their own.

I love how the game just drops you into the story - no tutorial mode, not even a flash of instruction on the screen to coach you. You must figure it out (even if that simply means hitting "pause" to bring up the control menu) - the game designers have faith in your abilities to play from the start and they don't want to pull you out of the narrative to go through some clunky "What does the A button do?" screen or cheesy flashback to find an excuse to learn how to make your character walk.

I really feel like this game is another great example of video games as art. I feel like to show how a thing is art, you must give examples of how it brings out emotions in us that no other format can; how it can tell a story that would not be nearly as powerful as just a printed page or even as a moving image.

I played Hellblade as the creator's suggested: with headphones on. This let me experience the voices the way Senua did - hearing them immediately as our shared quest began and growing both frustrated and fond of their chatter. I don't think the printed text of a novel could have done this for me and while I can be emotionally connected to a character in a movie or tv show, you can't become them the way you can in a video game. And while I don't think I was ever Senua, I felt like I was with her the whole way.

I know this game is already getting a lot of push back from people with mental illness. Ninja Theory, the game design company, did a lot of homework in trying to represent the different ways psychosis can feel. I've seen at least one reviewer who are not happy because they suffer from mental illness and didn't think the game represented them, and I can understand that. The designers could only do so much and they reached out to professionals and got as much feedback as possible but they can't know what it is like for someone and no game will really ever replicated that experience.

I am coming from a completely different place, and this game really made me think a lot about all of the voices in everyone's head and how some of us can shrug them off and others are forced to hear them. The voices of self doubt, of fear, of resignation beside the voices that also push you on. I've never suffered from psychosis and I can't even begin to understand what life would be like for someone living with it, but for those 8 hours, I had those voices in my ears and it made me think of how hard that can make everything - if I was struggling in a fictional world to run forward and stay focused, what must it be like for someone in modern society? No idea, I know I can never know.

While I didn't love the ending (too soon, I wanted more), I loved the game as a whole. I really enjoyed that it was more than just a button mashing fighter game and that the (thankfully few) boss fights all had strategies to them. It reminded me of Legend of Zelda and how each "boss" was more than just a simple fight, you had to pay attention. There were just as many puzzles and hidden things to make me want to keep going, and bits of Norse legend peppered through-out which made me want to go find Neil Gaiman's new book and see if there were more to those legends.

It was a beautiful game, I loved seeing it on my screen, watching Senua wander the mystical world. I really hope we have more adventures with her.

For more details about the game and how to buy a (digital only), visit the official Ninja Theory site.
Monday, September 18th, 2017 11:05 pm

I was surprised by how okay I was feeling for the first few days of my trip. I was tired af and it's hard and painful to move, but my headaches were not bad at all.

Yeah, that didn't last. The past two days I have had monster migraines. Yesterday, I actually passed out because of the pain. I am derailed and I'm scared it's going to continue and I won't be able to do anything or enjoy myself at all. Come on, health. I deserve nice things every once in a while.

You may remember that my flight home from San Francisco cost more than my mother's round trip, and that's before bags and other add ons. I found another flight for less than half what I paid, so I went to cancel the first flight. Because it was so expensive, I paid for flight insurance, so I figured canceling and getting a refund would be easy.

WRONG. I was unable to cancel through Delta, and when I went to the flight insurance website, I discovered you can only get a refund if you meet one of the pre-approved reasons for not being able to fly. It requires documentation. I had to submit my discharge papers from the hospital, which is wildly intrusive, and they can still reject my claim. Oh, and they will take 10 business days to render a verdict. Meanwhile, the flight I was counting on has doubled in price, so I am, to use a technical term, totally fucked.

Also, Frontier finally responded to my complaint about the assistance they failed to provide me, and they have offered me a $50 flight voucher. Nuh uh. I am going to call and demand that refund the $130 I had to pay in bag fees because they did not provide someone to help me carry them as promised. Fucks sake.

Things will turn out. I hope. How? It's a mystery.

Monday, September 18th, 2017 11:05 pm
I forgot to tell ya'll but WE HAVE A FLOOR AGAIN!



The tile was installed two weekends ago and we love it. Really brightens up the entire kitchen and just really makes it a nice room on it's own rather than just flowing into the living room area. Dishwasher has also been repaired too which is just fantastic. I know it was saving us money in our energy bill BUT I really was tired of dishes piling up on the counter (#firstworldproblems). The deal is whoever makes dinner, the other has to wash dishes and considering how many pots/pans I get dirty that can't go on the dishwasher, the addition of plates/bowls/cups on top of that was making things crazy. So, yes, repair the dishwasher, save my marriage XP

In the world of Impulse Purchases, my spatula designed by Kristen Bell arrived in the mail last week too!



Proceeds went to the No Kid Hungry program so it was for a good cause. Also, I <3 Kristen so much and this is probably the closest I will get to having her autograph so yeah. I'm a dork, it makes me smile. If you didn't see her shenanigans with the senior citizens during Hurricane Irma, I highly suggest browsing her Instagram/Twitter feed for a few minutes.

When we went to Wisconsin this summer, Tim went through the boxes of stuff in his parent's basement for things that he wanted to bring back (this is what happens when you buy an SUV). Anyway, one of the treasures we did find were his Star Wars toys, mainly a few large vehicles. So last night, in a fit of cleaning, I rearranged some of my Star Wars shelf to highlight our vintage collection (I reclaimed my toys from my parent's house last year but hadn't made space for them). I don't have it all out yet, but I got a few things in nice prime spots to hightlight them:



I still have a few figures I'd like to display plus a LARGE collection of micro-machines playsets. #nerdproblems - I am going to either move or maybe even downsize my Yoda collection as I don't really focus on that anymore. My collecting focus for Star Wars now is mostly LADIES.

Last but not least, I finished playing Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice last night and OMG THE EMOTIONS!



I want to do an in-depth write up later but this game was beautiful and I loved the story, which kept me going even when the game got rough. It was very short, about 12 hours, but it was a smaller gaming company. Tim got me fancy headphones right before I started playing it so I got to have the full experience since it recommends playing with nice headphones that can give you the full range of sounds.

I love Senua. She is right up there with Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite: I want an action figure of her for my desk.

...actually, I have that "Make your own Funko Pop" downstairs...maybe I could make myself a little Senua! PROJECTS!!!!!!!

Bedtime now - I am trying to finish the last two books for a conference I'm attending next month. Neither of them are grabbing me as much as the others so it has been a struggle. Plus SO MANY good books are coming out right now and distracting me with their covers and blurbs. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! #librarianproblems
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 03:52 pm
sunday afternoon, erin's out and will be out for a few days. that means it's either time to apply for a new job... and/or tell you about this early draft of 'voice from the past' that i have! let's do one of them anyway.

i think large parts of this are hilarious, btw - very different from what was one screen. if you read only one long analysis of a blake's 7 script by yours truly, you should read this one (or pressure point, which is similarly interesting, but shorter).

if you'd rather read the script as a PDF, than you would read about me reading the script, it'll be here for a short time.

Meow, pussy (WARNING - IMAGE HEAVY) )
Thursday, September 14th, 2017 07:54 pm
I feel like someone said they were going to NYCC but now I can't remember who...if you are willing to go on a quest for me, I would be VERY grateful! I just found out there will be an exclusive Faith POP! at the Funko Booth and the Buffy POP set is one of the few I'm trying to be a completist about. I would totally paypal the price+shipping. I just know eBay will be full of greedy people right after the con :\
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 10:48 pm

 I made it to Utah! It was grueling. I feel awful. I made arrangements for assistance with the airline ahead of time, but they weren't ready for me anywhere. I specifically requested help carrying my bags, but it was not provided, so we had to spend another $130 at the counter checking our carryons. I had to wait for a wheelchair everywhere; we were asked to wait until all the other passengers deplaned before getting off to give the wheelchairs time to arrive, but every time we would have to walk out to the gate and have one paged. This is just one day I had to endure this disinterest and disrespect; I feel just awful thinking about those who consistently need this kind of help.

The last airport, though, we waited until the plane was empty, then waited while the girl at the gate paged the help I requested days ago, but James, the guy who came with the wheelchair, was awesome. He was gregarious and helpful; when we explained about our luggage, he found a way to take care of it all, and the whole time he acted like he wanted to help us. It was really nice, and I'm going to have to find a nice way to have him recognized.

I went to see one of the NPs at my neurologist's office this morning so I could get some Maxalt refills. This has been an absolute nightmare. About a month ago, I called for some refills and was told I should have enough to get me to the new doctor (February 23, 2018), when I had none. Zero. Zip. I called back and basically cried describing my life to the doctor's voicemail, and since then we have been trying to communicate, but--and this took us a while to figure out--they were calling my parents' house phone, which no one uses, and honestly I don't even know how they got that number, but even asking them over and over and over again not to call any number but my cell phone, I would call and leave a message for them, and they would call the house phone. Yesterday I finally called someone else in the office and explained what was going on, and they worked me in for an emergency appointment this morning. She's nice enough, I guess, even though I got pretty upset trying to explain about Dr. Vogt. She put me on a drug for nerve pain, an NSAID, and a muscle relaxer, which... should be interesting, I guess. I'll try anything. She wrote me some Maxalt, though, so I'm pretty happy.

I feel awful. My body is done. Thankfully, incredibly, the pain in my head wasn't too bad today, but the abdominal pain, and the exhaustion... Well, let's just hope I feel better tomorrow.

One other unrelated, totally minor thing that is stuck in my craw: My recipient for Random Pair Fest 2017 never commented on the story I wrote her. She didn't even hit the kudos button. I know I'm reading too much into it, but I always put that on me: Why didn't she like it? What did I do wrong?

Too much thinking. Time for sleep.

Much love. xoxo

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 06:17 pm
My parents went on vacation to Aruba from Saturday September 2 to Saturday September 9, and Bear took last week as vacation week as well, to help me out and to just have a nice staycation.

Good thing my parents love Aruba so much and not another Caribbean island, as this was not the week to pick another one. As it was Aruba was too far south from Hurricane Irma and the weather there was all sunny with really warm water. My Mom said it was the best water temperature from any time they went and they been six or seven time already, I lose track. (I went once with them in 2009).

I'm just happy they were able to have a good vacation. It is so terrible what all these islands are suffering through. And waiting for Irma to hit Florida was just stressful and I don't even live in Florida. We do know people in Miami and they are ok.

Other than the news and the hurricane, we did have a nice little vacation at home. Bear was home from Saturday night to Thursday morning last week (and I really needed him to come back that Saturday because I was alone with two kids all day and Tanya was not in cooperative mood in the afternoon), and then he took Tanya to Long Island to visit his parents from Thursday to this past Saturday for 3 days. My parents stopped by on Sunday to give us some presents - lots of dresses for the girls, another Aruba doll, this time for Olivia,( although Tanya took it to compare to hers and is now playing with both, since as she put it "Olivia is too small to play with it"), lots of nice t-shirts and a light sweatshirt for me. And of course, chocolate. Real Cadbury.

My Mom also cooked a bit on Sunday. Bear was home on Monday as well and just left for work for his half week away on Tuesday, September 12. Before he left, we all walked over to the school two blocks away so I could go vote in the Primary election. Tanya came in with me, while Bear was with the stroller outside, and she saw me vote and helped push the ballot into the machine. She got "I Voted" sticker too and was very happy about that.

Two cute things these last 10 days:

1. Next to our pharmacy a few blocks away, there are two kiddie rides. For 50c, there was a helicopter and a horsie that played music. We would occasionally go there since Tanya loved the helicopter. She could also stand there for 20 minutes petting that toy horse. Well, I went with her on Saturday, Sept 2, and we discovered that the helicopter was replaced by this gray unicorn. She was a little upset about the helicopter and at first afraid to touch the unicorn.

She didn't know the word for unicorn before, so when Bear came home and she started telling him all about it, she used the word 'popcorn'. Hee. Now she's obsessed with this unicorn. She wants to stop by when we go to the playground. She will sit on it but doesn't want to ride it with the quarters. She just wants to ride the horsie. But that unicorn is featuring in more play now. 'Stinky unicorn' as she calls him.

2.Last week I spent a day in YouTube land, mostly watching React videos, like 'teenagers react to 90s music' or 'parents react to modern music" etc. (I don't really know modern music at all. ). I rarely do this but it was that sort of day. At some point they mentioned Weird Al, which of course meant going to Weird Al channel to watch my favorite videos. I love Weird Al. As I watched "Trapped in the Drive-thru", which I find hysterical, Tanya came to watch it. She really liked 'the cartoon' and the next day asked me to watch 'the cartoon' again on my phone. Who am I to say no.

Last night Olivia was laughing so loud when we said the word "katatsa" which means 'to ride' in English. Something about it was super funny to her. Baby laughter is very infectious.

Post on movies and books to come soon, probably this weekend. I watched "Fantastic Beasts" and "Sing" and read 'Obelisk Gate', 'Stranger than Fanfiction ' and 'Men Explain things to Me'. I'm working on RS Games story this week in the small time I have to write. I need to finish it first since it is due next week.
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 01:38 pm
I'm way behind on RL posting (my past week and weekend have actually bee quite busy, in a mostly-good way), but I've hit another point where I just want to talk about books. So!

37. Mackenzi Lee, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue -- This was a birthday present from [livejournal.com profile] aome, but actually even before I got the book as a gift I heard about it from [livejournal.com profile] ikel89 during the exceedingly scenic drive back from Kazbegi, and was intrigued to check it out for myself, so Debbie's gift was very timely :) Having read it, it wasn't quite as cool a book as the premise (and fabulous title) made it sound, sadly, but definitely still an entertaining and fast read.

Here's the very fun premise -- a Grand Tour by a young bisexual British nobleman, his best friend/(male) love interest, who is mixed race (and also *spoiler*), and his younger sister who isn't interested in finishing school but wants to go to med school instead. Along the way from Paris to Spain to Italy, there's political intrigue, highwaymen and pirates, and alchemical mysteries. That sounds pretty cool, right? And it is fairly fun, although a couple of things undermine the strengths of the book: Spoilers from here )

I think, overall, this book falls into the category of things like Love Interest, where I wish a better author had taken a crack at the premise. But, fortunately, unlike Love Interest, the book as-is is at least competently if overly earnestly written, so I *could* enjoy it, rather than sputtering in ever-increasing bafflement as to what the hell the author thought they were doing. But for all its flaws, it was a fun read, and I do want to know more about Felicity, in the sequel! (Thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] aome! :)

38. Avoliot, The Course of Honor -- novel-length original sci-fi m/m with a whole bunch of tropes, starting with arranged marriage (posted on AO3) -- I picked this up courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] egelantier's rec. I actually don't like arranged marriage much as a trope, and not all of the other tropes invoked are necessarily favorites of mine, but the whole thing worked very nicely (to the point that I read it straight through in a couple of hours over the long weekend). I liked both protagonists a lot, introverted Jainan, trudging slowly back from years of abuse and clinging to his dignity and uber-extrovert Kiem, who is used to thinking of himself as a bumbling idiot but suddenly finds himself having to deal with darker things than elementary school charity events and shmoozing with journalists. The secondary characters are also quite nice, and even the cameos, like Kiem's general mother, are fun and intriguing. There's also some very nice and deftly interwoven worldbuilding about all manner of things, from sports to dress and gender expression, and trans and non-binary characters whose introduction is handled in an impressively non-issuefic-y way that I feel like some profic authors could learn from. More, with spoilers )

Bonus: authorially-approved fancast on Tumblr.

39. Black Mould (Rivers of London graphic novel #3) -- interesting story (and oddly, sadly timely, on the subject of London slums), but mostly I just have random observations, with spoilers )

40. Naomi Novik, Golden Age and Other Stories -- this is the art book where each piece of (loosely) Temeraire fanart (many of them pieces I've known/enjoyed for years) is accompanied by a new story or drabble. I read this in ebook, so didn't really get to enjoy the art (more than I've already enjoyed it on DeviantArt or Tumblr, I mean), but the stories of course were new. It was mostly entertaining fluff, although one book and less than a week after I'd finished it, I had pretty much forgotten its existence and skipped it in my numbering, oops. XD The stories don't really add that much to the universe, I feel, but there were a couple that do linger -- the story set in the Americas, with John Wampanoag as the POV character, which I would've liked to see more of; the present-day Temeraire drabble that was jsut the perfect length; and my favorite thing in the book, Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth is a Longwing captain :D Individual stories, with spoilers )

41. Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands -- this was another book I inhaled, pretty much over a busy weekend, and partly it was trying to keep up with [livejournal.com profile] ikel89 (reading in tandem is so much more fun when I'm actually enjoying the book. Imagine that! XD) but mostly it's because it's a really fun book. I've been disappointed and/or frustrated by SRB's latest offerings (the Lynburn trilogy steadily pleased me less and less with each book, with the conclusion being my biggest disappointment of the year, and one of those rare times where I felt downright betrayed by a book; good thing it wasn't a series I really cared about; Tell the Wind and Fire was not as disappointing, but it was frustrating anyway, in the way it was in dialogue with other books, but mostly I thought the other books more effective, even when one of them was Dickens :P So, it was lovely to have an SRB book I was actively and almost wholeheartedly enjoying (I do have some quibbles, but on the whole I liked it a lot, and immediately recommended to both L -- who is lapping it up with even greater glee than I -- and Awesome Friend Ali). I wish I could hail it as a return to form, but it just makes me worried that, because this book was written, what, in 2013-2015 (and published as a serial on SRB's blog), so, like, concurrently with the Lynburns? So it's not like SRB is back to writing books that I like and I can look forward to more -- it's that she used to. And even here, I liked the beginning (and the core of the story that was clearly set up by the beginning) more than the ending, so my enjoyment of the book is tinged with nostalgia, even though the book is brand spankin' new. More, with spoilers )

There is a Luke-POV short story set in the same universe, which I've also read by now (part of the 2014 anthology I mention below) and also an Adara POV short story on SRB's LJ.

*

Currently reading (for some pretty loose values of 'currently', admittedly, and also 'reading' :P) cut, as it got a bit long )

From this pre-publication review of Vallista we learn that Vallista is a gothic. OF COURSE! (although I don't like gothics, so... IDK.) I'm intrigued by the promise that "many of the mysteries plaguing Vlad are solved here". Like, what mysteries? That don't appear to be overtly solved in Hawk, since Vallista takes place before it...

And from Brust's Patreon, which I check out periodically, the new-=to-me revelation that Tsalmoth (tentatively the after-Vallista book) is set between Yendi and Jhereg (!!!) -- i.e. actual Vlad and Cawti marriage (/relationship), not during the honeymoon period, not when it's falling apart while Vlad is oblivious to it. That should be interesting!

And speaking of books that may or may not come out at some point: Scott Lynch interview from Worldcon has the following tidbits about Thorn of Emberlain )