What we hide

On January 2nd, the Bloggess posted this little gem of a blog post about depression, both with a bang and a whimper.

It’s about depression, about how people struggle with it silently, but survive. It’s about how when folks overcome depression, they feel they can’t celebrate because they’re too ashamed they were depressed in the first place.

I celebrate you everyday, Jenny. You’re my goddamned hero, which is so much better than being a regular hero. You put yourself out there , and you’re funny. Among the trolls of the internet who do anything they can to bring someone down, you have the balls to get out there and tell jokes, to lead a war on William Shatner and to net a giant metal chicken a gazillion facebook followers.

The fact that you can admit something you’re ashamed of can only make me love you more. And I know you know, now more than ever, that you’re not alone, but I’ll say it again. You’re not alone. Never will be. I for one will stalk you forever. Comforting, huh?

And to everyone else, no matter what secret battles you’re fighting, you’re not alone either. Even if I don’t share your personal pain, there is someone out there who does. You’re all my heroes, the silent masses who struggle with depression, with self-harming, with eating disorders, or with what I went through when I finally admitted to myself that I find women just as attractive as men. (That may come as a surprise to some of you, or not, but I’ll just throw it out there. If it means you don’t want to be my friend anymore, we probably should never have been friends in the first place.) <–See? That's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about shame.

It all comes down to shame. We don't let our pain out because we're afraid of what people will think. When I finally admitted both the above struggle and my issues with food, I was amazed at how wonderful and supportive my husband is. If you don't have a support team, I support you. I'm with you. And if you do have a support team in place, I'm with you still, one more voice helping out. One more voice telling you that you're not alone. I see you. I hear you. I am you.

We're all gonna get through this together.

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Post-holiday blurgh

I think we all have the blurgh right now in the US. Holidays are mostly over. We’re really tired of people clogging all the stores and movie theaters, and we ate entirely too much candy.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I have a gripe today about ordering online. I got most of my husband’s presents from Thinkgeek, with their handy dandy ordering system. I’ve never had a problem before. Now, I shall never be ordering from them again.

The items I ordered came in a box much too large for them. The one strip of inflatable packing pads seemed to have been thrown into the top rather than wrapped over anything. I know this because it was close enough to the opening to get caught in the tape. It stayed in place while everything else rolled around in the box.

So, all the packaging for my items looked as if it had been through the war. Several packages had come open and one item was broken. When I called Thinkgeek, they apologized sure, but also tried to calm me down with, “This is the holidays, and we’re very busy.” I know what time of year it is, and you didn’t just cut corners, you cut off whole sides!

To make matters worse, they promised a replacement of the broken object, but instead of doing that, they refunded my money without even telling me. I didn’t know the replacement wasn’t coming until I checked my statement. I had to run out for a replacement gift on Dec 23rd when I’d already done my shopping well in advance.

I’m well and truly irked. And I’m going to show my irk by never shopping there again.

I know this is a small problem in the world we live in today. It also happens to be a problem I can do something about by telling everyone.

Other than that, I had a safe and happy holiday. I hope you did, too.

Anything giving you the holiday grumbles?

p.s. to Maria. I’m so glad your puppy is doing better!

Nano broke me

Well, not literally, but maybe. I threw my back out last week after doing absolutely nothing. I woke up with a hurt back that hasn’t gone away in a week. That’s how energetic I am. I pull muscles more muscles in my sleep than most people do in a decathlon.

So all the pain and then the pain pills and then the cramps from the pain pills have given my nano word count a big ol’ hickey. I’m still ahead of the curve, but I want to be done, friends. If I don’t sprint ahead at the very beginning of nano, I lose momentum quickly. I know, I know. Poor little old me. ^_^

My back has been hurting night and day, and just when I had my kidney stone a few years ago, I wonder how people with chronic pain get anything done, like ever. I really just wanna lie in bed and whine. Well, part of me does; another part wants to yell at me for being a whiner, and what’s left over just wants cake.

How do you deal with pain? Push through? Collapse into a ball? Drown your sorrow in cake? Sometimes I get so angry because there are things I want to do, and not only does the pain stop me, but I know that if I push myself, I can make my injury worse. Then I’d have no one to blame but myself, and no one would be sympathetic enough to bring me cake.

Prologues must die

I’ve joined several different writers groups recently, trying to find one or two that are a good fit for me. I think I’ve found one, but I’m having several issues with the others. They’ve proven one thing to me, though:

For many authors, the prologue is alive and well.

Also, I see now reasons why it should die.

I never really had a problem with prologues, but I’m thinking that was because of the kind of books I read—Fantasy adventure books—often had prologues. They were usually little teasers about either the villain or a magical artifact (that might also be the villain) that would be a driving force for the plot. I liked seeing the demon rising out of the volcano or the unaware explorers unearthing the Widget of DOOM. I usually forgot about the prologue halfway through the book until the heroes discovered either demon or widget (sometimes both!) and I got to have a little ah ha moment.

These are not those kinds of books. I’m coming to understand that many writers use prologues as a history lesson, an enormous info dump for backstory that should be threaded through the narrative. I understand why editors might cringe when they just see the word PROLOGUE, especially if it has dates just below it. Do readers really want to begin a novel with a history lesson? Can they even remember it as the novel goes on?

How do you feel about prologues? Do you avoid them mercilessly? Cut them whenever you critique? And if you feel like telling me, how would you suggest I phrase my suggestion that authors cut their prologues entirely and weave the information into the narrative? Maybe I’m just too obsessed with not hurting feelings, but I remember my first novel. It was bad, and I ultimately appreciated all the tactful suggestions I got on how to change it. Any and all advice appreciated.

If I can just rant here for a little bit. I hate organizing food for a big group of people. There, I said it. I love having people over, but I hate deciding what we’re all going to eat, especially if we all have to decide on what kind of take-out to order.

Everyone is talking and happy, and with forced cheerfulness, I have to say, “What’s everyone want to eat.”

Dead silence. A herd of deer in headlights, if that. Many ignore me. At best, I’ll get shrugs.

No one wants to answer this question. No one wants to be the first to stay, “Chik-fil-a!” or what have-you and have their suggestion shot down. For some reason, in my experience, people tend to take their restaurant preferences personally. You didn’t fry the chicken, but if someone else thinks it’s gross, that’s like a kick in the gut.

So, since no one will speak, I have to, I have to have all of my preferences shot down. Worse than that, sometimes people will get that look that says they hate chicken, but they’ll shrug along with it anyway, just so no one gets upset. As a fairly picky eater, I hate when someone tries to force food one me, so I make it a goal not to force food on anyone else. This includes making someone eat take-out that doesn’t really appeal to them. I can read it in their faces.

Do you hate this too? Are you ever stuck at a party saying, “Pizza? Chicken? Veggie burgers?” and having no one speak to you? Or having everyone violently disagreeing on what should be had? I’ve pretty much had enough. Tonight, I said, “Let’s everyone do their own thing and meet-up back here for boardgames.” I’m hoping it works out. Wish me luck. ^_^

What happens in Vegas is pretty much what you’d expect at home

Prepare to show me some geek love, people. I’m in Las Vegas…

I apologize for the quality of some of these pics. 😦

….at a Star Trek convention! That’s right. I came all the way to sin city for the 45th anniversary of Star Trek. Love me.

Of course, sin city doesn’t really have much of the sin anymore. I’ve been here a lot, mostly in my youth before a lot of the super hotels were built, or if they were built, before they were really super, taking up multiple city blocks on their own. Caesar’s palace alone took us about fifteen to twenty minutes to just walk by. Though the fountains in front of the Bellagio were made of awesome.

the view from our hotel of the strip

When I was a teenager, I remember having to dodge sleazy dudes handing out flyers for hookers. I remember everywhere the rhinestones and showgirls and strippers.

Now the showgirls are contained in large reviews at some of the less big hotels, the strippers are sort of a theme (the stripper bar didn’t really seem to have any, but you could take a lesson in pole dancing) and the only time we saw an advertisement for prostitutes, they were still trying to convince everyone they were escorts.

Sure, some horny guys and gals are still flocking here, searching for action, and there are the ever present gamblers (though not nearly so many as before) but we’ve mostly seen families with small children, walking and gawking like the rest of us.

*Side rant* I swear to the fucking universe, I’m going to crusade for a mandatory class called Be A-Fucking-Ware of Your Surroundings! And it’s going to be taught worldwide, in whatever grade it needs to be taught in. If you need to consult your map, get out of the middle of the goddamned sidewalk before you do it, or the people around you will run into your dumbass like a herd of stampeding cattle. No, the top of the escalator is NOT a good place to stop with your brood and try and figure out where you are. Kids are no excuse to act like a gaggle of douche-canoes. Little Timmy throws a fit because he’s scared of the escalator? Pick his ass up and go and find the elevator. Yes, this town is also unfamiliar to the rest of us, but the rest of us aren’t losing our shit at the slightest provocation. Be aware of other people. Get out of the way.

*deep breath*

I’m going to go hide at the Star Trek convention. Where everything makes sense…because it’s written in Klingon. As a parting shot, I have a present for Sherlock Holmes. Your arch nemesis is in Arizona. His town is so big it’s divided in half, and the highway commission has thoughtfully told you where he exits.

Come see me at Fansci today for more Star Trek fun, or on my Facebook fan page for more Vegas pics.

Like me everwhere, and don’t be afraid of the pizza buffet

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you look out the right side of the blog, you’ll see the buttons to my facebook fan page and my twitter account. Hint, hint. No rush, only, when I take over the world, you’ll want to already be in on the ground floor. ^_^

As you know by my copious rants, I live in a college town. Many of the young people I encounter on a day-to-day basis are morbidly conscious of being observed. (Could this be because I’m staring at them? Meh, probably not.) This became no clearer than when, the other day, I visited a pizza buffet and saw a very pregnant twenty-something filling her plate with salad while staring longingly at the huge pizza spread.

O__O Honey.

Get on in there! Not as many people are staring and judging as you think, and even if they were, pregnant women are one of the few classes entitled to put some serious hurt on a pizza buffet! No one is going to fuck with you, no one is going to sneer. Hell, most of us would probably nod. And if some douche did give you static, you need only look divinely sad and stroke your unborn child while tears dribble soundlessly down your face. We would attack said douche like a pack of rabid wolverines if s/he made you cry!

Speaking of crying, you’ll be weeping into your corn flakes if you miss Maria Zannini next week. She’s stopping by with her Indie Roadshow, and it just won’t be the same if you don’t show. ;__; *sniff*

I swear, I’ll get back to talking about writing one of these days. Probably after someone buys my freaking house! What are you working on/reading right now?

No friends, a tiny wee rant, and the fact that I’m 12

I finished my latest draft, cyber friends! Thank you, thank you. Why yes, I will have some of that champagne. You’re too kind. Oh, a five-million dollar book deal? Thank you, I’ll take two.

Okay, so it hasn’t been exactly like that. I gave it to my writing group and, lo and behold, I committed an ultimate sin that I thought I’d never commit…*cue music*

My heroine doesn’t have any friends!!!! Every time I read a book and the heroine is without friends, I cringe. Granted, those books are usually about paranormal women with man-harems (I love typing man-harem. I love saying it, too. Man-harem. *snerk*) where friends would get in the way of all the nookie. I made sure my heroine had lots of female support, but no actual friends. I had to throw some in there, and now I’m just hoping my new beta-readers won’t think they’re tacked on.

Also, man-harem.

Speaking of, this town would be a wonderful place to try and form a man-harem, if such is your desire. We have a plethora of young men who drive fast, sneer constantly and can’t seem to wear a hat correctly. If whopping big tail-pipes turn you on, you need to come here.

What the fuck is up with whopping big tail pipes, anyway? If anyone knows, please enlighten me. Sometimes, it seems you actually need TWO whopping big tail pipes or even a smokestack (a fucking smokestack!!!) in the bed of your truck. Hell, maybe you need all three, all of them loud as fuck and belching black smoke. I hear the smoke is even engineered to be harmless to the environment, meaning it’s just there to piss people off.

I picture the kids buying these things at one giant mega-store that has a commitment to, “Selling only the best annoying products for the discerning prick.” Close up on the store manager nodding enthusiastically. “Mmm hmm, we cater mostly to pricks. Also assholes, wankers, and the occasional dickweed or jackhole.”

Seriously, guys out there who do this, no one’s impressed. No one has wood over your smokestack. But ‘grats on creating memories that will shame your children later.

And as for shaming children, I don’t plan to have any, but if I ever do, I hope I’ll grow out of being 12. My husband and I are doing home repair right now, and you should hear the jokes about caulk. Yeah, if you don’t say it correctly, it sounds exactly like what you’re thinking. Holes to fill with caulk, grabbing caulk, how much caulk to you have, this job needs more caulk… You name it, we’ve done the joke. What can I say, we’re 12, but at least we don’t inflict our 12-ness on others.

Well, I guess I just did on you… Hmm, better get myself to that store for pricks…

Tell me what annoys you. I’m bound to make fun of it sooner or later.

Almost forgot! Sorry RSS feed people. Next week, I’m having Maria Zannini over. You better show! Also, today I’m posting on Fansci. Come say hi.

Ode to vacation

I wish I was on one right now. I’m obsessed with dirt, people. I’ve become a fascist about dishes. If I had a nickel for every time in the past few days that I’ve shouted, “Why can’t you keep your FUR on your BODY!?!” I’d have a shit-ton of nickles. (Which is what they measure nickles in.)

Ah, the delights of showing a house. I’ve never experienced them in this capacity before. Today is my first showing, and I’ve been obsessively picking at fluff. This doesn’t make sense, you say? Of course it doesn’t. Being incredibly weird, I don’t know what makes “normal” people turn down a house. (I also don’t know why I picture everyone who will come to look at my house as incredibly average, yuppie types, but there ya go.)

Something inside me says they will judge this house based on how clean I’ve gotten the shower. (A bit of the mold is still there. Cat missing for seven days. Send help.)

This obsessing over average, normal, yuppie judgement could just be me trying to justify all the hard hours I’ve spent trying to make it look like no on lives here, or if someone does live here, she is an obsessive neat-freak with no pets or life, and certainly no delightfully cheerful knick knacks or pictures of dragons. Nope, nosiree, no dragons here…except maybe the mold.

I’m off to search now for fun things to do in Austin. Ah, Austin, it’s become the land of Turkish Delight in my mind. Let me cling to my hopes and dreams…

Did the cleanliness of a house ever influence your decision to buy it?

Cleaning, a bizarre dead actor story, and getting all your backseats deleted

So, I’m cleaning my house to prepare to show it to perfect strangers, many of whom will probably go through my stuff. Who snoops when you go to look at a new house? Get your hands up.

Anyway, I scrubbed and polished and did all that I could. My realtor sent maids out today to “get what I had missed.” HA! I thought. I’ve missed nothing. Every surface is now a dinner plate. Spider-Man could eat from my ceiling.

Not so.

These ladies are like Dust Whisperers. They’re coaxing filth from all corners of my house, getting in cracks I didn’t know existed. I think they’re recalling grime from years past, teasing it from the very walls. There’s a pile of pet hair and crap sitting outside my office door right now, a huge pile, and I have no idea where the fuck it came from.

It’s kind of creeping me out. I only hope they can clean my shower this well, as we have a form of black mold that seems to bond directly to caulk. It’s taken over my shower, and I think it’s eaten one of the cats.

Looking around my office right now, it’s cleaner than it was, and I’ve been in here the entire time the maids have been in the house. When did they clean it? I didn’t see them. They either called the dirt out from around me, or they’re actually ninjas.

While I’ve been cleaning like a maniac (not as good as a ninja, apparently) I’ve had the television on for company. What Netflix guilty pleasure did I pick? Xena: Warrior Princess. I know, I know, but for fantasy/cheese, it’s a good bet. I ended up look up some of the actors on Wikipedia (because I have no life), and discovered that the man who plays Ares, Kevin Smith (no, not that one), died in 2002. To quote Wikipedia:

“On 6 February 2002 Smith completed his work on the set in…Beijing. …while waiting for a ride back to the hotel, he decided to walk around the Central China Television film studio grounds, and climbed a prop tower on the set of another film. He lost his footing and fell several stories, suffering severe head injuries… He died on 15 February without regaining consciousness.”

O_o ?!?!

Just randomly decided to climb a prop tower, eh? This was something he was known for, randomly climbing things? I know when I’m in a strange city, waiting for my ride at night, the first thing I do is find something to climb. Sounds like he pissed off someone he shouldn’t have in Beijing. The article says he was also on the cusp of launching his Hollywood career. Muy suspicious, no?

As for all your backseats being deleted, that’s a story I heard about editors at publishing houses. Seems they can change stuff in your story without your knowledge or say-so. One random author had all instances of the word backseat deleted from her novel and replaced with something that made no sense. A friend of mine had most of her commas removed (though they were grammatically correct) because an editor claimed it made the manuscript “too comma-y.” That’s a thing? I heard another story about a cat that made a whuffling noise in the manuscript, but the editor decided that was a typo and changed it to waffling. I had it when my cat waffles. Get off the fucking fence already and make a decision. I guess it doesn’t matter anyway since the shower ate him.

Any good horror stories?