Sleep, sleep! My entire collection of blogs for some sleep!

Ah, it’s been quite a while hasn’t it? I’ve gone since the 9th without so much as a how do you do here. Life gets in the way, you know? That’s pretty much always the reason these days.

It’s been pretty hectic of late. Doctor visits all over the place, dealing with my son’s SSI case, dealing with his school, mom’s work schedule, my insomnia and back issues. Ugh.

Recently I’ve mainly had sleeping issues – or lack of sleep thereof. It’s the same old story – insomnia. I was going days at a time with little to no sleep (and when I say little I mean maybe 20mins cat naps every 12 hours if I was lucky). I just simply didn’t have the time to sleep because there was so much I had to do.

This week is no different – only that it is. I went two days without sleep, just to force my body to get enough sleep a few days before having to drive out to Rome, GA this morning/yesterday morning. It helped. Downside? I’m up at 3AM after falling asleep before 10PM. Can’t get back to sleep at all. And if I take something to make me go back to sleep, I won’t hear the 6AM alarm to get my son up and out the door for school.

Plus side to all of this though? In the wee hours of the morning I finally, FINALLY, get some time to myself. I get to read, write, watch my shows, relax and have a hot cuppa, fill out any paperwork I need to fill out for the latest round of doctors.

Just yesterday morning I was able to sit and watch the Game of Thrones season 7 finale (TORMUND!!!!! NO!!!!!) without having to yell at people to be quiet or leave me alone, or stop eating paper, or stop peeling the paint off the window sill, or leave the dog alone, or get up to fetch someone a snack, food, drink, make dinner, put all the DVDs back where they belong, etc. (And no, not all of that is directed at or about a certain rambunctious toddler either).

It’s a bit refreshing to get this time to myself, like this morning. I can think. I can plan out my day. I can catch up on my favorite fanficton stories where I delete an entire paragraph I just wrote here because holy crap I didn’t realize I loved the Tormund character from GoT so freaking much. I just want him and Brienne to get together and have big blond and ginger babies and the house of Tarth to just be these awesome badass warriors like the Mormonts because holy fuck Brienne needs to just be loved for who she is and Tormund totally is down for that.

And that’s where I’m going to end this post otherwise I’m going to lament the end of GoT season 7 and what may or may not be the fate of my favorite wildling.

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It’s cold outside, there’s no kind of atmosphere… oh wait, this is supposed to be a blog post, isn’t it?

Well then. A lot’s happened, and this won’t be in any particular order as such simply because I don’t smegging want to put it in any sort of order.

My son went back to school last week after a summer of fighting sleep until 6AM. He’s behaving himself in school, engaging with the other children, and even riding the bus this year! He has the same teacher in the same classroom, and most of the same kids in his class – it’s the special education pre-k program. We’ll be setting up an IEP meeting this month to go over reclassification now that he has his proper diagnosis.

My local movie theatre went from being a Carmike to an AMC, and I hate it. The price hike is ridiculous, and the movies are in theatre for one week only (if we’re lucky). This sucks because by the time I’ll have money to see The Dark Tower, it’ll not be at the theatre anymore. and our car sucks so badly I can’t drive to a theatre out of town either.

As for husband, he’s finally hit the “midlife crisis” point in life. He’s 43, and finally hitting that wall. Thank goodness he already bagged himself a wife younger than him!

Mom moved back to second shift, which is both a blessing and a curse. After a summer of having a set routine and schedule based around her working the overnights, I now have to offset my laundry day every other week. And that is annoying. Though at least I’m more likely to get a date night with my husband once a month again so there’s that.

And lastly…. Britbox. No, this post isn’t sponsored or anything, but I just have to talk about this service because honestly I genuinely hate streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and such because they NEVER have the stuff I want t watch on them. And when they do, it’s always the same stuff. Why would I need to stream Sherlock when between my mother and I we own the entire series? Why stream Doctor Who when between my mother and I we have series 1-9? (Waiting on getting 10 for Christmas and my birthday).

But Britbox? Oh that’s another beast altogether. For $6.99 monthly I get access to nearly all the classic British comedy I grew up watching on PBS as a child. My mom can watch all the murder mysteries she wants until she’s blue in the face and then some without having to wait for our local library to think about considering getting a copy in. I can watch nearly the entire back catalogue of Classic Doctor Who and then watch obscure British documentaries. Low budget made for TV British movies not released in the US? They’ve got loads. Do I want to watch Eastenders or Coronation street today?

I know to most people this isn’t really all that super. But it’s so hard to get UK programs in the states without shelling out quite a bit of money on the DVDs. PBS will only show so much for so long before getting another series to syndicate.

But most of all, I adore Britbox for one simple reason. They carry Red Dwarf. They carry Red Dwarf series 1 through 11 and I hope to hell they’ll get series 12 when it airs later this year. I can’t get enough of this show, and it’s been a personal favorite (and obscure and hard to find) since I was 9 and first saw it on PBS at 3 or 4 AM every Saturday/Sunday, when I should have been in bed. Since we first got Britbox a few months ago (June I think) husband and I have been taking at least half an hour to cuddle up and watch a show together every day. We binged daily on Red Dwarf after I learned that around the same time when I was 9 years old watching it on PBS every week he was watching also on PBS where he was in Atlanta. After we’d talked about that, we had to binge together.

Anyway, that’s the best $6.99/mo I’ve ever spent in my life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Keeping Up Appearances marathon to get back to.

Rambling: I’ve got 2 laptops and finally figured out what to do with them.

So I have these two laptops. One of them has no usable internal storage (something I am working on dealing with) and the other is an old beast with missing keys and parts falling off. But plenty of internal storage. Both run Windows 10, but 2 different accounts (and  don’t want to deal with resetting my much hated Acer Cloudbook AGAIN and deal with uninstalling the 10 gigs of bloatware AGAIN and have to deal with Powershell code fuckery AGAIN) so I can’t exactly sync them up. But I really didn’t want to do that anyway.

So, I have these two laptops. The beast machine is my main rig. I do nearly everything on it. Except watch youtube or streaming. It’s so old now that it can hardly keep up with that and it has to buffer a long while before I can watch anything. I do all of my photo editing/artistic stuff on it, and nearly all of my writing. Again, it has much more storage wise than the Cloudbook. I also listen to my music on it. But pretty much my projects are all done on that machine. The Cloudbook is my “travel laptop”. Having a much longer battery life, and weighing roughly 1-2 pounds max, it’s ideal for when I need to go to the laundromat and need something to do. I can do some of my writing on it, via GoogleDrive and Evernote. But I can’t really do anything else but watch Youtube and stream movies.

Well, I finally figured out a good use! I’ve been trying to sort out how to efficiently do my tarot reading online. It requires I have a camera of some sort. Well, being strapped for funds as I always am (we pay bills and provide for our son just fine – comfortable even – but stretching beyond that is dicey as we have a crappy car and other things that we need to be careful of and keep extra money in reserve in case of emergencies. That kind of thing) so I can’t exactly just go buy one. My mom has one she got a few years back, but half the time we can’t find it and the other half the time it’s frustrating as hell having to go through and delete all my pictures after I transfer them to my laptops. And no, I don’t own a smartphone that actually works anymore. The one I do have can only be used while plugged in, and even then I can’t move it because it’ll shut off if the cord is moved too much. So, what do I do?

I recently discovered that my current phone, an LG prepaid flip phone has Bluetooth on it. Windows 10 also has Bluetooth compatibility… provided the device it is on also has compatibility. The beast of a laptop does not have Bluetooth… but the Cloudbook does. Essentially I’m going to be using the Cloudbook for basic blogging (like this), and business related things because I can use my flip phone to take the pics I need, transfer them to the Cloudbook via Bluetooth so that I can put them into the e-mails and such that I need to do to fill in my orders when I get them, or when I do my freebie events on Tumblr.

My clunker beast will be used solely for my projects and hobbies. This will help me manage my time better as well, and will help me dicipline myself to sticking to specific tasks I’ve set out for the day. Such as “Today, I’m only going to work on my novel.” So then I’ll be using the beast all day. Or “Today’s a casual work day!” so I’ll pull out the Cloudbook for streaming while I update my blogs, process payments, do ebay, etc.

At least, that’s the goal at any rate.

Finding My Goddess; or “The path to Hecate was littered with shitty fanfiction. And I wrote most of it.”

I was sitting on my toilet earlier and thinking, as one does when waiting for their loving spouse to locate a roll of toilet paper for those emergency “Why the hell didn’t you replace the roll after using the last of it you dipshit!” situations, when a thought occurred to me that I forgot about until a few minutes ago while browsing Twitter (no, not while on the toilet).

The gods (or God, whatever your belief) come into our lives at such strange times and we often aren’t even aware of it until years later. I’ve said before in passing that Hecate is considered my household’s patron goddess, and has been for my mother and I since before I married. Since before we came back to Georgia in 2010. I’ve also told my long, winding spiritual journey and yadda yadda yadda. That’s the “official” version, at least that’s what I call it. It’s got the main plot points, the important details, but lacks the down to earth, slice of life details and stories between the major plot points. This is one of those little, silly detail stories.

My mother’s a Christian again, but not the sort to completely ignore or rally against what she believed before. It was a natural progression for her, and it makes her happy. And I’m happy that she’s happy, too. But that’s just here for context. Before she returned to Christianity, she worshiped Hecate. And through the part of her life that she did, Hecate was what she needed most. And I am happy that the goddess welcomed her and helped her through a very troubled and dark time of her life in ways that I could not be there for her.

And while I do not consider myself a devotee and have her as my main deity – she is among my personal pantheon and does fill the role of primary goddess in it, with Death itself as the god role (which for my personal spiritual practice takes a more prevalent position in my worship. More on THAT in another post on another day). So, in my practice and worship, she’s around and pops up when she feels she needs to.

But it occurred to me earlier, and again right before making this post, that I was drawn to Her long before I knew anything about paganism beyond basic Greek and Roman mythology we learn in grade school.  Bizarrely, this particular stroll down memory lane takes a sudden and sharp turn into the world of Fanfiction. I’ve mentioned before that I write the stuff (but I do not post it to this blog). But first, a bit of context as to how this links up with the rest.

I love books and I love learning (despite what all of my teachers in the past were led to believe). I would think of a subject, and look it up in the dictionary, then thesaurus, and eventually the encyclopedia. When I had a chance to go to the library, I’d take a notebook and just do as much research from as many different sources as I could. I didn’t have to, no one made me, but I just did it. I would devote entire summers to learning about a subject as much as I possibly could. This continued from second grade all the way up until part way through college and I had a job that took most of my time away from my academic leanings.

In 1997, my family got our first computer through the Finger-Hut catalogue. Technically it was my mom’s, but we kids were allowed to use it for school and a little bit for the internet (mostly, again, for school). A family friend set it up for us, and he gave us some nifty programs for it, too. One of them was an encyclopedia program. Needless to say I was the most excited of all of us over that one. Mind you, Wikipedia would not be launched until 2001. So this program that I got for free was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. The summer of ’98 I used that encyclopedia program to do a lot of reading. Every subject I could think of until finally, I settled on Greek and Roman mythology. At the time I already had a basic grasp on it, a little more than my peers, but only because my favorite anime or all time had been (and still is) Sailor Moon, who’s characters’ super heroine forms are named after the planets and have attacks based partly on the elements and partly on the particular gods/goddesses associated with their planet (except Saturn and Pluto. That one gets a little weird and mixed up – but the rest are pretty close to the mythical origins to an extent). It was also around this time I discovered… Fanfiction. See, I told you it would all connect together.

One of the main plot points of Sailor Moon is the love story between Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom and Prince Endymion of planet Earth. I had never heard the name Endymion before, so I was curious to see if like many other aspects of the show, it was based on mythology. Imagine my middle school aged surprise to learn there was more than on goddess of and/or associated with the moon. I read up about the Selene and Endymion myth, which led me to an entry about moon goddesses in general. This entry, of course, led me to Artemis and Diana (funny enough, the names of 2 of the 3 talking cats on the show). However… in a footnote among other articles and names of gods and goddesses in the “See Also:” section was Hecate. I’d already decided to go through every entry even remotely linked to Greek and Roman mythology that I could uncover, but that entry in particular caught my interest.

And later that summer, when I decided to try my hand at Fanfiction, it was with my fanmade character Sailor Dark Moon, Princess Hecate. A dark and edgy version of Sailor Moon who came from the dark side of the moon. Yes, very original, I know. Go ahead and get your giggles out now.

Take a breath. How about some water? Need a bit of air?

You good now? No?

I’ll give you another minute to compose yourself.

Okay. Let’s continue. Yes, that was a very awkward period of my life and I am insanely grateful that I never committed any of THAT fanfiction to digital format. The handwritten stories that were circulated among my friends now no longer exist, thank the gods. I burned every single last copy. The take-away from that experience though is that I devoured the information more than I had any other of the gods and goddesses in the encyclopedia at the time. And over the years, when I happened to come across information regarding Hecate, I’d read through it. I didn’t seek it out though. Just one of those “Hey, random article about this subject cites this other article about Hecate. Neat. Wonder if there’s anything in the Hecate article I don’t already know.” And so I’d click it to read it. But I never went out of my way to look for information after that summer.

Well, after that summer, I really didn’t want to go to church anymore. I wanted to branch out and explore other beliefs. But at the time, my hands were tied and I kinda had to go to church if I wanted anywhere to go out and do. It was the only way we could afford things like bowling or skating at the skating rink, etc, as part of church trips. A few years later, around early 2000, I didn’t have to go to church anymore, and this afforded me the freedom to explore other beliefs. So I read a lot. Went to the library, and checked out any book I could about all kinds of beliefs. At the time my library wasn’t even close to being as big as it is now, but it was better than nothing. It was nice. Of course, I looked up old Hecate when I explored Greek/Roman polytheism and at the time it really didn’t connect with me all that much. Still, it was an interesting read to me at the time.

A few years later in early 2003 (my 16th birthday no less) my family moved to Florida. Much of the first few weeks I try to block out of my mind. However, where we lived – we were very close to a little store within walking distance of my house called The Purple Door. And it was run by a nice Wiccan named Gretchen. It had all manner of pagan stuff, and it was here that my mom found her path, or rather, the path that was needed most at the time. We stopped in just because “Hey, there’s this place that literally has a purple door.  They’ve got neat stuff in the window. Let’s stop in and see what they do there since we have time to kill today.” and it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it really was. My mom went back, bought a couple of books. Talked with Gretchen a bit. Of all my mom’s kids I was really the only one who had an interest in her newfound spirituality because I was the only one who’d really tried to branch out and find something new for myself. And I felt she needed at least someone in the family who was supportive of her in this regard that she could talk to with no judgements. She experimented with different gods and goddesses, until at last she had settled on with Hecate. Boy was she surprised when she told me about Hecate and I went and told her even more (at least in the academic sense).

At the time I remember thinking it was pretty funny because of my silly little Sailor Moon fanfictions that were inspired by Hecate. And while she wasn’t exactly one of my personal pantheon at the time, she was still an influential deity of my spiritual life at the time because she was the one to which my mom turned in her faith and belief (alongside Hestia and other home-maker type goddesses to a lesser degree).

Ten years later, after meeting my husband and right around when we started dating (right before we “officially” started dating. He actually courted me. It was cute. This next bit is during that “courting” period which lasted about 2 weeks) I’m over at his and his mother’s house for dinner. Somehow we got on the topic of spirituality and witchcraft and Wicca in general (I must note, by this time I firmly identified as not Wiccan) and something I said must have impressed his mother quite a bit because she actually started going pretty in-depth into the topic with me, and later said it was a better conversation on the subject than she’s ever had with any of my then-almost-boyfriend’s past girlfriends. And of course, given the subject matter, Hecate’s name came up. She might have been impressed with the fact I didn’t do full on woo-woo new age sparkly glitter about the sparkly glitter version of Hecate that most of the fluffy woo-woo types go on about, and more on the realistic expectation of personal belief plus the academic perspective. At least, I like to think that’s what it might have been. I know she was surprised that I knew some stuff that typically doesn’t come up on a surface level Google search. Whatever it was, she was satisfied that I gave the goddess her proper respect and reverence, so I guess that’s a tick in a win column somewhere.

But thinking back on all of that, earlier today, it makes me want to giggle. Because again, you never know when the deities you may or may not believe in will step in, make themselves known, and then just kinda poke their head in from time to time whether or not you actually believe in them. Needless to say, by 2013 Hecate had become part of my personal pantheon as the main goddess among them, where she continues to be to this day.

But it’s just a little funny that for me, the road to Hecate started not with a dire need for something to believe in. Nor was it a deep spiritual devotion and hours upon hours of meditation. It started with a 1997 no-name computer from a mail order catalogue, with 1997 encyclopedia software, and an obsession with the anime Sailor Moon.

Emotions or “Why I, a US citizen, avoid July 4th. And no, it’s not because I’m a commie bastard.”

Not written here for a bit. There’s a few reasons for that. Life gets in the way, as per usual. But in this case it was more of an emotional/psychological bit of thing going on. Since 2010, the 4th of July has always been hard for me to handle and deal with, and in the last few years it’s been especially bad emotionally, for different reasons.

Growing up, July 4th was never just America’s Independence Day. It was my father’s birthday as well. My dad was born in Cuba, and came to the US when he was (I think) 9 years old. He always thought it was funny and really cool that his birthday was Independence Day. We always had cake, usually some variation of red, white, and blue in some way. Some years we even had actual sparklers on the cake. Cookouts every year, rain or shine. If it were raining then… well, the basement door, which was more of a giant garage door, would be opened up and set to an angle. The grill placed just below it, technically outside, but just barely.

Life was so very far from peachy, especially the last 10 years before my mom and I left my dad in Florida. Often for holidays, even his birthday, entire dinners would be thrown into the trash because he didn’t tell any of us he was going to head over to his sisters for the entire evening instead of come home for the holiday meal. And none of us were allowed to touch the dinner until he was home There were a lot of problems then – ones that most parties that are still alive agree could have been handled better. And pretty much all of us were suffering from mental illness in one form or another.

So to say that holidays for me are rough is an understatement. I’ve managed to work through my issues with nearly all of the standard holidays because those were easier to deal with. They were JUST holidays. Many of which I’m able to focus on other people for. Christmas? Spoil my kid rotten. Halloween? Take my kid out trick-or-treating! Easter? Here comes the easter bunny! New Years? Valentines? Father’s Day? Focus on my husband. Celebrate fresh starts and new ideas with him. Celebrate the fact that Valentine’s is exactly one week after the anniversary of when we started dating. Father’s Day is for dads, and my husband is my kid’s dad. Mother’s Day? Hey I’m a mom, and so is my mom! Thanksgiving? Surround myself with my family. St. Patrick’s Day? My husband’s part Irish and likes to drink so why the fuck not. (Unlike most on St. Patrick’s Day my husband actually IS part Irish, not just claiming to be. He’s also part Sicilian and has a blood card somewhere for Cherokee so, that’s a fun combination.)

But… Independence Day is much harder for me to refocus. Had the story simply ended in 2010 with my mom and I leaving, I think I could have been able to refocus it easier. But… in 2013 my life changed in a huge way. And by 2014, my perspective on many things had changed. I now finally could see things from the other side, and I regretted a LOT of things I had said and done, especially to those of my family I left behind in Florida. But mostly my dad. The last thing I ever said to him was on the phone after receiving a letter from him. I used someone else’s phone so he wouldn’t have my number to reach me. I told him I hated him, and never wanted him to contact me again. That I didn’t need him and I was happier without him. That was roughly a week after I started dating my husband in 2013.

And to this day it eats me alive knowing that’s the last thing I said to him. Later that year, he had a massive mental breakdown, resulting in his inability for quite some time to recognize anyone, even my baby sister who had been stuck taking care of him. He had the breakdown around the time I started telling people I was pregnant (I was a few months along at that point) and I had made it known that I didn’t want him to know, that I didn’t want him to know anything about me or my life. I don’t know if he ever found out or not. After my son was born, I did try to make amends the only way I knew how. But I didn’t have a good phone number for him. I didn’t even know if he still lived at the address he was at when I left after staying with him for six months looking or work in 2011. I contacted a sister of mine, to ensure I had the right address. I sent him a card, apologizing for my actions and words and acknowledging that I had hurt him in such a way that no one should ever hurt another, let alone their parent. I sent a picture of myself and my son, and my son and my husband with the card. I don’t even know if he ever received it – as I came to find out later that he wasn’t at that address anymore.

He died a few years ago.

Heart failure, from what I understand.

I’m not making this post for pity or sympathy. I want to make that VERY clear right damn now. Just…  just trying to work out my feelings and put them into better words than I did for my therapist on Friday when I brought it up with her. The closer the calendar gets to July 4th, the more withdrawn I tend to become. And after the holiday, it takes me a bit to re-enter the world so to speak. I try to separate my personal feelings from the actual holiday of Independence Day, and I do the typical Fourth of July activities. Cookouts. Burgers and hotdogs. Lots of soda. Fireworks. Oh the fireworks. My son loves the fountains, but hates the fountains that have all the popper in them. The noise is jarring for him and frightening. He finally got to watch some this year without freaking out too badly. He actually started getting excited for some that he liked when we had more than one of that type. But even as I do these standard, regular holiday activities, the memory of my dad is nagging at the back of my mind. And the harder I push it away, the stronger it is and the harder it is to push it away at all. I also tend to avoid social media the closer it gets, and on the day of, and immediately following, because of family members.

One of my sisters visited his grave marker on his birthday. She took pictures, and wrote a touching post about him and honestly I can’t fault her for that. He was her dad, too. And I’m genuinely glad that she can speak well of him. And that she celebrates his birthday on the 4th of July with joy and laughter and so much life. I want that for myself, but I know it’s a long road yet for me to work through all of this baggage and let it go.

I am optimistic. One day, I’ll be able to wake up on July 4th and not dread the day. Not dwell on my regrets and the might-have-been and maybe even share funny stories with my kid about his grandpa on his birthday (especially the funny birthday stories like the time we found out or next door neighbor was also born on the 4th of July!). One day I’ll face the day and not feel the need to hide in the kitchen and cook so I can hide any tears by cutting up an onion for burgers. But I’m taking it a year at a time. It’s all that I can do, really. In the meantime, I’m gonna make pies or Jello. Cook up some burgers and brats. Crack open a cold can of Pepsi (fuck you, I like Pepsi!) and watch my husband as he fails to blow himself up with the fireworks I bought at the actual fireworks store we have in town now.

Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

It’s been a humdinger of a week thus far.

Saturday, last minute shopping for the hubs. Friday, Father’s Day. More shopping for the hubs’ special dinner. (We honestly didn’t have room in the freezer/fridge at the time for the additional stuff, so I decided to just go out day of and get it.)

Monday was my big monthly grocery trip to restock the non-perishables and get whatever else we were low on.

Tuesday was more grocery shopping because I didn’t have room in my cart when I got done Monday to get meat and assorted cold items. Tuesday I also noticed an issue with one of the tires, so I had to call a tow truck to come out and change it to my spare. We don’t keep or use a donut because even a donut in the best of shape wouldn’t last long enough to get from my drive way to my mechanic. Using a real/regular tire at least buys us time till we’ve either got the money to get it dealt with or the time to get it dealt with.

Wednesday the hubs and I had a meeting with a child psychologist who helped us figure out what we needed, what we’ve already got, and what we still need to get for my son’s school. AND to also get him the autism therapy he needs in addition to discussing additional services he needs as well. (He needs 2 types of behavioral therapy at the moment. One, the woman we spoke to handles and the other is a more rigid and structured type of therapy that will help with dealing with his school issues – namely structure and routine that’s above our pay grade.)

And then Thursday (since I’m writing this at 2:20AM on Friday morning) I finally was able to get that tire taken care of.

Now, all of this is a pretty typical, normal week right?

So let’s complicate matters by throwing the following into the mix shall we?

My adorable, darling child has screwed up his sleep patterns so badly that I’ve been unable to get him back on a normal schedule ever since he got sick not long after school let out (that was May 19th). So for the last few weeks I’ve been having to stay up till anywhere between 3AM and 6AM in the morning because the little brat just WILL NOT go to sleep no matter what we try to do. Even, as a last ditch effort, tried warm milk. Worst mistake ever – as it makes his muscus even thicker, causing him breathing issues in his sleep that either wake him up from couching so badly, or I have to wake him up myself because he starts choking in his sleep. (Ah, allergy season. How I loathe thee…)

My hubs helps out with this sleeping issue when he can, but it’s not ideal and I ask him to take “the night shift” as we call it, only when absolutely necessary. This is because he is also autistic and needs to adhere to rigid structure and routine – and when he deviates from it on top of not getting enough sleep, he’s a terror to deal with worse than any toddler. (More prone to flare ups and meltdowns.)

So, I handle “the night shift” alone. With not being able to get enough sleep, this causes my body to fight back against me at times. Namely in regards to my pain levels. Add to this that I have to restrain my son sometimes when he has a full blown autism meltdown to prevent him from getting hurt or hurting someone else, it takes a toll on my already damaged back, which causes the pain levels to skyrocket. For the last week my pain levels have been hanging out around the 8-10 range and because of the odd hours I’ve been having to keep, I can’t take my pain medication when I need to (or at all this past week) because I have to be able to function enough to safely drive as well as take care of my kid.

However, Thursday I decided “fuck it” after getting the tire dealt with. I was meant to be going to the store with my hubs and the kid to buy a dresser for myself, but by the time I got back home I could barely move to go to the toilet. I’d pushed my body well beyond the limit. I took my pain meds, told everyone that the dresser can wait till the weekend, and I promptly curled up on the bed and passed out. I’ve woken up around 12:30AM from my extended nap… to do the night shift again. At least now I’m a bit more refreshed so it’s not so bad…

Until later when I have to get up earlier than I have been recently because I have my bi-weekly therapy appointment and have to stop by the store (again) to pick up some things we’ve run out of (milk, eggs, bread, coffee creamer, etc).

Saturday I hope to not have to go anywhere.

Plus side? Because let’s end on a positive note shall we?

I’ve been playing around with Evernote, creating templates I can use later on for organizing my writing. And I’ve been able to binge watch Game of Thrones from season 1 to season 6 in preparation for season 7 starting next month.

YouTube Drama > Reality TV

I’ve been following YouTube drama for about a year now. Mainly one specific corner of YouTube that I previously didn’t care too much for. I’d mention specific YouTubers, but the two in particular that I enjoy watching their lives spiral out of control to make myself feel better are also the type that will Google themselves obsessively and then send their personal army of teens ages 10-16 out to swamp and overwhelm and attack anyone who speaks of them negatively on the internet. I’ve seen this happen a LOT over the last year and I’d rather not deal with it. So we’ll just call them Anna and Rick. I would use their real names, or their YouTube handles, or any other name they use that may be more obscure – but as stated, they are obsessive about Googling themselves. Which we’ll get to in a bit how that plays into all that drama.

Now then, let’s start with Rick. Mainly because I found out about Anna due to watching the downward spiral that is Rick.

Rick has been doing YouTube for nearly as long as YouTube has existed. He’s made a LOT of money through ad revenue. He became super popular for the “lol so random” style of comedy that’s usually a favorite of pre-teens and young teens. There were a few videos that became so popular they were viral for a while. Well, over time he built up a MASSIVE following of over 2 million subscribers. Unfortunately a lot of his “comedy” started to dwindle when drama in his real life started (a divorce and numerous scandals) and rather than keep his private life private, he started airing his dirty laundry through his YouTube channel. This made him really popular with the pre-teen and young teenagers because “omg he so gets us!” and capitalized on the whole “emo” trend. More and more his multiple channels became more about his life and the drama in it, and how everyone hates him for being honest and truthful and they’re just jealous of his success – and less about actual comedy.

Near the end of last year another YouTube drama whore came to my attention. Anna. Anna is known, apparently, for rooting out bullshit. And for making 20+ videos on any given topic wherein she him-haws around about stuff but only gives a small nugget of information that may or not be accurate. She latches onto other YouTube dramas and drama whores and sucks from the tit of clickbait until it runs dry and she needs to find another target for her attention. She deliberately stirs up drama where there is none, and pretty much is a garbage human being who claims to have illnesses that if she truly did have them, on the best pain management days she certainly wouldn’t be able to push out 10+ videos a day, plus a minimum of 1-3 live streams a day, plus in every single video and stream be flapping her arms about like a complete and utter fool. If the conditions she claims to have all at once are legitimate, there’s no way she would be able to function half of what is shown on camera as the majority of the illnesses she claims to have seriously affect mobility – and the combination she claims to have not only restricts movement but also would have her bedridden on the best of days. Now I know treatment affects people in different ways and I’m no expert on the subject but given the claims, some of which are conditions I also deal with, they simply cannot be managed using severely diluted homeopathic medicine only. That’s like taking nothing but placebos. Sure, mentally you believe it works and the whole mind over matter thing, but that’s not going to fix the degenerative diseases you claim to have. Your bones are still going to disintegrate, and your joints are still going ot get massively inflamed, and your migraines that are getting worse and worse (so you claim) are obviously not going away or easing up but in fact are becoming a bigger problem the longer they go untreated. Anyway, I digress.

Anna came to my attention because Anna made 50-ish videos about Rick late last year when yet another scandal had come up surrounding Rick. This time rather than about his love life, it was about one of his websites and encouraging underage girls to post intimate photos of themselves so he could judge their bodies on YouTube. (Intimate meaning bra and panties, or less.) The youngest that anyone had found out about as 12 years old. He claimed he only picked the people that were 18 or older for his multiple body shaming videos (though he calls them “empowering”), but that was proven wrong when someone noticed he used a photo of a 16 year old. That caused people to dig into his website, believing there may be more underage girls so that he could be reported to the police. Before anyone could report him the website was taken down for a few days and purged of incriminating evidence before being put back online.

Anna caught wind of this, and her entire brand is based on, like I said, sucking the tit of clickbait and YouTube drama whores. The two ended up in a spat over who was the more desperate drama whore. Rick sent out a faked Cease and Desist letter that Anna believed was legit for a time, and she did back off making videos of Rick for a while. Recently she’s made 3 or 4 about him but has mainly focused on a child abuse scandal she “helped” uncover (she didn’t do shit but cause more drama so she could get views and collect that sweet ad revenue), and dealing with some fallout of drama about her “illnesses” among other personal drama people have finally brought down upon her.

She’s made more videos than usual per week now however because of the Adpocalypse tat started earlier this year. For simplicity sake the adpocalypse was the event wherein advertisers started pulling their ads and funding because they didn’t want their brands associated with certain types of videos plus YouTube changed their system around a few times which caused creators to have videos quietly demonetized or their entire channels placed into age restriction mode which cut their viewership drastically. As a result people like Anna and Rick had their videos demonetized and, in Rick’s case, their channel(s) placed into restricted mode.

Now, why does this matter? Because YouTube drama whores thrive off ad revenue. The more subscribers and views they have, the bigger their egos get. The bigger the egos, the more the drama they post online or scandals they get involved in. When those numbers begin to drop, they make multiple videos filled with guilt tripping their viewership. In some more extreme cases, like in Rick’s, they threaten to kill themselves if their viewers don’t donate to their Patreon page.

Watching YouTube drama is better than watching reality TV. Reality TV is 100% scripted, and while much YouTube drama is also scripted in some way, it has a very different feel to it. You know ahead of time that these people are only in it for the money (that is, if they can even have ads on their videos at that point) and for the fame. You know that the person you see on screen isn’t usually how they really are in real life – because in real life they are much much worse than what you see.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone who Vlogs on YouTube is a drama whore. Because there’s honestly some great content creators who, all they do is talk about their lives and their dreams and things like that. There’s a few I’ve followed for years who are actually just as they are on screen only in real life, they might swear a bit more because they don’t have to watch their language for the kiddies that might be watching. But then there’s the darker corner of YouTube, where the drama whores congregate and snap at one another. It’s like watching a tank of piranhas and putting a single small piece of meat in the water just to watch them fight over it.

There is a darker side to all of this unfortunately. As I mentioned before the two that I specifically watch, Anna and Rick, have a large following of pre-teens and young teenagers. This is an age of experimentation. Of trying to figure out not only puberty but also yourself. What kind of things you like, the kind of person you want to be, and a lot of a person’s personality is shaped by the things they hear, see, and do at this age. An age where if your idol will just give you five minutes, or glance in your direction, you’ll do anything to keep their attention. Some girls will post nearly nude photos of themselves to a forum just to get a single word back from their idol. Others will blindly do anything they’re told because it proves that they’re “a real fan”. Five years ago, I would have been pissed if my favorite YouTubers were put into restricted mode. As a teenager I’d have been even more pissed and lied about my age just to watch their videos (which let’s be honest – anyone who grew up with the internet has done this – and those too old to have done this grew up in the age of fake IDs so it’s not exactly a new concept here). Now, however, I have the perspective of being a parent. And this perspective changes a LOT of things. For instance if my son were aged 10-16, I would not allow him to watch Rick’s videos. Ever. Not until he’s old enough where I can’t do anything about it and he’s old enough to understand that Rick isn’t exactly “normal”. And if he DID happen to watch Rick’s videos, or videos like Rick’s, then I’d sit him down and have a very long talk about personal responsibility and the reality of whatever the video(s) was/were about rather than what he saw portrayed. I know, as a parent, I can’t keep my child from 100% of everything that will be bad for him, but I can teach him to know the difference between right and wrong, and how to spot harmful content and people to avoid. Because I don’t want to open a bank statement or a credit card bill to discover that my kid’s donating a lot of money a month behind my back to someone who keeps threatening suicide if their “real fans” don’t give them money.

And that’s a very big problem as well here. Something that not only irritates me but frightens me about certain types of YouTubers with large followings of young teens and kids. They could be really chill and awesome role models like Markiplier (who legitimately does care about his fans), or they could be utter garbage fire of human beings like Anna and Rick (who routinely use their fans as a personal army to attack detractors and to fund themselves through avenues like Patreon by honestly making their young fans believe if they don’t get at least $1 from you then you’re not a real fan and they’re going to off themselves). I mean hell, usually I don’t shy away from naming and shaming, but here I am using made up names for these people because I don’t want to contribute to the cycle of abuse they use on their young fans by becoming another target for them to be aimed at.

That’s just fucking sad.

On the plus side, I get to watch – for free because I use multiple adblock extensions – YouTube drama whores cannibalize themselves without having to pay for cable or anything, and legitimately know that what I’m watching may be scripted but it’s much closer to reality than any reality TV show could possibly get.