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.

Do penguins even have legs?

You know you’re in for a good conversation when it starts with the sentence:

I want to look at a penguin skeleton to see if they even have legs.

Emperor_penguinsIt’s no secret that I love penguins. My love of penguins has been passed down to my son. So much so that if he sees a penguin toy, he must take it and keep it forever. (I lose so many of my penguins this way.)

He loves penguin themed movies, and the most favorite among them are the Penguins of Madagascar movie and Happy Feet. (He seems to have little use for Happy Feet Two though. He likes it because penguins, but he doesn’t get super excited about it.)

Well, my husband decided to deign us with his presence for a bit, and I’d put Happy Feet into the PS3 for the tot. We watched all the special features first, one of which is a tap dancing clip with Savion Glover and baby Mumble dancing together. It was this clip that prompted my husband to question if penguins have legs.

c680ab69363b06c5cf6c3bf9dbbeddddSeeing as I had my computer right in front of me as I worked on a story, I saved my progress and hit up Google image search to find a penguin skeleton. I must admit I was not expecting what I saw. It seems that yes, they do have legs, and they are actually much longer than I had initially thought. We just don’t see how big or long their legs actually are because they’re so adorably fat bottomed. I didn’t even know that many penguins actually do have knees. Given the climate many of them live in it makes sense not to have long legs dangling out. Extremities are the first to get cold and damaged from extreme temperatures. Only the necessary extremities for survival hang off the body. Feet to move and swim with, flippers to propel them through the water, and of course their heads and beaks with which to eat and look around them. The penguin skeleton is actually very fascinating to look at compared to the outward appearance of the creatures.

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Rambling: Cigarette Ash and Clock Radios

There are times I yearn for my teenage and early adult years. No, not the depression and anxiety. The stress of high school/college. The near death experiences and occasional hospitalizations. More I yearn for that period of creativity that I had.

I yearn for the late nights spent up well past my bedtime, during punishments of not being allowed internet because of bad grades, typing away at my old 1997 off-brand computer from FingerHut. The once pristine white casing stained yellow from years of cigarette smoke and tar that no amount of cleaner or bleach could clean or scrub away.

The bright light of the old hulking monitor as my clock radio played beside me. My window cracked as I smoked the cigarette butts that I had foraged from my parents’ ash trays when I thought they weren’t looking (but they knew). The heavy smell of cigarette smoke and eucalyptus incense that I burned in my room nearly day and night.

The first light of dawn as I realized what time it was and had to rush to get dressed for school – racing to the bus stop on less than an hour’s sleep because I was up all night writing.

The seeming unending inspiration as I jamed out to my stolen Linkin Park cds (stolen from my sister, not the store.).  The 1 foot tall stack of disks that held all my stories, my books, my poetry, my notes and research for my stories.

To this day, I can’t make a single playlist to listen to for my writing that does not include every single song from Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums – because their music just always hits the right buttons for my creative streak. They are both my muse and my soundtrack for life itself.

I mean, I’m happy with my life as it is, and where I am in it. The people I still have in my life and the people that have come into it.But there are some days, some nights like tonight that I can’t help but long for those old days when it was just a blank Notepad file, the blinking red of a clock radio with the time still not re-set after a power flicker, and my own thoughts in the dark before the bright, brilliant screen of a 10lb late 90s computer monitor.

Ramble: Eliciting Emotion Without Details

Recently I posted 3 new chapters to a fanfiction I’ve been writing for a rather long time now (no, I’m not going to link it. It’s embarrassing. If you happen to find it though… well… anyway). These chapters dealt with some very harsh, dark themes such as rape, torture, mental fuckery – among others. One of my favorite readers, who leaves reviews nearly every update, mentioned this in one of her latest comments:

“You weren’t kidding about there being hard things in this chapter, but you did a good job of having us feel the horror without needing to go into gruesome detail.”

And it got me thinking about all of the stories I’ve read over the years that I can remember. Both in regular and in fanfiction And I’ve come to realize that many of the stories I have enjoyed the most leave a great many details up to the reader’s imagination. While yes the basic description of characters and scenes are given, or building up to an event and using language to direct the reader to experience a certain emotion, stories that suddenly jumpcut immediately after making it clear what is about to happen, but not having you read the gruesome detail (especially in horror and suspense situations) – those to me are the best. Not only does it allow every reader to have their own personal experience with the work, but there is nothing more frightening than the worst possible things we can imagine. Perhaps the scene was leading us to believe that a favorite character was about to be tortured to death, but then didn’t let us see/read the torture taking place. When we read the segment that the character appears in afterwards, perhaps having escaped their jailers, how they are described and appear will guide us to imagine the things that may have happened to them. Perhaps the reader is more afraid of water torture – they may imagine that’s taken place to the hero. Or maybe starvation and beating? They’ll imagine that THAT is what may have happened to them.

But later still in the story, the hero may confide in their best friend or lover what truly took place in the jail/dungeon/cavern, etc. And how relieved the reader is that what they feared most wasn’t the thing that has happened… Or, for those who imagined correctly, the overwhelming empathy the reader feels for the hero. This method, which I honestly unintentionally used in my piddling little fanfiction, makes the reader more emotionally invested in the story, and in a way makes them feel like they are part of it. And when a reader becomes so invested in the story, they will keep reading.

That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth anyway.

Life, Sleep, and Shoes.

The last few entries I talked about things related to my foot. Well, it’s nearly completely healed now. There will be scarring, and I’ll have arthritis in my big toe (like the other one) but other than that, there seems to be no lasting effects. Well, other than the pain in my ankle, but with liberal application of heat and anti-inflammatory medication that seems to be easing up as well.

My sleep cycle however is still re-adjusting. Every twitch of that toe would trigger a pain response, after I injured it, and that would wake me up. Now, I just wake up whenever that toe moves – no pain – just habit. It’s annoying when it happens in the middle of a really good dream. But, it is what it is. I roll over and go back to sleep if I can. If I can’t then I find a mindless idle game on Kongregate to play for a bit before laying back down.

Recently I’ve been playing around with different file organization programs. The most current one I’ve been messing around with is Evernote. The free version is good enough for my current project organization needs, and I may actually splurge and get the $35 one year Plus version (anything version higher than that and it’s bells and whistles I don’t really need or use). I’ll give it a few months though to see if it’s really worth that much to me and how effective it ultimately is for helping to keep my projects organized between 2 laptops.

And yes, I’ve tried the OneNote program that is free and native to Windows 10. It relies heavily on the OneDrive, and the last time I used OneDrive (to back up music I bought and downloaded through Amazon) all but my Libre Office docs were deleted. I had nearly 8 years worth of music backed up in there, and not only did my music collection get wiped from my OneDrive (after using the Groove app to play them) they were also deleted from my computer itself. Ever since, I refuse to use anything that relies on OneDrive and do everything I can to block OneDrive access on both my computers. So no, OneNote while it is very similar to Evernote, is not even up for consideration.

I did try out the Google Drive for desktop, but all it did was add a file folder called Google Drive where I can drag and drop my current files. That is NOT what I wanted – as I can just do that with a regular file and setting up a Windows Homegroup between my two computers. It’s really aggravating. I hope that Evernote works out because so far over the last few days, I’ve really enjoyed using it.

In other news, we have a Bealls Outlet in Cartersville. Have had for quite a long while now (just over a year I think?) and boy howdy do I love it. It’s one of my favorite stores from Florida and for over a decade the nearest one was at the Outlet Mall in Calhoun. I’m not gonna drive all the way out there unless I wanna go to Old Navy AND Bath&Body Works even if I had a reliable car that would be able to drive all the way out there. Anyway, I’ve been needing new shoes for about 6 months now. But me being me, I always put what everyone else needs first, then take care of myself. (This sounds like a complaint, and normally I don’t really mind and prefer it this way but sometimes man, I just wanna go out and binge shop somewhere else than Dollar Tree for a change, y’know.) Anyway, my son also has been needing new shoes for a few months. I found 2 pairs for good prices for him, and then decided “Fuck it, I need shoes.” So I looked and looked…. but I have rather large feat for a woman. My shoe size is 11, and I have to buy a pair at least a half size bigger to accomodate the inserts I need for my arches and arthritis. And I have to wear sneakers (gone are the days I can wear Chuck Taylors and hiking boots. BOO!). I was about to give up hope when 2 pairs I found were far too snug and small. The largest women’s sneakers they had in the place.

But then I remembered – I can wear men’s shoes. DUH! So I go over, grab a few pairs in different sizes just so I can check what size I needed. And then I looked for sneakers for a good price. I found some really nice LA Gear’s with an Iron Man theme in men’s size 10. They fit BEAUTIFULLY! My husband was jealous, as he’s an Iron Man fan. As luck would have it, they had the same exact shoes in his size! He tried them on, they fit, and he got them for himself. I also got a cute cup with the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers megazord on it.

It’s been a pretty decent week. Some ups and downs, certainly. But there’s been a few more ups than downs lately and that’s left me in a pretty good mood looking into the week ahead.

On Being Sick and Keeping Busy

My foot, which I mentioned last time, is healing slowly, but nicely. I’ve been able to adjust my foot position when I walk now to take semi-normal steps. It’s agonizing after spending 2 weeks walking on the side of my foot because now my muscles are like “haha fuck you”. The joint in my foot is inflamed from walking like that, which has set off literally everything else in my leg. It’s getting better though. My son’s also gotten sick, but he’s gotten better. I had no idea snot from his nose could come out his eyes. That was gross. Doctor gave him an antibiotic eyedrops that’s worked wonders!

Unfortunately due to him getting/being sick, and myself getting sick as a result of taking him to the doctor (every damn time man… every damn time) both his and my sleep schedules are out of whack. So I’ve taken the time spent sitting up making sure he doesn’t tear up the house and get himself hurt to revisit some writing ideas I’ve had on the burner for a while now. First of which is a Harry Potter fanfiction that is long overdue for an update. And another is, yes, another Harry Potter fanfiction but with an Arthurian retelling/twist which retells the origin of Merlin and Mordred among others, and tying the Pendragons into the Peverell history. At any rate, it’s fun doing the world building bit which is always my favorite part.