Praise be upon ye oh Mighty Workers of Retail, humble gate keepers of the Paper of Toilets, and keepers of the Gluten Free Pasta

Earlier today, I was absolutely furious and boy did I want to sit down and just pound away at this keyboard. Instead, I stopped, got a cold drink. I ate some Starburst jelly beans, listened to the Mead Song, and put away my groceries… what little I was able to get.

Over the last few weeks, I stepped up something I normally already do. I thank the retail workers. I used to work retail, I understand that they – like everyone else – are just trying to do their jobs. And since the Corona’s popped up, their jobs have only gotten harder.

So before you open your mouth to complain that there’s no coffee on the shelves, stop and thank the nearest stock boy. Show your gratitude to the baggers. And tell the cashier you appreciate them. If you can, let a trucker know they’re a fucking godsend.

But honestly, what got me really pissed off earlier is that last night, about an hour before the store was to close so they could desperately begin restocking toilet paper, bleach, and meat for the next day – Scalpers. And lots of them.

And the store I went to today wasn’t the only one. It’s been the same all over town. Basic essentials bought up – and btw they’ve got workarounds for the “Limit X per customer”. It’s easy really, I’ve done it before at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s to maximize my coupons. Hand another coupon off to my husband and have him stand in line behind me. Instead of 3 of an item, I now take home 6 because my husband’s transaction is separate. He’s a different customer. And that’s how people are getting around shit. Limit 3 packages of TP per customer? Easy! Bring the whole family down for a shopping spree! Hand them each a bit of money and now you can take hom 6, 9, 12, 15 fucking packages of toilet paper!

But I digress… There was very little bread on the shelves. So bread making supplies have been flying off the others. I managed to get some fast rise yeast (which I legitimately was already buying because it’s cheaper to make my own gluten free bread than it is to buy it) because nobody else could reach it and I said “fuck it, i actually need it” and climbed up the shelves.

I listened to a woman yelling at a poor stock boy today, he couldn’t have been older than mid-twenties, because he was just trying to help her track down some pasta. Any pasta he could find. He tried to tell her that sometimes the “unconventional brands” are in a different part of the same aisle, or on the international foods aisle and he’d have to look there. He does so, and she screams at him for doing so. My personal favorite was “I told you there wasn’t any damn pasta down there! You idiot you just didn’t listen! There isn’t any down there!”

There was, in fact, some pasta. Two boxes of gluten free spaghetti, a couple boxes of Gluten Free oven ready lasagna, some pasta made of chickpea flour (also gluten free), and a box of Gluten Free elbow macaroni. You want to know why she didn’t get them after he found them? She was an asshole. I honestly was already buying pasta, and decided “y’know what? I’m not gonna tell her its here. I’m just gonna get what I need and be on my way.” I made sure to let the young man know when he passed by that he’s doing a bang up job and didn’t deserve to be yelled at like that. I offered him a squirt of hand sanitizer and went about my shopping.

He later heard me asking about coffee, and saying that I should have bought some when i was there yesterday when there was plenty on the shelves. He tells me they got a truck in last night and the coffee is going to be stocked in about an hour. If I’m willing to wait around, he can get me some if I just tell him which brand and what kind I wanted. Sure enough an hour later he finds me browsing produce with a can of coffee under his arm. By then I’d already forgotten about the damn coffee and was trying to look at produce without actually touching it.

He’s the one that told me about the scalpers coming in the night before and wiping the store out of basics that most people usually stock up on around this time of the month. You see, today – the 19th, and again on the 21st, are the two days a month that in the stare of Georgia are the Food Stamp days. Those are the two days people like me and my family get the funds to go grocery shopping. And last night all the stores in town got hit before closing on the 18th.

Talk about pissed right the fuck off.

Anyway, be nice to your local retail workers. They’re exposed far more than the rest of us. They are working really hard to make sure the rest of us have what we need, when we need it. They don’t deserve to be the target of people’s ire, especially right now. Preferably never, but I’ll take what I can get.

So yeah, I’m totally gonna just stroll back into your feed like I totally didn’t forget my password and get distracted by other things.

It has been a long time since I’ve posted here. For anyone that was worried, I’m fine. I know I’ve posted about my health in the past, and while it could still be better I haven’t gotten much worse. And what HAS gotten worse is, well, managable.

First thing first, still fighting the chronic pain. That’s never going away and I’ve accepted that and learned to just… well… cope. If I dwell on it, it won’t do me any good and just wastes time I can better spend by doing other more entertaining and worthwhile things.

As for other health stuff… well, my eczema/psoriasis issues I’ve been dealing with since I was around 5-9 months old has only gotten worse. It reached a point this last late December/All of January that it became unbearable. I’ll openly admit I was, for a few days there, seriously considering suicide it was that bad. I couldn’t stand to be touched, and my skin felt like it was on fire constantly. I couldn’t sleep. No cream, lotion, ointment, wash, shampoo, or treatment was helping. In fact, it was only making things worse. I couldn’t even hug my own child when he wanted or needed me to. I couldn’t even cry because the tears stung my eyes and the skin around them. I was, to put it bluntly, a walking pus filled lesion with no relief in sight. I had even cut my hair in an attempt to lessen the weight on my scalp, allow for more air flow so sweat wouldn’t irritate my condition further, and so that I could get the damn medicated shampoo all the way to the scalp so it could actually have a chance at working.

None of it worked. I went to the hospital ER because it was the weekend and basically begged them for anything that might give me some relief. And I was given it. I got an antibiotic for the infection that had set in on my scalp, around my eyes, and around/inside my ears from the constant scratching and scraping. I got a steroid to help surpress shit to try and get it to start healing over.

Turns out I was allergic to the antibiotic (I’d never had it before so I didn’t know until after I was on it for a few days). And while the steroid helped clear up the flare, when I was done with the steroid the flare… well… flared up worse. It was agony. To top it all off, my doctor’s office couldn’t see me until near the end of January because it was the first of the year and they didn’t have any openings until 2 days before my birthday. In the meantime, I was up shit creek and went back to the ER. Was put on another antibiotic (a different one that I HAVE had before but isn’t as effective with this particular type of infection I had) and a different steroid. And once again… relief for a short time. This time, the infection was able to be beaten back and dealt with. But the double flare of eczema and psoriasis was not going to let me have peace any time soon.

Well, as luck would have it they had a cancellation a week earlier than anticipated at my doctor’s office and I was able to get in there on Januaryt 23rd. My doctor once again was changed, as the last doctor I’d had moved on to another practice. I go through this around every 2-3 years. My last doctor had left his previous specialty, Pain Management, for general practice, and that’s how he ended up as my primary care doctor. At the time he was exactly the doctor I needed for what I was dealing with. And once again luck was on my side as THIS TIME I got another good doctor who took one look at me and said “Normally, I don’t prescribe this because it’s more a specialty medication but you are the worst case of this I’ve seen in thirty years!” and he wrote me a script for a medication I’ve never had before, telling me it’s a standard medication for my situation and would likely be what a dermatologist would put me on. I didn’t care that it stung like a waspy son of a bitch in the middle of a hot southern summer, I cried. I cried and it hurt like hell but I cried knowing that soon, I would finally have relief from this overactive immune system fueled hell. The fire in my flesh prison would soon go from a blazing inferno to at least the equivalent of a campfire. Hey, I was being realistic. No drug is a miracle drug. But any relief is welcome when the alternative is…. not so pretty.

Now, you might be asking why I didn’t just go to a dermatologist. Believe me, if that option was available I’d have taken it. I had called all the ones in town that I had found out took my insurance and they had openings out the wazoo. Unfortinately… my insurance? It’s through medicaid. And Medicaid doesn’t sign off on specialists unless it’s an emergency situation – like car accidents or heart attacks. Shit like that. At least, that’s how it’s done in this state and with Wellcare of Georgia (through Georgia Medicaid that is). So, I couldn’t see a dermatologist until I’d gotten a referral. And I couldn’t get a referral without first seeing my primary care doctor. And I couldn’t see them until they had an opening.

Now, I did attempt to cheat the system, and it could have worked, too. See, the hospiutal ER can write referrals to specialists. At least, my local hospital ER can. It’s always a specialist that works with the hospital, so it’s usually someone local. Unfortunately, my local hospital doesn’t have any dermatologists that work with them directly. And so they had no one to refer me to! The doctor was really nice about it though and she said if I’d come in with literally any other problem they’d have been able to write me a referral and I could get seen later that week, or the next at the latest.

But, it all worked out for the most part. I’ve got my dermatologist now. I’m still on that medication my primary doctor prescribed, and now I’m just having to do a lot of blood work as the dermatologist adjusts my dosages and such to get the best, but safest, treatment for my condition going for long-term relief and management.

So anyway, here I am. Back on my bullshit.

But at least I’m no longer restricted to that god forsaken Acer Cloudbook any longer.

Husband bought me a new laptop. And it’s got a fuckin touchscreen.

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.

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.

Ramble: On Inspiration, Creativity, and the Lack Thereof

He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad. – The Doctor (David Tennant); “Doctor Who: The Sound of Drums”, 2007

Since 2005, I have had a very deep fondness for Doctor Who, both the revival/current running series and the classic stories from the childhoods of those who’ve come before me. But every Whovian has that one line, that one special monologue or quote or scene that really touched them in a meaningful way. For many it’s the First Doctor’s farewell speech to his granddaughter Susan when he leaves her to find a new life and to settle down with a man she has come to love. For others, it’s the Fourth Doctor’s statements following his refusal to prevent the creation of the Daleks, questioning whether or not he made the right decision but also certain that without the Daleks many races who came together to fight them would otherwise be fighting one another. And need I even bring up the various speeches given by the Sixth Doctor during “Trial of a Time Lord“?

For me, it has been, since it’s first utterance on screens across the globe, the quote above. It really hit me right in my feels, and evoked a very powerful emotional response in me. I know everyone has their own interpretations of, well, anything and everything really. Even reality. So just because I’m about to go on a long diatribe about mine, it doesn’t mean your interpretation is any more wrong or right than my own.

That segment of dialogue inspired me in a point in my life that was still… dark. It was looking up. I’d gotten a job that year that I loved dearly. I made friends in college, I was doing well in school. But emotionally I was a train wreck. Problems at home caused me to become very withdrawn from my family and I spent more and more time losing myself in my fantasy worlds – be it through writing or artwork, movies and video games. But, as was always the case – Doctor Who was the thing that started to get through to me. At the time, I saw it as “It’s okay to be scared out of your mind. No one knows what the future holds, and even if you were staring it down it could always change tomorrow. Nothing is set in stone. You can let yourself go crazy worrying about it, be inspired to change it, or keep running away in fear of it.” And at the time I was so sure that is what it meant. It gave me hope and reassurance in a really crazy time in my life.

Years later, as I’m periodically putting the series on for background noise as I clean, write, knit, cook, ecetera, I hear it and feel… something else entirely. Now I read those words and I am reminded of all the wonder of childhood. The wild imaginations and dreams and hopes and… and then… the drudgery of life and growing up. And losing that sense of childish wonder we come into the world with. Eight years old is around the time kids in school start getting reigned in. And over the following decade of their lives the creativity, the wonder, the imagination, the excitement is stripped away in order to “make them productive members of society”. To “prepare them for the real world”. No, it doesn’t make them productive. It doesn’t prepare them for the real world. It makes people apathetic. It makes them ignorant of their own potentials. Keeps them from aspiring to be more, to be better people, or to better the world around them. It makes them accept the mediocre and makes them wholly reliant on others to tell them what to think and how to feel. It teaches them that individuality is inherently wrong and that in order to succeed they must conform 100% to someone else’s ideals and morality rather than their own. It creates drones who’s sole purpose is to do as they are told, when they are told, how they are told, and that it is pointless to ever want to work towards something more, especially for the self. And many who manage to get through it all, and manage to build themselves up, twist the system to their own benefit, and shape others to their own brand of ideals and morality. It does not matter if you are left or right. Liberal or conservative. Blue. Red. Hell purple with pink polka dots and from Pluto. The fight to get to the top of the food chain twists us all in some way, and rather than seek out the better and the new for others as well, we turn it back to that which created and shaped us, feeding it to others. Stripping THEM of their uniqueness and shaping them to meet OUR standard. And so the cycle continues.

I could go further into a long political diatribe at this point, but I’ll save that for another time. Besides, I’m pretty sure ALL OF US are tired of EVERYTHING being made into a political statement at this point…

We NEED creative people. We NEED imagination. Creativity and imagination lead to hoped and dreams, which drive people to be inspired. I know it’s old hat at this point to use the “I bet everyone thought the first person to build a fire was crazy” example but let’s just imagine a world where say… toilet paper was never invented. It’s a pretty gross world and I’d bet you wouldn’t want to eat anything someone hands you, or, well anything that anyone else has even touched… guess it was a really great thing someone was inspired to take some paper and wipe their behind after going to the loo, isn’t it? Otherwise we might still be using hands, or worse – corn cobs (which apparently was a thing in rural America according to my maternal grandmother… so… that’s a thing that people actually used to do).

There’s more to it for me, but it’s getting rather late as I write this and I need to get some rest as I’m meant to be getting up at 6:30AM (it’s currently 12:30AM as I write this bit here) so I’ll save that for a part 2 or something.

But the point of this post is… we won’t be able to break the chains that restrain us, that strip us of our hopes and dreams, that hold us back from our creative natures and inspire us to do more, to be more – we won’t be able to end the cycle until we stop trying to force our ideologies on the next generation. Stop insisting that every weird, odd little quirk needs to be stopped and corrected. Stop forcing our own ideals and standards on them. Give them some structure, yes. Teach them fundamentals like right and wrong, manners, how to share and be kind to others, definitely. But also we must encourage them to learn. To explore. Imagine. Play. Build. Draw. Sing. Dance. Read. The more we feed their creativity, the more we feed their imaginations, the more they will dream. The more they will hope. The more they will be inspired to do great and wondrous things. We used to be like them – collectively as a human race we’ve done so many great things. Some of us looked at the moon and wondered “what’s it like up there?” And others stood there and looked out further still and wondered “what’s out there?” – Without the dreamers, we’ve seen a generation where the space program has been stripped to it’s bare minimum. Where people obsess over what some reality show bimbo said about some other reality show bimbo’s husband. We’ve seen an entire generation of young people enter the “real world” with nearly all of their wonder and drive stripped from them at an early age, to “prepare them” for the big bad “real world”… and I hate to say it but all that preparation has failed, leaving an entire generation where going five minutes without checking Twitter can lead to severe panic attacks or worse – destruction of property and assault.

So please, PLEASE we as just people need to change this. My generation is pretty much a lost cause if today’s social climate is anything to go by. But the next one, and the one after that? They are all waiting to be tempered. Do we continue to strip them of everything that can help bring change for themselves and for their peers? Or will we instead inspire them to do better, to be better than we ever could be?

Okay, now I’m done for tonight. Nearly half an hour after my last time stamp (it’s now 12:56AM).

Things to do (outside of yelling at people online)

Of late I’ve been doing as some other friends have been doing and just avoiding social media. I’ve been on Facebook long enough to communicate with a family friend who wanted to buy a hat from me. And a few others who FB is the only way I have to talk to them. Other than that, I’ve no use for it at the moment. Not until the crazy dies down at least. Same with Tumblr. There is so much more that can be done, and things in life that need tending to in the here and now rather than the hypothetical future. and with my health, I ain’t got time or energy to waste on drama.

So I’ve been spending this time watching some of my favorite Youtube channels (Comics Explained and Comicstorian mostly, with a bit of Thoughty2 mixed in) and knitting up hats to both donate for the holidays (there’s never enough children’s and baby stuff in charity drives locally) and to help build up stock for the craft fair next year.


Lots and LOTS of hats. All of them are toddler/infant hats because that’s the only sized loom I have. Though I plan to save up some money to stock up on an adult sized loom, and some ribbon yarn and cotton to start making some Tarot/Oracle card bags as well.

win_20161117_18_29_29_proI’ve also made a scarf on the knitting loom that I have. It made it first as a flat panel, but it came out far more wide than I had expected, so I folded it in half, sewed up the side turned it inside out and added tassels. I gave it to my husband since the weather’s turning nippy and he doesn’t do well in the cold these days.

For the hats (and the one scarf) that I make, I use scraps left over from my mom’s projects. In this way there is very little waste and it helps make room in her supply for new colors and types of yarn. If the scraps left over after my hats are long enough, I tuck them aside in a baggie for use in other art projects or for more tassels later on.win_20161114_21_41_39_pro

So far in the time I have not been wasting on social media, I have made 9 or so hats and the scarf (which took me 2 days overall, but cutting out time doing other things a grand total of 5 hours or so). And when I finish writing this post, I’ll be loading up a DVD and knitting up one more hat before bed.

When plans fall through, sometimes the Universe throws you a bone.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been looking forward to it for most of the year because this year I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. There’s also other projects I’ve been trying to find the time to work on, such as my Tarot reading business. It is October, after all. One of the busiest months of the year for intuitive readers, mediums and the like.

Amidst all of this there is, of course, my health issues, my daily household duties, my weekly errands and chores, and my special needs toddler. In every marriage and every parenthood, compromises and sacrifices must be made. Because my husband is also special needs (though higher-functioning so it’s a little easier to handle) he has to have specific routines. And part of his coping skills and support is working with his hands. It is very theraputic and helps him with his anxiety, his autistic meltdowns, and assorted other issues he has. If he did not have his hobby of costume and replica building, he would have a very hard time managing his condition, and I would have a hard time managing him when necessary.

Our son is also special needs, much like his father/my husband. He hasn’t been “officially” tested yet because we’ve been having trouble finding someone or somewhere that will test for autism under the age of 3. (We’ve now found somewhere in Atlanta, and are currently waiting for a call back from the referrall. In the meantime, we’re getting started on the paperwork for special needs preschool for next year.) This means that one of us has to put our personal interests and pursuits on hold until our son is older and is spending a little time in school each day.

By default, I am always the one who has to put things on hold and put things aside. Usually, I don’t mind because I understand that without my husband’s hobby that helps keep him grounded and has so much benefit for his mood swings, his anxiety, etc – my personal stuff isn’t used as a coping skill or management technique. It’s purely personal interest or curiosity. But sometimes it really does irk me. Especially when nights like tonight, the only time I get to myself to even write a blog post is in the wee hours of the morning, leaving me to get only a few hours of sleep at a time each day. Or, I sleep and never get anything of my own personal projects and stuff done.

However, all of this is due to change. See, once again I’d decided to push all my stuff aside, especially because my son’s been having a really rough time lately (and we’re still fighting him on the Potty Training issue) so I’m having to be more hands on and I’m having to put more of my time and energy into toddler wrangling than I normally do. This, of course, puts extra strain on my back and my knees because he’s a really big boy, and sometimes when he has one of his meltdowns (not a normal 2 year old tantrum, but a full blown autistic meltdown) I have to hold him to keep him from accidentally hurting himself. He’s the sort that he likes to throw himself around, throw things, etc. Once he managed to push me away and threw himself on his bed. Missed the pillow with his head and hit the rail. So, for safety’s sake, I have to hold him when he has one of these episodes. But, with my back the way it is… it takes one hell of a toll on me physically. Thankfully he’s not had any of his more severe meltdowns recently, but you never know when or how or if it’ll happen. So, I can’t let myself get too distracted.

I’d told my husband the other night that once again, I’ll put off my projects until November 2017. His response was that he felt like an asshole, but I told him I know how important his things are, and it’s easier for me to push my stuff aside.

That was, I believe, Saturday night? Anyway, on Friday my mom had an interview at work for another position in the house she works at. She got it, of course, but was told that it would be months at the earliest before she would be moved to the shift that she wants (second shift – 3pm to 11pm), but in the meantime she would be needed on first shift (7pm to 3pm) and would remain on 3rd shift (11pm to 7am) until a new hire for 3rd shift could be hired and trained to take her place.

Well, Monday my mom got a phone call. Starting October 17th, she is officially on second shift. What does this mean for me?

Well, it means that I don’t have to completely shove aside the things i want to do and the projects and interests I want to pursue. See, one of the major problems in my household was that my mom worked graveyard shifts, and slept all day. This meant that I could not do my youtube stuff when she was sleeping. They only room in my house I could do anything requiring video or noise is my livingroom… which is right outside my mother’s room. I also could not do things on the nights she was off because she would feel obligated to stay in her room while I was filming (though I’ve told her time and again she can pass through the back of the shot, it doesn’t matter to me or anyone else.) So the only time I could do anything requiring noise and a camera or filming of any sort would be after 11PM on nights when she worked. But, being so late in the day/night, by then I didn’t have the energy to do much more than play a round of solitaire on my laptop and pass out cold.

Now, when she’s at work during daylight hours, at reasonable times no less, I can set up in the livingroom for 1-2 hours a day and while my husband is having lunch or cuddle/bonding time with our son, I can be working on my projects undisturbed.

So, now I’ll be able to work on my novel for NaNoWriMo this year. Work on my business. Work on my personal projects. My blog. Pretty much anything I want that I’ve been putting off all this time.This in turn will help me with my stress and anxiety and assorted personal issues, will make me more relaxed so that i can turn around and not want to bite people’s heads off because I’ve been dealing with too much all day or week long with no break even to take a pee, which will help take some of the barbs out of my attitude, which will make me more pleasant for my husband to be around, which will help him relax and put him at ease knowing I’m not constantly pissed off and stressed, which will help our marriage overcome some hurdles we’ve been facing, which will help us be stronger and better able to raise our son in a stable home, and help us focus on his special needs.

All because my mom finally got a shift change at work – which allows me to have some peace and quiet at the other end of the house for a little bit each day.

It’s amazing how so many things can be set right by one little unexpected and seemingly insignificant change.

“I hope senpai will notice me!” or: Stop trying to get my attention.

Lately in my social media excursions, forum conversations, and general Tumblring, I’ve noticed more than I usually do this constant need for attention from people. Some of it was a person clamoring for my attention (which actually got me a few more youtube views. I really should do a new video soon) and some of it was watching others clamor for another person’s attention.

I hope senpai will notice me is a meme, but basically it’s thrown around these days in it’s original meme context, but also in a derogatory way to simply say “you’re just doing it for attention”.

On social media, but mostly Tumblr, this has never been more true. As of late, I’ve witnessed quite a scene unfold in one of the smaller Tumblr communities. I will not bore you with the details of the community, but suffice to say it is a reactionary movement. It sprung up as a sort of opposition to the extremism found in modern social justice movements.

In this particular community, someone was singled out and mocked. During this week or so, people came to the person’s defense, and they too were mocked. Some learned how stupid and childish they had been, and realized the reactionary movement they had been drawn into actually does more harm than good, and they decided to leave the movement and be better people. These people found that removing themselves from the constant fighting over trivial bullshit (such as arguments about sexless, genderless, raceless shapeshifting space rocks as well as magical ponies) and just enjoying their time online by looking at things they actually enjoy and like, they were far less stressed, and overall happier people.

Well, some of the people who left this “movement” were rather popular bloggers on Tumblr. They were always the ones who were tag-teamed in to take over when a person could not continue an argument (usually because the person involved had no idea what they were even talking about to begin with). But now that they had removed themselves from the “discourse”, others began vying for the top of the billing to replace them. One person in particular went above and beyond, going into people’s inboxes and sending anonymous hate to start up trouble, while another person went around tagging a user who was already dealing with a horrible situation – just to stir up trouble and look like a “good guy”. All so they could get the attention of ONE person. Mind you, the ONE person who’s attention they were trying to get is a 23 year old adult who spends the better part of his day arguing with teenagers about My Little Pony and Steven Universe, and not just on Tumblr either. And the 2 who went around trying to cause trouble in order to look like the “good guy”, are 18 and 19 respectively. All adults. Who choose to spend their free time fighting over cartoons and issues they know little to nothing about and who berate and punish those who either don’t agree, or who are in the community but express a differing opinion – no matter how slight a difference it is.

In the course of trying to get this person’s attention, these 2 individuals in particular directly caused the doxxing of one girl who otherwise would have been left alone had she not been tagged into an argument, and the other dragging everyone under the bus with her because no one was going to take her seriously because she is a well known drama queen and hypocrite. Drawing out what would have lasted maybe a week into now I believe week 3 of drama and discourse.

But this kind of behavior is not limited to the social media blogging site Tumblr. And not just to people and situations that are observed from the outside. Last week on Facebook, an individual I crossed keyboards with last March, tried once again to catch my attention. Mentioning me and my videos directly in her nonsensical rant about how the pagan community is secretly being taken over and, if I believe I’ve read the context of the word salad correctly, there is already a Ministry of Magic that is taking people to Azkaban? Honestly, it was very hard to read her Facebook post. But this wasn’t the first attempt to get my attention. It was maybe the third? I know of one other at least, that a friend told me about. Some sort of picture proving she and another individual were, in fact, 2 different people. (This stems from the situation in March when not only myself, but MANY OTHERS, noticed that she and this other individual were NEVER around at the same time, and had the exact same reactions to every single thing. Same typos, same everything. So people began to suspect that the 2 people were really 1 person pretending to be 2. We now know, long after the picture was first posted.)


Screen capture thanks to a friend in the event that the comment is ever deleted.

Regardless, against my better judgement, I did respond this time to the attempt to grab my attention. I was polite and civil. I thanked them for the publicity of my videos, I pointed out how i had done my best to avoid them, their friends, and anything they were directly associated with. I even went so far as to wish them, their friends, and their endeavors luck in the future. I mean, I’ll post a screen capture of my response here as well. I honestly do wish them the best, but also wish to be kept out of the drama that follows them around like a plague. I also have held true to my word that I have not been back to the woman’s Facebook page ever since. (Though that has not stopped anyone else from driving by to throw popcorn and watch the drama unfold.)

But this brings me to wonder, why do people crave attention from strangers so badly? What is it about anonymous praise that drives an individual to extreme lengths just to get one specific person’s attention? Once a person has proven themselves, why turn around and continue to prove yourself when there is nothing left that is needed to be proven? These people do these things almost like it is an addiction. When they go unnoticed, their behaviors get more and more bold, more and more extreme. With little regard to themselves or others that get caught in the middle along the way.

To give them this attention will only reinforce the behavior, but to not give them the attention will only push them to more dangerous extremes. And this isn’t even for important issues, or trying to draw attention to overlooked and under-reported causes. No, these kinds of people thrive off attention, even negative, and will argue about children’s cartoons or conflate legitimate spiritual beliefs with works of fiction – just to get a specific individual’s attention.

Yes, Witches Hex. – A Ramble.

Firstly, here’s a link from a friend’s blog, where she’s pretty much summed up that yes, Witches can and often do hex.

Moving on, here’s some of my own thoughts on the subject.

Recently there’s been all this hooplah big enough to make it on media sites and news outside the pagan community about a mass hexing of the Stamford Rapist. Within the pagan community however, a BNP (Big Name Pagan) voiced his opinion that you can’t call yourself a witch if you hex. And that he and the other trail blazers in America had been working decades to remove the stigma that we’re all gonna hex people. He went on to say in subsequent rants that his books were not books of witchcraft but books of magick and spells.

…..So, if magick and spells are not witchcraft, are they special attacks and action options in tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons&Dragons?

The fact of the matter is, yes he and others in the earl and mid 20th century pushed hard for the sanitation of witchcraft in order to make it more palatable for the bigger religions to swallow. They intentionally tried to declaw the cat so to speak. But the thing is, they weren’t pushing for witchcraft – they were pushing for a religion called Wicca.

In today’s world, many see the terms Wicca and Witchcraft as interchangeable, along with Wiccan and Witch. When I tell people that I’m a Witch, they immediately jump to things about The Rule of Three and the Wiccan Rede (which is a LOT longer than 8 words, but most Wiccans don’t bother to learn that). Usually at that point I have to stop them and explain that no, I am not Wiccan. And then we get into an argument over semantics and I have to go into lengthy explanation that a Witch is someone who practices Witchcraft and can be anyone from a Voudoun to a Wiccan to even some Christians. Whereas Wicca is a religion, and all Wiccans follow it, and not all Wiccans are witches. Usually at that point in the discussion, one or both of us gets annoyed and flounces off in frustration. (A better explanation of this might live on for another more in depth post.)

Anyway, part of this idea that they are interchangeable was due to the fact that in the early 20th century, Wicca was just getting started. Just planting its roots – and its creators had a heavy background in Witchcraft. So much of the practice of witchcraft made it into this new religion. In the mid 20th century is when distinctions began to be made between Wicca and Witchcraft, but much of it was still interchangeable due to the fact that Wicca employed much of the practice within it. It wasn’t until the late 20th century when the general practitioners of both began to realize that they are not one in the same. One merely employs the many of the practices of the other to some extent – limited mostly to basic and fundamental information, and by the time of the late 20th century was pretty much exclusively the “positive” types and tropes of Witchcraft. The occasional hex here and there was re-labeled a “curse” but the idea of “cursing” someone was simply too terrible an idea so the concept of “Karma” was inserted instead. Thus the Wiccan Witch keeps his or her hands clean of sin and the person gets their just desserts. Hence the “Rule of 3” and “The Wiccan Rede”. The RO3 states, in it’s simplest form, whatever you send out will return to you threefold. So under this idea, when “Karma” kicks in it’ll be 3 times worse for the perpetrator. And the Rede, in the most common form states: Do what you will, but harm none. So by letting “Karma” take the wheel, the Wiccan Witch’s conscience is clear because it was out of their hands, and they did not bring harm themselves.


This, in essence, is a load of bullshit. Because that isn’t how Karma works. Allow me to introduce to you the concept of Kalifornia Karma. You know it, I know it, everyone who ever cites Karma as being the reason for something knows it. Kalifornia Karma is named so because it began among the New-Age movement out west, and at the time the fad was most prevalent in, you guessed it! California! (The C is replaced with a K because it looks nice with the K from Karma.) So what is Kalifornia Karma? Well, imagine driving down the highway and someone cuts you off. Then they cut off someone else. And speeds away. Later down the road you see they’ve been pulled over.”Well, that’s what you get for cutting me off.” – Kalifornia Karma is the same as Instant Karma. Cause and effect. Immediate reaction.

The true concept of Karma, however, has nothing to do with that. Imagine that same driver again, and again they cut you off on the highway. Then someone else. They speed off, like before. But this time when you see them again, they have not been pulled over. They have crashed. Assuming the person who died in this imaginary crash was a general asshole, according to the laws of Karma they would be reborn in the next life to make amends for their assholery, or at a lower station of being as punishment for their assholery. Karma is not instant. Karma accrues over a period of a lifetime. It is the sum total of good and bad deeds a soul does. The simplest way to remember this is in the common phrase “What, did I kill a Pope in a past life?” in relation to bad things happening to you. This takes the concept, in it’s simplest form, and essentially states “I am having a lot of bad things happen to me now as punishment for something I did in a past life.”

Now then. Why do I go so deep into Karma and tangent away from the actual topic here? Well, it’s actually completely on topic. See, most those who spoke out against a mass hexing by witches of the Stamford Rapist subscribe to the ideology of Wicca whether they call themselves Wiccans or not.The call for “Let Karma get him!” and “Send love and light to the victims instead!” followed quickly by “Oh be careful! Rule of 3!” and “You’re not a real Witch because you don’t follow the Rede!” all stem from this simplistic view that all witches follow a homogenized standard of rules and policies made up by people who borrowed from older traditions and practices to create their own religion. This is not unheard of as Christianity itself set precedent when it broke away from Judaism. While the main focus of Christianity is indeed Jesus and the New Testament, the Christian Bible and many a sermon and Sunday School lesson includes books and works from the Old Testament. Christianity’s earliest beginnings were as a messianic cult that believed the prophesied messiah had come and it was Jesus of Nazareth. (Yes, I know, overly simplistic. But if I didn’t go simplistic we’d be here forever arguing over semantics. Lets move on, shall we?)

Now then, all of this, just to get down to brass tacks. The terms Witch and Witchcraft were, essentially, co-opted by the religion of Wicca, to the point that the general populace legitimately believes they are one and the same. And wherein the Wiccan practitioners, and indeed some of the BNP trail blazers legitimately believe that you MUST follow the Wiccan faith to be a Witch, but you DO NOT practice the Witchcraft that preceded it.


And yet, even historical evidence points to the fact that witches have been around in some form since the dawn of human belief and spiritual practice. And for all that time, they have been both hexing and blessing. Sometimes in the same breath.

So where do I stand on the mass hexing of the Stamford Rapist? If I had the time and space to set up an altar, I’d do it my damn self. For many of the reasons stated in my friend Boudica’s article I linked above.

In closing – in claiming that true witches do not hex, one is denying our history as witches. They are rewriting what we are, who we are, to fit their sanitized and sterilized view and to fit into a perfectly and neat and “safe” category for the benefit of others outside of our religions and practices. It is, in and of itself, erasure of those who hold to the age old tradition of Witchcraft.