Sunday, February 24, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up 24 February 2019

Hello, Crazy Creatives, Delivered Ones, and Horror Harridans! It's been a mad week. I posted at the end of January about a minor accident that I was involved in when the roads were icy, and a young lady stopped behind me, but her car didn't. It was a very minor accident with no injuries.
The repairs on my vehicle were just completed. The young lady's insurance took care of everything. To recap an important point from the initial post about this incident, when I spoke to the insurance agent, I was told that the girl's family wanted to pay me out of pocket for the estimated damages, an offer which I declined. I'd had past experiences with vehicle repairs, and there is often underlying damage that can't be seen at first glance.
The initial estimate was for around $400 for chipped paint.
The actual repair cost was close to $1900.
If I had taken the $400 from the family, I would have been screwed.
Always go through the insurance company in situations like this.
Earlier this month, I joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club. Our current book is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The big Discussion Fun Day is March 20th. The book club virtually meets on Goodreads. You can find me on Goodreads as well.
To be honest, I never would have known what a wonderful writer Daphne du Maurier was if I hadn't gotten a copy of Rebecca on Audible. Other than book reviews, I don't do much reading these days. I'd had an Audible membership for a couple of years but really hadn't used it much since I stopped working as a home care nurse. I decided to dust it off so I could participate in the book club, and I'm so happy that I did! Rebecca is one of the most engaging stories that I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
I'm in the car a lot, so audiobooks are real salvation. You can listen during your commute to and from work on a device such as your smartphone or tablet. If you use public transit for your commute, you'll want a good pair of headphones. Be sure to check device compatibility before purchasing.
That's it for this wrap-up. I hope I have imparted some useful information, and maybe I'll see you around the IWSG book club!


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up 17 February 2019

This week did not start out well, People. My stupid freezer, which is only about 5 years old, died on me, and I've been removing the smelly, rotting food from it. I'm considering cleaning it out and using it as storage space while my son and I continue to go through our items and figure out what we want to keep and what can really be gotten rid of or repurposed.
This tale of tragedy and triumph will continue on my Inspire Me Monday post. In the meantime, let me share what I did once I managed to get back into the swing of things.
I learned that there's a lot more to Swagbucks than just the main website. You get two SB for every grocery receipt you upload to Swagbucks. You can get up to 50 SB per day for printing grocery coupons. I need to remember to do this next time I go shopping. 
Do searches with Swagbucks. Check Swagbucks for deals before you shop online. Scroll down the main page and click on the "mobile" link. You'll find even more ways to earn and save with Swagbucks.
I also got back in the swing of things with Paid Viewpoint and Point Club
I took some quick and easy location surveys with Panel App. Remember, save your Panel App points for the guaranteed prizes! They always have a monthly giveaway which you can enter for free as well.
I cheered myself up by listening to the mythology channel on Podcoin. Podcoin is a mobile app which you can find in the Apple App and Google Play stores. You earn 1 PC for every 10 minutes you listen and can trade your coins for gift cards. Enter code Caraur1w when you sign up, and you will get 150 PC to start.
So, things did get better in spite of the dead freezer which I am in the process of emptying. Maybe one day I will have a new freezer. For now, I need to get new glasses. I remember the days of old when I didn't have to wear glasses. Then I turned 40 and became farsighted and my vision has not improved with age.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

No Great Loss

So I went to the ob/gyn today and discovered that my endometrium has become thick again. The doctor told me that she had removed 2 cm of the endometrium when she did the biopsy last year which has now grown back. She says the reason it is growing back is that it's being stimulated by the fibroids, and this is the reason I had such heavy periods back when I still got periods. 
My periods were so heavy that I didn't bleed, I hemorrhaged. I easily went through a heavy pad every two hours if not sooner.
I honestly don't care if anyone is a squeamish little lily-livered crybaby about periods. Suck it up, Buttercup. Periods are a thing. They aren't going to disappear just because you think they're icky-poo. 
The doctor really wants me to get my uterus removed because although the cells are currently normal, she thinks that the constant stimulation may push them into becoming cancerous. I thought about it, and I say "fuck it." It isn't as if it would be any great loss if I were to get cancer. It would just mean that I'd die of cancer rather than something else. So what?
Everything dies. Some things make positive contributions. Those things are worth saving. I contribute nothing worthwhile, and there's no chance that I ever will. My death would be pretty much wart removal as far as society is concerned. Best lose the dead weight.
Perhaps that is what should be put on my tombstone, although it is unlikely that I will have one.
No great loss.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Crappy Fucking Birthday to Me

You know what I don't get?
Shaming people because they don't care for a particular season.
Now, I'd have plenty of company if I did things like normal people and got depressed in the winter but loved the spring. 
Newp. Like always, I'm ass-backwards.
 I'm fine in the winter. My most severe depression hits at the beginning of spring. It probably doesn't help that my birthday is here and I have one more year of being a crappy, unaccomplished, broke-ass loser under my belt. Another year to suck at everything is ahead of me. 
But I am supposed to pull sunshine out of my ass and fucking love the god damn springtime regardless of how I actually feel, or I am a BAD PERSON on top of being screwy as all fuck.
I can remember the first year that the spring depression hit like a ton of bricks and I started really hating who I was. I was ten years old. I had hit puberty a year before, and that is what triggered the onset of my bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The OCD was already firmly in place, but I didn't know it at the time, of course. 
I didn't want puberty. I was well aware of how women were looked at, and I didn't want to be looked at that way. I became a feminist when I was 8 years old because it made me angry that women were seen as lesser and not allowed to do the "cool" jobs like astronaut or pilot. When I was 10, I knew how I would be looked at the rest of my life, and I tried to hide the body I didn't want.
Like a prophecy of what the rest of my stupid life was going to be like, my stupid birthday cake fell apart. I pretended I didn't care. I laughed. I spent the rest of the school year pretending I was fine when I wasn't at all. There was something screaming inside me. Something was wrong. I was wrong, and I needed to hide it so I wouldn't be "put away" somewhere.
I'd like it if no other kid ever had to feel the way  I did. Pretending  I was okay when I wasn't and believing that I was bad and wrong and broken. Well, I am broken. Bad or wrong, maybe not so much, but I've always felt like I was.
So, no, I am not "evil" or "bad" or just a big meanie mean because I dislike seeing spring come on. Spring tends to mean several months of wanting to crawl into a fucking mausoleum and sleep forever. If I'm lucky, April will be rainy and I can get back to being a salty asshole who gives no fucks sooner. 
I hate summer because of the heat, but I don't tend to be depressed to the point of having no fight left in me at all.
I'd love to like spring with all the pretty plants. But spring made it clear to me long ago that this is an unrequited affair, so spring can go fuck itself.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Fuck Valentine's Day

To be perfectly honest, I don't give a rip about Valentine's day. I call it chocolate candy day. Then again, every day is chocolate candy day. I don't need a special holiday for it. 
I've been having a bad time emotionally, but I don't need cheering up or anything. I just felt like expressing my grouchy thoughts regarding this silly holiday. 
It's the day before my birthday. Screw my birthday. I wish I wasn't having another one if I'm to be honest. 
No, I don't need to go to the emergency room. If I did that every time I had a suicidal thought, I'd have to live there. 
I'm not going to do anything about it. I'll hang around and be miserable for a while longer. It isn't as if I have the money to do anything better.

Fuck everything.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Skyrim - Music & Ambience - Rainy Taverns [10 Hours]

I call these The Write Tunes because I listen to them while writing.
I know nobody cares what the hell I listen to while I write.
I know nobody cares what the hell I write. 
I don't know why I post shit, share shit, or write shit. I suck at everything I do.
I wish I would finally just get around to doing what I've been thinking about doing for all these years. Nobody would miss me.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Inspire Me Monday #214: Get Angry

Can I inspire you to be angry today?
It's hard for me to type a post about anger without using salty language, but I'm going to keep it clean.
Can I inspire you to open your eyes and see that things just aren't right?
Can I inspire you to see that it isn't right that people should be forced to sleep on the street?
Can I inspire you to face the fact that those people don't "deserve" this?
Can I inspire you to understand that it isn't right for people in the lower classes to be unable to afford decent housing?
Can I inspire you to see that it's wrong for people with disabilities to have to choose between eating and having medical care and being able to earn a living wage?
Can I inspire you to see that it's madness for people to have to be in debt for years for trying to better themselves by getting a higher education?
That it's madness that most higher-paying jobs require higher education but that education is out of reach for the poor?
Can I inspire you to realize that a society of haves and have-nots benefits no-one but those in the highest positions?
Can I inspire you to realize that the only thing "trickling down" is a word that I can't use in a "family friendly" post?
Can I inspire you to understand that the homeless are not "just lazy," that the poor are not "just stupid," that the "welfare queen" is a myth, that only a very small percentage of people attempt to defraud the welfare system?
Can I inspire you to see that very vulnerable people are falling into the cracks and have nowhere to turn for help?
Do you know that many elderly people live in poverty?
Do you know that many single parents live in poverty?
Can you see that there are a lot of people who used to work a "good job" but now need assistance, that the help is not there, that they didn't suddenly become "lazy" and "shiftless?"
Can I inspire you to realize that people with substance addiction issues deserve help, not jail?
Can I inspire you to understand that mental illness is not "laziness"?
Can I inspire you to understand that everyone deserves adequate food, shelter, medical care, and education?
Can I inspire you to understand that service workers are not "lesser" and do not deserve to be stuck working multiple jobs to make less than a living wage?
Can I inspire you to be angry today?
Because until we all get angry enough, nothing is ever going to change.
If nothing changes, things are only going to get worse for all but the wealthiest one percent.
I hope that I can inspire you today.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up 10 February 2019

Copyright Public domain Pictures

Moving my files from Google Drive to my external hard drive like...

No, I'm not doing anything illegal. However, I have decided to keep the number of files that I store on my Google Drive to a minimum. Google is restructuring things, and at this point, I'm not sure I want to pay a monthly fee to store my files with them. A larger amount of available storage on Google Drive was necessary in the past when I was working night shifts as a homecare nurse. Now that I do 99 percent of my blogging and writing activities from home, storing the files I may need on Google Drive is not as much of a necessity.
I have used iDrive since 2015. After a couple of disastrous data losses due to hard drives (one internal, one external, different computers) going belly up, I decided that some sort of cloud protection was necessary. Click the link to try iDrive. Personal accounts get a generous 2TB of storage for just $52.50 for the first year and $69.50 thereafter.
I ended up having some setbacks this week. My freezer no longer seems to be working correctly, and I'm not sure that I want to spend my birthday money on a new freezer. I'll probably need it to pay for new glasses anyway. I became depressed and ended up spending last night watching biopics on Netflix. 
I whipped myself back into some semblance of productivity today, doing laundry and trying to figure out which clothes I should keep and which I should get rid of. It becomes a bit difficult when it's something given to me by my mother, which I never really used in the first place but she would be hurt if she knew I'd given it away. Hopefully, I am on the road back to what passes for normal in my strikingly abnormal existence.


Friday, February 8, 2019

Back to School

Image copyright Pexels

I've taken the first step towards finishing my degree in English writing. It's something I promised my father I'd do the day we said goodbye to him for the last time in this world. He was gone from his body then, but he was there in spirit.
I'm not going to try and rush through it. It will take me a while as I'm only taking one class at a time online, but then I will be able to give my full attention to each class rather than having to divide my attention between multiple classes plus everything else I'm already doing. 
Having the degree will allow me to take work doing jobs such as grading papers and will lend credence to my proofreading and editing skills.
My physical issues will not improve with age, and there may come a time when I can no longer drive more than short distances, or at all. I am hoping that strengthening my academic skills will allow me to continue to be productive when that time comes.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Living Disabled in the Reactionary Empire

The following text is a reaction to this post. The response comes from The Real Cie's politically-minded alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

Truth be told, the writing part of my life is okay. I'm a fairly prolific writer. I don't promise that it's all (or even that any of it is) bestseller material but I do a lot of it!
The rest of my life is kind of a steaming pile of suck. Being disabled in the United States is not fun at all. I'm not going to hit my political soapbox too hard, but I made less than ten thousand dollars last year, and while I do have Medicaid (and I live in fear that the critters in power will take that away) I do not get SNAP, which I absolutely need. Being food insecure is far from fun.
I would love to force the critters in power to have to live on $1100 a month (or less, if I have a bad month) for a year, no bailouts, no help from family or friends. Just that amount. Have fun with that, boys and girls!
I write about my thoughts on sociopolitical issues a lot more often than I'd like to. I  prefer writing fiction, but the truth is scarier!

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze

Writing Uncomfortable Subjects

Some thoughts on this post
“you’re not entitled to a constant stream of uninspired feel-good pap. not in your music, not in your television, and certainly not in your books. “
A constant stream of feel-good pap is the very petri dish in which odious thought processes are allowed to grow unchecked. This feel-good pap is the Soma of Brave New World. Give the Proletariat their happy drugs, in this case, meaningless media rife with pretty people with petty problems and impeccably whitened teeth, and they won’t question the rising shit-storm of discontent, maltreatment of the lower classes, or other unpleasant subjects like sexism, racism, and homophobia.
Interestingly enough, despite the extreme right-wing assertion (kowtowed to by Bumblr) that erotica is a terrible, no good, awful, and very bad thing, the place where I curtail certain uncomfortable subjects the most stringently is in erotic writing. In spite of the fact that characters in the Naughty Netherworld universe are always banging, group sex is far more common than one-on-one couplings, and much of the action takes place in an arena where wild BDSM play is acted out for an audience, there are a few things that will never be described explicitly in these otherwise uninhibited tales.
These things are:
Any kind of non-consensual sex
Any kind of dub-con encounters. Even though there is no shortage of bondage, the characters are one hundred percent on board, and it’s obvious.
Sex with minors. 
These stories are very inclusive. I hate labeling them as “interracial,” which is a keyword that I do use when publishing on Kindle. I also hate feeling that I need to include a label such as “BBW.” People of all races are just people, and large women are just people. Unfortunately, we don’t yet live in a world that is quite so inclusive, and so I do feel the need to use what I deem fetishizing keywords to promote the Naughty Netherworld brand.
One of my main reasons for using such keywords is to let people know that these stories are for them. I would not be the first person to be sick and tired of trying to find a good romantic or spicy erotic read, only to discover that it’s rife with Barbie and Ken lookalikes with a few department store manikins thrown in as supporting characters. I want a realistic selection of people, even if some of those people happen to be shape-shifting alien sex fiends.
I want to read about the five-foot-tall, 100-pound elf prince falling in love with the six-foot-tall, 400-pound human pastry chef who has lost her belief in magic. (This is one of the few monogamous couplings in the Naughty Netherworld sagas.) 
I want to read about the geeky ginger film fan and the strong, sinewy Japanese vampire (both male) falling wildly in love and enjoying introducing newcomers to their extremely spicy world together. 
I want to read about the powerful, six-foot-tall, dark and intimidatingly beautiful mad scientist and sorceress redeeming herself to her tiny and deceptively strong, smart as a whip Asian wife. 
However, these characters weren’t out there. So Team Netherworld created them.
Do subjects such as racism, sexism, and homophobia make appearances in these stories?
Yes. In Carnal Invasion VI, Kali and Nyx recall their first meeting. Nyx, who is, in reality, one of the shape-shifting extraterrestrials, adopted the form of a badly burned “comfort girl” and she and her fellow extraterrestrials rescued the trafficked women and girls from the “comfort station”. In the same book, Kali recalls allowing herself to be taken prisoner in a death camp where she uses her powers to raise the dead and destroy the place. She suffers abuse at the hands of the guards. 
Due to the explicit erotica inherent to these stories, there were no exact descriptions of the abuse endured by Kali at the guards’ hands. Had this not been an explicitly erotic story, the offenses against Kali would likely have been described in greater detail. However, I wanted to be sure that no-one would be tempted to confuse sexualized abuse with erotic bondage and role-playing.
I like to think that the Naughty Netherworld stories are feel-good stories--very joyful, smutty stories for a mature audience. The characters in these stories are much more accepting of those who are not considered conventionally attractive than real people are. In spite of occasional heavy subject matter, the general spirit of these tales is a fun-filled sexy romp among dirty-minded friends.
However, there are those who would say such stories should not be allowed. Some would frame the work as being “sinful.” Some might postulate that homosexual activity is “unnatural.” Still others might be opposed to the “mixing of the races.” Some might be angered by the idea of women in positions of power. Some might proclaim that describing larger characters as sexy and desirable is “glorification of obesity” or some such rubbish. 
People of various sizes, shapes, nationalities, and races exist. Not everyone looks like a fashion doll or an impossibly thin, heavily Photoshopped model. In fact, the majority of people do not bear any resemblance to the glossy images we have been told we are supposed to resemble. Human sexuality has a spectrum. Not everyone is heterosexual, and being heterosexual is not morally superior to being homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. 
People are not perfectly unblemished. People can have scars, moles, crooked teeth, funny noses, wrinkles, structural anomalies, any number of so-called “imperfections.” Not all people are perfectly able-bodied. Some have lost limbs. Some have conditions which impair their mobility. Many deal with invisible impairments, including psychiatric conditions. A fair number of the characters in the Carnal Invasion series are working through PTSD due to past abuses.
The point being that feel-good stories are all fine and good, but stories are not there just to entertain, they are there to educate. If every story was completely sanitized of any uncomfortable topic, the literary world would be gutted. We would be left with nothing but a bunch of meaningless, watered-down twaddle.
Evil characters who do bad things SHOULD make you angry. They should make you think. 
A world where no-one thinks is a dangerous place indeed.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Diet Culture or Food Insecurity

Hey, Kids! Let's play a little game that I call "Diet Culture or Food Insecurity." Are you ready?
Around noon while injecting my long-acting insulin, I said to myself: "Self, I think it would be good to have some lunch." 
My Self replied: "Do we really need lunch, though? If we just have some nice iced black coffee with a bit of non-dairy creamer, that might stave off the hunger for a while. After all, we can't just go and eat whenever we like, now can we?"
So, is this something I said to myself because of food insecurity, or am I on a diet?
The answer has been both at different times in my life.
Today, it's because I'm food insecure. I ditched diet culture eight years ago. I can't say I've never looked back. I can't say that I never had nagging doubts that if I just tried to diet one more time this would be the time that would take and I would finally be thin and pretty and the Handsome Prince (TM) would ride in on his white horse and fall in love with me and I would live Happily Ever After (TM). 
Gee, that sounds like an abusive relationship or addiction, doesn't it? Abusive relationships and addiction aren't healthy. So, since diet culture puts people in the same mindset as addiction and abusive relationships, why are so-called medical professionals always touting it as "healthy?" Things that are genuinely good for you do not involve gaslighting yourself.
In the past, I placated myself using pretty much the same words I did today in the name of diet culture, although the words I used in the past were more abusive. It generally went a little bit something like this:
"Oh, you want to eat again, huh? Of course you want to eat again, you fat pig! You're always thinking of food! How do you think you're ever going to get a boyfriend if you're always stuffing your fat face? Do you really need lunch? How about doing what the models do and just having a cup of black coffee? You can put a little non-dairy creamer in it if you really must. Maybe that will stave off the hunger for a while."
Yeah--that sounds really healthy, doesn't it?"
Both food insecurity and dieting invoke a starvation response. This is why people who are dieting find themselves thinking about food all the time. A steady diet of nothing but protein shakes and expensive "meal replacement" bars and fucking boiled chicken with fucking steamed veggies and fucking rice for dinner will do that to you. 
Or maybe you could try the cabbage soup diet. Eat as much cabbage soup as you want, but be sure to strain the good bits out so all you have is a cup of fucking broth. This one might help you lose some water weight during the first two weeks, then it will stop working. Your chances of luring a Handsome Prince (TM) with the cabbage soup diet will be somewhat reduced because you'll be farting a lot. His hounds might think you smell interesting, though.
Perpetual dieting only benefits the multi-billion dollar diet industry.
It's time to stop the fucking madness.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Views From the Bald Patch: Measure wisely

Views From the Bald Patch: Measure wisely: When I posted about progress and motivation last week, a comment there reminded me of the darker side of targets and measurements.

This is a great post about goals and motivation and how going overboard with them can be detrimental. This was my reply to the post.

I am a horrible perfectionist when it comes to myself. If I am not constantly creating, revising, working, doing, I can become absolutely vicious with myself. My thyroid burnt itself out by the time I was 15, and I have problems with becoming fatigued very easily. I heard the word "lazy" so often when I was growing up that I tend to become angry with myself for resting at all. Combined with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I am constantly chasing myself around in circles, and I never measure up to my own standards.