Friday, September 19, 2014

Grading on the Nerd Curve

In the words of Miguel de Cervantes, "A closed mouth catches no flies."  That's why I'm opening mine big and wide - it's Fly on the Wall day!  Thirteen awesome bloggers and I are opening our mouths, minds, and homes to give you a peek into what goes on when we think no one is looking.  Fly on in and don't mind the mess - we live here!

At the end of this post, there will be links to the others featuring this challenge, so don't forget to stop by and have a listen.  You won't be disappointed!
B fell asleep in his fourth period Math (Honors) class. On the first day of school. And he thinks it's hilarious.
The other night I started having a panic attack as TBG and I were getting ready for bed. So I went back downstairs to pop in a stupid girly flick. In doing so, I turned on the light in the corner between our couches. Then I bent down to pick up my purse for my emergency med stash... and there was a huge spider hanging out right there. So I slowly backed up and called for TBG (several times, because the kids were asleep and I didn't want to scream and wake them – I'm nice like that); he came downstairs, while I shook and pointed, telling him he needed to kill something. I got the signature eye roll, but when he saw it, he said “Holy shit”. That's right, for once I wasn't exaggerating, ass.

TBG finally bought a new bed, which is awesome, of course. When it was being delivered, TBG decided “hey, we should keep our old box-springs to put our new ones on, so the mattress is farther from the floor”. I now have to take a flying leap to get into bed. #shortpeopleproblems

B comes home from school and tells us what he had for lunch that day – and the previous day. On the previous day (the first day of school) he had a bacon cheese burger. He starts by stating the bacon and cheese were good; the burger, however – and I quote - “tasted like somebody crapped on a cow...”. I didn't hear the rest; I was laughing too hard.

We were watching The Amazing Spiderman (great movie, BTW) and at the end, I asked TBG, since both the original trilogy and the new Spiderman(s) are set with Peter Parker at the same age, which one was more accurate. Now, we don't read the graphic novels, but apparently the new ones are supposed to be more accurate. Then I couldn't remember what the name of the chick was in the originals:
Me: What was her name?
TBG: Uhhh... I want to say Mary Jane, but...
Me: Mary Jane! Yes, that was it! I know why you couldn't remember – Mary Jane.
TBG laughs.
B: Who's Mary Jane? Who's Mary Jane?
Me: Uhhh... she goes by the name Mary Juana.
LMSP: Juana? What's Juana?
Me: She's Mexican.
What?? That wasn't racist.
LS: I'm thirsty.
Me: Drink some water.
LS: The water thing needs to be filled.
Me: Here. (hand him my water bottle)
LS starts chugging away.
Me: You know, there's a glass on the table, too...
LS: That's not mine.
Me: Well, that bottle's not either, but that didn't stop you.
TBG just laughs.
You ever hear a bunch of girls screaming and giggling in your house, only to realize that they actually boys? Yeah, me either...
I was looking up B's grades online and I noticed that he had a few “bad grades”. I put that in quotations because it IS only the third week of school. The teachers were kind enough to put the graded assignments online, so I was able to pinpoint the problem – missing work from 3 of his classes. Not even kidding: he was missing pieces of paper that needed my signature – and I had already signed one! WTF!?

There's a game called Diablo and it's been an online PC-only game forever. Not too long ago, they released a version on gaming consoles called Diablo III. It's a hack n slash medieval type game with different classes and you go on quests. It takes long hours to finish, especially if you're going for achievements or trophies. Just the way I like them - long and hard difficult.
With that being said, recently the game was released (again) with an expansion, called Reaper of Souls, which I now have. There was also a lot added to the original game – I wish I could explain, but it's not completely relevant, so I'll just get to it. One of the additions to the game is, when connected to other players (friends) online, if something kills them in their game, that something has the potential to show up randomly in your game.
I was playing the other night when a friend jumped on and started playing as well. I was just minding my own business, killing demons and stuff, when my controller started to vibrate (for those who don't know, it's called the rumble feature). I scanned for any enemies I had missed, couldn't see one, then it vibrated again. Sitting there, by myself, kids in bed, I frowned, eyes searching the room, and said – and I quote: “There's a disturbance in the force...” - then a huge monstrosity appeared from nowhere in a flaming ball of fire, which I vanquished – of course.  The second time - not so lucky.  I kept yelling at the TV for my friend to stop dying, dammit!

Now shoo, fly, shoo.  You'll find plenty of funny fodder by clicking the links below!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Night Circus

There has been exactly one load of laundry started between when I finished this book and the writing of this review.  One load.  I didn't want my thoughts to get all jumbled before I had a chance to write them down.
I'm also having a bit of trouble seeing clearly (literally) today (Sunday) and my Packers are losing, just for your information.

Title:  The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre:  Fiction, Fantasy
Synopsis:  The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

About the Author:  Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as "fairy tales in one way or another." She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with two very fluffy cats. (taken from her author page on Goodreads here)  If you want to know more than that little blip, visit her website here.

First Impression: As interested in the idea of this novel as I was, when I began to read it, I wasn't sure I was going to like it.
As always I feel honesty prevails, so I will be honest:  I am having a hard time coming up with words to describe my thoughts on this novel.  That hasn't happened before.

How do you describe a book whose main character is not a person, yet is a living, breathing, changing entity - the circus?  If you think I'm kidding, you are going to be sorely disappointed.  Sure, there are human characters, but they are all entwined in this all-encompassing, ever-changing circus.
It's true what the synopsis states: there is a competition between magicians - but with much love and respect, this isn't Harry Potter, although I can see some comparison now that I've said that.  The competition is dark and confusing; each player aware, yet strangely unsuspecting of an end game.  Nothing is as it seems.

That last bit may sound cliché, but this is a book about magic and there are many layers, misdirects, and illusions.  It also adds to the mystery that some of the terms used are French.  I read this on my tablet and was able to search for the words through the Internet while remaining in the book, but for those who don't speak French fluently, the meanings may not be readily apparent.  There are also many clever plays on words in the titles of the chapters that require a larger vocabulary than even I have, so be prepared.

Then there is the underlying love story.  It's tragic, beautiful, passionate, and utterly epic.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

Final Thoughts: I asked myself, at the end, which one tent I would visit inside the Le Cirque des Rêves, and I have an answer:  The Pool of Tears.

My Suggestion:  You need to immerse yourself in this story; it is an experience like no other, which is exactly the point.  Usually I suggest the library, but if I could enter the Wishing Tree, I would wish to own this enthralling piece of writing.  I can still envision the chocolate mice and smell the popcorn.

Star Rating:
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Head Case

It's another Friday, so you know what that means!  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now.  At the bottom of the post, you'll find the links to all the other blogs featuring the challenge.  Make sure you stop over!

My words are: rose, winner, grey area, reflections, tenacity, motivation
Submitted by: Battered Hope

Confession time:  I am a certified mental case.

Over the course of this blog, I have mentioned my neurological disorder often.  It's something I live with every day.  I survive.  Despite the odds, I have tenacity.  Sometimes, it's all I have.
  1.    the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
       "the sheer tenacity of the limpet"
    • the quality or fact of being very determined; determination.
      "you have to admire the tenacity of these two guys"
    • the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.
      "the tenacity of certain myths within the historical record"
I've mentioned another part of me in passing and in my bio, but it's not something I've discussed: I am bipolar.  Yep.  Diagnosed and medicated - I started having episodes of mania and depression when I was young, primary school age..  I consider this to be my largest hurdle, more so than the constant headaches, occasional surgeries, and mounting medical debt.

My manic episodes are pretty awesome.  I write more, my house is deep cleaned, I go out, I cook and bake, and TBG and I have more sex.  But you know the old adage "The higher they fly, the further they fall" - taken literally, that is my life.  I fly when I'm manic.

When I fall, it is hard and it is fast.  One day I'm all rose and no thorn, the next ... well, I'm not just thorns, but more like a brair patch.  There is not much grey area.  I'm not just irritable, I'm angry.  I yell, throw things, and am generally the worst person I can possibly be.  I'm not just sad, I'm despondent, dejected, disconsolate, depressed.  I have zero motivation, sleep for long periods, I stare at the television, and worst of all, I have anxiety attacks; bad ones.

While anxiety on its own is common due to stress or nervousness, and can be uncomfortable and annoying, but brief, my body takes it to a new level of horrible reality.  I have a rush of adrenaline so intense, I have reflections of death.  I have no thoughts of suicide, because just that one thought of imminent death is terrifying (so that's a bonus, I guess).  Like I mentioned before, I'm medicated, which helps, but sometimes there is no stopping the wave of despair that washes over me, literally.  I ride the wave: I watch stupid movies that I've seen a million times, I pace around the room, I get hot (due to the adrenaline), my hands clench involuntarily (it's called dystonia and it also happens when I'm violently sick), I hyperventilate (which makes it feel like I can't breathe; contradictory, I know), and that's not all.  When it's over, sometimes after hours, I'm usually cold, tired, and hungry.

There are times when even movies and pacing don't work.  I have to take another pill and if that doesn't work, I usually end up in the ER for a sedative.  Then I really sleep a lot.  It's been awhile since I've had to take that trip, so I'm learning to handle it on my own, but I never assume that it's over.  Anxiety disorders - I have panic disorder, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety.  I'm a winner, ladies and gentlemen.

It's just the hand I've been dealt and I live with the fear, every day.  I deal.  TBG deals (very well, I might add - and he's usually the one I'm throwing things at).  We move on... until the next one.
"But he that dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave a rose."  - Ann Brontë 

Visit my preciousessss... one of them has MY words.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Admiration Is...

It's Friday and you know what that means!  Time for a blogging challenge: Secret Subject Swap.  This week 15 bloggers braved the unknown by coming up with a secret subject for another blogger, while getting one in return.  No one knows who got what... until now!

Secret Subject Swap

At the end of this post, you will find links to the other participating bloggers.  Don't miss out on the fun.  Visit them all and see what the fuss is about.  And you can always join us, just ask!

My Subject is:  Who do you most admire and why?
Submitted by:  Stacy Sews and Schools (thanks, Stacy!)

Asking me who (whom?) I admire most is like asking what my favorite movie is, or actor, or book.  There are so many for such varied reasons.  I will try and narrow it down, though.

My Parents:  for giving their all - to their kids and grandchildren, to those in need, to their community, to their church, to each other.  I would be lucky to be half the person each of them are.

My in-Laws:  for taking in strays (like me) - even though it stretches them thin; being there for me; understanding more than they know; loving unconditionally, blood or not.

Fighters:  No, not the violent kind.  Those who fight for injustice, fight cancer, fight disease, fight for equality, fight for themselves, fight for others.  I wish I could be a fighter, instead just cope.

The Big Guy:  his work ethic (which I hope inspires our children); his ability to be a father and earning the name Dad every day; for being a big softy - even though he's a big guy and looks scary; for loving every crazy, unstable, bipolar piece of me.

My Kids:  for their constant curiosity; for trying to be the best person they can be; for their big hearts (and big mouths); for giving me purpose.

Karen:  for being Karen, tornadoes and all; helping me grow my blog; keeping me writing - these challenges have changed me!

DIYers:  putting in the hard work and sweat, creativeness, and coming away with an amazing job well done - it doesn't get better than that.

People with Religious Faith:  even though your constant barrage of affirmations is annoying, your commitment to your faith is astounding.

People who Foster or Adopt:  it's one thing to love a child that shares your DNA; it's a different thing to love a child that doesn't.  Either way, it's a choice and one I'm glad my parents made. 

Fur-Parents:  it takes a special kind of person to love and raise happy, healthy fur-babies (or some not so furry babies).

And I'm spent.  There are so many amazing people out there worthy of admiration, but these ones are close to my heart.  Thanks for sticking around - now go and see the other Secret Subjects!

Baking In A Tornado
Confessions of a part-time working mom             
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Monday, September 1, 2014

We Were Liars

I am dying over here.  Figuratively dying.  I got in a little over my head with my reading - I was trying to read 5 books at a time to keep up with my reviews.  My fault - I got stressed = massive headache.  So I cut out a few books.  This is the latest read.

Title:  We Were Liars
Author:  E. Lockhart
Genre:  Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Synopsis:  A beautiful and distinguished family.
                   A private island.

                   A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
                   A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
                   A revolution. An accident. A secret.
                   Lies upon lies.
                   True love.
                   The truth.

About the Author:  I found her website and, by extension, her bio.  The first part is the usual blah blah about her writing career.  Scroll down and read her list of 21 things [you] don't know about [her].  It's awesome!  Find it here.

First Impression:  Seriously, the synopsis - it begs to be read!  Have I mentioned how much I love a good mystery?
The story focuses on an old-money rich family, the Sinclairs.  There are three sisters and all their children, vying for the love, attention - and the largest part of the inheritance from the patriarch.  It's stereotypical old-money behavior.  The story is told from the eldest granddaughter's POV, after her accident.  There are subtle changes between past and present tense, so you may not even realize it's happening, but it's there, so pay attention.

There is a lot of descriptive elements in Lockhart's writing.  It will start on a normal course, then the main character will start describing something and you'll wonder what just happened.  It's not exactly confusing, but the view from the main character's eyes is abnormal, complicated and beautiful - all at the same time.  It's almost like reading a poem, with the descriptions.  A long, fragmented poem.  In reading it, this starts to make sense. 

I'm not sure how much more I can tell you without giving away things.  The plot is inextricably entwined with the plot twist, there isn't room for error if I am to keep the mystery alive.  So I guess that's all from me.

Final Thoughts:  I read this as an extra book (of the month) with my book club and general consensus was total surprise at the plot twist.  I did not concur, as I had a pretty good idea what was happening earlier on.  I read a lot of mystery books that contain a psychological aspect, however, so - yeah.

My Suggestion:  Library book.  Hands down.  If you find you're not liking the way the book is written, as it does take some getting used to, I urge you to stick it out - the plot twist is worth it. Probably not something I will revisit - unless I want to try and figure where, exactly,  the plot twist started, specifically.

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only

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