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Posts Tagged ‘gripes’

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I was raised to be a critical thinker and a defender of people. I remember walking in my first protest when I was little. I learned about Cesar Chavez when my dad walked with the strawberry workers. My parents were 70’s hippies, in which they were part of the Peace, Love, and Kick Ass culture. Probably the punk influence coming onto the scene.

Anyway, I speak out. I always have. I’m a non-confrontational person, but I don’t shy away 8272f8d81efbb6ec9acae6e2a861c772from stating my thoughts, particularly in writing. I’ve been called opinionated, which took me a while to accept. I was called judgemental, which I soundly reject. Forceful was recently applied to me and threw me for a loop and I’m still thinking about it. So, yes, I speak my values, but I appreciate when people also state their opinions. I may not agree with them, and I may not appreciate their reasoning, but I appreciate knowing their thoughts on things.

When the Orange Nightmare won, I remember that night, not even following the election results, already knowing he was going to win. I just knew, and was already cool with it. When people were outraged the next morning, I shrugged my shoulders. I sat back and watched friends who had been a-political the entire time I knew them start taking up  the cause, and speaking out, marching, engaging. And, to be honest, I was pretty damn angry.

It took me some time to understand why I was so very angry mixed with big doses of apathy. I spoke into a room full of shoulder-shruggers for so long that I think that when people finally started to stand up and shout, I was exhausted. I was called opinionated and people would ignore me. People were uncomfortable with me because I would say, “wait, let’s examine that thing you just said.” Or when I would say the worst words people don’t want to hear, “I don’t agree with that, because…” So when the bad things I had been trying to point out for years started happening in a way people couldn’t ignore anymore, I kind of just wanted to walk away and say, “Well, you deal with it since you didn’t step up to try to prevent it!”

I realize that is kinda really dumb. Finally the masses have woken and I should join in, but my anger stops me. I still post things I think are important on Facebook and whatnot, but I still hold this ugly little hot coal of anger in my hand. Every new atrocity the Orange Nightmare and his surrogates commit, I have this urge to say, “Maybe if you had said something A LITTLE SOONER!” It’s like being Chicken Little when the sky finally starts falling and everyone is in a damn panic, like they hadn’t been warned over and over again.

I am fully aware that I am being childish and unhelpful. There is a part of me that wants to watch the world burn. The only problem is that I really kinda don’t. So, right now, I am stuck in this limbo of sorta caring, and sorta not. My saving grace may be the scientist. They aren’t supposed to be political and them standing up to protect their facts is something I can fully get behind and love. Because I need to check back in and pick up my saber. Everyone does, after all.

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Anyone who has known me for about a year or longer probably knows that my body is jacked up. There are a lot of reasons for this, from exposure to toxins to chemotherapy to radiation to bad friggin’ familial genes, my body has always had malfunctions. But, you know, I’m still here so it’s all good.

However, I just saw my most recent blood workType_2_Nation_million_beta_cells_diabetes_meme_500px.jpg and it shows that I left pre-diabetes land and went into diabetes city.

I knew I was going to get diabetes. I have endocrine issues. I have insulin resistance. I’ve been pre-diabetic since I was a teen. This was expected even if I was working to keep it away. But when I saw the numbers I have to say I’ve been in a state of odd numbness with flashes of anger and despair.

I thought I’d have more time. (more…)

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What is wrong with me?

For over a year, I’ve been consciously dealing with a perceived personality flaw. Unconsciously I had been trying to mitigate it for years due to my oldest friend’s behavior around me. A little over a year ago, it was flung into my face by a group of friends who blind-sided me with it. And though it was time for me to move on from that group of friends for other reasons, I still walked away from the ordeal truly examining what was wrong with me. To the point that I became more wary of human interaction and feared ever making new friends.

Then it dawned on me that it was not my flaw, but theirs.

Of course, that is the cry of many people who don’t want to deal with fixing a negative in their personality. But seeing as this flaw attributed to me is seen as a flaw in the public, I can see what has happened.

I am accused of being opinionated. This is thrown in my face by my younger brother. My oldest friend hides things from me, because she doesn’t want to hear my opinion (or already knows it). My old group of friends shoved it in my face, saying that I needed to keep my opinions to myself (even though we had a bi-monthly discussion group).

And here is where everyone has it wrong. Even I had it wrong. Opinionated does not equal judgmental.

I am well-read, enjoy research, and am truly fascinated by my fellow man. I love science. I love music. I love a whole lotta damn things. If I didn’t form opinions on subjects, topics, and thoughts, well then, I’m an idiot. Or possibly a Zen Buddhist. Could you imagine? A college full of brilliant minds and none of them had any of their own thoughts on matters?

Opinionated means I have come to a decision of how I see or feel on certain things. That’s it. If you bring up to me an article on bottle-feeding baby tigers, I will assume we are having a conversation and will therefore bring up my own opinion on it. And then I will pause and wait to hear your opinion on it. If you have a different opinion on the subject, I will think about it, possibly disagree with you, using points and facts I have learned to illustrate why my opinion was formed differently from yours. This is how discussions work. This is how information is passed and how I may learn something new that will change my opinion on the subject.

Now, let me give you an example of how judgement works. My mother was judgmental. She made up her mind on something and only she had the ability to change that opinion. What I or anyone else thought, or any facts we brought forward, were nothing to her. She would denigrate anyone who had a differing opinion than her and would have no qualms about telling them so, or waiting until their back was turned to tell everyone else how stupid she thought them. This behavior is judgmental. This behavior is why I thought “being opinionated” was so bad.  But what my mother did is not what I do. I welcome differing opinions. That isn’t to say I am going to agree with you because I do have my own brain. But that doesn’t automatically qualify you as less-than in my book.

We really can agree to disagree. This is totally ok. This is the issue with my oldest friend. She can’t make decisions. Ever. Everyone who knows her knows this. She often uses me for a sounding board to see what I think she should do. So it isn’t fair that she then hides things from me. It’s not the stuff that she hides that bothers me (I really don’t care if her husband smokes. I don’t live with him.) but it’s the fact that she hides anything at all. I feel close friends should be able to say anything to each other, share secrets, fears, and be safe and secure in the friendship. She clearly doesn’t feel that way because she is threatened by my thoughts on things. If she were to tell me years ago that her new husband smokes, she knows I would have said, “uh oh, you said you’d never marry a smoker. You tell him to smoke outside? Man, that sucks. And you being in the health field and everything.” And if she had replied with, “Yeah, well, I didn’t know he was a social smoker until I was already in love with him,” I would have nodded and said, “Ah, that sucks. Well, is he open to quitting if he only does it socially?” But that conversation never got to take place. Instead she slipped up one time about his smoking and then went on the defensive in such a painfully awkward way, I just smiled and nodded and didn’t say a word, hurt that she continued to hide things from me.

So the weakness in character wasn’t in mine, but in others. They do not feel confident enough in themselves to listen to a differing opinion. Perhaps it’s because I really can site my sources, because I really am well-read, and they may not be. I know that if I don’t have enough information on a topic, my own opinion on it is fairly weak. Which is why I would love to sit down and have a discussion on it so I can learn. However, just because you got your opinion on something off the TV or from a chain email doesn’t mean I’m the jerk for bringing up a differing opinion and being able to support it. Which is where I think I get into trouble. Just as I assume grown-ups are going to have the emotional control and maturity of adults, I also assume someone asserting an opinion on something has actually formed that opinion based on facts or experience. So, if anything, I have the personality flaw of assuming too much. (I am working on it.)

But I am hereby taking back the meaning of “opinionated.” It is not a negative or insult. It just translates to “well-read and thoughtful and eager to have discussions.” Your Uncle John who spouts off on everything political but hasn’t actually read anything and doesn’t want to hear your thoughts on it unless you mirror his? Yeah, he’s judgmental (and possibly stupid). Don’t give him or his kind the honor of being called opinionated.

Okay, now you tell me. Am I off base? Should I put this whole idea away and continue to work on being less opinionated? What do you think? Tell me true. I honestly would love the discussion.

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Smart idea!

Brain: Hey, Body, I know how bummed you’ve been since we hurt our neck and shoulder and haven’t been able to do a whole lot but whine about the pain.
But I have an idea! Let’s lift weights and work the kinks out. Get some energy. It’ll be great.

Body: Ok!

Next morning, unable to move.

Body: Well, Brain, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.

Brain: …

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I hate when authors think that readers are stupid. One of the things I’ll point out in my book reviews is repetition of facts. As if readers can’t be trusted to remember things.

And I hate when authors think that readers don’t remember and then try to change the story.

An example of this is found in True Blood, the kinda-sorta adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by the amazing Ms. Harris. I’m not complaining about how the the screenwriters forgot her story. I liked some of the changes they made (Lafayette lived and was fabulous!) and other changes I loathed. But I went with what the author said: “They don’t tell me how to write my books. I don’t tell them how to do their tv show.” So they introduce Hep V and everyone is all, “What the hell is that? What? That’s something I am shocked to hear about!”

Now, at the time, I admit that pissed me right off and I paused my streaming viewing to rant for a couple minutes on the fact that Hep V was introduced in the first season! A fangbanger had it and Sookie stopped Bill from drinking from him. Then Bill explained to Sookie and the audience that it was a strain of Hepatitis that effected vampires, making them slow and sick (and therefore easier to kill) for a few months. Sure, ok, I’m binge watching with the wife and we’ve gone through five seasons in as many weeks. However, Netflix had already become a thing when this show was out, so the screenwriters would have known binge-watching was something they’d have to be conscious of. I’m offended they would think this would be forgotten.

So, fine, my bad. The first season referred to Hep D. Not V. Easy mistake to make. It had been a few weeks, after all, since I’d seen that episode. But it had stuck out in my mind as both an interesting story bit as well as being underwhelming by it’s negligible effect on and threat to vamps.

But the fact that every character was horribly shocked by a blood-born disease for vamps was ridiculous. They knew about Hep D. The more realistic reaction would have been to make a comparison to Hep D (thereby reminding the audience that they are not talking about the disease that is nearly homophone to the new disease), to brush it off as being not so scary since Hep D wasn’t that bad, and/or to be shocked that it could be a lot scarier than Hep D. To act as if the idea itself was new and strange was stupid. And insulting to those of us paying attention and invested in the story.

Books do it too, and it’s the quickest way to toss me out of the story. When I’m reading, I’m building a world out of the material you’re giving me. You can’t hand me straw when you’ve been giving me bricks and tell me no it’s been straw all along. You have to stay consistent. But you don’t have to repeat it over and over. If it’s been a while, or a detail that might have been lost in a greater scene, then yes, please do shine a light on it. But if you’ve told me something twice don’t say it again. If you do, I’m going to assume that I am not dumb enough to be your intended audience and DNF your book, pronto and with extreme prejudice.

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Like, scary hard.

I have this series- No, let’s be more specific. It’s an anthology, really. Same set of characters with different short stories and novellas about them. A good friend and great editor has told me to package it into a novel. So, trying to figure out the lay of the book, I put each story on its own index card, then tried getting them into some sort of novel form.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

No.

The issue is that each short story grew the characters in some way, which is great, obviously. I’d have been falling down on the job if they hadn’t. But how do I cut and splice these into a coherent whole? I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to make them into two or three novels. Now I have the task of getting each book it’s own solid plot as well as the over-arching plot of the multiple books. The first book will be nearly all new material, never before seen. That’s exciting. And the major climatic point of the whole “series” will also be never-before-seen stuff. I have to admit it is really nice to be able to use all the ideas and partially written bits that had never had the chance to make it into the original. It’s more than nice. It’s exciting and fun and I’ll be happy that my unfinished story will get to be finished for real this time. Back in the before times, I burned out and we closed the site pretty quickly, so I could only give as soft a landing as I could for readers. This is going to be good. Really, really daunting. But, yeah, good.

And I’ve got a name for the island, so double-good!

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Some of you may know that I wrote a series of serial fiction called Island Ink. It’s been hidden away from mass consumption for a few years now and I need to get it out there. So I’ve been editing it. The biggest part about editing this particular work is that I have to change its location from a Caribbean island to… somewhere else. I had been working on putting its new location in Chesapeake Bay. I thought that was perfect. And I’ve been diligently switching weather and seasons and fauna from the Caribbean to Maryland.

I just realized I have no clue what Maryland is like.

Talk about writing what you know! It’s not like there is a plethora of movies or tv shows based in the Chesapeake Bay to even give a writer a clue. Best I could come up with is some nature documentaries. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, but, seriously, this is not working. Maryland is a state between the South and the North, oh, and it’s on the East coast. All three things I know nothing about and there is no way I can take a quick jaunt across the country to explore the location. What the hell was I thinking? It took me six chapters to figure this out?

So, here I am, realizing my stories are once again taking place in the air. The great, blank air.

I hate editing my own work. I can’t be trusted with it.

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