Therapy

Apr. 4th, 2017 06:40 am
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therapyI have always known that I have issues. I am sure it stems back to my upbringing, genetics and experiences. I grew up in poverty, violence, and a scattering of some pretty incredible experiences. Combine this with my family's mental health history including bipolar, PTSD, depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, crime, and self medicating.

I have had four different counselors in the last five years I have gone to. None of them have worked out. The first one could only see me ever 12 weeks or so, while she was great, it wasn't enough to do anything for me.

The second counselor was of no use. They really weren't interested in doing much but trying to get me to take meds, which by the way I have a bad reaction to (at least Setraline aka Zoloft). That counselor was done quickly, as was my use of the med.

The third counselor got fixated on my family and stories about my family. She was less interested in helping me and more about some weird desire to vicariously live through my experiences. My sessions made my anxiety and PTSD worse and that just didn't work out in the end.

My most recent counselor I gave a try to was last year. A few months after my father's death I went in and tried again. This time I figured I would just start with the grief counseling part. I went a couple of times, he seemed pretty good but was once again I think intimidated by my life story. I went to training for work for a couple of weeks and when I got back my counselor never responded to any of my calls for getting more appointments. I don't know if maybe he moved on or if he is avoiding me, but I sort of gave up on that.

I am pretty much done with counselors I think. My goal now is to just try and write about my feelings. I have found that actually helps me more with my anxiety then most counselors do. This means you all may be subject to my ramblings. I will try and post a disclaimer or maybe tag it "therapy" when I start talking about how I feel. :)

 
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There are some slight spoilers, not about the movie plot but about the world.

Kong:Skull Island was a surprise to me. I had walked into the movie with my husband expecting a bad movie, or at the very least something like the most recent version of Godzilla. However, for what it was, it was a lot better. That would be a summer blockbusting creature feature.

Don't get me wrong, Kong won't win any drama awards. It is a B grade monster movie filmed with a AAA budget. The budget was worth it though. The effects were believable and very enjoyable. The only issue I had with the filming was the transition from night scenes to day scenes left me blind for a few seconds.

The acting was decent for what they had. The only really fleshed out character was John Reilly as a shot down American Pilot (if you have seen a preview or trailer you already know he who is, the funny older guy). John Goodman, Samuel L Jackson, and team are all good at what they do, but they just weren't fleshed out. Their characters were generic.

Probably the most interesting part though was little Easter eggs laid around that indicated Mothra, Godzilla and I believe King Ghidorah. It even includes a monster hunting organization. I love the idea of a marvel level universe for the large monsters. This is a good idea, almost as good of an idea as Universal's monster universe started by the remake of the Mummy next month.


The good: It hit all the right notes for a monster movie, action, adventure, no reliance on arbitrary romance. I didn't detect any racist stereotyping and I really liked that it was set in 1973.

The bad: Some of the effects were filmed for 3D, I did not watch that version, but even the flat 2D screen was annoying when it tried to push those scenes into the movie. Also, I would have liked more monstrous creatures on the island.
 

 

 
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Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin)Necropolis by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the Audio Book only!

As I started the fourth book in the series I had pretty high hopes, and Jordan Hawk cleared that goal with some room to spare.

In order to avoid spoilers all I will say is you get a glimpse of the dirty, dusty and rough desert. You see Whyborne grapple with the "horrors" of living in a tent. You get a bit more background on Griffon (there can never be enough background). You get some good sex scenes. Finally you get a lot more background on Christine.

I wasn't sure how I felt about Christine when this all started. I wasn't sure if she was going to fit into the stereotypical woman with gay guy best friends. However she has been flushed out and given a pretty cool backstory. I look forward to more about her now as well.

Oh, on a down note, Christine sounds like a catty gay guy sometimes when the narrator reads her part. I am not sure if its on purpose or maybe just something I am hearing, but that was the only negative.

If you liked the first three, definitely you want to read this.

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We flew down last Sunday, at a very very early morning hour to Phoenix, Arizona. We started by leaving the house at 4am, much to Wolsey's chagrin.
 
 We arrived at the airport, with no caffeine in our system and with only an hour to wait until we fly out. Fortunately I went to the local Starbucks to get my caffeinated fix. Trust me, no one wants me uncaffienated.

We got down to Phoenix and for the first time ever I was in Arizona. I stepped off the plane and was hit by a wave of heat that was unexpected. While it was in the high 30s in Seattle, but they were having a heatwave in Phoenix and it was in the mid-90s and unlike Atlanta, it was a desert. The last time I had been in a place that warm and dry was when I was 15/16 and we were homeless as a family, living in a car and making Lake Tahoe our place (it was when we went down to Carson City/Reno).


We finally got to the hotel (a La Quinta which I have liked, not sure why my coworkers hate the chain), changed into short's and decided we were hungry. There was Mimi's Cafe just a block and a half up and we thought it would be a great place. There we ordered lunch (well actually I ordered some sort of specialized waffles).

It wasn't bad at all, the prices were Seattle average (11-13 each). I probably wouldn't recommend it for locals though, we didn't realize that Seattle prices are high in Phoenix, and I wouldn't recommend paying top dollar for a not top dollar place. The waitress was nice though, and we found out she had lived in Everett for six years.

We then headed back to the hotel, where we promptly laid down and napped.

We got up, decided we were still hungry (we hadn't eaten large meals at Mimi's) so we hit Red Robin and found the food to be extra greasy (unlike our normal Red Robins we live next too, oh and yes I realize in general the food is a bit greasy, but this was above and beyond).

Finally we just hid out in the hotel room, the temperature was spiking even hotter.

The next morning was pretty simple, we got some waffles from La Quinta's breakfast bar then went to the doctor appointment (to read about it at https://accidentallygay.wordpress.com/?p=1057 ).

We then went to Tia Shorty's and I had the absolute best tacos in my life. The shredded beef just melted in my mouth, the spices were wonderful and I am glad I ended my Arizona food sampling there as it left it on a really good note.

We then got back to the airport for a later then we like flight (didn't leave until almost 7pm) and we got into town after 10pm. With the Lyft ride back to the house we were in bed by midnight.

Overall the trip was a stupendous success, not because we went and saw a bunch of things, but rather because Wolsey gets his surgery 14 months earlier then normal (end of May/beginning of June 2017). So this trip was fantastic!

If you want to go see the photo gallery from the trip, go here.
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Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin, #3)Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the audiobook only!

I have to say Jordan Hawk is just getting better, and so is the narrator. Originally some of the words spoken and written were a bit boxy and didn't quite gel with me. I do take some ownership of that as part of it was undoubtably me getting used to a new author.

However in this third book Jordan Hawk takes us deeper into who Griffin is, where he comes from and what torments him on more than a cursory level. We get to meet people who are close to him, and explore his fears more in depth. I thought this was fantastic.

We also dig a bit deeper into Whyborne, his family and some inkling of what may be coming for him. Along with that we had Christine also involved, this time she felt even more part of the group. I no longer really think of them as a duo, but a trio. They each have something they bring to the party.

Jordan expanded their own ability as well. The sex scenes were never bad, but they are feeling smoother in this. The plot is a bit tighter and we are getting connections between stories. It is a good start for world building.

The last part is that the narrator has gotten more comfortable themselves with reading it. The sex scenes were ok, a little off. However, the biggest issue was accents. It seems like they have laid off of them and that has made all the difference.

Overall a great book, it is coming together and I am looking forward to Necropolis.

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Dreams Road SignI am trying to track my dreams again. This morning it was a longer dream, but I laid in bed long enough that a lot of it disappeared.

I dreamt me and the husband were living in a house. My parents were living there as well as my brother. We had been running around doing different things away from the house. I know that involved mostly just me and my hubby, when we got back the place was still cluttered. There were Battletech photocopies everywhere, moving boxes and just a messy floor.

I started cleaning things up and putting them away. For some reason I clearly remember sweeping the floor and picking up the Battletech books and photocopies. I was wondering where my parents were and as I was sweeping I realized why they were gone. I started looking around in some of the side rooms of the house and couldn't find them at all, which is unusual since my parents wouldn't usually leave the house unless they were drinking and I knew they weren't drinking. I got up to their room and found it empty. That is when it hit me, I knew that they wouldn't be back.

Then I woke up.
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Absolutely, without a doubt, the single best superhero movie I have ever seen. Not only that, it is on the very top of my list of favorite "real movies" as well. I can't really come up with a better movie at this moment.

We went to see Logan in the RPX so we could choose our seat. However, it was a Tuesday and the RPX is double the price of the discounted Tuesday prices for other showings that there wasn't a packed theater. This meant no distractions and we could focus on the movie.

I can't go into too much detail here, I don't want this to have spoilers, but I can say I will post again and break it down. The movie had a huge personal impact.

What I can say is this is not your Avenger's big tent action movie. The focus is on an aging Logan, Professor X and a young Laura (c'mon its not a spoiler if its in the trailer). Laura is being hunted by a group of powerful mercenaries and Logan and Professor X are trying to protect her.

The R rating does allow people to see the brutality of what it would be like to fight Wolverine, limbs and heads amputated, faces clawed open and the absolute monster that Wolverine could be in a fight. That however was not what the rating really made better. The storytelling was much better. It could handle much more adult subjects such as aging, consequences of a life of conflict, and family. This movie is not for someone who is a child or who is only interested in a mutant battle. If that is the limit of a movie you are interested, go see the new Thor, Spider Man or Guardians of the Galaxy movies coming out this summer.

I won't say anything else about the plot of the movie except to say it mirrors Deadpool in a way. Instead of redefining a superhero movie into a darker comedy, Logan transforms this movie into a gritty western as much as a superhero movie. It has a very broad, if very adult, scope for an audience. Some have talked about Oscars. I think it would be justified to receive best actor/supporting actor nominations if not the actual Oscars themselves.

The emotional impact of this movie hit both me and the hubby that night. It was near the anniversary of my father's death (one year) and there were a lot of similarities, the movie was like a gut punch. Those I will talk about in my next post about Logan where I can break out spoilers.

The biggest takeaway I saw another critic say is that the R rating is an excellent injection into the superhero niche. Not for violence, but for the way it can open a story up and allow superhero movies to grow up and become full stories, not just comics.

It has been reported that this is Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart's last movie each for their characters. 20 years of Wolverine and Professor X wrapped up on the best superhero movie made. I am sad they are turning in their characters, but I have to say it was absolutely the best movie they could have chosen to do so.

The good: Absolutely the best acting in any superhero movie, and in the top for conventional movies. The story is tight, not distracted with explosions or too many special effects. It satisfies both the action need and the story need that no other superhero movie can.

The bad: It is the last movie with Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman playing their characters.
 
 
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I was surprised, I was definitely surprised.

I wouldn't call The Great Wall a "great movie". It is a niche genre piece mixing a big of Hong Kong fighting with some fantasy type action. I was really hesitant about the movie though. A Chinese movie, set in a "vaguely" historical China with what I was worried would be the "Great White Hope". However it wasn't like that at all. In fact there was a subtle (or not so subtle) reversal of that.

Instead of him saving everyone, he is saved by them. The movie portrays the greed of capitalism as bad, and the rich elite as just useless. Instead it is those who serve selflessly who are revered in the movie. Definitely Chinese politics are involved in the movie, but maybe I am not so different with my outlook that I found it an overall good message.

Matt Damon is pretty good in the movie as the angry, greedy white boy from the crusades, with Pedro Pascal as his sidekick (you may know him as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones) who is even more greedy. They are met by one other white person, William Defoe as a very back stabbing kind of capitalist merchant as well. Matt Damon changed over the course of the movie, Pedro changed maybe a little, and Dafoe did not (and suffered for it).

While those actors were as good as to be expected I absolutely loved Jing Tian (she is also starring this year in Kong: Skull Island, and Pacific Rim 2). True she didn't speak a lick of English, but she still portrayed a real badass, and had an intensity. Since I am seeing both of her other movies, I am excited to see her in those.

Overall though the movie was pretty good. People complained about the CGI, but I didn't notice too much. People said it was really colorful, such as the uniforms, sadly my colorblindness means I missed that part, but I still liked it.

However, all that said, it was an ok movie. Not super great, but definitely not as bad as people had said it would be.

The good: action sequences were good, Ms Tian was good, and it was entertaining.

The bad: It is popcorn material, you will forget about it within a few weeks (or sooner) and the political message was a little ham handed.
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Let's just say it, that film rocked what it does hard.

First, let's be clear, John Wick series of movies is a lot of things. It's excellent fighting choreography, brutal deaths, an orgasm of male testosterone wish fulfillment. That isn't bad, I absolutely love it for what it is, a great revenge thriller, Keanu Reeves delivers an excellent badass air to himself. It has a lot of great supporting actors including Ian McShane as the Manager, Common is great as a foil for Keanu and even Ruby Rose, whom I dislike a lot as an actress fits in it.

The best part about it, is it stays in its lane. It doesn't try to be more than what it is and because of that it scratches that itch of an up-powered action flick that has a lot in common with the 80s revenge movies. I will see these as long as they keep coming out.

I was surprised that Keanu, who recently turned 52, can do the part. There is no doubt in his performance that he plays the person perfectly. I was surprised that I didn't want to tear my ears out with Ruby Rose's character. They were smart, they had her play a mute, used her looks as an attractive assassin. The only part about her I didn't like was the portrayal that she is a badass, sorry I didn't buy that for a second... then again I think it was reflected in her last fight scene so maybe the writers had judged correctly as well. The rest of the cast were great too, no complaints.

The thing I liked most about the sequel was its subtle expansion of the world of assassins. I won't go into depth as I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the movie unwrapped a small slice more of the world, making it feel deeper and more real (well as real as wish fulfillment fiction can be).

Oh, and I really liked that they didn't repeat the same plot devices they used in the first (that is the only semi-spoilerish thing I will say).

The good: great action with lots of choreography, gun porn, and Keanu just rocked it.

The bad: could we please stop with "how cool" Ruby Rose is already?
 
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Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin, #2)Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

Audio Version Only!

I am back again and I had a better time this go around. Still a 1890s gay romance, supernatural horror, lovecraftian story. This time the listening was a lot easier, two days instead of two weeks. I am not sure if I was in a better mood, or maybe Jordan's universe just clicked into place easier this time.

This review won't be as long. This time we see more of Griffon's backstory. Get to meet an important person to him, and learn more about his childhood. Of course the story is still about Whyborne, so don't worry there are plenty of awkward moments and explicit sex.

Once again, the only negative I had was the narrator didn't stay in his lane. This time it wasn't an Irish accent (except, maybe there was a sentence or so when the characters were joking, but quick and pretty painless). This time is was "professional" women. It wasn't as cringeworthy as the Irish accent, but still enough to make me wince.

However, I wanted to note that the narrator does absolutely fine with Christine, so not sure why the difference.

As a follow up to Christine, she proves to be even more of a badass in a couple of moments then initially suspected. Already I would love a few books of her adventures when she goes to digs. I do know there are 6 more books to read that are already out, so maybe I will get my wish.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone.


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Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, #1)Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Audio Version Only!

This is a first for me. I have never read a gay urban supernatural fiction centered romance located in the 1890s Lovecraftian Universe. To be honest this is my first gay romance, and it was pretty darn good.

That seems at first an almost bizarre combination, but it is great. I absolutely enjoyed this book and I am thankful my husband pushed me to read it. Don't worry I won't spoil the book, but I just had to comment on how much I did like it.

The story itself is great, I love the romance that develops in the book. The main character is very much in the same vein as Randolph Carter in Lovecraft's stories, in fact this book could very well take place in Lovecraft. The big difference is Jordan writes better.

The story is full of the horror we expect, the small towns, underground passages and things man shouldn't read. The big difference is there is no inherent racism or sexism directed at others in a hurtful way. The prejudices in the book are appropriate for the time and are written carefully to make it clear the author is telling a story of the time period, not that people in the real world are the monsters. Lovecraft was problematic at the best. This book avoids his pitfalls and shows the pains a homosexual man and a woman trying to push into the male dominated fields handle being professors at a university.

Oh, and the sex scenes (and there are some pretty explicit ones) are pretty good.

The only flaw in the entire setup isn't Jordan, its the narrator. He is pretty good overall, however he cannot affect an accent to save his life. He doesn't need to either, he is fine just reading the book like he does for most of it. However, the Irish accents and the women's voices are cringeworthy.

Once again, he was great overall, just stay in your lane sir, stay in your lane.

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Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygothRat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If anything this book is better than Volume 1. The first book had a lot of standard tropes that were changed up by female leads. This time we get more in depth history on the ladies, including Vi's previous life as a woman who's father is trying to marry her off, thus giving us the struggles she is going through by leaving her people.

It follows up with Dee and her strangely compelling Lovecraftian type family background roots, and follows up with Hannah's birth father.

I won't go into any of the specific details of the story, no spoilers here really. However I want to say the story just gets better. The relationships of the group are just solidified and I was sad when the story ended.

I can't recommend enough reading this series... Oh, and Betty is still fantastic.

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Lately

Feb. 16th, 2017 07:47 pm
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The last couple of weeks have been hard. Last Saturday was the one year anniversary of my father passing away and tomorrow is the anniversary of the funeral. Work has been super busy, deadlines coming up and I have turned down taking days off to keep on track... only to have my boss take the week off.

I finally have felt like I wanted to write more, lately I have been having memories of childhood and early adulthood experiences and I am worried about forgetting it. I am getting older (heading on to 46 soon) and I don't want to lose the memories permanently.

Good news is we turned our book in for the accidentally gay blog. We are waiting to hear back, hopefully it will be soon.

One of the good things that have come out of this is learning how to organize a book. I have always wanted to write some sort of memoir (don't worry I don't think I will ever get money for it, not that big headed yet). My memories come in spurts though. So I think now I am just going to write up memories into this blog. I will also start a page and divide the page up between portions of my life (childhood, high school, early marriage, late marriage, etc). On that page I will track the different posts I do so I can build up an outline of my life.

Once that outline gets complete enough, maybe I will put it together.

I have a few other writing projects as well, along with some photography so we will see what will happen. As for photography itself we have been to a couple of different events, I will post galleries later :)

Well that is it, talk later folks.
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Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


First, I need to say I love Betty! Absolutely favorite character in this volume.

I have heard about this for a long time. Some of my friends online talked and talked and talked. Others disliked it a lot. I can tell you from my experience that it is an awesome story and I love the Rat Queens.

It makes it crystal clear by reading this how misogynistic our fantasy stories are. The objections I have heard to the story are more to do with the people not liking it is about women, strong women, not just passive healers.

The artwork is pretty good, the characterization is great and the time flew by while I read it. The only con to reading this is that the artist was caught beating his female significant other, which really puts a strain on supporting this series. I don't know if I would have read the series (both Volume 1 and 2 which will probably have the same review) if I had heard about the artist first, just because I won't support that.

I have heard the third volume is a different artist and that the writer fired the illustrator. Hopefully it maintains its story and interest along with not supporting abusive people.



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reinternationalWell it happened, one of the most iconic movie series in my adult life is ending and it took us by a big surprise, it was pretty good, especially for its status as a B grade horror movie. What I really love (and this isn't a spoiler since its in the previews) is that it comes back to Raccoon City.

Don't get me wrong, it won't be winning any sort of acting awards, the writing isn't Oscar worthy and the special effects are lagging behind. However, even with all of that it was the most cohesive chapter of the series to date.

We originally saw the original Resident Evil when it first came out, since then, barring a single movie, we have seen them all in the theater. Much like the Underworld series, it is just a thing we do.

I was surprised at how well everyone looks (especially Milla) after so many movies and so many years. However, like Kate Beckinsale she probably doesn't have a lot more time in that she could do this movie and supposedly be the same character at the same age.

Out of all of these movies, this definitely had the most cohesive plot. The wrapped up several strings, and even brought in some new things that were maybe a little obvious but they worked well with it. Contrary to some of the movies in the middle though it kept my attention, and entertained us. We were a bit sad to see it wrapping up, it rests up there as a tie for second place for my favorite RE movie (no matter what I do, the original RE always keeps its spot).

Pros: Cohesive storyline, not bad acting, and a satisfying conclusion.

Cons: For a B grade theater movie there really isn't any big cons except this is the final chapter.

Final words, definitely go see it in the theater.
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The Normans: From Raiders to KingsThe Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the audiobook only.

Mr. Brownworth's book is compelling and the quality of the sound is good. I have been listening to a lot of other books with not nearly the quality. He obviously did a lot of research and I always appreciate that.

I give it four stars because the information is interesting and presented in a way that I didn't get bored with it. The disadvantage for the author is I have read a lot about the Normans, and his book didn't bring a lot of new information to me. However, like I said I don't want to bring the rating down to far because I am already familiar with the subject, after all it is a history book, not fiction.

I say get it if you like that part of history. It was a nice listen.

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Dates

Feb. 3rd, 2017 07:52 pm
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I was looking out the window tonight and was feeling a little maudlin, maybe even a little anxious. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that (well besides just getting back from training for two weeks and still working out the losses of last year). That is when I realized today is February first and it got me thinking about things, especially about dates.

Dates are a funny thing. I don’t mean holidays like Christmas, or dates like a person’s birthday, wedding or some other special occasion. I mean specific days of the month.

For me the first of the month has always been an important day. True, it is important to others so they can pay their rent, or to mark the passing of a new month, but for me, for so much of my life, it meant more than that.

Unless you grew up in absolute poverty like me you wouldn’t really understand. When your family’s entire ability to eat, sleep and have electricity rely on a specific date that the check would come, you developed coping habits. The 1st was something all the poor families around us sort of focused our attention on it. It was something to look forward to, almost some sort to "savior". It was a time when things would be ok for a short while.

I remember growing up and being hungry at the end of the month. Watching my parents not eat for a week at a time and our electricity had been shut off, hoping for the check to come. Things were extreme enough that I had stretch marks on my abdomen because I gained and lost weight so much that lasted for years after I moved out. When Wolsey first dated me he would run his fingers along them, I think they bothered him.

The money showing up would be like a godsend, and for a few days at least you would eat food, the lights would be on and maybe you could go to a store.

It was also a time of anxiety. My parents were heavy alcoholics and the first of the month meant they would drink, which brought its own issues. I was fortunate, they would try to quit for weeks or months at a time, but alcoholism is very difficult and it would return. While I would hope for the first to come quickly, I also dreaded it.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had stretch marks for a long time. I have eaten fairly well, even when Wolsey and I were poor. The only time we had a repeat of this was when Wolsey and I were going to school and we would wait for our quarterly student loans, then divide that money up and budget for the next three months.

However, even for the last twenty years the first of the month still had a big meaning. My parents never got better financially on their own, by the time they had sobered up their bodies were too broken to work. We were able to step in and help, but I watched every month as they tried to keep things going with not enough social security and food stamps (no family of two can get by on $850 a month between the two, especially when rent itself was $675).

This meant Wolsey and I would help out at the end of the month. We went out of our way to not ever get paid back. We didn’t mind helping them, and the last thing we would want to do is make it harder for them by having them pay us on the first. But even up until last July, the 1st of the month carried a lot of meaning for my family, and in turn for me.

It has been weird the last six months since Mom passed. We have been able to focus on our own bills and for the first time ever in our relationship we didn’t have to consider my parents and how long until they got their check on the first. I know we are better off financially and worry wise now that we aren’t helping support them, but I still can’t stop from being maudlin occasionally, and even now, the first of the month is still an important date.
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Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing FieldsHitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THIS IS FOR THE AUDIBLE VERSION!!!

There really isn't much of a spoiler for this book. It covers how Nazi women followed the men into the eastern front of World War II and engaged in mass murder. Wendy Lower does a great job of giving examples of women who were married to SS officers, nurses, and even receptionists who not only participated tangentially by guarding camps, but also handled the orders for the final solution and even gave direct orders to murder Jews specifically.

The good thing about the book is that it doesn't present this in a vacuum by just talking about the women. Ms. Lower goes into detail on the culture and politics of the Third Reich at the time. The expectations of women, and in some cases how the women went against certain expectations.

Some of the specific stories are not of the faint of heart. These just aren't only angels of "mercy" who put patients who were Jewish, handicapped or outspoken and went contrary to the cultural norms to death with lethal injections. Some of the stories include women shooting, strangling or even in one recorded case picking a child up and bashing their head into a wall.

The book isn't about shock writing though, things are handled a lot better than that last paragraph :). I recommend it as a good reading for the an unusual aspect of the Final Solution and the massacre of not just Jews but the rest of the unwanted in the Third Reich (including German soldiers themselves considered too injured or too damaged by PTSD).

The only con I have found is the lack of specific sources. This very well could be because it is an audible book and you can't just footnote and refer to the back of the book. I have not seen her written version so I can't talk about it. I can say enough of what she says matches up with what I have studied in the past makes me think at least in the broad strokes I can rely on her writing.

Horrible subject, but good writing.

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My first couple of days have gone really well in San Diego. I figured instead of doing a “daily” update that I would just update every couple of days. It really isn’t that exciting. The one thing of note, it is now Tuesday (start of Day 3) and I it has not gotten above 59 degrees, pouring down rain and cold (that 59 was only for a short while). I feel like I am in Seattle.

Day 1: This was probably the most interesting day so far. I got up early, hung out with the hubby until he dropped me off at 6:45am.

While I was waiting at the Alaskan Airlines terminal things got a little surreal. About 10 minutes after we were starting to board there was still no plane at the gate (I was sitting at the window right where it should be). We all assumed no big deal, it was probably late coming in. That is when they announced that “they couldn’t find the plane”. You heard that right, not that it was late, but that they couldn’t find it.
Nope, no sign of it.
Nope, no sign of it.

After the initial murmurings happened from all of us customers they made a second announcement confirming “that the plane was not late, they still just haven’t found the plane.”

It turns out that the plane was one of several Alaska Airlines jets sitting on the tarmac overnight. It looks like someone forgot to bring it out in the morning. Talk about a surrealistic way to start your day.
Oh look, it was behind the flour.
Oh look, it was behind the flour.

The flight itself was pretty smooth, I definitely prefer the 2.5 hour flights as opposed to the 4.5-5 hour flights to Atlanta. Once we landed I successfully secured myself a rental car. I was about an hour behind, having arrived and secured my stuff at 2pm. I then decided to go visit the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Harbor since check in wasn’t until 4pm. I will post about that separately as I have a lot of pictures I have to go through and I want to post.
USS Midway Museum
USS Midway Museum

Finally I got to my room, dropped my stuff off and went to In-N-Out for attempt number two. I figured the place needed a second chance, since everyone has a bad day. I got there and ordered a regular cheeseburger without tomato.
In-N-Out menu!
In-N-Out menu!

Of course it came with tomato, so I had to pull tomato bits off of it, I am definitely not impressed with their ability to modify orders. The people ahead of me evidently got their order after me and went back up to yell at them for something. I ate the burger and found this burger a lot better than the Double Double I ordered in Los Angeles. Even so, I wouldn’t really put it above a good McDonald’s burger, and definitely above a Dick’s burger.
Just a meh.
Just a meh.

I figure next time I will just go get two cheeseburgers from McDonalds for a little less than a single cheeseburger here and not be as disappointed. I then went by a grocery store on my way back to my room, worked a little then went to bed.

Day 2: Monday was less exciting. I woke up at 4am and starting working. Then around 7 I went to my Data Mining using Access class and it wasn’t bad. Honestly it is a helpful class, and I am not unhappy to get the info. Actually I am happy to get it, I learned some things already that will help with the “work session” I got for the SAS program last week.

We got out of class and I found Von’s, a grocery store that is evidently owned by Safeway, my Safeway card even worked so it wasn’t too bad. I then went by Carl’s Jr and was also disappointed.

So then I went back to my room, played around on my computer for an hour and a half and then fell asleep unexpectedly.

Thus ends Day 1 and Day 2.

The Taken

Jan. 23rd, 2017 07:09 am
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The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not impressed with the story, the writing or the setting. It wasn’t the worst book I have consumed, but it isn’t even in the average. I will avoid spoilers.

1. The writing style: This by far was the worst part of the whole thing. The way Vicki Pettersson wrote the book was the single hardest thing to get used to. It is a “noir” story, meaning it falls back on the old gumshoe type of writing such as “the dame walked into the door and had looks that could kill”.

Now, that can be interesting to a point, but the entire book was written using very halting language, terms and frankly an incredibly sexist viewpoint. I hadn’t expected it to be like that at all. I specifically chose it because the author was a woman and at no point would I have imagined that someone who is on the other side of misogyny would write like that. Now, as a side note, I realize that I had a gender bias going in, thinking a woman wouldn’t do it, and I was proven wrong as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy supernatural noir/urban fantasy settings. Take Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. That is a supernatural noire novel without relying on the trapings and clichés of the old novels. I just couldn’t get into the ham fisted writing style of the book itself, this probably influenced my other two issues.

2. The story: Sadly, the story isn’t imaginative at all, especially for a noire setting. The fact that Griff is a “centurion” doesn’t change it. The main female character is only a two dimensional attractive woman who is always the scrappy investigative reporter. The villians all are “evil” to be evil and there is no shades of grey.

Worst of all the book is over 400 pages and has too many plots that try and interweave. Maybe if the author had focused on a single plot it would have felt like a story, as it was none of the character changed over the book (if they did, it was a decline of detail and character drive and not any actual change). It wasn’t even a good romance story (and I love me some good romance).

3. The Setting: This is probably the area I have the least problem with. The story of a human elevated to a “centurion” to help lead people from violent death to the afterlife isn’t a bad setting. Las Vegas is never a bad place to be, and the “alien” of the Pure is something I haven’t seen before in this type of writing.

The part I don’t like is that it is purely a Christian angel/afterlife sort of thing. With other supernatural/urban fantasy noire like Dresden you get a taste of other cultures and other people. It isn’t centered as a white world. This is just a recent discovery of mine as I am white and male and before a few years ago I didn’t realize that everything was aimed at my demographic. It would be nice to see more cultural influences in this world. I probably would have like the setting more if the storyline and the writing style weren’t so difficult.

Overall I would recommend that you only take the time for this if you are stuck at an airport, or in a place where there aren’t other options. I don’t think Ms. Pettersson is a bad author herself, but this foray needed more editing, more focus and a lot more time to cook before it was released.


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