Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Random Thoughts

So I was just thinking about the reading I did in school, and I recalled that there was a book by… uh, someone, called 'The Cat Who Went to Heaven' that was an option for us to read in our history class if we'd finished another book before the due date.

As I recall, it was a decent enough book, about a cat who befriends an artist in some eastern country where the religion suggested that cats were bad and could never go to heaven and the artist has to paint a mural for some prince or something. I can't say anything about how accurate it was to the culture it presented since I barely remember what it was about and it was back in middle school that I read it, but there was one very significant flaw with the book that made it difficult for me to fully appreciate it (though I did in the end anyway).

This book was severely lacking in mustached journalists who went around solving mysteries with a couple of siamese cats. Talk about a total letdown...

Monday, November 19, 2012


So due to me not being able to concentrate on anything for extended periods of time (well, unless it's Legos or Pokémon) I haven't really been able to get any new posts up.

Sorry about that. In the meantime, have a Lego Pyramid Head riding an alligator.

Also: if an actual Silent Hill Lego set exists I am so totally buying it someday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Screw Adulthood, Man!

So I haven't gotten around to taking pictures of my Halloween costume yet. I did finish it, but wearing it is a pain and there are a few things I need to fix and then I have to dress up and get my mom to help me take pictures and blah blah blah here's what else I've been up to lately.

Those of you who know me (and know me relatively well) will know that I tend to gravitate towards kids' toys to entertain myself.  Why? Because they're #@*%ing awesome, that's why. Also because we have a lot of them from when me and my three older siblings were all kids. Most of these toys are in storage, but I did make a pointed effort to find the legos and bring them home so I could build things.

Of course, I like to make sure I have them sorted first.

By which I mean I connect all the ones that are the same shape because I don't have enough different compartments to sort things into. But you get the point.

There is a slight problem, though. All the things that I want to make with legos require quite a lot more of the regular building blocks than I have on hand. So, I've decided to see just how much I can build by building a singular entity. In this case, a tower built on a 16x16 whatever-unit-you-use-to-describe-those-little-connecty-round-bumps base. I started out hoping to have the outside of the tower look like it was made completely out of the regular block shapes, but then I started running out of the regular shapes so I decided to get creative and use everything that I could possibly use to build this monstrosity. At this point I'm having to get really creative, but it's a fun challenge and my tower's really friggin' tall now so I'm really enjoying myself.

You can probably tell where I gave up on trying to make it look pretty with the regular block pieces and just started using everything I could stick on there.

So yeah, that's what I've been doing when I'm not doing inventory for the gallery or wasting time playing games on facebook. Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Still loving Escher Girls

So remember that Halloween costume I talked about a while back? Here's a sneak peek:

Only imagine I'm like 50 times sexier. And not wearing pajama pants. Also, I think this is the first time I've looked at my boobs and thought, "Huh, they look kinda small," since I went through puberty.

So yeah, I'm going to be making a few adjustments to the original design, mainly due to time constraints and only having access to materials through the smallest (or second smallest, I forget which) Wal-Mart in the world, but at this point this costume is definitely happening. So yay for that, I guess.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things about me that usually get a surprised reaction, Part 1

So I guess I'm going to start a series of posts about things about me that, when I tell other people about them, tend to get some surprised reactions out of people. Why did I decide to do this? Because I just had a thought about pancakes and I wanted an excuse to tell the world that I don't like pancakes.

So, uh, anyway, I don't like pancakes.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hear me out, people. It's not that I think they're bad, it's just that they're not high on my list of favorite breakfast foods. This is because I don't generally like to start my day off with something as rich as pancakes, and I've had one too many occasions where I've eaten too many pancakes for breakfast (usually at the Patio Pancake Place in Salida, CO which is owned and run by extended family and has some awesome food and great service so if you're in Salida around breakfast or lunch time you should check it out) which is not always a bad thing in itself, but when there are enough times that it's followed by having to sit in a car for a few hours - especially when you're prone to carsickness and forgetting to do things that can help prevent said carsickness - then it loses its appeal really quickly.

So basically I can't really eat pancakes because they remind me of being carsick. Crepes are still cool, though.

Monday, September 17, 2012


So I was going to go out on another dish-adventure today but it's been raining for most of the day and there's even snow up on the mountains so that didn't happen.  Instead, I've got a post for you that could be seen as making light of a serious issue (because it kind of is) but is really just me sharing one of the weird things my brain does when confronted with a serious issue.  Basically I wanted to go on a rant about something but then I remembered how much I hate trying to write out my thoughts on serious issues because I get really frustrated whenever I can't fully say what I want to say and also I'd rather be playing with legos right now.  Anyway, I do want people to know what I think about this but I'm saving the full rant for another day when I can actually concentrate on it.  Just thought I'd say that as a disclaimer or something because OMG ANXIETY okay seriously now onto the post.

One of the problems with having a strong obsessive-compulsive streak is that it tends to make me want to argue against blunt, all-encompassing 'such-and-such is always this or that' statements.  I also have to make it very clear whenever I'm making a generalization because I know there are exceptions and I don't want to perpetuate stereotypes or whatever, so a lot of my time is spent going 'okay so things are like this EXCEPT when this or maybe sometimes this could happen or-'

THIS IS ANNOYING. Especially for me. See, you don't have to worry about it because you can't read my mind (and if you can… why don't you go do something a little bit more useful with your life? Seriously, that's kind of rude) but I get to live in my mind all the time so I get to hear the stupid arguments my brain makes ALL THE TIME.

Now, granted, there are times when this can be useful.  For instance, when someone's making a hurtful statement or is blatantly wrong and the consequences of said person being wrong are… well, pretty bad, then it's good to argue and point out when someone's generalizing or whatever.  The thing is, my brain also does this when I hear statements that I agree with.

Take the phrase 'rape is never okay.'  On a logical, rational level, I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.  The very definition of rape is having sex with someone without their consent, and I don't think it's fair to force an activity on anyone, especially one that can result in so a multitude of physical and mental health problems.  The excuses rapist apologists throw out there, like 'I'm a man! I can't control myself when I see a hot piece of ass like that!' or 's/he shouldn't have gone out drinking if she didn't want to get raped,' 'she should've been wearing a burkha,' or 's/he didn't actually say no so s/he must have wanted it' are, to put it bluntly, complete bullshit*.

But then my brain kicks in, and it decides that, since not everything in the world is in black and white, that there MUST be an exception to the rule.  And then it has to go and find it.  Oh, and it also has to make it fit in with my beliefs, because otherwise my brain would just be a total asshole.  The result?  Usually something like this:

Rape is never okay.  Okay, well, maybe there's someone out there who… no, wait.  Oh, I know!  If there's an evil virgin out there whose virginity is literally destroying the world through some evil virgin-magical force of evilness and they're refusing to lose their virginity because, well, evil… then, well, maybe.  But the odds of that happening are pretty slim so yeah, rape is never okay.

So basically my brain takes the BS excuses from whoever I'm arguing against and comes up with extreme hypothetical scenarios where maybe their arguments would be valid, but I don't like to share them because… well, you know, they're pretty stupid and impossible so there's really not any sort of point in sharing them.

*If you disagree with this statement, then I can only say the following: You don't have to agree with me, but I don't have to respect you for being an asshole.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Circle of Dishes

So I was unloading the dishwasher the other day and I thought, you know what? Dishes must have a really fucking boring life.

I mean, think about it.  All they do is get food put on them, go to wherever you want to eat with you, probably sit on the counter/table/nightstand/floor/whatever for a while, get washed, and get put away.  Sure, maybe sometimes they'll get to go outside when you want to sit out front and eat your food, and maybe you'll do something a bit more interesting with them like use a cup to trap all those bees that keep flying into your house because your windows don't have screens and the one window they love the most doesn't open, but other than that it's pretty much the same routine.

Well, you know what? I won't stand for it any longer.  I'm going to break the circle.  I'm going to give my dishes the fucking dish-adventure of a lifetime.

So let's start with a plate on the windowsill in the sun room.

Pretty awesome, huh?  But this is only the beginning.  It's time to take it even further.








Just look at that gorgeous view.

So, that's the first adventure of the sandwich plate.  Pretty fun, huh?  Just remember, kids (or, um, dishes), don't play in traffic.

Next week: Plates in the Playground

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Costumes Are Fun

So I've been rather addicted to reading Escher Girls lately, and after seeing just how many beautiful examples of horrible anatomy there are in the comic book world, I decided to pay homage to the impossible proportions of comic book superheroines by making a costume dubbed "the (nearly) ideal comic book superheroine." Of course, since there are no conventions that I could wear this costume to that wouldn't require a full-on vacation trip and that sort of a trip is a bit out of my range at the moment, I've settled for making this my Halloween costume for this year. I'll be sharing my progress as time goes on, but for now have some sketches of what the costume would look like. The pink is an outline of my actual body (although it's obscured at the top since I have yet to decide on anything for the head/shoulders area) and the blue is about where the costume would be on my body.

This is going to be the best Halloween ever.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SMART PEOPLE CAN'T BE FUN oh wait yes they can

So this morning I saw the following tweet from Carole Barrowman (@BarrowmanCrime on twitter):

 Now granted, when I clicked on the link to an article on the subject, I got a notice saying that the article in question didn't exist, but that doesn't mean I can't say anything on the general subject of whether fiction can be both entertaining and thought-provoking. And let me tell you, I have a lot to say about this. Not to mention I replied to her and she actually retweeted my response:

 So now I feel kind of obligated to actually write something on the subject. Which is probably a good thing because it means I'll actually be doing something productive with my morning that doesn't involve leveling up in Maplestory Adventures on Facebook.

To be honest, I'm not much of a crime fiction reader. I was a pretty dedicated reader when I was younger, and of course I went through a phase where I would read every single "Cat Who" book I could get my hands on, but in general, I tended to stray towards fantasy, sci-fi and action/adventure books like Harry Potter, Animorphs, and anything Star Wars related, and nowadays the most reading I do is reading webcomics or the text in video games. There's just something about the physical action of reading books that doesn't work for me (namely, the fact that books are hard to hold open when you're sitting at your computer). Still, it would be wrong of me to deny that reading has been a huge part of my life.

I don't speak only as a reader, either. I speak also as a gamer, as a youtuber, as a writer, and as someone whose life has been impacted - both negatively and positively - by all sorts of works of fiction. Fiction, whether in books, movies, TV shows, comics, video games, or any other form of media that I might be forgetting, is important, and it influences us a lot more than you might think. Hell, I did an entire study on the subject for my senior capstone project (Montana State University's equivalent of a thesis - they're too cool to use those mainstream terms), and every day I'm finding that there is so much more to it than what I managed to scrape together last spring. It's also relevant to the afore-mentioned tweet, so let me take a moment to explain what I found. It may seem like I'm going off on a tangent here, but you'll see how it relates in the end.

First of all, I'm not exactly an average student. Granted, that's mostly because I graduated from MSU last year so I'm technically not even a student anymore, but it's also because I have a rather different learning style from most students. How is it different, you might ask? Well, it's simple (sort of). I have an anxiety disorder (that manifests mostly in social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors - basically, I'm afraid of people and I have to have things a certain way all the time or else I start getting really uncomfortable) and ADHD (which shifts from not being able to concentrate on anything for very long to getting way too focused on something and not thinking about anything else for like five hours). I saw the world differently from the people around me, and since I didn't get a diagnosis on the anxiety disorder until I was in college, it made my childhood… well, difficult. I was more or less the go-to target for bullies not just in my class, but in the grades above and below me. It was a small school, too, so there wasn't much I could do to get away from it all. That's why I turned to fiction, and I spent more time in my own little fantasy worlds than I did trying to make friends and be social. I also ended up having such low self-esteem that it took an extreme amount of courage to wear a funny t-shirt to school and unzip my sweatshirt enough for other people to see it.

It's easy to see why I became so fascinated with mental disorders, and their portrayals in mainstream and independent media, after I finally learned about my anxiety disorder. It was such a huge part of my life that I was honestly baffled that nobody caught it when I was a kid, and I wanted to find out why that was. Thus, when I was given the chance to research a subject of my choosing in my last year of college, it was a pretty easy choice to make. I wanted to learn why it was so hard for see just how bad my anxiety was, and as I worked on my capstone project, it became pretty clear what the problem was.

Now, this is a subject that could easily fill over 200 pages, so I'll just summarize what I found. First of all, anxiety disorders are both incredibly common and painfully under- or misdiagnosed. What I found in my study suggested that up to a quarter of the population could have an anxiety disorder or some experience with anxiety at some point in their lives, but of those people, less than 10% will actually get a diagnosis or any kind of treatment, and those who do get diagnosed tend to be adults. Not too surprising when you think about it - when you're overwhelmed with anxiety about all kinds of things, it's easy to be afraid that you're overreacting and there's actually nothing wrong with you and that people will give you crap for saying you need help, especially when your anxiety is strongest when it comes to doing anything social.

Second, there is a distinct lack of representation of anxiety disorders - and mental disorders in general - in mainstream media. Sure, we've got shows like Monk, and movies like Mercury Rising, but it's pretty rare to see a character who's not just openly mentally disabled but also acts like a real human being, by which I mean it's rare to see a character who isn't defined by their disability.

Third, most mentally disabled characters in the media are, well, really disabled. You get the extremes of the spectrum - the autistic kid who's also a genius and solves codes that are supposed to be unsolvable, the bipolar parent who murders their kids (I think this one shows up mostly in news stories), the grown man who's too mentally disabled to take care of himself, and of course, about half the villains in CSI. There are two popular stereotypes of mentally disabled folks in the media - either they're violent, psychopathic murderers with no capacity for empathy, or they're nice people who have Inspiring Life Stories About Overcoming Adversity. Sometimes the latter will even have an amazing gift that makes up for their disability (one article I read for my study called them "supercrips," which is one of my favorite terms because it pretty much nails it).

Finally, media is way more influential than we give it credit for. Whether you like it or not, you're going to pick up on things - stereotypes, behaviors, 'facts' that are completely false but are still assumed to be true because they've been around for so long (did you know that some bats actually have great night vision?) and internalize them to some degree. In short, trying to learn about mental disabilities from mainstream media is like trying to understand politics by exclusively watching Fox News. It just doesn't work. In order to find a decent representation of emotional or behavioral disorders, you have to stray from the beaten path and look at other sources of entertainment. Personally, I benefitted from reading Jeph Jacques's webcomic Questionable Content and discovering the youtuber Angry Aussie. Both of these entertainers treat the subject with some honesty and integrity (along with a butt-load of humor), which serves to prove the point I made in my project. What we see in media affects what we believe in the long run, and we have to be careful about that.

So how does this factor into whether or not media can be entertaining and insightful at the same time? Well, just take a look at how intellectuals have been portrayed in kids' shows and sitcoms (presumably some of the first things a child has any sort of consistent exposure to in the media). Remember all those stuffy teachers, all those smart kids who were incapable of feeling any sort of human emotion, those boring school assignments that consisted of reading Shakespeare in fourth grade despite it being way too complex for a fourth grader to understand? Granted, some of these shows were just trying to touch on subjects that kids could relate to, but then there were shows like Code Name: Kids Next Door, which was literally based on the concept that every adult ever was evil and lived for the sole purpose of making children's lives a complete hell (with the exception of really stupid parents). You have no idea how much that show pissed me off when I was a kid.

It seems like there's this strange idea in today's media that fun and intelligence are incapable of mixing. There's a lot of talk about high-class art and fiction, but most of the time it's either making fun of how pretentious it is or talking about how great it is without actually explaining why it's great. It took me until college to realize that not only did Shakespeare have some pretty powerful stuff, but a lot of his plays are really fucking funny. Similarly, it took me forever to realize that a lot of modernist art actually did make a valid point and wasn't just some guy putting a can of soup on a pedestal and saying "LOOK AT ME I'M AN ARTISTIC GENIUS!" Of course, there's still a lot of modern art out there that's trying to get attention for reinventing the wheel and being 'edgy,' but analyzing it isn't just something for stuffy old professors and those crazy cat ladies who always seem to be the go-to art experts in every single cartoon ever.

The funny thing is, while I did have a very enlightening class about all this during my sophomore in college, most of these realizations came to me after I started watching funny videos on the internet. It was the Nostalgia Critic who made me realize that a lot of the things I worried about as a child were actually just signs of bad writing (particularly the video in which Doug Walker, the man behind the Nostalgia Critic, describes the 10 movie clichés he hates the most - especially the #1 cliché, which I will admit probably contributed quite a bit to my social anxiety).

So the basic point here is that we, as a society, are influenced by mainstream media to think that fun and intelligent can't go together. You can see it in the way certain novels are so often referenced in shows as something that nobody would want to read (you'd think with all the times I've heard about War and Peace I'd actually know something about the plot by now), and you can see it with painful clarity when you look at how society as a whole looks down on video games.

This is where I veer (or at least openly admit to veering) from the point in the tweet at the beginning, because - like I said - I'm not as avid a reader now as I used to be, and (thanks to Mr. Roger Ebert, who I'm pretty sure is just trolling the gaming community at this point) the issue of video games as a valid source of entertainment is a pretty personal one to me. One comment I read - either on Mr. Ebert's facebook page or on an article Mr. Ebert posted to facebook - suggested that people still regard video games as mindless time-wasters such as Pong or Space Invaders and ignore the developments in the genre that have led to games such as Portal, which is a thrilling and suspenseful mystery story disguised as a first-person puzzle game. There are so many questions that the story of Portal brings up, most of which involve the ethics of scientific research and human experimentation, and the story itself is one that can only reach its full potential as a video game. It would be extremely difficult to adapt it into a movie or a novel, because the strengths of Portal lie in the way the story progresses. It wouldn't be nearly as good if you didn't have to play an active role in the story.

The conclusion I came to in my project is that the only solution to misrepresentation of mental disorders in mainstream media is the addition of more accurate depictions. Since people tend to pick up so much from cartoons or sitcoms or whatever we happen to enjoy watching, it makes sense to take advantage of it. Most of what influences us is subtle, so by making subtle changes to your work, you can manipulate people to a ridiculous degree, and that's what a lot of media aims to do to begin with. Nobody can argue that the Fresh Prince of Bel Air didn't have any sort of political message to convey, and it needs to be acknowledged that things are seldom as simple as they may seem at first. The greatest strength of fiction is in its ability to move people, and to think that nobody's taking advantage of that is, quite frankly, one of the dumbest ideas you could possibly have.

In conclusion, go play Portal (and its sequel Portal 2) because it is awesome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Joys of Having Metal Face

So something pretty awesome happened this weekend.

 If you don't recognize anybody, that's me with youtubers SMP Films and KatersOneSeven, aka Cory and Katers. They've been doing this tour around the country and this past Saturday was their day in Denver, and since I make an effort to support anybody who bothers to come anywhere near the Rocky Mountains while touring, I begged and pleaded with my mom to drive the four and a half hours to Denver so that I could meet these two people who've had a hugely positive impact on my life. In fact, if it weren't for Cory, I wouldn't have found Mr. Angry, who was kind enough to help me with my senior Capstone project (basically Montana State's version of a senior thesis) about media depictions of emotional disorders and will be appearing in a video of mine at some point in the (hopefully not-too-distant) future. So yeah, that was pretty cool. There were all sorts of shenanigans going on at that meet-up in Denver, and Kate was kind enough to sign my DSi. That plastic cover will serve me well now that there's an autograph to protect.


 I spent a lot of time handing out pictures of my dog with links to various things on the back, so if that's how you found this blog, then welcome. I hope you like my doggy pictures, because there will probably be a lot of them scattered throughout my posts in the future. Today, though, I'm going to talk about my face. I am a 23-year-old with braces. It's not the most pleasant thing in the world, especially since I have a tendency to (kind of) bite my lip and when there's metal on your teeth, it can result in a split lip that takes forever to heal. Which is not fun when you've got OCD and you can't force yourself to leave a wound alone without a lot of willpower and perseverance. Anyway, there are a few fun things about having braces. First is how my teeth have changed from having a gap between my two front teeth to having two gaps on either side of said teeth. This allows for some very interesting facial expressions, in which it looks like I have redneck hobo teeth or something. To make this even better, imagine that the two teeth on either side of the gap are my two front teeth.


 The other thing is flossing. I have this kind of floss that has a built-in threader so I can maneuver the floss through my braces and expander, and sometimes it can get stuck.


 It tends to happen more in the back teeth, because that's where the expander is. Anyway, that's pretty much all I have to say this morning. To finish, have another picture of my dog Juno.


 She looks so comfortable, doesn't she?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mind = Blown

Laundry. Lawndry. Lawn dry. In some places it is common for people to dry their laundry in the back yard. Back yards usually have lawns. OMG.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It's been well over two months since I last posted. I have no excuse. Well, except for the fact that my grandfather passed away and certain people in my life have been dealing with complicated love life drama that makes me glad I haven't bothered to even try getting into the dating scene. Oh, and puzzles. Lots and lots of puzzles. And Pokémon. And Skyward Sword. And Portal 2.

So... yeah, that's what's new in my life. Also, I found this set of awesome markers that I had when I was little that I couldn't not buy, so now I'm having fun with those and stuff. Juno's still a dog, and she still does doggy things like a dog would, so that's cool. We had a distinct lack of snow this winter, but it's all coming down now that the ski area's closed for the season. I've also been working on a secret project that involves jellyfish that will be revealed... whenever it's finished. So someday that will be done and things will be cool and stuff.

Anyway, sorry about disappearing and all that. I'll try to get back into consistent(ish) blogging at some point, but it might take a while.

Friday, February 3, 2012


So I think I mentioned a while back that I had started this 5,000-piece puzzle. Well, it seems that puzzle only started a rather frightening trend. I've lost count of how many puzzles I've completed since then, but I know I've done at least fifteen. Plus, I've started one of the most ridiculous projects I could possibly start. First, though, let's talk about the monster puzzle.

As you can see, not only did Juno work on it (sort of), but so did every other person in our family, and even a few family friends such as The Tiny One (known for her love of video games and anime and her inability to pass a cute puppy without screaming "PUPPY" and running towards it) and The Tall One (known for her love of mac and cheese and her inability to hang out with me on a regular basis due to the fact that she lives in Chicago) and her parents. Of course, this project started well before any of these people were aware of its existence, so for the first couple of weeks the only ones who did anything were me and my parents. Mostly me.

One thing I learned during the whole process is that there are certain puzzle-related advantages to having parents who own a gallery/framing shop. One of these being the amount of matboard scraps you can claim as your own for your ambitious puzzle-making endeavors. When I added this discovery to the fact that there were many, many bags in the puzzle box that I could use to sort pieces with, I had a pretty good system going. Sure, I may have taken up the entire dining room table with this gigantic puzzle, but at least I had it confined to that space as well.

It kept going for a while, and we kept making progress...

My brother and sister arrived from Germany, and my sister especially took an interest in completing the puzzle, as she had been the one to buy it several years before. The Tiny One came over around this time as well, and she managed to get a few pieces in despite being a typical teenager who stayed up way too late and was too tired to think coherently. She became very excited every time she got a piece in. It was great.

Christmas Eve rolled around, and we still had quite a ways to go. The other sister had arrived and she was working hard on it as well.

A few days after Christmas, we had made even more progress.

We didn't work constantly on it, of course. There was also time to mess with my passed-out brother by covering him with stuffed animals.

But we did get it done before the family dispersed and headed their separate ways. And, of course, we had the Tall One working on it for a bit with her family.

Finally, it was finished, and we were able to relieve the stress of having a gigantic puzzle taking up the dining room table.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

I think this needs its own official post

I have a very special dog. She's pretty smart as dogs go, but she does have one or two little quirks that make me giggle. The following is one of those quirks.

My dog doesn't fart very often, or at least not that I know of. She doesn't fart very loudly, at least. When she does let out a loud fart, however, it causes a strange reaction from her. Every time she lets out a loud one, she looks back at her own rear and sniffs at it, but from the way she does it, I don't think it's because she's interested in the smell. The look on her face is more along the lines of "what the hell was that and why did it come out of my butt" than anything else.

In conclusion, my dog is confused by her own farts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Musings of a Would-Be Reader

OMG two posts in one night. This one is related to the last one, though, so I kind of felt obliged to post it at the same time.

I love to read. I love stories, I love words, I love getting to experience a new world through the pages of a book... I love to escape. I'm good at it, too. I was always a couple years ahead of my class in terms of reading skills. If one of my teachers gave me a good book, I'd be way ahead of the assigned pages after the first day. I got through the fourth Harry Potter book in a day and a half (with breaks for eating, playing, sleeping, etc.) and I read the fifth in a total of about 15 hours. I would read at night in the poor light of my bedroom, which is probably why I can't even see my own computer screen from a foot away without my glasses. I would read in the car and get sick because of it, but I would still keep on doing it because I never freaking learned. I just wanted to read, damn it.

I still love reading now, but there's just a bit of a problem. I don't do it. Because of that, I feel this little pang of guilt every time I see Carole Barrowman make a post about the joys of reading. Why guilt? Because I have an anxiety disorder and I take everything as a personal critique even though I'm not really sure she realizes I exist (but she did respond to me twice on twitter and I'm probably going to send her a link to this when it's up so if she does see this... uh, hi, Carole, I liked your books and I apologize for any and all impulsively-written tweets I have and will likely send to you in the future, even though they're probably not as bad as I'm making them out to be but I like to have all my bases covered). Which obviously means I need to respond by making up excuses to make myself feel better discovering what has kept me from being as avid a reader as I was when I was younger.

First of all, I'd like to point out that I still do read. It's just that most of the reading I do nowadays takes place on the internet and comes in the form of news stories, blogs and facebook or twitter feeds. Oh, and webcomics and whatever text there is to be found in video games. I do still read actual books on occasion, too. The last one I finished was I Am What I Am, for which I made a fantastic little cover out of bluish-purple construction paper because it has a face on the cover and it was making me nervous because every time I looked at it I felt like John Barrowman was staring into my soul and judging me and I don't like it when books are judging me because it's not very polite so I made a cover for it and the preceding book Anything Goes so that I wouldn't have to put either one under a stack of other books in a corner on the other side of the room whenever I wasn't reading it just so I could get through the day without feeling like I was being watched. And judged. I don't have any posters up in my room for the same reason. Other than that, the only books I've read in the past year and a half were the ones that I had to read for school, and since I graduated, I've sort of been in reading limbo. If that exists. I got a Redwall book that I hadn't read yet that I haven't gotten through, and there's this German children's book that I got that's about some kind of crime mystery thing but I don't really know what it's about because I haven't actually read past the first page because it's in German and I don't like having to look up words when I'm reading because it throws off the flow.

So I think the main issue here is that I like to read, but I just... don't. Which is weird, because when I was little it was hard to make me stop reading. So the question is, why is that? How can something that's been such a huge part of my life be slowly fading into a memory of who I used to be?

Short answer? Internet. Long answer? Well, it's complicated.

I guess I have a very specific type of book that I've always liked to read, but now that I'm older I've started moving away from what I loved when I was little and moving towards... well, I don't really know yet. Which is kind of problem because it's hard to find things when you don't know what you're looking for and you have a tendency to ignore anything that falls outside of a very narrow set of interests because anything else is New and New Things are Scary.

More than that, the act of reading a book requires the ability to sit down and concentrate on one thing at a time for more than five minutes, and I'm just not very good at that. My attention either shifts too easily, or it doesn't shift at all. Some days I'll be all over the place trying to accomplish twenty things at once, and some days I'll spend ten straight hours playing Pokémon. My concentration will be entirely on one project, and then I'll find a 5,000-piece puzzle in the closet that hasn't been finished and that project will be forgotten for a month.

The way I process information has changed, too. I'm just not that good at processing the contents of a standard book page. I need more structure than the usual return-tab format of paragraphs in a book. To put it bluntly, I would read a lot more if books were printed with pretty colors and distinctive paragraphs that don't blend together to look like a massive wall of text that makes my brain shut down whenever I look at it. Or even if I could just read stuff on my computer, rather than having to hold a book open, which bothers me because it requires me to hold my hands in a funny position and my fingers get stiff easily so it's hard to find a comfortable position to read in.

So I guess it's just a matter of finding the time and finding a book that catches my interest enough. And by 'finding the time' I mean 'remember that reading is fun and actually do it for once instead of failing at Zero Isle South for the fiftieth time because I have no patience for leveling up my Pokémon and I keep getting K.O.'d because of it.' We'll see how that goes, but for now, I'll just settle for trying to finish one of the fifty other projects I have going on at the moment.

Neurotic Fangirlism

Well, so much for sticking to a twice-weekly updating schedule. Sorry about that. I was going to come back with a post about the dozen or so puzzles I've done in the past month, but I still haven't written that and I decided I wanted to do a 'face your fears' sort of thing so I wrote this instead and now I'm going to post it before I start to panic and change my mind. There's a cute picture of Juno at the end, so at least you'll have that.

One of the difficulties of being a writer with anxiety is that there are so many things I want to write about that I don't write about because they involve people that I am determined to meet and hang out with someday. Like John Barrowman.

God damn, I fucking love that guy. Not in the 'I am so totally going to marry him someday' sense, though, seeing as I'm a bit lacking in the Penis Department. And he's a bit lacking in the 'I Like Vaginas' Department. And also he's been in a committed relationship since before I was capable of stringing together grammatically coherent sentences (I believe his partner is an architect, which makes me wonder if what my would-be architect friend from college said about architecture majors having to be slightly masochistic rings true on a global scale, or if that's just a Montana State thing (seriously, I rarely ever saw friends from the architecture college because they literally had no time for a social life, or healthy amounts of sleep, for that matter). I imagine it differs depending on the university, though). Not to mention I'd never want to marry someone who thinks walking in high heels is an important skill to master, even if he does play one of the most badass guys on television. Because seriously, I can walk in them without looking like a complete moron, but fuck high heels. Fuck. High. Heels.

So, I was going to talk about anxiety and people I admire and respect, but since I brought up high heels my brain is refusing to let me think about anything besides my hatred of shoes and dresses, so let's just pretend that this is what I set out to write about, shall we? Anyway, I've found that whenever I get new shoes, with one or two exceptions, they almost always end up having one of the following problems: either they give me blisters on my heel or little toe, or they end up being just tight enough with certain socks that I start to lose feeling in my little toe. The one exception I've found is the Keen brand, but both pairs of Keens I've owned over the years have been what might have a technical name but I don't know it so I'll describe them as sandals with toe protection, and when your hometown averages over 200 inches of snow in a winter, it's not really the best idea to walk around in shoes that are mostly just straps attached to the sole. When the day comes that I finally can buy snow boots (by which I mean walking boots, not snowboard boots that are just comfortable enough to be okay for walking through snowy areas but a pain in the ass to wear while running across town to catch the bus because you missed it by like 15 seconds and you were supposed to meet some friends on it) then I'll probably look at the Keen brand, because they've been much kinder to my feet than most other shoes I've had. I think this is mostly because I don't know a goddamn thing about trying on shoes at the store and I usually get emotionally attached to the first pair I try on so I can't force myself to use logic and I convince myself that they're perfect even though I'm starting to lose feeling in my little toe because I don't want the shoes to feel bad. So really I don't hate shoes themselves but rather my inability to find a pair that doesn't end up hurting my feet in the end. Dresses, on the other hand...

It took me a long time to figure out what exactly it was about dresses that bothered me so much. There is, of course, the obvious fact that I enjoy a lot of outdoor sports that are not conducive to dress-wearing, coupled with the fact that I worry too much about accidentally giving someone a view of my undies, but there was something else that I couldn't quite nail down until youtube vlogger KatersOneSeven described it perfectly: I don't like it when my thighs rub together. It is a horribly uncomfortable feeling and it is pretty much why I will never sleep in the nude, especially when it's hot out because being all hot and sweaty just makes it even worse. This is also why I am determined to avoid ever living someplace where 60ºF is considered cold. My body has no understanding of heat regulation, so I can't even wear a tight-fitting t-shirt without breaking out into a sweat, even if my hands are getting stiff from cold at the exact same time. This is why I have purchased exactly one dress and two skirts in the past ten years. It ain't worth it, plus where the hell am I going to dress up fancy around here? Half the people I see in dresses around here are guys in drag at the Mardi Gras parade. Which makes me think that if John Barrowman were to come here for a visit, he'd fit right in.

So... back to my original point, it does get hard to write about stuff without feeling horribly self-conscious and dreading any contact with anyone mentioned out of fear that they'll read it and decide that they hate me because I've somehow offended them by acknowledging their existence and I just realized that none of this makes any sense which just proves my point that anxiety is stupid and having it is stupid and that's why I'm on drugs now.

So, Mr. Barrowman, if you do happen to read this, then congratulations, you now know all about my feet and my dislike of certain body parts rubbing together. I will make it to a convention or a signing or something eventually, and I promise I'll take my meds beforehand because I really don't want to be that one creepy fan who is clearly mentally unbalanced and can't seem to get her foot out of her mouth, even though that will probably happen anyway but since you've admitted to putting your foot in your mouth on several occasions I assume you'll be understanding and cool about it and you'll get to hear all about how my dog looks at her rear in sheer confusion whenever she lets out a loud fart. It'll be great.

Edit: disclaimer: this post (and also this disclaimer) was written while I was mildly sleep-deprived and well after the Adderall had worn off, and let me tell you, when I'm tired and off my ADD meds, shit gets really weird.