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.