Thursday, September 13, 2018

Rough weeks and potential undoings

Last week was bad all around. Work sucked (but what else is new on that front, right?). I had an English assignment I couldn't get right and programming went from third grade to masters level overnight (or so I thought). Needless to say, I debated quitting school over the weekend.

In English, we had to read an essay and then answer some questions about it. I wrote it up twice, trying to prove that we agreed that he made his point and that he showed opposing points properly (like the book was asking), but I totally disagreed and thought he failed miserably. Finally, by Friday night (I normally have my papers uploaded by mid-week at the latest), I re-wrote the entire thing a third time, basically saying what I thought instead of what I felt the book wanted me to say. Needless to say, after sending an apologetic email with the submission (which I was terrified over), I still got a perfect grade and good comments, so I guess I worried on that over nothing. Lesson learned - go with gut.

Programming was a different beast. All this third grade hand-holding has been driving me crazy and I have been complaining about it left and right...well, be careful what you wish for. I was caught up on my notes and the reading and thought I was ahead of the curve, until we actually started programming and she started talking like we've been programming our entire lives! Ummmm, this is a beginning class for those who have technically never programmed before, what the heck? Why spend weeks writing stupid algorithms for scrambling eggs and how to drive to campus and then throw us off the deep end with code? It's a language...how can you write a language you've never heard before? Luckily, by Monday, things clicked a bit better, but it didn't help my weekend any and I'm still not totally comfortable yet, not like I was.

Algebra is the prerequisite for this course, but she keeps giving us geometry problems (I totally SUCK at geometry). I've been bombing them in algorithm form, but apparently, I can do them in programming form...go figure. Apparently, she used to teach math, hence her geometry fixation. I haven't had geometry in 31 years (not since 11th grade).

To make matters worse, week before last, on a work trip, I made a pit stop at an old job, basically begging for a new job. They were not only happy to help, but got on the phones and had me several good options lined up almost immediately! I just had to go home, type up a resume, and send it in. I did do a resume, but I chickened out on the submission part, now two of the jobs are already gone. It makes sense for me to find a new job...this one is making life miserable, it's going to be impossible for me to take more than two classes per semester (and I'll never graduate this way), and this is just too stressful of a place.

But, getting a new job means a HUGE change for a comfortable Asper, I would either lose or have to buy my computer from the company (which will cost me a chunk since it's a new Macbook Pro and fully loaded), I'm in the middle of some pretty serious dental work that won't get finished, I will be between insurances for a while which could mean a med interruption which, considering some of the meds I take, could be deadly, and there is no way I could find any job that pays me what I make now.

On the other hand, my retirement is small, but enough to completely pay off my credit card debt, so even if I make less, it won't matter because all I'll need is living expense money for me and the pups. If the job is 2nd or 3rd shift, even better because I won't have to worry about working a schedule around school at all. And if it's less stressful, then yea me! I can adapt to a new workplace (especially if it's just an old one, revamped). And if it's tech related, then maybe I can learn something that might actually help with school! I can't learn anything at my current job. I'm the only tech person, so everything is set up my way and nothing changes.

A wise friend and co-worker (who just handed in her notice ironically), did remind me that, since my loans have me locked down to two classes both this semester and next anyway, wait until next year to make any real decisions about work. Maybe eventually they will back off or be nicer about things. I doubt the nicer part, but I do think they may find another "project" to focus on other than me eventually and I can fade quietly back into the walls.

So, crisis averted and I'm back in action working through more English and Programming, doing the best I can. Next Friday is my first big test in Programming and I'm terrified. I do tend to panic in a class setting more than doing homework at home. I talked to the disability office about it and they offered to change my requirements so I can take the test in their office instead. I decided to "man-up" and try it in class first to see how it goes. If I bomb it, I can only blame myself and then I'll take them in the DO from then on.

And, on the good news/bad news front...the Twi/Fifty obsession has FINALLY stopped, but now I'm in a Once Upon A Time obsession and can't stop that. If it ain't one thing, it's another with me! I've put off homework twice this week (including test studying and flashcard-making for next week) because I turned on Once first. I can't do that tonight, but I'm afraid I'm going to. Same with this weekend. I have to cram as much as possible because I don't know what next week will bring and how much studying I can do before the test, but the Once force is strong. Damn OCD! And what if I can't retain any of the information I memorize...I am old after all and the short-term memory is the first thing to go! That's my biggest fear.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Books vs Movies #4: Fifty Series

Guess you guys knew this one was coming and I'll try really hard not to dwell too much on the similarities to the Twilight series or the whole fan fiction issue (although it's probably gonna creep up once or twice).

I should give a bit of backstory here. I do read romance novels, although, if you would have asked me that question 20 years ago, I would have probably been appalled at the very fact you asked me. I didn't start reading them until after my divorce and was very anti-the-genre before then. One could argue that Jane Austen is "romance" but, in my eyes, that is CLASSIC literature and NOT up for discussion. The romance novels I do read, don't usually go in the direction of the BDSM or overtly sexual type. I am still a prude, after all. It's one of the reasons why I like young adult novels.

I didn't start with the books though, I started with the Unrated versions of the three Fifty movies and I could immediately see that scene after scene was a blatant rip-off of the Twi's (more book than movie on that front, but still), but Jamie Dornan is enough of a distraction that I tried to not dwell too much. Again, like Twi's and Kristen Stewart, I also don't like Dakota Johnson, so there is that issue to contend with. It's hard to champion for the heroine when you don't like the actress playing her.

Actually, as another side point, I don't care much for any actress period. I can count on one hand how many actresses I do like. And the ones I do like, I'm not sure if it's actually them, the kind of movies they typically do, or the actors they play against. Actors, well that list is almost endless, dominantly British, and usually not subject to change. A good smolder and I'm lost for life.

Now, I should also add I went "Unrated" movie-wise, not for the extra sex (there is no extra sex scenes in the unrated versions), just the extra scenes, period. I know this because I have since gotten the Blu-rays. It's one of those weird word plays that certain movies like to do, especially this sort of movie, to draw in their target audience. Twi's version is "Extended" versions, which are also unrated, but simply because they were created only for the BR or DVD version and not meant for theatrical release so no need for the MPA (Motion Picture Association for those non-US folks) to rate.

The Fifty movies, even though sexually heavy, are still a lot "softer" and more "romantic" than the sex in the books. I think I've become immune to Dakota's boobs because I think they are out more than they are covered. Jamie's butt, however, still makes me blush. I also don't typically watch movies with this much sexual content to them and I probably arrantly turned down the volume during certain scenes because I was afraid of what my neighbors might think (out of prudishness more than actual need to do so), so inner prude still intact.

The movies also make Ana a bit stronger and Christian a bit softer. In the books, she's a lot more of a wuss than Bella ever was and Christian is way more of a total jerk than Edward ever was. I'm not sure if they did this so that the movie-goer would like the characters better, but more on that later too.

I think it bugged me more that the movies lost two major characters (the doctor I mentioned in my last post) and Ethan, the brother to Kate, because I would have liked to see Ethan in screen form. Mia reminds me of Alice and I would have like to see her with at least a sort-of boyfriend. They kind of combined Jose and Ethan's character in the movies, and I really didn't like Jose in the books (or the movies for that matter), so that didn't (and still doesn't) sit well with me.

Even after watching the movies dozens of times, I still refused to buy the three books for as long as I could hold out. I HATE paperbacks (it's the smell of the paper and you have to be too careful so the spines don't get bent) and older printed books are hard to find in hardback (or incredibly expensive). Target had the paperbacks in a box set, but again, I was proud of myself for not buying them the first two times I went to Target after starting this movie mess. The third time I wasn't so lucky and the reason is not why you'd think.

Like Twi's unfinished Midnight Sun, there is also finished (and published) versions of the first two Fifty books from Christian's point of view (considering the publication date on those, I figure the third book will be out this November). I bought those digitally first and started with them.

From this point on, I'll refer to the original books as the "Fifty's" and the others as the "Christian's", to save space.

I also don't typically like digital books because it's hard on my eyes to read online for long periods of time, but I was intrigued because of my love of Edward's unfinished Midnight Sun (and, honestly, it was a late night decision and my OCD couldn't wait until the next day...I wanted to read them right THEN). Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. I do typically put myself in the point of view of the lead heroine because I am female, but once that's established and I'm emotionally attached to the hero, then I want to know what he's thinking too. I felt like the movies had already did that for me.

Finishing the Christian's is what pushed me over the line and caused me to buy, not just the box set of the Fifty's, but the two Christian's in paperback as well, the last time I hit Target.

Had I read the Fifty's first before the movies, I would have never watched the movies at all and still would have been very anti-Fifty. They were whiney, too sexually repetitive, and the whole "I'll never leave you", "I love you more than anything" business got really old really fast. It almost makes me want to read them for the sole purpose of counting how many times the world "love" is used in the books (like I did with the "F" word in Die Hard 3, I can't remember now, but trust me, it was in the triple digits).

I didn't feel like I was re-reading the Twi's or re-watching those movies while I was reading the Fifty's, I only got that vibe from the Fifty movies (and it was more directed toward the Twi books, if that makes sense), although I could find correlating scenes in each movie series that were almost a match word-for-word. For example:

In Twilight, Edward saves Bella from being attacked by a group of guys and takes her out to dinner. After she questions him on how he found her and he admits he can read minds, just not hers, (although he leaves out the whole "because I'm a vampire" part), the following exchange takes place:
EDWARD: "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore"
BELLA: "Then don't"

In Fifty Shades of Grey, after Christian prevents a drunken Jose from trying to forcibly kiss Ana (not as risky of an attack, but another attack), Christian takes her back to his hotel, cleans her up, and lets her sleep (although he sleeps beside her, a first for him...something also repeated ad nauseam in the books). After a morning discussion during breakfast (another meal) where he explains that he's not the romantic type and only has a "certain kind" of relationship (which he doesn't explain at that point...another important factual omission), she asked him why he's brought her there at all and then their exchange is as follows:
CHRISTIAN: "You're here because I'm incapable of leaving you alone"
ANA: "Then don't".

Yeah, copyright warning bells were going off left and right in my head and I actually started Googling the history of the Fifty books because I just knew there had to be major issues there. I found some of the original fan-fiction text online (it was called Master of the Universe at that point and you talk about "word-for-word"...geez!). Apparently, there isn't that much copyright stance for Stephenie Meyer to fight on (some weird loophole) and, even weirder, Stephenie doesn't care and hasn't even read those books. If someone was making millions off my work, I'd care.

Anyhoo, bookwise, the Christian's, are a whole different ball of wax and I much preferred those, but again, I was already attached to the characters by that point, so again, had I not of seen the movies first, I'm just not sure I would have touched them. But there are some pretty big continuity errors with the first book, Grey compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, which bugs me, but I try not to dwell (I dwell too much as it is). I noticed them less with Darker versus Fifty Shades Darker, so either they got a different editor, or someone did their job better. Considering Ana is a book editor for a living, it is a bit insulting to the character plot lines that the editor of Grey did such a bad job.

The Christian books make you see things from his point of view better and he doesn't seem nearly as cold and cruel...he really does love her and everything he does, even the meanest of things, he does because it's the only way he knows how to protect her (and she keeps putting herself in danger left and right...similar to Bella), but Christian's way of dealing with things is punishment to Ana whereas Edward's way is to run away thinking that protects her. Men are dumb.

So, final verdict? This is a more loaded question than the others. I wouldn't have read the books without having seen the movies and, although the books give you more story, I'm not sure I necessarily need it. The lack of the explanation of "vanilla relationship" or "Wanda" as the name of Anastasia's car doesn't make sense in the movie if you haven't read the books (and about thirty other small points like that), but again, you don't notice much...Jamie Dornan has that affect, or at least he does on me.

The Christian's I wouldn't have even known about without the movies, so I have the movies to thank, but again, I still need Jamie Dornan in my head for them to work. I still keep re-reading all the books as well as watching the movies, but I think that's more of an OCD thing than an enjoyment thing. I watch the movies WAY more than read the books whereas, with the Twi's, I read the books more than watching the movies. That may be because I watch movies and read at the same time and it's easier to distract myself with a Twi book while there is sex happening on the screen (inner prude at work).

It's an on-the-fence answer, but for now, I'm going movies. My favorite scene in the movie Fifty Shades Freed is the Aspen "chalet" (and I use that term loosely - mansion is more like it) ice cream scene in the kitchen, which I was SOOOO excited to read about in the books, but it's not there. The ice cream part takes place in book 1 and I think it was just thrown in during movie three to appease the fans after a probable backlash. That was the most disappointing part of reading those books when I got to that section and the scene took an entirely different turn, which wasn't better at all. When it read it in book one, my first thought was, "ice cream twice?", but nope. And since it's out of order sequentially (because in the books, they have already been clubbing and Ana is really drunk, but that hasn't happened yet in the movie), her giggling and drunk-acting in the movie never made sense to me since she had just woken up from a nightmare. Again, continuity errors.

I would recommend movies first and then the Fifty's, then the Christian's. I'd like to know which you preferred and try hard not to let Jamie Dornan influence your decision like I do! But choice-wise, I'm going to say movies...for now with the Christian's not far behind. The Fifty's are irrelevant now, just part of the OCD cycle.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The OCD A-Ha Moment

I finished off my first school week (and supposed work vacation) with mixed emotions and spent most of today sleeping off two Imitrex shots for my new routine "end of week" migraine.

Friday, during another social call to my English Professor (she really is extraordinary), I let slip about my little "hospital visit" and how school came out of that. I really need to learn to keep my mouth shut, but she is very easy to talk to. It did leave last October a bit too fresh on my brain by Friday night though. There is a reason why "everything happens for a reason" is one of my mantras.

In the middle of reading the second Fifty book while watching Eclipse on Friday night (I'm getting a bit too good at simultaneous movie-watching and book-reading), a startling realization hit me like the proverbial clacker against a gigantic brass plate.

For those who haven't read the Fifty books (I'll try not to get too spoiler-y, but this wasn't in the movies), Christian sees a shrink on a regular basis (I know, the irony, right?). Ana tells Christian she won't agree to his marriage proposal until she gets to talk to the shrink about Christian first. She has already given him the box with the keychain by this point, so it's moot, but she just needs some reassurances. Dr. Flynn tells Ana she's the reason why Christian no longer needs to dominate, because he's found his future and could stop dwelling on his past, even if Christian's still having trouble accepting that fact (there is this whole discussion about the proper therapy name for it, but it's unimportant). The good doc tells her to hang in there and keep doing what she was doing to keep Christian on the right path to "fixing" him (even though technically he isn't broken, which is what the shrink has been trying to tell him all along). It left her pretty confused, but then the whole helicopter thing happened and well, I didn't pay too close attention to the shrink stuff in the books to be honest (wonder why?).

Since Fifty is nothing but Twilight fan fiction, it didn't take me long to see the similarities with Edward only a LOT more vanilla (pardon the pun). Once Edward realized Bella wasn't dead in New Moon, he was willing to do whatever it took to keep her in his life, even if it meant he had to change how he viewed himself, the martyred demon. He also stopped seeing Bella as an innocent whose soul he was condemning to hell, but rather a partner first, the mother of his child second, and then, finally, his equal. By the end, his new-found purpose became to protect his family at all costs...his past long forgotten along with his demons.

It took me a while to catch on where I was heading myself, so I went back to Christian looking for more similarities with Edward. I tend to relate to Christian more given I'm also "fifty shades of fucked up" (although, ironically, not really that much differently, except for the BDSM part), so it made more sense that he would be the a-ha guy for me.

I have spent my ENTIRE life trying to deal with my past, dwelling on events that I had no control over. I've been trying in vain to forget, or fix, or change, or make right, or abuse, or cover up with medication, or blaa, blaa, blaa. I had a routine down, a pattern of blame were I directed anger at others (like Christian), or myself (like Edward), but three days locked in the psych ward and I'm registering for classes? No wonder I've been "what the f"ing! for months!

GGGGOOONNNNGGGG! Yep, when it finally dawned on me (again, pardon the pun), it was like someone had hit me on the side of the head with that clacker, and my head was the brass plate! My little hospital visit really was the reason why I decided to go back to school...not to torture myself or to have a "pet project" for the summer, or just to avoid my issues altogether, but to FINALLY stop dwelling on my past and focus on my future!

Given the choice though, and I feel it needs to be said, I would take Edward Cullen or Christian Grey over an education any day, but that, apparently, is not my destiny (Robert Pattinson or Jamie Dornan would also do, but again...fate hates me).

Even though I still struggle with the most basic of tasks like getting groceries, I'm able to deal with all manner of unseemly social situations on campus (although not all of them have been bad obviously) because I now understand that dwelling on the past won't make it go away and my beige/blue room of pain, via Hotel California, was my wake up call.

College is the way forward to a new life, hopefully one in a different city and state, in a better house, and maybe even, with a not-so fictional hero of my own (although I'm sure fate will have something to say about that part). I gotta go through a little pain of my own to get to the pleasure part. The dawn has broken my friends (pun intended)!

Wow, yeah, I know, I'm still in shock myself! Now I understand the pull toward these particular series, why Twilight wasn't enough (and why I just HAD to go Fifty...I needed to go "darker"). I was more worried about my stupid OCD and the subject matter to pay attention to what subconscious was screaming her angry little head off about. Now, if I could just find out where my inner goddess is hiding and and bring her out, I'd really be a new woman (god, now I'm speaking in "Ana-isms"!).

Can I stop the OCD cycle now? No, don't think so, not yet at least. I wish I could. But I don't think my OCD is done with me quite yet and, like Christian, I may have grasp the realization of my modifying situation, but I'm still afraid it could all be taken away at any moment.

Maybe, like Ana, I need a bit of "kinky fuckery" in my life to distract me for now, Then, like Bella, I can proudly claim, "I've decided on my life and I wanna start living it", only after I find a heaping dose of vampire-strengthened courage!

Oh well, time to do homework now. Just thought I'd share. Yeah, who am I kidding? I've got books to read and movies to watch! Homework can wait until tomorrow. At least I did find it hard not to write this post in the MLA format that my English Prof desires us to write in, so my head is must be shifting somewhat, right?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I'm a horrible blogger, but maybe a great student?

I have been HORRIBLE at keeping up with everyone else's blogs, a fact I hope to rectify this weekend. You guys have been so amazing and supportive for me, and I have totally sucked at checking back with you guys to see what's going on with you (and Linda, you have been in my thoughts).

Despite being on "vacation" this week, I've still managed to clock about five hours per day at work. I've also been on campus more than I will typically be, doing various side things that needed to be done (more on that in a minute). And, as much as I hate to admit it, the OCD force is still strong in this poor creature, to the point that I'm doing homework while movies of various Twilight/Fifty versions are running in the background. I think part of me knew that the OCD would not stop once school started, but I was hopeful.

On the school front, I'm a bit confused about the programming class. Day 1 was a "hi, here is the syllabus, bye", kind of day. Day 2, a supposed first day of real programming, was two assignments. Assignment one was opening notepad, typing your name, major, and programming history you have, and then uploading the doc into a program...oooh hard. Assignment two was a group project (something the disability office ASSURED me I wouldn't have to deal with), but it was a good thing because it was a frickin GEOMETRY problem (something I haven't done in 30 years), and then typing the info into notepad, emailing to each team member, and uploading the doc. Again, except for the geometry...oooh hard. I'm not sure when the actual programming comes into play, but this piddling is making me a bit nervous and worried. This is a very first grader-type class and it worries me because a) I don't like being talked to like a first grader; b) I want to actually learn something; and c) I'm paying to learn something, not just rehash something I forgot 30 years ago.

Another thing that worries me about the programming class is that it's full...of guys. There is only one other girl in the entire class. I had two guys in my group for the project, both of which were under the age of 20. One did the math, the other just sat there. I managed to figure out about 1/10 of the geometry and did the typing, although I couldn't understand guy #2's first name because he apparently can't speak louder than a mouse or in full sentences, so I had it wrong at first. When I corrected the document, I only changed it at the top and not throughout the entire thing, so I ended up having to email the instructor and explain to her that I screwed up and asked her to just dock my grade. She told me not to worry about it, so I'm not sure if that means we still got docked or what. That class is very confusing.

My meeting with my advisor didn't help much on the whole boy/girl front. He told me (after spending and exhaustive amount of time trying to talk me out of the BS for my major), that only one girl graduated in my major last year. I told him that I thought that was weird in this day and age and his response was that "girls don't like to get their hands dirty in the engineering course" and "they tend to get bored and move to different departments". I assured him I had no issue with getting my hands dirty, especially since computer hardware is what I'm best at anyway and I didn't answer the boredom question (I'm a bit worried about that myself). He just changed the subject back to software and how he just did a data mining project that helped find star distances and when I explained that was EXACTLY the kind of work I WANTED to do in the future, only with planets, I think he FINALLY understood what I was trying to accomplish. He still thinks I can graduate in three years, and he didn't like it when I laughed in his face, but oh well. He also said he had no adult students under him, so maybe he just doesn't understand full-time jobs, bills, mental illness, and trying to fit class in the middle of all that?

English Comp II, on the other hand, seems to being great (although my first paper hasn't been graded yet, so I may be jumping the gun there). I met with the Professor yesterday and I absolutely ADORE her! She is AH-MAZ-ING! I think I'm really going to learn a lot from her and hopefully it will improve my blog writing as a side-effect. I wish I would have taken her class on campus instead of online. I think I would have enjoyed her in the classroom setting. I don't like having to do discussion boards for the class though and I know I'm going to bad at that. I'm too afraid to speak my mind (because you guys know how that will get me into trouble), but it's also still graded work, so I'm also afraid not to give my honest opinion (which also gets me into trouble). Papers and reading I was expecting, but discussion boards? Ugh.

Oh well, back to work and then check in on the homework front and then back to OCD mode. Tomorrow, I'm hoping we can FINALLY program something, anything! Just don't make me work with smelly boys who can't enunciate their own names any more please!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Introducing...

May I cordially introduce Keebs...college student extraordinaire!!

After a SEVERE panic attack on Sunday (the worse I have had since leaving the "hospital" and even worse than Saturday), I decided to watch Infinity War, which has been sitting on my kitchen counter for a week. A co-worker told me how "good" it was and how much "I'd love it" and how it was "the best Avenger's movie ever". Well, he lied. He KNEW how I'd react to that ending (and I won't give you spoilers, but I started bawling five minutes in and was scream bawling by the very end). I texted him the nastiest text and he told me to watch it again because it gets better the second time...well, it DIDN'T!

Needless to say, my nerves were completely in check all day (other than the five minutes before class when I was backed into a corner and completely surrounded by smelly 19 year-olds), because all I could see was Captain America saying "oh my God" at the end of that movie.

I told my co-worker, I didn't know whether to kick him (for making me suffer like that) or hug him (for making my anxiety go away). I'm still leaning toward kicking him. Yes, Cap survived (which was my biggest fear), but still...SERIOUSLY? They better do some serious fixing in the next movie to make all this right!!

I've personally decided I'm going to have to break down and tell work to back off. The Disability Office said the same. They won't take it well. I've told them no before and they laugh me off, but this time I HAVE to mean it. If not, I have to find a new job. If school goes well, I will need to take more hours and I will need the extra time to study and go to classes. This job won't allow that, at least not for me (although they do for other people). I see that now.

We'll see how things go, but if I do good and I see I can handle this, next semester things will really have to change.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Will the chicken win out?

I've been trying every OCD trick to stay distracted. My Twilight obsession has now progressed on to Fifty Shades of Grey...a series I swore I'd NEVER touch with a ten foot pole, strictly on it's fan fiction-status alone. And yet, I'm still watching the seconds, minutes, hours, days fly by faster and faster to Monday, my first day back in college in 15 years and they are getting worse and worse with each passing moment.

I've spent the entire day reading every single Twilight book and then every single Fifty book (my reading skills are getting speedier...at least one positive outcome from all this), I've watched the Fifty movies, and now, at 10:30 pm, I'm on New Moon. Yeah, I got up REALLY early this morning (more on that in a moment) and yet, even with my eyes darting from TV to book to clock, Saturday has lasted all of 5 minutes. I can imagine Sunday will take all of one, but I also figure there will be no stop between the two days...even if I take my meds that would typically knock out a horse.

I'm not sure if I can do this whole college thing now. After all the struggles of getting back in school in the first place...the financial costs, the fighting re-taking the ACT's, the re-getting boosters I've already had, the endless meetings with counselors I didn't want to go through, yada, yada, yada, I'm starting to waver.

Don't even get me started on the hell I'm still going through on a weekly basis at work, which reached its highest crescendo Friday when I got blindsided with the news that even people who have no stake in my current, or future, position with the company are "concerned" about how school will affect my work and think "measures" should be taken and have been discussing said "measures" with senior management. Seriously people, mind your own damned business already!

Needless to say, I went to bed very late on Friday (or some might say Saturday morning) and woke up very early this morning (or some might say an hour or so later) unable to continue sleeping, hence my current predicament.

But still, as I sit here typing, my anger still not in check from Friday, my head aching from sleep depravity, my fear keeping me from doing online things that NEED to be done before Monday for school, I'm starting to wonder what would happen if I decided to NOT go back to school after all? What if I decided NOT to show up Monday or Wednesday or Friday or log in to the website again, ever (except maybe to send the loan money back)?

Am I really THAT chicken? I have been saying all this time I didn't know why I was doing this, especially since my "hospital stay" affected me so negatively in every other aspect of life...why did I push SO hard for this school mess? It didn't make sense. Maybe it was just a "project" to distract me and now the "project" is done, I don't need to actually go through with it? Is that possible?

Could I give work the satisfaction of knowing, "hey, don't worry, I'm not going anywhere and you can keep taking advantage of me as an employee all you want!"? Do I really want to live in this trailer for the rest of my life, never leaving this small town that I hate so much because I'll never make enough money to get out? Can I really continue on working for peanuts in a highly-paid job field simply because I don't have a degree? Right now, I'd say yes to every single one of those points just to be able to stay home on Monday. How sad is that?

When the time comes, when the alarm goes off Monday morning (if I manage any sleep between now and then), will I be able to open the front door at all? And even if I do actually make it out the door, into the car, and the five minutes to campus, somehow make it out of the car again, walk to class, walk in class and make it through class...who's to say I won't make it worse in my head than it actually was and never go back?

Every day will be a struggle and I've known that this entire time (obviously, because it's why I started with disability services in the first place), but I haven't dealt with that fact until now and I'm obviously not ready to deal with it now either because Edward is leaving Bella now and I have to get back to the movie (and I'll think I'll see if I can read the Fifty books while I watch the Twilight movies...double OCD whammy).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cape San Blas off of Port St. Joe

So, just to start, here's a look at my tree as the two, mine and the ones my parents planted, are now fighting for control:
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Sorry for the close proximity...I tend to find that my 35mm fixed lens tends to work better in the car for movement pics, so I was kind of locked as to position. But they are both growing back well, although not as tall as I would like.

My town at 2am...Southerner's aren't much for staying out late:
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I am NOT a fan of driving in Alabama, which is odd because most people around here would say they hate and are scared of Mississippi. I actually like driving in Mississippi and feel safer there. I took the straight Alabama way so I could get there quicker instead of my usual Mississippi to coast road. But with Alabama, at least on the interstate, this is usually all I ever see:
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And, if the fog does actually clear, more of the same of this:
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I did see this sign...so I did get a "Twilight" moment during the trip...my favorite Cullen/Hale/Whitlock!
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Another interesting side fact...I tend to pronounce Birmingham like the Brits do (because that's where Duran Duran is from, so that's how I learned to say it). Drives my Sister insane! She corrects me every single time, but I still say it the Brit way instead of the Southern way.

Alabama does not make for an exciting road trip because there is just nothing to see. Then you have to worry about when the interstate ends and you end up in the scary little towns. I'm from Northeast Arkansas, and trust me, I've seen some pretty scary places, but Alabama just isn't my cup of tea apparently. Repressed memories as kid maybe? I think my issues tend to stem with the fact that there are just less interstates in Alabama and more highways which means more small towns. I prefer the interstates. Mississippi has plenty. But anyway, I finally arrived at 1pm:
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And here is what the other side looked like toward the Florida coast:
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Normally, I'd walk on the beach for maybe and hour and come home. But it was so beautiful there, I ended up walking over three hours (almost 5 3/4 miles round trip) and still barely made it halfway down the cape. That's a goal for another trip. But here are a few shots of what it looked like there (oh, and some where taken with my camera, some with phone, so forgive some of the quality differences):
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I got a little "wave" happy and took a lot of shots of them:
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The shells there were smaller than St. George, but I still picked up WAY more than I could carry:
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And after walking miles in the water with my flip flops, I actually took them off because my feet were hurting. I NEVER walk barefoot in the water because I ALWAYS get stung by jellyfish (although I always have my flip flops on when I do, so I'm not sure why I think flip flops are going to save me, but there's also glass and needles and god knows what in the sand, so maybe that's why, but still). So here is the first EVER picture of me BAREFOOT in the ocean!
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A little know fact about me is, as much as I love the ocean, I HATE walking in sand. Sand at the water level is fine to walk in, but getting through that dry stuff makes my skin crawl. My Sister thinks this is hilarious, I don't. Because I'm a "bigger" girl, I tend to sink and it's just hard to walk through it (plus, I just hate the feeling of it). The wet sand, however, is different (yes, I already know I'm weird). Once I get to the water, I rarely stray from the wet sand until it's time to leave and I walk super-fast through the dry stuff. But here is me flying through the dry stuff:
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When I was a kid (and a budding artist), I used to draw bubbles all the time, so I also found myself taking a lot of pictures of bubbles:
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There were also several tide pools...the first I think I've ever seen:
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And, it's hard to tell, but there were fish in them! I was going to walk in one until I saw the fish and then I didn't.
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I also thought the sand patterns at the edge of the pools was neat, but that might just be that repressed artist in me seeing beauty in something weird:
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When I realized I was never going to make it to the end of the cape and I turned around, but stupid me forgot to actually take a picture of what cape was left...you can sort of tell from this pic, but not by much...those tiny little black specs are people:
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I literally followed this bird all the way back to the parking lot:
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The only jellyfish I saw and I didn't step anywhere near it:
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I was never so happy to see a walkway back to a parking lot in my entire life! I was sore, sunburnt, and knew I was going to get home VERY late, but it was so totally worth it! What a beautiful place!
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I also love lighthouses, but their's was pretty pitiful:
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And then I made the biggest mistake of all...I started home via Hwy 98, a road I know like the back of my hand since it's a coast road because I didn't want to navigate Alabama in the dark. Yeah, coast road, end of summer, Saturday night. Stupid. I went as far as I could until I got to the first I10 exit. The thing about I10 is that it is ALWAYS got red sections because of deadly wrecks and it's backed up for miles. For some reason, the gods much have been smiling on me because it stayed green all the way to Biloxi. I managed to make it to Wentzels for my Eggplant La Rossa to go (my favorite dish) before the closed and headed home my usual Gulfport way through Hattiesburg, Jackson and back through Memphis.

All in all, I left at 2am-ish on Saturday morning, got to St. Joe at 1pm (but there was a time change, so that affected things), left there at 4pm, and pulled into my drive at 5:08am on Sunday morning. 1378 miles, so not bad! I will definitely be going back there again...when I figure out how I'm going to manage this whole school thing that is! I'd actually like to go up there and stay a couple of days so I can actually walk that entire cape. That's my goal! Oh, and here's the link to the entire album of pictures.

Oh yeah, and the shell haul this time:
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Have NO CLUE what I'm going to do with them...they won't fit in my shell jar unless I remove the gulf sand that I made a special trip just to get. So, for now at least, on my kitchen counter they live (or stay dead...you say potato...).

Monday, August 13, 2018

I did it!

Well, I don't have a Books vs Movies post this week because I went to the coast this week...by MYSELF!! It's the first time I've done that since my "hospital" stay and I had the best time ever! I went to Port St. Joe and down to Cape San Blas.

It was also the last so-called port of call of the Gulf that I've not been to. From Bay St. Louis to Alligator Point, there is no where else on the Gulf coast plate that I can go via car that I haven't already been to at least once in my life. That's both sad and rather gratifying. I guess, since some of those places I went as a kid with adults might not count (like Alligator Point), I could revisit as an adult alone, but still, the entire gulf has been covered now. I will say, Cape San Blas is now my new favorite place though. It was beautiful and serene and I felt more peaceful there than I have in a very long time, so maybe I've finally found that perfect "get away".

Pictures will follow (whenever I get around to getting them edited and uploaded), but needless to say, I stayed there for three hours walking the beach, picking up shells, and just generally enjoying life, something I don't do enough.

Slowly, but surely, I'm getting back to being me again...which I guess is good, considering that this is my last real week before school starts next week!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Books vs Movies #3: Harry Potter

This one will be short and sweet, just because I think this one is a no-brainer, but maybe you guys can offer me a different opinion. I should also say that I'm only talking about the first seven books and the first eight movies...I haven't seen or read any since (I'm a bit afraid of stirring up another old obsession, which is why I haven't bought any of the new series).

There will NEVER been an ensemble cast like there was in these movies...honestly, it was the best of the best of British actors. Even the ones with tiny roles (like David Tennant or Robert Pattinson...nudge nudge) managed to explode on the screen, and hold their own even with the amazing genius that will forever be Alan Rickman. I think the movies would be too hard for me to watch now because of Alan's loss and I kind of hate that.

But...and, here it comes, even as fabulous as the movies are, they can't even come close to comparing to the books. There is just too information left out of the movies from the books and I feel like I'm probably more attached to the actors in the movies more than I am to the characters in the books. They are almost like two separate worlds to me.

I always felt like the first books reads like a "first novel" in that it's a bit too simple and I'm not a fan of Chamber of Secrets in either form (but it's needed to progress the story, so I deal with it), but the complexity she hits by The Deathly Hallows, her writing has matured so much that you no longer feel like you're reading youth fiction. It's like you grow with the novels like she (and her characters) did and I admire that. I can't say I've ever been so completely lost in a book series before or since in my entire life (and no, I can't compare it to Twilight because that's more of an obsessive thing than an actual "enjoyment" kind of thing...two different beasts, but yes, I'm still neck-deep in that mess too, damn it).

The Potters are truly amazing books and I tend to gasp audibly when people tell me they've seen the movies but never read the books because they are missing so much of the story. Then again, I also find that people who watch movies like this (serials) aren't often readers anyway and, a lot of the time, it's the same way the opposite...if they read the books, they often never see the movies. I'm not sure why that is, but I'm more of the "give it to me in any form you can" kind of person...books, movies, soundtracks, toys (or rather, collectibles I guess I should say), documentaries, podcasts, etc (just not fan fiction, ha!). Maybe that's because of the OCD though. Sometimes I'm unsure what is "normal" behavior and what is just me being "me".

What do you guys think? Books or movies or both or even neither?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Books vs Movies #2: A Walk To Remember

When I initially said that 90% of the time, I prefer the books to the movies, I thought I meant it, but considering my first choice of topics was Twilight and, at least this go-round, I prefer the movies to the books, it got me to thinking about all the movies I prefer over the books, and I did come up with quite a list, so I guess it's easy to say which direction this post is going to fall pretty quickly.

I should probably also start by saying I despise Nicholas Sparks. I am a romantic that likes happy endings and that man likes to give you the best love story ever, and then kill one of them off. It's sadistic. I know he has a lot of fans, but I just don't get it. There are two movies of his I own...obviously I ADORE A Walk To Remember, but I also like the The Notebook (which I won't watch past a certain point towards the end...I'm sure those who have seen it know which part I mean, but I also don't watch it much anyway, it's just too hard). I just can't deal.

When it comes to AWTR, I've always been a Mandy Moore fan (both as an actor and as a musician), but I'm also a massive Shane West fan and I might be the only person in the world who thinks that his generation of ER is the best (in the same regard...he's a musician too, so I love that aspect of him as well, although he doesn't sing much). These two have more chemistry than almost any on screen couple I have ever seen. Part of me has always wished that they would get together in real life. I think they would make a great couple, but I digress.

When I first saw the movie, I didn't know it was a Nicholas Sparks movie, so the ending about killed me (and I don't think I'm ruining it for anyone...just by saying "it's a Nicholas Sparks" means someone dies and everyone knows that, right?). Once I knew it, I was mad at myself for falling in the trap, but I was already hooked and couldn't stop watching it. I also own the soundtrack, which is amazing and it contains Mandy's songs from the movie and a song from Shane's band.

It should also add that it's an older movie...in the early 2000's I think. I didn't see it at the theater, but right when it came out on pay services (HBO and the like), so I bought the DVD immediately (and have since had to replace it from wearing it out), which means I've been a fan of this movie for a long time, at least almost 20 years maybe.

It was several years after the movie that I finally broke down and got the book. The story is based on the true story of Nicholas's sister. The book and the movie are NOTHING alike, set in two different time periods, the characters aren't nearly as likable (I couldn't even picture Shane in the role, different time or not), and I just found it uncomfortable to read and don't get me started on the ending...I would have screamed if they did that in the movie. I did finish it, but I never picked it up again. The movie, however, gets picked up several times a year when I'm feeling nostalgic for Shane.

Over time, I've learned to notice if a movie is based on a Sparks book, whether or not it says so or, if in doubt, I will IMDB it first, because I refuse to fall into that trap again. I'm a Disney girl, happy endings come with the package, but I would say AWTR is the one exception. I don't feel the need to watch The Notebook anymore. I think I liked the idea of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in real life more than the actual movie.

As a bonus, here's a video of one of my favorite songs from the movie, which Shane was kind enough to star in. Normally, I wouldn't go for this sort of thing, because it's kind of fan fiction...it's set after the movie is done and his character trying to have a normal life without her, but she's still in his every thought. I liked the idea of that, that he never let her go (like the character OBVIOUSLY does in the book...ugh...bad memories stirring). You can also tell the age because they both look so young, but I still love it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Surprise college call/maybe not so happy ending?

In my whole application process with disability services, I had to apply for tutoring services as well. I didn't want to, but I had no choice. It required tax information as well as an autobiographical statement (that was supposed to be 100 words or less, mine was over 700...I'm 47, what did they expect?), so it took me a while to get it together, but once I did, I had to take it to a location I wasn't fond of...the library. I remember when they built the "new" library (that is now 25 or so years old), and I didn't like going in it then, it has bad juju vibes, but I digress. When I took the app up there, I got lost, had to ask someone for directions, still got lost, had to ask someone else who ended up manually walking me to the door, so by the time I got out of there, I was near panic attack mode. That was the closest I've come to a full-blown panic attack through this entire process.

That was back in March or so and I never heard anything from them, so I figured I wasn't eligible for tutoring services and just let it drop. I don't work well with others anyway, but I did get to thinking about my past ways of studying. I never really "had" to study, it just came naturally. I never tried when I was a kid and still managed to get good grades. I guess it was a gift. But now that I'm so old, I don't think it's a gift I possess anymore, so I did start to wonder if maybe tutoring might not be such a bad idea (or at least a few YouTube courses on how to study).

Last week, I got a call from tutoring services. They had misplaced my application and had just found it. Apparently, my autobiographical statement was so "profound" (their words, not mine), they ALL wanted to meet me. Great, just what an anti-social person needs, to sit facing an entire board room full of people. They wanted me to come in immediately, but I told them I needed a week to prepare. Today was the day of my meeting.

What was supposed to be an hour meeting, took over an hour and half. They grilled me about my entire life, family, mental issues, school, etc. They are apparently really excited to help me and want to sign me up for all kinds of stuff, but it scares me. I work alone. Granted, whether or not I can learn to study is one thing, but to actually be tutored? I'm not sure I'm built for that. They were also jazzed about my future plans and they loved the fact that I wanted to take things slow and even take remedial classes if need be (or take Folklore just for the heck of it).

Apparently, despite my never making eye contact, speaking a thousand miles an hour, constantly twisting my hands, and going off on random tangents, only made them more interested in me. Go figure! Technically, due to my income, I'm not really even eligible for the program, but they are putting me in the program anyway because they want to make sure I graduate. I'm not sure why they care.

They did say that they didn't think a BS in Computer Science is the right path for me (although they didn't give me a good reason why and I'm beginning to wonder if it's because they didn't think I was smart enough). They loved that I had numerous other options already planned out in my mind but, considering I haven't even started yet, that was discouraging. I left there more exhausted and mentally drained more than excited (as I probably should have been). I'm still so jumbled that I'm not sure what entirely happened.

While I was at school, I did get my ID, the almost final piece of the puzzle, but I ended up getting a "warning ticket" because my temporary parking display was partially blocked by my work sticker and they couldn't scan the barcode...yeah, they seriously gave me a ticket for that. I caught the guy, asked him if he wanted to scan it and showed him how he could lean over the car and do it and still get the bar code, but he just went "it's only a warning", like, if I didn't shut up, he would give me a real ticket, so I just did because I was tired. Otherwise, I would have had campus security out there in a heartbeat with me screaming bloody murder. I don't take too kindly to things like that. Dick.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Obsessions - A Postscript

Obviously, I haven't even come close to running the course of this particular obsession yet (dag-nab-it). In an effort to change things up so that I'm not repeating the same behaviors (at least I have given up on looking for the ticket stubs...they will surface again, probably during the next wave), this weekend I watched the movies in French, watched the DVD's with all the special features including the commentary (which I HATE because I can't stand talking over a movie, but then I decided that my new TV is too good for DVDs, so I ended up ordering the Blu-Rays, thus, spending more money...again), and I started reading the books out loud. Funnily enough, I can read all six in a day easily, but out loud, I barely made it through the first three (and by three, I'm counting Midnight Sun in there, so basically two and a half). I found that interesting.

I used to read Austen out loud to Zander all the time because either he loved my horrible fake British accent, or he just loved hearing his mommie talk. But when he passed, I never did that again with Zach or Bam or Bugs. It was a Zander and me thing. But Bam, who is remarkably like Zander in a lot of ways, sat there like a child listening to their favorite book, eyes wide the entire time! Today, my throat is actually sore, but I have the feeling I won't be able to not finish reading them to him now. I even caught myself doing voice inflections and accents for characters, which would make him tilt his head like he understood. Bugs was unimpressed and slept through it all. I'm sure Bam just likes to hear me talk, but that stupid obsessive part of me wants to think I've created a Twilight fan out of my dog. Yep...I'm completely bonkers!

Oh, and yes, I found some cross stitch patterns of Twilight and a Supernatural one (and bought them...more money gone) from WitchyKitt Designs, so maybe I'll start stitching again! I still need to get thread for my Snow and Charming piece, so I'll pick one of these to start too...maybe (probably the half-faced Edward one, if I had to guess):
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Books vs Movies #1 - Twilight

Oh, thanks for the support guys! I figured this would be another one of those weird things that no one would want to read, but maybe I've stumbled onto something here (but then again, you haven't read my arguments yet, so you may change your minds!).

Yep, I have fallen back into one of my bad obsessions...Twilight. Bad because I get WAY too absorbed for someone of my age and bad because I can literally think of NOTHING else. In my "off" Twilight times, I call myself hating the series and sometimes I even think I believe it. Damn Amazon Prime for putting the movies in front of my face again, but it was partly my fault (I'll get to that in a minute). And I apologize in advance, this is gonna be long (but when are my posts NOT long?).

For those that don't know the series (and I'm not sure how that is possible, but some may not), there are technically four books in the series...Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, although I count five and a half, adding Midnight Sun, the unfinished manuscript of Twilight from Edward's point of view (Midnight Sun was leaked online before she had a chance to finish it, so she just got pissed and released it as-is on her website and, to be honest, I like it better than Twilight, finished or not) and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, all written by Stephenie Meyer. Then there are five movies...Breaking Dawn is broken up into two halves, directed by various directors.

I should also add that this was the first real "obsession" that my Sister had as well. She thinks she had it much worse than I did, but I think she got a real taste of what my life is like on a daily basis...getting so obsessed over something that it physically makes you sick. You can't sleep or eat or do anything else but absorb yourself 24/7 in all things "insert obsession here". To this day, it's still hard for her to hear the "T" word. Welcome to my life baby Sis. She still thinks she had it worse than me, so I just let her think that if it makes her feel better.

What started this was something so mundane, I'm still in shock myself. In an effort to break the Supernatural habit, I decided to start watching True Blood. I never finished the TV series and I stopped reading book 7 when I realized that Sookie and Bill weren't going to get back together (and I don't think that's a major spoiler for anyone). I won't speak too much on this, because this might be another good series to do, but once I finished TB, Prime changed my viewing preferences to vampire-related material. I wish streaming services wouldn't do this. I can pick my own movies, thank you. But, front and center of my recommendations, was the Twilight series. I laughed it off at first, but I was bored, nothing else looked good, so I thought, "oh well, couldn't hurt, right?". Yeah, I should know myself better than that by now.

When I first re-watched the Twilight movies (the first time in years, mind you), I was kind of shocked because I don't think it occurred to me how "off" and kind of "stalkerish" Bella and Edward's relationship was. I mean he literally watched her sleep for months before they even started dating! The first time they talked, they were professing their undying love for one another and how they couldn't live without each other. And considering it's a teen series, although they didn't have sex until they were married, they still slept together every single night they were together. Not really a good influence for the youth. I know I sometimes go on and on about how people complain at how Disney movies set unrealistic goals for little girls, but Sleeping Beauty has NOTHING on this stuff!

I even came to work the next day and discussed my new found "disgust" with a fellow co-worker who also used to be obsessed with the series and she kind of just went "are you just now figuring that out?". Guess I didn't notice it before because obsessions kind of blind you to the bad sometimes. I was kind of proud of myself for feeling this way because I thought that the dirt in my Pet Sematary hadn't been disturbed...I was wrong.

Purely by accident, days later even, I was putting something in one of my many junk drawers, and I ran across my stack of old Twilight ticket stubs from when I saw it in the theater. I kept all my stubs from each movie because I planned to make a display like the Cullens' graduation cap display with my tickets (don't ask me how many times I saw each movie in the theater BTWs, it's shameful), but by the time I got through Breaking Dawn Part 2, I misplaced the Twilight stubs. So I put the others away in a safe place for when I found the stubs from the first movie. Suddenly, there they were, right in front of me and the hunt began for the other stubs. As of now, I STILL can't find where that so-called "safe" place is and it's driving me crazy. Now I have the first set and not the other four!

Needless to say, because of the ticket hunt, I got to thinking that maybe the books weren't as stalkerish as the movies and maybe I needed to re-read the books and the chain of movie-watching/book-reading hasn't stopped since. I stop only to search again for the missing ticket stubs, looking in places I've looked dozens of times before (yes, I'm aware that's the very definition of insanity) and then I get mad and go back to reading or watching again until I think of another place to look or another place I want to re-look. Even the pups think I'm bonkers.

I do read them in order and I am a fast reader, so I can clear all six in two or three days, depending on what time I get off work (which has been earlier since I've been rushing home so I can read and watch). I still manage to clear at least one movie a night and all of them on the nights I don't read.

I do NOT include Life and Death. I don't know what she was thinking with that one (other than she wanted to make more money off of the original series...why not just finish Midnight Sun?), but Life and Death sucks ass (and yes, I hold that strong of an opinion about it). I am not a fan of fan fiction (although you guys know I love a good fan video), and that book is pure-de-old fan fiction written by the author herself. She switched the characters gender around and basically wrote the same story, but with a gorgeous girl vampire and a plain boy. What girl would want to read that story? Especially one that was already obsessed with the characters in a set way? I can't be the only person that feels this way, but if someone actually likes this book, I'd love to hear your argument as to why. Maybe you can change my mind (or at least not make me hate it as much, I think my mind is pretty much locked on the subject).

I tend to think of fan fiction as bastardizing the original text and it crawls all over me in the worst of ways. My Sister loves it (and even writes some). How I ended up loving Once Upon A Time is beyond me, because it's basically Disney fan fiction (maybe because Disney was in charge?). I will say though, there is another exception to this rule and that's "professional" Jane Austen fan fiction (think Death at Pemberley and the like), but that's another story. I'm kind of glad I don't like fan fiction anyway, I'd be horrible at writing it. I kind of see the characters and their paths as sacred properties of their authors. Granted, I can't control where my mind goes in dreams (and I dream of Jasper a lot lately...my favorite Cullen or Hale or Whitlock, depending on which last name you prefer...and is it surprising that he is my favorite? The most physiologically damaged one?), but when it comes to writing any of it down...nope, I'm not worthy. If others want to, that's fine, I just don't have to read it (and no, I haven't read a single bit my Sister has ever written and probably never will, I don't even know her pen name).

When it comes to the movies, I had read the books long before the movies came out, so I had a preconceived notion of the characters in my head. The casting agents did a good job of picking actors and this is a sore spot for me because most of the actors they cast I hate otherwise. There are a few exceptions, all male, of course. I do love Robert Pattinson, but I haven't seen another one of his movies that I have liked (and I think I've pretty much seen them all...Harry Potter doesn't count and that's another list). I like that movie that Kellan Lutz did with Mandy Moore called Love, Wedding, Marriage, but other than that, his back catalog blurs in my head. Obviously, since Jasper is my favorite, I love Jackson Rathbone, but I honestly can't say I've seen another movie he's done (maybe a TV episode or two). And poor little Taylor Lautner...he's made a ton of movies, but I can't see him as anything other than Jacob. I don't think he's been typecast in Hollywood, just in my head. I keep trying though, every movie of his that comes out, I watch, but I only see Jacob doing other non-werewolf/shape-shifter things.

It is extremely rare for me to watch a movie with actors I hate and I can't stand Kristen Stewart (her speaking pauses drive me insane and I can't get the image of those photos of her having an affair on Robert Pattinson with that married director out of my head) or Ashley Greene (who, I'm not sure why I don't like, I just don't). But, for some reason, I don't see them as them, but as the characters and I can see past the quirks that make me hate them. Other actors, like Tom Cruise (who I also can't stand), don't get that honor, I refuse to watch any of his movies (although I did see Top Gun, for the sake of Anthony Edwards, but walked out of the theater when he got killed, so that was that), so it must be the obsession blinding me again. Same thing with Once and Jennifer Morrison...I hate her but I loved that show. My Sister hates her so much I never could get her to watch Once, although I know she would have loved it if she could have seen past Jennifer. I'm also not a big fan of Anna Kendrick, but she's been in a lot of movies I like, especially Mr. Right with Sam Rockwell (that's one of my top 10 favorite movies right now) but again, I think it's because of Sam and not her. Sometimes, the men can outshine the females and the Twilight movies are the exception that proves the rule.

I mentioned it earlier, but yes, I am team Jasper. He's the one I would be more attracted to than the others, but I'm also a Captain Wentworth girl when the rest of the world goes for Mr. Darcy, so that's not so surprising. I have a type. I don't think I have much in common with Alice (well, other than that whole being locked in a mental institution thing) or any other girl character for that matter, but if I had to pick a Cullen, it would definitely be Jasper, hands down. I don't think he gets enough screen time and, as much as I don't like Ashley Greene, I do wish they would have at least mentioned her past just a bit, if only her brief connection to James. I would have also liked to visually see the moment she was waiting for Jasper when they first met...it would have been nice to see true love bloom in more than one Cullen. They gave LONG backstories for Carlisle and Rosalie, ones that I don't think were that necessary, especially when Alice's was far more interesting. At least they did give a long one for Jasper, even if it wasn't the one I wanted to see. It would have been nice to get more of Emmett's as well, even though his wasn't that exciting, in either book or movie form.

When it comes to movies vs books though, this is one of those rare occasions when I'm gonna go movies over books although it's a close race and I flop on this issue constantly from obsessive phase (this time it's apparently movies). The books enhance the movies because a two-second touch means more because you had a two-page description in the book, or a smile or movement has deeper meaning because you know why, thanks to the books but, other than that, I'm perfectly content with the movies because they do get a lot of it right and don't leave too much out (although some things they do leave out bother me, more in a mo-mo). But I would still suggest reading the books so you know all those little details. Maybe watch the movies, read the books, and then re-watch the movies to see what you missed.

Since I'm not a fan of a lot of the actors, I can't answer why I prefer the movies because what they do leave out does bug me. Important details like Alice's past or cutting scenes from Twilight that explain Jasper's abilities (it was literally four little words, not a big time saver folks) and then they just spring it on you in New Moon that he can control moods, like you should already know it. Sure, if you've read the books, you know, but if you hadn't or seen the deleted scenes from the first disc and you hit that scene, you're like "wha?". Or when Edward gives Bella the gigantic diamond to add to Jacobs little hand-carved wolf bracelet and she just blows it off because she thinks it's a crystal...the movie does the same leaving the audience thinking as Bella does. Only those that read the book know that's a massive rock. That bugs me. And then they add in things they shouldn't like the big battle at the end of Breaking Dawn Part 2 that didn't happen in the book and that still makes me cry every.single.time. It's really weird. By all accounts, I should prefer the books. Little things they could have added that wouldn't have added much time to the movies but could have made all the difference from the page to the screen. Movies nowadays are almost 3 hours anyway, so what's 20 or 30 more minutes, especially considering the first two movies are barely over an hour and a half.

And speaking of, I do own the extended versions of each of the movies, so there is usually 20-30 minutes of extra material that adds in some gaps from the books. I also got lazy and bought the digital versions of them from Amazon so I wouldn't have to keep changing discs. It's one of the few series that really does take a lot of the dialogue from the books verbatim and doesn't leave much out. Most series don't do that or change the story line altogether although the Twilight movies often switch dialogue between characters (Edward might say something in the movie that Bella actually said in the book or vice versa). That drives me bonkers, especially if I want to see it visually or if I have it in my head one way and I see it another and I can't reverse it, but I do that in life too...I can drive easily to Gulfport without GPS since I've been dozens of times, but I have to use it on the way back every single time because I get confused even though I should know it by heart. I can't separate them as two separate trips, but rather, I see the homeward way as reverse of the to way and it's like walking backwards. It's why I don't come home from work the same way I go to work...I'd have to think too hard about the route, despite 23 years of working here. It's just easier to go two different ways.

But in some cases, the changes in the movies had a stronger effect on my obsession. The extended baseball scene from the movie (which was barely a deal in the books) caused me to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to learn baseball bat aerobatics like Jasper during the first go-round. I don't have a steel bat anymore, or I'd probably be in the yard every night doing it again.

And don't get me started on the music...I literally hear certain songs playing in my head as I'm reading certain scenes in the books. It's annoying, especially when I'm not that big of a fan of the music (well, except for the first one because I adore Linkin Park...betcha didn't see that one coming considering my penchant for certain types of music and I typically can't listen to singers after they die, but Chester Bennington is the exception because Linkin Park is my "stay away from me if I'm listening to it" music). I don't own the soundtracks past the first one, and I'm trying desperately to keep myself from buying them. They haven't gone down in price like the movies have and I can't afford them, at least not all at once. I also know myself well enough to know that I couldn't just buy them one at a time, so best not to even start that.

So here I am, locked again the Cullen/Swan/Black world, cringing during the day because I have to rush home to read or watch or hunt (or all three). Granted, it's been a great diet because it's hard to read and eat at the same time. I have gone back to sleeping in the bed though, which is kind of unbelievable considering I've been sleeping on the couch for almost two years. I dream better in the bed and I typically dream of Jasper most nights. Again, I hate myself for even typing those words. I am too old to behave this way and it's a good thing I'm not seeing the shrinks right now because they'd probably up my meds (if I was on them). Of course, this isn't even my worst case of Twilight-itis, so I guess I should be grateful, but I still feel a bit like an idiot.

The people at work who know I go through obsessive phases, sometimes ask me "hey, what are you into now?" and I'm starting to get that. I either don't answer, or say "nothing important". I think that probably makes me look more suspicious, but it's better than admitting the truth...that I've fallen back into tween-dom. Should I be embarrassed, or am I being silly? Should a 47 year-old female with my conditions be embarrassed over having an obsessive phase with Twilight...again? I just don't know anymore.

What are y'alls Twilight stories? Hate it? Love it? Books vs movies? Got any good thoughts about Life and Death?

Addendum:
Two hours after I published this, I bought the other four albums and then another two hours later, I bought the one movie companion book I'm missing and another complete movie companion book. Yeah, I suck. It's probably only gonna get worse because I've already started looking for cross stitch patterns on Etsy (and ironically, I've found NOTHING...wonder if that's bad or good?).

Saturday, July 14, 2018

New ideas brewing - a prequel

Let's talk OCD for a minute because it directly relates to where I'm going here. Some obsessions come and go, some I revisit, some I don't, but I'm typically ALWAYS focused on something at any given time (most times, more than one thing, but usually one takes center stage). I can usually manage all of them in relatively "healthy" ways (and by "healthy", I mean as healthy as someone with Asperger's and OCD can be about such things).

It's probably why my earliest bonding obsessions...Disney, Duran Duran and cross stitching, have stayed relatively strong (despite their rather sporadic behavior of late), because I don't think I've had even one bad period with any of those obsessions (although others might disagree). From my point of view, they have always been positive influences and tend to lift me out of the darkest of times. Those three will always be with me, come what may.

Some of my obsessions are really bad though. And when I say "bad", it's not that the object of my obsession is particularly bad, it's my reaction to it that is. Some things rush through me like a poison and corrupt me absolutely and it's usually the ones that start out too potent from the get-go.

When I'm done with this type and am ready to bury them away, I do tend to walk through the regular obsession cemetery, past the other grave stones of normal obsessions past. I walk through the darkest woods of my mind and up the hill to where I know I shouldn't bury them...in the soured ground. In my own little Pet Sematary of the mind, if you will. There is where they wait to be called up again.

I'm not sure why I get mad at myself when they come back. Part of me knew what I was doing when I buried them there...either I wasn't completely done with them and I wanted them to come back, or some secret part of me knew I would need the distraction one day. In this case, I guess it doesn't really matter, I can't control it now anyway, I just have to ride it out. And they obviously never come back the same, so there is also that element I have to deal with. Again, more anger at myself.

But, at the same time, I'm smart enough to know that I will be stupid enough to rebury it back in the Pet Sematary when I'm done again. I am nothing if not predictable. No good obsession makes it in the Pet Sematary, which is a good thing, although not all bad ones have been reawakened (at least not yet), so maybe that's a good sign.

I do have to find ways to channel it though, so I thought I'd try something new this time. I'm still hashing out some details (and I'm still dealing with a pretty potent obsession here right now), so nothing is set in stone, but basically, what I'm thinking of, is a series of posts dealing with the book(s) vs their movie(s) counterparts and which I prefer.

Although I'd put it at 90/10, I personally do not think every book is better than the movie, so there is some things to play with here that could veer me off topic (at least I'm hoping so, although obviously my current obsession will take center stage). I also can't wait to hear what y'alls opinions are compared to mine!

Let's see where we end up, shall we? Oh, and FYI, it's NOT Supernatural! That one (which is one of my good ones), has played it course for now.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Guess What!

It's not too exciting, but I knew as I was writing the last post, that a feeling was starting to creep in on me. I had a craving to stitch. Maybe that's what all my recent soul searching has been about...putting me on the right track. I left off on Rapunzel here last time:
Rapunzel-009
There were some pics on the camera I was unaware of, so it looks like I stitched more than I actually did, but here is where I stopped:
Rapunzel-014
I did really good Friday night, but Saturday was a different story. I didn't wake up until noon and, once I got around and started stitching, I only did so for about 45 minutes before I started getting sleepy. Next thing I knew, it was a quarter to five and I was waking up on the couch. Sunday wasn't much better, but I still feel like some progress is better than none at all.

Time will tell if I continue on during the week, but I have high hopes!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Top 5 List - What If?

First off, this one is probably going to be kind of negative too, but I might have some really good news by the end of the weekend, so bear with me on this one, because this was another one of those posts that I needed to get out. Maybe this will be the end of them after this weekend, who knows! But on with the show.

Obviously, I'm not going to my high school reunion, but more than once in my life I've played the "what if" game and most of the time, I tend to "what if I could go back to the summer before 9th grade". Why, especially since I hated school so much, would I want to go back to the time right before the worst of the torture started? Because I do believe, knowing what I know now, that's the time I could make the greatest change in my life. Obviously, I would need to remember key points, like when I got my dogs, but I do think everything else could use a rethink.

#5: My step-dad might have been right (and I'll NEVER say that again):
My step-dad was the only father I knew for a while until my Sister came along and then I no longer existed...I had no idea the importance of blood until I turned 7. It wasn't her fault, but I ended up taking it out on her for years (but that's another story). My step-dad became mentally abusive to me. He wasn't physically abusive, although I did get spankings (most of which I probably deserved because I was a horrible kid, although I did have my reasons for being so, just not all my actions were entirely justified...FYI, I'm not anti-spanking).

No one ever believed me when I said how he treated me, especially my mother (because he didn't do it in front of others - he was very careful that way). I can laugh about it now because my mother's been getting the full brunt of it 24/7 ever since I left...payback's a bitch, ain't it? Now he doesn't hide it and everyone sees it. My Sister calls him on it upon occasion and he will back off, but not for long. As a matter of fact, when my mother and I were still speaking and she complained about it, I would actually say, "payback's a bitch, suck it up!". Sometimes she admitted she should have listened, sometimes she would just hang her head. It's too late now and I'm not a fan of the word "sorry" because it is, after all, just a word, but at least she realizes she screwed up.

FYI, for those that don't know, family members that I care about get capital letters and one's I don't get little letters. It's a sign of respect (or lack thereof). My Dad doesn't deserve it, but I can't help it.

Anyway, I'm digressing here, my step-dad always told me I was fat, ugly, stupid and would never amount to anything (thanks to years of that, I agree with him, except for the stupid part, but I waver on that sometimes too). He always told me that if I didn't lose my weight by the time I started my periods, I would never lose it. I started my period a year and a half before they even knew (I was really good at keeping my business private and still am, except online apparently!), but that's beside the point and obviously that was way before 9th grade, but 9th grade is considered the beginning of high school (at least here in the South), so that's why I'm sticking with that time frame and I think I could have kept it off if I would have started then.

I could have swam every single day because we had a pool. Ridden my bike more (I couldn't have run because my knee was already screwed up by that point, thanks to said bike and a rather nasty fall...but that was way before you had to practically wear body armor before getting on a bike and I can't say that if I got on one today I would wear a single piece of it). I was young enough that I could have changed my body and kept from having sagging skin like I do when I lose weight now. Now it's too late. Damn him. Oh well, even monsters can be right once in a lifetime.

Now I get the occasional "well, he did still keep clothes on your back and a roof over your head and food in your stomach, so you shouldn't complain about how he treated you, especially since your own Father didn't do that". Well, yes, that technically IS true, he did keep me well-fed, dressed and sheltered. Any leftover wounds that linger from that time are my own fault because I let my step-dad remain in my head. But it is still the eternal broken record playing in my head...I'm worthless, but what little worth I might have, I owe to him for taking me in. Oh joy, how lucky can a girl get? I'm like the stray Scottish dog no one wanted, but had to go somewhere. I don't interact with him at all now, especially since me and my mother don't speak anymore, and I am perfectly fine living the rest of my days that way.

Knowing what I know now, I doubt weight loss would have changed the way I was treated, but it might have lessened it some. It might have made me more confident to stand up for myself. Or at least I'd like to think it would. But anyway, let's change the subject, shall we? I've dwelt on this one long enough.

#4: Study harder:
I was one of those kids that had to make certain grades or I got spankings (A's were expected, B's meant groundings, and C's meant bend over baby!). I never got C's, although I came close a lot in PE...thank goodness for written tests! But I was also one of those kids who never tried either. I was lucky that way. I really didn't have to study because the school work itself came easy to me. I didn't struggle, but I also didn't try. Wish I could still do that...it would definitely help this fall!

During our senior year, we had the choice of leaving at noon or staying and taking Physics, Calculus, and something else. I chose to leave at noon so I could come to work (at the same lab I'm at now FYI, just in a peon position back then). I should have stayed in class. I blew every dime of that money anyway, and not on anything important (or that I probably still have).

As an aside, I was forced to get a job the second I turned 16. My Sister, on the other hand, was discouraged from getting a job at all. She ended up getting one because she wanted to and worked there until she graduated college, but that was her choice, not because they made her.

I see now (or think I do), that it was my parent's attempt to get me out of the house and do something productive. They didn't make my Sister work because she was a lot smarter than me (I beg to differ, but that's the general consensus in my family) and she had a bright future ahead of her so they wanted her to focus more on school. If I would have shown that side of myself, then maybe they would have given me the same courtesy, but I can't say for sure. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, even though none of them deserve it. It's hard to try with that mantra on an endless loop, but again, that was and is my fault, not theirs.

Once I got to college, I did the same to avoid studying (and to make more money to blow). I moved out the second I graduated high school, so I did have bills to pay but, by that time, I had already established my wild spending pattern that still exists to this day. Maybe if I would have put my foot down and demanded that I not work but focus more on school, those wild spending sprees would have never had a chance to take root, who knows? Well, I did try to put my foot down and demand I not work, but I was forced to anyway. Wonder what I would have said then if someone would have told me I still would be working here all these years later? Ugh.

If I just would have stayed all day during my senior year and I would have tried harder (or just tried at all), I probably would have been top of the class and could have gotten into any school I wanted, which leads to the next number.

#3: Go far far far far away to school:
Now that I finally figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life (or I think I do with Astronomy), had I been a better student, I could have gotten a free ride at a good school far away, and gotten a good education. I could be working with some of my idols now and be their colleague instead of part of their fan club watching their work from afar. That's the thing that rubs me the wrong way the most. I had NO clue what direction I was heading in as a kid and starting school so early didn't help. Apparently, I needed 47 years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Plus, if I would have gone away to school, I would have gotten away from my family sooner and been able to heal wounds that only festered as I got older because they were continually picked at. If I would have left, I would have never looked back. Maybe the occasional holiday, but maybe not even then. Despite my social disabilities, I'm still extremely independent and can go a lot of places (even if I can't get out of the car), but maybe leaving home at a young age could have helped with that issue too.

My parents paid for my school flat out. No loans or scholarships (but I also didn't apply for any...why bother? It was paid for). I was told from the get-go that, if I ever quit, that was it, they wouldn't pay another dime. I was forced to start college the first summer semester after high school. I wasn't ready, but I did it anyway. I was also forced to go every single semester, including summers, with no breaks. My mother was afraid that, if I took time off, I wouldn't go back. Granted, she was right, but only after two and a half straight years of college and I was starting to waver on my art degree (plus, I wanted to go live with my Dad, which I did, and that also sucked, but for completely different reasons...another story for another day).

If I would have been given summers off, I would have probably stayed. I might have changed majors 10 times and it might have taken me 10 years to graduate (which could have been funny because they would have had to pay for all of it), but I could have gotten there eventually.

They stayed true to that promise. No matter how sincere I was about going back in the years since, I never received another dime of help. But I'm good with that, especially now because it means that, when I finish this time (and I fully intend on finishing), it will be 100% ME! I will owe them nothing and they will not have a single dime invested in my success. That means more to me than the actual degree. All the struggles I've been through have taught me that I can only depend on myself.

My Sister wasn't given the same ultimatum and didn't suffer my fate. She has two degrees. Did my parents learn their lesson from their mistakes with me? I've often said I was the crash test dummy for my Sister. I suffered so she could have a good life. Part of me is joking, but part of me is serious. She was protected from everything I was exposed to. No that's not her fault, but yes, I am still bitter about that. Again, that's on me.

#2: Focus more on others:
Yeah, I can't believe I just said that either, but I think that if I would have been more social in school, maybe that would have helped me too. If I would have lost the weight, I obviously still couldn't have made fru-fru status, but I think I could have made sub-fru. I probably still would have stayed in the art room, but maybe joined more clubs than ones I was forced to, like art or honor society (I think I was in a couple more, but I can't remember them, so they must not have been important). I probably should have even been part of the governing body (yeah, can't believe I said that either) or part of the school paper or part of the annual committee (I'm starting to freak myself out here even talking about this). Those are things I would have been good at because of my artist ability and organizational skills, I would have just had to work on the people skills more.

Knowing what I know now, I probably still wouldn't have pursued my high school crush, even though with weight loss, I would have had a good chance with him. He still treated me horribly by only being my friend in secret, so he didn't deserve me. Besides, I saw how he treated his girlfriends, and it wasn't good. I'm not sure, because of my childhood trauma, I could have been emotionally ready to deal with a boyfriend anyway. My OCD would have kicked in and made him more important than anything else, and there goes my scholastic aspirations.

#1: Dealt with who I am better:
Obviously, Aspergers was a fairly new diagnosis in the 80's and, for girls especially, extremely rare, so it would have been hard to get the proper treatment. But any kind of treatment, be it for all my other issues dealing with my family, or being molested as a child, or just being me, could have made a difference in who I grew up to be, if caught early enough. But I say that with a grain of salt because I'm now in a really bad situation that was caused by so-called "help" from mental health professionals. It's a double-edged sword.

Plus, I came from a family that's motto was "hide all the bad stuff so everyone thinks we're perfect". No family is perfect and we were FAR from it, but had I not been forced to bottle up all that emotional hurt, maybe I would have relationships with all those people now and wouldn't hold such grudges. Even though I have squeezed them all out of my life, there is still a lot of resentment there and I hate myself sometimes for holding onto it. That's not their fault...that's all on me because no one can make you feel anything...you alone grant them power over you. I am well aware of that fact, and yet, I am the world's worst at falling into the trap every.single.time.

Oh well, unfortunately, as far as we know, although time travel is theoretically possible, we haven't discovered it yet, so I guess I'm screwed. Besides, I wouldn't just want to time travel, I would have to physically travel back too while keeping my current memories. It would do no good going back without the memories because I would end up in the same boat, making the same mistakes. But sometimes it's just nice to dream, if for no other reason that just to be able to let go of some of this residual anger and resentment.

Oh well, c'est la vie! Watch this space come Sunday night (hopefully...but no promises!).