Saturday, June 9, 2018

Top 5 List - The Worst Supernatural Episodes

Not all Supernatural episodes are great, some episodes just plain suck (and even the creators/writers hated them, so I'd say that confirmation they really are awful). Even I can't say that I absolutely love the show all the time and there are some storylines that have gotten on my nerves over the years (although I still hang on...it's like the Neverland part of Once Upon A Time...you just have to suck it up and wait it out because it does get better on the other side!).

Ironically, three in the list are in the first season, but don't let that be a deterrent. I usually regard the first season as the scariest because it was the purist...long before the angel and demon storylines started in and then eventually took over. I really miss the "horror movie of the week" episodes that dominated the first few seasons.

#5: 9:20 Bloodlines
Supernatural has tried (more than once) to launch a spinoff series (I mentioned Ghostfacers last top 5). Wayward Sisters has been in the news a lot lately (and I do believe it would have been a good show) but The CW wrongly decided not to pick it up. But that's another story.

Back in season 9 though, they tried something different, basically centered around Chicago being ruled by mob families (not shocking), but these mobs were made up of five monster families, the dominant two being werewolves and shape-shifters (yeah, I bet you thought I was going to say vampires too, but nope, shifters). The storyline centered around an innocent guy was about to propose to his girl when he gets in the middle of a fight between monsters leaving his girl dead and him searching for answers. Sam and Dean show up to help, but they aren't in the episode much.

About the only good thing about the episode was the love story between a werewolf and a shapeshifter (who Vampire Diaries/Original fans might recognize as Kol) who aren't allowed to be together because of the war between their families. If the show would have gotten picked up, I might have watched it for their romance, but it might have been hard unless they found a way to slow it down a bit. They just tried to shove too much information into 42 minutes. I tried hard to find a video, but the best I could do was a brief trailer and a few fan videos of the werewolf and the shifter. I chose the fan vid because a) I love fan vids, b) Nathaniel Buzolic is totally hot (and my favorite Mikaelson of The Originals, truth be known) and c) fan vids make even crappy shows look good:


#4: 11:19 The Chitters
I'm still not sure what the heck this episode was all about other than humans becoming some kind of mutant cricket hybrids who have a lot of orgies? Yeah, what the heck? The only good thing about this episode is showing a positive homosexual couple element. But even the description of the monsters sounds stupid, thus I give you:


#3: 1:03 Dead In The Water
They had a good chance with this episode. I'm scared to death of the forest, scared of lakes (I don't swim were I can't see my feet...basically for this very reason), and terrified of kid ghosts. But instead, this episode falls completely flat. They've done so many ghost episodes that were scary as hell, but this one just doesn't make the cut. Granted, the video I'm about to show is a major spoiler and the quality is pretty bad, but honestly, the kid was terrified of the lake, he knew what was in it, and he hadn't spoken since what was in the lake killed his father, but he's gonna walk down the dock just to retrieve an army man toy? Bad writing folks!


#2: 1:02 Wendigo
If you watch Heartland, one thing you might notice about Supernatural is that almost every single actor on Heartland has been on Supernatural at some time or another...case in point, episode 2 and Graham Wardle (aka Ty Borden himself). What you may also notice about this episode is the late Cory Monteith is in this episode (although he is VERY young and a bit hard to recognize) and an even younger Alden Ehrenreich (aka the current younger version of Hans Solo, although I prefer him in Beautiful Creatures). But even with all that star power, the episode sucks. The creators admitted the budget for that episode was nothing, but still, it had the chance to be so much more than it was. The woods alone could have scared me if done right (and that doesn't take much in my case). At least they did get the lore right in this case, so I picked this video, in case you don't know what a wendigo is:

FYI, since the show runners of Supernatural were also the show runners for The X-Files, a lot of actors from the X-Files make it into Supernatural as well. SPN has always been very vocal about setting itself apart from X-Files for some reason (and there have been numerous jabs against the X-Files in SPN), which I've never understood. There are a lot of similarities between these two shows and one was born from another. I, more than anyone, get rebelling against your "parents", but I do get offended by Supernatural's X-Files jabs because I loved the X-Files too and I can see its influence on SPN, but I digress.

#1: 1:08 Bugs
I'm scared of trees, but I'm TERRIFIED of bugs. This episode had the potential to give me nightmares for years, but it took everything I had to keep from laughing at various times throughout this episode. The creators, the writers, even the actors all agree that this is the worst episode ever of Supernatural and I completely agree with them. There are a lot of clips online about this episode, but they are basically all in "worst episodes ever" clips or review clips. The promo for the episode was the best I can do, but even it shows how stupid the episode was, so I guess it will have to do.

As many times as I have watched the entire series, this is the one episode I skip now. It's just not worth my time.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Total Brit Jealously!

Seriously guys...the fact that I can't get BBC content other than after-market DVDs is bad enough, but when I opened Duran Duran's Twitter feed today, what did I see but THIS. NOT FAIR! Basically, on June 29th, starting at 9pm, it's going to be all Duran on BBC4! I'm gonna try to give a Twitter link, but since I'm not on Twitter anymore, not sure if it's gonna work. Honestly, two back-to-back documentaries that I have never seen before? Again, NOT FAIR!

Commenting issues

Oh, and guys, I'm reading your comments, but since they are not going to email like they used to (thanks Google), it's hard to reply back. I found a work around (leaving a comment on my own post and checking the "send me email responses" box), but it's a bit too little, too late. I'm hearing you guys and I know you're hearing me, it's just hard to let you know that other than posting it so!

And poor Linda! You always comment on my posts and the email feature has been screwed up for you for years! Maybe, if Google gets it all straightened out, we'll all be fixed and happy! I don't want to switch to another platform and I'm not a fan of Word Press at all, but I do also own the domain for Keeblesworld, so I guess I could just build a website if worse comes to worse and stop using Blogger altogether, but I do love the Blogger community and I'd hate to leave it, so I'm just waiting to see what Google does to fix the issue. Until then, I guess we're all just hanging on!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Top 5 - Supernatural Scariest Episodes

I'm STILL on the Supernatural kick and STILL not stitching, so I have to blog about something, right? A couple of you guys commented about the show being scary and that's why you don't watch it, and I get that...not everyone can handle scary. I have always loved horror. Granted, this is a network TV show, so calling it "horror" is a stretch, but people do have different definitions of scary.

For me, the ONLY thing I find scary is ghosts and, it has to be really scary, but the occasional demonic possession. Most things gory are boring to me because I do work in a path lab, so gore is normal in my world, but in some cases, as Dean says, "demons I get people are crazy". When it comes to your typical monster types, since they aren't real, those also don't scare me. Ghosts, on the other hand, are real (at least I believe they are since I am sensitive to them although I'm not sure I've ever seen one, just sensed them) and anything real can be made to be scary. Because ghosts are my weakness, that's going to influence this list. Everyone's fears are different (I also have a fear of clowns, trees, bugs, and dozens of other things, but on film, those things don't translate the same except in certain situations). Demons could potentially be real, I'm still on the fence about them, or they could just be evil ghosts, so therefore, I'll intermingle them a bit.

I should also add, that until season 4 when the Angel lore kicks into full gear, the main premise of each episode basically dealt with folklore and urban legends. As an odd-ball kid, I had more than an average working knowledge of folklore and urban legends, so a lot of the stories they took on in those first three seasons were super fascinating to me. After the angel stuff started, these storylines slowed down and almost halted for a while and became just the occasional treat. That would be my only complaint about the show. I miss those weekly horror movies. But alas, it is what it is now and I do still love it, but it's also why my lists really only encompass the first few seasons (even though there are 13 so far).

#5: 5:09 - The Real Ghostbusters
This episode could also make the funny list as well...the meta story in the show where the boys find out about a series of books written about them exists gets worse when they arrive at, what they think is an emergency case, only to find out it's a Sam and Dean convention. Becky Rosen, who turns up in several episodes, is Sam's "biggest fan" and is slightly stalkerish (OK, that's the understatement of the year, but still), any episode she's in makes it funny just on that alone. And well, when it comes to Chuck (the author of the books and another "prominent character I won't give away because of spoiler-dom), I always love episodes with him. I really don't think there is another show that makes fun of itself as much as Supernatural does.

The convention is at a hotel that used to be an orphanage and is haunted by kids who were murdered there. There is nothing scarier than ghost kids, funny moments or not. Unfortunately, because of the funny moments in the show, there are no great scary clips of the kids, so you'll just have to take my word for it. There is a great twist to their story as well which, because of the funny, you don't see coming.

#4: 3:13 - Ghostfacers
Yet another "funny" episode (and potential spin-off show that never got off the ground other than a web series), the underlying story though is quite scary...a hospital janitor, born in a leap year, haunts his house and murders every four years on his birthday and, when the boys show up to destroy him, they run into their old nemeses, the Ghostfacers. This entire episode is told from the Ghostfacers point of view, so you are seeing Sam and Dean differently. It's always funny because, when they do episodes like this, the boys are more "real" than average and they cuss like sailors!

And the episode they are referring to (1:17 Hell House, would probably make the top 10 list, despite the funny parts). That's the thing about this show, sometimes the funny lightens up the scary.

#3: 1:15 - The Benders
This is my one non-ghost episode that makes the list (and it also makes most of the cast's scariest episode list too). When I make my road trips, I often think of this episode because it is a very real possibility. Basically the premise is, in the midst of investigating the disappearance of a guy, Sam also disappears. Come to find out though, the bad guys aren't monsters or demons, but actual humans who get off hunting other humans for fun and then eating them Texas Chainsaw Massacre style.


#2: 1:01 - Pilot
Obviously, coming into a new show and not knowing what you are getting into, your nerves are a bit on edge anyway and knowing you are watching a horror show makes it that much worse, but I do think they put a little more "juice" into the pilot episode than some of the other ones in the first season. Besides setting up the main storyline of the boys and their past (as well as their future), they go on their first case which turns out to be a lady in white. A lady in white is an urban legend based on the ghost of a woman who died, usually by her own hands, but because of being hurt by a man. She is often seen (and rumored to kill) cheating men on dark lonely highways at night. There is a bit of spoiler with this clip, but I wanted to show it because it shows how great the special effects are in this show. You have to remember...this episode aired in 2005 and it's still better SPX than shows in 2018.


#1: 1:10 - Asylum
Granted, I have more of a first-hand knowledge of Asylums more than most people, but I've always been terrified of them even before I was locked in one. Crazy in life leads to even crazier in death. But I'm still extremely fascinated with them (at least the empty, haunted kind). This is my all-time scariest episode, the one that I have to watch with the lights on.

There are actually a lot of asylum episodes in Supernatural...Sam spends time locked in one, as does Castiel, the boys lock themselves in one a couple of times to solve cases, even Crowley takes up residence in one (because he doesn't like living in Hell, King of Hell and a demon or not), but none of them really involve haunted ones like this episode. I think I find the Sam locked up episodes the most disturbing (and hitting closest to home).

Honorable Mention: 2:06 No Exit
Like Sam, I also have a morbid fascination with serial killers, so when they did an episode about H.H. Holmes (America's first serial killer), I was all excited! I was a bit bent out of shape when they used a photo of one of Jack the Ripper's victim's (Elizabeth Stride to be precise) instead of H.H. Holmes (I guess they thought most people would't notice?), but otherwise, it was an incredibly scary episode. Normally, I hate clips like this, clips where people record them from their TV, but it shows the photo in question and describes Holmes' tactics.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Top 5 List (a long time coming and yet another long post...sorry)

I have been a horrible blogger lately from both a writing and a reading standpoint. I'm hoping to fix that, but when I have something itching to come out of my brain, I have to write it, and this is one of those times. I felt like doing a Top 5.

I think I've rambled enough about my love for Supernatural. It's not the same kind of love as Once Upon A Time...it's really not a 'feel good" kind of show, but it's entertainment/escapism, which is what I need, especially now. Sometimes I just don't want to feel good, I want to forget, even if it's only for a few hours.

Supernatural tackles every single scary tale, folklore, monster, religious iconology, mythology, and just about every other mystical subject you can think of. Everyone dies, sometimes they come back, sometimes not. But it does have a funny side, which isn't something you would expect from what is basically a weekly horror movie. And, even I have to admit that the special effects in Supernatural, even back in 2005, were always WAY better than anything in Once. Sad, but true.

The 13th Season of Supernatural came out on Netflix and, although I'd usually wait until I got the Blu Ray, I figured, since it was a long weekend, what the heck (and, per usual, I was done by mid Saturday anyway). But by the time I got to the Scoobynatural episode, I started thinking about the best episodes of the show that make fun of itself. To be honest, that's why the show has lasted so long...it can be serious, but it can also ben amazingly funny at times by making fun of itself.

This Top 5 is my 5 favorite self-depreciating, yet hilarious episodes of Supernatural. I'll try not to give too many spoilers for those who have never seen the show, but it's going to be hard, so brace yourself for spoilers.

#5: 8:08 Hunteri Heroci

The basic premise of this episode is that a former friend of Sam and Dean's father, who is a telepath, has now grown old and gotten dementia. He's in a nursing home, in and out of consciousness, spending his days watching old Bugs Bunny/Road Runner cartoons and basically lives in them (and anyone who gets too close to him gets the same sorts of weirdness). The doctor who runs the nursing home has decided to use the telepath to rob banks and the homes of other patients (in very Wyle E. Coyote style...dropping anvils, black disc holes that allow you to go through walls or vaults, etc). The boys have to fight back Road Runner style. Here's part of the big fight scene and some highlights:

And I kind of like this clip of the Castiel (who is an angel) highlights of the episode (because he literally made that episode with his total uncouthness that tends to make him a total dork, but in a weirdly sexy way):

Of course, they defeat the bad buy and, because of the danger of the dementia-ridden telepath, Castiel had to step in and help to relieve his mind in a way that won't kill him. Gotta love Cass.

This episode makes my list because it reminds me of the good 'ole Looney Toon days. Despite being a Disney girl, I never missed a single episode of Looney Toons and I know those classic episodes as well as the classic Disney ones. It's just sad that they are now considered inappropriate for children because of their violence and political incorrectness. I don't understand this world now. But anyway...that is a lost cause now I guess.

#4: 5:08 Changing Channels

Sam and Dean get sucked into TV Land by the Trickster (aka Loki (and let's leave that alone for now), aka something I probably shouldn't reveal yet, but you'll figure out with the last video...just not who). But they get trapped in a sitcom, a soap opera, a Japanese game show, a procedural crime show, and several other shows/commercials. They realize the only way to get out is to play along to get out of each show and get to the Trickster.

And, I'm adding this one because it's my favorite and it's not in the previous video ("Dean, that's uncomfortable"...classic!):

Eventually, they capture the Trickster, he lets them go and his true identity was revealed.

#3: 3:11 Mystery Spot

Anyone who is old enough to remember Groundhog Dog Day will love this episode. Again, the Trickster is involved (gotta love him!), but in an effort to teach Sam the lesson that he is going to have to live without Dean eventually (long story involving soul selling and a short trip to hell later on), Loki traps them in a time loop, forcing Sam to live Dean's death every single day, only to wake up and it be Tuesday all over again. The funny part is how many different ways Dean dies (although there are several missing from this video). My personal favorite? "These tacos taste funny to you?".

Needless to say, the Trickster lets them move on to Wednesday, but something else bad happens and Sam has to fight his way back to that particular Tuesday again to fix everything (which obviously he does).

#2: 10:05 Fan Fiction

Up until Season 13, this was my all-time favorite Supernatural episode. If you are 10 seasons invested in a show, and the 200th episode rolls around, it's always a special one, but they decided to make it a dedication to the fans, something other shows don't tend to do, and it was the best love letter of all. It was a musical episode, but not in the way of Once Upon A Time, but in a way I've never seen before. They addressed shipping (which I don't usually have issue with, except the Sam/Dean stuff...they are brothers and, well, that's just...ewww), fan fiction (hence the title), and the original songs written specifically for the episodes are actually really good.

The basic premise of the episode is that there is a kidnapping at an all girls school and the boys go to investigate only to find that it is centered around the school's musical production based on the "Supernatural" books (a meta story-line in the series...there are a series of books written about the boys by an author who later turns out to be EXTREMELY important...and let's just leave that alone for now). The villain of this piece turns out to be Calliope (there's a mystery in that one for all you Greek myth fans out there). The funniest part though is when the boys first see the musical. The first time I saw it, I laughed so hard I almost wet myself! I guess it would be weird seeing someone perform your tragic life story in musical form right in front of you!

And here is a lot of the musical as it was performed...I'm showing this because I do really love the songs and it shows the story of the boy's life. At the end of each season, toward the big finale episodes, Carry On My Wayward Son is the song that plays as a recap song for "The Road So Far". The final version of the musical song is a fitting dedication because it's softer and again, it's the ultimate love letter to the fans.


#1 13:16 Scoobynatural

I wanted to not like this episode. I felt this was pushing the envelope way too far, even for this show. But what I discovered pretty quickly, especially as a person who watched Scooby-Doo religiously as a kid (although I did grow out of it, unlike Disney stuff), was that there were no two shows that could have crossed together as well as these two did.

Watching Dean try to constantly hit on Daphne and never get anywhere was hilarious! He always gets the girl, but she couldn't see past Fred. But on the opposite side of that, Sam couldn't keep Velma off him! When the boys finally have to explain that ghosts are real, there is a total classic Scooby moment and, like Fan Fiction, a love letter from Supernatural to Scooby Doo.

To make the Scooby gang happy, they give the Scoobies their typical ending, and then solve the mystery the Sam and Dean way.

Honorable Mention - 6:15 The French Mistake

This episode used to be #5 on the list, but I guess now it's #6. In an effort to hide a relic from the Archangel Raphael, Balthazar (another angel), opens a portal to another world and throws Sam and Dean into it. Problem is, it's "our" world where Sam is his "real" alter-ego Jared Padalecki and Dean is Jensen Ackles. The hilarity ensues because they are trying to be actors playing "themselves" in a world without magic. But watching them trying to act...OMG! What adds to the hilarity is that all the "backstage" people are named after the real directors, producers, writers, and etc from the show.

And when they meet with Cass and his real persona of Misha Collins, even more hilarity:

Since Jared married Genevieve Cortese (aka the demon Ruby version 2.0) in real life, that adds to the funny.

They end up back in "their" world and fix things enough to move forward with what was happening in that season, but it was a nice "break" from the heaviness of that season.

Normally, I wouldn't do a spoiler like this, but here is every single "The Road So Far" from seasons 1-13. If you haven't seen the show ever, I probably wouldn't recommend you watch this (because you probably won't understand it anyway, they go by awfully fast), but I absolutely adore recaps and the highlights of all the best of every episode does show how amazing it actually is, so what the heck! Besides, it is interesting to see how young they look from Season 1 to Season 13. It is the longest running American sci-fi show ever (only topped by Doctor Who). Oh, and get used to hearing the same song 13 times in a row. Sometimes, there are mid-season Roads, but these aren't included in this video (it would probably be an hour long then). I'll leave with this.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Oncer with a broken heart

There is one episode of my favorite show left...Once Upon A Time. It's had its ups and downs, high points and low points, but overall, I have stuck by it despite it all and have never regretted a single moment of it. It's an Asper/OCD thing to get overly attached to fictional things, so I feel more loss over something like a TV show than I would towards a human. Most people don't understand this and I wish I could explain it better, but it's just how I'm built.

For those that don't watch it, at the end of season 6, they lost quite a few of the original cast members, shifted locations, basically changed the entire story line, and moved the show to Friday nights instead of Sundays. It was a hard shift to accept at first, but the writing was better than the past four seasons (honestly, only the first two seasons were really good story-wise, I was just too attached to the characters by that point), and I started to see it, not as my old show, but a new twist on my old friend. I still missed Snow and Charming, but I was dealing with the loss and was becoming attached to the new characters. They just didn't give the me or the rest of the audience enough time to adjust.

For the past seven years though, it's the one thing in my life I always knew I could count on to be there for me. It has always been that little dose of hope that has kept me going through the rough patches with characters that have meant more to me than most of the "real" people in my life. All the real world has ever given me is despair, lack of faith, mistrust, and pain. Once Upon A Time has always given me hope, faith and trust in happy endings, even for those who might not deserve them like me (or so I've always been told by those who were the ones who were supposed to have loved me). That show gave me a family, albeit an imaginary one.

Of course I have the Blu-Rays to enjoy forever and there is always Netflix, the books, my Funkos, etc. And yes, I have other shows to watch, but nothing brought my Disney life, my fictional world, and my real heart together like Once did. And it wasn't just me, heck, Snow and Charming got married in real life too, so the show obviously changed more than just my life.

I am sure that next week will be extremely emotional for me. I started bawling like a baby at the end of this week's episode. I guess I should be grateful for the fact that they knew the end was coming, so it will be a proper ending, instead of a last minute cancellation with an ending that never gets resolved. But I'm not grateful, I feel a bit betrayed by Disney and ABC for not supporting one of it's main shows.

I don't think that networks understand how people watch TV anymore. It's not about the ratings. Shows like Once and Lucifer (which also got cancelled and didn't get enough warning) have a pretty big fan base, but don't pull in the numbers because most people watch them after broadcast either on their DVRs or on Hulu (like I do)...but then again, it still pulled in a couple of million viewers a week and, on a Friday night, I would say that is a win. Even when I had a DVR, I preferred to watch shows after the fact so I could edit out the commercials. I HATE commercials, always have and nothing ruins the flow of a show like a commercial. It's one of the reasons why I've never watched Supernatural on TV and, instead, always opted to wait until it came out on DVD. What's the use of even watching shows anymore if they are going to get cancelled either right out of the gate, or right when you get attached to them?

There will NEVER be another show like this one, at least not for me and, at this stage of my life, that worries me. Without that influx of hope, even in the smallest of amounts, where does that leave me? Sure, there are other shows I watch and love, but none of them leave me with that feeling of utter peace like Once did. They are just for the purpose of escapism (which works, but not enough). I guess I'm just really broken-hearted right now and I'm sad that I won't get to go on any new adventures with other Oncers.

I never got around to buying thread for my Snow and Charming project, but I'm thinking that my next paycheck, I want to do that. Maybe this is what I need to get me stitching again. I started watching Once on Netflix from the beginning last night.

For those that have never watched the show or never finished watching it, try it (or try it again). There are seasons or parts of seasons that lag a bit, but there is always a purpose to each story line and it's well worth the lag.
Season 1 Promo:

And the change in Season 7 Promo:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mobile homes and dead things

Living in a trailer is a weird experience. I guess, especially since I do live in tornado country, I should be more scared than I am, but that's not something I've really been too worried about. Flooding is never an issue because, at least one side of my trailer is at least 4 ft off the ground (the other is less than 2 thanks to the slope of the park I live in). I'm not a fan of trailer park life because of the kind of neighbors I sometimes end up with thanks to the rentals that are out there. When it was all homeowners, it was a completely different experience. It goes through good and bad phases though. Sometimes the cops are out there all the time, other times all is quiet.

But because skirting around the base is strange and there are pipes running in and out in places, animals like to get under my house, especially cats. They fight, they mate, they give birth and, worst of all, they die.

Have you ever had a mouse die in your walls and it smells up your house for a week or so? Imagine that smell times 10 for three weeks instead of one. That's a rotting cat. Every couple of years, I have to deal with this smell and I've recently been dealing with it for 7 (yes, that is seven) weeks. Normally, I would just call the city and they would have animal control come out and get it, but this time, I was told that the city would no longer come to the trailer park and it would be my responsibility to deal with it. I work in a lab and can deal with dead people and body parts all day...animals (even cats), not so much.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was taking Bam to the vet for his routine check up, I saw a cat dragging a dead road kill cat (it was obvious what it was) across my yard. I hissed the cat away, put Bam in the car, and went back inside to get stuff to deal with the dead cat (I wasn't sure I could do it, but I was gonna try). As I came back out of the house, supplies in hand, the dead cat head was disappearing underneath my house! I did not know that cats were cannibals, but apparently, this demon is. I've been trying to keep him away, but to no avail. Everyone has an opinion on cat repellent and none of them has worked so far, but last week, I saw a dead cat in the road that looked a lot like this demon cat and I haven't seen him around the house, so maybe he finally got his.

One weekend, I made the mistake of using a cinnamon smell in all my Scentsy burners (12 in all), and then the entire house ended up smelling like a dead man with a pack of cinnamon gummy bears in his pocket which, ironically, was even worse than just the dead smell. I started to think maybe a human was actually under my house, rotting away because the smell seemed to be getting stronger. I tend to collect cans of Febreeze and I've used almost every single one up. Nothing is working.

I should also say, there is no way in Hades I would EVER crawl up under my trailer. I'm too fat, too scared of bugs, and I don't want to see any dead things (or partially dead things, or live things). I did look under the trailer, but I saw nothing, so I called myself doing my due diligence, and let it go (don't sing it...sorry). I was going to have to live with the smell until it decomposed.

It got so bad, Bam and Bugs wouldn't even go in that end of the house. It's a good thing we sleep on the couch, because my bedroom has been pretty much off limits. I still get ready in my bathroom, but there have been no long baths for a while now. My other tub isn't big enough for that "relaxing soak", so it just sits there, gathering dust.

The air conditioner guys were so put off by the smell in my house, they worked on air motor outside. The kid that worked with the main guy offered to come back and remove the dead animal for me because, and this is his words, "no one should have to live like this". So last night, he came by and crawled under my house. He removed two dead cats, four squirrels, a rat, and a possum, all in various stages of decomp. He left the bone pile of already eaten animals. This cat really was Satanic!

That kid deserved the $100 I gave him. He left a vent hole open on both sides of my skirting so it can air out and he said he'd come back and fix it. I hope he does because I know nothing about that stupid skirting (although I probably could figure it out). He's also gonna come back and do some other work for me as well. I'm leery of strangers, but this kid seems OK (and I do know where he works and his mother-in-law is the trailer park manager, so I know where to go if he does something bad).

Needless to say, the smell has permeated every square inch of my house and I don't have any clue how long it will take before it's completely gone. Hopefully though, no fresh kills will find their way under my house, at least for a while! If they do, it's gonna be a LONG summer!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Shih-Tzu's and blowing air

Either I'm running out of topics to discuss or my brain is going haywire, but I've been having some random rambles lately, and here we go again! But I do have another random question of the week...it seems to be a new thing with me. Instead of cross stitch progress of the week, I want to know your thoughts about weird topics of the week. Yep, I've lost my mind!

I live in the South. It's hot here already and it will only get worse as the summer starts. My air conditioner decided to start rattling (loudly) this weekend, so I got scared and turned it off, just until I could get a repairman out today. It got up to 86 degrees in the house on Sunday (which, since I'm cold-natured, didn't really register much with me), but since both pups are WAY past due for haircuts, I had every ceiling fan on and a couple of standing fans too, so they wouldn't overheat. Well, Bam wasn't having it and kept hiding under blankets. I could hear him wheezing from the heat, but he HATED having that air blowing on him, even from just the ceiling fan. I took the blanket away, but then he just started hiding under the couch pillows. Bugs wasn't much better and he kept hiding behind furniture.

After a while, I thought I'd get up and do something, so I bagged up some old clothes for a work colleague to sell at a church thing, and both boys kept trying to hide in the closet...it was shameful, so I gave up after four bags of clothes (I had a LOT of skinny clothes rotting it the closet since I got fat again), so back to the couch I went, back behind the couch Bugs went, and back under the pillows Bam went:
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It's hard to see his face, but trust me when I say Bam is giving me the evil-eye for removing the pillow from his head here (and yes, I'm back to watching Supernatural).

That got me to thinking...you see dogs riding with their heads out car windows all the time, but I can't say I've ever seen a Shih-Tzu do that. Mine don't do that because; a) they are seat-belted in (like the law requires and for safety issues) and; b) because they are too busy trying to get in my lap to pay attention to the windows. If I ever do crack the windows, they try to wiggle out of the belt and get in the floor (which they never can do, but they try), so I don't open the windows for that very reason.

What issues do Shih-Tzu's have with blowing air? I just figured mine were cold-natured like me because I keep the house warmer than normal and that's what they are used to, but Zander and Zach were the exact same way. Whenever any of them get haircuts (or got haircuts for those who have passed), they always shake like they are freezing for several weeks, despite the time of year.

So I guess that's my question of the week...does anyone know of a Shih-Tzu that likes to have air in his (or her) face or is it a breed thing to hate it? Or have I just raised two generations of cold-natured weirdos who hate air blowing in their faces? Any thoughts?

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fate has a horrible way of showing you the "why" of life

An ex-coworker and friend lost her husband very suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He was 42, younger than I am. She has the same issues my sister does, manic depressive disorder (although her's is a LOT worse than my sister's). She relied on her husband for, not just financial support, but complete and total emotional support. That is gone for her now and she's utterly broken. She has no idea how to function on her own. I can't even imagine that kind of feeling because I only know how to function alone.

As someone built without sympathy or empathy, it's hard for me to be supportive, because frankly, I don't know how to help her. The kind of help and support she needs, I'm not able to give and that's what makes me sad for her. I feel bad because I can't help her. I do that a lot when people die. I feel sad because I can't feel sad. Plus, I can't understand what she's lost because I can't even fathom relying so heavily on another person to support me 100% (for that matter, even 1%). But her husband was a very good man and none of them deserved this, so I do understand that.

When I was 10, I cried like a baby at my Papa's funeral because I couldn't cry like everyone else. Even then I knew I was "off" and it scared me, so I cried (and looked "normal", so I guess it worked, but I felt like a fraud because everyone thought I was so distraught). He was my favorite Grandfather (my Father's dad), but I didn't comprehend why everyone was so upset because death is a natural fact of life, even at 10 knew that. I was gonna miss him, but I just didn't feel remorse like everyone else. He too was an amazing man, but he was old, he was a heavy smoker who got lung cancer and, his is passing wasn't sudden, so it wasn't like anyone was surprised or unprepared (again, another thing I couldn't understand when it came to the amount of some people's grief level).

Granted, he is also the reason why I don't go to funerals now, because, at the visitation, my Nannie (my Father's mother) decided that I needed to "kiss him goodbye" and picked me up and tried to make me kiss him in his coffin...yes, you read that right...IN HIS COFFIN! I will NEVER forget that waxy face and that formaldehyde/flesh smell (which, ironically I deal with every day at work, but in a different form). Thankfully, I was still fat then too, she was small, and couldn't hold me (someone intervened too, I don't remember who, but my screaming bloody murder was disrupting everyone, so there is no telling who it could have been), so I didn't actually get close enough to actually touch him, but I got close enough to scar me for life. THAT is the only memory I have of him now, thanks to her, all the others have faded, but I digress.

As often as I want a man in my life, I could never let myself depend or trust someone with my life so completely. I'm just not built that way. Because of certain events in my life, I've learned I can't depend on other people long-term and I have to take care of myself. There is a reason why I don't have someone, because it isn't fair to another person to not have my full and complete attention. I can't have that "Mr. Wonderful" like my friend did and my sister does, because technically, I just don't need him. Fate tends to deal me my big needs when they arise, but never my big wants. I tend to supply myself with the little needs and wants on my own. I've always been very resourceful in that way. A "Mr. Wonderful" is a want for me, not a need.

When I was married before, it was all about him...he was the one with the extreme issues and I was the support system, which was fine...for like two years and then I couldn't handle it anymore and that was that. It was a project for me like any other project in my life, love had nothing to do with it (I realize that now, hindsight and all that). Once I bored with it, I was done. It was not a good thing for him, but that's just the Asper way (which I didn't know at the time). It's also probably why I had to deal with stalker issues from him for many years afterwards (and I'm still not sure, upon occasion, I'm not still dealing with them today), but I guess that was fate's way of punishing me for trying to buck her system.

Sometimes I still have moments because I see happy couples and I still want that...it's my inner teenage Asper still wanting to be a "normal" neurotypical...damn that social conditioning! But, I know deep down that I'm really not built to share my life with anyone because I can't trust someone enough, I can't depend on someone enough, I couldn't lean on someone when I wanted to, and I couldn't love someone in that "true love" kind of way. How does one even give oneself over to someone else so completely, or even at all? Is there a limit on how much emotion you should share with others? Granted, I know I'm at the far end of a spectrum (which isn't good, I get that), but from my end, I know I'll always be protected from the pain she's feeling now because she's on the complete opposite end of that same spectrum.

Unfortunately, because I'm on said spectrum, there is no "middle ground". It's an either/or kind of life for both me and my friend. She's destined to depend on someone and will eventually find another, I'm destined to depend on myself. I guess that should be a sad thing for me, but somehow it makes me feel better because of that stupid saying, "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all". Yeah, give me my loneliness any day than the excruciating pain that she's going through.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Color Game - A Correction?

I got "corrected" by a fellow geek through work (doesn't work with me, but I work with) that Jessica's color is supposedly purple and I watched the show wrong. I took great offence at this, partially because a) I'm OCD so I know what I'm talking about; b) because I don't like being told I'm wrong when I'm not (that's all Asper); and c) because I've watched the show enough times that I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

I asked this person if he has actually watched the show and he said he had, but when I mentioned specific scenes (like Trish's coat, the graffiti in the theater, or the sign for the Royal Dragon Restaurant, he didn't know what I was talking about, and these would be very specific things one would notice if they had seen the show and were looking at for these color variations). If it hadn't been a phone call, I probably would have forced him to watch a YouTube video or something to prove my point (and I can't guarantee that won't be the first thing I do next time I see him, probably months after he's forgotten about today).

Well, after looking online I found some videos on YouTube actually discussing this whole thing, but again, almost all of them mention blue (I ran across two that talked about purple, but one guy's review didn't even sound like he had actually even watched the show at all, at least not the same Defenders that I watched, so that one doesn't even count). But it was still enough to put doubt in my brain, so, just to make sure, I have checked on my Sony laptop, my Macbook, my iPad, my iPhone 8, my work monitor, as well as my crappy first gen Sony flat screen TV and all show BLUE (in varying shades, but all still blue).

Yes, there are times when the blues appear sort of purple around the reds - that's just a color thing...red is more dominant and will do that to blue. It's why painters have to be careful when mixing colors...to make purple, you use a lot less red than blue. Same with making green...blue is the dominant so you use more yellow than blue, but I'm getting off topic. Point is, if Jessica's "color" is supposed to be purple, someone at Marvel TV goofed because it is most definitely blue in The Defenders! Here's the opening credits (red, blue yellow, green, in that order):

Yes, I know I'm technically diagnosed "crazy" with all my issues, but on this issue, I am not crazy...it's friggin blue! I'm not sure why this walked all over me, but I have literally been fuming Daredevil red all day long! Maybe that was his point, as one of my co-workers pointed out, because I am "funny" (her words, not mine) when I'm riled up. Glad people "enjoy" it when I have to take more Xanax in a day (which, by the way, is also blue).

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Color Game - Defenders Edition

Sorry for another long one...I've been quite wordy lately for some reason! Edited to add a trailer to show what I'm about to babble on about.

At work on Friday, I got into a rather heated debated with the copy repair guy over DC and Marvel (geeks tend to gravitate toward one another...it's a sickness). The color issue came up and, let's face it, the DC movies are gray, even to those without extremity color sensitivities (more on this in a mo-mo). Needless to say, it won me the debate, so it was worth it (and he was kind of a jerk anyway, so I got a that pleasure as well).

Friday night is usually "horror movie Fridays" anyway, but I made the mistake of watching Paranormal Activity first and, well, even I have movies that scare the crap of out of me (and that's one of mine), so horror movie night ended early and I went back to Supernatural. But, because my emotions were still high from the afternoon debate, I couldn't help but notice that Supernatural was a very gray, non-color show as well, and I needed some color.

For this story though, I need to backtrack just a bit. Most of you guys know I was/am an artist. I say "was" because I haven't produced a piece of art in 25 years or more and I say "am" because I was born an artist and I will die one, whether or not I produce anything else in my lifetime.

Artists see everything in brilliant colors. We are often so distracted by colors, they interfere with what we're actually looking at or doing. All you can think about is how you can translate what you're seeing to canvas, doesn't matter what else is happening around you. Sometimes that gets you into trouble, especially with OCD added to the mix.

Over time, I've muted that sense just to make life easier so I can focus on the right things (focus is still a "fluid" term in my world, but still). I would still say that "my muted" is still probably several times stronger than the average person's normal view of colors, but for me, it's still a major downer. I do tend to soften the mute a bit involving any form of escapism, TV, movies, even reading, but over these years, it's changed my perception...darkened me maybe and even my escapism has muted down...I tend to pay more attention to the action and the characters now more than the colors.

But, when I "was" an artist, I didn't know I was an Asper. It has been reported that Aspers (and Autistics) tend to see, taste, smell, hear and just about every other sense in color too and I'm no exception. That is a lot harder to explain, so I won't try. I have learned to keep those thoughts to myself because I'm weird enough as it is. I didn't understand that aspect of myself until my diagnosis clicked it into place. For some reason, since my diagnosis, I've sharpened these other, non-vision senses more instead of muting them. Another hard explanation, but it makes it easier to be "me" without actually showing "me". I can still "see" in brilliant color without actually "seeing" them. Weird, I know.

So back to the story at hand...I felt the pull back to The Defenders and I noticed something I never noticed in the five previous viewings. Yes, I had noticed how colorful the show was, almost to a fault (because it was often distracting to me), but I had never noticed how each character's color (Daredevil - red, Jessica Jones - blue, Iron Fist - green, and Luke Cage - yellow) bathes each character at all times. As the scenes switch, the colors switch. It's really prominent individually in the first couple of episodes before they meet.

Two characters can be standing in a shot and the dominant character's color may be the dominant screen color (aka, Jessica and Matt may be bathed in blue street light as Jess talks, but there are red stop signs and red flashing lights along the way until the conversation changes and the color transfers back to Matt and his reds, and then the blues come out in touches). Danny and Luke were harder because yellow and green tend to mesh more than butt heads like red and blue, but you could still feel the shift. Only when they are all together in the restaurant in episode 4, do the colors all show up separately and not fade from one to another, but there are no other dominant colors but red, blue, yellow and green and they are still all very separate (but still together...if that makes sense).

When they start to have difficulties with one another in the middle episodes and begin to go their separate ways, the colors split back out and even become muted and broken in places like in the abandoned theater, but there are still bright touches in spots. You really don't see other colors at all, just blue, red, green, and yellow, they just become harder to spot. For example, in the theater, there are four panels on each wall with each individual color, but the wallpaper on each is torn and damaged, like the Defenders are becoming. And when Danny is tied up, the lighting in the room is green, but the graffiti is red and blue with yellow spackle on the walls.

But only towards the end, when they are officially a team, do the colors become team-like. You see each character blanketed in all the other characters colors, but still separate...red in one background corner, blue in the middle, yellow to the side with a green foreground surrounding Danny and then the shift when the next character comes into frame.

The only thing I did notice in all viewings was that Alexandra's world was white or gray or cream. It was so barren it was stark and I think that was intentional so that the "color" moments would be more noticeable, but other than that, I don't know what that purpose was. The other Hand members worlds tended to black...but when it comes to black and white, you are talking more about light and color reflection and absorption versus actual colors, so that's a different topic. I'm not really sure of the symbolism of the white and black of the Hand. Usually black is associated with evil, but Alexandra was the leader of the evil, so why was her world white? Things that make you go hmmm...

After a couple of episodes, it became a game...like my favorite game as a child...Simon. Anyone remember that game? Four colors that would light up and you had to push the buttons as they lighted up and they got faster and faster? I went through three of those because I loved it so much.

Each scene became 'find as many Defender colors as possible'. Then I started realizing I could anticipate which character was about to appear by the shift in hues or when bonds were strongest by the melding of those hues. Certain characters friends wore their friends colors, but there were still other characters colors scattered throughout and around.

Then I started noticing how the lights from my TV played off items in my house, so the "Simon" became more complicated. My peripheral vision (as weak as it is by the keratoconus) was picking up items around me as fast as I was seeing on screen. I could still enjoy the show while my eyes constantly scanned TV and my surroundings. It's the most "alive" I've felt in months!

I think it's one of the reasons why I'm so attached to these shows and these characters (for the record, the individual shows aren't as prominent on the color scheme as The Defenders). They stir emotions in me that I haven't felt in a long time. Other Marvel movies do the same. Even of the gray of The First Avenger, the reds, blues, and whites of Cap's colors stand out like a beacon of light in the darkness of the war. Asgard has a rainbow bridge and Ragnarok was the most colorful Marvel movie of them all so far. Iron Man's suits are vivid in color whereas the Iron Patriot is colder and more metallic. Even the Guardians have varied hues of skin. These all have meaning.

I still swear that the "hope" aspect of the series is my main draw, but now I understand an aspect I didn't understand before, something I wasn't consciously aware of before, but somewhere, in the back of my weird little brain, I had to know, or else I wouldn't have kept dwelling on the darkness and the grayness of the DC world as an excuse.

Give the "Simon" version of The Defenders a try! Red, blue, yellow, green, blue, green, yellow, green, green, red. I don't think I'm the only lunatic that would find it fun! I actually watched it three times this weekend and saw new things every single viewing!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hi, my name is Keebs and I'm a FanGirl

After re-reading my last two posts (something I usually don't do once they are published), it suddenly became abundantly clear to me, I'm a FanGirl, pure and simple. I've always hated the words "fan" and "girl" in the same sentence. It makes one think of the Beatles-crazed fans of the 60's and 70's...the screaming little Jonas Brothers fans crying and screaming so loud you couldn't hear a single word during their concert (and I know from first hand experience - don't ask). I don't behave that way (or I'd like to think I don't). I had a very intelligent conversation with Dr. Plait the other week, right? So therefore, I must have my wits about me, right? No, not really. There are times I can't sleep or eat because of my obsessions, just like those screaming little girls, even to this very day.

I don't think I can particularly lay it all at the feet of the Asperness though...yes, my Asper side has made me obsessed with Disney, Duran Duran and cross stitching for life (even though there are ebbs and flows with those), but other things come and go, burning hot and then flame out quickly. I was in my very early 20's and had NKOTB sheets and posters and dolls and stuff (in my defense, only Joe and Jordan are younger than I am, all the rest are my age or older and I hit the New Kids phase late in life). And yes, packed in a box somewhere is all that stuff because there is a fine line between OCD and hoarding (I like to say that OCD is organized hoarding).

But I think, because I haven't been to Disney World going on two years now, other things have started replacing it...like TV shows and books, although I would bet that my first trip back to Disney after I finish school will cure any other distraction. Yes, I am now and will always be a Duranie, but honestly, Take That has been playing constantly in my car and devices for the past few years (even on my way to Duran concerts...bad me) Duran only comes out in times of severe stress. And well, you guys see how the cross stitch thing has been going lately...replaced by planning for school, at least for now.

I don't necessarily think that ASD or OCD have anything to do with being a FanGirl, there are plenty of FanGirls who don't have either conditions (although I'm not sure you can't convince me that there isn't some underlying conditions for at least the truly obsessed types like me), but I don't think any of my issues help control my obsessions when I'm in a bad place, so from that perspective at least, it's all negative. I think that I tend to be a worse FanGirl when work is particularly horrible (which is most days lately), or family is annoying me (which thankfully isn't too bad lately), or the outside world is general gets to be too much to take, so there has to be something to it on that front. I'd call it escapism, a shrink would probably say avoidance.

If there was one thing I got from that Supernatural Fan movie, it was that most of those people's lives were made better by the show after some horrible life event. Could I say the same? Well, I did have a horrible life event last year and right after is when I started this particular binge. Since I've been watching it, everything has turned around for me, but is that just coincidence or a side-effect of the show? I'm not sure I can say. Yes, the show is all about family (which ain't the best in my world), two brothers who can overcome every single obstacle thrown at them as long as they are together. Doesn't really sound much like my world, does it? But again, it has that sneaky little four-letter word that keeps popping up in my world...hope. And despite all that has happened to me, I tend to still have hope and I tend to seek it out in my entertainment world. It's why I like the shows or movies or books that I do like...they all have the underlying message of hope.

My wardrobe itself though is the clue that it can't just be all mood-related. Yes, I have work t-shirts (I am a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, perpetually stuck in the 80's as some would say), but every other shirt is something related to something of the Fandom world be it Disney, Supernatural, Astronomy, Marvel, Doctor Who, and the list goes on and on. I don't just have "plain" t-shirts. And NOBODY gets the ones that aren't Disney or NASA. Today, for example, I'm wearing a Nelson and Murdock Law Firm T. Matt Murdock (aka DareDevil) in his day-to-day is a lawyer and that's his firm (in the first season anyway). It's an inside joke that NO ONE gets. I secretly find that amusing. I find it more amusing when people look at my shirt but don't ask what it means (just give me that weird look that people often give me).

After Dr. Plait's lecture on Tuesday, I signed up for his newsletter (not the free one), even though I couldn't afford it, and emailed him thanking him again for his lecture. I had the worst work day ever Friday, but late Friday, before I left work, I got an email back from Dr. Plait that was very supportive (and he still seemed to remember me), and it changed my entire mood for the day and I FanGirl'ed like a 12 year-old. I told everyone who was still at work (and, of course, they could have cared less), and it took me most of the weekend to craft a return email back. Yes, I should have left it alone, but I couldn't. FanGirls can't leave it alone.

I also didn't go home and binge-watch Supernatural all weekend (but, I do have to send season 2 back because the supposed "brand new" package looks like it's been to hell and back), but instead went home re-read Dr. Plait's first book again, and then wasted the rest of the weekend on another Amazon Channel test (this time the Hallmark Channel, yes, I'm ashamed and I'm pretty depressed today...a weekend of romance movies will do that too you, that's why I prefer horror, nothing worse than being reminded that you're all alone in the world without that perfect man...another channel bites the dust).

But you know what? I think I now like being a FanGirl. I was born that way after all. I came out obsessed with Disney. I snuck my Shaun Cassidy T-Shirt to my 3rd grade school photo shoot (and got the spanking of my life when those photos came in, let me tell you!). I've done some pretty stupid things for the love of Simon Le Bon. And I've cross stitched for thousands of hours every year for years now (even if I am in a current lull). So I guess it's time I own it, and let my FanGirl flag fly high. Still not sure I'm happy about it though.

What about you guys? What do you FanGirl over? How do you feel about the term? Give me your thoughts!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Why I'm a Marvel girl instead of a DC girl (and it ain't just a Disney thing)

Let me first apologize for the length of this post. I probably should have split it into three parts: why I'm NOT a DC girl, why I AM a Marvel girl, and why I'm now obsessed with Marvel's The Defenders, but screw it...sometimes I'm lazy and I doubt anyone cares about this mess anyway!

In an effort to break my Supernatural habit (after spending a FORTUNE replacing my DVDs with Blu-Rays), I started trying to find something else to watch. I have been scouring all kinds of crap trying to find "something" that I haven't either watched dozens of times before or something that I would actually like (and trust me, that ain't easy).

I grew up in the days of Christopher Reeve's Superman, I watched Adam West's Batman, Linda Carter's Wonder Woman, I spent Saturday mornings watching Super Friends, and nothing beats Tim Burton's original Michael Keaton's Batman. DC was everywhere when I was a kid. Marvel, on the other hand, not so much.

Until the X-Men came along (most were good, but not all and I don't care who they cast, Taylor Kitsch will ALWAYS be Remy LeBeau to me, period), I wasn't familiar with that world much at all. There have been Spidermans along the way (that I haven't cared for all all...sorry, but true), Fantastic Fours that made me cringe (Chris Evans or not) and, other than the chemistry between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, there was nothing good about Daredevil the movie (and stand-alone Elektra movie was just sad).

I wasn't the comic book type...with my Asper brain, all those random images scattered across the page made me cringe (still does). It's one of the reasons I did badly in design class in college (well B badly, but a B in Art for me back then was horrible), I have a very symmetrical brain and like things to be balanced. I can't scrapbook either, BTW.

But even before Disney bought Marvel, Iron Man came along and changed EVERYTHING. The Disney purchase was just the icing on the cake. By the time Captain America came along (and THAT was where Chris Evans needed to be), I was a lost cause. There have been numerous TV shows, some good, some bad, but The Defenders shows are by far the best of the best (I'll get to those later).

But there have still been Batmans, Supermans and etcs along the way and I WANT to love them...I've tried. A couple of weeks ago, I went ahead and got Wonder Woman and Justice League. I decided to break down and watch a marathon of Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman (which I already owned) and then Wonder Woman and Justice League. I'm not even going to discuss Suicide Squad. I don't own it, but I've seen it twice (the second time just to try to make sense of the first time since I thought maybe I wasn't paying enough attention...I was, and it still sucked).

I should mention that when I say "own", I mean that I have purchased them digitally from Amazon Prime...I don't have the discs. In my world that matters because it has to be important for me to buy discs nowadays. I'm the same with music. I still buy CDs...for Duran Duran and Take That (and I also download them too...racking up the sales figures), but everyone else gets downloaded (legally, of course). My house is filled with enough junk.

What I quickly realized is that each one of the DC movies is really LONG (as as the Marvels, but there is a "but" there). There are long fight scenes followed by even longer lulls of absolute nothingness (something the Marvels just don't have). The special effects, well, in a word, suck (even on my crappy TV). After each movie, I literally had to stop for about 30 minutes or so and clean house for a bit or do something else because each one just mentally wore me out. They were dark and depressing and I wanted to just crawl up in a ball after every single one and cry or something, but I toughed it out.

I WANT to like Ben Affleck as Batman because I do like Ben (despite his personal life choices), same with Henry Cavill. I'm not a fan of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, but I think that's because Linda Carter was a more well "rounded" Wonder Woman...it worries me a bit at how skinny Gal is and what kind of message that is sending, but it reminds me of the whole Disney PC crap with princesses, so why go into all that again (I've ranted enough about that in the past...I think it's just because I'm old). I liked the guy that played the Flash, but I didn't dwell too much on him. I will say though that Jason Momoa is the PERFECT Aquaman, but his standalone movie will decide and I'm not too jazzed if Amber Heard's going to be in it, but again, I'll hold judgement (because I will watch it).

The writing in DC movies is just too cold and almost unfeeling and the visuals are so gray and dark and I think that spills over into the characters too. Ben Affleck kind of reminded me of a cardboard cutout of himself as Batman instead of a "real" person with "real" emotions (and I mean "real" in a strictly fictional sense). Gal's acting didnt' impress me too much either and, at least by Justice League, it was like they tried to "bulk her up" by giving her heavier armor. Didn't work...but I guess they knew there were issues there (I've read other complaints on the web as well as complaints about the complaints...everyone has an opinion).

That Saturday I spent watching those DC movies was the most depressed I've felt in months. I even went back and watched WW and Justice League a second time just to make sure I hadn't prejudiced myself (of all the Chris', Chris Pine is my LEAST favorite, so it's good he's in the DC world, so that was mark #2 against Wonder Woman). David Thewlis alone should have been enough to have saved that movie...I worship him, but nope. I won't give away the ending, but the twist pissed me off actually. And again, giving David heavy armor doesn't make him Chris Hemsworth. Strike 3 WW, you're out!

When it comes to Marvel movies though, even though they don't always end well, they are still all action-packed start to finish, the special effects blow your brain (even on my old-ass TV), and you feel a connection to the characters that the DC movies don't give you a chance to do. They have that certain thing that's usually pretty standard in the Disney-verse...Hope (with a capital "H") and I guess that's what makes the difference for me.

Obviously, now a Marvel movie marathon takes a minimum of three days (and it's getting longer with every movie) and I'm TERRIFIED that Cap is gonna die either in Infinity War or Avengers 4 and I'm not sure how I'll handle that, but I still think I'll be a Marvel girl no matter what.

Now, a bit of a shift and what started this whole thought...on to The Defenders and the TV Marvel-verse. I should mention first that Netflix series are not like normal TV shows. Supernatural has about 22-24 eps per season...Netflix are more like 10-18 depending, but Netflix shows are almost one full hour whereas normal TV shows are about 42 minutes. But anyway, I'm straying away from topic...I tried to watch DareDevil quite a while ago and couldn't get into it and I think it was because I made the mistake of rewatching the Ben Affleck movie first before the show and I prejudiced myself...bad form on my part. I should have known better.

Jessica Jones was another story. I LOVED it (and yes, David Tennant had EVERYTHING to do with that), but I had originally watched it a couple of years ago when it premiered. By the time The Defenders had broadcast on Netflix (Defenders is only 8 episodes FYI), I had one season of Jessica Jones under my belt and one failed attempt at DareDevil. Defenders caused me to instantly fall in love with The Iron Fist, but I kind of forgot about it because I was still obsessed with Supernatural at the time.

While waiting for my BR discs of Supernatural to come in, I decided to start Defenders again which reminded me about Iron Fist, so I watched it afterwards and LOVED it! Jessica Jones series 2 was out, so I watched it after that, and then decided to give DareDevil another chance (which also had a second season by then, so back-to-back series there). The second time around, I LOVED DareDevil. Then it was back to The Defenders. I tried Luke Cage, but after two episodes, I couldn't get into it. The storyline varied so much, the music was too loud, and the camera angles made me a bit nauseous. Then it was time for The Defenders two more times, then the first season of Jessica Jones again, Iron First again, and, just for kicks, The Punisher.

I did give Luke Cage a second chance (I spent a lot of time shopping Etsy on my iPad while it was on, so I finally made it through it without paying too close attention (it would have been a great stitching show if I was in a stitching mood). I now understand his storyline in the The Defenders better, but I can't see myself watching it again before season 2 comes out. I do like the character of Luke and his dynamic with the other Defenders, it just has no flow with the worlds of the other three. It's the Dr. Strange of the Marvel movie world. Maybe eventually, both Luke Cage and Dr. Strange will prove to show a purpose in the Marvel-verse for me (and, I'm enough of a Fan-Girl to know that Dr. Strange was originally one of The Defenders in the comics, so that fact is not lost on me).

Ironically enough, most everyone will tell you that Iron Fist is the weakest of the individual Defender shows. I don't get that because he's my absolute favorite. He's got heart, he's absolutely adorable (it doesn't hurt that the actor who plays him, Finn Jones, is exactly my "type" - British in real life, need I say more?), and I just can't help but think that his storyline has more directions to move into than the other guys. I was completely enthralled in every single episode. Not sure I can say the same for any of the others. All the shows have been renewed for another season, so there will be more of them all (including The Defenders, eventually), but it takes FOREVER for them to come out on Netflix, let alone Blu-Ray (more on that in a minute).

Obviously I can relate quite a bit to Jessica Jones because she's so damaged (sounds like anyone you know?), but again, David Tennant makes that show (and I don't think I'm giving away spoilers by saying that he pops up in season 2 as well). Season 2 of JJ is also a bit darker and more personal, but still just as good, just in a different vein as the first.

DareDevil grew on me because I started crushing on the actor who plays Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox - and yes, he is also British in real life - I do have a type). I will say I do NOT like their version of Elektra. I don't want him to be with her at ALL. I don't see any chemistry there and she's just not a likable character (at least the movie version was Jennifer Garner and, seriously, can anyone hate Jennifer Garner?).

If I wanted to get nit-picky, Charlie Cox has a bit of a comb-over covering his widows peaks which they try to hide by fluffing up his hair, but they put him in the rain a lot. You can't hide bald spots in the rain. Either let his true hairline show (which I don't think is that bad), or get him implants (which I really don't think he needs, but if it bothers them enough to give him fluff hair, then they should do something). It's a bit annoying and I tend to focus a lot on his hair when it rains on the show (and sometimes when it's not raining and he just has a long dialogue scene). Stupid, I know, but what's an Asper to do. He's adorable (not Finn Jones-Iron Fist adorable, but close and, for the record, they also comb Finn's hair into this widows peak lines too and his are barely even there...not sure what their hair and makeup people's deal is there).

When it comes to Blu-rays, I've had to resort to some strange tactics to get actual non-bootleg or real American versions of the discs. So far, I've only managed DareDevil 1 and Jessica Jones 1, and DareDevil 2 is on backorder through Target. Amazon is only selling all-regions...could it be because Netflix is a competitor? You can buy the DVDs anywhere, but not the Blu-Rays...weird. There better be TONS OF special features on those discs too considering how long it takes for them to be put on discs in the first place! I don't buy BRs for TV like I tend to do for movies, just the ones that I think "deserve" higher quality or shows with a lot of special effects.

Needless to say, I haven't given up on the DC world. I will still continue to watch their movies (although probably not their TV shows) and hope for the best, but unless they steal someone major from the Marvel creative team, I think DC is screwed.

But, I am, and will always be, a Marvel girl, be it movies, TV, or whatever form I can get my hands on. Right now, it's The Defenders, at least until Infinity War comes out. Will Iron Fist takes the place of Captain America for me in the long run? Only time will tell, but I'm willing to let him try! Even if Disney sells Marvel, it wouldn't matter, I'm a Marvel girl, through-and-through (although I may have to mourn for a while if Captain America dies...it can be this year's post Disney depression since I'm not going).

POSTSCRIPT:

I made the mistake of trying out a new Amazon channel last night...ComicConHQ and a I watched a movie based on the Supernatural Fandom so, guess what? Yep, tonight those Blu-rays will get their workout started...at least until the next Marvel show comes out on Netflix or until Black Panther comes out on Blu-ray so I can go see Infinity War. Ugh. I'm still a Marvel girl, but right now, I'm back to being obsessed with Supernatural. At least I had a couple of weeks reprieve! Maybe by the time Iron Fist comes out on Blu-Ray, I'll be back in The Defenders mood.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Meeting your heroes can be amazing

First, I had originally scheduled a probably too long op-ed about why I'm a Marvel girl and not a DC girl for today, but I think this post should trump that, so I booted it to Friday (and, if I re-read it, I might nix it altogether...it was more of a rant anyway).

Most of you guys know that I'm a huge Duran fan, been so forever, been to dozens of shows, etc, etc...but I make it a point to never stay in the same hotel or pay extra for the meet and greets. Why? Because, if I were to personally discover that Simon Le Bon was an ass in real life (and I have heard he can be), then I would be terminally crushed for life. He can be that way all he wants, I just don't want to see it personally. I'm happy with the concerts and leaving it at that.

And thus has ALWAYS been my view on meeting my personal heroes, big or small, stay away...very far away. Before I start this story, I should probably warn you that there will be a LOT of exclamation marks in this post...I was excited, what can I say?

I mentioned the other day that I was going over to Memphis to hear a lecture from Dr. Phil Plait (aka, the Bad Astronomer). Yes, going by myself was a HUGE deal, but I wanted to hear him speak so much, I did my usual, turn myself completely off and "get 'er done" thing to get myself there. The campus was hard to get into because it was gated up worse than a prison and it took me about 20 minutes to find a guard gate that actually had a guard in it to let me in. Once parked, I asked numerous kids directions, but the answers I got went from dumb to dumber (and keep in mind this is a private university, so it's SUPER expensive and SUPER hard to get into). I eventually just went into the admin building and found an adult to ask. But thankfully, my little OCD self was still over an hour early, so I sat in the auditorium in my usual third row, middle seat, and waited.

About five minutes after I sat down, the man himself came in with the student liaison. I immediately panicked and asked if it was OK that I was already sitting in there, and she said sure! He tooled around with his stuff for a few minutes, unpacking and setting up his computer, getting all his stuff ready, not really paying attention to me at all, so it was a bit awkward at first, but then he preceded to plop down on the front of the stage directly in front of me and started talking...actually TO ME! It was amazing and surreal and unbelievable all at the same time! I told him he was one of the reasons why I decided to go back to school (and especially go into Astronomy) and he seemed genuinely humbled by that. Then, he moved to the front row of the seating in front of me and we really got into it!

He asked all about me, why I was there, etc and we just talked like two normal people! He was one of the nicest, most amazing people I have ever spoken with (and it didn't help that I was extremely star stuck). I told him I also read his daughter's blog (she is a lot younger than I am and suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is nothing like my conditions, but I do relate to a lot of her issues) and we talked a bit about the struggles of mental illness (apparently there are a LOT of Aspers in the Astronomy world). We literally got about 40 minutes of uninterrupted conversation before the first other guests started wandering in, so he went back to the stage and started talking more to everyone else as well.

Of course his lecture was absolutely amazing and I felt like I was literally at a Duran concert. There were a couple of times when he would forget certain acronyms or dates and I'd mouth the words and he'd read my lips, nod, say the correct wording and keep going (he knew not to single me out too much because we'd had the Asper discussion already). It lasted an hour and then the Q&A also lasted an hour. I couldn't tell you how many people showed up, I never turned around (it didn't feel like a lot because I didn't feel a lot of vibes around me, but maybe a lot of people were sitting more towards the back). A lot of people asked questions and there was an Astrophysics Professor from the University of Memphis (a state run school across town) sitting in front and to the left of me) and she asked me afterwards, a bit too loudly, if I had any questions for him (because she asked me my story from the get-go since her and her family were the second to arrive) and I just said I couldn't.

The AP Prof butted in front of me after the majority left (because I wanted to thank him one final time) and they got a picture with him. A couple of others asked questions about random things and one guy even had him sign his telescope. I felt like a goob just standing there and I almost left, but I'm glad I didn't because the kicker of the whole evening (at least for me), the liaison (figuring I was waiting for a picture - which I wasn't...I'm not good with all that), asked him if he had time for one more picture. He looked up, saw me, and goes "SURE KEILEY!". He remembered my name! Needless to say, I felt so weird, but here it is, me and my Astronomy hero and I guess it's OK to publish this photo...it is mine since it was taken on my phone, right? Who can tell with copyright laws anymore, but I don't care, I'm a proud puppy:
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Then I kind of went a bit weird and rambled on too much and may have gotten borderline creepy (sometimes I can't tell when to shut up), but I finally figured out it was time to shut up and leave, so I thanked them both again, and home I came! But if I wasn't in awe of him before, I think he might literally be my new nerd crush (well, Stephen Fry still holds the top spot, but Phil holds a good second).

I still think I'll stick to my "stay away from my heroes" mantra, but I'm glad I've had at least one exception to the rule, and with my first "celebrity" no less (well, unless you count the time that YEARS ago Axl Rose flipped me off from his limo's skylight window in Memphis traffic because I was blocking them...wasn't my fault and it's a super long story for another day).

Monday, April 16, 2018

The joys of student loans and a side note

Well, I did get good news...apparently you only need 6 hours of class time to keep your full loan and I have 7, so I'm good on that front. When I checked my financial aid info on my school's website, it was divided into two sections, subsidized and unsubsidized. The subsidized amount was lower than the other and both had "accept" or "decline" beside them, but the catch was it for both Fall and Spring semester together (I couldn't pick for each semester). Needless to say, since this is my first time EVER with student loans, I was thoroughly confused. I kept calling the financial aid office, but they were absolutely NO help.

Finally though, a co-worker who has been going to school forever explained it to me. Subsidized loans are loans that the government pays the interest on until you graduate and have to start paying the loan back whereas unsubsidized are loans that start accruing interest the moment you start classes. I could have accepted both, but since the subsidized (the good loan) covered by Fall term for two classes, I went ahead and just accepted it and declined the other. But it also means that I have to keep my Spring term down to 7 hours and I will have no money left for Summer unless I pay for it out of pocket (which I could do by cashing in a week's vacation, which I often have to do anyway to keep from losing it). I didn't like making that decision right now because I just don't know how the Spring will go until I start Fall.

Part of me wanted to accept both loans and take the other extra money and either use it buy a new iPad and telescope or use it to pay off credit cards (because the interest rate would still be lower), but I did the "smart" thing (probably for the first time ever) and just took what I needed. That way, if I needed more for Spring, I would be OK, but now I'm kind of out of SOL. I still may have to pay a bit out of pocket for books even this fall, but July is a three-check month, so I still have a chance to save up some more money before classes and the same goes for December for Spring. But I usually use that money to pay down on my credit cards (and/or get my Amazon wishlist shortened). Oh well, the price of higher education I guess.

What a pain this whole mess has been!

But, as a side note, Phil Plait, aka the Bad Astronomer, aka, one of the reasons why I want to go back to school in the first place, is speaking at Rhodes College in Memphis and I'm going to go...by myself! Yep, you read that right...by myself!! I may end up driving all the way to Memphis and sitting in the parking lot for two hours, but I do plan on going! I want to go bad enough I don't care enough that I have to go by myself. It's not like I have any friends or family that would go with me anyway, so there you go. I'll let you guys know how it goes! If you guys have never heard of the Crash Course series on YouTube, Phil Plait did the Crash Course Astronomy...check it out if you want to:

It's a bit outdated now (as is most Astronomy info after a year or two), but they plan on updating it soon, so there you go.

And for those that don't know, there are Crash Courses for EVERYTHING! You name a topic, and there is a CC for it. I've been through a few of them, but my goal is to do them all. I didn't like the Physics lady much...I think it's because she talked too fast or something. But anyway, have fun! It's a good way to learn something cool in a short amount of time.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Classes booked!

Thanks everyone for your great advice! I had so much trouble trying to do decide what to do, even at the very last minute (and even now I'm questioning my decision and I'm still itching for that third class), but I did have some major help...apparently my advisor put a hold on my account so I could only book two classes anyway, the two he wanted me to book. So, it looks as though I'm taking English Comp II and Concepts of Programming.

I had no issues with the Programming class, but the Comp class fought me. Since those 80's records aren't digitized, they have no "real" record of them, so it wouldn't let me take Comp II since technically it didn't show I'd had Comp I (which I did). I ended up having to call the Registrar's office, who had to release one hold and then I had to call the English department who had to release another hold. They REALLY need to digitize those stupid transcripts from the 80's...I have the feeling this is going to happen a lot. My 90's and 2000 classes are all good, but since there are only like 4 of those...not very helpful.

When I couldn't book the Space Science course and lab, I went through the same steps, but when the Science Department couldn't release the hold either, I had to call my advisor and that's when I found out he had locked me down to two classes. He just felt that since I work full time (well, technically WAY more than full time...I clocked 75 hours last week), I needed to start slow. I tried to explain to him that I would be cutting my work hours down to at least 50 or lower, but even that freaked him out a bit. It's the price of being a salaried employee..40 hours rarely is an option. That's how they "get ya". Given the chance to do it all again, I wouldn't have taken salary. I'd be making WAY more without it anyway, but what's done is done. He basically told me I needed to get down to 40 hours, but I guess he was serious and didn't like it when I laughed at that.

And don't get me started on the hell I'm getting from work over missing two hours, three days a week. I've agreed to start coming in an hour early (which, in itself will be funny because there is no way ANYONE will want to deal with me at 8 a.m. in the morning...they can barely tolerate me at 9, so jokes on them on that front...but that fixes five hours of the week), and I'm not going to class on Tuesdays and Thursday's. I never take a lunch, so I tried to pitch it as I'm taking a two hour lunch three days a week. You would have thought I was suggesting closing the entire office! They are just going to have to get over it.

I'm at the stage now where I don't get choices on most of my classes...I will have to take them when they are offered and most of them are only offered at one time and it's usually at the most inopportune time during the work day. The Comp II class is an online class, so that saves the work hours, but the Programming class is on campus and it has a lab, so no way around missing work. And since I'm done with most all my basics, all my computer classes and physics classes will be a class and a lab, which means they are 4 credit courses and take up a lot of time. But again, I MORE than make up for it at work, so I don't get why I'm getting hassled over it. Maybe it will be the wake up call they need to FINALLY get me some backup? Yeah, I doubt it too. Got the feeling my phone will be blowing up in class, but I will have it off, so boo-hoo them!

Then there is the other glitch, since my two classes are only 7 course hours, it messes up my financial aid, so I'll probably have to spend half the day on the phone with them today trying to straighten that out. I'm supposed to carry at least 9.

On the stitch front...again, nothing this week, but hopefully I will post something from the other two days a couple of weeks ago...maybe.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sorry so quiet, but I could use some advice

Well, I've done a bit of stitching...about two days worth in two weeks. Frankly, work has gotten me pretty anti-social. I don't want to stitch, I don't want to clean, I just don't want to do anything but stare at the TV and not think of anything else until bedtime. I would show what little stitching progress I've made, but frankly I haven't even taken out my computer to upload the pics, so right now I've got nothing to show.

But, I did go to the college last week...all by myself like a big girl! I had an appointment with the Disability Office and all went well, sort of. I did get lost on the way in, which was funny since I have been in that building hundreds of times (it was the new parking garage that threw me off). I really wanted to go in the bookstore too, which was right next door, but I was too chicken. Then I got lost on the way out and had to walk two levels of the parking garage to find my car. That campus has tripled since I was there last and I have a HORRIBLE sense of direction. I'm gonna have a rough time of it. Plus, until I get my parking pass (which costs a literal fortune now), the visitors parking is VERY limited and they patrol like mad to give tickets. I literally saw twelve (not kidding) parking ticket carts circling around in the time I was in the garage (which was probably a total of 15 minutes).

I got signed up for all kinds of benefits including being able to record my lectures (apparently that's not standard practice anymore), special seating if I want it (but I always get to class early, so that's not an issue yet, unless work interferes), if I have to do a group project either I don't have to, or I can do my part separate from the group and not present it with them, come Spring term, I get priority class booking and can book my classes a week ahead of everyone else (now it goes by your class rank), and dozens of others. Basically, at the start of every term, my professors will get a "note" about me and hopefully I will get left alone as much as possible. That's what they told me anyway. But the best thing, the thing I was scared of most, is Oral Communications...when I have to take that class, I can either give my presentation in the Disabilities office with the Professor present, or just alone in the class with the Prof...not in front of everyone! I'm still gonna put that class off as long as possible, but still.

But anyway, they told me that funnily enough, you can take a digital recorder, an iPad, and a laptop to class to record, to type or whatever, but you can't use a phone. I find that odd. I'm gonna buy a digital recorder (I do still have my old micro cassette recorder, but I don't want to seem like a dinosaur) and take my laptop, but whether or not I'll use it is a different story (unless I use the camera to record). I type fast (REALLY fast), but there are too many chances for the computer to crash or die, and then all your notes are just gone. I find it way too annoying typing on an iPad long term, so I probably won't do that at all, again unless I use it to record video. Even without worrying about the data loss, I figure the key clicking on a computer will either annoy me or I'll be afraid it will annoy others (or their key clicking will annoy me...we'll see). I'll take it, but I figure I'll be taking notes on paper and using the digital recorder. I am old after all.

I also have to fill out paperwork for tutoring that will be available until the day I graduate, but the paperwork is lengthy and I'm still working on it. They need copies of my tax records and all my transcripts which makes me a bit nervous and I have to write a "personal history" about myself. I've got that part done, but I'm not sure I did what they wanted, so my Disability Counselor has to review it first. I was supposed to do that this weekend, but instead I just sat on my butt and watched TV. I did it this morning instead. I do tend to procrastinate when it comes to school. I'm not even sure I'll take advantage of the tutoring...I'm not good with stuff like that, but the Counselor was insistent I apply, so I am. But I also have to drop the paperwork off at the library when it's finished, a place I've never gone before (yes, I spent three years in college and never stepped foot in the library, way before the time of the internet...what can I say, I was very resourceful and I didn't like the looks of that building).

I also got an advisor and spoke with him without having to go up there to meet him...he just released the hold on my account and told me to "stop by his office" once classes started. I was dreading that like the plaque, so that was a relief I didn't have to go to yet another building I've never been in before (at least not yet). I told him I wanted to get my English Comp II out of the way (one of three basics left) and I wanted to take Intro to Space Science and whatever he wanted me to to take, but he said, since I've been out so long, it might be good to only take two classes, especially since Space Science has a lab.

I told him I was a bit scared that a BS in Computer Science might be a bit over my head, but I told him what my end game was with Astronomy and he recommended I take Concepts of Programming. It's not part of my major requirements, it's more of a remedial course, but he said if I couldn't cut that class, then I'll know for sure that Computer Science isn't for me. It also has a lab which is also why he was against Space...too many hours. Plus, even though I could take Comp II and Space online, the Concepts of Programming is only offered on campus and it cuts two hours into my work day, three days a week (which didn't make work happy, but oh well), but that means I'll have to stay later at work to make up my time. They are just going to have to deal with the fact that I'm going back to school and it's going to cut into my work day. They allow others to do it and I should be allowed the same privileges.

At first, I was still set on the three classes, but that's 11 hours, which is almost full-time and, the more I thought about it, the more I think he's right...I should just stick with the two, especially since I'm dreading Comp II and I'm scared of the Programming. Best not to overload myself. I tried to find another class that wasn't a four hour credit, but I kept running across them. I tried Precalculus (since I didn't have that in high school either), but that's only a campus class and it's four days a week, an hour per day (more time out of my work day). Same with Intro to Chemistry (which I failed my first college try...I quit going because I hated it and it was before I knew you could drop a class...my stupidity, but I still have to take Chemistry again and since it's been 30 years, I figure I need a refresher before I hit the real thing).

My issue is, between all my Physics courses and my Computer courses, most all of them have labs, which means they are four hour classes (three for the class, one for the lab). Since I'm almost finished with my basics, there is really nothing "easy" left for me to take and it also kind of messes up my school loans since I'm supposed to carry 9 hours for it (right now I only have 7). I can bump down the award to allow extra money for summer courses, but again, because I'm at a "certain" level already, there aren't many classes I can take in the summer since they are really only offered either fall or spring. If I can squeeze in the Precalc and Intro to Chemistry in the spring, then I can take Chemistry first summer semester and Biology second summer and that's it for basics except for Oral Comm (which I will put off as long as possible...maybe even until they change the policy about it). Come next fall, I need to try to carry at least three or four classes if I can.

Life will suck for quite a while which is why I should be stitching like mad right now, but I think I've got all this clouding up my mind and I just can't focus on stitching. I just want to tune out and watch TV (again, while I still can). I guess, at least next year, I'll have the summers to stitch.

Granted, I don't have a family to take care of (other than the pups and they are pretty self-sufficient), but how do you guys do it? How do you manage a household, a family, a job, and school? I know I have "issues" in the mix as well (we'll call them my "kids"...little ASD, OCD, ADHD, and Society Anxiety), but I really only have a job (which sucks the life out of me, but doesn't everyone's job...or is it just mine?), so I should have enough time for school too, right? What do you guys think? Any tips?