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Yes folks, I stitched!

I'm not sure if I was just trying to take my mind off of dwelling on the incredibly terrifying load of work coming my way with building an entirely new LIS system for work or what, but I did stitch this weekend, and it's probably more than I've done in a while (although still not up to my usual standards). I pulled out Maleficent (yes, I know I probably shouldn't call her that, but that IS who she is and, when I bought her from Heaven and Earth Designs, that WAS her name before they had to change it for legal reasons, so I'm sticking to it anyway because it bugs me they changed it to Evil Queen when we ALL know who the Evil Queen is and it AIN'T Maleficent!). Last time I even touched her was row 5 finish back in February 2018:
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And, had I not got distracted by TV, I could have easily finished the color on the page I was working on, especially since it was only 10 more rows (but I didn't)...I'm also having issues with playing Marvel Game Quest on my iPad too, so whenever I gain enough lives back, I'm back to game play...but anyway, here's where I got to:
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Considering, this is the proudest I've been with stitching in a while! I've been watching Veronica Mars on Hulu gearing up for the new series and, since it's a show I've watched dozens of times before, it makes for good stitching! If I can continue on, there is only row 6 and part of a row with 7 and she's all done! I don't remember her going very fast though and it sure seemed like I was whipping through her this weekend...wonder when she's going to start slowing down? Oh well, as long as I am actually stitching, who cares, right?

Another road trip - half work/half fun...residual moodiness

Well, on Monday, a co-worker and I drove down to Baton Rouge to look at a computer system for work. Being that social for four hours (yep...FOUR HOURS...I was expecting maybe an hour at most) was hard enough, I was practically climbing the walls to get out of there, but we did learn a lot and I'm still reeling from all the information they bombarded us with! I REALLY hope we get lucky enough to be able to get the system I want. We left at my usual 1:30 am time period on Monday morning and, as per usual, my town was deader than a door nail:
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It's not like I "want" heavy traffic at that time of the morning, but it would be nice not to be the only person on the road, or even awake! We made good time down to Baton Rouge, about 6 hours:
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But I gotta say, as someone who is OBSESSED with interstate walls, Louisiana has some work to do!
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At least my co-worker wasn't freaked out by my incessant picture-taking while driving like some people are! Once we FINALLY got out of that lab and got back on the road, we decided to take a side trip to MY neck of the woods to the gulf, but more on that in a minute. First, I decided to do something I'm NEVER comfortable with and drive through New Orleans. I figured, since I just spent four hours being social, I might as well be brave and fight the bad ju-ju of the city of the dead! We took I10 straight through (I won't stray off the interstate, but I will take it into town), and I FINALLY got at least ONE decent picture of St. Louis #2...I've tried to take one every single time I've driven through there to no avail (although, in my defense, I can count on one hand how many times that is). Granted, I shot on burst and only one came out, but that's OK! It's a small cemetery and the interstate is a bit high above it:
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Besides, the "good" one that I would actually LOVE to visit is St. Louis #1 where Marie Laveau is buried, but that isn't accessible without a tour and isn't anywhere near the interstate, so I would actually have to drive into town...not happening! I always feel so sad driving by the Superdome, but it's a very easy picture target, so here you go:
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Once we got to Bay St. Louis, I took the coast road, and I noticed the beaches all the way down were empty, which is weird considering it's July, but I just thought it was because it was so hot...apparently not! The water had a high bacterial level and there were warnings posted on every single beach entrance! Poor Gulfport, I stopped in my usual spot but, it was just so barren, I felt like it was November!
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It was also the first time in a very long time (probably since Hurricane Andrew) since I noticed the smell of the Gulf...it's been very muted for years, but this time it was very pungent and the birds weren't swooping the water like they usually are. The gulls are usually all over the sand bar towards the Gulfport docks, but not a single one was around. It's a bit hard to see because the tide was up, but it's just before the swimming buoys:
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I personally, didn't go in the water, even though I have the strongest immune system ever, but my co-worker, who gets sick if you look at him funny, was wading out there like it was nothing! I warned him not to, but he did it anyway. It is a stark reminder of global warming though...the increase of bacterial and algae blooms in summer seem to be getting worse every single year down there. That used to be a rare occurrence, now it's several times a year. It hadn't turned colors yet but, like I said, the smell was noticeable. I figure it will turn pink pretty soon.

I did find it odd though that, even though the beaches from Bay St. Louis down to Gulfport were closed, Biloxi was wide open and people where in the water like it was nothing (Ocean Breeze, the next town down, was also closed). You can't convince me that the ONE section of beach where Biloxi is was clear, while EVERY SINGLE bit of beach around it was infected! I ain't buying it! You could also tell that the only people actually in the water were tourists, apparently the locals knew better. I would like to think, even if I was a tourist (which I guess technically I am, although I'm down there enough I don't consider myself one), I would know that, if every section of beach all the way around me is closed on both sides and it's all the same water, it's a good bet that the several hundred feet of Biloxi beach is just as infected! DUH! It made me want to stop at a pool store just to get a PH kit to prove it to myself more than anything, but I let it go and moved on down the road! The tourists would just have to deal with the aftermath themselves.

But when we got down to Wentzel's, my absolute FAVORITE restaurant that I was just at two months ago, it was GONE, replaced by a crappy catfish place! I had even received a coupon for them just the week before we left! I have emailed them back just to see if maybe they moved or something (fingers are still crossed), but I haven't heard back yet. I was HEARTBROKEN! Plus, I had money from four other co-workers to bring them back to-go orders too! We ended up eating at another seafood restaurant, but it wasn't good. This was my meal, which was basically shrimp alfredo with fried shrimp on top, but it was so bland, I had to put hot sauce on top to even taste anything! Guess I won't be eating there again!
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Granted, I have the recipe for my favorite dish from Wentzel's, Eggplant La Rosa, but it takes an act of god to make it, so I'm not sure it's something I'll be running out to get the ingredients for anytime soon. As a matter of fact, when I printed off the recipe for me and some of my co-workers, I made the joke that it would be easier (and cheaper) to drive the 14 hours down there and back, buy the four tanks of gas, and pay the $20 to buy the stupid meal, than to attempt to buy all the ingredients (assuming I could find most of them here in bumb-fudge Arkansas) and make it myself! Well, just damn.

Oh well, it was still a VERY nice drive and we had a good day overall, even with the increased social interaction, the lack of beach time, my favorite restaurant being closed...wait a minute...did we have a good time? Yeah, I'll stand by that statement, we did, despite all the bad. Give me a good long drive any day and I can overcome just about any hurtle during it. The aftermath is a different story.

Speaking of, because of the social interaction I had to deal with on Monday...Tuesday and Wednesday were rough on me at work. I ended up locked in my office both days, with such a massive headache on Wednesday, I actually got sent home early (I didn't argue). I kind of knew that would happen and warned everyone, but I also didn't expect the four hours, so it was WAY worse than I expected and I almost ended up in trouble at work because of my behavior (and I'm still not sure I'm not in trouble, I've avoided everyone today, but kept my door open...people are avoiding me today). Oh well, it's a side-effect of my disability, it's not like I can help it. I know I needed to go down there and check out that system, but I also don't do social interaction well. I did my duty, but there was a cost, and technically, I did try to control it by sequestering myself. If certain people tried to invade my space during that time (people who were warned to stay away), I personally think that's their fault, not mine, but I do see things one-sided (aka me-sided) most of the time. Besides, it's not like I don't stay in trouble anyway, how is this any different? I'm a moody person, what can I say?

OCD in full effect!

I did go back to watching Once, but I did take a break on Monday to watch last week's episode of "Agent's of SHIELD"...problem is, it was such an AMAZING episode, I have literally watched it over and over and over again all week long! It is the absolute PERFECT Fitzsimmons shipper episode and it is the episode that the fans have been waiting for since the beginning (well, at least this fan)! I know how the Fitzsimmons cannon goes, and I'm fully aware that there is some horrible disaster waiting one or two episodes from now, but for the moment, I'm still basking in the glory that was episode 06x06 Inescapable!

There are already numerous fan videos popping up on YouTube for it, almost as many as there are for the entire Fitzsimmons history...which says a lot about the episode, but this is one of my favorites because it ties some flashback scenes from older episodes into it (although I wish it had some of the funnier moments with their "alter bad selves" that were funny as hell!).

As of now, I have no plans to stop watching the episode and go back to Once, well at least until the aforementioned usual horrible event happens and everything gets ruined (again). Maybe we will get lucky and they will leave them alone for a while and let them actually be happy for a change! Here's hoping!

Back to Once and Stitching (well, sort of)

I am fully back to Once Upon A Time...after a week of watching every single horror movie left in Amazon Prime's arsenal of junk horror (and, believe me, it's a massive arsenal). I found where they have added "Wings"...one of my favorite shows from the 80's, and one of the few American sitcoms I ever watched. I tried to watch it, but I noticed that, in the middle of season 1, I was suddenly in season 2 and then back to season 1 again, only to jump back to the episodes of season 2 they had already played. I gave up and just decided that was my clue that it was just time to settle in and watch Once again. I have "Wings" on DVD anyway, so it's not like I can't watch it anytime I want, it was just kinda cool being able to stream it!

Anyhoo, by Sunday afternoon, the stitchy bug struck again and, even though I didn't do much, I guess it's better than nothing! I don't usually take my Ritalin on the weekends and it's harder for me to focus on anything when I don't take it, so I can't really sit still for too long without getting distracted by some other weird task. I left off here last time back at the end of May:
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And a couple of hours later, I managed a bit more fill in (but still on the same color):
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I thought about changing projects, but I was honestly just too lazy to switch out the projects on my lap stand! So sad!

On the trip front...I'm still working on my New Mexico/Arizona solo trip. I have to get it down to four days, which won't be easy when I keep adding stops, but I think I've narrowed it down enough. I can always go back and do the northern-most parts of those states and go further along later. There is nothing that says I have to do it all this trip (and yes, I am saying that as more of a reminder to myself more than anything...I'm still not getting the message just yet)! The whole purpose of this trip was just to go to Meteor Crater, but then I realized all the cool places I could hit along the way like Roswell, the Large Satellite Array, White Sands, and dozens of others. Then I figured out how close the Grand Canyon was, so I ended up adding that. But then I also realized that Hoover Dam wasn't that far away from the Grand Canyon either and things just kept getting out of control, so I just went back and started deleting stops one by one until I had a workable trip. It's still pretty scattered road-wise, but I can make it work (I hope!). Hoover Dam will just have to wait until a future trip unless I somehow make excellent time on this trip. I would at least like to cross over into the Nevada border to cross off another state on my map.

But the weekend before I was meant to leave on that trip, my Sister has to go to Chicago on business and she asked me if I wanted to go with her. Since my above trip hits a lot of Route 66, and I've been at the very end of Route 66 at Santa Monica when I went to California in 2015, I suddenly had an epiphany! I've been through Chicago before, but never actually seen the start of Route 66 sign, so I had the idea that I could drive up to meet my Sister (she is flying, of course) and then I could drive Route 66 all the way to my destinations, just extending my trip out a bit more, maybe going through Marcelline, etc on my way down. But then logic kicked in...that's a VERY long trip...too long to be away from home. It would just be easier to fly up with her to Chicago, do some bus tours while she is in meetings, then us have a couple of days of doing things, come home and a couple of days later leave on the trip I have planned. I can still see the Route 66 sign whether I drive or fly. If I did the full road trip, I do have puppies that would have to be boarded, it would be more gas and more hotels than I was expecting to pay for, whereas my Sister's trip is already paid for. One of these days I'm going to learn moderation...I'm not sure when, but someday!

Speaking of "the map", did I tell you guys I bought one of those maps that you scratch off all the states that you've visited? It's one of the reason's why I have such a hankering to travel lately. I thought I had been to way more states than I actually had, but when I got to scratching, I realized I really haven't traveled the U.S. nearly as much as I thought I had. I knew the West was lacking, but I was surprised to find that middle America (other than the South) was pretty lacking too! And some states up North that I thought I had been to, apparently I was mistaken there as well. I did scratch off all the coastal areas that I have hit, which is apparently more than the land areas, but those maps are extremely scratch sensitive and it was very easy to scratch too deep and take all the color off. I may get another one just because. I also didn't like that you couldn't scratch off just part of a state...some states I've covered every square inch, but others I've just skirted or just hit one or two towns. That may be because the states were small because I got one with Canada and Mexico on it, since I've been in both (again, just a quick drive through and it felt weird scratching off all of Ontario when I've only ever been to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls plus a couple of hours drive through the countryside and Mexico was basically crossing over through a store that was half in Texas and half in Mexico...it was the very early 80's), but that was WAY before you needed passports to visit either. But when it comes to the unscratched-off states, oh well, trip goals! Although, nothing about this new trip will help other than Arizona unless I manage to somehow cross the Nevada border.
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Well...still no stitching and NOTHING left on the planet to watch!

I have literally watched EVERYTHING that Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu has to offer as well as most of YouTube! There is nothing left that I either have never seen before, or don't already own! I watched the third (and final) season of Jessica Jones this weekend. It ended kinda blaa for those series. I don't want to give spoilers for those who haven't seen it yet though, so I'll hold off on details for a while. I watched enough horror movies to make me question my sanity because ALL OF THEM ARE THE SAME! I watched tons of reaction vids on YouTube as well as more space docs and I am just worn out!

I do think it's just time to head back to Once and start stitching again. I think I have just exhausted all other options. I know I didn't want to get back into that OCD loop again, but it's comforting, it helps me stitch, and seriously, what harm does it actually do? Just because a behavior is technically bad on paper, does that necessarily mean it's bad for me? I personally don't think so, but there is always a "but". It doesn't affect my behavior overall, so I'm not sure why I have such issue with it, other than, when someone asks me what I'm watching and I say Once, they go "again?", more as an accusation rather than a question and I feel awkward about it (and, I can't lie, so it comes out of my mouth before I can process to deflect the question to another subject rather than answering it). I've been over that "childhood over-compensating pleasing stage" years and have been at the "I don't care what you think of me stage", but here lately, I've notice I've started reverting to what others think of me again. I catch myself watching expressions of others when I say things (although I still have major issues trying to read those expressions) and I worry if I've said the right thing, even to something as basic as "hello". I'm not sure what is causing it, but I wish it would stop. I spent years getting over all that teenage crap, I'd hate to revert now!

This weekend I also tried to avoid all things Father's Day. That's one of the roughest holidays for me. It's hard loving a man who technically only lives about 10 miles from me and is only separated because of some imaginary slight that neither one of us can remember, but neither one of us is willing to break. So, over 20 years later, here we are. The joys of Scottish pride! Not a day goes by that I don't think of him, but I seriously doubt he thinks of me at all and that's the key that keeps me away because, finding out for sure that my Father doesn't love me would be the one thing that would truly break me for good. Besides, he's also part of a "package"...a very large, damaged, drama-filled package that my fragile state of mind just can't handle. Those people are just too much and they are so exhausting just to be around, so remembering that also helps me stay away. Aspers are weird when it comes to emotional attachments...we usually don't form them except for a few special circumstances but, when we do, those bonds are REALLY strong. I've formed two, my Sister and my Father (they aren't related). Thankfully, at least my Sister is around and I can't imagine life without her! My Father is just that empty place in my soul that hurts all the time. He and I are SOOO much alike (and I'm sure that's who I got my Asper-ness from), and we were really close when I was young, which is probably why it feels like a piece of me is missing. I do wonder why he doesn't feel the same now and what changed. If my bond still feels this strong, even after 20 years apart, why doesn't his? I've analyzed it to death and it's a futile pursuit, so let's change the subject, shall we?

I did want to show you the "Because you watched a documentary about space and the Earth as told by astronauts, we think "Friends" is a good fit" screenshot...granted, I have watched a few more programs, including Jessica Jones and a few episodes of "The Chef Show" with Jon Favreau, so it influenced things a bit more than before (hence the change in the documentary recommendations), but still..."Friends"?
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The hippies also FINALLY got a haircut. They look a bit like a two-headed Shih-Cerberus here ready to attack, but they are still pretty cute!
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It's a lot better than this miserable mess:
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If they didn't grow overnight and she didn't stay booked up months in advance, I could stay on top of it better! I used to groom my kids myself, but once I got Bugs, he had been abused so much, there was NO WAY I was going to get near him with clippers, so I started taking him to the groomer and I figured, well, might as well take Bam too, and then I just got lazy! Half the time though, I still have to "fix" them when I get them home anyway...she always misses chunks of hair somehow.

Here's hoping (yet again), I manage some stitching this weekend!

Coolest thing I've ever seen!

So, in my daily news check today, I ran across a news article about one of my favorite childhood actors (one of my first major actor crushes) and how he snapped back at a couple of Canadian politicians for using his grandfather's name to push their political agendas (article HERE). I'm not on Twitter myself anymore, but I do read quite a few celebrity tweets on a daily basis (because some of them are actually intelligent people who think a lot like me and aren't afraid to say what's on their mind), so I decided to check out his Twitter page too and, as I read through, I discovered he has a blog, which I headed over to as well, just to see what he had to say. I have to admit, I was quite impressed! I know a lot of celebrities have blogs, and that in itself isn't such a great feat...some of them are good, some of them you can just tell their people do for them, but this one just snagged me right away (and not just because he STILL has "it" in my book). His music career I was aware of, but what caught me off guard, was the fact that he does cooking videos! There are only four, but seriously...Kiefer Sutherland does cooking videos! Mic drop please!


You can tell that he definitely gets more comfortable by this one...although I do have to question why he isn't recycling all that aluminum foil!

This is the latest one (not on his blog for some reason) and the sound is a bit off, but again, dude is getting WAY better...I think he's ready for his own show!

Still searching for the "perfect" stitching show (and failing), but working on pissing off the world

I decided to do a Starz free preview this week (I can do numerous movie channel previews for 7 days through Amazon Prime, and I thought I had done most, apparently not). My Sister has been going on and on about "American Gods" and how much she thought I'd love that show, so I thought I'd give it a go. And warning, this post might be offensive to some. I don't mean it to be, I'm just being my usual blatant Asper self! Religion is one of those topics that you can't have an open conversation about because, despite their teachings to the contrary, it's a very selfish and personal thing and people get violently defensive about their religion. It's a behavior I just don't understand, but here we go anyway because I feel a rant coming on!

One thing to know about me...I was Christened Catholic and raised Southern Baptist, so when I got up to a certain age (16 to be exact), and started questioning everything. My mother is the kind of person who has ALWAYS said two things that walks all over my nerves..."just because" and "look it up". But unfortunately, it created a certain response behavior in me that exists to this very day. If someone says to me "just because", I get extremely pissed and tend to start asking serious, often extremely uncomfortable questions just to annoy because that is NOT an answer and, if I get interested in something, I tend to collect (and read ad-nauseum) every book I can find on the subject. These two things often go hand-in-hand and tend to make me incredibly (or dangerously, depending on who you ask) knowledgeable about the stupidest of subjects (hence a head full of useless information).

The worst thing you can say in church is "why?", they give you what they consider a legitimate answer (but basically a non-answer) and you follow it up with a "but why?" because they really didn't answer you at all. They don't understand why you keep asking because they think they've answered you, you keep asking because they haven't answered a bloody thing, just threw bible quotes at you (or said those magic words, "because the bible said so") and you suddenly find yourself looking for answers elsewhere (a BIG no-no in most Christian churches, especially in the South). Had I not left voluntarily, they probably would have kicked me out.

Needless to say, I have a semi-working knowledge of Christianity and its Pagan origins (as well as other mono and polytheistic religions). It's all pretty fascinating, but enough to have granted me my own special room in hell (at least according to my mother) because it made me question everything (again, a BIG no-no). I see it more as recognizing the broader view of religion, because ultimately, they are all connected and are all, in the broad strokes, pretty much the same overall...basically, same story told from different points of view. One pops up, steals various important points from the one before it, modifies the information to suit the current model and adapts accordingly. Step outside the bubble and it's a LOT easier to see that, but maybe that's just another Asper trait...not everyone can step outside their own bubble. I do it quite a lot.

Nowadays, I'm not religious, but I do consider myself a very spiritual person. Study numerous religions and the color of jade sneaks in, but you can't look at the wonder of the universe and not think that there are higher powers in play. When all is said and done though, I don't think we're important enough to question those higher forces, let alone mandate what they are and our place in their master plan (as religion tries to do). If anything, that's humanity's arrogance, thinking they know what the powers that be are, let alone what they want from us and that we are "made in their image". Maybe, every blue moon, someone is enlightened to a tidbit of the information and a religion is born, but otherwise, I see religion as humanity's creation (often by those in power to control those who are not) and spirituality as something that just "is". But I digress, because now I'm offering opinions, the very definition I'm throwing out for religion.

But "American Gods"...wow! How right they got some of these origins and how really uncomfortable I got a lot of the time when they got extra creative with the details! Despite my lack of Christianity, there is still that 15 years of Christian conditioning (or brainwashing as the hippies would call it) and I squirmed a lot! It's one thing to know where Easter came from and why the Christians adopted it as a religious holiday, it's another thing to see Kristin Chenoweth in a Easter colored-filled house with candy everywhere, talking to spy bunnies, hosting a party filled with Jesus's from every nationality (because every country has their own Jesus with the appropriate skin color and language), walking past an obvious Jesuit priest with the stigmata and jelly beans flowing through this wound holes, various other gods snacking on macaroons and Easter eggs and her soaking up the "real" worship because she is Ostara, goddess of the dawn and she's piggy-backing off of the worship that Jesus gets! Granted, most of the Germanic/Nordic gods probably came after Christianity (or at least were written down afterwards), but the origins of the Sun gods and the Spring solstice go all the way back to the Neanderthals and pre homo sapiens. They migrated their homes based on the Spring equinox and gave offerings for a safe passage. She played off this too, but the whole Easter candy thing went WAY too far, even for the sake of comedy. I did finish the series, but it makes me wonder about the Christians who watch the show and how much do they actually know about the origins of their religion (if at all) because I could see a massive backlash otherwise!

"American Gods" was good, if you know nothing about religion other than the basics and think every other religion that came before (or since) are just myths. One day, Christianity will be just a myth to whatever religion replaces it, but for now, our Ilu, Zeus, Jupiter, Taranis or as many polys as you can think of hold that top spot! I wonder if, in the future, when Christianity gets replaced, we'll end up back with polytheistic gods or stay with a monotheistic? Polys actually make more sense to me in the pantheon of religion (if you're going to practice it) and, if you want to get technical about it, Christianity, as well as other monotheistic religions, are basically a polytheistic religions anyway...god (or whatever name they call it in their various versions) at the top, Jesus (or again, whoever is their top prophet), Mary (for the Catholics), the saints, the angels, satan...etc. Again, same story, different storytellers. And I also just realized that Christianity as well as Islam basically just Fifty Shaded their bible from the Avesta and the Zoroastrians anyway! But they all did a heck of a lot of damage to get their messages across and "gain" followers just, as I'm sure, the next one will also do. I love to throw the Crusaders in the face of one particular Pentecostal co-worker who is extremely anti-Muslim (although she thinks Crusaders were Catholic and therefore NOT Christian...I can't convince her that Catholics ARE Christians!). She thinks all Muslims are terrorists and Jews are evil (although I have to remind her that Jesus WAS a Jew). She will often defend the Crusades as "missionary work" and I always point out that rape, pillage, plunder, torture and massacre is ALWAYS the best way to bring someone over to your way of thinking! Suicide bombers are humane in comparison! Ah, the joys of trying to reason with the religious.

Which is why, I started watching "Black Sails" and LOVE that show! Granted, it's still not a stitching show, but at least I'm extremely entertained and not uncomfortable in the least...the raping, pillaging, plundering, torturing and massacring are all in the name of treasure, so it's OK! I can watch pirates all day and not have to think about these deep religious implications because, frankly, they make my head hurt!

Just a quick Netflix rant followup

Just a quick funny story...this week I've been watching a documentary called "One Strange Rock" on Netflix...basically a science/astronomy documentary from Darren Aronofsky that talks about our planet, our solar system, and our universe from the view of astronauts who have spent time on the International Space Station (and, unfortunately, it is narrated by Will Smith, not a favorite of mine, but still). It's been an AMAZING show and now I'm looking for other new space documentaries to watch, not an easy feat since I've watched most of them or they are too old and out-dated. Thankfully, the recommendations are actually changing to reflect this (shock). But in the list of ACTUAL science shows, is a documentary on flat-earthers and how their beliefs are spreading into a real movement. Seriously? I expected the UFO documentaries to start next (because I think I've made it clear how I feel about flat-earthers and their "science"...seriously, WHAT are they teaching in schools nowadays), but no, the next show RIGHT behind the flat-earth documentary, was FRIENDS! OMG! How, in all that is holy, is FRIENDS a documentary? WTF? I should have taken a picture of it! But then again, if they are going to flat-earthers to science docs, you just might as well add Friends to the list too!

I stitched a tiny bit and I have a bit of a Netflix rant (that isn't so tiny)

I think, with an extra day off this weekend, I just got too bored of watching nothing on TV and needed an outlet, so I ended up stitching a bit on Monday. My arms got really tired, really fast (and I had a lot of trouble focusing), but at least I did something. It's kind of amazing how hard it is just to pick up stitching after a long lapse...it is more physically strenuous than most people give it credit for. I worked on Faces of Faery 167, by Jasmine Becket-Griffith:
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I left off here on March 11 of 2018:
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I made it here after a few hours of work:
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It does look like I did a lot more than I did now that I can see the two pics side-by-side, but it is a VERY small piece (it will only be 7x7 when finished), so it was hard to tell while I was working on it that I was even making any progress! But as you guys keep telling me, something is better than nothing, right?

We'll see how the week takes me and I'd like to say I'll keep going with stitching, especially since I have COMPLETELY exhausted everything on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime there is to watch as of now, so I should have the time to stitch. I need a good stitching show, aka something that can run in the background and I don't have to really watch, just sort of listen to (usually because I've watched it so many times already). But I don't want to go back to "Once Upon A Time", "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (AOS for short) or "Supernatural" because I'm trying hard to curb my OCD tendencies and those are my worst triggers and I get stuck in those loops for months on end. I cleared season 3 of "Riverdale" between Friday night and Saturday morning, spent the rest of Saturday watching two seasons of another show called "Very British Problems" (and yes, it confirmed that I am indeed British and not Southern, despite my area of birth and living), I watched horror movies on Sunday (as is my typical Friday night practice, but "Riverdale" distracted me), and I watched so much crap on Monday, I literally couldn't tell you what most of it was. I have now hit the dregs of all streaming platforms and was just grasping at the proverbial straws trying to find something good to watch and I can now confirm I have literally "seen it all", or at least all in the genres that I typically watch.

Now I need to rant a bit (or at lot, depending on my mood)...despite Netflix's constant urging, I will NEVER watch "Friends" or "Grey's Anatomy" and now, their newest recommendations, various zombie shows and Asian subtitled movies. I would sure LOVE to know how how these streaming services' algorithms work, Netflix being the worst about it. A viewer, who only watches horror (but NEVER zombie movies), action/superhero adventure-type movies, the occasional fantasy genre, and yes, a teen romance or two (or a dozen), would somehow love those particular shows or movies? Sometimes, and this REALLY gets me, they recommend "Riverdale" or Once or even AOS, which I already watch and they have record of it in my viewing history, so why not keep it in the list of "shows you've already watched" or "watch it again" list...why move it to the "recommended for you" list? I've gone back and made sure it was still in my viewing history just because I was questioning their practice on this, but yep, all views still there...so what the literal bloody hell?

Yes, I watched Once and AOS, which are both ABC shows, so that qualifies me for Grey's? Just because Disney owns ABC, doesn't mean ABC gets a free pass, even in my book. Right now, AOS is the only ABC show I currently watch because everything else kind of sucks now that Once is gone. There is no Disney or Marvel-related anything really left on ABC right now, so I don't spend much time on Hulu except for AOS. And, when it comes to Grey's, do they secretly know I own all 15 seasons of "ER" on DVD and, if so, how? It is the only American medical show I ever watched (and only because I was obsessed with Anthony Edwards back in the day and then Shane West), but I work in the medical field and I don't want to go home and watch it on TV, even though I work with a lot of people who watch every medical show on TV for some weird reason. I want escapism, not more of what I spent all day dealing with. Plus, I'm not a fan of procedural anything (unless it's British), because I also work in I.T., which is constant procedural everything. Not all medical shows are created equal, and "ER" holds a special place in my heart because I literally watched it on TV from the beginning to the end (as I did Once), besides, "ER" is on Hulu if I wanted to watch it streaming, so Netflix you're out of luck and I would never watch Grey's anyway...I am not a fan of most of those actors and I'm also not a fan of unhappy endings (which that show has a lot of).

I don't ever watch situation comedies (at least not American, and Netflix doesn't have the British ones, those are on Hulu and I have them all on DVD anyway), so why recommend "Friends"? I hate every single main actor on that show (a recurring theme with me apparently) and have rarely watched a single movie with one of them in it (if it did, it was by accident and I always delete it from my viewing history just to keep further "Friends" recommendations from popping up on other streaming sites). Matter of fact, I rarely watch a comedy film either. As close as I ever got to "Friends" was "Coupling", a British show which is often compared to "Friends" for some strange reason (which I own on DVD and, as far as I know, I've never streamed), but I see them as two completely different beasts, so what would give them the idea that "Friends" is a good fit for me? This horror-loving, America's Ass-worshipping, teen-angst driven, British comedy-watching viewer? Good question!

I watched "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" (more than once...well, probably more than high double-digits, but still) and it had a lead actress who is of Asian/American descent as well from a book series that was written by the same, but how does that constitute suddenly bombarding me with a plethora of Asian subtitled-language films? It also stars an Italian American, but I don't have any Italian recommendations (at least, not yet). Yes, I do watch the occasional French subtitled film, but that's FRENCH, not ASIAN...not that there is anything wrong with Asian or Italian films, they just aren't my cup of tea and, are they saying that all foreign films are the same? I think not. But again, the same thing happens every time I watch a French film, all foreign films suddenly get added to my recommendations list, all languages BUT French, that is. Amazon Prime has the same problem confusing French and Bollywood films. I have never watched a Bollywood film on Amazon, and yet, after watching one French film, I suddenly got bombarded with Bollywood recommendations to the point I had to clear out my history just to stop it (and no, I don't typically watch musicals either, so it couldn't have come from that). Again, nothing against Bollywood films, they just aren't for me (and yes, I've seen a few in my day). I like French films because there was a time I could speak it (sort of), I can watch one without reading the subtitles (most of the time unless their accents are heavy) and they tend to be extremely moody and dark, especially with their horror.

Speaking of which, when it comes to the big "H", I'm EXTREMELY picky about my horror...ghosts/hauntings and demons/possessions only, with vampires and werewolves only in the context of teen romance, so why recommend zombies when I've never even hovered over anything zombie-related? I'm even careful to stay away from too many apocalyptic movies for the same reason, they confuse the two quite frequently (even when one usually has nothing to do with the other). Do I suddenly have zombie recommendations because there were zombies in season 14 of "Supernatural" and I just finished it a couple of weeks ago? Or is it because Rose McIver (Tinker Bell) and David Anders (Dr. Frankenstein) from Once are in "iZombie" (which was also created by Rob Thomas of "Veronica Mars" fame, which is another one of my shows) and they are linking apples to oranges? But since I've never streamed "Veronica Mars" other than the digital copy of the movie, which I own, then how do they know that is one of my shows? Or are they just connecting dots? I don't think gore is scary...again, I work in a path lab, I see "gore" all day long and it doesn't bother me. As as a matter of fact, I tend to find gory movies quite funny because they never get it "right" and who is going to be scared of a creature that walks slow and constantly declares it wants to eat your brains? No thanks.

Then there is the alien side-effect...shows like "The X-Files" or any "Roswell" variation (both old and new) will automatically put every single alien documentary on the planet in a viewing queue for you on EVERY streaming site. I am watching FICTION here people and now you think I'm interested in documentaries? Yes, I guess one could surmise that most of those alien documentaries are "fiction" anyway, but still, I watch Mulder/Scully and Liz/Max for the romance, not the alien part of it. Yes, I do watch documentaries, but they tend to be of the historical/ghost/artistic nature, never on aliens. But alien shows are often also considered zombie horror for some very weirdo reason (although a case could be made for some episodes of "The X-Files", at least in the horror category, I will NEVER understand the zombie connection to ANYTHING alien). Me personally? I categorize it as fantasy/romance, but that's why I gravitate towards those two shows in particular. Maybe aliens should have their own category?

And, as an aside, and this is being really picky, but I do find it annoying that they keep recommending all the DC shows mixed in with everything else superhero/action. They should be able to tell that I'm obviously a Marvel girl and, like horror, not all superheroes can be categorized the same, so I do cringe when I'm looking for a Marvel movie and I have to dig through a huge list of DC shows and movies I'll never watch (even if Shane West is on Gotham now...yes, I'm aware, just disappointed he went with the "other side"). Just because they have the "because you've watched..." and it's Marvel-related, doesn't mean I'll watch anything DC. Yes, there are some DC exceptions, but those are few and VERY far between and, as best as I can remember, never on Netflix.

So, here is my letter to the recommendations department of various streaming services:

Dear Netflix and Amazon Prime (Hulu gets a pass for reason listed below),

Please stop with your stupid recommendations based on what you probably pay the most for and what YOU want me to watch and actually consider my past viewing history and what I might actually want to watch! Or, here's a thought, give us a chance to deny a recommendation as a "I would never in a million years watch something like that, try again" kind of thing, and modify your recommendations accordingly. Learn from your mistakes, correct them, and make actual recommendations that are helpful, give me choices I might actually pick from, and NOT make me spend long periods of time searching for movies by "remote typing" in the search box (and no, I don't want to have to hook a keyboard up to my TV, thank you very much).

As a general rule you can go by, I don't do American comedy or American drama without the benefit of horror, fantasy, superheroes, or teen angst or teen romance, I only do foreign films if they are French, I hate movies that make me cry and don't have a happy ending (unless it's a horror movie or certain notable exceptions which can be counted upon one hand), fiction genres shouldn't lead to documentary recommendations, not all superheroes are created equal, and last, but surely not least, I don't do zombies EVER. Most of your self-produced, over-priced shows I don't watch since your Marvel defection (although some of your teen romance movies are quite good, so keep those up), and are CERTAINLY not worth the price increases you keep inflicting upon us, so you might want to watch out when Disney+ comes out (although Hulu doesn't have to worry much since Disney owns them) because most all of your content will be leaving for both of them and you just might be in trouble! I checked, and most everything I've ever watched is either Disney or Fox, as well as most of your content I don't watch, so you better have a few new aces up your sleeve or else you're going to lose a customer that probably logs more streaming hours than any other full-time employed person on the planet and, as far as she knows, probably holds the viewing record for the most streams of "Once Upon A Time", despite owning the Blu-Rays!

Oh, and Netflix, please stop forcing your ads for these self-produced, over-priced shows on us, or at least allow us to turn them off, for that matter, allow us to turn off all the ads/trailers overall. Allow us the option of watching them like Amazon does. And Amazon, please stop forcing us to watch your ads and trailers for your self-produced, over-priced shows ahead of some other thing we've picked to watch. If we wanted to watch those trailers, we would have chosen to watch those trailers.

Thank You,
An annoyed, but still loyal (as of now), viewer of all three streaming services (but anxiously awaiting Disney+ behind your backs)

Road Trip Pics

As promised, here's a bit of a look at the remainder of the devastation that is still visible from Hurricane Michael. To be honest, I was kind of surprised to see this much trash still sitting around since October, especially down such a wide birth of coastline. I have been going to the coast since I was a kid, seen many a hurricane come through and they always seem to rally in such an amazing way to at least clean up the debris, even if it takes them longer to rebuild. I guess it's a sign of how bad things are in this country that, even after 9 months, this level of ruin still remains. I didn't take a lot of pictures at all, but the full album is here for those who would like to see them.

But before we get to the bad, here is the good that is St. George. It was EXTREMELY crowded, and I guess I kind of figured out that I apparently have never been to the beach during the summer before! All my previous trips have been during the off season! Thankfully the crowds tend to congregate together, so there where gaps where the beach was clear (thankfully).
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I have NEVER had to fight my way through these kind of crowds just to get to a bit of peace and quiet, but I've also never been during a time when there are tide pools, so I guess it was some give and take on that front because I LOVE tide pools!
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My obligatory feet in water pic:
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Now on to the bad ju-ju. I didn't take a lot of pictures of it, because it was basically the same thing for hundreds of miles, but you'll get the idea, from the towns to the forests, it was pretty much the same all the way down the coast:
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I didn't get a chance to pick up a lot of shells because we weren't at the beach very long, but this was my haul:
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And there you have it! My weekend to the coast! I think, after my trip to Arizona, I'll go back in the winter and see how they are doing on the cleanup. I just hate that it looks so bad down there right now and I wish there was something I could do.