Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Fictioneers - Perspective

Once again, it's time for Friday Fictioneers! Thanks to Rochell Wisoff-Fields for hosting.

I was a bit stumped on what to write for this one, until I noticed the table's green surface. Green equates life in my head. I can't tell if the table has mesh top, but it reminded me of the picnic tables at a former workplace, and I let my imagination go from there.

PHOTO PROMPT-Copyright-Melanie Greenwood

Genre: Fantasy(ish)
Word Count: 100

They say strange monsters that roar at each other and crush hapless young ones with their crockery. They believed their caves were safe, surrounded with moss and visited by friendly, multi-legged creatures.
She believed their caves were boring. She believed the monsters were just like them, only bigger and less intelligent. She spent hours watching the gigantic beasts relate to each other.
They behaved just as she and her sister did. They didn’t notice her, but why would something so big even see a world as tiny as their own? That’s fine. She noticed them, and that’s all that mattered.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maybe this is a goal I can meet.

Barring the few years I spent in Kentucky, and the chunk of time I spent in Florida as a young child, I've spent my life in places with pretty cold winters. You'd think I'd be hardened to it by now, but nope.

I'm a huge freeze baby.

However, since becoming a homeowner, I've adopted the strange practice of determining a set date of when to turn the furnace on, and trying to stick to it.

Usually, it's November first. That's what it is this year, and I'm going to meet that goal. Yes. Yes, I will.

Even if I am currently wearing a sweater, a sweatshirt, a long sleeve shirt, the thickest socks I own, my big killer bunny slippers and a couple of blankets.


I'll just turn the furnace on at the stroke of midnight tomorrow night. That counts as waiting until November first, right?

I don't think the cats approve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is Your Right to Vote Being Taken Away?

I am so tired of political commercials.
Maybe I should switch my adorable witch
out for something a little more frightening.

So. Tired.

They're everywhere: TV, radio, YouTube, and even my free knitting app. Let's not start on the junk mail and phone calls. We're on the Do Not Call list, but that doesn't seem to make a big difference. I've put an updated No Soliciting sign on our front door to ward off door-knockers. Make no mistake, we will be voting, but our choices in candidates are our own business.

My annoyance is pretty trivial, though. I just need to put up with this nonsense for another week, cast my vote and tune out the fallout from people who didn't get their way. If I'd lived in another state, though, I could add losing my vote to my list of concerns.

A high school buddy of mine, Zach Roberts, is active in the world of journalism, and recently provided photos for an interesting article by Greg Palast. It's about the Crosscheck list being used by 27 states in the name of preventing voter fraud. I won't go into deep detail here, for that I'd suggest reading the article that drew my attention to the issue, Jim Crow Returns.

In short, this list is comprised of registered voters' names, addresses and the last four digits of social security numbers. It's supposed to search for matching information in different states, which would then indicate someone who may be casting more than one vote.

The problem is, that's not what's happening. Instead, first and last names are being matched, but discrepancies in middle names or initials and social security numbers are dismissed.

According to, there are two people with my name in the United States. My name is apparently uncommon, but if we both happened to live in Crosscheck states, would that mean we'd suspected of voter fraud? Would we be denied our votes?

My personal situation is irrelevant in this case, since Minnesota doesn't use it. That's not the case for millions of voters, though. There is a huge number of people with common names who could be faced with the ugly surprise of not being able to vote when they get to the polls.

One of our most prized rights as American citizens is the right to vote as adults. It should take a lot more than having the same name as another person and missing a post card that looks like junk mail to get that right revoked. Too many people have fought, died and been traumatized for all of us, regardless of gender, class, or skin color, to have a say in our own governance.

Now, the question remains, what can we do to remedy the situation?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Hide My Geek Pride?

Every time I head out to places like Target or Sears, I always haunt the Juniors and Intimates sections for geek gear marketed to women like me.
They DO have TMNT bandages, too.
When I get hurt, I can flaunt TMNT
goodness, at least.

Most of the time, I'm disappointed. Comic books and super heroes in general are still relegated primarily to boys and men, when it comes to merchandising, despite the fact girls and women have always held an interest in those characters and story lines.

Recently, Target has slowly been changing that. When I was there last week, I found a couple of Thor and Spiderman t-shirts alongside the "safer" Hello Kitty, Muppets and Sesame Street offerings in the Juniors department.

Their intimates/sleepwear department, however, hosted heroes like Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and TMNT. They were all displayed pointing away from the isle, so you had to actually go into the department to find them, but there were onsie pajamas, pajama bottoms and panties. They've been offering the geeky underthings for several months, now.

This Ninja Turtles fan was happy to see the on floor stock of TMNT goodies was significantly lower than that of the other heroes, which means teenage girls and women are supporting that franchise with their money.

Anyway, I wandered the mens' department, too, since I had to pick a few things up for my husband. There, I found a healthy variety of comic hero/TMNT t-shirts, quite a few pajamas and boxers with geeky goodness all over them.

The kids' clothing department was similar, with the little girl's sub-department containing a few TMNT t-shirts, but only Wonder Woman or Supergirl underoos amongst the pink, girlie stuff. Even the Ninja Turtles shirts were heavily feminized to fit the ideal of the sweet, passive little girl. The little boy's department was full of more action oriented t-shirts, as usual.

I avoided the gendered toy isles, because I didn't feel like being frustrated, or assaulted by Barbie.

It's interesting, and rather sad, the message this sends girls and women. While this big retailer is finally trying to break through parts of the gender box, they're still telling women to hide their passion for the geek world by only offering a semi-decent variety of goodies in a department that hosts items only those closest to us will see.

I mean, I don't go running around in just my underwear, and the only people outside of those who stay with me who see my pajamas are neighbors when I run the trash out or get the mail.

Why isn't it alright for us to express our passion for comics or action oriented characters in public, when it's perfectly fine for men to? Why are we still relegated to wearing clothing that caters to "looking good" instead of functionality and personal interests, without going to specialty stores? Why should we hide our interests, when they don't strictly align with what the social norm says?

I've heard the argument that "women don't buy geek gear" too many times to count, but has it occurred to those people that maybe it's because the geek gear available doesn't fit a lot of them? Probably not.

Target, after all, is the only big, mainstream store that even offers geek gear in their women's department that I've come across. The only other one I've seen is TJ Maxx, but I haven't been to one of those in years, and the only shirt I saw advertised "I only date superheroes". I thought it was pretty amusing at the time, but I don't care for the message it sends, now.

In my case, I can't shop in the mens' department for myself, because everything there is huge on me, and I'd need to alter the shirts to get the fit I want. I can't shop in the kids department for myself, because everything's either too small, or just fits strangely.

When I do start seeing geeky t-shirts I like, and that I can afford, I'll buy them in a heartbeat. For now, I'll just settle for my TMNT underoos, and giving the occasional prod to retailers in favor of offering more geeky goodness for women.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Unconscious Mutterings - Hamper Cat!

The cat in my hamper is hampering my ability to do laundry.

How could I bear to disturb that cuteness?

And yes, that is a TMNT towel.

So, anyway. Today is Monday, and I don't feel like doing housework. Instead, I'll do a little word association, brought to you by the letter X and Luna Niña!

  1. Family :: Farm
  2. Leather :: Jackets
  3. Chunky :: SOUP
  4. Shaking :: it up, baby
  5. Suffering :: from an ear worm, now. (Well, not really suffering at the moment, but I will be in a few more hours.)
  6. Pockets :: wishing more women's clothing had REAL ones
  7. Loose :: change
  8. Show :: stopper
  9. Vest :: -igial structures (who needs 'em?)
  10. Finale :: season
And just so I don't feel lonely in my ear-worm goodness, here's what's stuck in my head:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Dishes Are Worth It

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen, over the past couple of days. I really don't care much for cooking, but there's something about autumn and winter that brings the cooking bug out in me.

On Friday, I made this stuff:

Beef stew. Yum. That stuff's my go-to comfort food for cool weather. I'm gradually formulating my own recipe, since I keep deviating from the original one I've gone off of.

This time, I used some amber lager, instead of wine or dark beer. I don't think I'll be doing it again. It's still ok, but it's not nearly as good as when I used Guiness extra dark.

I threw in some more veggies, which I think I'll do for future batches.

And today? Today was dessert day. I gave apple crisp another try, and I think I've nailed it.

SO good.

The last time I made it, I didn't have baking powder available, and I didn't use enough apples. This time, I piled the apples on and actually had all of the ingredients the recipe called for on hand, save nutmeg.

The peeling and cutting got old pretty quickly, though. I think apple crisp is something I'll need to make after taking a break from knitting and crocheting, because it's so hard on my hands.

Still. So worth it.


Maybe I can convince my husband to bring a couple of pumpkins home from his job on Halloween, so we can get some roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin soup going.

As for now? I have a ton of dishes to do.

It's still Saturday somewhere.

It's a quarter to 1 AM here in Central Standard Time Land, so I bet it's still Saturday over in Alaska, parts of Western Canada and the ocean.

Hey, fishies, will you write up a guest blog for me?

Then again, maybe that wouldn't be a great idea.

For one thing, this floppy cuddle-kitty would probably try making a meal out of ol' transparent-head up there.

For another, I wouldn't have a clue of how to get in touch with those deep sea fishies, and the language barrier would certainly get in the way.

Most importantly, there's the fact that y'know. They're fish, and fish don't generally blog.

Then again, they could be leading a life away from our prying eyes that humans can't know about. Maybe they're actually studying us.

Maybe humanity is really a grand experiment carried out by these sea dwellers, and we're just too self involved to realize it.

Or maybe, just maybe, I need some sleep.

Nah. That's what the fish want.

I'm on to you.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Fictioneers - Hog Gelatin

I've missed my long time characters. These two are in my novel-in-progress, and I haven't played around with them much lately. These two have a thing for exchanging off the wall gifts for the shear pleasure of seeing the other disgusted or confused.

Di's not that great at the game, but Flo has had lots of practice.

Anyway, the park in the picture isn't quite as grimy as the one in my head, but the grass growing through the cracks, the road on the left and the overcast sky brings that image to mind.

Oh, and I have had headcheese once. I don't know if it was poorly made or what, but it was pretty vile. Maybe I'll try it again, one day.

I must get around to reading more stories, this time around! I've been busy with lots of other things, which is a poor excuse.

Thanks, as always, goes out to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers!

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright- The Reclining Gentleman
Genre: Humor
Word Count: 100

Hog Gelatin

Di tapped a nail against the railing, and stared at the choppy water. The city planners must have been drunk when they dreamed this drab place up.
            “Ah, good. You’re here.”
            The redhead turned to the older woman. “Yeah, Flo, and you’re late.”
            “Is that any way to treat someone bearing gifts?” She handed her a sack.
            Di peeked into the bag and grimaced. “You called me here for pig jello?”
            Flo laughed as she turned to leave. “It’s headcheese, and Leland asked for it. I thought you could use the exercise.”
            Di almost threw the parcel at Flo’s head.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Funny Cat Therapy

Well, I'm tired. My body's not happy with me, and my brain won't focus long enough for me the put together any sort of coherent entry. So, here are some adorable cat videos for you to enjoy.

That last one makes me want to get a Foosball table for our cats.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"You have such a pretty smile!"

Ever since I was a child, I've hated my smile. Strangely enough, the thing I get the most compliments on is
I'm a little cold.
that same expression.

I got scarlet fever as a little girl, and the only thing I can remember of it is watching sunlight track over the floor of my bedroom. It was treated with antibiotics, which stained my front two teeth as they developed in my head. As a result, they had brown stripes when they grew in.

The world we live in is very hard on kids when it comes to looks, but doubly so on little girls. I stopped smiling, especially for pictures. Eventually, the dentist we went to at the time put bonding on my teeth. It gave my front two teeth an odd, rounded shape, but it hid the staining, and I started smiling a little more again.

Over the years, that bonding started to chip away. Ironically enough, the thing meant to get rid of that childhood staining encouraged staining in adulthood.

Today, I was sitting in the dentist's chair again. I had a tiny cavity to get filled, which was taken care of without Novocain (I feel so tough). While he was at it, my dentist ground some of those jagged edges away on the bonding.

It looks a lot better, now! If I wanted a sparkling, super-white smile, I'd need to do bleaching or something, but the brown between my front two teeth is gone.

I wish I could say I love my smile now, but I can't. I still don't like how crooked my teeth are, and I just don't care for how my face looks while smiling.

Sure, braces would help, if I could afford them, but most of this is in my head. Years of insecurity have a way of building upon each other, and I'll never see myself as others see me.

I don't know how to fix that, but it doesn't stop me from smiling, now. I smile at people who help me, people I care for, people who are kind, people who look like they could use a little kindness in their life, and when I'm just in a good mood. Others seem to like my smile, so I'll let them enjoy it.

I just won't do much smiling at the mirror.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fire? Fire. Fire good.

I decided to write up a prompt from BlogHer today. "When was the last time you went to a campfire/bonfire? Tell us about it."

I've actually already written about the last fire we've been to here, so instead, why not write up a quick "how to start a bonfire - Midwest style".

Step One - Gather Brush
After assuring burning restrictions aren't in place, gather your brush. Often, this is yard waste.

Preferably your own, with minimal animal waste involved. Though, if you want to steal someone else's and burn critter poo, that's up to you.

Step Two - Ready the Pit
After years of camping with someone who learned how to build fires from scratch, I've learned that before you even put the wood on, you need to dig a hole in the middle of the pit. This helps ensure the fire will have enough oxygen to burn.

Then, stack on the brush.

As much of the brush as possible.

The bigger the pile, the bigger the fire.

Who needs eyebrows, anyway?

Step Three - Get Out the Weed Burner
Yes, you read that right.

The Weed Burner. If you don't have one, get one.

An old picture, but still one of my favorites.

Step Four - BURN
Enjoy the roasty-toasty goodness - preferably from a safe distance.

Disclaimer - Maybe it's not a great idea to try this at home. It's definitely not a good idea to try this at home if you live in a very dry climate, or a city. Hubby's family only does this 'cause they're on a lake, formerly in the middle of nowhere, and they know how to keep the fire in control., I just stand back with the marshmallows and watch.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Unconscious Monday Mutterings - Dental Shenanigans

Yep, went to the dentist today. Yep, have a follow up appointment on Wednesday to get a tiny cavity filled and some stains removed.

Yep, buses were running late, so I'm late in posting, too. I think I'll try getting there an hour early, so I can:

a) Prevent being late again
b) Wander around the shop this guy belongs to:

It's one of the many antique/junk shops sprinkled throughout the Twin Cities metro, and it looks like a ton of fun. There's also a holistic health place down the block from the office that I plan on checking out, too. Also a coffee joint and an organic foods market.

Yeah, I like the neighborhood the dentist is a part of. It's fun.

Anyway, here's this week's contribution to Unconscious Mutterings courtesy of Luna Niña.

  1. Freak :: -azoid! (I miss that show.)
  2. Thrown out :: with the bath water
  3. Wedding :: NEXT MONTH (...not mine)
  4. 99 percent :: Occupy
  5. Terminal :: velocity
  6. Culprit :: Wasn't me!
  7. Bows :: Arrows
  8. Stock :: beef (I wanna make more stew)
  9. Hospital :: stay
  10. Dodge :: Ram
And now? I don't know. Probably dishes. Those really need to be done.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's the Deal With Dietary Judgementalism?

My husband loves fried food. He was thrilled when he figured out how to do it, and now when he fixes

mozzarella sticks, they get fried in oil. I prefer to bake them, myself.

Anyway, he picked some frozen shrimp up somewhere, recently. I had to remind him to fry them separately, if he was going to reuse the oil to make mozzi sticks for us. He grumbled a little, since that involves a few extra steps, but he obliged. The smell still made my breathing a bit more challenging than it should have been, but a few open windows and a hit from my inhaler solved that problem.

It's frustrating.

It's not that I don't like shrimp, but I am allergic to it. It's the kind of allergy that'll trigger my asthma if I have a tiny bite, or eat something contaminated with any sort of seafood. Anything more than a little bit closes my throat up.

It's a scary thing, but it's something people around me tend to forget. Why should they remember? They're not the ones who wind up unable to breath, and seafood tastes great. Before the allergy developed, I loved the little bit I was able to have before I started getting sick.

I don't really care what others eat. Usually, I keep my mouth shut about it, unless it's a potluck situation, we're planning a home cooked meal together, or we're going to a buffet.

Food allergies suck. I'm generally pretty content with my body, but I'd get rid of my allergies, asthma and intolerances in a heartbeat if I could.

Yet, some people seem to think I'm being melodramatic when I mention my eating restrictions. I'm not refusing to partake in your famous shrimp cocktail or delicious fish 'n chips because I'm being snotty. I'm not joining you in those particular culinary delights because they will, without a shadow of a doubt, make me ill. Too much might even kill me.

Your ego is not worth my health or life.

I do try to be polite about it. In fact, before the allergies developed, I would have gleefully joined you. I just can't now.

On the positive side, being allergic has given me more empathy and understanding of others with eating restrictions. Celiacs, folks with FPIES, IBS, intolerances or medication related issues face similar problems. Their lungs might not freak out on them, but they have to deal with fallout just as bad if they eat the wrong thing as I do.

But why someone refuses to eat something is not my business. It's not your business, either. If they give a reason to why they don't eat something, what's the point in attacking them for it? What's so hard about respecting someone's dietary choices, especially when there's a medical problem behind it?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Twin City Colors

It was another absolutely gorgeous day out there today, and tomorrow promises to be prettier. Naturally, I headed out to get some pictures of the lovely colors.

This time, I walked around one of the small tributaries leading to the Mississippi, Shingle Creek. The river itself is a good four or five miles from my house, so although I can technically walk to it, it's too much of a haul for me to feel like doing very often.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from today.

You can find more over at my sorely neglected Deviant Art page.

Also, check out this little guy.

This white squirrel is so feisty. Every time I tried getting a picture, it moved. It's always fighting with the other squirrels in the neighborhood, and is smart enough to avoid the neighbor's live trap.

Ah, it's good to get outside. I hope to make it to Minnehaha Falls before the color goes. Maybe Monday, after my dental appointment. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fictioneers - Stocking Up

Today's prompt brought the upcycler in me out. Speaking of crafty-type-things, I should get back to work on those gifts I'm making. (If you're interested in such things, please check out my craft blog if you haven't already. I just posted a couple of works in progress earlier today.)

Thanks, as always, to Rochell Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Genre: Fiction
Words: 100

Stocking Up

Picking through bits and sticks, they don’t understand the beauty I see. The hikers, bikers and other forest visitors give me a wide berth, as I pick my way through the dirt at the side of the trail.
A little stone here and a fossil there. Each trinket from this wild place holds the potential to become jewelry, a part of a wishing bag or plaque for the wall.
Whispering voices pass by. “What’s he doing? Stay away, maybe he’s crazy.”
Joke’s on them. Those same voices lift in joy when they discover my treasure, and my bank account swells.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn in Minnesota

Despite whatever issues I may have about living in the upper midwest, I have to admit this area is full of natural beauty.

Since fall is such a gorgeous time of year, I decided to take some pictures when I was out and about. Here are a few from my regular running route and the lake my hubby grew up on.

What are some of your favorite things about the natural world during autumn?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I'm all worked up. Again.

Do you know what would be nice? Going a full day without being faced with the problems cultural sexism keeps shoving on us.

For every step forward, there's a group who wants nothing more to shove us back. Aside from the eternal debate between the pro- and anti-government folks, I've seen California's new Yes Means Yes law called an act of hate against men.

Really? Having a clear cut idea of what consent for a sexual act is hateful? Or do these guys just not like the idea of being held accountable for their actions? I guess they don't realize that it protects men as well as women.

Then today, I came across this gem. A woman who works on exposing tropes applied to women in video games, and works on making the gaming world safer for women, was forced to cancel an appearance due to a combination of a mass shooting threat and the school's allowance of concealed weapons.

I'm not going to get into the whole gun debate here. Guns are tools of destruction, whether it's hunting for food or killing/maiming people. The intent with which they're being used is what counts.

When there's an obvious threat not only against her life, but her audience's as well, how can any responsible speaker not cancel? The intent was obvious, he wouldn't be the first to go on a murdering spree over hurt feelings and there would be no barrier for him to get around. By the way, if you hadn't read the article, the guy stated he'd do it to get revenge against feminists because they've "ruined his life".

Again with the lack of personal responsibility.

Of course, these examples come right on the heels of a local women bringing charges against the Minneapolis police for being sexually assaulted during her arrest. It's not the first case of its type that I've heard of against this police force, and after how dismissive they were with my situation back in April, I fully believe what this latest woman says.

And people want to tell me sexism isn't a problem anymore.

Of course not. That must be why this guy was beaten for daring to be a decent human being. It must also be why women are attacked and murdered for rejecting strange men's advances.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do I Haveta? Can I Do It Tomorrow?

I'm not entirely sure of what this has to do with autumn, but today's BlogHer prompt is "What do you always put off to last minute?"

For the most part, I've gotten pretty good with procrastination. And by "good" I mean "don't do it as much".

Maybe that actually means I've gotten bad at procrastination?


Anyway, that's true of everything, but two things: housework and phone calls.

I've always had trouble understanding low tones and quick word recall, which makes talking on the phone rather difficult. I know for a fact the second issue is connected to my learning disability, but I think the first may have to do with an undiagnosed auditory disorder. So, if I can avoid talking on the phone, I do.

As a result, certain appointments are made later than I'd like, and people who enjoy talking on the phone get annoyed with me. Well, that's life.

From my hub on asthma trigger management.
As for housework? I don't necessarily hate it, but I do get tired of it. Since I write from home, I also take care of most of the cleaning. Hubby cooks, does most of the outdoor work and works outside of the home, so it's a pretty even deal.

Other than the occasional fit of annoyance of the never-ending cycle, I have a few chronic problems that make it difficult for me: tendinitis and asthma.

I've had problems with my wrists since I was a teenager, and that's gradually grown into ongoing tendinitis problems. This year, I was actually diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. Naturally, when those things flare, things that involve any kind of hand strength get extremely difficult.

I do use braces when I feel my wrists and hands getting bad, though, so I can usually avoid lasting

The asthma, however, that can get tricky. My number one trigger is dust. Apparently, I'm highly allergic to dust mites, and there's just no avoiding those little buggers altogether.

So, I try to vacuum/sweep our floors and dust surfaces at least once a week. I wear a dust mask while doing it, too, and that sucker gets hot in the summer months. Since we have furry critters, I have to wear the mask when I clean the rat's cage and the cats' litter boxes.

Very annoying, though entertaining when salespeople ignore my "No Soliciting" sign out front, and I answer the door wearing it.

Anyway, I have some nasty chemical sensitivities, too, which means cleaners with bleach are out for me. Hubby likes to use the stuff, but I avoid it. I prefer things like vinegar, lemon, baking soda and essential oils.

Still, I end up putting housework off, especially when I have writing assignments to do. If I could afford a cleaning service, I'd get one.

Teaser Tuesday - The Thousand and One Days

And here we have number three of my current reads. It's an old book, I'm not 100% sure of its origins and not one I'd ordinarily pick up, but it was free, so why not?

Many thanks to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting!

If you'd like to take part in this game, here are some rules!

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

"As he passed them, the young man looked keenly at these motionless, stern-faced men. Which of them was the murderer who, in Turnadot's name, was to thrust the dagger into his heart?"

- The Thousand and One Days, Retold by Willi Fehse, Translated by Anthea Bell, Illustrated by Erich Holle

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friday Fictioneers - The Future Historical Society

I was feeling a bit off, last Friday, so I figured I'd squeeze my Friday Fictioneers submission in today, before the linkup closes! I had fun with this one. Maybe I should try my hand at writing some longer pieces of quirky science fiction.

As always, thanks go out to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting!

Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 100

The Future Historical Society

“And this is a collection of instruments used in the twentieth century,” the guide droned as the group paused in front of a small enclave.
A purple being from the Alpha Centauri system raised a claw-like appendage, and warbled through its breathing device, “What were they for?”
The woman, sporting a set of bright yellow lips, the latest in Earth fashion, replied, “We believe they were used to arrange primitive music. Next, we have something called a ‘bathroom’.”
The small extraterrestrial lingered behind the group as it moved on, wondering just what sounds the board with dials on it made.

Monday Unconscious Mutterings - Music

Well, I ended up slacking on this blog, this weekend, so that means you folks get two, two, TWO entries for the price of one today through Wednesday, so I can catch up.

It just so happens that both of today's are games.

Without further adieu, I bring Luna Niña's Unconscious Mutterings!

  1. Crime :: Fighters
  2. Whoops :: Not something I want to hear my surgeon say.
  3. Lipstick :: Fiercely red
  4. Linda :: Family friend
  5. Triple :: shot latte
  6. Badge :: of honor
  7. Contempt :: of authority
  8. Stunt :: double
  10. Judge :: Judy
And because I feel like including some music, this is the song I listen to whenever I need a pick-me-up. The lyrics tell of the philosophy which has helped me get through some very dark times.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

One day, he might even catch it.

I'm behind on comments again! So sorry. I promise I'll respond, soon. This morning has been full of knitting up the first of this year's gifts and kitty shenanigans, but there will be a bit of fiction posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy our tux kitty's attempts to catch his tail while Supernatural's season 9 plays on Netflix.

Yeah, I think I may have embarrassed him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stewing over Stew

I'm having some trouble putting one word after another, today. I still wanted to update this blog, at least with the BlogHer prompt of what my favorite fall food is.

Stew! I love stew. Beef stew is my favorite, so far, but veggie stew comes in at a close second. After the first shot of cold air, I whipped a batch up, and that's long gone. Now that the weather is steadily cooling, I have the desire to make more.

Last year, I'd also made a great, thick pumpkin soup. My husband works for a landscaping company that also has a nursery, gets a discount on goods sold there, and can bring home perishable things after the season ends. They do seasonal gardening things in the spring and summer, Christmas trees in November, and pumpkins in September and October. Last year, he brought home two massive pumpkins the day after Halloween.

Unfortunately, he hadn't seen the big rotten spot on the bottom of one of them, but the other was still big enough for the meat to fill the crock pot and offer a baking sheet full of roasted seeds. Hopefully, he'll be a bit more careful this year.

Of course, now I want to make stew, but that would involve doing the dishes, heading to the store and cutting things up. Maybe stew will be a weekend activity.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Grimm's Fairy Tales

I haven't been reading at as quick a pace as usual this week, thanks to getting started on making holiday gifts, but I've still been chipping away at my to be read list. With that in mind, here's this week's installation of Teaser Tuesday, hosted by MizB from Should Be Reading.

"When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near."

Hansel and Gretel, From Grimm's Fairy Tales (Kindle Edition), by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Unconscious Mutterings - A Bit Random Today

Ah, nothing like the old unexpected internet outage trick to make me wonder if I'd remembered to pay the bill.

Obviously, that wasn't the problem, since I'm back in action, taking part in Luna Niña's Unconscious Mutterings.

  1. Candle light :: Here's hoping the power won't go out, too.
  2. Kevin :: Eastman
  3. Fireplace :: Wish I had one
  4. Pots :: and pans!
  5. Scarf :: dragon (currently making one. You can see my progress thus far here.)
  6. Colossal :: waste of time
  7. Golf :: See number 6
  8. Construction :: workers
  9. Reason :: nonsense
  10. Washington :: Monument
 And on with the to-do list we go!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rape Culture Goes Far Beyond YouTube Videos

I consider myself a Nerdfighter. For those of you who've never heard that phrase before, that's the term John Green and Hank Green came up for their fanbase. I found them through their Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube, and I've been hooked ever since.

A couple of their primary values involve spreading a love of science, as well as the world in general, reducing nasty stuff so prevalent in cultures all over the place today (aka Worldsuck) and generally making the world a better place in which to live. Y'know. All stuff I try to do, and a huge part of why I created my blog, Alternative Wiring, long before I'd even heard of these great guys.

Anyway. Nerdfighter. Nerd = someone passionate about nerdy interests. Fighter = someone who strives to defend/change something. Nerdfighter = a nerd fighting to make the world a better place. Hey, it fits.

Anyway, through them, I discovered a fantastic, sex positive lady, Laci Green (no relation, far as I know). By "sex positive" I don't mean "porn". I mean someone who promotes healthy sexual relationships, both with other people and our own bodies. Two huge issues she talks about regularly are consent and rape culture.

Like the vast majority of women I've met, both of these things have effected me personally. I have had terrible encounters with both strangers and men I've known for a long time, the worst involving unwanted touching. In comparison to a lot of my friends, that's pretty mild, but it's still enough to make me unwilling to trust men I don't know.

Anyway, I came across the following video not too long ago:

Now, I didn't know who Sam Pepper was before I saw this video, but I have seen similar videos done by other guys on the internet, and I have reported them for promoting violence against women. I'm very glad that this is getting attention, and action is being taken against some of these guys.

Unfortunately, as big as YouTube is, it's still small when compared to the rest of the world. The grabbing Sam did reminded me a lot of what happened to me back in April, and the fact some of Pepper's victims have come forward with more serious allegations makes me wonder what the kid ('cause he's not a young man in my eyes) who took advantage of me is capable of.

This is a serious issue for both women AND men.

The Sam Pepper situation clearly demonstrates how seemingly harmless "pranks" and street harassment can be indicative of far more serious acts, which is why I'd reported my attack to an uncaring police force.

Realistically, I know nothing will happen to the kid who grabbed me, at least in relation to what happened in April. In comparison to the rapes, murders, and violent assaults that happen in this city, unwanted grabbing isn't as serious. However, attention does need to be drawn to that behavior, because it is still a violation, and it can have lingering effects for months afterwards.

It's NOT right, and it's NOT to be tolerated. It shouldn't be dismissed as "boys will be boys", or "it's just a part of life". It's about misplaced entitlement, a fundamental lack of respect and an extreme misunderstanding of how the concept of consent works. It's also about reducing women, and those deemed feminine, to pieces of meat put on Earth exclusively for mens' pleasure.

Worse yet, this dismissiveness is part of why it's so hard for victims - male, female and all other gender identity - of sexual assault come forward, because it reinforces the idea that sex crimes aren't as serious as other crimes. Obviously, that couldn't be further from the truth.

If you'd like to try getting rid of rape culture, I'll add the following suggestions to the ones in Laci's video:
  • Speak up when you spot victim blaming.
  • If someone you're following on any social network reinforces rape culture, either talk to them about it, or unfollow them. That attitude doesn't deserve your support.
  • Report videos, images or other posts whenever possible.
  • If you catch yourself taking part in victim blaming or minimizing these crimes, work on changing your behavior.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Review - The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, has been adapted into movies, television shows, and probably even comics. The story is full of intrigue, humor, adventure, and a fair amount of romance.

It took me a little while to get into the story, because I was so unused to the writing style and archaic vocabulary. I found myself stopping on a fairly regular basis to look up unfamiliar phrases and verify the meanings of words seldom seen in modern literature.

I enjoyed the humor immensely. Dumas had a talent for inserting unexpected situational comedy at just the right times to keep the reader engaged. The action sequences took a fair amount of imagination to picture what was going on, but they were generally gripping as well.

He relied heavily on archetypes when it came to his characters. The heroes, Pathos, Athos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan all embodied various aspects of the 'ideal' man. While the women were embodiments of different types of 'female' vices, like the gullible maiden in distress and the manipulative temptress.

To me, the most interesting character was the Cardinal, as he demonstrated both positive and negative traits. He seemed like the best rounded character of the lot.

Although I found the characters a bit flat in the book itself, it's not hard to see how they could be easily transformed into the countless variations they've been reborn as.

I had a very hard time with how relationships were handled throughout the story. I realize the characters are supposed to be passionate, but the instant love or dislike between so many characters wasn't believable. I always have a hard time swallowing such instant connections between people. Once in a while, we do meet someone we have a sudden strong feeling for, but it's far rarer than had happened in this book.

To be honest, I found myself unnerved by the obsessive love interests and stalking that D'Artagnan had a thing for. I realize he's supposed to be young and impulsive, but the degree to which he goes to prove his manhood, be it by 'wooing' a woman or seeking duals because of mild slights, reminds me of mental illness more than bravery.

Unfortunately, I see echos of those attitude's in today's fiction, and occasionally in real life relationships. Personally, if someone took that intense of an interest in me, I'd probably end up getting a restraining order on the offending party, because they probably wouldn't listen to my repeated requests to leave well enough alone.

The relationship and character issues aside, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. It offered a unique peek into some of what stories of adventure were like back in the 1620s. Fiction also gives us hints to what life was like during that period of time, as well, which is one of the most fascinating aspects.

Had I been alive back then, and was lucky enough to know how to read, I think this would probably be one of my favorite stories. Reading the book with a modern mindset may have taken away from it, but I can still see why it's so commonly required for literature classes.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Fictioneers - Owl Candy

I've missed a few weeks of Friday Fictioneers! Ah, life. You're good at getting in the way of blog things, aren't you?

As always, thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this uber-fun writing exercise!

Used with permission for prompt purposes. Credit goes to Kent Bonham
Genre: Family fiction
Word Count: 100
Title: Owl Candy

“Mom! Look what I found,” my little girl crowed as she plowed through the leaves covering the trail, clutching something to her chest.
“What you got, Nat?”
Brown eyes sparkling, she revealed the small bundles of fur impaled by crooked sticks. “They’re lollypops!”
My smile faded. “These aren’t sweets, baby, but they are very neat.”
“What are they?”
I took one and broke it open. “They’re owl pellets. Owls eat other animals, and these come out when they’re done. See the bones?”
The infectious smile vanished, but reappeared soon. “I wanna show Papa!”
I had to laugh. “Sure. Why not?”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why? Why? Why?

It seems I'm doing a lot of questioning, today.

Why did I think it was a good idea to start running again today, even though I still have a mild cough from that horrid virus I had last week?

Why haven't I kept up with my yoga? (Ow, my back.)

Why, folder, WHY?!

Why did I grab the home improvement folder instead of the one I'd put hubby's receipt from the dentist?

Why is it so hard to get up when my (huge) adorable Halloween kitty takes up residence in my lap?

Why, why, why don't they just list "teeth cleaning" instead of "prophylaxis" on the dental receipt? (I look at that word and think he underwent some sort of surgery.)

Why am I asking why when I need to get so much work done?!

And just to throw a wrench into things...

How did our tabby manage to lock herself in that closet?

I don't think he cares.
This blog entry has been brought to you by the letter "Q". Because Q cares about questions big and small.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sound of All Hallow's Eve

As a way to get myself geared up for NaNoWriMo in November (which may not be well advised,
By Anette B. (Own work) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
considering my sister's wedding is on my birthday at the end of that month), I decided to take part in this month's NaBloPoMo with BlogHer.

Today's prompt asks what my favorite autumnal sound is.

For whatever reason, fall has always been a bit of a melancholy season for me. Maybe it's because I've moved around so much, or I'm reminded me of the more painful changes in my life. I look at the beautiful colors and a tinge of sadness tightens my chest.

Halloween, however, has always brightened the season for me. Dressing up, playing with the spookier side of life and studying up on the paranormal are three of my favorite things.

But the sound of little voices echoing down our suburban block when night falls? That's my favorite sound. Their youthful excitement, the innocent joy and the sugar-fueled activity is charming beyond compare.

It's almost as fun handing candy out to costumed little ones as it was being a little one allowed to ask for sweets.

Then again, that might change when I have little ones of my own. It may turn from nostalgia and wistfulness into little more than yearning for sleep and thinking of how to ration the Halloween Haul well enough to prevent extra visits to the dentist.

I hope not. One of the best parts of being an adult is giving yourself permission to be a kid from time to time.