Category Archives: books

Happy Halloween!

Today would have been my 12th wedding anniversary.  Yay for being divorced!

It’s funny — I’m a goth and I love morbid, creepy, and spooky things, but actual scary shit really bothers me.  Some horror fiction is okay, and often enjoyable.  Movies, not so much.  I think the only horror genre films I really like are some of the Hellraiser series, especially the original, because Clive Barker is so good at eroticizing horror and I love that.  (I’m a huge fan of his books, too, and have been since the late 80’s.)  No, wait, I like some zombie stuff too.  And anything with Bruce Campbell in it.  Okay, some movies are decent.  Just not really scary ones.

Horror video games upset me, but mostly because my ex insisted on making me watch her play Fatal Frame and stuff when I really didn’t want to.  I liked some Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but only in small doses and only in daylight hours.  (So of course she insisted on all-night marathons with the lights turned off, and laughed when I got so scared I begged to be allowed to leave the room.  Because apparently I’m “cute” when I’m scared.  You know, the more I look back on my relationship, the more I realize how fucked-up it was.)

So I will spend this evening watching the new Ghostbusters, rewatching Nightmare Before Christmas, and cleaning off my yarn bins so I can put my new resin vulture skeleton on the silver platter with the painted zombie head and the black roses.  Because spooky is fun, even if I’m a giant chicken otherwise.

Fan fiction through the lens of schizoaffective disorder

Until my breakdown at age 23, I read a shitload of fiction.  I’ve always been a big reader, but back then it was mostly novels.  After I started recovering enough to read again, I found I could only read non-fiction.  And I’ve figured out over the years why I can read some things but not others.

I don’t trust my brain.  I can’t.  For too many years it lied to me about what was and was not reality.  Novels require too much imagination.  I get lost.  It makes me deeply uncomfortable.  So instead I took up weird history books, because history is (more or less) true stories.  I still get to enjoy a good tale, but it’s a tale based in reality.

But about a year ago, I discovered I can read fan fiction.  It was a huge breakthrough for me.  It doesn’t require as much imagination, you see.  I already know what the characters look and sound like, because I’ve seen them in comics or films or television shows.  I know how the rules of their universe work.  I know they are played by real people.  So I can lose myself in fanfic, because I don’t completely lose myself.  Fanfic leaves me an anchor to the real world.  And I adore it for that.

I can also read comics for the same reason — I can see the characters and their world, so I don’t get lost.  I don’t have to trust my brain to fill in the imagery, because it’s right there on the page.  I read a fair amount of comics these days, but most of them are short reads.  For long reads I like novel-length fanfic works, if they’re written well.  And many are.  Ao3 has been a lifesaver, in terms of new reading material.

Sometimes I try to read regular novels.  I do.  But it’s incredibly difficult for me.  I’m so lucky I have other options.  Because stories are wonderful things, and I’d hate to not be able to read any at all.

Last week sucked.

Sometimes, usually when I’m depressed, I go through periods when I don’t want to talk to anyone.  I’ve been having one of those.  So hello to my online friends, I’m not dead or anything.  Actually, yesterday was fantastic — I woke up with a ton of energy, and set about cleaning my bedroom and bathroom.  Did two loads of laundry, swept and mopped the tile areas of the house, even washed a dozen skeins of handspun yarn.  And went for two walks. And started knitting the pillows for the living room futon.

Today I woke up a little slower but still did a 5 mile walk, then babysat, then ran errands, then got a bunch of online crap done.  So I’m doing pretty well on the productivity front today, too.  Still have to go to the grocery…

I did my July budgeting.  Ugh.  Spent too much this month (purple Docs, I’m looking at you, you beautiful things).  Something I’ve figured out in my budget spreadsheet (which probably everybody else knows, but I haven’t had credit cards in ages) is to calculate the amount of interest I’ll owe if I don’t make a decent credit card payment, and wow does that work as motivation to keep my balance low.  Because losing $50 to interest payments will piss me off.  So I’m not doing that, and July will be tight.

I am, however, spending the $70 to get my current bicycle tuned up.  The woman at the bike shop said they might be able to fix my setup so that riding is more comfortable for me, because, after thinking about it some more, a new bike is definitely not a need, and I’d be better off spending that money (basically the same amount) on a college class, because learning things is more fun than riding bicycles.  If I still want a new bike by Christmas, I’ll consider getting one then.  In the meanwhile, I’ll see if I even enjoy riding once my current bike is set up/tuned up.  Because, while walking is awesome, and I’m still doing a lot of it, Florida is fucking hot in the summer and it would be nice to feel a little breeze on my face during my daily workouts.

Speaking of walking, I mapped a new route this afternoon.  Took a drive down the opposite way I normally go, and it’s quite beautiful.  And shady.  Yay trees!  It’s 3.5 miles round-trip, which means it’ll be good for days I want to do a short walk.  (My long route is just under 5 miles.)  And I have to take my camera one day, because it’s beautiful down that way.

I’ve been able to read again lately.  I’m almost finished with a book on the history of the American highway system.  It’s fascinating, although I’m sure it sounds dull to most of you.  Next up is a book on how Dante’s Inferno permanently changed Western society’s mental picture of Hell.

While I’m on the subject of media: As previously reported, Mom and I were binge-watching The Blacklist through Netflix.  We quit on Friday, because the stupid burned so much that it’s not even worth watching for James Spader.  It just… it was never that good to begin with, except for him, and it just kept getting increasingly dumber throughout the season.  We finished it (season one), but fuck that show, seriously.  Last night we started Luther.  So much better.  (Mom has a thing for crime dramas.  She reads crime novels, too.)

And now, for something completely different: I started seeing the new therapist last week, and I like her bunches.  Hopefully she can help me get over my PTSD shit.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Loki showing his belly.  Because he’s cute.

Upside-down Loki

Prioritizing my time

I have come to the realization that I spend too much time on social media. I don’t need to spend an hour a day on Tumblr, for example, or two hours on my favorite knitting forum. Facebook is okay, as its the only way to keep up with old friends, and I don’t play games or anything there. And Twitter occasionally, because that’s where the Valkyrie and the Naiad do their activism. But no more getting sucked into hours of wasted time.

Yesterday I finished reading a book while spinning, and I worked on my mathematical self-education. Today I started a new book — Sutherland’s Irrationality. It was a Giftmas present from the Naiad; while I know a lot of the science in it already, it’s still enjoyable so far because the author is snarky. It’s so nice to read instead of wasting the day online.

This resolution has good timing, actually. I made it last night, and this morning the left-click button on my laptop’s trackpad died. So it’s currently limited in functionality because I can’t scroll or drag items. Lucky for me I have my iPad mini! Hopefully I can get a new inexpensive laptop next month. I do need one before school starts in March. I don’t game on PCs, so I don’t need anything fancy. Just something for Chrome and OpenOffice and a few other things.

I also need to start exercising. Even just a walk around the block every other day. I’m worried about my heart not getting what it needs because I sit around the house all the time.

My pdoc is trying me on Sephris. I’d never heard of it before today, but it looks like it might be okay. It has very low incidence of weight gain and other side effects. I might have to take Ritalin with it if it makes me too sleepy. That’s its worst side effect, according to the literature. Sephris doesn’t work as well as some of the heavy hitters like Seroquel, but Seroquel didn’t help much either. So we’ll see what happens.

Medication fun, version 100035736262

In the days since Christmas, I’ve switched out Invega for Risperdal.  I’d been on Risperdal before, and it did fairly well at managing hallucinations, but I’d forgotten about the side effects.  I’m sleepy too much, and… I hate admitting this part, but it makes me slack-jawed.  And… I drool a little if I’m not careful.  It’s gross and awful.  So I left my pdoc a message this morning about switching to something else.  I don’t know what, though.  I’ve been on so many atypical antipsychotics.  Risperdal, Geodon, Seroquel, Latuda, Invega… I’m sure I’m missing one or two.  I’m running out of things to try.  I may have to just accept the drooling.  God, it’s disgusting even to talk about.

It’s not even helping much on the hallucination/delusion front.  This morning I spent three hours with the awful feeling of wearing tall socks, like my lower legs had tight fabric on them.  I wasn’t wearing any socks, and my jeans are straight leg and are barely touching there most of the time.  I hate wearing socks because of that very sensation, so it was rather unpleasant.  Not as bad as many of the ones I’ve had, but still uncomfortable.  Other recent mental stuff includes thinking every single thing the Naiad said was a lie, even statements like “I have to go to the bathroom” (paranoia that she was leaving the room to contact Them because she was spying on us); and thinking that my first name is not actually my name and I have a secret name, that even I don’t know, that’s my true name.  And that’s just been in the last 24 hours.  Yeah, the Risperdal’s not doing much at all.

Emotionally I’ve been rather fragile, but not moreso than what’s become usual lately.  I’m not getting angry so much, but when I get anxious it escalates quickly.  And I’ve been depressed, but that’s not new.  (17 days until my HRT appointment!)

Recent events: the Naiad was here this weekend and it was lovely.  She and I watched the Valkyrie play Infamous: Second Son a whole bunch, and we beat the game twice — once as a hero and once as a villain.  The bad ending was absolutely heartbreaking.  It made me want to go back and do the good ending again just to make me less sad about the bad one.  That game is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  The writing was fantastic, the characterization was amazing, the main character wasn’t white (which I only mention because of how fucking rare that is in Western games), the villains had depth and were interesting (frequently misguided but with good intentions instead of being cartoonishly evil)… Just fantastic all around in terms of story.  The Valkyrie enjoyed the gameplay a bunch, too.

I also got some knitting and spinning done.  I wanted to do some reading, but it’s hard to do when in the same room as the Valkyrie.  She gets frustrated if I’m sitting six feet away from her and she can’t talk to me, but I am incapable of switching my concentration between reading and talking so I usually have to take my book elsewhere.  And then she misses me.  It’s nice to be so loved, and I love her equally much, but sometimes I just want to spend a few hours undisturbed with a book.  I’m reading The Lady Tasting Tea, a history of statistics (as a field of research).  It’s fascinating and well-written, and I’ve been trying to finish it for a couple of weeks now.  Argh.  Normally I can finish books in a day or two, provided I have a few stretches of uninterrupted reading time.  And the Naiad gave me three books for Christmas that I’m looking forward to.  And then there’s all my personally-chosen unread books.  Maybe I can carve out some reading time today.  It’s supposed to be 68 outside today, maybe I’ll sit on the patio and read for a while…

Pure energy!

(Sorry, flashbacks to Information Society…)

I woke up about nine this morning, and somehow was in the mood to do ALL THE THINGS.  I had a to-do list that was 21 items long. (I use Toodledo for my task management, by the way, and it is Fucking Awesome.)  A lot of it was serious, like making doctors appointments, but a few things were fun, like buying a couple of albums I wanted.  I got all but two things done!  Plus I did a shitload of cleaning.  I found the floor in the den.  And the couch.  And my desk. And some other horizontal surfaces that I’d buried in crap.  Go me!  Tomorrow I want to clean up the place between the couch and the wall, where I keep my crafty stuff that needs to be handy when I work on a project.  I’m going to get a set of plastic drawers to put it all in; then I have everything within arm’s reach, but it’s not in a pile on the floor.  Speaking of which… there, now that errand is on my task list, and Joanns has a “30% off one item” coupon this week.  Perfect.

Unsurprisingly, all this resulted in no crafting today.  I’m going to finish up a plying job on my wheel after I finish writing this, and then there will be weaving until bedtime.  I’m going to try to go to bed by midnight and get up by nine.  I downloaded the Sleep Cycle app for my iPhone, and I’m going to use it tonight.  It would be nice to be up at a decent hour every day.

Tomorrow I have therapy, two errands to run (I have to mail out my old loom, and go to Joanns as mentioned), and cleaning to do.  Plus I want to exercise in the morning, and finally start the paperwork for my legal name change.  I really, really hope I have at least half as much energy as I did today.  It felt really good to get stuff done.

Oh, there’s a school update worth mentioning.  The dean of my college is letting me retake the class I failed as a Directed Study course, because it’s not available this year at a location near me.  This is awesome.  It’ll be October before I can start, but better late than never!

I also did spend an hour relaxing in bed with a book, covered in sleeping babbies.  It was lovely.  I finished Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives and immediately hunted down the second Laundry Files book.  So good.  I normally don’t read fiction, but I’m addicted now.

Some happy stuff!

Today I woke up at 8:30 (thanks, hungry babbies).  Made five important phone calls (I lost a credit card somewhere in the house and had to replace it, I set up a dentist appointment, etc etc).  Got some packages prepped to go to the shipping place, mostly returns.  Had lunch with MIL.  Ran a zillion errands.  Remembered to take the recycling to the curb before it started raining.  I did pretty well.

This evening I focused on spinning.  Lots of spinning.  Interweave Press, producer of tons of excellent crafting content, had a one-day sale: three video downloads for $29.  Considering the videos are normally like $20 each, I scrounged up the dough.  I’ve wanted Abby Franquemont’s Respect the Spindle DVD for a couple of months now.  It hadn’t finished downloading, so I watched the first DVD of a two-parter on spinning cotton.  Then I tried out the methods on my takhli.

Not great, but a good start.  I need more practice.  I am bound and determined to get good at spinning cotton. The takhli can produce cotton yarn faster than a spinning wheel can.  I must do this.

When I started to get tired of practicing, I did some long draw with BFL on my lightweight Snyder spindle.

I am very pleased with that.

And I continue to work on plying my purple MIRLA batts.  Here’s the bobbin I’m storing the yarn on once it’s complete.

It’s so soft.  I just want to pet it.  In fact, I probably will, once it’s in skein form!

I’m also reading a book, frequently while I spin on my wheel.  (Haven’t done that today, though.)  It’s Susan Strasser’s Never Done: a History of American Housework.  It’s a feminist history of how women spent their days before modern appliances, and looks at how women were viewed and the relationships between different classes of women (like between wealthier women and their servants).  It’s quite fascinating.  I definitely recommend it.

So anyway, that was today.  I should sleep soon.  Have shit to do tomorrow!