A blog for all things personal, informational, educational, and fun.
Here at my personal blog Thoughts & Things, I share a wide variety of, you guessed it, thoughts and things. Anything that sparks my interest is up for discussion. For those who are uncertain of what that might cover, I'll generally talk about reading, writing, books, movies, music, games, history, current events, and feminism. I talk about my personal emotional and health struggles from time to time. I'm also a big fan of lists.|
This is the place here at WDC where you can get to know me best, as I talk about the things that interest me, impact me, and amuse me.
|I have been struggling a lot lately with my health, and one of the things that I can best do while so unwell is read. I don't have to be upright, which means I get a lot of relief from the lightheaded feeling and the nausea that has been plaguing me lately. I can lie down in my bed with a book and escape.
Being chronically ill can be incredibly challenging. I can't do all the things I want to do. I can't even do things I used to excel at. If I put myself in just the right circumstances though, I can read. Sometimes I am too sick to read. The brain fog makes it nearly impossible. Ultimately though, if I take care of myself just right, I can read in bed.
The best thing about books is that I can escape into them. Whether they are very true to my struggles and serve as a catharsis, whether they offer me problems other than my own to consider, whether they offer me complete escape from anything resembling reality, I know that books are there for me. I know that even on days where it's hard to breathe or it hurts to walk, books are still there.
Books are like an ever present best friend that knows exactly what you need, and how to take care of you. When it can be hard to feel at home in my own body, I know that I can feel at home in my books. Books are home. Books are vacation. Books are everything I need, and sometimes they are things I didn't even know I needed.
So lately I have been binge reading. I have towering stacks checked out of the library, as well as books I own but haven't gotten to yet. In a world filled with pain and suffering, in my life filled with pain and suffering, books are here. Reading is the medicine that gives me the most solace. Even when I am bedridden, I know books are there to take care of me.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day One Hundred. Nine days of leave taken total. This will be my final post for the Give It 100 Challenge.)
|Like many people, there are some things that just really tick me right off. Like many people (at least, I hope like many people, otherwise I probably sound like a rage filled lunatic), I sometimes decide to fixate on certain things that will pretty much always make me angry. Here are a few of the most notable examples.
1. CBC cancelled Strange Empire. How could they? They barely gave that show a chance. It was one of the freshest things on television at the time, and they left it with a massive cliffhanger.
2. Stephen Harper won the 2011 Canadian Federal election with a majority government. How could my country have done this? I would like to note, this happened literally weeks before I turned eighteen, and I was unable to vote.
3. My brother snapped my PS1 disc for Tomb Raider 2 right after I figured out how to get good at it. He was about two at the time, so I am not mad at him, I am just mad.
4. This kid in middle school acted like I couldn't read, and picked on me over it. Not only could I read, but I could read better than he could. The injustice!
5. My mother lost my copy of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone while reading it to my brother. I ended up having to replace it, which did lead to a pretty magical story ("Elizabeth LK and the Magic of Harry Potter" ), but it was part of a boxset, so it took me some time.
6. My cousin ripped the paper-y sleeve for my DVD boxset of all the classic Frankenstein films. He was under two at the time, so once again it is not him I am mad at. It's just part of a collection, and now it's damaged.
7. When we were eight years old, people bullied my best friend because she spoke with a lisp due to her retainer. They even took it beyond that and started saying she was humping people. Children can be absolutely evil.
8. When I was five years old, I went to school with a boy I couldn't stand. He was just kind of a jerk. But people bullied him, and it angered me greatly (and still does). They didn't pick on him for being an asshole, they picked on him for his accent.
9. My previous cell phone (from over two years ago) would randomly switch the keyboard to commands rather than letters. I would be trying to send a quick text, but hitting "e" would exit me from the text and open my email. The only way to change it back was to restart the phone.
10. I can't clean my glasses. This is a recurring situation, and kind of my own fault, but it still makes me really angry every time I try to clean them and fail to do an adequate job.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Nine. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I hear a lot of people tell high school students to cherish their years spent in high school, as it among the best time of one's life. Those people can, quite frankly, bite me. High school sucked. It sucked for me. It sucks for my little brother right now. It sucks for a lot of people. If it didn't suck for you, that's great, but telling people to cherish a time that might be pretty awful for them is pretty cold.
When I was in high school, I developed seasonal affective disorder. This means that every winter (aka about four fifths of the Canadian school year), I would enter a severe depression. There were days I was too depressed to get out of be. If I managed to force myself to go anyway, I was too depressed to work effectively, and I was too depressed to be pleasant to teachers or other students. Everyone thought this was simply me being an angry trouble maker, and I didn't actually receive medication for these problems until I was well out of high school.
When I was in high school, we also happened to move around. A lot. The only school I was at long enough to attend for an entire school year, was the school I went to in the ninth grade, which I attended with classmates I grew up with. After that, I moved repeatedly throughout each school year. I had very few friends, I didn't usually know my neighbourhoods that well, and just when I was starting to adjust, we would move again.
I have many friends and family members who had a terrible time throughout high school. Family problems, mental health problems, physical health problems, friend problems, bullies, struggling with classwork, and many other issues plagues so many of us. But there still manages to always be that guy. The one who tells you it's the best time of your life, and you should cherish it.
For anyone who might have hated high school like I did, that's okay. For anyone who is in high school right now, and feels like it sucks, that's okay too--just know that you don't have to be happy when the circumstances don't dictate it, and that it isn't necessarily going to be the best time of your life. For many people, myself included, life gets so much better after high school. There's great stuff to look forward to.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Eight. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|For those who aren't familiar with the concept, a novel in verse is essentially a novel that is told through poetry rather than a more traditional novel format. Sometimes it can feel a little hokey, but when it's done right, it can create an incredibly beautiful story. Well known examples would include Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming (which I have failed to read, although still have every intention of reading) and many novels by Ellen Hopkins (whose books I have also failed to read, but will hopefully get to soon).
I just recently read The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle, a young adult historical fiction novel in verse, telling the story of a nurse who lived during Cuba's three wars for independence. Not only was this a book of beautiful poems, but I actually learned a lot from it (I knew basically nothing about Cuba's wars for independence from Spain prior to this, mind you).
I have read a number of novels in verse in the past. The first I ever read was Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. It was a gift from my fourth grade teacher (she got all of her students a book for Christmas), and I still have my original copy with her hand written note in it. It details a young girl's tragic life during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. I can remember crying at the tragedy of the story when I first read it about fifteen years ago. For some reason I still hesitated to pick up too many novels in verse after that. It was a few years later that I picked up Margaret Wild's Jinx, which tells the story of a teenage girl who has two boyfriends die and proceeds to have a bit of a downward spiral (as one does in such a scenario). I remember loving this one as a fourteen or fifteen year old, and thinking the poetry was especially effective, but I haven't re-read it since.
Now that I've been spending more time thinking about novels in verse, I have definitely felt more of an urge to read them. It seems like an oversight on my part to miss out on even major releases told in verse, because I have mostly really enjoyed the novels in verse that I have read. I certainly intend to make more of a habit of reading them.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Seven. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I spend a lot of time thinking about doing things. I like to have lots of ideas, plans, contingencies, and so on. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get a little carried away with myself. When I get too excited about my ideas, I spend more time thinking about doing the things instead of actually doing them. If I did even half the things I thought about doing, I would probably die from exhaustion, to be fair; however, it would be nice if I could focus on doing the things!
Earlier today I spent so long thinking about all the reading I was going to get done around my GoT tasks, and ended up doing half the reading I planned, and took a nap. Now, I do have health problems, which flared up pretty badly today, which explains the nap. I just wish the act of thinking about things instead of doing them wasn't such a common occurrence for me.
I've always had a little bit of a problem with this, ever since I was a little kid. I am a goals-oriented person who is easily distracted. As my health problems have worsened, so have my issues with failing to do the thing. Cognitive dysfunction is one of the many joyless things that comes with being seriously ill, making it hard to actually do things, even if they are only mental tasks.
Being more careful in how I set my goals has actually helped me to focus more on doing the thing, but many days I just overwhelm myself with thinking of the thing. Making sure the goals are set in an attainable way, and making sure that I set aside time where I will be likely to be well enough to function at a higher level, generally means that I am more likely to be able to do the thing.
Unfortunately, tonight the thing I can't stop thinking about long enough to do is sleep. There's no amount of planning that can make that happen.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Six. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|August has finally brought the month of WDC's Game of Thrones challenge. I remember being intrigued after seeing posts about it last year, and I am really glad I accepted the invitation to join House Martell. It started on the first, but as I am new, they were kind enough to leave me out for the first few days for me to see what everything is about.
I am fast approaching the time where I am officially tagged in to start contributing. Midnight WDC time marks the start of a new challenge week, and I am both nervous and ready. I've been eagerly waiting to start, but I also worry I'm going to let the team down. Fortunately I have a lot of time at home that I can put towards making myself useless.
I am definitely grateful that I am so close to finishing my previous and ongoing Give It 100 challenge, as I can't imagine trying to do more than a few days of them both at the same time. Five more days until I can exclusively focus on GoT (although don't think I plan to let my blog go quiet, I have quite fallen in love with having a regular blog).
I have set a lot of goals for August, and maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew, but I am excited to have a lot going on without having to leave the house. At this point I am ready to jump into the fray. I have been reading and rereading everything I can in relation to the rules so that I am as ready as I can be.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Five. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I like singing along to songs. I think that most people do, at least in private. There are some songs that have a certain irresistible quality to them that makes it incredibly difficult to avoid singing along to. I think most people have at least a few songs that they can't help but sing along to. Or maybe I just think that to spare my own feelings because there are so many songs I can't help but sing along to.
Here are fifty examples of songs I have to sing when they come on. The songs are listed in no particular order, and I have not chosen more than one song per artist included.
1. The Moffatts - Misery
2. Avril Lavigne - My Happy Ending
3. Cheap Trick - I Want You To Want Me
4. The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
5. Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl
6. Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
7. Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody
8. Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
9. Tegan and Sara - Where Does The Good Go?
10. Fefe Dobson - Bye Bye Boyfriend
11. Van Morrison - Sweet Thing
12. Alina Orlova - Transatlantic Love
13. The Cranberries - Zombie
14. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
15. Romeo Void - Never Say Never
16. FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
17. Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
18. Little Mix - Move
19. Tori Amos - Crucify
20. Great Lake Swimmers - Moving Pictures, Silent FIlm
21. Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude
22. Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
23. Shania Twain - Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under
24. Sleater-Kinney - Good Things
25. Matthew Good - Alert Status Red
26. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker - Pornostartrek
27. Ani DiFranco - Not A Pretty Girl
28. Prince - Erotic City
29. Bif Naked - Spaceman
30. Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy
31. Meredith Brooks - Bitch
32. Type O Negative - Black No 1
33. Damien Rice - Delicate
34. Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind
35. Rita Ora - RIP
36. Great Big Sea - When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)
37. Spirit of the West - Home For A Rest
38. Emm Gryner - Summerlong
39. Miguel - Use Me
40. Hooverphonic - Amalfi
41. Haken - Aquarius
42. Ayreon - Age of Shadows
43. Portishead - Roads
44. Solange - Losing You
45. Brand New - Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't
46. Mitski - Brand New City
47. Sammus - Nighttime
48. Bowling For Soup - Girl All The Bad Guys Want
49. Mariah Carey - Emotions
50. The Killers - Mr Brightside
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Four. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|When you have a lot of books, you start to get to a certain point where you run out of shelving space. Eventually you might even run out of space to put more shelves. Ultimately this means that you have to get creative with your storage ideas. Books can't just be left carelessly scattered about (well they can, but it just isn't good form), so you get creative.
One of the best ideas I ever had was a DIY bookshelf made of Nerd Block boxes. I removed the lids, used the excess cardboard to reinforce the main part of the box, and nailed the box to the wall. I have three of these boxes up, one on top of the other, and they are the perfect size for mass market paperbacks. I actually have my VC Andrews collection in the boxes. I set this up about a year ago, and it has held quite well. (See image here .)
A few years ago I found a cupboard for $5 at Goodwill. Without making any changes, I filled it with books and gifted it to my little brother. He has a hidden bookshelf in a cupboard that was simply never mounted on the wall. The cupboard is a full sized kitchen cupboard that holds quite a few books. As cupboards are made to hold cans, dishes, etc, it has been incredibly sturdy for his books.
Despite my living space being quite full of shelves, I have once again started to contemplate getting creative with my space as I seem to be running out once again. I could always get a hold of more boxes to add to my Nerd Block shelf, but those boxes only hold paperbacks and not too many of them, and my wall space has become quite cramped as well (framed posters, artwork, photography, etc, plus the height of existing shelves).
It occurred to me that dressers and tables that have drawers might be a good alternative. If there is drawer space to spare, a drawer can become a pullout shelf that can later be tucked away. As well, any surface can become a bookshelf if you have something to use as bookends. I use my dresser and shelf tops, and when I run our of bookends I use Pop! dolls, snow globes, and any other trinkets that might be big enough and weighty enough.
What about the rest of you folks here at WDC? Do you use anything as a bookshelf that traditionally wouldn't be considered a bookshelf?
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Three. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|As I have written entries about before, I am in a long distance relationship. He lives in Northern Ireland, and I live in Canada. We have been together for over two years now, and our relationship is stronger than ever. We manage to stay close despite the distance, and spend as much time together, online and in person, as we can manage. I am going to share some of the ways that a long distance couple can spend time together online.
1. Skype all the time. This is pretty obvious, but video calls make everything more bearable.
2. Skype ALL the time. Sleep together on Skype, and it feels like you're sleeping together.
3. Netflix. Pick a movie or TV show on Netflix. Count down from three in a video call. Click play at the same time.
4. Online gaming. If you both enjoy gaming, picking out something you can play online together can be a good way to have fun from a distance.
5. Online card or board games. You can find digital versions of most board and card games to play with people. Whether it's Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity.
6. Read to each other. Share news articles and blogs and short stories and poems in a video chat.
7. Eat dinner together. Just because you each made your own food and it's in a video call doesn't mean it doesn't count.
8. Listen to music together. There are a number of chat apps that allow you to play music together. Hear old favourites or new releases with your significant other.
9. Blow each other kisses. It may seem tame or lame, but it is a way to show physical affection from a distance.
10. Dress up for each other. Just because you're at home in your sweat pants doesn't mean you shouldn't wash your hair and put on a nice shirt for the person you love.
11. Share local news. Make each other feel closer to where the other resides by keeping them up to date on what's going on locally.
12. Join a website together. Post on the same forum, comment on each other's Goodreads reviews, browse each other's last.fm pages, etc.
13. Send each other memes. Take full advantage of your internet romance and share all your favourite memes with your favourite person.
14. House or apartment shop. This can be done entirely online these days, and it makes the relationship feel more tangible when you can think about where you might live when you're together in person.
15. Pet shop. Use the local animal shelter websites to see what kind of pet you might like to have as a couple.
16. Send each other gifts. This can be done entirely online by purchasing presents (sometimes things that can be bought for next to nothing) through online stores and having them directly mailed to each other.
17. Chat with each other's friends and family. Get to know your loved one's loved ones from afar.
18. Send each other e-cards. They are usually free and let your partner know they're on your mind.
19. Describe a massage. It can be incredibly meditative and relaxing, and it offers a taste of something you wouldn't normally get from a distance.
20. Write for each other. Writing a poem, a love letter, or a short story for your partner can make them feel very special. It offers them pretty words designed just for them.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-Two. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|When Viewing the "My Books" page on Goodreads, you have the option to view a few different types of statistics. One of these options is to take a look at a list of which authors you have read the most from, including the number of books you have read by those authors. I have become quite the fan of statistics and numbers when it comes to my media consumption (nerd alert!), so I enjoy browsing through these Goodreads pages. I have found that I have nine authors I have recorded on my Goodreads that I have read more than fifteen books from. Here are the authors I have read most often in my life, and my reasons behind their ranking so high on the list.
Of all the books I have recorded on Goodreads as having read, Hannah Howell presents as the author I have read the most from. I am not completely certain that she is the author I have read most in actuality. Howell has released dozens of books within her multiple Highlander series, and I nearly all 48 books I have read from her have been among those. While I still have a soft spot for some of her work, I was mostly interested in her books when I was new to historical romance, as she was among the very first historical romance authors I read.
I have read 47 VC Andrews books, but this number seems somehow on the low side. I think most of these were read between the ages of 9 and 15, and I have absolutely no shame. Horribly inappropriate for children, her books still somehow seem best when read by someone far too young. I absolutely still have a soft spot for a number of her older series (Landry, Casteel, Dollanganger, the standalone My Sweet Audrina, etc), which I doubt I will ever renounce, but her more recent books have left me less than impressed.
I started reading Gena Showalter's young adult novels when I was thirteen, and I almost immediately move on to her adult romance novels, which I fell in love with. Showalter was the author that made me fall in love with romance as a genre, which is definitely reflected in the 35 books I have read by her. Unfortunately I have not been very fond of her more recent works, which have a tone to them that I just don't enjoy as much, along with some of her series feeling too long. That said, I am still always open to reading more of her books, or continuing the various series I have started.
I was first interested in Lynsay Sands for her Argeneau series, which I think offers just enough of a twist on the traditional vampire romance to still be interesting. I loved the series, and I am still fond of its early installments, but I definitely think it went on for far longer than it ought to have. It probably accounts for more than half of the 34 books on my Goodreads from her. Shortly after I started that series, I read some of her historical romance, my first ever. It got me interested in histrocial romance as a whole, and it continues to be the type of work I still read when she releases a new one.
I remember Lori Foster first being brought to my attention in a number of romance anthologies I was reading in my mid teens. Some of the 27 books I have read from her are among those anthologies. That said, her full length contemporary romance novels rank among some of my favourites. I am especially fond of her books when she keeps things funny, sexy, and charming. When she goes for more intense heroes, I find that they occasionally start to feel like they might be dragging a little bit. However, I've never read anything from her I outright disliked.
It has been quite awhile since I have read anything from MaryJanice Davidson, but I'm not surprised I hit 27 of her books. I am especially fond of her work for various romance anthologies, which I still have a soft spot for. I would still re-read some of her novels as well. I was mainly put off her work by the direction her Undead series was taking--I found that it was going on too long, more of the novels were becoming hit or miss, and I didn't really enjoy the direction the plot was going. Seeing her on the list makes me inclined to pick up another anthology from her, or to re-read Hello Gorgeous.
I feel like it almost seems like a cheat to have my 19 Robert Munsch reads impact this list. I am certain I have read more than 19, but I don't rate and review nearly as many picture books as I should. Munsch is easily one of my favourite picture book authors, something I can say as an adult that has not changed since childhood. I love that he has continued putting out new works, although I haven't exactly followed his career. My favourites are The Paperbag Princess; Purple, Green, and Yellow; Stephanie's Ponytail; and Thomas' Snowsuit. Honourable mention for Love You Forever.
Of the 16 Sherrilyn Kenyon books I have read, precisely all of them have been from her Dark Hunter series (or a spin off). The early Dark Hunter novels (I will always have a special place in my heart for Fantasy Lover) rank among my one of my absolute favourite paranormal romance series. I always mean to continue reading the series, but it just keeps going. I also always mean to read some of her non Dark Hunter books, but when I still seem to have so many Dark Hunter novels to catch up on, it is hard to focus any of my attention on her other works.
I first came across Erin McCarthy as a random library find with her Vegas Vampires series, which ended up being an absolute blast. With other series like Seven Deadly Sins, Cuttersville, and Sexy in NYC, it's no surprise I ended up hitting 16 of her books. Her stand alone contemporary romance novels were some of the first contemporary romance I ever really read. Her biggest series is the Fast Track series, which I have missed out on entirely, and I heard she was also getting into new adult, an area I need to explore more altogether. Ultimately I would rather re-read the books of hers I already read, as they interest me more.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Ninety-One. Eight days of leave taken total.)