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.
|It's a weirdly specific niche to enjoy, but I am a big fan of comedies that feature ghosts in a positive light, particularly if they are black and white, generally released between the 1930s and the 1940s. I have enjoyed these types of movies since childhood, but I have definitely only noticed it as a trend in the past few years.
I am not sure what specifically draws me to the category. I think it was a great time for film, so based on that, it's no surprise that I am fond of a category more specifically from that era (although there have been similar films released past that time frame that I enjoyed well enough). That said, I also think it's still weirdly specific. My grandmother is the only other person I know who has been drawn to this particular area of film. I think it's because I never really saw ghost stories as scary, so they always felt more natural as comedies or romances. Perhaps ghost films never scared me because I grew up with ghosts as a part of romances and comedies.
With this unusual film category on my mind, I thought I would share some of my absolute favourites from this category. I would consider all of these films to rank among my favourite films in general, and not just my favourite films within this very specific category.
Topper stars Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, and Roland Young in a delightful comedy about a fun-loving married couple (Bennett and Grant) who die tragically in a car wreck, and decide to haunt the husband's very boring boss Topper (played by Roland). The film also features Billie Burke (best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Wizard of Oz) as Topper's wife. The film was a huge success at the time, but it seems to have fallen a little bit into obscurity as the years have worn on, which is an absolute shame. Topper is absolutely hilarious as far as comedies go, and it is full of heart. There were also two sequels and a television adaptation, but most of this has proved incredibly difficult to find copies of. 1941's Topper Returns is definitely a blast, and is worth watching for anyone who enjoyed the original.
The Canterville Ghost (1944)
The Canterville Ghost stars Charles Laughton, Robert Young, and Margaret O'Brien in a very loose adaptation of the Oscar Wilde novella of the same name. After being walled into a chamber in the seventeenth century (let's give a nod at The Cask of Amontillado here), Simon continues to haunt his family castle for centuries after. Laughton puts on a fantastic performance as the ghost Simon, and seven year old O'Brien is utterly charming and adorable. Simon makes for an incredibly sweet and sympathetic ghost, and his attempts at haunting are fun and funny. It veers quite far from the original novella, but it all works well for the film, which was updated for the current generation to be set during WWII. I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone looking for a hilarious comedy filled with touching moments.
The Time of Their Lives (1946)
The Time of Their Lives is an Abbott and Costello film about a pair of ghosts, played by Costello and Marjorie Reynolds, from the American revolution have been cursed as traitors, and cannot pass on to heaven and join their loves until they've cleared their names, which they get the opportunity to do in the 1940s. As Abbott and Costello had a poor relationship at the time, they interacted very little on screen for this, but it doesn't hurt the film's story. The 1780s intrigue adds a lot of flavour to the film, and the classic comedy of Abbott and Costello is on point. While many might point to other Abbott and Costello films as their best, the story and humour of The Time of Their Lives cannot be beaten by any of their other films in my humble opinion.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
The Ghost and Mrs Muir is a romantic comedy/drama starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. Mrs. Muir, played by Tierney, moves into a house haunted by a ghost, played by Harrison. The ghost, Daniel Gregg, is a sea captain who died in an accident years earlier, and has a rather jaded attitude. The two agree to share the space, and settle into an unconventional life of the living and dead sharing a home. They grate on each other's nerves, just like in any traditional romance, and both actors bring the unique charms of their characters to life. The romantic themes give the film a slightly sadder tone, but it's a lovely story packed with a variety of emotions.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Eight. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|In the past year or so, I have been working hard to maintain an active presence here at WDC. Although I have always loved writing, I have never done as much of it as I prefer. WDC has been one of the tools I have had at my fingertips for years (my nine year anniversary will be in November), and failed to utilise as best I could.
I have always been around in a lurking sort of way. I posted a few pieces of writing, and I reviewed a few works of others. Unfortunately, I have never really done much with my time here. I spent more time reading newsletters than doing anything else (although the newsletters are quite fantastic). In the past year, I feel like I have achieved so much here, and made so much progress in my writing output, that it's hard not to regret that I didn't make such good use of it before. All I can do now is keep making steps forward.
I have spoken before of the kind of progress that I have made here at WDC. This blog is a great example of that progress; this will be my 119th blog post since I started this blog in July of 2016, a solid year ago. I spoke of many examples of my progress in "One Hundred Blog Posts and Counting" , and even since then I have managed to continue to progress.
Last year, I purchased my first upgraded account. Someone originally anonymously (thank you, amazing stranger!) gifted me three months of upgraded membership, and I quite liked what I experienced. I think it was a big part of what drew me in to doing more stuff here. I purchased a year long upgraded membership after I received what I like to think of as a free trial courtesy of the kindness of someone's heart. I think upgrading my account is why I felt so encouraged to continue my writing projects big and small, and inject myself further into the amazing community that is WDC.
It occurred to me recently that I have done very little to play around with the benefits of paid membership. I definitely use the extra space, I love having my blog, and there are other small features that I enjoy. I decided that I wanted to play with more of those extra features, and set up my very own C-note shop featuring photographs from my time in Ireland.
Part of what encouraged me to do this was WDC's fantastic community. When I have gone through hard times in recent months with my grandmother becoming ill and passing away, and dealing with physical and mental health struggles, WDC has been incredibly kind to me. I have received C-notes from users named and anonymous that have brightened some of my darkest days, and they meant the world to me. I felt that being a bigger part of the WDC community should include contributing to that incredible system, which is why I set up some photographs in an album here at WDC, and started up the shop. I am always trying to gain enough gift points to pay for my membership in the spring, and I keep reading that this is a good way to earn a few extra.
I have also been trying to participate more in site contests and challenges, and I think I have been doing okay, although I always seem to feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew. I am still working on my Give It 100 challenge, where I committed to blogging daily for one hundred days, and I have grown quite fond of keeping up on my blog. I participated in Promptly Potter in May, which produced more flash fiction and short stories in a single month than perhaps any other single month in my life (as I have never committed to writing either daily). Now Game of Thrones is closing in fast, and I am incredibly excited. I remember seeing everyone talking about it last year, and I'm glad I get to be a part of the chaos this time around (although I am a bit nervous).
My participation here at WDC only continues to grow, and I feel more a part of a community here than ever before. I also feel more like a true writer than ever before, as I have shared so much content in what feels like so little time. I hope I can continue to keep my participation up here for a long time to come.
You can visit my C-note shop here: "Scenic C-Notes" .
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Seven. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|As someone who has chronic health problems, I definitely find that a lot of people have some misconceptions about what having a chronic illness can mean for a person. A lot of these misconceptions can be incredibly hurtful to those of us who have chronic illnesses, so I thought it might be best to break down some of the things I have heard people say, and share the reality behind those misconceptions.
Keep in mind, this is simply the perspective of one chronically ill person with a number of chronically ill friends; I don't speak for all sick people, and you should always let a person tell their own truth. This is the reason I chose to make a list that is myth vs reality rather than myth vs fact.
Myth: People with chronic illnesses are just lazy.
Reality: Many people with chronic illnesses want to continue living their lives the way they did when they were healthy, and it simply isn't an option for them. They aren't avoiding doing things because they don't want to do them, they avoid those things because they are not well enough to do them. Taking a break from a job, school, housework, normal activities, etc. is not about being lazy; some chronically ill people just don't have the option to carry on with normal activities the way they would prefer.
Myth: If a person is really chronically ill, they shouldn't be able to go out at all.
Reality: A person who is chronically ill wants to do fun things just as much as a healthy person does. Many chronically ill people will conserve their energy to go out for certain activities they desperately want to participate in, or they will be prepared to suffer the fallout after a busy day. There are also many people with chronic illnesses who have some days that are better than others, and a good day can be used for something fun.
Myth: People with chronic illnesses take too many medications.
Reality: If someone with a chronic illness is on a medication, or more than one medication, it has most often been prescribed by their doctor. This doctor most likely knows the most about that person's condition and their specific needs. Medication isn't a sign of weakness. Keeping it natural isn't always better, especially when medication can mean the difference between life and death, or it can effect the person's quality of life.
Myth: Chronically ill people don't have sex.
Reality: Most chronically ill people have just as much sex as healthy people. Being sick doesn't typically effect whether or not you are capable of having sex. Even when it does effect your ability to do sexual things, it typically isn't an all the time thing. A chronically ill person has just as much right to consensual sexual activity as a healthy person. Just because a person is having sex does not automatically mean they are healthy, just as much as a person not having sex does not automatically mean they are sick.
Myth: Chronic illness is always temporary.
Reality: Sometimes chronic illness is temporary. For many people, chronic illness can be a life long battle. There isn't always a cure, and while sometimes treatments can provide remission, many people will struggle the rest of their lives with their diagnosis. It is hard to cope knowing you may never get better, and that difficulty is exacerbated by people assuming that you're going to be well enough to be back to normal soon, or that they will offer meaningless wishes for a sick person to "get well soon."
Myth: Chronic illness won't fluctuate.
Reality: As much as chronic illness is often permanent or long lasting, it is often not a stable and consistent thing. Many people who are chronically ill find that their condition changes over the years, or that their condition might even fluctuate on a day to day basis. Just because a sick person was well enough to do a particular activity doesn't mean that they will always be able to do that activity. Just because a sick person was not well enough to do an activity doesn't mean they might never be able to do that activity.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Six. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I have put substantial money into video games over the years. Not all at once, because I don't have that kind of money, but as someone who has gamed since childhood, I have definitely put money into it. I buy games on sale and in bundles, and I have developed quite the video game collection. But what have I gone and done? Put nearly 3k hours into Stronghold Kingdoms.
Stronghold Kingdoms is an online multiplayer real time strategy game that is offered as free to play. You build a castle and village, you build up your supplies, you farm and do industry work, you battle NPCs (non-player characters, essentially computer generated opponents or allies) on their own turf, and fight off NPCs when they attack you. Because there are thousands of other players involved in each Stronghold Kingdoms world, you also end up vying for control of certain areas, and find yourself on the defensive against other invading players. You can also attack other players in the world, and even steal or destroy their villages.
I have been playing this game for a few years now, so don't think that I somehow put thousands of hours into this game recently. This has been a building involvement over time. Of course, of all my paid games, I have to focus on one that is mainly free. That said, I have actually put money into the game to access extra goodies. The game is significantly more enjoyable when you have premium tokens in play (these allow you to create research and building queues, set certain activities to continue after you've logged off, and a few other handy benefits), and when you have access to extra card packs to alter the game play for yourself.
Stronghold Kingdoms is honestly a blast. I like games that allow me to build, and the other functions add to the whole environment of it for me. It's an easy game to lose myself in, and I often find myself playing it while doing just about anything else online. I am playing it right now actually. I am selling meat and vegetables. I have set my research point to research the last point of weapon making. I also just repaired my castle walls in both my villages after they had been attacked by NPCs while I was offline. I don't mind this so much, as it all contributes to what I enjoy about the game. I won't pretend I am not completely salty about it when other players attack me.
Anything medieval style tends to capture my attention quite thoroughly. This has definitely been no exception. I feel like a complete dork for being so drawn into a simplistic freebie game, but it definitely has hooked me. I actually stayed with one game world until the game world came to an actual conclusion (this took a loooong time btw), and used the rewards I received from having finished with a game world to start from scratch in one of the newer game worlds. I feel like I'm actually getting pretty okay at the game, although I am definitely amazed by the more powerhouse players. I hope some day I can be good enough to rule countries in the game.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Five. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I have been reading romance novels for about a decade now. When I was younger, I was one of those who assumed that romance was trashy, without merit, boring, lacking in real plot, lacking in good characters, and all sorts of other things. I realised this wasn't the case when I accidentally read a romance novel that I thought was a fantasy novel. I pretty quickly fell in love with that specific novel, but it also made me realise that all of my preconceived notions were pretty far off base. I read a wide variety of genres, but for the last decade I have counted romance among them. Today I am going to share with you some of the reasons that I read romance.
1. A guaranteed happy ending is reassuring. It makes for good anxiety free (or anxiety limited) reading.
2. Good romance novels have the best main characters. A character driven story relies on believable and relatable characters.
3. Romance can be blended with just about any other genre I'm in the mood for. Fantasy, mystery, historical, thriller, sci-fi, etc.
4. Romance can be wholesome or filthy depending upon my mood.
5. It feels good to read books that reassure you that love can work out in the end.
6. Romance can be for people of any age, about any age. YA couples in YA stories, NA couples in NA stories, middle aged couples in traditional romance, and so on.
7. Romance can be feminist and female friendly.
8. Romance can support the LGBT+ community.
9. Romance often features a lot of really fun, funny, cute side characters that feel like real friends and family.
10. Romance can show how different couples work, or how they work with people outside the central relationship.
11. There can be different levels of lightness or darkness depending on what you feel like reading.
12. Romance can reflect the real world and the love that exists within it.
13. Romance can reflect complete fantasy, and serve as escapism, a sort of fairy tale for adults.
14. Romance can provide cute twists on old stories.
15. Supporting romance authors often means supporting women authors.
16. Romance novels have so many really pretty covers.
17. Romance series often end up giving many characters you love a happy ending rather than just two.
18. Romance novels are often less costly to buy paperback versions of than novels in other genres.
19. Romance is easy to read free/cheap. Libraries usually offer a very wide selection of romance novels to choose from, and many romance authors offer digital promotions for free copies of ebooks.
20. I like it. This is the simplest reason.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Four. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|You know how some people have road rage, and can't seem to stop themselves from getting angry at other cars on the road? Well, I have pedestrian rage. I get angry at other pedestrians, as well as cars. It's mostly contained, and I typically won't express my anger, but it's there.
Other pedestrians are aggravating. They walk too fast, too slow, and somehow they're always in the way. A group of ten people somehow manages to walk side by side and block the entire Walmart entrance while collectively ignoring anyone behind them saying "excuse me." Yeah, I've had that happen. It takes all my willpower not to just run them down with the cart. As someone with chronic illness, I try to be mindful of anyone ahead of me who is walking slowly, as they may not be up to walking faster just as I sometimes cannot, but it's hard not to plow down people who are walking just fast enough that you can't pass them.
Cars aggravate me far more. Drivers stop them in the middle of the crosswalk, forcing me to move towards oncoming traffic to get around them. They park over sidewalks I need to use. They fail to use turn signals properly, so I stand there waiting for them to pass, only having waited for nothing as they turned onto a different street altogether. Then you get drivers who have road rage as well, who are honking at you to walk faster and making rude gestures, even though you have the right of way. Then of course there are just plain reckless drivers that make being a pedestrian at all into a hazardous task.
There are other pedestrians as well with pedestrian rage, and I think some of them are maybe not as aware of their surroundings. It can be incredibly frustrating to have people getting angry at you for walking slowly when you're going as fast as you can at that particular time. I do my best to stay to the side, but that doesn't always seem to be good enough. I try my very best not to be one of these people.
I don't know what exactly causes pedestrian rage. Perhaps it is simply a sign of regular rage. Maybe it's a sign that I'm an impatient person. I think it might just be an occasional intolerance to humans. I mean, I've never felt pedestrian rage towards a dog. Oh well. The best I can do is just try not to mow people down.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Three. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|I love superhero movies. I think most people do these days. At least, everyone in my nerdy little circle of friends seems to love them. When I start to feel superhero burnout, I simply see another superhero movie; there are so many good ones being pumped out these days that it's hard to truly get sick of them.
I went to see Spiderman the other day at the movies, and it was fantastic. It was refreshing to see a Spiderman movie about Peter Parker coming into his own, rather than another Spiderman origin story. This got me to thinking about sharing some of my thoughts as a reader and a writer, as seeing a new superhero movie usually gets my wheels turning.
As a writer, I think superhero movies are a fascinating thing to examine. As they are so popular, I think it's important to look at what makes them work, and compare it to the superhero movies that don't work, or even just to particular scenes that don't work. Sometimes it is about story or character consistency, as people are more likely to enjoy seeing the story and characters maintained as they should be, rather than making changes that make no sense. Length also seems to play a big part, as you can look at overly long superhero movies that did less well, and see how that contributed. I think there's an additional ease in that people already care about the characters, but it presents its own challenges in that the screenwriters need to make the audience care about a character they might already be bored with or dislike.
As a reader, I love seeing the stories that I have read and loved come to life on the big screen. It's interesting to see where they are going to take each story, as most of the major comic characters have so many variants. I only wish more of my favourites were adapted for TV and movie. In my lifetime, we've had six live action Spiderman movies, and an animated series, but we haven't had a single Ms Marvel or Howard the Duck. This is without getting into the non-superhero stuff I would love to see adapted for the screen, big or small.
I think it's important to have a blast watching these fun movies, but they're also worth giving a thought about.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-Two. Eight days of leave taken total.)
|We all have our pet peeves. I think most of us (women in particular, I'm willing to bet) have pet peeves that specifically relate to clothing. Shopping can be an absolute nightmare at times, because it's so easy to be annoyed by clothes. So here are my personal pet peeves that relate to clothes and clothes shopping.
1. No pockets.
2. Fake pockets.
3. Pockets that are half the size of what would be a useful pocket.
4. Pockets with holes.
5. Having to pay attention to pockets while clothes shopping.
6. Shirts that are too short to look right.
7. Shirts that are too long to look right.
8. Finding a cute outfit but it's not in your size.
9. Finding a cute outfit in your size that doesn't actually fit.
10. Women's sizing being completely arbitrary.
11. Bigger sizes provide frumpier clothes.
12. Clothing that is too small in one place, and too big in another.
13. Pants that are too long.
14. Pants that are too short.
15. Shirts that don't have enough arm room.
16. Jackets that don't fit over sweaters.
17. Pants that require belts.
18. Button up shirts that are too tight at the chest and create a boob opening.
20. Clothing that isn't dryer safe.
21. Clothing that shrinks in the wash.
22. Socks with loose threads inside.
23. Hats that don't come in sizes big enough for those with larger heads.
24. Socks that disappear in the wash.
25. Different types of clothing required for different situations.
26. Clothing is required for most occasions.
27. Clothing is expensive.
28. Pants that wear out in the inner thigh.
29. Broken zippers.
30. See-through shirts that don't look see-through until you're already out of the house.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy-One. Seven days of leave taken total.)
|For those who aren't familiar with the term, TBR refers to a persons "to be read" pile. For some people, their TBR consists of a few books. For others, and not pointing any fingers here *cough*me*cough*, their TBR might essentially be all of the books. Of course, "all of the books" is not exactly the most probable of reading goals to achieve, so we have to make do with what essentially amounts to still too many books.
A few months back I realised that my TBR shelf on goodreads had reached the literal thousands. Even if I read a book a day, it would still have taken me years to get through the books that had made the list. Some of the books would only have led me to reading more books, as they were the first book in the series. So knowing that I had made my short term goals completely unrealistic, I did the unthinkable.
I deleted every book on my Goodreads TBR shelf.
I know, it's madness. There was absolutely a method behind this though. Once I had removed everything from my TBR, I could start from scratch. A lot of the books that had been on my list had been books I was probably never going to read. Books I saw one time and thought sounded interesting but was never going back to. Entire series when I hadn't even read the first book to know if I wanted to continue. The entire backlog of authors I hadn't even read once. I added every book I entered a giveaway for, even though I often browsed for giveaways, and entered many that I would probably never read if I didn't win them. By removing every book from my TBR, I removed all the books I wouldn't miss seeing there.
Once my Goodreads TBR list had been cleared, I felt like it would be easier to get to the books that I actually wanted to get to, like I was less bound to this virtual list. I still use Goodreads to keep track of my TBR though. First I added back all of the books that I own, but haven't had the chance to read yet (this actual physical pile has grown larger than I care to admit). I also added any books that the library carried that I intend to read within the year.
Getting my virtual TBR tidied up left me with a lot more freedom, even if it only changed my perception. Now I can focus on books I own, books I'm reading for challenges, and books that pique my interest in the moment. I've actually read more in the first half of 2017 than I read in all of 2016, so I think this change in mindset has enacted a more tangible change in how much I am reading.
For those who keep a TBR (on Goodreads, on a physical list or pile, or any other way), I highly recommend giving it a good cleansing. It allowed me to get back to actually reading, rather than worrying about the thousands of books I may never even have a chance to read.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Seventy. Seven days of leave taken total.)
|As someone with chronic pain, I have endless complaints of what hurts, including details of the exact kind of pain I am experiencing at the time. Sometimes one thing will hurt, sometimes another, and sometimes (if I'm really lucky) all of the things will hurt. It can make life more difficult than it ought to be. No, scratch that. It always makes life more difficult than it ought to be. I plan my days and activities around my pain, and re-plan when my pains change. Developing chronic pain has impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined in my life before.
So here I share with you a list of body parts that are causing me pain as I write this. I have abridged this list for your convenience.
Like many people, I generally carry a lot of tension in my shoulders. I always have. It was the first thing that gave me trouble when I started developing chronic pain. Of course, because it's chronic, my shoulder pain is rather amplified. I have developed a severe shoulder knot that has been there for days now, and it makes me feel almost nonfunctional, even without considering my other pains. It is both sharp and aching. The pain has been severe enough that I have lost more sleep than usual over it. My sleep has been so bad that my partner has been able to tell I have been in pain even while I've been asleep, and has been rubbing the knot while I have been sleeping to soothe my restless nights.
I deigned to wear flip flops the day before yesterday, so my calves have been killing me. I know, I know, I was practically asking for it. My calves were basically in a constant seized up state for most of yesterday, and now today they are aching. I literally spent most of my time in flip flops just sitting, but I feel as if I severely overworked them in a hardcore workout. Even walking to the bathroom is aggravating my hip pain, and forget about how much it hurts to sit down and stand up when I get there.
My hips have been bothering me a lot more in general for the last couple months are so. I must be getting old--hips don't lie, after all. I find that this pain is generally from either failing to wear my orthotics often enough (which causes my right hip to drop due to my scoliosis), or it is my sciatic nerve being aggravated (or sometimes a little of both). Right now I feel the nerve pain. It's as if fiery blades are aggravating my hips, and shooting their flaming stabby feeling down my legs like lightning. It burns. It stings. Somehow this is the mild version. I have definitely had worse hip pain recently.
Like my shoulders, my neck was one of the first things that ever really started to hurt for no good reason. If my shoulder pain flares up badly, my neck pain is not usually so far behind. Unfortunately separating the two would have rather unfortunate consequences, so I am stuck with this chain reaction. I have also been exposed to some rather sick people lately, and while I initially thought I wasn't going to suffer for it (ha!), I woke up with an achier than usual neck yesterday. I assumed I had simply slept funny, but I appear to have a golf ball sized swollen lymph node that hurts to the touch, and aches more with movement.
Okay, okay, I know this isn't a body part. My pride hurts too though. It aches and stabs and throbs just as much as any other pain in my body does. I used to be an athlete, and now wearing flip flops ruins my week. I used to be clear-headed and book smart, and now it takes twice as much work to do half the thinking I did before. I don't think I've ever been overly competitive against other people, but I've always been the type to want to beat my own record, and now I have to live with failing to beat all of my mental and physical records. All that can soothe my pride is to remember to measure my successes by what I have accomplished this time, rather than by what I accomplished years ago.
(I have committed to blogging daily with Give It 100. This is Day Sixty-Nine. Seven days of leave taken total.)