Doing all the things we can do

“Ugh Leslie, why do you listen to that white girl music?” my “friend” said as I bounced around to Brittney Spears. I slowly stopped dancing and sat quietly.

“Leslie that is white people shit.” another “friend” said to me as I exclaimed that I wanted to climb a mountain some day. I let myself fade into the background. I was already a target at school with hair not quite right, being fat and not being able to find or afford fashionable clothes, and just being on the fringes of everything.

I am an adult now. We’ve all grown up. I’ve long since cut ties with friends who sought to point out my differences with disdain and not joy and wonder. I also tend to be confident in who I am now. I stumble sometimes, but don’t we all?*

Because of the experiences that I’ve faced as a child, teen, and young adult I find myself floating towards POC’s that are out here doing things you typically don’t see POC’s doing. I wanted to talk about two of those people today.

The Blackalachian

I forget how I got the book, but I own one of The Little House on the Prairie books. It is the one where Almanzo and Bess have taken their daughter Rose and moved to the Ozark Mountains. From there, that got me reading about mountains again, and people hiking mountains. Then I started to read about the Appalachian Trail. That lead me to watching videos of people hiking the Appalachian Trail. One of the things I noticed right away was 99% of the videos were all of white people. I watched quite a few of their journeys. I took in their injuries, how they were eating, the camraderie that that shared. One day I signed onto YouTube and in the suggested videos there was one of a Black man called the Blackalachian.

 

By the time I finished the video, I was hooked and attempted to watch from the beginning. He radiates such light and positivity, it is hard not to see an alert he has a new video without smiling. While I have posted the video from day 100, he has made a lot more since then. It has been amazing to see him grow as a hiker and deal with a few issues that non POC would probably never have to deal with. I hope to get a chance to interview him some day when he comes back to civilization. I believe so much in what is he is doing that I kicked a few dollars to his GoFundMe. He has recently flipped his hike (I can’t remember what it is officially called) where he stopped wherever he was, went to Maine (where the end of the AT Trail is) and is hiking the opposite way, so that he doesn’t miss Maine in the fall. We here at Geeky Girl’s Guide to Life wish him the best of luck.

Crystal Vanner

If you follow us on Instagram you will notice I post a lot of paper planning things. I attempt (very poorly) to draw, I have added a lot of planner Instagram pages that I follow. I belong to a planner group on Facebook. One of the ladies mentioned on there about living out of her van and traveling.

At this stage in the game, you have heard of the Tiny Home lifestyle. You’ve seen these elaborate tiny homes that people live in. Some people like Crystal are taking it a step further and creating homes out of their mini vans.

One of my goals is when I retire to partially live in an RV and travel the country. Crystal is traveling all over the place in her van. This nomadic lifestyle truly facinates me. It is not in the cards for myself right now; In addition to having a toddler, the job that I do (infrastructure IT) is not conducive to not being on site. So I live through Crystal’s vlogs. In addition to the jobs that she does, she also designs shirts. You can pick up one right here.

These are just a couple of the POC out here living their dreams and not being bound by what society thinks they should be doing. I commend them and I am always on the look out for more people to watch, read, and discover what they are doing.

 

*The first part of this post was incredibly hard to write, simply because I do not like talking about the time before I grew up and realized that people don't always has your best interest at heart.

Supernatural Season 13 Season Premiere Recap and Review: Two Men and a Nephilim

Let's Laugh, Cry, and Cuss about Supernatural Together

Episode Name: Lost and Found

Air Date: 10/12/2017

*SPOILERS* DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT *SPOILERS* SERIOUSLY I MEAN IT *SPOILERS*

"That bitch said I'm a Becky, Sam. That's not ok."

Hi my name is Rebekah and I’m a Supernatural addict. If you are reading this, you have probably watched 12 years’ worth of Supernatural, so we’re in the same boat. Welcome, fellow sucker for punishment! Feel free to let it all hang out.

Last night I eagerly watched the Season 13 premiere of Supernatural. I don’t start every season of Supernatural eagerly. But I enjoyed the hell out of the Season 12 finale and the set up for Season 13 was right down my alley. Creepy as hell, a parallel dimension, and the promise of seeing some old favorites. Also, the acting in the show has reached Oscar caliber. No exaggeration. Jared and Jensen inhabit these characters and make you feel like they are old friends. The delivery of their lines feels real, raw, and impactful. That’s a tall order considering it is a fantasy show and you can get burn out from the constant trauma. But the writers can put in the most absurd plot line and those boys sell the shit out of it.  These guys know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it on a cult favorite CW show so they probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.

So just for set up purposes, Season 12 finale ended with the boys losing everything and everyone they love. Again. It wasn’t as traumatizing as it could have been because as y’all know, the boys lose everything all the time. And characters have the tendency to come back. Also, there were some character deaths I was ready for. (Sorry. I love Mark Sheppard but the writers didn’t know what to do with Crowley anymore, it was painful.) Additionally, the few scenes in the parallel dimension were a joy. We got to see Bobby, which, it’s always a good day when you get to see Bobby. And he mentioned Rufus. Almost nothing makes me happier than Bobby and Rufus. (Safe House, written by superbae Robbie Thompson is one of my favorite episodes they’ve ever done.) So Season 13 was set up to be very cool, which after 12 years is impressive.

Season 13 Episode one opened up exactly where we left off, with Sam standing in the cabin gaping at the ENTIRE GROWN ASS ADULT Nephilim that was born FIVE MINUTES AGO crouching in the corner naked as a jaybird (are jaybirds more naked than other birds?) with glowing eyes being CREEPY AS FUCK. Like, genuine chills down your spine creepy. Sam tends to use his words so he tried to communicate with the Nephilim. Dean walks in and instantly whips out his gun to shoot the guy. Dean had just left Castiel’s dead body so he was not in the mood. Sam knocks his arm out of the way. Which was probably for the best, because Dean, what’s a regular ass bullet going to do to a Nephilim? Well, that pisses ol’ dude off and he yells and the blast of his power picks up both of the boys off the ground and throws them into the wall. So, he is hella powerful. Then he gets away.

"Who's my daddy? No, really. Who's my daddy?"

The boys give chase. For stunningly gorgeous Greek god looking model types, they look like shit. Bruised, dirty, depleted, bags under their eyes. Dean was reacting to the crushing loss of Cas by being enraged (appropriate reaction) and that was manifesting partly by him uberpissy and barking at Sam. Even his most pissy retorts crackled with grief. Sam obviously knew he was grieving and didn’t give him any pushback. There is this unspoken understanding that Cas’s death is more Dean’s loss than Sam’s loss. Part of that is because most of the writers are Deanboys, and partly because Dean and Cas have a more profound bond. They’re boyfriends. Or they would be if the showrunners had the sense God gave a fruit fly. But I digress.

The Nephilim ends up in a police station. He’s confused and bewildered. He’s trying to figure out who he is, and what feelings are. He tries nougat for the first time. It’s intense. He’s in turn adorable, off-putting, and terrifying. The actor is fantastic.  It’s hard to make these kinds of characters work.  It’s easy to lean a little too hard on the crazy or on the bewilderment.  But he was perfection. I truly hope they keep him around. He infuses the old SPN dynamic with new life.

Any who, the most significant thing is that when he hears voices in his head (angel radio), it hurts, and he reacts by throwing folks around. But he doesn’t know how it happens. He doesn’t have control over his powers just yet. Which makes sense, because he’s like three seconds old. The boys catch up to him. Sam spends some time with the Nephilim (the audience knows his name is Jack at this point) and realizes that he is an innocent. Also, Jack reveals that Castiel is his father, which was a brilliant little twist that hurts sooooo badly because you know that beautiful Castiel is dead. Poor kid, Dad killed while he was making his way into the world. But wait, wasn’t Lucifer the father? Apparently, Jack’s mom found the concept of fatherhood pretty flexible. She said since Castiel would be the one to protect him, that he would be his father. And since Jack was conscious in the womb, he was always hearing Cas take care of him, so he cosigned that (extremely solid) choice.

"I just really want some more nougat."

Then the dicks show up. Ok that sounds weird. But any SPN fan knows what I’m talking about. According to Dean, angels are dicks. And the group that shows up lives up to that less than stellar reputation. They are there to kidnap Jack and to use him for nefarious power-hungry purposes. There are some really cool, creative fight scenes. Only in Supernatural do you laugh during a fight scene. They are often sly and inventive. Ultimately, Sam and Dean prevail. The angels are either sent to heaven or ganked. But before the last one is stabbed, she stabs Jack right in the heart. It doesn’t take. He pulls it right out. Yes Jack is innocent, but also menacing and scary, mostly because we don’t know what his powers are yet. He doesn’t know what his powers are either. But we do know that he can be stabbed in the heart and not even ask for a band aid. He’s like. Hm. (kanyeshrug)

The boys head back to the bunker and take Jack with them. Which I thought made sense. Jack is a loose cannon and you don’t really want him bouncing around out there. Sam mostly wants to look after him. Dean mostly wants to kill him. They only thing stopping Dean is that he has no idea how to do it. Dean still doesn’t see these decisions on whether to kill folks as a democratic decision between him and Sammy. If he wants to gank somebody it doesn’t really matter what Sam wants.  And of course, you can see both of their viewpoints. Dean is sick as shit of these supernatural creatures killing his boyfriend and his family.  But to be fair to Sam’s point of view, rational thought generally makes for better strategies. Also, there is no real reason to believe that Jack will be evil. Lucifer is not a demon. He’s an angel. His villainy was purely a conscious choice, not his genetics. Also, Dean saying his job is to kill the supernatural is a bit disingenuous. Because in reality, the boys have a long storied history of partnering with supernatural creatures (You know, like Castiel? Or Crowley? Or Dean’s ex Benny? I could really go on). But Dean is completely over it. Which. You can’t blame him there considering what they just went through. So that’s where we are.

Then we get the thoroughly heart wrenching scene where Dean prays to God to bring Cas back. Here is what he says:

Okay, Chuck… or God, or whatever. I need your help. See, you– you left us. You left us. You went off. You said… You said the earth would be fine because it had me… and Sam, but it’s not, and we’re not. We’ve lost everything... and now you’re gonna bring him back. Okay? You’re gonna bring back Cas, you’re gonna bring back Mom, you’re gonna bring ‘em all back. All of ‘em. Even Crowley. ’Cause after everything that you’ve done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So you get your ass down here and you make this right, right here and right now.

--Dean Winchester

Ugh. Now that is writing. Interesting to note that Dean explicitly refers to Cas as his everything. And if your heart can survive that, you should probably check whether you have a pulse at all. Maybe you are a vampire. Then Dean asks for his mom back, and even Crowley! He wants to turn the fucking clock back. Like. Takesies backsies the whole thing. As I mentioned, Jensen is just a masterful actor.  He’s always been good at grief. (As well as comedy. As well as singing. As well as being the most beautiful boy in the world. *shakes fist at sky*) After all, he inspired the ‘single man tear’ meme and subsequent song. But Jesus Christ he just gets better and better. He barely needs to use body language or gestures anymore. It’s all in his eyes. How does he do that?? He can barely flinch yet rip your heart out by the roots. (do hearts have roots?) Then he wraps Castiel’s body for a proper burial and if you thought his prayer was devastating, watching him wrap Cas’s body is a punch to solar plexus. Jensen is JUST SO GOOD AT THIS. And Castiel’s face IS SO GORGEOUS. Just. Come ON with that face, Misha Collins, you have GOT to be kidding me.

Then during the body burning scene, Sam asks Jack if he wants to say anything. Jack of course doesn’t know which way is up yet. So he asks what Sam what is normally said in these situations. And Sam’s answer had me in tears.

You say thank you. You say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness, or pain. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye. --Sam Winchester.

The simplicity of the writing is perfect. Jared Padalecki's delivery was phenomenal. Jared Padalecki why are you trying to kill all of my feelings? I swear to Chuck, man. When the writing and the acting is on point, no one has a prayer of getting out without crying like a goddamn baby.

Then the last scene is a short one where you see that Lucifer spared Mama Winchester’s life in the separate dimension. Why? I guess we’ll find out. He says he needs her. Which he clearly doesn’t, unless he’s up to something. What is that something?

So this episode. I was all about it. Clever. Well written. Great fight scene. Genuine emotions. The guest stars had distinct personalities and you cared about them right away. The cop mom and her teenage son were everything. The head of the angel gang had some hilarious, very SPN-ish one liners. And the prospect of seeing some friendly faces in the parallel dimension has me excited. Andrew Dabb mentioned Missouri Moseley at the SDCC panel this year and I am all about it. Let’s face it, Loretta Devine is a goddamn gift and I’ve been wanting to see her again since the last time we saw her in season one.  Of course Supernatural often handles female characters, particularly WOC characters, atrociously, so consider me down on my knees praying they get it right for her. Maybe they will actually HIRE some women of color writers (imagine that) and we can do this thing. (God, are you listening? Wait. I’m atheist. Whatever. You know what I mean.)

"Somebody get that kid some more nougat before he kills us all."

Now, as the supernerd and fangirl that I am, I always check who writes the episodes regardless whether I like them or hate them. This one was written by Andrew Dabb, which makes a lot of sense. Andrew Dabb is particularly adept at taking the stories, which are in a heightened world of fantasy and melodrama, and making them emotionally impactful in a way that you identify with. He’s like a heat seeking missile of finding the most searing and relatable human emotions and journeys the boys are experiencing, despite whatever plot is happening. He also hits that very particular soft point of Supernatural fans--people who deeply connect with the family dynamic and the experience of surviving trauma and chaos together. Also, he is great at creating compelling supporting characters. My only quibble is that he is a Dean boy, which isn’t a sin or anything. But one day I’ll find an SPN writer who centers the emotional journey on Sam and lets him drive it.  Not that I don’t love Dean. Of course I do. How could anyone not love Dean? What are you a monster? (Careful, he’ll stab you in the neck.) I just feel that Sammy consistently gets the short end of the stick and functions as the support for Dean's journey. But that’s how I’ve felt for almost the entire run of the show and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

When all is said and done, though, here is the final thought I’ll leave you with for ‘Lost and Found’. It is Season 13 of Supernatural and I still care about the Winchester boys. That’s kind of extraordinary.

Disclaimer: This article reflects my personal opinions, not the opinions of my fellow Geeky Girls, who are also Supernatural super-fans and (who knows!) may want to banish me to purgatory for my views.

Photo credits: All photos are promotional photos from the CW

CORRECTION: My previous version identified the writer of the episode as 'Adam Glass' as opposed to 'Andrew Dabb'. I have literally no excuse except for the fact that my brain is terrible and I didn't do a terribly careful edit because I didn't think anyone would especially read my article ahaha. Andrew Dabb is the showrunner, and has written the all time classic favorite episodes like Yellow Fever, Afterschool Special, Weekend at Bobby's, and Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside of the Moon in particular is notable for a few things: 1) Being PAINFULLY accurate about siblings and about how, despite growing up shoulder to shoulder in the same home, experience things suprisingly differently 2) The way that those siblings deal with the trauma of childhood can be so different it causes the other pain and pushes them apart 3) Being so heart rending that my sister Michele can't watch it unless she is feeling very strong and 4) Giving Wincest shippers the joy of their lives when Ash says that only soulmates can share a heaven, and there Sam and Dean are, sharing a heaven.  There you have it. My excessively verbose correction.

I Hate Musicals How Did this Happen to Me in Ten Easy Steps; or, Learn to Humiliate Yourself by Crying about Eliza Hamilton at Work

Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the cast recording of Broadway’s Hamilton. During those two years I moved from absolute resistance on day one, to a complete mess on day seven hundred and thirty.  Come make the same journey with me. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, Hamilton.

 

  1. See fifty headlines about Hamilton. Investigate briefly. It’s a musical. You don’t need to read those articles. You hate musicals. Well, except for the Buffy musical of course.                                                                                                Giles singing. Enough said.
  2. Be worn down. Finally click a link. Read that it is a hip hop musical. You would rather scoop your own eyeballs out with a spoon than see a stage full of white musical theater nerds rapping about the continental congress. Try again to ignore it.                                                                                                                                                                   I mean you've seen the hip hop country instructional videos on YouTube.
  3. Notice that your Blerd friends are obsessed with it. Investigate. Ok. They hired actors of color and actual rappers.  Still. The founding fathers are overdone. Anyway, you hate musicals. Well you DID love belting out ‘Under the Sea’ as a little kid.  Ok, you probably still remember the lyrics.                                                                          It's a lot of floor work.
  4. Decide you are at least allowed to read articles about Lin Manuel Miranda. You get to know the brilliant Latinerd with a heart of gold. Your heart grows three sizes. You’ve never been so in love. You watch every interview, you follow him on any social media he posts on.                                                                                                You and me both, LMM.
  5. Look up the Hamilton cast online. Their collective charisma, talent, and good looks are so overwhelming that you momentarily black out. You jolt back to consciousness mumbling something about Daveed Diggs.                    I mean, you've seen him, right?
  6. Relent when your sweet Midwestern friend looks at you with eyes as wide as saucers and asks to play it for you. Well, you can’t exactly crush the dreams of a sweet Midwestern girl, can you?                                                               Whatever you say, Dean.
  7. Think wow, this is clever, catchy, and deadly accurate.  The cabinet battles are perfection. These guys were savage. Still, why did your friends act like this changed their lives? Come on guys. Who cries because of Hamilton?                                                                                                                                                                                      She did have a demon for an imaginary friend and never noticed.
  8. Resist listening again even when the catchy songs and hilarious one liners come back to haunt you. You are already a fantasy/sci-fi nerd. You are already a political geek. You don’t need to be a musical theater nerd too. There has to be limits to this.  You have to draw the line somewhere. Also, you HATE MUSICALS! Ok, Edelweiss was a beautiful song. But that’s mostly because Captain Von Trapp was a freaking fox.  Sad this gif is still relevant.
  9. Decide that you need something new to listen to at work. So you listen just once more. You catch so many more words. As you listen, you sink into thought, connecting their battles and drama to the present day. The founding fathers all agreed to fight, but they were not fighting for the same things. They disagreed vehemently about what America meant. They set the stage for warring ideologies that are still playing out today. You think about the casting choices. The founding fathers were white land owning men and they only freed themselves.  Yet LMM cast a troupe of actors of color to claim this story as their own.  LMM could have written a musical about an inspiring American of color.  But he chose to tell a story about the white founding fathers and had people of color lay claim to that story.  You can’t stop turning over the multiple layers of this. And it. Is. Catchy.                                                                                                                Time to go to my mind palace.
  10. Fine, you listen again. You absorb even more nuance. You sink deeper into thought about the human condition. How does a human being live with taking soldiers into battle? Creativity, intelligence, kindness and anything else a soldier could offer America is snuffed out because the meat of his body is good for stopping bullets. What do you do with that guilt? And what about the omnipresent grief? How did parents go on when so many of their babies died in childbirth and childhood?  STAY ALIVE. And on top of the losses the world dealt them, the people they loved were often the cruelest, just like today. What were the virtues of making history at the cost of their families? Isn’t family sacred? God, none of us know what the fuck we are doing, do we? WE HUMANS ARE RIDICULOUS. We are so sure, we put everything on the line, only to be humbled and humiliated. Oh God, the orphanage. Not the orphanage. Eliza, you precious precious woman. You deserved so much better!                                                                                                      And so did Martha Jones.

You hear a splash and pause. You look down.  Those big drops of water on your desk came from your eyeballs. There is snot. Mascara streaks. Are you sniffling???!!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!??!  You silently curse Lin Manuel Miranda.  You look sheepishly at your coworkers and grab some tissues.  Ok, you like SOME musicals.

Julie Andrews is my queen.

Now to check out the fandom.

Oh just a war.

 

 

Making the Introductions

Today is a momentous day. It is not the day that I have realized my (most current) dream of chartering a bus, filling it with boy band enthusiasts, paying only boy band music down to Florida, where we all go to Joey Fatone’s restaurant ‘Fat Ones.’ Nor is today the day I meet Lance Bass. However it is a wonderful beautiful day because our friend Rebekah joins us on the blog.

Rebekah and I met after a mass exedous of a certain website. The commenters got fed up with the way they were being treated and formed a group of their own. I was one of the people to jump ship as was Rebekah. Though Kim had been singing the praises of Supernatural for YEARS, Rebekah and her sister brought it to the forefront of my mind again, causing me to watch all of the seasons. I am once again behind a season though.

I introduced Rebekah to Kim via Supernatural and they clicked as well. Fun Fact: Kim and I used to live in the same town and work together, so we have met. Rebekah is an online friend that I have not met. Kim has met Rebekah through Supernatural conventions. Kim is the link!

Rebekah follows a lot of fandoms. I know her most current one is Wynonna Earp. She recently won a contest and got to meet the fans. She went to SDCC and I hope we get to hear her thoughts and experiences on that. I just wanted to welcome her to the team and to let you guys know to look out for her writing soon!

Reading Hard in the Paint

When I last left you, I had made a resolution of sorts. I wanted this year to be better than last year as far as reading. Last year I barely read anything I havent read 10 times over. I barely picked up any books for fun. I just didn't have it in me. I feel as if part of that was from the job from Hell I escaped from last year. In my new job I have a lot more support and responsibilities, and I am loving it, and feel more at ease at home as well. This makes it easier to sit down and relax with a book rather than wallow in pity.

In the last post I gave a list of the books I have either checked out from the public library, have a request in for also at the libray, or was currently reading. Here is that list:

  • I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
  • Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (thanks Nerdette!)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey
  • Books 1 and 2 of the Archived Series by Victoria Schwab

The ones that are purple I have read. I am currently writing my thoughts on them, but those posts will take some time, as I have a lot of thoughts. I am trying to write them while I am on my lunch at work, but I go to lunch and want to just stare into space for an hour. Since the post I have also added some new books to my list. Shall we?

  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
  • Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (My local library did not have this in ebook form, so I actually had to jaunt to the library.)

I've also checked out two book on activities to do with toddlers. I am not going to list those here unless you absolutely want to know what they are. I find them funny however. When I was in high school, I was in vocational for one semester to get a certification to teach at a daycare center. I ended up dropping the class because the teacher was a horrible racist pig of a woman. The final straw in her class had to do with these notebooks. You had to find activities to do with different age groups of children. The notebook had to be formatted a certain way. I got a D on mine. When I compared it to a (white) friend, mine was superior and even the friend noticed. The friend encouraged me to ask the teacher why she had scored me so poorly compared to her. When I gave her the books, she gave me some weird reason, I forget at this point. I got angry. It was rare I got angry in school. I launched both of those books across the room and told her what she could do with herself. I ended up filing a complaint with the school. It didn't do a whole lot of good as I graduated from high school over 10 years ago and the woman retired just two years ago. Oh, memories.

Anyway, I am still reading, still chugging along, and I hope you are as well. Are you reading anything? Do you have any suggestions for my reading list?

New year, same old me

I don't honestly make resolutions. I have enough to feel bad about in life, why should I make up changes I am never going to fulfill?

 

This year? This year is different. I made two resolutions.

  1. Find out what Cardi B's real name is
  2. Read more.

Growing up, I was never without a book. Typically I would have 4 or 5 around the house. I am one of those unique people that can pick the story up, no matter how many books I am reading, and remember what is going on.

 

Lately with smart phones and my attention span not being what it is, I haven't been reading. At all. I will read books to my daughter, but it isn't the same thing. I also want her to grow up realizing that television is not the end all be all and you can get lost in a book.

So I have made it my mission to read more. I didn't put a specific number up, because honestly I do not know what is feasible. I've read one book this month, and I am about 90% finished with another. I hope to detail them in the blog and talk about what I like and what I do not.

This is where you come in (and hopefully you want to come in). I need book recommendations. I am pretty much open to anything. I've been checking out e-books from my local library. These are what I have read or have on hold so far:

  • I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
  • Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (thanks Nerdette!)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey
  • Books 1 and 2 of the Archived Series by Victoria Schwab

 

Not a bad starter list eh? I hope you will help me as I try to get back in the swing of loving to read and actually doing it, instead of using Facebook all day. In the comments, please list some books you enjoyed reading, or are looking forward to reading this year.

 

Cardi B's real name is Belcalis Almanzar.

Prepping my Equipment

With the ability to blog more often, I needed to get my tech life in order. I also needed to do it cheaply, because I am balling on a budget. 

Let's start with my phone. 

I am currently rocking a 32GB Nexus 5x. Side note, I was in the mall grabbing lunch last week and the woman in the Sprint kiosk tried to tell me my phone was old! My phone is old if you are one of those people that gets the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out, and while I would love that to be me, I do not have it like that. My phone will do just fine, thank you weird Sprint lady. Ugh.

Anyway, on my phone I use Feedly to see what is going on in the technology world, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with you guys. While I do have the WordPress app on my phone, I was running into issues publishing documents on there. That has been fixed, but typically I use Evernote to write my blogs, and publish on my laptop when I get home.

Now, have you ever tried typing anything other than texts on your phone? It is long, tedious, and a hassle. When I would go to proofread, I would literally be crosseyed. Enter my Kindle Fire

I've owned a Kindle Fire for a few years now, using it mainly for internet browsing. I decided that I needed to make it work for me. For Christmas last year I recieved a cover for my Kindle that has a bluetooth keyboard attached, which is what I use when I am on my lunch break. I have Evernote installed on this as well, so as long as I have wireless access, my entries are populated across every device I have Evernote installed on. 

In addition to Evernote, I have a clipping tool, so that I can screenshot as needed and a file browser, so I can work around the limitations of the Kindle. For example, I am currently working on crafting some gifts. I have a notebook set up in Evernote about one of my projects. I had a zip file in the notebook. I unzipped the file, but you don't really have a way to file explore on the Kindle without an additonal app. Is the Kindle the most functional and convenient tool for blogging? Not really, but with the proper apps it works just fine, I had it already, and after adding a keyboard it works beautifully. 

You may ask why don't I take my laptop where ever I go. I mean, it's a laptop right? Well, yes it is a laptop, but it is a gaming laptop and is massive. The only time I take it with me is if I am headed on a trip out of town. Even then, a lot of times it does not get pulled out, especially if it is something I can do quicker with my phone (check email, tweet, Facebook).

The thing I am noticing however, is that the battery drains on the Kindle Fire quickly. I have to charge it daily, even if I am not using it. It is an older model as well, so there is no fast charge on this thing. It takes forever to fully charge if I let it drain completely. I usually find out when I get to work. If it is completely dead, I can get it to maybe 25% before lunch time. 

I honestly want a bigger tablet, something with a little more power that I can use for other things. But that is a little further down the line.

Hamilaria (HERCULES MULLIGAN IS BAE)

Everyone experiences a revelation some time in their lives. For me, it came as a Freshmen in High School.

High School was a difficult time for me. As a Black girl, you were expected to toe one of two lines. Slacker, indifferent to school, work, or anything that would get you further in life or the super smart Black girl. School was easy for you, advanced classes. One thing both of these girls fell in line with was music. Hip Hop, rap, and R&B is the name of the game. Anything else was ostracised. 

I...was different. I was good at school, but I had to work at it. I was not inclined to work hard enough at it to be in advanced classes, though I was placed in advanced Lit and additional Lit classes without really trying. I was one of few POCs in band, due to expense and how POC's weren't really catered to in band.

My musical tastes were all over the place. I listened to the genre's listed above, but my very first CD I personally owned was Celene Dion "Falling Into You" Alanis Morrisette was my theme all through high school. While I know now as an adult there were a ton of people just like me, but at the time, it was so lonely in my world. I was fat, black, ostracised. I had a hard time relating to people in my social circles.

Around this time, I was in a program called Upward Bound. One of the things they did that I will be forever grateful for is they tried to inject a bit of culture into our lives. Plays, ballets, and musicals. The first musical I ever saw was with them, Les Miserables. It sparked something in me. The pain, the confidence, the strength in to their voices had me hooked. Now, I`d seen the musical Oklahoma on video in the 6th grade, but it did not strike anything in me except I was creeped out by the ballet scene. After Les Miz, I was hooked.

A few years later, Chicago came out. I would dance in my room creating dances to the songs, as I heard the soundtrack before I saw the movie.

What I guess I am saying is that I was ripe for Hamilton to get me.

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Pictures by Amanda Reynolds

This past year I have heard my friends talk about Hamilton. I kind of pushed it to the side, and went about my business. I knew what would happen if I liked it. 

One day on Facebook about two weeks ago, I admitted that I had not heard a speck of Hamilton. Someone piped up that it was on sale on Google Music. 

Purchased

It still took me a few more days to listen to it after I purchased it. I had a long trip to go on for work, and I decided I would listen to it on the trip.

Why did I arrive to my destintion with tear tracks down my face and snot bubbles and every stitch of makeup gone? 

"'Hic, mmy name is Leslie and I'm here to checkkk--*BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS*."

Great business visit that. 

I'm currently reading on Physics and electricity. I need to create a time machine to give Alexander Hamilton more time. 

There have been long discussions on Hamilton on my page. I have dragged two other people on this journey. I just found out today that they are recording the original cast before Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves the play. I happened to learn this during some training I was in for work. I basically started vibrating in my seat. A coworker noticed me basically looking like a jackhammer in my seat and I had to explain why. The count is now 3.

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Sadly they aren't touring Hamilton in Indianapolis. I spent a lot of time (more time than I am comfortable with at work honestly) trying to get tickets in Chicago. I couldn't get through. My heart is sort of broken. Maybe I will get a shot at a later date for tickets, but at least I have the album to keep me warm until I see it.

Do you remember what changed your life at some point? Something that made you consider an option you never thought of before?

*Update* 

At the time of posting I have introduced Hamilton to 7 other people. IT IS CONTAGIOUS

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Shout out to Amanda Reynolds for the great pictures. I asked her if she wanted me to promote her Instagram, and she responded that "My Instagram is just cats." God I love her.

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The Games We Play

With a baby in the house that needs almost constant attention (she throws a massive fit if we put her in her baby gate and do not join her), I do not get to play video games as much as I used to. I am also her primary caregiver. This is not by choice, If I put her in her father's arms and walk away, a scream that rattles the bones of the dead is emitted out of her. It doesn't happen every time, but enough that she is basically my shadow.

When I do get a chance to play, my game of choice is Guild Wars 2. I play a Sylvari named Andewyn. On my birthday I recieved the expansion Heart of Thorns. I have logged roughly 3-4 hours of game play since recieiving. I love it so much, but my time to play is limited to when Geeky Baby is sleep or out of the house. When she is at daycare, I am at work, so you know how that is.

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Andewyn looking tough

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The night I was acting goofy and made that guy stand next to me because he reminded me of Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid

One of the podcasts I listen to, Hello from the Magic Tavern, keeps advertising this game "Total War: Warhammer." I am dying to play this game. It looks like so much fun. I have never played the Total War series, so any thoughts anyone may have would be great.

I was totally bummed (Anyone on the Facebook page could have told you) that they closed down production of the newest Fable game. Fable is what initally got me into gaming. Before that, I enjoyed watching people play, and basically backseat driving their game, but I never wanted to take the reins.

First there was Fable, then Fallout 3, then Elder Scrolls,  then (oddly enough) Quake and Everquest, Everquest 1999, and Guild Wars. There are other games sprinkled here and there, but these are the major ones. 

I also enjoy watching people stream different games I may not play on Twitch. It gives me the backseat driving on gaming I crave without driving anyone crazy.

When a Geek is Fed Up

This has been a whirlwind of several months, and I am here to give you the scoop.

Have you been in a position before where you felt like you were drowning? Maybe it was homework, housework, just life altogether, but you felt like no matter what you did, you could not get your head above water.

That was me.

Ladies and gentlemen of the blog, I was in a very bad situation with my job. It pretty much felt like I was being emotionally abused in a way. No one's feelings in my department were being considered. The way that we were treated made it seemed like we were worthless. Even if you are amazing at your job, being treated like that for a year or longer, you will begin to doubt yourself.

I did.

When I came into my job, I basically came in and kicked in a door. I kicked ass, I was the best. I did my job, I did it well, and while it wasn't the most technologically stimulating job; it was giving me experience in a large corporate environment.

Until it didn't.

I knew one of two things were going to happen.

1) I would stay there and be miserable and never move up and never grow. I was always at the point where the job was affecting me outside of work. It was straining my relationship with my husband.

or

2) I would go off the deep end at work, getting fired. And I was very close to this. At one point I sat in a group meeting with the VP of Information Technology, defiant, not paying attention, and reading Supernatural fan fiction (don't judge me).

Before all of this went down, I did do the prudent thing and speak with my director. I told her I was not happy. I explained to her my background, what I came to do, what I was doing, and how I was capable of so much more.

She (attempted) to placate me, stating she was here and wanted to empower women in our department and have us grow.

I later found out this was a sham, and that she truly enjoyed pitting team members against each other, thinking it made them work harder.

How can you pit anyone against someone who has no equal?

In response to our meeting, she ripped what little I enjoyed from my job. She swapped my supervisor, took me from someone who had equal education and experience from me, and placed me with someone who had no education in technology, and boasted frequently that he enjoyed running his group like the correctional facility he was from.

Even after all this I slogged to work, and tried to make it through.

In hindsight, this is hilarious, but my final straw? She took my cube away from me.

In my department, not all cubes have three walls. Some people share a cube. She took away my three walled cube, gave it to someone that was in a different area, but still a direct report to her, and stuck me in a cube with one of the loudest and extremely argumentative people I have ever met in my life. I could no longer speak on the phone while this person was on the phone, as she would over talk me and I couldn't focus on what I was saying, nor what the person I was speaking with on the phone was saying. So let me recap everything that happened in a year.

I lost a supervisor that was on my level technology wise
I lost my ability to be able to do my job without people hovering over me
I lost my ability to collaborate with departments outside my own
I lost my cube
I lost my ability to do my job, as someone was right next to me screaming

I had started looking half heartedly for a new job but stepped up my efforts. I enlisted the aid of a headhunter that seemed eager to help, but never returned my calls, never gave me any feedback on the two interviews they sent me on, and were just useless.

However, after about 3 months of searching, I finally found a position! This time around, I asked many questions, mulled over all of the information they gave me, and finally made a decision. I refused to jump into a new position only to have the same or worse issues.

It has been almost two months, and my anxiety is nearly gone. I rarely feel that panic when someone calls my name in the hall. I've stopped frequently asking if what I do is okay. I get the feeling if I screw things up, I will be corrected and redirected.

My home life, which was in slight shambles, is on the mend.

Guys, know your worth. Know that there is no reason to put up with abuse at work. I don't care if it is physical, emotional, or verbal. Don't put up with it. Do what you need to do to protect yourself.

So that is what has been going on with me. I would love to know what has been going on with you.

I hope to be able to write more now that I am through the fire. You will here more geeky, techie, less serious things from me soon!

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