MrsCKugs

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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!

Give it to me, I’m worth it.

No matter what industry you are a part of, it can be an absolute  bitch to get in. It makes absolutely no sense. People have to work to maintain the economy, and there are people out here that want to work. Yet and still, even entry level jobs want you to have a master's degree, 10 years of experience, and know technology that someone who is beyond entry level would know. People are refusing to take chances on people. It is frustrating and sad.

Where have you been!?

So, you may have noticed Kim has been doing the bulk of our writing lately. I’ve been kind of busy…

 

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My husband and I were working very hard…

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To prepare for the newest addition to our family!

Meet the newest geek to our family, Baby E!

 

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New Phone Blues

I need a new phone. This sucks.

For those of you not in the know I am currently rocking a Nexus 4. It is getting older so, it is becoming less and less compatible with programs, and updates that come out. Plus, the past couple of years I have gotten used to listening to  a lot of podcasts. I do not have a lot of space on this thing. With all my apps, pictures, and podcasts I am frequently running out of space. I have like 15 gigs. The majority of my time is spent on my phone (as opposed to my laptop) so I tend to run out of space fairly quickly. I am sitting here researching phones and I have a list of things I want. So far here is what we got:

  1. Android platform
  2. At least 32 gigs of space (prefer 64 or even higher)
  3. Fast processing speeds
  4. One of the more popular ones, so that I have a distinct choice in cases

Typically I leave phone decisions to my husband. He is a better researcher than I am. However I am learning that we value different things in phones. I use a lot of different game apps, and he has no interest in them. I take a lot of pictures, he does not. So what in the world does it look like handing off the choice of phones to someone who doesn’t do any of the things that I do?!

Thing is, I hate researching. I tend to get overwhelmed very easily. But I am going to suck it up and do it. Because I need a new phone.

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