Thursday, June 6, 2013
Spend any time on YouTube and you'll realize that if you refuse to spend time with stupid people you will be alone for a very long time.
I have been alone for a very long time.
Okay yes, I am very happily married. And I have a decent relationship with my parents, and we (as in Jason and I) have a few friends. I'm not an island. But.
My intention is to not write a poor-pitiful-Pearl post. This is more for my own clearing-my-mind, self-therapy...and I hate every single pen I own and my handwriting is crap when I have insomnia (HELLO) so the diary is of no use to me right now. (I hate it when my handwriting is sloppy. Pisses me off.)
I mentioned my neighbors awhile back. We've been doing our best to ignore them, and the kids venture into our yard/driveway 90% less than they used to...but the very sight of any member of that family enrages me. And when Jason has to go out of town, I have fears of them retaliating or doing something else unsavory. It's unsettling how much people can intimidate you. And why should they intimidate me? I've had worse confrontations and encounters with perfect strangers, but I've been able to get over it pretty quickly. I've been trying to figure this out because I don't like feeling unsettled. I don't like being afraid to take the garbage out or to go out of town for a few days. And honestly as obnoxious as those folks are, I doubt that I actually have anything to fear from them. My problem with the neighbors is one of their proximity to my home. This is where I'm supposed to feel safe. And yet I feel threatened.
Here's where my self-psychoanalysis comes in.
First let me stand up on the little box and say hello, and tell you all that I was bullied, a lot, until I was like 18.
There were bullies on the bus (you should watch that documentary Bully, it's on Netflix instant view, I know all too well what that poor boy was going through on the bus), bullies on the playground (mostly older kids and boys since I knew enough to pretend to be a good Mormon girl at school so the girls would be nice to me), bullies at church (I went to a different ward than the kids at school, most of the church bullies were adults who acted as ring leaders, especially one young man who deserves testicular cancer for what he put me through), and finally I was bullied at home by one of my brothers who was essentially my babysitter from the time I was six. (My other brother was substantially older than me and thus rarely home, and for the most part he was a wonderful brother...but that's all over now.)
There was name calling, shaming (mostly by the adults at church), hair pulling, objects were thrown at me, I was hit, kicked, choked to the point of blacking out, held upside down over a used toilet which was then flushed with my head in it, locked in closets, rolled up in blankets and left, and pushed down staircases. At least that's what I can remember. I do remember playing with the bruises on my legs. Some were swollen and others were concave, and I liked to watch them change colors.
The only place I ever felt safe was my bedroom. I was always afraid that we'd move somewhere and I'd have to share a room with my bully brother and then I would have no "safe place." That never happened, thankfully. My bedroom door did always manage to have a hole or two punched into it by said brother, though. (I figured out ways to "lock" it and that really pissed him off.)
Now if you're wondering where my parents were through all of this...well they were both working full time. And they both had their own crap to deal with. The few times I have talked to them about what my childhood was like they were shocked. Apparently they were blissfully unaware of what I was going through, but I don't remember ever trying to keep anything secret from them. And I never realized that what was happening to me was wrong, so I just dealt with it like you had to deal with power outages or going to school. Anyway, it's neither here nor there at this point.
So I think that's why I'm such a homebody and so protective of my little house. It's not like I have an obsessive need to protect or preserve my stuff. It's all material, and I get that. I think that when those bratty kids glare at me or that Little Richard prick puffs out his chest and yells something at me (no matter how innocuous) I get teleported to my childhood bedroom and my brother punching the door and screaming threats at me. Those people are fucking with my sanctuary, and it unsettles me. And enrages me.
I don't want to be like this. I don't like having anxiety and depression and PTSD.
There's always drugs, right? *crickets*
It's been over a year since I took that last little sliver of Paxil. Boy getting off that shit will make you soooo incredibly sick! But I'm less anxious/depressed/messed-up now than I was when I was taking it. And I don't get sick anymore. When I was on Paxil I used to get sick pretty regularly. Not like viral/bacterial sick, but like unhappy guts and headaches and weakness. And I had more panic attacks and insomnia on that drug than I do safely off of it. I see a lot of famous folk rave about the wonders of Paxil. I can't explain how they're feeling, only they can, but I can't believe that Paxil, or SSRI's in general, are the answer. Especially since I've never heard of a doctor actually testing a person's serotonin levels before prescribing them an SSRI. That's like giving someone insulin without checking their blood sugar levels first. Talk about snake oil!
There's one actor in particular (not naming names) who raves about the amazing "brain drugs"...and then he'll be very candid about how depressed and anxious he is, so he has his doctor adjust his "brain drugs." Hey maybe try adjusting your lifestyle, bud! This same guy regularly tweets about different types of beers he's drinking. UGH. Dude. Alcohol is a depressant. And "brain drugs" do not mix well with depressants. And maybe if you tend to be a depressed person you shouldn't be ingesting depressants.
Cue Louis C.K.: "But that's my favorite thing!"
Actor dude can do what he wants, obviously. It just pisses me off when people with a platform advocate so strongly for something that should only be used when things like diet and exercise and therapy fail, or when they're just using it like a band-aid. "Give me Paxil so I can still drink and wallow, yet still pretend that I'm doing something about my problem!" I swear "brain drugs" are this generation's liposuction, and I'm saying this as a person who was on Paxil for 8+ years and has (finally) been trying the diet and exercise thing for the past year.
So no drugs for me. Exercise is good (endorphins are the greatest, and the more you exercise the more energy you have and the better you sleep...who knew??). And word vomiting onto a blog is good, too.
But what do I do the next time I see my crappy neighbor? (The rest of my neighbors are fine, thankfully.) I wish I could be completely smug and just think about how much better my life is than theirs, but I honestly have a hard time being even that judgmental. Ignoring them helps, but it takes more than that to fool my anxiety. There's that "kill them with kindness" thing, but the last thing I want is for those folks to think that I'm happy or even content with them.
I think the only remaining option is to use the experience in my self-therapy. If I can survive their bullshit, endure their presence without letting it bother me, then I'll be a stronger, happier person. We'll be living here two more years. That's two years of free anxiety-buster exercises. Do I sound motivated?
P.S. For more on Paxil, please visit QuitPaxil. You don't have to take my word for it.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
**SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS**
I will be talking all kinds of crap about the Sookie Stackhouse books, so if you don't want to know stop reading now.
I bought this book first thing Tuesday morning, the day it came out. I finished it by 7pm. And all I've wanted to do ever since is listen to Radiohead. And that's not because I'm sad, it's because I'm disappointed.
The book is not that good. And really the Sookie books in general are not that great, but most of them are at least entertaining. This one was especially disappointing, and I'll tell you why. But first I want to clarify a few things.
After reading Charlaine Harris's blog for the past year I can safely say that I don't think I'd be friends with her and I really, really hate the way she talks about her fans. I've heard that she's been getting death threats and nasty letters over this book, and I've no wish to add to that. The world of Sookie is Charlaine Harris's world. She just shared it with us. If she decides to dress Sookie in "black shorts with white spots" (seriously) we just have to deal with it. If she decides that Sookie is going to end up with Sam, we just have to deal with it. If you can't deal with it, you don't have to read the books. And if you want something else to happen, write your own damn book. (The Sookie books are wonderful motivation for me to write because I always want something different to happen.)
If this is the first time you've been disappointed with the ending of a book or a series then you really haven't read that much. And in case no one has ever told you this, things do not always work out the way you want them to. But if you've read 13 Sookie Stackhouse books, you need to at least be polite to Ms. Harris because she's given you 13 books to read and you must have enjoyed them or else you wouldn't have made it to book 13. You can be disappointed, but just...don't be a dick. She's a person, too.
Okay, so in the end Sookie and Sam end up together. If this was a surprise to you at all then you really need to start over and re-read the books because it has been painfully obvious from book 2 that she'd end up with Sam. Now, do we want Sookie to end up with Sam? Or does Sookie of books 1 or 2 or 4 (!!!) want to end up with Sam? That's debatable. And was it terribly wise of Ms. Harris to have Sookie stay with Eric for sooooo long if she was going to split them up? Probably not. And should Ms. Harris have killed off Bill back when she wanted to instead of stringing him along? Probably. (That whole thing kills me...she was going to kill him, but the fans would have been furious so she kept him alive but turned him into a clingy pining whiner (very un-Bill-like), but then she still gets rid of Eric even though fans are threatening suicide? Whatevs.)
So let's clear up Sookie's dating history and potential Happily-Ever-After guys. First of all, this is my Sookie (Anna Paquin be damned):
Her first boyfriend, vampire or otherwise, is Bill. According to True Blood, this guy is Bill:
Bill from the books, who lives in my mind, looks more like this:
And then there was Alcide Herveaux, the werewolf. In my mind:
And of course there's the inexplicable Quinn, the weretiger. I really cannot understand why Quinn would have looked twice at Sookie. Her fairy blood would not have been a draw. Her small town lifestyle would not suit his worldly, travelling business, etc etc etc. In fact I'm so confused on the whole Quinn thing I never really cast him (and he hasn't shown up in True Blood yet). I sort of think of Peter Garrett, lead singer of Midnight Oil, as Quinn, but he doesn't really fit. But sometimes Quinn looks like this:
And then there's Eric. According to True Blood he's some guy from Sweden, but in my mind:
So Ms. Harris gets him away from Sookie by marrying him off to the vampire queen of Oklahoma (not his idea though, naturally, his evil maker set the whole thing up, can't have Eric be a bad guy who would intentionally hurt Sookie). Bill and Pam both tell Sookie independently that Eric's marriage to that queen is really good for him in a lot of ways, and that the queen is basically a female Eric (I pictured her as a Charlize Theron type). And Eric isn't exactly complaining, in fact he avoids Sookie, a lot, while the marriage negotiation is taking place. Yeah, this marriage is good news to Eric.
Other reviewers have been protesting that "poor Eric was sold as a sex slave!" You guys, no, he was not. And that was never even implied. Besides if anybody used Eric as a sex slave it was Sookie. Poor guy lost his memory and what'd she do? Jump him. That's like having sex with an unconscious co-ed, y'all. And am I the only one who remembers Eric dressing up in a pink leotard thing to escort Sookie to some orgy, which happened while Sookie was still with Bill, and the whole thing was Sookie's idea, and they were both nearly killed? What about when he found her in Mississippi and had to sleep with one of the vampire boys in the king's mansion just so Sookie could rescue Bill? And let's not forget the bullets he took, the rocks to the head, and the dead bodies he hid and re-hid just for Sookie. And what did she ever do for him? I remember her hanging up on him a lot.
Sookie and Eric just went on way too long, and that's a story telling problem. You can't let your readers get attached to relationships and characters like that if you're just planning to do a quick and dirty split up at the end. Actually it wasn't terribly quick or dirty...they were only together once in book 12 and I don't think Eric was around too much for book 11 either. Really I think most readers just have enormous crushes on Alexander Skarsgard (and hey, I don't blame them), and/or they want their own powerful Viking to worship them and so when Sookie loses her big Viking they feel robbed, disillusioned, angry. And there again I can't say I blame them.
Until they act shocked that Sookie ended up with Sam.
So this is Sam the shapeshifter on True Blood:
This is my Sam:
Granted there are still problems. Sam is content to be a bar tender in a small town and live in a double wide, and Sookie from the early books probably wouldn't have been thrilled with that. I think readers would have been more receptive to Sookie and Sam if there had been more interactions between them like in books 1 and 2 and less of the Jannalyn nonsense. I mean, Sam looking over Sookie's shoulder once in awhile does not create romantic tension. And Sookie from the early books liked vampires because she couldn't read their minds, and since Sam was a shapeshifter, she could still mostly read his mind which would make dating him difficult. But Ms. Harris, with her infinite
Another bit of convenience...suddenly Sookie is a pillar of the community and well respected by pretty much everyone who knows her. Contrast that with the first several books where Sookie is basically an outcast because of her telepathy and people call her "Crazy Sookie" to her face. Back then she had no friends, no social life, just books and work. That, folks, is part of what hooked me on these books. Nobody really likes or befriends Sookie until the vampires come along, and they find her useful and charming and eventually form relationships with her. It's like an ugly duckling story, kind of, only the non-vampires still see Sookie as an ugly duck. Sookie used to be endearing, but she ends up (to me) entitled and bitter...exactly like some of Ms. Harris's blogs.
I never realized this until I was reading reviews on GoodReads, but the Sookie books were good up until True Blood came out. Then characters started changing to better suit their television counterparts, and the books have suffered because of it. For example, Tara was just another girl from school, and Sookie barely remembered JB...but then miraculously they were the Three Musketeers in high school and always the best of friends and suddenly Tara has a back story identical to Tara of True Blood. *Pffffft* I don't want to talk about True Blood too much. I just wanted to point out that there was a definite change in quality of the books after the show came out. But would I have ever read the books unless they made a TV show out of them? Maybe not.
Anyway. So Sookie ends up with Sam...in the last 30 pages. What happens in the other 300+ pages? This is where it gets really disappointing. Instead of being as creative as I know she could be, Ms. Harris decided to recycle old villains that had already been squared away and re-did several of her old plot devices rather than have actual new and interesting things happen. Really, Sookie gets kidnapped in a van, again. Someone's lurking in her woods, again. Mr. Cataliades shows up to fix and solve everything, again. Amelia messes things up accidentally, again. Claude is a bad guy, again/still. A random person asking questions shows up uninvited, again (and that was so ridiculous, Bill never ever would have done that). There's almost no vampire interaction and there are no big reveals. But Sookie does go to Wal Mart, she takes an awful lot of showers, she does yard work, and she cooks a lot. *yawn*
These books had so much supernatural variety in them: vampires, shapeshifters, fairies, goblins, demons, folks from different dimensions, etc. Ms. Harris could have easily stacked some fun dominoes and made things really interesting for a satisfying ending, even keeping the Sookie and Sam happily ever after. That's what makes this ending so tragic and anti-climactic. She could have ended things with a bang, but instead she chose to whimper. And now I feel stupid for ever geeking out on these books in the first place.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
So I'm writing my book Jones (63 pages!!!). And since I'm too lazy/not creative enough to completely invent my characters, I borrow their bodies from famous people.
And I've hit a snag.
So I have a love triangle thing (not really) and I had originally cast the "other guy" Aidan as Michael Fassbender. But it's just not working out. As versatile as Fassbender is, when I try to write with him in mind all I get is a happy-go-lucky Irish guy. See?
No, Aidan is not Australian. It just works out that when I think "macho ginger" I think of Australian guys.
I'm leaning towards Sam Worthington because he seems grouchier (and because that would mean I could watch Gettin' Square every single day and call it research), but when I'm writing he just ends up looking more like Joel Edgerton (watching Warrior everyday would not necessarily be a bad thing).
It's a conundrum, to be sure. If only I was getting paid to solve problems like this.
And in case you've never heard of Gettin' Square, it's one of those fun Australian movies where people swear a lot. Here's a preview:
It's on Netflix Instant View!! Which is a good thing since it's pretty much impossible to get on disc in the US. And if the trailer didn't convince you to watch it....
It's David Wenham!! In flip flops!! With a serious mullet. Hey...he's kind of a ginger, too... Oh drat.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I medicate myself with movies.
If I have insomnia, I watch book-like movies. If I'm feeling mopey, I watch sad movies.
And when a day like today rolls along (explosions in Boston, sinking of Titanic, assassination of Lincoln), I need movies that are guaranteed to cheer me up. They won't solve any problems, but they will allow me to giggle and feel safe for a couple of hours. This is not an all inclusive list by any means. These are just my top twenty feel happy movies.