Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Thursday, May 17, 2018

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #31 through #35

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5 ~ #6 through #10 ~ #11 through #15 ~ #16 through #20 ~ #21 through #25

~ #26 through #30

31. Spring is finally here! Wait, it is spring isn't it? Mother Nature is laughing again because we kind of skipped over spring and went straight into summer. Anyway, winter is finally done, and you want to enjoy the lack of snow on the ground and warmth in the air.

32. You walked two hours today because you needed to ferry your preschooler back-and-forth to school (no, I don't drive and I have my reasons, we'll leave it at that). Exhaustion doesn't begin to define how you feel.

33. You walked two hours yesterday, and somehow you feel worse than you did the day before. You're getting too old for this shit (or you're just more out of shape than you're willing to admit).

34. You'd rather go for a walk with the family to see if you can spot any ducklings by the river.

35. Instead of quickly and easily snagging the pictures you need for your blog post, you waste an hour trying to figure out why your pictures aren't downloading properly to your computer, only to find out that Apple has switched all of its pictures to a new format (that since you've only recently upgraded to a phone that uses iOS 11, you had no clue about said switch until now). Eventually you find the converted JPEG files peppered in the downloads -- because even if something looks like it's done downloading, it rarely ever is. Hey, you were supposed to be cleaning during that wasted hour (or maybe you weren't and are just using the photo issues as an excuse not to clean...).

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War - Wow, Just Wow

***WARNING: I know Avengers: Infinity War hasn't even been out for a week, so you might not have seen it yet. However, there are a lot of spoilers below. It's hard not to spoil something when talking about this movie. And if you've been following any of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, you should really just go out and see the third Avengers movie already! But if you don't want spoilers before you do so, come back and read this post after you've seen the movie.***
I went into Avengers: Infinity War fully expecting some characters to die. With as huge of a cast as this movie has, it was bound to happen.

But I didn't think I'd find myself saying, "Not Loki!" in the first five minutes. Ack! I felt a little betrayed. (Heimdall, too!)

Now, I know comic books are famous for killing people off and bringing them back. I fully expect the MCU to be the same. I mean, Loki came back once already, though this time even Thor admits that he's not likely coming back this time. Which sucks. My hubbie made a good point, though. Loki's story arc is pretty much played out. Not that I want to fully accept that, along with his death, but part of me knows it's true.

Honestly, the beginning of Infinity War is what bugs me the most about the movie. Not because of Loki's death (I mean, I'm upset, but I get it), but because of how it felt like the movie that came directly before it, Thor: Ragnarok, felt kind of pointless. Ragnarok was a great movie, and at the end Thor saved as many Asgardians as he could. To only have Thanos wipe them out? And off screen? I know he only supposedly kills half of each race. Haven't the Asgardians lost enough already, though? It just felt like everything Thor did, in the end, didn't matter. Kind of a big blow when that was the previous movie. (Also off screen is the "decimation" of Xandar, the planet the Guardians saved in their first movie -- though this stings, it's not as much, since that movie is further in the past.)

Wait, you think I didn't like the movie? On the contrary, I loved it! My issues with the beginning aside, Avengers: Infinity War was excellent. With so many characters, it could have easily fallen apart, but I thought balancing them all was done wonderfully well. And Thanos. Wow, just wow. Now that's a well-rounded villain. You could totally see how he came to his conclusions and why he wanted to destroy half of the population of the universe. He thought he was doing the right thing -- it made complete sense to him, and he felt his actions would mean that he'd save life in the universe. The addition of seeing his deep love for Gamora rounded him out even more. This movie was Thanos's story, pure and simple. The Avengers? All the other characters? Just part of Thanos's tale, really secondary characters in this movie, which is probably why they felt so well-balanced.

But speaking of Gamora... Ack! She was one of those characters at the top of my list that I didn't want to die. I was so pissed when Thanos killed her. Again, I get why. Totally makes sense. That doesn't make me any less pissed. For her, though, I suspect she's not going to stay dead. I'll leave my theories until last, though.

The other kind of issue with Infinity War is the end. It's not really an end. It stops in the middle of the story arc. This is clearly a Part 1, and that might upset some people who expect a full story. The cliffhangers push the writer in me toward a brain aneurysm, just a little. You can betray a lot of readers if you end a novel on a cliffhanger. But again, for Infinity War, I get it. This is a huge story, and it needed two parts. Ending it with Thanos watching his sunset works and is fitting, if they needed to stop it in the middle. All is lost now, right? Many of the Avengers turned to ash. Hell, Rocket is the only Guardian left (unless you count Nebula)!

It's an emotional end. Now, I usually get pretty over-emotional about things, but I didn't at the end of Infinity War because I knew it was coming. I knew Thanos was going to snap his fingers, and we were going to lose many of our beloved characters. Not because I read spoilers, either (I didn't -- I don't, and made sure hubbie didn't this time). I expected it. Though my hubbie and I were pretty shocked that Cap and Stark were still standing at the end. There's always a chance they're fall in Part 2, though.

What else do I expect? For time to be turned back. Here come my suppositions for Part 2. All those characters who turned to ash will be back. They have to be. Can't have the next slated Spider-Man movie otherwise. And the next Guardian movie would be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: The Lone Raccoon (Rodent/Rabbit - hehe). At the end of Infinity War, Thanos's glove is melted, ruined, but the infinity stones are still in one piece, including the Time stone. Doctor Strange did mention that giving up the stone was the only way they'd come out of this -- the only way they'd win. Now that Thanos can't control all of the stones with the gauntlet, the remaining Avengers will find a way to get the Time stone back and use it to turn back the clock.

However, this turning back of the clock will be limited to those who turned to ash, those who died from Thanos's finger snap. Which means Vision, Loki, Heimdall, and Gamora will still be dead (crap). The Time stone isn't the only way to bring back the dead, though. My other guess and expectation is that Guardians Vol. 3 will be Quill and gang seeking a way to bring back Gamora. And they'll find a way! (They damned well better because if one of my fav kick ass female characters is permanently taken away, I will be beyond pissed -- her story isn't over, damn it.)

Of course, all of that is just my speculation. We definitely know that many of the fallen can't stay dead because of other movies that are already planned.

So, who do you think is going to make it to the end of Part 2? And how impatient are you for next year?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Struggle Is Real

Yeah, I know there's a bunch of scary stuff going on in the world nowadays. It all makes me sad, so I tend to avoid it because becoming more sad is a bad idea for me right now. Heck, I've taken to ignoring Facebook for the most part because it has a tendency to effect my mood too much.

Speaking of mood, I guess that's kind of what this post is about. I figured it would be nice to be frank as well as get my current struggles out there -- hopefully it'll be a little therapeutic, too.

Writing isn't as easy as some people may think (and those of you who know writing can be tough are nodding your heads right now, I'm sure). But lately for me, it's been a major struggle. I haven't kept up a consistent writing schedule since the beginning of November. I was rolling with NaNoWriMo, making great progress, and then I got sick. That sick turned into bronchitis on Thanksgiving. While I'm mostly over the sick, aside from a cold or two here and there, the stuff back in November and December pretty much stalled my progress.

I know it's not the interruption alone that has my flailing, though. I've always had some issues keeping it together during the winter, and I'm sure I've mentioned before that I likely get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Heck, I even tried one of those little blue lights one year and it gave me a headache, so I had to stop using it. Last winter was a pretty mild one, so I was able to keep up my momentum decently well. This winter, though, it's been way too cold, and Jack Frost doesn't want to release his icy grip. Mother Nature thought it would be hilarious to give us two snow storms, one on April 15 and one just yesterday, April 18. I think we got more snow in those two days than we have the rest of the winter.

Guess what, Mother Nature? I'm not laughing.

I was counting on April, the hope of spring, and Camp NaNoWriMo getting me back in the game and revising more. No dice with this weather. Unfortunately, I think I'm also still struggling with the shift in work time. I used to write mid-morning when Youngest napped, but since she started preschool, I have her nap in the afternoons. If it wasn't clear before, it is now, that I'm more productive, awake, and alert between 10am and Noon. Which sucks because unless I can convince Youngest to have a couple hours of quiet time in the mid-mornings (fat chance -- she is loud and has already asked me what half a dozen animals eat since I've started writing this post), I'm stuck with this writing schedule for at least another year and a half. Oh, and the days she's in preschool in the mornings, I'm useless since I'm still exhausted from all the walking (next fall she'll be in 4K in the afternoons, and hopefully at a closer school -- I really hope that helps).

Also, when I'm this moody, I sink myself into games and TV, and then nothing else gets done, so the house is a bit of a disaster as well. It could be worse, I know, but the disorganization in the house as well as all the junk we have (I have the pack rat gene from my grandpa, and my kids have inherited it -- not tripping into hoarder territory, but my study has become a storage room... my grandparents had a two bedroom apartment just so my grandpa could store stuff in one room, so I am reminded of that -- yikes), has been getting on my nerves, and every time I start somewhere, it feels like I'm treading water.

It just seems that my mind is in the middle of this never-ending battle, and not writing enough only makes it worse since I'm falling behind schedule. Those nice One-Year and Five-Year plans I had drawn up in December? Out the window!

I am happy that I've made a little progress, at least. I haven't given up, and I've revised some of Thorns Entwine the Blade, even if it's no where near the amount I should be at with almost one third of the year gone. I just have to accept that my schedule will need to be shifted, and publications will need to be delayed. That's one of the nice things about indie publishing -- you're not working on a publisher's deadline, so if life happens you can move things later without getting into too much trouble, as long as you don't have a pre-order up already!

And I do know all of this won't last. Eventually Youngest will be in school most of the day, and I'll be able to write when I'm most productive. Winter doesn't last forever, and my mood will be lifted up with the warmth of spring and summer. I just may need to start factoring in my winter issues when I draw up my future One-Year and Five-Year plans.

I know this post was a bit long, but it felt good to get my recent struggles off of my chest. And maybe if some of you are also struggling through the winter and other life bumps, you'll see you're not alone.

The most important thing is to never give up. Keep moving forward one step at a time, even if you only take a single step some days.