Thursday, December 26, 2013

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End

So I never got to the rest of my Alaska posts, though I've got them saved on here somewhere. I'll have to track them down.

Anywho, I've been a lazy blogger and I know I have a lot of catching up to do. It is, however, time for that inevitable end of the year round up. I remembered how I needed to do this when I saw the lovely survey below and I think it covers most stuff, so you know, I thought I would run with it.

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Uh, I went to several states I had never been to. I hiked a waterfall. I took a ghost tour.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Probably not. I don't remember what they were. I didn't write more, which I always want to do. I didn't exercise more, which is usually on my list. I did, however, quit smoking and that was a bonus.

I have, yes, already decided what my new resolutions are. I am promising myself to not let people bully me or take advantage of me. I'm going to start calling people on their bullshit as it relates to me. Should be interesting.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. Thank god.

Did anyone close to you die?
My familiar Voodoo died. That was really hard for me.

What countries did you visit?
No new countries this year, sadly.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013
Nice abs? A drama free existence?

What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Kitten graduated on May 16

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably a tie between quitting smoking and not killing my MIL while I was trying to quit smoking.

What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I really let myself down in my journey to become a more compassionate person. I also didn't finish editing my last novel. Sad.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing significant. The usual bumps, bruises and colds, as far as I can remember. And headaches. Always the headaches.

What was the best thing you bought?
Uh, I liked the pirate tee that we got in Charleston?

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I'm a big fan of the Pope.

Whose behaviour made you appalled?
Justin Beiber upset me a bunch. There were a bunch of douchey politicians as well.

Where did most of your money go?
Bills, as always/

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was excited about Kitten graduating, her new job and the amount of time we get to spend together now.

Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I think I am happier, fatter and about the same financially.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spent more time with my Grandmother.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Uh, wasted time.

How did you spend Christmas?
We went to the movies and watched American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks. It was awesome. We had a picnic in the floor of the movie theater for lunch and ate way to much popcorn and candy.

What was your favourite TV program?

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Uh, I try not to hate anyone.

What was the best book you read?
Oh. Wow. I read so many. I loved Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) and Looking for Alaska (John Green) both were total tear jerkers. I also discovered my love of fantasy books. I read David Eddings and enjoyed it. I also started the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan with Swiss. I think he's a little firther on than I am. I'll get there though. Good books. I just can't do a single genre for very long.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Oh, good grief. I have to pick one? Nope. Can't do it. I loved too many things this year.

What was your favourite film of this year?
I don't know if I can pick one. I loved Catching Fire and I've been waiting for it a while. I also loved American Hustle and Desolation of Smaug....

What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I got to spend a lot more time with Kitten once she graduated. I was pleased to see her succeed and then get a great job right away. It made my life much fuller and richer.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Sweat pants and T-shirts. Having put on a substantial amount of weight it was the most comfortable. Before that I spent a lot of time working around the house and camping. Its practically required.

What kept you sane?
Sakura. Kitten. Lots of deep breathing.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Its probably a tie between Jennifer Lawrence, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston.

What political issue stirred you the most?
gay rights. always. Gun control got me fired up too.

And a month by month:
In January I didn't do a whole lot except work a temp job at KMOM's office. I was, however, obsessed with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. We also got a new computer because our old one (and I mean, like, made in 2002 old) computer died. Sakura and I went to the symphony.

In February I  intentionally didn't celebrate Valentines because I didn't feel romantic at all. It snowed and iced a lot.

In March we went to go see Lindsey Stirling in St. Louis, MO. Sakura smashed his hand in the window at my house on Ostara during an indoor egg hunt because it had snowed outside. I was super proud because Kitten did her first ritual planning. Started the remodel of KMOM's kitchen.

In April my sweet Voodoo crossed the rainbow bridge. I saw Bob Dylan in concert.

In May Kitetn graduated from college. I quit smoking. We left for South Carolina. I planned a party. I celebrated Beltane. I played 7 wonders for the first time.

In June I saw South Carolina. I camped through a tropical storm. I saw sea turtles. I collected shells from a beach. I climbed a waterfall. I took a couple of ghost tours. I explored some graveyards as old as I am. I QUIT SMOKING. I cooked like a champ over an open fire. I made a few new friends. I came back from our trip and managed a ritual with less than a week to fix it up.

In July I went to the zoo. I joined Goodreads. Kitten quit her old job and got a new one. I got bitten by a poisonous spider, or several, I'm still not sure. Either way, this resulted in me having a poultice put on my feet and I thanked Lord and Lady that my wife is an excellent herbalist. Again. I started reading The Wheel of Time series with Swiss. I redecorated my living room.

In August I joined the Sherlock fandom. I bought some seriously hot salsa. I ran around a whole lot and generally wasted some time. I got my first smartphone. I learned that a 6gig data package for three people is TOTALLY not enough and I should never trust the ATT lady again. I put in a lot of flower beds.

In September I started working at The Diner. I went to the symphony with Sakura. Kitten and I saw Spamalot. Oscelot dumped us. We went to the Japanese Fall festival and had a nice time for a whole weekend. I got Kitten into a kimono.

In October nothing truly thrilling happened, I don't think. Except Halloween.

In November Kitten and I had our four year anniversary.

We skipped Christmas in December. That was fun.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don't Ask Me How I Am! I Understand Nothing More- Hans Christian Anderson (Looking for Alaska- Part 1)

If you recognize where the quote for my blog comes from today you're certainly 1) aware that it is not a song quote, per my usual habit 2) you've read a fair amount of dying declarations and 3) (I can always hope) might be John Green.

What's much more likely is that you have, like I have just done, read Looking for Alaska, by the aforementioned Mr Green and took some time to look at unusual dying declarations (Its okay, really, I needed another weird obsession, I really did.). Having read it, I assume you were just a broken and touched by it as I was.

Before I really branch out, I'd like to give one of those general, vague, spoiler free type reviews. Like so:

Pudge was a loser in high school. Well, his first two years anyway. Then he convinced his parents to send him to boarding school where he meets The Colonel, his roommate, and Alaska, who is- of course- the most beautiful, enigmatic, tragic and amazing woman he has ever known in his man-boy existence. And she changes everything.

I have to tell you, honestly, this book is a tear jerker. I'm not a crier either. Not normally. But this book, it had me in tears. I also devoured it in less than a day. Its a quick read that begs (and I will give in) to a slow, languorous re-read that allows you to swim- nay- wallow in the tidal wave of emotions this book will set off in the deeply closeted teenager that you hide inside yourself. Unless you're still a teenager and in that case OMG THE FEELS. JOHN GREEN TOTALLY GETS YOU. I'm not being condescending. Its the truth.

The book has a beautiful tone to it. It holds the odd beauty of a boarding school- that mystique most of us never understand but yearn for as teenagers. It reminds me in some ways of Curtis Stittenfeild's Prep, only in a lot less painfully self-involved way. The setting rings true, and I think both works take a lot of the glamour out of boarding school and its inhabitants.  I think the characters are very real and I think the emotions are very accurate and true to life.

That said, I feel like John Green is much better capable of handling deep, visceral emotion and a lot of the questions that plague the lives of teenagers (and adults, let's face it) even when we're not really thinking that they're plaguing us. I think its that overreaching sense of omnipotence that Green, as a writer, really flourishes. The texture and depth is there, waiting to be discovered. Truly, whether you love the characters or you hate them or you chalk them up to tropes (seriously, I read a review like that and I couldn't believe it because these people lived in my mind, truly lived there, for the three hours I was reading it.) you can't escape the feeling that they are real.

Now. At the end of my edition John (can I call you John?) asks five questions of the reader and I have no one to discuss them with so I want to tell you (and him, if he's here) the answers.

1. Is forgiveness universal? I mean, is forgiveness really available to all people, no matter the circumstances? Is it, for instance, possible for the dead to forgive the living, and for the living to forgive the dead?

I think it is, in a way. I think that some of your characters would argue that we have to believe that because it is the only thing that gives us solace in this life. I think maybe they might discuss that (like Pudge argues) because matter, energy, and thus ourselves, cannot be unmade, that we are infinitely enfolded in our own and the forgiveness of others because we exist in a state of forgiving.

My answer is of course it is. I believe our souls are eternal, they exist without our bodies. It is our souls that hold the seat of our emotion and our wisdom (if not always our collected knowledge) and that is something that cannot be taken from us when we die. I think the dead forgive the living because the completion and perfection of not being non-corporeal (call it heaven, nirvana, the summerlands, whatever) prevents you from holding grudges. You are the universe, you have perfect wisdom, you've joined The Force. There is no room for anger any longer because you are perfect and infinite. I think as a living human forgiveness is a choice and our ability to forgive is a signal of our progression towards that perfection and one of the great challenges of our existence.

2. I would argue that in both fiction and in real life, teenage smoking is a symbolic action. What do you think it's intended to symbolize and what does it actually end up symbolizing? To phrase the question differently: Why would anyone every pay money in exchange for the opportunity to acquire lung cancer and/or emphysema?

Okay. This is an interesting one seeing as I started smoking at 15 and I quit just six months ago (for those of you unaware, I am in my thirties). I started, I suppose, because I could. Because people I thought to be like me did it. In a way, they were like me, and I don't know why they started so it might be a vicious cycle. For me, then, it had nothing to do with looking cool or taking a shot at the establishment or whatever- which is what it eventually ends up symbolizing. It just made sense and I didn't think much about it. I did quit for a while and then I started again and I think that really answers the second question, which is why I would do it knowing it harms me. The truth is, I like the flavor of tobacco. Not the horrible stuff, but the nice, imported kind you smoke in a hookah and is soft and sweet and has texture and flavors like wine or nice cheese. In the end, I weighed the health benefits and decided wine and nice cheese were less likely to kill me although only time will tell.

As to what it symbolizes in the book (which is what I think you're actually asking) I would say that it is a portrait of both the feeling of invincibility that teenagers feel and a shadowy foreboding of the pain and shadow that come with growing up and loss. Maybe that's why any teenager does it, in the end; its our one chance to take something grown up that we aren't ready for and control it.

But I will say this- I think the idea that we must avoid death at all costs is silly. Everyone dies. I don't think life is measured by length as much as it is by quality. Granted, a longer life means more opportunity for quality, but only if you make the best of it. I started smoking shisha while I was in Kuwait in 2005 on a truly once in a lifetime trip. The truth is me being gone from the US then (I was there for almost three weeks, I think) and the fallout from me being gone had long-lasting consequences in my life. When I arrived home I did not know it but my life was about to change dramatically and for almost four years, not for the better. But I'll tell you something- even if I had only smoked while on that trip and I would never smoke again and it killed me in the end, I would not change it. I wouldn't. Because eight years ago I was sitting on the Arabian Gulf with a handful of students I had just met, with a group of people I will never see again, at one of the largest TGI Friday's in the world (Who knew, right?) smoking shisha out of a pipe and listening to them laugh in Arabic though I didn't speak a stitch of it and I was having one of the most beautiful experiences I had ever known. And yes, I could have had that without the tobacco, but I would miss the soft and hazy, perfectly relaxed  feeling of that memory- and it would lack the aftertaste of rich Egyptian tobacco if I hadn't. And that taste, that moment, and the scent of the gulf air and the taste of my terrible soda was the experience in my life that made me brave enough to survive what came after and aware enough of my own personal beauty to see I was something worth fighting for. When I die it will be one of a handful of moments in my life that I would not trade anything for. If death came for me tonight, it would be one of the things I loved about my life and I couldn't regret it- even if it was the cause.

That said- don't smoke, kids. Give yourself more chances for infinite perfection and happiness.

3. Do you like Alaska? Do you think its important to like people you read about?

Yes. I like Alaska. She's a great depiction of a teenage girl. I really believe that. Because I knew her, and I was her and I see her all the time. She's the depiction of beauty and enigma that lives in all females of a certain age. She is the kiss in the corner of Wendy's mouth.

That said; no, I don't think you have to like the people you read about. I think this is adult perspective creeping in, but I think a lot of important characters are like that. I think Holden Caufeild is a punk, but I get why he was and I know why that's important. Scout Finch was a smart-aleck brat. I liked her, but that's the truth. Lady McBeth was a whiner and a wimp but you can't have Out Spot Out without her crazy ass. I mean, look at the people we idolize now- Frank Sinatra beat his wife. Queen Elizabeth the first had a mercurial temper. Hell, look at all the celebrities who are dead that we idolize- Curt Kobain, Amy Winehouse, Corey Monteith, Marilyn Monroe- most of them were bad people. Unlikable people, but that's part of their charm. In Ken Keysey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Randall McMurphy talks about the "average asshole on the street."  all of us are that person- the average asshole- but that makes us no less deserving of love or interest, or no less lovable or interesting for that matter. I propose that's what makes us worth reading about. Alaska was an extraordinary "ordinary asshole" and I think that's why I (and everyone in the book) loved her.

Alright, kiddies, this is me tapping out because I have three other spaces to hit on the internet before I have to go to bed because I get up before the sun and its already way past my bedtime. John Green, you're costing me sleep, but you're worth it- you brilliant writer you.  I have two more questions to answer tomorrow and those will be the ones with the spoilers.

For those of you who have read the book, what do you think? For those of you who haven't- go get it. Seriously.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Time Keeps Rollin' On

I could keep telling you how busy I am, but no one believes me with the amount of time I spend on Tumblr, honestly. And I do have a Tumblr, in case you want to see what really occupies my waking hours. Spoiler alert- books, cats, food, Kitten and a few very pretty British men. Specifically This one:

Oh. And I've been figuring out how to work gifs, FINALLY, because I am sick of not being able to do it. Thanks to Sakura for that. Seriously.

I've been meaning to write lately and every time I get in here I get distracted because I want to talk about so many things. I keep thinking, why can't I be nice like Aravis and Swiss and only talk about one thing at a time? It occurs to me this is because Aravis and Swiss and all the other lovely bloggers I know actually have things to say and their minds are not, like mine, as cluttered as a forgotten attic in a romance novel. Fortunately, I explore mine pretty often and I always find a few treasures. Here's what's been on my mind lately:

The government shut down. I could get all wound up and do a political post but we'll stay away. I'll say this, the system is broken. EVERYONE is at fault. This started years before now. I'm sick of all of it. Talk about voter apathy. I won't have the heart to encourage people to vote if this keeps up, because really, who wants to convince someone their voice matters when really a bunch of assholes are going to hijack your decision making governing body and hold it hostage while pitching a fit like a two year old because they aren't getting their way. This goes for both sides, btw. All this nonsense does have a practical aide to it- I worry about money. I also worry because we have several customers who work for the government at Super Coffee and I don't want to cope with them not coming in because they've no paychecks.

Oscelot and Bobcat live next door. This causes no angst, its just new.

I am, though, concerned about Oscelot, because I have this horrible feeling the friendship is going to go south, and I hate when shit goes sideways. I've had a few tarot readings that indicate this is going to happen soon and it is going to effect my wallet. This will piss me off. We'll see. I feel like there's an effort on her part to needle me into being an asshole so she can be the victim, so I'm being as nice as possible for the moment, probably a dick move in and of itself. Ah, well. At least I'm being nice about it.

I have been enjoying some new fandoms lately. My love of Doctor Who grows daily. Of course, I've been loving Sherlock. Okay, I'm obsessed with Sherlock and not just because BC is a very painfully, adorably perfect example of what humanity should be. I've always loved the AC Doyle shorts and I think that there has been serious thought put into updating the stories into modern London. In old fandom news I am preparing to be really excited about Catching Fire. I think it is going to be great. I've seen some of the casting for the third and fourth film as well, and I can't be bitter about that. The Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug trailer came out and I think its going to be great. I will certainly be purchasing the latest Star Trek special edition to own for my very own quite soon. Kitten is currently really into AMC's The Walking Dead. Me? Not so much. I did, however, really like World War Z as far as zombie movies go and they aren't usually my favorite. I even liked it in 3D.

I am gearing up for Nanowrimo (Nano) and I think this year is going to be great. I've actually stayed in touch with some of the people who I have met in the forums over the last couple of years, and seeing them grow as writers and them  being there to encourage me is huge. I think I am going to try a romance again this year, though I am planning on skipping the historical and trying out a modern romance. I am also going to work to make this one real and enjoyable. I feel like there has to be more to romance than just billionaire philanthropist playboys, right? Poor people need love too. Hell, look at me.

My brother turned 30 last week and its making me feel really old. On the upside, Punk did invite me to his birthday party for the first time in years. I, of course, could not attend. But it was the thought that counted. We'll probably lunch later this week and it will be a good time. If not this week, well, by week I mean sometime in the next seven days. I need to work out his days off...

I may or may not have mentioned that my mom and grandmother came unglued on me in public when I told them I didn't want to celebrate Christmas with anyone this year-not specifically them, but anyone. See, I'm not a Christian and I hate the shuffle and crazy. They both apologized and are being really mature about it. For now. This, I think, is a good thing.

Samhain (Halloween) is fast approaching and I am really looking forward to the dumb supper we are planning (it means we don't talk, not that its stupid). I've almost got everything ready, except for purchasing the food, of course. And I'm waiting on the final RSVPs. It'll be great. I love the holidays, I really do.

Outside of that I think I am joining a gym in January (Specials, friends. I hate paying the building fees, especially when they're more than a third of the yearly subscription. That's stupid.) I am finally uncomfortable with my body shape. I am okay with the weight, and I know a lot of it comes from not smoking (did I ever mention I quit smoking? I quit in May.) and the food cravings that I have been completely giving into because of it. I have to remember now that I probably shouldn't always listen to my cravings, especially if they are for truffles and cans of pringles. Or cupcakes for breakfast. Either way, I've been meaning to get into a gym and swim more. I've been a lot less active as a housewife than I was when I was working at Casa Bueno and I need to take better care of myself. Kitten is positively rail thin because of her work now (all muscle too- I keep feeding her and it doesn't work!) so I feel like a total layabout when I look in the mirror. I could definitely use some toning. Not to mention I decided to ride my bicycle to the post office today to get some stamps and what would have been a quick and easy ten minute ride was a painful and embarrassing fifteen minute slog. It is certainly time to get back into shape. I may take my bike to work with me tomorrow and ride it home. I don't fancy the ten mile ride will be pleasant, but then, exercise hardly ever is...I suppose I'll see how miserable and defeated my body is tomorrow. I mowed the lawn and hacked at some weeds today too....

So that's me. I think there's not a whole lot of other interesting things going on. I'll eventually get around to talking about exciting things again, and maybe telling you all about my workplace, which really is a treasure. I am so happy there I can't even think. lot take care and I swear I'll make it in soon. Swear.

Lots of love- AGxx

Oh- and a postscript for someone who swore they were getting the hell out of my life a few years ago and I've discovered that they are occasionally stalking my blog. For the record, I was right. I still am. I'm glad I made the decision I did. As for you?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Everybody Changes

So it seems again like I am a lazy blogger, but honestly, things have been so crazy, I really feel like I've been a bit justified.

I have a job now, for one thing. I've been working at a wonderful place we'll call the Magic Pancake for about a month and a half now. I really like it and I'm super happy. Its actually one of the places I mentioned that I would miss when I leave the city I am living in now. I feel like the staff are my family and I really enjoy going to work every day. It isn't far from my house and I can walk home if I want to. Its pretty nice. I also am off by two every day because we are only open until then, so I have my afternoons free, which is really enjoyable. It gives me a chance to still see my friends, be active or get housework done before Kitten gets home.

Having a job means I have time out of the house, which makes me appreciate being at home more, if that was possible. It has also brought to my attention that I need to exercise a little more and maybe lose a little weight. No, I don't think I am fat (not when I'm being rational anyway) but I weighed myself at a friend's house a couple weeks ago and I've put on 15 pounds since I stopped smoking. Some exercise might be in order. I don't mind going up a couple of pant sizes, but I do want to be healthy. Come January I'll probably join a gym. I've been looking into the local YMCA among other places, and I think I've almost settled on them. They have a lot of good classes and there's one just a few blocks from my house. It has a pool and I'll have access to it even if I can't or don't feel like driving.

I should also probably mention the fact that Oscelot is no longer living with Kitten and I. We are no longer dating her. It is (so far) a pretty amicable split. She and Bobcat are moving into the house next door to us, which should be a good time. We've been wanting Bobcat to come back over to our side of town for a while now and it was very convenient that the house was open when Oscelot was looking for a place. It will, I hope, turn out well. If it doesn't...well, it happens. We are trying as hard as we can to smooth the way for all of us. We don't want any of that nasty picking sides or whatever that comes from a lot of breakups.

Personally, I think it is wonderful for her that she feels ready to be on her own and support herself. I think it is a huge step for her to want more for herself than Kitten and I could have given her. She deserves to be happy and be with a person who is entirely devoted to her.

Since Oscelot has been moving out I've spent a lot of time going through things and arranging the house. We got a new bed with a really firm mattress and that's nice. I am sleeping better already. That pillowtop....ich.

Otherwise, I've spent some time enjoying the BBC series Sherlock (yes, I've just started watching) and Kitten and I have been trying to have little dates on the weekend. Next week we're going to go see Spamalot, its showing locally. Last weekend we went to the Japanese Fall Festival at our local botanical gardens. They have a Japanese stroll garden and we really enjoyed it. There were performers from our sister city in Japan there, and we had fun. We bought weekend passes and Bobcat came with us. It was a lot of fun. Our first night out Sakura joined us as well. The second day of the festival Kitten and I went in kimono. It was really comfortable as hot as it was outside and I was delighted to have a chance to wear my kimono from our honeymoon out of the house and with its obi. It also meant I got to wear my pretty jade hair pick that Kitten gave me. She's such a sweetheart.

I'm hoping that things will settle down soon, though. I want to start working on the leather corset and greaves I was doing before I started working at the Magic Pancake, and I've got fabric for a Neo-Victorian bustle I want to wear with it. I'd like to have it finished before our local Con this year, but that's going to be up in the air. I also want to make myself a mannequin so I can do my hand-sewing on it....but that requires time, help and a TON of duct tape. Projects, projects....

So. That's me. For now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm More Than Some Pretty Face Beside a Train

Okay, so I've had a little time to think about this whole Ben Affleck being Batman thing. I'm sure you've heard by now...the whole internet exploded when it was announced...seriously, it really interrupted my fangirl on Tumblr time, and I don't have a lot of that right now...

Anyway, I think everyone's being a little harsh. Has he made some bad films? Sure. Is he who I would have pictured? Not at all...but I thought the same thing about Toby Maguire being Spiderman and look how that turned out. I think there's some things that people forget- like how actors have no control over how a movie is produced if they aren't one of the producers. Or how Affleck has made decent movies. And how he's directed some good ones too- that bodes well for the script. And don't point out Gigli to me. That was all JLo and you know it. You throw the first stone on that one if you've never done something seriously stupid because of the very hot person you were dating. Yeah. Mostly, I think everyone forgets that people make mistakes. Even actors choosing movies.

Look at Meryl Streep- she's amazing, right? But she's got The Ant Bully, Mamma Mia, The River Wild and A.I. on her acting credits. Its almost enough to make you forget how great she can be.

Or how about Johnny Depp? Did you see The Lone Ranger? Or how about Alice in Wonderland (which he's filming the sequel to) or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or The Secret Window. All horrible movies. And just think, if he hadn't made so many great films before and these were all you'd ever seen, there would be no Captain Jack Sparrow, no Corpse Bride or Sweeney Todd.

Yeah, Yeah, I hear you saying. But those two weren't given iconic superhero roles. They aren't risking ruining years of great actors and cannon....they aren't destroying a franchise. First- the Batman franchise is rife with horrible Batmans- hell its rife with horrible casting decisions. Its the truth and you know it. Come on, Val Kilmer? He's pretty, but he was an awful caped crusader. Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger should come to mind for you too. Terrible. And look at the actresses who have mangled Cat Woman...Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway. All amazing actresses. All shitty Cat Women. Honestly, I don't think anyone will ever do it as well as Julie Newmar did in the sixties...but that's just me. Point is, sometimes it takes more than being a great actor to portray a great part. Otherwise I wouldn't weep every time I think of George Clooney and his batnipples. You think he picked those out? Yeah, neither do I. Hell, if acting ability was the only criterion for getting an iconic part we'd have never seen Terry Hatcher as Lois Lane..... For that matter we'd have never seen Jim Carry as the Riddler or Danny Devito as The Penguin (and both were great) if their crimes against film had been the criterion by which they were given their roles.

And for the record, I would like to offer you the following in defense of great actors who played iconic superhero/supervillain roles but have shady pasts. Imagine if we had judged the following based on their bad movies alone:

Before American Beauty we loved Kevin Spacey for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Usual Suspects. But let's face it, if we judged him based on A Bug's Life and L.A. Confidential, we'd have never seen him as Lex Luthor.

Outside of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar has Wesley Snipes made a decent film? Outside of the Blade movies, for which , of course, he would not have been cast....

Remember Alfred Molina's riveting performance as Doc Oc in Spiderman? We'd have never seen it if the internet had been the judge, because all he had done prior was crappy television shows and Chocolat (another Johnny Depp crime, I might add).

And believe me when I say The Avengers cast wouldn't exist. Tom Hiddleston was a relatively unknown television actor, much like Molina. Look at him now....Can you think of anyone else being Loki? There would be no Iron Man because (face the music kids) RDJ didn't make anything decent post Chaplin (1992) until around 2005. He did, however, make an appearance in that god awful Halle Berry film Gothicka and he contributed to the further degeneration of an entire generation of yuppies by doing a 25 episode stint on Ally McBeal. But we worship him as Iron Man (and Sherlock Holmes). Lucky the internet wasn't there for those casting decisions. If you thought Mark Ruffalo was a way better Hulk than Edward Norton congratulations. Remember, though, Norton is a spectacular actor who had tons of great films to his name before he bombed as Hulk. Ruffalo had Just Like Heaven and 13 Going on 30 to his name....Chris Evans can't be Captain America anymore because Fantastic Four was a crime against humanity, I'm pretty sure there's a UN council still debating whether or not that movie violates the Geneva Conventions....Oh, and no Black Widow, because Scarlett Johansson still needs to be punished for The Other Boleyn Girl and The Nanny Diaries.

I think I made my point.

You know, I don't even really care for Affleck as an actor. He's okay, but I don't think he's done anything groundbreaking. What I do know is that he deserves a chance before we say how much he sucks. A year or two from now, maybe I'll be eating my words...but if I am, I'll let you tell me that you told me so. Honestly, I'm sick of the people on the internet, and fan bases and other groups of, oh say, non-film people, thinking they know better than Hollywood on how to entertain us. I think it contributes to all the bad films we see, and bad television too- there's too much pandering to what they think people want. The loud and vocal majority of morons are ruining entertainment for the rest of us.

Let it go. Its just a movie.

If you hate him that much, don't go see it.

My two cents.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our House Is A Very Very Very Fine House

Its been a busy week. I've meant to blog for several days now and the time keeps getting away from me.

The short version is I've been taking care of some orphaned kittens and I redid my living room.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

 So I took down most of the stuff on Tuesday night while we were watching America's Got Talent, which is why there are no curtains on the window. That's kitten sneaking out the door to her lovely new job. See that coffee in her hand? I brewed it!

That the wall that never had much on it,

That's the archway into the Library (read: used to be the dining room)

There's the captain's chair (yep, Star Trek reference) and Cookie chilling out, waiting for me to move it. Behind her, the door to the bedroom.

The bookshelves used to be over here. The wall was in need of serious repair. I patched it during AGT. I didn't mind it too much...except I looked up during the last act and realized that Howard Stern was looking extra nice on that episode. Of course I missed it. I keep reminding myself there's a whole season...

So I got back to the corner and to work.

This might, maybe, be the books from the living room, sitting on a table in the dining room. They might also be so heavy I was worried about breaking the table they were on. I haven't actually counted them, but I'm thinking there's somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 books there. Minimum.

The dust I kicked up moving them...nope.

This might be the window in the library, where I had to stack more books because I ran out of space on the table.

This is the walls, nice and primed.

I think we did an okay job of it, really.

There's the back of Bobcat as she removes my sconces so she can paint them. 'Cause she's awesome like that.

There's the new green wall. In this light it looks way brighter than I think it looks normally. But its fine either way, because its much cleaner looking. Speaking of clean, you wouldn't notice but I shampooed the carpets too.

There's Kitten, Bobcat and Oscelot watching the AGT results show. I'm pretty sure Bobcat is holding a kitten. She's sitting on that nice leather couch I got. Isn't it pretty?

There's the entry to the library now I like that we relocated the television. I think it makes the space look much cleaner.

Also, having moved those bookshelves, I'm pretty sure I have room for two more, if I play my cards right.

There's the new corner. I love that purple color.  If you look to the left you can see my blue and pink polka-dot bedroom. Super girly, just like my new living room.

There's the new entry. The key holder is actually a little garden fence. We just bent the scrollwork in. Nice, right? Also, way more room for all the keys.

The captain's chair looks much more official from that corner.

I might have saved the pillows off the old couch so that I can recover them and reuse them.

So...that's what I've been up to.

I've also spent my time not cleaning and kitten minding reading the first book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series with Swisslet. That's pretty much all of my time.

So...what have you lot been improving?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I Miss You Like The Deserts Miss The Rain

Anyone who's talked to me in the last couple of years (well, ever, really) knows that I'm not particularly fond of the part of the country that I live in. I don't care for my city, as nice as it is, and I don't care for my state. It's not that I can't see the appeal- I can, to a degree. Unfortunately, all of those things that appeal to the people who live in this area of the country mean almost nothing to me. I don't have kids to raise, so being in a bigger city with a small town feel doesn't do much for me. I don't think the level of education in our area is particularly high, though I will say that its better than some of the bigger cities in our state. There's plenty of green space and lakes to enjoy. Unfortunately, the political climate of our region makes it so that a lot of that is closed off to me and Kitten unless we want to spend a whole day acting like acquaintances. I don't.

At any rate, I feel like I've made it really clear that I'm not fond of here and that there are other places (namely, Portland Oregon) that I would rather be. That said, this last week Kitten and I were finally able to go into our favorite local breakfast joint and have a bite to eat. It was then that we realized that there were, indeed, things that we would miss about my hometown.

I will, certainly, miss that breakfast place. Part of it is the closeness. I feel like I'm at home. The staff feels like family. Hey- we had only been away a couple of months (one of them on vacation) and some of the kitchen staff came out to give us hugs. Seriously. I am friends with them on Facebook and it feels like I'm in my grandfather's kitchen when I'm there. Not so much the look, but the atmosphere and the taste. They make pancakes I swear could be my's about the only place I'll eat them short of at home. The food is good and home made. The staff are wonderful people. It's cozy in a crammed, warm, comfortable kind of way. When we move, I'll have to spend months, maybe years, looking for another place like that.

I'll miss the convenience culture of my town, whether I want to admit it or not. Do I want to live in a town that encourages local business, local food markets and healthy living? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I won't miss Walmart. I know, I know, there's plenty of Walmart haters out there and I understand it. I do. But let me tell you something- if my coffee pot breaks any time day or night I know there are a minimum of seven different places I can get a high quality, programmable, grinds yours beans, steams your milk and sings you good morning coffee pot. Minimum. See, in my town, we have six Walmart Supercenters, eight or nine (I've lost count)  Neighborhood markets, Three Big K-Marts, A Super Target, and somewhere in the neighborhood of ten big market national chain superstores. We have six or seven Walgreens and three CVS pharmacies. I choose which store I shop at based on which one's layout I like best. I have five major grocery stores within three miles of my home. That's convenient.

I wonder how I will cope in a city where there isn't a grocery on every corner. I don't know how I'll feel when I have to drive to get to a big box store. Hell, maybe I'll start shopping online. I mean, I knew someone who moved out there and actually had to ask their friends on Facebook where to get a toaster because there wasn't a Walmart within easy driving distance. How will I feel when I can't get to a McDonald's within 5 minutes of wherever I am in town? Thinner, probably, but that won't help my french fry craving. We'll see...but I think I'll miss it a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I think the perks outweigh the disadvantages, but it will be a big change.

Speaking of which, I'll have to adjust my eating habits. Specifically when it comes to "Chinese" food. Now, we all know there's nothing Chinese about the stuff we order at The Great Wall of Chicken (or wherever you like to go- pick one, our city has probably close to fifty) but its not going to be the same when we move. We're going to want Chinese and what we're really going to want is a local delicacy called "cashew chicken" and I was raised on the stuff. Let me tell you, no one on the planet makes it the way we do here...and I'll miss eating it. We keep swearing we're going to perfect our own recipes...but I will get to craving my old favorite places and I'm pretty sure my visits home will be packed full of cartons full of Shanghai Dynasty's (or wherever's) food.

More than that- there's food everywhere here. Seriously, if you drop someone anywhere in my city with $20 they can walk to a restaurant and be eating in less than ten minutes. Take the picture below. From the corner where that picture was taken, I know off the top of my head there is a McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Rib Crib, two other local BBQ places, a Chinese place (Kitten's favorite one, actually), a McCallister's Deli, and a Long John Silver's within visual radius. There is also a liquor store, a grocery store, and a whole foods type market. There's even two restaurants inside the building, one of them an upscale casual type place...I'm going to miss food, en masse, everywhere I look. Hey- I never said I wasn't a glutton.  

I'm also going to miss Bass Pro Outdoor World.

Okay, I know it's a strange thing to miss, but I will. You can keep Cabelas. I love that this place is massive. It's got a shooting range inside it for heaven's sake. There's waterfalls and tanks of fish and a wildlife museum. On the way down to the boat gallery (yeah, where you go to view all the different kinds of boast you can by, in an indoor showroom) there's a giant enclosure with an alligator in it. That's intense.

I like to go there for camping gear. They carry quality hiking boots and some really nice clothes. My favorite pair of hiking pants came from there. If we're ever bored, its a great place to go and daydream. Why yes, I am a lesbian stereotype sometimes- its nice to think about the tents, subzero rated sleeping bags, utility knives, waterproof boots, etc, etc, that I would like to own. This is a great place for it. In the winter it's nice to head over to the little food area they have and grab a mug of coffee or cider and then settle down in front of the giant fireplace and rest. Those split wood rocking chairs are comfortable. As many great stores as they have up north, there won't be a Bass Pro in Portland.

I'm also going to miss the flea markets and thrift stores. I'm not saying that there won't be great ones there...but I have my favorites here. For some reason I think Bobcat and I are going to end up reminiscing about the days when we could find an English Walnut sideboard from the mid-1800's for less than three grand. I do. Because I know that's not normal. It will take some adjusting. And speaking of the things used and abused- I'll miss my favorite local used book dealer, where all the girls know me and ask about my writing and what I've been up to. The ones that chorus with me (when the new kid foolishly asks if I have trade credit) "She never brings them back." I say it every time. These are the girls who will laugh when I reach into my coat for the fistful of quarters I know is there and come up with a fistful of Starburst candies- and then gleefully take one when I offer the fistful to them. They know I'm cool. I'm going to miss that. Even if there is Powell's City of Books.

I can't think of many things I'll be sorry to leave behind....but those things...yeah. I might just miss them every now and again. I guess in a few years we'll see. Won't we?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wouldn't It Be Lovely?

So another day of me running around town hunting for awesome things at the flea market/antique stores. I might post some pictures tomorrow. Bobcat and I are in love with lead glass work, which can't be produced legally in the US anymore. We've also discovered when it comes to furniture we really like the twisted English barley pattern on oak and maple. In discovering this trend, we've also discovered we dislike flowery detail and prefer more clean or geometric lines in our older furniture. Every now and again, though, we run into a ridiculously ornately carved piece we love....we may not be consistent, but our taste is consistently good, I think. 

So this evening was devoted to a quick hello from Flyguy, watching America's Got Talent (I voted for those acrobats and Collin's Key) and letting my feet freeze while I let the poultice Kitten made me dry on my spider bites (more about those later). Thus, you are stuck with another set of bizarre questions and my attempt at more than two word answers. I've included questions this time, so you'll see where my train of thought leaves the station. 

Incidentally, I'm currently reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It's wonderful. I love reading it. The detail is lavish and it distracts me beautifully when Kitten is taking needles to my feet. 

Do you think musicals are cheesy?
I absolutely adore musicals. I was raised (despite my family’s economic station) to really love the theater. As a result, I’ve developed a deep and abiding love for musicals of all kinds. I love the classics, but I still enjoy newer ones. Honestly, one of my favorite sweet moments from early in mine and Kittens relationship was when we went for a drive and we passed the street where I grew up. Kitten told me she used to drive by and think of me. It made me smile. A few minutes later, I noticed she was humming “The Street Where You  Live” from My Fair Lady. It’s my favorite musical. Definitely an “it was love” moment for me. In fact, one of the early questions I asked her on a date was what her favorite musical is. Its Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Is Christmas stressful?
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the holidays. I was when I was little, and I still enjoy the “atmosphere” of Christmas, but it’s something I view as artificial and created. If I want to “feel” like its Christmas, I like to go to Silver Dollar City’s Old Fashioned Christmas and wander around. I like the lights and the chill in the air. I like to listen to the carols. I enjoy a nice glass of wassail or four. We’ll watch the fudge being made and get fresh taffy. We’ll huddle around a warming lamp and eat savory treats. I’ll spend all the time you’ll let me in front of the giant tree that plays all the Electric Light Orchestra music and coordinates the lights. It is super old-fashioned and I also get to ride roller coasters, so it’s a win all the way around. But there’s no question, the atmosphere is created.

I think it’s very stressful that our families still try to create that “perfect” Christmas like there used to be. But you can’t force amity and goodwill. You can’t make everyone get along. Just because there’s a turkey or a ham on the table doesn’t mean everyone is happy to be there and wants to share the joy of the season. That is very stressful. The need to buy people things is stressful- especially since we’re always broke. The need to coordinate holiday parties with three sets of parents, plus my extended family, plus my friends and on top of that I have to plan a ritual and feast for MY winter holiday, Yule, as well- that is stressful.

See, the thing is, I don’t celebrate Christmas, do I? So I don’t particularly care. I think it’s the being forced to care that irritates me the most. I get tired of hearing “But it’s Christmas!” and then getting all the subsequent lectures about family obligations and how will I feel when family members die and I should want to make it special for everyone else because I love them even if I don’t celebrate the holiday, etc., etc. That’s stressful and it’s irritating.

Now, to answer the question that would be posted were you to ask without a Gregorian Calendar Anglo-Christian bias- no, I don’t find Yule stressful at all. It’s one of my favorite holidays (the food!) and is for sure my favorite “light” holiday.

Favorite type of fruit pie?
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of pie in general and fruit pies in specific. If I am going to have pie I like the fruit to be fresh and that means only certain months of the year for my favorites. I like a nice peach pie, one that’s super syrupy. I also love a tart blackberry pie. I don’t want them to be double crust (impossible to find, you have to make them on your own, and I’m a terrible baker) and they should certainly have a flaky crust not a super thick one. And rich. Really, really rich.

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Um, when I was really little I wanted to be a ballerina, a rock star and a nurse. When I was grade school aged I wanted to be a ballerina, a country-western singer and an artist. When I was junior high aged I realized I never be a ballerina, or a singer or an artist. I decided that being a writer was a much better, more attainable profession and it was something that I liked.

Someone told me that being a writer wasn’t a viable career. So when I got into high school I looked into the things that interested me. I decided I wanted to get into government somehow. I love languages and I was (still am, really) interested in foreign policy. So I decided it would be awesome to work as an ambassador or in a foreign government office. Like most American high schools, mine didn’t offer Russian (the language I wanted to learn) so I settled for French and German. I got a backup plan, because the counselors told me to, and decided that if foreign relations didn’t work, government relations would (yeah, me a lobbyist) be interesting. I applied for all the right schools and for what it’s worth, got accepted to most of them. And then I saw the price tag for school. And law school. And I knew, in my heart, there wasn’t a chance in the deepest regions of hell that I would be able to do either of those things.
So I went to local university, couldn’t afford that either once I had a semester of living on my own and trying to maintain a job and my incredibly bad health and so I left school. If you asked me now, I would say that I’d like to write. I want to go back to school and get a nice degree in literature and writing. I’d like to teach, but that would require an advance degree if I want to teach college. In most places in the country you still can’t be out and teach high school, so I’m aiming for writing a book that gets published and finding a job as a librarian or working in a bookstore of some sort. That would be fine with me.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I do believe in ghosts. I believe in spirits and poltergeists and all sorts of strange astral beings. I also believe that we sometimes believe in something so much that we create it with our mind. Our minds are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. I also believe that you can speak to the spirits of the dead and to spirits that were never human.  

Take a vitamin daily?
I do. In fact, working on this post reminded me that I needed to take it. I take two vitamins. One of them is a B complex supplement and the other one is an iron supplement. Both of them help me with much needed energy and they’ve really helped me feel better as far as my moodiness goes- they were a suggestion from Dad and I was glad for it.

Wear slippers?
I do. I actually have a whole lot of slippers. All of mine have hard soles so I can run around in the yard in them. I like slip on shoes for in the house and around it. Kitten is not so fond of my old pairs so she started buying me nice ones. It may have backfired though, this last week I’ve had some nasty spider bites in the shape of my outdoor house shoes and I’m pretty sure they were poisonous since I’ve got nasty pus-filled bulls-eyes now…no worries, Kitten lanced them and I’ve been putting on a poultice, but it’s pretty gross and it makes me reconsider no socks outside.

What do you wear to bed?
I don’t wear anything in bed. I used to, but I’ve found as the years pass that I just get hot and tangled up in my nightclothes and its more comfortable for me not to. Even when we were on vacation in South Carolina, even when we were camping, once I was in for the night I had all my clothes off. I slept nude in the tent. I also had a bad habit of running around camp in nothing but a sports bra and a pair of obscenely short exercise shorts, but hey- it was a hundred degrees and ninety-plus humidity every day. I get a pass while I’m working over a fire.

Shy OR open?

I think I’m both. I’m nervous around new people. I don’t like strangers or crowds. Most people don’t believe that I’m introverted, but I am. Once you get to know me, though, I’m an open book. I’ll talk about almost anything. I won’t keep secrets from you. I’m pretty forthright. Of course, you get a lot of that here. I don’t conceal much, which is a little normal, considering the regular readers here are, I’m pretty sure, my friends. It’s also a little odd, since I might be talking to strangers after all. Either way, I suppose, I’m an open book once you know me. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Something's Coming Over Me

So, here’s the R rated version of the about me. This one is predominantly about sex and love and all that stuff that generally makes people uncomfortable. So you’re forewarned.

I wanted to start with my “would” list. I thought that would be fun. First, I want to point out that I get both a male list and a female list. And I’m not aiming for a specific number, these are just generally celebrities that I would sleep with if they showed up on my front porch and asked me to. Some people call it the celebrity exceptions. Whatever…Also, I am picking people whom I not only would sleep with, but whom I assume would be good in bed. There’s some people I think are pretty, or would be fun to see nude, but I’m sure would be a totally lame lay (Liam Hemsworth, I’m looking at you.)

Michelle Rodriguez- because she's just lovely. 

Ellen DeGeneres- I could look at her all day. She's got a great smile. 

Tilda Swinton- androgyny, beauty, activism...its all sexy

Meryl Streep- Classic. That's all

Jennifer Lawrence- so beautiful. And funny. And she has *curves* which I love. 

Emma Watson- not just for Harry Potter fans anymore

Anna Kendrick- cute as all get out. 

Robert Downey Jr.- quite possibly the perfect specimen of a man...

Utkarsh Ambudkar- Musician, actor, super-cute....

Peter Dinklage- so beautiful. And his voice....I want him to sit and read to me for hours....I would utterly melt!

Jason Issacs- not just for Harry Potter fans

Howard Stern- Yeah. I can't explain it. The hair, the mouth....its like when I had a crush on Jeff Goldblum in the '90's....there's inexplicable sex appeal. Not to mention, if you listen to him at all, he's a spectacular person. 

David Beckham- Look at that picture and tell me you blame me!

Chris Hemsworth- he has a classic manly beauty.

So I wish I could say that I don’t think looks are important in a relationship, but I think at the first they are pretty important. I think later it still plays a part, because I think you have to be attracted to your partner. Even if that attraction is mainly intellectual, you wouldn't want to sleep with or wake  up next to someone you found repulsive all your life. Maybe that’s shallow, but it’s the truth. Conversely, I refuse to be with a partner I don’t find intelligent and intellectually stimulating. I won’t date stupid people. Hell, I won’t even have a one night stand with a stupid person. If you go to YouTube and look up interviews with each of the celebrities above, you’ll discover they are all well-spoken, passionate, amazing people who are highly intelligent and devoted to good causes. That’s sexy.

My position on PDA, as a general rule, is that as long as it’s not something you wouldn't do in front of your mother or grandmother, it’s acceptable. That is how I try to conduct myself. I do, I’ll admit, have some exhibitionism incidents in my past, but as a rule I don’t do stuff in public. You never know who’s watching. Not to mention we've all seen couples in public that are's uncomfortable. Now I won't say I don't run around naked in the house with the windows open. I'm not so prude that I can't see why people do it. I'm just saying as a rule its really not my thing to be all over someone in public.
I've slept with both men and women. I do identify as a homosexual. I'm a big fat lesbian. Or I think I am. Here’s why- I can have sex with a man and have a great time. I truly can. Some of my favorite partners have been men. Unfortunately, I am completely incapable of maintaining a relationship with a guy- I’m always wishing he was a girl. If you offered me the perfect mate- if I could design the person I was going to be with- no question, it would be a woman. There are things I like about men- they almost border on fetish- their chests, their backs, stubble…I adore stubble…I like their legs and how they’re shaped. That’s the thing, though, when I sleep with men it is, for me, a tactile experience where I am drinking in all of my partner. When I sleep with women it’s about my being with her. I pay more attention. I want her to feel special. I adore every single part of women. There isn't an ugly body part on a woman, really. (sorry guys, they may be interesting, but penises are ugly) And when I have a woman as a partner I devote myself completely to making her feel like she’s the most special person on earth. Its about awe and worship. Its damn near religious. I don’t do that with men, and honestly, I've never tried. Which makes me great for a romp but terrible for a relationship. I still prefer the softness and sexiness of women. I like the way they smell and how they feel. I like the way they taste and how they sound. 

As a general rule I have a strong preference for partners who are older than me. They’re more experienced, more mature, more fun. The relationship usually lasts longer because I spend less time being ticked off at how immature they are. Can my partners be silly? Sure. Can I tolerate a gross lack of life experience? Not really. I’m not patient enough. The largest age difference I have had with a sex partner is about 18 years. The largest difference in a person I was dating, 5 years. Emotionally maturity doesn't always equate to sexual maturity, mind, but it does help. It also means that my partners are less likely to equate sex with love (not the same thing) and they're willing to approach it with a sense of humor and lightness. I was talking to a friend the other day and I mentioned that I really like having a sex partner who doesn't mind that it can be messy, awkward, loud and strange sometimes. I like a partner who will have fun with me. Sex can be all those things and still be sexy- or at least I think so. 

I want to leave these next questions here where you can see them, because they just seem odd to talk about without them there:
Have you ever liked one of your best friends? Have you ever liked someone who your friends hated? Have you ever liked someone you didn't expect to?  Have you ever wanted someone you couldn't have?

The answer is, yes, I've liked one of my best friends. I ended up marrying the person I like and admire most in the world. She is my best friend. I like hanging out with her. I like talking to her. She understands me in ways other people don’t and that was true before we ever dated. I always say make it a policy to be friends with your lovers, that way you have more than sex in common. It makes the relationship - and the sex- better.  I have dated someone that my friends didn't like and as a rule, they were right about them. Especially the last one. He was a douche. I don't always listen, but if everyone I know dislikes my partner, something is probably wrong. Yes, every now and again who I am attracted to will surprise me. Hell, look at my “would” list- I would have never predicted Howard Stern would make it…eh, it happens. My tastes are fairly eclectic, and I find so many different things appealing that I'll on occasion startle myself. In real life I am generally less surprised by my predilections. As a general rule I don’t hang out with people who disgust me, most of my friends are good looking (I’m the ugly duckling) and they’re all intelligent, compassionate people. The fact that in the past I've looked at some of my friends and been attracted to them is never a surprise to me. And yes, absolutely, a thousand times over, I have had desire for someone I can’t have. I think that’s part of the human experience. It’s frustrating beyond all measure, especially when its someone you care about, but sometimes you put on your big girl panties and suck it up- there’s nothing to be done.  

I can usually make it about ten seconds kissing before my hands start roaming unless the person kissing me is holding them and even then it won’t last more than thirty seconds. I’m a tactile person. If you’re teasing me by holding my hands in place I end up touching with other parts of my body and it’s all over from there. If I’m being intimate with you, you have to be prepared for me to want to touch you all over.  Don't get me wrong, if all you want is a good make out session, I can sign up for that...but that doesn't mean I'm putting my hands on your shoulders and being a good girl. I don't think I know how. 

 My longest relationship lasted almost 6 years. I have every faith that Kitten and I are going the distance on our marriage and there’s no change that 6 will be my max. I’m willingly working on a life sentence. I would mention, however, that I think quality of relationship has nothing to do with length. 

 I've “dated” (and by date I mean sleep with over a period of time and maintained a close, emotional relationship with a person) probably 5 women and 4 men. I have slept with probably (and I’m guesstimating here, because I’m not willing to sit and tote up all my conquests, its taxing) 15-20 men, 3 M to F transsexuals, 1 F to M trans, and about 20-25 women. Of those, only about 6 of those were one night stands and the numbers jump a bit because I have been involved in several (I hate this term) “group” interactions.  I've had a lot of partners I will never forget but I think sometimes it’s more upsetting to think of how many I could recognize by face but not remember their names. Every now and again one will pop up in my mind and I'm like, crap, how did I forget them the last time I thought to count?

8 facts about my body:
I have a 36” inseam
My teeth are crooked but I like them because I have fangs
 My feet are a little warped because of all the years of ballet.
A majority of my tattoos are on my back
I wear glasses most of the time, my eyes are very weak.
I have a 34” bust and a 32" waist
I wear my nails long
Despite the fact I am relatively soft around the middle, I have very prominent hip bones.

 Five Ways to Win My Heart (excluding the obvious, which is to be Kitten):
Be honest with me all the time
Pet me- I like to be touched. It’s comforting to me. I like my partners to make me feel safe
Don’t be afraid to laugh, to laugh with me, to be silly or to play
Pay attention to the things I say
Know what you’re doing in the bedroom.

 This is what I look like (as of a month ago)

This is how I see myself.(Obviously, this photo has been doctored)

The first thing I notice about a person is their smile (or their mouth, if they aren't smiling). The way a person smiles and how their mouth moves says a lot to me. After that, it’s their eyes. I don't have a preference, really. Or I should say, I love brown eyes but I have predominantly been with people who have blue (maybe my part of the country?) Again, its not so much the color as the depth of the eyes and what's behind them. Beyond that, it’s usually how tall they are and what they smell like. I’m a sucker for someone who smells good.  I don't care about height so much. History indicates I like short women (most of mine have been 5'2" or less) and tall men (most have been 6' or taller) but if you look at my would list you'll notice some tall women and some very small men. As for smell, I'm super sensitive. If you're wearing too much cologne it turns me off. I love the natural smell of a person. I guess, technically, I mean how you smell when you've been active. Like, you're gym smell. Though most people have a softer version of that when they aren't running a marathon, and that's usually what I notice. I've known some people whose natural pheromones made me absolutely nuts any time they were near me. 

My definition of sex depends on whether I’m with a male or a female. For me, sex is about the most intimate common physical act that you’re capable of, involving the genitals. For sex with a man, that means penetration. For a woman, that means some version of oral sex and/or touching. Everything else is either (less) foreplay or (more) special favors/preferences.

Things that turn me off or things I won’t do in general: watersports of any kind- just the mention of it freaks me out, humiliation (NOT the same as domination), lack of consent/forcing, cutting, cockiness- I don’t like partners who think their god’s gift, the sound of the phone ringing if it’s in the room, animals in the room (the cats ALWAYS go out- there’s nothing that kills the act faster than a cold nose on your leg during), food in the bedroom, boy/daddy style role play, baby voices, extreme cold

 Things that turn me on or things I generally like: kissing- lots and lots of kissing, innuendo, extended foreplay, petting, teasing, leather, playful pain (i.e. spanking, swatting, crops), light BDSM, when my partner is vocal, laughter, backs, necks, long fingers, touching “non-traditional” erogenous zones- wrists and palms, having my back touched/licked/bitten, light biting in general, warmth, anything tactile, watching my partner (mirrors are fun), wet skin (just out of shower/pool), latex, if you have scars I like to touch them (note I don’t say I want you to have them, just if I notice them), tattoos, my partner smelling good, when my partner tastes either sweet (like fruit) or like alcohol- but not the heavy fumes, just like, the light taste of beer or a cocktail.  

As a general rule I am not too terribly superficial about my partners. I do, however, require them to have all of their teeth. For some reason lack of teeth bothers me. I don’t mind curvy partners.  Height or lack of doesn't bother me. Yeah, I require teeth and you can’t be stupid. Those are automatic nos.

I would be willing to date someone off the internet, though I think that would require some prerequisites. For example, if I was getting a date from a website, I’d probably ask for a double date first with a couple I knew, so I could feel safe. If it were someone I met online I would want to have known them for a while. Confirmed identity and stuff like that. Otherwise, I don’t see what’s wrong with it. I wouldn't exclusively date ON the internet, meaning, I would like to see them in the flesh. Sex-scyping or whatever wouldn't be enough for an actual relationship, I think. 

Right. There's the NSFW version of about me. As always, questions and comments are welcome. I'm an open book. Not to mention, I've always liked writing about sex. It makes me happy. (no, as a general rule it doesn't turn me on.)

Happy Playing,

Wake Up In The Morning Feeling Like P-Diddy

So, I've been trying to blog more lately, and I've discovered sometimes I just don't have a whole lot I feel would be interesting to say. Normally my go-to would be a survey and I know how boring those are. So I thought I would look at some survey questions and just write about them so you get more than my general two word, to the point answer. 

This edition is totally family friendly. I will be posting another one shortly that is not- you can avoid it if you like. As always, if you actually have something you would like me to blog about or tell you about I totally will, you just have to tell me.  

I’m a neo-pagan. More specifically an eclectic neo-pagan witch. My religion is very important to me, and I’ve spent a lot of time talking about it. If you look for the Witch 101 and 102 posts you can read more about it. I’m always open to answering questions about my faith, as long as they’re respectful. 

My current URL is a play off of the title of my original blog. My first blog was called “Alecya G’s Plastic Castle.” The title was a throwaway reference to a line in the song “Little Plastic Castle” by Ani DiFranco:
They say goldfish have no memories. I guess their lives are much like mine; and the little plastic castle is a surprise every time. It’s hard to say if they’re happy, but they don’t seem much to mind…

At the time it was really indicative of my state of mind. Over the years, I think we can all agree I’ve evolved into a much happier person.  As I evolved and changed, so did what I wanted from my blog. When I ended my last relationship and my ex was a little bit stalking, I ended up moving URLs for a fresh start. Plastic Castle Tours is my attempt at a nod to who I was and what I want for myself. I’m inviting you to explore my life and my perspective. It was also the first time on my blog I was willing to acknowledge my actual first name, though I still answer to Alecya, even in real life. 

Speaking of nicknames, Alecya, my alter-ego, is probably my longest running nickname, if you can call it that. Originally she represented the side of my personality that was highly sexual, confident and content with who she was. Over the years, that part of my personality has become dominant enough that I don’t really think of that name as an alter-ego. It’s more like an avatar. Every now and again the frightened girl I was intrudes on the life of the woman I am now, but it’s not very often. Incidentally, it is pronounced Uh-Lee-See-Uh. I’ll answer to Panther, which is what most of my friends refer to me by. Kitten gave me that nickname. Other than that, I haven’t a lot of nicknames. I have a few pet names from people whom I am close to, but those are one or two person use only. 

Whenever I am stressed I like to take baths rather than showers. I especially like listening to the radio while I’m in. It’s a good time. I don’t normally put bubbles in, just because the smell is pretty overwhelming and I forget to enjoy myself because I’m too busy messing with the bubbles. I do like a tension relieving bath salt, though. 

I used to dye my hair all the time. I have since I was about 15. Right now my hair is 100% my natural color. That is totally not normal. I’ve been contemplating going back to black or dark brown again, that’s how I see myself in my mind’s eye. 

I like soups better that I like salads. I will eat soup any time of year, including when it’s over a hundred degrees outside. I adore that Kitten makes great soups. My favorite is called 86 the Bean and it tastes like ham and bean soup only there’s potatoes and carrots instead of beans. I don’t know how she does  it but I love it. It is a nice spicy soup and it always makes me feel better about life.   

I don’t go out drinking like I used to. This is mostly because I’ve turned into a home body. I can have a nice glass of wine or scotch at home and not have to cope with strangers. We also get up early, so staying out until 2 am is just too much. I’d rather have my friends over for a game of cards and get to bed at a decent hour.  

I mentioned this earlier this week, but I quit smoking recently. I’m really proud of that. As of this week I’ll have stopped for two months. Habit officially broken. I don’t even have cravings anymore. 

I’ve only ever smoked weed a few times and I didn’t like it. Once I got seriously sick. The rest of the time I didn’t feel much. I did have once where I was high, but it’s not really a PG story, so I’ll let that one be. I’ve always said that if I wanted to be hungry or sleepy I could do that on my own. Now, I don’t condemn people who use it medically, and as long as you’re away from me I don’t care if you do it recreationally, but it’s not for me.  

I used to do hard drugs, but I’ve been clean 12 years now. I don’t have any desire to do them again and it’s a really quick way to get me to stop spending time with you. I don’t like being exposed to it, and I don’t like what it does to people. I’ll always be dogmatic about that.  

I love falling asleep with other people, especially cuddling. It doesn’t have to be a romantic or sex thing. If I am comfortable enough to sleep near you, or close to you, or in your arms/space/lap then I like you a lot and it’s a compliment from me. I feel the same way about people I will let take care of me when I’m sick, because you’re seeing me at my worst and I am really, really vain. 

I don’t sing in the shower but I do listen to the radio. I always like music when I’m in the bathroom. Even when I’m meditating (yes, I meditate in the bath sometimes) I enjoy a little white noise. It helps me to focus. My bathroom is too small and the acoustics too good for me to sing, it upsets the cats and the girls always come running thinking I need them for something. I will, however, sing in the car. I will also dance in the car. Driving or no. The girls get a kick out of this thing I do we call “kitty karaoke” and its when I sing to the radio using cat meows and such. They always laugh, which is why I keep it up, even when other cars are staring at the lights. 

Yesterday I went to the flea market with Bobcat. We had a good time. We picked out antique furniture that we loved. I found a watch fob from the 1800’s that I was in love with, but couldn’t afford the $100 price tag on. I did purchase a set of WWII Paratrooper jump wings. My grandfather was a paratrooper and it meant a lot to me to find that. 

I have never fired a bow and arrow. I do know how to fire a gun and I am fairly handy with a knife. Okay, for most people I’m pretty scary with a knife. I would like to learn archery, but I have zero upper body strength and I’m pretty sure you need a lot of it to be any good at it. 

So there you have it, a brief and somewhat informative about me.