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I am Not Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl: my guilty pleasure.

Sung to the tune of I’m so Superman (theme song to Scrubs). I’m no Gossip Girl.

GGSomeone once questioned why we call it “guilty pleasure.” Why should one be guilty for enjoying something they love? They’re right.

Before I begin, I have to warn you that there are major spoilers ahead. I am going to reveal the ending.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***

Gossip Girl is about rich spoiled brats who scheme with and against their on/off friends and significant others and outsiders. The characters are terrible people, but they have depth, and the soap opera twists are good.

I started it in high school and just now finished it (my high school graduation was 2008). I loved the show then, and I love it now. Why am I writing my post about Gossip Girl? Because Dan Humphrey (a character who is a writer) and the stories around him inspired me to get back into writing, and I have delved in deeper than I had hoped into my potential story for NaNoWriMo 2017. That makes it about writing and thus, the post belongs here.

But this isn’t a review because I watch Gossip Girl for the pretty people. This is me appreciating how ingeniously twisted the whole thing was and wondering how I didn’t see it coming. Granted, I am not one to attempt to predict the endings, so I wouldn’t know if some subconscious part of me did see it coming. Although even up to the very last second of mystery, I thought it was someone else. And to be honest, I don’t think I ever cared who Gossip Girl was; I really was just watching pretty people plot revenge.

That all is just an excuse for me not foreseeing the ending. DUH! Dan’s a writer! And this post is an excuse for me to procrastinate without feeling guilty because I am technically still writing.

And it’s based on a book series which I don’t plan on reading because I’d rather watch pretty actors play petty than read about it petty teenage characters. Again, still relevant to this blog; it involves books.

***SPOILER: I am also going to SPOIL Bones ***

TV shows are good for my writing. For example Bones was a big inspiration for my 2013 NaNo novel. In 2015 I was still watching Bones, and one of the new characters became an inspiration for my NaNo 2015 character. And in between, watching Bones helped me get back into editing the 2013 novel.

While I’m reviewing TV shows, that last season of Bones was a let down. I love that show, and that last story line let me down. I really wanted Zack to be as convoluted as you thought he was going to be in the first episode of the last season.

One small story line from Smallville has inspired my upcoming 2017 novel. I’m not taking a whole story; just a premise that is probably not original to Smallville: memory wiping. I hope it will be grand in my novel.

My Hopes and Dreams

I want to collect art and throw parties and tell people about the painter. *Cue snobby rich person accent* “Sir Charlie Rosenburg. Did you know he’s an American? How did he get to be called ‘Sir’ you ask? Well he got one million likes on his post, and parliament had to knight him. And that was just one million followers from England alone. This painting is of his dog who he calls Sir Mumford. He knighted the dog himself.”

I want to donate to and foster homeless dogs.

How will I do that? Write one best selling novel after another. Or get discovered from this blog and do a million little writing projects for pay. Or keep dreaming.

I hope you’ll love me (my writing).

XOXO,
Gossip Girl (Not)

Random thought: Gossip Girl but with dogs.

Spotted, Reese the chocolate lab and Champ the stray mutt sniffing butts. Reese had his collar on, but where was his human?

Unfinished YA Novels

Blue is for Nightmare series by Laurie Faria Stolarz is basically Gossip Girl with witchcraft and murder. I like Gossip Girl, the TV show, but it’s not something I want to read. Witchcraft and murder I want to read about.

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I finished the first and second book because for a long time I only had the second and third book. When I finally found the books I needed to complete the series, it seemed like such a waste not to read them all. I did not finish book three, and I don’t plan to finish the series.

Each book in the series is a cookie cutter of the last. She introduces a couple new characters, but they are the same stories with different symptoms of the same problem: figuring out who is going to kill who and how with witchcraft and home remedies she learned from her grandmother.

Even in one individual book, the character goes through the same thing over and over in different locations and it gets tiring to read.

There’s a pro to the big con. Stolarz writes a mean drum roll (reference I took from How I Met Your Mother’s Victoria) to a kiss: the anticipation, the teenage tension.

Hero by Perry Moore gave me a chapter and a half, and I was done. According to the book jacket, the main character is the son of a disgraced superhero and is invited to join a league of superheroes but must keep the fact that he has powers from his dad.

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The first couple of pages were interesting enough. Why does everyone avoid his dad? Ooh, he has a power, and he’s using it. Interesting stuff and then the opposing basketball team calls the character out for being gay. It’s not that the character is gay that I have a problem with but how heavy handed the prose was. The more I read, the more I could feel an agenda being pushed.

It reminded me of the episodes of Glee that focused on Kurt Hummel and his father not being able to accept that he was gay. Heart wrenching stuff, and I like Glee.

I don’t like that it felt forced into the story of Hero.

As much as I love cheap books, maybe they’re on the sales carts for a reason…

Comment on Young Adult Novels:

I think as a teenager, I may have enjoyed reading the books I mentioned above as they are categorized as “young adult.” Does that make my older adult judgement unfair?

Good writing should appeal to everyone. For example, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” a series I loved in the fourth grade and have recently reread them and still love to this day. Another example is Harry Potter, a young adult series loved by ALL.

Current Projects:

I am currently reading a book that is tougher to read on the go.

And around this time of year, everything gets jumbled up into one big ball of projects in my head: Halloween, NaNoWriMo, AND Christmas ornament painting!

Recent Addiction & Projects

Titus

I had a temporary addiction to autobiographies/memoirs written by celebrities like:

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  • The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
  • Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I don’t know if they’re technically supposed to be called memoirs or autobiographies, but I couldn’t stop reading them. It’s almost like hanging out with them. But I also have to question whether they actually wrote it or if a ghost did it for them. That’s a writing joke: ghost writer. Get it?

Anyway, I usually pick up the ones I “know,” as in, I’m familiar with a lot of their work i.e. I love everything they appear in. It started with Bossypants by Tina Fey because I think she started this trend, and a friend from film club raved about it, and he was right to.

My most recent readings have been Mindy Kaling’s two books. I like her and many of the celebrities I’ve chosen to read because I have confidence that they wrote their own books because they are writers of their shows or material (i.e. Lindsey Stirling and her music composition).

My latest obsession: The Mindy Project which is the reason I picked up Mindy Kaling’s books, and I regret nothing! I loved them. She is my spirit celebrity (like spirit animal). Basically her new famous take on life is pretty much how I would respond to being famous. How I wish McDonald’s would gift me with their gift cards themselves!

My Own Projects

Speaking of memoirs, lets talk about mine! Just kidding! but I would like to take some time to talk a little about my current projects.

I opened up a document from Jamie and Ryan, my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel the other day, and I wrote about a sentence and a half. Since reading about military dogs and gaining a job working with service dogs, I have added a service dog to that story.

A few days later, I remapped some of the story scenes, but the story is changing for the umpteenth time. I’ve even played with the idea of using this new version for NaNo this year, but I want to work on it now, so I will still need to find a new NaNo.

Excuses for my Lack of Progress 

  • New job to prove myself worthy in
  • Still working old TV job
  • Watching Smallville and other shows via Netflix AND Hulu
  • The new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I didn’t think I would have the time for a while, but I’ve picked up a fiction book again. I finally found the first book to a series where I only owned the middle two our of the four. They’re not clearly marked, and I bought them from a Borders’s closing sale.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep to my biweekly routine, but I sure will try.

Chairs Are Where the People Go

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Written by Misha Glouberman and Sheila Heti. Heti basically wrote things Glouberman said. And Glouberman sounds like a shy person’s worst nightmare but could also be the best thing to happen to that person. He’s like the camp counselor that makes everyone participate, and if you don’t volunteer, you’ll get called on.

This book is on my Literary Disco reading list, and it is not a novel but more of a philosophical self-help book. It contains the philosophies of Misha Glouberman and some of his takes on how to approach different social situations in a big city.

I would not have normally picked out this book, but it reads a lot like some of the books I’ve read written by celebrities like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and I loved those. It’s like the author is talking to you, and you’re enjoying the conversation. Even though I have no idea who Glouberman is, I enjoyed the conversation.

Some of it anyway. As someone who is not a big fan of socializing with strangers, Glouberman lost my interest, and I stopped reading. I felt like he was saying the same thing but in different situations. It was all about getting involved in social things and talking to people. This book put a new perspective on things for me. It’s a good argument for being social and networking, but not enough for me to change my personal life.

There was an interesting chapter about how artists like him that might be known in their towns and in the town paper are not actually making as much money as everyone thinks they are just because they’re known. He makes a good point. The cheap tickets to see a certain artist are good for us but not the artist, and if you want to support them, you got to spend money on their expensive merchandise. Interesting dilemma, huh?

Besides that, I didn’t get a lot out of the book besides being able to feel like I’m in the Literary Disco book club.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

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Number one of a series by Max Wirestone. It made me laugh and surprised me, but I’m not in love with it.

The word “unfortunate” caught my eye because I walked into Half Price Books looking to complete my “unfortunate” series. And then I saw the D20 die. That’s when I picked it up and found the back of the book to be pretty funny, and it was all too relate-able.

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“Salary Desired: Desperately, yes.”

You read the back of the book in the photo above. It’s a quirky mystery novel. Dahlia Moss has an in-game mystery and a real-life mystery to solve. It immediately reminded me of The Guild with Felicia Day (on Netflix, for now- go watch it!).

This is an easy on-the-go book. I don’t know the genre of this book because I found it on display surrounded by other Mother’s Day themed books and goodies, but it reads a lot like a young adult novel (probably mature young adult; the F bomb is dropped and sex is implied).

I have mixed feelings about this novel. My overall judgement is that I enjoyed reading it, but I wouldn’t necessarily say, “You absolutely have to read this!” I enjoyed it because I have a lot of gamer friends, so I got a lot of the jokes and references she made, and they made me laugh. On the downside, if you know nothing about gaming in any form, it can go over your head, and there’s a lot of it.

The character, Dahlia Moss was not as relate-able as I would have liked. Yes, she’s broke, but she’s lucky enough to have a friend to let her live with her rent-free who also knows people who have thousands of dollars to hand out to strangers? Okay, so having a generous friend is not that unlikely, but this roommate is also swimming in money and blowing it on schemes that characters on Disney Channel would pull. Dahlia Moss gets unrealistically lucky. Her generous roommate is also made to be too out there to relate. She’s a funny character and I liked her, but it was too much for me to believe. There wasn’t much back story as to why these two were the way they were or how they clicked so well as friends. I wish there was more to it.

I spotted more than a few typos (is editing a job anymore?), specifically missing words like “the” or “a,” so I filled in the blanks and moved on. This isn’t anything against the author because I can understand being your own editor; that’s why I wonder if Mr. Wirestone had an editor or if editors even exist anymore.

The story took a crazy turn though, and my ears perked up like my chihuahua mix when she hears the rustling of plastic. Good crazy stuff. The motivation, to me, was a little shaky though.

Half way through the book, I joined Goodreads and found that it is #1 of a trilogy. See what I mean when I say I get myself trapped in series a lot (see homepage)? After having finished this book, I’m thinking it’s not a sequential trilogy but more of a “same character, same universe, different story.” I can’t decide if I want to put in the work to look for it and then wait for another one to come out. I don’t have to read the rest of the series now, but half of me is curious enough to want to eventually get a hold of the rest.

This one, The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss could stand alone though. It ended without a cliffhanger, and it didn’t have the pages in the end that suggested I continue and “read the next book.”

Meeting the Author: Soldier Dogs

In this post:

  1. A short review (spoiler: it’s about dogs – it’s a good one).
  2. How down-to-Earth and cool Goodavage is. I now understand the meaning of “down-to-Earth.”
  3. The story of how I almost missed out but didn’t. Thank you to a good friend Erika for texting me about it, and thank you to the boyfriend Jason for doing the research and finding that dogs were involved and for joining me on my adventure.
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Getting my book autographed by the author, Maria Goodavage, and chit chatting about guide dogs!

This was just going to be a small mention; I finally finished this book that I got a few years ago on sale! Obviously, it has to be an entire post since I MET THE AUTHOR! Shout out to the volunteer who let me in the line without having a receipt since I brought my book from home. Thank you kind one!

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This was the picture I was going to use in this small mention. Training and obedience: Soldier dogs vs. one of my dogs.

THE BOOK: SOLDIER DOGS

Fun fact that I’ve told everyone that would listen since I read about it at the beginning of this book: the first military dog was a stray pit bull smuggled on board by a soldier, and that pit bull (without former training) saved a lot of human lives.

The title says it all. This book is about dogs in the military. She starts off with some history of when the military started using dogs. Then it delves into the training of the dogs and the training of the dog handlers (the humans). This book also includes some of the handlers’ stories fighting wars with their soldier dogs. Read the book for details!

If you couldn’t already tell, I am a huge fan of dogs. I am not a fan of dogs not making it. Reading a book about dogs fighting wars: what was I thinking? But I like that it was not sugar coated. She is honest about the intense training these dogs have to go through as well as what they go through in deployment. She assures us positive reinforcement is used in training, but it’s also the military; they’re fighting a war alongside their human!

I have a new-found fascination with service animals. Soldier Dogs is an informative and interesting read, It can also be heart wrenching, so be prepared!

Until this event, I had no idea she had other books, and I have promptly added to them on my list despite being a non-fan of dogs losing their lives, but that is a part of life, and I am fascinated by the work they do. And Goodavage’s Soldier Dogs has proven to be well-researched and well-written, and my appreciation for her work has grown since I met her and seen for myself how genuine she is. You don’t get a lot of that in famous people.

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Now added to my list.

THE AUTHOR: MARIA GOODAVAGE

They say “Don’t meet your heroes.”

Quick tangent: I could be wrong, but I think “hero” in this saying is a Hollywood celebrity. I consider writers to be celebrities. Not that Goodavage couldn’t be my hero but because it doesn’t feel like the right word to use. That doesn’t mean I think of her as less than a hero; it’s just not a fitting word. I admire her work. I look up to her.

Anyway, if we ignore the misfitted word, 2/3 times I have found that that saying is sound advice. But this is the 1/3 time that my hero did not disappoint. She is an amazing lady. As I said in the beginning, she is the meaning of down-to-Earth, surprisingly so. I knew the expression before, but I have pin-pointed the meaning of that word now.

I say surprisingly so because if I had her level of security clearance, I would be so smug about it. I also do not have years of success behind me, so any bit of success would give me an ego like Kanye.

I hope to cross paths with her again in less fan-girl-like circumstances. Maybe we’re authors at the same event. Or she’s doing another book, and I happen to be a dog handler.

HOW I ALMOST MISSED OUT BUT DIDN’T

I was at work at 6 AM, and got home a little after 9 AM and climbed into bed after taking the pups out for their potty breaks. I work in news, and a book festival was mentioned on the show, so I took note of it. It would be going on until 5, so I thought, maybe I’ll check it out after my post-morning-shift nap. It was also Downtown, so half of me did not want to deal with the immense amount of people and car traffic on a Saturday afternoon.

I was all curled up and ready to nap when I got a text that I considered not looking at, but I had to because it’s in my nature to not leave things hanging in the air. It was bugging me, not knowing who it was, what it was about. This is the aforementioned text from Erika. Thank you!

This made me think about it more. She was right to think that this would interest me. This would also interest my boyfriend, so I told him about it and “suggested” he do some research to see if he’d like to go. Being that we’re perfect for each other, he was on the same boat in that we did not want to fight crowds Downtown.

We were on the same boat until he found a panel about dogs in the secret service. What made my ears perk up was the fact that puppies were going to be at this panel. What made me jump out of bed and run to the closet to change was the name of the woman doing the panel: Maria Goodavage! SHE WROTE SOLDIER DOGS! I JUST FINISHED THAT BOOK! I HAVE TO GO! I would have driven over road blocks and people to get there if my boyfriend had not decided that he loved me enough to drive me safely to the San Antonio Book Festival and stand by my side as I fight crowds to meet the woman who has my dream job.

The Adulting AP Test

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Remember those things that got us out of taking certain college courses if we got a decent score? Anyway, this is more of a discussion on Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown.

First, I highly recommend this book unless you have 100% of your shit together which I highly doubt is possible. Even if you have a good 80% of shit together, it still makes for a funny and entertaining read.

On with my thoughts on the book.

While some of the stuff is pretty common sense stuff and some things I’m just too lazy to care to do, it was still an amusing read. I love her financial zoo, which is a helpful section. I enjoyed the fact that she’s a hip hop fan and found lyrics for every occasion (that’s not to say there are hip hop lyrics on every page, but when they pop up, it makes me happy to be reading the book).

It’s entertaining and easy to read. Adulting made easy. Take it with you where ever you go, but I recommend reading this book at home because it is a good motivator. All I wanted to do was adult all day as I read this book.

I think I started with a decent score before starting this book, but I am older than twenty three, the age of which this book seems to assume the reader is. Here are things that make one an adult (according to the book) that I already do:

  • I budget and am financially aware despite still being as poor as I was when I first got out of college.
  • I maintain my car okay.
  • I don’t drink and party like an under-aged teenager.
  • I can cook enough to survive, but don’t ask me to cook for you; you’ll find it bland or over-salted (I never seem to get it right).

Since I wasn’t reading this book fresh out of college, some of it felt like, “Geeze, Mom, I know, I know!” Nonetheless, she’s a funny writer, and I quite enjoyed reading her words.

Not so fun fact: She was a twenty seven year old journalist when she wrote the book, and I was a twenty seven year old news production assistant when I read this book. Ahh! What am I doing with my life? 

There was one good piece of advice that I question. Does anyone ever get to check the apartment that they will actually be moving into before signing a lease for a complex? In my experience, I was never guaranteed the apartment they had me look at, and I didn’t get to see my apartment until I signed the lease. Then I would turn in the inventory sheet that tells them everything that’s wrong with the place, but I would still be legally stuck living in it. But if you can see the apartment beforehand, it is sound advice.

Besides the financial zoo, I enjoyed the “circle of concern vs. circle of action,” so I made my own. Basically, try not to stress too much about what you can’t control (circle of concern), and take action when it comes to things you can control (action).

Concern vs Action

The book is full of wise words like these, and I think everyone should read it. I learned a lot, and I feel more motivated to be an adult.

Some discussion questions she provided (quoted exactly) and my answers:

  • What is your biggest adult failure to date? Be honest. Did it involve coconut-flavored rum? It did, didn’t it? Oh, coconut rum.
    • A lot of failures involved alcohol, but no, I think even worse than any of that was not knowing at all what to do when one gets in a car accident regarding the person who hit me and the insurance companies. Minor detail now, but man was I so stupid then (does this count because I was still in college, but I was also pretending I was capable of adulthood?).
  • If you had a pet zebra, what would you name him? Here’s a few to get you started: Edwin Brewster, Senor Stripes, Karen, Pickles, Trotters.
    • ZZ Stripes
    • Striper Z
  • Name one thing you overlooked before you signed a lease for an apartment that you really, really wish you hadn’t?
    • It’s not so bad, but I tend to overestimate how big a square foot is, so this little studio space is a lot less than I thought.
  • Name some other things crazy people do, then write a one-act play that includes all of them.
    • I cannot think of anything currently, but I definitely want to get to this in another blog post.

Submergence by J.M. Ledgard

20170315_110806.jpgThis one is a Literary Disco read, and I’m writing my review before I listen to the podcast. There will be some note comparisons throughout this post.

I jumped in without having read any summary of it, but here’s mine: Submergence is a narrative of a man in British intelligence and a European woman scientist both thousands of miles apart and remembering their chance encounter with each other while contemplating many mysteries of the universe and life itself.

I was submerged (see what I did there?).

While I like a story where the characters have a goal, and there are actions toward that goal, this narrative was still a good, thought-provoking read, and I could not put it down. It’s plot-less said Todd from Literary Disco, that’s it. Reflective facts are all over this book, but there is no moving plot.

Its flash backs and flash forwards between each character’s respective locations reminded me of the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Lost, and I love those. I didn’t love this book, but liked reading it.

The matter-of-fact sentences regarding their actions reminded me of The Stranger. “He did this.”

“She moved here and did this.” Also reminded me of my own dull writing (not to self: fix it!).

However, that is not how the whole book reads. The words were descriptive in their imagery, and Ledgard made such good use of sensory words. I could smell and see the gross conditions of the prison a character is trapped in; I would not eat and read this novel at the same time. While it was more of a reflection rather than an action filled story with a clear goal, I was still immersed in the world of these characters as they reflected on their lives and the lives beyond their’s.

I enjoyed James’ narrative as a prisoner of war because it gave me some insights on extremism and the environment of a war zone in third world countries.

I enjoyed that Danny was a strong and self-confident female character, but she was a snob, and she admits it, and I’ll be honest, that annoyed me. She went on about her work to James, but when he talked about something, she didn’t even pretend to care about his subject.

Rider from Literary Disco makes a good point, and I agree that the characters are difficult to relate to because they are wealthy people, so I didn’t really care what happened to them. I was reading more for the oceanographic insights.

Good intellectual book, but don’t expect a conclusive ending. According to Todd on Literary Disco, someone died, and I must have completely missed something which will tell you more than this written review can I guess. I was submerged, but apparently I did not even care enough about the characters to realize someone died.

I am fascinated by the ocean, so if you’re like me, it’s not a bad read. Some of the facts about the ocean and the environment read more like a textbook which could be bad or good depending who you are. Like I said, I am fascinated by the ocean, so it did not bother me much.

It bothered me a little that there were no chapters, and that’s just a personal preference. I like my stopping points to be on new pages. There are stopping points; just separated by squiggly lines in the middle of the page. It gets a little confusing keeping track of the narratives, especially when I spread out my reading across a few days.

I did enjoy this little comment on Americans, and I myself am guilty of being proud of some of my accomplishments and parading a “badge” of my profession (mainly free t-shirts).

“The Americans were more congratulatory… There was a pressure on American boats to purchase ugly expedition T-shirts… as if a badge was needed to prove that you had touched the ocean and partaken in your own profession” (139).

And I leave you here with that. Next read, next project, I don’t know. Until next time.

 

 

Unfortunately Fortunate

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I have finally completely finished A Series of Unfortunate Events: a feat I have attempted many times since I fell in love with the very first book as a child. Such misery and darkness, it was great!  A feat the first time because it was a book on my teacher’s shelf that I could not take home with me. A feat the second because I still did not have the books and was borrowing them from the library one at a time, and then I got distracted.

I still can’t believe they are children’s books, but that they are, which made it easy to read on the job. If you’re looking for something that can easily be read while surrounded by distractions like on a bus or in a meeting, this is the series for you. Even if you’re not surrounded by distractions, read the series. But as the author warns you throughout the pages, it is full of misery, and he is right. I nearly cried, so be prepared when jumping into these books. It’s not all sad though, there’s humor in it, and I love it! Yes, the author talks to you sometimes, so take that into consideration. I like a lot of books where either the narrator or the character talks to the reader.

As you can see from the photo above, I do not have the complete collection, and I didn’t when I started re-re-reading it. My boyfriend has a… Kindle, and I… began the re-reading on that. I know, it hurts me, but you think I could afford to buy all thirteen books? I even tried to get the books on the cheap at Half Price Books (as you can tell). We scoured Half Price Books all over the city, and they seem to only go up to the tenth book (conspiracy! or it’s gained popularity because of Netflix). I read what I found, and the rest, I begrudgingly read on the Kindle.

An unfortunate event happened on my travels that led to something fortunate. While I packed physical books on my trip, one day, I only took the Kindle out with me with the intention of reading The Series of Unfortunate Events on the bus. But it was not there. I don’t know what happened. I fell asleep watching Netflix on it; maybe I accidentally deleted it all in my sleep. I still don’t know what happened, but I knew then that I was right to begrudgingly succumb to the technology.

e-reader

Despite my grudge against the Kindle erasing the books I wanted to read, I did fortunately, find something else to read that did not get deleted: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which was funny but something I would much rather read in book form in a quiet space. I found out later that it is only book one of a series (I seem to get myself trapped in series a lot). I finished the first book, and it definitely is not a stand-alone, but it made me laugh and distracted me from the fact that my reading of Unfortunate Series was interrupted again. Once I finish the Hitchhiker’s series, that will need its own post.

Final thoughts on the Kindle:

Pros (UGH!):

  • Travel (even though I still pack physical books)
  • Readable in low light like when you’re on a plane and don’t want to disturb your sleeping neighbor or when the lights at work suck
  • It’s easy to disguise the fact that I am reading on the job because I don’t have to hold it, and I can easily tell corporate that whatever is on the screen is for work

Cons:

  • Technology is finicky: Like when the Unfortunate Series disappeared from the system
  • Staring at the screen even when it’s unlit hurts my eyes
  • It is not a book!
  • And I cannot count the pages left in a chapter

Since I’ve decided to put more commitment into this blog, I made stickers! My Treats and Sweets Fundraiser for Pet Partners is still going on, so click here and donate at least five bucks, and I will send you one of these bad boys! It’s got a dog on it; everyone loves dogs! Help me help therapy animals!

Blog Stickers

Speaking of Commitment, My Current Projects:

  • I’ve been submersed in books written by other people because my own writing is such a mess that I don’t even know how to turn it into a coherent story. Do you ever let your place just get so messy because you’re working 24 hour shifts, and when you finally have a second to look at it, you don’t want to, and by the time you decide you should clean it, it’s already time to go back to work? That’s how I feel about my writing right now.
  • I finally thought to search the public library to get a hold of Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps. I can’t say for sure, but my current plan is to write about that in my next post which will delve into my personal life a bit which includes my writing.

Comment below to let me know if anyone is out there reading my stuff. Tell me (nicely) what you dislike about how and what I write or what I am doing right here. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but I want this blog to be something.

Help me blog better!

Projects Overload

business-card-for-treats-and-sweets

My most important project right now: raising money for Pet Partners, a nation wide non-profit organization that trains and registers therapy animals and their humans. The idea is to “sell” baked goods to raise money for these animals, but I’ve been doing more of a “donate and get your prize when we both have time to schedule a pick up.”

Cupcakes (baked by and approved by me) are involved for those of you local to San Antonio or are able to make the trip at some point during this fundraiser. Find “Jess’s Treats and Sweets Fundraiser” on Facebook for updates and more details on donor goodies for those not local. To donate online, go to the website pictured above.

Next up, since I am now in the business of supporting others, I have been forced to join (correction: graciously invited to join) a podcast where we talk about all kinds of nerdy stuff, and then we get off topic and make all kinds of inappropriate jokes; it’s a wonderful time! totpodIf you listen to this podcast AND found your way to this blog or vice-versa, I will mail you a TOTPOD (Thinking Outside The POD) sticker! Just leave a comment or message me here. 

You can hear the sound of my voice here among those who graciously let me join their group. You can also follow us on Twitter @totpod which we are planning to use more often! Keeping up with this weekly podcast and talk of being more prevalent on social media has inspired me to also better keep up with this blog so that I can shamelessly plug it into the podcast. Brilliant!

The plan for Doggy Paddling Through Words: I want to update biweekly because weekly is too much for something like this, and I can’t read that fast. I’ve been reminiscent of my college film club days lately, so the plan is every other Thursday starting now. I figure I’ll alternate between book reviews and updates on my personal projects.

This makes my New Year’s resolution of disconnecting moot because how do I get this blog out there without cross promotion across all social media? And the podcast demanded I reactivate my Twitter, so I can cross promote for them as well. I should clarify, this podcast consists of my boyfriend and his two friends who have become good friends of mine, so I kid when I say things like “forced” and “demand.” The podcast is a lot of fun. Anyway, how else is an introvert supposed to gain a following for this blog if I don’t stay connected to the world without leaving my home?

So in honor of my (now moot) resolution, I went through and deactivated a lot of my online accounts. What I didn’t delete/reactivated: here’s my plug.

  • @jesswiththedogs on Instagram, lots of pictures of my dogs among other awesome things.
  • @jesswriting on Twitter which I’ve only used to distract myself during NaNoWriMo season. My boyfriend gave me a great idea for this NaNo season though, follow and stay tuned! Until then, I want to tweet clever things.
  • My personal blog on Tumblr, where I ramble about things in my life other than writing though also not kept up with very well. But my latest post is a comparison between dogs’ lives on opposite ends of the world.
  • I also kept my Youtube channel full of my stupid little films I did in college. I can tell you I don’t have much planned for this (I am thinking about it though), but I do want to do more films, so if someone has an idea or needs my help, I am all ears.
  • I also have this fairly obscure one called Listography. It is literally what is sounds like. I’ve made lists of things just for myself to remember, but if you wish to see my life in lists, here it is.
  • If you wish, you can even find me on NaNoWriMo: I am jess.szeto.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I am revisiting another old NaNo project about three different women and how their lives are connected. This one’s from 2015. That is a terrible log line, but that’s all I got right now, but here’s the cast I made up via Google images.

final-cast

And here’s a project I did finish but only the first draft: a TV job board/card game because I don’t get enough frustration at the job itself! I call it TV RPG: a card game. The cards are completed as far as what they do goes, but they still need to be tweaked and illustrated.

Next blog post should be about the unfortunate incident that led to the fortunate incident of me reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.