I don’t know what to tell you. Things are kind of terrible right now. I don’t feel like talking about it because self-pity makes me want to slap myself and my face hurts.
Dumbass things I said to my kid recently
So the other day, “other day” being a placeholder term for “a while ago but I don’t remember when,” Penelope was telling me about a kid at her daycare who is mean. Actually, this had to be quite a while ago, since Penelope no longer goes to daycare, since I had to quit my job for health reasons, which is a whole thing that falls under the “I don’t feel like talking about it” heading. Anyway, she said he’s mean because “he repeats what you say but in a mean voice.” And I told her, “Well, that’s what people do when they’re not smart enough to come up with good jokes.”
I regret that one.
Then yesterday, and I know it was yesterday because the cinnamon rolls were no good today so I fed her donuts, she says to me when I came downstairs in the morning, “I’m going to have a piece of candy, because I was supposed to have one after dinner last night but I didn’t, so I’ll have it now.”
And I told her “No, you can’t have candy for breakfast. Eat your cinnamon roll.”
“But the cinnamon roll has sugar, too.”
“Yeah, but… that’s… breakfast sugar. It’s different. Eat your cinnamon roll.”
A problem with telling the Internet things I like
Sometimes I just want to tell the Internet about a thing I bought that I like, and there is always a person who wants to shoot it down. Yeah, but it has X feature/drawback, therefore it wouldn’t work for me, therefore it’s no good.
That’s… not a thing. That’s not what I’m doing when I tell you a thing I like. I’m not reviewing shit for you like a professional… reviewest of some sort. You know, with obligations to be unbiased and think about how everyone may or may not like a thing. I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to do shit. There’s no law.
And sometimes it’s even more weird, when someone knows I own something and they’re thinking about buying a similar something or something in the same category and ask me what I think of mine, and I tell them, and then they shoot that down, or, ever weirder, tell me, “well, I’ll have to think about it,” and then I’m standing there like some kind of awkward sales person. I didn’t even know I was trying to make a sale. I was just telling you about a thing.
Relatedly, this is why I sometimes struggle with GoodReads and leaving reviews for books, because sometimes I really love something that I know, objectively, is very terrible. And sometimes I hate something that I absolutely know for sure is a good book. Just not for me. And I have to pep talk myself when I’m leaving a review sometimes, like tell myself this is not my job, this is not the NY Times. It’s a social site. People who follow me either do so because they have similar tastes or completely opposite tastes, and they want to know what I think of a book personally, because if we generally like the same books, maybe they will read it, and if they hate everything I love, then they know not to read it, and I have no actual responsibility toward the greater GoodReads audience other than to just say what I think about my personal feelings about the book. Which are sometimes – oftentimes, lately – very angry.
And while I’m talking about GoodReads, can we talk about the difference between a book review and a book report? We can all read the blurb. Just tell me what you thought about the stupid thing without giving me a plot rundown. This is not the 7th grade. I’m not going to whip out a rubric and subtract points for your inability to write a summary and note all the symbolism. Tell me: good or bad? Then I will read or not read the book, and from there, I will find out the plot points and – wait a second, I’m going to go back up to the top of this and put GoodReads in as its own heading because I have a couple more things to say. Done. Anyway. If your review starts with “Character A is a small town –” I’m already deaf. I’ve gone deaf from how bad you are at this. Internet deaf, anyway, which is probably more like blind, but not actually blind, because I still need to find the back button to nope the fuck out of what you’ve got going on here. Your review-report will make me Internet deaf. I just had to invent a thing for how much I hate review-reports.
And and and the morality police in book reviews. I think – I hope – by now, at this age, we can all understand the value of an unlikable character. I mean, there’s a line, but a character written in such a way that they’re kind of just an awful person, well. That’s a thing that books do and you don’t have to like the character for it still to be a good book. There’s that line, sure, when a character is tropey and sucky and lazily written, but that’s bad writing. A bad character is different. Same thing with questionable subject matter – you know the stuff. Just horrible things people do to each other, ugly ways people behave, things that are clearly Just Not Cool to Do in real life – all those things often go in books, too. And some people don’t enjoy those kind of things. Like you know what’s a big one on GoodReads? Cheating. A lot of people don’t like cheating in books. Even as a plot device. Even when a character is shitty and does shitty things as part of his or her clearly defined shitty character. And it’s fine to write your review and say, I didn’t like this book because I don’t generally enjoy cheating in a story line and it really ruined it for me, and that’s fine. But say you pick up some horrible thing, and the synopsis says, “Okay so there’s this dude and he kidnaps a girl off the street and he locks her up and makes her into a sex slave and he beats her every day and he’s real mean but their relationship is complex.” And you pick it up and you READ IT and then you write a review that says, “THIS BOOK WAS TERRIBLE BECAUSE THIS TERRIBLE MAN BEAT THIS GIRL AND THEN SHE LOVED HIM IN THE END WHAT EVEN THE FUCK ZERO STARS.” Excuse me ma’am what did you think you were about to read?
Or or or take my second favorite trope – obsessive romance between kind of shitty damaged people. (My first favorite trope of all time is the standard Harlequin romance “there’s a misunderstanding that could be explained in five minutes but the noble lady refuses to explain to save face and lets the dude go on with his misconceptions and they break up and she keeps her chin up bravely but then he finds out he was wrong and there’s a triumphant tearful reunion” and I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING I WILL READ THAT SHIT TIL THE END OF TIME.) One of my favorite books in this second favorite trope is called Beautiful Disaster. And so many of the reviews harp on how terrible it is that these two are so obsessed with each other, what a sign of danger it is that the dude loses his shit when he thinks she left him, how irresponsible of the author to write such terrible role models and whoa hold up. You’re going to give a book a negative review not because you didn’t enjoy it – which, fine, if you didn’t, BUT YOU’RE WRONG TRAVIS MADDOX IS THE BEST – but because you feel the author has somehow failed in her duty to the youth of America? That’s not… that’s not a thing. It’s your job as an adult in a young person’s life to make sure they understand the difference between fact and fiction, between enjoying entertainment and living it out, between right and wrong, between being a decent human being and someone who writes shitty reviews on GoodReads. That’s on you. Not the author.
LEAVE THE AUTHORS OF OBSESSIVE ROMANCE ALONE. THEY HAVE BOOKS TO WRITE. FOR ME.
And lastly. ARCs. Can you people not with this shit. We all know by now that we have to take paid reviews with a grain of salt. People are either reluctant to say negative things when they’re being paid, banned from saying negative things when they’re being paid, or too afraid of never being paid again to say negative things. And it has finally hit GoodReads HARD. ARCs are going out all over the place, all the time, and a lot – a lot of them – are for the shitty Kindle books that cost like $2.99 and are never even whole books, just one regular sized book chopped awkwardly into a trilogy so they can charge you three times. And they’re shitty. So shitty. SO many of them are so, so shitty. But I read a lot of Kindle freebies, because what else am I doing with my life, and I review them, and then I look at other reviews, and they’re all gushing BOLD CAPS LOTS OF GIFS FIVE STARS!!! reviews and I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS and then I see “this book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.” And there’s so so so many. I get it. You want to keep the free book train rolling, so you’re willing to salt this author’s GoodReads reviews with 5 stars just so you’ll keep getting books to review, but you should know that you’re terrible and no one likes you except maybe the author, but who cares because the author is also terrible and maybe you two should take a vacation together to terrible island, and when you get bored, the writer can tell you poorly thought-out stories about half an idea she had one time and started writing down with no idea where it was going to go and just hoped she’d get there by the end but never did and then maybe you’ll just WALK INTO THE SEA.
Going back to that thing about stuff I bought.
Here’s some stuff I bought recently that I like.
I got a Loopy Case for my phone. I reluctantly switched back to the iPhone almost a year ago now, and I don’t care what Apple is saying about their super special porn star dick hard glass, I have shattered the fucking thing three damn times. I have never shattered a phone in my LIFE. I use a case. I use the useless protective glass cover, which is stupid, because the shape of the iPhone glass is stupid and no one can cover it properly. After this last shattering, I ordered a Loopy case and I like it. It’s a phone case with… a loop on the back. And you can slide your finger through it and hold your phone better.
They say it allows you to use your phone with one hand, but I’m never going to be a one hand phone user. I got on board with the smart phones pretty much as soon as they were a thing, but still too old to adapt to new ways of doing things, I guess. I ordered a left-handed Loopy even though I’m right handed (the difference is very subtle and you can still easily use it with either hand with no discomfort), because I hold my phone in my left hand and poke at it with my right. I am a phone poker. I am not a thumber. So that feature doesn’t apply so much to me. But I very quickly took to always having my finger through the loop, and it’s much easier to carry in general, like flipped around to the back of my hand when I’m carrying a lot of things, and really, it just gives me peace of mind. Also, the case it comes with is one that wraps all the way around and has a lip at the front, so it’s quite protective as well.
Things you might notice about it: It’s got a big old loop at the back, which might make it hard to slide into your pocket or phone slot in a bag. Also, the loop causes a bump in the back of the case itself. Some might find that bothersome. I do have a rebuttal for both of those: I don’t care. Buy it or don’t. I like it. You might not. That’s a you thing. That is not a “I find these things displeasing therefore the case wouldn’t work for me therefore the case is bad and by association you are also bad” thing.
Other thing I got recently: I made an extremely ill-advised basically spur of the moment trip to Dallas to surprise Bagel for her 30th birthday. Her sister came from Alaska. It was a whole thing. It was a dumb, dumb, dumb thing for me to do, but I did it and we had a lot of fun. We had breakfast for birthday dinner, ate like 6000 red bean buns (ok, just me), and watched a rack of episodes of the kdrama Goblin, which I would love to talk with you about, at great length.
We also went to Sam’s Club, and Beth directed me toward these two packs of wireless bras – Bali Comfort Revolution bras. I spend a lot of time in my house now, and I don’t generally like to wear a bra in the house, because the industrial strength bras I wear are fine but not “I’ll wear this for funsies” kind of fine. Also, I can’t sleep in my industrial strength bras and lately I’ve kind of wanted to sleep in bras because everything is everywhere. Anyway, Beth suggested these as a good idea.
I was hesitant because I’ve never been able to buy a bra that comes in sizes like M, L, XL, but I looked at the size charts and went with a large anyway, and what do you know, they fit. They’re not flattering bras – not something I’d wear to… anything. Except, like, to get the mail? Or a drive through? Or actually I’ve worn them on a couple long (ill-advised) drives. And they do exactly what I want them to. They keep everything from wilding around without the full on rigging necessary for actual participation in real life. I especially like them because most of the time at home I wear my comfort suit, which is onesie pajamas, and I just really, really hate the feeling of being braless in onesie pajamas for some reason, worse than I hate it in anything else. I’d wear a regular bra with my suit during the day, but to be honest I kind of fall asleep at random wherever I am, so I like to be prepared to nap at any moment.
Also, there’s the whole sort of FlyLady thing – did you ever do FlyLady? I should do that. She’s got this thing where every morning, you get dressed all the way down to your shoes, because shoes mean you are Doing Shit, and it’s a mindset thing. It’s kind of the same as going braless. I can wander around my house braless, and lay on the couch braless, and nap braless, but I cannot do things braless. I am not suited up for any sort of activity. Not because it would be too uncomfortable to bend down and pick a sock up off the floor without a bra, but just because, hey, I have no bra on. I am not in action mode. The Bali Comfort Revolution Bras are a nice middle ground because not only am I set to nap whenever the mood strikes me, but I could also pick up that sock and all the other socks if I felt like it. I am not prepared to accomplish anything bra-free. I don’t think Penelope was even conceived bra-free. I need a bra to be in the mindset to Do Things, but I don’t want to wear a capital B-R-A BRA. So that’s why I like those.
All right, good talk.