Bright spots in a shitty year

There is so much bad shit that’s gone down this year it’s almost satire.

Rampaging virus. Wildfires. Murder hornets. Elections. Zombie minks. That last one, what the actual fuck?

So amidst all that, I decided to think about some of the good things that I’ve managed to do in this dumpster fire of a year. Believe it or not, there were a few. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Dungeons & Dragons
Moragg, my half-orc barbarian.

This was the year I finally started playing D&D. I had no fucking idea how, but after suggestions from folks in the know, I joined a campaign at the library back in January. We only got a few sessions into the campaign when the lockdown hit, but we decided to continue it online through

This little group has continued to meet up online almost every week since then, and it has helped keep me sane. Essentially playing make believe with like-minded folks has been so good for my mental health, it’s rather astounding.

We’ve completed two campaigns, and I’ve created two characters that I kind of adore. I’m actually planning to crochet dolls of my characters at some point, because I kinda want to keep them around.

We’re now trying the original campaign we did, but this time we’re all playing monster races with evil alignments. It’s been ridiculous and I love every minute of it.

2. Writer’s group

Back at the start of the lockdown, I saw an email from the regional arts council saying an online writer’s group was looking to start up as a way for writers to get together (virtually) and encourage each other in their work.

Since then, I’ve discovered that I can sorta write poetry, and that I’m not completely terrible at prose. I’ve even submitted to a couple of writing contests, which I doubt I would have even considered if I hadn’t joined this group. I’m not expecting accolades or anything, but it’s helped boost my confidence a lot.

We were even featured at a writing festival that was normally in person , but like everything had to go virtual this year.

I think that’s pretty cool.

4. Cross stitch

After humming and hawing for like two years, I finally decided I wanted to learn to cross stitch. Over the Easter weekend, I got some supplies, watched some tutorials, and got started.

You’re goddamn right.


Taking something that feels dainty and frilly and using it to make statements about female empowerment just does it for me.

I’ve also found a whole community dedicated to witchy cross stitch, which includes horror movies, ghosts, and other delights.

If I’m not crocheting, I’m cross-stitching. There’s always something on the go now.

I have plans to do some pretty massive pieces, but I also wanna do the tiny little quick ones. So many patterns, so little time.

3. Audiobooks

My favourite thing in school was always silent reading time. Second to that was when the teacher read to us out loud.

So it’s not a wonder that I finally got into audiobooks this year.

It was great for when I was driving to Dawson Creek and back every day for work. Listening to a story made the drive go by so much faster.

But then I found going for a walk and listening to a book was just as nice. And then I realized I could multitask by crafting not with the TV on like I usually do, but while listening to a book.

I have whiled away many a Sunday this year with selections from my sci-fi/fantasy book club. And I just adore it.

5. Animal Crossing

This one’s a late addition, but still worth noting.

When it became apparent that the Province wasn’t going to drop any and all restrictions for the holiday season and that I’d be spending my Christmas alone, I decided to splurge and get myself something I’d been humming and hawing about for the last year and a half.

Christmas Eve selfie.

I bought a Nintendo Switch.

Literally one of the best purchases I’ve ever made for myself. Mine came with MarioKart 8 Deluxe and I proceeded to win every grand prix cup in the game. I loved original MarioKart, and this version is spectacular.

Back in March when it originally came out, I saw everyone and their dog posting about Animal Crossing on Twitter. I had no idea what it was, but people seemed to really enjoy it. Once I got my Switch, I debated spending the money to buy this game that others had been playing for like 10 months.

I finally caved, and oh my fucking god, I’m so glad I did.

I love Animal Crossing. It’s so chill and laid back and exactly what I needed to wind down this dumpster fire of a year.

So there you have it. 2020 sucked all kinds of ass, but there were a few bright spots, at least for me.

I’m making no predictions about 2021, just that I’m assuming the universe isn’t obliterated at midnight tonight.

Happy Fucking New Year.


Wear. A. Fucking. Mask.

I’m sorry, I have a great need to get a little ranty, and yes, it is directed at specific people. If you feel your dander getting up as you read these words, then guess what? It’s directed at you.

Covid-19 cases are on the rise in BC and we’re facing more and more restrictions if this doesn’t get under control. This spiel is directed at those that are refusing to wear a mask because of “muh freedums.”

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Do you not understand that we are in the second wave of a GLOBAL FUCKING PANDEMIC?! Do you not understand that this is bigger than your own personal comforts? Do you not understand that people could DIE because you don’t want to have a piece of material over your face?!

Are you that fucking selfish that you can’t put aside your own discomfort to keep other people healthy? Did you sneeze in people’s faces before the pandemic? Did you spit on them? So why the fuck do you want to go out of your way to possibly make people sick? Or get sick yourself?

I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if someone got covid and died because I didn’t want to wear a mask. Maybe it’s because I have compassion for other humans? I don’t know how the rest of you were raised, but clearly someone fucked up somewhere.

And oh my god, so many of you clearly missed the House Hippo ad from back in the 90s. Here’s a quick summary: don’t take everything in front of you at face value. If some rando on FB starts in on some conspiracy theory about how Justin Trudeau is head of some cabal that’s going to bring the military in to keep people at home, or that there’s going to be “covid internment camps” set up for those that catch it, I want you to sit back and think for a few minutes. Is the person posting this a reputable source? Where are they getting their info from? Second hand hearsay is not reliable information. Are they a brand new account that’s only posted the last month or so? Do a reverse image search of their profile picture, is it a stock photo?

Chances are, it’s some fucking troll or bot trying to get the gullible all riled up for the lulz. Don’t let yourself be taken in by it.

Anyone that claims they feel sick or lightheaded from wearing a mask is full of shit. You are having a psychosomatic response, you are not dying, you are not getting sick from it. You’re likely having suffering from anxiety. Welcome to my world on a daily basis, even outside the pandemic. Doctors and surgeons wear masks for hours upon hours at a time, and none of them have gotten sick from it. Are you saying you’re special in this regard? Get the fuck over yourself.

And it’s carbon DIOXIDE you exhale, not carbon MONOXIDE, you fucking idiot. The only way your mask is giving you carbon monoxide poisoning is if you’re wearing it while sucking on the tailpipe of your vehicle. Jesus fucking Christ.

Don’t wanna wear a mask? Fine. Then STAY THE FUCK HOME! You don’t NEED to go to Walmart, you don’t NEED your hair cut, you don’t NEED to go to a restaurant. Everyone else is in the same goddamn boat, so quit fucking rocking it so we don’t tip over.

Look, I know this year has sucked. Everything about this has sucked. You what’s sucks even more? Not being able to say goodbye to a parent in the hospital as they lay dying. Weddings, vacations, and other events can be postponed.

You actually don’t need to go to church to win Jesus points or whatever your reason for needing to go is. God isn’t going to damn you to hell for missing service for a few months. If Jesus really does love you, I would think he’d want you to not potentially infect your community.

We’re very likely going to be in this for most of 2021 as well, until a vaccine can actually be rolled out across the country, so you might as well settle in for the long haul.

Yes, Christmas is gonna be trash this year. I’m going to be on my own, and I’m already preparing. But I don’t want to risk picking this up on a trip to my parents to infect them or my grandparents. I also don’t want to risk catching it from someone else. I have asthma, I know what it feels like not to be able to get my breath. It’s scary as fuck. Clearly you anti-maskers have never experienced this, otherwise you wouldn’t act this way.

None of us want to live like this. But we’re going to have to for a while yet. So don’t be an asshole to the retail workers enforcing the mask rule…I’m looking at you, Dawson Creek…just get your essentials and go the fuck home. Don’t make a scene, don’t get all uppity. You’re not the only person dealing with shit right now.

Just…. wear a fucking mask. Please.


PS: Comments are off on this post because I am not arguing with people over this.

Days Go By…

Holy balls, you’d think with everything going on in the world I would been writing up a storm on here.

Obviously, I haven’t. I don’t know why. I write for work, and I’m trying to write some fiction, and it just took too much goddamn effort to post here.

I aim to change that.

I want to get back to something resembling a weekly post about something… anything… as long as words are written and posted. I’m gonna call it a win if I can do that much.

2020 has sucked so much ass, and it’s probably gonna continue all that ass sucking for the foreseeable future. Might as well make the best of it.

Wear a fucking mask.


Book Club Roundup II

Holy balls, I swore I wouldn’t do this again, but here we are. I’m gonna keep it short, since it’s been a while since some of these meetings.

Thanks to the pandemic, our last few meetings were done on Zoom, which worked out pretty well… it seemed to take longer to veer off topic than it did when we were face-to-face, or maybe we just had more to say about the books? Who knows.

Anyhoo, on to the books!

March: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

91s3CT1UtYLThis was my pick, so yay for that. I loved this novella, and I loved the whole trilogy. I think if I saw math the way Binti does, I would have done a lot better at it in school.

Binti’s journey to Oomza Uni is traumatic, not just because of the wholesale slaughter of everyone else on the transport ship, but also due to her decision to essentially run away from her home and everything she knows to do it. And for someone so connected with the very soil of Earth, as seen in the otijze she wears as a Himba woman, to leave that behind is beyond impressive and just showcases her strength and determination.

We had the option to read the whole trilogy as a complete story, or just the first novella. I can’t remember how many of us actually read all of it, but I did and I do recommend reading all of it. It’s a great story by a really great author.

April: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

716lFHpbiRLThis was my first foray into audio books, and I was worried I wouldn’t retain as much from listening as I would from actually seeing the words, but I did retain the story, so that was great.

I was convinced at first that the weird sorta fairy tale world was a coma dream that David was having after that plane fell out of the sky and into the garden while he was standing there. The way all the women characters – Snow White, the Huntress,  Sleeping Beauty, etc. – are decidedly unlikable, I figured they were his mind’s way of processing his relationship with his stepmother, Rose. He clearly didn’t like her and the portrayal of most women, aside from his own mother, reflected that.

It turned out that it wasn’t a coma, but I still think it influenced David’s view of the women in that world. It was an interesting story overall, and I liked how it ended.

The funny this is I ordered this and the next book back in March before all the shutdowns happened, and I received the next book first, which lead me to believe this book was indeed lost.

May: The Alehouse at the End of the World by Stevan Allred

51kW+3aIdoLOK, this one took a turn halfway through I wasn’t really expecting… mostly all the fucking. So many bird people/demigods fucking. Like…wow.

It had an interesting take on the afterlife, with the isle of the dead and how souls are kept in clam shells until they’re ready to be reborn. Plus the construction of the alehouse on the island to make the transition between life and death a little easier. Like I said, interesting concepts.

But then there had to be all the fucking. I’m not against fucking as a general rule, but that was a turn I didn’t anticipate. I’m glad I finished it, because we had a great discussion about it at the meeting and I love when that happens.

But yeah, definitely not my favourite.

June: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

81lqd0DkyOLI wasn’t at this meeting, as I was in another part of the province and it was the club’s first foray back into face-to-face meetings, but that’s OK.

I quite enjoyed this story. I like fish-out-of-water tales, and when they involve magic it’s even more fun. Plus a murder mystery is always great. Having the protagonist not be a magical person while investigating a magical murder helps the reader navigate through this magical world. Granted, Ivy was constantly talking about how she’s not magic, but honestly, if I were surrounded by people that could do actual magic, I’d be kinda melancholy about it too. Especially if my friggin’ twin sister was able to and I wasn’t.

I don’t know if everyone does this, but when describing a high school in books, I always picturing it taking place in my own high school… which in the case of this book would have made for far more interesting classes when I attended, but yeah.

This was also an audio book for me, so when it ended I was a little surprised, since it was left kind of open-ended. I figured Ivy would have at least had one last discussion with her love interest, but nah. Let’s end with her sitting on his porch waiting for him.

So that was our year. We do have the summer read coming up, Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, which will be discussed in August at the annual garden party.

I don’t know if I’ll attempt this book review thing again, since I kinda sucked at actually getting it done, but we’ll see.


Book Club Roundup

So, I was without a decent computer for a few months, hence my total lack of anything resembling any sort of an update about anything.

I thought I’d just do a little “roundup” of all the books we read while I was computer-less, rather than trying to do full post and backdate them or whatever.

So yeah, without further ado…

December: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This novella, first in the Murderbot Diaries, was our December pick mostly due to it being reasonably short and that month being stupid busy.

B499151E-AE4C-419E-9D09-E444460FCB65I have to say, I felt a kinship with Murderbot upon initially meeting them.

I too know what it’s like to want to sit in my room and watch my shows and have everyone leave me alone because trying to act in a way that resembles normal is tiresome… I understand you, Murderbot.

Now, Murderbot isn’t given a gender here, but for some reason I coded them as female. I don’t really know why, other than I could see myself in them. Or maybe it was just kind of cool to think of them being all badass and also being female? I don’t know. The other ladies in the group were mixed, some read Murderbot as female and others as male.

I saw a on Twitter that V.E. Schwab coded them female too, so I feel marginally better that it wasn’t just me.

Anyway, good book, would like to read the rest of the series.


January: The Lies of Locke Lamont by Scott Lynch

Book one of The Gentlemen Bastards series

41B5BAFD-F168-4DBC-A263-38A0C192BC40I do love a good heist story. This was more of a long con story, with some little heists mixed in, set in some weird-ass fantasy version of Venice. It eventually becomes a good story, but it took a while to get there.

Also, it’s was almost entirely dudes. Like, there’s two pretty badass women, but the one is just her husband’s wife, even though she’s an alchemical botanist or something (we don’t see her in her lab, ever), and the other one doesn’t show up until the third act, even though she basically runs the whole damn city as The Spider.

There are, of course, other women, but they serve little purpose beyond furthering the men’s plots. Even worse is that there is, or was, a girl in this gang, but she is only mentioned and never shown… apparently she doesn’t show up until the THIRD DAMN BOOK!

But aside from all that, I did wind up liking the book and am willing to read the rest of the series… I’ve been told there’s a badass pirate mom in the second book.


February: The Woodcutter by Lorn Wolf.

1442E737-CBD5-4837-A3CE-F3162EC26F89Soooooo, I didn’t actually read this book.

I figured I’m allowed to skip at least one book per book club year and I picked this one.

Don’t worry, Septa Unella will ring me out…

But at any rate, this will hopefully be the only time I do this “roundup” style and I get back into posting on the regular.

The March read is Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, another novella so everyone should be able to finish.

Until next time…

embarrassed shame GIF


Book Club: When animals rule the world

I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time going “what if…” when reading a book.

This month’s read was Mort(e) by Robert Repino. I loved this book so much that I picked up the other two books in the series almost immediately after finishing.

Humanity is all but destroyed by giant ants like in some bad B-movie, and the ant Queen somehow manages to turn all animals into sentient bipedal persons capable of independant thought and emotions. Animals with paws have hands form, allowing them to do all the important things having opposable thumbs helps with – from holding sandwiches to shooting guns.

Animals with hooves don’t get hands though, bummer for the pigs, horses, cows, etc.

Now, I’m sure this question runs through the mind of everyone that’s read this book: if the Change happened for real, would my own pets kill me outright or would they let me go to fend for myself?

Oh, these furry assholes would totally murder me.

Stormy would become sentient and realize that I hold her prisoner inside the apartment and that’d be the end of me. She literally escaped off my third floor balcony and went on some (what I presume was a) grand, Disney-esque adventure for like eight hours before showing up at the backdoor of my building. She tasted freedom and still pines for it to this day. So yeah, she’ll definitely murder and eat me.

Dante might be more forgiving? I dunno, he’s an old man, he might not care. He might go hunt down my sister, since he’s never liked her. I think he’d just stay in the apartment and curse all the “damn kids” that come along and try to get him to join them.

I keep getting Animal Farm vibes from this book, mostly from the fact that a lot of the animals start behaving as their human oppressors… you’d think they would eschew human conveniences, but there’s talk about the animals eventually having cellphones again someday once the power grid is restored. They live in houses, drive cars, and some even wear clothes and drink coffee… not that I expect them to sleep on the ground and live in caves or anything. I don’t know, I just figured they’d try and do things differently?

One thing I appreciated was Mort(e) having stubby fingers on his new hands due to his human masters having him declawed when he was a pet. That drives home how extreme declawing is for cats. Not cool, humans.

The other books in the series – Culdesac and D’arc – were also very good, so I highly recommend this whole series. How often can I say that?

I’m not gonna do the Shame Nun gif this time, since more than half the club wasn’t able to make it to the meeting. Next month though…

December’s read is All Systems Red by Martha Wells, which is book one in The Murderbot Diaries… with a name like that it’s gotta be good, right?


Book Club: Time is a cheesecake

Take the fabulousness of Prince and mix it with the outerspace androgeny of Ziggy Stardust; Blend the spectacle of Eurovision with the wit of Hitchikers’ Guide to the Galaxy; Throw in some time travelling red pandas and what have you got?

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente, that’s what.

Holy balls, I quite enjoyed this book.

The story starts off giving you the impression of following the bouncing disco ball, which already made me laugh and decide I was going to enjoy it. The fact that in order for a species to prove its sentience is to perform in a garish, over-the-top, American Idol-esque competition was even more delicious. Once you factor in who is going to do that for Earth, I was 100% here for this story.

I love that the future of the human race comes down to a has-been glamrock band, and only because all the other options on the list were dead or unavailable (Can you imagine Yoko Ono being the last salvation of mankind? Seriously?). Enter Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros!

Decibel Jones, in my mind, wound up looking something like Inanna from The Wicked + The Divine. It’s likely not accurate enough, but that’s the closest my brain could get, likely becuase Inanna is modelled after Prince.

The style of writing in Space Opera won’t be for everyone, I totally get that. Long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness run-on sentences are not easy to wrap your brain around. Valente was very influenced by Douglas Adams, which hit me in the face after the first couple chapters… as long as you’re aware of that, I think the book is perfectly readable.

Plus is gave us some incredible sentences, “Time is a cheesecake” being one of my favourites.

As I was the only one in attendance at Book Club to actually finish the book… it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea… Septa Unella is going to ring that bell loud and proud this month.

November’s read is Mort(e) by Robert Repino and is about cats and other animals rising up to overthrow their human oppressors, or something to that effect, which makes it right up my alley!


Book Club: When one door closes, she’ll just open another

If you could open any door, which would you open and why?

That is a question I asked myself more than once while reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, September’s read for the Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club That Needs a Name.

I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman for a very long time, yet I hadn’t read Neverwhere before now. I finished it at 5 am while on night shift, so that may have construed my thoughts on the book itself, but I enjoyed it. I’d be curious to see the BBC series that inspired it.

So in this story, we have the world of London Above, our world as we know it; and London Below, a world full of magic, evil angels, pseudo-vampires, and rat-speakers… so the usual fare in a Gaiman story.

What happens when a guy from London Above winds up in London Below? Well his life Above is pretty much over – no one remembers Richard, or even sees him until he’s right in their face… reminded me of the perception filter in Doctor Who. So he has to go back to London Below to try and get his old life back and gets sucked into the never-ending weirdness of that world.

So I asked myself, as did others, if you could wander around unoticed, with a gal named Door that could open any door anywhere, why are you bumming around the sewers? Why aren’t you waltzing into a bank, or a fancy hotel, or Buckingham Palace? Why does anyone in London Below stay below?

Wouldn’t be much of a story, I suppose.

I did love the characters of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar – though they were ruthless killers, their dialogue was brilliant and you never had to wonder about their motives… they just like it.

Half of us in attendance for the September meeting finished the book, while the rest got pretty close to finishing. You know what that means….

October’s book is Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente; it has a shiny cover so it’s gotta be fab, right?


Book Club Reads: A Storm is brewing

Sometimes our book club is more of a food club.

The annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Club That Needs a Name garden party was this week, although it wasn’t able to be in the garden since the weather refused to cooperate. The sheer amount of food folks brought was insane and I ate so much I kinda zoned out for half and hour or so.

Real flowers on a cheesecake that I couldn’t even try I was so full…

So the summer read for this year was Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Very easy read, I finished it in a day.

Firstly, if you don’t realize that the book’s title is two words, you will turn up links to a neo-nazi “news” site. Two words, not one.

Secondly, the general consensus in the club was… lukewarm, at best? No one really loved it, though I do know at least one member hated it.

I get why she hated it; Butcher’s protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a chauvanistic prick. In this day and age, it’s just draining to read about yet another cis white man that’s mansplaining and talking down to a women, even if he’s an older-than-he-looks-from-a-different-era magic man. If we wanted that, we could just pop onto Twitter.

I must be getting desensitized to dude bullshit, because while I was annoyed by some of Dresden’s inner monologue and actions, I’ve read worse in comment sections online this week alone… I don’t want to give it pass, but the fact that Dresden thought the big bad was a woman because woman are just vindictive like that and it turned out to be some guy does make me feel a bit better.

Dresden has a chauvanistic attitude, as I’ve said, but he’s not a total garbage wizard. He does come to the aid of his cop friend Murphy when he realizes she’s going to get shanked by a magic scorpion, and he manages to not take advantage of a date that mistakenly downs a love potion… although the demon that shows up had a lot to do with it.

Although just doing the bare minimum of being a decent human is a pretty low bar.

Side note: Can we stop the “Love potion as a magical roofie” trope? This book came out 18 years ago and the world is a different place now, so hopefully people know better, but still… if you’re thinking about using it in your story, don’t.

We’re told the series does get better and Dresden becomes slightly less of a prick, but this isn’t a series I particularly want to continue… maybe if I come across book #2 somewhere and don’t have anything else to read (unlikely), then I MIGHT consider it.

But yeah, not for me.

I don’t know what the official count of finished/didn’t finish was for this book, but since I’m pretty sure some didin’t finish, Septa Unella will ring us out…

Next Month: After three years, we finally read a Neil Gaiman solo effort! Join us in reading Neverwhere for our September read!


Overheard in the Work Truck: Control Room Edition

So I’ve been hanging out in plant control rooms rather than work trucks lately and while there’s not as much racism and sexism, there’s still some real winners here. It’s mazing what dudes will say when they think there are only other guys in the room.

Find part one here and part two here.

Dude 1: “Why don’t you get the fuck out my way?”

Dude 2: “Why don’t you suck my giant…(remembers I’m in the room)…popsicle?” – He was very impressed with himself on the recovery.

“You look like you got dick-slapped in the-oh my god I’m so sorry, I’m really sorry I said that.” – Guys forget I’m in the room and suddenly remember they shouldn’t talk about dicks…they talk about dicks a lot.

“Yeah, buddy said ‘oh I miss [this plant],’ and I said ‘[this plant] doesn’t miss you.'” – These guys can be such catty bitches.

“He’s like HIV… really positive.” – Wow, really guys?

“Only two things come from [other dude’s hometown]: queers and steers, and he don’t got no horns.” – Surprised it took this long for someone to say something like this.

So yeah, not nearly as awful as the truck, but still not great.