Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recycling "Archie"

You guys already know that I love comic books.

When I was around 8 or 9, I discovered Archie Comics, and read them voraciously until I was around 14. I literally had hundreds, to the point where they filled one of those big gym duffle bags when I "donated" them to a younger cousin who I was quite close to (Gator*, I've written about him before...).

I had so many, and had read them so many times, that after several years, it started to bother me because they would recycle so many of the stories. One year, actually just a few years ago, my parents bought me an Archie comic to put in my Christmas stocking, kindof as a joke, and I was delighted! But, when I opened it up, every single story was recycled/reprinted, even though the book was brand new. I had read them all... even with a more-than-decade-gap between my last Archie comic purchase.

But it was still really cool that they bought it for me.

My toughest teenage years were between the summer of Grade 8 and the end of Grade 9. Sure, Grades 10 & 11 were not a lot of fun either, (Grade 12 was pretty okay), but that year-and-a-half span were ones I never want to live again. Like, suicidal-thoughts-every-day kinda bad. That time period is the one I pull from when I write... which probably explains why my stories (and characters) are pretty dark.

One of the bright points I had to hang onto was coming home, always exhausted because school had gotten noticeably harder and all the 'dyslexic-work-arounds' that I had honed in elementary school were all failing me at once, and I would flop on my bed and read those Archie comics. The bright colours, the round and cartoony faces/figures, the silly, mindless stories... it helped me to recharge, to realize that, while school had no redeeming features, I still had somewhere I could rest mentally.**

I gave away those Archie comics when I didn't need them anymore.

And now, Gator is all grown up, has finished a music degree, is working on a second, and is living a good life. I admit, I haven't thought about those Archie comics in years. I always figured when he got bored with them, he also handed them off to someone else, or donated them to a used bookstore.

I got a surprising email from Gator's mom (my aunt) yesterday. She works within the social service/counselling world of things, in a middle school.

She emailed me, not about the comics, but to ask if I would repair a teapot my Nana had painted, because the gold was wearing away along the handle. At the end of the email, we had this conversation back and forth:


I was thinking about you today watching the kids at my school reading all your old comic books.  You would not believe how many kids have poured over those books.  When one batch of kids moves on to high school the next one comes from elementary and discovers them all over again.

It is quite a legacy.


Wow, I can't believe you still have those!!!

How nostalgic :D


I know.  It is hilarious to see the kids reading them like their lives
depended on it.  I have a lunch room where there is a big bin, another big
bin right outside of my office and a drawer full of them so I can rotate
them part way through the year if the kids have read them all.

...and I was struck by her choice of words in that last section. "...reading them like their lives depended on it..." And I wonder how many of those kids had enjoyed a moment of reprieve, just like I did, while reading those silly, mindless stories.

And I think that's so absolutely awesome... that years of my hard-earned allowance & birthday money went to these books that are still being used, still being enjoyed, and (hopefully) still being needed.

Books are a wonderful thing, but they're even better when they are shared :)

*Not his real name of course... he used to bite me when he was little, so that was my nickname for him.

**Okay, I wasn't just reading comics... in fact, I think there's a photo somewhere of me at my parents' cabin with a stack of Archie comics on one side, and a stack of books about math, history & physics on my other side. But you get my point :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Obsession, cravings, and other things that come out in our writing

I was talking (via email) to a friend the other day, who made an off-hand comment about craving something salty, like chips.

When I replied back, I told her about a random grocery-store-craving I had last week, y'know, when you see something, and suddenly you have to have it.

In my case, it was an interesting cheese in the deli... Guinness marbled aged cheddar. Sounds freaking awesome, right? Well, it was, especially with a baguette, slices of green apple, red wine, and a couple of other accompanying cheeses.

I don't eat a lot of dairy, and (since my liver doesn't break stuff down properly) I don't eat a lot of refined carbs, like bread & pasta. Even as I'm trying to think back... the last time I ate pasta would probably have been in October or November... maybe even earlier. But, just like the bread/cheese craving, occasionally the thought of amazing pasta just clamps down in the front of my brain and won't let go.

Maybe it's pure rationalization, but I figure that, if you have a strong craving, your body is deficient in something... in my case, probably calcium.

It's not something that's easy to admit, but I'm pretty sure I have a mildly obsessive personality. Or maybe not so mild. Like, if I bump one elbow, I twist and bump the other without thinking so the sides are 'equal'. As a kid, I couldn't step on cracks or shadows without feeling like I had committed some kind of horrible sin. With food, I often have no problem eating the same thing for 5 or 6 meals in a row (including breakfast), and then I don't want to eat it again for months (or years).

Apparently I used to be even more extreme when I was young... like, refusing to eat all meat for almost a year, or if one type of food was touching another type, I wouldn't eat at all (my parents were smart and bought those fondue-plates with dividers, but that didn't solve 'lasagna' or other mixed foods). I hung onto my 'no onions, bell peppers or mushrooms' phase until I was 23. Even if they were chopped up really small in a sauce, I'd sit there and pick them all out. Clams in clam chowder, same thing.

Oh, and I still don't eat bell peppers :) It's a texture-thing.

My very first post was about obsession, and I'm sure, if I look through my archives, I'd find a lot more.

Anyone who has ever read even the shortest piece of my writing can tell you my characters are all about their obsessions. Some are obsessed with a perfect love, some with memories/grief, with a dead sibling, or feelings they don't yet understand.

"Simon's Oath" is all about a brother obsessed with protecting his younger brother. "Brake Fluid" is about a teenager obsessed with figuring out the rules of give and take between people. My newest story, about Jay & Kell, is about someone obsessed with breaking down/compartmentalizing other people into manageable tidbits. Sure, he's all about 'painting the play of light across her damaged skin', but at the heart of it, he's trying to take hold of the one piece he can understand, and he's ready to discard the rest. And Kell isn't all that different.

In fact, the most normal, un-obsessed character I've written was for Project #5 (Afraid of the Dark), which might be why that story kinda sputtered out. Sure, Sikka really wanted to find her sister... but that was it. It wasn't enough. There wasn't an obsessive, all-consuming pull like in "Simon's Oath". Even Issa... sure, she killed a god to keep her and her sister together... but there should be more. There needed to be more.

I've been told, enough times that I feel comfortable typing the words here, that I write emotion well, and that my characters are always deep and complex.

I don't know if I would describe it that way. Maybe it's simply that I understand obsession so well that I can write it in any number of different forms. And obsession, of any kind, is intense.

Every person, whether they admit to it or not, has things they are passionate about, that they crave or obsess over. I had a friend who would get twitchy if he didn't swim everyday. Another friend carefully applies her makeup until it's perfect, even if it'll make her super late for work. Someone else I know collects Tinkerbell Christmas ornaments (yeah, really), and another picks up a packet of matches wherever he goes. Even people who change jobs every other year, that's a kind of obsession that drives them. Many people are obsessed with keeping up a particular "image" of themselves, some by philosophical notions, like right/wrong, or finding meaning in what seems to be random chaos.

Obsession is another way of looking at that all-too-familiar writing question:

What's the most important thing to your character/what do they stand to lose?

And that's what every story of mine begins with. Not necessarily a problem, but an obsession. Something that matters so strongly to that character that it's going to leach out into everything they do, ever decision they make, and everything they care about. In every scene, no matter what's going on, that obsession is there in the background, influencing every thought, reaction, and line of dialogue.

It's never just something they like, or are interested in. It's strong enough to permeate every aspect of their life. If removed, it would leave an un-fillable void, both in the character, and the story, but if "healed"...the character would be forever changed.

Obsession is all about the border of extremes: destruction or redemption.

...and that's probably why I don't write a lot of romance/love, because in YA, it's usually all about first-love, or puppy-love, neither of which are all-consuming and destructive enough to be labelled "obsession". And where's the fun in that?

What do you guys think? Can you categorize your characters by their obsessions? Have you ever even thought of your characters interests/passions in those terms? What IS the most important thing to your MC, and how deeply does it radiate throughout the story?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Yup, those troublesome ribs again, and walkies!

Yeah, since my past post when I said I had one rib out... On Monday I had to go for emergency chiro 'cause I couldn't breathe... turns out 8 ribs were out.

Here's a quick lesson on anatomy:

Humans have 12 sets of ribs. 10 connect to both the spine & the sternum, and the last two are teeny little ones that only connect to the spine.

Of the top 10 (which connect to the front & the back), the middle 8 had popped out of their joints and were jabbing inside. Not a lot of fun, I can tell you that. Luckily there was a great chiropractor who fit me into his busy schedule (actually, let me come after his working day was over), and popped them all back into place.

I've been 3x this week :)

While not at chiro or walking the dog (getting to that), I've been lying flat on my back, or on a rolled up towel -> lengthwise up the spine, which forces the muscles around the spine to relax and the ribs to flex into the proper position.

...and since I couldn't be on the computer, I ended up watching the first 4 season of "Weeds", since the Canadian Netflix only has half the series...

Good news? After my third chiro appointment (yesterday), the ribs have been staying in place (so far), and even at my worst, I still walked Eva on the Seawall everyday. I'm trying to build up my stamina to take her around Stanley Park, which (from my condo), is about a 14 km (8.7 miles) journey.

See that narrow strip of green at the bottom right of the map? That's the Harbour Green Park, which is a few blocks from where I start out, (and posted pictures of before) so even getting to Stanley Park is about a 2 km (almost a mile) walk.

Today I took Eva to the 4.5km point on the map (almost to the Lions Gate Bridge at the very top), which means it was approximately a 13km walk (a little over 8 miles).

The weather was dark, there were sporadic showers of rain, and I came home with blisters... but I had a glorious time.

It also occurred to me, but only on the way back, to take some pictures of the different "sites" along the way.

Here's the point where I turned around. That's the Lion's Gate Bridge, which has a pretty interesting history behind it, not all of which is on the Wiki page... essentially, all the guys with big money who lived in the British Properties didn't like driving the looooong way around and pretty much threw their weight around and forced the city into getting the bridge built. You can see West Vancouver in the distance, where the British Properties are. And hey! Built with beer money! (Or Irish mob money...?) Gotta love that!

I vaguely remember seeing this from, like, 15 years ago, which is the last time I actually went around the entire Stanley Park section of the Seawall. My sister, myself, and two friends (who are also sisters) rented bikes and went around as something fun to do on a Saturday. We also rented roller blades to do the same thing.

This is a really cool old lighthouse, and that's North Vancouver in the distance. The Seawall takes you under it, but if you drive around Stanley Park in a car, you can stop at it on that upper level. In the past couple days, I've gone under this on 3 different days, and only once was there a couple guys who smelled distinctly of West Coast Incense.*

 I like this old canon, but I seem to remember it didn't used to be in this big protective cage... but I might be wrong on that.

That's Deadman's Island, with the brick building (look at the Stanley Park map), and behind it is downtown Vancouver. That especially tall building in the middle is the Shangri la, the tallest building we have (62 stories) and if you look to the far left, there's a really green glass building... that's the Harbour Green 3 tower, currently the most expensive real estate in Canada (the cheapest one I could find online is over $2000/square foot - that's over 5.4 million dollars for 2,500 square feet, to rent it's $12,000/month), and it sits at the very end of the Harbour Green Park (Harbour Green 1 & 2 also border the park) where I start my walks with Eva.

I can also see my building, but I ain't gonna tell ya which one ;) It certainly isn't in Harbour Green 3 ;)

This is not all that important, but it's the Coal Harbour marina Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. I just think it's cool that you actually drive your vehicle out onto the dock to get to your boat.

 This is shot from a small bridge, right where Stanley Park begins, and that's the Vancouver Rowing Club in the background. What's hidden by the trees to the right is the off-leash dog park I take Eva to every morning, so I spend a good chunk of my morning looking across at that building. Like the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, it's built over the water on pilings, like a boathouse. It's got a full gym and everything inside... very cool :)

And here we are right after the off-leash dog park, just heading back into the city. Doesn't Eva look sad with her hangy-down tail? She hates wearing those flannel coats, but beagles don't have undercoats, so they get cold easily. It's a necessary accessory on rainy days.

Wow, this post took a really long time to put together... like, an hour...

Anyways, that's what I've been up to :) Chiro visit & walkies with Eva :)

What have you all been up to the past week or so? Sorry, again because of my ribs, this is the first time I've been online since my last post... so I've missed everyone's blogs that I usually follow/read.

It's midnight here, so time to go to sleep :)

*That's just what I call it :) Hey, it's Vancouver! Everyone knows that smell!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting settled

I'm slowly getting settled in Vancouver.

Wednesday my parents came over for the day and packed all my plants (seriously, I've got a lot of plants...) and a few other things in their SUV. We also went to see 'The Hobbit', which I enjoyed a lot more than the 'LotR' trilogy (I actually fell asleep in each of those...), but that's probably because 'The Hobbit' was the first book I took from my parent's shelf when I was around 7 or 8 and read on my own. I haven't read it since, so watching the movie felt strangely nostalgic in the, "is this a memory, or is this only something I'm imagining is a memory?" kind of way.

Thursday was crazy, decompression treatments in the morning, then packing everything up and having to make tough decisions when I realized everything I wanted to take wouldn't fit in my car. All my art stuff, light table, paints, etc got left behind. I got to the ferry terminal just after 2:00pm, and the 3:00pm ferry was already full, so I ended up parked for 3 hours until the next ferry (5pm). My back/ribs didn't overly appreciate that, so I did get out a couple times to walk Eva around. By the time I got to the condo, around 8:00pm, I was too sore to bring up anything more than the pets and their food. I even had to sleep in my clothes. Good thing I had a toothbrush ;)

Friday... I walked Eva on the Seawall in the morning, and it felt like the first time in 2 months I've been able to take a clean, stress-free breath of air. Then I hung a bunch of my art... not stuff I've made, but stuff I've bought, or have been given as gifts. My parents came by around noon with their SUV full of my plants, and the three of us unloaded their vehicle, and my car. We went out for dinner, Chinese food, including my favourite: gai lan stir-fried with garlic.

Saturday, I walked Eva again, then my bro-in-law (husband's younger brother) was awesome and tagged along on a whirlwind shopping trip to IKEA, Costco & Home Depot to get the last necessities, two of which were lights for the bedroom (seriously, why do condos/houses never have a central ceiling light anymore?) and wall anchors you can hang off, since the headboard for the bed needed to be mounted to the wall. That should have been a 2 person job, an hour max, but instead it took 4.5 hours total on my own... partially since I was dead tired and kept measuring wrong, partially since it was really heavy and it took some mad-analytical-skillz to get it up with only 2 hands. Unfortunately, one of my ribs popped out, but it's not bad.

Today... I've been just taking it easy.

Cooked breakfast, and have been watching a tv show on Netflix that a friend of mine recommended as an excellent time-waster called "Alphas", kinda like "X-Men", "Mutant X", or "Heroes". I have a particular fondness for computer/nerd characters, and Gary is pretty awesome as an autistic guy who can see radio/wi-fi/etc frequencies.

With the bed set up, the art hung, and all the plants watered & fertilized, this place is starting to feel a little like home. Then again, since I've moved 10 times in 10 years (this is #10) maybe I'm just highly adaptable...

Now it's 1:57pm and I think I'm going to take Eva down to the Seawall for a long walk.

Oddly enough, I've been sleeping badly for the last week or so... okay, not so odd considering what's been going on... but the odd part is, I've been "re-writing" Brake-Fluid while in that dozy-nearly-asleep state. Like, visually imagining the words on the page and mentally striking them out and writing new words. I get stuck in that state and can't fall asleep, but I can get up, turn on the light, do other things and snap out of it, but as soon as I lay down and turn off the lights... bam... back in editing mode.

This is a normal thing while writing a first draft of a new story, but I've never experienced it for editing.

Too bad my dyslexic-brain doesn't include a photographic memory, but I could probably re-create about 60-75% if I was awake enough to concentrate.

I'm hoping the walk, and maybe a second walk later this afternoon, will tire me out enough that I can crash.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Goodbye to the year of the Water Dragon, and hello to the year of the Water Snake!

I'm not sure if it's common knowledge that the Chinese calendar doesn't only rotate between the 12 animals, but also by the 5 elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth.

This means, a complete cycle isn't every 12 years, it's every 60 years.

Each element also has a corresponding colour, and water is black.

Each animal also has a fixed element, in the case of Snake, it's Fire... so yes, that's separate (and seemingly conflicts with) the element cycle.

And then there's a yin/yang cycle. This new year falls under yin.

...and then there's the Heavenly stem, the Earthly branch, the Four Pillars, the Four Trines, the Solar/agriculture calendar...

It gets really complicated.

Personally I don't believe in astrology, but I do find systems like this interesting, for it's a way of categorizing and explaining the world.

I was born under a lucky animal (#8), my element is earth, which is the stabilizing element, it's associated with the colour green, and I fall into the yin side of the yin/yang cycle.

Whew... that's a mouthful to keep track of...

When looking at the qualities of my animal/element year, at best, only 50% could be considered reasonably accurate, which is pretty normal in astrology... vague enough that people can always apply some aspects to themselves.

Do you know what element/animal year you were born in? The wiki page is pretty good, and a fast Google search turned up this site, which is interesting because, if you scroll down to the end of the page, it matches each Chinese animal (year of birth) with each Western astrological sign (month of birth). There are also sites where you can plug in the longitude/latitude of the place you were born, and the exact time, and it'll give you a full readout of lucky/unlucky days/years/decades/etc.

Lots of fun, and it's a great time-waster ;)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thank you.

I've been completely offline since my last post, except for a couple email-checks on my phone.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I've been absolutely terrified to log on and re-read my last post.

...and read any responses to it...

'cause the rational ride of my brain is still screaming at me to take it down. That it isn't professional. That, by posting it, I look like a crazy whiner who's rambling away about things no one cares about. Interestingly, I lost 3 followers.

But so much more important then that... was you guys who commented. Who wished me well. Who, instead of knocking me down, built me up.

Thank you, for your kind words.

One of the major downsides of always being 'the bigger person' and never showing when I'm hurt/vulnerable, is that I rarely get comfort/support from those around me.

So, really, thank you. I read them, and re-read them like 6 times before starting to type this post, and I will probably re-read them again several times. for my update on the list I was making?

1) Stop taking the muscle relaxants/anti-inflamatories... I lasted until the afternoon and had to go back on them 'cause my back was seizing up and it was hard to breathe. So, a big fail on that one.

EDIT: to clarify, because of the decompression treatments, the scar tissue on my rib cage breaking down, and the weak muscles around my spine, the muscles relaxants/anti-inflammatories aren't for pain, they are for preventing any repeated *spasms* during healing/strengthening of the weak muscles, like my last ferry trip, which ended up causing more damage. I only have to take them for another few days as I have been diligent with keeping up with the necessary exercises at home to help stretch the ligaments, and strengthen the appropriate muscles. I just didn't like them 'cause they give me brain-fog :)

2) I'm reading "Shape of Water", by Anne Spollen

3) Haven't written anything yet... but I am slowly working through a MS critique for someone. Also, nagging edit-possibilities for "Brake Fluid" have been miring around in the dark corners of my brain.

4) Victoria Film Festival: I've been to 9 movies so far, I'll go to 2 tonight, 3 or 4 on Saturday (probably only 3), and 3 on Sunday.

The festival has been awesome. Just what I needed... to fill my brain with new stimuli. So many amazing movies that are giving me all kinds of crazy ideas.

5) The selfish thing... not there yet :)

One other thing I've been avoiding... but the deadline is closing fast. Next Thursday (Feb. 14th), I'm *moving* to Vancouver for a while. Not sure how long yet...

...'cause the biggest hit I've taken lately, the one that blindsided me on January 03, was my husband came back from Victoria and told me he wants to separate/divorce. We've known each other since Grade 10/high-school. This June would be our 10 year anniversary. We've been together more than 1/2 our lives.

And this news, completely out of the blue, was absolutely devastating.

...which is why I didn't reply to comments from my Jan 03 post until the 9th. The two posts that went up after that were pre-set up to go, and it took me until the 12th to even get my head together enough to write a new post.

For now, we're doing the trial separation thing. Him in Victoria, in the witch's hut. Me in Vancouver, in the condo, with the pets.

...and yes, I do find it ironic that I'm officially separating on Valentines Day.

So, I'm slowly getting my head on straight. Thanks for your patience, and again, thank you so very much for your heartfelt words & support.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend full of sunshine, smiles, and happy thoughts :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thanks, 2013...

Yeah, 2013 has run me over, backed up, then gotten out of it's car and given me a savage beating with a burlap bag full of oranges*.

I think it's funny how, at this very moment, my brain is super fogged from the muscle-relaxants/anti-inflammatories, my eyes ache, it's hard to focus on the screen or hit the correct letters on the keyboard, and everything from my neck to my stomach hurts when I draw in a breath...

...and it just occurred to me that I've had enough.

I'm done.

No more.

I'm sick of spinning around in frustration, confusion, regret, fear, and despair.

I'm sick of chastising myself, of analyzing past words & actions for hints that foreshadow the current circumstances.

I'm sick of giving in, of rolling over and exposing my soft, white underbelly** in anticipation of another kick.

I'm sick of making excuses for things that are not my fault, and for taking responsibility for them.

I'm sick of always putting other people's happiness first. Of being considerate. Of assuming I'll 'bother' someone if I actually say what I think, or ask for help. Of constantly pulling a barrier between my brain and my heart so I can maintain a calm, rational demeanour.

I'm sick of being 'the bigger person' in. Every. Single. Relationship. That. I. Have.

I don't have to.

I don't want to.

...and it irritates me to death that it's taken me this long to figure that out.

Maybe I'm slow. Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe, like someone recently told me, I always assume the best about other people, so I never expect it when the worst comes out.

2013, you suck, but I'm not going to let you win.

First thing on my list: throw out the meds that are doping me up. Physical pain I can deal with.

Second thing: read something

Third thing: write something

Fourth thing: go out and get a life, starting tonight, as the Victoria Film Festival kicks off, I've got a pass, and there are 23 movies I could watch between now and February 10 without skipping decompression treatments, starving my pets, or depriving my dog of daily jaunts to the off-leash dog park.

Fifth thing: I'll let ya know when I get there, but it's going to be, a) something that makes me happy, b) something irrational, irrelevant, and downright selfish. And, c) whatever it is, I'm not going to apologize for it.

...and y'know what? Even putting up this post counts towards #5, because seriously... the fact that I'm venting to this degree... to anyone, (especially in public) is something that never happens. 'Cause, y'know, what I think/feel could possibly bother or bore whoever I'm with... and no one wants that...

Normally in a bad situation, I do two things, the second of which is absolutely absurd. 1) Relay the facts in such a way that both sides are given equal credibility, or neutrality. 2) Keep a smile on my face so the person I'm with won't feel uncomfortable, or that they need to take my side.

Yup. When I was strapped to a clamshell stretcher Sunday night, being angled through tight ferry hallways and forced into too-small elevators which required the stretcher to be compressed to its smallest setting (and me too, which didn't help my back/ribs), and tilted so the restraints around my neck were like a noose, I kept a smile on my face. I made jokes with the EMT crew about how the hard plastic collar around my neck would keep me from licking my stitches. I asked how their shift was, if they had had a good weekend, and I thanked them for every small detail.

Even while worrying that I might have a spinal injury, that the left side of my body felt heavy and numb, that I had absolutely no family on that side of the water who could pick me up, take me home, and stay with me, that the pain was so bad there are no words to describe it and I was unable to prevent myself from screaming whenever the clamshell was forcibly tilted... I still was doing everything in my power to make sure I wasn't troublesome or annoying.***

Then I took a cab home instead of calling anyone, because it was after 10pm, everyone I knew had to work the next morning, and they all live about 40 minutes away from the hospital I was taken to. So, scared, hurt, and drugged to the gills, I flopped on my back across the bench-seat of a yellow cab, gave the necessary 30-second set of instructions so the driver could find my house, and prayed he would take me there swiftly & safely. Then I concentrated all my remaining effort on not throwing up.

So believe me when I say that posting this is the most selfish thing I have done in years.

I'm tired, 2013, but I'm even more tired of being a laid-back, supportive, friendly doormat who lays there and accepts that everyone who approaches is going to wipe the crap from their shoes on my good intentions, and keep walking without looking back.

Yet even after all this, I have to thank you 2013, because it's finally been hammered into my head that I can't change other people, all I can change is myself, and how I choose to interact with the people around me. Their happiness and success is not my responsibility.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.****

...and yes, I find it funny that, even in a dark time such as this, I've found a silver lining, and I'm clinging to it like it's a life-line. I'm not sure whether that's a tragic flaw in my character, or one of my few redeeming features, but I've done enough self-analysis for one day.

That's it.

...and now is when I now fight the innate desire to delete this without posting it.

'Cause, y'know, it might bore or bother someone...

* don't ask
** reference to a previous post about my nephew, dinosaurs, and my incurable nerdiness, which I'm too lazy to link back to
*** is this normal behaviour for the youngest child?
**** Albert Einstein