Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I'd switch places with Emma

This week's Feature and Follow Hop, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, asks us to write about characters we'd like to trade places with. This was a really hard question for me, because the books I love the most tend to be about people that have problems galore. Hermione Granger? No thank-you. Don't want to battle Voldemort. I have my own demons to battle.

After a while, I realized the character I'd most like to switch places with is Emma from Jane Austen's novel of that name. Reason? Clearly I'd be better at handling Emma's problems than Emma. ;) Of course, I also have 15 years on her...and maybe if I grew up all spoiled and rich I would be just as stubborn as Emma. Emma is so sensible but misapplies her sense so gratuitously - and Mr. Knightly loves her anyway - that's what makes me want to change places with Emma. Although this isn't my favorite Austen novel, and Mr. Knightly isn't quite as romantic as Colonel Brandon (from Sense and Sensibility), Emma is my pick. :) You can see my review of Emma here

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile

Coming next week at Resistance is Futile
Anybody who's been reading my blog for a while will know that I have an upcoming event to raise awareness and personal education about suicide and mental illness. The stigma for these two issues is very high in our culture, and that means that many people who are feeling suicidal have no one to talk to about their problems. Many people who kill themselves could have been saved if only our culture didn't frown upon expressing so-called weaknesses. Many people who could have been treated for mental illness before cascading to rock bottom are left floundering with no one to talk to. Educate yourself and others about mental illness and suicide in order to fight this dangerous stigma!

My upcoming event is one small way to educate yourself. You can read a book or watch a film / show that educates you on mental illness. Mention it on your blog / goodreads / other place, and provide the link to the review in my comments section. I'll collect them all and make a tab of this year's selections, so that you can see what everyone else has been reading. :)

Destined for Doon, by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon will be released on September 2nd, and I'll be hosting a giveaway of this sweet little teen romance. My review and author spotlight goes up on September 2nd. 

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile

Watched this movie with my nephew and my friend for her birthday.
This movie was surprisingly fantastic. I hadn't expected them to be able to keep so close to the story of the book and yet have it adapt to screen so well. I am SO happy that I went to it. Even my 10-year-old nephew loved it, though it seems to be aimed at a slightly older audience. 

I volunteered 28 hours at the crisis hotline

Had an orientation for my new job :)

I read the August 8 issue of New Scientist. I was most struck by the article about the "big beasts" - bears, lynx, and wolves - returning to Europe. It included a sweet story about one collared wolf that walked from the Balkans in Eastern Europe, over alps 6 meters deep in snow, to Italy. The story actually brought a little tear to my eye, so I must have been in an emotional state of mind. The article also discussed the social / environmental implications of the large animals returning to Europe. 

As mentioned in my post yesterday about fears and vulnerability, I was at the hospital for a good chunk of the last week. But hopefully I'm doing better now!

While I was in the hospital, my wonderful BFF gave me two books. One of them was this adorable and hilarious Japanimation  comic. It gave me (and a few of the other patients) some needed laughs. :) 
While locked up I also enjoyed a game of cribbage with a couple fellow detainees (er...patients). 
They also taught me how to play Rummy.
And we watched the Vikings berserk the Chiefs for a 30 to 12 score. 

Upon sweet release, I celebrated by taking my nephew to see Guardians of the Galaxy - yes, I wanted to see baby Groot dance on the big screen again. :) I can do that over and over! We are Groot! My nephew, sadly, claimed that he liked Ninja Turtles better. :(

I also celebrated by having my FIRST pumpkin spice latte of the season! Yum!
And yesterday, I got flowers for the first time in over a decade.
That makes the hospital stay worth it, right? ;)
I FINALLY got to play the game Pandemic for the fist time, thanks to someone I met in the hospital. So perhaps that made the hospital stay worthwhile as well. :)

Newly Acquired

Bought this at Goodwill. It will go well with my mental illness theme the next couple of months, though I don't know if I'll have time to read it, since I have so much else going on. *sigh*

This book was also given to me by my BFF while I was in the hospital.

Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Audiobook from the library. Thought it would fit in really nicely with my mental illness theme. Since I had to return A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar before finishing it, I'll read this for now. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Vulnerability - My deepest fear

As usual this week I am combining my Life of a Blogger (by Novel Heartbeat) post with my Friendship Friday (by Create with Joy).  This week's topic is fears. 

Some fears are easy to discuss, and some are harder to discuss. It depends a lot on what your fears are. For instance, I have a fear of making myself vulnerable. So stating my fears actually goes against one of my deepest fears. However, I've been working on this specific fear, so this post will be a good opportunity to test out my new mad skilz at being vulnerable.

The Scream
Artist: Edvard Munch
(who theoretically had bipolar)

One of the things that has been making me feel vulnerable lately is my recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this diagnosis, it used to be called manic-depressive disorder. I'm diagnosed with type 2, which means I've only been "hypomanic" and not "fully manic." Hypomania increased my irritability, irrationality, and impulsivity while (on a happier note) making me feel that I couldn't be wrong, that I had the ability to climb the highest mountains and take on the world. I lost several people I considered friends during that period. And that still makes me feel abandoned and vulnerable. (Though, I have to admit, the online community is SO amazingly supportive, and I'm very thankful for you guys. You're all rockstars!)

With the spirit of fighting my fears, I will admit that the reason my blog has been a bit quiet last week is because I was in the psych ward of the hospital. (My doctor was unfortunately not as handsome as the one above.) I was really angry at my psychiatric NP for putting me there, because I didn't feel that I was in crisis at that time. But now that I'm out, I realize that he was trying to make sure I was stabilized and ready for my new job, which starts on the 2nd of September. He was being forward thinking, and I was very unappreciative. I guess I'll have to thank him later.

I hadn't originally planned on writing about my mental illness on this post - nor had I planned to mention that I'd been hospitalized in my upcoming weekly update. But when I was searching stock photos for a nice illustration of fear, I found the one above. It seemed fitting, somehow. Before I can change (and therefore master my new job), I need to admit to myself that I actually am in crisis. And to admit that, I need to make myself vulnerable. 

The picture I wanted to choose for this post is the one above - with the spooky religious images. I'd already been having a bit of a faith crisis before I was diagnosed with bipolar, but the diagnosis put my faith into a tailspin. What if...I thought...what if all this time that I thought I was being inspired or called by God, all those feelings of "rightness" and euphoria were just figments of a hypomanic mind? That is the most terrifying feeling I've ever experienced. The foundation of my faith was no longer stable. I'd say on the Richter scale this faithquake was about a 6.5. Most of my faith is still there, but I'm walking around all wobbly. There were a lot of things I felt that God had called me to do - writing is among them. I started writing this blog because I felt that God wanted me to write, and a blog would be a good place to practice both writing and marketing. Now I wonder...what do I blog for? If I give up on my faith, do I stop blogging?

Anyway, putting my vulnerability and faith aside, my own diagnosis of mental illness is a fantastic segue to plug my upcoming Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read. Don't forget to stop by my blog in September and October to see what people are reading and watching for this event. I'll also be having a couple of giveaways. You're welcome to jump in and participate at any point in time...all you need to do is read or watch something that educates you on suicide or mental illness. It can even be something that's an accurate portrayal of mental illness - just tell us why you think it's not. :) I have a list of suggestions for both books and movies.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Facing my demons - 23

My friends.
The one
my strength.
The other
imperfect other
who loves me
in my imperfection.
They have not left me behind
with Procrastination.
Despite my doubt, 
they have dragged me
under the Gate
to Fear.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Facing my demons - 22

My skin tears
separates from my flesh.
The left side of my face
my palms
I know this
though I can't see.
But I am too cold to bleed.
Blood freezes in ruptured capillaries.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Facing my demons - 21

Frozen to the ice
cemented by filth
I pull
My skin is weaker
than my stubbornness.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Week at Resistance is Futile

Well, the Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness Theme Read hosted here at Resistance is Futile is coming upon me really quickly, and I still haven't written a post with suggestions. So I decided I would throw in some links for you to check out. :)

Popular Mental Illness books (Goodreads list) - Several of the books on this list I have already read or are on my TBR mountain.

11 of the most Realistic Portrayals of Mental Illness in Novels - This is a pretty interesting article with some good suggestions. And don't miss the embedded list of 20 Greatest Memoirs of Mental Illness

Mental Illness in Fiction (Wikipedia) - This interesting list includes some much older books as well as some unexpected inclusions (LOTR? - Ok, yeah, I guess Golem was mentally ill, DOES make kind of a fun list, though. And you can feel free to be )

Contemporary YA books featuring mental illness - What is a list of books without YA these days? ;)

NAMI Blog: The Top 10 Movies about Mental Illness - This is a really good list (should be, coming from NAMI). I've seen 6 of them. :)

10 Gripping Films about Mental Illness - This list seems pretty good, as well. 

10 Best Portrayals of Mental Illness in Modern Movies - This list, I suspect, is more about the acting than about psychology. From I totally agree with the assessment of great acting on this list!

This week in Futile Resistance World...

My friend and I watched another two storyarcs of the William Hartnell years for Doctor Who. We've made it a good way through Hartnell's years, and we have decided to move ON to the second doctor. :) YAY!
This week I volunteered 20 hours at the text center


I watched Elysium - which turned out to be a rather philosophical movie with liberal leanings. The whole, everybody-deserves-to-have-medical-care lean. ;) I found the movie rather sad because the problems portrayed were SO easily translated to problems we're seeing in today's world. I know that's the point of dystopias. But it still made me sad that we should have to question whether a human being deserves to be denied medical treatment just because he was born in the wrong part of the world. :(

I watched this movie with my nephew. I didn't think it was fantastic, but my nephew LOVED it. :) Then again, I'm not a purist, so I'm not particularly concerned about the differences between the original movies and this movie...I just found the humor sort of stupid and the turtles were really ugly to look at. So. Meh.

Other posts on Resistance is Futile...

My blog has been really slow lately, but here's a little something if you're following my "epic poem" about Facing my demons.

Newly Acquired

Thought I would review the TV show Monk for my Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness theme. This seemed a nice accompaniment, especially since I love the Pop Culture and Philosophy series. Bought this one on my Nook.

This is the first book in a series. I was asked to do a blog tour for the second book in the series, so I'm reading this one first. Got it in hardcover from the library.

ARC provided by publisher
Blog tour and giveaway on 9/4

ARC provided by publisher
Blog tour and giveaway on 10/7

I hope to read this book during September and October's Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read. Purchased it in paperback.

Bought this in paperback

Bought this in paperback

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding

The Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding

Genre: Young Adult Dystopia, Science Fiction, Ages 11-14

Reason for Reading: This was my bookclub book for this month. 

Summary: The island city of Orokos has been trapped in isolation for so long that the idea of a "world outside Orokos" had become a dream for only the naive and the fanatics. There is nothing outside of Orokos, and Orokos is nothing but city, ghetto, and the ruling Protectorate. Chaos storms wreak havoc upon Orokos and its inhabitants - picking people up and dropping them elsewhere; crippling some people while giving life to others. Even eyeshadow isn't too small to be overlooked by the probability storms.

When Rail and Moa make a snap decision to hide an expensive artifact from their Thief Mistress, they must flee with an assassin hot on their trail. While running, they come across a golem, Vago, who'd been misplaced by a probability storm before he had any idea of who he was, where he was from, or why he was made. Where can these refugees go when the Protectorate rules with an iron fist - keeping ghetto-folk away from the city? Their path is simply a series of coincidences strung together...leading, where?

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters were simple enough to flow well in a book for young teens, but each character had an interesting mixture of strengths and weaknesses. My favorite character was Vago, the Golem, whose process of self-discovery throughout the story made him intriguing. 

I loved the philosophical underpinnings of this story. It reminded us that the random power of entropy will always win. It always destroys what we have worked to build. Entropy is a non-stoppable machine. So why do we continue fighting it? Why do we continue dreaming of that "other world" when we have so much evidence that it doesn't exist? Why do we clutch hopefully to mere coincidences and use them to fuel our dreams? 

Slight spoilerish material
This is a book about hope as well as one about chaos. One character, who was "fanatically" willing to risk the lives of her people in pursuit of a seemingly impossible dream said: "We can stay here with our dreams just out of reach, or we can risk everything to reach them." Even after having finished the book, I'm still not certain which was the right thing to do - was it better for her people to risk everything in pursuit of their dreams? Or was it foolish? Is it better to keep yourself safe by being cynically aware of the brutality of the world, or is it better to hope, dream, or love?

To me, the lasting message of the book is: your life might be nothing more than a series of coincidences that are out of your control, but how you respond to the world defines who you are - and YOU decide how you respond. I'm not sure whether I agree with this philosophy or not. Lately, I've had a bit of a faith crisis - which makes the life-is-a-random-string-of-coincidences theory sound rather rational. But I know what everyone expects me to say is that God is in control, it's not a string of coincidences. ;) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Facing my demons - 20

keeps me sliding 
on ice
till I freeze
in place. 
Cements me to the ground.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Facing my demons - 19

I arrive in the next circle
puking blood and sewage.
for breath
but my lungs freeze.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Week at Resistance is Futile

Don't forget to sign up for my Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read, coming up in September and October. :) I know I keep saying this, but soon I will post a some lists of books, shows, and movies for suggestions - but the rule is, if YOU think your review fits the theme, then it does. :) Even if your review is mostly to say "this is a novel completely misrepresents mental illness."
This week in Futile Resistance world...

Did anyone else watch Guardians of the Galaxy this week? It was HILARIOUS. I loved it!

And when I took the online quiz, it turns out I am Groot. Yeah. That's awesome.

I reviewed Rin Chupeco's spooky new YA book The Girl From the Well, (the giveaway is open through the end of the month, you can still sign up!) I also posted the trailer for the book, if you're interested.

I went to a Frozen-themed birthday party for my friend's three-year-old. That was a lot of fun. (Happy Birthday Lucy!)

A friend and I watched TWO storyarcs from the Doctor Who (The William Hartnell years). 

My friend and I are really struggling with keeping our interest in William Hartnell's doctor. So far, he's nosy, tactless, condescending, and self-absorbed. Plus, the overall theme fits the old British imperialism (white man's burden, and all that jazz). That is in stark contrast to the  deeper philosophical message of the modern doctors where his purpose is to protect others' cultures. And where even there is even depth in the Dalek's plan of universal extermination. I can't wait until we move on to the second doctor! Hopefully he'll be more tolerable.

Well, I accepted a new job coming up in September, which pays double what I was making at unnamed-bookstore-chain-which-I-am-not-allowed-to-blog-about-because-Big-Nanny (BN for short)-might-be-watching. It's not QUITE where I want to be, but it's definitely a step in the right direction and introduces some interesting opportunities for growth within the company. This week I got my background and drug test, both of which I passed. :)

This week I volunteered for 8 hours as a crisis counselor for a texting crisis line for teens. I encourage everybody who has a lot of empathy for people in crisis to volunteer at a crisis hotline. The suicide CPR training is superb. You won't regret the time spent!

I finally caught up on my Grimm! In fact, I think this is the first time in the history of me that I've been caught up on a TV show that is still running. I can't wait until Season 4 premieres in October!

Perused some interesting articles in this week's Economist. I was mainly interested in learning that the state of Britan's prisons is pretty similar to the state of those in the US. Which is sad. :(

I got this free e-comic book from Marvel after buying the giganto fountain drink at Subway. In it, the Guardians fight a war to protect Earth. Ironman joins the fight, but he's not as cool as the Guardians, based upon his ability to remain conscious. This comic was 20 pages of amusement. I guess that's really good for the price. :)

Other posts on Resistance is Futile this week

 I added two new stanzas to Facing my Demons

And I posted about My Favorite Childhood Memory

Newly Acquired...