New Year, New U(niverse)

Same bad puns. Honestly, it sounded better in my head than it reads in the header, but I also originally planned to write it as “You(niverse)”…until that looked dumb, also. So here we are.

Happy New Year to you all, since it is now late enough that everyone has crossed the arbitrary boundary between 2017 and the three weeks of incorrectly writing 2017 on things. I’m sure I will be among those people. I hope you all had a lovely night and didn’t wake up with hangovers today, or if you did wake up feeling hungover I hope it didn’t linger too long. Like many, many, many other people, I am using the new year as a means of setting goals for myself in an effort to talk less and do more. I still refuse to call them New Year’s Resolutions, as the moment that label touches something it transforms into an impossible goal for most people. Continue reading

T’is the Season

NaNoWriMo is now well behind me, and I successfully won another year (it only cost me quite a few days of sleep-deprivation at work, but I’m honestly pleased with the bulk of the draft it yielded). Christmas is less than a week away, which would be concerning if I hadn’t managed to successfully behave like an adult and get shopping out of the way ahead of time for a change. As the end of the year rapidly approaches, whether I’m ready for it or not (and, honestly, despite how good 2017 has been on a personal level I am all about those sweet, sweet 2018 mid-term elections and several other, exciting things I’ll get to later).

This post is a sort-of recap of my year since the last posts I made, a loudly-stated-because-it’s-on-the-intenet commitment to getting off of my ass so as to work harder towards getting more things published (self-published as well), and a return to WordPress…because I renewed my damn domain name, so I may as well make use of it. (Fun story: I had to open a new tab and verify this, because I honestly could not remember if I did or not.) Onward!

Continue reading

The Trouble with Big Dogs

The Trouble with Big Dogs – In Memory of Franco

The trouble with big dogs is that they are big. Large. Huge, enormous, and perhaps even gigantic. They take up a great deal of space wherever they are, naturally; whether that be lounging in the middle of the floor, dominating a couch–their couch, of course–in the most spread-out way imaginable, or nosing their way to the door to greet a visitor who probably should have been let in already (where are your manners, slowpoke?).

Big dogs have big appetites, and often find their big noses on the table sniffing out food they certainly shouldn’t be eating. This, of course, does not prevent some of that food from occasionally finding its way to the appropriate dog dishes.

Big dogs have a capacity for big naps, often accompanied by big snores and big dreams. The biggest, most-accommodating couch or bed will invariably be taken up by such a large dog, leaving little space for much else. This is the new order of things, and should be accepted as an unwritten contract. Whatever recliner, sofa, or small segment of bed is left should be more than luxurious for any humans. Continue reading

Dear Franco

Today, far sooner than we’d have liked, my family had to say goodbye to our dog Franco. This is one of two posts I’m making on the subject. They’re largely selfish, as a way to cope and get this out of my system. In a small way, this is me working to say goodbye.

Dear Franco,

You weren’t always our dog, at least from the start, but you always felt like part of the family. Words fail me as I sit here, the dull hum of the ceiling fans we made sure to keep on for you the only company I have at the time, trying to fully process this morning. Bluntly: it sucks.

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All things considered, you could have been a very mean, temperamental, and unpleasant dog. The word ‘table’ was brandished at you like a weapon. Furniture was off-limits, of course. You still greeted people, tail wagging, with a lasting warmth.

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When we brought you home, there was a little apprehension. The adjustment period, where Mackenzie and Missy taught you that this was most certainly their house that you were moving into, had some interesting moments, but went smoothly. You seamlessly became another member of the family. The living room couch, covered with the dolphins-with-sunglasses blanket, quickly became shared property between you, Missy, and Mackenzie. 280779_669407042466_1444293402_o

There was a lot to love about you, Franco. The way you would only let some people pet you over the fence. How you greeted everyone at the door, often barking along the way as you readied to charge. The look you gave if someone happened to wake you up, and the grunt that would almost always follow.

In retrospect, your time with us feels both like it was gone in a flash but also like it lasted forever. Still, selfishly, I wish there were just a little more time. I will always wish there were just a little more time. Thank you for the years of howling along with sirens, going outside just to come back in for a treat, kisses, times you were waiting by the door when we got home, and so much more. My only hope now is that you are at peace, in a place where steak is regularly left unattended and well within your reach.

 

Eating Halo Top Vanilla Bean feels like the adult equivalent of eating paste

Sure, that’s a long-ass title, but it’s catchier than my usual go-to of indicating I’m not dead, that I’ve not forgotten I have a WordPress, or some pop culture reference. Related: how the Hell do I have 18 drafts? I need to do some belated spring cleaning.

The Halo Top, for the record, isn’t half bad, but it has a weird consistency – just to set the record straight.

“What’s new in the land of Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction (and life)?” asks no one in particular.  Continue reading

Hello WordPress, my old friend

I’ve come to post on you again.

I’m not even a little sorry for that. Nope. Newcomers: I’m definitely sorry for that, but it’s been a long week and I just don’t have it in me to pretend I’m more than a golem constructed from bad jokes, neuroses, and the occasional good idea. I got briefly distracted because I made the mistake of trying to refresh my Facebook while working on this post…only to discover my WiFi has once again crapped all over itself. Thanks, Comcast. Forever holding your products to the lowest standards. Continue reading

Night Four – Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: My, what sharp teeth you have

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: Closure…?

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 feels like a fully-realized vision for what Five Nights at Freddy’s could have been. It’s the best possible progression from the first game in so many ways. Writer’s Note: any instances of the animatronics’ names implies, unless said otherwise, that I’m talking about the Nightmare versions in this game. I realized I omitted that title a few times and I’m just too tired to fix it. Not even sort of sorry.

The Plot

FNAF 4 is unique in that it’s played with a child for the main character. The story begins with a Fredbear plush trying to calm down the protagonist who is crying because he’s been locked in his room again. It becomes clear that there is a party in five days, that the protagonist’s older brother torments him regularly by preying on his fear of the animatronics, I won’t really say much more, as the game is still new enough that I’d hate to spoil even a little of it. Just know that this game seems to be another prequel-sequel.

Bonnie, overall, has always been my favorite in terms of creeping me out. This? Damn it, Scott Cawthon.

Bonnie, overall, has always been my favorite in terms of creeping me out. This? Damn it, Scott Cawthon.

Continue reading

Standard New Year Hullabaloo

Happy New Year! To those of you reading this in the year 2015, on January 1st, in a world that hasn’t devolved into some sort of post-apocalyptic Hellscape, I bid you good tidings. To those of you who are in such situations: best of luck, and embrace your new robotic/insectoid/alien overlords in hopes that good behavior will be rewarded.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day mean a number of different things to a number of different people, of course. That’s a fairly obvious statement, I should think. There’s the easy way of viewing New Year’s Day as the start of a new calendar year. Another day that will, in all probability, be followed by three-hundred-sixty-four similar days. It’s a series of weeks in which the previous year sneaks into dates on virtually every document until, damn it, those guilty of such forgetfulness finally move forward and accept not being time-travelers. Some people view this as a time to enact change, small or large in their lives via resolutions while others view it as a time to continue with more of the same. Neither of those options is particularly bad on its own. It’s all a matter of how the resolutions or staying the same (which, in itself, is a resolution of sorts) are carried out. I’ve established I prefer to set goals that feel more achievable and moving forward from there. Such behaviors, I feel, were instrumental in the completion of my first novel, achieving my first paid publication (upcoming at a presently-unknown date), and surviving one hundred consecutive days of blogging, among other victories. However, I did allow myself a fair few more naps than I care to admit, more cheat-days with my writing, and other grievous creative and personal sins. However, I aim to make gradual, and hopefully very productive, changes this year. My goals for the year, as of now, will follow. Before that, I’d like to encourage the sharing of goals in the comments as well as the sharing of encouragement. Continue reading

Christmas Cheer/Pox

It’s now officially Christmas day and I still have all the eagerness of my much-younger self when it comes to presents. The key difference now is I am very excited to share something special, carefully selected after a mix of gift-hunting and procrastination, in hopes I make at least one person’s Christmas a little brighter.

Unfortunately, the only thing roasting on an open fire seems to be this writer. I’m fairly certain I have a case of the Christmas Pox, complete with fever, aches, and a generally bah humbug sensibility. Fret not, as I am at least fighting that last symptom tooth-and-nail as I refuse to bring down the mood today. Continue reading

Requesting a little help for a friend in need

Well, I use the term friend a little loosely here because “fellow Twitter-beast/writer who happens to be a generally good person” doesn’t really roll off of the tongue. I’d say both titles are applicable for the sake of brevity.

Heather, who I better know as MortuaryReport, is currently facing her third surgery in the past sixteen months. As someone who has only undergone a small handful of minor surgeries (and I’m not referencing those cosmetic procedures wherein I needed painfully infected ingrown toenails removed in time to look my best for bikini season), I can only imagine 1) how stressful this in terms of any anxiety relating to the surgeries, 2) how stressful this is financially (insurance isn’t going to cover everything), and 3) how stressful it is in relation to work and being off for extended periods of time to recover. I’ve asked people to donate to Kickstarters in the past, as they were things I supported (the Girls Make Games Kickstarter campaign springs to mind). This week has left me a little less capable of handling words well, and so I will politely borrow-steal Mort’s in this case.

In the summer of 2014, Heather was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome after a decade of dealing with undiagnosed, life-altering chronic pain.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a chronic, systemic, degenerative collagen disorder that causes the body to produce collagen incorrectly. An inherited disorder, it’s poorly diagnosed and often misunderstood. Collagen is present in every part of the body, from your skin to your organs to your joints. Incorrect collagen production can affect everything from your memory to your sleeping patterns.

Because of EDS, Heather deals with daily joint dislocations and subluxations. She has spinal disc degeneration, loridosis, herniated discs, and a spinal hemangioma. Her body falls apart on a daily basis. She works fulltime as a funeral director and apprentice embalmer, helping the community and giving her all to the families she serves.

In 2013, she underwent two surgeries on her tempromandibular joint after it closed locked in her sleep. A hard-working funeral director, she missed out on almost 6 weeks worth of work. On the heels of her surgery came an unexpected divorce, two moves, and the loss of her military health insurance.

In 2014, just 16 months later, Heather underwent a lapidus bunionectomy to correct joint degeneration in her left foot. After painfully removing chunks of bone and inserting two screws, she still can’t bear any weight on her left foot at all. In order to get around on one foot, she’s had to purchase multiple assistive devices.

EDS also contributes to slow healing, and the bones in her foot are not suturing together at a regular rate. In addition to having missed six weeks of work, Heather must now cover additional costs for a bone-growth stimulator to encourage her foot to properly heal.

Despite overwhelming challenges over less than two years and a diagnosis of a lifelong disease, Heather has met them head-on and as gracefully as possible. Any and all funds will go to recoup medical fees and surgical costs as well as close the gap from missing months of work on unpaid leave.

Please help Heather literally get back on her feet! – See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/robofoot-for-heather-ratcliff/232285#sthash.CQ0gHLRX.dpuf

That’s lifted directly from Heather’s YouCaring page, which actually automatically appended a link when copied and pasted (which is pretty neat, but also seems an awful lot like witchcraft). Be awesome and help out; even a little bit goes a long way, I’m sure, and it might even go some distance towards a karmic balancing-out of the more dubious things you, dear readers, are guilty of. You all know what I’m talking about.

The link again, just in case it’s needed: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/robofoot-for-heather-ratcliff/232285