June 26, 2011

Bibliophilia and....Not

I finally made it to the library recently, and got my usual huge load of books--not all the ones I wanted, but I filled up my bag nonetheless with other books I saw and thus remembered I wanted--you know, the usual thing that happens when you go to the grocery store with a list and wind up seeing lots of other items you need but didn't think of? Anyway....

I've been enjoying reading again, particularly since I haven't been feeling well enough to play games with Blake as much, and I'm still in a holding pattern where the employment agency is concerned. (note to self: prod mercilessly!)

I really enjoyed reading some of the books, but not so much others....I started out with the volumes by Kerrilyn Sparks, "Eat Prey Love" and "Vamps and the City." Both were full of the usual romantic wish-wash of people being lead around by their hormones and doing things against their better judgement, but that's par for the genre. Other than that, Sparks balances the potentially cheesy paranormal plot elements very well, managing to place them into a believable alter-reality. She doesn't attempt to stretch believability but instead pokes fun at the cheesy elements, managing to shift them into the sillier elements of life category. All in all, I enjoyed reading them.

I followed them with books in the same genre, but I have to admit I was deeply disappointed by one of my favorite authors, Carole Nelson Douglas, writer of the much-enjoyed "Midnight Louie" series. I'd glimpsed her newest "paranormal" series on her website when last I visited it, and thought it would be fun to check it out. I was not prepared in any way for what I got, however.
The series falls down the rabbit hole of unbelievable carnival side-shows, grabbing every cliche known to man on the way down. The books have more than the usual number of fragments and non-sequitars. Some of them were horrific...but on top of that, the books abandon all pretense at believability (a dog that can run as fast as a car on the highway and make wounds disappear with his tongue, just for one) and don't even bother to attempt make it into a joke. In fact, they all fall into the realm of hokey publicity stunts. I wonder if CND was trying to make them horrible in order to convince her publisher that it's not her genre...she also reaches for "gritty", the latest trend, but her books are the difference between wearing a tshirt that says "I am gritty" and actually being so. It's almost as though she made a list of "gritty phrases" and words, and attempted to use them all a specified number of times. I "finished" the three books I'd gotten "Brimstone Kiss," "Vampire Sunrise," and "Silver Zombie" only with great perseverance-- I have to admit I was only scanning most of the last book because I couldn't bear it. I didn't want to put it down though, because I wanted to read the whole thing before I ventured an opinion and because it was so bad I couldn't turn away, much as people do with horrible accidents.

After that debacle, "Going Postal" by Terry Pratchet was a welcome comic relief. Pratchet doesn't attempt to drag his alter-reality into the realms of believability, but instead makes it into a well-crafted comic farce--an enjoyable break from the hum-drum.

I also read (or re-read, I can't remember) "The Brave and the Bold" by Keith R.A. DeCandido, one of the best Star Trek authors I've read. Sadly, I realized I had book two only after I got home; nevertheless it was an enjoyable read--DeCandido manages to balance plot elements and excellent character development with his usual aplomb. If only all Star Trek authors measured to his and Michael...Friedman? Can't quite remember his name...standards, anyway. Some of them I've read have managed to skew the Star Trek universe into their unique paradigm, resulting in something that only technically deserves the name "Star Trek."

I tried out a new author by the name of Terry Spear-"Heart of the Wolf." From it I had the "lupus garou" scientific name of werewolves ground through my skull, as it was repeated several times each page (or so it seemed). I got the impression that the author really liked the phrase. I also learned that an author could pad a script with erotica and thereby have half as much to write. I may read another of Spear's books if it's the last book in the world and I can't find any growing grass to watch.

Luckily, I had one of James Rollins' earlier works, "Map of Bones" to follow that pill with. Rollins dives into his usual fast-paced suspense, showing even then that he had potential for real dramatic action. This particular story lacked his later polish and break-free plot pace, but still was an exciting read. Like all the other books by this author that I've read, it includes the author's strange disregard for ancient monuments and artifacts--while he writes at length about their age and attributes, his characters usually deface or destroy something in the plot, even as they recognize its value. I admit I don't understand this particular eccentricity, but I tend to simply let it pass since otherwise, Rollins is in an action class of his own.

I'm currently reading "Siege of Darkness" by...something Salvatore. Even though it's the middle of a series, the book is amazingly well-written and boasts beautiful fictional languages as well as a well-crafted alter-universe. I didn't find out until partly into the book that the adventures of Drizzt Do'Urden, rogue drow, are somewhat legendary and popular. I'm not surprised. I am enjoying it quite a lot, and have admitted a slight Drizzt crush to Blake. More on that after I've finished the book.

That's the main bits of what I've been doing, besides playing "Forgotten World" a little, and CO, STO, and Magicka with Blake, the last being the latest game he's introduced me to. I wish I could spend more time than I have with him, but my energy levels are not what they should be. I need to try to pull myself to some kind of schedule and get some sun, if I can. Oh, and last but not least, I read "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Chapman, loaned to me by my sister. From it I have learned that Blake's primary love language is "physical touch" and thus, his constant snuggling and hugging is not clingy-ness but an attempt to love me as he desires to be loved. I myself seem to derive a feeling of being loved from receiving gifts, even such things as physical presence. More on that later, though....

For those that wonder how much time it's taken me to read all of the above books, about a week but probably less. I read most of them in three days; but that's par for my pace.

Posted by Rachel at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2011

The Smell of Blah in the Morning

I woke up very early this morning, probably because I was sick yesterday and therefore slept most of the day. I was feeling optimistic because I was hoping to play a game with Blake and it was almost time for him to come home....

and I was also wondering if anyone had talked to me in a couple of irc channels I'd joined earlier the day before. One is a channel that Blake introduced me to and we've both lived in for a long time but I'd been absent from in recent months due to illness, but the other was a channel that Blake hangs out in to talk about game dev stuff, mostly.

I finally decided to join too, just on a whim, because the last few mornings I would get up and join mumble and be the only one there. When Blake got home, he would talk to his friends in that channel and get them to join us in mumble--so voila, I had the brilliant idea of joining the channel to possibly have someone to talk to and maybe even get our regular friends to join me in mumble.

I didn't work exactly as I'd hoped; I did get to catch up with a few old friends in our old channel, but the new one was as silent as the old one often is. I did talk to a few people we know in the new one, but only in passing--all of them were busy. (They were really surprised to see me though). I may not stay there since I feel like I don't belong there.

Fortunately Blake came home shortly after and I greeted him happily--however, when I talked to him about playing LOTR (which we'd spent a long time and a lot of trouble downloading) he investigated it and found that the devs had set it up so that people would have to use different logins and handles for each of their games, even though the accounts are kind of linked. That pissed Blake off so much he didn't want to even try it. (We also played DDO from those devs, and Blake actually got me a year sub (which was so sweet of him) but then my mom said I couldn't play the game because she is so fundy. I still blame her for that and a number of other things--I may take a long time to forgive her, if at all.)

I'm starting to think that Blake gets pissed off way too easily and that he is much too purist. If he doesn't like something, anything, he throws the whole thing out the window. Part of it may have been because he wasn't really in the mood to play a game in the first place. He really wanted to read his forums to get a dramadose, and then play around with his minecraft server. That's all he's interested in doing, lately--partly I think because all of the people he hangs out with really like that game and they're always poking him to do things on the server for them and talking to him about playing and he likes to hang with them. I find myself resenting them, Minecraft, and MOUL. It's not that I want him to try that game (Gah, that would mean re-downloading and re-installing it >.<) I am just in the wake of the frustration and disappointment. It all happens way too often.

I don't know why, but for some reason, I always feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I suppose they are my friends too, to an extent, but only because they are Blake's friends and he does things with them. If it weren't for that, none of us (them and me) would probably mix at all. I am on the outside of the game dev stuff (which tends to frustrate me a lot anyway because I don't understand the technobabble and because it's an old community that's dead and full of crap and I wish it would just die and go away once and for all). (One exception--an older man who has given me fatherly advice--but at the same time, it highlights the void in my life and I also worry that I may make him uncomfortable.)

I'm also on the outside of the Minecraft stuff--I used to be interested in it and enjoy it, but then one of Blake's friends took over the world and my interest died. I've also never been able to get into the update stuff as much as they do.

On the other hand, Blake is no longer interested in Second Life (although he has kept our house, so I can at least go in and hang out by myself), and he dropped Spiral Knights as well (the last time I finally went in by myself, one friend I had made had dropped me). Now Blake is not really interested in STO or CO (I confess I am a little burned out too, but that's mostly because Blake doesn't like to stick with stuff so he goes around trying high level areas and then leaving--and he keeps trying new characters, so we have to do the same stuff again and again.) He's offered to play anyway, but I can't ask him to do that, not only because it wouldn't be nice, but because he only follows me around forelornly. I can understand in a way, because I've done that too, when I forced myself to play something for him.

I did try PWI too, but I got discouraged when my wings expired and also to keep hearing Blake talk about what a horrible game it is...I already admitted the devs were moneygrubbing Ferengi, but when he brings it up in such an angry way, I never know what to say. I partly want to go back in and play it some more, but I would be doing it alone.

I can't help but wonder how much Blake and I have influenced each other's decisions--what would both of us be doing and what friends would we have if we had not gotten together? I probably should not even let that cross my mind, but when I look at how different our choices are and spend so much time alone, it does come to mind. Not that I would change it, but I do wonder how other couples handle such divergent choices. I am keenly feeling the absence of any relationship.

Moreover, Blake asks me what's wrong and I don't know what to tell him! I can't put any of this into words, really--and the few times I've tried, we ended up fighting and got nowhere, he'd promise to change and then everything would be the same again.

Maybe I just need a vacation. I feel lonely.

Posted by Rachel at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)