Merging Reality with Fantasy

Second liOkay… I’ve wrote on here about my absence being related to an addiction to a Virtual Reality world called Second Life.  Many of you have commented about running in terror (or something close to it) from such a potentially life-sucking vortex, and maybe I can’t disagree with you on that… lol.  If you’re on susceptible to addictions then you’d probably do well to get the crucifix and holy water to spray in the general direction of anything that puts the words “Second” and “Life” in the same sentence.

But….  Why is it so addictive?  Why do I get a panicked feeling sitting in front of the computer and NOT have Second Life going?  Why am I seriously considering plunking down hard cash for a new computer so I can fully enjoy the effects and not laaaaaaaag to the outer realms of darkness?  LOL… Why do I actually put real money … US dollars… into my PayPal account so I can buy Lindens, the currency of Second Life?  I want to take this non-book related blog post to tell you (and to sort it out myself, for that matter).

Firstly, in the real world I’m a single mom of three wonderful girls.  Sam, 15, is a sophomore in high school and is starting to talk about moving out.  As her mother, of course I see all the things with her that make me worry about her abilities to survive on her own.  Firstly, gack! are there very many 15-year-olds that behave and function in a way that inspire parental confidence in their abilities to be responsible adults?  It’s a very strange time with her.  The other night she said she couldn’t wait until she’s 18 so she won’t have a bedtime… omg… I’ll never sleep (of course, thanks to Second Life, I don’t sleep now).  Secondly, she has a mental illness, and must take her medication or she hears voices and becomes severely paranoid.  Problem is, she hates taking her pills.  Who’s going to make sure she takes them if she lives alone?  Who will make sure she showers?  Who’s going to make sure she’s eating healthy, and not just spooning heaps of sugar on everything? Oh my, the thoughts and worries I have for my bunny (her nickname from the time she was 6 weeks old and I put a little knit hat with a funny little frill around her face.  I took one look at her and said she was my little snow bunny, and bunny stuck.  Tigger her other nickname because, as she has ADHD, she is very bouncy-bouncy-flouncy 😉 )

Then there is Gwen… my sweet, loving, at times mischievous, and mildly mentally handicapped.  At fourteen and in the eighth grade she is reading at about a second to third grade level.  Her math is higher; she’s working at a fifth grade level.  Socially, she’s disadvantaged, not understanding the nuances of social play.  She takes people at their word and falls for the cruel tricks middle-schoolers play on one another.  Again, how can I expect her to function as an adult?  To pay her bills and remember to put the milk away? She has such lofty dreams of being a jockey, a vet assistant, having a farm and horse (oh, how she loves horses!).  How can I tell her these things will more than likely not be possible for her?  I don’t, and I hope I’m not being cruel in the long run, because the world is cruel enough as it is and it will tell her she can’t have these things.  What she needs is a cheerleader, and I do my best to be that for her. 

What compounds Gwen’s problems is that, while her sisters have fathers who are very involved in their lives, she does not.  If she sees  her dad four times in the year she’s lucky, and that breaks my heart, as well as her sisters’,  for her loss.  She will look for that love in someone, anyone, who shows her the slightest attention.  What heartaches lie ahead for her?

Then there’s Maggie, whom you’ve met in her guest reviews.  Pretty, extroverted, and a normalmentally, intellectually and physically sound child.  She’s a treasure (not that the other two aren’t) because she’s easy.  With her I can hope for a successful future.  She wants to be a doctor and go to Vietnam to help with those less fortunate.  She’s a girl’s girl, bringing home all the stories of the day, from who had to pull a stick to updates on the frenemy sagas.  In every sense of the word, a normal nine-year-old.  And I feel miserably guilty for thinking and feeling this way, as if I’m writing off the other two.

And in all this, I am a single parent who has not dated in 10 years, and have not been romantically involved in five years (sorry if that is TMI, but it all goes toward the reasons Second Life is such a drug).  Kids, house, lawn, garden, dog, cats… bills… doctors appointments… school meetings… responsibilities heaped on responsibilities… being a grown up is hard.

Now, imagine a place where all that goes away.  Where I’m free.  Where I can fly.  Where I can where all the clothes that I can’t in real life because I’m not a size 2 and I’m a mother of daughters who are watching me for the path to take in their lives.  I can be a flirt.  I can have tons of friends.  I’m a vampire.  I can play sound clips from movies and act them out.  I don’t have to work.  I don’t have bills to pay.  It’ all fun and no responsibilities.  All the things in the real world can be found there, and whatever you can imagine and more.  I can live  in my favorite TV show, in fact my apartment is set in the UK cult classic show “The Prisoner”… which I did NOT know until after I had rented my place.  All my neighbors are running around capturing each other and playing spy games.  Since I’ve never seen the show, I’ve not joined in.  I can make a date at a romantic waterfall on a tropical island.  How can you NOT become seriously sucked into this virtual world?

Then throw into all that the people I’ve made friends with there… I’ve got to share a couple of them with you:

An artist and videographer (I hope that’s what it’s called) who’s entered the following cool video in a festival in Germany.

For No One

And SoliGoth, an artist for hire trying to feed his cats and get a better computer (a common SL theme for reasons discussed above). His cafepress store has some unique items for your perusing (and purchasing) enjoyment. My particular favorites are Mark’s Invisible Shirt and the Short Bus Bag (okay, I have a politically incorrect sense of humor…). Visit his store. Make a purchase. Feed his cats 😉

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Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer


Title: Eclipse
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Hardcover: 629 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: September 2007
ISBN: 9780316160209

“Can I tell you what the worst part is?” he asked hesitantly when I said nothing… “The worse part is knowing what would have been…” Jacob shook his head. “I’m exactly right for you, Bella. It would have been effortless for us – comfortable, easy as breathing. I was the natural path your life would have taken…” He stared onto space for a moment, and I waited. “If the world was the way it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic…”

I could see what he saw, and I knew that he was right. If the world was the sane place it was supposed to be, Jacob and I would have been together. And we would have been happy. He was my soul mate in that world – would have been my soul mate still if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world…

Two futures, two soul mates… too much for any one person. And so unfair that I wouldn’t be the only one to pay for it. Jacob’s pain seemed too high a price. Cringing at the thought of that price, I wondered if I would have wavered, if I hadn’t lost Edward once. If I didn’t know what it was like to live without him. I wasn’t sure…

“He’s like a drug for you, Bella.” His voice was still gentle, not at all critical. “I see that you can’t live without him now. It’s too late. But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun.”

The corner of my mouth turned up in a wistful half-smile. “I used to think of you that way, you know. Like the sun. My personal son. You balanced out the clouds nicely for me.”

He sighed. “The clouds I can handle. But I can’t fight with an eclipse.”

Eclipse, pages 598-600

I am soooo addicted to this series. It’s everything I’ve loved in reading. It’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice (Twilight). It’s Romeo and Juliet (New Moon). It’s Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights (Eclipse). In fact, I found that Edward points to these three couples on page 28 when I checked back to make sure I spelled Heathcliff correctly 😀 . Makes me wonder if Breaking Dawn will be Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. (Those of you who’ve already read it, DON’T TELL ME!!!!)

I really enjoy Meyer’s writing style. Yes, this series is romantic in that it’s about lovers whose love is epic and the opposition to their realization of this love almost insurmountable. It’s everything I fell in love with when I read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice as a teen. This series brings the same feelings of hope, agony, love, desire and despair, all occurring at the same moment, that I had at 15 with my first real boyfriend (by real I mean the first one you kiss for hours and wonder what’s beyond the kissing but the kissing is satisfying enough not to cross that boundary… the first boyfriend you park with… that first boyfriend that when we broke up it felt like my heart had been ripped out with a dull spoon).

Okay, I admit it… The Twilight series isn’t an intellectually stimulating set of books, they are more like brain candy. But it’s so nice that at 35 I can feel those fresh and new emotions. I give Eclipse 4 out of 5 stars.

The Sunday Salon – DEATH to Mr. Manners!

The Sunday Salon.com

Good Morning All!! Happy Sunday, and whatnot. I fell asleep with the TV on CNN and had some very weird dreams. Something about the book Daddy Long Legs, how that got in there I don’t know, along with sitting pool side in Beijing watching Phelps win the 8th gold medal, I doknow how that got in there… it’s only on every five minutes! mixed together with Obama, McCain, housefires and hurricanes to make some weird unconscious cocktail of imagination.

BERNIE MAC died? I just happened to glance over at the TV and just found out. I really love Bernie Mac’s comedy. Guess Who? is one of my favorite comedies, and I love the Bernie Mac show where he’s taking care of his niece and nephew. And I guess Isaac Hayes died, as well. Crap! I need to at least watch the news more.

Chocolate prices is on the rise. That sucks. But I’ll have to say what the smokers say… If it get up to $1.00 a bar, I quit eating it! and then still buying chocolate when it’s $2.50 a bar. Chocolate and books…. they are my crack!

My Friday-Fillinsthis week sparked a bit of interest. It seems you can’t say you intensely dislike your neighbor and suggest we all dress up like my neighbor so we can create mayhem in his (and her) image without getting a couple comments of laughter and curiosity, as well as a few who understand. So I thought I’d explained a little more about the joy and rapture I feel NOT! about my friendly cough next-door neighbors.

When they moved in I said hi and was friendly, and I gave them some tomatoes from my garden and some baked goodies. A few weeks later, Mr. Manners knocked on my door at 10 o’clock at night demanding I turn down my TV. Their grandkidstore up my yard, left their toys and stuff in the grass which made my lawn mower happy, and even played on my front porch with my kids’ stuff when we weren’t home. Mr. Manners made a vague threat he was going to kill my cat by locking him up in his garage and leaving him there for a couple weeks. Last year, when I was walking Missy, our mini rat terrier, he whistled to her in a friendly way, and she went happily to him… after all, every human loves her and has always been good to her. Suddenly he started chucking rocks at her, cussing her out and threatening to kill her if she ever stepped in his yard again. He cussed out my oldest daughter because she was standing too close to his POS van… she was a yard and a half away from it!

A couple weeks ago, Maggie had a lemonade and cookie stand to make money to go to our local amusementpark and asked my neighbor’s grandson if he wanted some. When he went to ask, Mrs. Manners told him he couldn’t have anything she was selling and he wasn’t allowed to talk or play with Maggie and she didn’t want Mags on her property. What? I gave them a box of homemade.. MY made.. cookies and goodies at Christmas, they didn’t die from them then, what gives my cooking cooties now? They were miffed about her out in from of the house hawking her goodies for sale, but then when Mags and I came out to go for breakfast at White House, it looked like their house threw up all over their front lawn. My kid was scum for having a lemonade stand, but here they are having a yard sale! I loudly told Maggie (loud enough for Mr. Manner’s to hear) she should set up her lemonade stand today so she could benefit from Mr. Manner’s yard sale traffic.

What makes matters worse, Mr. Manners happens to be my landlord’s maintenance man. So I have to let him in my house on occasion. The last time he came, Maggie answered the door, took one look at him, screamed in terror, slammed the door and ran to tell me he was at the door. Oh joy… I told him she shouldn’t have answered the door; she should have told me someone was at the door and let me get it. I don’t know if I told him she was scared of him or not.

So, that’s my neighbors. Feel free to wear a disguise that makes you look like them and go create madness and mayhem at the local 7-Eleven. 😀

A couple other things: My grandmother died on Thursday, so my presence on the blogs and ‘net may be a bit thin, particularly on Wednesday (which is the viewing) and Thursday (which is the funeral). The daily Booger factoids will still be posted, so continue to come by and comment, and I’ll put the entries in when I get home.

I don’t know if my little brother (he’s 32, not so little) is coming, and don’t know if I’ll have anyone staying with me in my home. I doubt my mom will. I’m about 90% certain she’ll choose to stay at a hotel, a room of her own and maid service as opposed to crashing here and cleaning up after all of us… which she will, no matter how much I say not to. If my brother and his two sons come up, he might stay with me if mom doesn’t pop for a hotel for them. And he’s a big tech nerd, so I’ll have to threaten to break his fingers if he tries to “improve” my computer. He’s always trying to get people to go Linux. I’m adamantly opposed for the sole reason that he’s so rabidly for it.

OH, and don’t forget to sign up to win that $10 Borders Gift Card! at Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway!

Ye Grande Olde TBR(e) Challenge!

 

Book ADDICT!

I’ve been back and forth over this idea… I’ve commented a few times on Fyrefly’s post Ye Grand Olde TBR(e) Challenge! … but after buying a bunch of books at Goodwill and Waldenbooks, only to come home and find out two of the books were duplicates of what I already have in my library (and that isn’t the first time it’s happened, either!) So I am now repentent and ready to throw my lot into this Challenge.

BookMooch is my CRACK, as are the ARC offers and Goodwill’s book racks and Waldenbook’s bargain bins, not to mention the thrift stores! So, from here on I will:

  1. Not buy anymore books for Mt. TBR (sometimes I buy ones I know are wishlisted on BM.)
  2. Maintain at least a 3 to 1 ratio of books read to books brought in. (If I don’t give myself some wiggle room, I’ll lose it!)
  3. Seriously, only request ARCs and Reviewer copies that I would really love to read, not just get “FREE BOOKS!”
  4. Only mooch or request books already ON my wishlist, and not put new ones on it. (toss the one’s I’m not dying to have onto the Save-for-later page.)

That’s about it. Check out Mt. TBR and tell me if there’s anything you’d like me to get to sooner! (I still haven’t the heart to add the 20 books I got Thursday, July 3rd!)

OH! and don’t forget to enter to win a $20 Borders gift card in My First Ever Giveaway! So far, I have around 270 entries. If I hit 400, I’ll add a second prize of a $10 Borders gift card, and a $5 card at 500. So enter to win, blog for more entries, comment for more, and tell others about it!

Booking Throught Thursday -6/26

btt button

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

I would call someone would indiscriminately reads everything they can get their hands on as a really and tryly bibliophile, bookworm, a true reader. If was a speed reader with a photographic memory, I could read a lot more than I do now, and maybe it wouldn’t be Mt. TBR, but a small hill. I’d call someone who could read everything LUCKY!

A “reader” in my opinion, it someone who reads when they can. WHAT is not as important is the simple fact that they prefer books over other media, and they read regularly. An “avid reader” would be someone who reads whenever they have a free moment, reading while eating and anytime they have to wait somewhere. A book junkie reads at the expense of showers, eating, cleaning their house, and even leaving the house. A book junkie would call into work to stay home and read. I rank somewhere between “avid reader” and “book junkie”.

One of my fantasies have always been to be locked in library and left to read away (of course food and bathrooms would be avaialble).   I often joke in the winter time that I’m praying for a freak blizzard while the kids are in school so I can just stay in and read.  I’ve stopped watching movies for the most part, because they lack imagination… the movie screen inside my head is much better than their pale interpretations. 

It shocks me to think that a lot of people never read more than 12 books a year, and some people don’t even read ONE book a year.   These people will joke about not having read anything since they were made to in high school.  I just don’t understand how people can say this in an almost bragging tone of voice!