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Jul. 26th, 2010

The best things ever

One: A glowing review for my first novel has made me an extremely happy cat.

Two: This is freaking hilarious

Mar. 10th, 2010

Initial thoughts on eff eff one three

So I'm playing FFXIII like everyone else in the world. Initial thoughts: Amazing to look at (and I mean AMAZING), not sure how I feel about the combat system yet though. Story-wise the premise is very cool but slightly hampered by the fact that I had to dig through menus to read what was actually going on. Pro tip, Squeenix: introducing a new and complex fantasy world through walls'o'text only available from the menu is not a good story telling choice. I spent the first two hours waiting for someone to tell me what the hell was going on before I figured out the dialogue thing. This made everything clear, but wasted a ton of chances for meaningful story telling. You have some really cool shit in this game, Square, why do you hide it? You're like a stripper wearing a hazmat suit, confusing and deeply unsatisfying.

Character impressions so far: Villenellele whatever her name is can die in a fire. So can her emo kid passive aggressive boyfriend. The black guy is forgettable and kind of insulting, and Snow needs to go back to his JPOP band. Lightning can stay. How about we kick everyone else out and make the game "Lightning kills monsters and punches annoying people." I would buy that game. Lightning forever!

Dec. 29th, 2009

Some facts about Nate!

Boring mom stuff post, skip as needed!

(For those who don't know, I had my baby a bit ahead of schedule. You can read the story here, if you like. Nate's youtube channel is here! Click for tiny cuteness.)

Nate facts:
First off, his full name is Nathan Aaron Bach (useewhutwedidther), and he was born on December 20th, 2009 at 4lb 1oz. He's only just now gotten back up to his birth weight (preemies often lose weight after birth, anyone would after being that stressed out!) but he's 16 inches long! He looked like a little skeleton there for a while, but he's finally fattening up. Yay! He has the loveliest, longest fingers and his hair feels just like mine. I'm going to have a little pretty boy, I just know it. His original due date was January 25, making him 5 weeks premature. However, that's still awesome by preemie standards. He's actually not even officially "premature" he's what they call "near term." The real rough stuff was the traumatic nature of his birth. He was actually born without a heart beat, and they couldn't get one going for 5 minutes. However, in utero babies are apparently very resilient to this sort of thing, and there's no sign he suffered any permanent damage. Only time will tell, of course, but fingers crossed!

He's currently in the NICU at St. Mary's and doing better every day. No idea when he'll come home, it all depends on him. He has to be able to regulate his own temperature, take all his meals by mouth (as opposed to the feeding tube), and breath on this own before they let him go. Considering how well he's doing, though, I'm hoping it won't be too long. I am incredibly glad Trav and I covered all our bases on insurance for this pregnancy, however. The insurance will cover everything past the deductable, which I'm pretty sure we hit in the first hour of care.

We often call him Nate or Nately, because he's just too tiny to be a Nathan right now. His hair is my color brown, but it's starting to tinge blonde on the top, so who knows what it will end up. He's very pale and his skin looks just like mine, but that could also just be baby skin paleness. He has no birthmarks I've been able to find, and his eyes are still that super dark infant blue, so no clue what color they'll end up. He's a cutie, though, and nicely formed, except for being too thin. We'll have to fix that!

What's your sign?
Now, I'm not really an astrology person (I like to think my personality is up to me, not the stars) but here's some fun stuff anyway, because it's fun!

Nathan was born in the Year of the Ox! Ox babies are known for their steady temperament and even disposition as well as their hard working nature. Considering how chill he's been so far, I'm willing to believe this. Unfortunately, Travis and my signs (Monkey and Dog) are opposed to the ox... but we're not exactly good little representations of our zodiac animals, so I'm not worried. Also, whenever I think about this I think about Fruits Basket, which makes me happy.

He's also a Sagittarius, a nice fire sign to go with Trav and I, who are both Pieces. BUT, his ruling planet is Jupiter, which is the best planet in the solar system. Just saying. Unfortunately his birthstone is topaz, which I think is a dull stone. But I don't see him wearing much bling, so it's no big deal.

Ok, random fact time is done. You may return to your lives!

Dec. 15th, 2009

So I turned in my author interview to Orbit

The one that will appear at the back of my first book. God, I sound like such a nerd. Well, I am a nerd, but I was hoping to come off slightly cooler than reality. So much for that!

On the upside I got 4,000 AWESOME words yesterday. That's a huge deal for me, I generally average 2k. The end is in sight! Nothing but giant battles left. Going to be so great!

Also, pregnancy sucks. My arms swell up at night and wake me up, so mornings are dedicated to lying in bed trying not to feel like shit. Only 1.5 months to go!

/end random update

Dec. 3rd, 2009

This woman is my new heroine

I know! 2 posts in 1 day! But seriously... Diane Savino is my new girl crush for life.



Favorite quote:

"That's what we've done to marriage in America, where young women are socialized from the time they're five years old to think of being nothing but a bride. They plan every day what they'll wear, how they'll look, the invitations, the whole bit, they don't spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be a wife. People stand up there before god and man even in Senator Diaz's church, they swear to love honor and obey, they don't mean a word of it. So if there's anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades."

It says a lot about the state of politics when hearing someone in power speaking sense makes you want to stand up and cheer.

the loan sharks are thick these days

Lately I've been getting all these weird "RACHEL! GET $3000 RIGHT NOW! NO CREDIT OR EMPLOYMENT CHECK!" mailings. I never used to get them, now I've gotten 4 in 1 week from four different companies (or 1 company with 4 different names). Is anyone else getting these? Is there some sort of loan sharking boom? Of course, with most of the country broke for Christmas, it's a great time to shark, but come on. No one's really naive enough to think you can get free money from mass mailings anymore, right?

I love how the interest rate is never printed anywhere. This company has just decided to loan me $3000 out of the goodness of their hearts. And if you believe that I have some beach front property in Nevada to sell you...

Nov. 30th, 2009

things teenagers should be told in sex ed

When you are pregnant you can not sit in some booths at restaurants because there is not enough room. This is horribly embarrassing, especially when the cute, thin waitress ignores your cries to just stick you at a table and tries to find a booth large enough for your bulk.

I got my table in the end. My pride is still up for debate.

Nov. 23rd, 2009

Random things!

First, since I promised I would post the link:

Michelle Phan's make up tutorial videos. I don't even wear makeup, but I watch her ever week. It's always a thrill to watch someone who's so good at what she does! All her videos are pretty good, definitely worth a look, even if you don't like makeup.

Second, I watched some movies!

On Netflix I watched Pageant, which is about drag queens competing to be Miss Gay America. It felt more like an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras than a documentary, except the toddlers were overwrought drag queens (which isn't that much of a stretch) and there were no awesome/horrible pageant parents (the best part!). My main complaint was that too much attention was focused on the families of the 5 contestants they followed (very little of which ever came back to be important, or even shed light on the man behind the makeup), and not nearly enough screen time was given to the awesome drag acts or the back stage prep. Overall it was pretty entertaining, but it could have been much more.

I also watched Skid Row, a documentary by Pras Michel of the Fugees where he leaves his rockstar life style to live 9 days on LA's Skid Row, squatting zone of the largest homeless population in the US. The parts I liked best were the segments about the history of Skid Row, why it exists, how it's changed, why people go there, etc. Those were very good. The actual Pras wanders around being poor was mostly just a point of view connecting the good bits, though some of his interviews were interesting. If there was anything I didn't like, it was Pras and his occasional hissy fits, though considering the conditions he was under, I can't really blame him. I'd probably be a bitch to my film crew too if I was starving and had slept the last night in a tent being assaulted by rats. Worth the watch, though.

Last, Trav and I went to see 2012. We enjoyed it immensely, mostly (I think) because we went in with the right level of expectation. We knew the plot was going to be terrible (and it was), but we weren't going to see a great work of art here, we wanted to see world monuments being destroyed in epic fashion, and we got what we paid for in spades!

The film is beautifully made and wonderfully shot with national monuments leaping on the screaming cast like stone tigers roused from their slumbers! Seriously, there was a scene that went like this:

PRESIDENT: I'm going to find this lost girl's daddy! OH NOES, WHAT'S THAT?
WASHINGTON MONUMENT: Rarw!!! (falls over)
PEOPLE OF DC: AHHHH! *squish*

I never knew buildings could fall forward with such menace! It was awesome! And while the plot was extremely silly, it didn't really matter. The characters were surprisingly well written and well acted, and I felt genuinely bad when some of them met their dramatic ends. No one (except the computer graphics engine) is going to win an Oscar for 2012, but the actors held things together with laudable skill. Really, though, the star is the disaster waiting around every corner. Nothing is ever so bad it can't get worse for the poor people of earth. Travis and I were cheering for the volcano the whole way through. Go super volcano!! Eat Las Vegas!!!

If you can check your brain at the door, 2012 is a very entertaining movie that is well worth the price of a matinée to see in a theater. Just let your understanding of science go, watch the pretty pictures, and you'll have a great time. Travis and I are actually hoping they make a sequel, "2012: The Stuff We Didn't Show You Last Time." Seriously, there were so many monuments that didn't get their proper screen destruction it was sad! The next movie won't even need plot or characters, it can just be 2 hours of the Grand Canyon flooding as rafters madly paddle away from the giant wave, or the Pyramids jumping forward to crush Cairo (Roland Emmerich, call me!).

Oct. 27th, 2009

Why I don't use coupons

So now that being broke is hip, there's been lots of news stories about "super coupon clippers." These people (all women) spend hours scouring the web and buying 12 papers a week to get coupons which they then use at multiple different stores to get things super cheap or for free.

Now, as a newly minted work from home lady who dedicates (on average) 2 or more hours a day to housework and money saving, AND as a notoriously thrifty person, you would think (apparently, considering the number of times I get asked this) that I was a happy sailor on the good ship coupon. Now I certainly do appreciate a good coupon, especially the blanket storewide "get $X off your next purchase of $Y or more." Those babies are free money, especially if it's for a store I shop at anyway. But manufacturer coupons? The kind you get in news papers or on the interwebs or in those little mailers we use as fire starters for our fireplace? Yeah, I don't use those, which is sad, because that's what makes up 99% of the coupons websites I've looked at.

I don't like manufacturer's coupons for a simple reason, the type of products that get coupons are often for highly processed foodstuffs or new spiffy cleaning products. In other words, over priced, over marketed shit I don't buy. Sure, I can get it for 75% off, but if I wasn't going to buy it in the first place, that's 25% of the purchase price I just spent needlessly. I look at these news stories showing pictures of happy, middle aged women with shopping carts piled high with Fruit Loops and Charmin double-stuffed toilet paper, and I'm thinking sure, you just spent $5 on $100 worth of goods, but there is nothing in your cart that I would buy. Where are the vegetables? Where's the unprocessed meat? Do you feed your family nothing but frozen dinners? And let's not forget these super coupon people spend around 10 hours a week prepping for this shopping bonanza. If I had 10 hours a week to waste, I'd spend it earning extra money so I didn't have to eat frozen crap I got for cheap.

How do I save money on food? Easy. I buy store brands, cheap veggies (kale is cheeeeap, and awesome), I bake my own bread (SO EASY, NEVER BUY BREAD!) (I use a bowl, not a bucket, and it works great. I also buy jars of bread machine yeast for $2, way better value than package yeast) and I stay away from the middle aisles. Rather than pouring over coupons, I spend that 10 hours per week cooking. Nothing saves more money than cooking.

Also (and this won't work for everyone, but it's awesome for us), we have a chest freezer. About once a month I drive down to Atlanta and go to the Gwinett International Farmer's Market where the meat is 50-75% cheaper than any chain grocery store and super fresh (they do their own butchering in the back of the store). We buy a cooler full of meat, then bring it home and freeze it. There are veggies too, all fresh, cheap, mostly local, and all varieties. We freeze these as well when we can. We'll spend $100 on a cart that would have cost us $250 or more at Kroger's, and every bit of it is stuff I want. Now that's a saving.

There is only one real rule in frugality as I see it: To pay money is to be defeated. Even if something is 90$ off, if I don't need it and wouldn't use it, I don't buy it. Buying unprocessed, normal stuff saves me money, saves my cabinet space, and saves my waistline (and probably my health in the long run). Maybe having kids will change my perspective on coupons, but I doubt it. Kid shouldn't be eating Fruit Loops anyway.

Oct. 7th, 2009

Ugh

First - The bad things

- I am pregnant and have a cold and am DENIED MY HUMAN RIGHT TO NYQUIL. Stupid baby...
- I have to go to a funeral on Thursday in Calhoun, GA, which 2 weeks from everywhere. Not looking forward to the drive. (My grandmother passed away, and if you're wondering why I'm not more upset about this, no I'm not heartless. My grandmother suffered from severe mental problems late in her life after the death of her husband. She hasn't been able to recognize me (or any of her family) since the 90s and hasn't spoken or shown signs of attention in 5 years. Basically her mind went a long time ago, and the body only now caught up. I mourned the death of my grandmother years ago, the woman who died on Monday was just the shell of the wonderful person I knew as a child. Honestly I'm more relieved than anything, at least she can rest now.)
- I am sick and spacey and am getting no work done.

Now, the good things

- Travis and I planned out all of the 3rd Eli book and it is AMAZING. I can not wait to write this stuff. Your socks, they will be blown off. I only hope I can fit all of this awesome into a reasonable amount of words.
- The A&E/BBC version of Ivanhoe is AWESOME. Not only is the story now one of my favorites ever, the acting is incredible! Christopher Lee! Livia from I Claudius (OMG NEW FAVORITE QUEEN EVER)! Words fail me, go rent it (or better, Netflix!), you will not be sorry. The writing made my life.
- I made cookies last night when I started getting sick. Cookies, um, for the baby. Yeah, baby needs cookies (om nom nom nom).
- It's raining and I'm on the couch with the laptop and my dog is sleeping on my feet. <3

That is all, carry on!

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