News

News: I moved the keyboard to my room and now I feel strongly inclined to tell the world that I adore Phantom of the Opera. Everything is perfectly normal and no, I don't have access to any secret underground labyrinth...yet.

--12 August 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

August 16, 2017

{A Review} - The Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny Unfed

Are you guys ready for an amusing review on a book about toddlers? YES?! HERE WE GO CHUMS *maniacal laughing from a childless young adult*

The Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny Unfed by Mike and Heather Spohr



Toddlers and zombies both communicate mainly through groans, clumsily trail after you everywhere you go (especially into the bathroom in the toddler's case), and--upon entering your life--leave you frazzled, on edge, and deeply sleep deprived. 
The Toddler Survival Guide is a hilarious parody of Max Brooks's The Zombie Survival Guide (and survival guides in general) that will leave parents laughing out loud even as it provides practical advice on how they can make it to the other side of toddlerhood intact. Written by parents who have studied toddlers up-close in their natural habitat, the book will cover survival skills including how you can outfit your home to outlast a toddler occupation (baby gate, cabinet locks, wine), how you can subdue an angry toddler ("Elmo's Song," mac and cheese, smartphone) and even how you can safely venture out in public together without your toddler--or you--bursting into tears. {Goodreads Synopsis}
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


While I am certainly not a parent (and let's be honest, I tend to shirk away from kids because they're adorable little ninjas and I would enlist a thousand of them as my little minions so I can rule the world -kidding- so let's just like....pretend they don't exist and we can all push the motherly hormones into a galaxy far far away; #singlelife5ever #cringyhipsterninjawannabe), I still quite enjoyed this read. I can't say I learned anything mind-blowing about toddlers from it. However, it did outline several neat little common-sense notes and, if you're a parent approaching that fell land of toddlerdom, methinks it would amuse your tired soul. 

To assure my dear readers that this book was entirely hilarious and informative (to a minimal degree on the latter), I have included several of my favourite quotes below, followed by a list of things I liked/disliked, etc :)

{1} In comparison to babies...
Toddlers, on the other hand, are able to wreak havoc vertically and with velociraptor-like speed.
{2} Tiny artists...
Toddlers are like tiny Banksys who want their work to be seen on the biggest canvas possible, and in your home that canvas is your walls. 
{3} Food negotiation...
Just like you don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t negotiate with toddlers. Once you start saying, “One bite of carrots and you can have a cookie,” your toddler has won. The next thing you know, a few months will pass and the rate of business will have slowly bumped up to the point where you’re trading five cookies and a scoop of ice cream for that same, teensy-weensy bite of carrots. 

Unique Features

  • Plenty of humour and multiple references to currently-relevant entertainment (movies, shows, books, etc)
  • Parent testimonials from the present day and (with a bit of imagination) from the 1800s :P 
  • Pictures & art to complement the prosaic snark
  • Toddler tips - that is, tips that are not sarcastic and probably will help you raise a child
    • Feeding tips; dealing with candy, vegetables, and the glorious mess post dinner battle
    • How to keep them clean (good follow-up after meals)
    • Common fears they have and how to nullify them (like fear of baths b/c of drains that might suck them away... I remember this fear when I was little...it isn't a joke)
    • Dealing with screaming toddlers in public situations (stores, restaurants, extended family visits, airplanes, etc).
  • Top 5 places to hide candy (from worst to best) and other amusing lists

Things that didn't jive with me:
  • Mild language and some mature content 
  • Started off treating the concept of a toddler as a thing to be feared, rather than tiny people with feelings and souls; however, it didn't follow that train the whole way, so this was only a slightly bothersome itch rather than a battle wound to the book
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Overall, it was an amusing read (and despite the title, had very little reference to the walking dead). I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a must-have for your new-parent shelf, but if you appreciate a little humour and snark and want a refresher to your common-sense detector, then you'll probably enjoy this one!


{Rating} - 4/5 Stars

Thanks for reading folks! More reviews coming soon :) 


Signed with whiteout, 

Squeaks.

August 12, 2017

5 July Mini-Reviews || + August Line-up

I've been reading fictional books *hullabaloo* (to keep me well balanced between the insufferable dehydration of reading lengthy papers with hair-raising titles like Synaptic effects from chemically activated fine muscle afferents upon alpha-motoneurones in decerbrate and spinal cats or Fatigue-related firing of distal muscle nociceptors reduces voluntary activation of proximal muscles of the same limb). Doesn't that sound like a smashing time? Of course it does. I can feel the unending pounding between my ears, which is uncanny because it feels an awful lot like caffeine withdrawal...
*makes more coffee*
Anyways. I'm bringing you 4 mini-blurbs from some of my July readings (I read 17 books in July...heavens preserve my laminated soul). Perhaps they will inspire you to appreciate the Elysian simplicity of folding yourself into a fictional world. 


But the thing about people, Kell had discovered, is that they didn't really want to know. They thought they did, but knowing only made them miserable.

Goodies: Piratey undertones || unique magic system || delightful thievery (don't try that at home though) || exceptionally developed new language || villains that gave me a Saruman-has-an-equally-evil-twin vibe || a good deal of stabbiness

Character Development: {4/5} We meet Kell and Lila, our protagonists. It felt to me like we stumbled into Kell as though we were half way through a story. I adore the broken charmer trope, but I felt less connected to his story arc than I did to Lila's. Lila fascinated me. She's adventurous, deadly, and witty. A first class snarker. 10/10 recommend if only for Lila's sass. But really, the rest of the characters were very well developed and thoroughly enjoyable. Prepare to have your heart crushed.

Content Snatchery: {3/5} While I now very much adore this book, it took me two tries to get into it. The second try got the job done (probably because I actually bought a physical copy, whereas I borrowed a library audiobook the first time...lol). It reads like well written old fantasy. However, it does take a bit to get into, so please do give it a chance. Furthermore, I will divulge that the second book is infinitely better.

Boring Parts: {first bit} Trust me, let the story arc develop before you throw it away. Yes, the first bit is boring, but...when you finally slip into the deep end of Schwab's world, you'll be thankful you stuck it out (especially when you hit the second book - can anyone tell I really really like the second book??).

Romance: {minor} While there is a romantic subplot, it is surprisingly minor and doesn't take away from the main arc. I loved this. I hate poorly written (or over-written) romance, so if you're looking for minimalism on that ledge, you'll like this one. 

My eyes are sweating: {2/5} It was a great book, but not terribly moving on the emotional level. This is my personal opinion. I may have let two tears drop near the end, but it wasn't heart wrenching the way a Warnette arc might have been.... 

{My Rating: 5/5}


His Majesty, may sun finches warble sweet melodies in his ear...
His Majesty, may orchids bloom in the wake of his passing...

Goodies: Realistic character representations || female MC has brains and uses them and we all applaud her for being an intelligent, delightful bean || Arabian-esque vibe || deserts and sneakery || really strong female character line up!!

Character Development: {5/5} This story follows Elisa's arc and she makes some incredible changes over the duration of the tale. I absolutely loved it. It has a major theme of self-love, as the MC starts off by self-deprecating her appearance (over-weight, loves pastries, etc). However, it doesn't make thin the goal. I loved that. Yes, Elisa becomes somewhat more fit over the course of the story, but she never ends up as a model, rather she comes to love herself and the body type she has.
Also, fifty hands of applause to the inclusion of static characters like Alejandro (jerk wimp...ugh..) and Xemina (ninja amazingness) and Rosario (brrrrraaaat). We have a great cast here folks!

Content Snatchery: {3/5} It had a decent start, but too many lulls between the action. The first half was pretty awesome, but then things took a totally weird and different turn and idk, I just liked the first half mostly. Also, the ending, in my opinion, was a disappointment. I didn't like it.

Boring Parts: {a fair number} Also, *complains* repetition. I felt as though multiple components of the plot were rehashed over and over...so I was a little peeved by the end. Plus, the backstory for the religion was in depth; however, it never actually made much sense... I left feeling confused on that point.

Romance: {halfsies?} There was romance, but it was flimsy and it grated on my nerves for the most part. Elisa + Alejandro felt totally unnatural...I got more of a sibling vibe and that was weird, so I didn't like them together. Then, everyone was yelling PROPS to her other romance arc, but IT FELT SO FORCE and just asdlfkja. I didn't like it either. I don't see what everyone has been raving about. So, yeah, I wasn't much of a fan.

My eyes are sweating: {2/5} Some parts were very moving. Some deaths were very moving. But for me, it was the deaths that weren't the major ones that really bummed me out...so eh, not an intense eyeball sweating, but a minor intense (like sobbing for 2 seconds then moving on intense).

{My Rating: 3/5}

Oh the ridiculous things one has to do when one is a pirate.

Goodies: Female pirate || intense singing || sassy retorts || hidden treasure || PLOT TWISTS :O

Character Development: {3/5} Alosa is our MC - she's a pirate. She's also under a secret mission and has hidden abilities...dare you find out what they are? Ok, I was entirely drawn to this book because 1 - fantastic cover art (I know, I'm horrible) and 2 - pirates. The piratey part of the character development was great, but sometimes it felt too rushed. Also the plot felt weirdly paced in some areas. Nevertheless, Alosa was delightful. Riden, I can't say the same for him - he had great potential but kind of petered out about 3/4 of the way through and became something akin to a fleshblob that simply performed the rites of the arc to get it to the end. I was sorely :| sorely disappointed in him.

Content Snatchery: {5/5} Oh yes, getting into this book was very easy. What with murderous pirates and so on and so forth :D very fantastic snatchery. Pity it didn't last.

Boring Parts: {3/5} When there was action, the action was fantastic...but it was interspersed by lulls that made me so frustrated. And again, plot repetitions. It's as if writing a decent joiner between scenes is impossible for some authors.

Romance: {TOO MUCH} UGH why do some books with fantastic potential have to have sweltering romance that simply derails everything and ruins the character development (let me mourn). If you're not a romance person, then just avoid this whole mess entirely. WE HAD SOMETHING GOOD AND ROMANCE STOLE IT AWAY :'( *tears*

My eyes are sweating: {1/5} One tear of withering regret for the romance that ripped the plot to shreds.

{My Rating: 3/5}


Goodies: Excellent imagery || Russian folklore and overall vibe (ya'll know what I'm talking about if you've read the first book) || GIANT EGG PRISONS

Character Development: {1/5} We left off with this masterfully spun piece in the last book, so I had expected to see the same delightful character development in this one. I was sad because it all felt so rushed! I don't want to say any spoilers here, but if you were expecting the same action and banter from The Crown's Game, well...it doesn't continue in The Crown's Fate :( In fact, I'd go as far to say that the characters purposefully do exactly what the reader screams for them not to do simply to cause conflict - and that, in my humble opinion, is a poor way to develop things.

Content Snatchery: {2/5} Not much snatchery. Yes, we have to deal with a nasty antagonist but the action isn't like last time *insert tears of sadness*. Plus, when there is action, it falls flat and doesn't go with the flow at ALL.

Boring Parts: {too many} I wouldn't say that there were "too many" boring parts (but there were) so much as there were impossible repetitions and static moments in the action. The flow felt forced, the arc crumbled, and I was left very much as an unhappy reader.

Romance: {I DON'T KNOW} There was romance, yes, but it wasn't the same as book 1 - it wasn't the delightful, charming fluffy liking that we had previously. The whole story was much darker than previous, and we left off expecting so much...but it never came to be. The plot jumped all over the place and by the end it sped up so fast and never resolved the underlying romantic conflict. I came very close to throwing it (except I borrowed it from the library as an ebook on my phone and I wasn't about to throw my phone).

My eyes are sweating: {0/5} No tears. Not like last time (#rememberthedownpour). I couldn't bring myself to connect Vika, Pasha, and Nikolai to who they were before. They felt like strangers. It was such a disappointment.

{My Rating: 2/5}


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That, my dear readers, turned out to be a little bit more than a mini-blurb on July reads. I won't dwell on my explication though, so let's move on!

Currently, as of August 12th, I've read 84 books since January (weeoo). This month, I've polished off 7 books, which include the following titles (plus a small blurb on whether I liked/didn't like them):

{1} Waking Up: To Who You Really Are (If You Dare) by Ted Dekker || Inspirational...I liked it

{2} Forbidden by Ted Dekker || Intriguing plot line, but the Circle Series was better...

{3} The Hammer of Thor (#2) by Rick Riordan || Hilarious, punny, and very enjoyable!

{4} Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare || I never like Clare's stuff...so idk why I bothered reading it

{5} Lirael (#2) by Garth Nix || Fascinating world + the Disreputable Dog = perfection

{6} The Orphan Queen (#1) by Jodi Meadows || Loved the world-building!! + The Black Knife!

{7} The Mirror King (#2) by Jodi Meadows || 10/10 adored this book - would recommend to everyone




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That's all for now folks! I hope you enjoyed; toodleoo until next time! 



Signed with invisible ink, 
Squeaks.

July 26, 2017

Excerpts from My Secret Book ;) + Other Writing Projects

Those of you who don't live inside my brain (let's be real though --> population = 0, aside from my humble self) are likely unaware that I actually attempted NaNo in 2016. Even fewer of those non-existent beings are aware that my word count for the novel I started hovers around a modest 30,064 words. *gasps* yes, I actually wrote that much non-science-related-hullabaloo :D isn't that awesome?! Plus, I had the chance to research exciting things like stab wounds, poison, herbal medicine, most efficient way to clean mud off wood, and embellishing character snark to epic proportions :)
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So, I picked up the plot again (after a good long break), tangled it around in my fingers, and recently decided to continue writing. However, we all know writers need some accountability (heaven knows I certainly do - I can barely keep up with all my academic prospects let alone my high-fantasy ones). Ergo, I decided to dangle a few morsels in front of my readership and you can tell me* whether you like it or hate it :)
*this is very important in helping me decide whether to continue my impish path, summon my wretchedly lazy muse, and write more...OR gather up every last word onto a usb, treck that long and hopeless path that leads through Cirith Ungol, and throw said usb into Mordor's molten fiery pit of Mt Doom*

Without further ado, let me introduce you to a couple characters: 

Larkin Aariana Tetraelinor
Yes, sticking with the horrifically long, nearly unpronounceable fantasy character names (at least she wasn't an elf; we all know that would have been much worse - don't glare at me), this is the female MC. Thin-lipped, flushed and freckled cheeks...we've got ourselves a hot tempered Scottish lass with curly red-brown hair and sea green eyes. [pauses - I feel like I'm the magic mirror announcing the princess line-up to Lord Farqaad from Shrek...okaaaay, not thinking about that right now, let's move on]. She's witty, snarky, and wonderful (I'm so glad to be her author...yeee!!). Her father, Gaelinius Oraculin Tetraelinor, is High Skeptic presiding over Skeldrig Castle and the surrounding region of Skeldrigton. He's married to Lady Shaeleis Tetraelinor - a noble by birth and Larkin's mother. Larkin isn't like the other ladies of the court. She wants adventure; she longs to sail the high seas, beat up a bear with a staff, and eat twice her weight in pastries - unfortunately for her, she's daughter of the High Skeptic and therefore barely ever escapes her social duties at the castle (which she loathes). 

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Wyn (Winnie) Loric
What would a story be without a dashing male MC? (wow, that rhymed) Enter Winnie, handsomely tall man with chocolate brown hair, vibrant blue eyes (the kind that don't seem like they should exist but they actually do exist because I SAW these eyes* whilst standing in line for a roller coaster once - many years ago - and promised myself I would write them over and over again until I perfected them). He's a lanky, witty fellow (well whaddya know - must get along smashingly with Larkin *winks*), born to a moderately high class family. He's the reason we have this story...because he dragged trouble home after a stupidly foolish chain of decisions he made while off adventuring in the east. 
*eyes not pictured in the artwork above...because 1) No one has offered up fan art to this glorious plot yet and, 2) No artist appears to have unbeknownstly encapsulated the beauty of Winnie - at least, none that my long searches have uncovered*

Duch Scathanna
The Irish literal translation comes out as ink shadows*; the Duch Scathanna are a hidden order of individuals that guard the secrets and lives of the draiochti, or those gifted with magic (another fancy Irish word). They're a society of scribes, book-tenders, and Robin-Hood-esque assassins; they divvy out judgement and mercy as prescribed by the laws of their land. Terrifyingly fascinating, if I must say so myself. 
*they are not squid*



SNIPPETS

A sharp cough roused Larkin from her musings and brought her back to the present circumstance. Her lashes fluttered up and found the stifling group of noble ladies weakly dispersing throughout the room. Winnie still lounged against the wall with his cider, the contours of his face handsomely lit by the flickering glow of candlelight. His hair had grown long over his last adventure, and it framed his face softly, down to his shoulders - nut brown warmth with the secret tones of red hidden like treasure. He caught her eyes with his own and held them a moment before breaking into one of his characteristically charming grins.

***

The night hung about her like a fine wine, laced up by the mystery of the heavens that stretched out in suspension somewhere impossibly far above.

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***

A shaft of moonlight twirled down through a window, hazed a little by dust on the glass. Not many used this stairway, and no one was on it now but for the shadow. It edged across a short landing towards the beam and then, without a single pause of hesitation, it was in the moonlight. It stood there a moment, and in that time seemed to drink the falling light with its eyes. Those terrible, terrible eyes were the only part of its flesh that lay visible (had there been anyone to see it, but of course, there wasn't). Surrounded by the purest black fabric, which seemed as if to suck the light into a deep emptiness, those eyes stood out like beams from the moon itself. They were horrible - the brightest white, with absolute milky irises. But the shadow was not blind; it blinked its pale eyelids and soft white lashes fluttered down against the blackness that covered its cheeks. 
And then it was gone - swiftly slinking out of the moonlight and up the next flight of stairs. Its feet as silent as the air that straddles the clouds.

***

"Of course, but my arms might fall off if I try another cliff again." 
"Then you clearly need to work them more, what good are arms if they don't do the things you need them to do?"
Winnie coughed, the air was a little dustier here and Bruic had kicked some up in his shuffling through the passage, "Yes, mine seem to work perfectly fine when it comes to reaching for more dollopcakes."
Bruic groaned, "Don't speak of those here - just listening to the sound of their name makes me feel fat and bloated. The cavern will close in on us and leach the last remnant of our dinner from our bones."
They both laughed; it was a good distraction from their cramped environment.

***
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The watcher stalked to the edge of the rampart and stared down at Winnie; his cloak rippled red against deep black as he raised an arm in greeting. 
"Mind opening one of these blasted doors?" he shouted up.
"Name, business, and papers must first be processed at the guardhouse before you.."
"Winnifred sphere's-begotten Loric you blind rat!" he shouted angrily, "I'm here on emergency for Her Ladyship Shaeleis Tetraelinor and I haven't any papers. Unless, of course, you want me to run all the bloody way back to my father's house to get them. I might bring him along as well for good measure!" 
His heart was racing furiously by the time he'd finished and he felt his neck flush with anger. The watcher's helm sharply glinted in the sunlight - fine silver with a solemn plume of black feather, fanning boldly in the breeze.

***

"And what sort of things and hearings are you asking after?"
A quiet bubbling of whispers passed among the more distant tables - the barmaid had disappeared again, probably to load up more plates with eggs, seeing as some men were still unserved.
"Well, the sort o'things that y'don't norm'lly hear an' such." Giffer knocked back a long, noisy draught from his mug. Pipp had started back towards the curtain, but Giffer slammed down his mug with a belch.
"Y'know - stabby things."

***



There you have it, dear readers - excerpts from my unnamed masterpiece <3 I do adore it immensely, I admit. Perhaps I'll share some more tidbits with you in the future, but for now those above shall have to tide you over. If you have questions about the plot or characters (or just questions in general) leave them in the comments below :) 

If you'd like to see more of me, you can follow on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest

BONUS STUFF - If you're a Goodreads user, check out this hilarious and witty commentary on 10 Improvements that Would Make Goodreads 500 X Better (Or So Say I) by Cait (aka. PaperFury). 

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Intrigued by my writing? You can also follow me on Wattpad as I delve into other stories. Just click the links below! 

The Unhappiest of Circumstances (Jesk's twin sister died in a horrible accident & everything has been going wrong since..until she meets Tucker Skavensteel, his mysterious Gran, and an enchanted garden)

Georgia Meets the Notebook (Georgia just started graduate school as an MSc student; she bumbles about, trying to find her way in the world of academia...until she stumbles across the Notebook & her world is turned upside down)


Signed with Lemon Cake, 

Squeaks.

June 4, 2017

My Own Face {Reflections of Hate and Love}

Laura William's Photography



I looked in the mirror and saw my own face
And I thought to myself, "What a solemn disgrace,"
What a solemn disgrace - all these social constructs
That demand me to hate me with violent misconduct.
What a pity! because when I look at my shell
I see beauty and wisdom; in my eyes, the seas dwell.
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It's the me that's been with me from birth until now
And the me that will be, until death's fulfilled vow.
I see mystery and magic in memories fair,
I see heartache and sadness deep inside my own stare.
Yet despite all that's happened and all that will come, 
I am happy to live here
--- every piece the perfect (sum).

I've been with me for forever and I will be to the end,
It's a marriage of my soul-flesh...some may try to transcend
- they will pour out all their money to confect a pretty mask
So they won't see all their true self - and they'll call it just a task. 
But I don't see such a hardship in the loving of your skin
For it's held you tight together to explore the world, within. 
Think with me, just a moment - child, think with me if you dare -
Can you love your lowly body, can you cherish it with flare? 
Will you promise to protect it from the force inside your mind?
Can you give its only lifetime simple blessings of a kind? 
I think, indeed, if you care.. it will show upon your face
As attributes of kindly years, of happiness and grace.
And when our time has reached an end & we must leave this sphere
We'll look upon our mortal span with joy from tender years.


---
Signed with wildflowers, 
Squeaks.

April 20, 2017

8 Reasons Why Not to Watch '13 Reasons Why'

I have taken quite some time to think about whether or not I wanted to write this post and, after much debate and hemming and hawing, I decided I was morally obliged (by my conscience - blasted thing) to do so regardless. 

First things first, a disclaimer: 1) I have not watched '13 Reasons Why' nor do I intend to, 2) some of the content below may be triggering or emotionally disturbing. There is no graphic description or details regarding such content. 

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A lot of people have been talking about the latest Netflix hit, titled 13 Reason Why. I'm not going to be linking to the official sites, promotional videos, or quoting any lines because I'm about to express my complete disgust and disagreement with the very notion that something like this has even been aired. Now before you get your panties in a knot and start spouting phrases like, "But this is a big step forward for mental health advocates!", "People need to understand how serious suicide is!", "Kids are dealing with this, we need realism to come along side them!", hear me out. I'm going to give you a number of reasons why you should definitely not be watching this series, which will include reasons why this is not a big step forward for mental health advocates, and so on and so forth. We can discuss your opinions vs my opinions at the end if you'd like, but some ground must be covered before that happens. Furthermore, before you consider sharing your life story on your struggle with depression, anxiety, suicide, etc (and I am not making light of this in any way) to explain why you think your opinion is more valid than mine, kindly remember this: everybody has a story and you don't necessarily see the big picture.

For those of you who are unaware of this show, don't let me spark your interest. It's rated R/MA for mature audiences and ultimately glorifies and dramatizes the suicide of a teenager, wherein the audience follows along with her post-suicide cassette recordings that explain why she killed herself and who she blames for it. It's a story of revenge and does nothing to counteract the harmful content with what is needed in the area of mental health these days. It provides no hope nor any promise of healing, no discussion of diagnosis or treatment or recovery; that is a huge misuse of the entertainment platform. Nothing about this series is entertaining. 


8 Reasons Why Not to Watch '13 Reasons Why'
  1. R/MA rating. If the notion of F-bombs, gratuitous rape scenes, and suicide don't already shout stay-away, massive trigger warning!!! with blazing red flares, then I honestly don't know what's wrong with you. This is not a teen-friendly show and, having read reviews and synopses discussing its content, I don't think it's adult friendly either. You're essentially watching the abuse and destruction of a child's life... how is that screen worthy? Even if it's fictional, it leads to her "death"... how is that something you can condone watching? And why would one consider hiding behind the statement of, "The message is important" - let me tell you, this particular message is detrimental and harmful, it is not helpful in any way, shape, or form. 
  2. There is no happy ending. Yes, life doesn't always end happily - sometimes it ends with a pitiful whimper in the midst of horrifying internal pain. If you know me well, then you will recall that I'm a strong advocate for realistic literature depicting the fact that life is certainly not fair, kind, or happy. However, it's one thing to write such hopeless, dystopic messages and send them off into the literary world... it's another thing to graphically show them on screen and not have appropriate measures taken to ensure that the information isn't going to harm viewers. 
  3. Triggers. I'm not even going to talk about this one in depth. Those who struggle will understand that graphic depiction of self-harm and rape is not healthy. In fact, several years back, the social media site Tumblr underwent massive renovation to remove/restrict all accounts that sent out negative mental-health messages to their audiences. Hundreds of sites were closed to ensure that tumblrs previously posting pro-anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, and sexual abuse would no longer be able to do so (this included, but is not limited to: graphic images, triggering content, and negative "advice"). This was one of several social media facelifts that occurred and prompted numerous users to employ trigger warnings on their content and has shifted the atmosphere from the perpetuation of mental illness to the encouragement for seeking help and recovery. If social media sites restrict and punish users for harmful content, why is there not a greater outrage at this TV series? This is not art. Death is  not art. And suicide, rape, and self-harm are absolutely not art. Too many people have already spoken up about how 1) it doesn't have nearly enough trigger warnings to make people cautious and 2) it has brought about unexpected and difficult emotional responses to those with past traumatic experiences or with a history of mental illness. 
  4. It simplifies the consequences and promotes blame. Death is final; handling such a serious topic in such a primitive, petty way is distasteful. It isn't a show that tells the story of the tragic loss of a human being... rather, it is a dramatic retelling that flaunts death and showcases how a school becomes wrapped up in the drama of the event. Death is not something to be taken lightly and it is certainly not something to chat about as if it were a mystery puzzle for your benefit. Additionally, the message is revenge instead of recovery. If this were truly a series with an intent on educating about mental illness, then there would be a far better coverage of steps to recovery for those who currently suffer.  
  5. It is in direct violation of the recommendations for reporting on suicide. Over 50 academic studies around the world have shown a connection between poor reporting on suicide and increased likelihood of suicide. These guidelines were developed by many well known suicide-prevention groups (including, but not limited to, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Medical University of Vienna, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute). Their intention was to provide members of the media with guidelines to ensure they do not fearmonger with their stories or write triggering news articles. If such statistics are associated with simple reporting of actual events, then how much more harmful would a graphic film be to at-risk audience members?
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  6. It doesn't provide any alternatives. There is no out-right discussion or naming of depression or mental illness. There is no balancing out of the graphic images with statements about how treatment is readily available and it does work - things DO get better and recovery is possible. Leaving an audience hanging, especially for a show that may attract those suffering from depression or struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide, is a harmful thing. Yes, suicide has happened and likely will continue to happen, but we need to focus on directing people to recovery and treatment instead of letting them drown in the agony of such emotionally disturbing information. 
  7. It gives a very bad reason for survivors guilt. Yes there is such a thing as survivors guilt, and yes it is based on a lie. The characters in this series are driven to feelings of guilt and obligation and the viewers revel in the revenge. No matter what the world tells you about responsibility for suicide, the only person that should ever be blamed is the one no longer present. Like I've already said, there are many treatment options and there is plenty of hope for people struggling with thoughts like these. It still all boils down to their decision - will they seek and wrestle out their recovery, or will they end their life. Yes there are factors that impact that ultimate decision, but the only one in control at that point of no-return is the person owning the body. There are horrible people out there who will hurt you and put you down, abuse you and try to destroy you - but unless they outright kill you, they cannot ever be responsible for your death. Basing this series around the revenge acquired by the infliction of guilt and humiliation does not help anyone - it only promotes further harm.
  8. It provides a graphic depiction of suicide. In no way, shape, or form should suicide be graphically shown on screen, even if trigger warnings are given beforehand. Authorities have removed and banned videos of real suicides and deaths from social media before - just because this series is not "real" does not mean that they should have any right to step-by-step show such a horrible thing simply for its shock value. People have become so desensitized to what is okay to watch and what is not okay to watch; once you see a graphic scene like this you can't unsee it. I mean heck, one of my English professors at university required her Holocaust Autobiography/Biography class to report any symptoms of PTSD because some of the readings were graphic. This is a university class full of adults and the professor was concerned about the impact it would have on our mental health...we're talking about a TV series with graphic scenes of self-harm and suicide. I am so deeply disturbed to think of people sitting comfortably on their couch with a cup of tea in hand, languidly watching a young girl kill herself. HOW IS THAT OKAY? THAT IS NOT OKAY! I don't care if it's a show, I don't care if it's "entertainment", and I certainly don't care if you think you are educating yourself on the struggle of mental health - that is not something anyone should ever watch. 
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This post was extremely difficult to write. It's the effort of multiple days, of weeks of thought, and I still feel like I haven't expressed my point very well. However, it needed to go out into the world and do its thing, so I eventually decided to not spend any more time on it. What happens will happen. I just want to bring awareness to the fact that it is very negative and harmful and I 100% do not recommend this show. Yes, we need to talk about mental health. Yes we need to discuss depression, self-harm, bullying, rape, and suicide, but not in a manner that is for simple entertainment. Not in a way that could cause people to hurt or to relapse or to suffer. We need to be delicate, but we also need to be bold. 

If you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, anxiety, or any mental illness, please seek professional help. Confide in someone you trust, or call a help line. For Canadians, please visit: http://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/.



Signed with love, 

Squeaks.

April 8, 2017

Twenty One Pilots - 5 Lyrics I Adore (+ some discussion)

Some of you skimming this post maybe aren't up to speed on Twenty One Pilots... thank you for clicking the link, because it is quite possible that your life will be different after you read what I have to say. If you want to check out their social media for yourself, please check out their links to major websites here:

Band Page   |  Twitter   |  Youtube   |  Facebook   |  Instagram

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Before I get into the lyrics (you can scroll down if you're desperate for the list), I wanted to discuss a few short things. Actually, they are exponentially LARGE things, in my mind, but I will try to condense all my thoughts for you so we can actually get somewhere with this discussion. I like lists, so let's have a small list on reasons why Twenty One Pilots is near and dear to my little heart. 


  • First, the band is made up of two men - there were more originally, but right now there are two. Tyler Joseph, who is the vocalist and plays the mandolin and keyboard and we love him for it - and his best friend Josh Dun, master drummer otherwise known as Spooky Jim Christmas. They are one of the best representations of friendship and loyalty that I've seen in what I call the Warped Tour world (although, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of other fellows out there in their genre of (and I use this loosely and carefully) "emotionally in-touch" musicians who are not running shows on Warped Tour). I love the freshness and humanity they bring to their art. And I love how they are clean with their language and encouraging to each other and their fanbase.  
  • Second, Tyler writes his heart out. This is why his music is so meaningful to so many people, because it connects his humanity to theirs - they see someone going through life and putting words and music to that intangible sensation we all feel but can never fully grasp. The fact that we are mortal, some of us suffering, and everyone trying to figure it all out. Purpose, meaning, the reason we're alive, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how much their lyrics mean to me or to others, or just in general - they're deep and important and I love them
  • Third, it's relevant. In a society that's wrestling with how to discuss mental health and matters of the heart, Twenty One Pilots' lyrics bring critical components to light and present an undercurrent of hope. This, again, leads to the encouraging nature of the fanbase and the support system they offer each other. I think it's beautiful. It also opens up avenues of conversation for people who are afraid to talk about their struggles - and opening up is the first step to healing :) 
  • Speaking of the fanbase... have you even seen the ART??? It's insane how many talented people there are out there. I love it. In fact, I love everything about this band and the community it has created <3 all the love! 


Alright, so, time for some lyrics. That's what we're all here for, right? :P I present, 5 lyrics I adore (out of SO MANY, guys this was ridiculously hard to do...). Click the links to access the music/lyric videos on youtube.

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  1. I try desperately to run through the sand as I hold the water in the palm of my hand. 'Cuz it's all that I have and it's all that I need and the waves of the water mean nothing to me. But I try my best and all that I can to hold tightly onto what's left in my hand, but no matter how, how tightly I will strain, the sand will slow me down and the water will drain.
    //
    But you specialize in dying, you hear me screaming, "Father," and I'm lying here just crying, so wash me with your water.
    {Addict with a Pen, Self Titled Album}
  2. Am I the only one I know waging my wars behind my face and above my throat? Shadows will scream that I'm alone, but I know we've made it this far, kid.
    //
    I am not as find as I seem, pardon... me for yelling, I'm telling you green gardens are not what's growing in my psyche, it's a different me, a difficult beast feasting on burnt-down trees. Freeze frame please, let me paint a mental picture portrait...
    //
    And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win. I begin to assemble what weapons I can find, 'cuz sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.
    {Migraine, Vessel}
  3. ...they just might wage war on you, therefore it's true that I shot my general on my side of enemy lines.
    //
    I'm the son of all I've done, impostor, been fostered, then my new father drained my dirty blood.
    //
    I'm not done, I'm not done yet, no, kick me off the stage and take my microphone. Then you'll walk up to me and when you get close, I'll look you in the face and say, "Where's your home? Where are you going and why are you here?" Have you asked these questions? Have you been sincere? Want to know what I believe? It's right here, dig a little deeper and it's crystal clear.
    {Clear, Regional at Best}
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  4. I won't take much of your time, I just want you to see what I have made inside these lines. It's as good as I can be, it's as good as I can be, this is all that I can be, this is all that I can be... all that I can be. Head tilted down, knees on the ground and I will ask, "Please..... SAVE! Save me! Please, save, save! Save, save, save, save, save, save, save. Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me, save me."
    {Save, No Phun Intended - technically titled under Tyler Joseph pre-Twenty One Pilots era, but THAT DOESN'T MATTER}
  5. Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit. Can you save, can you save my -- can you save my heavydirtysoul?
    {Heavydirtysoul, Blurryface}


*******

Twenty One Pilots Lyrics - Pinterest
I honestly can't pick a favourite song, or even a favourite album. While Blurryface (their latest release) is definitely the sharpest sounding because of the higher production quality, the previous albums are full of lyrical gold and glorious instrumentals. They all deserve to be listened to and thought over. 

My journey with listening to them started back in 2013, when Guns for Hands first came out (and can we just have a moment of joy for how adorable Tyler is in that music video? <3 :O so adorable). I actually didn't like them much at first, but the lyrics stuck and one day I suddenly realized I was in much too deep to not be a fan :P I simply can't get over how much meaning the lyrics have and how delightful Tyler & Josh are as people. They're kind of like lemonade - sweet and sour with a lot of quirky quotes on life. Many of their songs got me through a really rough 2016, so I am very grateful for them.  

Additionally, can we just talk a moment about how many references there are to the Bible and their faith in Christ? I mean, at first I thought it was a coincidence, but now I'm absolutely certain (particularly after reading their professions of faith). So this is doubly exciting for me, to see people who have the same beliefs that I do pursuing a career in music, struggling with deep thoughts and dark concepts, and coming out stronger in the end. Take Fairly Local for example, some of those lyrics are straight out of Romans 7. I thought I was imagining things the first time I heard it, but their whole Blurryface album is chock full of this stuff. It is awesome and so encouraging. 

If you haven't yet heard anything other than Stressed Out, Heathens, or Ride (which are the top 3 Twenty One Pilots songs on the charts) then you should check out the rest of the Blurryface album - from there, it's up to you where you'd like to take your adventure. Their discography is very eclectic and undoubtedly has something for everyone: Twenty One Pilots (self titled album, 2009 release), Regional At Best (2011), Vessel (2013, which has quite a few redone songs from RAB - don't be confused like I was, lol), and Blurryface (2015).  

I have a lot more I could write about these dear fellows, but I think I'll save it for another time :) Thanks for reading, folks! Tell me in the comments what your favourite Twenty One Pilots lyrics or songs are - I'd love to chat with you about it! <3 


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Signed with sunlight,

Squeaks.

Follow me on Pinterest @MinstrelWarrior for more Twenty One Pilots Fandom stuff & fantasy writing inspo!

March 12, 2017

Tag :O - One Lovely Blog Award - 7 Facts About Me

I never do tags (not since 2009 I think, back when I was a small bean). Those of you who have been with me from the turn of the decade know these things. Yet what does my title say? WOT?! Who unleashed this madness? Before we get into the heft of it (and before you scold me for starting my sentence with a preposition) I must tell you a few things.

  1. Thing 1 - I have been terribly busy - so busy that I have barely enough time to sleep before I needs be busy again. Such is life. 
  2. Thing 2 - I have been unbearably sullen. I promise, I do try not to be sullen, but sometimes the business gets in between my ears and I become a dark little raincloud, bustling to and fro between my Things that I do. 
  3. Thing 3 - Part of that business is writing academic papers. The droll of this particular Type of writing tends to vacuum dust into my head and I end up spouting facts to myself that I don't really truly want to know. Facts that will turn me into an old, rusty bucket. 
  4. Thing 4 - I have been absent from this blog (obviously <-- duh) because I have very little energy after all these Things have taken their due. 
Why am I even bothering to do a tag - A TAG, I never do tags - on this briefest of brief breaks from my business with all the Things? Well - I will enlighten you. It was this, stare at my dead social media, or cry tears of stress into my bedsheets and so obviously I picked the better of the three. 

That being said - I give you this gangly little tag, wherein I tell you 7 facts about me and we all leave here happy as a baby coconut. This dear coconut-inducing tag has been brought to you by the daring of Tracey Dyck over at Adventure Awaits (yes dear your name is in extra large font because the master poster can choose such things :) that is all). Let's give her a round of applause for unsuspectingly waking the sleeping dragon (or lethargic, comatose dragon... take your pick). You shake your hands and I'll shake mine. Deal? Fantastic. Now let's unbother ourselves with more stuff. 

[Tag] One Lovely Blog Award - 7 Facts About Me
  1. In terms of clothes, I abhor the colours orange and yellow (but still own some t-shirts like that??!! WHY!) and much prefer dark or muted forest-y tones. Mostly I just love blue. 
  2. On that same vein of thought, I used to have atrocious style as a teenager (dear lord) and would often go around dressed something akin to a motherless hippie child living out of a grandmother's tickle trunk. My mother did often try to suggest otherwise. There was one year in particular where I decided to use glitter glue to decorate my eyebrows... who ever thought that was a good idea. 
  3. I used to (and still do) think it admirable to read the books that people complain about - claiming they're impossible to understand - simply so I can know in my heart that I still have that knack for literature. (isn't this a horrible thing? it has led me to many fantastic discoveries though :P so my win, their loss)
  4. Most people think I'm between 16-18 years old and that I'm still in highschool *pats heads affectionately* that's adorable. 
  5. I have 2 non-intentional stick-n-poke tattoos from accidentally getting stabbed (or stabbing myself) with a pen. 
  6. I'm an extroverted introvert - I may seem outgoing in public, but I am truly a tired, lonely little penguin who likes to sit in silence, read books, and cuddle my cats. 
  7. One of my biggest everyday goals is to ensure no one gets left out and no one feels under-appreciated. 

Grief, child, looks like we got a little deep there - alrighty. Well, I've promptly run out of steam. I would really love to just sleep now, but it's still much too early for that nonsense. I was also going to add a nice picture to this post, but after 15min of not finding anything suitable it shall remain purely word-ridden *rolls eyes* pinterest, you have failed me. 

So anyhow..
Should I return to blogging? What do you guys think (if anybody is left reading this mishmash of words)? 


Signed with a breathe, 

Squeaks.
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