New Year; New Adventures

Happy New Year Friends!

I know I’ve been a slacker in my blogging duties lately. Turned out one of our broadband wires was cut which was why our internet was acting up. We pay for 50 Mbps up and 10 Mbps down and we were only getting 15 up which is a problem since we’re gamers and serious Netflix bingers in this house. The tech repaired the line and the internet has been working fine for the most part with a few hiccups here and there. I haven’t been in the mood to actually blog though. Not much inspiration when you’re off for 10 days straight at home I realized, lol.

Anyway, it’s 2018! We rung in the new year with Thai food, sushi rolls and 2 episodes of Ozark. A few days ago though we bought a new TV. My husband is in 4K HDR heaven so of course we also upgraded our Netflix plan as well. Nothing like bringing in the New Year by spending a lot of money eh?

I’m not really in the habit of making new years resolutions; more like new years goals. So far, this is what’s on my 2018 docket:

  • Set a lower Goodreads challenge. Mine was set to 100 for 2017 and only made it to 71. I’m going to set it to 70 this year and see what happens. I’m already, sort of in the middle of 3 books so that’s a good sign right?
  • Get all the flooring in our house replaced. I’ve pretty much demanded that I want new carpet and hardwood throughout the house and my husband has agreed since he got an expensive TV.
  • Move this blog to a new server. I’ve used Bluehost this whole year and they have not impressed me. I’m looking to change servers. Possibly to WordPress.com itself to make it easier for you all to see my full posts in the Reader. I’m still thinking about it. I have another month before my plan expires so we’ll see.
  • Exercise 3 times a week. I found a neat yoga video on YouTube that I believe I can get behind especially coming from not really exercising at all. I also want to start walking at least once a week once the weather is double my age.
  • Lastly, I want to have another awesome movie going year. Already have plans to see Fifty Shades Freed and Black Panther in February and Infinity War in May.
  • Oh and one more thing, I want to listen to an audiobook all the way through for the first time by the end of 2018. I’m very anti audiobook but I believe I can make this happen at least once. I already have my sights set on one.

These are my 2018 plans so far. I have a few other plans but I will share them with you in the months to come.

How did you ring in the new year? Were you able to stay awake til midnight? Eat some delicious food? Do you have a new years resolution or do you mainly goals like I do? Let me know in the comments below!

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Hello World

Hi!

This post, which will be short, is brought to you from my cellphone. I know some of us can write posts mobiley but I’m not good at it yet especially when there’s pictures involved. Anyway, for the last couple of days, I’ve had some internet issues. You see, we pay for a high speed in our area. In order for our ISP to get us this high speed is by running two lines to our house. In technical terms, that means we have 2 broadband lines instead of just 1. One of our lines was out. This means our normal speed wasn’t acheiveable because we’re only running on one line instead of our bonded pair. On top of that, our internet was regularly disconnecting. I could be in the middle of Netflix or just something simple like browsing the web and I’d get page errors.

I hate calling service providers sometimes because they try to walk you through all these steps you’ve already tried before giving in and sending a tech. I get that cause I’m sure it’s cheaper that way. I kept it short and said, “hey, I pay for this speed and I haven’t been getting it. This is a problem.” The customer rep was funny because he suggested that sometimes it’s electromagnetic waves from Christmas lights could interfere. I’ve never heard anything like that before and there was also the fact that nobody in my street has Christmas lights (they’re all old). He sent a tech for today though. Took 3 hours but there’s definitely a problem with our outside wires that needs to be fixed.

Anyway, this is my way if updating you all. I hope you all had a nice holiday and an upcoming happy new year! I still hope to make an endangered post tomorrow so we’ll see. If there are any typos, I apologise. Autocorrect is the devil.

The Thing About Audiobooks

I’ve been participating in a book reading challenge on Twitter for the past 20 days. Each day is a different category of books read in 2017 that we share with others participating in this challenge. One of the days was Best Audiobook listened to in 2017 and then the following day was best Narrator. Myself and another Twitter friend ended up getting into a conversation about how we wouldn’t have choices for those days because we didn’t listen to audiobooks in all of 2017. I’m actually a step further because I don’t listen to audiobooks at all. A few of my Twitter friends found that to be a little shocking because  nowadays everyone loves audiobooks. It got me thinking about the reason why I just can’t bring myself to listen to them and I wanted to share those reasons today to see if there are other oddballs like me in the world.

The number one reason I don’t listen to audiobooks is because when I read a book, I imagine how the characters look based on the author’s description as well as how their voices sound. When you listen to an audiobook, at least for me, I no longer hear the voice I imagined. It’s a forced voice that’s now stuck in my head because that was how it was portrayed on the audiobook. Most audiobooks are narrated by one person reading the whole book. This is something else I cannot get behind. Just one, monotone voice with a few inflections of emotion here and there just sounds so boring! Listening to a book is totally different from listening to music or even a movie. Even with a movie you have a bunch of different voices and action and all kinds of good stuff. Music has a bunch of different tones and chords along with the singers. With a book, it’s just not the same.

Another reason I can’t do audiobooks is because I feel like I’ll get bored and just fall asleep. When you have a book in your hand and you’re turning the pages, it’s just something more exciting about that than sitting there twiddling your thumbs while you listen to your book. I realize most people multitask while they’re listening to audiobooks, like driving in the car or doing house chores but a book for me is supposed to have my complete attention and if I multitask while listening to a book, it’s highly probable I’ll tune the book out in favor of the task at hand. I’m usually pretty great at multitasking, in fact I listen to music while I write all my blog posts but if it was a book, again, just not the same vibe or motivation to listen closely.

I think ultimately if I were to take the plunge into the audiobook world, it would be a biography of a celebrity I admire. Mostly because they are usually the ones narrating their own book. For example, the actress Tiffany Haddish has a book called “The Last Black Unicorn” and I’m actually quite interested in listening to the audiobook instead of actually reading the paper book because I’ve seen her in plenty of interviews and feel I could listen to her talk about her life, in the words of her book, and it would actually grab my attention. Is it unusual that I can listen to an author of a book talk in their own words but I can’t listen to another person read an author’s book which is also in the author’s own words? Curious.

So what do you think about audiobooks? Are you an oddball like me and can’t bring yourself to listen to your favorite genre in audio format? Let me know in the comments below!

The Christmas Tag

the-christmas-tag-awardI almost forgot about this tag! My friend Cindy over at Bird Flight, tagged me for this a few weeks ago. If you haven’t met Cindy, you really should. She shares the most wonderful stories about her life dealing with various mental illness as well as some cool Czech food recipes among other things. I’ve truly learned a lot from her blog and she’s such a wonderful person in general so please give her a visit and a follow!

This festive tag was created by Little DIY Projects . Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you with a link to their blog
  • Add the picture in your blog
  • Copy these rules into your post
  • Add a link to this original post (littlediyprojects.wordpress.com/thechristmastag)
  • Answer the 10 questions (you can add extra Christmas-related questions if you want)
  • Tag at least 3 other bloggers with links to their blogs
  • Have fun!

And here are the questions and my answers:

  • 1. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

My favorite thing about Christmas, as harsh as this is going to sound, is having a day off from work. I used to work heavily with animals and after that retail and Christmas doesn’t exist for animals so it was very rare when I actually got the day off. I’m glad I get to wake up with my husband and just cuddle and enjoy the peace.

  • 2. What’s your favourite Christmas memory?

Hmmm. I think I’d have to go with all the dinners that occurred with my family. Huge family gatherings like Thanksgiving where we’d all exchange gifts. My mother would always take me and my sister to the dollar store and give us like $20 dollars to spend on all our aunts and uncles and cousins for Christmas. The dollar store we went to had all KINDS of cool stuff. I remember one year we got everyone these huge mugs that had their birth month and zodiac sign on them. I think my grandma still has hers! Oh, another memory that’s great was my grandpa used to give us all these giant candy canes with money taped around them and a lemon. He showed us how to bite the candy cane and stick in the lemon and sip “lemonade” that way. 

  • 3. Are there special traditions your family has for Christmas?

Not really. Someone hosts a dinner on Christmas even or a brunch on Christmas Day usually and we just be together and reminisce about the year over delicious foods.

  • 4. What’s your Christmas wish? (Can be personal or general)

My Christmas wish is to continue being as healthy as I am right now. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve never broken a bone, never had a cavity, I don’t have any type of disorder and I don’t get headaches. Whether it be genetics or whatever, I’m absolutely grateful and I hope it continues for as long as I live.

  • 5. What’s your favourite Christmas dish?

Do you even know me?!?! I can’t even answer that question because I love food. It’s basically Thanksgiving all over again and I love all the food!

  • 6. What’s your favourite Christmas decoration?

I honestly don’t have one.. You see, my husband was raised around Jehovah Witnesses so nobody ever decorated. I’m slowly but surely cracking his shell. We got these little gold and silver kitty hooks to hang stockings on and the kitties are wearing Santa hats. They sit on our wood stove when it’s not burning. If I wasn’t painting my house next week, I would have gotten some lights to string up or maybe even a little tree. Baby steps right?!?

  • 7. What’s your favourite Christmas song?

I hate Christmas music. Before you start yelling at me, I worked in retail for FOUR YEARS! Christmas music started the day after Halloween and didn’t end until January at some point. You get over hearing the same song in 50 variations for 8+ hour shifts, 6 days a week okay! But if you demanded I picked one Christmas song to like, I’d choose Little Drummer Boy cover by Pentatonix:

  • 8. Where do you usually celebrate Christmas?

Usually I celebrate in one of my family member’s homes. The only time I had a completely different Christmas was when I was in Maui back in 2011. My coworkers were my family then and we had a pretty great time. 🙂

  • 9. What does the ‘Christmas Spirit’ mean to you?

I have to be honest, it doesn’t mean much to me. I’m not religious in any capacity but I think for most it just means love and happiness and hopeful life in general.

  • 10. Who out of anybody in the world would you want to spend your Christmas with?

WELL! If I could spend Christmas with my Idris Elba I definitely would in a heartbeat! I think I would also spend time with some of you lovely bloggers and experience how your Christmases are since we all come from different backgrounds.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tag people but it’s the holidays and we’re all busy bloggers so I say to you, Merry, early Christmas and if you want to do this tag, go for it! Have fun with it! If you want to answer any of the questions without doing an official post, feel free to leave me a comment below. 🙂

Year in Review

There are exactly 13 days left in 2017. I feel like this year swept by me so quickly. While I was driving into work, I sort of did a recap of all the things I’ve experience this year and thought I’d share a little bit with you today.

Let’s take it back to January shall we? In late January, I made the decisions to leave the pet world behind and pursue a completely different career path. That was pretty rough let me tell you because I love working with animals but the stress and work politics definitely took their toll and stressed me out almost to the point that it was unhealthy. An opportunity presented itself and I was definitely very afraid to take it. I had to get advice from so many different people and ultimately decided to go. We’re now at the end of December and I’m still at this job and very grateful and happy that I made the right decision. I’ve learned a lot and experienced even more.

Fast forward to April when my husband and I bought our first dining table set for our new house. Which btw, we bought our first late September of 2016 and have been living in it for more than a year so huzzah to that! Went from a one bedroom apt to a three bedroom house. It’s a wonderful feeling. We also attended my closest friend’s wedding in April as well. Unfortunately the marriage didn’t last long and they’re getting a divorce now but the wedding was still a momentous occasion considering marriage equality laws have only just been passed. Also, my best friend came to visit me and see our house for the first time in April and I got to briefly teach her how to drive manual which was soooo fun!

In May, which is my birth month, I got to touch a and sit in a Tesla which was soooooo cool! I also got to get a crash course in honeybee keeping. Then June came along and I got another crash course in picking cherries; all things I’ve never done before. By the end of June however, I got to meet one of my FAVORITE authors. I made a spontaneous decision to drag my husband and drive 4 hours to Cincinnati to meet Darynda Jones and have her sign all of my books. Definitely one of the best experiences of 2017 let me tell you! I also got to meet J.R. Ward and her bodyguard as well as a wonderful up and coming indie author, Melanie Jayne. Oh, I also got my passport renewed in June so I’m ready to travel the world! I also can’t forget, in June, I went to my first ever Pride parade which was a beautiful experience, I also got to tour a submarine in downtown Cleveland which was REALLY cool and I really need to make a post about that one day.

In July, I participated in a surprise birthday party for my grandma for her 75th birthday. I got to see my grandma cry for the first time ever and she NEVER cries! My husband and I also got to witness our old car save a squirrels life and then we sold that car and got a new one. I went to a lavender festival with one of my friends and I still have the lavender bunch I picked (I dried it out for weeks) sitting on our dining table. Then, in September, I went to visit my 9 month pregnant friend for the first time since her and husband moved into that apt years ago and feel a baby hiccup in the womb. Such an alien feeling still! The following week, I got to see Ed Sheeran in concert for the first time ever and I love him even more than I did before!

Fast forward to October when my husband and I got to finally take a vacation for the first time in about 2 years. We went to Florida with my best friend and her husband, stayed in a fancy suite and went to amusement parks such as Islands of Adventure and Busch Gardens. We also got to play in the ocean and horseback ride (!!!!!!!) which seriously? I need to do more often let me tell you. Finally, last month, November, I got to meet Patty in person which is my first time meeting a blogger in person and we had a grand time!

Speaking of the blog, I have to point out that I started Reactionary Tales in February of this year and it has been nothing but amazing. Some of you (you know who you are), I’m so grateful for knowing because I know we’ll be friends forever. For everyone else, I just appreciate anyone who takes time out of their day to read and comment on my posts. You’ve made this blogging experience very enjoyable and I look forward to continuing in 2018 as well as experience everything yet to come!

How was your 2017? Did you have any first time experiences? Are you looking forward to 2018? Let me know in the comments below!

(P.S. if you’re wondering how I remembered all of that, I didn’t. I went through my Google Photos which tell me the story of my year 😉 )

Facebook Friday 12/15/17

Facebook Fridays is a weekly segment of RT where I share some fun stuff I observed on Facebook this past week. I share a fun meme or screenshot, a video that resonated in some capacity and a photo of my own.

Sorry I did not post yesterday! Time escaped me and ran very far! There will definitely be an Endangered post next week. But for now, let’s view some things to make us smile shall we?

My meme game on social media has been pretty nonexistent. I just haven’t seen any good ones worthy enough to share these days! However, I did share a video as well as a picture.

The video I shared warmed my heart to infinity and beyond. If I ever had the opportunity to encounter this type of situation, I don’t even know! It’s so beautiful! The guy in the video has such a sweet nature too!


The pictures I shared are actually updated from last Facebook Friday. Remember those mushrooms that were growing out of the wood planks? Well, in 5 days, they bloomed! Currently they are still there but at the rate we’re going through the wood for shipping purposes, they probably won’t be for much longer:

And that’s it! TGIF! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and if you seen or watched anything cool in your social medias this week, let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Why I Love Fantasy Books

I was having my usual conversation with my good friend Noriko and I was telling her how my reading black hole slump has been demolished by my current read. I’ve read 70% of the book in two days and it’s really hard to stop. It’s so crazy because I had no interest in reading for weeks for one reason or another but my husband grew concerned that I wasn’t reading and I finally decided it was time to climb out of the hole.

Man, I am not disappointed not in the least! My current read is called A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet and this was her debut novel last year. The amount of magic and mythology and everything else she has dumped in this book is literally giving me the best dreams ever, haha. Anyway, so I was gushing to Noriko (my muse) about it and describing the general premise of the story when I thought it would make a good post to tell you all why I love reading fantasy books more than any other genre especially when it’s sprinkled with a little romance (which is my second favorite genre). So here we go:

  • Uniqueness: Fantasy novels are completely unique in that you are conjuring a world in your head that literally doesn’t exist anywhere in this world. Sure it might have a little bit of resemblances to certain cities perhaps or particular landscapes but it’s largely a world the author has created in their head and passed onto you. Not only that, the people, creatures, spirits, gods that live in the world are just as unique as the world itself.
  • Character names and their powers: We all wish we could have a certain power whether its a light one or dark one. Maybe we want to be a God, witch, mermaid, etc. We get to do that in a book. Not only have you transported yourself into the unique, fantastical world, you’ve also transported yourself into the characters. The writing makes you feel everything they’re feeling while your imagination is running wild. You’re flying on a dragon’s back or running through the forest on the back of a minotaur. I mean the possibilities become so endless. You feel as invincible as your character.
  • Conflict: This sort of piggybacks off of the uniqueness but the conflict that occurs in the story is something you never really could imagine. For example, in my current read, the main character was tortured for many years as a young child and when she finally escaped she stayed in hiding until a warlord found her. She lives by a very specific lifestyle that keeps her alive because her particular powers are very much wanted by many in the realm. She’s literally almost invincible but she struggles to figure out how to really live when she’s so used to people using and abusing her. Like, I know that sounds like something you could read in any book but you have to remember there are beings thrown into the mix that are conjured in this world that amplifies this conflict tenfold.
  • Research: I know every author who writes a novel does research. They want their books to be as accurate as possible. I just feel like when it comes to fantasy there’s deeper research involved to make sure it’s right. When stories involve Greek Gods such as Zeus and Poseidon or mythical creatures such as Cerberus, you need to know what you’re talking about. The feeling of Googling the mythical name to see if what the author wrote in the story is true or a spin on the regular myth is such a good feeling because not only did the author teach me something new I may not have known before but it also encourages me to continue learning long after I’ve finished the book.

So those are the four main reasons I wanted to share with you all. I could go on forever but as this post is already almost 700 words, I don’t want to lose your interest especially if you’ve made it this far. Do you read fantasy books? Do you like the genre or have a favorite genre of your own you want to share with me why you love so much? Let me know in the comments below!

Road… Annoyances?

I was having a conversation with my husband while driving home from work Last Friday and I felt like it would make a good blog post and maybe spark a little conversation among ourselves. As you all know by now, I have a long drive to and from work. I work Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm and it takes me 45 minutes one way to get to and from work. As you can imagine, that means encountering many types of drivers; from the really slow or granny drivers to the speed racers. I know saying granny drivers is a little mean but that’s how slow drivers have always been referenced to me even from my own grandmother so I do apologize if that offends anyone but that’s the term I’m using. My drive consists of driving through 3 Ohio counties (fun fact: there are 88 of them). How people drive is usually determined by the weather. During the cold or rainy days, people are a little more cautious (obnoxious) in their driving. On sunny days people are a lot more speedy (also obnoxious) in their driving.

As I’ve mentioned before as well, I drive standard or stick shift or manual depending on who you ask. That means I have 3 pedals to work with instead of 2 which would make it an automatic car. Have you ever heard the phrase “road rage”? If you haven’t, let me explain it to you. Road rage is when people get annoyed with your driving and start doing obnoxious things like ride your bumper, honk at you or even go as far as yell out the window at you if they get the opportunity to pass you by. Usually this happens because a person is driving too slow or don’t use a turn signal when turning or ride their brakes; those sorts of things.

I have this ritual of having to be on the phone with people while I’m driving long distances. Since my husband gets home before I do, he’s usually my talk person on the drive. I don’t know when I started doing this but I just like having someone on the phone with me in case something happens or I get pulled over and a cop isn’t very nice (has to be said; I’m black). Luckily though, I’m a pretty safe driver and it’s overall nice to just have someone to talk to instead of the drone of NPR or silence (because I hate commercials so the radio is not an option). On Friday I was behind some silly drivers. One couldn’t decide if he wanted to use his turn signal or not and when he finally made up his mind he was going to turn he didn’t use it. Another literally took 5 minutes to turn a corner and another was a bumper rider. Instead of “raging” which usually involves a lot of cursing, I made thoughtful observations such as, “hmm, I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. Maybe his turn signal is broken. Hey! I’m going the speed limit!” and “I wonder if he’s lost….”. What was funny is I didn’t even realize what I was saying til my husband burst out laughing. I was like, “what’s so funny?” He was like, “you sound like you’re narrating a book!” and continued to giggle.

Apparently I have road annoyances instead of road rage (his words not mine), haha. I confess though that there are times where the rage lets loose and I want to make my car fly over everyone but most times it seems I find it all more amusing than anything else. So yeah, random story I wanted to share with you all. Are you a regular road driver? Do you think you have road rage or road annoyances? Let me know in the comments below!

Evolution of Turtle’s Dock

Hello everyone! Sorry I did not post yesterday. I did not feel well at all and just turned into one big recluse from the world. Today however, I feel much better and ready to share that turtle story I mentioned on Monday.

Ten years ago, I obtained a pet turtle. My college had this forum where people would post events or things they were looking to give away things. Mostly seniors who were graduating and didn’t want to take all their stuff with them. I was browsing the forum one day when I saw an ad a girl posted talking about she obtained a turtle and didn’t have time to take care of it so she wanted to give it and everything she bought for it away to someone who could care for it. I had brought a snake with me to college from high school but it ended up dying so I got excited about adopting a new pet. I contacted the girl with my interest and we met and she gave me everything; a tank, filter, all that cool stuff. When she told me she took the turtle from a pond, I was kind of upset about that.. so in a sense I felt I was rescuing it. I guess he had started in a fishbowl and then she upgraded to a tank but the turtle just wasn’t thriving as much as she had hoped.

So for the first year I had Turtle, he was in a long tank. I bought calcium tablets and some better food than what she was feeding, as well as a UVB light and he started thriving pretty well. Very active turtle. I began to realize that maybe the setup wasn’t enough because he seemed to really want to swim and I didn’t keep him in enough water to really swim plus his dock was just this fancy looking rock:

The above was his setup for years. When I graduated and started working at Petsmart, I came across an awesome deal for a tank and a stand. So I decided to buy it for turtle. This aquarium was more vertical than horizontal and gave him more room to deep dive and swim around. The tank I bought was also a bowfront tank. This made creating a dock a little challenging. I guess I should mention, turtles breathe air. A lot of people think they breathe water, but they don’t. They can just hold their breath for very long periods of time. If you have a pet aquatic turtle, it needs a way to get out of the water and bask in the your simulated sunshine set up for two big reasons. The first reason is, turtles can drown. They need to take a breather from being in the water so long and just being able to swim up top and take a breath is not sufficient enough. Also, they are prone to getting shell rot disease. They need the sun or some type of heat source to shine on their shells to keep them nice and strong and hard. Shell rot makes squishy shells and squishy shells lead to dead turtles because their spines line the inside of their shell.

I ended up doing a little research and came across cork bark as a dock. People buy these huge pieces and cut it just enough that it can be wedged into the tank and the turtle can climb out and bask on it. That worked well for a while but even with a canister filter, the cork bark dirtied the water too much for me to keep up with so I had to come up with something else:

I ended up buying a turtle topper with a plastic ramp underneath. The turtle topper was made to sit on top of rectangular tanks with ease; not bowfronts. So it worked… sort of. I had to keep the tank full at all times and I watched Turtle struggle a few times so I knew that wouldn’t last very long. I went back to ye ole Google and found these tutorials of people making docks out of egg crate that they use for lighting. Egg crate is pretty cheap so I decided to try that avenue. It took a bit of jerry rigging but it ended up working out pretty good for a bit:

Well over this past weekend, the ramp broke. I was pretty much fed up at this point. I figured, you know what, I have a perfectly good turtle topper. I just need a rectangle tank. So I put my clothes on and went to PetSmart and bought a rectangular aquarium for turtle. Ten years later and this is my final, forever, result:

As you can see, he has two main underwater places he can rest on and then when he’s ready, he can climb completely out of the water and into his topper where it’s nice and dry. There are two lamps up there. One is heat only and stays on 24/7. The other one, that’s shining brightly, is  his UVB light which simulates the sun and is turned on in the morning and turned off when the sun goes down. I took this picture shortly after I transferred him into this tank but they’ve dissipated now.

Now I need to decide what I’m going to do with this bowfront tank. Anyone need a fish tank??