The English Teacher

So about a month ago I won eleven novels from a giveaway that was featuring Penguin/Random House Thrillers and Mysteries. I haven’t had time to read most of them yet. In fact, I just finished the first one. September was a busy month for me, between preparing for school and working, things kinda got out of hand. I’ll make another post about it later. For now, I’m doing all right.

The English Teacher

The English Teacher

So for the first book I read; I plucked one at random from the box they came in, and ended up with Yiftach Reicher Atir’s The English Teacher. He’s from Israel, so the original version of this book was published in Hebrew. The author is also a retired Brigadier General for the Israel Defense Forces and it shows in the way he writes his characters. What I mean by that is they are military in their phrasing and the way Ehud handles Rachel’s training and deployment. It’s like you really are in a spy movie, but instead of a man, it’s Rachel’s motives we’re going through to find out just what happened and why she disappeared after the death of her real father.

We see Ehud go on a memory trip, through his past, Rachel’s past and their missions together. He was her handler, she was his Operative. Every decision that was made when it came to their work together was gone over to find out where she is, what she’s going to do and why. Mossad think’s she’s going to defect, but Ehud thinks differently and by the end of the story, there’s a dead body in the street. Very much an old trope Spy Noir type of ending.

While at first this book was a struggle for me to get through because of my commitments to other things, by the end I was pulling out every spare moment that I could, racing for the end to find out just what was going on. Throughout the book, I kept wondering if Ehud really knew the Rachel he was telling us about in his briefings with Joe. I’m sure it isn’t, though. I’m sure he left out enough of her story to make it questionable, for the reader, he went over enough detail so that I could make most of my intuitive leaps before he got to certain parts of the story. This left me somewhat disappointed when I guessed correctly.

I’d give this one a 3 out of 5 – good enough to pass the time with while finding it enjoyable, but get it from the library.

New Years Resolutions

Here we are, the end of the year. I have to say, 2014 did not turn out the way I had planned it back in December of 2013. I imagined I’d be writing like the wind by now, instead, I spent my year on personal reflection and in therapy.

I don’t regret a thing.

Spending this year in therapy has taught me a lot about who I am as a person and who I was. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being that person who existed a year ago. That person was very bitter, rude, self-agonizing and self-destructive.

The person I am now is better, more whole, but still healing from the wounds that were inflicted – both self and done to me. The new me is looking forward to next year, and as a result, is making different resolutions than the year before. So I’m going to list the resolutions below that I’ve decided on for the year of 2015.

 

Resolutions:

1. Spend more time on me –  I’m including journaling, art, walking and weight loss, actually getting my hair cut when I need to, not when I can’t stand my hair anymore. These things I neglect when I get in to a self-destructive spiral, so I’m planning on having less of them next year.

2. Write more – Even if it’s journaling, I’m going to write more in this coming year. So look out, there might be more stories from me in the future!

3. Reading! – I have this great list I stole from Tumblr. I fully plan on reading most of the list. If you all want to follow along with me, I’ll type up the list below.

 

 

Ellie’s Stolen Reading List for 2015

  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A classic romance
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book published in 2015
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with non-human characters
  • A funny book
  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories
  • A book set in a different country
  • A non-fiction book
  • A popular author’s first book
  • A book from an author you love, that you haven’t read yet
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A Pulitzer prize-winning book
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read pile
  • A book your mom (or dad) loves
  • A book that scares you
  • A book that is more than 100 years old
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book that you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t
  • A memoir

 

  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book set in the future
  • A book set in high school
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that made you cry
  • A book with magic
  • A graphic novel
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book you own, but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book that was originally written in another language
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book based on, or turned in to a TV show
  • A book you started, but never finished

So there it is, my reading list for this year. Rather ambitious, but I like it.

… even if I did steal it from someone else.

I can’t think of anything else at the moment for resolutions. I’ll probably add a couple more later, but for now I think this works.

I’m incredibly uncomfortable with the world today.

Posting this again here from my tumblr page.
 
 
Why? Because of the incident with Anita Sarkeesian that drove her out of her home. For those who don’t know what happened, I’ll go into detail.

The latest episode of Tropes vs Women was posted earlier this week and it was widely received positively with women (and some men) who have been talking about this subject. However, there were some people who were incredibly upset. The people I’m talking about are the gate-keeping male dominated trolls who believe that the video game industry is “just fine” and doesn’t need the feminists ruining their fun.

They sent so much hatred to Ms. Skeesian that she had to report it to the police and leave her home in order to feel safe.

It makes me angry and I’ll tell you why.

I am a gamer.

I grew up on video games. My very first memory is my Uncles Matt and Andrew getting extremely upset that I was teething on their Atari joysticks. The year was 1985. I was a year old, ignorant in the ways of Pong, but that joystick controller was perfect to teeth on.

That was just the beginning. It only escalated from there with the first Nintendo system, purchased by my parents for Christmas one year. My mother says that’s what started it all, when she gave in and allowed us Mario, That damn dog from the duck hunt game, and Lolo in to our lives.

What she fails to mention, is that when the Super Nintendo was purchased, even she fell with us; sharing our love of Mario Kart (we wore out two cartridges), B.O.B, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Earthbound, The Secret of Evermore and my brother’s personal favorite: Chrono Trigger.

Mom wasn’t the only one to fall into the spell of the Super Nintendo. Dad was right there with us, his favorite game being Earthworm Jim. If you knew my father at all, you’d know that the game fits right in with his personality.

Why am I telling you all this? My family is made up of gamers. My mother is a casual now, My father sticks to MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, my brothers are RPGs and First person shooters. I fit in with the whole family. I don’t discriminate one form of game from another: I play them all.

Except for horror. I draw the line at Slenderman. I kind of want to sleep sometime in the future.

I game. I’ve been gaming since the majority of the current generation of bottom feeders were in diapers. While I was playing Earthbound and breaking a fourth copy, they were learning to say the Pledge of Allegiance in first grade.

I am apart of the 48% of women who game and closer to the average age of 31 than I’d like to admit.

I’d love to see a world where female gamers are not attacked on a daily basis with threats of rape and other forms of brutality, just because they kicked ass at Call of Duty and someone resented it so much, that creating an online anonymous twitter handle to spew their hatred seemed reasonable.

That kind of behavior is dangerous. It poisons the community that they claim should be taken seriously. Once a community is poisoned, it’s hard to get anyone to take it seriously ever again. It would be laughable, if I wasn’t so scared.

I’m terrified of speaking when playing Call of Duty. I play under a gender neutral name. Why? Because the second I speak to tell a team member anything, I’m flooded with messages and IMs asking me for nude photos, to sit down and “STFU”, telling me to go back into the kitchen, or that if I headshot them, I’m going to be raped.

That last one is used as a way to control the fear nearly all women have being that venerable and what’s worse? It’s tossed off as a “God don’t get your panties in a twist, I was just kidding” way.

There’s nothing that says joke when it comes to the abuse these sociopath assholes toss off those words. With the screen between them and their intended target, the woman they are spewing their venom-filled “Just kidding bro” mantra at, leaves them with a sense that they’re not hurting anyone because they can’t see that person’s reaction.

Or even worse, they like the reaction they get and relish in the fact that they have heaped an enormous amount of abuse on a woman that reminds them of all the girls they’ve mooned at from afar, or have turned them down.

This is usually when they fall back on their mantras that are so well-worn, it almost seems like a vaudeville act from the 1920s.

“Women don’t play video games!”

Well, you’re wrong. I do.

“Women are only playing them to get guys!”

Hah! No. Sorry. I’m there to blow off steam from my seriously shitty day and becoming a target in your need to prove that your penis size is much lager than a cocktail frank.

“You’re not a real gamer! You just pretend to be one for the attention!”

Pardon me while I laugh in your face. I’m not there for you. I’m there for me and my stress relief. Being a badass bitch takes effort and even I get tired at the end of the day.

While the average male gamer is being exploited for their money, I’m off to the side, pushing through stacks of games using my carefully honed taste, to find that one game that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being exploited for my tits.

I want to see an Assassin’s Creed character that’s fully clothed in that badass armor. Why? Because women are not that hard to animate. If the average male artist can spend hundreds of hours on a single character where the most important feature is that her boobs jiggle just right, they can make me a character with armor that makes sense.

Women like Anita Skeesian give me hope. They’re strong. They won’t let the mass of 4chan devotees defeat her. After all, she wouldn’t be getting this much hate if she was not making her point real and very valid.

There’s another side to the hate that’s being spewed at women (and some men) who share the view-point of Ms. Sarkeesian: The comments section where one can find people placing the blame directly on Ms. Sarkeesian, and not on the people who are issuing the death threats against her.

She has a right to speak out about the type of abuse that her point of view is attracting. She has the right to reasonably claim that she is a victim. Why does she have that right? Because she is a victim.

When commentators on those sections come right out and say that she’s “playing the victim to get more attention” they’re part of the problem.

She’s not playing the victim. She is the victim. There’s a huge difference and because Ms. Sarkeesian is choosing to use what’s happening to her to speak out about the type of abuse that most -if not all- women have experienced just because they dare to play video games.

To accuse her of that, is to accuse us all. To say that we’re responsible for the abuse that’s heaped upon us just because we picked up a controller, is cowardly.

So when I hear about the kind of abuse that she’s getting, the fact that she had to leave her home in order to feel safe – it makes me sad, angry and fearful for the state of the video game community where this kind of abuse is just accepted if you voice your opinion.

It dosen’t mean that I’m going to stop playing video games. It just means that I’m going to get even more selective about what games and systems I support. I’m going to get even more selective about the types of people I let in to my gaming world.

You’re afraid of me? Good. I’m not going anywhere. I have been here since the 80s, I have walked with my siblings through the history of gaming and found that I’m not alone. I have never been alone.

Women are everywhere and we are coming for what’s ours. You can either walk with us, or get out of our way.

Seize the Day

“So he’s dead then?”

“Yeah,” I said as I looked out the windows of my office.

“Pity, we could have gotten another full-page spread if he’d just snapped and went on a binge instead.”

“Jake?”

“Yes, Lou?”

I turned as I pulled the pins out of my bun.

“I quit.”

“Oh, now don’t be like that. You can’t possibly feel any sort or remorse for his death. It’s not like you engineered his reaction to those photos,” Jake said as he looked at the tweets coming in from people all over, reacting to the man’s death.

I was incredulous as I packed my briefcase and looked around at my office.

“I’ll be back in the morning for the things in my office.”

“No, you’ll be back to work.”

“I’m not coming back to work, Jake,” I said as I closed the top of the bag and picked up it and my purse.

“Your contract-” he started to say before I cut him off.

“Has been in negotiations for months. I haven’t signed the new one yet. I’m free to go as I wish. I’m done with this quasi-journalism you call ‘reporting the news.’ This isn’t news. This is sadness. This is making a dollar off someone else’s demise,” I stopped and took a breath. “I’m sick of it.”

“You’re female, I expected this to happen eventually. Thank god you showed your true colors before I put you in charge,” he said, getting up from where he had been sitting on the corner of my desk.

I laughed. I couldn’t help the noise coming out of my mouth. I was so angry that it was the only reaction I could come up with.

“You’re an asshole, Jake. A true, blue, asshole.”

“So? At least I’m not pretending to have a conscience now that someone’s dead. You didn’t have any feelings when we posted those photos of the princess and her nipple slip,”

“Yes, I did. As a matter of fact, I can show you the tweet that I posted after the photos went live. That’s what kicked off my contact negotiations. I knew you’d been trying to get rid of me for months,”

Jake smiled, but it was cold.

“Finally happened, too.”

I smiled back at him, pulled my phone out and opened up the word file I’d been keeping for months. Jake waited while I selected my photos, then uploaded them one at a time, with the headline “Executive for Daily Celeb caught with pants down” to the main site.

“Check today’s post. I hope you have fun in divorce court,” I said as I walked out the door. He was bending over my computer, when the post loaded. I heard the cursing down the hallway. The reporters in the cubicle farm looked on as I passed by, I waved at the desk clerk as I stepped into the elevator. She smiled and waved back, giving me a thumbs up as I took the lift to the roof. I stepped out just as a helicopter landed on the pad.

“Busy day, Lou,” the pilot shouted as he stepped out to open the back door for me.

“Very busy,” I shouted back as I climbed in.

He nodded and as soon as I settled in and put the headset on, he climbed back into the front and did his pre-check before taking off. As we flew over Chicago, I smiled. Tomorrow was going to be much better.

“So, what happened?” the pilot asked.

“Well Roger, I took down an asshole, lost a hero and quit my job,” I said back with a smile.

“Very busy day,” he said.

“Yes, I would say so.”

“Tomorrow going to be just as busy?” he asked.

“I don’t know, but I’ll take whatever it brings with a smile,” I said.

“Carpe Diem.”

“Yes. Seize the day.”

Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Night Surgeon Release Party!

 

knight-surgeon-COLOURED-VERSION-218x300

I have a friend who’s currently in the middle of releasing her first book. Her name is Kai Kiriyama and the book is Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Night Surgeon. I’m really excited for my friend and her accomplishments. I’ve personally read the book and I liked it very much. There’s more information on her website, theraggedyauthor.com and be sure to pop over tomorrow, August 5th, because she’s hosting a release party with giveaways and an interview on her youtube channel. Details are listed below!

Decorative Frame

If you wish to pick up a copy of her brook, the links are as follows:

Paperback (through Createspace): https://www.createspace.com/4903233
I hope you all like it as much as I did!

One, Two, Three.

Walking,

Breathing,

Smelling.

STOP.

Here it comes.

Deep breath,

Hit,

Heat pounding.

Skin crawls,

I want out of my own body.

Mind running,

Racing,

Deep breath.

One,

Two,

Three.

Scream.

Paralyzed.

Deep breath.

One,

Two,

Three.

Eyes closed.

Can’t see,

Don’t want to hear.

Block it out.

Deep breath.

One,

Two,

Three.

Think.

Breathe.

Find the place.

Think trees,

Think water,

Can hear it now.

Feel the warmth,

Smell the flowers,

Just breathe.

One,

Two,

Three.

Open eyes,

Look around,

Hasn’t changed,

Not in danger.

Breathe.

One,

Two,

Three.

Peace.

Quiet.

Serenity in a chair that isn’t there.

Alive.

The Dream

A dream is a single gulp of air before you jump off a cliff.

That last sniff of roses before leaving your grandmother’s house the last time.

A quiet,

All consuming thought,

Of near perfect existence that couldn’t possibly exist.

A dream held high and aloft,

Something to be aspired to,

To grasp at when you’re down at your lowest point.

A panic attack on the floor of your bedroom,

A box full of tissues sitting next to you after a break up,

These things cannot touch the dream.

No one can touch it but yourself.

We abuse the dream,

Twisting it until it’s nothing like what we wanted in the first place,

Crying over what it has become,

Cursing at the world for changing it –

But you changed it.

You allowed experiences to change the dream,

Warping it,

Turning it around,

Shattering it.

But you can change it back.

You can take it back.

You can bring it back.

Because the only thing stronger than the dream –

Is the hope that lives inside the dream.