Sunday, 19 February 2017

Nerd Church - It's All About The Money

Let's talk money, shall we?

With prices climbing, and incomes not doing the same, (plus an unstable global political climate, which often has a knock-on economic effect,) we need to be able to talk openly about all that awkward financial stuff.





pound coins image



Regular readers of DORA might be aware that I am regularly broke.

Don't get me wrong - thanks to the kindness and support of my parents,  and the country and time period I live in, I have a comfortable life that has plenty of privileges.






But I'm very much dependant on my parents. And in my 20s, with retired parents, that's not a position I thought I'd be in.

I work for myself, and if I ever get an additional part-time or temporary job, I'd need it to be the right fit for me because of my mental health problems. Money's nice, but being alive is a priority.






So when it comes to supporting all of the amazing and wonderful causes and creative people out there, I have to say 'no' time and time again.

And that feels bad. Because I would love to be able to give £5 to Cause A and £5 to Person B, but I know that I can't afford to. I donate and/or support when and where I can, and no more.

And I have to somehow convince myself that I have no need to feel guilty - that I have to come first, because otherwise I can't help anyone else.














So why, if my parents are supporting me, don't I have more spare cash?

Well, I'm saving - or trying to, it's not easy with business expenses, family/friends' birthdays, and low interest rates.

I'd like a house at some point in the future. And enough income to pay the bills for it. I'd also like to do a degree (probably with something like the Open University.)

I'd like to not feel like a burden on my parents, who've already had to help my brother get on his feet.

Basically - I'd like something that's mine. I'd like a future. 

And I know I'm not alone in that - it's a problem that we millennials are looked down on for, and it's a problem that's NOT of our own making.







And I know how tough it is to make money in today's world...

(...particularly when affiliate agreements may or may not have a clause that prevents you from coming straight out and saying 'please use my links to buy things.')

And even monetising your blog is difficult enough - especially if you're not so good with maths.

I'm currently looking into adding ads to DORA, but business things like that leave me totally baffled (thank you suspected dyscalculia,) which means I have to spend more time going through things and trying to understand them than other people do.







Some people think that any monetising of blogs is somehow dishonest. I sure as hell don't.

If you're a blogger, monetise as much as you want to. Because you deserve it.

If you find you've got enough cash to go around? Go ahead and support other creative people and/or causes with it. Because they need it too.













What am I trying to say in this post, exactly? I'm trying to say that it's ok.

It's ok to have to lean on others - no matter how uncomfortable it may feel; if you need it, then you need it.

It's ok to not be able to help and support other people when you want to - just do what you can, when you can.


  • Drop some change in the charity box by the supermarket till.

  • Buy the Big Issue (or whatever your local street newspaper is) instead of a gossip magazine

  • Do the free stuff - bring traffic to the websites of deserving people and/or causes, promote them online, etc.





And most of all, never feel guilty for having to put your health - mental or physical - first. You've got to have something left to give.





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Friday, 17 February 2017

Friday Fics Fix - Resist, Persist

(Flashing Images Warning: There are fast and not smoothly-moving gifs in this post which may cause problems to those with photosensitive conditions such as epilepsy or migraines.)




Fanfiction can save the world.




Friday Fics Fix title image




I know, that sounds like a big, idealistic, head-in-the-clouds idea. But f**k it, I'm a bookish rebel, and I believe in people who tell stories dammit!!!!

















Fanfiction does not fear Donald Trump.

(Actually, it comes up with porn involving Trump that would make the man himself wince, but let's ignore that section of the Trump-fics. Because I have to. Because that's just disturbing.)






Fanfiction sees Trump, and says, 'No. Way.'

So this week's fanfic is a double-feature - two fics for the price of one (don't worry, they're both still free,) double your pleasure, and all that jazz.

Two fics which take those shining symbols of justice and equality - the Avengers - and pit them politically against Trump.







Cos there's no way in hell any superhero would support that w**ker.

Also, there's some Loki-ness in there too! Which is awesome (and somewhat hilarious!)



















So, this week's twinned fanfics, written by fic-writer 'shethinksshesabard' are:





and











Keep things awesome - persist and resist! I'll see you next week for more fanfiction.












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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Comics Wrap-Up - Rusted From the Rain

Comics Wrap-Up title image









Film Trailers


Another li'l teaser trailer for you, from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2!















Other Stuff


First look at Avengers: Infinity War!!!!

Granted, this featurette feels a little pompous, and there's a lot of milking-it, (did she just dare to say that?! Yes, she did. #DealWithIt,) but still - as long as they don't let the hype out-do the film, it should be awesome!









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Do you guys remember the Team Thor vid that was released a few months back?

It was basically a hilarious mockumentary of where Thor and Bruce Banner were during Captain America: Civil War (UK - US).










Well there's now a part 2 - which once again is just awesome.










I love Chris Hemsworth - he needs to be in more comedies; like, really badly!

'Yay! It's settled. We're getting a servant!"









That's all for this week my nerdlets - more comics and superheroes next Thursday, as usual!














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Monday, 13 February 2017

Review Time! - Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

Santa Muerte title image


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Title: Santa MuerteSanta Muerte book cover

Author: Lucina Stone

Genre: New Adult/NA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Vampires*, Werewolves*, Historical Fiction* (*ish)

Series: The Daniela Story #1

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.

This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.

I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.

I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!

I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.) faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)

It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.






Premise:

Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.

In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...

...and wakes up somewhere strange.

This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?

Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.

All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...







Best bits:

I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.

And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.

Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)

And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.







girl image






I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.

All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.

Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)

The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.

The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.

And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.








Not so great bits:

First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
  • depression
  • attempted suicide
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hanging
  • abusive relationships
  • low self-worth/self-esteem
  • racism
  • racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
  • the KKK
  • lynching
  • segregation and discrimination
  • sexual abuse
  • child abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • burning (as a form of torture)
  • attempted murder
  • homophobia
  • grave-robbing
  • missing persons investigation

I think that's everything - v. sorry if I've missed anything out.

There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*

At one point, the phrase totem pole is used in as a metaphor in a non-native setting, which is seen as cultural appropriation, affecting some First Nations tribes (this piece by Robin R R Gray explains more.)

It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.







eye image







Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.

I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.

But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.

I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.

Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.

Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.






Verdict:

This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.

If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.
















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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Nerd Church - Rebel Valentine

It's Valentine's Day this Tuesday, and yours truly is here with a typically rebellious view of all things love and romance!

(I am going to talk about sex here - not graphically, this isn't that kind of blog, but I will be talking about the topic frankly and openly. Just a warning, for those who might want one.)





arty picture of girl standing in a picture frame with the word love behind her





This may be a shock to you, but romance and pairing off isn't the be-all and end-all of life.

I know, weird, huh?







Of course if you listen to books, films, and the media in general, then no-one can be happy without it. Especially not women.

Middle-aged, able-bodied, cishet, white dudes get the occasional 'it's ok to be single' pass, but women, and pretty much anyone else? Nope.








OK, this may seem like an anti-Valentine's post, but it's not. There's nothing wrong with Valentine's day.

If you've found romantic love, then celebrate it, by all means! And I am genuinely happy for you if that's the case.









But I don't pity single people. For a start I am single. I've actually never had a boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other.











And yes, because you're wondering but are (hopefully) too polite to ask, I'm a virgin.

(That's not to say I've never done anything with sexual undertones *ahem*... which we won't go into here... but the actual sex - or kissing, actually, for that matter - just hasn't happened yet.)









I do find it a little embarrassing to admit that. Not because I'm in any way ashamed of it, but because people look at you like you should be embarrassed, or like there's something wrong with you.

But - and this is important - THERE'S NOTHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT BEING A VIRGIN, AND THERE'S NOTHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT NOT BEING A VIRGIN.

The timing has never been right with the right person for me. And that's ok. For other people, the timing has been right, and the person has been right, and that's ok too.








I'm not naïve - I know how everything works, I have desire (except when I'm asexual for a while,) I'm just happy to wait until things are right.


Look, I know this isn't just a female thing - but the judgement is often more thorough against women, believe me.








Why do we make such a big deal out of the social status of sex and romance? They do NOT define you as a person, they are just one aspect of a multi-faceted personality.

That's not to say that they can't be important, and can't be meaningful. But they aren't ALL there is to life.














Single people can be happy. The 'happily ever after' doesn't need marriage, or a baby, or living together forever and ever.

The 'happily ever after' can be the hero of the story deciding that they're alright as they are - no-one has to 'get' the girl/guy/other romantic interest.

They can get a new job, a new house, or just plain decide that they like themselves - that's difficult enough.






Basically if we could stop forcing romance into plots and media that really don't need them? That'd be great.



(I'm totally Panic! trash)



And if the single characters could not spend every moment miserable about being single? That'd be good too. Thanks.

Check out Claudie Arseneault's guest post on Read Diverse Books for an excellent post on centring friendships and non-romantic relationships, written from an aromantic perspective.








So, to single folks, here's some home truths:


  • it's ok to be single
  • it's ok not to have a long-term partner
  • it's ok to not know whether you'll ever get married
  • it's ok to not settle if things aren't right for you
  • it's ok not to know whether you'll ever have a/nother romantic partner - if it happens, it's gotta be right FOR YOU
  • it's ok to not want a romantic and/or sexual partner - some people just don't
  • it's ok to either HAVE OR NOT HAVE casual sex - that's your call, no-one else's.







And to not-single folks, some for you too:


  • it's ok to enjoy your relationship
  • it's ok to not know how long this will last
  • it's ok for this not to last, or for it to last forever, or somewhere in between
  • it's ok to leave if things aren't right
  • it's ok to stay and try to work things through if things aren't right (except in cases of abuse, where I would suggest leaving for your own safety)
  • it's ok to do what's right for you








I guess what I'm getting at here guys is that we really shouldn't judge people by stuff like this - and we certainly shouldn't hold ourselves to other people's standards.

I know, I know, I am the world's worst when it comes to holding myself to other people's standards. But I'm slowly trying to convince myself that my opinion is the one that matters.








And you guys? You do what's right for you, when it's right for you.

Keep things consensual, safe, and respectful, and there's nothing wrong.

What you want matters guys, please remember that.














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Friday, 10 February 2017

Friday Fics Fix - Totally Winning

I love the TV show Supergirl. It rocks.

And I know, it sounds like it should be really naff - BUT IT'S NOT!!!!





Friday Fics Fix title image





Now, fans of the show will be aware of Winn, and aware of Mon-El.

People who aren't familiar show need to go watch it (like, now.) Because it's awesome-sauce, and even has canon (fangirling note: official) lesbian representation in series 3.













Now, as fandom will pair up everyone with... well... everyone, there is a ship for Winn and Mon-El.


The name of this ship is Monwinn - which makes me laugh for nerdy reasons related to the Welsh language which I won't go into too much here because it would probably take up half a page of explanation.

Let's just say that Winn, and its many variants, is a Welsh name that can signify several concepts related to white, fair, pure, holy, handsome, perfect, etc.

And Mon makes me think of Anglesey.

(Fangirling note: ship is relation-ship. See? OK, awesome.)







This week's fic is cute awesome Monwinn dorkiness with their first date (*squee*)













This week's fic then, my dear nerdlets, is:









Enjoy the sweet dorkiness, and I'll have more fanfiction-y-ness for you next week!






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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Comics Wrap-Up - Pour Some Sugar On Me

Comics Wrap-Up title image




Film Trailers


So that Superbowl thingummy happened in the US, and somehow that means we get new comic book movie trailers so I'm not complaining!




First up is a new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

(Note to self: watch the first film. (Look, even I can't be up-to-date with all the superhero movies, ok? There's just so many of them!))

I love the nerdiness of giving it a volume label instead of just a number :)










And there are new Logan trailers! I love how awesome this film looks!!!!!!!!









And this ad feature thingy for Lego Batman...





...I really don't know wtf they fed the writers on this film, but it's clearly got some interesting ingredients (I'm thinking lots of caffeine and sugar!)








Webcomics

And, just like last week, I've got a little protest art via embedded tweets to show you! (Woo!)










Other Stuff



And to wrap everything up nicely, here's just a couple of interesting links I've come across this week:











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