On Saturday, Harold and I went out to Winston-Salem to pick up some Star Trek
toys communicators. Apparently there still are some Trek collectibles that he doesn’t own! He’d dome some kind of trade with the shop owner at Heroes Con, where he swapped some of the nerd paraphernali he didn’t want for the kind of nerd paraphernalia he does want. Somehow he did not actually end up with more space, but he was pretty pleased with his new toys.
Then we stopped at the bookstore. Sure, I have about a dozen eARCs on my Kindle, but a couple months ago, a friend from Fortnite got me into audiobooks for the long drive. After GoT, I’ve listened to The Hunger Games, because obvious, and Citizen Girl (a lovely Manhattan story, although I deeply disagreed with the portrayal of game developers). This time, I picked up Chasing Harry Winston and Operation Mincemeat. (If you’re a history reader at all, check out The Man Who Never Was, a very readable account of Operation Mincemeat.) I had a small credit from the last time I sold some books I didn’t want anymore, somehow I did not actually end up with more space.
I was happy to bump into some friends from Fortnite at the bookstore, too! Even though I just love teaching the YD kids game design, I miss my team at the game studio. Plus, it was funny to run into friends in a city where none of us live. (Look, Harold, I called Greensboro a city without putting mock-quotes around it!) (But I totally typed it in an ironic tone.)
And I got to explain that we were just, you know, driving across the state to get Harold some Star Trek communicators. As one does on a Saturday.
Anonymous said: Thanks. I just can't help but think of it all the time. I have a hard time getting to sleep without drifting off in thoughts of how I could do it. I'm not in any immediate danger though. I just fear that I will end up in an institution at some point. I've thought about going on my own but it just feels like if I really needed it then I wouldn't want to go. Also I'm afraid I'd never get out no matter how I went in. I'm not that good at faking being okay anymore. Thank you again for the reply.
There is so much wrong with the idea that if you “really need” help, then you wouldn’t be coherent enough to ask for it, and if you can ask for help, then you definitely don’t need it. Please don’t wait until you absolutely can not manage anything before you say something, friend Anon.
The period when you are lying still and waiting for sleep is THE WORST, thanks to invasive, negative thoughts. That’s when my brain decides to replay every single stupid thing I have ever said and to compare my life to more successful friends and to analyze why I have made every mistake ever. So, I completely understand how rough it must be to invasive, negative suicidal thoughts, and I also see how being exhausted makes you emotionally more fragile, which makes these more common, which makes falling asleep harder, which leaves you exhausted, and yeah.
I don’t know your insurance situation, friend Anon, but a good counselor will be able to help you work out if you’re going through a rough time, and this is how your brain is dealing with it, and you should work out some coping strategies and distractions, or if you do need to be committed to keep from hurting yourself. Since this is totally overwhelming when you’re upset, you can ask a friend to find you a low-cost therapist and book the appointment for you — you probably have a friend who wants to help you feel better, and doesn’t know how, and will be really happy to be told something concrete to do.
Charles Babbage received funds from the English Treasury between 1823 to 1842 to build his engine. Today, we would know that engine to be more akin to a mechanical computer.
Babbage recorded his interactions with two members of parliament. It went as follows:
On two occasions I have been…
Anonymous said: If this is inappropriate please ignore. Do you think that suicidal ideation is something someone should worry about a lot? Also if someone is coherent enough to commit themselves wouldn't that maybe mean they really don't need it? I don't know why I'm asking you these things. I just needed to ask someone their thoughts and you seem nice.
No, I don’t think you should worry a lot about it, friend Anon. If you’re finding suicidal thoughts in your mind, please don’t stress out even more wondering if you should be worried about how you’re feeling. Ugh! You already have more than enough to struggle with, you should have more thoughts about kittens or fluffy clouds or candy, and fewer thoughts about worrying about your worries. Not like that helps, of course. If you could just shut off suicidal thoughts, then I’m sure you would!
Please don’t interpret that as advice to do nothing. If you’re considering committing yourself or considering suicide, you should talk to a real counselor, not just a nice lady on Tumblr.
I want to remind you to consider all the good things in the world (Books you haven’t read yet! The few people who aren’t shitty!), but that’s almost impossible when you’re depressed, so here’s an assignment: Tonight you have to image search for pretty flowers (I’ve heard baby animals works here too, but it’s all hyacinths for me), listen to a YouTube video of someone playing Tibetan singing bowls, look on AirBnB for treehouses. Make your bed, and then lie on top of the blankets to read. Reread your favorite book, or maybe watch Harry Potter but skip all the boring Muggle stuff and go straight to Hogwarts. Use a nice lotion. Have a good shower. Actually change into comfy pajamas tonight, don’t fall asleep in your clothes. And feel better, my friend.
The Truth About Alice deals deftly with teenage sexuality and identity in a small Texas town.
Everyone in Healy, Texas knows that slutty Alice Franklin slept with two guys in the same night (I shudder to think about high school rumors in the age of mass texting), and basically killed the star football player by sexting with him while he was trying to drive, and probably got an abortion afterwards. The novel moves between several high school students, all discussing what they know about Alice, and readers quickly discover that doesn’t quite add up to what everyone knows is true. More importantly, each narrator has their own secrets and motivations.
The story never becomes a morality tale or Afterschool Special. Instead, debut author Jennifer Mathieu takes on homosexuality, underage drinking, abortion, and eating disorders, all with compassion. She really shines in the complicated relationships between teenagers and their parents.
Alice is a pretty likeable heroine, flawed and realistic. She’s susceptible to these rumors because she’s experimented with guys (although not, actually, sleeping with either of the guys in question) and had boyfriends before. Characters question Alice’s choices, and through her, their own choices, for a subtle story about peer pressure and teenage cruelty. Yet even the cruelest and most vengeful characters have sympathetic traits.
The story’s ending felts somewhat rushed, partly because we only get Alice’s POV at the very end, and also because — spoilers — after a novel of pitch-perfect teenage reactions and awkward interactions, Alice’s final realization that she’s not going to stay in small-town Texas forever felt somewhat underwhelming.
Overall, a sympathetic and realistic story of peer pressure, teenage relationships, and finally independence.
I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher, which has never stopped me from snarking about books I don’t like. All opinions are my own.
More Truth About Alice
How Not to Get In My Pants 101 has a new professor.