Upcoming Holiday Icon ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽโ›„

Before you all worry, there’s been ton of commission work behind the scenes… the BG for the Winter Friends YCH is almost done and most of the characters for that are inked as well! I don’t mean just the animals, but actually all the YCHs individually. ๐Ÿ˜Š So, I allowed myself one little personal thing in between!

I’m trying to get myself in a Christmasy mood. I’m not depressed or anything, frankly the complete opposite, but I don’t feel the energy to decorate like, at all. I want to do it for Christopher’s sake at least though. I will try!

In addition to the new icon my blog will have a whole Christmasy revamp. I’ve had that ready for a while and kinda chomping at the bit to use it… the featured image on this post is a sneak peek of that, and will be used on all Christmas themed posts. Maybe I’ll reward myself with the full revamp after I decorate the house.

๐Ÿ„ You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Copyright is ยฉ 2020 by Marina Neira McKinzie.

A Short Outing And A New Game To Look Forward To ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ›

Christopher wanted to take advantage of a Best Buy sale today, so we went out! I wore my new ODU onesie that Yookey designed. It has the cutest pastel dinos all over it:

Christopher has really been spoiling me lately. He got me another new game, Giraffe and Annika: Musical Mayhem Edition, which I’ve promised myself I will not open until I’ve finished Code: Realize / Guardian Of Rebirth.

This game just looks like the cutest thing from the box alone! It’s also quite well reviewed.

It’s a big thick box, comes with lots of goodies: a CD with the soundtrack, an art book and three patches!!

We also had McDonald’s for lunch. It was a really cheerful outing. Christopher tempered his spoiling of me with savage one liners such as:

 Me: "I love this game already, it looks so stupid and cute."
 Him, patting me on the head in front of the cashier: "Just like you!" 

And, upon me commenting about it being a one-player game:

"That's fine, you don't have any friends." ๐Ÿ™‚

(I do have friends! I do. Lol.)

My Love-Hate Relationship With Kathryn Lasky’s Books ๐Ÿฆ‰๐Ÿด๐Ÿบ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ“š

Recently, I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading. I’ve been trying to kickstart my brain back into reading for the better part of this year (the newspaper subscription did help a lot with that, as did removing so much of my Internet access.)

I’ve looking for some new “fluff” animal books to read –fluff meaning, not exactly great writing, but animals are always entertaining and the covers are so pretty… you know which category I mean, anything directed at the Erin Hunter crowd. I am part of this crowd, even though I could never get into Warriors. I got sucked in with the Seekers series though.

But this post isn’t about the author(s) Erin Hunter, it’s about Kathryn Lasky.

Years ago, I came across the first three books in the Guardians Of Ga’Hoole series right before the movie came out. I was enchanted –by the cover, the characters, the story. When I did see the movie later on, I had the distinct feeling that the movie was an excellent adaptation of a great story, but that as a movie, it was kind of terrible, even though I loved it. I can’t explain it very well other than to say it felt like it would please the book fans but not be a good movie for anyone else.

But there was so much Ga’Hoole universe to explore (I haven’t managed to read the whole series yet) that even when I guessed correctly that there would be no more movies, it didn’t matter.

Sometime after that, Wolves Of The Beyond came out (or I discovered it then.) Was I ever thrilled! More ways to go into this world, this time from the perspective of wolves. The covers were gorgeous, and for once there were inside illustrations, which were so beautiful too!

And then… then I read them.

The characters and setting are compelling. This, in addition to the beauty of the books themselves, is what made the experience of reading them all the more infuriating. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember the specific scenes that bothered me, but I do remember the issue at hand (and the desire to throw the books against the wall multiple times.) And the issue was this:

Ok, as an example. Think of The Lion King. Outside of humorous scenes which I don’t count for these purposes, sometimes, the anthropomorphizing goes a little farther, such as when, after their father-son conversation, Mufasa gives Simba a gentle noogie –a very “human” motion with his paw, but masterfully mingled with very realistic animal-like frolicking in the grass. It’s a little touch that breaks the overall realism of the characters, and there are many like this, but they aren’t so bad that you can’t suspend your disbelief a little further for those few seconds.

But suppose during the scene of “everything the light touches”, Mufasa had stood on two legs and pointed at everything with his paw, before resuming his realistic quadruped demeanor, or if he came out of Pride Rock with an actual crown on his head. You’d be like what the actual f**k, right? The universe set some rules and then broke them. Why?!

In Guardians Of Ga’Hoole, there were many things that the owls could do that necessitated a good suspension of disbelief, but it was handled so well, and at the core, they always felt like animals being animals, just in a more fantastical setting. I could believe it. But in Wolves of The Beyond, the animals act very animal-like, until they don’t. And when the author doesn’t respect the universe they seemingly put into place, this drives me freaking nuts, especially if everything else about a story is wonderful.

I was unable to read past volume two, and was determined to give the books away. I hated them so much, that I momentarily contemplated throwing them in the trash (the horror!) but, in the end, I couldn’t do either. The books were well received by Lasky’s fans. I kept feeling it was on me to get past this and suspend my disbelief further from the start, but it’s hard because when you start to re-read, they act so feral, that you forget they’re going to up and get all anthro on you at times.

So, I haven’t touched them again for a while. And then, just the other week, Amazon threw this at me:

You know me and bears. And then I see that name –my heart sinks. After Wolves of The Beyond, her horse series came out. I was hopeful for it, thinking that maybe Wolves was a fluke. But as I recall, I might have read two pages on the Amazon preview and I don’t remember the reason, but I do remember wanting to punch my screen. So I didn’t buy them.

But bears are a little too much for me to resist, much like squirrels, so I bought the first one and, well… the issue of suddenly weird anthro stuff is still there. This time I was prepared, and I hated it but got past it (so far). I’m almost done with Quest Of The Cubs. I’m hoping I can enjoy the rest of the series, as I already have book two in my library, waiting for me.

It’s really odd to both love and hate parts of a writer’s work to this degree. But it’s entirely possible that this is a “me” issue rather than an issue with Lasky’s writing. After all, I can’t stand the pretentious tone I feel courses through Watership Down, as celebrated as it is, and it’s definitely a good book (or so I keep hearing.) Every few years I try again to see if I like it. But so far I don’t (I haven’t given up.)

I really want to enjoy Lasky’s work. I loved Ga’Hoole so much. So I am trying again. But it’s definitely a love-hate relationship.

So Ends Another Good Day ๐ŸŒ™

Today was a pretty good day, other than a bunch of bug bites bothering me after mowing the lawn yesterday (no seriously… they are driving me mad! I got so many, too!)

Letโ€™s see… Tomoyo seems to be improving (again), I got a LOT of commission work done, played video games, adjusted my Internet blocks so that now the amount of time I spend on FA is also drastically reduced, and made a double-extra-check to ensure certain sources of online toxicity were blocked down to a molecular level on my permanent block list, the one I can never access even when my blocks are off.

Iโ€™m using a new Internet blocking app. Switched from FocusMe to Cold Turkey Blocker and itโ€™s so much better, less buggy, and more flexible. I can access FA at certain times now, but some profiles that could have been sources of just… bad stuff, are blocked forever and I can never see them again. That feels SO good. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

As far as games, Iโ€™m still playing Code: Realize / Guardian of Rebirth and itโ€™s fun. I thought Lupin was the main love interest and I like him a lot, but I havenโ€™t figured out how to pursue him, so my interest went in another direction. But as far as looks, heโ€™s definitely the best…

Maybe itโ€™s the top hat. Anyway I ended up going after Van Helsing somehow. I like the hard to get type.

Yeah… Iโ€™m sure thatโ€™s all it is…

ROFL what

Overall thoughts so far: this story takes so many liberties with its historical inspirations that the glossary is basically to explain how X thing that means this in the real world breaks the rules in the world of the game. Itโ€™s so blatant that itโ€™s funny. Vampires make ZERO sense in this game. The dog sounds like a barking human rather than a dog. And Iโ€™ve caught a few typos.

But overall… I can see myself playing it a few times, and getting the sequel.

Anyway Iโ€™m tired and I have a long day of commission work ahead so itโ€™s goodnight from me!

Drawing At C. B. Smith Park ๐ŸŒณ

I realized last night that I completely forgot to blog about my little mid-week outing! Christopher had to go get another, second (or is it third?) COVID test (finally negative!) and he dropped me off at C. B. Smith Park to pick me up a while later.

The park was open for the first time in a very, very long time. With it being the middle of the week, it was really empty and just windy, and lovely! When first entering, I took this photo of a squirrel on a bicycle. I think Iโ€™d seen it before but never taken a photo, it was such a cute and quirky thing:

I began to walk towards whatever might be a good spot to draw at. It was so calm. Iguanas and flowers everywhere.

This is not an iguana.

Hereโ€™s a friend I met on the way. This installation is in front of Paradise Cove, the water park, which was closed, of course. There was an eerie feel to the water park, all empty and quiet like that.

It didnโ€™t take me long to find a perfect spot by the water, in spite of some anthills under the table. I was careful with those and got all set up.

I finished one of the sketches I owed, which I posted the other day:

It was a lovely time even if I didnโ€™t get to stay very long. Christopher was picking me up before I knew it.

Some Clarifications

Lordy! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I woke up to a bunch of concerned DMs, to people trying to guess who I’m talking about/asking who they are, etc, and because my friend Natedraws is dealing with a stalker of his own (a situation far more serious than mine) I want to clarify some things.

๐ŸŒˆ 1. Yes, Nate’s journal/blog post yesterday was directed primarily at my stalker, and prompted by their behavior. I think all parties involved know this, so it’s okay for me to say, but I am saying it here so people aren’t confused. The person was once a mutual friend of us.

๐ŸŒˆย 2.ย The ex-friend stalking me is not a long-standing member of the community. They are local to me (or used to be). Because I make an effort not to crap talk about others (unlike them) most of you do not know them at all, unless we are so close that you couldn’t help but be part of my breakdowns of the last two years, then you’d probably know. They account-hop and change names constantly, so that should eliminate a lot of people you’re thinking about. Thankfully, there is no one else in the community that I have once called a friend who would do what this person is doing, and while my level of closeness with people in the community ebbs and flows naturally, there is no one else I could describe as an “ex-friend” when it comes to the furry/Little community.

TL/DR: You almost definitely don’t know who they are, and for the sake of civility I prefer to keep it that way.

๐ŸŒˆ 3. Nate has a stalker of his own, a different person. Nate’s latest blog post and FA journal were directed at that stalker. That person (whom I do not know at all) is a more well known member of the community. It is NOT the same person stalking me.

I hope that clarifies things, and here’s hoping we have some peace, because this has gone on way too long for both of us. The title of my other journal may have been a bit triggering for people who are very paranoid in nature, and I apologize if it caused distress. I wanted to be forceful in my message to this person. But no, it’s not you, unless you have been asked to leave my life, and then proceeded to stalk my blog and FA so you can make petty, mean-girl subtweets about it, while venting venomously about me to a mutual friend who is caught up in the middle. There is only one person doing this, and if it isn’t you, then the post isn’t about you.

I’m sorry for anyone who was stressed out, and for anyone who is tired of this drama. You all have never seen me make such a post in over eight years in the fandom, I’ve never had to, and I hope this is the end of this topic.

Thank You ๐Ÿ’•

I have received so much support today, in replies and DMs, from people who have long known the particulars of this whole mess since it began. I’m deeply grateful for that.

Rest under the cut, in case you don’t want drama, but I had a few more words to say, and wanted to get them out. Apologies for bringing personal drama into my blog. I try not to.

Continue reading Thank You ๐Ÿ’•

Let’s Move On To… Today’s Mail!

Weeeell! Let’s follow that up with something less dramatic and petty, yeh? Forgive me, I do have to let the petty out once in a while. All better now!

Here’s today’s mail. First, a new book, and a new phone case! The phone case is from AliExpress. I’m so glad to finally have a snail case!

There’s one more book I am waiting for: The Alchemist’s Cat by Robin Jarvis, Book 1 of The Deptford Histories. I’m looking forward to returning to that world.

Next, the Warcraft stuff I mentioned before! Ok so the pillow is like… WAY bigger than I thought which is just amazing, because it’ll be a perfect iPad support pillow that will allow me to keep my back more straight:

And here is the mat. Oh, it is glorious.

It smells like a new car. A smell I’m not normally crazy about but I like it for some reason in this particular case.

Anyway. Pillow fluffy. Mat pretty. Sale was a good sale. Glad I held out and didn’t buy before, and now I can’t get poked by stray nails on my desk.

This Post Is About You!

I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for people who are here for me, who for whatever reason are interested in my long diatribes, who stand by me, who defend me, who judge me by my actions rather than the words of others. You make my life worthwhile. What would I be without you? I’d be much more alone, that’s for sure.

I’ve been blissfully unaware of this for all this time, but apparently, someone I once called a friend, who belongs to this community, has been saying some pretty horrendous stuff about me, indirectly and directly, privately and publicly. For my own mental health, I blocked every place this person is on, and I specifically added their pages to my block lists on the blocking software I use, including every new one. I try, really hard, to not let their words reach and hurt me. Because they really want to hurt me, and are actively trying to, as it has now become clear. Despite the falling out, I didn’t realize this was the case, until now.

Though I didn’t find out of my own accord, sometimes it’s good to be reminded that you have friends who care about you, and it’s good to be reminded that severing a toxic relationship was the right call.

Thing is, until now I just thoughtโ€ฆ we’re not a good match as friends. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Right? Or so I thought. But, in spite of myself, I’m starting to feel differently. I hate feeling I’ve misjudged a person. Even when our once-mutual IRL friends told me otherwise multiple times, I kept thinking they were a good person. But maybe not. Maybe I see things through rose-colored glasses too much.

I feel as though I have a stalker. That’s a weird feeling to have. So, since I have not said this clearly until now (I didn’t think I had to) my message to this person is:

GO. AWAY.

Get out of my spaces. My blog posts aren’t about you (EDIT: By and large. After all, I was left pretty traumatized by your effect in my life, so sometimes, very rarely, you might be mentioned indirectly. But you shouldn’t be reading this anyway? Lol.) This one post though, definitely, 100% is about you! Ding ding ding! ๐ŸŽ‰

Why are you reading my blog? Where do you get the time to read, in your own words, the “novels” I write about every boring little thing that happens in my life that up until very recently you were still actively trying to be a part of? You’re creeping me out. Get out of here. You are not welcome on this page. Why are you still obsessing about me? I’ve moved on. Why can’t you? There is no acceptable excuse for your behavior.

Is your life really so empty and boring that I have to be the topic of your subtweets, convos you have with mutual friends, and more? Like why, my dude? Just move on? Please? I reiterate:

PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE. Grow the F*CK up. Why are you here. Please stop stalking me. PLEASE.

This has been a public service announcement. ๐Ÿคก

Dwarven Wanderings And Other WoW Things ๐Ÿฐ

I had a subscription to WoW for a month, but as it came close to renewing I canceled it again. I want to keep playing, but since right now I’m reading Bears of The Ice and playing Code: Realize / Guardian Of Rebirth, it is better to take a break. However I am still very much in a WoW mood.

When I jumped back in last month, I got a new mount and race-changed back to a dwarf. Here are a couple of screenshots I took while playing that I found pretty or funny.

I also ordered a WoW gaming mat and pillow since they were having a pretty good sale, and I needed a new gaming mat after I switched my setup. Those should come in the mail today, but here’s stock photos in the meantime:

I’ll make another post when FedEx gets here with proper photos. ^_^

Just a squelf, squelfin' around.