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Oh Monday, Monday

………..

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Yes, I know this is technically a My Geekdom post and today is Monday, but listen…

So my Monday consisted of waking up late, computers randomly restarting throughout the district, lack of inter-department communication, teachers not having enough access in their group policy to print, java randomly failing, and me not having any pain killers to dull my senses.

9a97ffa4e7db1cbdfc438cce44601406I’m going to go grab a beer.

What It’s Like

….to be a small press publisher, work full time in Information Technology, write part time, freelance line and copy edit for some amazing authors, work with amazing folks like Michael Rooker, and care for a parent.

It’s fucking goddamn hard! *collapses* This is why I don’t have time to meet someone and date.

But it will be worth it in the end, so long as Umi is happy. ;)

 

 

Training Day

…because we hired two new help desk guys and I’m the bitch training them. There goes the neighborhood.

My Director has already poked his head over the wall of my cubicle and said, “Oh, you’re the one corrupting him” when I started training the second new hire. Yeah, I’m so loved. *winks*

Last week, we had two new hires start, one on Monday and one on Tuesday. I trained New Guy #1 for all of one day before he was off and running on the phones, though he spent the rest of the week popping over my cubicle wall to ask questions, and still does though not as often. Mostly, his questions are about policy. New Guy #2 started the next day and I had no choice but to have him sit with me through Thursday because there was no place else to put him until my cubicle neighbor left for her retirement on Thursday, but as soon as she was out the door, we re-imaged her computer and he and I started setting up his area, keeping us there until at least 5:00 pm. Then I got him set up with all the links and everything he’d need the next morning, and he was on the phones before lunch. He’s already been with the district for a year and ran a computer lab at one of the junior highs like I did, so he’s not only familiar with the district, but also the computers and printers we use. That’s a huge plus, in my opinion, and I was happy as hell for him, though some people weren’t thrilled about him being hired. I (still) don’t see what the fucking issue was. He’s not an idiot. In fact, he probably knows more than I do, and considering his age equals the number of years of knowledge in my overloaded brain, that’s saying something.

I have to say that I am quite pleased and impressed with both of them, and soon, I’ll be training two more. The beauty of these first two is that they think just like me….

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I know, right? Nerf wars might actually happen!

BRING IT!!!

I’m So Proud

…that one of my authors is about to fly.

That’s right, I’m pushing a little birdie out of the nest, and she’s about to take off into the grand world of being a published author. Published by my little small press, maybe, but published nonetheless. Here’s the info….and note that it is already up for PRE-ORDER. That means you need to fucking well buy it.

*ahem* Sorry. I’ve been editing the next Rylee Adamson book all weekend, and she is one foul-mouthed Tracker.

And Victoria is one foul-mouthed griffin with a temper that makes Rylee look like a Girl Scout.

Have a look…

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Are you ready for author Veronica R. Calisto‘s upcoming urban fantasy, A Griffin Scorned? The first in her Extranormal series, the story unfolds around the clandestine world of griffins that even the other extranormal creatures believe are myth. How will they react, especially when they discover they can’t deceive her?

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No one can lie around a griffin.

Victoria—never Vikki—Drayton walked in on her boyfriend with another woman. In her house. In her bed. Rather than eviscerate the fetid maggot spit as she so wanted, she kept it classy. After kicking him out with a warning to never return, she thrashed whatever he deigned to leave behind, and flew off in search of something a tad less cannibalistic to sink her beak into.

Instead of the brown bear she was hoping for, she found some men escorting a chained man none-so-gently toward the nearest cliff. Sweeping in to beat up the louts channeled some of her anger. Saving Mallory Stone—tall, rich, dragon, and so gorgeous he had to be gay—was a bonus, even if she had to reveal the existence of griffins and some of their idiosyncrasies in the process. Mal showed up on her doorstep a few days later begging a favor; his brother has disappeared and he needs her help. Who better than a griffin to claw to the truth of the matter?

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Veronica Calisto_334x427Veronica R. Calisto is the author of many books, some of which she is willing to let others read. When she isn’t writing, she is thinking about writing, a.k.a. plugging away at her day jobs, whose mundanities makes her name plants things like Cleoplantra and forces her mind to squeak out words like mundanities. Most of the time she can be found in Colorado lavishing on a nest built of books while she listens and sings (loudly) to music which may or may not be playing outside her own head.

Veronica can be found around the web at the following links:

Website | Facebook fanpage | Twitter | Goodreads

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Excerpt:

It didn’t really matter what the other men were doing, the chains linking his ankles, wrists, and ring around his neck said the red-haired man was less than excited to be involved. He seemed too clean-cut for his walk in shackles up a skinny mountain path in the middle of the night to be a common occurrence.

The softness of his palms was noticeable even as I dodged from one tree to the next. It gave away as much as the rest of him did. The fear in the man’s eyes spoke volumes. His jeans worshipped his legs without vacuum sealing and leaving nothing to the imagination, like the ridiculous skinny-jeans did. The satiny blue shirt may have been clean before his captors got their grubby hands on it.

The men around him apparently didn’t care. They didn’t speak to him. Didn’t even look at him much, except to prod him with an elbow or well-placed foot when he wasn’t moving fast enough for them. When he tripped, the barrels of several guns pointed his way motivated him to crawl back to his feet. The sight nearly pulled a soft growl from Victoria. She clamped down on her reaction before the sound escaped. It wouldn’t do to spook these wannabe mercenaries. Not before she knew exactly what was going on.

Despite their pockets-a-plenty outfits, the eight men were obviously not well-suited for this minor tip-toe into the mountains. Their black hiking boots smelled all but new, same as their matching black uniforms. Something in the clunky way they moved hinted that they had Kevlar vests on underneath their shirts–black ones, more than likely. Wheezing, gasping breaths signaled their vulnerability to every living creature in the trees around them. Even the students in the college on the other side of the mountain’s peak would scoff at the display of unfitness, then offer to spark up a communal bowl. Boulder, Colorado, where hippies abounded.

If they weren’t in such a large, armed group, every single one of them would have been picked off by something. And quickly. That was the problem, though. The group and the guns. The chained man was taller than the lot of them. He could break free if he only had one escort. One unarmed escort. And he had no chains binding him.

Victoria itched to pounce on the lot of them, but she held back. He may have done something worthy of this kind of treatment. A court of law was the right way to deal with disputes, even when it involved extranormals. The courts weren’t always the best or fastest method, granted. That didn’t mean one could hop up and make their own justice.

Though, after what she walked in on tonight, she understood how someone could snap. She barely managed to keep her anger from overtaking her senses. How lucky for this captive man that she had controlled herself and tore out of her home instead. His predicament could have gone unwitnessed while she basked in squishing the squirming, sniveling sack of louse manure also known as her ex-boyfriend, instead of simply kicking him out.

The beautiful seed of anger warmed her to the tips of her bare toes, propelling her from tree to tree along the path as she mirrored their progress. Where did the men think they were going, anyway? An ATV couldn’t negotiate the tiny trail, but this was an awful lot of effort to move away from civilization.

A scramble up an aspen revealed one of the scenic overlooks the Flatiron Range was known for. None of the men looked her way when she dropped back to the ground, knocking a few branches down in the process. Of course they wouldn’t. She was as quiet as could be. Spying on men who had clearly gone out of their way to hide in the mountains required silence and camouflage, but their inexperience meant she didn’t need to over exert her ability. With all the noise they made, even on the well-trodden path, she didn’t need to do much extra to hide herself. They didn’t exactly have her senses, and the idiots weren’t looking for potential observers. Still, directing energy to remaining silent kept her from losing hold of her temper. She wanted to be absolutely certain attacking the man’s captors was a good idea.

One of the eight men tripped their captive and laughed as he tried to catch himself. Another one of them kicked him in the backside when he struggled to get up. Victoria bit her lower lip before a growl escaped. Good people didn’t kick others when they’re down. Not unless they had a good reason.

“You guys have the money he owed you. I don’t even want to know the details of why he owed it.” The chained man pulled himself halfway upright. One of the black-clad men pressing a gun barrel to his shoulder pushed the chained man the rest of the way up. “Can’t we just call it even?”

That sparked it. Those were not the words of someone who deserved this kind of treatment.

With a breath, Victoria dashed from the trees and tackled the last two people in the group. She didn’t bother keeping them quiet. Dodging in and out of their attempts to hit or grab her took most of her concentration. Her camouflage commandeered the remainder. The shadows of the trees did most of the work; she used what was already available.

She made sure to shift constantly. Not sticking to one pattern. Moving in ways a normal person shouldn’t be able to do. Always, always, punching and kicking the captors in their most sensitive places.

A shot to the groin was predictable, especially when coming from a woman. These men didn’t know what they fought, but men tended to guard their privates dearly. And their uniforms may have come complete with cups. No one ever thought to cover the fragile sides of their knees, or protect their skinny clavicles. Their skinny, breakable clavicles. A simple peck to the collar bone with her pinched fingers brought the tallest attacker to a knee.

One punch to a man’s kidney confirmed they wore bullet-proof vests. It would make her work a little harder to hurt them, but she would manage. Unfortunately for them, the vest’s specifications didn’t cover the wrath of an angry woman, let alone an angry griffin. Kevlar was virtually useless against knives and blunt forces. Who needed knives when belligerence bubbled over? And these men had offered themselves up to help her work through some of her aggression. So obliging. She would have to make sure to thank them. Possibly with a jab to the throat.

A smile curved her lips as she dropped one man—the one who had kicked the captive—with a solid kick to the stomach. Victoria was too busy punching the next two attackers to make certain he stayed down. Someone caught her left thigh with a lucky fist. She caught it, mashed it into his own face, then rode him down with a kick in the gut. His groans of pain were so tasty. Such a feast here.

The man who grabbed her hair received a head-butt.

The click of a trigger sounded just before the first rapport. Victoria dropped, kicked a couple of knees in, and then danced out of the circle. It didn’t matter if they aimed to scare her or catch her with a lucky shot. She certainly couldn’t count on fortune to keep her unscathed. They would hit her eventually, or wise up and threaten the man she was kind-of-sort-of trying to protect. Then there was the whole issue of the fired shots drawing more men from wherever these scumbags had oozed. Her anger could only handle so much before things got really ugly.

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A Griffin Scorned releases on August 26, 2014 via Just Ink PressTM, but you can Pre-Order the book now.

 

FYI: A Just Ink Press Announcement

….and if you’re not following that blog already, shame on you!

Since I don’t really have a post for today (because I’ve been busy as fuck and it doesn’t look like that’s slowing down anytime soon), I’m throwing out a little reminder here:

There will be a cover reveal on the Just Ink Press blog tomorrow for one of my wonderful authors, Veronica R. Calisto. We’re all very excited for this book to hit the virtual shelves. So go have a look-see and follow that one…the blog and the book…or one or the other…whatever. Do what you want.

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Just Breathe

…and so it begins. *gasps for breath* HELP!

So the teachers have returned, and today, the students return. What does that mean for me? Well…the past two and a half weeks have been back-to-back phone calls from 7:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m., and if that’s any indication, it means that my calls will double today.

When I left work last Friday at 3:30, there were 40 calls in the queue. FORTY! There are only four of us at the help desk, and we’re doing our best, but people don’t like holding for an hour. This week, that time will double. And the crazy part is that this is what it’s going to be like for the next few weeks.

I’m gonna need a beach in September, people.

Seriously.

Vegas won’t be enough after this.

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Batman: Year One–Superhero Comics Discussion #2

…and as per usual, you’ll have to have read this one in order to participate and know what in the ever-loving hell I’m talking about.

41sbpawzK9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Weird for weird’s sake.” Batman: Year One certainly covers that category in all its postmodern glory.

The Crime Blotter definitely gives a feel for Gotham City, with all the crime running rampant right in front of and even involving police officers. The first of our Comics Code offenders. It’s like Gotham’s finest are proud of the city’s crime issues, and at least one person isn’t afraid to come right out and say so, such as the way Slam Bradley announces each incident. Though humorous, his “The Perp Liked Pistachio” piece is pretty straightforward on who’s involved in the crime, and he states it without fear of retribution for doing so.

There’s a nice contrast in the beginning between Gordon’s and Wayne’s internal dialogues. Not that they’re opposite from one another in thoughts, but rather, while Gordon is on the train thinking about putting his wife on the plane, Wayne is on the plane thinking he should be on the train. They both know just where the “bad” parts are, where the criminal element is. Gordon comes off rather quiet, even meek at first, except internally. He’s an observer, watching everything silently, but with precise attention to detail. At the same time, Wayne shows supreme confidence on the outside, but he’s not really all that confident about how to deal with the task he’s set before him.

We have a superhero who isn’t a “super” like Superman in Action Comics #1. He has no super strength, though he’s been through some good training, has self-doubt, and he maybe even has a little arrogance, such as when he thinks he’s ready, gets cocky with the pimp, and is injured, thereby realizing he’s not quite ready. He makes mistakes, bad judgment calls. Wayne isn’t completely living in the past, yet he doesn’t know exactly how to proceed to the future he’s laid out and feels he needs to move toward. He’s weakened physically from blood loss near the end of chapter one, but as the past haunts him, it weakens him as well. It makes him human. The beauty is that the Wayne/Batman story also shows us you can have all the money in the world and still be miserable.

In the next chapter, we see Wayne more sure of himself when he saves the old woman from the moving truck, while Gordon is considering a path that would go completely against the Comics Code.

Questioning Batman’s humanity could be important for a few reasons. Corrupt or not, I’d think the police would have an easier time in dealing with (i.e. killing) Batman if they didn’t think of him as human, mostly because just what kind of human does the things Batman does? Also, he’s quick, “flies,” and it only takes one of him to take several others out of the game, so in the officers’ minds he just can’t possibly be human because no human can do that. The interesting part about that is if you relate it to what happened with Gordon, it runs parallel. One man standing against several men.

Catwoman relates to Batman more than she would Gordon in that she goes against the corruption, in a sense, but does so while wearing a costume. After seeing Batman at the warehouse, and his command of the bats, she runs home and makes her Catwoman costume, deciding to change her “profession.” Since she’s a thief and looks to gain recognition, I wouldn’t really call her a vigilante, though she is targeting corrupt people.

The bat attack scene shows Batman’s technology and his intelligence to create such things, especially with the explanation given in the internal dialogue not only of the device, but also his knowledge of the creatures. I see him as a much stronger character at this point, less self-doubting. I believe the police now do think of him differently, and they’re afraid of him, especially if he has the “power” to call the bats, a creature many people are frightened of anyway.

Miller put so much energy into designing the interpersonal conflict Gordon experiences to show that Gordon is a human with flaws, thereby creating a more realistic character and not just some two-dimensional image. Every panel showing the relationship changing was imperative in Gordon’s complex development so that the reader could believe he truly was good when he made the right choice in the end. The reader had to experience his wrong decisions first to see his flaws, and such design creates a well-rounded and believable character. Essen also makes the right choice in transferring. I think Gordon’s and Batman’s lives are still running parallel in that they’re both heroes at this point, both gaining the trust of the people of Gotham, and both are one man standing against the corruption of several men.

In the end, Wayne presents himself as just a man and not Batman after saving Gordon’s son so that Gordon understands he’s just trying to help and that he trusts him. Gordon’s proven himself somewhere along the way to Batman/Wayne, and Gordon seems to understand the risk Wayne has taken, since he’s apparently “blind” now.

You do not want to ask me, a writer and author, where the text might go next because this will turn into a really long post. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more on Catwoman, however.

What did you think of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One? As always, play nice.

Atoman–Superhero Comics Discussion #1

…because I have nothing better to post and the class I wrote this in was fucking awesome so I’m sharing.

Today, we’re discussing superhero comics because why the hell not. We’ll begin with Atoman by Jerry Robinson, a sad, sad attempt at writing a superhero story line, in my opinion. This discussion is about the construction (graphics/panel placement) and story line creation of the comic at the time in which it was created and why. I was limited in word count at the time, so don’t hate.

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And while looking for the above image, I may have discovered that this comic is still around. Someone, please tell me it isn’t so. *looks again* Maybe I’m wrong. *shrugs* At any rate, let us begin….

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Atoman pg 3Page 3 of Atoman by Jerry Robinson, which is the opening, is entirely too busy and atrocious for my taste with the multitude of Atomic Bomb headlines covering the top, and pieces of the story all around the center of the page. It seems as though they’re attempting to tell the entire story on one page, and it’s just too much. My eyes don’t know where to stop.

Atoman pg 5Once the actual story begins on page 4, the timing of Atoman is too fast-paced. The coloring is completely off and tends to run outside the lines, which tells me this comic book was done in a hurry. Perhaps it was made in one of the assembly-like lines, where it was produced cheaply, quickly, and quantity was the goal. I wouldn’t doubt the artistry is copy-cat style because all of it pretty much is, stemming from the early pulp magazine days, but the images in Atoman are fairly bland and the panels don’t really stand out. Another reason to consider it “assembly line” pulp fiction.

Atoman pg 7Since it’s around the time of the atom bomb, they even throw in a panel showing Einstein, but in the beginning, practically each panel showed a different person, unlike Superman in Action Comics #1, which displayed Superman in nearly every panel, start to finish. The next two pages are completely prologue, explaining in two simplistic pages the years put in to “conquer atomic power.” An interesting contrast in the dialogue on page 7 in the panel below is how they’re discussing, after using atomic power “destructively against the hate-filled fascist enemies of mankind,” they decide they “must turn to peaceful construction” in the use of atomic power to help the entire world. This is the perfect example of how fast-paced and not-thought-out this story is.

Some of the panels show dialogue that is a dead giveaway to the next panel, like the first panel on page 8, and just are not necessary. We jump from “evil minds are plotting right now” to oh hey, look at that, evil minds are plotting in the next panel. Mr. Twist (I’m guessing the name comes from the attempted twist in the plot?) is plotting to steal the secret to atomic power. He uses a henchman to get it for him, of course. How did Mr. Twist know Dale would be in the vault all day studying the secret to atomic power? There are huge pieces of the story missing. HUGE!

Mr. Twist’s face in nearly every panel is shaded to the point that it’s almost black. I think it’s an attempt to make him look more evil or hide his identity. Meanwhile, Zelda and Barry Dale have hardly any shading on their faces throughout. At times, Zelda’s face seemed to disappear, there was so little detail. Botox?

I think that Robinson took a fairly easy story that could be produced quickly using something from reality to help the reader relate to the story, and he maybe even did so over a weekend. It’s a sad tale, in my opinion, and should be a lesson in what NOT to do when creating a comic book.

What’s your opinion? And remember, swearing is fine, as long as it isn’t directed at anyone insultingly. Seriously. Don’t make me ban you.

 

Certification

…and all that it entails.

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So our main networking or whatever guy had a chat with a few of us last week and said it’d be a good idea if we, during our copious amounts of down time, would watch these online videos and start getting certified in some IT areas. Okay, so it’s not a bad idea. I wouldn’t mind having some of those certifications. But here’s the thing….

First, getting any IT certification involves just a tad more than watching some videos. If I remember correctly, a test is involved too, one that costs money to take. Will that be reimbursed? They don’t reimburse teachers for their certification test, so I doubt I’d get reimbursed for my IT certifications.

And are those certifications going to be reflected on my paycheck? I already know the answer to this and it’s a flat out no. Why? I’m a lowly help desk hourly-rate employee. If they’d like to change that, I’d be more than happy to go after those certifications. But, if I’m MCSE or otherwise certified, why in God’s name would I stay in this position making what I make, which is less than half of what I could make with any IT certification?

IT Certifications in demand

Brilliant fucking thinking.

As usual.

I won’t even go into some of the other shit coming down the pike.

Ashes to Ashes

…and dust to dust.

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Three months ago, I quit smoking. I know. I’m still in shock over it. But to be honest, I don’t even miss it. Seriously. I just go about my day/night doing whatever and very rarely does a thought of having a smoke pop into my mind.

Which has me ecstatic!

It’s also saving me a shit-ton of money, so for this trifecta of celebration, I’m buying myself some pretties. Clothes, that is. I deserve it.

I hardly even use my e-cig or vapor. Of course, I’ve been sick for two weeks so I haven’t even touched those.

But yeah, for surviving three months without a cigarette, I’m treating myself to a few nice things…….and then I’ll start saving for a house and a new car and whatever else my pretty little heart desires.

Keep on going, bitches! You can achieve anything once you set your mind to it.

Jinxie

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