Monday, March 30, 2015

Are Blogs a Thing of the Past?

Chronicles of an Anthropology Nerd originated back in January of 2011, under the title of “Bones, Buried Treasures, and Beliefs,” and acted as a platform for me to showcase my knowledge and interests from my undergrad. Since the creation of my blog, it has blossomed beyond that, taking into account my current Grad School work, my writing, and even my regular nerdy interests.

I’ve gained a great following of smart, fun readers who really further the discussions that I pose with my writing. I enjoy getting my thoughts out into words and hearing what you all think of those thoughts. Through this blog I was able to market my books, short stories, and other writings. It is a wonderful tool to keep you all up-to-date with what is going on in my head on both on an anthropological level and a personal one.

All that being said, it seems as though the steam is wearing off, not just for my blog, but for all blogs. We’ve moved into an age where pictures and videos are much more appealing than words. The normal social media user doesn’t want to read paragraphs of text; they want a short description, an eye-catching image, and sometimes a link to that story to read further if they so choose. Look at twitter; tweets cap out at a max of 140 characters. On Instagram you don’t even need words; you can tell stories with pictures. Facebook allows you to write all you want and attach pictures and videos but a lot of users don’t read the entirety of user’s posts. Hell there’s even an internet saying “tl;dr” which means “too long; didn’t read.” This is used to respond to excessively long posts and then offer your opinion.
The irony of using my blog to complain about this is not lost on me. I know that what I have described above doesn’t apply to everyone. There are still many of you out there who read blogs and continue to respond and carry on discussions. It’s my hope that that will continue, but I realize that I have to change with the time as well. I use twitter (@TheGingerNerd) and Instagram (@the_ginger_nerd) to stay in contact with those they may not read my blog and also with those who do.

So to my readers, thank you all for sticking by me and continuing to engage in thought-provoking dialogue. I will continue to write about my interests even if there’s only a few people who continue to read my blog.



Friday, February 13, 2015

On March 13th, We Return...

The number 13 plays a big role in the world of Summer’s Hollow. The newest installment even takes place 13 years after the first one. Naturally, I had to release Return to Summer’s Hollow on the 13th of the month. Even better, it’s a Friday and 13th. Hmm… Summer’s Hollow was released on a Friday the 13th as well. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

So yes, it’s officially, official. My newest horror novel Return to Summer’s Hollow will be released on Kindle and in print on Friday, March 13, 2015! In this book, you’ll return to the Massachusetts town of Summer’s Hollow with Rylie and relive the horrors that the Pascal family has the offer.

This book has more suspense, more blood, and more scares than the first. We find out much more about the psychotic Pascal family and all their dealings as well as why Rylie has this psychic connection to them in the first place. This was my favorite book to write so far and I’m sure you all will be on the edge of your seat throughout the harrowing storyline.
To tide you over until the release I have provided a sneak preview of the horrors to come in the town of Summer’s Hollow:
     Rylie crept past the staircase and into the brightly lit kitchen. Standing there with her back turned to her was a woman Rylie didn’t recognize. She was a black woman in a black dress with what seemed to be a white apron tied around her waist. Rylie felt a little better; she was sure that it wasn’t Judith.

    “You shouldn’t be here,” the woman said.

     Is Judith here?” Rylie asked softly, inching towards the woman who continued to chop some sort of large vegetable.

     “You shouldn’t be here,” the woman repeated and now Rylie realized the woman wasn’t chopping vegetables, she was chopping her own arm.

     Rylie gasped and jumped back as she was now looking into bloody, hollow eye sockets. She felt the bile rising up as she turned away from the woman. Rylie noticed as she turned away that the cabinets were fully stocked with all of Judith’s spell ingredients. She quickly gathered up some small jars that held the herbs she needed.

     “You shouldn’t be here,” the woman continued to say which unnerved Rylie.

     Rylie slowly turned to see the woman was holding the knife out in her left hand, her right reduced to a bloody stump that was dripping onto the floor. The woman held the knife up as if to strike, but instead plunged it into her own throat.

     Rylie stifled a scream as the woman gurgled on her own blood and fell with a thump to the floor. Rylie stuffed the vials into the pockets of her dress and took off out of   the kitchen. Nausea came over her in waves as she stumbled into the living room. She saw a large portrait of Judith staring down at her as the fireplace suddenly roared with flames. Rylie was so startled that she tripped over the rug and fell onto the hard wooden table. She moaned as she then rolled onto the floor. 

     “So nice of you to join us,” came a voice that stopped her in her tracks.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fifty Shades of Nope

*Graphic Language Warning* *Trigger Warning *

In the past I’ve mentioned how much I detest the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books. They are horribly written and glorify rape, yet MILLIONS of copies were sold. This sickens me to my core as an author, as a woman, and as a human being.

This weekend, the movie comes out. Now not only are people going to be reading this shit (excuse my French) but they will be watching it. The amount of money that this whole franchise will make is completely deplorable and anyone who contributes to it is part of the problem. This may sound harsh but this is something I strongly believe in.

There is nothing wrong with erotica. This is not erotica. This is a poorly written advancement of rape culture that was based on a Twilight Fan Fiction. Don’t believe me? Check out some passages below and tell me what you think:
“I want him to stay because he wants to stay with me, not because I’m a blubbering mess, and I don’t want him to beat me, is that so unreasonable?” (286)

“This is so…I want to think wrong, but somehow it’s not. It’s right for Christian. It’s what he wants—and after the last few days…after all he’s done, I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs.” (484)
“…I allow myself to fantasize that he loves me…I’m careful not to touch his chest but just snuggle in his arms…” (356)

“I will spank you each time you do it, do you understand?”…he hits me—hard. Ow! My eyes spring open in response to the pain and I try to rise, but his hand moves between my shoulder blades, keeping me down. He caresses me again where he’s hit me, and his breathing’s changed—it’s louder, harsher. He hits me again and again, quickly in succession. Holy f*ck it hurts. I try to make no sound, my face screwed up against the pain. I try to wriggle away from the blows—spurred on by adrenaline spiking and coursing through my body.” (274)
And lastly…

“Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s still floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind.” (62)

The entire franchise gives the BDSM community a bad name. There is nothing wrong with BDSM. This is not BDSM. BDSM is done between two consenting adults and all proper precautions are taken during the sex acts. This is not the case in the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Beyond that, why would anyone think that this series even remotely resembles literature? Below are some actual “racy” passages from the first novel:
"I can almost hear his sphinx-like smile through the phone."

"My very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba."

"I had no idea giving pleasure could be such a turn-on, watching him writhe subtly with carnal longing. My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves."

"Hmmm… he's soft and hard at once, like steel encased in velvet, and surprisingly tasty."

"He smiles, then strides with renewed purpose out of the store, slinging the plastic bag over his shoulder, leaving me a quivering mass of raging female hormones."

So why is it that women (and some men) everywhere are eating this up? It is beyond me how anyone could find this arousing unless they themselves are turned on by abuse. As a society we need to point these things out, take a stand, and refuse to let this “popular culture” become even more popular.

- Fifty Shades of Grey by: EL James (Unfortunately)
- '50 Shades of Grey': 23 funniest quotes from EL James's novel by Emma Dibdin

Monday, January 12, 2015

Four Legs, a Tail, and a Heart of Gold

Phew... yeah I know it's been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. Blogger though has been having a lot of issues lately and I haven't been able to post. Plus there's those other pesky things like work, school, and everything in between. Though in the "in between" category we've added a little something to it. Last Thursday we adopted Atom, a loveable mutt (terrier, lab, bull dog, and pit bull mix) who was rescued from a shelter down in South Carolina.

For the longest time I wanted a dog; when we were house hunting one of our stipulations was that we had to have a fenced in backyard. We've been mulling over for a while about moving forward with adopting a dog. We weighed the cost, time, and logistics. Then when we started searching, it was certain that we wanted a dog.

We went through one rescue group and got to meet the cutest little German Shepard, beagle mix. We had disclosed from the beginning that we had a snake; we don't hide the fact that we have Isabelle. Then once we got farther in the process, we were denied our aplication to adopt from them since they thought "a dog could get tangled up in the snake." Yeah... completely ridiculous, I know. We were a little discouraged but trekked forward.

Not a few days later I saw Atom's picture on another rescue group's site that a friend recommended. Put in our application, and the next day the head of the group, and Atom's foster mom, called me back to set up a time to come meet Atom. Right away we fell in love. He greeted us at the door, wouldn't leave our sides (even when I went to the bathroom) and that night we took him home.

Since Thursday Atom has been adjusting well to his new home. He's found his favorite places to curl up in our house, has been loving our backyard, and has had a ball exploring the neighborhood on our walks. It's safe to say that he was destined to live in our household.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Brought to You by an Insane Amount of Coffee

Seriously, at this point the coffee and I have become one entity entirely. You might have noticed my complete lack of blog posts as of late. That’s because my life has decided to become a splash page of multiple jobs, school, and gods knows what else. At this point the closest thing I have to a social life is my Netflix account.

Since September 23 (my last post) I have been officially promoted to Lead Writer/Editor, have taken on a second job as a Fitness Instructor, completed my second to last Master’s course, and finished the first draft to Return to Summer’s Hollow. I get winded just from typing that. Here I thought once I was married, settled into my house, and got a hold on work things would slow down. Yeah, they sped up to light speed rates. But hey, that’s how I roll. Sleep, pshhh, who needs it?

In reality though I’m so happy with the direction that things have been going. My promotion has come with new responsibilities and the ability to actually write some official DoD articles/papers. This of course though means more meetings, more interaction with the big wigs, and more time spent actually doing work at work (imagine that).

In addition to my full-time job, I was asked to teach the fitness class that I have been taking for the past year. It’s called SkyCore and it’s a strength training/core class done on trampolines. That then takes up my Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. It is insanely awesome and I love teaching it. I’ve have a new obsession with researching work outs and posing the question: “Can this be done on a trampoline?”

Then there’s my Master’s Program that I have a love/hate relationship with. I really do love Geospatial Science; I love creating these interactive maps/databases/websites. On the flipside though, it is SO TIME CONSUMING. On average I spend about 4 hours on each homework assignment. Final projects I spend anywhere from 15 hours to 35 hours all together. The end is in sight though. My final class starts this Wednesday and then after that I have a semester to work solely on my Capstone Project. The home stretch has started and then I will be done with school (until I decide to get another degree).

Lastly (drum roll please) I FINISHED the first draft to Return to Summer’s Hollow. For a while I was stuck with the purpose of this story but I punched write through that writer’s block and finished the last half of the book within the spans of two weeks. Knowing that it is finished is SUCH a load off of me. Also the story turned out amazing and opened up this world for one last novel to tie it all together. I also finished working on the cover design. To the right you’ll see the low res version of the cover. I opted for green tones rather than the red tones from the first book.

Needless to say my absence from the blogging world is well justified. It is my hope that I will be able to go back to my once a week posts on various anthropology, technology, and writing posts. Frankly, not having this outlet to get my thoughts out has had me a little backed up lately. I’ve been waiting to burst with all this great news for a while now, but it was never quite the time. Today, the start of a new month, seemed like the perfect day to put all of this out there. Now excuse me while I go drink my 18th cup of coffee for the day.         

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Irrational Fears

Last week we discussed weird things that comfort us, but what about the flip side of that? What are the weird things that scare us? For me I have two main things that scare me more than anything: tunnels and ventriloquist dummies. Yes I know I write horror yet am terrified of two pretty nondescript things.

We’ll start with the tunnels. Up until these past few years I was incapable of driving through tunnels. Add that to the fact that I live near Baltimore which has two tunnels, sometimes this is a problem. It stems from a form of claustrophobia. I don’t like being totally enclosed like that – I always like to have an exit strategy. Then there is the fact that there is that added problem of all the water pushing down on you. Whenever I go through a tunnel I tend to shake uncontrollably. The best thing to do is to crank my metalcore music and focus on getting out. 

Then there is my problem with ventriloquist dummies. This stems from a traumatic experience I had as a child. My uncle had me go down in his basement to get something. He then threw his voice to act like his dummy was talking. This of course scarred me for life but also just the thought of a ventriloquist dummy gives me shivers. Anything that shouldn’t be talking really creeps me out. Puppets do too. Weirdly enough though possessed dolls, possessed puppets (a la Buffy or Child’s Play) don’t bother me since there is a reason they are talking/moving: they have a demon or a spirit in them. Yes I know, weird logic but it makes me feel better. 

So now I ask you. What irrational fear makes your body tense up or keeps you awake at night? What weird things send shivers down your spine? 

Image from "Howdy Doody Time" 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strange Comforts

Lately life has been utterly crazy busy; but if you all know me at all, you know that’s how I like it. Grad school has kicked up again and I’m slugging through my Spatial Modeling class with lots of coffee. Work has been busy as well since we’re coming to the end of the government fiscal year. Though I wish I had a little bit more time to write, overall things are going pretty well.

Of course between all of this I make time for myself and lately that has been spent either working out or watching TV at night. The number one show on my watch list of course is Sons of Anarchy. If you follow me on twitter you know how far this obsession goes. I realize now that this obsession stems from what was going on in my life at the time I started watching the show. Last Fall I lost my job due to budget cuts and then my Dad wound up in the hospital with kidney failure and was near death.

It was a pretty dark time in my life so I started watching Sons of Anarchy to escape from it all. For the month of September and the beginning of October that was all I watched. I zoomed through the series and for that moment in time it was like I was living in Charming. At first I thought it strange that I found comfort in a show about violence, crime, and death but then I thought about it. When I write I exaggerate horrors of my own life to cope; wasn’t I just doing the same thing with watching this show? If I focused on the horrible things on the show then maybe the things going on in my own life weren’t as horrible. Throw in some Shakespearean themes, amazing writing, and an amazing cast and I was hooked.

This has caused Sons of Anarchy to be my “security blanket” as of late. Used to be whenever I was upset or angry I would turn to my Whedon shows (Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse, and Buffy) to calm me down. Lately they have been replaced with Sons of Anarchy (though let’s not get crazy I still rewatch all those shows as well). It’s gotten to the point that I am so invested in this show that Tuesday night is almost an extension of my own life: I wait with bated breath for what’s going to happen next. Like my Whedon shows, it has become so much more than just a television show.

All this might sound a little looney but hey, it works and it got me through a hard time in my life (of which has now done a complete 180). In fact I know a handful of people that feel the same way about other TV shows. So I ask you, my faithful readers, what is your TV show “security blanket?” When you want to be comforted, what is the one thing you watch more than most?

Image: Cover of the 2nd Season Sons of Anarchy DVD