I hate that I get caught up in Internet drama

I don’t know what it says about my personality that I allow myself to become so upset about things I read on the Internet. Sure, there might be lots of people on the Internet going around doing whatever it is that they do, but in all honesty the Internet is not the real world. It is a group delusion perpetrated by millions of people all imagining that they’re existing on the same page mentally, when actually every person is alone.

When you’re interacting with people online, you infer a lot from the things things they say or don’t say. A missed emoticon takes the joke out of a statement and turns a person into a creepy psychopath. A dropped connection leaves someone imagining that they are hated or that they have been proven right with their strawman argument. And somewhere out there–like 900 times a day the world over–someone is being an abusive troll because it’s “fun” (not funny, just fun to them).

The world is a strange place filled with many strange people. I know, because I’m a strange person myself. I read non-mainstream things, I write non-mainstream things, I don’t enjoy reality television or most current popular television (I find it asinine, as though the creators are purposely insulting my intelligence), and sometimes–when the moon is high and I’m feeling adventuresome–I visit sites like Cracked, Quartz, or BuzzFeed and gorge myself on their offerings of humor and world news.

I enjoy Cracked the most because the articles are humorous and edutaining–I’ve learned a surprising amount from Cracked articles, and that’s no lie. Quartz is a new site on my radar, mostly centered on world news in the form of interesting articles, and they’ve given me some information I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. And then there’s BuzzFeed.

Ah, BuzzFeed. By turns interesting, horrifying, and straight up garbage (seriously, a single picture and a 30-word caption does not an article make). BuzzFeed is what is politely termed a time suck. You follow the click-bait–a list of recipes, a DIY article, pics of a celebrity baby, whatever–and nine hours later you realize you desperately need the bathroom and your kid hasn’t been fed. It’s never a good idea to visit BuzzFeed on a day when you have to get things done, because there’s a real chance you’re going to wake up from your fugue state to discover it’s nighttime.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going on BuzzFeed–there’s not a lot of reading, there’s plenty of pictures, and everything’s in an easy to follow list format. But there are some times when the related articles and what-have-yous all lead to articles designed to raise my blood pressure. I understand how the Internet can spawn so many social justice samurai–as though a “I hate this, and I hate you because you’re stoopid” comment will change the world. There are times when I’m tempted to get out my own sword, until I realize the article that’s making me so outraged is ten months old and I’m forced to skulk back into my cave of despair.

Lately it seems as though everyday brings a new drama to my mental doorstep. I get sucked into the problems of the world, and even though I try to make my heart a stone, I find my emotions getting exploited against my will.

Sometimes I wish that I could just stop caring. I’d be a much happier person.

* * *
(NOTE: If you follow the centuries old adage of “Leave your drama to your mama,” then you’re probably not going to want to read much further. That beginning part was pretty much the meat and potatoes of my meandering babble. The rest of this… It’s the reason why I’ve seriously contemplated quitting the Internet and joining a monastery ala Fortunato from the Wild Cards series.)

The Internet drama that’s ruined my mood lately:

So this happened => ‘Am I being catfished?’ An author confronts her number one online critic <= (goes through Do Not Link to prevent rewarding of bad behavior) and the Internets exploded, and quite rightly. Seriously, the article should better be titled “‘Am I a frightening and possibly dangerous stalker?’ An author breaks every rule of common decency and displays threatening behavior toward a reader.”

On the importance of pseudonymous activity” — Dear Author talks about it. Includes a breakdown of everything that happened with a more honest timeline than the author presented (seriously, she was all “I was victimized and lied to, and I’m a fierce warrior that regained my strength through hunting a person across the Internet” when really it was more like “People should be afraid I’m out on the street because I see myself as a victim and I have no problem using my fiance and his family to do whatever the heck I want”).

Victim or Perpetrator?” — Author Jim C Hines gives his view on the article. Which includes the advice to authors: Don’t do any of this.

Author Stalks Anonymous Blogger Who Gave Her a 1-Star Review” — “filed to:SHITSTORMS” is about right. Jezebel covers the story.

Poisoning the Well” — Dear Author’s Letters of Opinion points out why being a creepy author isn’t a good idea and the effect it has on the book community at large. Basically, everyone is terrified that an “author behaving badly” moment is going to turn into a “reader/reviewer gets attacked by a deranged author” news story. No one wants to see that happen, and the fact that publishing companies aren’t doing anything to protect their customers or to denounce author bad behavior is spawning some sour feelings all around.

The Choices of Kathleen Hale” — Smart Bitches, Trashy Books takes on the topic.

EDITED TO ADD: “Hale vs Harris, and the Breach of Online Ethics” — a great breakdown of events. This ones a good post if you’re following the drama.

TL;DR, in a very me-centered essay published by The Guardian (who should know better), author Kathleen Hale recounts her adventures in stalking a reviewer online, whereby she follows it up by SHOWING UP AT THE WOMAN’S HOUSE. Seriously, she was wandering around the reviewer’s yard, peeking in through her car windows, and lurking around the front door. I think that the only reason she didn’t break a window and go in was because there was a silhouette of a person at an upstairs window watching her (probably wondering WTF she was doing) and a dog barking inside. Otherwise she would have probably been in there trying on some clothes and drawing a big red smiley face on a bedroom wall in her victim’s blood.

This whole story gives me a cold chill. Not just because people actually defended her actions while lambasting the reviewer on her word alone, but because she’s out there roaming the streets right now. There comes a point when friends and family need to step in and deal with a person’s mental health, and this scenario? It’s a big red flag, especially in conjunction with her previous experience of going after another person.

I don’t read a lot of YA books, but this is one author that’s going on my permanent Do Not Want list. If I had a teenaged kid in my life, I’d tell them to stay away too, just in case she got a little too interested and showed up on my doorstep. Because this is someone that doesn’t just stalk people and display dangerous amounts of obsessive behavior, this is someone that then precedes to doxx her victim in a national newspaper (which doesn’t have the best reputation, but still!) in an attempt to drum up sympathy for her own crimes. As though stalking someone online or in real life is ever going to be okay.

In conclusion: Ugh.

CDandHBFH 03 [Caspian Dukes and Vereint Georges]

Title: Caspian Dukes and His Best Friend’s Husband
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Frame set: Allies & Enemies, “Good Times”
Characters: Caspian Dukes, Vereint Georges, Warrick Tobias, Melissa Kim
Pairings: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: friendship, superhero, meta
Summary: Vereint and Caspian go see a movie together.

“What’s that look about?”

Caspian startled slightly. “Sorry. I blame Warrick’s show for bringing up old memories.”

“Oh yeah, they tend to do that. One minute you’re laughing, and the next you’re remembering the awful teacher you had in the sixth grade. It’s emotional manipulation,” Vereint said. “That, or black magic.”

“Hah. Right?” Caspian forced himself to relax. They were going to eat some food, do a little shopping, and watch a classic movie. Everything was fine.

* * *

Vereint felt as if he’d done something wrong. Not in the “Whoops, forgot I wasn’t a supervillain anymore” way, but in the accidentally stepped into someone’s flashback kind of way.

Caspian was usually such a happy-go-lucky guy that it was a bit jarring to see him be serious, broody even. He wasn’t supposed to even have an expression like that, as though he’d been kicked too many times and expected to be kicked some more.

Vereint nearly suggested they turn the taxi around and go back to the penthouse. Warrick would know what to do to fix Caspian’s mood. Warrick would take one look and know exactly what to say to make everything all right.

Instead, Vereint decided they were going to do this. They would have a good evening and Vereint would do what he could to turn Caspian’s mood around. It was what a friend would do.

“It’s my fault Warrick is so into Asian dramas, you know,” he said.

“What?”

“Seriously. It’s my fault. I got him to watch A Tale of Two Sisters and he ended up really liking it.” Vereint could see Caspian relaxing. “He looked up the actress that played Su-mi, and somehow ended up discovering the the girl that played the younger sister. He is probably Moon Geun-Young’s biggest fan.”

“I have no idea what you just said, but it sounds like Warrick’s MO.” Caspian fiddled with his phone before tucking it into his pocket. “I bought our tickets. You should tell me more stuff about Warrick.”

“Why do I feel like you’re gathering blackmail material?” Vereint asked.

“I just have one one of those faces?” Caspian made what was supposed to be an endearing expression.

Vereint snorted. “Is that face supposed to work on me?”

“I don’t know, is it working?”

“Kind of,” Vereint said. “Did Warrick’s sudden obsession with kdramas spook you?”

“I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but it was definitely a surprise at first. It was very unexpected of him.”

“He always tries to keep us on our toes, huh?” Vereint smiled fondly. Warrick was one topic of conversation he could stick with for hours.

“He’s a good guy. You’re lucky to have him,” Caspian said.

“I know,” Vereint agreed.

The taxi cruised to a stop and Vereint was surprised to see they were at the restaurant. The drive from Tobias Towers usually felt longer.

“We’re here,” he said. “This conversation goes on the ‘To be continued’ pile.”

He offered the driver some cash, then climbed out of the taxi. He breathed in the rich scent of garlic and beef that wafted his way when a group of laughing people left the restaurant. The smell made his stomach rumble.

“I am starving,” he said. “I was expecting to get some food after the meeting. We usually get some delivery.”

“What kind of meeting was it?”

Old instincts and deep-seated shame made Vereint want to hunch his shoulders, but he refrained. He had no reason to feel ashamed for seeking out the help he needed.

“I signed up for some group therapy,” he said after swallowing heavily. He avoided meeting Caspian’s eyes. “It’s been doing a lot of good.”

The silence dragged a few seconds too long, but Caspian’s “That’s good” sounded sincere.

Vereint decided to ignore the awkwardness. He strode up to the restaurant and held the door open. “These guys make the best pho in town. Have you ever eaten here?”

“I don’t think so,” Caspian said. “I would definitely recognize that big striped tiger painting. That thing is awesome.”

“I’ve tried to buy it, but they told me no.” Vereint smiled at the hostess when she came to meet them. “Two please. Can we get a booth?”

“Certainly. Come this way.”

They settled in after giving their drinks order–one soda and one pot of tea to be shared. Vereint barely glanced at the menu before setting it aside. He was here for the pho and that was what he’d be ordering.

“You wanna share some gyoza and terriyaki chicken?” Caspian looked at him over the top of the menu he held.

“Sure,” Vereint said. “Get an order of white rice with the chicken. It’s good stuff.”

The waitress came back with their drinks and they ordered. Vereint added barbecue pork and edamame to the order.

“That’s going to be a lot of food,” the waitress said.

“We’re hungry,” Vereint said, giving her a smile.

“I’ll be back shortly with your food,” she said.

Once they were alone, Vereint poured them both cups of tea. “It’s kind of nice to get out of the house every once and a while. It keeps the walls from closing in on me.”

“Well, if you ever need an excuse to go out, I enjoy eating free food and I’m always down with having company when I go to the movies,” Caspian said.

“I’m always happy to spend Warrick’s money. We could go on shopping sprees and eat out at expensive places,” Vereint said. “We could have a lot of fun while Warrick and Melissa binge-watch kdramas. It could be our thing.”

It was only after he’d said it that Vereint wondered if he sounded completely pathetic. He was the needy friendless guy latching onto his husband’s best friend like some kind of suckerfish.

“Sure,” Caspian said. “Sounds fun.”

“Cool,” Vereint said suavely.

His moment of social awkwardness was smoothed over by the waitress arriving with the food. She carried everything on a large tray and there was a bit of time where plates and bowls were arranged around the table. After the waitress left, there were a few minutes where Vereint and Caspian busied themselves preparing their pho the way they liked it–Vereint added a handful of beansprouts and most of the jalapenos to his along with a good amount of hoisin and Sriracha.

The scent of the pho made his stomach rumble hungrily. With his metahuman metabolism he could have gone weeks or even months without eating, but that didn’t mean a steaming bowl of pho didn’t bring out his appetite.

Vereint ate his first mouthful of noodles and swallowed his appreciative moans down as well. Food-related sex noises weren’t something he was prepared to release into a crowded restaurant.

“So good,” he murmured.

Caspian grunted in agreement, taking a bit out of a gyoza. “I can’t believe Warrick’s never told me about this place.”

“It’s because he’s selfish. He doesn’t like the idea of anyone eating good food without him.”

“Hah.” Caspian was a neat if hearty eater. Food made it into his mouth without a single drop being spared, his lips closing as he chewed.

“What was it like growing up in the ocean?” Vereint asked.

“Wet. Very, very wet,” Caspian said. “It’s so wet you don’t even notice it anymore. It feels like flying when you go anywhere and there’s so much nutrient in the water that just breathing keeps you from being hungry.”

“Sounds lovely,” Vereint said.

Caspian laughed. “Yeah, if you like the taste of fish and swimming in your own toilet. Food can be cooked using geothermal vents, but there’s the risk of sudden heat spikes flash-boiling the chef. Culinary delights are few and far between under the sea. Tasting food from the Above World for the first time was a true revelation. I’ve never looked back.”

“Huh. I always thought life under the see would be great,” Vereint said. “I guess Sebastian lied.”

“Never trust a crab. They spend so much time in their shells that they’ve got no clue how life really works,” Caspian said.

“Good to know.” Vereint nibbled on a chicken strip speared by a wooden skewer, glad the cook hadn’t used too much teriyaki sauce. “This chicken is delicious.”

Caspian took a bite out of his own chicken. “Mm, you’re right. This place is going on my list of places to revisit.”

Vereint set down the skewer and lifted his fork to begin eating his pho. After a few minutes he asked Caspian, “Can you really talk to crabs?”

Caspian laughed.

TBC…

Would it be “geothermal vents” under the ocean? I know what I’m thinking of, but I don’t think I’m using the right terminology :/

Here I am, back from outer space

I have returned!

I didn’t go very far, I was just away from a computer for a few weeks. It sucked, but I made it out alive. Plus I had time to do some writing… which didn’t do me much good.

Our first attempt at aquaponics has ended in failure :( The fish died and were sadly buried in the garbage can.

It wasn’t our fault — I’m a registered fish killer, but these ones were not my victims. The pet store sold us ich infected fish that ended up floating belly up. We should have gone back for a refund, but by the time we realized the fish in the store’s tanks were covered in spots and acting sickly, we’d already thrown the deaders in the garbage. So the whole fish experience was a waste of money and a wash. Sucks.

We’re trying again with some new fish that my brother special ordered. Hopefully I’ll be growing lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes in just a few days. Fingers crossed!

CDandHBFH 02 [Caspian Dukes and Vereint Georges]

Title: Caspian Dukes and His Best Friend’s Husband
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Frame set: Allies & Enemies, “Good Times”
Characters: Caspian Dukes, Vereint Georges, Warrick Tobias, Melissa Kim
Pairings: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: friendship, superhero, meta
Summary: Vereint and Caspian go see a movie together.

I don’t know why Caspian is so broody here. Maybe it’s because his mother was a jerk.
—-

The elevator door dinged open and Caspian walked across the lobby with Vereint.

“There’s that new sci-fi thriller about the brain bugs,” Caspian said without much enthusiasm. The poster was glossy and exciting, but the premise was a little too close to his real life.

“I saw that last week,” Vereint said. “The best scenes in the whole movie were all in the trailer. I hate when they do that.”

“Ugh,” Caspian agreed. He kept pace with Vereint while staring at the screen of his phone. “There’s a new Adam Sandler movie.”

Vereint’s grimace was louder than words. Caspian continued the search. Megacity had many cinemas, most were modern movie theaters, but others were small corner theaters that were nearly hidden away from the public.

“Ooh, there’s a showing of Lawrence of Arabia at the Chinese Theater,” Caspian said. “But it starts at ten.”

Vereint glanced at his watch before pushing open one of the double doors and stepping outside. He politely held the door open for Caspian. “That gives us nearly three hours to kill. We could get something to eat before the movie. Plus Melissa’s birthday is coming up and there’s always cool stuff in the Asian Village.”

“Is that where the giant Hello Kitty came from?” Caspian had been stunned at the size of the monstrosity, which took up one whole corner of Melissa’s large bedroom. The white puffy marshmallow of a doll was so massive that Melissa had let one of her friends use it as a mattress during a sleepover.

“How do you know about that?” Vereint asked. He stepped close to the curb and waved his hand. A taxi obediently pulled up in front of him. He opened the door and gestured Caspian in first.

Caspian talked even as he got himself settled. “She showed it to me. I’ve never seen such a big stuffed animal before. I didn’t even know they really made them like that.”

Vereint directed the driver to take them to a pho restaurant in the Asian Village. “I had no idea either,” he told Caspian, picking up the thread of conversation. “My mom showed up with it and expected us to know where to put it. That thing’s way too gigantic, and even though Hello Kitty is cute, that doll is creepy. I’d give it away, but Melissa loves it, the spooky thing.”

“I don’t know. It’s kind of cool,” Caspian said. “Hello Kitty is so cheery I can’t even imagine what could bother you about it.”

“That’s because you’ve only seen it with the lights on,” Vereint said. “Trust me, it’s a whole different story coming across that thing in the dark. It’s positively malevolent. It just seems threatening.”

Caspian rolled his eyes with a laugh. “Next time I face Mindscape, this conversation is going to come back and haunt me, I just know it.”

“Warrick would never give you any peace if he heard you were terrorized by a giant Hello Kitty,” Vereint said. “You might even stop being his favorite superhero.”

“I’m everyone’s favorite superhero.” Caspian met the taxi driver’s eye in the mirror and gave her a polite nod. As an open superhero–especially one with physically inhuman features–he was used to being recognized. At least the citizens of Megacity didn’t come after him for autographs all the time–they were too cool for that.

Being famous was never something Caspian had ever stopped to think about. He’d gone from his birth place in Atlantis to the Above World, and he’d never known anything other than fame. Or maybe it was infamy in Atlantis, where his human blood made him his mother’s greatest shame.

He hadn’t hesitated to leave Atlantis for the Above. There were always people staring at him, examining him from head to foot as though silently wondering what he was made of. It should have made him self-conscious, but he’d never cared. He’d never let himself care, refusing to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing his vulnerability.

He was Caspian Dukes and he didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought. He was a warrior, brave and true. The blood of Atlantean royalty flowed through his veins. Who cared that it was diluted by the humanity of his father? He was what he was: a hero.

TBC…

EDIT: “head to food” lol.

* * *

Check out “Allies & Enemies” at: All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookStrand, Goodreads, iTunes, Kobo, Less Than Three Press, Smashwords. — superhero, urban fantasy, mm, drama. Darkstar x Blue Ice.