A Day in the Life of a Ball of Anxiety

It will come as no surprise to regular readers (or Twitter followers) that I have anxiety.

Diagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder, I mean, not just normal anxiety about money or exams or whether G.R.R Martin is going to die before he finishes Game of Thrones.

I’m outspoken about it because I spent many years suffering in unmedicated shame, too anxious and embarrassed to seek help. When I finally did, citalopram changed my life. A few days after I started it, when I drove home from work for the first time ever without going over and over every social interaction to analyse just how idiotic I’d come across, I found myself laughing maniacally at how free I felt.

So, you know, I traded anxiety for looking like something that’d escaped from a lunatic asylum in 1923, but swings and roundabouts.

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British Stereotypes – Fact or Fiction?

I realised how British I am recently when I had (minor) surgery and was too polite to tell the doctor the anaesthetic hadn’t worked.

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I didn’t want to worry her, and anyway, the automatic Brit response to any question is, “Fine, thanks.” or “Oh yes, lovely!”

For example:

Crying with pain at a massage, probably while wearing a Victorian-style bathing suit because good old British sexual repression

Masseuse: “Is the pressure okay?”

Brit: “Oh yes, lovely!”

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Two Brits in a restaurant

Brit 1: “There is an actual pube in my meal, under the mould.”

Brit 2: “Oh my god, you should complain!”

Brit 1: “I know. It’s disgusting.”

Waitress: “Hello! Is everything okay with your meal?”

Brits in unison: “Fine, thanks!”

In fact, there’s an entire Fawlty Towers episode based on the premise that Brits are unable to complain, in contrast with Americans. It’s 103% accurate.

But what about other stereotypes? Do we deserve them or not? I should probably put some sort of disclaimer that I don’t represent all Brits but this is my blog, and here I am King.

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Drunk Octopussing

drunk octopus (verb)

present participle drunk octopussing, past tense drunk octopussed, past participle drunk octopus

I drunk octopussed this evening along with Kim Watt and A.S. Akkalon. We live in three different time zones, with Akkalon a day in the future, so it was quite a feat to coordinate live drunk octopussing. Plus, she always has spoilers about what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow and if Jesus is going to drop by.

But that was nothing compared to what the residents of Erin Island have to cope with: fighting off alien octopusses while hammered out of their fecking skulls. (Fecking is deliberate because Erin Island is in Ireland, where ‘fecking’ means the same as ‘fucking’ but isn’t rude and therefore my mum can’t tell me off).

The octopusses are allergic to alcohol (why wouldn’t they be?) The only way to not-be-eaten by them is to drink until you have the approximate chemical composition of a pint of absinthe.

For purposes of this blog, the plural of ‘octopus’ is definitely ‘octopusses’ except when it’s ‘octopi’ and I refuse to be told otherwise.

After a slightly delay when some idiot (me) got the time wrong, Houston cleared us for Octo-off at 8:05pm BST which is the official time zone and no other times should exist because they confuse my little brain.

And what I learned was this:

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Things I’m Afraid Of

I’ve been attacked by bulls and oxen weighing up to 2,000kg and survived.

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I’m the one at the back, not the middle-aged man.

I watched my first horror, Nightmare on Elm Street, age 8, and loved it.

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I beat the final boss in Spyro II: Gateway to Glimmer.

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But I’m not totally fearless. In fact, I’m afraid of seven things…

1. Centipedes

Don’t trust ’em. Nobody needs that many legs for legit business.

2. Children

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Interview with Jacqueline Rohrbach, author of THE WORST WEREWOLF

My Goodreads friends might have noticed me gushing about a new favourite book: THE WORST WEREWOLF by Jacqueline (Jackee) Rohrbach.

Jackee was kind enough to agree to be interviewed by me, as long as I stop sending her the letters and stay at least 250ft from her or any member of her family at all times. Yay!

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The werewolf said, “Race you to the road.” It was the last thing Tovin heard before his life became uncomfortably complex.

Before that night in the forest, Tovin was the type of guy to play it safe. Happy wearing the same shoes, buying the same deodorant, and eating the same meals day after day, he thought his simple existence was pretty great. At least until his boyfriend dumps him for being boring. Heartbroken but on a mission of vengeance, Tovin decides to start a new life filled with excitement, danger, and maybe a meal from a questionable food truck.

A date with Garvey would start it all. Handsome, sophisticated, the man is everything Tovin thinks he needs. It’s a pity he turns out to be a werewolf on a mission to save his pack from destruction.

Now Tovin is caught up in Garvey’s world.

Abducted and forced to be the bloodservant of a powerful Alpha, he lands right in the middle of a brewing conflict that threatens to destroy humanity.

My review: ***** (Loved it)

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Two Genres Collide: Romance and Fantasy

I’m not a picky reader. I love books for their little papery selves, mostly irrespective of genre. Romance, horror (my first love <3), thriller, sci-fi, erotica, crime, historical, mystery, general fic… I’ll read ’em all.

Well, I’ll read them all if I live to 983 which is the age at which, according to my calculations, I’ll finish my TBR pile. Assuming it stops growing now. Which it won’t, because after I write this I’m going onto Goodreads to answer a PM and will leave with 233 new books on my list.

The one genre I do avoid, as a rule, is fantasy. There are some fantasy novels I love–mostly ones I read in childhood that left a lingering nostalgic comfort, like Harry Potter, and His Dark Materials–but I don’t seek out new fantasies to read. Especially a certain type of fantasy with sword-waving elves that say things like, “My destiny awaits!… after a tankard of mead, good Barkeep.”

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Why are you closing the book, Anna? I’m dressed appropriately for battle and it’s totally feasible that I can destroy a phalanx of evil orcs with my magical sword before flying off on my dragon to make merry with twelve saucy wenches in a bath of mead… using my other magical sword ifyouknowwhatImean wink wink.

I am, however, friends with many fantasy authors including A.S. Akkalon who I talk about in my blog all the time but I’M NOT OBSESSED, OKAY? That restraining order is a pack of damn lies.

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Back in the heady days of April we agreed on a swap: I would read a fantasy of her choice if she read a horror of my choice.

I chose for her The Rats by James Herbert, in which a mischief of mutated, man-eating rats, well… eat men. Click to read her post, 15 things a fantasy author learned reading horror. I chose THE RATS because:

  • It’s on the short side at 65k words.
  • She refuses to swear on her blog and I wanted to see how she’d review a book in which dozens of people are eaten alive and a woman inserts a bottle someplace no bottle should ever go (she sidestepped it like the evil, clean-mouthed genius she is, dammit).
  • The author is not only a bestseller but also dead, so she can be as honest as she likes about it.

She chose me a book that shall remain nameless because I can’t even pretend I enjoyed it and I’m not gonna be mean about another author’s work. Unless they’re the people who write Will and Grace who, frankly, deserve to be taught a good lesson by Vlad the Impaler.

All I’ll say is that it’s a special book. Special like that kid in school who spent every playtime setting fire to ants and growled if you came near him.

What did I learn from this experience? Romance and fantasy have a lot in common.

1. Semen can be its own character.

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Why I Believe the Earth is Flat

I decided last month to believe the earth is flat. Two reasons:

  1. Fewer people will want to talk to me.
  2. If anybody does insist on talking to me, I have something to talk about.

I’m hoping #2 will be a rare occasion because ew, human interaction, but I thought I ought to practice my arguments and make sure they’re compelling. I mean, I don’t want to look stupid.

So I’m going to practise my arguments on you, lovely blog readers. I’m confident you won’t find any flaws in my  logic but if you do, please let me know.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Okay, okay, this is the blogging equivalent of a chain letter. But the only letters I get these days are bills, and reminders that a man dressed in white plastic would like to scrape a sharp metal thing against my teeth until I resemble Hannibal Lecter when an orderly has pissed him off, so screw it.

My friend and fantasy author A.S. Akkalon (who you’ve probably read about in her guest blog about how to get her to love you long time and who has her own blog where you can love her long time) nominated me for this on the grounds that I’m:

a) not important;

b) not serious; and

c) desperate enough to accept the blogging equivalent of a chain letter.

She was right on all counts and I can’t resist that kind of flattery, you guys. I’m only human.

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I’m not surprised at this nomination because I do bring sunshine to your lives. Like explaining why I don’t trust you. And introducing gay dinosaur/human erotica into your lives. Or assuring you that you have several types of cancer.

I have to answer my nominator’s 11 questions, choose 11 bloggers (11 apparently means three – these rule setters would not cope with my improved darts rules) and set them 11 questions. Which means 11 that time, so I’m going to do 12 because I’m a brat.

So, my answers to Ms A S “Dragon Mistress” Akkalon’s questions:

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My Manifesto as new Minister of Sports and Games

Like most of us, ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of world domination.

But, also since I was a little girl, I’ve followed the teachings of the great philosopher and thinker Homer Simpson, particularly: “If something’s hard to do, it’s not worth doing.” [Simpson, 1992] World domination sounds pretty hard. Much harder than convincing a cat that my ribs are not the best place to stand to survey a room, and I haven’t yet mastered that skill.

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Unwilling to give up my childhood dream, I arrived at a compromise. I’ve sought allegiances with others who may one day take over the world. Sharing is caring and we split the risk, responsibility, and reward.

I recently made plans with my World Domination Team on TwitterTani Hanes (romance author), Jezz de Silva (romance ninja), Kim M Watt  (YA author), A.S. Akkalon (fantasy author), Sandra Weicht (The Recipe Collector), Sara Dobie Bauer (fabulous author) and Lisa Leoni (romance author).

Our plans involve bananas (the potassium will prevent cramps at crucial junctures and the sugar will aid us in brandishing spears at our enemies), the obliteration of all centipedes (shady fuckers–nobody needs that many legs for legit business), bows and arrows and daggers (and probably dragons because this is A.S. Akkalon we’re talking about), a Big Bad swigging absinthe and wrestling tigers in six inch heels (because this is Sara Dobie Bauer we’re talking about),  the Great Fajita Dilemma, and the Burrito of Destruction.

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Our main weapon – the Loch Ness Banana – developed by weapons manufacturer crusheen on Imgur

My role in taking over the world is Digital Propaganda Manager. Partly because I can do it without getting out of my chair, partly because I can claim my 1,203,201 GB monthly data charges back on expenses, and partly because it allows me to call myself ‘Anna Kaling DPM’ which looks good and may one day convince someone I’m licensed to practice medicine. I carry a scalpel and screwdriver at all times in hopes that day will come.

And when we inevitably achieve world domination, what piece of the pie do I want?

I want to be Minister of Sports and Games.

This may surprise those of you who know me and suspect, correctly, that I haven’t run since 1996 and that was because a goat was chasing me (true story). Those people will also know that I would rather watch Will and Grace than any kinds of sports matchy-thing, and Will and Grace makes me vomit blood as my spleen attempts to crawl up my aesophagus and kill us both to save us from another ‘joke’.

But that’s the whole point. I want to be Minister for Sports and Games so I can improve them. And also so I can make ‘Hunting Will and Grace Fans’ an international competition with massive rewards.

This is my manifesto.

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