Geeking by in January and February
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It’s time for the first monthly update of the year and time for me to catch you all up on what I’ve been up to in my two-month hiatus! It was a very productive period although I did end up having to extend it from one month to two due to a messy January, due to events beyond my control.

Let me tell you all about it; here’s how I’ve been Geeking By in January and February 2021.

Geeking By in January and February 2021

January was exhausting. I found myself being drawn in and affected by world events without even realising it. There was a huge wave of negativity that just seemed to touch everything and everyone when the events surrounded the US Presidential Inauguration Ceremony happened. Then our kitchen plumbing seemed to just… implode and we couldn’t use any water in our kitchen for weeks (I’ll get into the details in a bit) which took a physical and mental toll on me. I also felt generally lost because my desk planner had finished and the replacement I’d ordered in time for that exact moment ended up being cancelled. Just when I needed some stability in my life the one thing I used to help me keep on top of things was missing and because we didn’t realise the order had been cancelled initially it took an extra few weeks for me to get a replacement.

All of this made me slip into some negative patterns that I’ve been working hard to remove from my life, proving that they’ll never truly be gone. I caught myself fairly quickly (each time I recognise the signs earlier, which is progress even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time), however, by that point, the damage was already done. Someone chose to remove me from their life. I offer no ill will to this person, nor do I say this to pass judgement on them. I use these monthly entries to talk through what has happened so that I can leave these events and feelings in that month, and considering how rocky my start of the year was it’s especially important that I do it now. I don’t want the feelings this month dragged up to infect the rest of the year, I don’t want that to be my 2021.

That was certainly on my mind when I started to beat myself up, over my own actions and then over someone else’s actions, over their choice to remove me from their life. I felt like it was a sign that if I had slipped already, that I had failed in the first month of the year then that was a sure sign of what the rest of 2021 was going to be like. I was fortunate to end up having a one on one session with the therapist who runs our group therapy meetings just after this happened, and she talked through everything with me. It gave me some much-needed perspective. With that support and the ongoing support from my support network, I was able to start to look at things objectively and find my footing. As I’ve just done I began to list everything that had happened in January that led to me falling into negative behaviour patterns, and I did the most important thing; I forgave myself. I was under an incredible amount of stress and yes, I screwed up, I slipped up.  But I need to remember that I can only be responsible for my actions, and I have done that by recognising the problem and remedying the problem as soon as I could. I’m also continuing to do so by working on it in other ways (I’ll tell you more later on).

Geeking by in January and February 2021 - The kitchen leak fiasco of January 2021
(Stock image, not an actual photo of our kitchen)

So what actually happened to our kitchen plumping? Ok, imploding is a lot more dramatic than it actually was but honestly, considering how much drama that happened it felt like it did just that!

We had a new dishwasher installed just before Christmas and we had problems straight away. The technicians sent by AO took forever installing it, muttering and swearing as they did it. When they were finally done they complained that the electricity wasn’t working; my fiance checked the plug and they hadn’t pushed it in properly /facepalm. As we’ve been self-isolating we couldn’t watch them as they did anything and even if we weren’t social distancing meant that our kitchen would have been too small for us to be in there anyway. We had no idea what they had done until they were long gone. What we found was worrying; they had pulled all the plumbing under the sink from its brackets so violently they were broken. 

It shouldn’t have been any surprise when we started to have a leak under our sink from the dishwasher. This was leak number one. We fixed it as best as we could because it was no days before Christmas and we needed a working dishwasher for Christmas. We managed to get it to the point where a small leak was happening, but it was manageable with a bucket. Then January comes around and I walk into the kitchen to find the entire floor flooded….

The water was coming from under the dishwasher but it had not been on, however, the washing machine had been. So, both of them were not to be used. Ok, washing up in the sink was a massive effort but manageable. Then we realised that anything we put down the sink was leaking out as well

Then came the hassle of getting a plumber to come along. Plumber number 1 never bothered to turn up the first time. The second time again didn’t turn up. By this point, the time-wasting bastard had cost us another week and I was washing things in the bath. We got another plumber who again didn’t show up, here we go again… miraculously he did show up and fixed things. He found multiple leaks. Whether they were caused by AO we don’t know, or by the cowboy who sold us this place, again, no idea. Then we had another leak and had to get him back in.

Everything seems to be holding together at the moment. I think if there had been another leak I was just going to collapse in a heap and cry. I was done.

Geeking by in January and February 2021 - Ghosts and memories in February

February was easier in some ways to January, and also more difficult. While January was all about the here and now, February was filled with ghosts. Last year I had one of those sudden sharp thoughts that gut you to the core when you realise that an anniversary of a horrible event is coming up and you hadn’t even realised. I later realised that, unsurprisingly, my math was off by a few years and the huge anniversary wasn’t actually this year. The damage was done though, the seed was planted and all the memories came washing back. I think my grief was even sharper this year because of the pandemic, with so much death surrounding us and the constant worry of losing even more people we love.

My grandad died when I was 17 when I was away on a school art trip to Florence and I never got to say goodbye. There’s a lot more to say and it’s written in a post ready for the 20 year anniversary next year. My grief has never dispersed, it’s always been there, and this year it became overwhelming for many reasons. There are other memories from this month that are triggering; I was in Madrid on another art trip a week before the Madrid terrorist attacks, in the exact spot the bombs went off. Other things are connected to that trip too, and I was struggling to sleep. When I did sleep I was having nightmares.

Everything came to a head after the anniversary of my grandad’s death passed and I ended up bubbling over, spilling everything out and being scolded by my fiance for not asking for help. As he so succinctly put it, “you’re not the logic in this relationship” and he’s right, I’m not. He helped me work out a sleeping schedule before bed and it’s been working. I’m still struggling with getting up earlier the next day, but I’m going to bed earlier instead of staying up until 3-4 am until I’m too exhausted to think about the bad things when I go to bed.

Geeking By in January and February 2021

I was on my blog hiatus (post is here for those that may have missed it!) for January and February so most of my posts were book reviews which you can find in the reading section below! The rest of my posts were Seriously Geeky Sundays:

January

February

There was one other post at the end of February that I slipped in right at the end of my hiatus; my post for #LoveYourBacklog Month 2021.

Geeking By in January and February 2021
Geeking By in January and February 2021

Shock horror, I actually played something other than World of Warcraft this time!

I took part in the Steam Gaming Festival 2021 in February and played two of the demos. I did download a few more but sadly did not have time to play them due to a fatigue flare-up. I’ve been struggling with video game anxiety (which I talk about it in detail in my #LoveYourBacklog Month 2021 post) and thought that rather than trying to throw myself at a full game without success again, I’d try something smaller to ease myself into things… and it worked! I’ll talk more about that next month, but for now, if you want to know how I got on with the two demos I played (Hazel Sky and Potion Craft) you can check out my review for them here!

Geeking By in January and February 2021

In World of Warcraft, I finished levelling my mage at last and also completed my Covenant campaign for Kyrian on my druid, followed by the Nightfae one on my mage. I was really disappointed with the Kyrian one, even more so when I finished the Ardenweald one. I’d already heard from my fiance that it was far better than the Kyrian one. We gave each other a non-spoiler idea of what happened and I was like, yeah, mine was NOT that exciting 🙁 I confirmed just how disappointingly so when I did the quests myself. I’ll go into more detail when I finish my dedicated write up about it.

What I've been watching this month

If you’ve been following my monthly updates you’ll know that I’ve been catching up on in prep for new seasons or just finishing off the last seasons of shows I’d left hanging. I started the new year with the same plan and finished off Black Lightning S3 which I’d started in December.

I also completed:

  • The Punisher S2
  • Daredevil S3
  • Jessica Jones S3
Geeking by in January and February 2021 -  Stargirl Season 1

The new Shows I watched were:

  • Stargirl (S1) – This has been on my to watch list for a while now and I kept forgetting about it. I finally remembered to try it out and LOVED IT. Highly recommend it. The young cast of newcomers are brilliant, but what will shine for those of us who have watched them growing up is Luke Wilson and Amy Smart as Stargirl’s stepfather and mother respectively. They really show their comedy chops and bantering skills in this one, and it’s soo much fun to watch!
  • (S1 & 2) – A fantastic crime drama starring a detective and his canine partner.
  • London Kills (S 1 & 2) – A London based crime drama that can be a bit iffy and farfetched at times but has a great cast and an ongoing storyline that really caught my attention.
  • Unforgotten (S 2 & 3) – Again another really good British crime show which sadly only happens every so often and each season is only 4 episodes long. It’s well worth the wait for the next season each time, but every time you’re left wondering if it’s coming back or been cancelled.
  • Hinterland (S 1 – 3) – A really dark crime drama series set in Wales and released in English and Welsh. It’s different, but it is definitely darker than what I normally watch and it the ongoing plot that covered all three seasons was great, as was the cast. If you’re looking for something different from the usual crime dramas then this is for you.
  • JAG (S1 – 10) Yep, I watched the entire 10 seasons of JAG over the last two months. I’ve had the itch to go back and watch this older show for a while now, ever since multiple characters popped up in NCIS: LA. I wanted to know more about them and their past, especially the main JAG characters Mac and Harm. I needed to know the story there. So when I needed something easy to watch in the background while working my ass off during my hiatus JAG was the perfect thing. I found that it was a lot more lighthearted than NCIS, a lot more old fashioned due to the time period (women weren’t allowed to do so much) but it still handled a lot of serious topics and did so with a surprising amount of sensitivity for a show in the late 90s.
  • The Good Witch (S1 – 5) – I fell in love with Catherine Bell who played Mac in JAG and was on my to-watch list for ages. I’d caught an episode previously so after watching her in JAG that was the final push I needed to watch it at last. What I didn’t realise at first was that there are 7 Hallmark set before the TV show event starts and while you can skip them, I’d recommend watching them as you really do get the sense that your missing something. That, and the fact that I had seen Catherine Bell’s IMDB list (and seen them all there), clued me onto the fact that the show just jumps right in.
Geeking by in January and February 2021 - Discovery of Witches Season 2

January and February finally brought returning shows to the UK, although it has been extremely slow going:

  • NCIS: LA (S12)
  • Private Eyes (S4)
  • NCIS (S18)
  • Magnum P.I. (S3)
  • Discovery of Witches (S2) – I still need to finish watching the last few episodes of this, but what I’ve watched so far has been incredible!

Movies

  • Godzilla: King of Monsters – Despite the annoying male main character played by Kyle Chandler, I really enjoyed this movie. The plot was interesting, the special effects were amazing and as someone who knows absolutely zero about the franchise or any of the kaiju, I really enjoyed meeting the others in this film. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful and inspiring Mothra. Millie Bobby Brown continued to show how good an actor she is, and Ken Watanabe was wonderful to watch. To be honest, the entire cast was great to watch except for Kyle Chandler. I don’t remember his character being so bloody whining in the first film. I don’t know how much of it was a badly written grieving character or just terrible acting.

As mentioned above I watched the Good Witch Movies before starting the TV show. They are as follows:

  • The Good Witch
  • The Good Witch’s Garden
  • The Good Witch’s Gift
  • The Good Witch’s Family
  • The Good Witch’s Charm
  • The Good Witch’s Destiny
  • The Good Witch’s Wonder
Geeking By in January and February 2021

Over the last few days, you may have seen a sudden bunch of ‘Mini Book Reviews’ being announced on my Twitter feed. These will be a bit more spread out in the future as I post them after I’ve finished reading the books rather than a month or so later in one big rush. As I hinted at in previous monthly updates I want to start offering mini book reviews for the books and some comics I read for pleasure and that starts from this update 😀 I won’t be reviewing all the comics I read because, to be frank, there’s a lot. So it’s most likely going to be anything that isn’t my ongoing issues, so anything that isn’t DC Comics or Star Wars. Those updates I’ll just continue as I have been doing in these posts.

Geeking by in January and February 2021 - New book review system!
How my new book reviews look!

During my hiatus, I gave my entire book/comic review section a makeover. I installed a new plugin especially for reviews and you can review them all in the new book review section. I still need to fiddle with the CSS on this index page because the way it’s designed and connected to the CSS in the individual reviews is a pain (I change something on the index, it makes the reviews look hideous). That’s going to be a long game of trial and error. 

The plugin lets me automatically include information about each book and lists it neatly in each review as you can see in the image above.  More importantly, it lets visitors browse by author, series, genre and publisher if they so wish! 🙂

I’ve transferred all my previous reviews to it and have started using it for my new mini-reviews too. By doing this I can easily insert the reviews of the books I’ve read each month into my monthly updates as you can see below.

Books I read in January

Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's Greatest Hits

Publisher:
Kitty Norville, star of a New York Times bestselling series, is everybody’s favorite werewolf DJ and out-of-the-closet supernatural creature. Over the course of eight books she’s fought evil vampires, were-creatures, and some serious black magic. She’s done it all with a sharp wit and the help of a memorable cast of werewolf hunters, psychics, and if-notgood- then-neutral vampires by her side. Kitty’s Greatest Hits not only gives readers some of Kitty’s further , it offers longtime fans a window into the origins of some of their favorite characters.
Read my review
Kitty's Mix Tape by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's Mix Tape

Everyone’s favorite werewolf DJ is here to mix it up just one last time. Here you will find, or even newly discover, the irrepressible Kitty Norville with friends and enemies alike: Rick the vampire; Jessi Hardin, paranormal detective; Kitty’s husband Ben; Cormac, the bounty hunter; and the villainous Dux Bellorum. These irresistible tales are full of unpredictable twists and turns: lupines experimenting with astronomy, a cheating boxer with preternatural strength, vampires arriving from the Philippines.
Read my review

Books I read in February

Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne

Ink & Sigil

Author:
Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails - and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.  But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.  But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective - while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice's death will take him through Scotland's magical underworld, and he'll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he's to survive.
Read my review
The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn

The Immortal Conquistador

Discover the deadly origins of the noble immortal Rick, ally to bestselling author Carrie Vaughn's fan-favorite werewolf, Kitty Norville Ricardo de Avila would have followed Coronado to the ends of the earth. Instead, Ricardo found the end of his mortal life, and a new one, as a renegade vampire-conquistador. For over five hundred years, Ricardo has upset the established order. He has protected his found family from marauding demons, teamed up with a legendary gunslinger, appointed himself the Master of Denver, and called upon a church buried under the Vatican. He has tended bar and fended off evil werewolves. Life for a vampire is always long, but for Rick, it is never uncomplicated.
Read my review
The Night Girl by James Bow

The Night Girl

Author:
Perpetua Collins works for a real troll.  Well, technically a goblin, and it’s not as bad as it sounds. As the administrative assistant, she provides a “human” face for an employment agency specializing in placements for and trolls. It’s probably the most unusual job she could find in Toronto, but she’s grateful for it, having come to the city with $500 in her pocket and no support. Without it, she’d have no choice but to go back to the boring small town and overbearing mother she worked so hard to leave. But as Perpetua settles into her new job, disturbing questions arise. And no, they’re not about the fact that goblins and trolls exist. She’s fine with that part. The agency has no visible means of support. How does her boss manage to keep his “clients” out of the public eye? They’ve been part of the city far longer than anyone thinks, and are growing restless under the burden of forced invisibility and financial poverty. What will happen if the veil drops, and humans see?
Read my review
The Society of Blood by Mark Morris

The Society of Blood

Author:
Publisher:
Alex Locke is still searching for his missing young daughter. Transported through time to the dank streets of Victorian London, his only hope of finding her lies with the obsidian heart, the enigmatic object to which his fate seems inextricably bound. Desperately seeking the heart, Alex follows the trail of a gruesome murderer that will lead him through the opium dens of Limehouse into the dark and twisted world of the Society of Blood, and ever closer to unlocking the secret of the heart - and finding his daughter.
Read my review
The Wolves of London by Mark Morris

The Wolves of London

Author:
Publisher:
Psychology professor Alex Locke is an ex-convict, forced back into the criminal underworld when his daughter is threatened. After he agrees to steal a mysterious Obsidian Heart, Locke is pursued by unearthly assassins known as the ‘Wolves of London’. Soon he discovers the heart can enable him to travel through time, and while it bestows him with his own dark powers, it also corrupts...
Read my review
The Illustrated Crystallary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Magical Gems & Minerals

The Illustrated Crystallary

Author:
In the ancient world there were three medicine kingdoms: animal, vegetable, and mineral. Following her previous acclaimed volumes on animal (The Illustrated Bestiary) and vegetable (The Illustrated Herbiary), Maia Toll fulfills the call for mineral with The Illustrated Crystallary, exploring the mystical qualities of 36 fascinating crystals and minerals, including gold, silver, copper, amethyst, hematite, mica, smokey quartz, emerald, ruby, and more. Combining bits of ancient wisdom with her own insights, Toll explores the aspects and energy of each stone and, through rituals and reflections, the life guidance it might offer contemporary readers. Obsidian's shiny surface and sharp edges reflect the shadowy corners of the self and serve as the tool for cutting them loose. The sky-like color of earthly turquoise provides balance between opposing forces. The stunning illustrations of Kate O'Hara magnify the symbolism of each crystal throughout the book, and are also featured on 36 oracle cards included in an envelope bound in the back of the book.
Read my review
The Wraiths of War by Mark Morris

The Wraiths of War

Author:
Publisher:
Alex Locke is desperately trying to hold onto the disparate threads of the complex web of time he has created. He travels to the First World War, living through the horrors of trench warfare in order to befriend a young soldier crucial to his story; then to the 1930s to uncover the secrets of a mysterious stage magician. He moves back and forth in time, always with the strange and terrifying Dark Man on his heels, gradually getting closer to uncovering the true nature of his destiny with the obsidian heart.
Read my review
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Read my review
Windiwtch by Susan Dennard

Windwitch

The Windwitch Prince Merik is presumed dead after a lethal explosion. However, he’s scarred but alive, and determined to expose his sister’s treachery. Yet on reaching the royal capital, he’s shocked to find refugees fleeing conflict. Merik haunts the streets, fighting for the weak – sparking rumours of the Fury, a disfigured demigod who dispenses .While searching for Safi, Iseult is cornered by the Bloodwitch Aeduan. She proposes a deal: she’ll return what was stolen from him if he locates the Truthwitch. Yet unknown to Iseult, there’s a bounty on her head – and Aeduan intends to claim it. Meanwhile, Safi and the Marstoki Empress survive a shipwreck, then find themselves among brigands. And their captors plan to unleash war upon the Witchlands . . .
Read my review
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Bloodwitch

Publisher:
The Bloodwitch Aeduan and Iseult the Threadwitch race for safety, desperate to evade the Raider King. His attempts to subdue the Witchlands are gaining momentum, as his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing , Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet trust is a tenuous bond . . .When Merik sacrifices himself to save his friends, he's captured by the Fury. However, Merik isn't one to give up easily, and he'll do whatever it takes to protect those he loves. Then, in Marstok, Safi the Truthwitch is helping their empress uncover a rebellion. But those implicated are killed and Safi becomes desperate for freedom.Perhaps if Safi and Iseult were united, their powers could bring peace. However, chaos is not easily tamed and war has come once more to the Witchlands. Fate's knife will come for them all, and the Bloodwitch Aeduan can no longer hide from his past.
Read my review
What I've been doing this month

The entire point of my hiatus was to check a huge bunch of stuff off my to-do list and I was 80% successful. I had hoped to just take January off, but after the fiasco with the kitchen pipes, it made sense to take February too. I’m glad I did. I’m hoping by the end of March to have the other few things done. Two of them are 70-80% done and one of them is not even started yet. The one that’s not started should go more smoothly once one of the other things is done as it’s the same format, and I’ve been having trouble as it’s not something I’ve ever done before.

I’ve made some general changes around the blog, not just to the book reviews section, and most of these changes have been to help with scheduling or the general running of the blog. I said I’d talk later about something else I’m doing to help stop myself from dropping into negative behaviour patterns and that includes something new on the blog. One thing I’ve been doing is using social media to rant and generally be negative. I’ve helped prevent some of that by removing myself from Facebook and using filters on Twitter.

However, when I have a difficult time or when I feel like I have something I need to get off my chest I hop straight on Twitter and say it without really thinking about what it is I’m saying. The small character allowance doesn’t give me a chance to say what I really mean and things come out wrong. So instead I’m going to take those thoughts and start putting them into a blog post which will then be edited and checked before being published. ‘Random Thoughts on a Tuesday’ might not happen every week and won’t always be negative either. There are so many stray thoughts of happy topics that pass through my mind which I hesitate from making them public because I don’t feel that social media is the right place. Whereas my blog is my blog, it’s safe and I can be as quirky, goofy and fangirly as I want.

Geeking By in January and February 2021
Monthly Update: Over to You

This ended up being posted so much later in March than I had planned and you’re all going to end up reading March’s update in a week or so after this one. I contemplated just throwing all three months together but it felt important to draw a line in the sand between the hiatus months and afterwards. In a way I feel like I didn’t do an awful lot, perhaps because I still have this to-do list sitting in front of me even if it’s three quarters of the size it started at! I will be very glad when I can whip it off my desktop planner and toss it in the bin. Perhaps I’ll even burn it 😉 (Knowing me I’ll probably burn myself….)

I hope you all had a less chaotic start to the year than I did and if you’re in the UK are holding up ok under the lockdown <3

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