Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Jan 10

In the Key of Big G

Goliath is a sleeping beauty, stretched out along my arm and contoured against my body. He keeps me warm with his soft fur. If I listen closely, I can hear him purr, a small purr for a cat his size. I’m more likely to hear his breathing than to hear him purr.

Sometimes we’ll stay like this all night, with me waking periodically to the warmth of him against me. Other nights, he can’t seem to get comfortable. So he’ll toss and turn and eventually leave, perhaps to come back a time or two to repeat the process.

There will be night when we don’t quite fit right, and his tail or paws will cover my face, and I’ll struggle to breathe. Sometimes our slumber will be broken by his brother, who unknowingly — or perhaps knowingly — walks over Goliath as he tucked under the covers.

Goliath is a sweetheart, who lets me pet him when he just wants to sleep. He tilts his head just right so I can scratch his chin or touch his ears.

He is, in almost every way, my sweet baby boy, momma’s cuddle bug.


Dec 23

Festivus? How fortuitous!

I’m not quite sure how appropriate it would be to say “Happy Festivus.” After all, this annual holiday allows us to air our grievances rather than to celebrate loved ones or gives thanks — both of which I could be better at doing right now and throughout the past year.

In fact, I figured I would take the time not to complain but rather to be thoughtful over the ways that I could improve over the next year and throughout the rest of my life. My intent isn’t to be negative but to take responsibility because I think I’ve been blaming my emotions too much on other people and circumstances, and that leads to no happiness for anyone.

Over this year, I tried to take on too many of my friends’ problems. In the process, I became anxious and unhappy. I wouldn’t set aside time for myself in a meaningful way, and this would make me resentful for my friends who would seek out my assistance more than I could give it. The best version of Cole would be able to set boundaries so resentment doesn’t set in, and she would also remain grateful for those who do seek her help. It’s flattering to know that people trust me with their personal issues and feelings and that they seek my counsel as someone who will won’t judge them. That people think little ol’ me is smart enough to give safe advice is quite the compliment!

More recently, I’ve allowed others’ words to fester. I’ve imagined insults and competition, snark and other general negativity where it probably didn’t exist. Many of these things were intended as a joke, with a light intention or simply offhand. I read too much into these things, and held onto the negative thoughts they caused in my own mind. Going forward, I should remember that people, especially those who love me, don’t mean harm. And that if I am experiencing troubled thoughts, there are appropriate ways to communicate those feelings.

Resentment has often built this year over the belief that I am somehow better than people. However, the only thing that truly makes me better is by thinking and acting in a way that I can respect and in a way that would hopefully encourage others to do the same. Being kind to others seems to be one of my main priorities. To treat people with respect and not to let my shortcomings color our interactions. To believe the best in people because wouldn’t I want them to do the same?

In 2014, I have been mindful about reaching out to others. I should continue to do this, so that they may provide support if they want, and so I won’t have to shoulder the entire load myself. My feelings are intense and my thoughts are acute, but I don’t have to do that alone. Perhaps I could re-build connections with some of my family members, who I haven’t been particularly close to in years.

It’s not just my interactions with others, however. I think I will have to reconsider some goals for the next year. Whether that is to make Reviews by Cole my full-time job (unlikely), to pursue creative writing in a professional manner (ie getting published), going back to school, attending conventions for blogging or sexuality or making some short-term investments that will bring me close to home ownership within the next decade. Really, many of these things could be done simultaneously, and my main de-motivator might be fear or a lack of belief in myself. Or perhaps I am simply too complacent.

I think I would also like to add a physical activity that has a social aspect. Perhaps something like yoga. I’m not into sports per se, nor do I love spending too much time outside during winter. Although, perhaps I could take up something fun such as disc golfing during the summer time. 2015 might be the year that I finally get some volunteering in or join a book club, which would ensure that I get more reading done, too.

With these thoughts in mind, I will end this post but look forward to the coming year!


Dec 17

I haven’t blogged in over a month

At least, here. I’ve been blogging in all the other places though. Oops.

This last month has been measured in broken heartbeats, if I’m honest.

It’s also been measured in doors opened to the UPS and FedEx men. The shopping. I’m having such a good financial month, after the annual frustration with the state. I’ve spent a bit of money, purchased some awesome gifts, and yet I have a bit of money left. I am considering a tattoo. A sugar-skull inspired motif on my left thigh. What do you think?

These last few days have consisted of me binging on TED talks about psychology, sex and technology, among other things. This was inspired, in part, by starting and finishing Best Sex Writing 2012 in a course of hours. I forgot how much I like to be educated!

Goliath and his box under the tree

Goliath and his box under the tree

Much of my time has been spent with my sister, who likes to escape her home and invade mine. Her latest thing is asking for homework help that could easily be done over the phone just so she can come over and play video games. She did “help” me put up my Christmas tree, though. It’s blue and silver this year. I didn’t think about how dark blue lights are in comparison to white ones, however. It’s nearly impossible to take a decenter picture!

I’ll end this with a rant. About “Merry Christmas.” And how a million of my Facebook friends — just kidding, I don’t have that many — have posted about how that’s the correct thing to say. And how it’s stupid to be offended by saying it. And they’ll say it regardless.

Yes, I will smile and say “You, too” to anyone who takes the time to wish me a Merry this or a Happy that, even if I’ve never heard of it. Have a good freakin’ Festivus, y’all. But, seriously. There’s a perfectly easy-to-understand reason why Merry Christmas might offend some people.

And it’s not because you celebrate it. It’s because you celebrate it and you assume everyone else also celebrates it. But they don’t. Some of them celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Yule or something else altogether. Some people celebrate no winter holidays, believe it or not.

Despite the fact that so many people proclaim the separation of church and state, the United States is a Christian nation. Winter break includes Christmas but not typically any of the days of Hanukkah, let alone all eight of them. Easter is another holiday that closes down the government and schools. People who are not Christian understand the significance of these holidays. You probably know little about Hanukkah or any other Jewish holiday.

Your normal isn’t everyone else’s default. It’s dangerous and limiting to think that. It’s wonderful to learn what you don’t know — and then to make that something you do know, however.

If you celebrate Christmas, then I hope it’s a good one. If you don’t, I hope other people do not offend you. Either way, I hope you’re not a dick.


Oct 20

The Inevitable Gaming Computer Comparison

After the giddiness of having ~~a new thing~~ has passed, I’m giving some serious consideration to what I like about my Y50 and what I don’t like. As a whole, there’s nothing that’s a deal breaker that would make me return it, but I do sigh wistfully at a few features that I preferred with my Alienware M15x.

Let’s start with the positives, of which there are quite a few.

  • The Y50 is much lighter. It’s missing an internal DVD drive, but my bundle included an external. Since I won’t need it very often, this is fine.
  • The brushed aluminum looks fantastic, and it still has a profile reminiscent of a car. The velvet-cote plastic surface surrounding the keyboard feels fantastic.
  • The speakers are situated in a position so you get the most sound, and it’s rich and deep. It’s hard to believe these are laptop speakers I’m talking about. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed listening to music like this before.
  • Using the arrow keys to control volume and brightness just makes sense!
  • Battery life seems longer.
  • Greater pixel density in the screen.
  • Google Play Music free trial? I’ll take it!
  • There’s also a free Intel game bundle including Total War: Rome 2, which I have yet to install.
  • Finally, it’s fast. Of course, the 4th gen Core processors didn’t even exist four years ago when I bought my first laptop, and that was a 1st or 2nd gen i3! It comes with only 8GB RAM, but this hasn’t been an issue at all.

Plus. 1 terabyte hard drive? Who needs that? XD

But there are just some areas in which my Alienware still reigns supreme.

  • I love choosing colors for the keyboard backlighting and various LEDs. I like red well enough, but the new laptop lacks LEDs in as many places.
  • The lack of number pad on the M15X provided more space for keys, which were generally bigger and well space. The viagra ireland hgh human growth hormone number pad on the y%0 should be a boon, but it’s really not. Key placement is less ideal for my small hands, and I am constantly having to turn number lock on and off. Plus, the Backspace and right Shift keys are cut down to make room for the number pad, so I often find myself hitting the wrong key by mistake.
  • My Alienware has an IR port, which I have a Windows remote control for.
  • It also has a row of capacities touch buttons, including those specifically to control music. There are no music control buttons on the Y50, even though there is space for additional function keys on the top row! While music sounds wonderful, controlling it is more frustrating to control music, and this could really cause me not to do so.
  • Those buttons and all settings came with a simple yet gorgeous on screen display. The Y50’s OSD is puke green and ugly, literally.
  • The trackpad is textured in such a way that you get extremely precise feedback, and the haptic feedback on the buttons blows the trackpad of the Y50 out of the water. In comparison, the Y50 is too sensitive while also being finicky. Weird, right?
  • The screen is really impressive for watching movies or playing games.
  • My M15X came with mousepad, leather-bound instruction manual, complete reformat discs, a slipcase for travel and a few more things. It just felt overall more polished.

As a lineup, I feel pretty confident than Alienware laptops are stronger. They’re more intuitive to use for me, which is a huge bonus. The Y50 is, no doubt, better hardware, but that’s also not quite comparable given there were 4 years in between. The portability and design of the Y50 are certainly a nice break from my hefty laptop, but lack of customization options has me bummed.

I’m sure I’ll learn to love my Y50, but it’s just not love at first sight.


Oct 05

In Which Cole Writes about Minimum Wage, Fast Food and Military Benefits

Every time I see this ridiculous meme floating around on Facebook in the response that we might possibly consider raising the minimum to $15 per hour for fast food workers or, you know, anyone who works hard, I just seethe. Here is it in all its glory:

Okay, rant – For those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, let’s do some math. At $15 an hour Johnny Fry-Boy would make $31,200 annually. An E1 in the military makes $18,378. An E5 with 8 years of service only makes $35,067 annually. Hmmmmmm….. So you’re telling me, Sally McBurgerflipper, that you deserve as much as those kids getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt!

I spent a few years as a military wife, and while the base pay might not compare at first glance with the annual salary that, but there are a lot of perks that are awarded to service members and, by extension, their families. Here’s just a short list of perks I experienced as a military wife. Military.com has a whole list of benefits, too.

military benefits

This list doesn’t included bonuses for signing up, hazard pay during deployments and tons of other perks that I personally didn’t experience or am not familiar with.

What does this mean? That the $18,000 per year made by an E3 in any branch of the military is basically for non-essentials. There will never be a case in which a military member/family living on base will be without a home or utilities. Every public building on base has a phone for public use, which means you may not even need your own phone!

The salary will certainly go to some bills, including a vehicle, gas and insurance (which service members will likely get a discount on as a thanks for service). You’ll pay out of pocket for clothing and household items, which you can purchase on base without sales poker and blackjack online tax, but this comes nowhere near $18,000 per year. You could send your child to private school, waste hundreds on video games â?? Gamestop should consider building stores directly outside base gates! â?? or always purchase a brand-new vehicle.

Am I saying that military members shouldn’t make more than someone who works at McDonalds? Not really. The problem with the type of thinking that has motivated this post is the idea that fast food workers shouldn’t make $15 an hour because that’s the type of pay someone who works harder earns. The â??harderâ? job might be military or factory work or something such as being a doctor, which required years of expensive schooling. These things might all require more diligence or risk or education or experience. I’m not arguing that.

But if you’re only making $15 hourly at a risky or difficult job, you should also be paid more!

You are being fucked over just as much as the person flipping your burgers or delivering your pizzas. You are also suffering at the hands of a system that hasn’t ensured the minimum wage, and by extension, all other wages keep up with the cost of living. You’re just being fucked over a little less, which makes it manageable.

It might suddenly become more obvious if you’re making the same — or even less — as someone whom you deem has an easier job. But you should be fighting along with people who want to raise the minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do as a compassionate human being, and it will only help you in the long run, too.

There’s only one reason to oppose fair wages: because it hurts those who are wealthy and powerful. Those people are wealthy and powerful enough. Chances are, you’re not one of those people if you’re reading this. So stop acting like one of them. You have nothing in common. They will do nothing for you while continuing to take from you. You are better than that.