September’s come and gone, so it’s time to take a look back at where the journey took me this month.
Before I get going on this, I’d like to welcome new friends and followers to the blog. Thank you for reading! ♥
Book reviews. In addition to the continuing Sherlock Holmes and Tolkien buddy reads, the month began with Homer’s The Odyssey. From there, I returned to another old favorite, H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, and discovered a sequel, Baxter’s The Massacre of Mankind. This didn’t work out quite as well as I’d hoped. To cleanse the palette, I listened a Jeremy Irons performance of The Poems of T. S. Eliot, which was fantastic. Keeping in the line of audio performance, I tried out a couple of Audible Originals — Sharon Washington’s Feeding the Dragon and Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys — which could not have been more polar opposite. Yet, both were incredibly good listens. My plan was to listen to the audiobook for Imogen Hermes Gowar’s The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, but despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I ended up passing on it when I learned the unfortunate truth that there’s no mermaid in it. A quality mermaid story is so very difficult to find. Hopes dashed. I may come back to it sometime down the road, but that disappointment is going to linger. Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House restored my faith in the field of actual journalism, while Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new book with Avis Lang on the alliance between the military and astrophysics offered an eye-opening look at not only the present, but the history of science and war as strange bedfellows. And despite swearing off Christianity for a while, I found myself challenged by and engrossed with Uta Ranke-Heinemann’s Putting Away Childish Things. The month ended with a little movie magic as I visited the original novels for Planet of the Apes, King Kong, and Jurassic Park.
On the whole, it’s been a rather successful month for books. With Halloween now looming, I feel the need to continue more monster stories and such, but if I’m being honest, I’m also feeling a longing to return to the Medieval and Renaissance eras. It’s starting to feel like I’ve ignored them! Related to that, I’m craving a bit of Arthurian legend. Will any of this happen? Who can say? I hope so. But right now my mind is turning in a completely different direction from any of this. More on that later.
In the movies… I didn’t blog about this, but I’ve filled a desperate hole in my Disney fandom. I’ve finally seen the original Mary Poppins. I know, I know… I’m embarrassed that it’s taken me this long. I’ve seen most of the scenes in it, but out of order and without context. I have the expanded Legacy Collection soundtrack, so I know all the music. But this was the first time I’ve seen the film as Walt intended, from start to finish. I think I’d have gotten far more out of the story itself had I grown up on it, but as a technical achievement, I most certainly appreciate it for what it is. Of course, I know quite a bit of what it took, and I know what a heavy hand Walt had in its production. I suspect that, like most classics, further appreciation will grow with repeat viewings. I’ll have to read the original novel at some point, seeing as how I know some of the uneasy backstory there between the author and Walt. I’m curious now.
Aside from that, I’ve not watched a lot of movies this month. I finally acquired the original Planet of the Apes films on Blu-ray (replacing my well-worn VHS) as well as the newly-released Solo: A Star Wars Story, but mostly all I’ve watched are second-tier documentaries on first-tier monster films. No regrets. I learned quite a bit, and it’s primed the pump for Halloween. Mostly, I’ve just watched a lot of Star Trek. I’ve made it from mid-season two to nearly mid-season three.
The biggest contributions to my site this month are two-fold. I followed through my desire to add a transgender resource page on this site, designed for both my trans sisters and brothers as well as potential allies who would seek to better understand and relate to us. And I published a post on my 50 favorite books. As a counterpoint, I’m thinking of maybe publishing a similar post in the near future on my favorite historical figures / subjects. Would this be of interest to anyone?
Also, and this is just complete happenstance… I’ve apparently got a daily blogging streak going. Today is day 42. The longer this goes, the more compelled I am to keep it going, which I suspect is the point. There’s also a part of me that says I should drop this ball on purpose so I don’t feel like that’s the reason I’m blogging. After all, I blog for me, because I have something to say (or think I do, at any rate), not because an algorithm compels me to do so.
In my personal life, things are starting to turn around a bit. Tired of insomnia, I decided after much hesitation to finally give melatonin a try for a month. I’m still in the midst of that trial period, but I’m happy to say that it’s been a vast improvement thus far. Sleep is not only a reality now, but with it comes those wonderful side effects of increased memory and focus, more energy, and a better disposition. What a concept! As I move into October, my intent is to keep this ball rolling and to build upon my newly-reinstated meditation practices. None of this changes the fact that I’m in the wrong body, but at least now I don’t feel like the body I have is actively attacking me. It’s a start.
To reinforce this, I have another new weapon in the personal arsenal as of Saturday: the iHome Zenergy.
I wish I could post all kinds of videos of this thing in action (they’re probably out there already, but I’ve not looked), but suffice to say, I’m very pleased. 10 minutes before the alarm tunes the radio to my local classical channel, it starts in with soft and distant birdsong and wind chimes, along with a programmed light to simulate dawn and sunrise, which also fades in, so it’s about as close to electronically simulating nature as possible without a full holographic experience. Wonderful thing, for purposes of programming your mind, your brain doesn’t know the difference, as evidenced by the effects of brain chemistry. The purpose is to help reset the Circadian rhythms. Going to sleep, I set the timer to whatever I want, and it plays Dream music that slows the brainwaves through Delta wave sounds, and the programmed light setting does a sunset that fades from yellow to red to black while the music fades out. And there are all manner of other various sound, music, and light settings for meditation purposes. I can Bluetooth it with my phone or with Amazon Echo if I so desire, but I’m not really seeing the need there. And what’s really nice, the light setup is covered in a thin cloth, so the lights are soft, including the orange glow of the alarm clock display. It can be dimmed, so it doesn’t light up the entire room like most clock displays do.
Keep in mind, this is in addition to my Amazon Echo, which loudly plays a background loop of airplane cabin noise all night, a high speed air filter fan, and my ceiling fan, all of which in conjunction provide white noise of different frequencies to help produce a sound barrier designed to block out things like engine noise and gun fire, because these things are obnoxious even without sensory issues. So I’m told. And on those holiday weekends when things get truly stupid, I’ve also got earplugs. Basically, all of this makes my life tolerable. The new iHome Zenergy makes it enjoyable too, at least in regards to sleep. Hey, it’s a start. But this is where my head’s been lately, looking to completely reprogram the mind-body responses that have been killing me for 20+ years. Undo the emotional memory that’s stored in the body, and it has an amazing capacity to heal itself from virtually anything you can name.
My first thought after I got it all set up was that if it had a means to project star constellations all over the room, it’d be perfect. Now I’m considering doing that too. I really miss the stars. That was one of the great perks of growing up in the country.
In other news, I’ve made a pretty good start of thinning out the collectibles and selling them. Sadly, the profits so far have just gone into helping to pay the bills, but it’s money I didn’t have before, and it’s energy that’s freed up for whatever comes next. I’m building momentum. I call that a win. What’s more important is that the very act of this, along with seeing a few shelves being emptied in the process, has a reflective effect on my soul. There’s something about a blank canvas in whatever form it comes. It calls us to create something, to fill it. I’m going to be extremely selective about what I fill that with. I don’t know what it will be yet. For now, I’m going to let the emptiness unfold. I’ll see where it leads from there. The mental shift is palpable.
And that leads me to the final bit of this. Heading into October, and into the cooler months beyond that, spiritually speaking, this is a time for personal reflection, for considering what seeds to sow for the next cycle. I’ve spent too many years in a dead end cycle of turmoil and frustration. Instead of creating my world with intent, my world has created me into someone I don’t like. I react instead of act. The harder I push back, the worse it gets. Now I’m finally in a position, mentally and emotionally, to disrupt that cycle and build anew. This year, I feel better about planting something better, but I want to be deliberate about what it is I invite into my life this time around. That is where my focus is right now. Traditionally, I tend to do better when the weather turns colder. I’m looking forward to it.
Welcome to autumn, everyone (or to spring, for those of you in the southern hemisphere). May you find happiness in your journey.