More Quotable Quotes

A while ago I did a post on 10 quotes that really summed up some of the experiences we have with endometriosis/chronic illness.  Recently, a lot of similar quotes have been popping up in my Pinterest feed, so I thought this might be a good time to do another one of those posts.

1)  “When I finally find a pain-free position…but then I have to pee.”  

All the damn time!

The quote is superimposed on an image of James Van Der Beek ugly-crying.

This one doesn’t really need an explanation, but boy, is it true (and frustrating).

2)  “Fake it til you make it doesn’t work with chronic illness”

MS, Fibro, Lupus, and the list goes on and on.... Chronic Debilitating Painful Illnesses

Image is a tumblr post by thatchronicfeeling.  It reads:

“‘Fake it till you make it’ dosen’t work with chronic illness.

Instead, the options are:

‘Fake it till you are so ill you can’t get out of bed’

‘Fake it till you have a flare’

‘Fake it till you have a flare, continue to fake it till you’re hospitalised’

OR

‘Accept that you have one or more chronic illnesses, adapt accordingly and look after yourself.'”  

I suspect most of us are guilty of trying to fake it til we make it far too many times, largely because there are enormous societal and economic pressures to do so, even though we know it doesn’t work and isn’t conducive to long-term health.

3) The Most Annoying Thing

Indeed, I still try though. Now and then, PIZZA!!!

Image reads: “The thing that kills me about chronic illness is that you can do everything right and still be sick.  You can be on the best medications, eat the best food, exercise seven days a week, sleep eight hours every night, and still be sick.  You can follow every rule, do everything your [sic] supposed to, and still be sick.”

You’re telling me.  I flew halfway around the planet to get the best surgery currently available only to discover I have another underlying condition that the surgery can’t treat.  I sleep ten or twelve hours some days and I’m still fatigued beyond enduring.

On the other hand, I did go to my Bangladeshi friend’s house the other night and eat all the high-FODMAP food, but honestly, if you could taste her mum’s dahl, you’d eat it if it killed you.

4) Of Mice and Men

Quote, 'Of Mice and Men'

Image is a quote from Of Mice and Men: “It’s just a constant battle: me against my body; my passions and my dreams and what I want to do with my life, against what I’m physically able to do.”

This really hits home.  As I write I’m supposed to be at beautiful Pearl Beach catching up with a dear friend whom I don’t see nearly enough.  Instead, I’m at home in my pjs because I couldn’t handle the journey.

5) I want to be enough

Chronically ill person

Image reads: As a chronically ill person, I don’t want to be told I can do anything if I put my mind to it.  I want to know that what I can do is enough.”

Absolutely.  It doesn’t matter how determined I am to be a prima ballerina when I can barely make it to the gym twice a week through fatigue and pain.  Rather than being told “you can do anything!”, which kind of rubs it in our faces that we can’t, tell us that we are doing really well as we are (because we are).  

6) Surprise!

Funny because it’s true

Meme of a cat face on a background partitioned into six shades of blue.  Texts reads:

“Me: so what are we going to do with my life?

Body: It’s a surprise!”

It sure it, body.  It sure is.

7)  Waste of spoons

Said every person who is chronically ill.

Image reads: Why waste spoons on shaving your legs?

I’ve had many a day in between laser sessions where I have thrown out my skirt or dress plans in favour of trousers because shaving requires far, far too many spoons.

If you can’t bear the sensation of leg hair want to know more about removal options, have a squiz at this post where I evaluate the pros and cons of a few different choices.

8) Competing Desires

yes

Image reads: I am a person who wants to do a lot of things trapped in a body of a person who wants to sleep a lot.

Never a truer word was said.

9) A Fully Functioning Body

Image result for funny chronic illness memes

Image is a tumblr post by thefairiegirl.  It is a picture of a shocked lego-person in glasses with the text:

“When I see someone with a fully functioning body:”

and the lego person says, “I’ve always wanted one of those.”

Wouldn’t it be nice?

10) Fatigue

"You don't know what fatigue is until you've had to rest after taking a shower." Life with chronic illness. Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Lyme Disease.

Image is from someecards.  A vintage image of a lady in a bathtub on a blue background, with text that reads: “You don’t know what fatigue is until you’ve had to rest after taking a shower.”

I mostly take baths now for that exact reason, and I still have to rest afterwards.

What quote resonates with you the most?

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of these quotes, follow me at https://www.pinterest.com.au/bubblesinthebrain/ and look for my Endometriosis board.

Movie Review: The Meg

Warning: contains lots of spoilers

It’s been quite some time since I shared a terrible movie with you, dear readers, so I’m going to do it again. This is one you really need to know about.

First, watch this trailer. Admire how the vibe goes from “sinister, terrifying ocean monster” to “giant shark comedy!”

The movie itself is a bit like that, although it isn’t quite so starkly divided down the middle.

I originally watched The Meg on the flight back from the UK in November last year. I also watched A Quiet Place and Get Out because I was trying to do a little horror/thriller fest. Boy, did I misjudge things with The Meg.

I thought it would be terrifying. I have thalassaphobia, so the thought of deep water with low visibility petrifies me, as do giant squid drifting through the gloom. Whilst I’m not scared of sharks in the same way, I do have a healthy respect for them, and the only time I met a shark in the actual ocean I did literally pee myself out of fear. I was under water, though, so I think the impact was lessened. I found Jaws to be scary. I’m also scared of prehistoric sea creatures, like the liopleurodon, and yes, the megalodon. Anyway, I thought that this movie had a really promising combination of things that terrify me. On paper, it was my worst nightmare.

Image description: liopleurodon, which kind of looks like a green slug with a crocodiles head and four flippers.  Kind of cute until you remember it’s 7 metres long and weighs more than 1.5 tonnes.  Image credit: wikipedia

In practice, not so much. The bottom of the ocean was charmingly illuminated by phosphorescent wiggly things and submarine lights, and because nothing could really come up from underneath them (my biggest fear about the ocean is things being beneath you) the first part of the movie lost some punch for me. There was also the utter implausability of the whole “how the megaladon survived” theory. The first death was touching but there was no terror. There was no submarine sneaking through the dark. It was just a “mysterious” large creature smacking into things and causing mechanical failures for a very long time, twice.

Enter the grizzled hero (Jason Statham) and the absurdly pretty Li Bingbing as his love interest and badass marine biologist. She does an impulsive thing, probably because WOMEN don’t listen to MEN and nearly gets eaten by a squid but then she learns that THE MAN is right and a tender romance blossoms, because nothing is hotter than being told you’re wrong and then being saved from a squid (notably by the megalodon, not Jason).

Image result for the meg jonas and suyin
Image description: Lee Bingbing and Jason Statham sitting on a boat in wetsuits looking serious.  Image credit: Screen Daily

There’s this whole backstory about how several years ago, Jason Statham was on a rescue mission for a submarine which had been attacked by the meg, which nobody except him believed, and he had to leave some people to die, and the doctor who certified him as mentally ill after that is now on the deep sea research station that discovers this megaladon . Other people continue to contradict or not believe Jason Statham, and the movie sort of ends up as a weird giant-shark-infested parable about why you should always believe Jason Statham, even when he’s positing that prehistoric giant sharks are attacking submarines.

Things get a little scarier in the next part of the movie when the folks move back onto the partially-submerged hi-tech deep-sea research station and the shark nearly kills Li Bingbing’s daughter (in addition to her other badassery, she’s a single mother). Then a couple of whales get eaten and I cried a little. Lots of whales die in this movie.

The crew the resolve to rid the earth of this giant shark. There are some boat-based shenanigans, then some shark-cage shenanigans where Li Bingbing shoots the shark in the mouth then nearly gets eaten, then Jason Statham swims around and snatches her from the Jaws of death (see what I did there?), the shark dies from the poison on Li BingBing’s shooty spear, and everyone celebrates.

Image result for the meg
Image description: shark cage shenanigans.  Li Bingbing in a clear Plexiglas shark cage in the jaws of the megalodon.  Image credit: Bloody Disgusting.

Then another megaladon leaps from the ocean and eats the carcass of the first one.

Not joking.

Meg 2 smashes the boat the matchwood, kills or seriously injures a number of people, including Li BingBing’s father, then swims to a Chinese holiday resort, crashes a wedding and tries to eat some tourists.

Image result for the meg
Image description: top down view of Meg 2 drifting underneath a bunch of Chinese tourists on paddleboards, her fin just breaking the water.  Image credit: Study Breaks Magazine

At this point, the billionaire who owns the station tells the scientist and crew, who for some reason include Ruby Rose smouldering her vaguely androgynous way through the complexities of deep sea computer systems, to evacuate, and that he’s told the Chinese navy and they’ll fix it. He then sneaks off in the middle of the night, having done no such thing, blows up a whale he thinks is the megalodon, and in a very slapsticky sequence gets eaten himself. The megalodon carries on sharking.

Image result for the meg ruby rose
Image description: Ruby Rose pulling a quirky yet very attractive face at someone off-screen.  Image credit: Bloody Disgusting

The team back aboard the station then twig that the billionaire is an arsehole and that they need to do this shark hunt themselves.

Thankfully, Statham and Co have another boat, two submarines and a recording of whale song, so they are able to lure Meg 2 away from the tourists and into their fiendish trap. Their fiendish trap seems to mostly involve barely functional torpedoes. When the torpedoes inevitably fail, Jason Statham drives a twisty bit of metal poking off his damaged sub through the Megalodon’s belly, jams another poison needle in its eye (because apparently a massive gut wound is only a minor inconvenience to a shark), and a bunch of ickle great whites, hammerheads and other more usual sharks spring forth and eat it. The Chinese wedding is able to continue and the dog we all thought got eaten turns out to be fine.

Let’s be totally clear about something. This is not a thriller in the same way that Jaws was. There’s no sense of suspense or terror. There’s a couple of moments where you tense up, but generally its because you can see exactly what’s about to happen. It’s not scary. It’s an action movie with some shark slapstick.  The only real suspense comes when you realise that the directors are going to let anyone but Statham and Li get eaten, so you don’t know who is on the menu next.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie takes itself sooo seriously, which is really funny. The acting is actually quite good given what the cast have to work with. The CGI could be a lot worse. The shark is actually properly huge, unlike in the computer game Stranded Deep, where the megalodon is not much bigger than your standard great white. If you are willing to suspend quite a lot of disbelief and ignore all the massive holes in their sciencey theories, it is a very fun, action-packed movie with some light bits of comedy and genuinely likeable (and some hateable) characters. If you find yourself with 130 minutes of nothing to do, they would not be wasted if you filled the void with this.

Image result for stranded deep megalodon
Image description: a poorly rendered megalodon leaping from the sea.  There is a poorly rendered dead whale underneath it and a poorly rendered shipwreck behind it.  Image credit: NOGAMEdoesPC on youtube

10/10 would watch again.

Have you seen it?  What did you think?

Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I’m not usually a fan of the modern chick flick/romcom.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, they just don’t really do anything for me.  I have an equal apathy towards movies about sports or music.  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, though?  Sign me up for a rewatch.

The movie follows Lara Jean, a high school student who sort of has a crush on her sister’s boyfriend, and over time has had crushes on four other lads.  To each of these lads she has written a love letter and keeps said letters in a pretty box in her wardrobe where no one will ever see them.

The story begins with Lara Jean’s older sister (the one with the boyfriend) going off to university in Scotland and leaving said boyfriend (Josh) back in the US with a broken heart.  Lara Jean is naturally filled with conflict and angst, until her helpful younger sister finds those letters and mails each and every one of them off to their intended recipients.  Two of them (Josh and a boy called Peter) go to Lara Jean’s school.  Peter has, very fortuitously, just broken up with his girlfriend Gwen, Lara Jean’s nemesis.

After some brief and enteraining hijinks, Lara Jean and Peter enter into a contract; they will fake date.  Peter will do it to fill his ex’s heart with jealousy and make her come back to him; Lara will do it to convince Josh and everyone else that she is not in love with him, because the awkwardness of being in love with your sister’s very recent ex is pretty extreme.

You can see where this is going, of course.  Slowly, adorably, and with many complications, Lara Jean and Peter realise that their fake relationship is becoming the real thing.  It becomes a big old will they/won’t they thing.  It’s really sweet.

I don’t know what it is about this movie that makes me so happy.  It could be that we have not one but three Asian American women, one of whom is the lead, and none of whom are token or stereotypical.  Maybe it’s that the people who spread rumours about Lara Jean are shot down by Peter, who could have bolstered his reputation as a stud by letting them spread.  Maybe it’s the adorable dynamic in Lara Jean’s family, the bonding over absent family members between Lara Jean and Peter, or even just the really sweet, cathartic ending that didn’t feel cliched even though you could see it coming a mile off.  The characters are well-rounded and well-developed.  Lara Jean’s little sister is hilarious and adorable.  Lara Jean’s relationship with her very feminist and slightly wacky best friend is super fun to watch.  I was never bored.

I really enjoyed the way the story was told, too.  Sometimes we get flashbacks to little Lara Jean and her historic crushes (really cute!).  Sometimes we see her talking to imaginary versions of Peter and Josh.  Sometimes she narrates the story, and at other times is totally oblivious to things happening around her.  Keeping it switched up like that helps keep you engaged, but also keep it firmly in the cutesy chick-flick arena.  It also helps build your sympathy and affinity for Lara Jean as the protagonist.  She’s already likeable, but this puts you in her head.

If you want your teenager to have a healthy view of how relationships should be and understand the importance of communication, this is a great movie for them to see.  If you want to watch something cute and satisfying and just plain nice, this is a great movie for you to see.

Have you seen it?  What did you think?  What other Netflix originals have you tried of late?  Let me know in the comments.

10 Ways to Help

People with endometriosis often need help. We don’t necessarily like it, but it is all too often a fact.  Pain leaves us unable to complete basic tasks such as grocery shopping, going to work, driving, or even standing up.  If you have a friend or loved one suffering from endo, chances are you want to know how you can help them.  So, without wanting to put too much pressure on you, what can you do?  Well, here’s a few ideas:-

  1. If you are doing your groceries, message them and see if they need anything. My bestie does this for me all the time, and while I’ve yet to take her up on it, my heart glows when she asks because it’s really kind of her.
  2. Consider other errands they may need help with. For example, do they have any parcels at the Post Office waiting for collection? Do they need to return library books or rented movies, or post letters of their own? If you are heading in that direction, check if there is anything you can do.
  3. When you are at their house, ask if there are any household tasks you can help out with, such as the washing up or stacking the dishwasher. Again, this is something I tend to turn down (except when my mum offers, because she’s my mum and it’s different when it’s your mum) but one day I may be in so much pain that I’ll take someone up on it. You don’t need to offer to chuck their dirty undies on for a wash or anything, but watering the plants, reheating their wheatbag or letting the dog out might be something that could help.
  4. Keep them company. As I’ve written about before, endo is super isolating because getting out can be really hard. Kicking back at their place and watching a movie or eating yummy food with a pyjama/yoga pant dress code means the world.
  5. Walk the dog, if they have one. My mum and my sister-in-law have both done this for me on days when my husband can’t, for whatever reason. It takes a massive load off me and frees up my husband in the evening to care for me instead of being out and about. Plus, dogs are great.
  6. Pick some low-key, cheap activities. I’m not saying you can never go clubbing again for fear of offending your endo-friend, but every now and again a movie night, board games night or relaxing spa day could be the perfect change of pace for you and a great way to include them. It also helps them where activities have minimal cost as endo is incredibly expensive and tends to impact earning ability as well.
  7. Be spontaneous where you can. One of my biggest problems is I can’t commit to things in advance because I just don’t know that I’ll be well enough. If your endo friend calls you and asks you out and you can do it, do it. They are having a rare good day and taking advantage of it should provide fun for all.
  8. Offer lifts. Not everyone with endo has trouble with driving, but some us do due to referred pain in our legs or backs. Some days, having someone else available to drive me can make the difference on whether I can leave the house or not. If you’re both going the same way, see if they want to carpool.
  9. Keep asking them. Your endo friend may be flaky by necessity but it doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate being asked out. There may well be days when they are absolutely capable of coming and are thrilled to have the chance. Just because they’ve flaked 9 times out of 10, please don’t give up on them.
  10. Support them emotionally. This is such a debilitating disease. I cannot adequately explain how exhausting, depressing and just utterly draining it is, or how painful the rollercoaster between hope and despair can be. Sometimes we really just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to rant at. Hug us. Thrust tissue boxes in our direction. Pat us awkwardly on the shoulder.

And, for bonus points, look after yourself. If you are dealing with way too much of your own stuff, don’t feel like you have to listen to ours.  If you can’t be there for us, let us know – trust me, we will get it – and always feel free to ask for support in return.  We would love the opportunity to help someone back, and chances are, we owe you!  Plus, even if none of that is true, it’s all part and parcel of being friends.  🙂

App Review: Forge of Empires

Once again, I’m about as far away from reviewing new and cutting edge as you can get, because Forge of Empires has been a thing since 2012.  I started playing in 2016 because I was sick as you can get with a monster flare-up post-surgery, and I have yet to lose interest to this day (actually quite an achievement for my attention span).  Personally, I’m always on the look-out that will keep me entertained during flare-ups, in doctors’ waiting rooms, in the emergency room, etc, without requiring too much mental capacity.  This fits the bill exactly.

I should say that Forge of Empires is also playable on the desktop, and that does give you access to slightly more features.  However, I like the app interface better and have other games I’d rather be playing on the computer.  My personal view is that this game just works better as an app.

I initially met Forge of Empires through one of those annoying pop-ups that kept happening in another ad.  I think I went, “FINE!” and downloaded it to see if it would shut the thing up.  Then I started playing and I take back my initial annoyance.  FoE just wanted me to know that it could make my life more fun.

A nifty little world-builder by InnoGames, FoE lets you craft an empire however it most suits you – combat, trade, or going it alone.  You can play in worlds from Arvahall to Rugnir.  I’m in Brisgard, Dinegu (still not sure how you’re supposed to pronounce that – let me know your thoughts in the comments) and Griefental.  Worlds with names at the beginning of alphabet (Arvahall, Brisgard, Cirgard etc) are older than those at the end Mount Killmore, Odhrovar etc), and usually have more advanced players in them.  This makes you a tiny fish in a huge pond, but also lets you access the experience and assistance of top players if you join a good guild.  I’ll talk about guilds in a minute.

You start in the Stone Age, but the brief tutorial will quickly take you into the Bronze Age.  In each age you get shiny new buildings, technology and troops.  My three empires are currently in the Late Middle Ages (Dinegu), the Colonial Age (Brisgard), and the Progressive Era (Griefental).  You also get new territories to conquer on the world map, which in no way at all resembles our earth.  No sir.  That’s definitely not America I just conquered.  Nope.

As you progress you will also gain blueprints that will let you build Great Buildings.  These are rather attractive replicas of famous landmarks past and present, such as the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Alcatraz, and Hong Kong’s Innovation Tower.  These all give you different rewards.

Now, I talked earlier about the different ways to grow your city.  You can, if you like, focus entirely on the military aspect of things, study the combat system and create dozens of troops, ruthlessly attacking and plundering your neighbours.  Personally, I’m not a fan of the combat system and find this a relatively inefficient way of gaining resources (not that I leave my neighbours entirely in peace).  If I want to play a proper combat game of this sort, you’ll find me in Age of Empires or Total War.

You can go solo in this game, not joining any guilds and having allegiance to nobody.  I was that way for a little while, but personally, I find the benefits of a guild too good to resist.  A guild gives you a group chat where you can trade goods, help each other upgrade your Great Buildings, and most importantly, get help and advice.  Learning from your own mistakes is good and all, but I would prefer to learn from other peoples’.  It also gives you access to some of the more fun parts of the game, such as the Guild Expedition, where you have to either fight or solve a sort a little puzzle to get through the jungle and on to great rewards.  It is a weekly event and some guilds get really into it.  The more wins a guild gets, the more power they get and the more benefits they can pass on to members.

There are five main resources in the game – supplies, coin, goods, forge points and diamonds.  Coins and supplies let you build buildings and produce goods.  Goods let you trade for things in guild expeditions and the world map.  Forge points let you research tech and upgrade Great Buildings.  Diamonds let you build super-duper buildings, heal troops faster, buy blueprints for Great Buildings, and generally just buy your way to an easier time.  You can buy them with real money, made easier by the fact that the rest of FoE is free.  I am a cheapskate who refuses to spend money on apps, so I just hang about til I win them in the Guild Expedition or in the quests that are constantly popping up.  I have about 600 without having spent money on them.

The thing I like about FoE is that you can play it at your own pace as well as in your own way.  Sure, you can set your buildings to produce things every 5 minutes if you want.  However, if you are at work or just as lazy as me, you can set them for an hour, 4 hours, a day or, in some buildings, 2 days, so you don’t have to be constantly keeping tabs.

Personally, I think it is really cool to see your city getting better and better, and to meet the competing demands of population vs happiness, or goods production vs the supplies you need to make them.   Constant quests give you a reason to keep playing, and guilds make it a fun and supportive environment.

Do you play FoE?  Drop your name and neighbourhood in the comments so we can be friends!  I’m QueenAthenae.  I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with this app, and whether you prefer desktop or device!