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About Starkess

  • Birthday 09/07/1987

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  • so totally yay
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    Chicago, IL

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  1. I finally finished Age of Ash!! Huzzah. Did I like it? Eh. Enough to finish. Guess I just didn't understand going into it that I was going to get a coming-of-age mixed with overcoming-grief character study. Which I didn't really want. I might check out the rest of the series if I hear good things, since I believe they're supposed to be interconnected but not really a single story, but as of now this series is a miss for me. Decided to re-read one of my absolute favorite books, Cyteen by CJ Cherryh, because someone asked me what it was about and I could hardly remember. Gods it's so good. I'm tearing through it and just as riveted as the previous times I've read it.
  2. I know a lot of people loved it, but it just wasn't my thing. Seems like it was a bit polarizing from other reviews I've read! I thought the main relationship was cute but also very poorly developed. Like they meet and it's obvious they're going to be a couple and then they just...are. Arthur felt so so undeveloped to me. Major MPDG vibes except as a middle-aged gay man. Even his big reveal didn't really work for me. And yes the 1-sentence-blink-and-you'll-miss-it lesbian relationship isn't even worth mentioning. I think you may be reading too much into my dinner analogy. Then again I think
  3. So last week I finished my PhD! Well, I mean, I successfully defended my thesis. I have a few corrections to deal with and some admin until my degree is officially conferred (June 4th is convocation). But basically I'm done! And I found out yesterday that I was not accepted to a fellowship that I was hoping to get. So now I'm entering job hunt mode! Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to take some time off after finishing, but I know how long the process can be and I'm anxious about finding something I like (so far, grad school has been the only job I've enjoyed and the fact that I worked maybe 30 hours a week on my own schedule contributed a lot to that...). Started up a trusty spreadsheet and so far have submitted 2 applications, guessing only about 200 more to go...
  4. Finished The House in the Cerulean Sea and found it all a bit meh. Sure it's sweet and feel-good but actually do you feel all that good after eating a bowl of ice cream for dinner? Although the book seemed to be marketed as "adult", it felt more like MG to me. A really really long MG. That never had a single surprising thing happen in it. It was all very twee and neat and all the bad things are dealt with at such a remove that they never really feel all that bad at all. Not terrible, but I wouldn't rush out and read it unless it's really your cup of tea. Next audiobook I have lined up is Endurance by Alfred Lansing. I'm not always into non-fiction, but I'm hoping this will be interesting! I am s-t-r-uggling to finish Age of Ash. I pick it up from time to time, read a few pages, maybe a chapter, then check how far along I am in the book and think "seriously, only XX%?" I see that bones of an interesting story but I think the choice of POV characters has so far been a hindrance. But maybe this is all just a sort of extended prologue and things will get interesting soon?
  5. I managed to finish this but it did not get any better. In fact it got significantly worse because it turned into a mix of half-smut, half-book. Nothing against smut, but I just don't want that when I'm trying to read a book. The tropes continued to trope, the author never developed what was a halfway-interesting fantasy premise, and I found the whole thing pretty lackluster. Next up, listening to The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
  6. Yeah this happens. And if they're polite about asking, I'm polite about saying no. Asking someone out is not an offensive thing to do.
  7. That's awesome! It's exciting to start a new hobby and you should definitely feel proud of yourself. And go forth and submit to this magazine! But word to the wise, short stories do not get accepted often. It's likely you'll have to submit it many times to many places if you want to see it published, that's totally normal and doesn't mean it's a bad story!
  8. I did the math on my fingers like three times to make sure that April is, in fact, the start of the second quarter! Just finished listening to The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. It was unbeknownst to me that this was the first Poirot novel (indeed her first published novel) until after I finished. Which makes a lot of sense, because it was good but not great. The mystery itself had lots of red herrings and twists and turns, in true Christie fashion, but a lot of coincidences rather than organic, and at times it was just annoying rather than clever. To me the highlight of the book was the narrator, one Mr. Hastings who is quite humorous in his own blindspots. I did find out after perusing Goodreads that apparently Hastings is also a recurring character, but apparently I have not read any of the other novels in which he appears. Also the audiobook was delightfully narrated with a lovely pompous Belgian accent for Poirot and it was quick and fun listen. Now I've started on listening to A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair, a fantasy romance retelling of Persephone and Hades. I already kind of hate it and I'm on like the second chapter. It seems like every contemporary fantasy romance follows the same character templates. Dark broody man. "Feisty" young woman who is perpetually angry and spends a lot of time yelling at people in incredibly stupid ways. We'll see how much longer I give this one before tapping out.
  9. Thanks! I am using moisturizer before the Vaseline but not specifically eye cream. It's the same winter moisturizer I've been using for years (had to switch when I moved to Chicago, damn these winters), but maybe my skin just needs more these days. I am about to be 35 this year... I'll experiment with some more targeted eye creams or serums to use at night!
  10. Has anyone dealt with very dry eyelids? This started happening to me like a month ago and it's driving me insane. At first, I thought I had accidentally gotten some of my retinol cream on my eyelids, as it was very similar to retinization--the skin started peeling, it was red and a bit burny, and very dry. But I haven't used any retinol cream at all since then and the skin is still peeling and dry. It's not even the driest time of the year! It looks terrible and makes my eyes look extra tired and feels bad and makes it impossible to wear eye makeup if I wanted to. I've been using a bit of Vaseline which helps but doesn't seem to be actually making it better, just soothing the symptoms. Anyway, not sure what the best avenue is. Eye creams? Plain moisturizer? Time? I'm sick of having scaly eyelids!!
  11. It's true, accents are amazing. My boyfriend has a very nice Aussie accent, although I'm so used to it now that I don't really notice anymore. Until he says something that makes me be like "what?" Today it was "shallot", I was so confused. He thinks I have a cute American accent, which is obvious nonsense as lower midwestern English is about as close to unaccented as you can get... =P
  12. I (finally!) finished Moon Witch, Spider King, which is a long-ass audio book at like 30+ hours (more like 20 for me, I can't stand 1x speed). Can't remember who tipped me off that I might try this one even though I DNF'd book 1, but thanks! I did enjoy this one a lot more. It was a lot easier to actually understand (though still quite difficult, and I probably should have read rather than listened). I didn't love this book--James goes all in on violence and grimness in ways I don't always appreciate, and I felt the story took some surprising twists and turns that were sometimes like "ooh what?!" and sometimes like "um what." and didn't feel cohesive as a narrative always. But certainly an interesting book! Still struggling through Age of Ash. I've been reading in like 10 minute increments because I get distracted and go on my phone. Not sure if I can blame the book (though seeing some y'all's comments, perhaps I can) or just how wrecked my attention span is these days!
  13. I really hope Blue Origins doesn't get the second contract with the bitchfit they threw the first time around. Alas I know they're not allowed to take that into account, and Bezos has a lot of people in Congress pushing for him, so...we'll see.
  14. Probably, yes, but flat irons can also be used to make curls and waves!
  15. It's so frustrating! Here's to recovery for us both
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