The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


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Lonely Journey


I have been sore… Really sore. It’s made me not want to leave my bed for days now. I’m also stressed… Really stressed. I’m stressed because I have the longest to-do list I think I’ve ever had and I have absolutely no idea where to start. I’ve gotta get my taxes done, get on The Boyfriend’s ass to get his taxes done, we’ve got a house that is perpetually dirty and even when I work my ass off on keeping it clean, can’t seem to keep it that way. We’ve got a lot of money-stuff to figure out, not necessarily because we’re hurting in that department, but because we don’t want to be hurting in that department a few months from now. Plus, these weekly appointments of ours are just causing me a lot of headache, so much planning around that every week…

I’m just stressing in general…

Not to mention the mound of work I’ve created for myself online and the amount of times that I’m too sore to get on the computer, it’s just a never-ending long list of things that have to get done and that seem to never get any closer to actually being done. It’s a headache and a half. I mean, I’m happier than I’ve ever been that all the work that I’ve been doing for the last long while is finally getting going somewhere, it feels like a great accomplishment. I’m even happy about the headache of going into this new “future” with all my online activities. It’s just a lot to deal with and it gets to the point of feeling overwhelming when it’s just little ole me and no support in real-time about this stuff.

Like for example, I go to brag online about reaching over 100 members in The Erotic Writers Community and people online are cheering me on, “Keep up the good work!”-style, then I go to my Mom and The Boyfriend and brag again, and both of them stare at me blankly and in monotonous tones drearily reply, “Oh, that’s great…”. I’ll never get over how isolating all my online activities are, because no one else seems to be interested… Did I even tell you about the conversation The Boyfriend and I had the other night?

He’s going off about how I need to finish reading one of his R.A. Salvatore books, since I started reading the series and now the next book that I have to read, he only has in this huge hardcover 3-volume thing. It’s way too heavy to read in the bathtub, the only place I really ever get around to reading. I roll my eyes at him, because he’s always pestering me to read these books even though he knows I’m not a huge fan of fantasy-novels. It’s different with R.A. Salvatore, because I’ve found the Drizzt stories to be incredible, but I’d rather read my books every once and awhile.

Then, later, he goes off about how I need to start playing this and this game, so that we could talk about it, compare scores, blah blah blah. Again, I roll my eyes and say to him, “It’s kind of dumb that I have to be interested in all the things that you’re interested in, and you don’t have to be interested in any of mine. How many times have I begged you to read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty? When was the last time you even looked at my blog or my website? I don’t even recall you reading the story that I wrote and I made a whole damned blog around your story!!”, to which his response was to pout cutely and give me his “You’re making me feel guilty” face.

And prior to this conversation, I never really thought about how much that stuff bugged me, because it didn’t really seem relevant. It seems like such petty stuff to care about at all. But after this conversation (more like venting) and after his lack of real response, it’s just kind of sticking with me. And not that The Boyfriend isn’t more interested (even though when I do really think about it, it stings), but just that there’s no one that’s interested. And I know that there’s other people out there… Just not in my sphere I suppose.

I still just find it incredible that in the entire time that this blog has been going, The Boyfriend has never even visited the page. Never even looked at it. On one of my old blogs, apparently I wrote something that basically said I was unhappy with The Boyfriend (although, no matter how hard I try, I cannot find this entry at all). His sister, who used to read my blogs, told him about this post and he decided on that day that he would never read about the “mean things” I was writing about him. I still don’t know what post he thinks I was being mean to him in, because when I read back through all those posts, I don’t see it that way – but I guess that’s what happens when you’re the one writing and feeling and stuff…

Don’t get me wrong, The Boyfriend is incredibly supportive about all my online stuff. He’ll listen patiently as I ramble on about idea after idea and he leaves the computer wide open for me for whenever I get a jolt of online inspiration and need to be in front of the computer, he doesn’t mind when I’d rather blog than cuddle and he’s willing to put his hard earned money into all of my blogging adventures. He supports me entirely on this journey. But it’s still a lonely journey…

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Self-Promotional Babbling


I have so many online-type things that I have to get done today that it’s almost a little ridiculous. I stayed up late last night waiting on The Boyfriend to get home and during that time, sat on the computer clicking around without actually accomplishing anything. I literally have so much that I want to get done that I went to bed dreaming about it all and woke up this morning, earlier than both The Boyfriend and I had planned for me, because the thoughts of all the stuff that I want to get done were drowning out my ability to sleep.

I don’t know if anyone else here is as nutty as me, but I spent the entirety of last night dreaming about Google+… As you know, The Erotic Writers Group on Google+ has recently jumped over the 100 member mark and let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. On Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, we are only able to have 50 members at a time and when I reached that the first time, I was more than thrilled. But 100!! That’s an awesomely epic number.

But I really want to use Google+ more and better. Right now, I’m really only active in this one community – even though I technically have 2 communities going and I think it’s 2 pages (for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous and Blog-A-Holic Designs), but I don’t update them enough. I also never write personal status updates, even though I would really enjoy doing so. I generally just want to use Google+ more, at least as often as I use Facebook. But even then, when it comes to computer-related things, my activity has dropped dramatically recently and I want that to change.

I also want to learn more about Google+ hangouts and had that on my brain non-stop last night. I mean yes, it would be fun to do a hangout for personal reasons, but for the most part, I’m thinking about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous stuff. And while I’ve done tons of research on things like broadcasting an online radio show or writing a script for YouTube videos and have a wad of tips and tricks stashed in my brain desperately waiting for use, I feel like it’s not Google+ specific enough and want to do a lot more research on it.

Question: Do you know of any good adult-themed Google+ hangouts? If so, share them in the comments, because I really want to see what other people are doing!

It’s incredible how long my list of things to do on the internet is, easily it’s way longer than my list of things to do in real life… It’s to the point where I’m stressing out about it, because it’s just so much stuff. One of the one’s that’s really bugging me is coding. Back when I first started this whole online venture, I spent some time and taught myself some HTML and some very basic CSS – just enough to get what I needed. It seemed to come pretty easy for me back then and I seemed to understand all of the information that was being hurled at me. And all that information stuck with me to the point where I can easily write HTML and it’s not a big deal for me.

But lately, as I’m back on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous re-design again, I’ve been thinking about my need to upgrade my HTML and CSS knowledge – not only because I really want more of a visually appealing, beyond fully functional, easy-to-use website, but also because with HTML5 and CSS3 being the web standard of the future, I’d like my sites to include it. I also really want to wrap my head around things like JavaScript and jQuery, because some of the things that I really want to accomplish and add to my site can only be done with these things. Again, that stuff has to wait until the site is upgraded to use on it and at this point, I can’t be 100% sure when that’s going to happen.

The Boyfriend and I keep planning for it to happen during this time and time time and that time, but when the time actually rolls around, can’t afford it. I’m hoping after this little tax season here, that we’ll be able to do it easy peasy, but until then, I’ll just have to be patient and we all know how good I am at that…

Needless to say though, I have work to do, so I will catch you all later. Man oh man though, this list better start getting shorter soon…


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Finally Catching Up On 1000+ Unread Posts


It’s a seriously daunting task whenever I “forget” to check in on my Google Reader for awhile and then go back and see some of the numbers next to my unread count amounting to large numbers. Like for instance, the 1000+ posts from Mashable that I haven’t read in my Google Reader (though I follow them on Facebook, so catch some of the posts while I’m checking that). And after every time that I spend some time away from the computer, I spend a lot of time catching up on everything… It takes a few days, but once it’s done, I find it rejuvenating and inspiring.

Let’s take a walk through some of the awesome posts I’ve missed in my absence:

  • From my Blogging & Social Media Folder

    The following posts are from some of my favorite blogs about Blogging, Social Media and Tech:

    • It’s Possible To Post To Facebook From The Afterlife
      Author: Justin Lafferty | Source: AllFacebook.com

      This kind of thing has been on mind a lot lately. I don’t want to just die and have nothing ever said to the one’s I really care about. I think being able to do it on Facebook is awesome, because who doesn’t use Facebook? However, I also think that it’s impersonal and a little creepy. I don’t want to go onto Facebook to constantly be reminded of my dead friends…

    • INFOGRAPHIC: Ways to Get More Shares on Facebook
      Author: Justin Lafferty | Source: AllFacebook.com

      I’m always a huge fan of infographics. I’m not sure what it is about them that I love so much, I just know that I really like getting my information in infographic form. This one offers up a couple of ways to get more shares on Facebook including posting at particular times of day and more frequently as well as using your authentic voice and captivating images. Good tips!

    • Why Google Glass Could Be Bad For Your Eyes
      Author: Samantha Murphy | Source: Mashable

      I think, even if Google Glass was bad for my eyes, I’d probably still want a pair…

    • Google Glass May Arrive for Consumers by End of Year
      Author: Emily Price | Source: Mashable

      Say what?!? By the end of the year?!? And really, considering what these things are supposed to be able to do, $1500 isn’t that outrageous. I want it!!

    • 10 Awesome Things That Happened At The Star Trek Reunion
      Author: AshleyRose Sullivan | Source: Mashable

      With all my recent musings about Star Trek, it’s no wonder that this is added to my list. I’ve kind of become really obsessed and have more than once searched the internet for both Brent Spiner (my most favorite character on the show) and Patrick Stewart (because how can you not love Jean-Luc Picard?!?). They all sound like an epic crew!

  • From My Favorites Folder

    The following posts are from bloggers who I can consider to be people I look up to and are typically bloggers that I’ve been following for years:

    • I’m Online
      Author: lunaKM | Source: lunaKM

      One thing that I love about the way that lunaKM writes is how she pulls you into her situation. While you may not be experiencing popularity from your blog, you can understand what she’s going through and how she’s talking about it. I love being pulled into her world!

    • Sex Addiction – Dr Jenn & Dr. Neil Cannon
      Author: Dr. Jenn | Source: Dr. Jenn’s Den

      In this episode of In The Den with Dr. Jenn, there is short discussion about sex addiction and the issues with labeling someone as a sex addict and how to deal with it if you feel you have it. I’ve often been curious about sex addiction and think that I would make a great sex therapist specializing in this matter.

    • The Hubba-Hubba Girl: Evelyn West, double bill
      Author: Gloria | Source: Gloria’s Oversexed Mind

      I absolutely loved the video in this post. It’s cute how she tells you where she got her clothes as she’s taking them off. I don’t where Gloria finds this stuff, but it’s pretty freaking spectacular. I’m sharing tons of her stuff over on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Tumblr blog!

    • Butt Bongo, the hipster version
      Author: Gloria | Source: Gloria’s Oversexed Mind

      Okay, this one is so good that I’m just reposting the entire video! You all know that I’m a fan of hand-drumming, based on my post This Should Be a Viral Video… IMHO, but this one is so so so so so much better than that! Now I just need to decide if I want to be the drummer or the drum…

I’ll leave it on that note, though there are a couple other really great posts, like this one from Submissive guide about boot-blacking or this one about prostate massage from a contributor to SexIs. There’s just too much good stuff to read! What’s your favorite post and why?


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Failure is Natural, Apparently


It’s just absolute second nature to me, failing… I fail at everything and usually it’s in the most epic way possible. I can’t just complete a freaking goal. Seriously, how hard is it to blog every single day? Not that hard, especially when I’ve had so freaking much to write about. But, this is the first time in at least 5 days that I’ve even gotten on the computer…

The funk that I had been talking about a few days ago, not only got worse but lasted for a long time. Even at this point, I’m not sure I’m out of it or if this is just a little break it’s allowing me to take. I haven’t felt this agitated, depressed, overwhelmed, and just generally upset in a really long time. Today, thank goodness, is being a decent day and I haven’t been boggled down by nothing but negative thoughts but it’s the first day in almost a week that I’ve felt this good.

For the most part, this last week really sucked.

First, I lost all love of blogging literally overnight. I even sat down with The Boyfriend and had a serious discussion with him about not blogging anymore… I’m not sure what sparked this feeling that I’m done with it and I still haven’t even made a decision one way or another. I just sometimes feel like I waste so much of my time on blogging (on all my blogs) and for no real purpose. I’m just losing all my blogging hope. Hope for what, I don’t know, but I’m losing it… And I can’t believe how seriously I’ve considered stopping, because if I don’t have blogging, what do I have?!?

Then, the week continued to get worse as I felt more and more bad about thinking about quitting blogging. My Mom had come over after I had had a stressful couple of days and was just feeling generally down and out. As we’re talking on my bed, a lady comes up to my door. Turns out, yet again, someone called Child Services on us – this time, we apparently had no food. I invited her into the house and was all proud because our cupboards were filled with food, so there was no merit to this report that they had gotten. But because of our previous issue with them, she’s decided to keep our case opened…

Our house was relatively clean and what wasn’t cleaned, got that way before she came over again. I figured it would be as simple as showing her that we could get the little bit of mess that was here cleaned up and she would close our case and everything would be fine. But no… Instead, she thinks that both The Boyfriend and I need some additional parenting help, so until we start getting that, our case is staying open.

I wish that I didn’t have to keep proving myself over and over again as a perfectly capable parent. Yes, my house gets dirtier than it should and that’s something that I am sincerely working on. Other than that, there is nothing anyone can say about me that puts me into the bad parent category that continually needs to be monitored by a government agency. They’ve interviewed the kids multiple times now and each time results in the same thing, the kids saying that they are happy in the situation they have and that they wouldn’t change it for the world… They’ve now interviewed me multiple times and The Boyfriend twice and they know we are aware of the problems we do have, we are taking steps to deal with the problems we do have and we’re willing to do even more. I’m not sure what more we could possibly do to prove that we’re not shit parents.

And I’m absolutely tired of people who have never even set foot into my house, calling about things they have no idea about. We don’t even know who called on us this time, which just drives me even more up the wall. It was most definitely someone who has never been in my house, that’s all I know for sure. It makes parenting so much harder though when you aren’t even given the chance to be confident in what you are doing, but instead are constantly wondering when the next time someone is going to file a false report about you. I just hate that I work my ass off day in and day out to provide my kids with the things they need, to give myself to them and be there for them, when I’m exhausting myself stressing out about them, and none of it seems to make even a fraction of a difference. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s comforting, haters gonna hate…

After the lady left, both the first and second visits, I was beyond ready to throw in the towel. I kept saying over and over again that if the government really thought I was just that terrible of a parent, they should just take the kids or that I should just send them to live with Alfie and let him deal with constantly having every aspect of his parenting shoved down his throat as an improvement he needs to make. Obviously, these are only thoughts and not actually something I would do. I couldn’t stand having my kids taken from me, even by their own dad…

Then, my brother was in the hospital for a couple days and we were all excited about any progress he might be able to make. They put him back on the same old meds that he was on last time, at a super-low-dose and then sent him home. For a day or two, he seemed alright. A little bit crazy here and there, but nothing that wasn’t manageable. Then, out of nowhere, he’s right back to absolute crazy even while he’s still on the meds. So, we’ve been dealing with him whenever the house that he’s living out no longer feels “safe” to him. It’s stressing everyone out and we all seem bitchy because of it.

It’s just been a whirlwind week of crap and I don’t even think I’ve opened the whole can left. It’s like when you open a can of corn and you’re shaking it all out but there’s still a huge clump of kernels not letting go. I haven’t even delved into that clump. That’s how I feel… It sure makes a person want to sleep a whole heck of a lot!


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I Need Constructive Criticism…


I’ve been thinking about this for a really long time now. I really want some constructive criticism regarding the blog here. I can no longer keep my head when it comes to deciding what I like and what I hate. I know that it no longer feels right and I want to make a change, but I’m having the hardest time just focusing on this blog… Another issue of having so many.

Another issue is that my other blogs generally stick to a certain type of niche. I can keep things more organized and stuff. But this blog, about whatever this blog is about, is an unorganized mess and I’m just not getting the satisfaction that I’d like every time I hit publish. Instead, I think about how much of everything I want to change…

So, I desperately need your feedback. I just want to know what others think about the overall design of the blog, the content available, the navigation structure, the sidebar, etc. I want to know what you think and what you think could be better. Leave your comments with your thoughts and opinions and please… be nice! Also, I’m not trying to make this some money-earning promotion-laden venue, it’s literally just a space for me to write about life in general.

Thanks to everyone who responds. Your opinions are greatly appreciated and valued!


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No Closer to Getting It Done…


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I have been absolutely consumed by the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous re-design these last few days, whenever I haven’t been trying to get up the motivation to do the cleaning…

Unfortunately, it’s not as much in the re-design as it is in the planning of the re-design at this point. First, I tried out TeamLab for working on my planning of this massive undertaking. There are things that I definitely appreciate about this app, but I just couldn’t get into the look or feel of it. I also hated that it’s just lil-old-me working on this project and this app has a huge section for community engagement, so that a company can stay connected with their employees. One day, my friend, one day…

So, I went on a day long hunt that has resulted in a more than one day experimentation with all these different apps. I went through the Chrome Web Store, which I try to do as little as possible, because this place is seriously addicting. People just go out and create these wicked things for you to use, like this really awesome tracker-thingy that I just installed, that literally lets me track everything. My food eaten, my sleep, my pain and my freaking period!! There’s even more awesome features, but I’ve only really tried out the tracking, and it’s only been for two days!

Anyways, back to the point…

Then I tried working with Teambox, but found it was a lot like TeamLab, so I moved on. There are tons of great project management apps out there and if you’re a business or a really big blog, then a lot of them are really great. But for just me – I don’t even know how to describe myself in this situation – I mainly just need a place to post all my great ideas (I say that with the utmost seriousness…) and keep track of what I’m doing. But I also desperately want to get fancy about it and be all professional and organized and treat it like my business baby.

Tonight, I’m experimenting with Podio. I haven’t gotten an iota of a step into actually planning anything to do with the site re-design, but instead have gotten lost in the fascination brought on by browsing the app market and then finding out that I can modify these apps and make them exactly what I need for what I’m doing.

Point of the story:
I’m overjoyed, but no closer to getting done what I need to get done…

Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous


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Design Woes: A Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Tale


I’m doing it again… I don’t know why I punish myself like this and I wonder how many other bloggers/web designers have this problem. I can never just leave well enough alone and I always want better. It’s like the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side type of issue but all about the design of your website.

I’m not talking about this blog, although I’ve already begun falling out of love with the design of it, but I’m talking about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. I’ve had the same design on that site since it’s infancy and I’m getting incredibly tired of it. I want a change and I want something different. But then, when I try to figure out what I want, I just completely blank.

It doesn’t help that, while I’m totally confident with HTML, even though I’m understanding CSS a lot better, I’m just not confident with it. I don’t believe I could manipulate it and get anything like what I see when I’m searching for inspiration – which I’ve been doing too much of. I can tell it’s too much, because instead of inspiring me, it’s just making me feel sad. “Oh, that’s a nice site. Too bad I’ll never be able to replicate anything close to it…”. Lots of negative self-talking going on.

The biggest thing that I can’t seem to figure out is what kind of design do I want to go for on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous? What kind would most adult bloggers appreciate and be attracted to? I personally have never seen a design that I truly enjoy on most adult websites. Ones that I don’t hate so much, okay – but one that I’m really attracted to. Nope. The sites I’m typically attracted to are the ones that you often find in the “design inspiration” type of posts – the clean, minimalistic, super-simple-to-navigate type of sites. Now, how do I execute that type of feel on a social network and still highlight all the things I want to highlight, without turning it into a cluttered mess (which is what I believe I have right now on the site…)?

Then another issue that I have is that I would prefer to make all my own images. Have social icons that look like they were made specifically for an adult blogging social network, have an overall design scheme that feels like it was created just for this site and not any other, have real quality in the layout of the content, etc. And I feel like everything I want to do requires me to at least be able to create a cool image using an editor like Gimp or Photoshop. But I am the furthest thing from a visual artist. Words and music, I can do, but create something that is visually appealing; not my finest hour.

So, not only do I have a problem actually creating these things, I have a hard time visualizing it in the first place. It automatically makes it feel overwhelming and daunting and it’s no freaking wonder I haven’t re-designed this site in forever and a day… Wow!