ANNUAL VALENTINE’S POST

HEARTS BY @MelindaSanchezz
HEARTS BY @MelindaSanchezz

AMBER LOVE 11-FEB-2015 It’s that time again. Yes, the annual Valentine’s post at AmberUnmasked. Will it be romantic? Nerdy? Snarky? Downright depressed? Perhaps, a mixture of all of the above. When I opened up my blank document, I had every intention of making another list of real world people that I respect, adore, crush on, and simply think are cool. Instead, I started writing almost without processing what was coming out of my fingers and this is where I landed in the end. If you want to hear about some cool alternatives to romantic dinners, listen to my episode of Vodka O’Clock with Amanda Chatel, relationship columnist.

MY NERDY VALENTINES:

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#1 NETFLIX

I’ve been kind of in a nerd funk for a while. I’ve cut back on the number of comics I read. I’m trying to increase the amount of time I spend reading novels. I’ve been glued to Netflix more than ever since losing my job and quitting my memberships that gave me any physical movement. Netflix has been my romantic partner more than anything else this past year. I’ve laughed with it. I’ve cried with it. I’ve gotten annoyed and frustrated at it. I’ve suffered anxiety during outages when it’s not there for me. Except for providing any orgasms, Netflix has been like any other relationship. I’m currently alternating between GILMORE GIRLS and PARENTHOOD because to my dismay, I’ve finished WHITE COLLAR and NUMB3RS. Also, the final seasons of PSYCH were recently posted which I cruised through, however I still want the DVDs for their commentary tracks.

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#2 PINTEREST

If I could have a gay relationship with any social network, it would be Pinterest. I turn to Pinterest when I’m stressed out and having trouble organizing my thoughts. When I feel like my brain is actually broken – that I can’t figure out how to have a thought starting at A and getting to B – I have figured out that I can absorb information in small bits. Maybe Pinterest is more of a best friend, I’m not sure. But whether it’s Galentine’s or Valentine’s, I have no regrets spending time looking up elvish fashion, comics about depression, author quotes, or photos of wondrous historic libraries. One of my favorite Pinterest searches is cottages. There are people who have the means to buy property and build fantastically creative architecture that’s magical and hidden away.

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#3 SCRIVENER

I haven’t been using Scrivener software very long. I bought it quite a while ago, but only gave it a real whirl when I decided to take the THIRTEEN LESSONS project and change it from a blog post that wouldn’t end, into an ebook. In order to do that, I needed a tool that would create ebook formats and it seemed that everyone was recommending Scrivener. It’s an extremely affordable piece of software. I have the Windows version. You can install it on as many devices as you need which was great for me because, at the time of the THIRTEEN LESSONS draft, I put Scrivener on my work computer so I could do all my writing there when it was quiet like snow days when I was one of five people in the entire building. Then I unexpectedly became an at-home writer last year and decided to use Scrivener for NaNoWriMo because of the nifty features for having a virtual corkboard, making easy folders for chapters, and most especially the project statistics and graphs. Recently, I decided to see how Scrivener would work for a drafting place for blog posts and podcast show notes. Normally, I would type in Google Drive and have it accessible from anywhere. Since I’m kind of stuck at home, it doesn’t really matter whether I sync and dropbox or have a cloud for my drafts. Other Scrivener users have all that figured out, especially the Mac users; there are ways to sync but I don’t use them.

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#4 PATREON

Patreon and I are new acquaintances. I’m not even ready to call us friends yet. I’ve had a good experience so far in getting supporters for the website and the show, so that’s all working fine. The administration of the site has some problems, including the people running it. I would like some features that I believe Kickstarter already has, like exporting a list of patrons with their contact information so I have records of the income. I don’t see how to do that anywhere. Any time I contact for tech support, it takes them days to get back to me if they bother at all. Patreon is now a part of my life and I’m willing to put in the effort to make this relationship work, but they have to do so as well or I’ll keep my eyes open for something that does it better. I’m old and impatient. You don’t have much time to impress me with your features.

Cosmo

#5 VANGOGH VODKA

Last year during NaNoWriMo, I decided that hitting writing milestones were worthy of some rewards. One of my rewards was pretty simple: teach myself how to make a Cosmo. It’s not cranberry juice + vodka; there’s more to it. I blogged about the first one I made and I’ve enjoyed revisiting my Cosmo pleasures with some remixes such as using VanGogh Vanilla Vodka instead of plain unflavored vodka. I’ve also used lemon and orange vodkas too which work really well to combine with freshly squeezed limes. Vangogh isn’t cheap, but since I’m not guzzling the stuff, it’s been consistently my favorite of the flavored vodkas because the flavors come through pure and not like some disgusting Willa Wonka sugary shit. Their dark chocolate and espresso flavors aren’t grotesquely sweet like other brands. With the exception of their Peanut Butter & Jelly, which according to my liquor retailer never sells, they take their flavors seriously.

If you’re not into Valentine’s Day either as a romantic tradition or as a commercialization of St. Valentine, wait until it’s over, get everything 50% off, and then celebrate the Romanian feast Dragobete on February 24th instead.