💬 Guest Post: Love Connections in a Pandemic

So, hi there. It’s been a while since I posted anything new here, almost a year in fact. And a LOT has changed in my life, and yours, considering we’re currently living in a pandemic. 

During my time away I’d been working on a book and falling out of a marriage, then falling out of a book and trying to rewrite my life.

It’s been… a lot.

But in the meantime I’ve made new friends and forged new paths in writing and in life.  I wanted to share something a friend of mine wrote about living through a pandemic AND divorce. I’m publishing it anonymously, for reasons which may be obvious. There’s nothing shameful or secret here, but privacy is something I respect, and ask that you do as well.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did…  

Love Connections in a Pandemic
by Anon

It all started as the world was shutting down. Schools had closed. Non-essential businesses were closing. Grocery store shelves were barren. The world as we knew it was ending.

Simultaneously, my Bumble account was blowing up. The notifications kept coming in, “We know you’re a catch – and someone else does too! Open Bumble to see who wants to meet you.” Huh?

Last minute attempts for a hook-up??? Perhaps. Lonely, bored singles looking for a connection? Also likely.

I scrolled through my growing hive (or what Bumble refers to as the Beeline) and found some choice matches. The convos started, “Hi Mark, nice profile. All stocked up for the pandemic?” In my limited experience on Bumble thus far, these convo starters, always initiated by the woman per Bumble protocol, don’t always elicit a response.

Not the case in Coronaville. The convos were rampant. Lots of back and forth, with many potential suitors. It was hard keeping up. On any given night it was easy to find myself in 3 or 4 conversations at any given time.

woman long dark hair phone

My married friends were baffled, my therapist amused. How could this be?! This was a fun and a necessary distraction from the crumbling world around us, but now what?

Apparently, it was time to up the ante.

As a newly single mother of many, I’m new to this online dating game. But, as boredom ensued, the possibilities started opening up. Sexy photos were sent. A staged photo shoot in my closet, hidden from view was a must.

There were some mishaps – don’t forget to turn off the live camera setting – it’s amazing what can be captured in 1.5 seconds of video. But, it was fun being sexy in what was quickly becoming an otherwise sexless world.

My married friends were presumably doing it – lots of jokes circulating about a 2020 Christmas baby boom. I wanted in on the action. Time to up the anteagain. Not sure how it started, but it didn’t take long to engage in what may have previously been perceived as raunchy or daunting.

Who knew simultaneous sexting orgasms were not only possible, but also addicting? 2pm in a pandemic world – why not run up to the bedroom for a quickie sext exchange?! “Hey baby, what are you doing right now cause I can’t stop thinking about your…?”

As I dove deeper and deeper into sexting and gained confidence in this new-found talent, I realized I wasn’t the only one. Glamour recently posted this helpful how-to article for newbies, but if you’d like to read some sizzling examples from the pros, look no further than Cosmo, of course.

With potentially several more months of quarantine and social distancing on the horizon, don’t let this untapped source of fun and distraction pass by. Take the first step, send that sexy photo or text (with permission of course.)

selfie

You don’t have to be divorced or single to join in. Send a suggestive text or pic to your spouse or partner. Quarantine doesn’t have to be torture 100% of the time.

My next adventure is audio recordings… what’s yours?

Feel free to leave your thoughts in comments below. Be respectful and kind. If sexting isn’t your cup of pandemic tea, move along. Otherwise chime in!

 

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The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

I’m pretty sure I haven’t ever read a Susan Wiggs novel before this one. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, this novel had me at bookshop (as they all do!) and even though I’ve had an ARC of this book for months, I finally decided to finish it today, after stopping and starting a few times a few months ago. 

I’ll confess I was cruising along with my books, and suddenly this past week I hit a wall again. Just couldn’t get through anything. So I am glad I picked this back up again, because I hit that magical place in the book that had me focusing in and forgetting about anything for awhile. Even though I didn’t do anything for July 4th but stay home and cook out, I was still feeling a bit of a holiday hangover today. After watering my flowers outside and getting laundry started, I was happy to just stay inside and read. 

This novel really is a nod to booklovers everywhere. Natalie Harper grew up in a bookstore; her mother Blythe operates a family bookshop in a building that has been in the Harper family for 100 years-a coveted building in fashionable San Francisco. After a horrible tragedy, Natalie returns to San Francisco and the bookshop, to take stock of its future, and to take care of Grandy, her grandfather. He’d recently fallen and broken his hip and was now showing signs of early dementia. Natalie had been successful at a wine brokerage firm and while she didn’t love her job, she was good at it. But it wasn’t hard to leave and return, if only to help her Grandy take care of next steps. 

Those next steps aren’t as easy as Natalie expects, when she finds out her Grandy owns the building and the bookstore, and will not sell, even after Natalie realizes they are deep in debt and behind on taxes. What’s a bookstore manager to do, but try and build up the business with a huge author event that could help pay bills and give the store much needed advertising?

Natalie also meets Peach Gallagher, a local “hammer guy” who specializes in fixing old buildings. Her mother had arranged for Peach to fix a few things in the building, and Peach is one good looking man. He’s also a really decent man, with an adorable daughter who frequents the bookstore. His friendly and calm attitude helps Natalie as she struggles between grief, understanding her grandfather’s failing health, and the tough decisions she has to make. 

So we’ve got a few things running through this story: the struggle to save the bookstore, an ailing grandfather, a potential romance, and a story that’s been handed down over the generations about a treasure that’s hidden somewhere in the building, left by Grandy’s grandmother, who died in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Is it just a fanciful story, or is there treasure lurking somewhere-treasure that could save the business?

I read this novel pretty quickly, and enjoyed it very much. No surprises, just a gentle unfolding of the story. I loved all the book references, and the peeks into what it takes to run a bookstore. Definitely a good vacation book!

This book is out in the U.S. on July 7th in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

Rating: 4/6 for an enjoyable novel about life when it makes a few sharp turns, the importance of family, and of course, the life changing magic of books. Some parts made me a little teary-eyed, so you may need a tissue! 



Snowpiercer – Film Review

South Korean science fiction film. Probably not a common export from the small country living in somewhat fear from their communist other half, but yet here it is.

Don’t let its origin scare you though, because although it is technically a foreign language film, roughly 80% of the dialogue is English, while the remainder is cleverly placed language barriers.

Staying clear of spoilers, Snowpiercer is essentially a post-apocalyptic story set in the future where a failed experiment to stop global warming has resulted in an ice age which nearly eradicates all life on the planet.

Our story centers on the last remnants of humanity, currently existing only within a train, which happens to be the namesake of the film. This train is fitted with a perpetual motion engine and has been running for seventeen years.

If this is new to you, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s quite interesting and you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual-motion

(And if you’re Simpsons fans you may already be familiar with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwXuVvqUz4g)

Now, this plot itself is already crazy interesting, however, what makes it such a fantastic watch is how the last of mankind developed this really dystopian living within this train. Several castes has sprung up, where the elites live at the front of the train, while the quality of living goes further and further down all the way to the tail of the train.

And our protagonists happen to be living at the back of this train, that is, until a revolt. A revolt where they fight their suppressors and make their way to the front of the train. As they have never left the tail of the train, watching them make their way through each section is almost like going through several Terry Gilliam movies. It’s really cool and bizarre to watch.

It features an excellent ensemble cast of very different actors, all bringing their A game. Chris Evans (Sunshine, Captain America) plays the lead and gives what is without a doubt his best performance. He is joined by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Tintin), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk about Kevin, Narnia), Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) as well as the amazing Ed Harris (The Truman Show, The Abyss) and John Hurt (The Elephant Man, 1984) who has been proclaimed, and rightly so, as one of the best actors of all time.

As I said, the film also features Korean dialogue, which comes in the form of another two actors who round out the cast. In fact, I realized after watching this that I had seen them both before, in the only previous film I had seen of the director. That was the 2006 monster movie The Host which became a big hit.

Within the train, tensions are through the roof, and outside the icy landscape create a beautiful image of wonderful desolation. While the climax is perhaps a bit lackluster, the ending can be conceived as quite brilliant as we realize that the human race might not be at the center of things.

Originally released in South Korea in late 2013, Snowpiercer was released in the US in summer 2014 to critical acclaim. If this sounds interesting at all, then it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s out on Blu-Ray and DVD, and will apparently be arriving on Netflix this November.

Keep in mind, Snowpiercer is rated R.

C+