Food Shaming in the Time of a Pandemic

I promise that someday I’ll get back to reviewing books and chattering about pop culture, but in the meantime, here’s part two in my accidental …In The Time of a Pandemic series.


All I wanted was a candy bar.

Specifically, a Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme bar, because I’ve taken to watching Jeffree Star videos on YouTube, and the last one that I watched was a review for the Hershey’s makeup set (probably shouldn’t watch at work). I like these videos. I doubt that I’ll ever have the time to wear much makeup, but I love the videos. They’re colorful, over the top, and occasionally feature Star’s adorable herd of pomeranians. So I watched the one about Hershey’s makeup the other day, which left me with a craving for sweets.

All I wanted was a candy bar, because I’m tired of everything, and I work in a field that potentially exposes me to COVID-19 on a daily basis. I haven’t been sleeping enough. I’m constantly frayed around the edges. Every single day the pandemic creeps closer to me and I’m not dealing with it all that well. I decided to treat myself,  in an effort to cheer myself up a little.

I was sorting through the box of Cookies ‘N’ Creme bars, because they all seemed to be broken. It’s ridiculous, I know. I’m going to eat the thing, who cares if it’s already broken in half? So while I was doing this, some smirky guy, who undoubtedly thought he was funny, or maybe helping me, said “Candy’s bad for you” as he walked past me. I snapped my head up.

“So are a lot of things,” I replied without missing a beat. I was livid. I wanted to fling something at this idiot’s head. His inexplicable response?

“Like coronavirus.”

What the actual fuck was that supposed to mean? Maybe he wasn’t expecting me to actually dare to talk back to him, so he was thrown for a loop? What exactly was he expecting? Me to fall to my knees and bless his name for finally revealing some divine truth to me? I know what I look like. Let’s just say that I would have done very well back when plump women were considered the fairest in the land. I have childbearing hips; no amount of weight lost will ever, EVER make me anything smaller than a size 14, thanks to those hips.

Food shaming doesn’t help anyone. Ever. And right now? When the entire world is a literal trash fire? Kindly fuck right off and shut up. Let people enjoy things. Your criticism disguised as “helping” does nothing. Do you really think that larger people don’t know the difference between junk food and vegetables? Do you really believe that anyone needs your help or advice when they haven’t asked for it? Unless you’re a doctor or nutritionist that I’ve personally consulted, you have no right to say one goddamned word about whatever I choose to put in my mouth. And, honestly? I’m not a comfort or stress eater. Indeed, the opposite happens for me. I lose my appetite and get an upset stomach when I’m under stress. Captain Dudebro of the Food Police doesn’t know that I skipped breakfast, forced myself to eat a single soft chicken taco for lunch, and had eggs on toast for dinner. All he knows is that he saw a woman with no visible thigh gap daring to pick up a candy bar.

So, people of the world? If you’re tempted to say something to a person about the food that they’re purchasing or eating, especially right now, when many people are out of work and relying on cheaper food options? Don’t. Just don’t. Full stop. Turn around and walk away. Your advice is neither wanted nor needed, so save your breath and your intended victim the heartache. Everyone wins.

Retail Pharmacy in the Time of a Pandemic

Note: I don’t usually talk about my day job, but I can’t not right now. COVID-19 has only just now arrived in my city, but coronavirus panic started at least two weeks ago.


You get up. You get ready for work, wearily going through the paces. You kiss your spouse goodbye and head out into the world. You are a pharmacy technician, and you are exhausted.

The streets aren’t as sparsely populated as you wish they were, but then you remember that you work on the main drag of your small city; Lowe’s, Walmart, Kroger, Sheetz, Pet Supply Plus, McDonald’s, and another retail pharmacy other than your own all live on the same street, along with two urgent care clinics. Aside from McDonald’s, all of these businesses are considered essential during this entire crisis, and for lower income families, McDonald’s might as well be essential. Grocery stories, pharmacies, home improvement stories, gas stations, and pet stores are all considered essential businesses. The antiques mall is closed, and so is the little bookstore that you like to visit, among the other small businesses and local restaurants that populate the downtown area.

Get to work. Clock in. Do your best to smile, even as a gentleman who doesn’t understand English enough to read the signs (which ask the customers to please maintain at least a three foot space between themselves and the employees) gets right up in your face while he waves his phone at you, indicating that he’s looking for Airborne tablets. You can tell what that man had for lunch that day because he’s speaking less than a foot away from your nose. After he’s gone, quietly have a panic attack while you splash hot water on your face and wash your hands, all the while wondering whether gargling with some Listerine would do any good.

Answer the phone. No, we’re not closing. No, the store is, at this time, still entirely open. No, we don’t have any hand sanitizer, toilet tissue, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant wipes, or Lysol spray. Keep that smile in place while you’re waiting on people. You are the calm, cheerful center of this little corner of the universe, and you’re doing what you can to keep people as relaxed as possible. You make little jokes. You chat about inconsequential things. You bid the patients to take care and stay well as much as possible.

The drive-thru is always busy. Nobody wants to come inside. Of course, you would be happy to fetch a box of Benadryl for the elderly lady who’s too afraid to come in. No, we don’t have any hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes. No, we’re out of stock on Tylenol, you’re very sorry to say. Even the store brand. Keep smiling, even as the young woman in a mask sprays her insurance card with a little bottle of alcohol before she sends it in, then begs you to please wash your hands and wipe down the drawer after she’s gone. She’s on her way home to self-isolate because she was just tested for the virus, you see, and she’s terrified of infecting anyone else.

Most people are so very nice. So grateful that we’re still open so that they can come in and pick up the medications that they need. There’s an uptick in anxiety medication going out. You’re not surprised.

Some people are less nice. No, you don’t have any hand sanitizer or masks. No, you don’t know when you’ll be getting more. Indeed, yes, somebody should have made sure that we didn’t run out. The customer is correct, this is an incredibly irresponsible move on somebody’s part. Probably the people who came and cleared the shelves before the restrictions were put in place, but you can’t say that. Keep smiling.

No, you inform someone. The pharmacist does not have the authority to dispense a narcotic without a prescription. Indeed, yes, we are in a state of emergency. Nevertheless, some laws still apply, which means that if you want some Vicodin, you’re still going to have to get a prescription. You’ve never seen this person before in the seven years that you’ve been at this store. It’s hard not to think that they’re attempting to take advantage of the situation as they storm off in a giant huff. You wish that this part wasn’t true.

Keep smiling. You chose to be here, rather than take the offer to stay home with no consequences other than not getting paid once the PTO runs out. You chose to stay here because, even with the retail environment and corporate overlords, you’re in the health care profession and you still take that part seriously, even if a lot of people don’t.

Aaannnddd I Quit

Given that it’s been … I don’t know how many days since I’ve read the book I was referring to on Monday, I think it’s time to declare the book a DNF. I haven’t even thought about it. I am clearly just not into it, so it’s time to move on.

It’s freeing to decide that my time is worth more than a book that’s doing nothing for me. It means that I value myself enough to know when I’m wasting my time. It also means that I have a lot of books to read, and I’m not going to spend precious reading time on this particular book anymore. Oh well. They can’t all be winners.

Meanwhile, I’m deep into The Hanging Tree and have reached the point where I’m beginning to fret a little about having no more books left in this series just yet. I have one novella and one novel left, plus three graphic novels. There will be new installments later this year, and while I know this, I’m impatient and I want moar. I’ll live.

[Books] When To Quit?

Are you one of those stubborn, determined readers who finishes everything that you start? Because I have learned that, while I think it’s an admirable quality, I’m not that kind of person. I used to think that I was! I’d get to a point in a book where I was stalled because of one reason or another. Usually, I just wasn’t gelling with some aspect of the story. More often than not, I fail to care. Something within the book has to make me care. I’m at that point with one of my current reads, and while part of me truly wants to finish the book due to other factors, I find that I just do not give one good goddamn about what happens. Nothing in this book has me interested in what happens at the end.

Cut because I’m going to talk more. I won’t be naming names. But cutting anyway. Continue reading

Panic! Attack

If you didn’t read my recent Favorite Things column over at Speculative Chic (and why not?), you may have missed me geeking out about one of my newer found loves: Panic! At the Disco.

I know, the band’s been around for a while. I’m sorry for my lateness to the party. To be fair, when the band debuted, I was obsessed with classic rock. I pretty much missed the first ten years of 2000-era music while I was listening to Queen, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard, and others. Mr. Price was the one who sparked my Panic! obsession a few years ago. As you may have read in the post that I linked to above, I came home from work one day in 2016 to Mr. Price being all excited to show me this video that had started playing while he had YouTube on in the background during his day. It was “Death of a Bachelor,” and I was utterly smitten. Behold!

And now the part where I use the “read more” tag, because I love you. Always remember that I love you. Continue reading

Spreading (And Eventually Curing) The Virus

My husband is a board game enthusiast. He’s really fond of hobby games. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a broad descriptor for those expensive board games that you might have seen in places like Barnes and Noble. We’re not talking about Scrabble, or any of the myriad Monopoly games. These are games that can take hours to play. We used to play regularly with another couple, but we had a pretty major falling-out with them a few years ago and haven’t had any “board game” friends since.

Well. Being who he is, Mr. Price has infectedintroduced a new set of friends to the world of hobby games. This all started with Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment. Having observed our friends’ enjoyment with that game, Mr. Price decided to attempt to ease our friends a little further into the world of hobby games with one of the best introduction games: Ticket to Ride.

The game has a deceptively simple premise. One is given tickets, which are routes that you must complete with your tiny plastic trains. You complete these routes by drawing color cards that line up with various lines between major cities. Any routes that you do not complete by the end of the game result in negative points. As I said, it’s deceptively simple. Children can play the game. However, a ton of strategy comes into play. I’ve had to make backup plans for my backup plans in past games. We ended up playing this game with our friends during the last two weekends. After the first game, our friends enjoyed the game so much that they both bought the mobile version. Last weekend, we played twice. One of them solidly trounced both Mr. Price and myself. We’re planning to go a little further and introduce them to Pandemic, which is a cooperative game. It’s you and your compatriots versus the game itself, which intends to destroy the world. It’s kind of like a reverse Plague Inc. (where you play as the plague which aims to destroy the world, and which I’m terribly fond of…I’m not certain what that says about me).

It’s been a ton of fun, and I hope that they catch the bug a little bit stronger than they already have. It would be nice for Mr. Price’s enormous collection of games to finally get some usage. Plus, we all know how much I love sharing the things that I love. It’s pretty much my rasion d’etre these days. Hopefully, within a few weeks, I can report back on our attempt to save the world from an unknown plague.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Quick note!

A few weeks ago, I took my turn on My Favorite Things over at Speculative Chic. This is a regular column in which we typically invite guests over to share the things that they love best. The regular contributors take a turn every now and then, too. Here’s mine. My most recent edition, anyway. There’s a link to my first one within the text of this year’s column, so if you’re super curious, you can have two for the price of one.

Once Upon a Time, Again

“They force fed me something called ‘bologna.'”

That’s a line from yet another episode of Once Upon a Time, uttered by one Captain Hook upon his release from real-world jail. He states that he’s spent time in the “brig” before, but none so horrifying as our standard jail. Bologna can be pretty terrible, especially if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
Yep, I’m still watching this delightful, visual crack-fest. I love it so much. It’s over-the-top, and the special effects are occasionally bad (as in, you can see bits of the green screen that was obviously used to create a LOT of the background sets), and the showrunners don’t give a flying fuck about accents. Belle, for example, is played by Emilie de Ravin, who’s Australian. A pre-iZombie Rose McIver plays Tinkerbell. Both of these lovely actresses use their native accents on the show. It’s a little off-putting, to say the least. I can almost buy the fairy having an accent, but Belle? Is the only one of her family who speaks the way that she does. It’s weird.

What I really love is the fact that the show takes every single public domain work of fairy and folklore that it can find, tosses it in a blender, and then pours out this delightful smoothie of weirdness. The main characters are dealing with the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West as I write this. I watched Snow White and Prince Charming fight Medusa a few episodes ago. Robin Hood and Sir Lancelot have made appearances. Doctor Freaking Frankenstein is in this show (and his episode is shot in black and white, which makes for a particularly fun experience).

Cut for more rambling.

Continue reading

On Piracy And Why I’m A Little Pissy Today

So. This happened:

If you want to read the entire thread, go on. I can wait. If not, long story short: somebody took an eARC of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame and uploaded it to a book piracy website. I am beyond infuriated at this behavior. One, because McGuire’s probably my favorite writer. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am still alive because she is still publishing books. So to see that her work is being stolen? Sends me into a fit of rage so strong that my hands are actually shaking a little right now. The person who created one of my actual lifeboats had her work stolen, and her future work jeopardized because of potentially lost sales.

Secondly? As a book blogger who is doing her damndest to read and review responsibly with NetGalley so that I can keep a good rating and keep getting access to eARCs, I am LIVID with the person who got access to Middlegame and decided to just throw it up on a piracy website. This person is endangering the entire eARC process for the rest of us. I don’t get paid to do this; this is my hobby. I spend my time reviewing books because I love them, and I want other people to read and love them as well. I have purchased copies of easily two-thirds of the books that I received early access to, because I enjoyed them that much. Some idiot, the same idiot that has done this to plenty of other authors, is potentially poisoning the well for the rest of us. Other writers have managed to convince their publishers to skip eARCs; if McGuire’s publishers decide to stop offering her work via NetGalley, I’ll live. I’ll be pissed off that one person ruined it for the rest of us, but I’ll live. And I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

Kindle Roulette

On March 2nd, having just finished the second InCryptid novel, Midnight Blue Light Special by Seanan McGuire, I decided to play a game. I have so many Kindle books. So many, indeed, that Mr. Price accidentally nicknamed my Kindle “Thousands of Books” — he came into the living room a few years ago, looking very disgruntled. He didn’t mind, he said, that I bought so very many books. He just wished that I would take better care of them. When I inquired as to what he meant by that statement, he replied that I had left thousands of books just laying on our bed. Then I got his meaning and had to smile.

Cut because I care. Read on if you want to learn about Kindle Roulette (and you do). Continue reading