Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

I meant to go on longer in this entry, but again, tired! I'm happy to answer questions and such as I can, though, especially after I've had some sleep! =d

[livejournal.com profile] squeemu: I'd be interested to hear more about your partner - how you met, if you share fandom stuff with them. ALSO, if your partner is male, what they think about slash, specifically you producing works of slash. (here)

SO! I'm pansexual. My partner, T, is a straight male. We have an open relationship and he knows all about my fandom things and has, ohgod, actually seen and/or read my porn. FFFFF.

All about T! )

Finally, just a couple fun facts about T! He wants to be a blacksmith and likes carving as well (he once gave me a carved alabaster rose!). He's trained as a bartender and mixes awesome drinks and likes to cook and bake (he makes all our bread; no store-bought bread ever!). Per my request, he wears his hair long (a bit more than midway down his back, about a handspan above his hips, I so wanted to take a picture of it for this post) and has a moustache and full beard =d
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

Quick note: I didn't post yesterday, so I'm doing two today. I was incredibly tired and this topic was hard and long and I wrung my hands quite a bit about skipping — I had so hoped to post every day. BUT I am also trying to work on not making myself unhealthy with my stubbornness and perfectionism, and this definitely falls in that category: I do not want to make myself sick. So. yeah =\

[personal profile] owlmoose: I'm curious to see more on your thoughts on writing versus art. How do you approach these two creative processes? How are they the same; how are they different? Really anything at all on the connections/disconnections would be great. (here)


Well all right. So. I am pretty obviously a media omnivore, but I also tend to think of myself as um, the reverse of that, whatever the production side is. I LIKE MAKING STUFF. Any kind of stuff! Fic and art are what I make most, but I actually dabble in a LOT of stuff? In fannish terms, specifically, I've finally started trying to make vids, which I'll post about later. But generally, I've always loved making things, like crafts (I crocheted a LOT for a while, and made macrame, but also generally I just MADE stuff); I used to be really into sculpture for a while, too, and actually made a few pretty neat things, my favourite of which is actually a fan sculpture of Skandranon the Black Gryphon. I really enjoy photography and really want to learn how to actually DO it. I have even attempted to write songs even though I know nothing about music.

BUT basically yeah, I do write and draw a lot, and my experiences have been very, very different.

One thing in common though is that I've never really taken classes in any of it. Art was one of my electives in middle school, but it was, like... you know, a pretty lackadaisical middle school art class? (whose instructor turned me off the US movie version of Wizard of Oz forever, by the way.) It was a place to DO art, not really a place to learn. The real exceptions were medium-specific: when I was younger, about 7-8, I learned to work in oils under a painter, and later (10-12?) I also once took a class in inks. But I've never been taught anatomy or lightning or perspective or colour theory or, well... anything except how to handle two tricky media. Likewise, for writing, I've never taken a creative writing course, never been taught anything about plotting or character development or worldbuilding or the technical/micro side of good writing. Pretty much everything I know about... any craft, really, I've learned on my own. Sometimes I lament this! More on that later. Anyway.

One more thing in common is that I tend to regard myself as deeply unoriginal — I have a lot of trouble coming up with ideas, especially since I feel like all my ideas have to be DEEP and IMPORTANT and MEANINGFUL. This affects both my art and my writing processes, though in slightly different ways. I'm still trying to convince myself that it's OKAY to just draw, or just write; it's okay to not have an earthshattering idea every time (or ever).

The History )

So now. Now. I guess we'll start with art.

Arting )

Writing )

SO. Basically I am Insecurity City. But we know that already. I know that a lot of the improvement in how I interact with my art and arting process has to do with the projects I've done there and how hard I've worked on it. I do work hard on my writing, too, but I find it harder to find good regimented exercises there. I'm planning, after I finish this goddamn unending story, to try and do a lot more things like fic challenges, drabble challenges, anonmeme stuff, and suchlike.

And, finally and relatedly, I do often wish anyone had taught me... anything, really, about any of this. I'm proud of the skills I've managed to gain on my own, but there's a difference between trying to teach myself something like colour theory or plotting and being taught. For one, classes would give me that outsider perspective I need so much. I've been considering taking some classes, but! But I am not sure. Classes take time and money, and some stubborn part of me thinks I should just keep muddling along on my own. I don't know! Have any of you ever taken art or writing classes? how did that go! any thoughts?
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[livejournal.com profile] squeemu: What was your first fandom/what got you into it in the first place? (here)

Depends on what you mean by fandom! In a way, I was in fandom before I knew what fandom was. First, I will mention Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario Brothers, and come back to them later. Hold onto that thought. Probably The Dark Is Rising and His Dark Materials, both book series blending our world and fantasy that I found in my school library, were the first things I was fannish about in the sense of SO wanting to share with other people and making up stories in my head (especially Dark is Rising). But I encountered both in 4th grade; I was 9 years old at that point. I had friends, but none who shared my interest in books, and though I was already an internet user by this time (which is not impressive now, but that was back in 1995), it had never occurred to me to try to find like-minded souls there.

But here's something more interesting: I was connected to a huge part of Xena fandom history before I knew what fandom was, too.

So I had been watching Xena: Warrior Princess for a while; I don't recall how I got into it, though I think I caught it on TV at someone else's house and checked it out (remember when those TV Guide books were relevant?). My mom was herself a longtime Trekkie (not that I knew what that was, either; just assume I knew absolutely nothing about fandom throughout this story), and eventually joined me in watching Xena after complaining a few times about how campy it was (whatever, mom). Now, I don't think my mom had any connection to Star Trek fandom in terms of interacting with other fans; I'm pretty sure she didn't know what fandom was, either. But once she started watching Xena, that was it. SHE WAS A FAN. She taped every episode and had a catalogued list of them; they filled up half our video case. And she, being an adult and more adept at internet use, DID find fandom online.

And fell in with Melissa Good.

My mom is Xena fandom history! )

So my mom was a fan — a pretty big fan? — and I didn't know it. In fact, I had been YEARS AND YEARS in fandom myself before I looked back and went "... huh!" I've been meaning to interview her about it for a long time, actually; relations with her are like, not awesome, as has been intimated in previous posts, but I am sitting on a big chunk of fandom history over here and I think it would be an interesting project! If I ever do, I will slather the gleanings all over Fanlore and probably make a note here =d (For the record, Xena/Gabrielle was all well and good, but I shipped Xena/Ares hardcore. Maybe a little Xena/Autolycus and Xena/Calisto >.>)

But that's all fandom before I really knew what it was. What I've always thought of my first real fandoms — or my first real fandoms — were Pokemon and Dragonball Z, which I paid tribute to in the last of my daily doodles. One fandom that didn't make it into the doodle but definitely deserves a mention is Sailor Moon. Yes: I came into fandom through the Grossly Popular Anime Trifecta.

The story is not fancy: I ran into all three on the teevee. This was before either series exploded in huge popularity in the U.S. (I tend to have a trend in my life of catching on to things either just before they hit big, or waaaay late); Pokemon was on at ass-o'clock in the morning. I think I caught it one time and was like WOW YES. I loved the relationship between Ash and Pikachu SO much; I have such a soft spot for this sort of thing and basically the show had adorable animals and close bonds between people and animals and I mean, I didn't even need to be sold on it. DONE.

DBZ and Sailor Moon were on in the afternoons, in those blocks of anime they used to have on then (Samurai Troooppperrsss). I realized as I watched Sailor Moon particularly that I had seen it before, waaaay back, when I lived in LA. That must have been like freaking 1992-1993: EARLY days. How was it even ON in the U.S.? But regardless, I watched the girliest show ever back-to-back with the manliest show ever, and I adored both. The reason I tend to habitually drop SM from "first fandom" status, though, is that it didn't really grow on me as a fandom until I was already in other fandoms. At first, it was mostly an "okay, that was awesome NOW WHAT'S UP IN DBZ!!!" thing.

So DBZ: HOW I DISCOVERED SLASH. Don't laugh: the first slash I read was Goku/Vegeta. HELL YEAH! My first slash ship was probably Will/Bran from Dark is Rising, but I didn't even know what the hell a slash ship was then and did not really understand this yearning in my soul for them to make out already.

With Goku and Vegeta, I stumbled onto porn. Immediately.

It. Was. Great.

I. Was. 11.


... so yeah.

Pokemon (and Sonic) )

Dragonball Z )

Sailor Moon )

Altogether, though, it was kind of interesting being into all three series at the same time? Pokemon fans were kinda looked down on for being into a kiddie show (yeah, same to you, jerks); DBZ fans were looked down on for being into dumb dudes thunking on each other and DBZ fans in turn kinda were really misogynist, geez. Especially in the SM direction, which was obviously girly and dumb! Overall it was a pretty strange feeling sharing all three spaces.

And finally, a special mention: Harry Potter. HP was another one of those things I caught early and then suddenly it exploded around me. I read the first book from my middle school library and then I had to wait for the second book to come out. Okay guys? DO YOU HEAR ME? I have had to wait for EVERY BOOK. And this was BEFORE synchronized release dates, so I had to wait a whole excruciating YEAR after it had come out in Britain to get my hands on it over here in the U.S. By this time I was a seasoned fan, though, and this fandom I caught from its inception. This was my first non-anime/manga fandom, and I've been lurking (quietly) around it since 1998. I drew and posted some art, wrote and didn't-post some fic, and actually have a comic I'm working on: it's inks and wordless, and I'm actually really proud of it?

My first video game fandom (not counting Mario) was not Final Fantasy X, through which circuitous route I met many of you! It was actually The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I made a website for it in middle school, okay? I REALLY LIKED SHEIK. I also shipped Link and Sheik withouth realizing. But Final Fantasy X was the first video game fandom where I actually de-lurked and interacted with other fans. HI GUYS.

My first LJ fandom? Trigun, actually! And then, much more actively, One Piece.

And that is my fandom history of firsts! Which, looking back through it, covers books, tv series, anime, manga, comics, and video games. Not bad!
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat: I would like you to make a post sharing things that you like about yourself (here)

SOMEHOW, [livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat knows ALL MY WEAKNESSES. HOW.

Well okay. So straight up: this post is really hard for me. I am much more comfortable talking about how I suck rather than how I rock. And I mean, in the following, I am not trying to be modest or anything — when I DO actually believe something of mine is awesome, I ROLL IN IT AND WANT TO HEAR ALL ABOUT IT and it's probably pretty obnoxious, really. LUCKILY that does not happen often. So no, I am not modest >.>

But backing up a bit! So last post I mentioned that I have depression, and this is just a true thing! It has helped severely screw up my self-confidence (my family helped cover most of the rest!) and I mean, I know intellectually that my sense of myself is probably not accurate. But it remains true: being depressed kind of makes me NOT WOWED BY MYSELF?

I have this other complex where I am convinced that I am an arrogant monster just waiting to happen. Like if I let myself believe I am even a little bit awesome, I will become this huge arrogant asshole. So I cannot let myself believe anything awesome about me OR THE WORLD WILL END, TRUFAX. IT WILL BE SWALLOWED IN THE ABYSS OF MY ARROGANCE. Though on a more serious note (though, all of this is dead serious, I just talk about it like it's funny >.>), I've noticed that complexes of either arrogance or self-confidence tend to carry a flip-side of the other. Lots of arrogant people with secret self-esteem issues — and people like me, stomping on arrogance (or perceived arrogance) by keeping ourselves down.

In turn, I tend to regard anything I produce as terrible by default, because I made it, right? Therefore it is automatically as terrible as I am! THESE ARE JUST TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE WORLD, ALL RIGHT? But again with the tone-whiplash: every scrap of confidence in my crafts I have gained through MUCH, MUCH effort. (Which doesn't mean I don't welcome criticism — I LOVE constructive crit and in general I find criticism of any kind easier to buy and believe and accept and deal with than compliments?)

But all of that is reasons why making a list of things I like about myself is hard, but I still mean to do the thing, you know?

So I guess the chief thing I like about myself is that, while I'm convinced that I am basically not-awesome and everything I produce is at best mediocre by default, I DO keep constantly trying to improve myself. I am pretty proud of that, really? I work hard on me and my skills, and this gives me hope that even though I believe I suck now, maybe it won't always be that way.

I also like that I am pretty willing to take criticism and believe I may be in the wrong? I mean, this is just another way of saying that I am ready to believe bad things about myself, which in the present context is kind of hilarious to claim as a THING I LIKE ABOUT MYSELF, but... it's true? (And I know it doesn't help with the self-hatred complex if I LIKE that I do it, I knowwww.) But I have definitely dealt with people who just will not believe that they could be wrong or just cannot take criticism, and I like to think that I am not like that! Although SOME HAVE ARGUED that I swing way too hard in the other direction and am TOO ready to believe that I am wrong and that this makes it harder for me to stick by my opinions and generally not be a doormat. SOME HAVE ARGUED.

So those are two general things... or... well. Maybe one and a half general things. AT LEAST ONE general thing that I like about myself. I should try to add some specific things!

- I have worked very hard on my art lately, and while I am still not all like, DUDE MY ART IS AWESOME CHECK IT OUT, I do think I have improved a lot. I am proud of that, and I am also proud in my ability to even believe that about myself? Like I can ACTUALLY think "hey, I have improved at something and maybe I am kind of okay at it!" This may be sad, but I have worked really hard for that — not just the skill, but the ability to be proud of myself at ALL. (... as a note though, this doesn't apply to my writing, just my art.)

- I like that I am stubborn! This can get me in trouble (like when I give myself asthma attacks because I refuse to walk this hill truestory), but I also think it is pretty cool how determined I can be!

- I like that I am pretty open, though I usually frame this to myself as a bad thing, like I overshare and always talk about myself (haha this november meme, WHAT) and am SO self-centered. But we are FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE HERE and I can also frame this as me being frank and honest and candid? I HOPE?

- I like to think that I am pretty generous. If this is true about me, then it is something I can admire!

... and I am honestly, like. I can't really come up with anything else that will feel genuine. I have tried my best to be honest here, but part of that is saying that this really is difficult. I've given it an honest, earnest try, so I guess... I guess I will just let that speak for itself!
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat: you've mentioned before trying to get fit and/or eating salads; is that something you still struggle with? (here)

This post needs a disclaimer because there is Serious Business within! I am okay, I swear. I have resources and if I need help I will seek it, so please do not worry ♥ I am happy to discuss any of the topics mentioned herein, though =D

So I am really happy to have this topic (thaaaank you, [livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat!) because I've been meaning to talk about it for a while, and what's better than a blatant excuse?

So ages and ages ago, I mentioned that I would start biking to work due to giving my car away. And then I barely said anything about it ever again except for that one time I got hit by a car. Haha.

But actually the biking (and the salads; I will get to the salads, I swear!) has spawned a whole lot of thinking, and, poor [livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat, you have officially triggered my long-overdue post about health. I'm sorry, but you asked for (approximately 1/7th of) it.

Let's start with some backstory! My family has always been really big into sports, and always pushed our kids into sports. My grandmother was an equestrian and possibly actually a jockey (I don't remember =( ); she pushed my mother at horseback riding, gymnastics, and figure skating (my mom's butt was just too bony for the latter, lol) before the one that stuck: waterskiing. True fact: my mother was the waterskiing champion of the Soviet Union.

And that? That is my family's standard for sports and what I was held to throughout my childhood. Okay? Okay. =d

My uncle is a downhill skiier, and my dad is more into team sports; he likes volleyball and actively plays soccer and indoor soccer. Both of my sisters (they're 12 and 16 years younger than me, fyi) have been doing gymnastics since they were toddlers, as well as some horseback riding.

Me? I did gymnastics too (idek; it's a Soviet influence thing — gymnastics was really big), but what actually hit it for me was rock climbing. Starting from I think 9 years old, I began my career as a competitive rock climber. That was training every day, in one form or another, for several hours at a time when it was a straight climbing session (as opposed to a stretching or running or strength training day or wev). There were competitions every other week or every third week or so. Please note that it in no way occurred to me that this might be excessive or even unusual for a kid my age. It's just what was expected, right?

More fitness! )

For now, we turn to SALADS.

So I have some long-standing issues with eating.

Let's start out with this: I was mildly anorexic when I was younger, and I still have body image issues.

[TW for some anorexia discussion] When I was a young teen though, I was convinced that I should weigh less than 100 pounds. Anything above that was obviously fat and terrible and we all know the drill. That tiny amount of fat on my stomach was obviously unacceptable. (Keep in mind, this is when I wasn't that temporally divorced from being a child athlete.) I often surreptitiously skipped meals.[/TW]

I did not realize at the time that these thoughts and eating habits (more on those in a sec) were, you know. Anorexia. This is actually a very recent discovery, in the past year or so (since I've been thinking a lot about health this year), where I thought back on this and went, holy shit. I was anorexic! Only mildly, but still. Holy shit!

I... probably still am? It's complicated.

So me and food, we didn't really start out on the right foot. And then there were three more problems: money, depression, and a surprise.

More on salads! )

And now we are at the present! Let's review.

I have depression.
I have a history of disordered eating.
I have workout-induced asthma.
I have tendon issues in my shoulders.
I have less severe tendon issues in my knees.

At this point, I had done almost zero physical activity for about 1.5 years.

So this is when I started biking.

My area is very hilly, and the commute's about 5-6 miles, depending on route and if you're counting the up-and-down (I SURE DO). I use a hybrid/mountain bike, not a city/street bike, so it's not feather-light or anything.

The first day I biked in, it was about 95 degrees out and it took me almost two and a half hours and lots and lots of asthmatic wheezing (did I mention I'm stubborn?). That's like less than 2.5mph. That was. That was very sad.

But I made it to work. And then I even made it home at the end of the day.

And then very shortly after that I got sick, and stayed sick.

I picked up biking again late in the summer. After some small improvement pre-sick and the nice long "rest", my first time biking in again: I did it in one hour.

Now, about three months after that, I consistently do it in half an hour or even a little less. That's almost 11mph. That's somewhere between 4 and 5 times as fast as when I started, and absolutely no wheezing anymore.

I know 11mph is really not much as far as biking goes, but it means a lot to me.

I've learned a lot in the past year, about myself, my body, my relationship with my body, my health. About health in general! Both mental and physical. I've spent a lot of time lurking in social justice circles this past year, and that's included skulking around disability activism and fat acceptance. I've watched (and infrequently participated in) some very interesting conversations there.

I still have thin privilege, but the fat acceptance movement helped me a lot. Which I'm very grateful for. It was probably all the reading I did there that helped me identify that, shit, I had some pretty disordered eating in my past. I learned about Health At Every Size. I tried to foster a better relationship with food. And I tried really really hard to accept that the weight I had gained as a result of my meds was okay. It did not mean I was terrible. I tried...

I tried to accept my body. Which is where we hit snag. (Note: I've been talking about the fat acceptance movement in particular, rather than the general body acceptance that it's part of, on purpose.)

Something hadn't been sitting quite right with me, with all the feminist and body-acceptance messages I had been hearing about loving my body and "health" at every size. I'd been meaning to blog about it for a while, because the ideas had slowly coalesced. Things like:

  • I am permanently injured. I can't do many things I used to enjoy as big parts of my life. I don't want to love this.

  • I have depression. It steals my spoons. Is this health? What IS health?

  • My physical therapist AND my therapist both recommend light exercise.

    I look at my PT and think: I am so depressed. How will I be able to get up and do this?

    I look at my therapist and think: my physical injuries make this so hard.

    And I don't say anything

  • I'm not cisgender. (Have I mentioned that? Haha.) My body is, on a fundamental level, not quite right for me. I have a hard time loving that I inhabit it.

There were just so many intersections where it wasn't working for me.

And then I read this: Conversations About Body Image: A Place at the Table for Me?. And I think it really helped coalesce a lot of my thinking. I recommend it to anyone interested in these issues, just as something to get some thoughts moving. Then there was a follow-up post: Further Conversations On Body Image: Examining Health at Every Size (HAES). This in turn led me to the Fat Nutritionist (whose posts I'd run into before) and this post, linked in the aforementioned follow-up: The obligation to be healthy at every size. I recommend this post SUPER HARD: it's a quick read but everything in it needs saying and hearing, and it contains some great links. I REALLY love that post, and recommend Fat Nutritionist all around, as awareness of social issues like poverty is part of her outlook on nutrition, and I love it. I want to quote two parts from it, once already quoted by s.e. smith, and one that struck me personally.
It is sad that this even needs to be said, but given the fact that we essentially live in a health meritocracy, let me be the first to announce:

You are under no obligation to be healthy.

And, as an addendum: even if you were, eating “well” and exercising wouldn’t guarantee your success. There. I’ve said it. And as much as this might chap the ass of every health promoter out there, I feel that personal agency and a basic sense of privacy are sorely missing from most conversations of health promotion, and from conversations of Health at Every Size.

This, despite the fact that the definition of health itself has not even been definitively pinned down, that it has evolved through numerous variations through the years, and will likely continue to evolve. Despite that nutrient requirements are different for each person. As are genetic profiles, family histories, and every single one of the social determinants of health.

The factors that determine health are different for everyone — which means it is up to you to decide what to do. No one can do it for you.

I don't have any answers yet, really. I just find myself at the intersection of a lot of things, and fumbling around, trying to find what works best for me.

So about those salads!

I have kind of failed at the salads. But I'm working on it. I think I've come a long way, and I... I really want to be proud of myself for that. I'm slowly restoring myself to a reasonable level of physical activity. And honestly, I still cry (did I mentioned I used to cry about this a lot) sometimes when I think that I will probably never be able to seriously take up tae kwon do or iaido again. But I might still be able to do tai chi. And I might, maybe, one day, get back into rock climbing. Maybe I could even play soccer again. Maybe I could do something new, and try to swim, to help with my lungfail.

And I'm not... I'm not really okay with the fact that my body will never ever be back to the way it used to be. Not really. But I still think I've come a long way. I still have bad, self-destructive thoughts, but I'm trying. I try to eat; my partner tries to make sure I eat. I buy clothes in my new size. I try to tell myself that my new body, my changed body, my injured body, my body that's irrevocably different after such big sudden weight gain and almost equally large loss — I try to tell myself that it's still mine, for all that I feel kind of disassociated from it on the gender front. It's the only one I have, and while I doubt I will ever have an entirely good relationship with my body, I can at least stop trying to punish it for being mine.

... and try to eat more damn salads.

So that's biking and salads. And a little extra >.>
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[livejournal.com profile] thebaconfat: I am interested in hearing about your job and what you like and don't like about it! (here)

My job! I work as a web designer/developer as a contractor for the U.S. government. This means I'm not an actual government employee, but but exclusively on government stuff (if you want me to get into the whole "contractor vs. fed" thing, haha, that is enough for a separate question and also it's both boring and wanky). The actual work I do is designing and then coding interfaces for web applications. It's about as exciting as it sounds!

Don't get me wrong — I do enjoy the work. But I gotta say I am pretty tired of the job.

The work itself is very neat. I consider myself pretty good at it (those of you who were in this year's round of [community profile] ff_exchange, I did the front end of the website — everything but the signup form was pretty plain, but I WAS rather proud of the form). My work has nothing whatsoever to do with my degree (linguistics) or with my education at all, really — the only programming class I ever took was C++ in 9th grade. I've been making websites since I was... 12 years old, I think? Maybe 10-12, somewhere in that range. That was pretty early in internet terms, so I've watched the technology grow up around me. I'm a big advocate of web standards and accessibility and I do have fun figuring out how to get exactly what I want with the available tools/languages.

However, two problems! For one, my attention span is abysmally short. I'm not talking about my day-to-day, per-task attention span (though that's pretty bad, too) — I mean my attention span for LIFE. It's about two years long: that is the longest period of time I can do any one thing (school, a particular job) without becoming pretty restless and miserable.

I've been at this job since 2003-2004.

The other thing is that the job is sucking more and more.

blah blah office politics )

SO I actually still work for G but have to waste loads of my time attending P Team meetings and dealing with P Team stuff even though NONE OF IT APPLIES TO ME. It. Is. So. Dumb. Your tax dollars at work, U.S. folks.

In addition to that stupidity, there is J, my cubicle neighbour. J has no indoor voice and is on the phone at least 70% of each day. About half of that is work-related, ALL of which is calling various help desks because he is clueless and/or has not heard of google. Many of his help-desk issues are not difficult to solve on one's own, which I know because I can HEAR them. The other half of the calls are personal. Often REALLY personal. I get to hear all about his problems, personal, medical, emotional, psychological— everything. All in his loud, loud voice. He also eats very loudly, which is a personal sound-squick of mine, AND he eats many times a day. There's nothing wrong with that (I prefer to eat several smaller meals and/or graze all day, myself), but it does mean I get to listen to his chewing all day instead of just at lunch.

Incidentally, he's on the P Team and I had to work with him extensively for a while. During this time, I learned that J is one of those people who thinks the world and/or people owe him things. For example, people OWE it to him to be his friend. If you are not his friend, he gets all passive-aggressive and catty.

I am not his friend.

On a more technical job-dislike note, we work in the ASP.NET framework, which is not my friend. I hate it.

But for all that, it's not a bad job. It's slowly transitioning into being mentally/emotionally unhealthy, but it's honestly pretty cushy. I make enough to support my somewhat extensive household, and I like my REAL team and boss. My real team is far from perfect (and I have some awesome conflicts there, including someone who can't respect my personal space AND someone who is terribly ageist!), but I largely respect them and their abilities. We work well together.

The work itself is, like I said, pretty interesting, though for me it gets REALLY stale working on the same projects for years and years. Honestly the biggest pain is the attention span thing. If I weren't tired of the job on an absolute scale, I could shrug off the annoyances.

So it's a mixed bag. I'm lucky to have it, and I know it; I'm grateful. But honestly? If a different job came along, paying significantly less but of a decent type of work? I would take it in a heartbeat.
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[personal profile] seventhe: PHOTOS OF ALL THE PETS IN YOUR HOUSE (here)

WARNING, LIKE SERIOUSLY: The following is an ACTUAL PHOTOSPAM. With thumbnails, but still. DON'T CLICK UNLESS YOU MEAN IT.

Got it? Got it. Let's go!

So! We (the partner and I) have four pets: three cats and a dog. I love basically all animals (and mammals in particular, though I also have a soft spot for snakes and birds) and totally do not buy into that thing where you have to be a dog or cat person. What EVER. Some people like one or the other, but it's no kind of dichotomy at all. I've always leaned slightly towards cats, myself, at least in terms of pets I actually want to have: cats are EASY. Dogs (AS I NOW KNOW VERY VERY WELL) require walks and attention and training and more training and grooming and basically it's like having a kid, which is like, not on my to-do list. Cats, on the other hand, are friendly but distant and take very little fuss and basically for someone totally lazy and non-caretaker-y like me, they are perfect. Also, they start out as kittens, which you just can't beat.

SADLY no kitten pictures of our cats remain online, relegated either to physical copies or lost in our series of computer crashes. That is okay though, they are still cute, I promise >.>

And now, without further ado, my pets!


Also, please note that all of my pets are trained to accept and enjoy belly rubs, because *I* enjoy belly rubs. End of story.

And that's everyone! Four pets, and as much as a handful as I can handle right now.

But honestly? If I didn't have to like, go to work and earn monies and use up 90% of my spoons every day just sustaining our household? I would totally have a ranch with:
- several cats
- several dogs
- a horsie
- a pony (I adore ponies; they are smart and clever and hardy and stubborn)
- a pygmy goat (I love goats and I freaking adore pygmy goats)
- a snake (who would have to be fed by my partner, as I would not be able to handle it)
- several ferrets
- a couple birds
- a fennec fox
- several otters
- some alpacas

Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[personal profile] lassarina: your favourite kind of weather, and why (here)

Which is actually an AWESOME question for me because I LOVE weather? I mean, yeah, let's get it out of the way: if I have shit to do and just want to get it done quickly and in comfort, I like the weather outside to be a nice, 75-degree, not-dry, not-humid, not-too-sunny (I actually hate extreme sunshine) day. Whatever. Let's move on to the INTERESTING stuff!

I love weather, including EXPERIENCING weather, because it feels and looks AMAZING. It is so HUGE and just— so BEYOND us. Basically: weather is awesome.

And I do mean it when I say I like experiencing weather — I actually enjoy biking in the rain for example and think it's pretty neat (the only not-neat part is that if you do this in a city then you smell like road juice afterward :( ). Especially now, cause living in Portland, OR for my college years inured me to rain: what EVER.

But anyway. My favourite kinds of weather to experience are probably a good summer storm or a nice, dense fog.

The summer storms I mean are the kind where the air stays warm but not cloying and huge fat drops fall from the sky and it is somehow magically SUNNY even though it is effing storming? Those are the BEST THING EVER to be in; it is like having a damn waterpark happening ON YOU. It freaking ROCKS.

And fog! Fog is just BEAUTIFUL. My favourite kind is the kind that lies dense and white in the hollows and meadows and parks: it looks like being above the clouds, and it's just so lovely and peaceful-looking. I do also really like being inside the fog itself; it's ethereal and I enjoy the sense of mystery and disorientation it gives and I especially enjoy how it plays with sound. I love fog at night especially — I remember in college walking home from the library to my dorm (or later even the short trip to my car) and the fog being so thick on campus I couldn't see where I was going: it was scary and unnerving and gorgeous and did I mention scary and I freaking loved it >.>

So that is weather I actually like to experience! Now let's have some linkspam! Weather that I have never experienced but think is cool and/or DO NOT WANT TO EVER EXPERIENCE but also think is cool. Obligatory thing about northern lights/aurora borealis being really cool (IT IS), and everyone knows about tornadoes and hurricanes, which are indeed amazing and super serious business and just like wow, I do not want to screw with that. Instead I will talk about some OTEHR weather stuff!

First, some clouds! CLOUDS ARE REALLY COOL YOU GUYS, OKAY? THEY ARE I SWEAR! Some cloud stuff that is really awesome: noctilucent clouds, fire rainbows, and mammatus clouds. I actually don't find the pictures on the wiki for the latter very impressive, so please also/instead look at the ones over here! That also includes pictures of WALL CLOUDS, which are amazing! Note: google image search on all of the above IS YOUR FRIEND FOR LIFE.


I also think downbursts are really neat. We had one in my region this year, actually, and I was GLUED to the window in fascination for a long time. Here is a video of a downburst!

embed behind the cut! )

That is like, WOW, right?

Also cool is ball lightning, which I WISH I had video of :(

And this may not strictly count as weather, but maelstroms are also really, really awesome. Let's have another video! This is of the Saltstraumen maelstrom, the world's strongest tidal currents. I especially like the upwelling currents visible in the latter half of the video.

more embed! )

But this is mere EARTH WEATHER! Earth weather is PUNY FLAILINGS compared to the might of SPACE WEATHER!

So there is this thing called the solar wind (HOW COOL IS THAT? and that's not even the COOL thing here!) and every once in a while you get this HUGE burst of solar wind that basically flings tons of SUN CHUNKS, RADIATION, and MAGNETIC FIELDS into SPACE. SOMETIMES AT EARTH. Where they cause GEOMAGENTIC STORMS (ALSO COOL, come ON, storms MADE OUT OF MAGENTIC FIELDS). This is a coronal mass ejection, or CME.


CMEs travel at an average speed of about 500km/SECOND (though some have reached 3,200km/s, WHAT THE FUCK) and they get PRETTY FREAKING HUGE. The wikipedia article on CMEs actually has a pretty decent animated picture of a nice, big one at the top: go watch it. Several times. Then please note that the sun? is NOT the size of the occluding disk in the middle. It's the size of the little white circle in the center. YEAH THAT'S RIGHT.

Now THIS is weather!

In fact, let's have two more vids! )

HILARIOUSLY studying these things was my JOB during my last years of high school (literally, I was paid to build a program to help analyze pictures of CMEs). I have a general fascination with space stuff, though, waaaaay predating that job. If I had to name my favourite weather phenomenon on an absolute scale, and with a very loose definition of weather, then I would say black holes, which I could do an entire series of posts on and also I have a crippling fear of. In fact I have had a crippling fear of black holes ever since I was six years old. Yep.

So! How's the weather >.>
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!

[personal profile] lassarina: the trope that irrevocably destroys a story for you (here)

So riding on the coattails of yesterday's entry, I guess my answer here is pretty obvious: probably no trope will, by itself, destroy a work for me.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely tropes and clichés I'm predisposed against and I'll get to those in a minute, but overall I actually... tend to be more interested in a work if it has something I don't like in it but is good despite — or because of — that?

But let's back up a second. I said yesterday that I believe any idea can be done well. And I do think that's essentially true. But then for today's entry I realized that there ARE some tropes that just leave a sour taste in my mouth. I never really thought about them much before, and now that I HAVE I feel kind of... awkward? Cause it turns out that they're things like Wife Husbandry and Damsel in Distress and Magical Negro and Evil Cripple and Pet Homosexual and I kind of see a trend emerging =\

So I guess I don't like tropes that deny inherent agency or that disparage identity. And I guess that shouldn't be news to me, at this point — and in a sense it's not, because the more I've learned, the harder it's become to like things I once used to enjoy like, um, most Disney movies — but I still find myself wondering:

What IS the relationship between execution and idea?

Because some of these tropes sound less like ideas and more like executions. So I mean, a creator has an idea, something they want to express, and did they HAVE to express it by sticking a mysterious earthy black person in the story to guide the white protag along, or did they HAVE to have the person in distress be a lady or... etc. And I think I'm going to want to think/talk about this some more later, I suspect (now I am simply too TIRED), because this sounds really interesting to me, where idea ends and execution begins. LUCKILY YOU ARE ALL SPARED because ira needs some effing sleep.


A short one >.>

So the first two Kushiel's Legacy trilogies are a study in contrasts wrt this post and the previous: I loved the first trilogy despite a lot of its content, but I just didn't like the execution of the second one even though it contained so many ideas I was predisposed to love.


So I guess these two questions have given me a lot to think about. Also I am apparently very contrary: no amazing idea will save you from my GRUMPYFACE OF JUDGMENT if you can't execute it properly, but if you have some things I don't like and do them really well, you are apparently my friend. Everyone may begin despairing of me immediately.
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more! LJ | DW. If something comes up in any of these posts that you'd like to hear more about, please feel free to just make it into its own topic! HERE GOES NOTHING. YOU (SORT OF) ASKED FOR IT.

[personal profile] stealth_noodle: tropes and/or clichés that you love so much you're willing to put up with aggressively mediocre works for their sake. (here)
(I promise I will do the other topic you submitted as well; I'm finding it easier to bump individual skipped topics to other days than moving the whole schedule around >.>)


This one merited some really hard thinking. Like, you have no idea. I ALMOST WENT TO TVTROPES OVER THIS. THIS IS THE FATE YOU NEARLY CONDEMNED ME TO.

I kept agonizing: what do I love enough that I will read/watch/play/consume anything with that thing in it? And well. I think I knew the answer all along, I just didn't want to face it.

Because the answer is: NOTHING

This sounds like a cop-out and I was convinced of that at first, too. But bear with me >.>

It's not the destination but the journey that matters. SERIOUSLY. )


So. There you have it. Nothing excuses "meh" execution for me — in fact, mediocre executions infuriate me apparently! — but there ARE plenty of tropes I like!

Shit guys, should I make a list of the canons/fandoms I've mentioned in this entry? This feels like it needs a list. Does it need a LIST?

ETA: List has been requested!

Mentioned Works
Avatar: The Last Airbender
DCU - Batman
DCU - Green Arrow
DCU/DCAU/Smallville for Lex Luthor
Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Dresden Files
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy VIII
Fullmetal Alchemist
Gentleman Bastard (The Lies of Locke Lamora, etc.)
Grosse Point Blank
Gunnerkrigg Court
Harry Potter
House, M.D.
House of Leaves
Invader ZIM
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
Lackadaisy Cats
Léon/The Professional
Marvel - Iron Man
Marvel - Runaways
One Piece
Pirates of the Caribbean
Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs for Hannibal Lecter
REPO! The Genetic Opera
Sam and Max
Samurai Champloo
Sherlock Holmes

Works I Wanted to Mention But Couldn't Because of Spoilers
(some spoilery works were mentioned in other contexts)
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy XII
Kushiel's Legacy
Planescape: Torment
Vorkosigan Saga
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing!

The original post explaining the project is here. Please feel free to continue adding topics/questions on the LJ or DW versions. If something comes up in any of these posts that you'd like to hear more about, please feel free to just make it into its own topic! HERE GOES NOTHING. YOU (SORT OF) ASKED FOR IT.

Once again, we interrupt your regularly scheduled topics (which I promise I will get back to I SWEAR) in favour of current events.

So there is this thing where FictionAlley is applying for a grant from the Pepsi Refresh project, which is a grant competition giving away lump pre-determined sum grants to proposals competing within monetary (but not category-based) brackets. So all the proposals asking for $25K compete with each other, across categories, but do not compete with those asking for $250K. The money is given in those determined amounts, e.g. Pepsi is not saying "we will distribute $X among Y number of proposals based on votes/need/merit/other criteria".

Here is an FA staffer's post on the subject: A Big Favor: PLEASE VOTE FOR FA, EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY. The comments there are now closed but there are some screencaps available.

Some further information is provided where [personal profile] nextian reposts (with permission) an email exchange she had with FictionAlley: so ... this happened.

So the thing is, as a member of the OTW, as someone who recently gave money to a fannish project and urged others to do so (or to give time/spread the word), this strikes pretty close to home for me, right? I support fandom as a legitimate cultural endeavour and I support the idea of fannish projects being deserving of grants and resources. But I am so sideways and so many kinds of unhappy/mixed feelings about this, and after (probably insufficient) cogitation and (also insufficient) flailing at various friends, trying to sort my thoughts and feelings out, I think all of my internal mess over this can probably be summed up like so:

1. Boy am I mad at Pepsi and the system that created it.

2. Within the above context I have no objection to FA going for the grant; arts are important and should be funded. Fandom is important. But within the below context:

3. I don't know every avenue FA has tried, but based on my perception, FA did not do enough to seek resources within its own community before applying outside of it, and still handled it in a way that, from here, seems illogical, insensitive, inefficient, and just... not good. Which is a failure of either process or communication.

That's the short version. Let's have the long one.

1. I am SO MAD at Pepsi. )

2. Go ahead and apply for grants! It is okay for fandom projects to apply for grants! Fandom rocks! )

3. There were other and probably better ways to do this, wow. )

Guys, what happened?

ETA: Answer: This happened! FA has asked to be removed from the challenge. It sounds like their financial situation has improved but could still use continued support; I hope they get the funds/support they need.

ETA 2: [personal profile] seperis has collected more links on this subject, which cover a lot of angles (including the Pepsi angle and the fandom funding angle and the OMG SPREADSHEETS angle) and basically this is a good place to go for more thinkings on the matters and click links within links. (disclaimer: I am linked in there but you already read me, go read other people!)
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing!

The original post explaining the project is here. Please feel free to continue adding topics/questions on the LJ or DW versions. If something comes up in any of these posts that you'd like to hear more about, please feel free to just make it into its own topic! HERE GOES NOTHING. YOU (SORT OF) ASKED FOR IT.

SO I was supposed to write about fandom today, a topic given to me by [personal profile] seventhe that I am super excited about and already know will be extremely tl;dr—


Then I had kind of a shitty night and then a bleh day and I am SO tired and my computer died (YES AGAIN; it is dead AS WE SPEAK and I am on a mini generously loaned to me for this purpose) AND ALSO I have some VERY IMPORTANT INCEST TO WRITE

and also!

Also I voted!

So today you get to hear about voting:

VOOOOOTTTTTIIINNNG. Corgis support voting! )
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing!

The original post explaining the project is here. Please feel free to continue adding topics/questions on the LJ or DW versions. If something comes up in any of these posts that you'd like to hear more about, please feel free to just make it into its own topic! HERE GOES NOTHING. YOU (SORT OF) ASKED FOR IT.

[personal profile] shanaqui: I am predictable! What book/series do you think everyone should read? (For whatever definition of everyone you like: your flist, the whole world, people who say [x]...) (here)


Guys! Disclaimer! I am REALLY TERRIBLE at favourites! Like, I so am. I tend to enjoy things on like — different dimensions! different reasons! I CAN'T PICK ONE THING EVER. Seriously [personal profile] shanaqui YOU HAVE DEFEATED ME. Game over.

... but I will try.


Everyone who... has an interest in history, journalism, Russia, or where I come from personally should read: )

Everyone who... wants to discuss pivotal cultural myths with me (or just likes Arthurian mythology and a spankin' good read) should read: )

Everyone who... loves a good fairytale retelling should read, compare, contrast, and tell me about: )

Everyone who... wants to stick it to assholes who think childrens' books and/or fantasy can't be  )

Everyone who... wants something heartbreaking and hilarious and not all about white people and also bonus cartoons should read: )

Everyone who... says they don't like/can't get into scifi (or just wants to get their feet wet) OR loves a fun mystery OR WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND should read: )

Everyone who... wants to discuss religion in fantasy worldbuilding OR wants to read about older protagonists: )

Everyone who... has never really tried manga but is kind of curious OR likes some good non-Victorian-based steampunk OR wants a variety of strong female characters should read )

Everyone who... wonders why I think I am a terribly selfish person should read: )

So that is that. I have lots and lots of other books I would love to share, some I've loved more than the ones listed here, some less. But this is probably enough to be going on with =)

(And didn't I tell you? Everything is about me. I am the alpha and omega of this post. Oh yes.)
Hey guys! Did you know my friends are awesome? WELL THEY ARE! SO awesome that I will steal all their ideas. This is how I show I love you.

So the awesome [personal profile] seventhe had this great idea to post every day in November, meme-style, but to have the questions/topics be determined by friends/commenters/drive-by anons. THIS SOUNDS FABULOUS. I want one! SO I'M HAVING ONE.

Thing is, I just fail at journaling. Like I really do. Getting better at that was supposed to be part of my Quotidian Creativity project. Which I'm. There's been like total radio silence on that, but hey, why not, a quick update: I am both failing it and passing it with flying colours. Further updates sometime in November once this ridiculous/awesome/ridiculous story I'm cowriting is EFFING DONE jfc.

... but anyway. I'm bad at journaling and I hear I am like. Mysterious or something? What? I am not mysterious! Just. Shy?

But whatever, let's fix it! Rules are more or less same as [personal profile] seventhe's:
  1. There's a list from 1-30, for the 30 days of November.

  2. Leave me comments with anything you want to see me write about. General topics? Questions for me! Whatever it is, I am supposed to blog about it at least a little that day! I'm really not that private a person in terms of what kinds of questions I am or am not willing to answer, so don't be shy! Weird personal stuff is fine -- if you want to hear about it, I will try to answer it XD

  3. I'll put topics in the list in the order the corresponding comments were received. Anyone can comment, on LJ or DW, with OpenID or just anonymously. You don't have to know me, even!

  4. Yeah I am not going to assume that 30 people will leave me topics, so feel free to do more than one! Just try to do no more than two at a time, and if you come back for more rounds, try to space those out so I'm not doing like a week straight of just one person.

I'll do one a day (hopefully won't miss any, but will make up with two in a day at need). The end! Have fun =D

30 Days of Me Not Being Invisible. Let's Go! )

This is going to be the best disaster EVER.




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