December 20, 2013

Friends, Facebook Friends & Exemptions

In the last few years, I've started trimming my Facebook friend list to people that I genuinely like and would hang out with on a voluntary, one-on-one basis.

I don't see Facebook as a means to keep tabs on the lives of people that I don't care about. It seems to feed that destructive, "how much happier is X person than me?" mentality that is bad enough with actual friends. Since I have a hard time with not being competitive and I obsessively try to keep up with my feed, removing that kind of input undoubtedly helps me to be happier.

The problem that I'm currently dealing with is the "exceptions" that I've made. The biggest one being family members. Currently they're all under some privacy controls, but due to some major, glaring, differences in opinions and beliefs, and with the eventual divorce, I've been mulling over de-friending the in-laws. There's still about 5 months left in the lease on the current place, so there's a possibility that some of them might come up to visit again during that time, but it's unlikely that I'm going to go out of my way to hang out with them or visit them when I'm in town.

That's not to say that they're not good people. But their opposing fundamental opinions and beliefs about things that are extremely important to me are not things that I want to spend my time and energy fighting them over or see pop-up in my feed. It makes me sick and sad that they pass judgment and support people that perpetuate that kind of thinking. Could I just ignore that part? I could, but I feel like I'd be constantly lying, to them and to myself that it's not a big deal. 

I know I'm not obligated to have anything to do with them and yeah, I think they expect that they're not going to see or hear from me, but it's still hard cutting people out of your life. "I'm sorry, but you're not someone who enhances my life." Is it selfish? Self-preservation? Passive aggressive?

But I think in the long run, I'll look back and know I made the right choice. It's not my job or responsibility to educate or change their minds, and it's not worth the emotional stress.

December 15, 2013

Rocks Are Pretty Dangerous

D&D Next with Ben Robbins.
Start from the beginning: Slave Galleys Suck
Next session: Forced Marches are Exhausting

Titus, Visage, and Kelti spend all night alternatively swimming, staying afloat, and being subjected to the whims of the ocean. As the sun rose over the flat horizon, it found the three ex-slaves cast upon an unknown shore, each in varying stages of exhaustion from the rough night, but glad to be alive.

Titus, through sheer force of will, had managed to survive the night while holding on to his hard-won hand ax. He recovered first and went in search of other survivors. It didn't take long before he found Visage lying on his side, feet still in the water. Titus eyed the wizard cautiously. The events on the boat were still fresh in his mind. He cleared his throat in an attempt to wake Visage, who slowly and painfully opened his salt crusted eyes.
"You don't look too much worse for the wear."

Titus shrugged, "I'm used to being hungry, and these muscles aren't just for show. So don't try anything funny, I'm not sure I trust you quite yet."

Visage struggled into a sitting position, spat some sand out and said, "Look. I haven't started a fire in your chest yet, so don't worry." He looked up at Titus, who's eyes went wide with shock, "Erm, I mean, just because my hands are free doesn't mean I'm in any shape to...not that I would..." He sighed and cast a small illusion of strings attached to his arms, and acted like the saddest marionette that had ever existed.

Titus visibly relaxed as he finally understood that Visage was trying to quell his concerns and not threaten him. He reached out and offered Visage an arm up. They went in search of Kelti, but when they found her, they got in a heated argument. Titus unwisely mocked Kelti about the effect that her actions had on the fate of the rest of the slaves on the ship. She was rightfully infuriated by his callousness and stormed off. Titus and Visage lost sight of her as she went around the bend of the shore and disappeared into the forest.

After wandering around for bit in the tropical forest, Kelti climbed up a tree to get a better look at her surroundings and spotted a monkey with its back to her, sitting in a tree about 30 feet away. It was unlike any she had ever seen. Its fur was gray and spiky and it seemed to be preoccupied with something. Just at that moment, it raised its head, and turned slowly to one side. Kelti could suddenly see with sharp clarity that its fur was blood caked and that it had been gnawing on a limb of some poor animal. As it went back to its snack, she could hear the rip of the flesh as its teeth tore into the limb and see the spray of blood that was beginning to coat the tree branches next to the monkey.

With her heart pounding in her chest, she focused all of her meager energy and concentrated on climbing down and getting away from the monkey as quickly and quietly as possible. As soon as she was far enough away to feel a little more safe, she let out a breath and continued her search for water and food, but much more cautiously, nervously looking up into the trees to search for signs of monkeys as often as she looked around to find her way.

Meanwhile, Titus also decided to climb up a tree to get a lay of the land. He did not encounter any scary monkeys, but found a nearby tree that was loaded with mangoes. Visage and Titus spent the rest of the day eating too many mangoes, trying to make a carrying bag out of leaves and vines, and gathering firewood. Kelti was able to pinpoint their location from a fair distance away, since the two of them were practically shouting at each other to be heard from the rest of the noise of the forest.

As she carefully crept up to them, she quickly spied the pile of mangoes that were directly behind Titus, who was sitting with his back to her. He was hunched over in deep concentration, brow furrowed with frustration, alternating between bursts of slow, careful vine/leaf manipulation and angry mashing and throwing. It didn't look like his attempt to try to weave the pile of vines and leaves into something useful was going well.

Her stomach growled but she ignored it and patiently waited for a moment when Titus had his head turned to shout at Visage before she darted out and grabbed two mangoes. It took a few moments before Visage noticed that the mango supplies had dwindled. "Titus, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop eating the mangoes and save a few for later. Since it's the only food supply we have, I think we should discuss it before either of us just start eating them."

Titus looked confused and offended. "What? I haven't eaten any additional mangoes." He looked behind him and immediately saw that some of the mangoes had gone missing, "What the hell?" He quickly stood up and looked around, trying to spot the thief.

"You know, we're not alone in this forest, an animal probably came along and took a few. Although, " and Visage shook his head disapprovingly, "I would have thought that you would have kept a closer eye on them and noticed."

A light bulb went off in Titus' head and he said a little more quietly, "I bet it was Kelti. She's seems like the sneaky sort." He cleared his throat and called out, "Kelti! Are you out there? You can have the rest of the mangoes if you want! No need to hide from us."

They waited for a response and none came.

When night fell, Visage and Titus decided not to make a fire, since they didn't have a good reason for it. Kelti had stayed out of sight, but in their general vicinity. Right before the sun fully set, a loud cacophony of sound erupted from all around them from within the treetops. It sounded like inhuman screeching and was bloodcurdling. After several minutes, once night had fully fallen, the noise died away, but their rest was uneasy and broken.

The next day, Visage and Titus gathered more mangoes before setting off. Titus used some of the cloth from his clothes to fashion a makeshift bag to carry the mangoes. Instead of wandering through the forest half starved and slightly delirious from thirst like the day before, Titus, slightly more fortified by the mangoes, decided to use his ax to mark the trees and was able to more accurately find his way through the forest and they came upon a marshy section of the forest.

The water was stagnant and undrinkable, so they started walking along side the marsh, where the ground started sloping uphill. Before they had gone very far, Kelti, who had been tailing them the whole time, noticed a large round shape slowly emerging out of the marsh water. The water tension made it look like a bubble was rising from the water, but after a few moments, it was obvious that it was a creature.

She started sprinting toward Visage and Titus, yelling, "Look out!"

Her shout gave Titus just enough time to dodge the first attack by the monster's long tongue that shot out from its maw. Visage quickly spun an illusion of a giant troll to block the monster's view of Kelti and give them time to potentially escape, and then he moved to hide within the forest, careful to stay within range to keep the illusion from disappearing.

Kelti, with a fire in her eyes, didn't hesitate to chuck a rock at the monster, aiming for one of its eyes. The rock connected solidly, half blinding the monster. It let out a croak of pained outrage and started charging towards the troll and consequently, Kelti. Even with a large frog-like monster leaping towards her, Kelti stood solid and with her one remaining rock in her hand, launched it at the monster's other eye. It was a skillful throw and it didn't miss its mark. The monster, now completely blind, barely had time to mourn its loss before Titus, bolstered into action by Kelti's fearless attacks, leapt on top of it and sank his ax into its skull. The monster crumbled, partway submerged in the marsh.

The three of them caught their breath, and then hauled the monster out of the marsh and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon butchering it and having a froggy feast. Kelti and Titus fashioned shivs out of the monster's leg bones and they wrapped some of the remaining meat in leaves. Titus helped Kelti out of her manacles and gruffly apologized for his earlier insensitive remarks about the events that transpired on the ship. They put the past behind them and together, continued walking uphill beside the marsh.

A few miles later, they came upon the most beautiful sight that any of them had seen in their lives up to that point. A clean, clear flowing waterfall surrounded by moss. They quenched their thirst and washed the blood of the monster, their sweat, salt, and any remaining traces of their slavery from their bodies. The memories would stay with them, but with the threat of dying from thirst and hunger in an unknown tropical land far away from civilization receded for the moment, and they were able to enjoy being alive and unfettered.

That night, they kept a fire going and traded keeping watch. The night was uneventful, they saw various animals cautiously approach the water, staying as far away from their camp as possible, to take a few hurried drinks and then scamper back into the relative safety of the forest.

In the morning, they found some reddish purple fruit, drank deeply, and then climbed to the top of the waterfall. They walked along the stream that fed into the waterfall, surrounded on both sides by tall ferns. Before too long, they heard the dreaded screeching that had plagued their dreams a few nights before. Through the ferns, they saw a group of half a dozen gray spiked haired monkeys in a domestic and violent argument. Not wanting to draw attention to themselves, they made a wide berth around the fighting monkeys, but when they tried to get close to the stream again a while later, they noticed a monkey sitting in one of the trees. It didn't look like it was doing anything, but when they decided that it might be best to sneak away, it suddenly let out an ear piercing hoot that carried and echoed through the forest. Visage, Kelti, and Titus froze and cringed. When nothing immediately happened and the monkey went back to picking at its fur, the three of them shrugged at each other and tried to quickly and quietly backtrack and continue making their way around the (scout?) monkey.

They were making steady progress when Titus almost walked face first into a large stone obelisk. It turned out to be a statue, its features smoothly carved into a tall cylindrical  shape. He decided to climb up it, to get an idea of their surroundings. His progress was slow but right as he reached the top and was getting his bearings, they all heard the telltale screeching of angry monkeys in the not too far off distance. It sounded like a pack of them were making their way quickly to their location.

Throwing caution to the wind, Titus opted to get down as quickly as possible from the top of the statue, deftly sliding down one side to land solidly. They immediately started running for the stream, where they thought they might not be as disadvantaged due to the lack of trees overhead. They managed to barely make it across the stream before they turned around and were immediately set upon by the gray spiked haired monkeys that clawed and bit at their throats with razor sharp teeth well used to tearing flesh.

The fight was brutal and both Visage and Kelti were overwhelmed by the beasts, but not before Kelti made good use of her new frog shiv, rending and killing one of the monkeys. Titus made good use of his ax, swinging it viciously and lopping off several monkey heads, including the one that kept tearing into Visage's unconscious body. At the end, after Titus had stabilized Visage and Kelti had struggled back to consciousness on her own, Titus made a show of brandishing the head of one of the monkeys, smearing its blood over his bare and muscular arms and yelling defiantly towards the small crowd of monkeys that stared angrily across the stream at them.

Titus picked up Visage's unconscious body and they made their way in the stream away from the bloodbath. None of the monkeys followed them. After trekking for a mile, they settled in for the night and they could hear the discontented muted noise of the forest, but they were left alone for the time being.

December 4, 2013

Slave Galleys Suck

I had the great fortune of participating in a D&D Next game, run by none other than the illustrious Ben Robbins of Microscope and Kingdom fame. I'm going to attempt to give brief rundowns of the play sessions, to help us players out in remembering what happened and because we originally had three other people that were going to be in the party that had scheduling conflicts and this way, they can follow along until some distant point in the future when they can "for real" join in.

Ben - GM
Me - Titus, male, raised in the streets of a big city, looking to make something of himself so he can win over the daughter of foreign nobility. More of a Lover than a Fighter.
Andy - Visage, male, power hungry mage with bitterness in his heart.
Pat - Kelti, female, free-spirited, fiercely independent and stubborn, raised by gypsies.

We all played as humans who had been tricked, double-crossed, or duped onto the slave galley. Titus thought he was buying passage on a ship, but his enemies instead sold him into slavery. Visage was similarly a victim of his circumstances, the wizarding community having tired of his antics and sold him off. Kelti, on the run from not being quite as light fingered as she normally was, accidentally stowed away on the wrong ship.

A week into the grueling lifestyle that is being chained 24/7 to your bench, Visage has the good (?) fortune of having his benchmate die and while they were removing the body, Kelti helps him escape his chains by performing some amazing acrobatics and Titus also aids by sweeping the slaver's legs out from under him. Once free, Visage casts Minor Illusion to make it sound like the ship is being overrun by krakens and destroyed. Spoiler, turns out the illusion ironically turned out to be the truth. Titus uses his brute strength to pull his chains free, freeing Kelti as well, who was his benchmate. He then smashes in the skull of the slaver. Kelti immediately sets out to free as many of the other slaves as possible, but Titus grabs her in an attempt to haul her up to the deck of the ship.

This is when they realize that the ship is actually being overrun by krakens. Distracted, Titus lets Kelti go and rushes forward to kill a sailor who was holding an ax. She dashes back down into the mass of terrified slaves and manages to free almost a dozen slaves before the ship begins to sink. Meanwhile, Visage uses his magic to battle against the soldiers and sailors on the ship, toppling some of them overboard and tricking the krakens into grabbing others. Titus shoves one of the soldiers overboard, who falls right into the clutches of a kraken, plays hide and seek with several tentacles before finally grabbing up the ax and doles out his fair share of damage, at one point hurtling one of the slavers' clubs into the skull of an archer, saving Visage's life and killing the archer. Eventually, it's apparent that the battle against the krakens is a losing one as the ship slowly and then quickly takes on water. Titus and Visage both jump overboard and begin swimming for shore, while Kelti makes one last desperate attempt to give the poor wretches still trapped in the galley a chance to escape by tossing a few tools and weapons she found to them. In a final brave and foolish act of revenge, she manages to topple one of the soldiers into the galley as they were running past her. One last glance into the pit of hell and writhing mass of misery and she too jumped overboard.

November 15, 2013

Celebrations & Reflections

I was tempted to blow off this year's birthday, not wanting to make a big deal out of turning an ending in zero number, but I think that would have accomplished even less than putting in the effort of celebrating it. Honestly, I was surprised at how few big all out celebrations there were this year, seeing as how quite a few of my friends were also turning three decades. Also disappointed because I really expected big throw downs.

We have this tendency to make a big deal out of certain dates, holidays, times, and events and sometimes it seems pretty arbitrary, but since one of my goals this year was to be less jaded, part of that is being open to the meaninglessness of it and embracing it. While I don't necessarily agree with saving up your thoughts, emotions, and presents to give to someone on a specific day, I do see the value of having those days to remind ourselves to be thankful, to love a little harder, and to reflect on how far we've come. It'd be great if we didn't need specific days for that, but we tend to get caught up in life and forget what's really important.

So. What is worthwhile to reflect upon after three decades of being alive? The things I did? The people I loved? Or should I look forward to the next three decades and try to guess what I'll want and need and how I can continue to make my life meaningful?

The only thing that is certain is that life is uncertain and one thing that I never want to happen is not to be able to adapt to those changes.

November 12, 2013

Dealing with Being a Flawed Person

Insecurities. Everyone has them. For whatever reason, mine happen to be triggered by other Asian girls. Being relentlessly competitive is a huge and noticeable drawback in this circumstance.

Ironically, most of the close female friends I've had in my life are Asian. And most of the time, I've been largely successful in keeping my bouts of self-doubt and "wtf am I doing with my life; I haven't accomplished anything worthwhile" to a minimum and any depression I feel about it is usually fleeting. Which I am ever grateful for, seeing as how I know many people who struggle on a daily basis with their depression and are awesome awesome people. I have it pretty easy, but it's still a shock to be confronted by those emotions and not know what to do about them. Usually I just try to wait it out and not dwell on any specifics.

I'd like to think that I've made some progress in feeling validated by myself and not by others but that'll probably be a lifelong struggle. Same with owning my emotions. But at least now I feel like I'm going through life being more aware and as an active participant instead of constantly being buffeted around by events and people that I can't do anything about.

One thing that I have a hard time with is imagining what other people might find interesting about me. I try really really hard to stay on top of things and try new things so that I'm someone people want to be around and do interesting things with. Ultimately I'm a people-pleaser but at the same time I strive to do interesting things and have interesting experiences because life is unpredictable but if I can make the most of it now, I won't have as much to regret later. But sometimes I feel like all of it are just things that I use to prop myself up and I'm like a sieve. I'm always racing to consume so that I'll be a full and interesting person, but if I don't, it'll just seep out of me and I'll turn back into an empty shell of a person.

That is my fear. And consequently, that someday I might cease to be as interesting and fun. No one will want to hang out with me or be with me and no matter what I continue doing, all my experiences will be in gray scale and be meaningless because no one will care.

But I know in my head that I don't always have to share the cool things in my life that I experience on my own for them to be real and have meaning. It's hard to believe it with my heart though. Frankly, the idea of living on my own next year is a little terrifying. My new complex issue is commitment squeamishness overshadowed by the dark cloud that is "Loneliness". And the really crazy thing is that I don't remember a time in the last many many years that I've actually felt Alone or Lonely. That's how deep this fear runs.

I think maybe a good small step will be to try real hard not to share so much when I'm doing stuff by myself. Instead of putting energy into trying to remember what cool thing is happening so I can tell someone else about it, really trying to just be in the moment and enjoy it as something that is fleeting and if I can't remember later what happened, knowing that it was something that I enjoyed.

October 30, 2013

Kids. NaNoWriMo.

I'm on the cusp of spending the next 30 days feverishly writing. I'll also be turning 30 in those 30 days. I plan to do my best to not care about the quality of writing and just write to see what comes next. I feel pretty good that I've set aside enough time to write and as long as I keep up a good pace, everything should be fine.

The view outside of my work window looks out at the top of one of the trees. Its leaves are slowly turning more and more yellow with each passing day. It reminds me of the constant march of time, which we battle against throughout our lives. An obviously losing battle, but occasionally we have little snippets, moments where our desires and the flow of time are in sync.

Whether or not to have kids is probably the single biggest decision you can make in your life that is irreversible and will impact almost every part of your life and the lives of those around you. And yet, I get the feeling that even the people who consciously decide that they want to have kids have little to no idea of the day to day mechanics, what they're giving up, or how much work it's going to demand from them. For having done this for thousands of years, I still feel like the average adult is poorly equipped to handle the rigors of raising another human. But at the same time, completely incapable people raise children all the time.

I didn't realize this when I started this post, but in all actuality, raising kids and writing a novel have some similarities. Both are pretty enormous tasks that are incredibly daunting when looking up at them from ground level. Some people just have to get over their fear of failure and jump into it, putting their trust into the fact that they're competent enough individuals to resolve any issues that will come up. Majority of the time, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into on day 1.

It's difficult enough planning my own life without having to plan every minute detail of someone else's. But I guess when you don't have a choice, you do it.

The other thing that I realized while walking past a co-worker's monitor that was displaying a picture of her baby, was how much having a kid would remind me of the fact that I'm Asian. Sure, I look at myself in the mirror all the time, but my race and background aren't usually the first things that I think of. Honestly, I don't think about it at all but that's not to say that it's not important to me.

Mainly, the one thing that I cannot get over right now is how much commitment a child takes. I'm more than likely suffering from some adverseness to commitment at the moment, which makes the idea that I'd be tied to the child for the rest of my life (and likely also to the father and all the other family members that have a vested interest in the child), an incredibly claustrophobic and frightening burden that I have no intention of putting on.

Could I see a future where I'm raising a child? For sure. And I'm sure I'd be pretty good at it, both because I'm a competent, smart individual, and also out of necessity. But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be a Type A Mom, who hand sews Halloween costumes, always has something fun and educational planned for outings, cooks balanced, delicious meals that no one complains about, and has the time and energy to answer ALL the questions.

The real question is, how do I feel about the needs and wants of other people dictating how I live my life? Other people are important to me. I know I don't live in a vacuum, and nor would I want to. Connecting with people and building memories are huge motivators in how I choose to spend my time. And when dealing with other people, I know that compromises have to be made. No one is going to want exactly the same things that I want.

So how will I know if I'm compromising too much?

I don't know if I have the luxury of saying, I'll just wait a bit, see how I feel in a few years. I've already done that. I'm really no closer to a concrete answer. Time marches on, and with it, the choices or non-choices we make. I guess the best that I can do is to make sure that I'm at least aware.

September 5, 2013

PAX 2013

I've always done a Post-PAX recap.

This year was just as relaxed and carefree as the last time. Things with friends seemed to click into place. I think I was worried about being left out if I didn't organize things myself, but I wasn't. Honestly, what I've realized over the last several days is that there's not much else in the world besides friends. Connecting with other people is one of the most important things and I don't think I could be happy without it.

Somehow, I went through the entire Octopus Pie archive tonight. I bought a print of my favorite page. I'm a sap I know it. It's kind of a depressing comic though. Like Freaks & Geeks, it's too real.

I wish I could go on a run right now, but it's the middle of the night. It looks like the weather is taking a sharp turn into autumn too. Lots of rain.

After talking to T in line, I've decided I'm going to do NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. My November so far is completely empty, except for my birthday, which I've pretty much already planned. As long as I keep it that way, and hole up for a month, I can accomplish something that I've always wanted to. I don't think it even matters what the story is, as long as it makes some sense. I think I just need to know I can do it.

I don't want to get into the Dickwolves debacle, but I will say that I don't plan on boycotting PAX and I still want to Enforce for Prime. I think there's other ways of being heard.

This has been one of the most social PAXes I've had. I definitely spent more time talking to people than playing games. This was the year of the Oculus Rift and Omni. For $800, you too can own the next gen VR experience.

What else can be said? I think a lot of people were somewhat disappointed by this year's PAX. It's becoming rote. We're no longer so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. There were some great indie games for sure, ones that aren't afraid to push the envelope, to mashup, and to delve into uncharted territory. Games as Art. That's what I want to be the next big thing.

August 27, 2013

Summer Recap

It's the last week of the summer months and while I hope there's still several weeks of nice/warm weather ahead, I thought it'd be fun to recount what has probably been one of the most physically active spring/summers I have ever had.

April 25 - I started the Zombies, Run! 5k training and haven't looked back since. This one change has drastically impacted my fitness level and paved the way to doing so much more without feeling like I want to die. Who knew running 3 times a week would make such a difference?

May - Started the process to get Lasik, specifically PRK done. Went to St. Louis and got to go to City Museum, which was mind-blowing and I discovered I like to crawl around in tiny spaces. Went to 4 SIFF movies, all of which were amazing.

June - Went to the Anamanguchi show, moved to First Hill, went hiking for A's birthday (and ran down part of the trail), and went to Go Play NW, where I played 7 story games in 3 days.

July - On the 4th of July, I did a run to Madrona Park and then took a swim, and then spent like 6 hours in the park. Went river tubing in Leavenworth, went paddle boarding in Ballard, did the Be the Match 5k run in Portland, which I managed to raise over $500 for, took two trips to Olympia, went on a 3 day backpack camping trip and hiked 24 miles.

August - Went blueberry picking twice, saw Wagner's The Ring Cycle (4 operas in a week), went to a wedding then an elopement party, did the Electric Run 5k and managed to not twist my ankle running at night, did two days in a row of biking 12-14 miles and then did a 30 mile bike trip around Bainbridge Island, complete with cheese and wine tasting and a picnic. And I wasn't even sore the next day (except obviously my butt).

And of course, rounding out August with PAX!

I'm proud of myself for taking the initiative and signing up for all of these interesting events. I don't think I've wasted a single day. Every day has been an opportunity to explore, to experience new things, and to be enriched. I've gotten rid of an amazing amount of artifacts and it's allowed me to start being more aware of what I want to keep and what I should throw away.

Am I worried I'm going to burn out? Not really. I've also learned to take it easy and not focus so much on goals. I don't need to compete against myself and I'm trying to not think about competing with other people so much. Hopefully the fall and winter months will afford me with some time to play some games and read some books :)

July 31, 2013

Them Be Fightin' Words

The previous blog post was something that I had written up a while ago but forgot about posting.

Obviously I've been doing a bad job lately of keeping up with blogging. I'm just not a very introspective person. So sue me. The most introspection I've done recently was writing a "story" at a coffee shop last Thursday night. But it'll stay in its notebook because it's not fiction enough. I wrote it, got it out, but it's too personal for public consumption. But of course, like all the things I write, I think it's pretty good :)

I always feel like blogging late at night when I should be sleeping. Some nights I just don't feel like I want them to end, even though nothing is going on, it's appealing to see the night stretch out in front of you and not think about what's coming up next.

Why Fight?
There are times where
You open your mouth
Fear & Rage Pour Out
But they're deaf and blind
There's no point.

You grip that
hold on tight
and bleed
staggering up
standing tall
but the weight of their
ignorance crushes
like ice
cold and unyielding.

Should you wait
forgive but not forget
save it up
for the perfect moment?

Life is uncertain
Life is short
No one will speak up
No one cares.

Struggle against
Be strong
It's one step
But it's the way forward.

Remote Companionship

Here's an idea. For those people who either are too busy to talk to their friends on a regular basis, or don't have any friends that share their interests, you can download podcast-like conversations. I'm not sure I'd be the best person to record such things, since I don't talk non-stop, but the idea is that the PodConvo would be on a specific topic, say, The Walking Dead game, Chpt 1, and it'd be equivalent to meeting someone who had just finished playing Chpt 1 and wanted to discuss the nuances of the game play, spoilers, thoughts, feelings, and stories that came up as a result. People could feel free to pause the PodConvo at any time to interject their own thoughts, feelings, and stories without worrying that they were dominating the conversation or interrupting the person too much. They'll never forget what they were about to say! They'll patiently wait while you go on a half an hour diatribe!

I definitely think there's a niche for this kind of thing. Sometimes dinner at home can be enhanced by conversation instead of watching TV or a movie. Who doesn't like to be talked at about an interesting topic or subject that they hold dear?

June 10, 2013

Same Love

They started playing Macklemore's Same Love on the radio. Every time I hear it playing on the radio, my chest gets tight and I feel the early beginnings of wanting to cry. Pride is coming up and it is undoubtedly the gay marriage anthem of our day and age.

I believe in love at first sight. You can fall in love with someone the second you look up and see them. I am extremely fortunate in my life to have extremely few cases where I've fallen in love with someone and not had the interest reciprocated. In a few rare instances, I fall in love with someone who has been in the background, and then suddenly, one day I realize they're pretty awesome. I fall in and out of love and I follow that path down wherever it may lead. Luckily, I'm in a position where I can do that. Being bi and poly is probably the best combination for being able to love and care for the most amount of people. But ironically, I am known to also intensely hate people.

I want to live in a world where people can love and be loved by anyone, but I know that's so far away right now. That's why the song is so sad and sentimental to me.

Love is a difficult topic. For many people, love is synonymous with commitment and loyalty. Others go purely on their emotions. Where does wanting the best for someone fall? And what are the key differences between romantic love and platonic love? Is there something wrong or immoral about not committing to someone or multiple people for your entire life? Family, for a lot of people, are the alpha and omega, there's nothing they wouldn't do for their given or chosen families. I feel like I connect deeply with people, but I also know that the future is uncertain, and that I am inherently a somewhat unreliable person. I've changed and will continue to change, and I can't promise that the change will include still being in love.

Does the freedom to love someone also come with the freedom to not love someone?

May 26, 2013

Know Thyself

I watched the Girl Walk // All Day movie last night. Chapter 7 is my favorite, especially the subway section, and I'll be listening to the Girl Talk All Day album for the foreseeable future. The whole thing is so beautiful and inspiring and bold. Performance art has always fascinated me and even more so, the ones that somehow interact with the viewer.

The other thing I watched was the most recent Brené Brown TED talk. Both of them are absolutely heart stopping. They've made me realize that I probably definitely have a problem with vulnerability. Realize, but not face. I'm still too freaked out to do that. I've always been good at presenting different versions of myself to different people. I always thought it was because I was good at adapting and knowing what people want. But maybe also, it's easier liking the things that someone else likes and putting on that pre-made persona and interests than really pursuing my own. I'm so focused on being able to relate to the people in my life that I don't carve out enough time for myself.

So what's the takeaway here? My longest passions in life have been dancing and writing. I should incorporate more of those two things into what I do in my free time.

Facts Before Fiction
I sat facing the lake, letting the flat, unchanging landscape consume my senses. I felt a slight tug by my elbow.
A small voice floated up into my ear, "What are you doing?"
I turned my head and smiled at him, "Why don't you sit next to me and see for yourself?"
He carefully navigated around the rocks and brushed away the unseen dirt before settling down facing me.
"No, no, turn to face the lake."
He gave me a wary look and slowly complied.
We sat in silence for a minute before I heard, "You know they're looking for you."
I stared straight ahead, anxiety gripping my heart. He glanced over, and seeing my discomfort, said, "I'll sit with you for a few minutes. They won't think to look this far out."
I managed to give a small nod, but my body was still tense, ready for flight at the slightest cough. I thought about the choices that led me to this particular lake and the circumstances that led to me sitting here in my Fiorvanti three piece suit, hours away from saying my vows.

Nick had been the backbone of the marriage movement. He came from a family of activists, so diverse and varied that you could have sworn they married based on which cause they hadn't taken up yet. So when he turned to me and proposed amidst the wild cheering and tears, I knew it was a moment he had been waiting for his entire life.

I, on the other hand, came from a family of easily distracted, laid-back yacht owners. How I ended up with someone like Nick is a constant source of speculation for anyone who has chatted with us for more than ten minutes. Yet here I was, looking out at Lake Garda, unsure for the first time of the direction my life was heading.

I rolled my shoulders and stood up. No one will be upset if the wedding is postponed a day. We're in Italy after all.

May 9, 2013

What I Like

There are a few things that I like for no other reason than the fact that I actually like them. Sure, maybe someone introduced it to me, but I didn't start liking it because they liked it too. I'm not sure yet if this distinction is important because who isn't influenced by their friends and lovers? Sometimes though, I feel like I lose sight of who I am and that I'm just a shell of a person that's been stuffed with things that other people like and have soaked up their excitement to the point where I'm bloated and only sort of enjoy the food that I'm constantly sampling.

So here's an attempt at trying to distill only the things that I'm sure I like, solely because they're meaningful to me, or they make me happy.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Ever since I saw a graduate production of this play my freshman year at UW, I have been in love with it. Initially because of the hilarious first bit, but now also for the way it presents existentialism and nihilism, both of which are things that I've struggled to comprehend and understand in relation to how I feel about my own life and its place in the world.

Fight Club
I saw this movie for the first time in the theaters knowing next to nothing about it. I've re-watched it several times throughout the years and every time it's inspiring and reckless and freeing. I used to be much more violent and volatile growing up and sometimes I miss that physicality. I'm still reckless and stubborn. Sometimes I have the overwhelming feeling of purposefully not giving a shit and wanting to see it all burn to the ground.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
I've read this book several times and always makes me laugh. Similarly in this vein, Good Omens.

Hip Hop
I like feeling like a badass while I do it and related to this, dancing in general.

Ping Pong
My dad and I used to go across the street to our neighbor's garage and play ping pong at night. It's been a really long time since I've played it competitively against someone. Zach and I played while we were in Antigua and it made me miss the intense bouts and being actually good at it.

Making this list makes me wonder if I have a broad category of thing that is my forte. I guess I generally like point-and-click games and puzzle games. I like knitting. I will read just about anything. Does "Going to new and weird things" count as a thing in itself?

Still, a large portion of the things I do are only partially because I like them/are interested in them, but mainly so that I can connect with people and have something to discuss with them. I'm trying to keep tabs on the ratio, but hanging out and doing stuff with people is a big part of my life (when I'm not being all "I hate people"). The only problem is that with the large number of people I know, they all have a wide variety of interests and hobbies and I can't hope to keep up to date on all of them, much less get good at them. And anything that I'm not pretty good at generally loses a magnitude of fun and interest for me.

So, I'm toying with the idea of picking one thing a month or so and spending time boning up on it and having it be a focus. Topics would include story games, sci-fi/fantasy novels, game design/development, cigars, whiskey, blues dancing, beer, cooking, anime, specific video games (TF2, SC2), coffee, steampunk, punk, goth, the pin-up/suicide girls style, tattoos, leather, bootblacking, noir films, Mad Max apocalypse style, specific nerdy subcultures (Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Dr. Who), Magic: The Gathering, Pathfinder, and D&D, specifically DMing.

That's at least two years worth of research topics, most of which I know something about, but would by no means consider myself an expert. Is there really anything that I would consider myself an expert on? I suppose maybe knowing events that are going on around the city, coming up with an outfit, places to eat, and making a presentation or document better. I wanted to put in there something about people, like knowing who is good people or flirting my way into people's pants...but neither of those things are especially teachable. Not reliably anyway.

And Tonight the Night Rules Us
"Catch it! Catch it!"
The crush of bodies made breathing almost impossible but she held out her hand and willed the spiked ball to fall into it. She got her wish. It impacted and shattered into blue wisps which floated up in front of her eyes and faded into her coinage. Immediately the pressure was gone and she took a deep, victorious breath.

Ignoring the jealous stares, she squeezed into the minicar that materialized, allowing herself a small smile. She would eat well tonight. The minicar sank back into the ground and entered the vast underground tunnels that honeycombed the Earth, the magnitude of which constantly took her breath away.

She closed her eyes and resisted the constant urge to check her social networks, knowing that her rank was blowing up and that the requests for bumps would soon follow. Instead, she called up a quick meditation app and selected the japanese garden 5 minute exercise. As she followed the instructions, picking up fragments of the lyrical Japanese that could be barely heard under the voiceover English, she felt her mind sharpen. Nothing like a nice quick defrag to calm her nerves.

All too soon the minicar glided to a stop. She popped out and entered the maze, her clothing changed to bright yellow as soon as she crossed the threshold. Giant balls of delicious flavored rice hovered in front of her face and she ran through the hallways, eating as much as she could and savoring the fresh fruit. But nothing could match the thrill of hunting down those who pursued her and consuming their flesh. Her eyes glittered in the darkness, jaws constantly chomping and swallowing each morsel before wiping her face with her arm, leaving a bright red smear.

May 8, 2013

Unable to Set a Good Pace

It's now becoming normal to go to bed at 11 or 11:30 on weeknights. It used to be that 10:30 was late. This is probably terrible for me overall since sleep is important for a lot of reasons, but it just feels like a chore that I don't want to do. Sure I feel tired and sluggish, but that doesn't instantly translate to going upstairs and lying down and closing my eyes.

Went to the opera tonight with W. It was two short operas,  La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica. One was about a breakup over the phone, the other about a woman who was forced to become a nun because she had a son out of wedlock. It's crazy what love will make people do. In one scene, the woman wraps the phone cord around her neck and tells him that she has his voice wrapped around her neck. But in all actuality, it's not really that weird. It makes perfect sense. When you're distraught, weird things will make you feel better and sometimes, immediately make you feel worse.

A Lasting Note of Solitude
The sun burned so hot and so brightly that she imagined she could see the steam coming off of her skin as she stepped out of the heavily AC-ed store and onto the sidewalk. I'm melting she thought to herself and imagined sinking into the cracks and being stuck to the shoes of people who would walk all over her and scatter her like wet paint down the street. But she stayed whole and solid and kept on walking. She tried to enjoy the heat that made sweat drip down her back and caused her shirt to stick to her skin. Tried to force herself not to squint in the bright light, which she knew made her look angry and confused, and instead take in the vibrant colors and soak her rods and cones. She wanted to tear off her clothes and have the sun judge her and burn its touch deep into her skin. She took a deep breath. And turned the corner, slipping into the shadow, an escape that chilled her momentarily, but soon enough, she no longer missed the warmth of the sun. Back to zero.

May 7, 2013

Of Art and Soul

I am a voracious consumer of things and experiences, most of which is Art of some kind. But I see all of my friends creating art and I'm frustrated that I have no art of my own. Bits and pieces here and there...but it's nowhere near the same level. For a long time I thought it was because I was afraid of starting, of having nothing to say. But as I'm getting over that, I'm realizing that the real issue is that I don't like to spend time with myself, by myself. I prioritize going out and hanging out with people, consuming shows, games, and books, and pretty much everything else above setting aside time to be quiet and think and be in order to create. One of the only things that I spend creative time thinking about is the outfits and costumes I put together.

I still have the sense that I'm not being as efficient with my time as I should be. I want to go camping so bad, but I'm anxious that my weekends are filling up and so I want to plan which ones I should go camping on, but I feel like all my efforts at planning things in advance are always rebuffed because no one else plans their time out that far. Maybe the solution is to try camping on my own (which I've never done) or not be so set on having everyone be able to come. I have an additional 5 whole days of vacation time this year that are currently unallocated. Two of those days could go towards Christmas, so that I could have the entire week off, and/or I could start taking three day weekends during the summer months and go camping. Another amazing thing is that I have 4 1/2 days of sick time accrued. This is literally the most sick time I've had at any one point in the last 8 years.

The obvious solution is to start blocking off time to work on a project. And maybe after getting going on something, I can work on it in a group setting. And spend some time coming to terms with my fear of not being able to do the things that I want to and finding ways to do them that aren't dependent on others. Really just trying to be more independent. Because I feel like I'm trying to sustain myself right now and not doing a good job.

His obsession was collecting the last bit of things. Candles that were more horizontal than vertical, boxes and boxes of shampoo with a film of product stuck at the bottom, slivers of soap, the last piece of paper in a ream...his house was full of one-use items. It wasn't even something he thought about anymore, whenever something he was using got down far enough, he would casually put it aside, always knowing when there was just enough left. He lived his life like this, never experiencing the end, but always the beginning. It kept him from becoming disillusioned and he spent hours walking slowly around his almost empty house, picking up items and remembering and imagining the possibilities. No item was tossed aside from being used up. Each lovingly saved from the abyss by a careful owner, its servitude remembered for years to come.

May 3, 2013

Importantness of Sleep?

I have been getting less sleep than usual this week. Two late nights of movies, both of which were pretty great and wildly different (Upstream Color vs. Iron Man 3). Work has been pretty relaxed this week, which was good. As a result, I spent some time adding things to my Amazon Wish List.

If you read this blog and like it, vote by
buying me something off of my wish list
donating to my Be the Match 5k run.

The Bear That Would Not Sleep
All throughout the life of Bearkins Beary Bear, sleep was the lowest priority. The urge to claw every moment out of life was strong with this one. Then one day, BBB was shot by a zoo keeper. The shot knocked BBB out and when BBB awoke, iron bars surrounded a bare, concrete room that the world had shrunken to.

Railing day and night did nothing and the drugged periods of unconsciousness that served as deeply resented "sleep" only served to fuel the rage and determination.

BBB was so intent on escaping from the zoo keeper's prison that one day, thought became action, and action became reality. Eyes closed, BBB took a final leap at the unyielding iron bars and with a breath of every ounce of soul, phased into and through the bars and escaped.

May 1, 2013

Xhip Xhape

I wrote up this blog post about one of our D&D sessions many many months ago and neglected to post it because I don't think I was done with the post, but it's definitely too late now because I can't remember anything else. I enjoyed writing these though. Write-ups are somewhat a chore, but I also like being able to infuse what happened with some creative flairs.

You know you're in the Material Realm when people gawk at you instead of averting their eyes or ignoring you.The Gray Hand appeared on a newly built teleportation portal in the modest town square of an up and coming village. Malek jumped down and stopped a farmer that had a basket of potatoes on his back.
"Say, what's the name of this town?"
"This is Water Down, sir."

As the farmer turned to go, Malek closed his eyes and did some calculations in his head. After a few moments, he turned back to the rest of The Gray Hand and said, "We're about 50 miles from where we parked the Xebec. How about some Phantom Steeds Inadia?"

Ten minutes later, The Gray Hand galloped silently out of town and soon came upon a riverbank and the cavern where Malek met his most recent untimely death. The cliff still bore the deep claw gouges from the Hydra as it struggled to regain its footing before failing and falling.
"You went down first last time, you want to go down first again?"
Malek shrugged nonchalantly, "Sure, I have plenty of rope for it."
"I'll come with you...uh, you know, in case you need help finding the ship." Cytharyan turned slightly and winked surreptitiously at Inadia and Kalavich.

Once the all clear was given from below, Inadia and Karash made their way down the rope. Inadia pulled out a pair of gloves to protect her hands and used Magic Hand to make the descent more enjoyable. As they cleared the branches and moss from the Xebec, they decided to make their way to Mackelton to see if they could find some kobolds to clean the ship of the accumulated grime and decay from its years in "storage".

As they flew over the town, they were mildly surprised and intrigued to see that in the time they had been gone, the town had apparently assimilated with neighboring towns since they could see a mix of kobolds and humans. While such a thing was not entirely unheard of, the difference in intelligence and skills would normally lean towards a second class citizenship for the kobolds. The Gray Hand touched down with a flourish in the town square, which was sadly devoid of its statue of Malek.

Malek and Cytharyan disembark and after some inquiry, find themselves in front of a lanky human, who frankly looked at them with suspicion.
"What business do the likes of you have here?" He asked gruffly.
Malek looked at Cytharyan for a moment and said slowly, "Well, I have some history with this town, back when it was inhabited with only kobolds. We were in the area so we decided to make a quick social visit. What's the name of the town now?"
"New Hope. It's been called that for about 8 months now."
Cytharyan, sensing the man's skepticism, quickly interjects, "We're also looking for a few able bodies to help clean up our ship. We just took it out of storage and it could use a thorough going over."
The man relaxes slightly, "Well, as long as you're not here to cause any trouble, we always welcome coin. I'll see if I can round up some folks."

They take their leave and a few streets down, found a kobold that didn't seem occupied. They sauntered up to the kobold and struck up a conversation.
"So how long have you been living in Mac...New Hope?"
The kobold looked skittish, but quickly answered, "Few months sirs, not long."
Malek casually took out a gold coin and started twirling it between his fingers. The kobold perked up slightly, his eyes mesmerized by the twinkling of coin.
"Do you know of any kolbolds that have been here for a year or more?"
The kobold furrowed his brow in thought and then nodded, "Only one left is Old Wise One." Malek flipped him the coin. He caught it with surprise but it quickly dawned on him how to play this game. As Malek took out another coin, he seemed positively eager to please and was shifting from one foot to the other.
"Where does the Old Wise One live?"
"OUTSKIRTS." The kobold's eyes bugged out with his exclamation and he panted with excitement, as if he was afraid someone would buzz in before him and give the right answer. He also waved his arm frantically in the direction that they should go. Malek tossed him the second coin and gave a short laugh. He and Cytharyan set out.

The wooden house was humble and the interior was cozy, though simply furnished. As they entered, they were met by an elderly kobold (think Yoda but not green).
"Welcome! My name is Ikik."
"Well met Ikik. We heard that you were the last kobold that remember back when New Hope used to be Mackelton and..."
Ikik suddenly interrupted, "Lord Malek! Forgive me for not recognizing you right away! Please sit!" He shakes he head and says, "Yes, I am the last one. Heathens have taken over the town and that is why I live on the outskirts." He suddenly brightens and says, "Is that why you're here sir? To strike fear into the New Hopeians? Things have been going downhill ever since you left."
"No, I just came to to let you know that we tracked down the people responsible for the massacre. They were given no mercy."
Ikik's eyes grew misty and he looked down as he said, "Thank you Lord Malek. My son was one of the ones killed that terrible terrible day."
They all sat in companionable silence, thinking back to that day.
"Lord Malek..." Ikik hesitated and the hand that was holding his cane shook.
"Yes Ikik? What is it? Don't be afraid to speak up."
"Please sir, take me with you. There's nothing left for me here and I swear I will make myself useful!"


A crowd of muscular men and a few stout kobolds crowded around the Xebec all clamoring for a chance to be chosen to help clean the ship. Inadia chose the eight most able souls and two kobolds (to get into the small parts of the ship) and lowered a rope for them to climb up.
"We'll pay you each a gold coin for your work, but not until after you've earned it you hear? Now get started!"
Inadia closely supervised the work and when dinner time rolled around, she shook her head distractedly and said, "No, no, I can't leave the ship. Feel free to go, and send some dinner here for me."
The rest of The Gray Hand met at a nearby tavern and ate lamb. Kalavich and Ikik enter into a drinking contest, a nightly ritual for Kalavich whenever he can find a willing opponent. They each have a keg of the best ale the tavern has to offer and go to town. In the midst of the drunken revelry, Kalavich looks away for a moment and when he looks back, Ikik is no where to be seen. When he hops off of the chair, he sees Ikik slumped underneath the table. Apparently the kobold had passed out and slid off his chair. Kalavich shakes his head and picks up the kobold and slings him over a shoulder. And since his keg is already empty, he also takes Ikik's half finished keg and slings it over his other shoulder and makes his way back to the ship.

After unburdening himself, Kalavich suddenly noticed a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye. He promptly drunkenly searches the Xebec and unsurprisingly finds nothing of note. In the morning, everyone shrugs at his inarticulate mumbling about seeing, yet not seeing something. They take off and make for Kingston, where they land in the town square, making quite a hubbub, which is exactly what they wanted. They roll into the priciest inn in town (feather beds and all!) and party until the morning.
The next day, Inadia puts Magic Mouth on the ship to announce their intention of interviewing candidates to crew the ship. Two women and three men are hired at 20g/month. With that taken care of, Inadia and Cytharyan find a magic shop and while Inadia cleans them out of their reagents, Cytharyan takes the opportunity to practice his skills and steals a few potions.

A Poem for Me

don't do enough
for you.

But I want to be heard.
I want to be understood.


I want to feel connected -
embraced & accepted

Open up a port.

It's not secure
It's not safe
You'll hack my shores.

Weak signals are unreliable. Uselsss. Slow.
My interests
My wants


April 29, 2013

139 "Friends"

Quick check-in on my goals for the year:
1. Play more story gaming tabletop games.
I got to go to some Saturday story gaming and play Metrofinál, which I've been wanting to play for over a year now and playtest a new story game about the garden of Eden. I think it's far enough along in the year to expand this goal to include all tabletop games. 

2. Taking hip hop classes Run a 5K.
The last four set of hip hop classes didn't go as well as the first set...I only went to one class. However, I've decided to take up doing 5Ks and am doing a training program! So I'm also going to modify this one as well. I'm not going to change it to "exercise more" because it's too vague. If I can get in some pull ups along with my running, great, but that's not the goal.

3. Going camping.
No progress on this one. I went to Antigua and they had lots of mosquitoes. It's starting to get warmer though, so I'm expecting to be able to go camping a lot more.

4. Doing the dishes after I make them dirty.
I have my pot and steamer in the sink right, but I think as long as I do them before I go to bed, it'll be fine. I think this will be more of a challenge once I move and we start cooking more.

5. Getting rid of stuff.
I'm pretty much going to be forced to get rid of things here soon, but packing up what I definitely want to keep still hasn't happened yet. I don't feel especially unmotivated to do it, but I haven't done any sorting yet either. I think the sheer mountain of a task that is going through all of the things that I've acquired throughout my life so far and taking less than half is pretty daunting. I have gotten rid of a lot of clothes and dishes so far though.

6. Playing more video games.
I've been pretty unsuccessful in this, I was going to play more Walking Dead tonight but ended up writing this blog instead. I'm also at this exact moment coordinating with W on playing Borderlands 2 next week.

7. Blogging more.
I've suddenly developed an interest in slam poetry and poetry in general. So I might do some of that here.

8. Being less jaded.
Related to the previous one, I fell out of writing poetry at some point in college, I'm not sure why anymore, but the sense that it was silly nonsense that stuck-up people wrote to be obtuse was kind of how I felt. But I've always loved e.e. cummings poems. The playfulness, the breaking of all the rules, those aspects of poetry appeal to me. And who am I to judge someone's creative outlet?

I feel like I'm in a holding pattern right now. I have this looming sense that I should be getting ready to move and am trying to spend more time at home to do whatever tasks that come with that, but so far, haven't actually done much that feels "move-y".

I've been burning off most of my moodiness with the running (though I think I'm going to need to start doing "real" runs outside at least once a week or so) but have been losing some sleep. Not because I have a hard time falling asleep, but because I've taken to lying awake, mulling over my life before I'm finally too tired to keep on thinking.

My life is full of people. Awesome and interesting people. And I count myself lucky to be included in the circles of these people. I'm constantly surprised by the insights that my friends have about me. Apparently it doesn't take long or much to realize certain truths if you start hanging out with me. Like the fact that I have a mild competitive streak. That I can be reckless. That I'm blunt, sometimes to the point of being cruel. And that I like being on the go and going to weird events, but that if I really like you, I will make time for you. Does that make me loyal? Or just good at managing my time?

Either way, I'm on the cusp of meeting a lot more people that don't fall into any of my current circles, and I'll have to think carefully if I want to spend more energy trying to merge circles, or if it's fine to naturally segregate. Mostly, I wish all of my friends got along and that way, I could hang out with everyone all the time. But alas, most activities cannot handle more than six or so people, and often even less. If everyone I knew wanted to do everything that I wanted to do, this would be a problem, but luckily, everyone has their own lives and can't be bothered to let me dictate their free time, as delicious as that would be.

April 17, 2013

Additional Chances

I was going through my GReader (soon to be RIP) and was reading Patrick Rothfuss' blog and his post on second chances inspired me to finally get something down.

But first, I should probably come to terms with the fact that this blog has disintegrated into a personal re-hashing space. I originally started it with the idea that it would provide useful commentary on the interesting things that I do and experience. And it still could be a sort of review spot, where I list all of the events, books, movies, and games that I've gone through, but since I have a bit of a completionist streak, I'd want EVERYTHING to be put down. I read six books on vacation last week, which is more than I've read in the last six months. I spent a lot of time in planes and a lot of time lounging by the pool/beach and I am so glad that I got a Paperwhite to make reading in the bright sun possible. I'm sure I could lump the book reviews into one post, and there are a few in there that are worth mentioning, but some of them were pretty lame.

Probably the one I liked the most was called To Have and To Code, which is a completely stupid title and had a somewhat confusing alt world where witches existed. And yes, it was a contemporary romance novel, but several times it hit me right in the feels. Which is probably why I continue reading them for fun.

Okay, back on topic. Originally, it seemed like a cop out to just write about personal stuff, especially since I don't go into specifics and use initials. It's like VagueBooking. But I've come to grips with the fact that this blog is mostly for me and always has been. I'm someone who doesn't usually think about things too deeply, but I'm a careful writer, in the sense that I re-read what I write, multiple times, and spend a lot of time thinking about what I actually want to say. So when something's been kicking around in my head with half formed opinions and ideas, the only way for me to muddle through it is to write it down, sentence by sentence, the way I used to write my school papers. Otherwise I just can't let go of it. It makes me feel better when it's been written down, documented, analyzed, and it feels final, something "physical" I can point people to. One of the reasons why I like having SOPs, I'm offloading my knowledge and never have to worry about forgetting some key step because I've written it down. Also, I love when someone asks me about a process or has a question and I can point them to a SOP I've written months and years ago. Now that's efficient.

But I haven't really openly advertized this blog. I somewhat recently went through and added it as a link to a few of my profiles, and while yes, I'm an attention whore and like compliments, it crosses some line for me to actively try to get people to read about what I'm thinking. But I would be the first to say that I love reading about other people's lives, especially those that I know. The little window to get inside their head is always interesting, which I guess, is a small part of the reason why I keep this online instead of offline.

My old blog from my college years was full of angst and lots and lots of posts on random stuff, I truly used that as more of a journal, since that was kind of back when Facebook was just starting up. Now I can document the funny or interesting things that happen to me on a daily basis in chunks, which pretty much just leaves this for introspection. I always think I'll go back some day and re-read posts from that era, but I tried that with a journal I kept in elementary/middle school and omg I just wanted to burn it. It was so embarrassing. I think luckily, since then, my writing has improved and I'm a lot less whiny and even more surprisingly, some of the things I've re-read I've been shocked that I actually wrote it. Which then begs the question, am I a worse writer now than I was back then? Has the creative and interesting writing been smothered by lack of writing/being too efficient? When I write creatively, I find I have to go back over and over again to fill in details and flesh out moments. Writing in a torrent has never been my style but I'm worried that I've forgotten how to make a piece of writing fun and interesting to read. Structured writing is clean and has its own style of beauty, but it's also not usually easy and fun to breeze through while on the beach. Anyway, the solution is probably just to write more creative pieces and then getting into that mindset of being loose and easy with my words will come more naturally.

Now, back to what I originally wanted to write this post about - having additional chances that I don't deserve. I find that recently I've been constantly trying to remind myself of how fortunate I am and imagining what my life looks like from an outside perspective. Some things just look better in print you know? But it's hard for it to sink in because it's not something that I feel in my heart, but that I know in my head. The one thing that I have been grateful for is additional chances. Times when I've been able try again and use the past mistakes to be better and do better instead of having them hold me back.

Adventures and vacations end. They must, and you know from the beginning that they will. It's easy to know in your head that there'll be other adventures and other vacations, but it's difficult to know in your heart that you'll ever feel the same thrill or sense of contentment that you have. I think that's what makes letting go and coming back to routine tough. No matter how many pictures you took, or souvenirs you acquired, you can never have that exact feeling. The memories are there, the impressions of how it felt, but the raw emotion...that is fleeting. All we can do is strive towards the next moment and savor each moment and the feelings it brings.

Or until technology catches up and we can have feelies.

April 3, 2013

Leaving? Or Coming Home?

I'm moving to Capitol Hill! Where specifically is still too early have a handle on, but I have four large garbage bags of clothes and accessories that I'm donating to Goodwill. And that's just the start.

No doubt it's going to be hard to downsize, and it might be really tough to have to pay mortgage and rent at the same time for an unknown amount of time, but I am so excited to finally be able to merge my living situation with my current lifestyle.

Not to mention all of the people that I vaguely knew lived on the hill that are coming out of the woodwork. The overlap in the people that I hang out with and what they know about me is nearly the same. But I still have several friends that don't know the whole picture. Granted, I can probably count them on one hand but it's annoying to have to censor what I say.

Maybe it's the tech writer in me, but I almost feel like I should send them an email or something, just so everyone is on the same page. Consistency!

And honestly, the move will probably be easier than I expect because we'll probably be using our house as a very expensive storage unit until we can get it fixed up and sold. Maybe that'll be a selling point! Comes half furnished with all this random stuff!

Things I will look forward to once I'm living on the hill:

  • Ability to bus to hip hop classes
  • Walking everywhere
  • Broadway Sunday Farmers Market
  • Thursday Story Gaming
  • 20 minute commute
  • Crumble & Flake
  • Seeing my friends on the weekdays
  • Walking the dogs
  • Feeling like I fit in
  • Cal Anderson Park
  • Ability to go out dancing/drinking and cab/Uber home if I wanted
  • So many good restaurants
  • Having people come to me instead of always going to them.

March 17, 2013

I've Become a Pushover

I have had probably about 16 years of knowing what it's like to be hit on as a generally well-liked, cis-female minority. And all in all, I've been extremely fortunate not to have had any seriously traumatizing things happen, but it's not like I haven't had experiences where I've been scared, uncomfortable, or in a situation where I felt like I was losing control of what was happening to me. And all of it stems from being afraid that I wasn't going to be respected. When I say I'm not interested, it's up to the other person to respect my boundaries and to just leave it at that. I think guys are more likely to have a hard time backing down, while girls are more likely to immediately start apologizing.

And maybe everyone feels this way, but whenever I have to decline any sort of advance, no matter how innocent or politely made, I think part of me is holding my breath, waiting to see if things are going to escalate. And the kind of behavior that creates this is perpetuated by both sides. Girls who play hard to get and guys who think if they just try hard enough or that the girl is just being shy. It's really not something that is fixable, because there's always going to be people like that and people who are genuinely shy and need more assertive pursuing. So I've learned to deal with this undercurrent of fear and just not think about it too much.

Most of the time it's easier just to ignore cat calls, but that doesn't do anything for the next person. Multiple times in my life I've had guys yell at me "Konnichiwa!" One of the last times it happened to me, I was so infuriated that all I could do was say, "I'm not Japanese." Which was really only a small part of it. Even if they had used Mandarin, cat calling in that fashion is super offensive. I think because it brings up the whole being "exotic" and using my language, something that I highly value, like that is disgusting.

Would it be reckless to try and work on not feeling afraid? I feel like it does prevent me from standing up for myself sometimes and presenting a strong, confident image. What I'm not sure about is whether the trade off would mean I'd have to defend myself more often, both verbally and physically. Because it is kind of stupid to have so many interactions colored by a what-if. I think it's at least a small thing I can do to let those people know that, no matter if was their intention or not, I'm refusing to let intimidation prevent me from letting them know how I feel.

Since I've buzzed my head, the amount of respectful compliments have increased. Just last night, I walked into a bar to use their ATM and a group of early St. Patrick's Day celebrants were leaving and one of the guys, without saying a word, held up his fist for a fist bump. I obliged and we continued on our respective ways without missing a beat. I wasn't even wearing any green, so I assume it must have had something to do with how badass I look on a general basis these days. And I feel like I should take more of an active effort to really internalize that badassery, because I practice pretending to be tough, but actually being tough is definitely something that has to be drawn out of me.

I know I have a solid vein of "I will fuck you up/this shit is going to get done" that is strongly backed by stubbornness, but it's not something I use very often and is generally not for public consumption. I think I just need a toned down version of it that I have always at the ready. Maybe that'll make me more of a "bitch" but if standing up for myself and saying what I think are characteristics of that, then bring it on.

March 2, 2013

March - ing On

We're two months into 2013!
Time to do a recap of how my goals are going:
1. Going to more story gaming.
This weekend is ECCC! I'm hoping to get some short gaming sessions in on Saturday.

2. Taking hip hop classes.
I finished my group of 4 classes and am about to start another 4 class bloc next week.

3. Going camping.
Have been unable to go camping so far, it's been too cold, but I have done some outdoorsy stuff, like going shoeshoeing. That was a nice adventure.

4. Doing the dishes after I make them dirty.
I've been bad about unloading the dishwasher, but actually cleaning pots and stuff that I've used while cooking has still been going well! I like it.

5. Getting rid of stuff.
My pile of things to get rid of has stayed about the same, and I still have it all. I think I'm going to need to decide how important getting any money for the items I'm trying to get rid of is. Because the main roadblock is putting items on Craigslist and going to thriftshops to see if they'll take any of my clothes for $.

6. Playing more video games.
Have played two sessions of Ni no Kuni, which I love, both because it's gorgeous, and because I've been able to be "in the know" and the cool kids club of raving over it. Still have Mass Effect to finish, chpt 3 of Walking Dead, and numerous other ones, but I've also started sessions of Borderlands 2 with W. It's been nice taking our time and actually trying to follow along with what the story is.

7. Blogging more.
Not doing so great on this one :). I think I've been too busy and not at home to really have time to sit down and think, but I had a really great and long convo with P last night over dinner that fleshed out a lot of thoughts and feelings I've been kicking around about appearance and clothes, so maybe I'll try putting that down sometime soon.

8. Being less jaded.
I don't recall anything that has happened recently to trigger my "ugh" reaction, but I think I am still trying to at least make the most out of my time and consciously spend my time. I think one of the things that might be good to keep in mind is that there are constantly new people coming into the world and they have to learn all of the awesome things from scratch. It's unfortunate that some people are just not lucky or privileged enough to be exposed to all of the wonderful things and have an opportunity for themselves to decide if it is actually wonderful or not.

And it's unfair of me to lord it over an unfortunate that so-and-so is crappy and lame because I've gotten to try's kind of like I'm giving away spoilers for life and living. It's an obviously insecure and hierarchy-posturing thing that I do and if there's anything I've learned from this last year of soul-searching, it's that I am well-loved, people care and think I'm awesome. No matter how much I change and explore different facets of being me, I have enough support to succeed. And also importantly, I've come to realize and learn to accept that things in life are not set in stone. I do have power over my life and my choices and they don't need to be dictated by others.

January 19, 2013

All the Dancing

I've been struggling with the feeling that I don't appreciate compliments as much as I should. And today, I went to my first hip hop class in several years. Nothing like sucking it up to really bring it home that yeah, no duh, I'm not the shit and there's always going to be lots of people way better than me.

So I recognize that I've been very lucky in life. I'm pretty, I make plenty of money, and I have people that love me. Though sometimes it's hard to think of things to say, I've had exciting adventures, read extensively, and engage in a wide variety of interests and hobbies. I'd like to think of myself as someone who likes trying new things and going out and doing stuff.

And what I've realized is that the combination of all of those things and a supportive environment has led me to not be as humble and modest as I should be. I was at Bootie Seattle last night and a girl came up to me and told me nice things and I thanked her verbally and with a smile. But it was brief and I felt nothing. In fact, the first feeling I had was that of expectation fulfilled. As an achievement whore, I think I'm also a compliment whore. Most of the time when I go out to parties or to hang with friends, I dress up to illicit compliments. Only recently, with my exploration of more masculine fashion, have I dressed up more for myself and trying on practically a new persona has been an adjustment. But even there, I know plenty of people that think I'm even hotter now for it, so it's a different level of fun to see their reactions. And those who don't think I look better and maybe even look weird, are nice enough to keep it to themselves.

January 13, 2013

Filled Weekend

I really didn't expect this weekend to be as full as it was. Immensely enjoyable and productive, but hardly any sitting around.

Went to Echo Base to screen Primer, which was incredibly confusing but after talking for half an hour or so after the movie with everyone else, most of whom had seen it more than once, things started to become at least a little clearer. Reading the Wiki page on the movie is still on my list of To Do's.

Spent the morning catching up on email and writing a bit of the write-up for the A Penny For my Thoughts that I had played on Thursday. Then drove down to Seattle Center where I got signed up for Snow Day, had a bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries at Quincy's in the Armory, and then helped out the Emerald City Comic Con with their snow fort for an hour and a half. Snow Day was completely not what I expected. I didn't stay very long at all, about two hours total, including eating, but it was a very satisfying experience. It's been a while since I've been part of an organized work group, and the physical exertion of shoveling snow and working together with strangers made me feel really good. I wore way too much for it though. Even though I wore a fairly light jacket, a thin long sleeve shirt and a thin sweater, I shouldn't have worn my warm waterproof boots, nor the long johns with snowboarding pants. That was overkill. I don't know why I expected to be crawling around on the snow or something. It did make me want to go snowboarding though to actually put the pants to use.

Afterwards, I went to the grocery store to buy supplies to make food for the Important Person Dinner that night at C's house. I made three dishes. The food was good, I had fun chatting about TV shows and movies and games with some of the people there and getting to hang out with C and meeting her brother and sister-in-law. There was also some lovely singing and singalongs and dancing.

Since Z didn't come with me, I had the option of going also to my friend K's place where they had just finished watching Hackers and we ended up watching the pilot episode of Adventure Time and Johnny Mnemonic. Both were entertaining and it was fun seeing K's place and the other three people that were there were very easy to get along with and it was super relaxed. 

Went to Toulouse Petit for brunch and it was delicious as usual and it was great to hang out and chat with R, T, and S. Then afterwards, Z and I killed some time by getting his hair cut and then hanging out at Starbucks, where P met us and we went to see Holy Motors, which was a fantastic film. I really enjoyed it. It was fabulously weird and thought-provoking in a "I see what you did there"-type of way. Z did not like it. He thought it was esoteric and that there was a bunch of weird to be weird things. Which is exactly how I feel about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, though maybe I should rewatch it and try not to see it from such a jaded perception since so many people liked it.

When I got home, I put together dinner for myself and lunch for Monday and Tuesday, and did the rest of the dishes from cooking on Saturday. Z, A, and I figured out how I'll be using my 15 days of vacation for the year and solidified some travel/vacation plans:
April 8-12 - Antigua
May 16-17 - St. Louis
Aug 31 - PAX Prime
Dec 26 - Day after Christmas
1 Day for Shi Shi Beach Backpack Camping
5 Days for Japan

I finished the write-up for A Penny for My Thoughts and once I'm done with this blog post, I'm going to play some Walking Dead.

I'm really looking forward to next week. Even though I have something planned every night of the week, I don't feel like I'm overly busy. What I feel is filled and enriched. 

January 8, 2013

One Week In

1. Going to more story gaming.
I'll be doing some gaming on Thursday!

2. Taking hip hop classes.

I was going to go tonight but it turns out I might have caught whatever sickness C brought back with her from her travels :(. I was immune to what everyone had around here, and now the sickness has caught up to me. However, I did create a new GCalendar that lists the daily schedule of hip hop classes so I can easily copy it over to my regular calendar on the days that I decide to go. I'll probably stick with a 4 class/month schedule.

3. Going camping.

Committed to going in Feb. with TRT and co. to Cama Beach. Also possible day hike to hot springs!

4. Doing the dishes after I make them dirty.

So far I haven't minded doing the dishes more frequently and the sense of keeping it together has been really nice.

5. Getting rid of stuff.

Z and I went through all of our glassware and mugs and we now have two boxfuls that we're planning to get rid of. Now the question is should we just dump them at Goodwill, or try to have a yard sale? Some of the glassware is really nice (champagne flutes, Starbucks mugs), but obviously we'd have to wait until it was nice out to do a yard sale. It might be fun though. We certainly have plenty of things to sell.

6. Playing more video games.

Finally started playing The Walking Dead and it is as good as everyone has said. Have really been enjoying the second run through for the marked differences depending on your choices. And the great thing is that there's usually only two different choices, so I don't feel like there's an infinite number of possibilities (i.e. more than three) so my inner completionist also gets a thrill. 
I also have been working on my Mass Effect game so that when I'm done with it, I can start the second one, as well as start Catherine. 
Looking forward to starting up a second game of Borderlands 2 with W, and playing more Spec Ops: The Line. 

7. Blogging more.

I'm thinking about also committing to once a week blogging, but I think I also should maybe spend some time thinking about what exactly I want to get out of blogging and some topics I want to talk about. Maybe more reviews of movies, books, and games that I consume? Continuing that 15 minute episodic story? I might have to start being more strict on the rules of that...I used to spend time before I started the 15 minutes to re-read the other chunks, but there's like 10 chunks now. Presumably, if I start writing it more regularly, I'll remember the story and be able to go off of just the last sentence or two.

8. Being less jaded.

This is the only one that I'm not sure I've made definite progress on yet. Also, difficult to actually measure. But I still think out of everything on this list, this is probably the most important one because it deals with core traits of my personality and outlook on life. My lofty cynical vantage point is probably so I'm not disappointed more often or so that I don't need to put as much energy into things to be satisfied. I think one of the most recent things that I was jaded about was the Seattle Snow Day event, which is apparently this Saturday.
Just something about the forced nature of creating an environment to induce "the child in all of us" makes my skin crawl with disdain. Would it probably ultimately be fun? Likely. Would I hate getting a snowball in the face? Undoubtedly. Does a "whiskey sweater" drink sound enticing? Yes. Maybe really what this is getting at is that to overcome being jaded about something, the first step is to actually experience it and realize that I was wrong. Maybe.

January 1, 2013

Cautiously Optimistic

It seems like everyone started off the new year happy and pumped for 2013 to be THE BEST YEAR EVAR. And maybe that's just because the people who started the new year sad and with horrible prospects didn't bother going onto Facebook and posting about it.

I had a pretty good new year's eve. Everyone complimented me on my outfit, I got to see tons of people that I like, and I've been on a pretty productive streak recently. Yet today, Day 1 out of 365 of 2013, instead of feeling upbeat about turning over a new leaf etc., I've been pretty moody. Which helps a lot with being productive but not so much with actual enjoyment. I think I'm just thrown off by some of the unexpected changes. Of course, top of the list is the whole parents threatening disownment. Then, the subtle yet huge difference in being open and having PDA in my relationship with P. I'm happy about it, but also strangely anxious, because it feels a little like there's no one steering the car. And finally, the realization that I own a lot of stuff and there's no way I'd be able to move closer into the city without doing some major rehaul.

Anyway, here's some things I am looking forward to:
1. Going to more story gaming.
2. Taking hip hop classes.
3. Going camping.
4. Doing the dishes after I make them dirty.
5. Getting rid of stuff.
6. Playing more video games.
7. Blogging more.
8. Being less jaded.

Looking forward to seeing what Day 2-365 have to offer. Hopefully by the end, I'll be an even better and improved version of myself.