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Obviously I don't really post here (haha I mean LJ - I migrated all of my posts over because I don't want to lose them) but you can find most of what's going on with me in the following places:My life has done a 180 since my last post here - I really wish I could time travel just so I could go back in time and give Past Me a hug, it seems like she really needed one. I'm happily single, own an adorable sphynx, have a apartment that I like but wish were big enough for entertaining, a job I enjoy and am both good at and well appreciated, creative outlets (both cooking and game dev) and a lovely circle of supportive friends and a fantastic therapist.

I'm mostly on here to read and track those of you who are on here but who knows... I might feel the need to start posting again at some point. Take care, lovelies, my good wishes to you all!


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Sorry, arachnophobes, this entry is not for you. Look under the cut at your own peril.

Spider pics under the cut )
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Sometimes I wish I could just beam people's heads and *make* them understand the crap that some people have to go through.

I would say more but I'm too angry right now to be coherent.
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The usual standard....bold what you've read. (I'm going to put the partially read ones in italics).
Yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] weirdodragoncat

  1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert - Another that I've read dozens of times, I was so OBSESSED with these books when I was younger.
  5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - I'm on book 5 right now, almost done with it.
  6. 1984, by George Orwell - got distracted halfway through and haven't gone back to it
  7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
  9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
  11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
  13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
  16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
  17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss - I've read the first one, eventually I will read the second one. I enjoyed the first one immensely.
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick - I checked it out from the library, started to read it, had to return it and haven't gone back to it yet.
  22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - this book gave me nightmares (read it when I was in high school).
  23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King - I've read the first one, eventually I'll read the rest
  24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke - the movies put me to sleep, no urge to read the book
  25. The Stand, by Stephen King 
  26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
  28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman  - I've read the first one
  30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess - I love his use of language, this book is almost poetic in my opinion. Also depressing as hell.
  31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
  32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams - I've read this a dozen times or more, it used to be one of the books I re-read at least once a year.
  33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
  34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller - I read this for an awesome college honors English class in Cold War lit. The book (and the class) were pretty interesting.
  36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
  38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
  39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
  40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
  41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings - I read the first one and really did not care for it
  42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson - Still need to read the last book. I enjoyed the first two a lot though I feel like the author is kinda screwing with me sometimes.
  44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
  45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin - I love LeGuin.
  46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
  48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
  49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
  51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons - I got bored halfway through the second book and haven't gone back yet.
  52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
  53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
  55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
  56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett - I've tried reading some of his books and I just can't get into them.
  58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
  59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold - I love Miles. Apparently I have a thing for short smart men because I feel similarly about Tyrion Lannister.
  60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
  61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
  63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
  65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist - I was obsessed with these books when I was 12, but eventually I got over it.
  67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
  68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
  69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb - Robin Hobb is evil. She torments her characters but once I start reading one of her books I can't put it down even through I feel like throwing it across the room about a dozen times a book.
  70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
  71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
  72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
  73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
  74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
  75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
  76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
  77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
  78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
  81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson - I have this in a box somewhere waiting to be read...
  82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
  84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
  85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
  86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher - I'm partway through book 3.
  87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
  88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
  89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
  90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock - I read them on a boyfriend's recommendation (much like the Belgariad books) but I didn't really dig them.
  91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
  92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
  93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
  94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
  95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson - I love this series. Really political and detailed. His other stuff I haven't been able to get into as much.
  96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis - Connie Willis is another of my favorites, though I think I liked "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Bellwether" better.
  98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
  99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
  100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis - I read one of these for school strangely enough.
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Who can resist book lists? Not me, that's for sure! This list is the NPR Audience Picks of the 100 Best Beach Books Ever. (Cannery Row and Lord of the Flies as beach books?! Really?)

It's the usual drill: Bold the ones you've read. If you remember reading them on a beach, then italicize them as well! (No, there's no code for indicating books you've started, or want to read, or heard of; that stuff's for sissies. You read it, or you didn't.) Give us your count at the end!

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver


11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen


21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer


31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon


41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie


51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand, by Stephen King

53. She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert

55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith


61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler


71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
75. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett


81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
82. The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell

89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera


91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume
96. The Shining, by Stephen King

97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

41 for me.

I don't recall doing any reading at the beach. Maybe I have, though. These days most of my reading is on BART.
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There's a New Kid on my team at work - he started a couple of weeks ago. We had an amusing and also irritating conversation today.

New Kid: Which do you like better, LastWeeksCrappyTitle or ThisWeeksCrappyTitle?
Me: Neither.
NK: Really?
M: Really. I don't care, testing is testing.
NK: C'mon, you gotta have a preference.
M: No, I really don't.
NK: ...
M: But I guess I prefer TWCT because we're getting overtime on it.

(And then OT was canceled and I was a sad panda.)

As I was telling one of my work buddies later, I was thinking that this highlights a difference I often see between seasoned testers and new testers. There's no point in thinking about or even asking if you like a title or not - they all have to be tested. And we all have different preferences on top of it - I'm pretty sure NK likes LWCT better, because it's in a genre that interests him. Maybe I might like TWCT better, kinda, as it is more in a genre that I like, but it's a particularly bad rendition of it, so mostly I don't care. It's a matter of focus - when I'm testing, mostly I'm thinking about how the game works (or doesn't) and I notice things that I actively try not to notice when I'm playing at home for my own enjoyment. It was one of the hardest things for me to learn as a new tester; as gamers, we actually train ourselves to mostly ignore bugs (unless they actively interfere with gameplay). Since I started testing, I'm much more likely to notice framerate issues, overlapping text, choppy animations, long loading times, etc: all of the things you try to notice when you're testing only interfere with your enjoyment of the game when you're playing it at home. (This is the reason we test things, imo - so that there are fewer of these things to detract from the users' enjoyment.)

When a hotly anticipated title comes in, we still ask the testers assigned to it for their opinion. But we mostly ask "How is it?" or "What do you think?" rather than "Do you like it?" Because even a good game is less enjoyable when you're testing it, and if you're enjoying the game too much, you probably aren't doing a very good job of testing it. The other part of it is that we all have different preferences, so the odds are good that even though you might wish you had been assigned to HotNewTitleX, the tester actually assigned to it would much rather be on HotNewTitleY. When we ask "How is it?" a lot of the time we want a more objective evaluation of the game, less related to personal preferences. On a very popular realistic shooter (I prefer my shooters to feature aliens or zombies or giant insects or something) I might be able to identify that the gameplay is good and that the title is fairly clean and well designed but that doesn't mean I actually like it. It's highly probable, in fact, that I find it incredibly boring and I'd much rather be on that silly little downloadable game the guy in the corner is testing (note: these are hypothetical examples, not related to anything in test right now). But I could still probably tell NK whether it's a decent game or not, an answer he would not get by asking me if I like it.

So, no, New Kid, I don't like it. And when you said "Do you like anything?" when I told you I didn't like either one, the answer is, yes, I do like things. Just probably not the things that you like.
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I was talking with a friend last night about her dealbreakers and mine and thought I'd write up my own post about it. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like posting my "Gotta Haves" instead. So here they are:

1. MUST BE HONEST. So some people consider themselves honest people because they don't knowingly lie to others. This is a base level honesty imo, what I'm looking for is a bit more than that: someone who is willing to be honest and direct about their feelings (which means they need to be aware of their feelings), the state of our relationship, their goals, etc. I'm an extremely open person and I think it's fair to expect that to be reciprocated to some extent. I can't emphasize #1 enough, it's that important.

2. Must be a gamer. Preferably someone who enjoys a wide variety of games, not just video games or RPGs or whatever.

3. Likes to read. I'm a book nerd and I like to talk about books - I even made an Excel spreadsheet of the books I've read for goodness sake.

4. Likes diversity/variety. In all things - food, books, movies, games, etc. Not saying you should love everything I love but we should be able to explore a wide variety of things together. And also accepting of differences - I've lived in many different places and I have a fairly broad view of the world. An America-centric point of view won't sit too well with me. Basically I regard any relationship I'm in as cross-cultural and you probably should too. (Kinda think maybe I need to elaborate more on this one, but not right now.)

5. Adventurous. This kind of ties into #4. Basically a degree of openness to new experiences and interest in trying new things.

6. Knows who they are and what they want out of life. Not that you have every detail worked out or that you can't change your mind about it, but a certain degree of self knowledge and personal goals is important.

What about you? What are your dealbreakers and gotta haves?


ETA: Thought of one more: Must be snuggly. Cuddling while watching movies/TV is one of my favorite things to do XD
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I want to start living more in the actual.

It's difficult because potential is very exciting. In Potential Land, I drive a corvette (or a hayabusa), have a gorgeous husband who makes me coffee every morning and a fabulous job that pays extremely well. Who wouldn't want to live in Potential Land? The problem is that no one actually lives there - we only visit there part time and then we come back to Actual Land where our cars are reasonably priced (or nonexistent), our jobs don't pay very much, and there are no gorgeous husbands making coffee in the morning (unless you're the exception who happens to blessed with such a husband).

I would really like to eat some chocolate cake. I have eggs and flour and some really good bittersweet chocolate. This is a good start but it's not chocolate cake. There are some ingredients and some effort still required to get from here to the point where I have chocolate cake. While I might sit there looking at the eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate imagining cake, this is not as good as eating actual cake. Maybe even not as good as eating not very good actual cake. Eventually I might start to feel resentful of the eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate, saying "You are not cake. No matter how much I wish you were, you are still not cake." Maybe I'll eat the really good bittersweet chocolate in a fit of resentment, but it's still not cake and I will still feel unsatisfied.

Why didn't I go to the store and get the sugar and baking powder and butter and milk? Maybe I thought the store wouldn't have them. Maybe I thought eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate were all I could get and I was telling myself that if I was really creative and adaptable, I would be able to turn those three things into really good chocolate cake. But not really. You need sugar and butter and leavening... maybe you could substitute water for the milk but I think it still wouldn't be quite as good.

People often say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. I do like lemonade, but actually I prefer limeade, made from fresh limes with some fresh mint leaves muddled in for good measure. However that's beside the point. The point is that lemons are not enough to make lemonade. You need sugar and water and perhaps some ice and a container to put everything in and something to stir it all up with and a glass to drink it from. What if all you have are lemons? Do you sit there thinking about how the lemons might make really good lemonade if you had those other things? No, you go into your cupboard and pantry and get the stuff to make it into lemonade.

I want to stop thinking about how things might be, if only...

Random thoughts that occurred to me in the shower this morning, when I was wishing that people would communicate more and thinking about people talking about their fears of losing what they think they have. I spent a long time in a Potential Land relationship, thinking that things would get better when we finally got everything else we needed to make cake. I was terrified of looking for the rest of the ingredients because not only was I afraid they didn't exist, I thought I might lose the ones I already had and end up with nothing, not even really good bittersweet chocolate. So I clung to what little we had and to the thought of what we might have until it turned into a nasty sticky mess and there was no way out except to just toss everything. And actually, I watched him toss everything out while still saying "but we could make really good cake" even though that chance (if it was ever there) was long long gone.

So I had to start over from scratch. And I really don't want to go through that again where I'm looking at that really good bittersweet chocolate and wondering if I could make do. If the other ingredients aren't there, it's not going to become cake and I'm not going to tell myself that it could be.
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Basically putting this here because I want to keep it for later.

How to keep someone with you forever (basically describing an emotionally abusive/destructive relationship paradigm)
On Interpersonal Badness - More on same... I particularly like the "You Are Worthless, Let's Be Friends" part because it sounds SO familiar


There was some other stuff I came across and I'm finding myself drawn to some sort of feminist perspectives on things, from gaming to relationships to current media events (okay, slightly not current any more but still).
spideyj: (BB No matter where you go...)
I came across this in a blog I was reading: "Anyone living in a partnership in which financial resources are shared: you should be doing this. Period. Any other way just leads to resentment and frustration that will bleed over into every other aspect of your relationship." (The "this" referred to is to "mutually discuss and come to agreement on ... expenditures".)

It struck me, I guess because I have been in a fairly serious relationship with someone who was somewhat secretive about money and financial matters and I tolerated it even though it made me uncomfortable and now, looking back, I'm finding myself puzzled by that. My own good sense told me that this was A Bad Thing and I ignored it. (Mostly. There were discussions but I mostly left it alone. Very unlike me.)

My own family is fairly open about most things. My parents have always discussed their financial situation with us (perhaps in more detail than we sometimes wanted, but I think I prefer things this way) and we would always brainstorm solutions together as a family if we were facing financial hardships. I'm not used to being shut out of important decisions made by people who are close to me. It's just part of the intimacy I expect from close relationships. I don't talk to strangers about this kind of stuff (unless I have to, damn you Chase) and while I share a lot with FB and LJ, there are things I would not share there either. But there's also next to nothing that I wouldn't share with my life partner and I expect a similar degree of openness from them. Or at least I think I do. Why did I back down from this?

I know part of the answer. I'm used to being the dependable partner, the one my partner leans on to be reasonable and do most of the significant decision making. At first it was just such a relief not to have to do that. But I'm not actually suited to being a kept woman, particularly not by someone who's not really in a position to take on that responsibility, and it's not what I'm looking for. I guess I swung too far the other way and mistook that tendency to keep things close to the vest for real independence, and it's not. A full partner deserves full disclosure - that's what I offer and I have every right to expect it in return. Basically, I mistook keeping things from me for standing up to me, and it's really not the same thing at all.
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I had this point I was going to make and then I decided it was pointless.*

I can feel myself walking away now and it feels pretty good. I was still trying to make sense of things and I think (for now at least) I'm just going to say "that was screwed up, thank goodness it's over, hopefully it won't happen again" and not try and figure it out much beyond that. At least not right now.

I've been working on various things over the past several months, trying to grow and take care of myself and stuff. I've added a new thing to it recently(something some of you on FB may have noticed) - regular exercise. I've got an app on my phone that connects with FB and I'm hoping that the social aspect of it will help reinforce me doing it. I keep wishing there was a bit more to the app, though - I want a "Fitness Adventure" game where I have a character I level up through exercise or something. I didn't find anything like that though. (Yes, I'm a big nerd - if you're just now figuring that out, well, I can't help you.) Anyway, I'm already liking how it makes me feel. I much prefer to be fit(ter) - I try not to worry too much about fitting into some popular concept of feminine beauty but I do like feeling healthy and capable. I had that feeling in Japan and I want it back. And I'd like to get some of it back before I go back - jumping back into biking/walking everywhere with the shape I'm in right now is a bit scary. I'm still not worrying too much about my diet except to just be a bit more conscious about what I eat and how much - I definitely need more veggies in my diet, and I need to actually put some energy into making that happen. There's always food around and most of it is decent, but veggies are challenging because of how quickly they go bad and how expensive it can be to buy good ones. I miss the produce in Japan!

There's a lot of other stuff going on here and there - family stress, money stress, friend stress, etc - but overall I think I'm feeling better about myself and about my life.

*Something about somebody thinking I was living for Steven and still seeing myself in terms of him after it was over and how that's not me and never was, which is true, but really, what difference does it make at this point? I'm me - always have been and always will be. I don't and never have defined myself by who I'm with or not with.

spideyj: (Mario Link warp)
I posted this article on Facebook* earlier and said that I felt a rant coming on, so here it is.

I dated a guy who once asked me "Are you one of those gamer girlfriends?" I asked him what he meant and he gave this sort of rambling, sexist (and vaguely anti-trans - he portrayed the girl in the story as potentially not biologically female) account of a girl who showed up to one of his tabletop games with her boyfriend and then mostly let the boyfriend play her character for her. Setting aside the egregious error of generalizing an entire sex based on one experience, what on earth would lead anyone to think I might be like that? Especially after having known me for a while and even gone toe-to-toe with me in a debate of the merits of universal roleplaying systems versus systems that are tailored specifically to their setting and themes? (Or any number of other gaming-related topics, for that matter. I doubt you have to spend much time with me to realize that 80% of my brain is occupied with thinking about video games.)

Apparently those gamer girlfriends are the ones who come to a game and exist there only for the sake of their boyfriends. Are there really a lot of women calling themselves gamers who are like this?

I was once interviewed as a potential new member of a gaming group (yes, they thought they were awesome enough to interview people to see if they were cool enough to join their tabletop group) and the person interviewing me expressed concern that I might be one of those gamer girls. I asked him what he meant and he gave this sort of rambling, sexist account of a girl who joined their group apparently with the sole objective of getting a gamer boyfriend.

Apparently those gamer girls are the ones who take up tabletop gaming solely as a means to hook up. Because gamers make such awesome boyfriends (esp when we let them play our characters for us).

I'm really not in a position to dis gamers as boyfriends since all the boyfriends I have ever had have been gamers, mostly because I'm a gamer and I like to be in relationships with people who share my interests. But I'm rather curious as to where these stereotypes of female gamers come from. I personally have not met any women who identify themselves as gamers who fit into either of the aforementioned categories. Granted, I have played with people who were new to tabletop who tended to defer to the more experienced players at the table but I think that's natural. It can take a while to get the hang of tabletop if you've never done it before and some systems in particular are rather complex. And some GMs run their games in such a way that it can be more about a contest between the players and the GM, a competition to see who can manipulate the rules the best. Those are pretty much the worst kind of games to bring someone new to tabletop to and I hope that the experience didn't turn one of those gamer girlfriends against tabletop forever.

But maybe that's what he wanted. It certainly seems that at least some gamers see gaming as a kind of boys club and they would like to keep it that way. Another guy I dated (different one) told me that it was "guy stuff" and wouldn't let me join his gaming group. After that I made it a prerequisite - I'm not dating anyone I'm not allowed to play with. It's true that if you let girls play with you, they might play differently to how you're accustomed to playing. But isn't that true of any new person that joins your group? In my experience, you play together a bit and see how things mesh and eventually your tabletop game takes form as a joint creation. But I'm not a control freak GM type, either - I make my world and then I hand it over to the PCs and see what they do with it. I don't see my games as a rules contest between me and my players (that's not fun for me and I would probably lose because I really just don't think like a rules lawyer - I'm a character first, rules second kind of gamer).

And at this point, honestly, if you want to make your game a boys club, I'm fine with that. Don't expect me to want to hang out with you or date you or anything because it seems indicative of a pretty lame point of view, but if you're honest about that being what you want, I will at least respect you for that. Don't pretend that you're open to female gamers and then make these nasty sweeping generalizations about their competence or motivation and expect me to respect you or (even worse!) agree with you.

Of course I have lots more to say on the subject but I think that's enough for now.
spideyj: (l'aventure)
I've gotten this question a couple of times, so I figure I'd update all of you on what's going on.

So, yes, I'm still planning on going to Japan. I don't know yet when or where, though. I was working on researching positions and updating my resume when my grandmother got ill and passed away and that kind of threw me off. I've also had some financial stuff going on and I was starting to think that maybe I'd need to find a job here for a bit (and I may still do that) and save up a bit more before going. But I've got some money coming in so that brings me back to a level where I have enough to go without having to save up more first.

I'm hoping to find a position in a junior high or high school rather than working at an eikaiwa company. I'm open to going just about anywhere, though my preference is to be near Osaka.

Anyway, Brian's here to pick me up so I'll tell you more later.
spideyj: (Default)
Update: I looked through my archive and I have taken this before (twice, in fact) and actually, my score hasn't changed that much. Apparently when I took it before I was confused by the idea of quality time, even though that was always my highest scoring category, and now I feel like I understand it. So it seems that my needs haven't changed that much but my self understanding has improved.
http://spideyj.livejournal.com/81092.html 
http://spideyj.livejournal.com/27488.html


Probably not a surprise to those who know me well. Though I suspect the results are probably going to be a little skewed right now (I think I probably like gifts more than I think I do - I just feel like I've gotten a surfeit of that kind of affection and a dearth of the others).



The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Physical Touch.

Complete set of results

Quality Time: 12
Physical Touch: 7
Words of Affirmation: 7
Acts of Service: 4
Receiving Gifts: 0


Information

Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz
spideyj: (Default)
Probably not a surprise to those who know me well. Though I suspect the results are probably going to be a little skewed right now (I think I probably like gifts more than I think I do - I just feel like I've gotten a surfeit of that kind of affection and a dearth of the others).



The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Physical Touch.

Complete set of results

Quality Time: 12
Physical Touch: 7
Words of Affirmation: 7
Acts of Service: 4
Receiving Gifts: 0


Information

Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz
spideyj: (Gaz dance)
Last night I went to the Billy Joel/Elton John concert at the HP Pavilion. It's the first time I've been there for something other than a hockey game and without an SO, so that was slightly disorienting. We had seats behind the stage which turned out not to be as bad as we thought (Billy Joel: "Bet you guys thought you were getting the shitty seats, huh? Really, it's those guys over there [pointing to the other end of the arena] and I love you for wanting to see us so much that you spent money to sit in those shitty seats."). We had a pretty good view of both Billy Joel and Elton John and their respective bands, though we were on the Billy Joel side so we had a better view of him and his antics at the piano. We were sitting on the side, so we got a bit of distortion (seemed worse from Elton and his band, for some reason) but overall it wasn't a terrible spot to be in.

They opened with a couple of duets ("Your Song", "Just the Way You Are" are the ones I remember, though I think they sang at least three songs together) and then Billy waved goodbye and walked off the stage, leaving Elton to do his set. I'm not as familiar with his catalogue as Billy's, but there were still quite a few favorites in there, including "Crocodile Rock", with green lights and the audience singing along. It was quite a long set, 45 minutes or so, I think. Then he waved goodbye and Billy came on did his set. I hadn't realized how funny he is, very charming and entertaining (as if I didn't already have a huge crush on him). There was only one song he sang that I didn't know by heart (from one of his earlier albums), and of course he had us all singing along for "We Didn't Start the Fire" (he also stepped away from the piano and picked up a guitar for that one). He did some crazy antics with his mic for "It's Still Rock'n'Roll to Me". I'd been expecting that one to be a duet at the end, but it made sense that it wasn't, because they were focusing on the piano-heavy songs for that.

Again, I don't remember all the songs they sang together at the end, though "Uptown Girl" and "Candle in the Wind" were among them. And they closed with "Piano Man", which was perfect, and they had the audience sing the chorus at one point:
"Sing us a song, you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight, because we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling all right."

The other thing I liked about it was that it really felt like Billy Joel expressed appreciation that we were there - earlier in the show he commented that his piano rotating was all they had for special effects and they were trying to keep ticket costs down though they weren't succeeding very well at that. From that and some other stuff he said, it felt like he really empathized with the audience and recognized what a tough time it is for people financially and that attending a concert at this time is a bigger than usual sacrifice.

I remembered why I never get the nachos, because I always lose the soggy chip race and end up throwing most of them away, and then I end up hungry again later.

It was nice to be there with my sisters - Simin bought the tickets for us, they were a replacement birthday present for me. She had gotten me Depeche Mode tickets originally but that show was cancelled and it took a while to find something to do in lieue of that. I'm sure she's really tired today, though - she didn't realize how late it would be (I guess the concerts she had been to before ended early).

My brother got home from Boston today (he was supposed to fly in last night but his flight was delayed) so my mom and Davina (my other sister) and I went over the hill and did some shopping and had some lunch before picking him up. I have this grand plan to make truffles and caramels (with the walnuts from my uncle's tree), so I wanted to get some good chocolate. Too tired after the late night and spending the day out to start my project today but I'm really looking forward to working on it tomorrow.

And now I have a kitty pestering me for love because I was out all day, so life is pretty good.
spideyj: (Default)
Taken from [livejournal.com profile] shinimegami21.

Located at PaulSadowski.com

It was surprisingly kind of accurate for me.


What my name means )

Grief webs

Jan. 26th, 2010 11:00 am
spideyj: (Default)
The feelings of grief come and go. It's a blend of griefs, actually - my grandmother, Bevan going back to Rhode Island, Danya's impending departure for Korea (next month!) and my own plans to go to Japan. Sometimes I start to feel like I'm saying goodbye all the time. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I distract myself, most of the time I just feel tired and blah. Haven't been keeping up with email or Facebook and I haven't really felt like talking about the situation. Sometimes it feels like talking about my feelings makes me more tired and sad, though I know it doesn't actually work that way for me. And it's not that I haven't been talking about it - many conversations with my family (esp my parents) about all this stuff floating around in my head.

Then there's the discussion about the distribution of my grandmother's stuff. Technically it's my dad's responsibility as the executor, but he's down here and Grandma's stuff and my aunt (who was taking care of her) are up in Washington, so it's a little difficult. It's also hard for me to think about, partly because it's part of saying goodbye, partly because there's no way I can take any of it. Which makes me think about all the stuff I need to get rid of, and the stuff that has certain emotional associations with it (part of why I feel the need to get rid of it) and so many other things. It's like a web of emotions, pluck one element and it pulls on all the others.

Mostly I'm just giving myself time and space to recover. I accept that I'm grieving and this makes me feel tired, and I know this will pass. I try and think about the positive things ahead for me and the people I care about; my sense of hope is intact, accompanied by the grief.

When I was growing up, I had 4 grandparents and 2 great-grandparents alive. I know I was fortunate. I was very close with my great-grandmother (on my mom's side - I didn't know my other great-grandmother very well) and very few people can say that. Now I have 2 grandparents and they recently moved from California to Oregon to live in an assisted living place near my aunt. Trying not to think about what that means, but at the same time knowing I need to make sure to make plans to see them before I leave the country.

My plans for leaving are different this time, too, which goes into the web, too. I have no specific plans to return, no deadline, no commitment here to bring me back. This is exciting and it's a good thing, imo, but it also makes thing feel a bit heavier, more serious. This isn't an extended trip, this is my life. I think I will eventually come back but I can also see the possibility of living out my life there. Who knows what will happen. I'm open to the possibilities. I won't pretend that I'm not afraid, but the fear is a small element of what I feel about it.

It's been good to be back with my family. Every time I come back, my appreciation for the closeness we have and the quality of the communication amongst us increases. At the same time, I wonder if it might be easier for me to develop a romantic relationship if I didn't have that standard to compare with. The level of emotional intimacy I expect is something not too many people are capable of, I think.
spideyj: (Default)
My family's home network currently includes about a dozen devices - A couple of Mac's, several laptops, a couple Vista machines and a fileserver (I actually don't know what OS it uses - originally it was Linux, but I don't know if it still is). Our fileserver is a bit old at this point and running out of storage space, so my dad started looking into NAS devices. Then we started talking about a media server - since we have so many media files on our network, we would like to have the ability to play them on the media center (HD tv + surround sound speakers). Currently we're using my old laptop (getting more and more outdated by the minute, lol) which is a clunky and inefficient solution. It can't be left running, requires slightly complicated setup to use and really has no storage space of its own.

So I'm thinking about building a media server, preferably something that would be located in the living room (so it should be fairly quiet) and has a relatively simple interface for playing media files (ie, something that I don't have to be around to set up). Anyone have any suggestions or ideas? I'm looking around at several different articles and considering various options, so any input you guys have would be much appreciated.

Sad news

Jan. 12th, 2010 08:23 pm
spideyj: (LU Afraid of this human body)
I suppose I should mention this here for those of you not on FB or twitter (and a few more details for those of you who are). The hospice care people came to look at my grandmother and their opinion is that she will only be around a few more days. I think my father's planning on driving up there (she's in WA) tonight or tomorrow. I'm not planning on going with him; I may go up for the funeral.

I've alternated between tears and numbness for most of today. Can't really bring myself to do much of anything. I was supposed to cook dinner tonight but we're having Mexican takeout instead, because I just don't have the energy. I don't know if most people feel this way, but when someone close to me passes away, I feel regretful that I haven't done more with my life, like I should have more money, have kids, be married, etc. I know it's kind of irrelevant and self-centered, but that is what I feel. Maybe it's a distraction from the grief, I don't know.

It was very hard when my grandfather passed away, and I have never stopped missing him. I knew that it was a matter of time before she followed him. It's been about 6 years since he passed away, I think.

When my grandfather passed away, he was in the final stages of prostate cancer. He had a stroke which they believe was somewhat brought on by the chemo. I believe it was a mercy, really. I went up to see him after the stroke - he couldn't talk but he seemed aware of us and it was really good to see him and say goodbye. The funeral, on the other hand, was a horrible experience. We had a tire blow out on the way down (it was near Lake Isabella, several hours drive from here) and then when we were entering the parking lot I scraped the fuel tank on a metal post that was poking up out of the ground - I couldn't see it and apparently they had vehicles with more clearance in mind. Then the pastor talked on and on, even though he clearly didn't know Grandpa that well... all in all, it was very uncomfortable. I think I would have felt it was more meaningful if there had been a casket or something, but they'd already cremated him and scattered his ashes. And we arrived late (because of the car trouble) and so we missed the salute (he served as a pilot in WWII and the Korean War) too.

I have more to say but I'm out of words right now. It looks like the rest of my family is going up and I'll stay here and take care of the cats and the fish.

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