[sticky entry] Sticky: Analogue: A Hate Story

Feb. 20th, 2014 04:28 am
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The Unofficial Fanfiction Adapt

Table of Contents behind cut )

[personal profile] jewelfox's other stories

Fanfiction | Furry | Humour | Transformation

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
They just released the PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV, and one of the collector's edition bonuses -- which owners of previous collector's editions got for free -- is the "wind-up Moogle" pet.

If you get two or more of them together at the same time, they start dancing. And it is SO ADORABLE OMG.

I saw it get up to five before one of the Moogles started glitching out.

A group of four tiny flying, white-furred creature with bat wings and orange pom-poms dancing with each other in a circle in front of a bulletin board, in a cloud of colourful musical notes.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Before you tell us we're being too mean or harsh, when describing our experiences, ask yourself this:

Would I say this if it were something I actually thought was a big deal?

Because there's this tendency to side with the people who share your privilege over the people your group victimizes. Like when Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla, after the outcry over his $1,000 donation to California's Proposition 8, and a lot of self-identified progressives and "allies" suddenly accused LGBTQA advocates of being bullies.

What if he'd used that money to donate to a campaign to deprive women of the vote? Or to reinstate poll taxes? What if he'd written an essay in favour of one of the many, many 2012 candidates who expressed inane views about women's reproductive biology?

If you feel that it's more important to shield bigoted hetero cismen from the consequences of their bigotry than it is to let LGBTQA persons have a safe workspace, then just say so. Just say you accept those other issues as real and valid, as things that it's Not Okay Ever to do, but that paying money to deprive LGBTQA persons of basic rights is just a mistake like eating the last donut. That you feel it's something anyone could reasonably be expected to do, that it doesn't really hurt anyone, and that it's creepy and weird for others to get all upset over it.

Likewise, if you really think that we're a foxraptor, or a plural system, or fictive, or female. Then please treat our identities as being as legitimate as your own, and defend them like you'd defend your own. Act like the laws have already been passed; failing that, act like it is a bug, and not a feature, that they haven't already.

This isn't a Take That to anyone in particular. Mostly, we wrote this one for ourself.

We just want to add that if anyone doesn't see us as real, or has their own personal headcanon or theological explanation for what we are, we would ask that they keep it to themselves. We're okay with suggestions; we're not okay with being told that our story's not real, and we really fit into your own. After growing up in the Mormon church, we've had our feelings and identities denied enough for two lifetimes.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

And was reminded of why I usually don't.

I'm a fan of the kind of intersectional feminism I usually see advocated on the Geek Feminism blog, even if I think it doesn't go far enough (it's annoying to hear people equate "human" with "person"). My experience with Tumblr social justice activism, though, has been much more negative.

It's not about people there being young, queer, or angry, or being whatever kind of person isn't allowed to have an opinion. It's not about being called on my privilege, either.

It's the mind-readers.

Tumblr social justice mind-readers know that you're being yourself just to upset them. Your identity is either a roleplaying character bio or proof that you "need help." You are appropriating them and their marginalized identity by being who you are, and you need to stop it right now.

This is hard for me to deal with, because it's the same kind of crap that I've gotten from my parents of origin and from religious authority figures my whole life. The person I am, they say, is unacceptable to them, is a performance I'm deliberately putting on just to offend them. I can choose to stop any time I want, and the fact that I haven't yet is proof that I'm terrible.

This really gets to me. Because deep down, I feel like the correct response is to disappear for their benefit, even if I have to kill myself to do so.

It takes a conscious effort for me to tell myself that no matter who someone is, no matter what authority they claim, and no matter what they're accusing me of, if the choice is between upsetting them and dying then I have to flip them the bird. Because that really does not come naturally for us.

Even though we're part protobird.

If our saying that upsets someone, or our using the first-person plural whenever we feel like it upsets someone, the most I can do for them is apologize for the confusion. I don't have the time or emotional resources to educate everyone who challenges me to a debate and then argues in bad faith. I'm not obligated to justify my existence to anyone.

The only obligation I feel is to explain who I am, what is important to me, and why. For my benefit, and for the benefit of anyone else who's having trouble finding the courage to be themselves.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The game store we played D&D Encounters at is feeling a little less welcoming lately. The owners are friendly, and went to a pride parade in New York and used to give us rides home so we didn't have to walk back for an hour and a half. But they've also got Chick-Fil-A as one of their sponsors for an upcoming fundraiser event.

We wrote them to just mention how we weren't sure we'd feel comfortable being reminded of what it was like, seeing the crowds in front of that restaurant on "show the gays you hate them day 2012" before going to play D&D at their store. But they kind of blew us off in several long-winded paragraphs.

We're considering buying our RPG books at Barnes and Noble now, and spending time at a different game store that's more convenient to get to and that one of our (few) local friends goes to. It helps that it's near the bus station. We'd have to stop going to Encounters ... but our apprehension about spending an hour and a half walking back since the buses don't run that late has kind of done that for us already.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Still too scared to present overtly as female, especially when we aren't on hormones yet. Ended up somewhere in between, which was as comfortable as we could get with our appearance. May have been a mistake.

What we did

Sat on a bench for a half hour while people talked to each other around us, then took photos of [personal profile] rev_yurodivy fursuiting, then found a table where people were playing card games and managed to get into a couple of games of magic.

How we felt

Nervous, out of place, and overloaded (in the autistic sense). At the very least, we should have brought sunglasses.

It felt really, really unnerving to be there, because it seemed like we were invisible to most people. Our "female register" voice is quiet and there were a lot of people around, which is probably part of why we felt ignored. When we did talk to people we didn't know what to bring up except electronics, and that didn't go well.

People seemed visibly dismayed to talk to us. One person didn't even say anything but just sort of stared at us for several seconds with a :| expression on his face. Several people we used to know barely acknowledged us, or didn't at all.

We felt shell-shocked for hours afterwards, but I think right now we're leaning towards hurt and rejected.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Religious, physical, and arguably sexual abuse, as well as non-graphic discussion of sexuality which may be TMI for some.

This is what I was taught, growing up in the Mormon church:

Your body is the temple of God, and it belongs to him. Your "sacred parts" were given to you so that you can create new bodies for God's spirit children, and to form bonds in a marriage relationship between husband and wife. You are not allowed to use them for any other purpose. You may not have those feelings in any other situation.

Beyond that, I was taught covertly and overtly that the rest of my body belongs to God and/or to the people around me. The Word of Wisdom, the Mormon dietary code which forbids coffee and tea, was imposed on me whether I wanted it or not. My parents of origin got mad at me for trying to refuse physical affection, when it was forced on me by them or church members. And one leader I had in Boy Scouts forced himself on me, roughing up my shoulders for what seemed like a whole minute after I told him I'd just had a tetanus shot, and telling me I was a "wuss" and that I needed to "beef up!"

Beyond that, there was an expectation that I make myself bodily available for any meeting, calling, or requirement my family or church imposed on me. I was guilted for staying home sick from church, and even guilted myself for it because deep down I knew that I wanted to stay home. I was asked to help tear down a home that had been damaged in Hurricane Katrina, and was given no facial protection in rooms filled with dust and mold spores. I understood that I could get violently sick or physically harmed on a two-year proselyting mission, but that it was my responsibility to go anyway, because God owned my life and he demanded this tithe of my time.

People in "the world" think they own their bodies and lives, I was taught, but those are Satan's lies. A life lived for yourself is shallow and meaningless, filled with cheap pleasures and devoid of the love of marriage and family relationships. Only through marrying in God's temple can those relationships continue beyond the grave. Everyone needs to be taught this, and anything that could interfere with the eternal family needs to be destroyed.

Including my awful, unworthy "habit" of masturbation, and my "addiction" to "pornography." Which is what they called looking up PG-rated furry art, with scandalous things like bare shoulders in it.

This is how I feel about myself, deep down, even today. If I am ever in a situation where I'm having sexual feelings, especially when there's the possibility of having them with someone else, I panic and either freeze up or try to escape. On two separate occasions I've bailed when people I was attracted to tried to initiate sexual encounters. When I'm alone, the easiest way to get through it is just to give in, but I try to do so as quickly as possible so I can get back to pretending I'm not the kind of person who actually wants to.

It's not "just" sex, either, as though a need at the core of my being to be intimate with someone who loves and appreciates me is a hobby I could set aside. It's everything. Going around town today, I felt like I do not belong here and any second now someone's going to call me out on that fact. It wasn't as bad as it was before antidepressants, and I did just have a depressive episode yesterday which kind of weakened me. But I live in what feels like the most whitebread American suburb ever, and every day I set foot outside the park that surrounds where I live I'm reminded that people move here to get away from people like me.

(Of course, when I go to the city it's like being hit with a wall of NOISE. Hyperacusis FTW.)

I don't know how to change the way I feel about myself. Sometimes I don't feel this way, and I have more energy and can forget that I'm not supposed to exist. But everything crashes down whenever I'm triggered, or when I encounter a situation where I'm reminded that my "sacred parts" still exist. Suddenly I am a horrible, selfish person, who's trying to take from God and from other people what is rightfully theirs.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
  1. Deny that they exist.
  2. Deny that they are people.
  3. Deny that it's okay to be the kind of person they are.
  4. Deny that it would be harmful for them to try to be someone else.
  5. Deny that you're hurting them through your words and actions.
  6. Deny that they don't deserve to be hurt, and that the anger they and others feel towards you for hurting them is justified.
  7. Deny that anyone close to you could ever be that kind of person.
  8. Deny that you are that kind of person.

When we turned all those "deny"s into "accept"s, everything changed for us.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is a feat for the Pathfinder roleplaying game, inspired by the Ritual Casting feat from D&D 4e. It is licensed as Open Gaming Content. A D&D 3e / 3.5e conversion is also available.

Ritual Casting

You are trained in the use of rituals, which are versions of common spells that can be cast at-will, provided you have enough time and expensive reagents.

Prerequisites: 1 skill rank in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Heal, or Perform (any).

Benefit: You obtain a basic ritual book (which has the same weight and game statistics as a common spellbook), which has two 1st-level rituals scribed in it.

You know how to inscribe new rituals into your ritual book, and how to cast rituals from it.

Scribing new rituals

A ritual may be inscribed into a ritual book from any spellbook or scroll, provided it does not deal Hit Point damage. To do so, use the same rules and skill check DCs for adding Wizard spells to your spellbook, but substitute one of your ritual casting skills for the Spellcraft checks as follows:

Spell ListRequired Skill
BardPerform (any)
ClericKnowledge (religion)
DruidKnowledge (nature)
Sorcerer / WizardKnowledge (arcana)

Spells which cure Hit Point damage are an exception. Use a Heal skill check for them instead.

Spells from spell lists other than those listed above cannot be cast as rituals.

Casting rituals

At any time, you may roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual (see "Scribing new rituals," above) to cast a ritual from either your ritual book or a scroll containing a spell which could be inscribed into one. If cast from a scroll, the act of ritual casting erases the text, just as casting a spell from it does.

The DC for casting a ritual is equal to 20 + caster level if cast from a scroll, or 15 + caster level if cast from your ritual book. (You may choose what caster level to use if you are casting it from your ritual book, up to a maximum of the number of ranks you have in the required skill.) To cast rituals from a scroll or from someone else's ritual book, roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual to decipher it first, as with Wizard spells.

If you are casting the ritual version of a spell which would normally require expensive material or focus components, you must have those components on hand when casting it from a ritual book.

Casting a spell as a ritual takes considerably longer than casting spells normally does:

SpellRitual
1 standard action1 minute
1 full round10 minutes
1 minute1 hour
10 minutes1 hour
1 hour1 hour

Spells with other casting times, such as a free or immediate action, cannot be cast as rituals.

If you fail the skill check required to cast a ritual, you do not cast that ritual, and any consumable items required to cast it (including the scroll if you are casting from one) are lost.

To cast a ritual, you must have the required reagents on hand. These cost as much as the material components required to scribe a scroll of that spell, and take on a form appropriate to the skill required to cast the ritual:

Required skillReagent Type
HealEither rare herbs or incense
Knowledge (arcana)Arcane dust
Knowledge (nature)Rare herbs
Knowledge (religion)Incense
Perform (any)Arcane dust

You may also use residuum, which is a form of distilled magical essence obtained by disenchanting a magic item. To disenchant an item, a character with the appropriate item creation feat and a caster level equal to the item's must spend as long as it would take to create that item (maximum 8 hours). The amount of residuum obtained by disenchanting a magic item is equal in value to the gold piece cost required to create that item. Artifacts cannot be disenchanted.

Reagents other than residuum can be purchased at temples, magic item shops, specialty shops catering to adventurers, and from druids or rangers who are open to dealing with outsiders. A character may also roll Spellcraft or Survival to gather reagents, with one check representing one day's work and providing an amount equal to the gold piece value that would be added to an item with that Craft check result. The DM / GM may rule that you cannot roll this check if you don't have access to an appropriate node of magic or source of raw materials.

Converting to D&D 3e / 3.5e

Increase the number of skill ranks required to take the feat from 1 to 4, and reduce the maximum caster level when casting rituals from a ritual book from "equal to your number of skill ranks" to "equal to your number of skill ranks -3."

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Someone "ma'amed" us in person while bagging our groceries, and we felt confident enough in our voice to speak to him without outing ourself.

This was on the return leg of a trip to a new psychiatrist, where our antidepressant dosage was increased and we somewhat awkwardly tried to eat dinner while explaining our life story to someone we'd just met. >_>

We're still not sure how to respond, sometimes, when people are shocked and horrified to hear it.

We're also getting really tired of dreaming about our family of origin.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The following essay was originally posted on the Final Fantasy XIV forums, where it will probably be eaten alive.

Full disclosure: I played FFXI for seven years or so, starting in 2004. I love FFXIV, but for different reasons than I loved FFXI.

When I started playing FFXI, I was completely taken in by its graphics, its community, and even its timesinks. It taught me the ferry arrives in 15 minutes, you need to have food to go levelling, and be careful ninjaing past Valkurm Dunes goblins. I took it all without questioning it, because this was my world and I wanted to go on adventures in it. And when it came time to do Divine Might, I /shouted and rallied my friends until we were herding 18 cats, which to me was the bigger challenge than the actual boss fight itself.

I'm glad that I have those memories, and I think the world needs more sandbox (or sandbox-ish) games. FFXI and EVE Online are "niche" titles, but with surprisingly loyal players. And if FFXI's slowly shrinking while EVE's slowly growing, it's partly because FFXI's based on 10-year-old tech and went neglected for years.

I'm not sure it's possible to build into a game, by design, the kinds of emergent gameplay those two have to offer. I don't think you can queue up in the Duty Finder, for the kind of unforgettable experience that was my friends and me beating FFXI's Ultima with 10 seconds left on the timer. I don't think scripted, themepark games should replace sandbox ones, and I think it's sad that 1.0's fans and SWG's fans lost theirs (multiple times, in the case of SWG).

But I also think they're unfairly romanticized. And I think sandbox fans like me tend to gloss over their faults, and give other people the sense that we think we are better than "casual" gamers, which are really just "anyone not as invested in ___ game as I am."

I think we should stop doing that.

For every one who has glowing memories, there are a lot more who remember a bewildering and frustrating game. For every one who remembers discovering how to beat a tough boss fight, there are a hundred who looked it up on FFXIclopedia (or Erecia's guide, remember that?). Sometimes you want to do it yourself, but you want to be told how to do it. And sometimes, you just wish the darned ferry would get here already.

For every day I spent having awesome adventures, I probably spent ten getting my head handed to me in Valkurm, or running around doing tedious crap and waiting for JP midnight. We don't remember this stuff as well, but they're all that the people who quit remember, which is why FFXI and EVE both have so many haters. Not because the "casual" gamers weren't "hardcore" enough to "learn to play," but because the games disrespected their time and money investments, and failed to fulfill the promise of being an awesome Final Fantasy / Internet Spaceships adventure.

Who made that promise, and how they made it, we could probably argue about. But FFXI and EVE are simply not like the games next to them on the shelves, and someone who bought FFXI thinking it'd be like FFX would be in for a rude shock.

(Just got my FFX/X-2 preorder, BTW. It's gorgeous.)

FFXIV:ARR, I feel, fulfills that promise. Say what you want about it, it is a Final Fantasy game, complete with boss fight and ending sequence. It's just unique among FF games in that you can keep playing after you beat it, unlocking more jobs and teaming up to defeat superbosses, and the developers keep adding new features and storyline quests.

I think their "ideal player" is a core FF gamer, who's new to the MMO world. I think that's the person they design for. And while I sometimes miss not having stuff spelled out for me, I'm also not sure what the difference is between having to research crafting recipes and food stats on FFXIclopedia, and having the game's UI just tell me. Beyond the fact that one of those things makes me do the same work as FFXIV's devs, unpaid.

TL;DR Sandboxes are fun, but people aren't worse gamers than I am because they don't want to do unpaid dev work.

IT LIVES

Mar. 20th, 2014 10:43 am
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I finally completed my “C# for Absolute Beginners” course at the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and just a few lessons in to the Windows Phone for beginners course we’ve managed to successfully create and deploy our first Windows Phone app!

A screenshot of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone in debug mode, for an application called 'PetSounds,' with the Windows Phone emulator visible in the foreground. On the emulator's screen is an app called 'MY APPLICATION,' with the words 'Page title' below that, and a single pink button marked 'quack.'
Yes, it's a soundboard with only one sound.

We had to tweak BIOS settings to do this >_o but the course and the one error message we got explained what to do pretty well. And after the work we did for GNOME, where we basically wrote code in Notepad and then ran it in a console window, we feel utterly spoiled by Visual Studio. The debug window and the emulator are cluttering it, here, but it’s actually been really easy to figure out and navigate, and it writes so much of the boilerplate code for us and automatically shows us what our app looks like while we’re working on it.

A screenshot of Visual Studio which looks much less cluttered. On the left-hand side is a pane showing the application's layout, and taking up most of the rest of the screen is a code editor showing the XAML for the layout's markup.
It's so pretty.

Here’s hoping we’ll have more to show you all soon!

Aww

Mar. 10th, 2014 08:34 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The peach blossoms are in bloom, and the city-states of Eorzea are decorated for the event! But the cutest "decorations" are the birds everywhere, including one that has Moogle eyes and whiskers and a pom-pom. :3

We made the below collage with an app on our Windows Phone! Also, that's our character there, with her collapsible mining pickaxe.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We wrote our "conversion story" on a forum we signed up for recently, and thought it summed things up pretty nicely in case anyone here is interested in what we've used technology-wise (although it leaves out our history of tablets, game consoles, and one beat-up iBook). What, am I the only one with an obsessive interest in how people relate to their technology and what that says about them?

Behind cut! )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

One of the first things that our new therapist did was diagnose us with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in addition to anxiety and depression. Despite having a credentialed professional certify us as being this way, we still have a lot of lingering incredulousness at the concept.

Cut for ablist example. )

The problem is, ignoring it won't make it go away.

A few days ago, our home internet went out for the second time in a month. We called tech support for our ISP, in the process finding out that our free government cellphone service had been canceled even though we made a call to keep our account active like they asked. We then went online using our mobile broadband modem (which gets 500 MB of completely free data per month through a company which very aggressively upsells you on stuff), and let a few people know on Skype before logging out.

When we woke up, we found that our modem's plan had been used up, because we hadn't turned off Windows Update. The plan would reset in two days, or we could buy another 500 MB for $10. We did not have $10 because everything was earmarked for rent. On top of that, while discussing the finances we found out we owed someone a large (to us) sum of money because of a misunderstanding that we felt responsible for.

We freaked the hell out.

We started apologizing compulsively for causing the problem, for being the problem, for existing. We told people (and honestly believed) that our life was not worth the sum in question. We felt completely helpless and powerless, and yet knew that we had to try somehow to repay it in full even though every day made us go further in debt.

None of this makes any sense, from a distance. We weren't dealing with bill collectors or landlords (the cash set aside for them wasn't the problem). We were dealing with our partners. Of course they would pay the $10 so we could have (limited) internet access while waiting to get a new modem. Of course they would take responsibility for the misunderstanding and get everything taken care of, just like they've done with our finances for awhile. They were more worried about us, and wanted to have us online with them.

But that's not how we saw it. Because having PTSD means that your triggers take you back to the original situation that traumatized you. And we're badly triggered by finances, and by being deprived of things that we need. We feel like at any time everything can be taken away from us, and when it does we'll deserve it. So when stuff goes wrong all at once, really fast, in ways that we didn't expect, we don't feel like "ugh, there goes the power again. What do I pay these noobs for!?" We feel like

Cut for extremely depressive and body-negative rambling. )

We've been physically ill for the past few days. The day it all happened, we slept for about 16 hours on and off. Our system was flooded with stress hormones, and we still feel anxious and on edge. We had horrible heartburn, to the point where we got nauseous if we stood up for too long and had to elevate our head in order to sleep. And that's not even getting into the more unpleasant symptoms. >_o

Reality is that which does not go away if you stop believing in it. Unfortunately, the reality seems to be that we're very sick, and might never recover from this. Not unless we avoid our triggers completely ... which in this society seems almost impossible.

If only they knew they were making things worse.

EDIT: In hindsight, I think part of the reason we feel hyper and nervous is because we just had our Celexa dose increased by 50 percent and our brain hasn't had time to adjust yet. I remember we felt like this right after going on it originally. I don't think it's what made us physically ill, though. And we had actually worked through our initial distress about things, right up until we realized the part about owing money, and because of the internet being out weren't able to effectively talk to our loved ones about it.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, I'm reading Final Fantasy series fans' criticisms of Final Fantasy XIII and its spinoffs, as found in the comment section of this article and the apparently-widespread attitudes that it addresses. They seem to amount to:

The story is weird and convoluted, and the characters are unlikeable anime stereotypes.

As someone who's played and/or watched Advent Children, Kingdom Hearts, FFVII: Crisis Core, FFXI: Chains of Promathia, and Final Fantasy IX, I have to wonder ... are we talking about the same series of games here? Are we even on the same planet?

Yes, the first half of FFXIII was more or less linear. So was a lot of FFX, as I recall. And Cloud Strife, FFVII's protagonist, was getting flack for being an emotionless anime stereotype with unbelievable weapons and hair since before it was cool.

Here's where I think the real issue is. This is the first half an hour or so of Final Fantasy XIII's gameplay, but you should be able to spot what "mainstream" gamers don't like about it in the first five minutes.

Click here if you can't see the video, or if you'd like to skip the 30 seconds where the player configures game options.

Notice something about the protagonists? That's right. The first two that we see on-camera are a white woman and a black man. The white woman never gets a love interest, and the black man never stops being the Voice of Reason and standing up to white characters.

Now take a look at this footage of a LAN party.

Click here if you cannot see the video.

What do pretty much all of the gamers there have in common? What two characteristics do virtually all of them have in common? And if you answer with parts of their anatomy, I will slap you.

That is all.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I don't have a lot of clean clothes to wear to a social outing tomorrow.

If I wear the clothes I don't like, I'll look unmistakably male (but with long hair).

If I wear the clothes I do like, I won't be able to use gendered restrooms.

I considered just saying "to heck with it" and overtly presenting as female, meaning wearing makeup and prosthetics. But if I do that, I run the risk of being identified as a trans woman, whether by my voice slipping, my appearance not being perfect, or a clueless acquaintance outing me.

(Content note: Transphobia and anatomy.)

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Click here if the above widget does not display for you.

Lyrics behind cut )

If you have no idea what the heck that was about, refer to the tags just below.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Discussion of poverty, depression, and suicidal thoughts, as well as homophobia and transphobia.

For the past two years or so, ever since we came out and our life went to hell, we've been living in poverty.

Being in poverty does not mean "downshifting," "living within your means," or other euphemisms for going without things that others take for granted. Before we came out we were uninsured, we did not have a car or an HDTV or a laptop with more than 2 GBs of RAM, and we were living around the official "poverty line" in terms of our annual income. We cooked most of our own food, had very cheap entertainments, and ate out sparingly.

And yet, our living situation was in many ways better back then. The apartment was cleaner. We weighed 20 pounds less. We went out more often, and had more fun when we did. We had fewer worries, and felt much more optimistic about our future.

As it turns out,

It's that last point that makes all the difference.

Simplistic analyses of how "rich" and "poor" people's lifestyle choices differ obscure the reasons why their choices differ. In her essay, "Your App Makes Me Fat," Kathy Sierra discusses the neuroscience behind what others call "spoon theory" -- the idea that people have limited cognitive and emotional resources, and that if they have to spend them in one area they don't have them available in another.

In this case, research participants were asked to memorize either a two-digit number or a seven-digit number, and were then given the choice of cake or fruit as a dessert. Keeping in mind that there can be legitimate reasons to choose one or the other that have nothing to do with "willpower,"

The participants who memorized the seven-digit number were nearly 50% more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.

Digression about game design. )

So what's the point?

I'm fatter, less active, and less emotionally stable than I was before I came out. I have more health problems. I also eat more store-bought desserts, own a new laptop, game console, and tablet, and have more toys and games than I did when I moved here. And while I used to write articles for several hours each day, I'm now unemployed and not seeking work anymore.

Clearly, I merit contempt. I'm fat and lazy, after all, which you can tell (and can tell are my fault) by looking at me and hearing me talk about playing my games. I must have maxed out my credit cards buying new things, I'm letting the government take care of me instead of solving my own problems, and I'm depressive because I'm transgender. If I'd just choose to take responsibility for my life, then things would be so much better. Right?

Except that that's not the case. What is the case is I have so little energy, most days, that I have to pick and choose what gets done.

Today, I chose to explain my feelings on Dreamwidth and spend some time online with my boyfriend, who is going through his own trials and stress in the process of working to support me. As a result, the dishes aren't done, the laundry's unmade, and I'm eating hash browns and canned chickpeas for dinner because I haven't cooked anything (or showered) in days.

Tonight I'll stay up until 10 AM

Practicing needed introvert self-care, since I can't even do the above if I don't have some time to myself. And maybe, possibly, I'll have the energy to shower, or take another course from the Microsoft Virtual Academy, or make some more tweaks to my Dreamwidth site. Maybe I'll even write another story or chapter, sometime this month.

This is not exceptional. This is not a temporary circumstance, like when the waterbed leaks and you have to go sleep on the couch. And it's not voluntary privation I've put myself through, like when you work overtime for a few weeks so that you can afford a vacation. This is my everyday life. And this is what it was like for most of my life pre-transition, too, since I was dealing with everyday religious / emotional abuse and crippling depression and gender dysphoria. Some days I could barely get out of bed.

For one, shining year, things were different. I had a job. Hundreds of thousands of people read my work. At one point, I got to collaborate with a TV personality. I could afford most of my wants and all of my needs, if you didn't count health insurance (which no one could afford back then and few can today). I could even travel within the state. And when [personal profile] rev_yurodivy was facing some massive stress and an unsafe living situation, I could afford to take them in and buy them things, and take them out to dinner and make them feel loved and appreciated.

What happened to change that?

Realizing I was transgender happened. Being thrown away by my father of origin, who was cosigning my lease at the time, happened. Seeing the whole world differently happened, when I realized the friendly Muslim bus driver also wants me to live in the closet, and another passenger would let a trans woman die if they were a paramedic. Realizing they don't want me here happened. When my state voted to ban gay marriage, when I read horror stories that out trans women faced, and when the new CEO at my workplace decided "eh, paying writers is for chumps."

Suddenly, the smiling faces around me took on a predatory sheen, as I realized how little it'd take for them to turn on me. All I had to do was wear gender-appropriate clothes around them, or say that I didn't have money for rent. Because no matter how much I liked them, no matter how much I'd given them, no matter how loyal I felt towards my town and community, I knew that they'd throw me away in a heartbeat, and no one would ever miss me. No one except my weird "Internet friends" who don't really exist, even though one of them's living with me right now.

Suddenly, eating too much was one of the few ways that I had to cope. Suddenly, I started getting presents from those Internet friends, which added up to maybe a couple months' rent over the past two years but which made my new hikikomori lifestyle more bearable. Suddenly I was thinking about suicide a lot more in spite of all that, to the point where my partner had to pull the knife out of my hands.

There is no spoon

Or there aren't enough metaphorical spoons, meaning cognitive and emotional resources, for me to deal with all this. Not and be healthy and sane and pay all the bills and do all the chores and buy nutritious food at the same time. There still aren't.

Things are getting better. Therapy helps. Antidepressants help, a lot. I'm going out more than I used to. I'm making better choices for my diet, doing odd jobs on Mechanical Turk, and getting things like name change paperwork done. Our future looks brighter, for once, and we're starting to crawl towards it.

But that doesn't mean we're done going through this. It doesn't mean we never did. And it doesn't mean that we'll ever be the same again.

We're fortunate to have people who care about us. Who sacrifice their well-being to make our life and our partner's life safe and bearable. Who don't see us as a resource, or an object, or a statistic, but as a person, even when we can't.

So many poor people don't.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I decided to join the Church of the Helix Fossil, and worship the risen lord Omanyte and its chosen savior Bird Jesus. Only problem is, I'm not sure who to pay tithing to. Can someone help me on this?

Seriously though, Twitch Plays Pokémon is a treasure trove of real-world theological and sociological data, and it's a crime if there's no one in academia writing a paper about it right now.

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We're a friendly foxgryphon plural system. Our pronouns are "she" and "her" or "they" and "their."

We wrote Jewelfox's Otherkin FAQ, and a bunch of other identity-related ramblings.

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