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 have a friend whose father was a migrant worker and an associate of Cesar Chavez, who will be remembered at the judgement bar for lifting up the lowest of people, who contribute to our economy in the form of cheap produce.

I have several friends who have been the victims of sexual assault, (it’s that common) and who are triggered to varying degrees by the campaign remarks and actions and final election of a sexual predator.

I know a Syrian refugee family in the first weeks of adjustment to their new life in Arizona who found death threats from an anonymous neighbor, for whom many of us made an effort to encourage them that not all their neighbors would wish them evil.

My friends are devastated that the misogynist, racist, religious bigot candidate squeaked by to be elected, and fearful of newly empowered racists, misogynists, and religious bigots at large. Anyone who wants to tell them they should ‘get over it’ already will have to get through me first. We all know that we must move forward somehow come January 20. Grieving is part of some folks’ preparation. Compassion is a duty too.

-- MDearest, comment on Zelophehad's Daughters essay

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, there is this game on Kickstarter called Invisible Sun, made by a dood named Monte Cook who also wrote D&D stuff and an extremely unfortunate tabletop RPG for children.

Here are the reasons why people are talking about IS:

  1. It flatters prospective buyers liek whoa, as you can see in the title.
  2. It promises to "change the way you play RPGs," but gives few details as to how.
  3. It starts at $197 USD. And goes way up from there, with the main draw being exclusive secrets that only you get.

Most of the discussion surrounding the game is privilege-y economics stuff. "It's worth what people will pay for it," "no one has to pay $200 for a luxury good," etcetera.

I feel like what people are missing is that inequality effs your community hard.

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)

Undertale and Minecraft are two of the biggest "indie games" to make it big, both financially and culturally. People encourage their friends to get into both, not just because they're amazing (for certain values of "amazing") but also because they want to discuss these things with you, and they need you to understand their shared vocabulary in order to do so.

This shared vocabulary enables people to create art that can be widely understood and appreciated. Hence, the piles of Undertale fanwork, up to and including professionally-made musical productions; and the intricate Minecraft creations, up to and including Turing-complete redstone computers.

There are problems with this kind of cultural ubiquity, though. For starters, the amount of attention given to "hit games" literally starves others.

Read more... )

tl;dr I'm bitter about my fanfiction not being noticed, and should probably just learn to write stuff others like. Damned if I'm not saving *Mute first, though, and damned if I'm giving up on writing meaningful things for underserved minority groups.

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)

There were a ton of ads for plastic surgery at the mall we went to today, including one with a row of people's clothed butts and a pithy slogan about how "everyone deserves to feel great about theirs."

I could not shut up about how global capitalism was holding our butts hostage, and only allowing us to feel good about them if we paid lots of money.

Also, "capitalism" is a word that really deserves to be associated with "butts."

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, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.

It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:

It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.

My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.

Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.

In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?

Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.

40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.

Click here if you can't see the video.

For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.

Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:

Click here if you can't see the video.

Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

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 for these links and this essay: Racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, and xenophobia.)

I'd just like to take a moment to remind everyone, including my friends who are also transgender, that if you live in the first world everything that you have and enjoy is made possible through unthinkable violence and slavery. Of humans, to say nothing of nonhuman animals.

It's not a matter of how moral you are, or how much you consciously choose not to inflict violence on others. This is an inherent feature, of a world where some people are valued so much more than others. Because the purpose of inequality, inhospitality, and inhumane treatment is to make people broken and desperate.

The purpose of immigration restrictions, for instance, is to enable human trafficking, which means (among other things) being able to keep people in sheds they pay rent on and beat them if they don't wash your car just right. Meanwhile, the reason that the United States lacks the social safety net that other so-called "liberal democracies" have is because one of its political parties (we all know which one) used its "Southern Strategy," of convincing white voters that welfare payments would go to the wrong kind of people.

You know, the ones who are supposed to avert their eyes when they see you walk by, and who call you "sir" and shine your shoes for you.

Trans World Problems?

No. No, the new laws here in the States, that make it even more dangerous for trans people to use public restrooms, aren't a "First World Problems" thing. A "be grateful that you aren't a literal slave" thing. As though becoming a sex worker with no legal protections weren't something a lot of trans people have to turn to, and as though there are no trans people who are black, immigrant, or enslaved.

What this is, is a reminder that we (as trans people) aren't the first to suffer this indignity, and we won't be the last. Unless we can join our grasping appendages with others who are resisting things like it*, and turn the tables on our capitalist oppressors.

(It's redundant to call them that, but sometimes it just helps to hammer it home.)




* Or even others who are affected by it, despite not being trans. Don't forget; besides barring people who don't pass as cis from using the restroom, North Carolina's HB2 also banned local living wage laws, and made it harder for any worker to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. These aren't unrelated coincidences; these things are all part of systemic inequality and oppression.

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)

For an update on the state of the game that [personal profile] jewelfox is preparing, please see our next-latest-entry.



I don't have the energy to look up citations right now. But I feel like the history of tabletop games is largely the history of diverse, fannish groups adopting games that catch on because they are "good enough" for the time. And then watching as the next 30-40 years see the people who made these games get a lot of unearned power and capital, until they are dictating the shape of their hobbies to everyone else.

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)

Can't sleep. Preoccupied with stuff.

Content note: Swearing, and way too much talk about miniatures, sexism, and messed-up unethical companies.

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)

We're at it again, drafting essays in Skype. Here are our latest musings:

* * *

‎11‎:‎04‎ ‎PM Jewelfox wants to trade her PSP in for a Vita or something, maybe, but there are several amazing games that are only available in UMD format. Which, the only device that can read those is a PSP.‏

‎11‎:‎05‎ ‎PM Jewelfox feels like it's just wrong to ask people either to give up old games when they upgrade, or hold on to ten-year-old consoles, and that this kind of waste is endemic to the whole console industry.‏

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)

This article, on issendai.com, is twice as interesting if you replace the word "narcissist" with the word "corporation."

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)

Because I'm starting to get into interests besides "figuring out who I am," like writing a ridiculous number of words about gamefeels and painting a dozen identical miniatures at the same time. It's just that pretty much everyone I know here subscribed to me because of the essays about identity, religion, and the like, whereas people who are (or would be, hypothetically) interested in fanfics and minis would more than likely be turned off at worst or confused at best by getting to know me / us as a person.

... is how I see it.

We're also facing some unpleasant trends, while we'll discuss in more detail below the cut.

Read more... )

What do? Any thoughts? Does this place, do these writings, does any of it mean anything to anyone? And if they do ... how many of the people they matter to will still be here next year?

The one pleasant trend I've noticed is Patreon becoming A Thing, but at this point I can count on one hand the number of regular commenters here. So I don't think we're anywhere near the point where we should be talking 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)

tl;dr: Religious abuse only happens because religious leaders are allowed to claim ownership of things other people need in order to live, which is basically the spiritual version of "private property." Because of this, most Internet Atheist criticisms of "religion" would be better directed at capitalism instead.

Content note: Discussion of abusive religion and eating disorders.

Defining capitalism

From CollectQT's Political Definitions page:

capitalism - An economic system wherein the means of production are largely privately owned. Capitalism is inherently oppressive.

To unpack that a little, "the means of production" are what you need access to in order to make a living. They can be anything from printing presses to app stores to hunting preserves.

In a capitalist economic system, like the ones in China and the United States, these things are all privately owned, meaning that one person or corporation is allowed to control them despite the fact that everyone needs them. This is why capitalism is inherently oppressive; whatever political freedoms you may have, the people who own the means of production have the power to decide whether you live or die, and under what circumstances.

When critics of capitalism are talking about "private property," this is what they are criticizing. The "property" in question is the means of production, not your personal effects. They are not saying that you should be forced to give up your plushies or miniatures. On the other hand, if you've ever seen someone eBay their most prized possessions in order to make next month's rent, you know that this is exactly what capitalism does to the people it makes into losers.

How and why abusive religions do this to their victims, and how to help people escape )

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've been kind of uncomfortable with Pathfinder and D&D both for different reasons, and started looking for another role-playing game that has the rules for free online and lets you write your own stuff for it.

So far I've found two that look promising: Dungeon World and 13th Age. You can find their respective SRDs, or free online rules documents, here and here.

Both are strongly inspired by Pathfinder and D&D, with stock fantasy adventuring tropes and more or less stock fantasy character options. But the authors went in two different directions with them ... especially with regard to how accessible their games are to newbies. Whether those newbs are players, or fan / professional authors.

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)

So, I spent much of today reading comments and forum posts by Warhammer 40,000 players, for some reason. (This doesn't only apply to them, though; it has a lot to do with Pathfinder and video games as well.)

40k players spend an awful lot of time complaining online, it feels like. But what's interesting to me is what they choose to complain about. Roughly half of the forum-goers I saw were complaining about the company that makes the Warhammer models; how Games Workshop's latest rulebook ruined their fun, invalidated their strategies, and obsoleted their favourite models.

Some of their stories are really sad. "40K" players invest dozens or hundreds of hours in their cherished pastime, sometimes in just a single model, and it shows. Far from looking for an excuse to complain, the most upset players seemed more like betrayed lovers, who had given and given and given and were rewarded with Games Workshop's scorn.

The other half ... were complaining about the first half.

Read more... )

I don't know where I'm going with this. It's late, and I'm tired and rambly.

I just feel like, the less inequality there is between players and game publishers -- and between the players and each other -- the less fighting and arguing there seems to be, and the more creative freedom there is.

I like the Tau model collection I'm building, but I feel more at home with game players and companies which treat me with respect.

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 guy what made Minecraft bought a $70 million mansion in Beverly Hills.

I get that Minecraft has been a lot of fun and helped a lot of people and been a tool and a canvas for self-expression. But as Firefly / Serenity fans know, being awesome doesn't necessarily lead to becoming popular. And as anyone knows who's been inspired by an underpaid teacher, having a profound, positive impact on the lives of numerous people doesn't earn you six (or eight) figures. It might not even pay the bills.

I'm not saying Minecraft doesn't deserve to be popular. But I am saying that if it's worth $70 million USD for what it does, then there are a whole lot of people and creative works that we're undervaluing here. Starting with all the unpaid fanwork that made Minecraft a household name to begin with.

I also think it's obscene that any one person is allowed to have that much money and use it all to buy a house, when even one other person is involuntarily homeless in the same country as the house that he bought.

I'm going to see the pictures of that housewarming party in my head now, every time I see Minecraft merchandise in stores.

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: Ablism and strong language in the source link.

Complaints about materialism are bunk, [Kirk Cameron] explains [in his film Saving Christmas], because Christmas is a celebration of God's spirit taking on a material form in Jesus. It's only fitting, therefore, that we give each other material things to celebrate his birth. As for gluttony (only technically a deadly sin), Christmas is our time to celebrate the most important man in the world, and God wants us to celebrate. "So get the biggest ham!" urges Kirk Cameron. "Use the richest butter! Make everything in your house point to Jesus!"

From the stranger.com

I pray to a goddess of food and wealth, and I'm kind of skeeved out by this. Wasn't it just a few years ago that most Christians were cautioning each other against letting Christmas shopping and parties and stuff detract from "the reason for the season?"

Which, I mean, I know the real reason for Christmas is "early Christians wanted to celebrate Yule." But what kind of person thinks it's okay to encourage a suburban North American audience to eat "the biggest ham" and "the richest butter," in honour of a homeless Jew who told his followers to give what they had to the poor?

It's never been more obvious that what most people call Christianity today is just capitalism.

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)

Attacks on religious expression are an example of a program undertaken by left-leaning individuals without thought for how this may be a part of capital’s larger approach to destroying sources of meaning outside of itself. […]

Marx and Engels never saw some sort of “defeat of religion” as a necessary condition for moving society forward.

From http://erasmuslijn.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/chains-of-being/

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)

From Stuff Fundies Like. Content note for the link and this post: Religious and employer abuse.

So the formula goes like this:

Isolated employees + A Heavenly Mission + Declining Revenue + Renewable Workforce + Lies = Starvation Wages.

Darrell left out the fact that the laws in the US allow independent fundamentalist Baptist churches to treat their workers differently from if they were considered the businesses that they are. But all the things that he mentions compound the problem.

The situation with Mormon volunteer workers is different, and in some ways more efficient. I'm not sure I want to get into explaining how right now, though.

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 remember a whole lot about Jon Huntsman except that he's Mormon, he was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and he didn't make it because he's not a climate change denier or young earth creationist.

He also apparently supports same-sex marriage now, and oh, his dad's kind of awesome:

Jon Huntsman Sr. has given away about $1.5 billion to worthy causes – about 80% of his total wealth. He is also spending $200 million building Huntsman Springs, a golf resort and nature reserve in Idaho that will donate all proceeds of real estate sold to his family’s charitable foundation. But neither of these totals include his strict tithing to the Mormon church of 10% of everything he has ever earned.

“My philanthropy is not borne out of my faith,” he says. “They require 10% tithing. I don’t consider that to be philanthropy and I don’t consider it to be part of my philanthropic giving. I consider it as club dues.

“People who put money in the church basket and people who go to church and pay the pastor: that isn’t real philanthropy, that’s just like you belong to a country club. You pay your dues to belong to that church so you pay your tithing or whatever it is. I’ve never added that into my philanthropy in any way because I just think it’s a part of a person’s life.”

This is especially true when you're donating to a "church" corporation that builds shopping malls. >_> But seriously, whatever happened to rich people being philanthropists? Why aren't they all signing on with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, pledging to give away half of their wealth? It's not like they can use it all or anything.

I mean, I know it's because of Ayn Rand and bad preachers and crap, plus racism here in the States. But still.

Maybe it should surprise me less that a handful of people break out of this mold, and more that nobody holds the others accountable. When effort and reward are as badly decoupled as they are in this society, a high net worth is a bug, not a feature.

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.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

Subscribe

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Feb. 26th, 2017 05:28 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios