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: Political violence, physical violence, and why I feel using the latter to combat the former will get us all killed. Or at least, all of us whose bodies are politicized.

Read more... )

tl;dr

If you're an abled white man, we don't need you to punch Nazis for us. The Nazis can and will take out their anger on more vulnerable targets. What we need is for you to pick one of the battles we're waging, and use your power and privilege to shield us. Either give what we need to keep fighting, or find out where the line of fire is and get in the way. In MMO terms, we're cycling DoTs on the raid boss, but we need you to heal, buff, and tank for us.

(MMORPGs are a much better lens to view a group struggle through than solo shooter / adventure games, because anyone who's worked with seventeen other people to clear Dynamis knows what happens when someone refuses to listen, or makes the run all about them.)

Nazis talk tough and collect firearms, but they're fucking cowards. All bullies are. Just look at how scared they are of trans, female, and/or PoC bodies, let alone yours! If you make it clear you oppose them, you don't need to throw punches to get them to back down. Most of the time, all you need to do is tell them to fuck off. Just make sure we're okay, afterwards, and that you listen when we say what we need.

Donate to the Standing Rock Water Protectors.

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)

Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.

Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.

It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.

They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.

I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.

In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, [personal profile] burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.

We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.

I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.

Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.

We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.

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)

A lot of people, when they start to transition genders physically and socially, have to do so "on the fly," so to speak. Meaning they have to transform their bodies and lives while they're living (in) them, holding down jobs or studying or taking care of their families.

I personally don't have to do this (and folded quickly the last time I tried). With my family of choice taking extremely good care of me, I have only two jobs right now: Recover from PTSD, and transition genders. Or in other words, paint miniatures and grow breasts.

I am succeeding at at least one of these things.

Not NSFW this time but may be TMI if you don't want to read about Jewelfox's feelings and boobs )

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.

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 new expansion for FFXI, Seekers of Adoulin, introduced the Geomancer class. Their unique spells come in two flavours: The Indi- spells, like Indi-Refresh, which have an area of effect centred on the caster, and the Geo- spells, which are centred on a gadget that's like a WoW Shaman's totem.

I have it on good authority (read: I'm making stuff up) that the next update will include a variety of new Indi- spells.

  • Indi-Game: Turns FFXI into a quirky puzzle platformer made by two (suddenly rich) white cisguys in their bedroom.

  • Indi-Cred: Causes FFXI to get rave reviews from white cisguys on YouTube.

  • Indi-GoGo: Shuts FFXI down if it doesn't receive at least $500,000 in funding within the next 30 days.

  • Indi-Bundle: Name your own price for the next expansion, and unlock FFXIV on Steam if you beat the average.

  • Indi-Vidual: Turns FFXI into a single-player game.

These spells will only be unlocked if you purchase a physical item of jewelry similar to 2008's Tidal Talisman: the Indi-Pendant.

See you in Vana'diel! Maybe.

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: This essay will very briefly touch on Mormon religious concepts, as an illustration to a point. This is not just more ranting about stuff that I used to believe.

The concept in question is the idea of "eternal progress." I was taught that this was something which set my old church apart from the Brand X(-tian) churches out there, which all supposedly thought we'd be sitting on clouds in heaven and singing forever and ever. On top of that, we supposedly had "continuing revelation" even in this life, where God's living prophet would tell us new things which were tailored for our day and age.

I really believed all of this. And I believed that "heaven," for that matter, wasn't simply an unquestionably good place that believers were rewarded with. Rather, I believed that there were two kinds of people who didn't go to heaven: The unworthy who knew and regretted their unworthiness, and the unworthy who didn't see heaven as heaven because they'd been twisted around so much they didn't know up from down. They didn't want to go there, and if they could it wouldn't be heaven to them. They simply couldn't appreciate it.

(I may have mixed in some Planescape theology there.)

A couple years after I left my old church, it hit me that this was exactly right. Because back there, they were still teaching the same "Sunday School answers" to every problem, at least the ones they acknowledged existed. And God's living prophet was still telling the same old stories about widows and stuff. Even their new website about "Mormons and Gays" (trigger warning for homophobia) explicitly says "we don't know" why God doesn't want gays to get married. This is what it's come to, now that their old reasons have been disproven. And while the rest of the first world is moving towards marriage equality, they're having a hissy fit over women wearing pants to church.

It's progress, but it's glacially slow and decades behind. And most of their discourse is still the same-old.

Progressive software

Why do I bring all this up? Because I've been realizing how unhealthy it is for me to dwell on that garbage, and trying to find new things to occupy my time with. And while looking at different forums and blogs, I realized I felt more at home on Planet Ubuntu than most more traditional "Free Software" blogs, although Planet GNOME's a close second and I also like Máirín Duffy's blog. And I realized the reason why was the same as with the above: Because in my personal experience, Free Software zealots in the vein of the Free Software Foundation are fundamentalists, who are as anti-progressive as the ones in the church that I left.

So while GNOME is moving design radically forward, they're throwing fits about it. While Máirín's teaching Girl Scouts to use Inkscape, they're making fun of her and staging juvenile protests on Planet Fedora, against the idea of making it easier to use and get involved with. And while the Outreach Program for Women is bringing new writers and contributors into the fold, they're trolling our blogs and insisting we're making stuff up about harassment and other issues that they do not face.

(I realize "they" is amorphous here, so for the sake of discussion it means "the people who do these things." I associate "them" with the FSF because I see it as the least progressive, most fundamentalist arm of the Free Software movement, which I associate in my mind more with their boycotts and insistence on purity than anything -- like the GNU project, or the gcc compiler, or the GPL -- that they may have actually done or created at some point. I'm open to being proven wrong here; I'm aware that people and organizations change, and have been especially impressed with some of Microsoft's recent products. This is just an impression I have, based on who they call their enemy and why.)

I guess what I'm saying is I realized I like the culture in Ubuntu and GNOME, where the emphasis is on moving forward (albeit in different directions for different reasons), and on bringing this stuff that we have to as many people as possible, and even on changing it so as to be more useful and accessible. Whereas in other projects, and communities, and of course churches, I see more of an emphasis on preaching (or appearing to preach) the same fundamentals over and over again, to the point of insulting people it doesn't appeal to or help instead of asking them why.

Progressive gaming?

I realize it's slightly ironic that I'm saying all this when my favourite computer game ever was made about 10 years ago. >_> In FFXI's case, though, I really haven't seen anything better at doing what it does best, for me personally. Most MMOs these days tend to copy World of Warcraft, with its looting and button-mashing and information overload UI. And they don't even do a good job of it.

For me, FFXI isn't a game so much as a world, that I experience in a particular way. It has a minimalist interface that's designed to be played with a game controller. It's immersive, and sort of invites contemplation. Chatting's normally done by text instead of headset. And the pace is extremely different. The only games I know of which come close to how it feels (which I didn't describe very well) are PlayStation Home and FFXIV, both of which I either play or am hoping to play when it comes to the PS3.

I realize now that a lot of the things I lament about missing, that were around in the "good old days" of FFXI, are things that made the game hostile to newbies. I feel good about triumphing over them, but countless others got discouraged and left. I like seeing the game make some progress on this front, and I have high hopes for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. I want to see this style of game that I like stay young, and bring in new players. I don't want to only be surrounded by people my age, and with my exact preferences. And I don't want all that we talk about to be how things aren't like what they used to be.

In conclusion

I guess there's not really a point to all this. I just figured I ought to write more Dreamwidth essays. Most of the realizations I've been having and progress I've been making, in the last few weeks, I've only been sharing on Skype. I figure I ought to change that, since people seem to like my writing.
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 take a break from Dreamwidth a little while ago, and am just now trying to get back into posting and commenting here.

Here's the condensed version of I've been dealing with:
  1. Multiple close friendships strained or seemingly terminated, in ways which were harmful to others.

  2. Weeks of struggling over and over again to get everything working on my new PC, and finally getting FFXI working in Linux (Ubuntu) only to decide I need to take a break from that next for reasons related to #1.

  3. Being physically exhausted from having to haul 15 extra pounds all over the suburbs because I'm gaining weight on St. John's Wort, but become potentially terminally depressed if I try to wean myself off of it. I'm trying to at least monitor my weight and eating, now that I know my appetite is no longer reliable.

  4. Trying, and trying, and failing to keep up with writing (of all kinds).
I'm trying to learn healthier ways to destress than spending hours reading stuff that potentially triggers / depresses me (like exmormon forums). I've gotten back into PC gaming after installing a few years' worth of Humble Bundles, and taking advantage of a recent Steam sale. Sonic Generations and They Bleed Pixels are both amazing, especially the latter, and both work with my PS3's controller.

I want to have something ready for the holidays. I don't know if I'll be able to, but I'm going to try. I'm also going to try to finish my commissions.

I feel bad that I wasn't able to volunteer to mentor the new GNOME Outreach Program interns. I'll try to hang out on IRC, at least.

I've done a lot of crying, a lot of talking, a lot of realizing things. A lot of praying, a lot of hugging my mates, a lot of talking to them and my sister and her family. I feel like I have a better idea of why I hurt. For a little while I was afraid that I wouldn't survive through the holidays, especially given what happened last year, but I think that I'll be able to.

I'm going to try to go to the open house at the local LGBT centre for Christmas, while Yuro's off with their relatives. There are also a few events between now and then that I'm looking forward to. It costs me more to go to these now, both physically and insofar as it's hard to write while exhausted. I need the exercise, though, and the feeling of being appreciated.

I hope you all have a happy holiday season.
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)
What I proposed creating in that last entry is basically a prototype of the fursona creator. The one I make will be written in the same language, but will be for the web instead of GNOME, so anyone reading this should be able to use it.

My internship with GNOME has been a lot of help in boosting my confidence in my programming skills. I'm excited about finally making these things happen.

In other news, I recently started playing Final Fantasy XI Online again, after trying out their 14-day demo and then buying the full game for like $12. And a controller so I can play it the way that it's meant to be played. >.>; [personal profile] rev_yurodivy, [personal profile] aliaspseudonym and I have been having fun running around Lakshmi server, and anyone who wants to is welcome to join in.

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 ~

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