jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

In the past week or two we've had to deal with losing our job (and the attendant nervous breakdown), doing a ton of paperwork for federal and state income taxes, renewing our lease, applying for food benefits, and attempting to defer or avoid jury duty because of scheduling and lack of transportation.

We've also experienced harassment on the bus, and are extremely stressed because of that.

Finally, we only have until the end of this month to write articles which we'll actually get paid for. Afterwards our "hours" will be cut drastically.

All of which is to say that there are Reasons we haven't been good at replying to comments lately, haven't updated [community profile] fursonarpg, and haven't posted new fiction yet.

Expect these situations to change starting in May, assuming that we've recovered by then.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

From the "job" I had writing for a Major News Site, which was really an independent contractor's position. Meaning, I don't get unemployment benefits.

I'm going to look for other sites to write for. I am also going to try to jumpstart my furry writing business. My old FA page has over 100 watchers. I will try to contact them and let them know what is happening.

If none of that helps, then starting May 1 my income will effectively shut down and drop to 0. I don't have any savings of my own, and have been relying on [personal profile] aliaspseudonym to pay about half of our monthly bills already. That's all he can afford.

I need at least $500 a month to maintain a reduced standard of living, and stay in this apartment and keep [personal profile] rev_yurodivy from having to move in with family. I don't know if I can make that much. I don't have any family that I can move in with, and their family will not take me, nor would it be good for any of us.

I'm scared and don't know what to do.

I'm sorry.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
This is a phrase I hear a lot in exmormon circles. The idea is something like
They think you're a worthless sinner now, and that you're going to go all out on hookers and booze now that you've left the church. Prove them wrong! Keep being the awesome successful person you are, except now without Mormonism to hold you back. Show them you're just as nice and caring as you ever were, and make their brains break when they see how you're doing and realize the other shoe may never drop.
Closely related is the idea that Mormonism itself is somehow good. That yes, it's a manipulative cult, but that it "teaches good principles," and that "clean living" has value. The people who hold this idea, like Mormon Stories founder John Dehlin, genuinely love and cherish Mormon culture to some degree. They just wish the Mormon church hadn't lied to them and hurt people they care about.

I'm not so sure you can separate the two, though.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
I realize EVE Online caters to the griefer crowd, the paranoid scheming and infighting crowd, the "internet spaceships are serious business" crowd that sees themselves as Loki-esque trickster gods. When what they really do is choose the easiest targets available and press their biggest, most obvious buttons, in a game that uses its lore and its atmosphere to lure in the suckers for them without their even having to do any work.

I realize FPSes cater to the douchebag crowd, the "cry moar" crowd, the "your tears are delicious to me" crowd that sees themselves as professional e-sports athletes. When what they actually do is find games that let them grief their competition mercilessly while they're still newbs, so that they never have to face them at full power and have their precious e-peen shrunk down.

I realize the likely response to this all is HTFU, which I've learned is EVEspeak for "I can't be arsed to inconvenience myself."

And I realize that griefing and playing for dominance are seen not as extraneous, but as a vital part of the game most people here signed up for.

But I personally don't enjoy being spawn-camped. I don't enjoy spawning next to players from the opposing team and instantly dying to them. I don't enjoy being sniped out of nowhere. I don't enjoy running around trying to figure out what's going on and running into a vastly superior force. I don't enjoy spending 90 percent of a Skirmish mission trying to claw my team's way back from the grave and dying a million times. I don't enjoy losing to a team that seems to have bought its way to victory, and having to figure out how to spend my fake moneys. And I especially don't enjoy being humped by the guy whose armour I just repaired, or cringing the whole time I'm on the war barge and hoping some guy doesn't invade my personal space.

Improving my skills would fix some, but not all, of the above problems, for a value of "fix" which means "shoddy hack that should not have had to be implemented." Most of them I see as the consequences of extremely poor game design. I have more fun playing a generic-brand Modern Warfare I picked up for $0.99 than DUST 514 most days, even though I like the atmosphere and the lore of DUST better.

I'm trying to play a fun, heavily thematic first person shooter which is one of the few that will let me play a female character. And I'm getting a steaming pile of crap where the FPS part's only part of the game, and the rest of it is getting bullied and ganked in between reading a spreadsheet.

I'd already figured out that the only two kinds of EVE players are sadists and suckers. I think that applies to this game as well, I think that's intentional, and I think the design reinforces that. I'm not enjoying the time that I spend in-game, and I'm not going to recommend it to friends.

But hey, I got the voucher for it in my new PS3 box, and I sound obviously hurt and upset. So I guess both the developers and the players are happy with that. Glad I could make your lives better.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Trigger warning for abuse and self injury.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
A few random things, in order from least to most depressing and building up to unpleasant realizations.

Trigger warning for talk of depression, parental abuse, terrible trouble with socializing, and canned sandwiches. Especially the canned sandwiches.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
  • When I moved here, I basically plunked us down in the Eternal Suburbs half an hour from any bus stops and several hours from the cities where stuff actually happens. And when we do get on the bus, people here treat it like their living room and have loud conversations with each other about how people like me ought to die, or yell at me about how Jesus saves. And they don't even know I'm trans yet.

  • There is no one in my life right now that I've known for more than four years. Except for my aunt that I call on the weekends.

  • There are games in boxes, that I'm sorting through, that I haven't played because I was waiting to play them with mom like we used to when I was little. Except that she never did, never would, and now never will.

  • There are so many times I tried to share something with one or another of my parents, some game or movie or experience, and they either left partway through or turned it down outright.

  • There are so many conversations I had with them trying to tell them about something important to me, even as basic as vegetarianism or my love of Free Software and the Creative Commons, and they were skeptical and incredulous and took it as a personal affront.

  • I used to pray for them every night. "Heavenly Father, I thank thee for my family and friends. Please bless them that they'll be okay. Please help me to please them and do good things for them." I wanted it so much. I'd pray for them individually sometimes, and promise to do things for them, and apologize for not doing enough.

  • Now when I find myself praying for that, I have to remind myself of who my family and friends actually are.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Matthew Garrett's recent post on depression touched a nerve, because I've been dealing with it for most of my life and it was especially bad all of last year. I'm trying to arrange to get help, but even that is extremely difficult right now.

I'm going to try to add some things to his post without going on for too long. Specifically, I'm going to address ideas we have and stuff we take for granted that makes the experience of being depressed much, much worse.

The "Just World" fallacy

This is a fancy name for the idea that people tend to get what they deserve. Here in the States, we call it "liberty" and "objectivism" and "reducing dependence on government." In the Linux and Free Software communities, we call it "meritocracy."

It's an extremely convenient belief to have if you're at the top of your pecking order. It tells you that you deserve to be there, because of how awesome you are. And it tells you not to worry about anybody beneath you, because if they're deserving they'll make it eventually. And if they're not, well, don't worry about it. It's their fault, and helping them will just keep them dependent on you. Better to throw them out of the nest and watch their carcasses smear on the rocks, until you find one that can fly like you could.

This mindset stigmatizes being weak or in need of help. It turns being a newb, at life or at Linux, into something to be ashamed of. And when you have this mindset yourself, and are weak or injured, you're ashamed of everything. You have a desperate need to please others and show that your life is worthwhile. You're afraid to admit failure, to yourself or to anyone else, because you know that you'll be destroyed and it'll be your fault.

Preordained winners and losers

If you aren't so conscientious, of course, none of that matters. Of course you'll get the help you need. Of course you deserve it. Ayn Rand herself went on Social Security. My parents have no qualms about getting cheques from the government, via dad's military retirement. But I sold off almost all my possessions to keep from needing to apply for "food stamps," which are one of the only reliable social welfare programs here for people who aren't senior citizens. I didn't want to be a burden.

And that's what these beliefs are all about. They take people who care about others, who want to help others, who want to be part of a team and community and work together to do something awesome, and very often make them into nervous, self-loathing wrecks. At their best and most productive, they may have impostor syndrome and depression, may fail to promote themselves and their projects, and may put up with crap no one should. At their worse, they may want to kill themselves, like I almost did a few years ago after being thrown out of the house.

The fact that my parents let me back in an hour or so later didn't change anything. There was no apology. The status quo, in which this event wasn't even surprising and I just needed to live with it, did not change. And my family laughed and joked with each other later that day, without saying a word about what'd happened, as I went catatonic right there on the couch. I knew now that I was worthless, and no matter how much reassurance or encouragement I get from others that "fact" is still the core of my being.

I guess what I'm trying to say is,

The idea of "meritocracy" causes depression and kills people

And so whenever I see people glorify it, I know right away that to the degree that they take this belief seriously I'm looking at a good ol' boys' network with preordained winners and losers. Where people they like and consider worthwhile get rewarded and get away with anything, and people they dislike get blamed for their "failures" and punished.

This is why there's historically been so much hostility towards Apple, and towards everything in GNOME and Free Software and politics that tries to make stuff easier for newbs or bring new people into the fold. The people complaining have decided who's a "real" hacker or gamer or contributor or American, and who's undeserving of the label. They want the undeserving to run off somewhere that they don't have to see them, and they close their eyes so they don't see the smeared carcasses on the rocks.

When you grow up with this mindset and then realize that you're undeserving, you want to die.

I guess that's all.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
And neither does getting upset at people for not reading your mind, and knowing you "didn't mean to offend them" by saying something incredibly mean.

Case in point: World of GNOME's recent review of Fedora 18, which earlier today included a paragraphs-long joke (right after the winking smiley) about how it can be a good or bad thing that Fedora's more stable now depending on if "you" have a "hot" or "ugly" girlfriend, because a more stable distro = fewer visits to do "tech support."

A lot of people left annoyed comments on that version of the post, unsurprisingly including Fedora (and Red Hat)'s resident UX expert Máirín Duffy. It's unsurprising because when you put a lot of time and effort into a Free Software project you love, you really don't want to hear "jokes" which suggest that you suck at it; that you're only here with your boyfriend; and that you're only worth anything if you're "hot."

The post, as originally written, created a sickening grunch which reminded WoGue's female readers that we are women first and geeks second, if at all. Which made many of us feel like the blog's only written for guys, even if they interview women (including my awesome mentor from the 2012 OPW), and that we will always be out of place there.

WoGue has removed and apologized for the offensive material. Author Alex Diavatis deserves (and has received, in the comments) credit for doing so. This post isn't meant to shame him. It's meant to let people who may have read the original article know what's happened since it was posted, and to draw attention to a comment made by Bess Sadler:
I am baffled at how someone who programs computers can make the argument, "I know I said x, but I MEANT y, doesn't that count?" No, in natural language, like in computer code, it is what you ACTUALLY SAY that matters. Regardless of your intent, you have written something that is damaging to women. When you write software that has a bug in it, and someone helpfully points that out, you probably don't respond defensively and claim that because your intentions were good the bug doesn't need fixing. Please extend that logic to your non-code writing as well.
Bess left this comment for Alex because his first reaction was the same one a lot of people have when they're called out for doing something hurtful: Saying "but I'm not a bad person!" as though that undoes the hurt they just did.

This is not the correct response to a syntax error.

The correct response is to take bug reports seriously, patch the bugs when they come up, and apologize for your mistake. Because whether or not you personally think you're a "good person," or a "good programmer," or even "totally not sexist," ceases to matter if the code doesn't compile.

All you can do is fix 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 ~

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