Categories
Service Notices

Radio Silence

I decided that since I don’t even remember ever getting a comment on this blog ever, I might as well shut down the comments feature. No need to leave myself open to spammers. The only feedback I’ve ever gotten was from the single person I know who reads my posts, and he pings me in the slack we’re both in, so…

If you ever feel the desire to talk to me about any of the bullshit I post here, pretty much most of the social media is linked above. Just hit me up on one of those platforms. Hell, I cross post to all that shit, and I think the only person who bothers to read what I write here follows via rss.

It would be nice if I could automagically cross post to pillowfort though.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Becalmed

Today I was in tears over a mobile game. It wasn’t really the game that upset me, so much as it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I feel like I’m dealing with the death by a thousand cuts—I have for a while—but due to a combination of shitty luck and personal choices, I have no real safety net. All my friends are online at this point, I don’t have any contact with any of my family by my choice, I currently live in the most expensive part of the US, and my brain functions in such a way that meeting the expectations of others just feels like it takes a hundredfold the effort it should. So I’m tired.

But any time I think about this for any length, I can’t help but think about how much better I have it. There are people who don’t even make half what I do, who can’t cut ties with their toxic family, who are not physically able to function like the people the world is designed for. So then I feel guilty for feeling bad about my situation. I think about all the things I should be doing to make my situation better — I should make an appointment with a doctor to see if I have ADHD and if medication would help me out, I should be looking at taking classes for things that are more “valuable” to the job market so I can improve my pay, I should figure out so way to afford car payments and gas and insurance. Then I get mad at myself for not following through on these things that should be easy, I then distract myself to cope… and next thing I know, it’s time to give my time to someone else again.

That’s the other thing that’s got me so upset. I feel like not only am I doing everything for myself, but like I can’t even get help with the things I take on to help others. As much as I love the play by post RP I run, I’m honest with myself that I only started it because I’d had so many troubles with how others had run the ones I’d been a member of before, and I end up doing a lot of what needs to be done from an administrative standpoint because it’s hard to find people who are interested, fun to write with, and aren’t complete and utter tools, but also have the time to dedicate to the game. I’ve had to compromise a lot on that last quality because finding all four seems to be impossible, and I can’t compromise on the other three. I don’t begrudge people for it, but it does get frustrating when I feel I need help but I have no one I can ask for it.

The thing with the mobile game that got me in tears earlier though? The game has an event going right now where we need to all purchase boosts with in game currency to make the event tasks easier. In order for the boosts to be truly helpful, it’s recommended we stack them. So, I’m leader of the club, I pick a boost time and most of the club pops online to apply the boosts and take advantage of them. Except today I forgot about it until afterwards, and no one pinged me to remind me. Hearing about it afterward, apparently we’d managed to stack enough boots to get like twice the boosts we normally have and I missed it. And like, sure, it’s a game and with the whole fucking world on fire… who cares if I can collect little cartoon cats on my smart phone, right? Except it wasn’t about the game, it was about how it feels like I’m always the one forgotten unless people need something, I’m always the one who’s expected to have her shit together because I figure out the things for other people before I take care of myself. Because I don’t know how to take care of myself.

I stumble through best I can, and everyone says they’re doing the same, but it never feels like others are having to fight anywhere near as hard over such stupid simple things. It also feels like everyone around me is upset with me no matter how hard I try. The only ones who don’t get upset with me are the ones who I manage to hide how fucked up everything feels all the time to me, or the ones I hardly know. I’m afraid to let people in, because I’m afraid to let them down. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen that one time I slip and don’t manage to catch the ledge before I plunge into the depths below.

I am afraid, and I’m alone. And I feel like I should be so close to everything being okay, but I literally can’t see the safe harbor I need even if it’s just right there within reach for me to grab.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Beer Virus

I know this is serious, COVID-19 is costing lives and it’s probably going to cost more than it should in the US due to the combination of incompetence and criminal levels of cruelty that this government exercises. The US has always been racist, it’s always been classist, it’s always been sexist… but these days those in power feel secure enough in their position they think they can say the quiet parts out loud. I still have to make jokes, because if I’m not laughing I’m crying. So, novel coronavirus is now henceforth called beer virus as a nod to the story that was going around about people thinking they could catch it from drinking corona beer. In case you missed it, I’m pretty sure the story was fake or at least drastically exaggerated — the real targets of racism and stupidity right now are Chinese and other Asian-Americans that the stupid and racist lump together in the same group. Never mind that the Chinese government actually responded in a way that drastically cut back loss of life in their country and we would do good to follow their lead.

Part of me knows I should probably stop watching twitter right now. It’s becoming a bit of a feedback loop of “don’t panic, but take this seriously”, and watching the DNC primaries eat themselves alive as the DNC tries to crown Biden nominee because they think they can’t possibly lose against Trump (Hilary got how many more votes and still lost because of the electoral college, wot?) or they literally don’t care because it’s not about political party but class and race. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve manage to curate my feed well enough that the people I follow are still also posting uplifting shit and about their daily lives… and a lot of them I don’t have other vectors of contact with. Some of them I don’t know well enough to connect with on Discord, or they’re not on the other social media platforms that I find tolerable enough (diaspora*, and Pillowfort, for the record — if we’re mutuals on twitter, ask me for my handle on either or a Pillowfort invite if you want one). So I stay for now.

I had thought I was about ready to take that plunge and buy a car again… but with the shut downs, and the pending damage that’s going to do to the small and medium sized businesses in the coming days—especially as the large companies who can afford to pay their employees through this continue to mostly not—I’m afraid to deplete the savings account I’ve been fighting to build as a down payment for a car, in case I need it to keep a roof over my head, or for copays for medical treatment, or whatever. But that leaves me at the mercy of public transit when I still need to go out for necessities. I’ve tried to prepare as well as I can, and I think I did okay… but we’ll see. At least the vogmask I bought because of the wildfire seasons the last couple years can also serve to minimize facial exposure when I have to go out, and I think it looks fucking cool.

It’s currently raining outside, and it’s nice after a long spell of nothing here. This is supposed to be our rainy season, and I want to say it’d been over a month since we’d gotten anything before a recent tiny storm we saw… but this one looks like it’s going to be more significant. If only the feeling of cleansing the rain usually brings worked on things larger than just the air.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Smart

I hate being called smart. Not because I believe it’s false, not out any sort of modesty, but because of what usually follows. Because usually when someone is saying I’m smart, or observing just how smart I am, it’s usually followed by one of two things — how I’m squandering my potential, or their jealousy because they want to feel smarter than me.

I was the gifted child. The one who read above her grade level, who took to things easily, who could come up with the clever ideas. I was the one the straight A students wanted in their lab group in high school, but didn’t have the time of the day for me outside of class. But my grades were always on the brink of failing or only just passing. I didn’t want to pay attention in class, I didn’t bother to study for tests. Why wasn’t I trying?

In elementary school, I was singled out for a special class. I was told it was an advanced class, and it meant I got to leave my regular class and go to another class room for specialized lessons with a few other students. That didn’t last long, and no one ever told me why at the time. Years later, my mother commented on it, implying she felt it would have been a hindrance to me—that it was for students with special needs—so she’d fought it tooth and nail with the school administration. I still wonder what might have happened if I’d been allowed to continue with those lessons.

Homework was always a fight — more often than not it felt like busy work and I couldn’t find anything helpful about it. So I just didn’t do it. Well into high school, I didn’t bother to study and did well enough on tests without the need to. And when I finally started to hit subjects that didn’t come easily to me? I had never learned how to study, because no one bothered to ask why I wasn’t doing my homework, they’d just get angry. At home it was always “get your homework done or you can’t…” and I’d just spend all night staring at homework and hiding in my room. At school, teachers would talk to me bewildered that I was getting such good scores on tests, contributing well to class discussions, but I was constantly just not turning in homework and my grades were always on the brink of failure.

A couple of my teachers were cool about it, a couple of my favorites in fact. My German teacher would let you write in your answers during in class discussion when the homework was due, and you’d at least get partial credit. There’s something to be said about learning through repetition, and writing down the answers was better study than just not doing the homework. And then there was my scifi/fantasy lit teacher. You could literally turn in any assignment as late as the last day of the semester, and he had a sliding scale on how much credit you lost depending on how late it was — the highest you could get was a C for a perfect paper once you reached a certain point. This was a large weight on him, especially since all his tests were essay tests, and he’d have those to grade at the same time as all this late partial credit work.

As I moved into the world beyond school, things only got worse. I attempted classes at the local community college, and when I encountered a lot of frustrations, I threw my hands up and gave up on it. My dad threatened to start charging me rent if I didn’t go back to school, and that backfired on both of us because I said fuck it and started paying him rent when I’m pretty sure his goal had been to get me to engage with college.

I spent years working retail, which was a maddening meat grinder. Managers under pressure to meet utterly unreasonable goals set for the enrichment of the company shareholders, a lot of them highly unqualified to be leading people because the ones who are qualified usually either languish at the lower levels of the pecking order because they can’t ‘yes sir’ well enough, or quickly move onto better paying jobs that are less meat grinder. Those of us who make the mistake of showing any sort of potential, without the follow through to either get the fuck out or claw our way up to management, get taken advantage of. After my first manager, who was an amazing and caring woman, got the fuck out of the store and moved onto better things, I worked for a series of men who were always happy to sing my praise until I pushed back or had a bad day. Then they’d come down on me like the hellfire of a million suns.

Even though you could probably start to pick out the signs of ADHD as far back as elementary school, the difference in how girls are socialized and how it manifests, meant that even I hadn’t been aware something was different about me. I just thought I was being stubborn and lazy, because that’s what the parents and later authority figures told me. Retail is such a high stress environment, especially the further and further we work our way towards this pending collapse of capitalism, I just assumed that I wasn’t cut out for the work. Even when I actually knew my shit, I was good at what I did, but I couldn’t measure up.

My first job was at Radio Shack, and I lost count of the number of times I had customers talk down to me when they didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about, turn to coworkers who knew less than me, and then had to watch as said coworker had to turn to me to ask me to answer the question. But I was a bad employee because my dollar per ticket wasn’t high enough, I didn’t sell enough of the bullshit extended warranties (they weren’t worth it on anything other than headphones, tbh), I didn’t attach enough accessories when I sold cell phones… never mind that half my shift would be spent supporting my coworkers when the customers would go to them instead of me because my boobs apparently meant I couldn’t know about computers and patch cables and batteries and shit. Then when I moved to OfficeMax, my background in all that shit helped me be one of the best sales people with the office equipment, but again, I’d end up helping coworkers and my numbers would suffer, or I’d be given special tasks (like setting up the ad every week) but still be held to the same sales expectations as my coworkers who didn’t have to do this shit too.

When I finally got out of retail, it was such a fucking relief, and I thought all my problems would go away. And for a while it felt like they had, because I was still running on the high stress mode that retail had put me into, so I was expending twice the energy I should have to in order to compensate for all the things I could never get right. Eventually though, shit went south with that job too. I would lose focus on shit, fail to remember to do small tasks that should have been easy to remember, having to constantly write shit down or I’d forget. I’d get yelled at when the printers fucked up, even if they were repeating issues that Xerox continued to fail to fix, because I was supposed to be watching every fucking print that came off the machine while running multiple machines at once. Like, seriously? This really became a problem when the machines started getting fast enough that if I loaded enough paper for a job, started it, and turned to another machine, I could have fifty or more double sided color prints that were bad just in the time it took me to set up the second machine to start running and get the first proof off it.

Bonus round was when a coworker was harassing me, I went to the bosses about it, and I got blown off. I was told by one that ‘everyone has their issues’ and he proceeded to compare my leaving the shop silently at the end of the day, instead of saying goodbye, to the coworker’s harassment. The other boss told me that coworker just wanted to be my friend, and got pissed when I called him on that bullshit — because telling a woman that a man harassing her just wants to be her friend, and she should give him a chance is exactly that, sexist shit. I’m still not sure if either of them realized that was the final straw on my relationship with them. If I’d been in the mental state necessary to really effectively job hunt, and if there was a market that actually would pay a woman without a college degree anything resembling a living wage, I would have been long gone from the place by then. But the fucking cherry on top with that shit? They ended up firing the coworker a few months later, over other issues, and after he’d been gone for a while, one of them commented they wish they’d known sooner about coworker’s problems… then was bewildered when I stomped the fuck out of the room without saying a word. Yeah.

They sold off the business and retired a year ago, and the new boss is around my age. So far he seems to be fairly understanding who I am, and how my brain works. So work’s been a better place for me, even as we all have growing pains from his having to learn the ropes and everyone adjusting to the changes. But he and I sat down for my year end review… and he dropped that smart bomb on me — “You’re probably the smartest person here” is what he said to me, then proceeded to point out my failing to live up to my potential. And I voiced my concern over that pattern because of all the shit I laid out in this blog post… but I couldn’t really drop all that in the meeting, so I glossed over it and gave him the tl;dr instead. I’m not sure if he fully understood the depth of my concern. So, we’ll see how this plays out.

All this ranting to say, I really am starting to think I’m ADHD. I read people talk about it, and I go ‘that sounds like me!’ But they also talk about how hard it is to get a diagnosis as both an adult and a woman, and I already have enough issues following through on shit, especially medical shit I know I need to handle. So, I’m like… self medicate with caffeine and use the fuck out of reminders and timers on my phone, and hope for the best. Yay team. >.>

Categories
Non-Fiction

The Castle Tower

As some of you may be aware, I’ve been without a car for like five and a half years now. My last car was totaled in a collision that occurred while I’d been in the middle of trying to get my feet back under myself after multiple rugs were pulled out from under me at once. Honestly don’t really want to go into all the stuff I was dealing with, but the car situation was kind of the final blow to send me curling into a self protective ball that I honestly haven’t really pulled myself out of since.

As is the case in a lot of the US, public transit is basically little more than useless. In the bay area, I sit on the cusp of just between usable and useless since I live and work in one of the suburbs and not in one of the city centers—SF, Oakland, or San Jose—so I’m lucky when there’s a bus within reasonable walking distance of both home and where I’m trying to go, and if it’s even as frequent as once a half hour. I know there are places worse off than this, but this is still just enough of a hindrance that I end up just staying home most of the time.

The last place I lived, I was supposed to have use of the kitchen, but honestly that became a death by a thousand small cuts, and it didn’t take long for me to just give up on fighting it. I ate out for nearly every meal for most of the time I lived there, and sometimes that was the only time I’d leave the house on a given day if I didn’t have work. Playing ingress helped for a while, as going out and capturing/maintaining the portals in the area near my house gave me a reason to vary my route to and from food, or spend a little more time before I went home in the evenings after work during DST (as it would be dark before I’d get off the bus during standard time). In time, I gave up on that too after just a few too many issues with the community making me feel unwelcome — a couple incidents with abusive players in both factions, people mansplaining how I should play the game, and the inaccessibility of the community events for someone who didn’t have a car.

After getting notice I needed to move from my last place, and a lot of stress surrounding the move, I’ve landed in a place that’s much closer to work, and allows me to carpool with a coworker. Also, I can actually use the kitchen and the shared use of that space is functional enough that I don’t feel pushed out of it. It’s also located near enough I can walk to the game store I used to spend a lot of time in — particularly it was one of the things that helped me cope with all the shit I was dealing with before my car was totaled. Even though I’ve been living in this place for six months, yesterday was the first time I’d actually made it to the game store since I moved.

Part of me had hoped that I’d run into some of the people I used to hang with while I was there, but I didn’t recognize any of the employees, and the two people I encountered I’d known previously I only had fleeting interactions with. I should reach out directly to some of the people I used to hang out with, see if any of them are still hanging in the store and try to coordinate meeting up with them if possible. I did end up buying myself one of those dice trays that you can flatten for storage. I also eyed the GM set for Star Trek Adventures entirely because it comes with a map of the Alpha and Beta quadrant, which would be super helpful for plotting for my Trek RP. (Shameless plug — USS Joshua Norton. Not currently open for new players due to the plot we’re running, but we love lurkers and welcome you to read along. Lurking on our Discord means you’ll be first to know when apps open again too!) I should do a little research into how much the map agrees with hard canon, to see if it’s worth buying.

I did make note of when their painting night is, and I still have projects I was painting before I stopped being able to go regularly that I would like to pick up again. Hopefully I’ll follow through on that. One project I have halfway done is I bought a pair of huge tentacle earrings at Hot Topic that were just black, and decided I wanted to paint them. So they’re sitting with the first layer of paint on top of the primer. I would really like to finish them and be able to wear them. I also have a copy of Mansions of Madness that has a shit ton of miniatures that I could paint. I wasn’t particularly enthused by the game, it was a gift from a friend for Christmas one year, but my ex had loved it. When we broke up, he bought himself a copy and I was hella annoyed because if he’d just talked to me I would have given him my copy and asked him to buy me something of similar value to replace it. Alas.

Anyway. All that to say, I’ve been hiding a lot lately and while I’ve been frustrated, I’ve worked myself into such a rut it feels nearly impossible to get myself out of it. I hope that yesterday’s visit to the game store is an indicator that I’m starting to make progress, and I have set up a journal I bought from Red Bubble a while back for bullet journal after a friend talked that system up earlier this month. Hopefully I’ll find it useful. I already use my phone for a lot of reminders, both with alarms in my alarm app and longer term stuff in my calendar, but given that my fiction writing feels better when I start it hand written, I’m hoping that a flexible handwritten process to track my day to day stuff might help me calibrate in a useful way.

Also—I hope I’m not jinxing this by writing it out—I might actually have enough saved up to able to get a car again. I’ve been desperately saving for a while with the occasional dip into the fund for sanity saving or necessary purchases. I thought I might have been close to doing it just before I’d gotten notice I needed to move from the last place — that panic and need to spend money to facilitate the move, put the car on the back burner again. Just my vague awareness of my current situation makes me think I can make the plunge, but I need to take the time to do a hard review. But fingers crossed, I’d really like to get into a Honda Fit again.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Case Sensitive

I need to be mindful of when SwiftKey “helps” on my Tags. I had a bunch that were capitalized for no reason. Fixed now, but irksome.

Categories
Photos

2010 Calendar

Going with the easy content option again, here’s another batch of calendar images from the same year as the BABYLAND set I shared. Missing a couple images here, as I’d included one of the images also in the BABYLAND calendar, and there was one image with my niece and my then boyfriend’s son.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Nothing But Dust Between the Ears

I spend a lot of time in my head. A lack of car in the bay area—a place hostile to anyone wanting to use public transit outside the center of Oakland, SF, and San Jose—means I don’t go out a lot. When I do, I’m either at the mercy of catching a ride with someone who has different goals for the outing, or I spend enough time walking or riding busses and BART that what should be a nice afternoon or evening turns into a whole day affair.

So instead I stay home and hide in my head. I write, I watch stuff on streaming, I try to find a thread of focus that lets me do website work, or lately I’ve started finding games that work under Linux due to Steam’s proton. Castle Crashers is good relatively mindless fun — button mash to commit cartoon violence and laugh at poop jokes. All of that to say, I think a lot.

I end doing that sort of navel gazing that leaves me afraid to step out the front door. I end up with the idea that people are so foreign that attempting to communicate is impossible. At least until I spark with someone, and then I am so desperate for human conversation, I’ll literally bury them with my thoughts until I feel guilty because clearly they have something better to do. Thanks mom for putting the seed in my head that I don’t have anything useful to say, singing You Talk Too Much to a small child really can give them a fucking complex.

I’m not even sure where I intended to go with this, hell, I don’t even know if anyone beyond one person in particular who subscribed to my rss feed even bothers to read what I put up here. The lack of feedback from anyone else, unless I pointedly ask for it, makes me feel like I’m talking to a void. And I cross post to most of my social media with this shit — in theory this goes up on Twitter, tumblr, and diaspora automagically, and I try to manually cross post to my pillowfort even though everyone following me there already follows me on one of the other three.

Hell, I feel like I’m just whining for attention at this point, and I probably am. But I find it I try to self censor against that, I don’t get anything written or posted. I suppose I should just go back to sorting through my photos backlog and posting galleries of those. At least I wouldn’t feel like I’m wasting someone’s time posting those.

Categories
Non-Fiction Photos

We Want BABYLAND

BABYLAND is one of my favorite bands. I first encountered them while dating a guy who’s better off left unnamed. I was in a shitty place, I made some bad choices, and I honestly didn’t get much good out of the relationship except he introduced me to BABYLAND.

I’ll admit, when I first heard them, I wasn’t sure. They were a little lot outside of the range of what I listened to at the time, but I decided I needed to push my boundaries a bit so I agreed to go to the show. I am very glad I did.

If you haven’t heard them before, here’s my favorite song of theirs.

The above images were made into a calendar that I still have tucked away. It was a crappy calendar, I made it while I was still working at OfficeMax — it was printed with white borders, coil bound, and generally cheap looking, but it did a job. I used to make calendars as gifts for friends and family using my photos, at first the crappy OMX calendars, but later when I moved to a real print shop, I made nice ones.

I kinda want to make calendars again, but I don’t really have people I’d want to give them to, and I haven’t been taking much in the way of new pictures lately. I think most of the people I’d want to give them to, I’d have to mail them… and I’m so bad at getting to the post office to ship stuff out. Even when I still had a car, I’d be multiple months into the year the calendar was made for before I’d get them shipped out. And I still have a handful of things I need to send to my ex (not the above mentioned one, but someone I’m still on good terms with).

I still have the images from other calendars I’ve made saved in the groups they were used, so I might share some of them. Some of them feature people in my family, since they were a gift to family, so I’ll either omit those photos, or only share the ones that don’t have family pictures in them. We’ll see.

Categories
Photos

Nature Drop