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I’m not dead

15 May

Not yet anyway. But for all the life of this blog, I might as well be decomposing underground somewhere. Sad fact is, gainful employment is something of a time steal, and I received the opportunity for three weeks of overtime, which I worked, then collapsed into exhaustion.

Did I mention I also moved during that three week overtime period? Also, that I had the cold from hell?

It never rains…

So that’s what I’ve been up to real-life wise. Verk, overtime verk, lots of typing (and money in my bank account), moving out of my apartment and temporarily in with my boyfriend until we get our own place in July (I can’t wait. No seriously) and trying not to go completely insane.

Non-real life wise, I acquired and played through Portal 2, and am currently on my second playthrough, because I missed a few easter eggs and it was awesome enough that it definitely warranted another round of play. I’m still minecracking, still watching strange movies on Netflix and random TV shows on Hulu Plus (which is worth the monthly fee for me).

I’ve also finally find the time to get work done on my creative projects! For the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing and drawing a new comic, that I hope to post sometime in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.

As well as this I have two novels and a short story bouncing around in my head, so fear not, creative derp is occuring in my headmeats! My body has given up but my brain liveth on! Huzzah!

So that’s the basic update. I vow to try and make these updates a wee bit more regular. And a bit more interesting.

Time to go to bed now. I’m all tuckered out from existing.

Videogames, the Liberal Agenda, Sexuality

24 Mar

So I wrote a new blog post.

Rather than attempt to transfer it all over here, I posted it up at my Gaming blog. Follow the link below to read it!

Videogames, the Liberal Agenda, Sexuality

All the Updates

18 Mar

Because I’ve been neglectful, here are various updates regarding the state of The Uncomfort Zone:

General Life Update:

I just finished week 2 at the new job, my parents are out of town on alternating weekends meaning I’m spending a lot of time keeping both my mother and father company. And by that I mean eating them out of house and home. Jeff’s about to go on Spring break, which he will spend gaming and studying while I work. It’s Friday, I have a beer in my hand, and I”m gonna make fajitas for dinner. After I clean the kitchen.

Work Update:

Like I said, it’s the end of week two at the New Job, and things are going well. I’m still typing up comments on surveys, and passing the time listening to the Drunk Tank podcast from the guys at Rooster Teeth. Other than that, I’ve been spending my breaks reading Jim Butcher books (currently reading Furies of Calderon) and fighting the possessed demon vending machine. Also, I’ve been occasionally taking the bus to save gas.

Money Update:

I am poor. As dirt. Assuming dirt is as poor as I am. I get paid for honest reals a week from today, so I get to experiment with stretching my meager money resources until then. At least I still have beer.

Social Life Update:

I joined a new D&D group, which won’t start until the end of the month. It’s a Pathfinder game, and I’m playing a half-elf druid, who doesn’t have a name yet, but I’ll get there. Other than that I’ve been a complete hermit.

Art/Writing Update:

Due to the abject poverty I’m hoping to start trying to get some of my stories published, work on my novel and start offering commissions on DeviantArt. That stuff’s all in the works anyway. I’ll get to it… eventually.

Health and Food Update:

Well, I’m walking more. I’m hoping to get back into actually exercising next week now that I’ve got something resembling a work routine. I’m eating as well as I can on a poverty budget, but taking sammiches to work definitely helps with that. That and cooking more, despite the constant state of disaster our kitchen is in.

TV Update:

I finished watching Ugly Betty. It was cute, and I really enjoyed it. Now I have a void in my life where TV should be. Any suggestions folks?

Gaming Update:

I’m not done with Pokemon Black yet, which is why I haven’t blogged about it yet. Sadly, I think I burned myself out a little playing HeartGold for a week straight before Black came out. But I’m almost 4 badges in, and started with Snivy. I promise I will write a real review when I’ve finished. I’m also playing Oblivion on the 360, which is definitely fun. I’ve been blogging about my gaming habits on my new side blog, Not Your Gamer Girlfriend, over here. You should check it out. It’s fun to write 🙂

Weekend Update

26 Feb

So it’s the weekend. I don’t start my new job until next Friday, which is kinda awesome but also kind of a bummer since I’ve now got a week stretching ahead of me with a whole lot of not much floating around in it. I’ve got Pokemon to play (and blog about, since it’s apparently a really popular subject – my pokemon post got a lot of hits today and I wrote it almost a week ago), Ugly Betty to watch and friends to hang out with. That and today I started writing a new novel on a complete whim and I’m now almost 6000 words in, which is great progress for me, especially considering I haven’t exactly been writing a lot in the last few months.

I’m debating what to go with for dinner tonight. The urge to order delicious pizza has never been more tempting, but we have a house full of food, so pizza would be silly. We also have beer, so I’m going to enjoy another one of those and probably whip up some pasta or something equally delicious. For I have been writing for the last three hours, and that makes me hungry.

So, off I go to hunt for food. I’m still not drinking soda, and it’s still going surprisingly well. Green tea is what’s doing it for me, I swear it. That stuff is incredible for preventing the caffeine headaches.

Hope everyone’s having an enjoyable weekend. That’s all from me.

Of Pokemon, Trolls, My Long-Distant Childhood and other Oddities

19 Feb

I’m not ashamed to admit it; I’ve been a Pokemon fan since I was ten.

No, really, I’m a horrific geek for Pokemon. I’ve played through the Red, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Platinum and Heartgold versions. I’ve watched several of the movies as well as the TV show. I’ve owned stuffed pikachus and keychains and posters and comic books and other nerdy memorabilia. I collected the trading cards. I bought a DS in college for the sole purpose of playing Pokemon, and it is the only game I’ve played on it. I even bought the hideously awful soundtracks to the movies and sang along with the love songs that had nothing to do with Pokemon at all.

I was, and still kind of am, obsessed.

So, what happens on a Friday evening when I’m a little bored and I start jonesing for the release of Pokemon Black/White in 12 days? Which I might not even be able to buy due to being unemployed and impoverished?

I start a new save game on Heartgold just for funsies of course!

So here’s where I’m at, and those of you who aren’t much for Pokemon should flee now because none of this will make any sense.

(Also, most of the clicky-links related to Homestuck are rife with spoilers, so proceed at your own risk if you have not read Homestuck. And if you haven’t I highly suggest you do)

I’m three badges in, just made it to Ecruteak City. My player name is Terezi (After my favourite Homestuck Troll), which I went with due to a love of theme-naming my pokemon games. My rival’s name is Gamzee, though he hasn’t HoNKed at me yet, which is a blessing.

I’m in the process of building my party in the appropriate roles and playing to a balanced set, which is difficult so early in the game. My pokedex only has 25 so far, but I’m getting there.

So, as for my party:

STARTER:

Pokemon Name: Cyndaquil
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Strider (Named for the coolest kid in school, Dave Strider)
Current Evolution: Quilava
Level Received: 5
Current level: 20
Moves: Tackle, Smoke Screen, Ember, Flame Wheel

*

Pokemon Name: Zubat
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Sollux (named for the Troll)
Level caught: 3
Area Caught: Dark Cave
Current level: 14
Moves: Leech life, Bite, Astonish, Roost

*

Pokemon Name: Mareep
Gender: Female
Pokemon Nickname: Kanaya (named for the Troll)
Level caught: 6
Area Caught: Rt 32 (between Violet City and Union Cave)
Current Evolution: Flaaffy
Current Level: 19
Moves: Tackle, Flash, Thunder Shock, Thunder Wave

*

Pokemon Name: Gastly
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Aradius (maleified form of the troll Aradia‘s name, because I couldn’t for the life of me find a female Gastly >.< )
Level Caught: 5
Area Caught: Sprout Tower
Current Level: 16
Moves: Hypnosis, Lick, Curse, Night Shade

*

Pokemon Name: Sentret
Gender: Female
Pokemon Name: Nepeta (sure, Sentret isn’t a kitty, but she was too cute not to name after this troll)
Level caught: 3
Area Caught: Route 29
Current Evolution: Furret
Current Level: 16
Moves: Surf, Foresight, Cut, Headbutt (can you tell Nepeta is sort of turning into my TM/HM mule?)

*

Pokemon Name: Eevee
Gender: Female
Pokemon Nickname: Vriska (named for the lovably sociopathic troll. I plan on evolving her into an Umbreon)
Level received: 5
Area Received: Goldenrod City
Current level: 5
Moves: Tackle, Tail Whip, Helping hand

Thus begins my quest to be the greatest Pokemon Master. I’ll be over here being a total geek now. *sits in the corner, huddled over her DS)

Lora’s 8 Stages of Fandom

11 Feb

I know I’m not the only member of my friend-pod who suffers from chronic Fandom. Be it a webcomic, movie, TV series, mythos, culture, you name it, there are Fandoms everywhere, and I admit, I’m decidedly a part of them. To name a few, I’m an avid member of the following fandoms:

– Harry Potter
– Buffy/Angel
– Firefly/Serenity
– Doctor Who
– Torchwood
– Chuck
– Repo! The Genetic Opera
– Questionable Content
– Lord of the Rings
– My Chemical Romance
– Star Wars
– Star Trek
– Homestuck

Some of these, Homestuck for example, are recent fandom discoveries, and others like Star Wars have been part of my Fandom life since I was in the single digits of my life-age. While pondering this, I also pondered the steps I seem to repeatedly go through during my discovery and acceptance of a new Fandom into the squidgy hole where my heart used to be. After some more pondering, and eating some cheese, I compiled a rough list of my personal 8 stages of Fandom.

DISCLAIMER: Fandom is not the same for everyone. My coming to love a Fandom is different from many other folks’ journeys. A lot of the principles, however, are the same. So here it goes:

Stage 1: Discovery

“Hey, have you tried reading this comic? It’s really good!”

Discovery comes in many forms for a Fandom. Sometimes that Fandom comes to you through a close friendship or relationship (personal examples: Firefly, Chuck), sometimes through family (Star Wars, Angel) and other times through independent discovery (Doctor Who). Whatever the method, this is where Fandom begins, where the seed is planted and roots are put down.

Stage 2: Casual Perusal

“Hm, I’ll give the first chapter a try…”

This is the stage where the Fandom is explored. For Harry Potter fandom, for example, Perusal involves reading the original books written by JK Rowling. For TV shows, it’s watching an episode or two. For comics, it’s reading a page or three of the archives, and so on. My Perusal of Star Wars occurred when I was ten years old and watched the Special Edition of Star Wars: A New Hope with my parents. I remember little of the encounter, except that the seat I was given was too low and that it was really loud.

Stage 3: Abandonment

“Meh, I’m gonna go watch re-runs instead…”

Not a common stage, but a pattern I’ve recognized in my fandom journeys is that it takes a few tries for me to get truly invested in a Fandom. Examples of these ‘false start fandoms’ for me have included Harry Potter, Homestuck, Lord of the Rings and Chuck. It says nothing of their quality, just of my attention span. I can be facing the most amazing Fandom in existence, but if I’m distracted by something shiny, forget it.

Stage 4: Re-Occurrence

“Hm, this actually gets good once you get past the early exposition…”

This happens in a variety of ways. Perhaps a friend drags me to watch a movie I previously felt reluctant about. Perhaps I’m bored and my mind wanders back to a long-forgotten story that bears new discovery. Maybe I just didn’t get far enough into it. Whatever the reason, reaching true Fandom requires returning to that first discovery in some manner over a short (or long) span of time.

Stage 5: Devouring

“It’s 4AM and I have to be up in 3 hours but OH GOG I CAN’T STOP READING hlaghlasdghlghlgh”

A melodramatic term perhaps, but it’s the best way to describe the method one uses to absorb the items of Fandom. When a new Harry Potter book emerged, I absconded with it to my room and stayed there for hours, reading and ignoring all distractions. Webcomics kept me up until the sun came up with their storylines and drama. I systematically swallowed up whole seasons of TV shows in less than a week. This is where the build of the material is experienced, where the source becomes realized.

Stage 6: Obsession

“Wow, people actually write Buffy/Torchwood crossover fic?”

Once the material has been devoured, the signs of Fandom become abundantly clear. Perhaps it simply begins with a google search, or a conversation with friends, but before you know it you’re trolling Deviantart and Fanfiction.net to experience MORE of these characters and stories, to interact with others who share your passion. You integrate inside jokes into your vocabulary in the hopes others will notice and engage in conversation with you about your Fandom. The Obsession grows and leads you to new levels of nerdery you’d never consider. Like Shipping. And writing fanfiction. Or even drawing smutty slash art for friends.

Yes, in case you were wondering. I have done all of these.

Stage 7: Petering

“Maybe I’ll read this new book later, after I investigate something shiny.”

Similar to Stage 3. Sometimes the obsession comfortably dies, leaving naught but fond memories of times gone by. Other times they don’t and aspects of the Fandom become permanently integrated into your life, be it through cosplay, purchasing merchandise, or if you’re weird like me and have characters that run around in your head chattering at you constantly.

(Lemme tell you, it’s getting crowded in here with all the trolls).

Stage 8: Lasting Love

“Vriska, you’ve wedged your way into my heart and there you will stay. Even if you are shithive maggots.” *

The final stage demonstrates the staying power of a Fandom. Some are flash in the pan, brief infatuations that fade into the past, but others stay for years, decades even, and remain in your heart to inspire your actions, thoughts and dreams.

*Homestuck reference

So that’s my take on my experience with fandom. Others do it different, some have similar experiences. Whatever fills the gaps in your blood-pumping unit, I’m sure Fandom has helped you the way it’s helped me. Be a huge nerd. >.>

Dual-Wielding Addictions

8 Feb

I have quite the addictive personality.

This is evident not only in the hours I have clocked on Minecraft in the last three days, but also in the new comic I’ve been reading.

It’s been recommended by multiple friends, but I’m finally checking out MS Paint Adventures and getting caught up with Homestuck.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here alternating between digging my doom fortress and enjoying the adventures of John, Dave and Rose.

I promise tomorrow I’ll come up with something more interesting to blog about than my pathetic addictions.

Or if I insist on still blathering about Minecraft, I’ll post some screencaps. :3

Stealer of Souls

6 Feb

I apologize for my absence for the last 48 hours.

You see, Jeff bought me an early valentine’s day present.

He bought me Minecraft.

I have barely stopped playing since he got it for me. I think a scientist will someday do a study on how Minecraft affects the brain, and they will compare it to crack addiction. Seriously, it’s like digital pixellated legos of doom and awesomeness.

So instead of doing something productive like studying for the LSAT or blogging or similar… I’ve been building a doom fortress and hollowing out a mountain.

Tomorrow I begin a regimen of regulating my Minecraft useage and interspersing it with productivity.

But tonight?

Tonight I continue building Fortress Doom.

The Changing World of Videogames and Gamers

4 Feb

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot in the way of games, not compared to my peers. I had a gameboy pocket with two games when I was ten: tetris and pokemon: red. My primary exposures were through my friends and family. The first game I remember witnessing was my cousin, six months older than me, playing Doom on his computer when I was about eight. My best friend in elementary school had a Nintendo 64 and we spent many a day after school playing Bomberman while her sister babysat us.

As I grew up, a child of the early 21st century, I found myself wanting the consoles of my friends – playstations, nintendo consoles, the XBox, but I was hindered by the concerns of my parents. They weren’t overly strict, but they were concerned with the media intake levels of me and my sister. We didn’t own a real television until I was 12, and even then I was only permitted to watch for five hours a day, and only on weekends. Things changed, I grew up, and despite my rampant ADD and love of TV shows I also fostered a love of reading, and a healthy addiction to the internet.

Why were the videogames not encouraged? Most likely their novelty. Their realism. The frequent reports of violence, lethargy, irresponsibility and other such faults occuring due to games were heeded by my parents the same way they heeded the dangers of television rotting my brain. I grew up not necessarily deprived, but definitely without certain technological entertainment devices.

I don’t blame my parents – that’s not what this is about. It’s about the way games are changing, the way the market is changing, the prevalence of games and the new face of gamers.

Putting the fast forward button on my life, now I’m 23. I frequently play games on my computer, the internet, my boyfriend’s 360 and the PS3. I own a Nintendo DS. I enjoy games as escapism, as entertainment and as storytelling. Heck, at this point in my life I’m so invested in the gaming industry I’m hoping to go into law to help it grow and be defended from naysayers.

Clearly the face of gamers has changed. I’m female, first of all, and a social animal. Far removed from the original stereotype of the videogame geek living in his mother’s basement, clutching his controller with Cheeto-stained fingers. So are my friends – my boyfriend is a philosophy major who has been an avid member of the gaming community since childhood. He’s eloquent, well-adjusted, and a really good shot with a sniper rifle (In game of course).

The dark side of gaming exists. I’ve known and even dated guys who spend more time in front of the screen than with the outside world. Not just with World of Warcraft either, but other games. People still lose themselves in their alternate realities.

But that’s not the face of gaming in America any more. The face of gaming in America is so diverse in age, race, class and gender that most everyone these days could qualify as a gamer.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good thing:

Jane McGonigal is just one of the people innovating gaming in the modern world. The idea of games improving the social connections of people and the overall mood of their lives is innovative, but valid. While I hate the concept of action-gaming consoles like the Kinect and Move, I appreciate the marketing approach companies are going for: family. Encouraging gaming as a family activity is changing the nature of games in people’s lives, their role. What used to be seen as an anti-social behavior, a lack of norm, is now becoming not only accepted, but encouraged.

The world is starting to open up. In a few years, I predict students will be taking classes to discuss the literary and philosophical ramifications of games like Bioshock and Dead Space the way I’ve studied graphic novels like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and films like The Maltese Falcon. Multimedia storytelling, in games and on the internet, is growing in prevalence, and is looking to become as common and as worthy of respect as film as an art form.

Videogames ARE art. They’re storytelling. They’re entertainment. They’re an exercise for the brain. They’re a way to bond with family, friends, and significant others. And they’ve changed as much as we have in the last few decades.

Sure, people argue that kids playing an excessive amount of games is unhealthy. I won’t argue, because too much of ANYTHING is unhealthy. If we foster gaming as a positive, networking experience, one that creates bonds instead of damaging them, we’ve moved forward in an age fraught with social technology encouraging distance.

I think we can do it. I’m willing to embrace games as positive social behavior. As tools for growth, as entertainment and art worthy of as much respect if not more than film.

This is the changing face of gaming in the 21st century. I’m a 23 year old female, and I’m a gamer. And I agree with Ms. McGonigal: the more of us who game, the more chance this world has of becoming a better place through a mutual sharing of something, through community.

And at the risk of ending on a sappy note, I just want you all to know that I fucking hate Super Mutants, and that Fallout 3 is awesome. *goes to track down some landmines*

I am a Geek

25 Jan

How do I know that going into Intellectual Property Law is something I can really get passionate about?

I just read through all of this. As found on this blog (which is awesome. I wanna be that guy when I grow up).

For fun.

Though when you really get down to it, it’s a fascinating study of what constitutes a violent game, and the idea of video games as art and cultural touchstones. It covers specific games, including Bioshock, which is one of my favourites. This is the future of free speech law folks.

Hm. Maybe I should go into Constitutional Law too. Or instead.

Guess we’ll see.

I’ll be over here, being a nerd and looking up more legal briefs concerning the gaming industry.