Blaugust Day 14 – Don't be a Jerk

TL;DR – Project Gorgon… no wait, we’ll do that tomorrow. Introvert vs extrovert: don’t be a dick. Oh hey, I should be fired (from MMORPG).

I sat down to post about Project: Gorgon, which I finally got round to trying out for an hour or so yesterday, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I didn’t really get anything done other than being killed in a couple of interesting ways and trying to talk to a wolf who, shockingly, refused to respond in any way but by “Grrrr”.

As I was using my Google-fu to try and figure out where the game had put my screenshots, I saw that Twitter had some updates and clicked over to see this, from Aywren:

Click it. Watch the TED talk. Nod in agreement if introvert (vehemently in my case) or look bemused if extrovert.

And this scratched an old, old itch in my brain, one I still can’t reconcile and one which will presumably never change. Why is it that introverts can understand and empathise with extroverts, but the latter can’t seem to extend the same courtesy to us?

I’ve been here before. (I’m not going to add any other links because that post is dripping with them. The solo vs group introvert/extrovert debate has been going on since before some of you were born.)

Is it just a case of majority privilege? When white people — like me– in the West say we’re not aware of privilege, or when men say they’re not aware of it (especially white, anglo-saxon men), their saying they haven’t noticed something isn’t proof that it doesn’t exist. You may not have noticed that it’s raining but that doesn’t invalidate the fact that it is, actually, raining. (And don’t get me started on the fact versus opinion debate or we’ll be here all week.) Extroverts may not notice that pretty much everything around them is built for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Check out the TED talk, she’s much more eloquent about it than I am.

facts_huxleyI have no hard data but I’m pretty sure extroverts outnumber introverts*, just as group-type players outnumber solo-type players. And I will avoid the obvious fallacy of drawing a direct parallel between introvert and solo, and extrovert and group; even to me things aren’t that cut and dried. All the same, there are some definite parallels in terms of behaviour.

Extroverts tend to think everyone is like them — or if not, that they should be. My family has its fair share of both personality types, and it was my misfortune (and to be fair, my great good fortune) to be raised by a very extroverted mother. She claims to be an introvert but she recovers energy from being around people, which to me is one of the classic signs. She positively thrives on having people around. Me, I thrive madly for a very limited time, after which I become increasingly grumpy, bitchy, and anti-social. There comes a time when I have to physically get the hell away from everyone (or almost everyone) in order to feel like I can breathe again.

Point being, I get that my mother is like she is. I don’t tell her she needs to be more like me — I don’t even think it, because it’s pointless. She is what she is. There’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert.

And if that’s the case, why does it seem to be such a bad thing to be an introvert? Why does every last extrovert in the galaxy feel we introverts are somehow weird and mutated from the norm? My aunt (an introvert who spent her life pretending she was an extrovert and ended a bitter and angry woman) used to tell me literally ALL THE TIME to smile more. To look pretty. To smile. To not be so quiet. To not be in my corner. To smile…

spock-the-introvert-and-kirk-the-extrovert

To this day, being told to smile makes me want to punch something. Fortunately for the somethings I’m very conflict-avoidant and just punch myself mentally instead.

I’m generalising terribly here and I know it, but that’s because one can’t rant without drawing a few lines in the sand. So here are mine:

  • Extroverts: please, please try to understand (and empathise with) the fact that being around people, even people we love, is extremely exhausting for introverts. We are not like you. We should not have to be like you. If you desperately need other people, which I get that you do, then please find another extrovert to spend time with for a little while. Introverts are not closet extroverts who need to be dragged forcibly into the joy of in-your-face-ness.
  • Groupers: please try to understand that solo players often like to play by themselves, and respect that they do not have to justify this to you. Just because your playstyle is the majority one doesn’t mean we have to shoehorn ourselves into your mould. If you desperately need other people to play with, which I get that you do, then please find another grouper to spend time with for a little while. Just because solo players like to chat does not necessarily mean we’re frustrated groupers who just need to be taught how much better life would be if we could only learn to doublethink group all the time.
  • Introverts: please try to understand that extroverts aren’t really, literally, physically trying to suck the marrow from your soul. They can’t help being energetic around other people, it’s who they are. Understand that a little tact when needing alone-time can go a long way and that the OMFGGETTHEHELLAWAYFROMME! posture is the opposite of tact.
  • Solo players: please try to understand that groupers feel games are designed for them (you know, that MULTI- in MMO, because apparently ‘multi’ is synonymous with ‘always with others’) and that you are breaking the rules when you persist in wanting to play by yourself.

Okay fine, that last one was a bit obnoxious; but I am very, very tired of a battle that’s been going on for years. I will never surrender, which makes it even more exhausting. Being in a minority does not make it wrong to be me — because if that were true, then on a global scale that makes it wrong to be male. Yes, it’s that ridiculous. Or left-handed (which I also am). Come to think of it, being left-handed was seen as wrong until not so long ago – my left-handed mother had that hand tied behind her at school so that she could learn to write the ‘right’ way.

Being in the majority does not make you the only possible iteration of a thing. Being the ‘norm’ doesn’t mean that the non-norm is wrong, except possibly at the extremes of that case. Please bear that in mind next time you mentally castigate someone for being in your face, for not being in your face, and for wanting or not wanting to group.

– – – – – – – –

As a final aside, I found this while I was looking for an old MMORPG.com column I wrote on the solo/group subject. As the more astute among you will deduce, that’s my real name. Wait, no. It’s my pseudonym! Whoops.

BURN THE WITCH!
BURN THE WITCH!

The forum post itself doesn’t seem to be there anymore, which is a shame since I never saw that at the time — or maybe it’s a good thing. I didn’t read comments and forum posts over there because of the inanity and vitriol-quotient, so it’s probably for the best. But I sure did like to stir shit among the masses now and then. And no, I don’t really have Bruce Campbell’s chin — there is only one Bruce Campbell.

– – – – – – – – – – –

* Though apparently not by as much as we introverts tend to think

 

Blaugust Day 13.2 – Happy Birthday to me

year 7Or rather this blog — my birthday isn’t until October, so you all have plenty of time to find something suitable. (Early October though, so don’t dilly-dally!)

I would have forgotten all about it but the WordPress Widget Wizard has a much better memory.

This means it is also Harbinger Zero’s blog-birthday, or somewhere in these waters, along with a number of other people who began their careers as novice bloggers during the beta of Warhammer Online and the formation of Casualties of War. Happy freaking birthday, bloggers!

I’m not sure if CoW is dead these days but it sure was fun while it lasted — leaning towards dead, actually, since the link now leads to some kind of site in Mandarin (I’m guessing) with a very white-bread, white-linen, flower-clasping pregnant lady on the banner. Quite tasteful, really.

Um… that’s it. Maybe I should mention WoW, FFXIV, Tera, GTV and ARK just so I can catch some of that random search-engine traffic — PSYCH!! Bwahahahaha.

Blaugust Day 13 – the Dreaded Doldrums

TL;DR – Much soul-searching as to why I’m ‘meh’ about games. Need people. Don’t want dungeons. Insoluble. Inconceivable!

I keep calling them that, but I think it’s more than the usual “I’d rather be outside reading a book” summer thing. I have a million games I could be playing and yet, as I have lamented more than once of late, I’m not really playing any of them. Not to any degree of involvement, anyway. Actually, when looking for posts to link in that previous sentence, I realised that those two “what shall I play?” posts were in fact not weeks, but rather months apart (January and July). Which means I’ve been feeling this ‘meh-ness’ about gaming for some time.

meh_catFirst I wondered if it might be that I’ve simply grown tired of MMOs or, *gasp* gaming in general. I still have fun playing Sims 4 now and then, though admittedly that’s not a particularly demanding game; but I don’t play for ‘demanding’ so that’s not an issue. I log into WoW more out of duty than any particular desire to do so, but I am paying a sub (and have been for the last 5 years – I might want to rethink that) so I might as well use it. I haven’t logged into EQ2 for almost a year now, even though I love that game. I check in on The Secret World now and then, but that game is demanding, specifically in a theory-crafting kind of way which doesn’t particularly motivate me. (More on TSW some other time.) I’m not logging in to SWGEmu much and if my vendors burn up, I’m not really bothered. Aside from those there’s The Repopulation, Shroud of the Avatar and Project: Gorgon, and that’s just all the MMOs I have I’m not playing. And I really want to play Project: Gorgon. I’ve backed the Kickstarter and all. But… meh.

And it’s MMOs I want to talk about in particular because I think I know what’s going on.

I don’t really have anyone to play with anymore.

It galls me vaguely to even say that. I’m an introvert. I’m perfectly happy in my own company. I don’t mind — in fact I very much enjoy — bimbling around by myself in games… provided there are other people to chat with. And there’s the rub. While I’m an introvert, I’m also a sociable player and I like to share the experience with people I know. Which means I’m not counting General Chat in any game as an acceptable alternative. Taking part in general chat is like bathing in a sewer — and not the clean, clearly lemon-scented sewers Baghpuss mentions.

Part of the problem is that I play odd hours. I’m not much of an evening player for one, and I’m in a weird time zone for another — 2 hours behind the US East Coast and an hour ahead of the West. (Granted I’m not playing from Australia or Thailand, which I’m sure presents even greater challenges.) I play during the day, which means I tend to interface most with Euro times — and that’s fine, when it works.

Another issue is that while I know eleventy-thousand gamers through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and just general gaming, we’re all playing different games — so even if they’re online when I’m online, chances are we’re not online in the same virtual world or server. And while I am acquainted with many, I don’t really know who they are in the various games; my occasional attempts to hook up with folks in games tend to fall flat because of issue 1 above.

Then there’s the fact that I am primarily a solo player. I did game with bloggers and e-friends at one point, and we even made guilds together, but because I am not particularly keen on the group thing, I don’t really fit in. So I slip out of touch. And then everyone moves on to another (usually different) game and/or stops playing, etc. etc. etc.

I’m beginning to think I’ll have to embrace the group thing in games. I don’t mind grouping at all (ask my SWG buds, if you can find them), but the primary purpose of grouping in most games is to run dungeons and I would really rather not. I’m certain I’ve explained why elsewhere but I can’t find a link, so in 10 words or less: dungeons = too much visual / auditory input for me. I’ve tried the whole desensitisation thing (thanks to friends who kept telling me that if I did lots of dungeons, I’d start to like them), I’ve tried running them with friends (helps because no PUGs, doesn’t help with the whole input-excess thing), I’ve tried running them in different games (and some are less bad, e.g. FFXIV, while some are awful, e.g. WoW). I’ve tried turning off the particles and turning down the sound, but then what exactly is the point? Oh, right — items.

GWdungeon
Makes my eyes bleed (From the GW2 forums)

I am not motivated by items. So the absolute primary reason to run dungeons, which is to obtain stuff so you can run the next dungeon and get even more stuff… just doesn’t matter to me. The only items I care about are my crafting tools, my housing deco, pets, and the occasional piece of clothing. And even then I’m not always motivated enough to get those that I’d crawl over broken glass to get them (i.e. do long & boring quest lines and/or dungeons).

So while I do occasionally run through dungeons by myself when I’m high enough to not get my ass kicked, it’s not something I make a habit of. And it’s not something that really floats my boat or rocks my world.

I have the uneasy feeling that what I really want — which is to be in an MMO for more than 2 months at a time, to have a couple of dozen folks I can hang out with, and to feel at home again in an MMO rather than like a visitor — may not be available to me right now.

Well then. I shall just have to stop whingeing, pull my socks up, and pick a game. Then *I* can be the one player that’s always there even when everyone else ups and wanders off.

Eenie-meenie-minney-mo… PROJECT: GORGON it is! On with the download! And if you decide to join me, chances are you’ll find me as Ysharros*.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Except in all the games where I’m Eloise or Heloise or Alouette or – yeah, whatevs.

Blaugust Day 12 – Homer strikes back

I now know why other, smarter Blaugust bloggers elected to not include the Blaugust tag in their post titles. For one thing, it means it’s going to be glaringly obvious — especially to me — if I miss a day, and I sort of promised myself I would try not to miss any days. And yet…

IGMonkey-1_1024x1024
Homer, my Instant Gratification Monkey

And yet the more I try to force the posts, the more by brain is pushing back against the very idea of writing anything. When I’m not blogging regularly — as in the last three years — there’s nothing Homer wants more than to do a blog post!!11oneone… provided I don’t actually sit down and do one. I don’t know if my Instant Gratification Monkey is a special mutant kind, but whatever he is, he always wants to be doing anything but what I want to, ought to or should be doing right now. When I’m working he wants to play games. When I have time to play games, he wants to write blog posts. When I sit down to write blog posts, he makes this passive-aggressive cross face and points at the TV. When I watch TV, he reminds me I have deadlines to meet.

Little shit.

I shall persevere, even if my post content has become cobwebs held together by fluff, because I think there’s something going on there.

Sometime in the last 3 or 4 years I lost confidence in the fact that I had anything interesting to say, even to myself. (How selective is that? If you can’t talk to yourself, who can you talk to?) I decided I’d said it all, others had said or were saying it better, and I wasn’t playing much anyway so why bother. Bullshit. When one writes for the love of writing and for the joy of expressing oneself, one doesn’t second-guess one’s motives. They’re right there: I used to write because I bloody well wanted to. Finis. The end.

I’m pretty sure I still want to but I’ve also spent my entire teen and adult life telling myself that writing is not a valid pursuit. This is old, old baggage for me — I wanted to be a real writer long ago but pretty much everyone in my entire family and adults circle convinced me that I was being foolish. One might as well want to become a trapeze artist or a snake charmer. Hell, it might be easier to want to become a tightrope-walker. It would certainly be more lucrative to become a bus-driver, landscape gardener or — well, pretty much anything else. Only people with a very weak grasp on sanity and reality want to become authors. (This is apparently not uncommon. I am willing to bet at least one of you reading this has had a similar experience.)

Since I also have a few cases of baggage relating to sanity, the lack thereof and other fun things like that, and because I am who I am, all the negatives stayed in my head and all the positives (teacher & friend comments and encouragement, grades, actually getting published [albeit in a very small way], etc.)… did not. If I have a curse in life, it’s the inability to retain all the wonderful things people say to and do for me coupled with a photographic memory for all the negative things I have ever incurred. (Yes, incurred. People like me tend to think we’ve earned bad treatment.)

Getting back to the point, we all have a rational mind and mine does work rather well — provided it’s not being hijacked by Homer or my far less rational subconscious. (For those who care, I’m much more Jung than Freud, even though the old goat did make some valid points.) Rationally I know I shouldn’t care, that things that hurt were most often meant to help and even, in a weird way, support. Rationally I know that if I’m writing for myself, none of the above should matter. Rationally I know I’m perfectly capable of writing even for an audience (I’ve done it) and that it’s never too late to become an author as well as a writer if that’s what I really want. Life is not as either/or as we tend to think when we’re in our teens or even our 20s. Life may be short, but it’s also longer than we realise at that age.

I must love writing or I wouldn’t be here; I wouldn’t be constantly devising game backgrounds; I wouldn’t be writing out paragraphs, plots and people in my head as life goes by.

So I should just write. And I will. As soon as I break down this — I hope — last barrier of self-doubt and self-sabotage. So if I need to do 31 days of entertaining but seriously content-weak posts to break down that wall, that’s what I’ll do. Because I am writing for myself — and telling myself I’m writing for all of you (much though I appreciate you stopping by and love hashing stuff out in comments) is just another way to try to fail.

Now I’d better publish this before I wimp out.

Blaugust Day 11 – Mashup and Miscellany

So here we are, HA!s notwithstanding, combing the writing prompts forum thread for inspiration. I would like to shift some of the blame for being hoist by my own petard on the time of day I’ve had to do these posts, because I typically write much more easily in the mornings (which is itself odd as I’m not really a morning person). My mornings have been busy with that stupid Real Life game where you have to keep logging in to grind levels and dailies or you lose your damn mount, your house, and all your other phat lewt.

Anyway, I found enough there to spark a postlet. I am mashing up several prompts because I am a wild spirit and you cannot contain me with your writing prompts even as I use them as crutches! Ahem. Here we go. In no particular order…

5 things you don’t know about me

  1. I speak English, French and German. I also think, dream and sleep-talk in those languages. Apparently it is extremely weird to have your SO mutter in German in the middle of the night. (Presumably this would not be so weird if *my* SOs past and present spoke German.) As an aside, I like to give my D&D dwarves silly German-word names like Achtung and Ausweis Bitte. As another aside, I suspect only Japanese beats German for sounding like you’re yelling at someone when you’re probably romancing them. And finally, swearing sounds SO much more like you mean it when it’s in German. (I realise this is actually NOT a thing you don’t know about me if you’ve read the blog in the last couple of weeks. Sue me. I needed to warm up to the subject.)
  2. I knit and crochet and am not ashamed of either. So there. I have made 275 afghans and scarves and have finally screwed up my courage to tackle actual shaped garments. It’s Zen. It’s also occasionally incredibly annoying (patterns can be teh suq), but it’s mostly calming.
  3. I have an enduring addiction to anything made of paper (well, except papier-maché) — books, notebooks, pads, journals… — and anything used to write thereon. I have made herculean efforts to keep this in check over the past few decades because planet and eco and all that, but it’s — twitch — not easy. There’s something so tactile about paper and the act of writing on it… that and the fact that unless I write it down with a pen, it won’t go in my head or be retained. If I write a phone number down, I’ll remember it right away. If I enter it in my phone or computer, I will forget it instantly. I wonder if I’m too old to change that, but I don’t really care.
  4. I have visited nearly 20 countries and lived in 7. I wasn’t always too keen on it at the time (that UN-brat thing) but the older I get, the more grateful I am to have had the opportunity. Travel truly does broaden the mind.
  5. I am utterly impervious to deadpan. I am also rather gullible and I suspect the two are related. The spousal unit has taken to saying “BAZINGA” after every deadpan joke, just to make sure I actually get it, and it’s helping. As for gullible… I tend to take people at their word and, given how cynical I am about other things, I don’t really mind. I’d rather assume people are telling me the truth than assume they’re lying to me. That’s no way to live.
  6. I can’t count. BAZINGA.

A Stylish Selection of Past Posts

These are kind of random but I’m still happy with most of the posts I did in 2008-2011-ish. Actually I’m still happy with all my posts but the earlier ones actually had things to say rather than being “don’t shoot me for not posting” fluff items, which comprises most of what I’ve done in 2013-2015-ish. (Yes, you sharp-eyed reader, I missed 2012. That was the in-between year.)

Get your RP on III – Begone, Quests! (2009)

Frustrating /= Hardcore. Hardcore /= More Worthy (2011)

Why? – 2008 (As in, Why I play…)

Last But Not Least, Required Reading

And lo, I shall deliver the word from on high. In other words, I shall link to Raph Koster because whether you agree with him or not (and I do with a fervour that borders on the creepy), every gamer interested in the why and how of gaming and MMOs could do worse than read what he has to say. The links below relate primarily to SWG (Star Wars Galaxies) but they and the other articles in the series are relevant to MMO design on a much more general level. I’m sure I’ll get back to that someday because if MMOs have lost their way in the last decade (per my Anook AMA post) it’s by being less like SWG or even CoX and more like WOW. Both these articles are from earlier this year, so hardly obsolete.

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part one

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part two

Peace out. (I don’t usually say that but I had to end the post somehow.)

Blaugust Day 10 – Is Blaugust Driving My Traffic?

If I had Wilhelm’s airy lightness and ease with statistics, I would be backing up my thoughts with numbers. But I am not he (for which we are probably all suitably grateful), so instead I will speculate in a manner unsupported by facts and jump to conclusions like a drug-crazed llama.

crazy llamaIs Blaugust driving driving more traffic to my blog? Well, as I realised when I started this post, it’s probably my usual yes, and no. Unlike some (Mr. Murf, I’m looking at you) I haven’t exploded on the scene — even the Blaugust scene — with the force of a thousand suns. Which in his case is amply deserved since aside from posting well, he has also been devoting a great deal of time and effort to being a part of the Blaugust community.

For those not taking part — yes, there is definitely a community (as in, group of people) and a sense of community in this endeavour. It’s made up of some very energetic individuals who seem to manage to interface with everyone, some far more reticent individuals, and a pack somewhere in between that interacts with a fair few — but not necessarily all — the other Blaugustinians. I try to be in that last group but I still have at least a dozen blogs to add to my blogroll and limited amounts of energy to devote to it. I’m hoping others are making up for that apathy. Regardless, I certainly get the feeling that many of us are trying to achieve the same thing, that many of us are struggling with the same issues, and that shared effort does tend to make the load a little lighter to bear. The marathon runners’ version — only with blogs and asses in chairs.

And as with all communities, you tend to get out what you put in. Making a lot of effort to support, commend, encourage and engage with others unsurprisingly tends to get others to reciprocate. I’ve seen it myself — both in terms of others’ engagement with me but definitely in terms of my engagement with others — as I’ve attempted and mostly succeeded to follow Kanter’s suggested comment-a-day effort.

Mogwai
My Basenji, Mogwai, says OHAI NEW READERS! Tickle me?

I was here before Blaugust, and it’s possible the bump in my views could be due simply to the fact that I’m suddenly posting every day. It’s also very likely that it’s not, because most of the comments have been coming from Blaugustinians — but then my longer-time readers also know they don’t need to comment that often (no, it’s fine, my ego can take it! /hand-to-forehead). I had a great many more visitors when I was actually, you know, posting regularly, but there has still been a bump since we’ve gone from a few score random and/or pity and/or stalker views to many more score regular daily views.

So yes, Blaugust is driving my traffic, if only with the force of a brown dwarf, which I’m fine with. Too much traffic and I’d start getting worried and paranoid and mumble about needing to perform for the audience and how much I couldn’t care a whit about audiences and can’t you all go away?? <shifty-eyes>

It’ll be a lot more interesting to look at this in a month — first to see if I’ve continued posting at all (or whether Blaugust has made me run screaming for the hills), and second to see who sticks around. And before then, it will be interesting to see how we all fare as August winds on. I’m having a whole heap of trouble posting these last few days, but I suspect that’s due to my general gaming malaise, ennui, and other too-cool-for-school French words — when that passes and my energy returns, so will my ability to just blather on about games, gamers, and gaming in general.

I’m not a big fan of ending posts with questions but this one is obvious: How about you?

I’d certainly love to hear about other people’s traffic bumps or outright shot-out-of-a-cannon experiences in the short time we’ve been doing this. *I* have most certainly been reading more blogs and I make a point of visiting the actual site of at least half of the ones I read every day (since posts are collected for me in Feedly but don’t count as page views*) — which means I’ve been contributing to increasing other people’s traffic too, which feels kind of nice. It’s been a while since I read many blogs. This is exhausting, but fun.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Just because I don’t let my traffic drive me doesn’t mean I don’t watch it with interest, and I’m sure most everyone else doing Blaugust is aware of their traffic and any potential changes to some extent.

 

Blaugust Day 8 – The Morning After the Night Before

So for the first time in a week of Blaugust I’m sitting in front of my screen with no clue what I’m going to write.

This doesn’t actually happen to me that often. My writer’s block — if it’s even worthy of the name — isn’t the blank-page-terror variety, it’s more the lack of self-confidence variety that convinces me even I don’t care to read what I might write – and if I don’t like it, why would anyone else? Come to think of it that’s probably the self-sabotaging variety, and I’m quite certain I’m not the only one to suffer from it. One of the things one learns from depression and anxiety is that one may be a unique snowflake, but lots and lots of people also suffer, most of them quietly, internally, and often ashamedly. The components of our uniqueness are shared by billions.

Okay so I didn’t intend to hit that whole depression / anxiety / mental health note, especially on a Saturday, especially on a blog that purports to be mostly about gaming, but I have an e-friend I’m extremely fond of struggling their way out of denial as we speak and it’s on my mind. That friend posted some incredibly personal and brutally honest, super raw stuff a few days ago, and did it again yesterday. And a literal horde* of friends, e-friends and acquaintances — myself included — came pouring out of the virtual woodwork with words of encouragement, shared experience and support. When brain chemistry decides to screw with you on a daily basis and make you believe (as in my case) that the only way to achieve peace and get some rest from one’s demons is to simply not be there anymore, one of the hardest things to remember and believe is that we are not alone.

It’s only due to the loveliness and kindness of some of my oldest friends that we are still friends, 25 years down the line. When I was at my worst in terms of depression I dug a big hole, crawled inside it and pulled a rock over myself; that’s what I do. If *I* am sick of listening to myself about what hurts, why I’m sad for no reason, why I can’t even make it out of bed some days and why I burst into tears for no good reason, how could anyone else possibly want to?

Depressed people tend to treat themselves about as kindly as Genghis Khan treated towns that wouldn’t surrender. Depressed people treat themselves with a cruelty they would never display to their own worst enemy. Depressed people tend to forget that just as they would never not be there for a friend, their friends want to be there for them. If only we knew how to let them.

So if these words strike a chord and you also own a large villa in De Nile, reach out. Here, to friends and family, on Facebook (seriously – inane as the medium is, it’s actually pretty good for that kind of thing if you’re careful about your sharing circle), on your blog, on your rooftop, to a professional — wherever. Just do it. I didn’t, and I spent probably 5 years longer than I needed to in a state I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And as far as depression goes I suspect mine was one of the milder cases. Point is, it doesn’t matter if it’s mild or not — when it hurts, it hurts. The belly of the wolf is a nasty place to be. Don’t live in it alone.

Well. That wasn’t at all what I intended to write — or hell, for all I know maybe it was. I didn’t have an intention when I sat down and sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. But let’s lighten the mood a bit. It is, after all, Caturday.

And now for something completely different

In other news, Exploding Kittens was hilarious.

exploding-kittens-5
A selection of safe-for-work deck cards

We ate like pigs, drank just enough to make everyone merry, and had a lot of fun. I even ended up wearing a real Cone of Shame (my Husky came home from the vet with one a few weeks ago and never actually needed it, so there it was) which I sincerely hope will not end up on Facebook, though I’m quite sure it will. Wearing the cone of shame is now a house rule method for obtaining a new Defuse card (but only if you played the Defuse through Spay/Neuter card). A game takes all of 10-15 minutes to play, 20 if you have a player who insists on examining the strategy of every card he might play (the fucking strategy is DO NOT EXPLODE!, dude!) and another player who insists on reading aloud and roleplaying every card that’s played (me). We played 2 games with the NSFW deck and another with the SFW deck and both decks were excellent. The SFW deck might make your kids a little weird but all the best people are weird and it is in fact perfectly clean, if super-skewed, humour.

goatbuttt
A not-so-safe-for-work (or kids*) card

That’s all for now, folks. See you tomorrow.

* Yes, I know what I did there. I’m a lit major, remember?

Blaugust Day 7 – Freaky Friday

I know the #FF tag on Twitter stands for something other than Freaky, but I can’t remember it right now and it’s all I see when I see the tag. So Freaky Friday it is.

This is going to be as short a post as can possibly be managed while still counting for Blaugust because I am creeping out from my well-defended introvert castle today and hosting a beer, brats & Exploding Kittens party this evening. LET THE ASPLOSIONS BEGIN!

In case you missed the most popular Kickstarter campaign of all time (or whatever the record was that they broke), EK is a card game in the vein of Cards Against Humanity. I think. I haven’t ever actually played CAH and I haven’t yet opened my EK box because unopened boxes (like unopened presents) are just more… more EVERYTHING than opened boxes. I’m definitely one for antici……………………………………………  ……………………….. ………………………………. pation. (Thank you Tim Curry.)

So anyway, back to the point. I #FF’d Belghast among others, and I’m  not the first to mention this, but I wanted to do a proper, official-like shout-out to the crazy bastard who started this. Bel, you’re a crazy bastard. Thanks for starting this!

In the space of a week I have recovered my blogging spark, even though I’m still more drawn to silly, self-deprecating, omg-they’re-looking-at-meee there-are-people-on-this-site-argh posts than I used to be (there was a time when I did serious posts. No, really.). I am extremely hopeful that this will continue, albeit not at Blaugust’s frenzied pace. I’m an every few days kinda girl for the most part — and since I’m basically not playing anything at the moment (5 minutes here and there doesn’t count), I may not have a whole lot of front-line-reporting posts to offer.

Also in the space of a week I have discovered literally SCORES of new blogs, new people and what I’m sure will be new friends. That’s awesome — so thanks for that too, Bel! I’m way behind on my reading but I’m always way behind on my reading and that’s just how it is. I think that as a group we’re all interacting more, sharing more, commenting more and posting more than we normally would — even you prolific, social-media proficient types — and that’s rather super.

OK, have I met my quota? I have ribs to grill, sausages to brine and then grill, salad, salsa, dip and other nommy things to prep, and a light nervous breakdown to have because PEOPLE and PARTY.

With any luck I won’t remember any of it tomorrow. If I do, there may be an Exploding Kittens front-line report for your reading pleasure — assuming it’s safe for even this sailor-mouthed blog.

Blaugust Day 5 – Lists' Labours Lost

X reasons why short blog posts are better than long ones:

  1. People are more likely to actually read them.
  2. They demand a great deal less effort to write.
  3. List posts are even shorter, better and easier. True fact.
  4. If I make it to 10, I’ll have fulfilled the Blaugust requirement of 10-ish long-ish sentences that make sense-ish.
  5. They’re something you can easily bang out when you went out for breakfast (yum) and come home only to realise you totally forgot to do your Blaugust post for the day.
  6. They kind of write themselves. List item 1, random blurb. List item 2, random blurb.
  7. Here’s one: World of Warcraft subscriber figures came out yesterday. Some people do serious posts about them. I just write: Blizzy-wizzy, said Acty-wackty, the sky is falling!!
  8. Lists can be quite useful — if the people writing them take them seriously, quite unlike the author of the present list who might as well be drunk at 10 in the morning for all the effort she’s putting into this.
  9. They help organise your thoughts. So I’m told. My thoughts tend to look like an explosion in a gummy-bear factory.gummybearexplosion
  10. How cool is the internet when you can create a random simile, Google it, and actually find results. Click me. Really. You won’t be sorry. The real fun starts at 29 seconds.
  11. I’m liking this list thing. It’s so much easier! Maybe I’ll do another list post tomorrow — after all, I need to jump on the Gaming Things To Do bandwagon! I’ve held off doing it because #9 above and no list of mine ever lasts longer than it takes to— ohhh look! SHINY!!
  12. I don’t normally like to ask for ideas, but with people suddenly, you know, actually coming by and reading this blog again, I’ll break my own self-imposed non-rule that I was never bound to follow anyway. (Just like all the grammatical and good writing rules I learned — I majored in English and French Lit — and happily ignore. That’s the point of getting a Mickey Mouse humanities degree, don’tcha know.) So yeah… if there’s anything you want to know, have been wondering about, or would like to see me turn my rapier-like wit toward, by all means speak up in the comments.
  13. Every time I’ve asked for comments instead of keeping my big mouth shut, the comments section ends up like this: tumbleweed
    You’d think I’d know better by now.
  14. Made it to X! Extra credit! I’m an achiever after all!

PS: I am woefully, shamefully and disgustingly behind on my Blaugust reading… like, stuck somewhere around noon on day 3 for most of my blogs. Apologies to all. Also, if you want, need or absolutely can’t live without being on my Blogroll (which people do click, according to WordPress stats), let me know. I am not snooty, I am useless — different intents, same end result. Besides, I’ve been waiting 73 years to make it onto Wilhelm’s Blogroll, so it could be worse.

Blaugust Day 3 – You Don't Know Jack…

TL;DR: I am a unique snowflake and yet very much like everyone else, except for the fact that I have freakishly short arms. T-Rex pic. Byeeeee!

…Or me.

I have always resisted doing “X Things You Don’t Know About Me” posts, for a number of reasons including English reticence, the complicatedness* of my background, sheer unadulterated laziness, and the general impression that most people really don’t want to read that kind of thing about me (which sounds like reticence but is more akin to Calvinist conceit-shaming**).

But here we are on day 3 of Blaugust and I’m already flailing around for things to write about, especially as a number of new readers are stopping by – ohai new readers!! – and it might be meet*** to include a little information about the author which isn’t, you know, easily accessible in something like a blog’s About page. (Which I have. Which I have not updated in 7 years. Which is okay since I, like granite, am utterly unchanging.) So here we go. X things you don’t know about me – where X is how many I can be bothered to do before I run out of steam, space, or sanity.

Thing the First

I’m French and German by parentage and family ties, was born in France and raised in Switzerland (with forays of a year or so to Belgium and Senegal). At home we spoke mostly French and English, or Frenglish, which was really normal to me (and to most of my bilingual diplomat-kid friends at the International School I attended) but is apparently not really normal in general. I have been to a fair number of European countries, mostly because unlike in the US a hop, skip and a jump will take you from one to the other. Hop – Switzerland! Skip – France! – Jump – England! (and so on). I have also been to a few African countries, which were awesome and which actually helps me in my job today (I’m a translator – more on that some other day if anyone cares).

I went to University first in France (hated it) and then in England (loved it), so I can legitimately claim to be a college dropout. I went from Business School to a Mickey Mouse Humanities degree (English and French literature) and haven’t regretted it for one second even though I’m sure I’d have a lot more money if I’d stuck with Business school. The problem is, business-school-type kids were an entitled bunch of little assholes back in nineteen-coughty-cough and I’m sure they’re no better now.

I lived, worked and gamed in England until 2001 when I moved to the States and here I am now. I am a transplant but that’s ok, I’ve been a cultural and national transplant all my life and I wouldn’t know how to live any other way. Nationalism is for fools. But let’s move on or I’ll start ranting.

Thing the Second

I refuse to use 2 words where 12 will do. Brevity is the soul of wit but the death of my blog, so most of my readers are patient sorts who are either just like me or have decided to put themselves through a wordy version of hell. I don’t judge. (Okay, so why is the paragraph about how wordy I am so woefully short?! Maybe I’ll add stuff in parentheses to pad it out a bit. I like parentheses, they work exactly how I think. Am I thinking out loud again? Oops.)

Thing The Third

My arms are apparently freakishly short, although despite my friends’ mockery they are not T-Rex short.

trex_happy

Here’s how you can tell if you have freakishly short arms: sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Now see if you can put your palms flat on the floor to either side of you (next to your hips). If you can’t, you too have freakishly short arms and we can form a club! To date I know only one other person like me, so at least I’m not entirely alone. It’s not really a problem except for yoga class, where it’s a big fucking problem for all the poses that require you to have, you know, arms that reach to the ground properly when you’re sitting or kneeling. Maybe that’s why I prefer Tai Chi.

Son of Thing the Third

I am a very anxious person. I didn’t know this, really, until I got put on some anti-anxiety meds last year and discovered what it’s like to NOT be anxious all the time. (I also discovered what it’s like to be permanently stoned, sleep 12 hours a night and not have any motivation at all – which I could have achieved far more entertainingly by smoking dope – but we’re not on those Zombie Pills™ anymore, thanks for asking. We’re on something a bit easier to actually have a life with.) Having experienced anxiety-notness, I finally realised I’ve been anxious pretty much all my life – I remember being 5 and being anxious, which is a rather sad state of affairs but also shows I must be relatively well-balanced in other areas because I haven’t grown up to be a puddle of goo. So go me!

Return of the Son of Thing the Third

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. Being around people makes me tired, nervous, and mentally drained, which is why I like blogs so much. And no, being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m anti-social – aren’t we past that particular misbelief already? Being alone is wonderful and I could happily be alone for the rest of eternity – well, alone with a few select friends who (because they’re all introverts too) don’t make me feel like my brain is being pulled out through my nose when I’m around them. All my wordiness and apparent sharing is in fact a sort of armour to protect the introvert within, even when the sharing deals with apparently very personal stuff. It would almost certainly do me good to learn to share stuff that’s a bit more meaningful to me – and I’ll try. Maybe. That’s the best I can say.

Aaaaand, that’s enough for today. You Blaugustinians have another 3,472 blog posts to read so I won’t keep you. Thanks for stopping by!

 – – – – – – – – –

* Of course it’s a word. Word didn’t even underline it! And no, I don’t normally do my posts in Word first (proofing and editing is for wimps… and for people who don’t have to do it for a living) but my internet is up and down like a tart’s knickers today, as my little British chum used to say, and Blaugust is hard enough already without losing any of my painfully squeezed-out words. Great, now my blog sounds like a giant zit. I should probably end this aside before I dig myself in even deeper. Into the zit… Oh God…

** And here I’m being super-clever, because Calvin, Geneva, me, Geneva… you’ll get it if you read on.

*** No, I really do talk like that. Blame it on a love of words, literature, and my college majors. I frequently use words like ‘obstreperous’, ‘disgruntled’ and ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ — ok, I lied about the last one.