Posts Tagged ‘gaming’

Video game sports commentary

BoB has just been pwnd on a whole other level, but as I read about that, I came across this amazing video!

I love games, that is an incredibly beautiful space battle, and the commentators are great even though I can’t understand 90% of the words coming out of their mouth. Would anyone care to explain the strategy of what happened here, in plain language?

Did inferior ships from the opposing group, Star Fraction (the Thoraxes) just gang up cleverly and rush the more powerful ships? What happened? I would like the Osprey guide to this epic & famous battle, with diagrams and maps, the order of battle, etc!

Russian gangsters and Japanese philosophers, side order of trauma

Life has been a curious mixture lately with a bit of horrible intense drama and a bit of slack and routine, cramps and whining and sleeping late; yet as usual, though I think I’ve been doing nothing, when I look back and count up, everything seems so full, so good, so luminous. I feel like I’m riding a giant wave, exhilarating, heady with power. I have worked long days with the good feeling of knowing what I’m doing, being useful. I’ve had some bad days physically, and emotionally, but also, kept my shit together, and have a brain full of ideas and books. What I love, I love to be thinking and getting new information, playing, talking, looking at things with my awareness open. This week despite emotional lows I am full of poetry… I am Having an Interesting Life I suppose…

I’m reading a fantastic book that the SkaRat recommended to me, called I Am A Cat, published in 1905. It’s so good! It’s hilarious & sad. The introduction laid out charmingly how the author- Soseke Natsume – was something of a failure in his career & as a scholar – his teaching career sort of crappy – his pittance of a scholarship to go to London – which he mostly failed at because he hid in his room for 2 years doing nothing but reading a ton of books. OMG… my kind of person. It is all the cat’s pomposity and charm as he observes Human Nature… the scribblings of his human & the funny (catty!) conversations of the slack-ass scholar’s obnoxious, pretentious, half-assed friends. I keep thinking that surely the different characters sketched out must be making fun of particular figures from some intellectual scene in Japan at the time. I love the translation… it flows beautifully and succeeds in being funny (or at times in conveying that something complicated has just happened that would be funnier in Japanese, which as a translator, I appreciate).

I am also still reading the Crypt0 book but it is lost in the house somewhere. It is very good. Though… has that annoying golly-gee drooling P0 Br0nson flavor to it where you just want to go, Jesus, get a room already with your dreamy-eyed hacker boys. At least it does make it clear – the homosocial nature of geek culture. It was odd to read of what’s his face staying in McC’s house where I worked too. I could picture it (not the specific physical setting – I mean that I know the atmosphere well.) It explained some things to me about the feeling of working there and what was expected – expectations that one would have a sort of salon of underemployed geniuses who do your domestic labor and settle in a bit like extended family – not that I don’t appreciate some of the judgements and sentiments of that – but a fate I would particularly like to avoid from either side of the equation, underemployed genius side, or benevolent salon-aspiring employer whose homoerotic bonding time period had sadly passed with N. and M. in the late 50s and early 60s. Honestly the more I contemplate that looming fate for myself the more I want to do it co-op style or not at all. Anyway, read Crypt0 book and besides the actual ideas, thought of the cultural phenomenon where you do what RS4 did and ride your collective exhilarating wave of thought & collaboration, but it is not permanent, like having a brilliant rock band, and you may never get that synergy again in life, which seems awfully melancholy. One would just refuse to believe it.

My other book has been Godfather of the Kremlin which ummm what’s his name in Brussels recommended during a moment when I felt like there was no possible conversational topic since I was not really part of their work meeting, did not share their wonky knowledge of their topic, and did not want to talk about myself, so I asked this obviously interesting person what unusually good books he woudl recommend. It was this one. I’m enjoying it greatly… it’s super business-politics wonky and explains Russia in the 90s and specifically how Berezovsky and other capitalist gangsters looted the country during privatization… the whole thing with the vouchers is so horribly fucked up.. and I was deadly fascinated with the aeroflot story – the textbook case of how to loot a company you don’t own.

The emotional stuff has been difficult, I have felt intense about my physical issues and had a lot more pain this week, and also, had some fights with Rook over things, which brought up more issues for me than I know how to rightly deal with myself. It kind of brought up old family issues for me. I have particular difficulties when people are angry with me. Oh, can’t I be a grownup and not think back on things that happened over 20 years ago — haunted by ghosts? I understand ghosts now. I am happy with myself- and yet – not. Also, trying to face the ways in which I am, actually, an asshole. That’s hard! Rook is also very stressed in his job and this is his last week. He quit! I’m so glad he did, and think it is the right decision. I find it fairly easy to talk about most of my emotional problems or issues or dilemmas but he does not and I did not realize what he has been through. I also felt like, last year, with my health problems, I wanted him to have more support, he did not, I did not know how to provide it, I had my own issues and needed emotional support which he didn’t really know how to do either. I hope that is clear, yet vague… I was caught up in my loop of cranky pain, hating myself for not being able to be happy and full of attention and cheerful – hot and sweaty – upset with life – thining that i have not done enough – and that if I am in pain now, I might be in more tomorrow, or unable to even get up and therefore i should use the last of my strength to clear the laundry off the floor and make the room less disgusting – in case I am stuck in it for days – and thus trying to chivvy everyone else around me suddenly to clean and wanting to cry at being The Nag and also full of resentment at needing or wanting help and/or at years when it was my job to do the housework – And the reality of it is that we screamed at each other at the top of our lungs about housework… I am embarrassed… and that spilled over into arguing about everything – but I need to talk about it. I think we made it up and had a good conversation. And for some people that might be normal and part of life, but for me, not. Meanwhile I thought lately that things were calmer with a person who I mortally offended last year causing endless drama and pain, and yet who will not attempt to work that out with me in any way. I wish we could just sit down and talk. Or, if not, then I wish she would step off, keep her emotional pain to herself, and not lay it on me and people close to me. For various reasons, we are peripheral to each others’ lives. And we have to accept that and negotiate some way to tolerate that. That’s what I think. I can do it if they can. But, terribly, I feel that unholy feeling that something is being projected as being part of me, when it is actually that other person. In other words, that they have major boundary problems and the exact problems they have, they are attributing to me, and that, somehow, while not my Fault really, is partly because of my own strong personality, stubbornness, and what is either my assholishness or shininess depending; so that I am horribly aware that if I were somehow Lesser of a person, there would not be a problem; yet because this other person and I are both rather Rocketship in our approach to life, they bristle and cannot tolerate and I bristle and cannot back down.

I admire an uncompromising, unconventional person who has a strong personality, very much, often even when they position themselves in opposition to me or they clearly hate me or find me annoying as all fuck. A person who insults me, I can often look past the insult, and see the information. I also have Theories about how as a society we need people who don’t have great filters and who ignore social cues. I am one of them… But you know, some people are more extreme than me…. I appreciate what is good about them. Holy crap though, I don’t mean anything bad. If I’m offending, just tell me to my face… would the world end?

Other people have their own childhood-families and their own ghosts and histories… I am aware… So I will think about my responses to anger (paralysis, trapped, need to flee… flight reflex… ) and try to be easy on a person who has their own baggage, that I might trigger. But, it is not fair to the person triggering it, not to tell them or talk to them. I can’t erase myself, and won’t go away. The things thrown at me or accusations — and the tangible results of that — bring up my own irrational painful issues; abandonment in general. Therefore it seems logical to attempt negotiation, even if that is crazy moon language. Though I would just plain like the chance to explain myself, I would also willingly shut up and listen, not say anything, go away and think about it, and try not to go on the defensive etc. I see no need to hash it all out, but to establish reasonable boundaries, and what are the actual goals of talking at all. I do not expect some buddy buddy outcome here. I just want not to cause suffering to a person, and not to suffer their emotional outbursts and the effect direct or indirect they have on my life. I feel okay that I am saying this on my blog, and that I called the person to make the direct and sincere offer of “let’s talk”.

Meanwhile. Moomin has had “camp” which is really just day care, at his old school from a year ago, and though I thought he would find it boring, he seems to be having fun playing that he is squirrels with Jos3lyn and Mar1s0l and their entourage, and in the corners of time, reading Nancy Drew books. I had a call that he bumped his head, during a meeting at work, and ducked out to hear him sobbing with ice on his head, could tell he was okay but rattled, went to get him, admired the enormous bump on his head as he ran around and begged me to stay just long enough to have the ice cream sundaes… and enjoyed seeing the kids myself that I used to play board games with at recess… J0anna and the others…. I thought of M4rcus who was the most hawk like of them all and full of scorn and who could almost beat me at chinese checkers. (I would not insult him by letting him win – he was too smart not to see through that and be offended.) I miss getting to be a little bit involved at the school.

It has been 100 degrees or over – unbearable in the house – I got home today from SF, got the old library books, picked up Moomin (braving the horrible hill) and took him to the library. Worked a bit – looked up books with him – the Pilot met us there with Peanut who wants to play computer games – Moomin found a Nancy Drew and several books with magic & dragons in them – Maybe I can make it a custom to go there with him in the evening one night a week and just sit and read. We all went to the new Japanese restaurant on Main and Rook met us there. It’s not really very good… alas… I would not go there again … H1guma is still best in town. We had a nice dinner though. Moomin is eating more foods. He gets into the idea that it is korean food (will eat kim bap, fried tofu, the pickled gourd or radish thingies, and the other day with me and Rook at the korean restaurant in mtn. view he wanted to learn to read hangul characters. I am happy he has an interest but mostly just happy he will now eat more than 10 different things, 5 of them fruit.

News flash, there are online sweatshops

It makes me cranky to see the eXtreme pearl-clutching. Oh noes! People in developing countries get paid crap salaries to do goldfarming in online games! Also, sometimes there are actual criminals in the world! Organized crime, even, that uses the internet zomg!

Like every object we touch isn’t globalization-dirty? I don’t get what’s so specially alarming about gamers in Saigon making a living levelling up other people’s characters. Yeah it’s interesting, but I hate the tone of alarmism about it being online.

Books, work, rock band, music stolen

Every time I get my computer on my lap and kick back to blog all I can do is start to slog through the endless help desk emails for work. The harder problems build up and build up. I get obsessed with fixing them though I have to learn how to say “No, sorry, can’t help you here.” They never stop! It’s not just too much work, it’s also killing my blogging because if I’m on the computer I feel like I should be “catching up”. I can’t let that happen. Not sure what to do about it. We could outsource. “Sorry, beyond the scope we can do for you, but you could pay so-and-so 30 bucks an hour to do it.” That would be a relief and would get people’s problems solved. These are people who need web design support and whose work is *great* – I want to support it. That’s where it gets me!

So in an effort not to work ALL THE TIME I have been reading a bit more. I caught up with some of my blogfriends on LJ (after weeks… months?). I read the last Hostile Takeover book – more about that in a minute. I did some cleaning and gardening (and when Moomin gets back will read more out loud to him.)

Tonight was fun – Zond-7 and I went to a game night – Played Settlers – and a bit of Rock Band. I liked playing bass. What a party – with a wii, some other game console thing, rock band, several board games, a lot of beer & wine, and a crowd of raucous geeks.

My morning was stressful – I was hauling ass to get to work – and my car window was broken. All the cars on the block had windows smashed – My giant book of favorite CDs was stolen – knew I shouldn’t keep it in there – I will try not to miss it but got a little upset over the hard to find venezuelan and cuban stuff. I had resolved to only keep cds I ahd burned in the car – but didn’t stick to it – to the tune of probably 50 cds which built up to be all my favorites. Plus, mix cds other people made for me. I am trying to be detached about it. It’s just stuff. But, music is stuff I hate to lose because it’s memory, it’s the keys to the database of emotions across many years. Sometimes I get deeply melancholy for no reason but in a way that can only be fixed by driving while listening to that one gospel song and crying as I think of the weeks that that song was my only outlet & solace for my horrible feelings on my last breakup – Or joyous in a way that goes with a particular ska CD – Oh – well – I will make new CDs – and at some point will benefit from figuring out which cases are empty and either replacing with digital music or new import cds or THROWING THE CASES AWAY. (I have just remembered the name of that gospel song – “Unconditional” – from a compilation.)

I then hauled ass to tape up my window with a trash bag to try to make it to a meeting, but realized as I got into the car that it would be a bad idea to drive down 101 without being able to see out my side window. It was a sort of survival reflex – like if I were going to lose my job for being late to work, that’s what i would have done – but as I started to do it I realized I’m not in that position, it was not a situation of extreme crisis, and it would be smarter to fix the window!

At the auto glass place (very close! lucky!) my credit cards didn’t go through and there was a bad feeling in the air suddenly as they got suspicious of me. DRAMA… I called my cards (both from one bank, a card and my atm/credit card) & no problem there. The guy didn’t believe me though I offered the phone to him and pointed out the little credit card box-thing said “connection failed” not “card declined” and it was not that I had no money. We went round for a bit because I could not walk as far as the nearest atm that he described – and I did not want to wheel there (somewhat up hill, not sure how far it was really, sounded exhausting). Finally he agreed I would leave one card with him and drive away to the ATM. Just as I was driving off he realized the credit card thing was plugged into the same thing as his phone, which was accidentally left off the hook… HA.

I felt like getting back into bed!

Instead I went to get a sandwich – and after I came out realized I’d left my car running and the door unlocked! OMG!

At that point (now hours later) I decided not to go to the office – and worked from here instead – it was all just too much – plus a 40 minute commute would have just taken away good working time.

Ended up at lunch with a bunch of people from Zond-7’s work and hearing a lot of interesting stuff about Deadweight loss (which was fucking fascinating), monopolies, anti-trust stuff, DRM, talked about all that and about spam, email costs, music industry, and I talked some with the visiting economist dude about the internet ad market. ie. how any blog ad company competes with Google Ads. Good question! Lots of people do, though. It is like the contrast between … well if you had *very small billboards* stuck everywhere kind of randomly but in relation to each thing it was stuck on, like if every parking meter displayed postage-stamp sized ads for parking garages, or every tree by the sidewalk had an index card explaining where to buy trees, vs. there being a public park set up specially with all kinds of ever-changing information about trees and fun things to do in the park. What is more satisfying – making a park and maintaining it and visiting parks & gardens – or wandering around staring at parking meters and smog-ravaged acacias. It is my day of Homely Metaphors as I also had a giant funny picture in my head about the proprietary Egg that you were only legally allowed to cook in special Sony Egg Cookers, it being illegal to invent or sell frying pans even for your own use at home, and the deadweight loss being all the people who might have cooked and ate a fucking egg if not for the $200 Sony Egg Cooker being too expensive, and the Eggs all sprayed with protective anti-frying-pan anti-cracking spray, and no regular eggs in stores since the big chain stores had a special deal with Sony to sell only Eggs not eggs, and the egg industry suffering horribly as a result. (BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHICKENS, for god’s sake? Pay the chickens with special internet micropellets… okay I’ll stop now…) Then was further picturing the proprietary House, in which you were only allowed to put Furniture specially built by Company X (this, while we were talking about tie-ins) which further locks you in to buy only Houses built by company X in future because you’ve invested so much in Company X Furniture. A bad idea for eggs, furniture, houses, real estate agents, department stores, and right-thinking people everywhere.

Then I laid on the couch and worked for many hours!

It was nice to be around people and have a beer tonight after all that!

So back to Revolutionary, the last book in the Hostile Takeover trilogy. I liked it – although one female character DID go into a coma it was not for the whole book, she was doing stuff and having conversations in imaginary nano-telepathy-hacker-head world while she was out cold.


She doesn’t die and the end isn’t all about her incredibly bad-idea romance. Throughout the bad-idea romance she keeps asking Dom and herself, “Why do I even like you? Why am I so obsessed with you? You’re kind of a jerk!” It doesn’t get glossed over! It’s a really good point! Others explain to her that it’s wartime and that can happen easily – there are some other reasons – some explored and some perhaps not (ie her ambivalent feelings about being genetically engineered to bond with computers and machines, and his being like 90% cybernetic complete with extra computer in his brain.) Then instead of swooping in and rescuing her and knocking her up or something… he DIES. TWICE. That was so satisfying! OMG! Actually it might have been more than twice – he kept getting eaten by nanobots, and shot in the face, and then coming back from it somehow, until you were ready to strangle the fucker with your bare hands. DIE DIE DIE! and then… score… he totally died AND his time-travel extra self also died. Awesome!

So, even better than that — it was like candy — The butch as hell ex-Marine traitor Kathy Shane, who got her legs blown off and who is NOT plucky or spunky at all, has lots more angsty and in fact, PTSD-ish moments contemplating (and glorifying) the grave of Mary Houghton (who was her captive and who escaped super cleverly – the art history major and painter and tough Marine who goes spelunking for alien artifacts – and instead of DYING as one somewhat expected her to from the very first – as so many good female characters do – instead she thinks about another (female) character and acts on her thoughts in a consistent interesting way. sorry to gush, it’s just rare to see male sf writers get anything like this right, so I was excited and so pleased not to have to hate the book sighing in disgust even as I enjoyed the space opera bits. More spoilers – so, then Shane ends up finding new purpose in life. Notably she keeps her religion, abandons her military loyalties (though is still devastated by exile and by her continuing guilt over betraying her people – her military subordinates) and completely abandons her political loyalties to a particular planet or state. AND… goes off WITH THE HACKER SPY CHICK into space with the alien star map and a giant colony ship. How can I even talk about this without spoilers? I’ll give it a shot and put it up on the feministsf blog!

Hostile Takeover trilogy, book two

Somewhere along the line in Partisan, I noted particular moments of the female protagonists being pretty decent, but there were some flaws. Tetsami the plucky hacker chick spoke up to Dom the tortured wealthy genius cyborg hero to demand that he treat her as an equal partner in their military operation / corporate espionage. I loved it that she *noticed he was dissing her*. In other words she was savvy enough in the world of “Games Mother Never Taught You” to notice subtleties of power politics. On the down side, she didn’t have much to negotiate with other than “You owe it to me for some nebulous reason we cannot quite articulate but that we are both aware of” and that reason is romantic love or sexual tension or both, which I thought utterly sucked as a motivator in anarchist politics. Or, maybe the story’s trying to get across that anarchist politics gets a sort of humanizing rescue from patriarchal romantic love. It wasn’t very convincing politically or romantically though it fit fine in a pulp genre tale. Their “romance” goes like this:

OMG we’re in Danger! Quick, be clever and reckless! Wait, I hate you! Damn you! You bastard! Taxes and damnation!! (anarchist planet cussing) But I only was reckless because you’d really hate me if you knew who I really was! (WANGST MOMENT ALONE WITH MIRRORS CONTEMPLATING CYBORGIAN NATURE) No, I really hate you because you ignored my agency and hid information from me and hogged all the power and don’t communicate or say what you really think, you fucker! That’s why I can’t resist you, James Bond Spock Daddy! *KISS* *something blows up again* *tragic separation*

Oooookay! Sort of works, sort of annoying!

Back to why Tetsami is awesome. She thinks and fights. Fine, she thinks damn near every thought about how she wants some cyborg man-love. But, she also plots, is good at tactics, saves her wounded soldiers, hacks, is brave, gets her own dark secret and angstiness over her genetically modified heritage and cyber-brain-implant, etc. And so far (FINGERS CROSSED) she has not been raped, stripped of all her thoughts and powers and skills, held hostage and rescued while being completely helpless, put into a coma, or mind-wiped a-la-Vernor-Vinge. How extremely unusual for a military sf book. I appreciate that.

Kathy Shane, the ex-Marine and one of the tanks of our Adventuring Party (where Tetsami is the thief or rogue) has some good moments as well. She does try to off herself in a blaze of guilty soldierly glory but instead gets some cyber legs and spends most of book 2 on a dungeon crawl (Swiniarski, I can spot your rpg roots a MILE away) chasing her former soldier and escaped prisoner Houghton whose magical sudden art history background leads her through a 2 day spelunking expedition to the freaking heart of the planet miles below sea level to the ALIEN ARTIFACT CACHE. She didn’t do much else but it resolved her angst neatly, she had some nice banter with Random Walk, the remote drone of the AI of the Adventurers. Again, notably not raped. She gets a love interest too; from moment 1 of meeting Ivor (Tetsami’s adopted father) they have a soldierly little undercurrent of unconscious swoony destiny. They have not yet leaped into bed together but Destiny calls. So that’s nice too actually, while romantic subplots make me throw up a little in my mouth and I hate them as motivating or defining characteristics of female characters, it’s also nice that Shane doesn’t get de-sexed or doesn’t get to have the potential of getting laid just because she’s the tank of the party.

The story has continued moving along. It’s exciting! It’s pulpy! There’s a giant war and a bunch of local star system politics becomes clearer with 4 main arms of the Confederacy vying for power with Bakunin the anarchist planet as the prize. Nanotech! Giant laaaasers! Armored giant transformer-like vehicle porn lovingly described!

Oh I must also note the naming of one of the Vehicles. There is a funny car-buying scene where Tetsami realizes the awesome RV she’s about to buy is Loved by its owner to an extreme. He fetishizes it and caresses its shiny curves and has named it The Lady. Further evidence that Bakunin is not a post-patriarchy anarchy. (And how can that be… I ask in all seriousness.) Tetsami uses that knowledge very well in negotiating with the vehicle’s owner. So she ends up with “The Lady” which is basically the best RV ever with giant battle weapons and an autodoc and mining equipment and everything you could wish on your futuristic wish fulfillment survivalist pave-the-earth mobile living capsule. I took the naming and fetishizing as evidence of post-patriarchy while Zond-7 thought it meant sort of high status or respect of women ie “Lady” but I pointed out that still conflated property with women and vice versa and owning a high status (or named to be) woman/vehicle was a way to confer status (and not to the owned party) and also the trope of naming a slave or pet with a name like Duke or Cicero (which he was not aware of at all). Again a passage that would be illuminated by complete regendering. If it sounds hilarious regendered, it’s probably not post patriarchy.

The moment where Dom is looking at himself in a hundred reflections of reflections of himself in the polished walls of the obsidian cave would also be somewhat “off” if regendered. It might make a nice literary experiment.

Action movie preview rant; racism in Indiana Jones

I went to my friend’s steampunk beach wedding with Rook and Zond-7 and all and sundry!

there is no charge for awesome

Aren’t they cute as hell?

Held a giant chiton (described in post below, but here’s the photo to show how huge it was!)

Went to RoboGames! Drove all over hell and back! Drove to Oakland and hung out with Minnie and Moomin and small Mr. Screamypants!

I saw the Indiana Jones movie, loving it and hating it. I was steeling myself for an inevitable ancient-Harrison-Ford romance with a plucky yet needing to be rescued 24 year old actress, and indeed the movie had all the pain of Smurfette Syndrome, ie, a bunch of male characters of varying kinds and one plucky girl. BUT…. it had the saving grace of having TWO female characters. The plucky girl was older than one would expect from craptastic sexist ageist Hollywood, like actually old enough to have a young adult son, and old enough for it not to be completely stereotypically annoyingly prize-like for her to be involved with Indiana Jones. And she got to kick ass some of the time. The other female character was the totally awesome Evil Psychic Communist in uniform complete with shiny black gloves and obsession with aliens and mind control. She was okay.

There was a really stupid and unnecessary racist bit with the …. clay-covered “naked savages” springing out of the masonry to defend the temple. Why, why, why? Why was that necessary? “Insert mob of non-white naked howling irrational people here.” What??? Why?! Covered in MUD! Wearing GRASS SKIRTS! HOWLING! I believe even ULULATING! Inexplicably kept alive for 5000 years! Fanatically DEVOTED! Mayan, yet Peruvian, yet grass skirt wearing yet wielding BOLAS! Then awe-struck, and bowing to the Artifact! Arrrgh. Rook and I sat there groaning and scoffing. Come on! More skulls, giant insects, sword fights, stone mechanisms rolling shut just a hair too late, waterfalls, yes, Racist Crap no. Anyway!

The pulp-like “ooo mayans” and “ooo nazca lines” and “ooo now we’re in the amazon” was just funny and overblown. I didn’t even get annoyed by it like I did with the weird stuff in Emperor’s New Groove. It was so bad it was hilarious. Same with the “magnetism”!

Back to the villain – I enjoyed the bit where


She was going, “I WANT TO KNOW” and staring at the alien skeleton and the aliens began to beam stuff into her head! Yay! I wanted her to know! Go, Hero of the Order of Lenin! Go, psychic scientist crazy woman! My higher level analysis was that her gender was being conflated with communism and the “hive mind” of the aliens. Manliness was the independent thought and maverick status of Indiana Jones and his little rebel boy sidekick. The communist villain spoke at length about her evil plot, which was to gain enormous psychic powers so that everyone in the world’s thoughts would be like hers, they would be taught right thinking, but they wouldn’t know it wasn’t their thoughts. They’d think they were having their own ideas – but it would be communist mind control. Then, she ended up marvelling at the beauty of the alien hive mind, and merging orgasmically with it and squirting up into an interdimensional portal. You can see why I cheered. I don’t think I was meant to and instead it was meant to be punishment or comeuppance and a fit ending. I think also the idea of women in authority, in positions of equality and authority, in communist countries, was mixed up with current (and past) anxieties about feminism, PC-ness, and women’s rights, so that woman in authority = hive mind = evil.

Onward and backward to the previews!

The movie previews promised to be good since they would be action movies. I’m a HUGE sucker for explosions, chases, fights, and other action movie bullshit. Add space battles and I’m extra happy. So, no horrible “romantic comedy” previews I had to suffer through. Instead I got to admire the explosions, while bitching about the Smurfette Syndrome about 5 times in a row. “The Spirit” – Frank Miller movie, made fun of preview already, hilarious voiceover with superhero going “The city screams, she is my mother, she is my lover.” Sooo that makes you a motherfucker then? *sigh* So stupid! So annoying! So unnecessary! Then yet another movie about a Man having Important Man experiences with women as peripheral sex prizes (some movie about a guy living backwards in time. I would prefer they just LEAVE WOMEN COMPLETELY OUT, thanks but no thanks. Give explosions and battles, keep nasssty chips.) Hellboy which looked fucking awesome!!!! Awesome! Hello! Just great! But again, is man having his Man Moments because hollywood if in an action movie has to show how being a Man is all about heroism and heroism is all about being a man! I am so annoyed. I bet if the female characters have any good fighting moments of bravery it will be only because they are defending their man, or their dad, or their brother, or carrying out their father’s last wish, or some other annoying-ass thing whose subtext implies that women only exist in relation to men, especially when they kick ass. Then, Eagle Eye, which looked to be even more of the same. It is all about the profound experience of the lone man who in his lonely way has an Experience. Do I make myself clear, here? Why is this always the plot? It’s like the Joseph Campbell sexist as hell Hero’s Journey just mutated itself into every story possible.

Don’t even get me STARTED on Wall-e. FFS. I mean, I want to see a fucking awesome movie about some robots. In space. Why must it get all messed up with gender stuff? Why not just put some eyelashes and lipstick on that rescue-screamy-flirty-sexy robot girl? WTF with the robot gender roles? You know, if I were a robot, I’d think the nicest bit of would be getting to be ungendered. Like we didn’t go far enough with the movie where all the ants were heterosexual male/female couples (??) and the Bee one, and the one where the (male) cattle had udders? What?

Okay I’m glad I got that off my chest! Otherwise I had an intense few days (and nights) at work, a weekend packed with social events, I am concentrating hard on walking but it’s very hard, and Rook and I gardened a little bit, which was super nice since it’s been so neglected.

I have been noticing how my car is like my spaceship and everywhere I go is like an expensive gravity well. Some places, like the building I work in, or a grocery store, suck you into their enormous gravity well and it is hard to achieve escape velocity. For those, I need the powerful shuttlecraft of my wheelchair. For gas stations, small cafes, and places that can be traversed easily, I can achieve escape velocity handily with only the EVA jetpack of my crutches or cane. You think I am joking about imagining that those annoying slow wheelchair lifts are the airlock? No… I’m really imagining it and enjoying it with a slightly embarrassed smile in case anyone can read my thoughts. I prefer the Belter lifestyle without going near those annoying gravity wells where I am way too heavy, give me the asteroids any day. What this means in practical reality is that I go to the Carl’s Jr. drive through a lot these days.

Boobs, butts, and platypi

Okay, I just laughed so hard I cried at this 11-page thread on a gaming forum on whether female “dragonborn” D&D characters should have big ol’ boobies. Highlights include:

– suggestions that they should look like dragons everywhere except their chests and should be drawn with halter tops
– intense discussion of how the platypus has milk but does it through “leaky skin” not mammaries
– the bad spelling of “mamaries” throughout
Dejah Thoris, egg-laying Martian with an enormous rack -n- crack, brought in as evidence
Therapsids, our Ancestors. Dinosaurs with bewbs!
– The usefulness of having a +2 Cloaca of Hiding
– Dragon boobs would produce fluids *other* than milk.
– They could be poison sacs, like toads have, but secreting sticky goo so that men who fight them get stuck to their breasts by poisonous slime. (Scarily detailed!)
– The phrase in all seriousness “if you’re saying that draconidae are a clade of therapsidae…”
– hidden nipples under the pectoral scales
– “It may be that that is where they incubate their eggs”
– “many muscles used for explosive, pylometric activities “ball up” when they’re relaxed”
– “Perhaps at high levels, Dragonborn can shapechange fluidly” (to have breasts)
– Complaints that telling genders apart by color, weird head crests, or any other way other than boobs would be too difficult
– Someone else pointing out that Gold/Bronze on Pern is not hard to tell apart and there’s no boobs there
– Boobs with scales would be “not happy” (presumably because human men, or players, are squicked by the very idea of female signifiers that aren’t soft and available for grabbing)
– The lone voice of sanity

a more plausible feminist symbol

I loved this bit where someone refuted the egg-pouch theory by claiming no species would be so senselessly designed as to have heavy things pressing on the lungs and heart:

Carrying eggs that high above the center of gravity is horribly inefficient, as it would strain the back, cause problems with balance, and put potentially dangerous pressure against vital life sustaining organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Right. That’s why we have breasts there in the first place? I’m loving it!

I’m telling you, most of this wasn’t even meant to be funny. It rests on huge amounts of presumption that femaleness itself exists to be consumed by men and defined by them. Huge amounts of entitlement.

Let’s return to the lone voice of sanity on the thread, about halfway in:

The next time we’re all sitting around wondering why there aren’t more girls in D&D, you can think back to this thread.

This nine page long thread about boobs.

Just putting some perspective on here.

Yes. Exactly. Thanks.

No, wait… I keep going back for more. There is another voice of sanity, this one with humor:

Perhaps they are not not breasts so much as two seperate glands each producing a chemical that when combined erupt in flame.

Actually, that’s how my breasts work and that’s why I don’t let anyone mess with them. They’re totally lethal. They’re nucular. They give a whole new dimension to the phrase “Torpedo tits”.

Back to the forum and its total jackpot of dumbassery; an evo-psych argument that humans have fatty bumps on their chests so that they will look like butts, because primates find butt cracks sexy, and since we walk upright and do it face to face sometimes, we like to be looking at some frontal butt-cleavage:

A quite popular theory among biologists is that the form of a woman’s busom is meant to emulate that of her behind, which, apparently, is considered tempting to males of all primates. In other words, a human female’s breasts are shaped as they are to excite sexual interest in human males, not to provide nourishment to human babies. You’ll note how other apes have mammary glands, but not big, round breasts. The reason, according to the biologists, is that only we humans are fully erect, and tend to view our potential partners from the front. If all this is true, it wouldn’t be so strange if all fully erect, sexually active species have the same system, even if they do not feed their young with breast milk.

Last time I checked not all human women had “big, round breasts” at least not outside of comic books. But then the punchline came a few posts later:

It certainly makes sense, though, but it does require that the female’s buttocks be a sexual symbol to begin with (and that the buttocks be that rough shape). That theory would work for anything with a tail, and maybe for some humanoids with relatively slender tails (especially if they grow a tuft of hair down the cleavage and onto the stomach to simulate a tail) but a reptilian tail just seems a bit too heavy for that to occur – viewing the reptile from behind would result in seeing the tail rather than buttocks.

So if you assume the same evolutionary pressures are in action with the dragonborn, what you could end up with is a monobreast with the point right in the middle to simulate the end of a reptilian tail. Which may end up with a very similar suggestive bulge when you put armour or clothes over it.

Okay aside from how freaking hilarious is, let’s think about this a minute…

These guys assume, automatically, that anything branded female is there to be pornified. In fact the trend in that most annoying junk science “evolutionary psychology” is that pretty much the explanation for the existence of any supposed characteristic in women, mental or physical, is “because men want to fuck it”.

But back to the humor. It all reminds me of the Very Small Epiphany I had lately as I stared at the mesmerizing buttcrack of an acquaintance of mine. For the generation just below mine, letting their butt crack fly free is just like wearing a low cut shirt to show some cleavage. I amused and horrified Minnie by explaining this and adding the prediction that within 5 years there will be a fashion of pants that go even lower and have lacy or transparent panels in the back to reveal even more subtly shadowed, alluring, sexy crack. She didn’t believe me! Fine! But it did come true about how everyone in 10 years would be wearing hats with cat ears… I called that one too.

BONUS DIGRESSION. Courtesy of me, because I’m on page 4 of 15 of the enormous forum thread without any mention of it occurring.

What about dragonborn dick? Do they have penises? Might they be illustrated with enormous jeweled codpieces? Or alluringly bulgy breechcloths? How will we tell? Why do they have them? Why not? Consider the platypus! The dinosaurs! Tars Tarkan’s mighty thews and incredible Martianhood! But no, the forum is remarkably silent.

We should start it up over at Iris!

ANYWAY… pop the stack back out to the lizard-boobs, dragons and maidens.

I far prefer the beautiful theory I read recently: We most often see dragons and princesses together because *maidens evolve into dragons*. They shed their maidenly human skins, leaving behind just enough detritus so that their “rescuers” think they’ve been eaten. And they turn all scaly and huge and fierce and eat their “rescuers”. It makes perfect sense.

P.S. If you know the source of the menacing boob-warning symbol above, and you’re not L.Q., you win a prize!

Can I whine with you?

If you want to hear me do a Texas accent, head over to Can I Sit With You? live for a video of me reading the bit of the story where some nasty 10 year old “kicker” chick in 1980 goaded me until I ranted the good rant.

Then, buy the book!

If you want to see me read an even sillier, and more obscene, story, come on Thursday to the Center for Sex and Culture in the Jon Sims Center, 8pm. I’ll be reading from my story in the book Sex for America. It’s not porn… it’s political humor that happens to have some nostril-flaringly dirty sex in it.

Speaking of rants! Holy hell, I hate the rain and cold. Though I’m all glad there’s ramps, I hate wheeling to Moomin’s school, and I hate going up the elevator, and trying to muster a smile for the desperately-smiling yupster moms, which today I just couldn’t.

What’s with that insane-o chick who greeted me today with a head splitting grin and in a toddler-amusing voice said simply, “WHEEEEEEEE!” as if I must be overcome with the joy of movement or as if I were her 18 month old forced to go down the slide alone, clearly not enjoying it and in need of encouragement. While I often am overcome with that joy of movement, it tends to happen in the sun, and warm, and not in the rain when I have wet hands and a wet lap, hunched and ruffled and huffy in misery like a little wheely owl. All I can tell you is that I was ready to leap up and smack her one across the face with a be-gloved, wet hand. Wheeee, indeed.

I am coming to think that what able bodied people could do most to help me out is to submit themselves for a hearty slapping with a wet codfish. It would get some of the aggression, bitterness, and sadism out of my system.

MEANWHILE, earlier today I went off looking for a notary. I thought of the mailbox place in the big parking lot across the street, but rejected that thought. Online I found a zillion places with notaries. I put on the 5 layers of clothes I must don to survive the brutal 60 degree California winter and set out on the expedition. AN HOUR LATER and several times of crutching into somewhere and then wheeling in only to find no goddamn notaries, who are amazingly useless anyway, the very last place I tried (on a whim as they were a tax place near my house) their usual notary was out… doing whatever notaries do on their days off, the Royal Nonesuch or cavorting in the sleet or returning to their underground burrows and lairs… and had I tried the mailbox store in the shopping center across the street, because they had a notary for sure? OH.

As I wended my weary way from invisible notary to invisible notary, the fancy plant store sucked me in. I bought a $35 hanging pothos. The shame of it… I used to grow them very successfully in jars from leaves pinched from other people’s houseplants for free. But to hell with it, here is a frothy thing bigger than my entire body, like an exploding air cthulhu, now enlivening the kitchen! Instant gratification!

Rook is in a sort of Internet Drama about copyright and the Open Gaming License. I’m fascinated! Zomg. His meticulousness, let me show you it. A small part of it. I contemplate this (and Quilty’s archival tendencies) and wish I could achieve something like that. Instead, I do what I do.

In cheerier news! I have been spending more time with Moomin and feel less rotten about myself as a parent. He is lovely… I will be rotten today, hiding in bed, perhaps eating his months-old halloween candy if I can find it, but once I perk up with the help of electric blankets I’ll be nice again, and help with homework.

Zond-7’s mom and nephew are in SF now at a cool-looking cheap hotel in the Mission. I liked having them. It was a little stressful, but good — mostly stressful to worry over whether they were secretly miserable or not. Of course it was vastly entertaining to be blasted with insight about the characteristics of his family. Also, they shopped and did dishes without any undue fuss, and unlike my own parents and more jaded set of inlaws, they didn’t try to do some vast helpful Project like throwing away all my possessions or earthquake-proofing and greasing the cats. (Though the last Project *was* helpful…) His mom is likely the worst washer of dishes I have ever encountered but rather than bothering me to find smears of peanut butter over everything “clean” it just made me feel like a Domestic Genius. (Believe me, a rare feeling.) The characteristics have to do with maybe a sort of disconnect, combined with the ability and determination to guess what other people want and make it so, which can be pleasant and make life smooth, but also can go very wrong at times in more ways than one. We made bread pudding, and went to the mall. They hid a lot in bed with their computers and books, compatible with our normal lifestyle. It was peaceful. I did not stick to my resolution to do computer-fixing for them. I did feel happy that our Unconventional Thing was accepted and respected. I need to come out to my own parents. It always feels icky not to be. It is not about being in their face or anything. It is just not sustainable not to be “out”.

Also cheerier! My entire work team came over last night, tromping in with enormous amounts of fancy beer and wine and cheese which they squirrelled away and set out on plates. They draped themselves across my enormous couch & each other, and most of us hot tubbed. My hot tub can fit at least 8 or 9 drunken, naked software engineers in it. Did you know? Some of the newer co-workers didn’t know and were not quite in the California naked hot tub thang. Maybe next time. They were sweetly sad yet congratulatory that I’m leaving that job (but sticking around for a while as an occasional contractor.)

I have read the 2nd Empress of Mijak book, well, skimmed it because it was not really that good to the point of being nearly unbearable (and really only the first bit of the first book was good, anyway) and Howard’s End, and Terry Bisson’s excellent kids’ book on the Nat Turner Rebellion, and re-read the Golden Compass which seemed considerably less awesome than I had found it to be when it first came out and I was a young grasshopper with less critical oomph to my brains. I’ll just throw it out there that the movie Lyra was better than the book Lyra. The part I still liked, parts, were the panzerbjorne, the atmosphere/background/setting, and the end where Lyra realizes that both her parents are freaking scary and not to be trusted. I loved the book when I first read it for that basic message of not trusting authority & for the lack of happy ending. Yet… as a “strong female character” I have to say, Lyra blows.

The pace of visitors

Visitors for the past few days which makes you attempt to see your life through someone’s else’s view and of course that’s a funny balance because visitors change the way you do things. I notice over time that Rook and I have our standard “Joys of Deadwood City” tour we offer to visitors; the walkable downtown, the handy Food Hole grocery which means you can stroll to it once a day and have nice fruit and bread and things like that; Buck’s; the cafe. There is not really much else! I’m not up for H4ndley Rock, and Bore “Island” is really just a marshy landfill which is only charming if you like the remnants of industrial waste and highway and undiscriminating waterfowl who need a place to stop over on the way to Venezuela. A person who had their shit together might go to the Little F0x or the big F0x theater.

After those limited Joys are sampled it is a matter of lather, rinse, repeat. Sleeping, reading, lounging on couches, baking, and board games punctuate the suburban bliss. Abundant parking may also be savored by the urban visitor, as a sort of grace note in the symphony of slack.

Anyway! I think Zond-7’s mum and nephew are over their jet lag and eager to move on to the Big City, tomorrow! His nephew has also made friends with bank tellers, homeless people, record and game store owners, the supermarket checkers, and the “Buddhist” cult around the corner in the old Salvation Army church: being a gregarious soul and inquisitive about gang colors, pancakes, and other Americana.

Speaking of gang colors! I noticed for the very first time in Deadwood, some blue 13 sureño tags – big and bold right under the J3fferson overpass! Holy crap! I was pretty shocked and wonder if it will have some repercussions. For 8 years I have lived here and it is all XIV all the time. I don’t know dick about it all, other than noticing the colors & symbols and decoding a little bit. And… oddly… feeling a bit patriotic of the norteños since I do live here. Anyway, the main thing is that I worry that this means new conflict. Though the tags mostly seem to be kids dabbling or fooling around, in this neighborhood.

I have cut Zond-7’s hair, and his nephew’s which was hacked bald in places since he is the sort of person to let small children cut his hair (and who is going Out for a Run about once an hour, in the rain, on the edge of manic) and we have lounged and loafed and walked (rolled) and eaten enormous brunch. Zond-7’s mother is hemming his pants.

Last night most of us went to Squid’s place with Indian food. Iz told me about Cambodia, and Moomin read Polly and the Pirates which I swiped from him later and which was EXCELLENT, and SJ was there. I was exhausted (from having take his mum to the mall which I am still not sure if she wanted to do that for an authentic American experience or she just wanted to buy things). The mall trip was hilarious. I think from having raised a couple of butchy punky superfeminist strongminded daughters she knew just how to manage me so that I didn’t mind. I would balk, suggest leaving the store, act disinterested and attempt to direct her to things she might want, or say harrumphily that I refuse to even look at clothing with fake pockets… and where my mom would argue the point and despair, she just blinked slightly, nodded in understanding, suggested the boys’ department, rifled through it, swept me to a completely different area, and like a kindly librarian matching me with the Book of Gold she found me a magic selection of suit jackets with functional pockets, sleek with no frilly crap, including *the perfect jacket of my dreams* and corresponding white dress shirt. In it, I scare myself, I’m so handsome and sleek and foppish. So, that’s how I went to the mall for the first time in ages, and came out feeling triumphant.

Long slow weekend incoherent books resolutions

I stayed in bed rather a lot the last few days, since the storms hit, venturing out for noodle soup with whump and ska-rat yesterday, and to SF to Zond-7’s house today & back. I’ve been hurting a lot and a little depressed maybe, or emotionally shaky, or something. Often i’m in such heinous pain I whimper by accident. I’m in that state now, embarrassing. I dont’ lie around sighing or acting hangdog with just any pain. instead i am here typing and acting normal as possible but then whine out like a dog with its tail stuck under the rocking chair. I swear if that thing had just happened in YOUR ankle you’d sing out too. damn.

Anyway over the weekend I took out a giant wad of poems and worked on them, and arranged them, and started messing with layout, and got a little bit further into an artistic funk as I looked at the little book of poems (“short”) that I made in 2002 and fiddled with its layout and thought about reprinting it and sort of loved and hated the old poems in the way you might too if you write something very overthinkily until it’s burned into your brain. There they are, they’re done, I’m not going to burn them or shoot them or anything — but I’ve passed them by. I fiddled with the arrangement of the poems in another book of poems, and then the enormous manuscript-thing that might should be broken up into two. This, sort of in the background of cleaning things up to have the house full of people and then cleaning up afterwards, so if I seemed abstracted I probably was… Then had a splendid time on the couch (forsaking the baclofen and taking a spacey-outy muscle relaxant) with z-amber and cyn, ranting about the hugos and then making a femsfaward LJ community as we looked over the list of eligible books by women and realized how many of them we hadn’t read, and resolved to read them and review them and to ask other people to write up the ones they’ve read. We got very punchy & giggly and had kind of worked up to it by cyn coming into the bedroom and telling me ominous ominous vague thigns about Blood in the Fruit and then we struggled to outdo each other in praising the 1st three Marq’ssan books & which parts of them perturbed us and led us into self-criticism (I think I cried randomly for several days as I thought about the ways I was like Zeldin with her shreds of privilege, and then later again as I thought about the bits of me that are like Weatherall. Oh, house of horrors!) And back to my own poems sometimes as I feel sort of small and down, needy and cranky and insignificant, I gawk at some sprawly grand scrawl of poemyness and wonder how I wrote so big, or so biggity. I like it, but it’s odd for that voice to be me. But when it is… it’s the best thing ever but it’s being up high and unsustainable, somewhere that I have abstracted myself to, to where I think Maureen Owen would approve and be leaping around from building to building in the Gotham night with me like superheroes cloaks billowing out – but Alta would roll her eyes… earthy hippie goddess on the other shoulder… and tortured ginserouac clashing with cid corman somewhere around my neck, like lice scurrying around … glass bead games as I position carefully in tone and branch out and attempt to grow an architecture suddenly in the middle of someone else’s poetic driveway…

Rook just caught me crying and offered to move my leg around but it was too painful. I’m having trouble with the weight of blankets which sucks becasue I’m cold. the vellux blanket is good for the foot part because it’s so light, and then the electric one can go across my legs. The bad parts right now are my big calf muscles, and the smaller ropy ones next to them on the inside, especially near knees and ankles and then there are othe rmuscles doing stuff in places I didn’t know I *had* muscles. The bottoms of my feet ! Clearly one has muscles there but they aren’t supposed to DO ANYTHING while you’re lying in bed. The thing that just made me yelp was some kind of thing with my big toe leaping up, but….leaping up somehow against something very hellaciously tight up higher. So in trying to pull back against it I burned some other muscle. I wish Tom had not been such a drunken creep pawing at me, because he was the best at un-spazzing my legs when not out of his mind. The feeling is awful; it’s the same awfulness i had during transition in labor, where it felt like my leg muscles were ropy snakes at war with each other.

the ska-rat showed me pictures, in 2nd life and without, kids, family, old friends, fascinating, and paintings. he sweetly left a painting of the view out my study window and i taped it next to the window so that I can have the refreshing mediation of reality always there before me. i like the movement in his drawings and also the utopian glow of the way he paints strip malls, backyards, traffic lights, and suburban swimming pools, infused with grace and mystery. I worried that the slow pace of my life appalled him. Yes, it’s relaxing and I believe it, but, bascially, if you want to hang out with me at the moment it’s at the cusp of sublime and boring. I’m not hopping onto my motorcycle to tour the big city… not till the sun comes out.

So instead of a game we had a little sparky cabal meeting. (Since I took a pain pill I was chirky enough to sit up and be social instead of brooding over my legs in bed.) now part of the problem for me and reading patterns is that I read whatever free piles of books come to me. I’ll change that and start reading new sf by women that comes out as best I can, especially if it comes already recommended!

I miss Zond-7 and wanted to stay over, but Moomin has school tomorrow and rook starts his new job, and plus it’s his birthday! hey! I thought I’d make a cake from scratch if I can manage it. Tues. I’ll go up to the city and then be there Wednesday for my scary but longed for appointment at the ALS clinic.

The kids were lovely today with only minor moments of squabbling. Really it’s amazing how they will just play for hours in elaborate pretending games. Even Peanut was in on most of it though she’s younger. I talked with Moomin a bit today about it being rough being the oldest in a bunch, and asked him to go easy and not to scorn them for a) not knowing somehting b) not being always able to handle their emotions. We talked about who we know with virtues and flaws.

In the pho place ska-rat asked us what we would go back and tell ourselves 20 years in the past (when we all first knew each other.) I think whump’s were somewhat practical financial advice. (Buy *** stock!) and mine was to tell myself that I was doing it all just fine and to go right ahead. Perhaps with a side note to see a neurologist in the next couple of years. But what would that 18 year old self have wanted to ask me! I suspect some things about love and happiness to which I would have plenty of answers, all along the lines of “stay foolish, you’ll enjoy it.” But probably she would have had some warnings and tellings for *me* not asking for mine to her. “Don’t forget this! Don’t forget being like this! Don’t forget me, and this feeling and this other moment, this complexity, and this very beautiful thing! They were real! Don’t get old in that way that makes you lose your fucking heart and soul!” (I won’t… she wrote it all down very thoughtful of my well being.) Ska-rat did not report but clearly had some things in mind for his callow-youth-former-self.