Friday, June 28, 2013

Goddamn jealous

There's this scene in Buffy, where Spike has a dream about Buffy and he blurts out I love you.  And he wakes up in shock and thinks Oh shit.

I'd known for a while that the guy I'd been wanting to set a friend up with was someone I was attracted to.  And then I learned more about him and realized that they'd be a terrible match because he's a lot crazier than I'd thought.  Except it's the kind of crazy that makes sense to me.  And then I had the dream, which in itself doesn't mean anything, but when I woke up, it stayed with me.  And there's nothing to be done, because he's off limits to me.  Completely and totally.

Which just means that I feel awkward around him, and every so often, like now, when he posts on Facebook about getting hit on, and he might have taken her up on it, and I am so goddamn jealous.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spoilers, spoilers.

More big shit went down in fantasyland today.  The stuff that had been semi-hinted-at-slash-spoiled happened.  Which was still surprising, in the timing and the specifics, and the cut scene consequences (I haven't played enough to get the final consequences).  They really like to spring Really Big Decisions in the middle of dialog that you have to make immediately, there's no "let me think about that and get back to you in a minute" option.  And this time it's followed by a really, really long cut scene before you can reload and try a different iteration.

I am starting to make decisions based on plotting out multiple playthroughs.  Like, if I want Teryna Jenny to rule with Alistair, then she's going to have to compromise and go with Morrigan's plan.  Otherwise it will be a only-one-throne-necessary kind of rule.  So if Teryna Jenny and Alistair both need to get to the end, and Dwarf Jenny will be sacrificing Logain, and I want a variety of permutations, then Mage Jenny is going to have to take one for the team.

And it's funny to me, since I've gone to all this trouble to keep Mage Jenny and Alistair together, only to pick an ending where one won't survive.  But, dammit, I'm going to keep them together for as long as I possibly can.  I have seen hints of a "last night together" moment, and I'm not letting him go without one.  Or at least, trying my best for one.  It's looking a little late, but I'm still hoping.


You know what else?  I broke up with Alistair once, to see what he'd say.  He didn't argue with me, he didn't tell me I was wrong, he didn't try to fuck me into staying.  He didn't keep texting me over and over, after I'd asked him to stop, tell me that it was my fault for having impossible expectations, and then try again in a few weeks, as if nothing had ever happened.  He didn't treat it like a joke, and assume that "no" is a funny codeword for "yes." Alistair took me at my word, believed that I knew what I wanted and meant what I said.  If only life worked that way...

Wow. Spoilers, etc.

1.  Before I get to the spoilers.  Look.  I usually leave this kind of thing alone, because I read so many other people who are better at this than I am.  But, seriously, world.  You do realize that your logic when you say, "There is a [person from an underprivileged population] who is [position of status/authority], therefore we have solved all our historical systems of oppression," is logic that could be used to prove the lack of sexism in the 1400s because of Joan of Arc.  Right?

2.  SPOILERS.  I knew, going into the Landsmeet, that the wrong decision might cost me Alistair.  I had no idea what that wrong decision would be, or how easy it would be to make it.  And so I invalidated the one thing that meant anything in his world, pissed on his dead, father-figure, hero, and broke his heart.  It was horrible.  I had picked up, partly from my guessing, and partly from spoilers, who the last possible character was.  I had no inkling that it was an either/or kind of choice.  I can have him or Alistair.  There is no compromise. 

There was no question, really.  Once I realized that the course I'd started meant losing Alistair, I replayed it.  I even had non-crush-related reasons, because I know that there will be at least one or two more important plot points where having Alistair in the party, specifically as the love interest, will make a difference.  But this is twice, now, that I've gone back and changed my decision because of Alistair's reaction.

I've mentioned before, the Big Decision in Mass Effect 1, where one of your party members dies on the Big Bad Planet, and you are the one who decides who is going to die.  There is no time to talk about it, no time to think about it, it's the middle of the battle, and you have to send someone you care about on a mission they know they won't come back from.  It's been, for me, the pinnacle of game design.  So much of game choices are clunky good vs. evil.  Or selfless vs. selfish, or idealistic vs. pragmatic.  This is just Ashley vs. Kaiden.  And there is no good answer.  And since the Mass Effect trilogy extends your decisions through all three games, there are long-term consequences.  Your team member isn't just dead for the duration of one final battle, they're dead for two more games.

And yet, despite the terrible consequences of that decision, there is at least the comfort in knowing that you had to make it.  The fate of the galaxy, y'know, hangs in the balance.  If you don't send one of your party members to die, then all of you will die and then the galaxy will be wiped out by evil robots.  Both of your party members volunteer, knowing the consequences, willing to accept them for the greater good.  It is a terrible, but necessary, consequence.

When Alistair walks away, there is no comfort in necessity.  He didn't have to leave.  He didn't have to make you choose between party members.  And you didn't have to choose to hurt him, to send him away.  The alternative is not only acceptable, but understandable and possibly the right decision.  I don't know.  (Given that the alternative party member is possibly paranoid and insane, I'm not sure that bringing him along is smart, but finding some use for him sounds better than killing him.)  In Mass Effect, I can blame the evil robots for the loss of my party member.  In Dragon Age, I can only blame all of us: Alistair, Logain, the queen, me. 

(I'm okay with reading spoilers about alternate outcomes once I've actually made a decision and watched it through.  So I looked up Landsmeet outcomes.  And it turns out that, while Alistair would have stayed with the party, he would have ended our relationship if I had made him king.  Because I'd loved and encouraged his sense of duty over self, he would sacrifice his relationship with me to do his duty as king.  That might have been even worse, to do everything right by him, to not break his dreams, and still lose him.)

3.  I want to talk about storytelling.  About how I've played over a hundred hours (a conservative estimate) of Skyrim, but how different my engagement has been, compared to Dragon Age.  (But also, how much my engagement with the game is related to my lack of other dating-blog-posts.  If I had real relationships to examine, would I spend so much time on this one?)

But then I checked the internets, and there are THINGS, real things that matter, that are amazing and terrible and have heroes and villains and I am horrified and joyful and I can't even.  My country has empowered hate on a Tuesday and love on a Wednesday, and I have all the feels.  I can't even. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Understand Me: A Handy Translation Guide

WHAT I SAY: I don't want to contact you ever again.
WHAT I MEAN: Don't contact me.

WHAT I SAY: I would rather you don't do that.
WHAT I MEAN: Don't do that.

WHAT I SAY: I don't want that.
WHAT I MEAN: I don't want that.


The first time I went through this, it made me angry.  The second time, it made me feel sad and betrayed.  The third time... I'm just exhausted. 

Pet Peeve, with charts

Logic is a skill that can be developed. It is the method of processing information and using that information to make decisions.  Generally it is the synthesizing of data to form meaningful information.  If X + Y = Z, then Z - Y = X.  If we know that X and Y are positive numbers, we also know that Z ≥ X, and Z ≥ Y.  Logic allows us to make predictions of the future based on data about the past.  Part of logic is evaluating what data is relevant to the decision and making appropriate conclusions based on that data.  Logic can be taught.  One can become better at noticing and correcting logical fallacies.

Here's what everyone seems to get wrong: a logical conclusion will consider all relevant factors, even the random, irrational, unpredictable, and illogical factors.  For example, emotion.  Emotion is often based on subconscious factors that can't be reasoned with. And yet, we all have to live with our emotions, and those emotions can make our lives dramatically better or worse.  So to make a decision that throws out as irrelevant any emotional consequences, is to make a very illogical decision.  If one has strong emotions about a subject, then any logical decision about that subject must take those emotions into account.  Not because emotions are more important than logic, but because there is no conflict to begin with.  Logic demands taking emotions into account.

The Wikipedia article about the Myers-Briggs personality assessment describes the difference between "logic" and "feelings" people like this:
Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent, and matching a given set of rules. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it 'from the inside' and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved.
It creates a false dichotomy between thinking and feeling.  Because if one cares about people, then the only reasonable, logical, consistent, way of making a decision is to understand those people, to best consider the needs of the people involved.  Seeking harmony is not antithetical to seeking a reasonable, logical, solution.  If I have an emotional investment in the happiness of others, and an emotional investment in the financial success of my company, then the logical way to make business decisions is to balance the two. 

It's not a question of Data versus Troy.  If we were robots, then, yes, we would not need to account for our emotions.  But we're not robots.  And not even Data would recommend that we pretend to be.  It's also not a zero-sum game.  The strength of someone's emotions is not an invert correlation to their skill at making logical conclusions.  We are not pie charts.

We are bar graphs.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Romancing Alistair: Variations

In my first game (Mage Jenny*), I found a gift for sale in the beginning of the game, and Alistair loved it.  We'd hardly had any interaction, but I could already open a conversation with "Has anyone told you how handsome you are?"  When I realized that the gift was essentially a cheat code for romance, I restarted my game, and played through without the extra romance help.  In that game, even though I raised his love/hate meter just as high, I never got the flirty conversation option.  When the romance started, it was the "I want you to know that I care about you" kind of romance, rather than the "light flirting" kind.  Alistair and I went from platonic friends to people who care about each other, to people in love.

In another game (Teryna Jenny), I managed to raise Alistair's opinion through better conversation and gift choices, without having played through much of the story.  And in this game, there is flirting.  Because he likes me, but doesn't know me.  There's no serious "we've been at each other's backs for this long ordeal" yet, but there's affection and attraction, which becomes flirting.

So the way in which I woo Alistair makes a difference.  Gaining his affection via doing good in the world and having his back yields different results than gaining his affection via joking and gifts.  And that's interesting.

(For the record, with Teryna Jenny, I tried the "sleep with Alistair" conversation option as soon as it appeared, to see what would happen.  He said no.  He's not ready.)

*I got tired of coming up with good/clever/world-appropriate/etc names for characters, so now every character I play is named Jenny.  Male or female, sci-fi or fantasy, human or not.  So I have Mage Jenny and Dwarf Jenny and Teryna Jenny (and a few other Jennys I abandoned immediately when I realized I'd made a mistake in the character creation).

Things I might talk about later

Logic and emotion, rather than logic versus emotion.  Pie chart versus bar graph.

More Alistair (the difference between affection gained by plot versus affection gained by gifts).

Who can see what and why.

The elephant in the bathroom.


Also, since I am moving and painting, I am also making (and trying to restrain) grandiose Awesome DIY Home Plans.  Which means I'm becoming very familiar with home magazines and DIY Pinterest boards and lifestyle blogs.  And in a week I've decided that there is way too much of the following things in the world right now:

1.  Chevrons.

2.  Things with words on them saying what they are or an inspirational word.  Kitchen.  Hang Up.  School Supplies.  Laundry Room.  Keys.  His.  Hers.  Love.  Friendship.  Happiness.  I realize that I do a lot of things with text, like every shirt I made, ever, but this is really getting on my nerves.

3.  Chevrons.

4.  Things labeled as DIY that are essentially, "learn furniture making."  If the steps involved in turning a pallet into a coffee table are 9/10 the same as the steps involved in turning lumber into a coffee table, then it doesn't belong on the same list as "replace the drawer pulls on your cabinets to totally refresh the look!" 

Seriously.  We can all stop now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


All I have right now are noisy phone pics, but you get the idea.  The original green was a little less saturated, a little more dull, IRL, and the new colors are all much brighter.

Just primer on the accent wall makes it look like ALL THE BABY COLORS.

With two coats of paint, it becomes a pink that's much more likely to kick you in the face.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Pattern Here

I looked back at post history, and here's what it looks like:

MARCH: Dance competition is no fun and makes me feel bad, followed by Cassidy drama ending with Cassidy breakup, with a side of the world sucks

APRIL: Still sad about Cassidy, general stress, dancing injury, camera app reviews

MAY: End of semester stress, still sad about Cassidy, lots of camera app reviews, followed by beginning photo assignments, followed by house problems and ALL THE SADFEELS, with occasional breaks for gaming.

JUNE: Still with the sadfeels and the house stress and the gaming.

So that's the last four months made up almost entirely of unhappy blog posts.  With the occasional camera app review.  I'm starting to think that maybe this is a "the common denominator is me," moment.

Even when I start talking about other things it always turns into Alistair.

Reasons I might not be feeling it right now:

1.  First meeting is usually kind of meh
2.  What I want, more than a friend, is someone who will flirt with me
3.  What I want is the possibility that this is what I'm looking for
4.  Everything is feeling kind of meh
5.  I'm just not that into him

If it's 1 or 4, then I should give it another go.  If it's 3, or 5, there's nothing to be done.  If it's 2, then it might happen once the making out happens.  I'm remembering that I was pretty meh on Cassidy after we met the first time, but between our first meeting and our second, he'd already won me over again. 

We are having... a perfectly fine conversation.  We message a few times a day.  Sometimes there is squee.  But I think that the squee is mostly from "I have a message," and not "I can't believe he said this awesome thing."  And, yeah, the idea of sexytimes is appealing enough to be a big factor in my reactions to things.  Except right now, even that just sounds... meh.  Which is kind of how I feel about everything right now.  Except Alistair.

And I feel like I shouldn't make any decisions from this emotional space, because right now, nothing sounds very good, and that's not necessarily because everything is bad.

Except Alistair.  Because an obsessive crush on a video game character is totally healthy, I'm sure.  And it's a good enough excuse to look up gifs.

It's funny, how much I like looking up screenshots of Alistair.  It's not like looking up photos of Carmen from The L Word.  I have no physical attraction to the images.  But I like him as a character, and I can imagine him as a person, and the images remind me of the things the character has said that I find endearing.

And every time I talk about this I have a running commentary in the back of my head saying, OMG this is basement-troll-level pathetic, this sad crush on someone who doesn't exist, this is like every bad stereotype of geek boys who can't talk to real girls so they oogle Laura Croft instead, except it's worse because I'm not getting my rocks off, I've got these gooey romantic girlfeelings.  I can unpack all the problematic parts of that commentary, but I can't stop judging myself based on it.

I'm in such a bad mood.  Really.  This has got to stop.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Last week I finally put together a response for the WisCon survey.  I know that my experience isn't indicative of failure on their part, but I wanted to give them my data point.  And I had a couple ideas that might make it work better for someone more like me:

1. Be more aware of what people know because it's said through official channels, and what people know because people just know.  The PoC dinner, for example, which might have been an official event, or maybe not?  I'm not sure?  It felt kind of like a non-official, official thing that wasn't publicized except by word of mouth.  And the dessert salon, which is traditionally a fancy dress event (optional, of course), but the only way to learn that and pack accordingly, is to know someone who's already been.  I would have been unhappy to learn that on the spot, but I couldn't find anywhere on their website that said so.

2.  Have a few parties/events/rooms, especially early on, with a social activity that's easy to jump in and out of.  Like card games, pictionary, bananagrams.  Something so that there is something to DO with other people, and not just somewhere to BE with other people.  Walking into a room full of strangers who are standing around in clumps talking to each other, and inserting myself into one of those conversations, is really hard.  Especially when the room is labeled "for people who like X" and I haven't heard of X.  Or belong to the group that is X.  Walking into a room with an activity and joining the activity is much easier.  And when the activity is a social one (as opposed to crafting or watching movies) then I can start to make connections.

Things Are Not Good Around Here, Still

It's sort of like this: say I owe a lot of money, to my student loans and my credit cards, and my car payments and phone bill are due.  I get out another credit card so I have the money to pay these things on time.  And then the payments on that card add up.  I say, "well, I can manage for a few weeks without a working phone, so I'll take the money I'd pay towards my phone bill and use that to pay the minimum on my credit cards, so they won't cut off my credit, and I can let my student loans pile up for a little while before they start hunting me down."  Except then something happens and I really do need my phone.  And then I start getting scheduled for fewer hours at work.  You can see where this is going.

Except it isn't money, it's spoons.  And, forgive me, because I know I'm using a metaphor that's meant to illustrate the difference between the lives of sick people and healthy, and I am healthy.  I have tons of spoons, comparatively.  But they are not unlimited.  And I've been stressed.  A lot.  And, without quite realizing it, I've been taking spoons from some places in my life and using them to get through other things.  My body, for instance.  I've been blocking out all thoughts or awareness of my body for weeks, because the resources I need to handle my eating disorder (and the injury which is all tied up in body issues) have all been allocated elsewhere.

Friday morning, one more thing happened, and I realized that I didn't have the spoons to tell my jerkbrain that my feelings of loneliness and failure were memories, that I didn't have to keep living through them every time I was reminded of them, and then I was fighting with my eyes over whether or not I'd spend the day crying in my office, and the next day I was going to need to have a body again, and I hadn't even started to pack, and I couldn't think of one thing in my life that didn't require resources I didn't have.  Nothing was just going to be okay without effort.  Even opening the fridge when I got home meant seeing the rhubarb that was going rubbery and would be really awesome if I could do something with it instead of letting it go to waste, except I hadn't been able to eat anything that didn't come out of a McDonald's bag in more than a week, but if I waited any longer it would be ruined.

A lot of the stress is from internal sources.  A lot of it is "something happened that wasn't really so terrible, but fucked me up Because Issues" kind of stuff.  And so when I tally the external stuff it just doesn't add up to what I'm feeling.  Which makes it hard to see an end in sight, because I can't track internal issues the way I can external ones.  Moving has a timeline.  When the move is over, it will no longer be a source of stress.  But this other stuff, it has no timeline. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Painting diary, so far

I decided that I wanted to paint three walls a bright, light, blue, the ceiling a medium blue, and one wall a very vivid pink.  Here's how it's gone so far:

DAY 1: Buy paint, rollers, tray liners, tape, etc, spend lots of money and pray that some of it gets reimbursed.  If I hadn't gotten so stuck on my color plans I'd cut the cost in half at least.  Start setting up around 11am.  Finish painting primer on ceiling and two of three main color walls around 4pm.  By this time I am physically exhausted (woke up early, spent a few hours climbing up and down a ladder) and ready for a nap, and I have obligations for the evening.  So far, it all looks kind of messy and blotchy but maybe I can pretend it's supposed to look like that?  And it's just primer, so maybe the paint will look better.  Go home for the day.

DAY 2: Go to the house at 9am.  The primer from the previous day looks miraculously better.  Apparently the problem is that as it dries, it changes color and reflectiveness, which means that when it's not fully dry it looks like a hot mess.  The color is gorgeous (the primer is tinted to match the main color paint).  Put a coat of paint on the ceiling.  It looks great!  And isn't that messy!  Done by 11am.  Will come back in a few hours to decide if I want to do a second coat.  (Everyone says ALWAYS TWO COATS, but it looks really solid and vibrant and besides, isn't tinted primer sort of like a first coat of color?)  Go back at 1pm, decide the ceiling looks good.  In order to paint the walls, I'll need to tape on the ceiling, and the paint is still too wet to take the painters' tape.  Go home, wait a bit.  Go back.  Repeat until it's 6pm and painters' tape is STILL taking bits of paint off with it.  Go home depressed.

DAY 3: Try again after work.  Tape is still leaving little peeled up bits on the ceiling, but they're not THAT big and I can go back over them with a tiny brush when everything else is done.  And I really want to get this done.  Paint primer over the last main color wall.  Make a plan for the rest of the week.

DAY 4: After work, attempt to put a coat of paint on all three main color walls.  It is really hot, and the room has no circulation because the air vent is mostly covered up and the windows don't open all the way and I have to keep the door shut because it gets in the way.  I am thirsty and underfed and the heat makes me exhausted and miserable.  I get two walls done and I can't imagine beginning the third.  And the walls look terrible.  I mean, really, really, terrible.  Even knowing that they dry better, I can't imagine them looking enough better.  And I'm off schedule.  I go home and hate the world and myself until I fall asleep.

DAY 5: Drink more water all day.  After work, bring a fan over from home, and paint the last wall.  Realize why painting makes me so miserable, besides the heat and the tired.  (I am clumsy.  I trip over things and bump my hands into things and that means I'm constantly messing things up, and I'm constantly afraid of messing things up disastrously.)  Stare at the already painted walls.  They no longer look awful, but I can detect some faint differences in tone.  In the corners, for instance, where a little bit of paint pools in the crease and makes each wall look outlined.  The paint is a tiny, tiny bit lighter than the primer, so the extra paint makes the wall brighter.  And there are a few spots that just look thinner.  If I'm going to do a second coat, I'll need more paint, so I make another trip to Lowes.  Since part of the purpose of the second coat is to make the walls match the edges better, I paint the second coat without cutting in first.  Sometimes, to make sure the transition is smooth, I'll take a nearly dry brush and sort of smooth it towards the edge, but I'm only adding paint with a roller.  This is WAY faster, and instead of just getting one wall done, as planned, I get ALL of them done by 9 or 9:30ish.  Return home almost back on schedule.  Decide to paint inside the closet next time, because the closet door doesn't work right and I'll be leaving it open.

DAY 6 (projected): Oops forgot one small spot. Go fix that.  Then rest.

DAY 7 (projected): Prime inside closet

DAY 8 (projected): Early morning, prime accent wall.  Go to breakfast/proto-date.  Early afternoon, paint first coat.  Then paint inside closet.  Then rest a bit, maybe, and then paint second coat on accent wall.

DAY 9 (projected): Evaluate for possible third coat.  I want maximum saturation.


If I had decided to simply paint four walls all one color, like a sane person, and maybe also paint the trim, here's how it would have gone:

DAY 1: Buy stuff, spend lots of money.  I could probably prime four walls in the time it took me to prime three walls and a ceiling. 

DAY 2: Show up at 9am, paint first coat on the walls.  Finish by early afternoon.  Wait until evening, paint second coat, probably not finishing the whole room.

DAY 3: Come by after work, paint the remaining walls.

DAY 4: Rest

DAY 5: Rest

DAY 6: Paint trim.  Done!


The thing is, I am hating and loving this project at the same time. Because the difference that colored walls make is spectacular.  The room is bright and cheerful and open and airy.  I am in love with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


One of the Persons of Interest has made a declaration of intent.  So that's happening.  The intent is only a FWB kind of situation, as person is poly with a primary partner.  I am wary, but intrigued.  And the interest is starting to outweigh the caution.

Monday, June 10, 2013


When I was putting together data on my message writing habits, I discovered that at times of greater stress I sent out much more "normal" messages. 

more houseangst

(Oh and also I picked flat matte paint because I wanted the most color and shiny paint makes for shiny highlights which take away from the saturation of the color except now I'm seeing that even bedrooms should have a little bit of gloss, like an eggshell or satin, because matte can't be cleaned and should ONLY be used in rooms that exist mainly as decoration, so I may have made a terrible choice but I don't want to buy ANOTHER GALLON of the stuff because I'm spending way too much money on this as it is.)

The best emotinal arc I've had in weeks is a video game romance. I am officially pathetic. Also, I have thoughts.

I "achieved" the romance plot with Alistair yesterday.  By which, I mean, we had sex.  I've actually had the "sex with Alistair" option for a while now but I was a little worried that it was too soon to use, and it might go badly.  He might refuse or something.  Anyway, he was earnest and awkward and sweet, the dialog I mean, not the sex, and after a truly embarrassingly terrible cut scene, I got a little popup achievement notification.

I find it worth noting that the quest is achieved with sex, especially since sex is not the hardest thing to unlock.  I'm certain that there is still more romance plot to unfurl, as Alistair asked something along the lines of "what do we do now," and I said, "fight darkspawn."  The relationship has not been settled beyond this adventure.  (Although when I responded to his worry that other party members would talk about us with, "Anyone makes a snide remark and I'll throw them to the darkspawn," he laughed and said, "that's why I love you.")

And, seriously, words are not enough to explain how bad the cut scene is.  It's like every good thing the game was doing with romance all went out the window, along with every good thing Bioware has ever done with romance in any other game.  The good music turns terrible, the good dialog is silent, and every awkward detail of their character modeling is put on display.  What makes it even more bizarre is that Dragon Age came out two years after Mass Effect 1.  Did they just not want to invest the resources to make it better?  I'd been noticing that the modeling looked better in ME1, but it isn't so bad to look at during normal gameplay.  When those awkward limbs and emotionless faces start trying to look sexy it's really hard to watch.

Terrible cut scene aside, I keep finding ways in which this experience is and isn't like other kinds of storytelling.  I read romance novels, and I watch romantic movies, and I care very much about the romantic plots of TV shows, so I've seen this kind of story many, many, times.  When the story plays out in an RPG, there's the effect that playing has versus reading or watching.  There's also the effect of a much more drawn out time frame.  I can read a book or watch a movie in a few hours.  But the romance plots in these games are tied to the game plots, and new conversation options come up only after finishing certain quests or getting enough experience points, so I am forced to wait in a way that I usually don't have to.  There are over 60 hours of gameplay, and that's a conservative estimate, given the way I play.  That's a stack of books, and several seasons worth of TV time.  It's not just that the characters go through a lot together, in story, but I, as the player, spend a lot of time involved in the game and with the characters.

I actually went back and replayed a significant dungeon (well, overrun castle, actually) because when the quest was over, Alistair was mad at me. 

(And, because I am one of a million fangirls out there, I thought I'd link to a nicely put article on The Hairpin about Alistair fangirling.  I stopped reading when it got to mentioning spoilers I hadn't come across yet.  Luckily they were just referred to, and rather confusingly, so I got foreshadowing but not actual PLOT.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I went over to the house at 9am today because I want to get things done because I'm really stressed about time. I mean, we still have two weekends left but there's also the rest of the house to paint and also all the moving and did I mention I'm stressed?  I'm also supposed to be dancing again, DOCTOR'S ORDERS, so they can check my leg, and it's one more thing that makes me exhausted except it's not even for fun it's FOR MY HEALTH.  At 11am I finished putting a coat of paint over the primer on the ceiling.  Then I went home to rest while it dried enough to do something else.  And everyone says I REALLY SHOULD paint two coats, and I really want to do this right, but I think it looks good as is, and I'm terrified of how much more time I'd take putting on another coat when I've barely started on the walls.  Can says dry to the touch in 1 hr and ready to paint over in 2-4.  And I kept going back and checking and it kept not being dry enough and now it's been SEVEN HOURS and I still can't DO anything because if I put tape on it the paint peels off and I feel like I wasted the day.  I didn't put on a second coat this afternoon because I wanted to do walls but now I have neither second coat nor walls and the weekend is over.  And I didn't get to relax at all because I'm trying to work but I didn't get enough work done either.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Oops, spoke too soon.

And then there were two.

Friday, June 7, 2013


1. We are moving.  I think I may have mentioned this, or at least mentioned the news that our landlord announced that she might sell the house, and the new owner might not want to rent it out, so we might be homeless some time after our lease ends in August.  Or, you know, not.  So we collectively freaked out, yelled a lot, and found a new house.  The finding a house angst turned into plans on new house angst, along with OMGMOVING angst, and some of that has lessened, and some if it hasn't, and most of it I'm filing in my head under NOT NOW.

So there is painting to do (which is sounding simultaneously 'totally doable' and 'terrifyingly daunting') and then everything else.  We have keys already, and officially take possession on July 1.  Right now all I can think about is painting.

Learning Sketchup by way of room planning

2. There are new People of Interest on OK Cupid.  Or, at least, I am having conversations with three people, none of whom have actually announced their intentions vis à vis making out.  Honestly, I don't know what my intentions are vis à vis making out, either.  But they are all entertaining, and the attention is flattering, even if it isn't that kind of attention.

3.  I went to the UI Wellness center, where I was very pleased with the service.  I was going to the gym and wanted some kind of orientation or introduction or something, and I saw a "Wellness" office with someone at a desk who looked like she might know the answer to questions.  Turns out that the Wellness center isn't actually part of the gym, it's just in the same building.  They offer "wellness coaching," as part of my benefits package, and I thought that a wellness coach might be someone I could talk to about my inability to understand the signals my body is sending me, and whether this just needed more waiting or I should see sports medicine or what.

And I was a little apprehensive, because I am a fat person talking to people whose job it is to encourage "fitness," which people usually define as, "not fat."  But no one ever mentioned to me that I might want to lose weight.  It was listed as a potential thing they help with, along with quitting smoking, stress management, exercise programs, nutrition, etc.  But they listed it, I didn't bite, and it never came up again.  When I told them that I'm active and feel healthy, they believed me.  I was prepared for FAIL but it never happened.  And I am grateful for that.

My coach sent me to sports medicine.  Sports medicine told me that it isn't a shin splint.  It's likely a stress fracture, or possibly compartment syndrome.  Don't google "compartment syndrome."  There are slight signs on my x-rays that suggest fracture, which is treated much the same way as shin splints, but for a much longer time.  Which sounds exactly like what I've been experiencing.

The advice I've been given is to get a compression sleeve for my leg, which will help support my shin, and slowly start to add back activity.  The doctor says that the mild awareness and discomfort I'd been feeling is acceptable, but I should avoid anything more severe.  It's still hard for me to make those distinctions, but at least I know that's what I'm looking for.  Before, I didn't even know if any sensation was sign of damage or a sign of healing.  I will be back in a few weeks to re-evaluate.  Problems like this are hard to diagnose when they're dormant, so if my leg gets bad again because of the dancing, then they'll be able to better treat it, and if it isn't a problem, then it doesn't matter.

I also asked about my feet, and was given foot strengthening exercises and a new set of orthotics.  If I like them, I can also take them my new tennis shoes and they can take out the inserts that are in the shoe, and replace them with doctor ones.

I am very apprehensive about returning to activity.  I have been shutting my body out so completely this last month, because I couldn't handle having one.  So now I feel bloated and out of shape and I've been gone so long that going back feels like a big deal and I don't want it to be a big deal.  I don't even know when the dancing is anymore.  And I feel like my stress level is high enough with the moving that I have enough energy to do moving things, and play video games, and that's about it.  (Also, my deal with the gym gets me a really good price but I have to go at least four times a month, which would be awesome but right now just feels like One More Thing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tune in next time.

The last two days were "write something, delete, write something, delete," kind of days.  I had thoughts to write down but nothing seemed worth caring about. 

In other news, the New York Times ethics column just told college students that writing an essay is just like solving a math problem, as long as you've done it once, you don't need to bother doing it again; just turn it in again!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sad tonight.

Noticing the way people say names as if they meant something, as if there are stories and histories and funny anecdotes and shared experiences, the way friends do.  And then they mention something I did too, I was there, and I feel like it should be a shared experience, like I'm part of it, too, except that I totally failed to have the experience, I watched everyone have the experience but I didn't do it right or wasn't right or something.  It was like jump rope: if I can be there when the rope starts I can do it fine, but I never learned how to time it so I could jump in when the rope was already going, y'know?  Except I didn't really care about jumping rope, but I care about this and I still feel like I failed and now I keep seeing reminders and feeling lonely and lost all over again.