My Feelings on Mass Effect 3

Standard

So Mass Effect 3 came out on March 6th, and by now most people who were going to play the game have already done so. But I’m going to just go ahead and preface this with GIANT FUCKING SPOILER TAGS! DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU HAVEN’T BEAT THE GAME!

*****************************

So here’s the thing. Right now people seem split into two groups. There’s the people who hated the ending so much that they feel BioWare has, with malicious intent, hurt them. Then there’s those of us who felt the ending was fine, or liked it, or just don’t understand what the fuss is about. A very vocal group of gamers has decided to form the “Retake Mass Effect” movement, and are demanding that BioWare change/add on to the ending to the trilogy. BioWare has already announced that they’ll be releasing DLC in short order that will clarify the ending, and clear up any confusion or misconceptions. Apparently, however, this announcement wasn’t enough for these so-called fans.

They co-opted Child’s Play, the “gamer” charity that gives toys and video games to hospitals and sick children, and started a fundraising drive to bring awareness to how much they hated Mass Effect 3’s ending. They raised $80,000, a hell of a feat to be sure, but some of those who had donated believed they were actually paying to get a new ending made. They then proceeded to ask for their donations back. From a charity. Child’s Play was understandably uncomfortable with this, and Jerry Holkins (of Penny Arcade) responded by stating that Child’s Play should not call attention to another cause, it should be the cause. They shut down the fundraiser to avoid any bad publicity because a charity lives or dies by its reputation, and should not be dragged into politics or the anger of fanboys. A lot of people were outraged by this, and I have seen a lot of people saying that they are now boycotting Penny Arcade and will no longer donate to Child’s Play. Totally mature.

After this, they decided to raise over a thousand dollars to get custom cupcakes made to send to BioWare in protest. The cupcakes came in three colours (red, blue or green), but they all tasted the same. This was a not-so-subtle way to show their discontent with BioWare. 402 cupcakes were sent to the BioWare office in Edmonton, and BioWare took the messages that were attached to the cupcakes, and then gave the cupcakes to a local youth shelter. I imagine some kids are incredibly happy today, those were some damn nice cupcakes.

Unfortunately, many were also enraged by this move. Apparently the cupcakes were only meant for BioWare, and giving them to underprivileged children is the same as throwing them in the garbage to these people. Madness, I tell you. I don’t know about you, but if I were given a bunch of cupcakes in a back-handed sarcastic gesture, I wouldn’t eat the damn things either. But you know who would eat them? Those kids at the youth shelter.

So, wedge firmly planted between the two halves, with those of us on the outside left totally baffled by how events are unfolding. I don’t know how any of these “retakers” can’t see how entitled and bratty they’re making themselves sound and look. It may not be their intention, but their actions are what matter in the end, and it’s not a pretty picture they paint of themselves. Those who dare to voice support for BioWare or the game are immediately branded as corporate shills, biodrones, idiots, illiterate soap opera fans, not true fans of Mass Effect, Call of Duty fratbros, children, contrarian, hipster, casual gamer, etc. It’s incredibly tiresome, and all because they felt the last 5 minutes of the game weren’t up to their outlandish expectations. The ending objectively sucked to them, and any evidence to the contrary is a lie.

Except, here’s the thing: the entire third game is the end, people like to gloss over this. The choices you made throughout the series come to their conclusions during the entire game. Also, the endings in the other 2 games gave you 2 choices that didn’t ultimately matter.

In the first, you kill the council or you spare the council. You get some different flavour text, but the overall narrative is the same.

In the second game, you blow up the Collector base or you send out a radiation pulse and hand it over to Cerberus. The cut scene for that explosion is the same with different colours, and the sun behind The Illusive Man changes colour depending on your choice. Ultimately has no real bearing on the overall narrative.

In the third game, the galaxy builds a superweapon called the Crucible, and it’s power source is the Catalyst. The Catalyst turns out to be some kind of ancient being of light that created the Reapers to cull civilizations to keep them from destroying the entire galaxy through their own synthetic races and war. You’re given three choices:
A.) You take control of the Reapers and become the new Catalyst.
B.) You destroy the Reapers, but also all synthetic life. Your AI friends, the Geth, even your Commander Shepard who is part synthetic will die (although not technically, (s)he breathes at the end).
C.) Synthesis. This takes all current life and makes it all part synthetic, to achieve unity. To do this, your Commander Shepard sacrifices his or her life, and becomes a part of everything.

In all three endings, the overall result is the same. The Mass Relays send out waves of energy (color depending on your choice), thereby destroying themselves and leaving the entire galaxy’s fighting force in the Sol system, our system. It also cuts off the other council worlds from each other.

The only part of the ending that irked me was the Normandy scene. For no apparent reason, your ship and crew are flying away from the battle, they crash on an unknown planet, and then the credits roll.

There has been a lot of speculation about plot holes. Some say that it was ‘established’ in the Arrival DLC for ME2 that destroying a Mass Relay destroys the entire star system, therefore all life is wiped out. However, what was actually established was slamming an asteroid at high speeds into a Mass Relay destroys most of the surrounding star system. The energy pulse is not explained, although you can clearly see Earth is not destroyed so… yeah. Speculation.

Another popular “RAGE” point is your crew that was on the ground with you in London is miraculously on the Normandy at the end. Teleportation people are calling it. Now, granted, this was the part that bothered me so I understand the frustration, but BioWare has already stated that they’ll be releasing DLC to clarify the ending and clear up people’s confusion. So this should be a non-issue at this point.

Some more say that the “god child” (AKA Catalyst) has no relation to the Mass Effect lore, and that it was a completely nonsensical way to end the game. This isn’t entirely the case, though. I know it’s popular for these “Retake Mass Effect” people to call those of us that were fine with, or even liked, the ending non-fans, but there is plenty of room for the Catalyst within the Mass Effect lore. Like the article posted earlier today about the planet entry for Klencory, there are many strange and fascinating tidbits through out all three games that pointed toward strange mysteries, like Kumun Shol’s “light beings” and “machine devils.”

I was not upset with the ending because I knew my Shepard was going to die. Victory at any cost. And the cost was high, very high, but at the end I felt hopeful. Sure, everyone was stranded in the Sol system, but the entire galaxy’s best and brightest and most technologically advanced all in one place? I hardly think they’ll have a hard time figuring something out for survival and new ways of travel.

And in the end, we were playing Commander Shepard’s story. While we could personalize, to a limited and pre-scripted extent, our choices and experiences, the overall narrative was the same. Whether I saved the council, blew up the collector base, or romanced Garrus, in the end everyone fought the same war I did. You save the Citadel from Sovereign and Saren, you save human colonies from the Collectors, you save the entire galaxy by ending the Reaper threat.

Most people will argue vehemently that they don’t just want a happy ending, that that’s not what their movement is about. But then they’ll turn around and go, “But why can’t we have a happy ending?” It’s a silly argument.

Five minutes should not diminish the hundreds of hours of joy this game brought you. An ending to a video game should not spiral you into depression for weeks, and if it does, you need to seek professional help immediately. That is not healthy. And guess what, those developers, artists, composers, writers, and myriad other people that worked on this series? Yeah, those are real people who put everything they had into making this franchise. Real people with real feelings. So before you run off to rage at them for what you feel is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, maybe you should sit down and reflect on what’s actually important in life. Reassess your priorities and get some perspective. This entire situation is childish to the extreme.

Mass Effect 3 was a great game, one that left me in tears several times. The entire journey was solid and worth every penny.

Dragon Age: Origins, I like blood.

Standard

Yep, I’m a BioWare fangirl. I would shout my loyalty from the top of a mountain were I not so lazy.

I bought Dragon Age for both the PC and the Xbox 360, so I could play it while Drew was playing. I hate having to share. I have now completed 2 play throughs, and I am started on my third.

My first was a female Elf mage, I chose no origin city. I was neither Dalish nor city, I was just a mage. She was named Annora, of course, and was a spirit healer. The Circle of Magi origin story was.. interesting. You learn much about the tone of the game in these first few minutes. You see First Enchanter Irving arguing with the Knight Commander of the Templars, and the tension between the Circle and Chantry is immediately evident. It is here that you’re also introduced to the first Grey Warden, Duncan (voiced by Splinter).

Right off the bat you’re given a choice, a tough choice. I don’t want to give anything away, so suffice it to say I chose the option that left me feeling rather guilty. As the entire game is based around your becoming a Grey Warden, and as much is advertised in their trailers, I feel no qualms about revealing that part of the story. Duncan recruits you into the Grey Wardens, and he takes you out of the Circle tower and takes you to the ruins of Ostagar, a very large fortress.

You meet the king of Ferelden, an excitable young man named Cailan who is obsessed with the legends of the Grey Wardens. It is here that we learn of the coming Blight that threatens to consume Ferelden, and eventually the entire world. A Blight is a surge of Darkspawn (they look like zombies) led by an Archdemon, and its goal is to eradicate life. Grey Wardens exist to combat the Darkspawn threat and keep the world safe.

I won’t go any further into the story, but I will say that I was mesmerized by the sheer amount of writing that went into this game. Along with the ridiculously massive amount of dialogue, there are also different books/notes/chapters that you pick up along your travels that delve further into the lore of Ferelden and its neighbouring countries. I listened to every person I could talk to, read every book I could, and fell in love with the game and its world.

Your companions are incredible, and it has some of the best voice work I’ve ever heard, and that says a lot considering the track record BioWare holds. The game was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. You get attached to your team mates, the actors, writers and animators did a fantastic job of bringing them to life.

BioWare said from the start that it was a ruthless, almost barbaric world. A mature world for a mature gamer, and while there are warm fuzzy spots in the game (particularly with romances, I swear to god who ever wrote Alistair is my hero), there was for sure a lot of grief and anguish.

Dragon Age presented us with difficult choices that had varying results, some of them not all that great. That’s part of the decision/consequence type game experience that BioWare has been putting out for years, but DA:O took it to a whole new level as far as I’m concerned. I never felt as conflicted with my choices in Mass Effect or KotOR as I did with this game. There were a lot of shades of grey, which is fitting, as they are the Grey Wardens after all. They bring evil into themselves to fight evil, sometimes that’s the only way to ensure peace and security.

Ferelden is not a happy Teletubby world, nor is our own. And that is why this game is amazing and worth a buy.

I fully recommend the PC version for the toolset and modding capabilities, I also hear the console versions suffer from framerate issues.

Fun with H1N1.

Standard

Day 0 (October 21, 2009)

I turned 23 today, and what a wonderful day it was. I started with a spa appointment at my favourite salon, Kiyo. I got my eyebrows waxed, a wonderful 90 minute massage, and then I got my hair cut afterward by a middle-aged French Canadian man. Adorable. I was feeling pretty awesome by the time I got home.

Drew and I went to Woodgrove afterward, where our first stop was the Telus store. He told me to pick a cell phone, so I looked around and settled on a pink LG Keybo2 (or enV3 for you Americans). I think we left the poor salesman kind of dazed. We blew in there like a hurricane, told him what we wanted, and bought it. No selling required for us.

After programming my number into his phone, we split up. I went to Bentley’s first and picked up a cute new purse. It’s a big purple plaid one. After that, I stopped into The Body Shop where they were having a sale on body butter. Got a cranberry and a vanilla nutmeg, and they let me pick out $20 of stuff for free because it was my birthday (awesome!). I got a new nail file, nail brush, and some soap.

After that I headed down toward Addition-Elle, but on the way there I remembered they’d put a Tim Horton’s into the mall recently, so I stopped there and tried one of the new lattes. I can’t remember which flavour it was, but it was pretty good. Not on par with Starbucks, but not terrible. I played with my phone while I sipped my latte and listened to snippets of conversation from the table next to me. It was a group of Japanese teenagers, and they were shopping for their Halloween costumes. I was able to follow a good portion of what they were saying, and mentally patted myself on the back for remembering my Japanese lessons.

My latte was finished and it was time to try on clothes. I took a ridiculous amount of clothing into the changing room with me. I ended up buying a new skirt (black, shin-length with a belt), new jeans (dark denim with a cute sash), 3 new shirts (one is red with a belt cincher and three-quarter length sleeves, one is a black button-up, and the other is a black shirt with a neckline that makes my boobs look fabulous), and a new bra with matching panties.

I got 10% off with my card, and an additional 15% off cause it was my birthday. I was feeling pretty great at this point. Next I walked to the Shoe Warehouse and started looking for a new pair of heels. These cute snake-y looking ones caught my attention, and after trying them on, I knew they were mine. The salesgirl told me they were having a 2 for 1 sale, so I bought a new pair of skate shoes too. It really was my day. :D

Drew and I met up afterward, he’d bought some shoes for himself and a couple novelty items. On our way out of the mall, we were stopped by a man at a kiosk with some weird looking things. Intrigued, I let him pitch it to us. They were called Heat in a Click, and we immediately saw the benefits of them. Drew has this thing called Raynaud’s Phenomenon, and it basically means he has very poor circulation in his extremities. These heating pads seemed pretty perfect for him. We got 2 hand ones, 2 feet ones, and a neck/shoulders one.

After this long day of shopping, it was time to go home so we could get ready for dinner. I put on my new bra, new skirt, and the red top with my heels. Did my make-up, re-fluffed my hair, and I was ready for dinner at the Firehouse Grill.

Dinner was fantastic. Miyagi’s Magic Prawns to start (battered with this sauce on them that is just amazing), sushi for the main course (omnomnom), and some kind of mud pie for dessert. We tried to finish it, but it was so much chocolate. I had about umm… 8 cocktails, so I was pretty drunk when we got home. I crawled into bed and went to sleep, a great birthday behind me.

Day 1 (October 22, 2009)

I woke up feeling crappy. My eyes feel like they’re going to explode, is this a hangover? I’ve never  had one before. I feel so tired, but I don’t know why I should be tired. Maybe I’m coming down with something. Early to bed tonight.

Holy shit, I woke up with this unimaginable pain in my left arm around 10pm. It had me in tears. Took some motrin and Drew rubbed some A535 on my arm, back to sleep.

Day 2 (October 23, 2009)

My throat is killing me, my head is pounding, I have a fever, I’m cold, and I feel so nauseous. I was supposed to go to a job interview today, but my mom told me to reschedule, cause my potential employer would be pissed if I gave him the flu. Taking some gravol and benelyn now. My eyes hurt even worse. Time to pass out for the day.

Drew’s a sweetie, he bought me some gingerale and buckley’s. I’ve started coughing, and I can’t seem to get warm enough. My eyes… Dear god, my eyes. Drew got me a cool washcloth, it really helps take the pressure off my eyes. Back to sleep.

Twisted my knee in my sleep, fuck my life.

Day 3 (October 24, 2009)

Blurrrgh. Can’t focus, hard to think. Can’t talk, throat hurts too much. Not nauseous anymore, had a sandwich and some juice. More drugs. Sleep.

Drew made me a cup of tea with lemon, helped my throat a bit. Still feel awful. Back to bed.

Day 4 (October 25, 2009)

Can’t take it anymore, have  to go to the doctor. Throat hurts, coughing too much, head is pounding. Choking down a glass of water. Taking a quick shower, which is really not fun with a twisted knee.

Judy took me, no one was there. Not much of a wait, had to put a mask on and sit in a roped off area though. Doctor had a strange accent, hard to understand him… maybe my ears are getting blocked up now. Says I have H1N1, gave me a prescription for Tamiflu and told me to stay home and not spread the virus. Judy took me home and went to get the prescription for me. Called mom to tell her I went to the doctor. Judy came and gave me the meds, told me to rest. Here’s my first Tamiflu.

Day 5 (October 26, 2009)

Called potential employer about rescheduling, he informed me they filled the position and hoped I got better soon. Crap. Oh well, there are more jobs. My ears are so plugged I can’t hear a damn thing, just my heart beating. More meds, more sleep.

Drew bought me some orange juice and a chicken caesar wrap, what a good man. Cough seems to be getting worse, but I haven’t had the chills in a while. Things might be looking up. Back to sleep.

Blah, my period started. Cause y’know, I didn’t already feel like shit. God I hate being a woman.

Day 6 (October 27, 2009)

Feeling a bit better today, but my ears are still blocked and I seem to be coughing up phlegm now. It’s not as hard to concentrate. Still really tired. Drew made me a sandwich, it was pretty good. I saw a story on the news about a healthy 13 year old boy with no prior medical conditions who got H1N1. He died in 2 days. I feel awful for his family, and kind of scared for myself. Back to sleep.

Day 7 (October 28, 2009)

This cough just won’t go away, but I feel much more like myself today. Still can’t hear a damn thing.

I stepped on Chewy’s ball in the living room and fell, thankfully not in a bad way so my knees are fine. Chewy was really worried about me, she’s such a good girl.

Ryan came over, we watched Heroes and Paranormal Activity. Raphael Sbarge was on Heroes, I had a fangirl squee. Paranormal Activity was pretty good, but I don’t get why people are saying they cried in the theaters and threw up and shit. It wasn’t that scary. Finished the night off with Four Christmases, very funny. Drew bought me some more orange juice, and we ordered Fast Eddie’s. I couldn’t find anything appetizing on the menu, so I just ordered a chicken quesadilla and ate half of it. Sleep time.

Day 8 (October 29, 2009)

Way more phlegm in my cough now, but I’m still feeling better. I’m on the mend. My stepdad has it now, and my mom’s fighting it off. I’m really worried about them. Ari’s sick too, but she’s on the mend like I am. Only 2 days left of my Tamiflu, so we’ll see how that goes. Still not much of an appetite, and I’m almost out of orange juice. I’ll have to ask Drew to get some more when he gets up.

Going to go nap now. Maybe this’ll be the last day…

Woof.

Standard

So, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that I’m getting a wolfdog in the spring. The name seems to throw people off, so I figured I’d post a little bit of information about the breed.

In the world of wolfdogs, there are two type. There are dogs with wolf lineage, which is what we’re getting, and then there are dogs bred to look like wolves. The latter are generally a mashup of a few types of spitz breeds (german shepherds, alaskan malamutes, huskies), bred and bred over again until they come out looking very similar to wolves.

This is a dog bred to look like a wolf. It has no wolf in it.

This is a dog bred to look like a wolf. It has no wolf in it.

This is a dog with actual wolf in its heritage. Note the eyes. This is the easiest way to figure out if it's a real wolf, or just a wolf-like breed.

This is a dog with actual wolf in its heritage. Note the eyes. This is the easiest way to figure out if it's a real wolf, or just a wolf-like breed.

It’s important when choosing a wolfdog to make sure you know what you’re getting. Breeders will pass off spitz-types as wolfdogs to con people into paying more money, which is reprehensible. Anyone who sells a dog claiming it’s something it’s not is an awful person, in my opinion.

As for dogs with actual wolf heritage, there are few things you need to watch out for. The type of wolf they come from isn’t always important, but for some people, they want a certain kind of wolf. Arctic wolves are a popular breed to mix with. It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of what’s in their heritage, there is never a guarantee for how much or how little wolf is in the puppies. This is true of all mix breeds. You have no way to predict which puppy will have which traits of the breeds in its mix. For examples, go back to my first post about Chewy. One of them came out looking like a malamute, while the other three had bear dog colouring. As a result, people talking about percentages and pedigree are just blowing smoke up your ass.

Wolfdogs are very similar to spitz breeds, not only in size and looks, but also in behaviour. Whether you’re getting a malamute, wolfdog, or even a jack russel terrier, it’s enormously important to research the breed beforehand. Sled dogs and wolfdogs are full of energy, and this energy needs to be used up or they will use it to destructive ends. They require special handling, and they must be trained. They’re escape artists who can jump very high, and excellent diggers. You need special fencing/enclosures to ensure they stay in your yard. We learned this from our first dog, Ziggy, who was a husky/border collie cross. She was Houdini with the escapes.

Wolfdogs require a specialized diet, but it’s not a bad idea to feed wholesome natural ingredients to all of your dogs. Store brand kibble isn’t good, it’s like the ramen of the dog food world. Good enough to survive off of in a pinch, but it will have adverse effects on your health if eaten over a long period of time. After the whole poison pet food out of China scare, I prefer to go the extra mile to make sure what my pets are eating is good for them, and good for the environment.

Spitz breeds and wolfdogs are prey driven animals. If you’re getting one as a puppy, it is absolutely imperative that you socialize your animal. This means puppy class, dog parks, and exposure to cats and other pets you might have as early as possible and as often as possible. The sooner you show them that other pets are part of the pack, and not food, the better. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to as many people as possible. We had tons of people coming over when Chewy was a puppy. The door was always being knocked on, the doorbell was always ringing, and as a result, she does not bark at the door or at strangers.

Almost anything can be fixed with proper training, but it requires you to train yourself as well. You need to be the alpha, you need to be assertive, and you need to exercise your dog daily, if not bi-daily. Any breed can become vicious and destructive if the owner is weak. Educate yourselves.

I like music, do you?

Standard

I’m pretty musically inclined, though it seems to run in our family. My mom and dad can both sing well, and my sisters and I grew up listening to them and breaking randomly into song during shopping, baking, decorating, etc. My mom had her own special songs for all of us, and we often woke up to her “good morning” song, much to our chagrin. It seemed embarrassing to me when I was young, but now that I’m an adult in my own rights, those memories are very much cherished.

My mom was incredibly supportive of anything we wanted to do. Ariella liked to paint and write, and my mom supplied her with the tools to develop those artistic impulses. I don’t think she’s painted anything in a  long time, but she still writes. I haven’t read anything Ari’s written in a very long time, but I support the shit out of her. I hope she gets published one day, cause she has some really fantastic ideas for books. She’s also a great singer, only recently getting back into it.

Angel was a ballerina, and from what I hear she was pretty good at it. Sadly, Angel’s dancing was before my time and I never got to witness it. Well, that kind of dancing at least, she was always dancing to popular music and such when getting dressed. I won these tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet when I was in elementary school, and I can’t even put into words the excitement and pride I felt when I asked Angel to go with me. Of a lifetime of memories with Angel, this one is by far my favourite. For the first time in my life, I felt like Angel and I had really connected, and I was so happy that I had been able to take her to a ballet.

As for myself, well, my mom really wanted to cultivate my singing voice. I was in choir for much of my school life, and often was given solo parts. I still sing, mostly to myself when I’m in the shower or doing chores. I know if I ever have children, they’ll be brought up with their mother singing to them just like my did did for us.

I tried quite a few things, as well. I was in drama, and I played the mother in Peter Pan in a school production. I really enjoyed improv, and the idea of voice acting is still something that very much sparks my interest. Only recently has voice acting begun to be taken seriously. Video games and animated movies/shows are finally getting the kind of press they deserve, and a very underappreciated subsect of acting is starting to rise in popularity. In Japan, their seiyuu (voice actors) are just as famous as their musicians, idols (models), and movie stars. I look forward to the day when people like Jennifer Hale and Raphael Sbarge receive awards for their outstanding work in video games.

I tried dance, even after my car accident. I wasn’t very good at it, but I gave it my best. I’m convinced my body was never meant to move in that way. I can ballroom dance, but pop dancing just doesn’t work for me.

I took art, and still spend a lot of time drawing, it’s one of those things that I’ll always do. Drew’s somewhat jealous of my artistic ability, and I keep trying to tell him to just draw and eventually he’d be good at it too. Have you seen the first couple years of Penny Arcade comics? Gabe sucked, now he gets asked to do comics and promotional artwork by the biggest names in the gaming industry. I started out drawing dinosaurs in ECS (kindergarten), and I swear to god my plesiosaurus was the best in the world. I still can’t draw one as well as I did back then. When I started hanging out with Stephanie Lawrence in grade 3/4, I started copying the drawings from her Sailor Moon cards, and fell in love with the manga style (which is what I stuck to).

Another love of mine was writing stories. I always have dozens of ideas floating around in my head, and getting older hasn’t dampened my imagination any. I’ve written countless multi-chapter fanfiction, as well as poems and short stories. I’m currently working on a completely original idea of mine, it’s sci-fi meets paranormal. A vampire finds a solar system in which the unique sun is not fatal to him or any of his kind. It’s turning out pretty well so far, and I think I might actually send this one in to a publisher when it’s finished. I feel good about it. I enjoy getting my ideas down on paper and fleshing them out, I also write my dreams down cause I have some pretty awesome ones that’d make great stories.

I taught myself to play the piano when I was young, but my mom had to sell our old upright when times were tough back in the day, so I haven’t really touched a piano since then. I’d love to start back up, and I’m currently looking at different USB keyboards. The idea of making my own music very much appeals to me. I’m also going to take violin lessons. I found a purple violin that I just fell in love with, and I’m determined to learn how to play it. if I get good enough, I’m so putting up youtube videos of violin video game covers.

Which brings me to the music that inspires me, the music that I can’t live without. I listen to classical, string instruments and pianos are what strike my fancy. I’m also a metal fan, listening to everything from Slipknot to Static-X to Kamelot, and everything in between. For alternative rock, Deftones, Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer, Muse, and Nine Inch Nails set my soul free. I can’t live without music and art, it makes up who I am at my core. The music I listen to, the things I read and watch, it’s all part of me. It influences me, inspires me, makes me strive to better myself.

I’ll keep you updated on my violin learning and Vampires in Space (I don’t have a real title for it yet), and now you know a bit more about me.

“Bitch thinks she can ignore me.”

Standard

This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately. Sexism, rape, fat-hate, things that most people would agree are pretty awful and should be ousted. The thing is, this type of behaviour, regardless of how wrong and bad we know it all to be, is reinforced by society and accepted by the general public on a daily fucking basis. “But Tassia!” you say, “Surely you don’t think that I could be perpetuating this kind of behaviour?” The fact of the matter is that at some point in everyone’s lives, they’ve all been guilty of allowing and even adding to these problems. Even myself.

It’s a women’s issue because those goals up there–making somebody feel afraid of speaking, making somebody feel powerless to stop what’s being done to them, making somebody feel like the only recourse is to shut up and hide out forever–are the goals a whole lot of men still hold dear and work towards for all women.

You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:

  • every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
  • every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
  • every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
  • every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
  • every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve everything;
  • every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
  • every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
  • every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman

You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.

via Shapely Prose

Hitting close to home? I know it did for me.

What really gets to me, though, is the idea of a girl “deserving” to be raped. How does anyone deserve something so dehumanizing, demeaning, and debilitating? Why is it that if a woman doesn’t kick or scream or fight back she’s somehow to blame for being raped? We are taught from an early age, as girls, that we shouldn’t show emotion lest we be labeled as a crazy bitch. We shouldn’t raise our voices, or do anything physically imposing, because proper ladies would never hit a boy. We should endure people consistently invading our personal space because “they just want your attention.” We should never tell a man we’ve no interest in talking to to go away, because that’s rude, and good little girls are never rude. We’re taught that by following these rules, patriarchal society’s rules, we will be loved and accepted. Differing from the norm, breaking the rules, results in punishment.

So we follow the rules, we keep our voices down, we don’t hit people, we bottle up our emotions, we allow ourselves to be haggled. We let the man we don’t want to talk to, talk to us because that’s the courteous thing to do. We allow advances because yelling “NO!” makes them, and bystanders, think we’re fucking insane. And we’d never want to be seen as insane. Women all over live by these rules, and silently accept rape because to do otherwise would be unladylike. This shit has to stop.

I highly suggest heading over to this blog to read her article about “resisting rape.”

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

  • it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (”mean bitch”)
  • it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (”crazy bitch”)
  • it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (”stuck-up bitch”)
  • it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (”angry bitch”)
  • it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (”bitch got daddy issues”)
  • it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (”dyke bitch”)
  • it is not okay to raise your voice (”shrill bitch”)
  • it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (”mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

I found this particularly chilling:

Here’s a situation every woman is familiar with: some guy she knows, perhaps a casual acquaintance, perhaps just some dude at the bus stop, is obviously infatuated with her. He’s making conversation, he’s giving her the eye. She doesn’t like him. She doesn’t want to talk to him. She doesn’t want him near her. He is freaking her out. She could disobey the rules, and tell him to GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER, and continue screaming GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME every time he tries to step closer, or speak to her again. And then he will be all, “I was just talking to you! WTF!” and everybody else will be all, “Yeah, seriously, why’d you freak out at a guy just talking to you?” and refuse to offer the support she needs to be safe from dude. Or, the guy might become hostile, violent even. Ladies, you’ve seen that look, the “bitch can’t ignore me” look. It’s a source of constant confusion, as soon as you start budding breasts, that the man who just a moment ago told you how pretty you are is now calling you a stupid ugly whore, all because you didn’t get in his car.

Did you just see the “bitch can’t ignore me” montage in your head? All the guys who have ever given you that look just flashing through your mind, one after the other. Why is it okay to act like this? Why is it okay to bully women into frightened corners? Why do people immediately turn to insults when we express our disinterest? I’m not a frigid bitch, I just don’t want you near me. Fuck off.

I’ve been lucky, as I grew up with a mother who taught us that standing up for what we believed in was okay to do, and we didn’t have to sit back and meekly accept what others dished out. At the same time, however, I spent much of my youth in a state of perpetual confusion. My family said it was okay to be who I was, but my peers and teachers were telling me a completely different story. My mom said, “Be yourself!” while my teachers said, “Shut up and be another cog in the wheel.” I saw, firsthand, the kind of behaviour they were trying to indoctrinate into us. Don’t make a fuss, don’t be so emotional, lighten up, he’s abusing you because he likes you. I had always felt there was something wrong with the lessons they were trying to teach us, and I was thankfully spared from drinking their god damn kool-aid.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, getting hit by a car saved my life. I could very well have been just like those other women who live by the rules and silently accept abuse, but being deemed an unfit outsider from the get-go let me see that load of horseshit for what it really was. A load of horseshit. I will not sit by and meekly accept what you dish out at me. You want to label me as a stuck-up crazy bitch, you go right ahead. I’ll label you right back, you misogynistic assbag. You useless disgusting waste of a human being.

Don’t ever buy into what they tell you is the accepted way to act. You never have to be touched if you don’t want to be. You never have to talk to someone you don’t want to talk to. You never have to be someone you’re not. If someone doesn’t like who you are, don’t worry about it. They’re not worth your time. Why try to change yourself because one random asshole thinks your personality is defective? There are other people out there who like you just as you are, so fuck everyone else.

Shhhhrrrrriiiiiipp

Standard

That’s the sound your skin makes as it peels off of your leather sofa in this hot, humid, unbearable heat. Dear god, why can’t it just be mild? 20 degrees, that is my perfect temperature. Not hot, warm. But no, it’s gotta be 30, sometimes 40. That’s just not natural! This is Canada we’re talking about, we don’t have all those silly igloo stereotypes for nothing!

While I can handle (okay, tolerate) being all gross and sweaty, I just feel so bad for my animals. All three cats are long-haired, and Chewy is a frickin’ Malamute. I give them cold water from the fridge and put ice cubes in it, but I can’t really do any more than that and it makes me feel like a jerk. I can hose Chewy off, but could you imagine trying to hose off a cat? Not bloody likely.

The longer this heat goes on (we’re sitting at nearly 4 straight weeks of it), the more I worry about global warming. I haven’t lived on Vancouver Island my whole life, but I have been coming here on a regular basis since I was a baby. Summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, I’ve done every season of Island weather my entire life, and it has never been like this. Never. This just isn’t our natural climate, we’re a fucking rainforest. A northern rainforest. Where’s the rain?

We’re heading for a tropical climate change it looks like. Maybe the scientists are wrong and it is just a naturally occuring event. I mean, the planet was tropical when the dinosaurs were alive, so perhaps there’ll be another ice age in a few thousand years. Maybe it’s Earth’s cycle. That still doesn’t make me worry any less. I’m not suited for tropical climates. Maybe I should move to the arctic… but oh wait! Our nothernmost territories are some of the hottest places in the country this summer. What the fuck?

The planet is going crazy.