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posted at 12:24 am on 08-25-2008
“You know, it’s really not surprising. I hold a force I can’t contain.” –“Medication,” Garbage
I guess I really can’t say this is the song I listen to when I’ve hit rock bottom. If I had hit rock bottom yet, I’d be dead… or in the hospital or in a mental ward or some other bleached-white skeleton of a place where I could look around and say “Hell yes, I have hit rock bottom.” The fall is far more insidious. The closer I come to hitting bottom, the more those last few inches of darkness call to me. I can’t fight it the way I used to, with the thought of a game in the mail or meeting a friend tomorrow… I mean, eventually you run out of money and I have all but run out of friends as well. And eventually even all the little barriers stop mattering. Screw the brighter tomorrow, screw opportunity, screw what I wanted from life… I want to shut off for a bit. Maybe even death, although more often it’s just a jaunt through blessed insanity. The rest of being in a padded cell for a while with no expectations except the hope you’ll come out “better,” because everyone knows you are not functioning.
Only, since I’m an aspie and I cherish my routines above almost everything, I think such a place would just make me worse. But seriously… at those moments, and I think my moment is coming now, it’s “stop the world, I want to get off.” Just before that is the window of time when I can listen to “Medication.”
It’s not a nice song. Far from it. It’s a goddamned self-pitying brutal bitch of a song. You can feel the rough hands grabbing for you as you listen, the fake-soothing voices telling you to lie down and surrender to whatever’s coming. It gave me the creeps. I couldn’t listen to it for years.
But now, in my dirty cynical no-way-out moods, I can see straight into the song. It’s almost a comfort. Maybe someday I’ll work it out, but I really do hold a force I can’t contain. I don’t know where my feelings come from half the time; even more of the time I’m not sure what to do with them. Or maybe I really will go insane someday.
In any case, helps to hash it out like this, and to tell that damn song it doesn’t scare me.
posted at 05:11 am on 07-26-2008
I mean, what the hell happened? Is this normal NT behavior? Am I wrong to feel completely and utterly betrayed? I mean, just yesterday I was wondering if taking a temporary break (read: it was an ugly, brutal one that lasted about six months) from this friendship in sophomore/junior year had done something awful... or at least that I missed six months of opportunity to have a friend and be a decent friend. And now I find this?
Oh, hell, I'm being so vague. So I'll clarify... if only to myself (it's not like anyone else reads this useless fucking stream of consciousness). It's night, I'm bored, and I go to my friend's MySpace page. My last friend, in practical, awful terms... much as I want to spend time with my other friend, I never could, because her insane family had basically put her under house arrest.
Only now, here she is, on MySpace. Commenting cheerfully on his page that no, I'm not dead, how silly, and you know I really ought to hang out with you and (Novinha) some time. I couldn't believe it was her, but I recognized her face even though I wasn't sure I'd be able to anymore, and the more I read down the page the more I recognized.
All the way down to the fact that I was nowhere to be seen. Not a picture or a word. She'd used my nickname (if I'm going to split hairs, and damn it, I'm upset enough to split hairs) on my other friend. She listed her best friends as the girl I wanted to keep in touch with but couldn't, and another girl I didn't recognize. How long has this been going on? I thought she was desperate. I thought I needed to help her get out of there. I should be glad to find out it's not the case... but...
I was the one who always tried to be there, who always tried to provide help when she needed it, the sounding board, the... best friend.
And now not only do I appear not to be her best friend, but I don't even merit a call or an email or a message passed on through my other friend. "Hey, Novinha, you can stop worrying you'll find my obituary in the paper one morning. I'm alive and happy enough not to top myself anytime soon, and do you know I just might be able to talk to you at some forseeable point without metaphorically being sent to Siberia for six months after?" Maybe it's not true, somehow. Maybe she lost everything again right after she posted that comment. Maybe...
But I'm still angry. I can't hate her, even if I try. But if I had the opportunity to get a message through to her, screw the timing, I'd do it! And if I had the courage to call her a friend even though I hadn't heard from her for months and wondered if she'd moved to another state (or just gone back to the islands), why couldn't she bloody well do it? I'm not blameless: I should have called sooner after I got back from vacation. But I was so afraid. I knew she never got any of the messages I left on the machine or with her conniving, misbegotten relatives. The futility, the chance that I'd piss off the lunatics into treating her even more harshly... it drained me. All summer, I fought: not a small thing, since I hate the phone (you wouldn't believe the ways I manage to screw up). I was just so terrified to start the cycle all over again, even though I knew I had to for her sake.
But, if she's finally free to make some of her own decisions: how dare you leave me here, trapped with myself!? It may not be very interesting to you, but I'm going CRAZY here! You knew I'd been drifting in and out of depression all year because of my loneliness (despite my efforts to make new friends... how can NTs make it sound so easy!?); how could you abandon me to it? I'm stagnant, what little social skills I have are atrophying, I'm identifying more with my crazy characters than anyone real and good. So, M, is gratitude really a disease of dogs?
No. I shouldn't be that cruel. Still...
If she's smiling again, why can't I stop crying?
If she's back from the dead, why do I feel like I've been stabbed repeatedly?
Ugh, so what if that sounds emo? It's the truth, and I refuse to atone for ANY of it.
Bluntest of the Blunt
posted at 03:24 pm on 06-30-2008
I got a letter today from myself. Not exactly business as usual, but hardly unexpected: one of our last assignments in Government AP was to write a letter to ourselves, to be posted a year later, with the pieces of wisdom we'd want ourselves to know later.
Apparently I didn't think much of the assignment, or else I was in a remarkably rotten mood. Apparently I also need to be defended from myself. I'll quote everything but a bit in the middle, which is a bit of a cheap shot at other people.
You don't change much, I know. You get more and more like you every year. Learn more trepidation. Build more ice. Work on your mask. Really, I wish you had more guts...
So, you want my wisdom, huh? Well... never take raisins from rabbits, never spit in a man's face unless his mustache is on fire, and don't take any wooden knickers unless you've a good supply of salve.
What did you expect, sugar? Real wisdom comes only from chance.
(Brownie points for finding the Baldur's Gate quote in the above. Then again, I think there's an obvious break in tone there, so...)
Strangely enough, one of the other end-of-the-year assignments for that class was... well, let me explain it. You may have done it before (I know I did a form of it in the fourth grade), but I'm not sure there's a good name for it. What we did was take a piece of blank computer paper, write our name on the bottom, and then pass it right (or left, I honestly can't remember and it doesn't much matter). That person would write one good thing about you, then fold the paper over so their comment was hidden. I've always hated those because I don't know people well enough to know their good qualities. Most classes I barely know people's names. In this class I did... they were, at least in some cases, the smartest people in the school. But I still felt like a pariah. There were some people who actually wanted to work with me sometimes, people I won't forget because those occasions were few and far between (still are) in school. But too much of the time, it was the same old standing in the middle of the class, praying to disappear while everybody else flocks to their friends and the teacher wonders what's wrong with you.
So I'm leaving class on the day of the talk-nice assignment, feeling relatively good about myself. In the end, I was able to think of nice things to say to everyone, and in some cases got the chance to say things I knew I wouldn't have been able to otherwise (people I admired but knew I wasn't necessarily welcome to befriend). And then I unfolded my paper, and nearly fell off my seat.
Almost everyone in the class was telling me they respected me, that they thought I was brilliant, that I should speak up more. And part of me was flattered, thrilled even... but the rest was reeling. They were trying to be kind and instead managed to hurt me more than they could possibly know. How could you think of me this way and still leave me to twist in the wind? How can you respect the things I say and still allow them to be pounded down by mindless drivel just because the latter was thrown out by more popular students? If you respect me, why does it feel like you hate me?
But in the end, I'm not sure I want an answer. I can't really expect more than a convenient package of lies, or a truth as brutal and jarring as my own letter.
So I'm a coward. Who cares? Let's all have some cake.
posted at 11:08 pm on 05-04-2008
This must be at least the third time I've received this email from members of my family. I'm no atheist, but every time I see it I'm not inspired... I'm, at the very least, irritated. Here it is in its entirety:
This one should keep us all thinking.
I chose #2, now you pick one.
This is a true story of something that happened just a few years ago at USC.
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist.
His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester to prove that God couldn't exist.
His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic.
Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation.
At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!"
In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because any one who believes in God is a fool".
If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do it."
And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces.
All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare.
Most of the students thought that God couldn't exist. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but! For 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.
Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll.
He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about his professor.
He was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid.
But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought.
Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.
Finally, the day came. ! The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom.
The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!"
He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken.
The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.
The young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of His power through Jesus.
You have 2 choices:
1. Delete this and never look at it again.
2. Pass this along to your Christian and non-Christian friends, giving them encouragement we all need every day
When you choose option 2, you have chosen to STAND UP
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:
This is not intended to be a joke, it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking..............
Isn't it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Isn't it funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
Isn't it funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. Or is it scary?
Isn't it funny how someone can say "I believe in God " but still follow Satan (who, by the way, also "believes" in God ).
Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, But when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think
twice about sharing.
Isn't it funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Isn't it funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.
Are you laughing? !
Isn't it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.
Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.
Will YOU pass this on? . I did .
Did you guess which part sends me over the edge? Maybe not. I'll tell you either way. It's the part that tries to put the squeeze on me. The story's just a story: just another blowhard teacher, this time thankfully getting his comeuppance whether through bad luck or divine intervention. But then they make it into the lowest, slimiest form of chain letter by telling me that if I'm not a coward, I'll pass on their beliefs, without any regard for my friends. Who, by the way, are an agnostic who doesn't want to be pushed around about it and a girl who is too busy trying to survive to read this thing. Worrying more about what people think of you than what God thinks of you... isn't that what this whole thing is? My beliefs are my personal business. Other people's beliefs are theirs. This letter only matters insofar as my family would be happy if I emailed it to every man, woman and child I know. Which, by the way, doesn't add up to much... shame that takes me over whenever they send me a chain letter. And that's pretty much all they do. Chain letters and pictures of cats. I'm not sure if I wish they would actually talk to me or not, although I do know I would prefer it to this. Well, consider it spread around, I guess. But in future, I don't care what they think; none of this will come from me. I am brave enough for that.
posted at 03:33 pm on 04-26-2008
I'm just going to come out and admit it. This has been a bad year.
It's not really the year's fault. It's not the place I'm in or the life I'm living... I think. The fact is, I've been losing control over myself since last summer.
I was on vacation, and I got a rare chance to check my email... only to find that my best friend had tried to run away from home again (having tried it once before only a couple weeks earlier). They'd tried to reach me, but of course I hadn't been there. Later she told me that she would have committed suicide if another friend of hers hadn't found her and driven her home.
To be honest, I can't remember if it was the first or second time that had her walking along the road, weighing the decision to throw herself in front of a car. I find it ridiculous that my memory could fail me there. That doesn't change the fact that all I can remember is my reaction: that I was powerless to save her from her life, that I was traitorous for being in another state instead of next to the phone in her hour of need. And worse: I thought she was a coward, wanting nothing more than to throw away all the things she'd ever wanted for the sake of her family's idiocy (ignoring the fact that they had been wanting her to do the same for far longer), and all too willing to abandon me to a world she and I both knew didn't much want me.
It was anticlimactic. She survived... if you can call it that. Her family all but keeps her prisoner; I haven't heard from her in months. With her strange (as in "violent and control-obsessed") family, I'm terrified that one day, I'll open up the paper to see an obituary. Murder, maybe... "Savage beating leaves young woman dead." Or maybe a "fatal accident." Or maybe she'll just disappear for good. In any case, I don't know where to go or what to do.
And in any case, it's me I'm really beginning to fear for now. Selfish? Yes. But what am I supposed to think when I've been dipping in and out of depression for almost a year now? When I've gone from thinking the diet I went on was difficult to wondering if I can and should eat anything at all? When I can no longer predict my own reactions, bouncing from happy to sad without ever knowing why? When, for the last two weeks, I've cried almost every day?
I don't know what the hell is going on anymore. If this is depression, it's the worst it's ever been, and it shows no sign of letting up. I've actually been thinking of going to some professional to beg for antidepressants, even though I've been opposed to the idea all my life for fear they'll change my personality, and the only thing that's stopping me is the fact that I've known family members who ended up dependent on the medication and still sunk in misery.
I'm surrounded by people that I'm bending over backwards to make friends with even though I don't have much energy for it anymore and even though I know they can never be the friends I'm looking for. The friends I'm looking for are two in number; one is at least as busy as I am and has more (and happier. And prettier. And trendier) friends to concentrate on, and the other needs a savior I can't be. I'm clinging like crazy to anyone who can pass for a friend for a few minutes. And I think I may have forgotten how to be a friend in return.
Does that really mean I deserve this?
Who cares? I just needed to say something. Even if it's true that nobody cares, and even if I'll regret it in a few hours when the bizarre, unpredictable happiness comes again.
I just needed to ask for help for once instead of hoping I won't need it.
posted at 04:54 pm on 03-21-2008
This is pretty much just for me, because I'm bored and I like answering questions. (And if you happen to be the one person who would know what I meant by the title... I copied the questions off your MySpace page.)
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF - The Survey
Birthday: Early during Libra
Birthplace: A hospital
Current Location: At my desk
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Naturally? I don't know anymore. Some shade of blonde.
Height: Five foot eleven and some.
Right Handed or Left Handed: Technically, right, but this whole right/left thing has always been a mystery to me. I actually started out left-handed before my teachers trained me out of it. I've never been able to tell right from left to my satisfaction. And, though I can feel it more than I could as a child, I still have to look at my shoes before putting them on to see that I'm not putting them on the wrong feet; I can walk around for ages like that.
Your Heritage: European, mostly British/Welsh/Germanic
The Shoes You Wore Today: Men's work shoes. Yeah, I know, but at least they're black and not fussy.
Your Weakness: Anything social
Your Fears: Rejection, heights, and cockroaches.
Your Perfect Pizza: I know I'm the only one, but I hate pizza. My perfect pizza would be nothingness in a world where no one would try to pressure me into eating (for better or worse) like they do.
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: I don't really make goals...
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: "I meant to say . and not /"
Thoughts First Waking Up: "Oh, crap, do I really have to?"
Your Best Physical Feature: My face.
Your Bedtime: What is this "bedtime"?
Your Most Missed Memory: Late summer nights. I couldn't have slept even if I'd wanted to; I didn't of course, it was a game to me then instead of a danger, seeing how late I could stay up and congratulating myself for my victories with a late-night chocolate feast. I would listen to the radio without slagging off most every song I heard; I'd get excited at every "new sound" even if I'd heard it twelve billion times before. And then I'd put on my first Garbage CD and marvel at how different Jane Eyre seemed with different music backing it.
Pepsi or Coke: Coke; Pepsi is too sweet.
MacDonalds or Burger King: McDonald's!!!
Single or Group Dates: I really wouldn't know.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Lipton
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate
Cappuccino or Coffee: Neither.
Do you Smoke: Everybody smokes in hell!
Do you Swear: Every damn day.
Do you Sing: Sure. But my voice jumps up an octave when I'm nervous.
Do you Shower Daily: More like every other day.
Have you Been in Love: Yes
Do you want to go to College: I thought I did. Now I'm just serving time, trying to get enough units to get on to better classes.
Do you want to get Married: Yes
Do you belive in yourself: Well, if I didn't, wouldn't I just vanish in a puff of logic?
Do you get Motion Sickness: Sometimes
Do you think you are Attractive: People tell me I am. For me, it depends on the day.
Are you a Health Freak: Can you hand me that bag of chips over there, please?
Do you get along with your Parents: Mostly
Do you like Thunderstorms: Like is too weak a word. I LOVE rain and especially LOVE thunderstorms.
Do you play an Instrument: I play the recorder (it's like a flute) like a flock of angry seagulls.
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: No
In the past month have you Smoked: I wish I could get away with it. But under these laws, being dangerously asthmatic, and noting that I still seem to be alive... apparently not.
In the past month have you been on Drugs: I think I'd have noticed.
In the past month have you gone on a Date: I also think I'd have noticed.
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: No. Haven't been to the mall since the GameStop there cheated me out of my Hellgate: London preorder. Wankers.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: No... but I did eat a box of Thin Mints. Hey, can't let them go to waste!
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: No. You'd be able to tell. I'd still be vomiting.
In the past month have you been on Stage: No. I keep thinking of trying out for the musicals and stuff on campus, but then I wonder what I was thinking...
In the past month have you been Dumped: Can't be dumped if you can't get a damn date in the first place.
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: I wish.
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: No
Ever been Drunk: No
Ever been called a Tease: No
Ever been Beaten up: No
Ever Shoplifted: No
How do you want to Die: Painlessly and at the opportune moment.
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: Novelist, poet, columnist, whatever. I enjoy writing (except for the frustrations of coming up with plots, starting and ending), and I think I'd be happiest if I didn't try to shoehorn that into something like journalism, something more accepted but less creative. And if I publish something at some point that will make me so rich I never have to work again, so much the better.
What country would you most like to Visit: Scotland. Again. Permanently.
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color: Blue, gray, green
Favourite Hair Color: On a guy I prefer dark hair. Not just because I like the contrast of dark hair and light eyes, which I do, but because I don't trust blond guys. The one exception here is Daniel Craig: it doesn't matter in the least if I trust him because I'll never meet him, and I've liked him since Layer Cake.
Short or Long Hair: Short hair.
Height: Over six feet.
Weight: Neither crushing nor cadaverous. If I'm to be honest, though, I do have a preference for guys who are a little less fit than most probably think they should be. I don't want to see ribs, and I'd rather not go with someone more overweight than I am, but the whole musclebound thing doesn't interest me that much.
Best Clothing Style: I suppose I'm partial to what most would call "goth." What can I say? Black is slimming, and Anne Boleyn was a great dresser.
Number of Drugs I have taken: Does pseudoephedrine count? Yeah, it was because I had a cold, but the way it made me so much "happier" and "friendlier" I might as well have gotten my hands on some half-assed ecstasy...
Number of CDs I own: Probably a couple hundred.
Number of Piercings: Not even my ears.
Number of Tattoos: None
Number of things in my Past I Regret: More than a few. But mostly I'm too good at rationalizing to let it bother me.
posted at 03:02 pm on 03-01-2008
They start with a sound. Doesn't have to be that loud, just loud enough for a few too many flakes of snow to come loose and bring the whole damn mountain crashing down.
So pretend you're climbing a mountain... just humor me. Pretend there's a radio someone left there playing "Enter Sandman" on repeat. Not loud enough that your eardrums shatter; just loud enough that you can hear it playing quietly no matter how far you run, and you start muttering "Can't somebody unplug that damn thing?" Then pretend that your rope snaps, and every thing you held on to to get as high as you have is gone. A few feet down, you quickly grab on to something that looks stable; the danger is passed. It's like it never even happened. But is being alive enough to forget how close you came to death (or at least injuries maybe no one would ever be able to save you from)? And did I mention that you seem to be slowing down no matter what you do, and there are a bunch of people climbing past you, telling you you should have been ahead of them, paving the way, and while they're climbing past you, the little clumps of snow they carelessly knock aside keep falling on your shoulders.
Wouldn't you be absolutely sure that it was all a few seconds away from burying you?
What the Heck Have I Gotten Myself Into?
posted at 04:36 pm on 02-17-2008
Just finished the first week of my second semester of my first year of college.
Still an awful lot of firsts there. I guess I can add to that "first time college hit me like a ton of bricks," at least if I don't count having to last-minute finish my research paper. Guess I should draw hope from the fact that the paper (the cultural impact of Star Wars on America, a topic I picked because I love Star Wars and I particularly liked the idea of reading the books and playing the games and stuff to get my "sources." Instead, we had to focus on periodicals... and I ended up hating myself a couple of times for picking the bloody topic) was a success. I left the class hoping the paper wouldn't drag my English grade down to a B (I ended up losing my scholarship anyway). Instead, I got an A... and when I went shopping for books for the new semester, I ran into my English teacher. I really wish I'd had a tape recorder or something... suffice to say he really, REALLY liked my paper. He even said that it was... well, too long to publish, but it was of the right caliber to publish. I'll probably post it somewhere when I can find time to get to his office and get a copy back.
Anyway, if an exhausting experience I only saw as an utter failure can turn out like THAT, by rights I should be more optimistic about this year. But as always, who am I kidding? I'm ridiculously nervous.
English class is the first one of the week. It's in a singularly grim-looking new building: cramped corridors clogged with uncomfortably waiting students, grey concrete walls with "decorative" bolt holes in them (my old English teacher described them as "bullet holes" after his tour of the new building, and I'd be inclined to agree if they weren't so evenly spaced), and oddly configured classrooms where, among other things, the projector tables are bolted down too close to the front of the room to project anything. It's a class on early English lit (early apparently qualifying as anything before Queen Victoria); one of the more intriguing-looking "we're going to make the Creative Writing majors take all this before they can take any Creative Writing courses" classes. The main focus of the class is participation, which is perfectly fine unless you're as terrible as I am at articulating your arguments. On paper, I'm fine. Speaking, unless I know what I'm doing more than usual, I'm a moronic maladroit. Or that's how I come off anyway. I'd been well-skewered by more charismatic people in every high school class that demanded "discussion."
Next up is Art. I am learing all kinds of things about art that I never knew: It's an expensive investment. To create, I mean. It requires a lot of bending over. And I'm the second or third worst artist in my class... I expected better, because I've been practicing since last December (not long but I've seen a distance), but that's not too bad. What was really weird was the reaction I got the first day I walked in. First floor of the Art Building: no one would look at me, even if I was standing in what would normally be their line of sight. I like to call it the "please don't exist" stare; I got one at the library not long ago from the woman who was checking me out. My classroom was supposed to be on the second floor; when I was looking for it I had to pass through a bit of hallway that had people on both sides. Don't think I've ever been stared at that powerfully in my life. They didn't blink, I couldn't look them in the eye. It was like I shrank as I passed between them, like parts of me were burning away. Does this sort of thing happen to me all the time? Do I just lock myself away until I forget? Anyway, I found a decent spot to sit while I waited out the time between classes. And then, just to put a cherry on top, these two giggly girls walked by, saying "There's that girl from downstairs!" Even if it wasn't me they were talking about, it was an extremely discomfiting coincedence. But at least the Art Building gives me someplace to keep my drawing board. Thank God. It's the size of a small child.
Film looks promising. Finally, there are people who actually know something about what they're doing, or are at least extremely curious about it. I'm not sure how well I'll do: we're supposed to be watching films "analytically" rather than "suspending our disbelief." Could be hard for me because I do my best to get involved in every story I look at. Also because the class meets at 7:45 in the morning and I'm a night owl. But hey, he's said that if you're particularly good at a type of assignment he'll give you some slack on the rest... I figure Little Miss Writer has a shot at that. If she can figure out what it is he wants to read.
And last (but not least; these ARE college classes) I have Biology. I don't exactly suck at science. But I'm not so great at the limited amount of math demanded by Physics and Chemistry. Besides, Biology has the largest amount of scientific stuff I'm interested in (genetics and Merck Manual stuff), so despite the fact everyone thought I was nuts for signing up for this class, I decided to use this for my science requirement. And it looks good. We have like a MONTH of genetics. What more could a girl who writes X-Men fanfiction and is strangely fascinated by Punnett squares ask for? I even have a good seat: back corner, no lab partner. Honestly, I could probably use a lab partner, I'm terrible at measuring and such, but if people are going to RUN AWAY to a much less convenient seat just to partner up with somebody else I refuse to be bothered by their absence. (After class, when we were signing up to get the seats we'd claimed during the lab permanently assigned to us, she sent her lab partner to ask if I could switch with them. I hadn't moved just so I could get stuck in another seat where I couldn't see the lectures, just so I could make some girl who didn't even have the guts to tell me her lab partner was coming back to use that seat happy. So I deflected until he gave up and went away. I guess it's the closest I've come to just saying "No way, piss off.") I learned how to use a microscope and everything. (Yes, laugh if you want. I never really understood it before, and never really tried to. But I really like being independent now.)
posted at 11:39 pm on 01-16-2008
I've been more than a little jumpy, irritable, and otherwise hyper in a bad way since I decided "It's morning, so I'm not going to roll over and go back to sleep." As it turns out, this is a lousy reason to get up. Especially when every gram of the copious amounts of caffeine I have been ingesting this week makes the same decision. "Look alive, boys! It's WEDNESDAY MORNING, absolutely not special AT ALL. You know what that means. PARTY TIME!!!"
Funny how drinking two cans of Monster (AKA "CAF-POW!!!" to whoever lives around me) a day to clear up my chronic grogginess is completely futile until I decide I'm going to take a few days off the regimen. Or maybe that's scientifically sound and I just wouldn't know it even if Albert Einstein floated down on a sparkly cloud to tell me. Both ideas work for me.
Anyway, so I'm innocently going about my day. Watching my DVD set of Wonderfalls. Taking a break to hop around a little and wonder why I'm so damn ANTSY. Trying to play Neverwinter Nights 2. Restarting several times because weirdly enough, the character creation/leveling up parts are most fun for me. (Same thing in real life. I'll make a character. Then I'll get stuck on his or her story or populate the story with too many important characters because I love every single one.) Curse at game for giving me such an ugly automatic portrait... I love the fact that if you haven't found a portrait that matches your character, you get one automatically; hate the fact that in these portraits, the characters could not look more hideous if they smacked themselves in the face repeatedly, got a nasty dye job, then got a graduate degree in Vacuous Expressions. Play game anyway, because it is still pretty cool. Curse at camera angles because if I make the trackball move even slightly it veers off in one direction... or worse, spins. And sometimes it just spins because it hates me. Continue the game, being very careful to avoid trackball like a particularly ugly, rabid rat carrying pneumonic plague. Finish first bit. Cheer... until I realize that because of some bug, the game has not noticed that I finished the first bit. I'm STUCK! STUCK IN THIS PODUNK SWAMP TOWN FOREVER!!!!!!
That was when I abandoned my computer. Only to find... the new issue of Game Informer.
You may have noticed, if you've read anything I wrote before, that I have a very... interesting relationship with gaming magazines. I approach them with great enthusiasm and hope, even if (as is the case this month) it's got an angry dude on the cover in the middle of a vaguely sci-fi war. There have been at least two other covers like this in my recent memory, with variance mainly in color scheme (and probably not much more variance in the games themselves), but who knows? This could be the one. I mean, that guy's eyes look pretty orange. He could be a semi-evil pyrokinetic superspy who's just hallucinating this war.
And then I open it up. And the magazine has a tendency to laugh at me and say "Foolish mortal, do you really think there is anything coming to a PC near you that is not a shooter, expansion pack or feeble rip-off of something you have already played? Feel the despair crush you. And just in case you're not, here are some big game companies getting larger and more soulless, and here are the games you pine for NOT getting made. MUAHAHAHA!!!" At which point, I have two options: sulking, or getting so mad that I rant about it here and/or kick that magazine's sorry, glossy butt.
This time, the magazine was unusually tolerant and kind, even saying that there was a very good chance that KOTOR III would be made. Someday. Hopefully before I die of extreme old age. (Well, actually that's not any more comforting than the vague mentions that LucasArts is not abandoning the series. Just ignoring it while they collaborate with Lego. But I guess that after all the abuse I've laid on them I should give them credit for trying.) The only thing they did wrong was give a preview of The Game Those Idiots In Control Of The Star Wars License Are Working On Instead, The Force Unleashed. One guy is already listing it as one of his favorite games, so I flip madly to the back of the magazine before I'm even finished comprehending the word "Unleashed," thinking "Has it come out yet? IT BETTER BE GOOD!" I finally find a short preview of it, having left half the magazine in terrified tears with my frantic page-turning and frequent death glares when the page tries to tell me about another set of Wii party games. And... it sounds exactly like what I did in certain levels of Jedi Academy. And Jedi Knight before that. And what sets this revolutionary new style of gameplay apart? Better graphics, AI, physics, etc.. I admit it, I would be impressed by the Euphoria engine if faced by it. It might even have been enough for me to forgive the game for being a step backward from Academy's customization, for forcing me to play as a man who looks bland despite having cool yellow Sith eyes, and for forcing (as far as I know) the first ever female Imperial officer in a game to be a blonde bimbo girlfriend named JUNO ECLIPSE. But... they are not releasing it on PC. They are releasing it pretty much everywhere else, so I will be getting a copy for my PS2, but if it's not on the PS3 or Xbox 360, it doesn't get the extra flash technology that's supposed to be the big selling point. So what the hell am I spending my money for?
Still, normally these rags drop two or three of these bombshells on me. There is no reason that I should be so pissed... I'm just twitchier than normal. And I wish I knew why.
posted at 04:02 pm on 01-09-2008
I admit it. The whole "indigo child" thing has never been able to hold my attention for more than, oh, ten minutes. I think I'm jealous. After all, I've never shown a hint of psychic ability.
But the GAME Indigo Prophecy? My mind is completely blown. It's so amazing I'm having a hard time thinking about other things. (Not necessarily in a bad, unhealthy way. It's not like I want to go out and get posessed and stab someone in the heart three times after carving a two-headed snake into my forearm. It's more like "I wonder what would happen if I was in this situation," "Maybe a glass of milk will make me not so stressed out anymore," and "So that's why the dynamic between my characters isn't working.") Strangely enough, if you told me about how playing the game worked before I bought it I probably would have refused to come anywhere near it. For starters, it's an adventure game. I grew up with adventure games, particularly ones in the "Myst" vein, and you know what? I really hate those. I'm terrible at puzzles, and I don't see the point in wandering around, completely isolated, until a new headache smacks me in the face. I guess the exception would be adventure games with a creepy feel: AMBER (at least the parts where you go into visions or whatever and have to help the ghosts pass on... only, I couldn't deal with the suicidal stalker/gardener. When the swarms of bees started talking to him I had to leave the room), the 7th Guest, and now Indigo Prophecy. (Another of my all-time favorite games, Titanic: Adventure Out of Time, is also an adventure game, and not really a creepy one at that. But you're a British spy on the Titanic, and there's no way I can resist those three qualities. Possibly even when they're separate.). The controls are very, very strange, and initially difficult to work with... I believe on one of the Amazon reviews, someone was wondering what kind of drugs the designers were taking when they decided on this control scheme. And in a way, they're right. But... it does add something. To me, at least, climbing a fence with the stick really feels like climbing a fence, the weird sequences I can only liken to playing "Simon" can really feel like running, dodging and fighting, and the L1-R1 button mashing really feels like exercise. Or trying to hang on to a moving helicopter. (Ouch.) And lastly... in most games... all games that are not Oblivion, actually... I suck at stealth. So either I lose, or I come very very close. Take the game based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for example. By "coincidence" you are left alone in the Slytherin Common Room, your Polyjuice Potion having worn off. It took a lot of trying to hide and sneak, and a lot of being caught by the Slytherins, before I learned stealth was not the answer... for me, anyway. Can't say if anyone else got away with it. And you have to be lucky and running very hard to be able to run out of there; you'll end up with pretty much everyone in Slytherin on your tail screaming for help taking you down, which is ridiculous (why don't they just report you after you escape? It's not like they haven't noticed you're Harry Potter... there's no lack of witnesses...). I almost couldn't finish that level because my heart would beat so fast whenever I booted it up, and I haven't done it again. I haven't exactly conquered my fear of getting caught... right now I'm waiting to calm down before I sneak into/break into Tiffany's apartment. But I managed to sneak past all the guards at the military base calmly and in one try after failing miserably and repeatedly a few days ago. Maybe I'm becoming more patient. And less of a sore loser (I have a tendency to quit games when I'm losing rather than trying again. Of course, I try again a few minutes later... but I really. Hate. Losing.). In any case, nothing seems to be able to stop me from wondering if this game has permanently disrupted the perfect all-of-these-begin-with T list of my favorite games: Tyrian. TIE Fighter. Titanic: Adventure Out of Time. (I don't count honorable mentions like KOTOR 2 or the Baldur's Gate series, even though I love them to death. They're somewhere on my list. Just not the top three.) And since I don't really have anyone to talk/rave/gush to, I guess I'm doing it to myself here.
Software Wars: Part Two
posted at 08:33 pm on 12-30-2007
If I was less of a hypocrite, I think I'd switch away from Windows, because Microsoft is proving to have a particular talent for getting on my nerves.
First, there is the fact that they seem to have completely abandoned Windows as a gaming platform. Out of boredom and the fact that Barnes and Noble ships books very, very slowly, I've been re-reading my old gaming magazines. (For me, this is akin to a bull saying "Hmm, I'm bored, I think I'll mess around with these red flags over here." Hey, I didn't say I had SMART hobbies.) And if you look at the previews, where pretty much all the games are for consoles... the reviews, where you are given a handful of PC games that are sometimes just ports... or the sales charts, where almost everything garnering attention is on consoles, and where the top ten PC games are mostly expansion packs. It's a depressing thing by itself. A crime if you flip back through the pages and notice all the very shiny games that are only for Xbox (or for Xbox and PS2). I've heard people say that only the next-generation consoles can handle all the polish put into these games. Which makes no sense whatsoever. Even if most PCs can't run it, what about those on the very, very high end? The ones that could probably beat up my computer (not the perfect gaming system... but with a nice Nvidia card and close to 3 GHz processing speed, good enough for every game up to and including Oblivion) and make her cry, then take over the world? Even if, by some psychotic technological miracle, NO PC in the world could outclass the Xbox 360 and PS3... WHY DON'T YOU TONE IT DOWN A BIT!?! Do you want people to play your game, or place it in a shop window as an overblown objet d'art and force most of us to stare sadly at it from afar?
Whatever. That's not my point; I was going to talk about how even the PC is no longer on my side. (Well, not completely. Just when it comes to Microsoft.)
For a belated Christmas present, I got a copy of Age of Empires III (Gold Edition, which means it includes the older expansion pack). Just for the record, I love Age of Empires, despite the fact that I am one of the worst strategists the world has ever known. My first time out, I played the Celts (yeah, I cheated a little by playing the sequel before the original though I had them both), and was mercilessly crushed by the Japanese and their supply of trebuchets. So I've been looking forward to the age of colonialism (perhaps with the laguage of America ending up as Russian?) for a while now.
Unfortunately, this game brought with it the weirdest bug I've ever experienced. Whenever I boot it up, my monitor goes on standby.
I tried everything I could think of. Updating my display drivers (it worked for Nightfire), looking for a patch (it worked for Baldur's Gate II), and reinstalling after defragmenting my hard drive (worked for Oblivion, after MUCH TROUBLE). I tried running it under both the compatability modes it offered. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No graphics for YOU, young lady. So, still full of hope, I headed over to the Microsoft website for tech support, and began the systematic process of having any hope of hoping ripped out, crushed, liquefied and fed to me as Bill Gates (metaphorically... I hope) looked on laughing. First, I innocently clicked on "support." A giant box popped up with numerous resources to click on, none of which had anything to do with games. Not even for the Xbox. It took me an embarassingly long time to figure out that "Product and Support Home" was the likeliest option (thank you, Google). Still no games, so I clicked "Select a Product." Hey, it's gotta be in there somewhere, right? On the Gaming page? No? OK, no sweat, I'll go to the page for the expansion pack. As I expected (because a game that caused monitors everywhere to go black would cause an outcry I couldn't possibly miss), it was all normal stuff. You know, "it runs too slow," "I got this weird error message," "Vista ate my computer," etc. Time to email somebody. After repressing the urge to tell them I was in Albania or East Timor rather than the plain old boring-named United States, I came across a frightening discovery.
"Cost:$35.00 US per support request after all no-charge support is used.
(Some support may not be covered under this charge.)
You can use this option if you have one of the following:
Software Assurance Agreement
MSPP (Microsoft Partner Program)"
$35!?!?!?!?! For what? If I just email you, will you make me pay $35 I don't have? It's your own damn fault, and you're saying I might have to pay you $35 for the privilege of being imperfect? I didn't see any other solution, though, so hesitantly (and vowing to run if they asked for a credit card number) I asked for email support. In return, they asked me for my product key. Not a problem; I had the box right in front of me. Only, about halfway through typing in the string of letters and numbers and headaches, I realized that the space on my screen was much smaller than the space my product key took up. What they meant me to type in, I still don't know... the help function not-so-helpfully told me that the number they wanted was on the opening screen of the game. Which, as you might recall, the strange relationship between my game and my monitior would not allow me to see.
So I typed what I could, and prayed as I clicked the "OK, you've had your fun, now HELP ME!!!" button. The Microsoft gods did not answer my prayer. Instead, they asked for my credit card number, which sent me bolting back to the Support Home page. There, I sent a message to the more general support people. Something along the lines of "Hello, I can't give you the number you want because of the reason I was going to beg you for help. Is there some way I can do this without selling my organs on the black market?"
Their reply (almost a full 24 hours later):
Thank you for contacting Microsoft Customer Service.
I understand that you require a replacement product key for Age of Empires III: Gold Edition.
I would request you to contact the Microsoft Customer Service team for further assistance. They have the required resources to generate an accurate Product Key for Age of Empires III: Gold Edition. They may charge you $10 for the replacement product key. You may contact them at: (800) 936 5700, Monday to Friday, 5:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M. Pacific Time and Saturday to Sunday, 6:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. Pacific Time.
I hope the above information is helpful.
Microsoft Customer Service Representative"
(No, they did not actually print his name as "name." But considering the mood I'm in, any pseudonyms I came up with for him would be highly unflattering.)
And the money-oriented screams filled the room again. TEN DOLLARS!? FOR A STINKING NUMBER!? JUST SO THAT YOU'LL GIVE ME HELP!?! (Insert a large amount of cursing in several languages here)!!!
So, finally, as I was bemoaning the situation in the living room, my dad offered to call the support line for me. (As previous experience, not to mention a lost copy of Hellgate: London, has shown, I am terrible at arguing this sort of thing verbally.) Unfortunately, the microsoft techs are very prompt when it comes to leaving work. By the time we were transferred to them, admittedly cutting it very close to quitting time, they had already run far beyond their ringing phones. The next day, he called them again, only to have a computerized voice tell him that "this site is having technical difficulties" and hang up on him. Finally, on the fourth try, we got a tech support person... who transferred us to another... who transferred us to another. He went through my system information and, deeming it worthy of the game, proceeded to walk Dad through a number of daunting, other-game-possibly-ruining changes to my system. (The one funny part, in hindsight: the look on my face as I watched my Dad tweak with settings I had learned years before should never be touched. I know because I was standing next to a mirror at the time.) Of course, none of this made the game and the monitor willing to work together, and eventually it was decided that no more could be done until my computer was connected to the Internet... which of course, I would love. But it makes my skin crawl to think of what they are going to try to do to my poor computer then... not to mention that I'm still PISSED about the fact that a game from a company that should have the resources to prevent this sort of thing works so poorly.
Oh, well. Maybe I'll buy an Xbox to pass the time... when Hell freezes over!
Nontruth Part Two
posted at 06:59 pm on 11-30-2007
Well, the next day I walk into English class and everything seems back to normal after Tuesday's creepy "Sure, what do WE need free will for?" discussion. A girl comes back after her absence, asks me what we did. Nothing much, I tell her. I start to explain the debate (does it really count as a debate if almost everyone is united in their belief?) that took up most of the time and how disgusting I found it, but I couldn't, partially because I was still at a loss for words and partially because I was afraid she'd be on their side and not mine. So I cut myself off with a "whatever," and she giggled as if to say "Oh, you're just so damn cute. You kill me." (Mind you, she did the same thing the time I cried in class. I don't know WHAT is going on in this girl's head.) Today, it's time for another in-class essay, one partially based on the Didion essay. (There's a line from a Jobim song- "There's so many people that just talk and talk and talk and just say nothing, or nearly nothing." I think that describes the essay I ended up writing perfectly but as I could have said that every time I wrote an in-class essay and every time I've gotten a good grade, I have a good feeling about my bad feeling.) Being masters of procratination to put me to shame, my classmates insist that we need to talk through as many possibilities for the essay as necessary. I'm not listening very closely: I already know that we're supposed to compare a character from the novel our professor wrote to Didion's definition of self-respect. I was weighing the benefits of choosing Vasectomy Boy as an example instead of Guy Who REALLY Misses His Candy when I overheard this gem: "Why doesn't Mona know [that Misses His Candy is cheating on her]?" "Because she's shopping," a girl across the room from me answered confidently. OK. Let me clarify a little. Mona is not out at the mall trying to hit every single After Thanksgiving sale. (For one thing, I suspect that would require superpowers, and what red-blooded and/or sane guy would cheat on his superpowered wife?) "Shopping" is my teacher's favorite euphemism for "not living life" or "Not paying attention to life" or however you want to say it... basically, what everyone said they'd rather do last time around. Nice one, people. Nice one. (Do they even remember what they say, or do they not have enough brain cells? Bitchy thought, but can't help wondering.)
How do you prove a truth with a nontruth?
posted at 09:29 pm on 11-27-2007
Today, I sent an email to my long-lost best friend. I feel it is safe to excerpt it here because it was a response to a remark any philosophy teacher in the world could have made.
"Who was your professor quoting? I can see his point (I mean, just think of the part in The Matrix where Cypher says 'Ignorance is bliss'), but I also see past it. Not that I'm some great philosopher or anything. But I identify a lot with existentialism, and one of the parts of that is that knowing and understanding the truth, no matter how horrific it is, is infinitely better than living in endless self-delusion. Written on the floor of the CIA as one enters it (or so I've read) is a Bible verse: 'And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.' I don't believe that the CIA trades in truth, and I don't believe that by itself the truth can set anyone free. But I find the more you look at the truth, the more acclimated you become to it. You figure out ways to get past it. You can stare it in the face without fear or sadness. The only trouble with that is that there are an infinite number of things to be angry or fearful or sad about. I'll never have perfect control. And it takes a lot of suffering, or so I find, to get even some control. But I think it's worth it. I'm not trying to give advice. You can probably use more fantasy than reality as of now. But the thought that anyone could not see beyond what your professor said frightens me. I sincerely hope that is not how he lives."
I didn't know it would matter so much. All I knew was that I was terrified to go to English, as usual. The lectures have different content, of course, but the basic structure is always the same and always involves a lot of shouting from the teacher and idiocy from the class. "Did you read it?" No, the class answers cheerfully. I have almost always read the section, but who is going to hear me say so, and am I supposed to be able to teach a class on the thing just because I have? I certainly didn't understand today's Didion essay. "Showing understanding" is ostensibly the second part of the lecture. In fact, it's more of a sleepy free-for-all where bored-looking students throw out whatever answer strikes their fancy, whether it's a serious belief of theirs or just something they thought would be funny. Meanwhile, I'm in the back muttering answers to myself, scared to be wrong, or at least to be torn down by a room full of people who just think I'm wrong. Today's lecture/discussion/concerted effort to drive the teacher mad was about Joan Didion's essay "On Self-Respect." As far as I can tell, or at least as far as I can tell from the explanation he coaxed, bit by wildly guessed bit, from the others and then translated, is that Didion's definition of self-respect is this: the ability to see your life as it actually is without flinching, to make choices for your own sake, and to anticipate the consequences of your actions (then deal with them calmly).
And as someone who's discussed those qualities before, I'm buggered if I know how that translates to self-respect, but if that's what he wants me to hand in I'll try to make sure that's what he gets. Anyway, the lecture part of the lecture paled in comparison to what happened after he asked if anyone had any questions. They did, a fact which was a shock after taking a career's worth of classes where, even if they should be asking questions, they never, ever do. These are in no particular order, as I'm not terribly good at remembering anything verbatim... 1. "Who is Scarlett O'Hara?" I'm kind of a spoiled brat here, spoiled by the fact that I read Gone With The Wind when I was ten and never looked back. (1,000 pages in 3-4 days. Miss the days when I could linger like that.) But this statement should only appear on Jeopardy in response to a question about Gone With The Wind. 2. One person asked about a statement at the beginning of the essay: "Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself." That was when this degenerated into a mishmash of statements about the innocence part and the why-do-I-have-to-hate-myself part. "Would you really want to go back to being a kid?" Well, yeah, sure, I thought, but only if I could know then what I know now. Innocence has nothing to do with it. "In the Garden of Eden, they weren't even conscious of the fact that they were naked. And the 'pains of childbirth' came afterwards; you couldn't even have had children. Would you want to go back to that?" To my shock, the answer was a chorus of yeses. One guy even shouted out, "Ignorance is bliss!" While I was fighting a mixture of shock, despair and deja vu, the professor was giving a litany of all the points against their point that he'd made throughout the year... to which they replied, why make life complicated? And then, of course, one girl had to bring up the fact that the required reading somehow insulted her Christianity. At which point I couldn't listen. I was too worked up by their easy acceptance of the idea that a complicated life hurts too much to live through... which, if they thought it through, woudl demand they commit suicide now, because life IS complicated. Denying it won't simplify it; it'll just make it harder to face. They made me feel violently ill. I can only imagine how much worse I would feel if I had stayed the girl I used to be, the girl who had primped so desperately and pretended to like N*Sync only to be driven out of school by her so-called friends. I may not have understood it all, but the ending... where "one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home"... I know well enough to fear where everyone else is heading.
...Looking FORWARD In Anger.
posted at 12:03 am on 11-24-2007
OK, so just because I realize I shouldn't be a wrathful she-demon with ten-inch claws and no real effect on things 'cause I know it will just eat me alive. But it's hard, being a female gamer who mainly uses the PC and trying to be serene and accepting at the same time. There are a few little things that take off the sting (getting a new joystick to play TIE Fighter with would be a nice start), but mostly... it's becoming enraged time after time after time. And boy, am I good at rage, having practiced since I was six and the first-person shooter was beginning to take off... uh, no, I wasn't a six year old Doom junkie. Fact was, I was already sick of the whole thing. And when I found out that Epic, makers of one of the best games I was hooked on at that age (Jazz Jackrabbit), was devoting all of its resources to Unreal? Major rage time. (I still refuse to play Unreal, even though it doesn't seem to be the killer of all imaginative games I pegged it as. There's just a part of me that would clobber the sensible part of me with a metaphorical tire iron if I even wasted the money.) Today, it was as if the forces of gaming tag-teamed to make me want to lock certain industry people in a room until they get it right. (And if they mention any plans for KOTOR III, I might even provide food. Heh, just kidding, litigious people!) First, the gaming magazine I got in the mail mentioned Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed. I know it's their job, but... combine the fact that these games look very, very shiny (Gameplay terms, not graphics. I still have a weird time with 3D environments... shows you how much I bloody care about the whole "Oh, look at the pretty pretties we put on the screen!" thing.) with the fact that they are only out on Xbox 360. I do not have an Xbox. I have never played an Xbox. Being in college, I have better things to do with my money than throw it at Microsoft. I. HATE. EXCLUSIVES. Grrr. BioWare better be putting Mass Effect out on PC soon. Only, they're not just BioWare anymore (and here's the second thing!)... they are BioWare, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. Anyone else have a bad feeling about this? I'll grant they haven't done TOO badly by Maxis. But the fact is, they are mostly into their sports franchises (just look at their website), and I don't have faith in them to appreciate the creative efforts of Maxis and BioWare if it seems too risky. (Part of their statement in Game Informer was that BioWare and Pandemic catered to the three most profitable genres, and they intended to milk it for all it was worth. OK, so they didn't use the phrase "milk it for all it's worth." But they used percentages and made no bones about the fact that to them, it was all about the percentages...) Thirdly, in my frustration about the third KOTOR game being nowhere in sight (a perennial thing), I decided to check out the progress on The Force Unleashed (another perennial thing... I think you can hear my screams of "IT HAD BETTER BE THE BEST F#^#ING GAME I EVER PLAYED IF THEY'RE IGNORING KOTOR!" in other states. And maybe Mexico. And maybe Canada. Oh, and another perennial LucasArts thing... why can't I have another game where I'm an Imperial non-force-user? I'd JOYFULLY settle for a remake of TIE Fighter, but I'd really love something where I could end up playing a female Imperial officer and/or an Imperial spy. And maybe something dealing with what happens to Imperials left behind when the New Republic comes to power? Am I the only one who thinks this would be fun, or are people just dumb?)... and I found out it's coming out for every single platform BUT PC. Hello? What about the people who have been buying your stuff for years? Do we all magically have flash new consoles all of a sudden? (At least it's coming out for PS2. I think I'll kiss my PS2 when I go back out.) So as always, the PC is starved for good games (no, BioShock does not make up for everything else, despite what the mags might say), and I'm left becoming Miss Godzilla. Oh, and I can't even put my foot in the door... I looked at EA's website. Only beta testing job that doesn't require a BA in Computer Science is one for cellphone games. Which I can barely play. Oh joy. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't Look Back In Anger
posted at 05:52 pm on 11-06-2007
Have you ever had one of those moments where everything was at peace? Where everything seemed full of possibilities, no matter how badly you'd screwed up? Where it didn't matter how badly you missed something, because the memories were so beautiful?
Once again, my mood came from a song. I was watching "Chuck," and they were playing a song I vaguely recognized (although the "vaguely" part went away a few seconds later, as I sat bolt upright a few seconds later and screamed "Oasis!" And then I was very, very embarrassed, but happy to have recognized the song as Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger"). There was somethign about it... something I can't hope to define, because up until that night I yawned and pressed the "skip forward" button every time that song came up, but this time I felt wistful. And something more than wistful. Something akin to walking down one of the quieter streets of London (I remember a good deal of the ones I've been on; you just don't get places like that here) on a gray day. Beautiful.
So I sat at my desk and put the song on repeat. Looking for something else to do as I listened, I reached for the nearest thing that I hadn't read recently. Because my travel shelf is right behind my desk chair, I ended up with a little informational brochure from Heathrow Airport. Terminal 4, if it matters. (So it must have been from my first trip overseas.) And as I read it, as I looked at all the plugging for stores we don't have over here (and some we do... Starbucks, you know I'm talking about you!), imagining I was walking through there again, I started to cry. I started to cry more when I shifted my attention back to the song and realized that I ALWAYS look back in anger... old teachers who were either mad, bad-tempered or just plain dumb, hundreds of kids who were either outright cruel or chose to ignore me, enigmas that I'd tried to solve but had only led to me falling flat on my face. I've been so angry at all of it, I've sometimes felt like it was eating me alive... or that it was going to explode out of me in lightning or red beams of death, which I've got to admit is a much cooler image but a much more frightening feeling. But somehow, I didn't hate myself for it, and I didn't feel furious all over again. I realized that it was just me. And I was fine with myself.
And since I was missing England so sorely, I read that little brochure from cover to cover, and then (because I don't have a good travel guide to London, or to England in general) I got out the Edinburgh guide that served us so badly on our trip but that I read over and over during my ridiculous freshman Algebra class. When I couldn't stand the cold anymore, I went up to bed, wrapped myself up and wrote a very detailed outline for the end of my Smith story to match my feeling. And it was perfect, or at least it will be once I go through enough drafts. I wanted it to feel like Casablanca. I don't know if it quite gets there, but it's its own version... complete with sides to Smith's character I never knew about. Reminds me why I love him.
The bittersweet feeling lasted until noon today. It likely would have been shorter but, as I haven't had one of these for years and I wanted to hold on to it, I watched Amelie as I ate breakfast.
Suddenly I miss everything about high school
posted at 04:44 pm on 10-26-2007
It all started when I was stupid enough to download "Michelle." Oh, and then I decided to listen to it. I know, you're probably wondering how a cute little Beatles song could bring me down so far. (That is, if anyone is reading this besides me, 'cause I know perfectly well.) My teacher translated the whole thing into French for our class. And though we didn't really sing it so much as murmur along, it makes me homesick for French class. And suddenly, I'm missing all kinds of things. I had a few more friends, and I sorely miss them because it's not like I'm going to make new ones easily. (I think at least some of the people in my courses respect me. But as I learned in Gov/Econ AP my senior year, respect has nothing to do with love or friendship. I found out that every single one of my classmates though I was smart and brave and respected the hell out of me, but it didn't matter because they wouldn't come within arm's length of me. Really wish I could find that paper though.) I had my French class and my supercool French teacher, who I got along with right away because she reminds me of me. Stronger relgious beliefs, athletic successes, a superhuman patience I don't possess and a lack of Asperger's aside, of course. I miss the certain corner of the certain floor of the certain building where three of my favorite teachers had their classrooms, even if I never could deal with their praise very well. I miss the librarian. I miss the free books the fool librarian before her gave away (I got a very good selection of 1980s James Bond books that way). I miss enough things that it's easy to forget how much time I wasted, how lonely I felt in spite of it all, and the hellishly boring classes. Oh, and the teachers with agendas. But then, don't I still have to read lousy books? Isn't college a haven for teachers with agendas? And is all the time I've freed up worth the fact that I have one friend that I'm maybe able to see thirty minutes of on each of two days? I say "maybe" because I usually see her once a week. For less time. Sometimes not at all.
Sure, high school sucked. But in retrospect... it still sucked. It doesn't mean that college is some sort of great escape for me. It's the same old thing.
It's quiet. TOO quiet...
posted at 04:35 pm on 10-10-2007
I guess that's better than this library being full of idiots from the local high school though. Still... I am bored. Very bored. Very, very, very bored.
Which I shouldn't be. I mean, I just had a breakthrough on Chapter Six of the X-Men story I'm working on with M, although the last breakthrough kind of fell flat. Not to mention she needs to do Chapter Three... and I need to type Chapter Two... and write Chapters 4 and 5...
But enough with the negativity. Sheesh!
I guess the real reason I'm bored is that I just started posting it on FF.net, and I know I will have to wait a while for anyone to read it. Or review it. If anyone reviews at all, which they didn't for our last one. To be fair, that one became a fiaco. To be fair to ME, it mostly became a fiasco in the many, many parts we didn't post. (If you're actually reading this, be nice and click. Or cut and paste into the thingy. And then... review. Please? http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3829215/1/)
The sad thing is, it really did have a lot of good parts and characters in amongst all the confusion. I loved how Jinx began to evolve into an evil, twisted kind of girl (a leap she's already made in "Lucky You"). I liked giving anti-mutant agent Seth psychometric powers and watching his angst, confusion and treason. My favorite part, which I'm actually trying to convert away from the X-Men world and into novel form, was the romance between cold, wary, Baal-worshipping Smith (who joined the anti-mutants so he could have access to sacrifices for his god, who he started worshipping so he could have an ally in the struggle against his saintly, water-manipulating brother Iain and everything he stood for... yeah, it's a long backstory. But it's really cool to know a character that well.) and the immortal, shadow-traveling mutant Jet. I'm not sure how many of the good parts of "Sour Times" and its unpublished sequel are going to make it into "Lucky You." And that makes me sort of sad, even as I'm wrestling with Smith's story.
By the way... I'm really mad at the makers of "Shoot 'Em Up." Who told them they could have a cold, methodical killer character named Smith!?
Hello, My Name Is Creepy
posted at 03:21 pm on 10-09-2007
Well, not really. But this highly insulting Mitch Albom column did pop into my head today, after seeing a patently wrong headline in the local paper. People do love their opinions, don't they? Even when it's about secrets people should have kept, as today's was. Or, and this is far more common, directed at people like me.
"Creepy is a young man. He keeps to himself."
I'm a young woman who keeps to herself. Cue the scary music, anyone?
"He wears odd clothes. He favors black. His hair is sometimes funny. His skin is not so good. At school they roll their eyes, or shake their heads, as he passes by."
I wear odd clothes, usually in black, and my hair never behaves. Usually dyed either black, red, or some combination thereof, too. I'm pale by choice and people like to tell me I should go get a tan, which looks stupid on me because my arms tan esily and the rest of me doesn't. At school they glare at me whenever I speak and ignore me when I walk by.
"Creepy is not popular, nor is he very well liked. Some think he's shy. Some think he's weird. He doesn't talk much. His voice is kind of low. As a kid, he sat alone in the schoolyard. As a teen, he sat alone in the cafeteria."
I was never popular and I could never be sure that people liked me. Due to the fact they didn't seem to like being around me, I suspected they hated me. I developed a reputation for being the freak who sat behind the portable classrooms (most peaceful spot in the whole school, in my defense). I was an alto in choir, which is about as low as a girl's voice can get (although maybe he meant "quiet" by "low"). I sat alone in the schoolyard and I was afraid to go into the cafeteria, which was so full of people I knew I'd have to sit somewhere I wasn't welcome.
"Creepy is no dummy. He reads. He reads a lot. He watches, too. Movies, TV, games. He watches screens of all kinds, flipping Web sites, working a joystick. Watching is a release for Creepy. Watching is not judgmental. Watching what others do. Watching what others have. Watching video warriors cut their enemies' heads off, blood everywhere."
I'm not stupid. I read a lot. I watch movies, I watch TV, I even (gasp!) play video games. I like stories, and if blood has to be involved, so be it. (Just not like in Rise of the Triad, please. The flying eyeballs were a bit much.)
"Sometimes when he watches, his imagination runs wild. He sees a character with a chainsaw or a rifle. He sees carnage. He sees destruction. He sees how one man with the right weapon can wreak havoc, take control, own the day. "
Yeah, so? You'd rather things hadn't worked out for the Nakatomi employees because of John McClane's bravery? You didn't think Arnold Schwarzenegger should have found his daughter in Commando? When you no that no one else is going to help, you'd like to think you can go it alone. Admit it.
"Creepy gets ideas."
"Creepy is a young man. He hasn't many friends. Girls find him odd. He finds them scary."
I am a young woman who's never been asked out by a guy and doesn't know how to deal with the hypothetical situation.
"He would like, deep down, to have a girlfriend. To party. To laugh. He would like it, but he won't accept it. Not today. Not anymore. Too many times, he had his heart stomped. Too many times, he suffered in silence."
I'd like a boyfriend, I'd like to enjoy parties, I'd like to enjoy other people's jokes. But the fact is I don't know who I want, I don't enjoy parties, and there are a lot of jokes people tell that aren't funny. I do resent some people for being insensitive idiots. That doesn't mean my mind is going down the path you're thinking.
"Too many times, he looked in the mirror and saw the wrong man looking back. He is not handsome or "hot" or cool. He does not measure up. He has blamed himself, but that led to nothing. Now he blames others. That feels better. He blames the people who have more, who look better, who get praise. He blames them. Then he hates them. He fantasizes about a world where they are gone."
I've often hated my reflection in the mirror. Too fat, too lonely. But it's not like I'm ugly or stupid or mean, so why don't people accept me? I don't know. But if I fantasize a world where they're gone, that would be a world with far fewer possibilities, far fewer opportunities, far fewer of pretty much anything. And the idea of that world is what I truly hate.
"It would be nice for Creepy to have someone to talk to, all this anger, all these thoughts, but confidants are not part of his world. Talking, he has decided, is overrated. So he writes. He makes tapes. He keeps things to himself. "Nothing," is his answer. "What's wrong?" counselors ask him. "What's wrong?" teachers ask him. "Nothing," he says. They shrug and go on."
I don't really have anyone to talk to. I have two friends, both of whom are too busy. Most people would only misunderstand, like this guy. So I try not to worry them. I try to hide myself, and I write to get things off my chest and think of different things.
"His parents? Well, you know. Maybe they're busy. Maybe they're gone. Maybe one died. Maybe one was indifferent. Maybe they did terrible things to Creepy when he was a child. Maybe he's ashamed."
Hold on a second! My parents love me, they're not too busy, and I could never be ashamed of them. I just can't count on them to be everything for me and understand everything for me.
"Maybe there is part of Creepy that wants his parents' love desperately, above all else. But in Creepy's mind, those days are gone. You get attention when you warrant attention. He watches his screens. He watches the news. "
I have their love. What I want is for people in general to like me and to be able to keep it going. But I know I can't by now, so I act as I will, and they can take it or leave it. At least I don't have to compromise for them anymore.
"Creepy gets ideas."
Here we go again...
"Creepy sees those kids from Columbine, in their long black coats, all over TV and the Internet. Creepy sees Timothy McVeigh — who blew up a building and killed 168 people — and sees his life story broadcast like a celebrity profile."
I hated the Columbine boys. In those days, I wore mostly military surplus; my school banned it out of fear of another Columbine. I do own a black trenchcoat... because it looked so great on Neo in the first Matrix movie. Timothy McVeigh I could care less about; what's done is done, and he can't do it to anyone else. That's what matters.
"Creepy sees Cho Seung-Hui, who massacred 32 people on a college campus — and right in the middle of his killing spree, mailed his videos and photos to NBC, like a publicist. And NBC put them on! Splashed them across the screen! In one day, an unknown, a nobody, got superstar treatment. All it took was some bullets and the right postage. One day, from nothing to something. Creepy stirs."
Novinha sees a self-absorbed writer telling her she's shallow and crazy. All that matters is killing and getting noticed. Nothing she wants, nothing she loves, nothing she is... none of it matters. She is mindless in his eyes. She is nothing. Nothing but a danger. And, I'll get out of third person now, that's worse than any school kid could do to me.
"Creepy sees Cho's image, his menacing pose, the weapons in his hands. Creepy knows that pose. He has struck it himself, before a mirror in his bathroom. Something inside is envious. Something inside — the part that says, "Why him, not me?" — is kicking in. Cho got the last say. So what that he's dead, that he killed himself?"
I was afraid. I was afraid that it would come to something like this column, or worse, something closer to home like the rule changes after Columbine. I'm just glad it hasn't come any closer. That I can live my "creepy" life in relative peace.
"Life is so overrated."
Not true. There may not be some Great Point, but I think all the little points are worth it. Even if you're only living to watch next week's episode of House.
"Creepy is a young man, or a kid, or a teen. Creepy lives in another state, or across town, or on your block. Creepy is out there, angry at the world, nurtured by a culture that values violence over passivity, beauty over substance, money over love, and celebrity above all else."
And is passivity such a wonderful thing? Beauty so hideous? Are you looking only at corporations when you say we've devalued love? Don't you see how much we laugh at Paris Hilton and her ilk?
"Creepy gets ideas."
Only about what people might do if they decide I'm too dangerous.
"Creepy gets a gun."
....I'm glad this is here. I've needed to say this for a long time. I didn't have the time to write to Mitch Albom when this was put out. But at least I've finally written the protest no one else (as far as I've seen) did. But hopefully, my next entry will be a bit more normal, ya know?