No Misogyny in Gaming, huh?

Read this and tell me there is no misogyny in games: Anita Sarkeesian Says she Was Driven out of House by Death Threats

Read this and tell me women are treated fairly and respectfully: Anti-Feminist Internet Targets “Depression Quest” game creator, Zoe Quinn

Because, clearly, the way to deal with uppity women is to threaten them with bodily harm until they shut-up. Or accuse them of promiscuity instead of recognizing that they may-just, possibly, may-have made a good game. Because the only way a game designed by a woman could succeed is if she slept with men to get them to promote her. (Which then touches on all of our fucked up issues around sex and female sexuality, but that’s an even bigger topic).

Let’s talk about the threats Jennifer Hepler got while working at Bioware. Or the general rage directed at Bioware for *gasp* portraying characters with non-hetero sexuality. Let’s talk about the “One Reason Why” phenomenon, that finally provided women in gaming a place to speak openly about the bs we get put through. You want evidence? You want proof that this shit happens? Open your eyes.

Rabbi Plans to Kill Dogs Because he Can’t be Bothered

Or at least, that’s what he’s trying to do. But I’m not going to let him. And I’m asking for your help.

My grandmother died in March, leaving her rabbi & tenant of the last 15 years as her primary beneficiary. Which makes perfect sense; he was her family. She left him lifetime tenancy in her house, $50k a year that will likely last him the rest of his life, and two small dogs.

When I first spoke to her lawyer, he told me the rabbi was unhappy about having the dogs and that he was worried the rabbi would put them down. At the time, I thought my parents or I could take them. But I’m a freelancer and currently I don’t have a gig. My savings were wiped out when my cat needed an emergency surgery and I already have three rescues. I can’t afford it.

We’ve also learned that my mother needs to have a surgery soon, which will require roughly two months recovery time in which my father will be taking care of her.  My parents can’t take the dogs.

I explained all this to the rabbi a few weeks ago. I pointed out that my grandmother, in her will, specifically left the dogs to him; clearly she expected him to care for them. I thought it was settled at that point.

Yesterday I received an email from the lawyer’s office telling me the rabbi is going to have the dogs put down. They argued with him, trying to convince him to at least take the dogs to a shelter where they’d have a chance. Or put up a notice at the vet’s office saying the dogs were up for adoption. He seems to have agreed.

He also left me a voicemail saying that if I want the dogs put down, he’ll do that but he obviously can’t keep them. He’s trying to put this on me, to salve his conscience, but it’s his responsibility. It’s his choice. He *owes* my grandmother this.

He’s right, though. I won’t let him kill her dogs.

Within two minutes of searching, I found a no-kill shelter not far from the house. The dogs will be going there. But I would much rather find a home for the both of them. Which is why I’m asking for your help. Give this a signal boost. Maybe you know someone who would want them or could offer suggestions.

I’ll post a picture here of the dogs as soon as I can get a hold of one.

The dogs are in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A mini-dachshund and a terrier mix.

You Were Obviously Never a Geek: Sexism in the Game Industry

That expression just about covers it.

Can I tell you how furious that phrase makes me?

The last day or more, #1reasonwhy has been trending on twitter. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a discussion of why there aren’t more women in the game industry. It’s fascinating, revealing, disturbing, infuriating, motivating–all of these things–to see what other women have gone through.

This was my contribution: sharing how some few male co-workers & supervisors had told me I obviously wasn’t a geek. At the time, I got defensive. I tried to prove that no, I am a geek! See? I have the social scars from high school to prove it. I know the Konami code. I have Star Trek earrings… I’ve played video games since I was a kid, I’ve read adult science fiction since 4th grade (almost exclusively, to my parents’ dismay), and, for fuck’s sake, I’ve published science fiction. Professionally.

But here’s the thing–I never should have been put in that position. Because it’s an ad hominem attack as well as a red herring. It’s a fucking logical fallacy, but it worked on me and that’s what makes me angry.

The only reason you say this to someone in the gaming industry is to discredit them and put them off balance. It isn’t useful information. It isn’t helpful feedback. It isn’t affectionate ribbing. This is what someone says to a woman, in front of others, to discredit her ideas and put her on the defensive. When it happened to me, I shifted from arguing my point to defending my honor as a geek. Say it often enough, and loudly enough, and other people start believing it. It’s a great way to undermine someone without them even realizing it.

I’ve had it said to me in private to justify treating me like crap. Passing me over for promotion. I’ve even had one dude tell me I was right about a particular story design problem, but I obviously had never been a geek. Unspoken, the other dude–the one who was wrong–had been a geek. Geek solidarity. No icky girls allowed in this clubhouse.

I wish I could go back and have that conversation again. Except this time, I wouldn’t go on the defensive. I wouldn’t back down. I wouldn’t be polite and try to make nice. And I wouldn’t let the fear of it costing me my job keep me silent, because a job working with people like that isn’t worth having.

Right now, I’m lucky. I’m working with a team of guys who believe in the rather shocking concept that women are people, too. And yeah, I am the only woman on the narrative team, which says something about our industry. But I am on the team and I am treated with respect. It’s the right direction.

Homeward Bound

How, in a house of my brethren can there be so few pens? And then maybe, I think, they aren’t my brethren in that way. In the pen and the paper and the ink and the ideas swirling away into bits of paper.

Maybe they’re my brethren simply by blood. Which isn’t simple, is it? Never is. Brethren by blood or by choice. Considering epigenetics, in this case the two are inseparable. But that’s considering epigenetics, and I am far too looped out on Ambien to do so coherently at the moment.

Consider Phlebus.

Or don’t. I rarely do.

Consider Ragnar taking up a quarter of his bed, watching me whenever I move in case I leave while he wasn’t looking. He won’t even eat his breakfast anymore, he’s too busy watching to make sure I don’t duck out while he’s eating.

I owe him something. An environment where he can relax. Where I am less stressed. Where it’s okay to not always be on the run, always getting things done by the skin of my teeth. Always on the verge of collapse because, in addition to my personal goals, I want to give those around me whatever it is they want from me. That last one…. that needs a full on revamping.

With J, I could not be the out doorsy, studiously productive cynical girl he needed. I tried. I managed cynical. Instead of studious I did obsessive; he didn’t like me when I was obsessive.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love him a great deal, and probably will for a long time. And I still miss him something fierce. But I’m much happier on a day to day basis, able to recall the fun we had, how madly & quickly we fell for each other, how so many things about us just *fit*.

But if you’re trying to be what the other person wants… and you don’t even know who you are… sigh… The person he wanted, she’s a good person. Someone I’d have fun with, someone I’d admire. But not me. I’m not interested in scuba diving, or getting drunk, or week long camping trips.

I owe Ragnar, and I owe myself, a home. A safe space in which only our interactions matter. And the cats. A home, together, the three of us. I owe us all a home without constant judgment and criticism. Without a constant looming disapproval. Without the sense that the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet. A home that is ours. It will be my home by all outward measures. But ours. No one else gets to complain when Kayla projectile vomits off the top of the bookcase. No one else gets to point out how many knots are in Marx’s fur, but then refuse to help shave them out. No one else gets to look down on Ragnar — on *my* dog — and complain about his behavior.

Because, for fuck’s sake, he’s a dog. He gets paw prints on things. He sometimes smells funny. He eats things you don’t even want to think about. He wants to sniff your butt, and your butt, and everybody’s butts. But. His home. Where he will not be punished for being a dog. He will be trained and disciplined, and the fact that he waits for permission before getting on the bed will be acknowledged. And that he rings bells when he wants to go outside will be admired for the awesomeness it is.

He will be appreciated in his own home.

I would like to be appreciated in my own home.

I would like my own home, and I haven’t had any space I could truly call mine since college. For a while, I thought I had that at Tortuga. But, no. Shoes dropped. Judgments got made. Suddenly, it wasn’t a safe space to come home to. It was a place to walk on eggshells and then attempt to read tea leaves to figure out whatever the fuck was going on.

And so. I want a home of my own. And it’s looking like I’ll have one, soon.

Pending signing the lease and handing over the deposit, my family and I will be moving into a three bedroom house in the east bay. One with a ginormous backyard where Ragnar can bound and leap. And there will be cat shelves. Oh, yes. I will put up cat shelves in every room so the cats can circumnavigate the house without ever once having to be on the ground with Ragnar unless they want to.

I will have a home.


Oh. And my home will be entirely gluten free. No gluten shall enter. Ever. So I will never have to fear contamination and illness in my own home.

All of which is a rambly and emotional way of saying I may have a place for the menagerie and me within the next week or so.


Don’t Take Your Little Dog to the Big Dog Park

Don’t take your little dog into the big dog park.

And if you do, and if the owners of the two big dogs there say it’s a bad idea, do not then continue to insist that your 13lb poodle likes to play rough. He doesn’t. He really doesn’t like to play rough with my 100lb mastiff and the other dude’s 60lb pitbull. Really.

And if you continue to insist, no, really, my miniature-fucking-poodle likes playing rough and it will be okay, and the owner of said 100lb mastiff says again that’s not a good idea, listen.

And if you decide to ignore said advice, and if your 13lb poodle decides to go after that 100lb mastiff, and that mastiff responds by grabbing the poodle’s neck and holding it to the ground (without hurting it)… you don’t get to complain, lady.

Did you not read the sign? Large Dogs. You’re supposed to go to the enclosure next door that says Small Dogs.

And don’t go telling me my dog is vicious. You put your dog at risk despite several warnings. You allowed your dog to attack a dog nearly 10x its size, and that dog did what he was bred to do–without, I might add, harming your dog.

Why John Mayer Irritates the Crap Out of Me

While I’m shredding pop songs, let’s talk about John Mayer. It’s not the ridiculously offensive Playboy interview he did. It’s not that he seems to sniff out drama like a bloodhound sniffs out escaped convicts. No. It’s this song:

Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could

Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

So, basically – people say you don’t do shit while you whine about how much the world sucks, but really, you say, you do! You’re waiting for the world to change. You’re not going to do any work to make it change, no. Because you’re clueless and so you don’t even try. So. Yeah. You’re deep and meaningful and you want to whine about it.

So, no. I wouldn’t say you or your friends are the least bit misunderstood. I think you’re pretty darned well understood. You don’t stand for anything. You say it yourself. You don’t have the means to rise above. You don’t take a stand because you don’t think you’re capable of it. Which really means you don’t care enough to do anything, because I’ll bet you’re capable of making it to the gym to workout, or making it to a party to have fun with all those other folks who are waiting for the world to change.

You do, however, feel that you have every right to whine about the things you don’t like. But no obligation to do anything. Because it’s so much more fun to sit around feeling superior and meaningful. You’re like MFA students. Annoying as crap, always writing about the anti-edenic post moderns concept of the blahblahblah and how awful your lives are. You’re brats with entitlement issues. Do you whine about how much effort it is to brush your teeth, too?

Keep waiting. Just keep on waiting, and complaining. Because the world is going to change, and it’s going to change in directions you don’t like. And, on the off chance it actually does get changed in a way that pleases you, it won’t be you who gets any of the credit. Because you didn’t do any of the work. One day your generation is going to rule the population, but you aren’t going to be a part of it.

Gods. Songs like this make me wish I’d been born in time to be a hippie.

Ridiculous Dating Expectations

There’s this song, you may have heard it. It has this line in it that I would totally have loved when I was 19 and stupid. Here’s the offending chorus:

Who doesn’t long for someone to hold

Who knows how to love you without being told

Somebody tell me why I’m on my own

If there’s a soulmate for everyone

You want to know why you’re on your own? This line, this line is why you’re on your own:

Who knows how to love you without being told

You’re on your own because you’re a poor communicator. You’re on your own because you’re lazy and you aren’t willing to do the work. Because you want the guy (or girl) you’re dating to do all the heavy lifting for you. You want them to read your mind and do everything you want without ever being told. And you know what? That’s idiotic. And unfair. Think about it. Would you like it if someone expected you to cater to their wishes but never told you what those wishes were?

You can’t expect anyone else to read your mind. You can expect them to listen when you tell them what you want. It may sound trite, but communication really is the key. If you tell the people you date, “Hey, I really like it when you sneak up behind me and kiss my neck,” guess what? They’ll start sneaking up behind you and kissing your neck. Or, if you tell them, “When I’m upset, I need you to hold me,” they’ll try to do that. You may have to remind them a few times (after nearly four years together, J finally does this last one without me asking. The neck kissing was easy).

And here’s the secret – if you do tell your partner what you like, eventually, down the line, you will have a partner who can read your mind. Because they really know you. J is really good, most of the time, at reading me. And he knows what to do to make me feel loved, because I told him and he paid attention. And when he does it, I respond. I let him know it’s working. So he’ll keep doing it.

You can have a partner who knows how to love you, but you have to do the work.

/end rant