storyinmypocket: ([apples] simplify)
Yeah, I still exist. Hello, everyone!

Things have been... really boring in some ways, really exciting in others. So... um... have my life in bullet points.

storyinmypocket: ([politics] all the oppressions)
So there was a kerfluffle a while back in which I pretty much stopped talking to one of my friends and dropped out of a game I was really enjoying, because I did not have the spoons to carry on IC while the OOC drama raged, as the people I was having drama with were RPing people with established relationships to my characters. And since that kerfluffle, I've been being very quiet on social networks in general. There are things I've needed to say for a while now, and the fact that I haven't said them has kept me from being social at all, out of fear of starting more drama. And now there are good things I want to talk about, but first I need to get this off my chest.

Let me start by saying that this isn't meant to accuse specific people. I've been there, I've done that, and I'm pretty sure that horse isn't just resting, or pining for the fjords. It is no more. But as I don't want that drama repeating all over again with someone else, I'm going to make where I stand absolutely clear.

In which I hold unpopular opinions. )
storyinmypocket: ([mood - overwhelmed] emergency shut off)
Grandma came home from the hospital Wednesday night. She's on blood thinners again, otherwise fine. Physical therapists came by once and declared that they weren't coming back, as she was doing great.

Would have posted earlier, but things have been deeply stressful lately, and I'm not dealing well with much of anything.
storyinmypocket: ([feeling electric - lyrics] let there be)
I haven't made a generic update post in a while, so I thought I might reassure all the lovely journaling people that, yes, I still live.

At the moment, life is... Well, I'm in Dallas and living with my grandmother, the ultra-conservative Catholic who thinks I need to be on psych meds because I'm more interested in talking to people I love online than I am in going out and being social here in Dallas. Not therapy, mind you, because she knows there's nothing that I'd need therapy for -- I just need to take two pills a day like my uncle and then my brain chemistry will be fixed and I'll go out and have a normal life like I deserve!

...Yeah, this is what I'm hearing on a regular basis. Attempts to tell her that I am not normal and do not want a normal life are falling on deaf ears. I wouldn't even be adverse to meds and therapy, if I had insurance and enough money to pay for them, but I'd want meds because sometimes I have to hold very still until the urge to do myself serious injury passes, not because I don't feel like going out in the oppressive Texas heat and being social with complete strangers. Why is it so hard for her to grasp that I'm happy being a hermit?

However, all is not crappy -- I'm now in a relationship with the lovely and awesome [personal profile] inbarati, in addition to [personal profile] allfireburns and [personal profile] ordinarygirl, who I miss like crazy. I have been for a while, actually, but there's this irrational fear that if I tell the world about it, something terrible's going to happen. I'm trying to work past that.

In other news, I'm looking into going to school for medical transcription. I like learning about medical stuff, I'm nitpicky and obssessive, and it'll let me work from home, so it seems like a good fit. The downside is that the two schools I hear recommended most often (Andrews and M-TEC) charge just under $4000 for tuition and books, and don't accept Federal financial aid. Dan (the former stepfather) has offered to put tuition on one of his credit cards for me, but I'd still have to pay him back, plus however much interest he gets charged for the balance on the card, and I'm afraid of being stuck owing him money forever while I try to make ends meet.

Most of the rest of what I've been doing involves a great deal of soul-searching, which I'm really not up to talking about.

But yeah, that's my life lately.
storyinmypocket: ([dw] crack pipe of rassilon)
"There are no original ideas. There are just new spins on old tropes."

"I had an English teacher who used to tell me that. He also used to play videos in class so he could masturbate in the back of the classroom."

- Me and [ profile] aguynamedgoo

(Sadly, this was too long for twitter.)
storyinmypocket: ([dw] crack pipe of rassilon)
Following the cut, you'll find spoilers for DW: The End of Time (pt. 1). Don't click if you haven't seen it and/or have issues with spoilers, excessive profanity, and judicious use of allcaps.

Obey your Master (MASTER!) )
storyinmypocket: (Default)
storyinmypocket: ([dw - 9] stupid apes)
Since I'm too tired to formulate anything coherent, I'm just going to bitch for a moment about the reduced bus service Valley-wide (with the exception of Tempe). It's not exactly new, but since most of what I need to get to is either in Tempe itself or someplace Beka can drive me to, it hasn't been an issue so much.

That said, in these troubling economic times, it's perfectly understandable that we wouldn't want to do anything silly like help those poor people find and keep jobs. Really.

(This is making job hunting more difficult, as I can't get a job in, say, Chandler now, unless I'm absolutely positive it will require no work on weekends at all. Rar.)
storyinmypocket: ([crossovers] alice/tw)
So I'm having to deal with bleedover liek whoa today -- for those who don't now, I roleplay quite a bit, and one of my flagship characters at Beyond the Rift is a pre-canon Suzie Costello from Torchwood. Since she hasn't dealt with the Resurrection Gauntlet yet, she's comparatively sane, but she's still got a boatload of issues, and the fact that everyone she used to know remembers her going mad and betraying Torchwood doesn't help.

Now, [ profile] allfireburns plays Toshiko Sato, and since we both ship Suzie/Tosh, the fact that Suzie and Tosh were once in love became part of their backstories. But now that Suzie's there, it's bringing up a lot of the old heartache and betrayal. Despite that, they're still in love with each other. Things are messy.

They've been doing a slowtimed thread for about a month now, and it went from awkward and somewhat adorable to absolutely heartbreaking, especially since Suzie is not accepting Tosh's insistence that things are fine when she's obviously miserable. (Suzie isn't the most patient of women, especially when people she loves are hurting themselves.)

So... things kind of exploded. Especially since, while Suzie hates what she would've done, and was horrified to learn just how far her paranoia would have taken her, she can see exactly how she would've justified it. And she's admitting to that, painful as it is. Just because she never did those things, it doesn't make her any less the person who would have, under those circumstances.

If I'm writing or roleplaying a character, it's usually because they have a strong presence in my head. Original or existing fandom characters, it really doesn't matter. It's why I write in the first place... I don't so much come up with ideas as people show up and start sharing bits of their lives with me, and I turn those bits into stories. I'm sure to most non-writer folk, this kind of thing sounds really weird and makes people doubt my sanity. However, quite a few pro writers have admitted to writing in pretty much the same way, so if this is part of my nonstandard brain wiring, at least I'm in excellent company. (Except for Anne Rice -- that woman's pretty high on the weirdness scale even for writers with headvoices. None of the characters I type for have ever felt the need to write letters of protest about local restaurants and have them published in newspapers. Nor have I ever turned down suggestions made by people looking over my work because the character insists things happened a certain way -- I'm a storyteller, and the point is always to tell a good story, first and foremost.)

Anyway. The Suzie bleedover's been kind of a bitch, which always happens when I hit a deeply emotional writing groove. Thus, me listening to Charlotte Martin's "Madman" over and over again.

Lyrics )

...Yeah, that sound was my heart breaking into a thousand pieces.
storyinmypocket: ([web design] markup)
You know, it helps when I use the right journal name in my profile to link to the writing journal. I feel dumb.

Slowly, I'm assembling what I want to say in my profile here, which will probably inform any changes I make to my LJ profile, as well. (Eventually, there will be pretty formatting on this profile as well as on LJ. Huzzah!) And so I might as well post this here, as well as in my profile.

I like making friends. I do. I don't usually get terribly close to people right off, but it does happen.

However: I am not your queer friend. I am not your lesbian friend. I am not your panromantic friend. I am not your kinky friend. I am not your transgendered friend. I am not your cisgendered friend. I am not your female friend. I am not your femme friend or your soft-butch friend. I am not your writer friend. I am not your goth friend. I am not your Hispanic friend. I am not your part-Apache friend. I am not your white friend. I am not your mixed-race friend. I'm not your multiple friend, and if you hold me up as an example of MPD/DID, I will beat you with something, because whatever the structure of my head, MPD/DID is not a condition I meet the diagnostic criteria for. I'm not your clinically depressed/bipolar/BPD friend. I am not your ADD-having friend. I am not your rape/abuse survivor friend. I am not your Texan friend. I am not your Christian friend, your Pagan friend, or your Christopagan friend. I am not your plus-sized friend. I am not your fibromyalgia-having friend, nor am I your able-bodied friend.

You may be confused right now. Allow me to explain: depending on how you define certain terms, I fit some of the criteria for just about everything I've listed above. Not all of them apply with equal degrees of accuracy, and not all of them will apply at the same moment in time (things like 'femme' and 'soft-butch', for instance... I vary wildly there). However, these are all labels that have applied to me at one point or another, whether I was the one to apply them, or someone else was.

However, I make a damn poor representative of any of those groups, and whenever someone refers to someone else as "my ____ friend," they tend to be invalidating the experience of other people in those groups. For instance, "My friend Jaqui is Pagan, and she doesn't have a problem with this!" Because I totally speak for all Pagans everywhere. Riiight.

(In fact, rather than include all the explanations on my profile, I may just link to this post.)

I'd rather be your friend who compulsively picks at scabs, or who can't resist singing along to background music, or who sorts her M&Ms by color. None of these attempt to define me as a representative of any class in particular. If you insist on classifying me as your ____ friend, you may be surprised to discover that I'm not your friend at all, because people I'm friends with don't do that.

This rant brought to you by [personal profile] magistrate, and the fact that se actually had to provide a disclaimer on the subject in one of hir posts.

Fun fact: In Louisiana, people classified me as a white girl with a tan, because I have a generic Anglo-Saxon last name, and there was pretty much one other Latina in my school. In Texas, people would go, "Hey, you're Mexican, right?", and I'd have to correct them with "Ah, no, Cuban on my mother's side." (Thanks to my weird and mixed-up family, I can decipher Cuban and Castilian accents much better than I can Mexican accents. It tends to throw people when I can perfectly understand some varieties of Spanish, and carry on a lengthy conversation with my grandma, then furrow my brow and go, "...what?" when trying to talk to someone with a Mexican accent... Though I've gotten better over the years.) Here in Arizona, where people with Apache blood aren't uncommon, I seem to get read as a white/Apache mix, due to my lack of a Spanish accent when speaking English. (And, hey, that about covers my father's side of things...) I've met people who spent quite a bit of time trying to guess my race. The whole thing was vaguely surreal. But, yeah I get differing amounts of white privilege depending on where I am, what people expect to see, and whether I'm speaking Spanish at the time. I can see a marked difference in how people treat me depending on what they know or guess about my heritage, and the implications are distressing, though not terribly surprising.
storyinmypocket: ([hedwig - anthony rapp] we call it love)
I'm thinking about gender again. And how most people I know who enjoy a bit of genderfuck seem to be drawn to the androgynous ideal: slim, pretty, almost childlike in that all secondary sexual characteristics are hidden. And that's a lot more socially acceptable than the other side of genderfuck: combining distinct sexual characteristics in unexpected ways.

Obviously, I don't know enough awesome folks.

Where are the people who can pull off a full beard, pretty makeup, and cleavage?

I mean, I love the slippery, subtle androgyny where you really can't tell one way or the other. I do. But I'd like to see more people who go to the opposite extreme. And society really doesn't have room for those people. The androgynous waif thing has been trendy, it's been openly fetishized by certain segments of society, and that, to some extent is a good thing, because anything that plays with what's expected of gender is a step forward. But those people who don't pass, those male-bodied people who, even if they put on a dress and makeup, will still read to the average citizen as a "man in a dress"...

They're considered freakish. They're played for comedy. There seems to be a bias that says that a mix of traditionally 'masculine' and 'feminine' is ugly. If you want to do genderfuck right, you want to be this lovely, romantic image... a still-pretty tomboy or a pretty girly man who doesn't look TOO much like a guy... That's fine. But someone who has obvious male characteristics and adds female trappings to those, it's something to mock or to pity. "Oh, he'll never pass." "She looks androgynous, but in the BAD way." Or, about Anthony Rapp as Hedwig, "It's ugly, and I'm completely unconvinced. I don't want to look at it anymore." (See the icon I'm using for this post -- and for Hedwig, being convincing as a woman isn't really the point, anyway.)

And I'd say there's something very wrong with society's standards of beauty, but even people who've rejected other aspects of society's rather limited ideas of what beautiful is will come down on more aggressive aspects of genderfuck.

Listen: sometimes, the point isn't to "pass" as anything. Sometimes the point is to upset someone's expectations, to broaden horizons, to bend gender over the nearest object and fuck it 'til it's bloody and screaming.

And that can be beautiful.

And not just Anthony's Hedwig, who isn't passing, and who is garish and over the top, in a way which I consider absolutely awesome. How about Lila from Carnivàle? Just watch her in the show -- she makes that beard seem perfectly natural, and perfectly feminine. She could shave it, but she shouldn't have to, and not just because a bearded lady can find good work in a carnival. (Also, I think she's lovely.)

Hell, let's go classical. Aphrodite Urania, occasionally depicted with a beard in Cyprus. Accounts may vary as to whether or not a the source for that was mistranslated, but the bearded Aphrodite has gained some devoted followers in the modern age.

Or Baphomet, portrayed with full breasts, an erect phallus, and the head of a goat -- big scary genderfuck, big scary speciesfuck, and, given the attitudes prevalent at the time, is it any wonder S/He was the perfect bogeyman for Inquisitors to use in order to bring down the Templars?

It makes me start to wonder if perhaps the androgynous waifs get some measure of acceptance because their appearance is so very nonthreatening. The general appearance is one of sexual immaturity -- no breasts, no body hair, none of the signals that make someone adult and therefore threating. (This could, in fact, be part of why so many women, myself included, are drawn to pretty, girly boys -- because they're boys. They're not men, they're not threatening. There are none of the scary things that signal 'big dangerous man who might hurt me'. Not saying it's the only reason, but it's food for thought.) The androgynous waif is symbolically trapped in an eternal childhood, powerless and pretty. Se will never be a father or a mother, never be anything but a symbol of perpetual early adolescence.

But someone with characteristics that we associate with 'man' and 'woman', instead of 'boy' and 'girl', with the trappings of power and adulthood... That's dangerous. That's scary. Easier to tear something down than to let it use that implied power to seriously fuck with the status quo.

So here's a homework assignment, for those so inclined: think about your ideals of beauty, and why you hold those ideals. No saying, "Well, this is pretty and that isn't, and anyone with taste can see that." What most people consider good taste is the product of social conditioning. Individual tastes may vary, but they all come from somewhere. Pale skin was beautiful for centuries in Western culture because it implied that someone didn't have to work. Full-figured women were considered beautiful because they were well-fed and healthy enough to make lots of babies. These days, it's all about looking tanned and 'healthy', by which we mean thin. (Never mind that most of the people we hold up as ideals in those circumstances are thin to an unhealthy extent... Though for people who naturally have trouble keeping on weight, the backlash against that ideal can be just as bad.)

There is no overarching ideal of beauty, just things that inspire positive or negative reactions in individuals. And underneath those reactions lies an endless font of association and prejudice. Yes, prejudice. I said it. You are prejudiced. And so am I, and so is everyone else on the planet. It's the human condition.

But by questioning those prejudices, we learn to see beauty in things we'd have disregarded before. And I sincerely believe that to be a good thing.

Note: This ramble got away from me a bit, and more than that, it's completely unresearched and spur-of-the-moment. By all means, feel free to correct any factual inaccuracies, and point me at examples of genderfuck which actually includes secondary sexual characteristics.
storyinmypocket: ([web design] markup)
Okay, you wanna know something which really irritates me, and which I keep seeing?

People with styles that set <em> and <i> text to some ridiculous shade of pale gray/white/whatever which makes it harder to read and interrupts the flow of text. I've seen color changes in text used to great effect, but the entire purpose of <em> and <i> text in standard usuage is to emphasize.

(Okay, italics are actually used for quite a few different purposes -- I'll give you that. But this is why we have semantic markup which doesn't specify format, but rather intent. <em> emphasizes. <cite> exists for citations, and has exactly the same effect, but the semantic version lets people using screen-readers get more meaning out of the text by telling the program how to read it out, where italics tell you nothing at all. And that's a whole other rant.)

So why, pray tell, should emphasized text be harder to read? How does that make sense?

(Look! The <em> tags are coming fast and furious! Because I am worked up! And feeling the need to use emphasis!)

Even the layout I'm using now (on my Dreamwidth account, anyway, where this is being crossposted from), which I quite like, had this little gem in it:

i, em {
color: #CCCCCC;


b, strong {
color: #4D4A6A;

...which is just more color-fuckery for no reason.

...Yeah, I tossed those bits out as soon as I noticed. Because what the fuck, people? Seriously? What the everloving fuck? It lightens the text, appearing to detract from the emphasis rather than add to it, so the emphasized text appears to fade out, and what's more, it creates a distinct break in the sentence while the reader's brain shifts gears slightly, instead of rolling right along while adding the required emphasis like it's been trained to do.

I do not like things that make my brain do needless extra work in deciphering a simple sentence.

I just can't understand why anyone would do this. There's no good reason for it. Maybe if you made <em> text bright red or something, it would make sense -- it would be kind of ugly, and annoying as hell, but it would be a signal to a reader's brain that this is really deserving of emphasis, instead of making it seem less important somehow. (See me screwing with CSS? Isn't it kind of irritating? Do you really want this to happen every time I emphasize a word?)

The only explanation I can see is that this is some form of designer masturbation -- "Look at this cool thing I can do, everybody! No, it doesn't add anything to the content, or make said content easier to read, or even add any real aesthetic value, but who cares? IM IN UR CSS CONTROLLIN UR TEXT! *fapfapfap*"

Yeah. You're a special snowflake, layout designer. You have mad leet skillz. I tremble in awe at your ability to micromanage layout details to the point of utter uselessness.

Otherwise amazing designers keep doing this shit. And it makes me want to punch babies.

Here's a hint, designers: we know you're good. You make pretty, pretty layouts, and people like them. So why must you pointlessly demonstrate your CSS mastery to such an absurd degree that it impairs legibility?

Granted, I know for most of the designers out there, it's a labor of love, and no one's paying them to make layouts freely available. I'm thankful that there are people out there willing to spend time beating layout CSS into submission so I don't have to. I just don't see the point in messing with the text.

Content trumps design, and a good design doesn't fuck with the content, but merely presents it in a way that's both aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. Text-fuckery which doesn't add anything to the content means that somewhere, somehow, you FAIL.

You fail so hard.

Please stop failing, designers. I like you. I really do. I'm grateful that you're designing layouts at all, and I'm certainly not above going into the CSS and fixing things that bother me.

But when your design is getting in the way of people's content, I can't help but feel there's something wrong, and I can't for the life of me understand why it's happening.
storyinmypocket: (Default)
It seems I'm the only one here who's using the same username they use everybloodywhere else.

I feel terribly uncreative. Damnit, and here I wanted to be one of the cool kids.


storyinmypocket: (Default)
Jaqui Lokadottir

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I've got a story in my pocket and a bag full of apples; I'm rewriting this fairy tale whether you like it or not.

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