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Sizism and Harrassment in an Online World

12 Dec

This weekend, I started playing a new Free To Play video game, All Points Bulletin (APB) Reloaded. I’m more than content to list it here, because all in all it is a fabulous game as far as Free To Play is concerned. That’s not what I’m here to talk about, though. I’m here to talk about the prevalence of sizism and harassment as they related to my gameplay over the weekend.

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Deus Ex: HumΔn Revolution – Review

05 Sep

No worries, I won’t be turning this into a gaming blog, but a game like Deus Ex: Human Revolution deserves a review here, given the unique topics and nature of the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted in games

 

Higher Purpose? What’s that?

21 Mar

Perhaps one of the most significant reasons that I fail to update this personal blog is that I repeatedly try to assign it a higher purpose. Perhaps it’s time I stopped that, at least for a while, and just focus on documenting my personal journey, whatever that may be.

And here I lie at just-shy-of-4am, fully recovered from a rather unfortunate experience involving neglecting to take my anti-depressant medication with me on a day-long vacation during which the entire world became an experience in vertigo. My arms are bundled around my pillow in a somewhat unreasonable attempt to get some degree of proper posture, and giving two-finger typing a fair shot on my iPhone keyboard. Why not, eh?

Where to begin (or rather, where to go next)? My depression, assuming I remember to take my medication, is largely licked for the moment, and my orthopedics are doing wonders for my posture, even if they occassionally make my calves feel like hell. Diabetes is steadily under control, approximately, but I’ve yet to commit to logging it, a supposed requirement to make the transition to a pump if I decide that’s what I want to do. Realistically, giving someone an impression of my control based on more than just my understanding of my control is theoretically vital to making sense of anything. Ick. I promised myself I wouldn’t turn this into a D-blog.

And why not? Sure, I have a general revulsion of the diabetic community. The prevalance of useless acronyms (PWD? People With Diabetes? DOC? Diabetic Online Community?) has me utterly jaded as to the seriousness of any communication with the community itself or it’s members. There is the rare exception, which I hesitantly make, but largely I avoid the drama associated with my unpopular opinions. What kind of opinions? I don’t believe that diabetes is a cause of depression or stress any more than work or relationships. I don’t believe that a cure is a reasonable investiture of time or money when control and prevention are so often overlooked. I would willingly turn down a cure to diabetes if it meant something like cancer, AIDS, or a similar ‘real’ problem could be cured. I don’t believe that doctors or ‘diabetic educators’ can truly help you control diabetes, but rather can only give you some of the tools necessary to do so. Even then, most of the educators I’ve been involved with have had an unhealthy bias to their own views, and have outright refused to think outside the box. So why bother complaining or looking for support from others when, truly, I feel I have nothing to complain about?

Work is going great. I still fundamentally love my job, and as of the next two weeks, I will be adding Seattle, Washington and Cleveland, Ohio to the list of cities I will have visited. I’m becoming more and more of a globe-trotter, albeit mostly the states, and I can’t say it’s not enjoyable. I get to interact with a variety of people, companies, and implementations of software, which to me is practically essential to enjoyment of my position. I like variety. I have yet to complete the processing of my Visa, but I suspect the final requirements will start coming through soon.

My personal relationships are still strong. My primary partner is there for me almost constantly, and despite the occassional communication issue or grievance, I still feel that she’s one of the biggest constants in my life. My secondary is still a great enjoyment for me, and I recently was given the benefit of spending some quality time with, and inadvertently, working with her. She visited my home and stayed with our family in order to attend a convention that I volunteer for, one Furnal Equinox. Once again the most populated furry convention in Canada, and 13th in North America, we had a fantastic year hosting a bevy of awesome people in Toronto. I look forward to next year as passionately as I can, as the experiences I’ve gained here make me swell with pride and camaraderie like little else does right now. Despite working for the con, I do very little active socializing in the fandom currently, mostly through personal lack of interest. I’m looking to increase my social commitments in an effort to engage myself with quality friends as opposed to the general masses, but this is an ongoing project.

So where next? Wherever I want to go. Let this blog be a blog, without assumptions or requirements, just about me and my personal story.

 
 

Death Becomes Us

09 Feb

So. A new post. Unusual that it happens when I’m on the road, but that can’t be helped. The subject I was pondering was actually prompted by walking past a cemetery in a borough of Philadelphia, where the wind-buffeted American flags clung feebly to the stone monuments to which they were attached or planted in front of. I amusingly thought of a Canadian ceremony, and the lack of such Canadian flags in its midst. Something about either not having military graves, or perhaps not having as much pride in the flag as our southern cousins.

That said, I started to think about the monuments themselves. The acts of putting flowers at gravestones of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and other relatives. At what point does the act of celebrating the life of someone fade into repetitive tasks of maintenance, and then followed by a process of the selfsame monuments crumbling to dust? I’d be surprised if any of us visit the graves of our great grandparents. Or our great great grandparents for that matter. A mere hundred years before these investments become essentially monuments to a forgotten person?

Ironically, both religious and non-religious sects put very little importance on the body after death. The soul, the spirit, rebirth, all of these things are completely separate from the physical form. Why, then, do we put so much importance on laying that form to rest? Whether interned in a simple casket or placed in a small box in a mausoleum, we put so much money and time into ensuring that we leave some impact on the world, if even for a few decades before we become remnants of a forgotten past.

I made a decision, recently. I decided that I would donate my body and organs to either needy people or science, as the case may be, in hopes that someone would gain a better understanding of the human body and how to care from it from the simple vessel that I currently inhabit. Whether this is everything I will ever be, or if there is truly some deeper consciousness residing in it temporarily, after I’m gone I’ll have no use for it again. Besides, if we’re doomed to a zombie uprising, I’d rather be burned and/or in many many pieces so that I won’t contribute to the masses the survivors are faced with. ;)

In all seriousness, though, I question whether these old practices are really valid anymore. In a world where the one thing that is endless, it appears, is the availability of data, why do we not commemorate our loved ones in representations of life with more meaning? Pictures, memories, certificates, representations of our life and accomplishments in a digital medium, linked to our ancestors and descendants for easy access. If I had access to such information, I would definitely search for hours, getting to know those who have been forgotten by simple human memory. There are attempts to start such a practice, but not for the purpose of replacing the endless amount of space that we take up storing the dead. We likely use hundreds of thousands of acres of space in the middle of industrialized areas to do exactly that, and unfortunately due to the belief that these spaces are sacred, will have difficulty doing anything with it until we manage to make some kind of paradigm shift in the way burial is viewed.

A macabre topic? Perhaps. This is the stuff I think about, though.

Until next time.

 

Blogroll Additions

08 Nov

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce two new additions to my blogroll. As I’m still honing in on my intentions for this blog, as well as finding inspiration to write, I find that one thing has stayed consistent. I’m creating my own blogger community, centered on the people, things, and subjects that I value.

The first new addition is ClaimYourBeauty, an artistic blog centered around photography and the journey of finding love for oneself. The lovely Lisa posts revealing photography (nude or semi-nude) of herself as she comes to terms with her own perception of her body. The fact that not only is she doing this, but the fact that she’s sharing it with the world at large, is a humbling experience. I feel encouraged by such people, and am pleased to follow her journey and link others to it.

The second new addition is OhMyGodsThatGoesWhere?!, a blog created by several friends (Master Daemen, pet lexie, and MeiQingTing) who have a lot of experience in the sexual and kink scenes, and hope to share it with the world. Product reviews, 101 lessons, and more are expected from this resource, and based on the surge of posts I’ve seen in their first weeks, I look forward to more quality content.

As an aside on this post, I’ve decided to prevent myself from keeping this blog on a strict subject basis. I will be posting many different things here, all of which detail the ‘Curved Perspective’ I myself feel. I want to further expand upon it, develop it, and share content that helps advocate it. I hope to refine my view of it with the world, and hopefully have a concise way to describe such a thing if I’m ever asked why I named my blog what I did. :)

Thank you all, you’re awesome, and I look forward to having you share my journey as well.

 

Chronicles of the Misunderstood – Furry – Part 1: Definocentric Society

31 Oct

In an effort to make the process of building this book easier, and perhaps turning it into a digital book as opposed to a physical book as I’d originally intended, I’ll be documenting each portion of my effort here directly. I’ll be expanding on my views and beliefs, covering the points that I’d like to make, and looking for your input as I do so. Enjoy!

The first baseline to establish, and the reason why most people fail to accurately define the furry fandom, or truthfully any fandom, is due to the sheer variety and breadth of scope of a group of fans. In order to define something like this we need to focus on the commonalities, inasmuch as we can, and acknowledge the fact that such a definition fails to cover all individuals or circumstances. In this admittance of the incapability to fully and completely define something, we can begin to set a framework upon which to build a personal definition, which is fundamentally what any abstract concept depends on.

Those of us who hope to establish a definition that can be effectively ‘copied and pasted’ to all instances has fallen prey to the definocentric world view that is so common in our world currently. Our society has grown on linguistic definition. We focus on writing extensive dictionary and encyclopedia entries that fully and completely define all connotations and denotations of words. This works fine for objects, and arguably people and places. What we’re finding now is that definitions are required for more inexact items. Love. Science fiction. Buddhists. Any term that represents such an expansive list of perspectives and individual beliefs that it becomes nigh on impossible to capture everything in one selection of individual words.

The realization that we cannot hope to define such things in an all-encompassing way does not sit well with traditionalists. They want a means to put a label on the practice or group, but have no way to establish such a label so as to satisfy everyone impacted or part of the item they are trying to define. Not everyone who loves will love in the same way. Not everyone who is a fan of science fiction will like the same things. Not everyone who considers themselves a Buddhist will follow the teachings of Buddha in the same way, if at all. In order to satisfy the desires of definocentric society, we need to be careful what we assign in our definition, and firmly establish the flexibility and failings of such a definition to completely outline what we’re trying to define.

So with that note, we begin. Not to define, or to capture every element of the furry fandom, but rather to explore it. Give a series of perspectives, commonalities, and elements of the fandom that will help each person understand in their own way exactly what it is. Definitions of this scope and size will be a journey, not a process of simply looking something up. As we move into more abstract concepts with more open-minded understanding, such will be necessary. These writings will be a journey, and I welcome each and every one of you to pursuing this journey with me. We will all learn something, and my hope is that we will not realize what we know, but rather what we don’t. This is how we learn.

 
 

My Jet Set Life and Social Definitions

13 Oct

Well, it’s been an interesting 30 days. In the past month, I’ve flown to NYC and stayed in a (rather crummy) hotel not far from Times Square. Following that, I flew down to Washington, DC (quite by accident on the part of the travel agent), drove across three state lines (Virginia / Maryland, Maryland / Delaware, and Delaware / Pennsylvania) to get to King of Prussia in order to spend a little under a week there. All of this for training, with some fantastic students, and I’m beginning to get used to the idea of spending some time away from home. It definitely makes me miss those people most important to me all the more, but it gives me the chance to experience different regions of the world, even if I start with the continent I call home.

Moving on, I had the (mis)fortune today of being caught off guard by an acronym I saw scrolling past on my Twitter feed. Puzzled, I inquired towards its meaning. A new three-letter acronym had been commandeered to identify an Online Community on Twitter (and beyond), which struck me as odd. I suppose this comes partly from my bias towards the particular subject and the communities that revolve around it, but also from my bias towards communities in general. Communities as a whole don’t need to be organized, structured, or restricted. I find it only makes it more difficult for the members of such a community to feel like they belong, and be more likely to feel entitled compared to people outside of the community.

Belonging, naturally, is a positive. Entitlement, more along the lines of a negative. Being part of a community entitles you to nothing more than access to a group of like-minded individuals at most, and to a group of people aware of a common interest at worst. Adding acronyms to this only adds to the miasma of confusion around social networking to begin with, as opposed to making people aware of your cause and feel inclined to join. Is this because it’s a “friends only” group, or because those who want to join should know what such an acronym means? Growth is focused around ideals and beliefs, not acronyms and definitions. I think that’s part of what does not endear me to such groups. I have enough responsibility in life to begin with, and serving a group with a specific purpose is not an added responsibility that I require.

So where does this put me? Confused, primarily. Somewhat offended, even though I have no justification to feel such. I’ve been invited to hundreds of thousands of communities in my lifetime, and I ignore most of them to begin with just because I don’t understand or relate to their ideals or beliefs. Why would I spend any time on figuring out what an unexplained acronym means to figure out what your ideals or beliefs are? Do I want to have that acronym assigned to me, and need to explain it to others, or would I be better off just sharing your belief from a distance?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. What are yours? If you were invited to a group that refers to themselves as an WOC, would you spend the time looking into what that meant? Is the savings in number of letters worth the alienation of the masses?

~ Aiden

PS. My hypothetical example could be “Women’s Online Community”, or even “Wombat Online Community”. Assume for the example that you don’t know, and it’s not obvious, what the acronym stands for.

 
 

Twitter Means – Branching Out!

13 Oct

Now that I’ve amassed a healthy retinue of friends, and friends networks, I feel I can take full advantage of the feature of Twitter I’ve been lacking.

Stalking random people.

I kid (mostly), but what it comes down to is we all have these complex and (slightly) convoluted friend networks that stretch a small distance, either geographically or through connections. Once we put that network out there for others to see, people from the far reaches of our network can intermingle, or possibly reach out to shared networks and build new relationships and networks.

I find this a fascinating practice, and based on my recent additions and inclusions of people that I find somewhat interesting, it’s actually constructive. I’m allowed to take my time analyzing a person, judging them on what they say and believe, and then add them if my opinion of their statements or their presentation fits with the kind of people I want to know. Automatically, I’ve just increased the potential for interaction with this person many times higher than a random social event, even if we have a single thing in common.

Now that I find myself with these new people to converse with, to share notes with, and chuckle about how closely we’re linked even without knowing each other, I wonder where this all is going to take us. Not too many years ago, Facebook was an unknown. The links we had to school friends from a few or dozens of years ago were forever broken, except maybe for some unique websites like Classmates.com that would advertise their unique capability of connecting you with the students from your class that actually cared to get connected. Even more recently than that, Twitter was a nebulous concept in someone’s mind, and the 140 character limit of psychology and belief was something we just couldn’t imagine. Now that we’re here… what’s next?

One of the things I ponder is many of the attempts to unify communication methods. Whether online profiles to contain all your contact info or interaction of several different social networking sites to provide a consolidated record of contact information, I believe that somewhere along the line, we’re going to end up with a personal record of everything us. I know many people use many different systems to do exactly that, myself included. For the moment, at least, most of my contact information is in my head, but one of these days I’m going to finally break off all the old accounts, all the old emails, and reduce myself to a few primary ones, based upon my interests. All of a sudden, my multifaceted personality is subject to a limited number of access points, linked to the social networks that are best suited to them.

Are you ready for what might happen next? Are you prepared to see social networking take another step in the connectivity realm, bringing everyone even closer together? Is privacy something you still cherish and wish to keep a morsel of it to yourself? It’s a digital age, and the clothes we wear have become less important than the guises we adopt on the Internet. Business, personal life, and privacy are all bundled up in a complicated and technologically changing network of people, places, and businesses. It’s a scary world out there, but we’re learning more and more about it in the process.

~ Aiden

 

The World and Money

28 May

What happened if money just disappeared? I don’t mean what if everybody was suddenly poor, but I mean what if money all of a sudden lost every importance it had originally. How would we manage? What would change?

Hypothetical situation. Let’s say a benevolent researcher develops an invention that is able to deconstitute inorganic mass and turn it into something else. It basically collects all of the independent molecules, tears them apart, and puts them together again into something new. Not only that, but because of this, they can be made cheaply and distributed to everyone across the world. All of a sudden, we can go back to all those garbage dumps and raze them to the ground. Slums, old and broken highways, decrepit buildings, everything destroyed and replaced in a matter of moments. Ignoring for the fact the science behind such an invention, what would happen to the world? Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Good Times, Off Mental State

25 May

A personal post, for a change. Despite the fact that I’ve turned this into a ‘project blog’, per se, that’s not to say I can’t post personal things to it as well. I mean honestly, I make the rules here, so why not?

That said, I’m in a really good place right now, but not benefitting very much from my current mental state. Let’s capture the highlights.

Work: I’ve gone from the steamroller style ‘get-er-done’ mentality to the realization that there are better jobs out there. In fact, the call from a headhunter I got and the jobs that were offered worked out fantastically, and I now start a new job on June 14th. Fabulous! I’m not kidding, there’s actually a laundry list of challenges and advantages to this gig, despite starting off at a little lower salary, that I’m actually looking forward to. I’ve already notified my work, and the next few weeks should be a process of finalizing my involvement with my current company.

Home: I guess I can do this all in one. Over the weekend, I had a startling amount of motivation to do stuff. Not only did I post stuff I don’t use anymore to Craigslist ($44 of which I’ll have sold by Friday), but I’ve also organized and sorted the stuff I have yet to post as well as the stuff I’m keeping. Additionally, I’ve gone through and organized my electronic goods, none of which is yet posted to Craigslist, but at the very least is tidy now. Over the last week or so, I’ve completely cleaned up my computer, and the last stragglers of backup CDs and DVDs are yet to be cleared out, which will leave my ‘home office’ in a very pristine and zen state, which hopefully is perfect for working. I’ve also swapped out Firefox for Opera, which has apparently been a very good decision. I replaced three other software packages with the Opera browser, as I can pack IRC, email management, and a browser all into one install. The only complaint I would have is that (mysteriously) my old Gmail account seems to keep sending Opera the same email twice. I’m planning on nixing the account anyways in the near future, so it shouldn’t matter for long.

Relationships: I’m in a good space relationship-wise. W is spending more time at the apartment, and C is as supportive and there-for-me as ever. I’ve had some issues with mental state (which I’ll touch on later), but she’s been incredibly understanding and patient with me, even though sometimes I feel that I don’t deserve it. I have some extremely valuable friendships with M and L, although any thoughts of more are met with conflicting standpoints internally.

Health: Exercise has its ebbs and flows, but I’m definitely physically pushing myself, if only by running around the apartment until all hours of the evening. Healthy eating is on a definite upswing, but I’ve yet to track specific calories or such, as more info

I’m trying to focus on the types of food and the average portion first, and then restriction second. I’m not sure if restriction would be the best way either, as I react negatively to things that are negative by nature. Fancy that. As for psychological health, I’m powering on with therapy appointments and clinging heavily to them. I value them more than they are worth, but that’s because they motivate me and make me realize things that I likely wouldn’t otherwise. Having someone to meet me at the end of the week and say “I am very pleased to see you looking even more positive than last week!” is worth the $35 alone. Heck, he even said I was noticibly losing weight on Saturday, so maybe I am. I’ve abandoned naturopathy (for the moment) primarily because it seems like I just don’t need it. Even though I’m off of most of the vitamins and supplements I was on prior to the break (and the switch to a new intern), I seem to have only improved as opposed to slumped back into the way things were. Anxiety is much less, positive outlooks are easier to grab hold of, and I find myself motivated more often.

Mental State: Here we go. The good is always balanced by the not-so-good. I won’t call it bad, because quite frankly it’s not. Lately, I’ve been finding myself lonely beyond a logical cause. I am not alone, but I am lonely. The two are distinctly separate. I find myself reaching towards potential relationships, only to slap my hands back when and if I realize that I’m pushing too far. I have control over myself, but not over how I feel, it would appear. It feels like I’m surging with creative or sexual energies (the two are intermingled, Sacreddragonfly from Ecstasy in the Everyday would be none too surprised to read that), but the outlet is damaged or broken. It leaks out in fits and bursts, allowing little to form as a result. There’s not enough to drive me farther than the focuses I have, but there’s too much to expose to any one person. My existing relationships in which such a creative or sexual energy could best be used are full of other emotional complexities, and it almost feels like I am focusing these energies on something that already looks beautiful, or on something that I’ve already spent so much effort on. I want a new canvas, a fresh energy, something different. That doesn’t mean I love the original picture any less, even though sometimes it feels like it might. An unusual conflicting parallel of emotion to be sure.

So here I sit, wrapping up my current employment, moving on to a fresh and unknown future with new challenges and new opportunities, sifting through the mess of emotion I’m dealing with right now. I’m ready for it. Completely ready. Let’s see where it takes me.

~ Aiden

 
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