elana: (self1)
I read just now that the LiveJournal servers have been moved to Russia, so for my own safety, I've decided to sunset this account.

If you would like to keep up with me, please see what I'm up to on my other online cesspool, Twitter.

Thanks for being a friend.


(ETA: Obviously you're reading this on Dreamwidth so you see my import was successful! Wahoo!)
elana: (self1)
I needed to stay in Heidelberg, Germany for a few weeks to do some research for my dissertation. I was booking it on very short notice because I had a lot of marking and other things coming up at the end of the term. Because I would be there during the Christmas market, a lot of the hotels were booked, so I decided to try an AirBnB. I also looked forward to having a kitchen so I could cook for myself instead of having weeks of horrible awkward dinners alone at German restaurants.

I went with an apartment registered as a "Superhost" because I wanted the reliability that came with that title. I was afraid; after all, I was travelling alone.

Here's how our interactions went.

Read more... )
elana: (squishy)
I accidentally caught a Trump supporter while innocently tweeting about the shitstorm dystopia that is the United States. It's kind of like rolling your windows down during a nice drive and having a mosquito fly in? He radically misunderstood my sentiments about depriving everyone of guns. I decided to go full Socratic method on him.

... and then he stopped responding to me :( real research is soooooo scary, I'm going back to the comfortably managed artificial fear of my conspiracy theories!!!!!!!! ahhh the sweet mother's milk of communally-stoked paranoia!!!!

Honestly, though, my only desire was to inject a moment of doubt. I don't want to persuade anyone of anything. I just want to sprinkle a pinch of critical thinking and skepticism all around me when I find myself in dark dogmatic alleyways and party lines. I don't think it worked, but I feel like it is always worth trying.
elana: (squishy)
Dear Green Party of Canada,

I have been a loyal, emphatic, lawn-sign-bearing, persuasive Green voter since I moved to downtown Toronto (Spadina/Fort York riding) in 2002. I have been mostly in line, if not utterly delighted, with all of Green's policies. But recently social media drew my attention to the resolution to ban water fluoridation. This is the first time a Green Party policy has struck me as being (pardon me) bats***t crazy. Rampant tooth decay and oral infections were a leading cause of death in ancient Egypt. Tell me the Green Party is in the 21st century (CE) with the rest of us. Objections to the administration of fluoride to our population may be worth debating, but a flat-out ban is rabid panic-mongering madness that will have consequences for public health — particularly for our poorest citizens without access to regular dental care. The Green Party has been my relief in a democratic system where I have largely felt disenfranchised, but I would honestly rather vote for nobody than fall in line with what seems to be chemistry-phobic paranoia.

Help me vote for you. Clarify or scrap this resolution.


Submitted via the 'contact us' form at https://www.greenparty.ca/en/contact
elana: (squishy)
dFEI_Ti: electric class?

me: what is your question?

dFEI_Ti: can you take class with electric power ? we can combine together … 3 chain OVERLOAD , ENERGY DRAIN radius , or electric slash etc …

me: I'm trying to promote my vanguards. I'll play whichever vanguard you prefer

dFEI_Ti: and please take equipments level III IV … is platinum

dFEI_Ti: take electric SMASH … phenix vanguard

me: yes boss

dFEI_Ti: arc g + electric SMASH = TECH BURST --> on geth enemy

me: I understand, I have been playing this game for some time

dFEI_Ti: human classes need extra shield against geth … cyclo III or IV

dFEI_Ti: ok

dFEI_Ti: please kick they just bought copies …

me: please stop telling me what to do. let's just have some fun.

dFEI_Ti: a lot of noobs in ME3 should I be quiet ?

dFEI_Ti: my 3 years statistic ---> 90% of noobs

(game starts, with me playing a character I don't often play, specced a way I have literally never specced it. Mr. Bossypants runs off to the basement of Firebase White on his own, insta-gelling whenever he goes down, while the other two players he tried to kick play my usual strategy and are good co-op players. I take second place on the scoreboard beneath Bossypants and mostly just try to hold the squad together.)

dFEI_Ti: hm you died more than 10 times (geth turret?) … you don't need shield

me: why so mean? we all have something to learn from each other. try to enjoy yourself.

(game takes pity on me and boots me from his lobby. I join up with a friend and try to have a good time but fail Wave 10. my heart still pounds. why did I try to be nice to him? why did I accommodate his demands? why didn't I get on my headset and tell him that me spending my level IV gear will never make as much of a difference as him getting on mic and playing co-operatively? ugh. I feel way worse than I did when I started playing. this is the sort of experience that made me never want to play multiplayer games in the first place.)

(In conclusion, go fuck yourself, dFEI_Ti, wherever you are. Try to be nice. It's a good game, just try to enjoy it. Maybe you are confusing "noob" with "being a separate human being from yourself".)

(ugh, he really got under my skin. Mass Effect is supposed to be my happy place. I wish I never had this encounter.)
elana: (squishy)

Now what do I do? The trolling possibilities are literally endless.

Another piece of amazing background information:


elana: (squishy)
I joined OKCupid because a bunch of my friends are on it and I thought it would be funny.

It has been.

My profile indicates clearly that I am in a strictly monogamous relationship and I am looking for "new friends".

I'm really just looking to troll the trolls. I could probably just write that in my profile too. It's not like they read it.

elana: (squishy)
Alistair Theirin (Dragon Age: Origins): that high school boyfriend who died for me to kill an Archdemon will be forever young and perfect

Fenris (Dragon Age II): that old flame who will always be irresistibly attractive and whenever we're in the same room we can't seem to keep our hands off each other

Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect trilogy): that guy I almost married

Dorian Pavus (Dragon Age: Inquisition): my gay best friend for whom I will always secretly pine

Thane Krios (Mass Effect 2): my Space Husband Now And Forever Please Read My Epic Romance Fanfiction About Him At http://archiveofourown.org/works/613209 NO ONE SHALL EVER DETHRONE HIM FROM MY HEART HE IS MY FOREVER LOVE OH THANE WHY WHYYYYYYY
elana: (squishy)
[2014-08-28, 1:16:42 PM] genmike: I'm here for a honest life partner
[2014-08-28, 1:16:45 PM] Elana: life partner???!
[2014-08-28, 1:16:52 PM] genmike: Yes
[2014-08-28, 1:16:55 PM] Elana: like wife?
[2014-08-28, 1:17:00 PM] genmike: Yes
[2014-08-28, 1:17:07 PM] Elana: and you think you're going to find one randomly on Skype
[2014-08-28, 1:17:24 PM] genmike: Yes
[2014-08-28, 1:17:27 PM] Elana: good luck with that
[2014-08-28, 1:17:30 PM] genmike: I met my last wife here on Skype
[2014-08-28, 1:17:38 PM] Elana: evidently it worked out really well
elana: (squishy)
Christy Mack is beautiful.

She makes a very good living being beautiful, by being a porn star.

She also keeps snakes and advocates for animal rights.

I like her. I follow her on Twitter.

The other day, she got the living hell beaten out of her by her ex, who is also an MMA fighter.

I'm upset about this. I've never met this woman. I don't really know much about her apart from occasionally reading her tweets. But this is horrible, nightmare violence. It's even scarier because the perpetrator is a fighter by occupation. He knows how to break a person.

I like her because she struck me as a strong personality, with a strong aesthetic, and a performer's drive. Not only does she have my sympathy and horror as a woman, but an abstracted part of me is offended, because she is beautiful. How could anyone want to destroy someone who is so carefully constructed and embellished? Punching her is punching a woman with a side of art piece.

I'm sad about it. I'm afraid. It's scary to read the perpetrator's tweets afterwards, framing himself as the victim, as being wholly well-intentioned.

I'm upset about the way different news outlets want to reduce this story to "fighter beats porn star", just two caricatures having it out at each other, implying that he is just 'roid rage and she is just inevitably en flagrante (which is apparently not even what happened).

I think I'm also just upset on a human level, that somebody who was part of my life, even as a tiny digital footprint, has had this kind of horror visited upon her.

It's sad.
elana: (squishy)
First, there was the beginner group: my first Mass Effect friends, who walked me through my tentative, novice steps.

Then, I played with randoms for a long time.

Then I found my home in the 10pm–1am crowd, the kindest people you'll ever meet who are also at the top of the international leaderboard.

Then I found my girls, who play the Firebase Condor drinking game with me from 1am–4am.

This past week I found some kids who are filling my 4am–6am slot.

This doesn't mean that I'm playing from 10pm–6am every night, but it means that almost anytime I feel like playing, I can put together a squad that can sail through Gold and Platinum.

I'm #31 on the Canadian leaderboard right now, but I've got a good group. I think I can really make a push for the top.
elana: (squishy)
Study idea:

Do Tumblr likes and reblogs reflect mood and self-image?

If you feel strong and confident, are you more or less likely to like or reblog an image of a strong, confident woman?

If you feel vulnerable and isolated, are you more or less likely to like or reblog an image of a vulnerable, isolated woman?

Is Tumblr aspirational, or is it a mirror?

All this would take is long term (maybe a few months) study of a decent sample size of women of various ages who keep Tumblrs of images of women. Ask subjects to answer a questionnaire about mood, then go through one set of curated Tumblr images (then one set from their natural dashboard) and like or reblog as they please. Identify discrete recurring visual themes, then evaluate if tastes vary by mood.

Sounds fun!
elana: (squishy)
How much of your opinion is based on informed reasoning, and how much of it is a desire for affiliation with a group or network of like-minded individuals whose overall moral/political axis is the one that you perceive is just?

People who call themselves 'liberals' love to roll their eyes at so-called 'conservatives' and how brainwashed they are. Sheeple swallowing Fox News propaganda. Irrational.

But we should all ask this of ourselves, and be honest. We 'lefties' are just as guilty of it at times, laughing along to whatever Jon Stewart has to say, so confident in our own educated enlightenment that we no longer examine it.

It's only human to want to be part of a group. Consider it, without shame or judgment.

Tick boxes:

  • gay marriage

  • abortion

  • freedom of expression

  • freedom of religion

  • gun control

  • vaccination

  • environmentalism

And so on.

You know the list. You know how people cluster on one side or another of all these issues, and affiliation with one is associated with affiliation with the rest. The burden of proof is lightened. They endure less scrutiny. They become no-brainers.

Why is Israel vs. Palestine on this list? Why is this being turned into a black-and-white issue for everyone to take sides on? Why is this conflict on the other side of the world being balanced on a fulcrum for local social issues? Why uniquely this, of all the systemic suffering in the many parts of the world that go ignored?

I urge you to wonder why this, of all things, gets such treatment.

It's so easy to be swept up on a self-righteous bandwagon. It's so easy to stand alongside your allies on all these other tick boxes and shout at the people on the other side, and feel good and strong and noble.

It's easy to holler callously in a group, but you don't know who might be listening, who might have loved ones living in fear, or who might be living in fear themselves. Some of your allies may have life experiences or group affiliations that run deeper than abstractly advocating for the distant downtrodden. It's terrifying, to see a familiar bandwagon suddenly turn hostile. "But we used to shout at them together."

Please have empathy. Please advocate for peace. If you have the privilege of not needing to take a side, then don't be too hasty in strapping on a uniform. Let's neither cheer nor boo over real human blood. When you learn and think and discuss, let the only emotions you feel be empathy, sadness, recognition of tragedy. You are lucky to have that option. Don't let the invisible forces of group affiliation tempt you into a righteous, crusading rage. Don't let it be transformed into a reason to start fights here.

Just think for yourself, and be kind.
elana: (squishy)
Unless you have a direct, personal connection with either Israel or Gaza, your trite, reductive Twitter commentary on the war there right now is just not fucking welcome. And you're a dick for believing that 140 characters would do justice to a conflict that complex.

Some people I really like have been doing that lately, but I don't like them enough not to insta-unfollow them. Reading that crap leaves me with lingering distress that certainly lasts longer than it took for them to compose the damn tweet, and it's just not fair. Armchair activism does fuck all to help anyone on the ground on either side, but it does create direct interpersonal conflict, hate-mongering, and alienation here. So not only does it not help, it just creates more suffering—in worlds that are totally, physically displaced from the actual suffering people in Israel and Gaza. Your opinions are artificial, but the hurt you spread is real.

Let's try to make the world more peaceful, instead.
elana: (squishy)
I just read in her newsletter that my favourite online Japanese 3D nails shop is clearing out her inventory because she is closing down :( I have hoarded a bunch of sets of nails from her but have never worn them because I've been too precious about them. I might order a few more just because they are going to become unavailable :(

Each set is handmade and so beautiful.

Now that egg, Ageha, Happie Nuts etc. are going out of print, I'm sad to think that ギャル style is really kind of over. I feel like subscribing to Jelly just to make sure it doesn't disappear.

Fullmoon also had the best prices on those magazines. Sigh!

I hope Yukiumi doesn't disappear too. Maybe I should place an order with them. They haven't tweeted since December >_< Agh, it's a dying industry!

Japanese 3D nails just have a certain aesthetic that is somehow restrained and cute despite the inherent outrageousness of 3D nail art. They tend to stay (to my eyes) harmonious rather than garish, and with a certain kawaii-ness that I just can't resist.

Waaaaa I wish I lived in Japan :(
elana: (squishy)
It's 4:30am, I can't sleep, so naturally what will help is watching surreal and slightly disturbing Björk music videos

god I love her so much. How beautiful are her eyes? If I ever get off this purple eyeshadow kick I might start wearing no eyeshadow and just crazy eyelashes like in this video
elana: (squishy)
Obviously I would do one of Mass Effect 2 & 3 (I don't feel as close to the first one). But then I would need a capture device and a lot of time and willingness. And also I don't think anyone would care or watch. The Call of Duty critical let's plays are interesting because those games have been so written off as jingoistic trash. The Perfect Dark ones are interesting because that game is a sort of historical artifact now. Mass Effect is still so closely contemporary and yet already excessively studied. I'm pretty sure it's already course material in university classes.

Really I don't need any more platforms to gush over how much I love the damn games.
elana: (squishy)
I was just musing on how much I like the voice acting on Joanna Dark, protagonist of Perfect Dark. Her voice is quite beautiful, I think: elegant and delicate, uncompromisingly feminine. It's so pleasant to hear a gun-toting special agent in a video game be strong and skilled without needing to affect masculinity.

I looked up who did the voice and discovered that she is better known as a composer! She did the score for Donkey Kong Country!!

Is there a feminist who's who of the history of video games?
elana: (squishy)
Brendan Keogh linked to a friend named Zolani Stewart who has been doing critical let's plays of Perfect Dark. He's even more formalistic in his approach, and from his language and observations, my brain immediately thought, "art critic!" Turns out that is what he calls himself in his bio.

It just makes me so happy to hear someone discuss stuff like use of space and the deliberate feeling of 'closeness' or 'openness' in level design, the way games can imply a living world outside the boundaries of the playable areas with locked doors, or settings whose layouts adhere to functions that are incongruous to the act of shooting and killing (office buildings, beach houses). I love that he took time to discuss the fence that was built into the Chicago level design to integrate the cutscene of the character's arrival, and that you can peer around the corner to see that the alleyway continues, implying the entirety of a complex urban landscape. He coined the term, "the Nintendo 64 aesthetic", to describe a look and feel that "prioritizes shapes over lighting effects" without making a value judgment based on technical shortcomings, so that he can talk about how the designers of Perfect Dark worked within that aesthetic to great effect.

This whole world of analytical discussion of video games is terribly exciting to me, if you couldn't tell. As an archaeologist, it sometimes seems like we get more permission to study something the older it is—which of course means the greatest loss of precious context and information. I'm excited to see this temporal collapse where other departments and fields have no compunctions about studying very contemporary things.

elana: (squishy)
I'm still working my way through Brendan Keogh's formal analysis of Call of Duty 4, and we're getting to the part where there's a downed helicopter needing rescue.

I really want to know if he says anything about the pilot being female. I don't remember if there are any other female voices in this entire game.

His analysis has been on a mostly formal level, with some nods to the really obvious cultural statements in the game (the way it hammers on Western technological superiority, racist vagueness about these "Middle Eastern" ethnicities) and pointing out some cool circularity in the game's relationship to realism, but I wonder if sexism is as difficult to talk about on the scholarly side of video games as it is on the industry side. Idealistically I'd say probably not, but sexism is not a non-problem even in anthropology departments. (Mine, of course, is a utopia, and I say this with absolutely no sarcasm, cross my heart.)

My memories of this game are several years old, but I think it's notable that the pilot is female. I have no idea if it's realistic to have this proportion of male to female soldiers in a war like this. Her dialogue (and delivery) is interesting, asserting her authority and skill. But then (as I recall) she needs to be rescued, which is an unfortunate trope for the sole female character.

I write this about 28 minutes into the following video:

I look forward to seeing where it goes.
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