Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why? Goodness, Why?

The guy downstairs across the hall and the people kiddie corner to our balcony are both terrible people. Every night they get into loud fights with their girlfriends about who-knows-what and it results in lots of yelling and door slamming. If you're following me on Facebook I'm sure you can find at least half a dozen posts of me complaining about the door slamming since these people have moved in several weeks ago.

With our windows shut and the AC on we're not privy to the yelling, so I had no idea how bad it was. I have heard our friends who moved in across from us complain about it every now and then. I've been taking care of their doggies while they're out of town; at their place I can for some reason hear all of the yelling. The horrible, yelling. Two people talking to each other like no two people should ever talk to each other even if they were enemies -- and these are supposed to be couples choosing to live together out of love.

Tonight was apparently the end of days in domestic abuse town when three loud door slams preceded my walking over to their place to walk the dogs. Door slamming was typical so I just shrugged it off and went on over thinking nothing of it. While there I could hear these people yell at each other all the way through the courtyard. She was finally leaving him. He was going back and forth between begging her to stay and chastising her. Winning combination.

Meanwhile, across from their apartment the girl's boyfriend was standing outside the door with his head against the wall like a weirdo. "WTF is that about?" I thought as I walked by. Apparently she had thrown him out. Not five minutes later he burst back into the apartment when she cracked the door to hand him his things and was trying to murder her, or something. There was violence, and shrieking. She started screaming for help. The heroes in the apartment below her, total strangers, rushed to her rescue. He was dragged outside and she was able to lock him out while they called the police on her behalf.

I was standing outside trying to get the dogs to poop when the guy from upstairs ran downstairs to the other domestic abuse household for a place to stay? Only, turns out, two domestic abusers don't get along just because they share domestic ambusing in common. The guy from the downstairs apartment called him obscenities and threw him out. The heroes urged me back inside. I wasn't about to argue, only I still had our friend's dogs so I had to go back into their house instead of my own.

Only one of two dogs got to to their business and I wound up trapped in our friend's apartment for an hour for safety while the police sorted the matter out. Hopefully there isn't an accident because of it, though I'm sure they understand -- they're far more familiar with this violence than I am. And hopefully no one dies tonight. Either way, I don't see these new additions to our neighborhood lasting long.

Update: Last night as Aaron and I were going to fetch late night dinner, we had to pass the downstairs couple who were out in the courtyard still having their dispute. She was trying to leave, and he was holding her wrists so that she couldn't. Eventually he managed to wrangle her back inside. Only the moment he wasn't looking she booked it, got into the van, and left with him yelling behind her, powerless.

I was relieved to see that early this morning when I went to tend our friend's dogs that the van was still gone. It's therefor much to my dismay that I now see the van has returned. Looks like we'll be reliving this tragedy-waiting-to-happen for a while yet. Tonight, I will call the police. I had no idea the circumstances surrounding all the door slamming down there. I thought it was just tempers flaring. I didn't realize there were actual physical altercations taking place.

Domestic violence hits home for me, it returns me to a very dark hopeless place. Please guys, if you have "those" neighbors, call the police. Don't just ignore it. Even if they seem perturbed, trust me, you're doing both of them an enormous favor.

Update: As an aside, at least the dog didn't have an accident.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Looking Back: Past Relationships

This is a blog I promised I'd write for someone about my exes and you know, why they're exes and what I learned from it all. If you happen to be one of my exes don't invest a bunch of time trying to figure out which one is you. If you don't know, that was probably part of the problem to begin with! For the sake of anonymity (because I'm polite) I will be rattling off relationship details in random order, not chronologically. I'm going to rename them all colors.

My love life hasn't been a grand road map of adventure, to be sure. I've lead a rather cloistered life for the most part. I didn't even get interested in boys until well into high school, years behind my friends, and even then it was mostly out of admiration of their talents and interests, not their manly bits. I had to really know a guy and appreciate his personality before I'd even consider the possibility of a relationship.

I didn't lose access to Club V until well after my eighteenth birthday, by choice. Despite dating regularly, I can count the number of guys I've been intimate with on one hand -- and have fingers left over. There's probably a joke there. Likewise I was never the serial dater. All of my relationships tended to be of the long term variety. Possibly because I was learning from the mistakes of my friends long before I ever even got my proverbial hands dirty. Another joke.

We'll begin with one I'll rename Blue.

Blue was really appealing to me. He was deep, had a great family, loved music, and had a unique fashion sense. He could sing like a manly nightingale. We would spend a lot of time together singing and talking about music.

He was bipolar. Not like, kinda-sorta borderline bipolar or self-diagnosed bipolar but full blown manic highs and devastating lows bipolar. Starting out this was not a deal breaker. He had it managed and was somewhere in between most of the time. His lows were short lived and ultimately inconsequential and his highs were uplifting and fun.

Then he began cutting himself during his lows. His lows became more frequent with little to no explanation. His home life was great, his social life was great, his school life was great. The guy seriously had everything going for him, except himself. He refused to take his medication and progressively got worse and worse. Our relationship went from stable and fun to rocky on--and-off-again (my choice). Sometimes he'd vanish for months at a time and then just show up like no time had passed at all.

He dropped out of school, refused to get a job, wound up living off of his parents for years longer than any reasonable adult has a right to. I spent the better part of two years trying to help him in any way I could, but there is really nothing you can do for a person in this situation unless they help themselves. I inevitably had to walk away because seeing him that way ate away at my soul. I'm told that today the situation is exactly the same, despite the passage of time.

Next we'll talk about Green.

Green pursued me aggressively for almost an entire year before I agreed to date him. Kind of like he was competing for the last woman on Earth. He pulled out all the stops to impress me. He wasn't particularly my type: he took himself much too seriously and was kind of jock. Strangely the instant we actually began dating he wanted an open relationship. Total flip-flop, but I thought, hell... why not?

Because that sort of thing rarely ever works out, no matter how willing the original two parties might be, that's why the fuck not. Especially in scenarios involving more than one female. Chicks are raised in society to competitive with each other. Putting two of them at odds over the same man, no matter how cordial they pretend to be in public is a recipe for disaster. Like putting two male beta fish into the same bowl.

Even when the other woman and I shared a lot in common, it always ended sourly. Even though they all knew I was basically first wife (use the term wife proverbially here, we were no where near marriage), they would try to usurp my position. Why I subjected myself to this more than once, I will never know. Maybe because I thought the jealous retardation that overtook the first one was just a personality flaw and someone else would be different somehow, but no. I can say with tried and true certainty it always ended the same.

I'm not sure why he was so willing to keep trying. My best guess was that he didn't want an open relationship to have multiple girlfriends but because he got off on the drama. Obviously I wasn't cool with this situation and we parted ways. It wasn't a huge loss, he was also the sort to hold onto their childhood dream waaaaay too long. I should clarify that: having a dream is fine, even an unrealistic one -- so long as you get a "meanwhile" job to support yourself and that dream. Just having a dream, refusing to do anything else, and mooching in the meanwhile is super lame.

Then there was Pink.

Pink was a millionaire. He was also incredibly good looking. Like Brad Pitt had a love child with Johnny Depp good looking. I decided early on that he was impossibly handsome and therefor must be some alien insectoid in a people suit out to turn my innards into goo so he could digest them with a straw.

He was a trust-fund baby but also held a career of his own, which is admirable when you don't have to. I guess. He basically decided where all the new Walmarts in the country go. Which sort of makes him the Devil to small businesses. His past times included things like golf, and sailing, and expensive brunches. Only one of those things interests me at all and I get sea sick, so...

It didn't help that his incredibly foreign parents kept basically saying what good genes I had and how our offspring would be exemplary right in front of me. Like I was some choice mare for auction.

I had to explain myself about ending this one after a single date to everyone I know at least a thousand times. The only one who got it at all was my aunt who sagely said, "If the choice is money or love, always choose love." In this case the choice was money or nothing and I chose nothing all the same. I knew love would come eventually, elsewhere.

Orange is who we'll revisit next.

Orange's friends all boasted about the size of his penis. Which is kind of weird. I know guys do that kind of thing, but still. Weird! So when I was sent a photo of it for some reason (idk why guys do this), and it lived up to its reputation, it scared the hell out of me. I literally broke up with the dude because his junk was the Godzilla of penises. Not okay, man. There is totally such a thing as too big. Seriously.

Let's see, now we'll move on to White.

White had a good job, was going to school, was attractive in a Jim Halpert sort of way, and was down to Earth. I liked him. Unfortunately we shared basically one thing in common. One thing that wasn't even something I was that into. This made conversation bland and ultimately a pretty face will only get you so far. Sharing things in common is the most important thing for a relationship requires to survive, imo.

We had a lot of misadventures though. Were it not for those, we probably wouldn't have gotten together at all in the first place. Or stayed together as long as we had. It was sort of like an action movie where adrenaline and circumstance makes the guy get the girl regardless of whether or not it makes any sense to the plot. He was exceptionally sweet though.

Which I guess is why when he cheated on me while I was on vacation it came as such a shock. This nice well mannered guy acting all broski on me? What the shit? Kicked him to the curb faster than you can say, "No."

Who else was there... Purple.

Purple and I were young. He was crazy, I was not crazy. Oh, let us count the ways this could possibly end badly. Attempted assault? Check. Breaking and entering? Check. Murdering my pets? Check. These things happened after I had politely expained, after only two dates, that we were incompatible.

I don't think I even need to explain this one further. He was arrested.

The guy we'll call Gray was the best friend of a friend of mine.

He was also kind of shy when it came to girls. He had a crush on me for years before having the courage to ask me out, which was kind of endearing. I was completely shocked and appalled then when after dating for like a week he told all his buddies that he scored when he hadn't even gotten up the nerve to kiss me yet! Yuck. Not cool dude. That's why you got dumped.

Finally I'll get around to Tan.

Tan was a friend of a friend, which was the only reason I had agreed to date someone on the internet to begin with. They were vouched for. Tan was a six foot tall attractive white guy attending art school who loved video games, literature, classical art, music, basically every single thing I did. He was fit, dressed well, and nice on the eyes. He was in his late twenties.

We talked for about five months, online, before we began dating. A month later he flew to my state to visit me. When I got to the airport I did not find a six foot tall, fit, well dressed, attractive white man. I found a short, soft, Asian man dressed kind of... thuggish. Saggy pants, baggy shirt, beanie. To say I was confused would be an understatement. He explained that his online persona just got out of hand and he wasn't sure how to tell me what he really looked like. Afraid that I wouldn't want to date a short guy, an Asian guy, or someone less fit than I was. I did something remarkable(y stupid).

I accepted this lie. I accepted this wealth of insecurity standing before me because I'm not a shallow person. I decided, outward appearance? Really doesn't fucking matter. When I'm 80 and he's 80 we're both going to be ugly as sin, so what's the big deal? I was expecting A and I got B, whatever. Everything else was the same. Except it wasn't.

We continued dating, though he was becoming kind of possessive, I was assured it was due to the long distance thing and that solving that problem would make it go away. So when he asked me to move in with him, I agreed. We got a place together and everything was alright. Except when it wasn't.

Slowly but surely things changed. It happened so gradually really that I didn't even notice until it felt like too late. So much time had already been invested. It wasn't 'so bad.' etc., etc. His insecurities only got worse, which made the possessiveness worse, which made everything else a hundred times worse.

He had to control every aspect of my life. Little things at first, like how I styled my hair. Its length, color, and so forth. Then he wanted me to apply my make-up in a specific way, heavy eyeliner, lip gloss, blush. Then he wanted me to apply my make-up even if we weren't leaving the house. He wanted me to wear it to bed. I had to go tanning. Despite how out of shape he was, I had to work out daily.

I was expected to do all of the house work, all of the work work, and all of the cooking. Regardless of the fact I am physically disabled. Even when I became deathly ill one year and doctors prescribed bed rest after a week in the hospital, I had to make my own food and clean the house or it just wouldn't get done.

I paid for all of our furniture, for our apartment, and for all of our groceries single-handedly. He didn't even make car payments, his dad paid those for him. He spent all day playing video games and all night flirting on the internet with people who "meant nothing" to him.

Then my clothing was too revealing (tank top and jeans). He got upset if other guys would look in my general direction in public, so I had to cover up. A polo shirt buttoned all the way up, khaki pants, and white tennis shoes. My tennis shoes had to be meticulously maintained: no scuffs or dirt. Eventually this became my all-time uniform and I had to wear it even at home. Even in Florida where it was a billion degrees and there was no AC. In the winter months I even had to wear a long sleeve blouse beneath the polo to cover my arms and more of my neck.

He would get miffed about how much time I spent out of the home. I wasn't allowed to go out with my friends by myself even though we only hung out a couple of times a month due to work schedules. Eventually I wasn't allowed to go out with them at all. He'd even get uppity about time I spent with my mother, at her house. When I finally reconnected with my long lost sisters, he would not allow me to go see them.

Towards the end I wasn't even allowed to talk to our mutual friends online if he wasn't present, and then I was only allowed to talk to them if I was backing him up in some regard. I could not play multiplayer games at all because he would get upset at the mere prospect that someone else could play with me. Even if I was playing single player campaigns. He would check my text messages, read my emails, and programs like AIM or Gtalk were absolutely off limits.

He effectively isolated me so dramatically over time that I was completely alone. My only friend was my cat.

Meanwhile he was meeting girls online and masturbating with them. Can't look a girl in the eye in real life, but put her behind a computer screen and he's all over that shit. It's a little funny because when it came to actual girls and their bodies he was all, "where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" Totally god damned clueless. But he'd type out all sorts of shit to random e-chicks like a porn star. Dudes jerk off, I know that. That's whatever. Pornography is something I'm totally okay with. Doing it with other people though? NOPE. Not even a little bit. Doesn't matter if it's in person or online, it's not okay with me to get off with another active participant.

Looking back I can see that this was for a myriad of reasons. Primarily his deep seeded insecurities about his appearance. During our entire relationship, which spanned multiple years, he never once took off his shirt in front of me. Also his guilty conscience, he was cheating constantly, so surely if it was that easy for him it must be just so for me (it wasn't, because I'm not a shitty human being). But largely the fear that his other fabrications would be revealed.

Let me make it clear that the following lies were all discovered for what they were around the same time. So it's not as though I realized one and let it slide, then realized another and let it slide too. It was more like I discovered one, looked deeper and then the slippery slope effect took place. Before I knew it I was on the bottom of Lie Mountain, population: Mr. Tan.

  • He was not an artist, first of all. The guy couldn't even draw a straight line if his life depended on it. He held a pencil like a baby holds a fork.
  • Second, he wasn't going to art school (duh), or any school for that matter. He had in fact never set foot on a college campus.
  • Third, he had not owned his own house. Turns out not only had he not owned his own house, he had never even left his parent's house prior to moving in with me.
  • Fourth, he was not in his late twenties. He was younger than I was!
  • Fifth, he did not have a brother. This one was particularly terrible because he had claimed his brother died a war hero in Iraq. So to not even have a brother in the first place... just wow.
  • Sixth, he was not adopted. Aside from the blatant family resemblance, when I asked his mother about it she was just confused as to why I'd think such a thing.
  • Seventh, he was not an entrepreneur. He had never even had a job before.
  • Eighth, he was not a ladies man. When I talked to his life long friend he told me the guy had rarely ever even had the courage to approach girls offline. Ha!
  • Ninth, he convinced me to move out of state with him by saying we had a house to move into already. Arrived only to discover we were living with his mom, dad, two sisters, three nephews, brother-in-law, and neice... To make matters worse the house was only like three bedrooms, two bathrooms.
  • Tenth, he had told me that his family was wealthy and in the gold business. Yet his family was borderline poverty, which wouldn't have mattered except it was yet another lie. Parents worked as nursing assistants at local clinics. Sister worked at Panda Express. Other sister and brother-in-law unemployed.

I'm sure there's more I'm simply forgetting but basically the dude was a pathological liar. Everything I knew about him was false. Given how our relationship began, I have no idea why any of this surprised me. One night after he basically tried to force himself upon me, then shoved me when I confronted him about how NOT OKAY that is whether we're in a relationship or not, enough was finally enough and I left him for a real life. After which point he proceeded to take control of my primary email account, steal thousands of dollars from my bank account, and hacked into all of my game accounts.

Which also should not have surprised me because he had stolen from mutual friends of ours time and time again. Promising to build them computers, taking their money, and then pretending their deliveries were lost in the mail so he could keep the cash for himself. The only reason any of our friends ever got what they paid for was because I found out what happened months later and did all the work, out of my own pocket, for them. Again, because as much as I'd love a free eight hundred dollars -- I'm a decent human being.

I'm glad I never let him convince me to take nudes of myself, because the nudes he had of our British friend (who I later learned he had lead on for months before meeting me) he put up on a porn site for pocket change. I'm not even sure if she knows that her body has been viewed thousands of times by internet pervs.

This is probably the only life decision I actually regret. Not because it happened at all but because I let it go on for so long. I'm better than that, what the hell was I thinking? Looking back on it is like the real me was in some sort of coma the whole time and it was all a bad dream I couldn't wake up from.

There was also Black.

Black was an aspiring musician who had actually published a comic book to limited success and had a degree in fine arts. We shared everything in common, except gaming which, as silly as it sounds, is kind of a deal breaker nongamers just can't fathom. However our relationship was short lived for other reasons. Primarily due to drug use and alcoholism, something I couldn't stand by and watch after having seen it first hand with my step father and how quickly bad goes to worse there.

He went on to have a wildly famous musical career though and got sober eventually. Fancy that.

Lastly we'll talk about Yellow.

Yellow was much older than I was, British, with a stable career. Judging by those three things you'd think we shared nothing in common but that's not the case. Yellow was a big sodding nerd and we loved all the same things. He looked a little like a really pasty, ginger Michael Cera.  We met through a mutual friend and looking back our relationship was pretty okay. Rife with unnecessary drama, but on its own with everyone else removed, okay.

The first issue was the age difference. No one we spoke to about us got it. It's not like he was seventy and I was twenty. It was only a difference of about eight years, but still. My friends tried obsessively to get me into a relationship with someone younger and his friends did the same trying to get him into a relationship with someone older. Any time either of us had a guest over rumors flew about affairs and scandal. It was ridiculous how much the outside world tried to interfere with our relationship, for no real reason I can ascertain other than loltheinternet.

It didn't help that our relationship relied heavily upon the internet because shortly after we started dating his job forced him to move to another state.

I always felt like he was hiding something, I just never had any reason to go digging. Our relationship bit the dust when I discovered that despite anything else he had a son he'd never told me about. All weekend trips away were to see this little human being I had no clue even existed. It wasn't so much the existence of this person that spoiled the relationship but the withholding of the fact that he existed that did us in. I could have dealt with a child in the relationship, even at such a young age. I could not deal with him leading a double life and pretending something as important as a child did not exist. That's not cool, man.

What have I learned from all of this and the relationships of those closest to me?

Forgive anything once, but only once. Sometimes people make mistakes. Be understanding of that. You make them too. If it happens again, they obviously learned nothing from the first time, so chances are they're not going to learn anything the second time either. You can only say you are sorry for something so many times before apologies become meaningless.

If you are in a long distance or internet relationship, meeting during the first year is integral to your relationship's survival. Moving closer comes next. If you haven't met during the first year it's usually a telling sign that someone is hiding something they know they can't hide in person. They may even just be hanging on to you to avoid being alone while they wait for something better. Don't be that person, you deserve better.

Trust your instincts. If you feel that someone is up to something, they probably are. If you feel like they are hiding something, they probably are. Just make sure your instinct is based on their behavior, not your own.

If you have a guilty conscience, it'll seem like everything anyone else does is negative in some way. Closing an email when you walk into a room suddenly seems like signs of an illicit affair. It's not. It's someone tabbing out of an email because they were finished reading it. If you're depressed, the same thing happens. Someone could have the best intentions but you're going to vilify them because your mind is convincing you that they're being malicious. Someone telling you to do chores suddenly seems like an accusation of laziness. It's not, it's a request to do housework. Benefit of the doubt is paramount to a long lasting relationship. You should not default to "they're trying to hurt me."

If you think someone is up to something, don't freak out. Talk to them about it. If you've never spoken about it before, they might not even know it's a deal breaker. If they deny it, don't continue to accuse them. Give them the benefit of the doubt. You owe them that. You chose to date them for a reason after all. If they deny it and get defensive, you're probably right... but give them the benefit of the doubt anyway. Innocent people rarely get defensive about something. If, later, it turns out you were right -- end the relationship.

There doesn't need to be shouting or shoving or drama. Just words and resolutions.

Furthermore if you've been lied to, cheated on, yelled at, hit, or abused in any way, it's not your fault and you aren't alone. When enough is enough, and trust me you will know, you are strong enough to walk away. Every aspect of your life will benefit from it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Broken Sprinkler

wat?
Back in the day when I was feeling down I would go for a run. I ran like gd a gazelle. Everyday. These days I cannot run. Well, I should not run. If my life depended on it I could run, but when both of your feet are numb it's not ideal to run. Particularly if you enjoy having a face that isn't ground meat. So these days when I am feeling down I walk. It's nowhere near as satisfying, but it gets you out of your head and into the world and Nature has a way of uplifting the spirit. I challenge you to watch fat little sparrows hop around and not smile at least a little.

The other morning I decided to go for a walk. We needed a few things from the store anyway, so it was double incentive. The nearest store is Target, almost a mile away, so off I went. Of course these days Jude is always in tow, so I loaded all twenty pounds of him into all twenty pounds of stroller and hit the pavement pushing a forty pound weight. It was a stifling ninety-five degrees under the relentless California sun, without a cloud in sight (as per usual). By the time we hit the parking lot I was over-hot and exhausted.

The trek over the stretch of blacktop into the store is the most grueling part of the journey, as the temperature on the blacktop easily reaches into the hundreds. Hot enough to actually burn your feet through your shoes if the soles aren't thick enough. So when I saw the broken sprinkler spewing water all over the parking lot at one PM I was excited. I didn't plan on hopping in right then, as I still had to walk through the store and not only would I look strange dripping through the aisles, but it would be cold in the air conditioning all wet. Afterwards though, I could cool off in it and make my journey home much more tolerable.

Shopping was quick and hassle free, they even opened a lane just for me when they saw me at the end of a remarkably long line filled with people buying practically everything in the store while I had maybe thirteen items -- just enough that I couldn't go into the ten items or less express lane. Big sentence! On the way out I bought the traditional Icee and bag of popcorn for the walk.

Outside was something bizarre. There was a car parked next to the broken sprinkler, which was way out in No Man's Land of the parking lot. Maybe they were using it as an extremely cheap and inefficient car wash? Nope. As I got closer I could clearly make out that not only was the car parked along side the broken sprinkler, but that the passenger side door was open. So the sprinkler was spraying water all over the interior of the car. Uhm. As I walked passed I discovered not only that but that there was someone in the passenger seat. What the hell?

My brain is going to boggling about this one for a while.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Light or Dark Blue

Light Blue

Dark Blue

Ahem. The only color that doesn't change is the blue.
Oh, Babies "R" Us... *facepalm*

Friday, July 12, 2013

Homemade Popcorn in The Microwave

Popcorn is my very favorite snack. I used to eat at least a bag of it a day, if not more. The drawback is that prepackaged microwavable popcorn is absurdly overpriced. As a result I started popping my own on the stovetop which is, in all regards, better tasting anyhow. The pieces are fluffier and crunchier and just altogether superior in every way. It takes longer, but it's worth it. You can buy about two pounds worth of kernels for the same price you'd buy three servings of microwavable bags.

Lately though I haven't had time to do this so unless Aaron was making it for me, I've gone without. Trying to fill snacky void with other foods is just underwhelming though. For this reason I decided to experiment today. I had heard of people using common household items to pop corn in the microwave, but I didn't have those items. Instead, I improvised!

Using a medium sized glass bowl, a large plate, a square of parchment paper, and 1/4 cup of kernels I flawlessly popped my own bowl in the microwave, saving precious time and fulfilling my never ending popcorn craving. I folded the square of parchment several times and wedged it under one end of the plate so that the bowl would be vented and poured in my kernels. From there it was basically by the book microwave popcorn-wise. Set the time for four minutes and just wait for the kernels to start popping more than two seconds apart and then stop it.

The bowl and plate will be hot if you try this at home, so be sure to put on oven mitts before reaching in there. It's also probably a keen idea to make sure your glassware is microwave safe so nothing terrible happens. I'm not sure what exactly could happen, but I assume things are deemed either microwavable or not for a valid reason.

I added some garlic, salt, and olive oil to taste and enjoyed immensely! Unfortunately I enjoyed it so much that I didn't get the opportunity to take a picture for the blog. Oh well, you guys know what the hell popcorn looks like.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

RP Pet Peeves

I've been mulling this over for, oh, probably three years now and just never committed to writing it. Partly due to procrastination but also in part due to it being an ever evolving topic for me. I game a lot, though not quite as much lately due to real life being amazing and my time being especially occupied, but still. My genre of choice is the MMORPG because I like other human beings (generally). PVP, PVE, RP, I basically do it all, but this post here is about RP in particular. So if you aren't a gamer, or are a gamer but aren't an RPer, feel free to skip this post entirely.

My RP Pet Peeves:
(in some totally random order)

1. Hyper Sexualization
This actually breaks down into two categories, you can be guilty of one or the other, or in some cases both. Ironically being guilty of both is somehow less agitating as it at least makes a lick of sense. You're open like a hallway and you look like the type of person who is open like a hallway, can at least see that one coming.

a) They are dressed for a Victoria's Secret runway show no matter what it is they're doing or where they may be going. I'm sorry but bra and panties just isn't practical for fighting dragons, zombies, or long hikes through ice capped mountains. Also, having your face painted like a Geisha despite the fact that the apocalypse just happened and you are really better off spending that time elsewhere (on things like finding food, shelter, or running away from zombies) is kind of immersion breaking. How can I take you seriously if we're being mauled by a rancor and you're reapplying your damned lipstick?

These people also tend to have chosen the largest rack if they're playing a female character or the biggest muscles if they are playing a dude. Their descriptions say things such as having a curvacious form, being curvy in all the right places, being well endowed, or chiseled like a Greek statue. Their hair is almost always referred to as tresses and its color is never black, brown, red, or blonde but raven, chocolate, amber, and flaxen. Their skin is either fine porcelain, the color of honey, or kissed by the sun. And of course their eye color is never blue, green, or brown but sapphire, emerald, and who am I kidding? They never have brown eyes.

b) They may not look it or act it in public but they're easier than a prostitute. Prostitutes at least insist that you pay them. Regardless of whether it makes sense for their character or not (timid book worms I am glaring at you), they will drop their panties the day you meet them. You don't even need to take them on a date first. From 0 to 60 in mere seconds like a finely crafted German automobile, if finely crafted German automobiles had engorged genitalia and did nothing but rut like baboons in heat.

Sometimes they may wait longer than your first conversation to get into your pants but it probably doesn't make any more sense. This applies particularly to when your character is physically flawed in such a way as to be essentially grotesque to everyone except literal monsters yet still there's people wanting your snatch/cock. It's a double whammy if your character also has the personality of a rabid dog. Basically they are all wet/hard over someone with no physical or social desirability whatsoever, just because you're present.

This makes zero sense. Not even in the world of seedy bars and one night stands does this make much sense. They must just have some sort of brain disorder that absolves them of all inhibitions. It makes even less sense when the characters doing this dress like librarians and act like nuns. For fucks sake, what ever happened to being consistent? When did rubbing genitalia start taking precedence over good story telling and, you know, believability?

Next time your character is about to get naked with another character in the room, ask yourself why they are doing this. If your character does not know the other person's first, middle, and last name and at least the names of two relatives, it's probably too soon to be meaningful to the plot whatsoever.

2. IC/OOC Blending
This presents in a few ways. The first is when you're essentially roleplaying yourself in the game world. It isn't really playing a role if you're just being yourself. This lends itself to the second, wherein you have emotional responses to things that happen IC, OOC. Such as getting angry at another player if their character tells your character that they're an idiot. The way a character feels is not necessarily be the way the player feels. The third, and generally unrelated to the above two, is when two or more players know eachother well and tend to create relationships (romantic, platonic, familial) between all of their characters regardless as to whether or not they make much if any sense.

These are all bad. Even if they seem benign, they inevitably break immersion and can sometimes even explode into entirely unnecessary out of character drama. If you cannot respect the line between what happens IC and what happens OOC you should not be roleplaying. It isn't healthy for you, and it isn't fair to those around you either. I'm not saying if you're partaking in a particularly deep storyline and something tragic happens that you shouldn't feel something, after all you have a response when things like this happen in other mediums such as television and literature, but these feelings should be aimed at the story and the characters within it. Not the writers. That's crazy shit, take your pills.

3. Making Assumptions Based on OOC Information
I need to make something clear, I am of the firm belief that powers beyond those represented ingame are seldom if ever handled correctly and are thus to be avoided. This isn't what I mean though. What I am referring to is when people see that you are a certain race, level, or class and react to you IC based on that.

Within reason, in roleplay you could be of a race not represented at character creation (which is exceedingly limited), or be roleplaying without certain class attributes. Such as your class being Rogue but roleplaying as a noncombatant secretary. It's kind of strange when someone sees you are a rogue OOC and then starts reacting to the person who answers the phones as if they're some lethal assassin. Right? Right.

As for level, if you've never seen a person in action, you should not make assumptions about their prowess or lack thereof in character. I don't mean that level ones should RP super powers as if they were level eighty. I mean you should not treat a level one like they are a level one unless you've seen them being sucky. Likewise you should not treat a level eighty like they're super awesome unless you have actually seen them being super awesome.

4. Playing a Major NPC's Relative
I don't even think this needs to be explained. You are not Thrall's brother. You are not Spock's aunt. You are not Chewbaca's son. Just... stop. Please.

5. Inability to Accept Consequences

There is nothing more important to me than consistency in roleplay. This means if you talked smack yesterday, you might get beaten up tomorrow. If you got beaten up yesterday, you have bruises tomorrow. Etc., etc. When you behave like an ass, you are going to be treated like an ass. Accept the consequences of your actions.

I don't mean your character shouldn't fight back because they're a douche and have it coming. I'm saying you shouldn't miraculously avoid the fight altogether (by, for example, logging out when trouble arises). And you definitely shouldn't downplay your losses if you lose -- you know you'll be bragging for weeks when you win. Your character will have so much more depth if they've had to pay for their behavior in some capacity.

I've had people stir up shit and then tell me that they "don't roleplay violence" when confronted about it. Uhm, no. Unacceptable. If you didn't want to roleplay violence you probably should not have made everyone around you want to murder you by being a vindictive cunt. Just saying.

I'd go so far as to say if your character does something that warrants a strong reaction and you purposefully avoid it, I won't be roleplaying with you in the future. You may not give any fucks, but other people feel this strongly too and eventually you'll run out of people to play with.

Aside from these things, I can deal with pretty much anything else thrown at me in RP. Newbies get better over time, people who don't know lore can learn it, and so on. It's just that these five things aren't things that are easily corrected. Most people guilty of them don't want to be better. That's inexcusable.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Movie Going: The Lone Ranger, World War Z

Thanks to the mother-in-law baby sitting, we saw two movies last week while down in Los Angeles: The Lone Ranger and World War Z.

The Lone Ranger was pretty good, though it felt more like the story of Tonto instead of that of John. This incidentally made it feel kind of like they needed a white guy on screen to tell a red man's story. I enjoyed it regardless. It just seemed weird to me that The Lone Ranger himself essentially felt like the side kick.

I'm not sure how it escaped me, but I had no idea World War Z was a zombie movie. Brad Pitt basically plays himself which makes the acting seem natural but the movie is full of immersion-breaking bad decision making and plot holes. I think that this one is better suited to a TV and a room full of friends rather than a movie theater, so you can openly boggle and discuss the wtf's, but it was entertaining enough.

I forgot how much I enjoy going to the movies. We got such a large popcorn that I just now finished it even though we saw the last movie on Sunday.