October 9, 2012

Be sure you Dubai this game. (BAM! Hilarious pun.)

Spec Ops: The Line is kind of boring as shit until it’s not, and then you’re glad that the rest is boring as shit because it all kind of makes a clear statement, and fuck, games don’t do that enough.

The reason to play this game is the plot, and so I am going to spoil the shit out of it because I want to talk about it and dammit, I will. Don’t read this if you haven’t played it. Just go play it. Seriously. It’s already pretty cheap. I bought a copy for CJ for 6 bucks. Play it and enjoy it. If you can enjoy a 3rd Person Cover Shooter, and like games that try new things, it is clearly worth your time, okay?

Anyway, spoilers ahoy from here on in, alright? Seriously, don’t read all this until you’ve beat the game.

I’m serious.

We good now?


The opening of this game could not be more generic. It’s like… painfully generic. Like, if you imagined what some movie person who doesn’t understand video games would imagine as a video game, it would kind of be that. It just has so little going on, besides sandstorms, I guess? You shoot guys, and you move on, and you do “good” stuff. It’s very mindless.

Slowly, though, it starts to become less so. Your character and team get really fucked up and injured. They look bad. It’s clear this mission has had lasting effects on them. There’s inter-squad fights about really serious things. The game, slowly, starts asking you to make choices that really do affect how encounters play out and how you feel about yourself. Very quickly, the simple plot starts seeming much less white, and a lot more grey. Even what the characters say in the game gets all broken up and messed up. They go from calm, cool “Tango Downs” and whatnot to screaming obscenities when they’re hit and yelling in frustration “Tango Finally Fucking Goddamn Down!” as they face more and more dudes. It’s really quite effective in showing that hey, what’s going on is not cool.

The real genius of the game, I think, are the loading screen messages. They get so goddamn awesome. Most of the loading screen messages are your normal stuff. “Hit A to get in cover” and so on. You know, tooltips. But some of them are comments on the plot. “You need to get to the Nest to find out what’s happening.” However, as you get deeper into the story, those messages get really fucked up. The first one I saw was “You are still a good person.” I laughed, to be honest, but I was wowed. From there, they just kept coming. “If Ludo were still alive, he would probably be facing PTSD for the rest of his life so, you know, he got off easy.” “The rules of the US Military state that you are not allowed to shoot unarmed combatants, but this is a game, so who fucking cares.” They so reflect how crazy the game is getting, and also give you a kind of strange insight into where your character’s mindspace is. It breaks the fourth wall very clearly, but it does so very well.

In the end, the game is very much a critique of military shooter games. It makes a clear statement on how little they actually show the horrors of war, and how incredibly abstracted a game is from the reality of being in a warzone and having to do awful things to survive. For example, the sequence when you’re firing the mortar that is a clear critique of the sequence in CoD4 where you shoot the airplane gun at the little blips is one of the clearest callouts of this. The minigame you play shooting it is so abstract, but then it makes you walk through the devestation and see that, no, you weren’t shooting little blips. You were shooting people. War is not a fun game.

That message stuck with me. It’s not about to make me stop playing silly fantasy shoot dudes games, perse. But it really brought their inherent ridiculousness to light, and said, “Realize what this is trivializing.” I really appreciated that. It said something. Games really don’t do that enough.

October 8, 2012

Some Venting About How Shitty I’ve Been Feeling

Okay, blog, I’m going to vent a bit for now. Sorry.

I wish I knew what was up with me.

For like, forever, when I was younger, I was miserable. I basically spent all my free time thinking about how to kill myself, and had to force myself to do things like have fun with my friends, go to class, or whatever. It really fucking sucked. So I got me some therapy and transitioned and then I felt no less than tons better? Seriously, it was like “Oh, this is what being happy is.” It was pretty great!

But seriously, the last few weeks, I’ve been falling back to where I was. I’ve started thinking about killing myself again on a fairly regular basis. (I never will. I’m not an idiot and I’m not about to hurt my loved ones with something so selfish, but goddamn, do I have some specific fantasies about it.) I’ve started mumbling to myself again constantly about what a waste of space I am and how much of a disappointment I’ve become. I constantly wake up in the middle of the night in panic states. It’s been pretty shitty!

I’m really not sure what has changed. Granted, I do have a lot of classes on my plate, and I am doing quite a bit of work. But it’s not like I haven’t taken breaks when I needed them, and it’s not like I’m not keeping up with everything I need to do. (I could be BETTER, certainly. I could be grading all my papers the night I get them or something insane. Overall, though, I haven’t done anything that I would even remotely consider a problem or something to worry about yet.) I’ve still got an awesome boyfriend and a super cool puppy dog who loves me. I get to do cool shit. While I worry a bit about money, I know that, overall, I’m not anywhere near screwed.

Yet it’s just oppressing. I know I used to get things done while feeling like this, but I’ve been WITHOUT these feelings for so long, I feel like I’ve kind of forgotten how to function when I feel like this, too.

Last night, we all went out to eat for my mom’s birthday, and my Grandma, as I was hugging her before she left, said “You’re a good man.” As soon as I was out of the family zone, I lost it. I cried. I’ve felt like a lot of shit ever since. Like sick to my stomach worked up. It just… bleh. My psychologist and I had a talk recently about how big things take a long time to percolate. Basically, she was saying it wasn’t dumb that I was still freaking out about this stuff, even though I felt frustrated to be having these sorts of feelings again. This is probably the biggest goddamn thing in my life. It’s not just going to disappear. That dysphoria is going to come back. It’s natural for it to.

It just really fucking sucks.

Anyway, there, some venting. I’m done.

October 2, 2012

Public Service Announcement Type Thing: 31 More Days of Horror Games

Hi, blog. What’s up? That’s cool, that’s cool. Let’s do a complicated handshake, as one does with their blog, and then get down to business.

October is an exciting month on Onthestick.com because it involves a lot of me. (Apparently I am self-centered now.) Okay, that’s not true. They’re always doing great stuff. It’s always a great month! I love their podcast and the rest of the stuff they do is just as solid, totally. But this month, they’re going above and beyond for another October.

Anyway, you may remember that last year, I contributed to their 31 Days of Horror Games thing with an article about Silent Hill 2. That was a lot of fun, and there were tons of great articles besides mine. I hope you checked them out. Well, they’re doing it again! With all new games! It’s going to be just as awesome, if not more so.

I had so much fun writing that last time, and I have so much less free time now that I’m teaching full time in which to write articles for fun, that I decided that I’d write four articles for this year. I am a time management genius. Look for those in the coming weeks. I’m sure I’ll call them all out on here specifically, though. I also recorded a podcast with all the On The Stick guys that went pretty well, I think. They said they’d have me back, anyway. So look forward to that this month as well.

But while you’re waiting, I do hope you’ll check out all the other articles. There’s one every day, and they’ve got all kinds of guest writers, not just me, in to do all sorts of weird games. So give that a read if you’re bored, okay? Onthestick.com is still the website. Just as a reminder. Onthestick.com.

Alright. That’s enough blogging for now. Have a spoooooky October! ooooOOOOOOOOoooooh. (Okay, that was a bit much.)

September 23, 2012

I’m A Small Child.

I constantly refer to myself as a child in front of my boyfriend. I talk to him about my child stomach that makes it impossible for me to eat a big meal anymore, or how I’m going to go buy this because I am six years old, and so on. It’s just me making fun of my passions and stuff, and that’s fine. It’s a thing. I’m sure as fuck not embarrassed that I spend my free time watching cartoons, and surround myself with plastic ponies and other toys from said cartoons. I’m not going to apologize for 100% buying into the whole Skylander thing, or only wearing t-shirts with cute animals on it. We all have stupid stuff we love. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But goodness, I don’t know. The deeper I go, the more I wonder if I should be concerned.

If you haven’t heard, my family and I are going to Disney World soon. I think in January (!!!). I could seriously not be more excited about this. I haven’t been to Disney World in years, over a decade, and to go and share it with someone I really, really love, is just… well, I’m excited. I think it’ll be fun as shit and romantic and a great time, and I am so pumped I have been listening to Disney World Background Music and shit for weeks now. (The music has made me tear up a few times. How sad is that?)

I had a disagreement with a friend over whether or not Disney World was “romantic.” I think it is. There will be lots of fine dining, and it’s such an overwhelming, awesome place that you want to share with someone you’re close to, you know? That’s what I said. But the more I thought about it, the more maybe that is kind of weird. Maybe it’s strange that I attach childhood so strongly with notions of romance, happiness, and other such positive emotions. And that made me think about… well… everything I do. I started trying to take an objective look at everything I am doing right now. What I enjoy and what my focuses are… everything, you know?

It just kind of shocked me to see how much of my life is focused around reclaiming my childhood. Now, don’t get me wrong. I had a really nice childhood. If I could make that childhood go away, I probably wouldn’t agree to it. I did so many awesome things, made so many awesome friends, and grew up to be, if I can say so, a fucking awesome person. But… it was wrong, you know? I wasn’t myself. I was pretending to be another person, at least slightly, for a whole lot of it. I couldn’t do a lot of things I wanted to do. I couldn’t ask for a lot of things I wanted to have. It was… different than it would have been had I been myself.

I look at what I’m doing now, and I see me finding replacements. I’m watching shows I probably would have felt pressure not to watch. I’m collecting things I probably wouldn’t have had back then, which is driven home every time someone asks me if I had My Little Ponies as a kid and I tell them no. I’m shying away from more “adult” entertainment, such as the dramas that CJ likes to watch. Hell, I’m teaching at the place I went to college, but as myself now, trying to reclaim THAT. I wanted so badly to swim again, because that’s something I used to love to do as a kid, and I wanted to do it with me being right. When I did, I laughed, acted like an idiot, and splashed about in the kiddie area for a lot of the time, totally embarrassing CJ. And now I want to go to Disney World, and reclaim those memories with me being myself as well.

I guess I just don’t know if all that is healthy. A lot of this stuff wasn’t a decision I made because I had some plan to get my childhood back. It’s just shit I want to do. I want to watch Gravity Falls, Mystery Incorporated, and so on, you know? I’m not planning some stupid takeover of my past. But that’s really kind of what it is, isn’t it? I really don’t know if I should be trying to cut that stuff back or not. I doubt I will without pressure, though. I do things I want to do. I’ll go to Disney World and run around and laugh and be a silly little kid with my boyfriend, and that’ll be great. Hopefully he won’t be too embarrassed with me.

September 14, 2012

Both At The Same Time

Holy shit, a blog post? Dang, yo.

I started following this awesome person on twitter recently. I kept seeing retweets from them and they were really funny, a friend of a friend I guessed, and when I looked at their timeline most of what they were saying made me smile. So, you know, creepy stalker activate. I turn to twitter to be entertained just as much as informed and connected so, you know, why not?

Then this person started talking about serious life shit, and that threw me for a loop. Not a bad one, perse. I’m not frustrated I followed them? But damn, I’ve really been doing a lot of thinking.

Basically, this person is bigendered (which is why I’m desperately avoiding pronouns here. I can’t say I know what the proper protocol is for pronouns for people like that. Do I use one of those silly hybrid pronouns like shi? If it was me, I’d feel like I’d want he or she as the situation demanded, which is kind of an impossible thing to ask of people, but…) and that is just… damn. Seriously. It’s something I thought I understood. I have a real good friend I’ve known for a long time who is bigendered, and for a long time my psychologist thought I was bigendered because I’m such a tomboy and was trying to rule it out, though obviously that’s not the case and she eventually figured that out. Being trans, I just kind of took for granted that I understood this whole gender dysphoria thing, and I had this.

But listening to this person talk, Jesus fuck, I thought I had it bad, but my heart aches when confronted with the serious issues this person is having to deal with. It quickly occurred to me that I never really spent a lot of time thinking about what someone like that would be going through. At least my problems had a solution. I felt like shit, but there was a goal I could work towards, and eventually I did, and my life got infinitely better for it. There’s no good solution that I can construct even in my wildest dreams for being bigendered. Maybe I’m missing something, but I really can’t. Because you’re both genders, and you may flip between feeling more male or more female just about any time, there’s no out. Something about your body is always going to be wrong sometimes. You could transition, but then you don’t have access to the gender you were before, which you also are, so it’s just cutting off one thing to spite another. I suppose you could try to be extremely androgynous, and dress more masculine and more feminine as your mood demands, but that still creates awkward situations with people you interact with often, who are clearly going to decide you’re one or the other, no matter how you dress. No matter which way you go, you’re going to run into that dysphoric depression that I fought for so long and made me want to die most days. It… goddamn.

In thinking about all this, I totally crazily apologized for imagined slights to the friend I referred to earlier, who was very awesome and was like, “Darling, when I’m talking to you, that’s one of the few times I feel like I can truly be myself, guy or girl. So you don’t need to worry about all that.” Which was nice to hear, and I appreciated it. I hope that’s how my friend really feels about it all. I’m going to keep doing my best to be there, of course.

But I wish I could say something worthwhile, extend some sort of support, to this person on twitter. But I’m a complete fucking stranger, and that’s creepy, right? There’s few things more personal than this stuff, and I just want to step in and talk about it out of nowhere. Every time I try to think of something to say, it comes off sounding so hollow in my head that I can’t say it. So I wrote this blog instead, I guess.

September 8, 2012

What Is The Appeal Of Being Surrounded By Attractive People?

I don’t understand eye candy.

I mean, okay, I understand it? But I don’t. And I guess I need to give a definition of eye candy.

I read a tweet from someone a bit ago which said something along the lines of “I must say, though, that the biggest benefit of my new neighborhood is that there are a lot of cute girls here!” And while I understand why that would be the case in the abstract, I don’t really get it.

I mean, okay, the person enjoys ladies in a sexual manner. I get that. And so the person is interested in attractive ladies. Got it. And there are attractive ladies about. Yep. But why does that suddenly make things better? These ladies may not be into this person. These ladies may be total assholes and complete idiots. They may have nice bodies, but literally every single other thing about them may be completely repulsive and horrible. So why is it a benefit to have them around? How is having them around any different than having non-attractive ladies about, or men, or whatever? The chances of it changing this person’s behavior seem slim, unless she’s really going to just start asking people at random on dates, and I highly doubt that.

I bet I sound crazy writing this. I have no problem if I do. But I just don’t get it. I can evaluate somebody on being attractive or not, and if someone is dressed really nice or doing something to draw attention to themselves, I often do. But it’s really just an evaluation. I’m not getting any benefit out of that. I go “She looks fantastic,” and then I spend a few minutes evaluating my tastes to understand why I think that, and then I move on with my day. There’s no pleasure in the looking.

“But you enjoy looking at a nice pornography, like anyone would, though!” Well, yes, that’s true. But I have a lot of problems with that too. A lot of times, something about a picture will be off in such as way as to break the illusion. Then the person in the picture becomes a normal person, and then it doesn’t work for me anymore. I don’t know anything about that person in the picture. Why would I want to fuck them? She certainly doesn’t look like she’s into it anyway. I think this is why I got into the whole furry porn scene. There’s never that worry there. The art couldn’t be more fake. I can think in abstracts, come up with whatever backstory I need, and just enjoy the view.

Is it really that simple? Like that idea that I can’t abstract a view of someone I don’t know from the fact that they’re a real person who I don’t know and thus don’t know if I could be attracted to and thus don’t know if I would even be interested in engaging in such activities with?

I sound like a crazy person.

September 7, 2012

Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there.

Hi, blog. How’s it going? Pretty good? Yeah, I’ve been doing okay.

It’s kind of nice having enough going on in your life, and having enough awesome in your life, that I don’t have to update you daily to feel like I’m not a complete failure. I think that’s pretty cool, to be honest. But I do look at you, blog, and I’m kind of sad that there’s no new content on you. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest.


But seriously, life’s been going pretty good, I think. I’ve been teaching quite a lot, and man, did I take on a big course load! But it’ll be worth it, and my classes, for the most part, have really cool people. I’m working on some neat projects with some of my online friends that I’m going to be posting about here when they’re released on the general public. I’ve been crying during sex still. Um… the dog has been all jealous that I’ve been leaving the house more and I’ve been dealing with that. I’ve played a lot of video games. Been playing some Dungeons and Dragons, and been being excited about 13th Age coming out, because man, that looks sweet, doesn’t it?


Seriously, though, it’s a complete relief not to have to update you. I love being able to get home and be exhausted and not go “oh fuck, I have to go type a blog, goddammit,” like I did for so many years. That’s really kind of nice. I’m going to keep taking advantage of that. I hope that’s okay.


August 4, 2012

Wants in the Way, An Emotional Stupidblog

Hi, blog. I don’t know why I’m not in bed, but that just feels wrong right now, and I feel like I’d just toss and turn and keep CJ up, so…

Anyway, we never talk any more, so let’s talk, huh, blog? Can we do that?

I told CJ earlier today that right now, the life I’m living now, is the happiest I have ever been. That’s factual, as far as I’m aware. I wasn’t trying to be hyperbolic. It just is so overwhelmingly frustrating when things break that. When I break, and it breaks that. I feel like such a fool, and a fuckup.

Look, okay, I’m going to talk about some personal sexytimes things here, so, you know, if that’s not cool with you, this is no longer the blog for you, and I understand.

I’m basically tired of sobbing uncontrollably every time I try to do something nice and sexy with my boyfriend. It’s, for whatever reason, become MORE constant instead of less, which I would have figured would have been the case. He loves me. He gets me. I have nothing to worry about. But… well… okay, so I got on this new pill… and all the sudden I’m like… super sensitive. Like seriously? And all over. And arousal is more like I had always heard it should be, more of an all-over experience instead of a centralized one. All that is fantastic, though a bit overwhelming (in a good way) at times. But I can’t enjoy it. Because CJ gets me all super-turned on, and then I know exactly what I want him to do and…! It’s physically impossible because I’m fucked up and incorrect. And this shakes me. And I try not to let it bother me, but then all my attention is on not crying instead of, you know, nice stuff, and then eventually CJ notices and asks me if I’m okay and if I try to actually speak a word I start crying. And crying. And crying.
There are so many nice things we could be doing together. So much I can do. So much I can still be involved in. But this breaks me every goddamn time.

I spent a long time trying to suppress things that I wanted, you know? And I found that that fucking sucked. That was terrible, and making me miserable. When I started recognizing that hey, I want things and hey, I deserve things, I felt a lot better. I want this. But I can’t have it. At best it’s thousands of dollars away, which I don’t have. It’s years away, realistically. Years of going to bed and failing to not be an idiot and breaking down and sobbing because my body is so fucked up. And I feel so much better now, overall, that that just feels like an impossible thing to endure. I used to be able to, because I have no choice. Now I feel like I do, and it’s hard. It’s really hard. But I don’t really have a choice. Not yet. And much like my ability to put up masks to hide my shitty emotional state, which completely broke down when I finally started feeling good most of the time, I continue to fail to find the ability to endure this and get on with my life and enjoy what I can do.

I can’t imagine what this must be like for CJ. He can’t really understand this stuff. I’m not really sure how he could help, and he doesn’t know either. He wants to show me he loves me, and he gets me sobbing for an hour for his trouble time and again for his trouble. He says he’s not frustrated as shit, but he must be, right? Fuck.

I don’t know if this actually makes any sense to anyone else, but if you did read it, thanks. I’m going to try to sleep now, I guess.
More blog soon, cause I’m sure as hell not leaving this the top blog post for long.

July 19, 2012

Business Suits and Anime Ladies

Hi, blog! Let’s just pretend it hasn’t been like a week, yeah?

Last night I started watching this anime called Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne on Netflix on a whim. I don’t know what I think of it yet. There’s so much sex it in, naked breasts every two seconds, and the whole thing often devolves into fairly graphic (to the point I have to look away) torture porn quite often, with the main character being maimed and injured in really horrific ways. At the same time, it’s kind of mystery-oriented, and the main character SEEMS like a good female character I can get behind? Though I’m still holding out judgement. Maybe I just like her because she wears her sexuality in a not bullshit way, even when she’s fucking guys and girls all the time. Maybe I’m being pandered to. It’s also an hour long anime show, which is weird, but I’m liking the longer format. It’s also a period piece set in the 90’s for no reason, so everyone has pagers and stuff. I want to know why they made that decision. I’m drawn to watch more, so I will. We’ll see what I think in the end.

Anyway, the main character, Rin, is an anime lady, so she has gigantic boobs, but most of the time she wears a suit, vest, tie setup that’s very masculine and binds her chest (Not like, to the point of her looking flat-chested, because gigantic anime boobs, but making her much more androgynous). She’s got like cufflinks, the whole works.

I like that look. I like it quite a bit. I think it’s incredibly sexy. I mean, I’ve always had relationships with more feminine ladies, probably because I’m pretty masculine, and those sorts of girls are lovely, but I’ve always been attracted to a more masculine, powerful woman too… I guess because that’s what I wanted to be. I kind of love anything that blends or breaks those kind of boundaries because of my past.

The point is, I wish I could be that badass sexy lady in a suit like that, but I’d probably just look like a guy, instead of a badass lady in a suit. Even if I found one cut in such a way that that didn’t happen, it’s likely it wouldn’t fit me: it’s impossible to find shit with long sleeves that actually can deal with my long arms. It’s probably a lost cause.

I don’t know. It’s weird that now that I am me I kind of want to embrace my most masculine aspects more. Now that I’m outwardly correct, I guess I no longer feel that constant pressure to hide that stuff so I don’t come off too manly or whatever. Or maybe I’m just more comfortable in general.

I really don’t know. Anyway, that’s a rant. Later, everyone.

July 2, 2012

Thoughts About The Prologue To The Witcher 2

Note that I never played The Witcher so I’m mostly coming into this knowing only what other people have randomly said about that game and this one.
Good stuff:

1. I like that the game does not come up with a really really stupid reason that Geralt does not have his skills from the end of Witcher 1. We get it. You have to have a level up system to make the game interesting. I appreciate them not trying to come up with some stupid thought process behind that.

2. I like that it feels like Geralt and Triss have an actual relationship, and aren’t just fuckbuddies. When I first saw her all naked and shit I’m like “Damn, there’s all that sex and collecting sex cards this game is about!” But by the end of the Prologue, I really felt like they were a couple with an active sex life, which is something I can 100% get behind.

3. I like that the game doesn’t beat you over the head with recap and instead expects you to be a smart person who can put two and two together. For all I know, the whole flashback at the beginning of the game was from the last game. I dunno if that’s new stuff or not. But I didn’t feel like the game took a ton of time rehashing things Geralt should already know, and I feel like I have a decent grasp of the world already. That’s how you do it right.

The Weird Stuff:

1. The sound in this game is fucked up. The voice acting is good, but when I walk into a building with a small candle, and it sounds like a roaring inferno in there, something is wrong. It was also weird when I was using a wooden club and it was making sword sounds.

2. Geralt loses his silver sword in the flashback, but suddenly has it back. The Witcher’s Silver Sword has to be something pretty rare or at least uncommon. It’s not like people would normally make a sword out of silver. How does he fucking just have a new one like… immediately? Did he have a spare somewhere stashed that Triss brought him? How did that happen? I highly doubt he got his sword back from that dragon.

Anyway, I’m impressed with the game so far. I’m going to keep playing. I mean, I dunno. Color me a horrible doubter, but even though Brian has told me how great this series is constantly, I assumed it was one of those “great” things that only he would like. It’s pretty darn accessible and interesting so far. I hope it keeps up.