maru_rei_ken: (iObi)
2010-06-24 01:47 pm

I Actually Hate Dreamwidth

I made a resolution to update this regularly, and thus far it just isn't working out. There are several reason for this, the greatest of which being that I just can't bring myself to care about this website. Really, that's about it. I don't care. It's that simple. Hell, I kind of hate this site.

This site has existed for two years. Is it now, or has it ever been, utilized by any majority other than tubby girls who want free rein to write and draw Harry Potter getting it on with Snape? I'm not even trolling; that appears to be the vast majority of users on this site from my research into the subject. I'm not trying to start shit; I'm just being totally honest in the most assholish way possible. I feel so fucking out of place here, and it drives me nuts every time I try to find a place to integrate into.

Maybe I haven't been here long enough. Maybe it's like a terrible old family comedy, and I'll realize the beauty of the place just as I'm packing up to go home, and as my wealthy parents pull around in their personal jet, I'll look at them, look back at the ragtag group of friends I've made on the island of Dreamwidth, and tearfully but defiantly utter, "I choose to stay."

Wait, no I fucking won't because this place is fucking lame.
maru_rei_ken: (AWESOME)
2010-06-17 02:53 pm
Entry tags:

On the Absence of Gay Characters Who Don't Blow, or "Why the Hell CAN'T Obi-Wan Kenobi be gay?"

Let's examine the question here: Why not? Totally ignoring the EU, which nobody pays attention to until they really need to win an argument, what the Hell would it hurt? It would change exactly nothing about what makes him cool or why people like him. It would make him no less quotable or iconic or interesting as a character. "The Force will be with you, always," would not take on weird connotations unless you're the kind of person who fixates on sexuality you consider deviant.

I chose Star Wars and Obi-Wan for preamble to this and most subsequent example-heavy arguments for several reasons, the most important of which being that I've actually seen the question posed. On the subject of gay people in Star Wars, someone asked on a forum why Obi-Wan couldn't just be retroactively outed like Dumbledore. And yeah, while I'll agree with other people who know far, far more about Harry Potter than I do and say that outing him at a press conference after the series was over wasn't the most exciting or world-shaking way to do it, the basic question of "Well, why the Hell not?" remains. For another thing, unless you're counting the EU, romance and sexuality really isn't addressed in Star Wars. Yeah, I know there's Leia and Han, and Padme and Angrykin, but beyond that it's not really touched upon outside the EU where everyone who matters needs to have a girlfriend.

It was pointed out to me by a perceptive friend that there's definitely a prevalent stigma against the notion that iconic or otherwise cool character could be anything but heteronormative, and I'm inclined to agree. I know I've nattered on for a few paragraphs about the fact that sexuality doesn't actually affect how cool a character is, so maybe you're thrown by my getting all irritated at every worthwhile character in mainstream media being straight. Well, this goes somewhere beyond a character being cool or memorable.

I don't know who reads this. I don't know if anyone does. I don't know if you're gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever. Being abnormal, especially as a kid, fucking. Sucks. Not regular abnormal, like... un-normal. Deeply and fundamentally different in a way that you don't see in your peers, in your family, or even on TV. Surely some of you remember how badly you wanted to know people like yourself as a kid; I don't doubt many of you feel that even now. We are social beings, after all, and we form our opinions of ourselves based on the way we perceive our world. Growing up in the eighties and nineties, when English-language media decided that every children's show needed a rainbow of ethnic cast members, plus a wheelchair-bound kid and a tomboy, still managed to be isolating and lame. The tomboys, by and large, still wore pink shirts under their overalls and inevitably developed crushes on nice, normal boys. Boys with gender-inappropriate interests were usually one-off characters, which made me even more bitter and confused. Why didn't the wheelchair kid ever just get up and get over being crippled? Was I eventually going to get over feeling like this? Am I just not worthy of attention, like that random femmy boy we saw for one episode and promptly forgot about? WHAT?!

Any covert attempts on my part (futile as they were, as I grew up in the deep south in the middle of nowhere) to find queer characters ended in enormous disappointment. I wouldn't go so far to say that every queer character I managed to find was miserable, but they were definitely happiness-challenged. they were sick, or they were riddled with angst, or they were persecuted, or any combination of those factors. Did I mention that every single piece of media I found was ABOUT how sick/persecuted/miserable they were? Unless they were evil? Because that was the case! I didn't want queer characters who were villains or miserable douchebags defined by their sexuality, I wanted queer characters who were like the other characters, only abnormal like me. Even when I got recommended the Herald Mage trilogy by an older friend in high school, I wasn't satisfied because Vanyel was so fucking whiny about his sexuality despite pretty much everyone else in the book's world NOT CARING.

It's fucking mindbending to look for someone to relate to in terms of sexuality and still look up to them. I eventually just started looking for subtext, and that was pretty damn helpful.

I don't think every character should be gay, or bi, or anything. That would be an unrealistic expectation, and frankly pretty weird. But it's just as weird when you realize that in many works every single character is at least implicitly heterosexual. I don't get why people choke back hurl when they're subjected to gay kissing onscreen while queer people have been thoroughly desensitized to straight kissing through years of exposure. Why the Hell shouldn't everyone else have to sit through romances they're not personally invested in? Maybe they'll wind up like me and care less about the sexes of the people involved and more about how poorly written or compelling it is.

Yeah, that's a weak ending but what the Hell do you want on a blog made for rambling until I've vented all my vitriol? Time to replace it with beer.
maru_rei_ken: (yo do me a favor)
2010-06-13 01:13 pm
Entry tags:

Pokemon somehow regains a lot of appeal after high school

So I got a copy of HeartGold this past April, and have spent a total of thirteen hours playing it. Approximately ten of those hours were filled within the past week. This is due to a combination of factors, among them the beginning of summer and the fact that I finally found my DS charger.

HeartGold is the first Pokemon game I've honestly enjoyed in ages, and I'm not entirely sure why. It's got a certain something that other recent Pokemon games lack, and I can't discern precisely what it is.

I'm currently at that point in the game where frustration is God and Shigeru Miyamoto is Pope. It's a place in every single RPG in existence: You've leveled up a lot, grinding painfully on monsters that are perilously close to your own level or even higher, just to get over the hump of that damned boss/gym. You're ridiculously overpowered for the area, and nothing seems to give a decent EXP when you bash it into unconsciousness. Before you clear the gym, it seems like everything around you can reduce your entire team to a puddle of blood-speckled congee, but once you've leveled to the point where you can clear the gym and move on to the next inexplicably sealed off area the average level of whatever you fight in the wild has hardly changed at all. It's almost cruel, especially when you consider that the levels of trained Pokemon HAVE changed. To the level where they can render you into a cloud of chili by looking at you. So not only is it difficult to continue leveling ,but any attempt to grab for higher levels opponents gets you soundly slapped down for your hubris.

I would also like to point out that Voltorb Flip is the exact opposite of fun. I was sort of relieved when I first discovered that the casino in HeartGold wasn't exactly a casino, but I'm steadily getting pissed off at it. Maybe I'm some kind of mental invalid, but I consistently get better results by blindly tapping squares than by carefully selecting my next move. Is my intuition good? Am I actually dumber than random choice? I was able to get an Abra in about a half hour by getting 6-12 coins by random chance, quitting, and repeating that process. Over and over. Just as a 'fuck you' to that damned game.

I'm loving the Pokewalker. It's such a simple little thing, but at the same time it's totally awesome. I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm accomplishing by clipping it to myself and wandering around, playing with it like a more adventurous, less emasculating Tamagochi, but it's gotta be good.
maru_rei_ken: (iObi)
2010-06-12 08:19 pm

In which I try to explain my relationship with the Star Wars EU

It's been a while since I last touched this pink monstrosity of a website, and I've been thinking that maybe it's time I put it to good use again. By this, I mean that I'll natter on where all of four people, two of whom are sock puppets, will ever see it.

I want your horror, I want your design. )
maru_rei_ken: (your cue to stop talking)
2010-05-27 10:45 am
Entry tags:

Shit I Don't Get: Episode I: Prevenge of Shit I Don't Get

While this is ostensibly a journal for my writing endeavors, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that I have an enormous e-boner for writing in the form of just letting fly the vitriolic rambling. If I don't feel like writing a narrative, but still feel like writing, it's likely that I'll just do this. Complaining or gushing.

Every week, I'll be trying to get one of these up until I ultimately exhaust my store of things that I just don't fucking understand the point/appeal of. This is not an appeal to anyone reading this to explain or defend the items mentioned, nor should it be confused with the related but dissimilar feature, "Shit I Don't Like."

I feel like an old person in that I do not adequately understand the appeal of Facebook. Actually, wait, I take that back. I do understand the appeal, at least in theory. I know why Facebook was originally conceived, I know many parents use it to keep tabs on their geographically/emotionally estranged children. I am all over that; that makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is Facebook's explosive, pervasive appeal to what often feels like every single person in North America except me. Additionally, I get inexplicably pissed off at myself for not getting Facebook when I totally get Twitter. I understand that sometimes there's shit you want to say that doesn't necessitate the use of 140 characters, much less a blog post of 140 words. I understand that Twitter was conceived with the intent of being compatible with even the shittiest of cellular phones, making mobile posting possible. It's like I skipped one dumb Internet Thing and moved straight on to the next in terms of understanding, and that bugs me.

I keep mentally coming back to the fact that Facebook invades real life. I don't even mean the privacy aspect; I don't post on Facebook often enough or do enough embarrassing things for that to actually matter. What I speak of is the inexplicably powerful hold Facebook has on people's definition of their social lives. With Facebook, some weird-smelling guy in my statistics class can find me and attempt to friend me, and get incredibly offended and sad IN REAL LIFE when I fail to friend him back. People I actually interact with in reality have similar reactions to not being immediately friended. This renders Facebook's appeal annoying as shit to me, because the social conventions of meatspace dictate that I not tell these people that I don't want to friend them back because they're bleu cheese-scented social invalids or, GASP!, because I don't care enough to process my requests. Why do people get so twisted up about Facebook? No idea.

In a similar vein to the last item, I do not understand the appeal of Farmville. Not even Facebook games in general, I get that. Web games are fun. I do not understand why people continue to play Farmville, and I don't feel conflicted about that at all. No one I know who plays Farmville (and thank Christ I don't personally know many people who do) seems to actually enjoy the game. All they do is complain about milestones they have to reach, people who won't help them, gifts they keep receiving, and requests that don't get returned. It doesn't help that the game both looks and plays like a hot pile of curry sick. Yeah, I tried it. I could let it go at that if it was a game that just sank into obscurity, but no, people eat this shit up.

Aha! And now my hypocrisy becomes clearer than ever! Yes, I am indeed admitting that I do not understand the point or appeal of Dreamwidth on a Dreamwidth blog. Hypocrisy? Metaflaming? You be the judge.

I got a Dreamwidth account from a nice person throwing codes around for the express purpose of figuring just what the fuck is so groundbreaking about it. After a couple days of research, I have come up with only one thing: Jack. Crap. Beyond the surface level, I have found absolutely nothing about Dreamwidth that differentiates it from other LJ clones. InsaneJournal, for example, is very similar to Dreamwidth in it's LJ similarity, startling lack of activity, and lack of censorship in what its users post. How is Dreamwidth different from IJ? Let's see:

-It's pink! How do I make it not pink, by the way?
-It costs money! Well, usually.
-Those who do not give money only get 15 icons.
-The lack of censorship is worked into a nauseating mission statement rather than a byproduct of people just not caring.

The mission statement truly baffles me, because it seems to be a PR-injected restatement of the philosophy of the internet in general, which is "Do whatever, we're all freaks anyway." In fact, Dreamwidth slathers on a lot of PR mayo that most sites deem totally unnecessary. The entire purpose of the site appears to be appealing to people with Deviant Art accounts and persecution complexes. If you're an artist and have imagined yourself into a state in which you feel uncomfortable posting anywhere but places that state their love for freaks of all descriptions, Dreamwidth is for you!

I will tell you a secret: There is no Balrog standing at the gates of Livejournal barring any sort of weirdos from entering. Unless you're in China or on some sort of really thorough watchlist, you can get on Livejournal and post to your twisted little heart's content, especially if you're savvy about filtering and friendlocking shit. The vast majority of LJ users either don't give a shit or will never see your entries. The fuckery in 2007 was initiated by a third party group that could and would fuck Dreamwidth up just as badly.

I don't get it. I don't know what I was expecting when I joined, but it wasn't a pink version of Livejournal where I can read this in the FAQ

"Like bandwidth is a measure of how much information can be transferred, dreamwidth is a measure of how much creativity can be transferred."

God, that's just. Nauseating.