your soul is a poem, the storm inside you, dreams

Thy Other Name is Change

Hello hello hello! If this is showing up on your friends page and you're wondering why, it's because I changed my handle! I was the_kelpsinator, but I picked that in high school and it's not really a reflection of me anymore. atouchofyou is more in line with the rest of my internet presence (so if you see it anywhere else, it's probably me), and of no longer being 17.

In other news, I will soon be going on my first cruise! I'll be going from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas. I've neither cruised nor been to the Bahamas, so I'm excited! It's about a month away. When I bought tickets today, they were somehow magically $70 cheaper than they were three days ago, so I'm happy about that. It's part of my training. My job so far has been pretty good, even though it's only been three days of classroom training. I have three more days in the classroom, and then three-four months at a desk with phones making calls. It's kind of grueling, because they have us doing stuff no one else wants to do, but I don't mind that much. It's not particularly hard, it's self-paced so I can get through faster if I push myself, and I'm making a pretty decent salary until I finish. So, in four months I'll have business cards and go to 100% commission. The beginning will be hard, I know, but I really feel like thanks to this training, I will be ultimately successful at this job.

Because my income will be uneven, especially in the first couple of months, and because my boyfriend only works part-time, we're electing to stay in the basement for a few months. It sucks, but we would just be cutting it too close if we left. We could make it work, but two bad weeks in a row would mess us up big time. I'm sick of living paycheck to paycheck, and this will allow us time to not only catch up with ourselves, but get some savings going, as well. My goal is to pay off my smallest loan (~$3k) and have $800-$1K in savings by January. We found a reasonably-priced apartment complex we like literally across the street from my new office, so when we move it'll almost certainly be to there. I have a friend who lives there and the grocery store is literally down the street. When we move there, I'll sell my car (probably to a junkyard) and cancel my car insurance. I'll get a bike, but that will free up something like $100-150 a month between insurance and gas that I can put towards groceries and student loans. 

Soon, soon, I'll be a real adult again! Life is looking up. :)
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Got balls of steel, got an automobile, for a minimum wage, got real estate, I'm buying it all up

What a roller coaster of a week. Lots of good news, and one instance of terrible news.

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Good: We might be in a position to move out of this basement and in with some friends! Maybe hopefully. It's kind of a time crunch, though. Cross your fingers for more money and/or a three-bedroom house for rent under $600/room somewhere between DC, Gaithersburg and Columbia in the next couple weeks. Any places/renters/good websites you could send my way would be really appreciated!


Aaaaaand, the bad: My granddaddy is dieing. It's not that much of surprise, honestly. I can't even remember the number of strokes he's had in the last couple of years, but it's still hard. His kidneys started failing this morning, and he's been moved to a hospice. It's really only a matter of hours, at this point. I wish I could be there, but I just cannot get to South Carolina right now. :( I'm hoping it's quick and mostly painless. The family has been suffering with him for a long time, now.

So, yeah. A lot of good and a large dose of bad.


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Relevant to everyone's interests

Via The Mary Sue, I just found out about the Gamers Against Bigotry pledge. It's a pledge not to use bigoted language in gaming places, including slurs based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or disability. Will you sign? Let's rag on people for their (lack of) skills, not their identity.


Cross-posted to a couple places, sorry for any repeats.
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Hello from the Beach!

I hope everyone's Fourth of July/Canada Day celebrations were excellent and safe! I had a good day, met some new friends, drank a lot but didn't get drunk. (I have a rather high tolerance, lucky me.)

Now we're at the beach! I bought a bikini a couple day ago and I'm very excited to wear it. This is my first bikini ever, and only my second two-piece since puberty. (I had a tankini 60 pounds ago.) I've always been really self-conscious about my body, but I think I've hit a point where I realize no one cares. No one will be looking at me, and even if someone does, who cares? My essentials are covered. I dress for myself, not for others! It's a green skirted bottom, high-waisted with full butt coverage (very important!), and a black and white polka-dotted bra top. 

The place we're staying at is very nice. It's huge--four large bedrooms, three stories, spacious living areas--and beach front. There are no fewer than three decks/balconies, and its own parking space. This is the kind of place I want to purchase when I make bank as a best-selling author. :P 

While still hot, it's much cooler here than home. The heat waves have been disastrous. The power has gone out two days in a row at work, and the AC has not been working very well. I normally tolerate heat and humidity pretty well, having grown up in this kind of weather, but I felt ill from the heat on Wednesday. Hopefully the heat breaks soon; this is just ridiculous (and dangerous). Boing Boing cobbled together a good map from the ones on the NPR article to illustrate how bad it's been. No wonder I felt ill!

I've been writing up a storm, thanks to writing community I joined on lj. Twenty pages so far, just on one story! That's the second-longest thing I've ever written, second only to my senior thesis in college. (It was 35 pages, including works cited and such--about 33 pages of writing.) Now I think I'll go write some more on the beach. :)
bad day, violence, rage, blood, getting even

This is why I should work in the games industry!

I just read this article on Gamasutra. It's an interview with a woman named Brandii Grace who is starting a game development company to make AAA titles for women. Sounds great, right? Until you actually read about what she thinks it takes for a a game to be for women. According to Grace, games for women should be:

-family and child oriented, including games meant for mothers and children to play together
-not challenging/easy/"casual"
-about interpersonal conflict and drama, relationships and the like

She repeatedly talks about "mommy bloggers" and the games she says they want. She gives Twilight as a prime example of what women want in their entertainment.

This is a bunch of sexist bullshit. 

You know why AAA games largely don't connect with women on the same level as men? Because those games treat women as afterthoughts, if they think of us at all. Women in those games are shallow virgin/whore props meant to further the story about the man. It's not because Call of Duty is "hard" or because Hitman doesn't have enough romance in it, or because Assassin's Creed isn't a good fit for children. It's because in none of these games can you play as a woman. It's because the women in these games are meant only to be looked at and fulfill sexual fantasies. It's because these games already market to a narrow, stereotype-filled demographic in the first place--men in their teens and twenties.

Again, all Grace seems to do is spout sexist bullshit, except for one line in which she reminds the interviewer that woman are just as diverse as men. So why doesn't she take her own admonishment to heart? Women are hard-core and casual players. Women want to play games as a social activity and solo. Women want games with romance and interpersonal relationships and they want to make a totally sweet headshot and watch a dude's head explode. They want to solve a puzzle with bubbles or raise farm animals and they want to save the world by destroying the Nazis or killing the dragon. And you men want all these things, too. Where's the work-life balance games for men? Where are the games for fathers to play with their children?

You want to make AAA games a "better fit" for women? Make these games treat women like people, not props. Let us play a female character. Give us female NPCs who showcase a variety of types of people, not just sex kittens and innocent fragile victims who need protecting. Give us evil women who aren't witches and dominatrixes. Give us women who wear real clothing. In other words, give us good characters who happen to be female. Give us a game that treats woman as people, and women will play the shit out of it.
Shakespeare

Treasure Hunt

I finally got around to looking up my old FF.net account, and while I still can't log in, I did find my account by remembering my handle. (It's, uh, exactly the same as this one. Clearly, I am super intelligent.) In doing so, I found copies of stuff I haven't seen in years, things I forgot I wrote, and a website I forgot I made. This website still exists! It still works! I'm in shock. I completely forgot I actually got it hosted. I'll do some digging, see if I can rework it in the future to be my on-line portfolio for applying to writing gigs.

The biggest shock about all of this, however, is that my old fic is not nearly as bad as I figured it would be. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. I mean, it's not as good as what I write now, but mostly just because it's all a lot shorter and because I didn't really know how to self-edit. So, either I'm not a very good writer at all, or I was never as bad as I thought I was. I've noticed I was writing the same thing then that I'm writing now: angsty, introspective, navel-gazing meditations on how much life can suck. I swear to god I'm happy sometimes, and that I can write happy things. I also swear I'm not secretly fifteen years old. Maybe I should write something that proves this, and not just because I can write sex scenes without blushing now.
travel, dreams on strings, far away, lights

Want a letter?

Want a letter? Send me your address. I'll mail you a hand-written letter. I don't care if I know you or not. I'll send letters anywhere. I don't expect anything in return; I just like writing letters and never have enough people to send them to. Feel free to share this with anyone you'd like!