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A few months back I went for another position in the department because where I'd been I was just accumulating responsibilities and needed to break it off. I was burnt out as fuck and all the requests for backups or distribution of work were never high priority. Replacing me entailed training four different people for four different roles to cover what all I was doing. Finally got training done and not only was I getting started into my new position but I even had some time to start cleaning my desk. Seriously, I still had printed call reviews for someone who left the company three years ago.

Then the person whom I'd trained in the most time consuming, most hectic, most grinding and disheartening role was injured playing sports and is out for two months. Guess who has to cover it. I'll give you a hint, it's somebody totally burnt out with the BS of sales people. For the last 15 years or so, way too much of my life, I've had to be constantly working closely with sales people and I fucking hate (most) sales people. It's the BS, you see, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and that is pretty much a prerequisite for working in sales. I get how important what they do is, and I try to keep professional, but the mindset that they'll treat you like a best friend for only as long as they are dealing directly with you, and then be total shit otherwise wears me down. If they seriously appreciate the work I put in helping them then how about listening when I expressly lay out what I need from them. Like I said, burnt out.

Fucking sports. Fucking injuries. I'm very intentionally trying to keep any and all resentful feelings towards my coworker squelched. She certainly didn't do it on purpose, and is a totally solid worker who I sincerely believe will do a better job at the position than I did. But I'm so exhausted and there's still maybe a month and a half to go before she's back. It'll be rough.


Much sighs.

Trying to keep in mind good things.

My partner is awesome as always, and I have a spectacular anniversary gift in the works for her. Shhhh, it's a secret.

I have a super adorable outfit coming in from Black Sheep Latex; it's currently going through the Chicago mail hub right now. I swear it takes things longer to get through customs in Chicago than it takes to get from Europe to Chicago. Super excited about this and if the quality is as good as it looks online then there's a LOT more from the maker that I'll be getting. Oh my squee, yes!

In other good news that I need to keep in mind, there's been the beginnings of other flirtings, that's always nice. But with the work situation it's a really bad time for such additional mental efforts and I've already let things drop a little long. Keeping up with friends is hard, especially when my only response to how I am will be "exhausted." I really don't like to be constantly complaining which is one reason why I often drop a lot of communication when things are rough.

You can't tell but I paused a moment there to try to come up with another good thing. For many years I felt very alone, even with friends it all felt superficial and I never felt like I fit in. I still rarely feel like I belong anywhere but that's another topic. The point I was moving towards is that for quite a while I felt like my mom was the only one who cared about me. But now not only do I have my partner but I have a number of friends who I feel genuinely like and care about me. That's something worth remembering and appreciating.
From 4/6/16

Lookie, it's a Wonder Woman vs Superman treasury from the mid-seventies with a tale taking place in WWII! I don't know why I'm so much more forgiving of the campy silliness in Marvel comics of the time than I am for DC, but I did still mostly enjoy it. Mostly. It's a cool find no matter what.

The highlight of new things this week is the Amadeus Cho collection, so I guess technically not really new. He's a fantastic character, probably one of the best created in the last decade. He's a hero of intelligence instead of strength, and one that feels no need to play along with the games of others just to prove his superiority. The stories here highlight his brilliance and depth; I forgot just how damn good these were and was fully engaged as I read them again.

In the vein of old is new, the third volume of the old Suicide Squad has me excited. Includes some pre-Vertigo Shade, The Changing Man!

The final issue of Infinity Entity had me surprised. I look forward to re-reading it in place between the Thanos graphic novels once the next one of those comes out to see what I missed.

Black Panther was excellent, my only complaint being I would have appreciated a primer in the back getting those of us who haven't read BP in a while back up to speed. A lot has happened since last I read his adventures.

A new Bee and Puppycat?!?!? For real? I thought for sure it was a dead book by now.

I have to admit to being disappointed with the Harley Quinn April Fool's Special. While the cartoony bit in the middle was fun, Jim Lee's art at the beginning and end of the book looked rough and uneven. Having multiple inkers didn't help. The story itself was just OK, but none of the recent writers have really done anything to make me care about the character of Harley Quinn. She's gone a little too Deadpool but lacking in his depth. (Yes, Deadpool handled by a good writer has depth. He intentionally steers into his insanity because when he's rational he's crippled by depression and self loathing, his madness is a coping mechanism that lends a tragic element to him.)

Lastly there's Wonder Woman: Earth One. I was a little hesitant when I first heard about it because I don't feel that Grant Morrison has always done the best with characterization of late, and a profile project like this needs to have character at the forefront. Morrison often seems to get caught up in the plot he has, or worse yet the creative way he tells the tale, and forgets that he is working with characters not puppets. But a few interviews with him seemed to show an interest in showing Wonder Woman as a character set apart from other heroes by being defined by her compassion, so that had me hopeful. The book is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the storytelling with flashbacks gets confusing. A good number of characters feel like little more than plot devices. But Steve Trevor actually comes across well, and I really love Beth Candy. She's often been treated as a joke character, the fat comic relief, and while she's funny and causes people to react, sometimes negatively, she's confident and happy with herself, and she doesn't care if people don't approve of her boisterousness or how her body looks. Wonder Woman herself shows growth throughout the story, which is good, but it unevenly moves back and forth owing to the flashback storytelling technique. There's enough good here once it's dissected that I think it's worthwhile, but there's a lot to wade through at times. I haven't even gotten into the problematic portrayal of feminism because that's an essay that I'm sure others while be able to do better than I. I know it was done to create conflict between Wonder Woman, the intersectional feminist, and the rest of the Amazons, a bunch of reactionary feminists, but that doesn't change how much it feels like some of the worst examples of feminism you can make.

I met some of my favorite drag queens during the pre-show meet & greet for the Divas of Drag show at House of Blues Cleveland. Here I am with the awesomely bizarre Milk. (I was going for a silly excited expression but delayed timing on the flash left me just looking a little scared.)

Also, I've never felt so petite as I did in a room full of drag queens. Almost all of them were big enough to take me down in a fight. It was kinda hot. By which I mean "totally hot."

I was mostly shy and let my partner do all the talking cuz she was even more excited than I was. Unfortunately that means I didn't get pics with any of my other favorite queens.

The show itself was just delightful with a great variety of acts, from traditional drag to the more avant garde. Seriously hope the tour does well enough to come around again next year because we will SO be there.

Earlier in the week -

So there’s a gaming and science fiction convention this weekend, Cleveland ConCoction. This is its third year and every year we’ve gotten weekend passes though we don’t usually spend all that much time there. The con was started by friends of ours so we consider it supporting them.

The first year was the first time I had worn the Dark Phoenix outfit. It was a good time though we didn’t really participate in all that much.

The second year the dog was sick so we again didn’t participate a lot.

This year… I’d originally planned on debuting my Rogue outfit but now I’m not so sure I’ll put in the effort. The parking is going to be more difficult as a lot of it is under reconstruction for the upcoming Republican National Convention (as if I didn’t already have enough reasons to hate it) so that will make leaving and returning (necessary to take care of our dog) more difficult, as well as just getting there in the first place. I don’t know if it’s the anxiety from all of the logistics, but I’m also feeling very stupid for wanting to dress up, feeling pointless. I’m pointless. I’m tired. I don’t know how long we’ll actually end up spending there this year either.

But now I got to work.

A little later in the week -

I’m feeling a bit better now, it’s nice to talk to friends. Also, alcohol. Still don’t know what the schedule for this weekend will be, but I’m working to relax about it.

I guess I’d like to dress up, but I’ll see. I still feel silly.

Saturday evening -

Been having a good time at Cleveland ConCoction this weekend.

There was a pirate themed wedding yesterday at midnight (so technically this morning, eh?).

Today I actually wore the Rogue costume I've been putting together for a couple of years. You may have seen the pictures in which I've been tagged. I still feel silly for dressing up sometimes (most of the time) but it feels like an accomplishment. And was fun. But now I'm so exhausted and skipping out on a couple of different parties in favor of going to bed early. Like after one more episode of Community.

Currently planning to go up again tomorrow for another panel or two. There's so much offered at ConCoction that we actually only ever get to experience a small portion of it. Maybe next year we'll rent a room for at least one of the nights just to make it easier.

Sunday evening -

I'm quite taken by surprise when strangers are super nice. Most people this weekend were very nice, and the experience on whole went very well. Much better than I expected from how I felt earlier in the week.

Towards the end of the convention we attended two presentations that were both cohosted by the same pair of cosplayers, Mogchelle and Alexa Heart. They were helpful and did a great job. Afterwards we chatted with them for a while as well as with Katie Starr, aka Nerd Girl Cosplay. Like I said earlier, super nice, very supportive, great people.

Afterwards I messaged them all through FaceBook thanking them for their time, my disappointment in having missed their other presentations, and the hope that they'll be back next year. They all responded quickly, and it seems we'd left good impressions. So, yay :)

But really what started me down this meandering missive was Katie Starr. One of the presentations she did which we'd missed was about how cosplay can be used to cope with depression and other similar issues. You can imagine how this is pertinent to my experience, especially in the last week. I'd mentioned that to her and she offered to be available if I needed to talk about it. And I'm still sitting here going "me?" Seriously, I just, look, from my history, I don't expect help and have a lot of trouble asking for it, and I'm surprised when someone offers it so freely. I don't really know the exact point I'm trying to make here, I guess that I'm just surprised when people are so nice to me because I so rarely feel like I deserve that much consideration, which bespeaks as much about me as it does them.

31 December 2015 @ 11:20 am
I realized I forgot to post any images of the outfit I wore to Carol & John's Comic Shop's Halloween Comic Fest. The make up was of course done by my partner.

31 December 2015 @ 11:02 am
Both my partner's and my parents are divorced so we end up with four days of Christmas. Busy holidays.

(Next time I should take pictures of some of the presents we bought for people because we gave some cool things.)

Day one: a wallet made of comic book images, a cool box, and a Hallmark Keepsake ornament of the original Megatron toy. I didn't even know it existed until a week or so ago! It's seriously sweet.

Day two: Ant Man on blu-ray, the complete 90s Flash television series, a book detailing "regrettable" superheroes which looks like lots of fun, and The Complete Allspark Almanac which is perhaps the geekiest, most Easter-egg filled book about Transformers ever created. Heck, half the book is written in-universe. I was also excited to get a bunch of comfy socks, including some Captain America ones just for kicks.

Day three: The Complete All Hail Megatron hardcover collection includes the 12 issue main series, the 4 issue coda, and 5 related Spotlight issues. It's slightly larger than a regular comic and pretty gorgeously reproduced. This story is what they should have done with the live action movies; it's got those huge action set pieces popular to audiences but it also has differentiated characters with a variety of agendas which are what has given the property its longevity. It's far from perfect, but far superior to the films we've gotten.

Day four: a 5 TB external hard drive for out Xbox One. We've only had it a few months and have used up more than 3/4 of the internal drive. It's rather annoying that even games bought on disc have to be downloaded onto the system. Game on!
Running a little later on my comics this week because I didn't get them until Friday night. My local comic shop, Carol & John's Comic Shop has been doing a Black Friday Event for 20 years now. I say event because it is more a party than sale (though it is a sale too) with music, raffles, and even drinks. It starts at 7:00 pm (to avoid pulling people aware from their families, and to accommodate people who had to work during the day and enjoy the party as a way to unwind after retail insanity).

The first pic is what I bought at the sale, mostly new stuff with two older things. The issue of Rom is the first of a two part story with the X-Men, the second part of which I've had for years now. And the Transformers trade leads into the More Than Meets the Eye series that I love so dearly. In the new items are a number of things which have me excited like Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Squirrel Girl (I'm always bouncy for SG), and Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers which is a sequel to Last Stand of the Wreckers, not only the best Transformers miniseries ever but also in my list of top comic book miniseries out of every single one that I've read. Take that Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns!

I won a couple of things in raffles. There's the Art of Marvel Studios slipcase containing books about Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. I stumbled over the trivia question though I undoubtably knew the correct answer so they gave me a second question which was equally easy for me. X-Men trivia man, that's my bag. I had been close to buying the other two books so I was glad to score them for free, especially the Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men crossover. I'm a sucker for crossovers but in this case I had actually dropped both titles because I felt the writing was very weak and the books very directionless so I don't have high hopes. Maybe since it's a crossover there will ACTUALLY be some plot movement. Maybe.

Lastly Carol & John's Comic Shop participated in the inaugural Local Comic Shop Day so, yes, after having been there past midnight I was back at 10 am the following day for a few more things. In this case treasury edition collections of the first two issues of Invader Zim and Rick and Morty. I'm been collecting Zim, but the oversized treasury editions are always a treat, I've opened it up to show off that great wrap around cover. I haven't been reading Rick and Marty so this will be a great way to check it out.

I actually did not show everything I got the last two days because some of it is presents for friends and family. Ok, that's all, I've got a lot of reading to do.
18 June 2015 @ 06:55 am
I have a character flaw. Well, yeah, obviously I have more than one, but I'm only thinking of one right now. Specifically I'm talking about the inverse relationship between my intelligence and negative emotions. In other words, when I get upset I get stupid.

I can feel it happening like a fog rolling in, and sometimes it's just as difficult to hold back as a fog. It's why I try to avoid arguments; they won't go in my favor, ever. And when I try to force my calm I tend to just come across as patronizing which certainly doesn't help much either. Of course anger isn't the only thing because frustration, fear, and anxiety all have similar effects. In fact, they tend to all feed each other. The general state of anxiety I find myself in lately leaves me low on patience and easily frustrated so I'm operating at a reduced state all the time. It means things that should be easy to understand, or at least theoretically possible to figure out, are opaque mysteries of esoteric arcana. Any slightest difficulty leaves me too frustrated and unintelligent to progress. Thus my computer and phone are pending obsolescence as dealing with upgrading them fills me with such anxiety that I freeze up. It means scheduling car maintenance is a task I put off week after week, so my car has had a broken side mirror for months and my a/c doesn't work. And people! Almost all my recent interactions with people leave me feeling disconnected and like I should constantly have a label that says "it's me, not you."

I've been feeling uncomfortable almost everywhere. There are a couple of different organizations of which I'm a member, and for while I felt like I belonged. Belonging is an uncommon feeling for me. But currently I'm struggling to get to them. I'm feeling so out of place. There are some legitimate reasons for feeling like I can't trust people with certain aspects of myself. Not everybody will appreciate all of me. That's fine. I think everyone has some parts of themselves that they keep for only the closest of friends. And some people and groups are more acceptive of difference. But I don't know. Nowhere feels comfortable right now, nowhere feels safe, and I can't determine how much of that is just in my head and how much is just that I thought some things were different and they just aren't.

I guess I've digressed from the thesis of this entry. That happens. I can't really talk about everything here. The point is that my brain isn't working. I feel it not working. I am going through life feeling impaired and being painfully, depressingly cognizant of it. Whether it's my ability to manage my schedule, talk to people, or figure out how to beat a level of Halo that I've played through before, I'm feeling pretty incompetent at this thing called life. So if I come off even more weird than usual, or distant and dispassionate, just know that it's me, not you.
I don't think that I'm not racist. I don't think that I'm not sexist. I don't think that I'm not judgmental. I just try to be better.

I think a lot of people define themselves as the above because they know those things are bad. But they don't actually think about it. They don't actually consider what those ideas mean. And so when they are faced with the fact that, yeah, those things are actually a part of who they are then they don't take it well.

Say I jump to a conclusion about a neighborhood because of the ethnicity of the populace. Maybe I'll stop a moment and realize that's some passive racism born of my exposure to media images as well as a lack of personal experience. If I defined my identity as not-racist then I'd be in a quandary. I'd have to resolve this cognitive dissonance between how I define myself and the thought that I had. Most likely I'd justify it by saying my judgement was based on yadda yadda yadda, that they asked for it, that they'd clean it up better if it was a good neighborhood, that I don't need to actually know real crime statistics because my mind was already made up, and that's that. And that would be racist. In my desire to prove to myself that my passive racism wasn't really racism I'd employ logical hurdles that were ACTIVELY racist. But if I'm just a person trying to be better, then if I jump to a conclusion I can stop and try to make it a learning experience for myself. Truth be told my neighborhood is probably more dangerous than the one I was thinking about.

Now say someone critiques something I enjoy, movie or game or comic, saying that it's sexist or even misogynistic. If I define myself as not-sexist without thinking about it then I believe, based on how we see things go on the internet, that my thought process would be the following - "I'm not sexist. They said this thing I like is sexist. That means they think I am sexist. I'm totally not sexist, how dare they call me sexist! What do they know about sexism anyway? They're just some feminist chick that doesn't want me to have any fun. Let's see how much fun she has after an escalating campaign of hateful threats." I mean, that really seems to be how this goes from my perspective. And, no, I don't know how "I'm not sexist" leads to thinking it's OK to threaten sexual violence but damn if that isn't how it progresses. On the other hand, if I define myself as someone trying to be better, and see other people as being similarly flawed and trying to be better, then if someone points out that something is problematic then I won't take it as a personal attack. I can separate myself from what I enjoy and admit that not everything is perfect. Yes, there are things that I enjoy that are most decidedly problematic. There are typically redeeming values that I weigh against it to decide if I still enjoy that thing. Sometimes I can find enough to still enjoy something despite its flaws. Sometimes once it's been pointed out and I see it form another perspective I lose my enjoyment. If I no longer enjoy something once I learn its flaws then I didn't really love it and it wasn't that important. Yes, I realize that while Empowered by Adam Warren is satirizing the stories that use gratuitous amounts of T&A and bondage at the detriment of characterization and storytelling, it is unquestionably itself employing a gratuitous amount of T&A and bondage, but the characterization and storytelling are so damn phenomenal that it still works. On the other hand, after stepping back and re-examining The Big Bang Theory I was left decidedly uncomfortable and, no sir, I no longer like it. I don't feel the need to convert others to my lack of enjoyment, but I'm totally done with it. For realsies. Sorry, folks.

That brings us to being judgmental. The thing is we are all judgmental. We just are. We just judge people on different criteria. I think that most people who say they aren't judgmental mean they don't judge about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or all those other things the liberal minded people are trying to get better about. But maybe they still judge people on if they litter, or just if people are cruel. That's judgement. I cannot say that I never judge people since I do think that some actions are wrong. And I'll let you in on something stupid about myself - I judge people by how they park. Yeah, it's pointless and unfair. And I certainly don't park perfectly every singe time. But it's there, every time I see a poorly parked car there's a flash of judgment in my mind. I try to squish it and remember that maybe there was someone else parked poorly that caused them to park misaligned, or maybe they had an emergency and couldn't take the time to straighten up, or maybe they have a legitimate reason for backing into the parking space even though they obviously don't have the skill to do so. All that's to say that I cannot ever in good conscious say that I'm not judgmental because I know for a fact that I am, but I'm trying to be better. Again, the problem if I defined myself as non-judgmental is that when called out on it I would get defensive because someone was attacking my identity, and that will lead to me making judgments about them and how they are judging me, and that will just prove that the accusation was most likely valid.

To err is human and, despite how I feel most of the time, I am actually human. I try to be better, but I'll always be making mistakes. And I guess that's OK.
We chose titanium for our wedding bands, it was very appropriate.

I find the metaphor of “the old ball and chain” to be sad as hell. To liken one's partner to being shackled to a burdensome weight is just depressing. And it's a disturbingly common phrase, even showing up in children's cartoons. That's scary, before people even really understand relationships they are being shown that wives equate to imprisonment because the stories are so predominantly shown from a hetero-normative male perspective. While it seems most people that actually say it these days are doing it as a joke the facts are that it's not funny (even when being used in an “ironic” way since it's done by people that don't understand irony or humor), and the attitude that gave rise to it is all too real. At its heart is a negative view regarding the responsibility and consideration necessary in healthy relationships.

If I was going to say that some equivalent sort of inanimate object symbolized Becca it would be a life jacket. She has kept me afloat when I was too exhausted to tread water. But really I tend to think of her as a star. She shines brightly, gives off warmth, is very attractive, and is the source of my life.

So what does this have to do with our titanium rings? Is it just that they are non-traditional? Ask to see them the next time you are hanging out with us. They are very strong yet amazingly light, and that's what our relationship feels like.