I got my booster shot today.
Not today today, today when I write this. You’re not reading this for ages, which is a thing I do in part to help build a buffer, and avoid blog posts all bunching up around times when I’m productive, but also so, very pointedly, you are never dealing with the me who wrote the blog post you just read except in the rare case of Kenny Rogers dying. Which is a weird one but don’t expect it to happen again, I don’t think Kenny Rogers can die twice.
I do this in part for the emotional control it offers me, and to make sure I don’t shoot from the hip too readily. Everything has had a chance to cool. Plus that means when I do say something really emotionally revealing, like about fucking Lilo and Stitch, nobody notices.
Anyway, I got my booster shot today.Continue Reading →
It’s the end of the month, it’s time for me to point out to you all these great, corking articles that keep you up to date with the kinds of things I’ve been doing that you may have missed. I know that my particular form of blog writing isn’t for everyone, so I hope having a guide for the stuff I’m really proud of is really useful.Continue Reading →
Hey, it’s my birthday! If you’re into wishlists, I have a Steam Wishlist and Gift Hero wishlist. I don’t know how useful that is to you, I don’t mind if you don’t want to get me anything, I don’t think you should. My birthday is just a day, and I don’t expect to get cool toys out of it, and I don’t think you owe me anything.
If you want to get me something, and you don’t want to spend any money today (good!), then I’d appreciate it if you could do me a favour and bring me a link to something you want me to look at, and add to that a short description of why you want me to look at it.
Yeah, do some of my research and discovery for me.Continue Reading →
Good god I need to be careful about how I word this.
Okay, how to word this. How about if I say, up front, NOTHING TRANS IS HAPPENING, and then people will go ha ha but no really, but I’ll have to restate it that I mean it and NO REALLY, THIS ISN’T ABOUT THAT.Continue Reading →
Hey, you know, back in November, when I mentioned ‘oh yeah, my keyboard broke?’
Turns out yeah, that sucks!
It’s been a weird time, when a single major tech disruption can just knock everything I would normally do in a day out. I can’t sit down and play board or card games without a computer right now, because nobody’s prepared for it. That meant when my keyboard broke – my one button failed – I then went to clean it, and try to get it to work, only to find that the nest of hair and fur inside my keyboard was now making interactions I didn’t want to see happen happen.
I pulled off the buttons, I cleaned them, I put them back, and then it started to spray out twenty character chains every time I opened a text field, which suggested that it was not just that a button stopped working but that perhaps my keyboard was broken.
That led to me considering: Do I want to fix this keyboard?Continue Reading →
Turns out I’m an adult?
I don’t like that. It seems in appropriate, and honestly, I think it was a bad idea. At some point civilisation decided that I was responsible for killing Applebees, and having a functional awareness of the different characters in MASK and how their toys weren’t the same scale as GI Joe, which were the same scale as C.O.R.P.S toys wasn’t actually a disqualifying criteria for that full-time adulting thing. But I don’t have any spaces where I can be fourteen years old, eat fuit gummi and play videogames, so instead, I make do with trying to manage my day to day with as reasonable a facsimile of being an adult as I can.
There’s stuff I’m not good at.Continue Reading →
You know that mental image you have of yourself as like, independent and not subject to your surroundings? Like, how we all have it in our heads that yeah, sure, I know my experiences and memories shape me a bit, but that’s not all of it. That’s not the whole thing, right?
Anyway, last year I changed my life because we bought a new fridge.
I am at the point in my life where I am no longer living with a second hand thing that was bought from a store that specialised in refurbishing whitegoods and that worked pretty well for the space we had. I wrote about this fridge once, about how the light didn’t work, and that never landed in my brain as the default.
This fridge lived in an alcove in our kitchen, and it was, as far as I could tell, pretty much the right size for it. But Fox, sick of a variety of problems with it, and wanting something to improve its efficiency, dedicated some of our money to buying it.
It’s wild that I feel ashamed for admitting that. That we bought a fridge. That somehow in this time of our lives, when remote work is something I can do and she can do well that we were able to save money and now, when I talk about things like labor and valuing people’s work and joining a union and being poor as a kid, I’m going to have someone go yeah but you bought a fridge.
Anyway, this fridge has changed a lot of my day.
The fridge has room for a large tank of water, and two bottles. It also has a water dispenser in the door, meaning at any given time the most convenient thing to do, if I want a drink, is to have a bit of water. Not a lot, because completely filling a glass is annoying. Result? I’m drinking more water. Also, the schedule of refilling the water each night before I go to bed means that I’m keeping the sink clear, and that means more dishes put in the washer before bed, rather than ‘ah, I’ll do it in the morning.
The crisper drawer is bigger and higher and closer to my eye level. I no longer have to tilt down to look into it. I no longer have to worry about if I already have too much of a head of lettuce, and therefore, I can’t buy another one, meaning that there are times when I may want lettuce and I can’t have any, just because of the modest logistics of a small crisper drawer.
The freezer is large, but has drawers. This means that it’s very effective got a large purchase of food that can then be frozen for long durations and thawed at meal times. This is making me plan ahead for meals more, because it’s not wasted effort.
This single piece of household infrastructure has made a bunch of stuff in my life tangibly easier and therefore, as a result, better for the way I want to live my life and it’s because we did the tremendously middle-class thing of getting a good appliance.
It feels weird to stare at it and think about the impact. Like surely this wasn’t the barrier to doing these things.
Smooch month draws to a close and with it we set aside our theme, to bound freely in the festival of stuff that is March.Continue Reading →
January has come and gone, a new start for a new year, and also a bunch of free articles that are either retrospective, or update you on things that have been happening for a while. It’s also something like a holiday month for me, a month of preparation for the new semester and a time to refocus on important, big projects.
Like, you know, a PhD, or games.
It’s also a time when I would have, hypothetically, been heading down to Canberra, to be part of CanCaon, which after much agonising, we decided to abandon, because of panini concerns. More on that later.Continue Reading →
Something that I still have difficulty processing is writing in summer, in that particular little period between Christmas day and New Years, and then, as an Australian, kiiiinda for the bulk of January because hey look over there, Invasion Day is right around the corner. Like, for the past few years now, Summer has been the season when I am, largely, off work. It is the time when the holidays land, so after a bunch of extremely high-impact days of associating the fuck out with people, I am largely, not under a lot of pressure.Continue Reading →
I have been using the Jetpack plugin on my blog for about five years. It comes as a default tool available to free wordpress accounts, you see, and I installed it on my blog when I realised that I really did care about how much or how little attention my work was getting. There’s a long ongoing story that starts with the Long Live The Queen Game Pile review (which, really, isn’t that good, and for all I know the soundcloud has long since been shut down), but which has steadily progressed through a yearning burning nerding over feedback.
I got rid of it because it was doing some things to maintain its own statistics but also in case it maybe sorta wanted to serve ads of its own, or maybe just putting graphics on the page without telling me, but the important thing is that a proper web developer looked at this useful package of tools and recoiled, hissing, like I’d tried to bring a Domovoi over the threshold of the family home it protects.
Jetpack has problems, see.Continue Reading →
It’s like, 1.30 in the morning, a November night, and I didn’t write anything today, until now. I worked on some projects – a little bit in a few places – but the main thing that happened today was that around 4 pm, I told my friends ‘I think I’ll lie down, but I have my phone,’ as if I would chat to them while in bed, then woke up four hours later to find everyone asleep.
This is because in the morning, I woke up bolt awake, holding on to Fox and the dog because I’d had a nightmare about the Rapture. These are not uncommon things for me, like I’m not surprised by them, but they do pretty badly exhaust me. It meant that I just didn’t get much sleep – I was asleep, but it wasn’t restful sleep – and when I was tired, I didn’t want to go back to sleep, because I didn’t want to return to the nightmares. The fear that I would fall back into that place, as if the dream is a place I was going to go, not a dumb trick my brain plays on me for thirty years.
But that meant I was exhausted today. I shambled around a little, I watched some Youtube videos, I planned for dinner – I did some laundry! Hey, go me, that’s a chore I easily would forget. But then I went to bid at four twenty nap time, and whumph did not wake up until 8.30.
Then I watched a movie with Fox, and we recorded a podcast about it, and we went to bed. She watched AmberCyprian and Argick play a game about balls on a string – Argick’s channel is really top tier balls content – and I kid you not I spent about a half hour watching minute and two minute clips of things like capybaras jumping into water.
It’s been a bit of a rough day.Continue Reading →
There’s a want, an intuitive reaching, for the idea of calling this schmaltzy or cringe. To say, oh, that’s embarrassing, or oh, that’s not worth doing as a subject.
At the end of each month I write a ‘wrapup’ of the month. These serve as a guide for reading, encouraging people who only check the blog sporadically for particular articles I think were very good, or which I felt work well when you link them together. The wrapups are also a chance to reflect on my life in the month and have a moment of diarying. You know, hey, here’s what’s happened in my meatspace life, what that might have done to the blog. Ostensibly, that’s what would go here, today, on the blog: What happened this month? What articles were interesting to me in hindsight?
I think that works against the spirit of Decemberween, a festival of looking at the whole year, an exercise in sharing and gentle content. If you want fanged writing, you can go check the rest of the year, and lords knows there’s stuff that got missed up there. There’s an article about Shadowcaster, I doubt you read that.
I did a year-end wrapup for the Story Pile feature, and tomorrow, you’ll see a year-end wrapup for the Game Pile. Which means that this is the most natural place to wrapup the blog as a whole, and maybe the whole year. Point out some faves, tell you how great these articles were, all that…
But I kind of feel it’s more important to make it clear, how much, in general this blog has been driven by people reacting to it.
There’s a joke I made, last year, about Touhou, that it was a ‘fandom that predates Dark Souls – as in, could hunt and feast upon it.’ On Twitter, a long-term reader (hi Dana!) said that it was ‘one of those lines’ that made her get up away from the computer and laugh. And … I think about that line regularly. I think about it because it implies that there’s multiple times I make a joke like that, that that’s something that can form a pattern.
That excites me.
That fills me with joy.
You, the people who engage with this – either a little or a lot, either reading or just talking to me about the things you want to see me write, you are all part of this process. I don’t want to disappoint you, and I don’t want to bore you.
Your time, as always, is a gift.
And I am grateful.
(I am also grateful for those of you who decided that not just time, but money could be given to you, and those people are extra-awesome, but I don’t want to frame it so that you feel like your money is worth more than your attention. Trust me, I want both.)
It’s weird that I’ve been doing Decemberween enough that I thought, surely I’ve talked about this before now, but uh, apparently not?Continue Reading →
With that, No-Effort November draws to a close. I have a schedule I use to plan out my blog posts, to make sure that I don’t double up, or miss a Game Pile or Story Pile article, and that’s been really useful. I do use it to look at the year at a time, and whenever I find I need a time to put an article that doesn’t necessarily have someplace to go – I throw it to a later slot. December is full of of Decemberween posts (more on that tomorrow), which means that in a year, almost every single non-themed post that gets bumped to a ‘later’ spot in the yeargets bumped to November.
What we get as a result is that by the time I get to November, it’s already full – but it’s probably full of stuff that’s not really tied to anything, or is maybe just a list or a ‘hey isn’t this weird?’ kind of post. Basically, November is the corner of the chip packet all of the year’s effort shakes into.
Plus, you know, November is crushed between two pretty cool events and it’s marking season for my teaching, which means the first two weeks of November are super busy for me. Therefore, it’s a perfect time for me to declare it time to do not much.Continue Reading →
I thought about doing this as a long-form explainer, breaking down a bunch of creationist claims in a sort of easy, handleable, you-can-do-it-too kind of guide. Then I thought about it, thought about the effort-to-return ratio. Then I remembered that I met Ken Ham and went: Oh. Never fucking mind.Continue Reading →
Look it’s late, I’m up, I can’t sleep because I made a stupid mistake of listening to the Cat Empire song Miserere too close to bedtime, don’t fucking at me.
It is also bin night.
For those not familiar, here in Australia, we have weekly and biweekly pickup of our garbage, which we keep outside the house in bins that have wheels on them for easy arrangement at the kerbside. The garbage trucks typically come by a reasonably early hour in the morning, which means if you want to make sure your trash is collected, you get it out on the kerb the night before.
I live in a block of houses that share a driveway, and that has certain rules. One of them is to keep the noise down after a certain time of night.
This is a problem.
The problem isn’t the requirement, it’s very reasonable. The problem is that this semester, that bin night has fallen on my latest work day. So I will get my work done, finish work, make dinner, then clean up after dinner and recover and have a little breather and oh woops it’s after the time to make noise. And that can be a problem if you’re trying to put things into the bin.
For kitchen waste, with soft garbage that goes into a plastic bag, then that plastic bag goes into the garbage bin, it’s easy. Just lower it in. But for recycling it’s a lot trickier, with a recycling bin that is both larger to encourage its use. It being larger means that it’s harder to put things in it and have them reach the bottom and they make a big echoey noise as things land in it. Plus, recycling is the bulk of our waste, so we want to make sure we don’t miss a recycling night (they’re biweekly instead of weekly).
Tonight, I didn’t put the bins out on time.
What followed is that when I realised the problem, I had two options. One, I give up, accept that it was going to be a rough week without room in the recycling bin, or I find a way to do it quietly. And like a big idiot, I did exactly that.
This involved carrying the bins – which are wheeled – a few steps at a time – to a location away from the houses, so that they didn’t make noise as I wheeled them over the driveway work. This also involved then walking all the recycling I have out that far as well, to place it in the bin, out by the street. This was also done at night, in the cold and quiet, while holding my breath to make sure I didn’t make excessive noise.
There’s no spoiler or important point here, I just thought ‘oh, hey, that would work, wouldn’t it?’ and then I tried it and it worked? And that’s kind of okay?
I haven’t written anything in the past few days.
This is a lie.
I haven’t, in the past few days, moved many things from the drafts folder of this blog’s content management system (CMS) to the scheduled folder. That means there’s a number that goes down every night that hasn’t gone up. It has failed to maintain stasis. I have been good this year about scheduling ahead and making sure that every day, another chunk of writing gets done.
I’ve watched a bunch of Brandon Sanderson lectures on writing sci-fi and fantasy lately. He talks about writing in terms of hours? I find that interesting, because my work isn’t currently very contained. If a student contacts me at any given moment, it seems easy and free to just respond immediately, but this means that I’m functionally on call 24/7. For me, I instead have a simpler rule: I write a thing every day.
It doesn’t have to be big or small, it just has to be something that seizes me about the blog. Something I want to talk about, something I feel I have the pull or energy to. If I don’t have that energy, I instead spend time going through my calendar that I use to organise the blog, and put down notes of things to write later, or ideas I may want to follow up on.
This year, the articles have been big. They’re an average of about a thousand words, and that means any modestly short article, like a 500 word article, is being tipped out by a twelve hundreder.
But I didn’t write anything in the past few days.
I did record video, video that should be going up soon. It had Fox involved.
I recorded a stack of micropodcasts for Patreon, which should be going up soon.
I wrote part of four different articles that aren’t going up, and I don’t know when they will go up.
Right now I am writing this, because this is what seizes me. The strange feeling of knowing that I have written, and wanting to say I haven’t done nothing, even though nobody is saying I do nothing. Wanting to push that number from going too low, like I have a broom in my hand and I can keep back the tide with it.
I really like having this blog to structure things, and part of keeping it from controlling me – because hey, did you know for me it’s marking season right now? – is being willing to use some days to phone it the fuck in.
The funny thing about this post is that I wrote it… like a month ago. But here I am, actually today, on November the 9th, working on updating, and adding to this post, because I also have not done much writing this month. And that, though, that I expected, that I in fact planned for. Because the funny thing is, I know that late October and early November is the marking period, and this year the marking has been even moreso.
Odds are good if you know me, you may think ‘are you still marking?’ because the past like, three weeks have been ‘sorry, I’m busy.’ And that’s true.
But this is what the backlog is for, too. It’s for accounting for the times when I literally won’t be able to write, and need to make sure I have a plan for that.
Another dread month draws to a close! Dense with content, rich and redolent with big spooks, and now let’s give you a guide to blog articles you may have missed this month that I recommend you check out.Continue Reading →
Content warning: I talk about my experience with harmful religions and say critical things of the idea of Moses!Continue Reading →
It’s a late thursday night of the day I spent an hour sitting in a doctor’s office to get vaccinated, then observed afterwards. I am exhausted. My arm is killing me. I feel weird in the stomach, and my eyes hurt. None of this relates to the vaccine, as best I can tell, by the way. I’m exhausted because I’ve been working all day, then I had to arrange transport to the doctor’s, then get home, and then, I had to work on rebuilding my bed, because that can’t really wait. It meant that after getting the vaccine — which was convenient and easy and even literally painless — I came homje and had a list of things I had to do before I could tell myself I had the freedom to relax.
And then, eventually, that opportunity arrived, and I had a shower.Continue Reading →
Welcome, welcome, welcome, boils ghouls and nondinary fools~! Welcome, welcome, welcome to the press dot invincible dot ink blog where horror and thriller and spooky material is all getting stuffed into the month of October. It’s some lighthearted funny spooks, but there’s also some more deep and heavy horrifying material to grapple with.
What can you expect? Well, I’m going to look at some horror games in the Game Pile; horror movies and manga in the Story Pile. But in addition to that, the remaining posts of the month are going to bubble and teem with nasty, creepy horrors of media, of the way we treat one another, or the way games treat one another. That means we’re going to talk about things that we accept as horrifying in one way, and instead turning them so we can see different horror cut through it. We’re going to talk a little about a beloved (by other people) historical figure. There’s going to be some more talk about assets and game design, and maybe a chat about horror in world building choices, and maybe even a new horrifying group of monster-people for D&D.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to use this as an excuse to drop you into nasty topics. There will still be content warnings and folds, and I hope you can appreciate, if I slip up in this case, it’s a product of a mistake, not out of any attempt to manipulate and hurt you.
The term I wield for this month is deliberately dread, rather than horror, because if you’ve looked back on previous Dread Months, there have been some really good horror movies and series, things that are designed to make you clutch your chest and brace with the horror of them. But there have also been things like ‘oh wow, the Goosebumps movie is better than I expected.’ Then there’s stuff where I have confronted a grim thought or two, like the time I considered how the trajectory of my life matched the trajectory of historical serial killers.
Welcome to Dread month!
September is over! But if you’re like the majority of people who read this blog (weird), you only check it from time to time, so here’s a post that should tell you things you may have missed this month that you can go check out!Continue Reading →
I stay up late a lot these days, which I don’t actually want to do. It’s not always an anxiety thing, it’s not always a social thing. I mean this month I had a friend contact me to say ‘look I had a real bad day at therapy and I’m just coming down from how I coped can you keep me company,’ and the bad day at therapy had been a week ago, and that means I’m up at four in the morning taking care of someone.
But sometimes it’s a much more insidious thing where I don’t want to go to bed until I feel like I’d done something for the blog. Managing work and life is a meaningfully difficult balance, and that means that someitmes, work is going to get done on days that are fruitful and work is going to get missed on days that are not. Still, there’s a sort of passive, droning ‘fell asleep on the couch’ kind of anxiety that can come from not wanting to admit that I’m done for the day, get up and go to bed.
As I write this, it is December. Yep, December, 2020. The aliens hadn’t arrived yet and beards weren’t yet illegal. But I write this as I have done all the easy hit goals for the blog today, and despite the fact today featured two long shopping trips, numerous social events and a bunch of graphic design work, I’m sitting here thinking: I haven’t done enough to go to bed yet.
And so, I am therefore putting this little wad of anxiety at my own productivity into a ball, stuffing it into the bottom of a pipe and then shooting it off into the future. I am doing so by writing about the only thing I can think of to write about that I can write about in this hazy, muzzy fog of tiredness, and I am doing so with the full knowledge that by the time I get around to seeing this on the schedule next year that I will probably forget how mediocre the post was.
It is okay, from time to time, to give yourself some easy ones.
In case you didn’t know, I sleep on a waterbed. Well, prior to these past few days, I slept on a waterbed. Fairer to say that my default sleeping arrangements, typically, were that of a waterbed, and right now as I write this, but well before you read it, I sleep on an air mattress.Continue Reading →
And thus, the flourish, the finale, the end of the performance, and tricks month draws to a conclusion. This was an interesting month, as many of the pieces were quietly done throughout the year, and postponed to now; this created a strangely out-of-time experience as, when written, I felt ‘well, I’m going to need to explain a lot about Qanon, I guess,’ as opposed to the relatively mainstream bullshit it is now.
Still, let’s have a look at the blog, shall we?Continue Reading →
Let’s talk about conspiracies.
Let’s talk about lies.
Let’s talk about protecting very important lies.
A content warning, though. I am going to talk about Mormonism, Mormon history, and the Mormon church. I don’t believe in Mormonism’s depiction of history, and I do not believe that the historical record of Joseph Smith is somehow corrupted. If you don’t want to hear an outsider speaking frankly about his opinion of Mormonism — and you probably know what that’s going to be like — then I recommend you skip on out.Continue Reading →
Hey, you know that guy who brings a guitar to every party?
And how everyone hates that guy?
You know what’s even worse than being the Wonderwall guy?
Being a guy who can (and wants to) do magic tricks.
Who doesn’t love a good Catholic conspiracy theory?
Not one of the conspiracy theories the Catholics have used to shape the way the world views faith and itself, no, those tend to be a bit more… well, they’re the conspiracy theories that we think of as ‘conspiracy theories,’ and they almost all seem to trace back to someone saying ‘Well, Martin Luther was wrong about a lot of things, but as far as it goes on the jews.’
And this isn’t one of those Protestant conspiracy theories about Catholics, which range from ‘they put cornflakes in their bed to stop masturbating’ (kinda true) to ‘they can’t whistle or the pope will hear,’ (definitely not true). It’s about eucharist wafers, and it’s about a conspiracy that, seemingly, some Catholics seem to think exists despite not believing in it.
The Eucharist wafer, if you’re not familiar, is a small bit of more-or-less bread used in a ritual known as the eucharist. During the Biblical narrative of the last supper, a ceremony we mostly document from the one person who definitely makes it clear he was not there, Jesus gives a speech where he offers the disciples wine and bread, saying, and I paraphrase, ‘Come, eat of this, for it is my body and blood, eat it in remembrance of me.’ It’s something Protestants and Catholics share as a ritual.
It is, however, supremely weird.
It’s really one of the sources of dissent between Protestants and Catholics – there’s an idea that this ritual, along with the baptism of infants, was basically one of the things that got the ball rolling on all the schisming and that’s why one of the major groups of not-Catholic Christians that hate the Catholics a lot (except when they’re trying to leverage them for political power) are known as ‘Baptists.’
The weird ritual is a little weirder in Catholic circles because of a belief known as transubstantiation. This idea is that the eucharist, when consumed, literally transforms into actual real Jesus meat and actual real Jesus blood. This belief was used to claim that Catholics were cannibals and tie them to blood libel (and what the hey, we’re back at the Jewish stuff again, that’s weird and sucks).
Transubstantiation is contentious because this idea, that the wafer and wine become real blood and meat is actual Church doctrine. That’s like, inasmuch as there are rules on this stuff, that’s what the rulebook as written says is there. The consensus amongst Catholics in the United States is, however, that this isn’t true; about two thirds of Catholics think that it’s entirely symbolic, just under one third believe it’s not. The church says it’s true, most people don’t believe it.
This makes it an interesting question to ask about on forms, and that gave us this beautiful graph from August 2019.
In this graph, we see that 69% of people (nice) don’t believe that the eucharist becomes real god meat. 31% believe it does. But there’s a breakdown in that; of the 69% of catholics who think that the bread and wine are symbolic, about two thirds of them think that the church also teaches that the wine and bread are symbols. This means that of the entire cohort, almost 45% of Catholics think that the bread and wine are symbolic, which is incorrect, according to the Catholic church itself.
Here, though, is where it gets wonderfully weird.
There is a cohort of 31% that believe that the food they are eating is magically transformed into god meat and blood. This is made up of a body (hah) of around 14 million Catholics, who believe in transubstantiation and who also believe that the church teaches transubstantiation. Yet next to them, in that weird little sliver, is that 2% that believe that it does become god meat… but that the church teaches it doesn’t.
What the heck.
What do they think happens there?
It’s this beautiful little bubble. How do you believe in a core point of doctrine for your church while believing they don’t agree with you, while also believing the weirder thing. Believing that you are secretly transubstantiating with a ritual performed by a priest who you also think is not doing the thing required for transubstantiation to happen, but you’re somehow bootlegging Jesus Bacon into your system some other way?
A little secret community of roughly a million Catholics in the United States.
Qanon has been a surprising opportunity for a lot of people to learn something they probably never realised before: That the conspiracy theory wing of the world was bountifully alive, well, and extremely well-fed, in the existing landscape of Christian dominionism.
Content Warning: Church, Qanon and related subjects, American Christianity, and Conspiracy Theories.Continue Reading →