Saturday, December 28, 2013

On the Holidays

i be tired yo

I am recovering from some kind of... plague. I don't know what about, I think me and eggs are no longer best friends for a while.

The holidays are night over, all that's left is buying up the cheap crap they're putting on sale right now. Working in a particular bit of retail shipping, I've seen some glitzy and gaudy christmas crap over the past couple of months. And I've seen it all working night shift. Goddamn but does changing your sleep cycle mess with you.

I've also been watching some TV and movies (mostly TV). I was *very* pleased with the Doctor Who fiftieth special (omg squee), but less so with the Christmas one( >:( ). Agents of Shield finished its first run, and I'm waiting for some more. Sleepy Hollow was *very* fun and I want it back now damnit. Hannibal, Game of Thrones, Sherlock and... Something? are coming very soon oh yes.

I am also pleased as punch Game of Thrones always releases when I have six feet of snow outside.

I actually have *things in the pipe* (I know, I'm frightened). They're longer and more involved than I expected, so I'll probably break them into smaller parts (man, some of them are already smaller parts D:) One is on vidya games, namely the Ultima series. I got a ways into it then got bogged down in the sheer volume of things I wanted to address, I kind of lost my point.

The other is Movie Time with Tashi, wherein I watch movies and then either bitch about them, or say they were good. First up is Man of Steel and good godfuck is it something I want to bitch about. That fucking movie. Don't pay for the rental. (Wreck it Ralph was pretty damn charming and good, see it).

Gaming wise, I'm... No longer playing Ultima (which is why I wanted to write about Ultima) and am now... Minecrafting again. It passes time and I'm making a great castle and mine (as in large, impressive, awefull (full of aw(why do i love doing this so much))) for my nephew to fuck around in at some point.

Also Fallout: Tactics. Why? I don't know. I made myself a Charisma 10 super diplomat to barter and scrounge and hire amazing bodyguards to do all my fighting (except I still unload two shotgun barrels into raiders from like ten feet away and, to quote the game, "gut(ted) alive" people left right and center. Goddamn I love doing that in fallout (hi nsa).

so, the tashi is alive, just adjusting to being awake when every right minded person in the city is sleeping. The holidays did not help with sleeping, what with four screaming children in the house (not mine. but ye gods)

Monday, November 4, 2013

On past bad experiences (part 1 of possibly more)

I haven't had a lot of experience in D/s or BDSM (or love in general), but one of my first experiences was just... Fucking terrible. It set a metric for what I do not want in a relationship, and set up a lot of red-flags for me that, hopefully, will make it easier for me to steer clear of this kind of clusterfuck in the future.

First of all, this happened online. For all of those who don't believe that online things can have real emotional weight, and damage, attributed to them I will say a hearty "fuck off and die in a fire". In all seriousness.

The Domme in question was called Jess, and, at the beginning, it felt like a good match. We seemed compatible on several kinks, and the interactions I had with her seemed to be going good. One evening, in fact, she randomly gave me a small task which struck right at the heart and made me feel deliciously submissive and sexy, and I loved it. I wanted more from her.

This also hit at a kind of bad time for me, where I was feeling hellaciously down, depressed, and lonely. I was out of a job, money was tight, and I felt like I was never going to find anything good in my life. The evening where Jess and I made a thing of it was in the middle of a terrible patch, where I was (in fact) crying for being so lonely and watching others be together on the chat we were on. So, not the best of starts admittedly.

Jess had two other "subs" from the same place, Donna and Jade. After a week or so, it began to feel to me as if she gave more attention to those two than to me. For one, she was more openly affectionate with them in public chat, and she gave them more tasks in general than to me. In fact, unless I specifically brought it up and pressed for it, I wouldn't get a damn thing from her.

About a month into it, I decided to confront Jess about it. I said it, and got in return a bunch of vapid plattitudes about "oh no that's not what's happening at all" and so on. I felt temporarily mollified.

Over the next while, I started to feel worse and worse. I would never get any attention I didn't specifically press for, or begin. I started noticing more and more that Jess wouldn't mention me or talk directly to me in open without me poking her about it. In fact, several times she was mentioning fantasies or dreams she had involving all her wonderful subs, but only mentioned Donna and Jade by name.

I began to wonder if I was just being needy, and jealous. I started to doubt myself, and to feel just horrid. "Am I being a bad sub? People keep telling me I'm making too much of it, maybe they're right?"

This went on for two more months. I finally put my foot down (after I'd spent about a month basically ignoring her, and not restricting my orgasms/touching (it was an orgasm denial type relationship)) and asked her about it directly. She finally admitted I was right.

In fact, she said I had been right about it from the first week of our relationship on. She, in her literal words, "just didn't feel the spark anymore". The bottom fell out of my stomach. I had spent three months doubting myself, my emotions and my character for nothing. When I asked why she didn't say anything, she said "I thought we could get that spark back".

I then went from being sad to being angry. Very fucking angry. To this day I am still pissed at her and how she treated me. For one thing, though she claimed to want to rekindle that spark, she quite literally and honestly took no action to make it happen. Everything we did while "together" was prompted by and decided by me, ultimately, the sub in the relationship. She had the "veto", but it hardly mattered when I was the one pushing our activities through.

She ignored me unless I was pestering her about things. And yet she wanted to rekindle the spark. To this day, I am still convinced that she thought I was too much work and therefore lost interest.

how was I too much work? Because it took more than a couple of pictures of her favourite latex model to make me weak in the knees. Because it was more effort than a couple of quick mentions of something sexy to get me to moan and writhe. She wanted something easy to make herself feel good, not a relationship or a sub that took work, effort and time to engage with. That would cut into the time she was gaming, after all.

The situation killed my sex drive for months, and made me an emotional wreck for a bit longer. It was one of the things that made me go for my first actual consult to figure out what was wrong with my brain and emotions (a low grade depression by all accounts), so that helped. And it sent up my flags so now I know what to look for and won't be distracted by assurances to the contrary.

But it still hurt, at the time and a bit now. The bitterness won't leave for a while yet, I think, and the anger is going to stay for even longer. Both because it honestly didn't seem to affect her at all. The moment we had our final conversation, she resumed her openly flirty and playful ways out in the open, me a broken and forgotten wreck of a person in her wake. I don't think it ever registered to her exactly what she did, or even if it can. She was done, the spark was gone, and Mass Effect 3 had come out.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

On Crossdressing and Feminization (part 2 of ?)

I read a recent blog post on male submission, and it made me think about some of my kinks again. Specifically, this one talks about the repeated tropes in FemDom/MaleSub that you find online. You can find Part 1 of my own personal series here.

On the topic of sissy/sissyfication; there was a time when my online handle involved the word "Sissy" in front of the Tashi. It felt like the "proper" thing to have there, considering who and what Tashi represented for me. As time went on, and I started to think it through for myself and grow in my personal exploration and grasping of my kinked nature, the label became less and less appealing to me. For one thing, appending the label to myself made it so that's *all* that people saw and reacted to, which ended a few opportunities before they could even begin. For another, the term itself was just... Distastful to me after a while. I can't pin exactly what it is about it that I found drew me off, but it just didn't feel like it captured what I wanted to feel, and express, with myself and my sexuality.

A lot of that probably has to do with how sissy/feminization is presented in general. It is difficult to find examples in story, or pictures, or video, where it is found to be something sexy. It's generally something treated with disdain, or disgust, or outright pity from the Domme. When those are the emotions being triggered, it doesn't feel sexy at all. It feels like what I enjoy, and what makes me feel sexy and desirable, is wrong and shameful.

There is also the intensely sexist attitudes prevelent in all of the media involved in it. I honestly cannot count how many times I've seen or read the retread of the following;
"I am the woman, I make all the rules because I'm better than you. So, as the powerful woman, I find you pathetic and sad therefore you will be a woman because you can't be a man. And now, I will go feel like a real woman by submitting and being fucked by a powerful man with a big cock. And you will also do it, but it's wrong and shameful for you."

The fact that the big strong powerful man often tends to be black (with a stereotypical "black name") adds an extra layer of racism on top of the problem. Tasteful!

So I'm left looking for something that is never (or, rather, *very* rarely) represented in the sexy media I consume to get off (yes I jack off get over it), which makes it hard for me to get in a good mindspace for it a lot of the time. Further, it gets hard to find someone to explore and do this kind of thing with outside of porn, since their expectations and reactions often seem to be modeled after the same kinds of media and "helpful" sites. It is frustrating on every level.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

so very tired (and various updates in the life of a tashi)

I just started working this week, which is a good thing. otherwise, I'd still be broke and looking for work. It's at Target, which is newly opened in the province of Quebec, and I'm working the nightshift unloading/stocking position.

The hardest part of the job, up to now, was getting my sleep schedule figured out. On Monday (the 21st) was orientation, then I got my schedule to begin working Wednesday. At 9:30 PM, until 5 AM. So getting my sleep schedule flipped around has goal 1, and I think I'm almost there right now.

The work itself is physical and hard, but not too terrible. The atmosphere is fairly relaxed, co-workers aren't generally fuckbats and are fairly nice, there's a fair bit of banter going on during the work shift so it passes by fairly quick. All in all, not terrible. Could do worse with myself (Like going back to being a phone-salesman for a credit-card processing broker. ugh)

On the other fronts, I've been mostly quiet. The Vampire LARP I run has been going good, and shit finally came to a climax last game. Now it'll be a couple of quiet games while everyone tries to bring the pieces back together in some form of order until we knock it down all over again.

I've purchased a bunch of old RPGs, like the Ultima series, which I need to button down and actually play. I've been waffling about wondering about it, but it's not bad and I wanna get the shit done already. Also an old, but interesting, looking RPG called Darklands. It looks very immersive and amazing, but not as user-friendly as Ultima was, so it's on the list for a bit later.

Movie/TV wise, I've been watching a couple of the newer geek shows like Agents of SHIELD (which is alright, but should start getting better soon if the last couple episodes are a measure) and Sleepy Hollow (A whole lot of silly, fun, kind of creepy and overall cheesy supernatural amazingness with great writing and good characters).

This blog has been the most writing I've done in the past couple of months, which considering the huge amount of dry-spell I've had in the past few weeks makes me feel kind of terrible. I'm not entirely happy with my last post, either, as I feel it kind of meandered off at the end of it and lost the point I was going for. That happens to me a lot, as I don't really plan where I'm taking a post, I just go "I HAVE A TOPIC WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" and get to typing. The few times I've tried organising a proper outline of shit has had those posts stuck as drafts for months now (I had a big one about Ultima, game design, and open-world feel in RPGs I was really excited about but couldn't get through properly ;_; one day)

Nothing really new on the kink or sex scene for me, I've been too broke/isolated still to really do much. Though I did get a linkback from Miss Pearl recently so that's nice (I hope a couple people stuck around. Hi to people who did!)

Friday, October 18, 2013

On being creepy

Miss Pearl (a very good friend of mine) just posted something about an online dating horror story she had.
Granted, "Horror story" is a bit of a strong word here, but it's what she used and I am nothing if not open to being told what to call things.

This is of interest to me for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being I personally know everyone who was involved in the whole thing. Eyeballs, as she calls the gent, is someone I consider to be generally unpleasant to be around as a guy who is into the same things he's into, and I've seen evidence of him being... Well, lets generously call it "socially awkward" (and not generously call it fuckin' creephatish) around the female of my geek (and non-geek) species.

To quote;

"Eyeballs has an actual name, but was made most distinct by the fact that he was trying to bore a hole through me with the aforementioned gaze capacity all night. I did not particularly find him attractive, through no fault of his other than the staring and lack of talking. Wistful leering is not my thing."

This, in general, is how he did things. He doesn't talk much, he just stares and leers. Now, I can understand why he did this. Pearl is a rather attrative woman, and has a pretty striking personality even when she's not flailing around on a dance floor. Heck, she is a person who has packaged her boobs up to be more visible and attractive as a plot for the Vampire LARP she plays in (and I run). While she does have limits for things, she is often comfortable enough in her own skin to, at the very least, not mind being eye-candy.

So what did Eyeballs do wrong? Well, for one thing, the *only* thing he did was leer. He never did walk up to Pearl and actually try to open up a conversation. Considering who it was, it may very well not have changed anything, but it certainly would not have hurt. It would have demonstrated, at the least, that he considered Pearl a person to be talked with, and not just an object to lust after from a distance.

Speaking from experience, I can understand being shy and uncertain, and having low self-esteme. I've myself longingly looked at attractive women and not quite had the courage to step up and talk to them. Luckily, I got better at it. However, I also never just... Laser-leered at them constantly.

How can you avoid being like Eyeballs?

It's pretty simple. I'm not even asking you to stop staring at sexy women! (though there is obviously a line you shouldn't cross when you do). It all comes down to attitudes. If you stare at a woman like an object, it comes through in how you do it. Women are, as a rule, fairly keyed to this kind of thing. They unfortunately have to be, considering SCHRÖDINGER’S RAPIST (you should all read that if you never have), and giving that kind of leering stare tends to be an alarm bell.

The next step is obviously just going to talk to them. Even if you're awkward and nerdy and bumbling. Just say something like "Hi, I think you're pretty and I was wondering if you would like to talk a bit". Or, in Eyeballs case, "Hey, I think you're pretty, how'd you meet [mutual friends A and B]".

i lost where i was going with this goddamnit

but, in short; staring, leering and not approaching for even a polite "hello" is generally a good bet for being labeled as a creeper. So, like, don't do it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Achievement Unlocked

Actually get someone to admit to their biases, appologise for it, and work towards checking their male-cis priviledge in conversations.

There just is the tiny issue that he listened to me and not the lady who began the discussion and did most of the legwork -_-


Saturday, September 21, 2013

I swear I haven't forgotten this!

I'm actually working on a post right now. It just... Turned longer than I first thought, and veered off somewhere I wasn't entirely expecting and I have to rework a part of it. And I just lost my trail of argument near the middle and wasn't sure how to grab it back.

In other news;

Legend of Korra is back, and I am a happy kitty <3
Neither Hannibal or Sherlock are back. Sadness.

Went to my first munch in a few months, it was nice to see people again. I'd missed quite a few of them.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On Cross Dressing and Feminization (part 1 of ?)

I'm waiting for Baldur's Gate to finish installing, and I haven't put anything up here for a bit so I felt it was probably a good time as any to write something up. Pearl recommended something on my cross-dressing, so why the fuck not, eh?

I can still remember what it was that first sparked my interest in it, a story on Literotica. I don't remember the author, or the name of it, but the story itself is still fairly vivid in my memory. It involved a couple getting a bit drunk one night, and (I forget exactly how or why) they decided to experiment a little. She got him some of her clothes to wear, and she put on some of his and a strap on. They fooled around for a bit, playing up the role and gender switch, and then she pegged him to a satisfying prostate orgasm.

I thought it was amazingly hot. I still don't quite know what it was about the story that triggered the reaction, just that it was facinating and made me want to try it out fairly badly. It didn't have any of the trappings you'd generally see in that kind of story, as it wasn't really a D/s situation, and it just read like two healthy people in a relationship trying something new and kinky.

I was hooked, and looked up more. I never really found anything that quite hit the same notes as that first one, though, as I rapidly encountered all the Femdom trops that is prevalent in this kind of fiction. For a while, I was going around in the "Sissy" thing, and the intense and (often) rather mysogynistic emasculation aspects of the fetish (this warrents it's own set of posts on the subject. It's kind of... amazingly gross in its own right). I'm not there anymore.

I don't know exactly where I fall on the scale, to be honest. I identify as male, and don't have any actual impulse or feeling to change that. I don't get off on the clothes or makeup aspects in of themselves, either. Even in an established D/s relationship, I am fairly certain I wouldn't want to be Femmed full time, either. It is very much a sometimes food for me.

I just have the need to feel girly at times. I can't really describe it any better than that. Tashi isn't my name, it was one picked for me by my first lover, and the person I first really explored these kinks with. Tashi isn't only a name, it's a bit if a persona switch as well, but it's not that dramatic either. People who've seem me in and out of that persona probably wouldn't be able to say exactly what it is that switches, or comes out on top, when I play around in that second skin. I myself wouldn't exactly be able to pinpoint anything, except maybe being more outwardly affectionate and flirty. It feels a bit like a release of inhibitions, a reveling in a certain feel and mood of sexy. Why that kind of thing requires garters, panties and a skirt I wouldn't be able to tell you, except that it just feels right. The first play party I ever went to, I had a skirt, stockings, garter belt, corset, suit jacket and full beard on. The beard may have been laziness, but it also didn't feel wrong at all. I guess I wanted to play up the gender-fuck aspect of it for some kicks that evening.

In my various readings and questings of this part of my kink, I've found that this is not something that is explored in that genres porn or writings. A lot of it seems focused around (like I said before) a fairly problematic emasculation, being turned into less of what you are because you're like, totally, a girl now! While I certainly do get off on various humilation aspects of it, that idea of being lesser because I am feminine never really struck a nerve. I don't feel less, I just feel different.

(gods im rambling where am i even going with this)

The overt prevalence of that kind of thing in the BDSM world has led to some misunderstandings with others. I've, several times, been told outright "Oh well I don't play with sissies/crossdressers", which is annoying to me because it takes one part of my sexuality (and it is a primarily sexual thing for me, a part of play) and assumes that it is all or most of it.

So, where does this put me? Like I said before, I'm still not sure. I don't exactly feel as if most CD/Femme(forced or otherwise) space or kinks really answers to what I get out of it. I'm not even sure exactly what it is I get out of it, either, as I haven't had much opportunity to really explore this side of me with someone. I'd love to, because it might answer some of the questions I do have. Until then, I'm probably just going to do what I do now; find time with some trusted friends where I can slip into something more comfortable and enjoy that feeling, even if the major sexual element is missing.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

okay I'm calm now

No I'm fucking not.

DC, you should be fucking ashamed of your fucking selves. Where in the wide world of fucking sports was this every considered a good fucking idea. This is disgusting bullshit that once more plays into your pandering and overt sexualisation of every fucking thing having to do with a fucking female goddamn shitcocking character.

And the comments? The fucking *comments* on that page, where a bunch of male nerds circlejerk themselves about how "well it's just a bunch of gag strips god you feminists are uppidy" and "i don't see the problem with this" and "why is this a problem it's not like it's an actual story containing these things" well fuck you guys.

Fuck you guys hard.

1) suicide jokes are as touchy as rape jokes. tasteful is not the norm.
2) DC has a long storied fucking history of marginalising, sexually exploiting and fridging their female characters ("fridging" refers to the trope called "Women in a refridgerator", which was coined *from* a DC comic where the Green Lantern comes home and finds his girlfriend dead and stuffed in his fridge. So, yeah)
3) Defending it makes you look like brainless jackoff morons without the mental or emotional capacity to understand social interactions
4) this is coming straight on the fucking heels of DC going "Well we have a major lesbian character and she totally proposed to her girlfriend in the comic but WE FORBID YOU TO GET THEM MARRIED OR SHOW THE MARRIAGE WE DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYONE EXCEPT GUYS MARRYING CHICKS"

fuck this whole shit.

Draw Harley naked about to commit suicide for a contest!

What the gibberfuck is wrong with you DC?!

I don't even
what is this
who thought this was
why would anyone

fuck everything

Friday, September 6, 2013

I went back to try and play some classic X-COM

Godfucking damnit but that game is fucking brutal. Like... So fucking brutal.

My first mission goes alright, a downed scout ship with four or five sectoids inside of it. I lose four rookies, which is pretty good considering the difficulty I'm playing at. I get back to base, hire more guys to fill out my loses, and keep going.

Second UFO, same thing. Only lose two guys this time, things are going good.

Third mission is a Floater terror mission in Beijing. I grit my teeth, the replacements haven't come in yet so I'm going into combat with only eight guys, not the ten I like to bring.

I start moving my guys out of the skyranger, and crossfire from both sides of the ramp take out four of my soldiers before I can even set up and spot one of the aliens. My remaining four set up a loose defensive line and I hope for the best.

Alien turn, they take out two more of my guys, one of my rookies panic, and I'm left staring down a floater and a reaver in close range, one more accross the ways about ten hexes distant, a three reapers and two floaters a few dozen hexes south of me.

Full team wipe.

I think I'm going to go back in a lower my difficulty a few notches.

I have bad days

Days where I have this fist squeezing in my chest, right over my stomach. It feels like I can't breathe very well, and all I want to do is curl up into a tiny ball and cry, and be cradled. I don't often have the luxury of the first, and I never have the opportunity for the second.

That second one is generally what brings it on, too. Just... Crippling loneliness. Not the kind which can be solved with friends, either.

I'm never entirely sure what is going to bring it on. What one day will roll off my back would just stab me right in the gut another.

But what can you do, right? Just kind of soldier on, I suppose. It gets old, and exhausting, fast though.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Huff-Po has an article saying "who cares if the dude playing christian grey is gay".

While I appreciate the sentiment, and whole-heartedly agree with it, I'd rather no one play Grey at all and the movie just die >(

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A RL friend of mine, who runs her own Femdom blog has been posting reviews and takedowns of a seemingly major player in the Femdom "Industry", Femdomme Society (I am not linking to them for reasons you'll see.

It begins with a basic review, where she just looks a the site layout and how it works and proceeds to just call it pretty terrible.

Then, She goes into their "university", which promisses to give classes and special secrets about how to totally like rule your man and be a totally empowered woman (which basically comes down to "become a fetish object")

A second little bit which goes into a bit more detail with the more advanced classes.

This is where it begins to get good. The final little bits fall into place, as the pricing and tiered memberships are examined, and details like "profit sharing" and "hosting competions" are talked about, making it begin to sound a lot like a pyramid scheme. It gets amazing in the comments of this one, because some obvious sockpuppets have followed the links back to Pearl's blog and begun to defend the site (often using... Problematic Punctuation).

But that's not the end, oh dear reader!

Turns out, This whole affair is run by a dude. A Dude Who is Accused of Fraud In At Least one State.

So, there we have it.

Steer clear of Femdomme Society, and any site like it, really. Your wallet and healthy kink life will thank you.

I should have finished the movie before posting my last one

Because the ending is just. what.
the way to stop them is to infect people so they're invisible to zombies
what the shit movie
what the fucking

When the Bourne Legacy, which has a plot about retrovirus DNA modifications of physical and mental abilities, has a more sensible fucking plot

This entire movie has literally been a wild goose chase from setpiece to setpiece that ends in a WHO hospital (which the fucking characters had access to in the beginning of the movie and you could have found every single fucking bit of information they went around the world to find on the continental US so why send them out WELL I GUESS WWZ INVOLVED KOREA AND ISRAEL SO WE GOTTA THROW THAT IN EVEN IF IT HAS NO RESEMBLENCE TO THE BOOK PARTS ABOUT THOSE COUNTRIES)

And for the magical end game to literally be "lets just like spread typhoid or something zombies don't attack terminally sick individuals" just what


why is the fucking infection spreading so fast in underdeveloped nations like the sub-saharan african countries or india and so on when they have high rates of illness and and
I cant

so white man injects himself randomly because communicating using a pen, paper and a camera that can move is unpossible you see AND IT WORKS because you can't have brad pitt fucking up he has to be right he's the white man hero of the film AFTER FUCKING ALL

And so of course now we have a possible sequel where a bunch of soldiers with leprosy or what the shit ever go out and fight the zombies

of course not that would be stupid, it's a vaccine they've extracted using something that doesn't ACTUALLY makes you terminally ill just makes the zombies think it or something
fuck everything about this movie
just fuck it

How not to addapt a book

Or why World War Z is crap

I was reading a LiveJournal (goddamn, that's dated. Is LiveJournal still around? I should try to log in at some point) maybe... Six or more years back and the person was talking about World War Z. Turns out it was a... Sequel, of sorts, to the Zombie Survival Guide written by Max Brooks (yes, he is the son of who you think) I'd never heard of the book until then, but decided to track it down and buy it.

It was a damn fine purchase, and I still go back to it every once in a while when I need a quick read. The concept is simple and quite elegant; the war has been over for ten years, humanity emerged victorious and they're rebuilding the planet. A UN member has been going around and collecting data and personal stories from survivors of the war, piecing together the history of how it all played out.

The subtitle of the book is "An Oral History of the Zombie War", and that's basically what you get. A series of interviews and vignettes from a wide-ranging cast of characters, ranging from a Chinese doctor who was there for one of the first infections, to a Japanese Otaku who barely escaped from his Tokyo appartment, to a US soldier who went through every single conflict the American military had. It is a stark, brutal and honest portrayal of Humanity, and the thought that goes through my mind every time I read the book is that if there was a global zombie epidemic, it might play out a lot like this book described it. It was a refreshing burst of creativity in a genre that's been stagnant for a long time (except for a few gems like 28 Days Later or a brilliant comedic twist like Shaun of the Dead).

Then the movie was announced, and many fans were thrilled. We were all imagining a faux-doc style movie, going through the major points of the novel (so many people wanted to see the Battle of Yonkers in full crushing glory). When the trailers were finally released, dissapointment was palpable. Gone was the documentary style, gone was the multi-national and ethnic cast. We were once more trapped with a single white male protagonist going out to save his family, the rest of the story seemed ancilliary.

This could have been an amazing movie. Instead, it is merely mediocre. It has little to nothing new or interesting to say about the genre, or about the characters. It grabs Brat Pitt and throws him from setpiece to setpiece, without any real connecting thread except one character tells him to go to Korea, so he does, then another tells him to go to Israel, so he does.And every time he reaches a new place, a disaster happens, zombies get involved, and we get an action sequence.

(a digression about Israel. One of the neatest bits of the books is the chapter from a young Palestinian who is evacuated *into* Israel, and his shock when he discovers that it's not a Zionist plot to destroy Muslims but that they are, in fact, being protected from the Zombie plague. It is heartwarming and wonderful in many ways, and is entirely glossed over in the movie where everyone inside of the wall is a Jew.)

It would seem that Hollywood is overly risk averse. And the result is that they had the opportunity for something original and creative, but decided that they'd get more money if they watered it down into the pablum we've already seen before.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On another note

Stop going to PAX and giving these assholes money.

I was a fan of Penny-Arcade back in the day, and I thought they were awesome and did "Gamers Right" for various reasons. Then... Then Dickwolves happened, and more and more sexist bullshit came out of the owners and runners of it.

Don't support it.
Don't give them money.
Just... Stop enabling and encouraging it, even indirectly. It hurts people, it hurts gamers, and sends horrible messages that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and encouraged.

Remakes and Re-imaginings

I always imagined (heh) that the term "re-imagining" came into existed because "remake" stopped testing well with focus groups.

"Goddamnit," said the tired 18-35 white male who decides what we are sold, "not another fucking remake."
"No no no! This is different, this is a re-imagining!" the panicked marketing director pleads.
"I find myself turgid with anticipation," the ideal consumer replies.

But enough of that. I want to talk about what makes it work, and I have an amazing example.

In 1994, a game was released where you took the control of an international organisation given the task of defending the Earth from alien invasion. It was called X-COM: UFO Defence (Or X-COM: Enemy Unknown, or UFO: Enemy Unknown, varyingly depending on your locale). It feature a very light, almost non-existant plot and story (even for the time) that was revealed almost exlusively through text-info dumps from your science researches.

There were, in effect, two games being played at the same time! One half was on a global stategy level, where you built your bases, managed your funds, researched technologies and built new equipment. The other half was a turn-based tactical combat interface, where you sent out a bunch of your soldiers to fight the alien threat face to face.

The game begins with little to no fanfare or story. You begin, you chose your difficulty, and then you are faced with a globe map of the Earth. You place your first base. Eventually, a UFO shows up on radar and you shoot it down, then send your troops in to mop-up and grab whatever alien technology you can. Get back to base, queue up some research on the new artifacts and repeat as required. When you finish the research, you get little info-dumps giving you insight into the alien physiology, psychology, purpose and goals.

Then something magical happens.

Since all you have in the game is a world-building framework, you begin to create your *own* story. Your soldiers (all of whom have names and unique stats, and fairly wide-ranging portraits and sprites) begin to take on personality traits that were never coded into the game. You have Willis, your heavy-weapons specialist who only ever misses his shots if he sees one of his comrades die. Franklin, that asshole who panics at the fight sight of actual battle and routinely frags X-COM members. Victoria, the cool sharpshooter that not only never misses, but survived six missions where she got shot without armour and lived to payback that sectoid fucker.

No two X-COM games are the same, and no two players play the same. You begin to grow attached to this story of a desperate fight for human survival against overwhelming odds, not because of careful scripting or dialogue or multi-million dollars cinematics... But because of the simple interaction with this open world, and the effects your choices have.

There are few moments I can recall, in gaming, that are as brutally tense as a UFO recovery mission gone horribly wrong. You pile your troops out of the Skyranger, and begin to explore the area. The sun is down, visibility is shit, the only light source you have are the dying fires from the crash sight. Move one of your mans a little too far, and a burning bolt of plasma screams out of the darkness and destroys him. You re-deploy your troops, trying to find the source, but more of your soliders are quickly felled by the invisible sniper. You desperately send rockets and heavy cannon shots exploding into the distance, and are rewarded with the dying scream of a single alien.

You've lost half your troops and expended a third of your ammo. And you know that there are five or six more of the x-rays out there, somewhere... Waiting for you.

The experience intensifies ten-fold on the first actual terror mission, where you don't have a focal point of your search. Just a city, filled with civilians being murdered by alien invaders.

The experience is something most modern games have no idea how to reproduce. They are so bent on holding your hand through their carefully crafted and linear plot that you don't grow attached to your experience. It becomes something you watch, not something you've created. And when 2K studios announced a reboot of the X-COM Franchise (which hasn't seen a new game in years), fans were excited.

Until it was announced it would be a shooter.

The backlash was something to behold. The more information was released about the new X-COM game, the angrier the fanbase began. It had nothing to do with the franchise, except it had to do with aliens invading earth. There was no strategic depth, no open-world, no option to rename your hordes of poor defenceless goons after your friends and gleefully march them into a burning plasma barrage.

It would be a linear, scripted plot bringing you from fight to fight, giving little to no true interaction and feedback. It was an obvious marketing ploy to slap the X-COM name on this new game, to give a mediocre shooter some legs from brand-loyal purchasers (and one of a parade of remakes of classic, varried games as first person shooters). It was, to be blunt, insulting.

Then a miracle happened. Firaxis, the makers of the Civilisation series (and, ironically, also publishing their games under the 2K banner) announced that they were working on an X-COM game as well. A game featuring a strategic layer, where you built and maintained a base, did research on advanced technology, built new equipment, and managed a squad of soliders. A game where you sent out your troops to a crash site or a terror site and launch into a turn-based squad tactical combat mission.

When it was finally released (Before the shooter version of the game, despite being announced almost a year after), it met fan expectations. It was not the perfect remake fans may have wanted, but it captured everything that made X-COM one of the best games every created. The plot was given in cinematic cutscenes, but it gave the same kind of information that the text-briefings did in the original. The rest was open world, sandboxy. Your soldiers (with some amazing customization options) took on a life and personality of their own independant of their stats and script.

The shooter was released a week or so ago, rebranded as The Bureau: X-COM Declassified, and will probably be forgotten within a year. The proper remake is still being played, updated, and has a sizable expantion pack being released by the end of the year.

The lesson to be learned here is not that remakes or reimaginings shouldn't be attempted. X-COM showed that it is possible to do it, and properly. The lesson is that when you remake something, you should look at what made the original popular, or (if it's a cult or niche property), what gave it the identity it holds. There is no requirement to hew exactly to the original; the requirement should be to hew to the originals mood, theme, and ideas. Do that, craft your new product with a love and respect for the original, and you will find yourself basking in the glow and adoration of a fanbase, thankful that you obviously understand why they enjoyed the original and willing to forgive differences.

Don't, and you'll end up making another third-person cover shooter with aliens in it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I have readers? I guess?

The stats are all sorts of strange, and I'm getting random web visits from ranking sites all the time, but I'm fairly sure I'm getting *actual visitors*

so, uh hi
how are you

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Five Guys and Minecraft

Burgin' so hard

Five Guys opened a few stores in the Montreal region recently. I was walking down St-Catherines street on Friday, burging and wondering if I felt like McDonalds or Burger King. Then what would happen to cross my sight but the big red "FIVE GUYS" sign.

Fuck it, said I, I'm gonna see if all the Americans I talked to are right about this place.

The burgers themselves are nothing super magical; the meat is good, the buns are fresh and nicely toasted on the grill. The toppings are numerous and free, and more varied than even what you can get at Harvey's. If you want grilled onions or mushrooms at any other burger place, it generally needs to be on a special (and generally limited time) burger. Here, it's always avaible and always free. That, in of itself, secures Five Guys a place in my stomach. The wait is longer than at most fast-food places, but seeing as how you seem them slap the patty down fresh for your burger, and come off sizzling from the hot plate, I'm willing to forgive.

The burger texture and taste (and slop) is not something I'm used to from our local (and province wide) burger joints. I can't quite describe it, but it's different and surprising. At my first bite my eyes widened and I mumbled (around a mouthful of beef, bacon, cheese, onions and mushrooms) that this is what all those damn American TV shows mean by "juicy burger". It was pretty damn good.

The friest, however. Ye gods, the fries.

I don't know what sorcery they use, but they are the best damn friest I've had. Maybe it's the peanut oil (higher frying temp, bigger crisp, less oil-soakage? that sounds good, lets go with that), maybe it's the skin they leave on... But they are crispy, delicious and taste not a whit of grease or oil. I didn't even have to use any of my extra salt packets that McDonalds or Burger King has trained me to pour on top of my flaccid, flavourless potatoe mush.

I am for sure going back, and I hope they spread around some. This is the kind of fast food place this city needs more of.


Minecraft is keeping it's on again, off again love affair with my spare time. I've sometimes found myself delving in the dark depths for hours at a time, just carving out a series of mining tunnels and collecting ore before I stumble into an unexplored cavern complex. I'd go off, adventure for a bit, then die. All my precious equipment, ore and valuables falling into a pit, or surrounded by a writhing mass of enemies. I'd swear and just quit to desktop, too pissed off to return to the game for weeks or months at a time.

Last time this happened, I had a dozen diamonds in my pack when I was unceremoniously dumped into a lava flow by an archer. I flipped off the screen, shut it down, and started playing Icewind Dale again.

When I did finally decide to go back, I started a new world to go through. I'm petty like that.

This current one isn't so bad. I have a small (poorly mad saddly) keep surrounded by torches. I have a good set of pumpkin farms going, and just recently started on my underground wheat and sugar cane farms. I started those late, because I was busy hunting pigs (to near extinction in my close-area) and getting enough iron to make a golem.

I got my golem, but my iron reserves are so low. As are my woodstocks.

I need to go out for a while and just clear-cut the forest surrounding my keep. It'll help clear some land so I can expand my castle, and make it easier to spot enemies. As it is, I can barely see through the dense foliage from my (admitedly tiny) watch tower.

Being in a winter Biome is nifty for some things, but makes setting up outdoor farms a pain in the ass. I should make a greenhouse, and I have a huge desert close enough that it shouldn't be trouble grinding up some sand for it, but... Effort. Time. Annoyances. I want to get at least a small sustainable growing farm happening in my mine before I start anything bigger.

Plus I need some fucking wood.


I find it kind of amazing how deep and complex Minecraft is, for such a simple game. There's no real plot, no real in game hand-holding... And yet it grabbed my interest from the moment I started playing. That it doesn't keep it for huge lengths of time at once is more of how I game than a problem with the game itself. I tend to get frustrated if something goes awry, and I've been known to just drop a game entirely if it annoys me too much.

It's one of the reasons Dragon Age remains unfinished, three years after I purchased it. I got pissed off at a mage-filled battle and just sword a blue streak, and nuked it from my hard-drive. Fuck those mages.

Same thing with the Witcher. Though, in that case, it's the second chapter which is just long, meandering and in an irritating and difficult zone. I should really just power through it to get to the better parts afterwards.

Feminism and Submission

In my online dealings with the kink community (mostly through Fetlife), I have discovered a recurring question asked by women; "Can I still be a feminist and a submissive?" You may have encountered this question yourself, or the non-kink equivallent of "I guess I can't be a feminist because I want to be a homemaker."

For the vast majority of people, this seems to be an obvious and clear contradiction. Feminism, after all, is about getting women out of the kitchen, house, or submissive status in relationships. Wanting to go back into the chains Feminism has been fighting to break seems like it would be regressive and undo all of that hard work that's been in play since the Suffragettes, right?

Well, no. Not at all.

Feminism is there to break the chains, and social framework, which obliges women to remain in the house, or be submissive. The operative word being oblige. The movement is there to open up the options, and to show women (and, indirectly (though this isn't the right topic to go into details for it) men) that they can go, and be, and do what it is they wish. That includes, by definition, being a submissive.

The idea that Feminism would frown on that kind of choice is not a reflection of the movement itself, but of how it is perceived by society at large. For decades now, there has been a cultural meme of straw feminists and how they just want to turn the tables on men; become the ones in power and put all of men down into the gutter. This idea is not new; it was around during the Civil Rights movement, where the fear was that the end goal was to put all white people into the chains of slavery as revenge. It is no more true now than it was then.

What Feminism wishes is to demonstrate women's agency in how to live their life in the way they chose. If that choice is to be a submissive, the most it will ask is to examine why you wish to be a submissive and to be sure that it is your choice, and not one imposed on you by society. If it is, then the message is to go hogwild, embrace it, and live your chosen life to the fullest. There is always the option of changing your mind after you've lived the choice, after all.

It is your body, your life, and your choice.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Because I am lazy still

Another repost, from two months ago

Richard Matheson is dead

I had to step away and think about this for a bit to post something appropriate when I heard the news. Richard Matheson is seriously one of the people who showed me what horror could achieve.
A lot of people consider Bloch's Psycho to be the convergence of a psychological thriller and horror, but he never had the masterful touch that Matheson showed in so many of his short stories. You never get a true glimpse of what it's like to be Bates, he is an Other, an outside force that the protagonists struggle against. "Legion of Plotters" brings you inside the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic, and as the story unfolds you find yourself horrified to empathise with someone so clearly unhinged. It is not the only one do pull this off, but I think it is the best of the bunch.
He single-handedly turned the Vampire genre upside down and created what I honestly believe is the single most original piece of Vampire horror to date with I Am Legend. He merges a post-apocalyptic survival story with a moving portrait of a man losing his mind due to isolation and never lets up, and the reveal in the last part of the book is just brilliant.
He basically created Stephen Spielberg's career with Duel.
His contributions to The Twilight Zone are legendary already, without needing to go into details.
Outside of Stephen King, I think this is the author that has had the most adaptations of his works to the screen (big or small). Stir of Echoes, What Dreams May Come, his numerous Twilight Zone scripts, the four versions of I Am Legend, Reel Steel (which was also a Twilight Zone episode!). It's mind boggling.
But he wasn't just a horror writer. He had some amazingly clever sci-fi stories, some of them mixing the genres but others remaining "pure" works of speculative fiction. "F-" is a good example, the story of a time traveler who goes to the future and discovers that the single most obscene word (and concept) that has engendered a taboo unrivaled by anything else in human history is simply... Food.
He was a great mind, a great wit, and the literary (and film) world is lessened by his passing.

First post and repost all at once

My name is Tashi and this is my blog. Herein, I'll be putting up things of interest to me, variously about kink and BDSM community and events, gaming and other geek interests, my own political and social thoughts and commentary, random posts about food, and other musings, ravings, rantings and random regurgitations.

I am going to be lazy for my very first post, and just put up something I wrote for (and on) Fetlife a few months ago.

Fetlife TOU

or why we should keep a culture of silence because nazis

That is, essentially, what I've been able to piece together from those opposed to ammending Fet's TOU to allow naming people who have violated consent. There is a lot of hand-wringing, and pearl-clutching, and "oh my lords!" being thrown about talking about how they don't want false accusations to ruin lives, and how creating blacklists is terrible and facists and on and on and on and fuckig on.
Except none of them ever address this simple point;
Why is it okay to encourage people to keep silent about abuse?
The vast majority of those supporting changing the TOU want one very. simple. thing.
To be able to go "I was at a play party, getting all spanked and shit in a side room, when so-and-so came over and started to spank me. I said "Red" and told him to stop but he didn't. My Top had to kick him out of the room and then he left the party before my top could find a DM"
That, right there, if it had a name? Would be deleted and considered a bad post.
That's bullshit on every fucking level, and encourages silence and ignorance of how people have acted in the community. It prevents a simple, public self policing that is required for a healthy community like this. It prevents the accused of being able to go "oh fuck, someone said I did X!" and then giving his side of it. It encourages gossip and talking in the shadows.
It is abhorrent, and it should be changed. The only way to keep this community safe and healthy is to keep all of this in the open. Will there be false accusations? Yes, definately. But those false accusations will now be WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE THEM AND TRACK THEM, as opposed to behind closed doors, veiled behind annonymity and secrets. How anyone would consider the latter to be better is beyond me.