Jun 14, 2018

21 (Belated)

It occurred to me today while perusing this blog's archives in search of custom content links to send to my cousin that this is the first year, of all the years I have run this blog, which I forgot to make a post on my birthday. No time like the present to make my first post of 2018, I suppose.

As with most past posts, we must start with dear Rose. It seems out relationship has come in a full fucking circle from the place we were when I last posted. Half-way through January, they contacted me over Facebook asking if I wanted to meet up. We met up, we talked, and I walked away from that conversation and a number of others over the next three months floating on a cloud from how well we were getting on and how wonderful it was just to see them again. I didn't realize how much I missed them until we started talking again; how heavy a cloud hung over me thinking that they'd never speak to me again. This continued for, as previously stated, roughly three months.

Near the end of April they finally reached the peak of their frustration with waiting for me to be ready to get back together, which we'd discussed but decided to wait on. I still wasn't sure if I was really ready for a relationship with anyone, but we talked a while and they had me convinced it was high fucking time. We were together for a month, roughly end of April to end of May. It was nice being able to relax with them again, holding hands and going on dates, but in the end we were still in turmoil, primarily because of my continuing mental health issues, which I will get into later.

I broke up with them and told them that my original inklings were right and I wasn't ready for a relationship yet. They didn't talk to me for a week, then told me to get someone else to give them back their stuff because they didn't want to see me or hear from me.

That was two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Full circle.

I don't know how I feel about it. Empty, I guess? That leads into the aforementioned mental health issues. Nearing end of 2017 and continuing to present day, I've been having increasing issues with just feeling... empty. Not feeling a whole lot. It's weird, because normally the first thought would be "oh that's depression," but I'm not experiencing any of the other signs. I still find joy in the things I love, like art and fashion and Homestuck and Animal Crossing and Sims. I still get excited about stuff and plan for the future and look forward to what's to come. I'm not suicidal and I have no urges to self-harm (well, very very very rarely the inkling creeps into the edges of my mind that I would feel something if I hurt myself, but I've been down that road before and those thoughts are quashed long before they reach even the earliest stages of a plan for action). I've been having a little trouble getting to sleep, and with concentration, and my thoughts have been increasingly jumbled, but those four things alone are too ambiguous to pin as definitely depression, and again, I'm missing most of the other key signs.

More so than just jumbled thoughts, I've been noticing a trend of linguistic processing issues specifically. Trouble with word recall and auditory language processing, reading and spelling words wrong, overall linguistic processing delays, slow decision making... Half of the time it feels like I'm fighting through sludge just to think, let alone get a thought to exit my mouth in a coherent sentence. These issues make absolutely no sense for me. I wrote and read above my grade level all through elementary school, got fantastic grades in high school English, and even took advanced-placement English in eleventh grade.

Ugh, I need to talk to my doctor about this. There's a couple other things on the doctor list too, but I'd rather not continue to remind myself how slim an edge my health is teetering on.

Although while I do feel like my health is constantly teetering, my last lupus appointment in March would say otherwise. My lupus, it seems, is currently in remission. I have finally found a proper medication that appears to be keeping my shit in check, according to blood tests and doctors anyway. At least that's not another health concern to add to my list, though I always have the tiniest nipping thought in the back of my head that that situation is frail and could change at the drop of a hat.

One thing I did not expect to keel over so quickly is my old desktop computer. Yes, I type this from a brand spanking new computer, because in February - on Valentine's Day no less - my old desktop ate shit while trying to install a Windows update. From what my dad and I were able to deduce, it was a combination of one of the key startup files getting fucked up, and something in the file retrieval process getting fucked up. It was able to start to the point of saying "uh oh, unable to boot, something is wrong here," however when we tried to run a basic back up to get my files onto a separate hard drive before fucking around with trying to fix it, it couldn't grab any of my files. It was able to process the file directory pathways and file names, but when it got to the point of actually copying the files themselves, it just couldn't do it. This specific startup issue is apparently a known issue during Windows updates that has happened to many others, and not just on that particular update; it's happened with earlier ones too.

My dad tried a million things before finally settling on a program he got off of Windows' website that was supposed to repair the startup process, and do nothing else. Well, surprise surprise, y'all!!!!! It didn't do that at all. It factory reset my fucking computer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was devastated. Still am, but it's been long enough now that I've just resigned to the fact. That computer took eight years of files down with it. Eight fucking years. I didn't have the computer itself for that long, but that's how long I've been doing Windows file transfers from computer to computer. From the old family computer, to my laptop, to my desktop... Eight years worth of files. All of my school work from high school, all of my saved pictures, all of my hundreds of bookmarks, all of my downloaded music, all of my video game files (including Sims, of course)... Fucking gone. Ugh.

Even though my old desktop was technically working again after the factory reset, we couldn't trust it any more. I got a new desktop, an ASUS G11. The keyboard it came with has glowy keys, so that's kinda cool, and the hardware is nicer than my old setup. Still pretty fucked up about losing all those files though, that's pretty fucked.

Thankfully, none of my university school work was on that computer. All of my university work is saved to my school computer, which is an HP laptop. I had to use it as my primary computer for an entire month and totally fucked my neck because I had no ergonomic place to use it, but I digress.

In January I began the second term of my third year of university. My two psychology courses were personality and research methods, my art history course was representations of the gendered self, and my studio course was a sculpture course in foundry.

My two psychology courses went alright. Research methods was kinda boring, but personality was very interesting! Not much of note there.

My art history course, I was disappointed by. As I'm sure you know if you're read my blog for long, I am a dedicated intersectional feminist, and I was very excited to finally use some of those critical thinking skills in an academic context, especially since I don't have the space in my crammed major-minor schedule to take any women's studies courses. The course ended up being two months of "here's why women couldn't be artists in the 1600s-1800s" with an occasional sprinkling of "here's a woman artist who was able to be an artist because her father supported her/she was part of the aristocracy/she was a fucking nun." We might have gotten into more interesting topics later on, if the course hadn't been cut short.

Around the two month mark of the semester, contract faculty went on strike. This strike is still ongoing to present day. This means that I am still waiting for this fucking art history course to finish, when it should have been done by mid-April. Luckily my two psychology courses both offered an "assessed grade" option, wherein you may receive the course credit on your present grade if you have completed at least 70% of the course material. I took that option and polished those two off. Now I'm stuck waiting for a due date on a group presentation project and an individual essay, neither of which I've gathered the motivation to complete.

I agree with what the union is fighting for, however I don't think the strike is an effective means of bargaining. When one strikes to keep the upper hand in bargaining, the other bargaining party must give a fuck about what's at stake. The striking union is putting tens of thousands of students' degrees in jeopardy. Indeed, one might think this would give the school a shake and force them to negotiate, but nope, the school does not give a single flying plump-balled fuck about its students. They have our money, they are not giving it back, and that's all they care about. Nobody has budged in months and this is clearly no longer an effective strategy.

My sculpture course continued through the strike because none of the staff connected to it were contract faculty. It was such a spectacular course!!!! We learned how to bronze-cast using the lost wax/ceramic shell method. The long and short of it is, you make a wax model, cover it in a ceramic shell, melt the wax out, pour the bronze, chip the shell off and finish off the bronze piece. The first thing we did was a welding tutorial and small welding assignment, and I was super intimidated and almost dropped the course, but I didn't! I saw it through to the end, and I'm very proud of what I made (what I made being a bronze-cast bouquet of chamomile flowers). Our class started off with about fifteen of us, but once the strike hit only four of us kept coming to class. It sucked losing all those classmates, because we did have interesting conversations in the wax room, but it was a lot easier to access resources like one-on-one time with the teacher and the die grinder in the metal workshop.

I should be heading back to class within a month at the latest, because a week ago Ontario had a provincial election. Ontario citizens decided that our best bet was to elect a union-busting, Trump-supporting, anti-abortion, ableist, homophobic, racist, clueless dumbass hyper-capitalist bastard with a temper issue. If you can't tell, the election did not go well, and I am not happy about it. While I do want to get the rest of this term over with sooner rather than later, I would also like to keep myself and my peers safe from things like tax cuts for rich people and businesses that will result in cuts to public services like libraries and our fucking health care. Thank fuck this guy's damage range is limited to (mostly) inside of Canada. It's going to be a long four years and I'm not looking forward to it.

I was in class during May for a condensed summer course that was not cancelled because of the strike. It was an intensive sculpture workshop combined with the school's artist residency program. Half of the course was working to assist the artist in creating a gallery exhibition that will be on display in the university's on-campus gallery come September and the other half was for independent sculpture study. It was a fantastic program and I feel so lucky to have been able to participate!! My independent study was in foundry because I really loved the work I did in my bronze casting course. The work for the artist covered a range of things, but was primarily wood shop work. I'm really happy I got some experience working with wood but I don't think I'll be investing any further time in it any time soon. I didn't particularly enjoy how inflexible wood is as a medium compared to other materials I've worked with. While I would have taken and loved the course either way, as a bonus it handles my requirement of six credits in a qualifying 4000-level studio course, so now I can lighten the load on my last year of university!

At the end of May, less than a week after my final sculpture class, I was rewarded with the fruition of weekend plans I'd been making for six fucking months. Anime North is the last weekend of May every year, and I'd been planning that weekend since I found folks to room with in December. I bought my weekend pass and lolita tea party ticket in January, and got the early bird discount as one of the first 2000 weekend passes purchased. All through the prior months I was planning my lolita coords for the weekend. I had been looking forward to that weekend for fucking months and months and it had finally arrived!!!!!!!

For fucking once, I can happily say that nothing disastrous axed my plans at the last minute. That's not to say the whole weekend went without a hitch, there will always be issues, but nothing outright stopped me from doing everything I wanted to do and for that I am so fucking grateful.

One of the few things that did go wrong though is a tale to fucking tell. Long story short, I connected with a group of people through the unofficial Facebook group for the con to share a hotel room with for the weekend. The people were thankfully all very friendly, and we had no issues with folks not getting along or anything like that. There were a few folks who left their shit all over the fucking hotel room, but I digress, that was not the big problem here.

The problem stemmed from the fact that we were a group of six staying in a hotel room with a maximum occupancy of four. All of us had fully acknowledged this from the beginning. It's common con practice to room over maximum occupancy and generally pretty easy to pull off. No, we did not get kicked out, thank fuck. The problem was with the bedding situation.

We had previously discussed the bedding situation on Facebook. Two people on the bed, two people on the pull-out couch bed, and two people on roll-away beds. The hitch comes when we called the hotel to order the roll-away beds. They were completely out already. They were also out of extra blankets and pillows.

The sleeping arrangements ended up being sorted out as such: two people in the bed, one person sleeping on the floor on top of the couch cushions that were removed to pull out the couch bed, and three people sleeping width-wise on the couch bed. The person on the floor got the one blanket we had because they had to sleep on the fucking floor, and the three of us on the couch bed had to sleep under fucking towels.

Y'all I swear on my fuckdamn life those were the worst two nights of sleep I've ever had in my fucking life. I had to walk in the fashion show on Saturday morning okay, and when I got up and went to the bathroom to get washed and do my makeup I literally startled myself with how awful I looked. I have never seen larger bags under my eyes. It looked like someone scribbled under my eyes with purple permanent marker and couldn't wash it all off. My eyes were also more bloodshot than I've ever seen them, nearing pink-eye levels of bloodshot pinkness. I made it work with a fuckload of concealer but it was really fucking bad lmao

Aside from the sleeping situation disaster, the weekend was an absolute blast and I'm pretty happy with how it went! Other issues I had fade into the background in retrospect because I had such a fantastic time, which is always great. I'm already planning on going back again next year!

I shouldn't get ahead of myself, though. There is (obviously) a fuckload of stuff to get through before I can even start planning for that. For example, while I have unfortunately remained unemployed since last August, I will be employed again this August with that same summer camp for my third year back! I am thrilled to say that I am this year's arts programmer!! Through June and July I'll need to work on the art programming for the three weeks of camp, then in August I will be gone the whole month for one week of training and three weeks of camp.

Another thing I will need to get through before then is my next entire fucking year of university. I chose my courses and registered a few days ago. First term, my studio course is screen printing, my psych courses are developmental psych and health psych, and my art history course is a course I could not believe was real but am overjoyed to be taking. It's called Comics and Social Justice and a friend of mine from high school is taking it with me because it's open to non-majors! I was excited about the topic but I'm honestly ten times more excited now that I'm finally going to be taking a class with a friend for the first time since fucking high school. No, my friend situation did not improve over my third year of university, although I did make some acquaintances during my summer course.

My second term is metal sculpture for studio, community psych and abnormal psych for psychology, and my art history is studies in realism and impressionism. The title alone of my art history course makes me want to fall asleep, but it was one of the only courses that would fit into my schedule, so oh well, I guess.

Some plans I can look forward to in all that academic pencil-pushing is more piercings! It occurred to me while glancing over previous posts to remember what I wrote that I failed to include my piercings in my last few updates. In April of 2017 I got a helix piercing, which is now fully healed with a fixed bead captive bead ring in it. That jewellery was special ordered with an onyx bezel-set gem on the bead and it's so gorgeous and was totally worth the money! Then in September, when I got back from camp, I went with a friend to a place that had a buy-one-get-one half off deal. They got their helix done and I got a nose piercing! It's fully healed now too, and the jewellery is still a standard stud, but I'm going to change that soon. In March, I got a vertical labret piercing! It gets in the way a teeny bit, but it's hardly any trouble and it soooo worth it. I don't want to have anything healing while I'm at camp this summer so my plans are on hiatus until after that.

My plan for this September is to stretch my nose piercing from 20 gauge to 18 gauge, because I want to put a hoop in it but I don't like the look of super thin 20 gauge jewellery. Once it's healed from stretching, I want to get the other side pierced at 18 gauge so they'll be matching and I won't have to bother with stretching it. Once that's healed up, I want to get another helix piercing, but this time much lower. I had a lot of trouble healing the cartilage on the first one and it's still a wee bit touchy so I just want to get another piercing as high as it can go without hitting cartilage.

There I go getting ahead of myself again with a whole year's worth of piercing plans. One step at a time. Dialing it back to present day, I've got a few side projects to motor forward with over the next month or so. I'm still streaming on Twitch, and now have a small handful of regulars who are all really swell people!! I'll be changing the channel name soon to unify it as it's own separate project from my personal Tumblr, but for now I'm still streaming under thegreathomestuckreread so if you'd like to pop in some time I'd be happy to have you :)

Coming full circle to the beginning of this post, my cousin has been a catalyst in my getting back into Sims. I've started hunting through my blog and tracking things down online that I had in my old game to try and get things up and running again. Unfortunately I lost my Simself which was a pretty accurate representation, so I'm going to have to fine-tune an older version from my exchange profile on the old Sims 3 website as my first project. Going back there was a fucking trip. I ended up reading my old blog posts from 2010/2011 (what a fucking nightmare). I still haven't reinstalled my game but I will do that soon. That Simself post should be coming in the next week or two.

~I guess I'll see you then~

Dec 31, 2017

2017 Sure Did Happen

Today is the last day of 2017. On the radio during dinner the host said that it's already 2018 in Italy and Germany. This year is almost over and where am I? I'm sitting in my bedroom, wearing my pyjamas and comfy bath robe, same pyjamas I wore to bed last night. I spent my afternoon playing LittleBigPlanet 2. I am not dressed up and I am not going out. There is no family coming over tonight, for the first time in at least seven years. And for the first time in four years, I am single.

It's not really the being single that I mind so much. It's the emptiness that comes from lack of company. It wouldn't be so bad if we had family over. At least then I could distract myself by humouring my cousin's latest dramatic stories, and telling my grandma and my uncle about my school and my interests. We had the three of them over for dinner three days ago, and got our conversations out of the way then. They decided not to come over this year. I don't know why, but I'm assuming it has something to do with my grandma's increasing fatigue.

This lack of company leaves me with too much free time to overthink. I have decided to re-frame it as simply reflecting on the past year.

The first thing I must reflect upon is, of course, the end of my four-and-a-half year relationship. Rose has come to my family's New Year's party every year from 2014-2016. They were intending to come to our party in 2013 as well, but they had that medical emergency the day before, so that year they weren't able to. This makes me feel their absence today of all days stronger than any other time.

I have definitely been feeling a certain emptiness, missing them from my life. As I mentioned in my last post they said they would quite possibly never talk to me again, and so far they have kept good on their promise. The more days pass the more I think that we truly will never speak again.

I don't think a day has passed without something tripping my memory. They were laced into every aspect of my life.

It's more of a low hum than anything. It's not a dramatic throbbing, nothing intense enough for me to chase them down with tearful eyes and beg through sobs for them to come back to me. I respect that they need space from me and quite frankly I need this space too. That doesn't stop me from feeling their absence though.

I got together with my friends from high school two days ago, and I was overjoyed to see them again, or at least the few who could make it. Weeks earlier when I'd asked in the group chat what days people were free, Rose left the group. Their absence at the get together felt like the elephant in the room, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who felt like that.

Seeing my friends was nice. The last time they planned a get together, it was in the middle of camp, so I wasn't able to make it, and instead came back from camp to see their bumbling through trying to make plans in the group chat before finally deciding on a day in late August. I hadn't seen most of them for a very long time. Everyone's splintered off to college and university, or at least moved out of our suburban home town. We talked and talked and ate pizza and played some video games. The night was over too soon.

Just the same, the end of this year snuck up on me as well. Time has passed in a pretty flat line over this holiday, if you know what I mean. Even at Christmas the day seemed to come and go like any other.

Today didn't feel different. Usually there's an excitement in the air at the idea of a new year, but today felt flat. The aforementioned loneliness is likely a strong contributor to this feeling. All of this extra time is feeding that fire as well. I suppose I could use it to reflect on other events of the year, besides the slow crash and burn of my first long-term relationship.

I realized when talking to my grandma about school that I am now officially half-way through my degree. At the end of the last school year I was upset that, unlike most of my peers, my reduced course load meant that I was not half-done my degree at the end of my second year. It feels good to be able to say that now. I have good marks in all of my courses from the last term, or at least all of the final marks I have so far (I am still missing the final grade for my statistics class, the only mark I was worried about :/ ).

I left my part time job of three-and-a-half years. That feels like centuries ago at this point, but it was indeed only six months ago that I made my exit from the art studio I taught at since I was in high school. Though I found wonderful opportunity in the summer internship for the LGBTQ+ summer camp, I have not since found employment.

Speaking of leaving jobs, I forgot to mention in my last post that my mom is officially retired! She's very happy to be done with working but her transition has been a little rocky. I didn't expect her being around so much to strain our relationship but with all this free time she has taken to badgering me incessantly about my school work and any other obligations I may have. We have had a number of conversations about how she needs to let me do my thing because I have done perfectly fine without her constantly over my shoulder in my first two years of university. We're working on it.

I guess turning 20 is a noteworthy thing. I am no longer able to call myself a teenager. I was very panicked about it at the time, but enough time had passed that now instead I am panicking about turning 21 in four and a half months. I don't have to think about that yet though, as it's still decently far away.

This is as good a segue as any into goals and plans for the new year. Turning 21 isn't exactly something I need to actively work towards, but it's certainly something that's going to happen in 2018. While in the United States this would mean being able to drink alcohol, 21 is of no such cultural importance in Canada, and I'm fairly certain it's of no other legal importance either. I already hit drinking age at 19 and that didn't mean much to me, and continues to not mean much, as I have never had any interest in drinking and don't plan to start any time soon.

I'm planning to go to a couple of conventions in 2018, and you will likely here all about them on this very blog.

My lolita wardrobe is looking comfortably full at the moment. I have a Taobao order coming in the mail, with an adjustable hoop skirt and a blouse and accessories for three different coords, but my lolita goal for the new year is to not make a single purchase. I have a comfortable variety and I don't wear it frequently enough to justify any more purchases.

I'm also still unemployed, though another goal for the new year is to find a fucking job. I'm hoping that my undercut and the two piercings I acquired in 2017 will not prove to be as much of a hindrance as I'm thinking they may be.

I do plan on applying again to work at that summer camp. This year they will be looking for a director of arts and crafts and I am beyond excited and hopeful that I will get that position. I would be happy with just being a camp counsellor too, but fuck do I ever want that arts and crafts director position. It's practically my dream job (that dream job being art therapist working with queer youth)!

Speaking of my dream job, the official title of art therapist requires a little more schooling. In 2018 I will finish my third year of school and start my fourth. I would like to keep my grade average where it is because it's in a pretty good place right now.

And looping right back to the beginning... I wouldn't mind going on a few dates, but not until I can get Rose completely out of my head. I'm in no state for it now, but hopefully by the end of next year I will at least be ready to move on.

Have a happy new year, folks. I wish you all the best in the coming turmoil, as it seems there is no political peace anywhere in the world right now, and I wish you all the best in your personal lives as well. Stay safe tonight if you're out partying, and I'll see you on the other side.

Dec 13, 2017

Twitch: A Forgotten Detail

One thing that I failed to include in my previous post is that I am streaming on Twitch now! I'm not gaming though, I'm rereading Homestuck and reading it aloud as I go, with added commentary from your truly on a range of Homestuck-relevant subjects. It is not a spoiler-free stream so proceed with caution if you're weary about spoilers but if you'd like to hear my voice say some stupid shit twice a week them my Twitch channel is thegreathomestuckreread!

A Great Many Disasters and Triumphs

Good evening to anyone who may still be reading my sporadic updates. I have had my Blogger dashboard open in my browser since the beginning of September but I didn't feel the strong hankering to journal until this moment (because let's be real, that's essentially all this blog had become). I will now update you on the following three complex subjects: my summer (and by extension my internship), the first term of my third year of university, and my romantic entanglements. I will pepper in other life updates as I see fit.

Jun 8, 2017

A Dog

A Dog

(this is what I've been up to in my game lately)