New FFXIV OC Commission: Polis-adopts

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A new commission of my FFXIV OC main, Camille Delane! This one’s by Polis-adopts. It has the most Amano-esque vibes of any of my commissions so far, and I find that really interesting. That kind of distant, impassive, otherworldly feeling. I could see this version of Camille existing in Final Fantasy VI’s world–the game Amano most left his fingerprints on of the series, in my opinion (and also the best!).

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The Diagnosis Rollercoaster

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I started with a new psych yesterday, which is way past due–my old psych was useful as long as my diagnosis was stable and I didn’t require many changes, but not a good resource for the bumpy territory of exploring any real changes or big questions with.

It’s been years since I did an intake exam, and I’m out of practice on my ‘elevator pitch’–that summary of your life that you somehow manage to fit into 30 minutes to an hour. I’m also out of practice in emotionally *dealing* with the elevator pitch–that feeling of having to relate the moments of your life that were most painful or moments where a psych points out that maybe that wasn’t a neurotypical thing to do or to feel, and your carefully-constructed distance from those moments has to fall apart again, momentarily.

Reexamining and possibly redefining yourself–those are always the emotionally-hardest moments in my life for me. It’s terrifying feeling identity flux, even if maybe on the other side of that flux is more support or more effective medication or a more stable, satisfying life. The narrative I think most people (self included) want to keep in their head is ‘I’m always making progress/I’m always getting better,’ but, of course, that’s not the true narrative any life takes. Everything is a mess of better, worse, and the same at any particular moment; the trajectory isn’t clear or given. And being reminded of that always gives me deep moments of despair and hopelessness–and, of course, fear of feeling those emotions.

So that’s complicated! How anyone keeps a steady job and also manages to be a human being, I don’t know. But a lot of people manage it!

In any case, I’ve got some assigned reading to do, I have to try to figure out if I’m eligible for disability coverage (I’m concerned I’ll count as a ‘pre-existing condition’ generally), and I have to wrestle with the possibility of redefining my diagnoses and the attached identities. Again.

(The possible new diagnoses are…well, scary, too. There’s OCPD–Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder– which, okay, that’s close enough to my established OCD diagnosis I could deal with it. But the other…is schizotypal personality disorder. And I’m not sure I’m emotionally prepared to have anything with ‘schizo-‘ attached to me… Being odd is hard enough without also being odd defined by a terminology that frightens people *and* frightens me…)

As always, money most appreciated, I swear I don’t know how I’ll keep a job down long-term as I figure these things out. Again.

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Let’s Play What Remains of Edith Finch!

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What Remains of Edith Finch

Ah, I forgot to mention–I finished streaming Firewatch some time ago, and have just started streaming another, more melancholic walking sim, What Remains of Edith Finch. It’s very unusual so far, but I think I’ll end up really enjoying it.

You can (if it’s still in my archives when you read this) watch the parts I’ve already played over on my Twitch channel and follow my channel to be notified when I play new parts.

Look for my Firewatch Let’s Play! to be up on my YouTube channel as soon as I’ve finished transcribing and editing it.

(As always, if you like anything that I do, and what to help me move away from office work, which is not sustainable for my ADD self, into work where I can set patterns for my own day, please do leave something in my Ko-fi account!)

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I Never Have Food!

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One of my biggest challenges, as someone with both a three-hour commute and OCD/ADD/chronic depression, is just…eating. Like. Having food around when I need to eat.

If I buy fresh food, it spoils. If I buy frozen food, it sits in the freezer and I forget about it (sometimes for a year or more…). If I buy ingredients, I never cook. If I buy prepared things, I get tired of them (and they generate a lot of trash, including non-recyclable or -compostable trash).

It’s a constant plague for me, and a source of shame and sadness, because I grew up in a house headed by a very good cook and I love good food and know what it looks and tastes like! But the best I ever manage is some poor little piece of fish cooked with salt and olive oil. Avocado on bread. Peanut butter and jelly. Food that makes me sad to look at, and sad to eat. I look at it, and it says, “You’re alone, and you don’t have the ability or the time to do better than this. This is Alone Person Food.”

I look at cookbooks and they’re just overwhelming. Many steps, many ingredients, no cookbook that’s just like, okay, let’s start with, literally, two- or three-ingredient recipes. Where even salt and pepper count as one of those ingredients. That’s what I need, and I don’t know where to find it…

On the plus side, I make yogurt for breakfast and putting blueberries, nuts, and dark chocolate chips in that is something I can handle. So I’ve got breakfast down, finally. But everything else…Lord, no.

How to Fight the Continued Use of WWII Prison Camps in the U.S.

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Some people still don’t know that during World War II, the U.S. government tore many Japanese-Americans from their homes, jobs, and businesses and shipped them out into bleak, isolated areas of the U.S. to be imprisoned in prison camps (called internment camps).

I’m lucky enough to have learned about this as a late teen and read up on it, so at least I know something about this part of U.S. history. What I *didn’t* know was that these camps are either still in use or have just been reopened for use–as prisons for migrant children separated from their families.

If you haven’t heard about this yet, Densho, an organization dedicated to keeping alive the memory of Japanese-American prisoners’ experiences, has a quick, to-the-point article on what it means that U.S. has decided to use past prison camp Fort Sill to isolate immigrant children. I highly suggest reading it.

Unlike many countries who’ve committed crimes against humanity, the U.S. has never properly acknowledged and processed its guilt publicly, and reusing these prison camps is a blatant sign of that inability to learn from or take responsibility for our past.

I reached out to Densho to ask what folks could do to oppose the use of Fort Sill and other prison camps, and I’m posting their answer in full here:

“Thanks for reaching out, and my apologies for the delayed response. Things have been pretty hectic since this news about Fort Sill broke, and we’ve been busy trying to stay on top of it all. Since Fort Sill is only now becoming a detention site, I don’t believe there is any established activism around that particular site. Densho will be protesting the proposed incarceration of migrant children at Fort Sill this Saturday [June 22, 2019], along with Tsuru For Solidarity, Detention Watch Network, and ACLU of Oklahoma. (More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2524102380962697/) Any are welcome to join, or, since many people who wish to support will not be able to attend on such short notice, follow along and help signal boost on social media. If/when additional protests are planned, either locally or at other detention sites, we will let people know.

In the meantime, here are some actions you might take:

  1. Call your senators and representatives. Ask them what they are doing to end the detention of immigrant children and families, and to ensure that asylum-seekers have access to legal counsel and a fair and speedy review of their case. Then call them again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, etc., etc.
  2. Congress is currently debating whether to approve billions of dollars in additional funding to ICE and Border Patrol. Call them and demand they #DefundHate.
  3. When you see news outlets spreading misinformation (like calling detention sites “shelters” or using dehumanizing language to describe immigrants and refugees), call them out. Write a letter to the editor, send a correction to the reporter, call them out on social media.
  4. Find orgs that are doing direct, on-the-ground work to support immigrants and refugees, and donate your time and/or money. These are a few we know of, but there are many others:

–          Raices provides legal counsel and other services to incarcerated immigrants: https://www.raicestexas.org/

–          Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus helps Southeast Asian refugees fight deportation: https://www.advancingjustice-alc.org/

–          La Resistencia is a local (Seattle area) undocumented-led org that is very active in supporting immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center: https://www.nwdcresistance.org/

  1. Talk to your friends, your family, and your community. Stay informed and pass on that information to others.”

If, like me, you have a hard time remembering to make phone calls to keep *yourself* alive, even (I barely remember to renew the meds I’d die without, sometimes), and feel like you can’t do much of what’s shown above, at least tell other people you know what’s going on. Spread the word. See what local organizations are opposing this. (I think United We Dream is doing a lot in my area.) Give a bit of money.

Anything is better than nothing! Believe me, I know the shame of feeling like because of mental disorders or other disabilities, I can’t successfully maintain personal activism. But even just spreading the word is something.

Let’s Play Firewatch!

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So after spending four months transcribing my 20-hour Let’s Play of the survival horror/science fiction game SOMA, it’s time for something a little shorter with fewer irritating sneaky-sneaky monster mechanics. It’s time for a walking sim!

Firewatch Card

I’ve played Gone Home and Tacoma, two of the big walking sims, already, so Firewatch, another sim that received a lot of critical attention, is a logical next step.

This is the first Let’s Play I’ll stream live. I already have one follower I don’t actually know! I’m famous now, right? Yes?

You can watch me stream Firewatch over on my Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/waldweg. Part #1 of my playthrough is already in my video archives, at about two hours long. (I meant to go for an hour but got sucked in.)

Firewatch averages four to five hours of gameplay, but I’ve already clocked two, so I bet I bring it up to six or seven, at least. I might miss something if I didn’t check every corner, dontcha know.

Transcribing a Let’s Play: SOMA and Text Analysis

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For the past three months(!), I’ve been working on a personal project that makes very little sense, in terms of ‘why am I doing this?’ I’ve been transcribing a 20-hour Let’s Play I recorded of me playing the survival horror/science fiction/philosophy lite video game SOMA, by Frictional Games. (I think I’m pretty fun to listen to, so why not take a look?)

 

After transcribing all of my SOMA Let’s Play videos, I took the 20 separate documents (one for each video segment, totaling 200 pages of dialogue exactly), combined them into one document, and uploaded them to the online text analysis environment Voyant Tools. There’s a lot of fun basic stuff you can do in this environment–but mostly I was interested in that most basic of text-analysis things, word frequency.

Unsurprisingly, the original results weren’t, well. Very interesting. There’re a lot of very generic words we use all the time in spoken language, and they muddy the waters, making it hard to see what we say that’s unique to a time and topic. Fortunately, Voyant lets you create a customized ‘stoplist’–a list of words you don’t want included in the analysis. I started taking out words–contractions, fluff words (‘thing,’ ‘stuff,’ ‘pretty,’ ‘kind,’ ‘get,’ ‘do’–generic things that say nothing on their own), and exclamations (‘ah,’ ‘uh’), and finally got down to something that paints a decent picture of what mattered to me in the game.

So here we go! You can view and play with the interactive version of the resulting wordcloud here.

Weeded word cloud

Smaller weeded word cloud

Or check out the text list of the most commons words in the Let’s Play right here:

cate (219); simon (217); console (196); wau (182); heads (179); robot (157); ark (152); body (122); dead (107); power (106); brain (100); control (99); scan (91); locked (88); lights (87); monster (84); corner (83); button (80); gel (77); ross (72); map (71); sign (70); chip (69); growth (68); omnitool (66); airlock (64); catherine (62); shuttle (62); suit (61); bad (56); screen (54); light (53); desk (52); creature (51); life (51); sound (51); structural (51); sounds (49); real (47); weird (47); brandon (46); ladder (46); omnicron (46); water (46); consciousness (45); akers (44); lock (44); window (44); human (43); continuity (42); lever (42); machine (42); red (42); space (42); woman (42); hit (41); small (41); thought (41); dark (40)

This seems like a decent representative list, to me. You’ve got the characters, with frequency reflecting significance (Cate/Catherine, Simon, WAU, Ross, Brandon, Akers). Then you have the mechanics of the game (console, power, control, scan, locked, lights, corner, button, gel, map, sign, chip, omnitool, airlock, shuttle, suit, screen, light, structural, lock, window, lever, ladder, Omnicron, red, hit) and the entity types you encounter in the game (robot, body, dead, brain, monster, growth, creature, life, human, machine, woman).

Following that, you’ve got a bit about the setting (water, space, dark). And then you get down to the themes and atmosphere (bad, sound, sounds, real, weird, consciousness, continuity, thought).

‘Heads’ and ‘small’ are a bit odd. Heads, as in body parts, *are* important in part of the game, and the frequency of my using the word jumps up at the point that corresponds to that plot aspect. And why ‘small’? I must use it as a descriptor frequently.

Of course, it’s possible I used both of these words more in the ‘stage directions’ than my speech. That’s a flaw in my transcription-making that I’ll have to consider next time. By adding stage directions that make the text make sense even without the video, I’ve upped the frequency of words that describe the environment, which makes the text analysis less revealing of the focus of my speech than it could be. Oops! I’ll consider that on my next project.

And with that all wrapped up, on to the most important questions:

  • What did I think of the game?
  • How many times did I call something cute?
  • How many times did I mention cats?

What did I think of the game?

Well, I said things were boring three times and frustrating 19 times. And I said I was ‘salty’ about something or other 25 times. Curse those monster mechanics that made me hide in corners and wait for ages! (I used the word ‘corner’ 83 times.)

I also swore 70 times. Sooooo. Yeah. I was a bit irritated for much of the game.

How many times did I call something cute?

Twenty-nine times! There were fish >_> (I said ‘fish’ and ‘fishies’ 25 times…) And a deliberately cute droid design (which I called a ‘cutie’ five times).

How many times did I mention cats?

Altogether, I said ‘cat,’ ‘cats,’ ‘kitty,’ and ‘kitties’…34 times. For perspective, there were no cats in the game. There *was* a single photograph of a cat. Apparently that’s enough to get me going.

So there we have it. That’s what I do with months of my spare time! If you’re interested in reading the full transcript (I’ve added stage directions, so it’s readable even without the video), just tip me over on Ko-fi and I’ll get in touch with you and make sure you get a copy.

Why Was I Not Diagnosed Already?

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I have Ritalin! Hooray. God, I hope this helps. I’m tired of feeling like my brain’s fractured and being sandpapered all the time, and apparently that’s not normal. Good to know!

Also, I’m…kind of shocked no one offered to test me for ADHD before? I match up incredibly well with many of the criteria, *and* I’ve responded well to the one dopamine-affecting drug I was already taking.

I’m guessing two factors were involved:

1) I already have a set treatment ‘story’ and it’s been in place for years. My story is that I’m chronic depressive and OCD. Once you get a narrative set in place like that, it’s hard to look around, both for your professionals and yourself.

2) I’m femme. Girls are taught to make it an absolute priority to be thoughtful, polite, quiet, and *not disruptive.* And I am and was heavily invested in Being Good. So I think there’s a gender bias towards not considering ADHD for girls, because there’s a greater chance we learn to mask *and* learn to endure constant internal discomfort because we’re trying *really hard* to be good. If we hurt and feel bad a lot, that’s okay, as long as we make sure to *keep it to ourselves.*

Obviously, I’m a little salty about that second one.

Here’s hoping treatment helps.

More FFXIV art!

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Oh, in fun and not complicated-brain-and-body-health news, I commissioned some more art of my FFXIV OC, Camille Delane! Here we go, these portraits are by EllieMars; you can follow her on Mastodon and look out for flash commission spots here.

Taking Next Steps

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Alright, there’s no point beating around the bush with a mental disorder (or, in fact, any health disorder that’s proceeded to the point where it’s impairing one’s ability to be employed and to care for oneself).

I’ve contacted both my therapist and my psychiatrist to ask to talk to them asap about testing for ADHD and pursuing both therapeutic and medication help, if it seems like I show signs. (And if they say I don’t, I’ll have to build my case, because I think I have a very solid one, and nothing I’m taking or doing right now is helping me, so…trying this may be incredibly important.)

I hope there’s something I can do. It’s so frustrating both on a personal and a professional level to just *not be able to do* tasks I *want* and need to do. Anything that doesn’t involve an inherent simplistic flow (translation, knitting, reading, language-learning through exposure, video games, chatting online…), where I can pick it up, do it without planning or following steps (beyond basic skill knowledge), and then put it down just doesn’t get done. And I can’t live like that any longer! It’s terrible for my employability, my health, and my mood.

Fingers crossed I can find a first step towards better health quickly. And that I can move through the part where I grieve for not having support or abilities in the past and its effect on my life as quickly as is healthy. That part is always the least fun.