My Rules For Life – Version 1.0

In no particular order…

  1. Have Goals. Work towards goals. Celebrate small victories and milestones. Celebrate failures as a testament your hard work and persistence.
  2. Go to the bathroom and pee before you leave, even if you don’t think you have to.
  3. Assume you’ll be doing more walking than you planned
  4. Let it go, or give and appropriate action/response, and then let it go.
  5. Take a break to help you keep going longer, fresher, better (faster, stronger!). Don’t take a break to put off things that need to be done.
  6. Turn ideas on their head, especially negative ones.
  7. Taking the T (subway) is almost like having a personal chauffeur if you think about it the right way.
  8. Don’t believe something or take something seriously because it’s popular, commonly accepted, etc. Question!
  9. If something isn’t working quite right, ask why and try to find an answer.
  10. Don’t assume you’re the problem.
  11. Forgive, but don’t forget.
  12. Allow people that influence your life negatively to drift out of your life. Even though there’s never enough time, try to remember to reach out to the good ones to let them know you care.
  13. Don’t eat the yellow snow.
  14. Call people on their bullshit, but try to do it in a way that gets them to think. You can’t change most people’s minds, but you’ll feel better doing your thoughts and values justice by expressing them well.
  15. Your body will get old a break. Don’t waste too much time on vanity.
  16. You will die one day, definately too soon. Still, you’ll probably wake up tomorrow and have to deal with things. Plan for tomorrow, but also seize today.
  17. Be well, but don’t try to live forever.
  18. Don’t let others tell you what you should value. Find your own truth.
  19. Games make your brain happy. Leave time for games.
  20. Moderation in all things, including moderation.
  21. Jealousy is useless. The rich and famous are just as miserable, if not more. Pay attention to your own lawn.
  22. You’re always competing with yourself and your own limitations. Learn from and share with others.
  23. It’s not okay to murder people when they tell you something is, ‘not that spicy’.
  24. Try new things, but you don’t have to try something if you don’t want to.
  25. You actually don’t have to overcome all of your fears. It’s okay to be afraid sometimes. You’re not Batman.
  26. Make rules for yourself, and change them when there’s a good reason. Hold fast when there isn’t.

The Gender Hate Stuff

Just by virtue of being a woman, never mind one with many hobbies, skills, interests, etc. that are male dominated, I think about gender issues a lot. There are women out there who don’t work at software companies, who have never tried going to classes a a gym full of men, who haven’t been playing video games since the 80s (or for their whole lives), who never worked in tech support, who weren’t ‘tom boys’ who played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who aren’t really competitive, who never said ‘I want to be a major league baseball player when I grow up’, who never experienced sexual abuse, who never experienced street harassment, who were never followed or stalked, who have never been called a bitch for asserting themselves, who never worried about being perceived as a bitch for asserting themselves, and maybe those women don’t think about this stuff much.

Though gender issues affect everyone (not just women by any means), maybe people just don’t follow the news much these days. Maybe people don’t see it affecting themselves that badly and have a hard time with empathy and putting themselves in others shoes.

I am one of those people who tells themselves not to read the comments on articles, videos, blog posts, etc., but does it anyways. It doesn’t matter how much hope or despair is in the article, the comments can always pull you a different way. I find it interesting that I read something and think X, Y, Z, and other people think… BANANA! Even though I know some are just trolls being trolls, some will be real people and their real opinions, and I’m too curious not too look. A lone comment isn’t enough anymore to make me think people as a whole think one way or another, but when they pile up, you start to see a picture of what a group of people think. Too often, it’s not a pretty picture.

These pictures make me feel like we have so far to go as people, to be better, more compassionate, human beings.

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

While I believe in my own equality, I also believe I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I shouldn’t have to hold myself up under the pressure of perfect example.

I’m a gamer. I don’t want to be the woman gamer that represents all the women. We’re all just as similar to men gamers, and just as different to other women gamers. I am a gamer. I am a woman. I am a person. These are all separate things about myself. I don’t want to be the woman anything. I don’t want to be the end all to define myself, but since I like certain things, it seems like it has to.

I am a person. Please treat me like a person.

When I read about victims who don’t report harassment or violence, I do feel sad that they didn’t push forward to help all women, like me, have a safer world. I also realize that it’s not fair of me, or anyone, to expect or ask that any of these individuals put themselves on the line inviting additional violence, pain, or even death upon themselves. It’s easy for people to blame a victim for not stepping up, because we feel like our voices will eventually make the world safer and make us equals.

It’s easy to blame the victim who steps up for not being the perfect example, for what they were wearing, their sexual history, for not reporting it immediately, for using imperfect language, their tone, or for not having a perfect past. We want a super hero, but instead we just have people. There are some people that just so happen to also be a women. We expect too much of them when they’re down, and we expect not enough of them when they have all the potential.

When the world fails you, we do the best we can, and try not to fail the world or ourselves.

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

At Least It’s Not a Fruit Cake: A Response to “Résumés – How the French Spell It”

I sometimes write novel-like comments on blogs that are self contained posts in their own right. I posted this comment as a response to flygirl0’s post on resumes and the process of interviewing. I thought it might be worth sharing it here.

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You’re giving them too much credit if you assume people who are interviewing have any idea the hell they’re doing. I have a lot of very clear “WTF” interview memories, and I haven’t even interviewed in like five years. It’s such an artificial and horrible process, and admittedly, I’m terrible at it.

I get nervous. I feel like the only way I nail interviews is that I accidentally channel some deity/ancestor/alien for the length of it, or I’ve interviewed so much recently that I know what they’re going to ask before they ask it. Manhole cover? Answer that makes even the foremost manhole experts, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, take notes. Stapler? Caught and made into a stunning stapler entree to be judged by the Master Chef celebrities.

At the end of it all, you don’t even know if that was really the job that would have made you happy. Sure, you can assume or expect this or that, but usually jobs are full of that day job work thing. You have to go to meetings about meetings, work on working your work in a more workly way, and design review everything (yes, including the design review process). I’ve always suspected that I’m just not cut out for office life, but I’m doing an okay job pretending. I have an office plant that isn’t dead yet, two monitors, walls, and even a window. I’ve reached so many echelon ladders above cubicle farm monkey that I should be positively ecstatic.

The truth is, it’s okay. I’m not dying here, but I’m not fulfilled by this alone. It’s an office. It’s a job where people tell you what to do and you do it. I know there are people out there working for themselves, but I suspect a lot of them are just monkeys to their clients (still not doing what they really want).

I wish I could close this with some kind of epiphany or inspiration other than, “Yes, I agree,” but that’s all I got. My big consolation is that even if you dodged the stapler, there’s no proof that your life would suddenly be fulfilled, and it probably wouldn’t be. That’s such a horrible consolation. It’s more like a fruit basket for a funeral. At least it’s not a fruit cake, but I’m sorry all the same.

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I’ve posted on this topic before a couple times (probably more than I remember or list here):
Interviewing Tip Toes
Interviewing: The Real Life RTS Game

Insomnia

Insomnia is a beast society treats as a “issue.”

I can tell you as an Insomniac, that it is a brutal, punishing disease. And worse, it’s hard to treat.

Some drugs work for others. Other drugs don’t work. Some drugs work TOO well (Surprise, you’re unconscious for 12 hours, and fuck all will wake you up.)

Meanwhile.. I have been dragging on, on my seventh day, with three hours sleep, and had someone say to me “I wish I was an Insomniac.”

I briefly considered murder.

I’m not proud of that. But Insomnia is unbelievably brutal. I literally would not wish it upon my worst enemy. You devolve. Your brain links stop working. Slowly you become more an animal. Slowly, attack becomes the plan. Slowly, weakness becomes a threat shown. You know you are weak, animalistically, and that means to defend yourself, you must show overpowering might. Or die.

Or at least that’s what our genes tell us. I have managed to work with severe insomnia. This literally took all of my effort.

I was not a kind person when pushed past the edge of sanity. I was never violent, but I was never nice. I never backed down. And everything was a fight.

I’m not proud of this. I generally am a very kind person. But when you don’t sleep for a month, your brain shorts into survival mode- and at that point, you aren’t a person.

You’re a thing in the way of me sleeping.

I still struggle with literally surrendering to fate for at least a few hours, since I grew up in a very violent place. I slept lightly, because I literally thought I’d be stabbed. And I wasn’t completely wrong. It is very hard for me to take things that… mean I will not know if someone breaks in and kills my cats in the next three hours.. and even worse, if my girlfriend tries to wake me, I won’t wake up.

But my choices are limited. I can take it and sleep… Or be a right bastard to everyone everywhere.

I should have taken it earlier. I’ve started taking it already, but I learned the hard way that taking it undiluted is bad. Very bad for me at least.

Worse though, than anything I said… People forget that Insomnia really is a thing, and that it PUNISHES people. It’s a real problem- whether it’s biochemical imbalance or psychological. Or both. This is not some joke- it is something that destroys lives, and relationships, for no good reason.

I was shocked when I looked for a support group, and realized it doesn’t exist. If you sleep normally, imagine being sleep deprived by a week or more- that is an insomniac’s LIFE. Day in and day out. A day sleep a week, maybe. Possibly two. Still, impossible to maintain.

Life isn’t easy.

Cycle

Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me for how I feel about my job. I know I have a good job (better than any ‘regular’ job I’ve had) that is varied, I’m good at, and has many perks. I’d say it’s a million times better than the full time job I had before this one. The next one I land through working hard at this one will probably be even better. Still, I spend every day at it wishing I wasn’t here doing this.

Is it like this for all artists? Are we all doomed to feel like we’re not doing ‘real work’ when we’re doing something other than our art? I look at other people that are amazing and talented who have ‘regular jobs’ and consider their job their actual job and not just their day job. I can’t help but be a bit jealous. Also, I feel like their advice is always, “find a different job” as if the issue is this job I have, and working for another company or in a different position would make this feeling go away. I know at least some other artists ‘get it’, but I also feel like they’ve all either taken the leap into art full time or have found a better balance (or are closer to it).

I envy them, but I also don’t, because I know in most cases it comes at great sacrifice to some very basic things (money, healthcare, food, etc.). I try to think of all the people that have even less fulfilling jobs than me, or are having a hard time getting a job or one that pays enough to put towards their bills. I feel guilty for not being more satisfied with what I have, and I feel guilty for not doing ‘enough’ or ‘the right thing’ (whatever those are) to change things for the better with immediate results.

Every weekend I try my best to forget about this for two days, and every Monday, this feeling follows me out of bed and through every thing I do. I try to ignore the undertone of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and hopelessness enough to get through the work day, make it to my studio, and spend the small amount of time and energy left on what I feel is my real work.

I do it knowing it’s probably not enough to realize any of my goals. I try not to be sad. I hope that if I keep at it, all of the little bits of time I can spare will add up into great things and somehow get me out of this cycle.