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Now this is more like it. Down 0.7 pounds, to 309.1. Moving the right way again.

The A-Team

Feb. 19th, 2010 10:40 am
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OMG. Allandaros, thank you.

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I'm having a lot of fun with this one. She's an illusion/radiation controller, and the ability to make bad people fight each other is always good times for me. She also has a good solid roleplaying super group: she's a history professor turned mutant rights activist, after her lifelong very minor mutant powers ramped up sharply in the wake of being attacked by a Rikti artifact. So she's an adjunct instructor at a Paragon City school for young mutants while pursuing her own career of direct action.

The look delights me. That's the wedding tux in white and silver, with blue boots, the stealth gloves in blue and white, blue tech belt, and of course blue and white tech helm. (I mention these things because apparently I'm getting some results out of the costume creator that some of my veteran player friends are curious about.)

I figured I was reasonably well qualified to play someone with immune problems, and that they hit some classic comic book mutant vibes. It's possible that future storylines could lead to her being able to breathe the air and have it touch her skin again; if so, I'll work out what she looks like underneath.

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So here I am in a super group I've had some good play with, with an interesting setup, doing the first of their biweekly meetings I've been able to attend, and there are parallel in-character and out-of-character discussions...

And inspired by a stray remark that distinguished sex and gender, one of the guys bursts out with "I HATE SIMONE!!!" We were then treated to a harangue about how Simone de Beauvoir had invented the sex/gender distinction to make life hard for Jean-Paul Sartre in revenge for him ditching her, and how every use of that terminology is, whether we know it or not, traceable back to her bitter scheme.

After a bit of this, I spoke up and said, "I'm transgendered and it is not about de Beauvoir at all, it's about the lived experience, and what it takes for a sane and healthy life, and about how cultures deal with biology." After a bit more of this, I said that this is not something up for debate, and bailed out.

It's kind of a shame, in that I was really enjoying the company of other folks in the super group. They include several people with relatively old-school fannish sorts of acculturation and interests. But it only takes one such loser to make a place unsafe, and it's clear that they weren't going to toss him for being horrifying to me and threatening to my well-being. So out I went.

What a drag.

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Hat tip to Sean Collins for pointing at this guy's cover of the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place" a while back. I went to milesfisher.com and discovered that you can get 4 of his songs in 320 Kbs MP3s free, and immediately fell in a big way for this one.

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Yesterday my counselor asked if I'd like to move from biweekly to monthly sessions...because she feels I'm doing quite well, managing the challenges that come along, and doing well taking new steps as old ones are done. She says I should feel free at any time to ask for more frequent ones if I need them, whether because of present stresses or because of working more on old backlog thanks to the present going better.

This is hugely encouraging to me. I trust her assessment very much.
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Up a touch, to 309.8.  I'm feeling okay about it, though: I got through the very-much-dread dental evaluation (and it wasn't as bad news as dreaded), and then a migraine on Sunday and Monday, and I am doing substantially better today. I look for progress to resume.

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This was inspired by a robotic defender I grouped with named Force Field Drone. Meet a fire control/force field controller, Netnews XBot. 

"Priorities: #1. Protect the articles. #2. Distribute the articles. #3. Engage with fire all designated threats.

"History: 1994. Activation. 1999. Human civilization destroyed in nuclear war and megavolcanic eruption. Self lonely. 2010. Self encounters Portal Corporation explorers, follows them to this timeline's Paragon City. 2010. Self-deployment in service of priorities.
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I've actually done some Valentine's stuff on an alt, and in the course of that and talking with friends, I have a sharper sense of a particular source of frustration.

Overall difficulty is the one I'd already poked at: stuff is easier trivial or not really feasible, whether because of difficulty as such or requiring skills I lack. It was a combo of doing the Valentine's stuff as mentioned above and doing their counterparts in CoH that brought the other into focus to me: repeated effort for miniscule chance of reward. I don't mind repeated effort when it gets me something. But I feel worn about all the times I went for, say, Baron Rivendare's mount and never got it on any character, despite a cumulative hundreds of tries. 

I understand that similar setups exist in various parts of CoH, but I am far from them, so they don't matter to my experience right now.

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Much, much better this week. I got very tired on Thursday, but almost all of that was dread. I've been dreading this dental examination for at least two years—it was realizing how much I needed it and how hard it was to do anything at all to seek out a way to do it, and the realization of impending suicide by self-neglect is what got me onto this path of self-appraisal and change in the first place. The news this week wasn't great, but there were no big surprises, only expected stuff that can be dealt with. And will be!

Anyway, with that load off, I am feeling about a zillion percent better. But my body's cooperating better, too. I was tired today both before and after the weekly shot, but just plain happy and productive. So this is working, I think.
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The helpful hint, first. Maybe you folks all knew this, but I didn't: keeping your eyes open wide suppresses a significant part of the gag reflex! When you have to deal with something like dental X-ray films pressing against sensitive soft tissues, it genuinely does help to keep your eyes held open rather than flinching and closing them. I never knew about that, and am glad to.

Now then. I went to the University of Washington dental school yesterday. Friends have said they got great care, and so did I. Nor was there any bad news I wasn't already anticipating, and that actually is a relief. My assigned student is a young man born in Ukraine, and he was friendly and very, very careful—I was really impressed by his attention to detail, and feel a great deal of confidence in his evaluation.

I knew there'd be a lot of decay, from my slump years. What I was worried about was that there'd be additional problems that I haven't felt but which are nonetheless serious. It's possible something will turn up in the X-rays, of course, but his examination didn't find any. I'll be hearing back sometime in the next few weeks to schedule treatments, and it seems to me likely to go well.

So that's another bit of big pressing health catch-up done!

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Hopefully my last skip week for a bit, but dentist this week, and still adjusting to medication changes, and there's no point. It's yo-yo-ing.
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There's some more preview info up about the new stuff coming for Battle.Net, and...I'll quote.

Battle.net's social networking and communication capabilities will be some of the service's biggest new features. This new social backbone for the entire service will seamlessly integrate friends lists, matchmaking, messaging, and more. Text and voice chat are now seamlessly interwoven into and out of the game, enabling communication whether you are in Battle.net or in-game playing StarCraft II. And as is the case with previous Blizzard Entertainment titles, you can form friendships with other characters on Battle.net while preserving your anonymity.

With the new Battle.net, we’re also introducing an entirely new concept called Real ID. With the Real ID feature, you are able to send invites and form friendships on Battle.net with your real-life friends and family. Real ID friends are mutual, which means that both sides need to agree to the friend request. Forming Real ID friends comes with its benefits. You will see your Real ID friends by their real name, along with any character they are logged in as. You will also be able to get rich presence information about what they are doing, send broadcast messages, and communicate cross-game between StarCraft II, Battle.net, and World of Warcraft.

And of course, Real ID is totally optional. By enabling this, you can set up your Blizzard Entertainment social network, communicate and play games, and best of all, carry your network forward to future Blizzard Entertainment titles.
With this and some other images (click it to see it full-sized):

So this is where I sigh. Sorry, but there are two distinct populations I have played WoW with, and I am willing to have one of them see my birth name and the other not. I don't really like the idea of needing to maintain two accounts to keep that up. I would much, much prefer something like City of Heroes' global handle, and I'm profoundly annoyed at Blizzard's enthusiasm for real-world names for this stuff.

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New glasses! They're in. Soon's I can hook up with a ride—which is in the works as I type—I can go pick them up. Yay!

I neglected my vision needs, along with so much else, in my pre-outing years of isolation and sickness. I am now very much looking forward to seeing the world clearly again.
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I served out my suspension without particular complaint—as I said last week, I broke a rule and know I did, and don't object to them enforcing their rules. I object a lot to this exchange in the Trouble Tickets thread about it:

Eric Brennan: "In addition, it's pretty clear that given Cericonversion's "Waah, I'm packing up my crap and leaving" post two posts above the one Dan links to, he knew exactly what he was doing when he suicided by mod. So, I'm finding it hard to fault Dan, yet again."

Ragnarok_Engine: "She, please. Cericonversion is one of our trans posters, whose genders you seem to frequently confuse."

Eric Brennan: "I'll happily refer to her as she now that I know, but for the record I didn't even know who Cericonversion was before this thread. If somebody wants something other than a randomly assigned gender when I talk about them, I need a clear signal."

Cessna: "We don't keep dossiers on everyone's background. There are several thousand regular Users of this board. Do not get snippy because we can't remember all of them or details about their personal lives."

Several people: How about using "they"?

Eric Brennan: "For those people suggesting I use "they," I have gotten very angry complaints from at least two trans posters who complained I was being incredibly prejudiced. So, at this point, it's nothing personal, it's just the Internet and usernames and avatars fucking with you, not me. If I could psychically get this stuff right, believe me, I would. I genuinely hate to offend unintentionally."

Me, in this post: Oh, come on. My sig file's loaded up with links to trans-related information, and gender cues. It is not hard to spot, really. It's a matter of public record that Eric and perhaps other mods are really looking for excuses to ban more of the vocal TS and TG posters, and this is just not anything I care to put up with. Building a new persona hasn't been easy or comfortable a lot of the time, and I just don't need the tension of wondering when moderator transphobia may translate into more acts of erasure and silencing.

I'll look into other places to talk about what I've been yakking about there.

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Another Friday, another testosterone shot. Various things delayed it until mid-afternoon, and wow did I have a ugly midday crash. Not as bad as last week's, but not good at all. By evening I was back on track. I still don't want the stuff, but I can't at all deny the very real benefits in energy and mood.

(I strongly suspect I'd get a lot of the same relief from estrogen, but the more I read up on the risks to people with susceptibility to cancers and heart troubles, the more I can live with waiting on that some, hard as it sometimes is.)

My blood pressure continues to improve, not dramatically but pretty steadily. My weight isn't anywhere encouraging, but it's not getting any worse, and I figure that it's reasonable to wait at least a week or few more before worrying about that much, in light of all the other stuff going on.

My new glasses came in...with a lens flaw, so they're getting re-ground. Should have those by the end of this next week.

Coming up this week, dentistry. I'm expecting a mouthful of bad news; we'll see.
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"Ceri, it's a dreary rainy day in Seattle. What do you do for fun on a February afternoon like this?"

"Why, I kill neo-Nazis with kung fu!"

Kung Fu versus Council

I don't do male characters very often, but I thought that some of the options for them in CoH looked interesting. I've got a female version of the same general power concept elsewhere, and both are great fun.
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I had a really productive exchange with a friend this morning.

I can articulate my major problem with WoW right now, and have touched on this in earlier posts, I think: stuff is either beyond a level of play I can push myself too right now, tied up in skills I lack and (sum of "don't wish to" and "cannot readily") acquire, or made too easy because I'm overgeared for them. And that seems not likely to change anytime soon.

But there's stuff I like doing along the way. Leveling up, trying old challenges in new ways, seeing nooks and crannies of the world I haven't much explored before, and so on. Somewhere I encountered the phrase "serial leveling" to describe a style of WoW play (and maybe other MMOs too, I wouldn't know), where you figure that once a character's hit the level cap and gone through as much endgame as you care for, you go start again with something else.

That may be just what I need. Gonna give it a try, I think, sometime soon.


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Ceri B.

April 2010

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