bad memories for science

Someone is doing a paper on sexism in gaming, and interviewed me for my own experiences. I love talking about gaming and my “career” in shoutcasting, and I loved giving my two cents on the whole scene. I shared my Big Sad Story (below) with him, and that – coupled with famed zombie fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld‘s comments about the glorious Adele being “a little too fat” – has brewed up a whole storm of Unexpected Saturday Morning Emotion: I am sad.

Originally posted on January 10, 2006 (half a post; the first half was unrelated):

On the last day of the event, I received some really lovely feedback from almost everyone I talked to. The companies I was working with are very excited about the gaming world, and want to see gaming take a huge step into the mainstream — sports channel coverage, TV shows, gaming channels, the whole nine yards. I did a great job over the weekend — my knowledge of the game is wonderful, I was able to really bring it home for the audience, I had them rolling in the aisles with my humour, my entire presentation and ability to think on the fly are simply incredible — if I keep up this kind of work, I could become the Face of Gaming!

But ..

Well ..

You can’t market Mama Cass.

I’m beautiful, I really am. The voice, the knowledge, the presentation, the face, the personality — it’s all perfect and great and just what they’re looking for. But you can’t market Mama Cass, you know. You’re a big girl, beautiful, but just too big. They want to put me on TV, make me the Face and Voice of Gaming, but you can’t market Mama Cass. Gaming is going to take off and be huge, so my goal should be to lose weight and work on the “total package” — I’d be perfect for the job, if only I were half the size. The little blond girl gamer that was on MTV, now SHE’S beautiful and has a great look and is traditionally pretty, but she’s terrible — tried to be funny and came across lame. Me, I’m a natural. And the size of Mama Cass, but a natural. I could be on TV and be like the TRL host, I could take video games to the next level, I could be a professional broadcaster, I’m almost there already — just get to that goal, and the world will be mine.

California dreaming, indeed.

I’m glad they liked me. I’m glad my personality sparkled the way I know it can, and I’m glad my commentary was well received. I would love to do this for a living — even more so, now that I no longer have a job — and have always been dedicated to the gaming communities and to providing coverage. It’s just a shame about my size, is all. I’d be so great, if only. You just can’t market Mama Cass.

Ouch.

I had fun, though.

My follow up was posted later that same day:

I’ve had a couple days now to process the whole “you can’t market Mama Cass” thing, and I’m trying to pinpoint what, exactly, is so upsetting about it.

It was a rude and somewhat baffling thing to say, but let’s be honest here. I’m never going to be anyone’s idea of willowy and slender. I’ll never be featured in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, no one is going to start an online petition begging me to eat, and those size 0 pants will forever remain a tiny, tiny mystery. I’ve always been bigger than “normal”. My clothing is purchased from dimly lit back corners, from departments shamefully marked “Women Plus”, “Above Average”, “Bonus Sizes” and “Big Old Fatty Fat Fatcakes”. I’m zaftig. Voluptuous. Plump, robust, full-figured, meaty, oversized, well padded. Fat. I’m a big girl. Am I as big as Mama Cass was? No, I’m not. Was it a fair comparison? I don’t really think so. Am I going to spend the next month torturing myself over how ugly I am because one LA CEO doesn’t think I’m marketable? Probably. Some things will never change.

I’d love to do game casting professionally, even be on TV providing commentary for tournaments. It would be a great opportunity. Fame and fortune is the great North American dream, right? It’d be awesome. This could be my chance to make it big. I could have an entourage! I’d dress them in costumes and call them all Stan!

So why do I see it all as a bad thing? I’ve been called fat before, and although the “Mama Cass” touch was new, I can’t have honestly expected someone to say “You are incredible, let’s make a deal”. I know I don’t look like everyone else, and I kind of like it that way. The ultimate golden carrot is being dangled in my face. Why aren’t I reaching for it?

For starters, it’s not like I have a contract or really, anything other than a bizarre conversation at the end of a long week. There are no promises of anything concrete, just a large pile of conditional praise and fanciful plans that MIGHT work, maybe. Do I want to be a part of the scene when it goes mainstream? Definitely. Am I willing to change for that to happen? I could be. Do I think I’ll ever get my shot? Yeah, I do. Is this going to be it? I really doubt it.

Say I lose 100lbs and become incredibly unhealthy, lose all my curves, stop menstruating, and suddenly be a marketable superstar. That’s all it’ll take, right? Except what do I do when they say “gosh, you’re perfect, you’re talented, you’re built like an 8 year old boy .. if only you weren’t so short!”. Okay, I could wear heels. What next? Too old? Too Asian? Not Asian enough? Too Canadian? I’ve seen the kind of person that passes for marketable and appealing on TV. Nothing anyone could do to me could turn me into another OC Laguna Beach clone, and I’m actually okay with that.

Everyone wants to be loved and accepted for who they are, not told “you’re awesome, amazing, wonderful, beautiful, BUT ..”. If I change my body, I’ll do it for myself — not for some company that wants to base my worthiness on my dress size. I live in a fantasy world, and in that world my rather specialized talents are enough to open all those fancy doors that people like me don’t normally get into. I’m willing to wait for someone who thinks I’m great as I am and not for what I might be as long as I compromise on my principles. I *AM* beautiful and talented and have a sparkling personality. I also have a giant fat ass and a sudden dislike for golden carrots. Maybe my break into superstardom will take longer than a year, but when it comes, it’ll be because I’m awesome and not because I’m invisible when I turn sideways.

An excerpt from the Mama Cass Wikipedia entry:

“Elliot was widely considered the most charismatic member of the Mamas & the Papas due to her sense of humor and optimism, in part because of her large size and weight. She was one of the most beloved members of the group and, because of her warm, distinctive voice, was a large factor in their success.”

Wham, bam, shazam.

It’s been 6 years, and every time I ever think I could follow my passion to become a Someone, I think back to that conversation and shrink back into myself. The men who said that to me likely never gave it another thought, but I’ve lived with their words every fucking day since then. That conversation was the beginning of the end of my shoutcasting career – things moved away from audio-over-footage and was replaced by video to resemble pro sports coverage; during match breaks the camera would be on the commentators as they discussed the game and players. I ran away then – it’s hard to have “a face (body, in this case) for radio” when there’s a camera on you. Add in the entitled mentality of teenage gamers who don’t want to be forced to look at a fat person and the horrible, horrible things they would say .. I kept myself off camera; stopped doing something I loved with all my soul. Because I was fat. Because I was afraid. Because you can’t market Mama Cass.

game over

iron maiden

I hate ironing. I hate it even when I’m ironing some of my most ridiculous and favourite dresses. I hate it even while doing it naked. I hate it when I’m ironing down hems and lace bibs, because my “Militant Lolita” movement will never take off with wrinkles. I hate ironing on full-sized boards; I hate ironing on this tiny little apartment-sized board. I hate ironing when Ed does it (I smooth out no man’s pleats). I hate it when I fuck up and melt a hole in the aforementioned lace bib, requiring me to add “Shabby Chic” to my Militant Lolita description. I hate it when my delightfully full skirts and dresses need ironing, because a full skirt is double the material as if fat girls didn’t already have more surface area to cover. I hate ironing. I hate it when it twists ankles. I hate sneaky clothing that wrinkles easily and just doesn’t look right until you take an iron to it. I hate unfriendly fabric. I hate wrinkles. I HATE IRONING.

Of all the womanly duties our mothers were supposed to teach us in order to be good wives, ironing has to be my least favourite after dry. foreplay-less missionary sex in the dark. We live in the future. We have fabrics that remove odour, charge your electronics, glow in the dark, gives you hugs from the internet and MORE – yet fabric that smooths itself is out of reach. Yeah, there’s “permanent press” stuff for business wear, but MY business wear happens to include an olive green dress with lace and ruffles – where are MY permanent press options? Not everyone drapes themselves in polyester pantsuits every damn day. STOP REPRESSING ME!

damnit!

OW

Shocking news out of East Vancouver this evening as a local woman discovered that dropping a camera on your toes hurts like a motherfucker. The victim (who has asked not to be named) dropped the camera this evening around 9:45pm, and immediately after was heard to yell “FUCK FUCK FUCK THAT HURTS JESUS CHRIST IN A PICKLE SUIT”, which we understand did little to relieve the pain. At press time, the East Vancouver psudeo-hipster was limping around her office pitifully, thinking about having another Diet Coke to soothe her wounded ego and toes.

because THIS obviously needs more goddamn damage

hipster art

Truth be told, I’m a pretty lousy hipster. I don’t drink, so you’ll never catch me drinking an ironic PBR. All pants are stupid, let alone skinny jeans – the few times I was tempted to try on a pair I wanted to punch myself – and my glasses are much more sassy 1950’s librarian than detached aloof rectangle. I’ve never worn a pork pie hat, I really hate scarves with fringes on them, and my nerd style isn’t a style at all – I really am a nerd. I have an assortment of Lomo cameras but I never use them because I don’t have the patience for film (technology is AWESOME), and right now the biggest pain in my ass (other than my perpetual unemployment) is that I can’t play an old video game because the backwards compatibility needed to play it on my Xbox 360 is broken. I jokingly refer to myself and my friends as hipsters, but the fact is I’m about as much a hipster as I am a yuppie or SAHM or African-American haberdasher.

Since I’ve accepted that I’m not a true hipster, I decided I wanted to do something fun with my Lomo camera gear. At first I thought I would hang them from a mobile in my Lady Cave, but I realized that a) they’re too heavy for the mobile I have and b) I don’t have enough of them to make a decent display. I do have a lot of stuff thought, so I rummaged around in my many Boxes of Fun then spent the evening madly crafting on my floor. The end result was this:

it's art, damnit

dirty diana(s)

crazy compact chrome camera is cool; confusing

It’s a mobile made out of 20% Lomo keychains, my unused set of Holga filters, and embroidery thread.

I may not USE Lomo cameras, but I love how they look. When we were in London, we visited the Lomo shop just off Carnaby Street and drooled appropriately. Part of the reason I don’t Lomo is because I really can’t afford it – so instead of buying a camera or twelve I opted to buy a set of charms. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them (if I carried every single awesome charm/keychain I own, I’d have to tote a suitcase around), but I love tiny things AND souvenirs so they came home with me and now they’re dangling from my ceiling. Hooray!

Making art is fun (and, according to my therapist, a very good idea so I don’t go crazier).

it was either this or gluing my cameras to the ceiling

 

87% rage

I’m not really sure which was worse: being asked to take a test to prove my my Microsoft Office abilities, or the fact that I didn’t score 100% on it.

I have a meet n’ greet (I’m awesome at lining up not-interviews) with a recruiter today, and I was asked to take an online test before the appointment. I admit that I spent the majority of last night foaming at the mouth in pure indignant rage over this, because it was really quite ridiculous (and insulting) – open this document. Bold this text. Change the font size to 16; print the file.

I’ve been a tech writer for a million years. I regularly pull Word-based trickery out of my ass; making it do things it wasn’t intended to do. I’ve built documents and spreadsheets so complicated it crashed the program. I’ve worked for a lot of really cheap companies that wouldn’t spring for any “specialty” software; I taught myself to make do using Word and Excel in place of Visio, Photoshop, Infopath, Robohelp, and more – and you want me to prove I know how to OPEN A FILE?

To add insult to injury, I then had to take a TYPING TEST.

I’d understand this whole testing process if I was applying for entry-level jobs as an office assistant or basic office temp – but I’m NOT. I’m in the middle of my career, and I’d hope I’m past the point where I know how to do the most basic of computer functions. It was just .. infuriating. I was very, very angry. Whether that anger is justified is another question entirely, as I know I have a tendency to explode and overreact when asked to do things I see as a massive waste of time and .. well, let’s be honest: beneath me. It’s not that I think I’m so high and mighty that I’m above following the rules; it’s that even a quick glance at my resume should tell you that I am way, way past the skill level these tests are aimed at. I have a huge chip on my shoulder with regards to being as a mere administrator – I DID my time in the trenches. I worked as an admin assistant for years, and worked hard to move beyond it because I was bored. I know this is more about me and my quirks than it is the stupid test, but nothing gets my back up faster than people dismissing my work as “making things look pretty” as opposed to something requiring actual brains and skill.

Also, the test was a huge joke that made me look bad: I scored 87% on Outlook and Excel, 93% on Word, 97% on PowerPoint, and 64wpm in the typing test. In every test but Excel I should have received 100%; I did what was asked but via a different method than the Only Correct Answer (just like in the real word). The test site wasn’t Mac friendly, so I had to dig out (seriously, there was an archaeology dig involved) an ancient laptop running XP with a keyboard I LOATHE because the keys are in the wrong places and the tracking pad likes to insert my cursor in previous paragraphs without warning. I type a hell of a lot faster than 64wpm (it’s almost double that when I’m mad, and boy was I mad last night), but I’m on an unfamiliar machine using an outdated OS being tested on an old version of a program I mastered in 1995 and have used daily since then – and the site was broken; 2-3 minutes of “loading” would happen between each of the 120 questions I answered so it took way, way longer than it should have (and I seethed every goddamn second).

Apparently sleep did little to quell my rage – and now I have to go make nice.

Deeeeeeep breaths.

Here we go.

gravity: 1, kimli: 0

I’ve had Lola for almost three years, and I’ve always wondered what would happen if I dropped her. Lola is a masterful feat of Italian designed (and likely Chinese built) ingenuity, and a lot of her price tag came from the fact that she’s mostly made of actual metal. In contrast, both Oscar and Sally were 95% plastic and if (when) I dropped them, I could easily wrestle the scooter upright again. Lola is in another class altogether, and I worried that should she fall over I’d be unable to pick her up.

Turns out my fears were entirely grounded in reality: Lola weighs a million pounds (okay, 350 pounds) and I absolutely can’t get her into an upright position on my own. However, I also now know what would happen if I dropped her: a big burly man with a big burly moustache would step out of his big burly pickup truck to help me pick Lola up!

I dropped Lola today, for the first time ever. I am seriously bummed out about it, because she was pristine before this afternoon and now she has ugly scratches on her right side. I know things could have easily been a lot worse, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to curse my own stupidity (more on that in a second) and feel sorry for myself (and Lola).

I’m also likely going to be really fucking sore tomorrow.

See, I didn’t so much as drop Lola as I did completely fall off of her. Luckily, I wasn’t moving at the time (my relationship with gravity is an abusive one at best) and the damage is relatively minor; confined to her lower side bumper (and on the only piece of her body made out of plastic). I also made it 32 months with the Vespa before I had an incident – my first crash on Sally happened 13 months in (wet leaves), and I banged up Oscar but good on Day 6 (tipped over trying to turn around on a hill, slid down it). Getting a little banged up in almost inevitable, and I should be at least pleased that it was an incredibly minor event that didn’t hurt all that much. And I will be, later. Right now: pouting. Lots and lots of pouting.

So, what caused the fall? Nothing major: just my being really, really stupid and cocky and bad with measurements – you know, the usual.

Most of the time, I’m smart. I’ve finally learned to acknowledge that what I usually dismiss as “I just have a way with xyz” is actually some pretty serious intelligence on my part, and the reason I pick things up a lot faster than those around me. It’s a nice feeling; admitting something good about yourself – I’ve never really done it before, out of fear of seeming egotistical or in love with myself.

Of course, there’s another side to my smarts that quickly quashes any sort of ego that might arise: the side that does things so incredibly stupid that you wonder how I manage to get from A to B without a government-appointed handler.

See if you can spot the problem here:

big mirror is really, really big

no worries, i'll just turn it sideways!

It was a gorgeous afternoon, so I hopped on Lola and went for a ride. I decided to go to Ikea so I could pick up the mirror I wanted for my Lady Cave – I knew it was pretty big, but I was confident it would fit. After all, I’ve ridden home with lamps, moving boxes, 40lb bags of cat food – how hard could it be? I enjoyed a glorious ride out to Coquitlam, had some meatballs for lunch, then bought my mirror. Hooray!

Then I ran into a problem.

I knew the mirror was a hair under three feet high, but for some reason (possibly sheer stubbornness) decided to ignore my limitations and charge forward. I had no rope, no bungee cords, and nothing big enough to make this work – there was nothing to do but try. What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, I could fall off the damn scooter, for one.

The entire time I was trying to make this work, the aforementioned big burly man was watching me from the bumper of his truck and laughing. It really, really didn’t help matters that he was wearing a Harley Davidson shirt and biker boots, meaning he was either a poser or far more likely, a biker who would never do something so stupid. Still, he did give me a hand when I fell off Lola. After he drove off, I inspected the damage:

:(

Shiiiiiit. I had fucked up my scooter, leaked a bunch of fluid, and I STILL don’t know how I’m going to get home. I didn’t want to call for help (because that would have been the smart thing to do), so I went ahead with plan C: removing the packaging to see if the mirror would fit sideways in the bag:

take THAT, laws of time and space

I rode home like this; a precarious and ridiculous sight all the way down Lougheed. I made it back in one piece, and so did the mirror. It took some bumps and bruises to get here, but I triumphed over my own stupidity .. and now I have a giant mirror for my Lady Cave. Success! Sort of. My foot hurts, where I landed on it.

It’s a good thing I’m pretty.

 

i am gross

I might be too depressed to shower, but it’s equally likely (if not more so) that I am just lazy. I haven’t showered in TWO DAYS and am generally a giant mess – it may not sound like much to you, but I am usually dressed quite well and I always smell great. I’m the girl who shows up to breakfast at 9am the morning after the party looking like I just slept for 12 hours on a bed of feathers and marshmallow fluff with winged infants flapping a gentle breeze across my brow. My friends routinely comment on my varying levels of fanciness, from the “hey you look nice today” to “so what time are you meeting the queen?”. Right now, I am not fancy. By my standards, I am disgusting. Once many years ago Ed was without a job and he managed to go 7 days without showering or getting dressed – I am not that strong (or gross). The only thing keeping me from having a shower right now and getting dressed as though I were going to buy and sell people like toilet paper is the fact my bathroom has once again been hotboxed courtesy of the people downstairs (and it’s almost 1am and Ed’s asleep). Tomorrow, though. Tomorrow I will wake up, have a thorough shower, and put on clothing that does not have to be tied around my waist so that I am not in danger of tripping over myself and falling down. I will shave my regions, and I will put on a skirt. I may even put on a petticoat – if I’m going through the trouble, I might as well go all the way. I don’t have any plans for the day other than my usual job hunting duties, but I will pry myself out of the house and go somewhere. I don’t know where. Maybe across the street; maybe to Surrey (just kidding). I am tired of being at home, looking greasy, feeling sorry for myself, and staring at the internet: tomorrow I will pretend I have a purpose (outside of monitoring Twitter all day long).

Honestly, I don’t THINK I’m any more depressed than usual. My therapist likes making me Rate My Crazy on a scale of one to ten (one being I am the best I’ve ever been and exude a trail of glitter everywhere I go; ten being too depressed to shit out sparkle one), and these days I tend to hover around a 4/5 – things could be better, but I keep on keepin’ on. Maybe I’d put myself at a 6 right now, because I am increasingly convinced that I will never find a job because no one responds to any of my emails or applications (except that one guy who was so moved by my lack of skill he felt he had to shut me down immediately). I’m stressing out a little – and I’m bored out of my friggin’ mind – but I don’t think it’s the reason I’ve let myself fester in my own crapulence like this. I think I’m just really lazy. It was fun while it lasted, and now I know the limit of enjoying my own filth (2 days is too many days) so tomorrow I will clean myself up and go outside. I need an adventure. And more Diet Coke.

Wow – I was looking around for an image to post here, and ended up doing a search for myself. Apparently, some French website wrote an article on HIV and used one of my swabbing photos from Flickr. Awesome! My name is also on some Justin Bieber fan art site, because of the masks I made in ’10 for Northern Voice. How awkward for me!

Tomorrow will be a good day.

Or else.

not like the others

We’re so close to being done I can almost taste the floor! The Lady Cave needs a couple pictures hung and more secret unicorns, and it’s ready for the Office Warming Party; the living room needs to be emptied of all donative goods (and someone to take the damn excess furniture) and we’re FINISHED. For now. We’re already talking paint and accent colours, which is terribly exciting – we always have Grand Plans for paint but never seem to actually get it done, and then there’s just too much stuff in the way. Almost every trace of my existence is gone from the living room, which means it’ll be so much easier to paint – especially when you consider my former corner will soon be utterly naked and ripe for dazzling colours.

The shelf I built on Monday is now in place, and we loaded it up with our books. I purged several boxes worth of literary goodness, yet my collection still took up more than four of the 5 shelves on the new enormous unit (not to mention the “special” books that hold a place of honour on in my Lady Cave). The bookcase itself is very nice, but it looks very haphazard in the bedroom because none of my books are the same size. Ed’s books are all trade paperbacks and graphic novels, and neatly stack in two rows along the top shelf. Me, not so much:

boooooooks.

If I don’t get a job soon, I’m going to end up sitting in front of the shelf and attempting to arrange all my books by height. I’m a creature of organized chaos, and this makes me twitch if I stare at it too long – there must be order! Everything must line up!

While I was carting armful after armful of books from one room to another, I was struck by the glaring difference in our reading tastes. For example, Ed’s books have titles like The Fallen Fortress and Council of Blades and Song of the Saurials – basically, his entire shelf is a tribute to Forgotten Realms, D&D and emo dark elves with pocket cats and daddy issues.

On the other hand, my books have titles like Cunt, The Vulgar Tongue, The Complete Manual of Things that Will Kill You, and Anne of Green Gables. There’s also half a shelf dedicated to lesbian erotica, a whole series on word origins and grammar, and an equal measure of books on survival (zombie apocalypse, lost in the woods, dragon attack) and ways I could die in the next fifteen seconds. As much as Ed is all about high fantasy and leather jerkins, I am about sex, words, and my own mortality – we make a good pair.

Once the 2012 House Reshuffling is done, I plan to take up knitting again and grow my nails out so I can make them plaid. And hopefully get a job. I would really enjoy  a job.

these are my "special" books (they're in a separate room because Ed was tired of my trying to make him gay by osmosis - apparently, sleeping on top of the Big Penis Book was uncomfortable)