The Long Journey Home

It’s been nearly a year since I posted a blog post. That’s not to say the 20+ posts in Drafts doesn’t mean I didn’t want to say something. I wanted to talk about what happened with my guild, the one that fell apart, which, for the most part has just sort of blown over and no one really remembers much of it anyway. I wrote multiple posts about Con Creepers after Blizzcon last year, but never published those either.I want to blog about things, and games, and stuff. I want to talk about things that are important to me. I just feel like it’s almost not worth the effort. Or, I should say, I’ve convinced myself it’s not worth the effort.

I was thinking about it tonight, as I was getting friendly advice on twitter (from a multitude of people), trying to figure out why I got so self-conscious about my writing. What was the moment when it seemed to matter the most to me. When did I start to care what folks thought about me. It dawned on me, as I was standing there staring into my closet looking for something to sleep in.

I know exactly when it was. It was right about the time when the internet turned on me and I had to face a small army of misogynistic assholes (trigger warning on the link: harassment, misogyny, rape jokes) who were asked by their shitty leader (who now goes by an entirely different name these days) to harass me. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to get this from folks on a daily basis. And the worst part is that I don’t even give a shit about what people think of me! I don’t need to please everyone and I certainly don’t need everyone to like me, but it was the way in which they banded together, I guess, to “fight against their common enemy”. Namely, me. It was the idea that my blog, being a gaming World of Warcraft blog, was something worth mocking.

The comments that are hidden from view because this guy felt he deserved, no had a right, to comment on my blog and have them be posted publicly for everyone to read. He attacked my humanity. He attacked my hobbies. He attacked gamers and gaming. He attacked those identifiers that are part of who I am. It was more than just harsh words and criticisms, at least at the time.

My roommate (and ex-boyfriend) brushed it off. Told me I shouldn’t let it get to me. I shouldn’t care, because in the grand scheme of things, that guy and his followers didn’t matter. He was right, of course, that ex of mine. It just didn’t stop it from bothering me. And it certainly didn’t stop it from bothering me to the point that I simply limited what I was writing about on the internet. If I don’t say it, it can’t be used against me, right?

In the end, though, he won. He silenced another woman on the internet. So for 2 years, I’ve written posts that I never published. I wrote about things that mattered to me, but didn’t share them with anyone. I wrote and re-wrote but the time was wasted since I never posted them. I talk about writing and I am encouraged to write, by my friends closest to me and even seeming strangers, but I still seem to convince myself not to bother.

Will this be the start of a different trend?? I don’t know. I’ll see. For now, I just really wanted to see something different on my blog. ;)

My new obsession: Animal Crossing New Leaf

AnimalCrossing_Logo

Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I admit that I have a serious obsession with Animal Crossing. I’ve logged countless hours in the month or so since it’s North American release. Twitter blew up with picture sharing and tweets about stuff going on in their respective towns. People created designs, leaving them on display in towns where they’ve visited. 3DS friend codes filled my timeline as people shared between them (Nintendo has made it so you have to mutually share friend codes before you can be friends). For those first few weeks that’s all everyone was talking about. While it certainly feels like some of the initial buzz has worn off and people have started to find their own Animal Crossing groove, I’m still spending countless hours playing.

In the process of playing I keep thinking “I should blog about that”, especially when I’ve learned something new about the game and had myself an epiphany moment. I feel like though there are a lot of sources of information for ACNL, there is still a lot of stuff that never gets talked about for some reason or another. The simple things that most people assume you already know when you’re picking up the game for the first time. Not everything I want to write about is for the beginner, but at least here are a few tips for those just starting out (or not that far into the game so you can easily start again without losing very much).

Deciding on your face.
I didn’t realize that the way you answered Rover’s questions changed the way you looked once you arrived into town. This is a good guide to tell you how to answer the initial questions in order to ensure you’re happy with the way you look! Keep in mind that you will eventually unlock Shampoodle and can change your hairstyle, hair color, and even eye color pretty easily, however, you won’t be able to change the shape of your eyes. The start of the game is the only time you can choose that, so choose wisely.

eyes

Layout of your town.
maplayoutWhen you’re chatting with Rover on the train, you get 4 town maps to choose from. When I started the game again I had learned from my previous mistakes. I ensured that everything was fairly close to each other to minimize the amount of downtime running around. Re-Tail (the store inside of your town) buys your items for significantly higher

than any of the stores on Main Street, which means you should be selling there almost always. In my original game I built my house at a southwestern point, with Re-Tail and my Town Center across a bridge northeast. When I started my second game (don’t even ask, I’ll get into this later) I made sure that Re-Tail, the train station, my Town Center, and my house were all close together on the map (I restarted the game over and over again until I got it the way I wanted). This made life SO much easier (even before I had my 3 bridges built).

First Perfect Fruit.perfectfruit
I’ve played Animal Crossing before, but I don’t remember “perfect fruit”. As I was shaking down my trees (like a town mayor does!), gathering up all my pears (my native fruit), I inevitably sold that first perfect pear to Reese. Don’t do this. Getting a random perfect fruit later is significantly harder than planting that first one and creating a small forest of perfect fruit trees. You can only have perfect fruit trees of your native fruit, but planting that first perfect fruit will yield a tree of 3 perfect fruit. I’d suggest planting you first perfect fruit tree close to your house, but away from an open area. Over the course of a few days you’ll get new villager at a rate of 1/day until you have 8-ish. They don’t care what’s in the way or what type of tree it is, so putting the trees somewhere where a building can’t be constructed is perfect to make sure that it doesn’t get destroyed.

In my 2nd game, I put my house as close to the train tracks as Isabelle would let me. This game me enough space to plant my perfect apple trees behind my house. No space for villagers moving in to build their homes, my perfect apple trees were safe. I still, however, haven’t managed to get a perfect pear in TARDIS (Hestiah’s town). After so many shakedowns, perfect fruit trees eventually go away, but if you’ve managed to get yourself a small orchard of perfect fruit, stash some in your home somewhere. This brings me to…

Stacking fruit.
I bought my games digitally, so I paid almost no attention to the manual that’s usually a little paper booklet. I didn’t know you could open your inventory (X) and drag fruit onto each other, stacking up to 9. Harvesting fruit will take less time since you’re not running back and forth every 16 pieces of fruit.

Storage.
lockers
Re-Tail sells a locker at the start of every game. Any sort of “storage” piece of furniture (drawers, doors, etc) is basically having an Animal Crossing bank. Stack of fruit placed in the bank don’t rot. This also goes for flowers and saplings. You can also access your ACNL bank by hitting up the lockers in your train station, if you want to wait until you get something that’s not a gross gym locker to put in your home. This is accessible from any town you visit and is great to take advantage of if you’ve got the hook-up on amazing turnip prices in someone else’s town.

Now you can stash some perfect fruits in there and save them for when the trees eventually disappear.

Cataloging items.
Thanks to @thinkwhatwows, I found out that you can catalog items and music that you can order later from Timmy and Tommy Nook (once your store is upgraded to allow for catalog ordering). Doing this requires a little bit of planning.While you can move your furniture around with your gates open and guests are visiting your town, you can’t move your furniture while you have guests inside your house. You can’t, however, pick up music to allow friends to catalog while your gates are open. Otherwise, this is a very easy way for your friends to get access to items for themselves.

So those are the tips I have for now! I’ll probably try blogging about more things with regard to Animal Crossing coming up. Most of all, enjoy your time in your game.

The Big(ger) Picture

When thinking of the big picture, there’s so much that comes to mind for me. Especially because there’s been a lot of stuff going on with the guild, with my life, with recruitment, with friendships, with everything and I’m not always flawless at keeping the lines drawn between all of these things. Every now and again there’s a small thing that comes up and I take the opportunity to seize it. But I’m editorializing, or some such.

The internet at large knows that I am a feminist. I’m not only a feminist, but I’m someone who continues to have conversations about what my experiences have been like, and the stories that have been told to me. I talk about why it’s still a problem and engage in conversations about how and why it should be better. When Brianna Melina sent me a tweet some 30-ish hours ago, I was fielding her request in the same way I do with a lot of random people who tweet me out of the blue. Shifty eyes and a sideways glance. She asked me to do a survey for a research project. She admitted that she wasn’t a bot soliciting anything and just an exhausted graduate student. So I went through and read all the stuff on her survey. And then I proceeded to take the survey. It took me roughly a half hour, but I completely and entirely admit that I was leveling my little teeny gnome DK at the time (or running around bitching and moaning about blacksmithing materials at least).

What came next is still something that floors me. I am in awe of the internet. As much as I hate trolls and people who intentionally grief others. As much as I hate how easy it is to spread hate and be vile and be malicious toward other people. As much as I hate how the internet is a tool for fuckwits and asshats to band together and be a bigger group of fuckwits and asshats, I have to admit that this time it left me pretty in awe of its power.

I’ve seen it happen in the past. I watched the internet devour people like festering rats. I’ve watched it seek out their prey and stalk and kill them, online in virtual space. I’ve seen them chase good people off the internet. I’ve watched as the masses of misogynistic men chase feminist after feminist into hiding out of fear, after countless rape, violence, and death threats are tossed their way. This is a different kind of viral, though.

Over the last 30 hours I’ve watched my one tweet spread across the internet. I’ve watched as people ask me questions (at which point I kindly point them to Brianna’s twitter account). I explain that while it wasn’t intentional to not include her in the initial tweet (and oversight), I never once let people believe it was my research project. But when good questions came through, such as whether a transgendered woman could participate or if it included tabletop games or specifically video games, I let them know that I would let Brianna know and she would be the one to answer the question.

Never have I seen a tweet of mine be sent all over the internet like that. I know it’s done. I know it happens. I see the favorites rack up for Nathan Fillion’s tweets, Wil Wheaton’s tweets, or Felicia Day’s tweets. It never occurred to me that it would be a tweet I wrote that went across the globe. It made me wish I had a way to track the degrees of separation the tweet traveled. Who did you get it from and who saw it from your retweet, that sort of thing. 695 retweets (as of writing this).

Brianna has since posted an update and the number of responses she’s gotten has been astounding! And I continue to get Tweetbot notifications that it’s being retweeted.

The conversation is still being had out there. It’s still one that women are wanting to discuss, either openly or behind anonymity. It’s one that continues to be had across the internet. I know that I have a good number of followers in the WoW community on twitter. I try hard to stay engaged in conversations and make lasting friendships with people. I care about the people I talk to and get to know on a weirdly personal level. I’m sad when I lose friendships and I rejoice in the milestones of others. I make gifts for folks. I buy things from others. I share aspects of myself and my life on twitter. I am a real person there, as are many, MANY other people. The influx of new followers (over 30! holy crap!) is leaving me feeling a little bit scared and camera shy, so to speak.

When I posted that initial tweet I expected it to be retweeted probably 10-15 times and I might get Brianna 10-20 responses. I never, in my wildest dreams, expected her to get over 1500 responses from all over the world. To get strangers asking me questions and letting me know they were interested in the research. Research I now wish I could be a more active part of, because damn, how awesome is it going to be to run statistical analysis on the answers!

I had never gotten a tweet from her before and on the one hand I’m apologetic to her for the attention she’s getting as a result of the one tweet. On the other hand I know that the more responses she gets, the better her data will be, so I’m glad to have been a part of it.

If you haven’t had a chance to take the survey, considering doing so. There’s only a few stipulations. You need to identify as a woman and be 25 years or older.