20 Things Women Do…

20 Things Women Do...

Recently I saw a picture that was of 20 Things Men Do That Women Don’t Know About. Oddly enough I knew about pretty much of all of them, so it ended up not being as funny as it could have. Here’s my not-so-funny reverse.

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To be colour blind

Here I reblog an outstandingly insightful piece that really made me consider how fortunate it is not just to be colour blind but to live in a country where that is the norm.
Having spent most of my youth in Scotland and only summers in the U.S., I am more accustomed to people being outspokenly appalled in the face of immortality like racism than I am to the kind of separation S.K describes.

I Am Not a Black Woman: One White Woman’s Perspective on the Progress We Have Made Regarding Racism and Seeing Color.

But I did see it. I have seen both norms.

I recall a train ride I once took to Edinburgh when I was a young teenager. I used to travel through to the capital every December- my friends and I made it a Christmas ritual to go to the German market held there in winter. What I witnessed was an incident that made me consider that violence isn’t always physical and neither is it always wrong. One of the Scottish imperatives that we are famous for is aggression, which actually can be useful in the right time and place. Our answer to a man trying to bomb our main airport gate was for an ordinary (slightly dim witted) civilian to grab him, head butt him and restrain him. We don’t consider the civilian an extraordinary hero, only a banal one. What he did was considered the right thing to do and also perfectly predictable. The Scottish answer to immorality is swift aggression, decisive violence, and concluding indifference; no pride for having done something within the grey-area and no shame at having hurt another human being either. We consider it as if they brought it upon themselves by being immoral and so they suffer the social consequences. In Canada similar situations have led to lawsuits and by any moral standard the person in the right still ends up getting sued for resorting to less than polite means. A while back I remember a story that hit the media from Canada about a man who had defended a young boy from a beating by his father, and in so doing hit the father. After police arrived the defender was arrested, the boy was left with his abusive father and later the defender was sued. Brits aren’t fond of suing others or of child beaters, so a story like that is far more unusual to us.

What I saw was an African man speaking on the phone and then be cajoled by a young jumped up NED (non-educated delinquent, aka Chav) as if he were speaking too loudly. When I say he was African I don’t mean descendant; he actually had a thick accent and was speaking in a different language. Understandably talking loudly on the phone in public can be irritating, and had this fellow been loud I think it less likely that he would have been defended. It stood in his favor that actually he was barely audible, the NED had a certain distasteful swagger about they way he got onto the train and put his feet on the seats, and he actually associated calling someone black with a curse word. I don’t think saying that someone is black is inherently wrong, it’s just when you know it’s been used with other terms that imply inferiority in some way. So this twat leans forward across the aisle to the African guy and says, “shut-up ye black bastard; no one wants to listen to that gobbledygook racket!” The swagger in his voice, the ownership of cursing race and not just the man, the implication that somehow the gentleman’s language was nonsense and inferior instilled absolute silence in the carriage. The African’s voice hadn’t reached all of them, but the trumped up NED’s did. So, the gentleman said something to his friend on the phone to close the conversation, but when he hung up it was clear from his expression he didn’t know what to say or do. He was the only black man in that carriage- could he be sure to be protected if an altercation broke out? If I hadn’t been 13 and timid I would hope that I would have been the one to get up and say something. Thankfully there was another banal hero on the train. This big burly white guy- very Scottish with red hair, and blue eyes- gets up from a few seats down and comes right up close to the NED. In a thick Scottish accent he tells him that he’s wrong, “naw wee man. It’s you that should keep yer mouth shut if that’s the kind of racist crap ye want te come out wi’.” Being full of swagger, the young guy did push back. He shoved the burly guy away from him and got up. But Big Burly guy had friends. When the conductor got to the carriage the ‘wee man’ was already restrained and the conductor okayed putting him off the train at the next station. I remember seeing the African gentleman’s face afterward. He was in total shock and Big Burly on his way back to his seat said something to the effect that he was sorry he had had to go through that and promised that that had not been acceptable. He wished the remainder of his stay in Scotland to be more pleasant.
So small audience- was that freedom of speech? Unacceptable violence? Does the acceptance of violence have the potential to go wrong? When there are no clear sides of right and wrong what should we do? Leave it to the law; the forever black and white law that isn’t entirely capable of dealing with grey matters? And the situation I’ve described would have been a clear win for the African man even in the eyes of law, but would it be as effective? The aftermath of the comment if no one had done anything would have meant that either the gentleman would have had to sit there uncomfortable and still an open target, move to the next carriage and then the person in the wrong would have won, or he may have ended up saying something to defend himself that would have ended in direct altercation and physical damage to himself. What I ask you is, do we not use our own freedom of speech to stand up for others as a consequence to others socially unacceptable use of it? In America, that NED would have had every right to say whatever he liked and so would be free of any persecution by the law. But should that also mean that he is free from social persecution? “If people carry on like that, they’ll get their comeuppance in the end,” only if we act. Only if we actually use our freedom of speech to enact that comeuppance. Should you not wish to put yourself in danger to protect someone else then I’m not sure you know what it is that’s worth getting hurt for. Of all the things where I would put my own safety last it would be in the face of racism or classism.

I leave you with one more anecdote, and this is to disillude those that might think that I can’t understand what it would be like to live in America. There have been racist individuals on youtube who have called me out and said that I can’t possibly know why separation is better for everyone’s safety, because I live in a country that’s mostly white. BS.
On a flight to America (why this always happens en route to somewhere I don’t know) when I was about 7-years-old I distinctly remember an incident between my Mum and an older white woman who was appalled that I had a black baby doll. The woman wanted to know why my mother would have given me such a thing. I wish I could remember Mama’s comment verbatim but I don’t. It was something like, “why shouldn’t she have a black doll if it’s just as possible that she might have a black baby when she’s older?” The responding comment was racially charged and spoke of not mixing race and also, not adopting another race. Mama must have decided it wasn’t worth the argument and just ignored her after that. What I distinctly remember though, is that this was the first thing I’d ever heard that didn’t immediately make sense. I must have believed that it perfectly possible for black couples to give birth to white children, and white couples to give birth to black children. Clearly I had no grasp of genetics whatsoever. I chose that baby doll myself in the shop- to me at the time the white ones looked kind of ugly.

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Google–> images–> atari breakout. Enjoy.

On talking about gaming I can’t help but realise I’m one of these casual gamers. And yet this post may have references you don’t get.
A lot of critics can’t help but dislike games like candy crush and bejeweled. They will often sing the merits of having more people into gaming because of the legitimacy it brings to the gaming community. The view of these people is no longer of teenage boys and middle aged men living in their parent’s basement. Families have nintendo wiis sitting by their television (unused in my family now that we have them, but there you go), they play at the arcades when on holiday and yes, the games like candy crush and farmville are ridiculously popular on social networks. I say ridiculous with reason. About 100 million people were logging into candy crush at it’s height and it was bringing in a couple of million in cash everyday. Everyday! Of all the games to pour your money into.
Of course iphones and smart phones being as popular as they are adds to this with platform gaming- if Metro can make a platform game about safety next to trains and people play it [dumbwaystodie.com], then gaming has even become a type of marketing… Forget having to market the games in the first place- they kind of do it themselves by being so enjoyable and accessible.

So… marketing… that’s a thing. When game design companies like EA were young they were run by creative young minds who wanted to raise gaming to the level of respect and understanding that story art such as paintings, books and movies have. They had a vision of interactive art that could not only entertain us but also immerse us into a world of escape. Instead of having to imagine characters and scenarios by their description they would be brought before you like a movie- but unlike a script or plot the saga is flexible and pliable to the story you would like to see played out. We’ll leave that kind of gaming to Bioware these days but I’m off topic.
When gaming popularity started to grow with the accessibility of computers and 80’s technology it was inevitable that the game companies would eventually want a sense of direction. They wanted to understand their audience and provide for that audience as any good artist would. It was of course in part with money making in mind, but also about demand and supply. There is a fulfilment level in an artist that can only be gotten by others appreciating their creations. That’s all fine. What these companies did was market research. The results from these projects would go on to drive the industry into the saturated crap we have today. As I’ve tried to point out it was only with good intention and who’s to say saturation is bad? … Necessarily…?
The results showed that boys made up a greater percentage of the market. So of course- make games that appeal to boys and make money, yay! What I would question is whether they really thought that the only kind of games that would appeal to boys were ones where you shoot continuously. Whenever I play these modern shooter games I am constantly in a state of paranoia. And that is mainly because I am very easily immersed in a story or frame of reference. I play minecraft, and there was this one time… OKay, story reference that only a few people will understand. I was flattening a piece of land to build on and I was about to dig away the last grass tufted block of dirt. I was so immersed in playing the game and my eyes so blinded by not having blinked in 5 minutes that I didn’t notice that behind this block of green was a different shade of green. I dug the dirt block up and threw the keyboard away from me so hard into the wall you would have thought that the creeper had actually come out of the screen and started sizzling irl. So can you imagine what I would be like in combat? On edge doesn’t even come close.
The lack of marketing to girls in the beginning now means that games that do try to grab onto this underrepresented sector are way off the mark. They came up with shiney, colourful puzzle games that are connected to social media based on the presumption that girls are more driven by emotional ties to their social groups. The games are also coded childs-play even though I would hope the kind of age level they seem to be marketing too wouldn’t have facebook pages. Then again, old classmates of mine do have pages for their newborn babies. All the gamer girls I have ever talked to don’t need the game to be MMO to like it. What they like is Role Playing Games (referred to as an abbreviation), which when you think about it runs from that same emotional basis. Getting to live out a story that’s not your own to see what it feels like? Sounds about right. Then of course it has to be concluded that there doesn’t need to be gender orientated marketing at all. Males are just as into RPGs as females. And guess what games industry? Girls play shooter games too. Shock horror.

Not me of course. I happen to steer towards the very games I am describing as being thought of as casual games. It isn’t that the marketing worked on me nor that I was brainwashed. I just like simple puzzles where the game is set from the outset, and then I don’t have to interact with other people or even fake people; even the artificially intelligent characters don’t interest me. Recently I watched a vlog by MovieBob on the Escapist website called ‘Pink is not the problem’. He talks about the fact that girls shouldn’t be ashamed of liking things that are coded feminine, just as boys shouldn’t be ashamed of it either. In truth people shouldn’t be coding things male or female in the first place. But while we wait for the knuckleheads in the industry to catch up with that fact we should just like what we like, and allow ourselves to be entertained that our lives might be enriched.
I get it… my life is not gonna be enriched by the monotonous games that I like- tetris, bejeweled, solitaire, breakout etc. The gaming critics would cringe that I would pour so much of my time into these games. In fact, me playing these games at the speed I do and as often as I do is probably a sign that I’m putting so much else off. I’m procrastinating away a depressed state. But do you know what? At least it offers me that coping mechanism.
Now please go enjoy the quirks of Google like celebrities bacon numbers and ‘do a barrel role’ or atari’s ‘breakout’.

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The art of moving away from less important things

So we have all seen it. Todays culture loves geekdom.
The millennium hit and all of a sudden it was cool to try out the fashions from previous generations rather than progress from the fashion of the decade before. The perception of style in the 50s, for example, was tweed suits and brogues. That’s a generalisation that current fashion lionizes. The 60s was about bringing colour into similar classic, simple shapes and cuts of cloth… and then bringing up the edge of your skirt until by 1969 it was just below your backside. The 70s was about being natural (hippy) and the prints were of flowers and the fabric was loose about the body. The 80s wanted a disco party with class and sharpness although toward the end of that decade it was about showing your belly button and letting the hair you grew out naturally in the 70s be put up and fixed out at all kinds of angles. The 90s was like we’d found our groove and the fabric could look any which way but was a natural progression from the 80s and 70s- it fitted loosely, was brightly coloured, sometimes showed a lot of skin. In the grunge subculture of that decade the mop of hair could cover up your face, while the colour was faded out and the bagginess hid you.
All of this was defined by the artists of the time and was all progression forward. Now? Now we’re always looking back. During the day people are pulling out the scholarly look with their tweed, brogues, satchels and solid rim glasses. At night the girls pull out the disco and the boys with their mod-like skinny jeans. During the summer there’s lot of flowing materials and flower prints from the days of ‘make love, not war’- although I don’t see many of them protesting the many wars we’re “not in” out in the middle east where we drop missiles from machines that are like the remote control helicopters boys used to get at Christmas. I digress.
I describe all this to you, because I’d like to bring up some similar trends in the gaming industry. And kind of the movie industry too. I feel it will be easier to see that the behaviour I’m pointing to is running through most of current culture and isn’t just an isolated field.
If at all you are what people describe as a gamer you will no doubt be someone who is aware of the game critic sites throughout the internet- blogs and vlogs alike. If not then I know that the majority of internet goers who will read this… probably have a facebook account and will surely know about Farmville. Well, a lot of game critics are making a fuss about what games we should and should not like. They believe that although being a casual gamer helps the portrayal of gamers as a whole, it is having a cost on the type of games that are successful. The production of (please forgive the pun) game changing games these days is done by independent creators- what we call the indie game designers. These folks are doing this work on the side of other day jobs because they aren’t funded, and so updates are slow. When they aren’t working and programming they are funded by kickstarter campaigns: the problem with that being that not all of these people can deliver what they promise, but of course the audience has already given their money up to them.
The games that are being made by big companies have been irreparably hindered by gaming history with successes of war shooter games having been so successful that money makers are vainly hoping that if they repeat the same thing over and over again people will continue to give up their hard-earned cash to them. And people do. It’s kind of disheartening to see. What I see is creativity held back by economic hardship. I see money being made by conservatively repeating old ideas with the effect of washing out the brilliance of the original, making it lifeless.

Who hasn’t seen Watchmen? Or the Avengers? Well written, well paced, beautiful visuals, enthralling characterisation. They were creative takes on old comics. The third X-men movie I could have done without. I liked the prequel one admittedly. But by that point I was not hopeful or wanting to go see it in a cinema. Instead I’d been bored to death with the franchise so I pirated it online, then when I realised it was worth the money I bought the DVD. It practically encourages piracy when the industry loses all its creative vigour and gives me bland faecal stories and sprinkles them with the glitter of explosions in the hope to catch my eye. Being a girl does not make me respond to shininess and being a boy does not mean you love watching things being destroyed (although apparently it helps).

Please, don’t misunderstand. I love my brown leather satchel and brogues. I love playing tetris, the most casual game and made in 1985 no less. I love the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics where they still all have the same red mask. Alas though, does it not seem like right now we are nothing but the watered down version of what came before us? We seem to have no guts anymore. When John Lennon asked us to love one another he did not mean for us to turn all ineffectual- he meant we should reach out. It’s one thing to look back, but how come we hold onto the style and not the actions of previous generations? The thing that keeps me hopeful is the Anonymous movement and the activism by hacking.
Instead of lionizing clothes, preach the heroism of people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. Search out games you like made by these indie programmers; put into their indiegogo campaigns (unless you are like me and are as poor as it is possible to be with a roof still over your head), spread the word to places where they might get noticed. I can’t really bring much love for the movie industry so instead I’ll complain. Where’s my second season of Firefly, dammit!? Or at least a different show made in that universe- it can be a different crew or colony.
Do you know what happens when the creativity of a group of people is stagnant? They stop dreaming. And when they stop dreaming, they can’t imagine the possibilities. They give up the good fights; the ones where we stand for Freedom, Justice and Love. People think that is too long a connection to make, but I assure it’s not. Dark ages- we were depressed and suppressed when the church said “stop dreaming” and follow us. What great inventions happened in that era? None. The only thing we created was war.

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The aims of the dreams of a nine-year-old

Today I spent some time with my mother, her partner, and her partner’s five-year-old daughter. And I watched as my Mum, who herself had been an excellently patient parent, became frustrated with the little girl’s expressions, behaviours, and general nonsensical chatter. When I was with the wee lass I was only ever fascinated by the missing links in some of her thoughts and the startling intuition she would occasionally show toward strangers. What I decided was that my mother has forgotten what it is like to be missing so much information and at what age she or I was ready to learn it. She’s forgotten what it was like to be a kid.

In a way, I’m very lucky to have been the kind of child that I was. I was curious, fairly bashful in public and eager for creativity- I could think of any excuse to draw and write. Sometimes I just would to pass the time hiding from other kids. This means that I managed to preserve many of my childhood thoughts and ideas. I have pulled out a poem I wrote at nine. It doesn’t connect anything- just decided I liked it and it’s a good example of the kind of honesty I saw in the little girl today.

In my world roses wouldn’t have prickles.
In my world daffodils wouldn’t give off so much sap when you pick them.
In my world lilies wouldn’t smell like pee.
In my world, when people cut down a tree they would then plant the one that will replace it.
I love autumn and winter. I love walking in cool, fresh air;
But thankfully in my world you wouldn’t get numb fingers from the cold.
When you walk in autumn it’s best to walk in the early morning or in the dark evenings. It’s especially good in New York;
But in my world there wouldn’t be the awful stink of smoke and car fumes.
People know that I eat a lot- I have been called the ‘waste disposal unit’. I love cooking and food, and my favourite thing to cook and eat is spaghetti bolognaise;
But I don’t like it when it stains the sides of your lips.
In my world it wouldn’t.
It would look just as good, the taste would still be great;
But our indulgences wouldn’t mark us as sinners or leave us so bloated that we’re too tired to see what is right in front of us.

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