Month 1 Bujo

Bullet journaling is a good thing. I get an idea of what my mood is – less negative that it feels. I get an idea of what my expenses are like – I need to save more, and spend less. I have an effective way to manage my work and social calendars. I write down what song gets to be my day’s soundtrack, with the earworm that won’t leave. I make a note of the books I’ve already read. I make notes of the best parts of my D&D session. I get to practice being fancyyyyy.

I get an idea of what my priorities are.  And here’s the crux of it.

The  fact that I even made a habit tracker, listing what habits I do want to start, that means that they are priority for me. Which is step one. Step two comes with the evaluation of those habits. We’re still a couple days from the end of the month, but so far, I think something needs to change.

No spending is easy enough to do, once I know what I want and know how to circumvent it. Eg, with my coffeehouse reloadable gift card, and a lower amount loaded onto it, I don’t spend $210.00 on donuts anymore. Of course, that’s if the cashiers know how to use it, which they sometimes don’t. It’s a 50/50 success rate with that one.

Reading and writing are easy enough goals. I’m still on my planning phase, and I get a month between D&D sessions. So that obligation keeps me at the keyboard. Reading is also easy, with interesting books that have been on my list forever, and with new ones being added all the time.

The one thing that really falls to the wayside is bible study. It’s not that difficult once you start, and get into the groove of things. It’s just starting that seems to be the problem for me. Also the timing. I get that daily is a goal to hit with it, and it’s a good one. Ideal. But I think, right now, that may be a bit ambitious. Next month I think I’ll scale it down to a couple times a week.

My next problem to solve is the method.  .^.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aaron Burr

It’s been, what, 3 years? since Alexander Hamilton came back into the minds of anyone but history majors and polysci majors and I dunno who else. All because of Lin-Manuel Miranda who’s amazing play and soundtrack entered the lives of all who would hear it, even going so far as adding to movements and pushing them to the forefront. Immigrants – We get the job done. While I’m not American, the issue of immigration seems pretty relevant to us in Trinidad, with Venezuelans and Guyanese, and small islanders coming across. I swear I get upset when people I thought I knew end up dropping some pretty crass and, quite frankly dehumanizing thoughts about the people coming in doing what they don’t wanna do, if it means what they see as a better life.

That isn’t the point, though I mean it is relevant, and that’s what’s amazing about Hamilton. No one can say it hasn’t influenced our culture since it’s inception.

Now, I’ll let to the crux of the matter.

Y’all know I’ve already dropped posts about the 2 characters that I love, for reason because they are decidedly not the besthated, even (Reminds me, I have to revisit Wicked to address Glinda as a Slytherin and Elphaba as a Gryffindor – maybe Gryffindor. I am convinced, but I’m gonna need proof. Glinda is def Slytherin tho.)

But Mr Aaron Burr.

I fully agree that Hamilton is written as though Eliza’s doing research into the men that Alexander served with, and looking into his writing and  every written piece surrounding him. She also interviewed the people that survived him, enemies and allies. There has to be something more to Alexander’s story. Believe me, as much as I love Aaron, I do sympathise with her. Also, she’s a better woman than me.

I think that a lot of this, the entire play is written as if through Burr’s eyes, and we see it. He introduces the play. He leads the chorus. Much of what we get from him is personal. We get insight into his thoughts, into his fears, his desires, and his personal recollections of events.

What’s personal about Alexander, I believe it’s only made known because of what was written, either from what Eliza found or experienced herself, or what was published. We get a more intimate account of Aaron’s  beliefs and motivations, where Alexander’s were presented as the narrative hero almost? I wonder if that’s the trope I want to use. But he is a hero trope.

Aaron Burr may be the antihero, but he is not a villain.  He’s hella relatable. He takes caution. He understands that everyone has hidden motives. He has his own. His motivations are human. He doesn’t want to hurt people for the sake of hurting people. He wants to advance, but not at the cost of another person’s death. At least not immediately.

He’s competent, but he’s thwarted and frustrated by Hamilton. Not to say that he doesn’t appreciate the dude. He does. But there’re some things they could never overcome. It’s a clash of impulse vs caution. Overt vs covert. It was natural that they would butt heads.  Expected even.

I maintain Burr was not the villain. He did shoot Alexander. But he immediately regretted it. He says it in the opening song. He screams even as he pulled the trigger. He looked at the scene immediately after as people rushed to get Alexander the help he needed.

Honestly, he reminds me of Javert. They both kinda do. Alex and Javert’s tunnel vision toward an end. Aaron and Javert and the antagonistic role a good man was assigned, even in their own experiences.

I think there’s nothing more frustrating that realising you’re not the protagonist in your own life.

But at least Aaron survived. He’s a lot more well rounded than Javert, luckily, understanding the nature of men. So he’s less likely to commit suicide. (just murder.)

I adore slimy characters. But that’s not Aaron Burr. Poor dude was frustrated by an upstart turned peer, who at one point could’ve been considered a friend. They had many civil conversations, about life outside of the war, and outside of the workplace. Alexander even considered him an ally. So they were friends, just vastly different.

I just love him so much, you guys!

It’s sort of like my love of Hawkeye, even if the things  I like about them are completely different. I could come up with all sorts of examples of what  I like about both, but if I had to write a thesis about it, I’d try and fail. (See above)

But ohmaigawsh do I love Burr.

An extended rant for the first quarter of 2018

Forgive me, I’ve been on a Dungeon Mastering high and there was Critical Role going on (finally finished the Vox Machina campaign and then there’s the new one-) and then there’s work, and planning my own world for my players, where they can develop and everything away from the world that I underdeveloped for my brother and I,  and maybe planning to foster newbie DMs, where I’m the foster Mommy, despite only being somewhat competent at the role for about …. yesterday, if I’m honest.

What I’m saying is Dungeons and Dragons has taken over my life!!! Not to say that it isn’t fulfilling, but to be completely honest, I need a bit of a palate cleanser.

There really isn’t anything more satisfying than planning a session – one shot or otherwise – and seeing your players fully immerse themselves in that world. Conversely there’s nothing more stressful than planning for it and then seeing it fall apart.

(Yesterday’s oneshot about the upcoming Alias con took a turn for the better/worse but it was my high elven sorcerer who finally took down the Archfey that fed off fans’ energy since Alias Entertainment started, and – well, real life bled into the session)

Okay, I think  I ranted enough about DnD.

I do have a couple things on my mind, and I’m not entirely sure what I wanna make this post about? That there’s so much going on in my life outside of DnD is something that I regularly try to avoid, since there’s so much real world, life-affecting decisions to be made.

First of all.

Church.

I’ve been neglecting it so much, and it really just happened so long ago that even bringing it up now just seems like I’m making an excuse. Which I sort of am. Still. I mean. I mean, really, just getting disillusioned with one of the key locations in life, where you’re supposed to get a sense of peace and guidance, it really does take you so far from where you need to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even in terms of real life goals.

So sad to say, it’s probably been close to 2 years since I’ve been present, physically and/or mentally in a church service. (As I said before, DnD is taking over my life.)

But recently, I’ve been going to another church. Not gonna lie I had my reservations about going there since there pretty much was a mass exodus from my home church to this new one. But all things considered, I fully believe that considering that I’m feeling rather in a stage of transition in my life, I’m considering making that new church my home church.

That being said, I don’t want to condemn my old church. Like other things it’s going through its own transition, and it’s a really painful process. If it should grow from it, it will. But I really think it’s no longer for me.

I feel like there is much I need to return to, to move forward. I need to go back to prayer and fast. Been feeling it for a good while. Been feeling the 21 day fast, Miles Munroe style. (Okay I tried it with all good intentions, but I think –know– that I went into it dry. That went as well as you’d expect. Still, there was breakthrough, considering what I was fasting for. The 2 days I managed to do it before I got completely hangry and aggressive did what I wanted – just faster)

I really feel like I need to recover, first of all, then take it more seriously. Wean off the food a bit, get less junky. And take in the scriptures on prayer and fast and meditate on it. Then start back the fast. Maybe with something less intense than a full 21 days sans food.

Still. I mean. There is something to be said about prayer and fast. I’ve never gotten a true breakthrough before this. And I think it’s because I’d never believed in it as much as I should have. Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that prayer and fast works. I’ve witnessed and heard testimonies about it from other people’s experiences. But I’d never really felt convicted to do it for a real purpose. With this last one, I did and geez did it work. Even for 2 days worth it really worked.

Another pressing thing that’s on my mind, my friend brought up something pretty interesting yesterday about me that I never saw. That def is a rant for another post, but tl;dr, the way that I grew up – transitioned from  the last developmental point she saw me at – to where I am now, it is significantly different from the other people in my friend groups, intimate and extended, if I think about it. I’m honestly not too sure how myself, since I grew up around me, and as far as I can see, I really haven’t grown up as much as I should by now. It’s def something to look at, a bit of introspection.

To be honest, if I’m doing that rant (which I probably will), it’ll feel like homework, since she brought it up with a purpose. Still…. has to be something there. She’s like the third person to tell me that.

Maybe I did grow up. The question is how.

 

Christianity and Tabletops

I usually start these articles with “Christianity vs -” but I think the break from the norm makes it more appropriate.

I’m ridiculously into Critical Role, about two years too late. I’m only on ep 57? I think? and they’re already on their way to another …. arc? show? come January. I love the characters, They’re relatable on most levels, and I love the drama-rama in everything. Matt Mercer is an excellent DM, a wonderful storyteller. And, honestly, I’m trying to follow his example for my own sessions between me and my players.

Beside the point here. But really it’s awesome, and if you haven’t already, check it out.

Okay, but now, I’m honestly getting to why I’m doing this up.

A bit of spoilers ahead, so you have been warned.

 

Like significant to the plot spoilers

 

Not inside joke spoilers, which I think are miffy, but okay.

 

Seriously, real spoilers.

 

Which gets me thinking, since it’s really important to this article.But seriously….

 

I shall forge on, because as I said, it’s important to the article.

 

But it is plot heavy stuff. Just saying.

 

  

The interaction between Pike and her patroness goddess Sarenrae and Vax’ildan and his patroness goddess (waaaaay down the line) the Raven Queen is so…. familiar. I’m in Pike’s shoes spiritually speaking. My family was converted to Christianity before my father was born, and so it’s easy for me to take for granted everything that I’ve experienced spiritually – the blessings both known and unknown, life, power, authority, comfort, ahhh, what else? Basically, everything that has allowed me to be who and what I am, even up to the doubts and just – pissy – moods that sometimes go against it. And Pike does that sometimes. Her ancestors experienced the pardon and transformation and blessings and warmth of Sarenrae, as has Pike. Yet, sometimes, it feels like she’s taking her patron for granted, as a means of power to draw from as needed. Like a bank.  And I know I do that as well. And it’s not the best way to go about it. But we’re both born into our religions; it’s an easy trap, really. I mean she knows Sarenrae will be there. I know God will definitely be there. Not necessarily in a way I want or expect, but I know I can count on Him.

And then there’s Vax and his interaction with the Raven Queen. She drew him to her, even allowing him to bring his sister back from Death, once he pledged himself to her. And he did. After much fighting against her. After much doubt. After finally realizing that there isn’t anything to fear with her. He still fears. But, I think he understands there will be comfort in her for him. So far, she has come through for him, saving him as necessary and coming when he calls. And even in this last episode I watched his prayer as a (multiclassed level 1) paladin was as simple as it hurts, please help (adlibbing, but yeah).

That prayer alone. It wasn’t big or extravagant. It didn’t start with Oh great Raven Queen goddess of Death we celebrate you – no. It was a sincere plea. And he was able to heal himself through her until the problem could be properly sorted. He received comfort and peace when needed. And wow. Prayer is important to me, so imagine me seeing elements that I…. am familiar with, or have been taught coming into play in someone else’s gameplay.

(Wow, Liam, your little bit of roleplay months ago is actually having real word significance on a  fan. There is no way I can not appreciate you. Or your character. Seriously, I’d already loved Vax and his love for Vex and now…. thank you? I guess? for this little spiritual reminder. Or conviction I think may be the word)

There is a lot to say in  the things that we come across. It’s easy to see why blogs like Between the Tangles exists. Even in fandoms, we see things that hail back to our Christianity. Granted, if I looked more into the bible, the way I look into…. just about any fandom I’m in, i’d be a proper theologian.(maybe. not really)

It’s easy for me to hear a preacher say “try to be a Mary, not a Martha” but even though I know a bit about them, I mean, I’ll get there with them, but for now, I think I’ll look to Pike and Vax. I  want to be like Vax. I want to fully give myself to God. Not necessarily without doubt or fear. But with full acceptance. And I thought I did, I really did think so. But there is still a little Pike in me. I still call when I need help. Primarily. Almost always only when I need help or need something. I can’t blame it on being born into it so I can take God for granted, while someone who experienced God firsthand while they were out in the world, just doing whatever  they did before could do magnificent things for God as new (Gen 1) Christians.

Maybe next time I’m a PC in D&D, I’ll be a cleric.

But that’ll open up a whole nother can o’ worms.

 

“No living man am I! You look upon a woman!” 5 things I experience as a female role-player

The Dork Ages

For those of you who don’t recognise it, the quote is from The Lord of the Rings, specifically Eowyn’s response to the Witch King of Angmar (just before she kills him) when he tells her that he can be hindered by no living man. I think its relevant for a couple of reasons: firstly because people are still surprised when they meet women who role-play, and secondly because she’s the kind of awesome armour-wearing, sword-wielding woman you tend to find in RPGs.

In general, role-play is still male-dominated and in any given game you’re lucky to have one woman in the group. So, with this in mind I wanted to share a few things that I’ve noticed happen to me as a female role-player that I don’t think happen to my male friends quite so much (if I’m wrong, feel free to correct me!) This won’t reflect every woman’s experience…

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Christianity vs Life – Identity crisis

What’s so amazing, so bloody amazing is that for the first time in a year, I actually don’t feel like bible study has become a chore for me. It has, for the first time in a year, become something that I’m excited to get into more and more, and I’m a little upset that I have to work in a couple hours, so I can’t get into it more right now.

That being said, the little bit that I did do just…. mind blowing, how the things I had to force myself to read earlier, (took me 9 months to read 9 days worth of scripture. I’m still not done there) now come into play, with examples.

Lemme – beginning.

Anyone who knows me, knows that for years in secondary school,  I was a fan of Vic Mignogna. I still am, but  I’m not as vocal about it anymore. He’s an amazing voice actor, and a fun guy, and I still really appreciate him. What I do admire about him and will always do, is that he is a Christian, and strongly, never hiding his love of Christ. It’s why I’m a Ranger ^~^a

I was watching his video at Colossalcon this year (2017 for the archives). and he was talking about how God loves us, and how He would give us a chance to accept Him. Our identity as His creation, and reaffirming this, in spite of our bouts of low self confidence. About how we find satisfaction and contentment in  God.

After that I was listening to one of Joyce Meyer’s sermons about how our thoughts affect our walk with God. To me, these two videos were unrelated. Honestly, I just clicked them both thinking 1) I haven’t listened to Vic in a while, and 2) if I’m probably gonna keep missing church because work and any excuse, I may as well listen to a sermon, so Joyce.

And yet, as unrelated as these two people are, they both talked about the same topic at different events  to vastly different groups.

After the videos I looked into the scriptures that Joyce used to back up her topic, and you see more into the persona of God, about His characteristics,  about His actions for the sake of Humanity. You see the relationship Man has with God, where David speaks directly to Him in the Psalms. You see in Jeremiah 29:11 where God speaks directly to humanity where His plans for us can only benefit us. You see where humbling yourself (1 Peter 5:6) isn’t necessarily about subjugation to Him,  about submission before a fearsome god, but about trust in Him and belief in His Words. I haven’t gotten too far in the list yet. I did intend to sleep, but I started thinking about this and well….  ┐(‘~` )┌
I’m thinking about how in Jeremiah 29:11, God speaks directly to mankind. I have… for you.  I started thinking how belief in God’s Word and His promises and that implicit trust could only benefit us. 1 Peter 5:6 – humble yourself before God’s mighty hand and in time He may life you up.  Jesus humbled Himself. before God. Jesus did,  humbling Himself and trusting in the promises of God for mankind. Noah did  the same in Genesis , and believed the Word of God and he got life (survived the flood) prosperity and benefited. He wasn’t perfect, neither was David, but both were blessed following the Word of God. I started thinking about – David had that relationship with God. He knew God’s actions were for Man’s benefit. He knew that God’s thought  were for us and about us. He praised God for this remarkable reason. It’s mindboggling  that He’d think about us. About a single person. About me.

So both videos talked about knowing our identity as God’s loved ones, about our identity in Christ. If we were not sure about who we are as Christians, as believers, as followers in Christ, we’re probably either doing something wrong, or we just don’t understand. We really do need to get into the Word to see the scripture to understand the message and , even, I dunno, pick out examples that proved it.

I think what excited me was the fact that — for the longest time, for more than a year, I’ve steadily felt less encouraged in church, and more empty.  Which was aggravated more by the fact that shift work makes it hard for me to go, even though I’d try to push to go when I can. Steadily growing dysfunction at home isn’t helping either.

I’m not gonna lie, I started to question who I was anymore outside of the church. I think I blogged about it before. I felt that outside of church, outside of ministry, any time away from a strong foundation left me feeling so out of it. I did, I did say  I felt like I started to regress, and head back into things I’d previously left behind. Lately, I’d also picked up new things (D&D!) which, while really fun to plan, and play, and just do, it started to take up most of my time. I started being a little afraid of it. Not much, not intellectually, but spiritually, I knew I was using it to fill in for what I was missing.

So to get this little bit was so much to me. I’m so grateful, and honestly, I’ll take what little I can. Because even a little can be a lot. Crumbs from the table can be satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koe no Katachi

I want to say first off, I am not Deaf. I know very little about Deaf culture or the struggles that the community, the Deaf themselves, or even their families, would face, when integrating into the hearing world. The opinions here are my own, and based on a limited knowledge base, where Deaf culture and  Deaf life is expressed. If I am wrong, I’ll take it, along with any corrections and new bits of information that would help develop better …. well informed … (vocabulary…) opinions.

Koe no Katachi – The shape of voice – a story about a boy who’s continually guilty about having bullied a Deaf classmate when they were in elementary school, and feels that the having no friends thing that came up after the class basically threw him to the wolves after her mother called the school to address the situation when her eighth pair of hearing aids in a month or so gets damaged, was deserved.

But no, wait! I swear it’s better than I make it sound.

Seriously, please you need to watch this if you already haven’t.

The high points for me in watching this are well, not numerous, but there are a few. One being that for the many years I’ve watched  anime, there were few that actually showed protagonists with disabilities as ruling or functioning or even just living and exceeding expectations. In fact I think the same is true outside of anime.

Well, there was FMA. And Switched at Birth. And Toph was pretty badass as a bender. and as a character in general.  But I think for every one show I’ve watched, there are probably like 30 that didn’t explore a character as having a disability.

Honestly, it was a little bit….. refreshing?  I guess? that Nishimiya was capable, but we see her struggling to communicate with her classmates. Which leads to another thing I liked about it. Parents sometimes opt for mainstream education for their children, which is what happened in the movie. And also, how her classmates had trouble communicating  with her.  Which led to conflict, which leads to movie plot, which-

Okay, but here’s the thing, mainstreaming deaf children would have some difficulties. Which weren’t addressed effectively in the school. There was a little attempt for integrating Japanese Sign Language into the classroom, with a session before classes begun, to get the students to understand their fellow classmate a little better. And Nishimiya does get a chance to sign and communicate with her classmates in her own language, something that the other students – and I – take for granted. Ishida, himself, takes JSL classes later on, and we do get to see him sign with Nishimiya later when they reconnect. That tickled me, being a language nerd, because outside of photographs of one JSL sign, -baseball- I dunno much about it. So it was nice to see. We don’t really see much classroom action, but when we do, I have to admit, the lack of an interpreter was obvious. When it was Nishimiya’s turn to read, other students had to prompt her.  Why not have an interpreter for her tho? Expense?

Also kids are meaaaaannn. Most rejected any chance to better understand the new Deaf girl or learn from her. Poor girl had 8 pairs of hearing aids damaged in one form or another. And multiple kids were responsible for bullying her or allowing her bullies to continue, then throw one of their own under the bus. wow kids. Y’all are cold.

I liked, too, how Nishimiya’s family stepped up for her. Her grandmother learned sign language, her mother basically bitchslapped anyone who bullied her daughter for her deafness. But within the family unit, her deafness was just another part of life for them. Her younger sister looked out for her, but it wasn’t just because of her deafness. She looked out for her, as any sister would for her siblings – who do you like? how did they react? why confess nowwwwwww????!!!! Overall, her deafness didn’t hamper how she interacted with them, whether verbally, through text, or through signing. And I loved how  the  writers almost made it a point to show not only how difficult it can be for the deaf, in a world that doesn’t cater for lack, but also, how normal life is for Nishimiya. She’s a teen dealing with teen troubles. She’s as normal as anyone else.

I could probably continue to list things that I liked about it, where learning about Deaf culture and Deaf life is concerned, but I think I’ve trampled through enough spoiler territory for one day.

At the end of the day though, it falls pretty snugly into Slice-of-life boy-likes-girl/girl-likes-boy territory. If you’re like me and a closet romantic, you’d like it. You get lots of that, which seems to be a staple for a good half of the Slice-of-life anime I’ve watched. But what makes it different is the expression of a very real divide that really needs to be addressed.

It did as the title promised, and presented the need of voice, and to be heard and understood. For both Nishimiya and Ishida.  Nishimiya got communication with the hearing.  Ishida learned to properly express himself to others. They’re the perfect parallels,  from their being bullied and targeted to their obvious struggles with their lives, and their relationships with  their families. They are the same, despite their differences. The movie didn’t only focus on that by making Nishimiya’s Deafness the key plot. Instead, it incorporated it, and mixed it in effectively. Nishimiya was a part of a whole in their group of friends. She was equally affected by the past and present as everyone was.

Basically I love this movie. I endorse it.

Go watch it. It’s worth it.