Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Let's Talk About Commander Shepard

Let's just take a moment to talk about Commander Shepard, shall we? I have already filled the first four pages of my brand new journal with thoughts about Shepard, because I'm a terrible person who writes about fictional characters in her journal at the age of 28. But I'm not done thinking about Shepard, and I'm not done writing about her. So because my blog has already devolved into an empty, echoing place where I very occasionally yell into the ether about my love for Loki or a video game or whatever, I may as well just carry on in that vein and shriek about Commander Shepard for a while.

Commander Shepard is the protagonist, and the character you play, in the Mass Effect trilogy. From the very beginning you shape her, from her face to her first name to her personality and her moral compass. She is your baby. And she can even be male if you want, which is 100% the wrong choice, but fine if you wanna listen to that guy's derpy voice for 240+ hours I guess.

But Shepard isn't just my baby, the lens through which I saw the world in Mass Effect. She's my hero. She's a hero, yeah, but she's also mine. Not just because I created her, in the limited way that one can in a video game like this. Not just because it's up to her to unite the galaxy and lead a rag-tag band of badasses to save the day. But also because she never understood why she should be the one to do it. Because she has a group of friends and allies who love her, who would kill and die for her, and because she would do the same for them. Because she's scared she'll fuck up. And because she does fuck up sometimes, and can be an ass sometimes, and punches reporters in the face sometimes. But she's also kind and risks her life for strangers and sucks at dancing and doesn't have time for your shit. She's real and complex and I love her.

I can't think of another female character in a game, in anything, who has come to life so fully and won me over so quickly and completely. Shepard is written to be gender neutral, which rescues her from the typical gender-specific tropes that writers fall into so often with video game characters. And because you have full control over her dialogue, her reactions, and her decisions, she comes to life in subtle and complex ways that I haven't seen before in a female character.

Shepard is mine, an extension of me, a woman who is my idol but isn't free of fault. She's made tough choices and has broken hearts. And as much as she accomplishes, she still doesn't understand why she's the one who's expected to save the galaxy. She's just a marine who happened to be at the right place and the right time when shit hit the fan. She's no chosen one and she's no hero -- at least not at first. But she's my hero. And I love her so much.

I would follow Shepard anywhere, do anything for her, and trust her unequivocally. I know she's a character in a video game, and I know that everything she does is guided by me, and maybe that's why I love her so much -- because she is me, in a sense. But I've cried for her, shrieked like an idiot when she fell in love, laughed with her, felt rage at those who wronged her, fought with her. All of those emotions were real. And while the game itself is just a game, what I've taken away from it is true and genuine. I experienced a story that was so visceral I spent the entire last hour of the game sobbing brokenly. (And I still cry when I listen to the music from the sad parts because I'm the worst.)

Those hours and hours I spent with Shepard mean so much to me. That experience means so much to me. I'll write later about the game beyond my Shepard-related feels, but she is at the crux of my all-out adoration of Mass Effect. I cannot say enough how important she is to me, or how important she is to gaming and the future of female characters.

But I'll shut up now, as I'm sure you're all like, "Wow Meg you are horrible stop blogging about things we don't care about." Well I'm sorry! Not I'm not. Now go play Mass Effect if you haven't, for the love of all things good in this world. Go. Get the fuck out. Go now. Right now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Space Military Video Game Tattoo

New tattoo, everyone! It was kind of spur-of-the-moment, if that means thinking about it for a couple weeks and then doing it. So maybe not as spontaneous as I feel like it was, but still spontaneous for me. Wow boring. Anyway, it's from Mass Effect which is a game series that some people kinda like I guess. The Mass Effect Wiki explains it better than I can, and I'll even post a quote from it here because I'm pretty sure none of you are gonna click that link:
N7 is a vocational code in the Systems Alliance military. The "N" designates special forces and the "7" refers to the highest level of proficiency. It applies to marines who have graduated from the Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) program.
Hahaha wow, I graduated from that combatives training program, guys! I did! No, I didn't. Anyway. None of that makes sense either, I know, I'm sorry. Here let me try to explain. The Systems Alliance military is Earth's (i.e. humanity's) military, in the far-off future when we discover technology that catapults us out into the far reaches of the Milky Way and introduces us to a wonderful world of adventure, intrigue, the impending destruction of organic life as we know it, and a veritable cornucopia of alien sexual conquest opportunities. Most notably turians, with drell coming in as a close second on the alien hotness scale. Shut up Meg. Anyway, I'm now a badass space marine who bangs aliens and could totally take Commander Shepard in a fight, is the conclusion I'm trying to reach here. Clearly. (I would be killed in a fight against Shepard. Within approximately one second.)

I'm at the point where I feel like I should just start a new blog for all of my gaming thoughts, because I have A Lot Of Them. I'm pretty sure it would be the most self-indulgent thing on the planet though? Not that this blog isn't already that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pre-DCC Haps

That moment when you realize that you don't give much of a shit if your ex has a new girlfriend or not is a good moment. A good moment. I recently spent way too much brain energy on deducing that he had probably joined Tinder, and then when I reached that conclusion, I discovered that I didn't even particularly care. I mean, I cared enough to laugh at all the poon he was probably not slaying, but I just... don't actually care anymore. I mean, yeah, it's annoying to get facebook notifications that he's been tagged in my old photos, but it doesn't make me feel nauseous or make me cry anymore, which was just going on for way too long. And it feels goooood. I even tried thinking about all the things that used to make me sad, or angry, or whatever, and meh. It's not a thing anymore.

So fuck yeah.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready for Denver Comic Con, and I'm calling it now: It's gonna be the highlight of Summer 2014. Four straight days of geeky girl-fun with Shaun, hangouts with Zak, my first adventure in cosplay, and so much cider. I can't contain my giddiness I'm so excited! I leave on Thursday morning and I still have so much to do for my cosplay, so tonight and tomorrow are going to be spent in a crazed frenzy of last-minute cosplay shit, laundry, packing, and maybe making a pit stop at the Belmont or Hawthorne food carts with Megan before I go because fuck, they're both closing this fall. Thursday morning can't come soon enough!

Otherwise life is good. It's really good. I'm as excited as ever about being in Portland; it still feels like a dream sometimes. I love my job, I love my writing group, I love my roommate, my friends, my dog... there's just a lot of awesome shit in life right now.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Summer I Guess

I feel like this is one of the first times in a long time that I might be embracing summer. In fact it might be the first time since the days when I was in high school and did nothing all summer but sleep 'til noon and borrow my mom's debit card to buy smoothies and stay up 'til 2:00 am watching video countdowns on VH1 with Rose. I'm excited about buying summer clothes, which is so ridiculous. And I'm excited about such summery things? Such as: drinking margaritas outside in the sun, attending BrewFest, barbecuing, acquiring a bike, biking to bars in the evenings, the Mississippi/Belmont/Alberta street fairs, long evenings, and iced coffee. I realize most of these involve alcohol consumption. No, grandpa, I don't have a drinking problem.

As a related aside, I just spent $80 on these wedge sandals at Macy's yesterday, which is possibly the most money I've ever spent on a pair of shoes that I can recall, and really says something about my relationship with summer at the moment. Like, okay summer, I get you. I feel you. I'm gonna let you into my life, mmk, but on the condition that I do it while wearing $80 sandals. (They are very comfy FYI.)

I just have a feeling it's going to be a good summer. It's kicking off next week with Denver Comic Con, which is gonna be killa. Even though my cosplay is going to be so, so half-assed because I'm not even near finished with it and I leave for Denver next Thursday. It's okay, that's what the weekend is for, right? Right? ...If anyone has a good pattern for an infinity scarf/hood combo, let me know. I need one to modify for this dumb cosplay. Why oh why did I choose the most difficult costume of all time to make by hand. Why. But no matter. I'll pull it all together at the last minute, as I always do. DCC! I'm coming for you!

And even though it's still very light outside, I now have to turn off the lights and try to sleep. The one crappy thing about working at 6:00 am. Okay one of the many crappy things, the main one being that I have to work at 6:00 am.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Three-Day Weekend!

I had a really awesome weekend, everyone! Like super fantastic levels of awesome. I went to X-Men: Days of Future Past with Megan and Pearl on Friday, and it was incredible. It's my favorite Marvel movie since The Avengers, and it's probably my favorite X-Men movie now. First Class was so good, but I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the reason it's so great is the palpable Charles/Erik sexual tension. Days of Future Past was just a solid fucking story. Go see it if you haven't already, for real!

I spent Saturday in bed with Lyall watching movies and catching up on some of my shows, which was obviously perfect and the most relaxing. And then on Sunday I had a very long, very laid back bottomless mimosa brunch with Rose and Megan at the Night Light Lounge. I kind of want to do this every weekend now, guys. Bottomless mimosas are where it's at! Endless mimosa ocean forever and ever. Heaven. Then I spent the evening watching basketball, playing Mario Kart 64, and drinking beer with a friend from work. And that was awesome. If you've ever wondered if you could beat Banshee Boardwalk on 150 cc Grand Prix while intoxicated, you can't. Well, you can. But it's so hard you guys. So hard.

And then for the third and final glorious weekend day, I slept until 2:00 pm, drank a ton of coffee, and then had a serious hankering for barbecue. So I made Megan go to Podnah's with me, where I got the beef brisket. It was uh-mazing. It wasn't Texas barbecue but it was damn close.

So yeah, it was a pretty fuckin' killer weekend. Good people, good movies, good food, good TIMES! I'm still in such a good mood! Why can't it be a three-day weekend every week? Or maybe I should just go to bed on time so I'm not exhausted and need 15 hours of sleep per night for 3 nights just to catch up. Working at 6:00 am. The struggle is real.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Six Tiny Updates

God, I feel like so much has happened since I last blogged. Even though not much has, really, except life. I'm 28 now, and I keep forgetting. It feels like I was 27 for about 5 minutes, and now I'm 28? I'm gonna be 30 before I can blink, and I really can't handle that.

Since so many things have happened, and so many things are going on in my head, here is a list to help me sort it out and convey it in a vaguely organized way:

1. Sportsball! I now own four Blazers shirts, one pair of Blazers earrings, and a light-up foam thingy from the Blazers game that I went to last Monday with Rose. We got free tickets from my friend Mario, who is incredible and who we still owe a fabulous thank-you gift, because our seats would have been $450 each had we paid for the tickets. It was an incredible experience, and I will never forget my first Blazers game, which they won! It was the best late birthday gift ever.

2. Mom came to visit! She arrived last Thursday and stayed until Monday evening. We ate delicious food (Indian, Thai, mac & cheese), drank mango margaritas, and talked about important life things. I love my mom, and I love that we can cry together and talk about really meaningful personal things, and then watch a romantic comedy and bond over Matthew Goode's hotness. It made me so happy to share my new Portland existence with one of the people who helped make it possible for me to stay here. Thank you for everything, Mom!

3. Only Lovers Left Alive. It is the greatest movie. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a vampire couple; that is all you need to know. I adored it.

4. Dad came to visit! It was briefer than my mom's stay, and he came with his girlfriend, so I didn't get to see as much of him as I would have liked, but it was still so great to sit and talk about adulty things with him. Now that I'm in my late twenties I feel like I can finally begin to relate to my parents as fellow adults instead of authority figures. My dad still dads out on me sometimes by demanding that I visit the doctor when I'm feeling ill, for example (which turned out to be good advice because I had strep throat), but it's nice to feel like we're two adults having brunch and not a grumpy kid being dragged on an outing with her father.

5. I love working downtown so much you guys! Last week a couple times I just went and sat in Pioneer Square during my lunch break, watching the people go by, and it was perfect. Portland makes me so happy, and I'm still so excited that I never have to leave again if I don't want to! I'll never get tired of it.

6. I have a leetle crush! Am I going to tell you who it is? No. But y'know it's the first time I've had an actual thing for someone since I've been single. And it's super fun, if extremely nerve-wracking, because boys.

I could go on, but 6 is my lucky number so I'm gonna leave it at 6. I want to talk about the cosplay I'm working on, and the workshopping of my novel in recent weeks, but those are both topics that I want to seriously ramble about so I'll write about them later. AKA probably never. But a girl can dream.

Monday, April 28, 2014


This picture combines two of my favorite things at the moment: sportsball and normcore! And by sportsball I obviously mean basketball, as evidenced by that big brown ball there. And also our Blazers jerseys (both of which are Rose's). I even have a beer cozy on my beer (it is actually a cider)!

The fascinating part of all of this is I'm not doing it ironically! I'm genuinely super excited about the Portland Trail Blazers being in the NBA playoffs! WUT IS HAPPENING.

If you can believe it, I had no idea what was going on in the world of basketball until last week, when Rose sent out a text about some sportsball game(s) or other, which I dismissed out of hand. But then later that day, my "hair girl" (she said it, not me) wanted to reschedule my appointment so she could go home and watch the Blazers game. I was like, why is everyone watching so much basketball this week, even hipsters?? And she was like, the Blazers are in the playoffs, girl! And I was like, what is a playoff? and so on. Then everyone at work was talking about it, and long (not really that long) story short, I wanted in on that playoff action! So Rose sent a very educational email about the Blazers to catch me up (it included such things as which Blazers were the cutest/nicest, which Houston Rockets I should hate the most, and informative youtube videos), and I watched the game at her house on Friday. Thus, the photo of us that you see above!

I've been to sporting events before, and always found them to be pretty fun in person (with the exception of any Griz game in the frigid Montana winter, in the student section, where everybody is blackout drunk and falling into each other on ice-cold metal bleachers for three hours straight -- that is an entirely new definition of misery), but I hate watching sports on TV. I mean haaaate. To me it is the most boring thing I can possibly imagine. I would rather watch, like... those weird channels that sell jewelry late at night. I would rather watch that than sports. But there's something so satisfying about cheering for a team that represents your favorite city, knowing that everyone around you is just as excited, and cheering and swearing at the refs and peeing during commercials because beer makes you pee a lot. The sense of community and bromanship is overwhelming, and dare I say it? Intoxicating?

It's getting late and this post is getting stupid.

But I just love jumping into things that everybody else seems to be loving. There's something so satisfying about it! I'm by no means a sports fan now -- football can go die -- but I'm loving the shit out of this playoff business! It's like all of Portland is having a giant broball party! Also I feel like in the future I can go to a Blazers game, which I've been wanting to do, and be legitimately excited because I'm familiar with the players and everything. SPORTSBALL.


I wanted to talk about normcore also but I guess that's for another post at another time. It is now time for sleep.

Oh yeah P.S. I got a haircut?? I will also post about that later. Sigh so much to do so little time.