Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shepard Tattoo: Complete!


Okay hi, I haven't blogged in forever! Mostly because I've been dealing with not-very-crippling anxiety and depression, which is just crippling enough to make me not want to put myself out there very much, both in real life and online. It's okay, it's being dealt with and isn't that big of a deal, but I thought I'd explain!

That said, I wanted to share my beautiful Commander Shepard tattoo with you guys now that she's healed. I love her so, so much. I'm thrilled with her, she means the world to me, and I'm so happy with her I want to die. The artist, Gin Hicks, is incredible. She really, really is. My crappy selfies do not do justice to her delicate linework or her subtle coloring. It's such a lovely tattoo and well worth every penny. If you live in Portland or nearby I would highly recommend her! She's attentive, listened to what I wanted, and even though I gave her a lot of artistic freedom, she came up with a piece that I'm so proud to wear. I want to cry just looking at it.

Back in July I blogged about my feels regarding Commander Shepard (from the game Mass Effect, obvs), which will give you a tiny bit of an idea of just how much I adore her. It's hard talking about my love for Shep without sounding like a complete freak who is 100% removed from normal society and real life in any form. I have a hard enough time articulating my love for Mass Effect itself without feeling like a cray cray, and there are plenty of people out there who I know love it just as much as I do.

Shepard is, to be totally honest, my first real fictional female hero. I fall for male characters all the time. I identify with them, lust after them, admire them, take inspiration from them. But I've never felt quite the same way about any female characters, until now. And Shepard blows them all out of the water. She is everything to me. If she were real, I would kill for her. I would die for her if she asked. I wish I was exaggerating but I'm pretty sure I'm not?? I would legitimately sacrifice my life for Shepard's cause. I'd follow her into hell, and I wouldn't follow the Doctor there. Shepard is a fucking force. She means so much to me I get physical pangs sometimes when I think about her, okay. In my chest. Physical chest pangs.

Whatever you guys, it's fine it's not a big deal. It's fine.

Anyway, I think David Anderson, a superior officer in the Systems Alliance Navy, puts it well (and in a way that makes me weep like a tiny child every time I listen to the voice recording in his apartment):
Thing is, you never heard a complaint. Never once got 'No, sir. I can't do that.' She never hesitated. Few people know what Shepard's been through. I'd like to think I come pretty close. And I worry sometimes she forgets: there's a whole bunch of people who lose sleep over her getting back home. Maybe it doesn't need to be said. Maybe we're too dumb to say it. 
Soldiers like the Commander are rare. Women like Shepard... even more rare.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

20 Stupid Thoughts: Mass Effect 3


I finished Mass Effect 3 for the second time last night, so in celebration (mourning?) of that event, I have decided to inundate you with my thoughts and feels on the subject. Since this was my second playthrough, maybe some of my outbursts will reflect that. I'm not sure yet though as I'm literally going to just pull this out of my ass as I go. You're welcome.

20 Stupid Thoughts: Mass Effect 3 (Or: Why Synthesis Is The Best Ending, Shut Up You're Wrong)

1. Okay but the main thing I need to get across first of all is that EDI and Joker are everything. EVERYTHING I TELL YOU. They're the crux of this whole story I swear to god and if you disagree I don't know how you can exist in this world. The entire trilogy is based on organics vs. synthetics, and the increasingly blurred line between the two. Can synthetics have souls? Can organics become synthetic? Joker and EDI's relationship represents the ideal harmony between organics and synthetics. They are everything. Synthesis, mmkay.

2. Talking to Citadel Child made me super confused this time around, even more so than the first time?? Especially as I'd done the Leviathan DLC, which I feel should have clarified things but only made them worse. I'm pretty sure this was not meant to be the case. Instead I was like, Leviathan? Reapers? Star-Lord? Who? I don't remember that mission, I did it like three weeks ago. Christ. Just let me pick an ending already.

3. Uhhh. Miranda died this time? She didn't die last time. What the hell did I do wrong? Or, let's be real: what did I do right.

4. Arriving on Palaven's moon and being met with that view of a mountainous reaper with the war-torn Palaven behind it? Fucking shivers. The epic scale of this game just blows me away on a pretty much constant basis.

5. The final stretch in London with the big ol' canon going off and then the reaper coming ever closer, with the whole SCREEN SHAKING, holy shit have I never felt this immersed in a game before. It's beyond scary, it's overwhelming, it's like I'm actually there and it kills me how good it is.

6. The Citadel DLC is the most happy/sad thing of my entire life. Everyone is so mad at Shepard for breaking the floor of the best sushi place on the Citadel! Nobody cares that a bunch of dudes were coming at her with guns and she was wearing her fancy dress! Her evil clone says "I should go"! They throw a house party! EVERYBODY GOES ON A MISSION TOGETHER, INCLUDING WREX. Just, all of that DLC. All of it. The best thing to ever happen to me. I don't even need a husband or children at this point because they couldn't possibly make me happier than this DLC.

7. Thane vs. Kai Leng. Jesus take the fucking wheel.

8. The dream sequences. No, it's cool, Mass Effect. You go right ahead and crush my soul into smithereens. I didn't need it anyway.

9. Shepard's defeat after Thessia just hits me on an intensely emotional level. When she goes to talk to Joker and accuses him of taking things too lightly, and then he reminds her that his family might be dead, and to shut up anyway because everyone is so worried about her, and how Anderson told Joker to look after her because she's under so much stress, I'm just no no nope no. Nope. Nooope.

10. Garrus asking if Shep thinks she could be a one turian kind of woman. I clasp my controller to my chest, shrieking: YES I CAN BE A ONE TURIAN KIND OF WOMAN. NOW KISS ME ON TOP OF THE PRESIDIUM RIGHT NOW YOU STUPID ADORABLE ALIEN. (Yeah I threw the shot, what am I, some kind of asshole?)

11. WHEN YOU THINK GRUNT IS GONNA DIE AND HE'S FIGHTING IN SLO-MO TO SAD PIANO MUSIC BUT THEN HE SURVIVES AND YOU'RE LIKE "wut" WITH TEARS RUNNING DOWN YOUR FACE

12. Everyone around the Citadel. The conversations taking place are so captivating, I stand and listen and am so taken by all of the NPCs. All of them! Especially the salarian with the special new suit that his friend sold her fancy new car to buy for him so he'd be safer in the war. And the turian looking out for the girl who's been separated from her family. And the woman who's worried about breaking up with her boyfriend for the woman who's been there for her while he's away. And the fact that Shepard goes around dispensing advice and inspiring people with her presence is just so magical to me.

13. I feel like Shepard has grown so much as a person since the beginning of all of this shit with the reapers, and while she's not afraid to do what it takes to get things done, she's still compassionate. She feels pain for every person she couldn't save on Earth. She hated to leave them behind but she had to so she could unite the galaxy, and that sheer weight of responsibility tempers her, I think, but it also motivates her and shapes her, and the fact that she endures for so long under that weight is just. Beyond words.

14. I liked Legion more and the quarians WAY less this time around? I'm pretty sure part of it was that I was paying more attention while I was in the Geth Consensus, because man those quarians are jerks!! The geth just wanted to be helpful, dudes! Don't turn on your synthetic children! Not cool, guys. Not to mention that idiot admiral starts firing on the dreadnought while Shep is still on board?? SERIOUSLY NOT COOL GUYS

15. Does this unit have a soul? UGLY SOBBING

16. Liara's parting gift to Shepard. I don't even have the faintest idea what it's supposed to be but it made me cry a fucking lot.

17. Jesus H. Christ, can Jacob go die already? How can any one person be so overwhelmingly monotonous? Seriously. I'm upset that Jacob even gets his own thought, so here, have a bonus James thought: WHY IS SHEP ALWAYS FLIRTY WITH JAMES BY DEFAULT. I would actually like ol' Jimmy Vega (sounds like a pole dancer on Omega) if he didn't have a creepy flirt-fest going on with Shepard all the time? I had to spend literally 12 minutes doing 183 pull-ups in Anderson's apartment to beat his stupid record before I could feel better about it all.

18. I just really like the bit on the Citadel after Cerberus attacks, when you're zooming around on top of an elevator, shooting down other elevators; and Captain Bailey, meanwhile, is foiling Kai Leng by making his elevator stop on every floor.

19. Seriously though you guys, the synthesis ending is 100% the only ending you could possibly choose and here's why. You can't choose control because that's fucked up. You can't choose destruction because it destroys all of the goddamn mass relays, AND it destroys every synthetic in the galaxy, including, oh wait: your friend EDI. Also fucked up! Synthesis takes Shepard's ~essence~ and turns it into this magical green light that achieves the ultimate in evolution: a melding of organic and synthetic beings! EDI and Joker fully understand one another. EDI is alive. The reapers now fucking help to rebuild in the wake of the destruction they caused. Everyone is at peace. Shepard sacrificed herself so that the galaxy could be the best version of itself. If you go destruction, then pretty soon organics will create more synthetics that will inevitably rise up against them, and the cycle starts all over again. But with synthesis, it's over. And it's better! So there. The only logical choice to make. And if your reason for choosing destruction is so that you can get the one "happy" ending, well fine. FINE I understand that I guess. (But watching Shepard dive into that beam, slowly breaking apart at a molecular level, all to make the galaxy a better place? Fucking most heartbreaking moment of my life thus far okay.)

20. I'm Garrus Vakarian, and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shepard Tattoo


Aah! Finally, you guys! The first session of my Commander Shepard tattoo is finished. I am beyond in love with how it's come out so far. BEYOND. I am so, so happy with it!

I started thinking about getting a Shep tattoo before I even finished Mass Effect 3, which seems like ages ago but was actually only around six weeks ago. I knew I wanted a big ol' Shep on my upper arm, but I didn't really have a preference for how big, and I didn't have any specific idea of what I wanted it to look like; more like loose guidelines.

So at my consultation a few weeks ago, I brought in some references such as Shepard's armor, a screenshot of my Shep, and so on. I was really more interested in seeing my artist's take on it, as I love her style (Gin Hicks at Icon Tattoo Studio in Portland), and wanted something she would be excited about too. I told her to make it as big as she wanted, which I had assumed would be pretty big, but I wasn't expecting to see a half sleeve when I went in yesterday! Honestly though, I was super excited about how big it was. I've been playing with the idea of a full sleeve on my right arm anyway, so for half of that to be Shep right off the bat is perfect.

Only the lines and some shading are done now, and the color will be added later in September. I'm just so, so happy and excited about it! Shepard, as you know, is one of my favorite characters of all time and is my actual hero. I can't really articulate what this tattoo or Shep mean to me without sounding ridiculous, but I love it so much.

Thank you Gin! Thank you Rose and Megan for sitting with me for two hours and distracting me from my pain! Thank you, self, for being brave enough to sit through two hours of pain like a total badass!

The lines before shading, and Gin's original design.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm Grateful for Some Stuff


I'm having a pretty lame Monday, and I was going to just loll around in bed and listen to depressing Mass Effect playlists while feeling sorry for myself, but instead I thought, why not at least try to counteract my emo bullshit with something positive? So here, have a list of...

10 THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR or whatever:

1. Lyall. He loves me no matter what, and is a warm, happy little creature who depends on me and comforts me and never ever gets tired of spending time with me!

2. My friends. I love my friends more than anything. I don't have any siblings, but I consider my girl friends to be sisters. I would take bullets for them and I know they'd do the same for me. No matter how ridiculous and stupid I am, how unhappy I am, no matter how confused or lonely I am, they are always there and they always love me. I love you guys.

3. My parents. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have such accepting, loving, supportive, and encouraging parents. I feel like I can be 100% myself around them, and I know that no matter what choices or mistakes I make in life, they will always stand behind me. I will never forget their generosity a year ago when I made the sudden and heartbreaking move to Oregon. My dad dropped everything the day I broke up with Greg and wanted to get out, took the next available flight from Phoenix to SLC, and drove me all the way to Portland overnight. My mom, even though she was grieving a brother who she lost the same day I lost Greg, was there for me, helped support me while I floundered without a home or a job, and bought me a car so I could drive to interviews and potential jobs. Thanks, parents. You rule.

4. Mass Effect. Seriously, this game makes me so happy. Being passionate and excited about something is one of life's greatest joys, and I'm deriving so much joy from it!

5. My home. I love my little cluttered-up, cozy room. I love my duplex. I love my roommate. I love our little neighborhood. I feel so safe and relaxed here.

6. These fuckin things. They're so delicious, I'm legitimately addicted, and they are only 3 Weight Watchers points. I genuinely lose myself in happiness whenever I eat one okay. They are great.

7. The tumblr BioWare fandom. Checking my dashboard periodically throughout the day and seeing new Garrus gifsets on the reg seriously keeps me going. And they're such a passionate, fun, positive group of people who make my internet life brighter all the time!

8. My new haircut. I'm really, really happy with my new hair. It's vain and not very meaningful, but it is everything I dreamed of and more. My advice to each and every one of you is to do something crazy with your hair that you normally would never do, because you will probably love it.

9. My job. It's not my dream job (my dream job is to be the new Neil Gaiman, so), but it's really great. I love the people I work with, I love correcting grammar and complaining about references all day, and it's just a place where I don't mind showing up every morning at 6:00 a.m. Which is saying a lot.

10. Myself. I'm grateful that I've made it this far in life and am generally content and pleased with where I am. I'm grateful that I can be grateful for so many things. I know it might come off as conceited, but I'm proud of myself. I work for what I have, I treat myself, I take care of my sweet little dog, I get sad, I keep going, and I enjoy life. Because life is awesome!

And now I feel a lot better.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

100% Unapproachable


So I got a new haircut todayyy! Well not much of a cut; more of a shave. Here's a pic from inside the bathroom, where the light is best and there are towel racks. I figured my hair was short enough already, and I've had vague inclinations to do some sort of undercut in the past, so I thought I may as well just go for it! I love it so much. I went to Lu at Fancy! Hair Salon, who is my favorite and you should all get your hair cut by her. If you live in Portland.

I love being able to go out and get a haircut like this, on almost a whim, and not have to worry about pleasing a boyfriend anymore. I know one should never worry about pleasing other people when it comes to one's own appearance, but. I did. And while he always told me it was my body and I could do whatever I wanted with it, the message was always clear: he didn't like short hair, he didn't like tattoos, and he didn't like big glasses. Well I just shaved off a chunk of my hair, a pair of new (even bigger!) glasses are on the way, and I have an appointment for the first session of a big ol' tattoo next Friday. All of these things are exciting and make me so happy to think about, and now I can say gleefully: Anyone who doesn't like it can happily fuck right off!

In that vein, it's weird to think I've been single for a whole year now, and it feels like I'm just beginning to truly and fully enjoy it. There's nothing in the world more freeing than being in charge of my life, taking care of myself, and doing whatever makes me happy no matter what. I'm in love with being single; and I'm in love with the person I've become, am becoming, and will become. Life is awesome and this haircut is awesome. It brings me ever closer to my new goal of being 100% unapproachable to men. (The chronic bitchface does most of the work though, let's be honest.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Human/Geek Interactions (ugh)

"Ugh, social interactions!"
The main problem with being a geek, I've found, is making other geek friends. Most people around me tend not to know or care what I'm talking about when I make some stupid reference to a Skyrim mod, for example (I don't even fuckin play Skyrim), and while that's fine in general, sometimes I just want to talk to other girls (or guys I guess) who have played Mass Effect! In person, over beer! But I seem to have the worst time trying to befriend other geeks. I don't know if it's just a symptom of all geeks being socially awkward and incapable of engaging in relaxed, easy conversation with one another, but I always find myself feeling totally lame and like a social fail whale every time I attempt to interact with another geek.

I feel like, whenever I'm interacting with geeky people who I don't know very well, I either come off as way too awkward, fangirly, and excitable, or -- on the opposite spectrum -- way too normal and aloof. What the hell! How does this happen? I find it so hard to not feel like I'm failing in some way in these types of social situations. Am I just so anxiety-ridden that I'll never have what I feel is a successful interaction with geeks? It's easy with normal people, you just talk about Breaking Bad and your favorite bar or something and you're done. But with geeks there's this whole layer of insecurity and terror. For me, at least.

I think part of the difficulty with geeks is that I always feel this pressure to know what I'm talking about, but also not be a crazed fangirl. You know -- I need to read every Thor comic and play the entire BioShock series and watch all of The X-Files or whatever else, but on the other hand I can't be all like, "Do you wanna see my Garrus body pillow? Do you wanna see this slashy fanart I'm drawing? What's your favorite Sherlock/John fanvid?" I mean those are all totally plausible things that I would say, but I worry that it's veering into the creepy realm of geekery and I'm scared that people will judge me.

I don't even know. I'm just generally the type of person who has no idea how to interact with other humans, and when I do it successfully it's like the best thing, and worthy of celebrating. But when it goes even slightly wrong, it haunts me for days. And I haven't yet mastered the art of communing with my geek brethren. So as it is, I feel like it's not even worth risking the embarrassment most of the time? I should practice. Maybe I'll do that at Rose City Comic Con by hitting on dudes in Dragon Age cosplay or something, because that won't be an awkward means of meeting new people at all! Life's hard for a socially awkward geek. It's real hard.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's a Monday

Garrus and Thor have nothing to do with this blog post!
I don't have anything specific to discuss on the blog tonight, but I've been trying to update more frequently and to try not to feel like I need to be super interesting for anyone except me. I love it so much when people read and comment on my blog, but in the end I do it so that I'll have a record of my exciting life to go back and read years from now when I'm like, "What was I up to on August 18th, 2014? Something cool, probs!" And I'll be wrong, because I'm sitting in bed with no pants on, listening to my stupid Mass Effect playlist and blogging.

"What's that, Meg? Mass Effect playlist?" Funny you should ask! That's right. I made a dumb playlist of songs that remind me of Mass Effect. To be completely honest I got most of the songs from other people's ME playlists on 8tracks. Okay SEGUE can we discuss 8tracks for a moment please? Okay so:

1) Is the 8tracks app working properly for anyone else who just so happens to have the 8tracks app and also reads my blog? I know for a fact that there are hundreds of ME playlists on there but it only shows me between like, 10 and 20 at a time and then just stops scrolling at an arbitrary point. Does this happen to anyone else? Am I using it wrong? HELP.

2) 8tracks is the most amazing site and I'm addicted to it. I've always loved associating certain music with my favorite things, be it books, video games, TV shows, etc. It's a way to enjoy thinking about/experiencing the thing you love when you can't actually read/watch/play it. So I sit at work all day and listen to people's ME playlists, and it makes me feel like I'm connecting with their ME feels through the music, and it's a beautiful, magical thing! The greatest feeling, though, is when you discover that somebody else in the world has a song on their fandom playlist that you also have on your fandom playlist, that you thought nobody else would have because it seems kinda random?? Okay my song (obviously I'm talking about a specific experience here) was "Un Nouveau Soleil" by M83, on some soundtrack they did for a French sex comedy (???), which I happened to be listening to a lot when I experienced the onset of ME feels. It was all space-y and epic and so I would listen to it and think about Shepard and all of her adventures and all of the things she had yet to accomplish and the pain that I assumed she would have to endure (this was before I'd finished ME3). It was My Song for ME and Shepard. And then what do you know, but last week I was listening to somebody's 8tracks playlist and BOOM, there was my song! On their ME playlist! And it totally made my dayyyy. It's actually still making my day. Just knowing that someone out there listens to that same song and feels the same or similar emotions about ME makes me feel so connected to that person on a deep level. I know I sound crazy but dang do I love that crazy.

Moving right along. So I've been going to Weight Watchers meetings since I got back from visiting my mom in Montana with Megan (which I feel like I should blog about but it's weeks ago now so I probably won't). Apparently I gained 10 lbs since I moved back to Portland (due to having too much fun and eating too much amazing food, obvs), and I've been trying to lose weight for ages but have only succeeded in gaining more. So because I can't get anything done unless I'm afraid of being shamed in front of other people (they don't shame you in WW, I'm just saying), I paid a lot of monies to go sit with a bunch of mom types every Monday at 5:30 and talk about healthy eating and stuff. And I actually love it? Not only do I get to sit with mom types who give me milkshake packets and share their pens with me, but it makes me feel like I'm part of something aside from work and writing group, which I like a lot. And it's helped me to lose 2.2 lbs so far! Hooray, me! Only like, 5 more lbs until I can actually fit into my clothes again. I've honestly had to buy pretty much an entirely new work wardrobe due to this weight gain and it's not cool man! I miss my old clothes.

God could I have written a more boring blog post? Probably, but we will never know. I have to try to sleep now, which won't happen for another hour at least, but a girl can dream.