10 Years

Stood a Chance – Taking Back Sunday

It takes so long
You’re never one for looking back
A body like a punching bag
You never even stood a chance

Seek Advice Elsewhere – Off With Their Heads

You hit the bottom, you think that’s all
But the bottom opens up and you continue to fall
And everywhere you turn to yell for help it goes unheard

Devil in Stitches – Bad Religion

She was living on the edge of a knife.
His head was filled with restless ghosts.
It’s so easy to love a bringer of destruction.
She said, “Darling, I love you madly.”

Dipshit – Rufio

Use your mind you dipshit
I’m wondering why not just let me live on my own?
On my own…

U and Ur Hand – Pink

I’m not here for your entertainment
You don’t really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life

I Don’t Want to be an Asshole Anymore – the Menzingers

I push my emotions off a bridge,
I’ve been taking them hostage with a shotgun
Now I’m somewhere treading water,
Somewhere lost inside the the man that I’m not

Blah Blah Blah – Ke$sha

So cut to the chase kid
‘Cause I know you don’t care what my middle name is
I’m gonna be naked
And you’re wasted

Somebody that I used to Know – Gotye

But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

Flowers in the Window – Travis

wow look at us now
flowers in the window
it’s such a lovely day and i’m glad you feel the same

Demons – Lawrence Arms

And the dying ain’t gonna stop
just because you walk away.
And you can cry for everything that you’ve lost
but you ain’t never gonna bring back these days

Stranger than Fiction – Bad Religion

life is the crummiest book I ever read,
there isn’t a hook, just a lot of cheap shots,
pictures to shock and characters an amateur would never dream up

Under Pressure – Queen

Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves

Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

rest your head
you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

Owning a Dog – Step 1: Open Wallet, Burn Money

Every dog is different and nowhere have I seen this more than in trying to keep the puppy we’re fostering (NSD Edge) happy and engaged. While it’s true that training a service dog means he spends very little time home alone during the work day, in order for me to accomplish … well, anything, he needs to be relatively quiet and occupied.

Hello Kitty died on the way back to her home planet.

Hello Kitty died on the way back to her home planet.

Labs love chewing.  Fortunately, there are a ton of items out there made to keep dogs who love to chew occupied!  Unfortunately, whether they will work for your puppy seems to vary wildly according to the dog.

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Rest in pieces, Kong Genius, we hardly knew ye.

Through a great deal of trial and error, I’ve gradually found a small niche of toys that seem to be a good combination of durable and interesting enough to keep Edge’s attention for longer than .5 seconds. (Note: I’d love to have the amazon links in this post go to a shelter’s affiliate program – if you know of one, please send me a note, or leave a comment!)

1. Jolly Pets Teaser Ball

I was skeptical of the hard plastic, but this ball has withstood daily play for over a month now.  The holes are big enough that his snout can’t get stuck, but too small for him to get a good grip on the interior ball and puncture it.  This has been great for tossing around in the snow for exercise! (I’ve heard pretty good things about their original toy too, but haven’t tried it myself.

2. Bionic Stuffer

Since Edge is being trained as a future service dog, we’re limited to the types of toys we can use with him.  Anything resembling potential distractions (balls, frisbees, sticks) are out.  Bionic balls have been highly recommended by a lot of sides, but we’ve gotten a lot of use out of this one.  You can use kibble or small treats in the toy, or cram a piece of jerky or similar treat in the slot end, which can take some time to wiggle out.  After nearly six months, Edge has finally managed to chew one end off but the integrity of the toy overall remains durable enough for some supervised playtime and treat dispensing.

3. Kong Classic

Naturally!  We used a smaller puppy grade one till he outgrew it, and now use a regular red classic kong.  It’s a great way to keep him busy but the prep time and washing can be kind of a pain.  I started freezing wet dog food/canned pumpkin mixed with kibble to help with his teething, and it takes him much longer (and is less messy) than not freezing it, but if I forget to put everything together in the morning before work, it’s too wide open to last long with just dry kibble in it.  I have found some success with pushing bully sticks through the tiny hole, and breaking them off so they end just before the big opening, so he has to spend some time working it out.  There’s a million sites out there for Kong stuffing ideas and training tricks.  And neither the puppy kong nor this one have suffered any serious damage against his powerful jaws, so they are a great value.

4. Kong Extreme Goodie Bone

I bought this one recently after remembering how taken Edge was with my sister’s dog’s bone.  Unfortunately, one of the knobs was not long for this world – but Kong’s reputation isn’t just from the indestructible nature of most of their toys, but also because of how they come apart when they do get chewed up.  The end came apart in two or three big chunks that were easily taken away, and the rest of the toy is intact.  Since most of his toys are meant to keep him busy at my feet while I work, it’s easy to stuff this with a little wet dog food or soft treat, and supervise his playtime. I wouldn’t recommend this for crate playtime, however.

5. Kyjen Bottle Buddies

This is a weird one.  The first one we got when Edge was a baby and it lasted forever.  You could replace the water bottles inside when they became too crushed, it had a squeaker cap you could move to the new bottle and the velcro was very sturdy when closed.

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As you can see, they were of a size, once.

In fact, the only reason Pengu didn’t make it was because I foolishly put a treat he valued more than the toy into the bottle inside.

But the second bottle buddy I bought was destroyed within 48 hours, and had no squeaker cap, and crappy velcro. Caveat emptor, is what I’m saying.  Get this one in store rather than online.

6. Bumi

Awesome toy for fetch and tug.  Not really a chew toy, but it definitely holds up being carried, tossed, and yanked on. I’d be willing to try other things by this designer – they have some treat dispensing toys that look like they have potential.

7. Crinkit, King of Kings

Like everything on this list, Crinkits will vary in their indestructibility.  Our first one died prematurely when an Irish Water Spaniel did the impossible (so I thought) and bit a chunk out of one end.  It took a few months after that, but eventually Edge was able to take more pieces off.  Like the kong, it comes apart in big, easy to spot chunks, so there was little danger of him swallowing any.  I bought a second one immediately.  It feels neat (kind of squishy, which I didn’t expect for its durability), has a nice vanilla smell, has a space for a water bottle like the bottle buddy, floats. It does everything!  It’s great for fetch or tug, but holds up awesome to just hunkering down and gnawing on it.  This is just an awesome toy for the money you spend.

There are a few other we use around the house for various purposes (Dog Tornado, Tricky Treat Ball and Tug-A-Jug to keep him from scarfing his meals, for example, or Himalayan chews and elk antlers), with varying success. Soft toys are mostly a wash – every so often I’ll get him one at the dollar store, let him tear it’s belly open and toss it without too much guilt.

Another way I’ve found to mitigate the cost while finding durable brands or toys is a Bark Box subscription. For a set monthly price, you get a box of goodies delivered right to your home, and the contents typically exceed the subscription fee from anywhere between 5-20 bucks.  Their customer service is also spectacular – when a rawhide treat was one of the items in the box, and I emailed explaining I couldn’t give my dog rawhide, they sent me a $10 dollar gift card the same day to purchase something Edge could eat, and asked me to donate the rawhide to a shelter or other dog. Their items are all high quality treats and toys (even if some of them don’t last, or they’re not Edge’s favourite).  They also have an online shop where you can purchase items from the boxes, sorted by themes. (For ex: you can see a lot of my faves here, though only the football was one I got from a Barkbox.  Still, they know their audience!) Plus, just straight up adorable items that I wouldn’t have thought to buy come in from time to time, like Edge’s super snazzy ugly christmas sweater:

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Handsome nerd

All this to say, if you want tips on how to keep a puppy from completely destroying your life while interacting with it personally as little as possible, I’m your gal.

(I’m only mostly kidding on the last part.)(Really!)

#GameOverGate

Gamergate* is dead.  Indeed, it’s been dead in the water since it began.  I’m not going to cover the genesis, or the long arc of harassment and continued misunderstandings about what words like “ethics“, “games” or “journalism” mean. That, as you can see, has already been extensively covered.

But like a rapidly transmitted virus – say, the flu – the reach of Gamergate went far beyond the borders of the nation of ManCavelandia to find coverage in the mainstream media from the likes of NPR, PBS or the New York Post.  In no particular order, the death of Gamergate:

1) Actually…

No one actually buys the ethics in games journalism defence.  It was a slapdash bandaid applied to a bitter ex’s angry blog rant about a claim of collusion that is provably false. More than a few minutes spent in any of the forums for pro-GG posters show that a) they’re primarily concerned with punishing women who critique the game industry status quo and b) they have no fucking idea what ethics in journalism actually means, since they feel like games coverage shouldn’t be critical or negative of a product when that company also advertises with you.  No, really.

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The smokescreen of ethics probably makes the next point so infuriating.

2) Mainstream media coverage:

In a setting where “fair and balanced” coverage means giving both sides of the story equal play, even if one side is completely ridiculous (looking at you, climate change “debates”), the MSM has been unequivocally critical of Gamergate. New York Times coverage focuses on GG as a movement devoted to silencing feminist critics of games, Forbes ran an article criticizing Intel’s decision in pulling advertising based on the campaign, and big name stations like CNN and the BBC covered the Utah State massacre threats because, well, obviously.

In fact, the only thing GG appears to have been remotely successful at with regards to mainstream media is getting Anita Sarkeesian interviewed on everything, including the Colbert report:

(In a cute piece of irony Alanis would love, most GGers seem to believe this is a coop for the movement because Stephen Colbert argues for boobies in video games.)

3)  Everyone knows it’s about hating women.

Chris Kluwe took basically an enormous verbal dump on Gamergate hydra-like head, and nothing happened. (He made a few people cry, maybe.) Nerd idols like Joss Whedon, Wil Wheaton and Greg Rucka have all spoken against the toxic nature of the movement.  And yet, it’s Anita Sarkeesian, Felicia Day, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu – all relative small potatoes, until they got national attention for being targets, anyway – were the ones threatened.  Those threats were widely reported on, which led to a number of reporters looking into men who have criticized GG, and why they weren’t threatened.  Considering this is the media that was hesitant to talk about the Isla Vista shooter’s misogyny, don’t you think that’s a little telling?

4) Games are changing.

Anita covers it a bit in her talk, but the truth is that interdisciplinary programs are gaining ground in universities and colleges, and many media labs and incubators have computer scientists who are artists as well, visual artists who can code, writers who can market.  This isn’t just meant to double-dip and save money, but rather reflect the flexibility and diversity of the world in the people who make games, so that games can grow beyond the linear narrative structures and kill-to-win models that dominate a lot of major game studios’ portfolios.  Sandbox games like Animal Crossing, Tomodachi Life, the Sims, and Fantasy Life are immensely popular, entertaining and fun.  You can’t beat them them.  The only way to win is the satisfaction of enjoying the game while playing it.

Same.

Olaf gets it.

What’s more, you get games like Fold it, where the satisfaction and enjoyment from the game can also be derived from the sense of purpose that succeeding has applicable, real-life benefits.  Check out the latest puzzle, for example, where players need to find a way to bypass a cap on the ebola virus that prevents a cure from binding before the virus can bind to a human host. Terrified of ebola? Be the actual change here.

Gamification has gotten a bad rap because it’s used so poorly in most cases. rewards based systems only work so long as the reward is high enough value for you to press through doing your homework, or chores, or job.  But gamification done well broadens the scope and arena of gaming to be pretty much limitless, which is terrifying for Gamergate.  How can it be a special club if everyone enjoys it?

*not to be confused with gamergates, or reproductively viable worker ants.

Friendship: A Resume

Objective

To be the amazing friend you brag about to your other friends to make them step up their game.

Professional Achievements

Flexibility

  • Despite not playing an instrument, managed to become part of the coveted band geek clique in high school.
  • Compatible with friends of all genders.

Dedication

  • Very rarely will dump a friend even when they really, really are huge assholes.
  • Have only ever bailed on a hang out because of pet death.
  • Still have one friend from grade school.
  • Excels at long-distance and internet friendships.

Modesty

  • Cute but not spectacular – you can be the hot friend!
  • Have only completed an undergraduate degree; smart enough to talk about anything you want to talk about but probably not as smart as you.
  • Imposter syndrome under regular relapse.

Skills

  • Ass-kissing
  • Video games
  • Book-learning
  • Internet Meme fuckery
  • Tweeting
  • Cat cuddling

Work History

Lonely Working Asshole Adulthood 2007-Present
Drama Nerd High School Though College 1996-2007
Weeaboo Grades Six Though College 1994-2003
Baby Goth Grade Eight 1995-1996

Education

 Small Group of Weirdos Primary School 1989 –

 1996

References

If I had friends to act as references, I wouldn’t need this resume, dingus.

A World Leader’s Shopping List for Conveniently Ignorable Genocide

  1. Really good propaganda.
  2. Strong imperial allies, or at the very least, strong imperial “we don’t know enough about the situation so we’re reluctant to step in“s 
  3. A sufficiently corruptible and capitalist mainstream media.
  4. A toothless United Nations as a reason to ignore its resolutions and sanctions (except of course for the ones that give you what you want.)
  5. Easily exploitable historical blind spots.
  6. A post-it note reminding you to never attack a military base during the Christmas season.  (Attacks on civilians during Eid is perfectly acceptable, however.)

Action Item: Writing a Letter about Palestine and Israel

Earlier this week, shortly before news that the Israeli Armed Forced had bombed a UN shelter full fo sleeping refugees, I had gone searching for information on writing to my government representatives about their abhorrent stance on the current horror in Gaza. Unfortunately, Amnesty International (a great site!) only had information on how to write to Secretary of State, John Kerry about the issue, and nothing for Canadians.  (Americans, you can find that here.)

A few emails to a colleague pointed me towards John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, with a copy of the letter addressed to Stephen Harper.  You can find John Baird’s contact info here, and Stephen Harper’s here.  I encourage everyone who can to do the same!  It’s not much. It feels like painfully little. Nonetheless, every extra bit of pressure is needed.  I’ve included a copy of my letter below as a possible template.

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