Archive for June, 2012

30/06/2012

Some things I wish I’d been told as a kid (or as a teen even).

Sitting down to play Diablo 3 the other night I was suddenly hit by something. There are so many simple, but mostly happy lessons I wish could have been taught to me when I was younger. Things I wish someone had been either willing, or able to tell me when I was a lot younger. So I decided to list off a few of them, who knows they might even help someone else.

Patience really is usually rewarded: For those who don’t know it, Diablo 3 had over a decade of build up to its release. Seriously, 12 years of waiting semi-patiently for the next part in the adventure. And guess what? The wait was worth it, worth every single second. It’s every bit as good, as exciting, as generally wonderful as I’d hoped. And so was Diablo 2 after the 6 years it took for me to finally have a PC that could run it.

I genuinely owned a copy of Diablo 2 for 6 years, but never got to play it because no PC or Laptop I owned in that time was able to run it. But I kept the faith. I was patient. And eventually I got to play it, and I did for three solid months. Patience really is sometimes rewarded.

You’ll get to do it when you’re older, and older isn’t that far away: My family were never well off. I don’t like to imagine the sacrifices my mother made to allow me to do the things I did get to do like rock climbing, scouting, owning a computer (Amstrad 6128). Because I know we didn’t really have the money for any of it. But even so there were so many things I wanted to experience when I was a child, and a teen.

I never owned a Nerf-gun, or a super soaker. My brother owned first a NES, and later a Megadrive (Genesis if you’re in the States). But we could afford maybe a game every six months or so. And the rentable ones in our town were parts of a very limited stock. Besides this was the 90’s there were over half a dozen consoles out there, and hundreds of games. Hell let’s make this simpler, I never really had nice clothes that I liked back then. I’m not talking labels here either, even then I wasn’t that dumb. Just nice jeans in a style I would have enjoyed wearing, or a jumper that hadn’t been either a: knitted, or b: owned by a cousin.

But you know what? Time passed, I reached a stage where I had money of my own, and the freedom to choose for myself. I got to own Nerf-guns (love them! ‘Specially the modded dieselpunked ones), I have emulators for every console, as well as roms for every game I ever wanted to play. And my wardrobe is filled with clothes that I like, admittedly almost all of them are secondhand, but they’re still the ones I want.

Time passes, and as it does you have more freedom of personal choice. I chose to stay a kid at heart. Admittedly a kid with really big boobs, but still a kid. Wanna Nerf-war? Huh huh? Do ya?!

Monsters are real. but they get beaten/die just like anything else: My mother, in fact every responsible adult in my life when I was growing up told me that monsters weren’t real. They were wrong. Either they didn’t know, or they just plain lied. But there are monsters in the world. Lot’s of them, and some of them got their claws into me when I was too young, and weak to defend myself against them.

I genuinely don’t believe that the adults in my life did me any favors. If I’d known there were monsters out there. If I’d been told that they look just the other people you meet on the street, but that they always ultimately reveal themselves. If I’d been told that they can be beaten, and how to beat them, I may not have had the horrors in my childhood that I had to deal with.

That’s what I wish someone had said to me.

You don’t need to feel guilty over saying “No!”: This one is equal to my wish I’d known about the monsters, because it would have saved me so much heartache over the years. Because I’m a very Dominant personality I have a really strong drive to make sure everyone in my life is safe, and happy. The sight of someone I care about looking sad, upset, even bored is physically painful to me. So I tend to say yes to most things (things that will be safe, and/or productive), even when I know the cost to me will be too high. But this is not just because I want them to smile, it’s also because of the gut-wrenching guilt I feel when I say no.

I’ve gone on nights out knowing that I’ll spend the next week going from the bedroom to the bathroom.

I’ve accepted compromises in my love life which actually reduced my self-respect far too much to be healthy.

I’ve quite simply said yes to things which I should never, ever say yes to.

I don’t do this anymore. I have a boyfriend right now. He’s a real sweetheart, and a boylesquer (suck on that girls. :-P). And recently I was supposed to go see him perform. The thing is between his asking me, and the night in question my health took a serious nose-dive. Before I would have still gone, and damn the consequences, consequences which for me would have been dire. But instead I said “No.” I didn’t want to say that. I wanted to go and watch the other girls in the audience lust after my boy, while I sketched him. But I still did the right thing, I stayed at home and rested.

It may not have been a pleasant sacrifice, but it means that I’ll recover quicker, and for longer. It means more higher quality time with him in the future, instead of less, and lesser quality time last week.

It’s nice to have learned not to feel quite as guilty about it either, even if that lesson took the better part of 30 years.

Well anyway there are many more of these. And I bet you have a few too, want to share them?

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28/06/2012

It’s time for a change.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a change has happened. That’s right, the name of my blog has shifted from “Random Ruminations on a Mad World”, to “My Random Ruminations.” There are a few reasons for the change, but none them is my not liking the original name.

I’m shortly intending to launch a video blog aspect to this blog. It will of course be hosted on YouTube, the place dignity goes to die. But after going through all of my favourite video blogs there I realised that the original name of this blog was a bit…wordy. It needed to be shorter, sharper, edgier, okay not edgier, but you get the gist.

After going through the search terms which have led other people to my site I realised that NO-ONE has ever searched for the full title. They’ve always searched for “Random Ruminations”, the rest of the title is a bit superfluous.

Mostly I changed the title because it was time for a change. The way I write my blog, the topics I cover, even the feel of it has shifted in a very marked way since I began over 18 months ago. And I felt the title needed to change with it. Change can be good, this time it definitely is. I just hope it doesn’t screw my traffic. 😉

26/06/2012

Being Monumentally Physically Bored.

I don’t get mentally bored, I just don’t. How could I when at the moment I’m working on the following projects.

1: My webcomic Acidgirl.

2: My video blog aspect to this blog you’re reading right now.

3: Learning to play ukulele.

4: Learning to make ukuleles.

5: Writing my second novel.

And 6: Playing the following PC games. Diablo 2, Diablo 3, EVE Online, and Minecraft.

Besides all of those I have a couple of hundred books in my “read next” stack. And anyway I’ve never been mentally bored, ever. I have never been able to work out if that comes down to the fact that I’m a very imaginative person, and so spend a lot of my time wandering through the landscapes of my own mind. Or because I’m just too dumb to be bored. The latter is more a taking the piss out of myself thought than anything serious.

But while I don’t get mentally bored, I do get very physically bored.

Up until my mid-twenties I was a very active person. I rock-climbed, hillwalked, I was a fell-runner, I cycled 30 miles, or ran 15 miles ever single weekend. I swam, I was a kayaker, I was a scout leader. I may not have been healthy, because Goddesses know I’ve never ever been healthy, but I was ripped, fit, and never bored.

But since those days my health has forced me into serious physical inactivity. I take my dog for long, slow walks, I wander slowly through Dublin with a friend, and that’s about all I’m capable of. Even that is a huge victory, but it leaves me so physically twitchy, physically bored. I permanently want to jump up and do something. Preferably something that will scare the crap out of me. Preferably something that will make the adrenaline flow as my heart races. But instead I take the dog for a long walk, a long slow walk. Yay!

On Sunday though thanks to a really special guy in my life (no not my boylesquer boyfriend, a different guy) I had a tiny taster of the fun I could have with Airsoft. No running, unless I want to… or want to be shot in the head by someone who has more patience. Maybe a couple of new friends could be made. Certainly a lot of new people I could piss off royally. And best of all these are the “toys” you get to play with.

Yup, that a replica M4! Mommy wants!

So this is probably a future cure for my physical boredom. Whether I find myself at the indoor airsoft site in Naas, or the outdoor one near Bray, or even just plinking away at some target in a suitable environment it should be a lot of fun. And what’s more fun that I can enjoy at pretty much my own pace.

Which leaves me with one question to answer, which of these to get and use?

Hmmm decisions, decisions…

Never mind, found my toy. Mommy really, really wants!

23/06/2012

I hate inheritance stuff.

Recently my mom wrote her will. I should actually say that she finally wrote her will after almost 5 years of my chasing her to do so. I wanted to have some legal certainty in what her wishes were in case of her death, and for there not to be a massive family shitstorm.

So during the phone conversation where she told me what it contained she mentioned that I’m to have all her jewelery. You’d think I’d be overjoyed. And I am, though not for the reasons you might expect.

I am of course delighted that my grand-aunts wedding ring will come to me, and not end up dropping into the familial aether. She was more  my grandmother than anyone else, and her husband is in many ways who I compare all men to (if you knew him you’d understand why so few ever match up), and I love the idea of having a solid piece of that part of her life in my possession to remember them both by. It also turns out that my mom is delighted that I want it, she’d worried that I wouldn’t want it at all. Silly Mom!

It also of course clears up her wishes about the family home, the disposal of her corpse, and all the rest.

But even though I was the one chasing her to do this, I hate it. I hate that she has a will because it makes me acknowledge that one of these days my mom will die. Mom is 60 now, almost 61. And she’s a very young 60. My Partner in Crime’s granddaughter actually refuses to believe that she is my mom because she’s too young. But like the rest of us she’s not getting any younger, and I don’t have to like that.

During the early years of our time together, I helped my PiC to get over the loss of both of her parents. I saw what it did to her. I’ve buried a lot of friends, and a lot of family over the years. I have a pretty good idea of what losing my mom will do to me. And the knowledge that she has her Will made out only drives that I won’t always have her more forcefully home to me.

So yeah, I’m very glad she has a Will. To me like voting, having an airtight Will is just common sense, and a duty to both yourself everyone around you. But I don’t have to like it, or what it means for one to exist.

21/06/2012

Getting ready to launch a dream.

As my long-term readers will know well by now, I’ve had a long-held dream to create my own webcomic. I’m not quite sure when this particular bug decided to sink its teeth into me, but at some point in the past ten years I realised I wanted to be a web-artist. I’m generally a creative person. I’ve made a couple hundred pounds weight of chainmaile, written a novel, modded various objects, been a carpenter etc. I like to create. I like to start with an idea, and after a lot of hard work be able to stank back and be proud to say, “I made that.”

It’s a wonderful feeling to create something, and know that no-one will ever again create something quite the same, even if they attempt to copy you 1 to 1. Because quite simply no-one else’s hands will move in quite the same way, no-one else’s eyes will see things in quite the same way. But especially only your mind can direct the means to create what you create. Anyway like I said it’s a wonderful feeling.

Since last year when I decided to finally create my own webcomic I’ve been working towards its release. I’d initially hoped to launch it during that Summer. That unfortunately proved impossible. But I decide not to give up. So I’ve put aside time every week to practice my drawing, to learn about creating and running a webcomic, even to figure out where to have it hosted. It’s been a long hard slog, but finally I’m getting tantalizingly close to where I want to be. You see after years of wanting to, and a full year of working up to it, at some point in the next two weeks the first page of my webcomic will be going live.

This is the as yet unfinished cover page for its first chapter…

Her name is Lucretia Acidgurl. And she’s on a mission to save her universes human race from extinction. And pretty soon you’ll be able to read her adventures as she meets real-life superheroes, and mostly regrets it. Kicks ass in unexpected way. Plays ukulele in weird, and wonderful places. And searches for the wonderous element known as Slood.

It’s been a long road already. But I can’t wait to finally be able to put my feet firmly on their new path.

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19/06/2012

A follow up to being a friend to the owner of Angry Bowel Pixies.

Back in March of this year I wrote an article about being a friend to someone with a chronic illness. In it I covered ten things which I feel make for a wonderful friend to have if you suffer with a chronic ailment. But the past week has brought to mind something which I think should probably be folded in.

During the past week in addition to all my usual physical problems, the universe saw fit to give me the gift of a kidney infection. The key words in that last sentence were “in addition to.”

Everyone has their own normality. What’s normal for you might well be completely unusual to me. My normality is to be a polyamorous, BDSM living, purple-haired, computer gaming ,futagirl, try saying that five times fast when you’re drunk. But my normality is also to always feel like I have the worst food poisoning you’ve ever experienced, combined with a migraine that starts somewhere in my throat, and ends at my anus, and to add extra insult to injury constant muscle and joint pain. This is what I feel, to varying degrees of severity, essentially every moment of every single day of my life. That is my normality, and I’m very, very good at hiding it from people.

But as sick as I feel all the time, I can still get sick. I can, and do still catch colds, catch the flu, get hay fever in the Summer, develop migraines (in my head), and of course I regularly get some truly vicious kidney infections.

The thing is, most people who are chronically ill will create their own type of normality. They will create a life they can live with. It may not be particularly fulfilling. It may not be easy. But they will create one, and that life is what will be normal for them.

My normality is to spend an awful lot of time in bed from sheer exhaustion after doing minor things, like hoovering. It includes things like always flushing the toilet before I use it, just in case there’s bleach in the bowl (burning badness). Spending most of most days sitting quietly because it hurts too much to do anything else. And making sure I can always reach the toilet in time based on how I feel at a given moment, and believe me after 30 years of this I can often time, almost to the minute, when an attack will hit me. Normality also includes one usually random day most, though not every, week where for a few hours I can pretend to be normal. When I get to go to town with one of my friends. Or go out for a meal. Or…just be a regular woman in her 30’s.

But that normal life doesn’t include kidney infections, and all the extra pain, weakness, and that rotten sickly feel they bring.

Normal doesn’t include a pain in my head so bad that I feel like I would gouge my eyes out with my own fingernails for just a few moments relief.

All of this is to explain something which you should never, EVER say to or about someone who is chronically ill.

Person A “Where’s Mary?”

Person B “In bed with the flu. She’s very sick the poor thing.”

Person A “God she’s always sick.” or “There’s always something wrong with her.” or “She’s always got something to moan about.” etc.

If you’re lucky enough to be physically robust you probably take that for granted. You probably take your normality for granted. And when you get the flu, or a cold, or a migraine, or…well anything, you’re probably insufferable. It’s the bubonic plague, and no-one’s ever been that sick ever in the history of history. And that’s fine, you’re entitled to feel that way when you’re well, and you’re entitled to feel sorry for yourself when you’re not.

But when you say something like “God, she’s always sick.”, to or about someone who is chronically ill, you’ve probably just punched them in the heart with something they’re probably fighting everyday to hide from the world. I know I don’t want every person on the street to see that I’m in agony, I want them to see a strong, healthy, good-looking woman. I don’t want the world at large to see a woman who sometimes has to crawl up the stairs because she hasn’t the strength to walk up it.

When you say it to or about them when they’ve gotten sick, in exactly the same way you do, but while they are still coping with everything else that they always have to cope with…that’s just about the shittiest thing you could say. And if they’ve heard you saying it, you probably turned a really bad day into a day that might make them wish they’d never been born.

I’m lucky, all of my friends are amazingly accepting, supportive, and understanding of what normality means for me. But I have had these things said to me. I’ve had the flu, and had someone say “Well you’ll be fine, you’re always sick.”

Why yes I am always sick. Thank you so much for pointing that out, and reminding me that even when I get rid of this flu, and I’ve gotten back to my version of normal, I’m still going to feel like hammered shit. Every. Single. Day.

Oh, and thank you for being so understanding of the fact that while I may be sick all the time, I don’t have the flu all the time, so I don’t have any way to cope with it, you know the same way you don’t…I hope you catch it off of me you insufferable prick!

What I’m saying is don’t do this to people you know who are chronically ill. Try to understand that they have their normal days, which may be loaded down with pain, and discomfort, with disgusting discharges, and worrying about whether they’re going to humiliate themselves on the bus. But that even that normality, just like your normality, can be made so much worse by catching something as simple as a stupid bloody cold, or a bad-tempered kidney infection. Because I don’t care how sick you feel to start with, nothing is made more bearable by feeling like you’re urinating razorwire, that’s been coated liberally with chilli powder.

16/06/2012

It took 18 months but I’ve done it! I lost that damned weight!

Four years ago I bought the single most expensive piece of clothing I have ever owned. An ankle length, semi-corseted black leather evening dress. It’s gorgeous, comfortable, and feels simply sumptuous against my skin. I also only got to wear it once. Literally, once.

Shortly after my one, and only wear of it my health took a very serious nose-dove from which it has yet to recover. Now you would think that would mean I lost weight. And for a couple of months I did. Then realising that I needed to have some physical reserves in case I ended up with anything else to cope with I did something about it. I over-ate, constantly.  I went from eating the normal calorie intake for a woman of my age, to almost twice that amount. Basically I was eating 4,000 calories a day, and only just clawing back my weight loss a few ounces per month.

That’s the problem with chronic diarrhea, you lose so much before you get to process it. So the only way to make up for that loss is to make sure you’re processing something all the time. And when that comes with vomiting, and intestinal bleeding…wel you’re always playing catch-up with your own body. Unfortunately for me, and my beautiful dress I ended up more than catching up.

First of all was the permanent bloating that comes with my tummy. Near instant (human body version of instant here, two weeks, maybe even less) gain of around 3, very painful, inches to my waist despite losing about a quarter stone each week. Then after I had regained those lost pounds my weight started to creep up. And you know what? I didn’t care for a long time. I didn’t care that I had gone from 12 1/2 stone, the healthiest and happiest weight I’d ever experienced, to almost 15 stone. I didn’t care that literally none of my favourite clothes would fit me anymore. In fact I gave a lot of them away.

Then came the day I tried on my beautiful leather dress. And it wouldn’t close. It wouldn’t even come close to closing. And I cried for hours.

You have to understand, that dress was bought for a very special celebration. But mostly I bought it as a personal celebration of finally becoming the woman I always should have been. It was, it is my dream dress. Other girls might dream of something with lace or satin, silk or velvet. I dreamt of tight, well-tailored leather encasing me.

And I couldn’t get into it anymore. And I knew I could never afford to replace it.

I realised that while I didn’t care about my weight gain, I wasn’t happy either. That I’d stopped looking at myself in the mirror. That I’d stopped dressing well. That I would now roll out of bed into anything that was handy. That I had become, for me, a slob. So I decided to do something about it.

Losing weight for me is a dodgy thing. That period of ill-health which had led to my gaining weight has still not ended, so that always has to be born in mind. My past with eating disorders is also something to worry about, and control. And the fact that I am somewhat OCD, and thus liable to weigh myself over and over in the one day if I don’t have someone stop me meant monitoring it all would be hard.

In the end I decided to just use my waist measurement to gauge my weight loss, and that only measured once a week. I started very carefully, reducing my calories by 100 a day for a month, then 200, then 300, etc until I hit the golden number that let my weight drop slowly. And boy was it slow. It’s taken me 18 months since finding that amount to go from almost 15 to just under 13 stone in weight (I only ever weight myself at my moms, and only once per visit. Seeing as I only get there maybe once every 5 weeks it tends not to trigger anything too nasty.). It’s taken another couple of months to stabilise at that weight.

And yesterday for the first time in 4 years I could fit into my dress! I felt like crying, I felt like giggling, in the end I sat in it and played Diablo 3. How I celebrated doesn’t really matter though. What does matter, is that for the first time in my life I’ve controlled my weight, and that control hasn’t gone on to become an illness of its own. I know now that I can lose weight slowly, not crash it. That I can stop that loss, and still feel great about myself. I’ve finally broken the power my bulimic tendencies once held in my life, by caring enough about myself to want to break it.

For a few hours yesterday I was a leather encased goddess again. And it felt so damn good, and I feel so damned beautiful again.

14/06/2012

This Kidney Infection is Kicking my ass!

So no real post today. I’m sorry but I can just about concentrate enough to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, and that’s it. Everyone have a great day, and I’ll do my best to get back on track on Saturday.

12/06/2012

Okay, it’s official. I want a new body, this one’s broken!

So Friday night I had a date with my Boylesquer. It went pretty damn well, apart from my having to run to the toilet to pee with alarming frequency. The following morning feeling rather squiffy I caught a very early bus home, and spent the day feeling gradually ever more squiffy. (“Squiffy” is my new favourite, not-real word. Say it with me, Squiffy…..aaaaaah)

Then Sunday morning I woke to find that my entire body has decided that it hates me. Not dislikes me, oh no. It actively hates me, in much the same way that I hate soap opera’s, I hate them all so much!

Yes, your intrepid blogger Amanda Harper has a kidney infection. The first one I’ve had in 7 months I might add, which is very much a new personal best for breaks between infections. Go me!

But it does leave me stuck in bed, sore, bored, tired, with an oversized non-vagina adjacent clit which feels rather like how my mouth felt, that time I ate two raw Habanero peppers on a drunken dare. It burns, oh Goddesses it burns!

So Amanda, what’s the point of this post then?

No point. I’m tired, sick, dreading the moment when my Partner in Crime brings home vile, disgusting Cranberry Juice, and I am of course seriously pissed off. So I decided to vent to my wonderful readers. And to reward you all for reading this, here’s a treat. Enjoy. *laughs the evil laugh of the burning pee sufferer*

(Normality, or at least a semblance of normality, will hopefully be returned by Thursday)

09/06/2012

Webcomic One-Shot – For Sanctuary?

So there I was playing Diablo 3. I was kicking ass, and truly not bothering to take numbers. When a random person from my Warcraft friend list joined my game.

“Cool,” I thought, “More firepower!”

You see they too were playing a Demon Hunter. Yeeeeeeaaah, as it turns out they’re a Rapid Fire spammer. The Spider Queen ate us.

Enjoy.

Yes those are an Orc and Gnome from Azeroth. Actually the Orc is Kitami my huntress, and the Gnome is Phylius who I played for 30 seconds one day, before deciding I didn’t want to play a hobbit.

In other news, my webcam arrived so my first video blog should be going up soon. Anyway enjoy the weekend, and see you all again on Tuesday.

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