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A Political Post

Posted by Leona Wisoker on January 26, 2017 in politics, Uncategorized |

I’ve been trying to write a political blog post for weeks now. I literally can’t keep up. Every time I settle on a topic, something else lights up as more important.

It’s been observed, I believe rightly, that this is deliberate. There is such a deluge of flat out shit coming down the pipe that none of us can reasonably keep up with it all, let alone write cogent commentary on the entire mess. Some have made noble and brilliant efforts. I find myself picking apart many of the lists, such as the one on The Daily Kos, as offering too much bias and not enough stand alone, unassailable truth. There’s a roundup at CNN that is more balanced in its wording. Either way, there are enough summaries and lists already out there that I feel no need to reinvent the wheel, as it were.

I’m also seeing a stark difference between my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Granted, I’ve populated them with very different “friends and follows”, but I’m beginning to realize many of the folks on my FB friends list genuinely don’t know most of what’s going on. I keep forgetting that not everyone is glued to the news feed. Many people just want to live their lives, go to work, shake their heads, cluck sadly, and wait it out.

Wait and see. He can’t do all those things he’s threatening. He doesn’t have that power. He has to get approval from Congress. He didn’t mean those things, politicians always say outrageous things to get elected. Give him a chance. He needs our support. He deserves our support. We owe him a chance. It’s about time we got tough on these problems, anyway. . . .

Does that sound familiar? Have you, or has someone you know, said any of that?

Here’s an exchange I had recently. Please do not try to search this out, as I’m not trying to start a shitstorm on anyone’s timeline.:

[name redacted]: …During campaigns politicians say anything they think will get them elected. Here’s my thing, everyone wanted people to give Obama a chance. The same goes for Trump. No I didn’t vote for him but ya know what, I want to see what he can do before condemning him. If you give one a chance you have to do it for the next. And if you didn’t vote than you have no right to gripe.

[me]: So far Trump has: stated that he might invade Iraq again in order to get the oil; pushed through approval to get his son in law hired; refused to divest his business assets; banned the National Park Service from using Twitter because he was upset at their repost of photo comparing inaugural crowds from previous and latest election; issued orders to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership; reinstated the gag rule that forbids overseas medical caregivers from even MENTIONING the word abortion; complained at length about the media misrepresenting him; restarted the Dakota Pipeline Project despite massive protests; declared his own inauguration day to be National Patriotism Day; set a clear focus on business negotiations as more important than human rights issues. What else would you like? Oh, how about his nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education, a woman who has zero experience with public education, teaching, or anything relevant but who JUST SO HAPPENED to donate heavily to his campaign. ….There is so, so much more that marks Trump as an already unfit leader. I haven’t even gotten into the fact that he’s the darling of the Nazi movement and hasn’t pushed back at that in any meaningful way. He’s had his chance. He’s shown who he is. He’s not going to change. The international community isn’t going to give him more time; they can’t afford to. They’re already making plans to deal with him as he is presenting himself right this moment.

I’m utterly unsurprised that there has been no reply whatsoever from the original poster. I have yet to hear any coherent defense of the “give him a chance” stance once confronted with the actual, unslanted facts of what Trump has already put into motion.

Meanwhile, there are many threads on Twitter like this one, explaining in clear and flat detail how Hitler rose to power, and how easily it slides from small to medium to huge without even being noticed–because part of the process is a growing deluge of problems ranging from petty to emotional hot-button issues, problems that come far too fast and thick to absorb or comprehend. Logic need not apply.

One obvious example comes to mind:

Trump is insisting that a wall must be built on the Mexican border. He is insisting that Americans will pay for it up front but Mexico will pay us back. Mexico’s president has said, over and over, that his country will do no such thing. Trump’s response, when asked about that by a reporter, was literally dismissive: “Oh, he has to say that.” Then he said something about alternative ways for Mexico to pay us back–other than currency, by implication.

Dear God. That interview absolutely chilled me to the bone. Let’s set aside the debate about whether the wall should be built, and focus on that one small angle with common sense and logic:

We’re going to build a wall to stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country. We’re going to add a huge burden ($15-25 BILLION) to our taxpayers in order to build this wall. And in return, the other country, which does not want this wall, which has publicly condemned this notion (not because they mean it, according to Trump, but to save face–which, Logic 101, why would you call them out on the international stage about that? Doesn’t that make their loss of face that much worse and increase the likelihood that they will, in fact, dig their heels in?) . . . this country, then, in spite of being so blatantly disrespected and humiliated, will do . . . something . . . not directly financial . . . to pay us back . . .  ?

Sure. Let’s wait and see. How bad can it get? There’s already so much to do in day to day life, after all, and what can one person do, and maybe if we just wait it’ll sort itself out, and hey there are already people protesting, I don’t need to get involved. Phone calls? Why bother? Surely thousands of other people are calling already. I’m busy. I hate talking on the phone. I might have to give my name and address to prove I’m a resident, and then–

Hold it.

That last protest is rooted directly in fear of negative consequences for making that phone call. So if you have that thought or make that argument, you already know the problem is very very deeply bad. America has always protected political protest as a basic right. If you’re truly afraid of losing your job or being arrested or having your computer hacked just because you called your senator to register your dissent

–you’ve just revealed that any wait and see rhetoric you might be spouting is self-serving bullshit.

Thousands of people are calling to complain every day. It needs to be hundreds of thousands of people, every single day. You. Me. Our siblings. Our kids.

I’m terrified. I’m depressed as hell. I’ve said and continue to say all the deflections I typed above. I’m as complicit in the I’ll do it tomorrow stall-out as anyone else.

I can’t get out to march, for many reasons. I rarely pick up the phone to call and complain, mainly because there’s so damn much to call about I’m overwhelmed and drowning in indecision. As guilty as I feel over those two things, it’s not enough to make me do them. (Although I’m hitting my self over my failure every day, trust me. Sometimes that even works, and I pick up the phone.)

What I can do, instead, is write blog posts like this one. What I can do is winnow out the most reliable stuff I see online and point my readers to verifiable facts. What I can do is push people out of complacency and be a naggy bitch about making you face what’s happening all around us.

What can you do? –not a defeatist question. A real one. What is within your abilities and capacity and passion to achieve? Please, figure it out, and start doing that thing.

Fast.

 

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Leona Begins Rambling About World of Warcraft

Posted by Leona Wisoker on January 17, 2017 in Uncategorized, video games, Writing |

I’ve been assembling notes in preparation for a series of posts on why I can’t seem to quit playing World of Warcraft. I have three pages at this point, and those are just notes, not actual thought out essays. I look at the file and think, damn, where do I start….. there’s just so much here.

I will note that I’ve decided to assume at least basic familiarity with the games and companies I’m talking about. If you’ve never heard of, much less played, Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, or Neverwinter Nights, this post won’t make the first damn bit of sense to you. I’m creating a breakdown of several games for those who aren’t already familiar. That’s going to be a rather long series of posts, and will take some time to complete. In the meanwhile, if you know what I’m talking about, proceed! If not, well–proceed anyway, but at your own risk. 🙂

I’ll start at what was the beginning for me: Blizzard’s Hearthstone. I really like card games, and I was a huge Magic: The Gathering geek for a while. Hearthstone, which feels a bit like MTG Lite, caught my attention immediately. I played it endlessly for months. I mean total addiction mode, up half the night, madly excited about finding a Legendary in a card pack. I even went looking to see if they’d converted MTG to an internet game, and indeed they had–but on trying it out, in comparison to Hearthstone it felt laggy, unwieldy, and flat out boring. I couldn’t understand why I’d ever liked it in the first place. Hearthstone was so obviously superior: fast, with great animations, goofy card text, incredible play style flexibility and options, endless promotional boosts–and free, don’t forget free.

At the same time, a lot of folks on my Twitter and Facebook feed were talking about World of Warcraft, a game also produced by Blizzard. I realized that Hearthstone was, in fact, a card game based on WoW–don’t laugh at me, I can be dead slow on the uptake sometimes–and the temptation began. Because if Hearthstone was so fun, and WoW looked like a big sprawling RPG (potentially even better than Neverwinter Nights)… well….

I’ll pause here to note that I had never played a MMORPG before. I always chose the offline version of a game and played solo. That was partially financial, because I hadn’t had an internet access plan that would allow for a brute of a game like WoW, and partially–well, I’ve already said games are an addiction for me. I didn’t want to risk the rabbit hole.

I first tried to load it to my iPad. Yes, I was that ignorant.

I side-eyed the game for several more days before giving in and installing it on my computer. In a proper romance story, I would say I immediately fell in love and the rest is history. This being real life, I’ll admit that I absolutely hated WoW for about the first two weeks. It was confusing and complicated and there were all these people running around acting so completely confident. There were more options and buttons and bars and beeps and boops than I’d ever seen on a game before. It was worse than the days of trying to teach myself a 3D animation-building program without help. I struggled just to understand the camera settings, let alone trade chat or joining a group. I had no clue about key bindings, action bars, oh gods, dozens of things. It is, honestly, a freaking beast of a game with a zillion options.

I kept going because I’m stubborn, and because friends I trust told me that my reaction was normal, to just ignore anything that didn’t need to be understood right that moment. So it took me weeks to take a chance on joining a quest group, months to figure out key binding, years (yes, you can laugh at me here) to realize details such as, for example, enchantments could be cast on scrolls for later use, instead of having to be cast on the same items over and over in order to build skill points. I mentioned I’m slow sometimes. It just honestly never flagged in my head.

I still only use about a quarter of the fancy shit that WoW offers. Macros still confuse me a bit, and I prefer solo play over group, especially with dungeons. I don’t see the point of a lot of what other players are fighting over; I have zero interest in raids or PvP combat or–

Well. If you already play WoW, you’re doing one of three things right now: rolling your eyes at me, leaving to find someone more Authentically Geeky, or nodding along enthusiastically and saying talk about what’s good in the game now, please!

Okay. First two subsets: hush. Last subset: WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

This post is for you.

What I really love about WoW, the reasons I can’t quit playing:

The side quests, especially those tied to profession skills like fishing, herbalism, tailoring, and so on. I’ve created new characters (“alts”) just to explore questlines among different professions.

The professions themselves. Both gathering and crafting sides are fantastic fun. I’ve created a team of characters, in fact, who farm and craft for one another–basically a mini guild. Why would I want to join a guild, when I can do all the stuff myself?

I’m going to pause here and note that I have been in several guilds, and three of my characters are still in a guild–on the Horde side–and I’m well aware that guilds can be fun. I’m only in that Horde guild because one of my IRL friends invited me in. I almost never take advantage of any of the perks. I just use the guild to keep in touch with my friend more easily.

I’m also going to pause–in fact, stop–at this point because I’ve just realized that discussing what I love about WoW is going to take up an entire post all on its own, if not several. Please post comments about which aspects of WoW you particularly love, and I’ll try to address those points in my next post.

REMEMBER: I have a first time commenter approval policy. Your comment will take around 24 hours to show up, depending on when I have time to check my email. Once you’ve cleared that first comment block, future comments will appear instantly. 😀

Now I’m off to the next bit of writing for the day–whatever I decide that’s going to be. I might just freewrite for half an hour, I haven’t done that in a while.

Go be creative and have fun today! Because why the hell not. 🙂

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Subscription Change-up

Posted by Leona Wisoker on January 15, 2017 in Uncategorized |

After several batches of suspected bot subscriptions, I’ve switched the form. Instead of signing up for the blog, there’s now an option to subscribe to my Irregular Update newsletter (the next one will be sent out in the coming week). I’ll re-enable blog follow signups next month, once I’ve settled out a few items on this end; meanwhile, there’s always the option to sign up for the RSS feed. Thanks for understanding! 🙂

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Confessions of a Video Game Addict

Posted by Leona Wisoker on January 6, 2017 in Uncategorized, video games, Writing |

I am addicted to video games.

No, I’m not joking. I’m not being facetious or arch or whatever. I’ve been bonkers about video games since I discovered Zork I. There were days (long ago! I swear! I was still a kid!) when I got myself invited over to someone’s house simply because they had a game on their computer or console I wanted to play. If left unsupervised, I would probably spend 20 hours a day playing my latest favorite.

Scratch “probably”. I’ve done just that. I remember playing Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge all night long. Literally. I looked up and it was dawn. Back then, I actually had a big comfy chair to sit in so I wouldn’t be sore from not moving for hours at a time.

Today, I have more distractions, more maturity–ah, hell, let’s face it: I have a husband to feed, editing and writing contracts to handle, and a dog that whines incessantly. I will credit maturity for increased control over my addictive tendencies. It’s hard to be obliviously rude and selfish when you’re no longer oblivious.

But man, I was a freaking mess as a teenager and young adult when it came to video games. For anyone reading this who had to deal with me in those days: I’m so, so, so sorry. I was a horrid little puke. You had every right to kick my ass and I’m grateful you restrained yourself.

So I’m an adult now. I’m still playing games as often as possible. I’ve developed some restraint and boundaries, but I still see it as an addiction, based on the simple fact that I will, if left alone with no pending obligations, do nothing else but game for days on end. In a way, my entire writing career could be considered an attempt to get myself away from video gaming.

On the good side, at least I haven’t become* an alcoholic, drug addict, gambling addict–(just barely on that last, mind you–lived in Las Vegas for a few months and damn near fell down the well. Never ever going back there, and I never go into a casino without handing someone trustworthy my wallet first.) –or any of the other variations. I don’t even smoke any longer. Kicked that one about twenty years ago, and grateful for it every day.

Also on the good side, I’ve managed to corral my addiction within mostly reasonable boundaries. I make myself get up and walk around the house to handle minor tasks at least once an hour. I make sure I drink water. I keep my snacking to a minimum and try to have it be on the healthier side instead of cookies, chocolate, chips, and pretzels. I don’t yell at the dog for interrupting me; I thank him for making me look up from the screen and remember that there is a Real Life all around me.

I’ve chosen not to get involved in the sort of gaming that requires me to be at the computer on certain hours or days, or locks me into being tied to the computer for any length of time. I normally avoid raids, group dungeon runs, and group quests. I don’t play games that bring my stress level up: timed boards that run faster and faster every level, like Tetris (which I used to ADORE), make me utterly crazy these days.

My latest innovation in handling my gaming time is to write about it. Such as with this blog post, and more to follow. I’m going to talk about the games I’ve played in the past and am playing today. In fact, I’m going to go out on that fragile and frightening limb and talk about video games from a feminist perspective. Because why the fuck not.

At least it means I’m writing actual blog posts, not playing a game and thinking about how I really ought to be writing. 😀

I have lots of material lined up already, so with luck I’ll manage to keep to a weekly or biweekly posting schedule for gaming chatter. Links should post to Twitter as posts go live, so if you’re not already following me there, allow me to direct you towards @leonawisoker as a place where you can try to keep up with me.

If Twitter doesn’t suit you, please do sign up to follow my blog. I’ll warn you up front, there’s been a weird surge of registrations in the past few days and I’m now checking to be sure all registrations are coming from Real People. So if you follow the Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose blog, please be ready to answer an email confirming you as a non-bot.

Here’s to turning our addictions into useful work product! (Said with a profound amount of self-directed snark.) Read on, game on, and keep fighting for the world to be a better place. Because again: why the fuck not, amirite? 😀

* I am NOT implying that those addictions are somehow more gross than video games. Addiction fucking sucks, whether it’s tobacco, alcohol, sex, food, or what have you. Please read that line with a “tongue in cheek, eyes rolled sardonically” tone. 🙂

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MY F*ING PRIORITIES FOR 2017*

Posted by Leona Wisoker on January 2, 2017 in Books, business, grieving, politics, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing |

*may contain some swearing**

**All right, a lot of swearing***.

***Sorry not sorry.


PRIORITY ONE:

Write.

Fuck housework, fuck checking Twitter and Facebook, fuck returning phone calls, fuck opening the mail, just write. Once word count for the day is reached, THEN I can do all those things–and the other stuff on this list.

PRIORITY TWO:

Boost other writers and artists.

There are way too many fucking amazing, talented folks out there who still don’t have the visibility they deserve. I’m especially going to continue and refine my focus on marginalized groups: women, POC, handicapped, neurodivergent, and basically anyone the fuckheads of the incoming administration are afraid of.

PRIORITY THREE:

Research.

I want to learn new things. I want to develop a broader knowledge base, so that when I go to a SFF convention I can tick more boxes to speak on more panels and not have a glazed look half the time while I pretend to know what the fuck people around me are talking about. Watching movies and reading books qualifies as research in this context: not exactly be a burden. But this is going into my dayplanner as Reserved Time, not leisure activity.

And it will give me blog post material, so this ties into priorities one and two. Hooray for intersectional activities!

PRIORITY FOUR:

Stay connected.

I lost too many people in 2016. Not just the celebrities that everyone mourned: I lost people close to home, close to my heart. More than once, I’d been thinking “I really ought to call and check in on so and so”–only to have the phone ring or FB beep a notification that so-and-so was now permanently unavailable for phone calls. Death is a part of life, but damnit, life is a part of life too, and it’s time I reached out and made a consistent effort to let people know I love them before death takes them on to the next adventure.

PRIORITY FIVE:

My health.

I have to stay healthy in order to accomplish the above goals. I have to go to the chiropractor more often, and sign up for the gym, and watch my weight, and be overall positive in my attitude. This is going to be a really fucking awful challenge for me, which is one reason it’s so low on the list. I want to focus on the uplifting stuff first, and build up a bank of happy that will carry me over the sandbar of Being Healthy. But this is officially going on the list for 2017. It’s going to have time set aside in my scheduling book and everything.

PRIORITY SIX:

Cut back on swearing.

No, really, I fucking mean it, I need to watch my fucking mouth. I have grandkids, goddamnit, and some people who follow me don’t like all the shitty swearing I have in my books and… ya know what, fuck it, I’ll swear as much as I like. Let me try that again.

PRIORITY SIX:

Learn to like myself for who and how I am.

Yeah. I can get on board with that version. I’m pretty fucking awesome just the way I am. Everyone has flaws and quirks to work on. That’s part of being human. But what I think are flaws, other folks think are fabulous quirks, and vice versa. So I’m just going to muddle on through and do the best I can with what I have, and celebrate myself as gorgeous inside and out.

PRIORITY SEVEN:

Keep lists short.

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