Category Archives: Creator Chatter

New Book Release! Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope

 

Nestled deep in the forest, all is as it should be in the village of Blessed Hope – and that’s how chief hunter Dari Finbarr likes it. Then one stormy night the embodiment of death for Humans stumbles into their home: a Szari girl.

The Szari! A race of powerful beings who sought the extinction of Humankind, and were only stopped by the Tzaro people in a brutal war that is still whispered about in hushed voices. A sole Szari warrior is capable of wiping out entire Human settlements by themselves.

The strange, silent Szari is nothing like how the tales describe however; and though it risks his life, Dari is given the task of guarding her until the wise Tzaro are brought to decide her fate. Until then many questions arise, but no answers can be found in the girl’s sad green eyes.

Without knowing it, the Humans of Blessed Hope have found themselves on a path that will change the future of all the races on their world…

After much blood, sweat and tears, and delays brought about by multiple truly life-altering circumstances, we have finally – FINALLY! – got Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope published! Available from Lulu in paperback and ebook (epub). Distribution will have it available through other retailers in a few weeks, and when it happens I’ll write about it!

Despite the preview image on the paperback’s page, the actual cover image on print looks very good – here’s the proof copy:

This series is set before the Seda’s Diary series of books. Blessed Hope is our thickest book to date at 427 pages (plus supplementary content). I hope everyone who reads this book enjoys the story!

 

BIG thank you to the beta readers who have stuck with us through the hard work in getting this story out!

On Intelligence – seeing the world a little sideways

So, recently on Twitter, there was a link to a story about a dolphin that had learned to bring back trash for fish. This is not new; a dolphin named Mr. Spock did much the same (the link also has other detailed examples of dolphin intelligence.) Riffing off the Star Trek bit, this article opines that the only reason that dolphins haven’t destroyed us is because of the lack of opposable thumbs.

Mate, Australian raptor birds are waaaay ahead of the dolphins. Okay, granted, they’re flushing out prey but apparently this is not new behaviour. Continue reading

Art Posts

Updated my deviantart for the first time in a very long time. Paid commission work done while giving eyes a rest from other work. I expect to work through the holidays, personally, but this is a good thing, in my opinion.

 

Manager Sophie An updated commission of the previous Sophie image. Photoshop.

Elf Warrior Kate  Done almost completley using Clip Studio Pro.

Jennifer is Shopping  Done in Photoshop.

 

Working with Clip Studio is FUN. Like, woah, once you get it set up the way you want, and figure out some things, it’s really neat to play around with. The brushes are admittedly kinda scary to create and are not as easy to make new brushes with but at the same time, there’s stuff on Clip Studio that is unique to it. It’s really good with lineart work too. I got the more expensive version as a Christmas/Birthday present to myself some years back but it’s only now that I’ve been able to run it.

Thank goodness that Clip Studio is being managed by the Japanese again and doesn’t have that near constant ‘no, I’m a legit copy’ callback that needed to happen with MangaStudio that was STUPID, ate up resources AND  bandwidth and pretty much assumed nobody else lived where you were or shared the Net.

I am looking forward to see what I can create with this.

 

Aff’s Opinion Part 2

Shadow’s Note: I occasionally tell Aff he should write something on the blog, because he’s an entertaining and hilarious opinion writer. He keeps saying that he’s likely to piss off everyone, including my friends. I know my friends. They’ll probably be laughing right along with me. If it helps, imagine this in the voice of a very sarcastic Lawrence Fishburne crossed with Dr. House.

 

So, the last time I wrote anything for Shadow to post was about gun control, which probably  irritated some people. Not to worry, for I have learned my lesson and I will now write about far less controversial things.

Item One: Racism & Why I hate the Internet

This might sound odd from somebody who uses a computer on a near 24/7 basis to browse said Internet, but it’s done a world of harm. It would have been far better if it was just that weird place which Hatsune Miku came from, but we’ve got no such luck.
For a very long time, Australia absorbed the better part of foreign cultures and concepts via an elegant process which took time.

Turns out, most of this happened in the late ninety/early 2000s period. A lot of different cultures were moving into various areas of Australia – Adelaide, South Australia being no exception.

As I was growing up, I was thrown into a Preschool class with a bunch of other kids. Some of them were Asian. Some were African. Some were Aboriginal. I realise this now, of course. But at the time I didn’t know. Nor did I care. Nor did anyone else. We were all just kids.

No attempts were made to classify any of them as different, or disadvantaged, or people we should work harder to include or people we should exclude. When I got into a punch up with one of the kids, it was because I hated the little bastard for the day because he stole my Banana or something. If we were kicking a ball around, it was because it was some other kid to kick a ball around with. This happened indiscriminately, without any concern for what race that kid was. Because it didn’t matter.

Adelaide remained like this for the entire duration of my school life. I went through Primary and High School without ever noticing or caring what race any of the kids were. It didn’t matter. Nobody else cared, either. If there was racism present at my school, it must have been buried so deeply that nobody would have said anything – and the groups of kids that turned up for events, LAN parties, or social trips to Salisbury were always mixed completely at random.

Not because we were told to. It just happened naturally. And my friends weren’t the only ones – this was a common occurrence. Nobody cared.

Then came the Internet, and problems from other countries started being communicated to Australians in real time. People felt strongly about these issues, and wanted to do something about them. Issues in other places.

So they began to campaign against issues that didn’t exist here. Loudly. Angrily. And their righteous campaigns to prevent racism only served to make some people feel different when they hadn’t before!

The very attempt to right a wrong (which hadn’t existed in that location – at least not on any major scale) caused the problem!

Fantastic work. Brilliant. Top notch.

Fortunately, it didn’t work that well. As someone who has lived extensively in three states of Australia, I can tell you it’s still pretty kick back. I don’t believe racism has a huge hold here, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

I’m sure the Internet is also guilty of damaging other countries in the same way. My guess is that cities globally vary enough that problems in one area can spread to another via the Internet even if the problem wasn’t even remotely possible in the other location previously.
Want to treat everyone equally? Just do nothing different. Don’t force ‘awareness’ or ‘educational programs’ on people to highlight the differences. That’s how you amplify something into a problem, instead of avoiding it becoming a problem.

 

Item Two: Religion

As most of you have likely figured out, Shadow has a religion. She believes in spirits and what not. I don’t. You might be asking how we co-exist given the fact that most Atheists can’t enter a public place without telling everyone within earshot while wearing a smugly superior look that resembles the kind of leer you would see on the face of a convicted paedophile.

I don’t believe in a God. I also don’t believe in spirits. I do however, believe in History. There’s these things we have called records, which document stuff that happened previously. It’s really quite neat – and some of it you can even find on the previously-mentioned awful Internet.

What we now loosely and somewhat inaccurately refer to as Free Western Culture stems from the family values and concepts that arose from Christian Faiths. In fact, the very fact that Atheists can exist without prosecution is because of Christianity. Don’t believe it? Go look up how well Atheists did in the presence of many other belief systems, you may find it some fiery reading.

Here’s a great thing from Christianity you can enjoy as an Atheist today; the concept of education for the common-folk was one born out of the necessity of being able to teach people what was inside the Bible. Granted, you may not see this as being particularly cool as it is promoting a belief system – however, giving people literacy led towards other great gifts and a more general education. Do you know how to read this post? Do you know how to write something slandering Christians? Congratulations, you can probably thank them for it.

While it is true that Atheists may suffer some discrimination in the modern era, it is completely out of proportion compared to the discrimination that Atheists appear to exclusively focus on Christianity. You can generally live in a Christian country without worrying about being persecuted because you don’t turn up to Church – in fact, most Christians seem pretty lazy on that score too, so who would know anyway? There are also laws – derived from the concept under the Bible that all Humans are created equal in the image of God (or some such) in most Christian countries that protect your rights to pretty much believe what you want.

So what’s up with Atheists attacking Christian/Catholic beliefs at every opportunity?
Now, some of you may be thinking – hey, okay so it was useful. But now it’s not. We should stop with this fairytale nonsense, right? Where’s the harm?

This is the part where the Atheist part of me – the one who isn’t worried about curse words – would like to call you a fucking idiot.

Let’s say you succeed, and Christianity is gone. Great success, celebrate with some alcohol.

Oh wait, you probably can’t. The removal of Christianity isn’t going to instantly turn everything over to a religion-free society. It’s more likely to remove the protections that Christianity and its influence on culture provides that allow you to reject religion – next thing you know you’re in an Islamic country… and uh, you don’t want to live there as an Atheist.

You think it’s obnoxious that someone wants to give blessing before they eat? In Islamic scripture, you cannot change religion or become atheist – denying Islam and becoming an apostate is punishable by death for males and imprisonment for women (and what happens to the women mean they are probably getting the worst part of the deal). If you’re an Atheist and think you can be as brutal with Islam as you are with Christianity, try taking a visit to Afghanistan, Malaysia, or Saudi Arabia. There, you can be executed for publicly advocating Atheism – something that will never happen to you in a Christian country.

But hey, it might be a nice trip for you. And at the very least, it will spare me from seeing another one of those blasted banner adverts advocating how we should kill of Christianity and shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.

Don’t wanna believe in God? Fine, you don’t have to. I don’t either. And that’s my right – one protected by the laws of Australia and most (not all) other Christian-founded countries.

Don’t like others believing in God? Okay, explain why? Why does it matter to you in the slightest. Does it affect you? No. Will it affect your children? No. You can opt out of every religious study class available in Australian public schools. Christianity might be loud during Easter and Christmas, but if you’re offended by a few chocolate eggs and the idea that people will give each other gifts, perhaps you’re actually just a horrible bastard.

And hey, that’s cool too – but before you embark on your heroic campaign to spend thousands on billboards and drive Christianity out of the country, maybe you should think about what will replace it when that happens because it most likely won’t be the peaceful universal Atheism you seem to believe.

Because hey, it’s cool we’re not afraid of God. In fact, there’s nobody to judge our actions in this world but ourselves. And that’s also a solid point – we are responsible for our actions. Which means we are also responsible if we act like total dicks to one another, and ruin everyone else’s day. We’d also have nobody to blame but ourselves if the great plan backfired and we all ended up on some Islamic chopping block in the UAE. So cut this self-destructive shit out, you’ll destroy all of us right along with your intended target.

Don’t bite the hand that protects you.

Item Three: Abortion

I was going to stop above, but I figured I had one more group of people to quickly piss off.
I’m not really pro-life. I’m also not really pro-choice. I’m pro-personal responsibility.

Abortion is a medical procedure with some risk. You can avoid needing this if you either:
a) stop fucking everyone;
or b) use birth control;

As for the “it’s my body” stuff from some women; can you become pregnant via photosynthesis or mitosis? No? There was another person involved?

Sounds like it’s joint decision time!

But hey, abort away. I don’t intend to change anyone’s opinions because I don’t really care too much about this subject – but if you are going to do so, do it at a proper medical centre and not some half-baked clinic.

Otherwise it might not just be the foetus that dies, you might too.


Right, well that’s probably filled my quota for another six months… actually, no – wait. I have one more group I have a gripe with.

Item Four: WordPress

Alright, so I don’t post to Shadows Blog – at all, ever. She has the option of posting things from me on her Blog if she chooses to do so. Under no circumstances do I dictate things that must or must not appear on her web site.

I am the administrator that manages the behind-the-scenes stuff which keeps this site running. I installed the WordPress, and I apply updates or patches as needed to keep it running smoothly. In that effect, I am part of the platform that enables her speech.
WordPress are part of a platform that enable peoples speech as well. That’s what they claim to be, anyway. By forcing the rainbow banner on users via the reader bar, they are going beyond participating in the discussion but forcing their speech on top of the sites that they claim to support free speech on and thus telling them that any other view is wrong.

This is not the place of a speech provider to do. We’re looking at replacing WordPress soon, but until then this post can stand as some glorious irony when I officially state that WordPress gets added to my official list of companies that can get fucked.
If you are a platform or a host to debate, you cannot pick a side in the debate. Then you are no longer providing neutral discussion ground.


Alright, now that’s my quota filled for real. If you aren’t offended yet, let Shadow know and I’ll get right on fixing that.

Aff/Seda, signing off.

Voted for Dragon Awards!!!

SO HARD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN MOVIES.

Hard choice for movies

That was honestly my hardest choice on the ballot. Arrival or Doctor Strange? I eventually went with Arrival because it was more intriguing for me. (Sorry, Benedict. I love Dr. Strange, but… TToTT )

 

Authors Larry Correia and Benjamin Cheah have posts talking about it. ANYONE CAN VOTE.

http://awards.dragoncon.org/

Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

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Quick post about LibreOffice – Write

I made my jump from MS Word to LibreOffice the same time I made a pretty huge jump from Windows to Linux (Mint, Debian edition) for security reasons. That was back in 2009, and while I’ve moved into ‘what works best’ mindset, I have to say I’m very happy about having moved to LibreOffice and away from Word.

LibreOffice can be used across most platforms and OS-es; I use a Mac, a Linux Debian box and a Windows box (the latter usually for gaming and entertainment) and they work, from my own personal usage, with no discernible differences for a simple end user like myself. So you do not have to move to a Linux OS just to use LibreOffice.

In fact, I have not used all of LibreOffice – the two which I use the most are LibreOffice Write and Calc, the latter being a spreadsheet program which I keep track of grocery shopping and house budget with.

I’m not here to convince people to make massive jumps away from unfamiliar OS but simply to illustrate that if you do decide to switch from MS Office to LibreOffice, you’ll find that there is very little to worry about in terms of learning curve – especially if you use it primarily for documents and writing – in which case, it’ll be LibreOffice Write you’ll care about the most.

I also use LibreOffice Write for the majority of formatting for both ebook and print books – that is, the formatting of inner book content. As I’ve thus far only made books with only text, as of this post I can probably comment only on that. But for now, this post is concerned with how LibreOffice Write looks and on the very basic, works.

This is a post done mostly in response to some comments in Mad Genius Club’s post  “Formatting for Print – Revisited.” I just found it easier to quickly snap off some screenshots and make this post.

Click on the image to see a bigger version. That said, the rest of this post will be behind a jump.

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Cake and work area

I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.

The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.

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Old Stories and Memories

I have to say, it’s not often I am met with pleasant surprises, and I daresay this counts as one of them.

review-long

Every now and again, I get a notification that someone has favorited one of my old fanfiction; added me to their list of authors that they wish to be notified with updates of. I have to say, I am pleased that there are still folk who stumble upon Slayers: Dragon’s Cycle and even happier when they leave a review like this. So, thank you, Girl, for leaving it, and I am happier than you can imagine, that you enjoyed it so!

Every now and again, I do think about this story, try to figure out how to solve some of the problems that the characters have. I think of the story with great fondness, as I associate it with good friends and good memories – as well as of loss. The person who use to help me the most with the story, who used to review it and help me tweak it, died in 2003. I still miss Za; and remember the happy days when I would write this story, excited and plotting ahead, cackling with her as we made mischief for the characters. It was all in fun; yet at the same time we wanted very much to make a doujinshi story that was well made and well written, to see a story done that people would read and enjoy in the way we wanted to enjoy the series, all anew.

That there are people still able to enjoy something I’d written for fun, mental breaks taken between homework and the tons of research I was doing in high school and college at the time, tells me that in that at least, I succeeded.

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Star Trek Bridge Crew and cheese eating Vulcans

I love how randomness can result in my finding out about something rather cool.
Such as Star Trek Bridge Crew.

I make no secret of the fact that I play Star Trek Online. I’ve got a toon I started I thiiiink around New Romulus arc, then I made a Delta Rising character, and an Agents of Yesterday toon. (When the next arc starts, I am likely to make another toon because of rumors that it’ll center around Section 31.) Anyway, the current event that’s ongoing is the Mirror Universe Invasion; and we finished it on most of our toons today. Continue reading

Getting Wired Wirelessly

My hubby got me a surprise – a smartwatch, with a pedometer and some other features. It was a prize or a free gift with something, and he knows I gleefully enjoy such things.

Early experiments trying to pair the damn thing with my phone resulted in vast irritation so I stopped that.

Sigh. Technology. Younger me would be shaking her head in disbelief at current me.

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Little finds

On occasion, we’ll go to the bottle shop to buy liquor – fruit or sweet wines, or vodka mixers are my thing, and sometimes a meal just isn’t complete without something that’s a little stronger than Coca Cola, especially if I’ve cooked up a heavy stew. I particularly enjoy Brown Brothers’ moscato, and they have a new low-alcohol content drink called Grape Tree, which is a fruit cider – grape cider- ‘inspired by apple cider.’ They have a variation that’s made of berries, which is quite yummy.

During our last trip out we spotted this interesting label, and I had to take a photo of it.

I don’t think Larry Correia drinks, and I don’t know if Jim Butcher or Jason Cordova do, but I figure this is something that might amuse them.

I also ran across this while sorting through books; this is one of the books my Dad bought, and from the date he scribbled in one of the pages, it was while we were in Europe. While we lived in Paris, I think.

My parents were voracious readers, and my habit of keeping a library comes from them. I wonder what my Dad would think, that I keep (virtual) company and call friends authors who are published by the house Jim Baen established, and that those authors, wonderful people all, are encouraging me to write? Certainly, I’m still get the awestruck ‘pinch me I’m dreaming,’ moment now and again, but nevertheless, I’m incredibly glad to know that these awesome authors are also wonderful, down to earth people who I can also get along with (and who don’t mind my brand of crazy, it seems!) I think Dad would have got along with them.

 

Dad’s death anniversary was on the 17th, and talking to Mom, the tenor of our missing him has changed. It’s not that painful “I wish he hadn’t died” but “I wish he were here to enjoy this too,” and “I wonder what he would say/think?” Mom and I are quite amused that his work as an Ambassador is still talked about, and praised, when he’s been dead for 9 years, and glad at the same time that his legacy of service to the Filipino people is not  yet forgotten.

 

Still swamped and sick

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to work on commission art (11… or was it twelve?  Sexy Desktop ladies, a book cover and some other stuff.) Sold a computer that was sitting idle to someone who needed it in an instalment plan; and I’m hoping to get a battery for my little netbook soon. I wish I could afford to buy a portable Cintiq and a new computer for the bedroom so that while I’m too sick to sit up I can draw in bed and keep working. At least with the netbook I can write while in bed and it’s not bulky. (Ok, theoretically I could write with Ayumi the super tiny netbook but I need new glasses first.) However, writing with an objective as opposed to rambling requires the ability to concentrate and focus, so alas, no essay or story writing for me. I REALLY NEED TO GET NOT SICK. The only reason that I can still draw is because I don’t need to be coherent or make sense when drawing. I can draw without worrying about whether or not my grammar is being infected by German or French or did I just insert the Japanese borrowed term for something I just wrote…

We’ve been flat out this last few weeks. I’ve got commissions from people who want Sexy Desktop Lady backgrounds (and I’ve been told for most of them “whatever you wanna draw is fine! – as long as it’s a pretty girl) – most of them from people who are also asking Aff to do system builds for them.

One of the customers brings us Maccas whenever he drops by, enough that Aff says that he’s waiving the standard fee but the customer says it’s so he doesn’t feel bad that he’s eating all by himself.

On a happy note, I’ve a nice pile of manga, and artbooks and books that arrived today. I had a nice stack of Skip Beat omnibus volumes arrive the other day but I forgot to take a photo.

If this sight makes you itch for some new reads, I found out via some helpful Twitterfolk that the November 2015 Baen Book Bundle can be ordered. Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword is there, as well as Mike Kupari’s new book, and a bunch of what look like really good reads. I’m going to wait because I kinda smashed my book budget already so it’ll be sit and wait again.

Leaping off that tangent into another, ff you read science fiction and fantasy, you’ll need to read about one of the biggest scandals in the genre, which is “Breendoggle”, the thing that the anti-Sad Puppy people seem find LESS objectionable than Sad Puppies, simply by the dint of the NOISE that is made about Sad Puppies versus Breendoggle. The Story of Moira Greyland is heartbreaking to read, and she talks about how she was repeatedly raped and molested from the age of five by both her mother and father, both of whom are big names in science fiction and fantasy. One of the things I’m sure that lots of people will find objectionable despite what happened to Moira is the fact that Moira wonders if the lifestyle or the sexual identity of homosexuality has something to do with what happened to her, as she describes by her account that she was constantly being told that she was supposed to be a lesbian and pressured to be one, and that her parents were upset that she was born a girl. The comments only serve to prove this disappointing line of thought true.

In the vein, however, of that blog, she raises a point that shouldn’t be ignored, even if you support gay marriage in any way at all (like I support the concept, but not how it’s being executed or pushed for.) This is part of the whole ‘flip-side’ thinking that a lot of people don’t try to engage in any more – which is, contemplate the other side of a situation.

In this case, if the ideal situation of a child who identifies as gay is born to heterosexual parents, the parents accept their child’s homosexuality, then ideally the reverse is also true: that gay parents would accept their child’s (adopted, or partly biological/surrogate-born) heterosexuality. However, the question that is raised by what happened to Moira (aside from the rape) is whether or not this is happening, if heterosexual children are given the support they need, and whether any children at risk are actually given the protections they need (from both the ‘sides’ of homosexual and heterosexual parents). There are stories out there that give rise to doubt that equal treatment is given in this case; and it is clear that abuse happens to some children regardless of the orientation of the parents. However, my point is, is the discussion happening, and if it does, are those discussions being policed on whether they’d be perceived as ‘bigoted’ or ‘anti-gay’ or similar threats and fears?

For me, the core thing of being a parent is the ability to prioritize the child’s needs, safety, and future over the parent’s wants. This is true regardless of whether or not the parents in question are heterosexual or homosexual, or married or not. Parents need to ask themselves if their identity -whatever that may be- is more important than ‘parent.’ It tells the person what is their greatest priority – themselves, or their child? After all, having a child means you’re setting aside a massive chunk of one’s own time, needs and interests aside for the sake of the child. Simply put, if a person pondering parenthood puts being ‘gay’ or ‘heterosexual’ or anything else over ‘parent’, then perhaps they should rethink becoming parents. I do not think there should be a qualifier before the ‘parent’ part. It does not matter to me if the parents are gay or not; what is most important is whether the parents consider their children the most important thing to them.

The response on the Moira Grayland story makes me wonder indeed, if the honest and necessary discussions occur, as opposed to devolving to mere accusations of being hateful.

Can such discussions occur? I’d like to believe that they are, because I don’t know if they are.

Apologies for the delays in writing

The last few weeks have been quite horrible for me healthwise so far this month. I’ve had maybe 4 days of NOT being sick since the start of July. Gah. And I’ve been sick since before end of June.

First I had the monster flu that knocked me right off my feet for a week and a half, then I had the weird episode of feeling like I was burning up, but my temperature read thus:

We’ve got an Antarctic Vortex of cold blowing up from, well, the south. It’s so cold for us up in North Queensland that we’ve been getting temperatures like this:

My eldest son, Vincent, apparently has had a growth spurt, because the trousers we got him just a few months ago no longer fit. All of them. Except one pair. Vincent has that weird combo of sizes where he’s too thin for one size, and too short for another. He’s a skinny kid. So as much as possible I try to buy his clothes cheap; because he’ll suddenly outgrow clothes. So he caught a cold, and everyone has “noses that run like Kenyan Olympians going for the gold medal,” as per Aff’s oh so memorable description. (Sneezing and laughing at the same time hurts, I found that out the hard way.)

I don’t have this problem with my daughter. She has an immune system that gives sicknesses that takes out the rest of the household the bird and cruises along as normal. It’s still so cold though that I have the two children sleeping in Vincent’s room, to generate enough warmth to keep them warm. They’re bundled up in flannel PJs, and layers of blankets and two quilts. Me, because by myself I don’t really generate a lot of heat, am buried under a quilt, two fluffy thick throw blankets, and a cotton sheet. And am wearing layers of clothes.

Then a few nights ago I had a high stress event happen to me, resulting in this:

This was my BP an hour later.

Since it was coming down, albeit slowly, I decided not to call the ambulance and do what they would have done anyway: given me meds, told me to rest, and monitored my BP. I’m still recovering, but my BP is somewhat lower now, still a bit high for me though. (My normal is around 90/70.) I’m still having headaches though, and have been having problems keeping a train of thought steady. I’m familiar with this from when I was pregnant with Brandon though, so I just gotta bring my blood pressure down. I feel like I just went ten rounds as the practice throw dummy for a judoka, so I’ve been asleep a lot again.

Sincere apologies for the lack of follow-up essay. Hopefully I’ll feel less kicked-in the head soon.

Between This Essay and The Next

A few days ago, I retweeted something I saw on The Ralph Retort‘s feed and briefly wrote about how I stopped being a feminist in reply to that retweet. A brief discussion followed and I decided it would be best to expand on it. I guess it’s one of those ‘triggering’ things for me because whenever I flash back to that time, it always results in the same towering fury I remember having that pushed me to my feet and had me start shouting back. After all, all the hate they were spewing went against everything we ourselves had been taught about being good strong Catholic women. I decided to break it up into two parts because 1) I had to stop being angry because it really wasn’t doing good things to my heart rate and 2) I had to do stuff away from computer, namely lunch for the family. As it was I had to ask my daughter to handle the rest (just make sure it didn’t burn) because I needed to fall over into bed: I was burning up with flu and everything hurt. I’ve been bedridden since.

Ralph asked if he could feature it and I said yes.

While I was asleep it went up on his site.

I woke up today, fever broken, and went to check on the kids. My eldest boy, Vincent, was up already but Big Sis wasn’t so I sicced him onto her to wake her with cuddles, yelling “INVASION OF THE LITTLE BROTHER” at the top of my voice. Cue “KYAAAAA!!! What are you doing?! Oh, hugs.” The ruckus had Aff come out of his room where he was playing L2. I made coffee and sat down to look at stuff online. That’s when I saw that my account had gone up on The Ralph Retort, and saw retweets talking about a young girl/woman. My still fever-fuzzy brain thought “…I hope they don’t think this is current events.” (I’m still fever-fuzzy.)

 

That’s my graduating year ID – lucky it was where I remembered it was. I blacked out my ex’s surname – yes, I was married then to someone else; our marriage was on the rocks and we separated before I graduated and eventually divorced – He was American so he could divorce me; the Philippines does not have divorce for anyone who isn’t Muslim and that is a rant for a different day. I visited Australia in 2004 and Rhys and I have been together since. My ex and I still talk on occasion, and we both agree that we’re in better places than we were before and we wish each other happy.

This happened while I was still in college. I went for six years from 1998 to 2004, not because that’s the required time to put in, but rather because as an ‘irregular student’, I didn’t have the per-assigned hours and classes that regular block students did. I started in the second semester, not the first, of the last co-ed school ‘batch’ before Miriam fully reverted to being an all girl’s college. So I had to try grab the empty slots for my required major and minor classes if they were still available, or if they weren’t, I’d take them next year. This caused some issues as …I think it was calculus?… was dropped while I was attending (Miriam did not offer hard science or engineering majors at the time – that may have changed now) so other than Algebra or Statistics, there was no need for it – and it had been on my curriculum list when I entered. So I had the strangest schedule sometimes. The history classes were supposed to be spread across the first three years; I got them all on my second semester. Unfortunately I had a very boring World History teacher – one of those people who focused more on geography and dates and timelines as opposed to bringing the events to life in the classroom. Philippine history and Asian Civilization was fun, especially Philippine History, because that was taught by someone who became one of my favorite teachers ever. A tale for a different day.

I wrote as much as I could remember – this would have happened sometime between 2000-2002 or 2003, so I’m afraid that I don’t remember things like names any more. I’ve always been bad with them, so I’m sorry, I can’t point you to a particular lecturer, I remember only that the two Indian women were the most outspoken of the four or five guests up on that stage. They’re a lot like the typical militant feminist common today, just without the rainbow hair.

I forgot to include the parts where I argued extensively about how could they simply shove aside half the human population and dismiss them as rapists when surely all of us present knew of good men, were related to them, and had good male friends. How were we supposed to become good parents to sons, if we treated them with suspicion simply because they were born the opposite sex? I suppose most of the details have gotten hazy in the back and forth shouting. But I remember that fury, the feel of my sense of restraint breaking one chain at a time with each outrageous thing that the feminist lecturers were verbally heaping on our heads – and trying to crush our spirits with. In a way, they did us a favor by overplaying their hand; that particular batch of students were never feminists of the type that seem so prevalent today.

I have good memories, for the most part, of my college years in Miriam. I liked most of my professors and had problems only with the Statistics teacher and the hard-line socialist who was very upset that I didn’t paint a shining picture of glorious utopia after finding out I’d lived in East Berlin. In fact, I don’t really have bad memories of Women Studies classes either – and I know now I was very lucky in that respect. It was a lot more classical feminist than the fainting couch paternalism-encouraging Third Wave weaklings. The focus was more of being able to improve conditions for women and push for a more egalitarian outlook on a local scale. In some respects that is correct and indeed a good thing to advocate. In some other respects however, I don’t think it really applies to a lot of the Filipino outlook either honestly, but that’s the topic of my next essay, which I’m still in the process of writing.

 

First though I have to make sure I don’t relapse.