I guess you can call me a feminist…..

The subject of Women and their experiences online are starting to dominate the conversation in blog articles or discussions. Especially in majority male fields like Tech, there is a growing objection to sexism and other injustices.

When hearing about continued harassment or ignorance to women, especially Women who are my friends, I tend to get really pissed. There is absolutely no excuse in this dayand age to be told that you can’t do a job because you are female. Not only in meatspace, I hear this shit, but I continue to hear instances of sexism from my friends all the time.

I also tend to stumble into these events on my own along with the virol of racism as well. (Which is another topic for another day.) For example: Whenever I am bored I love to browse 4chan or Reddit. Despite their reputation for being horrible places to visit on the internet, I love watching a good train-wreck. Pretty much almost anything goes on 4chan, and to an extent on reddit depending on what subreddit you browse.

Conversations on those sites can be very provocative and brutally honest. Sometimes, things can get TOO honest when discussing certain topics. On both sites there is a strong under current of Misogyny. In many cases, the mostly anonymous posters have little empathy for Women’s feelings. Aided by a combination of sexual frustration of young white males and general resentment against so called “Normies”, there is a lot of pent up rage against women.

Everyone by now, knows about the intense harassment of Anita S , a feminist vlogger who started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for her “Tropes vs. Video Games” series.  The series of videos are an argument against the constant sexism in the gaming industry by highlighting the same overused tropes for women. When most games are using female characters as eye candy lacking in depth or not including them at all,  Anita has every right to speak out on it.

Unfortunately an angry mob of mostly young white geek guys were VERY angry about this. They were so angry, that many of them harassed her or gave death threats. Even though Anita successfully reached her fundraising goal many times over, to this day the mere mention of her first name gets nerds angry on any gaming blog or forum.

If you happen to defend her like I am doing now, you will be called a “White Knight”, a whiny Liberal or worse. Sadly this is not the first time nor it will be the last time that outspoken women like her will be harassed by a mob of cowards.

Now the reason why I am writing about this is that I used to be one of those frustrated (but not as angry) males who seemed to blame the “evil feminists” for a lack of dating partners. I was so misguided, I nearly shelled out $2000 for a dating “bootcamp”. Luckily I was able to talk my self out of doing that and realized that issue was with me.

Thankfully I also never spent a dime on the numerous “PUA” books, seminars and other material that I illegally torrented. Sadly though I did manage to ruin a few friendships and alienated a lot of people from me trying to get laid. In the process I saw Women as a prize to be won and not as human beings.

In our popular culture, men are repeatedly drilled in their heads with the idea that you are nothing without a woman on your arm or your reward at the end of whatever journey/battle/fight is “the Girl”.  Throughout most of my teenage years and twenties, I fully believed that shit. I had the constant belief that being in a relationship or having sex would validate me as a person, make me a man and put me in the category as a “normal” person.

I don’t have many regrets in my life, but I fully regret getting caught up in all of the hype and the major distraction of trying to get a girlfriend or trying to have causal sex when I could have focused more on school.

Hearing about the numerous things that nearly all women go through on a daily basis , I feel that I should try to make amends and point out all of the ways that even casual sexism can make things difficult for women.

How to join, enjoy, get bored, delete and rejoin a social network.

For over eighteen years I have used the Internet. I used the Internet before even websites were common place. I have been socializing online well before that horrible buzz word “social media” was invented.

No matter what site I used, message boards, video sharing sites, aol, Facebook, I always would see the same things happen.

Initial discovery.

Out of the blue you will discover the site with curiosity. You will start to play around with it’s features. You will end up finding friends who share your interests or ideology. If you didn’t find the site interesting at all, at this stage you will stop going after only a few times.

Forming the site as a habit.

At this stage you will start going to this place more and more. You will either bookmark the site or have a prominent link to your profile (if applicable) on your blog. You will start to talk to your IRL friends about the site. They will not understand why you waste your time there. In some cases, you will even try to make friends IRL with your site’s buddies.

Addiction and dependency.

At this point, the addiction to the site is at a fully blown epidemic. You will start to skip work or school because of this site. Often you will even use the mobile app of the site. You will see your Internet friends as kindred souls.

Questioning the motives of members.

Here is when things start to get messy. You will start to question, either openly or privately the motives of your Internet friends. Are they your real friends, or are they just people who only exist on the Internet? Can they be trusted with even a small secret?

Disagreement with policy, other members or both.

Now, you will either start to tire of many of the sites members’ antics. You will also question how the place is run or recoil at any new changes. You want the place to stay the same, but the sites owners either don’t care or care about a select few people.

Boredom or Outright revolt.

The site now is no longer fun anymore. You are bored or fed up with newer users who don’t understand how good the place used to be. The current or new management doesn’t want to listen you bitch about things. At this time you are either outspoken against this place or are motivated to cause a rebellion. You also may be outgrowing the place after being on it for a few years.

Rage quit or banning.

You have been pushed to the edge. One day you will get banned for doing something stupid or suspended for revolting. In larger communities you won’t even wait for that to happen, you will leave first. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a sob story as a way to garner sympathy one last time. More than often you will use the delete function and leave it at that.

Half-assed comeback.

One day, often very quickly you come crawling back! You realize how boring your life with that social site is and try again. You may not have the same clout you once had. Hell, you might be ostracized enough to leave again. The main reason you came back is because you missed your old friends!

Secondary habit or “re-purposing” the site.

Sometimes a older site that you used to go to might be used differently. You aren’t as addicted but you will use it for another reason or at certain situations. Instead of being an active contributor, you will mainly lurk or view the service at certain times.

Complete Abandonment.

If you reached this point you will just stop going to that place PERIOD. At this stage, you have replaced it with one or more places. Then the cycle continues…..

Being stuck in a college kid’s late night lifestyle.

I seriously need to grow the fuck up.

Really I do. Very recently after I had a session with my Therapist, I’ve come to the realization that in my early thirties I continue to live the lifestyle of a college student.

Since I work from afternoon to almost midnight, I tend to stay up late at night. Often I will stay up anywhere from 2 to 5am. I’ve tried numerous way to improve my sleep habits such as meletonin, ambien, no caffeine, turning off lights and a c-pap machine.

All of these have failed. So what I usually do when i’m up at night is use the internet. Sadly, it is also one of the few times I am able to socialize with like minded people. For a LONG time I’ve been very reliant on the internet to make friends due to the fact that its very hard to make new friendships after college. Just about all of my college friendships have dried up or faded away.

I’ve tried many times to change my work shift, but to no avail. I also feel very complacent at my employer due to the excellent health benefits they provide. That and my lack of college degree has kind of prevented me from seeking something else.

This lifestyle isn’t compatible with other people. I’ve found that out the hard way. I’ve already mentioned that finding friends is a difficult prospect, finding someone to date me who has not been already repulsed by my appearance is even tougher. Even getting past most of my issues, its kinda of difficult to find a woman who also works the same hours who isn’t already married or in a relationship already.

I COULD just go out to bars and hang out with drunk people, but at my age, drinking to excess at late hours is no longer attractive to me. Aside from the obvious health reasons, the prospect of getting a DUI isn’t what I need in my life now. (Remember I don’t have friends IRL, so I can’t get a DD to drive me home.)

I don’t know what I can do to change this. I’m at a loss. I just felt like venting for no reason.

in Life | 369 Words

Attempt #3456789 to start writing again.

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My therapist wants me to get back into my hobbies again. One of my hobbies aside from sleeping and playing video games is writing. More specifically its is blogging.

I have made numerous attempt to start back up the habit of writing a few times a week only to either procrastinate or be discouraged after upsetting a few people for being honest.

I also happen to be quite critical of the way I write.  As I type this now, I feel that my sentence flow is weak and I am unable to be vivid with my vocabulary without abusing a thesaurus. Don’t even get me started on my tendency to type run-on sentences.

Of course since the last time I wrote SOMETHING, a lot has happened. I lost and gained weight AGAIN, I continue to fade away from many of the social media sites that I used to waste time on, I isolated myself from past friends or acquaintances and The New York Rangers lost their Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

Pretty soon I am going to undergo a major operation that will improve my health. I expect that things after it will never be the same. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be so secretive about it. I am getting my stomach stapled.  I really need to get it done before I get so fat that I require a scale meant for heavy animals.

From those who know me well, if anyone does, over the past two years I’ve had issues with Depression, Anxiety and other things. I want to be a bit more open about my problems and maybe that will help me understand them. Writing should make me articulate my feeling better and hopefully I can improve my sometimes shitty grammar.

That’s all I got for all of you now.

in Life | 301 Words

I am introverted. Deal with it.

Calling an introverted person, “shy” is simply a stupid thing to say. It is like saying an autistic person is mentally deficient, it is ignorant and plain WRONG to even have that thought. Introverts are also not considered “anti-social”. If they were, they would participate in deviant behavior such as mass murder.

Wikipedia, the wise sage of the great Internet, has the best explanation for Introversion.

“Introversion is “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life”.[3] Introverts are people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction.[4] Introverts tend to be more reserved and less outspoken in large groups. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, music, drawing, tinkering, playing video games, watching movies and plays, and using computers, along with some more reserved outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking.”

I consider myself an introvert. There is a reason why I might be quiet in a crowd. Just because I am like that doesn’t mean I am not social, it means that I don’t want to waste my time with pointless small talk. If I’m introverted, does this mean I am automatically a mute? Of course not! I still need to communicate at my job. I still must communicate with the few friends I choose to have.

Most people in my life seem to understand this. After a tough day at work, the last thing I want to do is to make small talk about useless shit. Also, especially I don’t like being interrupted when listening to music and (or) reading. I feel pretty bad when I have to give dirty looks or a scowl to those who interfere with those activities. (Or maybe because I tend to be an asshole about)

Of course under certain circumstances, I can open up and talk a lot more to a person. I also tend to understand other Introverted people and I do not force a conversation that isn’t worth having. I make sure I give an introvert their space and I definitely don’t interrupt people who are reading.

One more thing to let you know, under certain situations, introverts can act like extroverts. We tend to call them Actors, but they are anyone who decides to use that “mask” if the situation warrants.

Why playing the EA NHL series is the closest I will get to playing ice hockey…

I refuse to have a Devils goaltender on my game cover.

If you know me pretty well I am a pretty huge hockey fan. I’ve been a proud fan of the New York Rangers for almost 20 years. The overall poise and speed of the game of hockey is something I always look forward to every fall (that there ISN’T a lockout). The fast and furious culture of the game is totally unique versus any other sport.

Hockey fans are indeed a passionate group of fans. The NHL may be the 4th or 5th most popular spectator sport in America, but we hockey fans continue to fill arenas, buy merchandise and watch obsessively on TV every season.  Despite the fact that the four letter word network manages to tries to ignore it every evening on “Sports”Center, the game continues to thrive.

A fine tradition I have followed for over a decade has me buying a game of the EA Sports NHL series. Since the year 2000, I’ve played the NHL games on various consoles and the PC. It is a release I am always amped up for. Even if it’s a bad release, I play it just because it’s HOCKEY.

Being a video game, it’s another way to experience a fantasy even though the game itself is quite real. For a guy who grew up as a hockey fan, sadly it will be the only way for me to experience hockey. Even if I got myself into excellent physical shape, playing actual ice hockey is very expensive. It costs a lot to get actual equipment, skates, and skating time on the ice.

It wouldn’t be impossible for me to play hockey, it’s just that the overall cost and time commitment is not worth it for a guy in his early 30’s. I often look back and lament the fact that I should have taken up the sport instead of football in high school. Unfortunately I can’t turn the time back, so I play NHL on my xbox instead.

Despite the fact that it’s a video game, I’ve had a lot of memories playing the series. From taking the Atlanta Thrashers (RIP) to the Stanley Cup to talking shit loads of trash to asshole college roommates winning via “cheese” exploits, I’ve done it all.

Of course it’s just WAY too easy to win the Cup with the Rangers given some adjustments (like making Henrik rated at a god-tier level), so I put myself in other scenarios. I play the Be A Pro/Live the Life mode a LOT. Probably more than any other mode. Essentially it is a simulation of NHL’s player’s career from Junior Hockey to the NHL.

In the past I usually play as either a Offensive Defenseman or a Sniper. Of course any player I create will always be a black guy. That player may or may not be an accurate portrayal of my current fitness level. Instead of playing as the Rangers, I tend to play on perpetually shitty teams like the Oilers or the Sabres.  Thankfully I have NOT been drafted to the Islanders, Devils, Flyers or Pens….yet.

Lately I have been playing BAP (now its called Life the Life) starting out in the CHL. It’s pretty interesting to see the game in another perspective as a player in major junior. I am starting out on the Calgary Hitmen. I don’t know why I chose that team, maybe its the name or the fact that they play at the Saddledome, but I find playing in the Western Hockey League fascinating.

Its pretty cool to see all of the prospects coming up and how the NHL draft process works. Because of this I am interested in seeing Junior Hockey on TV, (If I can find it broadcast in America). It’s just another side effect of this game that makes me more of a hockey geek every year.

 

No one likes you when you weigh 350 pounds…..almost.

I weighed myself the other day and it came up with a very depressing number, Three Hundred and Fifty.

I knew I let myself go, but it has come to a point where I can’t have my weight continue to affect my health. Over the past few years I haven’t been feeling right, partly due to my weight issues.

I’ve had or had the following issues:

Sleep Apnea from my overall weight.
High Blood Pressure from my high sodium diet.
Depression from my numerous self esteem issues accumulated over the years.
Increased Anxiety from Work, Bills, etc.
Low Testosterone due to my weight and age.
Semi-Annual Sinus Infections due to a weaker immune system.

I currently take about 4-5 medication. I take about 3 different pills for my blood pressure. I also take Welbutrin for depression, Lexapro for anxiety and see a Therapist for my numerous self-esteem/confidence/insecurity issues.

Many weight loss attempts have been attempted for the past couple of years. All of them would start out the same way. I manage to successfully lose weight for about a couple months and then I gradually fall back into my horrible eating habits.

Every single time there would be a some type of catalyst or lame excuse for me to stop eating. Either it would be some type of social event or gathering that would give me a reason to cheat on my “New Eating Habits” (I refuse to use the word Diet) or It would be something like increased stress at work.

Now I am at a point where I am pretty much sick and tired….of being sick and tired. This month I am giving myself an ultimatum. Lose weight or get weight loss surgery to get it done.

I really don’t want to get my stomach stapled. My mom already did that and she is unable to absorb vitamins properly. While she lost a ton of weight, she continues to have problems with digesting food. I don’t want to be at a point where I have trade my current problems for new ones.

So as of right now I am once again making attempts to lose weight. I’ve been always secretive about my weight loss attempts. I’d rather not have people continue to give me sympathy and encouragement over something I should be doing in the first place.

I am going to be rather blunt with myself. Getting to this size is 100% my fault. I got myself into this mess and I am going to get myself out of it.

My name is Justin and I am a fat fuck with a lack of self control. I am taking action to change that….one way or another.

 

Why aren’t we blogging anymore?

Over the past three years there has been more attention given to micro blogging like tumblr or twitter. It seems that anything online these days are tailor-made for the ADHD generation. Everything MUST be fast,short and to the point. There is absolutely no room for ANY deep thoughts or analytic thinking.

Because of that, we happen to have a serious problem.

Its one thing to use these sites to waste time, it’s another issue when it simply erodes your brain. I openly admit that my tumblr and twitter accounts, for the most part are complete wastes of time. Sure I try to give some insight, but if I DARE to do it beyond one or two paragraphs, my followers simply won’t care.

Once upon a time before the idea of followers and being followed was in the general lexicon, I actually blogged. Was it popular or perfect? Of course not!I WAS able to get my voice out there. Now after leaving college I have gotten lazy and treated the internet more like a toy than something of utility. Countless times I have said to myself: “I have to get back writing to prevent brain rot from a soulless job and life”.

Today I am doing just that.

Originally I wanted to blog in an effort to jumpstart a freelance career. Over the course of two years, I just sat on several domain names and did nothing. During that time the whole idea of blogging for money became kind of lame, if not impossible. The only blogs that make money these days are for rumor mongering and linkbait. If you are not Ariana Huffington, Michael Arrington that creep Perez Hilton or even Eklund, no one really cares about your small shitty tech blog.

From my experience reading many popular blogs, I’ve seen the same thing happen over time: Great original writing, and then it turns into shitty content that has endless lists and yellow journalism. Don’t even get me started on the lazy overdependence of links from trash tabloids or lame internet memes that get old quickly. This blog will be about writing for the sake of writing. The only motive I have is to simply get better at writing. There will no reblogging and no funny lulzy memes. I’m saving that for tumblr.

Welcome aboard!

I think writing will be like riding a bike. You’ll never forget how to do it.

in Life | 403 Words

Nothing will be free on the internets anymore.

Recently the New York Times, a publication that I adore, decided that enough is enough and put up a pay wall. Fed up with the assumption that all news is free and dealing with financial major losses, the “Old Grey Lady” decided to charge anywhere from $15 to $35 a month for online access.

Now I knew that this day would be coming. I have gotten used to reading The Times as part of my daily routine. Often I would read the national news along with the Sports, Arts and Technology sections. I especially enjoyed tech writers like David Pogue and Nick Bilton. While I’m glad that they’ll still be eating and having a roof over their heads due to their hard work, sadly fewer people will see it.

Already, people are finding ways to get around this, I plan on accessing the times through google or twitter. For some reason they will keep access via those sites for free.

That being said, nothing on the internet is truly “free”. To run a major website of almost any kind you need to pay for bandwidth, servers and of course you need to pay your employees some type of salary. It does not matter if you are a public company like the NY Times or if you have money from capital investors like twitter/tumblr does. The company must return the investment somehow.

The same goes for music. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, a recording artist still needs money to make new music, tour and to eat. If you are going to listen to an artist on a regular basis and if you call yourself a fan, support them! If you listen to one or two songs from a band, at the very least buy the songs from iTunes or wherever.

Going back to internet related services, if the site has an option to either donate or add additional services, by all means chip in. I might pay for the New York Times, even though it’s a steep price to pay. Maybe I will cancel my Netflix in exchange.