badness, goodness, life

ATTENTION ONLINE GAMING MALES: Losing at combat is not the equivalent of rape. Obviously.

I used to play an iPhone game called Clash of Clans.  It’s a combat strategy (resource-gathering, town building/raiding) time sink that I played for months and months until I finally had to just delete it off my phone cold-turkey.  There was really no way to make any significant progress in the game without spending real money, which I refuse to do because that’s insane.  My clan was cool at first, but started to become a little bro-tastic.  I found myself feeling discouraged from participating in the chat since much of what was said was the kind of shit I would expect to hear in a high school locker room; weirdly explicit talk about sex, using ‘rape’ to describe something other than violent sexual assault and torture, a few instances of homophobic slurs like ‘faggot’,etc.  I would point these things out as childish and backwards, and get promptly shut down: “I can say whatever I want, if you don’t like it, don’t read it,” I was told, as if I could distinguish hateful language from normal, inoffensive language without reading it.  Those same idiots would then proceed to complain about how our clan wasn’t active enough in the chat.  I told them I would participate more if they stopped pretending like the whole clan was male.  I was not the only female in the clan.  They could not have given less of a shit.

I was pretty disappointed by the whole atmosphere until one interaction where one of the adult, male clan members used the word rape to describe how his town could not withstand attacks by other players.  I was especially surprised to hear that kind of rhetoric from him since he had just confided in us not a week prior about how he and his girlfriend had pulled into a parking lot to find a woman (a friend of his girlfriend, actually) who had just been raped.  They found her passed out and beaten in a state of partial undress.  They called the cops and stayed with her until they came.  He sounded pretty shaken up at the time, so imagine my surprise when he started dropping ‘rape’ like it was the equivalent of having his little imaginary villiage adorably knocked over by little imaginary dragons and hot air balloons.

As usual, I spoke up, and was shocked when a third clan member jumped in:

P: supercell needs to lower the cost of shit or give us more gold mines or collectors
P: this game is made for people to spend money
P: fucking bullshit
K: dude this game is for rich people
Toph (me): yeah, im approahing the point where ill have to either put in $ or stop playing.
P: me too Toph
P: like fuck
P: its impossible and i get raped in every damn battle
P: and its hard to 3 star
P: like its not fun if i can barley play…
T: raped? really?
P: Toph… its an expression.
T: …of sexual assault. was it you or S who found a rape victim recently?
T: because that’s what women picture when dudes throw that word around.
P: Toph. i did.
P: im a big boy. i dont need to be corrected.
G: P, Toph has had a bad experience in the past, who knows.
G: But you should show some respect because you really dont know.
G: has maby had a bad exsperience*
P: dude i just found a girl ik raped. i of all people know bro.
P: i show respect
G: I know, and im sorry fo rher and those effected by it, but its not A bug deal to not mention a word if it potentially upsets
G: someone
P: gotcha

So.  Wow.  Words of kindness from a dude in the clan.  Pretty amazing.  What’s more, if memory serves, this guy’s handle was something like Guntotinredneck, lol.  I never thanked him since there wasn’t any way to send private messages, and no way to tell who was online at the time.  I wish I could have thanked him.  I almost cried when I read this.  Thanks, Guntotinredneck, wherever you are.  Maybe next time it won’t take a man’s voice reiterating my point for the message to be heard.

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goodness, life, martial arts, nerd

I go by many names…

Senior Ecuador and I hung out for three days straight over the winter break (Dec 30-Jan 1), first crashing at my place, then at his for New Year’s, during which we killed a delicious bottle of ruby port and watched Mechagodzilla. The next day, after grabbing breakfast at Literati, he worked on a gift for his brother (woodburning Zelda logo onto a box lid). That night we watched Escape from Los Angeles (no words). I’ve taken to calling him Roomie, and he, for his part, has given me a fine assortment of titles which the other members of the dojo have embraced with an endearing amount of enthusiasm: The Wolf Tamer (for my recent excursion to see a particularly vocal coyote outside my house: I threw on some jeans, sneakers, and brought a maglight and my bokuto. I got as close as I could to the sounds this amazing animal was making before every instinct in my body forced me to stop my approach), The Devourer (I was jealous of Senior Ecuador’s hashbrowns), and The Taker of Things (pretty sure this is also hashbrown-related, but I continue to live up to it).

san

I can’t understate how much I love these titles, and I wondered what someone who friended me on Facebook today would think of me. I skimmed through my photos and have decided that my life up to this point has been fantastic, and full of other, excellent titles:

Sensei– Teaching martial arts to kids means I had fun every day, learned how to handle kids (which was a skill I did NOT have before that job), and became an occasionally great teacher.

Beekeeper– I found a new common interest with my dad, got to wear an awesome cosmonaut outfit, and learned a shitload about bees (which are amazing, btw).

Grad student– How long have I been fantasizing about calling myself a grad student? Basically forever.

Thanksgiving attendee– Every year, the shot of my large, loud Italian family on the porch of the beach house. So much love.

Halloween enthusiast– The pumpkin carvings and dressing up, especially at work (especially at my office job where NO ONE else EVER shows up in costume, lol), plus all the pumpkin-related food-stuffs. It always makes me so happy.

Renaissance Faire attendee– And this year I might actually work the faire.  I could counted among the faire folk.  God.  Little dreams coming true, one at a time.

World traveler– Hawai’i to present my own work at a conference, Scotland and Ireland to celebrate getting into grad school, and much more to come (soon!). I’ve been saving up those vacation days, and grad school will be done in 5 weeks…

Friend/daughter/sister– My favorite photos are the unflattering ones, caught mid-laugh with giant grins plastered across everyone’s faces, particularly with Little Iron Friend, Diminutive Friend, and Dad.

So far, so good.

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family, goodness, life, manfolk, martial arts, school, work

The past two months

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted.  Unacceptable.  “Marjorie, pull yourself together!”

Things have been moving very quickly over the last few months.  I’ve started my last semester of grad school, which is bittersweet.  I’m ready to be done with school, but sad I won’t be able to tell people I’m a grad student, which I’v fantasized about doing since I was just a kid.  I’ll be done with classes in about six weeks, and I’ll walk at the graduation ceremony in early May.  My parents will be so proud, which makes me very happy.

give me a life in the country

I’ve applied to the JET program, which, if I’m accepted, will take me to Japan for a year to teach English.  I’ll essentially get paid to do accent reduction as a TA and live in the countryside, which sounds like a fucking dream.  I probably should’ve asked Boyfriend what he thought of that idea before I applied, but I didn’t because I want to go to Japan, and that’s that.  Turns out he’s totally into it, and will come visit/live with me for short stints if it works out.  Very exciting 🙂  I’m signed up for weekly, 2-hour Japanese classes; they start next Thursday.
UPDATE: 1/21/14
I just found out that I didn’t get into the JET program.  I’m totally crushed.  I can’t think of why they wouldn’t take me.  I didn’t even get an interview.  Ugh.  Ouch.
END OF UPDATE

taught my Master Tatsu. no, really.

I’ve taken up Shinkendo, which is very challenging but rewarding (and I passed my first test!  Woot!).  We’ve started learning bō, my favorite weapon, and I could not be more excited.  Bō speaks to me in a way the sword does not, it’s like having a dance partner; it does what it wants, all I can do is give suggestions.  We form an agreement (most of the time), and communicate well.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve found some amazing people who have become good friends at the dojo, and I’ve had the chance to reconnect with an old friend from elementary school, and can’t wait to help that friendship grow.  I also started another blog, which is what I’ve been spending my time on instead of tigerlilytoph.com:

http://www.dojostuff.wordpress.com

It’s all about life in a martial arts studio, and how hilarious and stressful it can be.

Office Job is still pretty dull, but better since Little Mole Boss was removed from her position as my boss.  She was a good boss (maybe the best I’ve had), but it’s nice to work with my co-workers more directly and speak frankly when we exchange ideas without fear of stepping on anyone’s toes.  I’m taking a more active role in the upcoming events our office is planning, which feels good.

I’ll upload a photo of our bees’ honey soon!

The bees are doing just swimmingly, and we might actually harvest some honey this season!  Soon!  We did a minor inspection and found a few bars dedicated to honey and nothing else.  I held up the comb in front of the setting sun, and it glowed amber and gold.  The comb broke open when I pulled it out (the bees built two bars of comb together, so it broke apart when I pulled one bar out), and the honey dripped out of the cells.  We tasted it right off the top of the hive.  It had a clean, light taste, ultra sweet and just beautiful to look at (surprisingly light in color).  I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we harvest a little bit.

Thanksgiving this year was good, but boozy for the cousins.  I love them, but omg they are annoying drunks, and they drink a lot, lol.  I’m such a lightweight, maybe I’m jealous? (hint: NOPE)  Next year we’ll have to divvy up the apartments by temulency rather than gender.  Diminutive Friend came up for Thanksgiving day to hang out and eat with the family.  She seemed grateful to have people to spend the holiday with since she couldn’t spend it with her family in New Orleans.  I love her so much.

Dad told me a while back that he’s unhappy at work, and since he’s unreceptive to changing jobs, I told him I expect him to find some way to change his attitude toward his job.  Instead of taking his job personally (and constantly checking his damn email), he’ll have to find a way to let it go.  We’ll see how that goes.  It strikes me that I’ve chosen a good path: teaching English as a foreign language is a job I will enjoy (assuming I can find one).  Frankly teaching just about anything at all would make me happy, and I’m lucky to have discovered this as early has I did.

My folks gave Boyfriend a subscription to Bon Apetit magazine for Xmas, which I’ve already reaped the benefits of with a delicious rosemary chicken and a butter-basted halibut.  He is an amazing person.  We’ve been together over 5.5 years, since April of 2008.  I find the idea of marrying him very, very intimidating, even though I would love to have him as a life partner, and he clearly feels the same.  Luckily, neither of us is in any rush to make it official, and I’ve never had a burning desire to wear diamonds.

I spent this past weekend at GameHaus with friends, and, like every Sunday, doing Shinkendo and enjoying my dojo family’s company.

I am so lucky.

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goodness, life, martial arts

The plan

Yesterday’s plan:

i will destroy you with celebratory sonar

i will destroy you with celebratory sonar

-Go home
-Find passport (scan, email to self)
-Write three papers
-Do pushups like a boss
-Practice victory yell

Yeah, this is my life.  I had a phone meeting yesterday with a new boss for that tutoring job I totally fucking landed recently (woot!).  I’ll be meeting my client for the first time today in El Segundo to evaluate his needs, which, fuck, yikes.  The JET Program application deadline is next Monday, so I’m aiming to ship everything out tomorrow (Wednesday).  I also have two papers to write for class, plus a short paper about why I wanna go to Japan for the JET application.

But I’m not letting all this amazing shit detract from having a good time.  I’ve been going to Shinkendo almost every day for the past couple weeks.  I tested for my first rank (ichimonji) last Tuesday, and I still feel all spewly about it.  Oppa-sensei proctored it, and I swear to god he was talking at twice his usual rate, and we definitely didn’t go over everything on the list of ichimonji stuff, but somehow still managed to hit on something I literally DID NOT KNOW AT ALL.  Ugh.  Makes me want to throw up rainbows.

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goodness, humor, life

Too friendship, call the cops

Yes, it’s another friendship post.  I enjoy my friends.  We have a solid rapport.  Lots of harassment and support.  Good times.

Last night a group of dojo buddies came over.  We make plans to play a boardgame or watch a movie, but tend to end up just sitting around chatting and laughing.  Last night we watched a couple episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and I made them fried eggs and hash browns, followed by tea and cookies.  Pretty cute.

One of my dojo buddies got a new phone recently, and messaged me on Facebook asking me for my number.  So I texted him the following, and received a reply from someone who I assumed had adopted his old number.  Oops.

yarrrrggg!

yarrrrggg!

Naturally, it was him all along.  What a douche.  Good times.

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goodness, life

International friendships

Remember that Japanese woman I befriended, who came to the pumpkin carving with her husband and friend?  Well.  She brought me a little gift (box of weird Japanese candy, lol so sweet), and just sent me an email that I have to put up here.

Hi Ms. Tigerlilytoph,

How are you? 
I’m sorry for late thank you. 
We had so much fun at Halloween Carving Party. Especially my friend enjoyed a lot. When she left here, I asked her ” what was the most enjoyable event for you?” she said ” I enjoyed Pumpkin Carving  the best.”
She was so satisfied with the memorable experience. Of course, my husband and I enjoyed a lot. 
On Oct. 30th, my family came to LA and they were so surprised to see pumpkins we carved. That was the first time in their life to see it.
I was so glad I could show them one aspect of the American Halloween.
Thank you so much for giving us a great memory.

Thank you.

Such kindness.  I wish I could have spent more time with her at the party.
Naturally I asked her what she was doing for Thanksgiving.  The pumpkin carving was crowded but otherwise pretty chill.  I’m trying to picture this woman and her husband surrounded by my giant Italian family.  We shall see…

P.S. This is my third (fourth?) post about friendship in the last week.  I can’t begin to say how pleased I am that this is what my life looks like right now.  I just have a good feeling all the time.

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goodness

Sunset in the West

In Silver Lake, when looking west, the sun often sets the sky on fire, the horizon set ablaze under an ocean of warm blue.

ablaze

Tonight, looking east, I was struck dumb by the cold beauty of the evening’s colors: Eucalyptus trees with warm, smoldering bark, become watchful and patient at sunset, gently moving, eyeing dusty indigo mountains under a cool, expanding autumn sky.

sunset 2

My iPhone camera could never do them justice.  Such beauty.

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goodness, humor, martial arts

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

I went to lunch after yesterday’s Sunday class with Senior Ecuador, Dojo Happa, Oppa Sensei and his girlfriend, Slender (who is awesome, btw, and seems to be an endearing mixture of clever-minded and childish interests).  Oppa Sensei is loads of fun, and we all love hanging out with him.  He mentioned a Youtube series called Enter the Dojo, which is a spoof about a made-up deadliest martial art (Ameri-do-te, lol), and sent us a link via email last night.  I responded with this:

meme-tastic

meme-tastic

And a link to the ‘know your meme’ site to explain it to those who don’t live on the internet like I do.  Senior Ecuador (who is hilarious, btw) came back with this:

I saw the first episode…pretty funny Oppa-sensei! I will definitely watch more when I am not at work haha. 
And tigerlilytoph…that’s like my favorite meme. http://www.reddit.com/r/supershibe
So amaze. What coincidence.
.
Naturally, I could not help but burst out laughing while standing at my desk.  So I came back with:
.
So glad the boss wasn’t around to hear me burst out laughing at that.  Thanks, Senior Ecuador.  Very fun.  Much friendship.
.
So yeah, I like where this friendship is going 🙂
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goodness, life, martial arts, school

The rapid-fire beauty of October

This past October was insanely busy.  I wanted so badly to write a post about the pumpkin carving and all the pumpkin-themed food and drink I’ve been making and enjoying, and all the awesome friendships that have been developing for me lately.  October was amazing, actually.

I invited a ton of people to the pumpkin carving and got about 50 people, including a bunch of foreign students who had never experienced Halloween pumpkin carving shenanigans of any kind.  Success!  Their pumpkins were awesome!  There was one Japanese woman who I befriended when she got lost on campus looking for her husband’s law school orientation who came to carve with her husband and a friend in tow.  They were amazed by the others’ pumpkins, and when I mentioned that I knew what sugoi means (amazing) due to watching so much anime, that’s all they could say, lol.  There were a bunch of different circles of friends there, and they all mingled well (although whenever my family comes, they tend to sequester themselves in the kitchen, which they did this time too… *sigh*).

the results of a successful visit to the pumpkin patch

the results of a successful visit to the pumpkin patch

The party was fantastic.  I made a huge pot of pumpkin drink and left it on the stove for people to enjoy.  It was empty by the end of the night.  There were two dozen carved pumpkins in all, I can’t believe I didn’t get any photos!  I was sick and too busy hosting and enjoying everyone’s company.  Of course there were a couple board games going on at once (Zombicide and Betrayal at House on the Hill).  A bunch of my friends from the dojo came and played Betrayal (and beat the haunt by cheating, lol).  It’s so great to hang out with them outside of the dojo, and apparently this is a new development.  Once most of them had left, Dojo Happa and I stood around chatting by the front door while a large group played Cards Against Humanity on the floor next to the piano.  We were chatting about how nice it is to see everyone outside the dojo, and he said, “Yeah, it’s awesome, we didn’t use to do that.  It’s because of you.  Oppa Sensei didn’t used to come out like this, now he comes to everything.  He was at the pumpkin patch, he came out tonight, he comes out to eat with us.  He’s not doing that to see me, it’s you!”  We laughed about my tendency to bring people together and make people laugh.  He seemed really appreciative, and it’s so nice to hear in so many words what I try so hard to do.  I really enjoy their company.  One of them (Senior Ecuador) invited a group of us to his parents’ house in the valley after the pumpkin patch to have a late lunch/early dinner of mostly Ecuadorian food with his folks, who could not have been nicer.  Earlier in the month, I had him over to get drunk and watch Hansel & Gretel, which wasn’t actually as bad as we expected.  He and Boyfriend actually kinda liked it, but they’re idiots, it was total trash 🙂

The founder of the martial arts style I’m studying now (Kaiso) had his 65th birthday party mid-month, and although it was expensive, it was a really fun time to see everyone dressed up and happy.  We had sushi and really good shabu shabu, and some amazing cake and green tea ice cream (which I got totally busted for scarfing down before we all had to leave in a rush to walk Kaiso to the valet and see him safely off).

I had a bunch of presentations and projects due within the last two weeks of the month, which coincided perfectly with the huge event my office hosts every year where thousands of people visit campus to participate in our programming, so that was pretty stressful, but I’m either getting awesome at handling stress, or getting better at handling my work load because October wasn’t nearly as emotionally/mentally draining as I thought it would be (though it felt super rushed all the time).  Also I was sick for the first time since I quit Karate Job.  Worst.  Timing.  Ever.

So... something to shoot for at next year's pumpkin carving

So… something to shoot for at next year’s pumpkin carving

A couple days after the pumpkin carving party, I went to a Danny Elfman Concert with Diminutive Friend and German Friend, which was amazing.  Although I’m not a huge fan of concerts, since there’s not much to come away with other than the music, which I already have access to and enjoy whenever I want.  Still, it was Danny Elfman’s first concert in something like two decades, so it was very exciting.  Loads of people in the crowd dressed up in what can only be described as a hodgepodge of steampunk, goth, circus, Halloween gear, and they all looked great.  And I kinda lost my shit when Danny Elfman came out and sang, “There are few who deny at what I do I am the best, for my talents are renowned far and wide…”  I knew he would sing that first!  And not just because it’s Jack’s first song in Nightmare Before Christmas, but because those lyrics are perfect for a comeback concert!

Then a couple days after that was Halloween!  I gave a presentation for one of my classes (in full costume, of course-Ren Faire gear this year), then zoomed downtown to an old professor’s class to defend my work (which he loved so much, he’s been using it as an example for current and future classes) and ended up giving my final presentation from his class all over again.  The students asked some really good questions, and I even managed to quote from the article he drew from most and essentially based the class upon, and I cited the page number of the quote.  So yeah, I’m a fucking amazing academic, thanks for asking.

Afterward he and I went out for a drink and chatted for a couple hours about my life, what I’ve been doing, what I will do, and why I’m not staying in academia (he wants me to so badly).  Midway through our time at the bar, I thought, “This is what it must be like to have a mentor.  Someone who knows the framework of your life, and what you’re capable of, and then looks you in the eye and demands that you go further and continue to challenge your self.  This is amazing.”  It was also super intimidating, but he was satisfied at the end of the conversation that I was getting enough stimulation (I convinced him my friends are all geniuses who don’t get drunk for fun, and that Boyfriend has a great sense of humor and is fully capable of keeping up with me), and that my selflessness might not be such a crutch after all (“So explain this to me: You have this sense of giving, this selfless streak coursing through you, but your’e American, and Americans are selfish, so how does that work?  Where did that come from?”  We had a good laugh about that, but he was mostly serious).  I invited him to come see the beehive some time soon, and he seemed enthused.  He’s also stoked to write me a letter of recommendation, and he’s super fun to hang out with, so overall I’m feeling pretty lucky to have encountered him in my life.  We walked by the Mayan on the way back from the bar, and he seemed particularly tickled when I fist-bumped some guy dressed as Deadpool (and Deadpool enjoyed being recognized, of course).  Overall an amazing evening.

And now it’s November and I can finally relax.  I’m feeling less sick every day, I only have a couple more projects to do for school, there’s nothing crazy going on at work (aside from the non-existent job security, bleh), and Boyfriend’s three closest friends are randomly flying into town for four days toward the end of the month for no reason other than to bug him and have fun together.  They’re great people, I can’t wait to see them and watch Boyfriend disappear for a few days into that tight circle of friendship and love.

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