Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Mischievous?

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you mischievous?

Mischievous. Well, complicated question.

In general, kind of not? I don't find other people's suffering funny, even if it's temporary and mistaken, so I don't find it amusing to jump out and scare people or cause them distress.

But I do think weirdness is funny, and confusing people in non-damaging ways or weirding them out is my brand of mischief. Maybe in that way I'm pretty mischievous because I think of weird things to do. I used to be more into it when I was younger, but the occasional chance to play around still presents itself now and then.

When I was in college, one of my hobbies was climbing onto various university buildings and then just sitting up there whistling. And I'd watch people on the ground and see who looked up. Usually if they looked at me I'd wave like a dork.

My friend Jeaux and I once went to a slightly nicer restaurant than we usually went to--one that specialized in Italian food and had fancy cloth napkins--and after we were seated we each took out a pair of chopsticks and hid them in our napkins after taking the silverware out. Then when we each got a plate of pasta, we nonchalantly unrolled our napkins and ate with our chopsticks in an Italian restaurant. We got some weird looks and that was about it.

In college I did do some less harmless pranks, but they were things I did to people after I perceived they'd done something to me. One was sort of an understanding, where we'd take turns "getting" each other, and my partner's pranks were usually just frustrating, like he'd steal one of my shoes and hide it, or he'd do something irritating to my computer. So I got him back by changing the outgoing message on his answering machine to something embarrassing, so that his friends and family would call and hear it but he wouldn't know. The other one was a little more mean-spirited but I promise the guy deserved it. He had given me passwords to his website so I could help him with it, but he was being a jerk to some of my friends and was knowingly dating two women while hiding their existence from each other (this was not an understood or accepted arrangement), so I messed with his website and replaced some of his pompous essays with perverted cartoon fanfiction. (I think this stuff actually would have won the award for the most offensive stuff I've written.) As I recall one of his girlfriends thought he'd written it and was very upset because she was religious. :o (But he was just dating her because he wanted to stay at her house for free, so I thought it was poetic justice that she said she was going to dump him over it.)

That's about all I've got for now.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday: November 18 – November 24

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I did blogging and comic planning so I could have the evening free for Drink and Draw. It was a weird night because there was another event going on at the same time and there was live music outside, plus Eric said nothing to me about picking me up like he has every other time, so I went to the event in a paid ride. (He was there with a woman I don't know so probably that's why he didn't tell me anything about his plans.) The event was cool and I got a bunch of stuff drawn.
  • Sunday I played ukulele and did karaoke recordings and did some Amino posts. I'm back posting there incessantly to build up my content again now that I've got some stuff figured out behind the scenes. Began posting reviews onto Tumblr as well, and talked to Meggie about future birthday plans.
  • Monday my computer at work was messed up so I spent the whole day either troubleshooting it or waiting for responses from the IT folks regarding troubleshooting it. I managed to get a couple small things done that day though. I made some plans with Jeaux and Victor to visit my mom for Thanksgiving since neither of them were doing anything.
  • Tuesday I got some coordination stuff done and worked on a staffing chart for an upcoming document submittal. Jeaux took me grocery shopping and we ate at Perkins and watched two episodes of Search Party which is full of terrible people and we like it okay so far.
  • Wednesday I worked by myself! Nobody else was in the office. I did some more stuff for the submittal and some updates on the utility coordination. Then I walked to the comic book store because it was about a mile away from my work and I wanted to buy the new Steven Universe comic, but they didn't have it in my folder even though I was supposed to have it on reserve. So I took a paid ride to another store and they didn't have any either (but I was able to buy my ukulele holder that I'd been wanting). I went home and bought the dang thing online. And I posted a bunch of reviews.
  • Thursday was Thanksgiving. I spent the morning baking macaroni and cheese and biscuits, and making posts on Amino, and one of my pieces FINALLY got a feature (I say "finally," as if waiting less than a week is a lot, but still, I was throwing out a bunch of good stuff all week). Jeaux picked me up and picked up Victor. We hung out and my friends played with brain teaser toys and we all played Exploding Kittens. We ate the meal and Mom went to bed right after because she is pretty sick and can't expend much energy without it taking a big toll. Jeaux fixed her computer while she was sleeping and I did dishes with her roommate. We left pretty late and I went to sleep.
  • Friday I tried to just take a day easy. (It's hard for me to do that.) I was a lazybones, but I did get my webcomic up and finish reading a book and reviewed it before I went to bed. Also talked on the phone and made some fun posts.

New reviews of my book:
  • max gave it a two-star review on Goodreads because I don't respect gay people (max did not elaborate). Hmkay.
  • James Kirby gave it a three-star review on Goodreads, citing its repetition as the reason for lower marks.
  • Cheryl gave it a four-star review on Amazon, claiming I give a great description of what it's like to be ace (but then including a sentence full of misleading statements that my book actually debunks, so...I'm not sure how to react to that).
Interviews, articles, mentions:

Reading progress:
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Didn't We Almost Have It All" by Whitney Houston.

    New drawings: 

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0654: "Worth Starting Over For."

    New videos:

    I finally learned to play "Stronger Than You" on the ukulele! This is pretty rough to be honest, but these chords and the rhythm was very hard to master for me, and I substituted a few chords from the original for chords that were easier or more natural for me, plus I improvised a tune for the opening because you probably do not want to hear my white girl rap. (The original song opens with a rap verse.)

    This song is the only solo song in the entire Steven Universe series sung by my favorite character, Garnet. It was the showpiece in the first season's finale episode and it was a Very Big Deal for people who had been waiting such a long time to hear Garnet sing. :) (Her voice actress is a famous Grammy-winning musician from Britain. She is amazing.) If you are unfamiliar with the original song and want to know how it sounds, feel free to watch a badass cartoon character fight while she sings!!

    New photos:

    Cookie Cat ensemble while at work

    My nerds Victor and Jeaux trying to solve brain teasers at Mom's

    Me wearing "the cone of shame" before a game of Exploding Kittens.
    You're supposed to wear this if you forget whose turn it is, but I just wanted to wear it.
    The Thanksgiving table is set. I love this china.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,266 for swankivy (lost 6), 656 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 898 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,332 for JulieSondra (4 new). Facebook: 295 friends (lost 1, who knows who) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 657 likes for JulieSondra (2 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,496 (3 new). Instagram followers: 126 (1 new).

    Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Wednesday Factoid: Millennials

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What do you think about Millennials?

    Oh, what do I think about them? Because I'm from Generation X I'm supposed to conceive the next generation as a bunch of entitled, self-absorbed, technology-obsessed babies?

    Not likely.

    Full disclosure: I may not be a Millennial by birth but I have a lot of the same habits and perspectives as they do. That is because I have kept up with the digital trends, have a presence on many of the same social networks, know how to talk like them (at least, I think I do), and have many, many young friends. So I'm not looking at millennials from a distant vantage point of self-proclaimed maturity. Maybe I could be considered the hip aunt to the millennial generation.

    (Which is probably a very non-hip thing to say. I'm sure most adults who do not get it think they do get it. So maybe despite my engagement with the population, I am actually the dorky old person who gets the slang wrong and nobody told me. I accept this is possible.)

    Anyway, so as a person who interacts with millennials every day, on their level and not as an authority figure, I will say their bad habits and negative traits are largely exaggerated. These myths about millennials are invented by a generation that does not find the technology (or the places technology helps access) to be useful or entertaining, and they are therefore condescending toward and dismissive of what millennials do and like. Older people love to portray millennials as the generation who doesn't know how to talk to anyone anymore without hiding behind a smart phone, or can't even figure out how to go to a library, or is oversensitive and "triggered" about everything, wanting the world to conform to their comforts

    Sorry, no. Communication trends changing does not mean millennials CAN'T COMMUNICATE just because they're doing it in a way you don't do it.

    Sorry, no. Information sources and their accessibility have changed over the years and physically traveling to another building and using probably-out-of-date resources to find information is no longer as practical as some options available online (which you don't trust because you don't know how to verify the sources' authenticity). 

    Sorry, no. In the past people with triggers or sensitivities were forced out of public life and became reclusive, angry, violent, or "crazy," and that's why you didn't see them in your spaces learning to request accommodations. People from your generation did NOT "just get over it" or "toughen up." They learned the world was going to dish out neverending unmanageable pain and they went somewhere you couldn't see them. When vaccines stopped people from getting polio, we didn't roll our eyes and whine about the weak generation that can't stand a little polio while insisting it couldn't have been that bad since WE never went to school with anyone whose life was destroyed by it. It's like saying people whose problems were assuaged or solved by modern developments didn't really have those problems or didn't really need those solutions because in the past people just died over it and it stopped being something you had to look at.

    Do you want to sound old and out of touch? Talk about millennials like this and remind everyone how clueless you are through the act of claiming your generation was really the only one that had it together. (And your music was the best too, objectively, while the latest generation's music is just noise. Oh wait, does that sound like what your parents said?)

    There are differences between generations, and I'm in a sort of unique place to look at how it's changed because I had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. I wasn't scared of the march forward because I knew that was my future and I would have to adapt if I was going to participate. But people a little older than me, just a few years older, some of them had little to no Internet exposure in college. Some of them didn't get an e-mail address until they were 30. Some of them feel compelled to roll their eyes at the kids with their Tumblrs and Snapchats, concluding that nothing of value happens there because they've never tried to go there or couldn't understand what was happening there.

    I will never talk shit about millennials. You don't have to be one to know why they don't deserve it.

    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    In between

    Awkward, man.

    I'm not a professional artist. (Obviously.) I love to draw and have a lot of fun experimenting with art forms, but I've never taken any kind of class to teach me how to draw and I've never pursued it in a professional capacity. 

    As far as art goes, I'm decent. Better than average with a pencil, can make an appealing design or express an idea with visuals. But if you consider me "an artist," I'm nothing special at all compared to people who dedicate their lives to it. And I'm also not trying to be.

    But it's kind of weird to be in between. I enjoy interacting with other artists in my fan community, and much of the time they're really talented and accomplished artists whose work blows me away, while the other part of the time they're very young or very inexperienced artists who have a LONG way to go. Honestly I also have some friends who are my age and would love to draw better but haven't come even as far as I have in honing their skills, and again it's weird to be in between. To be able to look at very amateur work and think "yikes, well, I'm sure they'll keep practicing" and then turn around and look at incredible work and think "welp, I'd never be that good even if I DID decide I wanted to."

    To be honest I'm probably about that way as a singer too. People who don't sing or don't know much about singing hear my performances on karaoke sites or YouTube and tell me in complete seriousness that I should be a career musician. And yet I can imagine these same recordings being mocked as cringey or being opportunity-ending disasters if they happened on a worldwide stage. For the everyman, I'm pretty good. For people who know what they're talking about, I'm mediocre.

    It's awkward, yes. But truthfully? I'm at peace with it. 

    I really am.

    We have this obsession with excellence in our society. As if you have to do something professionally (translation: for money) or try to make a name for yourself in that field, or else it's a waste of time. It's NOT a waste of time if you're enjoying yourself. 

    I make fan art from my favorite cartoon because I love having a chance to imagine the characters doing and saying things I find amusing or touching, or working out some ideas of what I think characters would say to each other if the show were to give us a moment with them. I do covers of my favorite songs because I love the songs' messages or really enjoy making something pleasant to listen to--it's fulfilling, and fun to engage with others who enjoy what I've made.

    There's nothing quite like creating your own stories, which for me is something I think I DO do well enough to do professionally (well, I mean, I've been paid for it), but it's okay to have hobbies and it's okay to NOT have a goal of "progressing" or "succeeding" with them. Just enjoying them is reason enough to do them. People engage in all kinds of hobbies that don't create anything, and they're rarely asked to justify why they enjoy going to movies, having a picnic with friends, playing a sport, going out dancing, going to concerts. It's weird that solitary-by-nature activities like solo arts are so often considered less worthwhile unless they're your career. 

    I'm okay with being in between.


    Saturday, November 18, 2017

    Personal Digest Saturday: November 11 – November 17 [GIF warning]

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I chatted with my mom on the phone while drawing, got my blogging done, played ukulele, and got some chores done.
    • Sunday I spent a bunch of the day whining about Amino to some other people who are irritated about what happened too. Also made a video, did laundry, and talked to my sister on the phone.
    • Monday I did a bunch of stuff on a City of Tampa proposal and some other stuff on utility coordination. I missed my bus stop again and had to backtrack! I wonder how I keep missing my stop? I didn't really do much useful and talked to Jeaux on the phone.
    • Tuesday I was doing a bunch of utility coordination at work while trying to ignore a bunch of arguing. Also signed a petition at the bus stop for someone who liked the buttons on my bag. :) Mom's roomie David picked me up after work and I went to her house to eat spaghetti and help her with some doctor admin stuff.
    • Wednesday I submitted the City of Tampa proposal, put together a bunch of stuff for my co-workers, and went out with Jeaux after work to a Thai place where we both had yummy food. We came back to my place and listened to podcasts while I drew.
    • Thursday was my first time going to a DOT meeting. (I was just there to take minutes.) But none of our utility reps showed up, which was bizarre because like eight people accepted the invitation and then just didn't show. We talked about other stuff with our subconsultant and FDOT project manager people but we couldn't do much without the utilities. Then I talked to one of the people on the Amino place who decided to work with me on either getting unbanned or, failing that, at least making sure my new account doesn't get harassed into submission. So I finally started posting stuff again.
    • Friday I just did some follow-up utility stuff at work and updated some databases, and at home I finished my comic and finished reading a book. And talked to Amino people who were all confused about the posts I was making. (Either they think I'm an art thief or they realize it's me and want to know what happened.) I'm doing a lot of secret explaining. :P

    Interviews, articles, mentions:

    • Nothing really this week but Topaz's Universe on Amino made me this encouraging GIF and I love it.

    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Linger" by the Cranberries.

      New drawings: 

      High art this week is Garnet on a Post-It Note.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0653: "Measured and Considered."

      New videos:

      Letters to an Asexual #52 is about misconceptions associated with masturbation and asexuality. 

      I don't have a ukulele song finished, but I've been practicing a lot on a HARD one and that's why it's taking me a while to come up with something that doesn't sound terrible. If you want to listen to me practicing to see why it's maybe in a different league from my previous performances, that should shed some light.

      New photos:

      A close-up of one of the difficult chords I'm trying to learn.
      Someone on the Internet asked to see my Cheeseburger Backpack
      hoodie and I thought it looked cute so here.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,272 for swankivy (lost 10), 655 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 900 for swankivy (2 new), 1,328 for JulieSondra (lost 9). Facebook: 296 friends (no change) and 202 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 655 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,493 (2 new). Instagram followers: 125 (no change).

      Wednesday, November 15, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Hate Your Job?

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you hate your job?

      Short answer: Nope!

      Not at all. My job is actually pretty sweet.

      I can't say I "love" it since it's not something I'd do for free, but they treat me very well at my office (with, you know, a few days here and there where something might be a drag or some situation gets frustrating). I'm compensated well and the big drag of it is honestly the commute.

      I felt similarly about my previous job filling a similar function. 

      I don't get to have too much fun and don't have much of a relationship with any co-workers, but I am comfortable there and don't have to deal with high-stress situations very often.

      At my retail job before this, there were times that were actually really fun at work sometimes, and some of the co-workers were friends, but it was very stressful and I was very, very unhappy more often than I was happy. I wouldn't do it again. Working with the public is pretty awful. Of course, the down side of working in an office is if you're forced to work with someone you don't get along with. That happened at my previous job and that person's unreasonable antics made everyday life there really, really stressful. Thankfully working together there was relatively short-lived. And there were a few aspects of it I could control, like when I asked my boss to step in over a few disputes and make it so I didn't have to work alone with the person. Doesn't work really well if your boss happens to be the one who's the problem or if they aren't accessible or sympathetic to your plight, but I was lucky.


      Tuesday, November 14, 2017


      Hey you know what's weird?

      I posted a video recently and one of my commenters was obnoxious. This is nothing new, though this particular one was sort of unusual in that they repeated a lot of the same things I debunked in the exact video they were commenting on. But ultimately, what was weird about it was how the commenter immediately defaulted to QUESTIONING MY CREDIBILITY when we disagreed.

      They questioned my credibility. As an asexuality activist.

      You know, that thing I've been doing since, I dunno, 1998--about which I have been interviewed perhaps three dozen times in various mainstream media, had literally thousands of conversations, and written a book which was widely reviewed and multiply recognized with awards.

      True, the person was questioning my credibility as an AUTHORITY--yes, it's true that anyone can talk a lot on the Internet and write a book, and it proves nothing at all about whether I am right--but they offered these criticisms in response to my saying I was EXPERIENCED. Not qualified--experienced. We were discussing the frequency with which people ask a particular question, and they were pestering me to acknowledge that this specific question was "the" question people will ask the most and accept that I had a responsibility to answer it a particular way. Otherwise, said this commenter, I would be ~confusing people~ and muddying the waters. And when I pointed out that my experience did not corroborate this based on the incredible number of opportunities I've had to have these conversations, my commenter said this:

      "You're by no means an authority on this subject. You don't even have relevant degrees. [...] We both know you are not unusually intelligent or educated, so for you to think your opinions about asexuality, which isn't even a self-contained field of study [...], trumps that of [...] commenters you disagree with is absurd."

      (I made some omissions there to make it a little easier to understand because the original comment is really convoluted.)

      And here's what I consider to be the weird part.

      It is absolutely clear to this person by this point that they are talking to someone who has had more conversations about asexuality than just about anyone else on Earth. Though I am not claiming to be a scientist, I am also not making any scientific claims, so reporting on and contextualizing these conversations isn't misleading or dishonest. And despite knowing my background includes twenty years' experience writing about this and a lifetime of BEING part of the population I describe . . . I am somehow not qualified to talk about it because I'm just plain not educated or smart enough.

      (I will admit I laughed a little at the gaslighting attempt, y'all. It's transparent and weak.)

      AND YET!

      Without any disclosed background, without any personal experience cited, without any relevant degrees discussed, this YouTube commenter believes themselves qualified to make these observations AND reject mine.

      So, isn't it weird that we marginalized people are held to incredibly high standards when we make our claims about our own experiences, but there are no minimum qualifications for them to make counterclaims or reject ours?

      It makes sense that we who live this life are the authorities, right? I don't need a degree in women's studies to accurately report on what it's like to be a woman and have some valuable observations about it. But if someone who isn't a woman pops up and says they don't think what I say is true, their default understanding is that their belief can only be earned if I agree to jump through unjumpable hoops (hoops they have constructed with minimal understanding, perhaps even deliberately constructed to be unjumpable).

      . . . However, I throw up my hands and give up when I get a commenter like this. Not just because they think they can avoid answering for their poor reasoning by questioning my credibility, but because they are always, always hypocrites. This one made an incredibly unscientific blanket statement about a behavior they insist every single asexual person on Earth has engaged in (full disclosure: they claimed that we all need to admit every one of us engages in masturbation, and that until we "admit" this, we shouldn't be talking about this subject). But then refused to address how they justify making such a ridiculous claim despite being called out on it by me and other commenters. (And there's also the fact that they accused me of "refusing to address" a topic the video was literally about, which was itself a response to someone accusing me of refusing to address the issue, in response to me addressing it the first time I did so in 2007. But I guess pretending I "refuse to" talk about something is easier than listening to what I said about it if your agenda demands that I come to a different conclusion about the subject.)

      This is the kind of person who earns a block from me. There is no discussion possible with a person who does not accept the lived experience and qualifications of someone they would otherwise accept (if only I agreed with them). Especially not if they're going to have said discussions arguing against positions I never took and contradicting words I never said.

      Saturday, November 11, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: November 4 – November 10

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I drew some cute comics and put a few more things up in my new house that I'd been meaning to put on the walls. I fell asleep pretty early.
      • Sunday I had family over! Sister L came with husband Mike and Dad came with Connie! My sister hadn't seen my place yet since moving in and she and Mike seemed to dig it. I made omelets and we ate in my living room. And they hung out a while. Then after they left L took me to Mom's and we hung out there for a few hours too. It was a very family day! Er, except I also got banned from Steven Universe Amino and had no idea why, and when I finally made a second account to message someone in charge to investigate, they said I'd been banned for SENDING PORN TO PEOPLE and obviously I did not do that, but they didn't believe it wasn't me and said I had to stay banned because I couldn't prove it. Wow.
      • Monday I went to work and also posted a couple cute pieces of art using my new Amino account. One of them got chosen for a front-page feature very quickly but I have a recognizable style so people kept asking why a newbie account was posting art that clearly belonged to an established member and while I was addressing it THE NEW ACCOUNT ALSO GOT BANNED SUDDENLY WITH NO EXPLANATION. Just . . . dangit! Why!!! I dealt with fallout from that for a bunch of the day and chatted with some new friends who were righteously angry on my behalf.
      • Tuesday I went to work and wrangled the ban thing some more. I wrote to the supervisors of the whole system and they actually reviewed my account and found I'd done nothing wrong, so they unbanned me. And then within a couple hours I was banned again. Getting whiplash here. I found out from one of the Leaders there that the second account I'd made was also banned for spamming porn. So at least now I know it wasn't random and someone really is trying to get me in trouble. Unfortunately for me the people in charge there don't care to think critically about the issue. I was told both accounts will stay banned and I need to stop making trouble. Awesome. Some of my friends are helping me get a different angle.
      • Wednesday I had to do some technical stuff at the office that was new to me, and had a few pieces of progress with the ban issue. Went to eat with Jeaux and bought a new comic book. We ate at Cici's Pizza and went grocery shopping. Then at my place we talked about cartoons while I drew webcomics.
      • Thursday was uneventful at the office and when I went home I finally got in contact with a different member of management who was willing to listen to me, so I e-mailed her. But I missed my stop on the bus while chatting with her and had to get off the bus in an unfamiliar place, and then while navigating to the best bus stop going back the other way, I stepped on a low place in the sidewalk and fell and busted my knees. But at least I didn't drop my phone, haha. I went birthday shopping for a friend since I was accidentally near a store, and then rode the bus home like usual. I talked to Victor on the phone while finishing my webcomic.
      • Friday was pretty maddening because the Steven Universe cartoon is back and released six episodes in the early morning, and I had to wait until after work to go watch them with Jeaux. My new Amino friends kinda kept me sane (by also being nuts). Jeaux picked me up from work and we ordered pizza and watched the new episodes. It was great to have new cartoons after the longest hiatus in the show's history! But though I enjoyed the show, none of them were really standout episodes and I'm looking forward to what's next. 

      New reviews of my book:

      • Tabi Card gave it a three-star review on Goodreads. (For a three-star review it's awfully positive!)

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette.

        New drawings: 

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0652: "It's Coming."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Brother-in-law Mike enjoying the pillows!
        Hard at work or hardly working, amirite?
        Jeaux and me gearing up to watch Steven Universe new episodes.
        I might be a little excited.

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,282 for swankivy (lost 3), 655 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Twitter followers: 898 for swankivy (no change), 1,339 for JulieSondra (7 new). Facebook: 296 friends (no change) and 203 followers (no change) for swankivy, 654 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,491 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 125 (no change).

        Wednesday, November 8, 2017

        Wednesday Factoid: Blushing

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you blush easily?


        That's a boring question, isn't it? There's hardly anything to elaborate on. 

        I'll figure out a way to expand on it.

        So I'm pretty pale, and theoretically if I was blushy, you'd be able to see it. I guess that means I don't really experience that phenomenon. Especially since when I exercise, I do get visibly flushed.

        I think the real issue is I'm not easily embarrassed, or maybe also my emotions don't cause particularly physical reactions. 

        Maybe the original thrust of this question is more about whether you're easily affected by things in ways other people can observe.

        It kinda depends. Because there's not too much that sends me into emotional turmoil; I keep it together easily for the most part and don't get flustered or upset. When I do get flustered or upset, it seems like my most obvious physical reaction is crying. I would say I cry pretty easily, though it seems to be more common for me to cry about happy things or about emotional things that are not happening to me.

        But in addition to this, I'm not embarrassed by things that many other people find embarrassing, I think. The kinds of things other people have described as being devastating (especially when something happens to them in front of a bunch of people) don't seem to affect me the same way. I guess I'm pretty good at playing things off? Or making fun of myself if I deserve it? Or shutting down disrespect if it's cultivated just to embarrass me and I'm able to turn it around on the perpetrator? Or just eating it in a way that doesn't bug me?

        For instance, I don't particularly like public speaking, but I'm relatively comfortable doing it. I don't mind having a bunch of eyes on me and I don't worry that the increased pressure might make me mess up. Same with performance; singing in front of a crowd or having a big audience just doesn't heighten fears or make me more likely to make mistakes. (At least, I don't think it does.)

        I think that's as far as I can take that relatively limiting question. :]

        Tuesday, November 7, 2017

        Senseless acts of Internet drama

        I’ve been a happy and very productive member of the most popular Steven Universe Amino since March 2017. Amino is an app you can download to share and enjoy content on a specific (or sometimes broader) subject, and people had told me a while back that I should get on the one for Steven Universe. (For obvious reasons.) I quickly found friends, other SU nerds who liked my work or wanted to talk theories, and I had a blast sharing everything I was passionate about. 

        I was best known for my epic merchandise posts and my embarrassing love of my favorite character Garnet, I guess, though I was always posting my amateur-but-heartfelt art, my unpolished ukulele covers, my character analysis and theories, my SU food recipes and photos, and even the occasional quiz. 

        Posts that seem unusually valuable for some reason get featured on the front page. It's got a big audience (nearly 200,000 members), so people freak out a little when they get a featured post.
        My posts got featured all the dang time. 

        Like, once a week, almost. I had THIRTY front-page features from March to October.
        And lots of younger people looked up to me there, knowing I was older but still into cartoons, saying wonderful inspiring things like they wish I was their mom or they want to be me when they grow up.

        Sunday I woke up from a nap with my account banned with no explanation.

        Looking up info on bans, I saw that usually you’d get a strike or a warning, or get your posts hidden, before something like a ban would happen, and I’d never done a ding dang thing to even get a warning. But the guidelines did say in rare cases you could get instabanned for illegal activities, sexual/graphic content, or violence.

        As a banned member I didn’t even have access to chat functions, so I couldn’t do what the guidelines kept saying to do (“message a staff member!”). I enlisted the help of a really kind friend I’d connected with on Tumblr after meeting there, but we knew there was little hope of helping that way because they also explicitly say there are to be no third party queries.

        I eventually figured out how to log out of the Amino and make a new account (shut up, I’m old) and I used the new account to contact one of the Leaders. The Leader was kind enough to reply quickly, but the response itself was pretty horrifying. 

        I’d been banned for sending sexual content to another member.

        Without warning, the Leader sent me a screencap of what “I” sent someone, and it was a close-up photo of genitalia and a comment inviting the user to sexually engage with said genitalia. Suddenly seeing that on my screen made me feel pretty ill. But the Leader had sent it to me under the impression that it had originated with me, even though I’d already claimed I did not know why I was banned. Yeah so basically the Leader sent me porn.

        So, a conversation ensued, and though the Leader was polite enough, I did feel that I was being talked to with full suspicion that I was a liar and had committed this offense. After all, according to the Leader, the reported incident was a live link of the offensive content leading directly to my profile. Which makes me think perhaps someone else accessed my account.

        I asked what kind of options I had but the person I spoke with shut all my options down very quickly. No, my reputation, history of celebrated content, and lack of motivation to do such a thing is not relevant. No, my obvious confusion was not good evidence that I hadn’t done this. No, my being asexual doesn’t preclude the sending of graphic content. No, there are no other steps to take to investigate and absolutely zero wiggle room in a case like this. You can’t prove you didn’t do it; therefore, we have to treat you like you did. 

        I was told the account would stay banned and there was nothing I could do about it, but that I would just have to use the new account from now on. When I expressed concern that whoever framed me could just track me down and do it again if they hate me, I was told it would be “simple” to just hide my identity. Easier said than done, since my art style’s recognizable, everyone’s seen my merch posts, and some things like cosplay and ukulele covers have me physically in them. But I wasn’t given another choice.

        I figured I would still investigate some options, like talking to the broader Amino support to see if they can help me prove those messages did not originate from me, but in the meantime I still love talking to people and sharing content, so I posted a couple things–one little essay on Sunday, and two pieces of art on Monday morning. 

        One of the art pieces was immediately featured. 

        (See? My content is considered worthwhile and valuable to the community.)
        I had been in the process of trying to find my friends and tell them what happened, so I was in a bunch of chats, and then my chats exploded with people confused about the feature since it was clearly the art of a known popular member being posted by some n00b. The comments on the featured post filled up with people asking what happened to me or accusing my new account of art theft. 

        When I tried to reply to some of them so they wouldn’t worry it was stolen, I suddenly couldn’t post anymore because THE NEW ACCOUNT HAD ALSO BEEN BANNED. 

        So they banned me, featured me, and then banned me again. (???) Seriously, I feel like I have whiplash. 

        I don’t know what the second ban was for. It could have been that I wasn’t supposed to be talking about having another account or what happened to it, even though it was true and I wasn’t in the wrong, but it also could have been someone reporting me for art theft or the person who has it out for me framing me again. 

        I don’t know why that person hates me or what they have against me to do this.

        I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if I’ll ever get my account back (with its 2000+ followers, 30 featured posts, chat full of conversations I can no longer access, wiki entries with organized book reviews, merchandise inventory, and all the lovely relationships and posts I cultivated). I’m so exhausted from spending my mental energy on trying to save this thing I loved so much that got yanked away from me when I literally did nothing wrong. 

        I joined another group called Senior Universe where old people can be SU nerds. The folks there are welcoming but it is small too. I posted a piece of art there as my first post and now it’s featured. Well, some things don’t change. ;) 

        I hope to get around to messaging my friends from the original account because I don’t want to lose them or leave them wondering what happened to one of their favorite members. I wish someone could help me.

        Saturday, November 4, 2017

        Personal Digest Saturday: October 28 – November 3

        Life news this week:
        • Not a great day for a Halloween party since I was throwing up the night before and felt pretty miserable throughout the day. I didn't get to eat my party food. But I did feel pretty decent by the time the guests started arriving and did have a good time! I made the last two items (muffins) in the morning and sort of slowly got dishes and serving tools out to have everyone over, and a nap helped. I had FIVE party attendees wearing Steven Universe costumes, with three wearing unrelated costumes and one person not in costume. My friends Jodi and Ben stayed overnight because they were from out of town, so my guestroom got some use too! It was a pretty good time.
        • Sunday I relaxed, cleaned up a little, talked to Mom, drew some fanart, did some laundry, and took it easy.
        • Monday I did marketing stuff at work and felt pretty crappy. I drew another picture at home. And I found out Steven Universe is FINALLY COMING BACK WITH NEW EPISODES NEXT WEEK after the longest hiatus it has EVER HAD, so YES I AM REALLY, REALLY EXCITED.
        • Tuesday I worked from home, but was really busy all day doing two transcripts. Since it was Halloween, I put on a costume when evening came. I was dressed as Steven himself. It was funny. I did get some trick-or-treaters too! And then later Jeaux came over with his PlayStation because the Steven Universe game came out and I wanted to play it. He's letting me borrow the console. :)
        • Wednesday I worked on utility coordination and marketing at work. Jeaux picked me up and we ate at a place called Asian Wok. (I had tofu with lo mein!) Then we went to my place and listened to/watched various things we like while I drew silly pictures. After he left I played the video game some more.
        • Thursday I worked from home again because I needed a repair guy to fix my dryer. I waited all day and he came pretty much at the end of the day and the repair only took him like 15 minutes. :) I did marketing database stuff from my couch. And later I talked to Victor on the phone and drew my webcomic.
        • Friday I worked on marketing and proposal prep, and at home I posted my comic, played the video game, and finished drawing a very silly fan comic about hugs.

        New reviews of my book:

        • There's a separate version of my book on Goodreads now that is separated out for a reason I don't know. Someone on Goodreads rated that version three stars with no review this week. Dunno.

        Articles, Interviews, Mentions:

        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: I didn't finish the Night Vale book because I kept skipping the bus again. Next week I'll get it done.
        • Currently reading: It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.
          New singing performances:

          This week's song was "Wonderboy" by Tenacious D, which is a joke song so don't be weirded out by how sort of strange and vaguely gross it is.

          New drawings: 

          What it might look like if Amethyst did a Garnet
          shapeshift impression. (She shapeshifts a lot in the show
          but has never imitated Garnet for some reason.)
          Garnet imitating Steven's morning stretchies
          And check out this really cute and cheesy comic I did:

          (A bonus:)

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0651: "Scary Things."

          New videos:

          I didn't make time to do a ukulele video this week, but I did do a new writing video called 10 Myths about Publishing.

          New photos:

          Okay, here's some food:

          Autumn leaf cookies

          Molasses-ginger animal cookies

          Pumpkin brownies

          Pumpkin pies

          Cream cheese pumpkin roll
          The brownies and both cookies were vegan! The banana muffins and pumpkin muffins I made were not pictured.

          Now costumes:

          Me as Stevonnie!

          Look at my belleh

          Good likeness? Stevonnie's really tall though.
          Why do Fusions have to be so big?

          Derek's costume: He came as young Greg Universe.

          Good likeness? I think he looks really good.

          Ben came as an obscure Steven Universe character:
          Percy from the in-show drama Camp Pining Hearts.

          Ben's character Percy, with poutine.

          And Joy came as Mystery Girl from Steven Universe.

          Good likeness huh? She's a human from the show
          who happens to look a lot like Rose Quartz.
          Pearl gets a crush on her.

          Michael in his vaguely piratey clothes.

          Rachael's outfit. Drinking my hot apple cider.

          Victor as an amazing necromancer. He made this costume at home.

          Michael and Rachael.

          Five Steven Universe costumes in one house!
          Jeaux is back there as Tiger Philanthropist.

          Stevonnie Selfie.

          Jeaux with his tie on (so he's still Tiger Millionaire).
          Victor with his mask off.

          I was cold and hiding under my Garnet blanket.

          Joy, Victor, and Jodi.

          Room full of friends.

          Pals eating stuff and talking about nerdy things.
          And now for actual Halloween day:

          Creepy mask but no one was scared.
          Playing Save the Light, the SU game.

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,285 for swankivy (lost 2), 657 for JulieSondra (5 new). Twitter followers: 898 for swankivy (4 new), 1,332 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 296 friends (1 new, Michael's girlfriend Rachael accepted my friend request) and 203 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,492 (1 new). Instagram followers: 125 (no change).