Monday, August 31, 2015

Buddy Dog Report

Buddy went and tore his other ACL last night. This time we are fortunately able to afford his surgery and the surgeon was available to do the surgery today. We haven't got him back from the vet yet, but the prognosis is good. He has been down this road before with his other leg and this time we were able to get to the surgery immediately.
I wanted to once again thank everyone who helped Buddy pay for his surgery three years ago. I figured all of y'all wonderful folks would appreciate the update and knowing that he will be ok this time around.

So how did the goof-ball do it this time?
He was running around the yard, at warp speed acting the fool and having a blast. It is such a shame just being a dog and doing what dogs do has such a taxing effect on his legs. Poor guy. But the veterinarian surgeon that fixed the leg the last time expected to see this happen in the other leg. And the surgeon doing the surgery today is the same guy who did the wonderful job on Buddy's other leg. So we are confident that the big guy is in good hands.

So PSA time:
Spay or neuter your pets.
Adopt a rescue. (Buddy was a street rescue and he has been the best dog ever.)
If you can donate time at your local pet rescue or veterinarians clinic.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Power Gamers and the Mini-Max Character

To the Mini-Max Player

You can take a character with half the points everyone else has available and you can build a mini-maxed, twinked out character that is a combat god. You are impossible to kill by normal means due to your diligence in knowing every bonus and trick in the book. When the Loremaster scrutinizes your hero before play they must try and figure out your angle every game. If the Loremaster tries to deny the Hero for play you are diligent in pointing out how your character fits into every rule and regulation. Your Hero is completely legit in all ways. And you are right, technically these heroes are most often the best written up heroes when it comes to point allocation. Never will you find a mistake in calculation, they never take an extra point, but they never miss one either. Then the Loremaster must argue rules or just put their foot down. This is not fun at all.
Or the Loremaster misses the super smart twink job the player is pulling off with this hero’s character sheet. They have figured out an exploit if you will and they can’t wait to get into game and try it out. Then mid game the Loremaster and Players realize that your Hero out classes the rest of their heroes substantially. The Loremaster has to stop and think hard, and the players are now worried they will have to face challenges out of their league due to the new dynamic you have introduced into play.
Ok, we get it you are the smartest and best ever. Now can we get back to playing a proper Role Playing Game?
I am not aiming this at the player of the Hero that is really good at a couple of things, or even has a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Nor is it the Hero who through game play develops into a powerful hero with End Game powers; it is the player of the hero that is designed to rule the game in combat or a spell caster that was built around a single spell who gets the collective ire of the game table. The combat god who is unhittable, who also lays down killing blows every hit and knows every weapon type knowable is an End Game hero Skippy. Yet the only thing End Game about your Hero is your combat skills. You have no skills beyond combat and you don’t have the end game magic items to back your play.
When you write up such characters you put the Loremaster at a calculated disadvantage. The only thing that matters to you is the survival of your hero regardless of anyone else’s need. To deal with your Twink I have to up the power level of the dungeon. But when I do this the other players are placed at a serious unfair disadvantage. Also I am faced with a player who wrote up a vastly over powered character compared to the rest of the group, who will at the drop of the hat get upset and argue the rules or call cheese when the big guns are pulled out and their hero was killed off or defeated. ‘You singled me out’ is the cry of the player. Yes, you were singled out, your overly powerful; pain in the ass character was hashing my storyline and putting the other heroes at an unfair risk.
If the only way I can harm one of the heroes is with an End Game monster, then I have to put said monsters in the game. Yet here we are supposed to play a Starting Saga and you already are rolling 19+ True Grips to hit and dodging out of every blow with your ungodly 19 Hit Goal. Sure these are fine power levels for an End Game Saga, and I have no problem with these power levels when everyone is playing at that power level. The essence of a great game is game balance. End Game powers at Starting Game are inappropriate.
The other players don’t like your characters. You put the focus on you and your hero. There is little glory for them when you are the only one who can harm the End Game monster.

Also there is this issue with your Hero; you have no skills beyond combat. The other heroes have to pull your weight in all Role Playing scenes. They can’t send you to do shit but kill something. Your hero can’t haggle for better prices, rally troupes, lie to the constable, ride a horse, and socialize with the elite, swim, read, or anything else that may come in handy when actual role playing is going on.

And it isn’t just warrior players who are guilty, Wizard Twink players, you are just as guilty. When you do things like make a single spell so powerful that it rivals Rune Powers you also limit your hero in so many ways. Now I am not talking about a Hero with a high Enchantment taking a favored spell. Sure no problem, but when you write up the Hero so that you can walk into the Spell Crafting dice roll with 18+ dice and you have max proficiency you are twinking. Rolling a grip of 12-15 dice wouldn’t kill you. Not having +15 due to Proficiency and Enchantment won’t kill you. Sure your Hero can at least read and write, it is a must for the spell caster hero, but you only have one real thing the others rely on from you. But here you are with an End Game Power and the rest of the players are at actual Basic, Hero or Legend play. But you only have that one end game level power. No one else in the group has a hero with an end game power. To be able to deal with this wizard the Loremaster has to put more powerful adversaries in the Saga, which puts the other players Heroes at a disadvantage.

When you introduce Heroes that are over powered compared to the rest of the heroes or Saga, you force a power skip in the Saga. There are wide swaths of low level monsters and villains the Loremaster could use, but this Hero makes it so these bad-guys cannot be put into play.

For the Saga to be an actual game, there to be that excitement of chance for all parties, the game must be balanced.

Why do we even allow these players at our tables one may wonder? But it is a matter of friendship or social politics in most cases. We don’t often play a Role Playing Game with people we don’t care for. We most often game with our friends, family and associates. It is hard to say no to friends and family. You like these people and value their friendship. What is a hero between friends? So we let it ride and suck it up.

Strive for game balance. Don’t look for every angle and advantage. Part and parcel of the game is being challenged. Also consider those times when your Hero may get stuck in a Role Playing intense game session and how much of an anchor your character might be if you combat twink your hero. How are you supposed to smuggle goods past the city guards if you can’t be sneaky, wear a disguise or bribe them? How are you going to get an audience with the Mayor if you have no social skills? How will you be able to haggle for bargain prices at the bizarre? Ever notice that your twink hero has to do everything the hard way? It is not a wonder when you roll only on your attributes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Targeted by TERFs

This morning when I tried to log into Facebook I found that I was banned from posting or liking Facebook posts for 24 hours. I am only able to like comments people make on posts.

So what did I do that warranted being put in 'Facebook Jail' for 24 hours?

Well it turns out that a certain TERF did not like what I had said in a comment I made to a thread about 6 months ago.
What was it I said? Something to the effect that the TERF in question is in my opinion unstable and dangerous. I also said something to the effect that I worry that someday I will read in the news that she has killed a trans* woman.

I stand by that. TERFs scare the hell out of me. They are so blindly focused on their rage fetish (transsexual and transgender women) that they seem willing to go to any lengths to harm us. When one of us stands up to them we get doxxed, dead-named and often cyber stalked and bullied. If these activities send a trans* woman into a suicidal spin, and the girl checks out, then those TERFs have killed a person. You do not need to be wielding a gun or a knife to murder. TERFs know that trans* women are particularly vulnerable to suicidal ideation, yet they continue to be a thorn in our collective sides.
Would I be surprised to hear a TERF had killed a trans* woman first hand via murder? Unfortunately no. They have shown they are capable of hatred of trans* women. Why should I doubt they are capable of violence against trans* women?

I will not hold my tongue when the topic turns to Radfem TERFs. They are dangerous for trans* women. They have shown repeatedly how much they hate us, so if they come up in casual conversation I will warn my trans* sisters about them every time.

Cathy Brennan, you got me put in Facebook jail for a whooping 24 hours, over a comment that was about 6 months old. You are a petty bitch.

Well I certainly will take this opportunity to tell it like it is about you one more time.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Burn out is real, and it's not a sign of weakness ~Sevan

Social media is a powerful tool for the social justice advocate. Trans people can connect with one another, share issues, band together and get things done. For some of us, maybe even all of us (whether we recognize it or not) it becomes a horrible space where the work never ends, and friends, fun, family and social justice work all blend together. 

It sends the message that you should never stop working. This is a dangerous message. People need to be able to have safe places to relax and recharge. Often wonderful wise people face burn out and the movement loses those people, all their skills, knowledge and cooperation. We have to rebuild, train, connect and build new relationships. We constantly start over, but push and push for people work, attend events, research, read every article that gets shared by every single friend who shares all your same beliefs and advocates along side you.

An example. I created a Twitter account to follow musicians that I liked. The whole purpose was fun and relaxation. Twitter told all my Facebook friends that I had created a Twitter. Of course they wanted to add me, they *are* my friends, so I wanted to add them too! Quickly my twitter feed was so covered in angry trans issues, fights and encouragement to help remove trolls from Twitter to the point that I no longer go to Twitter at all. That is not to say that this issues that I was presented with on Twitter weren't important, but one only has so much time and so much energy.

We need to protect ourselves but also support others in our community. If we encourage one another to take care of themselves, our community becomes stronger and healthier. My request to those trans advocates is to consider who you're going to reach. Who reads you? Do they likely follow the same pages you follow? If so, they've probably already seen the article you're considering sharing. Not only can this be frustrating but depending on what the information is, it can be triggering and painful.

I know for myself, seeing article after article about trans people who have committed suicide hurts me deeply. I am experiencing secondary trauma, and I am not alone.

Here are some things that you can do to help build up the community, but still participate in sharing important information.

#1 Use trigger warnings, and consider not including the preview image. Pictures are bigger than words, so often a trigger image of a person who's passed away, or a person who appears grief stricken can be the first thing someone sees even if you use trigger warnings.

#2 Share your thoughts about the article, and then link the article in a comment, rather than in the body of your status or post.

#3 Pay attention when someone says they're down or struggling. Ask how you can help. Share things with them that helps you cope. Often times, people don't realize the level of stress they're under. We've gotten very good at ignoring our internal signals. Good friends can remind us to check in with that internal signal.

#4 Learn more about self care and what makes you tick. Share articles and images that lift your community up, in equal part to negative articles that are intended as a call to action.

#5 If you've seen an article more than two times, chances are, your friends have seen it too. Consider not sharing it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spokane TALL is on the scene

First, I'm sorry for abandoning this blog. (again....) So many people rage, or write, or express themselves in some fashion when they're hurt or angry. I find that when the world gets nasty, I shut down. It's not particularly helpful, but it is what happens. The heightened publicity of trans murders and suicides just hurts me so deeply. Not so say that it DOESN'T hurt others, I have no doubt that it does. I just don't know what to do with that, I suppose.

Anyway, that's not what I'm here to talk about today. There's a project I've been part of since May. Spokane TALL. Tall stands for Transgender Advocacy, Learning and Leadership. In my view, it's a much needed project locally. For the last year we've been working slowly on by-laws, organization and getting our ducks in a row. Thinking about "who are we" and making sure we have our feet firmly under us. The project is made up (so far) of people who are very involved in other things, so progress is slow, but that's been ok.

We burst on the scene this Transgender Day of Visibility. We ended up with three events during the week! Monday we received a proclamation from the Mayor, proclaiming Spokane's first TDOV. Then Tuesday we showed Kumu Hina followed by a panel discussion. We had sixty four people in attendance!! I can't tell you how big that is. Just believe me, it is. Events are rarely that large in this city.

Saturday we wrapped things up with a transgender health care forum, presented by Danni of Gender Justice League. I wasn't sure what the turn out would be, but I hoped it would be positive and that there would be a large enough crowd to make it worth Danni's trip over from Seattle (a six hour drive!) I set a goal for 20 people, and would have been blown away and so excited with 30 people. Twenty showed up which was fantastic.

We've got more coming up too. This project is just getting started, and I'm so excited!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Leelah's Law

Leelah Alcorn passed away recently. She was a tormented soul who had lived through religious shame and coercion. She was denied her right to exist by her family and then cut off from her support networks.

Leelah saw no way out, which is so unfortunate. I wish she could have seen what I see in her selfie.

She was young and beautiful with so much potential. But Leelah couldn’t see that it seems. A couple years on HRT and she would have been just another girl in the crowd. But the messages of hatred and shame were far too much. Instead of hearing that she was loved, she was shamed for being different.
Her parents and the church have Leelah Alcorn’s blood on their hands.
The worst part is that there is no scriptural basis for the shame they heaped on their daughter. There is nothing in the scriptures that justify the trauma they put Leelah through.

We need to change society. We need to pass Leelah’s law. Leelah’s law would outlaw the practice of reparative therapy.
Not one more!
Please go to the following website and sign the petition to enact Leelah’s Law.

Leelah Alcorn, born Joshua Alcorn, was a 17 year old transgender teenager who killed herself on December 27, 2014. In her suicide note, she explains how her parents pulled her out of school, put her in Transgender Conversion Therapy and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity, and that this is what lead her to suicide.

Many mental health institutions such as American Association of Pediatrics, have talked about the dangers and ineffectiveness of conversion therapy for gender identity, and others have called upon therapists to stop using the practice all together. We ask that Transgender Conversion be banned at least for minors, as it is unnecessary, dangerous, and not the proper treatment for gender dysphoria.”