I'm sure you're dying to know that

My mother is the single most hypocritical person I have EVER known. And hope to ever meet, cause frankly, if they make them worse than her, I don't want to know. Please. No.

In other news, I'm going to Chicago for Xmas and New Year's. I'm getting kind of excited.

*checks panties*

Yes, definitely excited.

Also nervous, apprehensive, nostalgic, and cautiously happy-hopeful-optimistic. To name but a few. I refuse to stress over it, though, as I'm fairly certain this is going to be a pretty sweet trip. (Dis?) enchanted janelle is perhaps chasing a little enchantment? No wonder I feel light headed.

Stupidity Preserved.

I don't know why I've kept many old AIM conversations. Sensitive ones, let's say. And I don't know why, when I was looking for some comedy clips in old folders, I decided to open the few I came across.

And I ended up getting slammed in the chest with about a year's worth of awful, frustration, heartbreaking, soul-wrenching, cringeworthy memories. In the span of about 45 seconds.

I feel like I was hit in the chest by a Mac truck. And it's a bit hard to breathe, for the next few minutes. And I can't for the life of me figure out why I keep these fucking conversations, so innocently tucked into various archived folders, jumping out at me when I least suspect and need the emotional journey back through some of the very hardest times of my life.

But I also see just how far I've come, how much love I've lost, how many friends turned out to not be friends at all. They are bittersweet, these dark, liquid memories of mine. And yet, when I am presented with them, I cannot help but to drink deeply. I quaff of my own pain and misery, and when the tears flow, when old wounds thought to be long healed are shown to still bleed, I sadistically, masochistically- deem my thirst quenched.

I don't know if I'll ever know why I do this to myself. I don't know if there will ever come a day when I shall see those old files (for deleting them is just simply out of the question) and be able to resist opening them like sutures on a wound. Maybe one day.

Maybe one day when my life is stable and full of people who bring me as much joy as I try to bring them, maybe I'll be whole enough to open these files and see that these old wounds are nothing but faded scars. When I love someone completely, with all my heart, with the certainty they will treasure it more carefully than they do their own. One day, I shall be able to open these files, read them one last time while shaking my head at my past self, and delete them.

When donkeys fly.

edit: comments fixed. Damn you blogspot! JK ilu.

way to not fuck up, guys!

I'm an African-American lit major with a lot of flexibility in exactly what I study, and that means I 've learned a whole lot about history, media, and stereotypes pertaining to the history of blacks in the US. And yet I cannot FATHOM that we will have a black president. It hasn't sunk in yet, and I'm not sure it will for a few more years. I hoped and and supported and hoped and supported as much as my overwhelming disdain and disinterest for all things political would allow. I voted. I hoped some more.

But I never ONCE allowed myself to think this far ahead, aside from repeating the occasional joke about making sure he has a Mexican VP so that there are NO assassination attempts from the angry Aryans. I never once thought I would see a Black president in my lifetime. Or a female one. Or even a female and a minority vying for the Democratic nomination.

I prepared myself for the worst, finding the one silver lining in a post-McCain victory world: It would make it that much easier to wash my hands of this country when I'm fulfilling my future ex-patriot ambitions. But now, I think I've regained just a little bit of my lost love for this country and its people. I still want to eventually leave for a country that's a bit more honest about it's problems, less arrogant about it's resources and luxuries, and altogether more informed about the rest of the world. But in the meantime, it's nice to know that the majority of this country wanted to move in a better direction too, a direction based on hope and an honest belief in an all-encompassing American dream. And not one based on stagnant ideals that stubbornly cling to the past in the face of better knowledge and modern thinking.

Thank you, voters of America. I haet you all a little less now for what you did to me in 2000 and again in 2004. You destroyed my faith in the American political system four years before I could vote. YOU OWED ME THIS ONE.

oh melancholia, thou doest improvest ...mah writinz

"we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars"

Is that not beautiful? I'm slightly tempted to wax romantically just on that phrase. But I won't, at least not right now. =P Never, if you're lucky.

But lately I've been wondering about the direction of this blog. I know I'm not a bad writer, but I'm also aware I'm nothing that special. (I don't have a huge ego, so this doesn't bother me. I prefer to be frank about my abilities and failings so I can be frank about those of others. Ha.) But I also know I'm a lot better when writing out of melancholy. Sadness has a way of guiding my hand and making my words more eloquent, more profound, more resonant with...with.... something resounding. Anger affects me similarly, but not to the same extent. But, do I really want a blog full of angst, pain, sadness? This is not LiveJournal, do I really want to take things in that direction? But if the writing is better.....eh. I don't know. I've thought several different times I'd come here and post on whatever was bothering me at the moment, but then had second thoughts about constantly posting negative or depressing things.

I wouldn't ever call myself a positive person, but writing about only those things that move me the most to write about (sad, mad) would leave an equally incomplete picture of who I am. But should I even be worried about that? Maybe I should just say "fuck it" and write what I want to, when I want to, about whatever pleases (or displeases) me the most. This is, afterall, the blog of a disenchanted janelle, right? Right?

Le sigh.

Edit: Okay, I have somethings that are neither sad nor angry, nor angsty. Nay, they are not emo of any kind. FOOD POSTS! Woot. I think I have pics enough t post about a couple different things I've been cooking up lately. So pretend to be interested, please. Moar posts coming soon. Ah Swear.

My mother is NOT a headache sufferer.

Whereas I have major, chronic headaches recorded on my medical history going back sixteen years, since I was eight years old. I'm pretty sure I was having them for a good long time before I ever mentioned them to my doctor, too.

But more importantly, my mother does not understand what it's like to have headaches so painful that you can't sleep. The idea of trying to fall asleep with the sensory equivalent of someone repeatedly taking a hammer to my cranium is just ridiculous, but she seems to not understand I KNOW these are not conditions under which I can fall asleep. She does not understand the idea of a headache so painful it keeps you awake for 30-40 hours at a time until you're so tired you pass out despite the pain, and that is the only way you can rest....for days on end.

No, instead she yells at me for being up all night, for wasting electricity by having the living room light on, for not being awake in the daytime. She doesn't actually care if I'm not sleeping, she just wants me to not-sleep in private. Sigh.

Welcome to a crash course of my childhood, dear reader. One mildly therapeutic post at a time.

Oh, and I start on a new prescription painkiller tonight that sounds promising. Wish me luck. ^_^

after the phonecall

I sat there with an idiotically goofy grin on my face until real life drew me back into it's disenchanting embrace.


And they lived bleakly ever after.

They had been dating for a year. Danny was a wild spirit, spontaneous and constantly leaping first and then considering where to land as a minor afterthought. Olivia was stable, dependable, and a planner. They had the same politics, same carefully thought out morals, same distaste for religion, middle eastern food, and mindless television. Danny liked the bar scene, Liv preferred dancing in the clubs. One was better at math, the other at English, so the mathematically-inclined Olivia did all the accounting, and the more loquacious Danny wrote the emails and letters on both their behalf. Their mutual friends marveled at how so compatible they were, that they were similarly minded on all the major points, and where they differed, they provided the strength the other lacked. Dan and Olivia each brought some of themselves into the other’s life, creating balance out of the chaos of individuality.

That is, until Olivia started burning.

In her, you know, naughty bits.

Danny did some explaining, and Olivia did some packing, some crying, and then some throwing of vases at Danny’s head and genitals. For the most part, she missed.

For the most part. Heh. He limped for a few days, at least.

Six months later, Olivia’s still on antibiotics and cries into her pillow at night. Danny recovered faster, both physically and emotionally, and soon moved the object of his sexual indiscretion into his apartment and the same bed he so recently shared with Liv. They were together for the next five years.


Fast forward a few years after that.

Olivia ended up alone, while Danny went through several more women before he finally decided he was bisexual and moved to Brazil. Liv dated on and off for a few years, but met no one special enough for more than casual dating. Danny now has herpes, and seven children by six women, none of whom he sees regularly. Aside from avoiding the occasional court summons, he is altogether pleased with his freewheeling lifestyle. Liv died in carjacking incident at 31.

So much for happy endings, eh?

the death of a friendship

We always thought we'd look back on our tears and laugh, but we never thought we'd look back on our laughter and cry.

-- Unknown.

It's a heartbreaking thing, this loss; this wrenching, tearing thing. This death of a friendship.

Especially when it's a quick death. When there are no lingering cancers of resentment to fester and eventually alert you to the rotten state of your relationship's Denmark. Enough time has passed since the dissolution of something once so dear to me that I can prod these memories, this issue without the disablingly sharp pangs of hurt, regret, and confused betrayal. (Or so I thought when I wrote that sentence. It's taken me several more days to finish writing this, as at times my emotions would wax and wane and occasionally get the better of me. But hopefully it has not affected this little written nothing too much. Forgive me if it has.)

The death of a friendship always makes me rethink things. There have been people I've cut out of my life because I knew they were bringing what amounted to emotional poison into my life. While I'm saddened about the circumstances that led to such an end, I know without a doubt it was never caused by our relationship itself. They were the ones tracking mud into the house, so to speak. And despite feeling callous, I can make my peace with the departure of these people from my life fairly quickly and painlessly. I've learned to recognize the type early on, and have definitely learned the hard way that the faster you exorcise these emotional black holes from your life, the better.

But this time was different. He was not a casual friend. He was not a short-term friend. He was my best friend.

Ours was an instantaneous friendship. Upon meeting, we launched into conversation and only came up for breath over an hour later, when circumstances gave us no choice but to head our separate ways to opposite ends of our shared campus. We started hanging out regularly, and grew quite fond of one another. A year passed. My closest other friend developed new interests in her life that didn't involve me, and I found myself being edged out. I turned to him. He was there for me; he could cheer me up and make my day wonderful in the matter of a few sentences. Often it just took a hug. I knew his family. He knew mine. I was the person his sister would call when she couldn't track him down. I loved him. He was family to me, held dear in my heart like few people ever were or could hope to be.

And then everything crashed.

It was another summer; we were living off-campus while taking summer classes. It was hot. We sniped at each other occasionally, and then more frequently. I became increasingly upset with what I saw as his abuse of our friendship. He constantly criticized me, made and then canceled our plans, and took out his unrelated frustrations and stress on me. I eventually reached the limit of my understanding and patience, and developed a much quicker temper where he was concerned. I became very frazzled by his constant abrasiveness. I told him I needed space. He gave me the opposite of space, and began contacting me several times a day by phone and instant messenger. He said my request meant I was mad at him, and he was just "trying to fix it". Long story short, I decided that while I was out of town for a week, I’d also block him from my instant messenger program so as to completely give myself the emotional distance I’d so repeatedly requested.

Over that week, something in our friendship broke.

Perhaps he felt betrayed by my actions, despite pressing closer and closer every time I asked for distance. Perhaps something else happened over that week of silence, I don't know. He has refused to talk about it from that day on, over a year ago. He blocked me on that same messenger program and let me know in every certain way but with words that he had no intention of resuming our friendship ever again. Not long after, maybe a few weeks later, prideless and heartsick, I made my first attempt to reach out to him to reconcile. I was pathetically willing to overlook so many of his offenses in order to maintain a friendship that meant so much to me. But after several apologies, overtures of friendship, and verbal olive branches, I realized that he had made his choice. He had chosen a world without me in it. A world in which our friendship no longer existed. Or perhaps a world in which it never did, I don't know.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was (mostly) in the right, that I should not have simply let someone get away with treating me so badly. And as expected, it didn't help. (Okay, maybe a little. Assured self-righteousness can be soothing at times.)

Almost 8 months later, he texted my phone to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day. It seemed he wanted things to pick up where they left off, for everything to be alright, for me to be my usual self. But I refused to pretend the previous 8 months hadn't happened. I wasn't interested in smoothing over the rough spots by ignoring them yet again. If he wanted to acknowledge that things had gone terribly wrong, and that he had (at the very least) partial responsibility in that, maybe everything would have been different. Then again, maybe not. I'm slowing learning the (seemingly obvious) lesson that it takes two to fix a relationship, and I guess ours just wasn’t worth the effort for him.

He has not contacted me again.

I've spent a year fighting the tears that would threaten to spill whenever I’d be caught off guard by a postcard he’d sent me or the photos of us that used to adorn my walls and are now packed away in boxes. I've spent a year ignoring the pang of hurt that arises when someone else brings up a time or place that is so tightly intertwined with him in my memories. I've tried to ignore all these things for so long, but the truth is I've been deeply hurt. I AM deeply hurt. And I, Janelle, the emotional rock for every friend I've ever had, am now devastatingly insecure. If it was so easy for him to leave behind our friendship, could it have possibly been as deep as I always thought it was? What does it say about me that someone I loved could walk away from me seemingly without a second thought or backwards glance? Am I so forgettable? So reprehensible a friend as to make such a choice easy for the leaver?

These are the things I've been pondering since the day I realized our friendship really was dead. It took several months to sink in that this time there was no emergency medical technician on the scene; no one to apply shock paddles to the bruised egos and inflated prides that stopped the beating heart of our friendship.

I haven't come to any conclusions yet, and I'm not sure I ever will. Going over past events from our time together ~both the happy moments and the not-so-happy ones~ is, by now, pointless. Instead I'm attempting to take with me ideas and experiences on how to be a better friend to the next person I let into my life and heart. That doesn't mean it's stopped hurting, or that I don't occasionally still fantasize about a happy reunion full of hugs, forgiveness, and great Japanese food. His sudden departure was by far the hardest blow in a series of events that have shaken -
to the core- my ability to place trust in others.

But I have to believe that I can grow from my mistakes, and in that growing, grow closer to the people around me instead of further apart. To believe that I can choose to be around people who are willing and able to invest as much time and care into our friendship as I am and don't use me purely a person to give support and never receive it in exchange. I'll have to work on that.

It took a year, but I've made my peace with this death. The next step for me now is to believe in life.
This is my eulogy. Goodbye, Friend... I wish you the happiest possible afterlife.

the girl with feathers..

Her name is Hope. She wears flowing bohemian dresses but walks with a strut good enough to shame any top runway model into early retirement. She loves animals and won't buy fur, but snuggles into the fox-fur collar of her mother's red winter coat at every opportunity. It's so soft, she says. She rarely dates, preferring to smoke pot on the weekends with her friends while they test out new restaurants. (The pitfalls to this method of gastronomic research became evident recently when she discovered her favorite little Thai place was not so spectacular without the influence of taste-enhancing drugs.)

She was born and raised in New York City, but Hope believes she lived in India in a previous life and would immediately know her way around if she were dropped in the middle of Jaipur tomorrow. She argues that her deep love of saris supports this theory; her friends argue her intolerance for spicy food refutes it.

Hope doesn't own a computer. She says laptops are too heavy for her to carry, and she's never in one place long enough to use a desktop version. She prefers phonecalls and face to face meetings to electronic communication anyway, she often protests. When she needs to type something up, she pulls out her grandmother's antique typewriter and her fingers positively fly across the loudly clacking keys. Hope thinks the sound is charming, and the neighbors in bordering apartments are enchanted by her enough to not mind when she decides she absolutely MUST type a letter to a friend at 3am on a monday morning.

Hope is the color of honey. No, she says, she won't elaborate on whether that refers to her eyes, her skin, her hair, or any other part of her. I just like describing myself as honey-like. Maybe I'm a little sweet and sticky, she says with a shrug. And maybe too much of me will cost you.

An Open Letter to a Certain Type of Frankensteiners:

(if you're not deep into The Sims 2, this post is irrelevant. Skip it and forgive me for being such a rabid gamergirl.)

Now, this is not actually about simpose versus frankensteining. It's more pointedly about the PEOPLE, those provincial simmers who insist on saying one method is superior, more acceptable, more *noble* a pursuit of simmy-happiness than the other. And while all the people I've personally encountered who push for the purity of one and the unacceptability of the other are frankensteiners, I'm by no means speaking about all frankensteiners or on behalf of all simposers. (remember kids: all generalizations are false, including this one. =P) And by "certain" frankensteiners, I also am referring to that TYPE of person, and not to any specific individuals. (Srsly.)

You see, I'm fairly talented in photoshop. I'm not what I'd call an advanced user (layer masks still confuse me) but I'm a highly competent intermediate. I can smooth limbs into each other seamlessly, make sure all lighting is even and coming from the right directions, edit expressions, slap on a different head and actually make the neck look nice in the process, etc.... I even have a good working knowledge of all the different animations and how they affect sim's bodies. In short, I have all the *technical* skills necessary to be on my merry way to franking heaven.

But I just can't do it. I cannot go into my game and take several different screenshots of various bits and bobs of my sim's anatomy and join them together into a wonderful or even mediocre pose.Now, usually when I say this to someone, they inevitably reply back with "Oh, but Janelle! It's hard for everyone at first, you just have to keep trying and learning. It'll get easier."

This response, after the 25th repetition, is starting to grate a little. I'm... getting... annoyed. I do not half-ass things, and I've not put only a little effort and time into the pursuit of franking, I've put a lot. But here are my problems more specifically: I don't have a definitely pose in mind before I enter my game. Sometimes I'll have a vague idea of what I want for that round, but more often, I let the pose I find ingame (ya know, without franking or simposing-- i.e. the most pure of all so if you wanna argue about what's acceptable or not, I have ALL of you beat.. now shaddup. =P) determine the specifics of my picture. And going ingame to take photos of a thousand different ankle positions so I can finally make up my mind as to what kind of pose I want in the end-- doesn't make sense. Most importantly, I can't mentally divide up the pose I'm picturing into the requisite bodyparts necessary to actualize it. I can see the final pose in someone else's work, and immediately recognize that they got the arm from this animation and the legs from that static pose, etc. But I can't do it the other way 'round. I cannot. No. Not gonna happen. My brain just..can't do it.

Simply put, my creative process does not operate in a way that would allow me to create frankensteined poses. So one day I learned simpose. (I have sipped of that dark dark wine and now there is no hope for my soul.) And I found that I spent more time and effort on one simple simposed pic than I did on my most complicated frankensteined pic before I gave that method up for lost. But I discovered that I enjoyed the hard but fruitful work of simpose; that I could express myself and my sims in new ways. I finally felt what it was like to create a pose that was totally and completely mine from the nose to the toes, one that took a LOT of time and effort to get right. I imagine it feels a lot like when a great frankensteiner has just finished a kickass franked pose that they know is gonna blow people away. But I wouldn't know. And yes, it might be easier to churn out a crappy simposed picture than a crappy frankensteined one, but a really great picture in either medium takes a lot of care, and to say that one is easier than the other is saying that you are the ultimate authority on what's easy and hard. Whatever you find it to be is what it is, period. Simpose is easier because you find it easier, and not because different people have different abilities. No, that couldn't possibly be it. Whut dew yew meen, das my ohpinyawn? MY OHPINYAWNZ R DA ULTIMATE TRUTH!!!1~1!.

And thus my ultimate points- When you, dear arrogant frankensteiner, say that your method is better, should be more respected, is harder, etc.. you are saying that everyone else must create in the same method as you. You are saying, whether you realize it or not, that there is only one acceptable method of expressing artistic desires through the sims, and other ways of reaching that end are unacceptable. If my creative process does not operate in a way that allows me to frankestein beautiful poses, then you essentially want me to take my ball and go home, because the way I do my art is somehow less valid, important, less *artistic* than you and yours.

If you feel it's sad to see how many people are using simpose these days, I say this: I remember when people were saying how sad it was to see people using photoshop to cut their sims up into tiny pieces to make them appear to be doing things/in positions not available in the game. I remember when many contests forbade frankensteining because while some simmers loved it, many many others thought it was a perversion of the game. You know, the game? The thing that brought us together in the first place?

And when you say that you should be more "respected" because of your method, I just have to laugh, sorry. You should do this because you love it, because you're bored, or because you want to improve certain skills and learn others. Because it's the closest you can get to the type of modeling/art/design you can get right now. There are a billion other great reasons. But doing ANYTHING in the sims world just -or even mainly- for the respect of the 'community' is bullshit. People shouldn't respect you for your work, they should respect your work. We have all different skill levels here in this vast sims world, and I'd rather interact with many pleasant, clueless newbies than even one primadonna of mild to moderate acclaim. They should respect you for what you bring to the community table- advice, humor, a kind word of encouragement to those below you in skills and experience, honest critique, tension diffusing comments at the right moment...etcetera. That's what should earn people respect here, not how many comments and boob notes they have on flickr. That's not how anyone should measure their contributions to the simming world.

When you're this narrow-minded and arrogant about something meant to be a GAME and a fun HOBBY, then I cannot imagine how you view people of a different gender, skincolor, religious background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Is that a stretch? Possibly. But people who look at two different things and immediately have to classify one as superior to the other, more acceptable,and the other as less acceptable instead of just DIFFERENT... that scares me, in whatever context it's found. Why must you impose a hierarchy? Other than the obvious reason of making sure whatever category you're in is at the top. So please, please, stop acting so butthurt that your frankentsteiny ways aren't the only ways, stop being divisive in a situation already too divided to be truly called a "community" and how about bringing some positivity into the lives of those of us who are striving to make art with our sims instead of judging how we achieve that goal?

And as always, feel free to disagree. But back your words up with examples, logic, experience. I may be totally off-base. And I'm open to new ways of viewing any situation. I'm ready to learn, experience, and whenever necessary, to apologize with sincerity and honesty and a total lack of foolhardy pride. As someone who is raging against the overinflated egos festering in the sims community, it would be hypocritical of me to be or do otherwise.

I hope this has clarified something for those who read it. You don't have to agree, not by a long shot, but if this post has even made you rethink your own feelings for just a moment or two, or gain even a little more understanding about another point of view, I've succeeded in my goal.

And thank you to the frankensteiners and simposers who do what they love because they love it, and don't try to force their preferences onto others as being either superior or as the only acceptable way. You have your preferences, you often share them with others but don't ever disparage people who choose differently than what you'd prefer. You guys rock.

virgin no longer

catchy post title, eh?
no longer a *blog* virgin, you perve.

I've considered a blog for a long time now, over a year. I have a livejournal that I use very very infrequently. But it's more of a, you know, journal. And while I don't claim to be a particularly good writer, I do sometimes feel the need to wax poetic and then share the results. Which I don't want to do in a LJ that exists mostly to purge my twice-a-year emo inner feelings when they're too embarassing by half to share with anyone else.

So I hope that this blog will be actually mildly entertaining for myself and the .03 other people who will read it. Hopefully it'll be a little bit about me, a little bit about the sims, photoshop, (sex?), food, and maybe a bit about photography...if you're lucky. Hell, if I'm lucky.

Ambitious, aren't I? It'll never happen. But a girl can dream, can't she?