Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Minecraft's origin may be a mystery, but gamer toxicity sure ain't.

Minecraft came out during my early adulthood.

Or so my memory tells me.

It was the equivalent of getting infinite legos for twenty bucks, a deal that couldn't really be ignored because holy shit that's kind of amazing.

My generation thought it would be the one that would be able to afford the cool toys. We'd grow up and be able to buy the neat shit we couldn't have as kids ourselves, only to grow up and find out that actually, no, we still can't afford said neat shit. Maybe we can manage to get one or two of the cool toys to tide us over, or scratch some nostalgia itch, but that's about it. Can't afford houses, cars, boats, cereal.

A video game that lets us make a house and make it any way we want it without worrying about how much money it's gonna cost? That's pretty neat.

It sucks that we have no idea where Minecraft came from, like it just popped out of Microsoft's shiny metal ass one day. Nope. Absolutely no idea.

I read a comment today that got me thinking about games. Somebody responding to a twitter user I won't name said something about how the media is "against [us] gamers" because of mentions of how two BC teens, who are wanted for murder, played violent games. And I wondered, "Just how fucking young are you?" 'Cause I still remember when Columbine happened and media was asking about violent games and Marilyn Manson instead of gun control and spotting the signs of somebody about to do something horrific, and it's still not quite there yet.

My generation didn't wipe itself out on video games and Marilyn Manson, just like the next generations won't.

Minecraft doesn't kill people, white supremacists do.

But most people, most sensible people, they know that. It's not the Fortnites and Rainbow Sixes and Wolfensteins that make violent killers, it's the Nazi fetishists and alt-right and incels that inhabit unmoderated channels that do. Steam and Twitch are kind of far behind on that sort of thing, and gamers are notoriously prone to toxic shit like that. They think they're the underdog when they haven't been in over twenty-five years.

So while I build my silly little square islands with their forests and farms and villages I'm gonna be thinking wow, this stupid little game made me really, really space out for a while and think a little too deep.

These things happen, I guess.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

There's nothing better than the increasing pressure to lose weight (heavy sarcasm)

[Any comments agreeing with my parents or joining in concern-trolling will be removed.]

Man, I am tired.

Every so often I get a "talk" from my folks about my size. I have always been fat. They have always been fat. It is what it is. I do not feel as if my size is a detriment to my mental health or my well-being. I have heard the usual concern-trolling from family and strangers and, frankly, all it does is make me feel bad about myself.

A conversation that appeared to start as a "you've been unemployed for three months now, are you willing to take whatever comes your way no matter how shit it is" sort of conversation was actually a "have you thought that your issues with standing for hours at a time are actually because your body can't handle your size anymore" conversation.

Ah yes. Just what I need when I'm already in a Bad Place from my umpteenth year of being here.

A month ago I went to Sioux Lookout and during the drive from Sault Ste. Marie to Dryden my usual back pain just suddenly stopped and instead started up again in my sciatic nerve. It was awful. I was in so much pain I couldn't sit, or stand, or walk, or lie down. I went to Emerg, twice, got a shot for the pain, my leg went numb, and it's been varying degrees of numb ever since. With that numbness has come weakness in my left leg and soreness after standing for too long or walking too much. An issue triggered by spending too long in a vehicle without taking enough breaks to stretch, exasperating an existing issue that had been worsening during the drive? An issue I've experienced for years that was caused by my first full-time job and sporadic treatment because I haven't been able to afford regular chiropractor visits?

Yeah. It's because I'm fat.

The previous month I came down with a viral lung infection that was initially thought to be bacterial. Two months later I still have trouble breathing properly whenever I exert myself a tad.

Yeah. Because I'm fat.

Naturally, they see "fat and has a few medical issues" as "fat with medical issues caused by fatness".

So said conversation occurred, with being asked what they could do to help. What would motivate me. All I could say was "I don't know" because the things that would make me want to be active involved moving out, being away from here, having my own space, and having my own space to be active in. Living where I can walk somewhere to pick up what I need when I need it. Living where walking somewhere doesn't involve walking through the woods, where there are sidewalks.

If me wearing "men's clothes" is an issue for them with me as a fat person I can't imagine what they'd think of me continuing to do so if I got into shape.

Overall, these conversations are always shitshows that leave me feeling worse about myself and wondering when I'm finally going to break.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Dougie Fordo screws the workers, news at 11

It just hit me that my yearly allottment of sick days has dropped this year thanks to dear Dougie Fordo.

This is especially painful because I do have chronic issues that can't be solved overnight. My mental health utterly sucks. There are days when I just can't handle customer service and I need to not be there, which has been way more often lately than it should be.

We now get three days of personal emergency leave, two for bereavement, and three for family responsibilities instead of ten personal emergency leave days.

That's not good enough.

But nah, Dougie needs to convince businesses that Ontario is "open for business" in the most worker-screwing manners possible. Who cares about the people that pay taxes so his government can repeatedly fuck up. It's not like we matter, obviously, and it's not like this will save employers money. It'll likely cost them as people wind up having to take days beyond what they've been allotted because, gasp, there isn't enough time available toward... being sick, or having personal issues that need taking care of.

I genuinely hate this man, his policies, his party, and every single voter that gave him power.

Gutting Bill 148 is the worst thing he could do for the working class of Ontario, and he did it without any shame. He did it without any concern for how that would impact us.

I hope, next election, that bites him in the ass.

Monday, 3 December 2018

A funny little thing happened at a local Santa Claus parade...

This past weekend was the Coboconk Santa Claus parade.

I do not attend by choice, but because I have to.

The local MPP and MP were in town. Jamie Schmale ('Schmuck' would have been a valid typo) rode his trailer chariot and Laurie Scott walked along behind.

Were I a less polite bear I would have made note out loud that this was a perfect illustration of her career, alas, I had to watch myself. Such a shame.

Instead I played nice and smiled and gave best wishes.

A letter in the paper very succinctly pointed out that the legacy being left by Laurie Scott is nonexistent or at least lacking in substance. As a whole, her party will be known as a destructive force intent on making the poor even poorer and the rich even richer, but that is a rant for another day.

Thanks for nothing, Cons.

Monday, 26 February 2018

What 'grassroots' means and why it doesn't apply to the Ontario Cons.

The buzzword for Ontario's election this time around seems to be "grassroots".

The likes of Doug Ford and company have been throwing around their desire to appeal to their party's "grassroots", but I'm not sure they understand what that actually means. I wouldn't be surprised -- I'm pretty sure major political parties burn a dictionary before every speech -- and it's the modus operandi of the Conservatives to try to appeal to "normal people" as much as possible. Even though they're made up of rich people, they try so very hard to make themselves seem very "average Joe".

What's a "Grassroots Movement"?

A grassroots movement is a political movement that springs up to deal with an issue at the local level, and it often takes off from there. It's a community effort to create change. It's made up of regular people banding together toward a common goal.

An example is the Basic Income movement, which is made up of people reaching out to educate others about basic income, what it means, and encouraging conversation with government toward making a universal basic income a reality. Movements to boost the minimum wage count, too. Grassroots movements are communities organizing funds and getting people excited about their cause, with regular people spreading the word. It's not about political parties, it's about specific issues.

Grassroots movements work from the bottom to the top, not the other way around.

This is What the Cons Are Not

When Conservatives want to appeal to the "grassroots" they're most likely referring to movements like Alberta's Wild Rose, though they're repeatedly sounding more like they're trying to appeal to "regular people" and using "grassroots" as if it means the same thing.

In other words, they're saying they want the support of regular folks, but using a different buzzword.

Grassroots movements can spring up toward encouraging people to vote, or pushing for a specific party's messages -- but overall, this is a thing for issue-specific work. Such movements are here to spread messages and create awareness and action toward one issue.

And if the Conservatives want to get the support of grassroots movements, they have to figure out which movements they want to cater to. Considering their policies? We're most likely looking at the likes of previously-mentioned Wild Rose far-right sorts, anti-immigration, white nationalist, anti-choice, pro-ignorance. Look at how hard they're humping the legs of the groups that hate the sex ed curriculum (even though none of the people involved seem to know what's actually in said curriculum).

The Conservatives could never be grassroots even if they wanted to.

The people looking for leadership are not the common people. If you're running for leadership of a political party in Canada, you stopped being a regular person as soon as you gained enough influence to get to that point. With a $100,000 fee to even enter the leadership race the average working-class Ontarian is already disqualified from the running.

I know my small town wouldn't be able to raise $100,000 in time for the deadline even if we'd had six months to do it.

In short: the Conservatives are doing what they've always done, and that's begging their brainwashed base to keep voting for them, and bring their friends along for the ride. And if you truly think the Conservatives give a damn about us regular Ontarians, then I've got a lovely house in Depot Harbour I'd like to sell you.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

White people are not losing any rights.

You overhear a lot of stupid shit when hanging out in a Tim Horton's during the daytime hours.

The most recent thing to make me crank up the volume on my headset was yet another round of "something something Muslims something something we're losing OUR rights" said by a bunch of, you guessed it, old white dudes.

I'm white. To other white people, I only pass as white when it's convenient, e.g. in conversations where I should be on "their side". As a white person that's mostly-informed about the political landscape and what our rights as human beings actually are, I and anybody else that knows better than Random Coffee Shop White Dudes can say with 100% certainty that we are not losing any rights.

What's happening is that the nastiness of other people is getting called out and the wrongness of making targets of minority groups is being made clear, and that whole "treat others the way you want to be treated" thing that was taught while I was growing up is getting (somewhat) enforced.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists 30 points that can be looked to in order to figure out if anybody's losing any rights. A simplified version can be found here.

I've heard it said a lot: that the rights of minorities are being put before those of white people, which isn't something that makes sense to me. I don't understand how someone being allowed to wear a symbol of their non-Christian religion is putting anybody else out. I don't understand how someone being allowed to wear a turban instead of a police hat is doing any harm to anybody else. I don't understand how expecting that someone with a name that doesn't sound white will have the same chances at employment and housing as someone with a white-sounding name.

I don't understand what "rights" these people think they're losing.

From the way these people talk? It's more a matter of them feeling threatened about not everything catering just to them, about the possibility of not being the default or considered the majority.

Sorry, white people, but we're just fine. None of us are being mistreated for being white. None of us are being denied anything based upon our skin colour.

Suck it up.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

We need to stop pitting the poor against each other.

While people still think I'm working at the Casino I hear a lot about how, hey, with the minimum wage going up, aren't you going to get a raise? Casino workers in my department made $15.81. That's considerably higher than the current minimum wage, and about $1.81 higher than what the minimum wage is going to be when January 1st rolls around. It's still not a living wage, not if you're part-time, and as a full-time earner it's just above the poverty line.

"We're part of a union, so I imagine that we will get a raise," I say. The casino isn't obligated to -- but it's something UNIFOR is going to push.

It's inevitable that every time this topic comes up, though, someone has to point out that I should be making more money than someone on minimum wage because of what I do. "Wouldn't you be upset if you didn't?"


Y'know, I had more to do as a minimum wage worker at a grocery store or a local mechanic than I did at the casino. If I was working the restaurant, I'd process people coming in and I didn't have to worry about keeping the place clean or hauling stock or anything like that. In the cage or one of the casino's other high-security money-laden areas it was still very specific sort of work. The amount of stuff in my job description seems like a lot, but compared to the McDonald's worker that has to do customer service and clean the bathroom and mop the floor and shovel the walkways and parking lot...

I resent this idea that people have that minimum wage jobs should be or somehow are inferior or for people that lack any other skills. The reason that these undesirable jobs are minimum wage is that these businesses aren't allowed to pay them any less. Believe me, if local grocery stores could get away with paying a dollar per hour to their cashiers and departments they'd totally do it.

It's all part of this horrible, nasty thing where we poor people have been constantly pitted against each other. You're not being paid a wage you can live on, but at least you're not that minimum wage worker. You're that minimum wage worker, but at least you're not on welfare. You're on welfare, but at least you're not homeless.

Instead of supporting one another we're finding reasons to hate each other, something which benefits those who aren't poor because it means we're not turning on them.

Here are ways that the system and these attitudes fuck every last one of us:

  • if you're getting social assistance and you manage to find work, you lose that assistance -- or a big chunk of it -- even if you can't live on what you're earning
  • to even get social assistance you have to prove that you need it, listing any potential income source you might have, anything that might be worth money that you own, and providing information on all the bills you pay... only to get just enough to pay rent, if you're lucky
  • to get employment insurance if you get laid off or if you're sick you have to jump through hoops despite the fact that you've paid into this system your entire life
  • we're taught that it's shameful to ask for help, and many of us wind up getting far, far worse before we even try
  • we're taught that the poor are at fault for being poor instead of that capitalism is the reason we're poor
  • we're taught that getting out of poverty is as easy as getting an education and not spending your money even though you have to spend to survive
  • we're taught to ridicule how other poor people live: 
  • we're taught that owning anything of value means you're not actually poor, even if what you own is outdated and otherwise necessary (a phone for calls and internet access, a laptop for internet access and interacting with the outside world, a television)
... and on, and on, and on.

The reason that an employer should be paying its employees more than minimum wage? Not because working there is harder than any minimum wage job, but because it's a multi-million dollar business that should be able to afford to pay its employees a fucking living wage.