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My late American literature class has been enjoyable thus far. On the most part, all of the lit classes I've taken were focused on what old Christian white guys thought. The professor is Vietemese-American, and has us reading from a lot of female authors and a lot of non-white authors. It's really refreshing to get a break from the standarized narative about old Christian white guys. It's also made me wonder about what I'm classified as, or what I should classify myself as, or if I should at all.

Much of my life, I was in a Northern-European immigrant community, 3 or 4 generations old. They were Dutch, German, English, and French. Compared to them, I wasn't white. I have olive-toned skin that darkens quickly under the sun, brown eyes, and dark brown hair. They were largely blonds, with pallid skin that roasted in the sunlight. My last-name was Italian, and the principle of the middle school never learned how to say it. (My last name was Albini. As far as Italian surnames go, that's an easy one. No idea what gave him so much trouble.)

In my grandparent's generations, only one of them was considered white. My nonna is Italian, and in the 50's and 60's, Italians were still facing a lot of descrimination. One of my nonna's friends showed her their lease for their apartment. It said that the landlords wouldn't rent any apartments to Italians. My grandfather, from whom I got my Italian last-name, was part Italian, Irish, and Cherokee. My grandmother (my mother's mother) was classified as a German-Jew fled Germany as a small child because of the Nazis.

The definition of "white" seems to be expanding. My grandparents, who faced descrimination in their youth, now are classified as white... to some. That racist guy who ranted on my doorstep for an hour clearly didn't think so, but most these days seem to think of me as white. To my Asian friends, definitely, I'm white. To anyone else - I don't know, because it's never come up. It's a taboo subject.

But after 9/11, my father got searched every time he flew on an airplane anywhere. I went to France with the French Club, and on the way back, I was the only one who got searched. In southern France, my peers joked that I was the only one who looked like I could be from there, because I was tall, tanned, and dark haired.

But all of this is about how others have defined me. Up until now, I've resisted defining myself. I cheekily write in "American Mutt" when asked for my race or ethnicity, because I'm not actually certain what I'm expected to write. My ancestry isn't purely anything. So, I guess, "American Mutt" is as good a label as any.

Young 2

Oct. 28th, 2014 01:52 am
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Don't listen to that cruel voice
whispering about rotting
flesh and lamenting beauty
of youth lost.
It wants you to abandon your mortal pride
decries fate
but I believe in fate in a way
all that is
is
nothing more
nothing less
what will happen
will happen
bound by the moving forces of the world
like gravity
chemistry.
That foolish voice forgets
we are also
moving forces of the world.
Nothing is permanent
and that voice wants us to morn it
instead of loving it
while we have it.

Young

Oct. 18th, 2014 09:03 pm
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I feel so young
like everyone is running
but I'm running slower
so mature
adulthood has already begun
but
not for me
rights of passage
pass me by
I never was obsessed with boys
or girls
I didn't feel
what they felt
I could tell
because they could tell
I was confused when they tried to share their experiences with me

puberty for me was quiet
I eased into it gently
like I do with a hot bath

in many ways
I see connections between things
so easily
I map the underlying structures
spot patterns
I'm confused when others can't do this
it wasn't something I learned how to do
I always saw the world this way
but so few people see what I can
at the same time
I know that others can see things that I can't see
they seem to know the rules to socializing so effortlessly
no one had to teach them
they just know
and they are confused when I can't do this
I learned this in grade school
I spotted the patterns
I was having difficulty interacting with them because i have different tools
interacting takes so much more work for me
but i didn't understand why they bullied me for it
why they hurt me
and others
completely mystified me
what was wrong with them?
did they come with the tools for interaction
but lacked the tools for compassion?

slowly
slowly
I gained friends
I was the quiet one
who read all the time
got good grades
in highschool they had figured out what I had long ago
I had different tools than they do
they became protective of me
because I was so helpless
childlike
I knew the patterns that made a funny sex joke
but didn't know why it was funny
they were creeped out when I imitated them
because I was the innocent one
the one who shouldn't be stained with dirty humor
"What will you do when we're not there? We're afraid you won't make it without us, You're so helpless on your own."
they told me this senior year

I had my first serious relationship then
before them
even though they were ready years before me
I didn't understand that
I got married before them too
to the only person I've ever had sex with
people keep putting it on a pedestal as though that's some precious achievement
it's not.
it's just how things worked out for me
I found someone who is quiet
like I am
we connected
and decided to stay that way

I loved my highschool friends dearly
but they looked down on me
because I was missing tools
I have the ones that make me a good inventor
problem solver
scientist
linguist
but not the ones that make competent messages on the answering machine
or lets me know what is appropriate to do when asking for help
or giving it
I wonder if they're right
I struggle with debilitating depression
I fight it off
and it comes back
every time
my health suffers
sometimes
I barely move for weeks on end
doing social things becomes like diving into a pit of sharks while on the rag
I have to swim so hard and fast
that I'm completely drained
and can't move for a week
since the first depressive episode
which lasted an entire year
I've see-sawed in year long cycles
one year up
one year down
one year up
one year down
one year up
one year down
one year up
one year down

I don't think I can bring a child into this
I'm useless every other year
I can't even keep house plants alive on a down year
much less myself
how could I be a mother
if I can't take care of myself?

my friends are having babies
all over the place
it's a right of passage
for adulthood
have a family
then you're a real human
if I can't do that
does that mean I'm not a real human?

or is that just the depression talking again?

why is someone always talking for me?
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Composed when I was 9-10, my first poem:
This weeping willow,
I stood under,
I told it my hopes, troubles, and worries,
Its branches droop lower,
Its branches conceal me,
This weeping willow listens,
When no one else will.
Composed during my tumultuous first semester of college:
I dreamt I was pelted with roses,
and on every petal was inscribed:
"Forgive me."


Ouch

Oct. 8th, 2014 01:04 pm
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Sometimes I make jokes
when I'm in pain
Because laughing hurts
Less than crying.

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I felt this rage
but didn't know what to do with it.
so I wandered,
and felt affirmed
by articulate echoing chambers
and my rage became action.
How dare you disagree.
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I wrote this back in June of 2011, when I had a Livejournal account. I was asked about it recently, so I decided to repost it in a place that I put my rants on such topics.

Why the hell am I writing this? Of all the self-centered, self-righteous, pig-headed crap I've done, why am I adding this to the pile? Why am I writing this shit when I know no one will listen, and no one wants to listen?

I think that I need to sort these things out in my head, and being a slightly visual person, putting the thoughts onto the screen will make it easier to organize them in some fashion. Or maybe, I just want to read my own words again.

Good God )

My father told me that linguists should never stick their noses into philosophy. Sorry Dad. This is for you.
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There's a lot of critiques of the genre that focus on the creepy stuff that the harem genre in Manga and Anime (one man, a lotta women) as it relates to what's happening to the girls and/or women in such series, but there's something else about it that bothers me, that I don't think gets enough attention. Oddly enough, it's a flaw that the reverse harem genre (one woman, a lotta men) lacks.

One of the sexist stereotypes of men is that they want sex all the time. Therefore, they can't be raped by women. Only women can be the victim of sexual violence. If a woman rapes a man, then he should go along with it because he secretly wants it.

In harem stories, there always is a bunch of pretty girls who force themselves on an unwilling male protagonist. The idea is that if he isn't pursuing them, then he isn't victimizing them. But, it's actually just been reversed. The protagonist is the one being assaulted - often graphically, with a ton of violence. And we're supposed to find it funny, because a man couldn't possibly be sexually assaulted, and he secretly wants this, right?

A prime example in the plight of the protagonist of The World Only a God Knows, Keima Katsuragi. He's pretty high up in the Asexuality/Aromantic scale. He also is intensely uncomfortable with physical contact. Even in the dating sims he plays, he doesn't really think of them as romances, and he isn't getting sexual gratification out of them, he sees them more like strategy games. In the series, a demon crashes to earth and tricks him into making a contract to help her catch runaway evil spirits. The catch is that they're in young women, and to get the evil spirit out, he has to seduce them. If he breaks the contract, he will die horribly. Let's think about what this actually means: He's a sex slave, forced to prostitute himself under pain of death. As creepy and gross as what he's doing to all of these women is, it's no where near as horrifying as what's being done to him. We, the readers, are expected to think: He's being sexually assaulted, LOL. Now he's being beaten up for being sexually assaulted, LOL. It also was this series that triggered this rant.

There a lot of other creepy things about this genre, but I just wanted to point out this particular one, because people seem to forget that sexual violence isn't restricted by gender.
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This essay/rant is mostly based off of an essay by a friend of mine whose website vanished from the internet because she's moved on. Or died. I have no idea, she's just gone. Farewell Nurvingiel, you were a great writer and your essay on using foreign languages in story-telling was one of my favorites.

Whether you're writing about Middle-earth or the Beika district of Tokyo, you'll be dealing with foreign languages that you may or may not know. You may be tempted to work in some of the native languages to give your readers a greater feeling of immersion in the world. There are several things I'd like you to keep in mind though.

  1. Don't assume that your readers will know as much about the language as you do. Therefore, use the same language you use for the narration for all of the dialogue. Any term not in this language should be clearly defined for the reader. This also applies to honorifics, titles, and terms of address, like Mr./Mrs./Mz./Miss/Lord/Lady. Translate them or leave them out entirely.

Say someone is jumping into a fandom for the first time, and doesn't speak any Elvish or Japanese or Na'vi. They click on a fanfic that looks interesting, but they can't read the dialogue because it's a word-salad of languages they don't know. They give up and go away.

  1. Write the dialogue from the point of view of the characters whose point of view you're using. You can use a different language to reflect the characters' inability to understand what is being said to them, immersing the reader more into the characters' perspective.

So, you've got a Japanese character in a Japanese setting, and you're writing in English. They'll be able to understand everything said to them in Japanese, so write all of the Japanese dialogue in plain English. But, if the character doesn't speak English well, or at all, you could phonetically transcribe the English into the Japanese phonology, so it seems just as foreign and bizarre to your English speaking readers. Here's an example:
“Ah, I didn't see you there; forgive me,” Kogorou said, stepping aside.

The woman with a long nose and carefully fluffed brown hair looked confused a moment, then said, “Aimu sari, ai dina kachi za. Kudju ripii za?”

Kogorou blinked, uncomprehending. What was this strange amalgamation of sounds this woman was spewing?

Conan sighed loudly behind him and answered the woman. Ran tugged him aside and whispered, “It's English; Dad, they're speaking in English.”
As you can see, it is as confusing and incoherent as Kogorou would find it.

For another example, say you're writing in English; your POV character only speaks of Westron in Middle-earth, and they meet an Elf, who only speaks Sindarin.
I stood back, surprised. To me, it'd looked like the tree and sprung to life, but now, I realized I was looking at an Elf. A real, live elf. The elf backed up a step, hands up to show she wasn't holding any weapons. “Goheno nin. Ú-ethilen dhe thostad.”

I blinked. What was this “thostad,” and did it hurt?
Another situation that you may come across is a bilingual character. You need some way to distinguish the fact that they're speaking another language, but it needs to be in plain English. I suggest putting the dialogue in the other language in italics (no more than that though, too many layers of italics, bolding, and underlining can be distracting) or simply mention in the narration that they're speaking this other language now.
Ah, I didn't see you there; forgive me,” Kogorou said, stepping aside.

The woman with a long nose and carefully fluffed brown hair looked confused a moment, then said in English, “I'm sorry; I didn't catch that. Could you repeat that?

Kogorou blinked, uncomprehending. Conan sighed loudly behind him and answered the woman, “He just apologized for bumping into you. He's very sorry.
In scenes such as this, using the foreign language in the dialogue makes sense. Most of the time, just don't.

  1. Make sure that the translations you use are accurate. Bad translations could end up annoying or insulting everyone who does speak the languages in question. Or rather, it's a pet peeve of mine and it drives me up the wall.

This is so bad in Anime fandoms. The Fan-Japanese is so... so... *tears hair out, flails uselessly at the screen for a few minutes, mouth starts frothing* MAKE IT STOP.

  1. Using foreign terms in the narration is the most effective, and could lead to using them in the dialogue.

This is pretty simple to do, actually. You have a character think about or discuss the term. Here are a few examples:
Ran scowled down at Shinichi, hands on her hips. “Stop using my name without honorifics. Little boys should call older girls 'Neesan.' I'm older than you.”

Shinichi looked down, inspecting the floor. He hated being reminded of his condition. “Yes Ran-neesan,” he mumbled to his toes.

“I don't think I heard you. Say it again.”

He glared back up at her. “I wanna go home, Ran-neesan!”
Now the reader will know the significance of Shinichi addressing Ran as Ran-neesan when in his child-form, and they get some insight into Shinichi's situation and personality.

My fingers brushed across the net the Elfwoman had tucked my hair into. I'd never seen such a device before, but it was holding in all of the stray hairs with ease.

The Elf tugged gently on the net. “Cathrae,” she said, clearly pleased with my reaction.

“It's a cathrae.” I said, tasting the word.

“Ma!” she said grinning. “Cathrae.”
In the scene, we get a taste of Elven hair-styles by having the elf character teach our human about Elven hairnets.

Once home, she absentmindedly stuffed her shoes into the kutsubako, a small shelf by the door that they put their shoes away in.
Or, it can be as simple as this.

In conclusion:
Write in whatever language you're writing in.
Don't expect everyone to know as much or as many foreign languages as you do.
Use foreign languages from the perspective of the characters that you're telling the story through.
When introducing foreign terms, define them carefully and creatively in the story.
Make sure the translations are correct, because this little linguist and translator is driven insane by bad translations.

Thank you.

Back to the Rant Index
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Dear Person with the Fire of Religious Fervor Burning in Your Gut,

Being an out Atheist comes with the perk of having a target painted on your back when it comes to anyone and everyone wanting to shove their religion down your throat. In the US, where I live, the religion of choice for gullet-stuffing is Evangelical Christianity, so many of my experiences are with that religion, though hopefully what I have to say will be applicable on a broader scale.

Proselytizing is rude. Please stop. I don't mean that you shouldn't have the right to express your beliefs or practice your religion. There are plenty of things that you are free to do that are obnoxious, and for the sake of living in harmony with your fellow humans, you shouldn't do. Especially when the person you're directing it towards isn't interested. There are times, specific times usually with associated places, that I open myself up for religious debates. Just not being in your religion doesn't mean that I'm up for a theological discussion at all times. Also, I'm introverted, so that kind of hostility I especially don't like.

When you proselytize, you tell people: “You're wrong. I'm right.” No matter how you try to dress it up, it has an undercurrent of disrespect. You also are setting up the person you're talking to, because no matter how they refuse you, it'll have the undercurrent of disrespect. You'll be forcing them to say, “No, I'm right, and you're wrong.” So many times have I been confronted by this rude tactic, and the person on the other end of it will start playing the victim card, when it was they who was being rude in the first place.

I get it. You think I'm in danger or need saving from some horrible fate. My life is my own, not yours. Let me do with it what I will. Will you grant me at least that bit of agency? At the core of respecting others is releasing your control over them. By trying to keep that control, you are inherently disrespecting them.

Some of my experiences with proselytizers include:

Being cornered in the library by the “Youth Group” in the highschool. They were meeting there, and I happened to also be in the library, because I wanted to read books. Tip to the wise: if you have to corner the person you're proselytizing at, they probably aren't interested.

I posted a video to fellow Atheists on You Tube, and for some strange reason, a bunch of Christians have posted on it trying to convert me. That video wasn't an invitation to convert me, that was a message to fellow Atheists that it's okay to be an Atheist. It didn't have anything to do with them. I don't go on Christian postings directed at other Christians and tell them what I think of their beliefs, so they should grant me the same courtesy.

Being on my way to class, and having to walk through a volley of people wailing and flailing their bigoted signs. One charmer, because I was walking with a female friend, got in our way and yelled something crude about lesbians.

One time, my spouse and I were trying to leave our apartment to go shopping or to the bank or something, I forget what, and a stranger barred us from leaving our home for an hour or so to yell at us about Obama being a Muslim because all black people are genetically Muslims. As you can tell, we did not feel safe going outside with such an aggressive delusional person outside our door. He did flee when I told him by his logic, he was genetically a pagan and he was talking to someone who was genetically Catholic and Jewish. Kinda a funny story to look back on, but not funny when you're facing a 6 foot, 200 lb raving nutcase that's preventing you from leaving your apartment.

There is a common thread in these experiences. In the in person ones, the proselytizers were trapping me physically. They stick out in my mind so much more, because of the fear of physical violence. Why, when faced with a devout Christian trying to spread their good news, would I feel like I'm possibly facing physical violence?

Because it's happened before.

I was in the playground. They cornered me. Once I was trapped they threw everything they could get their hands on at me, screaming, “Burn the witch!” Same group of people tried to strangle my little brother on the school-bus a few years later, but I was physically strong enough to rip them off of him and give them some scars to remember me by.

So, you want to proselytize.

Remember, traumatizing experiences at the hands of people sharing your religion, no matter how nice you are, will color the other person's perspective of the encounter. Never, ever get in someone's way or make them feel trapped; and if someone shows any sign of disinterest, back off.

Remember that it's essentially disrespectful.

Remember that there are times that it's welcome, and there will be no ambiguity about when it's welcome, because people will ask you to pitch your religion to them, usually starting with the phrase, “I'm looking for a church to go to.”

So, go out there and exist in your religion. Just don't be an asshole. Please?
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Christianity is a weird, exotic religion in Japan, one which has a pretty marriage ceremony and has something to do with a slow torturous murder of someone on a cross… and that’s about all most Japanese people know about Christianity. So, it sticks out like a sore thumb when the Japanese characters use references to Christianity, even in passing. And, it pisses me off when people just replace “god” with “kami” as though they mean the same thing… but that’s a rant for another day.

I think it is worth it though, to look at the religious themes that are in the Detective Conan universe. I think that a lot of Westerners, not having in Japanese cultural heritage, may not pick up on these subtleties. The reason that I know a bit about this is that I took a class on Japanese religion and philosophy (mostly a literature class, goodness, the Buddhist monks were prolific!) and a class on ancient Japanese literature, which included the Nihonshoki and Kojiki, so I’m not working off of pop-culture notions of what Shintouism and Buddhism are.

It’s been noticed before by many that the Magic Kaitou series is in a world with magic, and Detective Conan is in a world of science-fiction. But, the supernatural does exist in the Detective Conan universe, and it is powerful, and it is very, very Shintou.

Both Ran and Kazuha are shamanesses of sorts… or witches? Psychics? There isn’t really a direct translation into English, and the term “miko” conjures up completely different images, thanks to pop-culture. Either way, they both have supernatural powers. Kazuha made an omamori (a protective talisman) so powerful it stopped a murder attempt on Conan. She has a reputation for making powerful omamori, and she makes them for other people. Ran is psychic intuitive, meaning that when she guesses, she guesses correctly. She also has supernatural luck, winning at lotteries easily. Both Ran and Kazuha are extremely superstitious.

Conan/Shinichi is a Skeptic and an Atheist. Being an Atheist is likely tied into him not believing in the supernatural, which is a result of him being a Skeptic. Shinichi is an extremely outspoken Skeptic as well, living his life by it. He’s not very tactful about it either, often mocking Ran for believing in Youkai or ghosts. The Skeptism movement is based on using evidenced based reasoning to figure out what to believe. No evidence for something, no belief in it. Shinichi has had very little experience with genuine supernatural things, so he doesn’t believe in them. His ability to sense when someone is looking at him with malicious intent he likely explains to himself as his subconscious noticing something and warning him about it.

Heiji is also a Skeptic, but he does have some supernatural beliefs. It relates to his prophetic dreams. He has direct experience with it, and seeing Kazuha’s power, he’s proved to himself that his dreams are real, and that Kazuha’s omamori have some sort of effect on the world. He hasn’t however, started believing anything and everything supernatural, and joins in with Shinichi in mocking the girls when they freak out over a possible ghost or vampire. He’s debunked many faked supernatural events as well.

Interestingly, anyone who tries to profit off of something supernatural, either blaming a murder on it or making money off of it, in the Detective Conan universe, is a fraud who is exposed in the episode. The supernatural here doesn’t come to those who want it, it does whatever the hell it pleases, neither being good or evil, like nature itself.

I keep saying “supernatural”, but in Shintouism, there is no such thing. Kami are part of nature, not outside, or above it. Shintouism also doesn’t have very much to say about any afterlife, other than death being ritualistically impure and something that invites bad luck, which is why Buddhism and Shintouism can coexist so easily. Buddhism is concerned with the afterlife, and it supposedly grants ordinary people purification superpowers – as though living your life in a particular way and holding a specific set of philosophies can make you able to purify away the bad luck gathered by impure things like blood and death. It’s very common in Japan for people to live according to Shintouism – gathering blessings they’ve bribed from various kami at shrines and using the divining services of a psychics to help make big decisions, but to use Buddhist death ceremonies and mantras for funerals or other unlucky events. In fact, it’s hard to see anymore where Shintouism ends and Buddhism begins in Japan. Yin-yang philosophy (called “Onmyou” in Japanese) also has blended itself comfortably into Japan’s unique religious blend, making Duality a common theme in Japanese literature.

Then, we look at Shinichi. He’s soaked in blood and death, as part of his daily life. Shinichi is ritualistically impure, so he’s plagued with bad luck. Even with Ran besides him, horrible things happen around him, sometimes to him, constantly. He even brings his impurity into places that should be able to purify it; people die in shines and temples when he’s there. In that universe, it’s no wonder that the evil organization was drawn to him and ended up trying to kill him. Heiji is similarly plagued with bad fortune, but he has Kazuha’s omamori to offset it, so he hasn’t ended up hounded for years by an international crime syndicate. When Heiji and Shinichi are together though – there will be more than one murder. Though, that might just be the fact that Heiji is a popular side character they like to milk the appearances of…

One idea that’s been borrowed from Buddhism and is omnipresent in the Detective Conan universe is Karma. Bad things happen to people who deserve them. It has a story-telling convenience too – you don’t feel so bad about the horrible deaths of characters that you don’t like. It can be a fun little game – spot the asshole, and bet that character will be dead by the end of the episode. But - the moral themes of the show often directly contradict the Buddhist focus on the afterlife. Many times, either Conan or whatever detective solves the case lamented that people weren't focusing on loving and living their brief time in this life, which is a very important value in Shintou.

There is one other very strong influence on this series, something that was a lot stronger in the 90's, when it first started being published. The evil organization that Shinichi is fighting is likely some kind of Transhumanist cult. The search for immortality, the interest in digital security, hacking, and computer simulations add up to Transhumanism. Then, their members are members for life, secrecy is more important than money making, and the raising of children to be useful for them sounds very cult-like. It also puts Gin's obsession with betrayal into context, doesn't it?

There you have it: a very basic look into the religious/ideological themes of the Detective Conan universe.

Back to the Rant Index
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There are several types of gender-bending characters, but only 2 are common in the Detective Conan universe. I'm going to talk about some ground rules for proceeding for both of them, and cover them both individually.

The Detective Conan story has plenty of female characters, but they are mostly side characters. Th main actors are almost all male, so genderbending them female is a very understandable urge. In fact, I think it's pretty cool. The two main types of genderbending that I see in the Detective Conan fanfiction zeitgeist are:

1. Genderbent from birth.
2. APTX4869 (or similar evil organization drug) switches one's gender, instead of turning one into a little kid.

But, there are several important things to keep in mind:

Gender Identity has very little to do with one's personality. Women aren't more emotional; men aren't all perverted creepers. Don't change the character's personality. What does change is the way society acts on the character. If a woman is emotional, it's expected, but if a guy is emotional, he's ridiculed. If a guy is a perverted creep, it's usually brushed off as "boys will be boys", but if a woman is a perverted creep, she must be a whore - or the victim, because women don't actually have sexualities, right? You get the picture: toss the sexist stereotypes.

Some examples:

Heiji is hot-headed, brave, and self-sacrificing at the drop of a hat. He values saving lives over punishing people. He's incredibly intelligent and has very good intuition, and capable of laying complex traps for criminals. If you write Heiji as female (and labeled such from birth), she'd still have all of those qualities. Looking at her mother, she'd probably have been trained in polite, traditional Japanese lady-like behavior, but if someone might be in danger, she'd charge in to save them no matter what. She also might not be given quite the access to crime scenes, even with her father being Oni-Heizo.

Ran is caring, competitive (she's some kind of karate champion, after all), extremely brave, and slightly introverted. If someone is in trouble, she'll charge in to save them, no matter who they are. If you write Ran as male from birth, he'd keep all those qualities. He'd still end up taking care of his useless father, but he'd probably speak a lot less politely, picking up his father's rough speech, and probably be a little faster to react physically, as it's more socially acceptable for him to as a guy. As a female, Ran's violent outbursts are contained for a few seconds more, before concrete starts crumbling. He'd still be terrified of the supernatural; and he still would beat the crap out of a random pervert on the subway who groped Sonoko.

The main point out of all of this is that when you genderbend these characters, they need to still be recognizable as those characters.

Which leads into what is probably my most important point:

Gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation are not the same thing.

None of them are binaries either; they're sliding scales.

Gender identity can be girly girl, uman-uman (giving Vermouth a section of the scale all to herself), Tom-boy, female, male, genderfluid, genderqueer, fem, butch, manny-man-Mc-manface, and on and on and everything in-between. One's gender identity is in one's brain. Since it develops at a different time from the genitalia, it's possible that what the brain thinks ought to be down there and what is down there could end up different things.

Sex is the what the doctors assign at birth. It has to do with what genitalia are present. But, this is a sliding scale, and it is possible to have genitalia so ambiguous that the doctors can't decide, which makes the label Intersex put on one at birth. So, sliding scale, yet again.

Sexual orientation is what parts of the gender identity sliding scale one is attracted to. You could be attracted to the most feminine far end of the scale, or the entire scale, or a large chunk towards the end of the masculine end of the scale. I'm pansexual, and am pretty comfortable with the entire scale, as long as they're a gentle, talented, intelligent, and a nerd, like my spouse is. See this essay on being Bisexual/Pansexual for more details. My spouse, however, is only attracted to the more female end of the spectrum. Even people who are "straight" are attracted to different sections of the gender identity scale.

Now you've got Shinichi force-fed a poison that transforms his physical sex, while leaving his brain untouched. His gender-identity and sexual orientation are left unchanged, because they are in the brain, not in the genitalia.

There are so many things that could be explored here, that I haven't seen even touched upon, other than what society defines gender roles as being. Shinichi is still in love with Ran, but now pursuing her looks like lesbianism, and that could lead to some pretty fierce discrimination and bullying at Teitan High. Does Shinichi suffer from Gender Dysphoria, or discover that his gender identity wasn't as masculine as he thought it was? Does he conceal his poison-induced sex, or does he use it to hide?

Whatever roads you take - do a ton of research. There are a lot of people from all over the gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation spectrums, and many of them have blogs. They are only a google search away. Go find out what they have to say about themselves, and don't make assumptions based on popular media stereotypes. You could end up sounding incredibly ignorant and bigotted if you don't, and the research you do may change your own perspective on yourself or on someone you know. Have fun researching!

Back to the Rant Index
dreamingfifi: (Default)
So, over the past few months I've been wallowing in the Detective Conan fandom. It's kinda nice. It's not very active, but it's cozy. The fan theories are a ton of fun to read and come up with. The source material is excellent. It's a very long running fandom (since 1994!) so there is 20 years' worth of fanfiction, fanart, and AMVs.

So, I just spent the past few months reading hundreds of DC fanfics. I've gotten a pretty good sense of the trends and tropes, as well as some of the more annoying habits that sometimes border on bigotry and/or pedophilia... holy shit does this fandom have a darkside. It doesn't have the vast numbers that the Harry Potter fandom did to explain it; it comes from the canon itself, which lends itself to a particular type of darkside that.... that will have to be one of my rants.

This will be an index of sorts for my rants. Hopefully this will result in something useful for my new fandom. We'll see.

Eat

Nov. 14th, 2013 07:51 pm
dreamingfifi: (Default)
I'm sitting across the table with my darling spouse. There's a plate of good-smelling food in front of me. I'm in agony.

I have no appetite. No idea why (doctors said, "Let's see how the tests come out!" after doing the vampire routine on my arm) and it scares the hell out of me.

When I say, 'no appetite', I mean absolutely none. I've lost the ability to feel hungry. Getting myself to eat involves setting a series of alarms on my phone, and forcing down whatever I can.

Forcing yourself to continue eating when you feel full after a single bite... it is exhausting and painful. Try it sometime. Sit down with a mountain of food before you, and try to make yourself finish it all. I feel nauseous after the third bite. My body says, "What are you doing? We're done here!" and rebels against my consciousness. My consciousness tells me I've only had a bowl of ramen today, and two bowls of soup the previous day, one corn dog (took me three hours to finish) the two days before that, nothing but water. I need to eat more than this, or I'll starve to death.

It hurts.

I finish another bite, and let my spouse have a shot at my plate (they've already finished theirs) then take the leftovers home. Then I sit down to write out my feelings, try to make sense of it.

A few days ago, I put on a pair of jeans that should fit snugly. They were baggy. "What the hell?" I thought. "I've been doing nothing but sit on my ass doing homework." Then it dawned on me. I hadn't eaten anything that day. I thought back. The day before either. Not much the day before that... when did this start happening? I analyzed my eating behavior over the past few months.

Late September... that's when I think it began. It was slow at first. Difficulty finishing meals. Then after a while, just skipping them. After a few weeks, down to one small meal a day. After that, I just stopped. And I didn't notice. I didn't feel it. I went for days without eating and didn't notice.

I'm terrified.

It feels like a betrayal of myself. I always took pride in my ability to know my body and emotions. How could I miss this? I should have noticed this sooner! Then again, I wasn't in pain, so there weren't redflags until I put on my jeans. I see how it happened, but feel ashamed that it got so bad. It's a betrayal of my personality in another way - I love food. I love making it; I love eating it; I love trying out new foods. Not wanting to eat is a foreign concept to me. I still think, "Me? Unable to finish a meal? Ridiculous." Then I see the low-blood sugar shaking my hands, and feel the looseness of my jeans. This really is happening.

I loathe having to obsess over meals. One day and I'm already hating it. I've never obsessed over how much of what goes into my body before. I've always gone by trusting my body to tell me when it needs refueling. And up until a few months ago, I could go mad with hunger if I skipped a meal. I couldn't think or function hungry. And that's a good thing. It made me stop and refuel, and enjoy doing it. Probably the worst of this is that I can't enjoy eating anymore.

My body isn't doing what it's supposed to do.

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm longing for the ache of hunger right now.

At least that ache would keep me alive and functioning.

Eat. Eat another bite. You'll get sick and die if you don't. You feel like you're going to puke? Quit whining, Fiona. Eat.

Update:
Doctor says it's a combination depression-depression medication that wiped out my appetite. My meds are used to help smokers suppress cravings, so any craving for food I had left vanished. A medication's been added that will knock me out and make me hungrier. So, no *fun* things like organs dying. We don't have to worry so much, oh blog that no one reads.

dreamingfifi: (Default)

I always could see gods. They are shadows, vague shapes, but sometimes they’ll take the form of something from my memory. If they are dangerous, they’ll take the shape of something that frightens me. If they benevolent, they’ll take the shape of something that comforts me. They each have their own personalities too… some are mischievous, some are shy, some love attention and being doted on. They like to live in statues and shrines. Other’s care little about humans. They have important jobs to do, like moving clouds and making goats mate. 

I was eight years old when I realized I was seeing gods. I was traveling with my family, taking fresh wool from the herders on the mountain, to the River City. We stopped to pay homage to the local gods, as one must do when traveling through their territory. (if you don’t, they might become vengeful) and I saw a man who looked like a king that I’d seen a glimpse of being carried by a dozen slaves. He wore bangles and fine skins, and jewels were everywhere on him – even strung on wires that ran through his skin. When he saw us coming to pay homage to the great statue, he became very excited, and started kissing the dying flowers in the offering bowl. To our amazement, the flowers came back to life and blossomed anew. My grandmother, who also is our shaman, told my father that this was a good omen. This god would protect us through its land. We gave it offerings of dyed wool. 

I thought differently.  Hadn’t they seen the king-magician kissing the flowers? While they told me there was no such man, and that the king I spoke of was far, far away from us, he stepped between us to stare at me. Instead of hunching over to get a better look, he simply shrunk to my height. 

“I look like a king to you?” he asked. 

I nodded. My grandmother took it as a sign that I’d been corrected, and they went about getting the great ox to move again. 

He puffed out his chest and grinned wide. “Most people see only my house,” he said, pointing at the statue.

I looked at my parents, who were busy snapping at slaves. They still didn’t notice him. 

“It’s solid wood,” I whispered, turning away so they couldn’t see me talking. “There’s no space for someone to live.” 

“I don’t need space,” he said. Then he slipped into the statue, and out of sight. I could still feel his presence though. “I am Nagoy, the Road Guardian!” he shouted in his most mighty voice. “I give flowers their perfume!” 

“How does that help guard the road?” 

“It doesn’t,” he popped his head out of the statue, “but it’s fun.” 

“Does this mean that you are the god of the road then?” I asked. 

“Of course I am! I live in the statue, don’t I?” 

“My family is traveling through your land, will you take care of us?” 

He paused a moment, and chewed on his lips. “I might miss more offerings. And my home is here, not the entire road.” 

“What if I gave you a new home?” I scurried over to the cart with the bag full of woolen dolls from the mountains, and pulled out a doll with wool jewelry stitched into it. “It looks like you.” 

His eyes widened with glee. “You’ll carry me with you? Will you show me lots of flowers?” 

“We travel everywhere. My mom says that we have traveled to every place with a name in the world!” 

With that, he left his wooden statue and jumped into my doll. “I am Nagoy the Caravan Guardian!” he shouted in his mighty voice. “I give the flowers of all of the named places their perfume!” 

Never had we had a sweeter smelling journey.



Index | Next Chapter

dreamingfifi: (Default)

See that mountain there?

A powerful witch lives there.

She stops death there.

Her valley is fruitful there.

Her people never die there.

All you need is to get there,

With a token of your God there,

Learn handspeech and live there.

Forever.


Part 1 - The Witch
Chapter 1 - The King
Chapter 2 - The Merchant

 
dreamingfifi: (Default)
I composed this poem in IPA. English Orthography version below. I think it looses something that way though... oh well. Enjoy!

C
o:
ˈʤrægnˌflaj
wɛr ˈʤu go:
wɛn ˈju daj

A
aj
ˈgo tu ˌɚθ
ðə ˈsem ples
əv ˈmaj bɚθ

C
waj
ˈkæn ʧuˌsi:
maj ˈgadz ðæt
kn ˈnat bi:

A
aj
ˈno: mor ˌbaut
ðoz ˈdæm gadz
ðæ ˈʧu taut
o:
ˈju por ˌfuɫ
ˈhu gev ˌju
ˈrajt tu ˌruɫ

C
maj
ˈon gad ˌgev
mi ˈpawɚ
for tu ˈsev
ju:
ˈpɪtɪˌfɫ
ˈsɪnɚz ˌaɫ
jɚ ˌʤʌst ˈfjuɫ
for
ˈgadz straŋˌræθ
ju ˈʃʊd rʌn
frəm ˈgadz pæθ
ðɛn
ˈkloz jɚ ˌa:z
ˈfalo ˌgadz
ˈju diˌspajz

A
don
ˈθrɛʔn ˌmi
ˈfir kn ˌnat
mek ˈmi si
fʌ:
kɪŋ dɪsˌgres
ju ˈkænt pruv
jɚ ˈdʌm kes
so:
ˈʌntɪɫ ˌðɛn
liv ˈmi bi
fɚˈgatɛn
aj
ˈwont hɚt ˌju
tu ˈmi ðiz
ˈrajts ɪmˌbju
rajt
tu ɛgzɪst
tu
nat falo

riliʤn
ai
grænt ju ðiz
rajts aɫ ðə
tajm, so pliz.
aj
dont biliv
dont hoɫd ɪt
əgɛnst mi


C:
Oh
Dragonfly,
where d’you go
when you die?

A:
I
go to earth,
the same place
of my birth.

C:
Why
can’t you see
my gods that
cannot be?

A:
I
know more ‘bout
those damn gods
that you tout.
Oh,
you poor fool.
Who gave you
right to rule?

C:
My
own god gave
me power
for to save
you
pitiful
sinners all,
you’re just fuel
for
God’s strong wrath.
You should run
from God’s path.
Then
close your eyes;
follow gods
you despise.

A:
Don’t
threaten me.
Fear cannot
make me see.
Fu
-cking disgrace!
You can’t prove
your damn case.
So,
until then,
leave me be,
forgotten.
I
won’t hurt you.
To me these
rights imbue:
Right
to exist
To
not follow
your
religion.
I
grant you these
rights all the
time, so please.
I
don’t believe.
Don’t hold it
against me.

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