News Just In: Gaming and Being a Geek is NOT End of World After All!

Today is one of those days that frustrations just refuse to be fully pushed aside. There's a side of myself that becomes a little cynic with no hope in the majority of humanity and society at times. It's just one of those times.

Geek culture is becoming more "popular" to some level. Yet there are still so many people out there that hear me say, "Oh I play *insert game here*." And roll there eyes. Suddenly I'm a social leper? I think my boiling point hit when my mother insinuated that my brother no longer gamed with my husband because he now has a social life and other things to do.

Excuse me, but enjoying video games does not mean you have no life.

I am not an antisocial person. I am not an introvert. I'm good with people, and enjoy them when I feel like it. However, I choose not to be more social in certain circles. I choose to keep a select few good friends and family close. I choose to spend time with those I love most, and I choose to spend my time doing the things I enjoy: baking, writing, and yes gaming. I choose to do these things, instead of trying to make everyone else happy, and be something that society or culture thinks would be more suitable. If that means sometimes I act like a hermit, well there are worse things in life.

I'm sick of people hearing the word "Gamer" and only picturing the unwashed, overweight, middle aged moron living in his mother's basement. Ok, so I'm overweight, but I do know what soap is, and my mother doesn't even have a basement!

What is "normal" in our society these days anyway? For those aged roughly mid teens to thirties it seems to be partying, drinking, and if you're female the need to make yourself feel meaningful by buying everything that mass marketing tells you will make you beautiful and feel better about yourself. I'm sorry, but that's just not me.

I don't drink for a majority of reasons, namely my health and genetics giving me an addictive personality. I'd rather have a root canal than go to parties or clubs, being around that many people at one time is just awkward in my opinion. And shopping...I get most excited about if it involves a good deal and something vintage.

I'm not trying to sit on a soap box again and be judgmental. Different people, enjoy different lifestyles. I'm just sick and tired of people thinking there's something wrong with mine.

I enjoy shooting zombies with my husband. I enjoy high fantasy MMO's and role playing with my friends. And something inside me gets nostalgic, warm and fuzzy when I see a 1Up Shroom or get to be a little blue dinosaur blowing bubbles. I'm also given to making light saber noises and pretending now and then I'm a Jedi. I am not ashamed of these things!

A little random proof of my silly nerdiness: SWTOR inspired makeup.

I leave you with an angry little squirrel. That says it a lot better, though with a lot more expletives, than I can!

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Wouldn't Call Myself a Photographer

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a photographer. However, I've always had a natural eye. Be it in photography or other artistic mediums. I often help my muse tweak a scene, or spot something that could be "just so" when she's drawing, for example. This both drives her crazy, and makes her thankful. I'm not sure what it is, but I see the world in a way it can be captured. I see the world around us as the most beautiful artistic medium of all, and I see many things as scenes.

Perhaps one of the reasons I don't label myself "photographer" is that I've never owned a camera that was more than an everyday point and shoot. I've also never really owned photoshop. The editing I do, is with free software I've manage to learn to use in new and creative ways.I can't make an old photo look perfect, I can't restore detail to your grandfather's faded out picture of his beloved wife, or make that polaroid shot look like it was taken by a professional. However, I'm also fairly certain that art doesn't have to be perfect, or require the most expensive tools.

I'm getting better at what I manage, even if it's only as a hobby. But I'll stick to simply calling myself an artist.

Snitzel - Before and After

I've been digging through old pictures lately. Some taken as recent as last month, some go back a decade. In these old shots I'm looking for signs of that eye I have. Taking things and making them into something more.

The above picture is of one of my best friend's dogs. I chose it to work with because he's gone now, and I wanted her to have a vivid, beautiful token of him to hold onto.There is art for arts sake, and there is art with a soul hiding in it. I think mine will always gravitate toward the latter.

In the coming weeks and months I'll be putting up a lot more pictures on Deviant Art. Perhaps I'll try to post them here with information behind them as well. Until blessed!

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Steam Powered Soul

So, I'm not here to write anything deep today. Or to teach you how to make something delicious. I'm here to point any of you reading this toward an amazing group of artists: Steam Powered Giraffe.

I first heard of the group thanks to my muse, she pointed out the band of a guild mate from Warcraft (yup, I'm that kind of nerd). It was love at first listen and it's only gotten better watching them grow in talent and popularity.

Most describe them as a Steam Punk band, but I think they transcend the label and are appealing for a myriad of reasons. Primarily for me, the members of SPG are artists. They write their own music, do their own makeup, are in charge of their own recordings and performances, put out their own CD's and other merchandise. Hell, these people design the art for their CD booklets too!

They are also simply, amazing human beings. There's no other way to put it.These individuals put their whole heart and soul into what they do.

If you look behind the scenes, you'll also discover that Bunny Bennett, the actor behind Rabbit, is transgender and that the band supports love in all its beautiful forms. You can read Bunny's blog for yourself, and check out her DA! She has a style I refer to as Burton-esque in her art.

If you're in the San Diego area, you can catch them performing at the zoo for most of the summer. They're also starting to play venues, and conventions. I've never gotten to see them in person myself, but would adore too eventually. I want a hug from Michael Reed! And no, I don't say that as a crazy fangirl, but rather as someone that truly appreciates other beautiful souls in this world.

Go my minions! Go now and discover beautiful musical joy!

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Quilted Bi-Pride Cake!

I wanted to make something pretty and unique. So when I got my checkerboard pan set I started doodling out what I wanted my cake to look like per slice. I came up with this quilted pattern, using the bi-pride colors because well, even if they weren't bi-pride I still think they're lovely!

I got the checkerboard cake bug to begin with thanks to MagnanimousSquirrel over on DA, and a comment they left on my tie-dye cake.

I used the same recipe I had with both the Tie-dye and Captain America cakes. However, in my quest to be ever healthier I decided to try out a new improved type of stevia you can use in baking. Stevia with fiber. First of all, it tends to suggest a 1:1 ratio on a lot of stevia recipes. Never listen if something tells you this! Halve this stuff, or you will have something so sickeningly sweet you'll gag. Luckily I went ahead and did this as I'm used to working with things like agave or Truvia (stevia with fructose).

The first thing I'd made with the new baking blend was cookies. And they were pretty damn good. However, you can still detect a slight aftertaste of that very sweet nature. I thought it worked well enough, onward to healthy cake! was a bust. This cake was gorgeous, but the consistency was off. It tasted like uncooked cookie dough in a way, even though it was very much done. And though it was moist, it still had an odd crumbly consistency.

I gotta say I'm bummed! Because Stevia and Agave are amazing things for eating healthier and keeping the glycemic index in check. Agave works well in sauces, dressings, ice creams pies. But I just can't bake with it. And apparently I can't bake with this either. Hmm. Back to the drawing board!

At least it was purdy!

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Alright. Today I'm going to talk about something a little more personal. My health.

It never ceases to amaze me that the human body is so intricate, so astounding, that even with all the advances we have made we still don't fully understand it and at times what causes it to hurt.

I'm getting really tired of hearing about "syndromes." I mean, it can't just be me who's starting to think whenever the great "they" in medicine can't figure something out they tack the word "syndrome" on the end of it.

When I was 12 years old my body stopped accepting red meat. I was raised eating the stuff, healthy and organic varieties so hormones and additives cannot be blamed. My system just decided to say, "Sorry, not happening!" By the time I was 19 I had to stop drinking milk. A more common issue and perhaps partly due to how altered it is these days. Over the next few years the list grew though. Nothing too rich, nothing too greasy, nothing too spicy. I was told I likely had IBS, Irritable Bowl...wait for it....Syndrome. There weren't any real tests to do, or pills to make it all better. Excluding certain foods helps more than not, but sometimes it acts up for no reason. It might be stress, it might not. It might be X Y or might not.

When people ask me why I don't eat this or that, it's not something I've always willingly admitted. I mean it's not the most graceful name for a syndrome out there. "Well you bowel is...irritable." My little brother at least got a kick out of the mental image it stirred. He tells me I have grouchy bowels. That's how my family works you see....if we can mock it and make light of it, we can deal with it.

So I've dealt with having a "grouchy bowel" for quite awhile now. Apparently that wasn't enough. Over the past decade I've gotten more and more of what I thought were Bladder Infections. And (forgive me if this is TMI folks, but I did promise to be open) at times sex had grown painful for no explainable reason.

I'd go into the clinic, they'd test my urine. They'd say there was no sign of infection, give me drugs just in case anyway, and send me on my way. A few times they sent samples off to labs to be further cultured for rarer bacterias. Nothing ever showed up. I started to feel paranoid. Were my symptoms just psychosomatic? Was I making myself ill at this point? But the pain was very very real.

After seven months of being in pain off and on rather consistently, and antibiotics having no affect, I decided to go back into a clinic. The doctor there suggested something I'd never heard of before: "It sounds to me like you have all the signs of Interstitial Cystitis."  The British call it "Painful Bladder Syndrome." And low and behold, when I started looking into it more, several other women on one side of my family suffer from the same thing. Many of them had been told the same things I had "well it sounds like you have a UTI but nothing is showing up"   "oh you only pee a lot because you like water" "are you sure that's where the pain is?"

I don't know if it's rare enough that fewer have heard of it, or I just got lucky in having a female doctor that day that asked more questions and didn't assume I was either full of crap about my pain or just an idiot. I immediately started researching as much as I could and again, surprise surprise...things seemed to click into place.

I cannot be 100% positive without having more extensive tests done, but I decided to change a few things about my life and just see what happened. Namely because I don't have health insurance, and even if I get the tests there is little the medical community can do for this syndrome. The doctor I spoke with told me they still don't know all the causes, that nothing has been proven solidly with food exclusion, and that it's a lot like IBS or Fibromyalgia. "Cures" are hit and miss and only for symptoms. And the more I delved into the medications subscribed for IC the more I decided I would prefer to avoid them. The most common is related to an antidepressant and has a lot of lovely side effects including in some women, hair loss. No thank you!

So on the advice of many others seeking more homeopathic relief I found some Fennel tea (bonus it's great for IBS sufferers!) and Marshmallow Root and Leaf tea. I drink them every morning. I also take Marshmallow root pills. The marshmallow root is an AMAZING plant! It's gelatinous quality helps soothe and line the bladder walls as well as other mucus membranes. However...the root will only ease pain. It cannot begin to heal damage unless you make more I did what I thought I'd never see myself doing...I've given up acidic foods.

No big deal, you say. Hah! I found an amazing and helpful guide to aid me in my process of making my bladder happier. Little did I suspect I would lose out on some of my favorite things. The most mourned? Strawberries, chocolate, tomatoes and sauerkraut. Also on the list of things to avoid are preservatives and additives. Which is why I've been working on making so much of my own homemade things. Store bought dressings, and even basics like crackers are now a minefield. The list is large and my husband often looks at me and says, "Are you sure life is still worth living?" Yes...yes it is.

Do I miss these things? Sometimes terribly. But it's just food. A crazy thing for a self proclaimed foody and lover of baking to say. But you know what? It's true. Food won't make me a better person. And once you've lived with pain, you know well that you'd do just about anything to prevent it. Drinking a cup of coffee is not worth hurting in my lady bits for a month or more, it's just not!

So I take it day by day. And you know what? I've felt better! And being forced to cut out certain things has helped with my goal to be healthier as well.

If you suffer from something that you are told there is no answer for, no cure to, and you feel like life's kicking you in the giblets, don't give up hope. If you're a fellow sufferer of IBS or IC please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment speaking about your own journey. 

Say it with me: I will be healthy, I will be happy and I will love life, syndromes be damned!

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Welcome to my little corner of the crazy. I can't promise I will always have something intelligent to say. Or that my wit will always leave you laughing. But I can say this much...what you see is what you get. I am me...and I'm going to endeavor to share that uncensored. So, pull up a seat. Enjoy yourself and if I perhaps entertain you feel free to...

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