In Which I Have a Lot of Thoughts About Media I Haven't Seen

 This isn't exactly complaining about things I haven't watched.  The thoughts I have aren't exactly complaints, and they're broad picture thoughts, not specifics, so it probably doesn't matter that I haven't seen the things.  However, as one of the things is the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, I am sticking the rest of this under a cut because there are spoilers.

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I'm not good at figuring out life decisions.

 (Or posting here with any kind of frequency, for various reasons.)

Any way...  I've been a library circulation clerk for nearly seven years, now, far longer than I've ever held a job before.  I enjoy my job.  However, my job does not pay terribly well.  (Or, to be frank, it just plain pays terribly.)

For, oh, I'm not sure, maybe six months or so, I've been doing kind of semi-IT-type things for my branch's circ department.  Between the renovations last year and system upgrades and stuff, IT has been swamped.  So I've poked at things that weren't working right and done what I could to make them work right.  One of the actual IT people went so far as to show me how to do a few things that really are IT things.  He also told me that next time a full time help desk position (entry level IT) comes up, I should apply for it.  I told him I don't have any training or a degree or anything.  He said I should apply anyway, since I seem to have a knack for it.

While there isn't currently such an opening, there is a part time one, and I looked at the requirements, which include a two year IT degree.  (And experience, but I'm getting some of that, unofficially, anyway.  And the library likes hiring from within.)  The library does offer some tuition help - not enough to make getting an MLS reasonable, but certainly enough to help with a two year community college degree.

I don't know.

It's an option I've never considered.  (Even though I have some interest in tech stuff and have been waffling for months on whether to replace my computer - which has gotten out of date and is showing signs of needing replacement soon - by buying a computer or building one.)

I've fantasized about getting an MLS or a history degree (which would qualify me to work in the local history part of the library), but there's no way in hell I could afford either.  And I know I couldn't work full time and go to school full time or even part time for the length of time those degrees require without burning out or losing my marbles.  (Which are barely assembled at the best of times.)  And my options would remain somewhat limited, unless I wanted to consider moving to other parts of the country.  (Even then, there aren't that many things one can do with an MLS or a history degree.)

I just don't know.

I'm torn between "Hey, wait, maybe I could really do that." and "AAAAAAAAAAAH."  Anxiety makes it hard to ever change the status quo, you know.  Even when the status quo is, eventually, doomed.  (Not only does that entry level IT job pay a bit over $2 more than I currently make, it makes somewhere around what my job maxes out at.)

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Is Dreamwidth posting partly broken for everyone, or just me? It seemed to be all broken last time I went in here to try and post (went to the local Renaissance Faire with other Dreamwidth peeps...who I have no way to link to, because I don't know know how in HTML...had fun, yay). Now, the HTML editing/posting window is working, but Rich Text is still broken. *sigh*

I guess Dreamwidth and Chrome don't get along. Or something.

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I want to be excited about Star Wars: Rebels.

 Tumblr is happily squeeing about the fact that the main character may not be white.  Which would be cool.

There's the possibility that it will be less ethically fucked up than The Clone Wars, which I periodically try to like, but which is so black and grey morality that I just can't.  (If the heroes acknowledged that everything's fucked up and just did their best, I'd probably be fine with it, but the show seems to want to have it both ways - dark! edgy! the Republic is evil! the Jedi are evil! root for our heroes who are obliviously supporting the evil! also, it's a less bad evil, so it's totes the good side!  See!  Heroism!)

It's Star Wars.

It should be exactly the kind of thing I like, given my fondness for scruffy teams running around being heroes.

I'm instead deeply meh about it.  Maybe it's just my reluctance to get too enthusiastic about something that might suck.  Maybe it's the fact that I really don't like Jedi.  Maybe it's that there's such a fine line between the tropes I love and tropes I really don't like, and I have this sinking feeling that the show is mostly the latter.

That main character?  He's an ex-Jedi with a mysterious past who has to pick up his lightsaber again and be a hero, and he's the leader of the group.  Gag me oh so much.  That is a character type that I viscerally hate.  Describe a character as "____ has to pick up their _____ again and be a hero" and my face is already squinching up in displeasure.

I'm not entirely sure why.  I'm fine with people turning hero.  I'm fine with people pulling themselves together again and being heroes.  I'm fine with (though it's not something I like that well) people turning in their badge/supersuit/whatever then after events returning to be heroes once again.  Which is kind of a full arc of the same thing I hate so much.  Kind of.

I think it's at least partially the conflation of hero with their _____.  Ex-Jedi dude can't be a hero unless he uses his lightsaber because Jedi and hero are synonyms and he can't possibly hero without a lightsaber.  Even though waving around a lightsaber would make heroing riskier not just for himself (his choice, there) but for the people he's trying to help.  The Empire's not going to be cool with anyone fucking up their plans, but that anyone is a Jedi?  They're going to come down like two tons of bricks on anyone that Jedi helps.  (In Rebellion Era tabletop games I've played, the universal response to someone whipping out a lightsaber was "HOLY FUCK PUT THAT THING AWAY!" because I am not the only one who thinks that the Empire's response to a Jedi running around - or a possible Jedi running around - would be to kill the whole area with fire.)

But it's not really the very distinctive weapon, it's that whole idea that he's more of a hero with a lightsaber than he is without one. Being a hero is about what you do, not what you do it with.   Confusing the two is a very bad idea.  For one thing, it suggest that heroes without a _____ are less than those with it.  That is not cool.

The fact that the ____ we're talking about is a lightsaber just makes it worse.  I have major Jedi issues to begin with.  My default stance on Jedi is "Yuck."  I have to remind myself that I love Zayne Carrick, and that Luke and Obi-Wan are all right (and there are other EU Jedi I thought were all right when I read about them).  At which point I amend it to Jedi being "Mostly yuck."

I have a lot of trouble with superpowered heroes.  The appeal of magic, or superpowers, or Force Sensitivity always runs smack up against my dislike of special heroes, of the idea that ordinary humans are useless and just exist as roadblocks or rescuees, of the idea that only some people can be heroes.  Some times fiction does a good job of handling a world where some people have powers and some don't and makes it clear that there are many ways to be heroic and do good and all that.  And some times I end up feeling like the series tag line should've been "Whoever wins, we lose."

That the ex-Jedi is the leader of the heroes and that he has to pick up his lightsaber again does not bode well for Star Wars: Rebels.  At least for whether I'll like it.  (Did there even need to be a leader?  Tell me, who was the leader in the original trilogy?  Yeah, Mon Mothma led the Rebel Alliance, but of our motley crew of heroes?  There wasn't one.  If there had to be a leader, did it have to be a guy?  Did it have to be a Jedi?  Did they have to go with the must pick up lightsaber to be hero thing?  It's like they picked the answer I would least like to every one of those questions.  If the heroes included an ambiguously brown Jedi-in-hiding, one who'd either never put down his lightsaber or who did fine without one, I'd have gone "Oh, cool." with only a bit of Jedi reservation.)

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Musings on the lingo of hobbies and interests

I had an interesting discussion with a coworker regarding language.  He finds the lingo of fandom and of MMOs to be off-putting - partly it's a language purity thing (or so my impression was), but mostly he feels like it's gate-keeping and marking in-group and out-group.  I can see where he's coming from, but at the same time, I wonder what he thinks of the specific terminology of other hobbies.  If he doesn't feel the same way about, say, knitting, or even pen and paper RPGs (something I know he does), then something else must be going on.

In his case - since I didn't think to ask - it could well be that he dislikes all lingo.  Some people do.  But I can't help wondering if it's also a legitimacy issue.  Some things are "real" and it's okay for them to have lingo, while others are somehow less than real and should stick to using "real words" (non-lingo).  He said he didn't feel he should have to learn a special lingo to play one MMO, but the MMO in question was DDO - which he played because he's a D&D player.  Has he forgotten that he had to learn a whole slew of special terms when he got into role playing?  Did he feel like it was gate-keeping to have to learn what THAC0 meant?  Dabbling in any hobby requires learning terminology, whether you want to play one game or knit one sweater.

I'm also reminded of the Douglas Adams quote on technology:

"I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

I'm beginning to think that that doesn't just apply to technology but to anything that's new to one.  (Though some people hit thirty-five much younger than others, and some may never hit thirty-five.)  In this case, either one goes "oh, new hobby, new words" (or "new social group, new words") or one goes "why aren't you using real words!?"

Granted, I've always been good at just sort of picking up stuff - plots of fiction I've never read or watched, bits about hobbies or sports, or whatever.  If I have even a vague interest or if people talk about something enough around me, I'll pick up bits and pieces.  I may find that easier than many people and not realize how challenging learning a new lingo can be.  And I had friends who dragged me into MMOs and explained at least some of the terminology in their "you gotta try this" sales pitches.

But I keep going back to the Douglas Adams quote and to knitting.  Anything you do that's new is going to require learning new things.  Why shouldn't you have to learn a lingo to play a game?  Is people saying "What fandoms are you in?" really different in any meaningful way from saying "What do you like?"  I do agree with him that there is something a little deeper suggested by "fandom" than merely liking things.  Or is that just the garbage of "fake fans" and not really inherent in the term at all?  Though... while I'm a casual fan of a good many things, I think I would probably only say that I'm in Star Wars fandom - it's a participatory thing, I guess.  At least in my head.

I don't know.  I'm torn between thinking he has a bit of a point about gate-keeping and in-group/out-group marking, and thinking that it's more a reflection of whether society or an individual thinks that a group has a right to lingo.  I mean, yes, learning the lingo does mark you as a member of that group, and not knowing it means you're not or are new to whatever it is.  But that's true of knitting or car repair or golf or one's job or college major or... damn near everything.

Like I said, interesting conversation.  One I'm still mulling over.

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I should not feel guilty calling out sick

 I have a sinus infection and feel like patient zero in some zombie apocalypse.  It is supposed to be cold and snowy (again) tomorrow.  Now, granted, thanks to this stupid thing, I've already missed work and gone home early a few days, but good god, I feel mostly dead.  And that's after sleeping until one pm (aside from getting up briefly to have a banana and my antibiotics).  I'd have gone back to bed after lunch, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight if I did, so I stayed up until medicine taking and dinner time (that is, now).  I can barely focus, nuking soup was a great effort, and I feel guilty about calling out for tomorrow.

I called out anyway.  Because, realistically, the odds of my crawling out of bed in the morning and having the strength to a) walk 6 blocks or b) dig out my car and drive six blocks - much less work afterwards - are severely not good.

Ima gonna go die now.  And thank god I work somewhere that won't fire me for calling out when I feel like a quasi-animate corpse.

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Reconsidering Guild Wars 2, also general MMO rambling

Since my friends went and bought me Guild Wars 2, I've continued to play it and come to the conclusion that some of my initial impressions weren't entirely accurate. I still think it's got some sexism/genderedness issues that SW:TOR doesn't, and the story is less yours. But the actual gameplay is fun and I don't feel like I'm losing anything as a free-to-play player. (I wouldn't play the free-to-play version of SW:TOR. I still don't know what they were thinking with half of the limitations. *shakes head*)

The contrast also has me thinking about a few things related to MMOs and gameplay in general.

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I give up on the real world

 Between the fact that it's apparently legal to follow, confront, and fucking shoot someone for the hideous crime of walking to the convenience store, and all the shit in Texas, and... all the shit for some time now, I just give up.  It's painfully obvious that the people with the power make the rules and there's not a damned thing the rest of us can do about them.  I mean, yeah, I'll keep voting for the least awful candidate, but I just don't think I can cope with paying attention to all the shit I can't do anything about.  Fuck everything.

I'm glad there are people with the mental health to keep fighting.  Maybe it will make a difference somehow.  But mostly it seems like this country is just getting worse and worse and scarier and scarier.  As far as I can tell, my options are: pay attention as the US becomes something out of a hideous dystopia and become completely non-functional or look away and at least manage some measure of happiness until the hideous dystopia kills me.  (Whether directly, or simply by leaving me to die in the streets.)

Its so easy to stand in a safe place in history and wonder why the citizens of wherever didn't stop the bad people.  But the reality is that the citizens of wherever didn't have any fucking power and the bad people did.
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I'm tired of fires

 So, the Black Forest Fire north of town is now contained (which isn't the same as out, but is still very good).  But there are a bunch of fires burning in Colorado, which means a lot of communities are in danger, and means that the air is so full of smoke I can't see the mountains.  The mountains aren't that far away - four miles?  five?  I don't think the air quality is real good right now.

Prescott, AZ, where I once lived, is also threatened by a wildfire.

I'm afraid to check and see how many other fires there are, besides the 10 (?) in Colorado and the one by Prescott.  It feels like the whole west is burning down.

Closer still to home...  At roughly 7:30, the fire alarm in my apartment complex went off.  It's surprising how fast one can carrier cats when motivated.  I think I wasted a few seconds being shocked and confused, then I shut the kitties in my bedroom (where they'd run to get away from the horrible noise - convenient), grabbed the carriers and executed cat stuffing.  Phone, glasses, shoes, out side door with cat carriers.  I'm honestly surprised I remembered my glasses, since my vision is good enough that I don't wear them in the house.

The fire department showed up shortly after I took up residence on the sidewalk with a few other confused tenants, who weren't sure whether something happened, or whether the smoke in the air was just so bad it set off the alarm.  As it turned out, someone had left a pot on the stove and gone... somewhere.  The fire fighters had to kick open their apartment door to deal with the matter, but it was fairly quickly and easily dealt with.  Well, aside from the maintenance guy now having to do something about the damaged door, and possibly damage to the stove.

But I've got to say, the fire department had really fast response time.  And, if I deciphered their tweet correctly, we'd have had at least two more fire trucks show up if anything had actually been on fire.  As it was, we had two fire trucks and a couple of other vehicles show up - to block traffic on the street and such.  I think the kitties and I are pretty safe - between the fast response time of the fire department, and the fact that my apartment building actually has a real fire alarm system, someone would have to do something really bad to actually set the place on fire.

However, the kitties and I are feeling rather stressed at present.  Perhaps we'll watch a movie.  And enjoy the fact that we still have a home.
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