have you ever thought…

…about how warm it is in the English-speaking world, in general? Yes there is Canada and there is Alaska, but just how many people exactly live there? And just how popular does the web content they generate get?

I mean, just how often do you see the “advice” to “skip blow-drying” your hair? Framed in all sorts of good intentions, from “keeping the hair healthy” to “being environmentally conscious”.

This is so ubiquitous that it just goes to show that while we all live under the same sun, it definitely heats some regions more. Whatever that implies.

See, in Moscow, unless it’s high summer and it’s like 30C in the shade, it will take you more than an hour to fully air-dry average-to-moderately thick hair that falls below your shoulders. Even if you start with towel-drying it.

And if it’s below 20C in your apartment, which happens quite often here in Moscow between September and July (for a number of reasons that are beyond the scope of this post), you will end up with a nasty head cold from walking around with damp hair for all that time.

I’m not even talking about the fact that you will need to leave the apartment eventually, and preferably looking professional – to which damp hair doesn’t lend itself that well. Ten minutes blow-drying doesn’t seem that bad of a tradeoff. Surely beats getting up an extra hour earlier.

Oh by the way, blow-drying in and out of itself won’t harm your hair. You blow the same air on your scalp as well, and so you aren’t going to make it hot enough to be dangerous. Unless you maybe ruined it beforehand by bleaching or whatever. That I have zero experience in.

Maybe if you use some special “heat styling” techniques with your dryer, then maybe you will reach that temperature range. Maybe. No idea. I can’t style anything with a hair dryer; to me, it’s just a machine for not freezing my head off.

And “environmental impact” of a single person is a can of worms that I’d rather not start discussing, since it has become a freaking religion. A lot of those beliefs make zero sense from the scientific standpoint, and yet people will get offended. So yes, a religion it is.

If you really want me to make a statement… Let pig farms and coal power stations worry about their environmental impact. For everyone else, just make sure not to leave your trash in the forest reserve, thank you.

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“age-appropriate”?

I’m not buying into the popular adage that goes along the lines of “exposing a kid to –something– depicted in media will hurt their psychological development”.

Why?

Well, simple: I’m not the world’s most psychologically stable person, and yet I sort of grew up fine.

Even though my classmates smuggled porn mags and extremely explicit punk rock to school way before we were of age (and I checked all that stuff out and giggled at it).

Even though my classmates smoked and drank way before we were of age (and I didn’t, and giggled at them).

Even though in our Russian lit classes, every May, since we were ten, we’d had to read and analyse WWII fiction chock full of very graphic written depictions of actual Nazi violence (and I felt sickened, but had to write the essays because good marks looked nice next to my name).

Even though I’ve been playing FPS, RTS and CRPG since I was around 13, with all the then-8-bit blood and gore you could only imagine.

It’s all fine.

It won’t hurt. It’s all very innocent. And in the case of games, therapeutic even.

It’s damn easy to blame someone’s mental disorder on the media they consume. It’s the Judas Priest 1990 case all over again. I know firsthand that whether you want to kill yourself or not comes from other sources, not media. Ah heck, there’s a song about just that.

// disregard that album cover, plz; it’s not their worst, but it really… doesn’t fit, period //

Let’s be frank: we – most of us – have short memories. We forget what we were like. Or maybe some remember too well and they’re ashamed. And they want to pretend their children are different. Pure. Whatever. And they should be protected.

yeah right

Dudes and dudettes, you’d better learn to be open and honest with your kids. Don’t shrug off any “difficult” or “inappropriate” questions they may have. Yes it will make _you_ vulnerable. But it will make you better people. And your kids will thank you.

I have a feeling…

…that some of my online pals don’t understand why I find psychological violence way more dangerous than physical violence.

Because a mindfuck is totally invisible, folks. It’s so damn easy to get away with it. Yes you can get away with physical abuse, but it takes way more effort (or a “supportive” society – which, again, is a result of someone’s fucking with the minds of those people).

Came across this article today…

And it’s just one of many.

I’ve been in psychologically abusive “relationships” myself – thankfully not to the point of cohabitation, but it’s still no fun.

I’ve seen this happen to close friends.

And I’ve witnessed an emotionally abusive family member forever. Like, why do I hate my grandmother? Because she ruined my mother’s life. If you’re lucky to have lived in more or less normal families… then great, you won’t recognise the “trophy child” thing, or anything here.

Narcissists are everywhere. Unless you decide to be explicitly vigilant, you won’t even notice them and their tricks. You hear? I fell to them, too, this ever-perceptive me. At least twice.

And exposing them for what they are… it’s tough.

Tell you what, though. Being physically violent – or at least threatening – has helped me countless times when dealing with all sorts of psychologically abusive scum. No it won’t fix them in the long run. But even a temporary relief may help. I wasn’t always doing it for my own sake, either, y’know.

And don’t forget the magic slap when someone slips into uncontrollable hysterical sobbing, too.

Yes I can hurt people physically when needed. Yes I will often fantasise about as much as brutally murdering some of them. Does _this_ make me a monster?

Well, nope. Because I won’t act on that unless I have a real good reason to.

What _does_ make me a monster is that I am this little manipulative bitch. I do try to keep this side of me in check. Actively. But the truth remains: I don’t get off on abusing people, physically or emotionally, but I do get off on controlling their minds. Even if it’s as innocent as getting people to laugh.

check out this channel

This is not a paid post, okay? Yeah that was a disclaimer, just in case.

This is one awesome vid out of many. Even if you aren’t really a health nut or anything, go and browse the titles or something. Who knows, what if you find a damn useful strategy for countering annoying back pain, for instance.

See, you may have read here (or not, I don’t remember if I ever wrote about it) that according to “traditional” doctors I was to grow up disabled unless I wore some sort of back braces 24/7 and basically stayed in bed as much as possible. Well I didn’t, quite the contrary – no disability, cuz activity. The only real problem I have now in that regard is that yes my back starts to hurt after as much as sitting on a “bad” chair ( = promoting an unhealthy posture) for as much as a few minutes, or if I put on clothing that restricts motion in some way, or do other unphysiologically stupid things.

So I’m always on the lookout for fitness-related stuff that makes sense. And believe me, even though I’m not a health professional, I know when it does, since I had to dig a bit deeper into all that just in order to, well, function.

Moreover, this stuff that makes sense, it has to be presented in a way that doesn’t bore you out of your mind. Like there’s that Russian TV channel called “Doctor” (I think), and there’s a dude who has a show on there, who’s also an expert in this field, and he says basically the same things that Jeff does, but. Just HOW he says those things should be punishable by law because it makes staying fit and healthy sound like the least interesting pursuit in the world. No passion; nothing.

Not the case here =)

as an ethnic Jew of an apparently Russian origin…

…Eric Balfour likely feels he has a mystical connection to my country that enables him to know for sure that a) Russian hax0rz elected Trump cuz Putin didn’t want Killary; b) every little tweet about Russia is true.

This little ignorant re-re-retweeted tweet makes me want to reanimate my twitter account just to tell the original posters – and Mr Balfour – just how much of an idiot each of them is.

Russia! Universal healthcare!

What a joke.

Yes, every once in a while you may run into a “free” doctor who is not a “fake healer” – but the odds are slim. See, state-funded medicine means all those doctors and nurses rarely get paid more than $500 (five hundred US dollars) per month, and the number of patients they are obliged to check every day is beyond any reasonable cap – they rarely are able to diagnose anything right in these constraints. You may have heard about that girl who was on the hotline with Putin this year telling the President that she’d been misdiagnosed for her back pain for years, and eventually it turned out she has cancer, and all the time has been wasted. It’s, like, “just Tuesday” (c).
Yes I had a “free” GP refer me to an endocrinologist when I was twenty and almost went into a thyroid storm. But a life-threatening condition like that is not solved by trying to book a god-knows-how-much-later appointment with a “free” specialist who’d just shrug you off if you’re any different from a textbook case – you take whichever money you have and rush yourself into a paid clinic where you will actually get help.

But of course you have to watch out so that you don’t get scammed into paying for unwanted tests and the like.

I barely know who that Katy Perry is…

…and looking at the pictures in the article linked below makes me cringe because this is all plain tasteless (just those garish colours are sin enough),  and yet I kinda wonder if it’s a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”:

This is the article about Ms Perry and her “cultural appropriation”.
Now look. First of all, I personally don’t see the difference between dressing up the silly way Ms Perry does and generally “appropriating” a musical subculture like rap/hip-hop, reggae, contemporary “r’n’b” (the whole “urban” thing coming out of the USA) – all those mainstream fashion trends plus the very act of performing this sort of music. I mean, maybe it’s just Russia, but every young dude (my age and younger) claiming to be a “musician” turns out to be a “rapper”. And a scary number of girls listen to what those “musicians” produce and dress up in skimpy glitz and bling, wearing those false fingernails and hair/lash extensions. 

And we’re predominantly white and secondarily Asian in Russia (just think of the Yakuts, the Buryats, Kazakh immigrants…). There are ethnically black people here, but not many. Not every one of those is a “rapper” even.
// funny how watermelons are a national summer snack here in Russia, regardless of ethnicity //

I don’t know what the mainstream youth culture is like elsewhere but in Russia – but given the fact that all those minajes and rihannas sell millions of records worldwide, I don’t think our modest music market could account for those.

So this US-exported “urban” thing is eating at the local national cultures.

Next. I can understand why – theoretically – this black dude who wrote the article is getting all so offended. I get miiiiiighty offended whenever there is a freaking “Russian” character in a foreign movie. I don’t even know where to begin pointing out stereotypes and glaring mistakes (“nazdorovye”, anyone? Snow in July in freaking Moscow, anyone? Okay, technically it did snow a little this year in June, but it’s been the coldest late spring in decades + that snow didn’t pile around to be fit for skiing on, y’know). I even honestly feel like physically fighting those non-ex-USSR 3D content providers who release generic characters marketed as “Russian beauties” – with nothing Russian about them.

But why aren’t there any ethnic Russian Americans blogging about it all? Hey there is even a word that could work instead of “racism” – “Russophobia”!

And finally.

Are these the same bloggers who complain that SF/fantasy written (for books, movies or games) by white people has too few people of colour? 

But how can we whites write ethnic characters who are ethnic enough not to be a “cosmetically altered white” – yet manage to refrain from as much as unknowingly hinting at any possible stereotypes?

My answer to that is the same as to the accusation that metal is a “whitist” genre: 

Why don’t you, dear non-white critic, contribute to the genre with your insider experience and create some awesome SF/F/metal/whatever that could cement and expand the influence of your ethnicity?

It’s not like it’s never been done.

TL;DR:

I don’t believe that a writer or a musician can be fully authentic if they are consciously trying (striving!) to be “politically correct”. 

Of course, a mainstream “star” who barely (if ever) writes their own lyrics cannot ever be authentic – by definition. “Manufactured” and “authentic” are antonyms, after all. I wish this sort of shameless corporate showbiz thing would just stop. Regardless of ethnicity or whatever.

…yes. You want “female power fantasy” instead of “male sexual fantasy” for your female characters – roll your own and promote your work. Become a female power fantasy yourself. Just yapping at others and effectively doing nothing else won’t change the world.

a question to native speakers of English…

…who also happen to be metal fans.

Why do many American reviewers seem to be obsessed with accents the singers have? And not in the way I would expect – not necessarily bashing those who have never bothered to actually pronounce English words, but more like, y’know, being fascinated by someone’s “subtle accent”.

Okay it’s subtle. Good thing it is subtle. Bad thing it actually is noticeable, but hey. We have forever had to bear with classical singers butchering various European languages to various degrees. Kinda… yeah.

But why the need to point this out at all? And in words that suggest some of those reviewers actually may _enjoy_ a singer displaying an accent?! Not “hey it’s subtle, which is awesome because I have had enough of Mr Kakko’s one!” – but “oooh a subtle accent, neeeeaaaaat”.

Is it a fetish or something?!

I personally hate it that we Europeans can’t speak perfectly unaccented English. Not without extensive training, at least; and most singers can barely afford to pay attention… yeah right, I mean, afford to actually get vocal training. Though there is that (rather large) number of people who clearly never paid attention at school, like, at all. I happen to love some of them regardless, and yet. I don’t understand why they are not being constantly bashed in every review and by every English-speaking producer and reporter they run into. I am normally against bullying, but sometimes I’m not sure anything but brute force could work. You have to be incredibly full of yourself to go on singing on an international level when your English doesn’t sound like English at all. Not like you’re forbidden to write songs in your first language, huh? And often, the worse your pronunciation is, the worse your lyrics are – bad grammar, horrible vocabulary, this sort of bad. It’s hard to see anything artistic in a mess like that.

Is it just me?

Some things are just wrong. Period.

Like cashing in on someone else’s ideas. Not because you made a deal with them, no, but behind their backs.

You’d think celebrity likenesses for sale were bad enough – there are many reasons why these are a problem (for one, supposing you have no idea this is a celebrity and wind up inadvertently cosplaying a fan by using the character in your renders…).

But copying game assets, now that is beyond cheeky.

Poor CDPR – their Wiedźmin designs have long been ripped off by Poser/DS content providers. 

The latest DAZ newsletter shows the main render off this promo of a recent V7 character – and I didn’t even need to load the full store page to say, “Damn, this gotta be Ciri”. 
That telltale say-hello-to-Eskel scar. 

And yeah, here she goes, TW3!blonde hair, bastardized “Celtic” an’all.
// The book!Ciri’s specific hair colour has actually long been a subject of debate – we Russians, for instance, think that “ash” has the colour of actual ash, y’know; and even Poles can’t seem to agree what pan Sapkowski truly had in mind //

The vendor is French, IIRC; they have no qualms about releasing a clone of TW3!Geralt, same as leaving their promo text proofreading to DAZ, who have never been historically good about it. 

But there is something I find even more offensive than design ripoffs.

It’s promoting ignorance re:linguistic heritage of Europe.

There is no “Celtic translation” or anything! Celtic is not a single language, it’s a group of languages!

And I hate it when people with ordinary linguistic skills try messing with spelling. It just turns out ugly. Yes pan Sapkowski himself did mess with Gaelic and the like to create his “Elder speech”, but pan Sapek is a consummate pro with languages.