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My Blog

Welcome to my blog. This is where I'll put my thoughts, ramblings, and long-form diatribes in.

Please note that some blog entries may contain sensitive content and will be notated with their respective warnings.

Posts come in two categories - Ramblings are long-form essays on a particular topic, while Brieflies are more short-form thoughts that are a little more long-form than a status update.


March 13, 2024 - Fear of Attraction | CW: NSFW, Fatphobia, Transphobia

In this rambling, we’re talking about horny shit. Sex. The cock and the ball. Finally putting the mature warning on my page to use besides that one time I talked about goring myself in my dreams. If porn doesn’t comfort you, this is probably a rambling to skip.

EDIT 4/29/2024: I've been thinking more about this and I have some additional things to add to this blog post because my overall opinions have changed. Please see the end for the edit.

/end edit.

In my rambling on my experiences being a fat person (and one who happens to be an artist), I spoke a bit about how, for a time, I admitted to drawing fat fetish art because I was convinced that was just the natural progression of things. I went a little more in depth about my feelings about it - the conflict between wanting to draw things that I enjoy and the connotations that those things carry that need to be recognized. I’ve thought on it on/off and felt my cap-off with that post felt a little stilted in regards to my coming to terms with my sexuality. I wanted to explore and interrogate the topic a bit more in its own post.

To set the mood - I’ve been mulling over a post on Tumblr a lot recently:

    “I feel like people don't understand what fetishization really means & it has a lot of well intentioned lefty types like afraid of being attracted to people”

And I felt this apply to other people - namely, during my time on Tumblr I’ve interacted with and had my art shared by prominent fat positivity blogs (which, while well-meaning, I felt got into too many petty fights with artists drawing fat characters a little too skinny to bother following myself - I’m more interested in uplifting than putting down). In these blogs, despite having so much rhetoric concerning the well-being and liberties of fat people, and encouraged fat positivity, also simultaneously argued against the idea of fat sexuality - more specifically, they defaulted anyone that saw fat people as sexually attractive (especially those who aren’t fat themselves) as fetishists. It is understandable - in my aforementioned blog post I lamented how, though it was liberating, it simultaneously felt extremely uncomfortable. It’s not hard to see why. But I feel it horseshoes back around to this idea of “you shouldn’t find fat people attractive in the sexy way because it is morally wrong” - rather instead of some sweaty freshman college student who doesn’t believe women should have rights saying it, it’s a self-proclaimed leftist.

I do think, however, the topic of “one person’s oppression is another’s form of self-liberation” is an interesting one to explore in other regards - namely in queerness (ie the reclaiming of slurs by queer people), and in disability (ie the various symbols used to represent autism). While arguing for adoption or abandonment is moot - people will use whatever language or symbols they want, at the end of the day - I think it is important to recognize that both sides are not necessarily in the wrong at all, and have their own deeply personal reasons for it. Some fat people find fat sexuality - and even fetishism, as backwards as it may sound - as empowering because it is the conduit that enables them to see themselves as attractive or desirable in a world where they are seen otherwise. Others may find it horrifically offensive, and taking advantage of and abusing already vulnerable people for their own gratification. The pro-sex people aren’t fatphobic for encouraging the exploration of sexual desires, and recognizing that sexual desires can be used as a means of empowerment - think the gay magazines of yore, for all their problems they may have. Likewise, the anti-sex people aren’t fatphobic for voicing their discomfort in fat sexuality from their own personal experiences. However, one does not nullify the other. They are not in the wrong to be uncomfortable - rather, it is through their othering of pro-sex people, treating their empowerment through sex as comically backwards, as fundamentally incompatible with fat positivity, that I feel it brings into question what they think fat positivity is at all. Not all fat people need to be empowered through their sexuality, but are the ones that want to be wrong for doing so?

But simmering on it more, it made me realize just how much it applied to me. That for as much as I harp on about “seeing both sides on it”, I do think the fear of fetishization has gotten me rather timid to the point it makes me “afraid of being attracted to people”. Like, this shit was what made me believe I was potentially asexual, for a time - I’m almost exclusively attracted to larger people. But because I have difficulties in accepting that attraction, I was led to believe that I may just not be attracted to anything at all. In that Tumblr post I linked, there were multiple people in the notes that believed similarly.

In truth, I do have sexual desires. But despite being able to recognize that, I still have this disgust and anxiety towards myself over them. My girlfriend has teased me in the past for being extremely meek when it comes to looking up porn, to the point where I have to ask her to look things up on my behalf (“bee, your mom is 2,000+ miles away, she’s not going to walk in on you seeing porn”) - but no matter how much she insists it’s okay, I feel as though I have to have the door closed and locked, and the lights off, VPN on and Incognito tab open to even think about looking at fat people in the nude, let alone straight up porn. It’s almost this irrational fear of the intimacy, especially when compared to my girlfriend who does not hesitate to lounge around in the nude when June rolls around (in her defense, it does get to 115F).

It is ironic, then, that I’ve been increasingly interested in getting into the NSFW space again - though it will likely not be through Fatgrrlz, as I’ll get into later - and at the same time I can’t help but feel a large degree of hesitation. This climaxed (lol) over the weekend when, for the first time in years, I somehow convinced myself to draw porn. And it was some kinda kinky shit too! And I feel horribly, cardinal sin level self-conscious about it. Like, as an artist online, I feel obligated to share what I draw. The porn is obviously no exception. But because porn is porn, restrictions need to be put in place to warn people that it’s porn and hide it from those who shouldn’t see it (ie, minors).

I’m not quite sure yet on what I will do with it in regards to my site - my intent with the site is to have a place for all of the stuff I’ve done and created. However, what with it being predominantly SFW content as-is, I’m afraid that the prospect risks exposing minors to porn, and a site overhaul that locks it down as NSFW would probably cause issues for those who enjoy my site for, say, its resources or my art. Although porn does appear to be allowed on Neocities, it comes with the caveat that the site will need to be marked as NSFW. And although I do have a boilerplate warning that I discuss mature topics on my site, most of the content on the site is fairly SFW. As such, I don’t want actual NSFW content on the site. Some webmasters handle this issue by having separate sections of the site for their NSFW content, or paying to be a supporter to have a separate NSFW domain. Likewise, many artists have “after dark” accounts on Twitter and the like where they specifically post NSFW content on. And while these are well and good, it's a whole other set of credentials, a whole other set of handles, a whole other website, a whole other identity on the Internet to maintain. My girlfriend, a self-proclaimed horny-on-main'er, has expressed how the juggling of handles is a little silly, but when you're an artist and creator online, there's this sort of expectation where you're expected to divide SFW and NSFW - because if you have both on the same platform, at best you risk people going "oh, this artist draws ~porn~, everyone's sharing a meme from a freak" and at worst you risk people calling you a pedo because you made a silly lighthearted post and minors found it and are sharing it. I do think a major part of this has to be the homogenization of the Internet at large - the fact that the places where the people mostly congregate end up being places where adults will inevitably share spaces with minors. And although in years past people lying about their ages and the like were a thing, I remember there being way more kid-specific spaces online when I was growing up than there are now (as well as a notable divide between "kid-friendly" sites and "teen/adult" sites like the likes of MySpace and 2000's Facebook), and there was this way higher emphasis on staying safe online compared to how things are nowadays.

There is, also, this anxiety with creating and sharing both SFW and NSFW content on a singular platform, especially when your sexual interests go beyond missionary with the lights off. It goes without saying that being into weird shit is gonna bring in people you may not want, whether it’s people that are vehemently against it or being too into it. And even if they are separated, it’s like - there’s a degree of taboo almost with so much as alluding to being into weird shit. Not to mention how there’s also this sort of “tier list” where some kinks may be seen as more morally reprehensible than others, even within people within kink spaces, ie “you wouldn’t want to associate with Artist A, they draw fat porn,” says the teratophiliac. And in the case of having SFW/NSFW separated, there’s this fear I have of being “found out” - having someone that knows of my SFW art and finds my NSFW art and puts together a bad faith impression that I’m a disgusting fetishist that should be ran off the Internet and decide to make it a problem. And it’s like, yes, it’s more telling of their character than mine, but do I really want to deal with all that? It’s easier to just not bother at all. But it’s not going to stop me from having the desire to create - and to share.

All this to say that I’m still unsure of what to do. I’m currently test piloting Pillowfort and I like it so far, though I've kept it explicitly SFW. Maybe someday I'll be more comfortable being horny online, but until then, I'll just do as I've done and keep that shit to myself.

I think more than anything, it’s just putting my thoughts into words on the topic. I think drawing porn is really fun! It gets me thinking about all kinds of artistic concepts - anatomy, perspective, how to execute portraying certain materials. But even now I still feel so goddamn weird about it, and I think it's high time that I examine those feelings.

EDIT 4/29/2024: I was recently looking back at the post again and stumbled onto another Tumblr post that I think interrogates my initial thoughts from this blog post a bit in a way that's made me think more on the initial post and ultimately change my opinion:

    "cuz the issue isn’t like. the attraction. and i know sometimes well-meaning people interpret it that way but the issue that people are discussing when they say these things is the fact that these fetishes are in fact tied to bigotry and tied to this voyeuristic perspective of fat or trans or disabled people and their bodies being this sexual spectacle."

And I specifically linked this person's reblog because I really liked their additions in the tags and felt it was extremely important to include:

    #which i think is largely a result of; societally; all attraction towards a 'non-normative' group being viewed as deviant and kink
    #esp. when it comes to fat ppl theres like a LOT of spaces where it feels completely taboo to be attracted to fatness and places where
    #the two are considered completley interchangeable from an onlookers POV
    #which results in people grouping harmless attraction & kinky sex & fetishization[.] like the Fetishization[.] the thing that is wrong[.]
    #all together and trying to only analyze them as one complete package which is either 100% wrong and evil or 100% good and progressive
    #which is how u get ppl too scared to compliment a fat person lest they be Branded A Fetishist while actual fatphobic fetishizers
    #harrass and demean and objectify people with 'well *i* thought this was a sex-positive environment hm' as a shield

This, I think, was something I completely and utterly missed. Like, looking back it's a very "no shit, Sherlock" kind of thing - and I think I quite literally said that in my initial blog post about my experiences being a fat person and a creator existing on online spaces. The tags are especially poinient because it reflects my own experiences and fears succinctly: because we are mentally unable to decouple the idea of simply attraction from abject fetish, we end up having this false equivalence that being into fat people or being into trans people or what have you directly means you are a fetishist - when it is not. To restate the post: there is nothing wrong with attraction. It is the fetishization thereof, the objectification thereof, the dehumanization of the kinds of people the fetish is directed at that becomes problematic. And it's more than simply saying "oh, I'm Not Like Those Guys, I'm A Good Sex Positive Person, I'm Not A Problematic Fetishist". It's recognizing and interrogating your attraction and determining if it is actually a fetish, and how that fetish warps your perception of yourself and of others, how you treat them, how you think of them. Like, you can still be attracted to fat people, you can still want to fuck them if that's what you're into - but, like, be perceptive of how you treat them, how you think of them.

It is through thinking about this that I find the second paragraph problematic in retrospect, because it does turn a blind eye to the fact that fetishes like that of fat fetishism or trans fetishism, are fundamentally tied to bigoted stereotypes and beliefs towards fat et al people - and are fundamentally tied to the oppression of said marginalized people. These fetishes hinge on the idea of the aspect it objectifies as outlandish, as wrong: it's the "seeing fat people as only their size / as disgusting slobby pigs that just loooove to eat / as gigantic soft pillowy uwu cuddle toys that give great hugs (holy fuck that shit makes me see red)", "seeing trans people as only their equipment / as step on me dommy mommies / as submissive and breedable confused femboys", "seeing disabled people as meek and helpless" type of shit. Removing the person from the person, if that makes sense.

And when you add that there's this mass misunderstanding that sees said attraction as fetish, that's where you have well intentioned lefty types -including myself- being afraid of being attracted to people because of the assuption that their attraction is automatically a fetish. And likewise, you have fetishists insisting that those calling out their objectification and abuse of fat people are fatphobic because they see their fetishization as sexual freedom and as such refuse to acknowledge said bigotry in their attraction.

There's also this sidenote that some have brought up in the tags concerning how, in the context of talking about the likes of being attracted to fat/trans/etc people, there's this rather flexible use of the word "fetish" itself that ranges anywhere between simply being specifically attracted to something (i.e. foot fetish), to the likes of chasers directly target marginalized people within their fetish (ie fat people, trans people, disabled people) to groom and sexually abuse them for their own sexual gratification. This, in turn, creates confusion as to what people actually mean when they actually say "fetish", which in turn continues to muddy the discussion and create further misunderstandings regarding the actual core of the issue, which as mentioned in the original post, is:

    "the term fetishization here isn’t (largely) being used to condemn attraction to people but to condemn a specific type of bigoted sexualization that doesn’t actually root its attraction in like, attraction from one human being towards another."

In other words, the issue isn't being into fat people - it's being into the fat and all the assumptions involved in someone being fat.

I'm still keeping the rest of the post here because I think understanding my original line of thought is integral to this follow-up, with some changes because I didn't like how I originally worded some things. My thoughts in terms of NSFW content online remain pretty much the same.

March 8th, 2024 - The Artistic Ego Problem, AKA: TFW you see an amazing artist and they are 16 and you suddenly feel very self conscious | TW: mentions of grooming

If you’re an artist, you probably know this feeling all too well. You see an incredible artist, and you’re in awe. You go to follow them when you see on their bio that they are, like, *16* or something. And you become awash with emotions. How the fuck did they become this good? At such a young age? Why aren’t I this good?

I feel like there's a lot of factors to why someone younger may gid gud at art quick: Some artists have artist parents or relatives that can pass down resources most typically can't get to, whether that's knowledge or supplies. Or they are from an affluent family that can afford buying it on their behalf. Or the fact that resources for self learning art are in incredible abundance compared to 10, 15 years ago.

And most importantly, to get into the Hot Take (trademarked) of this blog post - I think it's important to remind ourselves that *their art journey is not ours.* We don’t know what they deal with, they don’t know what we dealing with. An artist’s existence, young or old, is wholly neutral - if their mere existence upsets you on the basis of skill alone, that is a you problem. You're upset because they had the means or circumstances you did not, and are jealous for it. I can't blame you - I feel the exact same way sometimes! But it's such a reoccurring thing that happens with artists that I can't help but feel like it's important to examine why we get so upset.

Fundamentally, it's an ego problem. For most of us, art is a deeply personal hobby, and we often find ourselves in the two cakes situation. We see these skilled artists, and we look at our own work, and we can't help but compare. You internalize how much better they are - or how much skill they have for their age - and compare it to your own. You internalize this idea that you, despite being senior to this other artist, is objectively (news flash: subjectively, actually, your brain is being an ass) worse than them, and feel as though it is a personal attack. It hurts *you*. They shouldn't be better than you, because you're older than them, you should have more experience than them. So why don't you? Why does their art have more "value" than yours?

It's rather ridiculous, putting it into words in a vacuum. Sure, there's objective skills, but generally speaking one's art doesn't have greater or lesser "value" depending on your skills. I also don't think having a degree of ego is necessarily bad per se - I think it's important to recognize the skills and abilities you have! And contrary to anxieties, you deserve to recognize them. But it is through these comparisons - comparing ourselves to other artists - that we become so hyper-aware in how we perceive ourselves in such a way that it warps our very judgement of that.

And although some artists can use that comparison as a means of inspiration and motivation to get better, for the rest of us mentally ill folks? All it does is make us mad. The comparison you make in your head is a means to get you uncomfortable, to get you upset. All that comparison does is harm. It harms you, it harms that other artist, and it continues to push that narrative that your art is only worthwhile depending on your age. That you can only git gud if you start young, and that you shouldn't bother getting into art when you're older. When in truth, it's so much more than that - anyone, regardless of their age, can create art. Anyone can cook.

Confession time: I was one of those “talented artist kids” when I was younger. I used to draw in this super gorgeous, painterly art style that all my friends - including those older than me - would fawn over. I reveled in that shit as a teenager.

I was also woefully lacking in the foundational department. It wasn’t something I cared much about - those exercises were like watching paint dry, and I didn’t want to draw hands ad infinitum. That’s boring! I wanted to draw my blorbos from my shows! And I wanted to draw them beautifully. So I did.

I was also, again, a teenager. So with all the art I did, spending days if not weeks on a single drawing, without any concept of fundamentals besides finding shit online on the fly, what did that get me?

Carpal tunnel and a very complex relationship with my art.

I burnt out bad at the near end of the 2010’s, beginning of 2020. I had split from my friend group at the time, from whom that ego was fed through, and now I was “alone”. I was still in my Destiny clan, yes, but now separate from a group of literal artists I no longer had the drive I once had. That’s not to say the friend group was all sunshine and roses - this is the group that had the “fat people shouldn’t exist” artist I mentioned previously in another blog post - but I do think art is a fundamentally communal thing. To improve, we need to participate, to consume the art of others and to create our own for others to consume. I mourn the lack of spaces for artists to be cringe and free nowadays - most social medias are very generalist, and as a result, intentionally or unintentionally hostile to artists. It is important, as artists, to be around other artists!

Not to mention the resource draw was too much: the sheer amount of time and effort needed for me to do art was far greater than I was willing to expend. Again, I developed really bad carpal tunnel that I still deal with to this day. Do your stretches before you draw, please, for the love of all things holy and unholy.

I became almost traumatized by my own art. These reminders of what I once was, and what I could never be again. Pretty much all of the art I drew from that time has ceased to exist, floating around on some private Discord servers or my private Imgur account or Skype or Pinterest or something. All my original files from the time have been cooked. Gone. Blown to smithereens. Obliterated. No more. They do not exist.

I started drawing again sometime in mid 2021. I used my funny pandemic money I squirreled away to buy an iPad with an Apple Pencil from some OSU student off Craigslist. I initially got the iPad to read my college textbooks at work, with the intention of maybe coaxing myself to draw again. It took time getting used to, going from some screenless XP-Pen tablet connected to my PC to an actual screen tablet, but in time, I got the hang of it and ended up preferring it. It's the predominant device I use for drawing now.

I also realized I couldn’t draw like I used to. Maybe it was the format, maybe it was my abilities deteriorating, but I couldn’t get a feel for the painterly art style I once had. Not to mention my perception of my art skills being out of flux - what was once impressive was now uncanny valley. I hated it. This only worsened not only my perception of my old art, but of my current art. It wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t impressive. My skills were decayed. Can’t believe how far I fell off.

At some point, I said, “fuck it, we’re trying something different”. And I did. I lowered my expectations for myself: instead of going for that painterly style, I played around with a loose and fast sketchy style, with simple shapes and faces and gentle watercolor colors. It took time to get used to, but eventually, it “clicked”. And as an added bonus, I could finish things super fast!

But that dread was still there. Why am I, a 20 something, bothering with what looks like children's book drawings instead of the gorgeous, painterly style I once did?

Like, objectively, I can’t keep killing myself while I draw. That shit took the wind out of me even when I was younger. And I improved on one thing younger me could never do - finish things quickly. But on the emotional level: I was upset because I felt my old art had a higher "value" than my newer art. That I was no longer the "talented young adult" I once was, and that I was just "some guy who draws on the Internet". My luster had dulled, I thought.

In my teens had beef with an artist older than me for a variety of reasons, mostly petty (brooooo my blorbo scrungly special interest boy would NAWT say/do that), though some reasonable (they were best friends with this 30 something guy that creeped on and tried to coerce cybersex from numerous 14-16 y.o girls - myself included - and still associated with him despite numerous people telling them about it. No clue if they still do now, not interested in finding out). But one of the most important things they tried to pass on to me was to not aim for perfection, aim for completion - and sometimes completion is much less than you expect it to be. You make very little artistic progress when you pour yourself into an art piece for weeks at a time without any room to breathe. I never internalized it at the time because again, the beef could rival an Arby’s, but as I got older I recognized the importance of that.

Furthermore: what’s helped me get through it is to check my ego. It applies here, too: the Artist I Was existed at some point. But the Artist I Was isn’t the Artist I Am, not anymore at least. I don’t have the time I used to have, nor the energy. My art style reflects this. Sure, the Artist I Was isn’t going to feel bad ‘cause they no longer exist, but the same applies - what use does it have to self-flaggelate over skills I “used to have” (or in comparison to other artists - what use does it have to self-flaggelate over skills someone else, who is literally not you, has)? A well adjusted artist may see it as a means to get better, but when you’re riddled with anxiety, with overwhelmingly low self esteem, it does nothing but hurt.

It’s better to chokehold that hurt I feel - how powerless I feel now as an artist in comparison to what I once was - and recognize that hurt is internal. My self-esteem is hurt doing this. Why? Like how it is egotistical to be offended at the idea of a younger artist being “better” than you, it is similarly egotistical to be offended at your younger *self* being “better” than you. Sure, there’s the added layer of “what could’ve been”, but also - it amounts to getting upset over maybes. Possibilities. Things you cannot control.

In truth, there are so many variables to it that comparing yourself to others is not only a disservice to you, but to them, too. As other artists are different from you, so too are you from your younger self. They may not deal with the same issues or even illnesses or disabilities that you face. If they do, it might not be as severe as you. And even if it is - does it really matter, in the long run? You are you, as you are now. You are doing the best you can with the ability you have. You can always strive to do better, sure, but constantly giving yourself shit’s only gonna make you hate art.

Practice and study the artists you like, be constructive and not destructive, and above all - be kind and patient to yourself.

It’s meaningless for me to feel shame about being “worse” at art now, because how I go about art - accommodating my abilities and lack thereof - is part of my artistic experience as much as it is a fundamental part of me. Not to mention the change allowed me to improved in ways the Artist I Was wishes they could’ve: notably, I finish drawings in a couple hours, instead of a couple weeks. I’ve also improved with drawing more diverse characters, no longer bound to drawing things to appease my friends. And most importantly: I enjoy the process. With a faster workflow, I can see my ideas come to life faster. Sure, it’s not 1:1, but it’s something, you know?

And I can always experiment, I can always try for more if I wanted to. But in all, I am doing what I can. We all are. And that’s okay.

February 24th, 2024 - Adieu, Tumblr

Last night, I deleted my entire Tumblr account - the last "major" social media I was using (Discord and Pinterest don't really count to me - I'm not in any super huge Discord servers to be social in and I have never once interacted with anyone solely within Pinterest in the time I've used it). It's rather cliche to announce your departure from a website, but Tumblr played a large role in my life, so I wanted to write about it.

I'm a little sad about it, but despite the current ongoing events (which I'll get to later), I think I really just needed an excuse to be done with it already. It was the last thing stopping me from kicking my analytics obsession, the bane of all artist types on the Internet. It'd be remiss of me to not recognize the privilege in being able to just jump ship, especially when I know of so many that rely on social media as a core part of their businesses that help put food on the table. I've emphasized before, making the exodus from major social medias to the Indie/Small/Personal/90's e-LARPer Web (what is the general term for "websites that exist outside of the major Internet at Large", anyway?) is career suicide. Although the prospect of having your own site has become more in vogue what with the platform decay of major social medias, it is still a fairly niche prospect. Plus, many of my friends still use major social medias as a way to keep in touch. Still, though my Tumblr following was considerably larger than that of my Neocities, it's not something I rely on for anything other than serotonin and sating that aforementioned analytics obsession, so it lends me the privilege to hit the bricks.

I’ve used Tumblr since 2014 - a really long time for some folks, not very long for others that have been around since the beginning in the mid-2000's. I think the main appeal of it was the art and fandom culture there. Unlike sites like Twitter or Instagram, where initial impressions are core, Tumblr’s more slow-paced environment encouraged looking at and interacting with everything, including your older posts. “Spam likes” and “spam reblogs”, while a blockworthy offense in other social medias, is encouraged on Tumblr. Lauded, even. In terms of social medias for artists, it’s probably among the least hostile towards the visual (and even audio) arts without being a proper DeviantART/Artstation replacement, though the whispers of a supposed deal with Midjourney could obliterate that notion, or in a less fatalistic sense, definitely sour it.

Regardless - it's a given that this quirky, fandom-centric site would also become the place many queer and/or neurodivergent call it home. Tumblr feels more “niche” than more contemporary social medias, less “corporate”, though that feeling beyond its userbase is more or less just veneer. It has received both affection and loathing for the kind of place it is on the Internet. That being said, Tumblr is also whatever it is you make of it, and my experiences as a serial fandom shitposter artist on the site differ from that of, say, activism-focused pages or aesthetic pages. It can be a vitriol-filled cesspool as much as it can be a place of comfort and positivity. Still, there are some constants with the eccentric folks that live there, with in-jokes and heritage posts most are familiar with aplenty.

Tumblr’s had a lot of issues over the years, some more grievous than others. The Tumblr team itself has been known for being rather tone deaf towards its own userbase at large and making rather dubious changes most people do not want, though some dubious choices such as the late Tumblr Live and its successor Tumblr TV (as far as I can tell) are choices not from the team itself but rather Automattic et. al. trying to find new ways to draw blood from stone. There is, also, the famous porn bans of late 2018 driving a significant portion of the userbase away to the likes of Twitter and obliterating much of the revenue Tumblr had - most for the simple fact of porn being banned, but also notably how it disproportionately affected queer users on the site to the point of a settlement with the NYC's Commission on Human Rights. Not to mention the evergreen issue of spam pornbots flooding popular tags with malicious links rendering the porn ban redundant and the Tumblr team’s reoccurring inaction or even advocation to the abuse and silencing of marginalized users while touting the site as “the queerest place on the internet”. That’s not to say some of these issues are exclusive to Tumblr, however it is these issues compounded together over time that have damaged Tumblr’s reputation and driven users off the site. There is, also, the numerous controversies involved with many vocal users on the site.

The targeted harassment and censorship of trans women on Tumblr is a notable point of contention for queer users on the site. This particular point came to a head recently what with predstrogen, a trans woman who was banned for posting before and after transition pictures which were deemed "too explicit" despite being fully clothed and wearing common punk accessories, being personally targeted by Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, going so far as to be harassed by Matt off-site, on Twitter. Now on sabbatical until May, the Tumblr staff are now left playing damage control and have made a response approved by the interim CEO Toni Schneider. Though this is better than nothing, it is nothing but hollow words, pixels on a screen - and still is functionally nothing for all the trans folks that have been driven off the site, and does nothing for Avery who was personally singled out. It is infinitely frustrating to me how few social medias are actually committed to the safety and well-being of its marginalized users, especially during a time where our very rights are at stake.

Looking at it on a macro level, the situation with Tumblr is but a small part of the overarching enshittification of modern social medias. From chronically online CEOs that make magnitudes more money than the peons that reside on their site showing their entire assholes to the world to companies trying their damnedest to make as much money off of unprofitable social medias at the expense of the very platform they manage, shit sucks! But that's more or less just preaching to the choir here, where everyone dogs on social media. It's not without cause, I mean, see above - but it is where the people are.

At the very least, that’s one source of distraction and doomscrolling I can finally take off my list, to the relief of my girlfriend. While I feel social medias are a neutral digital place, it’s important to identify when it starts to cause issues for you, and in the case of Tumblr - yeah.

If you are a fellow Tumblr user looking to exit, the only thing I have to add is to export your blog. It's an option in your blog settings, right before the option to delete it. It'll take some time, but it exports all your posts, messages, and content to a big ol' ZIP file for you to keep forever.

In the meantime - most of the links referencing the Fatgrrlz Tumblr blog have been taken down, and I've began setting up an RSS feed for the website to serve as a means for providing updates on the site.

January 29th, 2024 - Neocities Review

Today (January 28th), I reached a milestone: I reached a hundred followers on Neocities.

While arbitrary measurements of success like followers do nothing to cultivate a positive relationship between an artist and their art - especially with followers, since eyes on your work does not equal engagement to it and to you, and not all attention is good attention - I’d be a total liar if I said seeing my funny little site hit triple digits didn’t feel nice. It does. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about my site going from Baby’s First HTML Page to a half-decent little personal site.

And like, as well, there’s this pessimistic part of me that laments about how despite working on my site for an extended amount of time, I never really did progress my knowledge of HTML beyond rather simple shit, experimenting for hours on end, and lots of Googling and sifting through Stack Overflow and Reddit for answers. That I fundamentally spent six months playing digital dress-up and that I’m an embarrassment to actual developers. What do you mean you don’t know how to implement a static site generator? Fucking poser. Shred your Bachelor’s degree. And it’s like, yeah, yeah. I know. I think I ought to do better. I constantly feel like a liar and horribly out of my depth when in the company of actual frontend devs (and why I left 32-bit Cafe - no slight on them, they’re great, I’m just anxious). But that’s okay - this is a hobby for me. I’ll be limited, sure, but with my site’s scope, I think it’s fine. Not to say it’s bad to keep learning, but keeping my expectations low helps with keeping my frustrations low, too.

Back on track: I think some funny celebratory things are in order - namely, more free-to-use graphics for use on the indie / personal web. But I also wanted to take a moment to give the host my site’s called home since one hot July afternoon a proper look over. A review of sorts, as a hobbyist that’s used it for a while now (I’ve been on Neocities since before Fatgrrlz - I made a funny gallery with some Destiny fanart I made while trying to decompress from my very stressful capstone project while in college - it looked boring (I was literally just emulating the web design of various fashion designers - the drab black and white minimalist digital platform to serve funny images of sparkly dresses), but it was fun).

From a layman user using a static host standpoint, I think the site does what it’s supposed to. It hosts static pages. Having to clear your cache when you update to see if anything’s broken is a pain in the ass, but I’ve found that opening your website in an Incognito tab works as a workaround. The 1GB size limit has been fine for me so far, though those that are hosting large images (ie fellow artists) may want to consider hosting them elsewhere to avoid hitting the limit if you’re not interested in decreasing the quality or using .webp’s to shrink their file size (putting in a reminder to myself to convert my larger images to that…).

I think the on-site site file manager kind of sucks. You can only manage one file at a time, making deleting multiple files at a time a pain. Oftentimes it’s very slow to navigate as well, making sites that have very nested directories a slog to update. The editor itself is serviceable, though I feel regardless of how good it is, I think more folks should be aware of local code editors to develop good coding habits (ie having backups in case you need to roll back changes). I like the drag and drop option but sometimes it bugs out, mainly if you upload multiple files at a time or drag in a folder with files inside.

Neocities is particular about file extension capitalization, so a file that ends in .png will not appear if the HTML says it’s .PNG - probably one of my biggest issues with updating my site.

I think the social and discoverability aspects of Neocities kinda suck - though at the same time, due to many old web practices Neocities sites have taken on (ie buttons & sharing sites on their website, commenting on guestbooks and chatboxes), it’s comparatively a nonissue. For many, the whole point of Neocities is to rid themselves of social medias. You’re supposed to discover people’s websites through exploring pages - finding site buttons, sifting through webrings, it’s intended to be slow and organic, not fast and algorithmic. You can even opt out of the social aspects of Neocities proper in the account settings. It could even be argued that Neocities’s social aspects being shit is the literal point - to stop you from trying to treat Neocities as a not-like-the-other-girls Twitter and just use it as a site host. Which, at that point, why have the social media parts at all? To coerce zoomers into getting into the indie web by way of drip feeding them “familiar” social media aspects that are just terrible enough to turn them away from using them? I fuckin’ guess.

Regardless - I’m going to assume that the social media parts are there in earnest and just suck, and write about some potential ideas for improvements.

Websites Section

Neocities’s Website section is a literal meme for how utterly dead it seems. I think the first problem is that it defaults to Most Followed - it (and the Featured sort) both have issues in that most of the sites listed haven’t been updated in years with their webmasters having long abandoned their sites. Not to mention those who are active are wracked with a degree of digital clout, in a way that dehumanizes the person behind the site as “one of the big guys”. One of the most apt examples of this is Sadgrl’s description of how being capital t The most popular page on Neocities is like in her updated manifesto:

As a brief aside, it brings me much 'ick' to acknowledge that my website is at the top of Neocities "most followed" sites. This was my experience being 'parasocialed' against my will: what started as a spotlight on my space quickly started feeling like a target on my back. Because I have amassed thousands of followers, I have apparently somehow become less human, less approachable, and more easily abstracted into an idea or a concept. It's easier for people to wonder aloud about me and my personal life in social spaces, or to publicly cast judgment on my actions, or in some cases, create untrue stories about my actions to begin with. It's an intensely unpleasant and dehumanizing experience.

Like, I'm not the biggest fan of Sadgrl for my own reasons, but I empathize all the same as someone who also helmed popular accounts online in the past. Shit sucks! At a certain point in popularity, your personhood is revoked from you. And it begs the question: why is it, on a platform whose whole thing is moving away from the ideals of typical social medias, we end up repeating those very same ills? That even in this “indie web” environment, we’re still stuck in this game of numbers as status symbols and clout? The website list page, in its current state, only further contributes to that numbers game that so many have come on Neocities as an escape from.

I think a simple solution, before diving into algorithmic messes to make it “fairer” for more active sites (though at the same time - maybe some sites are okay with just being left as-is for years on end, not everything needs to constantly be shiny new), is to just make the Last Updated option the default sort for the Websites page. As a default sort, it removes the prestige of digital clout of being “the most followed” to anonymous visitors checking out Neocities in favor of just showing whatever’s currently being worked on. Yes, this does open the potential for abuse, but I think Neocities’s handling of one-update-per-day kind of works as a band-aid for that abuse. Plus, I think it supports the core idea of Neocities - that being, a “return to form” in having and maintaining your own website, and moving away from how clout-driven “typical” social medias are.

User / Site Pages

In regards to site pages, I think there is room for improvement.

One of the larger complaints I’ve seen is that it’s a pain to manage the activity section. The way webmasters use it depends on person to person - some use it strictly for updates, others use it to discuss their site and plans with it in general, and some just use it as an alternate, shittier Twitter.

I think there could be the option of having a dedicated change log section, separate from the activity / comments section. While many users have actual change logs on their site proper, some - like me - use the activity page as a “running” change log on the activity page of their user page where we make brief comments describing what was changed on the site. I think the caveat could be that people can comment on updates in the comment/response section, whereas the change log is solely for changes made to the site. Give users following a particular website the ability to filter out comments, so that they can decide if their main activity page should be inundated with funny haha meme posts or solely updates, no fluff needed. I think nested comments and replies could be useful as well for discussions.

In relation to profiles: I think there should be a de-emphasis of the numbers game and more of an emphasis on the actual websites themselves - it is what makes Neocities, Neocities, after all. The number of Views/Followers should be relegated to a sidebar in smaller text, hidden in a page only accessible by the webmaster, or just hidden entirely a la Tumblr. In its place, webmasters could provide a brief summary on what their site is about, and maybe enable them the ability to share up to three other Neocities profiles/sites of their choice. This also helps in discoverability in that users that stumble across your site could check out other sites in addition.

I think having content-related flags on the site profile could also be useful on the profile side of things. Stuff like “responsive design / desktop only”, “18+ content”, “epilepsy warning” can inform visitors previewing the site from the profile page of potential issues that may arise when entering or navigating their website. Sure, the opt-in nature of this may make it rather ineffective (plus, people that ignore it outright by going to the site directly), especially for sites that haven’t been updated in a long time, but I think having the option could be beneficial for those browsing Neocities. I’m also not sure how it could be implemented in a way that can’t be abused, ie a site saying it’s responsive when it is not.

I think a similar, more fun opt-in option for user pages that could even be monetized is the use of profile badges. Account age badges are a given freebie (ie those Steam badges that say X years), but also - being able to spend, like, idunno, fifty cents or something to gift a user a badge because their site is really cute, or they Just Like That Site or some shit. The badges shouldn’t have any meaningful impact (outside of being another avenue of giving money to the site), but if there’s something I’ve learned from Reddit (and Tumblr, Twitter et al), it’s that people love spending a ton of money on useless shit, so why not. It’s not something I’d spend money on, but I know of more than a few that would. Again, I could see this being an opt-in option where people who don’t want it, don’t have to have it. Yeah, it’s stupid, but as far as I can tell nobody really takes them seriously elsewhere. Fuck it, why not.

That’s all I can think of currently. I imagine I’ll be able to think up more later.

January 24th, 2024 - On Being Fat | CW: Fatphobia, NSFW, Suicidal Ideation, Body Dysmorphia, Body Gore

Ever since I was a kid, I was always fat. Among my half-dozen siblings and I, I'm the biggest by a wide margin - most of my siblings, save my younger sister who appears to be almost the textbook definition of 2000's runway model (of no fault of her own - predisposition for thinness from our father's side + high needs autism + sensory issue hell makes for a not fun combo) range from slim to pretty solidly midsized. 

There was something my mom would say fairly frequently - she'd say that once I hit puberty, I'd look more like a "real woman" like her, with wide hips and tits and a narrower waist. Well, a solid decade later and I found her prediction to be pretty off: if I wear a sports bra and keep my hair short, people will mistaken me for a very short fat man. And I actually have been! Nowadays, that's a compliment for me as someone with more fluid interests in gender expression, but 12-year-old me was less than thrilled at the prospect of looking like a dude, and these affirmations ending up not exactly hitting that target dealt quite a bit of damage on me as a then-teen. 

And those "uplifting" expressions from her were skin deep - she'd still attempt and fail to stick the myriad of diets she tried over the years, and would often try to force me into them as well. She frequently commented on her own weight, and on mine as well. She'd complain that finding clothes for me was difficult - I started wearing adult clothes by the time I was around 11 or 12, getting clothes from the same stores my mom did - typically Goodwill, though sometimes Lands’ End or Fashion Bug if my mom felt like being a little more spendy. Being in middle of nowhere, Ohio, we obviously weren't the most fashion forward folks, but dressing like my 60 y.o. teachers wasn't exactly the most supporting for my self esteem either.

At around the time of my early teens, there was still definitely an emphasis on being skinny, but the concept of "curvy" started to appear - being fat, but being the right kind of fat, where you had big titties and a fat ass and a curvaceous hourglass figure (or at the very least, *always* having a bigger hip than waist) and not being *too* fat lest you teeter into "ugly hog" territory - a similar idea to the one my mom would insist I'd transform into a few years after I started bleeding profusely outta the pussy. 

But seeing that I wasn't developing like my mom said I would, teen me was led to believe that I was somehow born wrong. Like, I liked being a girl, and I wanted to be a girl, but I wasn't a "real girl", so to speak. A "real girl" would've been a sexy curvy babe by now. Why are my hips so narrow? Why are my boobs so small, and why is one so much smaller than the other? I developed this almost vitriolic hatred for my midsection especially - because "real girls" didn't have big fat guts, as far as my teen self could tell.

While I wouldn't consider my body dysmorphia to be the sole purpose for my suicidal ideation in my teens, it was a large part of it. I believed that I was born as a mistake, and that mistakes shouldn't exist. Therefore, I shouldn't exist. I was public enemy number 1 to myself, for simply being what I was.

At my lowest points, I would have these reoccurring dreams of taking a knife or even my own nails to the "undesirable" parts of my body and carving or ripping it out, and stitching myself back together. They were horrible, bloody, visceral. I could see the lumps of fat drenched in my own blood in my hands, I could taste the overwhelming copper in my mouth. And in the mirror in my bedroom, I'd finally see myself as the "real girl" I was "meant" to be. And I'd always cry myself awake, still in my "not real girl" body.

That's fucked, man.

To contrast in an almost backwards kinda way: I've always had this almost exclusive interest for people like me, fat people - it's my type, I guess. I've had struggles with it, even long after after recognizing and coming to terms with my bisexuality. Cause like, there's this persistent belief that fat people aren't real people, merely people-in-progress waiting for or trying to force that glow up where they "finally slim down" to happen. You're not supposed to be into fat people. Because fat people are gross. Being fat is bad. You're not allowed to like it. And because it's a taboo sort of thing, it obviously comes with all the shame and discomfort of partaking in a taboo thing. You're not supposed to find fat people attractive.

It's strange, to me, looking back. And even now. I still get anxious over it, in a pearl-clutching, don't-you-dare-show-your-ankles kind of way. My girlfriend has lampshaded this anxiety, in that I get so scared of my own sexuality that I'll try and hide that sexuality from literally the very person I have sex with (who also happens to be a very queer transfemme furry woman - like, she considers the things I find hot practically vanilla to the kinds of shit buried in her Twitter likes, this shit's chump change for her). I see something I find attractive, I think "wow, that's hot", the anxiety creeps, I close the tab, and the guilt sets. I can't be seen with this. It's bad. I'm terrible. Wow. I hope whatever God thing out there forgives me for my fuckup, because I sure as shit can't forgive myself.

I think as well, with nowadays especially as I age, I become more aware of the issues fat people like me, and those bigger than me, face - from limited clothing options to being underrepresented in media, to horrific medical malpractices that prioritize to a violent degree to shed one's weight over any other significantly more life-threatening issue they may have, to the diet industry relying on people's fear of being or becoming fat to exist, to the sheer discrimination and ire fat people face on a daily basis for simply existing and taking up space. Every day, we are constantly reminded that our wholly being is wrong, and that being fat is a moral failing that must be corrected, or that we shouldn't exist at all. There's this ever present bitter taste on my tongue, pulling up art or whatever for my own gratification and reminding myself of this. This is bad, I shouldn't feel this way. It's exploitative.

In truth, I feel it's a shade of grey - I think "being into fat people is no different from being into blondes or people wearing glasses or anything else people consider a 'type'" and "it's important to recognize the societal problems fat people face and not treat them as objects for self-gratification, because it further contributes to those problems" are two statements that can coexist and are both true.

Pulling this narrative back down to the personal level - it's rather strange, isn't it? That I can simultaneously be attracted to something on someone else that I find abhorrent on myself. Take for example, that girlfriend of mine, my beloved Annie - she's literally shaped like me, to a T, sans 50 pounds. And I find her wildly attractive. She's so cute! And there's things about her that are unique to her that I love - her crooked nose (she's very self-conscious about it because it was broken years ago and never was put back in place, but I find it adorable), she has a great butt, she has the prettiest brown puppy dog eyes I've ever seen in my life, among other things, to keep it SFW. I love her a lot. All of her. And she loves me for me. But I find it difficult to love me for me, despite having the same things as her.

To attack these thoughts: what does these anxieties I have towards my own body tell her, Bee?


I've been an artist for as long as I remember - I was one of those ex-gifted kids, you know my ass was doodling cringy uncanny valley drawings of anime girlies in my school notes since I could hold a pencil. I've been sharing art online since around 2011, when I made a DeviantART account and lied about my age like half the users on that website did. At that point, I knew that drawing fat people in earnest equaled being a degenerate freak (y'know, because the only art people ever really saw of fat characters was gainer fetish art online), so needless to say I avoided it like the plague. Over the years, I hopped from fandom to fandom, and eventually settled with some online MMO sometime in 2014. Some time after, I had also gotten in good favor with a very popular artist that was a few years older than me that I looked up to and joined their Skype group.

At some point, I wanted to start drawing chubbier people - not quite fat, because that's still in the realm of "cringe", but something a little more like me, even if it's a slimmer facsimile. I had made this fandom OC (looking back, I’m 95% certain it was literally a self insert - it was like, 2014, lay off me) that happened to also be plus sized that became a comfort character of mine. We (and several other artists) drew a lot of art for one another, though the art they drew for my main OC specifically was few and far between, and when they *were* drawn they were almost always downsized to being slightly larger than everyone else - but most of the time everyone just drew my other, straight sized characters. Sometime further down the road during the twilight years of the friendship, I asked this particular friend why they avoided my favorite one.

Turned out, they outright refused to draw fat people because they “didn't want fetishists seeing their art”. They were so disgusted by the mere thought of fat people existing that they simply didn't exist in their artistic vision. Because to them, fat people are nothing but fetish material.

I obviously don't hold what they said against them now because it’s been literal years since I had even last spoken with them. It would be silly and childish to hold a grudge. But I cannot deny that what they said, specifically coming from them, stuck to me. That you could only draw fat people if you were a) some cringe ass ess jay dubya that people will harass, suicide bait, and what have you, or b) a fat fetishist, because *only* a deviant would do something as daring as depicting fat people in fiction - because think really hard, why would you? And remember, this is fresh in the wake of GamerGate and the popularization of respectability politics and not-like-the-other-girls-ing your way into the favor of oppressors, so anything "politically correct" (i.e. portraying people's fatness as a neutral kind of thing) was literal heresy. And you didn't want to rock the boat with your friends, would you? You don't want to be seen as a freak, do you? You don't want to be alone, do you?

And it's like, being an almost-18-year-old at the time, I kinda just went: fuck dude, okay. Guess I'm a freak. Bye.

So from when I turned 18, I drew fat fetish art for a couple years under a throwaway handle. Because at the time, I believed that it was just a natural part of my artistic progression. I was a fat person who was into fat people, and the only people that could ever be attracted to them are fetishists, therefore I must’ve been one. Looking back, I have a lot of mixed feelings about the entire experience. Like, I did have some positive experiences meeting and interacting with fellow fat queer folks in the space, and it also gave me a better understanding of my own sexuality - and was the beginning of what made me recognize the internalized fatphobia that held me by a death grip for my entire life. Cause as it turns out - fat people are hot! Goddamn. It was liberating, being able to see people like me in a light that's attractive, desirable. It felt good to see people like me feeling good.

And, well, it also exposed me to the uncomfortable and obvious presence of fetishists and chasers. I'm thankful that during my time that actual, genuine creeps were few and far between, but they were always still there, whether I liked it or not. And creeps and chasers are a prevalent occurrence for fat people on social media that present themselves publicly, whether it's sex workers plugging their OnlyFans or fat people doing their own thing and simply existing. And even as I enjoyed drawing the NSFW art (whodathunk, fat girl who likes fat girls likes drawing fat girls), there was dread crawling under my skin because it never felt right to me. And it's like, yeah, no shit Sherlock, the people fetishistic towards a particular marginalized group don't see them as actual people because they literally view them as a means to an end (that end being, splorting their gourd on their $300 keyboard). No amount of trying to curate the people that interact with you and your content and blocking literal creeps is going to change that fact. But it reinforces this inner conflict that still goes on in my to this day: is me, a fat person, being into fat people really okay? Is this okay?

Like, I was more aware of the issues fat people face at the time, and being a fat person myself, it's important for me to recognize those issues. But my peers didn't really give a shit, and that bothered me a lot - again, no shit Sherlock. Some in fat fetish circles even cite the idea of fat fetishism as a form of freedom, and like, is it really though? To be taken from being subject to being an object of humiliation and torment (derogatory) to an object of humiliation and torment (horny)? Like, enabling fat people the empowerment to feel attractive, to feel sexy, is an objectively good thing - but not when it also robs those very same fat people of their personal agency. I don't fucking know man, there's probably someone that's written this kind of thing in a more eloquent and well thought-out way than some autistic girlie staying up way too late on a work night to power her way through finishing this damn blog post a whole three people are gonna read and go "damn, that's rough, buddy". 

Furthermore: these experiences also built a degree of otherness, of "not-like-the-other-girls"ing of my own. I'm not going up to random fat people in person or on the Internet and being a creep towards them. Any time I think about anything sexual, it's in the comfort and privacy of my own home. There's no harm, no foul. So why do I feel all this guilt and shame about literal fucking thoughts?

Well, because my brain still functionally associates being attracted to fat people as a fetish, an outlier, a deviance, something that is fundamentally wrong with me. But the fact is this: being fat is not a moral failing, nor a sexual deviance - it is simply something you are, it's neutral. That's why I took on Fatgrrlz as my current handle. It's important to me for me to draw art of fat people, not just being hot but just in general. It's fun, it's interesting, it's me. It helps me internalize being fat as a neutral state, that it's something I can simply be. And we can be anything.

I'm okay with being a fat person. Yeah, that limits me in some ways, but it's more healthy for me mentally to just accept it as it is and work towards making myself healthier for the sake of my actual health (i.e. taking vitamins so I can stop being a Vitamin D-deficient bitch, going on walks with my girlfriend more so that I don't ache as much, actually eating more than one small pittance of a meal a day so I can actually function) than shackle myself to the chains of the dieting industry chasing that siren call of a smaller size. But there's this struggle in me that still remains - that despite trying to adopt the idea of body neutrality towards myself and to others, I still have this reflexive shame. That sucks.

To tie this off - I spoke at length about it (and sexuality in general) with my girlfriend - she's significantly more well-acclimated to her own gender and sexuality than I am. I admire her for it. She made a point to compare my experiences being a fat person attracted to other fat people to that of her being trans and being attracted to other trans people. She emphasized that, while it's important for me to maintain awareness, I also shouldn't be so damn anxious over my own sexuality. She pointed out how it's almost like this Catholic guilt to me (a very not-Catholic person), that because this part of me sees my thoughts and desires as a theft of agency to someone my brain literally made up, a moral wrong I've committed, that I'm robbing myself of my own agency as a person with their own sexual needs and desires. It's breaching thought crime territory, and I'm getting ready to turn my ass in. It's not going to absolve my animosity, but it is something for me to think about.

December 12th, 2023 - Stuck at the Kid’s Table - On Alcohol and Adulthood | CW: Alcoholism

One of the biggest topics I’ve found people to be at-odds with me with is alcohol. I think I’ve had far more people in interpersonal relationships give me shit over not drinking than anything else.

Like, I don’t drink alcohol at all. It’s a total 100% no-go for me. I don’t mind it if my girlfriend drinks, though from what I’ve gathered she has yet to actually find a drink that tastes good to her, so I haven’t had to experience how she is drunk. A lot of these feelings definitely revolve around my own anxieties towards drinking, though it’s important to point out my hypocrisy when you factor in that I’m totally fine with having some Fun Weed Adventures on an occasional Saturday. But, Idunno man. A lot of things are hypocritical and nonsensical, and my thoughts on alcohol are predominantly on what I imbibe, nobody else. I don’t consider my stance some high-and-mighty “I’m better than you lowly drunks” thing, because it’s not - I don’t feel comfortable at the thought of being drunk, so I don’t drink. It's not my place to tell other adults what to do in their spare time. I’m comfortable getting high in the comfort and privacy of my own home, so I do that. Simple as. I don’t care if other people get drunk. But it fucking sucks that people expect you to justify not drinking, especially as someone that does do weed as if someone that does drugs from time to tome ought to be a connoisseur of all things mind-altering.

There’s this work event coming up, and one of my coworkers had asked if I wanted to go. I said that I didn’t have any plans on going, and they asked why. The event in question was getting dressed up to go to a venue for an award ceremony dinner, then going bar crawling. Why would I want to do that? I’d rather just stay home. Like, I like maintaining an amicable acquaintance with my coworkers, but as I’ve expressed in a previous post - the second I walk out my workplace’s office, I don’t know you people. I’m especially not interested in learning how you people are drunk. I obviously did not say this to my coworker, because that’s really asshole-y, but I just said that I don’t like alcohol so I’d pass. They gave me the whole song and dance with “oh, it’d be fun! plus the company pays for it!”, but I’d rather that money be spent on my paycheck, thanks I guess?

I do have a degree of bias: when I was a kid, my father drank Millers every night like it was his religion. The rest of our family on his side were some flavor of perpetual drunk, whether that’s beers with the boys and being mad at Ohio State for getting its ass beat by Michigan again or the wine aunts getting together to bitch about their families. It’s a total me thing, but I’ve seen myself become addicted to (and for some, still dealing with) various other addictive things: caffeine and gacha games with big titty babes to name a few. I feel like if I tried drinking, I’d fall into that same, very expensive rabbit hole, y’know? It’s scary. I don’t want to end up like my father. Especially what with how he was when he was drunk.

With being under the influence, I’ve never gotten drunk but I have gotten high a few times. It’s even on my website, I like to take a half or full 10MG gummy sometime during the weekend to relax and hang out. I haven’t quite found a “perfect” or even really “good” gummy for me, the only thing I’ve learned is that sativas really only make me more anxious, which is something I don’t need more of. I like Wyld’s strawberry hybrid gummies, though they taste a little too weed-y for me.

But regardless - when I’m high, it’s difficult for me to measure just how functional I actually am. I’ll think I’m okay, but I’ll get up and my everything just becomes jelly and my clumsiness gets ramped up to 11. There’s this fear in me that I don’t know how I’m going to be drunk - it’s a bit of a Pandora’s box to me that I’m afraid of opening. And like, I’ve seen sad drunks (my mom) and outright violent drunks (my father) out of my own family, and plain asshole drunks out of numerous people. Why would I want to chance becoming like that, because I “might” have fun? Not to mention the places you get drunk at are typically public areas like bars - I don’t feel comfortable at the mere prospect of being high outside of my bedroom, let alone in public, and who knows how I’d be drunk? Especially in the age of social media and people filming strangers being "weird" on TikTok to make fun of them? No thanks.

That’s not to say I’ve never tried it - I’ve tasted a few different alcohols before - bourbon, beer, wines, one of those funny fruity drinks, vodka at some point - and they’re just not for me. All I taste is nail polish remover. Maybe it’s the basic chicken nugget ass autism girl dinner palette of mine, but alcohol is plain disgusting to me. No amount of fruity flavorings and sugary additives can change that.

All this to say, though, is when discussing going drinking or what have you and you end up admitting that you don’t drink, it’s like half a dozen pop-ups saying “Joe Schmoe hated that” appears. It’s as if your adult card is immediately revoked on the mere mention that you don’t drink - unless, of course, you had a “good excuse”, like recovering from alcoholism, or your religion prevents you from drinking alcohol, or that you’re pregnant, or that you have a specific cocktail of medications that, when combined with alcohol, will cause you to spontaneously combust. And for some people, even those aren’t good enough excuses, that it’s just one drink, why are you such a buzzkill? Maybe you wouldn’t be so uptight if you let loose once in your life.

And it’s like, at the end of the day, the people that give you shit over that of all things, their opinions do not matter. Not drinking doesn’t make me, or anyone else, any less of an adult. But it’s frustrating, trying to meet people as an adult and learning about them and their interests and suddenly being labeled as Literal Manchild because you don’t drink. I’ve always had issues with how I perceive myself, and how others perceive me, as an adult. Maybe it’s something that is residual from the lockdowns, or just another Funny Autism Thing, but I feel as though most people talk down at me, rather than talk to me. As if I’m “adult lite”, because I act weird, or I like cutesy things, or I like playing video games, or I’m always packing very simple and “lame” kids field trip looking ass lunches for work instead of dropping $15+ a day on eating out somewhere, or I don’t drink.

There’s something to be said about the noticeable infantilization of younger generations including mine, but at the same time - I think a lot of the things people consider “adultlike” are rather arbitrary and quite frankly boring? Like, again, the drinking thing, but also the whole grindset workaholic money money money worship thing that I just cannot subscribe to, the interests and hobbies that are deemed “appropriate” for adults (ie “put down the video games and get a real hobby”), the blatantly arbitrary milestones and expectations people have - you’re supposed to have a degree, you’re supposed to have a well-paying job, you’re supposed to have a good car, you’re supposed to own a house, you’re supposed to get married (to a spouse of equal value, because if they’re rich you’re a leech and if they’re poor you’re being used, and god forbid you get with someone that is disabled or physically cannot work), you’re supposed to start a family. And if you dare stray from that, you’re a capital F failure. Like, dafuq?

Circling back to the whole drinking thing: the silver lining with living in Phoenix is that they do have a selection of third places to hang out and meet people where drinking to a stupor is not an expectation - places like the open-air malls with ample seating along the median, cafes that aren’t just Starbucks or Dunkin, and of course the parks and libraries scattered across the Valley. The issue with these, however, is they aren’t the most accessible. Phoenix is a meme for being a city built for cars, but outside of a few neighborhoods, you literally have to drive everywhere to get to said third places, or gamble on the reliability of public transport or rideshare services.

At the same time though, it’s an improvement to where I lived in Ohio, where your choices of third places are a) a bar or b) a church - slim pickings for a queer woman that doesn’t drink and wants to avoid religion where possible. And when you have a town with significantly more bars than functional transport services that operate after 6PM (that being: none), you get to meet many closeted or out and proud booze ‘n’ cruisers, as well as many folks with loved ones who’ve been killed by drunk drivers.

Idunno. All this to say that I wish it was easier to find friends as an adult, and moreso finding queer friendly places that aren’t just places to drink. Bars have their place and serve an important purpose, but it’s not the place for me, y’know? Maybe I oughta join a local book club or some shit.

November 9th, 2023 - The Indie Web and My Problems with the Social Media Panacea

I've noticed a bunch of my posts on Tumblr concerning webdev tips having a sharp uptick of activity. With Tumblr’s supposed death knell (I don't know, personally I think it'll just persist as the desiccated corpse the site has always been), I've found that there’s been a ton of people encouraging others to create their own website. Which is great! But there's some things to it that bother me, and this news has given me the push I need to complete writing this post. It’s a mostly a vent post - take it with a grain of salt.

The Indie Oasis

If you’ve been on the Indie Web space long enough, you may be familiar with (or even driven to the Indie Web by) the rallying cries of “taking the internet back” and “making (the internet) fun again”. Loads of website manifestos on various Neocities pages wax poetic on a return to form, to no longer be inundated with unfeeling algorithms or tyrannical egomaniac billionaires having a final say on the platform where the ability for millions to put food on the table and keeping the lights on are at stake.

I can’t say I disagree with this belief. Social media as we know it is a total dumpster fire in all fronts - Silicon Valley’s Icaruses have flown too close to the sun in the name of profit and we’re the ones being burned for it. The dopamine chase being fundamentally integrated in the design of modern social medias, the rampant usage of ads to datamine information from you for merely visiting a site. I've known artists and other creators lose their livelihoods because of accounts being banned or a change being made to the social medias they use that fucks over creators.

In this case, the prospect of the Indie Web sounds like a relief from this hell we’ve long called home on the Internet. However, I’ve always felt a degree of hesitation by the zealous recommendation to get into the Indie Web. Part of it has to do with my feelings on it being fueled by nostalgia (I’ll touch on that in a bit), part of it painting this hobby with a rather wide brush. Web design can be fun, and if you’re considering getting into the Indie Web, I highly encourage it! But I also think there’s a lot of preconceptions perpetuating by well meaning proponents of the Indie Web that I think prospective webdevs-in-the-making ought to be aware of.

First and foremost, for my fellow artists and creators - the Indie Web (or Old Web, or Slow Web, or what have you) sucks total ass for those trying to make a living or maintain a degree of a social life off of it. I treat my website like a garden I tend to, something that people visit and enjoy and learn from, but not necessarily the medium I use for keeping up with my friends. That's what social media is for, after all, it's the medium to be social, and I think that's something some don't realize: a fundamental part of the Indie Web is its slow, organic nature. Algorithms are nonexistent (and when they do, they’re terrible: the main popular site pages on Neocities are full of sites that haven’t been updated in literal years). On the Indie Web, you find other websites through exploring sites, through webrings, through adding people’s buttons to your site. It’s very fun! And business-wise, a terrible idea. If you are a content creator and opt to forgo social medias for the sake of joining the Indie Web, you are accepting that you will most likely take a very big hit on all fronts for very little return. You will most likely not make money off this. If you're alright with that, go for it (there are many independent creators that solely exist on the Indie Web) - but if that's your main moneymaker, it's probably not a wise use of your time unless you’re also living off of the Bank of Rich Parents or something.

Speaking on social media, a brief aside: Neocities's social media portion is terrible. In a way, it's kind of meant to be? The impression I had gotten from it was that the purpose of the Activity Feed is not to be treated like Twitter where you post whenever, but rather to discuss updates to yours - and others' - sites. It serves that purpose pretty okay, but when you have involved discussions with others it just gets messy. I don't mind using it too much, but if you want to forgo the social media portion entirely and just use it as a web host, you can do that (I think it's in the settings for your account). Anyone that tries to go to what would be your Neocities profile would be redirected to the site itself.

Back on track to the main point of my rant/vent/what have you: I think the issues I have with the Indie Web are twofold: many starry-eyed indie webdevs are so preoccupied with this preconceived notion of What The Internet Once Was due to nostalgia that they’re completely ignoring what the internet actually was - and that not all that is modern is bad; and that despite the dialog about “taking the Internet back”, most mediums for the Indie Web make it so that your site isn’t actually yours.

Back in My Day…

Let’s tackle the first point. When you think of the Indie Web, or the Old Web, what do you think of? For some, that’s crunchy Geocities sites (or something alluding to it like the fictional sites in media such as Hypnospace Outlaw). For others, it’s old mid 2000’s Youtube or Adobe Flash games. But there is a string of commonality to them - for many of us, it’s home. Or at least, the Home That Was.

There's a brief post I made pretty recently, [Briefly: The Time You Call Home](https://fatgrrlz.bearblog.dev/briefly-time/), I lamented about this sort of homesickness I was feeling at the time, and how I realized I wasn’t longing to go home in a literal sense, but a longing for a time in my life from when I was a kid and the stresses of the life I have now weren’t even a consideration - this theoretical “home” of sorts.

Moreso, it’s an exploration of that “home” - it’s nostalgia. But the thing is with nostalgia that people tend to forget is that, not only is it incredibly persuasive, but it's quite the lying bitch, too.

Like, I was literally a child in 2008. Y’know, the housing crisis and economic recession of the time. It was also right before my parents’ disastrous divorce where nobody was in the right and us kids got the consolation prize of years of trauma that we’re all still kind of working out. But you don’t see me yearning to relive the awkward dinners with Dad and whatever umpteenth woman he’s brought that’s silently judging us for being “redneck country trash” while he's trying convince us that he should have guardianship over us instead of Mom because “she's crazy” (spoiler: they're both terrible in different ways). Or the vast swathes of time I can barely remember experiences of because I’ve been dealing with depression and suicidal ideation as early as fifth grade.

It’s taking turns playing old Wildtangent games with my little siblings on the family PC in the kitchen. It’s Mom piling us kids into the old as shit Suburban to go drive into town for pizza (and chicken and jojo’s for Mom and I, cause we didn’t like pizza). It’s playing Pokemon on those long, long chilly school bus rides through the early morning countryside with the volume real low. It’s taking a crusty old plastic bucket and rusty tackleboxes over to the pond to go fish up bluegills and the occasional pissed off snapping turtle with my brothers. That’s my nostalgia. That’s my time called Home.

All this online-recipe-by-some-mom level storytelling is to say: while nostaglia can be incredibly inspiring and comforting, it can also cloud our judgement for what the Things That Were actually *were*. Adobe Flash and Shockwave are chock full of vulnerabilities (even before their retirement!) and have been used as vectors for spreading malware. While modern accessibility solutions are far from perfect (and some doing more harm than others), the framework that is there now was nonexistent at the time. Not to mention the entire social climate involved with the Internet where blatant bullying was not only the norm, but an encouraged way of participating on the World Wide Web. Sending people loud as shit jumpscare pages or violently strobing sites that could hospitalize someone was considered funny. No greater example of this was YouDontKnowWhoIAm.org (better known as YouAreAnIdiot) a flasher website that originally was also a vehicle for a Javascript trojan that annoys the shit out of you - while somewhat harmless and more just annoying (and regarded as a lesson to not click on any random link. Don't worry, this one's safe, it's a Youtube video from danooct1 showing the actual trojan in action), this type of website would be replicated by many, many other copycats - some having viruses far more malicious than opening a gazillion windows with loud as shit autoplaying audio and forcing you to restart your PC with the power button. Many people in the Indie Web scene tend to forget how much these issues plagued the Old Web, or if they even acknowledge it, brush off as just “how it was at the time”.

And while we can and should move past these aspects, I think it’s important to recognize why they were a problem, and how some negative aspects of the Indie Web are inherently married to those of the Old Web. Take for example blinkies: they are a very common image on a lot of Old and Indie Web sites alike, these little 150x20 pixel GIFs that say something like “not like the other girls!” or “I ❤️ Hot Topic” or what have you. These tend to have very fast animations of pixels lighting up and going dark again or changing between two colors rapidly - ergo, blinkies. While smaller, this can be harmful for those with epilepsy that is triggered by flashing imagery, especially when you have a ton of blinkies on a single page. That’s not to say “don’t use blinkies at all, you’ll *kill* someone!”, or that having a blinkie wall is bad. Blinkies are a fun way of expressing yourself on your webpages! But it’s important to consider how your page is presented to other people. A wall of blinkies might be cool to some, but extremely headache inducing to others. And luckily, this is 2023 and not 2003, and there are many solutions that even those without coding know-how can use, from slowing down blinkies to half or quarter speed using GIF editors like EZGif to using JavaScript solutions like Freezeframe.js or GIF toggles. It is this awareness that enables us to create a more inclusive Indie Web.

I want to dig into this idea further because I think this goes hand in hand with the Indie Web's thing with nostalgia. There’s this belief many in the Indie Web space have where this presumed return to form that the Indie Web has is 100% literal, Geocities stylings (which were considered passe even in Geocities's time) and all. While not too terrible on paper (they're easy-ish to make! and fun and webcore and whatnot!), this belief has created a dissidence to the idea of an accessible Indie Web because many design aspects that support accessibility and user experience - see: literally any discussion in regards to responsive web design on hobbyist spaces - are entirely regarded as New Web, as corporate, as the antagonist to the stories of us Internet Vagabonds that we need to fight against. And in these discussions concerning accessibility, a fundamental question is behind this dissidence: why should we create a more inclusive Indie Web? After all, the whole point of the Indie Web is to enable a degree of self expression that modern social medias do not allow. It is this individualism that drives the core ideals of the Indie Web. And it is this nostalgia that further supports this individualism, almost to a tribalistic othering of all things “modern” - if the Indie Web is meant to replicate The Internet That Was, we ought to make it hostile to modern technologies because modern = bad, right? Destroy your cell phone et al. and whatnot.

Like, I kind of get where it’s coming from, but simultaneously it’s rather silly to me, in retrospect - the issue shouldn’t be with phones, but rather in the social media and apps that support the addictive nature people (typically older folks, though it has become a popular mindset for those on the Indie Web) have associated with phones. For some, phones are the only way they can access the internet - whether because it’s the only tech they own, because of their disability, or what have you. For example, one fellow webdev, Whiona at whiona.me, wrote about her experiences being a developer and a netizen surfing the Indie Web someone with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome that makes using computers impossible at times. Similarly, my younger sister has learning disabilities and has difficulties reading and typing, so she exclusively uses her phone to explore the Internet and uses the built-in screen reader function to listen to fanfiction. And even if you have more tech or aren’t burdened by disabilities that affect how you use them, fact of the matter is shit tons of people use phones. While it may not be as important to folks on the Indie Web specifically as most I’ve seen say they typically surf via desktop, though some - myself included - use both desktop and mobile, those that do are treated like outsiders simply for the medium they use to surf the web. A core part of the Indie Web isn’t just the creation of sites, it’s the exploration of sites as well. Why bag on someone for the medium they use, over it not being “proper”? It brings to question: who actually belongs on the Indie Web?

Here's the thing: Websites in the Indie Web space can be accessible. They can also be beautiful forms of self expression. You can do whatever you want with your site, but it’s important to remember that these aspects aren't mutually exclusive, and the one can even accentuate and support the other. You can have both!

The crux of the issue is whether or not if you actually care if people can use your website.

I want other people to visit my website. If I didn’t, and it was just for me, it wouldn’t be online. Therefore, I feel it’s important for me to consider how others will use and navigate my site. Yes, I do not run a business and therefore I'm not required by law to follow WCAG guidelines (which most businesses and even government sites can’t even do anyway lmaoooo), and my site is far from perfect in that regard, but little things like semantic HTML or responsive web design are small baby steps that have a pretty big impact on user experience. And when you actually go through with it and add the stylesheet code to make your site responsive, or to make your code more semantic - especially when you integrate it into your own workflow for creating sites and not just retroactively fixing your website - it makes all the backpedaling and kneejerk fighting against a few lines of code for the sake of "authenticity" rather silly by comparison.

And I think that's one of my issues with the Indie Web. It's this rejection of the modern web, fueled through a warped lens of nostalgia for an era many participants never even lived through, that is so overzealous to its commitment to the era that it outright refuses to acknowledge the improvements that have come after it. In truth, you can have both - you can still have the colorful fun of the Old Web with the quality of life and ease of use updates modern iterations of web development offer. It's just going to take a little extra learning and legwork to get it done - and what is hobbyist web design if not a labor of love?

A brief aside: I think a good concept to learn about in regards to responsive web design is the use of Flexboxes. You can find more information on Flexboxes here.

A Rental Property By Any Other Name Smells Just As Bad

Let’s touch on that second point. To the uninitiated laypeople, it seems like websites like Neocities are where you can have your own website free of charge. But the thing is, it’s a little more complicated than that. Time for a brief crash course in web hosting.

Fundamentally, the Internet’s a shit ton of computers talking to eachother. More specifically, websites and services hosted on servers. Some web servers are literal hardware, some are logical processes on virtualized machines. While many people imagine colossal server farms when they think of servers, in truth they can run on anything. You could even run a web server on the very device you’re using now (though it’s probably not a good idea if you don’t know a lot about it lolol). Regardless, the main thing with these bad boys is that they have software that makes it so that it can talk to other computers using HTTP or HTTPS. You can either do it yourself and have to configure everything, or you can use / pay an individual or company to do it for you (see: web hosts) and not have to worry about having to mess with settings you don't understand. Said web hosts provide differing levels of access and control, ranging from static web hosts where you can upload HTML files and be done to full blown Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

Neocities et. al. are static web hosts, which enable the use of uploading static pages to be hosted on the platform. Neocities et. al. handles everything server-side - all configurations, all updates, everything. You just upload the files for it. While this still gives you incredible amounts of flexibility in how to create your website, it is limited to just page files, stylesheets, scripts, and additional files such as fonts or images. Anything server-side is off limits.

In other words, it’s less owning your own website and more just renting the place out. Sure, your landlord lets you paint the walls bright highlighter lime green and add seventeen toilets into the front lawn, but when that landlord pulls the plug, goodbye website. This is especially disastrous for those who exclusively use the Neocities editor, rather than using a code editor and don't have some kind of backup (please for the love of all things holy and unholy, use a code editor - even shit like Notepad++ is an immense improvement). Neocities specifically has had a history of stability issues and entire sites being obliterated with no rhyme or reason, and with the upcoming uptick of new users, I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up getting worse.

This also means having to use workarounds for most things involving user input that would otherwise be handled and stored server-side. For example, many Neocities websites with guestbooks will use external guestbooks such as 123guestbooks (which have their own issues), while others use solutions such as ayano's neocities comment widget which utilize Google Forms and Google Sheets to store user input (which may also not be preferable for those not wanting to use Google products). In other words - if you want visitors to give some kind of input, that input's going to be put somewhere that isn't Neocities.

In addition, as web hosting platforms, Neocities et. al. can choose to remove websites should they break terms of use - while I assume this isn’t executed often, the fact of the matter is that there is still an entity that has reign over your website. There is, again, the issue with stability with certain platforms like Neocities where some people's websites just go completely missing without any recourse. There have been multiple cases of people just losing their websites overnight without recourse.

Because you don’t own it - because it’s not *your* website, it’s Neocities et. al.’s. We just live here.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing per se. Though I want to move to a different host at some point, I currently use Neocities *specifically* because I don’t want to worry about all the particulars of self-hosting and focus just on creating and maintaining my website, and a static web host fits my needs. As such, static hosts play an important role in the Indie Web scene to enable those without as much technical knowledge on web hosting (or don't want to bother with it) to have their own websites. However, I do feel it is disingenuous to imply that the site is yours, fully - it’s moreso renting out the space of another person’s digital property. And it's important to be aware of the issues involved with being a digital tenant.

In Summary

The Indie Web, as a hobby, is very fun! I've been maintaining Fatgrrlz since July of 2023, but I've been working with HTML and other languages for a while longer now. Despite the negativity with this post, I want to emphasize that it makes me really excited that others are becoming more interested in maintaining their own websites too. But I do think that some of the discussion around the Indie Web (and getting people into it) is very misguided and I wanted to express my current frustrations with the Indie Web scene.

If you're someone looking to make your own website: just do it. There's a wealth of information on the Internet (and at your friendly neighborhood public library ;) ) concerning how to make and maintain your own website. Don't let me (or anyone else for that matter) complaining about dumb shit deter you from jumping into the hobby and giving it a try. Make mistakes. Have fun with it. Learn from yourself, and from others. Make it goofy. Make that "cringy" faux-Geocities if that's the flavor you want. And pay no mind to Neocities’s jank numbers because they’re not real anyway.

But most importantly: just have fun.*

*And also: download a code editor. Visual Studio, Notepad++, Komodo Edit, it doesn't matter. You'll thank yourself.

November 4th, 2023 - Fashion Dreamer Review | CW: Fashion Dreamer Spoilers

Note: I’ve just beaten the game, so I’ve included an addendum with my thoughts of the game as a whole. I will be touching on spoilers. As such, do not read past the TL;DR if you do not want to be spoiled. You have been warned.

Fashion Dreamer came out this Friday, and I've been playing it a lot last night and this morning. I had a lot of things to think about with the game, and considering how I'm currently working on a Style Savvy shrine, I wanted to talk about its supposed spiritual successor on the Switch.

For the uninitiated - Fashion Dreamer is a Switch game developed by Syn Sophia, the people that made Style Savvy. In Fashion Dreamer, you play as a Muse in the fictional MMO of Eve creating and dressing up your own Muse as well as the Muses of other players to gain a following. You can get additional clothing items by interacting with other Muses, checking the trending items area, or through exploring showrooms that you and other players like you create. Muses with larger following gain access to an assortment of options including traveling to other Cocoons, or different areas of Eve with their own aesthetics and styles.

The Good

Right from the get go, you're hit with the game's central setting - it's this MMO world where you play as a Muse and hang out in areas called Cocoons dressing yourself and other people up. I adore this concept so, so much. While no other game can top CrossCode in terms of nailing the concept of the fictional MMO (and in other aspects - I'd love to talk about it one day), I've always got to commend the use of it in other games. As you play through the game, you'll find other NPC Muses that comment on their lives outside of the game, such as being frustrated over not knowing what to wear for school or being thirty and realizing that napping is a good thing. These NPCs are rather shallow otherwise, but it's still a very fun little touch.

I have some complicated feelings about Muses, but for the positives: I'm so, so glad there's more diverse hair options in this game. One of the things I've always been tired of with Style Savvy et. al. is how eurocentric the hair options are, with the token afro that can't be obtained until you literally beat the game. I'm also glad that all customization options for Muses are not gender locked - you can choose any aspect you want. This does make for some rather goofy looking Muses when you pick the really big anime eyes in combination with certain mouths and noses, and can be kind of a pain since you can't modify the little details like in games like The Sims, but I'm glad we still have a wide array of options nonetheless. I also like that we get the option to create Muses that appear older, as in most fashion games older people are generally nonexistent or token supporting cast rather than someone you can actually play as.

I really have to commend Marvelous / Syn Sophia for the choice of making the Online Mode 100% free for everyone, no membership required. Many of the modern iterations on the fashion / dress up genre use P2W aspects that, considering that the whole point of the fashion genre is to, y'know, play dress up, gets problematic fast. As such, having no P2W elements is a breath of fresh air (and ought to be an expectation with paid games like this).

Specific to Style Savvy - I'm kind of glad things aren't locked by brands anymore! And I like the emphasis of creating your own articles of clothing and sharing it with others. I also like that we aren't specifically locked to playing singleplayer or multiplayer, though there are some multiplayer specific issues I'll touch on later.

Performance-wise, the game is great up until a certain point (I'll touch up on that later). After the initial loading when you launch the game, everything tends to load pretty quick even on multiplayer mode. There is some pop-in, though I think the incorporation of the whole "fictional MMO" allowed Marvelous / Syn Sophia to craft a way to make it immersive in the game.

The Ehhh?

I tend to like the overall offerings Fashion Dreamer has in terms of styles of clothes, however I do find them kind of limiting - funny enough having the opposite of Style Savvy's offerings in that there's a lot of mid-to-high waisted pants and skirts tend to hit around the waistline. I really like it as it's the kind of stuff I wear, but I do kind of wish we had options of low, mid, and high rise bottoms. I like the ability to tuck in shirts or leave them out, though I wish we had the ability to layer inners and tops like in the Style Savvy games.

Circling back on the P2W part - while there are gacha elements to the game (in the gacha machine and bingo machines), the only way to participate in the gacha elements is through creating Lookits for Muses throughout the game to get tokens to use in them. I think the inclusion of the gacha elements are to echo to other F2P fashion games, but I think the game would benefit from just not having the gacha elements in place in the first place?

The game's approach to gender seems progressive at first, however as you play the game it ends up being rather superficial. Most clothing is restricted to Type A (feminine) bodies - namely, the options of skirts and dresses - and while Type B (masculine) bodies do have significantly more options compared to that of similar games, they still are rather limited in comparison. Not to mention that many of the options Type B Muses do get are rather mid as hell and boring in comparison to the options Type A bodies have. Not to mention that the Type B restricted clothing is rather nonsensical - why have it restricted anyway?

I find it puzzling and rather disappointing that the developers would make some attempt to decouple bodies from gender and then the actual gameplay just continues supporting that coupling anyway. It is also unfortunate that the only body types beyond the Type A and Type B are just changes in height/proportions - everyone still remains pretty lithe and lean. While I kind understand the limitations with accommodating larger characters on a game design level (though I feel it echos the sentiments of “we can’t have female protagonists, they’re too hard to create!” that was incredibly prolific in the 2000’s through the 2010’s), it's still frustrating that those looking for some plus sized dress up games are relegated to picrews and The Sims. Moreso, it’s rather unjustifiable that in 2023 there hasn’t been a good fashion/dress up game that includes plus sized people. Fat people exist in our world in spades, and can be as fashionable as anyone else. Why then do developers of games, especially those behind games like Fashion Dreamer, continue to exclude us - in games where self-expression and self-presentation is an evident aspect of the game?

The Bad

If you're going in expecting some kind of story or gameplay similar to Style Savvy, you're going to be disappointed - there is no story to Fashion Dreamer. You walk around and be pretty, and you make other people pretty. I don't mind it myself; while I do love having story and lore in my games, I also enjoy sandboxes and Fashion Dreamer is no exception to that. But I do see a lot of people jumping in hoping that it's a spiritual successor because of Syn Sophia's involvement with the game, and the fact is that it is not.

Once you start getting into later influencer levels in the game, the performance of the game slows to a crawl when preparing a Lookit for a Muse. This can be remedied through the use of inventory management, but it is still an issue to look out for. This is exacerbated by the use of online play. The areas with trending items are also incredibly laggy when playing online as it loads more than double the amount of items than what's showcased in singleplayer.

The base Switch screenshot tool is absolute hot dog water when it comes to screenshot quality. I'm not interested in docking my Switch and hooking up the capture card every time I want to take cool screenshots of my Muses. The "stamps" you can put on your captures in the Photo Egg look horrible after taken especially when made larger, even if they look great on the Switch itself. See example one, and example two.


Fashion Dreamer is a fun sandbox dress up game. I've really been enjoying my time playing the game overall so far, though there are aspects of the game that really put a damper on the experience. If you jump in expecting the spiritual successor of Style Savvy, you're going to be incredibly disappointed; but if you jump in expecting a fun dress-up experience, you're going to have a great time.


I wanted to make an addendum for this post as I’ve “beaten” the game as of Saturday night. I’ll be going into spoiler territory from this point forward. Unless you’re incredibly interested in the fashion genre as I am, I can’t recommend this game in its current state. It ought to be $15-20 maximum.

When I say “beaten” Fashion Dreamer, it’s less beating the game and more just progressing to a specific level the game deems “endgame” - Platinum rank (there are two additional ranks - Diamond and Master). Because of Fashion Dreamer’s open-ended sandbox nature, it makes it so that it doesn’t really seem like you “beat” the game, and that in combination with what you receive for “beating” the game, the game “ends” in kind of a whimper.

At the endgame point, you have access to all four Cocoons - Hope, Act, Fun and lastly Love - which you gain access to upon reaching Platinum. While very aesthetically fun, these locations end up being incredibly small and not being particularly varied, which makes the gameplay loop of finding Muses to dress up rather monotonous. I think the developers plan on adding more in the future, but as it currently stands, I really wish we had more in the basegame - especially, say, a forest one, a gothic one, an ocean or space themed one… Cocoons as a concept are really cool, but their execution falls rather flat.

I also think the scope of showrooms are rather limited as well. It’s fairly slow to progress enough to get decorations, and said decorations aren’t customizable beyond putting down items or articles on them. I also wish we could have more than two mannequins. Again, the developers are planning on adding more content in this area, but as it stands I wish there was more.

I’ve simmered on it more, and I’ve come to genuinely dislike the inclusions of the Gacha and Bingo minigames. The Gacha minigame gives single-use blueprints to create items with, which while not terrible in concept, is heavily weighted so that you almost never get the rarer items. The Bingo minigame gives you “e-points”, which are used for creating new articles of clothing. The Bingo3 minigame isn’t so bad, but the Bingo5 minigame is an utter slog, especially since you can only use one ticket at a time and 80% of the time you don’t get a number that you have - and those bingo tickets stack up rather fast. I think the developers should’ve axed the Bingo minigame entirely and just given e-points in its place, and increased the amount of Gacha tickets your receive or increase the rates for rarer items.

Now that I’ve been able to see most of the clothing options, I’m still sorely disappointed by the options Type B muses get. Even at their most interesting they’re still so painfully mid compared to Type A clothes! It sucks so much and makes the decision to separate clothes by Types even more puzzling to me. Just let Muses wear any clothing regardless of Type. I also wish there were separate accessory options for gloves and jewelry.

The game’s performance drops hard once you get over 1,000 clothing items in your inventory (I wouldn’t be surprised if the game ends up being unplayable after the 2.5K mark), as well as Cocoon Love in general being particularly laggy. This frustration is compounded by needing to switch through menus frequently in the game.

Overall, I still really like the game, but I really hate that it was released in its current state - an unfortunate blight that consumers have become accepting of with modern video games. Yes, free content updates are nice, but you know what is nicer?

Having a longer development cycle to ensure that all the content that makes the game complete is in the game on Day 1.

We shouldn’t be celebrating this. We shouldn’t be commending Syn Sophia or other developers for maintaining a pseudo-live service game where they push out a half-baked game and put in everything else at a later date, even if it is free. There are exceptions, of course, namely with Stardew Valley’s long and historied content updates - but a one-man indie development band Syn Sophia is not, and the content updates coming to Fashion Dreamer aren’t to add to the game’s foundation with free expansions but rather to make the game whole because shareholders and consumers alike forbid otherwise and want the game out yesterday. Not to mention how horrific this is for data preservation - when Syn Sophia et. al. inevitably turns the servers off for this game, all that extra content is gone. Poof. Reduced to atoms.

And all you’re left with is an incomplete souped up mobile game on your Switch that you shelled out big bucks for.

I need to emphasize - I still very much enjoy Fashion Dreamer! It’s the game I’ve been searching for, a fashion game that was more than shovelware that wasn’t looking to drain your wallet more in the process. I’ll continue to play this game because I have fun playing it. But there are aspects of it that frustrate me, both on the fashion side and core gameplay side. If you did not buy this game yet, then just wait in a year or two when the game is actually complete to buy it.

October 22nd, 2023 - The stink with GaaS & "Live Service" Games | CW: Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking

While I don’t think I consider myself a veteran gamer playing World of Warcraft in the 2000’s, I think I have enough substantial experience with online games that I have a few opinions on them. In this rambling, I'm going to explore them.

My Gamer Resume

Roblox was my first, sometime in 2008-2009. I have very fond memories of playing various obbies with my brother or taking part of lame RP servers with other kids my age. I didn’t care for the supposed “rivalry” it had with Minecraft it eventually had - they were funny virtual Lego games, and god damn if little Bee didn’t love their ass some Legos (I consider Roblox more as an Engine as a Service than a GaaS as it’s more dependent on the individual games you play than Roblox as an overarching game itself. However, it does serve as a vehicle for the Games as a Service hosted on its platform. I digress though).

Between then and 2013, There were a few other games I played, but generally most of my online escapades were limited to playing on Minecraft servers (note: while all live service games are online, not all games and games with online functions are live service games) I remember being in a sizeable friend group at the time, and we’d hop from server to server just checking stuff out and having a good time. We’d also just play games together in general, in any games that could let you - DotA and Team Fortress 2 were big ones, though none of us were every really good at them (I literally only played DotA to dress up the characters, lmao). Some stuck to Wildstar - an MMO claiming to be the next WoW and inevitably fizzled out into obscurity due to horrible mismanagement - and ESO, which in 2014 was a total trainwreck that so-called Elder Scrolls Purists memed the fuck out of before cranking hog to Dagoth Ur x Nerevar fanfiction written in Finnish riddles. At some point I ended up settling on playing WARFRAME.

WARFRAME had the (dis)honor of playing a pivotal role as The Game (trademarked) in my teenage years. I played that game like it was my religion, even though I didn’t really care much about shooter games. And I didn’t need to - with tons of different weapons to choose from, you could play the game however you wanted*!

*Within the realm of the meta, of course, because unless you’re playing with your specific friend group in its entirety, you’re considered a liability. This is especially the case in Destiny as well (arguably significantly more than WARFRAME), which I'll touch on later. Cue the Dan Olson video on Why it's Rude to Such at World of Warcraft. Not sure how it is now, but back in my day - people were often less than thrilled to have my melee Saryn over a Sporyn in their squad.)

For nine years, I’d commit myself to practically no-lifeing two live service games - WARFRAME from 2014 until ~2018, and Destiny 2 from 2019 up until March of this year. In those years I either bore witness to or was a part of numerous eras in those games’ histories, for better or for worse. I exchanged friends and names throughout those times, and came out of it with a handful of close friends and my girlfriend of many years. I dabbled with some others - Deep Rock Galactic and Dauntless to name a couple - and there’s other notable ones including FFXIV and ESO that ought to be mentioned in the case of live service games… but this is my opinion piece, and I want to primarily focus on Warframe and Destiny as it's what I’m most familiar with. I will also put in input from my girlfriend where applicable, as while I no longer play live service games, she still plays both.

Live service games - the technical term for us IT folk being “games as a service” or GaaS, a brief addition to the various cloud-based aaS services you may have read about in your studies about AWS or cloud-based computing or something - are always-online games that receive periodic content updates by its developer with the intent of keeping the game fresh. The intent is to ensure that the game always has new content whenever you come on to play (typically supported by a battle pass of some kind). This content loop fosters a sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) - after all, much of the content in typical live service implementations are permanently gone once its corresponding season ends. Many GaaS use in-game cosmetics as a way of establishing a class system of has and has-nots within its playerbase to encourage players to spend money on them - the gamer form of keeping up with the Joneses.


WARFRAME is practically a mobile game on desktop - you can either buy Warframes, weapons, cosmetics, and other things outright, or you can spend ages grinding for a chance for the blueprints for pieces of your Warframe/weapon/what have you to drop, grind for the parts needed, and wait three whole days for your murder puppet to bake in the space oven. However, WARFRAME benefits from an in-game trade economy where you can trade items for the paid currency Platinum, meaning you could get everything and not pay a dime*!

*…if you play the game like its a full-time job, or are extremely lucky with the rabbit hole that is Rivens, which I will not get into here. Just know that on its release, it became a pretty huge moneymaker.

However, because of the existence of the in-game economy, you can get far with the power of "networking" - if you’re part of a clan that’s very invested in the game, or happen to know some folks who make big cash from the trade market, you can just get shit for free by being nice and just running Sorties or whatever with them.

Giving credit where it’s due - WARFRAME over the years has stuck to just the timegating and cosmetics as its main source of moneymaking - while the meta has had its ups and downs, the core content of the game from its beginning to its endgame is entirely free. Even the battle pass system it introduced is entirely free of charge. It’s just that the means to get to that content isn’t, unless you put in the time for the grind.

According to my girlfriend - it’s gotten better on the P2W side. Warframe/weapon slots and entire Warframes/weapons are given out to players for free frequently via events, the battle pass and Twitch drops, and Digital Extremes has gone so far as to set up a system where you are “refunded” Forma when a specific meta Warframe or weapon is nerfed. Overall, it seems like the game is in a significantly better state than it was. I still wouldn’t recommend it for the sheer time sink needed to play the game.

This doesn’t mean it’s fully free from the chains of Live Service Hell - a notable part of live service games including WARFRAME is reliant on its living world, where in-game events are only there for a limited time, and who knows when they’ll come back if at all - some aspects, such as Trials, explicitly will never come back to WARFRAME. And while the removal of that content could arguably be for the betterment of the game*, this still supports the concept of FOMO - you had to be there at that time to play it. If you didn't... tough titty.

*: The two raids of the game, Law of Retribution and Jordis Verdict, were extremely buggy raids whose only use was to speedrun through for loot like literally every other part of WARFRAME. I have some degree of fondness for them, namely it was the only way to get Arcanes for the longest time, but in the game's current state? Glad they're gone. They were terrible to play.

Destiny 2

In Destiny, Bungie gets to have its cake as an online MMO (paid expansions) and eating it too as a live service game (removing said expansions people paid for - but don’t worry, it’ll be free! maybe!).

Many people cite particular eras as the beginning of the "downfall of Destiny". And while there are many points where Destiny made pushes for player unfriendliness for the sake of profit, you can practically throw a dart at it's developmental timeline and wherever it hits is more than likely going to be a part of its "downfall".

I think Shadowkeep was definitely a turning point for the game as it pushed Destiny into “proper modern live service game” territory. This expansion did the following:

  • Introduced their iteration of the battle pass, the season pass. They either come with the deluxe versions of the DLC’s they came with, or cost $10 a pop (now $15 as of the release of Lightfall, with no noticeable change in the content offered). Much of the content provided in the passes are exclusive and will not return.
  • Created the Content Vault, a concept where parts of the game are removed and reintroduced at a later time. Bungie has said that unvaulted content would be free for all, however some returning weapons have been season pass locked.
  • Said Content Vault also rendered literally all weapons and armor pre-Shadowkeep unusable outside of non-Power level dependent Crucible matches, meaning players were forced to forgo their beloved weapons for new ones. This is not dissimilar to the similar move made with the release of Destiny 2 as a “reset” for the game.
  • Put more of an emphasis on Eververse, with its own tab in the menu next to core functions including the world map and friend/fireteam/area population list.
  • Many argue this was the turning point for the lore of the game taking a sharp drop in quality - I will not argue in support or against this in my rambling, but I do agree with this sentiment, though it especially dropped in Witch Queen and hasn’t recovered since.

My girlfriend, being a very obviously sarcastic yet fully deserving of the title D1 Alpha Veteran, says that Destiny’s downhill turn was in The Taken King. This was the expansion that introduced the seasonal Halloween event Festival of the Lost - and Eververse, which functioned as a cosmetic storefront for the game. I wasn’t there to judge the DLC, but I won’t argue the predatory nature of Eververse. Cosmetics aren’t required to enjoy the game, sure - but when you combine the inevitability of fashion as endgame in live service games with the comparatively mid as fuck offerings completing endgame challenges provided, players may feel pressured to spend money to buy cosmetics. After all, don’t you want to look cool with that paid ornament for an Exotic armor that looks terrible with everything? I consider myself a bit of an outlier what with VanguardVogue, whose entire schtick was the game's fashion system. The fashion system was and still kind of is my special interest… but regardless of if you’re just a regular player or you’re befitted with autism supreme, the pressure to pay is still there. You're not less of a person for falling victim to it.

However, looking even further back, I think Destiny’s tightly wound marriage with the common woes of live service games dates back to it as a concept before its release. Destiny operates on a four-phase loop since the beginning: the DLC release hype, the waning enjoyment, the bitter “this game sucks/is dying!”, and the rising hype for the next DLC. The seasonal model puts this loop on speed dial making each loop from a year to a mere three months, with each season also acting as its own iteration - Season A coinciding with a DLC release having a lot of hype, Season B settling down and maintaining that hype, Season C being when buyer remorse kicks in and the new car smell wears off and much of the community has shifted to criticizing the game, and Season D being a mix between people feverishly roasting the game or Bungie itself and people hyped for the next DLC. Rinse and repeat.

What doesn’t help is the downright vitriolic state of the game’s community. Stricken by this reoccurring loop, many players find themselves in the gaming equivalent of an abusive relationship with Destiny. They know the game’s gone to shit, all the spark it once had for them is gone and they don’t derive enjoyment anymore, but they keep playing anyway. They keep spending money on the game anyway, and they keep complaining on Reddit et. al. in the guise of “caring about the game”.

But when you really dig into it, it’s less of a love for the game and more an inability to let go. Is it sunk cost fallacy? Probably. FOMO as a concept has been practically memefied by the community, but its pervasive grip upon its players is undeniable. I was already harboring mixed feelings for the game when Witch Queen came out, but it wasn’t until I forced myself to quit by proxy through deleting the VanguardVogue Tumblr around Lightfall that I finally made the move to uninstall. Even then, I still think about the game from time to time.

I also think the parasocial dev-player relationship may have some play. To most long-time Destiny players, there's no unfamiliarity with the community having practically cannibalized itself in recent years - the textbook definition of “holy shit, please play a different game”. There’s a lot of animosity between the various “sections” of the community (predominantly between casual and tryhard players, or PvE vs PvP players), as well as between the community as a whole and Bungie itself. The Destiny community is also the community that famously has cyberbullied developers off their platforms for being a little bit of a callous ass concerning a beloved Destiny 1 Exotic on social media and had a particular player stalk and harass a developer and their family, going so far as to send them pizzas as a form of intimidation.

While a lot of these headline-making occurrences are frequent with Destiny, the means of which these types of communities can be sown is rather common with live service games - Bungie, like many developers, would frequently maintain contact with the Destiny community both in the oft-hyped Thursday ritual This Week at Bungie (TWAB) blog posts on Bungie.Net as well as in the various social medias, mainly with Twitter, Instagram, Reddit or Discord. The TWABs detailed the numerous goings-on of the game, as well as upcoming content and featured player-made creations and videos (of which artists and content creators obsess over getting that chance to get featured, as featured creators are awarded Artist/Movie of the Week emblems to flex on other people in-game). Many developers also have very public social medias, and would interact with players on Twitter, Reddit, et. al..

It makes sense, conceptually - developer transparency is an incredibly important part of gauging how an update will be received by players, and it keeps players in the know of what's coming up. But this situation, in combination with the increasing elitism and the "doctorization"** of players, creates a tumultuous situation where, should the developers say the wrong things, can cause a crisis for the game's playerbase - this gets especially messy when shareholders and profit margins are involved, and you get messes such as bar none the worst transmog system known to man that Destiny players begrudgingly accept because for many of them, it's the only game they play and it's totally different from the other live service games out there so you should pay $10 to use armor you already have. Don't tell them about FFXIV's transmog system.

**: Players are emboldened to believe they know what's right for the game because they play it, despite typically not having an ounce of software or game development knowledge. It's a parallel to doctors believing that they can manage an EMR rollout because they work with it despite barely knowing how to turn on a computer because they have such immense knowledge in something completely unrelated that they believe that they are gods. Hey Google, what's a Beechcraft Bonanza?


That is what makes the live service games of the current era so insidious - this relationship nurtured between the developers and players is something innate to live service games as a whole, the gamer stripper that says "I love you" while pocketing your cash. Calling it an addiction feels reductive, like some kind of knee-jerk reaction by pearl-clutching Moms Against DnD type of thing, but it’s not an *unfitting* term to call the phenomenon. My love for Destiny turned into an addiction, one I had to force myself to quit cold turkey. In my process of quitting the game, I realized just how predatory live service games can become, especially for neurodivergent players like me where addictions are more difficult to control. Live service games on a fundamental level utilize tactics to keep players playing, like a digital casino where you end up paying tons of money to win serotonin and digital drip, even when you say you won't pay a dime.

There have been live service games that have subverted expectations, namely Deep Rock Galactic - you pay $30 to play the game (sometimes less, if they're running a sale), and... you play the game. The season passes are 100% free and there are zero pay-to-win aspects - the only microtransactions the game has are entirely cosmetic (and outside of the game to boot! you buy them on Steam like a DLC, no platinum currency chicanery), and while the offerings are substantial compared to that of other live service games***, the cosmetics provided are pretty on-par with everything else in the game rather than being a step up like other games. It does utilize FOMO to some degree as a live service game, however all of the rewards that could've been obtained from previous seasons can be obtained for free through events in the game.

To call this rambling quits because it's gotten so, so immensely long: I didn't binge-write this rambling at 1AM on a Saturday to demonize live service games - they are simply a different kind of game to the traditional games as a product we're so used to. However, I do think some degree of awareness is essential for playing these games because of the manipulation at play. It seems so silly to people that don't understand, but to those that do - live service games sink their grasp into you.

Anyway, if you're a Destiny (or any live service game, for that matter) player looking for an out... close this tab and uninstall the game.

You'll thank yourself for it.

***:For $8, you get skins for all four classes, a paintjob for all other skins as well as for Bosco (a companion drone), one to two helmets all classes can use, and skins for half a dozen weapons. Not too bad compared to $20 for a single skin.


February 9th, 2024 - Rain Porch

There’s this tradition from when I was little where, when it’d rain real hard, or when it’d start to storm, we’d go out onto the porch bundled up in blankets and listen to the rain.

It’s kinda silly - we’d sometimes complain about how the bitter cold bites our cheeks, or when the wind would turn just right to get your face wet.

But we’d still stick around outside anyway, curled up on this little metal bench with a couple pillows on it, and just listen.

Sometimes we’d listen for the thunder, counting down after seeing every bolt of light peek from the forest that surrounded us to hear how far away it is.

Sometimes the frogs would come out and sing their welcomes to the much-needed storm.

Most of the time, though, it was just us, the rain, and the rare neighbor driving their rusty truck on by, parting the little river welling up in the road between its tires.

And we’d talk, sometimes, during the rain’s little intermissions. About life. About feelings for the future. About Mario Kart Wii.

And we’d watch the stream of rainwater run down our road, masquerading its deep potholes into shallow puddles.

And we’d take in the *smell* - the petrichor of the rain swirling with the dirt and all of the forest greens.

It’s little wonder our parents would have to carry us inside.

January 23rd, 2024 - Pinterest Sucks

As I’m working on the pages for my OCs, there’s this important aspect that I’ve been having trouble with: how should they look, aesthetically?

I don’t just mean the layout - I’m pretty content with the faux-iframe design for desktop, which switches to a responsive vertical design after hitting a certain threshold. I’m moreso thinking style-wise: what color palette should I use? How should I design the graphics for the page? What design elements are important for the character the page is for?

So, I needed inspiration - I dusted off my old Pinterest account and made a couple boards for them. It’s fun! But I quickly remembered why I disliked Pinterest enough to stop using it.

First and foremost: holy shit, the ads! Half the posts I get recommended are solely ads. With uBlock Origin on desktop, my dashboard is 60% empty spaces, as if they are designated ad spots. On mobile, it’s a nightmare to navigate as it’s just ads on ads on ads. Shopping pins are nearly indistinguishable from regular pins on the mobile app. I’m surprised the app is barely functional at all.

Speaking of: man, is that app way buggier than I remember. Pins duplicate and disappear, comments don’t load, I’ve had some pins crash the app outright. I know most software nowadays is built on duct tape and prayers, but oof, no app could ever feel like it more than Pinterest. Sometimes when you click on one pin, it takes you to one totally different pin.

Another thing that bothers me is the sheer amount of unattributed content on that site. A vast majority of pins I come across have no credit, attribution, or anything relating to the source of the image. If it’s a TikToker, some go so far as to crop the username out outright. And it’s like, sorry their name isn’t #aesthetic but I need to know who posted it!

This is especially frustrating if you’re looking for similar, related content - plus sized male fashion TikTok user PoshHeat is incredibly popular for his fashion inspiration (and just being an incredibly cute fat guy), and way too often do I find his stuff pinned on Pinterest without his username anywhere to be found! And it’s like, dude, plus size male fashion inspo that isn’t the same three images from 2012 is a pain in the ass to come by, why remove the source for that? Astronomically frustrating.

I feel this issue is an especially problematic highlight in Pinterest’s slew of problems - especially with pins of art made by people - in that Pinterest pins appear in search engines. Art aggregators will search for artwork to share online, and find these pins from Pinterest appearing in Google Images. Then, when they go to repost it, they’ll put down “Credit: Pinterest” instead of the actual artist that created the art. Thusly, the actual artist who made the artwork is further buried, making it even more difficult to find who actually made the damn thing.

I think crediting is important- it’s a really simple thing to do with a lot of impact. Ideally, it’s best to reach out to the artist, let them know what you’re interested in doing with the art, and ask if it’s okay - sure, most of the time they will say yes, but it’s a courtesy, y’know? Maybe the art in question is a commission for someone and is intended to stay on their online portfolio. But regardless - giving credit where credit is due is important as it allows people to know who made the art, so if they want to see more of that art (or even want to pay the artist to draw for them), they know where to go. In an online arena where many artists and creators rely on business generated through the Internet, artists rely on attribution to run their business, their livelihoods are dependent on it - and even in general for artists simply sharing their art with no intention of taking commissions, this ensures people interested in their art can find it. 

And it’s like, even outside of art, it just sucks! I want to know where these things come from! Who made that #aesthetic image of that book with some flowers in it? Fuck if I know! Ugh.

January 19th, 2024 - Writer's Block Funk

I recently added a couple of original character pages to my website. They’re for a couple comfort characters of mine that I kept around after quitting Destiny 2. They’re kind of boring, but they are mine and I love them, you know?

Their pages are still in a very work-in-progress state - I mainly just wanted the pages up so that I’d have an art repository for them. But I’ve noticed that, despite these two rotating in my head for as long as they’ve been, I’ve had difficulties putting aspects of them down on digital paper. I can get basic ideas - what they look like, their general personalities, a brief summary of their histories and experiences - but further interrogating the characters and who they are becomes difficult.

I feel it’s a problem of my own doing - I have ideas and aspects of them in mind, but it could just be that they’re not as interesting or developed as I had originally thought they’d be. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this per se - characters need to develop to be developed, they can’t just pop outta the pussy with a history rivaling Rome. They gotta make that history first.

But I think in addition to this - I may simply be hit with a degree of writer’s block. It’s been a while since I’ve done creative writing, trying to think of things to write and how to write them is a struggle, et cetera, et cetera. It makes me a little bitter thinking about it - part of me is inundated by this idea that writer’s block doesn’t actually exist and I’m just an undisciplined and shitty writer. Which is true, it comes with the territory of mental illness and generally being an undisciplined and shitty writer. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

But also: 1) that line of thinking is a product of my mother’s Protestant-esque self-flagellating “if you’re not productive and on that grindset, kill yourself actually” type ideals that obliterated my mental and emotional well-being as a kid. Being kinder to myself is extremely important in the pursuit of creative freedom, and to stop myself from committing self-sabotage for the sake of some warped sense of repentance and accomplishing nothing - you gain nothing by becoming a tyrant to yourself; and 2) sometimes you’re just hit with a funk, and forcing yourself through it might get you out, but it also might get you a one-way ticket to burnout town and making an already rough situation even worse.

It got me thinking, and I did what a solid chunk of people do: scroll through Reddit for a solid hour looking for advice. I think Redditor advice, while helpful, should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, it is wholly anonymous and Redditors are emboldened to be abrasive, in a diet Channer wannabe kind of way where they’re just mean enough to make you feel uncomfortable but not quite encroaching on busting out the slur dictionary. Not to mention that simply going on Reddit in and of itself can roll into a form of procrastination - suddenly I’m no longer on r/Writing and now I’m on r/CatastrophicFailure watching houses explode. Ope.

Regardless: I’ve summarized a few things I ought to take to heart.

  • Put in brackets in areas you’re unsure about, and just barf out literally any unfiltered thought your brain thinks of between the brackets.

I remember doing this back when I was in college working on papers, and this helped significantly. For some reason, I never thought to start trying that with my creative writing.

  • Consume similar media to what you’re interested in writing about.

Sometimes a (re)primer on what it is you’re writing about is needed. I’ve been binge playing Baldur’s Gate 3 what with my recent bout of COVID, and recently completed a run with one of my two original characters in question, Phoebe. Looking back, it was a great exercise in character development: it made me think about what she would do, how she would feel about certain events. I wish I had written down my thoughts throughout the run. I have another playthrough I’m chipping away at that I’ll start doing this with.

  • Look over what you’re doing in a bird’s eye view and breaking down the general ideas and motivations of what you’re writing about.

I often find myself drowning in the minutiae of the moment, and I think remeasuring could help with getting back on track.

  • Write about something totally irrelevant to get the creative juices flowing.

Maybe something about your day, or your thoughts on current events, or a 2k word diatribe about things you miss from your childhood home, or some ramble-on about my writing woes. I’ve seen similar advice concerning writing small one-off stories that may or may not be relevant to the overarching one you’re working on.

  • Touch grass. In a less meme-y way, take 20 minutes to step outside of your workspace (or app, or whatever).

Take a breather. Drink water. Go for a walk. Get something to eat. I have a pretty nasty habit of forgetting to eat or drink when I’m focused on a specific task, which in turn makes me feel like garbage, which makes it hard to work on things. It’s a simple thing, but again - mental illness loves to make simple things so, so much less simple.

  • Try a different medium.

I’m surprised I only saw this suggested once, maybe twice - in art blocks, a common way of tackling it is through trying new mediums. A digital artist working with pencil and paper, a sketch artist trying watercolors, what have you. I think this could be translated well into writing - for example, using your phone instead of your computer, using dictation to “tell” your story, or brainstorming with flash cards.

Not sure if I’ll ever actually ever internalize any of these things, but it’d be great if I could. Still, it’s good to think about.

January 18th, 2024 - You Should Make An Original Character

There’s something fun and rewarding about creating a guy in your head to rotate for hours on end.

Having taken part in the online artist arena since the days of lying about my age on DeviantART, creating your own original characters was a fun facet of the artist experience at the time. I think a lot of it was just wish fulfillment - creating some funny little guy to live vicariously through as a rainbow-haired magical girl or a flashy one-winged warrior cat or what have you. Many of them were fandom-based, but there were also many self-contained OCs, too.

But it is an interesting thing to think about, because OCs are, intentionally or not, an extension of one’s self - it is through the OC that the creator expresses themself and their ideas, whether by itself or through the media the OC interacts with. Yeah, *you* may not be a 5’10 anime girlie with big honkers like the hypothetical OC I’ve given to you, but her ideals and thoughts are inherently influenced by your own. Maybe she likes beef burritos because you like beef burritos. Maybe she enjoys the same music you do. Maybe she’s also autistic and gay. Et cetera. And even if she couldn’t be farther from you, that character is still affected by you, as her creator - you deliberately chose to make her the way she is for reasons that are your own. Maybe you’re using her to explore literary concepts. Or maybe you’re using her for jerkoff material. She’s your oyster.

I do remember there being this widespread anxiety towards the idea of having what’s called a Mary Sue: this perfect character (typically targeted towards female characters with impunity, though there is a male equivalent, the Gary Stu) who does everything right and has no flaws. There’s been gallons of digital ink spilled on what they are, how to avoid creating them, what have you.

In a vacuum, it’s not without purpose: perfect characters who can do everything perfect and are perfect can be pretty boring to read about! Folks love a underdog story, watching some fella go through the wringer in their trials and tribulations. It’s a character’s negatives, their vices, combined with their positives and virtues and how they lead their lives through their own lens that make them interesting and relatable. But I also think the term itself has long been used less as a learning tool for writing and more as a cudgel against artists, predominantly younger or inexperienced creators, for making characters that are self-indulgent, cool for the sake of cool. There’s a great article by Springhole on this topic and in relation to creating fictional characters. And like, yeah, your hypothetical sparkledog may be derivative and masturbatory, but - who cares? There are many characters across innumerable franchises and medias that would be considered Mary Sues or their equivalents, and they’re outright beloved.

I think, in the pursuit to create for the sake of creation’s sake, character creation serves as an important exercise in multiple forms - in storytelling (who is your character? what is their story?) and design (what do they look like? what aspects support their story?). Tabletop RPGs like DnD are fantastic examples of this, even if it’s a little cliche. Making a Guy and playing as that Guy is a core part of the experience.

And if nothing else, sometimes you just need to create a funny little creature to derive joy from. They don’t even necessarily need to be tied to a particular fandom or something special and fantastical.  That creature can really be Just Some Guy. And they’d be yours!

January 11th, 2023 - Baths Are Great, Actually

Last Friday, I got hit with COVID.

It’s not my first go-around with it - I first contracted it back in December of 2021, an inevitability what with working at a hospital. With this bout, I’m not as sure - there’s been a bug going around at work, I also went to a very unoccupied Denny’s with my girlfriend on the Tuesday before, otherwise I don’t think I’ve been out very much as of recent - but I am at least thankful that it’s “mild”. The worst of it I had to deal with was just drowning in snot, but that happens literally any time I get sick. At the very least, not being able to taste meant the mucus is more of a hindrance rather than an outright torturous experience. Now at almost a week in, I’m mainly just fighting congestion.

Anyway - on day 3 I was fighting the worst of it, going through a whole damn box of tissues just for an inkling of breathability. And everything just fucking hurts, even with the blessing of ibuprofen. There was no situation where I couldn’t be more grateful to have my girlfriend than being sick, especially in this case - even as I’m drowning in snot, she’s still going out of her way to make sure I’m okay.  She sees me struggle bussing and she tells me, “Bee, go take a hot epsom salt bath”.

I’m not sure about the actual efficacy of epsom salt baths - they teeter onto the realm of funny holistic pseudoscience to me - but I do know my mother takes them from time to time to help with her arthritis and she’s told me it helps her with relief, especially in the winter months. Some swear by it, others insist it’s a placebo, but as far as I can tell the worst it’ll do is that it might give you a UTI (same way any other bath might - as the meme goes, “go piss girl”) so, sure. I’ll give it a go.

And man - I forgot how nice baths are! It feels great!

Like, I think I’m as utilitarian as it gets with cleaning myself: 10-15 minute showers are standard for me. Scrub hair, rinse, condition, wash body, rinse, out. Sometimes I moisturize after I get out of the shower if I have the spoons for it. I don’t take baths much simply out of it just being more convenient to jump in and out of the shower real quick.

I’dunno, I guess sometimes a bitch just needs to be put in hot water and go lobstermode for a while. Just kicking back, putting on some half hour video of someone dressed up as Farquaad doing your makeup to lose yourself in and just sitting in some human soup. It’s relaxing. Therapeutic even. I definitely want to give bubble baths a go, if nothing else because it seems like fun. Maybe a bath bomb or two? They seem like fun but are way too expensive for comfort.

November 12th, 2023 - Participation Trophies

Sometime recently (I think it was a week or to ago), a coworker of mine was chit chatting with me. This was an older guy in my department, who was cordial with a higher-up in another department that I’m 95% certain is a full blown conspiracy theorist. Still, he doesn’t bring that shit up in our area, so we maintain a degree of coworker camaraderie.

Anyway, he says to me, “kids are so entitled these days, it’s cause of the participation trophies.”

And I laugh, and tell him, “dude, the ones we never asked for?”

And he got a little puzzled by it, and ended up rolling his eyes and going back to work. I didn’t press him, because I had shit to do and I didn’t care enough about maintaining a conversation with him. I do have thoughts on it, though.

Participation trophies are for parents that want to feel better about themselves for having an average child. It is the entitlement of parents, living vicariously through their children, that has brought it. It was never the kids.

In middle school, I was in the school band. I played clarinet very middlingly. At the end of the year, our band teacher had given out award certificates to the kids that performed exceptionally well and were going to have high chair placements.

And also to the rest of us. I think I got like “kindest player” or something goofy like that. It wasn’t cool, it was patronizing! I knew I was a bad player, if I didn’t get an award, then so what? I wasn't an award-winning player, so I didn't need one. I still never really got good at it, and at that point I wished I had learned a cooler instrument like a saxophone, but that’s irrelevant.

It’s silly to me that it's parents complain about something that parents created.

November 1st, 2023 - Girlfriend

It’s funny, how much could happen in two years.

I remember when we tried asking eachother out. It was so silly! She would you “only if you wanna,” and I’d go, “only if you wanna,” and we’d just go back and forth ad infinitum.

I remember the little Discord dates we’d have. I walked to Giant Eagle and got some shitty grocery store sushi, and she would make fun of me for not holding my chopsticks right. I eventually got it. I think.

I remember the hours we’d spend together on online games. I know I drove her nuts playing dress up every chance I got. It meant spending more time with her.

I remember the Christmas gift box she sent me. Those little cookies didn’t last long at all. I still have that gift box, somewhere. Everything is still in my heart.

I remember when she was finally given the OK for estrogen. How happy she was to finally take steps towards becoming her. We hadn’t even met yet, but even beyond the screen I could feel her smile beam.

I remember how proud she was (and still is!) when her boobs came in. I remember how self-conscious she got about it, too. That anxiety that they “wouldn’t end up right”. But she was wrong - they would come out right. Because they’re hers! Plus, she ended up getting big enough to wear my old bras. The comfiest fuckers I’ve ever worn! Can’t get that in a 44C. Lucky bitch.

I remember the night I landed in Phoenix for the first time, and hugging her. I remember the second time, and hugging her. I hug her every day of the week.

I remember all the little comments she made about herself. How her body wasn’t “turning out right”. But the thing is, I also feel that way! I was never “womanly shaped”, whatever that means, either. And I’m AFAB! But that’s the thing - I’m “me” shaped, and she’s “she” shaped. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Everything we’ve done together - the little shopping dates, those nights we’d try to dress up and I’d show her tricks I found off Pinterest, the one-in-a-blue-moon times I’d actually remember to teach her how to do her makeup, the nights we’d curl up in bed and play video games and say dumb gay shit - mean the world to her. And they mean the world to me, too.

I love you, Annie. Happy anniversary.

October 30th, 2023 - Ex-Games

I've been working on my Style Savvy shrine recently, and it's quickly becoming incredibly image-heavy (there are 48 more images I need to do for the brands pages - wowza). A very easy way for me to create those images while also playing the game is to just use the Snipping Tool to take a cropped screenshot and just paste them into an empty Discord server for editing later.

I've had my empty Discord server for a very long time - mostly to jot down notes for me to remember, or images to save, or things to do at some point. And while working through some screenshots, I came across my old Destiny stuff from about a year ago, and I was awash with emotions.

My parting with Destiny was not amicable - the game and its community were in an incredibly tumultuous state, and I had came to terms with my loss of faith in Bungie (TBF, they were never all that great post-Halo - if they ever were at all when you pull back the shiny green sci-fi armor). Hell, my first blog post was dedicated to the problems live service games have and I specifically focused on Destiny for a solid chunk of it. There was also some more specified beef I had with it I didn't specify in that post because it was interpersonal beef - namely the penultimate final raid I've ever ran, it was a teaching run for the one new raid from Lightfall that I didn't have time to run with everyone else - where I was outright ignored while my clanmates verbally abused one another and I wasn’t even taught the fucking raid. I was told to “just ad clear" the two times they even allowed me a chance to speak. And this was a clan with Bungie devs in it (though to be fair - I can't remember if any of them were actually partaking in said raid, but it still is a bit of a double whammy by association, y'know?)! I was so pissed by how I was treated that it gave me the push I needed to delete my Tumblr blog and finally quit Destiny for good.

But there's still a part of me that sorely misses the game. Sure, it was less about missing the gunplay and poorly written lore and more about missing space dress-up (though I don't miss feeling like I'm the only one who understood it, and getting routinely frustrated with people for not understanding Destiny's esoteric fashion system like an autistic person whose whole thing was *that* would lolol) and running raids with friends, but it was those things that made Destiny special for me. I went through a few different friend groups and clans in my time in Destiny, and the most memorable times I've had with them was almost always when I was shooting the shit, teaching raids to random people off LFG or helping newer players get stuff I've long already gotten. I think helping people and being a part of something was what made Destiny really special to me.

I'm not much of an online/live service player anymore. I like the ability to pick up and put down games whenever and not be beholden to the "five more minutes!" when you're in the middle of a raid and dinner's ready. I've recognized that Destiny - and live service games as a whole - are incredibly harmful to me mentally, emotionally, and especially financially, and I cannot play them.

But man, do I miss it.

EDIT: Oh god oh fuck they’re letting go a ton of staff including *Michael Salvatori* - the guy that’s been cooking Bungie’s music since Halo 2 - of all people??

October 30th, 2023 - The Time You Call Home

I’ve been thinking about home lately. More importantly, about how I can never go home again.

Now, to be fair, I can always go back to the *place* I’ve called home, in Ohio - but I can’t go back to the *time* I called home, if that makes sense.

Home, to me, is a gathering of lightning bugs in the fields (I haven’t seen a lightning bug in years…).

It’s grass buried beneath a thick blanket of snow (we’re lucky if snow sticks around for a couple days).

It’s sitting on a shitty plastic bucket and going fishing with Grampa in the pond (RIP, 2012).

It’s the hum of a little CRT under the loud Wii Sports music (Dad sold the Wii and everything with it, at least, Mom was sure he did).

It’s watching old as shit Pokemon movies with Ashley (Mom hated her parents - said they were hoarders, so says the hoarder - so we couldn’t be friends anymore).

It’s picking blueberries out of the giant blueberry bushes behind my grandparents house (One of my aunts took them when Grampa died. It died not even a year after).

It’s wetting the bitter reed on my tongue (My teeth are so fucked that I don’t think I could even play a woodwind instrument without pain).

Home was when everything was more simple. You didn’t have to worry about taxes or the price of gas - because you didn’t need to. We were kids.

I think I understand a little more about why nostalgia is as persuasive as it is. It’s a yearning to go home.

But you can’t. You can never go home again.

And maybe I don’t need to.

October 28th, 2023 - Thoughts on Work & Life

I've had more than a handful of coworkers tell me that I don't really talk much, that I keep to myself, that I seem kind of down or busy all the time. And they're not necessarily wrong, per se - I just like keeping to myself, I'm generally not a loud person (at least, not until you get me talking about things I'm passionate about) and my job has a gazillion working parts involved, so when I talk to other people, it's predominantly work-related. When I take lunches, I like to eat by myself in somewhere away from people - whether it's taking my lunch later in the day, going to an empty office, or even just chilling outside in the parking lot (these days it's really cooled off so I get to sit outside more :) ).

It's not necessarily because I hate my coworkers or something. My job stresses me out, and I just need to spend my lunch of the day getting away from it even for a brief moment. At my last job, most people in my department were like that - clock in, do your work, clock out. We got along, but that was just about it. In my new one, they have a lot of events involving charity work and mingling with others - it seems like a nice way of boosting morale... but I think just being paid more would be a significantly better morale boost for me \_(ツ)_/

And in my time here, I've been a little at-odds with my coworkers for how I exist and function.

Take for example: At my current workplace, very respected employee recently retired about a month or so ago. I didn't know the guy - we were in totally different departments and I never once worked with him - but when I spoke to him a couple times he seemed nice enough. One day, while getting ready to go to lunch, I was stopped by another person from his department asking if I wanted to join them in his retirement party. I declined: I had a lot of shit to do after my lunch, and I wanted to make sure I had the spoons for it. This person seemed a little offended by me not wanting to join and insisted, and I said thanks but no thanks. When I was coming back from lunch, there were a ton of people in the meeting room and it was very loud, and some of them side eyed me as I passed by them, like I had wronged them for whatever reason.

To a lesser degree: While having lunch the other day, one of my coworkers from another (different) department sat down with me in the breakroom to chill and chitchat. He mentioned there being this event our workplace was having at a nearby park in a few weeks and asked if I was going to it. I said thanks, but no thanks - I was going to be busy that weekend, and said event was a little too far of a drive for me to justify coercing my girlfriend's grandma to let me take the trip. This coworker was pretty understanding about it, but at the same time... kind of not - he kind of set me aside and asked about if I had actually enjoyed my job, if I had enjoyed being there, because every time him or anyone else saw me, I was stressed out or tired or kind of gloomy looking. I laughed and just said that I was just dealing with the motions, "this too shall pass" as my mom would say, etc. etc..

These kinds of conversations more or less just boil down to me telling them that partaking in these kinds of things aren't for me, or that I wouldn't be able to make it, or I'm totally swamped with work and I just can't. And superficially, it is that. But at the same time, many of those reasons I feel these ways is directly tied to how I feel and experience the world as an autistic woman - loud, large groups can get incredibly overwhelming for me, so I just try my best to avoid them. I don't like going to restaurants much unless they have an outside eating area because they're usually too loud. My home is my sanctuary, where I can recharge, so I like to cherish my time at home when I can. And the thing that sucks is that more often than not I feel like even the surface-level answers makes me look - to presumably neurotypical people - like I'm just giving excuses, and that I'm some kind of a party pooper, and if I just said yes, if I just went to it, I'd have fun and whatever.

But that's the thing. I can have fun - in my own way. I'll decorate my desk with cheap little decorations for the holidays because I think holidays are fun. I have some super cutesy printed button ups I wear to work on days I feel down so that I feel more confident. And unlike some autistic people I see online, I don't mind small talk and I maintain a degree of chitchat with my coworkers - pets are usually an incredibly safe topic with pretty much everyone (My mom bred small AKC litters of various breeds when I was younger, my brothers were in the 4H, animals have always been a part of my life). Sometimes I'll talk about the things I miss from Ohio to my fellow ex-Midwesterners, and see what they liked/disliked about their home states. There's also the joke-y animosity a couple of ex-Michiganders among my coworkers would humor with me with (for the unaware - Ohio and Michigan have a fairly long and storied history from Michigan losing a "war" for the Toledo Strip - the northwestern border between Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan - to the state of Ohio. There were no losses and the only injury was an Ohioan named after a number stabbing a cop. The American Toxic Yuri. It's mostly a football rivalry thing, though).

But I also like maintaining my work-life balance. I get paid hourly, but even if I was salary - work stays at work. The second 4:00 rolls around, I've clocked out and started my way to the door. I don't have a mobile work phone, because why would I need one? Anything that I really, desperately need to know or take care of can usually wait until the next business day anyway. And as kind of mean as it sounds, I kinda feel the same way towards my coworkers - I don't want to involve them in my life beyond work because to me, they *are* work.

And that's not a bad thing. My coworkers don't *need* to know about me being autistic. They don't *need* to know about my funny relationship to gender. All they need to know is that I'm doing my job. And that's all I need to know about them.

October 28th, 2023 - Apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits.

Apples are elegant - round little things, with or without a stem on top, that come in an array of colors between pinks and reds and oranges and yellows and greens and purples all colors in between. They come solid, dotted, striped. Some taste great, while others should be baked or made into cider, and some, like the Red Delicious... make for great decoration in the autumn season.

You can eat them as-is (just don't eat the seeds!), eat them skinned, sliced up in a funny little sandwich with some cheese, or chopped up and served with peanut butter. You can make ciders, juices, pies, sauces, and spreads with these things. They're even good cooked with other things - one of the meals most dearest to me from home is my mom's baked apple porkchops.

You want a good time waster? Take a look at the applerankings.com website. Look up your favorite (or least favorite) apple and see where it ranks. My favorite, Honeycrisps, are the second highest-ranked apple on the website, period.

I saw jugs of apple cider at Fry's the other day while I was shopping and I got a quart jug. Drinking some this morning reminded me of going to an apple orchard for a field trip when I was a little kid. At the end, we got to have these little cups of fresh (non-alcoholic) apple cider. Storebought apple cider isn't too bad either, but being able to go to your local farmer's market and get the real good stuff? Trust me, it can't be beat!

fatgrrlz 2024 ♥ sitemap ♥ Est. 7/5/2023 | Updated 2/3/2024