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Showing posts from 2017

Finding Your Zen for the Holidays in Spite of Everyone Else

I'm really fortunate in that this year I will be spending another Christmas with my amazing significant other, and doubly so that his family is joining us for the New Year. There's even a good chance that my parents will be here, too, and while in the past this may have been something of a mixed blessing, I'm proud to report that we are all in the process of checking ourselves before we continue to wreck ourselves, so this is now something to celebrate, although it's slightly terrifying that my mother and I are now each other's Sane Person.

In short, it's shaping up to be a good holiday. A busy one, and I'm trying to avoid thinking about what it's going to be like to make menus and cook and clean for that many people without incapacitating myself, but as the anxiety starts to rise it really helps to remind myself that they're good folks, Brent, and they're not like my first ex's family who hated me largely because I was Jewish.

...Let's …

Wrangling Ghosts and Fighting Evil

Good lord, has it really been almost two months since I last updated my blog?

There's been a lot going on -- mostly good stuff, thankfully. I found accidental success with my CppCon trip report, raised $800 out of my $1000 goal during Extra Life for All Children's Hospital, and tried to get started with NaNoWriMo. I'm sorry to report that the last one on the list has not been going particularly well. It's just too difficult for me to write on a deadline, especially with my current schedule. At the moment, plans are to write that darn book for sure, but to do so bit by bit and on my own time. 
In addition, I managed to unlock Affiliate status with my Twitch channel! This means that viewers can now subscribe to me for a couple of bucks per month, and in doing so they get exclusive emoji, immediate access to my past broadcasts, double entries for giveaways, and my undying love. Originally I was on a three-a-week schedule, but literally the same day that I got my Affiliate…

A Beginner's Guide to CPPCon 2017

When we last left our heroine, she was just stating that although she'd be accompanying Ben to Seattle for his talk at CPPCon 2017, she wouldn't be attending the actual conference...

There were a few reasons I didn't intend to go. For one thing, I'm very much a C++ novice, just wading my way through the beginning of my education. I assumed that there would be nothing there for me, and although the conference is quite reasonably priced -- less than $1k for a whole week of content! -- I was unsure as to whether it would be a waste of money for my skill level. Plus, there's that pesky impostor syndrome that sneaks up on me with a less-than-friendly reminder that I'm highly unintelligent and that should I dare darken their doorstep I would be swiftly exposed as the fraud I really am.

Indeed, I had planned a whole week of excursions and exploration in Washington State when Ben invited me to dinner with him and a few colleagues from the conference.

My experience as a…

Streaming for Good and Other Scheduling Tidbits

The first of September kicked off what is almost always my busy time of year -- hence my blogging has been sporadic at best for the past couple of weeks and may or may not continue to be that way through the holidays. In the past, it was due to the extreme content push that accompanies every BlizzCon. This year, it's all stuff that I actually want to do and enjoy doing, so while I'm still unbelievably exhausted, I'm at least falling asleep with a smile on my face!

At the beginning of the month I visited my parents in Northern California and got a brief tour of the Super Evil Megacorp offices in San Mateo. If you're not familiar with the name, they're the masterminds behind the mobile-friendly MOBA Vainglory which is starting to make some serious waves in the esports scene. It was great to see a studio full of such passionate individuals and see all of the growth they're currently experiencing! They were also kind enough to give me this incredible T-shirt to com…

Still Sick, Still Living Well

I've been mulling over a polite way to talk about something that really distresses me: the assumption that just because I'm open about my chronic illness and because I stay home instead of having a "real job" my life is somehow less fulfilling or sad or that I'm just laying around on the couch all day eating bonbons and whining about my joints.

These are all things I've heard in some form from strangers, yes, but also from family and friends -- thankfully, those I'm close to fall more into the concern category than the accusations of laziness, so in a way I'm grateful that they're worried about me, but regardless of their intent, it basically invalidates all of my small victories that I do accomplish.

In general, I am extremely content with my life, even if it has deviated from the norm a bit more than I ever accounted for. Sometimes I feel like maybe there's something brutally wrong with me because of that. People are telling me "oh, you…

Stealing the Neighbor's Internet: A Tech Mystery

Last weekend, we moved into a lovely new apartment with much more space and much better sound insulation than the last one. We also upgraded our internet service to 300mbps downstream which is a HUGE improvement over the "standard" package we used to have! Speedtest confirmed that, in fact, we were often getting above 300mbps. Dreams of super-high-quality streams and next to no latency in raids were dancing through my head.

Unfortunately, the active coaxial port was not located near enough to our computer desks -- Ben and I both require an ethernet connection directly to the modem, so going wireless wasn't an option. The kids' computer was in their room and so would never be close enough to the router for a hardwired connection, but we planned to use a powerline adapter to bring the internet in for them. In the meantime, I connected using a powerline adapter myself until a tech could come out to switch the active port to one in the same corner as our desks, which is …

Bunny's Kitchen: Making a Basic Curry

When I'm not gaming, I'm usually in the kitchen testing out a new recipe or tinkering with ones I already know by heart to make them easier and better. I've tormented everyone on Twitter and Facebook with photos of the results, usually ending in requests for the recipe.

Let's be honest, curry isn't always the most photogenic of foods.

If done right, however, it's darn tasty, and the most you'll have to do is some serious chopping. Pictured above is a chicken korma I made this week, but if you master the basic paste that can be used for all varieties of curry, all you have to do is switch up the spices and the meat you use. Getting Set Up I use pre-mixed curry spices from Spice Mountain, which is based out of England. If you're on that side of the Atlantic, they have a lovely shop in the Borough Markets, but otherwise, they do ship internationally through their online store!
The recipe I started with was actually also from Spice Mountain, but I made a fe…

The Temperature At Which Code Burns

I grew up with my mother's Commodore VIC-20 in the living room. By the time I was five years old, not only did I have a Performa 430 of my very own, but I'd taught myself how the system worked well enough that the teachers at my elementary school called me over the campus IT specialist to fix their computers -- a trend that continued well into high school. At the age of 15 I was reverse-engineering websites and building my own based on the tricks I learned from individual page sources.

I also did some reprehensible stuff that I'm not going to specify due to the fact that none of it was even remotely legal and I haven't been prosecuted for any of it, which is a track record I intend to keep. After a couple of close calls and a dose of maturity, I brought my own experiences as The Jerk On The Other Side Of The Keyboard to my career working for the good guys. After all, who could be better suited to point out potential vulnerabilities in web apps and software than someone…

Fantastic Streams and How to Film Them

I'm not a professional streamer. I don't know if I ever will be, assuming that "professional" means anything other than "I stream on a somewhat regular basis because I enjoy doing it and once in a while people toss me a couple of bucks on Ko-fi. I'm completely fine with that, but I'm the type of person who likes to put the extra effort into any project regardless of profitability, popularity, or anything else.
In the past, I streamed mostly for Extra Life, a charity gaming marathon where participants stream for 24 hours and supporters donate funds to benefit Children's Miracle Network hospitals. I didn't know much about lighting or sound outside of its theatrical applications, so my "streaming rig" consisted of XSplit and a secondhand webcam. I used a gaming headset and whatever lights happened to be on in the background and that was it. It did the job, but it wasn't the greatest viewing or listening quality. I tried a couple of tim…

The Sun is Shining and I'm Depressed

Note: This post talks about depression, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide, which may be upsetting or triggering for some. If you are one of them, please go here to look at some cute pictures of zooming puppers and kitties instead.

I remember wanting to die for the first time in fourth grade.

I knew exactly what death meant. I've been able to understand death as well as any adult can since I was in preschool. I also knew that I was tired of being sad all the time and I just wanted it to end.

All through school I was bullied mercilessly, until I discovered black lipstick and stompy boots and aggressive-sounding music in junior high that I bore as a shield against the rest of the world, which always seemed to always be trying to hurt me. I won't get into too many details about my home life here, but let's just say it was not ideal. My sadness wasn't terribly surprising to anyone who knew these things -- although sometimes I also flew into an irrational, uncontrollab…