1994 was a good year. It was the year one of my favorite Disney movies came to theaters. I saw The Lion King for the first time on a humid night in June. I don't remember what I was wearing, but I am sure it was something along the lines of overalls and hair scrunchies.
I remember being amazed by "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". My childhood was at its height when I saw Simba and Nala running through those zebras. And then...and T H E N
I don't know exactly why I wasn't moved to tears by Mufasa's cartoon death. I was seven years old, so I had some concept of emotional intelligence, right? Well, I must not have. The older woman sitting next to me was crying- no -SOBBING! Full on shaking and sobbing out loud in this theater. 7-year-old Quinzel was confused. Mufasa's not really dead. He's in the sky, see! He wasn't going anywhere!
Well, I definitely grew up and wasn't able to ignore the implications of death any longer. This time, not only would I see this movie as an adult, but as an adult who also has a child.
Because of this, I didn't stand a chance, I full on boo hoo-ed through this scene yall.
The thing about this being live action, you see everything. You see and can feel every little detail,
Imagine watching a tiny Simba trying to avoid the stampede of animals.
When he falls from the limb, Mufasa grabs him by the nape of his neck and lovingly places him on the rock. He breathes for one second. One small second of relief before being carried away by the gazelles again.
Simba searches for him. But this time, you don't see the panic in his eyes like in the animated version. It seems like his fur sticks straight up in a panic. His body stiffens.
Mufasa emerges, using all of his strength to climb up the rock wall. He is not visibly bloody or injured, but you can tell that he climbs in pain. That it takes strength to scale this wall that he doesn't have. And then...
Betrayal, pain, and a fatal fall to the bottom. You don't need to hear him hit the ground. You don't need to find him in a pool of blood. The eery silence aside from a single gazelle leaping, you just know.
Simba nudging Mufasa's lifeless body to wake up is enough to start the first steam of tears. But after he cries for help and nothing happens, he decides to cuddle under his dad's lifeless paw.
Say what you want about live-action, I might be inclined to agree with you. But seeing this scene for R E A L about killed me.
Dooooonnnn't even get me started on "Remember who you are".
It is now a tradition that my spouse, kiddo, and I attend our local Pride festival each year. It's one of my favorite things to do because Pride is like this little force field of awesome where the daily effects of homophobia and willful ignorance about sexuality cannot penetrate it. However you identify, there is something beautiful about people coming together in one place to be exactly who they are with no judgment and interference from anyone else.
Also, Pride is just a heckin' good time. There's a ferris wheel. It's the bomb diggity.
Only in the last few years of my life have I been able to enjoy Pride. I have an aunt (who I'm no longer in contact with for soon-to-be obvious reasons) who would laugh about Pride. She would say horrible things about going to Pride just to "sight-see" (I'm using a better word here) and I was traumatized by this. I was so afraid there were hundreds of straight people like her at Pride who just saw everyone there as "entertainment" (using a different word again as not to trigger).
My first year at Pride made me see that someone with my aunt's mindset would never last a day at Pride.
As accepting, loving, and fun as Pride is, you would think that would be enough to make me cry behind my sunglasses. But no. The first year I attended, I was awestruck. I completely took in the energy around me and felt the positivity, the freedom to just be, running through my veins.
I was happy. I was free. But I didn't cry. Not yet...
Back to the relevancy of bringing up my aunt earlier, I am not in contact with anyone in my family. They don't know where I live or have my number. And I pray to all of the gods, every last one of them, that I don't run into them.
Why? Well, that's a loaded question and maybe this isn't the post for that. But the dynamics were pretty bad. I got to a point when I realized that I could leave, I could sever ties and choose myself first. Once I realized that, I ran in the middle of the night and didn't look back. Abuse will do that too you, either leave you frozen in fear or getting the hell out of dodge Forrest Gump style.
So I'm living life without my birth family. It's painful but I have amazing friends. But, as amazing as my friends are, even as amazing as YOU ARE because you're reading this right now and supporting me, I crave the love of a parent, the unconditional love of a family. I love my friends, my spouse, my beautiful baby. I'm more than prepared to catch them when they fall, but who is there to catch me?
Back to Pride: it was a sunny Sunday morning. So sunny, in fact, I came armed with a new pair of sunglasses, so I wouldn't, you know, go blind.
As I walked down the vendor hall, I notice a group of women wearing shirts that say Free Mom Hugs embracing a group of people. A man also wears a Free Dad Hugs shirt and my throat catches.
I never talk about my dad and it's because I've never met him. My parents were married but they divorced when I was one. He's been gone ever since. The only picture I've seen is of him looking down. I've never even seen his eyes. None of the adults in my life would willingly give me any information about him.
So I've never in my life been hugged by my own dad. And all of the men that I'm blood-related to, my uncles specifically... let's just say any physical contact they are accustomed to is a bit stronger than a hug.
The man wearing the Free Dad Hugs shirt made eye contact with me and waved. He asked if I would like a hug. I knew I could say no, and I knew my eyes were covered with the sunglasses, thus any visible emotion coming to the surface. But I nodded.
I didn't think this hug would spark tears. That a simple pat on the back would start a chain reaction of tears hitting my sunglasses like hot water from a hose. I pulled away to subtly wipe the tears from under my sunglasses. I cleared my throat and say an audible and quick "thank you."
I will blame it on my upbringing, but I hate hugging men that I don't know. I'm always afraid that a hug is signing a contract with a hidden clause that I don't realize until it's too late. But in that moment, I felt safe and I felt appreciated. Hell, I felt loved.
After I said "thank you", the group noticed my spouse and baby and I introduced them. The entire Free Hugs group clamored around little Bby-8 in the stroller, exchanging more heartfelt hugs with me. They hugged my spouse. They told me my baby was beautiful. They told me they were proud of me as a mother and that I was doing a good job. And then I teared up again. Not hard enough for them to (blatantly) notice, but enough to where the sunglasses fogged up quicker. Thing is, I wasn't sad, I was relieved.
Something in that interaction allowed me to unpack something that was heavy, something that was weighing me down. In that short moment, I felt that all of my hard work to better myself was worth it. I had been so used to being torn down, so used to hearing negative talk from my bloodline that receiving a hug and being told that someone is proud of me was enough to bring me to tears.
Free Mom Hugs didn't just change my life, they helped me heal. They gave me something that I've needed for a long time. If anyone from Free Mom Hugs is reading this right now, I want to tell you this: by being a temporary mom and dad to me, you all helped me be a better mom to my son. And I thank you for that with my whole heart.
Leslie gets into a severe verbal altercation with the Twilight Fandom. She is going to burn this motherfucker to the ground. This episode contains a LOT of cursing and general anger. Her and Quinzel are blocking OJ Simpson from every social media they have. For..reasons.
Whew Chilay. It has been a week year. I don't even know where to begin with this.
I talked a little bit about this on Instastories earlier today. I graduated from college in 2008. That means I have been in the world of Information Technology for 11 years. 11 long, thankless years. For those of you that do not know, my major was computer information technology with a specialty in Microsoft Networking. I've never used the Microsoft Networking portion of this degree because does MS even deal in networking? Who knows. After working crap jobs for so many years, I kicked off my IT career doing help desk.
I've worked some form of help desk over the years, working my butt off, striving to do better and be better than I ever was *cue Pokemon song* but it seems like I could never get ahead. A few years ago I wrote a blog called When a Geek is Fed Up. It detailed some of the abuses I dealt with in a large corporate environment. I got away I was free and life was good.
Until it wasn't.
It seems no matter where I go or what I do, I can't seem to get ahead or get promoted. When i first started out in my field I understood. I worked for a tiny company. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to promote me to. I eventually worked up the nerve to ask for a raise and title change. I was told no, because my manager at the time didn't believe in different titles (which confused me to no end, but whatever). The environment I was in when I wrote 'When a Geek is Fed Up' was absolutely toxic. I applied for a position that would have been a promotion and I nailed the interview. I was what they were looking for. I found out later that the person that I was interviewing with, the person that would have been my manager actually wanted me for the position, but it was a good ol boy system and he was pressured to hire someone else. Namely my supervisor at the time who wasn't even eligible for the position at the time (he had just gotten a promotion and should not have been able to take another position for at least a year).
Why am I writing about this? Because it has happened again. I applied for a position I am qualified for. It would be a good jump for me, pushing me further in my career. It was with the same company I am currently with. I was hopeful and excited. The first month.
Two months after I applied they finally interviewed me. I thought the interview went well. I was to go on vacation a month after the interview but I figured I would have an answer by then. I was wrong. Two months after the interview, still no response. At this point we are 4 months past the point where I applied. Another two months pass. I finally got a "we're going with someone else."
Six months. It took me 6 months to get a rejection from a job in a company I work in. And what's more, I got the rejection while I was at work. This may sound strange as if I would get a response after work, but I was applying for a department. They are in another state. They typically call me after hours to let me know news. I then had to make it through another 4 hours at work without crying rage tears.
I know some people can suck things up and move it along to the next opportunity, but it honestly feels like I am drowning. I enjoy the people I work with, but my job duties have changed so much in the past three years, that I no longer recognize this position. There is no longer any joy in it as half the time I have no clue what is going on. I am disinterested. I want to focus on what I actually want to do for a career. How do I do that, when I can't even get a foot in the door of a company that knows my work ethic? It feels like I will always be slowly scrabbling at the ladder and I am so tired of it.
I usually do not write back to back like this, But I just got an email from Paizo that needs to be shouted from the rooftops
GET YO' FREE RPG MAN! Per Paizo:
Pick up the free game products at participating retail stores this Saturday, June 15.
Paizo is proud to again sponsor Free RPG Day 2019 and will release the We Be Heroes? and Skitter Crash adventures, plus the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: We Be Heroes? storybook for free on Saturday, June 15 at participating retail locations. Players are encouraged to check out the program's event locator at freerpgday.com, join in the fun and grab a copy of Paizo's Free RPG Day offerings while supplies last.
These special adventures were created specifically for Free RPG Day 2019. The print editions will be available for sale and free PDF downloads will be available on paizo.combeginning July 1, 2019.
Pathfinder Module: We Be Heroes?
As an undead army pushed forth by the Whispering Tyrant stirs in the Southern Fangwood, driving the local animals to flee in terror, the goblins of the Crookedtoes tribe suddenly find their bellies empty and growling for food. Worse, the tribe's best scout has gone missing, and the chief has tasked the four brightest members of the Crookedtoes to go out into the woods and find out what happened. While searching for the missing scout, the goblins stumble across a wrecked farmhouse on a hill and discover a group of knights camped nearby. Though the knights have retreated from the undead army menacing the area, they have decided to make one last, desperate stand: an endgame doomed to wipe out both the knights and the Crookedtoes settlement. Now, the four goblins must test their mettle—will they emerge as victorious heroes, or fall to the might of the undead scourge?
We Be Heroes? is a Pathfinder Playtest adventure for four 1st-level goblin characters that gives players and GMs alike a taste of the Pathfinder Playtest rules. They can be downloaded for free at PathfinderPlaytest.com. The adventure adds a twist to the familiar modules We Be Goblins!, We Be Goblins Too!, We Be Goblins Free!, and We B4 Goblins!, Paizo’s popular series of Free RPG Day adventures!
The galaxy’s favorite skittermanders are back and ready to help—but this time, they're the ones in trouble!
After a successful salvaging mission, the heroes are riding a joyous high aboard their very own starship. However, angry space pirates with a grudge crash the party—and then a bizarre interstellar cyclone engulfs both sides’ vessels and flings them into a strange world's atmosphere! Thanks to the help of a tiny mining vessel, the skittermanders are able to escape to this swampy planet. Once they take in their boggy surroundings, it’s up to the furry heroes to track down their ship, avoid vengeful enemies, work with the sluglike scholars living in the muck, and find a way off this dangerous planet once and for all!
In addition to this freewheeling adventure, this book includes four pregenerated characters that are ready to play, with full stat blocks and backstories. The inside covers include all of the maps needed for this adventure. Plus, the inside back cover provides some guidance for items our helpful skittermanders might have scavenged from their previous forays!
Skitter Crash is a wild romp of an adventure intended for four 3rd-level skittermander characters who are exploring and trying to escape a swampy world, written for the popular Starfinder Roleplaying Game.
The goblins of the Crookedtoes tribe suddenly find their bellies empty and growling for food. Worse, the tribe's best scout has gone missing, and the chief has tasked the brightest members of the Crookedtoes to go out into the woods and find out what happened. While searching for the missing scout, the goblins stumble across a wrecked farmhouse on a hill and discover a group of knights besieged by an undead army. Now, the new heroes must test their mettle—will they fall to the mighty zompigs or emerge as victorious heroes?
We Be Heroes? is a Pathfinder Adventure Card Game adventure designed for starting characters. It requires the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set to play. If you have only the Core Set, you can play this adventure with 1-4 characters. To play with 5 or 6 characters, you will need to either add characters and appropriate boons from an Adventure Path box, or add 1 Class or Character Deck for each additional player.
I bopped over to freerpgday.com to take a look and see if there was anything near me in Indianapolis that I could get. Turns out Saltire Games at 11723 Pendleton Pike is participating. I plan on reaching out to them on Twitter to make sure this is true and will update if needed!
As you all may remember, Gen Con last year was my first Con ever. I had a blast. I went under the banner of Geeky Girls’ Night In, and reported on it a couple of times on the podcast. See below:
I looked forward to going again on a press pass this year, and was getting ready to line up articles as well as segments on the podcast. I was slowly planning what I wanted to see and who I wanted to speak with.
I got denied a Gen Con press pass this year.
When I reached out to the PR people, they said it was because I was given a press pass last year, and did nothing with it. No reports or anything. I refuted this and even sent the evidence; and email to the same person I was corresponding with, that I sent her the prior year of all of the content I created based on Gen Con.
I never heard from her again.
Normally I would roll with this and keep it moving, but I am slightly irritated. However, as I write this, some clarity has come my way:
These people do not owe me shit.
I got a press pass last year, I created content based on that press pass. End of transaction. That does not guarantee me a press pass this year.
I am taking a deep breath and letting this go. And I believe I am going to go ahead and purchase a pass for Saturday. The Friday before, I will be heading to Butler University to see Hello from the Magic Tavern again. I am super excited about that as well.
The year is 2006. We could go back even further, but we will start here. A very distraught Leslie is in Kokomo Indiana. This is where people go to get pregnant and die. That is all they do there (and meth). But I am there. After living it up In Lafayette for a time, running out of money and with no healthcare, I have tucked tail and returned home. I have two shitty jobs and an even shittier outlook on life, thanks to living back at home with someone I do not mesh with at all.
I am working on myself. Truly. I have re-enrolled in school and am going to get my associates in computer information technology. I am working with a therapist and was surprisingly diagnosed with something that has plagued me my whole life. I got medication for it and it made it easier to return to school.
Life is still hard though. I am in a town I do not want to be in. Small town, small mentality. It sucked the soul out of me. All of my friends wanted to party and drink and I was slowly growing out of that phase in my life. I wanted more. I wanted stores that don’t close early on Sunday evening. I wanted a nightlife that included culture and local music. I wanted the demands to attend church to stop. I. WANTED. MORE.
I ended up spending more and more time by myself. Friday’s were for Chinese takeout and a rental from blockbuster. I’d also get popcorn and a candy if I was feeling extra. I’d work on homework and look for a better job. I’d also play The Sims.
My mother didn’t understand my fascination with The Sims. “Go outside!” she would say. “You can do all of the things you are doing on this game in the real world!” Could I though? Could I really? Is there a way to Ctrl+Alt+C in my life and type in MOTHERLODE and be the recipient of $50,000? If that is the case could someone give me this secret, because mama still got student loans to pay.
Could I then use that cheat code multiple times in order to get the house I want, work whatever career I find interesting, because it doesn’t matter how much I make, I have plenty of money? Could I randomly find a man, eat a bunch of fruit and give birth to twin girls like I wanted?
The Sims was my escape. An escape I so desperately needed in such a trying emotional stage in my life. I would build generations of families and pass down the wealth. Create elaborate houses for them to live in with every whim cared for.
Meanwhile, I was floundering emotionally. For the first time in my life school was going great, I’d found a job that while the pay was still horrible, the pay was better than anything I’d earned. My personal life was in shambles. But two years was all I needed.
I played The Sims. Constantly. I didn’t have much else to do, so this is what I did. I retreated into this world. It may have been a little unhealthy, but it kept me sane. For every verbally abusive instance I endured, The Sims was there. I invented lives, better lives than I ever thought I would get to live. I was happy. My characters were happier than I ever thought I would be.
Two years came and went. I met someone. I graduated, I left a shitty life and even shittier job behind. I moved on to more schooling and a bigger city. Life was great. My Sims playing slacked off a bit. I still grabbed the other itineration of The Sims, because I love the game. It’s no longer an escape for me however. It is just a pure joyous pleasure to play.
It’s 2019. I am in a wonderful job. I have a house of my own. A family that I care very deeply about, and I still play The Sims. This time, I let a Geeky Baby join me on the designing. She is fascinated by the babies. “The baby is crying! Help it!” I don’t really use cheats anymore. I like them to work their way up. The latest family started in a house half built I got on the exchange. She kept doing freelance work until she could afford things for it. She met a guy, got married, had a baby, had twins, and is living her best life with them. They have money, they have things, everyone is pretty much happy.
This is my Sims Story.
EA is not at E3 this year. They had their own thing called EA Play. It was here where they announced a new expansion of The Sims 4, it is called Island Living. It looks like fun. There are mermaids and dolphins involved which is always a plus for me. The island (Sulani) changes based on how you care for it. Knowing me it will be a desolate island with one beautiful but foreboding house in the background. They also teased a magic expansion pack this fall as well as some goodies for Pride, starting June 18th. I can’t wait.
I will probably pick it up and play the expansions with Geeky Baby where she demands I paint everything black. We will fuss back and forth about it, but I will eventually create a house that she can make all of her own. EA, thank you so much for creating a game that provides so much merriment to me. It also provided a light through the darkness of my life at a certain time.