The internet never forgets

I had to google myself for actual reasons other than ego-related reasons (I’m updating my CV. I was quoted in an article related to my research but I lost the link to it). While going through this rabbit hole, I found things from my high school years.

Now, I don’t mean videos of me dabbing or poor selfies (I still take those). I used to be an active member and moderator of a debate forum site. It was something I needed as an introverted shy young queer still coming out with their identity. I joined and became very active. My close friend joined as well, and she became very popular. As a a result, we both made great friendships that lasted her life and some that I hang on to, even to this day.

However, this attention wasn’t all positive. My friend’s younger sister joined and became the target of attention of a man who was obsessed with her. He became stalking her. She was able to drop off the site and as a result has been offline and social media-free for most of her life. Without a target, he focused his attention on my friend. He accused her of sexual misconduct and attempted to smear her name. She stood up to him–made sure he was put in his place. Then she died due to natural causes.

He then turned his sights onto me. Now, at this point it had been years since I had left the website and was no longer active. I was about to graduate from college and join the real world, but was being chased by some annoying internet troll. He would have random bursts on the website that I no longer visited making threats that I heard of only because of people who I knew who were still on there.

It was annoying. He would lace his racist threats with a defense that it was ok because we had all offended him because my friend and I wouldn’t let someone meet up with someone 5 years his minor (and considering he was obsessed with her, we did so for fear of what he’d do to her). I thought it was going to be just a minor thing.

I was wrong.

You see, I represent 1 out of 33 men who is the victim of a stalker. He began stalking me. He found information such as the location of my office and the times I teach. He made very clear threats of violence, referencing the conceal & carry laws in Wisconsin. He made references to school shootings and how he would get away with it.

This bullshit was affecting me….more than a decade later. I’m writing about this quickly because it’s late and I’m tired, but when I found posts when I googled myself written by this person, still raging against me after I had no longer been a factor in his life for over a decade frightened me. The last time I saw he was active on the website was about 3-4 years ago. In this time, it seems he’s limited his presence on the internet, and that scares me. If he was able to hold onto this active hate, enough to the point where I had to get a restraining order against him–I’m afraid he’s waiting.

The internet doesn’t forget. It holds onto logs of activity. Saves it. Just in case. It was triggering for me to find these, I started to spiral into a panic attack just like when he made the threat of violence to myself and my students, a legitimate threat that I had to file with the school I was working with (and talk to my students about as a real fear–yet something my PhD advisor dismissed…hmm), and made me afraid for my students, my teaching assistant and for my partner.

It’s easy to just dismiss it all, I mean, he’s been silent for 4 years. Well, silent on forums and modes that I know about. He had spent over a decade actively raging against me and making threats and developing conspiracy theories in his delusional mind about me, (sidetone: he paints himself as a liberal and a “nice guy,” yet the language he uses in his threats against me are archaic racial slurs, like someone trying too hard to be offensive, or using the word faggot as an adjective, just had to throw that out there) and now it’s strangely silent. I don’t want to live my life in fear, but I had all but forgotten him. It makes me wonder what he has in store in those dark parts of his mind.

Last active social media accounts show him doing a series of burger reviews on YouTube. Seeing him doing a video review and being “normal” was unsettling. Makes me wonder what terrifying emotional baggage people around me are trying to forget–but with the confessional-mode of the internet, they’ll never really get the chance to.

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Gender Education Post that Ends with an inappropriate question

Student: Hey, teach. You’re Gender-fluid, yeah?

Me: Yeah.

Student: And that falls under the umbrella term of “transgender,” right?

Me: Yes.

Student: So when you fuck someone, does that mean you T-boned them?

Me: Get out.

Now, while I am glad that they retained some knowledge of the terminology use of of transgender or “trans*” I hate that it was a set up for what was at best, a weak ass pun.

 

Bad Vegan. Bad. Bad. Vegan.

Ok. How do I get my partner to be a better vegan?

Backstory:

My partner is vegan-ish. He will eat vegan when  possible, but this is how he makes it impossible. He hates vegetables. Repeated. He’s a vegan. And he. Hates. VEGETABLES.

So what does he eat? Vegan Cookies. Lots of black bean burgers, Gatorade, cereal, coconut milk and rice.

That’s about it. Getting him to eat veggies is a struggle and I NEED HELP.

I’ve tried disguising veggies (cauliflower rice is a godsend) but it’s a LOT of work.

What doesn’t help the situation is that he has a LOT of fool allergies. He’s lactose intolerant and he has a fibrous allergy to raw celery, carrots, apples and such produce.

Oh. And he HATES mushrooms.

I’m not vegan. I’m pescatarian-ish (chicken is cheap and I’m broke) but I *love* veggies. I eat a salad almost every day–which is weird for me because I was like my partner–when I WAS A CHILD.

Ugh. Sorry, Just super frustrated right now. How do I get my partner to eat more veggies short of shoving them down his throat? How do you get your kids to eat veggies? How do *YOU* eat veggies?

Haaaaaaaaaallllllppppppp!

 

P.S. I realize that the title sounds like I’m kink-shaming vegans. Whoops.

Also: I’d really fucking appreciate it if you actually engaged and replied instead of clicked like.

The Hairy Beast in my Life

Meet Kiwi. 

He’s my little sneezy snot. He’s about a year old and was a barn cat rescue that I adopted from my soon to be sister in law. He used to have bad eye sores and a constantly running nose but with diet and with grooming and getting him out of a wildly allergen filled area, he’s become a feisty affectionate fucker.


He aggressively seeks out pets as well as cheek and chin nuzzles. And he’s pretty damn adorable. 


He takes after his parent since he sleeps almost as much as I do. Do cats take depression naps? He’s my little love floop. What hairy beasts are in your lives?

Video Games Broke My Heart: Persona 4

I guess I’m going to do this as a series. Video Games that broke my heart.

I love a good narrative. Persona 4 was a recent addition to the Persona Series through Atlus games. Persona 5 is out for the PS4 and I love it, but it didn’t break my heart that Persona 4 did.

In the Persona series, it’s a JRPG (Japanese RPG) where you have to balance your real world life (going to school, work, friends and etc) with saving the world. Who can level up when you have a history test? Do you grind in the dungeon or go to your part time job?

To get the best ending in the series, you have to max out your social links, in other words find people in the world–either your companions in battle, or people in your life somehow and get close to them to help them grow and to help you grow more well-rounded.

The game follows Yu. His parents have to work abroad, so he is sent to the countryside to spend the school year with his distant uncle and little cousin (both of which are social links). As the deep dark evil hits the town, you (as Yu) and your friends have to save the world. Nanako, your little cousin ends up looking up to you as a big brother. She serves as a major plot point which I won’t go into details here.

If you do everything right, you fight the boss but—you’re not strong enough, or so you think. In this video of the first part of the ending, all your maxed out social links reach out to you and are trying to encourage you to push through, they share what you mean to them and what you did for them–essentially it’s your final thoughts as you are reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.

What gets to me is the last person you see is Nanako–your little sister. She begs you not to die. She begs you to not leave her behind (like what she thought happened when her mom passed and when her dad, so grief-stricken, he becomes distant), and promises to be a good girl. I broke down. Maybe it’s because of my known relationship with my family, maybe it’s because I see myself as a father some day and want to protect my kid how you protect Nanako, but maybe it’s the fact that her crying was what gets you to stand up and fight.

Here’s the video:

You can check out the full ending. It gets sappy at points, but yeah. It was such a cathartic and hard earned ending, that I cried from joy but also that wistfulness of a good life led and knowing that it was all worth it.

See. Video games does shit like this to me. I’m gonna try to think of some more video games that broke my heart. What about you, if you’re reading this. What games broke your heart?

Catholic School Survival

Someone once told me a joke, “do you know how to make sure you’re kid’s an atheist? Send them to Catholic school.” While the joke isn’t a knee-slapped, I see the truth in it. I’m a Catholic school survivor. From first grade to senior year of high school, I was enrolled in religious schools–uniforms, prayers, alter serving and all. However, it wasn’t until after my schooling ended that I started to think about my relationship with faith and God.

There’s a wonderful poem by Chris Abani called “Faith” that I need to find, but it more or less says “the further you pull a away from a rubber band, the faster it comes back to you.”

I miss my relationship with my faith. I was disillusioned with it because of the people I went to school with. I went to Catholic school all the way from 1st grade to graduating high school. I went to an all-boy Catholic school and I’m surprised I survived. The people I went to school with weren’t exactly the shining examples of Christianity I wish they could have been. They were lecherous, perverted, and all around assholes. They prided themselves on making students cry (one of the Christian brothers transferred schools because he had a nervous breakdown). In class they were so dismissive of their faith, but ran back to it because “God forgives.”

Basically, I was taking that I could be as much of an asshole as I wanted. Treat people poorly, break every commandment and tenant of religion, but it’s ok. Because God forgives.

So much racism. So much sexism. So much homophobia. I was given the chance to transfer out my freshman year–to go to a co-ed Catholic school and been put into a new school with my sister, but I chose to stay because well, I had a scholarship and I was concerned about my parents saving money–that and I didn’t want to pull my sister away from her friends and her life.

I never felt like I belonged in my faith because of how the community treated me, so I became distant with all aspects of my faith. Now? I don’t know *what* I believe these days. My faith structure has shaped into a form of the teaching of Christ, meditations from Buddha, and other parts of Taoism, Filipino/Chican@ animism, and a little mysticism.

I even think of the schools of Satanism through the lens that my friend Wing explained to me. They mentioned how there’s this negative connotation of Satanism as being evil, but it’s about the celebration of life in the here and now, and to celebrate because there’s no guarantee of the afterlife. Hell, looking at how some of the churches of Satan reacted (and reading some of their tenants against rape and violence), they’re responding more Christlike than some of the Christians I know and grew up with.

I’m hesitant to go back to a faith community because of my experiences, in fact it makes me really resistant to find find because I’m now always questioning what are their ulterior motives and if they are hiding behind their faith instead of celebrating it–a la the Salvation Army, Joel Osteen, etc. etc. Those who I find out I am drawn to don’t speak of their faith, they live compassionately and humanistically.

I take away from this the idea that my partner told me is in the Quran, about charity–acts of charity should be kept private because charity that is known or talked about becomes a selfish act. I feel this is the same way with faith, faith should be private and celebrated privately. Works done in the name of faith are their own reward.

Faith and faith systems are an identity sphere and a social identity category, and as I teach identity is always evolving, so I guess my discomfort with my own faith is a sign that I am growing.

I guess.

Video Games Broke My Heart: Suikoden

I love video games. I love them for the fact that they’re immersive and a great way to actively participate in your entertainment. I could go on and on about the benefits of games and gaming, but….there are downsides.

Not all video games can end with the hero saving the kingdom. Sometimes games can break your heart. I’m going to do a series of posts about the times certain games broke my heart.

When I say they broke my heart, it’s well. You’ll see. It’s for different reasons.

I’m going to start off with Suikoden.

Suikoden is a series from Konami that was available for the PS and PS 2 here in the US. The main story spanned five games (for those of you interested, the linear story means that the games are supposed to be played in the following order: Suikoden 4, 5, 1, 2 and then 3)

But let’s start with the first one. Suikoden was released in the US in 95. It was a sleeper hit. What made it stand out was the story and the very Taoist background revolving the 108 stars of destiny. 108. There were 108 characters you needed to recruit to get the best ending in the game. Pretty cool for a collector-minded person like me (gotta catch them all!).

The first game in the series (but not timeline) has you as Tir McDohl, the son of fame general Tea McDohl. You have servants who dote on your every whim, the one who caters to you the most is Gremio. Gremio serves pretty much as your mother-father-caretaker-bodyguard-all-in-one proxy. He loves you way more than he loves himself. Seriously. There’s a part where he has to yell at your character to fool an enemy general, if you click “unforgivable!” three times, Gremio is so distraught he tries to kill himself because he’s let you down.

In this video uploaded by OniLink42, you can see Gremio’s Sacrifice.

It’s heartbreaking. You get this sense of loss because you’ve lost your best friend who was pretty much dad–what makes it worse is that the game keeps it a secret that…he can come back from the dead.

I said earlier that you can collect all 108 characters, right? Well, in Suikoden 1, if you have all 108 AND they aren’t killed off (which can happen due to a plot point), Gremio comes back to join you for the final battle and—well. You’ll have to play it for yourself, right?

Oh hell. Tir McDohl decides to leave the kingdom he unites to go to a carefree life of being a kid, he sneaks off in the middle of the night from the castle—with Gremio, his best friend by his side.

Check the game out if you can. It’s on a few roms and if you’re lucky enough to snag a physical copy and a working PS1, you won’t be disappointed by the levels of gaming and strategy that caused a cult following of this game series that was ended way too soon.