Getting To Know You Music Challenge [#Blaugust2022]

Remember when I gave you explicit permission to make a fluff post or two during Blaugust? Well, this is me, taking my own advice.

When I realized that the post I had planned for today was also a post I had basically written a couple weeks ago, I had a hole in my schedule. I also had recently posted (and completed) a music challenge over on my Discord, and I realized I could absolutely share the challenge & my playlist here as well. Voila, one almost-instant post!

I admit it could be just me, but I always felt like a playlist (or mix-CD or mix-tape for those of us of a certain age) was a great way of learning about someone else. Musical taste is so highly personal, and usually quite specific. Sometimes, it’s even completely baffling, and when you listen to the songs that someone in your life strongly identifies with, you might have Aha! Moment that brings into focus things you were only vaguely aware of about them.

I tried to – excuse the pun – mix it up with my list. There are some songs I’ve been listening to for most of my life that still get me right in the feels every time. There’s some stuff on there I only discovered in the last couple of years. Some stuff you probably already know, but some might be songs or artists you’ve never heard of. All in all, I’m pleased with the list I put together for me.

So, as Blaugustians are putting Introduce Yourself week behind us, I thought I’d share the playlist I created, as well as the challenge that spawned it. Feel free to make your own playlist, and if you tag me, drop me a comment, or otherwise let me know about it, I’ll give it a listen.

The Spirits of Hobbies Past [#Blaugust2022]

Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.

Tell us about some of your hobbies outside of the realm of your specific niche.

from the Blaugust Prompt List

This prompt would probably be easier to approach if (a) I had more specific niche or (b) I had more hobbies. I intentionally kept the scope of this blog pretty wide, precisely so I could keep going with it as my interests wavered. While I’ve pretty consistently kept the majority of my content focused around gaming, I’ve also allowed myself to wander off path to other things that catch my fancy from time to time. So every now and then, I talk about books, music, television and movies, or crafty projects like paint-by-numbers or cross-stitch.

So I’m going to subvert this prompt a little bit, and talk about some of the hobbies I’ve had in the past that I’ve drifted away from, including the reasons why I’m no longer actively pursuing those hobbies, provided I actually know what those are.

(The first one got a little long, but the rest, I promise, will be more to the point!)

Poetry: Reading, writing, performing & publishing

Forgive me for hopping into the Wayback Machine on this first one. Although I still read some poems here and there, poetry was pretty much my entire existence for about 5 years, starting around 1998. In 1999, I was the alternate for my home venue’s Poetry Slam team, and traveled to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago with them that year. Then, in 2000, the host city was nearby Providence, RI and although I was still writing, I dedicated myself to the organization side that year by taking on the position of Volunteer Coordinator. In 2001, NPS was in Seattle, WA and again, instead of performing with a team I elected to take on an organizational challenge, and coordinated a 96 hour open poetry reading, handling hosting and staffing duties over four very long days. For this effort, I was awarded the first ever Spirit of the Slam award during the Finals Night show.

Using the connections I had made leading up to NPS in Seattle, that September I headed out on a coast to coast tour, performing my work down the east coast, across the southern states, before performing my last show in California. I was pretty far from home when September 11th happened, and I ended up cutting my tour short to come back to be with family in the wake of the tragedy.

The poem featured in this video is called Flockprinter, and is written and performed by Buddy Wakefield. He and I started in slam at the same time, and he went on to win multiple titles and parlay his art into a lifelong career. Would you believe that this guy once opened for me in Vegas? I still love saying that, more than 20 years later.

For the next several years, I continued writing, reading out at open mics, and even booking an occasional featured poet slot at shows. I even did a stint as the coach for my home team one year. I also dabbled in doing layout and publishing of poetry chapbooks, both of my own work and for other folks, but I knew by then that the rock star poet life wasn’t really for me. I think the last large scale poetry slam event I attended was back in 2008, and that was around the same time I almost entirely stopped writing poetry, although I attended smaller local-ish shows on occasion for a few more years.

Since the dissolution of Poetry Slam Incorporated (the non-profit organization behind the National Poetry Slam), a lot of the history has pretty much disappeared into the ether. I wasn’t one of the people who was ever going to make the highlights reel of this artistic movement anyway. In fact, even when I google my maiden name, there’s hardly an indication anywhere on the internet that I was ever involved with poetry, and I’m pretty okay with that.

Why I stopped: If I had to point to a single reason, it would be that I went through a couple of bouts of pretty serious interpersonal drama back to back. While that was reasonable good fodder for the writing part, my confidence was pretty badly shaken and I was uncomfortable in the spaces where things were happening locally. That said, I feel like by that point, I had already started growing out of the scene. I was seeing friends who had started around the same time as I did being very successful with it, and I knew then that I didn’t have the stage presence or the self-confidence to do much more than I was already doing. I made a lot of amazing friends during that time in my life, but it was a realm for the young and idealistic, or dedicated and charismatic, and I am no longer either.


I have always been a little bit jealous of folks who have any sort of affinity for visual art. I basically can’t draw anything more complex than a stick figure, I stick to paint-by-numbers when I have the urge to pick up a brush, and the printmaking course I took in college stressed me out and made me cry more than any introductory class every should. However, put a camera in my hand, and all of a sudden I understand composition and can – at least some of the time – produce something someone might consider hanging on their wall.

I’ve done some portrait photography, some event photography, and have even messed around some with everyday object photography, but nature shots are far and away the type of pictures I most enjoy taking. In college, I had a really great film SLR camera that I think cost me more than my first car, and nothing made me happier than hanging out in the darkroom printing photos. As film started to be phased out by digital, I lost interest for a few years. When my husband bought me a mid-range DSLR camera as a wedding present, I got back into photography for a couple of years, but it’s been awhile now since I’ve taken any pictures with anything but my phone. Sure, they’re still photos, but it’s really not the same.

Why I stopped: Once we stopped traveling, due to finances being tight, I found myself reaching for my good camera less and less before we’d leave the house. Now, I hardly ever leave the house, and my phone is always right at my finger tips when I want to take a picture. I’d like to get back into it someday, but I’d have to make a concerted effort to remember to take my camera when I do actually go places.

Zentangle(tm) or Meditative Doodling

I know, I just got finished telling you I cannot draw to save my life, and it probably won’t surprise you to hear that I am completely incapable of just sitting and doing nothing, but somehow, combining two things I’m absolutely dreadful at turns into something I can do well enough to not hate it.

It wasn’t ever something I got truly good at it, and I didn’t do much without the training wheels of a graph paper or dotted worksurface, but back when I was doing it regularly, I found it immensely relaxing. I got a lot of satisfaction from following the step-by-step instructions and producing something that looked like the example, and I’ve always loved a nice pen. It also filled a desire to collect things like a tiny dragon, leading to an overstuffed Pinterest board full of pattern step-outs to play around with.

Why I stopped: At the beginning of 2016, we moved into our current house. I only unpacked the box with my Zentangle supplies a couple months ago when the absurdly heavy bookshelves were finally settled into their proper spot. I’d definitely like to start back up now that I have access to all my stuff, but my project plate has been a little full lately, and I’m honestly a little apprehensive that what little skill I had may have atrophied over the years.

Sometimes it feels weird, the things we leave behind or put away on a shelf as our circumstances change. But I think, in one way or another, we always find our way back to the things we love. A year ago, I would have defined cross-stitch as something I used to do, and now, I usually have multiple projects in progress and it’s rare I go more than a few days without a good stitch session. I expect that most hobbies that you engage with for any significant period of time come back around again one way or another, given enough time, but for now, these things are nothing more than things the person I used to be used to do.

Introduce Yourself – Week Two – Pay No Attention to the Nerd Behind the Curtain [#Blaugust2022]

Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.

This is WEEK TWO of #Blaugust2022. The suggested topic for this week is Introduce Yourself. Writing on this week’s suggested topic will earn you the Introduce Yourself Blaugchievement.

In order to figure out what I wanted to write about for this week’s theme, I had to go back and look at what I’ve already written about. Because it was kind of annoying to actually do that, I’m going to link these here for your convenience and try to be better about putting my stuff in categories in the future. Hint: if you’re looking for inspiration of how to work on your own Introduce Yourself post, you could do far worse than to borrow the prompts in the second two links.

Most of the time, I don’t much care to talk about myself. Partially because I don’t think that I personally am overly interesting, and there’s an entire universe of things I could talk about that are vastly moreso. Partially because it can creep a little too close to self-promotion, which I always feel exceedingly weird about for no good reason. Partially because introspection is hard work, and while I’m not against hard work as a concept, figuring out who I am in such a way to be able to distill that into a peppy blog entry isn’t my preferred challenge.

Huh. All the reasons I don’t like to talk about myself sure seem to say a lot about me. That’s a bit awkward.

Spoiler alert: I am not *actually* a dog in a shower cap. It’s just that she’s way cuter than I am.

So, let’s go with random facts this year, shall we? I don’t know exactly where this is going to take us, but I expect it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

FACT: I hate having my picture taken

I feel like it’s a pretty good corollary to not liking to talk about myself, but I also really don’t care to have my picture taken. I have attempted to take a selfie a handful of times in my life, and I don’t know that I’ve ever managed one I didn’t instantly hate and delete. The pictures in the collage above are all at least five years old, with the oldest one being from sometime in 2008. I’m sure there are a few more pictures of me floating around from the Before Times – but if I had to guess, there’s probably not all that many. While I’m perfectly comfortable behind a camera, I do everything in my power to avoid being in front of one.

FACT: I don’t know a whole lot about astrology, but I identify strongly with my sun sign

Sure, I dabbled a bit when I was younger, but I never got really into astrology like a lot of people I know. I wouldn’t know how to start to figure out someone’s chart, and I really have no strong inclination to learn. In fact, it was only last year that I even bothered to figure out my own “big three”, and I certainly don’t read my daily horoscope anywhere.

I do, however, basically use my Instagram to share Capricorn memes to my story. Capricorn memes make me feel seen in ways that little else does. Which sort of leads directly into my third fact…

FACT: I have learned more about myself in the last couple years than I ever wanted to

There has never been a time in my life that I can remember that I wasn’t outrageously hard on myself. No matter how good I was at something, I always suspected I could do better if only I’d tried harder. If I wasn’t pretty much instantly comfortable with and competent at anything, I would either abandon it in a very short period of time, or never ever mention it to anyone and do it only in secret. I never much cared for any activity that drew attention to myself. I knew I was weird, and frequently wondered why people ever chose to spend time with me. I didn’t understand any of the reasons for being this way; I just vacillated between assuming everyone was secretly like this, or that something in me was just broken and I couldn’t figure out how to relate to other people.

I got by for most of my life through a combination of people pleasing, compartmentalizing to hide my emotions, and bluffing my way through horribly stressful situations. Then in my thirties, I got sick and never really recovered and it changed just about everything. I’ve talked about it a bit previously in the latter half of this post, but I tried really hard for a lot of years to avoid thinking about how this random bit of bad luck completely derailed my life, and made me change how I dealt with just about everything and everyone.

Well, for the past two years, I’ve had a lot of empty hours, and a lot of time to think, although I assure you, I tried just about everything I could come up with of to distract myself from it. I think most people have gotten used a life that is so busy and so full and forces us to split our attention in a million little ways every day, and I realized that not only did I not need to keep trying to do that, it also wasn’t sustainable for me any longer. I’d slowed down since I’d become disabled, but I still kept trying to do too much, and had been continuing to spread myself too thin. So I slowed down yet again, although just about every part of me resisted it.

In the process of trying to remember how to take care of myself, I ended up with the mental space to really start to figure out why I felt so different from most people I encountered in the real world. I mean, I had known for years that I suffer from some pretty serious anxiety, and that I was prone to occasional bouts of melancholy (I’d say periods of depression but bouts of melancholy is so much more poetic, don’t you think?). I knew that the immense pressure I put on myself to do more, be more, and chase perfection even though I knew damn well it was faster than I will ever be was continuing to damage me both mentally and physically, but until recently, I hadn’t allowed myself to consider what would happen if I just … didn’t do that anymore.

Actually listening to myself after years of sublimating my own needs was a rude awakening. I wish I could tell you all that there was a happy ending to this story, but it isn’t over yet. I’m still trying to teach myself that I deserve as much grace as I have always tried to give to others. I’m still doing research and trying to figure out what labels most closely match my lived experience, and looking for clues as to who I am now and who I have always been. I’m not sure that I will ever decide to chase official diagnoses – my prior experiences of being fat and female while seeking medical care of any kind make that somewhat unpalatable, and I don’t really see any reason why I would have to unless I feel the need to pursue medical interventions for my mental health concerns or possible neurodivergencies.

I’m not sure if this is what people talk about when they reference midlife crises, but since I have yet to be overcome with a burning desire for a very fast sportscar and a very young paramour, it’s not exactly unraveling the way I would have expected it to.

Well – that ended up longer and more involved than I ever intended. The things I do for nerdpoints.

Have You Ever…

This week has been a rough one for me, anxiety-wise, so it’s made it awfully difficult to focus on much of anything, really. Sometimes, when the creative juices just aren’t flowing, it’s nice to have a list of questions to answer and just see where that takes you. So, without further fanfare…

Have I Ever…

Rage quit a game?

I’m sure that I have, but I cannot for the life of me recall any super-memorable bounce off. I do play a lot of puzzle games where I might just shut it down in frustration if I can’t figure something out and come back to it later on. I’m sure I have, from time to time, come up against a mechanic that just sucks the fun out of everything else and uninstalled. I’ve definitely quietly logged off of a multiplayer game from time to time after a particularly bad experience. I guess it really depends on what your definition of “rage quit” is – I tend to think of it as being overly dramatic, and if I have had one (or more) of those moments, I’ve blocked them from my memory.

Earned all achievements in a game?

Technically yes, meaningfully no.

Steam actually has this tab in your games list for “Perfect Games” which translates to games in which you have achieved 100% completion. I was actually surprised to see 10 titles in my perfect games list.

However, this is a bit misleading, since one of the listings is for something that isn’t even a game, and just about every other game on the list is one where achievements are just passed out for hitting milestones for playing through the game. Hence, the technically yes.

But it seems like there is always at least one achievement that is just beyond absurd, or frustratingly difficult, so I as much as I enjoy unlocking achievements, I’ve mostly given up on ever getting 100% completions. It’s just not worth it to me.

Pulled an all-nighter gaming?

This is another one I feel like I must have done, but I have no concrete memory of. If I have (and I believe that I have), it was definitely right after a World of Warcraft expansion drop trying to get myself up to max level.

I have also, most definitely, accidentally played a game I was really enjoying until the sun came up.

Livestreamed your gaming?

This is another one I can say yes to, but not meaningfully. I have definitely streamed, and I definitely had absolutely no one watching. Which is how I came to discover after playing a game on Twitch for a couple hours that I had no game sounds on for the entire time.

Honestly, streaming just isn’t for me. I understand the appeal, but I’m just not that social – I don’t even play a lot of multiplayer games without some serious arm-twisting from my friends. When I’m playing, I just want to play and enjoy, I don’t want to have to worry about chatting and being entertaining. Also, a webcam is not something I’m ever going to have, so even if I wanted to push myself, it’s unlikely I’d ever see any real success.

So if it’s not fun, and it’s not profitable, I just don’t see any point in it. Which is not to say I won’t pop something on a Discord stream if someone wants to peek at what I’m playing, but as far as any public streaming platform, I have no intention to be anything other than a viewer.

Pre-ordered a game?

If we’re taking Kickstarter out of the equation (which I’m assuming we are), this is something I’ve only done a handful of times, and mostly for games that I felt were pretty safe bets. The most recent title I pre-ordered was New Pokemon Snap, and the last game I pre-ordered that I had to pick up in a store was Skyrim.

I’m not opposed to pre-ordering, but honestly? I’m mostly a patient gamer these days, and there just isn’t any reason for it. Since I hardly use consoles at all, everything is digital, and it’s not like they’re going to run out if I wait.

Bought a game and never played it?

I don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to say I’ve done this hundreds of times, especially if you count games that come as part of a bundle. Sure, I might play the game that convinced me to buy the bundle, but I tend to activate a lot of other keys and then immediately forget they exist. Sometimes, the sheer mass of my unplayed games bothers me a little, but it also let’s me do fun things like pick through my library and find interesting titles I didn’t realize I already owned.

Been jump scared by a horror game?

Yes. And by an RPG. And by a FPS. And by just about any kind of game that could potentially have something startling happen. Really, I’m kind of a chicken.

Had a set squad for a specific game?

Well, the core of my World of Warcraft guild has been together for over 10 years now, if that counts. There was also a group of five of us who worked our way through the dungeon challenge modes during Mists of Pandaria.

I also had a regular five man group that played Conquest in SMITE many moons ago, and sometimes we’d also do some pretty wacky stuff.

Honestly, if I’m playing multiplayer at all, I’m either treating as 100% a single player game, or I have set days and times I play with friends. I’m not really into that PuG-life.

Bought a game on multiple platforms?

Being mainly a PC gamer, this isn’t a thing that comes up too often, but I did pick up a couple games for the Switch that I already owned on Steam because I thought I’d really enjoy them on a handheld.

I have, however, re-bought games for different launchers, which is probably worse.

Got a console for the games specifically?

I think this one I can actually say no to, since the only consoles I have personally owned, someone else either talked me into or handed it to me. However, once I have a console, I do tend to poke around and see if there are any console exclusives I really want to play, but for the most part, PC gaming is really what I do, and everything else is just extra.

Bonus Blaugust prompt idea: Um, there are questions up there. You too can answer them!

Blogger Recognition Award – 2020

I have been tagged by the incomparable Naithin of Time to Loot to do the perfect blog entry for the start of #Blapril2020. Thanks for the tag!

The Rules

  1. Thank the wonderful person who nominated you and leave a link back to their blogs.
  2. Explain your blog’s origin story or its history.
  3. Hand out two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  4. Nominate other bloggers and hook us up with links to their blogs.

Origin of Nerd Girl Thoughts

Oddly enough, Naithin is also probably at least 75% responsible for the existence of Nerd Girl Thoughts in the first place (and I thank you for that as well!).

I had wandered away from my prior blog The Completion Chronicles in May of 2017. I had always intended to go back to it, but really, the whole concept had lost its shine for me.

That blog came to be after I had just come off of what I still feel was my most successful blog project – 366 Days of Gaming, in which I played a different game every day for a year – and I wasn’t quite ready to give up blogging yet, but I also was really unsure of what I wanted to be doing.

So blogging had been put on the way back burner for well over a year, when I saw Naithin tweeting about Blaugust 2019, and I felt like that was the kick in the pants I needed to get back to it. Instead of reviving one of my (many many) defunct blogs, I decided to start fresh with Nerd Girl Thoughts, and leave myself a little bit wider open to write about a greater assortment of topics.

Advice for New Bloggers

Don’t Overthink It: It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want your blog to be about, or what you want it to look like, or how you want to publicize your posts. The first step is actually getting words down about something that you care about. There are probably 8 million good reasons to start a blog, but if you ask me, the best reason is because you want to write. So, write something. Work out all the messy details later.

Look for community, not recognition: If you are considering blogging because you want to get internet famous, or as a side hustle to make big money, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Sure, you can absolutely treat blogging as a business, but – at least to me – that’s the quickest way to suck all the joy from your project and the odds are still against you succeeding. Unless you’re content babbling into a void (and I frequently am, so take that one with a grain of salt), you will need to build a community. Events like #Blapril2020 are great for community building – take the time to figure out who else is writing about things you are interested in, and then interact with those blogs & authors. Chances are, you’ll spark a conversation and maybe even get a follow back.

The Tags

I think this is a great topic & I personally was glad to have the prompt, but if you don’t feel the same, please feel free to just conveniently forget I tagged you, ok?

Syp, author of BioBreak.

Chestnut, author of Gamer Girl Confessions.

Rakuno, author of Shards of Imagination.

Paeroka, author of Nerdy Bookahs.

Quietschisto, author of RNG.

If I didn’t tag you, but you want to use this topic as well, feel free!


I don’t think it’s going to come as a huge surprise to anyone who reads this that I have been struggling, not just with blogging, but with gaming in general for awhile now. Although I’ve had a chronic illness for enough years now to have mostly adjusted my life & my expectations, my health has been somewhat worse than usual the past few months, and when I combine that with my social & household obligations, I’m finding it’s not leaving me with a whole lot left over for anything else.

In fact, I was just starting to consider putting this blog on some sort of official hiatus when Belghast announced that, in light of the social distancing requirements of a global pandemic, we’re going to do Blaugust early this year.

Now, I can appreciate just how fortunate I am that in a lot of ways, I am far less affected by the threat of COVID-19 than your average person. We are able to continue paying our bills, we are food secure and at zero risk of losing our housing. Even still, there is so much awfulness in the world at large, how can I not get on board with celebrating the oh-so-nerdy things that keep us going when everything is kind of awful and you need an escape?

So, I’ve signed up for Blapril. I’m going to make this a priority again.

Thoughts on Ethical Consumption (and Review) of Entertainment Media

I would like to start by saying I really hate getting politics all over my leisure activities, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable. That said, for all of you out there, this particular post is completely avoidable, so if you just want to click onward, I don’t blame you.

It’s not what I’m here for most of the time either.

The next step, I suppose, is to talk a little bit about the idea of “ethical consumption” (otherwise known as “ethical consumerism“) – I find that a lot of people who are quick to talk about voting with their wallets don’t even really understand it. Heck, sometimes, I don’t think I really understand it. There’s a lot of complexity to it, because a person or a corporation might be really excellent in some areas, while sorely lacking in others.

Take, for example, this completely made up scenario: Maybe you buy all your notebooks from a company that works with 100% recycled paper. That’s great! I mean, recycling is great, right? That notebook maker is sure to slap that information on every product they put out. What you may not realize is that they’re making those recycled notebooks overseas using child labor. Uh oh. Not so cut and dry now, is it?

In a perfect world, we would all have the means to make all of our purchasing decisions based on ethical considerations. This is not a perfect world, and there are a LOT of economic concerns as well. That’s why so many people shop at mass market retailers that consistently pay their employees below market wages and avoid giving benefits – because it’s what they can afford based on their current economic state.

There are things I need, and although I’d like to say I make ethical purchasing decisions, when it comes to needs, I find that I most often have to make economical decisions. I need to buy food, I need to heat my home, put gas in my car and keep the power on.

Because of this – because need and means are so closely tied in a way that frequently makes me more than a little uncomfortable while staring down my non-choice – I make damn sure to allocate my “luxury” spending more thoughtfully.

And here, we get to what I really want to talk about – the ethics of non-necessity spending, specifically as it relates to entertainment media, most specifically to PC gaming.

Being disabled, I probably consume more entertainment media than your average person, as a lot of things people do for fun just aren’t options for me. So I watch a lot of television and movies, I listen to music, I read books, and I play a lot of video games.

Because it’s the Age of the Internet, and everything is recorded and screenshotted and posted online, it’s not really possible anymore to separate the creation from the creator. Still, it’s not new. I vowed to never by anything written by Orson Scott Card after he wrote an essay in which he advocated for laws against homosexual sexual relationships. Even when I was a teenager, I understood that giving my money and my attention to someone who believed that was not something I wanted to do.

But it’s everywhere now.

No longer do we have to wait for someone in the public eye to do something so incredibly boneheaded for us to see the skeletons in their closet. Activism is in, and people are out there actually searching for things to blast folks out about on Twitter and Reddit. So how do we, the consumer, decide who should and shouldn’t get our attention and our money?

I can’t tell you that. I can only tell you how I do it.

Firstly, I don’t get all caught up in the drama surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions, because I understand the simple fact that corporations exist to make money. If someone else is doing something, and it’s making them money, other companies will jump on that bandwagon.

Now, I think it’s shitty to expect your customer to pay full price for a game, and then add in a zillion micro-transactions in order to make the game fun (or perhaps even playable), but here, I think the consumers are just as problematic as the companies. These types of games frequently don’t appeal to me, so it’s not a moral quandary, and when I do play paid games with micro-transactions? I don’t indulge in them.

When I find out something awful about a person or company who has made or published a game I am interested in, I absolutely will factor that into my decision. I honestly don’t spend hours hunting for a reason not to buy things – I tend to stumble across things in the process of trying to find out more about a game. Sometimes, I have a visceral reaction which immediately flops something onto my “never buy” list. Most often, I need to mull it over.

First, I will ask myself if this is an issue relevant to my core values. I am not even going to pretend I’m a perfect person and that I feel strongly about every wrong thing back to the beginning of time. I’m not going to boycott a developer who was arrested once for smoking a joint, because I don’t care. I won’t necessarily decide not to buy something because one of the development team got into a Reddit argument 15 years ago and called someone an asshole (especially not if that person was – well – being an asshole at the time). People are PEOPLE and they’re going to fuck up, but that doesn’t invalidate everything else.

Now, again, these things will mostly apply to small development teams or solo devs, because I don’t want to know the business of every employee that ever worked for a huge publisher. But I won’t be buying a game if there are credible reports of the devs being abusive towards women, children, animals, or people in his or her employ. I also refuse to support anyone who is publicly supporting (and yes, folks, if you can connect someone on social media to their game, that’s publicly in my book) disenfranchising or dehumanizing any marginalized group of people.

Of course, sometimes, you’ve already spent the money when you find out that the person behind the creation is in complete opposition to your moral compass. Then what?

I won’t judge you for playing it anyway, I promise. Only you can decide if the end product is still worth your time, and your money isn’t coming back. But for me – personally? If I hadn’t played the game in question already, I’d toss it into the never-to-be-played pile and move on. If I had? I certainly would never ever recommend it to anyone else – while they too can decide where and how to spend their money, I want no further part of supporting someone I find morally reprehensible.

I can’t tell you that it’s easy being an ethical consumer, on any level. It’s not. It’s not a thing I want to think of when I’m looking for a bit of escapism from all the other awfulness around me, but sometimes, I feels like the only thing I can do, y’know?

So I won’t be eating at Chick-Fil-A, and I won’t be buying any Cosby Show DVDs, and I won’t be buying or playing Heartbeat. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s something.

#Blaugust2019 – A Few Parting Thoughts

Although technically, Blaugust 2019 isn’t over until Sunday, September 7th according to the calendar, for the last day of August, I wanted to make a few notes on how being a Blaugust participant was for me.

The #Blaugust2019 calendar taken from Tales from the Aggronaut

Other than Developer Appreciation Week, I paid little to no attention to the topic suggestions. I guess I was overdue to start blogging again – although I occasionally struggled with the actual writing, idea generation was not an issue.

In fact, I’m ending the month with 9 post ideas in my drafts. Some were inspired by other Blaugust participants, but most were things I wanted to write about, but never got around to doing the prep work for.

Feel free to borrow any of these ideas that grab your interest!

Despite having a few days where I felt like I produced somewhat low-effort posts, I did manage to post once a day for the entire month of August.

All in all, I am pleased with my writing output during the month.

The other half of Blaugust is, of course, the new blogs I discovered and the enjoyable interaction with the community. I didn’t come anywhere near reading every Blaugust participant’s posts – in fact, I would say that I only read work from a handful of different bloggers. Most of the blogs I started to follow were folks that posted something that caught my eye in the Discord channel for sharing content.

Despite the fact that I made a few posts on topics other than video games, I also found that most of the posts by others I was drawn to read were about games.

I sought out posts about MMOs that I either currently play (Elder Scrolls Online) or used to play (primarily World of Warcraft), and I found myself not really reading posts focused on other MMOs. However, I almost always clicked on posts about single player PC games, whether I had heard of them or not.

I started following 18 new blogs, most of which I expect I’ll keep reading faithfully. I also added a bunch of new folks in my Twitter feed, and plan to keep checking the Blaugust Discord for content that interests me.

Finally, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t toss a shout out to Naithin of Time to Loot, one of my fellow Blaugust participants, who made me aware of this crazy Blaugust thing in the first place, and therefore, indirectly encouraged my return to blogging. I’m always surprised when people I don’t know find me on Twitter (and even more surprised when they turn out not to be Sex-Chat Bots), and I’ve been enjoying his blog for a while now.

I even managed to come up with something of a mission statement while leaving a comment on one of his posts.

Of course, I never expected to be a crazy-famous blogger. I'm content just chatting into the void.

Will I keep up with posting every single day? Probably not, but I’d like to find something to jabber about most days. I like my What I’m Playing Wednesday posts a lot, and not just because those quick peeks at different games are fun to write. Blaugust has reminded me not only how much I enjoy writing about games, but how much I like playing them, and it’s been a delicious little loop of returning to things that make me happy.

So you haven’t seen the last of me, not by a long shot.

Not My First Rodeo – An Introduction of Sorts

Part of me can’t believing I’m jumping into the blog-life again, and part of me wonders why it took so long (and an event like Blaugust) to come back to it.

Let’s ignore for a moment my time on Diaryland, my time on LiveJournal, and a couple brief flirtations with Blogger. Let’s just take a quick trip back through my WordPress blogs.

First there was “So Much WoW, So Little Time” – which was, as you might expect, entirely focused on World of Warcraft. I started the blog in February of 2010, and updated it more or less regularly through the middle of 2011. Not the longest blog-run ever, I’ll admit, but it was certainly an interesting time. I did my share of cute little screenshot posts with just a few words here and there, but I also did some pretty detailed tutorials, and more than a couple really emotional posts about the people and guild stuff and many thoughts I had about the more human side of Warcraft.

I didn’t really get the blogging bug again until late 2015, and hoo boy, I had a doozy of an idea. Thus was born “366 Days of Gaming“, an absurdly ambitious project where I decided to play a different game every day and blog my experiences. Occasionally, that blog made me miserable, but at the end? It was such a feeling of accomplishment. I’m glad I did it, but oh lordy, I would never ever do it again.

But the problem with a blog project with a hard end date is that, maybe, you hit that end date, but you still want to do more. Thus “The Completion Chronicles” was born. Unfortunately, it only lasted about 3 months before I resubbed to WoW and stopped finishing anything else (or playing anything else really).

So, since all of my previous blogs have had a very clear focus, you might be wondering why I decided to just go with Nerd Girl Thoughts this time. Me too, if we’re being honest. Mostly, I’m hoping that a broader focus will give this blog some longevity past whatever happens to be the thing of the moment*. I actually enjoy more broadly focused blogs when I’m looking for something to read, so I’m not sure why I always need to have laser focus when I’m coming up with something to write.

So yeah. Here’s to Blaugust and beyond.

*For anyone wondering, the thing of the moment right now is Elder Scrolls Online.