rax: (Twilight finds this reading interesting!)
word y'all I've been talking forever about doing a furry theory online reading group and well if I don't get to it sometime I'm never going to get to it so. Apparently the time I start planning stuff is now. I'm imagining something where we have both a synchronous and an asynchronous means of communication --- we pick something to read and maybe talk about the process of reading it for a couple of weeks on something like dreamwidth, and then have a loose "meeting" on IRC or skype or something? Maybe that second part is optional?

I have some ideas for where to start although I'm not sure if folks are more interested in reading Things That Help Other Theory Make Sense, or Things Specifically About Human-Animality, or Things Rax Likes, or Getting Our Feet Wet Head First, or? I dunno lemme know what you think. I'm happy to drive things like what to read or where to discuss at first to get things happening, and also happy for other people to do that. Left to my own devices I'd be like "let's read some weird Deleuze and Guattari shit!" but I dunno if that's actually what folks are interested in. :)

Also: I know a lot of academic-y texts are inaccessible both in terms of how they are written and how much they cost. The first part the best way to deal with is by reading and discussing, and maybe a little bit of rolling our eyes at how Judith Butler's early work probably was overcomplicated so that people would respect its intellectual rigor even though there is no simple way to say those things. The second part can be mitigated with PDFs!

Basically: Poke me or comment here and let me know if and how you're interested, and we'll figure it out from there. :D I'd love to have some people together and pick something to read by the beginning of April. You don't have to be a furry to join!
rax: (vulpix is not pleased)
Content warning: Abuse, rape, sexual assault, discussions of self-harm, PTSD, rax being angry. Maybe other things. This isn't really nice rax and this isn't about nice things. I know a couple of folks just friended me and like. This probably isn't where to start your raxperience? :P

The details of my personal experience. )

The fallout of my personal experience. )

General requests and maybe even suggestions )
rax: (catgirl makeup)
SHORT VERSION: Catgirl [0] Goth Rave, address friendslocked Somerville MA
upper floors, doors at 9 PM music at 10 PM, dress goth wear black wear
cat ears, if that's hard for you, cat ears and cheap eyeliner will be
provided at the door. Please ask before passing on the invite.

some animal theory bullshit as usual )
rax: (Horo whiskers)
This post discusses trauma, abuse, gender, furry, and theory. It's written kinda flowery-like, but fuck it, I feel flowery. Please read it if you'd like. <3

I am become menagerie. )

footnotes )

rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
So first of all it is pretty great to start my mornings to wake up at 5:30ish, work for an hour, and then go take a one to two mile walk, and then go back to work. Like, seriously. This lifestyle, I like it, even though it is ludicrously wholesome; it is just too warm for extended walking in the afternoon when I am done with work at 2:30 or so. Well, technically, Rik and I went out a couple of times even though it was in the 90s and did long walks, but we brought a ton of water and also I was kinda zonked afterwards. A mile or two in the morning is refreshing and almost upwaking like a shower would be, which is pretty great. I don't know if I will be able to spare the time for this when I am in school again, but on the other hand going to school gives me structured exercise in the process of biking there, so probably it is okay? And I will still have weekends.

I just got back from Boston, where my schedule looked like this:
  • Attend the first day of Steer Roast. (a party thrown by my old dorm every year, which does involve roasting a steer but I completely ignore that part; alums way older than me, as well as a lot of friends of mine from ten years ago, come back into town and we all hang out and it's awesome)
  • Skip the second and third days of Steer Roast to work on final papers.
  • Attend a conference for work, taking a training for advanced users of a software package I had never seen before; this was both really challenging and really rewarding, in that I mostly caught up enough to get a lot out of the training, even though there would be a lot more work to do if I were going to deploy this thing. But I have books, and a dev environment set up on my machine!
  • Spend two days catching up on work, seeing a small fraction of the people I would have liked to see, and having an extremely pleasant Providence double-date with my girlfriend, her wife, and her wife's girlfriend, during which we concluded that the worldBoston is extremely small as we all knew all of the others' friends in like four different ways.
  • Spend the greater part of the weekend bridesqueering [0], including both fun parties and a bunch of carrying stuff, and helping to make sure two of my dear friends wed without troubles.
  • When I wasn't doing that, three(!!!) people drove in to see me from different states, which was pretty amazing. [personal profile] outstretched  even did my nails! [1]
Okay so that was the Boston trip. Now I have this whole summer stretching out in front of me where all I have to do is work my job. I have a bunch of things planned, of course, but none of them are for school, and that is amazing. (I'll be talking about school in a different post.) My plans include doing some art, meeting more people in Tucson by actually going to events and doing activities [2], traveling a bunch (another wedding, Anthrocon, Pokémon Nationals, seeing Rik, work might send me to Singapore?), continuing to groove on how awesome living with [personal profile] krinndnz  has been, reading books that are not assigned by a professor, and spending a lot of time out in the desert. This plan is, I argue, pretty awesome.

In a bunch of ways I am still kind of getting back into my own head after the debacle that was my year in Indiana. There were awesome things there --- I met some great people, I learned a lot of things, I feel like some aspects of my lifestyle changed for the better --- but between the breakup and the overwork and the comparative loneliness, I sort of worked my way out of my head to go live somewhere more nebulous, and that's not actually what I want. One of the things I'm trying to do both in my academic practice and in my practice of living is to take myself more seriously as part of the process of taking others more seriously. It's had really interesting effects on how I think about species, which obviously is part of my academic project but at least as importantly affects how I interact with myself on a day to day basis. I'm not quite sure how to express this yet other than it's good. But... it's good? It's good.

Any of y'all have exciting summer plans? :)

[0] Bridesqueering: Like being a bridesmaid, a bridesmatron, a bridesman, or a bridesmotherfucker, but with one's gender or marital status expressed as some combination of "none of the above" and "none of your business." Unrelated to bridequeering, where you try to get the bride to make out queerly at the bachelorette party.

[1] You can see an awful picture here. It looks better in person, but even in this photo you can tell it matches my color scheme, and color scheme trumps gender stereotypes for what I do with my appearance, so I will probably keep doing this.

[2] other than Pokémon ^^;;

rax: (Benten guitar case)
  • I am currently in the Seattle airport; in 20 minutes or so I get on a plane to Portland, and fly to Houston, and then fly to Indianapolis. Then I take a 90-minute bus ride home. Ah, my life. <3
  • Early this morning, I packed out of the furry commune where I was doing ethnographic research for the last three days. I decided my motto was "Take nothing but fieldnotes, leave nothing but consent forms." (I also took some vegan corn muffins, though.) It is also true that I spent the last three days at my boyfriend's house, but it is a furry commune and I did do ethnographic research and that sounds so much cooler. The process of having my boyfriend being one of my ins into this community is really interesting; I mean, yes, I'm a furry myself, but my practices are very different from many of the people I've been talking to, and I wouldn't have had the ability to talk to them if it weren't for the specifics of my being embedded in the community through romantic relationships. It will be an interesting thing to write about at some point, although right now I am trying not to do too much "me-search" in my research, and the stuff I am finding that has nothing to do with me is way more interesting anyway.
  • I am done with all of my classes for the semester. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS. I am not as thrilled with my final projects as I would have liked to be; one paper in particular I know that if I had read books X, Y, and Z I would have been able to make it even better, but I got up to book W and was exhausted and decided "You know what? I think this will be OK." I may read book Y on the plane, so this is still something I can work on. it's just... I like to hand in things that are perfect, you know? Not that this ever happens, and this tendency totally prevents me from ever submitting anything anywhere. So I need to get over it.
  • Conveniently, the paper resulting from my ethnographic research is getting submitted to a conference next week. I am not sure how to spin it yet; it's a conference about queer fashion. I guess I play up the fursuit angle a bit more? But I have a draft, and I am already thinking about how to integrate the seven interviews I did this week, and it's awesome, and I'm hoping to get it to a journal after that too. I hope. I think. Miao.
  • In what may or may not be my gradual descent into fandom, I had to sign out of twitter yesterday to avoid spoilers for the new My Little Pony episode, which I'm not going to get to watch until tomorrow. I sort of looked at myself, and went, "Really?" Then I realized I was interviewing folks in a furry commune, said "Yes, really," and moved on with my life. <3 I'm really looking forward to the episode, though! I am hoping it ties up some loose ends. (Don't tell me.)
  • Speaking of which, hi new friends from the My Little Pony LJ community! I unfortunately don't have any sort of introduction post, and I have to get on a plane in five minutes, but hopefully this gives you a general sense of what I do: Mostly academia, a bunch of job work that I usually don't talk to, some ponies or Pokemon or what have you. Oh and cats!!

rax: (catgirl makeup)
  • Further Confusion is super rad, although oh my god my sleep schedule. But it has been wonderful to see many of my West Coast friends, especially the Seattle folks I missed last trip. And there is Race for the Galaxy! And there are tons of furries! It's pretty boss.
  • One disappointment: They canceled the pokemon panel, and I am missing the IU pokemon event to be here (SO SAD ABOUT THIS), so I have not gotten to dork out about Pokemon much at all. Luckily, I ran into a smashingly androgynous Silver cosplayer --- no one else recognized the costume, and we dorked out at each other for a while, and they fed Rik when Rik was hungry, and it was great. I'm a teeny bit tempted to do a Dawn cosplay now (since I could basically make my hair work if I just parted it to hide the pink) but I don't know if people at furry conventions would get it, and I don't know if I care enough to actually go to an anime convention just to have an excuse to dress as a Pokemon character. besides if I wanted to mack on people dressed as Silver I'd really need to do Kotone
  • I am actually getting reading done here! Not as much as I would at home but, hopefully, enough. This week's reading in one class is about non-academic feminism! It is reminding me why I prefer academic feminism. :( Although there are some really great things being said, this whole "second wave and third wave taking jabs at each other every chance they get" thing is just draining to read.
  • Also, Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism, published in 2007, which claims to make a significant effort toward intersectionality, and even has a chapter all about men? Does not contain the word trans a single time [0], lukewarm at best towards queerness, and handles race with gloves. I need to read it a second time in a different mood to see if there are things I like about it; in the mood I approached it in, I was just like ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. But maybe I was looking for too much? Or at least letting my ugh get in the way of the things that are presumably good about the book such that we were assigned to buy and read it.
  • Restaurants are for other people, but between a normal grocery store and a Vietnamese grocery store I am getting to eat more than trail mix, and that is good. Orange juice. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

[0] And yes, it's a pet issue, I know, but come on. I'd keep a running count of the number of times "genderqueer" showed up, but it would be too depressing. Trans is in the national consciousness, the way so many authors pretend it doesn't exist is just maddening. There really is no excuse. 2007.
rax: (catgirl makeup)
I will be at Further Confusion, from Friday afternoon to early enough Monday morning that you probably won't see me. [0] Some fun facts:
  • Cell phone: +1 617 820 4954. This is the approved method of contacting me. Email is likely to be ignored unless you are my boss. If you are my boss, hi, and oh god you are reading my blog. ^^;;
  • Hotel: Marriott. Staying with Nick, Rik, and Peggy [1]; our room is effectively full. We probably won't be socializing there anyway, since it's not the con hotel. On the plus side, it's not the con hotel.
  • Sleep schedule: Warped, charred metal. I really couldn't tell you. For all I know I will be going to bed at 3 PM while I am there. Text instead of calling if it's between 1AM and 7AM. Otherwise whatever.
  • Schedule: Pokemon event from 4:30 to 6 PM on Saturday. Other than that, no plans yet! Feel free to suggest things.
  • Activites I am interested in: Board games! Pokémon! Extended conversations about gender/sexuality/species/philosophy! Ranting about Deleuze and Guattari! Did I mention Race for the Galaxy?
  • People I want to see: Everybody! But particularly anyone I didn't see in my extended Bay Area stay that just ended, although I am sure I will run into those folks too and it will be great.
  • Will I be dressed as a fox or a cat: I haven't decided yet! Opinions welcome.
  • Should you try to eat with me, ever: Not unless you are very patient. I cannot eat at most restaurants; I cannot even eat at all vegan restaurants. I will not be offended if you leave me out of your dinner plans because my restrictions (vegan, allergic to nightshades [2]) make me impossible. Hopefully there is a yuppie grocery store somewhere nearby or it will be another Weekend Of Rachel Eats Trail Mix. However, if there is a sushi place with good natto, please take me. <3
  • If you don't know me well, should you walk up and say hi: YES! Extroverted Rachel is extroverted.

[0] If you really want to see me Monday morning for some reason, we can work something out.

[1] I'm pretty sure I have lost any ability to not call myself a postfurry at this point. I don't have to change my username to postvulpix, though, right? Because I really like "rax."

[2] Tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, hot pepper, paprika, potato, goji berry, tomatillo, huckleberry, ground cherry, ... tobacco... I think that's anything anyone might care about.
rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
Weekly post of not reading notes, I choose you! Use your bullet seedlist attack! (oh god I am such a dork)
  • I. Have. COUCHES. <3 This means that instead of sitting and doing my readings in bed (which is supposed to be psychologically bad or something and also the back support is not great), or sitting at the dining room table, I can sit and do readings in the library, which has matching couches and each couch has a little table in front of it for laptops and books and the one I'm using now even has a LAMP. <3 It's pretty awesome. Also, new couches smell kinda weird; this confuses the cats [0] as much as it confuses me. I'm sure after a while that fades. It's like new car smell, but for couches! Neither of which I seem to enjoy terribly.
  • Netiquette question: I basically don't use facebook, but I have an account, because otherwise I don't get invited to parties and my family uses facebook messaging instead of email. This isn't awesome, but I'd rather hear from them on facebook instead of not at all, you know? Generally when someone sends me a message it's either private or something for some sort of application I'm comfortable ignoring, but today I got like fifteen messages on my "Wall" saying happy birthday. Do the rules of Facebook etiquette require I respond to each one individually? All in one go, with an additional "wall" post? Not at all? I have posted to Facebook I think twice ever, once to say "I don't use this, contact me elsewhere" and once to say "I'm moving to Indiana." I want to do the correct thing but oh my god I think I got more facebook messages this morning than I had previously received total.
  • Some of y'all are furry pornographers! (Maybe some of y'all are regular pornographers too, but I don't keep track.) The Kinsey Institute, which I can see from the window of my office, is having a Juried Art Show. Y'all should represent, and if you need somebody to handle stuff on the ground, I'm happy to help.
  • I will be spending most of Saturday at the Queering the Countryside conference. I'll be taking notes, though I don't know if I'll transcribe them all (I will probably use paper because I am sure there will be competition for outlets and I don't mind paper). I may not go to the "fun" events because free food I can't eat and liquor is not really my idea of "fun" and sitting and listening to people talk is. I... have sort of turned into a square. ^^;; Except a square wearing pink and black striped armwarmers with stars on them? I dunno. Anyway, this conference should be awesome, and I will try to post some kind of writeup even if it is just "hey dwircleflist [1] here is the PDF I am handing in to my professor about this, read if you want to!"
  • Amazon is trying to sell me video games on sale. Kiiiiind of tempted to allow it to do so. I've seen good reviews for the new DS Final Fantasy and for Rock Band 3 (which I think my mom will kill me if I don't have when she gets here for Thanksgiving, although there is no way I am buying all the new peripherals I need that money to go visit people) --- if I get both of those I can get some other game for free. One person has said good things about DWIX; I could also get Pokemon Ranger instead. Sadly, they don't have Pokemon Mystery Dungeon as part of the list, as I hear that's basically Pokemon and Roguelikes, Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together!
  • I'm planning travel through, like, May. (Anyone know when Steer Roast is going to be with sufficient certainty that I could just buy tickets?) Right now it's looking like this:

    • Dec 15--Jan 2: San Francisco for Catgirl Goth Rave and general madness, with possibility of jaunt down to LA for a bit

    • Jan 13--Jan 16: Further Confusion in San Jose, although I am not 100% committed to this yet, I need to decide if I'm comfortable dealing with the hotel and con costs. But a lot of people I want to see will be there and one of my housemates might come with me.

    • Jan 28--Jan 31: I get to see Ruth!

    • Mar 11--Mar 16: Tentatively:Seattle! Highly influenced, of course, by the presence of certain coyotes.

    • Mar 16--Mar 21: Tentatively:New England! To see friends and family once the weather isn't that terrible.

  • Also I continue to work on my papers, even if just a little bit here and there, and it's awesome. I am especially psyched for my TST paper obviously but I am also happy about the Concepts of Gender paper, which will be working with some of the same ideas but in a very different theoretical framework, one that's more clearly related to current lived experience of people who aren't me. I think the balance is good.
  • Hope you all are doing well! It's back to work with me now...

[0] Yes, cats plural. Oolong is still here due to non-hilarious airline hijinks. Current plan is for Cassandra to take her when she gets the stuff that's still here; in the meantime I am blessed with another couple of weeks of her company.

[1] Totally stole "dwircleflist" from [personal profile] chagrined .

rax: (Kotone is getting shit done.)
Weekly post of week is early this week because my call with Ruth is postponed and my brain is not in Productive Kitty land --- yet doing this counts as a tasklist item. That's right Internet, you are on my tasklist. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
  • I caught them all. Well, I caught all 493 pokemon available in the generation IV games, anyway, which leaves me basically done with SoulSilver. (I haven't caught Mewtwo yet, but I got traded one by someone who did, and I don't like Mewtwo anyway? I guess I should catch mine so that I can trade one of them away for a shiny or something.) I got to only needing 20 last night and said... to hell with this, and did a bunch of trades on pokewifi, and finished the last two this morning before leaving for class. It's sort of anticlimactic, but I'm glad I did it. I definitely won't do it with every game or maybe every generation, but I plan to keep up a stable so I can breed myself fun things for Gen V...
  • I still have that LeafGreen nuzlocke run, my Pearl game, and Japanese White for when I want to play more Pokemon. ...so I still don't need to buy any more video games! That's good. :) Not sure which one I want to work on most seriously next...
  • I had a makeup class today, so I went to school and back in reasonably close to full goth catgirl regalia. I really enjoy the way a non-revealing catgirl costume, worn without anxiety, and eye contact both attracts and repels people's gaze. My favorites are the people who completely take it in stride and tell me I've got it going on, and the ones who look, and then look away, and then look, and then look away, and try unsuccessfully to hide that they are staring. I am glad I don't attract that kind of attention every day any more, but it's nice to have a way to do it, and a moderately socially supported time (halloween!) to do so. Of course, I don't intend to go to any parties, because I have work to do. But I do plan to wear cat ears all weekend BECAUSE I CAN.
  • How hard would it be to find a place to stay at Further Confusion at this point? I hate sanity and enjoy mad travel plans.
  • Was without power for most of Tuesday, which led to a bunch of hilarious misadventures involving Oolong not being able to fly to Boston and Rik still having to leave on what was apparently the only flight leaving the airport on time all day. Still, this meant he got to see Of Montreal and Janelle Monae the next evening, so I am OK with this. :)
  • Definitely four people coming in for Catgirl Goth Rave from well out of town --- with another dozen people considering it fairly seriously. December 18th, San Francisco. You know you want to!
  • Got my first couple of grades back on papers so far this semester --- both As. Arguably, I am writing home about this despite its being nothing to write home about, since it's grad school, and you're supposed to get As on everything or you are sort of screwing up. Still, when you don't get grades on anything until the last week of October, it's nice for the comments on the papers you get back to end with "Great work!" and "Excellent job." I know intellectually that I can write at a graduate level, because I already did it for three years, but lately I've been trying to draft bits of a final paper and it's coming out feeling terrible, and it's nice to have someone highlight all the things in an essay I did well and say "this is really good!" While UMB was problematic in a bunch of ways, they were very good at positive feedback.
  • Also yes, it is October and I am working on my final papers.
  • Also also, it is October and it is a damn good thing that the NBA's rules for which games you can't watch online (in short: any of the ones you would want to see if you don't have a television, which is the main reason I would want the service) are so restrictive, or I would purchase their service, and drop out of grad school. Well, I didn't drop out of grad school last time I had cable, but I did find myself suddenly spending hours just watching television, and I so do not have time for that. ...on the other hand it's free until November 3rd. And so far this game is an embarrassment. Enough that I think it's time to do more readings instead.
rax: (catgirl makeup)
Your weekly "not school, not pokemon" post:
  • CATGIRL GOTH RAVE IS ON. We are booked for December 18th in San Francisco. This will be our sixth year; if people fly in from other places (I'm looking at you, Boston, Seattle, and Texas) I expect between us we'll set up some additional social events in the days before and after as well. Selene is looking approvingly at me as I write this post; you know you want to be there. More details and a formal invitation that can be passed around will go out in a couple of weeks.
  • I lost two productive evenings this week to eating things I shouldn't have, both by accident. The first, my housemate was not only kind enough to make me a separate bowl of guac without tomato in it, but he even went and got new tortilla chips when the ones he had bought had jalapeno on them. (nightshade!) He came back with Tostitos with lime. This was totally not his fault, but still. :( The second was entirely my fault; I forgot paprika was a nightshade and was so excited that I had found a tofu curry thing that didn't use any nightshades. Yeah, no. Goodbye, productive Thursday night.
  • In other "I am increasingly ready for a robot body" news, I twisted my ankle something fierce when my brand-new heels snapped --- the heel half-detaching from the shoe --- as I was walking down the stairs in my house. (Carefully!) They're handmade by an awesome company who I hope will either repair or replace them, but it's still kind of errrrrgh, since it hurts enough that I wasn't able to go hiking this morning and can't walk or bike long distances right now. It already feels better than it did this morning; I'm hoping I will be OK to take the bus to school on Monday and walk the ten-fifteen minutes from the city bus stop rather than having to navigate the campus buses as well. I do still have a cane, if it comes to that!
  • While we're itemizing negative things --- commit your atrocities early, kids! --- yesterday evening I was getting a ride from a friend and while she was turning left a car came at us at like 50mph. Directly at me. Part of my brain enacted what I would do to get out of the situation were I driving, part of my brain attempted to communicate this to the driver (but I think came out "Guh!!"), and part of my brain prepared itself for death. I am darkly amused that that process returned the value "I was hoping for something more glamorous." By my recollection the car did not hit us; the driver checked the car and there was a nasty gash down the side where I had been sitting. I probably dissociated. No one was hurt, the other person hit and ran. "At least I wasn't on a bike?" [0]
  • In other news, I don't have to spend my free days going to Ohio for work for a while! How cool is that? (Answer: VERY COOL.) I will miss the jacuzzi in the hotel where they know my name when I check in though. "Oh, it's the pink-haired lady who checks in dressed like a college student and leaves in the morning in formal businesswear! She gets room 409."
  • Still don't want to jinx it, but the likelihood of picking up a Housemate #2 next weekend is like 80 or 90%; my "turn down OK to good people in favor of waiting for good to awesome people" strategy appears to be working like whoah.
  • Anyone have recommendations for bike lights that, rather than optimizing for "being seen" like the ones I have, provide the functionality "allow me to see?" I have a halogen that theoretically does this but it's not really cutting it for me. While biking around here during the day is way tamer than Boscamberville, it's kind of a death trap at night; the students are insane and the roads are dark enough that I can't see. Since I don't yet have all the roads memorized, and where the potholes are and that sort of thing, this is a pretty major problem, and it's starting to be dark when I get out of class. I can't fix the student insanity (there is no way I would bike through campus at 10pm on a weekend night, I like not dying) but I should be able to fix the darkness, and it's getting dark earlier every day.
  • This is technically school-related, but I got permission from my advisor to work on human/animal boundary things, and animality in general, in my research both for her class and in general. This is so cool, y'all. So cool. I have so much more to read now! I even got permission to do "some crazy first-person vegan furry thing" informed by theory --- this is the class where we're encouraged to write experimentally, which I mentioned before. We will see how this goes. I have already started outlining. I want to make this good.
  • You know how lots of minivans and SUVs have those stick figure decals that show you who's in the family? I saw one the other day that was clearly legible as soldier-man gardener-wife basketball-girl football-boy baseball-boy and four dogs. I thought "Man, I wanna see one where both parents are women. Or where there are three adults. Or where their careers are things like computer-woman, management-androgyne, bookworm-child." I got to thinking --- how far into weird could you go before people would just start not seeing the weird and parsing it as something else? I think that a family that otherwise looked normal but had two gardener-wives and no man would read as lesbian parents, especially if combined with left-leaning bumper stickers or something. If you had two men and a woman, on the other hand, I think most people would assume one of them was either a grandparent or an adult child before thinking menage a trois. I think it would be interesting to see how far you could go before people snapped back to normativizing interpretations, and would be particularly interesting to compare this across populations and times. I was thinking "Somebody should do this research!" and then I thought "I'm a paid staff member in gender studies at a research university..." I'm probably not going to do this project, but I could, and that's badass. (Feel free to grab it if you want.)

[0] This particular situation could not possibly have happened to me on a bike, but the general case of "grazed by fast-moving car" would probably have been worse.
rax: (Benten guitar case)
Doing this now because otherwise I never will, here are some thoughts about the small anime con I just attended:
  • Got asked early on by someone not in costume at all "Are you a furry?" I said "Uh, yeah" expecting a negative response and he said "Oh thank god I thought I was the only one, I keep seeing people in animal costumes who aren't furries." It sparked a conversation, which was pretty amusing. (I spent Friday and Sunday as a fox, and Saturday in full catgirl regalia including spots painted on my arms. [0])
  • Watched two anime that were new to me: Ouran High School Host Club (want to see the rest now; the first two episodes were better than I had expected from what I had heard about it, although still kinda eye-rolly in places) and Hetalia Axis Powers (I walked out in the middle, I do not understand why anyone watches this show. OK that's unnecessarily harsh it made me laugh a couple of times. I do not understand why it is the Next Big Thing).
  • Was encouraged to run a cat ear making workshop; am not sure I will be in town next year (it's moving to December 16-18, what the hell?) but apparently that would get me in for free which would be pretty cool, and I could teach people to make cat ears, which would also be pretty cool. So maybe? Definitely, while the cosplayers are amazing, this con had lower standards for animal ears than Anthrocon does. I would feel lame sauce bringing my homemade ears to Anthrocon, they would have been fine here.
  • The best part for me was the "Iron Lolita" event, where teams of three (I got teamed up with two strangers, who it turned out were award-winning cosplayers with way more costuming experience than me) had an hour to make an Elegant Gothic Lolita dress (google that if you don't know what I mean) out of duct tape, newspaper, garbage bags, and balloons... in an hour. We came in third on largely arbitrary judging, but everyone made awesome dresses and so the placing didn't really matter other than meaning I got a DVD and some stickers. When I get photos I will post them, our dress turned out amazing!
  • I got to play a bunch of go. Go go go go go go. I miss go. And chess. *nostalgia*
  • The pokemon event was fun but kinda disappointing --- rather than being a huge pile of people trading and battling, it was mostly "let's all talk about Black and White and ask questions that would have been answered if people had been reading the LJ pokemon community or serebii or really anything" [1] and a trivia contest (I came in second, I won some keychains, whee!). This was not unfun because dude we talked about pokemon for two hours even my friends who like Pokemon won't let me do that with them. But I only got one battle and only got a couple of trades; although my pokedex is now at, like, 435? 436? So that's pretty amazing. Getting there!!! If it had been on Saturday instead of the last event of the con, I could have found the other serious people and met up with them later in the con. I suggested that to them for next year and they agreed --- scheduling was tight this year I guess, and something has to be last, after all.
  • Found a remarkably good sushi place like a mile from the con; other than that, ate trail mix. SO MUCH TRAIL MIX. This time I brought trail mix without Goji berries and my life was not pain!
  • Various people were providing maid service (mostly of things I couldn't eat) in a little lounge area, and trying to get into service/character with it, and most people were not obliging them. I hope I made a couple of them happy by (a) being able to put on formal roles and request and thank them for things properly and (b) tipping them, visibly, in such a way as to encourage others to do so as well. Certainly the smile on one of their faces when I thanked her for rice crackers in an elaborate way made me happy.
  • For most people at the con who I got into major conversations with, anime seemed to be one of the main driving things in their lives, an organizing principle. I used to be more into it, but even when I was, it was never the top in my constellation of interests, and it shows in how many shows I just have not even heard of. This is neither good nor bad [2] it's just sort of a thing --- and of course, it may just seem that way because of course they want to talk mostly about anime at an anime convention, duh. Furry cons don't seem to work the same way though, I dunno.
  • I got a bunch of reading done, although this week is still gonna be a little painful homework-wise. Relatedly, I think I'm done here. :)

[0] This fits pretty well with how I've been feeling lately when I check my speciesometer: "mostly kinda foxy but in a half-assed way, sometimes I AM A CAT YOU WILL TREAT ME AS SUCH." In case you, for some reason, care.

[1] ...on the basis of knowing more about (some subsets of) pokemon than the people at the pokemon panel I declare myself a serious pokemon dork and am unsure how I feel about this. That was not what I meant at all when I bought that game.

[2]  Well, it's good for me because I don't care about anime that much and if I did treat it that way I would not be happy with how I organized my life. And it's bad, or at least inconvenient, for me when I watch cosplay skits and I'm like "I don't know who any of those people are except Vulpix. Wait, I think that clown is in one of Skuld's icons or something. That probably means he's from One Piece, since he's not Sherlock Holmes."

rax: (Kotone is getting shit done.)
  • On the whole LJ autopost to Facebook and Twitter thing --- yeah I agree that the being able to crosspost content out from under a friendslock is lame, but I think it could be useful. As much as a lot of my core social group uses LJ (or Dreamwidth, but I think I have all of four friends with DW presence and no parallel LJ presence), there are a good number of people important to me --- including almost everyone in Bloomington --- who don't use the service at all. They use Facebook (which I hate), and Twitter (if I'm lucky). If I can find a way to get crossposts to Facebook and Twitter working that encourage commenting on LJ and not on Facebook, that would be really useful for me, and maybe my family wouldn't think I hate them all just because I don't comment on their Facebook posts.
  • The transomatechnics class is encouraging me to "be creative in my mode of writing" and attempt things that bring in first-person narrative. ...should I take a stab at postfurry theory? I'm so tempted. It has nothing to do with where I see my dissertation going... OK that's a lie. The construction of authenticity of identities that didn't even exist fifty years ago [0] totally has something to do with one direction my dissertation could go. But, urgh. I have other stuff I want to write too. We will see! I should do more readings before I decide, probably.
  • I think I finally grok abjection as described by Julia Kristeva --- I read her essay, and went whaaaaaaat, and then read it again, and then tried to explain it to people to see if I understood it, and then read a couple of summaries online (this one was my favorite) and I feel ready to dive in, and at least confident that I know what things I don't know about it. (Why are we reading this before Deleuze?) The David Wills Prosthesis piece I still don't really get; I talked it over some with [personal profile] chagrined  and I have a bit of a better sense, but I am still really looking forward to talking about it in class because ummm help. I'm also gonna read it one more time after I leave this coffeeshop (it's too loud to really get reading done in here right now) in the hope that having kicked around in my brain for a week will make it make more sense the third time. Here's hoping...
  • Oh my god this is adorable.
  • If I spewed notes on the papers and books I was reading into this journal, would you find that awesome, annoying, or other? It would be a lot of notes, and I can't promise my thoughts will be terribly baked. The alternative is making another journal just for notes on readings --- I want to archive them somewhere, and I'd like to have the option of making them public.
  • My Pokédex is at 350 as of last night, when I played for a half hour to reward myself for finishing a book. (The book was Meatless Days, which is sadly not about veganism but is still an awesome memoir.)
  • I deleted the word "actually" from this post four times. I might have missed one. I need to fix this tic.

[0] There were people with animal/animalistic identities five years ago and probably five thousand; I'm not familiar with people identifying as animalized constructions of inorganic material before I met Nick, Rik, and Peggy the last twenty years or so. If anyone has cites for earlier examples PLEASE SEND ME THEM. <3
rax: (Benten guitar case)
I need to write this down before I forget any more of it, so congratulations, you get a belated con report.

PEOPLE: Until Diane arrived on Friday night, I was essentially there alone. Last year, when I knew ~no one except for Cassandra, this would basically have been a disaster; I don't particularly hang out with furries on the Internet who I don't already know from somewhere else, so I wouldn't have been able to get in touch with that social group since it didn't exist. [0] Although I did get to see Ian-Keith, a partner in roguelike crime from way back. ;) This year I already knew a bunch of people from last year --- not well, mind you, but well enough to sit down and strike up a conversation for a few minutes and feel like there was a reason for me to be there. Those people also helped me meet new people to the point where after another year or two I can imagine just showing up and being "Oh, it's the social group I know from Anthrocon!," especially in the gaming room. Unfortunately people aren't very good about giving out contact information --- and I'm not as good as I should be at asking for it.

I've tried to mitigate this problem by having cards I hand out with my name, telephone number, email address, website, and basic information about myself on them, and they work both as harder to discard than a scrap of paper (they're on pink cardstock, of course, because I am me) and a conversation starter. There's something on the card that will make pretty much everyone go either "oooh!" or "what on earth is that?" But since I'm the one handing out the contact information, I pretty much have to rely on the people making first contact with me, which has a pretty low percentage rate. There were a few people in particular this year who I was really glad to meet though, and who I expect I'll stay at least in casual contact with during the year.

FOOD: Mostly I brought a ton of trail mix, a giant bag of dried pineapple, and these weird raw crackers, and lived off of those the whole time. I did have three meals out: one at Sree's, an almost-entirely vegan Indian place (they have tandoori chicken over in an awkward little corner), one at a Thai place that was OK but not worth blogging about, and one at Quiet Storm, a vegetarian/vegan cafe that's like five miles from the convention center but a cheap cab ride and trivially accessible by bus. Cabs were so backed up that we had to take the bus on our way back and it turned out to be painless and cheaper and an opportunity to see more of Pittsburgh. Oh and the food was so amazing and so inexpensive that I am totally going back next year and dragging other people: "Get on a bus, it won't kill you. Come on." The people were kinda like "The furries come this far out? Whoah," but it was totally cool. Also seriously it was good enough that I begged them for a cookbook but they didn't have one.

Eating mostly trail mix isn't nearly as boring as I thought (and for aforementioned nightshade reasons was actually rather nice), but it was nice to get out a bit and have something very different on the last night. (Barbecue seitan sandwich... mmmmmh. Amazing black beans, too.)

EVENTS: Aside from basic stuff like "Watch the fursuit parade!" I really only went to two events that weren't gaming-related this year: The Women in Fandom meet and greet and an IndyFurCon meetup. The Women in Fandom event was amazing, I met a bunch of fun people and talked about organization and social groups and anthropology and trying to bring gender studies into science curricula. Eventually three of us ended up in a corner talking about our PhD programs and seriously geeking out, it rocked. <3 (One of those people is among the "must keep in touch with...") It was really cool to hear people talk about how in the 90s there were like four women at cons, and now it's not 50% but there are a whole lot of us --- I had been on the Internet doing furry things then, but went to my first con last year, and so I was just like "Oh wow this isn't nearly as bad as I thought!" :)

The IndyFurCon meetup I hoped to use as a chance to meet people from Indiana despite the fact that I can't go this year. (I have a wedding I'm already going to.) I only met one person who was actually from Indiana there, which was sort of odd, although chatting with him for a bit was nice, and I'll probably see him at the furry barbecue I think we're going to today? Then there was this young woman from Canada who I'm not entirely sure what happened but pretty soon we were arm in arm skipping around the Westin and then there were some stairs and then I was in a room party being served good beer? The point of this party seemed to be to recruit people for another con, Condition in London, Ontario, which apparently has a plot that will be enacted year to year, so it's sort of a dinner murder mystery con? Con with LARP elements? I dunno. The people were really cool, I chatted with one of their guests of honor for a while about fursuits as part of a cluster of people, I would definitely consider going if it weren't for its conflicting with the other wedding I'm going to this summer. But I'll leave it on the possibilities for next year if the reports go well. I would very much like to see an event where the theme is more than just pasted on work. "berrrrrrrrrr" is Oolong's contribution to the discourse in this regard apparently. [1]

DRIVING THERE: This sort of deserves its own section. Flying looked ridiculously expensive, and it's only a seven or eight hour drive to Pittsburgh, and I thought "Hey, maybe I can carpool with some people, since I have a van, and save money on gas!" After a truly ridiculous amount of catherding --- we had three people supposed to be in the car who punted at various times, and one person flew from San Diego in order to ride there and back with someone from Champaign who we had to pick up at a rest stop outside Indy, and... there were three furries I didn't know before the trip riding with me to and from Pittsburgh. We had a blast. (One of them didn't pay me and hasn't responded to my messages about this, but whatever. Two out of three ain't bad.) One of them, Flare Starfire, [2] is an impressive improvisational pianist who really doesn't sound like he has no background in music theory --- he's got that savant thing going. You can hear a few tracks for free on his website, I'm pretty sure; when he played some for me in the car, I was all "Is this Beethoven? No this chord progression is too modern. Um. Wait, is this Phillip Glass? No, he wouldn't have gone there... What is this? Wait this is you?" If you sit down with your Serious Music Brain you'll find things to criticize but it's really enjoyable and impressive music and at Anthrocon I confirmed that he's fun to watch play, too. If "modern classical improvisational piano (in a fursuit)" sounds interesting to you, check it out!

NEXT YEAR?: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going. I really want to run a vegan (or maybe, to get the numbers up, vegetarian and vegan) meetup thing at some point, and maybe get help from Pittsburgh locals to put together a good list combined with directions and bus instructions and schedules for those specific places. (There's a Pittsburgh veg society website or something, but it mostly assumes you are from Pittsburgh, and there's an Anthrocon dining guide, but it mostly assumes you have no interest in walking more than a thousand feet.) I'm psyched that I didn't eat out that much this year (last year it was every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner, ulgh), but it is a good social opportunity, and when you're at a con and you probably should have eaten two hours ago and you're overheating because half your body is covered in fake fur, having a little booklet that says "Stand at X intersection for five minutes and get on a bus until it hits Y, get out, get a vegan smoothie" would be awesome. Anyone know anything about organizing that kind of event? 

Diane and I had also talked about running some sort of surreal side-quest puzzle hunt, and if we're still interested, we might do it... this would probably take the form of randomly handing puzzle packets to people and periodically answering questions and maybe giving out small prizes to people who solve the puzzles correctly. We'll see if we get to it. :)

[0] A lot of furries spend a lot of time on Internet social groups and use conventions as a way to get together and spend time in person. I don't do this so much (though not none); for me it's more "this kind of event gets together friends who are geographically disparate" because people in my social groups tend to do things like move for grad school or flee screaming to California.

[1] If you weren't aware, Oolong is one of my cats.

[2] Boston people can catch him playing at FurFright --- apparently he's a guest of honor? Whoah.

rax: (Benten guitar case)
One of the big reasons I go to Anthrocon, though certainly not the only one, is to play games. I played fewer new games this year, but got in a lot of time with old favorites and with both old and new friends, so I'll still call it a win. Plus, not playing new games means I'm not tempted to buy new games. ;) I've tried to keep this entry to game-related content so that if you don't care you can wait for the next post.

I played a lot of Race for the Galaxy (you know, like you do!), including a few games with Diane that included the third expansion. The third expansion is confusing --- I think it will take me another ten plays or so just to get the mechanics right. While I feel morally obligated to put that amount of work in, and learn the mechanics and get good at it (and even if I don't have a moral obligation, I have a friendly obligation to be able to play with the Posts!), I tend to prefer just the first expansion for random pickup games --- it just doesn't take as long, it's easier to explain, and anyone who's been around for the game once or twice will know how to play it without having to ask "How do takeovers work?" or "What on earth is prestige?" That said, we'll see what I think after another ten or twenty games --- maybe I'll really like the new mechanics. Certainly anytime other people have complained that RftG was broken, my response was "Play another fifty games or so." At this point it's a question of whether I really want to put in the time if no one else around me is going to.

After winning a bunch of games of Race (I didn't lose while I was there at all, actually, which is sort of terrifying) I decided I wanted to play something where I would get crushed, so I jumped into a Magic draft. The way this works (and someday I will make someone sit down and try a Race for the Galaxy draft with me) is that eight people sit down at a table, open up a Magic booster pack, take a card, pass the stack to their left, and repeat three times such that everyone has 45 cards (actually more like 42 because of lands, which get pulled, but whatever). Then you make a deck out of some of those cards, and play a best out of 3 ladder bracket tournament, and winning games causes you to get more cards. I didn't win any games but I actually had a blast being confronted entirely with cards I'd never seen before and trying to make a coherent deck --- aside from one game last Anthrocon where I was heavily shouldersurfed by someone, I haven't played since Ice Age. Other than undervaluing one mechanic (leveling, if you care), I think I did a decent job --- and someone else gave me all their cards from the draft, so I actually ended up with more cards than I would have had if I'd won. Not that I have anything to do with them really. :P The real win here was social, but I'll cover that in more detail in another Anthrocon post.

I also jumped into a tournament-style poker game, which I haven't done most of before. My introduction to the table went like this:

RACHEL: "Oh, huh, this is neat. I haven't played that much with chips before?"
RACHEL: "Oh, money." *teehee!*

OK, maybe I hammed it up a little bit. ;) I feel I represented Danger Haus well --- came in second, only made one really dumb mistake (though it cost me being chip leader), played an entire hand blind and forced everyone else to fold with lots of money in the pot --- only to discover I'd been sitting on the nuts (straight to the ace!) the entire time. So I guess that was a good fold on their part after all? Thanks for the karma, Silvio. :) [0] This was hopefully a social win, although we'll see if I end up spending time with those people next year, but at least Ian was in the game and we got to talk a bunch, so it would have been worth it just for that.

Diane had a great tool for meeting people and sparking conversations: her Pokewalker. It's basically a little pedometer that you can put pokemon inside and get credit for walking around with them --- but it has the extra benefit that two people can trade at least items and maybe also pokemon through them. Of course, tons of furries are into Pokemon, and so there were hundreds of people walking around with these little pedometers on purse straps or badge lanyards or what have you, and it was an entry point for conversation with hundreds of people. Through a complicated series of events --- well, not that complicated, the random roommate we picked up on the anthrocon.org forums was running out of money and offered to pay for the room in part with his DS, since he didn't really use it and I had been waffling about picking one up --- I have Pokemon now. Unfortunately this happened at the very end of the con, but next time I go to a furry con, and it may be sooner than Anthrocon 2011, I'll be able to trade Pokemon with people. Yay! Expect me to blog more about Pokemon. ^^;;

I ran into and gave rides to a bunch of people playing that Furoticon game I wrote about last year. It's, uh, even more what it is than it was before, now that they've added another expansion. Opinions are mixed on whether it's balanced or not; I was on the borderline of trying it out again but ended up doing other things during the time they had their events, and am fine with that. I do not need a CCG in my life. Please, everyone, remind me of this. I wish this game were awesome, and hope it is becoming or becomes awesome, because there's totally room in the universe I want to live in for an excellent game that is also furry porn.

More stuff later --- maybe today, as I'm taking it easy after a really stressful weekend. But right now, I need to go make myself a pizza. =^.^=

[0] Danger Haus is where I used to play poker back in Boston --- no limit hold'em, 25/50cent blinds, slightly odd house rules: you can't buy in again once you've gone all in, but you can play with money in your wallet, and the last person to bet leads the next round of bidding. (Apparently this is because eight years ago or whenever their poker night started, they didn't understand the rules, and they just insisted everyone follow their rules, and it worked. I love Danger Haus.) Silvio is a regular player who is known for playing blind or doing ridiculous things like playing a card face up. He's not a very good poker player, but he gets his hands by convincing you he's much worse than he actually is. :)

rax: (pink!!!!)
As I recently mentioned, I'm going to be at Anthrocon this week. One of the things that people do at Anthrocon is commission badges of their fursonas --- it's a big enough social thing that the Anthrocon website has a primer on doing it, and most people you see wandering around are wearing badges that mostly cover their official badge, depicting their fursona [0] in some manner of splendor or adorability. It's a really cool tradition, and a great way for artists to pay their way to the convention, and an opportunity for people to support their favorite artists, whether they be old favorites ("Oh my god I recognize that style from printing out pictures on yerf in high school to piss off the computer lab supervisor") or new. There's only one problem: I don't actually have a fursona.

(If you've known me since, oh, say, 2000, and you're saying "Wait, what?" bear with me here for a while.)

For the non-furries in the room, a fursona is something between an aspect of self and a mask you wear while in furry spaces (cons, MUCKs, conversations, parties at my house, whatever). For some people it's "this is my identity! I am a sparkly blue cat with the following facial pattern! I have the following backstory and magical powers and I always wear a bowler hat!" while for others it's "this is my character, who I pretend to be in alternate spaces and have fun with." Some people have one, some people have more than one, and some people... like me, these days... really don't have any.

Oh, I used to have more than one! In high school [1] when I had this general sense of "this identity is clearly not right, but I don't know what is" this fascinating furry thing gave me an opportunity to try on different identities for size. I tried a bunch of things, a couple in person (inasmuch as you can pretend to be a fox in person, which is a surprising amount if the people around you are inclined to be nice about it), a few more online, a couple only in my head. (For a while in high school I imagined an aspect of myself as a six-inch blue catgirl named Random. That's your Useless Rax Fact for the day.) These were all useful for me in the process of becoming the person I wanted to be --- they let me try out different ways of acting, of perceiving, of thinking, of being perceived. And eventually I ended up ... just me.

I like to put on cat ears or wear a fox tail, sometimes, and enjoy the differences in all of those things I wrote about up there, but I don't think of myself as a different person, or even a different aspect of person. I'm just Rachel wearing cat ears, like I could be Rachel wearing a power suit or Rachel wearing jewelry. When I went to Anthrocon last year, I had a blast and a half, but one of the things that was uncomfortable was people asking me my name and "what I was." I would respond "Rachel!" and they would say, almost universally, "But what's your furry name?" [2] "Still Rachel." "OK, what do you look like?" I want to respond I look like this dammit, do you know how much work it took me to look like this. But they have no idea, so I usually just kind of shrug my shoulders. This makes commissioning badges difficult. :)

I've actually considered developing a fursona or two just so I can get in on this awesome art scene. Having the username "raxvulpine" a bunch of places makes furries (reasonably!) assume fox, which (unreasonably!) makes some of them assume that I will be willing to sleep with them. (The furry conception of foxes is frustratingly all yiff and no Reynard. [3]) I'm sort of tempted to pick some animal with aggressively non-sexual stereotypes, build a character around it, and work from there, except I have tons of fox and cat costume pieces already and I don't really want to put a lot of effort into being that woodchuck chick. ...Probably.

Someone I was hanging out with last year suggested I should just commission badges of random things, and it was more fun that way. I discovered myself to be too shy to actually do this, last year. I should do it anyway this year. Suggestions for random things I should ask for are greatly appreciated!

(Random aside: As I was writing this Cassandra handed me a piece of paper from a pile of stuff she was sorting where I had scrawled "Furries don't want to pass, but they can't help it" along with a bunch of Race for the Galaxy scores. Make of this what you will, I'm out of analysis for the evening.)

[0] Sometimes, plural. Fursonas? Fursonae? Just fursona again? I DON'T KNOW.

[1] When I wasn't taking advantage of there being time for Klax.

[2] I suppose I could say "Rax," but apparently there's another furry Rax, and after the first couple of times I was introduced as "Not that one!" I sorta backed off introducing myself that way. :)

[3] And no abnegation, and no Aesop, and no Stephen Dedalus, and... Seriously, where does this all foxes are in it only for the sex thing come from, and can I stop it? There are so many better bad assumptions to make about foxes!

rax: (Benten guitar case)
This is mostly for the like three other people on my friendslist/readinglist/whatever who are going to Anthrocon, random furries webstalking me, and anyone else who is morbidly curious and reads all the content I put out even if it's irrelevant to them. If I have time before work I'll write something more general.

Blah blah, blah blah-blah. AC about-me meme! )
The always wonderful [livejournal.com profile] krinndnz  pointed me, over in her LJ (friends-locked, but a lot of you will find this link useful anyway), toward a University of Alaska survey about furries, or furvey. [0] There's rather a history of bad surveys and research done on minority populations, which often makes people nervous about this sort of thing. (A part of me hesitates to class furries as "a minority population" --- but in this circumstance, of researchers saying "Ooh, here are some different people I can go and research," I think it fits.) In recent cases that have a lot of Internet press, there's always that ridiculous slash brain sexuality study (as [livejournal.com profile] ceruleanst  points out over on Krinn's blog), and I also just read [livejournal.com profile] tagonist 's post about trans studies recently, and I also also still have PIlar Osario's work (thanks to this conference) about how race is not really a great category for medical studies sitting in the back of my head and percolating. So I approached this furvey with some trepidation, but decided I would go ahead, Google-stalk a little bit, and take a look at the survey itself.

Short, spoiler-free verdict: Actually I don't think it's that bad. One of the two researchers identifies or has identified as a furry (or I suppose is outright lying): "My name is Eric Olson, I am the data gnome and the person who suggested the study in the first place. I think the furry community, for all its weird little quirks is, on the whole, a pretty positive thing. I certainly benifited from it and I suspect quite a few other people have too." [1] That's not necessarily Objective (tm) but it makes me way more comfortable than other surveys have in the past. (I'm hoping [livejournal.com profile] eredien  will chime in here on the furry survey that was going around Anthrocon --- I didn't take it, but she did and she talked to the researchers for a while, too. [2]) Also, you're able to click submit, read all the questions, and decide if you want to participate or not; it's just one page (although if you answer "yes" to one question it pops up five text boxes that were invisible before). This is way better than that surveymonkey nonsense that makes you answer two things, click, answer two things... so if you were sitting on the fence about this, you might as well check it out.

Potentially spoilery: My thoughts on the survey, what's bad, what's potentially valuable )

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