Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rat Racing

Warning: I'm about to launch into some post-grad, twentysomething-crisis whining.

In February, I was hired on as a temp-to-perm at a big corporate company. I was damn happy because a steady job with benefits seemed just out of my reach. When I started, I found that there was another temp in my department. I was a bit deflated to learn that he'd already been working for 7 months as a temp to perm, but I pushed some of my doubts aside--I sat near the HR department and saw that new people were being hired all the time. I figured I just had to wait my turn.

Months have gone by and I've become incredibly disillusioned and bored. I'm no fan of corporate culture, and I'm continuously stressed out because I never know which project I'm given is going to be my last. But I've been sticking with it because no matter how shitty I feel, the job is paying the bills. I have been applying to other jobs, as I want some stability and need insurance hardcore, but noting is panning out. The internship is the exact thing I've been looking for, but the organization is new and has no money as of yet to hire me on full time, though they've expressed interest.

Recently the other temp in my department quit--he was simply sick of doing the same job for a year straight that is obviously integral to the operation of the department. He would inquire every once and awhile to see if the company would be interested in hiring him permanently, but they'd also turn him down. After he left, I found myself sitting in a situation where maybe, just maybe, I could move into his position, where the temping would be more stable, or perhaps I'd even get hired full time.

It's not going to happen. I found out today that they already hired someone new. Not as a temp, but as a full-time, fully benefited, employee. It doesn't matter that I'm already familiar with the work or that I've been here for six months. They're not going to hire me. I asked about my job performance, and I was told that I'm doing excellent work. So I don't know what it is--maybe they think I'm too young and am therefore more likely to move on sooner than someone else? Or is it something else?

Either way, I feel like crap. I check the job listings and nothing seems promising. My self-esteem has hit the rocks. I've developed some chronic health conditions since graduating, but have put off going to the doctor because I can't afford it, and I'm going to need to keep putting it off. Plus, I'm still endlessly stuck in temp limbo--who knows when they'll not need me here any longer?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

That was three days ago? A Rundown of Wizard World Chicago

This past weekend I set aside my internship and other responsibilities to attend yet another year of Wizard World Chicago with Shions_Glasses. It’s awesome to see every year more and more women and girls attending the con—the first year I went there didn’t seem to be a lot of us, but this year there was lots. It’s a good time to be a fan girl.

I don’t know if it was just me, but Wizard World seemed tiny this year. There just didn’t seem to be as many panels or booths. Hell, the Nintendo booth wasn’t even there. A shame because I was looking forward to getting some more free Pokemon cards and downloading a rare Pokemon or mystic ticket for my copy of Diamond.

Marvel’s booth had me a bit disappointed. I’m always impressed with free swag, even if it’s just DC’s Countdown pins and Batman temporary tattoos. I was crossing my fingers for a John Cassidy X-Men poster or something like that. There was a glossy poster for Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter that was definitely cheesecakey, but a little outside my taste.

I was surprisingly impressed with Sony’s booth. They seemed to aiming for some accessibility by being kid friendly. The PaRappa the Rapper port for the PSP was getting a strong push, as was the strategy-RPG Jeanne D’Arc. I grabbed a gorgeous poster for Jeanne D’Arc, and Shions_Glasses was given a PaRappa t-shirt that’s about five times too large just for posing for a few pictures with the PaRappa mascot.

On Saturday afternoon we made sure to stop by the DC booth to get Will Pfeifer’s signature. Other than that, we didn’t have too much to do with the big two. Instead of going to any of the panels we spent our time flipping through back issues and wandering around Artist Alley. We picked up about 20 issues of Gotham Cental (all for $1.50!) and grabbed Spider-Woman: Origin and the Metal Gear Solid TPB for half-off. In the Artist Alley I searched out David Mack (as I do every year) and bought the second and third volumes of Kabuki. Before we left for the evening we caught some Beck (dubbed, yuck) in the anime screening room. I’m a bit annoyed that they were only showing Funimation licensed anime this year. What about Manga and Bandai? They were there too.

Saturday night was probably my favorite part of the convention, though it wasn’t specifically Wizard World-related. In my part of Chicago they were having a neighborhood festival, and in celebration my local comic book shop invited their regulars to come hang out and drink some beers. There wasn’t too many of us there, which was more than alright with me. I was content with talking the whole while with a woman who didn’t even stop at home to change out of her Catwoman costume. The whole experience was a bit surreal: where I grew up I bought my comics from a video rental store, so there was never a place for me to go and hang out and talk geek.

Sunday was more of buying. For 35% off we picked up the first volume of Monster (manga is always seriously lacking at WW), Coward, the three TPB volumes of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive and Tales of the Slayers. We also stopped by Artist Alley and grabbed a copy of Winter Beard by Cathy Hannah and The Exploits of Aimless Boy by John Aston Golden, who is actually a regular at my comic book store. We waited in line for the Wheel of Doom and I won my cat a rubber band to play with (the topic I chose was Lunar: The Silver Star and they unfortunately didn’t know what the hell I was talking about) and Shions_Glasses won a hardcover book of Wizard covers, which he promptly gave away.

It was after this point that the con went sour. We stopped one last time at the Sony booth to check out the Heavenly Sword demo. Some guys came up behind us, and one of them decided that it’d be a ton of fun to verbally harass me. I don’t feel like going into too much detail, but his comments involved such things as upskirt shots, masturbation, and rape. Unable to contain my anger, I told him to please shut the hell up, and went on to furiously explain that rape is not a joke, it’s a hate crime, etc. but as he only seemed to get more belligerent with my every response. So I went to security and he disappeared into the milling crowd. At least I can say that security did take me seriously and even profusely apologized.

Yet getting harassed sucked any fun that was left out of the con. We did go afterward to check out the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, but it was difficult to enjoy.

With all the internet harassment that’s been going on lately in the game and comics community—the avalanche of racist comments regarding Resident Evil 5, the hijacking of, and getting hacked— being harassed at the con just fit in too perfectly.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shame on you internet, I thought you were cool

I found a great blog today as I was reading up on Resident Evil 5 reactions. It's called microscopiq, and combines my two favorite things: art and video games into one cool blog. The article on RE5 is also stellar, as he points out many of the issues inherent with the concept of the game. The best point against the game is how the characteristics of the super zombies of RE4, transferred to a black person, creates a zombie that resembles many of the negative black stereotypes.
"With bulging eyes, simian super strength, and a room temperature IQ, we’ve been portrayed as savages beyond redemption."
What is not so cool, and that has made me as angry as a space banished Hulk, are the comments on that post. This post has gotten waaaay more attention than any of the other posts on the blog, and the majority of the comments are telling him how wrong he is. All I can think is "How dare they." What gives these people the right, to come to his blog and tell him that he is wrong; that he shouldn't be offended by obvious racist imagery. Most of the comments boil down to, "No. You don't/shouldn't feel the affects of racism, shut up!" It's inconceivable. Who else would feel the affects of the imagery in this game if not an African American. Commenter after commenter kept admitting to being white and claiming that they have never know anyone to be racist, that racism doesn't exist, and that these images of a race that they don't belong to aren't racist. Well of course you don't feel it if you're white, but it exists. It exists when you go onto an African American blog throwing your whiteness all over the place and saying not to talk about things like racism and be a good boy. Does anyone else see the absurdity in someone defending a game where a white person goes into a black space and starts wrecking havoc, when they themselves are going into a black space and wrecking havoc. This sounds like the perfect game for these people, right up their ally. It's pretty clever of the power structure to admit that racism is bad, but then also claim that it doesn't exist. This leaves those who are affected by racism without even a voice to speak out against it, because, according to the power structure, there's nothing to speak out against. A good rule to follow from now on is that if any marginalized person calls out some sort of oppression of their group, maybe everyone else should just shut up, listen, and at least consider the possibility.