Paladins. I Don’t Necessarily Mean the D&D Ones.

I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and that has lead to me writing about this topic. Everyone has a rock, someone they lean on for strength, support, and encouragement. We all have one or two, and in truth, it’s healthy to be able to vent to someone who is wiling to listen to you and not pass any judgement.

What isn’t healthy is if that is the only types of interactions we have with these specific people. There should be a healthy balance in any type of relationship, but once it becomes incredibly one-sided, it starts becoming toxic. People who are rocks are essentially paladins. They are altruistic, empathetic, and selfless to the point where they won’t openly admit when they themselves are crumbling because they don’t want to show the people who rely on them that they can no longer be supportive. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s nice being able to talk to someone because I’m usually the one people come to.”

Imagine being the journal, the ear, the foundation to multiple people who are struggling for various reasons. Now imagine instinctively carrying that weight in your mind and heart even though the conversation ended with “thanks for listening.” Paladins don’t shake those conversations, those worries or those burdens off.  Paladins accept these as their own because they feel it’s their way of contributing to life, to the world, and to their loved ones. It becomes part of them; that’s part of being empathetic.

And as much as paladins don’t want to admit it, even they struggle as well. They have their own share of misfortune at times just like everyone else, but they don’t like to tell others about it because they understand what that weight can do to someone. It’s a vicious one-way street for them more than it is a cycle.  They want to remain and appear strong for those who rely on them, and they will only break down behind closed doors.

Why am I writing this? I want people to have an understanding of the paladins in their lives. This isn’t to make them feel guilty about venting to their pillars of support, far from, but this is more to help them understand that those pillars are people too. Allow them to recharge. Understand that they also need time away from the crazy of the world. No matter how much they hold things together, sometimes, they need to step back and take a breather. One of their flaws is that they won’t ask for this break because they believe that they have to be helpful 24/7. I write this for those who  may find themselves all of a sudden wondering why their rock may disappear for a while. I write this for those who may even be angered when one of their friends goes dark for a bit. I write this for those who may only come to their paladins when they need them. I write this for those who may be paladins themselves. There is no one reason I’m writing down these thoughts, but the overall intention is understanding.

It is possible that some people will read this and spin negativity out of it. They may assume that I am writing this to make people who have troubles feel guilty about talking to their friends about their issues and problems. I am not. And that is an entirely different topic of discussion. I am writing this post to shed some light on a perspective that isn’t always thought about. I will throw in, however, that if you are only coming to shed troubles and leave, I won’t back down from saying that treating paladins like that isn’t healthy and it is unfair. People may assume that I speak for everyone on both sides, but I do not. As with all of my posts, I speak for myself and my own experiences. People can feel however they want with my posts, but it is no secret that my intention is to help, not damage.

Bottom line is whatever situation you may be involved in currently, if you have a paladin in your life to help you along, I’m glad for that. As I wrote earlier, it’s healthy to be able to share your troubles with trusted friends. I think you can agree that we need more people like them in the world. I am only asking that you remember that while paladins seem unbreakable, they are human.

My Twitch Community Asks: Why don’t you use a facecam while you stream?

The simple answer is I just like wearing ugly PJs while I play video games.

The complicated answer is a little more in depth than that.

Views: Having a large audience is crucial to a streamer’s success. Just to even be considered to become a partner of Twitch, you need to have a audience in the triple digits range (without assistance from being hosted) and you need to have a full time schedule of streaming 3-4 times a week with those steady numbers.  Another alternative is having a YouTube channel with more than 100K subscribers.

Depending on the game and what day I stream, my viewership can range from 10-25 people in the audience. My largest spike was about 66 while I was playing Dark Souls 3 for the first time. I will never forget that boss fight, nor will I forget the exchanges that happened in chat. I digress.  I will write more about that later. For a small time streamer, those numbers aren’t bad at all. I like testing the waters to see which games garner larger audiences and which ones bring in new viewers vs. regulars.

And I fully believe that using a facecam will help boost these numbers. More on that later.

The community: I acknowledge that I am by no means a big time streamer. And I also acknowledge that there are a crapton of streamers out there that no one else knows either. I like finding those people, and if I enjoy their streams, I try to support them as well. I also study and observe a variety of streamers who use a facecam and who do not use a facecam. I try to learn what works for them and what doesn’t. I make notes starting from the title of the stream being used to how they interact with chat to whether or not a facecam is even beneficial for them. Of course, some streamers don’t need any help at all when it comes to marketing themselves because they’ve already made such a name for their brand(s), they can just hit “broadcast” and they get a large audience. But for the smaller names, I pay extra attention to both their successes and their downfalls.

One note that is repeatedly jotted down is that female streamers will definitely benefit more by using a facecam.

How I stream: I think two of the reasons why people enjoy my stream are because I interact with the chat and I am a bit of a theatrical personality. I will occasionally acknowledge the chat at the expense of the progress I’ve made in a game. It makes for funny moments, and I would rather have those than ignore the people who ask questions or want to have conversations. I also get scared and enraged easily. Horror games are the worst for me and the best for my viewers.

When I first started streaming regularly on Twitch, I immediately decided on no facecam. It added a level of stress and paranoia that I did not want to deal with, especially since I wanted to learn about the culture of streaming first. It takes a lot of energy to focus on the game, focus on the chat, AND be entertaining for the chat. Worrying about a facecam was just a different level of multi-tasking I did not want to tackle out of the gate.

In case a reader may not understand this concept, everything I write and will write is my opinion only and my opinion is based off of what I have experienced and/or learned from what other streamers have experienced.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…

These are the reasons why I don’t currently use a face cam:

  1. I’m not great at make up
  2. I hate having to worry about what to wear
  3. I hate having to make sure that camera angles are “just right” and “the most flattering”
  4. I do not want to deal with comments about what I look like
  5. I do not want to be compared to other streamers as far as physical appearance
  6. Honestly, it’s pretty funny when people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl. I call those people Professor Oak. The feature image makes sense now, doesn’t it?

These may seem like very trivial things, but let me break this down for you. Female streamers already get a bad rep because a lot of people seem to focus on the negativity of “cam girls”. There is already a stigma attached to female streamers regardless of the type of streamer they really are. The type of streamers people complain about are the women who wear the lowest cut shirts showing off their best and biggest physical assets, stream gameplay that is previously recorded and focus on everything else besides streaming a video game.  That is what I and many other female streamers are compared to off the bat.

In my Dark Souls 3 stream, the one where I had about 66 viewers in the chat, one viewer started off with “you mean there’s a girl gamer out there that isn’t a whore? Awesome.” That’s not a compliment. And it was even worse when he started bringing all that negative stuff of the aforementioned type of streamer into the chat even after mods asked him to tone it down. The whole debate of cam girls existing is something that is currently plaguing the community, and the fact that I stream, means that I am now automatically part of that regardless of my intention to be or not be involved with it..

Do I care about cam girls? Nope. It’s not my thing. They do what they do, and I’m going to do what I do. If people don’t like them, then my advice is to not support them. There are tons of streamers out there. People don’t have to harass each other or bully each other to make a statement. Rather than tearing people down, just use that energy to support and encourage streamers you do like.

Do I care about being compared to them? In a way, yes. Again, I’m just here to play video games and talk to people. If people avoid my channel because they assume that I am a certain type of streamer and they bolt, that’s not really the type of audience I want anyway. I want people who like what I do and genuinely enjoy my streams. If people like my stream, I’m very happy they give me a follow. If they donate to my stream, again that’s something makes me happy. Everything else beyond that is stuff I don’t care to delve into.

What does make up and clothing have to do with anything? Thanks to societal standards, a woman isn’t allowed to just be herself and in her most natural state. Most people would rather pay attention to a woman when she’s completely dolled up and dressed in the most flattering attire possible. Sure, there’s a time and place for everything, but demanding that she must be in her most perfect form for every second of the day in order for her to gain any amount of positive attention? Fuck that. Not everyone thinks this way, but enough people do where it’s an issue that should be addressed.

Can I wear make up? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Sometimes. I want to “look nice” for ME. I don’t want the reason for me looking nice to be making other people happy. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented on my appearance over the years. But I can tell you that not all of those comments were made to uplift my spirits. Some were made with the direct intention of crushing me into the ground. With the veil of anonymity on the internet, it’s that much easier for people to be cruel and mean to others. I’m a stronger person now than I was years ago, but I prefer not to deal with extra layers of stress when I just want to focus on video games. Being called an ugly bitch because I don’t wear red lipstick or wear brand name clothing isn’t grounds for a healthy conversation. Luckily, these are conversations I can now control and if I don’t want to have them, I don’t need to anymore.

Will you ever consider using a facecam? Yes. I’m actually thinking of doing a stream with a facecam when I hit 1000 followers on Twitch. Since being cam-less is the norm for  me, I figure I would do something out of the ordinary when I hit a milestone. I would also consider using a facecam when I have special guests on the stream as well. I’m not 100% against the use of a facecam. I just know that right now, I am trying to figure out who I am as a streamer, and I’m discovering what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t want to use a facecam because it’s labeled as a requirement. Like makeup, I want to do it for me and when I feel comfortable with it. It is entirely possible that I will use a facecam on a full time basis in the future. If that happens, it will be on my terms, no one else’s.

That being said, there are many streamers out there who I enjoy watching. Doesn’t matter if the streamer is a man or a woman and it doesn’t matter to me if they use a facecam or not. If they are entertaining to me, I follow them. I know what I like and I do what I can to support them and their channels. I encourage you to do the same. Find something you like? Support it. Find something you don’t like? Walk away from it.  That’s what community building is all about, is it not?

To the GFR Guild: thanks for being here. I am a lucky lady to have such a very awesome community. ❤

Shameless plugs!

https://twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice

https://youtube.com/geekyfriedrice

https://patreon.com/geekyfriedrice

Real Talk: Supporting People Doesn’t Always Mean You Have To Open Your Wallet

“Hey, I’m doing a thing!”

“Sorry… I don’t have the money to help you out right now.”

I’ve heard this conversation happen several times since I started paying attention to ways on how to market myself and what I want to represent. I, and many other friends, are journeying down the path of creating things for people’s enjoyment. Specifically with us, the focus is streaming and video production. I tend to pay extra attention to people who use and love Twitch and create content for YouTube and Vine. I also dive into those communities and immerse myself in those cultures to better understand how I fit into them.

Overall, it’s inspiring. And any time I need a creativity boost, I look to my peers. It’s amazing how much encouragement you can receive even if you don’t know someone personally. Their hard work, your understanding of what’s put into these projects not only fuel the desire to make more things, but you want to raise your personal goals and do better every time you release something out into the world.

Another boost in confidence is watching your audience, your community, grow. I’m going to be completely honest here. Numbers matter. Increases and decreases in numbers help creators determine if what they are doing is engaging, entertaining, and tells them if what they are doing is right or if they need to head into another direction.

I have many friends who support what I do, both in moral and monetary (Patreon) support. I am more than humbled that people who enjoy my content would actually donate their own money to help me along my adventures. I will always be grateful for them. Always. I know that many others are not in a position to do so, but that’s okay! I get support from them too. Here is a small breakdown of where my community stands on various social media platforms:

Twitter: 2,353 followers

YouTube: 608 Subscribers

Twitch: 675 followers

Vine: 389 followers / 356,979 loops

Now compared to big names, those numbers are SO SMALL. But, this is my community and it’s growing. And trust me, I’m not going to slow down any time soon. Now this next part of my blog will have some shameless plugs because this post in general is to show people how they can still support their favorite creators even if they aren’t able to support with donations.

Each of these platforms offer some level of engagement from the audience. YouTubers don’t say things like “if you enjoyed this video, give it a like and sub” just to hear their own voices. Views, likes, follows, retweets, any way to show a positive reaction and/or share a creator’s work are all things a supporter can do without diving into their finances. These things may be simple but they are absolutely necessary to a creator’s success. They almost act as guides and milestones to me. Whenever I make something, I get so happy when I see someone like a post or write a positive comment on it. I feel good about what I did, and it encourages me to do more and better.

And I do what I can to pass along news of projects that friends are currently involved in. I’m in the same boat as many others. I may not be able to afford supporting every single one of my friends; however, I can tell others about what they do and whenever they create something, I do my best to read or watch what they post and I give it a like or a share.

“Jackie, here’s five dollars. That stream was awesome.”

“Hilarious video. Thanks for the smile!”

“You’re entertaining. Followed.”

All of these things make my heart so happy. And each of them are important to me because these are coming from people who I affect in some way, and they in turn are bringing good things into my life. That’s more than what I ever thought possible. For those who are currently a part of the GeekyFriedRice Guild, thank you so much. For those just joining in, welcome and high fives all around!

TL;DR If you like what someone is creating. Share their stuff. Like their stuff. Subscribe to their stuff. Follow their stuff. You may not think it’s worth much, but it’s the world to that creator.

Shameless plugs! You can catch me here!

https://YouTube.com/geekyfriedrice

https://twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice

Twitter.com/geekyfriedrice

https://facebook.com/geekyfriedriceguild

https://patreon.com/geekyfriedrice

Not so shameless plugs! Here are some of my favorite creators. Please give them a like and a follow as well!

Lozelda – Streamer & YouTuber

https://twitch.tv/RT_lozelda

https://youtube.com/rt_lozelda

Mary McDowell – Streamer

https://twitch.tv/sailortweek

Naomi Chicoine – Arts & Crafts Queen

twitter.com/NaomiChicoine

Audrey Heffers – Author

https://www.inkshares.com/books/devils-in-the-valley

Shanna Germain – Author & Game Dev

http://www.shannagermain.com/

Raf Naps – Streamer & Graphic Designer

twitter.com/raf_naps

https://www.twitch.tv/shimmysham_gaming

 

 

 

Day 5. Four + Years in the Making

Haven’t seen Day 5 yet? I encourage you to do so. The series is such a huge milestone for RT as a whole because of its larger scope and the core nature of Day 5 is something RT has never produced in the past. If you’ve been a part of the community for the last few years, you know the ups and downs of the news that surrounded Day 5. If you attended RTX 2012, you may have been part of the what is now dubbed the “Joel episode” aka Episode 4 as an extra.

Back then, I didn’t know much about Day 5 at all. I was a regular weekend attendee for RTX and RT was asking for hundreds of extras to walk a street they had blocked off for a scene. Direction was simple. Walk and talk like normal, and when the signal was given, fall to the ground and don’t move until instructed. I think we did that about 5-6 times. We had to be “on set” around 6AM, I think. Probably earlier. Ben (y’all remember Ben!?) was directing our portion of the street. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying despite the fact he was using a megaphone to coordinate people, but all we needed to know was when he shouted, we were to hit the ground. It was amazing. Everyone was ON POINT. It was a simple task, but seeing and hearing hundreds of people “faint” at the same exact time was something I will never forget.

I even got to faint next to this cutie!

And I got so dirty. This was after the second fall, I believe.

We were asked to wear non-branded clothing, and I remember wearing a light blue, sleeveless, shirt. There was a baby chick on the front and it was wearing glasses. Caption read “Nerdy Chicks Rule”. Silly, I know.

But after that, I enjoyed RTX just like everyone else. I lost touch with Day 5 happenings after that. I think we all did. It seemed like it would never happen, so it was shelved for the time being. It was a little upsetting because I knew RT wanted to do something with it, but it was just not in the cards at the time.

Now, years later, we find out that Day 5 has life again! So exciting. Of course, we still didn’t know much about it, but who cared! Day 5 was coming and we were excited to see what could be done with it. Then Lazer team hit the big screen. I remember sitting in the audience, watching all the RT previews of new content. And then we saw DAY 5 flash across the screen. We cheered. And then we saw that it was meant to be a series. And people lost their damn minds. That was so cool to hear.

The finale of Day 5 will make its debut this weekend. If you’ve been meaning to check out the 6 episode series, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a bold move by RT and it is a welcome and refreshing one. Yes, we are used to seeing and hearing adult jokes, humor and “cartoon” violence, but Day 5’s platform brings realism to a whole new level. Everything about it is solid: the acting, the writing, the direction. Just give episode 1 a look and you will know exactly what I mean. I’m so happy I got to see this come to fruition.

Josh Flanagan and Chris Demarais have done a magnificent job with this series, and I cannot wait to see the finale. Special shoutout to Aaron Marquis for making it rain recently. Matt and Burnie should give you all raises 😉

But seriously, Josh, Chris… incredibly happy and proud of you both. Now give me season 2. Kthxbai. ❤

Watching Your Community Grow is Like Witnessing a Seed Bloom Into a Garden of Awesome

I will be the first to admit that I am not always the most patient person. But I will also acknowledge that this is solely dependent on what I am waiting for. If I was waiting for someone in a store to check out and they had 50 coupons and was paying via personal check, I would just stand back and wait. However, if I were playing a video game like The Last of Us, I lose all forms of patience while waiting for a Clicker to walk by my hiding spot.

But here I am on July 26, 2016, looking over numbers and stats, comments and responses on various social media platforms that I manage on my own. I have moments where I think to myself “holy crap… I interact with people A LOT.” I remember back when I was a kid, I was very shy. I didn’t play with other kids; I just kept to myself in my own corner. My dad said he would feel bad whenever he would pick me up from school because I was always alone. I was considered a strange bird by many. I remember learning about shapes. The teacher asked us to makes squares, and I made circles. I got made fun of for it. A lot of that awkward carried over into my teenage and young adult years. I always felt out of place wherever I was. I could get along with people just fine, but I never felt like most people really understood me. There were a few, but they either moved away, physically or emotionally.

In the last couple years, I really started focusing on me. I didn’t have a solid plan, but I found the beginnings of a path that was interesting to me, and I blindly went down it. My love for video games never waned, so I learned more about the industry, the people, the products, and I found that I loved video games even more. A former co-worked connected me to Randy Greenback and he was my first look into the welcoming culture of game development. He may not know it, but the few conversations we had changed my life for the better. By the way, he’s currently working on the new Friday the 13th game. You should totally check it out.

With Randy’s helpful and wise words backing me, I delved into the world of networking. I was more active on Twitter, I eventually created the blog that is currently housing the very post you are reading, and I focused on the elements of community and bringing people together. I’ve met and e-met so many different people, good and bad, it’s quite mind blowing to me. I’ve had amazing experiences and not so great ones, but I couldn’t find a better fit for my personality.

Fast forward to now. I have a small following on the internet and it’s a fascinating mix of acquaintances, friends, family, and completely strangers. While the numbers aren’t huge compared to the bigger names on these platforms, I find solace in knowing that this is MY community. I don’t have one focus either. I update Twitter primarily, but I am active on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, this blog, Vine, and a few others. I try to create an environment where there is something for everyone. That’s why I made the GeekyFriedRice Guild. Doesn’t matter if you love just anime or video games or cosplay or movies or if you love it all… you have a place here. Nerdy? Geeky? Great. You’ll fit right in! I enjoy conversing with people of different backgrounds because it helps shape and grow my own perspective of the world.

I didn’t think I would be here. I didn’t think I would be attending or volunteering for conventions and building relationships and friendships. I didn’t think that people would actually care about me or the things I love doing. I didn’t think people would come up to me and say “you don’t know me but I wanted to say hi and thank you for what you’re doing.” I didn’t think I would ever be that type of influence for people, but it’s happening, and I recognize that, and it makes me want to do better. And this isn’t all on me either. You guys help me a great deal as well. This is a two-way street here. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

I just recently identified my community as the GeekyFriedRice Guild. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for it, but it warms my heart that you are here. For real. I’m being super cereal. Thank you for being my community. Less than three you!

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Friendly reminder that you are not alone in your fight

Allow me to preface this with I, personally, am all right and this doesn’t have to do with my own life; however, I was reminded that people need this reminder.

Whether it is physical, mental, sexual, emotional… abuse is abuse. If someone beats you, if someone breaks you down to the point where you feel you are nothing, if someone forces them on you, if someone makes you believe you are worthless through telling you so every day, that is abuse. It also doesn’t matter if this is coming from a romantic partner, a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance. You do not have to put up with that. The Domestic Violence National Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. If you need to use it, then use it.

I’ve seen and heard so many different scenarios and it’s all scary. A friend of mine was afraid to leave her (thankfully now) ex-husband because he threatened to kill her if she left. Another friend was convinced all she was good for was being a bank account and cuddle buddy to her (thankfully now) ex-boyfriend. He called her names, was an alcoholic, put his hands on her violently and she put up with that for years. A male friend was married to someone who threatened to kill herself if he left her, yet she did everything possible to destroy their marriage. And I mean everything. She was embarrassed to be seen with him in social gatherings because he wasn’t as attractive as her or her friends. Her words. And she told him that constantly.

People who haven’t experienced an abusive relationship or haven’t been directly affected by a loved one suffering from that won’t quite understand why this goes on for so long. Abuse consumes you. That’s the best way I can describe it. The negativity, the threats, the insults, that environment becomes your world without you knowing it. Being treated that way becomes your normal. It’s not a sudden change; it’s gradual and it slowly contaminates your life. You don’t realize it’s bad for you until either your life is in danger or some other events jolts your from your reality. On top of realizing you’re in an unhealthy/dangerous relationship, you also have to process getting out and leaving what you considered normal for X amount of time. That is scary and sometimes scarier than dealing with the abuse itself. Your entire world will have to change.

1) If you’re going through abuse, don’t feel that you’re alone in that fight. Others are experiencing the same things as you.

2) Help is available. Whether you have to call that hotline or call the police or run away to a friend’s house, someone will help you. Safe havens are available to those who need it.

3) It is a life altering moment when you realize you need to leave a situation. Acknowledge that you need to leave and stick with that decision. When it comes to abuse, things don’t get better, they get worse. Abusive people will say and do whatever they can to keep you in the same spot which is under their heel (sometimes, literally), but that fake niceness only lasts for so long. Do not fall for that.

4) You deserve better. And there is better out there. It may not seem like it in the beginning, but trust me, once you leave, you will feel liberated. You may not have an exact plan to get back on your feet, but the first step is getting away, allowing yourself to breathe, and coming to terms that you are indeed precious and you will find people who will treat you that way.

5) I went through a lot in my life. Not as bad as some, but I have experienced enough to know that things do get better. You have to be the one that makes the first step to leave. Don’t stay. Life is too short. Live for you.

6) You can do this. I know you can.

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Life Update: Holy crap, am I an adult?

I will try to make this post as short as possible because I’m sure the last thing you want to do is read a wall of text.

The bullet points!

  • I stream at twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice It’s a lot of fun. I have a small following (almost 500 followers! =D)
  • I started up a Patreon for those who wanted to donate to the stream. I veered from Paypal because I heard a bunch of horror stories about it. The content I produce from my livestreams is essentially highlights (funny/scary moments) that are entertaining to people.
  • Because Patreon has been set up, a friend of mine said that I should create a fictitious firm name so that will help track funds, make sure I file taxes as appropriate, etc…
  • Y’all know me. Community is important to me. The feelings of friendship, camaraderie, and just knowing you guys have a good time whenever I stream and make my videos are the sole reasons why I even do this stuff at all.
  • So I did a thing.

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That’s you guys! The community associated with GeekyFriedRice will now be known as the GeekyFriedRice Guild! I’m using #GFRGuild on Twitter and Twitch and it feels pretty good. Never did I think this would be something I would do in my life. I just play video games for the hell of it and it became something more than that over the last 4 years. I started streaming for Extra Life and my first stream was LITERALLY a camera being pointed at my TV. I had no idea what I was doing. But here I am and I finally found a home for friends, Twitch regulars and new followers to hang out and just have fun.

I have some other extra stuff in the works, but I wanted to say thank you to you all. And btw, fun fact, GeekyFriedRice was thought up by my buddy @BuckeyeDon. Double thank you to you, sir.

That’s it for now!

Less than three you!