My friend needs some assistance getting cochlear implants for her ears

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A very dear friend of mine is need of a cochlear implant. In short, it makes sure that she can hear. I became friends with Rose in high school and we bonded over Lord of the Rings if you can believe it. I learned that she had issues with her hearing ever since she was a child and at the time, specialists told her that she would lose all hearing by the time she reached the age we are now.

I remember the first time she had a new set of these implants and she called me to tell me the news. After a few words were exchanged she went “holy cow…I can hear you, Jackie. I can actually HEAR your real voice for the first time!” And this was years after we met. Though I knew about her condition, it never really hit me that she could never truly hear me. The way she described it was that I sounded like a robot most of the time. Even to this day, I cannot comprehend what she experienced. 

When my grandmother passed, we all went to dinner and Rose stood up on front of the entire restaurant and sang an Italian song for us in my grandmother’s honor. She sang in perfect pitch. My dad (it was his mother who passed away) is a bit older now and he always tells me, “Jackie… I don’t remember what she looks like, but I remember how she sounded and what she did. I will remember that for the rest of my life.” 

Now Rose is in need of new cochlear implants but her insurance won’t cover the costs for them. She could really use help and I so love her with all my heart. If you can donate or share this, she would really appreciate it. If you can donate, please do so here. If you cannot, spreading the word is just as effective.

Titan female attire brand, Black Milk Clothing, crushes its own community

In the last 72 hours, Black Milk Clothing received a substantial amount of attention, but it is in no way positive spotlight. BM, based in Australia, is known for their nerdy and geeky printed attire featuring powerhouse franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Mass Effect. They sell an assortment of clothing that ranges from swimsuits to dresses and leggings. It sounds pretty spectacular, and I have to admit, I wanted to purchase a few products from them myself. But I never bought anything from BM and I’m pretty glad I haven’t.

Three days ago, one of their social media/PR/Marketing team members posted an Expectation vs Reality picture featuring one of their models and the character Amy from Big Bang Theory. It was titled, “When I try to be a geeky goddess…” Image

Wasn’t the funniest joke or the worst joke when it comes to poking fun at the female image, but as you can assume, some women weren’t all that happy with the post. Where the deeper controversy occurs is when people voiced their opinion and they were severely punished for it. Granted, some of the comments were negative and trollish, but from what I’ve seen, the majority of the BM community is a rather mature audience and they illustrated that with their replies. BM didn’t stand for well articulated responses, so they did the worst thing a company could ever do to its customers/community. They deleted those responses and banned all those people.

Their official response to the first wave of banning is summed up here:

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Needless to say again, that didn’t go very well with quite a few people. Yes, a small percentage of the overall community expressed that the post was not funny, but that small percentage is still comprised of BM customers. To tell your client or customer to “suck it up, deal with it” or to “eff off” is not an effective way of putting out PR fires. Worse yet, BM made a conscious decision to ban people, paying customers, altogether claiming to rid their page of a negative environment.

Someone forgot to remind the BM team that THEY need to suck it up. They posted something, there was a little backlash, but it wasn’t something that ultimately harmed the company. How many times have you talked to a friend, said something without really thinking and your friend responded, “dude… not cool” and you immediately reply is, “yeah, my bad. Anyways, did you know-” and the conversation just picks up after that? No harm truly done, and you remain friends. Companies like BM have to be a little bit more careful with their slip ups because they are a company. They rely on the their products being sold, and they backstabbed the very people that made them the company they are today. Companies should do what they can to make sure that they still have customers. Sure, they may have lost a handful of customers because of a poorly executed joke, but their mismanagement of their Facebook page ensured they lost a lot more than that.

Companies can’t keep everyone happy, that’s just a given. But BM really went out of their way to be the negative environment they claimed to stay away from since this whole thing started. For a more detailed breakdown of the now deleted Facebook post, you can read up on BM’s horrible treatment of their community on this Buzzfeed post and on Jacqui Collins’ blog. Jacqui was a long time supporter of the BM line and because she made several posts that contained well thought out points, non offensive material, and nothing to insult the BM company, they banned her. I read everything she posted. Not one word was disrespectful.

A small note from Jacqui’s blog: I have been buying, wearing, and promoting Black Milk since 2010. Despite being a slender woman of 115lbs, I felt terrible and fat the first time I tried on the Bad Kitty Catsuit I had so excitedly purchased. It was a group of fellow Black Milk fans who brought my confidence back up and made me happy to wear it. That is what Black Milk is supposed to be.  

BM’s final statement, before the entire post was deleted, was this.

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As stated before, I never bought anything from BM. I did like that they apparently stood for female empowerment, making a woman feel and look sexy in her own skin, but now I am definitely sure that they don’t stand for such a thing. If you are still a fan of BM, then you are a fan of BM. If this brand makes you feel beautiful and makes you see yourself in a positive light, then more power to you. Just remember the type of people you are backing. The loyalty isn’t a two way street with this company. To those who are no longer a fan of BM because you felt hurt, betrayed or angry because of how they treated you, I say this:

There are many venues out there that can empower you. I do understand that many of you saw BM as a source to boost your self esteem, that you gravitated toward this community because you all encouraged each other to throw your insecurities out the window and be sexy and free. You can still have that, so don’t be upset. In fact, be happy that BM made it so easy for you to no longer purchase their items. They straight up said that you should leave. The band aid has been ripped off and now you can move on and love something else. There are tons of communities out there that will treat you right even if you butt heads because of difference of opinion. Go out and find something that makes you love you for you.

Continue to respect yourself, and please be confident in yourself because I know many of you who have made BM purchases in the past, and you are some pretty damn sexy women. And it makes me proud to know so many awesome women. BM can be replaced. That little geek inside of you cannot. So let’s go out and find something to nourish that little nerd in us all.

And because I like to have fun myself.

When I express my concerns to a company I love…

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Go for it! A fantastic chance to lend your voice in Dragon Age: Inquisition!

This week, Bioware’s lead community manager, Jessica Merizan was quite busy launching Bioware’s new Youtube Channel and social site. Along with the awesome new look Bioware is getting, the Inquisition team is also having a voice over contest, allowing Dragon Age fans to submit audio recordings or videos to win a chance to have their voices immortalized in DA: Inquisition (being released later this year). The rules are simple and can be found here.

Will I be participating? Hell yes. After my fangirl moment died down, I took a step back and wondered why I was even interested in this opportunity in the first place. Five years ago, I would never have imagined that I would allow my voice to be heard on the internet. Now here I am, almost impatient to record the lines needed for this contest. I’m not a professional by any means, but I do like to have fun and dabble in areas that are creative in nature.

Years ago, I was involved with the creation of a machinima series and we were looking for voice talent. It was a simple set up: here’s a script, here’s your direction, show us what you got. For fun, I submitted my own voice for one of our male characters, and it was surprisingly well received. I, of course, did not get selected as the lead male because I have a very feminine quality to my voice, but the project lead did want me to lend my voice as an A.I character. I was hooked on voice/audio work since then. Just for fun, I narrated my favorite children’s book “The Giving Tree“, one of my favorite poems by Frost, and helped out on a friend’s radio ad parody for a podcast. All received positive feedback, and it has boosted my confidence tremendously. For the record, I still dislike my voice, but I am learning to accept it, love it, and work with it because it is a part of me.

And this was all done because I just wanted to try it out. I learned how to use the basic functions of Garageband on my Macbook Pro, bought a decent mic, and pushed the record button. I cringed at the sound of my voice the first time, I choked on air, I swore at my AC unit for kicking on at the wrong time (that mic picks up EVERYTHING), and I barked back at the loud dog next door. But all of this was experience and it has served me well. And the best part is, I found another piece of myself to love through these experiences. My point to the wall of text above is if you are interested in something, just go for it. Who knows where it might lead? You may love it, you may hate, you may be indifferent, but at least you will have satisfied that curiosity.

If by some miracle, I am one of the chosen voices for the DA contest, I have my machinima project and my curiosity to thank for it. If I am not chosen, I am still thankful. Why? Because they created my confidence to try. And making that first step on a journey is precious. So go forth, warriors of Thedas. Lend your voices and conquer.

‘Twas the night before Christmas when I started to write…

‘Twas the night before Christmas when I started to write

What would I jot down?  Many nails did I bite.

And then it hit me, so I began to type

Hurriedly, quickly, the ideas were still ripe.

 

Here, let me tell you of my adventure so far

The start of the year was less than sub par.

For I was broken, but not of bone mind you

My heart was in pieces, blackened and blue.

 

I was hurt but not lost; I trudged on ahead.

I was down but not out, I was far from dead.

Over few months time, I could smile once more.

May opened up my first happiness door.

 

Hosting RT Vegas was a dream of mine

Rooster Teeth Vegas fans, ‘twas our time to shine.

Thank you Dane, Daniel, Dustin, Michael and Nick

You guys are so awesome, my very top pick!

 

And extending my thanks to the very group

that threw our party for such a huge loop!

What group you ask? Why it’s the B Team!

It took much willpower not to fangirl and scream

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But my thanks for Rooster Teeth ends not in May.

July 5th is marked as such a special day.

I’m an RTX Guardian, hip hip, hooray!

My happiness level is more than I can say!

 

I was a noob but paired with a great crew.

Surrounded by friends some old and some new

Thank you so much to our leading lady

We couldn’t have done it without you, Caiti!

 

A fantastic con, my words are at a loss

Demarais, my fav Hobbit, you’re such a cool boss!

Such great memories I will cherish forever

My love for these people will never be severed.

 

Parts of 2013 had also brought tears.

Two friends were taken, too early in their years

Always remembered, their legacies live on

Through those they are still here, never truly gone.

 

What to learn from this, answers there are many

I say cherish loved ones, more than dimes and pennies.

Mike and Knuckles you are thought of every day

You both are missed, so much more than I can say

 

And then in August, my dad became dog sitter

For I was off to DragonCon thanks to friends from Twitter.

A weekend full of panels, drinking and more

So many cosplays I saw were seriously hardcore!

 

I could not believe how happy I felt.

I met new friends, they made my heart melt.

Dauna, Emma, Kelly, Eric, Kathleen,

DA2 cosplay group, best cosplays I’ve seen

 

Karissa, Liz, Miranda and Scott,

Best roomies ever for the con ticket I bought.

Tymber, Adriaan, Amanda, Eric, Susanne…

HUGS ALL THE FACES, as many as I can

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Aaryn, Aidan, Dave, Bioware men I adore

Team Fangirls sends kisses, hugs and more! (as in love ya pervs =P)

I drank with Steve Jaros and Chris Avellone

Leading men in the industry, mind = blown

 

And to my leather making friends Misty and Lance

Heart your faces for giving cosplay a chance.

Dragon Age Tallis debuted at this con.

Be proud you guys, many hearts it has won.

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And as it does annually, my birthday was here

This one was special, the best in many years.

So grateful for all who came to celebrate

Shots, bull riding, beer pong… God it was late!

 

Looking back on everything, I couldn’t believe

How I started the year in sadness and grief.

But how that has changed because of family and friends,

I want to hug all your faces, my lovely godsends.

 

Shortly after I found myself in a pinch!

Surely this would make me a Grinch!

I lost my job, but I held my head high.

Company merge be damned, I refused to cry.

 

I feel liberated so it’s a blessing in disguise.

Seriously, don’t feel bad for me guys.

I’m keeping busy, finally raising life’s bar

A writing project called Fallout Lonestar!

 

Many doors will fly open, at least… I hope.

Writing is medicinal for it is how I cope.

But life is a mystery, destination unseen

You continue being better than you have ever been.

 

And now here we are on Christmas Day

I want to tell you one more thing, if I may.

My dad has worked for the last twenty plus years

Through this day but now we’ve switched gears!

 

He has the day off and now we can spend

The holiday as a whole family again!

So comes an end of my twenty thirteen tale.

It was full of win and of some fail.

 

How you spend today, I wish you this

May your holiday season be full of joy and bliss,

So to you my loves, I raise my beer

I say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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I know it’s not beer… work with me here…

Fallout Lonestar: Food is Everything

*Imagine this being narrated in Pablo Francisco’s voice

In a post apocalyptic world riddled with nuclear waste and mutated monsters is a land divided. Human kind is pushed through the ultimate test of survival of the fittest. Welcome to the Wasteland. Welcome to Fallout Lonestar. 

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Headed by creative director Christopher Means, the team of Fallout Lonestar has begun progress on the project. For those unfamiliar with the Fallout universe, I highly recommend check out the Fallout Wiki. There you can find information on the entire franchise including details on each of the games: Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout: Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

For a very brief summary, Fallout starts out in the year 2161 in a post apocalyptic world. After what was known as the Great War and some unfriendly nuclear exchange, the US was decimated in a wasteland. There were quite a few survivors that took refuge in fallout vaults/shelters before the war; however not all the survivors are …as they were. There is virtually no clean food or water, and everything you ingest causes radiation poisoning to some level. As a vault dweller in the games, you roam the Wasteland, influencing all you cross paths with for better or for worse.

Lonestar (as I’m sure you’ve already guessed) takes place in Texas. You will play as a Ranger, a law enforcer who works for the Lonestar Confederacy. How you decide to display your power will be entirely up to you. Will you be a righteous Ranger, standing up for good and the weak or will you be one that ensures that no mortal man breaks the law and you are swift with punishment to make an example out of criminals? And what about morally destroying dilemmas where either decision you make, you will lose something precious? We hope to pull these heartstrings and immerse you into this world that we are creating as well as stay true to what made you fall in love with Fallout in the first place.

Where you come in. Projects like these do not flourish if no one knows about it. Plus we want people to enjoy what we are making! So we could always use your support!

Please follow us on Twitter: @FalloutLonestar

And please like our Facebook page!

We will also be updating our very own Fallout Lonestar page as well!

We are starting to get the ball rolling, and we want to spoil you guys with as many teaser updates as possible! We cannot do this without you, so please use those index fingers to give us a click! We have a wonderful team that would love your support and encouragement!

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“War. War never changes”

Allow me to tell you about my Rooster Teeth family

Over the years, the Rooster Teeth “community” slowly evolved to Rooster Teeth “family” and this past weekend affirmed my belief. I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Child’s Play dinner and auction in Bellevue, WA. I spent months going to the gym, trying my best to fit into a dress that wouldn’t zip up all the way years ago.  Two days before the dinner, I tried the dress on and you can imagine my victory shout when I realized the dress fit me comfortably. I was also being hosted by the lovely community members SailorTweek and SirNarvy. If you are unfamiliar with these two, they were the head Guardians of Rooster Teeth’s annual convention two years in a row and they are absolutely wonderful people.

I was so excited to attend the Child’s Play dinner with my friends because you see, we are from all over the place. The internet brought us together, and we formed very unique and cherished friendships. I also met up with fellow community members OboeCrazy, Luke McKay, Count3D, RagingTerror, and Trocadero’s leading man, Nico.

I flew in the day of the dinner, got settled and dressed, and we were rocking those dresses and suits shortly after. About two hours into the silent bidding, I told Tweek that I felt very dizzy and hot. It hit me rather quickly, and I remember placing my hand on one of the tables and Tweek asked me if I wanted to sit down. All I remember after that was saying yes. The next thing I know, I’m hearing voices and I’m staring at the ceiling. When logic finally took over, I looked down and realized that I was not in my PJs and I was on the floor in my dress. My next thought was “holy crap, did I hit my head?” but I felt someone’s hand on the back of my head and no pain. A jacket was pushed under my head and we waited until security came.

When I was able to sit up, I was continuously asked if I knew my name and the date and where I was. I answered all the questions correctly, but I was not confident I could stand. The paramedics came and they took my blood pressure and tested my blood sugar. On the upside, all of them were pretty cute. They again asked me a load of questions, one of them being “are you pregnant?” and I just went “HEEEEELLLL NOOOOOO.” They helped me to my feet and tested my blood pressure again, and it dropped to an alarming level. I felt that same dizzy spell hit me again. They gave me two options: leave in an ambulance to go to the hospital or leave with a friend to go to the hospital.

I. Was. Livid. I wasn’t mad at the emergency response team; I was mad because I had been looking forward to this night for months and after the anger passed, I was just heartbroken. I wanted to meet up with so many people and I wanted to take a picture with the DoubleClicks. There was so much I wanted to do. And there was a gorgeous hardcover of The Neverending Story that I wanted. Wasn’t meant to be I suppose. Because I was laid off from my job a couple months ago, I opted to not take an expensive ride in the ambulance even though I always wanted to experience that. SirNarvy left to get the car, and I was wheeled out of the event. Tweek has a picture somewhere, I know she does. I told her to take one while I was flashing a peace sign. In moments like these, I had to find humor wherever I could.

So off to the hospital we go. I told SirNarvy that he could leave me there and go back to the dinner, but he never left. I volunteered to be a Guardian for RTX earlier in the year, so I had the pleasure of working with him and Tweek. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I heard “I have to make sure my soldiers are all right.” For the next couple of hours, I had blood drawn and an EKG done and we ended up talking about various topics. The whole time, he kept open communication with Tweek and she kept texting back that they missed me and they loved me.

After more questions about my health and inquiring once again if I’m pregnant and once again me vehemently responding “HELL NO”, the doctor told me that everything looked fine. And because this was a first time occurrence, my episode could have been a combination of standing for along period of time in heels coupled with the exhaustion of traveling. He discharged me a few minutes later. By now, it was 10:50PM and Child’s Play would end at 11:00PM. I told SirNarvy that we are not missing the last few minutes of Child’s Play because of my stupid body. So he drove us back to the event, and we managed to hang out a bit more with everyone.

When people saw that I was alive and well, I was getting bits and pieces of the story about what happened while I blacked out. After I said I was dizzy, Tweek walked behind me because she saw that I was not capable of standing any longer. She caught me, and asked the guys for help. Nico held my head while SirNarvy bundled his jacket for me. They said I was out for about 15 seconds. I have no recollection of those 15 seconds whatsoever and that scares me to no end. When the EMT guys said I had to go to the hospital, SirNarvy and Count3D both offered to take me, very well knowing that they would miss the dinner.

Guys, I cannot express how incredibly lucky I felt that night. Had that happened while I was alone, I don’t know what would have happened to me. It’s unfortunate, but it couldn’t have happened around better people. I cannot believe that SirNarvy sacrificed his night and stayed with me at the hospital. And I cannot believe how many messages and tweets I received that night from tons of people just checking in on me and sending me positive thoughts.  I can’t believe the friends who were still at the event were that worried about me. These are people that I essentially met on the internet and met up with face to face because of a geeky convention. As time went by, we went from acquaintances to friends, and now from friends to family. I would do the same for them in a heartbeat if they needed me to. It is in that moment, that I found such joy.

This is the Rooster Teeth community at its very core. We all signed up on the site because of funny videos, but what we truly get out of being part of this community is so much more. I am so lucky, so grateful and so thankful. I truly do love you guys with all my heart, and thank you so much for being there for me.

Mr. and Mrs. Tweek, you guys are unmatched in the love you show for your friends and family. I don’t know what I did to deserve your friendship, but I am so happy that I have you both in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Below photo taken by Dom (Count3D)

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MY HEROS (taken after the hospital visit)

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