Archive for December, 2019


I got sucky questions so I am doing a Free Space.

I don’t have a lot for free space, to be honest. I have been up for a while so my brain is still running on half-speed.

I also have been playing a lot of video games since I got the new computer. What I have been playing so far:

  • Let it Die
  • Felix the Reaper
  • The Sims 4 (with a major bevy of mods)
  • Dead By Daylight

I plan to get Tekken 7, especially because they have the character, Leroy Smith. What I find charming/funny about this character is:

a) they are a Wing Chun fighter, I have been doing Wing Chun for over a decade now (thirteen years, I think?) and it is rare to find Wing Chun fighters in video games. I only know two games with Wing Chun, Tekken and an indie game called Shaolin vs WuTang vs The WorldShaolin is a really good game, I recommend it. Insanely technical and true to each style featured.

b ) Leroy Smith is Black, I think the only people I have ever known personally who practiced Wing Chun were Black. All my teachers (who are also on the Wing Chun family tree under Grandmaster William Cheung), the vast majority of my classmates, just about everyone. If they weren’t Black, they were Asian. I remember only meeting three to four people who didn’t fit this profile in the ten plus years.

c) I am totally tickled that Leroy Smith is practically one of my teachers (sifu). My original sifu is a Black man with dreads (not white – though, the years are indeed passing so there are teeny slips of gray) who has a pitbull. I will never not find this uncanny accuracy hilarious.

d) The Wing Chun is accurate. Tekken 7 level accurate (meaning, they have to throw in some flair) but accurate all the same in performance and function.

I always like playing fighting games that reflect styles I have practiced but the added representation is a brilliant bonus.

On the subject, I’ve been training others (honestly, one or two people) in super basic Wing Chun for free – it’s so I can have some exercise and I have a lot of LGBTQIA friends so it’s a win-win. They learn how to unhinge some harassing transphobe or homophobe’s jaw in the most painful way possible, I get to shed some calories while keeping pizza in my diet. Plus, I will never miss an opportunity to trash-talk women self defense courses. Because they are total trash. Teaches you nooooooooothing except how to be a better victim. Almost wholly inapplicable in actual altercations and if the woman paid for it, a complete and total rip off.

I know this because:

a) I’m a woman, I have been in several of these classes for this very reason alone. Even after I tell people “I can break someone’s arm in three places, I’m good.” At this point, I just collect the free whistle and try to not play on my phone. There was the one time I did drift into a karate self defense class taught by a karate teacher at an anime convention but that was because I saw a couple cute guys go in so my goal was “Procure phone numbers” – mission unsuccessful because all the karate kids boppled around me the second they figured out I knew Wing Chun.

b ) I always ask folks I teach if they took a self defense class and if so, follow up with a request to see if they can break out of a basic wrist grab. They are always astonished I grip tight (just like what would happen in real life) because the classes don’t teach that and only a small fraction actually know what to do.

c) Most of the classes are taught by men so it’s just over complicated movements coupled with victim-blaming flavored “don’t get raped” tips. The one class I ever saw taught by a woman, I got chucked out because she said I was “showing off”. I saw a girl literally spin herself into a chokehold with her own arm in effort to get out of a wrist grab, it was a feat to behold. I had to help so I showed a super simple movement. That’s declared as “showing off”. What I remembered, the teacher had a watery voice the entire class that sounded like she was on the verge of crying and whenever there were men in the room, she was really subservient. Ineffective teachers, basically.

I could go on forever but that is a smidge of my soapbox.

Back to video games, I really like how things are different. Games have a very, very long way to go when it comes to gender and race. And at least a solid 60% of the time, it looks like they don’t try, which leads to weak or repeated storylines as well as super predictable outcomes.  I stick with a game when I can make characters that look like me, which is what I really like about Let it Die. They have Black men and women as characters. With realistic hairstyles.

The games I have been playing recently are all games that are centered around death engaging and fun. I love the concept behind Felix the Reaper, his dances are wonderful and the soundtrack is great. Let It Die has a great soundtrack as well. Dead By Daylight is fun when I’m not sitting in the lobby forever. At least when I see racist names, I know who I’m murdering first and several times. Plus hook camping them, because I deserve to see the character suffer as they squirm to their eventual sacrificial death. As for The Sims, mods help Maxis be what they struggle to become themselves: great. How a Black child from two Black parents can come out with a slender nose and straight, blonde hair is beyond me but, hey, Maxis will make it happen.

 

The Arts!: The Holidays

It’s the holidays! Winter Solstice/Yule is tomorrow. I shall spend it playing The Sims and be harassed by my cat for food (as she does everyday).

This means TRA-DITION! (Especially since it doesn’t snow on the blog anymore. I liked the snow)

The KRS-One x Lupe Fiasco Christmas Battle! As always, it’s adorable seeing Lupe and KRS battling as Blitzen and Santa.

 

From Wong Fu Productions: “The End of Wong-Fu: A Christmas Story”. I just like the charm of the tale and video.

 

I love My Chemical Romance cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. ‘Tis amazin’!

 

And Payable On Death (P.O.D.) song, titled “Christmas in Cali”. I remember when my local rock radio station would play rock holiday songs all day, maybe I’ll procure the list somehow.

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice!

 

 

Black Witch: Year in Review

I hardly do a lot of these but I have been doing a million things so yay, easy content.

This year was pretty standard to my other years. Next year will be 10 years of Black Witch. Goodness.

I did a keynote speech at a convention for Black witches, Dawtas of the Moon. I still need to remind myself to get the footage of my speech.

The interview for Nerdist was really nifty, it’s nice to have a good interview experience when you are answering good questions and not fluff.

As always, I really would like to get better questions for my blog. It may look like I cherry pick the bad ones but to be honest, it is about all I get. Either that or creepy, fetish-y people who I usually point out to their jobs and families because, bro, being gross to random strangers is not cool.

I took a remarkably cute picture of my cat, Madison.

She’s only cute when sleeping because she screaming and crying for food and snackies all the other times.

I got a new computer so, yay, I can write a single post without my computer going haywire. And play Let it Die. And Dead by Daylight.

My online store has been doing remarkably well, 3D prints have been selling like hot cakes, especially for bookbinding. I also still need to teach StopBot on my BW discord to not think “paperback” is a dirty word. StopBot is a touch overaggressive but hey, it’s great.

I got a hate site kicked off the internet. Never thought I would ever contact Lycos (who used to be Google-level big when I (and the internet) was younger, now they’re smaller than a struggling start-up) but hey, it happened. And at least since the site keeps popping back up, it gives me something to do from time to time. It was cute how Lycos tried to defend the site, despite it baldly going against their Terms of Service (ToS), then a mass shooting happened – because someone was radicalized by the crap they read online. All of a sudden, Lycos went “this isn’t harmful” to “ohhhh, we ‘forgot’ this is how mass calamities happen.” Yeah, the story of Lycos is probably what Spotify and Google reads when they want a scary Halloween story of cautionary tales.

I pointed out the bullsh*ttery that is Tennesee shop, The Holy Rose. Turns out I was right about their fake kindness and dismissive “this is your opinion” when pointed out about racism. They blocked me from their page between our last exchange and when the post went live. I hope nobody who reads this blog still shops there, it’s beyond obvious they don’t care about minorities/PoC, just their money. Spend it on these Black women stores instead: I did a feature on the vendors of Dawtas of the Moon. At least the money stays in the community and out the pockets of “well-meaning” racists.

I’m certain there’s more that happened this year but I have been so swamped with my other work, MultiMind, that I honestly can’t think of it right now.

Instead, here’s a cute gif.

Taking away protection from another.

This is an ethical gray area – okay, not that gray, we’re slipping a little into the dark here.

There are (rare, very rare) times when this is okay – such as dealing with a very pesky and nagging issue/person who seems to be impervious to it all. So, it’s time to chip away or take away whatever makes them teflon or turn their teflon into kryptonite because they need to fall and preferably fall away from you.

The other (read: most) times, it’s generally frowned upon and for good reason: everyone thinks they are the hero in their own story, even the villain. Sometimes, you don’t know that it’s you who are the villain in the story, not them. And given the kind of emails I generally get from people who want to dabble simply for revenge – a good chunk seems not to care if they are good or bad, someone slighted them and that someone has to pay. Again, this is why it is frowned upon in general. A lot of people, in my experience, don’t have the proper emotional management that it takes to decide if this is a viable route to go down. All they know is that they are mad and someone made them like that.

No matter what, it is always important to note that life is not always straight forward, good guys lose, bad guys die; good guys become villains, bad guys turn new pages. The roles shift in everyone back and forth. In magick, things are even less straightforward, “occult” means “hidden” for a reason. People want to protect themselves but some think “protection” means “everyone is diminished but me”. Others can believe that someone is harmful to them and really, it’s all in their head but now someone innocent is an unwitting target a la “Tell Tale Heart”. Simply because of underlying ego/self-righteousness and the fact everyone has a personal blindspot of themselves, stuff like this can go south pretty fast.

It is difficult to determine when it is time to do such spellwork. It certainly should not be considered overnight and if you’re new to magick (under two to three years at minimum), it should not even be done at all. Not even considered. I think for practiced witches, it should be in the “Last Ditch Effort” category because, again, there could be a good reason why someone is so difficult to take down. However, then there is sometimes the idea that the person simply is an actual, difficult foe that has way too much armor for the awful that they cause. Improbable but not impossible.

Though difficult to tell, it is not impossible to differentiate whether it is time to act. For one, if the wrong doing is objectively wrong and for good reasons. Not simply, “I don’t like this because it makes me personally feel bad.” Yes, you have some who prefer to play devil’s advocate but there are some clear-cut ideas of wrong doing. Such as murdering someone simply because the skin they were born in, no other reason. Even if you can back that rationale with “well, they might have done something” or “everyone tells me that these people do actually commit wrong”, “One person in this group has indeed committed wrong at one point in history. Everyone else in the world is perfect, me included” or “I have never seen a grand, positive display of this group in anything ever, therefore, I can not believe that this particular one in front of me won’t cause wrong doing”, it still is a biased perspective, not an objective perspective. To know the difference takes time and experience. And even with those two, many still make bad calls.

Either way, it’s a choice never to be taken lightly. If you want to do it, please have at least half a decade of magick under your belt and have some streak of looking at issues in a rational, not emotional, way. Make sure it is the last option of all things, mundane and magickal. Especially mundane. If you want to ask someone else to do it because you don’t have the skill – don’t. Find a different solution and don’t drag others into your problems.

 

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