Category: The Arts


Okies, it’s gonna be a light one today. I wanted to write about Pulse buuuuuut, y’know, it can wait. There’s already a lot to talk about and more info appearing every day (as well as interesting tidbits like this “Thoughts and Prayers” game that I like) so we’re going to be business as usual.

Agents of the Realm
I found a really neat webcomic called “Agents of the Realm“. What I like most about this is the all women cast that is lead by a Black girl. I really have been really looking for those because while there are a lot of webcomics that I think are cool, it’s really hard to find some that are A) Black-lead B) Black girl lead (as in, she’s not commonly present as a sidekick) C) Doesn’t have a love interest who is White. Seriously, it’s like the triangle of quality.

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Illustrated with hasty handwriting! And maybe it should be a rhombus to include”good” because, trust, it is a factor

It’s really frustrating. Being a Black girl nerd is very tough because frankly, there’s not a lot of good material to choose from (and why does the love interest always have to be a White person? Why not Latin, Black, Native, Asian – why White?) It’s annoying, frankly.

So far, I’m well enough into the storyline to see that it’s pretty cool so far. It’s about a university girl named Norah Tanner who stumbles upon a brooch and is thrown into saving not simply her world but the dimensions it is connected to…but she’s not exactly too thrilled with that, being a new college student is already hard enough without being a dimension defender. On top of that, it appears Norah has an alternate in a different dimension and they keep colliding. Faced with “bleeds”, monsters that used to be agents but are now deformed and destructive, Norah will have to find the other girls who will help her find the key that can bridge the dimension break and end the destruction. Or she and her teammates will atrophy into monsters, just like the agents before them.

agents

The storyline seems pretty decent, I really like it. It’s really nice to see that there a magical girl webcomic story that focuses on a Black girl without shoehorning in her Blackness. It’s ok for a Black character to be comfortably and passively aware that they’re Black. The don’t have to be the living personification of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Civil Rights Movement and the Abolitionist movement all rolled into one being. Even Kendrick Lamar watches cat videos out of cuteness and Beyonce snickers at jokes her sister texted her. No one is The Movement all the time. Dr. King liked playing pool, was even a bit of a pool shark. Seriously, it’s possible to be a Black person without angstly reciting Gill Scott Heron. More comic creators should learn that, makes for really believable characters.

This comic is great for people who really like magical girl comics like Princess Love Pon (another Black-starring magical girl comic) because it is delightful and interesting without being trope-y.

GamerCat
This comic is extremely cute! GamerCat is a comic about a kitty that loves to play video games and the hijinks he and his fuzzy family and friends tend to get into. It’s filled with cool references to videogames, gamer culture and humor that is entertaining for everyone. Also, some comics have gif panels, which is really interesting for me.

gamercat_141

This comic is great for really anyone who loves cats, cuteness and gaming all in one place. Check it out, here.

That’s all for this week, next week is Ask Black Witch. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send them in!

Oi, it’s another short one again! Remember if you want to donate to Black Witch because my transmission is still le dead, please feel free to do so. Donation run basically ends at the end of this month.

Darius Benson
This viner I found through various funny skits on Tumblr and even funnier skits on Youtube from Vine Compilations. (However, I found him while trying to find Black girl comedy vines. I know there’s Alley Cat but if there are others, put them in the comments). I like his skill, he’s very comedic and extremely talented:

What I like most from his comedy is that it is not brash nor stereotypical. It’s not chicken jokes, watermelon jokes or “thirst” misogynistic/misogynoir jokes, which aren’t really funny. I like seeing Black folks do comedy, we’re really good at cracking a joke, it just sucks when you have to watch them say jokes that sound like they stemmed from Birth of a Nation. Benson shows his extensive creative skill in his humor and writing. Here’s a compilation below:

He’s know for Frozone, Hip Hop Disney and most recently the Rap Lecture trillogy, which I really like:



Check him out on Vine, Youtube and Twitter!

“ThumbThugging”
Dormtainment can be pretty comedic but sometimes their comedy seems more for Black guys than for Black folks, period. I remember them from their earlier days, I think I may have posted “Ballin’ on a Budget” on here because the song and video were comedic and well done. They did well with that but then there were comedy vid (and vids from interactions with female fans) that made one wonder if they stumbled into a barber shop.

One of their more recent creations, “Thumb Thugging” was very creative and interesting. I really like how they took the subject of forever being on the internet and interacting with social media and intermixed it with classic throwback movies like “Friday”, “Dead Presidents”, “Set it Off” and “Paid in Full”.

“Not All Snowmen”

This was a quick one but it was too hilarious, I had to share. Created by RageNineteen:

Alright, everyone. Next week is Ask Black Witch. It’s been an odd month but I’m still going to try to answer questions. If you have them, send them. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send ’em in.

EEOC Update : I talked with Internal Affairs yesterday about the raid. That’s all I can really say right now.

Due to my EEOC issue, this means I wasn’t able to get a bunch of full fledge writing done. Instead, I’m just going to highlight two youtubers who I always keep up with.

Kat Blaque
I forgot how I started watching her videos but I really do like them. She vlogs about her life as a trans Black woman. She has definitely been getting a lot of attention for her works as of late and mainly because they are nifty.

Recently, she has been doing a series called “True Tea” where viewers send in questions and she answers. Usually, they’re about race or gender (or a combination).

Here’s a “True Tea” video below:

I really like her videos and her frankness. It’s really great. Check her out!

Miles Jai
I have featured his videos here a few times. I really like his comedy, I like how well rounded his topics are (it’s not just on one thing, such as it’s only on race or only on makeup, etc) and how I really enjoy his videos, regardless how many times I’ve seen them.

Here are one of his videos:

I really like his looks as well. He’s female presenting (he talks about this at length, I’ll post the vid below) but he considers himself a guy. Long story short, he’s a cis dude, not a trans woman. Either way, I really like his makeup videos because they’re well done, his wig videos and it’s simply great to watch his personality, which isn’t grating or annoying.

Here’s his video about him talking about gender:

W00t, and that’s all for this week! Next week is Ask Black Witch, send in questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

It’s been a while! What we’re gonna focus on is a site that help you learn how to solder and code! That would be Adafruit. I was going to do SparkFun but then I had found AdaFruit, which is woman-owned and positioned in NYC (which is closer to me, who is on the Eastern coast).

What I like from Adafruit was the use of wearable technology that can be made, such as gloves that reacts to taps or whatever you want. They even have thin conductive thread that you can sew into clothes to make reactive. Same for rubber cords and LED sequins. There’s even an LED sewing kit for beginners. This is great for cosplayers, of course, but also, I just like the greater selection of items on their site than on SparkFun.

Interacting with Adafruit circuitboards, I really like how easy it is to program and code. Now, I already have a coding background (that is rusty but is still there), but the site has a fantastic “Learn”  section which includes cool projects such as wearable NFC, like unlocking your phone with a manicure via an NFC tag ring and a door detector where you get an email, tweet and/or text every time the door is opened! There’s so much to do and work with, it’s a lot of fun! And most importantly, once you get coding and circuit building, the ideas are endless. You can even make an audio player that is super teeny[link].

What I also like about Adafruit is how it has a wide range of projects, including projects that could easily be gendered “feminine” such as a UV manicure lamp. This is really great because it doesn’t make robotics and coding feel like it is only a “guy thing”, which is annoying and can easily kill interest because when you only have ideas for one end of a spectrum and neglect the rest, there’s not really a lot of ideas. Girls, just like guys, have lives and that means there are eventually going to be gadgets that reflect that. Why, I just featured an app not too long ago called Period Tracker, which basically uses technology to help women keep track of their periods. Works fantastically, is a great display of technology merging with life, makes life easier – which is why technology exists. This appeals very well to girls and women alike without ever having to use a revolting shade of pink: actually being inclusive with products, projects and tech that helps the inner lives of women, from super important (Period Tracker) to the frivolous (UV manicure lamp). This is really nice about Adafruit, it’s a comfortable site to have.

If you’re new to coding and soldering, I recommend finding cheaper soldering kits on Amazon or Ebay (like, $10 cheap) because you don’t want to be dismayed by the pricing on Adafruit (and SparkFun) over the basics. Thanks to the internet, you can do pretty much anything so go for it! Tech work is really cool to do.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Usually I say “send in questions” but I’ve gotten quite a bit since I was gone so I’ll answer those instead. You can still send questions (remember: good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated) but it’s no promise I’ll get to it.

The Trendy Geek

I just recently found this jewelry maker because I was looking for medical bracelets (remember folks, I got PTSD and Dissociative and they’re getting pretty bad). I didn’t want something chunky or clunky nor something that looks like something a 50-year old with a silver hairy chest and clotted heart would wear. At first I thought there was simply one company that made medical bracelets, like, an official brand that if you deviate from, all first responders would simply ignore. Theeeen logic and Google showed something different. All it needs is a caduceus (the medical symbol) and info on your disruptive illness in question, which can be on the front or the back. Or in a QR code (how hi-tech!). I simply wanted something simple, won’t bother my OCD like a chain bracelet would, and, since I don’t like wearing bracelets or anything, something I won’t try to take off because it bugs me, so nothing thick.

After searching Google for what felt like eons, site after site of ye-gods-wow expensive medical bracelets (I’ve seen $50-$80 medical bracelet), I went to Etsy instead. I actually found this funky cuff bracelet that I really liked:

medi bracelet

I really like the skinny look, very minimalist. Not only, but it can be customizable far beyond what you put on it. It varies what kind of finish you can have such as a shiny finish, hammered finish, brushed finish, etc. Also, what I noticed on this site is the rings and trinkets available for anyone who loves geekery and games.

Don't open dead inside

locket

Most importantly, these are all handmade by one person, Gina Stone. She’s a really talented artist and I really like her works. She is very easy to talk to and a speedy responder (I had to talk to her about the customization of the bracelet). Her products are reasonably priced. The medical bracelet I’m getting is $20, which is fine for me because it’s handmade with a hammered finish (the baseline finish is shiny, $18). That’s not expensive, really, at all since it’s the price for a decent bracelet.

Since all the Trendy Geek products are handmade, the bracelet is going to take 1-2 weeks to be made. I just got my bracelet on Wednesday.

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The box was really secure and came in a bubble mailer. Sorry it’s dark, the lighting sucked.

Everything is hammered in so it won't wear off

Everything is hammered in so it won’t wear off

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Huzzah. It’s skinny!

Here is where you can find the Trendy Geek:

Etsy: The Trendy Geek
Facebook: The Trendy Geek
Pinterest: The Trendy Geek
Twitter: The Trendy Geek
Instagram: The Trendy Geek

Z-Type

This is a great typing game for anyone who wants to improve their typing skills with a fun game. I learned of this game a while back but it is a great recommendation, especially as you garner appropriate typing style.

Z-type

Here is the site where you can play: Z-Type

Qinni/Night Light

This is a wonderful short film called “Night Light” of a girl who can create anything with the stroke of a pen. However, there is an accidental stroke. But just because something is not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not worth having.

Sadly, WordPress won’t let me embed so watch it here on the artist’s deviantArt. To view her portfolio, see it here.

Alright, everyone. Sorry for the quiet, there’s been a lot going on such as new tablet, playing Yandere Simulator and other stuff. That and in porting data from old tablet to new tablet, the data got corrupted so that means this post is a remake. Either way, it’s a good thing I shot video.

Earlier in April, I had learned about Sabbat Box  and contacted them about a review, here it is now!

After answering pretty basic questions about what materials I would prefer more, what symbols I lean to more, things of that nature, I got automatic emails of when my materials would be shipped out. I really liked how timely the emails are so you don’t forget anything. Also, you’re given tracking so you can watch your package get shipped and prepare for its arrival. I missed delivery so I was off a few days but after a couple days, I got an email from Sabbat Box asking if I ever got the box. It was picked up so everything was fine. I did an unboxing vid but then that derped because I’m not good with video, ha! But I did another one right after (well irritated, because I just did all that work beforehand). This video is open via Google Docs and via BW FB Fan page (I don’t really like youtube and didn’t feel like fighting with WordPress about video hosting.)  Wait, wait. I think I can go with Vimeo. Yeaaaaah, let’s do that.

The products are really nice, I still use the incense and the candle is long gone, it really lasts a while! The holder is really nice…especially since it turns out I left my old one in storage a while back. I still haven’t used the oil for anything, but it does smell wonderful still. The tea is still very much in use, it’s nice to have when having something really sweet because it is a bitter taste and green tea is meant to be had with sweet things. However, I did research since the name of the tea brand is Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends. While the tea is nice, I really would rather a Black owned business if I’m going continue buying something that has “hoodoo” in the name since it is originally an Afro-Caribbean tradition and already there’s such limited representation as it stands.

The book is pretty nice, but it sadly can’t keep my attention. It’s not that the book sucks but I’m well past beginner stage, it’s like getting an alphabet book when I already am reading Tales of the Genji. I think I’ll give it away to a friend or something.

As for the Sabbat Box prices, they’re a bit steep but definitely worth it. The smallest plan is Sabbat to Sabbat at $39.95, which includes the $7.95 shipping. The price may look alarming for those on a budget but for what you get, it seems decent. However, while the pricing should be in the 30s, it would possibly be nicer if it were around $28-32/box. Pagan products have a tendency of being pricey so it would be nice if they could pull the price down just a bit.

All in all, I really think that this Sabbat Box is really nice. It isn’t for everyone but that is ok. It’s better for those who are at least intermediate (remember, this isn’t a spell-in-a-box) and have some extra scratch to put a new mix into their practice and find something new. Plus the customer service is really, really good! Very professional.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated, send them in!

A while back on Tumblr, I learned that there was an app that helped with dealing with the depression and moods. Granted, what made this one different was that it would slip into your life and point out when you are sad and most importantly, tell others that you’re in trouble if you start to show critical signs of depression or a suicidal nature. This app knows that depressed people tend to become very withdrawn and thus are not likely to reach out for help in their more critical moments, which creates a negative feedback loop that plummets the person further and further into a suicidal state because they take the silence towards their self isolation (that they didn’t tell anyone) as a sign that truly no one cares and that since no one is coming for them, they must truly be a burden and that maybe ending it all would simply be the smarter choice that benefits everyone. This app keys in to those moods and starts making efforts to reach out.

It was super hard to find this app for a range of reasons One, I didn’t know how to look for it besides, “Mental health app that checks in on you”. I didn’t know the name from the Tumblr post and I definitely couldn’t find it. I tried out a lot of apps while I still tried to find this one. None were nearly as good, because they either didn’t feel very helpful, didn’t ask good questions or simply did too little. They all could be ignored during a time of withdrawing since they strongly depend on the troubled person to have the will to say something. Convincing people to reach out when they truly don’t want to is not an easy task.

Finally, I managed to find the app I was looking for called “Mobilyze!” It uses the accelerometer to see if the person is inactive (such as laying in bed all day because they’re stricken with a depressive mode), the GPS to see if they are staying at home too much like a hermit and even the frequency of calls and texts to help figure out if the person is going through a depressive episode. Picking up on this, it will give suggestions such as calling people, meeting friends or simply going outside. The app identifies risk states and tries to counteract them. Here, David Mohr, Ph.D, creator of the idea, wrote that the point of Mobilyze has two goals: “One is to support patients with depression in making changes in behavior that will reduce or eliminate depressive symptoms. The other is to develop a system that learns to identify patients’ states at any given moment, allowing Mobilyze to reach out and intervene in real time. Essentially, we are trying to put a therapist in the patient’s pocket.”

Listen to him talk more about the app:

I really like the intervening part of the app because it understands how a depressed person thinks and the fact that they draw into themselves and that self-isolation means that they will not willingly make the effort to reach out for help. However, when trying to find more info about the app (as in, I tried to find it in the Android Market with no luck), I would hit dead end after dead end. I even tripped over the official information page at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine[link] where there is an inactive link but a great description of the app’s function: “Current methods of care do not permit intervention at ‘critical moments’ – moments when a behavioral prescription is most needed, and when an intervention is most likely to affect adherence to the behavioral prescription.” Turns out, the app was renamed “IntelliCare”, possibly because there is already a non-related app already called “Mobilyze” Mobilyze ran out of money but Intellicare is a similar version of it.

After looking around for it, I managed to find IntelliCare and now I can talk about it. For starters, it’s a hub that is a series of apps (all free) so you can pinpoint what would work best for you. I downloaded quite a few because a lot of the apps interested me…that and I wanted to review.

This isn't even all of them, there are a lot of choices, which means there's a lot of versatility for a variety of people. This is good.

This isn’t even all of them, there are a lot of choices, which means versatility.

Yes, this looks like a lot but given a lot of people suffer from depression in different ways, having a bunch of options is great. Plus it helps the app learn about you. However, it is a lot so this is what I did instead: made a folder!

This is a lot better because they're all in the same place, which brings some order and makes it feel like one app truly

This is a lot better because they’re all in the same place, which brings some order and makes it feel like one app truly

Remember, you don’t have to download them all, just what best pertains to you. Actually, the Hub will even recommend at least two of the apps to you after a few questions and it all connects to the server. I first tried out Social Force because I really wanted to have the social safety net since I withdraw heavily when depressed. I don’t tend to reach out when I have a problem or when I’m depressed at alllll. I also have a tendency to be really withdrawn and just get into sordid moods.

Since I have a lot of the apps, let me review one by one:

Intellicare Hub
This app is the center of all the apps, the one-stop shop. That eventually gets annoying. I would like to be able to go to the other apps via this one, that would be nifty given it already tells you that you have pending messages…about a million of them it feels like when you have more than the dedicated two – and even then, the pending messages get annoying because you may have already checked in earlier in the day or there isn’t an update available for you to download like it wants you to. You can’t swipe away the redundant messages either, you have to click on them and get sent to the Google Play page to make the message go away. It’s understanding that they don’t want to be so easy rid of because a depressed person needs to be involved but I really would like more informative messages and those messages be a bit fewer. Everyday, the app tells me to call someone, go somewhere (even if I am already out and about), things of that nature. It’s a pest that could convince the person to simply uninstall the app because it’s not slipping into your life, it’s sticking out in a way that can annoy when it gets too much. Also, I think it would be nice to have a daily (or adjustable) mood check in, similar to the Sleep Diary in Slumber Time. That way, it can be more than just a static hub but something active as a mood diary, kind of like Moodlytics. That way the rest of the apps can interact with the person since they’ll have a better key in on the person moods, even if they’re not entering them at all (which can imply withdrawing). Also, the little Andy the Android avatars are nice but why is Andy the Android, a green figure, White in some decorations? Either add more (read: Darker) skins so that everyone (including the populations the psych field is notorious for ignoring (read: Darker)) can feel included in the app. It’s really not that hard to have various flesh tones if you want to make Andy look more human. Little things like that can convince darker skinned folks that maybe this app isn’t for them or that the psych field yet again is putting up another “Not for you” sign. This app should want to avoid this because as far as underserved populations go, they do not want to screw over bigger ones, which are minority populations. And I still don’t know what the point system is about or how to gain more points. The avatar is a teeny feature but it’s the little things that are the most important.

ME Locate
I now know that Mobilyze! and Intellicare are two different apps. I think I would have liked to try Mobilyze more because ME Locate isn’t as good as I would like it to be. When starting the app, it always zooms into a My Place, not to where you are. Perhaps it is a passive suggestion of a spot to go but it could be better. Plus, zooming in to where I am initially, instead of a My Place, would be more intuitive if I wanted to quickly add a new My Place so I can check into it in the future. Also, I would like the app to be a lot more intuitive in picking up when I am out and about – basically, not home. The app is to convince you to go outside, it doesn’t need to pester you anymore to go outside if you’re already there. The app can determine via pinging from cell towers (as explained in the vid above), to decide “Ok, this person is out and about, I can take a break.” It should only start getting really persistent if the person has not been outside their home for a set period of time or they fall in too much of a “Go To Work, Go Home, Wash, Rinse, Repeat” zombie-like habit, which can happen to depressives who are still going outside but mainly to do the very, very basics, such as working. Especially if the person starts indicating that they are slipping deeper and deeper in depression via the mood diaries. (Seriously, mood diary would be great to personalize the experience). Maybe to keep the app from getting too dormant, maybe it could have a basic pedometer.

MoveMe
I haven’t used MoveMe much but I think it could really shine as a “get active” app. I wouldn’t mind if the app reminded me to take a brisk walk or do knee ups or simply stretch once a day or every other day. Now, the app doesn’t need to turn you into Terry Crews, Laila Ali or Choo Sunghoon but even the littlest things can help when going through depression. Heck, I’ve noticed on Tumblr when a “Hey! You! Did you get some water? Stretch your arms. Don’t forget to take your meds if you haven’t! Look at this stop light gif and breathe. Alright, you’re good to go” posts are really super helpful because they’re pleasant reminders that express care and are not invasive at all. MoveMe should strive for that in regards to saying, “Did you stretch today? Don’t know how? Here’s some suggestions”. Actually, MoveMe can also have a pedometer option (which can share info with ME Locate if the user wants it that way. It needs to improve its reminder system as well, make it similar to Daily Feats with a secondary reminder if ignored because the person is out and about.

Worry Knot
I haven’t used Worry Knot much but I know part of it is due to my first impressions where it annoyed me. The part I found annoying was kind of the assumption that all worries could be calmed down with pleasant woobly woobly feelings. However, its aim is to prevent “tangled”/obsessive thinking where you are caught in a worry cycle, which it can be a little helpful of but perhaps could be tweaked better. I would suggest others to try out the app for themselves and see how they like it. It could possibly do well to also acknowledge triggers and how they work because they cause worry as well but may need more care. It’s useful but can be better.

Thought Challenger
Another app I didn’t really like all that much. I think what turned me off from using the app as much is saying “What is your negative or unrealistic thought?” The only part that bugged me was “unrealistic” because here’s the thing about perspective, folks: What may seem like an unrealistic worry to everyone on the outside can seem like a very, very realistic worry to the person with the thought. They need to go with another word because it shouldn’t really automatically guess that the person knows their worry is unrealistic, seems pretty real to them. It would be better to just say “What is your negative thought?” There you go, the user knows what that is and it’s broad enough that many users will understand it successfully.

Aspire
I don’t use Aspire much. I think they should include a “Happy” path because I know many, especially folks in my generation, would appreciate a guide to that path. To just not be depressed or feel bogged down, to be happy. The app looks promising, however.

Daily Feats
This one is really good, not that invasive and you can set a reminder to put in your daily feats. You can edit the list as well as make feats of your own so you can personalize your progress. I have no complaints here, it’s really nice.

wpid-2015-04-08-12-17-22.pngwpid-2015-04-08-12-20-14.pngPurple Chill
For some reason, this makes me think of Prince somehow. I don’t know why but it does. Anywhoodle, I think I should get into this app more. It’s really has potential. It talks about deep breathing and techniques as well as how to’s. There’s even a breathing dot mediation that has a moving dot for you to follow as you learn deep breathing. The app will ask you how stressed you are now and proceed to tailor your experiences in relation to how frazzled you feel to maximize your use of the app. That’s not all, there is also learning how to practice mindfulness, muscle relaxations, mediations for sleep and more!

Slumber Time
This app keeps track of your sleeping habits and it’s pretty nifty for the most part. You fill out a sleep diary (which you can be reminded of, similar to Daily Feats) when you wake up but the best part is that for the app to track the noise, temperature and lighting in your environment, just flip the phone on its side, it’ll record everything, which can help you determine when you went to bed and to sleep. However, don’t use the alarm function, it is glitchy in that it will make the app shut itself off. Also, it would be nice if the app had a pinch zoom for the graph so it was easier to read, especially for those hard of seeing. That and straighten out the jumble of numbers at the bottom of the graph. Surely, they mean something but looking like a numerical error pattern, it’s looks incredibly glitchy, even if it is not. Maybe shade part of the graph to represent night and day. Also it would be wise to let people put in the times for the naps they take in opposed to whether or not they simply took them and for how long because it is a big difference if you took one power nap earlier in the day or at the end of the day and if you took a couple naps instead of just one.

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Social Force
This is what sold me on Mobilyze: the fact that if you became too depressed and the app knew it, it would intervene on your behalf and inform people that you really could use someone to talk to. This is important – crucial, even – for depressives because they withdraw from people and tend to take the fact no one is reaching out to them (because they didn’t know their friend was in peril. They could be just taking a social media break or something) as proof that no one cares about them and that they are truly a troublemaking burden that should just stop existing. Now, Social Force lets you build up a network that you can contact through the app itself. You can also pick and categorize friends by what kind of friend they are to you.

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The various colored circled show what kind of friend they are to you. Are they great for emotional support? Practical support? Somebody to hang out with? So on and so forth. Once you pick them out, they will show as circles on your Social Force screen so you can contact them for easy access.

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Of course, the graph will change as you interact more and more with people. However, if you don’t have anyone, that’s ok. There is a little how-to guide on how to meet people and develop positive support circles.

Now, I haven’t neglected the app enough or shown a strong enough depressive state to see if it will intervene on my behalf like Mobilyze would (if it doesn’t, it needs to be in there! That was the selling point for me!) but it does tell me nearly every day to call or text someone. If you’re already being social and out and about, I think they shouldn’t have to be so frequent. It’s annoying. There’s times it has popped up while I was talking to people right then and there. Maybe once or twice a week, especially if I’m showing a depressive mood, which then it should ramp up to maybe three or four times a week and intervene on one’s behalf if they reject the “Hey, you should contact [someone]!” at least three times. Especially if the person has ME Locate and it has determined that the person has not been out or just been doing the walking dead crawl (Home – Work – That’s it) so they need to be social to break the trend.

Now, ultimately, I think this app has a lot of promise, especially since Mobilyze sadly ran out of money (steam). I would recommend people to download the app and give it a try. There is a lot that I have not mentioned in this review because there is so much to the app, such as how it recommends apps based on your initial questionnaire and gives you a “how are you feeling” questionnaire once in a while. It’s free to use, actually has a lot to it and very beneficial.

What I like about the app is that the writing is not too technical. It understand that the average person using the app will not be some psychology expert but a normal person, it helps the app be less intimidating and easier to use. I didn’t like the description of “Magical Thinking” for when experiencing anxiety, however (I think this was in Thought Challenger or Worry Knot). It would have been better to call it “Assumptive Thinking” since it is indeed making assumptions which fuel worried thinking. I’m Pagan so of course I would find that reference odd.

Now, this is over but next week is Ask Black Witch! Send in your questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated! Send them in!

There She Is!
On Newgrounds, there was a standout series years ago that I loved and this was one of them. So creatively done by SamBakZa it’s a story about bunny named Doki being so love-stricken by a kitty named Nabi and Doki goes to great lengths to express her love. Too bad she lives in a world that prefers bunnies and kitties stay divided. While Nabi eventually comes around, too bad everyone else still doesn’t but who cares? Follow along these two loveable characters as they do everything to make love survive in the face of hijinks and hardship, making friends and foes along the way as love prevails. The artwork is so impeccable and adorable the music is uplifting and peppy, you’ll want to watch it again and again.

Watch the whole series here!

And see more from SamBakZa:
Website (Korean Ver./English Ver.)

Skip
This silent short film is lovingly animated with outstanding style and pretty good story line. Made by Sarah Jolley, it’s a short film that combines two characters, one from a black and white romance film and one from an action film. Together they figure out what is going on as they traverse various film genres together.

See more of her works:
Website/Blog

Rolling Bomber Special (Super Sentai/Power Rangers Parody)
This funny and comedic video has stuck with me for a long time. Here you have a regular, everyday convenience store clerk and high schooler Katori Shintarou, who one day becomes the focused target of the Chikyuu Sentai Freshmen. Only problem is that he doesn’t know why! Created by Tetsuya Nakashima.

Watch this fun subtitled short film:

Next up is Ask Black Witch, please send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated! Send them in!

The Arts!: Speaking Differently

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but never figured how to get around to it. Now, for starters, I speak and understand French, Korean, Chinese and Japanese (and obviously English but that should be a no brainer). So that means there is going to be a mix of basic resources to help learn various languages and some for particular languages. Before I begin, I have to say, these are great supplemental sites but still formal teaching is needed so you can successfully speak the languages. So we’ll start general and narrow in for languages. And, please remember, it’s not easy to learn a language. You’re not going to get it immediately and that’s ok. I learned French starting at around 10, I’m still picking up new words and concepts. Same with Chinese. Languages are fluid, basically. Even English spoken 50 years ago looks different from English today and English 150 years ago doesn’t look anything like English from 50 years ago or today. It changes with the time, even if old people are stricken with enough dementia to forget they helped modify the language as well, just like young people of today. Language changes. So if you don’t get it, know that it takes time.

Live Mocha
Live Mocha is a fantastic site to learn a myriad of languages. It believes that to really get the grasp of a new language, it is important to speak to native speakers. Live Mocha will guide you as you talk to native speakers so you understand them and they understand you.

Hello Talk
Hello Talk is a mobile app that is like Live Mocha but for phones and tablets. You can learn one language at a time (I use it for Korean – however there is an update that you can add an additional language for a small fee) and therefore get native speaking partner. Just like in Live Mocha, the conversations are bilingual so you learn the learning language counterpart. Also it will pronounce what you or your partner said the language you’re learning. It’s really nice for those learning another language, however for languages with different script (such as Asian languages or Middle Eastern languages), it won’t provide a whole lot of help if you don’t know their alphabet. Won’t help much if you don’t even know what you’re reading, even if it were pronounced back at you.

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Example of a Hello Talk conversation, with translation selected.

 

However, you can only use Hello Talk on one device so choose which one and stick with it.

Talking Translator
Here is another mobile app to help translate languages but mainly as a dictionary. It can translate between two of its very many languages. Not only will it show the Romanized version of the translated word but also the word in the language’s script – if there is any difference (Such as from English to Arabic or Korean).

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I like how it differentiates between word classes, such as noun, verb, adjective, etc etc. That is really useful for when you’re stuck on a word or just can’t remember. You even get a nifty word of the day!

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There are more sites to help with learning language but these are pretty decent starts. And as for the apps where you talk to a live person, remember that if you have terrible social skills (as in you can piss off people/make them uncomfortable/think poorly of you in your own language, even if you don’t know why), spend more time with the automatic translators and study books because no one anywhere in the world wants to deal with being made to feel uncomfortable because you made inappropriate comment after inappropriate comment. No one. And if you do have a disagreement, don’t reference “I have 1st Amendment rights! Freedom of speech” because no one else in the world cares. The Constitution is for the United States, not an international document. There’s a reason international laws exist. Don’t be an American idiot, it’s not an honor for them to speak with you, you’re both equals. So if you can’t get past your own “F- Yeah America!” nationalism and/or prejudice/fetishism, just stick with the books and non-chatting apps.

And for Koreaboos, Weeaboos/Otakus: stay off the live-person apps. No Japanese or Korean person wants to hear you basically boil their whole existence down to an anime or a pop singer fantasy. That’s fetishizing, which is dehumanizing. No one wants to experience that while learning a language. No one. Stick with books and non-chatting apps.

Usually I have three picks for The Arts! but this time, it’s just the one (with exception to PACO) because it was that well done. I don’t commonly watch Korean dramas (K-Drama) despite the fact I mainly watch Korean tv (yay for mobile streaming apps) but this one, titled “It’s Okay, That’s Love” is incredibly well done. The two male leads both have a mental illness, they’re depicted realistically and continually throughout the whole series. Here is the first episode (w/ English subtitles):

Click Me!

Click Me to See First Episode!

There are 16 episodes in all and possibly the first drama to actually touch me emotionally. The creators of the show were presented with an award because of how well they created genuine mental illness representation throughout the whole series and, frankly, they deserve it completely. The characters with mental illness (one of them with Tourette’s, one with Schizophrenia) aren’t depicted as broken or in severe need to be locked away somewhere. They have realistic lives and they’re normal enough people. Granted, there are some pretty sappy parts but it’s a K-Drama, it’s part of the package deal, but the whole show is golden.

I am forever discerning of when people touch on the subject of mental illness because I have several of my own, a fact I’ve touched on a number of times and a subject I even had a series titled “All in Your Head” about. It is rarely depicted in a realistic sense and as if people who have issues are still people. I don’t think before this, I have ever seen mental illness fully well depicted in media. I think the one time was Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, where he shows signs of PTSD such as hyper talking, pacing, having a tough time pulling it together. I have PTSD, I do the exact same thing. I think there is also Korean film “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay” which shows a series of illnesses and from various perspectives. Extremely well done. It’s nice when people do more than just their basic homework and go above and beyond. Most folks who include depictions of mental illness in media pretty much just skim over whatever DSM version they have and go “Ehhh, that sounds good. Throw that in there. Sounds real crazy.” Not cool.

So check out the series!

Also, PACO (Pagan Activism Conference Online) is this weekend. Today, November 22 will be the “Activism Among Pagans of Color” panel, which I will be a part of. Come and join in and feel free to ask questions. The panel I believe is still $10 by itself but the whole conference is $40. The panel will be 12-1:30 PM PST (so that is 3-4:00PM EST for me, find your time here).

Hold, on, I forgot one more! It is nearly Thanksgiving, isn’t it?

Bea Gaddy
Thanksgiving is around the corner here in America and that means I feature the ever saintly Bea Gaddy. She started out poor but had struck gold when she hit the lottery up to three times. She would use her winnings to help feed 39 of her neighbors, which started her emergency relief work in Baltimore. She opened the Patterson Park Emergency Food center, which feeds 50-150 people and since 1981, has fed over 100,000 families. The most outstanding event is the Thanksgiving Dinners that she would hold, relying on donations and volunteers when it was done in her home, which then moved to Dunbar Middle School. She also ran a furniture bank, had abandoned row homes renovated and refurbished for the poor*, ran a summer youth program and was a very vocal supporter of voter education. Also, shortly before her death, Gaddy became an ordained minister so that she could marry and bury the poor at no cost to them. Her home, which ran all these operations, worked under the name of “Bea Gaddy Center for Women and Children”.

If you want to read more about Bea Gaddy’s story, click here. If you would like to visit or donate to the Bea Gaddy Center, click here. Here is also her listing in the Maryland’s Women Hall of Fame.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

*Not the rich, the mayor and city government could take a couple tips from this woman’s legacy.

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