Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Over the course of June, I moved from a large one-bedroom apartment in the residential near-the-ocean side San Francisco to a tiny studio near Market St. We’re talking massive downsizing and culture change here.  I’ve been “settled” for a month now, but am still lacking some important furniture and tripping over boxes in the morning.  I’m close, though.

Here are the gem lessons I’ve picked up so far…

  • Getting a sunny paintjob and having a bed built into my walk-in closet were both really good ideas, and also made the fact that I had a month of overlap time between the two apartments completely necessary. I don’t know how it could have been done otherwise. (I have to keep telling myself this because paying double rent for a month was rough.)
  • I can live alone, but I can’t move alone. Getting help from friends made the job 75% easier.
  • Friends who have buff arms from rock climbing are inclined to carry heavy objects in exchange for bottles of bourbon.
  • Of the stuff that needs to be given away, offer the exciting things to friends. Crock pots, it turns out, are very exciting.
  • There are some things that are too nice to trash, not exciting enough to give away, and not [whatever] enough to donate. Things like half-used hair products and hot sauces.  I filled two trashbags with these things, called them Grab Bags, and offered them to friends under the condition that they take EVERYTHING inside them.  They went for it.
  • If your friends aren’t biting, Craigslist will literally take most anything off your hands within an hour. Swallow your pride and use the “Free” section. You need the quick solution, the extra time, the good karma, and that excited person’s undying gratitude way more than you need $20 right now. Unless you thought ahead, that is, because…
  • Whatever nonessential downsizing and upgrading you hope will happen in the midst of the Momentum of Moving actually needs to happen at least two weeks before the final move. Any sorting you procrastinate into those last two weeks has a good change of just getting thrown into a box and taken with you, and you’ll still be sitting on it after you unpack.
  • It wasn’t enough just to move and give away half my stuff. I also needed to migrate computers, face having to get a new phone (still procrastinating that one), and quit my job (sorta. long story. more on that one later), all at the same time.  There’s something to be said for dealing with lots of change at once, but damn that was a lot of painful displacement. I think I’d be easier on myself next time. (My poor partner kept half-joking, “Are you gonna get rid of me, too?”)
  • Professional carpet cleaners are AWESOME. But most of them need more than a day’s notice if you’re calling at the end of the month (when the rest of the city is moving, too).
  • How to clean when you’re moving: Start with the farthest room or closet from your front door, make sure everything is cleared out of it, spray it down with some fierce cleaner stuffs,  leave it for a few minutes, wipe it down, air it out, close the door, and tape that door shut. You’re done with that room for the rest of your life.  Now do the next one.
  • DON’T BE FOOLED. Moving doesn’t end when you’re done with moving.  Then you have to unpack.  AND UNPACKING TAKES LONGER.
  • But you can procrastinate that, since there’s no landlord looking over your shoulder reminding you of your deadline. Which means you may never finish it. Which sucks.

I think I’ll stay here for awhile.

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I recently spoke at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA about the “grey areas” of gender and sexuality. The event was sponsored by the school’s FMLA student organization (a feminist leadership group), and we called the presentation, “Sex, Queers, and Finding Home.”

I mixed up the talk by telling my own story, talking about Genderfork, performing some spoken word pieces about queer identity, and answering questions. Thanks to Sheik (one of my Genderfork volunteers), I have some pretty decent footage from the event, which I’m excited to share.  (This is also one of my first ever attempts at video editing, so forgive the amount of time it took me to get it to you.)

Here’s me answering some questions about where Genderfork came from and how it’s working…

More telling stories and answering questions…

And here’s a spoken word poem that (sort of) clarifies my sexual orientation:

More spoken word…

The last two pieces on the list are marked “not safe for work” because they talk about sex.  This means you probably shouldn’t play them loudly at your office.  It ALSO means that if you would rather I didn’t tell you about my sex life, you probably don’t want to watch them at all.  Family members and professional colleagues: I’ll let you make your own call here. I’m including them because they were relevant to the talk.

The night was a LOT of fun with a great audience that was so wonderfully engaged it was humbling. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

And speaking of which… if anyone else would like to lure me out to a microphone somewhere, please send me an email: info at sarahdopp dot com.

(note: if you don’t see two youtube videos embedded in this post, try reloading the page. thanks.)

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

wiiI’ve always traveled in gamer circles and never been a gamer. I don’t what it is about them, but I love the gamer types — they’re passionate, geeky, focused, funny, creative…. something. Or maybe it’s just that everyone in the world is a gamer except me, and that’s why I always feel surrounded. Regardless, for the last 15 years or so, I’ve always taken the emergence of a video game console or colorful set of 20-sided dice as my cue to leave a party and call it a night.

So I was rather surprised at myself when I bought a Nintendo Wii in January. Maybe it was my rebellion against feeling socially excluded for so long — this Wii is mine, all mine. Or maybe I just thought it would fit me.

I ditched Wii Sports immediately (I hate sports), bought a Wii Fit (which is a nice way to get myself to move when I don’t want to leave my house), picked up House of the Dead and some gun accessories for zombie-killing date nights (way more romantic than you might imagine), and splurged on Super Paper Mario Bros (which I love).

Here’s what my Wii has taught me so far…

#1) I get really excited when I can figure out a strategy on my own. I don’t want to be told how to do things — I want to be given information to work with and make my own decisions. Even if I’m going to come to the same conclusions everyone else did and, really, we could have just saved me an hour just by spelling it out up front… I won’t love it unless I came up with it myself.

#2) I pay attention to feedback when it can help me refine my strategies. Otherwise, I ignore it. Points, music, flashing colors, info bars, whatever… if I recognize that it can help me do something better, it’s on my radar. If I don’t, it may as well not exist.

#3) I want to be able to test and refine my strategies immediately, as soon as I come up with them. A game is addictive to me when there is minimal barrier between “Oh, I think I know what I should have done differently,” and trying that out.

#4) I like kid stuff. I don’t care how much I grow up, I think I’m always going to like something that’s simple, colorful, and pleasantly engaging… as long as I can connect with it without messing with my social reputation too much.  And Wii is cool, so I’m okay.

#5) With my lifestyle, I’m probably going to get RSI. My Wii arm gently informed my mousing arm of this fact. And the RSI is probably going to be because of my mousing arm, not my Wii arm.  And I should probably do something about that likelihood sooner rather than later.  Argh.

Okay, so that last one was a downer. But the rest were really intriguing to me, and I want to apply them to web development and community management somehow.

What patterns have you noticed about your brain in gaming?