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Presence by Amy Cuddy, Thoughts

I’m currently reading Presence by Amy Cuddy, a book that I received for Christmas from my mom. I’ve always been relatively shy, not good at showing my true self on first impression. Not that I fake it by any means, but I am quiet and shy and I don’t feel like I’m necessarily engaging upon first meeting someone. Interviews are the worst. I have gotten better at them over the years, but the wrong signals from an interviewer and I feel like I’m sinking into myself, and they won’t see the things I’m capable of.

Reading this book has been fascinating. Every few pages, I am seeing behaviors, body language, and more that I can pinpoint to the past few years of my life, especially in the workplace. What has been especially interesting is the concept of power, and how people act when they feel powerful or powerless, and I vividly (sometimes painfully) remember both instances I felt at my last job, sadly the “powerless” one far more often. These observations, combined with others about emotional labor and my own introversion and the needs that weren’t met, it’s a cocktail of things to notice and take to heart for future use.

I don’t feel that I have the luxury to be picky about my future work yet, for the most part. I’m still rather young and although I have more management experience than your average 26-year-old, I am in that tricky little middle segment where I don’t have the years of experience required for the field I want to be in, but have the work experience and skills that can translate to other fields easily, if I were to be given the chance. But, I think that after finishing this book I will have some of the internal skills necessary to show my best, most honest self – and to spot the things in a job or company that will be toxic to my well-being. The concept of personal power to me is amazing, and looking back on the brief, but numerous times I felt that are inspiring.

This book is helping me to understand the factors that helped spur me to my highest highs, where I got things done quickly, efficiently, and was on top of every single thing imaginable, and to my lows, where I still kept the balls in the air of importance, but felt discouraged, unappreciated, small, cold, and powerless. To be able to understand how this happens and to take the reins on channeling my more powerful moments into a constant, personal flame is something I hope I can do soon.

I may have some more thoughts to share on this book once I finish it. I’m amazed at how much I’ve gotten out of it already, and I’m only about halfway through. Stay tuned to see if I have more to add in another post later. :)

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I Got a DXRacer and It Was Worth It

So as we’ve established, I’ve been home for a couple of months straight in the most literal sense. I spend a ton of time at the computer: looking for jobs, writing blog posts, gaming, working on other projects (coding, more recently video editing), and eating dinner while watching the Daily Show.

Previous to around March of last year, I didn’t own a desktop computer. Because of this, I used my laptop anywhere but at a desk. This meant I also didn’t own a true desk chair because it would have gone essentially unused. When I did get my desktop computer built last year, I had to sit at a desk and since I didn’t have a desk chair yet, I used a armchair as my desk chair. I was also only spending maybe 2-4 hours a day in it, so it wasn’t terrible. The worst would be having to sit for 2 hours for raid, and once I stopped raiding, it wasn’t as much of an issue.

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You can probably imagine why this chair ended up being not-so-comfortable. 

But then I end up being home all the time after being laid off, and my chair began to really hurt my whole body. I knew that if I was going to spend this much time at my desk (especially if I ended up getting a job where I could work remotely), that I was going to need a good chair.

Being involved in gaming and esports, I had definitely heard of the DXRacer chairs. I had taken a look at their website and was waffling over whether I should buy one. It seemed like a really huge purchase to make when you’re unemployed. At the same time, when I looked at desk chairs on Amazon, they were nearly as expensive as the DXRacer anyway, and most of them didn’t even have a high seat back, not to mention any of the other features a DXRacer offers. After some thought and discussion with Boyfriend (who offered to help with cost if needed), I decided to go for the DXRacer F-Series (which is the standard, smallest gaming chair they offer). They notoriously go out of stock every few days, so it was a definite challenge to make sure to catch it at the right time, order it, and make sure it got shipped here okay.

The day it arrived, I was waiting impatiently to receive a FedEx delivery notification, a knock on the door, anything to signal that the truck had arrived. Since we don’t have apartment numbers at my building, I was terrified they were going to try the wrong door and then I’d have to go pick it up in a city over an hour away. Although they weren’t supposed to drop it off without a signature, as soon as I got the email notification that it had been delivered, I rushed outside to find it on the doorstep of the big house that’s currently vacant. I ran back to my apartment, grabbed my dolly, and put its box and the chair mat I had also ordered on it and rolled it all the way back to my side of the house. Did I mention it was raining? Oh yeah, it was raining. -_-

I managed to get it into my stairwell, but knew I couldn’t get it up the stairs on my own and Boyfriend was coming over anyway to help me get it upstairs and build it. The process went fairly easily, and soon we had the entire thing built. DXRacer even included a nice little mat that’s supposed to wick moisture when you’re gaming in warm conditions. It’s going to be really nice in the summertime with just the window air conditioner in the kitchen and the way my computer heats up the entire living room.

 

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Built chair and moisture-wicking mat! 

 

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The entire setup. Although you can’t see it too well here, my computer is also mostly red and black. 

It’s been a few weeks since I began using the chair, and I think it was worth every penny. I am practicing much better posture since I got it, I don’t hurt anymore, and the amount of adjustments I can make to make the chair perfect for whatever activity I’m doing is phenomenal. Plus, the chair is simply great quality. When we were building it, Boyfriend and I were both marveling at the inside construction, and how it is built from metal and other good quality materials that ensures it’s going to last for a really long time.

In the end, I’m ridiculously happy with this chair. Is it for everyone? Probably not: I don’t think most people spend the amount of time I do at a desk. However, I don’t think it’d be a bad purchase simply for its quality and support it gives that is going to last for years.

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Fantasy LCS Spring: Who To Draft

The League of Legends Championship series Spring Split begins on January 14. Drafts for Fantasy LCS begin on January 7, and I am ready for it! This year’s teams are scrambled, to say the least. Previous splits haven’t seen as much team switching as there has been for this split, but I have some suggestions on the top 5 picks to draft and some people to keep an eye on this season.

Top 5 Picks

TSM YellowstarFNC-yellowstar-2015Summer

For the past two splits, I have sneakily taken Yellowstar as my first pick for my fantasy team out from under my league mates and it has never failed to be a good choice. Despite support players usually being the lowest scoring on each team since they are discouraged from getting kills, Yellowstar consistently scored more points than any other support I’ve seen and sometimes helped me win games for that week when my other players were doing poorly. He is a consistent, excellent support who is good to have on your fantasy roster.

 

C9 SneakySneaky+profile+small-2

Sneaky is one of the best ADCs in North America, no questions asked. He is consistent, skilled, and does things that you wouldn’t expect even when he hasn’t had much support or is behind in a game. I watch him stream quite a bit because it’s just amazing watching what he can do with the champions he plays. He’s a great pick up for fantasy because he should score consistent points. #LeagueofSneaky, anyone?

OG PowerofEvilUoL-powerofevil-2015

PowerofEvil is filling some big shoes this year in replacing Origen team owner Xpeke in mid lane, but I think he’s up for the challenge. He was a consistent performer when playing with Unicorns of Love last year, and pulled off some amazing plays and pentakills on signature champions like Orianna. He should do well with his new team around him and will be a good pick for your fantasy roster.

 

FNC Febivenfebiven

Febiven has proven himself to be a rising star for mid lane players. In his rookie season, he showed just a fragment of what he was made of. He 1v1ed Faker more than once and won. He’s definitely a must-pick for your fantasy league, he’s going to do well.

 

 

C9 Rushbunny-fufuu-and-rush

As jungler for Team Impulse last season, Rush was one of the highest scoring players in fantasy league last split. He is a capable jungler and will bring some points to your scoreboard. Even though he’s with a new team, I think he’s a good pick to have on your list.

 

People to Watch

 

RNG Remiliaremilia

Renegades won their LCS spot in last split’s Challenger series, and after some time where she wasn’t sure if she’d play in LCS, she’s decided to stay for spring split. I’m really excited to see how she does this spring, and to see some more epic Thresh hooks from her. She has a lot of potential and as the season goes on, we’ll see how the fantasy points play out.

 

IMT Pobelterclg-pobelter-2015Summer

Pobelter had a promising split with CLG last season, and scored decent fantasy points. He has a new team (to him and to the LCS) which may present some growing pains, but he should settle in quickly and may be a good pickup or trade for later on in the season.

 

 

VIT KaSingkasingplayer

Honestly, the only reason KaSing is not on my Top 5 picks is because he’s on a brand new team, but there isn’t something called “the KaSing factor” for no reason. He scored above average points for a support last season with H2K, and I would expect the same from him on Vitality.

 

VIT HjärnanH2K-HJARNAN-2015

Hjarnan goes hand-in-hand with KaSing. He has said several times after games that the reason he is one of the highest-performing ADCs in Europe is because of KaSing. This dynamic duo is worth picking up as alternates at the beginning or trading for later on in the season.

 

FNC Rekklesrekkles

There’s no doubt that Rekkles is a skilled ADC, but has in the past had the incredible support of Yellowstar by his side. In addition, he is the new captain for Fnatic and may need some time to adjust and settle into his new role. I personally think he’s a good pickup, but would maybe not start him for a few weeks while the season is just beginning.

 

C9 Jensendownload

Jensen (formerly known as Incarnation) struggled a lot when he first joined Cloud9, not only having large shoes to fill but with the team missing their key shotcaller. Since Hai’s return, however, he has showed the potential he has and could potentially be a great pick to have on your roster.

Do you agree with my picks? Disagree? What players and teams are you most excited about watching this split? Let me know in the comments!

*Photos belong to players’ respective organizations and lolesports.com.
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Fallout 4 Adventures, Volume 1

So, since I started playing it on release date, I’ve put about 88 hours into Fallout 4. Considering how little I’ve gotten through the main story, finding factions, etc. it’s kind of amazing (and I’m only level 39, go figure). I also finally mustered the courage to take along a different companion than Dogmeat on my adventures (although I still prefer him in a lot of ways because he doesn’t say repetitive things and doesn’t judge me at all), but I took Nick Valentine to a few places and it was cool to learn more about him. Since I can’t stream my gameplay (slow internet), I thought I’d post a few screenshots that I’ve taken and I hope you enjoy!

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Discovering the Children of Atom encampment in the Glowing Sea. The place is extremely radioactive and has a bunch of people who worship “Atom” living in it.

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Apparently there’s a very rare chance that you’ll actually get a pristine pie out of these machines. Pretty cool, but I don’t have the patience to keep trying. :P

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You will find teddy bears all over the place posed by someone in odd ways. Like playing doctor.

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Or sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper. *shrug*

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I thought it was funny this raider encampment was counting headshots on their sign.

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When I first walked in to the Old North Church, I gasped and said, “Nooo, not the organ pipes!” I remember that being one of my favorite places when I went to Boston during my senior history tour in high school.

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Destroyed, but still beautiful in my opinion.

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This is a floating bear. I am disappointed I don’t have a screenshot of the time I shot one and it flew over the rooftops and out of sight. I’d like to think this is the same bear, miles from where it actually was before.

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KITTY!

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VATS critical strike cinematics are great.

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That moment when I realized my shadow was only showing my hair and gear.

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Thoughts? Odd thing to find in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, yes?

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Acting as the Silver Shroud in Goodneighbor. I always talk as the Silver Shroud when wearing the costume :D

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My recently built home base with all my crafting tables and my power armor.

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My magazine racks and bobblehead stand in my house. And Dogmeat. :)

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Dogmeat thinks he’s so ferocious, but he’s SO ADORABLE with his goggles!

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Taking a rest in my Minutemen General’s uniform.

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“Let’s go, boy.”

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This abandoned chapel is so pretty and is exactly the kind of place I always want to explore IRL. So…there you have it.

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Parsons State Insane Asylum. Pretty crazy questline for this place. Really cool architecture, too. :) 

Writer’s Stuck

Note: I wrote this a year ago. I didn’t realize it was still here, sitting in my drafts. I thought I’d go ahead and publish it, because it says really well what was going on in my head for the more than twelve months that I didn’t write a word here.  -S

I haven’t been able to write for a long time.

I don’t really know why. It’s carried over to my reading too. Nothing holds my interest if it’s written on paper and bound or even in e-ink on my Kindle. The only thing that’s kept me plowing through books is my Audible account and ears greedy to hear a story be poured into my brain.

I’ve even carried my Moleskine and notebooks and nothing has come out. Everything stays in and brews or it just flies away on the wind, unwritten, undocumented.

Knowing that you’re depressed is one thing. Being able to climb back out of it is another. Watching your dishes pile up in the sink and the carpet look dirtier, clean clothes going unhung (or washed at the last minute), and your ability to write down what churns around in your head – all signs.

There were things I wanted to write about, things I’ve cared about. Things I’ve watched happen with varying levels of disgust, joy or sorrow. Wanting to write about some of the things that go on in my everyday life and not feeling like I can, like that option is even open.

Wanting to even write about something silly, like video games, because those have been prominent lately because at least they keep my brain running on more than one cylinder. But even then my pen and fingers are poised, and nothing spills out.

Thinking about somewhere where my writing will be appreciated and where I’m not told that I’m wrong in everything I do, even though I know more than likely the same people telling me so do, feels like a distant dream. I find myself thinking, “this is how people get stuck.”

We Have to Act, We Have to Speak Up

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It’s true. I don’t usually say much about them. Most of the time I try to steer myself away from seeing or talking too much about it, because of the massive amount of empathy I feel and how much it can affect my mood and feelings that day.

But today, something just snapped. We JUST had a shooting at a Planned Parenthood. Today, we have one  in San Bernardino, at a center for developmentally disabled people, children and adults alike.

It doesn’t matter who the victims are. It matters that they are people who deserve to live and be happy. Who deserve to get medical care, have a holiday party together, go see a movie or go to school every day without fear of being shot and killed by someone who wants fame or notoriety or has an axe to grind.

There are an abundance of reasons for why people commit mass shootings, including racism, sexism, ableism, radical idealism, religion, and sometimes mental illness. As I said above, the solutions are not easy. They are not simple. I don’t think we even have the answers yet. Common sense gun control laws should happen but they won’t fix the underlying problems. They’ll just make it harder for those people to get weapons to do so much destruction in so little time.

The point is that all of us as a nation have become desensitized to this happening. We focus on what’s happening elsewhere when our own citizens are dying every single day to other Americans. How can we let this go for so long thinking that it’ll just stop on its own? That we shouldn’t do something to work towards a solution?

So I emailed my representative, something I’ve done rarer than I’d like to have. But I want this to stop. And legislation isn’t the only direction to a solution, but it’s one of them. And we the people need to exercise our democratic right to get the ball rolling. We need to tell the people who are supposed to represent us that we care. That we care about the people who are dying every day because of inaction. That we want this senseless violence to stop.

The Sob Story (And the Good Part)

I said I’d explain why I have a lot of time on my hands nowadays.

I worked three years at a tiny company. There were four of us in the office at the beginning, technically seven by the time I left. Had eight supervisors in the field, thirty – forty laborers working.

I spent most of my first year without much training. I found things to do, figured things out on my own, and learned my own ways of dealing with things. Google Docs became my go-to for everything, from making our daily schedule mobile to having my plant lists available to everyone in the office. I took care of a lot of stuff. Everything from helping with payroll to managing up to 15 projects at a time, to being the go-to person for how to spell something, what correct grammar was, where to find something on our server, why their computer wasn’t working. What address or job number one of our projects was that I could come up with by memory.

I’d been unhappy for a long time. There were a lot of positive things about this job – things that were very unique to being in a small business. But there were bad things too. Things like favoritism, and taking on far too much with too little recognition and too little pay. The anxiety of answering the phone with people listening and the ball and chain of having to answer a phone that was 95% spam calls.  Feeling so exhausted when I got home that I couldn’t muster the energy to do anything. Not reading. Not writing. So much time that I didn’t write and it hurt like mad. So much time I felt guilty and like I was missing a part of myself. Feeling like my relationships were suffering because I suffered so much in the eight hours I had to be at work every day. Being lied about to my boss. Suffering abuse from people who were jealous and vindictive when all I wanted was to be left alone and be able to do my work. I didn’t even want compliments, they embarrass me. All I wanted was for people to know that I was doing a ton to make the office and company run and to be treated as such.

There was such good there, too. When you’re at the center of most of the company’s workings, you see a lot and there are such good things. There’s being able to laugh and joke with the people you work with every day, to get a smile on your face from the things they text you that relate to work. To be able to be proud of knowing that the work you’re doing directly affects the product that’s delivered. To be proud that some of the people who come in contact with you recognize your work and appreciate it just as much as you appreciate theirs. To have the opportunity to work with people outside your company that are so generous, and kind, and are reliable and do good work and you sing their praises every day because you appreciate it so much and it makes your job that much easier. To know that you did what you could to make everything in each employee’s life run smoother, as much as you could within your power to do so. To be able to bridge the gaps between people’s strengths and weaknesses and what was needed to keep everything going.

The worst thing was being unable to fight to stay. To be told that “we’ve noticed you’re unhappy” but being powerless to change it, or even be asked how it could be changed. For the abuse to stop and to be paid according to the work I did would have been enough. To not go home and worry about money every day. To not feel like shit every time I came home. To feel like I could go out to eat every once in a while or buy my favorite bottle of wine would have been enough. But I didn’t even get to present my case. I was sent away with a package of checks and tears in my eyes. I shed so many tears in that first week. It was like a breakup. Worse than a breakup. You never realize how much time and effort and self you spend at a job until you leave, especially not really on your own terms.

The good news is that ultimately, it is for the best. There was a ton of grieving at the start, and I still don’t even want to go to the town that I worked in. Our projects we had are all around me and the place I live in is very, very small. But it’s getting better. I can talk about it without bursting into tears. I’m going to be okay. I’ve been feeling my self-confidence come back little by little in the past weeks, and knowing that I am capable of so much is reassuring. I learned so much and took on so much and taught myself and was taught by others so much that is going to transfer to other things. I’m looking for jobs and looking at job descriptions and thinking “I could do that, no problem” even when I don’t have the exact experience they ask for. I feel like I can write again. I’m looking for freelance writing and ideas for making my own videos and looking to start streaming and learning to code. Even though it came from a very painful channel, I have this immense opportunity to go where I want to go. And although this whole experience deconstructed my life and left me feeling like I was treading water at first, I’m remembering how to swim — slowly but surely.