I have a YouTube channel
. Some of the things I've uploaded to it:
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Tropes that I think describe me
- Ambiguous Disorder: My mom used to think I had Asperger Syndrome. No counsellor I've talked to thinks that's the case, but I can see why she'd think that. I'm definitely off just in a way that apparently doesn't have a name. Though my doc, my mother, and I are now reconsidering ADHD.
- Ambiguously Brown: People have been asking about my background more often than is strictly normal since I entered my teens. I've been asked by more than one person if I'm Hispanic. And apparently I'm Ambiguously Brown enough that anyone who's not black* , white* , East Asian, or Mainland Southeast Asian, might be liable to wonder if I belong to their race: Brown people have asked me if I'm brown, Portuguese people have asked me if I'm Portuguese, Egyptian people have asked me if I'm Egyptian, etc. Once, a Middle Eastern girl serving me at a Tim Hortons asked me what country I'm from, and seemed surprised when I said "Canada" (despite my complete lack of foreign accent). I guess I look somewhat Hispanic, and it doesn't help that my first name IRL is sort of exotic-sounding and of Spanish etymology.
- Recently (late April or early May 2014) a customer at my work asked my name and then asked if I was Arabic (I assume he himself was Arabic).
- Even more recently (May 2014), yet another foreign (I assume brown) stranger asked me what country I'm from, while we were waiting for a bus.
- Even more recently (early June 2014), a guy who got on the train with his bike, after asking me if that was actually allowed and then sitting next to me in one of the seats designated for people with bicycles, asked me where I'm from, and when I said "Here", he said "I thought maybe you were Arabic." (Again, I assume he was Arabic himself.)
- Less than a week later, a customer at work, who as far as I could tell was a white Hispanic, asked where I'm from, and when I said "Here", he said, "But your parents, they are Syrian, Lebanese...?" Not even close.
- As if that weren't bad enough, the very next day, an Italian man interviewing me for a job asked (out of curiosity, not as an interview question), "What's your nationality?" If I hadn't been so flabbergasted, I would have answered his question literally and said "Canadian".
Five times in less than two months; four of those in less than a month, and two of those in less than 24 hours. That must be a record. This is getting downright unnerving. I'm just that ambiguous, that perfect strangers feel compelled to ask.note
As you can probably tell by now, I've always been a little bit testy about such questions. It bothers me that people will ask "Where are you from?" (clarified to "Where were you born?" if I reply "What do you mean?"), as if my answer will inevitably reveal my background, i.e. based on the assumption that I must be "from" wherever my skin colour comes from, as opposed to simply being "from" Canada, like plenty of other non-white Canadians. "What is your background?" bugs me too. Which background? Educational? Employment? Familial? I used to like putting the asker on the spot by replying (again) "What do you mean?", despite knowing perfectly well what they really mean, because I wanted them to actually come right out and say it. Now I don't bother; I've become sort of resigned to the fact that people are gonna ask and are gonna word it that way. No need to make it painful.
I don't know why people asking these things bugs me so much. I guess because it's happened so many times. And because it seems like a weird and sort of impertinent thing to ask a perfect stranger in the first place. And I guess I feel like it's weird that people are so curious, let alone this number of people. Do all my "brown" (Muslim, Hindu, Sikh) friends get asked that so much, if ever? I doubt it. (But then again, with them I'm sure most people can actually tell.) I've asked maybe three people similar questions. The first (a classmate), I asked where she was from, because I knew she'd moved here from another country and just didn't know which one* . (And considering we were going to the same school and had chatted a few times, she wasn't a total stranger.) The second (a customer), I asked if she was Afrikaans, because she was white and blonde and had just told me she was from South Africa* . The third, well, it's in the note a couple paragraphs back (not my finest moment). Notice that in none of these cases did I ask "What's your background?" Ugh.long addendum
So, what's the big secret to my Ambiguous Brownness (which is apparently OVER 9000)? I'm not telling. Being this ambiguous to such a wide variety of people makes me feel a little bit magical, and I'd like to hang onto that. Let's just say that none of the guesses I've mentioned above in fact, none of guesses anyone has proposed to me have been correct.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder
- Better Than It Sounds: A lot of the stories I'm working on. At least I hope so.
- Big "YES!": What I did (literally, out loud) when I saw the third panel of this Prequel update. I even put the title in as "YES!!!" when bookmarking it.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Definitely lazy; possibly brilliant? I'm not really the best one to judge that.
- Buffy Speak
- Canada: My hoooooome.
- Disappeared Dad: My whole life, except for a brief period when I was about four. I wasn't even told he was my dad until after our last time seeing each other. All I really remember about him is that he tried to teach me how to use a yoyo. It didn't really work. (I maintain that it was because they were shitty yoyos.) When I asked my mom years later why he wasn't part of the family, she said that when she was pregnant with me, they sort of mutually agreed that he wasn't responsible enough to be a father. (And the pregnancy wasn't planned, so it's not like they were necessarily going to get married and have kids to begin with.)
- Foreign Culture Fetish: For Japan. But minus the "uncritical" admiration I don't only love the The Theme Park Version. I'm aware of its flaws. There are plenty of things I don't like about Japan. There are things I hate about Japan. But I love it anyway.
- A less pronounced version for many European countries, like France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Portugal, etc.
- Friendless Background: At some points in my life.
- Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: ...Hi.
- Motor Mouth
- Not a Morning Person
- Older than They Look: I'm usually mistaken as being 2 to 4 years younger than I am. Sometimes more than that.
- Parent with New Paramour
- Proud to Be a Geek
- Sesquipedalian Smith: My given name is quite rare and three syllables long, but my surname is a variant of one of the most common surnames in North America* . I feel pretty blessed in the names department I like my first, middle and last names individually, I like how my first and last names sound together, I like how all three sound together, and I like the contrast between my unique, exotic-ish first name and my common, Anglo-Saxon surname.
- Toronto: Where I was born.
- TV Tropes Will Enhance Your Life
- TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life
- Half-Life: World Line: A Half-Life franchisenote fan fiction. It fits into several categories, depending on which "arc" you're looking at: Fix Fic, Elsewhere Fic, Adaptation, Continuation, etc. The genres are Original Flavor (in the sense that part of it is just a retelling of the canon but with more Realism and extra dialogue), Something Completely Different (in the sense of "taking an idea or concept in the series proper and averting, subverting, inverting or just plain fucking with it"), and Romance. The style is Earn Your Happy Ending. Now Gordon and Chell both talk (I never have understood why so many fan fic authors feel the need to keep Gordon and Chell silent by having them be somehow incapable of speech). Characters have family members (both dead and alive) and detailed backstories. Extras have been ascended. And Chell has a last name. (And most of the characters even have middle names!) My focus right now is on what happens in the days/months/years before Half-Life, what happens between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and what happens after Episode Two (and what happens after "the end" since it won't really be the end until ALL the Combine forces are gone, which will probably take years). Therefore there are a lot of ascended extras and original characters (though many of the latter aren't really characters, but simply by-products of the main characters' backstories). Writing this is a lot of fun so much that I haven't really worked on my favourite story, Qualia, in a while.
- Qualia: A Magic Realism story set in the city where I grew up. The premise bears an uncanny resemblance to H. P. Lovecraft's "The Outsider" (much to my chagrin when I found out), and therefore might also bring Amnesia to mind. However, it was actually inspired by the first episode of Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase (I don't watch the show, but in 2006 I went to a Halloween-themed "Anime Night" at a comic store in my city, and they showed the first or second episode of it. I came up with the idea over the next couple of days). The protagonist is hiking in the woods when he finds a big, black castle. He thinks he's hallucinating until he finds a teenage girl inside a feral child who was raised by the castle in a very abusive, terrifying way. The protagonist decides to take her home and see what he can do for her. This is my favourite story so far, as it doesn't suffer from many of the weaknesses of my earlier ones.
- Intended medium: Manga/anime
- Bad Dreams: The heroine has Flashback Nightmares all the time.
- Batman in My Basement: The protagonist lives alone and the heroine doesn't need to Save The World or anything like that; but taking care of her without people knowing is essentially just as difficult, since it's a full-time job (at first), meaning he can't have people over and can't go out, which is suspicious in itself.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Castle can be this if it wants to, due to being an Eldritch Location and a Mobile Maze.
- By the Eyes of the Blind: See Invisible to Normals below.
- Children Raise You: The protagonist basically ends up "raising" the heroine, and while he's actually pretty good at it, it's still insanely difficult and he learns a lot from it.
- Closed Circle: For anyone other than the heroine, the Castle has a big wide open door at the front, and many wide open windows. For the heroine, these were not possible to exit from, and often just plain weren't there. It was literally impossible for her to leave.
- Cute and Psycho: The heroine is this at first, for obvious reasons. Over time she becomes less psycho and more cute.
- Eldritch Location: The Castle.
- Fake Kill Scare: The Castle does this a lot.
- First Time in the Sun: The heroine has this experience, except it's at the beginning of the story rather than the end.
- Genius Loci: The Castle.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: One of the many ways in which being raised by a Genius Loci has scarred the heroine.
- Invisible to Normals: The Castle is normally invisible and intangible to all people except: The one who made the castle, the one who operates the castle, and the one who is imprisoned in the castle. "Normal" people can perceive it upon fulfilling a certain condition, which I will not disclose because it's a spoiler.
- Lightning Bruiser: Being raised inside a Mobile Maze that often chased/attacked her with horrible creatures and machines, has made the heroine very fast and strong (for her age, gender, and size), and able to physically withstand a lot of abuse (whether she can withstand it mentally depends on her state of mind at the time). This usually isn't very relevant, except for two occasions when she runs away, and one occasion where she punches the protagonist hard enough in the head that he is briefly knocked out and suffers a concussion.
- Magitek: The Castle has a lot of it.
- Mind Rape: One of many ways the Castle used to torture the heroine.
- Mobile Maze: The Castle can become this if it wants to, just to screw with the heroine.
- Mysterious Waif: The heroine.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Sort of. The protagonist just finished high school.
- Primal Fear: The Castle preys on these.
- Psychological Torment Zone: The Castle is designed to be this.
- Wild Child: The heroine, so much.
- Homestay: A story set in Itabashi, Japan, about a Canadian girl who is obsessed with Japan and goes there on a homestay.
- Intended medium: Manga/anime
- Zarmina's World: A Science Fiction story about aliens who come to Earth from Gliese 581 g, an extrasolar planet which may or may not exist in real life, and which is currently considered the most likely candidate for alien life. One of the scientists who discovered it nicknamed it "Zarmina's World" (often shortened to "Zarmina").
- Intended medium: Novel, film
- SarA.I. Project: A Science Fiction story about an artificially intelligent android named Sarai Chino (知能・再来 Chino Sarai). Yes, it's a Meaningful Name. You can figure it out yourself, though.
- Plaything: A surrealist story about a children's blanket on a quest to find her family after they accidentally move away without her. Don't be fooled by the premise it's actually intended for young adults. It is very serious and sometimes dark, and deals with themes not at all suitable for children (such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, abandonment, child abuse, death, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental illness). Better Than It Sounds.
- Str.Rh.P.w/P.B.: A surrealist Constructed World with...interesting physics. Just as an example: How much an object weighs depends on whether the person holding it owns it or not, and the "percent ownership" you have of an object depends on how long you've been holding it for, etc. I actually have written an equation that explains it all. And since you can't own a sentient being, scientists don't need to have philosophical debates about whether their latest and greatest AI is sentient or not they just have to put it on a scale and see whether it changes weight after somebody holds it for long enough. Another example: Information is physical matter, kind of like air or light, that floats around in the atmosphere and can be absorbed by osmosis. That is to say, if you have a higher concentration of info in your brain than there is in the atmosphere, info will leave your brain, and vice versa. For this reason, people have to wear protective membranes that prevent info from leaving or entering the brain when they don't want it to. Of course, this makes learning things very complicated. It also makes privacy complicated. And communication. I actually only just realized that... Anyway, if you're not wearing your protective membrane and you wander into an area with a really, really low concentration of information, that's really dangerous information will start leaving your brain at an alarming rate, causing you to lose consciousness. Unless someone finds you, you're going to lie there with all the info leaking out of your brain until you die. I love to create these crazy laws of physics and explore the implications of them. Final note: The Word Puree Title actually does mean something. I challenge you to figure out what.
Tropes that are present in a lot of my works
- Author Appeal: I can't resist having these somewhere in a work, even if it's just an Easter egg, a bilingual bonus, or an obscure Shout-Out.
- Author Avatar: Many of my stories were begun two or more years ago, before I realized this was a bad idea. I've tried, with varying degrees of success, to downplay it in most of my stories. Currently the worst offender is Homestay, whose protagonist is like me not only in appearance but in personal interests (though not in personality she's a lot nicer, clumsier, and more sociable/lovable than I am). The others are not like me in personality at all only in appearance (and even this I've changed enough that I don't consider them to really resemble me anymore). Interestingly, Qualia, my favourite story, is so far the only one where the protagonist is a) male, and b) not like me at all. Hmm...
- Bilingual Bonus: Such fun! These are especially prevalent in a Science Fantasy story I haven't listed here.
- Bilingual Dialogue: Most of my stories have at least one instance of this, since there's almost always a character who speaks another language. Particularly prevalent in Homestay and the Innsbruck arc of World Line.
- Good Parents: Almost all the parents in my stories. Many of my main characters have enough problems as it is without also having bad parents so unless their parents are a source of conflict in the plot or a subplot, they will probably be good parents (sometimes unrealistically so). I think I have some kind of unwritten rule, like Law of Conservation of Angst, or something.
- Happily Married: Almost all my married couples. See Good Parents above.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: World Line and my unlisted science fantasy story are particularly egregious examples.
- Meaningful Name: I love these. Some are rather more clever/subtle than others. The obvious ones are usually lampshaded, since they're meant to be a joke. Some of them have an in-universe explanation.
- Nominal Importance: Averted. Everyone gets a name. In my Half-Life fan fiction, almost everyone even gets a middle name (interestingly, this is the only story where I've really bothered with middle names yet I guess because I have a lot of my work cut out for me, so adding extraneous details is "fun" rather than "work").
- No Periods, Period: Averted, especially in Qualia. (It's about a young adult taking care of a feral teenage girl what do you expect???)
- Seinfeldian Conversation: What other kind is there? ;)
- Separated by a Common Language: I exploit the hell out of this whenever the opportunity presents itself, because there's endless potential for hilarity.
- Shout-Out: How my Author Appeal tendencies usually manifest themselves.
- Shown Their Work: I like everything to look and feel authentic, so I do a lot of research for my stories, even for relatively minor details. I guess I'm a show-off at heart because I can't help but insert evidence of my hard work into the stories somehow. XD
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: I tend to be quite idealistic in my fiction. If someone needs therapy, they will probably get it, and they'll probably continue to get it until they no longer need it and if they need it again, they'll get it again. If someone has a mental illness, they will recover. If someone is dying, they will probably survive unless its an invariably fatal disease. (I can't stand killing major characters unless there's a good reason.) Rousseau Was Right. If there is an item around that could really, really help the characters, they will find it. Authority figures are reasonable. Bosses are benevolent. Parents know what they're doing. Couples are happy. If an innocent/good person stands trial, they'll be acquitted, and if a guilty/bad person stands trial, they'll be convicted, and their punishment will be proportionate to their crime. However, I try not to let idealism get in the way of realistic conflict just because a character gets therapy doesn't mean it will be easy, and just because it works doesn't mean it will work right away, or that there won't be setbacks. (You should see Doug Rattmann's recovery from his first schizophrenic psychotic episode in World Line.) The destination may be ideal, but the journey often isn't. People still have to Earn Their Happy Endings. And I don't shy away from cynicism when it's A Million Is a Statistic, which it often is in World Line. (I consider writing World Line to be a good exercise in cynicism, due to the constraints the Half-Life franchise places on idealism by its very nature.)
- There Are No Therapists: Usually averted, one obvious exception being World Line (but even that averts it, just not as much as my other works).
- Writers Cannot Do Math: I avert this like the plague. I'm not good at math, but I'm good at internet and calculator.
Works I've been introduced to via TV Tropes:
My favourite works:
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Manga and Anime
Webcomics (and Machinomics)
Web Animation and Web Video