Category Archives: Blogging

How D&D Made Me a Better Person

I grew up as a very socially awkward boy in a conservative religious family and a game of Dungeons & Dragons when I was 11 years old changed my life forever. That game at a friend’s house one day after school set in motion new ways of seeing and interacting with the world that changed my life and made me a much better person than I would have ever been without it. Continue reading


I work full time. I also live in the United States, in the Bay Area in California. I don’t have a college degree. Compared to most people in the world I’m wealthy, I guess. It sure doesn’t feel that sometimes. I live close to the edge, paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have any medical benefits from my job, so I don’t really have access to medical care. Paying for my health would ruin me.

I neglect things that shouldn’t be neglected. I need to see a dentist, badly. I haven’t updated the prescription for my glasses in at least 5 years. I suffer from mental illness (depression) that is basically untreated. All because I can’t afford the luxury of health care.

I get by okay, though, as long as nothing else goes wrong.

Because of my interests I am surrounded by friends and peers who make more money than me, who are more financially secure than I am. I know I can’t really keep up with them as a consumer or in travel. Sometimes I try to be like everyone else and I pay for it. Sometimes I overdo it even more.

In the last quarter of 2012 I was struggling with a deep depression. One of the worst in my life. The worst one I’ve experienced since I was a teenager. Over a couple months I was careless and self destructive. How? I spent money on things for myself and my friends without paying attention to my means and my budget. It worked, in a way. It wasn’t until how screwed I’d made myself was completely unavoidable that the thoughts of suicide started.

Some people were very kind to me. Friends paid for some of my textbooks. Someone repaid a “loan” from a year before. Someone loaned me some money that got my rent paid. I paid them back as soon as I could. I have curbed my spending. I cut back on luxuries. I haven’t gone out all year. I’m mostly eating canned soup and ramen. But that hole I blew in my budget while unconsciously trying to stay alive is still there. Slowly growing. Payday loans to keeps the lights on and my home available just make things worse in the long run. A cut in my take home pay isn’t helping either.

This is what life can be like for someone with a full time job living in the richest country in history. A screw up, and error, and it cascades to the point where sometimes I feel like $1000 is worth dying over.

I’m not going to kill myself. I know people love me and I don’t want to hurt them. Sometimes though, dying seems like it wouldn’t be so bad, for me at least. I wouldn’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.

I’m moving, but what does that mean?

It has a floor and walls.

Last night I signed the lease on a new apartment. It’s a 650 square foot studio at the corner of 32nd Street and San Pablo Avenue in Oakland. This will cut my commute in half while keeping my living expenses (less transportation) about the same. It also means I can spend less time without pants on, which is always a groovy thing. I’ve scheduled power, gas, and internet to all be turned on by the 6th and I’ve scheduled my actual move for the 13th. This will be my first place all to myself. (I’m not counting the few months I spent in my old place after my ex moved out. I was living with ghosts the whole time.) I’ve always lived with roommates or a partner, so this is kind of exciting.

A big thank you to my roommate Cathy. When I was seriously torn up over my divorce and looking for a place to move without as many memories she opened her home to me. She’s been a great roommate, and is very cool and understanding about me moving out, too. Three cheers for Cathy!

People usually expect to hear a call for help carrying heavy things up and down stairs and into and out of vehicles when their friends move. Not this time. you all lucked out. I really pared down my possessions last time and have some money saved so I’m hiring movers. I feel like I’m part of the 1% now! Or is it the 53% these days?

Anyhow, there are still ways you can help.

I could use someone to help me with an IKEA run for some small things and then maybe keep me company while I wait for the cable guy on Saturday the 6th. I got a volunteer!

I will need someone to chauffeur me and my cat (in her carrier) from SF to the new place on he afternoon of Saturday the 13th.

I will also gladly accept any donations or gifts to outfit my new place. I got rid of most of the stuff a normal person owns when I moved last year. Here are the household necessities I actually do own:

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Ice bucket
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • USS Enterprise-shaped pizza cutter

That’s it. No dishes, no utensils, not pans or pots for cooking, no microwave (thankfully the apartment has a fridge and a stove/oven), nothing else normal people have. So, if you feel like you owe me moving karma and/or you have some stuff you want to donate, now you know what I need.



Sometimes you get glimpses.

I was talking to someone recently and the topic of expectations for how the world treats us came up. What was really interesting for me to realize is that the idea of voicing expectations for decent treatment from friends and lovers frankly terrified me. I submitted a post to Silver Ribbon Stories about my life-long battles with depression. Sometimes I get glimpses of what that, and life experience, have done to make me who I am. And not in a cool way.

I get really uncomfortable at genuine compliments about who I am or about my appearance. I’ve managed to get fairly comfortable with being complimented on what I do, but not for who I am. When someone says I look nice or that they like being around me it freaks me out. It does not compute. They’re obviously confused or I have somehow managed to trick them, right?

I’m not the guy people like for who I am or who they want to sleep with because they are attracted to me. My self image, way deep down is as the guy people keep around because I’m useful. I know people. I’m funny, I go out of my way to be a good friend. That is why people like me. Women who sleep with me do so because they’re bored, or because I’m funny. That’s how I see myself deep down.

And if that’s how I think the world is, how dare I have expectations that they will treat me with kindness or consideration? It’s ridiculous to think that someone like me should expect to be sought out, right? So the idea of expecting or hoping, let alone demanding to be treated well is terrifying and something I can’t get myself to do yet.

Now you know why I’m single, guys.


“Look hipster lady.”

Your author, apparently.

In case you don’t already know, I have launched my pro-diversity project for the Women Thinking Free Foundation. It’s called More Than Men, and it’s awesome. Go look, admire, and contribute your voice.

On Monday I wrote a piece about some problems at The Good Men Project. An editor there asked me if I would let them publish a modified version on their site. I agreed, with the requirement that they link to the original post. They did so.

Now it’s being blown up by dudes who have their feelings hurt. The editors at TGMP moderate comments and don’t apporve all of them, As they author I get to see the posts that don’t get approved. Here is my favorite ever, from a man who called himself “Ed”:

Look hipster lady. Us men are not turning into little girls  as apart of your ridiculous social experiment. Your low brow interpretation of a already bad social theory is hardly just cause to do so. There is nothing remotely intelligent about coming to a men’s site meant to host the stories of men and their experiences and demanding the men be less masculine using the most crude language as if we were sharing a spliff on a corner. Then again you might actually be stoned, which is why you thought this post was a good idea in the first place.

For one feminist have spent decades trying to get women to be more masculine while at the same time actively exploiting power vacuums left be feminized men. The emergence of masculine women has not been pleasant since they lacked the chivalry that made male masculinity tolerable. Men’s expression of masculinity is practically required by gender roles which feminist don’t see much benefit in changing. Men still ask women out, men still have to be stoic to absorb rejection, men are still expected to have money while women simply have to exist to find a mate, men are still expected to protect women, men are still in the most dangerous roles and the list goes on. Women get benefits from masculinity, but which to suppress it when it threatens their power in the relationship or on the job.  Instead of abolishing masculinity, how about women learn some respect and appreciation instead of taking it for granted as feminist seem to have encouraged with contemptuous attitudes like the one you have.  Women don’t even like feminine men and men don’t like masculine women. At some point those who thrive outside of the mainstream are going to have to accept that being different does not mean making everyone else be you. If you want gender neutrality, then never bring up gender again.

One day when you grow up your going to find out the idealist around you did not tell you the whole truth, mainly because they did not know it.  The real liars are the academics who come up with bad theories to get published by inventing a distorted perspective on the human struggle that sounds good to sympathetic readers.  A general attack on maleness and  masculinity will make you a bigot.


Holiday Cheer: Can it be created alone?

I’ve been an out atheist for years but I still celebrate Christmas – I may be godless, but I am culturally christian. I am one of those secularists who ignores the “Christ” in Christmas and instead enjoys it as a holiday to be merry and share love and gifts with the ones you love. This year, for the first time in my life, I’m alone at Christmas time.

Not only am I single this year, but I don’t have family to go see, and while some friends have invited me to join their festivities, I must admit I think I’ll pass because my messed up emotions aren’t up to a gathering I’m not 100% familiar with. So what’s a sad, lonely atheist to do during his favorite holiday of the year?

My strategy is three-fold:

  1. Looking for another loner to spend the day with.
  2. I recently spent a chunk of my free money to help a stranger have a good Christmas.
  3. I’m sending out holiday cards for the first time in my life.

I’m not yet sure how it will all play out, but I did make a map to show myself who in the world I’m touching this holiday season. You can see it below.

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Tabula Rasa

"Blackboard" by pareeericaIf you’ve been following along with Sasha during 2011 you’re well aware that it’s been a rocky time. Since ending my marriage in February I’ve been up and down and all over. Things are still down about as often as they’re up, but I’m working on changing that.

Part of that change is this make-over and do-over on my site. I’ve had “Sasha’s Den of Iniquity” for more than a decade. I’m rebuilding my life so I figured I may as well rebuild my primate web presence. (You can still access my old shit by clicking right here or on “Older Content” above.) Here we go. I’m going to open up the topics I talk about here, but my usual obsessions are likely suspects for a return. I hope to get in more photography again, for instance.

As for a real news item (news for most of you, at least): I’ve gotten off my depressed ass and signed up for classes at CCSF. This is the first step to finishing my BA in history (possible minor in physics) with the goal of a PhD. Even with the course-load and working full time I am setting myself a target of never going more than seven days without an update here. Wish me luck.

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Sasha’s Brief Guide to Not Being a Douchy Misogynist

This was the most popular post on the old version of my site. You can find it and many other posts on the archive site.

"Hellen" by .:serena_in_wonderland:.I was in my NerdBunker all weekend so I didn’t attend the West Coast Rapture Ram here in Oakland. We ended up not being raptured, and today we have two articles by Jen McCreight and Greta Christina about some clueless dudes at the event, including – apparently – one on the stage.

This is a problem that’s come up again and again in the skeptic/atheist “community”, and the arguments always seem to boil down to dudes so high on Axe body spray fumes that they can’t comprehend the words of anyone with a vagina. I’m a penis-owning, cisgendered, biologically male straight person. Maybe my points can cut through the fog of privilege and latent misogyny so many straight men seem to be burdened with?

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