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Aaron Friesen
Nerd by day, cook by night; alright, nerd ALL day ;)
Nerd by day, cook by night; alright, nerd ALL day ;)


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Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 22

A nice, pretty chill, day. +Anna Kreider​ came over with kiddo in tow and we hung out while Skye and Cara distracted themselves. Caught up, hugged, supported one another. Spent some sleepy afternoon with a dozey Christine who was a little bit sick. Proved to myself that I am not a professional level player of Overwatch, but that I am decent. Made a nice dinner of super cheesy mashed potatoes, sausages, and broccoli. Loooooots of cuddles and watching silly shows.

I fell like I've been sitting on today's question for a while. Kate asked "how can we best support you?" Feel like i might have answered it already, but i feel it's with a second if i have.


I think I really figured out the best answer to this a few days ago.

Touch. Touch is so very important to me, shop important that I'd rather be in a position where people are assuming they can touch me and on the odd occasion where what I need is not-touch I can advocate for myself there, touch is so powerful for leading me feeling supported and comforted. Life, a hand set to my arm while I'm doing my thing, or confronting, or what not. A hug when I'm scared or sad. Being pulled into someone when I'm frozen up or dissociated. Whatever. Caring, supportive touch. (If this paragraph is stilted, it's becauseI fell asleep in it)

In absence of that, like, where it's not possible or where the other person doesn't feel comfortable giving touch, telling me nice things , telling me I'm loved, sending hugs and the like electronically, the intention of support, all of these things help. I find advice to be very supportive, too, even when I reject the specific advice, because it's the intention of support.

But yeah, so that's probably a decent guideline.

How do we best comfort you?

Be brave, love well
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 21

Much better day.

Morning with the kids was nice and relaxed. I mean, until I needed to get them out of the house. That's par for the course though. Had some good conversations with my spouse. Took dogs for a good long walk. Went costume shopping and after much fretting picked something. I'm gonna be Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas and it's gonna look great. Spent some time by myself just checking in on me. Played with my doggo in the way that I did, mostly trying to nip at each other's faces. Got some good cuddles in. Played some fun video games and got cussed out by a 13 year old so y'know what he got? Zero fucking heals. Went out onesie shopping with my best friend and kiddo. Got some cute tops on the way to the register, cause the store was closing (they fit, but I was guessing). Had dinner together. Sent the child to go play while we enjoyed some wine. Talked and cuddled which was lovely. Watched some silly tv to help send the kiddo to bed. And now I'm walking home, snug in my onesie, occasionally getting people shouting out nothing but honest compliments and "happy Halloween"'s. Lovely.

Merlin Hargreaves asks "what is your favourite biological process?"


The act of breathing is intensely interesting to me. Especially since by default I'm crap at it. I forget to breathe. One nostril plugs up, all the time. I have a terrible amount of phlegm, constantly. I sometimes can't get a full breath in die to stomach problems. I sniffle, all the time. I snore about medium. I get horrifying hiccups that sound like I'm dying for a few seconds, but I only get one. It's bad.

But through learning breath control and various meditations (including a breath-denial meditation on the moment of my own death), I've learned how much I can do with the breath I have. Through emulation of how I breathe when I feel certain things, I can manipulate my emotional state. Ideally it's to help me remain calm, but gosh i love fucking with my emotions. Because it's so easy to start feeling something.

Stopping. That's another thing entirely.

Do you have a favourite bodily process? Does that question bring up feelings?

Be brave, and love again
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 20

My day was hard today. I've been trying to write about it since last night. I don't think I'm ready to be vulnerable about it. There was a lot of hurt, but I'm okay now.

I'll try again at the end of day today.
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 19

I had an okay day. I woke up next to one of my loves. I slowly enjoyed my coffee. I made myself a fun breakfast. Did some research, which was nice. Played with some sex toys. Got some keys to care for my neighbours dog (boy this dog loves me).

My one partner has been struggling a lot. I'm doing what I can, but I'm worried I'm not enough. I'm strong, I have finesse and panache, care and love deeply. But I'm only one person. I can only do so much. I'm so scared that I'm going to fail her. Even if I am doomed to fail, I'll still keep working hard and tirelessly.

Today's question comes from +Ashleigh Patterson​. "What do you see in the mirror?"

That, my dear, really really depends.

Most of the time when I see myself, I see a puppet I move around to do things. I see a body I can accomplish things with. I can pose it, I can manipulate it. Sometimes it can't do the things I want it to do, but I can make an honest try with it. I can paint it. I can use it in ways other purple find attractive. I can please others with it.

Sometimes, I see an extension of me, like when you look at your arm and, like, it's not you but it's not Not You, but like how the tine of a fork isn't the fork itself. Except with my whole body. When i see this, I find I'm usually less capable, but I find more enjoyment.

Both of these thinks, the extension of me and the puppet, they're ugly. Like i said, I can paint them. I can hold them in ways I know others like. I can make them attractive. But they're ugly. Mediocre at best.

Once I a while, I see beauty. I see me. I see myself and my breath catches. I enjoy being. I can art myself up or leave myself plain and I am gorgeous either way, and heck what anyone else thinks. I am fire and ice, I am light, I am wind and storm. I am not that which lies beyond what I see, but the thing itself.

What do you see in the mirror?

Be brave, and love yourself even just a little
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 18

I spent a lot of today fighting, but a different sort of fighting than folx tend to see.

My one partner and I haven't been doing so well with the strife of the past few days. We don't see entirely eye to eye. I hurt her. She hurt me. So we've been hashing that out for a while. We reached a stable point where we can see each other, and apologize to each other, and forgive each other for what we've each done to each other. We were each fighting for our relationship.

My other partner has been struggling. Her mental health has taken a hit, and she's fighting her own mind to keep herself safe. She's doing an incredible job, and I'm glad I'm there to help her fight. She and I fought side by side to help her stay safe.

I filed paperwork I didn't think I'd need to, part of a fight that has been going on for far too long. Hopefully that paperwork doesn't need to do it's thing, but I'm tired of fighting this particular battle.

I asked a friend to take on some load for me with the threats I received and the lies that have been spread about me. I continued to reach out to people about this.

I fought to feel okay with myself. I've been hurt a lot the past couple days. I fell yesterday. I was shaken. And then, right as today was ending, people started reaching out to me, thankful for how helpful they've found me. How I've given them room to breathe. How I've taken the weight off their shoulders so they can recoup. I was reminded why I fight the way I do, clear as day. I need to pick my battles more carefully for a while, but I now can see clearly why I will fight them the way I will.

Today's question is especially relevant to today. Fiona Lianne asked me to reflect on the feeling of loss of someone you never met.

I don't know if my words are the right ones for others. I was never a Tragically Hip fan, and I never connected with the spirit behind Gord Downey and don't share in that sense of loss. But I have felt it before.

This gets into some weird conceptual territory. Fair warning.

I used to have a lot of "heroes". Almost all of them game designers. Or bloggers on game things. Suchlike. As far as I was concerned, I had relationships with each of these folx, without ever having met them. The same way I had a relationship with David Bowie, or Carrie Fisher. The same way I have a relationship with Charming Potato (Channing Tatum). Meeting my heroes... didn't change that, per se. It created new people.

When I met +Anna Kreider​, I nearly shat myself. I'd been following her blog for like at least a year or so by the time I met her. I'd been watching her social media presence and eating up everything she said. I didn't internalize a lot of it, because shitty reasons, but she was a hero. I met her, and now I had two relationships. I had this Hero, Wundergeek, and this friend, Anna, both of whom were definitely different people and very different relationships. And they were connected, sure, but my compartmentalization of relationships and conceptions of people is weird. At this point Wundergeek is dead, and Anna is no hero (though incredible and I love her deeply). I do feel a sense of loss for the Hero that honestly, I never met.

Lets go more clear. Carrie was a fucking goddess for me. When she died, I felt a powerful loss. I cried. I grieved. But as time went on, I started to notice something else interesting about my whole weird compartmentalization thing. As new stuff about Carrie came out, new words came to light, it wasn't me hearing things about the dead person. It was me hearing about the eidolon that I knew, personally. And eidolons don't die. I never knew the Carrie Fisher that went to therapy, or had lunch with her daughter, or fell asleep on a couch, or had to go take a dump. I do know that Anna. The Carrie Fisher I knew wasn't the dead one. The one I knew couldn't die, because she existed in my media, and in my head.

The heros I never meet, they don't die. The people I meet for whom I have heroes of? They kill my heroes and so, so much greater.

To my friends who are grieving for the death of the man they never met, well, maybe your hero isn't dead. The guy that could have killed your hero is dead, and that's a shame. But you will always have the hero that you met through your records, or CDs, or poetry, or correspondences, or your daydreams, or whatever. That Gord is waiting there, ready for when you're done grieving, ready for you to put on your favourite tunes of his, ready to dance with you again. While that won't replace the man you could have met, the one you did know is still there.

But those are my bizarre thoughts on feeling loss for people we've never met (and I appreciate that they're kinda batshit). What about yours? What are your thoughts on the very real grief for those we feel connected to, but never met?

Be brave, and love even those who are only in your head
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I’ve never heard of Frank Mentzer until today when I read about his terrible behaviour in the game industry, specifically with women but it seems to extend into other shitty behaviour, unsurprisingly.

It’s lucky that someone spoke out, as Apparently he’s been in the industry for a long time. Thank you Jessica Price, for that.

We have all just witnessed MeToo. Do not give this person your business. Call him out on his behaviour. This person is a known harasser now, there is no excuse.

Before some people even ask, yes, she has receipts; she shouldn’t need them, But she has them.

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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 17

I'm going to start with the question today, because it gets into my day. Anita Woodard asks "how do you ground yourself when you've had enough?"

Through yesterday and this morning, I had enough. The threats against me, and learning that the person making them actually felt righteous (because while the information he has is false, he has no reason to disbelieve it), that was too much for me. I needed to ground myself. I needed to recoup.

I asked a few people to tell me nice things. Hearing nice things, about me, about others, it helps me fight my bad feelings. I asked people for selfies. Seeing the faces of people I care about brightens me. I sought validation.

Feeling more settled emotionally, I now needed footing for my situation. I gathered information on my options, because knowing what my options are, it's like marking what roads are on the map. I can choose a destination, or I can just wait, happy that I know where I can go.

I gathered information about the people involved in the defaming information, the rumours and lies. Who they've reached out to. Our mutual contacts they could reach out to. Who feels what about the things being said, especially those named in the defaming information, because I need to know if there's truth to it that I had been wilfully unseeing of (thus far, there isn't). This is learning the terrain around the paths. Where obstacles are, where resources are, where things might make certain paths dangerous or impossible.

I took time for myself. I did things i enjoy, but not my distractions, like video games, or tunes. I did some game design. I worked on some plans for the future. I looked over new stock for my store, figured out some new products to add, and others that weren't so feasible that need to go. I cared for my home. I had soup. I bathed and cared for my body. Any journey needs rest.

I tested my strengtand a few times. Challenged a few shitty views, and withdrew after making my point. Sought people who needed support and gave them validation. Made sure I wasn't breaking. Making sure to stretch and flex.

I'm ready now. Or ready enough. This morning i was adrift. As night comes to an end, I'm grounded. I'm still scared, but I'm prepared. I know my ways forward. I'm ready.

And you? How do you ground yourself when you've had enough?

Be brave, and love so strong that nobody can take it away
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 16

Interesting day. Spent much of today in conflict on a friend's wall. Ended it in that same conflict, but with adding being threatened with lies and high dose transphobia. In the end, I'm deemed not respectable enough to comment on this friend's wall any more. Another friend, someone on his wall was going on about seeing all these me toos and wanting to get a list of names and addresses so he can punch this predator problem away. I told him how that won't help, and gave concrete steps on what might, and that for me underfriended for being "too aggressive with my allies". I got your I need to work on being less of a man, since, you know, that's what I am at my core. I got told I don't get to be angry.

And while I get held to task for arguing aggressively, there is no interest in holding my attacker to task for threatening me. When it comes to holding someone accountable for threatening to destroy my life and reputation, that is when people don't want to police the conversation any more. Figures.

When you host a space, you are accountable for what happens in it.

I did have some lovely times through the day. I cuddled with my sick child most of the day. Watched silly cartoons and educational programming. Ate soup. Went to Kesha's show with my best friend. Had delightful cuddles. Talked about parenting woes. For a day that left me feeling so defeated, there was a lot of good in it.

I don't have a question for today. I don't think i have it in me to answer one right now. I need to lay down for a while.

Be brave, and just love
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 15

Whoa, we're halfway there.


Today was a day. Mostly spent caring for a sick child. Reheated the same bowl of soup for her like three times. Watched into the woods, which was fun. Cared for my partners. Took some time for myself with a lovely bath. Arranged plans for a concert in going to on Monday.

"Me too" took over my feed today. And me, too. I'm a victim of sexual harm. That wasn't my biggest admission today, but it definitely inspired the second, which is that I've also done sexual harm. While it's important I step forward as a victim, it's also important that I stand and be counted this way too. And I accept that this admission will mean folx may not trust me, or may need to take space from me, or may need to no longer consider me friend. If that's you, know that any of those responses and even others are valid, and I understand.

Andréanne HB asks "how has The Humanity Project effected you so far?"

Well, referencing the above, I can say that being vulnerable and seeing others being vulnerable has made me feel that I wasn't being vulnerable enough. That I was still hiding myself, especially with what's going on now. So yeah. The biggest effect The Humanity Project had has on me is that I want to be more open about the people I have been, and how who I have been had shaped who I am now.

This one may be hard for others to answer. If you're doing The Humanity Project, how has it effected you? If you aren't but you're watching and reading, had the Humanity Project had an effect on you? Have you changed yourself in some small way because of it? Had it inspired you?

Be brave, and love anyway, even when it hurts
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The Humanity Project, Season 2, Episode 14

I had a really nice day.

I got the urge to aggressively clean things, which was great for my geek chic table (so many nooks and crannies) and kitchen. We had friends over for an Over The Garden Wall party and have a giant blanket fort in the living room, with the help of our friend The Engineer. Had got chocolate and hot cider and spiced whip cream and chocolate whip cream and dirt cake and Halloween candy. Also poutine flavoured chips. That was delightful.

I took care of my partners because they are sad. Navigating two tied together sadnesses is... interesting. I'm glad I can be there for them.

Kiddos are home! I'm so jazzed. I got to see my kids for the first time in a week and I almost cried. I was so happy to hug them and be hugged by them, even if Zo was heading right back to their mum's house for the night. It was lovely seeing Emma and Jon, too. And hearing about the fun stories from Disney and Universal. I missed them a lot this week and I'm really glad they're home.

Emma also grabbed me gourmet Pringles on the way back. I enjoy my gross snacks. I'm that person who tries stuff like the buffalo spice mocha.

So, +Robert Bohl​ asked, "what makes you happiest?" I had to think on this one.

There are a few people who I'm happiest with. Christine, Ashleigh, Holly, Emma, Anna, Kate (on the few occasions we've been around each other). My kids (although that often tends to be very mixed with frustration).

Cooking for friends is one of my happiest activities. Especially cooking for bigger groups of friends. I get in this space where the only things are me and my kitchen, and I Got This. I feel at my most confident. At my best, I am a living god of hospitality.

Gaming. When I'm playing a game, I'm up. More so with larp and tabletop games. Honestly nearly any game. Except Catan. I don't have any good reason. I even like Catan. It just makes me angry.

I think that's a good list. What makes you happiest?

Be brave, and love with your whole heart
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