Perennials

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Grindelia squarrosa is in the sunflower family Asteraceae. Commonly known as curlycup gumweed, it is native to most of the western United States. Curlycup gumweed is an herbaceous perennial found in open areas and hillsides, reaching up to four feet tall. This species gets its common name from the sticky sap exuded from the flower buds. This sap has a sweet smell and has been used medicinally for centuries as an expectorant.

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I don’t need another taste of your lips,
To know I’m home when we’re lying here like this,
The world could end today, the sun could just fall,
Here in this bed we’ve made, we’re safe from it all

When nobody believes me, I know you will,
When nobody can reach me, I know you will,
When nobody can please me, I know you will

You get me, you get me home,
With you, I know I’m home

We don’t need my father to give his blessing,
We don’t match on paper, but it don’t mean a thing,
When all my walls cave in, you pull me through it,
When there’s a gun at me, you’d take the bullet

Space for Rent: Women as Victims and Villains

Video games might be the newest art form in our media landscape (barely thirty years old) but they tend to bring forth the oldest stereotypes of gender roles. I noticed a pattern that puts women in one of two categories: victims or villains. For an exhaustive exploration of the first category you should watch the following video series, Tropes vs. Video Games: Damsel in Distress Part 1,Part 2 and Part 3. This particular trope puts women as the perennial victim, always under assault by the powers that be, helpless in the face of danger and utterly dependent on a male hero to save her. While examples of role reversals do exists, as the video series shows, they are few and far between. The trope links a series of positive values like physical strength, perseverance, gallantry and martial skill with being male, while negative values such as physical weakness, gullibility, lack of will/agency are linked with being female.

Hence being male is good, being female is bad.

There is another role in which women in video games fall into, that of villain. But these are, again, not mere counterparts of the male hero, they are rarely even the main villain, just a henchman of sorts and often just a different type of trash mob. These villains don’t use brute strength, instead they rely on poison, their sexuality and trickery  to challenge the hero and often are just victims of the main villain themselves, thus they are robbed of agency to boot.

That means they are not even baddies by choice!

But take a look at the villain’s methods. It is not raw power or perseverance that makes these villains a credible threat, but indirect, secretive methods that exploit the heroes weaknesses while keeping the villain out of harms reach.  Indirect attacks that subvert and corrupt the good values represented by the hero. Woman is not only weak, as she can not go toe to toe with the hero, but is also a corrupter which poisons everything she touches.  Put the victim and the villain together and you have two reinforcing stereotypes of the feminine as weakness. The first can be “resolved” by a timely application of manliness, the second must be destroyed before it corrupts said manliness.

Is there anyway to fix this? The easiest solution would be to do a gender inversion, but gender bending characters just screams two-dimensional to me. If you can simply swap the skin of the character or switch the sprite, was there any character there to begin with? No, the actual solution is a bit more complex. We need to decouple positive and negative values from their assigned gender roles. The values should reflect the individual and not their gender. Nor should the be used to masculinize women and feminize men as it is often the case when content creators show characters that fall outside heteronormative criteria of gender roles.

One thing is for sure, while it is true that such stereotypes exists, it is high time for the medium to expand their horizons beyond these limited and often absurd stereotypes.

Ebullience Games - Otome Development Group

Hello! We are Ebullience Games, a newly formed visual novel development team that specializes in making otomes. We strive to create high quality otome games that will bring entertainment to our audience. Some of our projects will be released for free, while some will be commercial releases.

Currently, we have two projects in development — one free project and one commercial one. We have information on these projects on our blog already, and we plan on making a general post with all the information for each project later on. If interested, please check these out:

1. The Masquerade Killer [Commercial] [GxB] [Historical Romance, Mystery]

2. Red String of Fate [Free] [GxB] [Romance, Comedy, Fantasy]

We hope to make many more otomes after these two are released because that’s our passion!

So a little bit about us. There are three members in our team, consisting of:

                     Greenace
                  Leader, Artist

                    Windchimes
               Writer, Programmer

                 Perennial Lily
                      Writer

If you’ve played an otome called Lads in Distress before, you’ll probably recognize our names. That’s because we all work on that project together!

If anyone’s interested, here is the history of how our team came together to form Ebullience Games:

Perennial Lily and Windchimes met in early December on Lemmasoft Forums. They became fast friends and at some point in early January, they decided to do a NaNoRenO project together. Alas, neither of them can draw to save their lives, so they set out to recruit artists and other talents to the team. The project was named Lads in Distress.

After forming a talented team and working hard for a month in March, they manage to release Lads in Distress in early April! Around this time, Greenace started doing beautiful fanart for them, which motivated the team a lot.

After release, the LiD team decided to expand on the project, making a much bigger and better game than before. Recruitment reopened to help with the new amount of workload, and Greenace joined the team as a CG artist.

All three greatly enjoyed working together over the past few months, so eventually, when Greenace stated her wishes to make more otomes and requested the writers’ help in early August, they gratefully agreed. Thus, Ebullience Games was born.

If you’ve enjoyed our previous work before, or if you’re just an otome fan in general, please give our future new games a try!

Anyways, thank you for reading, and we hope to bring heartwarming romances to you all soon!

When I started landscaping this corner three years ago, it was all grass, scrub vegetation, and buried bricks.

I dug up the bricks to make pathways, made wattle and rock borders, and started getting seeds, cuttings, bulbs and offsets of perennials from friends, family, and neighbours. 

Now, the herbaceous perennial layer is quite established, and my seedling/propagated trees are coming up in between them: this general area will be filled with pomegranates, figs, hazelnuts, plums, peaches, almonds, apricots, and feature a living fence of japanese quince. 

Pomegranate, growing between a creeping cranesbill, and bearded irises

I call my gardening aesthetic “edenic,” because I like everything to be too big, too colourful, and too abundant. I have a mental picture of this little space filling in over the next few years, with fruit drooping over the pathways, and flowers in every possible colour blooming in all their mismatched, abundant glory.

It’s currently the most “finished” space in the garden, because I have filled almost all the spaces: I don’t do bare soil between plants, because that just entails weeding. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for things to grow up.

These sorts of visions take time to come to life, but the dream is what brings them into existence.