It’s an Us versus Them World

I spend a lot of time on social media. When working on my supplemental freelancing career, the articles can be so infuriating that social media drama breaks up this mundane work. What was once drama over people and their significant others or coworkers, which if I’m going to be honest really kept me more amused than it should have, has become something more.

I want to use sinister here because I am starting to believe this political hate is malicious. The people spewing it, purposeful in using hateful language as if it gives them power or shows that they are more intelligent. First of all, at least use proper grammar and spelling. When you say things like, “I may not be smart cuz imma trump fan and such but I get that your a libtard”, I’m not really sure what you are trying to prove. Are you being ironic by purposefully sounding unintelligent while also dismissing someone’s beliefs? No, I don’t think you’re dumb if you voted for someone if you honestly believe that he was going to do great things. I think that if you are dismissive and insulting that your aren’t proving any point but the one that I’m about to make: we are a divided country and if you are on opposite sides of a party line, you are at war with each other.

I may have heard this line somewhere, but I’m not sure where: “United we stand, together we fall”. To be very clear, I know exactly where I have heard it. This motto shaped our country from our forefathers. It wasn’t until now that I saw the truth in it. We are divided and I am very certain that as long as we stay this way, we will fall. People need to open their eyes. At this point I am very certain that Trump could murder someone on live camera and people would use it as a metaphor for destroying the liberals to make America great today. “So what if he killed that guy, I get a tax break for 8 years and stocks are up.” It’s actually become a little insane. I loathe the argument of “but if Obama did ______, the right would lose their collective s****”. However, this is exactly the case. Obama goes golfing, he’s lazy and not doing the job he was elected to do. Trump goes golfing and he’s making America great again. Can’t we just agree that maybe they both should have spent less time doing recreational activities and more time trying to improve the lives of their citizens?

I feel like I’m in a sitcom at this point because none of this seems real. I never voted for Obama or Hillary or Trump. I have long believed that a two-party system is going to ruin America and the animosity that people seem to have for each other right now is beyond ridiculous. Adults can’t have a reasonable or logical discussion. The minute you point out something you don’t agree with about this administration, you are dismissed as a liberal who watches biased news and voted for Hillary. The minute you disagreed with Obama, you were labelled a racist. What ever happened to having your own “grey area” beliefs that come from your own brain and not a pundit on television who is paid to tell people what to think? I don’t care when this started. Some people say Obama started it. Some say Trump. Some say that this has been brewing for a while. It doesn’t matter. If we truly cared enough about stopping it, we would.

Disagreeing with a president does not make you un-American. In fact, I believe there is nothing more American than having real concerns and beliefs that you are free to discuss. What isn’t American is putting people down for it. That is one step away from those political regimes that past presidents fought against to liberate those countries. You are not indecisive for voting 3rd party. You are voting for change and a fresh voice that has seemed to be lost in today’s politics. We need a redo before this country is lost forever.

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The Overwatch League Opening Week-Stage 1

On January 10th, Stage 1 of the Overwatch regular season kicked off. Since the Overwatch League was announced, eSports fans were excited that there was a “major league” for a game. This could potentially lead to the popularity of eSports on a more mainstream level. (Maybe ESPN eSports? I would love not having to fight with streaming the matches on my TV.) There has been a lot of hype surrounding this league, especially since big names like the Kraft family got involved with their own pro team. (Go Uprising!) I will try not to be too crazy about them in these posts, but I am genuinely excited to have my own “home” team especially since it is run by the owners of my favorite sports team.

After spending the weekend watching the matches, there are some very clear points to make. First of all, if the NFL could find more casters like these guys it would be a lot less annoying. (More Romo please.) They are knowledgeable and passionate about the game, but they also seem to get as excited as viewers do watching the matches. I don’t dread the commentary at all, which is something that I think can make or break a sport.

The next point is the players. There are a few that I watch Twitch streams of when I head to bed, such as Jake, Linkzr, XqC, and Agilities that are just great to watch. Pine, though I didn’t see as much of him as I thought I would, utterly destroyed as McCree. I mean, he obliterated on Ilios so much to the point where it was almost unfair to have him in the matchup against my Uprising. Shaz on Zenyatta also seemed unbeatable. These are two players that are really artists. I also really liked DreamKazper’s performance but I was really hoping to see more of Mistakes. So far though, I can say that it is going to be an amazing journey to watch all of these players evolve over the inaugural season.

Then there is approaching this as a player. I find that since watching the matches, my skills as a player have become a lot better. I have yet to snipe a Valk Mercy out of the air while jumping around as Widow, but I did headshot a Widow who was trying to snipe me back. I won that Widow-War. This is a sport that I think anyone can get into and it would be interesting to see how this league grows if its popularity does.

I hope that this League explodes into the mainstream. Esports is still viewed as something “just for the geeks” but this can be just as thrilling as a “real sport”, though I would argue that it is a lot more thrilling that most of the sports people watch on television. I’m looking at you, baseball. If the firstĀ  weekend of matches are any indication of how this year is going to go, I’m excited to be on this ride.

The Return of Vanilla WoW

It is very likely that sometime this year, WoW fans will get to achieve their long-awaited dream: going back to the beginning. For a long while, a lot of fans that got into the game later on wanted to have that Vanilla experience that they missed when they were making fun of their friends for playing the game. There was still plenty of content by then for people to enjoy. I enjoyed my time in MC and Naxx, though the AQs were more difficult to get into as everyone had played them out so much by the time I got into the game. I didn’t get to experience the opening of the Gates, an event that I’m told was equal parts frustrating and exciting. (It was certainly more exciting for those who weren’t booted from the servers so that they could experience the moment.)

Nostalgia really is often times more amazing than the experience itself was. People can get clouded by remembering something was greater than it was. How many times did people lag out because of bugs in the game during important fights? Or remember when you finally killed Rag but you were Alliance and all shaman loot dropped? Sure, your guild bank got enchanting materials but you want something for your time. These bugs did give the game character, but it was more frustrating than it was worth sometimes.

The thing is, while the content was amazing and fresh in Vanilla, that wasn’t what I missed most about it. I liked how hard it was. There were only a few add-ons that you needed, but you could’ve gotten by successfully without them. You just managed to do your job. But there was a unique social aspect to it that really drew people in. You needed to be in a guild to see content. You couldn’t just LFR it like you can now. Sure, I like that I no longer have to dedicate so much of my time for raiding. But I miss the friendships that you could make with people across not just the country, but sometimes the globe. One of our tanks was this hilarious guy from Egypt. There was this shadow priest from Australia. You could connect with people while working together to complete these pixelated goals that meant so much to people.

With the newer expansions, the emphasis grew to making the game better for casuals who didn’t have the time to raid but still wanted that experience. But in the process, the game lost something that made it so special to begin with. You really cannot form these kinds of friendships and bonds with people anymore. I still talk to people, albeit sparingly, that I played with nearly a decade ago. (Probably a decade ago now) We mourned when a friend of ours died. We mourned a person that we had never met in person but yet had such a profound impact on (at least in my case) our lives. The Vanilla server could be a good thing if it was able to bring back that same level of comradery that drew so many people into the game to begin with.

The Tax Bill to End All Tax Bills?

Last week, I was too busy tending to the sick and being sick to do anything of use here. Yesterday, when I would normally do the post, was pushed aside for personal reasons. So today you get a rare Wednesday post.

Before then, I would like to make a few announcements. One, there will be a slow expansion to the blog. I will be adding a “geek culture” page for posting where I will cover gaming news and other things related to this genre. I love my video games, board games, and hope to even discuss local events relating to this topic (even news about the Overwatch League including the Boston Uprising. Go Team). There will also be a section dedicated to television and movies, another area that I have been wanting to write about. This will all be in addition to this “Random Rantings” blog that I already have in place. Eventually I plan to go further and add an area where I discuss any arts and craft projects that I am doing at the time. I hope that next year I will have more time to dedicate to this, so we will see what happens. I’m crossing my fingers.

The second announcement is that starting next week, I will begin the grueling process of editing and adding to the NaNoWriMo novel. I’m pretty excited about this and I hope that I can get it done in time to enter the Kindle Scout Contest, where I can get my book published if I win. More crossing fingers.

Now to get onto the actual topic of today’s post: The tax bill. I like to do research on things. I really like to learn everything that I can about everything, though sometimes I just blank out in the process depending on the topic. I know how to do basic budgeting for my household, but aside from that I’m pretty useless in anything to do with numbers and economics. I know what I’ve been promised: Your life is going to be so much better with this new tax bill, you’ll see. Will I? I’m a skeptic by nature. Republican or Democrat, I would not just believe this because someone told me it. I need to see numbers.

I found numbers. Numbers say that I will see more money coming back in our paychecks. What does this mean for our deductions at the end of the year that help us build savings or play catch up with bills? Those are numbers that I would love. Because I can always pay off credit cards from during the year and have some extra to put into savings as the taxes are now. That is money that I (and a lot of other people) rely on. Maybe this will be offset by the additional 5% we will see in our paychecks. Maybe not. Only time will tell I suppose.

However, you should be worried about something bigger than this. Corporations get a permanent tax cut while the rest of us peasants only get a temporary one. This tax break for us will only last until 2026, unless they decide to extend the cuts. Will they? That depends on how much this bill actually costs the American people in the long run. If they decide that they are losing too much money off of this, then no. We get screwed over and the corporations get to laugh at us for being so stupid for being excited over the 5% we get back. Do you think that even the Democrats would roll back the corporate tax rate if they regain power? Probably not. They have donors that they need to worry about too.

They don’t care. No one cares about the people that they make promises to. The only good thing that could come out of this is maybe if they lack any money, they won’t be able to fight to take away a woman’s right to choose or a person’s right to marry. I hope that this helps us because rooting for failure only hurts us. I don’t want to see the president fail the country because we would suffer for those mistakes. But let’s not praise this bill for being the savior of the American people; it’s a boost for the whole 8 years that we definitely have it.

 

The Thing to Know about Politics

I hate that I still need to write about this. I hate that people just won’t learn. I hate the political climate we are living in today. We all experience it on a daily basis and we are one step away from being killed over our beliefs, and that is a very scary thought. I thought that we came to America to be free from the criminality of being different. I thought America was built on the principle that everyone had the right to their own beliefs. Wasn’t that was really made America great?

Apparently not. Apparently America needs to be made great again and that isn’t actually happening. We live in a place where people who think everyone should have the right to be married is a liberal with a gay agenda. Gay marriage leads to pedophilia and bestiality, right? (I seethe just thinking about this comparison. Because there are not straight pedophiles that prey on children. Because people are not about to willingly elect an accused pedophile into office.) We live in a world where people who think that transgender people should have the right to live their life without scrutiny are sick people who are enabling a person with a mental illness. We live in the world where if you dare speak against the president, you are considered a lemming that follows the libtard masses and fake news.

Worst of all? We live in a world where people are called stupid because of who they vote for. People are vilified for this. Why? I don’t like the president but I certainly do not think anyone who voted for him is dumb. They are not stupid for not wanting to try something new. The Republican and Democratic way doesn’t work, so why not try a loose cannon who speaks his mind? That is why he won. He won because people were sick of the status quo. (Remember this next election, folks. There is a 3rd option. I’m pro-3rd party choices.)

Case in point about this hateful world we live in: Jimmy Kimmel, who has been championing healthcare lately since his eye-opening moment with his infant son, did a monologue talking about CHIP with his son on his show. People started bashing him for having a cause. What does a rich libtard know about the struggles of real people? Of course he’s championing CHIP, he wants the tax payers to pay his bills. Yes, these are actual comments that I read through and some of the nicest ones at that. First of all, he isn’t in it to get CHIP to pay for his family. He has come out and said “I have the luxury of being able to afford it but not a lot of people can and that’s who CHIP is for.” Secondly, any parent who has been in the hospital with their kids knows the struggle of wanting to be sure that your child is safe and feeling guilty about worrying about the financial aspects of getting care for your child. I have been there and it sucks more than you can think and it wasn’t even a serious or chronic illness that required constant medical care. (Except for Early Intervention, but thankfully my insurance covered the $800 a week for specialists.) People who have a cause that they believe in and fight for it shouldn’t be vilified for doing what they think is right. But because his “agenda” is deemed to be liberal propaganda, he is automatically a horrible human being.

There was no need to call him names or question his intentions. In years long before the insane political divide in our country, people were actually allowed to have these things called “opinions” and “beliefs” without being torn to shreds by other people. I wish people would just start hating me again for being a Patriots fan instead of because I have political beliefs different from them. Things are only getting worse. I don’t care when it started or why, I just care that it does not seem to be getting any better and everyone is to blame for that. At this point it is hard not to think that this is part of a larger scheme to divide and conquer the masses so that we are distracted from the world going down in flames around us.

Next time someone says something that you don’t believe in, try something new: listening. And I mean really listen. They may have some valid points that you have never considered before. Don’t automatically go into the offensive and repeat soundbites that the mainstream media (both sides of the aisle) are trying to push. They only tell half the story and you are not doing yourself any favors by ignoring one side because that’s what other people tell you to. Both sides have very valid points and if we just listened, maybe we can come together to actually make the country a better place.

NaNoWriMo 2017

I went into this year’s NaNoWriMo with a story that I felt passionate about and a lot of good intentions. I had my Post Its, a plan, my peanut butter M&Ms, my coffee, and my eventual last minute savior, the flaming hot Cheetos. Despite my best efforts, illnesses, work, and life (such as Thanksgiving prep and writer’s block), I ended up at the 27,000 mark on November 29. Even my husband, the ever supportive and annoyingly optimistic man who made many a Dunks run in the name of art, doubted me. Me? I thrive under pressure and seemingly eat doubt for breakfast. Or in this case, an entire bag of flaming hot Cheetos while working.

On November 30th, I woke up early, destroyed my work deadlines, and filled a carafe of coffee. I took breaks to take my son to school and other normal breaks during the day. Thanks to my new Pixel 2 XL, I was able to continue on my work whenever I had to leave my trusty Surface’s side. This was especially useful when my body cramped up from being at the computer so long, so I began walking around while typing away. Saved it to Google Drive, then went back to my computer to continue hacking away. By lunch time, I had managed to get up to about 35,0000 words. That was still a long way away from 50,000. My husband brought home lunch, giving me time to focus on work since I would be too focused on this to be of any use to anyone.

Finally, the moment I needed to happen came. Words were floating from my fingers, which at this point became cramped and numb from typing so much. At 10pm, I had hit 45,000 words. With under an hour left, I was getting close but still seemed too far off of my goal. My husband, who worked late that day called and asked if I wanted anything on his way home. “Cheetos and a Coke.” He understood. He came home with exactly what I needed. With 20 minutes left to spare, 50,000 happened. I was relieved. I submitted the 50,000 words and got my winner loot.

That is only half the battle. The next month will be full of the editing process that can take forever, which needs to be done in order to get into a contest to get a professional publisher to publish it. There is still a long journey, but at least I have come this far with the novel.

The novel is called “A Special Place for Noah”. The story is about a boy named Noah who struggles with the inability to communicate in the outside world. There is a strong focus on the parents as they navigate this journey with him. As readers of the blog and people who know my family, you can probably guess that this is very heavily influenced by my youngest son. The point of the book is to share this story so that other people who may find themselves in this position can feel a little less isolated while struggling with any sort of developmental delay in the family.

I am really excited to see this as a finished product. It was really freeing to write and I really hope that someone else feels a connection to the book.

The Changing World

After a bit of a break due to focusing on NaNoWriMo (which I barely completed but still came through in the end), I have returned. Thursday’s scheduled blog will tell you all about this new project, which I am really excited about. Now, to today’s post.

The fall of Weinstein over sexual misconduct was a change that needed to happen. Most people know more people (I say “people” purposefully because women are not the only ones who can fall prey to this behavior), who have suffered these types of situations than know people who have never had to deal with it. It is a sad reality that people just accepted. They accepted the fact that their boss leered at them and despite the fact that it gave them the creeps and made them feel uncomfortable. They just accepted that this was never going to change. It wasn’t. It is a completely hopeless feeling to know that people could treat you and do whatever they wanted to you without you having any control over it at all. That changed when Weinstein fell.

Now people are finding courage, men and women, to stand up for themselves. One by one, celebrities that fans adored have fallen from grace because of what their lawyers want to belittle as “indiscretions”. These are not indiscretions; these are purposeful acts that are there to make the perpetrator feel powerful and in control while taking away every ounce of control and self-esteem of their victim. I hate to use the word victim though. Some people who go through these things are not even close to being a victim. They find a way to take the power back and overcome. That is not a victim to me. That is a survivor.

That is what makes this Roy Moore thing so awful to me. In a time when things are starting to change, where women are no longer “just making it up” or “deserve what they got”, he may very well have numerous other people too afraid to come forward (because of the awful political climate) that have fallen prey to his power trip. But yet, “a sexual predator is better than a democrat”. This not only highlights the fact that there are still so many changes that need to be made in the world, but it also highlights the fact that voters only seem to care about the letter next to a person’s name and not their beliefs and integrity. This is scary. What this means is that maybe this is a short burst of a revolution that will only be shot down because there truly is no justice in the world for these people who suffered at the hands of more powerful individuals. This is just a passing trend right now that will take some people down, but in a few months maybe people won’t even care. There will be no #metoo movement to save them. Then victims will go back into hiding, too afraid to stand up for themselves again. I feel nauseated just thinking about it.

Another valid argument for my point? Brock Turner. In case you don’t remember that name, let me refresh your memory. He was the guy who was doing whatever he wanted to an unconscious woman, got caught in the act then stopped by heroes passing by, and ended up serving 3 months out of a 6 month sentence, though the maximum for his crimes were 14 years. It outraged anyone with a conscious. It proved a point of why sexual assault survivors never come forward. Why bother if they will just get their names sullied while never getting any justice? Think Emily Doe got justice when her rapist, who will always torture her in the back of her mind, spent only 3 months in jail because of “good behavior”? Now that I have refreshed your memory, wait to be further outraged by the fact he is trying to get the convictions overturned because he “never actually committed any crime”. He just got an unfair hearing because the prosecutor said that he did it behind a dumpster. Because the location of this horrible act somehow makes it a little less horrible because it was out in the open and not “hidden”. I think that nauseated feeling just got a lot worse.

So are the times changing? Are people who suffered any type of sexual misconduct by others finally going to be able to stand up without feeling any shame? Part of me wants to be hopeful, that this is a good sign in the right direction where rapists get more than a slap on the risk for permanently scarring another human being. That a woman can wear whatever she wants at work without being worried about how people are going to treat her. Where men do not have to silently take it because “only women can be victims”. But the rest of me is too cautious and realistic to accept that this may be a time of change. If it were, politicians would be held to a higher standard than Hollywood producers. They would not be elected into office despite the fact that people know that he may have done it. The allegations alone would warrant an investigation that would make the voters call for him to step down and vote another way. Because the idea that this person, who raped an unconscious woman, still has no remorse for what he did and will put his victim through another trial because “why should his life be ruined for 20 minutes of bad judgement”. It’s disgusting. Instead, it shows me that this is a trend that will go stale soon, leaving some ruins behind in the world. It will be like that scar on your arm when you burned yourself that one Thanksgiving. You never remember it’s there until you notice it on your arm and then you think back to how it got there. Then it gets forgotten again.