Can I Just Homeschool the Boys Already?

That is what I texted my husband today. I’m pro-school. I look forward to those precious moments that I have to enjoy snacks without sharing with my kids or getting work and projects done or even just enjoying the house being clean for at least a few hours while the Hurricane and Tornado are at school. Homeschooling my children never even crossed my mind, except to decide that it wasn’t what we wanted.

Every time a school shooting takes place, I hold my boys a little tighter. It shouldn’t be that way. There has to be a better way. Even in a relatively safe location like mine, there are enough violent cities close enough to me to know that anything can happen. School shootings can happen in my quiet city as they can happen anywhere. That is scary. It is scary to know they are supposed to be safe while at school, but they really aren’t.

I received a call from my oldest kid’s school informing me that all week they have been doing lockdown drills. Since this weekend, there have been numerous “hoax” threats against schools in the area, including one threat towards a school in my city. It’s scary. I’m glad that they caught the individuals who made the threats. It should have been comforting to know that these were hoaxes and not credible threats, but it wasn’t. Anything can happen anywhere, and it is scary as a parent to not have any control over that. Especially when a bullet is found in a classroom in a school very close to us, just across the bridge in the next city.

I’m not going to make it about gender. In these cases, girls were involved in the threats. I’m not shocked by a girl doing it when statistically boys are. Girls are just as capable of malicious intent as boys are. I would even argue a point that of all my friends to cross, I would be more afraid of my female friends (honestly, me, I would be more afraid of me) than I would be of my male friends. Gender has nothing to do with these threats. Society has everything to do with this. Maybe they found it funny to cause panic. Maybe they didn’t care about the consequences because they didn’t think they would have any. I hope the books get thrown at them and they get hit in their bratty little faces with it.

If our children aren’t safe in schools, where are they safe? This is not a gun issue. If someone wanted to harm our kids and do that much damage, they could easily make bombs to cause destruction and death. This is an issue of what we are going to do to protect our kids. I’m scared. I can’t let them see it. But I’m really scared. We need to do better.


My Adventures on Monster Hunter

Normally today I would do a recap of Overwatch League or discuss something Overwatch League related. Today, a non-Blizzard game related topic seemed like something new to address. I’m not a big console person. I enjoy playing some games on the Switch, love playing the classic SNES, and definitely loved playing my DS. In fact, the only console games I really enjoy are Nintendo games. Primarily, I’m a PC gamer. Anything Sims related (Sims 4 was such a let down but the new mobile app is pretty entertaining), TF2, most Blizzard games, things like that.

My husband is primarily a PC gamer as well, but sometimes gets spurts where he is obsessed over certain PS4 games. Our oldest started playing Monster Hunter: World, a game he had wanted to play. So he naturally bought it for his PS4 pro. He has played this thing pretty religiously since, constantly saying the phrase “You really need to try this, I think you’ll love it”. Finally, he came out with “Monster Hunter: World was ranked the best game for couples to play.”

Finally the other day, I gave in. I was avoiding Overwatch Competitive because I was feeling insecure about my skill after a bad match where my D.Va was blamed for the loss of the match though looking back it wasn’t the case at all. I didn’t really feel like leveling today. I just finished working out and showering and wanted to relax on the couch before the kids came home. There was nothing on TV and the only things on the DVR were shows I needed to save for the husband to watch with me. I decided, “why not?” though I dreaded if I actually enjoyed the game I would have to listen to “told you! What do you think? Tell me everything!”

A good portion of my first day of playing consisted of creating my character and her Palico. At first I’m already annoyed that there is no dog option for those of us who may not be big fans of cats. Still, I style the Palico after our own Lady Sylvanas (my oldest son’s beloved cat who thinks she’s a dog) because why not? Then I get into the game. Graphics are nice and the game has a good aesthetic appeal to it. I get to choose my weapon and as a person who has problems with melee, I started off with a bow. I got a few quests in before I didn’t get a chance to get back to it.

Early observations? I hate having to move the camera around in this game. I always lost track of what I was attacking and it was generally annoying because I was dying as a result. Console games suck. I never have this problem on my PC. The game would be infinitely more entertaining if this wasn’t an issue anymore. I also don’t like feeling like I’m forced into doing quests with randos on the internet. It’s one thing when playing a team FPS but not when you are playing an RPG. I’ll still play it and maybe there will be some nice changes when the update hits in a few days. Otherwise, I may not fully enjoy the game until the PC release which is not really expected until fall.

I can be okay with that. Until then, I’ll try to get further in the game on the console and continue to wait patiently until Frostpunk gets its release. I have only been dying for that game since I first saw it. As a fan of the Victorian era, I have a soft spot for steampunk and I already professed my love of Sims. I will certainly talk about it when I get it.

Until then, this week the final week of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. Uprising has been doing very well and I hope they keep it up. They may not be able to make the finals in this stage, but the overall playoffs are still obtainable for them especially with their amazing play against the Valiant. Keep up the good work guys and it was so good to have Gamsu back.

A Lesson in Humanity… and Practicing What You Preach

Normally I post my “normal” rantings blog every Tuesday. Today, I needed to get something off my chest. Because I’m disgusted and I am pissed off.

I get the idea of the #walkupnotout movement that has grown in response to the walk out protests that took place at schools across our country. As in my previous post, I agree that the problem is the culture of bullying that seems to exist to such an extreme degree these days. I agree with the sentiment of this movement: make friends and be kind to a person who may be bullied or alone to help them feel better. Anyone who is against that type of cause needs a little lesson in humanity. These calls to end bullying are an important piece to the puzzle of figuring out what is causing these kids to snap and shoot up schools. Without this snapping, there would not be a will to shoot up schools.

This movement loses something for me when a person who posts this in response to posts about walk outs then follow up with “Retards”, “Libtard”, “Dumbass Snowflakes”, “Go Back to Eating Tide Pods”, and “Future Democrats in Training”. (Or really anything derogatory in nature.) Why? Because you are bullying these people for not standing up to bullying or being bullies themselves. I will repeat that, in case I have lost anyone: don’t tell people to stand up to bullying to end this culture of school violence by then bullying them. Try practicing what you preach and set a good example for these children about how they can be better people. They are our future but by saying derogatory things like that, you are showing everyone exactly how we got to this place: because they are taught to be bullies by bullies who also happen to be influential adults in their lives.

Practice what you preach. This is a point that needs to be continually made. Teach the next generation to be kind by showing them to be kind. Teach them to form their own opinions and beliefs by letting them figure it out for themselves, whether you agree with it or not. Let them have their own voice, not just recycle yours. Don’t bully kids and wonder why they bully other people. Teach our next generation a lesson in humanity that will last them a lifetime and that they will pass on to the next generations.


Teachers with Guns

I’m not sure about most people, but I can think about a few teachers in my time at school where the thought of them with a gun was infinitely scarier than the craziest kid in our class. I won’t name names, but trust me there are a few of them that I swear would have shot their students if they had the means to. Times were different back then. I think. I don’t even know anymore. For all I know, back then was the wild west and they all had guns. Times were different back then.

Joking aside, this week there will be a national protest against gun violence in schools where students will be walking out. (My oldest has been deeply considering this and asked my opinion. As I did the last time he pondered walking out, I shrugged and told him to do what he thought was right. Not sure where he ended up but I guess I’ll find out when he gets home.) I remember when Columbine happened. I remembered the drills that took place afterwards, where the police would actually pretend they were shooters trying to break in the classroom. It was scary, even as a teenager. I knew it was fake. I knew it was just a drill. It was still terrifying as they aggressively banged on the locked door trying to get in. Realism got the point across back then: we weren’t safe in the schools. Every time there was a fire drill, I would worry that it was a fake and something was going to happen. I remember wanting to cover my ears and trying, only to be scolded for it. I remember my chest feeling like it was going to cave in every time we had any drill at the school. It wasn’t their fault. This was just how things were going to be now.

Then, I became a parent. I wasn’t too worried about him at elementary school. Those places are so locked down that you can’t even get in while wearing a hat. Then Sandy Hook happened. I worried every time that I put my oldest on the bus to school that today was going to be the day I get the bad news. Now, I worry about both of them in school. School should be the one place where they are safe from that level of violence. Children should not be massacred in schools.

This is not an anti-guns post. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-crazy people and criminals with guns. There’s no perfect solution for this that will fix it overnight. People are going to hurt people no matter what. That’s a fact and a scary one. What this will be is a post that is anti-teachers in the classrooms with guns. The idea of giving federal aid to schools to train teachers to use guns and have them in the classrooms is insane to me. First of all, the original scenario: Giving guns to underpaid individuals in high-stress jobs never ends well. Also, where is this money coming from? I see a lot of policies coming out of this administration that involve money but not a lot of revenue coming in. There is also the final problem with this solution: you have schools that do not have enough money to run, buy supplies, or can’t run after-school programs. There’s no aid coming in for that. But, hey, let’s give them money so they can spend it on the NRA’s cause so I can get more money when election season rolls around. The idea makes me feel uneasy and almost makes me consider homeschooling as an option.

The point is that teachers already don’t have what they need to run a classroom and teach our children. They don’t have the time or the resources because of bureaucracy and lack of funding. But now, you are going to give them money for guns. Awesome idea. Why not make sure that the resource officer is actually on site in case something goes wrong? Why not give them that money to focus on helping kids who are bullied to the point of wanting to shoot up a school? Why not use the money to create better anti-bullying initiatives or more ways to constructively decompress at school so kids aren’t so stressed out? I can think of a dozen other ways that money could be used to help prevent these things that do not involve arming that crazy teacher that doesn’t even want to be there to begin with.

I agree with the sentiment that “guns aren’t the problem; people are.” I don’t have a gun. I’m too crazy for that. I have shot people with a BB gun and didn’t feel remorseful for it. I’m too short-tempered, anxious, and paranoid for that. Heck, I even admit to having something that can be used as a weapon around me at any given time. People are crazy and irrational. Parents are letting their kids do whatever they want without accountability, creating a culture of dumb, entitled, and even more irrational people. “More guns” is not the answer; “fixing the broken culture” is.

Overwatch League- The Games and the Drama

This is going to be a very brief recap of the games, with a closer look at some of the drama that unfolded over the weekend of matches for this league. All in all, there was nothing that was really shocking in the matches. Well, except I expected the Spitfire to destroy the Gladiators and that went a completely different way. They played hard though, as did my Uprising who won 1 and lost 1 this week.

The real talk of the league right now is the suspensions and drama that unfolded over the week. The Overwatch League handed down punishments for 3 players and a coach. The coach, Houston Outlaw’s TaiRong, was issued a warning because of a “racially insensitive” meme that he tweeted out. There was no fine as he owned up to his mistake pretty quickly on his own and donated $1000 to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Dallas Fuel’s Taimou was fined $1000 for using “anti-gay” slurs on his personal Twitch stream. Silkthread also received a $1000 fine, for the less scandalous but just as against the Blizzard’s end user agreement account sharing.

Then there is xQc, who faced his second round of fines and suspensions. His fine was $4,000 and he was suspended for 4 games for a variety of different issues, including “repeated use of disparaging language” and using a “racially insensitive emote”. This was his second suspension, which takes him out of play for the remainder of Stage 2. You will remember he was also out for most of Stage 1 for his conduct. He was later released by the Dallas Fuel, which makes sense because why have a guy taking up a roster slot when he spends more time suspended than he does playing for them.

His fans are outraged, complaining that he seems excessively punished and that people are out to get him. How about you tone down a persona that can be a bit extreme so that the league wouldn’t need to punish you? Accountability can go a long way, if you let it. It doesn’t matter if he’s “really a pretty cool dude”. It matters how he presents himself, especially as he chooses to be in the public eye. With age comes wisdom, I suppose, and he’s still young enough to get away with it.

This has been a theme for Blizzard especially since Overwatch came out. They want everyone to be able to enjoy their games. As someone who has been bullied a lot in games, to a point where I refuse to chat with strangers and avoid voice chat as much as possible, I welcome this attempt to develop a kinder community. Especially with the entire world seemingly going down in toxic flames around us. I like the fact that they are suspending the very people that are supposed to be upholding these principles that Kaplan and his team hold dear. As a person who doesn’t really come across this negativity as much anymore and who knows that I can count on a system put in place to protect players, I thank the Blizzard team for sticking to their ideals. This makes me feel better about my choice for being a huge fan of this company, their convention, and their games.

Overwatch League- Stage 2, Week 2 and other Overwatch Happenings

This was a big week for Overwatch. First it was the 2nd week of Stage 2, which brought some big rivalries to the stage. Secondly, a new character was announced. Let’s get started in talking about both.

The new week of stage 2 kicked off with the big rivalry between the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty. This rivalry began in the Overwatch APEX tournaments and as these entire teams moved to the Overwatch League, so did their fierce rivalry. As expected, the Dallas Fuel put up quite a fight but Seoul overcame them to take the match 3-1. The second day saw the ages long rivalry between New York and Boston on the big stage. New York XL did end up taking the match 4-0, but the scrappy Uprising did try their best to overcome them.

Uprising seemed to be struggling with their place in the new meta. By the time they lost to the New York XL, the team had yet to find a win during Stage 2. They did manage to find that win in their match against the Florida Mayhem. The Mayhem keeps putting up some good plays but ultimately still seem to be struggling in the league. I’m pulling for them to find their stride. They seem like an honestly good group of guys and they play hard. I also hope that this latest win with the Uprising helps them find their groove again. I was pretty excited to see Mistakes in the lineup and while I was first questioning the move benching DreamKazper, Mistakes’ Sombra was really great to see.

The next order of business is the new character Brigitte. There wasn’t any real surprise when they announced this character as the clues made it obvious that she was going to be the next hero. Still, the announcement was quite exciting and I quickly got onto the PTR to try her out. I was pretty impressed with the play style, especially as someone who loves to play support. Her flail is pretty awesome and the shield was a nice addition. She seemed like a pretty solid character, but I can’t see me choosing her over my preferred supports Moira and Mercy. (I know, but I still love to play her. In fact, I love playing all the supports, except Symmetra.) It’s still early in the PTR phase and she has already seen a couple of tweaks. I’ll save my judgement on her when she goes live.

Observations Over the Past Week

The Parkland school shooting is something that you keep hearing about every single day since it happened. Some people are completely numb to it at this point. “Oh, another school shooting.” It’s tragic. It keeps happening. But what can we do to resolve it? I have no idea but everyone bickering back and forth about gun control, mental illness, should these kids be smiling, why are they protesting, bad things just happen….. none of these things are helping us. I’m not going to argue for or against gun control. But what I will do is tear apart this disaster.

First of all, this idea that corporations like Avis and Enterprise working with the NRA to give members discounts is really nothing to me. I didn’t know it was a thing before. Good for them standing up on an issue and cutting ties with a money-maker for them. Am I upset that FedEx has announced that they won’t do the same? No. Again, wasn’t aware they had a partnership with them and it’s not like they are making laws in favor of gun freedoms so the fact that they get money from the NRA is really meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

My issue with FedEx is when they say “We are totally against the sale of assault rifles but we’re good with taking the NRA’s money.” That’s a cop-out. If you were really against it, you wouldn’t take their money. What you mean to say is “since there is so much outrage on this topic, we are going to say that we are against their policies to appease customers and impress them that we are being transparent enough to admit that we are still taking their money.” You can’t have it both ways. (Again, I reiterate, I have no feelings on the boycott of these companies for their association with the NRA. I really don’t care. I care when politicians are in the pockets of organizations and make laws that financially benefit the aforementioned organizations.)

Every time a school shooting happens, there is talk of “what can we do to stop it from happening again?” Then, people forget that it happened and shirk their responsibilities in preventing it from happening again. Then, it happens again and it becomes a cycle of outrage then apathy then ignoring the issue until it happens again. I don’t want to look up statistics on how many of these shooters somehow obtained their weapons legally when they really shouldn’t have, such is the case in the Parkland school shooting. Statistics can be skewed and I like facts. The fact is that he probably could have gotten the gun anyways. They keep asking the questions “what did he use to shoot up the school and how did he get the items?” “Why was he able to get a gun?”

Those are the wrong questions to ask. The question we should be asking is “why did he shoot up the school?” The why is always more important, in my opinion. Because when you know the “why”, you can really address the problem and help find solutions to fix it.