Overwatch League Season 2, Stage 3 Playoffs

Holy cow. I’m still in shock over the events of the Stage 3 Playoff Weekend. I went in rooting for either Houston or Shanghai to take it all. Why? First of all, as a Boston fan I’m all for an underdog story. My private Facebook had me pulling for Shanghai especially, since they had Gamsu. As it turns out, this was a playoff for the books.

I was, as usual, actively rooting against the Titans. Arrogance bothers me and I like watching people be taken down a peg or two. I honestly didn’t care who won as long as it wasn’t the Vancouver Titans. The Titans easily went 3-0 over Houston. What was the real shock of the night was how Shanghai managed to go 3-1 against NYXL. I was rooting for them, without actually expecting them to win. I thought they would put up a great fight but I didn’t think they would actually win. When they did, I put all my eggs in the Shanghai basket even if they were going up against the Titans. Why? Because I wanted a team that was crapped on by everyone last season for not winning a single match the entire season to win. Because I wanted my beloved former tank Gamsu to finally get a Stage title since he was a great player and person and he deserved it. Because it was a new team rather than the typical teams to make a play for the finals. Because they were the last seed in the playoffs and the biggest underdogs.

After the Shanghai match against XL, the other matches in the Quarterfinals went exactly as you’d expect. Then, it was the Titans versus Shanghai. Everyone expected the Titans to trounce Shanghai. Except they didn’t. In fact, I would argue that it was the Shanghai Dragons that laid down the destruction over the Vancouver Titans, winning the match 4-1. That put Shanghai Dragons, the team who didn’t win a single game in the first stage, into the finals against the Shock. At first, the Shanghai was dominant over the Shock, leading by 3-0. Then the Shock came back, forcing a tiebreaker map in a potential reverse sweep situation. It was a nail biter tiebreaker, with each team winning a round. It went to Round 3…. and then Shanghai was able to celebrate their big win. Shanghai Dragons truly broke through, now proud owners of the Stage 3 Championship title.

It was an exciting weekend. I actually believe it was one of the most exciting playoff weekends ever in the Overwatch League at this point. It was peak competition. It was glorious entertainment. I can’t wait to see what’s next in the final stage before the Grand Finals. Will Uprising overcome their issues and make the cut off for the fight for a playoff spot? Who are the teams to watch next stage? We’ll take a look at these questions next week.

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It’s Different… Except It’s the Same

I remember when Tim Thomas stood up for his beliefs, taking a stand that he could not meet President Obama because they simply didn’t share the same beliefs. He felt that he would be betraying his belief system. The right, lauded him as a hero. Standing up for his beliefs. The left, they denounced this. He should stick to hockey, not politics. That’s a slap to the face to his country. Was he a hero to stand up for what he believed in? Sure, I think so. I won’t fault the guy for not compromising his morals. I refuse to do so in my art; why would I admonish a person for doing the same.

Fast forward to now, with President Trump. When an athlete says “I just don’t share the same moral ideals as the president, so I won’t meet him.” The left laud them as a hero. Good for them, standing up for what they believe in. The right? Stick to kicking soccer balls, you are disrespecting your country. I stand by the same position here: you cannot go against your morals, and you need to do what you need to do to go to sleep fine at night. What makes one person a snowflake for this and what makes them a hero for morals? You can’t have it both ways.

For a society that moans and complains about the lack of morality, they seem to only talk about people who share the same morals and belief systems as they do. That’s the difference. The difference in both cases is that they are doing the same thing, but when one person does it they agree with the morals and not in the other case. Does that make the act different? No. It’s just people blindly following like good little supporters. People need to follow their beliefs and have the freedom to do so. As long as they aren’t being hateful and violent to another human being, that’s their right. That’s what it is to be American: Acceptance. You don’t have to agree with them; you just have to accept them.

The same applies to actors and comedians. Why do people like James Woods, Tim Allen, and Jon Voight get to say their opinions to be applauded by the right, but other celebrities are ridiculed by the right for talking about their political ideas? It’s the same thing. You can’t applaud one person while telling the other to “stay in their lane and pretend to act”. It doesn’t work that way. It really doesn’t, I promise. Do I think celebrities have the right to discuss their political beliefs? Sure. I also have the right to not care what they say and just enjoy watching entertainment, as long as it isn’t completely propagandized in any direction. I can handle a little doctrine, but please don’t force feed it. I can’t be bothered if you’re just going to force your beliefs on me.

I have this crazy little philosophy on life of: “If it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care.” When I say this, I don’t mean this from a charity standpoint. I don’t mean that I don’t care about the plight of homelessness because it doesn’t affect me. I’m referring to the choices people make. If someone else wants to have an abortion, that doesn’t affect my life. If two men are in love and want to get married, that doesn’t affect me. That’s their business, not mine. I just have this crazy notion that if people aren’t harming other people or animals in any way, then let them be. Let them think that Fox News is the second coming of Jesus. Let them think that Rachel Maddow is a real journalist. Let a man (or woman) have a sister wives/brother husband situation if they are truly consenting this lifestyle choice. It doesn’t affect your life.

I don’t care that Megan Rapinoe or Tim Thomas doesn’t want to visit a sitting president because they don’t share the same beliefs and morals. I don’t care that Taylor Swift encouraged people to go to the polls and support gay rights. These are small moments in the grand scheme of life. You do you and they will do them. The sooner we get over ourselves, thinking that our way of thinking is the only way to be, the sooner this world can be a little less craptastic.

The Art of Giving Up Before Even Trying

There were a lot of things that I considered writing about. I considered discussing the meme going around about “Underage Women” really just a term for children that aims to mask the horrors of what happened. But that should be common sense. I considered discussing the case where the judge tossed aside a rape case because the boy “had good grades, came from a good family, and had a good life ahead of him”. I decided against that because it was going to be an obscenity riddled post about how that’s a slippery slope of letting a kid off when he knows he did something wrong. But again, that would be common sense. A rapist, who admits to rape and sends the video of it like it’s a joke, should get the book thrown at him. Because too many times, they just walk. It’s disgusting.

I’m tired of disgusting news. I’m tired of reading something every day that makes me wonder why we are even bothering. If criminals can just do whatever they want just because they are rich, then what’s the point? Why should anyone follow laws? Why do I have to keep hearing horrible stories? You want to hear about these things probably as much as I do. So I won’t even bother. Because I don’t think poignant words can even help make a change here. We’re the parents of the next generation. We lead by example. And if the news is to be believed, we are doing a crappy job of that.

My oldest son jokes that he’s my pride and joy. He’s not wrong; both of my boys are. While my oldest may not have some of the struggles as my youngest does, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t manage to get the center of attention as “star athlete” and excellent student. Things have always just been easy for him. He’s the type of kid who can never touch his school work outside of school and still manage a 90 in an AP class. That’s just who he is. Though, I keep reminding him that this isn’t something he’ll get away with in college. But, honestly he probably will. He’s just a natural at most things he does, except tennis. That is something that he doesn’t excel so much at, but he goes out there and tries his best. That’s what he does. He has my determination, drive, and unearned confidence.

That was until he got his National Honor Society eligibility application. He qualified to apply for a spot. I was elated. I was so proud. Until he said “Whelp, not doing it.” What do you mean you’re not doing it? “I don’t have the qualifications. I won’t get accepted anyways.” Just do it. It became a back and forth, that as of writing this he still has avoided the application process. I called my mother, knowing that she would take the same position I did. She did and for a brief few minutes I thought it was going to happen. It didn’t. My husband came home. His response: “He knows what he needs to do.” Then, sternly looked at our son. We got the eye roll, the exasperated “Ugh”, and nothing. I opted to not mention it the rest of the day. Because the more I nag him, the less likely I can convince him.

This is the “Art of Giving Up before Even Trying”. I used to do this. “Why bother going to college? I screwed up so much that I barely graduated high school.” My now husband told me that I wasn’t the same person as I was. He was right. Before, I was more concerned with writing or art than I was with school. I wanted to live in the Berkshires, a studio loft apartment where I would just write and be happy with life. I didn’t need school for that, right? Then, I became a mom at 18. That gives you a dose of reality real quick. That caused me to grow up so much in a short period of time that when I see moms my age today without the same level of dedication and responsibility as I did at 18, I get disgusted. Truly disgusted. How is it that I was 18 with more sense than a nearly 40 year old woman?! Or older! I did end up going to college and I did very well, nearly graduating with honors if not for a glitch that made me get a 0 in a class that took down my GPA. Ultimately, it was my fault and I took responsibility for that. It wasn’t the grade that mattered; it was the fact that I did it.

My son had never shied away from anything. Sure, he doesn’t like failing at his own high expectations of himself, but who does? But the idea that he wouldn’t even try because of this bothers me. We all explained to him that we are immensely proud that he was invited to apply. And if he failed? Their loss. He’s fantastic. But by not trying, that was something that was disappointing. I will never fault him for trying. It’s my job to encourage him to shoot for the stars and beyond, and it’s my job to catch him if he falls on the way. My hope is that he will realize this on his own and that he does try anyways. Because there’s nothing gained from not trying at all.

Overwatch League Atlanta Homestand and the Latest WoW Patch

That’s a mouthful of a title. This post will be broken up into 2 discussions: First a brief paragraph or so of the Overwatch League Atlanta Homestand weekend and the “Rise of Azshara” patch will get the most attention this post. So here we go.

Overwatch League Atlanta Homestand Weekend

The second homestand adventure was just as exciting as the Dallas homestand. This time, the Atlanta Reign hosted the event, which offered the same level of energy that makes you excited for when the teams start having home matches. While overall the matches weren’t too exciting or surprising, the atmosphere was incredible. Plus, I really love when the league does fun things like the 1v1’s as part of a pregame. This weekend, we were treated to 2 hilarious ones. Originally, the Bridowmaker Bren was supposed to go up against Dafran in a Widow 1v1. That was until Mangachu was picked up by Toronto Defiant. Then, the fans clamored over the OG Torb Mangachu to face off against Dafran in a Torb hammer-only 1v1. However, you couldn’t let the Bridowmaker down so Babybay stepped up and participated in the Widow 1v1.

The weekend kicked off with Babybay “coming in on his helicopter” and the Bridowmaker walking out to walk-out music with Widomaker leggings and no shirt. He was trolled a little bit by Babybay, who ended up winning 9-4. Then it was the Torb 1v1, which was close but the OG Torb Mangachu took home the win. Aside from that, the games went almost exactly as expected though some people may have been shocked that the Shanghai Dragons locked up the last Stage playoff spot. Even though they Shang9’ed again.

Rise of Azshara

I’m not going to lie: the only reason I wanted this patch was so that I could get flying to level alts and get some new mounts. I had some high hopes for the new zones, but I feel a little let down. While the grind isn’t as annoying as it could be, especially since you only need to get the rep to revered rather than exalted like previous achievements. My issue is navigating through these zones. Here’s a closer look at my impressions of the new patch.

On Mechagon, first of all I expected a cooler looking zone from how they were talking about it at Blizzcon. For some reason, the concept art looked so much cooler than what we actually got. It almost looks like they just recycled maybe Stormsong Valley and added junkpiles to it. There’s only 1 flight path, which is pretty annoying when you are trying to run around an island full of annoying mobs. The quests are simple enough to do. The going to the alternate reality/Mechagon’s future for quests seems cool enough, but there’s still something lacking here. I feel like there should be some more quests here and that rep grinding here isn’t quite as fast as in Nazjatar.

Nazjatar does have a ton of flight paths, but this zone is even crazier to try navigating around. In fact, I would say that these 2 zones were designed more with flying in mind than ground mounts. There are so many levels to this zone that if you miss the quest area, it takes you an hour to get back to it. Then there are those drops that you get, which actually kill you if you hold onto it too long, making it really annoying if you are trying to find where they go. Today on my stream, I will make the journey to turn in these cursed items. Watch me die a lot.

At this point, I just want to see the end of the story. I want to see the loose ends tied up and move on from this expansion. When Legion dragged out this long, it was exciting because the story was so interesting and I found it exciting as I leveled each toon. There was playability factor here that is missing when compared to Legion. You level alts because you’re bored or because you want them all to be max level, not because you enjoy the story that much. I know that’s the case for me.

Maybe it’s because we’re all excited to relive the nightmare that was Vanilla WoW. Or maybe this expansion filled us all with an exciting storyline, but nothing else. And it takes forever to get the conclusion to the storyline. Do I think this Evil Sylvanas/Baine, Thrall, and Saurfang the Hero/What about Calia Menethil? storyline is great? Yes, when we get the pieces of it. I like trying to figure out where they are going and theorizing the endgame. But it’s so slowly paced that my interest is being quickly lost. At least there’s Guild Wars 2 to fill in the time?

The Cautions of Censorship

I’m a writer, which means I’m very much pro the concept of “freedom of the press”. I’m aware that this freedom only goes so far. For instance, generally speaking private organizations can do whatever the hell they want and there’s nothing you can do about it from a freedom of speech point of view. This freedom really only applies on a governmental level. The government isn’t shouldn’t be policing citizens on their opinions. The idea that governmental officials can get the false narrative of “fake news” out there is appalling to me. This should be more appropriately titled “opinion news” or “biased news”, and both sides are guilty of only showing the cards that best fits the narrative that they want to put out there.

The notion of censorship bothers me. I write because I want to share my thoughts and opinions. I’m always careful to let people know that what I’m saying is opinions, not necessarily fact. I’m a blogger; I’m here to write opinions based on the facts as I see them. When faced with a real possibility of a slide away from my freedom to write as I wish, I do get scared. I see this shift happening, and it really scares me. When the press is deemed “the enemy of the state”, bloggers and writers are probably not that far behind so long as they don’t “fall in line” as they should. I wasn’t cut out for following blindly; my parents made me that way.

Social media is getting more and more… loose… with their ban hammers. I don’t like the thought that you’re one wrong meme away from Facebook jail. Do I find some things on social media offensive? Sometimes things cross a line that I don’t feel comfortable with. Do I report it or even do more than just scrolling on past it? No. Because whether or not I find it offensive or agree with it, they still have the right to post it. As long as they aren’t specifically calling for mass murders on people or specific groups of people, I don’t see a problem with it. If people want to post racist, homophobic things, then that just lets me see the people I don’t want to associate with. It isn’t anyone’s job to police them. If people want to post awful things on social media, let the real world deal with it.

For instance, a person posts a racist thing on social media and then gets fired. If you were dumb enough to post the thing to begin with, you deserve the real life consequences of your actions. I think the moment you start censoring social media this way, you make it harder for us to let social Darwinism sort itself out. People are going to be racist homophobes; banning their content on social media just emboldens them. It makes them a martyr of their hateful causes. I want to see who people really are, which is the benefit of the cesspool we know as social media.

Let’s ease up on talking about what offends us and work towards teaching the next generations to be better than us. That’s the only real way that we are going to change the world. Not by being anonymous keyboard warriors that hide behind a false sense of security in our blanket forts.

Lessons Learned from the First Debate

I’m not going to lie. I tried really hard to watch the debate. At some point after making a crack about how Corey Booker looked confused on stage and Beto reminded me of an old Napoleon Dynamite, I realized that suddenly Rachel Maddow was on stage. Apparently memes on Reddit were far more interesting than what was going on stage. Why? First of all, I didn’t know half of the people up there anyways and honestly even after the debate I couldn’t tell you who they were. And that is the biggest problem the Democrats are going to have right now. I’m a prime target for both of these parties: An independent. If I have no clue who you are putting in front of me, I’m not going to see why I should vote for them. Then, you are going to lose because most true independents are going to have that same struggle.

Problem #2 that the Democrats are going to have? They are going to end up forcing Elizabeth Warren on us as the candidate, because they learned absolutely nothing from the Clinton/Trump election. I don’t care how progressive you want to look, she is going to be one of the worst people to put up there. She tries too hard to be “average” while also showboating. She’s not likeable. The whole “Native American” thing will be the only thing people talk about. Trump will win against Warren, I have no doubt in my mind about that. And part of that may be because she’s a woman, but it’s mostly because she’s not a very likeable one.

I do hope that tonight’s debate ends up less like a battle to talk over each other and avoid questions and more about learning who these candidates are. Yes, I’m particularly interested because from what I’ve seen there are 2 potential candidates up to debate tonight that I would actually consider voting for. Which is big news because I’ve never voted for a Democrat in a presidential election. Though, to be honest I’ve never voted for a Republican either. (I told you, true independent.) I hope that the candidates I’m rooting for tonight show me something good, something that will make me look closer at them. If not, I’ll have a hard decision to make next year. Because I can tell you right now that I still refuse to vote for Trump. In fact, everything that I’ve seen during his presidency makes me even more unlikely to vote for him. But I struggle with the idea of voting for someone because of their party. I’m an idealist; I want to vote for someone I can believe in, someone that doesn’t make me regret that decision.

Why not Trump? My thoughts on him don’t come from the news or are based in the Russian investigation. Just reading his Twitter account makes me want to have nothing to do with him. Then the fact that everyone kept talking about how “Obama was an embarrassment to the country and no one respects us because of him”, but yet (unless someone has evidence otherwise) no foreign leader publicly said that Obama was suffering from “mental retardation” either. Does the foreign leader actually think that? Maybe, but he most likely did it to get a rise out of Trump… which shouldn’t have worked but it did. That’s not a president; that’s a celebrity running their mouth on social media. Something that apparently the far right hate unless it’s one of them. Then it’s “He’s not afraid to say what he’s thinking”.

In an ideal world, a (good) Republican would stand up and run against Trump. We’d see the debate. I’d vote in the Republican primary if that happened. I want to see someone run that has experience, who doesn’t tweet out his every (and often infantile) thought. I don’t normally buy into expressions like “we’re one tweet away from war”, but I think that’s an irrational fear that’s growing more realistic every day. I want to have a candidate that actually makes me excited to go out and vote, not just go through the motions because of “civic duty, blah blah blah”. Especially as a woman, when people guilt you into it by saying “they fought so hard for your right to vote…” I want someone that I can believe in, that will make a positive difference in the world. Someone who’s a good role model for my kids, because the president is someone who represents us as a country. And we want that to be a positive, strong representation.

Being the Ideal You

Among the many lessons I learned growing up, one major one was about being “perfect”. Whenever teenage me complained about things like “my mildly gap teeth” or being teased for my freckles but there’s no makeup that covers them for me, my parent’s would always say the same line: “That’s the way God made you.” That was their way of saying deal with it; I thought anyways. They really just wanted to instill an acceptance of these are things that I couldn’t change, or rather I’d spend a lot of money trying to change. That it was better to accept them as part of my character, as something that made me unique. And they certainly always accepted my unique self. (Except my freckles. Me and my freckles were never friends. And Bare Minerals works wonders on them.)

This made me to accept that this idea of “perfection” is really a state of mind. Everyone can probably think of one person that they think is perfect, but another person can easily point out every single flaw that you may be oblivious to. That’s because there’s really no such thing as “perfect”. There’s no such thing as a perfect mom; only great moms. There’s no such thing as a perfect partner; their imperfections are what become perfect to you. Everyone is different and you have to the choice to accept that about yourself and others, or you can just be a miserable human being. You do you.

For example, my husband has this birthmark on his cheek that looks like a bruise. When I first met him, I considered asking him about the fight he got into because of the bruise, but I figured I’d let that come up naturally. After a month or so, it was still there and that was that. I never mentioned it. It never made him less attractive. It was just a unique feature he had. Other people point it out, saying he should get it laser removed. Because there’s this ideal of perfect that they have for him. He doesn’t seem bothered by it, so there it is. If it was something that bothered him, I would encourage him to do something about it. But it doesn’t bother either of us, so there it is.

Which brings me to the next point of this: just because you think people should stay “The way God made them”, that doesn’t mean everyone else feels that way. If one of my friends felt like plastic surgery was something that they needed to feel good about themselves, that’s their life. They should do what they need to so that they can be happy and confident. However, if they’re doing it because a boyfriend got in their head and convinced them to do it, I would fight them tooth and nail about how the only thing that needs to be removed is the boyfriend.

It’s all about your state of mind. If you are confident and happy with yourself, there’s no reason to change it. If you feel like you need changes to be happy, you shouldn’t be judged by that. You have to live up to your own ideal, ignoring everyone else’s fight for the ultimate perfection. Because it’s a losing battle. No one is perfect.