Be Warned: Primaries are Coming

Super Tuesday is coming soon. Very soon in fact. This is where the people get the choice to vote for their ideal candidate, someone that they really support in hopes that they get the nomination. Then, they decide not to vote in the general election if their candidate doesn’t make it. It’s always an interesting treat to see, especially with so many states up for grab on this one day. Maybe the election will be rigged again. Maybe it won’t. But Super Tuesday may be filled with plenty of surprises. I hope one of them is that a better candidate surfaces.

As an independent, I have the additional problem of not only choosing which candidate but also which ballot to pick up. Do I vote in the Democratic Primary? Do I vote in the Republican? Do I go with one of the other options? Decisions decisions. I have narrowed down to the 2 main parties when I go into the election.

Why am I considering voting in the Republican primary even though Trump will easily win it? Because maybe deep down, I hope that if another candidate starts making waves people will realize how awful the current president is. I would vote for Weld on this ticket, because he’s a far better option than Trump. In fact, I wish more people saw it instead of just blindly voting for him because then maybe we can get a reasonable Republican on the ballot. Or any Republican that isn’t Trump. Because I don’t care about whether or not someone is a Republican; I care about what they stand for, who they are, and what they want to achieve. You know, the seemingly silly and unimportant things.

The problem is going with the Democratic ballot. I’m really not sure which way to go here. Originally I was for a more moderate choice like Buttigieg. I like the idea of someone who’s actually served in the military in some capacity to be the Commander in Chief rather than someone who isn’t. In fact, I’ve even argued the point that military service should be a requirement for the president for that reason. They’ve been in war. They know it. They won’t be as willing to throw our military around if they have a better appreciation for the fact that these are real people with real families, not people on a Risk board. But what does he really stand for? I don’t like the idea of voting for someone when I can’t really answer that question.

Warren and Klobuchar are a definite “no” from me. I feel like they are just being pushed down our throats on the basis of the Democratic party is so determined to show that they are the party of diversity. That they are going to be the party of the first woman president. So much so that they don’t care that these two candidates aren’t what we need. Klobuchar lacks any personality to the point that she uses one-liners as if she’s a comic. And what are her beliefs? She spends so much time focused on talking points I’m not even sure she knows what she believes in. And Warren has always been more about grandstanding and talking about whatever she thinks people want to hear. I just can’t in good conscience go this route in the primary.

The last candidate to consider is Bernie. Because I refuse to even consider Biden or Bloomberg or whoever is still left in the race. I like the idea of affordable college. I like the idea of affordable healthcare. I don’t like the idea of giving more handouts to people who just want handouts. (And I’m not saying this to mean that all people on food stamps and welfare only want handouts. This is for the specific rare instances of people who abuse the system.) I don’t like the idea that as usual, these are things that the middle class will be paying for. Not the rich. Not the corporations. The middle class. The ones who carry most of this burden already but don’t get the ability to benefit from the programs that they pay into. I think Bernie is way too far left. There’s always going to be loopholes that the rich are going to find to not pay their fair share, and they don’t care. They’re not the ones who are going to suffer for that. We are. And honestly, I don’t think that he’ll beat Trump. Which is a major factor to consider.

That’s the problem with politics though, isn’t it? You’re never going to get the perfect candidate. You just have to choose the least vile choice. Will this be the first election that I vote Democrat? Probably, unless for some reason the current president is removed from the ballot with a better option. But which one will I vote for? Fortunately, I still have a few days to decide. Since my state is a Super Tuesday state.

Overwatch League, Season 3 Week 3: The Toilet Bowl 2020 and a Reverse Sweep

As a fan of the Uprising and my backup team the London Spitfire, this was actually a good week for me. Finally. Most of the games went exactly how everyone thought it would. The cursed Outlaws remain winless (more on that later), Philadelphia Fusion continue their path of destruction, even without my favorite D.Va Fury playing. (How much scarier would they be if he did though?) And NYXL still shows strength. Also, you have to feel for the Justice fans who didn’t get to see their team dominate during this homestand. Especially watching their team suffer the reverse sweep against London.

The biggest game of the weekend was the match that was dubbed “The Toilet Bowl” (also known as “The Match That Wouldn’t End”). This match was against the Boston Uprising and the Houston Outlaws, the teams that were expected to be the worst in the league. Boston did something unusual: they switched things up. The starting 6 this match was the first time that I have been happily surprised by the lineup. The starting 6 included their usual supports in Swimmer and Myunbong. Colourhex, our trusted DPS star from last year when he wasn’t on Zarya was back. Then, they threw in 3 different players: Jerry, Mouffin, and Axxiom. All those unknown rookies? Against the established players of Houston? The Toilet Bowl was mostly expected to go to Houston, though there was a joke about it going to 7 maps.

Except, that didn’t end up being a joke. The Boston Uprising pretty easily dominated Houston for the first 2 maps. Then they pulled a draw on 2. Then the lost 2. Basically, this match became the standard for Boston fans: you feel pretty confident, then you start to lose it, then you just hope for the best and are either pleasantly surprised or unexpectedly disappointed. Eventually, Boston came out on top after everything.

I had been begging for Axxiom to take over the main tank spot since after the GOATs meta last season. I felt that Fusions was a strong GOATs Rein, but didn’t really offer much outside of that when compared to how strong Axxiom seemed. And honestly, I wasn’t really too disappointed considering that this was really his first match on the stage as the main shot caller and tank. I think that his performance was much better than what we’ve seen from Fusions. I hope that they keep him in, and not just because the best option for bridging the gap between the Korean players and the Western ones. I think he’s a better leader, I think he’s more composed, and I think he’s more talented. Mouffin I think will be much better when he shakes off his stage nerves. Jerry as well, which is kind of a scary thought considering how well he did. When the crowd isn’t even a Boston crowd and they are all cheering his name and the casters are all about him, you know that he far exceeded expectations.

One could argue that the Uprising only did as well as they did because they were going up against the Houston Outlaws, who have been plagued with issues all season long so far. Next week will be against the Philadelphia Fusion, a team that has been seemingly unstoppable so far. Who knows though; Boston has pulled off some shocking wins before. I’m pretty hopeful moving forward that they are at least going to prove that they aren’t going to be the last team in the league. But if they keep going with this starting 6, I think we have a strong shot of at least getting into the playoffs.

I Thought I'd be Dead Before I Saw the End of Civilization; Then I Watched the Debate

Last night was another brutally embarrassing debate. There was no control. There was nothing but screaming and madness and something about communism. It’s hard to watch because I want to have an open mind about voting for one of these candidates. I really do. But all I could walk away with was “We’re screwed.”

See, I’m this apparently rare breed of person right now who is actually an independent. I don’t care what political party you are; if I think you’re the right choice then you’re the choice I make. Voting is something I take very seriously. I appreciate the struggles women went through before me so that I have this right today. I feel as though by just voting for someone because they belong to (insert party here), then I am doing a disservice to this right.

It seems silly to think like that, but I have integrity that makes me do what I think is right. Your vote can determine the future of this country, depending on where you live. This isn’t the time for divisiveness like “That’s my candidate because go (insert party here).” This is the time for taking a serious look at what’s going on now and thinking “Is this the future I want for my kids?” My answer is absolutely not.

I want the tax law reversed. Why? Because it didn’t benefit anyone I know. You know, the hardworking middle-class that is constantly called “the backbone of America”, but never treated as such. Actually, it is. Because our backs break from carrying the country. That law was meant for people who profit off of the middle class. I’d rather that $2,000 extra that I used to see in my refund, what I use to pay back bills or save to pay for a vacation or new appliances or for when life explodes in my face. But no, I lost that because the president wanted to make his rich friends richer. But hey, $10 extra every paycheck makes my life better right? Now I get the fancy toilet paper with that extra money. But mama wants a new washer.

The idea of keeping an at this point obviously corrupt, inept president in office that wants to just profit from his position and not actually help anyone disturbs me. But people will vote for him because he’s the republican and they don’t need to support him, just the party. However, as of that debate last night, the idea of practically any of those people in office also disturbs me. I would’ve been more behind a Yang ticket than half of that debate stage.

We don’t need anymore divisive presidents. We don’t need anyone too far in either direction. We need a moderate, someone who’s not so extreme that they turn off people from voting but someone who can inspire independents like myself to vote for them. As of right now, I just have to hope that the republican primary takes off and I can get a real decision instead of one that’s worse than what South Park could have ever imagined. At this point, what’s worse than a Turd Sandwich?

I hope the debates get better, because I want my kids to learn about the process. I want them to learn, especially the one who’s about to turn 18, the importance of the process and making an informed decision. Yes, informed. As is not just voting for a party, but voting for a person. You want a dignified leader that’s a role model; that’s strong and decisive. But right now it’s a “which one acted less like a child on the debate stage?”

The Challenges of Being a Mom of a Teenager

In our house, these past few weeks have been emotionally challenging. Not because my oldest, who’s 17, is a challenging child. He’s not. He’s actually extremely and unusually easy to deal with. Somehow, he managed to keep his sweet and mature nature even after the dreaded puberty hit. Sure, now he’s more confident in himself and isn’t afraid to show his more sarcastic side, but he’s only stepped out of line once with his mouth and it wasn’t even that bad. It’s because the reality is coming that next year, he will be graduating.

This week, he starts lifeguarding training, something that he’s been wanting to do for a while but then talked himself out of it. After passing his initial online course and learning more about it, I watched him become more confident. He was afraid of the importance of his job. The fear of being responsible for the life of another person was overwhelming to him. I told him I get it. Try being responsible for keeping 3 people alive at the same time. (Husband included in the number. Those boys don’t make it easy.) He wanted a job that didn’t interfere with his school work and would help him pay for this swim team that his coach recommended that he joined in the off-season. His fear turned into excitement this week as he headed off to do the hands-on portion of his certification, but really he’s just happy to be in the pool again.

We also just signed him up for the SATs and next week, he’ll be all signed up for his 2 AP exams. I half joke with my husband that I’m not ready for this. I’m not prepared. I pass it off as a joke, but we both know it isn’t. Now’s the time where I just hope that I did more than just an adequate job of “momming”. That my jokes about being an adequate mom are really just jokes. The first years of his life before high school were his training; now I just hope he can finish the job successfully on his own. Be free, blackbird.

After signing up for the course, it turns out that he may potentially miss out on our mini-weekend away during his school break. I gave him his choices and refused to give him the answer: either he skips it and finds another course or he misses this mini-vacation and stay with family while we’re gone. (The vacation was a free trip that we won and was scheduled long before this.) He asked me what he should do, hoping that I was going to make the choice for him. I wasn’t. Kids never learn if you make their choices for them. I gave him advice. “Well, you get it done now or you hope that you don’t miss the next one.” Ultimately, he decided to take the risk of missing out on the vacation because this was something he needed to do.

It was the mature decision. I agreed, it was the right call. It was the cheaper of the courses and you get more from it than others. I’d say there will be plenty more vacations, but the reality is that he’s going away to college soon. Who knows where he’s going to go. Who knows if he’ll even come back to the area. One of the schools he’s looking at is close enough to the cape where he may decide to take up lifeguarding over the summer at the beach instead of coming home. He may end up renting a place off-campus with friends or his cousin. It’s really hard to tell what will happen after he graduates.

That’s where raising adults versus raising kids makes the difference. At least I know hope that I gave him the tools that he needs to make the right choices for him. I have a good feeling about him, but he’s been mostly sheltered. It’s hard to say what it will be like for him out there in the real world. I can’t read the future. I just hope that I did enough that I become this nagging little voice in the back of his head, steering him towards the right path.

Overwatch League: Season 3, Week 2

The Battle of Brotherly Love took place over the weekend, with Gritty and the Philadelphia Fusion showing that their homestand could be just as energetic as the New York one. This week, we only saw 4 teams play: Washington Justice, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, and of course the Philadelphia Fusion. How’d things turn out in week 2? Probably exactly how you imagined it.

The first match up was the Florida Mayhem against the Houston Outlaws. These are two teams that are known for chronic under-performance and I still can’t get over when they pulled out the Bastion on Gibraltar last year when they went up against the Outlaws, mowing down the green team handily and winning that match in the completely wrong way. When you pull out the Bastion in that move, you know you’re desperate and played terrible. Who wants to win that way normally?

The match was an easy 3-0 victory for the Mayhem. This team seems significantly better than last year, but the versatility was supposed to be so great on the Outlaws. Only it wasn’t and Meko could really only carry so hard. I was a big fan of blasé last year on the Boston Uprising and was a little disappointed in his departure. I felt like if he could just play “his characters”, he’d be great. But he was always put in a different role. I’m surprised at some point he wasn’t on Lucio over Kellex. His first performance in green wasn’t impressive, granted McCree isn’t “one of his characters”. Why not have Linkzr or Danteh out there instead of the DPS duo that obviously wasn’t working? Maybe they’d learn their lesson before their next match against Washington…?

…Only, they didn’t. They stuck with practically the same set up, except they put Rapel in over Rawkus for some maps. As if you didn’t think Hydration and blasé could do any worse… they did. Later on, the coaching staff put the blame on the flu and later took the blame for the loss. It seems very plausible that they had the flu, so maybe next week we’ll see a different team. They can’t disappoint their fans for a 3rd season in a row. (At least as an Uprising fan, I might only be disappointed for a 2nd season in a row.)

All the other teams seem to be very impressive. Philadelphia went 2-0 in their matches. Though I am disappointed I didn’t get to see my off-tank role model out there. I imagine with Fury over Poko, the Fusion would have reigned even more destruction upon their enemies. Carpe is still showing off why he’s one of the best DPS in the league, destroying everyone in his path. It’s really impressive to watch.

As for next week? The Uprising are facing the Houston Outlaws in their one match next week. Which means they are going to have a very easy win or a very heartbreaking loss. Remember that time that Shanghai got their first win over the Uprising? Granted, the team was significantly better than the past, but it still stung being the first. Let’s not repeat that.

It's All About Freedom of Religion

In the State of the Union address (yes, I know that was so long ago), President Trump declared that he would fight for religious freedom and allow prayer in school. This goes right along with the Republican talking points of everything is wrong with the world because they took away prayer in school. God is the answer to all of the problems these days, at least that’s what they tell us.

But, which religion is he fighting to protect? Which God will be prayed to at school? Because Freedom of Religion doesn’t just mean “Freedom of Christianity”. In the speech, he distinctly said protections for “pastors and reverends”. What about rabbis? What about imams? What about agnostics or satanists, or those who pray to the Flying Spaghetti monster? Because right now, it only sounds like “Freedom of Christianity” that he’s going to fight for.

I remember, and this was so long ago so I could be wrong, that people came over to America for religious freedom. They didn’t want to practice the same religion that they were forced to where they were, so they came here. The founding fathers made it a point to protect religious freedoms, the freedom to practice religion as you want to. It didn’t say that you had to practice a form of Christianity to have a right to this freedom. It didn’t say that someone else’s religious beliefs can dictate how another lives their life. It said that people had the freedom to celebrate God as they choose to.

Forcing prayer in school is a slippery slope. There are so many different religions or non-religions that it seems impractical to make any laws about prayer in school. I’m of the belief that if you want your child to pray in school, send them to a religious school. Heck, since you want to push for-profit schools then this can be more reasonable. But to force it in public schools? I would tell my child to do what he felt was right for him and if he decided not to pray and got in trouble for it, they can come to me about it. Because he has the right to practice religion as he so chooses, even if he chooses not to.

I’d make some grand statement about how I don’t need God to be a good person because I’m not all that great. I’m morally questionable, at best. But that isn’t because I wasn’t raised in a religion; because I was raised Catholic. I’m just human, who has some great days and some not. But the idea of forcing religion on people will only make them run further away from it. Forcing prayer in school, especially on those who aren’t even Christian or religious, won’t help people find God. People need to find that on their own, on their own terms and in their own time. If they don’t, then they don’t need to. That doesn’t make them bad people. People should be more focused on one’s actions and less on judging them because they “believe in the wrong God”.

Overwatch League: Season 3 Opening Weekend

They said that the traveling aspect of Overwatch League would be its downfall. That they wouldn’t pull it off. Sure, there were some production issues, but it was the first day of home/away games. It was their first weekend on a new platform. But, if the Dallas and New York homestands count for anything, it shows that this model that was dreamed of by the Overwatch League team could work.

As a fan, the crowds made everything more exciting. Sure, there was always a crowd with some fans in it, but the majority were LA fans. Now, it’s everyone else’s turn to shine. Hearing the boos as you would watching a Patriots game, hearing the excitement of the crowd. It made the viewing experience for me as a fan even more intense. It added something that I discovered was missing from the league when they first tried out homestands. It even made me consider the trek to Boston to see the Uprising, though I really wish they would just play in Foxborough for us Western Mass fans.

My pick rate was about 50% for both days. The outcomes weren’t really too shocking. Some teams did have a stronger performance than thought, such as that map loss the Shock had to the Dallas Fuel. Otherwise, I think matches went how most people saw them going. Spitfire had a consistency problem, as did Fuel. Shock showed their dominance, but still showed that they had weaknesses as well. The Titans also did about as well as people predicted.

Now let’s get into the Boston Uprising, who played their first match this week against NYXL, a team that no doubt was going to beat them. But the question was “how well will they do?” When I first saw Axxiom in the lineup, I was excited because I’ve been calling for him as the main tank role since last season. I had more faith in Axxiom as a tank than I did Fusions. They went double tank, something that some teams found successful on certain maps. But, when that wasn’t working as well as they’d hope, why didn’t they switch to the off-tank? The answer is because Boston hasn’t learned. They still refuse to do substitutions. They can’t adjust on the fly. They should’ve dropped Fusions Orisa and went with Brussen at least when Hotba was just unstoppable. They didn’t have the same mobility without the D.Va. Why didn’t they switch out one of the DPS for Jerry? Something wasn’t working with the DPS and instead of seeing if Jerry was going to make the difference… they stuck with it.

The first point of the first map, they looked so good. Until NYXL did what Boston couldn’t: adjust. They let SBB and Nenne just walk all over them. They let Hotba just walk all over them. They had no answers to anything that NYXL did, or at least they didn’t care to try something else that would offer answers. Unless Boston learns the crazy concept of “substitutions”, they won’t win. They won’t prove anyone wrong. They have raw talent. I was hoping with the new coaches, they would opt for trying new things (like substitutions). HuK needs to explain this to the fans. Did they just assume they would lose and they didn’t want to give any strats away? The off-tanks were in NY and seemed healthy enough as they toured the city, why not try putting one of them in to see if that helped? Why did they so stubbornly stick to something that wasn’t working? Were they trying to see which main tank was going to be the best choice moving forward since they knew they were going to lose? We have questions and I think it’s fair that we get answers for them. Especially since there was a promise of more transparency.

The Boston Uprising doesn’t play again for 2 weeks. I hope in this time they finally learn from their mistakes. I’m a loyal fan and I will root for them no matter how well they do. But love doesn’t need to hurt. It’s time to do this amazing thing called “change”. Sometimes you need to make a change if things aren’t working. Sub in players on different maps. Other teams do it. It’s not a foreign concept to the league. But let’s not just give up and stick with things that obviously aren’t working. And go Axxiom.