The Thanksgiving Spirit

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was full of family and there’s nothing more I could ask for.

The Thanksgiving spirit is the topic of today’s post. Why am I talking about the Thanksgiving spirit after the holiday has passed? First of all, Christmas has started to even encroach upon my favorite holiday of Halloween. As much as I despise the holiday, it should get a month just like Halloween and Thanksgiving should get. 1 month is all you need for 1 holiday. There isn’t a war on Christmas, there’s a war on every other holiday that isn’t Christmas and I won’t stand for it. You don’t need to start putting out Christmas stuff 2 months early. You deserve the blizzard. /endrant

The point wasn’t for me to go on a tangent about my dislike for Christmas and it’s encroachment on other well-deserving holidays. To be fair, I’m not even a huge fan of Thanksgiving. For those of you who haven’t sworn me off yet, let’s continue. The point is about what the holidays are about. This is a time for kindness because if you’re not going to be kind for the rest of the year, this is the one time a year that you should focus on being a better human being for at least a few months. This is the time to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate as you are. The holiday spirit is about bringing light into other people’s lives, doing selfless acts for at least a month or 2 out of the year.

As I was looking through social media, I was happy to see those special moments from families. The pictures of adorable babies enjoying their first Thanksgiving. The meals that people had slaved over to serve their loved ones. People posting about the things they are thankful for. It was awesome to see. It was uplifting and grand.

Then… there were the other posts. Sites like Occupy Democrats, which I still have no idea why they keep appearing on my new feed, show up pushing an agenda. Some people on my friends list? Also posting pushing agendas. This is Thanksgiving. This isn’t the time to further divide; it’s the time to come together. That is the type of behavior I find more unacceptable than listening to people yell at me for refusing to participate on Black Friday.

Think before you post. Think to yourself: “Is this appropriate to post today?” In fact, you should think that every time you consider posting something on the internet. I have a challenge that I’d like to suggest. Starting today until the start of the New Year, try not posting something antagonistic. Don’t put people down. Let divisive language and politics die. Choose not to judge someone vocally. Don’t pick fights with anonymous people online. Break the habit so starting the New Year, we can start anew. Imagine the change that could happen. Imagine how much nicer the world would be.

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Upgrading the Setup





I know today I usually make a post about actual gaming news or thoughts on topics. But it’s been a slower game week and let’s face it, you don’t need another post about Fallout 76 and the failure that the game is. With NaNoWriMo finishing up, that’s my priority. So today, a quick chat about my stream.



A lot of other gamers I play with have a dual monitor setup. I thought that was excessive. I had my Surface up next to my computer, helping me to complete work assignments/other projects up while I played. If I needed to use something like WoWHead, I would just pull it up on my tablet and call it a day.



With Black Friday, I saw a deal to upgrade my streaming software (XSplit) for a lifetime license for pretty much what I’ve already spent on it. This caused me to switch from XSplit Gamecaster to XSplit Broadcaster, which is apparently more complicated to setup but after a simple video, I got it to how I want it to look in just about 10 minutes. It seemed pretty simple, but the problem was.. I couldn’t figure out how to get my Twitch chat to appear on the screen. My husband, the IT god that he is, suggested that since we had a second monitor we could just plug it in and do a dual monitor set up like the pros. So we did.



Today will be my first stream with this new setup, so I’m hoping for the best. Don’t forget that you can click the link to my Twitch channel on the sidebar. If I can get this to work on other live broadcast sites at the same time, I will also post those links as well.



I don’t stream because I want to be a professional gamer. I stream for brand awareness for my blog, writings, and other works. (I write a lot about brand awareness for my ghostwriting gig, and they say every little bit helps.) I stream to build up authority so a place will discover me and ask me to write about games for their website. If I say, get a sponsor offer from say Dunkin’ I won’t say no. As more viewers tune in, I may consider expanding it. But my focus is my writing. I’m playing the games anyways, so why not?



Next week, back to our regularly scheduled gaming blog where I hope to be discussing the newly announced Winter Overwatch event. (Here’s to hoping.)

Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

The Feeling of Impending Failure

Life happens. I just wish it didn’t happen right smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo. At the beginning of this, despite a strong start, I battled with an unbeatable bout of writer’s block. Then that faded into the first plague of the season hitting our house. Then it went into our furnace dying and not having heat for nearly a week. It was one thing or another that seems to be interfering with it. Admittedly, I have been my own worst enemy here. I went in hesitant about the story. Not that I don’t believe that it’s a good premise or a great way to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to my other novels. I doubt myself.

I never wrote in the horror genre because I’m not a huge horror person. I love thrillers. My favorites tend to be in the Japanese horror genre, especially “The Ring”. I have the 3 books and they were fantastic. Aside from those, I have read horror novels since I was a kid where I loved reading Lois Duncan or the “Fear Street” series. Somewhere I lost my passion for that genre. Even today, I enjoy a good psychological thriller sometimes. I don’t want to be slapped in the face with the gore of someone’s intestine being ripped apart or people’s faces being sewn to another person’s butt. I want to be scared because the movie got into my head, not haunting me with disgusting visuals.

My husband is my biggest supporter. Even as things look grim for me completing this year’s NaNoWriMo, he keeps picking me up. “You’ve beat worse writing deadlines before… like every other year you compete.” He’s the forever optimistic, always looking at the positives even as we’re bundled in our winter clothes in our house hoping that a miracle will happen. Me? I’m the forever pessimist that gets enough of a wind from him that ends up pushing me through because for a few brief moments, I feel unstoppable because of him. When I’m not cursing him for suggesting this topic and pushing me to finally write a horror. He isn’t the only one of my family and extended family pushing for a horror novel from me. They believe that I can write something that isn’t total crap. I’m not sure I do.

We have 10 days out for NaNoWriMo. Fortunately with the holiday, I’ll get at least 2 solid uninterrupted days of working on this. If I manage at least a few thousand words each day, I can absolutely do this with time to spare. I just need to push through and hope for the best. Or at least come out with some of my remaining sanity.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

Destiny 2: Why Is It Free?

I’ll give you a quick answer to why it’s being given out for free: because it sucks. Well, at least it has a strong reputation for sucking and the hope is that maybe just maybe people will try it for free and then buy the expansion for it. Free is the best way to convince people that bad PR doesn’t mean the game is bad. So let’s get as much people to download it and keep the free game because at least then we can brag about how many people have downloaded our game.

I kept hearing people say “I won’t even get it if it’s free it’s so bad.” I like free things and I’m willing to give any game a try especially if it’s free. So I did. And I lasted just after the starting area to decide that there was nothing that I liked about the game. It had a rocky start, as I was trying to stream my adventures only to realize for some reason XSplit wasn’t working with it. Then it locked up on me.. maybe 4 times in 10 minutes as I was trying to get started on the game. Maybe I went into it with a biased point of view after those miserable first minutes, but I really really tried to keep an open mind about it.

I play FPS games. I’m not even too terrible at them. I found the aiming to be jittery even after messing with the sensitivity. (I’m a low sensitivity player when it comes to shooters). Maybe the game just wasn’t made for my pickiness when it came to sensitivity. I found the entire game to be jittery and I didn’t like it. I don’t like menus that shake on me when I’m trying to use them. Most of my problems with the game are probably UI related. Then I created what I thought looked like a really cool character, only I couldn’t figure out how to turn the character to really get a good look at her. Nope. Strike 2? (I’m losing count at how much I hate about the game even before I really get started playing.)

My son, who had already hit max level with his game needed to come over to help me. This was the down point of the game. The map wasn’t popping up with my objective on it and there was no indication of what I was supposed to be doing at several points in that starting area. By the 5th time he needed to come over to help, I had already given up on the game. Maybe I’ll pick it up when I’m bored sometime… but probably not.

So to those who are asking “Why Destiny 2 is free?”, there is your answer. I didn’t find the story compelling. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you anything about the story aside from your home has been destroyed. The graphics are mildly pretty and the landscape is decent to look at. I enjoyed that there was some difficulty in shooting the enemies and my patience wore out quickly waiting for them to come out of hiding so I could shoot them. I saw my son and husband play the first one and I thought I could totally get into that. This one is a shadow of that game; a money grab out of hopes that people would have the same awesome reaction as it did for the first one. Or at least purchase the second game just because they liked the first one without any concern if they were putting out crap because at least they got their money. It’s still free for a few more days (November 18th is the last day), so you can give it a try. But don’t say no one tried to warn you.