But the Ads Made it Look So Much Bluer

As you may have guessed from the blog’s name/branding, I’m a big fan of the color blue. Some would say “obsessed”; they may not be wrong about that. But what you may not know is that I’m a longtime Nintendo fan. As far as consoles go, I’m not ashamed to admit that Nintendo is the one for me. I may have enjoyed the Playstation for the “Dynasty Warriors” series (before it sucked). I may have enjoyed the “Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball” games, though my interest was because the soundtrack was awesome and the games were fun. I always made sure my character was in the most modest bathing suit possible.

But Nintendo? I could probably play the classic games forever. Mario Kart. Smash Brothers. And my favorites: Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. Maybe we’ll even get a remake/new game of Crystal Chronicles (edit: Turns out, we will this winter. Exciting!). We do have a Switch in the house already, but my youngest lives off of that when he can’t play the computer. But then, the Switch Lite was announced in a gorgeous blue color. I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. Then I had it delivered on release day. Thank you Amazon.

With a Switch already in the house, my research informed me that the best approach to get to use the games we already purchased was to link the accounts. Simple enough, aside from the 10000 security measures I needed to get through thanks to my SysAdmin husband. The downside? I don’t get a separate “user” for me as far as I can tell. But I’m also not the most tech-savvy person I know. However, the only other downside is the color in reality doesn’t quite meet the lighter turquoise as seen on the ads. Still, it’s a pretty little thing.

This “pretty little thing” also applies to the picture quality as far as the games go. I never had too much of an opportunity to play the Switch in handheld mode, but the graphics for games seems pretty awesome. The games run smoothly, and you can easily download the games from the main account. After about an hour or so of playing Diablo, I turned it off to go to bed and it was still at a little more than 1/2 battery. The Switch Lite fits nicely in my baby hands, it wasn’t too heavy feeling, and it feels comfortable for those longer gaming sessions.

I’m primarily a PC gamer, but Nintendo is always my go-to console. The Lite is a perfect choice for handheld fans that want to play the “real” games on the go. Plus, I do love the fact that with Nintendo Online I can play some of my favorite NES and SNES games. If the full-price Switch seems too much, then this is a great alternative. I’m not sure which games won’t be able to be played on it, but everything I’ve wanted to play works just fine. I’m hoping when Overwatch comes out, that this will work perfect on it too. As of now, it was well worth the money.

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They Are Only Shoes Little One

While I generally just buy clothes for both the boys for back to school, I let them pick their own shoes. I know their styles enough to know what they like to wear. Both like skinny jeans. My oldest one loves simple t-shirts, video game/novelty tees, and long sleeved thermal shirts/those 2-tone baseball shirts. My younger son is a bit pickier than that, but he rarely complains about what he gets. He especially loves Gap and Nike shirts. The only shirt he really hates wearing is his “I Know I’m In Trouble When They Use My Full Name” shirt. It was appropriate for him and it was funny.

Shoes are all up to them. I won’t buy shoes without them because A) I want to make sure they fit right; and B) They know what they find comfortable. Before going out to get shoes, I asked them what they wanted so I knew where to go to buy them. My oldest knew that he wanted a pair of Chucks, then a custom pair for his birthday. Easy enough. My youngest, first Googled “Cool Sneakers” and decided he wanted a pair that were $900. Nope. That’s not happening. Eventually he decided that he really liked his Skechers GoRuns because they made him “run super fast”. So he wanted a new pair of those.

We took them shopping. My oldest went to a couple of stores before he went back to the first store to buy a pair of blue Chucks, which were hilariously enough the same color as his school’s color and his championship swim coat that he lives in. We went to another store, allowing the younger son to wander around until he found a pair of shoes that he loved. They were a cool pair of blue/neon green GoRuns and he thought they were the coolest shoes he had ever seen. He loved those shoes.

….Until he didn’t. My younger one complained about his new shoes, how he now hated them. “Well, you liked them when you bought them. You’re not getting a new pair.” My son started to get anxious about them. Finally, with tears in his eyes, he mentioned about how his friends were making fun of his shoes because he didn’t have the “right” shoes. He’s 7. I carefully tried to explain to him about how it didn’t matter what they said. That they are only shoes. That he was a person and that shoes didn’t matter. The shoes didn’t make you a better person. They didn’t make you any cooler or more likable. That it didn’t matter what these kids were saying.

I lied. Things like that do matter to other people. They do matter to make people more likable because kids judge other kids on things like that. I know I lied. He knows I lied. But I was right; they were just shoes and he was awesome no matter what shoes he wore. Those weren’t cheap shoes. They were nice, name brand shoes. Mostly because we’ve tried getting shoes from stores like Target and Walmart, and he tears through them in a month. At least the name brand shoes last him a few months before he destroys them.

I told my husband about this. My approach was to just let him wear the shoes, to try building up his self-confidence in standing up for himself. My husband’s approach was “what shoes do the kids say are the right shoes?” I wasn’t surprised. He told me before that he grew up being laughed at for being Asian, because his mom was “different” from the other moms, because he didn’t have the “right brands on”. I was bullied pretty brutally myself growing up. My husband felt that he was going to give them one less thing to bully his son about. He couldn’t change the fact that our youngest has anxiety or was “too Asian” or that he needs to wear noise-cancelling headphones to function sometimes. But he could change those shoes.

So he did. We went and got him a new pair of sneakers. He considered it a birthday present. Throughout the ride home, we kept trying to reinforce the idea that what other people think doesn’t matter. If you like your shoes, then they can buzz off. That it only matters if he’s a good person, a kind friend, and a compassionate individual. He didn’t care. He could only talk about how no one was going to make fun of him for his shoes now…

We’re guilty of spoiling our children. We know that. But I’d like to think my children never rub that in someone else’s face. We try to make sure that they appreciate the nice things that they have, but how they are lucky to have it. That not everyone is that lucky. That doesn’t make them better than anyone else. And when you have more, you are supposed to give back more. I see my oldest one taking these lessons, slipping money into donation bins or asking to buy things from a shopping list for donating to charities. We make sure that we donate grocery bags to charities during the holidays or donating here and there for various causes, and putting our kid’s names on the paper. This way they can feel proud that they helped.

It’s hard to be a mother when something like that happens. It’s hard not to want to be petty and buy the most expensive pair of shoes that you can to help your kid one up the ones making fun of them. It’s hard not to let your kids see how angry you are when these things happen. It’s hard not to do everything that you can to prevent bullying from affecting your children. But at some point, you need to realize a couple of things. One is that you need to do what you can to help their self-confidence. The other thing is that you can’t control the fact that other kids are going to bully your kid. It sucks and there’s only so much that you can do about it. They are only shoes, after all.

Voting In Your Local Elections

I would argue if you aren’t going to bother with voting in major elections, because you don’t think your vote counts, you should at least focus your attention on your local elections. These are the elections that are going to have a significant impact on your everyday life. The people you elect in these elections impact your schools and safety. They will be the ones that decide things like stupidly small trash barrels and overpriced but cheaply made yellow bags for your overflow trash. While the national elections have an effect in ways, these local elections are crucial to your way of life.

Today in my city, we are having a preliminary election. The big piece of this is narrowing down the list of mayoral candidates, though some wards also have candidates fighting for their place on the city council ballots. In my ward, our councilman is running uncontested which isn’t a surprise. He seems like a reasonable person that genuinely cares about his job and his constituents. Even though the outcomes on my street are probably going to go back to exactly how they were, he tried to make the street safer. I don’t fault him for anything other than trying to make everyone happy.

The big race comes down to the mayoral candidates: a past mayor who wants to run the city again, a guy who thinks of himself as the heir apparent to the position, a public servant of the city for a long time, and another candidate. This list needs to be narrowed down to 2 candidates.

I struggled a long time with who to choose here. Well, I already had the list down to two people. One already had their chance to run the city. The other, well, my personal opinions based on what I’ve seen made that a non-starter. That narrows it down to the perceived heir apparent of the city and someone who hasn’t really involved himself in politics. After a back and forth on that decision and meeting one of the candidates, one thing hit me. One of them had a place to make positive change in the city, to say no to those ridiculous trash barrels, to come up with some solution long before the “Oh crap, what do we do now?, and chose not to. The other seems to have a genuine heart to improve the city and serving in those schools my children are/will attend so he understands what can make these schools even better.

It may only be a preliminary, but it’s still an election. The city needs a positive change and today is the first step in making that change. So getting out and voting is a necessary thing to do today.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Onto the Grand Finals

Let’s be honest here: Everyone knew who would make the Grand Finals. As much as some of us wanted to have a different outcome than the predictable same 2 teams, that’s what we ended up with. The Titans would try to complete their amazing first year run in the Overwatch League with the title of Grand Finals Champion, but the San Francisco Shock stand in their way. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to go.

As an Uprising fan I can’t help but to think that if HuK actually let Crusty run the team when he was the coach, that we would end up in this same spot at this exact time. Crusty transformed a team like the Shock, who honestly struggled last year, into the powerhouse that they are now. Instead, HuK learned his lesson too late and we went from a top 3 team to a bottom 3 team and Crusty is leading the Shock to potentially win the championship.

Last week’s playoffs were exciting matches to watch. The matches were close and the heartbreak was real, seeing the Spitfire and Dynasty go home early. Going into this recent weekend of matches, it looked like these would also be incredible matches to watch. Except only one of the four matches was. Every other team lost in a 4-0 fashion. While some of the maps in these matches were insane to watch, they also kinda weren’t. Then the NYXL went up against the Titans in a crazy match that went down to the last map. NYXL did eventually lose horribly on Dorado, only getting 1 point to the Titan’s 3. This knocked them down to the Loser’s bracket to fight for their chance in the finals against the San Francisco Shock.

The match against the Shock wasn’t a total blowout, despite their heartbreaking 4-0 loss. The maps were decently close, but the NYXL has a tendency to choke in those big moments. That’s what cost them their shot in the Grand Finals last year, and they had a repeat of this again. Would Pine have made the difference here? As much as I like Pine, I don’t think so. Shock is a strong team and I think that the mistakes were more mental than a lack of skill. That moment between SBB and Flower though was as wholesome as it was heartbreaking. SBB is a leader on this team and I would be shocked to see him leave though seeing him on my second favorite team the Spitfire would be pretty awesome.

Who’s going to walk away the Champion in 2 weeks? Both teams are strong and we’ve seen this matchup twice before in the Stage Finals, with each team taking home a win. I’m rooting for the Shock though, only because I am one of those people that think the Titans are too arrogant and need to be taken down a few. They get tilted too easily and seem to think that they are just the heir apparent championship winners. They don’t need to work for it; it’s their right. But it isn’t. My unpopular take is that Shock is the better and more versatile team, but anything can happen when those kids take the stage. Plus, Sinatraa and Moth are killing it right now and I would honestly take them over Slime and Haskal.

As It Turns Out, You Can Go Home to Goldshire Again

After being down and out from a bad cold for the last few weeks, I am officially back and ready to take on my Monday’s gaming blog. Previously, I discussed the idea of WoW Classic, and wondered if you really could go home again. Even after playing a little of the beta and demo, I was impressed but skeptical. There was something special about the original game that drew me in. I’m not normally some social butterfly that makes friends easily. But in this game, I was making friends and getting help to achieve goals in the game. It was amazing and no wonder so many people flocked to this game.

After each expansion, you lost more and more of what made it special. The story was still great, keeping you around until you finished that part of the story. Then you left and never looked back until something new happened. While I always found something to do, there was just mindless grinding all by yourself. You didn’t need anyone else. You could just hop on LFG or LFR to get whatever group you wanted. It did become easier. You have more flexibility in playstyle. It’s no longer “well I have to be a human priest that heals because of the human spirit trait”. It’s now “what character looks the coolest?” Which adds its own interesting element, but it’s not the same as the spirit of the game that attracted so many of us to begin with.

I wasn’t able to play as much as I wanted to at Classic’s release, as I was too sick to really function as a normal human being. But from what I played, I remembered everything all over again. I chose my current and original main: a human priest. It started off fine until I remembered that I’m a human healing priest and Westfall sucks. After a warrior friend hard carried me through some quests, I went to the significantly easier Darkshore to quest. Things started to speed up there, and I died a lot less questing by myself. I haven’t been in any instances yet, but from what I can tell they are just as long and difficult as they were.

It was lonely by yourself and once I joined a guild, I remembered everything all over again. People helped each other. They ran instances together, gave items to help others succeed. People ran by and gave you buffs as they passed. People formed groups to complete quests together. It was just like the original game. I felt at home again. I spent so much time worried that I’d remember Vanilla wasn’t great or that going back wouldn’t be as satisfying. But it was satisfying. It was everything I wanted out of this game. It was like I remembered. I put on a playlist, and just fully immersed myself in a game. It took me away from here. It took me to a community, where people helped each other and were kind to each other. It brought me to a place where I felt the world should be: a community where people work together to accomplish a goal to make the world a better place. The goal is to get rid of the baddies from Azeroth so the residents can be safer.

You can go home again in the World of Warcraft Classic. They managed to successfully recapture the essence of the game that meant so much to its players. When things were going wrong or stressful in life, you can count on your pixels to make you feel better. When you felt alone, you know that you can have your guildies or WoW friends there to talk to you about random things when no one else will. This is the game that we love and I would love to thank the Blizzard team for giving this back to us.

Kids Learn More Than You Think

My oldest child is at that fascinating age of almost 17. There are so many things that make this age interesting. This is where they start doing their driving school thing. But even more interesting than the shift to adulthood as far as physical growth, is the other aspects of it. It’s the watching them learn to navigate through life. It’s watching them carefully think and form their own opinions. It’s watching their struggle as they try to break away from you while still understanding there is a lot that they have to learn in the world.

For as long as I can remember, my son wanted to be a forensic scientist. Eventually this grew into a want of being like Abby from NCIS: a forensic chemist but also a cyber forensic specialist. His goal has long been to work for the FBI to help solve crimes and make a difference in the world. I never told him what to be. But, apparently my fondness for crime shows rubbed off on him. Though now he is also wondering if he should be more like Spencer Reid, boy genius. It’s his life. I’m just here to offer support and advice as he asks.

That’s another fascinating thing about this age: your shifting role as a parent. With my younger son, it’s all about teaching right from wrong. It’s doling out punishments for not going to bed on time. It’s picking out their clothes until they learn that stripes and camo is not a great look. You give 6/7 year old choices, but you are still the one making their decisions for them. They don’t know any better yet. At 17, you’re done with that. Sure, you still make them take out the trash and do their chores, but now it’s about them. You give them a curfew of 12am, and remind them that this means they need to be walking in the door before the click hits that number. But you aren’t there to run their life anymore. Now, you let go and hope to whatever entity that you believe in that you did a passable job.

You’re not going to be there when they are at that party where they are offered a beer or drugs. You have to hope that they hear your voice of disapproval in their ear. You have to hope that if they did make the wrong decision in that moment that you were compassionate enough so that they call you instead of getting in the car with someone who is under the influence. I always told my son “my 10 minute lecture the next day is better than not having a next day”. I won’t lie and say that I won’t be disappointed in his decision, but I’d rather him alive than dead because he was too afraid to call me. I’d like to think that my child is always going to make the right choices, but I’m a realist. He’s going to screw up. I just hope that he knows I’m here to help pick him up afterwards. With my judgement of his situation to come later.

But what’s even more fascinating is the things they learn. My son reads the news, and like me doesn’t trust anything he reads. So he reads more until he’s down a rabbit hole where he feels like he has a good grasp on it. He talks about social justice, asking why things aren’t this way. Then I explain the logistics of “it may sound like a great idea, but like most great ideas, people ruin them”. He doesn’t like that answer. Even more recently, he has become fascinated by cold cases from watching crime shows with me and fascinated with things like false convictions. It turns out, these are things that have further inspired him to follow his current dreams. He doesn’t want good guys to get locked up because someone didn’t do their job in the crime lab. He doesn’t want families to not get justice for their loved ones. So much to the point of when he read “The Lovely Bones” for summer reading, he got so mad that he read the end of the book before he could move on because he couldn’t stand the fact the bad guy got away with it.

I say this a lot in these blogs, but you are not raising kids: you’re raising adults. Whether you realize it or not, your every action can impact your kid and this will either set them on the right path or the wrong one. It’s a big responsibility raising the next generation, but that’s what you signed up for when you made the decision to become a parent. Somewhere along the line, parents stopped remembering that and look where we are now because of that. Kids bully others because they see adults bully. They show kindness because they saw kindness. They work hard because they grew up with a work ethic. If we don’t teach these kids properly, other people will. And that usually never ends well.

Overwatch League: Season 2 Nears Its End

With the upcoming Rivalry weekend comes the end of the regular season for the Overwatch League. There have been various ups and downs this season that the league can learn from. For instance, Comms Check makes my day every time that I hear it. I enjoy watching the players have fun and it’s great to show off their very colorful personalities. The new pre-show/post-show Watchpoint moments are also great. The desk is great, though I do miss Reinforce playing a bigger role as an analyst. The new All-Star set up was also great, as was the longer breaks for the players. I felt these were things that made the league better for the players. The Homestands were fantastic, showing what energy was capable when the teams moved to their home cities for matches.

The Boston Uprising has 2 matches this upcoming weekend and I really hope that they pull off a win in one of those matches. This stage was supposed to be great for us, with our star DPS set up. What was the Uprising’s issue this stage? As much as I think Fusions is a solid guy who is talented and passionate, I still feel like he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick. His Orisa is slowly getting better but it’s not great. I feel like next year if Sigma is a good pick, you should keep him to off-tank as Sigma and give Axxiom the main tank role. The fact that they haven’t even put him in with the season over already anyways is annoying. The fact that they aren’t playing Aimgod is annoying. The reason this stage was tanked is solely on the backs of the management who are making these calls with 0 transparency at all and expecting fans to just accept it. The times of “In Huk we trust” are long gone. As Patriots fan, we still live by “In Bill We Trust” because even when he trades someone off or doesn’t play someone we think he should, it works out. It doesn’t work out for Huk. He is no Bill, no matter how hard he tries to run his team like he is.

I don’t blame blasé for the issues. He’s doing the best he can as a DPS being forced into an off-tank role, for whatever reason he’s playing. (The general consensus is that this is because rCk has an eye injury, but again, 0 transparency so who knows.) I think Colourhex (I know I hated him as Zarya, but that Widow tho) and Stellar are great and I hope that we keep these 3 DPS stars. I think we rebuild the team around them. Presumably they are selling off Aimgod as soon as they get the chance, but I also think that Fusions and rCk are going too. Persia may be good if he gets some better coaching, but I’d rather just get a solid player instead. Kellex, I could give or take him. He’s the only remaining player left from the original roster and he does show some technical skill.

So next year, I say our roster should consist of blasé, Colourhex, Stellar, Axxiom. Maybe pick up Nevix or Geguri as the off-tank. Then, maybe move Swimmer up from the Uprising Academy and Sleepy for your support duo? I’m picking players that may not be the best only on the grounds that the Uprising won’t pay top dollar for the big stars, so I’m sticking with players that I feel are “budget players”. Of course, this is assuming that they don’t just release everyone like they did last year and pick up players we probably never heard of.

Maybe the Uprising will surprise us and actually try something new for Rivalry weekend, which could give us a win. I just don’t want to go 0-7 this stage, or any stage really. But, we’ll see what happens.