What’s New, Coming to You… Maybe

This will be a short one. I could talk about the craziness in the world, but instead I’d rather share some news with you guys of some things that I hope to come soon.

First of all, Kindle Publishing has announced a new program for people to create serial works. I have to admit that I excel more in shorter pieces than I do longer ones. I work better with less, if you will. So this seems like something that I’m really going to try to work on and get some stuff out there soon. I hope. It’s going to be a work in progress and a battle with my writer’s fatigue, but I hope it’s something that I can start getting out there. I’m excited for this and I’ll be announcing something soon (hopefully).

Another announcement is something that I have been considering for a while now: dipping my toe into recipe blogging. I have considered videos in addition to pieces, but my business manager (husband) is embarrassed by our tiny galley kitchen and doesn’t think it would work with videos. He probably has a point. So instead, just pictures and whatever type of recipe that I can come up with. This will be starting probably some time this summer/fall with a monthly recipe on either Wednesday or Friday. I am starting this later in the year because I want my boys to enjoy the food. While my husband is still on fodmap, I’d hate to tempt him with things like my fried mandu (Korean dumplings) though I did make this amazing looking “challenge phase” pizza yesterday that he loved. I will be announcing more on this later as well, so that gives me time to actually learn to measure things out.

These are some exciting projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you guys.

They All Inevitably Grow Up

Exactly one month from today, my oldest will be graduating from high school. I spent all year (actually the past 4 years, for the interest of full disclosure) mentally preparing for this. As the college offers came in and the eventual acceptances to all of the schools he applied to, I offered insight and advice when asked. I didn’t have to help him decide where he wanted to go: the minute he saw the criminal justice program at one school he immediately knew that was the school for him. It wasn’t the most prestigious of the schools that he had been accepted to, but it met his criteria: it was a small campus, quiet town, and had the programs he was interested in. And he was accepted into his top choice school, Salem State. He considered the closer schools, but UMass Amherst was too big for his liking and the other schools didn’t quite have the program he really wanted. Salem was perfect. Plus, he loved the added bonus of walking around the area of the witch trials. It was in-state, as affordable as college can be, and it made him happy. I supported that decision.

There have been the battles, reminding him to get off his butt and apply for scholarships. Reminding him about other deadlines. Reminding him that there’s no secret trust fund to pay for his college tuition. Telling him to get his scholarship letters to the school. But, it’s been an experience for sure. It was a learning adventure, learning to step back and watch him decide the trajectory of his life. This was his call. If he wanted to find a job and skip college, that would be his call. But he has his grand dreams of becoming a forensic psychologist and helping to solve crimes. He wanted to do his part in making the criminal justice more fair, from the inside. It’s not my job to tell him what to dream; it’s my job to support him where I can.

Yesterday he signed up for his freshman seminar and orientation. It would be virtual due to the pandemic. It made everything so real. I’m happy for him to move onto this next chapter of his life. But it’s going to be sad. You dedicate so many years trying to grow these babies into adults, getting them ready for the real world, that it does become a bit sad when you have succeeded. The most rewarding of sadness?

I’m excited for him to get out on his own. I’m hopeful for him. I have said for a long time that this boy was going to change the world. I was wrong; this young man is going to change the world. Everything he has done until this point was just minor in comparison to what he’s going to be capable of in the future. He may be leaving to college far sooner than I would hope, but he’s ready. I just hope I’m as ready as he is.

Overwatch League: Season 4 May Melee Knockouts

As an Overwatch League fan, this past weekend of knockouts were some of the most exciting ones yet. While the Boston Uprising didn’t make it in, there were so many other great teams that were really due this opportunity to show off just how great they are. And they didn’t disappoint. Well, I guess unless you’re a Shock fan… then you were really shocked and disappointed.

My picks to make it into the May Melee were the Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem. OGE is a tank that I definitely like to follow. He seems like one of those guys that just gets the short end just because of the teams he lands on, and I was rooting for him to show everyone that he wasn’t the problem on those teams. Spoiler: He wasn’t. They easily beat the Toronto Defiant to go onto their match with the Washington Justice, a team that may have only been in the top seed because of how easy their schedule was throughout the May Melee. OGE had such a strong performance in this match, where they went on to secure their spot in the May Melee tournament by beating the Justice 3-1.

The real shock of the weekend was when Dallas Fuel played upset for the entire knockouts. First, they 3-0 the San Francisco Shock. Then they proceeded to do the same when the Battle for Texas came to the knockouts, when they faced off against the strong looking Houston Outlaws. The Outlaws just had no answer for the Dallas Fuel’s refusal to follow anything that may be meta. Dallas will also be going to Hawaii to enjoy the May Melee.

Now, for fellow Boston Uprising fans, I didn’t forget you. We lost the first match of the weekend against the Washington Justice, which eliminated us from the knockout rounds of the tournament. But, the bright point was when we actually won our first match against the London Spitfire. Otherwise known as a match where we should’ve went 3-0, but we outplayed ourselves with silly mistakes. I think this was the match that both the fans and the players needed to win, to show that they are as good as we hope that they are. When they were on fire, they had solid performances where we looked unstoppable. I can’t wait for the June Joust to see what else we have to offer, now that we finished the first round of tournaments off with a win.

The One Time You Were Rooting for a Blackface Scandal

I’ll be the first to admit my overall disdain with about 99% of all “news” personalities. I’m not a fan of anyone on MSNBC. Definitely not a fan of most people on Fox News. The only reason I default to CNN is because they are the least annoying. Meaning, I can make it through most segments with eyerolls of disgust rather than getting enraged at watching what is unfolding in front of me. Don’t tell me any one of them are any less biased than the other. Because I don’t buy it. They all have their agenda that they are paid to push on the viewers. I’m just not dumb enough to buy what any of them are selling. As someone who has aspired to stick to journalistic integrity, when I’m not writing an opinion piece like my blog, I can see the big picture of both sides. My nasty habit of being able to effectively play devil’s advocate is something that definitely pisses off my husband. But it’s a necessary skill if you are going to write something unbiased.

…which definitely won’t be the case today. Because I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog my particular disdain with someone who is so far right that… I don’t even know where I’m going with it. The fact that so many people blindly follow this wildly incapable toddler amazes me.

Recently, social media (particularly left leaning sites) latched onto a commentary by Tucker Carlson complaining that someone stole a yearbook or something and he was obviously getting ahead of the story. I, for one, never thought I would be rooting for a blackface scandal. Maybe that would be the one thing that took down this mediocre “personality” (can you even be a personality if you lack one that didn’t buy you?). I waited, eagerly anticipating it. Not because I thought that his fans would care that he did blackface. Not that I thought that someone like him would care or understand why blackface isn’t great. But because maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have to hear about him again.

Then the Twitter trend #TuckerYearbook happened and I was so excited. I jumped on that, ready to gleefully see that beautiful display of racism. Would he fully dedicate to it as Justin Trudeau did, with full body blackface? Would it just be a dark face? Would he go super racist old school with the blackface everywhere but around his eyes and mouth? I couldn’t wait. Until, it wasn’t a blackface scandal at all.

All the yearbook showed was what any sane person could already see: he was a racist homophobe that never quite grew out of the awkward teenage phase. (Which explains all of the angst we currently see from him.) I mean. Was that a shock? Blackface… blackface takes people down. Admittedly being a racist homophobe when most people can obviously see that already? That’s not earth-shattering journalism. That’s clickbait that raises your hopes for something really good, but only tricking you into clicking 20 pages to see why “Blue is the coolest color.” (It is.)

Call me when we see him in blackface. Otherwise, maybe he’ll just say something so awful that even the people who still somehow watch him will walk away and he can go into Alex Jones oblivion.

But Is It Offensive?

I’ve been noticing a hilarious (to me) trend of people who aren’t offended by anything becoming offended by everything. Everyone finds something offensive that other people are okay with, and (I might get myself into trouble for saying this) for the most part that is okay. I mean, I think in any case there are certain lines that you should never cross, particularly when a slur comes out. But I’m someone who does enjoy some dark, questionable, and sometimes pretty offensive humor. And I think that’s okay because I have lines that I won’t cross and there are things that I do find offensive.

So what makes something offensive? I think it comes from your own personal experiences. I think that everyone has something that they are offended by and those jokes will offend them. I think that everyone is different and there comes a point where there are certain things that you just need to respect. There are some dark jokes that I love that I would never say in front of some people, because I respect their right to be offended by that joke. Just because I find it funny, that doesn’t mean I should assume that everyone else does. It’s called “respecting the line”. And I don’t get offended at my “overly sensitive snowflake friends” because they gasp in horror or just tell me “Yeah, that crossed a line.”

There are some things that I find it to be ridiculous to get offended about. For instance, I think it’s ridiculous when people get mad that some people refuse to go purchase something at a store or watch something on television because of their personal beliefs. It’s call “capitalism” and it’s the basis of our economic system. I choose not to purchase food from Chick-fil-A or purchase items from Hobby Lobby because I find their policies and beliefs abhorrent. That’s okay. That’s my right. If you don’t want to purchase from Target because they are pro-pride, that’s your right. We can choose not to support something because of our belief system. It’s not cancellation; it’s capitalism. Then, those same people refuse to purchase items because they believe that organization wronged them somehow. So, the offended by offense are now offended. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

If I said a joke (and the type of jokes I find hilarious are the ones that most groan/wince at but still laugh at because they are both appalled and find it hilarious) and my friend said “You know, I don’t feel comfortable with that joke”, I wouldn’t say, “Tough crap, grow a pair.” I would say “I’m sorry that you felt offended by that”, then just not say a joke like that again. It’s not bowing down to pressure; it’s being a decent-freaking-human being. I understand that my experiences are different from theirs and that while I may not understand why they found it offensive (or even if I do), it’s their right to be offended.

Now, how does social media play in here? See, I find stuff that I think is questionably offensive sometimes on social media and I do this amazing thing where I don’t start a fight. I don’t report the post. I don’t even say a thing. I just scroll on by. Because social media is a place where people don’t tend to have enlightening conversations that allow people to see another point of view. People go there to pick fights and come out the victor in an internet argument, the type of argument when there are really no winners.

So is it offensive? To some people, something is offensive. To others, it’s silly. And that’s okay. Maybe if we listen to each other sometimes, we can learn something new.

Overwatch League Season 4: May Melee Week 2

After the hype, the Boston Uprising finally had their first matches. This team, with some really solid fresh faces and returning ones out for redemption, had a lot of hype around it. The preseason tournaments had strong showings for the team, coming in 2nd in the SteelSeries Tournament, then winning the Overwatch Experimental Card Tournament. They looked great in the preseason and that gave a lot of us fans hope that this upcoming season would be the beginning of the Boston Uprising redemption arc. But did we get there? We’ll see. But first, a JJANGGU appreciation post.

How does he keep getting away with those ridiculous, big brain shatters? Does he whiff some? Sure. Does he make massive shatters when it counts (even when it really doesn’t)? Absolutely and it’s insane every time. If he keeps this up for the rest of the season, I think he’s definitely making a strong argument for OWL’s 2021 Rookie of the Year. Houston, a team I’m heavily rooting for this year outside of my normal Boston Uprising and London Spitfire hopes, looks so strong right now and honestly, they really deserve it. Even with star player Danteh in the hospital, they looked unbeatable. I think they could win the May Melee tournament. And I’ll be so happy for Outlaws fans to see their pain turn into joy after some rough seasons.

Now, back to the Uprising, a team that also brought so much hope to fans. Only to bring us pain.

I’m not sure what went wrong this week. They definitely didn’t look like the solid performing team we saw in the preseason. They looked strong, if you can look past those mistakes that they made that you can’t get away with when you are playing some very strong teams. But there were some things that left me going “What was that?” For instance, the Doomfist pick in their match against the L.A. Gladiators. I get it, in theory. Shu and Moth are deadly good supports and if you can get a Doomfist in to disrupt that, you get a nice win. Only, that didn’t work. Shu and Moth were just too good and at some point, realize that and fix it. Don’t stubbornly stick with picks that are obviously not working. That’s a complaint I think myself and other Uprising fans have had about this team since the beginning. Then obviously a Mei is a solid pick on most maps, but we decide “Nah, let’s put a Doomfist against a Mei.” (?!?) Enter in the full 3-0 sweep.

During the match against Dallas Fuel, even though we also got 3-0’ed, it was a much stronger showing. We almost won 2 maps, had we not made some small mistakes or just let Doha pop off and destroy our entire team. Doha is easily the strongest DPS on their team. You can’t just let him go running free. You handle Doha, you win the map. Letting his Sombra just walk all over you and EMP without anyone there to really stop him was major. Letting his Hanzo just sit comfortably and hit you isn’t going to work. It was just painful to watch.

Do I still have hope? Yes. Despite all of the bad, you can see the hard work, dedication, and heart these players have. You can see their talents. Maybe it was just first week jitters. Maybe something just wasn’t clicking for them. Whatever the case may be, I think next week will be better. We might not beat the Washington Justice, but we could. We might beat the London Spitfire, because that is a team that doesn’t really look strong at all this season. Every week is a new week and I think the Uprising just needs to shake it off and get back out there. Rise Up.

To Pack the Court, or Not to Pack the Court

Normally, I offer a witty anecdote to lure my readers in to care about what I’m writing about. It normally works. Today, I just want to get into the dirty topic of packing the court. This is a concept where one party rams in a bunch of judges “on their team”, a process that ultimately happens when every new president comes into power. Did RBG’s seat get stolen from the Democrats? That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? Now, should they have rushed through a vote as an election was going on when they wouldn’t for President Obama, just because it was “their team”? The answer is absolutely not. Any reasonable person would see that as a hypocritical power grab. But, I would also argue that the Supreme Court is supposed to be the one governmental body that isn’t supposed to have any other side than the Constitution.

So, this topic of now that President Biden is in office we should magically create new seats to pack the court is insane to me. Why? Because if the roles were reversed, the Democrats would be crying at how this is a power grab from the Republicans. Then the other party comes into office, does the same thing, and we are now in a loop of just adding more judges so until we have 1000 Supreme Court justices. Doesn’t anyone else see how ridiculous it is and how both parties should be against this? Packing the courts isn’t the problem; the problem is the lifetime appointments.

There should be term limits for a justice. Maybe they can only serve for 10-20 years. Maybe they only serve 8. There would be no need to pack a court if there is no lifetime appointment. They do their job for a limited amount of time, then fresh perspective and insight gets added in after the term. That’s a logical approach. That’s a reasonable answer to this problem. Times are always changing, so why have a 90 year old judge that can barely think straight make these important decisions that directly impact our lives? Imagine, just imagine, if we truly get impartial judges to serve for their term, and then we just get a new one to replace them. This can be staggered so that there are some veterans on the bench. But, why not avoid the major problems we have no by implementing some type of term limit. (I’m also 100% on the side of having term limits for every politician, in case you’re wondering.)

I’m a big fan of common sense. And court packing isn’t common sense. The logical approach is not to add more judges to the problem, but to fix the underlying cause of the problem: lifetime appointments. That is the wave of the future.

But Wait… First I Need to See What’s In Your Pants

I have always been a bit of a tomboy. To the point that until puberty really hit, a lot of people looked at me and swore I was a boy. Now imagine if just because of that, my parents would have to pay someone to make sure my parts in the pants were checked before I was allowed to put on my cleats and head to left field. Ridiculous, right?

Except apparently it’s not ridiculous because laws that promote trans hate by promoting a violation of their rights are popping up everywhere. I call these laws “Drop your pants and let me see what’s in them” laws. Let’s be very clear here: the sole purpose of these laws are to demean those in the trans community. Or can be used to demean anyone really, since it’s the “accuser” that matters more. It’s kinda like the Salem Witch Trials of the genitals.

I can’t help but to remember when the people who so wholeheartedly stand by a discriminatory law like this will also talk about how wearing a mask or requiring vaccine passports are infringing on their rights. So let me try to figure this out, for my own sake, so that I can better understand.

  • It’s infringing upon people’s rights to force them to wear masks.
  • It’s not infringing on their rights when you force them to have a transvaginal ultrasound to get an abortion.
  • It’s infringing on rights to require people to have a COVID vaccine to enter into certain locations.
  • It’s not infringing on rights to make a woman get a permission slip signed to go through a sterilization procedure.
  • It is not infringing on rights to tell a woman who suffers from severe gynecological conditions that they can’t have a hysterectomy because they are too young and childless.
  • It’s not infringing on rights to demand to see someone’s private parts before they participate in school sports.

I think I got everything covered there. And I have to say, I’m not sure I’m really clear on what infringes on rights. Is it just based on pushing your beliefs on others? Do you just like discrimination and want blatant laws to back that?

These laws are disgusting. Disgusting doesn’t even cover how atrocious these laws are. Any law that is solely there to demean another human being should not exist. It shouldn’t and you really can’t convince me that they do. People all have the right to dignity. And forcing someone to pay so that you can drop your pants to prove a point to hateful people who get their rocks off by discriminating against another human being really needs to take a closer look at what’s wrong with their lives. What if your cis daughter had to do this because she was so godly good at soccer that the other teams wanted to punish her? What’s to stop them from forcing you to put your cis daughter through this? Would you be okay with this? Because I wouldn’t like it for any of my kids, trans or not.

People don’t understand the trans community because they don’t care. They consider this group to be some less than human being. I can’t be a part of that. I can’t support that at all. Transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia… None of these things have a place in the America that I want to live in and raise my kids in.

Overwatch League: Season 4 May Melee

Gaming Monday is back now that Overwatch League is back for its 4th season. (Yay!) This season has already kicked off with so much excitement, even if my favorite team the Boston Uprising won’t make their 4th season debut until next weekend. (Sad.) But, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything worth watching this weekend.

First of all, this new digital format is amazing. I was skeptical at first because last year it didn’t quite seem as impressive as it does this year. The production team killed it. From the way that they make it look like the casters and analysts are together in one space to the addition of the face cams during game play (more on this later), this feels like a cohesive and well-done setup. I’d also like to mention the 4K broadcast. Because at first I was like “Why is that even necessary?”, but then I had it and I don’t think I ever want to go back.

The biggest stories that I think should be mentioned of the weekend is the Houston Outlaws, who went 2-0 this weekend despite a very shaky and disappointing season last year. The new additions, especially JJANGGU and Happy, were really able to shine. The JJANGGU and Piggy tank duo were great. These new additions really let Hydration and Danteh shine more than ever, which showed us a fantastic team that all fans can be excited about. Plus, putting JAKE out there on Brig for Dorado was actually quite beautiful.

Now the real story with them was the way that they took down the San Francisco Shock in an exhilarating 6th map. (Those sneaky JJANGGU shatters were on fire.) Though, I would like to mention the earth shatter that shook Super’s world, which was made even better by watching Super’s reaction on the face camera. Seeing Striker take the loss so hard stung a little, but I was rooting for the underdogs to do well this weekend. And they more than delivered on that.

The main story of the weekend is the fact that no one knows what’s going to happen. Houston beating the Shock? Insane. It was a meme pick by the desk and it happened. Chengdu taking 3-0 over Shanghai? Insane. This is likely going to be the best season of Overwatch League to this point. And I can’t wait.

What do I hope for next weekend? I hope that Boston can prove that maybe scrimbucks do matter after all and our new team can come together as strongly as they have so far in the unofficial preseason tournaments. While SoOn was a great piece to have during those tournaments and it really sucks that he won’t be a part of the team for the rest of the season, our new additions and our veteran players are a solid squad this season. I hope that I don’t regret my optimism with them.

Fighting!

It’s All Fun and Games Until They Come Home Republican

The point of the title is shock factor. That offensive commentary that people will either dismiss without reading, hate read assuming I mean it, or love read because they assume I mean it. The other day, a good friend of mine posted a meme on social media, which said something along the lines of “I don’t care if my kid is gay or trans or whatever. But let them come home Republican…” I laughed. I laughed because I would have laughed even if the other part of the meme replaced “Republican” with “Democrat”. The joys of being a lowly independent in the middle of the bickering.

But at the core of the meme, I don’t agree with the message. Now if my kid came home an alt-righter conspiracy nut that follows Q, I’d have some issues with that. I’d still love the kid, but holy Jesus, would I not be happy about it. But coming home Republican? Just do you, bruh. At the core of my principles is to just let people be. If they aren’t hurting anyone else and following the law, I honestly don’t care. I don’t care who you love and want to marry. I don’t care if you think getting an abortion is the right choice for you. I’m not gay nor would I have an abortion. Just because I don’t feel morally right about having an abortion, that doesn’t mean my beliefs should be pushed onto others. I’m pro others to have that choice. I’m straight, that doesn’t mean everyone else should be. People just gotta live their lives. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is their business, not mine.

I don’t care if someone is a Republican as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. I don’t care if someone is a Democrat, as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. I don’t care what religion you are, you can see the pattern here, as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. There’s enough crap going on in the world than worrying about which side of the aisle the other person is on. Though, I would argue that the fact that people take sides of the aisle is at the very core of the problems today. Why does it always have to be an “Us vs. Them” argument?

I remember one time, someone asked me if I was a Democrat or a Republican. I replied, “Neither. I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle.” The person laughed at me, saying it was because I couldn’t make a decision and wanted to stay neutral, as if because I was a woman that I didn’t have my own opinion. I responded back, “No, it’s because I realize that both sides have great points. When you can see things from another perspective, you’ll see the solutions are always somewhere in the middle.” He laughed at me again, completely dismissing my statement. He said that I had to choose a side.

Why do I have to choose a side? Why are there even sides to choose? Why can’t we just be what we are without having to put labels on it, so that people can organize us into pretty little boxes together? I’ve been very vocal about my opinions about abolishing a two-party system. I think that there should be more candidates debating than just the Republican or Democrats. Up until this last election, I’ve never even voted for a major party candidate. (I still don’t regret my choice, yet.) I’ve also consistently pointed out that they like us better divided because without us coming together, the extremes on both sides are better able to control us and how we think.

We could let this stay the way it is. We could continue bickering for no reason because we are the only ones who lose by doing this. America is the only thing that loses.