It’s a Random Sort of Day

Much like every other time I don’t feel like I can give enough of a rant about one topic, I decide to make a hodgepodge of rant of current events. Current events might not cover it, more of “I can’t think completely coherently for 300-500 words on one topic so I’ll just spew whatever pops into my little head”. Thankfully, these sorts of posts are hard to write a proper introduction for so I can just get right into it.

1) Gun Control, The Fiscal Cliff, The Debt Ceiling, and Te’Oing? Let’s just be honest here, the news is like the 24 hour Christmas Story marathon on TBS. You’re really just watching 24 hours of the same story, except the news cycle is apparently 2 weeks, not 24 hours. Just when you finally get tired of hearing about one topic, you really just get another thrown right in your face for a few weeks. It wouldn’t be so bad if the whole time they didn’t just basically repeat everything from the day before. Then the day before that… then the day before that… etc. Finally, the gem that is the “Te’Oing” thing happens. We get to hear about fake girlfriend conspiracies and debate about whether he knew anything and whether we feel bad for him or think it’s hilarious. (My stance? The idea of it, maybe sad. The memes? Hilarious.) But like the fiscal cliff and every other news story that we get tired of hearing, all they talk about is this one story. News stations, there’s more than one reason no one likes to watch you. Biased newscasting from all sides aside, we really can only listen to the same news story said in different words with the same exact idea so many times before we want to hit our heads against something.

2) Only You Can Prevent School Shootings. All this talk about gun control and “Obama’s stealing our right to bear arms” annoys me. School shootings are tragic and terrifying. People are like “why blame guns, why not the entertainment industry for violent games and movies. Violent games and movies do not kill people, crazy people with guns do. Gun control probably won’t save lives because guns can easily be stolen from responsible gun owners by crazy people who want to do bad things. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent everything in life and there’s really no way to stop people from getting their hands on guns and killing people. I think people on both sides of this argument are being completely irrational and ignorant and it annoys me. The best we can do is hope that we catch bad guys before they do bad things. Like the expression goes “Guns don’t kill people, husbands who come home early do.” Wait.. what?

3)  Baby Number 2. I know what you’re thinking. “Did Brianne pull a Jessica Simpson?” Excuse me for a minute while I die at the thought. Baby number 2 is referring to my second publishing that should be incoming soon after a hopefully quick editing process. I say this with a smirk, because there’s no such thing as a quick editing process. This will be a compilation of poetry, very very short stories and short stories. I’ll keep you posted, but I’m excited.

4) Practice What You Preach, Mama. This one will be short, but the subtitle says it all: Don’t tell your kids a lesson if you won’t follow through yourself. I can tell my son’s “you can be anything you want to be if you try hard enough” if I don’t try to get noticed for my writing and live my dream as a writer. You can’t tell your kid that they need to better themselves if you’re willing to settle for awful living conditions without trying to get out of it. And the most obvious lesson is, you can’t tell your kids that “sometimes in life you have to suck it up and do things you don’t want to”. Because the minute you don’t want to go someplace for family obligations and try to get out of it, those little buggers actually remember it. They say “remember when I said I don’t want to go to CCD and you said I had to because sometimes growing up means doing things you don’t want to?”. Yeah, also be careful what you teach them, it might bite you on the butt when you’re not looking.

How to Deal With Your Gamer Partner, and What Perks You Get

First I’ll start by saying you get a 2 post day today, because the feverish me that wrote the Pax East part 2 must’ve forgotten to hit the “Publish” button. My apologies and lesson was learned, I’ll be more sure that I publish what I meant to. No need for you to have to suffer 2 posts in one day again, right?

My husband and I are gamers, in recent months though where we were both evenly hardcore in our playing habits. However, sitting at a computer for hours playing hurts my fat pregnant back so I’ve drastically cut down even with my beautiful panda beta invite. (Note, I’ll probably get back into it when I get Diablo III and they make my priest fun again in Mists of Pandaria.) My husband is in love with the new Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, and he spends much of his free time. At first, this bothered me because I wanted to not be sitting around while everyone one else was having fun. Then it let me see a side that I was never able to empathize with before: the wife or girlfriend who doesn’t game. They don’t understand how to deal with their partner, and most importantly they overlook those perks of having them preoccupied.

I had a weekend I was looking forward to all these fun things that we could do. Eventually, the weekend rolled around and it was a special weekend of Mass Effect 3 goodness that I didn’t pay enough attention when he explained it. That weekend involved him playing his game the entire weekend while I alternated trying to find comfortable positions to relax in, slowly getting irritated at my boredom. Then I realized that I wasn’t sure why I was upset. Imagine all the things I want to spend my weekend doing that he hates! I went to the bedroom and watched Netflix streaming all weekend of things I wanted to and he would never watch with me. Is it embarrassing to say I spent a weekend watching Secret Life of the American Teen with a box of tissues? Maybe, but more importantly was it as fantastic as I’d hope? It sure was ladies.

The point is, so what if your partner plays video games obsessively and sometimes ignores you? Do you really want him to spend all his time doting on you? This is the opportunity you should embrace. You know how you really wanted to see but he wanted to see and you fought about it? Remember that next time he’s too busy killing Brutes to acknowledge you and get that DVD. Also look at it another way, if he’s that intend on finishing goals that a pixelated man sets out for him, imagine his determination in goals he sets for himself.

More Pax: Belated Day 2 and 3 Post

Note: I wrote this last week and failed to realize it never posted. Now it is.
When you get that much geek in one spot, trying to get online anywhere is difficult and why one reason this post is so late. The other reason was that I was afflicted with a minor case of the “Pax Pox” or “Pax Flu”, the general illness we all know we’re walking into when you pile 75 thousand or so people into one space. Worth it though, it was really worth it.

With day 2, our first mission of getting a Jonathan Coulton autograph for our son was more simple than we thought. In the ever popular “Bandland”, he was already seated and greeting fans. My husband bought a “Skullcrusher Mountain” shirt and asked if he would sign the starry-eyed 9 year old’s Pax badge. He nearly fainted and spent a good hour later excited about this, and making the evening’s concert even more exciting for him. “See that, that’s JoCo. I met him and he signed my badge.” The autograph thing joined another level of excitement for both my boys, when in the expo hall we saw Tycho himself! I’m not sure who was more excited about the signature, it was a proud moment on my son’s badge.

Day 2 was the big concert for our son, he was so excited. Despite many attempts to fall asleep, he made it the entire time. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend going to YouTube and checking out the Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton parts of the concert. Especially the Paul and Storm part, you’ll never look at Game of Thrones or those ASPCA commercials the same way again.

Day 3 was less eventful, we did a last tour of the expo hall and demoed some more games. For all people who want to attend for the first time next year, my advice is simple: demoing games and the lines are better on Sundays. Our son’s favorite game was Primal Carnage, a multiplayer game where you play a dinosaur and eat people. What about that game isn’t for a boy to love?

My closing thoughts were that personally, it wasn’t as good as it has been. I blame that on the general interest of my taste in games, only 3 video games caught my eye and the remake of the Game of Thrones board game wasn’t as thrilling as I’d hoped. I did see an interesting board game called “Zpocalypse” that I’m sure will end up in our board game arsenal. The Secret World looks like a really fun mmo, which is another game worth mentioning. I will note that I didn’t mention Borderlands too, as with a 9-year-old, demoing it wouldn’t have happened, however the game play looked fantastic and I can’t wait for that either. As for something new, our family has found a new hobby that interests us and we can’t wait to start: painting figurines for board games and the idea of making our own little adventure set.

It’s so cute… and cuddly.. and murderous?

In time for Christmas, I look at my son’s Christmas list and see a game entitled “Naughty Bear” on it. I chuckled, not knowing what the game was and assuming that with a name like that it couldn’t be that bad. Then, my husband walks in and starts getting upset over it. Apparently the game was far from what I thought it was, and immediately we both crossed it off his list.

In researching it, we find out it’s a video game that has a serial killing teddy bear. There’s over the top violence, which it’s a cartoon we see it in cartoons all the time. I think even cartoons have a line. That’s not what really upsets me about the game, and the main reason we disallowed it in our household. In the game, you’re supposed to torture fellow teddy bears into killing themselves. There’s not much that offends me but that definitely brings me close, especially considering the state of affairs today with teens being bullied to a point of suicide. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this sickened me a little, especially for a game that’s rated Teen. We spoke to him about it, and he nodded in understanding and went on his way like nothing happened.

This isn’t talking about how video games are too violent and shouldn’t be made. I appreciate video games as an art form, and think that they can create as they want. It’s not the video game companies’ responsibility for what they produce; it’s the parents’ responsibility to make decisions on games that are appropriate or not to play. As avid gamers ourselves, we watch what we play in his presence as well.  I don’t look at ratings when I pick games for my son, I look at content. Parents should research the games and be vigilant in what they allow them to play. Those same parents that refuse to educate themselves try to pass of blame on the companies. It’s not right. We have the same problem with television shows and movies. Parents want things censored so they can ignore their kid and let electronics babysit them, and when something goes wrong they look back and refuse to blame themselves. If you don’t want your 9-year-old to play Modern Warfare 3, don’t buy it for them. Last I checked, as parents you should have control not the kids.

Con-Time!?

Much to my excitement, Convention season seems around the corner. Geeks of all sorts flock to their own little worlds to meet people just like them. There’s always a little something for everyone, where they form bonds and enjoy the fact that while at home, they are lonely, but now they have 3000+ people who have the same interests. No doubt these people bond with each other because unlike in their normal lives, people here get it.

In October, we have Blizz-con. Every year I stream it, because $50 to watch it seems much easier to swallow than the obscene cost of actually attending it for 3 days. I never understand why I watch it. Sure, the pet is cool enough, but the emotions I have watching it infuriates me. Oh look, a new expansion to the game! Exciting! New things… oh and then they ruin it. Oh Diablo III, everyone wants to play that. Three years, and it’s still not done? Suddenly, I’m not so excited. Then, the next year, I watch it again. That has become my guilty pleasure and my vicious cycle of gaming cons.

Yarrggg...

The highlight of this for me is springtime in Boston to attend Pax East. At first, I’ll admit I didn’t want to go. This was my husband’s thing. I’m not a hardcore gamer, I didn’t think this would be something I’d want to do. Plus, there’s that whole “I’m surrounded by people thing”, which I’m not so cool with. It meant a lot to him, so off we went. Walking from booth to booth, I didn’t get it. I took in all the sights, and I felt more out-of-place than I ever thought I could. Then I saw the classic console room, and that’s when I started to have fun. It hit me that this place wasn’t just for people whose lives revolve around Magic or DnD, it was also for people like me. The best part was, everyone felt like they had a place there. When Sunday rolled around, I didn’t want to go back. But I’m sure other attendees felt the same. I’d also note, I bet my husband regrets this because now I’m really into games of all sorts; not just Warcraft and Sims.

The following year, I went in more “gamer”. I realized a love for board games like Last Night on Earth and The Game of Thrones, and a continued love for assorted other games. Additionally, after the previous year, I started reading Penny Arcade more religiously and watched every episode of PATV. Toss that in with having more friends attend with you, it was a blast. We also found new areas we missed last year, including an area to free play board games and card games. We also ended up with a list of games we couldn’t wait for their released and a few new games to play when we got home. The concerts also never fail to please, with my personal favorites of Video Game Orchestra and Jonathan Coulton. Last year was the most fun I had experienced

Showing Off at the Duke Nukem booth.

in a long time.

This year, like many other people, I’m counting down until they’re back in Boston and preparing for another incredible weekend. Attending a convention about things you love with other people who love the same things, makes you feel like you’re part of a culture, and not some loner who likes to read fantasy books and play games endlessly in your spare time. In fact while you spend half your time hiding the fact you love Magic, or that you’re the Game Master of your group, you are with other people who hide it too! Imagine that.