Found this at the fair…

A beautiful example of the high quality products found at the fair!

wpid-wp-1409262909322

Advertisements

A Small Tribute To A Great Man

I think my sister put it best, but I feel like I need to speak as well.

In my opinion, Robin Williams is one of the greatest men who ever lived. He is a hero because he wasn’t just funny. He was funny in a clever sort of way that appealed to my intellectual side as well as making stellar fart jokes. He is the comforting voice from my childhood who played Peter Pan, Batty, Genie, and so many others. As I write this, Flight To Neverland by John Williams is playing in my head and I can’t help but hum along.

The things that make people’s struggles worth it are those moments of laughter and cheer and positive energy that revitalize our tired minds and weary bodies. Robin’s work gave me and everyone I know something to be happy about. It gave us something we didn’t know was missing until he showed it to us.

Thank you, Robin. Thank you for the good times and the laughter. I’ll miss you, everyone I know will miss you. The country, and maybe the whole world, shares our feelings of loss. Our thoughts are with your family. Rest in peace.

In Loving Memory of Robin Williams (without comic blog post)

Grief is not something I often feel when a celebrity dies. I never knew them personally so the loss of their life does not effect mine directly. At best, I am sad because they won’t be creating new things to enjoy.

This is not the case with the loss of Robin Williams. I have shed more than a few tears since I heard he was dead. Apart of the way I handle grief is by writing about my relationship with the person who died. Up until now, I’ve only written about people I’ve known personally. I figured since my relationship with Robin Williams was that of a public figure and an unknown admirer, it would be appropriate to post this in a public space. What better public space than my blog?

When I was a little girl, I struggled with my ADHD. What effected me the most was the constant failure. Everyone said, “Try hard and you will succeed.” Then I would try so hard, and I would not succeed. Then Robin Williams did a documentary on Dolphins for KCTS. That documentary is my first memory of Robin Williams. I remember thinking, “He’s so much like me and people are letting him make a documentary about dolphins!” Whether or not the man actually had ADHD was irrelevant.

My admiration for him never faltered, regardless of what was happening in his personal and professional life. He never needed to be perfect. When he starred in a movie I did not like, I would sigh and roll my eyes and think ‘that sucked.’ When I heard he was struggling with drugs and alcohol, I would feel disappointed. When I heard about his mental health, I would hope that one day he could be happy.

Regardless of what he did or what he said, he was always my favorite. He was my favorite because of the lessons he taught me. He was never my idol because I never idolized him. I loved him.

I loved him because, despite the fact that he was a always messing up and he was SO high-energy, he still earned so much respect from his co-workers, his peers and the general public. I’ve never wanted to be apart of his community, but I so admired this ability. I felt if Robin Williams could be respected, then there was a chance that one day, I could be respected, too.

I loved him because he could make me cry. He had so many facets, so many places from which to draw inspiration. I could always tell Robin Williams was the kind of man to ponder and brood. I could tell because I am also the type to ponder and brood. He taught me that it was possible to turn the sadness that comes from pondering and brooding into creative energy. Something beautiful could come from suffering.

I loved him because he had wild, crazy energy. It was an energy very similar to my own. I hated mine with the kind of hate that makes your mouth feel like you’ve just eaten charcoal. Its a wild seemingly uncontrollable energy that was, I felt, the cause for most of my failures. Robin Williams taught me that the energy I spent so long fighting against could be used to my advantage.

I loved him because he would fail. He would let the darkness of drugs, alcohol, depression and whatever else, surround his light. It would seem almost to consume him, before his light would drive it away. I have always shuttered at the thought of the demons with which he must have contended. I figured, a man of his radiance would have to have some very scary inner demons. He taught me you should never stop fighting; no matter how bleak things may seem, how dark your thoughts or how many bad choices you’ve made. Never stop fighting.

I loved him because he could make me laugh. He taught me laughter was the best way to stay sane in a universe where the important questions don’t have answers.

You can have love, it seems, for a teacher you’ve never met.

Let’s not forget that Robin Williams was a member of the ‘geek’ community. I have it on good authority that he played Warhammer 40K. I grew up among Seattle’s gaming crowd. There was a story about a notorious 40K battle between Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. Robin Williams supposedly played Gay Orcs, while Billy Crystal played the Jewish Eldar. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure if this story is true. I hope it is. I loved the story so much that I imagined that I was there to watch the battle. I imagined it so much its become a memory, as real to me as any other.

Much of my knowledge of Robin Williams was absorbed over the course of my childhood. I have no memory of where I learned it. I would read interviews and bits of information on various blogs. He was a gamer and he did love Anime. I learned that from a recent Reddit AMA that he did. The memory sticks out in my mind because he told the Reddit community his favorite Anime was Cowboy Bebop. My Dad read it outloud to me. I remember laughing because yet again, there was another similarity between me and my favorite actor. I love Cowboy Bebop, too.

Not only have we lost an amazing comedian and a brilliant actor, we’ve also lost a fellow member of the geek community.

Remember, death is but another adventure.

The Darkness (without comic Blog Post)

This comic brings up an interesting battle that wages in my gaming community; Console gamers Vs. PC gamers.  I am a PC gamer.  My brother is a PC gamer.  My brother of another mother is a PC gamer.  My parents are gamers.  My best friends are PC gamers.  My Uncles and Aunts are PC gamers.  My Cousins are PC gamers…  I’m sure you get the point.  The term ‘PC Master Race’ REALLY applies to my situation.

It was not that my parents had anything against consoles, they simply felt they needed to draw the line somewhere.  We had PC games and just about every table top game you could possibly imagine.  They felt if they bought a Super Nintendo or a Sega, we would never go outside.  Apparently children need sun to grow.

It did not help that my father has a hatred of what he calls ‘jumpy puzzles.’  IE:  Games that require you to jump at a certain time otherwise you fall to your doom.  Pretty much all the major console games at the time relied heavily on this game mechanic.  I think my biggest criticism of consoles was that they seemed to alienate gamers like my parents.  They never had the chance to develop spacial reasoning inside a video game and hand eye coordination.  Megaman also has a very steep learning curve.  My parents developed such negative associations with consoles that they won’t even consider giving them a try nowadays.

Anyway… I digress.  consoles did not really become apart of my household until I had my surgeries when I was 16.  I could not get out of bed, so playing PC games was really challenging.  (Monitors had yet to become thin at this point).  My Dad’s co worker gave me her old N64 with all the important N64 titles included.

At first I was really happy.  Yay!  I got to play titles I had never been able to play before, like Mario and Zelda. They were so COLOFUL and BRIGHT.  The puzzles were really easy to solve unless I was tired and my hand eye coordination sucked at the moment.  In the case of Zelda Ocarina of Time, it gave the illusion of having an open world to explore…  The game mechanics were lacking in tactics.  Mario had… 3D, which actually made it more confusing without any significant improvements to game play.  You could not even control the camera angle very well.

You know what?  The appeal wore off very quickly.  Compared to the games I had already played on the PC, every ‘classic’ fondly remembered N64 games were pieces of shit.  I’m not even afraid to say it.  I was 16 at the time so.. Half-LIfe had already come out.  I loved that game (still do).  I had played Starcraft and Warcraft II to death.  I had played all the Elder Scroll games, Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization IV had come out around that time… oh yes, lets not forget all the Dark Forces games and Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics.  When your used to Morrowind, Zelda Ocarina of Time is a new level of Hell. (I wont even BEGIN to discuss the female character problem.  Zelda and Princess Peach SUUUUUUCK.  Unless your into objects with tits…)

The N64 gathered dust…. THE ONLY time it was EVER played in my home again was when people came over.  You did not need to move all the computers into one room.  You did not need to dig for power cords and put up with tables that made your monitor wiggle.  You just had to press a button, hand everyone a controller and plop your asses down in front of the TV.  In my opinion consoles have few advantages over PC games.  Their strongest advantage is the social group play.  No mater what PC game developers do, your always going to be limited by everyone needing their own computers and monitors in order to play together.

Still… this was not enough of an appeal to keep me interested.  Its only since I started dating Yuji that I’ve delved back into the console scene.  I am saddened to see that only Nintendo seems to be embracing the one significant advantage consoles have over PC’s.  Yuji’s new Ps4 does not even have any games we can play together.  Thaaaats right… You need separate consoles just to play together!  AGH!  Do people not think this through?  I know my family isn’t the only gaming family out there.

Gaming families want TO PLAY GAMES TOGETHER.

If my family (Mother, Father, Brother Bear and Myself) wanted to play a Ps4 game or an Xbox One game together, we would need to buy 4 consoles and 4 controllers.  We would also need to have a place for all these consoles.  You CAN attach a console to a monitor… that you would use… to play… YOUR PC GAMES. But lets just say for a moment you did use your monitors to play a console.  We would still not be in the same room, which is the whole appeal of playing together on a console in the first place.  So we are stuck in separate rooms, hooked up to our monitors because we don’t have 4 televisions in the house and we want to play games together.

Theoretically you CAN play multiplayer games together on your own network without a subscription if every single console is in the same house.  I have not experienced such ease of access but I do admit I am mostly console illiterate.

This does bring up another problem… if we wanted to play with my spiritual brother Conrad (who lives in New York) we would need to shell out money for four subscriptions in order to play with him.  Oh yes… and if you have an Xbox and a PC on the same network you need to pay for the Xbox to play with the PC.  Yuji and I experienced this little gem when we were trying to play Fable 3 together.  YOU CAN theoretically play with a PC and a Xbox over Xbox live now.  HUZZAH!  Too bad Yuji’s Xbox kept on saying we needed a subscription in order to play together.  WE WERE ON THE SAME HOME NETWORK!!!!

That just puts the last nail in the coffin for me.  Consoles make you pay for a service your console is already built to do.  At least when we were all paying for subscriptions to World of Warcraft I knew that my money was going to pay the poor sods who had to continually update the game every month in order to keep it from crashing.

Other nails include: You can’t mod your game on Consoles, there is no easy reliable way to modify your hardware to improve performance and if the thing breaks you void your warranty if you open it up and try to fix it yourself.

With the lack of togetherness gaming, the only thing good about a Ps4 is the ability to sink into your couch while you play.

buuuut….there is one bright light: The Wii U.

I have purchased a Wii U and I’m in love with it.  It fits perfectly into my life.  The Wii U, unlike the Ps4 and the X-Box One, has embraced its multiplayer togetherness gaming spirit.  It does not try to compete with my PC.  Instead, it creates its own nitch that seems to work in harmony with my PC.

My favorite part about the games on the Wii U?

Super Mario 3D World and Mario Cart 8 seem to have been created with families in mind.  Its easy to jump in and out of gameplay, it does not severely punish you for using up all your lives and the more people playing the more fun the game gets.

Super Mario 3D world has been hilarious.  Evan, Bear, Bryce and I played through the entire game.  The coordination aspect was a bit easier than Payday 2, but we still chose to play that game even when we had access to PC games.  Sometimes its NICE to have a game that does not demand every ounce of brainpower.  I was able to play it with them despite being in a significant amount of pain.  Admittedly it only took us two gaming sessions to beat the entire game but… those two gaming sessions were a lot of fun.

It was not until Yuji and I were watching over my friends (who are age 6 and 10) that we had the opportunity to really appreciate Super Mario 3D world to its full extent.  Children have a completely different perspective from us adults.  We needed to work together to coordinate these different perspectives in order to progress in the game.  This was really fun.  It was also challenging while not reaching the point of making it too frustrating.

Oddly enough, my friends enjoyed playing Mario Cart 8 over Super Mario 3D World, despite Mario Cart 8 being more frustrating for them.  My 10 year old friend was having challenges with the game but she was slowly improving.  It was my 6 year old friend who really reminded me what gaming was about.  As we were playing, he was continually coming in last despite the game being at the lowest difficulty setting.  I was trying to be helpful and suggest game tactics to him, but I could tell he was getting very frustrated.  When I suggested that we could play another game, he looked up at me in disgust.  With his big blue eyes narrowed, he stated VERY clearly that he was going to figure this game out and he wanted to get better.

And on that day I was reminded that all gamers, regardless of age, want to challenge themselves to get better.

I have yet to try and play it with my parents… but rest assured, the day will come when my Dad, Mom and my brother Barrett will all attempt to work together to save tiny bottled fairies.  It is one of me greatest wishes to see this happen…(it will never happen)

PROPS to Nintendo for creating a game that families of any age can enjoy together.  I hope they continue to create games like this.  Downside: You have to buy controllers.  The Wii U is backwards compatible with the Wii controllers.  The Wii controllers have less sensitivity so eventually I will need to shell out money for 4 new wii stick controllers.  I will also need 4 Wii Pro controllers.  Its nice to see that Nintendo recognized that some people could not adapt to their new stick controllers but they will make you pay 200 dollars in order to have a set of 4.  I am choosing to have fun with this.  If I need to get 8 new controllers for my Wii U, then they are going to be the shinest, decorative glammory (I just made this word up.  Its MY WORD) money can buy!

And thus ends (for now) my midnight rambling rant of why I am PROUDLY a member of the PC master race.  Yuji has begun to convert as well.  The sweetest victory was when he admitted to me that he wished he could play first person shooters on a computer.  The controls allow for greater precision, but he is having a real hard time adapting to the controls.  Its so.. so sweeeeet….