Goodbye Facebook

I disabled Facebook Saturday. Ultimately I only did it to avoid the hatred that seems so prevalent currently. It was heartbreaking, there is no middle ground, and neither side can see the other. Why was I doing that to myself? Why was I inviting all that negativity into my life?

Then I had a life quote come back about surrounding myself with positive people. Yet I was not living that. The bigger issue was I didn’t want to unfriend all these people. Some of these individuals are quite dear to me, and I understand the social fallout which is linked with the severing of such ties.

So I disabled my Facebook account, and those who are still in touch with me are those I care about. I was told I should be able to use Messenger, but that failed. Fine. More texting and Google Hangout it is. However, the people I really want to be in touch with, I am.

This did cause one expected fault. Most of my online personas are tied to my Facebook account. My account isn’t there anymore. I can get through that.

The biggest uptick to leaving Facebook was unexpected. I’m blogging more. I’m writing more. I’m simply feeling better. It’s been about two days, and I’m much more productive. I didn’t realize how much time Facebook sucked out of me.

I did plan on returning to Facebook after the election, though the hate goes far beyond the election and likely won’t abate until after. If nothing else, my Facebook account may get a deep cleaning and I use it only for my writing and my other log ins.

On the otherhand, it’s really nice being productive.

Have you ever cut off Facebook? How did it go?

Whole30 Take 2

It all started about three weeks ago. A friend asked if I was interested in doing Tough Mudder in Chicago next year. It’s in August. Truthfully it’s in Rockford, but it just has to be within two hours. The Milwaukee one when I went was in Oshkosh. I agreed because I’m fat and I want to not be fat.

Then my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to do Whole30, because she was going to do Whole30. I’ve done it before. I visited her a couple times while in the midst of it and she made delicious dishes based on it. It was amazing. So I agreed.

On top of that, this weekend I moved in with my parents. I still have my apartment, but the mold is to the point I cannot stand it. So I will be figuring out how to get out of my rent. Why is this important? The exquisite gym I’m a member at is 10 minutes down the road.

I have the end goal of Tough Mudder, the dietary aide of Whole30, and the workout equipment to get ripped. I am excited for this. However today is day one of Whole30.

What does that mean? That means I’m going to be ornery in a couple days. That will continue for about two weeks. I will want to devour all things that are in front of me. And after two weeks? I will be quite excited and happy. I will have energy. I will be working out.

I’m glad that I’m getting a routine going. I’m glad I’m taking better care of my body and making positive routines. It’ll be good.

I hope you’re achieving your goals and your health is good!

Sun Tzu and Pokemon

Obsession you say? Nonsense I say!

Today I convinced my coworker to play the Pokemon TCG with me. I have a hoopa deck that I’ve played several times online, but I haven’t used the physical deck. He worked off the volcanion deck.

hoopa-unbound.jpg

Hoopa Unbound. He’s a scary purple genie

I sat there with a deck I knew. I had my primary strategies, the cards I needed and would try for, and I felt confident. I felt there was no way I could lose.

For whatever reason in that moment I understood the meta of what I was doing. Not the acronym people use, where META means Most Effective Tactic Available. At that moment I was watching the flow of competition as if I was outside of the moment. It felt as weird as it sounds.

My opponent surely felt he could win, especially with the knowledge my 4 year old nephew crushed me. He had a deck that was built to face off against mine, even if he didn’t know what exactly was in it. To be honest, aside from knowing it was a fire and steel deck, I didn’t know what was in it.

Know yourself, and you will win half your battles. Know yourself and your enemy and you will win all of your battles.

As the competition went on, I had my strategies before me. I worked through the cards I usually did, even though I had some energy issues. I had to try something new, and it paid off. My opponent made his moves as he learned the deck.

Then it reached a point where I knew how the game ended. It would still be five or six moves until the finale, but as he had two major Pokemon set up, I had two major Pokemon set up, I saw the only path which made sense. I would take out his active Pokemon. He would then take out mine. Our two final hopes would be on the field, with our little people waiting in reserve.

I needed to win a coin toss. I get that you may not understand everything leading up to this, but it would come down to two powerful beings trying to take each other out, and if I could win a coin toss, I won the game. If I lost the coin toss, I lost the game. It would still be three turns after that coin toss, but the results would be inevitable.

It played out the way I expected it to, and we were left with the coin toss. I flipped and looked at the ceiling. In that moment I was both victorious and defeated. I looked down. Heads. I needed heads.

He tried valiantly with his final two Pokemon, but I ran through them in two turns, and the game was over.

Both sides believe they can win a conflict, or they wouldn’t be in conflict. Sometimes it’s delusional or ridiculous defiance, but usually there’s a shot. There is also generally a key moment, and often times the farsighted strategist will see it. They will see the events leading up to that moment, they will recognize that moment, and they will comprehend that winning or losing that one moment dictates the course of everything else to come.

This is Helm’s Deep. It’s Normandy. It’s a thousand other battles, real and fantastic. While not as cut and dry, they are the defining points that a loss would mean total defeat, and victory would mean the march continued.

In this moment of playing a children’s game, I gleaned all of this. It’s amazing what we can learn, even in the simplest of things.

Pokemon Professor Exam

So tonight I spent like three hours reading information about Pokemon. I was basically studying for the Pokemon Professor exam. By basically I was. I want to get an organizer certification so I can organize events. In 30 days I’ll also apply for a judge certification, since the store I’m interested in helping needs both.

After doing all this reading, taking notes (if I write information, I remember it better), discovering how to do the paperwork required of an organizer, I went to take the certification test. I thought, I’m ready. I can take the world.

I could not. I looked at half the questions with a blank stare. Back to the drawing board.

I know I could have cheated. I could have looked up all the answers to the questions they gave me. A few were value calls, so those it’s really just what do I think embodies their values best, but a lot of it was not. However, two of the core values are integrity and honesty, and I greatly believe in both of these.

So tomorrow I study some more, read more of the information, and I think tomorrow night I’ll be ready for the certification.

I will become a Pokemon Professor. My friends will make fun of me. But I’ll be able to teach kids a cool card game, and that makes the mocking worthwhile.

Not the very best there ever was

I lost to my nephew over the weekend at Pokemon card game. I seriously looked at what he played, and he played it twice, and my brow furrowed, and I thought to myself something I will not type here. But it was vulgar. A kyogre that could heal 30 damage every turn? How do you compete with that monstrosity? Add to it my deck was poorly shuffled. It was just bad.

kyogre.jpg

I mean, what was I going to do?

diancie.jpg

Especially when this was the ace up my sleeve….

When I got home, I responded as any mature adult would respond to getting thrashed by a four year old who still requires me to read his cards for him: I made a new deck with new cards since I can buy these cards on my own and he cannot, and I made sure it would thrash him. Like, the next time we play, abandon all hope, kid. Because…adult.

To say the least, I haven’t learned much about being a good loser from watching the anime. The lessons just aren’t setting in.

I also got him the video game. He is starting with Pearl, and I’m excited for that adventure. I’ll be setting up gyms for him, and I have a friend making badges out of wood, so when he beats me, he can get a gym badge. My plan really is for him to lose once, try to learn how he lost, and then if he actually uses what he learned, he can beat me the second go. Should be a lot of fun.

As for my niece…I need to learn more about Barbie apparently. She loves dolls. I mean, she also enjoys Pokemon, but I am fairly sure that’s her copying her brother. Though she does think diancie is beautiful.

Swindled?

I had to get my car’s emissions checked today since I need to renew my license today. I saw a family at a corner but didn’t read their sign. They looked middle eastern, with a husband, wife, and three kids. At the time I was focused on my emissions test.

I arrive and I’m told it will be 15-20 minutes. No big deal. I go to get something to eat. As I’m walking, I pass by the family again. I have time to read the sign. They’re trying to get the family home and are looking for gas or food. I can do that. I mean, they’re at a gas station.

“Want me to fill up your car?”

“That would be great. Can you spare anything for food? A visa gift card would be great.” That’s the gist of it. His English was good but broken.

As he gets in his car, I notice Illinois sort of plates. Not even temp plates. I don’t know what it really means. There was one talking about drive around. So I was more than a little confused on those plates, but it’s pretty crappy to attach strings to a good deed. I went in with a giving heart, and need or not, I was going to give what I could.

So I fill him up with gas. $30. That’s steep. I mean, as the month comes to a close, I’m getting a little tight. Still, I can help.

I ask where he’s going. Oklahoma City. I ask about his kids and why he came out here. He was in Chicago to find work but didn’t have his green card so no one would hire him. He’s probably stereotyping me. I’m likely a hippy. I’m against illegal immigrants. I’m a conservative. But it sounded like he wanted to be productive, and I’m more against the illegal immigrants committing criminal acts.

I ask him what’s in OKC. His mother is there, and that’s where they’re from, so they already have roots. That’s awesome. All this guy and his family have to do is get to OKC. It’s like a 10 hour drive tops. So he thanks me, brings up the visa gift cards, and drives off. I’m going to help this guy get his family to OKC. Like, food is important, but a stomach can survive for ten hours.

I go into the Mobile gas station. They’re pretty scattered about, and when I visit my brother in South Dakota I can find Mobile. I get a $50 gift card. That’s a fill up and a half, and two and a half tanks should get him pretty close to OKC if it doesn’t get him there out right.

He brings up the visa gift cards again. He thanks me, but he says the kids need food and such. I told him that the gift card should get them close to OKC. But the kids. Gift cards. Visa. Food. The kids need food. He mentioned earlier they’re picky, so they’d rather get a gift card than have food purchased for them. Fair enough.

I feel something is wrong, but I’m already half way in. He brings up several times the kids are hungry and need food, but they need to buy it with a gift card. I’m going to lunch. There was an IHOP across the street he said they liked. So I told him I was going to get lunch, they can come to IHOP with me, and I’ll pay their bill.

At this point he flat out rejects my kindness and more or less says unless it’s on a gift card they can use for anything, they want nothing else from me.

Got it. You do not plan on using this at all to aid your children and you are not going to OKC.

I was discouraged. Someone I know said he wouldn’t give again because of his similar experience.

In the future I will still give. I’d rather be swindled repeatedly in the hopes of reaching one family than to miss out on that one family because I threw my money away on people who don’t need it. I’d love to have more job openings so I can employ those individuals who are asking for work. I’m sure they expect, “Clean my garage for the day.” Instead it’s a steady 8-5 job. I’m sure some would balk, like this family. He said he couldn’t find work, while asking for handouts in front of a “Help Wanted” sign. But again, if my love can reach one person, and if it can help them be lifted up or even change their heart, that’s good enough for me. I’ll throw away hundreds to help the few.

Have you ever given and felt swindled? Ever give and you were able to see the beautiful outcome? When I visit Guatemala I get to see the beautiful outcome.

The Blood Oars and Jang E (Part I)

First chapter in a serial. Each will be about 500-1000 words. It’s going to be Asian pirates.

Lands of Volden

“Captain Ning, the Black Hauls approach the harbor.” Second Ing Lee burst into the villa’s study, though there were few books. Most of the villa, not simply the study were filled with maps, gold, silver, trinkets, women, sake, and weapons, as long ago it had been given over to the deprivations of pirates.

Yi Ning sat in a large ox leather chair. There were several cuts in it, and the city of Jang E no longer housed craftsmen with the ability to fix the chair. Ning had also been unable to find a capable captive.

He swung his feet down from the stained bamboo desk in front of him, nicked and scuffed by his own ventures. Three women were laying on the ground around him in piles of pillows and blankets, and he barked at them to leave. The women, high on opiates and intoxicated on swill, obeyed with mumbles…

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