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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A day in my life or real moms don't eat/pee/sleep

I received and e-mail asking me what my life is like with 5 kids, a husband, a kid living here that isn't even mine, working and gaming. Yes, it does seem like a lot on one plate. So for your amusement, a typical day in my life.

1 AM: Got to bed
6 AM: Husband's alarm goes off
6:30 AM: Get the 17 yr old that isn't mine up for school.
7 AM: Wake up my 13 yr old son
7:10 AM: Wake up the 13 yr old again
7:15 AM: Get mad, turn on his light and steal his blankets
7:20 AM: He finally wanders out of bed
7:30 AM: Get the 4 yr old boy up (he wants 10 more minutes), tell my 17 yr old girl she is going to be late for school and get out of bed. 13 yr old looks for his crap so he can go to school.
7:40 AM: Get 4 yr old up and dressed, fight for the 1 bathroom with the 17 yr old girl so the 4 yr old can pee and brush his teeth. 17 yr old boy (not mine) leaves.
7:55 AM: 17 yr old girl leaves
8:15-8:30 AM: Bus picks up 4 yr old and I pray the 9 month old will stay asleep.
8:30 AM: Dang it, 9 month old wakes up. Get a 'Good Morning' from my favorite gal Amariyura! COFFEE WHERE IS MY COFFEE!

Now the times get fluid. Play with baby, start computer. Maybe drop a note to my 19 yr old (at college) on Facebook. Play with baby. Feed baby. Change baby. Baby decides to play alone. I work. Work, work, work. Damn. The 13 yr old didn't do his dishes last night. Do dishes. Try to straighten up house(deep cleaning is reserved for the weekends. Baby wants food. Feed baby. Baby takes nap. Work, works, work. Did I mention I work form home on a computer? Baby wakes up within 30 minutes. Dang it. Feed baby. Change baby. Play with baby. Repeat all above steps until 12:30 PM when the bus drops of the 4 year old.

Feed 4 yr old snack. Talk to him about his day. He goes to play. Baby wants to sleep. Feed baby. Put baby down for another nap. Tell 4 yr old to be quiet. Work. Go to Facebook at some time to get a break from the stupidity I see working. Work, work, work.

3 PM: Other kids get out of school. Get predictable call from 13 yr old asking if he can go somewhere or someone come over. He gets no because he didn't do his chores last night. He argues. I get mad. He comes home and lays around the house, literally. Kid would gross moss on his butt if I didn't make him move. 17 yr old guy has lifting or tennis. 17 yr old gives me run down of her day, is going to hang out with boyfriend.

Work, work, work. Get stuff for baby and 4 yr old when demanded. Oh darn, did I get a shower? No? Crap. Ask 17 yr old girl to watch the infant so I can shower...finally.

5 PM: start dinner. Field questions regarding dinner which can be plainly seen but no one can seem to bother to look and see what it is. Hear complaints. Complaints ignored. Make a sandwich, whiner.

6-6:30 PM: Husband home. Dinner done, make everyone eat. Generally my first meal of the day. Work, work, work.

8 PM: If I am lucky, I am done working (hit my quota for the day) and I can play a game.

8-8:30 PM: 4 yr old goes to bed. Remind which teen it's their dish night.

9 PM: Try to decide on game. So tired.

12 AM: Played a game, got the other kids to bed. Shut house down. Took dog out. Fed dog. Baby wakes up. Feed baby.

1 AM: Sleep.

Now there is a ton of other things that go on but that is the nutshell of my day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This is completely brilliant!

I promise I'll got back to my typical game review-esque blog but I had to share this.


The Doyouinverts


It is completely worth listening to and have a glance at the lyrics. I think I love these guys.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Girls, gaming, sexism and cyberbullying

This is rambling but I am trying to take care of a 9 month old and my writing gets interrupted. My train of thought is then derailed so I thank you in advance for your patience.

Sexism and abuse are very big hot button topics in the gaming world right now (and thanks to Scott Adams, everywhere else too) and I have a lot to say on the subject. My opinion won't sit well with everyone and I think that sometimes people get angry when confronted with something unpleasant. You might be surprised at the end of this if you can manage to get to the end. I am not always the most well spoken person but here it goes:

When I was I was growing up, girls weren't gamers. Sure the Atari 2600 was big and so were arcades but more often than not, you'd see the girls watching the guys play and not playing themselves. I was an aberration. I was playing and not watching. I was viewed suspiciously by the girls and the guys. I rolled with it and was wicked good at Centipede by the way. I supported the video game industry quarter by quarter. Even the movies from that era show the girls hanging around the guys while the guys played.

I loved video games from the start but back then girls were not encouraged to play, much less pursue a career in the field. Hell, guys that decided to do something in video games were viewed and genius slackers. It wasn't something you out down for your dream job during career day at school. We were poor as well (raised by a single mom) so the idea of going to college wasn't really there.

I proceeded to buy all the big systems as they came out. Played hours on end, loved my games and learned the developers names and reputations. Enter the era of online gaming consoles. This was epic because people could play with friends without sitting in front of a computer. Of course harassing other players was fairly normal on computer but it seemed less harmful then it is now. Possibly because of it being mostly text based and no one asked if you were a girl. They all just assumed you were male.

I resisted joining Xbox Live through the original Xbox age and I didn't go online with the Playstation 2. Finally, my husband bullied me into playing Halo 3 and I was hooked. I had to get a gamertag. Then we got a PS3 and, wow, online was FREE!
Little did I know what would happen now that people could hear me and my gender. The verbal abuse, sexual comments and vile things people said to me shocked me. I had never been attacked with such venom before. I let it roll off my back and muted people right and left. I then started fighting back, not by insulting them but by removing the power of their insults. If they called me fat, I would agree and tell them I was 600lbs and a 4 feet tall. They'd have nothing to say after that. They'd say I was a lesbian and I would respond that at least that meant I knew what a vagina looked like. Again, you'd hear crickets because I took away their power.

I also noticed the racial slurs were getting worse and people were just downright ignorant. Every day I am amazed by it. Sure it might be the anonymity of cyberspace but if a person was raised with the right direction and morals, they wouldn't even cross that line.

Okay where am I going with this...I forgot. Oh yeah, females were only accepted in video games as a sexualized character, not as players. The characters were beautiful, with huge breasts, tiny waists and bounce. Then came Laura Croft (since no one knew Samus was female at this point. She was a strong female lead in the game but guess what...still sexualized so that men wanted to date her. She was okay because she was pretty and sexy. I can appreciate a nice computer rendered stack. Video game characters are supposed to be what we aren't, fantasy, and this is what the perfect female is to the men that are going to buy the games.

Sex sells games. I get that. They have 'Booth Babes' at conventions because they look great in skimpy clothes and can hand stuff out. Men like that. Female gaming characters are hot because men like that. However, it creates an issue for female game players. Because women are marketed in the gaming industry through Booth Babes and characters, as sex objects, female gamers become sex objects by default. Men still outnumber females as gamers so of course the industry is going to pursue the "sex" marketing of games. It works so why fix it?

Of course when a female gamers thwarts the advances of the males, she then becomes fat or ugly. Why? Well partially because the male ego cannot stand to think that every woman in the world might not want him but also because they have been taught that girls+games=girls that are playing to meet guys or are sluts.

Harassment happens to everyone in online gaming and all of it is appalling and unacceptable. Sure my friends and I razz each other before a game but people tend to take things too far. Calling people racist names, talking about raping them, coming to their houses to murder them or just basically being as foul as they possibly can has unfortunately become so routine, that it is ceasing to shock.

Let me ask you, the reader, is it okay that as a female gamer I enter a game expecting to be harassed, even if I do not say a word because I know my gamertag or avatar is female? Shouldn't harassment be more surprising and not so much part of the territory? It seems sad that rather than getting on a game expecting to have some fun, I expect to have to defend myself and my reason of being there. I shouldn't have to defend my gaming. No male has to, so why do I? Sure they get harassed but they are never told to go back to the kitchen or asked why they are playing, that guys aren't allowed to play games. Yet females are often told they don't belong there, shouldn't be playing games or to learn their place and do some sort of sex act instead. Lord help the ladies if they beat the guys. That is a fresh Hell that will be unleashed upon them. The male ego can't take it and the offender must be smote.

I'll give a nod to my fellow gamer girls at www.fatuglyorslutty.com. They decided that it was time to poke fun at this sort of thing, make light of it and hopefully embarrass gamers into better behavior by exposing it for all the world to see. No longer do the harassed gamers have to delete the messages and pretend it's normal. Now we can show everyone what really happens. Right now, it does seem the majority of the submissions are from female gamers but I think that it's because the females are more fed up. Plus, we are a vengeful gender by nature. We'd much rather get back at you than try to take you on fist for fist.

Gaming is not longer a "guys club" and if I were younger and smarter, I'd love a career in the video game field. Even if it was just as a reporter, tester or reviewer. I love games and now women are working in the field more. There are female developers(yes guys, some of those games you love were thought up or created by a girl *gasp*), programmers and heads of companies. They are all around you. I wish I had been born just a few years later so I could have been on that boat. Maybe one of my daughters will go in that career direction. I know one of my sons wants to.

Now I am not going to place all the blame on the gaming industry nor the gamers themselves. I will put some of the blame on parents that use games as a way to babysit their kids so they don't have to deal with them and they don't monitor what sweet little 10 year old Johnny just said to the other guy online. Though we all just heard Johnny call the guy a cocksucker. My son has parental controls at 13 and if I heard him say that, his account would be revoked but I know what goes on online, other parents don't play and don't bother to educate themselves. I blame them for not raising their children right in the first place, not instilling a sense of respect for anyone other than themselves and giving their children a sense of entitlement. I am not just talking about Little Johnny either, I am lumping those adult children that are now 20, 23, 25 and still acting the part of the ignorant.

I blame a society that views cyberbullying as a horrific thing but doesn't view the online gaming community as something to be taken seriously so that kind of cyberbullying doesn't count and can be ignored. Yes, it is cyberbullying.

Don't take what I say the wrong way, I am not saying women are the only victims, I am just writing from that perspective because I am a woman. I can't help that but when I see people all bent out of shape because they are going to make Laura Croft more realistic and less pornstar like in appearance, it puts it all in perspective.

I watched PAX East recently and still all the booths had the pretty little 20-somethings in tiny outfits handing stuff out and posing for pictures. It sells, I get it. Just once I'd like to see a group of booth babes that were overly hot guys, you know, just as an attempt to market to the ladies.

I guess I should talk about the "Gamer Babes" that are out there. You know that "hot ladies of gaming" that are on one site or another. They are photographed as sexy pin ups and marketed, again, as a sex object for male gamers. These girls do play games but they are made out as sex objects to make them more palatable for male gamers. I mean a guy can't find a girl with a 3.5 K/D in Call of Duty sexy but throw her in a bikini top and Daisy Dukes, push her breasts up into a butt and she instantly becomes okay in his eyes. Why? Why do we have to act the dumb slut to be accepted? Most female gamers are neither ugly, slutty nor fat. We are smart, attractive and talented women. We are good people but that isn't enough to be allowed to play games in peace. Not all guys are like this of course and most guys are fine. The obnoxious ones get all the press because they are obnoxious and therefore more noticed. I have met some awesome guys online that I play with regularly and met because I was being harassed by other guys and they liked the way I handled it, plus I am not a bad player. I will stand up for myself. If I do put the guy in his place, invariably I will hear the c-word because he has nothing to come back at me with.

The girls that giggle flirt with the guys do not help the problem and neither do the girls with the sexy/degrading gamertags. Calling yourself BendMeOver or SexyKitty doesn't legitimize female gamers. These types of names are an invitation to be harassed. Sure guys can make any name sound dirty but that doesn't mean you need to make it easy for them.

It won't change anytime soon and until the industry starts taking notice of the females as more than sex objects to market games, we will always be viewed that way. I am not crying about it, stomping my feet, yelling "it's not fair" and expecting someone to come rescue me. I am just telling it how I see it and from my point of view.

I accept it the way it is and when I go online to play alone, I put myself in a closed party, put my headset in my lap and play so I don't have to talk to or hear anyone. This unfortunately takes away from the social purpose of multiplayer but when left with the only other option being verbal abuse, I'll opt to play anti-socially. Multiplayer games are meant to be team games and yet, I have to remove myself from the team just because I don't want to be harassed.

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this. I thank you for reading and listening.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So many games and Mass Effect DLC

As if I didn't have enough to play, I borrowed games from some friends. I picked up Assassin's Creed 2, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Brutal Legend, Halo Wars and Batman Arkham Asylum.

So far, I am really liking AC2. The repetitive nature of AC has been remedied a bit. The story is intriguing and it's gorgeous to look at.

I watched someone in my house play Batman. I am not sure I am going to like it. Looks kind of dull to me. I'll give it a shot though.

Halo Wars is a basic RTS but I think it would be better played on a PC. Just my opinion, but RTS games don't really belong on consoles.

Played most of the new Fable 3 DLC, Traitor's Keep. It's bigger than the previous ones and more challenging. I actually got knocked down for the first time. The enemies are bulked up a bit.

They announced DLC being released for Mass Effect 2 on March 29. I cannot wait!!! I put a deposit down on Mass Effect 3 today too. *squeal*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dragon Age 2!

Well done Bioware!

Let's talk about Dragon Age Origins first so I can explain what I feel they have improved.

The fighting style of Dragon Age Origins is something I would call "passive" combat. You'd have to stand in close proximity to the enemy and then your character would start swing it's sword. Kind of a pain. Dragon Age 2 fixed this. You can now mash your fight button to control your weapon. Then you have your talents that you can draw on when you want. Much better and less fiddly. The AI actually fights better but I haven't seen them drink potions when they need to. I hope they do because that was always a pain.

The graphics are stunning and amazing. There are voices! No more endless reading. Now I have just started this so I am not too deep into the story. You can import your Dragon Age Origins game save and have it be your backstory just like Mass Effect. Apparently, it changes the storyline a little too.

You can register at the Bioware site for some small free downloadable things for your game too. If you aren't already registered of course. I wish I had picked up the Signature Edition when it was available. Now I have to pay for the Exiled Prince DLC and am missing some items. Oh well.