Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scrapping the 12 Days of Blogs-mas.

Frankly after some rather horrible stuff going on in the world (read: school shooting in CT), friends going through personal problems, my own personal problems....I'm not feeling very Christmas-like right now.

In fact I'm pretty damn angry. I don't think that is conducive to writing fluff pieces related to holiday dorkery. What I want to go after is the gun issue in this country. I want to address the topic of organized religion and its influences (good or ill). I want to completely bitch about that Pathfinder MMO Kickstarter for various reasons.....and compared to the other two topics it doesn't matter.

I don't get paid to do this. I do this for enjoyments sake and to leave some sort of mark out there in the aether. And while I was getting learned up in college I was very brief in my online appearances here now I'm going to take my time and craft something worthwhile to read for a change. Something I feel may actually be important to read and one that is all me.

So if you're looking for holiday cheer in this spot.....that isn't what you're going to find as Krampus as taken residence this year at AE.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 Days of Blogs-mas: Confessions of a 35yr Old College Student on Winter Break

Finals are done and now it is time to relax and reflect about what I subjected myself to for the past few months.

The workload isn't as terrible as I was expecting it to but I was taking Gen Eds with some courses that pertain to my major. There was work but I didn't feel the class work was overwhelming. The readings were fairly easy to keep up with. So far I am pretty proud of how I did. Yeah a few finals I feel I could have done better on but I now know what to expect in the future.

I also realized most folk on campus generally do not want to be bothered. Occasionally I hear a hello from people I go to class with but I am generally left alone and give the others the same courtesy. It can feel lonely at times but I usually distract myself with keeping up on my readings while trapped on campus. I don't see this pattern changing in the spring semester either and I think I'm ok with that.

As for the professors I don't think I could have asked for a better group of educators for my reintroduction back into academia. All were professional, passionate about their work and the fields they are experts in and each was very personable and willing to talk and assist with concerns. A few of the professors I'll be looking to take more courses they offer in the future because of the rapport I built over the semester.

As for my fellow students most as good people. I have noticed over the course of the semester that a large majority of young adults straight out of high school have no capacity for a healthy skepticism. None. Everything is either black or white, good or bad. It is the lightswitch mentality (on or off) with these kids and it is pointless trying to engage them in discourse as the arguments are just wastes of time. Everything is taken at face value with no desire or consideration to examine/question what is in front of them. This is pretty damn distressing and frankly worrisome. I will keep an eye on this as my college career continues and see if I notice as change as they get older and experience more.

So now I'm off until late January and feel I've earned it. I can't wait until my spring semester to see what new stuff I get to learn there and how I will apply what I have learned in conjunction.
The biggest thing I have learned from this experience so far is I can do this. I can do this and I am enjoying this as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Blogs-mas: The Year In Review Edition

I am so tired as I write this. You see as this gets posted on 12/13/12 I've actually written it on 12/12/12 as part of a mental break I needed from studying for a final exam on 12/13. So that is such a wonderful doorway into just what has happened this year to you're intrepid writing pal.

1) College. Yes I went back to school full time in August to pursue a degree in Communications (Media Studies) at my local state university. I have enjoyed it so far but the depths of how much and what stressors it has brought upon me I will save for a 'Confessions...' article later in the month. Right now my brain is hurting trying to come up with the bullet points for my blue book essay for 19th Century U.S. History.

2) Gaming! Yes the fun stuff. On the table top front I've been GMing two different Pathfinder games. As my school semester hit the half way point I breaked due to work load but I have both games set up after my finals to get one last session in before 2013 hits. However if the Mayans were right then the Runelords group is screwed as it is supposed to run on 12/22.

I've also had a fun playing in the odd Eclipse Phase game this past year. Call of Cthulhu has also popped up on radar with some new folk added into the mix of Viscount Eric's group of insane investigators. I also had the privilege of running a TOON! game for some of the old guard. It sure was nice reconnecting with those fine folk again and their families too.

I supported a Kickstarter and I was not disappointed as it was very awesome. The breakdown of goodies and a critical review of the quality of the product and the Kickstarter process is in the pipeline or whenever I finish my finals.

3) Video Games! More fun stuff. I've played some good games this year but recently there have been only two that have consumed more of my time than any others have this year. Star Wars: The Old Republic and Borderlands 2. I loved the first Borderlands and this improves on the first in so many ways its silly. As for the MMO....I never thought I would get involved (read: sucked in) with an MMO but this one has got me doing the end game gear grind, running operations (high level dungeon raids) and being silly. So yeah, I've been having fun playing it. So has my wife.

Anyways there have been some other gems in the video game rough but nothing that has kept my interest like the two above. Two games I see myself playing way into 2013 (Mayans be damned).

4) Life! I has one! The best parts of this year have been the times I've spent with my wife. In the best times it has been more enjoyable and in the worst times her being there has made it easier to handle. Interspersed through out the first half of the year there have been some very bad times dealing with a toxic relationship and its fall out. Being demonized is no fun let me tell you. However the exact opposite started to happen shortly afterwards as I reconnected with some old friends who showed back up at just the right time. Its like the opportunity for this to happen was just around the corner and its timing couldn't have been more perfect.

We took a trip to Washington D.C. this summer to see the historical sites, the monuments, The Smithsonian and the Art of Video Games exhibit. Excellent exhibit and we had a fun time there with our excellent company. We also popped out to Pittsburgh to check it out and had fun there as well with our friends living in that region. No GenCon trip this year however as that is slated for 2013.

We've also had the chance to attend two concerts. The Last Summer on Earth Tour with Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveller, Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Cracker. It was a 90's music experience and all the acts were great. More recently we attended the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Tour. Some Christmas music a'la BSO, some good rockabilly swing and rock and roll. Add to that Dr. Bob and his lovely lady and the night was a rousing success.

5) Movies! Best one I watched this year? Wreck-It Ralph. It was the most enjoyable movie going experience I've had all year. I also enjoyed Brave, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, The Expendables 2 and The Rise of the Guardians. The more I think about The Avengers the less I can remember about it except Hulk playing "put out the Darkwing" with Loki. Great example of mass produced pop-culture garbage but there is not a good movie lying under that facade. Now I just have two more to see before the year's out: The Hobbit and Django Unchained. Guess which one we're seeing Christmas night...

6) LEGO! There is a rather large backlog of material I need to get through here but it has been a fruitful year in this department.

All in all this year was like every year past; full of stress, fighting, dealing with situations beyond our collective control. However I've managed to find more highlights within my past year and that is a win in my book. I have great friends, a wonderful family and a wife that is there with me through thick and thin. I've had experiences (good and bad) that have just made me a stronger person. And with all that I can say that I'm happy.