Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yes Virginia, There Are Female Gamers Out There!

I know this is a shock to many people, but there are thousands of gamers out there that are not pimply faced teenage boys. In fact, many of them are women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and skill (myself included.)

The new Call of Duty: Black Ops released on November 9th to a staggering $360 million opening day total. And yes, believe it or not, many of those buying the game were female.

For me personally, I do not like FPS games. (That's "first person shooters" for you non-gamers out there). Not because they are "violent" or "graphic" but simply because I am not coordinated enough to properly aim, fire, and survive. Hubby is excellent at FPS games, but I think that's because he's had actual military training in how to aim and shoot weapons. Younger people who don't have this sort of background experience are good at these games because they have "young eyes" and "young reflexes". Now mind you, there are a few FPS games that I can play because their targeting system seems to work with my idiot brain. Games like Metroid Prime, Gears of War, and Halo are games that I can handle. Call of Duty, on the other hand, were it real life, I would be dead in .0000000001 of a second.

There's also the big controversy that games such as CoD and other "war" games glorify violence and the act of revenge killing. For me, that's ridiculous. If video games affected people in such a way, I would be stomping on mushrooms, punching brick walls, and sporting a mustache and red overalls. (If you're not getting the reference, I'm talking about Mario Brothers.) I grew up during the infancy of the video game console. As I have grown up, so have the systems and video games I play. You could say that I have gone along for the ride with video games and their evolution. I started out jumping barrels to save a princess from an evil gorilla (Donkey Kong) to training my dog to dig for treasure while I shoot bandits between the eyes in a land called Albion (Fable 2).

The most recent controversy stems from the new CoD Black Ops commercial currently airing on TV every 10 minutes. If you haven't seen it, it features live actors in a live war scene from all walks of life. You've got the chubby librarian firing an M-16 like it's cool, the savvy businesswoman taking out the enemy like she's taking out the garbage, a celebrity basketball player throwing grenades, and the talk show host ducking for cover, while the short order cook takes out the bad guy with a couple of glocks. Personally, I think it is an amazing commercial and, regardless of the fact that war games are not my cup of tea, it makes even me excited to play a game like Black Ops. But I don't as per the reasons listed above. The controversy lies within the fact that rather than show visuals of the game, there are real people in a real scene showing "real" violence.

Judge for yourself:

The ad, at least in my humble opinion, is perfect. It is all inclusive. Women are not relegated to the "girlfriend who is being ignored while her boyfriend plays Madden" as a recent Playstation 3 ad suggested, rather they are forces to be reckoned with. This is one of the first, if not the only game ad that acknowledges the existence of the "female gamer". Unfortunately, CoD: Black Ops only allows you to create male players, and many real female gamers like to play well, as females. At least this chick gamer does. But I guess I have to be satisfied with this baby step. Now if we could only stop the idiots from getting mental when they hear a female voice on the other end of the screen, we'd be making some progress. I swear, if I hear one more "how big are your tits" comment, I may take out my own squadron.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'm Arachnophobic.
I am scared of spiders.
Yes, yes, I know the irony: An admitted "goth chick" who is afraid of spiders. I mean, aren't I supposed to love everything creepy, crawly, and Halloween related?
No. I don't. I am afraid of spiders and anything related to the arachnid family. This includes scorpions, ticks, crabs (not arachnids but scary nonetheless), etc.

Now you might think that when I say "scared", I mean something to the effect that I see a spider and say "eek!" and run away or grab a shoe and kill it.

Not even close.

Let me explain to you what happens to me when I see a spider. First of all, I lose the ability to speak. You ever have those dreams where something bad is happening to you and, in the dream, you try to scream, but nothing comes out? That's what happens to me in real life. Secondly, I lose the ability to move. My legs lock and I cannot run, walk, hop, skip, or jump away from the thing that is frightening me so. My hands also will clench into fists to the point where I have made my palms bruise and bleed from my nails digging into them. I will begin to shake uncontrollably and hyperventilate. Crying hysterically is also part of the deal. But the "best" part of my fear of spiders is that lovely fact that I lose all bladder control. It doesn't matter if I am in private, in public, with friends, with strangers, children or adults, I will pee my pants.

This has happened to me in the middle of Target, in the privacy of my own home, in a park, at birthday parties, at work (before I was a mom), and everything else in between.

It's not funny.

It's humiliating and embarrassing.

Let me reiterate in case you didn't get it: I PEE MY PANTS and I can't control it.

This doesn't just happen with actual spiders in front of me. It happens with pictures of spiders, movies with spiders, real spiders, fake spiders, and even the robotic spiders from the 80's movie "Runaway" with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons. In fact, I had to skip the entire chapter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dealing with Aragog. Those pages are actually ripped out of my Harry Potter book. When I saw the movie, I had to leave the theater and come back when I got the "all clear". And to tell you the truth, just writing this blog has made me uncomfortable.

So, to the people who giggle and laugh and think it is funny to send me pictures of spiders or walk their fingers on my shoulder and say "oooo I think there's one on you now!", I would like to say, very politely, and with love, "STOP IT".

Do you think I like being like this? Do you think it is enjoyable to feel this way? Do you think it is fun to turn down trips and gatherings with friends because I know there are spiders there? Do you think I like being laughed at? Do you think I enjoy knowing that people can lose all respect for someone after seeing them act in this manner over a spider? Do you think it is funny when people exploit this weakness and think it is funny to hide toy spiders knowing that they will scare me?

I don't. Not one bit.

So here's a memo: It's not fucking funny.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cheese and Crackers

Apologies for not blogging as often as I should but Mr. Billy Reuben and Mr. D-Lane have captured my attention and there seem to be not enough hours in the day to get everything done that I have to get done. So, apologies, to my loyal readers and I will try to be more diligent.

That being said, I was going to write a huge rant about the elections and my disgust with them, both in Florida and the rest of the country, but I have come to the conclusion that this is a good thing. It's a good thing because, by 2012, the country will be so far down the shitter that a Democrat is guaranteed to win. That's how I see it (or at least what I tell myself to stop from crying and pulling out my hair at the same time).

Anyhoo, I thought I would relay an interesting conversation I had the other day while standing in line at my local Walgreens. I was there picking up medicine for Dante as, for reasons unknown to me, since starting school, he has been a magnet for every germ known to man and thus was home sick (again). I was on line waiting to pay. In front of me the "Milk Guy" was settling up with the cashier both in his deliveries and in getting her number for later on in the evening. Nice looking guy, looked exactly like Snoop Dogg (but not as tall) and extremely enthusiastic about the elections taking place that day. The conversation went as follows:

Milk Guy (to cashier girl): Girl, you best remember to vote today on your break! Don't forget girl. I'll hit you up later after you vote! Just don't forget to vote.

Cashier Girl: Pffffffffffft. I don't know nothin' about no votin'.

Me: Are you serious?!? Girl, you have to vote! It's important!

Cashier Girl: Mmm-hmmm. I don't know nothing' about no votin'. For real.

Milk Guy: Girl, you crazy! It don't matter that Obama is President. The crackers are trying to take over and run the world.

Me (with a neck roll): HOLD UP! This "cracker" (pointing to myself) voted for Obama.

Milk Guy: Nah, nah, nah ma. I didn't mean it like that. I meant like the rednecks and shit.

Me (with a broader neck roll): Hold Up Again! I married a "redneck" who voted for Obama!

Milk Guy: For real? Uhhhh, well you know...

Me: No. I don't "know". The words you are using are just as bad as if I were sitting here saying that "n***ers" ( I didn't say it, I spelled it) were taking over the country and that Obama hates white people. You sound just like the "cracker rednecks" you claim to know so well. You're as bad as they are.

Milk Guy: Shit. I guess you right, girl. I'm sorry. Fight the Power! (raises fist walks out)

Me (to cashier girl): You really need to vote and know what is going on. The politicians running today are going to take us, as women, and you as a black woman back to the 1800s, where we have no control over our bodies and minorities are subjected to abject poverty while the rich get richer and those who need help don't get it. You really should be aware of what is going on.

Cashier Girl: $29.50 please.

*sigh* I tried. I really did. There has to be a way to motivate people to want to get involved and want to know who and what is going on. I mean, this woman wasn't a teenager. She was probably late 20's or so and was completely oblivious. On the flip side, Milk Guy was enthusiastic (maybe a little misguided as to who the real "enemy" is) but he was raring to go, wearing his "I voted" sticker proudly, and rallying up anyone in earshot. The question is, how do we get that? In EVERYONE?

As I walked out to my car, I saw Milk Guy loading his truck, blasting Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" from the "It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" album (one of my personal favorites) and as he looked over at me and I was rapping along, word for word, to Chuck D's licks, I heard him say, "Girl, you all right!"

For a cracker.