20161029

Dear Cubs Fans

Alright, Cubs fans, let's get your mind right. I've been observing you people closely, and have a few pieces of advice to offer that will enhance your experience as a baseball fan.

01) quit acting like this is the only chance you're ever going to have; this is sports; no one cares what you did last year or 108 years ago; this team is built really well, and is going to be good for a long time, especially with Theo (and whatever puppet is technically GM) and Maddon; you have one of the best pseudo-GM and manager combos in baseball; this is a very talented team that has several years before all these guys hit free agency and head to the east coast; and if things continue like they have, they should be replenished in terms of youth when that happens; like I said, win or lose this year, the Cubs (and their national media darling status) are going to be back here at least a few times in the near future.

02) you're not owed anything; no one cares that it's been 71 years since your last appearance and 108 since your last win; you got here because your team is really good, not because you're owed something; no, I won't root for your team out of pity; have some damn pride.

03) Believe. Stop it with the typical Chicago pessimism. This team can win. Yes, they are emblematic of evil and should be stopped at all costs, but the Cubs are a legitimate contender, and you should act like they are. When they're down by 1, late in the game, and you got two men on and two outs, stop it with the 'oh, here we go again, typical Cubbies' bullshit; I hate your team, and still wanna smack you for not respecting them. Have fun. Scream. Cheer them on. Go crazy, folks, go crazy. If you're gonna be a Cubs fan, then be a damn Cubs fan. Own it. Enjoy this. Love your team. They need you now, more than ever.

04) Let me talk shit. Stop being so thin-skinned. Let me tell ya, the national bandwagon loves you right now, but in a few years, they're gonna hate you even more than they hate my beloved Cardinals. America is obsessed with killing what it loves, and the Cubs are so good that people are gonna get resentful like they do with the Yankees and Cardinals. Get used to it now. No one is threatening your happiness. No one can lessen your passion. Just have fun, and get used to people talking shit. It's part of the game.

So, have a good time. I hope your team never wins another game ever. That's not gonna happen, no matter what I say or how far it would go toward making the world a better place. You're in the World Series, you're going to be in it again soon, and no one can ever take that away from you! Live it! Love it! Go Tribe!

-Blaine


20161026

Streaming, Streaming, Streaming

What's your favorite part of gaming live streams? Of  recorded gaming videos on YouTube? Do you want different things from them? What annoys you in each of them and makes you click away?

I'm considering going back to Twitch. I'd prefer not to use hyperbole, but the scene over at YouTube Gaming feels stagnant. I'd hazard a guess that YouTube is used mostly for playback, while Twitch is used more for streaming. And, really, those are two different kinds of videos. I've been treating them as one and the same, but they're not. Hey, check me out!

I'm contemplating a few things in regards to my streaming.

One, what is my identity as a streamer? What's my brand? I feel like this should be defined by a couple things. First, where is my passion, and second, is there a niche I can fill? I feel like my passion is storytelling in games, and my niche could be ... RPGs ... eh ... maybe the indie PC RPG stuff, and games that are tangentially related?

Actually, my niche could be gaming enthusiasts in their late 30s and older? I look at a lot of what's out there, and it skews waaay young. Some of the streamers look like maybe they're approaching my age, sorta, but their production style and on-screen persona definitely skew toward the more obnoxious. I don't mean all streamers, just a lot of the popular ones I see.

Two, my venue. Twitch or YouTube Gaming? Or Beam? I went with Twitch at first, while I was still learning the ropes, but then switched over to YTG because I'm lazy, and wanted my shit to auto-upload. It saved me a few clicks. It also seemed like a chance to get in early on something. Now ... it just doesn't seem like it's taken off.

Microsoft today announced a partnership with Beam that'll integrate Beam into Windows and Xbox for broadcast and consumption. I need to investigate it more. If things like video export to YT aren't there, forget it.

Three, my level of commitment. Like a lot of things that aren't my job or marriage, my level of commitment wavers. I just got real shit to do and worry about. And I think I need a bit more of a plan. I also need to be willing to stick to that plan and forego some things to stay on a regular streaming schedule, if I'm going to actually commit. Honestly, I wouldn't mind this being a solid income-supplementing side gig. Right now, we're nowhere near that.

I also get waaay too busy, which annoys and depresses me. I think being busy makes me unhappier than anything else in my life, but it's also part of being a grownup, and it never lasts longer than a few weeks at a time. I just need to pay more attention to what I'm committing to, so as to avoid it as much as possible.

Regardless, I'm actually pretty happy with my ongoing Mass Effect trilogy effort. Check it out below.




I heard an episode a day will enhance your sex life. Seriously. :P

Anyway, let me know what you think. I'm always looking for helpful feedback.

Thanks!

-Blaine

20161025

The Invisible Angry Sky Monster Hates VR and Stem Cell Research

As I've continued to age, something that's become apparent to me is that conservatism isn't just a byproduct of being raised badly and having a lot of money and being white. It's also a byproduct of age. As we get older, we mourn our youth and alleged 'simpler time' in which we still had some shred of innocence.

I'm not saying that when you turn 35, you run to the nearest Klan rally.

No, what I mean is that as we age, a resistance to new concepts and new ideas begins to build up. I see it in everything from musical tastes to wed development paradigms to equal rights. While a certain amount of pragmatism has certainly settled in for me as I get older, I also find that I have to push myself a bit to resist slipping into 'x was better when I was younger' kinda thinking.

Nostalgia is a disease, and it's one I fight constantly. Nostalgia mutes any joy you might feel today, as you yearn for a past that is being viewed through blindingly rose-tinted glasses. I do this all the time, with the early 90s. I remember it as being a perfect time. Grunge rock, flannel, Star Trek, the Clinton election, T2, and on and on. When I look back, I see safety and a personal awakening.

If I really think, though, it wasn't perfect. I was in my teens, and everything was fucked up. Hell no, it wasn't perfect.

On top of that, now is great. Now is a better time than ever. A lot of that cool shit on Star Trek: The Next Generation that we wanted? We actually have better devices now. Who needs a PADD when you have a Surface or an iPad? Communicators and tricorders? We basically have all that rolled into a phone, which also has all the functionality of a PADD? Oh, and you can talk to it.

Beyond that, civil rights has come a long way (yes, it still has a ways to go) and we understand a lot more about the world around us.

Conservatism, in general, seems to invite a mode of thinking that states 'things stopped being good after x date.' There is something attractive about that, I'll admit. It invites one to stop facing the future, to only look backward, and not have to deal with what's right in front of them. It reminds me of my three-year old, when he's pissed that we're pissed at him. He just locks into a refusal to acknowledge the truth of the matter, that he threw a toy at someone after being told not to, and just screams and employs every avoidance tactic there is. There is no going back. There is only now. And why not just enjoy it?

Something I figured out, as I got older, was that deciding that I wasn't going to have a good time no matter what is a stupid way of thinking. I still see people do it all the time, when they don't get their way, or they are forced to compromise, and I still fight the tendency in myself, but my way of thinking is 'is it better to be happy or pissed?' I just find my fun.

Now, let's extend to this further, to the resistance of technology and science. I don't care whether someone is in fear of an angry invisible sky monster, or they just tell themselves that they're too old and give up on improving themselves, but rejecting technology and science is counterproductive, and ultimately, harmful. I roll my eyes at notions that there are things with which we shouldn't meddle. Yes, ethics is important, but not pursuing a particular branch of research because some angry monster to whom someone pays tribute once a week might ... what ... not like it? That's crazy. Any being worth worshipping should value life and the quality of it. Beyond that, evidence of the angry sky monster is anecdotal at best and utter conjecture.

Technology and science are the most important ideas in the world. If we pour energy into them, we can repair mistakes of the past and propel the species forward. We can unite, as a planet, and finally begin to realize our potential. We can elevate our thinking past outdated concepts like nationalism, and begin to think about the human species. We're in this together, no matter how much we might want to impose man-made borders and means by which to sort us. We are all human. We are all on this planet together, and we all impact each other. Science doesn't care what your nationality, ethnicity, sex, or anything is.

Let's let go of the past, let's let go of made-up ancient ideas, and let's have fun and learn together.

OK, this way got more preachy than I intended. You get the idea, though. The more election season beats me down, the more I wanna shake people and snap them out of it. It's all man-made nonsense. If we're obliterated by an asteroid tomorrow, no one's going to give a fuck about Hillary's email or the thirty more primitive utterances by Trump that came out today. That's all hyperbole and marketing. Get it the fuck out. Focus on what's real, what we can control. Let's carry the species forward, and stop getting so caught up in mad-made trivialities.

-Blaine