In which I’m certificated

UnknownFrom the Not Especially Important Life Achievements file: I spent the last couple of hours (they give you three, and it has to be all in one setting) getting my Level One Google for Education certification, which means … I get to put that little image to the right there in the signature portion of all my email messages and make people who don’t know better think that I’m really impressive and knowledgeable about The Googles.

It does not really mean that.  I had to sign an NDA before taking the test, and I’m not about to take the risk of pissing Google off, so I’m not going to share a lot of details, but I suspect the vast majority of those of you reading this right now could go into the exam with no preparation of any kind and pass it.  This particular level of certification doesn’t really signify any particular expertise other than 1) that needed to know that the certification exists, and 2) the desire to actually hold said certification.  There is a Level 2 certification and also a Trainer certification, and I suspect I’ll be getting both over the course of the next couple months, but until then: Hey!  I’m Level 1!  Woohoo!

Now let’s see what sorts of other trouble I can get into with what’s left of my weekend.  It’s been cool the last couple of days and I’ve had a hoodie on, so the happy season has begun.  Will there be tortellini soup for dinner tonight to celebrate?  Yes there will.

In which I’m still teasing

IMG_7692I’ve just put up probably the most important post in the history of my Patreon, which, granted, isn’t saying a lot, but if you’ve ever considered jumping on board for a buck or two a month there has literally never been a better time to do that than right now.  Big things going on over there right now.  Big.

But anyway.  I’ve gone a couple of days without a post over here; Thursday I came home and basically died, and yesterday we sold our house!  Well, one of our houses.  Well, my wife’s house.  My wife sold her house, which used to be our house, which I never owned but used to live in.  With her.  Simultaneously.

(Okay: when we got married, I moved into my wife’s house and we never bothered putting my name on it.  Later, when we moved here, we bought this house together, and my in-laws moved into our old place and took over the mortgage.  Since then my mother-in-law has passed away and my father-in-law just moved into a smaller apartment, so we sold the old house.  Which closed on Friday.)

Anyway, point is, we went out and had date night last night, which is why there’s a picture of food up there at the top of the post.   I’m not actually sure that the photo really conveys how amazing the meal looked– and it doesn’t come close to making it clear how awesome everything tasted— but that’s bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin medallions on top of elote risotto, with a molé sauce, broccolini, and chicharrones with chili powder.  Holy shit.  My wife had a filet mignon; I was going to get a steak but felt like I couldn’t pass up what I got once they described it.  Fuckin’ heavenly, y’all.

And we got home late and I never got around to posting.  I still love y’all, I promise.  Just got busy for a couple of days there.   But seriously, click on that Patreon link up there; it’ll make up for it, I promise.

Fuck Mel Hall, part 3 of an endless series

IMG_7675 IMG_7676

You may recall parts one and two of a series that wasn’t originally called “Fuck Mel Hall,” but to hell with it, this is my blog and I get to rename stuff if I want to, plus: fuck Mel Hall.  Mel, if you’re not aware, is one of two Republicans who is running for my district’s House seat, IN-02.  The incumbent, Jackie Walorski, is a Republican who says she is a Republican.  Mr. Hall, who received barely 40% of the vote in the primary, somehow is the Democratic nominee, but is not a Democrat.  He has made it repeatedly clear that he has no interest whatsoever in advancing the goals of the Democratic party and has never identified himself as a member of the party in any advertisement– radio, TV or print– that I have ever seen.

I will not be voting for him.  I think he’s a prick.  I vote for Democrats; he isn’t one.  If I’m going to be represented by a Republican I want to be represented by one who is honest about it.

Now, an interesting fact about Ms. Walorski:  she only got about 3/4 of the vote in her primary, and the person she was running against literally had no campaign at all.  Not a website, did no campaigning, nothing.  But he was a dude, so 25% of the Republican primary voters voted for someone who they literally knew nothing at all about other than that he had a penis and their current representative didn’t.  Mel Hall supposedly got 40% of the vote in the Democratic primary; the other two candidates running were significantly more progressive than he was and he has continued to run as a Republican anyway.  I pay attention; there was no enthusiasm for this man anywhere during the primary and the lack of enthusiasm remains today.  He will lose and lose badly.

Anyway, take a look at that flyer up there.  My wife got one; I didn’t.  That’s unusual– neither of us ever miss an election, so generally whenever we get any election-related flyers, we get two of them.

Take a close look and see if you can figure out what’s going on here.

Also: be aware that an election cycle or two ago, faced with no significant races in the Democratic primary, my wife cast a vote for the least objectionable candidate in the Republican primary.  All you have to do in Indiana is ask for a ballot and they give you one.

This flyer, paid for by the Indiana Democratic party, appears to be trying to peel Republican voters away from Jackie Walorski, but never once mentions who they ought to vote for instead.  The entire damn flyer is Republican-framed: Democrats tend to believe government is actually good for something, so the bullshit “Washington Walorski” nonsense isn’t really going to get any traction with us.  I want my representatives to be experienced and good at their jobs, goddammit, and Walorski has been in office for six years, not thirty.  I don’t even like her and I recognize a bullshit attack when I see it.  Another tell?  Every person in the ad is white.  Democrats don’t send out ads like that.  Republicans, who know good and fucking well that their base mostly doesn’t see people of color as human beings, do.  And apparently we’re not above buying into their racist asshole framing if we think it’ll get, well, somebody some votes.

Fuck every single thing about this flyer, in case that isn’t clear.  Fuck the cynicism embedded in it, fuck the racism, fuck the sexism, fuck the candidate that it doesn’t bother to mention, fuck the bullshit nickname, which comes from the same asshole impulses that led the Republicans to call Joe Donnelly “Mexico Joe” in some of their bullshit ads, fuck every single thing about it.

I need better fucking representation around here, across the goddamned board.

RAGEQUIT! Or: I Went to Target

targetI had a moderately– but only moderately– stressful day at work today, which made me think when I got home that a nice way to relax might be to spend some time playing the vidya gaemz.  And did I play Spider-Man, with its soothing and fun web-slinging action?  No.  I played Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, which is a fucking bastard of a game.

I played Dark Souls II to relax.

Those of you who have played this game are laughing at me right now, and you are right to do so.

So here’s the deal with the Dark Souls series: first, it’s balls-hard even just in the basic gameplay.  It doesn’t matter how big, rough and tough your character is; lose focus and even the lowliest scrub enemy is going to be able to kill you in a few hits.  On top of that, you gain experience by killing bad guys like you do in a lot of games, but you actually spend that experience like currency to gain levels, and you can’t do that just anywhere; each game in the series has one place where you can gain those levels.  And if you get killed, you drop all your experience points in the place where you died.  Want those thousands of XP representing a few possible levels back?  You gotta get back to where you just got killed without getting killed again and pick ’em back up, then escape to get where you can actually use them. Die again along the way? Too bad so sad, them shits are gone.

And DSII: SotFS is a special edition, one where they added a bunch of enemies, because apparently vanilla Dark Souls isn’t fucking hard enough.

Long story short; I got killed like three thousand times in a row, in a very enemy-heavy area, where none of the enemies are very tough but if you quit paying attention even for a couple seconds you’re dead, and the last time I left like four levels’ worth of XP on the table when some fucker I’d missed and walked right past stabbed me in the back, maybe three feet from my damn green blob of love.

And I did something I haven’t done in something like 35 years of gaming:  I broke my fucking controller.  I spiked the thing like a goddamn football and then watched as the PS4 helpfully told me that it had lost contact with the controller.

Fuuuuck.

Fifteen minutes to dinner.  Well, I can’t turn the damn game off without a controller, and the boy’s gonna want to play Spider-Man later, so… Target is pretty close.  I can totally go to Target and get a new controller in fifteen minutes.

Off to Target.  I’m on a mission and I know exactly where I’m going, so I don’t pay too much attention to the young lady who smiles at me and says hello as I’m walking past her, and I say hello back but I’m probably fifteen feet past her before I realize that I’m pretty sure she’s a former student, one who I haven’t seen since sixth grade (she moved) and who just graduated high school.  But I don’t realize it until I’m well past the point where I can turn back around and say hi, plus I legitimately haven’t seen the kid in six years and I’m not 100% sure.

I find the video game section.  I find PS4 controllers.  They’re locked up.  And someone else smiles at me and asks me where the Xbox controllers are.

And I realize I’m in Target in a red shirt.  Sigh.

I know the answer, so fuck it, I answer her question.

A moment later, someone in a blue shirt asks me if I need any help, and I have a brief split-second of pure confusion– because I don’t work here, and someone just asked me for help, and you clearly don’t work here, so why are you asking me if you can help me?

And then I see the Target Security logo on his blue shirt.  Oh, OK.  Fine.  Gimme this controller.

He goes and gets a guy.  The guy is maybe 25.  And by this point I’m sort of laughing at myself, so I tell the guy that I’ve been a gamer for something like 35 years and I just rage-smashed my first controller.

He laughs, and– I swear to God, and these games are old enough that it makes no sense that he said this– says “Dark Souls or Bloodborne?”

“Dark Souls II.  The No-Man’s Wharf.”

And he knows exactly what I’m talking about, and we commiserate for a minute or two, and he offers me a protection plan on the new controller, which I decline and I probably should have bought.

And then I see a second former student, also looking for video game paraphernalia, although this one doesn’t immediately recognize me.   And he’s got a bunch of friends with him so I don’t bother saying hi.

And then I leave.  Or at least try to.

And then I see a third former student, this one also an employee, and we talk for a moment.  And then I see the first former student again, and yes, it’s her, and she laughs and tells me she’d just sent a text message to someone else from her class who she knows I’m still in touch with to ask her to ask me if I’d just been to Target.

I, of course, had been thinking that I’d text that exact same person to see if the first girl worked at Target, so this plan makes perfect sense.

And then I went home, ate dinner, resolved to go directly to the boss of the stage without bothering to go get my souls along the way, because fuck them, died while doing that by falling off a Goddamned bridge, then finally made it to the boss and not only beat that bastard on the first try but I didn’t even get hit.

The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t break controllers, and if you do you shouldn’t leave your house afterwards.

The end.