Tuesday kvetching post

I’m watching Into the Spider-Verse with my wife and son, and I’ve ordered my Captain Marvel tickets. It’s a good day to be a geek. Sadly, it’s not not really a great day to be human, as I got damn near no sleep last night for no good reason and stayed home today to prevent myself from murdering anyone at work, then got a phone call around 12:30 to come pick up the boy, who was in the nurse’s office complaining about a headache. So all the agonizing I did in the morning over whether it was really worth it to call in ended up being moot, because I’d have had to take the afternoon off anyway.

For a kid who stayed “sick” for maybe an hour after we got home and is currently hollering his head off at this movie.

I remain very, very tired.

Seven years ago

I’ve been thinking about Trayvon a lot lately, actually, although I admit I wouldn’t have known today was the anniversary of his murder without the Internet’s help. One of my 8th graders transferred to another school today– there was some sort of a kerfluffle involving DCS that I’m not privy to the details of, and Mom pulled him in retaliation for being reported. And the thing is, every time I’ve ever talked about or to this kid, I’ve thought about two other young black men: Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.

I like the kid, a lot. He’s a Goddamn mess in a lot of ways, but he wasn’t ever mean, and that gets you a hell of a long way with me.  In a building that has more fights in a typical week than anywhere else I’ve ever worked would see in a month, I never once knew him to be violent towards anyone. Which is good, because at 14 he’s 6’3″ and probably around 200-220 pounds. The last time I talked to him, he was complaining about the fact that he still couldn’t dunk a basketball. He was close, he said. It was coming, he was sure. But he wasn’t there yet.

Here’s the thing about him– I gotta call him something; let’s go with Ben, which was Trayvon’s middle name. Ben didn’t always realize quite how big he really was, in a way that you can really only apply to fourteen-year-old boys who have tripled in size in the last year of their lives. He was a physical, touchy sort of dude– he was one of those kids who needs to be in physical contact with anyone they’re talking to, which meant he was constantly putting a hand on my shoulder whenever he talked to me. Hell, he hugged me a few times. I’ve been teaching for sixteen years and I can count the number of male students who have hugged me without a damn good reason on one hand.

And, again, he’s huge. 6’3″. And heavy at that height. And while, again, I never knew him to be violent toward anyone, he had a lot of trouble keeping his mouth shut and — as I said, in a way specific to fourteen-year-old boys — absolutely could not keep his body under control, in a way that I know good and goddamn well intimidated several of our staff members. Did he mean to do it? No, I really don’t think he did. But the same type of behavior from Ben that would be laughed off from a smaller kid got him sent to the office. Because he was huge, and black, and this is America.

And over the course of the, I dunno, maybe six months I’ve known him, I’ve genuinely lost track of the number of times I clamped my mouth shut and didn’t say you can’t be like this because eventually someone is going to shoot you to him. Because a cop took two seconds before killing Tamir Rice in what I will go to my grave describing as a drive-by shooting. Tamir was big for his age too. Because Michael Brown was described in frankly impossible, inhuman terms by the racist cop who murdered him, and Michael was big for his age. And because Trayvon Martin got shot walking home from the corner store because he was a young black man wearing a hoodie at the wrong time.

And because murdering black people is legal in Florida if you’re willing to claim you wuz skurred, but that’s another conversation.

I emailed a couple of friends I have on the staff in his new building. I didn’t really get into the details, but I told them he was a kid I liked and asked them to keep an eye on him for me if they could. I just wish I had someone I could email and ask to protect the kid. Keep him from becoming a hashtag until he’s old enough to have some sense. Keep him from becoming a hashtag after that, too, because black men get gunned down in this country every single goddamn day and having sense isn’t gonna protect you from the likes of George Zimmerman or Darren fucking Wilson.

Just … keep him safe, somebody. Anybody. And fix this broken goddamned country so that we don’t have to worry about this shit any longer.

Okay that’s enough thank you

I ride around on a giant stone serpent I have named Tiny Snek now. I have played approximately five hundred hours of Pokemon Let’s Go: Pikachu since yesterday’s post, which does not count the twelve thousand hours my son has put into the game, and as of this exact moment I have not yet Caught Them All. I have Caught perhaps A Third Of Them, and I think perhaps I have played just a little too much Pokémon this weekend. I mean, my eyes are bleeding. That’s not normal, right? I don’t remember what my life was like before we bought this game but I don’t think eye-bleeding was ever really a prominent part of it.

This game has dick jokes in it, by the way. They are at least moderately subtle most of the time, but Jesus Christ the Boulder gym, the first one? Everything in there was a horrifying sex joke that my seven-year-old, currently perched on the arm of the recliner I’m writing this in and reading over my shoulder, did not understand. Also, all of the human character models, even the male ones, have at least a-cup breasts, which I’m really confused about. About half the time I can’t tell if I’m supposed to be talking to a male or female character until they give me a name. These are not things I was expecting to be thinking about while playing this.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day, so the boy and I have the day off and my wife has to go to work. I may have to accidentally break the TV at seven in the morning to save my sanity. Pray for me.

In which I’m playing Dark Souls 3 again

…because God forbid I do anything especially useful with my last day of winter break, right? So I started another DSIII playthrough last night. I’m playing through as a sorcerer this time. I think I need to just play through the Dark Souls/Bloodborne/Nioh games in a cycle forever and stop spending money on these things. That’s five games; it’s enough, right?

While I’m talking vidya gaemz (and I hope you weren’t hoping for a long post on, again, the last night of break) several random thoughts:

  • The boy got Smash Bros Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 for Christmas. We’re playing a fair amount of both but MK8 is getting a lot more play. It’s frankly a lot easier for everyone and makes more sense in general. I’ve finally lost the feeling that Smash is nothing but bright colors in random places but it’s still not nearly as much fun as I feel like it’s supposed to be.
  • A pleasant surprise: Hollow Knight, which I got for like $11 on sale. It’s a Metroidvania, and a good one. If the word Metroidvania means anything to you at all and you haven’t played this, you should check it out.
  • I finally lost interest in Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s an amazing achievement on a lot of levels, but just isn’t as much fun or as absorbing as the first game was, and that’s sort of the most important level for it to succeed on, isn’t it? I was never even close to as tied up in this game as I was RDR1. I can go back and finish it whenever I want, but … well, I just started another Dark Souls 3 playthrough. So you can probably guess how long that will take to get done.

I’m crossing my fingers for a simple, easy first day back tomorrow. I will probably not get it. But we can always hope.

In which I guess I’m ready to go back to work or something

The last few days have been characterized mostly by pointless ennui and waiting around for things that didn’t happen. We had a Plumbing Incident occur on New Year’s Eve, which is the perfect day for such things to happen, and while the Incident itself hasn’t really affected my life all that much tomorrow will mark the third (and, hopefully, final) day that I’ve spent sitting around waiting for a plumber to come out to my house, charge me an arm and a leg, and hopefully this time actually fix my problem.

Which will involve digging a hole in my back yard. For a while yesterday it looked like the problem was going to require a backhoe to fix. We think we’ve dodged that particular bullet, but I’m at the point where I’m mostly just thoroughly tired of this and just want it all to go away so I can stop thinking about it. My wife went back to work yesterday and I think I might be jealous. I spent all day on Twitter today, leaving the house only to go get the cat from the vet after my wife dropped her off for shots this morning. It was supposed to be Plumber Day 3, but they called at 8 and rescheduled for tomorrow. The boy is perfectly content to spend the entire day fucking around on the iPad, so if I don’t man up and find some non-iPad activities for us to do, that’s what’s going to be happening. There has been precious little energy lately for good parenting, unfortunately.

I dunno. This is a proof-of-life post, I suppose; the music challenge posts are all written and will continue apace but I thought I’d make sure y’all knew I was still out there regardless.