The Check-In. May 2018.

Already half way into June, I guess this is better than not doing it at all, probably.

Political Stuff

To be honest, I’ve taken a break this month from political stuff. Not entirely, and not on purpose. My body must have just sensed I needed a break. I have a backlog of stuff I need to take care of now, and a mountain of guilt to work through. There were lots of fits and starts, but I could not get it together to work on things.

There is actually a lot on my mind with the state of things currently, but I think that warrants a separate post because it would really just consume this, and I want to focus on that. There is just so much fucked up stuff going on at the moment in the country. Separating children from their families?!? Cages?!? These are human beings you absolute monsters.

Podcast

We’ve recorded and released a second podcast now. I’ve really enjoyed recording these, and this is like my only outlet to talk about game development. I hope to record another one this weekend. The goal is monthly.

Streaming

Tim and I continue to stream on Twitch and archive on YouTube. If you can, catch it live, or on the Twitch VOD. The bitrate on Twitch is so much better than YouTube. YouTube crunches stuff down so badly.

We have been streaming Sonic Mania recently and those have been some really fun episodes. We even had a sitcom style mix-up in the last recording session. What a pair!

Combo Breaker

I also was lucky enough to attend my first fighting game major this year, Combo Breaker. Firstly, thanks to my friend Taylor for the heads up and for being a travel partner, wouldn’t have done it without his instance. I’ve been watching fighting game streams and tournaments for years, but never anything live. It was cool to see fighting game legends in person. I was just there as a spectator because I’m garbage at fighting games, but even just watching everything was intense. Like sports, it’s different when you are there in person. It felt like a sporting event as well. There are crowds cheering, energy in the room with close match-ups, and even armchair theorists pontificating on what the player should be doing. I hope to go to it, or something like it (EVO!) again. There was even a proposal after SSF2T grand finals!

In the moments of downtime, we met up with a guy who hosts a podcast, No Cartridge, which I hadn’t heard before, but Taylor DM’d him on Twitter when he found out he was going to be there. Super cool guy, and after I heard it, really good podcast as well.

Since we were close-ish, we went to the best arcade, Galloping Ghost. I try to go there a couple times a year, just because it’s so cool. A staggering collection of arcade games, all on free play just $20 for a whole day. Can’t recommend enough if you are ever near Brookfield, IL.

Wedding!

My friends got married! They are fantastic and I love them, and they are perfect.

Running and fitness

I am continuing my journey to kill myself break my previous records.

I started taking Wednesday mornings to run a half before work and managed to do that for three weeks in a row. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s a bear. I usually have to get up at 4:30 am and get out the door by 5 to get back, showered, and fed before work. Doing regular half-marathons is not something I’ve ever something I imagines being able to do, so it’s really cool and gratifying to see the time I’ve poured into this having a demonstrable effect.

Outside of the health benefits physically, long distance runs like that do wonders to calm my anxiety. I’ve probably talked about this somewhere in this blog before but running is meditative for me. All I need to focus on in the moment is moving forward. If I’m not listening to podcasts or audiobooks, I can throw on music and just let my mind drift. It helps process whatever I’m dealing with at that time. I know myself, and I know if I’m just sitting around, I will not allow myself the time to work through things; the stresses and responsibilities of whatever I need to do will take precedence. Running is a good forcing function.

I feel like half my blog posts are just, “Everyone, I like running, it’s good.”

But may I pose the following:

I like running, it’s good.

May 2018 Total: 82.2 Miles
May 2017 Total: 54.0
Difference May 2017 to May 2018: +28.2 Miles
Difference 2017 to 2018 to Date: +204.9 Miles

A republic, if you can keep it.

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

This quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin — who knows if it’s apocryphal or not. I never gave it much thought until recently. Someone gave it as a toast at a cook-out I was at recently and it kind of stuck a chord.

Here’s the thing, this past year, I’ve become a little political. OK, OK, a lot political. I never really intended to, but my conscience kind of thrust it upon me. The 2016 election had a profound effect on me, in ways I didn’t fully anticipate. After everything, the vitriol, the sexual harassment tape, the racial dog whistles, the lack of constitutional and governmental experience and knowledge, after all that he still won. I suppose I was naïve in thinking that there wasn’t a contingent of people who would ignore all that and still pull the lever for him. I never believed there was 0% chance he could be elected, but I still thought we’d all come through and keep this man out of the oval. Well, dear reader, I’m not sure if you have been around the last 10 months, but indeed that is not the case.

The day after Donald Trump was proclaimed victor, I felt sick. I’m sure many of you can commiserate. But beyond the physiological manifestations, I felt powerless. Powerless to affect the future. In my life, I’ve felt existential dread about what comes next. I had real trouble with college, and there were times when I felt the walls closing in on me with what my future would look like. I still have dreams where I am told I didn’t have the requisite classes and credits to graduate and they rescind my diploma. These, however, were circumstances of my own making. Those outcomes were about me not spending enough time focusing on school work. This, this was a different feeling. This felt like I didn’t have a positive future, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. There was no strict schedule to which I could adhere, or amount of time I could spend in an isolated corner of a library that would affect the outcomes.

For weeks afterward, I put myself on total media blackout, social or otherwise, because I was, frankly, scared of what I’d read. Those weeks were hazy. This is quite hackneyed, but while nothing had really changed, everything seemed different.

The media blackout only lasted so long, and the pendulum swung the other way. I became glued to the news. I remember I would feverishly refresh the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN websites for any news that came out. It was destructive. I knew it was destructive, and I knew I couldn’t stop. The more I read the same reports regurgitated five different ways, the more frenzied I would become. I know my friends and family noticed.

There was a day that switched perspective for me though. I remember it because it was just a great day. One of those days that stick in your mind. I mentally told myself to take a note, try to store it away for days to follow.
It was a confluence of several awesome things. My friend Katie wanted to film a movie for her husband’s birthday present, a parody of the Drunk History series, but applied to the life of her husband, Joe. She asked for my help and I agreed. I love making movies. It goes back to my high school days. There is something about the process that just hits me in all the right places. Maybe it’s the goofing around with friends in front of a camera, maybe it’s turning the chaos of the raw footage and forging it into something cohesive. I’m sure it’s all of it, but before I go off and wax nostalgic about my high school movie days, let’s get back to the focus of this post. On top of filming, that day also happened to have unseasonably warm weather. Here is the kicker, and really what matters in the context of this post, that day was the Women’s March. I saw all these women, all these people, come out in droves to protest. I saw local protestors gathering, I saw the aerial shots on Twitter and Facebook. It was just this crazy force. The march wasn’t specifically about the current administration, there was, however, some focus on it. It was really a sight to witness. I remember feeling something I hadn’t before, a sense of comradery; maybe we could really do something about this mess.

We grow up being taught history about the hows and whys of collapsing societies. We learn about the burning of Rome and the rise of Nazi Germany. We are taught this, ostensibly, so we can learn the lessons, and not repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Our film, television, and comic book heroes are all imbued with a sense of doing what’s right despite its unpopularity. Heck, even many religions have core tenants that teach these morals. Despite all this though, it’s hard to recognize when these apply and even harder to act. Well, the people that marched that day showed me I needed to act.

The next step however was how, exactly, to act. I had no clue. I started thinking what I could do alone, came up with some ideas, and even consulted with some of my more politically savvy friends. I quickly came to the conclusion that doing this alone was, frankly, arrogant, and not going to work. I did see some murmurings of a Science March that might be being organized in DC. Being a man of science and having been inspired by a march, well it was a match made in heaven. I was going to go to DC and march. Once the details got hammered out, I got my friend Jeff in on it, and we would be on our way to DC on Earth day. This was my first toe dip into the world of activism. I was jazzed.

I was sitting here with this new energy, and a little courage, and nothing to do with it. I started looking around for local groups doing stuff. There were a few groups that popped up in my research. I saw the ACLU doing a lot, at least on social media. Raising funds, and fighting some of the policies already being implemented by the Trump Administration. They had an event to kick off their People Power campaign. I signed up to go, but I waffled about it quite a bit. I knew no one going, wasn’t sure what to expect, and was pretty anxious about the whole ordeal. I did finally decide to go, and it while the event wasn’t much more than a live stream and a little more information about the ACLU, it was great to see these other people there. People who never really had done political stuff before, but felt compelled to seek it out under the circumstances.

The other group that came on my radar was something called Indivisible. It wasn’t really a group at the time, it was just this guide. It was written by ex-congressional staffers for ways to contact and pressure your representative to, you know, represent you. This being another way to say, do their jobs. It was practical advice; actionable items, instead of aspirational thoughts. I had joined the local Indivisible group on Facebook, which I found through the national organization’s website. There happened to be a meeting the next day and having survived the ACLU encounter, I decided to attend.

That was the second turning point. It wasn’t a lot of people, but it was more than I had envisioned. It was really a bunch of serving tables in an empty room in a library, but it was the people that made it. People who came from various backgrounds, and age ranges. These were people who didn’t like what was going on and wanted to do something about it. It was awesome. I found it. I found the group I was looking for.

Honestly, things kind of snowballed from there. It’s hard to say when things really took off, because in a lot of ways it still feels like we are getting our stuff together, but we have all come so far from that room I first attended a meeting in.

We’ve helped in the defeat of the dismantling of our healthcare system. We’ve held protests. We’ve attended street fairs. We’ve registered voters. We’ve recruited new members. We’ve incorporated. We’ve even got T-Shirts!

Personally, I’ve learned so much about local politics, government, and just how much people actually do influence these. I hope to learn much more going forward.

To see how much people do care, is truly inspiring. People who take time out of their already busy lives to contribute to a better country, a better society, and a better world. It is what gives me hope.

I’ve glossed over a lot of the details the formation of what is now Greater Lafayette Indivisible because that story is still being told. I hope I can come back later and fill in the rest of the tale.

I said earlier that after the election I felt powerless, that I felt like I didn’t have any control over what would happen next. Greater Lafayette Indivisible has given me back a sense of control over that. For that I will be forever grateful. I can’t predict the future, and it might all be for naught, but it’s hard to see that happening seeing the dedication of the people around me.

I started with a quote so I’ll exit with one, too.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

I’m done doing nothing.

The Future: Accoring to the Far-Right

I would like to preface this article by saying this is purely and exercise in creative writing. The opinions and views expressed in this fake article are not the ones I personally hold. It’s probably the polar opposite to my belief system. I though it was kind of an interesting concept though. What if all those crazy accusations made by the far-right came true? What would the future be like. So, I wrote a diary entry from the not-so-distant future outlining what America is like. It’s absurd and I doubt a single person outside of Rush Limbaugh actually believes that this is what will happen, but I have been surprised before. Anyway, enjoy.

June 27, 2010

I am writing this letter not for present, but future generations. The world as we once knew is simply a crinkled page in a history book. If they only had listened! I am getting ahead of myself, let me explain the whole terrible tale from the beginning.

The 2008 Presidential Election is what I would call the turning point. The liberal, left-wingers shot down every warning we sent. We tried to inform the American people that Obama has a streak of terrorist associations; that he was in fact a secret Muslim. We even uncovered the fact that he was not even an American citizen. Why people didn’t listen is beyond me. They are paying for it now, paying with their freedom and with their lives.

After winning the election, Obama tried to play coy, like he was just a normal guy. The veil of that came off around September of last year. He held a national press conference to inform America that we were pulling every last troop of ours out of Iraq. What a mistake that was, or perhaps from his perspective, the ideal move. Most of the country applauded his effort, but us skeptics knew this didn’t feel right. Without proper infrastructure in Iraq it was only a matter of time. The country soon feel to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist, terrorist groups. With anit-American sentiment growing in the Middle-East by magnitudes in only few short weeks another terrorist attack on US soil was immanent.

Remember Swine Flu, or H1N1 as we all refer to it now? Well, just as some suspected it was indeed an act of bio-terrorism. The first outbreak was just too small to work. Only a month after Iraq fell people began dropping like flies. The terrorist group responsible for the production of H1N1 have come forth and admitted the delivery method for the virus were indeed the Mexican immigrants coming over the border, illegally. Lou Dobbs saw this and tried to warn everyone to no avail. Half the US population is now dead thanks to H1N1, it has been likened to the black plague if the black plague had super powers.

The economy is almost non-existent here in America; the repercussions are far worse than any photograph you can find of the great depression. Socialism is the grandfather of all these horrible conditions. The nationalization of the free-market has been a horrible mistake that we can’t come back from. The banks were the first to fall thanks to sneaky wording in agreements with TARP funds. Then the car manufactures fell prey to the golden apple that was TARP as well. The government was becoming more socialist by the second and we were powerless to stop it. With the new taxes on big business and the rich the wealth was being spread around. Without large corporations to combat the growing government it soon took control over our lives.

Deviating slightly, I would like to say thanks to the current administration I can no longer marry out of love. We tried to protect the sanctity of marriage; man and woman, just like the Bible says. With Prop 8, changing one of the most liberal states over to outlawing same-sex marriages, I though we put the who mess to bed. I was wrong. Once Iowa voted to allow same-sex marriages many other states followed suit. Soon all fifty states allowed same-sex marriages with Texas being the last to give in. Now that the United States had become same-sex friendly, opposite-sex marriages were becoming frowned upon, especially since the divorce rate was so high. Soon states started outlawing true marriage in favor of a same-sex only system! With out last stand being yet again Texas we now stare at a bleak and same-sex only future.

Another dicey subject that was recently settled was the abortion issue. As we all know life begins at conception, but not to the newly elected government. In a strange turn, (even for the government) the newly appointed chief justice, Keith Olbermann, convinced all his peers to add an amendment allowing all forms of abortion. It’s maddening how crazy it’s become. This story informs the next.

Roughly three months ago Obama came out and openly admitted that he has been a practicing Muslim for years and everything he said about being a Christian was solely to become elected. On top of that “startling news” he admitted to not being born American, but moved here as a baby. The congress having a Democratic majority voted to allow him to continue in his current position. As the days past you saw the White House become more and more sympathetic to the Muslim plight and eventually almost every Democratic senator or congressman was praising the glory of Allah. Staring to piece things together we saw what the government had truly become. Islamic nationalists now held the highest seat in American Government. With the amendment declaring all forms of abortion legal they soon instated “random” mandatory abortions. They were targeted at pregnant Christian women, but with the whole government now Muslim controlled, opposition was stamped out almost immediately.

With the government owning many large corporations many of it’s profits have been secretly embezzled and funneled to help extremist nations in the Middle-East. It would appear that America’s glory days are behind her and America as we know it is gone. Our cries have gone ignored and now with millions dead and thousands more being killed every day we are finally given an ear. I’m afraid it might be too little too late though. There is one hope on the horizon though. A small militia is forming in the backwoods of Alaska. They are gaining numbers and manpower with every growing day; headed by our once rising star Sarah Palin. With her expertise with assault rifles, skills with hunting, and collection of snow machines she was able to outrun Obama’s “Muslim Missionary” forces. If you are reading this please join us and help us take our country back. We need to go back to the way things were, when we were the ones doing the oppressing.