The reason I try not to think too much


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Those of you that know me know that is never a good thing.

I’m a thinker. I plan, I think, I dream but ultimately I just stay where I am. I almost feel like I should be on the poster for a wasted potential campaign. My brain is a scary place to be alone in, not all the time mind you, but there are times when I go so far down the rabbit hole that I almost shut down completely. I apologize in advance if I get a little rambly, I have a mess of thoughts in my head that I need to get out.

FYI this is going to be a bit of a personal post, not really gaming related. If you decide to stop reading this post I totally understand. For those that stick around, thanks for indulging me.

Professionally, where I am and where I want to be is completely fucked. I work for a cell phone retailer. I’ve worked in retail for almost all of my adult life in some capacity. I can’t stand working in retail. I will say that the company I’m working for now is one of the better ones that I’ve worked for but still, it’s retail. I was out of retail for a couple of years and I loved it, but the pay was shit. That’s the problem when you have no marketable skills, you’re kind of stuck only doing what you know.

I watched The Internship the other day and it got me thinking about myself a lot. For those of you that haven’t seen it, I’ll give you the quick summary: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are two salesmen who don’t realize the company that they work for just folded up. Own Wilson gets a job and tries to make the best the situation that he was dealt. Vince goes home and finds an eviction notice and his wife is leaving him because she’s tired of all the dreams and plans that he has that go nowhere or that blow up in the end. After looking for jobs online, Vince discovers the Google Internship program and convinces Owen to go with him.

I found myself totally relating to Vince Vaughn’s character. He’s in sales, he’s a dreamer and his world is always seemingly on the edge of imploding by either his own hand or just the tiniest mistake that the universe tends to focus on. That last bit is totally me, I’m ALWAYS waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel like I’m a “live in the moment” type of guy that just can’t see when shit is about to go terribly wrong. When I do finally see the inevitable shitstorm coming, I try to distance myself from people to eliminate the fallout. Or maybe it’s because I just want to suffer through it alone. Either way, I tend to fuck things up all around me anyway, as much as I try not too.

The thing is there are tons of things I can (and would rather be) doing than working retail, things I would be great at, but because I don’t have a degree or a certificate, I won’t even be considered for. I love to write, that pretty much why I started blogging eons ago on http://halfazedninja.blogspot.com (which apparently doesn’t exist anymore). Also, holy shit, I just found a picture of myself from 2007 on pwned.com. What the hell was I thinking. I also have no clue what my login is for that site anymore so that picture will stay there forever.

Anyway, I love to write so much that I’ve started writing a book. Well, in reality, I’ve started writing a book like 5 different times. I also have a finished script for a TV show that I’ve written as well. Out of all of the books I’ve started to write, I like this one the best. It’s a sci-fi story that I’m not divulging too much info on until I have at least 4 more chapters done but, in my head, I can see the whole story. I’m just stuck on how to connect some of the dots and how to make it make sense.

But that’s the thing, That’s just one of the many dreams I have. My endgame is to do something I love and get paid for it so I don’t have to keep working my shitty job and have to deal with not being able to give my family the life it deserves. It’s hard as fuck living with me, hell there are days I can’t even stand living with myself. I have this constant feeling of failure and regret and it seems like every day I’m adding something new to the pile.

I’m 37 years old. I’m young enough to be stupid but old enough to know better. I’m not a “normal” adult. I hate hanging out with people my own age. Any friends that I have are usually (with a few exceptions) at least a decade younger than me and don’t even live anywhere close to me. At family functions when we get together with my wife’s family I usually hangout with my nieces and nephews because I have more to talk about than the “adult” conversation going on between the more mature family members. I’d rather just play and bullshit with the kids (some of them aren’t even kids anymore with the three oldest nieces being 19 & 18). Does that mean something is wrong with me or I’m stunted? No clue.

What I do know is that I’ve made a series of probably terrible choices to put me in the position I am in today and that I know I’m to blame for it. I’ve been playing the “what if” game for a long time and I’m tired of it. I need to stop with the what ifs and work on the what nows. I have a lot of shit going on that I’m going to have to deal with in the coming months, again both personally and professionally and I have to look towards the future. I’m not getting any younger either. Any dreams I ever had of working at at place like IGN, Kotaku and the like are pretty much gone. Any of those positions whether it’s writing, community management or whatever will go to someone younger and with more experience (again, even though I know I’m more than capable of doing the job). If anything is going to happen, it has to be because I’m making it happen.

So, while I’m sitting here in my personal hell of a job working my second twelve hour day in a row, I’m going to finish writing this post, watch some Orange Is The New Black (which is a fucking awesome show if you’re not watching it by the way) and start the next chapter of my book, if I’m not all worded out by know, Didn’t realize I was hitting close to 1200 words.

More updates to come!

Will

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A Happy Camper?


I think my family and friends are trying to kill me.

So Mrs. Ninja has decided that we should go camping this 4th of July weekend with another family. I’m not very outdoorsy and have spent my life avoiding horror movie-type situations. I’ve seen this movie, the ethnic guy dies first.

Now I know I’m overreacting. We’ll be in a cabin on a campground (which is as close to nature as I’m getting) so I know it won’t be totally terrible but still, never once have I wanted to go camping in life. Ever. I grew up in upstate New York in a heavily wooded area. But there’s scary things outside like bears, cobras, mountain lions, chupacabras and The Blair Witch.

The only WiFi that’s available is in the main house on the property. WHAT TYPE OF ANIMALS LIVE LIKE THIS? My kids have also turned against me. My own flesh and blood are trying to institute a “no electronics trip” (other than our phones for pictures). It’s criminal, how did my family become so cruel?

My daughter Harlee instituted an “Amish Week” (as she called it) last week. She didn’t use her phone or Kindle, only used the computer for homework and read instead of watched TV. She actually made it Sunday – Friday but had to end the week early because one of her friends was “having a crisis” (aka tween girl drama).

I guess I’ll be bringing up some family friendly, not Cards Against Humanity, games like Sentinels of the Multiverse, various Munchkin flavors, Zombie Dice, Say Anything, Pandemic and other more conventional games (like Scrabble and Monopoly). I love Sentinels by the way. I played it for the first time at PAX East and bought that and an expansion right away. Head over to their site and check it out, it’s super fun and easy to play.

More on the camping trip as it develops…

Geek On!

Will

Religion Through Geekery


I feel like I should put a disclaimer here. Something along the lines of “The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Ninjaverse as a whole” or something along those lines.

Growing up I was brought up in a Catholic household, more from my Mom’s side because the only time Dad went to church was Easter or if he was in the doghouse with Mom. My Mom was a Sunday School teacher so every Sunday through 8th grade I was at church for two hours: an hour of mass and an hour of Sunday School (or CCD for you cool kids).

I went through the Communions and Confirmations and all of the pomp and circumstance around that. As I got older I still went to church with Mom most (but pretty much every) Sunday. I went begrudgingly, but I knew that I wasn’t buying what they were selling.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing religion or anything like that. I’m just saying that my belief system is built upon other mythos’s (mythosees? mythosi?) that I’ve been brought up knowing and loving. I can’t quote Bible verses (I’m pretty sure Austin 3:16 says I just kicked your ass isn’t a legitimate bible verse) but I can tell you the whole history of Batman, Superman and most of the Star Wars characters.

Everyone should believe in something. I think I’ve boiled down my belief system to something most of us can follow. Now in no way am I saying you should all follow me (although you can follow me on various social media outlets), but here is pretty much what my belief system boils down to (along with various inspirations):

  • The Golden Rule aka Don’t Be A Dick (Wil Wheaton)
  • There is always a Dark Side and Light Side. Both are needed for for balance (Star Wars)
  • Always know things, because knowing is half the battle (G.I. Joe)
  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFarrin)
  • Let It Go (Frozen, yes seriously)
  • When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit… you can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away… forever. (Joker – The Killing Joke)

Now I know that last bit is going to raise some eyebrows so let me explain.

I believe that last two points somewhat go hand in hand. Let It Go, to me, means (besides being super sick of that song thanks to my daughters who sing it endlessly) don’t hold any grudges. Seriously, life is too short to hold on to whatever bullshit gripe or argument you have with someone. I’ve been married for almost fifteen years, if we held on to every fight we’ve ever had we would have been divorced fourteen years ago.

Now, the Joker quote. There are times where, mentally, you just need to remove yourself from a situation. That situation could be anything: a funeral, a lecture, a work meeting, the opening of a Michael Bay movie (you know, terrible stuff). Sometimes you just want to not “be there” anymore. Or maybe you have a shitty memory that keeps popping up every now and again. You just need a distraction or a way to remove yourself from a situation. That’s what I mean by “Madness is the emergency exit”.

I’m not saying be like Joker. No no no. That would be bad.

I’m saying use your imaginations! Daydream, play games, read a book, do anything other than what you are doing! But yourself mentally in fantastic situations! You’d be surprised but most of the time that will give you the clarity to deal with whatever it is that you’re dealing with. I sometimes have the best conversations when I am distracted by something else. It’s not that I’m being rude or trying to be dismissive, it’s just that being distracted sometimes gives me better focus and clarity. I know, it’s weird, it’s just how my brain works sometimes.

Geek On!

Will

Some thoughts in my head


I haven’t actually sat down and wrote something in a while.

I like to write, time just hasn’t been allowing me to. Between work, being a dad, being a husband and other random crap that pops up, at the end of the day I just want to veg and play a game (which right now is Infinite Crisis or Skyrim) or browse the very hilarious /r/pcmasterrace.

JD, Chris, Mike and myself had a meeting the other day to discuss some upcoming things/changes for The Ninjaverse. There’s some pretty exciting stuff on the horizon that I can’t really talk about yet. It should help us grow a bit though which is a very good thing. That being said, this site is looking a bit dated so I think a refresh is in order. I’ll have to fit that into my schedule.

We are working on getting some regularity in our Podcasting schedule. Right now (for all of the reasons listed above plus more from the other guys) we just can’t nail one down. So look for some regularity in the coming weeks.

But that’s the thing. I don’t want this to just be a place where I dump the podcast every week(ish). YEARS ago when I ran Ninjaverse Gaming I had a kickass looking site that I ran by myself. I wrote all of the reviews, previews, news articles, dealt with all the HTML bullshit and more. It was fucking exhausting wearing so many hats at one time that I finally just shut it down. But I LOVED doing all the writing.

Over the years I’ve started writing a lot of things. I’ve started a couple books, a script and various other things. And I have something else rattling around in my head that is dying to get out. I think it’s fun and cool but I don’t have all the pieces figured out yet, namely what format would work better for it (book, TV show, movie, web show). Mentally I can see it in a visual medium, but I lack the means for that.

I’m at that weird spot in life when things that you like or you think happened to you recently are really like ten or more years ago. I was way down the rabbit hole working on a Spotify playlist for when I stream over on Twitch and found a song that I loved from a while ago, Is It For Me by Toad The Wet Sprocket. That came out in 1991. NINETEEN FUCKING NINETY ONE!

After I picked up my Metamucil and prune juice and stopped yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, I realized something. I’m old as fuck, but mentally I haven’t changed. I’m still basically into the same things that I’ve been into all my life (gaming, movies, comics, assorted geeky shit). Now, personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. As they say, you’re only as old as you feel, and I feel like I’m in my twenties. Maybe I haven’t come to terms with the fact that time is ticking. Or maybe I’m hoping that someone still invents a time machine. Who knows.

I apologize for the rambling by the way, there’s more to come but I figured I throw it out here anyway.

So where was I, oh that’s right, being old. Even though I’m 37 now, married with twin almost thirteen year olds (which, again, makes me feel old as fuck) I’m pretty sure I’m never going to change. All my shit that I love is what makes me who I am. I’m sure some people don’t like it and I’m sure that there are people who used to be in my life that have either fallen off or that I don’t talk to very much anymore that maybe can’t appreciate that. And if that’s the case, I guess that’s why we’re not talking anymore.

The flip side of that is I find that I can’t get close to a lot of people. Whenever I’m anywhere, I really don’t say much. I tend to just listen and wait to see if anyone says anything that’s relevant to my interests. Sometimes it happens and I chime in then back out, Ninja-style. Other times I say nothing or politely engage in small talk. I hate small talk with the burning passion of a thousand suns. But I do it because it’s what’s socially expected.

The other day I came to a realization that I’m not anti-social, I’m a partial introvert. I’d much prefer to stay home and play a game or watch a movie/TV show with my family rather than go out on a Friday or Saturday night, even if it’s just to someone’s house. Now, I’ll be social as hell at PAX or anywhere that I consider “fun”. I think that’s my catch, whatever I do needs to be fun. For instance, going to Great Adventure – Fun, going to the beach – sort of fun but not my favorite, Going to a bar on a Friday or Saturday night – Not fun at all (for me anyway).

I’ve never been big into the bar/club scene, even back when I was single. Did I miss out on anything? Probably, but I really don’t care that much.

So what’s this have to do with The Ninjaverse? Everything, actually.

My original intention for The Ninjaverse (as it is now, not back when it was Ninjaverse Gaming) was to provide entertaining articles and, later, podcasts about all of the stuff that we love. I wanted to create a community of like minded people that all share common interests. It’s been building, slowly, but future plans aren’t ready to be talked about yet. Soon though, I promise.

So, to our fans and listeners, thank you for supporting us and thank you for reading my ramblings today. I don’t get deep often, but it’s nice to have an outlet for it sometimes. There is a bright future on the horizon and I look forward to sharing it with you.

There will also be more written articles here, hopefully a couple a week 🙂

Geek On!

Will

 

When did we stop playing games for fun?


I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this post for a while.

konami-code-tattoo

 

Cheat codes have been around forever. As a kid who could get through Contra or Gradius without the Konami Code? It wasn’t until YEARS later that I was able to go through it in one play through (and also realized that the NES version is only like 12 minutes long start to finish). Over the past few years cheat codes have taken a backseat to glitches, exploits and hacks and it’s turning our hobby into a wasteland of entitled brats and douchebags.

I play games to have fun, talk with my friends (or meet new people), and relieve some stress my life like I’m sure a lot of us tend to do. Games are supposed to be fun right? And isn’t that fun, in part, because of the challenge? Battling evil, taking first in a race, solving that last puzzle at 2 A.M. because you know you won’t be able to sleep until you get it. That’s what drives us as gamers, the challenge and the fun. So where’s the challenge of glitching your way to the top?

hacktheplanet

 

Part of the reason I took a break from the Call of Duty franchise, besides the fact that it’s the Madden of FPS’s, were the glitchers/exploiters. You know the guys, the ones who need to find that place on the map where they can shoot you but it is impossible for you to see or shoot them? Yeah, that shit gets old really quickly. And where is the fun in that? To show that your E-Peen is the biggest on in the game? Is then fun in their K/D or do they find their joy in making people ragequit out of games? The only way to fight these tools is to stoop to their level since the reputation system in most games really doesn’t amount to anything. And I don’t know about you, put playing like that makes me feel all dirty.

Right now I’ve been playing A TON of Grand Theft Auto Online and Diablo III. I’m loving every minute of them (now that GTAO is working) and I have been looking at the GameFAQS message boards since that’s been my go-to site for nearly a decade. Back in the day it was a good place to go to for codes, general help or to see the requirements for that trophy/achievement that you just can’t seem to get. But now? Now it seems like a constant race to find hacks and exploits to get the best loot possible.

DISCLAIMER: Not from my game!

DISCLAIMER: Not from my game!

Lets talk LOS DIABLOS first. Back in the Diablo II days, hacking was everywhere. That’s one of the main reason Diablo III on the PC made it that you always had to be connected to the battle.net servers. Now that D3 is on the consoles, the hacking is back again in full force. One time I left my room open to anyone and someone entered and had a sword very similar to this one. I didn’t realize it was hacked until I looked a little deeper into it. I know the upper levels of Diablo III get a little intense, but isn’t that part of the fun? The challenge?

Grand-Theft-Auto-Online-video_W

Now, GTAO is an entirely different animal. I like to think of GTAO as a small scale MMO. You do jobs, group up and earn money and Rep (GTAO’s experience points) just like WoW or anything else. One of the great things about MMO’s is that it is about the journey. Most of the fun is finding what to do next.

Yes it was (and sometimes is) a little buggy still. And people found out how to turn some of those exploits into cash, which is funny considering a game like GTA is about breaking the rules. But why would you want to rush the game for yourself? The people that are the ones using the exploits and glitches or repeat the same missions/races over and over are the first ones to say they’re bored, moving on, or to declare the game “dead”. Well no shit dude, you cheated the system to get all of the top stuff and now you feel like you have nothing to do!

But that’s not the best part. Look at some of the posts on the GTAO board to see that some people are saying if Rockstar FIXES the exploits, they’ll stop playing. What the hell is that kind of logic? So, because you don’t have the mental capacity to play the game how it was intended and need to cheat to get your virtual car and mansion and now are going to cry to your mommy if it’s taken away?

If people would just PLAY THE GAME then maybe you could find more enjoyment in it. There are other GTAO related things that I’d like to talk about (including the Bad Sport system) that I’ll talk about in another post this week, but I just wanted to get my thoughts out there.

So what do you guys think? Leave a comment here, Facebook or where ever you see this post.