So you’ll notice I haven’t written for a couple weeks, and by now, the three of you who read this thing are beginning to question my drive to keep up with it. Or you just haven’t noticed/cared. Either reaction is normal. You would be right to question that drive, though, as it’s been pretty non-existent as of late. Not because of laziness or apathy but because of defeat.

They say the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry (Yes, that’s actually how the adage ends, I had to look it up because no one ever says the whole thing anymore.)

Well, what happens when every single one of those best laid plans go awry? Even the plans that weren’t even laid yet. The “virgin” plans, if you will.

Things spiral out of control, that’s what happens. A car breaks down, a cell phone dies for good, unexpected bills appear, the savings is wiped clean, new job prospects are lost, family members become gravely ill, sickness from stress sets in, plans to move fall apart.

Now, I’m not one to believe in curses or other such voodoo nonsense but this is the sort of thing that could certainly turn me around. If anyone has any chicken bones, small human shaped pin cushions, and some family members in New Orleans, please contact me immediately for de-cursing.

Joking aside, these last couple weeks have taught me something about perseverance. When everything around you is crumbling down and looks bleak as hell you just need to tell yourself, “this too shall pass.” Everything isn’t going to stay shitty forever; eventually things are going to get better. Once they do, you’ll appreciate it more because of the crap you had to crawl through to get there. Trust me, I’ve seen Shawshank Redemption enough times on cable to know this.

Seriously, is there anyone who can not watch that movie if they pass it on TV?

It also helps to have someone by your side who can be just as strong as you are in the face of certain doom. In a time when Elle and I’s respective stress levels would normally be causing all sorts of rifts and arguments, we’ve been taking it as it comes and dealing with it as it goes. We’ve strived to look on the bright side of our recent predicaments and we have a bright outlook for the rest of the year despite our shitty Spring.

I’m a lucky man to be marrying that woman. She has the determination of a lead anime character and the sassy, no nonsense, attitude of that lead characters best friend.

So, just remember when life is beating the shit out of you and chucking lemons at your face, tell life to fuck off! Demand to see life’s manager! Then make a nice cool glass of ICED FUCKING TEA because life lemons can go to hell!

I figured I’d make my first post about Professional Wrestling be one of meaning and thoughtfulness. Pro Wrestling is still a laughable concept to a lot of people and justifying your love for it is something a fan has to do sometimes. An interesting note is that this appears to only be the case in America. I believe the saying goes: In Japan it’s a sport, in Mexico it’s a religion, and in America it’s a joke.” So make of that what you will and hopefully you’ll read on. Hopefully if you’re the type who immediately shouts “You know its fake right? Hurr Durr” this post will enlighten you.

So we’re a couple weeks removed from Wrestlemania 30, which was one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time. What’s saddening, however, is we are also a couple weeks removed from the death of one of my childhood heroes and wrestling legend, The Ultimate Warrior.

Let me start by giving you some history. My dad introduced me to Pro Wrestling when I was about 5 or 6. We watched every Saturday Night Main Event together and I quickly chose my favorites like every kid does. I would happily be scared of The Undertaker and find a sort of strange delight in the cocky bad guy antics of Mr. Perfect.   I enjoyed Hulk Hogan like every other kid did, but who I really loved was The Ultimate Warrior. He was just too awesome to ignore! High energy, sprinting to the ring, shaking the ropes, completely wrecking guys. He had the bright face paint, acted and talked like a maniac; he inspired me to always be running, always be striving to achieve higher things and always have a warrior spirit. Unfortunately, that inspiration didn’t last long once he disappeared from the wrestling world. He faded into my memory for about a year until Wrestlemania 8; the first and probably last Wrestlemania to come to my hometown of Indianapolis.

It was the main event, Hulk Hogan versus Psycho Sid. Sid has Hogan on the ropes and is about to grab a chair from the outside when The Warrior’s music hits! He was here! I was getting to see one of my favorite wrestler’s live when I thought I wouldn’t get to! It was pure awesome.

…And then he left again…

You’d hear about him over the years, the craziness he would talk about, the bigotry, the racism; the guy was a douche and it killed my memories of him as a performer. You would hear of how badly he burned bridges with the WWE, bad mouthing and rumors were thrown from both sides, eventually resulting in a lawsuit! So when they announced he would be back and inducted into the Hall of Fame I was shocked! It’s amazing to see how all of the terrible things he had said and done seemed to be forgotten. Water under the bridge. True forgiveness.

That, in and of itself, is inspiring. To see both sides of something terrible put the bad blood behind them and celebrate a legacy. Sure, who he was as a person may not have always been great but The Ultimate Warrior character was legendary and deserved to be honored. I watched the documentary the WWE did of Warrior over the course of Wrestlemania weekend and I was inspired all over again, just like I was as a kid. This man was able to let all the negative feelings, all the hate and anger, go. He even mended fences with the person he believed had wronged him the most, Hulk Hogan. He saw that his life, his wife, his kids, and his legacy was more important than animosity. More important than who was right or wrong.

I hope I can get to a place like that one day. A place of peace and love, free of anger.

I’ll always keep in my heart his final words spoken in a Wrestling Ring:

Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath and if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized.

 

Thank you, Warrior.

Easter, regardless of your religious choices, is synonymous with rebirth and resurrection. It’s a time of year where the leaves return to the trees, the warmth returns to the air and “life, uh, finds a way” to begin anew.

In case you don’t catch my meaning: a lot of animals are banging in the forest.

So, in true Easter fashion I’ve decided to use this time of year to initiate a rebirth of my own. Along with my initiative to conquer what remains of my depression, I look to conquer the monster known as weight loss and do battle with the demon of “starting a new career at 30”. I can tell you from previous experience in life that this will quite possibly be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am king of not following through, master of giving up and the fabled hero of abandoning things after a week.

Okay, so that last one doesn’t really roll off the tongue but it’s accurate and that’s all that matters.

So much like my very first blog post, I’m using this as a sort of proof of accountability. I’ve written out what I want to accomplish in a public forum so that everyone who reads this has full permission to do their best Johnny Cage impression to my naughty bits if I don’t get this crap together.

Some of you may be reading this wondering why this is such a big deal and thinking why I need to go to such an extreme to motivate myself to just simply change my lifestyle. Let me answer those thoughts with a question about yourself. Is there a habit or a bit of your personality that defines you? Something so ingrained within you that it would take constant vigilance to completely change? That’s what I’m doing. Attempting to change 30 years of ingrained to the core habits and practices.

I mentioned in that first blog post that I’m a lazy excuse maker and how that needs to change. To do that I need to challenge myself and step outside of this soft and warm comfort zone that I’m so afraid to leave. So many things are accomplished when you strive to be better and this world isn’t run by people who want to coast by, resting on their laurels all day long. So I need to be more of a “go-getter”, someone with drive and determination to get shit done!

Now, this may sound like I’m ready to just blast off and kick this thing’s ass but in all honesty l admit that I’m scared to death. The ghost of failure, disappointment and backsliding all hang over my head and I’ll be even more honest and say that I’m not sure I can do this at all. Looking back on my life and seeing the path of failure and complacency I’ve carved out for myself doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope for my future. At the same time, I can use that to motivate myself, to tell myself that it doesn’t have to be like that anymore and only I can be the one to change all that. So I don’t know if there are any other readers out there like me, craving change and desiring a better life but all it takes is confidence and determination. The one thing you can’t do is give up. I know I’m going to fall on my face a few times but I can’t give up.

When The Doctor faced down all of his enemies on Trenzalore for all those years, did he give up?

When that job went south for the millionth time and Reavers were on their tail, did Mal and his crew give up?

When The Governor cut Rick’s hand off in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (Yes, TV Show fans, that happened in the comics) did he give up?

When Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden was battling the entire Red Court of Vampires at Chichen Itza to save his daughter and Susan (spoilers), did he back down?

The answer to all of this is obviously no but I prefer a heartier OH HELL NO!

 

So let’s see if I can be like all of these heroic fictional characters I admire so much and if you want to change like me I know we can do it.

So this past weekend was AMAZEBALLS! (I’m aware the internet doesn’t like that word anymore but whatever, I still do!)

Many of you might be aware of International Tabletop Day. A day when tabletop gamers all over the world get together and enjoy their favorite hobby for fun, for prizes, for free stuff, and for glory! My gaming group decided to meet at a fairly new shop since they were providing free pizza, free swag, and a hefty discount on games! Also Rob, the owner, is a super nice dude…I’ll put a link at the bottom of the post for his shop if any of you fellow Indianapolis residents want to check him out! **Shameless Plug, AHOY**

So to give you an example of what Tabletop Day entails if you aren’t familiar, I’ll give you a rundown of everything we played that day. We started off with Pandemic and all the expansions which was a new experience for most of us. We followed that with some Epic Spell Wars before transitioning into a five player game of Ascension. Then we wrecked house in Sentinels of the Multiverse, destroyed many a hero in Boss Monster and told some depressing stories in Gloom using our newly acquired promos featuring Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. By then, the store was closing and we decided to head back to the apartment and try out our freshly bought copy of Spartacus and finishing up the night with a light game of Love Letter. We played so many games that day I feel like I’m forgetting some! The pizza was delicious, the venue was awesome and it was good times with good friends.

For the uninitiated, that last paragraph probably reads like Ancient Sumerian. Even with tabletop gaming growing more and more as a hobby each year, it’s not surprising to get weird looks from people; the kind of people who only know boardgames as Monopoly or Clue.

I should note that I freaking love Clue and I will not abide any unkind word spoken against it…but you get my point.

It’s a shame that there are so many people who don’t, or won’t ever, have a chance to experience the lush and ever growing world of tabletop gaming beyond those created by the Brothers Parker or Mr. Milton of Bradley.   The stories you can tell and the fun you can have are what drew me to the hobby and is one of the contributing factors to helping me pull out of my downward spiral of depression. On a day like Tabletop Day or anytime we’re able to get together with our friends and play games, I’m able to forget about all the troubles of life. Where some people turn towards alcohol or drugs, I have cards and dice.

I look forward to sharing these experiences with my children as well, passing down these pieces of cardboard and cardstock as heirlooms, so that they can teach their kids one day. In a world ruled by technology and “I need it now” mentality, you have to take a step back and show the newer generations that there’s more to life than “selfies” and social media. Trading Wood for Sheep, Scoring the Longest Route, Rolling for Initiative or Flushing out the Spies; these are all ways to enjoy life and the people around you.

I would honestly hate for humanity to end up like it does in WALL-E: fat blobs floating around unaware of anything outside of their own little world of entertainment. Board Games can help keep that from happening. So if anyone out there reading this doesn’t know about the world of board games already, go find a friendly local game store and see what new wonders await you! I guarantee they’ll change your life for the better.

“But you don’t have to take my word for it…”

BADUM BUM!

Reading Rainbow reference anyone? Anybody as old as I am? No? …Awesome. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Comic Book University 

The Passion of the Nerd

Posted: April 2, 2014 in General
Tags: , , , ,

For those readers out there who are jumping onto this hype train before it’s even left the station, I want to say welcome. You’ve discovered this blog somehow and I certainly hope I can keep you entertained long enough to stick around for awhile. If not, well, be sure to tell your friends about me. Maybe they’ll have better taste than you.

Now, I’m sure many of you are people I know because that’s how I’m told these things start. For those of you who happen to be complete strangers, or friends who want to get to know me better, let me tell you that this blog will be an intimate look at who I am viewed through the lens of what I enjoy doing/watching/playing. Also the mental illness stuff but you knew that already if you had read my first post! Geez! I thought we were friends!
Anyway, I feel like, in this internet age superficial views of a person are there to simply attract the audience. They come for the shared interests and stay for the insightful commentary on said interests. I say this because most nerds love to talk and discuss everything they enjoy at length. While not every nerdy person likes to drone on for hours about (as an example) which Star Trek captain was better, I think this statement is pretty universal.

Picard was the best, by the way. Come at me Red Shirts!

From Writing to Science, Sports to Board Games, Television to Reading; almost everyone is a nerd in today’s culture. Anything you can talk about at length is something that you’re passionate about and at the heart of all true nerds is passion. Whether it is passion for the best Dungeons and Dragons Edition (3.5), the best television show (Doctor Who), or the best sports team (Chicago Blackhawks). My point is that by sharing my passions with you I may be able to connect in a way that will allow us to enjoy these things together. Maybe you’ll enjoy my thoughts on these things, maybe you’ll hate them. Either way I hope you’ll stick around and generate good discussion.

I know nothing anyone creates will be universally loved by everyone but that dissenting opinion is what keeps content creators on their toes and not becoming complacent. It also helps build a thicker skin, which is something I am in dire need of because when you can’t even finish a game of League of Legends because you had your feelings hurt by some anonymous douchbag, I think it’s time to re-evaluate your sensitivity.

Not that I would know anything about that….heh…right?

So leave a comment, let me know what brought you here, let me know what some of your passions are and I’ll see you all next week!

Rolling for Initiative

Posted: March 26, 2014 in General
Tags: , , ,

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve returned to the blogosphere after a long hiatus with a [3 Months Late] New Year’s Resolution to write more and, in the process, try to gain a support group of strangers on the internet. I need this support group of strangers on the internet for a quest I am about to embark upon: The Journey to Becoming a Better Person and Less of a Douchebag.

I’ll wait for the eye rolls and “Ha, I give this a month or less,” comments.
Done? Cool. Let us begin.

As I approach my 30th birthday in June, I start to look mortality in the eye. Now, most would say that it’s a bit early to be doing that sort of thing. However, when you’ve been an extremely lazy excuse maker, with depression and anxiety, for the better part of those years it’s never too early to look at yourself and realize that you don’t want the next 30 to be wasted the same way the first 30, more or less, has.

I’ll begin by being open and blunt about where I am. I am extremely ruled by my emotions and ruled like a tyranical king by years and years of ingrained habits that are nowhere near healthy. From anger issues to crippling anxiety I’m just a mess of a person, really. Allow me to elaborate on my most frustrating habit as an example.

Here’s your tiny door, just throw that thing onto the back of my skull and let’s take a trip into my brain, shall we?

When I wake up in the morning my mind is immediately filled with things I should get out of bed and do. Writing I need to do, Books I want to read, Games I want to play, television I should get caught up on, hobbies I should practice; the list goes on. For the better part of my life, it’s been the same; I lay there and go over all this before rolling back over, saying I’ll do it later, and then going back to sleep. The only things that eventually force me out of bed are my job or something I can’t avoid. It’s like there’s these invisible depression arms coming up out of the bed, Nightmare on Elm Street style, and just not letting me go. Except instead of pulling me into the bed and killing me, they stroke my head and rock me back to sleep; all the while whispering in my ear that I can just do that stuff tomorrow.

Don’t ask me how hands can whisper, this analogy (Johnny Depp references aside) is creepy enough already.

From what I’ve read and what my therapist has told me, this is normal for someone who suffers from depression. Many people deal with this motivation destruction every day and it’s honestly comforting just to know that I’m not alone. There have even been many celebrities on twitter or social media with these same problems and they frequently use the helpful term “Depression Lies” when talking about their problems. This is something I try to tell myself whenever it gets really bad. It is a phrase that has helped pull me out of bed or motivated me when those Freddy Kruger Depression Arms are trying real hard to keep me down. Those are the days that help me get up again and again because it just feels good to beat this thing, even if it’s only for a single day.

The good news is that with a combination of support from my amazing fiancée, my family and some actual medical help I’m on my way to finally beating this thing called mental illness. I hit rock bottom last year and I’ve had to climb out of that hole since. I’m going to really try hard to beat this thing and be a better person to everyone in my life. So everyone reading this crazy thing I want you to hold me accountable for the decisions and mistakes I may make as I stumble my way through this year. This blog is just one of the many constant goals I want to keep up with. More writing is what this guy needs.

While you all help me with that I’ll be trying to keep you entertained with my ramblings about video gaming, tabletop gaming, wrasslin’, life and other various musings.

So let’s go on an adventure together, shall we? HUZZAH!