Music: Beautiful Times by Owl City Feat. Lindsey Sterling

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I am a huge Owl City fan. His music just feels magical to me.

My life hasn’t been easy. In fact, sometimes I think I am drowning in the intensity of it all. Everyone has their share of problems, but for some people, it’s just easier to be positive. I am glad that those people are generally happy but what about the rest of us?  We need something that can help us get through the dirt and grime of life. Some people turn to drugs, alcohol, exercise, food, music… Some of us turn to more than one or maybe even all of those things.

When I first heard Owl City’s song “Fireflies”, I was visiting Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the first time. The drive felt good. I was driving far away from my hometown that held too many dark memories for me. I felt free for the first time in a long time. When “Fireflies” came on the radio, I knew right away that it would always hold a special place in my heart. It doesn’t hold any negative memories like some songs do for me. It holds that memory of freedom. Of soaring through the air. Like I could somehow survive this life.

Last night, Owl City released a new song called “Beautiful Times”. I was extremely nervous because Adam Young’s music means so much to me. It didn’t need to be perfect. Magic and beauty is still flawed but in a wonderful way. I wasn’t disappointed.

You can download the song for free at Owl City’s website. It tells you that you need to embark on Owl City’s “Beautiful Times” voyage by reaching the light house. The only thing you have to do is listen to the song play while watching the boat travel to the lighthouse.

Adam writes about this song and says, ” Deeply subjective and personal, it has a dark beauty I find compelling and the essence of the track offers the idea that life is wonderful despite the burdens and afflictions that seek us out”.

Check it out. http://beautifultimes.owlcitymusic.com

 

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So Your Boyfriend/Husband Is A Gamer?

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When it comes to gamer guys, they are definitely in abundance. So your chances of dating or marrying a gamer are pretty high. There are many different types. There’s the casual gamer, the regular gamer, the extreme gamer, and the total nerd who takes it to a whole different level.

For some girls, this can be the most frustrating thing in the world. You might be the girl who wants to go to the mall, see a movie, or anything else BUT sit around and watch your guy play video games.

I started out like one of those girls. When I was about 17 (I am now 27), video games were a constant argument. “Why do you have to play video games all of the time?” “Why can’t we do something else?” “Why won’t you just spend time with me!”

Finally, one day, I had a revelation. Why ruin a relationship with an argument over video games? I mean, honestly. There are bigger things you can argue about. If I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend, I needed to become interested in the things that he liked. It was as simple as that. That’s when I recruited my gamer brother.

“Teach me to play video games.” I pleaded.

Luckily for me, my brother was more than eager and a VERY patient teacher. He spent a ton of time playing video games with me. He pointed out what I was doing wrong and how I could improve. I went from wanting to throw the controller across the room to saying “Hey, this is kind of fun.” While my brother taught me the art of playing video games, I kept it a huge secret. One day, when I knew I was ready, I approached my boyfriend. “Let’s play Halo.” He stared at me like I had gone crazy. I don’t think he expected those words to ever come out of my mouth. Finally, he smiled and put in the game. He decided we would play against each other first so I could get use to the controller. Before he could do much, I ran over and killed him. He stopped and looked at me with his mouth wide open. That’s when I explained what I had been up to. The pure joy in his face that I did this for him was enough to make it all worth while. I also got to become the “coolest girlfriend ever”.

In the past few years, I had to learn to be that girl all over again. I quickly became a console gamer and loved every minute of it. However, my husband is a major computer gamer. When we were just friends, he played World of Warcraft like his life depended on it. He even told me that playing was like a job. I thought he was an idiot. In the best way possible, of course. He eventually gave up World of Warcraft to pursue a relationship with me. How sweet! Right?

Once we moved in together, he told me he really missed World of Warcraft. Those words made me practically have an anxiety attack. I knew how obsessive he was and I didn’t want him to become that person again. Finally, I agreed that he could play but only when I played. Yea. That lasted for maybe a week. He played so much and his gamer friends seemed to be more important than me. If we are being honest here, I thought we were going to break up over it. Hi, honey! Nothing like admitting personal information for everyone to read. I was being selfish, though. Here is what the problem was. I was TERRIBLE at W.o.W. He was impatient with me and would get frustrated. I eventually left his guild and joined a mostly girl guild. In that guild, there was one guy who worked with all of the girls and taught them how to be good. Finally, I took up his offer and let him teach me. A lot changed after that. My husband became a teeny tiny less obsessive. I was also a better player so I think he enjoyed playing with me more. I also realized that I didn’t need to play WITH him in the game.

Now, I honestly couldn’t imagine being with someone who wasn’t a gamer. Now I WANT to play video games from time to time and I would be sad if my significant other didn’t want to.

So what’s the moral of this story?

Girls, if you want your guys to be involved in your interests, you have to do the same in return. That means actually trying your hardest. It doesn’t mean you play one silly girly game and then expect things to get better. Your relationship isn’t all about you so stop acting like it. Sometimes you need to be the one to make the first move. Don’t be so stubborn. Once he sees you making a real effort, he might do the same thing. If he doesn’t though, why are you with him???

A few last words of wisdom.

  • Find a patient teacher
  • Don’t just learn to play. Learn to enjoy it. It makes a difference
  • Tons of girls play video games these days. It’s not just for guys. Try finding another girl or a group of girls to play with every now and then. I’m also available to play. Send me a message if you’re interested. I have an Xbox360 and Xbox One.  I also play World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare has been out for almost a month now. When I first heard about its release, I just assumed that it was going to be like the original Plants vs. Zombies. I was pretty excited because I liked playing that game a lot. I also don’t pay one bit attention to anything which is why I was clueless about how this game would work.

When Jim picked up the game, I saw it and thought “What the heck. This isn’t anything like what I thought.” Nope. It’s better! Seriously,  I am addicted to this game. Jim basically said it’s “fun but cheesy”. I was a little offended by that. How could a game I love so much be cheesy? Okay, so it’s not Halo or Call of Duty but I still think it’s better than a lot of video games out there. I was getting extremely bored with the games that were coming out.

One of my favorite games to play is Assassin’s Creed but it requires a lot of time and effort. That is a luxury I just don’t have anymore. Garden Warfare doesn’t have a storyline that you have to play through.

There are four different multiplayer modes. You can earn coins in each mode towards opening online card packs.

There is Garden Ops, which I haven’t played yet. Basically you can play alone or let up to three other players join your game. Then you have to fight off waves of zombies. It looks pretty fun. I am going to have to try that soon.

Team Vanquish is a death match. The first team to 50 wins. Sometimes if you have a really great team, the match can be over pretty quickly. I really like that, unless I am on the losing team.

Gardens and Graveyards is a little like King of the Hill. The plants have control over several areas and it’s the goal of the zombies to overtake them. If the zombies take over an area, they then have the chance to take over the next one. As soon as they fail to take over an area, the game is over. If the zombies succeed in taking over every area, they are pretty much guaranteed a ton of coins.

Mixed Mode is the final game mode and it’s a recent addition. You get put into a random Team Vanquish or Gardens and Graveyards game. This is the one I play the most. I like to be surprised and switch it up every now and then.

It could probably use some more modes but, at the very least, I’d like to see some more maps. It’s a fun game, though. I’d give it a 4/5 stars just for the entertainment factor. I’ll probably give it a 4.5 once they get some more maps. I am sure we will see that in time.

Edit: It turns out that they are releasing free downloadable content tomorrow (March 18) with a new mode and a new map. They read my mind!

What do you think? Do you like it? What other changes would you like to see?

I’d also like to get opinions on having gamer nights for bloggers. If you are just a reader and interested, we could work something out with that too. I currently play on the Xbox One. Let me know your thoughts.

Suicide Awareness

Seven years ago today, I lost someone very close to me to suicide. Even after all of these years, the topic is still very difficult for me to discuss. If someone asks me directly about it, I am more than willing to share. However, I typically keep my thoughts to myself because I am always worried about making other people uncomfortable. I probably shouldn’t feel that way but I have gotten so many negative reactions over the years that I can’t help myself. When it first happened, people seemed more understanding about it. Seven years in and people think I should be over it by now.

First, let me say, that’s not how it works. Everyone handles these things differently. Some people cope by making themselves busy. Other people are like me and become depressed and withdrawn. I am certainly not nearly as bad as I once was, but I am not sure that I will ever be what people expect of me. I can put on a good face though.

For those of us who have lost someone to suicide, I believe that the best thing we can do is help other people who are going through the same thing. If you have been there, you know how lonely and scary it can be. You also know that people can say some really crappy things. They “mean well” but they just make it worse. That’s why we should all support each other. Instead of hearing “things will get better in time”, what we really need is someone who will just listen without saying a word.

Because today is such a tough day for me, I wanted to share someone else’s story.

In November of 2013, Ian lost his brother to suicide. Ian is so brave and strong because, not long after, he decided to set off on a journey and walk across the U.S. to promote suicide awareness and mental illness.

He is doing such a huge thing and he deserves as much support as possible.

 You can learn more about Ian and what he is doing at the links below.