My thoughts on gaming and some creative writing pieces
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An Update

March 19th, 2014 | Posted by Getsu in Personal - (0 Comments)

As anyone who has frequented this blog in the past few weeks, or months really, has noticed: I’m not writing guides on WoW anymore. I feel really bad about just falling off the face of the Earth, so I want to share what’s been going on with me (especially since my last post was not game related). There’ll be a TLDR of sorts concerning guides and this blog at the end because this post may get rather rambly.

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I am currently a student at Vassar College. This has its ups and downs, but I think the poem I posted before going MIA made it clear that there were a few prominent downs at that time. There was a brewing of tension because many people felt that there was a lot of discrimination towards different groups on campus (whether they were racial, sexual, or gender issues). This continued to build in situations where I could feel prejudice openly coming from other students, which led me to write the piece that I shared in September. These issues built until they reached the point where personal attacks were orchestrated against students on campus, some of the victims being close friends of mine. At this time I asked Brutall, the GM of Static, to give me some time off from raiding to deal with my personal problems so that I could be there for my friends. I assured him that I would not be quitting, and felt that this absence would be fine since Static was working on H Garrosh and the raid didn’t need me for that progression.

The issues at school continued to get out of hand with more and more personal attacks (involving a physical assault on a friend). Eventually the administration announced that a pair of students had been behind the attacks and would be leaving school. This ended up breaking much of the tension behind the campus atmosphere without truly resolving much of the prejudice that students felt. The administration continued to attempt to work at the tensions, but many groups still felt it openly. I continued to take time to be there for friends who took the situation much more harshly than I did, and I simply never found time to return to raiding. Before I knew it a few weeks had gone by, Static had taken down Heroic Garrosh, and I had been demoted to a Friends and Family member. At the time I felt bad because I had assured Brutall that I would not be quitting, but I didn’t really have the energy to explain that I was still dealing with stuff.

Despite the campus events being gone at this point, tensions continued and I could feel it in many of my friends. Many of my very close friends were visibly unhappy, and more recently my best friend attempted to commit suicide (hes doing well now). For a long time I had managed to put off my personal feelings on these matters, but when this happened I couldn’t handle it anymore. I broke down. I tried to be strong for everyone around me for so long, and it took its strain on me.

I’ve taken time since these events happened to take care of myself, and am now doing much better. My life seems to be coming back together, and I want to get back to the things that I love. That includes coming back to this blog.

When things calmed down I managed to get back to gaming, but that did not include returning to WoW. The only thing that I ever loved about WoW was raiding, and even before this happened I was feeling disheartened in that regard. Raiding just wasn’t fun anymore. While I loved playing with Static (everyone in that guild has and will remain to be like family to me), I don’t feel that I am deserving of a spot in that guild because of the commitment issues I have due to school and personal problems. This has led me to decide that I won’t be returning to WoW. I just can’t see myself raiding with a guild other than Static.

I love gaming too much to not write about it. Even if I don’t keep many of the readers that came to me for Holy Paladin advice, I want to be able to write about the games that I enjoy playing. I have picked up Dota 2 and may begin writing on that game, or any other games that I pick up and play from time to time. I tried to start streaming via Twitch, but that didn’t work out as my school’s internet connection isn’t fast enough to allow me to stream and play comfortably. I’ll try to write consistently, for now I’m aiming at bi-weekly posts, and I’ll try to get more active in regards to Twitter.

For now I want to say thank you to any of the readers that have continued to support my work throughout the last two years (Its been almost that long since I started this blog). I appreciate the posts and messages that I receive whether it be related to gaming or my personal life.

Side note: Big thank you to Static, especially Brutall, for supporting me since I joined the guild. They are truly a great group of people and anyone who has enjoyed my guides should definitely support them. I believe that Brutall has started putting up a lot of youtube videos and streaming on twitch, so anyone looking for a lovable oaf of a man who enjoys gaming should check him out.

Static’s Website

Brutall’s Twitter

Brutall’s Twitch

TLDR:

I will no longer be playing WoW, and therefore will not be writing guides on the game anymore. I will still try to write bi-weekly posts on this site related to gaming, and will continue to share whatever creative writing pieces I feel are appropriate. Thank you to anyone who reads and supports this blog, it means a lot to me.

Just like You

September 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Getsu in Personal - (1 Comments)

This is a poem that I wrote for an Open Mic event I performed at last night. It’s the first poem I’ve ever performed, but I think it managed to say a lot of what I wanted it to. It’s a very personal piece on my identity at my college, so it might not be something that everyone can relate to. It’s also meant to be spoken because it is a very emotional piece for me, but I wanted to share it here despite not having a video of my reading. Just a warning that it brings up issues of race due to my heritage and the way that I am perceived because of it.

 

Name, Where I’m from, Major.

My name is Marcos, I’m from California, I’m an STS Major.

Oh, its Marcos.

And yea, I’m really from California.

From the fertile Salinas Valley.

Where my parents came to work the bountiful fields,

And plant their hope.

Where they cared and tended their garden,

And there I grew.

Yet even there I get no more

than cold stares from those who consider themselves more native than I.

Who are happy to import my parents sweat,

but want nothing to do with their blood.

Who claim ownership over the fruit of their labor,

but try to deport the  fruit of their wombs.

And I hear it even in the way you ask where I’m really from,

that even you view me as a second rate person in one of the only places I’ve ever considered home, but you probably think I’d fit in better in Mexico.

And that’s not much better than people who would have me go back “where I came from”.

You would force on me a culture I’ve never truly belonged to.

A culture that has never truly accepted me.

I’m more of a foreigner in this motherland you want me to return to.

So why am I still the Mexican here?

Why, when I thought that I was finally home, do I have to put up with friends who feel they can talk my language when they say “tacos, burritos, chile!”

And why am I made to feel so uncomfortable in this “accepting” place.

People who can’t even pronounce my name want to decide who I really am.

Here when it suits you I’m just as Mexican as you need me to be.

When I can fill your diversity quota you like to focus on my heritage

When you need me to be, I become the token Mexican

As a tour walks through campus I’m a brown face to break up the crowd of white.

Yet growing up I was always the whitewashed kid who was just about as Mexican as Taco Bell.

And when it suits you, you quickly realize how true that is.

I put on a suit and suddenly I go from Mexican to Spanish, Greek, Italian.

I put on a suit and you take away the very culture that you’ve been trying to force on me.

The struggle that my parents went through to give me a better opportunity in life than they had

A childhood spent in a city so violent that it was featured on Ganglands.

Where white people saw me as just another walking target on a shooting range

A lifetime of trying to decide just how Mexican or American I really am.

Trying to decide just how much culture I have a right to.

Trying to appease people like you who assign me to whichever you like

And my family that wants me to remember my roots.

I might not be Mexican, but I am Latino. I am Chicano.

I try to dress nice, and you take that all of that away from me.

I become white so that I can better fit into the stereotypes in your head.

I cant possibly be Latino and educated.

I can’t possibly be Chicano and dress well.

I can’t be all of me without having you try to decide who I really am.

So let me explain it for you.

I am really from California

I am really Latino

I am really Chicano.

I am really American.

I am really a Vassar student.

I have my strengths and my faults

I have my successes and my struggles

I am my own person

Just like you.

 

My Culture Sculpture

September 14th, 2012 | Posted by Getsu in Personal - (4 Comments)

This is going to be a personal post about one of my experiences going through RA training in my dorm and some thoughts I had on the experience. 

About two weeks ago while was going through training to be an RA in my dorm, I went through multiple activities that were rather bland. Most of the training was terribly boring and I simply sat in one room after another while people talked at me about a plethora of ways in which college students endanger themselves. During one of these sessions, a rather animated faculty member of my school’s residential life program, who I will refer to as Mr. I,  began telling us a story about his family. The story itself was rather touching, but the activity that came afterwards is what I want to talk about.

Once his story was over, Mr. I asked us to take some pipe cleaners that we would be using for a “Culture Sculpture”. He explained that he’d be asking us a question and he wanted us to make a shape of any sort for each question. Once all our questions were finished he wanted us to connect the small sculptures in some way and think of how all our individual answers also connected to each other. For some reason, this very simple activity had a profound effect on me and it’s been sitting in my mind since we went through it. After thinking about it for quite a while, I want to share what each of his questions were and my responses.

Where are you from?

The first question seemed rather simple, but he said that he didn’t want our answer to be geographic. He wanted us to try to explain our background and where we felt that our personality and the person that we are has come from.

Despite his explanation, my first thought on this question was the physical aspects of home I remember. That did lead me into my first little “sculpture” though. I made what I pictured as rows of crops in a field. To me this presents two answers to the question.
Firstly, I come from farm workers and field hands. As far back as I know, my family has worked fields to grow produce. At one point, the fields they worked were family owned fields that surrounded huge portions of cities. As time went on, my family lost most of its land and that changed entirely. In recent generations, my family has moved around a lot and eventually immigrated to this country to find work. Predictably they ended up working in fields  as it was one of the only things that they had ever done.
The “sculpture” of rows of crops also represents something else to me though. I come from the seed of hope and wanting a new chance at life. The many green fields I see around my home represent new life to me, and in some way I am a part of that. My parents collected their things and came here hoping to find more fertile land than they had to settle in. My siblings and I are the fruit of their labor.

Who are you thankful for?

Again, Mr. I wanted us to think past the obvious. He wanted us to realize that we may not have to like who were thankful for. The main point here was that he wanted us to think about someone who had helped us shape our lives and really be honest about what that person meant to us.

I took this question to heart and decided that the people I am most thankful for in this world are my parents. When I was younger my answer would have definitely been much different because I could never see eye to eye with either of my parents. They were very traditionally Mexican and expected me to grow up with the exact same views as they had. My mother was always caring and tried to let my siblings and I choose for ourselves, but she was also quick to let me know when I was doing things in a way she didn’t approve of. On the other hand, my father was always very clear that we were expected to be like him. I got beat multiple times through my childhood for everything from telling him that I did not want to be very religious to making it clear that I would rather go to school than work with him.
Despite all that, I appreciate with every fiber of my being that my parents worked to the bone for me. I am where I am today because of how they raised me and because of the opportunities they gave me. I know I may not be exactly the son they wanted sometimes, but one of the reasons I work so hard is because I want to make them proud. If I can show them that all their hard work payed off, I can say that I’ve had a good life.

What do you want to unlearn?

This question is slightly more complicated than the others and required accepting that there is something wrong with with the things I know. As it was explained, everyone has biases and knows of stereotypes that they take for granted. Sometimes it may not even be anything as strong as a full out stereotype that is held against a group of people. The way Mr. I explained it, his example was that of growing up with his mother having dinner on the table when his father came home. He realized that he shouldn’t necessarily expect that situation of his spouse.

 

Thinking this question through was very rough for me because I had to admit that there was an issue with what I thought.
To give some back story:  I grew up in a very heavily Hispanic community. My whole life I focused on school because it was the only thing that I thought I was really good at. That led to me being one of the “smart” kids before I came to college. Being “smart” in turn led to me being alienated from people my age because many of them couldn’t even properly speak English. At first I tried to spend my time helping my peers so that I wouldn’t feel like such an outsider, but after failing at that I took to the culture that had raised me to focus on school. I very much considered myself to be American and viewed Hispanics in a very negative light. I thought of most Hispanics as either intellectually lazy or incapable. I hated being considered Mexican and that the color of my skin made me different from the people I wanted to be like. This led to a lot of identity issues for me and just plain hatred of who I was. I was ashamed of my culture, my heritage, and my family.

I want to shed the negative opinions of the culture that raised me. I am who I am because of everything that was around me as a child, a huge part of that being Hispanic culture and people. I don’t want to be ashamed of who I am and feel like a lesser person just because my skin is brown instead of white. I think that a lot of what I’ve learned at college is that accepting people is important, whether they be different because of the color of their skin or their sexuality. All people are different in some way and some be thought of as equals. For me that means that instead of trying to shed my culture, I want to learn more about it and be proud of the fact that I come from a different background than most of the people I know. I want to accept my roots and accept that they have helped to make me into the person I am.

What is one thing that you love about yourself?

This one was kind of straightforward and didn’t really get much more explanation. He just told us that we should be honest with ourselves and admit if there’s something that we really enjoy about the person we are.

 

I think that the thing I love most about myself is that my personality is very fluid and all encompassing. I tend to reach very odd extremes with everything from my personality to my hobbies. I think a big example for me of this is that I am a competitive raider in World of Warcraft and a Varsity swimmer for my college. To a lot of people, doing both of those things just seems incredibly odd. I think that it’s a way to keep my life balanced and centered around all the things that I surrounded myself with. I don’t want to just give up on any part of my life, and I’m glad that I have a personality that fits into all the different things that I enjoy.

A glimpse at a bigger picture

 

Questions for you

Where are you from?
Who are you thankful for?
What would you like to unlearn?
What do you love about yourself?

If anyone would like to give their own responses to these questions, I would love to read them. They don’t have to be as personal as mine either, I’d appreciate any amount of sharing. If anyone would like to build a Culture Sculpture to go with them, I would love to see it.

Regardless of whether you want to answer the questions or not, thank you for taking the time to read this post.  These thoughts have just been floating around in my head for a while, so I’m glad that I was able to share them somehow.

This is going to be a kind of long personal post where I want to talk about a little bit of self discovery. 


After reading a combination of Ambermist’s personal post on big life changes (in and out of game) and Tzufit’s post on how players have changed through Wrath and Cata, a few thoughts that have been on my mind for a while surfaced. I’ve wanted to make a response to Ambermist’s earlier post which challenged bloggers to talk about themselves a little, but I hadn’t realized what I wanted to say until I read those her own personal piece and Tzufit’s.

I mentioned in my introduction post that I am a college student going into my second year. This is my first summer break coming home from school, and looking back a year I don’t even feel like I’m the same person. Between talking to my family and  friends, I know that I’ve changed more than I could have ever imagined.
A big part of it is physical: I’ve lost a lot of weight and because of it have begun to dress in a much different way. I’m comfortable walking around in more than just baggy t-shirts and jeans. I’ve started to enjoy going clothes shopping. It’s not because I absolutely love clothes, but because to me being able to wear tighter clothing without thinking that I look fat is a huge confidence boost. It makes me feel a lot better about myself, but my appearance isn’t the only thing that’s changed.

My first Semester of college: Learning to let go

Last summer, as I prepared to leave home for school, I felt that I was confident in everything I wanted to do. At the time I a few months into my first relationship and enjoying my two favorite hobbies. My hobbies were so great to me because I had two groups of people that were like family to me: my swim team and my raid team. Every morning and afternoon I’d go swim, every night I’d play WoW, and every other ounce of free time I got went to my girlfriend. I was extremely happy with everything and excited for school. I figured school would be four years to continue the same activities, but none of it lasted more than a semester.

One by one the three staples of my life began to crumble away. When I realized just how much work school, raiding, keeping a long distance relationship, and swimming for a college team would be, I realized I had to let go of something. I quit raiding within my first three weeks. It was hard for me, but I told myself it was for the best. I had to prioritize my life and make sure that I did what I had to. Video games weren’t as important as everything else, so I stopped playing thinking that everything would get better.

Despite my initial loss to time, I realized that I would have to give up more of what I thought made me who I was. My new team quickly became another family for me. I loved spending time with them, in and out of the pool. They were all amazing people that made the transition to school so much easier, but they were competing for time with my relationship. I didn’t know how to handle the situation. This was the first relationship I’d ever had, and I thought that it was right to give her as much time as I could. Eventually I felt the need to pick between her and swimming. I picked her, and I was left with nothing in my life but school and my relationship.

The next few months became sharing my time between my relationship and school. If I wasn’t in class or studying, I was talking to her. I didn’t spend much time with my friends because I felt the need to spend all my time keeping up my relationship. If I strayed from that, I ended up in a situation where I had to ask for forgiveness for putting other people above the relationship. It was extremely unhealthy, I realize that now, but at the time I was too afraid to move away from it. It was the only remnant of my life before school that I had, and I wanted so dearly to hold onto it. Without it I wouldn’t know who I was, I’d have nothing to be passionate about. My first semester of college ended on that note: I felt trapped in a vortex where I couldn’t feel anything but the single tie to my past life through this relationship.

I was scared. I was extremely scared to lose that tie to what I thought was me. I tried so hard to hold on to it. Yet as I fought to keep it, I slowly realized that what I held onto as a lifeline was actually dragging me down, so I cut it.
It wasn’t quick. It was drawn out and painful. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much over a single person ever before, but once it was over I felt that I could breathe again.

My second semester: Getting out there

My second semester of college was full of so much freedom. I spent time with people who’d previously been strangers living upstairs. I made more friends in the matter of a month that I had all through high school. I spent most afternoons trying out new things that I’d never imagined myself doing. Although I also picked up raiding again somewhere in my second semester, I made time to go out and talk to all of the amazing people living around me. I was thrown completely out of my comfort zone, but I was truly happy for the first time in months.

One of the most personally surprising things that I did was pick up dancing. I joined the ballroom club on a, “Why not?” whim, but it became one of the things I did because I loved it more and more every time. I wont lie: it helped my interest that I got to meet some beautiful women, but that wasn’t what kept me coming back. It felt amazing to get past my awkwardness and dance with some amazing people. The leaders of the club who taught the lessons were all extremely nice and funny. They were quirky and lovable in a way that made me feel at home while completely questioning my presence on a dance floor at the same time. Getting new moves down gave me confidence that I really needed at the time, and having a small group of friends to dance with every few nights gave me something to look forward to.

In the same manner, Quidditch gave me something to be passionate about. I went out three days a week to practice and work out, but it wasn’t as serious as swimming had been. Everyone on the team was insane in their own personal way (I mean, they all run around on brooms). Practices weren’t all about becoming better, they were also extremely fun and surprising. Some practices were entirely meant to be fun, which had never happened with swimming. I found myself going out to have fun, but still found someone to push my competitive nature to work out. Between the senior who I had personal running competitions with and the crazy antics that the team thought up, I couldn’t help but feel that the team was a perfect place for me.

Between Quidditch and dance, I gained enough confidence and joy to be able to grow. I moved past feeling like I had to establish my happiness. I was certainly happy, and I finally started to take in the broad environment of experiences that my school had to offer.

I think that the biggest thing that came from that freedom and happiness was finally being able to spend time with new people and get to know them all. I met people who came from entirely different backgrounds than I did. It was astounding how many different experiences people had, and I loved hearing about what it was like for others growing up. There were international students and people from all corners of the US, and all of their different opinions helped me grow to accept a plethora of different views and opinions.

Reminiscing on my first year

This is me, after that first year of school

I was unsure as to whether I wanted to put a picture of myself up or not, but I think after all that talking about myself it’s warranted to do so.

Now that I’m home and I’ve been able to think about it all, I’m glad that things happened the way they did. It sucks to have lost so much and gone through so much pain at the beginning, but I think that everything was worth it. I’m happy again, but now there’s more than just happiness. I have a broader understanding of life, and I understand that things will change. I know I’m still young and that everything I’m slowly learning may seem like teen angst, but I guess dealing with this is a part of getting to be that adult that I will be some day.
As of now, I’m just excited to experience it all.

This post is going to be very personal and include some spoilers on an MoP quest. If you don’t want to read that kind of thing, I’m finishing up a post talking about my experience with the raids on Beta so far that I will probably put up on Saturday.

I want to start by saying that the past week has been stressful in a few ways for me. I recently found out that my grandmother is very sick and may be passing away soon. I also found out that a friend of mine has been told his cancer has gotten out of hand. Needless to say, death has been on my mind.

When it really got me down to think about both of these people in my life too much, I took to the Beta to do a few quests and try to distract myself. Most of the quests seemed like the same old gather this or kill this. I didn’t think much of a set of quests that had me getting some revenge for a village that had been destroyed. It’s normal for the game to include a lot of death and destruction, after all it is World of Warcraft. When I finished the set I found a very surprising quest called “A Funeral.”

The Pandaren quest giver wanted to hold a funeral for all those in the village that had passed away. Instead of brushing their deaths under the carpet and making it seem like your murder of their murderers made everything perfect, he made it clear that those who had died should be honored. This in itself was odd, but the quest giver then gave a speech at the graveyard that completely hit me off guard.

You see, what you have done is a tribute to the truthe we Pandaren hold most dear. None of us approaches our death with joy – but neither should we feel feer, nor anger, nor doubt. Though we may die, from our passing blossoms new life. This is the truth that we live, work, and die for. Do you see? From their graves, trees grow. May these trees always stand for the sacrifice they made, and the honor you have done them.

I can’t believe that a game gave me advice on how to deal with death, but it told me what I needed to hear. At a time when I was too upset about the thought of death to really think about anything else, this game told me to cheer up. It may just be a fictional character, but he was able to make me feel better nonetheless.

I think that sometimes I forget that this game is creating its own world. As cartoony or silly as it may seem at times, the game has some very serious moments. The game does come full circle to touch on the serious aspects of life that it includes. While I think that many people may just take those as another quest, for me they are very powerful moments that make the game seem alive.

If anyone would like to share, I’d love to hear about serious moments or life lessons in the game that others have found.