chukichi

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A Topical Post?

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A lovely Wednesday morning, 64 degrees and it finally feels like October.  At least it will feel that way for a few more minutes.  I went to bed this morning at 6 AM and woke up at 8:30 AM bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on the world!

I mean, I will be after I finish this giant ass mug of coffee and HOW CUTE ARE THESE KRISPY KREMES!

And oh…yeah…this mug that I made in 2015…with the Hearthstone logo on one side and my Warcraft guild banner on the other.  Good times.

First, I need to establish the fact that I’m a total hipster when it comes to hating Blizzard:  I broke up with Blizzard way before it was cool and I didn’t need to scream it from the rooftops because I don’t need the universe’s  validation.  Conversely,

PLEASE LIKE AND COMMENT AND FOLLOW THIS BLOG AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS OMG I NEED THE VALIDATION.

I was a Vanilla WoW player and originally quit due to babies and time and I knew that I would have little to no self-control when it came to gaming.  I was young and all I did at the time was work and then come home to play video games with the Mr.  You can Google “baby dies from neglect video games” and there is no shortage of horror stories.  I didn’t think that would neglect my children, but definitely I would tell the rest of my life to fuck off if I was still enmeshed with Warcraft.  With my first baby I was scared of everything.  In fact, I learned about pregnancy and listeria and didn’t have a cold sandwich for my entire pregnancy.  I was so psychologically terrified that I began having an intense fear of a zombie apocalypse primarily, I think, to distract myself from my fear of everything that could actually go wrong during a pregnancy.

The second time I quit was because of how much it was interfering with my marriage; this awesome game that originally pitted me and the Mr.  against the entire world of Azeroth and beyond had imperceptibly over time become a huge wedge between us.  In our desperate need to escape from problems in the real world, we did so separately and nearly destroyed our marriage.  When we fixed our marriage (or at least that aspect) and found our way back out WoW, something was just different.  It was definitely a bigger time sink (fuck you, LFR queue for dps) but the player environment was more toxic as well.  Everything was a mindless grind because the more time it took to complete every goal was more money in Blizzard’s pocket.  Don’t get me wrong, obviously they want you to play more/pay more but at least make it fun or interesting.

But this isn’t a post about how crazy or not crazy I am, nor is it about how I researched the cost of bulk canned water.  It especially is not about how I ultimately calmed my zombie fears by reasoning that a biological zombie outbreak would end rather quickly considering how fast insects and carrion feeders would eliminate the zombie threat, but the fact that Blizzard is once again being a piece of shit.

This all comes on the heels of the big news about Blizzard and the pro Hearthstone player Blitzchung (holy shit, is that a great name).  Literally every article out there can detail the controversy better than I ever could, but basically, Blitzchung is a professional Hearthstone player and in a post-match interview he made a political statement regarding his support for Hong Kong’s protesting citizens.  Blizzard was like NOPE and promptly fired him, rescinded all of his tournament winnings and banned him from Hearthstone professional matches for 12 months.

Personal disclaimer:  I am half-Chinese (half-Thai!) but 100% disconnected from my “roots”.  I speak more Spanish than I do any Asian language, I can’t make a proper dumpling or bao but I make the fucking best Thanksgiving turkey EVER.  Better than the Mr.’s grandmother’s and that’s a big statement in The South.  I don’t have a solid opinion on Hong Kong because I’m 1.) completely ignorant regarding politics in general, world politics even more so, and 2.) very aware of how this can all be manipulated and stirred up by rogue agents from all over the world.  Ultimately, I think the vast majority of Hong Kong protesters are genuine in what they believe in and I have no doubt the violence is very, very real.  However, I’m wary of the media (as everyone should be) and “first hand accounts” are mostly unreliable because you can’t vet and verify it.  I see posts on reddit, imgur, all over social media and if I don’t personally know the poster, how can I be sure it’s not a professional rabble rouser?  Part of a shadow government pulling strings?  While comical and humorous, I suspect most political protests start like this:

Unpopular opinion:  Blizzard is well within their rights and interests to fire Blitzchung.  The wording in their contracts are purposefully vague—they aren’t paying all that money to contract lawyers for nothing.  Nothing that Blizzard had done is in any way illegal, an infringement on Blitzchung’s rights, or against anything that makes them a company.

Just because they have the right to do it doesn’t make it right.

I hate these trends where everyone is suddenly shocked and appalled at corporations being…corporations.  They are financially obligated to their shareholders to MAKE MONEY.  That’s how corporations work.    Blizzard had “the best year ever” and simultaneously laid off 800 employees?  MAKE MONEY.  Pissing off China will be a significant detriment to their ability to MAKE MONEY.  In the second quarter of 2019, Activision Blizzard earned $173 million from the Asia Pacific region, about 12 percent of its $1.4 billion worldwide total revenues.  Just because a company can afford something has no bearing whatsoever on whether they will afford something.

I personally feel like everyone has their nostalgia glasses on and are desperately clinging to early 2000’s Blizzard, rather than the reality of Activision-Blizzard of 2019.  The company that Blizzard was is definitely not the company Activision is.  Like so many others, I want to romanticize Blizzard and remember them in the frame that I created for them:  cool, innovative, involved with their customer base of gamers.  I remember being able to chat with GM’s in the actual game!  Blue text posts were something to look forward to and the people that worked there were (or at least did an amazing job of acting) invested in not only the game that they’d worked on but also how it was received by their audience that mirrored them in joy and passion.  I think it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about any Blizzard game and even longer since Blizzard was interested in their original culture.

Unpopular opinion 2:  Blitzchung’s right to free speech has not been infringed.  He is absolutely free to say whatever he wants; he is not, however, free from consequences that come from what he says.  My personal opinion is that he’s not an idiot and knew that speaking out would be controversial. He lives in Hong Kong, not the United States, so any argument of US Constitutionality is really a moot point.  Blitzchung’s response and demeanor after Blizzard’s decision tells me that he was not surprised by the outcome and seemed mentally and emotionally prepared for the aftermath.  Like so many voices over the internet have stated, this blow up has just brought more attention to the cause and hopefully at least a portion of this attention will result in actual education rather than coat-tailing.

I’m an old cynical lady.  I know someone that can make a career out of esports isn’t going to go broke and die in this environment.  As much as I want to believe that this all comes from a place of true concern for Hong Kong, I wonder if there was ulterior motive for his action.  Maybe he wanted out of his contract?  Maybe he had an offer from another company that was more lucrative?  Maybe Bart Simpson paid him a good chunk of change to start a riot in the bank?

In my opinion, regardless of Blitzchung’s motive, at the end of the day, Blizzard is still shit and has been for a long time.  I’m glad I haven’t paid them any money in a long time and I’m especially glad that I haven’t gotten sucked back in under the lure of Classic WoW.  I am not going to bandwagon and tell anyone to #boycottBlizzard.  Other people need to make a living either directly or peripherally and as noble as the cause is, eating, paying rent, caring for your family—those are absolutely more important.  No one really wants to be a martyr.  The right or wrong of it, the solution to even one of any of the hundreds of aspects of this?  Good luck, because you sure as hell won’t find it here.

More than anything I hope Blitzchung and those he cares about stay safe and successful.  I hope the employees at Blizzard continue to do what they can without compromising themselves in the process.  More than anything, I hope things don’t get as bad as we all think they will.

Saturday, in the Park…ing lot

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I am sitting in my car at 8:34 AM—cigarette lighter fan going, ice cold Diet Cokes within reach, listening to Spotify, typing on my laptop on a desk that attaches to my steering wheel…  What a time to be alive!

Why yes, my car *is* dirty.

Now, I’m not sitting in a random parking lot like a creep; I’m sitting in the parking lot of a local middle school like a weirdo.  My Saturdays for the next 3-4 months will be occupied with taking Josh to his Korean language class.  Yeah…Korean.

NewsflashI’m not Korean.

Neither is my husband nor are either of my children.  I am a firm believer that kids learn better when they actually want to because I’m one of those kinds of hippy nerds.  You know, the correct kind.  Of course, he was completely uninterested in my 5 years of high school and college Spanish that I’ve completely forgotten.  Japanese was briefly considered which would have been awesome, but he is, if anything, a practical old man in a young man’s body and chose Korean based on his 6 years of tae kwon do.  He has a variety of instructors that are fluent and excited to help him practice and he also reasons that if he ever has the opportunity to study at Kukkiwon, he should probably know how to communicate.

I’m almost 4 times his age and he has his shit together better than I do.  Fucking hell.

So that decision lead us to the Korean language program recommended by his Grandmaster taekwondo instructor.   It’s the same school that his own children attended so you can’t really get a better recommendation than that.  Every Saturday we leave the house by 8 AM so we can eat breakfast and make it to class by 8:45; class ends at 12:15 PM.  We study daily throughout the week and when I say “we”, I mean I observe that he does his homework and studying and sporadically suggest he watch a YouTube video to check pronunciation.  I was able to highlight some words in a Korean-English dictionary for him.  I’m helping.

This class started on August 10 which just so happened to overlap with his tae kwon do black belt ceremony.  See?  So much has happened since I last blogged for real!  He tested in May of this year and the weeks leading up to his exam involved extra classes throughout the week and double classes on Monday nights.  It was also expensive, at least, what we consider expensive.  It was practically spit-take expensive, but completely worthwhile and necessary.  Could you imagine how shitty that would have been to say no to such a milestone?  Hey, I know you spent *literally* half of your life working up to this, but I’m going to take this opportunity to stop supporting your goals.

Oh my fried chicken!

The hardest part was waiting for the official confirmation that he would be promoted—all test results are sent to Korea and reviewed and approved at Kukkiwon which took about 8 weeks.  His first day of Korean language class was cut short so we could attend his black belt ceremony where I cried for LITERALLY the entire time.  I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THAT’S MY KIND OF PROUD MOM CRAZY BULLSHIT.

I know that it might seem weird to just sit outside for three and a half hours, but I’m about 40 minutes away from home based on traffic so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive him here, drop him off, go home for an hour or so, come pick him up, go back home.  It just feels wasteful for both time and gas.  There is a Sam’s Club right down the street, and an H-Mart not far from that, so at least when I need to shop, it’s convenient.  I’ve been spending most of my time doing lesson plans and research but now, I’m trying to use at least part of this block of time for Me whether it be writing, working on some perpetually unfinished craft project, or simply napping.  Honestly, at first I felt a bit like a martyr for “selflessly” sacrificing my Saturday mornings for my offspring but that mindset was, at least for me, true mommy blogger virtue signaling bullshit.  I fucking chose this, happily and freely.  I don’t have brat kids that beg or guilt me; in fact, quite the opposite.  Josh spent quite some time really considering what he wanted to do–tae kwon do 3 days a week, swim two days a week and now this class for the entirety of his Saturday morning.  He purposefully declined joining the demo team at TKD so that he could focus on what was already on this plate.

If you’re unaware, a demo team is exactly what it sounds like:  a group that demonstrates all of the cool, choreographed showy moves.  We went to a local tournament this year to support some of his classmates and ever since he hasn’t stopped talking about how his school should re-start their demo team so he could join.  Sure enough, they decided to re-form and he was really torn.  Demo team would have meant one more evening in class for a total of EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK doing something.  He made his decision based on my boundaries, his own time restrictions, and how it would impact his family, not just himself.  Again, what even is this child!

Luckily, I don’t have to worry about Robin wanting to learn Korean—as of right now, she says she wants to learn Italian so she can understand musical terminology better.  GREAT.

Beating a dead horse

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I’ve only been dealing with this Photobucket fiasco for a few days now and I’m already done.  Done with Photobucket but also with the comments about “you get what you pay for”.

Okay, STOP for just a damn minute.

kill la kill, fuck you

To Photobucket and everyone else being a dick right now.

Photobucket has been free to use for a very long time; I’ve been using it for 11 years now.  If they had offered something that appealed to me, I would have been more than happy to pay for it.  But since I started using PB, I’ve only accumulated less than 3,000 photos which is a damn lot for me, but nothing compared to what others have collected.  I had a whole 1.4 GB used of a 2.1 GB available to me through the free service.  And yes, it was free for me, but don’t for one fucking second think that PB was doing this out of the goodness of their hearts–they made money or they would not have offered the service.  They receive money by the way of ad revenue and based on the amount of ads that were constantly popping up in my face, they weren’t doing that bad in terms of advertising dollars.

The garbage part of this whole deal is that there was no notice, no option for something affordable or month to month, and now, no way to get back the pictures that have been locked down.  Skimming through some of the WP blogs, I saw someone note something that I had not thought about:  $400 per year doesn’t guarantee you anything.  If you want to be able to 3rd party host, you have to pay the $400.  Some people would do it, I’m sure, if they had the need for the enormous amount of storage being provided at that rate.  However, what’s to say that $400 is going to buy you a year of service?  The giant exodus from PB makes many wonder if they’re going to be around in another month, let alone a year.  So $400 is the ransom that some people are having to cough up.

The other thing that is a serous pain in the ass for me is that you cannot download folders of gifs from PB.  Folders that have jpg and certain other picture formats can be downloaded as a whole and is actually pretty darn convenient.  But, if you have jpg mixed with gif in a folder, then the downloaded folder will only have the jpg files.  All gif files have to manually downloaded.  I’m glad I didn’t put any video on there; I’d probably still be working on it.

As of today, I’ve finally finished downloading all of my pictures from PB and deleted my account.  It takes a day or two for it to completely shut down though, just in case I go bonkers and decide to cough up the annual fee.  There were plenty of pictures that were not even accessible to me, but I did get most of them out.  The thought of organizing them on my own computer is daunting and I’m seriously struggling if I even want to go back and put pictures back into 11 years worth of blog posts.  Maybe I’ll just do my usual stupid photos and gifs going forward and pretend the last 11 years never happened.

But probably not.  I’ll probably just be real pissy and bitchy about it and restore all of my posts.