Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Video Games Are Bad For You

There, I’ve lied to you.  This statement you hear that video games are bad for you and/or bad for your children is ludicrous.

Oh but there is guns and shooting and beating hookers for your money back and stealing cars and killing cops and swearing and sex.  Yeah there is also ratings on every game sold that acts as a guideline for what age the game you are buying is appropriate for. And they keep children inside and on the couch and not doing anything.

First let’s settle keeping children inside and glued to the TV. Four words “Go outside and play”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that as a child, both at home and at friends houses. We simply were not allowed to be in all day playing games because our parents told us so, the end. In fact one time I was at my friend Dan’s house, we were playing Super Mario Bros. 3 we had been playing for a while and Dan’s mom had be telling us to go outside for quite some time. We of course wanted to play this game and eventually made it to the big finally, Bowser was about to fall (and miss us) (funny that I say us even though only one of use was actually playing at the time this happened) and we were about to win the game when Dan’s mom turned the power to the house off to prove her point and get us outside! Parenting job done, we had no choice but to go outside because without electricity to the house, outside was far more interesting.

But sitting on the couch is only part of the argument people who say games are bad for you have, the other half is content.  Think about movies, there are loads of movies with one or more of all of those things I listed earlier, some of the are only rated PG, which indicates said movie is fine for anyone to watch as long as an adult is around.  Then there is PG-13, then R, not a huge breakdown for the rating system.  How many times as a child did I hear ‘You can’t see that movie"’ simply due to the rating on the box.  But I also did get to see movies with a higher than my age rating if my parents deemed it ok, like Ghostbusters when I was only in grade 2.  They watched, the judged, and made an informed choice as to weather I could see a certain movie.

It should work exactly the same way with games, especially these days. (games even had a more detailed rating breakdown, with reasons for the rating listed! Check the ESRB.  When I was a kid most games were about highscores, or how long you could survive.  We Had an Atari 2600 in our house when I was 7, it was the height of gaming technology, and we had loads of games, Lock ‘n’ Chase, E.T., Asteroids, Missile Command, Defender and Air Raiders are what come to mind.  Out of those games, one was a pac-man rip off, one sucked, and the others involved some type of shooting, mostly at dots.  The graphical prowess of the machine didn’t allow for any real amount of realism.

I think growing along with the industry allows for people my age to be aware that kids playing games is not the issue, I’ve owned every Nintendo home system there is and now an Xbox 360 as well.  There used to be a kid in my house and not even once did she play, or see for that matter a game that was inappropriate to her being played.  That is why it’s astonishing to me when I hear a 6 year old tell me they play Call of Duty or Grand theft Auto at home.

Would you let a kindergartener watch Schindler’s List? Kick-Ass? Late night almost-Porn?

Your answer of course should be no.  Any reasonable person is going to say no, so why are you letting your six year old, or ten year old for that matter play games that have just as much violence and sex in them?  Check the ratings on games, rent them and play them yourself, watch reviews, and make a real decision.  Children without jobs do not have the $60-70 dollars required to buy games, parents do.

Children do not have the ability or the resources necessary to go out willy-nilly buying games, and if store clerks are doing their jobs they won’t even sell and M rated game to someone under 18. 

Video games are not bad for children, uninformed choices by parents are. 

Monday, June 27, 2011


Amber and I recently went to see a ‘documentary’ at the movie theater about the power that one’s will can exert.  Someone with a strong will can overcome any obstacle put in their way.  They can overcome external forces and internal ones, emotions and feelings like fear.

But you don’t have to go see Green Lantern (but you should) to discover that Will is a formidable power that each of us possess, but only a few put to good use on a regular basis.

I know a few people that have put their effort to good use in achieving goals and working toward things that are important to them.  But will is not just about achieving things, it can be about putting your energies toward being committed to something even if it is difficult to do.  Holding back wild emotions when someone lashes out at you.  Persevering when things don’t go your way is another example.

I’m so glad to be surrounded by people that are able and capable of putting their will and effort to good use in a wide variety of endeavours.

Friday, June 24, 2011


What an amazing day I had at Canada's Wonderland yesterday with Alf!

At the start of the week it looked like we might be rained as accuweather was calling for thunderstorms for the whole day.  Even the day before it did not look promising.  Finally though Thursday morning the forecast changed to just be some rain around midday, so off we went.

Before lunch we had already done five rides, Flight Deck (Top Gun), Time Warp (Tomb Raider), Psyclone, Sledgehammer and Behemoth. Amazing, Alf particularly enjoyed Behemoth and upon completion vowed we would do it again.  We went and paid about $20 each for lunch, burger, fries and a drink!  After lunch we got on Wind Seeker, The Mighty Canadian Minebuster, and Skyrider and were headed for Vortex when the sky opened up and it poured!

We waited quite a while as the storm passed and were told the rides would need 15 minutes of no lightening before they would start back up.  We searched for the Action Theater as it would be open since it was indoors, but could not find it, so we got funnel cake then headed to do Behemoth again, figuring that if it rained again we'd have fourteen to ride it twice.

From there we did The Fly, Vortex, Drop Zone and then Dragon Fire twice in a row.  By then we'd done all the big rides and decided to do a couple favourites again.  We did Top Gun twice in a row then went over to Behemoth.  To end the day we rode Behemoth three times with the middle run at the very front, it was awesomme.

Our longest wait time the whole day was probably about twenty minutes, thanks to the day in the middle of the week and because of the weather.

Such an amazing day at Canada's Wonderland!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Guys at the Gym

Good on you old folks at the gym, and when I say that I mean it sincearly. I know what it is like to go to the gym, that's how I know you old people are there all the time.

However, I think you need to be made aware that the gym, and specifically the change room at the gym, is not your house! Why to old guys at the gym treat the locker room as some sort of nudist colony practice area? Old guys at the gym have full conversations in the buff, they even stop getting dressed to go around the bay of lockers and chat! What is up with that? I also have tried to block out how many times I've seen some 70+ year old standing in the bathroom area, nude and shaving his face. Dude, go home!

I've never seen a younger guy, say less than 60 do this, just the old guys, it is disturbing. I've also been told by a few female friends that the womans change room is not much better. Anyone have theories on this? Is there no shame when you get older?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Want to be the Very Best,

Like no one ever was.
To catch them is my real test,
To train them is my cause!

I play Pokémon.  I admit it.  It’s great too.  It seems like each summer for the last 6 or 7 years I have played heaps of Pokémon.  Mainly because the wise folks at Nintendo have decided that it’s the perfect time to put out a new iteration of the game.

(Side note, apparently Pokémon is actually part of the dictionary for Microsoft! If i type Pokemon, is says it’s spelled wrong and gives me the version with the accent.)

I believe it is the perception that Pokémon is a kids game, simple, repetitive and pointless.  Look at this chart.

battlechartWithout playing the game I challenge you to understand that.  It’s obviously not impossible, but not all that simple either, now take into account that many Pokémon have two type attributes and figure it out, are things 4x as effective, or is the effect cancelled out? Will they destroy the Pokémon you have out in battle, and then consider that each individual Pokémon within each of those type has their own abilities!  It could make you go insane.

It is a game that you can play watching TV or a movie though as there is a lot of time spend doing random battles to build the strength of your team, as there is in any RPG (that’s Role Playing Game).  The point of these battles? To take these…


Cuddly little creatures and turn them into this!


Instruments of Death.

It’s great fun.  You also collect them and trade them, build teams of six Pokémon that you think can withstand any battle and try them out against other people, it’s great!  It is definitely one of those games that is easy to play, but hard to master.  To understand every nuance of the game is the furthest thing possible from a kids game.

Personally my favourite Pokémon is Charizard.


I have one (actually I have a couple), that is level 100, the highest.  He’s awesome.  It’s the closest I’ll get to owning a pet dragon, that actually flies and shoots fire.  If any of you readers out there play Pokémon trade your Friend Code with me! My Pokémon White FC is 1420-7873-0270

Anyone that owns a handheld system today can thank Pokémon Red/Blue for turning Nintendo’s GameBoy into a major, unbelievable success.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Boogers and Snot

Children are hilarious.  And awesome.  I was trying to get one little lady to go to sleep the other day when she informed me that ‘this is where the boogers are from’ while she pointed to one nostril and that ‘this is where the snot is.’ as she pointed to the other.  If I had not been trying to get her to sleep, I would have burst out laughing, though she was so serious about her assertion of what comes from where I don’t think I should have laughed anyways.

I’ve had to wipe a few noses at daycare and in the toddler program at Fleming and I find it quite easy, especially compared to some of the other duties that come along with looking after children.  Some folks are grossed out with snot.  It can be a bit off putting when you are pulling it off of someone else’s face I admit, but I think it’s one of those things that you can be gross and not really offend anyone.

Any of the girls I went to school with will tell you that I was forever putting things up my nose and making them laugh.  It’s funny to have a pen sticking out and pretending it’s not actually there, or staring at someone dead serious while slowly putting the pen up there then leaving it hanging.

Fingers up noses is also something that generates some great reactions at karate and Pete and I have great fun amusing the boys and grossing out the girls from time to time.

I think what i find most amusing it that people are so embarrassed by digging out a booger nugget.  I think if you took an honest anonymous poll probably like 99% of people have picked their nose, probably at a stop light while they think no one is looking, but if you tried to get people to admit it, you’d end up with only children and guys like me that think it’s funny that would actually say yes, or dig something out to show you!

Sometimes you just don’t have a Kleenex.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Hardest Thing at Daycare

I have discovered the hardest thing for me to do at daycare. Many things have proved to be difficult like managing some of the behaviors or getting children to understand why it's not nice to punch eachother in the the face.

Some of the things at daycare are gross, like changing diapers or cleaning up really messy lunches and half chewed food. Other things are frustrating like being asked to do certain tasks but then not being given the tools to do them.

But, the hardest thing is staying awake when trying to get children to sleep at nap time! If you've ever had a hard time getting to sleep I swear this is the cure. Being in a room full of mostly sleeping children, methodically rubbing the backs of those that are having a bit of a hard time, listening to the quiet snores and the sleep time music, is like getting shot with a tranquilizer. I could nap everyday if I was allowed.

All those other things, diapers, behavior, communication methods, I can get accustomed to or take classes to learn more about, but staying awake when everything in the room, including myself, is willing children to go to sleep, that will always be the hardest thing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sink or Swim

I recently had the experience in childcare that I was not quite looking forward to and that is being on my own with a group of children to do all the major tasks of the day.  I say I was not looking forward to it not because I don’t want to be with children but because as a supply I’ve gathered up so many bits and pieces of different routines and vaguely learned the names of half rooms of children that it is hard to feel prepared when there is no one to answer questions near by.

The day turned out just fine and besides having to scramble to look for a few items to clean with and whatnot everything went as smoothly as could be expected I think both from my own perspective and from the other people in the work place (both children and educators).

This idea that I had to just get it done is something I have undergone at a few jobs and I think it really shows you who you are and what you can do under pressure.  I recall when I was working at CIP in the early days I would often make some sort of statement about what I thought I should do with a particular problem and then go “right?” making it into a question to get reassurance.  It’s comforting to have someone say “Yeah, that’s it.” when you are new at a workplace, or trying to develop a new skill.

I think it’s fair to say that I swam the other day, at times it was a doggie paddle and at other times it was my usual flailing of arms and legs that passes for me swimming, everyone has something to learn all the time, and when I was learning at least I still felt I was moving forward even if it was slow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting Jobs

As I have posted on facebook and others have commented asking about how I have been able to get so many jobs in such a short period of time, I thought I would comment on that here.
In this latest round of job hunting it is very true that I have been able to get employment fairly easily, finding computer work was not nearly as simple. I sent out loads of resumes prior to working at CIP and then many more when the spector of unemployment loomed. To be fair I did land only five interviews that I can remember (including CIP) and had four job offers. Maybe I just remember that period of job hunting time so bleakly because as I was hunting for jobs to leave CIP I knew that no computer place job would be as enjoyable in terms of who my work partner would be.

This time around it didn't take ten thousand resumes to get my three interviews, it took three, and the permanent job I have coming didn't even require an interview.

"So what?" I hear you saying, or "Shut up and stop rubbing my face in it!" But that is not my point clearly, the point is "how".

Confidence! If you carry yourself like you know what you are doing people pick up on that kind of thing. I went to these latest interviews assured that I knew all the text book learning I needed to succeed, and had enough experience in different settings to preform in almost any given situation.
Next interview you do, go in like the job is already yours and all you are having to do is show your interviewers what you already believe, that you are the best fit for the job no matter who else might follow you in the interview process.

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