October 10, 2014

The Majestic Jackalope

Majestic as F*ck
We all heard of Unicorns, Chimeras, Centaurs, Mermaids.  We've heard of all the great mythological creatures of varying countries but very few come from the United States.  Sure, we may have "Sasquatch" from the Pacific Northwest, but there is one mythical critter even more obscure, nee, not part of the mainstream as him.  This great American mythos is non-other than the majestic Jackalope!

I first learned about the Jackalope when I was just a little kid in the 1980's.  My Dad's mom, Ol' Noreen, had a bust in her kitchen of said animal.  I swear to Bob I thought it was a real thing!  I never questioned the validity of this masterpiece, I just went right to the assumption this was something she had seen, done, and hung on her wall like a prized buck.  It was probably the single best item in her house she owned, as far as I cared.  One day, I asked Gramma what this rabbit was called.  That was when she told me about Jackalopes.

According to Wikipedia, Jackalopes were the creative genius of a taxidermist in the 1930's because he thought "Hey, how many people would buy a stuffed rabbit with horns on it's head?!"  It turned out that a lot of people bought it.  Hell, I'm sure the second he put this beautiful creation out, people lined up around the block saying:


The great depression era was terrifying time with little interest in not much else.

As far as stories of about the Jackalope mythology, here are a few Wikipedia have suggested:

The jackalope has led to many outlandish (and largely tongue-in-cheek) claims as to the creature's habits. It is given the pseudo-taxonomic descriptor Lepus temperamentalus.[3] It is said to be a hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer rabbit". Reportedly, jackalopes are extremely shy unless approached. Legend also has it that female jackalopes can be milked - as they sleep belly up - and that the milk can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.[4] One of the few ways a Jackalope can be caught is by leaving out a bottle of whiskey, as it is the jackalope's sustenance of choice.[5] It has also been said that the jackalope can convincingly imitate any sound, including the human voice. It uses this ability to elude pursuers, chiefly by using phrases such as "There he goes! That way!" During days of the Old West, when cowboys gathered by the campfires singing at night, jackalopes could often be heard mimicking their voices.[6] Legend has it that they are dangerous if approached. It has also been said that jackalopes will only breed during winter electrical storms

In hindsight, I do regret not asking for the Jackalope head after Gramma passed away.  I do write this post in memory of her and her epic life & stories.  She would have been 93 this week.  Rest in Peace Gramma Noreen.  I love you and miss you!

September 14, 2014

Gamer Ettiquette: Yes, This is a Thing!

I want to apologize to you, my faithful readers for all the depressing posts about depression.  Though a necessary discussion it was for the time, I am LONG over due for a good and proper post about all things parenty and nerdy!  With that, I give you...

THE RULES
OF
GAMER ETIQUETTE!
(and why you need to teach this to your kids!)


Gamer Eetiquette simply put, is also known as "How not to be a total douche gamer".

Before I start in on the rules, here is some simple parental common sense;  Monkey See, Monkey Do.  Are you fully aware of the kind of gamer you are?  There are all sorts of gamers in this world and it's okay if your brand of gaming is a little louder and mouthier than most.  Another important thing we need to teach our children is to never be afraid to be yourself.  Aside from that, it's pretty much inevitable that if you're a gamer nerd (like myself), then your kids most likely will be gamer nerds as well.  This applies just as much to Table-Top Gamers & LARPers so EVERYONE pay attention!

Without further ado, GAMER ETIQUETTE

1.  IT'S JUST A GAME!  This is THE golden rule of gaming in any form.  Just because the game gets hard, frustrating or even if life keeps you from being able to find time to play...it's just a game.  It doesn't rate that high on your list of priorities.  

2.  IF PLAYING WITH NOOBS,  BE PATIENT WITH THEM.  BETTER YET, TEACH THEM THE GAME AND THEY WILL IMPROVE EVEN FASTER!  Think of it this way, you are the master; they are padawans.  Teach them the ways of the force.

3.  UNLESS THEY ARE SOMEONE YOU KNOW WELL, PLAY NICE AND MIND WHAT YOU SAY!  You want to get reported?  That's how you get reported.  As a woman gamer I can tell you know that if I was playing online with a guy or two and one of them asked me to go back into the kitchen and make them a sandwich, I would have no problem pulling a total bitch move and sniping them from the top of a tall building.  Just saying.

4.  DON'T BE POOR SPORT.  SEE RULE #1 FOR REASON

5.  SET YOURSELF A TIME LIMIT OR A REASONABLE BLOCK OF TIME FOR GAMING.  Life has to come first.  Bills have to get paid.  Homework has to be done.  Chores must be completed.  If you have ever had to get the latest game and then complain about how you can't pay the rent on time if not at all this month, then maybe you need to reconsider your priorities.

6.  WHEN YOU ARE DONE PLAYING THE GAME, DON'T JUST LEAVE IT OUT FOR PIECES TO GET LOST, DISCS TO GET SCRATCHED, OR IN THE MACHINE TO GET ETCHED TO HELL AND GONE.  PUT IT AWAY!

7.  ALWAYS SAVE YOUR GAME!  IF THE POWER GOES OUT BEFORE YOUR NEXT SAVE, DON'T PANIC!  TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND CHANT RULE #1.

8.  THE GM, DM, ST, ETC... DOESN'T HAVE A VINDETTA AGAINST YOU.  S/HE HAS A VINDETTA AGAINST EVERYONE!

9.  NEW VERSION OF A GAME?  DON'T BE A DICK TO YOUR STORE CLERK.  ALWAYS RESERVE A COPY AND PAY IN ADVANCE.

10.  IT'S JUST A GAME!  Yes, I posted this twice.  This rule is the Alpha & Omega of Gaming Etiquette.


I'm sure there are other rules but these ones more or less apply to all styles of gaming, or so I tried.  I would like to emphasis how important this is to teach rules like this to your budding gamer(s).  

Do you have unspoken rules of gaming you need to express?  Share them below in the comments or comment on my Facebook Page!  

August 30, 2014

3 Years of Knerdy Parenting!


I was scrolling through all my posts (only 2 comments on 2 separate posts!  Hot dang!) and when I got to my very last post I noticed the date on it:  August 31st, 2011!  That's almost a full year from today's date, August 30th, 2014!

So I'm writing this only to say...

HAPPY 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO THE KNERD MOM BLOG!

Thank you to all of my readers and occasional glances to you who have kept me writing this thing!  I love knowing that so many of you are enjoying my words and thoughts.  I've enjoyed writing here as a creative outlet for my need to write.  I hope most of you have learned a thing or two about Nerdist Parenting and insight into other much needed discussions, as uncomfortable as they can get.

I hope I will keep writing for many years to come since the object of my parenting inspiration is nearly 6!

Thanks again for the reads!

Sincerely,
Lori Wilson
The Knerd Mom

August 17, 2014

What Dreams May Come pt. 2: Why Am I So Depressed?


I decided to make this second part to my big depression talk because even though people are talking about depression in general, how it feels, and how to comfort someone during their bad moments, or even the science of depression, they aren't discussing how it starts and what causes depression in the first place.  If you ask me, this is the biggest part of depression; the root of the issue; what started the very first downward spiral.

Here's my story on what brought me to clinical depression.  Like everyone else, I was born, I wasn't depressed.  I was like most other average babies, healthy, happy, had a loving family around me.  It was in Kindergarten that I found what it was like to be shunned.  I was teased by the other kids in class all because I had cats named "He-Man" & "She-Ra".  For those of you who did not live in the 80's, "He-Man & She-Ra" were total cartoon twin BAMFs who lived in a Mid-Evil/Neanderthalic world who constantly OWNED the forces of souped up magical evil.  Rarely were they seen together because they had their own respectively named after shows, but it was the epic of epics back in my day.  Well, the fact that we named our then twin tuxedo kittens He-Man & She-Ra, the kids in my class relentlessly teased me over this.  My nick name from then on was She-Ra.  Now, in hindsight, I now understand how completely BAD ASS that nick name is.  As a kid, it was derogatory and hurtful.  The kids loved seeing me get upset over it.  Some people are just easily sensitive and those people can become depressed easier than most.  I was one of them.  I took things very personally.  I was constantly chastised for getting upset so easily.  The teasing continued when I had to go into a Transition Year of school, thus holding me back from entering the 1st grade.  That year was the first time I was bullied.  3 boys chased me every day at recess trying to kiss me, hold me down, and abuse me.  This was also the year my weight began to escalate.  The next year, my bullies followed me to the same school and 2 new bully continued after me including the neighbor kids, but this time,consistently picked-on me for being fat.  I only had 1 real friend but she had a gimp leg and a severe speech impediment.  We both were teased.  The years progressed and I got fatter and fatter.  I consistently was teased for this all through elementary school.  By middle school, the only mode I knew in myself was sad, mad, and how to be alone.  By middle school, I was completely broken and would never know what it was to be "Happy" happy.

Kristen Stewart's Smile was left out of The Book of
Revelation as the final sign of the Apocalypse 

You see, doctors & scientists have discovered that the brains "happy glands" produce serotonin.  It is a chemical made to regulate emotions in humans.  When that gland stops functioning normally, serotonin no longer is produced as well as it should be.  Here's how this works, me more serotonin is produced, the happier you feel.  The less, the sadder you are.  Here's something that might trip your mind.  Depression is like Diabetes.  Your pancreas creates insulin which helps you regulate and process sugar in your body.  When it isn't working, it creates less insulin and you get sick.  I suffer from mental Diabetes.


So here's my new theory over what actually causes Diabeetus..er..Depression.  It's not that the gland just happens to stop working the way it should.  Let's think of it this way.  When you undergo negative circumstances, your brain knows to reduce your serotonin because you had just undergone a small trauma.  Just like a candy bar, your pancreas knows to turn on the insulin to help regulate and process that sugar.  So what causes a person to become diabetic (type II situation, not juvenile.  That's a whole other bag)?  Eating too much sugar for too long.  When you eat all that sugar for all that period of time, your pancreas just can't handle it anymore so it stops trying.  It's the same for your brain gland.  You undergo so many traumas for such long periods of time that your brain says "Fuck It.  I'm out." and stops producing like it should.  That's depression.  Because of all the teasing, bullying, and shit I went through all through my younger years, my brain just up and said "there's just no pleasing you.  I'm done trying." and I haven't been "Happy" Happy since.  Medications help when a person can afford them, but all those medications can do is just keep your serotonin levels even.  It's why most people with depression don't bother taking them.  They turn them into zombies.  They aren't any happier, but now they can't be "Sad" sad either.  This can also be said of people who have more sever mental health problems.  What can I say, the brain is a tricky lil' sumbitch.


This also isn't to say sudden traumas can't cause depression either. If anything, those major traumas can cause such an acute depletion of serotonin that it could be hard for your brain glands to restart them back to where they can be.  This is why the grieving process is so necessary.  Proper grieving over trauma (along with counseling if needs be) may be how the brain reteaches itself to pump out it's serotonin levels the way it's supposed to be.  Most people who suffer traumas are able to do this.  But when grieving isn't able to happen and people can't restart that brain gland to work again, that's when you get conditions like PTSD.  

So, take my theory as you will.  Just know that understanding how Depression starts is just as important as how to comfort someone with depression.

August 15, 2014

What Dreams May Come: Depression at it's worst


Since the apparent suicide of Robin Williams on August 11th 2014 (4 days from the day I wrote this), suddenly everyone is totally understanding what it is to want to off yourself, or how it really feels to be depressed as if it's some rare disease, or just has a strong reaction to how suicide is never the answer.  Let's just take a moment to understand that when a MAJOR celebrity dies or comes out with having a life-altering something, suddenly everyone and their brother just come out of the walls claiming they totally understand, how important research is for it, or have a strong reaction over how it's never the answer to how crappy they are.  Depression & Suicide are NOT a trend for people to be following, hash-tagging, or even start talking about as if they understand and know what it entails...when they themselves don't even have it.

As some of you more well read readers of my blog know, I have diagnosed Chronic Depression.  Note:  I said "Diagnosed".  Not self-diagnosed, not pretty sure, but diagnosed by not just 1, but 3 different psychiatrists/counselors.  I have been on medication a few times, but not as often as I would like due to money, insurance issues, and the fact that as far as I've been told, in the state of Washington, you must participate in a continued counseling program to continue receiving medication.  Why do I not continue counseling?  Because even the last counselor I've seen said I was aware enough in my depression that continued counseling visits weren't necessary, though she did agree I did better on medication.  Sadly, I had to pick both or neither.

So, because you have become self-aware, we can no longer
service your model.  You have become too dangerous
to the human race.


Having said that, there have been some GREAT videos and blog posts by actual people who have their own levels of depression.  You know these people are the genuine article because they are openly admitting to having it and aren't acting like whiny emo jerks about it.  They look and sound like human beings because they are.  They can eloquently and accurately describe how it feels to have an episode and not what it is to "be depressed".  There is one common description of depression I just DON'T like and it's this little cliche gem:  "It's like you're drowning, when everyone around you is still breathing."  Sweetie, that's not depression, that's asthma, which I also have.  I know the difference.  Here is my take on depression:

Depression, for me, is mostly like how a person feels when they wake-up on a Monday after a HUGE weekend of partying.  You're constantly dragging ass the whole day.  You can drink coffee until sweat Americana, you just can't seem to wake-up.  This is the basis of Depression on a normal day.  Now, when you have a good day, that's like sleeping in on a Saturday and waking-up knowing your day is going to be awesome.  Everything seems to be going right.  Plans are happening as expected.  You're going to the mall with your friends and all the cute outfits and things you like are in your size and ON SALE!  CLEARANCE EVEN (that last part is if you're bi-polar).  But those bad days, those are the days people hear about and roll their eyes at.  The bad days are those where you just feel it in your bones the Ides of March are approaching and you're Julius Caesar.  The bad days can come in the form of anxiety.  That's the feeling of sudden panic like you just KNOW the other shoe is going to drop.  For a depressed person, it's that, but they weren't even wearing shoes in the first place.  Bad days can also be sudden dread.  You feel like you couldn't even confront the mailman if he knocks on the door.  You're so sure it's going to be a letter like "your Mom died tragically" or "YOUR RENT IS DUE SO WE'RE KICKING YOU OUT NOW!" even though your rent is and always has been on time.  Bad Days can also be just feeling overwhelmed over a few little tasks, a sudden wash of sadness when there is nothing to be sad about, or even unwillingness to do anything and yet forcing yourself to because you're obligated to (like because you're a parent and you have to raise children for a living).


As far as the serious and most controversial symptom (yes, symptom) of Depression; Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide itself.  First of all, depression isn't something you just "snap-out" of.  Telling someone "We love you" or "You have so much to live for!" is pretty much just patting them on the head like a child and saying "It's okay Sweetie.  Momma still thinks your special."  It's demeaning, patronizing, and really shows a person that you DON'T understand what they're talking about nor do you even care to try.  When a depressed person actually starts asking for help, someone to talk to, even a warm body present to just sit and be with them, TAKE THAT SHIT SERIOUSLY!  When no one (family included) is even willing to go as far as even send a quick text or IM to say "Hey, what's up?", you are leaving that depressed person time to think of more extreme things to do to help "alleviate" their pain.  Now, not every depressed person contemplates just offing themselves.  Heck, not every suicidal person suffers depression, but more often than not, they are suffering at least one TYPE of depression.  Yes, depression has types.  Chronic Depression, Clinical Depression, Post Pardum Depression, Bi-Polar/Manic Depression, PTSD...  The thing is suicide is controversial for many reasons.  For those who've never had a suicidal thought or are severely religious mostly agree that to kill yourself is selfish, never the answer, or is just something someone tries to do or say "Just for Attention" until someone they know and/or love actually does it and succeeds.  I want it known that "Cutting" is NOT the same as being suicidal.  That is a whole other ball of depression wax.  The main reasons a person has to want to end their life is mainly this:  Shit has just piled up and piled up and piled up and they are figuratively drowning under the weight of it all with no one to help dig them out.  You are buried alive in a coffin and no one even knows that you're even missing yet.  For depressed people, our bad days always seem clumped together.  After a while, we can sometimes get out of our funks back to that "Waking up on Monday" feeling, but it takes a while.  When we can't, it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse until we start desiring for other actions.  We're cornered because we feel like we painted ourselves in a corner and the paint never dries so instead of marring the perfect paint job, where else do we have to go?  What other option is there?  People are always flippantly saying "Suicide is never an option/answer".  If this was true, we wouldn't be able to do it, now could we?

How can we begin to understand folks with Depression if we don't have it?  Easy answer:  Don't try to understand it so much as just be present for them.  If they are having a total "Oh Shit" attack on Facebook, then ask what's-up via IM, Text, or call.  Yeah, depressed people are depressing, but they become less so when they have a good network of friends to talk to and help them through it.  The longer people ignore them, the more depressing and annoying we are to talk to.  But keep trying!  Want us to come over but we say "Meh, not today."  Then try your damnedest to go to them if even for a little bit.  Believe me!  I am easily overwhelmed with the one child I do have, the pain from my scoliosis, and dread over the fact that even when I want to clean house or work-out but can't because I know the back-pain will happen regardless.  When any of my friends decide to drop everything to come see me and visit, even if only to lament about what's going on in their lives.  

Do you realize the feeling of happy I get when my BFF calls or IM's me about the drama going on in her life?  Not saying I love that she's going through a SEVERELY difficult time in her life, I'm saying she wants to talk to little depressed me because it shows me that I matter.  That itself helps me get out of a funk.

Let this post do what it does for you.  You can take it as another "Post Robin Williams" Depression/Suicide Confessional or another person's perspective on depression.  There is a depression post for everyone and if this one post helps someone figure out what's wrong with them, what's wrong with someone else, or better yet, how to HELP another, then I can live knowing that my thoughts and experiences wasn't just another Blog Post about Depression.

**To fully understand and appreciate Depression and Suicide, and because ironically Robin Williams made a beautiful yet just as equally depressing movie about it, watch "What Dreams May Come".  Beautiful scenery, sad story, but powerful in it's message.**

August 1, 2014

Don't Trust The Silence


If you are a parent, not just a nerd parent, we've all had what some call "Teachable" or "Oh Shit" moments with our children.  If you see the picture above, you know what I'm talking about.  Well, there is a video going round social media right now involving 2 toddlers and a WHOLE bag of flour.


Now, it's pretty easy to judge this mom with "WHY ARE FILMING THIS?  COMMENCE WITH THE SPANKIN'S!" (confession:  I thought and said that).  Another friend said "Probably because she's still in shock!"  I couldn't argue that.  Why not?  Because I've been there.

OMG.  Nerdism aside, if you've ever raised toddlers, you know at least one moment like this.  I haven't yet raised a teen, but I'm going out on a limb and just say that this stage of kid raising is THE MOST FRUSTRAITING!  Some people will say "Aww.  My toddler was never this bad.  Those were my favorite times with my child.  That and when they were babies."  I'm going to call those people out.  Yeah, little kids are awesome in their innocence of how the world works and the way they talk but the other half of the time, they are little balls of rebel scum.

Put that hand down or I'm chopping it off
Now I'm going to share one of our teachable moments we went through when Luke was almost 2.

My husband and I both got hit with the Noro Virus (Read: Gut Rot) that was going around.  We couldn't keep our contents to ourselves nor did we have the energy to keep up with the midget.  At one point, I felt so bad I had to go to the hospital so I called my Great Aunt to sit with the monster until I got back.  2 bags of IV fluid later for extreme dehydration, I'm home but shaky.  My Great Aunt left and I'm the only "awake" adult to even pretend to be mindful of a toddler.  Around this time, kiddo had discovered how to get on top of the dining table.  We were always having to tell him to get down and stop.  This time, he had gotten on top of the table, dancing as he would and all I could muster was a squeek of "luke..stahp.  luke...no.  fahk!"  In which I gave up trying, but cried about it.  I had no one else to call and take him for the day.  When it comes to my family, they are either too old, too busy, or too far away to be helpful.  In the end, I had no choice but to let him have run of the house.  By dinner time, I got a little more steady on my feet to get up and get to the kitchen.  Big mistake.  At one point, the kid had found a Sharpie Marker and just had his RUN on the WHITE Cabinets.  He also had gotten up onto the counters via drawers and just had a time in the cabinets.  He, too found the flour and made a mess (not as much as the video thank GOD!) but he found himself stuff to get into and used various cans and spice/herb containers to use as building blocks.  Bless his heart, he reorganized those baking items.  By bed time, I had broken down and cried.  As for Matt, he slept through it all.  That next morning, I had to clean it all up myself as well.  I couldn't even punish the kid for it because the moment for punishment was long past.  I tell you what though.  It wouldn't be the last "teachable" moment either. It was just one of my more memorable. 

So, we parents can give other parents guff about their teachable moments because we've all been there and learned our lessons.  We have learned to fear The Silence like Doctor Who during an escapade with The Ponds.  

These are how many times I  haven't learned my lesson
and left the child alone for even a second.
Never Trust the Silence.

July 28, 2014

Quitters Never Win the Boss Fights

Rage Quitting...like a boss

*Sigh*  I love this kid.  I love this kid.  I love this kid.  I love this kid.

What I don't love is that he quits too easily when he fails at things.  Today's last straw was that he was playing Goat Simulator and asked me to get the jet-pack for him.  Over a year ago, he would CONSTANTLY ask me to play levels for him on games like Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds.  Finally, I had enough and finally had to say something that I can only PRAY other gamer parents have ever said to their children; "HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BEAT THE GAME IF YOU CAN'T EVEN BEAT THE LEVELS ALL BY YOURSELF?  I'M NOT THE ONE WHO WANTED TO PLAY THE GAME IN THE FIRST PLACE!"  In which he responded they way any pre-schooler would respond by getting upset, angry, and stomp of screaming.  He got even more twerked off when I turned of the game.  Hey, if you walk away for reasons other than because you needed something to eat, drink, or use the bathroom, then as far as I'm concerned, you're done playing.  Eventually, he got better at playing and he finally managed to get far enough into the game to hit some good mini-games.  Now when he gets frustrated, he just plays the mini-games.

Now that he's pushing 6 and his dad went through the trouble of fixing his bike (which we got at a yard sale 3 summers ago), he has only ever ridden that thing twice.  The first time, he rode fine until he went into a hedge.  It took us the better part of a month the get him to try again.  The second time he did better, but he does not like to pedal because "It's too hard".  The bike is in good working order.

This isn't the first time Luke has just straight given up on something because he failed once at it.  He CONSTANTLY is doing this.  It's a big reason why he still talks like he's 3.  Heck, most 3 year olds are talking more clearly than he is.  Is disheartening as crazy because it makes his teachers believe that he is autistic (but it's high functioning autism, Mrs. Wilson.) when I know for a fact he isn't.  He's just a quitter.

Here's another great example:  Making friends.  Luke wants friends SO BADLY it's painful.  So when he approaches a bunch of kids because he wants to play and even one of them doesn't want him to play, he gets totally butt-hurt and goes off by himself to brood and play.  That, or he just doesn't want to associate period.  Seriously, where have the days gone when teachers were allowed to give kids ultimatums.  I'm not saying bring back corporal punishment.  I'm just saying, quit with this wishy-washy, not even a slap but a light tap on the hand, teacher business.  No wonder Autism is "on the rise".  Because not only are parents not willing to do some hard-parenting, let alone properly punish their children, but teachers are too afraid of getting sued to do some "hard-teaching", let alone teach against the state standards.  No child left behind my ass!

I get it, hard parenting is hard.  Perseverance isn't something kids "just have".  The sense of survival is.  They are two different things.  We need to teach our kids that quitting isn't something you just "get" to do when learning how to do important things.  Just like in gaming, we don't just beat the final boss on the first time we engage it.  We keep trying and trying.  Hell, we level whore like a sumbitch before we even step foot into that damn cave knowing that we may just get our asses handed to regardless.  But if we don't try and don't keep at it with the strategy or even different strategies, then how will we ever know that we can do it?

So, something to think about.