December 17, 2008

Child Of Color & Just Like Me

Living in Utah it's quite difficult finding toys, games, books, etc for families/children of color. It's better than it was 18 years ago when I first moved here. But Utah still has work to do in the divesity department.
Most people of color who come to Utah will leave because of the lack of diversity and what they see as cultural tolerance. But if people don't stay there will never be people to pioneer the effort. My sister and I decided to stay and be pioneers. Hopefully in doing so we can help the generations behind us and make things easier and more available for them.

I have become in association with a Toy manufacturer thats specialises in culturally diverse toys, games, dolls, books etc. Every child should be able to have books and toys and accesories that make them want to say "JUST LIKE ME"
I hope this can be a tool in bringing this resource.
If youre interested in browsing that website you can go to my

on the right hand side is the "just like me" article and the link.

Also some friends and I are developing a website for the education of teaching children how to be more tolerant and respectful of different races and cultures. I also and hoping it can be and educational resourse for those who are looking for ways to discuss certain issue with their children and find information on skin and hair care, cultural holidays and other things of diverse education.

Let me know what you think. Feedback is welcome :)

December 16, 2008

Gaming & Relationships

I came across an article that really bothered me: You can find it here:

The article is almost 2 years old but as I was reading it, trying to get a better understanding of the gaming "lifestyle" because lets face it, it really is more indoctrinated than a hobby. Anymore the more I read it the more disturbing it became to me.
The article is about a guy who is a gamer and being lucky that he was able to find a wife who he was able to introduce into gaming. I think it's cool that he was able to find someone to enjoy his hobby with.

I think my frustration was this. The whole article is about finding ways to introduce your love interest into gaming so they A: Understand the lifestyle B: Can spend time together C: Not have it interfere with the marriage/relationship.

Sound pretty good so far, yeah? Ummm NO! There was really nothing in there about taking an interest in your partners hobby's or compromising anything in their relm of likes other than Putting off your gameathon for next weekend to do the "Honey do" list this weekend. I have a HUGE problem with that.
I admit I have a biased opinion of gamers and gaming or anything that takes over the better judgment of having to make a choice between it and the needs of a human or human relationship.
How sad, to let something like this get in the way of human relationships. I can remember my daughter, an only child, not really going to friends houses because they just sit and play video games and watch T.V. Family christmas parties were anyone between the ages of 6 and 40 crowded around the console waiting for their turn while the Older folks cleaned up the holiday mess and talked story about family history and traditions that were basically dying out.
It's not secret that in this technological age we have many awesome things to make our lives and the world an easier place. But seriously, what is the trade off?
I've dated and hung out with some Gamers over the passed let's say 20 years. I've a few gamers in my family as well and I've also HAD a few in my family as well. The difference in that last sentance is gaming was a huge factor in more than a few divorces in family and friends.

Anyone out there ever have this experience?
"Never again! Had they had the (insert favorite hand held gaming device) on during the movie and dinner."
"He was more interested in his cell phone conversation then me."
The funny thing is....they would call back for a 2nd date.

I've hear parent's complain that their kids don't do their house work or school work because of their gaming systems. YET the parent's are sitting next to them in a filthy home with lazy kids.
Of course it's justified as family time when the parents are next to them playing.
I've learned it's a great baby sitter also. Easier to put the kids in front of an idiot box: Whether it be computer, TV etc than spend real time with them. Maybe marriage is the same way. Instead of putting real effort into becoming humanized with people, it's easier to dehumanize them as a avatar in a game.

I've noticed a pattern in a my gaming and techno friends and family. They don't all have all the characteristics of what I've noticed, but they have most of them:
A. Most of them are divorced or in marriage number 2 (because the first spouse didnt "understand" their lifestyle.)
B. Most of them have had a series of set backs in life: loss of jobs, loss of spouse, loss of property, some kind of loss that caused them to feel failed.
C. They are very technology savvy: Computer programmers, Cell phone collectors, PDA's Palms... you name it, they know it and are good at it.
D. There is a need to be in control just about all the time
E. They come across selfish and "me" oriented. In reality they may not be, but we have a hard time seeing it.
F. It seems they have great success getting to level 700 of whatever game and wear these success as though they won some small lottery.
G. They make us feel guilty when they can't get to their games because of something else we'd rather have them do.
H. Their justifications are blatantly justifyable and they actually get angry about our inability to accept it as valid.
I. I'm seriously too sad to continue a list so pathetic, so I'll stop there.
There's little "cheap, Courtesy" things they do as well. Turn to you with some less than involved comment or nudge to barely acknowledge your presence. And then go right back into their game. Only intensifying the fact that not only am i being ignored, they've just acknowledge me for 1 minute as if to say " I know you're here and You get one minute for every 25 minutes of game play"
I talked with my brother, who is a gamer, on his 2nd marriage and doing well I might add. His wife, is much like me: Understands it's a hobby and everyone should have time to enjoy their hobbys. Now I lived with my brother and his first wife for about a year. And the time he spent with the idiot box compared to the time he spent interacting with his spouse I would call shameful. Up until about 3 or 4 years ago, I would say his time spent was shameful.
I asked him what he does differently and how can I have a successful relationship should I (once again) fall for someone who happens to have the gaming lifestyle.
What he does differently:
When his wife comes home, the gaming/computer goes off, Period.
She has become the priority.
What kind of message does it send to your family if you come home from work after being apart all day and head straight for the toys? Especially if the spouse has been working all day as well. If your butt is playing games, and they're cooking and cleaning and dealing with the kids, where is the partnership, and where is the compromise? And if they came home and headed straight for their toys and allowed you to do all the other needed things how would you feel?

My brother added this: " A gaming partner will give you every excuse in the books, and because they believe it, they expect you to believe it and will even get upset when you call B.S on it. You stand your ground and stick up for yourself and your needs."

For him, it was all about feelings of failure. In the gaming world he was successful. Each win or conquer was a success against what wasn't going on right in the real world. So it was easier to function in the real world but find more joy as a successful Avatar who can easily "start over" when things didn't go right and continue in victory when they did. Making it an easy addictive.
I guess we can't always do that in real life... start over when things do go right. Or control other people in a less than favorable situation.

I'm happy he did what was needed to start having those successes in the real world and experiencing that excitement and "high" with people, family, friends instead of machines, electronics and such.
Oh he still plays his games. But not every day, not even every week. It's become something to do when there's nothing to do. But he also realizes there is usually something else to do. The enjoyment he got from his gaming he now gets through his family and other things. He has found a way to fill the void that gaming once filled. And has become more physically healthy as well. Yeah I know there's the Wii games now that allow movement and minimal exercise. But it's scarey to me to rather sit and play a fake game of tennis, bowling, golf or whatever instead of a real game. Basically a gaming session would be sitting and eating. eating and sitting. Invite the boys over to come and sit and eat and play games. Is there any wonder there is an epidemic of obesity in the U.S? Which is a whole other blog altogether.

Anyway, you gamers out there may just chalk my experiences up to being with those who didn't know how to balance or prioritize. This could be true. As I think about it even just recently I've heard " what are you gonna get me? If you ever want to get me something, this is what you can get."
Do you know how often I've heard... "so what kind of gifts do you like?" or "what kinds of things/activities would you be interested in" in the last 2-3 years? Honestly, I can only think of twice. And those 2 times were kind of brushed under the rug due to the other person's desires. Sounds like I need stand up for myself more and to date a different calibre of men? I'm not saying better, I'm saying different. More compatible I guess, maybe?

I still say there is some deep void missing in someone's life who prefers so sit and interact electronically instead of voice to voice, face to face, person to person. A couple of years ago I would have labled such a person a coward. My views are slowly changing. I even have a PS2 myself. I think I've played it 3 times this year. Real life is just so much better. I enjoy being active, moving, living. Gaming makes me feel like I'm sitting around lazy wasting my life away when there's a World out there God created for me to live and function in. I'd rather actually go out dancing then stay in with my dance dance revolution.
So to my gaming friends and family:Don't expect any games from me for christmas or birthdays or ever. And I say this with love. ( my step sister complained about her first husbands gaming but would go out and buy him games. It's like creating a monster, and then complaining when it wrecks your house.)

I would love to hear a successful gaming relationship where the spouse didn't need to convert or be converted to gaming to feel a part of their spouses life or feel that was the only way to spend "quality" time with their significant other. And where the Gaming partner really put their priorities in place as is able to have successful relationship with a truly happy spouse.