Friday, December 20, 2013

Fighting Boredom with Passion

People who know me well may think I sound like a bit of a hypocrite with this post, but over time I have finally started to learn something that I feel is important to share with others. There is no reason to ever be truly bored. Especially if you are reading this post, because that means you have access to internet, and electricity, and it is safe to assume you have more in your life than so many others do. But beyond that, if you have things in your life to be passionate about, you should never have a reason to be bored. I used to spend a lot of time bored out of my mind, clueless as to what to do. At this same time, someone in my life suggested I take up hobbies I used to have, and find things to do that I enjoy. I kept making excuses that I didn't have time, because I had to focus on school. To me, I feel like that's a noble thought to have, but if I had time to be bored, I clearly wasn't too busy with school. So, I've finally started to learn what that person was talking about.

All of my life, I've played video games to some extent. But I never really considered myself a gamer until just recently, and that's still kind of pushing it. But that's just a label. The point is, I've always enjoyed video games, and now I play them far more often. I play games on my Xbox and my computer, and play some sort of game on average at least five times a week. Furthermore, I have found myself deeply involved in a big project, for the past couple of months. Here's the fun part where I prove myself very, very wrong. See, for some time I used my focus on school work as an excuse for not having hobbies again. Well, with playing video games often, working on this project of mine for the past few months, keeping mostly up to date with this blog, and working up to 20 hours a week, while going to school full time, I still managed to get a 3.41 GPA this past semester. So there's a big fat "screw you" to my excuses. And I have to say, I very much enjoy being able to wake up on a day off (or a sick day like today) and have something to do, rather than sitting there twiddling my thumbs. I've never really twiddled my thumbs but you get my point.

So, my point to this random rambling... if you're bored, perhaps you don't have enough in your life that you enjoy. It would probably be best to have a few things in your life you enjoy so that if you need/want a break from one thing, you still have something else to do. I love gaming. I find it to be a great stress reliever and it has helped me to meet some very awesome people. I love this project I'm working on that I can't talk about. It's kept me very busy working on one part of it in a computer program most have never heard of, another part of it in photoshop, and yet another part of it in my sketchbook. When I want a break from WoW, I have Steam games and Xbox games if I feel like gaming. If I need a break from gaming, I have my project. If I need a break from all of that, I have my blog, I have friends, I have a future to plan for, etc. See, it's rare I find myself truly mind-numbingly bored anymore like I did before, simply because I have things in my life that I enjoy. So, yeah, get to it!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Agents of Shield 2/6

As a review of Agents of SHIELD, this is post two of what is planned to be a six part series. If you missed the first post, you can check that out here:

Episode Five: (10.22.13): Girl in the Flower Dress. Remember back in the pilot episode where we learned about Centipede? Well, we learn more in this episode because they're back! This episode opens with a street performer named Chan in Hong Kong who ends his show by throwing a fireball at the crowd. Then, the girl in the flower dress (Raina) convinces him she can help him, gains his trust, and then he is kidnapped by Centipede. The problem is, this man was supposed to be under the watchful eye of SHIELD, so the question then is how did Centipede find out about him? Well, I think by now the answer is obvious... Rising Tide. So then of course everybody blames Skye, and she leads them to a member of Rising Tide that she thinks could have done it, all the while claiming innocence. Hey plot twist! Not only does she know this guy, but she KNOWS him (yeah, he's her boyfriend... or was. Not really sure if it's 'is' or 'was'). Well, of course SHIELD figures this out, and both Skye and Miles (her man friend) are taken back in handcuffs, questioned, and it turns out Miles is a jerk who gave up information for money. Back to Hong Kong, Chan is in Centipede's lab and they are injecting him with Extremis to make his powers stronger which successfully turns him into the living embodiment of the name they gave him - Scorch. Well, as can be expected, SHIELD raids the facility, some people die, most people live, and they have to make Scorch blow up (see pilot episode for causes to the explosions) before he kills them all. Once SHIELD saves the day, Miles is let go, but not before he gets a pretty tracking bracelet so SHIELD knows where he is and what he's doing online, all the time. Skye gets an identical bracelet, and ultimately reveals to Coulson her motivation for working with Rising Tide and SHIELD all this time. She is looking for her parents who had some connection to SHIELD, and Coulson promises to help her. In the closing scene, Raina is in prison and meets up with a guy who she ultimately asks to contact the Clairvoyant for her.

Episode Six: (11.5.13): F.Z.Z.T. This was an emotional episode, to say the least. At the beginning (but after the opener), Coulson is taking a physical, and Ward is testing out a new weapon that Fitz and Simmons made, and says it is an ounce too heavy. After he leaves, they (and Skye) start making fun of him. There are a number of people who are mysteriously dying, but nobody knows why, so SHIELD is called in to investigate. It is thought at first that someone is killing these people, all of whom have deaths involving electrostatic anomalies and levitation. It turns out that the cause is actually an alien virus that was gotten from a Chitauri helmet (salvaged from the battle in New York, in the Avengers movie) which essentially turns infected individuals into electrostatic bombs. They find the helmet in a fire station, and take it for further inspection/safe keeping. It turns out that Simmons is infected by the virus. And let the feels begin. SHIELD says to sacrifice Simmons for the rest of the team and Coulson essentially says "screw you" and ignores the order. Fitz and Simmons work together to find a cure, and Simmons, thinking there is no cure (and not knowing the last attempt at a cure actually worked), knocks Fitz out with a fire extinguisher and jumps out of the plane. At this point in the episode, I may or may not have cried a little bit. And by that I mean I did. Cuz holy shit she was gonna die, and she sacrificed herself for the team! So noble. Anyway, Fitz gets up, grabs a parachute, and was going to jump after her, but Ward ran it, grabbed the chute, and jumped. In the end, all lives are saved, Coulson yells at Simmons, Ward mimics Skye, Fitz and Simmons' mocking of him, and Coulson confides in May about the physical. Turns out nobody else ordered it and he was doing it because he didn't feel the same since he died. She then refers to a personal life event (that we still don't quite know) and tells Coulson that he can't expect to feel the same after dying.

Episode Seven: (11.12.13): The Hub. In this episode, we meet SHIELD director Victoria Hand at the SHIELD Hub Base, and she gives the team (specifically Ward and Fitz) a mission.  Their mission is to go out to South Ossetia and take down a weaponized device called the Overkill. One can only guess where THAT name came from. Before they leave, Simmons gives Fitz a sandwich. Specifically, a prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich with just a hint of pesto aioli. Or, if you prefer, the most romantic sandwich ever, between two people who got some serious flirt on in this episode. While at the Hub, we discover another feature of the pretty tracking bracelet Coulson gave to Skye two episodes previous. It's magnetic and keeps her from crossing doorways into areas for which she doesn't have clearance. Because of this, she is basically forced to hang out with Simmons, and the two of them try to get more information on why Ward and Fitz are being sent on a mission together. Of course this doesn't go as planned, and it ends up in another SHIELD agent being tranquilized by Simmons, but ya know, that's just another day in the life of SHIELD. Unfortunately, this leads to them finding out that there is no extraction plan for this mission. Without an extraction plan, the agents are basically just left for dead. So while Skye is trying to convince Coulson of this (and find out if he knew or not) Ward and Fitz are running from some bad dudes with dogs. Being the typical goofy guy he is, Fitz gets hungry and pulls out his sandwich of love. Or, if you prefer, his prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich with just a hint of pesto aioli (Consumer Warning: drooling is normal. Do not be alarmed). Well, Ward's a bit more clever than Fitz. If you are being chased by dogs, you don't pull out the worlds best sandwich. They can smell that shit. (And I think I can too). But Fitz is an absolute sweetie, and even offers Ward some. Ward takes the entire sandwich and throws it in the water nearby, bringing about the best line of the episode, by Fitz: "You've destroyed the world's most dangerous sandwich. Congratulations!" While all this is going on, back at the Hub, Skye is trying to get information on her parents and comes across a file with pictures of a dead woman. Coulson directs May to investigate further. Coulson in the mean time is trying to figure out why he doesn't have clearance to his Tahiti file even though he is level 8. Well, as can be expected, through all of this, Coulson and the rest of the team fly in and save the day. Literally, they fly the plane in and save Ward and Fitz. This episode leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but there is a lot to come in the future that will hopefully answer things for us.

Episode Eight: (11.19.13): The Well. If you haven't seen Thor: The Dark World yet, and you haven't seen this episode, and you absolutely hate even the smallest hint of a spoiler (like me) stop reading. If that doesn't apply to you, please, continue. The reason I say that is because this episode follows after the Thor movie. I waited two weeks to watch this episode so I could see Thor first, and I'm glad I did. (That, paired to the craziness of college finals is the reason for this post being so delayed). At the beginning of this episode, some small clips from the Thor movie are shown, and quite frankly that in itself would have upset me if I hadn't seen Thor first (cuz I hate spoilers). Anyway, this episode was insane, and a bit emotional. The task for the team in this episode is to try to find the pieces of an Asgardian Berserker Staff that a group of individuals (specifically a Paganist hate group) are searching for/finding. See, this isn't just any old Asgardian relic. It's called a Berserker Staff for a reason. It pulls out the darkest parts of an individual from the deepest part of their soul, and turns them into a raging beast overcome with anger. When Ward gets hold of a piece of the Staff, he is forced to remember a traumatic childhood memory of his brother, and a well. As can be expected, he is more angry and also has increased strength. Basically, he just turns into a moody jerk. As the team tries to find the pieces, and the group responsible, they cross paths with a professor who has hints about the location of the staff. Well, here's a fun twist, he's no normal professor. He's a freaking Asgardian living on Earth undiscovered until now. While searching for the last piece of the staff, the team battles the hate group, and ultimately the team wins and gets the staff back into safe hands, but not before May takes hold of it and does some serious damage. Coulson convinces The Asgardian professor to relocate to Portland, with the promise that he could meet Thor the next time he's in town. At the end of the episode, Coulson has a nightmare about his time in Tahiti, making us wonder all the more about what happened to him.

There have already been two more episodes aired, but in keeping with the pattern of doing four episodes per post, those will have to wait until the end of January when the next two episodes have been aired and I have the time to sit down and write about them. Until then, best wishes fellow SHIELD lovers!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Note on Kindness

This post may not be about gaming, or anything else even remotely nerdy, but the idea of kindness can be shared and understood among all cultures. Though some details may be missing, this is the story of a homeless man named Tylil and my connection to him.

I first met Tylil about five months ago. He was sitting outside the Rite-Aid near my college campus. He said hi to me, and asked me how I was doing. He and I started talking, and I was surprised because he wanted to talk to me, and wasn't just asking for money. He shared his life story with me, including his arrest history, his medical conditions, and family situations. He didn't hide the things he did wrong. He told me about his daughter, his living conditions, where he went to church and about the positive interactions with specific Temple University police officers.  He also rapped for me, a song that he wrote, and then broke it down and explained it to me, and explained the story that inspired the song. I sat and talked with him for about half an hour, then after I picked up what I needed, I gave him some money and a bottle of water. After that, every time I saw him, I gave him something. Always a bottle of water, and when I could, I helped him with groceries and occasionally bought a little treat for his daughter. He was always appreciative and thankful, never harassing, and never asked for more when I gave him something. He even shared with me when he had job prospects, and promised me one time the next time I saw him he would be doing better. Well, the next time I saw him, he was wearing cleaner clothes, smelled better, and was so proud of himself for keeping his promise. He wanted to show me that what I was doing for him was going to a good cause. There were times when others saw me helping him and complimented me for it. I can only hope they were inspired to help someone too.

Because of all of my interactions with him, I knew I had to do something for him and his daughter for Christmas. Because of financial difficulties, I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Since before Thanksgiving, every time I walked past the Rite-Aid I hoped I would see him so that I could do something for him and his daughter. As time continued to go by and I hadn't seen him, I started to doubt that I would. Finally, today, exactly one week until Christmas, I saw him on my way to the store (which happens to be across the street from the Rite-Aid). I didn't make it known to him that I saw him, and went to the store to pick up the one thing I needed - milk. But while I was there, I spent an extra $15, the last of the money in my bank account, to get him and his daughter something for Christmas. I got a little container of chocolate covered pretzles for both of them. For his daughter, I got a little princess craft set and a little activity pad and crayons, both of which I packaged in a little gift bag with Santa on it. I went over to where he was sitting, and while waiting to cross the street, and until I got to him, I could see/hear him wishing every person who walked into the store "Happy Holidays". This in itself made me happy because he wasn't asking anybody for money. Just wishing that people enjoy the holidays. I walked up to him, and when he recognized me he said "hey, how are you?" and shook my hand. I greeted him in the same way (the same greeting we had every time we saw each other) and then gave him the grocery bag with the gifts, as well as $5. He was so incredibly appreciative and told me he would have been more than happy without the money, and that he was so glad he had something to give his daughter for Christmas because he was worried about that. I explained to him that I had been hoping to do something for him and looking for him for about a month, and told him it wasn't what I wanted to do, but I had to do something. At that point in time, he got up from where he was sitting and hugged me. He told me it didn't matter if I did nothing at all, and that the thought alone meant so much to him. He told me there was another Temple student who had done similar, which I fully believe because if you take just five minutes to talk to this man, you can't not help him. There is just something about him that is more real that I have ever seen.

The best part is this: He looked in the bag, and saw the containers of pretzels and his face lit up. He told me that chocolate pretzels are one of his daughters favorite things to eat, and she was going to be extremely happy with them and the fact that they were star shaped. He then told me every time he takes something home for him and his daughter and she asks where it came from, he says "The Angel". Today, and many days for the past couple of months, I have helped this man and his daughter, though I have never met her. Today, I took some stress off of him because at the very least he can give her something for Christmas. Today, this man who looks so small and frail from a distance, but who has such a kind heart and is always beaming with pride about his daughter made my day. When ever he takes her something I gave to them, he simply tells her that it came from the Angel, and that he tells her to tell the angel she says thank you. And he told me today that I am their Angel.

I never expected to gain anything from helping this man and his young daughter, but today he gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Without knowing it, he gave me hope. With all that I have been fighting with in my personal life recently, him looking up at me and saying "you are our angel" just made me feel so much better. Knowing I'm making a difference in his life, and in the life of a little girl I have never met, and probably never will meet, makes me feel like there is hope in this world. This man, who has a very difficult life, and who does everything for this little girl, gave me the best Christmas present ever. A hug from a stranger, and kind words when needed the most makes a much greater impact than I ever expected. He wished me a Merry Christmas many times, and as I turned away, I heard him continue to wish others walking by a Happy Holiday.

To you, reader, I hope that you can do some kind act whenever the opportunity presents itself. You may find someday, that you will be repaid in the most unexpected way possible. Everybody needs a helping hand at one point or another. And no matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, or even if none at all, I wish you find hope and happiness somewhere in life.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Balance is Key

Stereotypes piss me off. I just need to put that out there, and now I think I'll go on a short rant before getting to my real point. For those who don't know, I'm 21 years old, female, a senior in college studying Forensic Psychology, and I work 12-20 hours a week with no pay. I live by myself, but have two guinea pigs as pets. I'm an artist. I'm a gamer. I'm a nerd. Yeah, I play computer games. Yeah, I play Xbox games. Yeah, I go to comic conventions AND enjoy cosplay, a lot. I have fears, anxieties, weaknesses, but I am working to fix them and learning to live with the stuff I can't fix. To sum up, I'm me. I am not the stereotype of a gamer or nerd. I am a unique individual with a past that I hate, and a future that I hope for. Gaming is part of my life. It is something I have come to enjoy (though my bank account doesn't like it as much as I do). But here's the thing, it's only one part of my life. If you know me, you know that my two biggest priorities in life are my family and my education. My hobbies come after that, and that's the way it will always be.

Now more to the point of this post. One one of the major stereotypes of gamers is that they spend all of their lives and all of their time gaming. Personally I hate that stereotype, but I have been the exact opposite. I only really got into gaming this past summer, and at first, I felt like I was doing an injustice by not playing every day. I felt like I was wasting my $15 a month on WoW if I wasn't playing at least a little bit every day. And then, when I got a Hearthstone beta key, I felt like I was doing something wrong by not playing, because the point of the beta was to be testing the game. Over time though, I have come to realize that it's okay if I don't play games every day. The point of it all isn't to feel an obligation to play, but to do so when I want to. It's okay to let life get in the way. It's okay to take a break for a few days to focus on other hobbies. It's okay to buy a game because it's on sale, and not be able to play it for a week or two (thank you Steam sales and Black Friday sales). At first that was something that I struggled with, but now I am finding myself to be more okay with finding that balance. I don't think I have it completely yet, but I'm getting there. I think, with all things in life, balance is key. At this point in time, I am writing before starting my last day of classes for my last Fall Semester as an undergrad (I graduate in the spring). My finals started yesterday and they won't be over until next Friday. The last time I played any video games (aside from two minutes with my dad's new PS3 this past weekend) was Thanksgiving night. My focus has turned to getting all of my papers done and studying for my finals. On top of that, I also have things I need to work on for personal projects. In this process of finding the balance, I am finding that I am enjoying gaming even more because it is on my terms, when I want to, not when I feel like I have to.

Whether you feel like it's too much, or not enough, with any hobby balance is key. Figure out your priorities and make sure those come first. Then fit the rest in where it seems to fit naturally. Even if through circumstance that balance needs to be adjusted, it will all work out.

Balance is key. It's not always easy, but you don't need easy. You just need possible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Discussion on Mental Health

Mental health conditions are a great prevalence in our society, and in all others. Even though mental health problems seem to be just as common as physical health problems, the subjects are approached far differently. If I were to walk up to someone I know and tell them I was having a camera put down my throat in two weeks to look at my stomach, they would be understanding and supportive. However if I were to tell that same person that I go to counseling on a weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) schedule, they would likely have some hesitation about how to deal with the situation. In my eyes, both of these situations are essentially the same. I am having a camera put down my throat to try to find, and ultimately solve the problems I am having that affect my physical health. I go to counseling to try to find and solve the problems I have that affect my mental health. To me, physical health and mental health should be treated with the same amount of compassion and support because they both cause problems in the lives of those who have to deal with them. Both require help and guidance, either to cure the problem, or learn to live with it. These are just my personal opinions, but I would like to share some opinions provided by others as well. The decision to put together this blog post was fueled in part by a recent Tauren Think Tank episode (#78 - It Smells Like Wood on ). In this episode a feedback letter was sent in to Rem and Jules that sparked up a lot of conversation. It was the story of a man whose wife struggled with mental illness and the path life took her on with treatment. There is no way for me to try to summarize that letter with the appropriate emotion involved, as just by Jules reading it, it brought tears to several people listening. This is a very powerful and inspirational story and my suggestion is, at the very least, go and listen to the end of the episode if you haven't heard it already. This letter sparked a lot of discussion in the chat room. I selected a few of those comments and am now going to share them, and reply to them with my thoughts.

Arcaynemage said: "It's not physical, not visible, so there's the "it's all in their mind" stigma. An implication that they're making it up."     ~Personally, I agree with this explanation. I think a lot of people have a hard time believing what they can't see. With physical illness, you can see what's wrong, or at the very least often times (with internal illnesses) you can see a picture of what's wrong. But there is no real way to directly see mental illness. All we see is what it does to the individual. For people who cannot grasp the idea of something being wrong that they can't see, they don't believe it to be real. The only other option for them is to believe the person is making it up, or that it is all in their mind.

Wombat1974 said: "The number of times I have heard "OH YOU JUST NEED TO CHEER UP"..."      ~This comment relates to a discussion on depression, and all forms it holds. For someone with depression (speaking from personal experience as this one is common in other members of my family) they CANNOT just cheer up. And if they could, they would. One of my relatives does not enjoy dealing with depression so badly that she sometimes can't get out of bed for days. This isn't something she wants. And for her, she has seasonal affective disorder (SAD) on top of the already severe depression she deals with on a regular basis. For those who don't know, SAD is a disorder where depression either results, or gets worse, at a certain time of year - every year. For many this occurs in the fall and winter months because of the lack of sunlight, the colder temperatures, and other factors that may be different for each individual. So for her, and for many others who deal with varying types of depression, being told to just cheer up can be a very bad thing to hear, and can make their mood even worse. Not only does it show the person doesn't understand what they are going through, but it also comes off as not caring, or at the very least not trying to understand or be sympathetic and compassionate.

Laidraphyre said: "I think people think its kinda contagious or something like that."   ~This is another viewpoint that I agree with. I think this goes back to not understanding the issues with mental illness. I'm going to share a very personal story with this one. Ten years ago when I was in elementary school, and my older sister in middle school I found out she was cutting herself, very badly. This was discovered because my sister and I were watching an episode of 7th Heaven over the summer, as we did almost every day. In this episode, one of the characters was cutting herself. After it was over, my sister showed me her arms. I refused to believe her. I didn't say anything to anybody about it and just ignored it, not because I didn't care, but because at eleven years old, I didn't know how to process what was going on. It wasn't until much later, when school started again that she was finally getting help. And once the family knew about it, things got even harder for her. I remember one time I was in the kitchen with my siblings, and my brother wouldn't go anywhere near my sister. When she asked him about it, his response was "I don't want to catch your disease." This seems like a terrible thing to say, but keeping in mind he was only 8 or 9 at the time, he couldn't comprehend what was actually going on. To me, when adults have the viewpoint of mental illness being contagious, it is the result of a juvenile mindset.

Arcaynemage also said: "It's too bad, but at least there are folks like you guys (Rem, Jules, all of you in the chat room and listening) that are willing to carry on the conversation."     ~This is a very good point. It is terrible the way mental illness is treated in society. There need to be people to talk about it, and to listen. We need to do what we can to better understand all of these problems and be supportive to those who need the support.  By talking about it, we can find that we are learning more, that we are becoming more open minded, and that we are willing to lend a hand to help where we can, even if just by sharing thoughts are forcing the conversation to continue.

Finally, this is what I said in the chat that night: "We can see physical problems. Mental problems... we can't see it. We don't know how to comprehend that which we cannot see, so we fear it and avoid it. And it's a shame."     ~Obviously I agree with this because I said it. But it seems to sum up a lot of what other people said. I hope, by forcing conversation, we can start to help people become more open minded about these issues.

And because this is such a prevalent problem, not talking about mental illness, and shunning those who deal with these struggles, I decided to carry on the conversation in Twitter, by asking this: "Hey all you smart people! I need some opinions on why you think society tends to avoid discussing mental health. I'm working on a blog post." Here is what some on Twitter had to say:

@Chris O'C said: "Political correctness. It stunts conversation about many important issues. People are so paranoid about offending someone (especially when they don't understand the matter) that the convo never starts. There's yet to be a celebrity or spokesperson to bring it to the forefront and no one's going to listen to a random doctor. And most "normal" folks that have various mental illnesses don't talk about it for (genuine) fear of being...well I dunno. Just think how most letters on TTT start. Something to the effect of "I never thought I'd talk about this..." "    ~There are a lot of good points made here. It has yet to be brought up about being afraid to offend people, but this is yet another aspect to the matter. But I think, so long as the topic is approached in a respectful manner, there is some level of understanding that you may not be trying to be offensive, but rather just trying to understand. If more respect can be brought to the people who struggle with these mental illnesses, perhaps they would be more willing to talk about it. We need to have a spokesperson for mental illness. It is a problem, and we need to make it a priority just as much as so many other physical illnesses are. To finish the sentence, most normal folks that have various mental illnesses don't talk about it for (genuine) fear of being judged, rejected, feared, misunderstood (and any number of other words). We need to have a place to be able to talk about it. TTT brings us a place to talk about it, and to bring our opinions together to try to understand each other. Having that place where you know you will be treated with respect makes it feel more safe to bring it up. I commend TTT and the moo crew for all that they do to support everyone who needs someone to lean on, for mental health concerns and anything else they are struggling with in their lives.

@RichardkurnieJ said: because we can't just fix it, we can't see it. Someone can appear fine but still have a mental illness and that scares people."     ~this falls in line with what a lot of other people are saying. It seems there is a great consensus on the biggest problems with avoiding the discussion of mental illness in our inability to see it, and the fear we have because of that.

One person, who will not be mentioned, responded with: "I'd discuss it, but, you know, society avoids it..."     ~I know who this person is, and know it wasn't intended as a serious comment but more of a joke. But it brings up a good point anyway. We don't discuss it because society avoids it. We conform to society, and what society wants. We try to keep people comfortable by avoiding uncomfortable topics. That cannot continue. In my own struggles with mental illness (not anything major) I avoided talking about it with a lot of people because I know it's an uncomfortable topic. But it's uncomfortable because we don't talk about it. Let's get the conversations moving, and continue to talk about it. We must do our best to make it known what's going on, the struggles we face, and the help we need. My first step in opening up about what I'm going through was in sending a series of letters to TTT. Through talking with them, I found the support of an amazing community of individuals willing to listen. And sometimes that's all we need.

@RealKareemAli said: "I think the biggest reason is the stigma attached to it. Part of that is due to a lack of understanding on what it is and how to deal with it mainly but both those affected by it and those who know people affected by it. No one wants to be called crazy or be around those who they view sometimes incorrectly as crazy and unstable. It threatens what's considered the norm and also requires some thought and consideration. And ignoring it is one way to avoid looking in the mirror IMO"     ~This brings up a very touchy topic... the words 'crazy' and 'unstable'. These are words that are often times put upon people who suffer from mental illness. All this does is make the problem worse. Nobody wants to be called crazy. It hurts. This response also brings up two major reasons why we tend to ignore mental health: there's an uncomfortable stigma, we don't understand it, so we refuse to look at it.

@xsinthis said: "It's a bit of a taboo, and it makes people feel awkward, they'd much rather ignore it than confront it"      ~this is yet another good point. It is unfortunate that it is a taboo subject. It reminds me of years ago when women who got pregnant outside of wedlock were sent away to live with someone else for a year so no shame would be brought to their families. And like so many other things in the past that have been taboo that now are not. I just hope that someday, and someday soon, mental illness is something we can talk about instead of ignore.

@applecidermage said: "I believe a lot of why people don't discuss it is because societally we perceive it not being "real" When in fact it's on the same level as having diabetes or heart disease. It's a real thing with your brain. It's also frequently stigmatized as only a thing "bad", abusive or violent people have. People with mental illness are characterized in a myriad of ways - lazy, weak, emotional, etc. There's also a cultural belief that being emotional in general means you are weak or irrational (esp in case of women.)"     ~This brings up a number of good points. As I mentioned previously, mental illness should not be treated any differently by society than any physical illness can be. Furthermore, the number of stigmas placed on those with mental illness is part of the overall problem, and personally I feel it falls back into the fear that many seem to have about mental illness.

@azerrah said: "in my opinion mental illness is one of the least understood things. There is so much to learn about how the mind works. When the system fails to treat those who suffer, bad things happen. After that, all people who suffer with illness are painted with the same brush and people ASSUME everyone is out to do bad things. People then fear the unknown as well as the person who suffers the illness. It's not understood nearly enough."      ~this again is going back to a lack of understanding and a fear. But it also further emphasizes on the point of stigmas and stereotype. With the current accepted view of mental illness, we are not letting those who suffer be individuals, but rather a mold that we chose to see. We're not giving them a chance to let us see the person beneath the illness.The majority of people with mental illnesses don't let it define them, and we shouldn't define them by it either.

@Mistapankake said: "Well we know the brain works and the different parts of the brain but we don't know exactly how or why it works. We don't know why we are sentient, why we have a soul, a conscience and it scares us. When something is a little different from the norm, well that scares us too. But when you add something that is constant but completely incomprehensible and the extra little stimulus of say of mental illness it scares the hell out of us. And how it has been said 'out of sight, out of mind' . We try to ignore it so we don't have to deal with it and try to understand it. We just hope it goes away and that is wrong, utterly and completely. We need to try and understand and help those who need it"    ~As soon as I read this, I knew it was going to be the final comment from others in this post because he does a fantastic job of essentially summing up everything else that is written here. We don't know, so we get scared, so we hide. And that's not okay. It never will be okay.

Friday night, I was watching Batman Begins, and one line really struck me and I wanted to be sure to mention it in this post. Thanks to mistapankake, this is the perfect place to do so. That line was: "this is a world you'll never understand, and you always fear what you don't understand." That one sentence, I completely agree with. However, the one thing we need to consider is that just because we don't understand it, and just because we fear it, doesn't mean we have to avoid it. We need to have the courage to deal with it anyway. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to face those fears. So, lets join together and build up the courage to face our fears and try to truly understand the struggles people with mental illnesses face on a daily basis. Let's give them a friend to confide in, a hand to hold, and a should to cry on if they need it. Let's be a community that helps build people up, instead of breaking them down. 

If you don't know what to do, or how to start a conversation, or how to help, check online. There are a ton of resources for helping individuals with mental illnesses. Here are just some of the resources that I have found:    <--- this one says it's for schizophrenia, but don't disregard it as a lot of the tips apply for just about any mental illness. 

If you would like to be a part of this conversation, PLEASE share this post, and share your thoughts in the comments or elsewhere. If you want to directly share thoughts with me, you can find me on Twitter at @JennMorton01 or just post something in the comments and I'll see it. This is something we need to be talking about and bringing awareness to. Join the conversation and help start the change we need to see.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

BlizzCon Week!

This post would be far more exciting if I were actually part of Team Blizz Con instead of Team No Con, but I'll take what I can get. It was still BlizzCon week, and no matter where any of us were, there were so awesome things brought into light about the future of Blizzard games. That being said, here is the summation of my week, which got far better as it went on:

Monday: Yeah, Monday sucked. I got to level 41 which was pretty cool, but then I got stuck and impaled myself on a tent pole accidentally, as you can see here: There were a number of attempts made to get myself unstuck, most of which were obviously unsuccessful. I tried leaving the game and logging back in. It kept disconnecting. This is when I found out that Blizzard was having problems and it wasn't just me. Once I finally got back into the game, I was still stuck (as I very much expected to be). My next attempt was to run dungeon. So I spent five minutes sitting in a dungeon finder queue, then while in the dungeon managed to get another achievement. Once finished with the dungeon, I was still stuck. So I went into the help menu and used the "stuck" option and was supposed to be teleported to the nearest graveyard. Instead, I was teleported to the starting zone and had to find my way back which took for ever, and a few flights. Through all of these random flights and what not, I decided to try some pet battles. It's far less exciting that past reading made it out to be, and I hope I can find the fun in all of it soon. Eventually I made it back to where I was. In between all of this nonsense when I kept getting disconnected from the game, I decided to spend some time playing Hearthstone. To sum up: four losses, two wins, and two dailies.

Tuesday: I am going to have a hard time keeping my post topics from running into each other with this one, so I will say as little as possible. I didn't do any game play until after Agents of SHIELD and that episode may or may not have made me cry. It was by far the best episode thus far, and I cannot wait to talk about it in my next SHIELD post in two or three weeks (for thoughts on the first four episodes, see my earlier post: So, after SHIELD I played Wow, hit level 42, earned two new abilities and opened two dungeons. And then my character must have gotten drunk, or forgot to put his land legs back on after getting out of the water because he kept listing lazily to the left while walking. It got annoying so I stopped playing.

Wednesday, I didn't do a damn thing. Thursday, I spent about an hour leveling with my leveling partner. In all honesty, I still feel dumb and slow because I get lost a lot and forget to finish quests and what not. But there were three things I learned: one- plump vermin burp to attack. two- cart travel is fun. three- I am a very, very bad tight rope walker.

Friday. BlizzCon day one. I unexpectedly had off work, which was awesome. I spent my entire afternoon glued to Twitter for BlizzCon news. There's no reason for me to sum up all of the news here, because if anyone is actually reading this blog and cares about Blizzard stuff, there's a damn good chance they've already heard the news elsewhere, several times. But here's a few highlights and the thoughts I have on them:
-There's a new expansion set to be released sometime in the future entitled Warlords of Draenor. Some features that I think will be fun: automatic character to 90. As someone new to WoW, this is exciting for me. I have every intention of creating a character specifically for the expansion and leveling it to 90 so I can start something at the same time as everyone else is starting something. Then I won't have to be the only one learning new stuff. I'm also looking forward to the player Garrisons. I think this will be a fun new feature to the game. I can't give an opinion on the whole time travel thing because I don't know enough about the game as a whole right now. As a final note, I believe Remghar's name suggestion is far better. If you don't know what it is, listen here:   OR you can listen to TTT's new episode here:
-Hearthstone News: The most exciting piece of Hearthstone news for me was the announcement that they will create Hearthstone for compatibility with iPhone and Android devices. Given that Friday morning I was wishing I had that option, I was pretty stoked to hear the announcement that my wish would soon come true.
-And finally, then announcement of a new game, Heroes of the Storm. I assume most of us are already signed up for the beta, so now it's just a matter of time.
Friday afternoon, I took a break from twitter to play WoW and hit level 43 (still with the goal to get to 45 by the end of the weekend.)

Friday night was Rem and Phytt Show live. Phytt was brutally honest, people got pissed and left the chat room, Rem came up with an awesome new name for the expansion, they got drunk, it was hilarious. Also, we discussed my presence at ConnectiCon and a wing challenge (though that was post show). If you want to know more about their thoughts on BlizzCon and the new announcements, listen to the show! (The link is above)

Saturday: Level 44 in WoW, and opened a new dungeon. I ate lunch while playing Hearthstone (lunch of champions... hot dogs and tater tots!). I played a Mage deck in the arena then lost, three times in a row. After that, I had no gold left so I went into play mode. My only win was due to an opponent giving up the second the match started, for whatever reason. After that, I lost two more times, then I gave up because of how terrible I was doing.

Saturday night was a live TTT, as usual, but with a lot of unusual guests! Jules was at BlizzCon so a lot of people were able to stop in and say hi! It was a great recap of BlizzCon and all that is to come. Then they blue screened at the end of the show. But, what made it even better was post show. There were drinks had by Rem and Phytt, and a few in the chat room. Myself, I was drinking spiced rum. Two people called in and chatted with the guys. I was one of those two people. I talked with them for almost an hour. It has been decided that I am definitely going to ConnectiCon, barring some horrid mishap between my college graduation and then. It has been decided that they disprove of me attempting to eat 50 hot wings, but will encourage me to eat at least 30. It has also been decided that they have almost free reign over deciding my cosplay (but they better figure it out soon). Furthermore, my wing eating attempt... it will be recorded, no matter what we have to do to make that happen. I will prove to those guys that girls can eat wings too, and eat more than they can! Oh, and the guys and the chat room encouraged me to put a post up on BecauseofWoW to explain all of the things that have happened to me in the past couple of months.

Post post show, myself and TehKnuck decided to run a dungeon. I was very drunk. It was fun. I got lost a few times, died twice, and overall just had a freaking blast with it! Also, I can't read half of my notes because trying to take notes, while running a dungeon, while drunk, is not the easiest thing in the world.

And finally, this morning, Sunday morning, I made my post on BecauseofWoW. Here is my story: Personally, I think that BecauseofWoW is absolutely incredible and Jules deserves so much praise for it. This creation of hers is a great way to bring this awesome community so much closer together!

Regardless, BlizzCon week was a blast, even for TeamNoCon and went out with a bang!

Monday, November 4, 2013

WoW, Hearthstone, and Halloween Games

Holy crap what a week. This is a somewhat overdue post, but there is so much to say.

Last Sunday, after posting my last blog, I played WoW. I hit level 38 and unlocked a new dungeon (yay), and reached the achievement of 250 quests completed (double yay). I also wanted to try pet battles, but I couldn't figure out where the trainers were. I posted something in Twitter about it and got the answers I was looking for! Later that evening I decided to play a bit of Hearthstone. As you may know, I have spent a lot of time trying to beat Paladin to unlock all races and to be able to move into arena mode. Well, with a priest, I FINALLY beat paladin. I then made a custom mage deck with an Expert Mage, and managed two wins. I then went into play mode where I lost twice and one once (evening total of three wins and two losses). I also completed two dailies which gave me more gold. The rest of my evening was spent studying and working on some personal projects.

Monday, I was having an absolutely miserable day and wanted to play WoW just to have an escape from life for a while. Thanks to the help I got from Twitter on Sunday about pet battles, I was able to find a trainer and get started on pet battles, though I didn't get very far. After that, I went back to working on some personal projects. My Hearthstone time on Monday was my first time playing in the arena. I learned that the arena deck fyou create expires after you lose three games. This has its good and bad aspects. Obviously, if you create a terrible deck, you have a very quick turn around before creating a new deck. The downside is if you really like a deck, but things just don't play out well, you would have to completely recreate that deck again. In arena mode I won twice, lost five times, and completed one daily.

Tuesday: Maintenance Day. Not cool. I never like maintenance day. This week was even worse though because my first class had gotten cancelled and I had so much time in the morning to do nothing. Instead, I spent this time catching up on some podcasts (specifically the season finale of The Lockhead Journals and Flex Mode #1). Later that day, I came across a wonderful thing: Steam Sales! Specifically, Halloween game Steam sales. I bough four games for just over $10.00. Those games are: Alice- Madness Returns, Ghostbusters- Sanctum of Slime, Home, and Sherlock Holmes- The Awakened. After this purchase, I was very much hoping of making a blog post specifically about my new Halloween games. Unfortunately, this couldn't happen because I am having some compatibility issues with Steam working on my new laptop and working with Windows 8. The only game that I have been able to get to work thus far is Home which is a 2D game that is highly text based. You walk through with a flashlight, so you can only see so much at one time and the purpose at the beginning is to try to figure out where you are and what's going on, and who the dead bodies are. There are interactive objects where you can select them, then with a lot of things select what you do with them. For example, do you pick up the knife, do you keep the photo, do you keep the gun, etc. There is a lot of reading to be able to underestand what is going on, but it's fun. The game is also really creepy. There are bats in the dirt cellar, noises of water dripping, bloody cages in corners, corrosives in jars, blood caked shelves, and old items that the main character thought he and his wife had thrown out years ago. I didn't play this game too much, but hope to go back to it soon as it is a lot fun. Later, in the evening, I played Hearthstone, but was having another really bad day so I wasn't putting any effort into playing but was just using it as a break from life. In arena mode, I lost ten times, and won zero. However, I did figure out the discrepancy between the gems on the cards. White gems are common cards, blue gems are rare cards, purple gems are epic cards, and orange gems are legendary cards.  Finally, Tuesday night I received yet another Hearthstone beta key. Since I had no use for it, I decided to give it away on Twitter. The task was simple: to be entered, you had to retweet my post, and then comment on it and tell me your favorite thing about Halloween, and I would pick a winner at random on the night of Halloween. Surprisingly, there were a number of people who missed the second step so did not actually get entered.

I don't seem to have any notes on Wednesdays goings on, so I must not have played Wednesday (honestly, I don't remember). On Halloween, I played Hearthstone between my classes and the volunteer work I was doing for Halloween. I lost, four times. After my volunteer work was over (far earlier than expected because apparently Halloween is very different in cities) I started a new character in WoW with a leveling partner. I now play a Pandaren. I got lost a lot, and am definitely not familiar with the area. My leveling partner was very nice and helpful though which helped a lot. I am very much hoping I get better at all of this soon. It's kind of embarrassing to get lost and be wandering when I am supposed to be leading.

On Friday, I bought a Humble Bundle with nine games for $6.00. I haven't played many of them yet though. On Friday, I also spent over two hours working on my personal project and am so excited to share it in a few months when it is finished. Before I went to bed, I jumped into WoW for a bit. As soon as I got into the game and had time to relax without needing to focus so much, I got incredibly tired so I only played for 15 minutes and nothing exciting happened. After that, instead of going to bed, I decided to play some of my Humble Bundle games. One of the games is Worms Pinball. The beginning graphics are incredible annoying, I couldn't figure out the controls at all, and they weren't listed anywhere in the game menu. So I gave up on that game. The other game I started playing was Superfrog HD. In that game, the opening credits suck, but they do a good job of introducing the story. It is very similar to Mario's storyline, but with aspects of children's stories. There is a prince and princess that are in love. The witch gets jealous and turns the prince into a frog, and separates the prince and princess. The frog prince then has to find out how to get back to the princess. This game is a lot of fun and is very much like Mario games.

Saturday was a rough day for me. I played WoW for about 20 minutes before leaving for an induction ceremony for an International Honors Society I was invited to join. AFter the ceremony, I played some more WoW. I hit level 39, unlocked a new dungeon, and then went back to doing school work around 4pm. Around 9pm I played WoW for a bit, hit level 40, unlocked two new abilities, a new dungeon, and a new feature. I also got to congratulations from the guild. Saturday night, I had an awesome idea for a blog post that I am looking forward to working on and hopefully posting around Thanksgiving, or at the latest by Christmas. And finally... the end of my Saturday night. As with every week, Tauren Think Tank started at 10pm and I listened live. This show was absolutely hilarious. Furthermore, I sent in some food for a Tauren Taste Tank, and caused a few upset stomachs, and an incident that almost involved some puking. But all in all it was fun and I can't wait for part two in two weeks. After that, I stayed up to listen to a new Azeroth Roundtable live which was a lot of fun too.

And finally, Sunday. I was so busy with school work this weekend that I didn't do anything fun until about 6:45pm. I played Hearthstone and didn't have enough gold to get into arena mode so I was stuck playing in play mode which was a problem because there were errors with getting into the game. There was also a few glitches that went away on their own. I won three times, and lost five, and had two opponents give up, one of them by the 5th turn. I wanted to post all of this last night but just didn't get to it.

And now, classes have been over for several hours, I got out of work early because the executive director had things he needed to do, and this post is done. Time to get back to school work!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

WoW Fun and Hearthstone Failures

My sixth week of playing WoW, and my second (I think) week of playing Hearthstone - It's kind of hard to believe after all of the resistance I had to MMORPG gaming in the past that I am so enchanted by it now.

Last Sunday, after I posted the blog, I played more Hearthstone. I was in play mode, and it kept taking so long to actually get into a game. I have heard that this is one of the problems though that they are working on, so hopefully it improves in the future. I learned that I seem to make my moves, in general much faster than my opponents. However, another downside I have noticed when it comes to Hearthstone is you can't pause the game. This, in combination with your turns being timed, makes it very difficult to play while cooking. Some of the cards are very interesting in what they say and do. For instance, the Shieldbearer card says "You shall not pass" when it is played. I very much enjoyed this little ode to LOTR. Also, the Novice Engineer card - half the time when you play the card, she says "if you're sure" and every single time it makes me doubt if I made the right decision. Overall, I won three times, and lost four. I also made a custom deck and that seemed to make things a bit better.

On Monday, I created a new event for myself that I like to call Hot Tea and Hearthstone Happiness because much of last week I was sick with a bad cough and a sore throat, so I was drinking a lot of tea and playing a lot of Hearthstone. I won twice and lost once in play mode then won once in practice mode. I also decided on Monday that I want to be able to get to a point where I am able to play Hearthstone and WoW equally throughout the week. Since I got the Hearthstone beta, I have spent far less time actually playing WoW than I would like.

Tuesday night, I played Hearthstone for about forty minutes before the new episode of Agents of SHIELD. (If you want to know my thoughts on the first four episodes, check out my post entitled: Agents of SHIELD 1/6 ). In this time, I was in practice mode trying to unlock all of the other classes. I managed to win once, and lose four times.

Wednesday I didn't play at all, and on Thursday, I lost, A LOT. I played for an hour, in practice mode, and wanted to unlock all of the classes. I only had one class left. Paladin. And I lost nine times. I didn't win at all. It sucked. Also, I learned that if you have a card that increases your spell power by 1, you might want to make sure you have a spell card to play with it. Otherwise it's just a waste.
Thursday night, I finally played WoW again after too long. I said hi to people in the guild and nobody responded which kinda sucked, but oh well - you win some you lose some. I was terribly amused by the little Halloween things sitting around. Like bobbing for apples, and jack-o-lanterns full of candy that give out, through a quest, a Handful of Treats. While I was playing, I accepted 8 quests at once when I arrived to Dustwallow Marsh. This was the most quests I've accepted at once, and I still haven't finished them all. Damn spiders keep killing me.

On Friday, I played WoW a bit more while waiting for my homemade jambalaya to finish cooking (it was amazing!) and decided to give Hearthstone a break for the day. I hit level 37 while fighting off Theramore Sentrys, and wrote down the note for that while I was still fighting them off.

Saturday I played more Hearthstone. I still needed to beat Paladin to be able to unlock the arena. I learned while playing that the corners of the game boards are interactive. You can splash the waterfalls, cut vines and plants, start fires in the campsite, etc. I tried playing a Warlock against paladin in the hopes of beating that character, and I lost, three times. Then I tried the warrior. I lost, twice. I also learned that when a card says "Deal three damage to ALL characters" it includes your own. Play that card wisely. After losing a total of seven times, I went to work on a personal project which will hopefully be unveiled in a few months!

Overall, I am a failure when it comes to beating Paladin in Hearthstone, and that's okay. If you have advice, please share because I NEED to beat Paladin!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Agents of SHIELD 1/6

There is so much that can be said about Marvel’s new show Agents of SHIELD. And so here I am to say all I can. This will be a series of blogs that spans six posts, assuming Wikipedia is correct in that there will be a total of 22 episodes. The format will simply be a synopses and review of four episodes at a time, so this will end up being posted about once a month (unless they keep making us wait two weeks between episodes like they are right now).  

Episode One (9.24.13): The pilot. Or, as I like to call it “Coulson Lives!” Yes, that is correct, Coulson survived his fight in The Avengers and lived to die another day. And now we get to sit back and watch as he develops… and scratch our heads and wonder how the hell he survived. The most cohesive explanation (thanks internet) seems to be that he faked his death as a form of motivation for The Avengers to get their shit done, and then was put into hiding (sent on a long vacation) until his next assignment – which he is currently fulfilling with SHIELD. In this first episode, we learn about the hacktivist group Rising Tide, and a key player in the group, Skye, who lives in her van. We also learn of Project Centipede, which takes humans with special abilities (like Mike Peterson in this episode who seemed to have incredible, hulk like strength – though he doesn’t turn green) and enhances those abilities to make them super human. We later learn that these human experiments being done by Project Centipede are exploding (literally, in a ball of fire) due to a glitch in their planning. The SHIELD team essentially abducts Skye for questioning after she tries to talk to Mike, and unsuccessfully tries to convince him to let her help him. Then, Mike abducts her. There’s a crazy scene where everybody is yelling and has guns, and everyone could die if just one thing goes wrong. Then the bad guys go down, Skye gets invited to join SHIELD and everyone lives happily ever after. WAIT! This isn’t Disney. That happily ever after shit doesn’t exist here. Nope, they get a call for an 0-8-4 and head on to their next task, while most disagree with Coulson about bringing Skye on board (literally, cuz they have a big ass plane that gets them around everywhere). And Lola, oh don’t get me started about Lola. She is beautiful. She’s Coulson’s car, but damn is she pretty.
**for more information on how I concluded Coulson’s ‘death’ check out:

Episode Two (10.1.13): 0-8-4. In this episode, the SHIELD team is sent to Peru to investigate an 0-8-4 (an object of unknown origin). Once they arrive, they find that it is actually a piece of Hydra technology that is powered by Tesseract energy. While in the area, they have to constantly be concerned by rebels. They eventually run into Coulson’s old ally Camilla Reyes, and her crew. They team together to obtain the Hydra technology, and fight off the rebels while rushing to seek refuge on the SHIELD plane. Once on board, and in the air, Reyes and her crew betray Coulson and try to take over, and take the Hydra technology for themselves to fight of the rebels in Peru. There is a big fight on board, the plane is brutally damaged, but the SHIELD team finally learns how to work together and utilize all of their individual skills. They win, of course. And then, scene swap: Skye gets a text from someone within Rising Tide, and she confirms her alliance to them! Jerk. And then, scene swap: Coulson is being yelled at for the damage to their plane, by none other than Nick Fury! Yes, at this moment I did, in fact, jump up out of my chair screaming (my neighbors on the third floor probably heard me) “Holy shit he’s back!!!!” Then I sat back down just in time to hear him tell Coulson that having Skye with them poses a great threat.

Episode Three (10.8.13): The Asset. Open on a truck driving down the road. All is normal. Or so it seems… until cars drive past and get blown into the air. Then the truck goes up, and comes back down, seemingly by magic. It comes to be that this truck is transporting Dr. Franklin Hall, and asset of SHIELD, who gets kidnapped by Hall’s former research partner Ian Quinn, and others with him. They are the ones that caused the cars and truck to float in the air, by a gravity device they invented. They use Dr. Hall to help them create a gravity device, called a gravitonium generator, which they plan to use to take over the world’s gravity. The SHIELD team needs to try to get into Quinn’s mansion to try to rescue Hall. Skye volunteers, and all of them are hesitant about this, until she hacks her way through getting an invitation to one of his parties. They set her up with some gadgets and gear that will allow her to help the others get onto the highly secured property. Skye ends up going into the mansion, and near Quinn’s office when she gets caught. She then tricks Hall into believing that she is really working for Rising Tide, even though SHIELD is talking in her ear. Once she gains his trust, she destroys the ear piece, and SHIELD is no longer connected to Skye. It seems that she really has betrayed them. Then, she does the right thing, manages to reset the system to allow Coulson and Ward onto the property to try to rescue Hall. And then in an interesting turn of events, Quinn turns on Skye, and tries to attack him. She finally, finally uses her physical training that she’s been getting from Ward and manages to disarm him. Then she jumps out of a window because she doesn’t have what it takes to pull the trigger. Downstairs, Hall and Coulson are in the midst of a battle, while the gravitonium generator is going all out of whack and causing the gravity in the area to go berserk. As usual, big fight ensues, and SHIELD wins … or so it seems. It turns out Dr Hall is working for the bad guys, and wasn’t truly kidnapped, because he didn’t have a problem with it. Coulson manages to get him sucked into the generator, which seems to shut it down and return the gravity situation back to normal. In the final scene however, the generator is being locked up, in a vault in SHIELD security. And then, a hand reaches out from the generator, but in the same silvery color (honestly, it reminded me of the Silver Surfer). And then the screen goes dark. We may never understand the gravity of this situation. Only time will tell which way things will be pulled. (yeah, that was a terrible pair of puns, forgive me?)

Episode Four (10.15.13): Eye Spy. Yeah, I’m just gonna put this out there… this episode was creepy as hell, but so freaking awesome. Imagine hundreds of men walking in suits, carrying a briefcase which is handcuffed to his hand, and wearing the same mask. Nobody knows who they are, where they’re going, or what the briefcase holds. Some of them board the subway, and then shit goes bad. The lights are knocked out by a girl on the train, and then when they come back on, all of the men are dead, one of them had his hand cut off, and his briefcase is missing. This is just one of numerous thefts that seem to be happening unplanned, and almost impossible to pull off, so SHIELD is brought in to investigate. They learn it is one of Coulson’s protégé Akela Amadour from long ago, seemingly turned to the dark side, all the while she had been presumed dead. Coulson doesn’t think she could turn on SHIELD but May thinks she is just being used as a weapon. May goes to investigate without telling anyone, and finds out she is being controlled by a device in her eye and if she doesn’t follow every command, she is killed. It is so bad, she even has to ask permission just to be able to go to sleep. There is a fight scene between Amadour and May, and Amadour ends up in SHIELD control while her feed is hijacked. Ward and Skye take over control of the feed, and Ward, wearing a pair of glasses that transmits all of the commands that Amadour would normally be receiving, runs through the tasks sent to Amadour. While this is happening, Fitz and Simmons are trying to do surgery to remove the eye from Amadour’s head so she will no longer have to be under their control. The highlight comedy moment of this episode was when Ward walks up to a guard office, and the resulting command is simply “Seduce Him”, proceeded by a commercial break. I absolutely lost it, finding it quite hilarious the idea of Ward seducing another man. Well, he beat the shit out of him instead. At one point during these missions, Ward makes the mistake of letting his reflection be shown in a piece of glass. It is at this point that Fitz and Simmons have to quickly cut the eye out of Amadour’s head and throw it in a bin where it promptly explodes, leaving her with one, robot-free eye. While all of this is going on Coulson is trying to find the individual transmitting the messages. When he finds the man, and reveals himself as SHIELD, the man dies at the hands of a device installed in his eye, with a fail-safe, just like the one in Amadour’s eye. Coulson promises Amadour a fair trial, and she is sent on her way. After this, the team has a little fun. Ward and Fitz are playing poker and Skye is in the other room, planning to use the glasses to help Fitz cheat. She then tells him in order to do this, she would also be seeing him naked. He gives up, and leaves the room. Skye of course uses the glasses anyway, to see Ward without clothes on. And so, they all live to see another day.

I know there is a lot of details left out of this, but I mean come on. It’s an hour long show. If I put in every single detail, I might as well just give you a link and tell you to watch the show yourself. As these episodes are aired almost every week, the next post related to Agents of SHIELD will be near the end of November. Overall, this show goes above and beyond being impressive and I cannot wait to see what is in store, and to see where Skye truly holds her alliance! (I might already know the answer to that, but I’m pretending I haven’t yet seen the fifth episode since that will be included in the second post in a few weeks).