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Archive for April 2013

ImageOver the past year, I’ve heard of this documentary. I’ve heard it called controversial. I even believe it upset people, but not exactly for the right reasons. Personally, I had put off watching it for a very long time, mainly for my own issues of bullying. I, myself, was a victim of it. I’ll tell you my story further down.

The documentary follows different stories of bullying. First, you meet Alex, a boy who is an outcast. He has the stereotypical “nerd” or “geek” look to him. He’s quiet and shy, and in the beginning he just deals with the bullying that is brought upon him. Within the first few minutes of the film, you are thrown into his every day life. When he asks another boy to be his friend, the boy responds with something along the lines of, “I’m not your fucking friend. I’m going to take a knife and cut your face off. You watch, I’m going to bring a knife and kill you.” My mouth dropped. I didn’t know how else to react other than to just be shocked at the response the boy gave to Alex. All Alex did was innocently ask him to be his friend, and to be told such horrible things? Sickening.

You also meet the parents of a boy who killed himself due to bullying, a girl who is in juvenile detention because she brought a gun on a bus due to being bullied so much, a lesbian girl, and finally you meet a husband and wife whose son’s funeral you get to witness. The boy was 11 years old.

It’s a scary, realistic view of what goes on between kids. Riding the bus is not quiet. It’s not full of laughter. Bus drivers see the things that go on behind them on the bus. They hear the language being used. They do not do one damn thing.

I found this movie to be incredibly sad. It brought every emotion that I possibly had to the surface. I found myself yelling at the principal of Alex’s school when she told his parents that, “I rode that bus route before. Those kids were nothing but perfect angels.” Well, of course they are going to be, you dumb fucking cunt. Excuse my language, but that just brings a fire up inside me that just…I just can’t. Nope. Are you kidding me? Is that a joke? Are you FOR REAL?! I honestly suggest, whether or not you’re a parent (but especially if you are one), to see this movie. It will shake you.

So why does this movie make me so fired up? I was a victim of bullying. A lot of it. Being a kid wasn’t easy for me at all. In fact, the only things I can really remember about my childhood are those horrible times. When I look back on when I was a kid, I never enjoyed it. I like being an adult, paying bills and everything, moreover being a kid. I wouldn’t go back to that even if you paid me millions of dollars.

I grew up fat. Just plain fat. Not like, crazy obese like you see with some kids, but just…I was fat, ok? I felt like a lot of the times, instead of getting to know me for me, kids judged me on what I looked like on the outside. I was considered lazy, useless, ugly, etc. Little did most of them know was that I was on a youth soccer team (& was good at it), I played community kids softball, I played outside…a lot. I wasn’t an inactive kid. In fact, I was very active. I just had unfortunate genetics.

I remember playing dodgeball in middle school, and instead of throwing balls at the rest of the kids on my team, the opposing team all threw dodgeballs at me, and me only. I remember a girl, whom I thought was my best friend, tell the whole school that the reason I was fat was because I was pregnant. Hello, I was eleven. I hadn’t even gotten my period yet. In my science class that same year, someone had put blood (or something similar, I really don’t have any idea) on my seat. It was dried, but when I sat down, I didn’t even see it. So, I sat on it, not realizing it until a boy (one of my several bullies), told me to stand up and look at my chair. Sure enough, there was the dried blood. That’s when all the kids in my class started chanting, “Brooke got her period.” I had never felt so humiliated in my entire life. Thankfully, my teacher took it upon herself to “punish” the rest of my class, but I don’t know what giving them extra homework really did to adjust their attitudes. I went home early that day. I remember having a meeting with my mother, the girl who spread the rumor about me being “pregnant”, her mother and the principal. The school did nothing. I remember having a meeting with my parents and the principal on the dried blood incident. They did nothing.

I remember the last time I ever rode the bus. I’d been dealing with being shoved, head slammed into the window and the like, but it came to a head when I was trying to sit in the back of the bus on our way home. I was one of the last few stops, so I wanted to sit in the back and read my book. This boy stopped me saying that I wasn’t “cool” enough to sit in the back of the bus. I told him that I could do whatever I wanted to. His response? Lifting himself up on the back of the bus seats and kicking me so hard in the chest that I fell backwards, smacking my head on the bus’ floor. I told the bus driver. He told me to “shut the hell up” and sit down.

My mom spoke with the principal and the bus driver on the incident. They did nothing.

I remember sledding one day with my friend Cathy in upstate New York. Her family were watching me while my parents were in Italy. A boy that had been bullying me wouldn’t leave me alone, calling me a fat ass, ugly, and the like. He punched me. I had finally had enough, reeled back, and punched him so hard in the face, that he fell backwards. His mouth was bleeding. He told me that I was “dead.” We left the sledding area, needless to say.

I remember a boy (mind you, I had ONLY boy bullies, minus the girl that spread that rumor) poking me, pushing me, calling my names messing with me one day at school. I’d never even spoken to him before, but for some reason, I was his target. It was hat day at school. I was living in Davenport, IA at the time. He kept flipping off my hat and shoving me. When I got to my science class, I had finally had enough. He flipped my hat off and then him and his friend squished my desk together so hard to hold me in. He was behind me. I took my mechanical pencil and scraped him along his stomach. The principal tried to pin it all on me, tried to suspend me. I called it self defense. The science teacher, who was in the class at the time this was happening, did absolutely nothing. He told the boy, “She told you to stop.” And that was that.

Being violent back to these kids was never the solution. However, I can sympathize with those that do act out violently against their bullies, only because when you are pushed so hard, beaten down so much, sometimes you can’t do anything else other than react. I honestly don’t remember hitting the kid with my mechanical pencil. Nor do I overly remember punching the kid in the face. I honestly think that I just blacked out. Anger took over so much that my body just shut down and reacted out of instinct.

By the time I got to high school, I had absolutely NO self esteem. By my sophomore year, the only happiness I felt was by cutting myself with razors. It let the pain out. I didn’t do it for attention. I didn’t want anyone to see it. So, I wore long sleeves…all the time. I remember sitting in French. We were given scissors to work on a project. I kept mine hidden when the teacher came to pick them up. She had then put on a video for us to all watch. I just sat there, scissors open, cutting myself in the middle of class. I didn’t know how to handle emotions anymore, and I just didn’t want to deal with life as it was.

So, I planned my funeral. I sat in my room one night and wrote out a list of all the items I owned and then assigned them to the friends that I did have to have when I died. My stereo and cd collection would go to Sarah, my clothes to the Salvation Army, this to that person, that to this person…etc. I wrote out a letter to my parents assuring them that they would be better off without a daughter who couldn’t really live. Who couldn’t enjoy anything. I wrote out options. Pills, hang….we didn’t own a gun, so that was out. I was truly a shell of a human being. I put it all under my bed, went to sleep, and then went to school the next morning. That night I was going to do it.

Fortunately, my mom was cleaning the house and made her way to my room to vacuum and straighten up. She had found everything. I came home and both my parents were home waiting for me to talk. My mom was crying, my dad could barely look at me.

Over time, I got help. I saw a therapist and took medication. Nowadays, I am a much happier person. There are times where things are still hard. When I have my lows, boy….I have my lows. It’s hard to not internalize my feelings, but I force myself to talk to people so I don’t let it build. I don’t take medication anymore, and haven’t since my sophmore year in college. I am thankful for my mom, my dad…most of all, my husband. The friends I have now….all of these people have saved me, whether they know it or not. They help me remember that life is worth being here for.

So, if someone you know is being bullied, please see the following link for help:

http://www.stompoutbullying.org/livechat_portal.php

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from self-harm and depression, you can find help here:

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you are a friend of someone who is being bullied, or is suffering from depression/self-harm, be the voice that they need. HELP THEM. They will appreciate it in the end. We don’t need anymore kids dying from this….

It's A Funny World...

I had to update to send my condolences to Boston in light of the recent events that took place earlier today. Boston has been one of my all time favorite places to visit, and it makes me so sad that this has happened. I know that, in the world we live in, it was only a matter of time before another tragedy struck. I hate saying that so, so much…but we cannot be naive to the society & world in which we reside.

In times like these, I wish all the Superheroes that were ever created were on this earth. We already have the villains. I wish there were more heroes. The police, fire fighters, strangers and medical personnel that responded so quickly to the event are those superheroes.

But to the person, or people, that caused that event. You are a coward. To use your bombs and to hide away and hurt these people….to murder the ones who did die. You are a sick individual (or individuals). You deserve every bit of karma coming your way.

Please, keep Boston and the people who live there, were harmed, or killed, in your thoughts. For tonight, they all need a hero.

“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred Pennyworth

Since I beat Bioshock Infinite, I’ve been going through the stages one goes through when they finish an amazing, breathtaking, beautiful, organic and thought-provoking game. It’s much like what one goes through when they’re done reading a book that they’re very much into. First you have the joy of knowing the ending. Then complete and utter sadness. Depression, maybe? Then you just…are. 

I’m very much happy with the ending of Bioshock Infinite. I’m not going to give anything away if you haven’t finished, but all I’m going to say is is that it’s brilliant. Now, I’ve played games before that have really made me think (Assassin’s Creed, for example), but never as much as Bioshock Infinite has. Michael and I laid in bed the following morning talking about “doors”, parallel universes and String Theory for a good two hours last Saturday morning. 

Anyways, so I’m not all sure what to do now. Right now I feel like video games are at a lull. Nothing is really out that I want to play. I rented Final Fantasy XII-2 a few weeks ago, but I feel like doing a review on that is several months too late. Let’s just say it was fun. I paid actual attention this time on how to use Paradims which helped me on my quest to awesome. Also, thanks to my husband (Michael) for also teaching me. He’s quite the Final Fantasy fan…or was at one time. It was fun to pass the time. 

I’ve been putting off playing my Assassin’s Creed DLC for the Tyranny of Washington. Are all three even out now? I’m only 1/2 done with episode one. Ugh. I fail. I stopped playing the first DLC only because of some fucking glitch that would make my game freeze up, and all gamers know that that is one of the most annoying things on the planet. Right there next to lagging, no internet connection and annoying 12-year-olds screaming filthy things no 12-year-old should even be saying.

On the bright side, they’re releasing a new Batman game that will be coming out this October. It’s not being put out by Rocksteady, but people who’ve worked on the previous two Batman games are on the project. AND, Rocksteady has also given them full permission to use the same software. So far they’re going with the name Batman: Origins (the last I heard), but it’s not going to be an origin game per say. As a huge fan of Batman (and the last two Batman games – Arkham City in particular), I’m super psyched about hearing this. I hope our GameInformer magazine gets here soon! It’s supposed to have Batman on the cover with more details on the upcoming title.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching The Buried Life on Netflix. I loved the show the first time the seasons aired, so since it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, I wanted to watch it all over again. Duncan, Ben, Jonnie and Dave are the four most amazing dudes I think I’ve ever seen on tv (or read about). They’re always so kind to those they came in contact with on their show. They really do inspire you to be a better person, and the show is a reminder to just live your life. Don’t let things just be, you know? Even by that simple question, “What do you want to do before you die?”, it just…wakes you up. 

What’s something I want to do before I die? Meet the brother I never knew I had until December 2012. I’m adopted, and for a good 29 years of my life, I never knew that there was another sibling from my birth mother that was given up for adoption. I had even met my birth mother when I was 19, and she never told me. A year ago, I was just curious again to find her (we had lost touch), so I scoured the Internet to see what was up. I came across her obituary. She died three days before my husband and I got married. Of lung cancer. Thankfully, the obituary had the name of my biological half-sister. So, thanks to Facebook, I was able to find her and talk with her. She was able to answer a LOT of questions that I didn’t have a chance to ask my birth mother. Then she told me I had a brother. I was shocked. So, my birth mother had me first & gave me up for adoption. Had another girl and kept her, then the brother, then Holli (the sister I talk to). I’ve seen one picture of him…on Myspace. He has a Facebook, but I haven’t had the courage to write to him. 

 

…I don’t even know where to begin with that…

I remember being about 5 or 6 years old when my brother got a Nintendo for Christmas. At the time I didn’t know what magic wonder it held, but I was jealous nonetheless of his new toy. He was 17. Yes, my brother is about 12 years older than I am, but that’s not the point. This is about games/gaming, not him or age difference. Anyways, I remember sitting on his bed while I watched him play Mario. I was enthralled with the graphics that danced across the screen. I’d never seen anything like it before, and I wanted to play it so badly. I was never introduced to other gaming systems prior to Nintendo (i.e. Atari) since my parents are from a much older generation (okay, not MUCH, but they were born in the early-to-mid 1940’s). As a very young child, my time wasn’t overly spent indoors watching tv like kids do today. My time was spent outside running around between the hours of 3:30 and dinnertime.

But there I was, staring at this side-scrolling wonder. Coins? YOU CAN COLLECT COINS? Even as a small child I knew that money was a good thing, so why not think it was amazing that you had to collect them in a game?

ImageHowever, I wasn’t allowed to play. Not because of may parents. Of course not! It was because of my brother. What brother and sister didn’t fight? Even with our age difference we did. But that day of glory finally came. Bret had joined the United States Army, and before he left for boot camp, he gave me his Nintendo since he couldn’t take it with him. It was the day that changed my life forever.

I remember playing Super Mario Bros. until if felt like my fingers were bleeding. I was obsessed. No worries, though. I still played outside. I was thankful to have parents who taught me how to have equal balance between going outside and playing, having time to play my game, and living a normal kid-life. Over time, I built my Nintendo collection. I wish I had never given away my original Nintendo. It probably wouldn’t work nowadays, but still. It’s a trophy on its own. A machine that didn’t have save points, memory cards, or the like. If it was dinner time, you kept that thing on pause until you could come back to play it again. Thank goodness we’ve evolved.

I remember getting a game that I would’ve killed for. You’re going to laugh, but it was based on a movie I was obsessed with. I think you’ll remember it. “The Little Mermaid.” Yes, they made a game for the Nintendo that was based on the animated classic that we all know and love (and by the way, I’m still in love with that movie and forever will be).

I played this game over and over again. I was determined to beat this game, having it be the first game I’d ever beat. I would have it on pause with the tv off in our guest

Imagebedroom while I was at school so that I could come home and pick up where I left off. It took me weeks (after dying and having to re-start, etc), but I had finally beat the evil Ursula (the final boss) at the end. It was a huge victory for me. I, a girl, had beaten a video game. Sure, go ahead and laugh, but being young and video games being more of a guy thing, it was a huge deal to me. While my girl friends played Barbies, dress up and played with makeup (I did those as well, but still), I played video games, watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and played with my She-Ra and He-Man action figures.

Fast forward a few years, and we’d find myself with an old Nintendo and a Sega Genesis. I loved the Sega. The graphics looked so much better than the Nintendo. More colorful. And the games were certainly fun in their own right. I’m a Disney girl, so other than Sonic, I had a slue of Disney games (The Lion King, Aladdin, etc).

Image “The Lion King” game was immersive and great fun. You played as Simba, following the story of the movie. You start as a cub, getting into trouble with the Hyenas at the boneyard, having to flee with Nala to save yourself. Soon, you found yourself running from the Wildebeast heard, only to watch your dad be killed by your evil uncle. When he blames you, you run away, eventually to find your companions Timone & Pumbaa. Like I said, this game followed the storyline of the movie to a T, with only a few extras here and there for gameplay reasons. It took me a while, but I eventually beat the game. Again, it was a huge victory. Any gamer I hope would agree that, no matter how trivial, winning/beating a game feels like a huge accomplishment.

Games have come a long way. Nowadays, motion capture is used to capture real human movement and facial expressions. You feel like you could touch your tv screen at times and actually feel them. It’s truly amazing what gaming companies have done with the advancements in technology.

So, tell me. What was the first game you ever beat? What are some old school games that you still love or even play? Are there games you wish you still had lying about to go back to?

I’ve never been the biggest military-based video game fan, but after playing Battlefield 3 a long while back, I’ve started to like it more and more. I’ve played Call of Duty, but personally, I think the storylines sucked. I believe that CoD was more about multiplayer gameplay more than story.

Battlefield 4 looks realistically intense, immersing you into fighting situations that feel so real that it’s scary. But, fuck, it looks amazingly fun.

In the video posted, the makers of Battlefield 4 have given us, the players, a chance to watch 17 minutes of gameplay. Thanks, guys! It doesn’t give any of the story away, thankfully, but it gets you reeled in enough to make me want to pick up my controller and shoot at stuff. My palms were tingling watching the gameplay, especially the part where they’re in the elevator and an enemy helicopter comes in and shoots them down. INTENSE!!!

If you’re a fan of FPS’s (first person shooters), anything military, or just like to shoot at things, then this game looks like it’s going to be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to the main story, especially after watching this video. So, check it out. Tell me what you think. What game are you most excited about releasing soon?


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