Passion

Passion. Passion is something in life that I have found fleeting. I know I have passion for hockey. I love to watch it, I love to write about it, and I love to play it. When I play hockey, my mind shuts off, and I mercifully don’t over think anything. In my every day normal life, I over think everything to the point of exhaustion. In hockey? I don’t care what happens. I can call somebody the worst things in the world and I don’t blink an eye, because I know what happens on the ice stays on the ice. It’s a universal agreement, and my group of hockey buddies follow it to the tee. I have said some of the meanest shit in hockey over the most trivial things, and it’s glorious. To me, hockey is very relaxing and something I sorely need.

In real life? If I make a joke, I’ll think it over and wonder if it offended anyone, even if they laughed, and then stress about it for a long time. It’s stupid, but that is just how I’m wired. I constantly worry about things on other peoples behalf even though half of the time they probably never gave it a second thought.

However, hockey has its limitations. If hockey shuts my brain off, writing and doing creative projects wakes my brain up and puts it into overdrive. And I don’t just mean I am excited about doing projects, I mean my brain is ready to go as long as it takes. Have to stay up all night just to get one tiny thing right in my project? Not a problem. Have to travel several hours to get a final component for something? Let’s do it. Need to write at the expense of sleep? That’s merely a given. Doing creative stuff is the only time I feel alive, that I feel like my brain is firing on all cylinders and I will stop at nothing until I finish my vision.

My real job? My real work? It feels like you’ve asked me to walk on broken glass with no shoes if you need me to do anything there (you pictured Bruce Willis in Die Hard right there, didn’t you?. Don’t get me wrong, I get my work done, and I work hard, it’s just my brain goes into a coma, and inside I am screaming, slowly dying inside as I look at spreadsheet after spreadsheet. The movie Office Space is universally accepted because anyone who has worked an office knows exactly what that movie is talking about.

This is why I will end up doing something like I did tonight. I made an entrance in WWE 2K14 for two local wrestlers (they didn’t ask for it, I just wanted to do it and thought they might get a kick out of it) because it was something that I wanted to see if I could do. I spent hours scouring the internet, trying to find pictures of them in their wrestling gear, so I could make sure the details were correct. I then spent hours making the wrestlers, making sure I got the gear created accurately. Then I recorded video of them, and made an entrance and entrance video for them.

When people see something like this, a typical comment is “You must have a lot of time on your hands” and I always wonder if this is an insult or just random small talk. Either way, it’s not that I have a ton of time on my hands, I just forgo sleep because my brain is asleep at work most of the time. When I am doing a project like this, even something small and for no financial gain, I just feel so alive, which makes it worth the lack of sleep. My mind races with all of the possibilities as I try and see if I can create the vision I have in my head. It’s so much fun for me.

This is why when I find other creative people and see them going all out for their passion, I love it. I live vicariously through them, watching them chase something they love, doing something they have a passion for. That is how I became a fan of the local wrestling promotion, ECCW. It’s full of a bunch of people just doing shit they love, most of them knowing they won’t be making a ton of money out of it, but doing it anyways.

Believe me, I know all about balancing responsibilities, and how you can’t chase your dreams forever. Life throws things at you that sometimes put those on the back burner or make it hard to do. It is why I have two jobs while I chase that writing dream, because I have to be financially responsible.

But even the small things that get your juices flowing? That shit is amazing. This might sound stupid, this might sound dumb, but don’t ever let people shit over the things you like. People will do this all the time because they are either unhappy themselves, or they don’t understand it, or they hate the idea of someone doing something that has very little upside to it except for the fact it makes you happy. Ignore those people, and always remember to put aside a bit of time for things you love.

Otherwise, life is just so mundane.

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Thoughts on EA’s NHL future

So today the news we were all kind of expecting was released.

EANHL

Let’s bullet point form the shit out of why this sucks:

– This information was released super close to release of the game. I understand the business reason for this (gotta get those pre-orders) but from a “being nice to your consumer” side of things, it down right sucks balls. People pre-ordered the game already, and people also bought next gen consoles in anticipation of the game to play certain game modes. To hem and haw the release of this information to less than a month before the game is released, again, sucks balls.

– HUT will never die. That is the money maker, the mode that has micro transactions written all over it. To be fair, that might be their most popular mode, so they are doing the right thing money wise by making that their main priority, but it still sucks that there was no room for the people who enjoyed the other modes of the game that don’t require us to buy “Gold packs” or “Diamond Encrusted Pumpkin Pie Packs” so we can field a competitive team. Plus not everyone enjoys hockeys version of E-Bay.

– Waiting two years for the next gen hockey (and I applauded EA for not pushing out a shitty next gen version of their game, go and play Madden on Xbox One, it’s no different from the 360 version) makes it harder to take that they didn’t have time to get all the game modes in. Again, none of us see what goes on behind the scenes, but it’s still frustrating to have that much time pass and two game modes get the axe. It’s weird to see a next gen game make the leap with a ton fewer features. That is something that shouldn’t happen anymore, especially when you’re asking people to shell out $400 for a console.

EANHL2

– Hrm, GM Connected’s future is missing….

EANHL3

– Ah, and there it is. EA lost faith in the GM Connected Mode. It might never be in a game again past the 360 version of ’15.

Sure, yes, I agree, the philosophy they present is sound at first glance. If many people are not playing a game mode, then why not axe it in favor of using those resources to make other parts of the game better?

Here is my beef with that. We will never have any tangible proof they will use GM Connected resources to make things better. For all we know those resources will be spent on bringing NHL 95 mode to NHL 16, or some other random side project that doesn’t have any potential.

Seriously, how many of you played NHL ’94 mode after trying a game or two? It’s like watching an old TV show you loved as a kid. You have great memories of it, but when you watch it as an adult, you wonder what crack you were smoking to ever have enjoyed it. Hockey has improved by leaps and bounds to the point where old hockey games have to remain in the past where they belong. I thought Mr T. was the biggest bad ass I had ever seen as a child, but when I watch him now, I just shake my head.

NHL games should be about providing the best, most diverse experience possible. Which should include having multiple game mode options.

Without game modes, your game will end up on a gamers dusty shelf sooner rather than later. Case in point, the new UFC game. I bought it because it looks pretty, but it has no depth to it, the game is shallow. It’s like I paid for a high priced hooker for a week, but now she moved in and I have no idea how to get her out of my house, and I just kind of want my money back.

Secondly, they admit GM Connected was a highly requested mode. They present it as a situation where people thought they wanted it, played it, then realized it wasn’t for them. I don’t think we can reach that conclusion that quickly.

For one, they made minimal, and I mean minimal at best, improvements to GM Connected Mode. It never really improved to make it a streamlined experience. If it wasn’t the computer dumping half your players on waivers, if it wasn’t players straight up disappearing from your league (RIP Jamie McBain), it was the god damn menus in NHL 13 taking 10 minutes just to cycle through each one once. Seriously the menus were pure trash, it would take me 45 minutes just to put through trades in NHL 13.

Is it not possible that the mode was not streamlined enough to make it a pleasing experience that people just up and quit using it? Can you blame people for not wanting to play a mode in which you spent more time in the menus then the games? Sure, they made the menus somewhat faster in future versions of the game, but then there was the complete lack of functionality for the  “commisioner” role. You basically had the option to change how overtime worked, and allow trades. That was about the extent of your power. You couldn’t set universal league settings, you couldn’t access any other teams rosters to fix problems, you couldn’t turn injuries off or on. Our first off-season in NHL 13 was a gong show because the salary cap wasn’t explained at all and we had no idea how to calculate our team spending. It was hard to work through.

Basically you had to be a super hardcore fan of the mode to put up with its flaws, which is why I am very curious how well it would do if it got the support other modes received.

Also, the injury algorithm EA used was garbage. I know they have defended it, and they have told me to my face that their injury algorithm was fine, but if you had injuries on and simmed games, you would have at least one, if not three, top stars out for 30 games by week two. Again, this was another frustrating part of this mode, because playing with a team you put together through trades and signings, only to end up with Jesse Joensu on your top line for half the season, is a sad sad time.

So again, I know they can focus on HUT and in the future EASHL. I understand the idea of going the easy route and utilizing the modes that make money. Hey, at the end of the day, big business likes its money, and we GM Connected guys could be a super small minority so fuck us. But I would hope, in the spirit of trying to make the most in depth and deep game of hockey they can possibly make, that the EA NHL team does not remove this mode from NHL 16. Try and put some resources into it, let it realize its full potential. People wanted this mode in 2013, the demand was there. At least give it one more shot, fixing all of the problems you have seen that can occur from a GM Connected Mode, and put it back in the game for NHL 16, and see what a fully fleshed out GM Connected Mode can do.

Remember you guys excitedly talking about how people could make trades on their phone while in a business meeting? I do. That excitement is still there. This mode has brought strangers together and made friends out of us. Help foster good communities and new friendships by making the best damn Connected Mode you can make. Make the best damn of hockey you can make, don’t just try and stick to the same old same old. Dream big and go for it.

God damn it.

 

ALS donations

I have never started a charity or gathered money for one in my life. I have donated money, but I’ve never been the one to be a driving force behind a charity, I just kind of fell into the bystander effect of letting everyone else raise money for causes.

However, one of my good friends recently started a charity to raise money for ALS, and I want to help out in any way I can. I want to give back to the world I live in instead of being a bystander.

So here is the run down. I run a video game hockey league on the Xbox that started back in 2012. It initially just started out as a fun way to play hockey with some random dudes online. It has since evolved into a brotherhood of sorts, where I consider the guys in this league my friends. It has now become much more than just a video game league to me, as we hang out offline, crash at each other’s houses, and play real hockey together.

This is why when Justen (my co-commish of the league) heard that one of our members, Ryan, had lost his father to ALS, he realized that it would be a great place to start in trying to give back to the world. It is a great way to honor the memory of one of my LOB brothers father, and it will hopefully help, in any small way, future people who have their lives touched by ALS.

There are tons of reasons to not give money, all of them valid. You give to other charities, you don’t believe the money goes to the right places, you can’t afford it, etc etc. I completely understand and respect that.

If, however, you have even a couple of dollars lying around, and want to help out, it would be much appreciated. I would love to think I had some non monetary way to thank you for any donations (I can tweet a picture of me giving you a thumbs up? I’ll do a custom photoshop of you riding a unicorn??), but if there is any way you could donate even a small amount of money to this cause, it would honestly be truly appreciated by me and my LOB brothers. We have a small goal of $500 and are already at $150, so if we can manage to even raise $500, that would be pretty awesome.

Either way, thank you for reading, and again, any donations you can give, that would be tremendous.

Go to http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/lobnhl-cares-/217743 if you want to donate!

-Wyatt (El Stancho)

Smiles are free

Sometimes it takes a situation in the spotlight to make people re-evaluate their lives. Bad things happen all over the world, and many times people will soldier on through them, putting on a brave face at all costs. When something bad happens to a famous celebrity, however, it’s almost a shock to the system for many people.

Maybe it’s because there is the instinct to believe famous people should have endless money and friends at their disposal, allowing them to battle any problems they might have. Maybe it’s because famous people have such a large audience that when something bad happens to them, you get to see the reactions from so many more people, thus giving their situation more weight. Whatever the reason, many times when a celebrity dies due to anything that isn’t a natural cause, it makes people pause and reflect upon their own life.

Robin Williams is a perfect example of a celebrity death shining a light on a big problem in life, that of depression. It’s made even more shocking because Robin Williams was a comedian, someone naturally gifted at making people laugh, someone surrounded by comedy. It almost doesn’t make sense that he would kill himself. If one knew nothing about the silent nature of depression, it would seem impossible to understand how he could suffer from depression. “He’s so funny on TV! He’s always laughing! People love him!”

When someone like Kurt Cobain died, people would lament it, but the pieces sort of fit from a superficial point of view. “The grunge musician who seemed like a tortured soul, killed himself? Yeah, I can see that.” It was easier to look at that from afar and move on from it, without looking at the root cause of it. With Williams, though, it shines the light on how depression can affect anyone.

I myself reflected on my life when I heard the news. I’ve had my battles with depression in the past, and I tried to put myself in his shoes. I wondered if his ability to be so funny was a blessing and a curse for him. I am not trying to put myself anywhere near his comedic talents, but as someone who tries their best to be witty and entertaining at all times on twitter, and in real life, sometimes there is almost a self expectation put upon myself that I need to be “on” at all times. That if I’m not being funny, then people won’t want anything to do with me. That is why I started this “Stanchion thoughts” blogs because it helps me get my real feelings out instead of bottling myself up all the time.

My “witty” nature sometimes feels like an anchor. It is however an anchor I would never get rid of. I love making people laugh, I love entertaining people, and almost all of my self esteem comes from that. However, it leaves me feeling like I can never take time off and just be sad around other people if I’m having a rough go of things. I hide my sadness from everyone because I don’t want to burden them, and because quite honestly, I don’t think anybody would want anything else from me but me being entertaining. “Yeah yeah, that’s sad, but dance for me clown, make me laugh!”. I have no way of knowing, but I honestly wonder if Williams viewed himself in the same way. Having this insane ability to make people laugh, loving to make people laugh, but then having no way of making yourself smile, wondering why you’re so sad.

So despite how low I would get through the years, I would always suck it up. “I’m sad, but I mean, how sad is sad? Other people have it worse, so I should be able to get through this” I said to myself often. Even during the darkest point of my life, where I was no longer even able to eat for a month due to anxiety attacks (if I tried eating anything remotely solid I would choke on it, it was horrible and awful and I honestly didn’t even realize at the time it was because I was depressed and anxious. The only thing I could eat? Bananas. Sweet sweet bananas.) I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through, because it would have almost been like admitting I was flawed, which would have made things even worse somehow, or so my inner minds logic informed me. Sometimes the things we do to avoid confronting our own issues lead us down the darkest paths.

It took me a long time, and I am still not happy, but I am not at the deep end of the depression pool anymore. I still have a shoddy support system in place, but at least I’ve gotten to the point of letting some of my thoughts and emotions out. Just talking to people about my issues, even lightly, and them not laughing at me or mocking me for them, has allowed me the strength to try and face my demons and become a stronger person. (If I went back in time three years and told myself I would be writing this blog, past Wyatt would have laughed at first, then panicked and tried to break my hands so I could never write again.)

Many people will have their own stories to share over the next couple of days. Some people will have far darker battles and stories. Some people will have lighter ones. Some people will lie and use “depression” stories simply to get attention. It doesn’t matter in the end what stories people tell, as long as they are talking. It’s good to bring depression into the spotlight whenever possible, regardless of why.

As with all things in life, though, time moves on and most people will take their reflections and forget all about them. It’s easy to hashtag #letstalk and go about your week, falling into old routines. One day you’re saying #letstalk , the next day you’re tweeting about what a fucking dumb ass this customer who walked into your store is.

That’s why the one thing I hope people do take from Robin Williams death, and actually take to heart, is that depression, self esteem, self worth, it’s such a rocky road for people. There might never have been a a worse time than the present day for people with these issues due to the keyboard warrior world we live in. A quick look at any comment section reveals pretty quickly how mean spirited some people can be,  and many times for no other reason than the fact they themselves are unhappy and feel the need to lash out at everyone around them.

In the olden days, someone would have had to have sent a carrier pigeon to someone’s house to let them know you disliked their article pinned to the community message board, and it would have taken weeks. Hell, the pigeon might get eaten by a wolf and the person might never see it.  Today? You can click a button and let 50 different people know how awful you think they are and that they are just the worst bag of dicks you’ve ever seen, in mere minutes. It’s never been easier to be mean then it is now. People who are unhappy tend to live in a world of negativity and like nothing more to bring others into it.

It blows me away sometimes the effort people will go to just to let someone know how little they value them, in an attempt to lower that persons self worth. It’s one thing to bitch aloud to your friends and online about shit (we all do it), but it’s another level to hunt that person down online so they can directly know that you think they should somehow feel bad about themselves. “THE ROCK MUST KNOW THAT I THINK HE’S A FUCKING AWFUL ACTOR, I MUST TWEET THIS AT HIM, YOU GOD DAMN SON OF A BITCH.” What the fuck guys? Why do this?

Sadly, many good people get caught up in this and it can affect them terribly. Whether it’s them being the victim of the negativity, or whether it’s because they get sucked into the negativity themselves (it’s so so SO easy to be around a negative person and not even realize they’ve affected your outlook on the world to be as negative as theirs), negativity, well, sucks.

You probably have several people you know that are really negative people, that attack people around them, and make the world a generally worse place to live in. It’s awful to see how bad people can treat people purely because they have anonymity behind them, or because they have the distance of the internet between them and the target of their anger. It’s on these days that you can easily lose faith in humanity.

The one thing you can do, however, is try and be nice, once a day. Just try and leave a nice comment for someone, or try and pull back on a negative comment. Just once a day. Even if you think it’s a stupid, shallow comment, sometimes a nice comment can go a long way for people. For some reason people find it really easy to leave a negative comment, but not a nice one.

“That waiter was awful, I’m going to complain to the manager!” is said far more times than “That waiter was amazing, I’m going to talk to the manager!”.

Will saying a nice thing here or there solve major problems? Of course not, I’m not naive enough to believe that. Depression is too complicated to boil down to it being caused by reading negative comments online. But creating a more positive environment is such a healthier option than getting lost in a negative one and can sometimes be the bridge people need to open up and try and tackle their depression. People still need a support system, people still need friends, family, inner strength, drugs, and many other things to battle inner demons. It just wouldn’t hurt to try being nice when you can. It makes the world a better place.

I tell myself this every day, because I used to be a negative person who hated all the happy people around me. I hated everyone around me for being so happy, and most of all, I hated myself for being unworthy of being happy. As a result, I lashed out like crazy in my head, coming up with so many negative things to say about people. It only seemed fair to trash other people in my head if I was spending the rest of the time attacking myself. This sadly made me a very miserable person.

It took me a while, but I eventually learned to move myself into a positive frame of mind, because being negative is so tiring and draining. It really does take a lot of effort to be willfully negative at all times.

It’s still a work in progress. I still have days where I just want to rip people to shreds over stuff. At least nowadays I am only thinking negative things about people who deserve it, but even then, I always tell myself to be strong, and that maybe that person just had a bad day, week, month, life and me being strong in the face of their negativity will be the right thing to do. This flirts dangerously close with me bottling everything up inside and “sucking it up” but my support system has gotten good enough that I at least have an outlet for my emotions.

So yeah. This has officially entered rambling time, and god knows who even listens/reads this and takes anything away from it, but my optimistic hope is that people try and be a bit nicer to each other, whether in real life or online.