People who can't commit to a 30-minute game

This blog post is going to be about video games, so buckle up.

I've been playing League of Legends lately, so I'm starting to get a little insight into #gamerprobz. Now, before I say anything, please note that I am neither good at nor very knowledgeable about gaming in general or League of Legends specifically.

If you don't know anything about League of Legends, here is all you need to know for the purposes of this post. Games can last anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour, but the average seems to be around 30-45 minutes. That, however, is only the game itself. It can also take five minutes or so to set up your team and load into the game.

Furthermore, the team aspect is very important. There are a few different game styles, but the most popular one is a 10-player game, with two teams of five. Your team is very much counting on you and when a team is down a player, it becomes significantly more difficult for that team to win. 

So basically, unless you have an hour or so to commit, you shouldn't be starting a game of League of Legends, because if you back out before the game is over, you greatly hurt your team's chances of winning.

So, in League, you can chat with the other players inside the game. Every once in a while, someone will chat, "BRB," go back to base and go AWOL for a few minutes. This is pretty rude, because any sort of absence can put your lane or your whole team behind. But even better, sometimes people will share the reason they need to be gone, and goodness gracious, people leave for the dumbest reasons!

Let's look at a few of them.

Last night, in a game Matt was playing, someone said, "BRB, I have to go take my medication." Okay. Obviously, if there's some sort of medical emergency, like my friend whose fiancee had to quit a game because of kidney stones, that's fine, and people will be perfectly reasonable about it. But if it's a normal, routine medicine, either take it before or after the game or, if it needs to be taken right on time, check the clock and don't start a game that you might still be in when it becomes time to take your medicine!

Parents are another frequent reason for people quitting. As with most video games, a lot of people who play this game are pretty young and therefore live with their parents. Sometimes they have to quit because their mom is calling them for dinner. Obviously, the solution to this is to check with her beforehand to see when dinner is going to be, then not start a game within an hour of that time.

A friend of mine played with someone whose dad came into his room during the game and unplugged his computer. I would assume the kid wasn't supposed to be playing, because most reasonable parents don't shut down their children's computers with zero warning. So the solution here is to not play a game when you've been explicitly told not to by the person or people in charge of you.

I also heard from some friends who played with people who left for slightly more legitimate reasons, among them house fires and attacking pets. Of course, they could have been making it up or exaggerating, but I almost feel like this is a situation where that's a little better than the truth.

The moral of the story is this: Don't start a cooperative team game if you can't dedicate the necessary amount of time to it. It's rude, and everyone hates you.


You have too much time on your hands.

I vote that the phrase, "you have too much time on your hands," should be done away with. Not banned, obviously, but let's collectively decide to ostracize people who say it, just because it is so obviously rude.

"You have too much time on your hands" is a very specific insult veiled as a humorous throwaway. It is something I've heard many times throughout my life, sometimes in response to things I actually did spend a lot of time on and care a lot about -- like this blog -- and sometimes in response to things I spent a relatively small amount of time on, but still enjoyed -- like a tiny puzzle I once made.

My friend Grant got a negative response from an awesome picture he drew on Snapchat yesterday and, upon my request, shared how he felt about it: 

When someone replied to a fun little Snapchat drawing I made with the phrase, "You have too much time on your hands," I felt offended. I am not easily offended.

It's funny because I tend to hear this in response to things that actually took very little time. This leads me to believe that these people might be jealous that I was able to produce something fun, exciting or otherwise interesting in such a short amount of time and that such a feat would have required much more effort and time on their part.

Was, "That looks awesome!" really too nice to say? Did you have to imply that I was only capable of making something cool because I don't have anything better to do or somehow have seemingly endless amounts of time? Furthermore, do you really believe that the apex of my day is drawing a stupid little cartoon in Snapchat? Is it unfathomable that although there are many other time-consuming things I could be doing, I chose to spend a few minutes making this drawing in order to achieve some sort of catharsis?

Amen, Grant. First and foremost, how I choose to spend my time has nothing to do with you. You don't know how long something took me to do, you don't know what I gave up in order to do it, and you definitely don't know how busy my life is in general.

"You have too much time on your hands" is a sneaky little way to take someone down a few pegs. I find it's often said because someone either doesn't like or doesn't understand the thing you're doing, and therefore can't understand your desire to spend time on it. Just because you would rather spend your spare time doing thing A doesn't mean someone is wasting time doing thing B. As long as the person is upholding all of their responsibilities (job, schoolwork, family, etc.), their downtime shouldn't really be of any concern to anyone else.

Here's the thing, and this is a guiding principle in my life: Everyone makes time for what they want to make time for. So if Grant wants to spend less than five minutes drawing a picture to send out to a bunch of his friends to make them smile, that's fine. Maybe he gave up five minutes of reading time, or maybe he drew the picture while waiting for water to boil. It doesn't matter, because as long as he fit it into his schedule, it doesn't affect you.

If I want to spend an hour and a half every night trying to get a little better at League of Legends, and you would rather watch reruns of CSI: Miami, that's fine. We're both doing things we want to do in the spare time we have. If I want to write a blog about people I hate and you think I'm devoting way too much time to it, it doesn't matter. It's my time I'm spending on it, not yours. That doesn't mean I have "too much time" on my hands. It means I've decided to spend my time on something you wouldn't spend your time on.

Now, just because you wouldn't give up five minutes of your time to draw that Snapchat picture or an hour and a half of your evening to play a video game doesn't mean you're any more busy than Grant or me. It just means you have different priorities. And that's totally okay. That's how life works.

But don't insult someone by implying that they have no responsibilities or that they're not as busy as you. You have no idea, and also, it's not a competition. 


Polyester is like, crazy toxic.

While I was working at Old Navy today, a young woman came up to me and told me she had a question. I asked what I could help her with and she answered, "You guys used to have like, 100 percent cotton everything, but now you use a ton of polyester in stuff."

Okay, so there's not a question anywhere in there. I nodded and waited for her to continue, but she was done. 

"So how can I help you then?"

"Well like, that sucks."

As politely as I could, I responded, "I'm really sorry about that."

"Uh, yeah, it sucks cuz polyester is like, crazy toxic."

Again, not really much I can say here, right? I answered, "Again, I'm sorry about that."

She finally got around to her question when she asked, "So like, do you know if you have anything that's 100 percent cotton?"

Unfortunately, we don't have our clothes organized by their material makeup, so I answered, "I honestly have no idea, I guess you would just have to look at the tags to see."

She sighed heavily and answered, "Well you need to tell them how much this sucks, because I can't shop here anymore if everything has polyester in it."

I responded with the only rational thing I knew to say to that: "You can feel free to write a letter to corporate, but we have no control over that whatsoever."

So what did we learn today, kids? 

1. Polyester is toxic, so we're apparently all going to die soon from all these clothes we've been wearing.
2. Retail employees have a direct pipeline to corporate, so feel free to complain to them about things they have no control over.

... Yeah, that sounds about right.


Kevin Skaggs guest blogs: Bathroom creep

So, Mary Jane and I went to the movies Thanksgiving night, as is our tradition (usually with Kristin and Matt, but whatever). After the movie, we each went separately to the restroom.

In the bathroom, there were two urinals. The one on the right was being used, so I went to the one on the left. On arriving to my urinal, I noticed the other guy was urinating on the floor. My first thought was that he just missed and would correct soon, but no, he kept peeing on the floor.

I looked up and he was blankly staring at the wall with his eyes wide open. It almost looked like he might be blind (though that's still no reason to pee on the floor).

As I started my business, I noticed his urine was flowing toward my feet. So with one eye on him and one eye on my urinal, I had to back up to keep my feet from getting wet. When the guy finished, he walked over to the sink and washed and dried his hands. During this sequence, it became clear that he wasn't blind.

He left, and when I walked out, I saw him meet up with his wife and leave like everything was fine. Seriously, man? What a creep!


The Elf on the Shelf is SO DUMB.

I've been keeping quiet about this one because some of my very favorite people do it, but OH MY GOSH I think the Elf on the Shelf is so stupid. For those of you who don't know about this awful trend, here's the gist. You "adopt" this elf who keeps an eye on your kids during the holiday season and supposedly reports back to Santa to let him know who's been naughty and nice. The "fun part" is that you pose him doing silly / naughty things, which is ... funny, I guess? I don't know.

There are two main reasons I hate this.

Lies on lies on lies

You're already lying to your kids by telling them Santa exists. Then to that, you add this extra lie, with all kinds of intricacies and complications. The elf can't be touched or he loses his magical power. The elf can't move while the people in the house are awake. You have to be a good little boy or girl or the elf is going to tell on you. 

Can we just stop lying to our children? I know, I know — I'm not a parent so I have no idea what I would do if I was and blah, blah, blah. But on top of the Santa lie, I definitely wouldn't go to the extent of getting a fake toy elf and pretending it was real. 

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the kids were in on the joke — 'Where are Mom and Dad hiding the elf tonight?' I wasn't sure if kids actually believed it or not until I asked my mom (who has a part-time job at a daycare) about it today, and guess what? A lot of them totally do. Even, Mom said, mature kids. Smart kids. Ten-year-olds. 

Seriously, guys. Let your kids grow up with some sort of grasp on reality.

The time, effort and waste

People put SO MUCH EFFORT into the Elf on the Shelf, and I'm so annoyed about it. There are entire blogs dedicated to ideas for it. Parents think they're being so creative and post pictures of the elf's adventures on Facebook every day and it's just like ... can't you do something more productive with your time?

I've even seen parents on Facebook (and commenters on blogs) get stressed out about it, and for what? If it stresses you out, don't do it. Duh. I saw a comment from one parent who often forgets to move the elf, and then has to create even more lies about it. If you don't have time for it, don't do it!

There's also the waste. It seems like the elf is always creating messes. Wasting toilet paper, toothpaste, wrapping paper, food — the list goes on. I don't see why you would want to waste the money or the resources just to make the kids giggle and / or terrify them into being good.

If this is how you want to spend your time, feel free. I just think the time could be spent doing something else with or for your kids and making other holiday traditions. Kids already believe so many things we lie to them about — Santa, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny — why add one more?


How to tell if an article is fake (in two easy steps)

People are getting duped by satiric articles way too often and it needs to stop, so here are two helpful tips on how to tell if a news story is real or not.
  1. Check the source. This helps in two ways. First of all, if it's a site that only posts fake news -- such as The Onion, The Daily Currant or Reductress -- you'll know it's fake right away. And yes, I have sadly seen many people post things they thought were real from The Onion. You also want to check the source to ask yourself why this site is the only one you're seeing this story on. For instance, do you really think a website called "Story Carnivores" is going to have an exclusive scoop about an eighth Harry Potter book? (Hint: The answer should be no.)
  2. Think it through. Is what you're reading even remotely plausible? Take the article that's been going around about Samsung paying Apple a billion dollars in nickels. As Snopes points out, this is entirely illogical for a few reasons: The lawsuit isn't finalized yet, so there's no way they would pay it off so quickly, and 20 billion nickels would be A) basically impossible to acquire and B) definitely impossible to fit into 30 trucks.
And that's pretty much it! If it's from a reputable source (or better yet, you're seeing it reported by multiple reputable sources) and it seems plausible, it's probably true. If either of these things are not the case, it's probably not.
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