02/28/19

Parenting: Mistakes Were Made – Youtube and MOMO

 What is MOMO and why should you care?

 

If you are parent this week than chances are the topic of MOMO has caught your attention. MOMO new coverage has gone viral and parents are scared! MOMO is a the name being used for what is actually a sculpture made by a Japanese special effects company called Link Factory. It is currently on exhibit in a horror gallery in Tokyo and it is called Mother Bird. There is no connection between those who made and those who are running this MOMO Challenge.

All sorts of horrible things are being attributed to the MOMO Challenge. In short what is being reported is that MOMO shows up in the middle of kids youtube videos and right away tells the kids if they tell any adult about MOMO that they will be stabbed in their sleep. Then the challenges begin, easy at first and then hard and hard to culminate in self harm and could mean death. Youtube is not the only outlet for MOMO though it is being said other social media is sharing it. People are posting that hundreds of kids are dying around the world because of MOMO…   Only I can’t find proof of one. Every single time I saw a report it was parents screaming online “THIS IS WHY KIDS SHOULD NEVER BE ON YOUTUBE!” Parents that allow youtube are being shamed. Some parents are just passing on the reports they see from others because this scares us all of course!

   I am not a helicopter parent but…. 

I know in the homeschool community there are a lot of helicopter parents and parents that are very strict when it comes to the internet and screens. You can imagine I saw near a hundred posts in a single day about MOMO. It sounded like fear mongering. So I looked into it, and as of today I still can’t find any actual deaths linked to MOMO.

As a parent who allows YouTube and tried to enable my children’s curiosity and interest and a geek who learns so much from YouTube, I felt a bit protective of my choice to allow it. Surely if my brilliant darling little minions had seen this, they would tell me. So after looking up if kids are actually being hurt, I tried to put it out of my mind and shrugged it off.

  I was wrong about MOMO not being something to worry about.

I mistakenly thought the warnings about MOMO were some how just the run of the mill crap stuck in some of the youtube videos, something rare being blown out of proportion. I didn’t doubt someone would put scary stuff out there but was it a danger? I couldn’t possibly be something my kids have seen right?

But the next day, after being up with my 11 year old who had a nightmare, some part of me wondered all of a sudden, could it be she saw it. I talked to my husband about our choices when it comes to youtube and the kids and he thought he should brief the kids again on internet safety. Being in the military and given what he does, this is really something he tends to be on top of. He still felt comfortable with them having access to youtube.

  Admitting as a parent I made a mistake….

I kept thinking about it though. For weeks now she has been having a hard time sleeping. So often her and I would be up reading books together to help her think about something other than her fears that she wouldn’t much talk about. She wouldn’t talk about it…. and those nights I wouldn’t press her to talk about it as I was trying to get her to think of other things so she could relax and get back to sleep.

She wouldn’t talk about what scared her. Why hadn’t that been more of a red flag for me?

I was still doubtful though even as I asked her about MOMO.  It was instantly clear, she froze in place, she wouldn’t talk about it from fright. So I talked to the other kids and our 8 year old told us all about it! Our 13 year old knew about it too. They said that was why their sister wouldn’t talk about it. They didn’t believe it, but she did. They said she had seen it on Roblox videos on youtube. Our sweet and caring and sensitive little girl could just shake her head and was clearly worried for her siblings who were telling us about it. Why hadn’t the kids told me? Because 2 didn’t think much about it, and the one who did believed she would die if she tell us about MOMO. 

  Not going to go looking for MOMO

I didn’t ask any of the kids to try to find the MOMO videos but did tell our 13 year old son that if he finds out about any to let us know. Now we need to come up with a new plan for YouTube if it is to be used at all for the younger kids in the future.

While my own daughter didn’t do the challenges, she isn’t what I would call ok. She is terrified because of this and it is in large part, my fault as her Mother. My job is to protect her. There is going to be a lot of comfort and support and talking about this with her. While we are a geeky family that has loved youtube, and while husband works in cybersecurity, MOMO still found her way into our home. We dropped the ball.

I will not for one minute shame or add to the Mommy Wars over YouTube. I am posting this because I was wrong, that this was no big deal. I don’t know is any kids have been physically harmed as I have not seen that evidence, but I will say one of our daughters is not ok.

 

As of the 27th of February, no physical harm being confirmed as the results of MOMO. Let me know if someone finds something!

12/4/18

A bit of geeky self-care #NaNoWriMo

  Geeky Self-Care

Self-Care for many these days means yoga, bubble baths, and even fantastic wine. For others it is simply making sure they get in their daily basic hygiene. For some parents, the time to shower can be difficult to find! The kind of self-care though I want to share today is on the geeky side.

My husband often tells me I am more myself, a better person, when I have been reading books. Perhaps this is because it blocks my daily anxiety a bit so I am focused on a books “what-ifs” and not my own. What ever the case is, he is right! When talking to other geeks about this, they have found it to be true too! Maybe this applies to people even without anxiety. Goodness knows I seem to gravitate to book lovers!

If reading books is geeky self-care than certainly writing one would be as well don’t you think? I think so.

What is NaNoWriMo?

November is National Novel Writing Month and the challenge is to write a 50k word novel. Year after year I have attempted this challenge and some years I had won, the last three however I have not. Part of the issue is very personal and I am taking a deep breath here before typing it out.

Weird ways grief changed me.

Ever since my Dad died I have had a difficult time making choices. Big choices, little ones, they all give me anxiety and I tend avoid making choices when possible. Slowly though, with time, it has gotten a bit better. With writing though, it was still hard. For the first year in over a dozen, I was NOT planning on trying #NaNoWriMo. I didn’t want to fail for the 4th year in a row and I had done nothing to prep for it. I had no story.

 

  Friends who inspire are priceless!

Then though, a dear friend posted that this year she was doing it. We had done it together years back and I had loved it. Still…. she had a story just burning to be written. I had nothing. Not a plot, not a character, not a title. I had nothing.

Then my oldest daughter mentioned she was going to do #NaNoWriMo and she was going to write it as fan fiction as she had some ideas that interested her so much she wanted to take the time to follow her imagination.

Other friends were popping up letting the world know they were going to write novels. I got messages from people excited to write and be buddies only to have to tell them, I wasn’t planning to write this year.

But there was my husband…. reminding me how much I love NaNo, even the years that are more torture than success. He is again right. I always feel more like myself, not just a wife, not just a mother, when I am doing NaNoWriMo.

I jumped in, no title, big problems. It was all an act of self-care to pull something from nothing. So many choices and I had to make them. My sweet beloved husband helped as much as he could, often it was just making me smile when I was wide eyed and scared of the story I was pulling together or the writers block I got very badly over and over.

Part of the self-care of writing though is finding a muse, or finding them over and over. For me this year it was very long car rides to beaches very far away with wild ponies. This gave me hours of quiet (Thank you dear sweet oldest daughter for babysitting the little minions so these trips were possible!) time as a passenger looking out at the world. He let me control the music, or the lack of, and chatting when I needed to take breaks from my story. He listened to my plot holes and helped me work through them. Mostly though, he reminded me of all the things I am not “just”. We had a few amazing day trips that helped me create a story and helped me feel more like myself.

 

 Winning at self-care

In the end, I did end up finishing 50k words in November. Some of my friends did too! My oldest daughter had so much going on this month but she did manage to beat her own word count record. I am so proud of her.

I can only guess what kinds of geeky self-care you might need but if you are looking for new things to try, have you tried writing a novel?

10/7/18

Dark and Light – Shard Of Faith – Don’t Miss This Game!

For the love of Dark and Light, a magical massive multiplayer survival sand box game, we are getting a new map, Shard of Faith. A new world to explore and new creatures to share it with along with a fantastic community! If you don’t have Dark and Light, get it!

Shard of Faith is not released yet but here is a sneak peak at it from those of us testing! (Don’t worry, I got permission to post as Streamers were given permission to stream the test on October the 5th!) Where might you becoming a tester for Dark and Light you wonder? Be sure to check out their official discord and perhaps you too will find your way to an invite! Dark and Light Official Discord.

Perhaps I should though start at the beginning. Dark and Light is a multiplayer survival game that is amazing. It is beautiful and fun and includes taming and caves and big bosses. It can be played on ones or in a house/tribe with friends. It is a fantastic way to make good friends actually. 90% of the player base I would say are amazing and friendly! Very few toxic players. Mostly people just want to help and have a great time together. If you are looking for a heavy PVP game, currently I would say this game is not for you unless you like to troll. By all means Troll Server K1, you would have a lot of fun there! If you are looking for a social game though with friendly players, try US Knight 3. They have a lot of Twitch streamers and we really helpful! If you are looking for some piece and quiet maybe try Knight 23 as there are only a few quiet hobbits playing there and you are welcome to join! (Just don’t block metal!)

As for the new Dark and Light map Shark of Faith, we had been told we would be able to transfer characters to it and back and forth and so on. Not really sure how that fits in just yet or if that panned out. For now, the test servers are on their own and we spawn in new level 1 characters and level that way. The knowledge tree is now different and looks to be more tied in with quests. The quest NPC are awesome and talk and are rather entertaining I think! When ever I am on a quest and get distracted the current quest NPC will pop up and speak and remind me of what I am supposed to be doing.

So first thing first:

 Dark and Light – Shard of Faith Map

There are 4 different starting camps you can start in and teleport to when you die.

My personal favorite thus far is the Southern Outpost. It has a nice area that is monster free to grind and it seems to have the most barrels to hit for some easy early gold to start buying at the Outpost shop. Eastern Outpost has easy creatures close to the outpost for easy meat! Each Outpost on Shard of Faith has their own shop. One of the exciting things we discovered is that unlike in Dark and Light, these shop keepers seem to buy more than once from more than one person.

Shard of Faith Tip: Buy the meat from the vender, cook it, and resell the cooked meat to the shop keeper. You are able to sell a few times and could make over 100 gold.

We hope this stays the case when the game goes live!

Catch a bit of the early game by watching these Shard of Faith – Dark and Light Videos on Youtube too!

 

The new player areas are fantastic and mostly safe! You can do many quests right in the outposts! The quests help you learn the game much like a tutorial but they also unlock new items and help pull adventurers out into the wild to explore. The quests in Shard of Faith are beautifully done!

If you want to see one of the best videos showing off this game check out Defender on Twitch – Shard of Faith Spoilers

  DARK AND LIGHT – SHARD OF FAITH RELEASE DATE OCTOBER 9, 2018

 

   Shark of Faith New Animals, Monsters, Tames!

Owls — Aggressive but oh so cute!

Dharkhu – Aggressive

Deadly Spider – Aggressive

Sluagh – Aggressive

Spectre – Aggressive

Wild Uillip — I THINK THESE EXPLODE!

Overseer – Aggressive

Dune Thrasher

Wild Skeletons – While skeletons are not new to Dark and Light, these ones shot flame arrows. Others are very defensive! I like the revamp of these guys!

Peccary

 

R’nag the Voidmaw

 

Behemoth

 

Szareth the Huntress — Wow does her fire attack go a long way!

 

Stan – medusa

Shard of Faith Summoning Stones

To battle certain monster you need a stone! Here is a peek at some of the stones!

 

 

Shard of Faith Alters

There are alters around the Shard of Faith map that can unleash special creatures to battle and tame! I am not sure yet how many of them there are but will share them here as I find them! I believe they all have a 6 hour timer on them but I could be wrong!

Elite Dharku – Location is hard to explain as we have no solid map with a grid yet. South east near curving stone pillars at the bottom! (Ignore this location on my notes map, it isn’t correct! Check the master map!)

 

Shard of Faith – Alter of Spectre — Location – South East curving stones, follow purple beam spiraling to the bottom.

Alter of Ventox the Cragkeeper – Direct East in the Spiked underground path that heads north of the wall!

Alter of Elite Scarab – North of the map near the edge!

 

Alter of R’nag the Voidmaw — Under the Dragon Bones in the caves!

Ok trying something else to share where alters are!

Alter of Elite Uillip

 Alter of Szareth the Huntress

    

Shard of Faith Map is Large!

While it might appear to be small, there is a lot of vertical depth to this world. Just when you think you know an area, you discover more above your head or underneath! Getting there can of course be a challenge! Getting lost can be an issue too! I think making little Fobs with teleports is key to getting around the map. Be sure not to block resources though as others might not take too kindly to that!

 

As I explore the map and learning things I have been editing a copy of the map to serve my personal purposes. It isn’t amazing or complete, just things I want to remember. I thought others might maybe find it helpful. I will add to it as I discover more and update here as I remember. Be warned, I kind of lack a sense of direction and this might be all wrong. LOL

Single Player Mode Summoning Stones Item IDs start at 923

 

Actually, forget my notes, this is the MASTER MAP for Shard of Faith! Shhhhh I can’t tell you where I got it!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oqY1dx9V8X7yqLWH3612WVQs6K36ISXSzqqPzqfF3p0/edit#gid=1248981990

06/22/18

Important reasons why we let our kids watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

 

 

What age should kids be able to watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom? How do you know when your child in particular is ready to watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom? When are kids old enough to watch movies that might be a little scary or violent? These are the questions in our parenting community. I wanted to take the time to share the important reasons why we are allowing our kids to see Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

How old should a child be before watching Jurassic World 2?

 

In our geeky house we try to not forbid a lot of things. Not only are we geeky, we are also rather Crunchy and practice peaceful, attachment parenting. We try to empower our children and find ways to say yes. Of course for real danger, we say no. We are raising kids to see possibilities, find their boundaries. We want our children to see they can be brave and even push back against authority when needed.

 

   Reason Number 1 why we let our kids see Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom before the PG13, 13 year old recommendation. We are building Grit.

 

 

Kids these days are said to have less grit than those in the past. I don’t like to judge generations but I can see the trend. My husband and I wondered why this might be the case. Could it be helicopter parenting? Could it be that kids are wrapped in bubble wrap? Possibly could it be that most kinds no longer have free time to explore, go on adventures, find their boundaries, and don’t learn how to make decisions because they are all made for them? Perhaps kids aren’t being given safe ways to be scared and the time to deal with that fear in safe ways?

My husband and I discussed how we watched scary movies as children and how they helped to possibly shape us, possibly helped us form grit. I talked to other parents about this and it was like seeing a light bulb go off for them too… this might well be a grit issue too many are overlooking. We can’t pretend the natural world isn’t filled with violence and fear. Fear helps keep animals alive when they react correctly to it. I am not saying show your 6 year old Freddy Krueger, but maybe push a bit more than feels comfortable.

One thing we know from the past Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies is that they show characters who have grit and courage! They also show the down sides of greed and ego and the results of not responding to fear appropriately.

 

 The second important reason we will be letting our kids watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is because they have already watched the other Jurassic Movies and Loved them!

 

 

  •    Our 12 year old loved Jurassic World
  •    Our 10 year old loved Jurassic World
  •    Our 8 year old loved Jurassic World
  •    Our 2 year old loved Jurassic World
  •    Our 18 year old daughter of course loved it too!

 

 

All of our children where at different ages when they experienced their first Jurassic movie. Most toddlers! I can’t recall a single issue from this experience beyond a very large collection of dinosaurs in our home that just keeps growing and managing them all is a handful! Some of our children have been more sensitive to Jurassic World, they would cuddle, and then talk about what parts made them jump. I would explain what parts were heart racing for me. We talk about feelings and fears and how we would react in certain situations and do differently.

 

 

The “what-if’s” are the best part of the Jurassic Park movie experience I think. Helping kids think critically and the need to not freeze up. Pretend play comes next of course and this is were I think a lot of the magic happens in childhood. They will pretend play what they have seen and then take things to another level challenging themselves and their playmates in this pretend world with these pretend rules. They will make all the choices in their imaginary universe of Dinosaurs! They will create conflict, they will solve conflict, they will work through fears! This is a safe way to do this…. really is Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom going to be any more scary than Live Shooter drills in schools or the insane pressure placed on kids with standardized testing?

 

 

An older photo of the dinosaur collection from years ago. The kids learn so much from their dinosaur passion!

 

 

 

 

 

   We are letting our children watch Jurassic World 2 because we know them!

 

Our last reason, and the one all parents have to give the more weight to when deciding if their own children should watch Jurassic World 2 is that we know our children best! While the MPAA has rated Jurassic World 2 Fallen Kingdom PG13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril that are not the parent, you are. Have your children done well if those scenes in past movies? Mine have. Our youngest is a late talker and rarely likes TV. For family movie nights though she is most animated and excited and happy and talking in the intense scenes with lots of action and peril! We know what one of our children will for sure need cuddles and talking and how much she will love it anyway!

We are teaching our kids it is ok to be scared and that they can function when scared still. These are important skills to have!

This is a movie we feel will do more good than harm. Your mileage may vary. 

 

06/11/18

The book everyone should read but won’t want to! — Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Own King

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Own King Review

This Geeky Mom highly recommends that everyone reads this book: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Imagine a world where all the females go to sleep and then don’t wake up. Imagine being one of the rare women who knows this is happening and has to try to stay awake! What will the men do? How will they take care of their male children? What would happen to society? What lengths would men go to in order to try and save their sleeping female loved ones?

It is an amazing story that at the heart of it, is I think part of the #resist movement or at least should be. It powerfully speaks to Women’s Rights issues and the inequality we still face. It also though speaks about good men doing their best…

Be warned: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Own King is a painful read!

It took me a while to read this book so I can’t recall all the trigger warning it should have but death, domestic violence, suicide, abuse, attempted rape….  you know, the things women face, are in here. This book is fantastic fiction but also digs deep into the painful reality most don’t want to think about!

 

Plus….. it has slow spots that you have to struggle through.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Own King

 

My Review of Sleeping Beauties

This is such a beautiful and hard novel with deep important life issues. I felt the characters had depth and were real and the issues reflect so many of the woman’s issues at hand right now. It is bravely written by two men who are known for their amazing writing. They know how to scare people, but this was a huge undertaking. This hit certain things perfectly…..  but yet so many of their fans took issues with this book. Perhaps because so many of us can’t accept reality and didn’t want to read about the truth. I like that the magic that wasn’t really explained as this was fantastic and made me wonder. I spent a lot of time wondering about the “what if’s” presented in this book. That is how you know you are reading a good book I think! I smiled and found myself nodding to so much truth in this story that mirrors the reality I live in as a woman. I live a joyful life with a husband I have adored for 20 years now, and I know he would have hidden me and our 4 daughters, but what side of the jail battle would he have been on I wondered. Would he have survived…. I would have fought to get home to him and our son but could I have really tried to force those women who had so suffered at the hands of men to go back? I would have wondered how many women a year die at the hands of a man…. how many raped…. how many who just go missing? This is an emotional book that makes you think and feel. I did love it.

The harsh reviews of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Own King

The few things I didn’t love was that the book was dry in some places, so dry that I put it down for long periods. I did wonder who wrote what parts as I was aggravated at times. The story was so good and yet it seem to drag, I wanted to know who was to blame for that. LOL I jumped to audio book even to struggle through some parts. The end of the audio book that explains a bit is worth listening to. I wish the writers had brought in Trans women and made some supporting points on this, I feel they where left out. I am not one and of course can only share my own thoughts but I thought of them. I wonder if they felt left out. I know they are fighting to have place in feminism and it is a hard fought thing.

Speaking of feminism, with so many harsh reviews, many being from people, men, who admit they never finished the novel, I wonder how many are anti women’s rights? I wonder if it wasn’t the pace of the story but the reality of challenges faced by women. Maybe King’s readers couldn’t face the truth about issues affecting women. I wonder if #ADayWithoutAWoman movement played any part in this story?

Sleeping Beauties By Stephen King and Own King — How should it have ended?

So many online reviews are from upset readers. While a lot of them never finished the book it seems, some did. Some didn’t like the ending. I wonder what they would have liked to happen instead?

I wished there had been more happy endings personally. I think this was on purpose though. A harsh nightmare reality I guess. Only I fought hard for my “happy ending” and still do, and it took so many leaps of hopeless romanticism too! This is my own bias! LOL I grew up on Christopher Pike, and then Stephen King, and then Koontz. They got me through the nightmares of reality when I was a wreck. When I came into my own I find I relate more to female writers like Laurall K Hamilton and Kim Harrison. They seem to know how to horrify, tantalize, and leave a girl still happy with a sad reality! In any case, I am rambling. A girl can’t have it all. Maybe that is the point? I think this story could have been polished more or maybe it was polished too much or rushed perhaps? It was hard to get through for so many reasons, but so very worth it. This whole story is a sorry existence with the hope of better and conflict that rolls on and on. It is just so painful perhaps because the horror is so real but we get so used to it that we don’t see it, we don’t like to focus on it. Sleeping Beauties is a book that makes you see the horror of society it seems like so many of King’s fans didn’t like it! I loved the book but not the reality it didn’t let me get away from.

Check out one of the better known, and surely better written than my own, reviews of Sleeping Beauties in the New York Times.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King would make a fantastic TV series!

Both authors said that the book had started out as a screen play. I would adore to see this on screen. I bet it would move faster and be darkly beautiful and socially moving.

I believe both these men served women’s issues well! Their devotion to women’s rights is clear to see. Written very strongly in some ways. Goodness I love their writing and the bravery to take this on.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King: This is a book everyone should read, but you aren’t going to be comfortable doing it! Should a horror novel make you comfortable though?

I would love to hear what you think of this book. I don’t think enough is being said about it. It is easier to be snarky about hard topics or ignore them I guess. This book is….. something…. so much bigger than it’s 702 pages! Can you deal with the real horror in this novel when it seems most can’t?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course if you rather listen to this book

here is a deal not to miss on Audible!

05/25/18

The New Game Raft – Good clean survivor family fun!

Are you looking for a new PC family game or a new game to play with friends that includes all your favorite gaming things like building and surviving and being a great team? This game is simply perfection and it is actually simple too so even if Mom and Dad are not super game geeks, they can catch on! Raft on Steam is fantastic!

The new Early Release video game raft family game

On May 23rd the new game RAFT hit the web for public play as an early release! This game was one we enjoyed a year ago as a family with a mod on it. We liked it but it was super glitchy back then and very limited. We played for a few days and we moved on to other games while we waited for the developers to polish this game up so we could go back to it. Wow did they do a great job of cleaning Raft up! We have yet to hit a real glitch and we have been playing on and off for the better part of the last 24 hours. You see we have a big geeky gaming family and REALLY had been waiting for this game, we had a count down going even!

The New Game Raft on PC is finally here!

I had started with 2 of my geeklings as others were dealing with school/work. We had a bit of an idea of what to expect from the game way back before this release. I jumped right in to making the world. I choose to host as I think I have one of the fastest machines in our group and I could host more than others might be able to. Making sure your host is able to run the world and do other things might be important if you have friends coming and going from the game often!

Making a new game raft for friends to play

New Game Raft make game with steam friends

When your friends go to play this game with you they should just need to click on JOIN WORLD in Raft and should see your Steam name there and be able to play Raft with you!

Raft can have up to 4 players at a time on any given map!

We happen to have more than 4 gamers in our littlegeeky family so we have to take turns! What is awesome about the Raft Early Release game though is that if one player logs out, another can log in and the progress on your raft continues!

New Game Raft multiplayer requires players to be friends on Steam!

This took a bit of doing for us as some of our little ones didn’t have their own Steam accounts yet. They have been mostly Minecraft, Roblox, and console gamers. Getting them on Steam and then connecting accounts was a bit of a pain. Some of us could see others, some couldn’t. For some reason some of the geeklings could see my account and the game but hotty hubby could not! We did a bit of dance! I think we figured out that the Steam account had to be showing Online for the host and players to make it work. Not sure we worked out all the kinks on our end but we are all playing so hopefully it will not be an issue again.

Join New Game Raft more than one player

Once you are in the new game raft you find yourself surrounded by ocean while you are stranded on a floating tiny Raft with nothing but a plastic hook! (On Raft Easy Mode when you die you respawn with your items! If you are normal mode your items are gone when you die!) If you are playing single player your only companion will be the shark that follows you everywhere! Can you blame him? It is a lonely world out there in the big empty ocean! Eventually when you get crop plots and make bird nests you will also get the annoying company of seagulls!

Looking for a review for RAFT? We Love it and we are not alone!

Immediately in the new game Raft you get busy gathering resources carefully! When it comes to tossing the plastic hook you find there is a bit of a learning curve! Some of my brave companions just jump right in risking their game life to the shark! You gather plastic, wood, ferns, scraps, start to add to your raft. Just when you think you have things figured out your shark buddy comes along and starts chomping down on your raft making it smaller if you don’t get to him first and fight him off with a pointy stick!

In this new game raft the next thing you notice is that you start to dehydrate under that beautiful bright sun. You have to find a way of purifying the sea water! Of coarse You also need to eat!

Raft Sun Set Fishing

  Oh how I love fishing in this game! The ocean and the sky is just so beautiful. I specially love the moods of the ocean in this new game Raft. The old version I don’t think had rolling waves and storms! One can garden for food in this game too! Gardening is a sure way to attract seagulls. You can put an end to the annoying birds if you wish. If you kill a seagull you get feathers and drumsticks.

In the game of Raft you want one to be sure to get this one thing as quickly as possible…

As soon as possible acquire nets! Nets were the single best item I think in the original game and it seems a bit harder to get them now, make the research table ASAP to acquire the ability to make nets and then be sure to line your raft with them on 2 adjoining sides. This way as you float along your raft will pick up items for you! The raft does a lot of the work so you can do the other needed things to survive! Survival is of course key.

Friends Raft Early Release

Raft is a fantastic online cooperative game!

 I saw another steam friend was playing this game after all the geeklings had gone to sleep and I took the chance and joined their game. They were happy to have me but it dawns on me now perhaps ask your friends before jumping into their Raft world? I found two guys very organized really rocking this game! I had no idea you could have two sails and honestly that is brilliant!

We love this game and in our opinion most everyone will too! I hope you enjoyed this review!

Here is a sneak peak of something we discovered that is so cool!

Spoiler Raft Early Release PC game

 

 On a very personal note, I am so thankful for loved ones who have helped distract us over the last few days. My dear father died 2 years ago of cancer and it hits hard this time of year.

Family game time is sacred!

Gaming as a family means a lot to us. The family that games together, stays together we joke! Gaming in survival games like this that are cooperative help each of us support one another in a fun way but also help one another show off some of our strengths and weaknesses. Family gaming is a reminder that none of us are truly alone and that sometimes we all need a bit of help. Bonding over games of all kinds has been a time honored tradition for humans, the science is solid. Game time together is never a waist of time!

Thank you Gracie, my dear storm baby, one of our surrogate babies, for the game time! Love you always! 

04/13/18

We Survived the April 18th 2018 Doomsday Alien Invasion!

We survived the rapture alien invasion april 2018

People believe some crazy things, we know this. Chances are you believe some crazy things too. Once upon a time people believed the earth was flat, and some how some people still think it is…. once upon a time we bled people thinking it was healing them. Most of us believed in modern myths like Santa and the tooth faith growing up. It isn’t so very hard to get people to believe things that are not true as it turns out. Why is it though that in 2018 Doomsday is still a “thing” and people are still falling for it? Are we not raising kids to actually use critical thinking?

 It isn’t going to be hard to survive the 2018 Doomsday! – Use logic!

People have been predicting the end of the world I would guess since people have been benefiting from doing so, a very long time. In my life time alone the end of the world has been predicted on a date and believed by a number of people over 50 times now. I am not even all that old! Those times, like the 2018 Doomsday predictions had no real facts to back them up, and yet people believed blindly. Most of the predictions come from religious leaders or people who call themselves psychics. Sometimes when the end of the world doesn’t happen, they change the date, blame something else, say it happened but only a few understood it. Some how some of them manage to keep their flock and live to con them another day! I remember not too many years ago how one flock sold all their possessions, quit jobs, went into debt, and bought bill boards and advertising telling people the end was coming, and then went on the road trying to grow their flock. May 21st came and I was for some reason so captured by the phenomenon as we drove up the east coast seeing bill board after billboard about the coming Rapture. The 21st came and… nothing. What had once been something I found funny was suddenly so very sad. People believed so deeply that they gave up the lives they had built for this belief and what they expected to come, an end to this mortal life with the promise of heaven, didn’t happen. I thought about how they move forward, some now with nothing, and rebuild. I thought about how this might shatter their belief and truly hurt them. Many people went from picking on them to having sympathy.

  People have been creating their own Doomsday! Take pity on them.

There is a saying, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off!” I think many of us have experienced this in our lives. We can’t be right about everything all the time. Still, some of us just seem more gullible than others. This in my opinion is the case the Dooms Day prediction coming in just a few days!

Some are saying that numerology in the bible states Dooms Day is April 18th, 2018. Others are saying it is an Alien Invasion and have some really weird “evidence” that of course the military knows about this. (This military family knows about no such thing, just to be clear!)

 The April 2018 Doomsday Predictions are no more special than the others have been!

After the predictions for April 18th come and go the next prediction for the 2018 Doomsday is April 23rd. A group of Christians says that when the sun, moon and Jupiter align in the constellation of Virgo, that Planet X will then cause Biblical Rapture. Well at least they are using space! So many others have as well in the past, and one of the real threats to the planet, to any planet it objects in space hitting us. While not all near earth objects have been tracked, a great number have, and so far they aren’t showing a 2018 doomsday.

No one reputable is out there in my opinion supporting a 2018 Doomsday. Of course the world will end someday, all things end! But we need to consider logic and reason based on real evidence when making predictions.

It is with logic and reason in mind that I predict “we” will survive Dooms Day on April 18th, 2018. I say “we” as some of us humans will of course die on this date, as some of us die on everyday. Given all we know though, I don’t think most of us will and don’t have reason to believe Aliens will invade either.

 Doomsday will come someday of course, all things end, but look to science not mythology.

It is a fantastic time to have some down to earth and out of this world conversations with the kids, geeklings, about what they currently believe and why. You can help them with some science and critical thinking. Bring up times in your own life as an adult when you believed something that wasn’t actually true and how you discovered the truth, what evidence there was for the truth, and what you did after that. How did you deal with being wrong? It isn’t some how this horrible thing to be wrong. (Unless of course it hurts other people, and sadly many of the abusers who predict the end times do end up hurting people!) Explain that many people believe things that aren’t true and sometimes those beliefs don’t hurt others. Sometimes they do though and we can and should speak out against harm. Sometimes though we need to nod, understand that belief can serve a purpose beyond “right or wrong” for people and sometimes we need to nod and acknowledge someone we care about has a belief that some how serves them and they are a right to it. When it comes to Atheist kids, I think a lot of parents actively try to teach compassion and understanding and ask their kids not to burst the Santa bubble for other kids. Your kids, you choice! I think most kids end up needing some kind of therapy! I am not saying don’t judge others, I think we need to use our best judgement of course. I think though there is a lot to be said about leaving other peoples “crazy” alone, because as I said, we all have something or other….

So we should celebrate that most of us will survive this rapture day April 18, 2018, just as we have all the other days when the end of world will happen. Someday someone will be right about it. Chances are a scientist or hopefully a bunch of them! Hopefully we will have time to make the most of what ever we have. You are doing that already though right? Maybe that is one of the positives about all these End of the World predictions, they are a reminder to be living your best life and not waiting for “someday” so much.

In the end, tomorrow is never promised. Enjoy the time you have!

 

Check out the possible future given the science we know including that fact that there is a 95% chance humans might be extinct in the next 10,000 years! 

04/9/18

A book vacation for the win! – Dealing with Grief

 Saving a vacation that didn’t go at all as planned!

A book vacation hadn’t been what we had planned but that is just what we got and just what it turns out our not so little geeky family needed. You see it has been 2 years since we had traveled to my childhood home last. When we had been there we got to spend the last special and difficult days together with my father who died of pancreatic cancer. Thankfully the military had given us the ability to use more leave time than we actually had and so for the next long while we had no vacation time to use. Then we found ourselves saving up vacation days thinking husband might retire and we could cash those days out. Part of me wonder if I was just trying to avoid going home, to the changes, to the sorrow. In anycase, Geeky Dad choose to stay in the military a while longer and it was time to go home.

Going home to New England in what should be spring is never great for planning. Of course we packed all the cloths, from short sleeves to winter hats. The week turned out to be grey, snowy, and wet. We had planned little adventures to museums and zoos and parks. I found though a sticky layer of grief stuff trying to suffocate me. We would normally do all those things with my Dad. Everywhere I looked, things had changed, and it bothered me deeply. You would think having been a military family for so long, and over 15 moves I would be used to change.

  Grief has no timeline as it turns out. What step or stage am I in now? I think I just fell down most of them but have a limb on a few of them!

The children where sweet, but restless. Most enjoyed screen time without worry of school work and that was nice. Still, they wanted to get out. The big yard that once belonged to my grandparents across the street there now no longer does. So the kids had a very small yard to enjoy instead. I spent a lot of time in tears over that big yard being right there but out of reach and the memories I had in it. It made the joy of going outside harder. Lost were loved ones and lost were some of the ability to make new memories in some of the places we loved.

The grief and sorrow were quickly too much for me. Grief beyond belief is a special kind of torture I think. I could barely manage to leave my old bedroom. My old bedroom, one I had given up to switch with my brother as I thought his was bigger, now looked nothing like childhood at all. Dad had redone it years ago to have egg shell walls and a wall paper strip of ducks that I very much loved. At one point it had then become my grandmothers room. Photos from her own home were in it to help her feel like she was home, though she was just a few hundred yards away from her own house. Not much had changed in the room. Still the green carpet, the furniture much the same. Now there was my Memeres old sewing machine table in there acting as a side table. I liked that. Also, the weird old curtains, this thin material that was tan had been added to the room. It had been in my grandsmothers house my entire childhood. I loved it. It is so old, and near falling apart and has stain even but… it was home. It didn’t make me cry. Memere died about 5 years ago. I am ok now. I don’t sink so hard into grief though it is though still there. The memories of her mostly make me smile now rather than sob. In anycase the room was safe some how. I stayed there a lot. The living room on the other hand was just a place for me of torture, seeing over and over in my mind where my father parted from this world. The hospital bed that was there, and is now gone, but I see it all so clearly. He hated that thing. I hated it too. I knew coming home would be hard. I was holding myself together with deep breaths, hugs, and any little distraction I could get. I watched a LOT of documentaries on my laptop in my childhood room while life went on around me. I was so thankful my Mom and Husband and the kids were understanding. I cried enough on the trip I some how gave myself a case of pink eye. We will not talk about how gross that is. It made me all the more an ugly crier though I am sure!

dealing_with_grief_sorrow_cancer_death_how_long

Not wanting to go out or do anything my husband did the only thing that he was sure would help. He took us all to a book store. A big one! My eye was ok and promised to not touch anything but rather point to what I wanted, just in case my pink eye was contagious. I was filled with guilt for even risking anyone catching this. I was filled with guilt for so many things though. I was sinking in guilt. Books though…. how they look, all predictable on shelves, how they smell, the personalities of book people who work there filled to brimming with books they love to tell you about…. The kids going all over and trying to pick just the right book and then me being the one who could tell them they could get 2, and then three… It helped. It helped so much.

Wonder husband told the kids if they read any of the chapter books they picked out then he would bring them back for another book, and a geeky toy from the book store too!

 Save a vacation with a good book and someplace comfy to enjoy it!

And so started our geeky book vacation. We didn’t go out exploring the world like we intended, like we always do. Instead we got books, we read, we went back to the book store, and so on, over and over for the entire week. It was beautiful I tell you! Spending gloomy fake spring New England vacation days curled up with books. Even Mom got a book! She spent some quality time gaming with the kids too, and they loved that.

I am not saying books make grief go away. For me though, they helped distract my brain and heart from drowning in it. I am now sure that next vacation to New England will #1 be easier on the heart having survived this one. #2 We will be hitting more book stores, perhaps smaller ones we have never been to before! #3 It will be warmer weather. #4 At some point time heals they say and I look forward to being able to have happy memories make me smile, not just make me sob with sorrow. It will happen. I am thankful to everyone who puts up with me when I melt with grief and get stuck in the stickiness of it. That stuff just will not wash off when you badly need it to, when you badly want to function. So sometimes you don’t function, and that is ok. Sometimes you spend hundreds of dollars on books when on vacation and the kids still have a great time.

If you are dealing with grief, if the stickiness of it fills your throat and covers everything you see, I wish you every comfort. Gaming therapy helps too, if you can focus well enough. Books though…. careful of ones that might trigger you, but get lost in a place where you can breath for a while.

11/16/17

Nintendo Switch Download Game Review “I and Me”

If you are looking for a beautiful game that wants to be a zen puzzle game, but makes you nuts, this is it! A great, and cheap, Nintendo Switch download game! Thanks for taking a minute to check out our video game review!

 

This not so little geeky family finally, FINALLY, got a Nintendo Switch. We didn’t even get it on sale. It was a panic purchase to be honest as our son’s wish list for his 12th birthday is rather slim, and has Switch games on it as the majority of his new interests. Having just a Wii U, this obviously meant we had to upgrade! Being a big family means we don’t tend to get big game systems anymore for individuals but rather as family gifts. So we purchased a Switch and opened it as a family a few days before our sons Birthday. In this way, it would be a family gift and would also spark excitement and interest from the other 4 children in the house! Hopefully this means they will have controllers and other games on their Christmas lists too! (Bloody hell are the controllers costly!)

Not wanting to get a family game that might be requested as a Christmas gift meant I had to find a game they might not find and put on their list. “I and Me” fit the bill. You see the Switch comes with one controller (that can be split in two for some games) but as we don’t have enough controllers yet for the 6 of us gamers, I picked a single player puzzle game and went back to my roots for how to make this work. Taking turns! I know, a crazy idea in this modern world. It worked!

 “I and Me” is a cheap and beautiful Nintendo Switch Download game!

cheap good nintendo switch download game

You see we have children who love Ghibli and the style of this game looks a lot like that style. The kitty cats in it look like Jiji had babies with soot sprites too! Just so adorable! The music is relaxing and the nature sounds are too. It all pulls you in and then…. the crazy!

Perhaps the game is more peaceful when played alone? With our house rules the 6 of us took turns youngest to oldest and around and around the controller went. When you die, you give it up to the next person. We laughed so much we cried sometimes. I think we made things far more silly than they actually are intended to be. We cheering one another on and cheered when someone made the level for us all. Together we finished 25 levels that first late night before a few of us had to break off for things like sleep!

The levels start very simply and get harder as you go along as different elements are added. Simply put though, you are 2 cats and move as one. You go left, both cats go left, you jump and both cats jump. You have to figure things out by being very spatially aware!

Here are 2 video clips of the chaos of us playing this game the first time. (Excuse the small TV, we broke the large one when we moved, also excuse any towers of moving boxes you may see! Getting to both these issues shortly before the geeklings revolt over the tiny TV torture!)

 

As I type this, it is night 2 with this game and again we find ourselves as a puppy pile of geek in the living room among the still mostly unpacked moving boxes. We are on Part 3 map 10 and still loving it! Will update when we manage to beat it!

 

  What video game should we review next? 

09/9/17

New Sensory Toys for kids who don’t like Messy Hands and those that do! – Zorbeez

Zorbeez Sensory Toy 2017 for girls too!

Zorbeez, the new Orbeez, are squishy messy sensory fun and torture too!

IMG_4018

Zorbeez is a fun new toy that many kids will love! Zorbeez though will also I can imagine bring some Moms and Kids a bit of anxiety. Why? Well without getting into Sensory Processing Disorder, some people have issues with messy things! In our case we have a mixed bag of children with sensory sensitivities and needs. While Zorbeez can be said to be marketed towards boys, we know that toys don’t tend to be played with genitalia so it was a no brainer to let our girls play with Zorbeez. Our 7 year old daughter is in love with these on an epic level! She gets so much satisfaction from touching Orbeez and squishing them and playing with the gooey pieces. I, being someone “allergic” to crumbs twitch over the notion of Zorbeez all over the house. The solution though was rather simple. Bins!

Bins keep Zorbeez from being a mess all over the house!

Zorbeez Sensory Toy 2017

Seriously the company should just come out with a good big Zorbees bin that is shallow with a great top and matching colors! As I don’t see that happening any time soon though, standard under the bed bins with shallow sides work wonderfully to contain the messy fun! My 9 and 7 year old daughters near daily ask to pull out the Zorbeez bin and play with these toys. We have cups with water in the bins and the orbeez seeds growing, this takes a few hours. When grown the kids use the tools and toys to crash these Zorbeez. The girls love the sensory sensation of touching these Orbeez. It meets a need they have. When their sensory needs are met, kids tend to function and behave better in other parts of their lives as well. I find this specially to be true with 2 of my girls.

Zorbeez Sensory Toy 2017 and black cat!

My son on the other hand has different sensory needs and sensory aversions. One of the sensory issues is his hands being messy. While he has played with Orbeez before, he wasn’t one to squish them. With this line of new toys for 2017 the whole idea is to squish the Zorbeez. My son didn’t like touching them at all. He felt like he constantly needed to wash his hands and of course I let him. I also though encouraged him to play more and work through the sensory sensitivity. I didn’t push because you will never get me to be ok with crumbs in a bed no matter how many times I lay on them! However being brave is sometimes needed in life and knowing the career paths he wants to follow, I know being able to touch different textures will be needed.

He liked the Zorbeez toys and are glad we got them but they are not a daily toy for him and that is fine too! One thing is for sure, Zorbeez are loved by some of our kids and I great for all of them! (accept the toddler whom I don’t yet trust not to taste these! LOL)

Do you love Orbeez too? Do you have a sensory sensitivity too?