Atari 2600

The Activision/Blizzard debacle

I don’t normally do gaming pieces on this blog, but full disclosure I have been gaming since the very early 1980’s. It is a hobby, I enjoy it and It’s something that over the decades has grown to an immense industry on par with Hollywood. Over the last few years there has been several revelations as to the culture at some of the biggest gaming companies in the world. The latest one to blow up is Activision/Blizzard, they make one of the most popular games in the world World of Warcraft.

Here is an article that does a decent job of summarizing what is going on there.

So what we have here is a rampant corporate culture of sexism, harassment, assault and generally horrible behavior. It has gotten to the point where the State of California is suing this company, it’s that bad. Lost in this are the victims of what appears to be a decade + of horrible behavior. So as a gamer I see this and I am saddened. I believe that consenting adults can do whatever they want, the first time there is a “No” or any expression of discomfort it has to end there. Touching, slapping or grabbing is an assault unless consented too. On and on.

So as a gamer I see this and I have few tools at my disposal to affect a better outcome for the victims and to punish those who have committed these horrible offenses. I can use my platform here, which I am and I can use my consumption. In the end, these companies rely on people like me to consume their product. Let me be clear, some of the games Activison and Blizzard make are spectacular. Loads of fun and highly entertaining.

Your consumption is one of the most powerful tools you have to affect change.

I won’t be playing them anymore. I have uninstalled them from my gaming PC and cancelled my subscription I had to play one. I know that seems a small trifle given the scope of the crimes here and the size of the company involved. However, I am one of thousands, if not TENS of thousands of people who are doing the very same thing. You want to hold companies accountable for crap like this? Hit them in the wallet. This company will never get a dime from me again, even if they completely reform etc. the fact that they covered it up for years and allowed it to go on is horrible, I will never reward that.

I don’t expect perfection; god knows I’m not perfect. When a woman says no, it ends there. When a woman tells you, you make her uncomfortable, stop. It’s okay to ask, but that’s it. Once the relationship boundary is set you have to respect it and creating the illusion of women being ambiguous is ridiculous. You know if a woman is uncomfortable, you shouldn’t be dropping comments about her breasts, or her ass unless you are actually in a relationship. Of course there are instances where things are embellished, people lie and innocent men get harmed. I get that, but what we have here is a lengthy dossier of abuse over years, its criminal on so many levels that the people in charge, senior management should be prosecuted.

The Activision/Blizzard story is far worse than the vanilla examples I have given. If you are a gamer and you are reading this, send them a clear message that you are unhappy and this is unacceptable, hit them in the wallet.

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Anxiety: New virtual mental health services

We have some new positive news today as we have another option for mental health services. I found a good article here that talks about the new platform and some of the services you can expect from it.

From the article: “We are the only company that seamlessly integrates virtual care, pharmacy and in-home care on one platform. We are uniquely positioned to serve physical and mental health, holistically, and provide affordable, high-quality mental health services,” Saman Rahmanian, co-founder and chief product officer at Ro told Fierce Healthcare in an exclusive interview. “To us, offering support for anxiety and depression is an important first step to make mental health a part of the primary care experience.”

Of course this is exactly what you would expect them to say but if we put our cynicism aside for a moment what we are getting here is a more integrated service model in one platform delivery. This is a good thing for those of us with Anxiety as we can now begin to consolidate the services we need. One of the issues around anxiety and its treatment is, in the U.S. anyway, the way our health care system works. Referrals from primary care doctors to seeing specialists to ancillary services like endocrinologists etc.

Constantly being out on a limb is stressful

It’s not unmanageable but as individuals with anxiety it is an anxiety generator. A solution that is all encompassing and accessible electronically is a great service. It may not be for you, it may be that your current doctors are not in this network or do not use this service and that’s fine you do what works for you. However, there are millions of people who suffer from anxiety and other mental illnesses that might avail themselves of this service.

If for nothing else, it allows you to dictate the investment you make. Meaning, you don’t need to get into a car and drive to 3 doctors’ offices, the pharmacy etc. It’s also a good indicator of the demand, meaning companies don’t offer products unless the demand is there. That is good and bad, its bad we have more people with anxiety, it’s good that we have companies offering more products to help combat it.

Of course there is money to be made here, let’s not be blind to the notion that companies make products to make money. That still the case here at some level but if this helps you then it’s a win. In the end we need more companies working on this huge social issue that is more prevalent now than ever. You should always do what you think is best for you. Do your research and determine what works best for you, at least now you have another option.

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A very simple health tip

If you read my blog regularly, first thank you, second you know that I have lost a lot of weight over the last year in a half. I am like millions; I was not obese I was overweight. What does that mean exactly? I had 30 pounds of extra weight. I dropped most of it. Do I have a visible 6 pack of abs? no, but I am more vascular, I have good definition now, I look normal. Not fat, not thin, not over muscled just normal.

The hardest part is keeping it off. One simple way to do that? 1000 steps a day. You have an app on your phone that should track it for you. That’s it! 1000 steps, it’s not a lot and its likely you can do more than that. However, the 1000 steps is every day, not 500 today and 1500 tomorrow. Everyday 1000 steps. You can do that.

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Leif Erikson

The 5-hour rule – Improving as a Man

Once again I am going to give some advice on how to improve as a man. This is based on my life experience, what I have read along the way etc. The good news is, improving benefits all aspects of your life. As a Son, a brother, a husband, a dad or just a single male getting through life. I am positive that these are not exclusive to males, I simply can’t comment on a woman’s perspective even though I have a mother, daughter and wife I am not female.

What is the 5-hour rule? You can google it if you want but the core concept is you take 5 hours a week, 1 hour a day Monday – Friday and focus on something you want to get better at. What does “focus” mean? It means reading about the subject, practicing the subject, researching more about the subject. The subject can be anything, archery, car repair, public speaking.

What this does is allows you to make progress on things you deem important. This is time you get to spend on something you want, something you hold important. This is meant to be an individual enterprise it’s not supposed to be shared. You can tell people about it if you want but the most important thing here is, you identified something you want to get better at and are devoting time to improving.

Be like water….

The people in your life will see this, it’s a positive as it illustrates your discipline and your commitment to something you think is important. This will benefit you in more ways than just becoming better at the task, your confidence will rise you will notice other people view you differently. The 5-hour rule is something fairly straight forward to implement. I used something similar when I first got into finance. Not college I mean an actual job where job skills were important but nuances like dealing with coworkers and bosses expectations aren’t covered in the college lectures.

I spent time every night before bed making sure I understood what was important for me to do the next day. Sure some of that was anxiety driven but for the most part it was in an effort to be more prepared and better able to excel. It worked for me and over the years I have implemented my variation of the 5-hour rule to great effect. Maybe it can work for you too.

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Basics of Anxiety – General Anxiety Disorder

Let me start this post off with a link to a great resource the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . This site has excellent information for anyone who thinks they have an anxiety disorder or knows they do and you just need more information. This website has a lot of information and resources and can assist with a multitude of issues. I strongly recommend taking a look at the site and the reference material it offers.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is essentially a catch all for nonspecific anxiety triggers most of us call them phobias. “GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms” . When I read this I realized that at several points in my life this applied to me. GAD isn’t a constant condition it can come and go but I’ve found in my travels that more often than not it is always present just to varying degrees.

From the Website: “GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.”

Surviving 2020 & covid
Anxiety Sucks, Millions suffer from it.

I thought this excerpt from the site was particularly potent. 6.8 million adults… Ya we aren’t alone. I found it very interesting that they claim women are twice as likely to be affected. I can logically extrapolate some instances why, pregnancy, physical appearance and family pressures come to mind. The worse part though is the multitude of factors and the lack of specificity as to why this occurs.

Essentially anything can trigger this, maybe you went to a concert Saturday and your ears were ringing when you got up the next day “am I going to go deaf?” you ask yourself. A common seemingly sterile situation right? So the next time you don’t hear something correctly are you now delving back into anxiety? Technically yes, again its degree’s but you are anxious about a future outcome based on an example of the past. You can’t absolutely say that your past experience will be identical to your future outcome but it’s your best gauge.

Then you begin to think “god if I just didn’t go to that concert I wouldn’t have this issue” and on and on it goes. That’s just one very simple example but it’s a prelude to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no definitive moment as to when it begins for anyone, but when you are “in the moments” of anxiety you know it. The sensations are unique to everyone but if you’ve had panic attacks you know the gambit it can run. You can be highly functional and then for days struggle to get out of bed because you can’t overcome the anxiety.

Then, one day you feel good. Not perfect, not “wow that was silly I am free and clear” but the fog clears for you and you go on without worrying about it at all. This is GAD and it can flip day to day, week to week for your entire life. Knowledge is power and remember you aren’t alone. There are millions of people all over the world that have anxiety and deal with it sometimes daily, sometimes randomly sometimes just situationally with specific phobias. Hang in there, one day at a time.

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Beyond the Trees

Thank you !

Hey folks, not a formal post today taking a day or two off from articles/formal posts. I do want to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog, like my posts, your subscriptions. All that really means a lot to me, I am a small blogger and it does go a long way to keeping me motivated.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of me and the “A Gen X Point of View” blog.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Anxiety: How young is too young?

Anxiety sucks, it can lead to many negative outcomes that can have serious impacts on people’s lives. I know not a bold statement out of the gate, if you have anxiety you know this. So when is the right time to identify symptoms of Anxiety? 20? 50? 7? What if anxiety is something you have had all your life as early as you can remember? At 5 you were anxious, 11…. The good news is Anxiety is being studied more broadly now than ever before. I found a good article here on how some scientists are beginning to look at anxiety in very young kids.

From the article: “For an anxious child, seemingly normal activities can be hard. Worried kids have trouble adjusting to school, making friends, and learning. They can feel inhibited, avoiding challenges by running away or retreating into themselves. While parents may feel desperate to help, their approaches can backfire. For example, trying to talk kids out of their feelings or keep them away from anxiety-producing situations may inadvertently make the anxiety worse.”

This of course is the normal “first step” every parent out there tries to help their kids with the tools they have. Sometimes it makes things worse and not by desire of course, the assumption is by many parents their relative experience in the issue is similar to that of the child’s hence their advice should be applicable.

Laugh with your kids, it’s awesome.

The article essentially debunks that notion as anxiety is an individual condition for the most part. I mean if there is a fire in a building everyone is going to feel a degree of anxiety. The social triggers of most anxieties though are individual based and the article/study do a remarkable job of outlining the subtleties of the issue as it pertains to very young people.

My instinct on this is extremely cautious. I am heartened by the notion that there is an effort to help children deal with an issue that over time can blossom into a full blown debilitating condition. On the other hand, I have always believed that a degree of freedom is necessary for kids to figure out for themselves how to navigate life and the situations that it presents, within reason of course.

In the end this is a net positive as minimally this will help the kids who do have serious anxiety issues. It will also give guidance and a playbook for the adults in the kids’ lives on what they may be able to do to help. In the end more research, more awareness, more avenues to discuss and treat anxiety is a net positive for everyone.

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Unusual anxiety symptoms

Most of us who dwell in this space, having anxiety, we are very familiar with symptoms, causes, effects, so on. There are of course other ways in which anxiety manifests itself within us and others and for those of us not working on our anxiety awareness or on the fringes of the issue some of these manifestations are hidden within other issues. I found a good article here That discusses some of the unusual symptoms.

From the article: “If you have an anxiety disorder and you’re experiencing a strange symptom — especially one your doctor can’t explain — you might feel relieved to know that your anxiety could be causing it. Whether it’s a somatic symptom or an emotion that doesn’t seem connected to anxiety at first, tying these mysterious symptoms to a known cause could help you manage them.”

The article goes on to illustrate several examples, 9 in total some of which I have myself. Now anyone of these can be attributed to other things. AS an example Tinnitus is cited as one unusual symptom of Anxiety. I myself suffer from this but I believe completely its due to the fact that 30 years ago in the hazy 80’s and 90’s I was a committed concert goer. That doesn’t mean it’s not worse when my anxiety flares but these are not absolutes and shouldn’t be take that way.

Even a thick skin has cracks.

Example, the article talks about chest pains. It may in fact be as a result of anxiety but that’s not something you should screw around with you. You get chest pain checked out quickly and let a cardiologist determine if it’s a cardiovascular issue or not. The article is not without its merits though. Again for someone who is not as invested into Anxiety this may be an extremely helpful look at what might be causing their specific issue.

If you have an ailment, ringing in the ears, aches in your joints, constant stuffy nose you should be pursuing knowledge to determine what is going on and why. The more educated we become in our own health (physical and mental) the better advocates we become for ourselves and the more we can help shape health outcomes for others.

Mental health issues are at the forefront of healthcare now as we come off a pandemic. It may very well be that you have anxiety and or acute anxiety and you aren’t alone. Maybe one of the symptoms listed in the article applies to you? If so get it checked out, don’t be bashful or ashamed here. The sooner you can get a reasonable diagnosis as to what is wrong the sooner you can start work on solving the issue or at least coming to a place in your life where you can live with it.

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Perfection is the bane of very good.

I am 51 years old, I have worked in a professional office setting in various finance roles since the mid 90’s. I’ve seen a lot of theories on professional development, personal growth and overall goal setting to achieve outcomes. The first piece of wisdom I can impart to you is a goal set by other people that you work on are your tasks.

What does that mean? It means that often people in your life have things they want to accomplish but need your help. Work, personal it doesn’t matter really, you participate in the process, let’s say someone is remolding a kitchen. You come over on a Saturday and help haul some trash away. You completed a task to help them achieve their goal.

The trick is to not fall into the trap of being consumed by other people’s goals. This happens a lot in relationships, someone has a vision for their life and you accommodate them as best you can because you love them. If you are lucky, you share the same goal, if not you will be in a “giving” situation in that relationship and that can be draining.

The price of Wisdom is time.

The second piece of wisdom (hang in there, there are only 3  ) is goals are great for your personal growth and improvement but perfection is the bane of very good or great. What does that mean exactly? Setting a goal for yourself “I will finish my Masters by 28” is great but you have to accommodate life. Rigid goals that have absolutes built in often fail and it’s often the case that we blame ourselves for this and become very hard on ourselves. Anything can happen, what if at 27 someone you love gets sick and you have to take a year off school? Was your goal a failure?

The third piece of wisdom is taking the time to figure out and decide what it is you really want. This is the holy grail of self-awareness isn’t it? Maybe you are a faith based person, maybe you believe in animal rights etc… The goal here is to figure out what makes you happy, and what do you really want to do. This can take decades or it can take minutes but healthy self-reflection is a necessary process to determine where you stand in the desired outcome. We take time to get our coffee’s, go to the gym, update our I-phone operating systems why aren’t we taking MORE time to self-evaluate? Get a journal, from time to time write down the things you are doing and write down how you felt about it. From time to time go back through it, were there multiple entries with you at a beach being happy?

The point here is it’s not about perfection, you’ll never make it but you can achieve very good and that is progression. Progression = getting better and that is figurative and literal. When you achieve goals, even partially you are putting the building blocks together of success and mental contentment. You can do it, and even if you stumble or flat out fail, it’s okay you pick yourself up and keep going.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting better.  

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VITAMIN D AND YOU

Day in and day out, if you are a consumer of news on the internet you are barraged with health news. Of course it’s not as sexy as politics or the latest celebrity scandal but health care remains one of the most talked about and concerning issues for Americans. Now my citation is older, it’s a study from 2011 which states that 42% of American adults are deficient in Vitamin D Source

There really isn’t any data that I could find that suggests this number has moved much but first let’s iron out what vitamin D does for you.

  1. Vitamin D helps you absorb Calcium which supports bone health.
  2. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system.
  3. Improved neurological function
  4. Boosted immune health
  5. Enhanced cell growth and rejuvenation
  6. Fighting against inflammation in the body

Most importantly the biggest organ in your body, your skin naturally produces Vitamin D when in sunlight. So what are some of the benefits of taking vitamin D as a supplement? There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, there are also studies ongoing. The 2011 study I cited above states: “Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. “Now this is somewhat misleading IMHO because when you have a study that determines that 42% of Americans are deficient in something you can indirectly link issues those 42% have to said deficiency.

Go outside!

However this study Is looking at the correlation between seasonal disorder to vitamin D deficiency. Simply put, they want to determine if in the winter and cold months, are people depressed because they are unable to absorb Vitamin D processed by the skin, while you are in the sun? It’s a good logical extrapolation really. Often in my life I have heard the old saying, “everyone’s mood improves when they get out in the sunlight”.

I’ve heard this from older people when I was young, they were insinuating that sun = better mood, which we now know means increased vitamin D. Obviously they were not scientist but many times “old wives’ tales” are derived from years of observation. In the end I think it’s wise to start supplementing with Vitamin D, and as its Spring time to head out side and get some sunlight.

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