Monday, September 20, 2010

Banned Books Week

 I applaud the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, and the various other groups that are hosting events like a banned books read out during September 25-October 2 this year. This is important, because some of the books on the so called banned list do not belong on there in my opinion, especially when some of those books were things like Harry Potter, and To Kill A Mockingbird. While I do understand that this is once again parents trying to protect their children from something that isn't age appropriate, the other side of that is these parents are completely over reacting to something rather trivial. The thing is, if your kids don't read it in a book, they'll learn about whatever you find so offensive from something or someone else, be it their friends, a magazine, or even a movie. Children have a wonderful knack for discovering all the things you don't want them to know about. How else did my younger brother Rob learn the f-word? It wasn't from a book. It was from one of our older cousins saying it in front of him (He was a 14 year old boy at the time) and my brother tried out that word as soon as he could because he was 3 and the word sounded just fantastic to him. So of course he tried it out on me, his big sister who was trying to have him get dressed like our grandmother told me I should do so we could do the grocery shopping. Not only was she livid he used the word, she was pretty angry he said it to me and yes, he did get the biggest spanking of his life along with his mouth washed out with soap. The thing is, our cousin said the magic phrase to my brother, "Don't ever say that word, okay?" That is like handing fireworks to a kid. As soon as he said that, Rob couldn't wait to try it!  That's the point. The more you ban something and this does include the banned books, it just makes it that much more desired.
 It also falls back to free speech. While these parents may mean well, they are once again condemning that by having a banned books list. I mean Harry Potter, a children's book about wizards and magic is a banned book? It's important to encourage our children's imaginations, not stifle and cripple them. To put it bluntly, the world can be a really shitty place and personally as a parent, I want my daughters to enjoy as much of their childhood as possible before they have to grow up and learn that ugly truth. We shouldn't be pushing them towards thinking realistically and getting their head out of the clouds. We should celebrate and enjoy that they have imaginations at all and can still dream, bringing a little sunshine into this often gray world.
 We will be celebrating Banned Books Week and I hope others will do the same and enjoy the right to read.  For more information on Banned Book Week check out their website:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why This Mother Has A Problem With The Parental Blame Game

 As a parent, I completely understand how important it is to protect your children and monitor what they watch, read, or play. As a gaming parent, I know how vital it is to be on top of all of that. I say this because I see this disturbing pattern of parents all over the country blaming EVERYTHING else on things like their children's behavior. It's not the child's fault in so many of these situations. Instead, it's video games that are to blame, this or that type of music is at fault, or it's the movie or television show that is the cause.
 Let me be as blunt as possible. That is one hundred percent BULLSHIT.  Video games, movies, books, and t.v. aren't responsible for what your children play or see. You, the parents are. Yes, children are impressionable which is why it is all the more important for the parents to sit down with them and talk with them. It is the job of the parents to take an active role in their children's lives and know exactly what they are doing. Granted, you can not be everywhere at once, but if you are a proactive parent you do know what your children are up to.
 Because there are some parents who can not seem to do this, we have things  like the case hitting the Supreme Court in November about the sale of violent video games to minors. The two problems are the wording of the bill which seems to threaten first amendment rights and the fact that video games seem to be the only medium that is being targeted. Trust me, there are plenty of violent books, comics, movies, and television shows, but video games do not seem to get the same protection that they do which seems incredibly biased.
 Now, I know this may have stepped on the toes of many parents with this latest blog, and they may disagree with me. That's their right and they have the freedom to disagree. I would not deny them their difference of opinion. However, I'm going to stick to my guns about what I think and I have that right also.
 Children are a reflection of their parents, so you need to take that into consideration. Yes, there is a valid point to these laws are meant to protect children, but when you are using those laws to threaten another's first amendment rights, that's a problem.
 When my 14 year old daughter was curious about the Twilight books, I did in fact read all of them to see what they were about and to see if there was anything inappropriate in them. I even spoke to her about some of the things that would probably raise questions with her as she read the books. It turns out, she didn't think the books were that great, but she seemed appreciative that I took the time to talk to her about it. The bottom line is parents HAVE to talk to their kids about all of this. It is important and you have to be present as a parent, not shove them in front of a video game or television to get them out of your hair, then wonder later why they do silly things like jump off a roof because they saw it on a t.v. show, then blame the show for your kid getting hurt. NO. Stop doing that. Actions have consequences and we as parents are the ones responsible for teaching our children that, no one else. This is why I have such a huge problem with the parental blame game. Instead of taking responsibility for your children, you point the finger at all the various forms of media rather than point the finger at yourselves. Take the time to sit down with your children and talk to them about the things they see and hear. It doesn't have to be a lecture. Just have a conversation with them, ask them if they have any questions or concerns about what they see, hear, or read. No one else can raise your children for you. The job of a parent is filled with a lot of hard work and responsibilities, but the rewards of having that connection and relationship with your children are worth it. It's time to take back the reins, stop blaming the various artistic mediums, and raise your children parents.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sci Fi Science Physics Of The Impossible Educational And Awesome

 I got hooked on this television show on the Science channel called Sci Fi Science: Physics Of The Impossible. Not only did it have a scientist that I respect and admire, Dr. Michio Kaku, but it also had the excitement of impossible ideas in science fiction being made possible because of theoretical physics and science. With episodes ranging from working light sabers to traveling at warp speed, Dr. Kaku shows us that what may seem far fetched is as close as our thoughts and imaginations.
 Each episode is thirty minutes long, but with a clear explanation of the project goal that Dr. Kaku wants to try out. He takes on an interesting scientific journey, sharing with us what he thinks could work and what drawbacks a potential plan could have. You feel as if you are having a conversation with a close friend as he explains what things will work and why. When he comes to his conclusion, there is a moment at the end of each show where he shares his idea with the sci-fi fans. The explanations are concise and beautifully explained with great illustrations to bring the idea to life. Not only does Dr. Kaku think of all the possibilities, he shares them with you and you realize that things like warp travel and traveling to a parallel universe is no longer the stuff of imagination and only in books. It's possible and Dr. Michio Kaku shows us exactly how in a way that is educational and awesome at the same time.
 Sci-Fi Science is on its second season this year and it's just as impressive as season one. There are so many great ideas in the science fiction world and Dr. Kaku is exploring all of them and sharing them with the rest of the world. If you haven't checked the show out and you're a science and science fiction fan, I strongly suggest that you do, because you will not only be entertained, you'll learn something pretty cool.
To check out episodes of the show check out their website: and if you would like to learn more about Dr. Michio Kaku and some of his theories you can check out his website here:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why You Should Ignore The Story Line In Metroid: Other M

 I have heard all the arguments about the new Metroid game including a lot of male gamers stating that the female gamers are too sensitive to the issue. My reply to that is, if you have played any of the other Metroid games you know exactly the kind of bad ass heroine Samus is, so this subservient drone like Samus in Metroid Other M is not only insulting, but ridiculous. The fact that Samus chooses not to use her power boosts because the males have not told her it's okay to do so does not appeal to those of us who love the kick ass heroine ideal of Samus. Instead, we get overly long monologues that make Samus sound like an overly emotional 13 year old girl who loves to write cute little notes for her cat and doodle hearts on her binder. It literally makes you want to punch someone in the throat and just skip every single cut scene with her voice droning on and on, because this Samus screams of insecure immaturity which does not mesh well with previous Metroid games.
 I did see and try out the game for myself and came to this conclusion. If you ignore the story line completely in Metroid Other M, the game is not that bad. The graphics have that old school feel, but do not look dated. The game play is pretty well thought out and while you will get stuck on a puzzle here and there, they do leave subtle hints to get you past it. They have stayed true to the atmosphere and spirit of Metroid game play, but brought a refreshing take of the new with it.
 Overall, it's a solid game, but not a great one. They could have done more and done better with Samus. A lot of people that I have spoken to about the game, are of the opinion that perhaps they shouldn't have given Samus a voice at all. I'm inclined to agree. So while the story is laughable, if you ignore it completely it makes Metroid Other M actually fun to play in spite of the fact that you don't get to use half the great power boosts until nearly the end of the game. I would suggest you rent it or at least buy it at a discount, because while it's a solid game, it's not worth paying full price for at all.