Tuesday, May 9, 2017

You may be an esports significant other if

I think I've had a draft of this blog post since my blog's inception.

But recent events made me realize that there may be some (a few, not many) people out there that may feel the same way. That is, the weird life that is the significant other of someone in the esports or video game industry.

I have been Breaky's "other half" for 5 years. I have alluded to the struggles of being a wife to someone who travels a lot for their craft. There are many other struggles that other significant others may find they can relate to. Or maybe not, maybe these struggles are unique to me, I dunno.

Anyway, I figured it may be fun to actually hunker down and finish this blog post about things I've noticed have become a part of my identity as the wife of an esports figure. Enjoy.

You may be an esports significant other if:

1. You have no idea what their schedule is for the next week/month/year

My family can attest, his schedule makes it really hard to pin down family vacations, dates, holidays etc... Heck, this past year was one of maybe two Thanksgivings he was able to enjoy in the states! Although, did I mention he was in Sweden like, two days before our wedding? Yeah...

2. Learning names feels like double duty

Not only do you have to remember a person's real name, but very often their gamer name. I do not think there are many of our friends who calls Breaky by his real name.

There are times we are gaming together and I have to ask who this particular person is because I forgot their gamer name. On the flip-side, I sometimes forget that people have real names, and are, for example, not called WZA in real life.

3. Getting their attention can be a task

Esports is a career that is steeped in technology, including social media. Whether it is an important Skype conversation about how they may be traveling to Sweden next week, a Reddit post about the latest tournament drama, or checking their official Facebook page, their attention may have to be dedicated elsewhere other than you talking about how your work day went. Heaven forbid if you need to ask a question while they are actually in a game! (I know better now).

I personally handle this pretty O.K. I am not one who needs like, constant attention, and honestly, I have a lot of hobbies that would require me to not be around other people all the time. However, I can randomly be needy. Breaky knows this. I am very obvious about it too, which helps him figure out when he needs to pay attention to me for like, 20 minutes. Communication is key.

4. You check to see how much time you have when someone asks what your significant other does for a living.

For me, the quick and "easy" version is "he does a lot of video production in the video game industry" or "he works for a video game company". Obviously, that's not wrong, but when I am running down the hall to grab something from the printer, I do not want to have to explain to Bob from HR what an esport is, or how there are "broadcasters" or "casters" for these events.

5. You get a lot of questions about how an esport can be considered a real thing

I used to get really excited when there is a segment on esports on TV. Like the CBS morning show, or another news segment. I couldn't understand why Breaky didn't get as excited as I did. But then I watched them. The amount of condescending, un-informed dribble that would come out of these segments was astounding. Much of this information was false and based on opinions of a generation who not only doesn't "get it" but doesn't want to try to hear the other side.

The episode of Bull on CBS did a better job of portraying esports. Who knows, maybe things are getting better. Then again, maybe not.

6. You find yourself lost when your significant other has conversations about a game, event or feature you know nothing about

Especially in the beginning of our relationship when Breaky and his coworkers started talking "shop" I found myself zoning out. As many of those coworkers got significant others, I had people I could converse with about something else.

More recently, I find myself in the middle of those conversations, but am acutely aware if there are stragglers who may not know what we are talking about. I do my due diligence to make sure to either steer the conversation in a different direction, or try to engage them in some way.

7. If you are a gamer too, date night could mean gaming date night

Breaky and I have been doing a lot of Minecraft together lately. We call these nights "gaming date nights." They are nice, until you know, one of us accidentally hits the other with a shovel, or laughs so hard they cry when a creeper blows up after falling from God only knows where on top of their head (oh goodness was that funny, one minute he was there, the next BOOM, gone! haaahaha....sorry babe)
I even have a blog post about our Minecraft adventures, but I am not sure my enthusiasm for figuring out how to make colored carpet warrants a full blog post, but Breaky was excited for me, so that's that. True love ladies and gentlemen.

8. If your significant other uses a headset mic, you often get frustrated when you think they are talking to you, but are talking to internet friends

Sometimes this is ok though. For example, last night Breaky said to his teammate "don't decapitate me!" or something like that. I, for one, would never do that, nor would that be something he would ever have to worry about from me.

HOWEVER, sometimes if we are in the same room and he starts talking, I can't tell if he's talking to me or not. So we have a system. He lets me know when I have to pay attention to him (see #3)

9. Loud noises/shouting is background noise

I am married to someone who's official job title is "Shoutcaster". No joke. Also, about 90% of his job is done in our house in our studio/office. Has been this way ever since we lived together in our apartment. Now, a good chunk of the "yelling" isn't like, angry yelling. Well, sometimes there is raging, but most of the time, it is hype yelling. It is something that I have just gotten used to. Heck, after 2 months, the dog got used to it too.

There have been many times we'll have company over when Breaky is still streaming or casting, and they will stop mid-sentence because of the shouting. I get confused about why they stopped and what they are hearing. Then it hits me. Normal people are not used to shouting as background noise.

10. You learned a new language without realizing it

I actually did a blog post about this too. I have had to learn a lot of acronyms at first. Now the struggle is to remember to not use them, oh, let's say...at work. Or around my family. Or at the farmer's market. Normal people don't know what to do if I randomly start spouting off about Linda down the hall being "super salty" or Mike from finance being a troll. Especially if your boss is an older medical doctor.

Well, I hope you all had as much fun reading this as I had making it. It was loads of fun. If I missed anything, please leave a comment!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Food Friday Sausage Dip Livestreamed

Last week, Breaky made my oh-so-famous sausage dip, on his stream: twitch.tv/breakycpk

Normally, I do most of the cooking. Not necessarily out of necessity, but because I genuinely enjoy doing it. Always have. Sometimes I'll ask Breaky for some help, like taking things out of the freezer the night before, or preheating the oven if we are making something like lamb that's going to take a while.

Now, he does cook. He can make his Dad's mashed potatoes (leave a comment if you think that recipe should be the next one he lives streams!) and he can follow a recipe, so my faith in him to honestly make a home-cooked meal is there. He is just not practiced at it. Partially my fault, as I don't really give him a chance to have a lot of practice. In my defense though, especially with all the casting he's been doing, I am usually the one in a position to actually make something by 6:30-7:00 pm.

Breaky was doing some IRL streaming one day. If you are not familiar with Twitch.tv's IRL, basically people stream the every-day things they do. Twitch primarily revolves around gaming, but you can stream walking your dog, or reading, or painting your nails... (honestly, I don't really know, I'm guessing here). So Breaky was doing some IRL streaming of him walking our dog and then doing a bunch of chores. He ended up making himself a chicken taco. Very simple, he put chicken and cheese in a tortilla, wrapped it up and nuked it for, I dunno, 30 seconds. He had quite a few viewers and it was well received. We joked around that he could start his own cooking live-stream segment, and I mentioned how we needed to make the dip for a BBQ we were going to at a friend's house.

Thus, he live-streamed making "my" dip on his channel.

Here is the masterpiece:

Friday, April 14, 2017


I'm going to go a little against the grain today.

Most of my blog posts involve some kind of geeky, nerdy, gaming-related topic.

Today, not so much.

Because even geeks, nerds and gamers can and do experience loss. It is something that, regardless of who you are, you experience. Whether you are Horde, Alliance, Hanzo main, or just a noob, chances are pretty good that, in real life, you will and/or have experienced loss.

5 years ago today, I lost one of my best friends from high school. I did not find out about this until the next day, when I got a call from my mother.

Me: "Hello!"
Mom: "Have you checked Facebook today?!"
Me: "Nope, I've been working on a paper for my finals."
Mom: "Oh. Oh God. Um."
Me: "Mom? What's happened?"
Mom: "I would rather you hear it from me than read it on Facebook. *Your friend* died in a motorcycle accident"
Me: (I immediately fell to my knees. My arms lost all feeling, and all I could think about was how painful this had to be for his mother)

*side note* : I try to keep a little anonymity with my blog. I rarely use Breaky or my real first or last names, so in the spirit of that, I will try not to use names in this blog. 

It is weird. You never know how you are going to react to news like that. Mostly because you never thought you would get news like this. My friend was in the military. He had traveled overseas, in areas he couldn't disclose. When he was deployed, yeah, I prepared myself a little bit. But he was home. Where he was supposed to be safe.

Of course, when I found out, I was alone in my apartment. So I did what any other warm-blooded woman would do when distressed. I cleaned the Hell out of my apartment. No joke. In between sobs and hiccups and tears, clothes got folded, dust got demolished, dishes were spotless, because if I stopped, it would be real. Everything would be too real. He would be really gone.

I considered calling some friends from work to come over and be with me. My sister was at the movies, so couldn't be reached, and I really didn't have anyone else. But there was little they were going to be able to do other than see me a complete mess, which I had too much pride to do.

As the days, months and years go by. you heal. In your own way, no one else's. Everyone, I mean everyone, deals with loss in a different way. I won't go in to how I dealt with it completely, but I will say that music helped. Still does.

As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, this song from Billy Talent struck a note with me and my personal loss.

I had days where I would feel guilty about the loss I felt. How so many people were closer to him than I was. Who was I to mourn? But I did. Because he was close to me. He did help shape who I became. He was a Seabee in the Navy. The motto for the Seabees is "Can Do". My friend embodied that attitude. Put some of the stuff we deal with in to prospective. If his attitude was "Can Do", then mine will be too. I even have the logo on my bulletin board to remind myself of that every day. At work, whenever someone asks for something, I will always reply with CAN DO!

Days like today make me realize that he never met Breaky. He didn't celebrate with us when we got married. I will never have another Michigan bonfire with inebriated shenanigans. I can't have phone conversations about BBQing pork the right way. That breaks my heart every time.

What I do have are memories. Pictures, videos, conversations, and stories. All of it. Good, bad, sad, funny. That's what we have now. That is all we will have moving forward.

I probably won't advertise on social media that I made this post. Mostly because this is more like therapy than it is to serve any kind of audience. But maybe it can make people realize we all experience loss and sadness. If talking about things helps you cope, please feel free to reach out to me. I know everyone deals with things like this differently, but if you need someone to listen, there are many people out there who will.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Happy Blogiversary

My blog turns 1 today! Happy Anniversary to my blog! Or is it Happy Birthday to my blog? Does Hallmark make an Anniversary or Birthday cards for blogs or bloggers? I don't think there would be an appropriate demographic to support such an idea, but hey, you never know now-adays.

Well, anyway, decided to do a quick blog post, because, honestly, the anniversary kind of snuck up on me. Been doing this for a year! Crazy to think. Lots has happened, from Breaky doing his own thing, to my new job, to multiple gaming adventures.

Much more to come ladies and gents, that's a promise.

Here is a quick animation of a bunch of pictures I've shared in multiple blogs thus far this year.

Thanks for everything guys! Means a lot to me.