Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Cannot Get Your Shoes Out Late Game Special!

Alright, guys, we've all had a lot of fun the last few days.  Worlds with commentary, team games, April Fools posts, all sorts of enjoyable times.
There's a LOT to write up about this weekend, from reveals of this to what I ran to feelings and thoughts and such.  This.... isn't that post.  Soon, I promise.
Eric and I threw that whole idea together about 9-10 months ago as part of a joke someone had made about how Eric should have a blog about gardening.  He was going to write gardening, I was going to write running.  And, as my previous articles showed, I got some... details out, about running alright.  But, let's get serious for a second here.
Yup, semi-serious, but I still got the pictures with the jokey jokes
So, I try not to do a giant personal dump of information here.  Some of it being that I like my privacy, some of it that my life, while enjoyable to me, isn't something I try to spam and make known.  We're a blog about a game with plastic spaceships that go pew pew pew and how you can get better at that, right? We're serious about it all, but light-heartedly so.  Break up the information with pictures, and in my case, Muppet jokes.
Alright, I got this
So let me ignore that and tell you a bit about me and my family.
Dad and me at a Cubs game like 2 years ago
My Dad was a math teacher.  He's been retired now for... 5 years or so.  He taught at Bloom Public High School in Chicago Heights for like 30 of them.  When he retired from public school, he taught at a few local Catholic Schools for a few years after that.  But for my entire youth, after my dad got home from the wrestling practice he coached, I'd always see him working on papers, grading everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  He went through every question, every answer, looked at whatever you wrote down and made sure that he understood why you did what you did, and if you didn't, he'd be there the next day at school making sure that you could see him early to get the information you needed, get it done right.  I'd go to bed sometimes and see him STILL grading papers and homework for all these kids.  And he always found time to help me out too, making sure MY homework was always done and done right, too.  He cared, cares, about everyone getting educated and learning how to do something properly.
I have used this picture before, yes.  But that suit is AWESOME.

Mom, on the other hand, was a science teacher for 20 years.  She spent the last 10-15 years at Bloom working as an administrator, helping new teachers understand the RIGHT ways to get things done in the classroom; discipline, homework, getting the kids involved/interested as well, etc.  I still hear stories from friends who are still teachers from my parents' school that they were glad when they went to my Mom, because she had BEEN through teaching and could actually understand the issues they were raising and the actual best answers for them at the time.  How do you get a kid to pay attention in class? She had 20 years of knowledge and tips to fall back on.  How do you keep a kid's interest? Well, let me tell you about what my sister is doing.
Us this past summer.  She just realized that she had asked me to be her man of honor and was now stuck with me.

My sister is a professor at... a college.  That's mysterious, but I'm sure she can't wait for people applying to her school because her brother's goofy Star Wars blog pointed them towards her (my parents are retired, so I can give their information away a little bit easier).  Suffice to say, if you REALLY want to learn language arts and studying it, hit me up and I can point you towards her school.  Anyways, she's a professor, head of the (I am both vague and a garbage brother for this) Language Center.  Super not vague.  She gets movies in these languages the kids study, has activities for Dio de los Muertos, Oktoberfest, Bastille Day, and countless other holidays.  The department holds festivals, does parties together, and just genuinely shows the kids what life is ACTUALLY like in these countries and keeps them interested.  She teaches everyday, and I've seen her use Modern Family/The Simpsons to demonstrate the different family nouns (Hermano, Padre, Madre, etc).  She's more recently been teaching human rights and activism and cultural perspectives from different countries.  Now, she uses those talents to help the kids she's teaching to be teachers get BETTER at their job, actually keep that passion for learning and helping others inside.
Us about a dozen years ago in Ireland.  Man, I need an actual vacation again...

My family has been inspiring me about the importance of learning, teaching, education, understanding, and care for 33 odd years now.  This is who I am as a person, behind the Muppets jokes, sarcasm, and coffee that continues to power me when I really should have gone to sleep last night 2 hours earlier than I did.  I've been staying up late reading for about 25+ of those 33 years, reading almost any book I could get my hands on.  I fell asleep at the kitchen table for almost an entire year, reading the US History AP textbook (gloatingly, I got a 4/5 on that exam, so, it appears to have been worth it).  The "Three R's" of basic learning have been drilled into me as important, and I try to pass those values on as much as I can.

I am NOT a teacher.  Well, not a professional one, this blog withstanding.  I'm an engineer.  But I'm running a marathon.  My first one I ran was for charity, as is this year's one.  This year, I'm choosing to support Big Shoulders, a group that helps inner-city Chicago kids pay for schooling and getting to go to school.  Teaching, learning, and education are important to me and my family, and when I went looking for a charity I cared about, THIS one struck me as important.  By helping these kids go to school, they help give them that love of learning and education that they want but can't always afford.  Education is something that has struck me as one of the most important things we can pass on and do for others, especially those who can't afford it.

Sometimes I don't have jokes, guys

The cool thing about Big Shoulders is that 100% of funds raised go right to the students and schools supported.  They have a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, which is like the gold standard for charities.  Students in the schools enrolled have a 95% graduation rate, and 85% of them go to college.  They've helped over 4200 kids this year be able to afford to go to school and get a good education.  Again, I wanted a charity that I could SEE an impact with, and damn if this doesn't do it.

We don't.... EVER.... hit people up for money on the blog.  This whole thing is a labor of love, and Eric and I do it because we enjoy helping people out and writing down what our thoughts tend to be on things.  Our usual goal is educating the readers and being happy to get payments whenever you guys give them to us, whatever they are.  We don't demand payment or offer better services or anything like that as we don't want this to become more than it is.  But, uh, well, I need money to hit the charity's goal.  So far I donated 10% of the eventual total that I need (again, I stand by this charity), but I need more.  It's going to the charity, not to me, but some important things to note.

First and most importantly, we're not going to be mortal enemies if you don't donate.  I understand that not everyone is flush with cash right now (several of you are soon getting married or have kids of your own), but hey, helping kids in inner cities seems like a solid use of money to me.  I also won't restrict articles or give special new ones with "What John Really Believes About Leia" to people who donate.  There's nothing special for the people who donate, other than my eternal gratitude.  It's still the same CGYSO, just, now I'm asking for help for this.
"While TEN dollars gets you into the special 'Leia list of the month' club, TWENTY dollars gets you OUT of that club."
Second, my idea behind hitting up the blog and its readership for this was Child's Play, the Penny Arcade charity.  Only, without the.... arguments, let's say, that PA has gotten into over the years.  Is this a damned fool idea? Possibly.  Do I think the Armada community has that level of passion and human decency in them?  Having just spent most of the last week around it, I honestly do.  You guys are all great and I appreciate everything you all have done.  From the FFG employees who keep coming back to us (even though they probably shouldn't, haha), to the people who came to Chicago from all over America and Europe and even Australia, this community's strength is the actual COMMUNITY itself, and I love every opportunity I have to interact with it.  More on that, of course, later, when I get less busy and get to the write-ups, but I basically killed any attempt at sleep I had over the last 5 days to hang out with friends and people I've mainly interacted with ON THE INTERNETS and previous other tournaments.  Meeting and saying hi to so many of you was amazing, and just talking shop for effectively 5 days.... delightful.
I'm not PROUD this joke is so easy and fits, but I'm proud I get to reference it.  Miss you, Lil' Sebastian.

So, with all that being said, some important links:

First, the charity's website

Second, my personal page PLEASE DONATE!! And thank you, so much, for your help

Third and last, the tracker for Chicago 2019, so you can see how I end up doing in this all.

I'd say stay tuned for updates on this all, but I'm REALLY not ecstatic about constantly hitting you all up for money.  That's not really who I am, so.... yeah.  I'd be happy to update this page if/when things change, if that's something everyone desires.

Again, thank you all so much for listening to me blather, and I promise, ACTUAL Worlds writeups will be coming out soon.  Worlds has re-energized me into writing some more articles, along with my writeup, so... soon?

Thanks for everything, guys, I really appreciate it!


  1. geek19, you do a great job of living up to your family's pedigree of educational excellence with your work on this blog. I'm happy to contribute half of a Super Star Destroyer to this worthy cause you are championing. Hopefully another one of your avid readers can cover the other half! Cheers!

  2. I've really appreciated y'alls blog for letting me think a lot more about tiny plastic spaceships during the long gaps between games that my life imposes on me. But as a teacher (oh hey, I wonder why I don't have enough time for Armada) your stories about your family and your choice of cause are really heartwarming. Thanks for all of the above!