This needs to end

I have a 22 page script due by Sunday, but I can’t focus because I watched this video and I’m crying. I’m sorry to dump a heavy post on you guys right after a funny one, but this is important. Just watch.

Guys, I am so tired of hearing about these things happening. I’m angry at the people that think it’s okay to destroy their own neighborhoods, or anyone’s neighborhood, to make a point. But mostly, I’m incredibly heartbroken.

My heart breaks for the police officers, journalists, and citizens who have been hurt in the riots in Charlotte, Baltimore, Ferguson, and everywhere else there’s been unrest in the last few years. It breaks my heart that people are looking at each other like monsters instead of humans. It breaks my heart that hatred is gaining ground while love is pushed aside.

Honestly, I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know that there’s anything I can do. I’m just one person, and my greatest weapon is my words.

It’s just not enough.

I’m the kind of person that hates no one. But I hate this.

charlotte riots.jpg

I hate that this is what our country has come to, and I hate how little I can do to help.

I don’t want to see anyone get shot by the police. But I also don’t want to see people shooting police, looting businesses, or destroying lives and livelihoods in their own neighborhoods.

To the people rioting now, please, for the love of humanity, stop this. You’ll get no where. Riots can only set your cause back and hurt people in the process. It’s a tragedy when someone gets shot by the police, but greater tragedies don’t need to follow it.

If every time a person was shot by the cops, other people didn’t come in to stir people up and cause a riot, then one life would be lost. One family would be mourning. Instead, we get riots that destroy dozens of lives.

I don’t how to fix this, but this has to stop. Somehow.

I want to end this post on a positive note. I watched this next video right after I watched the first one I posted. People like this guy give me hope.

There are people out there, the majority probably, who understand that the way to end violence is not through more violence. Let us hope that their quiet voices can someday drown out the screaming masses.


A short little story about my day

*Read to the end. There’s a point, I promise*

So today, I woke up with the sniffles, which sucks, so I decided to sleep in a bit and just drive to school. Forty minutes of extra sleep isn’t that much more in the grand scheme of things, but it helped a bit, I think. In any case, it didn’t stop me from getting to school on time.

I enjoyed my morning class as always, partially because my professor is awesome. We got another talk about the importance of registering to vote, and because it was taking everyone else forever to do theirs, I redid my registration. Now I can vote in the right place. Woohoo, I guess.

Moving on. While I waited for it to be an acceptable time to eat lunch, I got some of my reading done. I realized once I got home that I did, in fact, read the wrong chapter… So, I guess I’m ahead, or something.

I got through the rest of the day. Avoided improv in my directing class. Wrote a screenplay in my video production class. Hung out with friends.

At the end of the day, I had about half an hour till the bus got there, so I worked on one of my video projects. Finally, I packed things up and headed out. I called my mom on the way back to ask what she thought about me going to Florida for an internship. She was amenable, fortunately.

The bus got back quickly, and I just fell into my bed, exhausted…

Not a bad day, right? Go back and read the first and last last sentence of the story, and you’ll understand why I’m face-palming myself right now.



Are Video Games Art?

Let me start this off by saying that this is my un-expert opinion here. I’ve never been a big art fan. I only recently even developed an appreciation for art.

That said, I do love video games. My love of video games began watching my dad play games like Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Age of Empires. I would watch him play for hours hoping he might let me play for a few minutes. This was back in the days before every person in my family owned a computer and our only computer looked like this…


This thing is a dinosaur. Wait, am I old??

Today, my hobby has expanded to include titles like Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed, Sims 3, Portal and currently, a weird little number named The Talos Principle. So I do feel as if I can be a reasonable source of thoughts on video games.

This post was inspired by an article I read this morning from a site called Heat Street. The TL;DR version is that a bunch of video game critics seem intent on demonizing anyone who thinks video games are art. Which sucks, yeah, but it got me thinking.

Are video games art?

Naturally I did what any English-lover would do: I consulted a dictionary. The Merriam-Webster definition of art is “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”

Do video games fall into this category? Well, they would certainly seem to.

Just playing some of the games that I’ve played – Skyrim in particular – I can see the creativity, imagination, and skill that went into creating them. And you can’t play Skyrim for ten minutes without having to stop and think, “Dang, that’s gorgeous.”



If this was a painting it would be considered art. Also, source.

And there are definitely games that express important ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Of course, sometimes those thoughts and feelings are just, “Holy crap, big dragon, big dragon!” Then there are video games like the one I’m currently scratching my head through, The Talos Principle. The game makes a point of inserting random philosophy and hard questions into every level. Playing the game has really made me ponder the ethical and moral issues surrounding artificial intelligence.

Video games seem to fulfill both parts of the dictionary definition. Right? Then, why the controversy? Seriously, Wikipedia has an article about it.

Well, it seems the problem is that there are a lot of critics who deny that video games are art. Take Roger Ebert, an extremely popular and respected critic, who said this:

“To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.”

Mr. Ebert (yes, I know he’s dead), excuse me sir, but no. I do not consider video games to be “a loss of precious hours” any more than I consider binge-watching my way through Stranger Things such a loss. Most gamers don’t. This is his opinion. Unfortunately, it is a very popular and well-respected one.

I think an argument could be made that there are games that worthy of such comparisons, but then again, I’m not even necessarily calling video games good art (although I believe some can be). But bad art is still art. Why aren’t video games? There are video games with stories that I have enjoyed more than novels. But novels are considered an art form. I’ve played games with better visuals than some paintings. But paintings are considered art.


This is “art” guys. A picture of a signed urinal…

Another Ebert comment:

One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.

First off, I have to say that Ebert was severely handicapped while writing this article in that he wrote it in 2010 and had never actually finished a video game… Secondly, there is a school of thought that says that art should be or could be experienced instead of just observed. There’s even a book on it. I have to wonder what his thoughts would have been on “choose your own adventure” style books. You could “win” those too. Does the fact that you could win them negate their value as art?

Personally, I prefer to experience stories, novels, plays, dances, and films. Actually, I think it’s a mark of bad art if I don’t experience it. Good art begs you to feel something. The reason that I enjoyed Captain America: Civil War over Batman vs. Superman is because I experienced Civil War more. In BvS, I was bored out of my gourd and just observed it. One movie captivated me. One didn’t. Both are considered art.

I think the real problem is that many people a) mistake their opinions for fact and b) don’t consider things that they don’t like art .

I walked into an art museum around two years ago with a friend. We spent about an hour there being impressed by centuries of art. And then I walked into a particular section of the museum. My immediate thought was, “What on earth?” I tilted my head to the side like a confused poodle trying to make sense of what I was seeing. I had stumbled into the “modern art” section of the museum.

Honestly, most of it didn’t do it for me. I am not arrogant enough, however, to think that it won’t for someone else. Just because I feel like a certain painting could have been done by a drunk three-year-old does not negate that painting’s value as art.


This was sold for $60 million! I don’t know what the person who bought this is experiencing, but I think they need drugs to do it.

Art is subjective, which means that it’s different for every person. I don’t think that just saying that will make video games art, but I do think that it’s worth thinking about.

By the way, even Ebert later changed his mind about video games. He eventually conceded that video games could be considered art to some people and even said that maybe someone would make one that would satisfy him. He conceded these points in a condescending way only he could manage, but I give him points for conceding it none the less.

In conclusion, I think video games qualify as art (again, only my opinion, but hey, art is subjective, right?). I also think those who think video games are not art are wrong (my opinion too). Furthermore, I think those who give their opinions as facts without, well, facts, and then demonize people who disagree with them are jerks.

This post is getting long, but I want to end with one final thought. I spent 1,000+ words on this topic, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter to me. Whether or not video games are art is probably not a big issue to most games either. We don’t play games because they are art. We play them because they are fun. Whether or not video games can be classified as art is irrelevant, really. Whether we enjoy them or not is the real question, and one that can only be answered by each individual gamer. Enjoyment is subjective too.

So forget about intellectual theories (unless that’s something you enjoy) and go out there and enjoy your play-through of Skyrim, Batman: Arkham Assylym, Civilization V, or even Goat Simulator if that’s what gets you going.

Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t enjoy something just because they think it’s worthless, or lowbrow.






Adventures in Adulting


For the last three-ish weeks, I’ve been living in my new apartment. I have to say, there are a lot of advantages to living off campus, but there are also some hurdles to jump and adjustments to be made.

First off, the usual turn that I make to get to my college when I’m driving (usually I just take the bus) is apparently the busiest intersection on the planet. I’ve taken to leaving my house an hour ahead of time, just to make it to class on time. Mind you, I live about 5 minutes away… on the weekends. The last time I drove to class, I sat at that intersection for 10 minutes. If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. I timed it.

Unfortunately, taking the bus is not necessarily easier. It just has problems of a different variety. Mainly, I have the absolute worst time staying awake. The 50 minute bumpy ride rocked my butt right to sleep. I may be awake when leave my apartment, but by the time I step off the bus bus, I’m like:


It makes staying awake in class that much harder. Luckily, my earliest morning class is taught by my favorite professor. He loves to make us laugh and is usually able to wake me up sufficiently.

In addition to travel-related issues, I’ve been very slowly attempting to further my cooking horizons. The extent of this so far includes making spaghetti last weekend and baking Digiorno pizza today. Otherwise, freezer meals. I do intend to try and make Hamburger Helper tonight. Baby steps, guys, baby steps. I don’t want to set the apartment on fire.

I would have pictures of the inside of my my apartment to show you, but my phone takes terrible photos, and I seem to have misplaced my usual camera. I’ll have need of super expensive cameras at some point in this semester, so I’ll try to get some nice photos then.

Until then (or until I come up with something else to blog about), Auf Wiedersehen!

Have you had any adventures in adulting lately? Let me know in the comments.

Day Camp Micro-stories

My job as a day camp counselor ended a few days ago. I can’t even begin to tell you everything that happened over the summer, so I’ll stick to telling short little micro-stories about the fun and sometimes insane times I had with my campers.

Story 1: Fish hooks are for fish, silly

One of my kids got a fish hook stuck in his leg, if you can believe it. Here I was just sitting on my lifeguard stand doing my job when this boy comes running up to the stand. I half ignored him at first, because I was trying to focus on scanning (waterfront lifeguarding is the opposite of fun). But I heard him say something to the effect of, “Mumble mumble mumble in my leg.”

At that point, I looked down to see him clutching his thigh. “I got a fish hook stuck in my leg,” he repeated.


I quickly had the other lifeguard take over total coverage for me while I dealt with the hook. Unfortunately, it hadn’t poked all the way through, and the barb was too big for me to pull out. His mom came to get him a little while later to take him to get it removed. He was back the next day. Tough little guy.

Story 2: The rocket

On the lighter side, a couple of my campers found an unwrapped (clean) tampon and had no idea what to make of it. “It’s like a little rocket!” my boy camper exclaimed with joy. I had the worst time trying not to laugh my butt off as I took it and threw it away. The best part was that I got to tell his dad about it at church that Sunday.

Story 3: In which I hurt myself

On Tuesday (fricken’ Tuesday!) of my last (LAST) week of camp, I somehow managed to get my toenail yanked off during a field game. Let me revise that. I somehow managed to get my toenail almost all the way yanked off. See, it was sticking straight up, hanging by the smallest of bits of skin on the left side of the base.

Are you cringing yet? Now imagine how I felt.

Of course, given that this was the last week of camp, I wasn’t at all willing to go home early. I loved my campers and I didn’t want to say goodbye before I absolutely had to. So I decided to stick it out. Have you ever tried hiking with your toenail torn off? Don’t.

For whatever reason, I wasn’t allowed to tell my campers what happened. So of course, that was the only thing they wanted to talk about. Eventually, I got fed up with the questions and told them that an gator got into the lake and bit my toe off and the hospital had to sew it back on. The kids didn’t believe me (I think), but they did mostly stop asking questions.

Story 4: Skipper

At the beginning of the summer, I resolved to not have these kids butchering my name all summer long. I’ve worked with kids before, so I know that “Susannah” can be both impossible for their minds to remember and hard for their mouths to pronounce. So I gave myself a nickname.

My group was called the First Mates, so I decided to call myself “Skipper.” After a week, the name stuck fast. As the summer went on, a few funny things came of my nickname.

First, one of my campers was mortified when he accidentally called me “Stripper” instead of “Skipper.” Of course, I couldn’t let that go, so I teased him until his ears turned pink and then let him off the hook. You should have seen the look of relief on his face.

One of my younger campers loved to play UNO in the evenings. He was a wild little guy, and every time he skipped me, he would yell “Skip Skipper!” at the top of his lungs. It was great to let everyone around us know I was getting trashed at UNO by a six-year-old. I have about ten different stories about this camper alone, but I’ll save them for another time.

Finally, one of my campers came up to me and said, “I have a gift for you.” I’m not sure what I expected, but it was not a five inch long brass plaque with the word “Skipper” engraved on it. 0712161928I was touched and a little confused, but I thanked her and gave her a hug anyway. I’m going to hang it on the door of my apartment when I get there in a few days.

That’s about all I have room for in this post. I’m sure I’ll think up some other stories to tell you about in the future. But for now, know that I had an awesome summer. I’m really going to miss my campers, especially the ones who came every day.

I should be posting a bit more regularly now that I actually, you know, have wifi. In about a week, I’ll probably have a post about my new apartment. Can’t wait to show you all.


Do you have any crazy stories from your summer? Let me hear them in the comments.

Life Update 7/2/2016 (and why I’ve been missing)

Again, I must apologize for being missing for a few months. Although, oddly enough, this time I have a decent excuse. I literally haven’t had wifi for two months. Since a couple days after my last post, I left for camp. There is no wifi at camp. AT ALL.

So, yeah, a good enough excuse if I do say so myself. I’ll have wifi for the next 6-ish hours, and I’ll be making good use of it. Of course, that means Netflix.

But by way of update, I’ll tell you a bit about my summer so far. I’m working at a Christian summer camp again. This will be my… 5th? year doing camp things. However, it is my first year being a counselor. And I absolutely love it.

Being a camp counselor is the coolest thing ever in my opinion. I’m working with day campers at my camp. My kids are 8-12 years old. They are ADORABLE. (Squee). Of course, a few of them are harder than others to deal with, but I’ve found that I genuinely love these kids.

Being a counselor at a Christian camp is even more awesome. It’s not normally every day that I get the chance to teach impressionable young minds about Christ. But at camp, that’s exactly what I get to do. My favorite part of the day is the Bible lesson that I get to do in the mornings. We’re going through most of the major stories of the Bible, and I’m already seeing a difference in these kids’ lives.

So far, in day camp, we’ve seen seven kids give their lives to Christ. THAT is the best part of camp for me. Forget swimming at the lake or shooting arrows. Seeing kids grow in the Lord is the coolest part of this job.

I’ve also been growing a lot in my own walk with Christ. I’ve started reading my Bible and praying in the morning every day. It’s something I’ve been wanting to for a long time, but something has always held me back. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying my quiet times in the morning.

Speaking of mornings, I have to wake up at a just ungodly hour. I wake up every day at 5:45 am. You should know something about me: I am NOT a morning person. Strangely enough, it hasn’t really bothered me too much. I think part of the reason is that I’m enjoying my Bible study. But we as day camp also go to bed earlier than anyone else. I’m usually in bed around 10:30. So I get somewhere around seven hours of sleep every night. I’m functioning surprisingly well, all things considered.

It’s really funny to see how my attitude about sleep has changed since I got to camp. Usually, by 10 pm, I’ll look at the clock and think, “Oh, I can stay up a few more hours.” A couple of days ago, on the other hand, I got into bed and looked at the clock, and it said 9:45 pm, and my immediate thought was, “Oh cool! I’m in bed before 10!”

In other news, I’ve decided that I really love living in the mountains. The views up here near Roanoke are amazing. I know my mom will find this surprising, but I actually really like driving in the mountains. I got to borrow a friend’s car today and drive down to the coffee shop I am currently sitting in. The drive here was just gorgeous. I might want to live up here permanently someday.

I think that’s about all I can think of to update you about right now. Hopefully it won’t be two months before I’m able to talk to you guys again.


Tell me about your lives in the past two months in the comments. Have you done anything interesting recently?

What’s happening in our colleges?

Have you guys read some of the stories about college students who can’t handle… well, anything? If you haven’t, allow me to list a few.

It’s ridiculous. College is supposed to be a place where you can stretch your mind and find out about new ways of thinking. It’s not supposed to be a safe space. There should never be anything safe (intellectually speaking) about college. As far as I’m concerned, if you make it through your entire collegiate career without once hearing an opinion you don’t agree with, then it was all a waste.

Not only are today’s college SJWs wussies that can’t handle chalk writings that will wash away when it rains, but they are also just plain obnoxious. I recently watched this video (and a few others like it) and was appalled.

Just watch (language warning).

These people can’t handle hearing opinions they disagree with, and they don’t even have the decency to walk away. They have to shout and complain and disrupt the entire event just to be contrarian.

And you know what the kicker is? This entire show was called “The Triggering” and was supposed to be a discussion about free speech and political correctness gone too far. Obviously the people in the audience didn’t realize that they were proving the speaker’s point by acting like idiots the whole time.

The only ones these protesters (or loud, whiny morons if you prefer) are hurting are themselves. They are depriving themselves the experience of hearing another’s point of view. I know from experience that the only way to counter an argument you disagree with is to have better arguments, which requires knowing what the original argument was in the first place.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to go to a school where people can handle opinions they don’t agree with. We’ve had speakers come to convocation that most of us don’t like. Most students at Liberty dislike Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Yet, all 10,000 of us sat quietly and listened politely.

It was probably good for us. In the case of Bernie, I’m willing to bet that there were a few students who’d never seen was socialism looked like. For Trump it was good to see the obvious attempt at pandering. You learn things when you take the time to just listen.

You don’t have to like it. But you don’t have to act like a jerk. Liberty students give me hope that maybe my generation isn’t doomed to destroy themselves looking for “safe spaces.”