I’ve decided to start refocusing myself towards listening more and talking less. As a blogger, this tends to be difficult.

One More Friend Knows

On Tuesday a friend of ours was coming over to visit–and she had news to tell us. Pretty important news. Nikki had already heard a bit, so we agreed it’d be a good time to exchange our news about me with her. It was something I felt was right to share with her–she’s one of three friends offline I’d trust outing myself to after all.

Doing so felt right and natural–and she was totally respected this new information and didn’t ask particularly intrusive questions. To my understanding, that’s a rarity when you come out to friends so… yay! She headed out shortly after and added that we’d all have to get back together once she’s back from vacation to figure more stuff out. Which is fine by me, there’s not a whole lot of people I can openly chat with about it.

Tenchi Muyo Time

Nikki and I finished her Summoner and my Paladin recently! It was quite the trip… we were just barely into Shisui when we decided to push them. And it took us maybe six days tops to finish them up to 70, which I guess a little over a level per day is average? But combine that with crafting, gathering, and raid preparation and we were swamped!

Having Paladin at Level 70 is pretty handy. I can generate significantly more enmity on Hunt NMs and we can secure much faster roulette queues now. I’d definitely like better gear than what I have now, but I’ve promised Nikki that we’ll work on that on Saturday. I can still hold hate, so it’s not totally necessary right now.

The best thing I like about Paladin so far is also likely the least I remember. Passage of Arms! It’s a two-minute defensive cooldown that increases my block rate to 100%. In addition, anyone standing behind me only takes 85% of the incoming damage. Sure that’s all handy for defense, but having 100% block rate also generates a significant amount of gauge in Shield Oath. That means way more tanking abilities, which help the party overall.

Also, I can’t stop thinking about Passage of Arms as Light Hawk Wings. It’s just so cool!

The Social Media Military

We all know Trump’s tweet on “we’re gonna remove the trans people from the military!” more or less. It incited a lot of very understandable rage. In a land supposedly of free, within legal limit, opportunity to pursue happiness–how can we deny employment to those who are still willing and fit to serve? Not to mention–even if this doesn’t push through… it says a great deal about how our nation’s leaders feel about us in general. And allows the populace to react and possibly get even more violent in their ways against us. This is all not okay.

Then, almost out of nowhere, people start remarking on imperialism. Hooooh dear. Okay, okay, okay–back up for a moment. If you’re against people working in a profession because the employer or company does really bad stuff? You’re negating employment almost everywhere these days. C’mon now. I won’t deny that the military has done, is doing, and will do some really messed up things. Absolutely unforgivable, irreproachable things. Whether or not they’re mistakes from blunders or bad people getting in or terrible orders to follow–there’s practically no excuse.

Still… there’s a lot of the culture that goes completely trampled on. “Who cares? They’re all murderers!” People have literally said on my feed. It hurts to read that. It hurts more than I can bear. Especially people who say that of their own family. Almost all soldiers don’t go into the military for imperialism. They do it because they have no other choice, or to get opportunities they can’t elsewhere. To follow in their family’s footsteps, or for the value of honor that is tremendously difficult to put into words.

Not every soldier kills. Some help to keep our network infrastructure going. Some help repair and build roads and housing. Many are first responders in crisis situations. Many more still volunteer for those less fortunate. There’s a lot more they do as jobs than just the heinous things you see on the television. And I assure you, there’s a whole lot more even worse that the public never sees. And a whole lot better that the public willingly ignores.

To those who say the military needs to be totally dismantled, good luck. Look what happened to Japan after World War II. They only had some police forces and the stationed US troops to protect them. And once the US troops were positioned elsewhere? Japan wound up forming the Self-Defense Force. Sure, it’s not a proper military by most standards and is overwhelmingly outbudgeted by what we spend on our own. But it’s important to recognize the necessity of, at the very least, a standing military. People who can serve in times of crisis or need, who can help build and repair, and people who will be there at the moment’s notice when someone does come upon the shores. I hate to say it, but pretty words on a few pieces of paper are not enough to stop problems.

Whatever rules are around in the world, there’s always something to enforce them. Be it the loss of friendship or an ally, the loss of status in breaking a promise, or a literal enforcer. Not many people like the enforcers, that much is certain. But they’re necessary to a degree that not a lot of people will ever seem to really understand until they’re gone.

I do think things need to change. That we need to spend the funds our military is given in much better, more efficient ways. That we should divert a lot of that spending onto our civilians. That we need desperate improvements for our Veteran’s assistance. The people approving budgets tend to forget that the most important asset are our soldiers, our people, and they need every penny they can be offered. Every bit of assistance we can give them. They do what they do often for a better life for them or their family, or to have something they feel proud of in their lives–even if they might do some things they certainly won’t be proud of.

Then there are people here who will brand them as murderers and criminals, as if those literal few deeds out of the countless missions are the ubiquitous throughout the world. The off-duty National Guard woman who just jumped into a freezing pond to save a kid’s dog? Murderer. The fresh-off-the-bus second lieutenant who just started studying for their degree and only pulls their gun out for mandatory cleaning? Murderer. Sure I’m cherry picking examples, I’ll admit it. And there’s no doubt there are plenty of very, very bad people out there. In and out of the military. And plenty more people who make very bad mistakes. There’s a lot of hurt either way and there’s no way to ever properly address or make amends for those other than to continue trying to improve what we have now–step by step. Bit by bit.

But for right now? Here and now? How fucking dare you shit on my friends? On my family? On people you know absolutely nothing about? On people who are like you and just want to go home, safely, in one piece. On people who spend the holidays away from anyone they know and love out in the middle of nowhere following orders that may or may not be immoral just so they don’t lose the trust of their unit and suffer essentially being exiled?

…I told myself I wouldn’t blog about it, but here I am. I am sorry. There’s very little which rouses my anger in such a manner. Maybe it’s that I’ve always lived in this culture–from both sides of my family. Honor, pride, and (earned) loyalty are very important to me–and I know they’re not for everyone. They’re things we have to battle with sometimes. Are they worth keeping if we toss aside other things we cherish? It’s an internal battle that really screws up a lot of people, and something that you never get much of a chance to talk about.

Anyway… just let people be. There are many things we can fight for, many things we can believe in. Even if you’re “woke AF” and can see the broader picture, there’s only so much you’re able to stand for as one person. Come to agree to disagree, to make compromise, and to always try and see the other side if the other side approaches you for a debate. But please, no matter what, always try your best to respect the people on the other side.


Raid Week Two

Now after that rant–we’re going into our second week of raid starting tonight! Elyon, our MNK, will be going NIN this time around to see if he likes it or not. I’m pretty excited for both Trick Attack and chances at any striking loot that may drop, so it’s a win/win for me as greedy as that is. We’re hoping to get O1S and O2S down quickly this week so we can spend as much time as possible in O3S. That said… I’m not sure how we’ll do there. It’s pretty much known that the third raid of a tier is what splits the kids from the adults more or less. We’ve never gone past that line, so it’s a very anxious point for me. You might say I’m feeling the Weight of the World on my shoulders to perform as our “carry DPS” job… lol.

Honestly though, I just swing my sword around and hope for the best. The real teamwork comes out of the seven around me–and I’m happy that they’re willing to carry my Juggernaut self to victory.

Happy adventuring!

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