Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Oct 20

The Inevitable Gaming Computer Comparison

After the giddiness of having ~~a new thing~~ has passed, I’m giving some serious consideration to what I like about my Y50 and what I don’t like. As a whole, there’s nothing that’s a deal breaker that would make me return it, but I do sigh wistfully at a few features that I preferred with my Alienware M15x.

Let’s start with the positives, of which there are quite a few.

  • The Y50 is much lighter. It’s missing an internal DVD drive, but my bundle included an external. Since I won’t need it very often, this is fine.
  • The brushed aluminum looks fantastic, and it still has a profile reminiscent of a car. The velvet-cote plastic surface surrounding the keyboard feels fantastic.
  • The speakers are situated in a position so you get the most sound, and it’s rich and deep. It’s hard to believe these are laptop speakers I’m talking about. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed listening to music like this before.
  • Using the arrow keys to control volume and brightness just makes sense!
  • Battery life seems longer.
  • Greater pixel density in the screen.
  • Google Play Music free trial? I’ll take it!
  • There’s also a free Intel game bundle including Total War: Rome 2, which I have yet to install.
  • Finally, it’s fast. Of course, the 4th gen Core processors didn’t even exist four years ago when I bought my first laptop, and that was a 1st or 2nd gen i3! It comes with only 8GB RAM, but this hasn’t been an issue at all.

Plus. 1 terabyte hard drive? Who needs that? XD

But there are just some areas in which my Alienware still reigns supreme.

  • I love choosing colors for the keyboard backlighting and various LEDs. I like red well enough, but the new laptop lacks LEDs in as many places.
  • The lack of number pad on the M15X provided more space for keys, which were generally bigger and well space. The viagra ireland hgh human growth hormone number pad on the y%0 should be a boon, but it’s really not. Key placement is less ideal for my small hands, and I am constantly having to turn number lock on and off. Plus, the Backspace and right Shift keys are cut down to make room for the number pad, so I often find myself hitting the wrong key by mistake.
  • My Alienware has an IR port, which I have a Windows remote control for.
  • It also has a row of capacities touch buttons, including those specifically to control music. There are no music control buttons on the Y50, even though there is space for additional function keys on the top row! While music sounds wonderful, controlling it is more frustrating to control music, and this could really cause me not to do so.
  • Those buttons and all settings came with a simple yet gorgeous on screen display. The Y50’s OSD is puke green and ugly, literally.
  • The trackpad is textured in such a way that you get extremely precise feedback, and the haptic feedback on the buttons blows the trackpad of the Y50 out of the water. In comparison, the Y50 is too sensitive while also being finicky. Weird, right?
  • The screen is really impressive for watching movies or playing games.
  • My M15X came with mousepad, leather-bound instruction manual, complete reformat discs, a slipcase for travel and a few more things. It just felt overall more polished.

As a lineup, I feel pretty confident than Alienware laptops are stronger. They’re more intuitive to use for me, which is a huge bonus. The Y50 is, no doubt, better hardware, but that’s also not quite comparable given there were 4 years in between. The portability and design of the Y50 are certainly a nice break from my hefty laptop, but lack of customization options has me bummed.

I’m sure I’ll learn to love my Y50, but it’s just not love at first sight.


Oct 18

On Consuming Media with Problematic Messages

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about things that I enjoy and how they’re problematic in some way. Typically, this means the music I listen to and messages that may be racist or sexist, but those certainly aren’t the only mediums or messages that are problematic. I probably just notice it in music more because IO am almost always listening to music.’

For example, I love the beat of the new Nick Jonas song “Jealous,” but the lyrics are fucking terrible as he sings about his right to be jealous of his beautiful girlfriend and to act “hellish” because of it. While Nick plays it like it’s normal, Meg Myers has no qualm about talking about her obsessive desires are pretty far out there. I just discover Meg and both “Monster” and “Desire” are like this. They’re fantastic songs, though!

Another song that I can’t help but dance along to is “All About the Bass.” Megan Trainor has landed on the scene in a big way, and her leading anthem about how the boys love her(and dislike thin women for their lack there of) for her curves just rubs me wrong. It’s not body positive to call a slender people “skinny bitches” no matter how she might follow it up with a quip about how they’re beautiful. It just doesn’t come off as genuine.

I checked out a few more Megan Trainor songs, and I have to say her writing skills — or at least her choice in lyrics as a whole — tend to be problematic. She focuses so single-mindedly on “finding and keeping a man who will treat her like a lady and pay for her lavish lifestyle. She’s fallen prey to a society who says she is only worth something as long as she is useful (read: owned by) a man, and it just makes me.. sad. Because she seems like she’s HGH pretty fuckin’ awesome. She doesn’t necessarily have to be a feminist fighter, but there’s so much more to life and music than what she’s chosen thus far. In fact, I think that Mary Lambert does a great job of this!

Before I wrap up this post, I’ll talk about everyone’s favorite love-to-hate singer and songwriter: Taylor Swift. Taylor recently release a fun pop anthem titled “Shake It Off.” I cannot help but get up and dance when I hear it. The beat is amazing, and it might be causing me to lose weight — kidding, though! I can’t believe it only has 1 million views.

But “Shake It Off” has been on the receiving end of a lot of flack. Perhaps most notable is the idea that the video combines one part definite cultural appropriation and perhaps another part racism, depending on how you view it, thanks to concepts that are reminiscent of ye olde minstrel shows.

I also have a bone to pick with the lyrics, which suddenly show Taylor demanding her right to have fun (and potentially sex) with whoever she wants. This in and of itself isn’t problematic. You get it, girl! But she has spent much of her career slut shaming the other girls for being to promiscuous. The sudden change could perhaps be in relation to her growing up. Taylor has even recently has explained how she has come to realize what feminism is and wishes she had understood early so she could have sooner called herself a feminist.

I think there’s two overreaching thoughts here. I still enjoy these things despite their problems. Critical thinking about music and other things we so passively enjoy is an important part of growth. Secondly, even people and creators who have been problematic are starting to see the fact and coming around to the other side, which is kind of inspiring.


Oct 05

In Which Cole Writes about Minimum Wage, Fast Food and Military Benefits

Every time I see this ridiculous meme floating around on Facebook in the response that we might possibly consider raising the minimum to $15 per hour for fast food workers or, you know, anyone who works hard, I just seethe. Here is it in all its glory:

Okay, rant – For those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, let’s do some math. At $15 an hour Johnny Fry-Boy would make $31,200 annually. An E1 in the military makes $18,378. An E5 with 8 years of service only makes $35,067 annually. Hmmmmmm….. So you’re telling me, Sally McBurgerflipper, that you deserve as much as those kids getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt!

I spent a few years as a military wife, and while the base pay might not compare at first glance with the annual salary that, but there are a lot of perks that are awarded to service members and, by extension, their families. Here’s just a short list of perks I experienced as a military wife. Military.com has a whole list of benefits, too.

military benefits

This list doesn’t included bonuses for signing up, hazard pay during deployments and tons of other perks that I personally didn’t experience or am not familiar with.

What does this mean? That the $18,000 per year made by an E3 in any branch of the military is basically for non-essentials. There will never be a case in which a military member/family living on base will be without a home or utilities. Every public building on base has a phone for public use, which means you may not even need your own phone!

The salary will certainly go to some bills, including a vehicle, gas and insurance (which service members will likely get a discount on as a thanks for service). You’ll pay out of pocket for clothing and household items, which you can purchase on base without sales poker and blackjack online tax, but this comes nowhere near $18,000 per year. You could send your child to private school, waste hundreds on video games â?? Gamestop should consider building stores directly outside base gates! â?? or always purchase a brand-new vehicle.

Am I saying that military members shouldn’t make more than someone who works at McDonalds? Not really. The problem with the type of thinking that has motivated this post is the idea that fast food workers shouldn’t make $15 an hour because that’s the type of pay someone who works harder earns. The â??harderâ? job might be military or factory work or something such as being a doctor, which required years of expensive schooling. These things might all require more diligence or risk or education or experience. I’m not arguing that.

But if you’re only making $15 hourly at a risky or difficult job, you should also be paid more!

You are being fucked over just as much as the person flipping your burgers or delivering your pizzas. You are also suffering at the hands of a system that hasn’t ensured the minimum wage, and by extension, all other wages keep up with the cost of living. You’re just being fucked over a little less, which makes it manageable.

It might suddenly become more obvious if you’re making the same — or even less — as someone whom you deem has an easier job. But you should be fighting along with people who want to raise the minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do as a compassionate human being, and it will only help you in the long run, too.

There’s only one reason to oppose fair wages: because it hurts those who are wealthy and powerful. Those people are wealthy and powerful enough. Chances are, you’re not one of those people if you’re reading this. So stop acting like one of them. You have nothing in common. They will do nothing for you while continuing to take from you. You are better than that.


Sep 21

Homeless Family Trying to Build Life in Southern Utah

I am writing this on behalf of a fellow blogger, Victoria of Mom Does Reviews. She recently shared her experience running a family of seven people — and two dogs — who have been homeless for most of this year. Victoria has a GoFundMe campaign that fill finally enable the family to have a place to call home. 

Donate Now!

Homeless2[1]

Since January of this year, Victoria Johnny, her husband and her five children have been traveling the country. It might seem like a dream vacation or an alternative lifestyle, but the truth is more heartbreaking than that. The family of seven is homeless, a word that doesn’t come easy to the matriarch. But things could get much worse. A sixth child is on the way.

Fate seemed to conspire against the family, who originally lived in Florida. The Johnnys decided to live out their dreams of starting a home business. Victoria writes at a popular blog, Mom Does Reviews, and her husband tried his has as a handyman. However, while Victoria was able to bring in income  through blogging, it wasn’t enough to support their family of seven when her husband’s business didn’t pan out.

Since then, the family has stayed with friends on a family farm, spent some nights at hotels, camped out in parks and, when there was no other option, slept in the family car. It wasn’t easy, Victoria describes. When the weather was bad and they were forced to sleep in their SUV, they would move all their belongings to a tent. Their homelessness strained friendships when people weren’t able to put up five children, their parents and Ativan two dogs. Potential job leads fell through when the family was unable to establish a residence close enough.

And being homeless isn’t cheap. Victoria estimates that it costs at least $1,800 monthly to feed her family of five and two family pets. She works six to eight hours every day whenever there is a wireless connection around, but that’s not always an option when the family is forced to camp.

Things are finally starting to look up for the Johnnys, however. An accidental job lead in Southern Utah has led the family to a place where they could finally put down roots. Low crime rates, beautiful weather and affordable housing are among the reasons why Southern Utah just makes sense for the growing family.

Before they can finally breathe a sigh of relief, they will have to come up with the money for rental, security, pet and utility deposits — at least $2500. The family is without much of their possessions, including furniture and homeschooling materials, which are stored elsewhere. Victoria has set up a GoFundMe page that outlines stretch goals that include transporting those items to their new home.

The family doesn’t just want to take, however. After they get their feet back on the ground, they plan to give back to the community, friends and family and even strangers when they can. But this will only come together if they can finally have a home to come home to.

If you’d like to contribute to the campaign, visit the GoFundMe page here: http://www.gofundme.com/efhxfg

You can also read about the family’s plight in Victoria’s own words at Mom Does Reviews:  http://momdoesreviews.com/2014/09/17/homeless-look-like-help-gofundme/