Borderlands

Extra Life 2015 or ‘Dammit, Cheryl!’

I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t ready for Extra Life this year. This would be my fourth year doing the annual 24 hour video game marathon, and I had originally given myself a goal of $1500 in an effort to top what I did last year.

But things happen. Life gets in the way. And somehow the increasing strain I was feeling in my back and the constant, reverberating pain that was beginning to eat away at my sense of self and sensibilities left me feeling as if this year I just couldn’t do it. I love gaming, but this year was just one year too many. My body couldn’t handle the stress, my mind was already strained from trying to remain happy under the pressure to be miserable, and now I was working.

But dammit all, Cheryl just had to message me on Facebook, innocently inquiring as to my plans. She unknowingly planted that seed, that tiny idea that was, from her end, innocuous and innocent. Not to me though. My brain, twisted as it is, interpreted it as Kathleen, you are letter yourself and the Children’s Hospital, which you owe so much, down if you don’t do this. Don’t be a big dumb baby.

Shut up, brain. Shut up!

But there you have it. My big dumb-dumb baby brain is back in Extra Life 2015 mode, and with only 2ish weeks left to fundraising I have put myself into one hell of a corner. I won’t make my goal, but I refuse to change it. I said I would raise $1500 and dammit, I will try. I will bribe coworkers, guilt if need be. I will beg family, I will post pictures of my nasty-ass spine and I will describe in vivid detail what it is like to have to take 12 children’s Tylenol instead of suffering a suppository only to then throw up artificial grape flavoured nonsense. It was like vomiting up Hell itself, by the way.

I will do it all in order to remind you folks that every year hundreds of thousands of kids utilize the various hospitals that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network, and that ACH here in Calgary is particularly important to me. It was a second home growing up, and offered me a family I never thought I would need, let alone want.

If you have a dollar, a dime, a quarter to spare, please consider donating, if not to me then to someone else. Maybe there is another hospital closer to where you live, where your own child has gone, or where you yourself had a broken limb mended in your childhood. Support these amazing organizations in any way you can.

Me? On November 7th to 8th (or possibly 8th to 9th depending on my work schedule) I will be playing video games for 24 hours straight. I will live stream it and complete challenges. Full disclosure: It will be all Fallout.

Click here to view my Extra Life page and, hey, maybe make a donation too!

In Which a War is Waged

Sharing a bed with someone is like a war that is fought entirely by special ops agents who act out in the most deviant ways possible. Their methods for gaining the upper hand are based around dirty tricks and propaganda delivered in nightly air raids. If you’re lucky you have a larger military force on your side than your partner.

Even the whole concept of sleeping in a bed suggests different sides. His side, her side; his lamp, my lamp; his corner, my corner! Mine!

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An Open Letter to Gearbox Software: “The Pros of Hiring Me, Kathleen Sawisky”

Dear Gearbox Software,

Okay, so my plan to be the next host of CBC’s Q doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I can’t fault them for that, really. I have zero experience with the radio, except that one time that I was on CBC’s Eye Opener with David Gray where he interviewed me about Gamergate. Hey look, an interest in the industry! Bam, right there. CBC will probably end up hiring some ‘National Icon’ like Norm McDonald or the immigrant from that Tim Horton’s Christmas commercial that aired a few years back. You wouldn’t know him. It’s a Canadian thing. Just trust me when I saw it was heartwarming and I have no problem in losing the coveted role of Q Host to him.

Speaking of brilliant satirical writing and high standards, please hire me. Your CEO, Randy Pitchford, recently hinted to the next Borderlands game going into production once a team could be compiled. Let me tell you right now, Gearbox. I am that team. Well, I mean, I’m part of it. I should be part of it. Wait, can I start again?

Dear Gearbox Software,

Please hire me. I know, I know. I’m not what you’re looking for. I’m ‘inexperienced’, and ‘don’t have training in the area’, and ‘Canadian’. I use the Oxford Comma and I have breasts, which I’m pretty sure you’re okay with given how you portrayed Ellie in Borderlands 2. Maybe it’s because Anthony Burch was the writer, but you folks just nailed that game by taking all the clichés and tropes of games and tossing them under the bus. Obviously you folks give at least a partial crap for women gamers and their opinions.

Unless of course you don’t want to talk about the current political environment of video games, in which case let me tell you about me.

                I am in my final semester at the University of Calgary for a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. In my spare time I write essays and open letters to, and about, things and people that annoy or amuse me. I have utilized sarcasm and satire most of my life to deal with the awkward nature and emotional struggles I have faced due to severe scoliosis and chronic pain. I am a delight to be around and people generally like me. Or if they don’t like me, they put up with me. One time this guy I knew didn’t put up with me and the end result was not pleasant for anyone involved. I have a dry sense of humor. So dry, my sense of humor was used as a sponge to soak up after Hurricane Katrina. You see that? I’m not afraid to hit in the sensitive areas. Unless it was too soon, in which case I admire the strength and attitude of the American people under such difficult times.

In my spare time, what little of it I have, I like to play video games (off the top of my head, top five include Earthbound, Final Fantasy VII, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite, and Super Mario RPG). However, I also knit (being Canadian, it is vital I have an unlimited supply of kitschy home-made goods that I may use to keep myself warm with over our long, ten and a half month winters.) I also sing songs about my cat, which are generally impressive only to myself and my husband. I think the cat might be impressed if I stopped rhyming ‘cat’ with ‘fat’, but whatever, it’s not like he cares. This one time I used ‘mat’ instead and he puked up all his food. That might have been a reaction to my rhyming scheme or the fact that he was displeased that he was going yet another day without wet food. In my defense, every time we give him wet food he gets the worst kitty gas. It’s not like we live in a large space, you know? I shouldn’t have to put a gasmask on every time I come home. This isn’t London during the Blitzkrieg. Unless of course that was insensitive. No, just forget I said anything. Can I start again?

Did I mention the chronic pain? Don’t worry, it doesn’t get in the way of me being totally awesome in every way. Plus side, I can legally be defined as someone with a ‘disability’ which probably would have some sort of tax benefit for your company. One of us might as well reap the benefits of it, am I right? Ha ha ha!

Listen, I’m going to level with you. I know I’m not the perfect candidate. You’re looking for someone with experience in the area. Someone with, dare I say, ‘training’. But what is training compared to real world experience? You might be saying to yourself, “Kathleen, it is something. It is, in fact, a great deal of something.” To which I would reply, “Pshaw! Your training is nothing compared to my raw, socially inept wit.” You would probably then proceed to dump my resume into the neatest recycling bin (I care about the environment), and go on with your day (because your time is very valuable and I wouldn’t dare waste it on something as mediocre as my wry sense of humor.)

But, Gearbox Software, your desire for satire, sarcasm, and humor is the very definition of me. If there was some sort of tiny dictionary with those three words next to each other, you would find a picture of me looming over them. Yes, I am young (chances of me dying halfway through a project due to a weak heart are non-existent), and yes, I am Canadian (I am so freakin’ friendly!) Yes, that might mean a bit of extra paperwork for both of us (good things come to those who wait!) and yes, it might mean spending a bit of extra time at your office filling out said paperwork instead of being home with your family (who are totally overrated anyway, am I right?) But Gearbox Software, if you give me this chance, if you take the risk of hiring me as a writer for the next Borderlands game, I promise you that you will see success like nothing you have experienced before. The whole gaming world will be talking about you and how you took the chance on a young woman from Canada who went to the big ol’ States to pursue her dream of being employed while writing dumb jokes for a video game series that is known for its humor.

I am basically the perfect candidate for the position. I come from the Texas of Canada. I already have my own cowboy hat. Okay, no, that’s a lie. I don’t. But I will buy one if required. I’ve been to Texas before, when I was four years old. Granted it was only Corpus Christi, and the only thing I remember about it was the Barbie that I brought with me, but culturally I’m basically already Texan, you know?

Okay, that’s a lie too. Not that I lie compulsively, ha ha ha! Ha… Ha ha.

Having taken up enough of your valuable time, I feel it would only be right to leave you with this handy guide to me. I’m sure by now you’re plenty enchanted with me, so this is really only a cursory list. I look forward to relocating to Dallas next week to begin my career with Gearbox.

Pros to Hiring Kathleen Sawisky:

  • Delightfully enchanting
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Thorough enjoyment of irony and lists
  • Canadian
  • Emotionally secure
  • Lots of silly tee shirts
  • Make delicious bacon-maple candy which everyone at the office will just love
  • Excellent leader
  • Famed for my creativity

Cons to Hiring Kathleen Sawisky:

  • Every November 23rd I turn into a vampire for 24 hours
  • Canadian
  • Really more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker
  • Difficulties in suppressing rebellious nature
  • Sometimes I cry myself to sleep
  • Okay, I cry myself to sleep all the time
  • Not very good at using the Siren in either Borderlands game. More of a Gunzerker to be honest
  • Despite Communication Degree I sometimes get very excited and talk too fast and trip over my words
  • I take mild delight in annoying others