Monday, February 18, 2013

Gamer Remorse: File Backing Isn't Just for Computers

Tragedy struck recently: In the midst of a bout of Skyrim, my 60Gb, backwards compatible Playstation 3 gave up the ghost after six years of faithful service. There was no warning, and it wasn't a simple overheat. No, this was much worse.

The Yellow Light of Death.

Needless to say, I was distraught. My entire gaming history was saved to my PS3's hard drive, from my first PS1 save to my 166th hour of Skyrim. And to rub salt into the wound, my Skyrim disc was caught in the BluRay drive.

And here's my epic fail. It never occurred to me to back up my save files. Not one time. Even after the death of my first Xbox 360, I didn't think about it. The hard drive from my old Xbox slapped right on the new one, and there wasn't anything lost.

I could kick myself. Everything I've read says I can't do the old hard drive switch with a PS3 that I could do with the Xbox. Popping it in another PS3 will only format the thing. There's no way to pull it at all. And while I think this is bad foresight on Sony's part, it's a SUPER FANTASTIC FAIL of foresight on mine. Because ultimately, the PS3 is a computer. And sometimes computers crash. I back up my laptop, my flashdrive files, and my phone. So really, I should've thought.

Besides watching my entire gaming life wiped away in a blink, I've lost my ability to play my old games. Final Fantasy VII! Nooooo! The Kingdom Hearts series, all my other FF games, and a whole row of PS2 games that aren't likely to be downloads any time soon. (Shadow Hearts, ladies and gents.) I might be able to scrounge up a PS3 for the new games and PS2 for the old, but I've lost my nice all-in-one machine. 

And the bastard still has my Skyrim disc.

Anyone else have a gamer's lament? I'll mourn with you below. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thinking Human


I was reading an article about a brave teen who came out to her parents. She baked them a cake and wrote a silly note to lighten the message, and you know what? Everything turned out fine. Her parents still loved her and supported her, and it was a heartwarming story.
Now, I have this terrible habit of scrolling through comments. A couple of commenters said they were tired of these stories, and wanted to know when they would not be news anymore. (I’m paraphrasing, obviously.)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that lies in the answers of your fellow posters and in your own postings. When will coming out stories stop being important? Probably never, honestly. That’s a big thing to tell your family. When might it be less in the news? When people stop referring to those featured in these stories as “the gays.” Being gay, or bisexual, or transgender is not a classification. It’s a part of that person, just like having blue eyes or brown hair or freckles.
I know our brains like to put everything in order. We like numbers and set places. This goes here, that goes there. But people don’t fit into any one box, except for maybe the human one. We are a wonderful spectrum of differences that make each of us unique. The problem is, some of us focus on the differences and that little box machine in their head kicks in. Then we end up with ridiculous categories with inaccurate definitions attached to them. In the worst cases, this kind of thinking leads to “Us vs. Them” mentality.
“Think Outside the Box” might be cliché, but I think it applies here. Until we stop thinking in categories, then we’ll continue to have the stresses between people that make these articles necessary. Until we stop making a big deal out of people’s differences, then we will need these stories.
If you want these stories to disappear, when you look at the person across from you, don’t think, “gay” or “black” or “poor white trash”. Think “Dave” or “Susan”.
Think “human”.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Compassion: Don't Knock it

A woman I work with the other day had an interesting experience. While running an errand, she saw a man who seemed to be down on his luck, and in hopes of helping him along, she gave him a little money before going on her way.

And got shamed for it.

Apparently, the person behind her felt she was wasting her money and time. This person went on to tell her that there were other, more worthy places she could donate her money. Because after all, he was probably going to spend that money on booze.

This bugs the crap out of me. It wasn't any of that person's business what she did with her money. If she wanted to fling it off a parade float or wallpaper her living room with it, that's her decision. And no one knows the man's situation. Sure, he could be an alcoholic or even a professional panhandler. Or he could have lost his job, home, and family all in one fell swoop. Maybe he did buy a bottle of beer...or maybe he bought a can of food for the dogs he had with him.

The thing is, this person chastised her for being compassionate. We can't control what people do, but we shouldn't deny our urge to help someone on the chance they'll do the wrong thing. If we always followed the cynic in ourselves, then no charity would survive. We would always doubt that our money was really going to support cancer research or buy food for kids who might not have enough to eat outside of school. Maybe that puppy picture we got came out a store display. Or maybe we saved Fido by providing food and bedding for another week. Maybe that one week was all Fido needed to find a home.

Maybe that homeless gentleman is saving the money donated to him to buy a fresh outfit to interview for a new job.

I'd rather show a little compassion and think I helped someone than be cynical and know I didn't.

What about you? Have you been on either side of the coin? Maybe someone helped you out in a small way that left a big impression. Let me know!