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Friday, December 31, 2010

Xbox Fixed!

 So a couple days back I wrote about how my Xbox had just died and Microsoft wanted an absurd amount of cash to fix the thing. So I figured I'd open it up just for grins to see what would come of it and a few hours later I once again had a work Xbox. No parts had to be replaced and I'm not exactly skilled in repair so I wouldn't say that it took any precision to fix. In short, I now have a working Xbox once more and I didn't have to pay a single thing for it.

 That got me to thinking, why did Microsoft feel the need to charge me such an exorbitant rate? I'm sure I'm not the first person to call in with this problem, and I'm just as sure that there's someone out there that got suckered into paying. It just seems to me that once they saw this problem could be easily rectified wouldn't they be more inclined to inform their consumers that they can do the work with little effort on their part? I guess deep down I wonder if they have a hidden agenda to double their profits by giving the Xbox a short life span. I've heard stories from people who claim they've never had a problem with their old Xbox 360 system and others who buy a new one and it breaks in the first week and shortly again after that.

 Are we really to believe that such a large company with their foot in almost every corner of the electronic industry can't manage to produce a system that functions without the need of constant repair and maintenance? I for one don't buy it and I intend to encourage people to take their broken 360's to a third party instead of dealing with Microsoft anymore.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Xbox Joys and Frustrations

  So I sat down last night with the full intention of playing my Xbox 360 until the sun came up. It seemed like great timing, I haven't finished Reach or New Vegas yet and both had expansion packs in the works so I figured I'd spend some quality time with my games. How nice it would have been if things worked out this way. I turn on my Xbox to find that it won't read any of my discs. I tried blowing the thing out with some compressed air but that didn't seem to do anything for it save to loosen some dog hair from the fan. Finally I gave up and called Microsoft and after an hour of back and forth they told me it'd be $140 bucks to fix.

Now let me get this straight, a new Xbox right now runs around $200 bucks and these (insert vernacular describing a horses rear) want me to give them $140 bucks, pay shipping, wait seven weeks and get back an old system with old parts in it? To hell with that! I get it, Microsoft isn't in the fix it business, they're in the sell it business. However when your product is so infamous for it's defects that the term "red ring" is inserted into everyday speech, you need to re examine your business motto. The thing that annoys me more then anything is my warranty was up on December 23rd. It almost makes me think that there's a kill switch implanted on these things to crap out right before Christmas so they can drive up sales even further.

TL:DR, I'm an annoyed Xbox user right now. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day After Christmas

I think Christmas this year was the lightest my family has ever had. Very few gifts under the tree but it was enjoyable all the same. The family got together and played Wii practically all day before settling down for dinner and a movie. All and all it was low key which reminds me how nice it is not to have to worry about "getting and giving."

I don't mean that in the traditional "we can all have fun if we don't get loads of crap" kind of way. I guess without all the commercialism that I'm used to seeing with my family during Christmas it was nice to relax for once. I personally feel like I have more work then I know what to do with many times, so the last thing I want to do during the holidays is spend all of my time and energy trying to figure out how I'm going to work enough to pay for all the crap that's going under the tree.

Anyway, hope everyone's holiday was as good as mine. Cheers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gee thanks...

I thought I could start up a blog and maybe make a couple of bucks on it every month. I don't know why this is happening but according to my adsense account there's like ten times as many clicks as there are views. That's really funny people, try to get me banned just for sharing my thoughts. I don't know what's wrong with people these days and why they feel they have to ruin someone else's joy just so they can have some fun on their on.

To the couple people that have shown interest in my random little thoughts so far, thanks. I don't actually know what will happen but my brother who is really big on blogging says that I'll probably get banned and my account will get deleted.

If anyone knows how to fix this it'd be a great help to me. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What's the Rush?

It really pisses me off when a movie ends and the first thing people do is get up and run out of the theater. To me it just seems incredibly disrespectful. These people spent their time and money to make this film which you hopefully enjoyed and you can't even give the the time of day to read their credits and acknowledge them? I think the issue is that everyone is in such a hurry these days. I think it's terribly ironic. We have cars to get us places faster, yet we're always rushing to get there. Household chores have been cut down because of automated machines, yet we don't seem to have any time for family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Loved this Narrative.

 I read this earlier this week and I'm doing my best to recreate it. I haven't always gotten along with my professors so this struck home.

  In a College classroom with a professor teaching a philosophy lesson:
‘Let me explain why science conflicts with religion.’ The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’
‘Yes sir,’ the student says.
‘So you believe in God?’
‘Of course.'
‘Is God good  or evil?’
‘God is good.’
‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’
‘Of course he can.’
‘Are you good or evil?’
‘According to the Bible I'm evil..’
The professor grins knowingly. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’
‘Sure I guess so.’
‘So you’re good…!’
‘I wouldn’t say that.’
‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’
The student does not answer, so the professor continues.
‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?’
The student remains silent.
‘No, you can’t, can you? Let’s start again, is God good?’
‘Yes!’ the student says.
‘Is Satan good?’
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. ‘No.’
‘Then where does Satan come from?’
‘From God’
‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’
‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’
Again, the student has no answer.
‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’
The student squirms on his feet.
‘So who created them?’
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks.
‘Yes, professor, I do.’
The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’
‘No sir.. I’ve never seen Him.’
‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’
‘No, sir, I have not.’
‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’
‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’
‘Yet you still believe in him?’
‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’
‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’
‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own.

‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’
‘ Yes.'
‘And is there such a thing as cold?’
‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’
‘No sir, there isn’t.’
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet.
The student begins to explain.

‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero is the total absence of heat.

'You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence spreads across the room.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’
‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’
‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester.
‘So what point are you making, young man?’
‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains.. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.’ ‘It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’ ‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’
‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’
‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’ The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter. ‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’ ‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I Guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’
‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’

Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it Everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man.. It is in The multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’
To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth

         Let me tell you a story about the Happiest Place on Earth. I was working at Disneyland a few years back and while many stories came out of that place there's one I remember better then any others. I had a closing shift at Thunder Mountain but I had come in early that day to get my hands on one of the anniversary pins that they hand out to cast members. Truth be told I'm not big on the whole pin trading, but I figured I could always sell it one day.

Closing time came and I packed up my things and headed of towards my locker. It's was just a little bit before one o'clock and most of the people had emptied out of the park already. As I passed in front of the castle I noticed a family taking pictures. If you've ever been to Disneyland you know there's ALWAYS someone in front of the castle ruining your family photo, but this group had it made. It was the same deal as always, Dad takes the picture of Mom and Son and then Mom takes the picture of dad and son, etc. I was already off, but I figured I'd do something nice for them and offer to take their picture.

The parents were overjoyed. They explained this was their first time to Disneyland and they hadn't had a picture all together all day. That alone would have been enough to make your day, but what happened next changed my life. The son had asked me if I had the anniversary pin that had been given out earlier that day. Sure enough I did, but it was in my locker. I asked the mother if it would be alright for me to send them the pin in the mail. She thought that'd be great and we exchanged information.

A few days went by and I finally got around to mailing the pin off. It was weeks before I heard a response and I'd all but forgotten about my random act of kindness until a letter arrived in the mail. It was from the mom. She apologized for the delay in response and thanked me ten fold for sending the pin. She said it really made her son's day. She continued on to explain that on their way home they'd been in a drunk driver and her husband was killed in the collision.

It turns out that she was looking through the photos of their first visit to Disneyland as a family. In every picture someone had been left out except for one. The picture I took of them together, in front of the castle, for the last time.

Happiest place on Earth...