Tag Archives: experience

Twenty Eight

We’re having a small departure from the usual Fallout-related images for birthday posts, because this shot of being killed by a well-known Escape from Tarkov streamer (and fellow Aussie), 28 seconds into the raid, while I was level 28, was too good not to use.

I’m not getting any younger.

Those were the exact words I said to a colleague — a whole seven years my junior — the other day. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it must have been related to our age difference, and/or differing accumulated life experience.

I often think that I’ve had a pretty sheltered life so far. It happens, especially when you grow up in a Christian family, go to a Christian school, and have somewhat-conservative Asian parents. And because I’m a bit of an introvert, it’s not as if I was going out and getting blind drunk every other weekend, like plenty of other people around my age. I don’t drive, lived at home until I was 24, and have only really been independent these past couple of years, all of which has really limited the shenanigans that I’ve been able to get up to.

Whilst I could argue that circumstances have meant that I’ve had less life experience than others, I have a sneaking suspicion that the reality is that my sheltered life has been much of my own choosing. By choosing to spend a lot of time alone in front of a computer, it’s possible, even likely, that I’ve had less exposure to “real life” than others.

Which is fine. Not all experiences are nice, after all. There’s definitely evidence to say that experiences that fall into the category of being “life experiences” often aren’t, more often than they are. At the very least, they often have some distinct reason to be memorable and can therefore be called an experience, and that experience isn’t always positive.

A few years back, the work Christmas party had a few gambling tables set up. The theme was Casino Royale, so gambling fit the bill. Everyone was given a set of chips on arrival, and it was up to you how you used them. Given that my exposure to real gambling at that point was more theoretical than practical, consisting of whatever I had seen on TV or in movies, I followed the lead of a few colleagues and played whatever they did.

I had just put it all on black at roulette, and was making small talk with one of my managers, when they asked me if I went to the casino often.
“No, I’ve never been”, I replied.
“Never?!” they responded incredulously.
I nodded yes. I might have then mumbled something about living a pretty sheltered life, but they didn’t press the issue.

It’s not as if I have some issue with gambling that has meant I’ve never done it, it’s more that I can count the number of times I’ve stepped foot onto a gambling floor at a casino using both my hands. I’ve never pulled the lever on a pokie machine, never gone all-in at poker, and never rolled the dice at craps. The only reason I know about any of these things is by sheer coincidence, either from reading about them online, or watching them being played in a movie or TV show. Sure, I’ve played video game equivalents — never with any real money on the line, mum — but it’s not really the same thing, you know?

Like I said, less life experience.

Which brings up an interesting point: do you think you can distill life experiences down to their essence so you can say you’ve been there, done that, even if you really haven’t? Or do the details matter enough that playing video game poker isn’t the same as the real thing?

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Don’t tell me looks don’t matter

There’s a TEDx talk that says looks aren’t everything, and that we should believe Cameron Russell, the giver of the talk, because she’s a model.

Which is hilarious, because she starts off by saying image is powerful.

I mean, doesn’t the very fact that she is a model represent that looks do matter? The fact that there’s an entire industry that revolves around being pretty, an industry focused on tall, slender figures, and all the other physical qualities we’re biologically built to admire. Everything points to the fact that looks do matter.

The very fact that she’s the recipient of a legacy, someone who won a genetic lottery, something that she herself admits she’s been cashing out on, means that looks do matter.

I think she tries to make the point that as much as we admire the people in magazines, the glamourous people who always seem to look good, they’re all constructions. But again, isn’t the very fact that we have all these people working towards the ideal or notion of “pretty”, “hot”, or “sexy”, yet another nail in the coffin of “looks don’t matter”? Clearly, they do.

I like when she says there are people paying a cost for how they look, not who they are. Because, if nothing else, it serves to drive home my point that looks do matter, and thinking anything else is just burying your head in the sand.

Oh, she’s insecure because she has to think about what she looks like, every day? Hey — maybe looks do matter. She’s received all these benefits from a deck stacked in her favour (her words, not mine), and she’s telling me looks don’t matter?

Please. Don’t tell me looks don’t matter — tell me image is important, tell me it’s superficial, but don’t tell me looks don’t matter.

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Here and Now

There’s a perk in Fallout 3 and New Vegas called Here and Now. When taken, it immediately grants you another level, complete with all of the advantages that brings. There are plenty of other, equally-enticing perks to choose from, all with similarly beneficial advantages, so why choose Here and Now over any of those? We’ll get to this in a bit.

FalloutNV 2013-01-27 15-51-27-99

I wanted to write about a number of different things on my birthday today, seeing as last year’s post was so disappointing length-wise, but then I realised that as much as everything changes, it all just stays the same. As much as I want to about all the great things that happened last year, or some of the cooler moments, I’ve already done so. I’ve already posted about how I’m now a great photographer, and how I’ve played some of the best video games currently on offer. What else is there to write on here about?

Correction: what else is there to write about that won’t sound as depressing as it actually is?

By all accounts I should have finished my degree by now, but I’ve failed enough things to mean that this year will be my fifth year of a what is usually a three-year degree. We were talking about this in the car with a friend a few weeks after results came out, and he was like “that kinda sucks man, are you bummed about that?” My response was that I was pretty “meh” about the entire thing, because really, it’s not such a big deal, but yeah, it does kinda suck; therefore, meh seemed like an appropriate response. Not something to get too hung up on, but not something to be entirely ignored, either.

And that kind of describes my entire life, actually: all the bits that aren’t OMG amazing or FML depressing are just kinda, well, “meh”. Not overly exciting, but not exactly something I want to brag about, either.

But isn’t that the point? If I think about it, doesn’t life mean we take things as they come — the good, the bad, and the Things That Sit Squarely In The Middle? I mean, I’d be somewhat concerned if my life was all awesome, all the time. Concerned, or re-ordering my stock of valium, one of the two. In fact, I’d say having this good/bad/meh balance is as important as anything else in your life; too much of a good thing is a bad thing, as they say. And as much as we might want great things to happen to us all the time, bad stuff happens. All you can do is take it in your stride and learn from the experience.

It’s this learning from experience that I wanted to finish on today. Life throws a great many things at you, but as long as you come out the other side, you’ve come out on top. Because, if nothing else, you’ve learnt something along the way. Every time you die in DayZ, you learn to not do whatever you did to die. Every time you take a film photo, you learn to refine your composition technique. You learn to get in someone’s face. Every time you finish a Gun Master round in Battlefield 3, you learn to aim better with the guns you’re given. You learn how they work, how much recoil they have. You learn, for the hundredth time, that you hate the LSAT with the fire of a thousand suns.

Point is, you learn from these life experiences; good, bad, or completely mediocre.

Which brings us back to Here and Now. Because as nice as having all those experiences are, and as nice as doing all that learning is, wouldn’t it be easier if you could do all that learning without going through the experience in the first place? I mean, who really wants to know what having their heart broken feels like, or what losing a close friend or family member feels like? Wouldn’t you rather just know beforehand, instead of having to actually go through it and experience it for yourself? If you could just know what things feel like and what would happen if you did a particular thing, wouldn’t you? They say hindsight is 20-20, but wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of hindsight before stuff — good, bad, or otherwise — happens?

Hence the Here and Now perk in the Fallout series.

An additional experience level, complete with all the advantages that brings.

Why My Mom Bought an Android, Returned It, and Got an iPhone | Betabeat — News, gossip and intel from Silicon Alley 2.0.

A friend of mine has a Nexus S and it is a pleasure to use. The UI is elegant and functional. The battery lasts for days. In short, it is everything that the Charge wasn’t. I’d love to see Google somehow mandate the stock Android experience on all phones, or somehow rigorously test all new phones before they could be launched. Why not standardize and mandate one or two excellent cameras, and then open source the drivers? Why not certify and approve a few of the best components and then place some sort of “premium Android experience” certification label on phones that pass tests and use components approved by Google? Right now it’s a crapshoot out there when you want a new Android phone, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

via Why My Mom Bought an Android, Returned It, and Got an iPhone | Betabeat — News, gossip and intel from Silicon Alley 2.0..

It’s not that Android can’t be good — it can, and it definitely is in some areas — it’s just that it’s let down by certain handsets, certain experiences which tarnish the whole thing.

It’s this kind of inconsistency, kids.