Friday, October 19, 2012

NHL: The "No Hockey" League

Growing up, I was a big hockey fan, and the St. Louis Blues were my team. This was likely due to the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals were terrible, and we didn't have an NFL team yet, but still, hockey remained close to my heart after both of those facts changed (although my NFL allegiance has switched from the Rams to the Chicago Bears).

That is, until the NHL hired Gary Bettman as commissioner. There have since been three lockouts, one of which resulting in the cancellation of an entire season, and this one's not looking good either.

Now, I understand wanting to be paid what you're worth, and I understand the owners wanting to get an even piece of the pie, but when the 2004 lockout cost the NHL a bunch of TV contracts and a whole lot of fans, and many fans are now saying they won't be back if this season's cancelled, you would think both sides would be doing everything they can to return to work.

I'm not too optimistic. At least there's the AHL, CHL, and so on... because, I fear, if this lockout does indeed lead to the second cancellation of an entire season in a 10-year period, the NHL may never recover.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Judge Not...

If a man who identifies himself as a Republican says he supports slavery, and another makes asinine statements about rape, I will see many posts from friends that it must be what ALL Republicans believe.

Is it fair, then, since JFK (we all assume), Bill Clinton, and John Edwards all cheated on their wives, for me to assume that all Democrats are unfaithful to their spouses? No? Then why is it fair to make blanket assumptions for either side?

Is it fair, due to monsters like Benito Mussolini, for me to assume all atheists are fascists and evil? Obviously not. Does one assume that, since 9/11 happened, all Muslims are evil terrorists? Of course not; every person I've met who practices Islam has been a wonderfully generous, caring, and friendly individual. Then why is it fair to assume that all Christians were in support of the Crusades?

I like Chick-Fil-A. It's delicious. I do NOT support restricting any person's civil rights, though, as many would lead you to believe I would due to my love of chicken sandwiches. One shouldn't automatically mean the other.

Politics tend to ignite us in so many ways; they stir up feelings of patriotism and duty, sure, but unfortunately online they also tend to stir up bitter rhetoric, hurtful language, and more. I've personally had to block/unfriend people just for how they'll react to opinions they already knew I held.

As a reporter, I am charged with the task of seeing things from a neutral perspective. I must keep stories balanced, taking into account both sides. And I know that asking that of everyone is just impossible; (a) because we're all human, and nobody is completely unbiased, and (b) because it would, again, be expecting my personal beliefs about something to be shared with/applied to all.

Basically, I believe Jesus said it best (bear with me, those of you who don't believe He ever existed): “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." ~ Matthew 7:1-5

We all hold very passionate beliefs. We all want everyone to see things our way. But please try to remember that the actions of some are not equal to the beliefs of all, regardless of which side of the room you're on.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tragedy in Colorado

The town of Aurora, CO is still in shock after a gunman, wearing body armor and a gas mask, came into a theater showing the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, threw a can of tear gas at the crowd, then started shooting. At the time I write this, 10 to 14 people are dead, and over 50 injured. This kind of senseless violence is inexcusable.

What's also inexcusable is the knowledge that the media will eventually settle upon blaming this man's actions on comics or video games. You think I'm reaching here? Just wait. It'll come out that he played Call of Duty or Halo once... which pretty much everyone can say they've done at some point in their lives. Then it'll turn out that since he was at a Batman movie, perhaps these comics are too violent or perhaps their movies are warping our children.

I make this prediction because I've seen it before, and am certain we'll see it again. I pray for the victims, and I pray that my colleagues in the media will call this what it is: a senseless act of violence, with likely no reason or cause other than the fact that this man is obviously evil.

Let's not blame what's not responsible. Just this once, let's blame the man for his actions, instead of trying to figure out what "made" him do it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

E3 2012: The Pressure's On

So to start off, I'd like to say thank you to Shirtasaurus for sponsoring my podcast. Head on over and order some stuff from them, and use TheGeekCave as your coupon code to save 10% off your entire order. Do it NOW.

Cheap plug out of the way, let's talk something nerdy, shall we?

E3, one of the biggest gaming industry shows of the year, is coming up (June 5 thru 7, to be exact) and there are suddenly a lot of things I desperately need to buy once again. There's the Wii U, which will propel Nintendo into the HD generation. I can't wait to see what games will be announced, as well as find out whether or not the Wii U will upconvert Wii games to 1080p. Think of a Zelda, Metroid, or Mario game in full-HD. It's mind-blowing.

There's also the updates/reveals of several already-announced games, including a brand-new DC Comics fighting game, more info on Assassin's Creed III, and obviously the latest bevy of first-person shooters.

However, what I'm most excited about are the surprises. We know the Wii U will be talked about, so what will Sony and Microsoft do to steal Nintendo's thunder? Will we see a PS4 or NeXtbox? Sony and MS both say "no" be we know they've lied to hide their cards before. Plus, every year, there is at least one show-stealing mystery game announced that blows everyone away and comes entirely out of left field.

Naturally, The Geek Cave Podcast will be talking about all the big news from E3 on our podcast at the end of June, so be sure to listen in for that, but it's safe to bet I'll be geeking out considerably next week. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Joplin: One Year Later

One year ago, the Missouri cities of Joplin and Duquesne were changed forever, as an EF-5 tornado carrying winds over 200 miles per hour tore through, killing 161 people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses. For weeks, people dug out, finding what was left of their lives underneath rubble. In the months that followed, we rebuilt. We recovered. We persevered. We overcame.

One year later, this community is not the same. There is a lot of work still to do; for those who lost friends and family in the storm, this anniversary is a painful reminder of the briefness of life and the finality of death. It's something we don't want to dwell on, but we must. There is a lot of pain left to heal. There are a lot of buildings left to rebuild. There is a lot of empty space where there were once homes.

One year later, this community continues to inspire. Help -- and hope -- continues to pour in from all over the world, but the people here leave our helpers in just as much awe as they leave us. They are amazed at how far we've come in the past year. There are many who said we'd still be digging ourselves out; instead, we're holding groundbreakings and commemorations. There are many who said we'd never get the schools open on time. Instead, the class of 2012 started, and graduated, ON TIME. There were many who looked at the devastation and wondered how any hope could be found in the destruction. Instead, we have not only found hope, but faith, unity, and strength in each other and in things that are far bigger than ourselves.

A little over one year ago, my wife and I had just moved to Joplin. We were outsiders in every sense of the word; we knew very few people, kept to ourselves, and had come to Joplin more out of necessity than seeking the community out. Now, we feel a connection to this city and its people. We have shared in the hurt, in the struggle, and in the joy at seeing the progress and restoration taking place. One year later, I can't think of anywhere else to put down my roots than the most courageous city I've ever laid eyes on and had the privilege to call home.

One year ago, we were shaken. One year ago, we were knocked down.

One year later, we're back on our feet. Standing tall, standing together... and as the world watches, we will show you all that we will continue to rebuild, revive, restore, and remain. Stronger than ever.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Ownership Isn't Ownership

If the rumors are true, Sony and Microsoft may do what growing up and getting a career could not: make me quit video games.

You see, both Sony and Microsoft's next consoles are heavily rumored to have some pretty restrictive anti-piracy (DRM) and anti-used game (B.S.) measures, including requiring a constant internet connection to even play a game, as well as locking each specific game disc to a user's account (so long, GameStop, Gamefly, and rentals in general). The studios that make the games you and I play say measures like this, as well as the already troubled "online pass" measures on consoles and DRM measures on PC, are to protect themselves: they don't receive money from the sale of used games, therefore they believe it's hurting their business.

In other words, they've never spoken to car manufacturers. Or book publishers. Or Hollywood in general... all three have their work sold used, borrowed, and so on, and yet they're all fine. In most cases, thriving, actually.

The truth is these measures are part of an increasingly disturbing trend of anti-consumer practices being pushed by game studios and supported (apparently) by Microsoft and Sony. These practices are even apparent in both console manufacturers' latest terms of service agreements, which (as we pointed out on an episode of The Geek Cave) basically say you don't own the games you've purchased -- what you own is a license to play them that can be revoked at a company's choosing.

They argue that used games mean people playing on an online server they haven't paid for. True, they haven't paid for it, because the person who bought the original copy of their game did. They're just taking that person's place. The company has already received the money for that spot on the server, they just want to double-dip.

They argue that if something's not done, used games will continue to snatch profits away, making them less likely to have enough spare cash to try taking risks with future (and unproven) IPs. Too bad that used games have literally been around for as long as console gaming has, and yet, the market didn't die when people started borrowing and loaning NES games. Or SNES, Genesis, PlayStation, Saturn, Xbox, N64, Dreamcast, PS2, and Gamecube games, for that matter...

What's especially troubling with the trend of "online passes" is that for those who actually do go out and buy a game new, glitches and problems on the companies' end can sometimes keep those "legitimate" customers from actually being able to access the content they paid for, while the pirates that these companies claim to be fighting with these restrictions are already playing, online, on the very companies' servers, because these measures DON'T. STOP. PIRATES.

When Nintendo announced the Wii, Sony and Microsoft didn't take them seriously. Who would? A childish invention, with lower graphics, and a lower price tag? That didn't have all the bells and whistles as the PS3 and Xbox 360?

Yeah, we know how that turned out.

And if these practices continue, the only system that's not being mentioned in the rumors -- Nintendo's Wii U -- may be primed to repeat history.

It also may be the only place gamers can turn to if they don't want to be suspected of thievery every five minutes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Misdirected Fame

Since the May 22nd tornado hit Joplin, MO, my life's been fairly busy.

I've been interviewed by my peers (and people I consider well above me in talent levels) from New York City, to St. Louis, to New Zealand, to London.

I'm part of a staff that's been honored by city, state, and federal governments with proclamations, plaques, declarations, and the like.

I, personally, have been called a hero.

And you know what? I don't deserve a bit of it.

All us folks at KZRG did the night of May 22nd and the days and weeks later was our jobs. True, we went above and beyond the call of duty to provide what help we could to our communities, but isn't that all we ask of anyone who has the opportunity to do so? We, as broadcasters, did what our craft calls us to do: inform the public.

We also did it all because Joplin is not just a city we serve from a business standpoint: for so many of us, it's our home. We, too, had friends and neighbors who lost everything, including their lives. For us, it was personal... so many of us lost possessions, homes, whatever, and we not only worked to keep the public informed, but to keep ourselves from going crazy.

These accolades are all nice, and I don't mean to imply we didn't earn at least some of the attention, but I think if anyone should be honored, it's the REAL heroes: the police and fire teams that worked intensely and desperately to save lives, the officials who coordinated and calmed a terrified public, the volunteers from across the world that gave their time, money, and sweat to help this community not only dig out, but rebuild.

You want to call someone a hero? Those are a few, more worthy examples.