A strange and unexpected gift…

You know, as the holiday season approaches faster and faster it takes a lot of restraint to not go wild throwing your money at every retailer that offers a great deal.  Every year I find myself walking through the mall or the shopping centers with no real purpose in mind, instead I like to focus on more of what is around me, decorations, children giggling as they rush ahead of their parents to get to Santa, an older or younger person set up at a table trying to raise money for a cause… They are the ones I tend to focus on, each year there is a new story, a new child somewhere in need.  I believe that there is no greater joy than spreading the spirit of Papa Noël aux petits enfants.  As a child growing up I had many happy holidays, yes we had our share of bad ones too, but the great ones were what really counted.  There was nothing like the excitement of not being able to sleep because you knew if you did you might miss the chance of seeing Santa.  However I know that things are tough, things are tougher than ever, and for some children this could be their last chance at a happy Christmas.

Yes, much as we like to pretend that things will be OK, there is no chance that a child might not see the time of miracles, we must face the reality that there are things out of our control in this world,  This year walking the mall there was a small table being manned by a little girl and her parents, “Would you like to adopt an Angel?” they asked to everyone passing through, no one stopped.  I walked up and asked how much, they said they would take any cash amount, but it was $3 to adopt an angel.  I reached in and found 3 singles in my wallet and handed it to the little girl manning the ‘register’ and was told to ‘pick’ my angel.  I looked at the names randomly (these were paper cut-out angels that will stand when affixed correctly) and was drawn to a little 9-year old girl named Emma.  Emma suffers from a rare genetic condition and was granted a wish by the make-a-wish foundation.  She is local, not a 30-min drive from where I live, and that is what I truly love about these charities.  Yes it is a national name, who hasn’t heard of Make-a-Wish? But the fact that these were local children, children that may not survive to see even this year’s holidays, makes my heart ache.  There is nothing crueler in this world than that of the loss of a child.  So if I can do, even a little bit to ease their sadness, lift their pain for even one day, then I would count myself lucky that I was allowed to do so.  So as I see my little angel standing in the middle of my dining-room table, it warms my heart to think that maybe, just maybe, this little Emma might have the opportunity to enjoy a warm and heart-filled holiday with her family.

So, to many of you that may scoff at these ‘annual’ donation drives, just take a second and think, wow these people aren’t invisible, they have names. they have ages, they actually live near me.  Maybe that’ll make you think twice before you push over some poor bell-ringer, ringing for the Salvation Army, or tell some little girl giving out angels to “piss-off” because if you were in their situation, no matter how mean you’ve been, they’d still help you all the same.

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And a slightly different yet related topic.  The cat fell out of the bag yesterday that my parents are buying me a new computer O_O, now it isn’t quite what I would have built myself if I had the ability to do so, but it is the great jumping platform for what I could make it into.  So what I would like from you guys, I am looking at putting a new graphics card in it shortly after I buy it, and Newegg is having some pretty decent deals, I need to upgrade to a bigger PSU (current at 300) of at least 400-450 and am looking at (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182022) does anyone have experience with this brand?  I am planning on putting this into an HP with an AMD proc (AMD Quad-Core A6-3650).  I am also looking at this video-card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150659), it takes a PCI x16 slot (which I have 1 PCI Express x16 (available))  does anyone know anything about this brand or processor?

I am trying to run Photoshop CS5 (which has that nice 3D utility I was never able to run), Tomb Raider Anniversary, Fable The lost Chapters, The Sims (with expansions), The sims 3 (with expansions), and several programs for school (Eclipse, Office 2010, Oracle SQL, etc).  Do you think that this card will run well with it.

The “full” computer specs are located here (http://www.samsclub.com/sams/hp-pavilion-p6-desktop-amd-a6-3650-1-tb/prod6950029.ip?navAction=push)

I’m gonna owe karma big for this one *_*

The Toughest Time of Year

So, it’s finally that time of year again, December.  A great time to realize your humanity and generosity towards your fellow man.  But what is it about this time of year that seasonally depresses a decent chunk of our society?  Is it that their chestnuts were burned over an open fire rather than toasted?  Is it that Santa dropped the ball and didn’t get them the Super sparkly pretty, pretty rainbow princess to go with the prince?  Or is it something much deeper than that.  You see to most of us Christmas time is a season we remember and enjoy because of the happy and great memories that we found or created as a kid, but for some people it can be a horrible reminder of something sad or tragic that occurred that they never could get over.

I mean hell, my family never put up any decorations or the tree until after December 17th, sure we’d beg or plead to put them up, but my parents would never budge.  Then I was gently reminded that the date December 17th was the day my dad had had his accident.  Oh.  It took a lot of years for my parents to even consider budging with the whole “tree” thing, sure we’d try to be sneaky, we’d offer to get the artificial tree set up, they wouldn’t have to lift a finger!  But sadly they’d shake their head, threaten to take it down if we put it up, and we’d give up until the next year.  Flash forward to just a year or so ago.  It is Black Friday and I am stuck at work, just wanting to get home and sleep is my main goal.  When I finally run out the door and hit my car it takes all my energy to stay awake.  About 15 minutes later I throw my car in the driveway, slam myself out of it, and push myself through the door.  Inside is the weirdest sight I have ever seen.  There’s my sister putting the tree together, my dad untangling the lights from the year before, and my mom in a bright cheery voice saying  “Hi! welcome home honey!”  I did a double take at my watch thinking I had just stepped through the Twilight Zone and asked them what day it was and how long I’d been gone.  My sister looked at me oddly and told me “I dunno, whatever time you left this morning until now?”  It was the strangest thing “But I thought we wouldn’t put the tree up until after the 17th?” my mom kinda had this look of ‘oh’ and my dad chimed in with the coolest thing “Well I wanted it up now, so how do you like that?”  So as tired as I was, as purely exhausted as one could feel, I threw myself into helping put that tree together and helping deck it out as lovely as we could.  And I came to realize something, maybe people can heal after all.  That whole “Bah Humbug” spiel can be thrown away, but it takes a long time to do it.

So for all of you kids out there that have a “no tree or decorations before (this) date” keep the faith, it may take a while, but the path to healing is a long and difficult one, so yes the holiday may be marked up with grief, but you know what?  You can learn to heal that pain and turn it into something bright again.  And even though the tree is late going up this year (we have a puppy this time around ><) it doesn’t mean that it won’t go up at all.  Turn towards the light and joy of the holiday and let it fill your heart and make it light, trust me you’ll be glad you did.