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REVOLUTIONfreak Blog

Dear Nintendo: Give me my money back!

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Okay, so I might be acting a little melodramatic, but I can't help but feel that Nintendo owes me more than this "Ambassador" program they've been trying to use as collateral for my forgiveness. Nintendo is smart enough to know that early adopters are probably their more loyal, long-time fans. In that case, why offer me free games that I, as one of these loyal fans, naturally already own. I don't need another copy of Super Mario Advance 4 ... why not just load-up my account with some money to spend on whatever I want on the eShop? You know, like those new games you're trying so desperately to promote.

I'm starting to think it would be wise to start marketing a special brand of the Swiffer for the 3DS - you know, to wipe off the dust that has been collecting on my system for the past six months. I'm not going to pretend I don't secretly love the 3DS and get excited at the prospect of playing a real (and not rehashed) Zelda game or Mario game, but I don't have the excitement level that I had when I bought the system.

I continue to hear the phrase "games are on the way," but as it turns out, my shelf is still looking pretty empty. The closest "big release" is another remake of a game I already own, and is also a month out from release. And what exactly is filling that two-month gap between Star Fox 64 3D and Super Mario 3DS Land? (Terrible titles, I might add.) Nintendo's most solid third party games have been delayed until next year, and they're starting to imply to the public that games like Animal Crossing and Luigi's Mansion 2 won't be seeing releases this year after all, despite their claims that so many of their first party titles would be released this year.

I will forever admire Nintendo as a company; they did have the common sense and courtesy to cut the salaries of their executives after this fiasco. However, they have a lot of work to do to catch up to where they were two or three years ago. The laziness on their end has been all but unprecedented ... what in the world have Nintendo's development teams been doing for the past two years? A console with a user base as large as Wii's should never have this long of a lull in its release schedule. And to top it all off, we still don't have a release date for Skyward Sword, a game that should have been on store shelves a year ago.

This sheep is ready to shed its wool and trade it for a Playstation, folks.

A cloudy day of remembrance

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Today we all remember that dreadful day in which life changed for thousands of Americans. Fortunately, I was not one of those people directly impacted by the atrocities that occured in New York City, but nevertheless I keep the events of that day forever embedded in my mind. Every last detail of the day, every last image displayed on television, and every last tear from the grief-stricken New York Citycommunity that mourned as the world watched. And despite my inability to grasp the scope of what had happened as a blinded fourth grader, I still look back on that day as one of the most momentous in my life.

It is unfortunate, then, that so many today must taint such a sacred day with "islamophobic" discussion. Regardless of whether the Quran-burning planned for this evening was canceled or not, it still stands as a disgrace that those muslims also devastated by the horrors of 9/11, must watch as their religion is shamed and demonized by the ignorants that perpetuate a hateful idea, as well as the mass media that allows such a thing to be publicized.

I often find myself utterly confused when it comes to the topic of Islam … I've done very little studying on the religion, but I do know that if taken literally, the Quran can in factbe taken as a very hateful and violent book. Yet what seems to be misconstrued, is how *typical* muslims (especially in America) interpret and practice their religion. If taken literally, The Bible also can be viewed as a discriminatory, backwards book … but the fact remains, that a majority of Christians today do not take the words of The Bible literally. If we did, our society would take on a very different shape, and we probably wouldn't be much more tolerant than those spiteful Islamic extremists.

As someone who has spent much of the past two years focusing on acceptance and open-mindedness, I take great offense to the idea of a community center spitting on the graves of those that died on 9/11. This same breed of people seem to be the same ones spewing homophobic messages and racist, unfoundedaccusations of President Obama "not being an American citizen". As a future member of the media, I find great disappointment in the inability of newspeople to understand how their glowing portrayals of these abominable cells of people so negatively affect ordinary people. I refuse to acknowledge the "Tea Party" or the contemptible anti-Islamic protesters as groups any more legitimate than the Westboro Baptist nutjobs that continue to wreak havoc across the country. Or at the very least, I will not do so until the messages of these groups are altered to be more socially acceptable and tolerant.

So as we go about our business on this day, think not just about those that lost their lives, or the murderers that took it upon themselves to take those lives, but the lessons that can be learned from the end result. These tragedies are an unfortunate test of how truly accepting we are as a society, and it's sad to see that so many are still so naive as to think that one group of people can be labeledunderan umbrella as "evil".Remember not just those that experienced sorrow and devastation on that fateful day, but those that face it now as xenophobia begins its resurgence in America. Let us not forget the harsh lessons of history.

Mommy, where do humans come from?

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Mommy, where do humans come from? = D

When I arrived home this afternoon from school and checked the text messages on my cell phone (new annoying cell phone policy at school, had to wait all day just to whip out my phone), I found one from my brother, saying that two hardcore Christians came to our door today preaching about Jesus. The reason it's funny, obviously, is because I'm not religious, nor is the rest of my family. In fact, if anything, my brother is the antithesis of the women that showed up at our door. He's essentially a hardcore atheist that cracks up in laughter at the mention of any religion.

Personally, I'm inclined to agree with my brother on that one. Religion, especially Christianity, is much too fable-tastic to be taken seriously. People once believed in a God named Zeus that lived above the clouds.... also fable-tastic. I don't doubt that someday Christianity will also be taught in our English cla sses for purely academic purposes. Really, not even kidding.

But, that's not to say I don't have some spiritual side to me. After all, when I hit my low of lows,I still turn to God. Why? How the heck should I know. But I do. Maybe it's just habit from when I was little and was God-fearing. Or maybe there is a part of me that still believes in a higher power? For such reasons, I do at least consider myself agnostic. Like every other religious individual, I get solace in the idea of there being a higher power that can save us all and give us our own perfect vacation spot for all of eternity. For everyone's sake, I hope there is such a thing. I'd hate to spend eternity in an empty dark abyss of nothingness.... :?

Despite my lack of real spirituality, I do seem to believe in a lot of supernatural theories. Karma really is a b***. I don't need scientific proof to understand that. And ghosts? Keep me the hell away from Gettysburg!Who knows, vampires could exist too, for all I know. Can't say I'd be terribly frightened by them... not if they looked like Edward Cullen, anyway. ;) Or even werewolves?A few Jacob Blacks in the world wouldn't hurt either!

For now, however, I'll keep on searching for what I truly believe about where we came from. Big Bang Theory, Adam and Eve, big magic stick that flashed and created a universe.... whatever. The point is, I'm here, and I'm going to live my life to the fullest regardless of where I came from.

I'll join the club and write my own 'First Day of School' Blog!

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*Sigh*

So my first last day of high school is officially over. And, to my surprise, it was very different from my previous first days. Normally, I'm very nervous, and antsy about every aspect of the day. Today, on the other hand, was a completely different story. I got on the bus (yes, the bus, can't afford a car of my own), calm as ever, and upon arrival gladly retreated to my Advisory Room... which has always been a bit of a respite for me in school.

When I arrived, I basically sat down, received my planner and important papers as usual, and just mingled for the next hour. No long lectures about school rules, not any of that crap. It was a relief, but kind of abnormal for what I'm used to. I guess being a senior does have its perks...

Next, I proceeded to my first block class (which is also my second block class), Writing Workshop, and greeted my teacher and some friends I hadn't seen in a few months. The two blocks actually dragged on for what felt like forever, despite the fact that I have one of my favorite teachers in two of my favorite classes. Call me crazy, but too much energy and happiness on a Monday morning, is NOT a good thing. At least I did get to talk to my teacher about havingmy owncolumn in the newspaper, which looks like it should work out. Yay!

My next destination: American Politics! Turns outmy teacher mysteriously disappeared for about two weeks, so I'm stuck with a substitute for the next week. Lucky for me, that substitute is Mr. Thomas, one of the most beloved elderly substitute teachers in the district! I guess I can deal with that. Besides, the class looks to be one of the more interesting classes I have, despite the fact that half of the people in my class seem to be brainless morons.

And last but not least, AP English! I was actually pleasantly surprised with this class. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but my teacher truly fascinates me. He's witty and eccentric, and creepy at the same time. Either way, he appears to be an effective teacher. I found his lecture today to be fairly interesting. I have high hopes for this class.

As a whole, I suppose my day was pretty good. Not spectacular, but then again, what first day is spectacular? First days of school are notorious for their long boring lectures about rules and syllabi. In that case, I guess I didn't expect much to begin with. I am, however, hoping for a fun-filled and productive semester! I'm off to an okay start, thus far.

Talk about a group of big egos!

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I know it's probably evil of me to be making this comment about a group of people sitting through a funeral service, but this picture is totally hilarious! George Bush's expression is absolutely priceless.... he has a "dang, I'm surrounded by them (democrats, that is)!" expression on his face. Not to mention I can only imagine what was running through Hillary's mind, sitting next to a man she thrives on berating on a daily basis.

Also, where's Senior Bush? For goodness sakes, we know you weren't a popular President, but if your son can make it there then you sure as heck can!

Anyway, off to school tomorrow. Will blog afterward on my experiences of the day. Have a good end of the weekend, everyone!

The neverending war against ignorance

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As I stood by my cash register yesterday afternoon at work, yawning and daydreaming about any and everything imaginable, I began to take a look around at my surroundings. You see, I don't exactly live in the most cla ssy of places. I live in rural Pennsylvania, amidst people that think poofy hair and neon-colored jumpsuits are still "in". People that value the word of their religious leaders over their own opinions. But alas, they are still people.

So with that in mind, it always amazes me how many of these same people don't come to the same conclusion. Yes, there are differences in some groups of people, and you may not like them, but they're still people.... and should be treated as such. From a political standpoint, things seem to be getting better on this issue.... you know, minus the exploitation of the issue to create partisan divides. God forbid if President Obama were to support same-sex marriage. I mean, seriously, he might end up alienating his conservative base! You know, the one that doesn't exist anyway?

Don't worry, I'm going to try not to go on one of my gay rights rants again. We all know I've been there, done that. But that's because I no longer really view this as a battle for one group, to right one injustice. This is no longer about gays, or blacks, or hispanics, it's about human rights. Ironically, something more non-religious people seem to respect and comprehend than religious individuals do.

That's not to say that everyone that's religious is a bigot. I have several religious friends who treat me as their equal, and I respect them for that. But it can also be argued that the same principles and idealogy fictitious pieces of literature like the Bible teach, go against their own morals of equality. Endorsing slavery and condemning love of any kind is not open-minded, accepting, or "Christian" in any single way, shape, or form.

I recently stumbled upon a new Gallup poll on the issue of gay rights (ok, so I lied, I'm going on a rant again), which contained relatively upbeat news that, though most Americans still oppose same-sex marriage, more are coming around. While this is, in some sort of twisted way, "good news", I think I was more disturbed with the percentages of people that opposed gay rights. Forty-percent of Americans do not believe same-sex relationships should be legal. And I'm not talking about marriage, I'm talking about relationships in general. Essentially, that's saying that forty-percent of Americans are so bitter and miserable that they'd love to spread their own hate and malice upon other human beings, just because they're different. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we taught at a very early age; pre-school perhaps, that we're supposed to respect those who differ from us?

I suppose this wouldn't be so upsetting to me, if it weren't for the fact that so much progress has been made in the past few years. Four states have legalized same-sex marriage in the past six months alone, and more and more legislation is being pushed forward to address hate crimes.

What makes matters worse, in my opinion, is that even though I forsee minorities eventually winning this battle, I don't forsee a victory for the right reasons. I believe conservatives and evangelicals will move on to support these kinds of issues to get ahead politically, not to better themselves socially and morally. Let's get real here, today's America will not elect a Sarah Palin. We're passed the George Bush (pick one) days, and even the Clinton years. This is a new America, and conservatives (and even democrats) are beginning to get a wake-up call.

Perhaps a new party should be formed? Like the Anti-Ignorance Party? Or the Human Rights Party? Anything but democrat or republican, really. I can respect a democrat or a republican, but until they can each entirely respect me, I have no desire to be associated with either.

And so Summer 2009 slowly creeps to an end....

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Around this time every Summer, I reflect back on my three months of freedom from school, and begin to think about all of the things I should and shouldn't have done during that period. The difference I've noticed this year, however, is that I don't seem to have any real regrets? For the first time in my life, I think I'm finally content with how I've spent my summer.

Did I have fun? Hell yes.

Was I productive? For the most part, yes.

Did I utilize the free time to do things I couldn't otherwise do? Not as well as I'd have liked, but yes.

And with that all in mind, I can't wait for school to start! My senior year has been twelve years in the making, and I finally get to see what all of the buzz is about! Granted, I'm not expecting a fairytale year of school like the movies would portray, but I am expecting a more laidback than usual year of academics and such. I received my schedule for the Fall Semester in the mail last week, and I can't find a single flaw in it. I have three English-related classes, and one class on American Politics. How can that go wrong?

But even with all of this excitement built up, it is starting to dawn on me that I'll no longer experience that three month hiatus in between my school years. This time next year, I'll be preparing to be shipped off to college for four years, left in a city all to myself. It's scary, sure, but exciting nonetheless. As I leave behind my Grade School years and, in essence, my childhood, I'll be moving on to a stage of my life that opens up a world of opportunities. And in that case, this next year can't go by quickly enough.

No worries, though. I'll still make sure to savor every moment of the next year, with the early realization that I'll one day look back on these times and want them back. To quote a certain country song....

"You're gonna miss this/You're gonna want this back/You're gonna wish these days/Hadn't gone by so fast/These are some good times/So take a good look around/You may not know it now/But you're gonna miss this"

Bahaha, I do believe that is a sure sign that I need to go back to school if I start quoting country songs... at any rate, stay tuned for my next blog! I know I'm awful at keeping up with blogging, but once my mind gets rejuvinated from being back in school I'm sure I'll pick up on it again! :P

What happened to video games being fun? : /

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Can anyone guess how many video games I've bought this summer?

.....

Zero.

In fact, I don't think I've bought a new game since March when I bought GTA: Chinatown Wars. For whatever reason, I just don't find video games all that entertaining anymore. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that I've simply outgrown video games and found interest in other things. However, I also believe that another big reason for this is because video games, well, suck these days.

I don't know that I can think of very many original games that have come out in the past year or so? Most of the big blockbusters these days are just sequels of games that I loved, but don't really want to play again with simply a visual makeover. The one company I always found to be creative and original has even given up on what made them successful to begin with. Sorry Nintendo, but you can only make so many sequels before I get bored and crave more. Don't get me wrong, I'd kill for a new Zelda or Mario game right now, but the anticipation just isn't what it used to be.

Yet despite my displeasure with video games at the moment, I am more than open to any suggestions you guys may have for me. Perhaps I missed something great that I'm not aware of since I lost interest in the past few months?I'm pretty bored during these dreary summer months, so give me a heads up. It would be much appreciated.

Top Ten Pop Divas of All Time!

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In the past few months I've found myself becoming more and more addicted to checking the daily music charts. I can tell you at any time who's on top of the pop radio charts ("Don't Trust Me" at the moment, in case you're wondering), the Billboard Hot 100, or the Billboard 200 Albums. In the midst of tracking all of this, however, I've become saddened to see that most blogs list some crappy people as "divas", when really a lot of them stand as flavor-of-the-months rather than genuinely talented pop icons. I mean seriously, do we really need to consider Katy Perry anything close to diva or "Pop Princess"? Just because she can wear an apple-themed dress, sport a Betty Boop hairstyle, and "sing" about kissing a chick doesn't make her a diva. That makes her a tween icon.

So in that case, allow me to list who I think has earned the title of diva:

(in no particular order)

  1. Madonna - She's outspoken, she's blonde, she's fit, she's freaky, and she's totally not a virgin. "Madge" (as douchebag blogger Perez Hilton likes to call her...) has proven to be one of the most successful female artists of all time. She's sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, and continues to produce chart-topping albums. Unlike with a lot of artists, Madonna is better known for her live performances than her radio singles, and creates a true experience for concert-goers. She may not be the most talented gal on the block as far as the vocal range goes, but she's feisty and original enough to absolutely amaze you when showtime rolls around.
  2. Cher - ... and the gay community cheers and giggles as they see this entry. Yes, Cher is perhaps one of the most iconic figures of the past few decades, and rightfully so. She manages ab****y but likeable personality that meshes with pretty much everyone out there. Yet you wouldn't know that based on her lovestruck performances of hits like "Turn Back Time", "Believe", and her memorable duet with Sonny Bono, "I Got You Babe". And really, do I even need to mention the outrageous outfits? 'Nuff said.
  3. Celine Dion - Ok, so she writes virtually none of her music, is often viewed as a bit too innocent, and hasn't had a real hit for a few years. But who cares? She's Celine freakin' Dion! Have you heard her sing? Her swagger on-stage and booming voice is enough to qualify her as a true "diva". Not to mention she shares Madonna's success in album sales, also selling upwards of 200 million albums worldwide.
  4. Tina Turner - Yet another female artist selling 200 million worldwide, Tina stands out as another artist that can produce a uniquely energizing performance based on her stage presence. If you've never seen this diva perform, then you're truly missing out. And at age seventy, she's still going at it, closing up her career with another successful tour.
  5. Mariah Carey - I won't lie, I'm not much of a Mariah fan, but I can still appreciate the fact that she is (or at least was) one of the best singers of her generation. Mariah also stands out as one of the few artist that has perservered even after being deemed "irrelevant". Her 2008 album E=MC2 broke records, and her latest single "Obsessed" is just now taking off. And, yet again, she boasts a whopping 200 million albums sold worldwide, in an even shorter timespan than some of her companion divas. Only one request though, Mariah, please turn down the auto-tune and get back to actually impressing us with your vocals!
  6. Reba McEntire - The "Queen of Country" easily shines as one of the most likable, down-to-earth, friendly country girls on my list of divas. Much of her success lies in her everyday American appeal, which has made her a diva in other industries outside of music. Like Mariah, she also stands out as one of the few divas that has maintained her level of success, still producing chart-toppers to this day. This red-headed diva also manages to put on quite a show, which I was privileged to witness last fall.
  7. Britney Spears - Love her, hate her, say what you want about her, but all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek a-.... oh, whoops, wrong line. What I meant to say, is that despite what you may think of the Britster, she's a modern icon and pop diva that has paved the way for many of today's contemporary artists. In a sense, she's the Madonna of our generation. This 90's sex icon, while also being prone to controversial tabloid stories, is the epitome of "pop star".
  8. Alanis Morissette - Seven Grammy Awards and forty million copies worth in album sales later, Alanis Morissette remains the down-to-earth, brutally honest woman she's always claimed to be. Alanis is the star that managed to beat the odds. She doesn't have the flowing blonde hair of Britney Spears or Madonna, or the enormous boobs of Mariah Carey, or even the enormous vocal range of some of her counterparts, but her soulful but fierce voice and blunt lyrics make her more of a diva than she may think she is. And, if you were around at all during the nineties, then this name should be very familiar to you, as "Jagged Little Pill" stands as one of the most successful pop albums of all time.
  9. Dolly Parton - Dollywood, anyone? Ah, Dolly, the plastic figure that everyone can't help but adore. She's also had more country #1's than any other country artist in history, and remains an iconic figure to this day. One can't help but wonder how a battle between her and Mrs. McEntire would play out?
  10. Kelly Clarkson - Did you really think I could make it through this list and not include my beloved Kelly? But, I can honestly justify why she belongs on this list. To date, she remains the most successful (and consistently successful) alumni of American Idol. Perhaps what makes her most successful, is the proof that an American Idol can come out of the show on top. She ushered in a new generation of musicians, and supported the concept of having a fanbase before ever putting out an album. Take a look at your pop charts today, and I guarantee more than a handful of the artists on the chart will have come from American Idol. Kelly is, undoubtedly, the "Queen of Idol". Not to mention she's had more than her fair share of success, selling 20 million albums, churning nine top ten hits (and one top twenty hit), and earning two Grammy awards.

The "Almost but not quite" List:

  • Christina Aguilera - You try so hard, and yet you never seem to quite make it. Unfortunately, Christina, you'll always be labeled as the "wannabe Britney".
  • Lady GaGa - Whether you like her or not, the girl has guts, and generates some serious fashion statements with those guts. But she also has some noteworthy pipes, and dance moves that put Britney to shame. Perhaps someday she'll work her way into the list.
  • P!nk - I think you'd be hardpressed to find a more successful or bad*** pop musician than P!nk. She's a serious rock star, and she's got some even more serious rock moves.
  • Whitney Houston - You've got quite the voice, and for awhile, we all liked you! And then, Bobby.... tsk tsk.
  • Beyonce - Just because you have a song calling yourself a diva, doesn't make you a diva. Tone down the ego a bit, then we'll talk.
  • Sheryl Crow - Though I think you're pretty amazing, I can't see the title of "diva" really fitting you.... it's just not your st yle.

Stonewall Riots 40 Years Later: How far we have (and haven't) come

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It was forty years ago this week that the first real spark of the Gay Rights Movement took place in a discreet, small bar in New York City where homosexuals were known to gather. Following an unjust and unfounded inspection of the bar, police raided it... causing mass uproar and scenes of violence. You could say these people who began protesting at that moment in time, are the true disciples and voices of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many other Civil Rights leaders of the era that were brave enough to stand up for equality even when it wasn't the most popular or convenient time to do so.

Yesterday, President Obama hosted a gay pride reception for those in the LGBT community, and briefly spoke of the issues surrounding the controversial topic. Alas, while his words were; unsurprisingly, inspirational, he once again proves his own tendency to say one thing and do another. Perhaps one of the biggest achievements made since the administration took office six months ago was the inclusion of full health benefits for same-sex couples employed by the federal government - an act that was initiated not by President Obama himself, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ironic, considering the LGBT community has been promised for two years that action would be taken against the Defense of Marriage Act (which essentially denies basic rights to same-sex couples), and the LGBT community fittingly responded to these promises by overwhelmingly voting for him in the general election (70% of all LGBT voted for Obama.... not that that should be surprising to anyone).

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that Obama's first priority should have been to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and work on legalizing same-sex marriage, obviously there are more immediate and pressing matters to deal with (a failing economy, nuclear proliferation, you know, small stuff like that). But that doesn't mean that he should be excused for ignoring these problems that are very real. Where was he in the past few months when states like Maine, Vermont, and Iowa legalized same-sex marriage? Where were his supportive statements that are so critically needed at a time where the conservative right would love nothing more than to be able to use Obama's own hesitations against the movement?

The lesson to be learned here, as usual, is that if you want something done and done right then it's best to take matters into your own hands. Politicians are about as reliable as the starving stray cat outside your door; eager to use you for your food andresources when in need, but incapable of giving back. But that's what civil rights movements have always been about: helping yourself. When society kicks you down and counts you out, that's when it's your moment to rise up stronger than ever.

And in the forty years since the Stonewall Riots, that's what we've done.