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Shadows_Engage Blog

Departure, Homelessness, My Health, & Death - A Family Entry

I would like to start by saying that this journal entry is neither my “grand return” nor my “last stand” here at GameSpot, I simply had some ideas I wanted to share and, considering I respect so many people here, I felt it was the best place to express them. I will start by saying that I miss a lot of the people on the forums, I won't mention individual names at the risk of leaving someone out but needless to say you all meant a lot to me in terms of my development into the wild world of “adulthood.” I often wonder what you have been up to and how the real world is treating you and your families. In the event that I never make a full return to the forums, I would like to take the time to thank you and wish you all the best of luck with your lives. Also I would like to note that I do not expect anyone to respond to this since I haven't been doing so with your entries. My “departure” I more or less fizzled out of the forums because I had a career choice to make. There had been a growing notion to abandon my career dreams of cinematic production in favor of one in the video game industry. I tested this theory by dropping everything game related to decide if it meant as much to me as I had previously thought. Needless to say it didn't. There really isn't much to discuss except that I still play video games but on a significantly lower level than I once did. Instead, I have focused on my school work, the creation of several movie concepts, and the understanding of myself (a work still in progress). The homeless Recently, while leaving the parking lot of a Trader Joe's (a supermarket for those unfamiliar), I was “confronted” by a woman and her son. She had a sign exclaiming that she had recently lost her job and was experiencing financial difficulties (that sounds so removed from the problem it sickens me). I had seen her standing there at least once before but had “looked the other way,” preferring not to see the desperate human being next to me. This time I was feeling “generous” so I handed her $5 and said, with all sincerity, “you take care of yourself,” to which she replied “God bless you.” God bless me? God bless me!? I can't remember the last time I ever felt so disgusted with myself. There I was, no less than a week ago, pretending this living, breathing person never existed in my mind and now she is blessing me. It really made me examine myself and the way I have treated the less fortunate. Everything that has been given to me, whether it be from a greater power or simply the public education I have received, it's all so precious and we take it for granted, I take it for granted and that absolutely repulses me. My health I recently discovered that there are several things “wrong” with me. For starters, I have developed an inguinal hernia. For those of you who do not know, or are too lazy to do a Google search (:P), it simply means there is a tear in the muscle lining of my lower abdomen and my intestine will, on occasion, bulge out. It's the combined result of pushing my body too hard and genetics. For the most part, it's not painful but the only available option is surgery, which is scheduled for this coming Thursday, April 13th. Also, during a physical to ensure I could undergo general anesthesia, I was informed of a deformity in my heart. Apparently it is larger than usual and has an irregular rhythm, a triplet or galloping pattern to be specific. To quote my doctor, “if I didn't know how old you were, and was shown these test results, I would have stated this was the heart of an 80 year old man.” Thrilling news I can assure you. More tests need to be done but my doctors are pretty confident it is nothing to worry about and, more than likely, can be a good thing. They stated that people with this condition in my age group normally have extremely physically fit heart muscle (hence the enlargement) and are able to pump more blood more efficiently due to the irregular beat. There is certainly the risk of complications as I get older but I'm actually rather excited to learn something about me is superior to the average person, something I am far from accustomed. My philosophy Through introspection I have developed several ideas about myself and the world around me. I pretty much despise the major organized religions because the people involved in them fundamentally fail to practice their basic teachings yet feel the need to push their agenda onto others not already affiliated with that religion. This isn't to say that religions themselves are flawed (although that is certainly a possibility) or that everyone involved in religious activities is a terrible person. Instead I point to human error as the true evil. If you are religious, that's wonderful; religion can provide hope and love while creating a sense of compassion and understanding. I whole-heartedly endorse this aspect of religion but at the same time individuals need to be aware of their own actions and whether they are appropriate for being a “good” person. One should not forcefully display their religion in an attempt to reach hopeful converts. “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?” No, I do not believe that Jesus Christ ever existed in the biblical sense. To me he is merely a fictional character used to guide someone to become a better person. Why would you ask me a question like that? Have I ever asked you if “you accept that Jesus may never have existed?” No I don't because I respect your beliefs so, in turn, respect mine. On the same note, I understand how you (as a religious person) might feel that homosexual acts are some type of sin but don't try to enforce your practices on the lives of others who don't agree or follow what you believe. Let gays marry. They share the same rights and privileges as anyone else, religion has ABSOLUTELY no power to restrict those rights. Although I do not align myself with an established religion, I do believe in a God or some sense of a greater power. I cannot comprehend the universe but there is enough in it to convince me that things just don't happen by coincidence. Everything, every single thing occurs for a reason: the death of a loved one, murder, bombings, everything, there is a specific, key reason. Unfortunately, as finite beings we cannot fathom the reasons; it could be as simple as being 2 seconds late for work caused you to avoid a major accident which would have ended your life. Again, this is just a very simple example but when all is said and done, everything will be perfect. All of these terrible things which happen every second will find a way to perfection. A little optimistic and probably flawed but it's something I'm working on. Death Two people died recently in my life, one was someone I loved deeply and the other was someone I never knew. Ironically, it was this nameless figure who had the most impact. About two months ago my aunt died of cancer. I suppose you could argue that it was because her death was inevitable, I was able to grieve before her actual death but when I was told she passed away my reaction was simply one of nothingness. I felt neither saddened by the loss nor happy that her pain had ended and she would be at peace. It simply seemed like it was meant to happen. A few days ago I called my father to ask him about the chemical components of DNA and RNA (he is a chemist). Through the coarse of the conversation he informed me that he had just come from the funeral of a coworker who had apparently died over the weekend(I'm not even sure if it was a man or a woman). It was just another reminder of my own mortality and how fragile our lives really are. This person probably wasn't older than 50, he or she had a family, friends, loved ones, all gone. As horrible as it may sound, I'm glad that I hear about these “little” things because it gives me a chance to reflect on my life. I can tell you that I made sure to enjoy the rest of my day. Unfortunately that feeling only lasts for so long before we take our lives for granted again. It's impossible to live every second of life to the fullest but hopefully I can get at least a few moments a day to appreciate the world all that has been given to me. Preachy? Yes. Infallible? Hell no. Make of this entry what you will but I hope you at least saw something positive in all my rambling.

Have I been a good friend?

In the grand scheme of things... no.

I have been absent from the forums for what seems like a lifetime, I have failed to keep correspondence with some of the most intellectual, interesting, (and many more words that begin with "i") people I know.

This semester has been unusually hectic for me but I'm not sure why, perhaps it was all the transfer applications. *shrugs* Either way, finals end next Weds and I fly home on Thursday.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you can remember who I am.

Semi-Intelligent Thoughts 10/15/05

The "Cali-what?" Edition: Haven't created a "blog" entry in quite some time and well... I figured everyone is basically lost using the new site so now is the best time to have my ideas forgotten. X-Men Legends II: My gaming has been somewhat dull lately and Legends was quite a nice break: pure, [generally] mindless hack 'n slashing actions. Ok... so the real reason I bought the game is because Deadpool (the masked figure in my avatar and banner) is an unlockable character. Sadly, I'm still at the same portion I was at several weeks ago. A combination of work, falling interest, and more work have prevented me from continuing the campaign. Regardless, the game is pretty decent although, IMHO, not worth the full price tag (there are better things to spend $50 this holiday season). The menu system is very cluttered and rather overwhelming at times and story is not very engaging unless you are a fan of the X-Men universe (but who else would really buy this game anyway). On the positive side, the characters and powers are awesome (yes, I'm talking about you, Magneto). If you have the chance to play the game, give it a shot but I wouldn't recommend a purchase unless you are VERY interested in the Marvel universe or until a price drop. Dating on MySpace?  For those of you who are unaware, MySpace in a crappy, online place for friends. Yes, I am on it. Yes, that site is damn frustrating. And yes, I did meet a girl on it. Well, "meet" isn't really accurate, "talked to" is more appropriate. Mallory is her name, currently living in the dorms (as am I) and pretty interesting (read: interesting enough to casually date). Am I ready for another serious relationship? Who knows but I do want to start dating and if there is chemistry then a relationship can grow from that. Right now, I just want to take things slowly (despite what my roommates have been encouraging :P). Update: This girl goes home for the weekends (suburbs of San Diego), making it very hard to get together but I have a few cousins attending UC San Diego who wanted me to visit. Put that together and you end up with: “Hey Mal, I'm heading down to San Diego next weekend to visit some family, I was wondering if you wanted to hang out? Maybe you could show me around the town?” Bullet Proof :D The Personals:  Well I've “launched” my UCB, The Personals, and all are welcome to stop by. Essentially, the focus of the board is more personal (get it?), almost like a journal, although everyone can interact more easily. For the time being, I'll be making the board private; although I dislike turning users away, I think it's fairly difficult to establish close relationships if people keep coming and going. The most important thing about this board is that everyone has a say in the way things are run; if you have a suggestion or some criticism, by all means say it. Anyway, my main goal is to offer a “home” of sorts to you, someplace where you can discuss your life and get to know people on a personal level, as opposed to just their taste in video games. Again, suggestions and criticism are greatly appreciated... no matter how negative :P Update: Well, I have avoided bashing the new site because I genuinely like it but the forum search feature is broken so it's pretty difficult to find this board :( Amoeba Music:  There is an amazing record store located in Hollywood called Amoeba Music, which has just about any music CD you could imagine and great prices too; I bought 4 cds for $34. I was able to find a cd for Horse The Band, a heavy rock group featuring a SNES-esque keyboardist. If you happen to be in the Hollywood area, definitely check them out. On a related note, I went to the House of Blues in Hollywood and pre-ordered tickets to an upcoming Children of Bodom show. For those of you who are unfamiliar, they are a metal band from Finland currently on tour in the US. Being my favorite metal band, I'm very excited to see them on Nov 27th :D I forgot:  I've been writing this entry over several days and... well... I've completely forgotten why I named this the “Cali-what?” edition. To make up for that fact, here is a Red Hot Chili Peppers song to accompany some photos of a little road trip I did with my friend Gerald.

A new dorm and an achy heart (Teenage Angst Warning)

Well I'm back in school. My dorm is located on the first floor (which makes moving easy), right across from a parking structure.

My actual roommate is, as Coleman put it, a bible-banger with a strong appetite for surfing (although still a nice guy). The other two guys are more my style, pretty neat with a healthy interest in video games (always a plus).

The only bad thing so far is the lack of a TV. That's right folks, your friendly neighborhood Andrew can't play any games (at least on my own). My TV will remain in storage until the 10th when I can pick it up from some friends.

I can hear you asking: "But Andrew, where's the heartache? I didn't come to this journal to read about TVs and other crap, I want pain!" Well...

It has come to my attention that my ex-girlfriend has started dating another guy. After talking to her, apparently they started dating only a few days after our near 3 year relationship came to a close. Only two words came to my mind: This. Sucks.

I figured no one would want to read the whole conversation so here are some snippets (the written text has been left unaltered unless a section was against the ToS):

i want to tell you to **** yourself for everything but it's not my way
be mad at me
why, what good does it do
it won't make me feel better

are you happy?
I am
happier then you were with me?
then that's all that matters
I know you'll find a better girl than me
i've thought about other girls but i figured it was just me missing a relationship so I'm struggling on my own
why not? no harm, just be safe
no, there is harm
you only live once might as well not be lonely
i know [the relationship] would just be a shame, sometimes being lonely can bring out the best in you
then i guess the worst comes out in me

I knew you'd find out eventually
well duh
you always do ;)
you can't hide things forever
I wasn't trying to hide it, I just didn't mention it
samething ;)

something i'd like to ask but you don't have to answer, despite how pissed i might be
[Inappropriate question... use your imagination ;)]?
I haven't since the last time with you
well that's the first good thing i've heard from you in a long time
well good
at least my image isn't totally burned
no, but it's close ;)
yea well

I'd prefer being in the dark
about what?
about your new relationship life
here's a clue: there is none :P
cause I'd know I'd be jealous
i haven't been with another woman since i first kissed you over 3 years ago
you're a good man
i appreciate that
and you deserve someone just as good and honest as you
you're silly
I'm sorry I caused you so much pain
you know, for wanting to curse you off and make you feel like **** about 30mins, i feel a lot better

now I really must be going, seriously, if you ever want to talk...I'm always here for you
same for you
despite my anger
I'm sorry

Shadows Who?

Just a quick update: I've been very busy all week with almost no time for the forums :(

Tomorrow I'll be flying back to Northridge, CA for my second year at CSUN, I'd ask for everyone to cross your fingers and pray that I have some decent roommates this year... let them be clean...

I'll probably be posting regularly in about a week once I get back into the swing of things. Until then, enjoy the forums :D

My future & Art in games

Note: If you are uninterested in my future at college, begin reading after the horizontal bar.

"We don't need no education." Well, sometimes you do.

I've been thinking about this for awhile and I'm pretty certain I want to transfer to a different college.

CSUN is essentially a commuter campus (with over 32,000 students but only 2,500 actually living on campus) and I can't help but feel isolated. I know it's condescending but I only met about 30 people who I felt were worth my time, everyone else just displayed a fake personality with nothing that begged for or encouraged friendship.

I may be jumping to conclusions since I was without a car last year (if you've been to or live in California, you know a car is essential), making it difficult to get out. I'll still be attending CSUN this year but if I do decide to transfer I would need to start preparing soon.

There are only two schools I would consider at this point in time, USC and NYU; with film as my focus these are two obvious choices. Unfortunately there is no clear "winner," each school displays it's own positives and negatives (although I do prefer NYU, despite being one of, if not, the most expensive school in the country). I suppose my biggest interest in USC is that it's closer to the heart of the industry and it has an amazing sense of school pride (although so does NYU but not in the same "athletic" sense), something CSUN severely lacks. At the end of the day, NYU would probably be my choice if I were accepted to both schools.

As far as I'm concerned, grades are not an issue; I scored very well my first semester and did outstanding in the second, walking away from my first year with a 3.86 GPA. I'm more concerned about the cost of tuition which tips the scale at approx $46,000 a year. My parents have told me not to worry about the money, that they would find a way to pay for it somehow but how can I not worry? I've put my parents into enough debt as it is, they certainly don't need anymore. The odds of me receiving some form of financial aid are very slim; as a white male living in a fairly nice suburban community with two financially stable parents, I'm screwed.

I haven't fully thought it over, I want to talk to a few of my film professors to see what they think and I'd like to talk to the Dean of Admissions at NYU's film department to get an idea about the likelihood of my acceptance. If anyone has some advice or just wants to make a funny comment feel free to add. I realize this topic doesn't particularly lend to conversation so here's something to chew on:

Video games need a "Citizen Kane" to bring them from a piece of entertainment to an art form.

When people read that sentence, they probably assume it needs to mimic a movie to create art but Killer 7 hardly took the shape of film. I'd like to argue that art in video games doesn't need to be weird or abstract but simply make the player think about the world, people, and ideas presented in the game, maybe even question his or her beliefs and/or values in real life.

What will it take to bring video games into the realm of art? Are we prepared for that and would you still enjoy "artful" games? Will video game art be accepted by the masses or are they only looking to play as a football star with a bazooka on his back? These are the questions that run through my mind when I think about the future of this industry.

What are your views on art and should it ever be included in games? Would you purchase Van Gogh's Starry Night 2k7 or wait till '08 and get it for $20?

Semi-Intelligent Thoughts 8/08

The "Alan Parsons Project" Edition

So I've finally decide to make some type of recurring entry which will hold my interest. Mostly just a collection of, yep you guess it, Semi-Intelligent Thoughts, although it will likely not be updated regularly since I wish to avoid a pre-planned schedule. As readers you may comment on whatever you wish or, in the case of writers block (read: didn't find the entry interesting), reply with your own Semi-Intelligent Thoughts. Let's get this show on the road...

Phantom Dust Impressions:

According to my Xbox, I've spent roughly 32,009 hours on the game (see accompanied photo); with over 3 years of experience under my belt, I am, without a doubt, the best player on Live. In reality I've probably spent 10 hours with Phantom Dust and it's easily the most refreshing game I have played in several months, well worth the $20 investment. At it's heart, it's a card based game where you battle against 1-3 other opponents in a real-time, battle royal until one person or team emerges victorious. Eventually, I plan to go online and fight JeremyK and Nate (-coleman-) to the death.

The pleasures of work:

No I'm not being sarcastic, I've actually got something nice to say about working. I received a free Madcatz steering wheel and some DarkWatch schwag (a t-shirt). The steering wheel isn't anything special and only works with the PS2 (which I have no racing games for) but it's still cool anyway. If you're interested in a PS2 steering wheel (a $50 value) shoot me a PM, I might be generous. For those who were wondering, yes, PS2 Madcatz steering wheels bring out the demon within me.

It may be Jade, but it's not quite golden:

I have spent about 20+ hours fooling around the Jade Empire, tackling evil creatures and thief's as I romp around but one thing always comes to mind on this new adventure... it's still Knights of the Old Republic. During the first few hours, I was immensely satisfied with the game since I hadn't touched an RPG in months but around the 15 hour mark I began to see all the similarities it shared with it's licensed cousin, KOTOR. As of this moment, I believe Bioware should have scrapped JE to develop KOTOR 2, I would have been more forgiving with regards to the obvious similarities. I'm still enjoying the game but not as much as I would like to.

GameSpot at E3 2005:

Received my DVD several weeks back and I was surprised by the level of quality, especially compared to the competition and last year's edition. At work we play the IGN/GameSpy DVD and the personalities (for the most part) are very annoying with little to no likable hosts. Am I biased? You're damn right I am but that's because I demand more quality than Stacy Barcelata's fake attitude (read: I hate G4).

The Alan Parsons Project and You:

So I've been listening to quite a few of their songs and I can't help but be addicted; there's something about his haunting voice and powerful, yet simple, music which evokes some strong feelings. While I haven't enjoyed everything they have made, I really enjoy the darker side present in some songs; Raven and Games People Play are two examples. This music may not appeal to everyone but I hope you at least listened to it. I have a rather eclectic taste in music; ranging from heavy, progressive, and death metal to classic pop like ABBA to soul and blues.

Hello, my name is Oliver... and I have a problem:

I'm beginning to realize my cat, Oliver, has an addiction to food. He demands it more and more, often becoming agitated if I ignore his "requests" to be fed. Just for clarification: he's about 16 pounds (which is overweight for a cat his size) and I'm trying to get him down to his ideal weight, 14 pounds. But Andrew, what makes you think he's addicted to food? Well for starters, he purrs erratically when I walk towards the food bowl or pour more food for him. Lately, he tries to steal my food when I'm not looking... or at least believes that I'm not looking (the photo was taken this morning... trying to steal my bagel :evil: )

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays:

Just a general observation but everyone and everything updates his, her, or it's journal on Mondays. That is all. I'd just like to note that I couldn't find a picture of the woman who said that line, the Andrew Foundation formally apologizes.

Hark, Madden cometh:

Disclaimer to fans of Madden: Stop reading!

I don't want Madden to come. Period. But why Andrew? What did one of the most famous sport announcers of all time ever do to you? He stole my car that's what! Well... not really. The reason I don't want Madden to come is because I'll be working a midnight release. Yes folks, if you're going to be in the Short Hills, New Jersey area, come by the local mall and laugh as I work from 9pm till 2 am. I actually have it easy, my manager is working from 9 AM till 2 am, talk about a long day :lol:

General Observations -- July 14th, 2005

Journals: There's one thing that has really been annoying me recently with regards to leaving comments. While I will be using JonathanL's latest entry as an example, I do not mean to imply any negativity towards him, that entry, or his journal as a whole, I'm simply using it as an example.

While reading Jon's entry this morning, I found it quite insightful and interesting but had very little to say or add to the entry, which really bothered me. I often find myself including unnecessary responses to journal entries so I can let the author know I read his or her latest work. I don't mean to imply that I dislike reading journals, actually it's quite the opposite. I really enjoy the personal touch a journal can provide as opposed to the more impersonal thread discussion. In all honesty, I don't mind when users do it in my entries; I just hate the feeling when/if I force something into a response.

I guess the real reason I complain about this is because I feel guilty, as if not responding will let my friends down or show that I don't care. Let it be known here and now: if you're on my friends list, I always read your entries along with the user comments.

Work Ethic:
It's becoming more and more obvious that I was hired as a "Sales Associate" at GameStop for one solitary purpose. Not enough men working there already? No. My chiseled arms and rock hard abs? Now you're just dreaming. Then what Andrew, tell us! Well my friends, I organize the shelves; I stare at the walls for hours on end thinking to myself "Does R come before or after T? A B C D E F...." and so on.

It became quite apparent on Tuesday afternoon while after clocking in, I immediately went to the register to help a man pay for a particular game and our manager said "Andrew, you know register?" with a puzzled look sweeping across his face. Of coarse I do, but only because one (out of six) of the assistant managers took the time to show me. Bah!

Random Encounters: No I'm not talking about RPGs, instead I wanted to focus on a random encounter with a costumer several days ago. It started innocently enough with his friend asking if we had Psychonauts for the PS2 which I then promptly displayed to him our "show floor" copy. While his friend was overlooking the empty box, the man (by the name of Derek) asked if we had Advent Rising in stock too. While walking him over to our Xbox section he asked what I thought about the game (referring to Advent), I told him what I had read from AlexN's review and some other comments I had read from other users. He then asked about Psychonauts and my opinion on the game, which I provided along with information I had attained from various sources (again, from Alex's review). He then proceeded to ask about another Majesco title, which I cannot remember at this point in time.

Up until this point, the conversation had been relatively standard for a customer/employee "What should I buy?" interaction but things shortly became somewhat "different." To keep things relatively short, the man asked "What do you think makes a game like GTA so popular? What would it take to topple a franchise like that?" I was a little stunned by his questions because nothing had really led up to them. After a very interesting discussion on the popularity of franchised video games he gave me his business card, which is rather strange considering I'm a joe-schmo at GameStop. I didn't really examine the card until I got home but upon closer inspection, he works for a company by the name of Endgame LLC which offers "strategic consulting & legal services." With a name like "Endgame," a strong portion of questions related to Majesco titles, and "strategic" consultation, I'm beginning to wonder what this man's real intent was when visiting that store. I have yet to contact him but I'm very interested to find out.

My Lacking interest:
Remember that whole "My journal is now about writing movie reviews" thing I did? Yeah... wasn't that nice ;)

The Cost of Transportation: This weekend I'm heading down to Washington DC to visit two friends: my longtime best friend Brian and Nate Coleman (some of you know him as -Coleman-). I am super excited, not only do I get to spend some time with a friend I don't get to see that often but also because I get to meet Nate, one of the nicest people I have interacted with in our community (don't let that go to your head ;)). My only complaint about this trip is the cost... $146 with a student discount. I just spent over two grand on a car in California (I didn't have one before) so now I have less than $300 to my name, such is life.

Gamecube... the party system

As some of you may know (and others will soon find out) I recently purchased a GC off eBay. I'll try to keep these complaints short since this isn't the focus of my entry. The owner had obviously been a smoker and a rather heaven one at that. As soon as I had fully opened the box, I immediately fell ill (I positively hate the smell of cigarettes, cigars are fine though) and had to leave the package outside for several hours to air out. Everything was a little grubby but nothing a little Windex couldn't solve.

Last night (July 4th) my newly found GC saw it's first real play through. The original plans were to have my best friend and his older brother come over for some turkey burgers (which I made... yum) but, and thankfully so, it ended up being close to seven people. We had all major systems covered: Xbox w/ 4 controllers, PS2 w/ 4 controllers, and my new GC w/ 4 controllers (brought by my friends). Now truth be told, these guys aren't what many would define as "hardcore" but they still enjoy games and that's all that matters in my mind.

The evening began at around 8:30 with food and some episodes of Chappelle's Show (season one). After we had consumed our weight in turkey, soda, and other assorted food products, we fired up the GC with Mario Party 6. While I could certainly see the faults of the game, it was made quite enjoyable with my friends and the never-ending laughter. After Mario Party, we began to sink our teeth into Super Smash Broths Melee, which was quickly stopped because no one had any skill in that game... it was sad really. From here, we moved on to the main coarse... Mario Tennis. Wow, I've played the game before with one of my friends but 4+ friends is just outstanding fun. For the sake of time, we played Mario Tennis from approx 10:45 PM till about 3:00 AM.

If I were to personify this generation of gaming consoles into traditional high school characters it would be as follows: Xbox as a jock, PS2 as a trendy, fashion conscious individual, and the GC as the wild party lover. While many of the GC's party oriented titles are not as sophisticated or skill based as games like Halo 2 they're still just as much fun, if not more so. People who are uninterested or just casually interested in video games can easily pick up a game like Mario Party and have a blast. There are probably users out there who disagree with me (and if you do, please voice your opinion on the matter) but as it stands, I feel the GC can provide the most entertainment for the largest audience during a social event, specifically, a party.

I survived LA and all I got was this stupid shirt...

Now I know this journal is supposed to be for movie reviews (and it will be) but I felt I needed to share this amazing story with my fellow community members. Let the journey begin...

I started off my morning by attending my music class (had to be a good student) which promptly ended at 10:45 am. I proceeded to my dorm where I ate lunch and called for a taxi to the train station. Upon my arrival at the station (approx 11:48 am) I immediately purchased a
$9 round-trip ticket with a ten dollar bill. To my surprise I wasn't given a dollar bill back or even four quarters in change. Instead, I received a $1 Sacagawea coin; the bringer of death in the United States currency exchange (I have always had trouble trying to make purchases with these damn things, people just don't want to accept them). To make matters worse, I soon discovered the train to LA Union Station had left at 11:34. Damn, well I guess I'll just wait for the next train... at 2:58 pm!!!

Needless to say I spent the next three hours sitting on a bench listening to the comedy stylings of Dane Cook, Mitch Hedberg, Carlos Mencia, and Lewis Black. So the train finally arrives (at 3:03 pm mind you, they lied to me) and delivered me to LA Union Station. Throughout the whole ride however, no one checked my ticket. I could have easily boarded that train and left without paying a dime; I love this country.

After essentially wasting $9 (you'll figure out more later) I boarded a not-so-friendly cabby and was whisked to the front steps of the Staples Convention Center, home to E3. Followed by some confusion, I attained my badge and entered into the money filled atmosphere at 4:04 pm. E3 was quite enjoyable despite only spending two hours running around trying to see as much as possible without becoming lost. I must applaud GameSpot for their booth design; the creative minds behind it deserve a friendly pat on the back.

I was fortunate enough (in my crazy antics) to run into a few games which I was very happy to see in person, particularly Okami (which I thought looked beautiful). Other games worth a mention were We Love Katamari, CoD2, and Burnout Revenge. I was not particularly impressed with Coded Arms (PSP); I felt the controls were very awkward and just too frustrating in combat. Some other disappointments included: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Shadow The Hedgehog, and Need For Speed Most Wanted (Xbox 360). While it looked very nice (NFS:MW), the physics were just wrong; objects seemed to fly around realistically but cars bounced off each other in rather unusual ways. Please keep in mind that my opinions about these games are based on very short experience with them so don't listen to anything I say.

As E3 rolled to a close I headed to the GameSpot booth, hoping to catch some free goodies. I was promptly given a shirt (don't let the title fool you, I really like the shirt... even if it is a large ;)) and "featured" in the 5pm video, the one discussing FEAR, Tomb Raider, and Legend of Zelda (you can see me at approx 42 mins and 57 secs into the video, I'm the first kid wearing a black shirt with his arms crossed... I'm so lame sometimes).

With E3 now "closed" I left the convention center in an attempt to locate a taxi and return to Union Station. Unable to locate an unoccupied taxi I decided to walk, yes that's right... walk (I know, it's insane). The Staples convention center is about 2.7 miles away from Union Station; combined with traffic and crazy people, I was walking for quite some time. I reached the station at about 7:40 pm desperately searching for my train, which was scheduled to arrive at 7:45. Well you know how the story goes, I missed my train. Later I found out that was the last train to Northridge for the day. Who the **** is running these Metros anyway!?

After sitting down for several minutes and refocusing with a Sprite and a Nutri-Grain bar, I decided my only option was to take a taxi. Fifty minutes later I arrived at my dorm with a $65 taxi fair (plus tip),
some soar legs, better knowledge of LA, and a free t-shirt. I'll sleep easy tonight.

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