Clean Up, Aisle Six.

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Well, Raven said I had some blogging to do, and I don't have anything to do at the moment.* So I decided to do a general update blog, just to say "Why hello thar" and such.

*Note: By don't have anything, I mean I have something, but I really can't be bothered to actually do it.

To get this party train rolling, College!

It's been a bundle of fun and I've basically been assimilated into the college life. Weekends filled with beverages and football, weekdays filled with school work and the constant battle with everyone's dreaded enemy, the snooze button. I've moved into a townhouse with 3 of my friends from last year. This is honestly some of the most fun I've ever had in my life. You'd think that as a political science major, I'd have copious amounts of time to spend playing games and things of that nature, but I've found time to be at a premium for some reason.

I really should be doing better in a lot of my clas.ses, and I'm working on doing so. I'd inform you all of my grades but that's for me to know and my parents to never ever find out. Suffice it to say, I'm an average student when I could be a lot more. This happens in more aspects than one, particularly when it comes to cheering for my Number 4 Ranked Hokies. If any of you have been following college football, you may have heard about the Virginia Tech-Nebraska Game which VT won 16-15 in the final seconds of the game on 82-yard and 11-yard passes and the 31-7 beat down VT issued the University of Miami in the cold and the rain. To all of you people that know what I'm talking about: I WAS THERE!! Having season tickets on the 50 yard line is something else, let me tell you. Particularly when you give your team up for dead, promise to eat your own shoe if the quarterback pulls through in the last minute, only to watch him prove you wrong, as if he really did want to see you eat your own shoe. Also: massive rainstorms can turn your clothing into 30 pounds of dead weight and give you a strong enough cold to make you miss 2 days of classes. (Totally worth it)

In non-sports news:

  • I really don't know how I'm surviving. I'm eating pasta for dinner 6 nights out of 7 with the other night being pizza. If anyone has any quick healthy and tasty meals, I'd love to hear from you.
  • Having my own room again is a godsend, even if I took up most of it by using 2 twin mattresses to form a king.
  • I've developed a strange love for all things Rhodesian/South African. Don't ask me why, I do however know why I love having their flags hanging in my room.
  • I bought a pith helmet while uh....slightly tipsy. (Visible in flag photo, look on the pillows.)

In gaming news, I bought Beatles Rock Band and one of the Guitars. Originally Gamestop sent me a ps3 controller instead of an xbox one, but the local store was kind enough to provide me with one in exchange. Great times have been had, hell, even my mother stopped by and played rock band with me and the guys at one point. Just goes to show that music and video games can bring people together. I've also pre-ordered Modern Warfare 2, and I honestly can't wait to play it. The new features, weapons, modes, etc is just too much for me to take. My favorite weapon in the world, the venerable FN FAL, has been confirmed to make an appearance, much to my excitement. I might lose my social life and academic responsibility when it finally arrives at my townhouse.

I've rediscovered my love for CoD4 yesterday and today. There's something satisfying about watching someone keel over as my G3 bucks on the screen. Been playing with old friends, my brother, my cousins, and random people. It's been a fantastic time and really reminds me how I lost so much time to this great game. I can only imagine how MW2 will turn out.

Few entertainment notes:

  • District 9 is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.
  • The Hangover and The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard follow it closely.
  • Vortex by Larry Bond is easily my favorite novel of all time.
  • I've been spending a lot of time (embarrassinglyenough...) playing the Text Based RPG "Nationstates." It's like writing a cooperative novel.
  • Taylor Swift reminds me of an angel.
    • Kanye West is a terrible person D:

In Remembrance of Those Lost

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Today is the 2nd Anniversary of the shootings that took place at Virginia Tech. At midnight to night I attended the lighting of the cermonial candle outside of Burress Hall, the main building on campus. Around the candle stood 32 Hokie Stones, all with the names of the victims of that tragic day.

At exactly Midnight, the Honor Guard of the Corps of Cadets walked out and took up position on the pathways around the stones, as 2 cadets escorted a family member/ friend, not sure which, to the candle in the middle. Once they lit the candle the two cadets took up position on either side of it and will stand there until relieved by others who will take their position, much like you see at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, though a bit different. I have to be honest, I nearly lost it after that moment, 2 cadets marched out of Burress Hall and played Taps, probably the most depressing music known to man. Shortly after that I witnessed what has to be the saddest event I've ever seen. Family members and friends walked out to the candle and the stones and paid their respects, some in solitude, some with friends, others openly weeping. I myself was lucky enough to have been in high school when the tragic events unfolded, but as a Hokie, it really hurts to see such a sight. I realized in that instant how much family and friends meant to me, and after watching all the familys make their way through, my friends and I headed to the campus church, where we all were lost in our own thoughts. I myself took some time afterward to text my family, even at such a late hour, to tell them how much they mean to me. I hope none of you have to experience this sort of thing.

I'll be pulling out my previously made sig for the occasion, though it seems grossly inadequate to express the sense of loss that grips this campus and it's supporters/students/what have you.

Thousands of students and faculty went to cla.ss that day, 32 never came back. This is for them, I never knew them, but I'll never forget them. They were friends, family, but most importantly, fellow Hokies, their loss will not be forgotten.

From Fallout to Lincoln - Kevin Bacon style

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Well recently I did what I thought impossible for myself, complete a game 100%, gaining all Achievements for a single game. That game is (1)Fallout 3.

The game has been almost an obession of mine over the past months. I've enjoyed it emmensely and have played numerous run throughs. I don't know how it continues to attarct me to it after I've gone through the main quest 4 times. (2)Operation Anchorage was well worth the money in my opinion, especially now that I know the glitch to pull out near indestructable assault rifles and combat shotguns. (Not to mention some awesome Winter Combat Armor) I like the backstory to the whole Fallout timeline, although I got angry a few times at how different the game seemed at certain points. (I couldn't find health stations at intervals that I really needed them, causing reloading and replaying on several occasions.) Also looking forward the other (3)DLC's The Pitt and Broken Steel.

Speaking of DLC, I recently got (4)The Lost and Damned for GTA IV. It definitely plays differently than the original but still has the GTA feel to it. I like the new radio commericals and the news broadcasts, really livened up the radio which was getting dull by the end of the original. Bike handling is also improved, which was much needed. The races are fun, nothing like beating someone of their bike with a baseball bat while racing to let you know you're alive. I also liked the missions that crossed over with Niko's mission, really filled out the story nicely. Overall, I'd recommend it. The main character, (5)Johnny, is an interesting character who is easy to get behind. Plus he has great facial hair.

Which leads me to my last connection! (6)Abraham Lincoln!

Thanks to a clothing pack for the Xbox Live Avatar editor following the release of The Lost and DamnedI was able to create your favorite president and mine (Although you may favor other presidents, it sounded good) Abraham Lincoln. I have to say, I rather enjoy it.

Well that's all I've got for now, a more complete review of Fallout is coming sometime in the next few (Thousand) days.

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and who could forget, Happy Festivus!

Hope you get everything you've asked for and more, and have a nice time with your families or whoever you are spending the holidays with.

Quick Question, Need Some Techincal Help

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Alright, recently I've been playing xbox live with a few friends, all forming parties and having a generally good time. Unfortunately I've been having the strange problem of not being able to connect to Canadian xbox live players. At first I thought it was my NAT type, it was moderate, so I went into my router and changed the settings so that my NAT type was open, I thought the problem would be solved. But alas not. I've been able to connect to American players I'd been having problems with before, but I still have no luck connecting to Canadians, and they can't connect to me.

Does anyone know what this problem could be or where I can go to get help with this problem?

Time!

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3 months, 20 days, 6 hours, 7 minutes, 16 seconds

That's how long it tookfor me to complete my first semester of college. (Thanksgiving Break included)

I just finished my last exam and am looking forward to going home on Thursday. In the mean time I have to help a friend move out of his room (He's transferring) and move my stuff into his room (I'm going to room with my other friend who lives in the room), so I'm not quite able to fully relax just yet.

Really looking forward to seeing my family again, particularly my mother, who I have not seen in about 4 months. Will be good to sit at home and watch college football with them all. Also looking forward to the games and books that accompany any Christmas. Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, and Rock Band 2 are just waiting to be played.

But what I am looking forward to the most is the books:

Britannia's Fist: From Civil War to World War: —An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras - Really looking forward to this, a novel about how the Civil War could have erupted into the first world war and driven technological development forward, as well as military tactics forward.

The United States of Atlantis by Harry Turtledove - an alternate history sequel to Opening Atlantis. This book will pick up where the previous book left off, with the English settlers of the Eight Continent looking to divorce themselves from the Crown. (Atlantis is a land mass made up of the land east of the Mississippi River that broke off from North American instead of being connected like the modern day North America

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - Really been looking to read this book, from what I've been told by friends and professors is that my political/economic ideology is most close to this novel.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin - another Dystopia novel!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - even more Dystopia novels woo!

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks - This one looked like a rather funny read, so I decided to get it.

House of Leaves - came recommended from Gamespot OT Forum (Take that for what it is worth) After reading up on it and doing a little research it turns out it's sorta of a creepy horror novel, it seemed like something I might like to read.

Well, I think that's all I have to say for the moment, hope all is going well with you all out there. Hope you all enjoy your time off for the Holidays and the time with your families.

(P.S. Go Hokies! Virginia Tech Hokies v. Cincinnati Bearcats in the Orange Bowl Jan. 1st 8 P.M. TV: FOX)

Sweet Home....Pennsylvania

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Well, 3 months away from home, I'm finally back home with the family for Thanksgiving Break. Get to play my own Xbox and my neighbor's copy of Fallout 3 along with EndWar and CoD:WaW.

My copy of Fallout is still making it's way here, ordered it online after some roommate issues some of you might be aware of.  Long story short we're no longer on speaking terms let alone using each others stuff.

Well, perhaps I'll catch you all online sometime. For your Americans, enjoy your Thanksgivings. 

Global Ethics 2304: Me* against 10,000** Raving Liberals***

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* It's been confirmed that there is atleast 1 other conservative, though she doesn't really know how to get a point across, merely become angry and combative

** Margin of error +/-9,970

*** Ideological values and party status cannot be confirmed

Well, disclaimers aside, I've recently returned from yet another session of my favorite course: Global Ethics or as I like to call it, and the title states "Me against 10k Liberals."

Little background on the class here: The class is about the application of moral philosophical theories to modern day events, practices, and customs. And as one might imagine topic number 1 in this class: The Iraq War.

As one might imagine, this might make for great debate, and great fun attempting to apply moral arguments for or against the War and try and make them stick. So far we've come across many arguments that attempt to prove that the Iraq War is immoral and unjustified. Whenever these are brought up, there is general agreement among many and very few counterarguments are brought up by the class, very few holes pointed out or explored. To do my fair share, I bring up a few things here and there attempting to poke holes in the argument and defend the war, just cause I've got to do my part of the liberal cause.

And the fact I secretly can't accept that a US President could have possibly managed to fool EVERYONE and keep it secret, especially when that someone is President Bush.

Anyway, not the best part, we are now on an argument that justifies the war, written by David Mellow and titled Iraq: A Morally Justified Resort to War. It grants nearly every other argument made against the war, No WMDs, Government lied, illegal act of aggression on Iraq, etc. However, it then argues that the war in Iraq was a case of Humanitarian intervention based on the following premises

1. Stopping an act of genocide provides sufficient just cause for any country to put an end to genocide.

2. The humanitarian situation in Iraq was close enough to cases of actual genocide to legitimize humanitarian intervention in Iraq.

3. It was morally permissible to overthrow Saddam and install democracy in Iraq.

Now the premises are backed up by a few things: repression of self-determination, constant torture, rape, forced displacement, etc of the Iraqi people and finally the fact that intentions don't make something morally reprehensible or justified.

Basically a usual argument against the war is that the US or another outside force cannot force the people to be free and have to sit back and let the people demand/work toward freedom themselves. Basically Mellow argues that the Iraqi people, or people in instances of genocide, are so repressed that they cannot possibly free themselves from the oppression. So therefore the US (or other agent) has a right or duty to liberate these people.

Next torture and things of that nature, that's pretty self explanatory, Saddam was known for gassing his own people and committing a list of human rights abuses the lengh of my arm and then some, with attrocities continuing even after the First Gulf War.

Which lastly leads us to the wonderful decision making and decision making of President Bush. Mellow contends that what President Bush believed or intended to do is completely unrelated to the morallity of the cause at hand. He provides the example of a Military Junta that is approached by a neighboring country to help them in their defense against a foriegn invasion. The Military Junta might see this as an opportunity not to help out a neighbor but as a opportunity to unify their people and solidify their power base by engaging in a foreign venture.

While the junta is becoming involved for the wrong, possibly immoral, reasons the action itself is morally justified and morally correct.

I agree with this argument that Mellow presents, I'd like to hear your throughts and stances on the matter, I already know my classmates reactions, who are violently opposed to anything close to justifying the Iraq war. One funny thing is that, once confronted with facts, most people in the class can't make a counterargument

Which prompted my teacher to jokingly comment "You liberals need to learn how to argue! Everyone always agrees with you you can't argue!" I'm sure many of you can form some great arguments and I look forward to reading them!

Hokie Picks Week 2

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9/14 1:00 ETAt Kansas City-3.5Oakland

9/14 1:00 ETAt Cincinnati-1Tennessee

9/14 1:00 ETIndianapolis-2At Minnesota

9/14 1:00 ETAt WashingtonPKNew Orleans

9/14 1:00 ETGreen Bay-3At Detroit

9/14 1:00 ETAt Carolina-3Chicago

9/14 1:00 ETNY Giants-8.5At St. Louis

9/14 1:00 ETAt Jacksonville-5.5 Buffalo

9/14 4:05 ETAt Tampa Bay-7Atlanta

9/14 4:05 ETAt Seattle-7San Francisco

9/14 4:15 ETAt Arizona-6.5Miami

9/14 4:15 ET At NY Jets-1.5New England

9/14 4:15 ET At Houston-4.5Baltimore

9/14 4:15 ETSan Diego-1.5At Denver

9/14 8:15 ETPittsburgh-6At Cleveland

9/15 8:35 ETAt Dallas-7 Philadelphia

Credit Kingrich for this table/chart and the idea. I'll have to go back and see what I would have picked for last week, I think I only disagreed with Rich's Minnesota pick over Green Bay. Picks are (hopefully) in B o l d.

In Defense of Governor Palin

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This is a response to nocoolnamjim's blog about Governor Palin and her supposed flaws.

First and foremost let's get this straight. From here on out, I will not mention Palin's daughter's child. It has absolutely NO bearing on the political issues at hand. Obama himself declared it "off-limits."

Also, I will not be making any references to Palin's religious beliefs. They also have no relevance to the topic at hand regardless of what biased and unreliable news sources claim.

Now the real issues. Alaskan Independence Party. Was she a member in the past? Is her husband now?

Now let's look at this logically. Palin is currently running along side John McCain to become Vice President of the United States. Would someone who is dedicated to the independence of Alaska, from the US, openly campaign to become a person inside of that government in order to serve that government willingly?

In fact all those questions are moot. It's been shown that Palin's husband did register for the party, but that Palin herself was never a member of the party. Well we did answer one question: Is her husband a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, but I've got a better question. Is her husband the one running for VP? I thought not.

Next up: Bridge to Nowhere.

The bridge to Nowhere was a proposed to be a way for people of a small island to make it across a body of water to the rest of society, nevermind the fact that they had a ferry that worked just as well as a bridge for that job. Was it a stupid move on Palin's part? Yeah, it was. She shouldn't have supported it, in hindsight. However, it was viewed, at the time, as a way to improve the infastructure of the Alaskan road system. Of course, Palin isn't the only person ever to endorse something that people disliked. It happens. She eventually withdrew support of the bridge when costs became to high.

Who could forget "Troopergate."

Forgetting that Palin is known for fighting corruption and abuse of power in Alaskan politics. Also fogetting that the charges haven't even been proven yet, Palin is being investigated for firing a official because he refused to fire her brother-in-law who was involved in a messy divorce with her sister.

It hasn't even been proven, and people use it to attack her. She recently called for the matter to be brought in front of the State Personnel board instead of the legislature. Again, she hasn't been convicted of anything. I thought in America, we were innocent until proven guilty. Apparently, to the Democrats atleast, that isn't the case.

Since we've been focused on the negatives of Sarah Palin, let me enlighten you as to the positives.

She comes from a blue collar family. She was a self described "hockey mom." She later was elected to the town council, and then mayor. From there she chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, all along the way reporting conflicts of interest and out right corruption along with ethics violations and was ignored. She eventually resigned from the commission due the fact that nothing was done about the violations. Later she took on the corruption and the encumbant Governor, who had vacated his senate seat for the job, only to overlook Palin and place his own daugher in his place. She handlely beat him in the Republican primaries and went on the beat a former Democratic governor in the general election.

She's proven that she'll buck the system in order to get things done, going against her own party if she has to. She doesn't stand for corruption and will work to defeat it. She signals change, a willingness to move beyond party lines in Washington.

Obama, for all his talk about change, picked a "politics as usual" guy in Joe Biden. A man who isn't exactly known for challenging the existing political system in Washington. Atleast when McCain and Palin talk about change, we know they mean it. McCain isn't talking about change, he's working towards it. We shouldn't be swayed by a few nice speeches, or because people think it is the cool thing to do. We need to do it because we need it, because we've gotten proven members of US politics to do what they say they will do, and have experience in doing it. Sure Palin has her faults, but she's a strong women who believes what she believes and will do whatever it takes in order to get something done. Palin signals a change in American politics. She's dynamic, she's willing to trancend party lines, to accomplish what is best for the people and not just the party. She was dismissed as a lightweight in Alaska, not a serious player, only to charge onto the scene and defeat politics as usual. Not only that, but she got things done.

It's time to stop talking about change, and doing what is best, and to show that work is being done to change the system.

McCain and Palin are those people.