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I am now the (proud) owner of a Xbox 360

Plans change. I'm sure most of you aimed to complete a certain task only to delay it indefinitely when new circumstances arose (I'm thinking of you, Mr. Homework Procrastinator). It should come as no surprise when I planned to buy a Xbox 360 last summer I--get ready for the big surprise--didn't purchase one. New circumstances arose, and I ended up working for a small computer repair shop. Therefore, I used nearly all the money I made to build a new computer. However, I still had a Xbox 360 wireless controller, and a pre-order for Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV hanging around, waiting to be used.

Finally, the time has come. I purchased a Xbox 360 bundle on Sunday, and it's slated to arrive tomorrow.

Along with it, I have a third wireless controller arriving, as well as Perfect Dark Zero, Blue Dragon and Project Gotham Racing 4. Additionally, I opened up my wallet to buy a new 26" HDTV.

If you're going to game, you might as well go all-out, right? At least, that's what I tell myself (and my wallet). When all is said and done, I should have:

* A Xbox 360 Pro system (with HDMI)
* A new 26" HDTV
* Perfect Dark Zero, Grand Theft Auto IV, Halo 3, Project Gotham Racing 4 and Blue Dragon
* 3 Wireless controllers

When I do finally get my Xbox 360 tomorrow, I fully expect to act like this kid opening up his N64. I can't wait to see what the 360 has to offer and--hopefully--spend countless hours on a new gaming system (instead of my PC). It will be interesting to go back to using a controller; I haven't really messed around with consoles since I played GameCube years ago but I'm sure I'll adjust.

Oh, and if I turn into a fanboy trolling System Wars bashing all other systems, I apologize in advance.

What embarrasses me the most

So, Jeff was fired. It seems--regardless of the reasoning--that this was the case. Now, I realize that people are upset. In fact, I am too. Everyone, however, is handling the situation differently. Remember when you were a kid and your mom taught you to control your anger? She taught you that thinking rationally and reasonably would better get your point across and get people to listen to you. Yeah, it seems like in this situation, people have forgotten what their mothers have taught them. And this, more than Jeff getting fired, more than the revolution in the game reviewing web industry that is inevitable, embarrasses me.

As a moderator, part of my responsibility is to clean up the forums. I try to do my job as objectively as possible, helping empower the users and make GameSpot the best possible site it can be. After all, I love this site and I want to do everything in my power to see it succeed; to see it become the staple of video game websites. However, I know some things I cannot control, such as how users handle issues that arrise. This, above all, frustrates me.

It should be evident to all frequent users of the site that the Off-Topic board has a thread with over a thousand replies. Most of them are dedications to Jeff--little goodbyes thanking him for everything he's done in his ten year tenure. However, some of the posts go to an extent that is unecessary; asking the users to spam inboxes of GameSpot and CNET employees, flaming the current employees (despite the fact that they had no correlation with the incident), and even hacking the website. What does this accomplish? If anything, it shows the immaturity of the GameSpot users, how they can't accomplish anything within wrecking havoc upon those who had nothing to do with "Gertsmann-Gate". It's important to channel your anger appropriately: send messages to CNET (but do it politely and bring up valid points), stop visiting GameSpot, cancel your subscription, but don't cause more issues for those who have nothing to do with the problem.

And this, more than anything else, makes me embarrassed to be affiliated with this site during this time.

Shopping for food while in college

I think the image speaks for itself. We spent roughly $127 on Goldfish, Poptarts, water, Gatorade and chips. But, hey, at least it's better than the frat guys we saw coming out of the market with seven 30-racks of Keystone Light in a single shopping cart.

A year to remember

I can't believe freshman year is over. Did 10 months really pass that quickly? Seriously? Where on earth did freshman year go? I remember getting there, meeting my roomate and then leaving. The rest is a drunken blur (which, in all honesty, is completely possible). In those 10 months, I changed more than I have in the past 18 years. I experienced the ups and downs of a relationship (and still am--7 months today, baby!); met new people from all walks of life and even held my grades up during these crazy times. However, I'm more proud of my new-found architecture skills than anything:

Yeah, I could have been doing something like, oh, homework during that time, but instead I decided to make a tower out of empty water bottles. Go me.

Either way, if the next three years pass as quickly as freshman year did, I don't know what I'm going to do. I still don't know for sure what I want to do with my life and it seems like I'm running out of time. However, as summer is here, I'm trying to plan how to make enough money this summer to live comfortably during the school year. Therefore, I got a job at a computer repair store getting $8.50 an hour. This job isn't bad, as the work is relatively easy and enjoyable, but I wish I was getting more per hour. However, I am only working 24 hours a week, 11-5 with Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday off.

I am looking at heading back to school this August with great anticipation, but also great reluctance--I don't want the year to go by so quickly again.  I want to savor every last second, from the good times to the bad.  From the happy times to the sad.  And, of course, from the drunken times to the sober times.

Birthdays are fun!

Today's my birthday. 19 frickin' years old. Wasn't I five years old only, like two years ago? I remember running around outside with friends pretending we were power rangers; the sun shining down on our smiling faces as we didn't have to worry about money, thought girls had cooties, and our biggest fear was not destroying the evil overlord guarding the precious diamond in my backyard.

But, regardless, my birth certificate differs from my perception. I was born at 6:58 am on January 8th, 1988. My childhood contains various stories that differ little from the stereotypical American childhood: playing outside with friends, participating in recreational sports, and hanging out with friends. As my girlfriend has said: "you're so American." For presents I would usually receive Lego toys, clothes or money. I would not, however, recieve any video games.

But this year was different. I got not only one video game but two. As my friend said when I told him my mother bought me a game, "Dude, I think we broke your mom down. Is something wrong with her?" Here's the complete list of what I recieved (so far) for my birthday:

1) Madden 2007 for GameCube;
2) Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones for GameCube;
3) A Mario sticky poster (I guarantee my mom was not planning on buying this before she went into GameStop but the salesman convinced her otherwise. This same employee almost convinced my mom to buy me a Xbox 360, by the way. Yeah, my mom is a sucker.);
4) A Burton under-armor shirt for snowboarding;
5) New snowboarding pants;
6) A small Buddha statue;
7) Money

A new year, new things to experience. If the last year was any indication, this will be my best year yet and I can't wait to see what it brings me.

The college experience

It's been eight months. Eight freakin' months. That's how long it's been since I've posted my last blog entry. A while, huh? I used to attempt to post an entry a month, but then this little thing called "college" got in the way. And with it, lots of work, but luckily lots of fun as well. And a girl, too. I suppose that's somewhat significant, too!

Here's my dormitory's sister dorm, called Flint Hall. A tunnel connects my dormitory (Day Hall) with Flint. This is to make it easier to travel between the dorms (and the dining hall, which is housed in between Flint and Day) during the winter. I have yet to see its true potential, though, as it has yet to snow more than an inch here in Syracuse.

Looking back at my last days back home, it's humorous to reminisce upon how afraid I was of traveling to Syracuse. What would the people be like? Would I make any friends? How would the work load be? Even minor things such as what times I would eat at worried me. Yet here I am, a semester of college tucked under my belt, enjoying every second I'm at school.

Flint and Day Halls reside on top of a hill. A big hill. A really, really big hill. See those stairs? There are 122 of them, and they're necessary to get from the Quad (where academic buildings are) to the mentioned residence halls.

Obviously, all the time spent at college means a dearth of time doing other activities, such as gaming. In fact, since I've been at college (late August), I've played a total of ten minutes of Halo along with five minutes of Garry's Mod. This is a far cry from my past summer, where I played roughly three hours of video games a day. Amazingly, though, I'm still happy here. The weekends are fun, the basketball games are great (go Orange!), and my new friends and girlfriend are amazing.

To high school seniors starting to stress out over college: relax. Most likely, you're panicking over nothing (like I did), and you'll enjoy your time at school immensely. People don't call college the best four years of your life for nothing, after all!

Syracuse it is!

Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of attending Syracuse University. Granted, I knew very little about the school, but the fact that my grandfather, one of childhood idols, attended their undergraduate program made me want to walk through those doors as well. As I advanced through secondary school I looked up more information about this mysterious university. I knew it was a great school, but what I overheard from my grandfather barely scraped the surface of its diversity and academic greatness. Its constantly rated as a top 50 university in the nation, and their basketball (and lacrosse) programs are the cream of the crop. Thus, it exceeded all my wildest expectations that the school my grandfather spoke so highly of also seemed to be a perfect match for me. As January rolled around I decided to apply in the Information Studies college, majoring in Information Management and Technology (IT). (It also turned out that Syracuse is ranked the best Information Studies university in the entire nation, which was a pleasant surprise.) There are only 125 undergraduates in this program, and I find the small class sizes of my major, mixed with the larger total school size (approximately 11,000) a great fit. I get the bonus of smaller, specialized classes specific to my major mixed with larger freshman classes. I was accepted, and immediately made reservations for the accepted students day. I ended up spending this past Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and part of Tuesday in Syracuse to get a feel for the city and school. On Monday, I ventured onto campus and after a day filled with tours; chats with administrators, current and former students, and deans, I was overwhelmed with emotions (and an empty stomach), and the school left me a new, unexpected sensation. The weekend in 'Cuse did turn out different than I expected...

...but in a good way.

It seems kind of ironic that the place my grandfather called home over 50 years ago is where I'll call home for the next four years. But, I guess, in a way it's kind of fitting: Syracuse is a great school with tons of opportunities. I'm proud to say that I'm now a part of the Syracuse Orange.

My plastic obsession

I like Legos.

I have always liked Legos. OK, that's an understatement. I was absolutely, completely, and in every sense of the word, obsessed with Legos. I just couldn't get enough. I would scream in glee when a new Lego magazine arrived at my doorstep. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what I saw in Legos. When my mom asked why I liked these small, bland pieces of plastic, I would say, "because they're fun". That's it. No reason, I just had fun playing with them.

It came as no surprise then that I amassed my Lego collection quite quickly. Every Christmas I would ask for Legos. I didn't care about plastic cars or baseball cards. All I wanted were more freakin' Legos. It originally started with a small brown table set up in a small room near my living room. But, when my basement was finished I begged my mom--and I mean begged--to build a separate room for my Lego collection. Hey, who cares about your dignity when you're 10 years old. Eventually, she agreed, and my Lego city began. For an added effect, we painted the walls like a sky.

Now, I present to you, pictures of my Lego collection.

In this picture, you can the majority see my two-leveled city. There are two levels. The top is the normal city, and the bottom I created like an underground train station and underground mining station. You can see some of my Playmobils as well. Did I mention I collected them too?

This is the entire overview of my Lego collection. The brown table right there is what I started out with when I was around eight years old.

This is a close-up of the brown table, and specifically the race track. The palm trees in the background on the table is the water section, where I set up a jetski race.

Another picture of my beloved collection. See those black and yellow vehicles? That's the RES-Q series. I have every single last one of those.

So what's next for my Lego collection? Unfortunately, as I leave for college next year, it's being taken down. I'll be sad to see it go, it's been around for the majority of my life, but it's time to move on. However, the pictures remain, and if I ever have kids, I'm sure they'll get a kick out of their old dad playing with such toys.

My first acceptance letter

It seems like just yesterday I wrote about sending in my first application, but in fact, it was about two months ago. I guess when you're bogged down with school work, and all the pressure that comes with being a senior, you lose track of time. Thus, it was a surprise when I found a package from Drexel University crammed into my mailbox this afternoon. I have recieved letters from colleges before, but they were packaged much more unprofessionally; usually in lose envelopes with ripped edges. The material inside the other pieces of mail was much different as well; they usually contained reminders to apply, or notifications from the college they recieved my transcripts. But, this large piece of mail from Drexel was much different: it looked important.

When I tore the oversized envelope open, this is what I saw:

It's nice to receive a letter from a college, especially one notifying you of your acceptance. The chances are slim that I'll actually attend Drexel, but as it was one of the more prestigious colleges I applied to, it gives me hope that the University of California: Santa Cruz and Syracuse University--my two top choices--will accept me.

I'm 18: Should I feel any different?

"You're a year older, kiddo! Do you feel any different?"

The quintessential question all children are asked. "Happy birthday!" my mom says, a smile breaching her lips, and covering her pale face, "do you feel any different now that you're 18?" The answer comes to me easily. "Not really," I respond indifferently. I'm now 18; born on January 8th, 1988 at 6:58 AM. Now that I've reached the big one eight, am I supposed to feel any different? Do I unlock the secrets to life? Gain super powers? If I'm supposed to feel drastically different, I never received the note. Where's all the bonuses I heard about as a kid? In fact, I'd say I'm disappointed with this birthday. I have more responsibilities than I've ever had, and I've been more stressed than I've ever been. Whoever said the wisdom you gain as your age increases makes life easier was crazy.

Then comes a revelation. Maybe becoming an adult is much deeper than how you've changed; much deeper than loads of money, or ability to see NC-17 movies. It's about becoming thankful for the people that have helped you reached this milestone; helped you become who you are.

I guess, in a sense, I did gain something after all, but it wasn't something I gained overnight, it was something that--similar to scientific discoveries--was found as time passed: appreciation for what my mom has done. Even the most minuscule things I've gained appreciation for; helping me with laundry, giving me medicine when I was sick, spotting me some extra cash for poker. Naturally, it makes me upset that I've been so cruel to my mom over the years; she's always been there for me; always lending a helping, loving hand when I needed it, and wiping my tears away with the other. So, I think for the rest of the day, instead of letting my mom treat me like a king, I'm going to treat her like one. She deserves it.
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