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Perhaps I should clarify a few things. [Oct. 22nd, 2006|08:05 am]
A. Yes this journal is now dead. Starting... NOW.

B. The new journal is not a music journal, it is just my new journal.

C. Here it is.
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NEW JOURNAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Oct. 21st, 2006|09:21 pm]
I'm not even sure why I did this, I was going to start a journal for the music project I'm starting soon then decided might as well just start my own new journal. Why? Because I want to, the only real answer to why anyone does anything.


I only added like half my current *friends*, if I didn't add you it is probably because I don't have any idea who you are. If you should be on my list but aren't just tell me.

So add me. Or I will feel very lonely.











Any second now.
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I'm trying to decide if I'm too old for a band sweatshirt. [Oct. 20th, 2006|03:41 pm]
Not so much too old as I'd be wearing it to work and stuff and I think I'm supposed to be a mature, responsible adult at work not another kid.

The funny thing is when I stopped and thought about it the only band who I could possibly see wearing a sweatshirt of is Thrice. There are many other bands I kind of like... here and there... but few bands I'm actually a FAN of anymore.

What I REALLY want is a Metroid sweatshirt but apparently such a thing does not exist. This may or may not prove that god does not exist as well.
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Random book thoughts. [Oct. 19th, 2006|01:52 am]
Books I have been reading lately and thoughts...

Madeleine L'Engle (A Swiftly Tilting Planet)- I only read this once years ago and thought it was her best book. So I read it again... it still is. A Wrinkle in Time gets the most attention but this book is EASILY more powerful, dealing with the concept of how little things can create big changes in history and following the path of several characters throughout history.

Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy)- Not sure what to think here. The first book started off a bit slow but then picked up a bit, the second I really liked, but the third well... it just seemed to drag along and then the conclusion wasn't much of a conclusion. It seemed like by the third book he was just throwing in random cool ideas without much of an idea how to connect them to the plot in any significant way.

Terry Pratchett (Um... all kinds of Diskworld books?)- Definately one of the greatest humour writers, EVER. I read something once that called him the "Douglas Adams of fantasy" but the problem with that is Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's series only had 5 books and it fell apart by around book 3... Pratchett's Diskworld has like 50 books or something insane and I've read a lot of them and THEY'RE ALL VERY GOOD. Pretty much every book introduces new characters and ideas too, its not even really a linear series or anything, just loosely connected stories and characters all from the same world.

Arthur C. Clarke (2001/2010/etc.)- I really only briefly remember the movie 2001 watching some of it as a kid, I thought it was SUPER weird at the time but the book really isn't *that* weird. Maybe just because as a kid I wasn't exposed to much of anything weird really, whereas now I've read so much science fiction over the years that little would stun me. Hmm, I guess the ending to 2001 was a little weird, and the fact that HAL the computer becomes some luminous and powerful space being in 2010 is sort of weird too. Anyway it is an excellent space epic and unfortunately someone at the library decided to take out 2061 and NEVER RETURN IT so I can't really continue it at the moment.

JRR Tolkien (Lord of the Rings)- Not much to say here, reread it for the 3rd or 4th time or whatever. Still great, though seems a LOT shorter than I remember it for some reason. Once you get to Return of the King the main quest is practically over! Like 100+ pages of Return of the King happen AFTER the ring is destroyed, just tying up all the loose ends and such.

CS Lewis (A Grief Observed)- Wow. He wrote this pretty much starting in the month or so after his wife died. Pretty much it is just his thoughts on the loss of his wife. It is incredibly frank and at times almost hard to read because it is obvious that he is severely depressed. He kind of unapologetically doubts god many times in it as well. Kind of odd how much I relate to it though, not the losing a wife thing but the depression. Hmm.
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Writing song lyrics... one thing I don't *get* [Oct. 16th, 2006|04:40 am]
I don't really trust anyone else to write lyrics to my songs so I always decide I will do them personally. But it is such a terribly difficult process for me and I'm not sure why.

I have written many short stories. You guys have probably seen a lot of them, and there are even more I haven't posted. I know that when I try I can make excellent word choices, and I feel pretty confident in my descriptive qualities. To a certain extent the words just flow naturally.

Lyrics though... what exactly ARE they? They're sort of like poetry I suppose. I have tried poetry, and I can't do it. Maybe I'm just harsh on myself, but I write and look and it and think "wow... this is not good." That structure is too limiting for what I want to do. And I know poetry doesn't HAVE to be limiting, but it is just something that, unlike short story writing, doesn't come naturally to me at all.

And then there is the issue of what to write about? If you have read my stories you have probably noticed that they tend to focus mostly on sort of unbelievable science fiction/fantasy concepts... this type of thing does NOT translate well into song lyrics. Even some of my more beautiful sort of human relationship type stories always have some weird twist.

I don't know. There is one song I wrote which I pretty much LOVE the music and definately want to get the lyrics right. It is about losing someone to death, something which I probably don't have the right to speak about since I've never lost anyone super close to me, but I can try to imagine it right? But it is kind of supposed to be positive too, like moving on from that point, how to let your mind accept that it is ok to let dwelling on this person's memory not completely run your life.

Does it even make sense to write a specific song about something you have never really experienced? It's weird because I say lyrics don't come to me naturally but when I came up with the melodies and progressions of this song I knew what it had to be about, there is no other theme that could possibly make sense with the music in my mind, and the verse/bridge/chorus melodies are almost specifically built for pain/acceptance/moving on.

Oh well, it is all part of the process right? Since the music seems to come to me so easily sometimes I guess it is only fair that I have something I have to struggle with.
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Well I think I have come to an important decision. [Oct. 15th, 2006|05:51 am]
I'll just get a laptop ASAP and start recording.

I was going to wait until I felt more financially on top of things, but then I thought... why? I'm going to get one anyway, I have money put aside in my bank, might as well go do it. And to explain why I will use the words of Strung Out. I'm usually not one for quoting band lyrics but it fits...

'Now I sit and I wonder how,
everyday gets a little shorter, always feel I'm losin' out somehow,
don't wanna let another day go by without creation.'

Yeah that pretty much sums it up. I'm doing absolutely nothing productive with my life, and I'm not really sure when I will be doing anything productive with my life again but might as well CREATE something in the meanwhile. Then perhaps I can go to bed at night and not feel like the days are just slipping by as a complete and total waste.

I also restrung my friend's acoustic guitar and I can play it MUCH better now, which got me a bit excited. I'm pretty confident now in my ability to get down what I want acoustically, electrically, bass-ically?, and keyboardilly (ok not its just getting sillyally) and sure a lot of it will come out sketchy but it is recording, you screw up, you try again, and over and over until you get it right. It's not like I have anything else to do with my life at the moment, I can do a bunch of takes.

My worries still remain. Drums and vocals, because I can't play drums (I can probably program them but that isn't quite what I want) and I definately CANNOT sing at all. So I'll have to get some help on this supposed solo effort, one way or another. And just whether all this software and stuff my record producing brother is going to hook me up with will actually make recordings sound good or if they will still end up sounding like glorified live versions of songs. I suppose we shall see. I went and played guitar on one of his albums once and it came out a lot better than I expected so he probably knows what he is talking about. (Album has yet to be released, hopefully it will soon so I can run around saying I have played guitar on a release for a fairly big label.)

This will make it harder to spend money on a Nintendo Wii November 19th, but if everything goes according to plan my PS3 on Ebay should pay for that anyway.

I really do need to start looking for a third job now though. Yes, with my two jobs combined I am barely working... 5 hours a week PE teaching and subbing which I have now gone over 2 weeks without a single call in. Not looking forward to the job searching thing at all but I suppose it has to be done.
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Cultural relativism... legitimate or not? [Oct. 14th, 2006|05:39 pm]
A discussion came up about a new video game where you undress girls who look like they're about maybe 12-15 years old. Though the game probably claims they are legal age, it seems to me to be an undeniable fact that they are meant to LOOK young, which is the appeal.

I of course was disgusted. Many others were as well, though many were saying things like "well it disgusts me but I can't judge this because this is just Japanese culture and things are different there."

Is that really a viable excuse?

First off, though I know little of Japanese culture outside video games and anime, I highly doubt ALL of Japan is ok with this kind of thing. I'd bet many of the women aren't big fans of it, and yes, probably many of the men aren't as well. How do we even define what a "culture" is and how many people in that supposed culture actually are supportive of the more seedy aspects of the culture?

Second off, even if many are... does that mean you can simply write it off as "culture" and therefore untouchable by judgement?

Let's take a look at US culture. We are supposedly arrogant, greedy, money hungry, willing to step on others to get what we want, our men desire dumb blond women with big T&A, and all in all we are (again, supposedly) an incredibly shallow culture. This is sort of the "overview" of how our culture is presented, especially in the media, and probably in many ways it is true. Certainly many of our heroes seem to be movie stars and athletes and many of them are highly messed up people. Yet I have never seen anyone make excuses for the US due to culture. When we do things that are messed up, they are messed up, and the rest of the world seems to have no problem pointing that out. And good for them, I say, more people SHOULD point out messed up things in cultures and not let them pass.

Maybe this is an insane idea, but I believe every human being has some sort of self-realization and intelligence within them. Certainly our cultures can affect us, but they CANNOT tell us what is right and wrong unless we let them. I know when I look around at the way US culture works much of it straight up disgusts me. Sure I could run around doing various things, then if anyone points a finger at me start blaming culture. Or my schools, or my parents, or the government, or... the list goes on and on. But when it comes down to it there is only one person responsible for the way I think and act... and that is me. And if I am thinking and acting in a morally reprehensible way, it is my DUTY to stop and use that intelligence within me and think about what I am doing, not just pass it off as my culture.

Furthermore I almost think that some of *our* insistance to not judge other cultures stems from something almost akin to racism. I don't think anyone would claim the Japanese lack intelligence, but there are many other cultures who seem to get a pass because I think some people, deep down, can't imagine them actually having the intelligence to stand against their own culture if it is messed up. We know that WE, as in the typical white middle class Americans, don't have to do whatever we are told by culture because we know that we have minds of our own and can use them. So why is it so hard to believe that people in other cultures also have this intelligence? And by the way when I use the word intelligence I don't mean IQ or anything, I mean something that pretty much anyone can have if they look inside themselves.

I don't know, just something that bothers me. Whether in my culture (though it is very hard to think of US culture as MY culture) or in other cultures if I see something that seems to be very wrong I will speak up about it. I'm not talking about wanting every culture to have the exact same values (and even if I was I definately wouldn't look to the US to define those values) but just simple human rights and simple moral issues that don't have much grey area to people with some inate common sense. Uh oh, I just used another forbidden word, "common sense."

As an aside, there actually came to a point in the discussion where someone said though they don't *personally* believe in the female genital mutilation that happens in certain very backwards cultures, they can't say there is anything wrong with it because it is just *their* culture. Which of course leads me to ask... WHOSE culture? I'll put money on the fact that if you remove the females from the oppressive male environment they certainly won't see any need to continue mutilating their daughters genitals just because it is supposedly their culture. If we are going to start accepting things because of culture we better damn well make sure that the people within those actual cultures are truly accepting of these things first, and aren't being oppressed themselves.

I know it is an unpopular opinion, but it IS possible to take "acceptance" too far.
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RIP Clover Studios [Oct. 13th, 2006|02:26 am]
Some people would probably laugh at the idea of beauty in video games, and for the most part they would be justified in doing so. Every once in awhile a developer comes around who makes some truly beautiful games, however. Nintendo's studios, Sony's Ico team, and Capcom's Clover Studios are the only ones I can really think of that made these type of games... and now Clover is gone. Capcom shut them down. Business reasons. Can't blame Capcom per se, being that they ARE a business... I blame video game "fans" myself. People who go out and pay 60 bucks for yearly updates of Madden to get new rosters but won't go out and try out a truly amazing piece of software.

Have fun with all your generic 360 shooters guys. Thanks a lot.
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A little flaw in my plan to record music... [Oct. 12th, 2006|02:35 am]
I forgot about the fact that I'm just plain not that good at most the instruments I can play. I can get through stuff, and sometimes with really simply stuff I can even sound good... but it is usually sloppy.

Also there is the fact that I barely ever play acoustic guitar so I'm not used to actually having to hold strings down so hard. I think I gave myself blisters trying to play it tonight.

I suppose I should remind myself though that the beauty of recording is if you do 100 takes and only 1 is any good... that is all you need.

And also that you notice tiny flaws more when you are playing because you feel them as well as hear them... whereas listeners don't feel anything and don't know if you slipped a bit or this or that.

And likewise once you get all the tracks in and they blend together you don't notice tiny things in each single track as much anymore.

Not to mention most the songs I write shouldn't be too tough to play anyway.

Ok... so the plan can still work. I just need the actual recording stuff.
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I sure love getting lectured by my brother about how much of a failure I am. [Oct. 11th, 2006|01:44 am]
Best part of today's conversation was when he told me every intelligent person wants to own a yacht. I didn't tell him about how I'd use the money to build my own go-kart track in my backyard instead, some things just don't go over well with some people.

He also said everyone who doesn't travel the world constantly lowers their IQs. He told me I can never understand the world without traveling... I'm sitting here wondering what exactly I'm supposed to understand about it?

He also told me that JayZee apparently sold crack in order to get the money to make his first album, using this story to show me how no matter what situation you are in you can make it happen... like that is something to be proud of? I'd rather die poor than get rich of selling poison that wrecks lives, but that's just crazy old me.
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1 reply each on my last 4 journal posts. [Oct. 10th, 2006|12:40 am]
Can we make it 5?!

On a side note I have a full day of work tomorrow since I'm apparently going to be in classrooms in the morning and then doing the regular PE teaching in the afternoon. I feel sick and will probably feel sicker tomorrow, but you know what? Sometimes, oddly, I do better when I'm sick... because it is easier to think of it as "just get through today" instead of my usual "I have to keep on doing this over and over until I find something better or die."
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Anyone want to go see the Rolling Stones with me? [Oct. 9th, 2006|03:01 am]
Apparently my mom's friend out of nowhere just pulled out two Rolling Stones tickets and offered them to my mom for me and "a friend." My mom of course said no, he isn't really into that music (and besides the tickets had to have cost her a lot and my mom isn't into taking expensive gifts.)

The weird thing is now I'm wondering if she just bought them specifically for me. With most people I'd say no, but this friend always just randomly shows up at our house with stuff she bought for various family members... usually without making sure if it is anything they'd want first.

And this lady is FAR from rich. And gets in fights with her husband a lot, I'd imagine money being part of it since married couples tend to fight about money as much as anything. And has had mental issues and such in the past and is definately not over them.

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I made a whole $37.50 this week... before taxes. [Oct. 6th, 2006|11:02 pm]
No, that decimal is not in the wrong place. I suppose this is one of the negatives of relying on subbing for about 2/3 of your income, and then having a day off at your other job... sometimes you just don't get called in to sub.

Actually wait I did get called in to sub, on Tuesday, the one day I couldn't since I was busy working elsewhere, making that sweet $37.50.

I suppose I could say it was nice to have (almost) a whole week off work, but the problem with subbing is you don't know you have a week off until the week is over, and that's no relief at all.

I sure hope they let me do the basketball coaching at this other job. 37 bucks a day isn't really worth it otherwise, and subbing is not very reliable.
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I have a plan which could make my life that much better... [Oct. 3rd, 2006|08:36 pm]
Maybe. Though it is hard to imagine things getting much better no matter what I do, but who knows.

Basically, I spend way too much time online, and I honestly get so little from it. Not only that but it gets in the way of doing more, you know... productive things. And I think it is pretty clear that it keeps my health issues acting up, especially directly related things like neck and back pain.

The problem is with online here, I go on, even when I could be doing much more productive things. Keeping the Internet around but trying to quit using it so much is like an alcoholic saying he is going to stop drinking... while keeping a full bar at his place. It just ain't going to happen.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to get some music production stuff going. I'm held back by the fact that my computer sucks too much to get any real music production software. I have access to my brother's place and all his stuff (he's a label owner/record producer) but I'd prefer to get recording stuff going here. And he claims with a decent laptop he can get me like ten trillion awesome programs for free... which I assume is true because they're the ones he is using right now. I'm also kind of already working with someone online who is going to do drum stuff for all my guitar/bas/keys/etc. stuff.

So this is my plan. Get a laptop with wifi. Get rid of the Internet here (ok my sister and her husband can keep it for their computer but get rid of this computer's access.) Start doing something more productive with my free time (like using said laptop to record/create music with.) And every once in awhile (ok probably more than I should, but less than now) can use that laptop with its wifi and go online somewhere... that isn't here. And then I could actually do things online because it wouldn't be 56k!

My plan has a few flaws, the main one being that I really can't afford a laptop at the moment, but it doesn't necessarily have to go into effect right now. The other one being that without the Internet I *may* just end up sitting around playing video games more, which not only isn't any more productive but probably is just as bad from a health perspective. And I think I'll probably feel kind of empty without the Internet, at least at first, since sadly pretty much all of my *friends* are Internet-only at the moment. But I really do want to get a lot of this music stuff going and I think having a real "home studio" type set-up combined with NOT having the Internet to constantly distract me could make things work out pretty nicely, not to mention I really don't see my health ever getting better sitting at a computer all the time.

Also, I might even end up going outside more. Possibly.

Seems worth a shot anyway.
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And again, a weird subbing situation. [Oct. 1st, 2006|10:06 pm]
Or perhaps this isn't so weird, I haven't subbed enough to know for sure what is and isn't normal.

I subbed 3rd grade the other day and two of the kids apparently don't have to take tests... or pay attention to lectures... or do any of the reading or writing... or apparently do anything besides cut and paste all day, because they don't know English.

I'm going to try not to judge things when I don't know the whole story, perhaps they are new to the country or something and are learning English on the side, who knows. But as far as I could tell they were not being taught English at this school, or being taught much of anything for that matter. I really hope there is some plan for them to actually learn English eventually, it really doesn't seem fair to the other students who are actually expected to learn things to get a grade, and it would probably help them out a lot in their future academic life.

The funny thing is no one told me this until I got there and was trying to talk to one of the students, then the one next to her explained the situation to me. You would think explaining to a sub that two of the students won't be able to understand anything he says would be a priority of either the teacher (in her notes) or the administration, but I suppose this is not the case. There were some breif notes explaining that these two kids don't take tests or anything but there was no explanation as to WHY... this I had to learn from their classmate.

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The end of Return of the King makes me cry. [Sep. 25th, 2006|10:39 pm]
Literally. Actual tears.

It depresses me more than an actual movie should, especially since all in all it is (mostly) a happy ending. But I think one of the powerful things about the book/movie is that Frodo succeeds in the quest... but still carries the pain. Sometimes I wonder if that is how I would feel even if I did get my life back in order, sort of haunted by everything I've been through and never quite able to actually feel normal again.

I suppose I should worry more about getting there than what happens once I get there though.

The really depressing part though, is that Return of the King makes me think of this girl I know who I had a kind of big (but not huge since I never really got the chance to know her as well as I would have liked) crush on awhile back for some reason, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it came out right around when I talked to her a lot, I can't recall, I have no sense of the passage of time anymore.

I'd love to be able to leave all these memories of crushes in the past, but some keep coming back unbidden, especially ones that had no real culmination in a "yes I feel the same" or "no I don't feel the same" manner but just sort of kept on in the background of my life. And still, to some extent, keep on going...
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I recently found out I was born on the planet Mercury. [Sep. 24th, 2006|11:04 pm]
Kind of an odd thing to spring on a guy, but there it is.

The major advantage of this, of course, is that my home planet only takes 88 Earth days to travel around the sun, or in other words, our year is 88 of your days, and I have a birthday every 88 of your days.

Better start saving up your money people!

Oh yeah, and we celebrate Christmas every year on my planet too...
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Prayer in the public schools? OMG. [Sep. 22nd, 2006|08:33 pm]
Well, no, not quite... but something along those lines.

I was subbing at Chicago Ridge, a local public school, and during the announcements the um... announcement ladies tells the kids that there are two really sick people that they should "pause and have a *special thought* for" and it would be much appreciated.

So they paused and had a special thought, I suppose. And the lady thanked everyone for their special thoughts.

And interestingly enough a few minutes later the announcement lady gets on again and she is quieter and it sounds like she is almost in tears and asks for ANOTHER special thought for the one person... maybe she heard worse news within those minutes?

But what is this special thought that these kids are giving up for sick people? If you have no spirituality whatsoever you can't really believe a "special thought" would do any good at all... well, you can, but that makes no sense. There is, of course, no scientific basis for thinking a school full of children thinking nice thoughts will help someone get better. You can make the argument that mentally the person might get a bit better knowing they are in people's thoughts... but usually for something like that you just tell people to keep someone in their thoughts, you don't actually have a moment of silence for everyone to make those thoughts.

If it had just been the one announcement maybe I'd think it was just a nice gesture, but the fact that the announcement lady got back on again and asked for another special thought for one of the same people made me think that at least she probably believed there was something behind these special thoughts that could make a difference.

I almost kind of got the feeling that she was a religious lady who had a sick friend or something and wanted prayers but knew you couldn't ask for prayers in a public school announcement... so this was her solution. I could be way off though, this was my first time at this school so I have no idea how things work there.

And how do I feel about all of this? Eh... don't mind one way or the other. Even if it did turn out she was trying to get prayers, it'd be awfully hard for anyone to complain much about since it would be the most generic prayer service I've ever heard.
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I got a paper in my school mailbox today... [Sep. 21st, 2006|08:13 pm]
"Andrew, we need gym grades by Tuesday."

Um... huh? It's been like 3.5 weeks, and we have gym class twice a week.

Grades for 7 whole days of gym. I don't even know most of these kids names!

Luckily I only have to do "good", "acceptable" or "unacceptable" or something like that.

So pretty much everyone is getting "good" except the few kids who are constantly causing problems which I suppose will get "acceptable" with a warning. Sure that lets a lot of girls who stand around doing NOTHING every day off the hook but oh well... I have no idea who they actually are anyway.
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I've sold out: I'm going to (try to) buy a PS3. [Sep. 17th, 2006|09:12 pm]
For those who don't understand the crazy video game world, when a new console releases in November you have about a 0% chance of getting it the first day unless you sit in a very long line that starts the night before... if not the morning before... or perhaps two nights before, etc. My cousin and I sat in one of these lines for 15 hours to get an Xbox 360 for him. Yes, it is INSANE.

Well, that time pretty much everyone there kept asking me why the heck I was sitting there if I wasn't even buying one. I said I was just there to keep my cousin company. They said that was INSANE.

They were probably right.

He wants me to sit for the PS3 with him this November. I sort of feel obligated to in a weird way, that is how our relationship works. But I was sitting around trying to think of how to make up for it *if* I get called for subbing the next day and miss out on it, since that would be 90 dollars lost. I came to only one conclusion.

I must buy myself a PS3, and instantly sell it on Ebay for massive profits.

Yes, this is evil. Not EVIL evil, but I feel bad as a gamer doing something like this because there will of course be someone further down the line who actually wants this thing badly but doesn't end up getting one. This is why I did not buy an Xbox 360 even though I sat in line for it... it seemed wrong to buy one just to sell it for more when some hardcore gamer further down the line would not end up getting one because of me.

But I don't care anymore. Who am I screwing over here? Before I was thinking some kid really really wants this for Christmas or something and won't get it. But these things are 500-600 dollars... ANYONE GETTING THIS FOR CHRISTMAS IS A SPOILED LITTLE RUNT. Yes, sorry, it is hard to feel sympathy for a child whose parents wanted to spend 500-600 dollars (and probably a game or two) for their kids Christmas present but didn't get it. I'm sure he will be fine with the Laptop computer or whatever they end up getting him instead. And if it is an adult I screw over, oh well... adults get over this stuff easily enough.

This will, of course, all depend on if my cousin and I even get in line soon enough to get one anyway. Because I refuse to super super early like some insane people do, and quantities are supposed to be scarce, and my cousin has basketball practice that day and isn't getting there till later (and I agreed that if he doesn't get there in time to get his own he buys "mine" with no price jackup.)

But if all goes well, I think I can EASILY sell this 500-600 dollar thing for over 1,000 dollars on Ebay. Some Xbox 360's were going for close to 1,500 last year.

I've been asked if once I have the console in my hands the temptation to keep it won't be too much? To which I can only say hell no... Sony screwed up bigtime. High price, not a single game that interests me at launch, Nintendo Wii with THE NEW ZELDA GAME releasing two days later... it won't hurt at all to throw this sucker on Ebay.

Which will pretty much pay for my Nintendo Wii, second controller, and a few games... that I will of course be sitting in line to get two days later.

Should be an interesting, profitable, and sleepless weekend.
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