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About
A relatively new dad telling tales on what life is like as a gamer and a father.

- I'm the youngest of two children with one older sister.

- I'm first generation American as my parents were born in Italy.

- Married to a wonderful wife and have an amazing daughter who makes me laugh and smile every day.

- Hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, sci-fi, film, and of course, video games.




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PSN ID:Der-Sizilianer58
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Early this week, a YouTube video posted in February of an intrepid dumpster diver went viral, and started making the rounds at various gaming and tech related websites.  This individual braved possible attack from rabid raccoons, crack foxes, Oscar the Grouch, and ornery hobos to point out, in his own words, that GameStop is “greedy and cheap.”

 

I hate to say this, but I can tell you that GameStop is greedy and cheap without diving into a dumpster and risk coming down with consumption by breathing in bad humors or other old timey ailments.

Welp, my job is done here.

However, GameStop is not alone in destroying perfectly good items and tossing them in the garbage. The sad truth is that retailers do this all the time and the reason they do is simple, it’s about their bottom line.

Many retailers have arrangements with their suppliers to return any unsold or outdated product to their suppliers for credit. Retailers take a risk when they purchase goods from suppliers. Sometimes new product does not resonate with consumers and it sells poorly. To mitigate this risk, suppliers will agree to take back unsold goods.

This happens a lot with clothing, electronics, and even food products. If the stuff does not sell, stores just pack that shit up and send it back.

However, packaging and shipping stuff can be expensive. When the shipping of goods becomes cost prohibitive, suppliers just ask the stores how much product they have left over, so that they can credit them, and then the stores destroy it and simply throw it away.

In a previous job, I had the opportunity to actually see the back rooms of various Walmart stores. It’s what you would expect and really nothing special. There were plenty of shelves and pallets holding various goods. There was machinery for recycling, crushing cardboard, etc… A portal to hell where sinners and underperforming sales associates were cast into.

Uhh, I'm just look for a pallet of Rice Crispies.

Sometimes I saw dedicated machines that destroyed clothing that was not worth sending back to the supplier. I would imagine that every Walmart has this equipment.

When I worked at a clothing retailer back in my college days, one of the tasks of the people in the back room was to destroy clothing that has been marked down multiple times and still did not sell.

Doing some research online, I also found that this is the case as well at other retailers like Best Buy and Staples. If electronics did not sell, power cords and USB cables were cut and the goods would simply be tossed into the trash.

All in all, GameStop is in good company here. All retailers are horrible and would rather destroy and toss perfectly good product than donate it.

The reason retailers do this is very complex. Yes, profit and their bottom line is a big component, but if you want to learn more, I would recommend checking out this article

What I find interesting is that GameStop also deals in the second hand market. Why destroy used product since you cannot send it back to the original supplier?

I believe, and I may be wrong (almost definitely), that again, it’s simply cheaper to destroy the goods than to give it away or send it to a GameStop warehouse to be refurbished.

This sounds horrible, but these corporations are in business to make a profit and not for making charitable donations. Yes, many give some stuff away to charity and they get a tax write-off and more importantly, free publicity.

I can’t really blame them. In a perfect world, of course they should donate everything that does not sell. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a complex and often flawed world, where right and wrong is easily blurred. One can make the argument for both sides and it would be impossible to say which was right and which was wrong.

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You can mess with the man, but don’t mess with his family. A couple of Twitter trolls learned that the hard way after posting some vile tweets directed at former Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder, Curt Schilling and his daughter.

Earlier in the week, Schilling went on Twitter to congratulate his daughter on her acceptance to college, where she will also be a pitcher on the school’s softball team. It did not take long for the replies to turn from congratulations and will wishes to vulgar and highly sexual threats. Schilling posted some examples on his blog:

Common sense normally dictates that you ignore the trolls. Responding to them only feeds the flames and gives the instigators a sense of satisfaction that they indeed got under your skin. Schilling however, went full DAD MODE on the trolls.

Just like Liam Neeson in Taken, Schilling has a very specific set of skills, he’s also a celebrity, with a lot of contacts, and money troubles aside from the failed venture into video game development, does still wield some influence. It did not take long for Schilling to find out who these clowns were and post their details on his personal blog, as seen below:

“The Sports Guru"? Ya he's a DJ named Adam Nagel (DJ is a bit strong since he's on the air for 1 hour a week) on Brookdale Student Radio at Brookdale Community College. How do you think that place feels about this stud representing their school? You don't think this isn't going to be a nice compilation that will show up every single time this idiot is googled the rest of his life? What happens when a potential woman he's after googles and reads this?”
“The other clown? He's VP of the Theta Xi fraternity at Montclair State University. I gotta believe if Theta Xi is cool with a VP of one of their chapters acting like this I'd prefer to have no one I know in it. Also, does anyone attending Montclair State University have a student handbook? If so can you pass it along because I am pretty sure there are about 90 violations in this idiots tweets.”

After this was posted on Schilling’s personal blog, the Twitter accounts @Nagels_Bagels and @primetime227 were both deleted.

Turns out “Hollywood” was actually employee of the New York Yankees ticket office before schilling lowered the boom. He was quickly fired, as per Jason Zillo, Yankees director of communications, told NJ.com: "We have zero tolerance for anything like this."

As for the Sports Guru, Brookdale Community College released a statement on their Facebook account stating that he was suspended.

Schilling defends his actions by stating “…there are repercussions to your actions in the real world.” I'd like to think that he said this in a Liam Neeson accent.

Perhaps the Sports Guru and Hollywood have learned a lesson, and that lesson is, don’t mess with Curt Schilling.

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I'm sure many of you have already heard that the venerable Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday. It is certainly sad, but luckily for his fans, his long career has left us with no shortage of ways to remember and celebrate him.

Microsoft apparently agrees with this assessment, and after only a few hours after Nimoy's death was announced, Xbox Video was updated with a page of of his television shows and films.

You stay classy Microsoft.

 

 

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Does the name Ernest Hemingway ring a bell? It should, he was one of the world’s finest writers. He lived a fascinating life, won a Pulitzer and Nobel, survived two world wars, walked away from not one, but two plane crashes, and was a big game hunter and fisherman. He was the consummate man’s man

His moustache alone could kick your ass.

 Simply put, he was a hard-drinking and hard-living badass who just so happened to be a great writer when he wasn’t kicking ass. He was also known for the interesting manner in which he would write. Simply put, he wrote standing up. He did this due to a injury he suffered in World War I, but found that it had additional benefits as well.

However, Hemingway's habit of working and writing while standing was shared by other remarkable men as well, such as Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill. They all believed that standing while working increased productivity by fighting fatigue as well as other distractions.

Windston Churchill

Working on foot has seen an increase in popularity lately. All the hipsters are doing it, but a small part of me can't help to feel like this is a fad that will slowly disappear. Not too long ago, the big thing at the office was sitting on a yoga ball. Quite frankly, sitting on a yoga ball at the office looks ridiculous and is dangerous, especially when I'm around. I have to make a conscience effort not to kick your stupid yoga ball chair out from under you.

Also, ladies, be mindful that sitting on a yoga ball can and will expose your ass. Last place I worked had an open office environment (fuck you Google for making this a thing) and the woman who sat directly across from me sat on a yoga ball. She also liked wearing thongs. You can say that this was a slight distraction. Sure, a giant ball can help build your core strength, but you look like a moron while sitting on one at the office.

Don't worry, we'll just throw that ball out when you're done with it.

Standing however, is so much more convenient than sitting on a ball. Some of the benefits of standing include a lower risk of obesity, jump starting your metabolism, and reducing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Not too shabby.

Yes, some offices and people take the standing and working thing to stupid levels. Case and point, the treadmill desk. I also worked in an office that had one of these. It was hardly ever used, because A) it's stupid, B) It's dangerous, and C) It was always broken. Some people have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, and you're going to recommend that they walk and work on an Excel spreadsheet at the same time?

I used to work at gym a long while back. Since I was a morning person, I got the 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM shift. It wasn't as bad as you would think and was pretty easy. People who exercise in the mornings tend to keep to themselves and are pretty low maintenance. The one downside is that really old people also exercise early in the morning and this particular gym had a ton of octogenarians shuffling in at the ass crack of dawn.

One of my responsibilities was giving orientations to new members. Only old people would sign up for the orientations when they joined the gym, because they're really old, it was free, and the last time they exercised it was to Jack LeLanne's TV show. Nautilus equipment and cardio machines were new and terrifying things to them, and a sleep deprived and possibly hungover college kid had the pleasure to show them how to use it.

Jack Lalanne

Many times, I would sit them down on the leg press machine, which was the first exercise on the circuit, tell them what to do, and they would just sit there, smiling and staring at me. "Is the weight too heavy?" I would ask. "No, I don't think so." Grandma would say. "Okay, because you're not pushing the weight out." I would say. "Ohhhhh, I have to push it myself? I thought the machine did that for me!" Granny would reply.

...And no, we don't have jiggle machines, unfortunately.

I shit you not, this was a very common occurrence. That's why I would save the treadmill for last, because they will just stand there when the belt starts moving and simply fall off back. I learned that the hard way my first week of work at the gym. I was terrified and thought some old man broke his hip on my watch. He said that he didn't know that he HAD TO MOVE HIS OWN FUCKING LEGS!

My, boss, who was a great guy saw that I was freaking out while filling out the accident report. He just laughed and said that people fall of the treadmills all the time and I would get used to it.

And it wasn't just old people who fell off the treadmill. Young people, middle aged people, boys and girls of all ages and back grounds fell off the treadmills all the fucking time. Eventually, I learned to enjoy and actually looked forward to people falling off the treadmills, because they never ever got hurt, working at a gym is boring as hell, and I was and still am a horrible person.

My personal favorite is when people would lose their balance, but hang on for dear life, trying to regain their footing, while the belt was going 10 miles per hour. They would hang onto the bar and it looked like they were getting dragged by an out off control stage coach from an old timey western . I had a good laugh then would scream at them to just turn the fucking machine off.

 

All these people who fell off the treadmill had one thing in common, and that is they were all just trying to walk or run on a treadmill. They weren't trying to do anything fancy. Now, I ask you, do you want these same people to use a laptop or a phone while using a complicated piece of exercise equipment? This is a recipe for disaster when simply standing and working is more than adequate.

With that said, I'm not quite ready to spend eight hours a day standing at my desk. I prefer to take a lot of breaks and walk around the office, checking in on the status of things. There are some folks that I work with that have dove right into standing, but I'm not quite there yet. I prefer to ease into it.

Truth of the matter is, I like sitting at my desk. It feels natural and I'm also incredibly lazy. However, I wanted to see what the whole standing craze was about, so I decided to try it out at home, while playing video games.

It's important to point out that this little experiment constituted playing regular video games while standing, not exercise games on the Wii or Xbox Fitness, where Jillian Michaels yells at you and makes you feel horrible and fat.

I can self loathe without your help Jillian.

First game I tried using the standing method was GTA V on the PS4. Things went well for about the first 15 minutes, until my feet started to hurt. Apparently, one of the major problems of standing for long periods of time is that it's hell on your feet. I should've definitely worn a good pair of shoes. The hard wood floor in my game room wasn't helping either. After a half an hour, I was ready for a break and sat down on my couch, where I stayed for the rest of my gaming session. My first attempt of gaming while standing was a failure.

Next night, I was ready to give it another shot. This time, I was wearing sneakers, and was much more motivated. I was able to play much longer before becoming fatigued, clocking in an hour before I was ready for a break. I also found that I was playing much better. I found it easier to weave through the Los Santos traffic without wrecking and combat was much easier. I felt that I had sharper focus which was probably aided with me being closing to my screen. After the break, I played for another 45 minutes, before calling it a night.

On my second night I was able to play much longer, but I was still fatigued. Standing wasn't the main issue, but rather I was already tired after working an entire day. Gaming while standing isn't relaxing, especially after you're already tired after working all day.

 Luckily the next day was Saturday, so I would be able to test out how gaming while standing would work when I was more well rested. This time, I was going to try out a different type of game and see if that made a difference, so I booted up Forza Motorsport 5 on the Xbox One.

This time around, fatigue wasn't an issue, as I was well rested. Again, I found myself being able to focus on the game and was playing very well. I was taking good lines and easily finishing in the top 3. However, a part of me found playing a racing game standing a bit unorthodox. You drive a car while sitting, so you might as well sit while playing a car racing video game, right?

Unless you're this guy, then nevermind.

Next day being Sunday, I was once again well rested. The wife and kid were also away for the afternoon so I would be able to close out this completely unscientific experiment with minimal distractions.

This time around, I started off with Sunset Overdrive on the Xbox One, a game I have not played previously. Once again, I felt that I was able to focus much better throughout the tutorial and early missions.

 I definitely felt that standing allowed me to block out distractions. While sitting on the couch, even while engrossed in a game, my mind would wander at times. Did I remember to finish that thing at work? Did I leave the stove on? Sure is windy outside... Standing allowed me to block all that stuff out and focus on the game, which is pretty good when you're starting a new title and trying to learn the controls.

Next up was #IDARB, the indie developed sports game mash up. Once again, I haven’t played this game before, so I was able to approach it with laser focus. Once I was comfortable, I jumped into an online match and proceeded to get my assed kicked. However, I did find myself hopping up and down and swaying back and forth like a crazy person. Good thing the wife wasn't around to see this, but the dog sure looked concerned.

Last game for the day would be Titanfall, a title that I have not played for months and was sure to be rusty. I did get schooled quite a bit at first, but after a few games, I found myself finishing in the top 3 regularly, and even leading my team in points in a couple matches. These outcomes were nothing extraordinary, but I did feel that I was able to get back into the swing of things quickly. I would like to believe that playing while standing up helped in this regard.

So, you may asking yourself if I'm now a born again gaming while standing convert? Short answer is no. Standing for extended amount of times is not easy. It's tiring actually. I would be more willing to try out standing all day at work than standing at home while I'm trying to relax. Gaming while standing is almost counterintuitive. Playing a game is supposed to be a relaxing, leisurely experience. I'd rather stand all day at work and then come home and sit on my comfy couch and play a game.

At the end of the day, gaming while standing has it's benefits. Maybe it would be beneficial for competitive gamers as I found being able to focus on the action much easier while standing. You're also burning a handful of calories, which is better than nothing, I suppose. However, if your looking to get healthier, perhaps getting outside for a walk or a run, or god forbid the gym is more worthwhile.

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I don’t shop at GameStop anymore. With the convenience of digital distribution on both the PS4 and XboxOne, I’m all about downloading games right to my console, without ever having to step foot into a brick and mortar store ever again. It's never been a better time to be a lazy gamer.

This hasn’t stopped me from getting pinged daily by GameStop’s marketing department through e-mails. Sure, I can unsubscribe, but I find them so deliciously horrible, that I actually look forward to reading them. They are not unlike a car wreck in that you try to avoid them, but just can’t help rubbernecking when you pass one.

Case and point, last week I received an e-mail from GameStop with the subject line “Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Bonus Points. Here’s a screen shot:

Love is in the air indeed. GameStop’s idea of romance is apparently giving triple and double points to Pro and Basic members respectively. To get these points, you just need to use the GameStop PowerUp Rewards credit. I’m getting moist just thinking about that. Nothing says romance like drowning in crippling credit card debt.

Maybe this is a good time to point out that the GameStop PowerUp Rewards credit card is a HORRIBLE product.

With all the credit cards out there that offer perks like cash back, miles, and points, why would anyone think that a GameStop credit is a good idea? Here are what GameStop refers to as the benefits to their credit card.

• 15,000 bonus points for PowerUp Rewards Pro Members and 5,000 bonus points for Basic Members (These are crap.)
• Use your card to shop in store or online (All credit cards allow you to do this. This is not a benefit.)
• Choose to pay in full or make monthly payments over time (Again, any credit card allows you to do this, and by the way, you’ll want to pay this baby off in full every month.)
• Exclusive cardholder offers (Currently on the card website, there are no special offers, but they’re coming soon!)
• No annual fee**

Notice the asterisks by no annual fee? Remember when I said that you’ll want to pay off the balance in full every month? Because there’s some legal jargon that GameStop hopes you don’t read. Take a look below:

Minimum monthly payments are required and at no time will the minimum payment due, be less than $25.00. Standard variable APR of 26.99%, based on the Prime Rate. Minimum Interest Charge is $2.00

So let’s get this straight, there’s no annual fee, but if I’m carrying a balance, the minimum payment is $25. Okay, I’ll give you that.

Next point of contention is the APR or interest that they’ll charge, which is a whopping 26.99%. That’s a lot folks. That’s actually ridiculously high. That’s getting ravaged out in the Appalachian by a redneck high.


So romantic….

Most credit cards give an introductory rate of 0% APR ranging from 6 to 12 months. When the introductory APR period ends, the rate then usually goes to 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your credit history. Not so when it comes to GameStop’s card. Everyone is automatically at 26.99%, regardless of credit history.

Last point, is the minimum interest charge. Regardless of your balance, GameStop is going to charge you $2.00. So, let’s just say that you have a low balance, carried over from the previous month and the interest charged is $1.00, GameStop rounds that shit up to $2.00.

There really are no redeemable factors to the GameStop credit card. Everything about it is built to screw you over. This is the case with many credit cards, but when someone fucks me, I like to get kissed. Other cards have perks that can be used to your advantage if you're smart. Not so for GameStop. GameStop doesn’t believe in foreplay. They are going to lube you up and make you squeal like a piggy.

No blog post of mine is ever complete without a silly list. So I decided to compile a quick top 5 places I’d rather spend Valentine’s than at a GameStop using their shitty credit card.

5. Going Shopping with a 2-year-old

I’m a man, and being a man means that I pride myself in getting in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Armed with a list and a plan, no trip to the store should take longer than 30 minutes. HOWEVER, throw a child into the mix and that all goes out the window. Without fail, there will be temper tantrums, arguments, unplanned purchases (OHHH CEREAL!), and diversions. Still, I’d take this over going to GameStop.

4. Prostate Exams

Full disclosure, I’ve never had my prostate checked. I’ve got many years to go before I have to look forward to getting my balloon knot annually digiblasted by the friendly urologist.

3. Department of Motor Vehicles

Oh the bureaucracy. It’s wonderful. Wait in line, then sit. Wait in another line, then sit. Oops, you got on the wrong line, you’ll need to go to another line. Oh, you’re on the right line, but you filled out the wrong form.

2. Jury Duty

I’ve managed to get out of jury duty every year since I turned 18. That’s a long time. My luck will run out one day and then I’ll have to perform my civic duty. My dream is to be a jury on the court case of a century, like OJ Simpson or the Boston Strangler, some shit like that. With my luck, it will be some guy suing a pharmaceutical company because their boner pills gave him an erection for seven days. Exhibit A, flaccid penis. Exhibit B, erect penis. Exhibit C, post operation penis.

1. College/University Registrar Office

Does anyone who works at a school registrar have any empathy? Do they take joy in making me jump through hoops and making me miserable? Is anything ever good enough to placate them? Yes, I understand that add/drop has ended, but I gave you the form for the class that I want to add, I have a letter from the professor saying that it’s okay. I gave you a letter from the dean saying that is okay. I cut off my pinky finger and presented it to you in an elaborate ceremony in accordance to yakuza tradition.

But I forgot to sign the ADD/DROP forms with the blood of an Incan virgin. FUCK!

As always, I’d love to hear from the community on what your thoughts are. What are some horrible places you would rather be on Valentine’s Day than in a GameStop using their piece of shit credit card?

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Do people still use the term “Jump the Shark?” If they do, do they even know what it means? Do they know the history behind the term? I’m big on history, especially pop culture history. Let me enlighten you.

The phrase originated from a scene on the TV series Happy Days, when the Fonze, a greaser tough who happens to be friends with a bunch of squares, goes water skiing in LA and jumps a confined shark, proving once and for all how manly and cool he is. He also did this while wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket. Many believe that this was the point where the show had surpassed its apex, and now was on a steady decline. Simply put, jumping the shark means it’s all downhill from here.

I’m not saying that Law & Order: SVU is jumping the shark by having an episode based on GamerGate. Law & Order has been on a steady decline since Baby’s father from Dirty Dancing passed away. I’m saying that GamerGate is jumping the shark because a shitty crime show watched by your grandmother is now hopping on the bandwagon.


Rest in peace, Baby's Dad.

Did you know that OG gangster rapper Ice-T is on the show? I saw him a few years back in New York City, just walking down the street with the some blonde woman who was not unattractive. They were lost and bickering on how to get to some cross street. OGs DON’T ASK FOR DIRECTIONS!

Ice-T posing in front of what he believes to be Times Square.

Know who else is not unattractive? Mariska Hargitay, who is also on the show.


Hot in that she'll bring orange slices to her son’s soccer game kind of way.

Mariska Hargitay is also the daughter of late great Hollywood icon and bombshell Jayne Mansfield. That’s some major pedigree in hotness there.

Getting back on point, Law & Order has a history of taking recent headlines and crimes and regurgitating them out into their episodes and video games have been a topic on the show before. Case and point, the 2005 episode, simply titled “Game.” Major kudos on the creativity of the writers on coming up with that title.

In this episode, the detectives find that a violent homicide is very similar to a scene in a popular video game called NtenCity. Say it out load and it sounds like intensity. CLEVER WRITERS. The game in the show also has a striking resemblance to GTAIII, big surprise!

Using crack detective work, they are able to arrest a teenage couple who claim to be unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, therefore it was all the video game’s fault, or some shit like that. After reading a bunch of recaps and watching some scenes online from this particular episode, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the writers of this show have no idea how video games actually work.

So, Law & Order is dipping its toes again in the game bashing pool. I can’t wait to see how far off the mark they are when it airs. I’m speculating on what the title of this episode will be. I reckon GameGhazi. Also, which actresses will play Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn? I have some suggestions.


Kim Kardashian IS, Anita Sarkeesian!


...And special guest star, Dame Helen Mirran, as Zoe Quinn.

What do you all think about this? I think the show is going to be an utter disaster and miss the mark completely, but this is a show for people who are really old (live in Boca Raton, Florida old) and they don’t know shit about Gamergate to begin with.

Lastly, if any of you can think of better actresses to play Miss Sarkessian and Miss Quinn than my selections, let me know in the comments. I’m am incredibly interested and terrified at the same time to see what the community comes up with.

 

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