Thursday, March 30, 2006

In Case You Missed It Last Night...

Here's the image of that message that was on that big ass metal door in "LOST":

LOL, it looks like there's a big chicken, chillin, on the south part of that thing. Maybe it's the Burger King "Subservient Chicken!!!!"

Saturday, March 25, 2006

360 Degrees of Financial Separation

Since November, Microsoft has been churning out all kinds of hype for their latest video game system, the XBox 360. Being the video game enthusiast that I am, it was incredibly hard for me to avoid all the glowing reviews that the system received from early adopters and gaming magazines; everywhere I looked, there was yet another article or person hyping the XBox 360. And of course, the biggest story this Christmas (outside of the NYC Transit Strike), was the fact that NO ONE could find a 360 for their loved ones because Microsoft rushed the system to the market, and failed to churn out enough systems from their plants. (IBM, the people responsible for creating the main processor on the machine, couldn't keep up with demand... not too much different from the way they couldn't keep up with Apple's demands for the G5 processor in their Macs...)

At first, I was extremely skeptical of the 360. I saw some of the product shots that were coming out of the woodwork from the various game developers making games for the system, and I really wasn't impressed. With all the ballyhoo that MSoft was making about the system being "next-gen," the game screenshots that were coming out didn't look like that much of an improvement over existing video game systems. Combine the unimpressive looking games with the bank-busting price of the new system ($400, plus tax, not including a game or another controller), and you had a company that was smoking some serious crack. Outside of annoying Microshaft fanboys, who the hell was going to buy this system?

Months after the system's November release, Microsoft has yet to catch up with demand. Everywhere you look, systems are sold out, and people are still paying ridiculous prices on eBay just to land one. The other day, I was on eBay, and I saw people bidding well over $600 for USED 360. People are just going nuts over this damn thing.

So, here I was looking from the outside, in, on the craziness surrounding the 360, out of sheer curiosity. I saw the initial reports of people getting lemons for 360s and shook my head in disgust for the way MSoft rushed the system to market, bypassing Q.A. and failing to get production going on the system months before its street date in November. On the other side of things, I also saw the glowing reviews that people gave the system for its innovative interface, interconnectivity with other media, and for its incredible "XBox Live Marketplace", where one could, right from their television, connect to MSoft's online servers, and download classic games and playable demos for upcoming 360 games. And then finally, I saw reviews trickle in for some of the games that launched alongside the system, and noticed that some of the games actually did look much better than their current generation counterparts.

As time passed, my interest in the system grew even more. I began reading more into the system and, in a profound mental shift, I was actually weighing in on whether or not I actually WANTED one. I started looking on eBay a couple of weeks ago, hoping that I could find a system that wasn't too overpriced, but found no such luck. And every game store that I went into was completely sold out. Most of them were still fulfilling preorders that were made way back in September for the freaking thing! With the way things were going, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to land a 360 till the summer, when supply finally caught up with demand. Besides, I told myself, that freaking system is expensive as all hell, and it was probably better that I just save my money and get back to concentrating on school.

Yesterday, I walked into a local Electronics Boutique, like I occasionally do, (most of the time, I never buy anything, but I just like passing the time in there, looking through the stacks of games, hoping to find some incredible bargain) and noticed that there was one 360 in stock. I did a double take. WHAT?! In stock? I've never seen that before! I paced around the store, deciding whether or not I was ready to take the $500 plunge and invest in a brand-new system. After about 5 minutes, I decided, "fuck it, let's go," and right when I got to the counter, a forty-something year old gentleman and his single-digit year old son jumped right in front of me and inquired about the lone 360. I couldn't help but just laugh over the lost opportunity. After about 15 minutes of "upsell" (y'know, that whole routine that retailers are notorious for when they want to turn a $500 purchase into a $10,000 one?), the guy and his son walked away with a brand-spanking new 360, and I was left with an "I'm sorry" from the dad.

I didn't feel too bad about it, though. I was still unsure about the purchase, so it was just as well that they got it and not me. I told him to not feel sorry for me, because I was sure that somehow, it would all work out in the end. I was actually kind of happy for the kid; he was able to go home with the pure, unadulterated satisfaction of opening up a brand-new, must-have gadget, without any of the buyer's remorse that older people feel when they shell out that much money on a luxury item. (Sigh, I miss those days)

After buying some random PSP game, (after spending all that time in the store, looking at this dude getting a 360, I suddenly felt the need to soothe myself with SOME kind of purchase), something told me to drive on over to a nearby Target. So, I walked in, headed on over to the electronics section, and chillin' right in front of me were three 360s waiting to be bought. I couldn't believe it. Without thinking twice about it, I called over a Target employee to get a 360 out of the glass case that held them, and snatched a copy of "Dead or Alive 4" and an extra controller. Three minutes later, I held a 20 pound box in my hands and was down $550.77. Before I could change my mind, I ran to my car, threw on some Tribe Called Quest, and sped my way back to the EB, returned the PSP game, and zoomed on home.

I never thought I would see this box in my home

Almost immediately, I experienced a heavy dose of buyer's remorse. I contemplated turning right back around, and returning the system to Target, but the closer I got to home, the harder it was for me to do that. Then I considered selling the system on eBay to turn in a nice profit. I called my roommate Pedro and told him what I had just done and asked him what I should do. He just told me that I was smoking some incredible crack. When I got home, I paced back and forth for about an hour, weighing in on whether or not I should open the system's box, which would make it un-returnable. Finally, after thinking about everything, I decided to go ahead with opening it up and setting up my new system.

After I got over my buyer's remorse, I made the 360 feel at home

After spending a night playing around with the system, I can honestly see for myself what all the hype was about. The 360 IS the real deal. Not soon after he called me a crackhead for buying the system, Pedro swore that he was going to buy one, too. We spent the night playing with the game I had bought, as well as spending time with the awesome "Fight Night Round 3" demo that I was able to download off the XBox Live Marketplace. And for some retro thrills, I downloaded copies of the arcade classics, "Smash TV" and "Gauntlet," which we all played well into the early morning. The wireless controllers alone are a godsend; I could turn the system on and off without even having to get up off the sofa.

Pedro and Edwin playing 360

I ran into a slight technical difficulty early on when I tried to transfer my old XBox Live profile onto the new system. I had to make a call to MSoft's customer service center, and of course, in true Microshaft tradition, I was directed to a call center in India. They weren't able to completely satisfy my issue, but I was able to get it working, regardless.

Man, I sure own a lot of games

Surely the excitement of my owning the 360 will die down by the end of today, but I couldn't be happier with my purchase. It's an awesome system, and sure, it was incredibly expensive, but it's worth it.

Now, it's time for me to get back to work... after I play a round of Geometry Wars, first. :-)

PS: I know there's a $300 dollar "Core" version of the system, but one can't really count that as a "real" XBox 360, considering that it is missing several key components that make the 360 such a joy to use, such as the wireless controller, or the hard drive. If you were to buy these components separately, one would spend well over $400 to match the contents of the more expensive "Premium" version.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Truly a "Classic"

Japan 10, Cuba 6

And so, on the last day of the 1st annual World Baseball Classic, the Little Red Revolutionary Engine that Could, Cuba, lost to an incredible Japanese team that was stocked with fabulous talent.

While I may be disappointed with the loss, overall, I'm incredibly happy with the way this tournament turned out. For anyone who was paying attention the past few weeks, the WBC was an awesome tournament, and rivaled the buzz and excitement of March Madness (no easy feat, by any means, especially given the fact that most people think baseball is "boring"). Teams definitely "brought it" to this tournament. Even in the final game, despite being behind the whole game, Cuba came extremely close to staging an incredible rally to take the game from the Japanese. There was no giving up in this thing. The whole "national pride", that's some powerful stuff, and makes for some incredible television.

At the end of it all, Cuba was still able to go back home with bragging rights; since 1951, Cuba has yet to finish below 2nd in any international baseball tournament, and even though the team had no MLB representation in a tournament that was rife with it, they were still able to make it to the championship game, proving to the world that Cuban National baseball is the real deal.

Don't cry, meng! Kick ass in 2009!

And Japan... man... what a kickass team. I don't even know how the hell they made to the final after losing to Korea twice. But, man, do they have talent. Hell, Korea had super talent, too. They won when it mattered, and that's what counts in this tournament. After watching them play, I can't complain too much that they won the WBC. They were awesome.

Ichiro called it, "the greatest moment of his career." And that's saying a lot.

At the end of the tournament, the WBC organizers announced the 2006 "All-Tournament Team," featuring the 12 best players of the event. Japan, Cuba, and Korea landed three players on this squad. Dominican Republic got one dude, and the good ol' US of A landed 2. (Ken Griffey Jr., despite being injured off and on for awhile, was awesome in this tournament. I hope he follows this with a monster MLB season in a couple of weeks. He deserves it.)

So, with all that said, congratulations, Japan, on winning the first WBC. Watch out, though. Cuba's gunning for you in 2008, when they get set to play in the Olympics as the defending gold medalists. :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Baseball Spoken Here

Now that my joy over March Madness has subsided as a result of Cuse's early exit from the NCAA Tournament, my attention has been brought right back to the World Baseball Classic, which I have been watching with great interest since the tournament started at the start of the month. Right from the beginning, I've been cheering for the Cuban national team, and, much to the chagrin of uber-patriotic, right-wing, US baseball fans everywhere, Cuba made it to the championship game, while the US Team was unceremoniously bumped out of the tournament.

Thus far, the WBC has been an incredible event, and one that has surely taken Latino baseball fans (as well as other fans around the world) across the US and around the world by storm. Back in the Bronx, people were debating whether or not Cuba could stand up to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic's incredible lineups, and were taking sides based on national pride. Last week, almost every single Puerto Rican and Dominican watched the PR-DR matchup, and saw PR hand the overwhelming favorite, DR, a loss. Considering how much Puerto Ricans and Dominicans hate each other, the game became THE event of the month, and was much more than just a simple baseball game. It became a cultural battleground between the hated rivals.

Then, PR faced Cuba in the second-round, and, in a game that had the same importance behind it as the DR-PR game, Cuba was able to avenge a first-round loss to Puerto Rico, and confidently went ahead to face the Dominican team, with the winner going on to the final round to face the winner of the Korea-Japan game.

Boy, was that game was crazy. Cuba was able to pull off the victory with some incredible pitching and timely hitting. At the end of it all, it was such a passionate game, that the Dominican players walked up to the Cuban players and hugged them out of sheer respect. It was bananas.

So, at the end of it all, Cuba is in the final game, and will face Japan for the WBC Championship. US sports pundits were so quick to call Cuba "overrated," and now look at them. They are in the championship against another team that was counted out of the final, Japan. And now, of course, in a rush to come up with some kind of explanation for the US' ouster from the baseball tournament, pundits are making up all kinds of excuses.

Well, a long time ago, I learned a little something about excuses...

"Excuses are tools for the incompetent, used to build monuments of nothingness,
and those who specialize in nothingness, will amount to absolutely nothing."

Maybe if American MLB players got a little more serious about the WBC, things would be different. But considering the level of talent that actually DID show up to the tournament, that's not an easy call to make. If there's one thing that US baseball must realize after this tournament, is that other nations have closed the gap between the US and everyone else in terms of baseball talent. The level of play in this tournament is absolutely serious. I've had more fun watching these games than watching a lot of MLB playoff games, and that's saying a lot. People showed up to play, plain and simple.

And at the end of the day, that's a good thing for the baseball fan. :-)

Go Cuba! :-)

Driver's Ed 802

When I was 16, I took driver's ed in high school. Back then, the biggest thing I had to worry about, besides the driving instructor/football coach that I had sitting next to me, barking orders, were the crazy West-Indian and North African drivers that popped out of nowhere in downtown Brooklyn. I was taught to make 2-second stops, to look over my shoulder when turning (NYC bike messengers are notorious for hiding in your blind spot), and to not speed down Fulton St. unless I wanted to get stopped by a cop in a heartbeat. These were valuable lessons that would serve me well later on, when I started driving on my own.

But, in hindsight, there was a slight problem with driver's ed. It didn't teach me anything on how to deal with THIS:

A Driver's Worst Nightmare
Originally uploaded by djkibblesnbits.

For those not used to dealing with snow, driving in conditions like these can, in effect, be a driver's worst nightmare, especially if they happen to be driving a car that wasn't exactly meant to deal with heavy duty snow like this.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things), I've acquired plenty of experience since my driver's ed days for driving in snow. Because driving conditions in Syracuse usually look a lot like this, I've become accustomed to driving with little to no visibility and little traction.

Still, driving for a couple of minutes at a time in Syracuse in this kind of weather pales in comparison to driving along a highway for four hours under these same conditions. Especially if this highway happens to overlook a 1000-ft. drop.

Yesterday, on my way back from NYC, I was driving back along with my roommate, Pedro, and Nelson, when, about 100 miles shy of our final destination, we ran into a horrible blizzard. Add the fact that the sun had already set, and there were few lights on the road, and you have a recipe for an automotive disaster. As I said, I've driven in blizzards before, but that doesn't mean that I've enjoyed my previous experiences. I mean, unless you have a death-wish, there's nothing "enjoyable" about driving in the midst of a blizzard. Well, unless of course you happen to be driving an incredible SUV that could handle conditions like this. Only then, it's fun. But not when you're driving a little Toyota Corolla with "all-season" tires. "All-season," my ass. I guess the only two seasons that exist are spring and summer, because my tires were barely holding up in the ever-increasing pile-up of snow.

Thankfully, with some careful maneuvering, we were able to make it back to Cuse in one piece. Judging from some of the accidents that we passed along the way, however, some people just weren't as lucky.

So, we're back. 6 more weeks of this chit, and then I'm outta here!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Heading Back Up to the Cuse...

In about 12 hours, I'll be making the drive back up to Syracuse. Officially, my Spring Break is over, and well, it's been fun. I was able to see a bunch of old friends back in the city, did some work, and just rested up for the 6-week sprint to finals that I'm going start on Monday.

So, back to work! (Grrrrrr.)

Freshly Squeezed

And just like that, Syracuse's aspiring NCAA hopes have been shut down in a rather ugly game against Texas A&M. G-Mac simply couldn't keep the team on his shoulders the same way that he did for us during the Big East Tournament. He reinjured a nagging groin injury at the start of the game, and after that, well, it was all downhill for us.

We can't be too disappointed though. With the kind of season that we had, it was a miracle that we even got into the freaking tournament, so, it all works out in the end. We had a good season, man, winning the Big East title n' all.

I guess the countdown officially begins to next basketball season for us.

If I move to London, I better be able to find some kind of satellite solution that'll allow me to keep up with the action from across the pond! Those 9 o'clock PM games are going to kill me, though. 2AM, London time?! What crap!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Crush of the Month (March 2006)

This month, my selection for a Crush was really a no-brainer. The past few weeks, with my being sick and all, I was able to spend some quality time with the hit show, "Lost," as I caught up and watched every single episode that's been released thus far. Outside of the gripping story, if there's been one thing that's kept me coming back over and over again, it's none other than the magnificent Kate, played by the incredibly beautiful actress, Evangeline Lilly.

I would love to be trapped on an island with you

Whether she's busy running away from the law, or dodging between Jack and Sawyer on the island, Kate keeps me coming back for more with her dark back story, tough demeanor, and her dynamic eyes. (Man, those eyes...) In all honesty, this girl is giving the legendary Jessica Alba a run for her money. That's how much of a crush I have on this chick. Wow. She's amazing.

Unfortunately, Ms. Lilly is seeing that Hobbit dude from the show, Dominic Monaghan, and is gettin busy with him. The lucky bastard. Rumor has it that she's also got a bun in the oven. Awww well.

She's still my Crush of the Month, though. So congrats, Evangeline!

Decisions, Decisions.

It's already the middle of March (Happy "Ides of March!" Or maybe, it isn't so "happy" today...), and I still don't know what the hell I'm going to do when I officially finish school in May. The more I talk to people my age, the more I realize that I'm not the only one going through this slight dilemma. But, unlike a lot of these people, I'm confident that I will be fine no matter where I go. But this is the question; WHERE am I going to go? Last semester, I was dead-set on moving out to San Francisco and living the West Coast pipe dream of living the glam life on the beach, chillin', and occasionally going to work. Of course, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really knew nothing about the place. I've never even gone to Cali before. The truth is, I've based my image of life in San Fran based on all the contrived images that one can find throughout pop culture. I have no idea what the culture of the place is like, or the what the vibe is on the street. I would've just been landing out there, and just winging it.

Would this be my life in San Fran?

On the flip side, the thought of being in a situation like that is actually an attractive thought to me. I wouldn't mind being dropped into such a new environment and learning on the fly. Still, I wouldn't move out there until I have a guaranteed job opportunity.

After I came back from Houston over the break, I really began considering moving out to H-Town for a year. With the majority of my family out there, I got the feeling that maybe it might be a good idea to chill out there for a little while, see the fam, make some money, and then get out of there before I get stuck in that place. I mean, I love my family and their dysfunctional lifestyle, but I can't stand where they live. Houston is such a boring, lifeless, racist, dirty, and unimaginative place. It represents everything that's wrong with America. I really don't know how people can live there for a long period of time. I guess, however, if it's all you've ever known, as is the case with much of my family, you really don't know that things can be much better than that.

I can't be in this dump for long

Still, family is a strong pull. Specifically, over the winter break, I realized just how important it is for me to be present in the lives of my little cousins. Right now, during their formative years, it's crucial that they live a well-rounded lifestyle so that way, when they grow up, they won't turn into spineless, dreamless grunts that expect to have everything handed to them. With the way they live now, in the big houses, and the sheltered suburban communities that they call home, I see that they are missing that critical seed they will need in the future to be strong-minded, independent adults. At 11 and 9 years old, they are overweight (much like the rest of their Houston-born brethren), and have little willingness to actively play outside. When I was out there, I was playing basketball with them, and they were completely winded after about 5 minutes of play. When I was growing up, I wasn't exactly the most athletic of kids, but I didn't have a problem running around all day. Sure, I'll admit that there were many times where I would rather stay home and play on my Sega Genesis or something, but when I did go outside, I had no problem staying outside and making friends, and playing whatever games we played when my generation was younger. No matter how much I ran, I never got winded, I never grew tired, and most importantly, I never wanted to go home. I just wanted to play, and be active.

But my cousins aren't like that. Instead, they lounge around in their central air-conditioned homes, play games, and claim that it's too hot at 70 degrees. And that's how it is with almost every kid that I met in Houston. When I was their age, I was the only asshole running around outside when it was 105 degrees out there. You would think that if you were born in a place that has a climate like Houston's, that you would be used to the heat. Instead, kids couldn't handle anything above what their average temperature was at home. I guess that's what happens when you live in a central air-conditioned society.

So, in a way, I feel that they NEED me. I don't want them to be like a lot of the ignorant slobs that live in their city. I want them to be active, to be well-rounded, to ask important questions, to read books, get them interested in politics, introduce them to new kinds of music, instill some pride in their heritage, learn some humility for those that are not as lucky as they are, and keep them from falling into the trap of ignorant bias that so many of their peers and family members have learned as a result of the polarized environment that they live in. I'm not trying to say that their own parents can't do this for them, but the thing is, my uncle and aunt are so caught up trying to live the American Dream, that they just don't have the capability to take a couple of steps back and understand just what that Dream is doing to their kids. There's nothing wrong with wanting to provide for your family and giving them the best opportunities that you can buy, but, at the same time, it must be done in moderation. I'm not saying that my cousins are spoiled, either. I'm saying that they are soft. I don't want them to become another "me too" in the crowd. But, by going down the path that they are, there's little hope that they won't become that way. And I feel that I can stop that and turn it all around for them.

Of course, I can't forget about my very own hometown, NYC, in all this. Most of my friends are here, my mother's here, and I already have a place to call "home." The problem? I feel a need to be somewhere else. I have a desire to just get away and start another life. I love NYC, but, as silly as it sounds, I've outgrown it. When you live in NYC, you live in a self-important bubble. There's an entire world out there, but most New Yorkers are so caught up in their own, self-righteous lives, that they just don't look for it. I want to get out there and see something else, learn in another environment, and chill out. Which brings me to my latest idea...

...Moving to London. For seven months, I lived in heart of the England, and I loved every minute of it. I was happy. I felt home. And because I lived there long enough to know how things work out there, I feel extremely confident that I could hit the ground running the second I get off the plane. My plan? I work this summer, save about $7,000, and just fly out there, get a flat, find a job, and just live. I'll only be going out there with a suitcase filled with clothes, my laptop, and a couple of suits, but that will be pretty much all I'll need until I get settled. I know I'll be struggling when I first get there, but hey, as many people know from my previous adventures in the UK, starving in London ain't nothing new to me. I'll make due. My plan is that I leave in August, and that I take advantage of SU's Career Services hookups in London to land something decent out there. I don't exactly know how it'll all pan out, but then again, that's the beauty of it. I'll be winging it.

And I like the sound of that. :-)

Excuse Me Sir, But Where Do I Go If I Don’t Speak English?

While of my fellow SU students are off on Spring Break in some random country acting completely retarded and proving once again to the rest of the world that Americans are the most obnoxious travelers ever created, I returned back home to NYC and went to the Bronx County Civil Court House for… (drumroll please)….


After accidently missing my first designated Jury Duty date way back in October, I was forced to show up on Monday to court to report for jury selection, despite the fact that I'm a student in college some 300 miles away from my home county. So, there I was, at 9 in the morning at the courthouse, looking for whatever chance I had to delay my designated service. I mean, I don't mind serving, but I can't risk missing classes at Syracuse over it, either. As it was, they were already attempting to take away my Spring Break away from me this week by making me serve, and there was no guarantee that my service would end before I have to report back to SU on Monday morning. After passing through the courthouse's security, I was directed into this rather cavernous room filled with potential jurors. Despite the presence of a seemingly unlimited amount of seats, they were almost all filled. Somehow, I managed to find a seat in some random spot within the torrent of bodies that packed the joint. Over the loudspeaker, a 50-something guy who sounded like he had been working at the courthouse for way too long was reading directions aloud and informed us of what was going to happen over the course of the day. In a particularly funny moment, the loudspeaker guy was announcing the groups of people who could be exempt from service, and after directing parents who could not serve as a result of a sick child or a child that could not go home by themselves from school, the guy read, "Now, for those people who can't speak English..." He hadn't even finished reading what he was going to say, when about half the room got up and started heading for the door. I could only shake my head at the nerve that these people had. There were people getting up to leave, claiming that they couldn't speak English, when just 2 minutes ago, they were talking to one another about how badly they needed a phone, in perfect English. Even the loudspeaker guy was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute! I'm pretty sure that not even 10% of you can claim that you don't speak English, especially considering that all of you were able to perfectly understand what I just said! Now, I've been working here for 25 years, and I've seen my share of ridiculous things, but this takes the cake. Wow, even I'm impressed. (Sigh) Only in the Bronx, do I see this kind of Twilight Zone crap!"

Most of those people wound up coming back to the room after courthouse investigators gave each person an English proficiency exam and warned them that if they left the courthouse, that courthouse representatives would be calling their homes and places of business in order to determine whether or not they did speak English. The consequence of a lie like that? A court hearing, a $2000 fine, and a contempt of court ruling. All that, just to get out of a day of jury duty.

A few moments later, the loudspeaker guy announced that students in school were eligible for an exemption as well, so that was my cue to get up and leave. After showing my school ID, I was granted permission to leave, and given a future court date sometime in July.

How do you say, "I can now lounge around and chill during the rest of my Spring Break," in English?


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Coffee Break Bracketology '06

It's officially March Madness, and everyone is running around, placing bets and making their opinions known about who they feel is going to make the Final Four. So, I decided, "Why not publish MY picks for the Final Four?" And so, without further ado, these are the four teams I feel will be left standing after 5 rounds of play in the NCAA Tournament:

1) Villanova
2) Illinois
3) Pittsburgh
4) Syracuse

WHAT?! No Duke?! No UConn?! Damn skippy. Of the four number 1 seeds in the tourney, the only one I think that will actually make it to the Final Four are the Villanova Wildcats. I think UConn, with all the hype they've been getting, will collapse and lose to Dee Brown and the incredible Fighting Illini in the Sweet 16. As for Duke, my man G-Mac and company will take out the Blue Devils and show the world that 'Cuse is in the house.

Yeah, I know I'm biased. So what?!

I know my pics are a bit... "unpopular." But, given the trends in college basketball, the teams that all the pundits have selected to win it all usually choke at some point. And, c'mon, I can't leave Cuse out of it. It would be a sin for me to fill out my brackets without placing Syracuse in the Final Four.

I guess we'll see next week whether or not my picks for the tournament actually vindicate me.

Gooo Cuse!

As I walked into my Research Methods class to take my midterm on Wednesday, I looked up and noticed the empty chair behind mine and shook my head in silent awe.

“I guess Gerry earned the right to miss his midterm.”

Just moments earlier, 300 miles away from snowy Syracuse, Gerry McNamara and the rest of the Syracuse basketball team made history by winning a crucial Big East tournament victory against Cincinnati. G-Mac practically carried the team on his back and willed the team to a win that meant the difference between being selected to play in the NCAA Tournament or being relegated to the inconsequential NIT Tournament. With a shocking, last-second three pointer, Gerry got us into the Big Dance and secured a meeting with the number-1 team in the country, UConn, in the next round of the Big East tourney.

Considering the sorry state of affairs with the SU basketball team prior to this big win, Gerry’s last second shot completely changed how we all felt about our beloved Orange. Just three years removed from winning a national championship, we all could only shake our heads in disgust as the losses piled up this season against the likes of UConn, Villanova, and that oh-so horrible 34-point bitch slap from lowly DePaul. It got so bad, that when SU squeaked by then 13th ranked West Virginia a couple of weeks ago, SU students stormed the Carrier Dome floor to celebrate the win. For those who don’t understand the significance of that act, let me put it in perspective; for a team as storied and successful as Syracuse’s basketball team, we should only be rushing the floor if we either 1) win a major tournament game, 2) defeat the number-1 ranked team in the country, or 3) see a shitload of money on the court. So, the fact that fans stormed the court after a victory against W. Virginia, a team good enough to be the 13th best team in the country, (but definitely not THAT good), was a slap in the face to the SU’s storied basketball resume. We’re SUPPOSED to be beating West Virginia, not acting like we just won a miracle.

So, with SU losing frequently and dropping out of the national rankings, the weather in Syracuse felt just a bit colder and the days got a bit greyer. All those sports pundits on ESPN and Sports Illustrated were writing SU off and calling our star player, Gerry McNamara, “overrated.” After experiencing a horrible football season in the fall, we were just about to switch off our TV sets and ignore the March Madness craziness that usually takes our campus by storm.

But then came our game against Cincy in the first round of the Big East tournament. Suddenly, our basketball team felt relevant again. None of us knew what to expect when we knew that UConn was next, the team that all those sports pundits have selected to win the National Championship. And then, THE miracle happened. G-Mac led us to victory with yet another game winning shot against #1 UConn. (Now, THAT’s when you’re supposed to rush the court.) With UConn vanquished, we saw no reason why we shouldn’t win the whole Big East Tournament. And sure enough, two victories later, against the likes of rivals Georgetown and Pittsburgh, Syracuse won the Big East tournament, an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and finally, respect. G-Mac rightfully won the Big East Tourney MVP award after he carried the Orange on his back for all four games. Now, after all that, ESPN is sucking us off and calling us a “force to be reckoned with” and even saying that we might get to the Sweet 16. Blah, blah, blah.

Get us laid, Gerry!

All I know is that, if Syracuse gets far in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, we are all going nuts. I remember when we won the championship three years ago, everyone on campus went absolutely BANANAS. People were running around naked, liquor flowed, and everyone got laid. It was incredible, and easily one of the best experiences I ever had at Syracuse. With G-Mac the last remaining member of that incredible 2003 team, we can only hope that he’ll take SU on his shoulders for another 6 games, and give us another championship. And then, we can all get drunk and get laid.

Go CUSE! :-D
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