Saturday, April 19, 2008
Growing up with Grand Theft Auto
I was 10 years old. Moved to a new area, started at a new school, made lots of new friends. One of the first friends I made was a girl named Marquisha. She was a tom-boyish black chick that, at the time, was heavily into skating and playing video games. So, one day I had been walking up the block through the neighborhood and as I passed her house she caught me just in time and shouted out, "EY! Yo I got this new game, its called Grand Theft Auto! You can steal cars, and shoot people!" Stealing cars and shooting people? I'm in! From the second I started playing the game for the rest of the afternoon, I was hooked. I had never played a game that basically let you do what you want. I would alays ask to borrow the game, but she would always say no. So I figured since I always went to blockbuster each weekend and rented a game for my PlayStation, the next time I went I would rent Grand Theft Auto. When that day finally came around I was suprised, as it came with two. GTA, and Grand Theft Auto London: 1969. It was more or less the same, but the fact that it was in London seemed so awesome to me.
Eventually I did I buy GTA, and GTA2 which were both greatest hits at the time. I didn't know that GTA2 was out though. (They were my pre-internet days lol) And then it happened. There was an advertisement for Grand Theft Auto 3, for the Playstation 2. While I was still looking at the advertisement in shock, I couldn't believe that it was possible for them to make a GTA game fully realized in 3D. I kept thinking about the game, imagining myself being able to really "do what I want." That concept in a 3D world alone blew my mind and changed the way I viewed video games from then on. From fall until Christmas, I begged my mom to get me a PS2 just so I could play GTA3. I did end up getting the system and game and all I would do was play GTA3 everday before I woke up for school, and then play it for the rest of the night after I got back home from school. Julian would also come over and we would play GTA2. I remember him while he played the game once saying, "Die die! Fire!" LOL. I played it almost everyday when I was home up until Vice City came out.
I reserved Vice City 8 months or so before it came out. I waited in line for the game maybe 3 or 4 hours at the gamestop in Plaza Bonita. That location had just changed its name from Babbages to gamestop. Interesting little tidbit, but I'm digressing. After getting the game, I wanted to play it for at least a few minutes before I had to go to sleep since I had school in the morning. I remember as soon as I started playing, I just felt amazed at this new game world that I was driving around in, with Michael Jackson's Billie Jean as the first song playing on the radio. I really enjoyed the "360 Degree" fighting system; it was one of my favorite features. I used to always drive up to the mall and go inside and just start fights with the gangs that would aimlessly wander around. Even going up against 5 guys was a snap with the new fighting system. It felt amazing to be zipping around the city on a motorcycle, and even more so to be taking to the sky in helicopters! It felt awesome flying the apache around making bombing runs down the stretches of road, blowing up the many cars and people down below. Vice City was basically all I played. Until The next GTA game came out, that is.
I also reserved San Andreas 8 or moths prior to its release. As soon as I hear it was announced, I went over to gamestop when I had time, and put my 5 dollars down. Then when I got the game, It felt good to be a virtual gangsta. My favorite part was just the sheer SIZE of the game. I loved how you could change clothes, and wear whatever you want. You could even customize street racing cars to your liking. The game had everything you could ever want.
Now we come to the next evolution in the GTA franchise, GTA4, being released in 9 days after it was supposed to be released in October 2007 but got delayed until now. The game will RE re-define video games, and re-evolutionize games once again. The attention to detail in the game is AMAZING, and thats the biggest understatement. I'd write more, but I haven't played the game yet. =P I'll write another blog with my experience playing the game once its out. Can't wait! Arg!
Posted at 07:41 am by chibigarrett
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I had a really wonderful, engaging conversation with a friend last night over aim. I realized that my purpose in life is quite possibly is just to help people. I've always been good at giving advice, and giving people food for thought. My friends do come to me for advice, and I'm always more than happy to give it. The irony is that when I need advice I have no one to turn to. I feel like people don't want to take the time to listen to what I have to say, more specifically my friends. It would be great if for once people wouldn't judge me on what I say, and actually listen to what I'm saying and coherantly think about it and try to offer some words, and not say what THEY think will make me feel better. True though, that it comes with experience. I don't think many people I know truly understand what I feel inside, nor have quite delt with the things I have. It would just be nice to have someone to listen to me though.
Still, I think my purpose might not be sad that I have no person to confide in, but to help people and gain my own wisdom from those conversations. I do tend to always worry about other people, most times more than myself. I think I'm beginning to walk the path to a greater plane of self understanding and accepting. I'm glad I started blogging again. Although I might not have people that would really listen, I can always release the thoughts and other things flying around in my brain.
Posted at 11:42 am by chibigarrett
Monday, April 14, 2008
I haven't been awake at this time of the morning for around two months. SInce I'm actually not in school (college) at the moment, I have to keep up this act and pretend like I am since my mom doesn't know. Spring break was only supposed to be for a week, but I got two extra weeks because my mom had though I had the same spring break schedule as my brother. That came to an end today since my brother had to go back to school, which means I had to wake up early and drive all the way to school just to hang out until "my classes are over." I'm currently in the little computer lab, typing away at this. I'm not in school because I didn't have anymore money to keep driving back and forth, and no money because I haven't had a job since January. Its been difficult trying to find one given the state of the economy.
And with some computer news, my PC at home is on the fritz. It was working fine one minute, and I go to shower, and when I come back to it theres loads of spam and spyware mumbo jumbo all over the screen. I basically can't update anything while its like this. I can still use MSN and AIM sort of. Last night I called DELL and now they sending me a reboot disc. I'm just going to go ahead and completely clean my computer of everything on it. I only really care about all the pictures I have, not all the music and other things. I'm going to try to see if I can still put my pictures on a CD before I clean it.
Posted at 11:36 am by chibigarrett
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I came home one day to fine the electricity off, no one home. Another temporary black out I assumed. I sat in my small room reading a book that I had always been too lazy to read, waiting for the power to come back up so I could play video games or go on the internet. Anything to keep me from boredom. My brother comes home. Few hours later, still no electricity. Then, a knock at the door; two white men behind it, a father a son real estate agent duo. I opened the door, greeting them. They then began telling me that they were the ones that had the elctricity cut off because they bought the house in a foreclosure. My moms bf at the time, Kelvin hadn't paid the mortgage for over 7 months (without telling us a single thing, keeping it to himself), thus forcing to put the house up for auction. They bought the house and were in contact with Kelvin. The two men told me Kelvin kept asking them for more time, and told them that my mom, brother, and I had known about him not paying, and that the day they come to see the house, we would already be moved out. I tell them that my mom isn't home, and wouldn't be for another hour or so. They waited outside while I called my mom and told her what was going on. She rushed home. The men re-explained the situation and asked us to turn over the keys to the house (something we learned we shouldn't have done later). They would be over in the morning to begin "helping" us move out. Our next door neighbors began talking to us, inviting us into their home to stay the night, but we declined so we could pack some essential things. I didn't know what to think really. My mind was blank as I walked through the dark house, candle light flickering in the kitchen. I started with sentimental things; a drawer full of cards from my grammy I kept from each holiday since I was a kid, pictures, mementos. Then clothes and other essentials. It would be our last night in the house after more than 8 years. My family and I then moved what we packed next door, and went inside our neighbors house to eat. I couldn't really eat much at all. I just felt really alone, empty. We walked back next door to our house to spend our last night in our beds. I awake at 7 AM, and start packing and moving things more. 9 AM, the two men come back. The younger man, Russell Artman tells us he went ahead and hired some labor that would be coming soon to "help us" out. He bought a good amount of tape and black trash bags, no boxes whatsoever mind you, and then the ball began to roll. The labor, clearly and obviously illegals, began just wrapping things in thin, cheap paper, stuffing everything into the black trash backs Russell got. All I could do was to keep packing things. Russell had then informed us he looked up and called a storage company were we would put our things. My brother had left to school earlier, so it was only my mom and I moving and packing most of our things and me brining them next door to the neighbors. Russells mother, very young looking lady, had shown up, looking at the house with her husband and son. She succeeded in angering me more, barking orders at the workers handling our stuff. I could hear thigns being broken everynow and then. This continues till nightfall, and come again to the next morning, repeat. Kelvin has been missing for two days, only taking the clothes on his back and his wallet with him, leaving his van. Half of everything in the house has been moved out already. Our neighbors were infuriated at what was going on. Unethical and wrong. After more moving and arguing between our neighbors and the Artmans, we had been all moved into our neighbors. They were kind enough to take us into their house for what would become three weeks. Those three weeks were very depressing. I always felt bad while staying there; I felt like we were a burden, but it was understandable based on our situation, but still. One day my mom and I returned from getitng her car fixed near the amc theaters to see that kelvins van was gone, and the other neighbors across the street had seen him come and take it; the missing persons report was thus closed since he was spotted alive. During that three weeks, we began looking for apartments that we could live in. Halloween comes. I dress up as a mafia gangster, just going to Julian's grandmas usual family halloween party.
My moms friend talks to her apartment manager and persuades him to give us a place. We begin to move into there. During one of the first days of moving there, I was moving the plastic bags we had in our storage and upon touching one bag, my had was sliced open. Evidently the illegal workers managed to not wrap all the knives and other sharp kitchen things. It didn't hurt all that much, just felt like someone pinched me very hard there. As soon as I saw it I knew that I would need it so be sutured; I wouldn't be breaking for a while. I watched as the blood gushed and squirted out of the wound while trying to find something to cover the wound and apply pressure. The owner of the storage company gave me a clean sock that I wrapped around it, and another people that had a storage bin there offered to drive me to kaiser some ways up the road. I waited there and then it was my time to get stitches. I watched as the the nurse stuck the needle inside under my right thumb area, directly into the wound. My eyes opened wide with pain and shock. She asked if it still hurts, to which I replied just a little. She said okay, and stuck the needle inside once again and numbed it more. I watched her as she stitched it up with the tiny hook. After everything is done, I take the bus and trolley to our new apartment. Weeks go by and we become somewhat settled into the apartment, now moved out of our neighbors house. Thanksgiving arrives, which my mom, and brother and I just go down the street to hometown buffet. Obviously no time to cook. I wasn't in the mood for celebrating anything. It was just another evening to me.
I usually slept on the floor, my brother sharing the bed with my mom since we had just one bed. I didn't mind sleeping on the floor, I kinda liked it. Now and then I would switch with my brother when my back hurt. I got the internet back, thought no computer desk. I had to set everythign on the floor, making my own makeshift table and desk. We had no furniture, just a couple beach chairs in the living room area, and foldable tv dinner tables. MY mom was getting some monetary support from Kelvins sister, and my grammy to help pay for bills. Even with that, we were still barely getting by. Christmas comes and we open our few presents at midnight. A melancholy Christmas.
Things become more settled. On the 14th I get my first job at peter piper pizza so I can start helping out my mom. During the rest of the month I start practicing how to drive my moms car, so obtain my license. My mom buys me a used car we see online with a stash of money she had been saving that we were supposed to use for our vacation to the Philippines this year. And I start driving it around now and then after getting my permit.
A few weeks go by and I finally get my license to drive. My mom starts struggling to pay for bills and car insurance, etc. I then would give her half of my paychecks for those bills and some for food. I learn alot more things in bboying from some top sd bboys, and start driving to more jams on my own. I start to loathe the work that I do with my new job. My mom gets a futon to place in the living room, and also so I didn't have to sleep on the floor anymore, which was nice after nearly 3 months.
My mom spots kelvin at a walmart. From there on they start to see each other more, taling about what happened. Apparently, he suffered a heart attack the day he dissapeared, and after his stay at the hospital began to live with a friend of his. Later, he starts to help us by buying us food and other thigns we needed, since he obviously didn't really have much to pay for now. What else is he going to use it for? Thats probably the reason he was getting so many things for us. Either that, or out of a form of some responsibility or guilt. I wasn't arguing. I didn't really care.
My mom starts struggling to pay for bills and rent. And we await our paperwork to a low income apartment complex to finish. Now most of my paychecks go to her to help pay for everything. Work is ridiculous. I do massive amounts of work for a mere minimum wage, and no praise from my higher ups whatsoever. I began looking for other places to work at a high rate of pay but my search has so far been in vain. I finally get on track with school, and now await my registration date in early may. I finally break down in tears, crying. It felt weird, after not crying since I was a kid. I keep alot of things and pain inside, so I guess the gravity of everything finally caught up with me. I cried for almost an hour or so. I just wish something could happen to us where we wouldn't have to live like this. I was always unhappy alot before all of this happened, now imagine how I must feel now. A few things keep me happy inside, but for the most part I'm still the same sad, depressed kid I've always been most of my life. Ever wonder why I'm always shy, quiet, and don't smile alot? There you go. 7 months later, and we're still struggling. I don't know why I decided to write this. Its probably just a well needed vent on my part. Its just been getting really hard and I've been trying to hang on the longest I can, but its just starting to prove way too much for me.
Edit: This is the second time this has happened. First time was with my actual dad, in 1997. He stole most of our belongings and dissapeared and we haven't seen him since then.
Posted at 06:46 am by chibigarrett
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I just noticed this is the same layout I've had all these years. How home its not on the different selections anymore? Meh, I dunno. I think this one looks really nice. I just woke up not too long ago. My stomach rumbles with hunger while I'm typing this, listening to the drone of the fan and the pounding of my fingers hitting the keyboard. Last night, after the B-Boy event, I had parked my car in front of this house along the street, with what looked like a bunch of gangsters loitering around on the stoop. I knew they were looking at me. I was apprehensive, but I still got out of the car and walked the block to my apartment. (I don't have a parking sticker for the apartments that I live at, so I have to park on the side streets) Upon walking outside the door, it felt as if I was punched in the face by the heat. Its so blaringly hot outside right now; it feels like summer. I really dislike heat, and the sun. My favorite weather is when its cloudy, a bit cold, or rainy.
Yeah, thats the good stuff.
Posted at 02:09 pm by chibigarrett