Gateway shows for me were Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, Iria (on the old Sci-Fi). Breakthrough anime for me that really got me into the medium were Read or Die TV and InuYasha in 2004. The following year I watched shows like Blood+, Mai Hime and Shakugan no Shana (one of all time favorite franchise now). These shows left me wanting more and more.
From 2004 until 2013 I only ever used Animenewsnetwork to track my anime. No one ever told me about myanimelist. It would've made my life easier because I had also been using facebook to track rewatches and exact times. My current animelist is VERY incomplete. ANN has me at almost 1000 series. MAL should be over 1200 based on how things are separated here. It will be a very long process to transfer it all over. Until then, feel free to ask me personally if I've seen a certan show that is not listed.
My ratings are based on MAL's own labels. My average rating is so "high" because I usually drop anime that I feel like would end up being a 6 or below. And of course, these are all my own tastes and opinions. I have various reasons for boosting an anime's score or lowering an anime's score. So while some people may think an anime is 10/10 for example, if I found it to be extremely predictable or felt like it tried too hard, I'll probably lower it to an 8 or 9.
(8) Very Good
(3) Very Bad