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Malik (2/14/11)

After seeing Social Distortion on Friday, I have come to a few simple conclusions...

The first is that every time I've seen them, I have been blown away by the pure stage presence that Social D brings to a show. Mike Ness is a true entertainer who knows how to keep the crowd riled up and the energy level never drops. Some bands are worth seeing once, but Social D (and Mike Ness's solo stuff as well) is one worth seeing as many times as you can afford. Their shows are loud, frantic, and just flat out good ass-kicking fun.

Secondly, I think I may have to call it quits with the 21 and over shows when there is an option. Too many people at these shows, especially if the concert is high energy (punk or metal), that are not able to know their limits. It's one thing to grab a beer or whatever at the bar area. It's another thing to bring a full beer out to the main floor and to send friends to constantly keep the booze flowing. It's like an open invitation for stupidity. I'm not trying to sound old and jaded, but too many people at this show were in the "I just got the legal right to drink in public" vibe and don't know how to keep within their limits. If you're too damned drunk to remember the show, you may be over doing things.

Third, 21 and over crowd especially seem bad at remembering where they fit in at a concert. There are three main places to be; the front, the pit near the front, and everywhere else. The pit may seem like the roughest option, but it isn't. I mean the side of the pit is actually not too bad and keeps you up front.

The roughest is the front area where you have the potential of hundreds or thousands of people putting constant pressure on you. That's the place I go, and despite being a bit light in weight, I know how to roll with the force. However, many young women who just cannot take the pressure are also up at the front trying to either get the eye of the band (in a hole of a venue, you will not be seen) or trying to film the whole show on their camera phones. The thing is, the weight of the crowd will not go away just because you have some determined false "right" to film the concert. It just adds more weight on you when you need to keep your phone safe while dealing with the crowd. Plus, I can't imagine it's easy to protect your phone while filming and still paying any attention to the show...but if drink is involved, maybe you need the filming to remember what you missed while in a drunken haze.

Usually, people will be smart about where they are. If you're in the right place for you, then you'll just enjoy the show. If you're in the wrong place, you move. The front is not easy to get out from on your own, but you only need to flag a security person and they will pull your sorry ass out of there. Most security people at punk shows are pretty solid in their abilities and duties. I should know...after Friday night.

On Friday, I had the entire situation go wrong. I was near the front (awesome), and feeling every new bruise on my legs, arms, and back like a badge of honor. It was after eight or so songs when the woman in front of me freaked out and decided I was the cause of all the force behind her (I may be tall and have one great grizzled looking beard, but I'm only 150 lbs of nothing in a punk crowd)...and then her fist decided to speak of her freaked out feelings. Unfortunately, the only part of my body she decided should listed to her fist-ish words was my eye. That's when I saw how good security is at extracting people, since I had to leave, as well as freaked out psycho.

Long story shorter, I spent the night being interviewed about the fight that, at first, must have been my fault. I mean a young woman and a dude with a big shaggy beard...first impressions lead to some judgment calls on the spot. Luckily, being calm and well spoken does better to change that impression than screaming and ranting like miss psycho decided to do. I was cleared of any wrong doing, but I still missed half the show while being kept outside with a bag of ice on my eye and an occasional looking over by an EMT.

In the end, I was cleared, received one hell of a shiner, and got a contact to see a free show at the venue (Showbox SoDo in Seattle) to make up for being kept out of most of the Social D set. As far as I heard, psycho got a quick trip to being kicked out and could have had some more problems if I wasn't level headed. I don't mean violence, but I could have easily gone the whole "press charges" route. Since a shiner heals and the situation would be pretty damned chaotic to find a witness to, I just let it slide. Maybe it was the right thing to do, or maybe not (who knows if this is regular behavior for my assailant). Either way, bruises heal (although I'd prefer not to wait for two or so weeks to get my face non-purple), I got to chat with some pretty cool Showbox employees, and I have one hell of a fun way to start my work week ("Good morn...WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU?!"). She got ejected and will probably continue being an idiot in life...and reaping all the benefits of that.


Malik (2/17/11)

I'm stuck in an addiction of sorts with Fallout: New Vegas. I cannot stop playing, but sadly I know it can't last forever. For now, however, it's good to be so caught up in one single game. I mean New Vegas is a solid game, and has a lot more variety to it than it felt like Fallout 3 had. Between the factions, having two companions at a time, and the increased quests that don't just stick you in a large subway or sewer tunnel, the game is pretty rewarding for the length it offers.

It's also good to be stuck on playing New Vegas, or else I'd be pretty damned pissed off at right now. Actually, I am still pissed off. I pre-ordered Dragon Quest 6 (DS) quite a while back, and one would expect this means I'd have the game right now, or at least have a tracking number. Instead, Amazon has not even prepared my shipment. This is annoying since I've waited for DQ6 since I first saw it would never come to the US in the past (when it was a Japanese SNES exclusive). Now I really want and need the least when I'm done with New Vegas.

This is not the first time I've had this type of issue with Amazon and pre-ordered games. I didn't get Smash Bros. Melee until three weeks after it came out, and it took two weeks to get Picross DS. Both of these, like with DQ6, were pre-ordered well before release. At the very least, Amazon could have mentioned on their web site something about running short on pre-orders. Currently, DQ6 is listed as "in stock," which seems weird for it not shipping for a long standing order like mine. It's even more annoying when you can see "Want it delivered Friday, February 18? Order it in the next 9 hours and 5 minutes, and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout." on the product page. What if I want it delivered without paying for expensive shipping? Wait, I know this doesn't get shipped.

I was starting to change my tune about Amazon when I went with "release date delivery" on LittleBigPlanet 2. I thought this was the end of their dark days of slow as hell shipping and would show they can play with the big boys in the gaming world. I guess that only applies to games with the "release date delivery" option...which DQ6 didn't have.

Anyway, I am at least enjoying New Vegas, so it's not too important to have DQ6 now. However, it reminds me of the one thing I dislike about online transactions; there is no instant gratification or even instant news on what is going on with your order. At least with physical products ordered online. It's all like a "black box" puzzle. You send money and personal data into this box and you hope something comes out on the other side. So far, all I can understand on Amazon's web site is that this black box is a true mystery beyond what any person could be able to solve.

I can also say that if this type of crap continues, I'll go back to my old long standing thought process; I shall not pre-order with Amazon and will stick to books and movies from Amazon. I hate to return to other gaming outlets, since most are just annoying, frustrating, or lack a good product assortment. Still, if I don't get this game shipped soon, I know Gamestop will have it in stock easy to find probably around this weekend.


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