April 23rd, 2001



I had a busy, but entertaining, weekend.

Friday. me and my roommates went and saw Freddy Got Fingered.

In general, I find Tom Green to be fairly amusing. And, there were a few moments in the movie that were absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, there were a whole lot of moments in the movie that were stupid, disjointed, disgusting, cheesy, and over the top.

You leave the movie wondering just what it was you watched, what the point of it was, and why you bothered. I doubt I'll be seeing it again any time soon.

Saturday night, I went to a concert to see Fates Warning and Savatage. For those not familiar, Fates Warning is an excellent progressive metal band, and Savatage just plain rocks. They were originally more of a straight "metal" band, in the style of the first couple Metallica albums, but they've evolved greatly since then into a powerful, intense, occasionally symphonic, and amazingly cool band.

I expected a good show, and I wasn't disappointed. The only bad thing about it was the fact that there were two local opening bands, and neither was very good. The first band was trying to be Godsmack, and the second band was trying to be Korn or Limp Bizkit. Both failed miserably. In fact, the only time either band managed to get much of any reaction from the crowd was when the second band did an Iron Maiden cover.

Fates Warning played an excellent set, and sounded phenomenal. These guys are very talented, and really are a great progressive metal band. Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore frequently guests on their recordings, too.

Savatage. . . was amazing. They actually started off the show rather strangely. After the lights dimmed, but before they came out, this really freaky and weird cover of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds" came on. What was so unusual about it, is that this rendition was an extremely twangy country version. I was cracking up just listening to it. Then they put on a great show including some spectacular light and smoke work. Probably the best "show" I've ever seen on a club tour.

Yesterday, me and my roommate went down to New York City for the day. We drove down in the morning, parked in Jersey City (not worth paying $50 to park in NYC), hopped a PATH train to Manhattan, then subway'ed up to near Chinatown. From there, we walked through Chinatown and Little Italy for most of the day. Rob, my roommate, was shopping for his mother, and we didn't really have any kind of plan we were following.

It ended up getting a little warm (upper 80's, I heard later), and we felt it. Eventually we found a nice shaded outside place to eat in Little Italy. Then, we worked our way up towards Times Square for a while, and finally decided to head home.
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    Meat Loaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
Lord Yupa

Future entertainment.

I've decided that I need to see a Broadway play. I also mentioned it to my roommate, and he agrees that it would be a worthwhile endeavor. So, we're going to do it.

Right now, I need to decide on which one(s), and when. He heard about one new one, called "The Producers", which is a musical comedy based on Mel Brook's movie, and directed by him. Here's a review of it.

As a Mel Brooks fan, I'm really wanting to see this. It looks funny, and seems to have gotten great reviews.

It would also be cool to catch Les Miserables at some point, too. And, maybe Phantom. ;-)
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    Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
Lord Yupa

Responsibility and stupidity.

I first heard about this at some point this morning, and I've tried to shrug it off since then. I guess I just can't do it. My opinionated, pretentious, arrogant self needs an outlet, and here it is. Feel free to skip to the end of this, as it will be long, rambling, and possibly nonsensical.

For those who haven't seen it, or who don't feel like clicking that link, I'll summarize. Three relatives to one of Columbine shooting victims are filing a class-action lawsuit against 25 media companies, most of them video game developers and manufacturers.

They're seeking $5,000,000,000 in damages, plus $5,000 to $10,000,000 in damages for individual parties in the class action suit. I filled in all the zeros so that we can see just exactly what the $5 billion plus $5 thousand to $10 million that these people are asking for looks like. A lot of zeros, isn't it?

And you know what? Even though this will very likely offend a bunch of people, I actually almost consider it a sadder thing that these people are filing this lawsuit than that the shooting originally happened.

Why, you might be asking yourself? Because it means we haven't learned anything from the shooting. And, worse in fact, we're possibly even regressing. It means that instead of trying to face the truth and understand what happened, there are still people who seeking only to point fingers and exploit the situation.

I find it disturbing how ready people are to simply point at one thing, claim that is the cause of all evil, and then want to go back to their sheltered little lives, ignoring true problems, and pretending that it's up to someone else to "fix" it. What's worse, is all the finger pointing and blame shifting is not only unhelpful, but makes things a lot worse.

Consider this: You have two kids who were abused, mistreated, harassed, picked on, and basically treated like crap for years. They also watched a lot of movies, listened to a lot of music (your typical teen angst variety, as enjoyed by 20 million people each year), and played a lot of video games.

Now, most of the media has decided that it was the movies, music, and video games that "made" these two people go off and commit that horrendous act of shooting a bunch of people.

Bull. Complete and utter bull.

Millions of people enjoy those same movies, listen to those same songs, and play those same games all the time. Millions. So, why don't we hear about millions of people randomly shooting up places? Because it doesn't happen. You see, normal people have this neat ability to understand the difference between fantasy and real life. It's pretty neat. They're actually able to realize that there are numerous things that you might see on TV or in a game, but aren't acceptable in real life. As I understand child development, this usually happens around age six or seven, although I could be off on that (vaguely remembered from a friend's child psychology book).

And some people actually seem to believe that playing a game will automatically turn someone into a violent killer. The lawsuit I mentioned at the beginning actually states, "it is guaranteed that more monsters will be created more school killings will occur" if we don't keep violent video games out of the hands of children.

Now, I've prolly logged as many or more hours playing Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, and all the other newer variants, than anyone, and you don't see me out shooting people. I can honestly say that I don't know of anyone who's recently described me as a "monster". So, am I the exception?

Now, some have argued that it was the excessive movies, music, and games that these two people engaged in which caused them to "go crazy". I suppose it could be argued that if they'd spent more time out with their friends, and less time alone with their violent thoughts, this might not have happened, right? Oh, wait, there's just one problem, though. You see, they didn't really have any friends. In fact, it was worse than that, not only were their school mates not friends, but they were extremely cruel, unfriendly, and mean towards these guys. That doesn't leave a whole lot of entertainment options, now does it.

So, we're left with a bad situation all around. These two guys went through hell every day at school. Now, the human mind can be a fragile thing. If you push someone hard enough, eventually they will crack. It's just a matter of time. These two were pushed to that point.

That's actually another interesting thing to consider, in my opinion. You see, each year, in the US alone, almost 2500 people are pushed to the same point that those two Columbine kids were. That's a lot of people, isn't it? It makes you wonder, though, if that many people are pushed to the point of breaking, why have there only been a small handful of shootings in the past few years?

Well, as I said above, most people know that things like killing others is a Very Bad Thing (tm). So, they don't do it. Instead, they kill themselves.

That's right, there are nearly 2500 teenage suicides that occur in the US each year. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it? 2500 people die each year, and they're ignored. A dozen people die from a similar situation that had two kids react differently, and suddenly we need to protect our children.

The problem is, we're not protecting them. We're making things worse. In our misguided and ignorant attempts to "protect" them from other children, we're driving them into a worse and worse situation, and we're not helping them to protect against themselves. We're not protecting them from hate, anger, prejudice, mistreatment, abuse, and harassment. In fact, for anyone who is the least bit "different", we're encouraging it. We're making them stand out more, making them a bigger target.
We're pushing them towards that breaking point.

The chances of them getting a gun and shooting a bunch of people is low, despite how far these children are pushed. Very, very low. Out of 300 million people in the US, and many thousands of homicides, these highly publicized events number only a few.

However, just because they don't shoot anyone, doesn't mean that someone won't die because they were pushed until breaking.

I don't know what my point is here, or even if I have a point. I'm tired and frustrated, and disgusted. I'm left wondering when people will stop pointing fingers at everyone else, and realize that they are to blame, too. Realize that we're all to blame.
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