Monday, November 30, 2009

Finally, A Timeframe for Withdrawal

Today I read in the New York Times that US President Obama plans to set a time frame for withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. Although some Republicans, among others, believe that doing so "shows weakness and blablabla", I say it's about time. Even better news is the fact that the withdrawal won't be tied to conditions on the ground, which means that they can't keep pushing back the date, like they've been doing in Iraq.

However, the time frame for the withdrawal from Iraq is set in stone (as much as anything political can be set in stone). Most of the troops will be out by next August, and Obama promises complete withdrawal by the end of 2011. Now we will see how true to his word this man can be.

The downside to all this is that "a significant American presence in Afghanistan [will] remain for a long while". Of course. Can't be leaving them unsupervised.

It seems like a positive step, though, if it actually happens.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Puddle of Mudd

I just got back from a Puddle of Mudd concert at the stadium here. It was crazy.

They had two opening bands, the first of which was an unknown local band, KoJu, that had won a rock off contest. Half the band seemed thrilled; the drummer seemed terrified and the guitarist looked like he wanted to kill someone - or like someone had forced him to come play.

The second opening band, Crash Karma, wasn't bad, good at what they do, but nothing amazing. The lead singer looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the sense that his shirt could hardly contain his overgrown muscles. He looked like he was about to explode. The drummer broke his drumstick and it came flying right at my sister's face. It bounced off the barrier between us and the stage, but one of the security guards picked it up and gave it to her.

Puddle of Mudd almost caused rioting. They had to call in extra security to deal with the crowd getting out of hand. There were a bunch of crowd surfers, especially this one guy over and over. And one guy tried to pick a fight with the security guards, jabbing his finger in their faces and even pulling off one of their communication mics. Another guard handled it really well though, separating everyone and sending the guards involved to a section farther away from this guy in the audience.

A bunch of people threw beer onto the stage, and at one point a guy even ran onto the stage himself! He was quickly hauled off by security, of course, but he made it on. Pretty crazy. Wes Scantlin (the lead singer/guitarist) didn't even flinch. He just glanced at the guy and let security deal with it.

A guy right close to me had some kind of seizure. Luckily, the people around him were good enough to give him some space, but they brought in a bunch of medics, around eight of them. They took him out once he came to, but he was saying he was okay. He probably didn't even know it was happening at the time.

At another point, a girl got kicked in the head really hard by a crowd surfer. They had to lift another girl out of the crowd because she was passed out. I'm not sure why, whether it was too much alcohol, exhaustion, getting kicked in the head too, or what.

It was definitely quite a show, although the audience almost provided more of it than the band. Not that they weren't good. They were, but Wes Scantlin acted like an arrogant "drugs, sex and rock'n'roll" type. Typical, but not attractive to me.

I got one of his guitar picks though. It landed somewhere near us, but no one could find it. Finally, my sister found it - right at my feet. She's not a big fan so she said I could have it. It's a nylon Jim Dunlop .75mm. I already have a .55mm almost exactly like it. Funny. I think they just buy them in hundred packs and dish them out during their tour.

It was a crazy night, that's for sure, and definitely a lot of fun.