Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Hit It With My Axe - Part IV - "Can I Hit It With This HAMMER Instead?"

All Hail, Hardy Adventurers!

To aid you in your quest, the previous entries in this series can be found right here:

Part I               Part II                Part III

Well, after my buddy Glen was introduced to the intense and danger-fraught world of Dungeons & Dragons (subsequently achieving a certain modicum of in-game success) he told me about another dude who wanted to get in on all the dice rolling, loot-plundering, troll-slaying action.  I already knew this guy to recognize him but I hadn't talked to him very much, but my reasoning was that any friend of Glen's was a potential friend of mine.

And so I was introduced to my buddy Greg, kicking off a friendship that's been sustained for almost thirty years.  It's yet another incredible blessing afforded to me by this supposedly antisocial and "weird" game.

I was going to say that Greg came from a religious background but it could be argued that every kid growing up in rural Newfoundland in the 80's came from a religious background.  After all, we'd all attended Catholic school, but to Greg, it was pretty important at the time.  As such, the character class of cleric, or holy man, really appealed to him.  This choice also dove-tailed nicely with Glen's existing adventuring party since they hadn't added a cleric to the ranks yet.

Clerics typically have their divine spells granted by some higher power.  Unlike the destructive capabilities of wizard's arcane abilities, cleric spells are typically what World of Warcraft has since regrettably labeled "buffs": I.E. they provide healing, protection and attack bonuses.

Back in the heady days of D&D's first edition, the game designers didn't bother to provide their own original deities in the core rules.  Instead, as the all-powerful Dungeon Master, you were either expected to create your own gods from scratch or just link your cleric to some pre-existing mythological pantheon.  Being a lazy and shiftless bastard, I opted for the latter, using this classic tome as a guide:

As Greg thumbed though the Legends & Lore manual, the historic mythology that seemed to appeal to him the most was the Greek pantheon, with Zeus being a notable standout.  He created a character with the appropriately classic handle of Amon and then equipped the poor, squishy bastard to the best of his limited fundage.

Whereas magic-users are forced to wear little or no armor to counter-balance the raw damage and destruction of their arcane spells, clerical magics aren't nearly as powerful.  As such, clerics are allowed to wear any kind of armor.  Also, back then, clerics were further balanced by their weapon limitations.  Since they theoretically abhorred excessive bloodletting, priests couldn't use slashing weapons like swords or piercing weapons like arrows.

So Greg got his poor, frail, scared little avatar all decked out in chainmail, holy symbols, hammers, slings...the whole works.  And let me tell ya, folks, Greg's introduction to the game certainly wasn't slow pitch.  In fact, his first outing ended up being the most challenging adventure I'd tabled thus far.  It involved the re-appearace of a legendary creature called the Tarrasque, pictured here: (with people standing around shitting blood for scale)

So basically, the last time this Gojira-like beastie appeared in my campaign world, he'd trampled Osaka...er, the village of Nesselheim into matchsticks and then fought the Duke's armies to a standstill.  I then circulated a rumor that a gnomish illusionist/wizard named Celator had devised some sort of control rod that repelled the creature and sent it back into hibernation.  Because the artifact was presumably too big to just stick in someone's kitchen drawer, it ended up in the equivalent of a bank vault.  A bank vault rife with deadly traps, loathsome monsters and the constant threat of certain doom, of course. 

In order to retrieve the wand, the group had to venture into an incredibly hazardous dungeon and brave terrible dangers.  The great thing about D&D is that a noob's genuine ignorance of the game's mechanics translates nicely to their character.  Since Greg went into this greener than Kermit the Frog's taint, he usually fell back on following orders from Glen.

Despite the palpable inner-party friction already building, the group managed to find the all-important control wand...with a twist.  Its power had waned considerably in the intervening years and one of the unlucky adventurers had to hit the Tarrasque with it three times before it had the desired effect.

In a completely unrelated piece of trivia, Greg's character got his arm bitten off during the resulting fight.  

Nevertheless, the group prevailed and Amon had his arm regenerated by the senior priests as a reward.  Now consisting of Glen's fighter Valain, Greg's cleric Amon and a small stable of supporting players to fill out the roster (including wizard Aleara, cut-purse Demetrius and professional scrapper Gailen), this ersatz  fellowship went on to achieve tremendous sucess.

Next up, the group began to hear whispers that the evil Baron "Black Eagle" Von Hendricks was searching frantically for the Talisman, an all-powerful sentient statuette once worshiped as a god.  With legend promising that "an army in possession of the Talisman will never see defeat", the team sought to secure this apocalyptic artifact in order to keep it out of the Baron's power-hungry mitts.

After doing some detective work, the group discovered several possible hiding places for the Talisman:
  • In the dungeons below the Keep of Galatine, who was once the head priest of the Talisman-worshiping cult.  After Galatine met a mysteriously violent end, the Talisman vanished, and the castle fell to ruins.  It then became overrun with vile monsters 
  • In a clearing in Darkwood Forest.  
  • In the lair of the stone giant Konom.
  • At the summit of the once-lavalicious mountain Volcan Peak.
The group instantly struck off the third avenue since they'd already befriended Konom and were convinced that he didn't have it.  They also took a quick dart out to Darkwood Forest but found nothing there but a pack of slavering werewolves.  So, it was decided to explore the crypts below Castle Galatine.
This underground maze proved to be the deadliest thing they'd encountered thus far.  It also inadvertently resulted in a situation that still dredges up bitterness to this day.  Glen was still bossing Greg around like Jennifer Lopez and at one point he volun-told the neophyte cleric to investigate the following room alone:

"The floor of this chamber is covered with what looks like mucous and multicolored molds.  There are pieces of half-dissolved leather, cloth and metal scattered about and a corroded sword lies twisted in the upper left corner of the room.  There is a stale, wet smell in the air.  Blobs of a thick, viscous green goo drips from the ceiling."

Now, I ask you, Kind Reader...does that sound inviting to you? 

Indeed, the ceiling was completely labored with a nasty, corrosive gelatin blob of green snot called, appropriately enough, a Green Slime.  Here's a mug shot for this charming little feller:

So, naturally, just as soon as Greg's character ventured across the threshold he instantly looked like Katy Perry at the Kids Choice Awards.  And the real bitch of it: fire is pretty much the only way you can kill a green slime.  Soooo, being totally bereft of torches at the time (the group had been relying on magical light sources), Glen pondered his options for about two milliseconds and then ordered Aleara, the group's resident spell-slinger, to blast Amon square in the mush with a full-bore fireball.

Yes, it killed the slime but it also left our intrepid cleric bereft of eyebrows.           

Yeah, Greg didn't forget that little encounter anytime soon.  On the up side, Aleara did become more attracted to Amon after this.  I guess smoking someone in the lips with a close-range fireball is kinda like the medieval fantasy equivalent of thinking that the cute red-haired girl in your Grade Three homeroom class likes you because she stuck gum in your hair.

As if all the inner-party drama wasn't tense enough, they found what appeared to be the Talisman in the maze but then realized that it was just a decoy.  In the off-chance that it might prove useful somehow, they lugged it along as they hauled ass to the only other place it could be by process of elimination.  Unfortunately a veritable army of the Baron's guards were there to greet them at Volcan Peak.  They fought their way through the gauntlet and finally located the Talisman.  Unfortunately, it was being presided over by a team of the Baron's senior wizards and toughest fighters.

After the group witnessed the Talisman brutally murder one of the Baron's men who'd dared to lay hands on it, a wild scrum broke out in which our heroes proved triumphant.  Finally they were able to gaze upon the true face of their reward: a four foot high, gold shimmering statuette with the unique appearance of whomever was gazing upon it!

Just before they could snatch it, the Talisman came to life again.  It began glowing and then blasted through the floor below with a potent gout of fire-lightning.  Before disappearing into its newly created tunnel the Talisman spoke to the adventures in a powerful psychic message:

"You May Yet Prove Worthy".

Unwilling to let their quarry escape, our intrepid heroes plunged three-hundred feet down into the bowels of the earth, ending up in a hellish environment filled with fire, brimstone and broiling heat.  At the bottom of the freshly-made chasm the Talisman had left a clue as to the group's next test:


The group slogged through endless challenges: swinging blades, flame hydras, crushing blocks of hardened lava rock, siren-like flame maidens, hell hounds and nefarious riddles.  Eventually they located Surtis, the Keeper of the Flame, a massive Fire Giant who eventually divulged the location of the Thermistone.  Turns out it was in the possession of an evil tribe of humanoid Flame Salamanders:  

Seems that they'd pilfered the stone from the peaceful Azer, a race of flame-fetish dwarf-like creatures:

The party managed to liberate the stone and return it to it's rightful owners and the Talisman appeared once again to congratulate our valiant heroes.  But not two seconds later, the fickle deity vanished again after inviting the fellowship to follow it south on one last quest to prove their "worthiness".  The group had little time to react since the Talisman had abandoned them in the collapsing lava chamber, a fix they only barely managed to escape from.

Spurned on by the promise of a god's good favor (and outing themselves as suckers for punishment), the group ventured south, finding tell-tale signs of the Talisman's path.  Amidst a group of slaughtered gnolls, they found a lock box containing a map of the south seas.  Later the group discovered that an island marked as "Malistan" on the recovered map was listed as "Wakanda" on every other chart.  Hmmmmmm....      

At a skeezy bar the adventurers hired a tramp ship (ironically called the Paragon) captained by an upstanding gent named Slayde.  Next morning, just paces away from the boat, they group is spotted and then  pursued by an entire platoon of the evil Baron's troops.  The heroes barely managed to get onboard and cut the mooring lines, all the while withstanding a withering hail of enemy crossbow fire.

During the voyage the crew was forced to contend with several threats including a nasty gale, a sea hydra and a spectral ghost ship.  Just as they neared the mysterious island, two of the Baron's war galleys appeared from out of nowhere.  The Paragon was boarded and it was revealed that Slayde had been working for Von Hendricks all along.

However, when the deal began to sour for the pirate, Slayde pulled a "Lando", freed the captured adventurers and smuggled them back on-board the Paragon.  The battered vessel was no match for the Baron's warships, however, and soon it was reduced to a flaming derelict listing dead in the water.  The adventurers stole away in a life boat during the confusion as the pirate ship slipped below the waves.

Finally on the island the adventurers were forced to deal with an endless parade of exotic threats: giant crabs, ant swarms, carnivorous apes, and this little menace...the axe beak:

Other prehistoric adversaries also presented themselves, such as the nasty ceratosaurus:

 And the terrifying T-Rex:

When the local natives witnessed the bravery of the adventurers in battle against this last threat, they rushed in to help.  When the threat was finally overcome, the locals lead our heroes to their village which seem cloaked in an aura of trepidation and fear.  The reason for this soon became apparent as the Talisman suddenly materialized and killed the village elder as he tried to tell the group to flee.

"He was not amongst the worthy," the all-powerful artifact explained to the adventurers.  "Unlike you, my champions, he did not believe and he did not obey.  You have defeated my tests and proved yourselves worthy to be counted amongst the numbers in my new world.  This untouched paradise is not yet perfect: it lacks life, life worthy enough to warrant my company.  You, your elite predecessors and those still to follow will populate and perfect this new world.  With worthy life will come my sustenance."  

Well, before Glen and Greg could insist on a mandatory Q&A, the Baron's men stormed in.  The Talisman, confident that the "Black Eagle's" forces might have the right stuff after all, proposed a contest of champions between the forces of good and evil.  Our heroes triumphed and were promptly horrified when the Talisman dispatched their wounded rivals with abject cruelty.

It's then that the adventures realize, all too late, that the Talisman may be possessed of god-like powers, but it's also as crazy as a shit-house rat.  Its plan to abduct the group from their world only to transplant them into a new realm to act as devoted, obedient worshipers, is revealed.  Clearly "worthy" is a matter of perspective.

Needless to say, this proposal resulted in a bit of kickback and by kickback, I mean combat.  During the battle, the Talisman fought halfheartedly, obviously confused by the group's less-then-ecstatic reaction.  In the resulting dust up, the "decoy" Talisman was produced and the all-powerful entity suddenly showed fear for the very first time!

Turns out the other gods conspired to create this statuette as a weapon against their batshit insane rival.  When the decoy came in contact with the real Talisman, its surface shattered in a blast of radiant light and the group was nearly killed in the corona of explosive energy that followed.  After digging themselves out of the debris, the group was exhilarated by their narrow victory.  Needless to say, our intrepid champions stuck around the island to rest, recover and soak up as much adoration from the native population as they possibly could.              

Many more adventures would follow.  The party would tangle with such diverse foes as Valain's asshole dad Daltallen, the suave, aristocratic (and blood-sustained) Baron Latos, their old buddy Saren and the necromantic sorcerer Noctornis (Ten points to anyone out there who recognizes that name).

The fellowship also traveled to increasingly dangerous and exotic places.  They ventured into the swampy expanse of the Deadlands on a quest to recover "The Treasure of Darmin" and in "Draconia!" they sailed to Latismere Island to liberate the local population enslaved by the fierce Draconians and their dragon-goddess Tiamat.

And then, just as things seemed to be clicking along perfectly, Glen dropped a bombshell: his family was leaving Stephenville and moving away to St. John's.  Twelve f#@$%^& hours away.  I was crushed. 

But there was nothing we could do about it.  We did one final adventure which saw Valain leave the group on a solo odyssey to find and confront his nogoodnik father and transition command of the group to Amon.

Admittedly Greg's character had grown and matured in the time since he'd started playing but could he rise to the unique challenges that leadership would demand?

Indeed he would.  Unbeknownst to me, Greg had been carrying on his very own clandestine and torrid D&D love affair on the side.  In fact, he'd already started to Dungeon Master his own campaign for a circle of friends I barely knew.

In time Amon would lead his fellow adventures into brave new worlds and deal with horrors unlike anything that had come before.

But that is a tale for another time...               

EPIC PHOTO  Portrait of the Dungeon Master as a Young Man.  Here I am, hard at work, perhaps on this very same adventure.  Check out the state-of-the-art Commodore 64 computer and bass-ass Ozzy poster in the background...

EPIC SESSION Your reaction to the following vid (whether it be giddy thrills or total boredom) is like a litmus test of cool to me...    

FAIL  I swear parents wouldn't be so quick to do this if they knew what kind of psychological impact it has on their kids:




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Diggin' a Hole (Only To Fill It Back Up Again)

Greetings, Fellow Strugglers!

Well, just under a year ago I began the painstaking process of self-discovery to determine what I'm supposed to be when I grow up. And I don't want to hear anyone out there scream "writer!" because that particular pursuit has vanished from my rose-colored line of sight since I discovered that the pay appears to be worse then that of "Gravedigger". 

Actually, I've been told that if get in with the Union of Needletrades, Aerospace Workers and Gravediggers you can actually make mad money, yo.

Now, for the purpose of total disclosure, one of my main motivators for going on this little odyssey of self exploration was the possibility of being partially funded to go back to school.  This was sold to me when I was informed that I might be able to have my books and tuition partially covered and also receive a weekly living expenses stipend while I studied.

Thinking that this was a too-good-to-be-true possibility I tackled the prospect of self-discovery with gusto.  I began with a Career Matchmaker quiz which told me what I already knew: that I was best suited for creative pursuits involving such pie-in-the-sky occupations as cartoonist or film editor.  Although I was told at the time by my career councilor that I "shouldn't take any career path off the table", I could sense that she was thinking: "Well, you're gonna be a whole lungful of trouble, aint'cha?"
I then went through the academic calendar and put every single program offered by the college into three distinct categories:
  1. "I really wanna do it...please, please, please!"    This would include such lofty pursuits as Screen
    Arts, Recording Arts or Radio/T.V. Arts.  Please note the omnipresent, telling and somewhat lamentable presence of the word "arts" in all three options.
  2. "Well, okay, I suppose I could do it.  Ummm...wheee?"  These are things that I could tolerate doing if the sponsorship had been sweet enough.  Some examples of this included IT, Occupational Health and Safety and Human Resource *YAWN*...Management.
  3. Then there were the  "I'd Rather Staples My Knutz To A Log and Be Forced To Catch Anvils" options: Business Administration, Aircraft Maintenance, Chartered Accountant and/or Suicide Watch Candidate.
As soon as I presented my proactive and diligent efforts to my career councilor, everything in Category One was summarily jettisoned.  Was this done to be cruel or mean?  No, it was done with a healthy dose of reality in mind.  She knew that, despite my interest and aptitude for creative pursuits, the provincial government would only sponsor me for a program that involved cramming octagonal-shaped pegs into round, but in-demand, holes.  In other words, they wanted a "sure investment".   

Initially, this was very depressing for me, but I've been around long enough to know the score: People say that art makes the world go around but those same people never seem to be willing to help out the artists.

This led to considerable paralysis.  With my obvious choices all thrown out like so much baby bathwater, what would I settle for?  Thus began a long and protracted process of deciding between a pack of equally unappealing options.  Kinda like the last election.

I was so apathetic about what remained that I had to attend several "Test Drives" and Info Sessions to try and prospect for a nugget of interest.  The IT exploration revealed great students, faculty, and training methods but I couldn't help but feel as if my time spent there really wasn't representative of how my day-to-day academic experience would be like.  I knew that I'd enjoy the Web Page design portion of the training but pretty much loathe everything else, especially Programming, which I liken to looking for haystack needles for a living.   

As if to fortify my own shaky sense of self, I did a second, even more detailed, Career Aptitude Survey.  Once again I got frustratingly airy-fairy results like "Commercial Artist", "Librarian"  and "Writer/Editor".  Wow, really 'effin helpful, guys.  But according to THE IMMUTABLE LAWS OF THE FRIGGIN' UNIVERSE, none of those paths were apparently a feasible option.

I'm was so confused by that point that I registered for a General Information Session at the college.  As it turned out, this seminar was designed for the the average Grade School kid who's response to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" changes from year to year based on what T.V. show is most popular.  What I really needed was the "Coming to Grips With Reality" seminar.

And then I made the worst mistake ever: I actually let someone give me a modicum of hope.  I met with a councilor at the community college and he told me that I should pursue Screen Arts because it's clearly what I really want to do.

"What I'm concerned about," he said, "Is that if you don't do this now, you'll just find yourself in the same position in another ten years from now."

After telling me that he's certain people have been approved for government sponsorship for such diverse and "creative" pursuits as Culinary Arts, I went back to my application advisers and passed on what I'd been told.  It didn't take them very long to beat that spark of hope out of my head:

"The application package must clearly define...how likely you are to find employment upon completion of the training. That works against screen arts. The local film and TV industry was hit very hard by the recession and, coupled with the recently announced cancellation of the provincial rebates for film projects, there are very few opportunities in this field (as an aside, Culinary Arts, while a creative program, does qualify graduates for a specific type of employment)."      

Goddammit, why couldn't I have been born a left brain person?  

With all of my vested interest now abandoned I continued to sort through the remaining options like a pile of overripe bananas.  This involved another Test Drive for Health Information Management and then Environmental Engineering Technician (Water).  The first made me alternately queasy and itchy and the second made a fuse burn out in my noodle.  With both of those eliminated I decided to do a Q&A session with one of the Screen Arts instructors, just to satisfy my masochistic streak.  And hey, what a shocker, it seemed right up my alley.

But after being assured for the umpteenth time that I wouldn't receive a single red cent of funding for such an endeavor I turned back to my consolation prize:  IT.  After I declared this as my official selection I began to cobble together the application form back in the month of June.  Knowing that the government would never make the process easy, I certainly expected my fair share of red tape.  What I didn't expect was how intrusive, pushy and downright annoying the submission effort became.

First off, I was expected to cold call local business in the IT field and ask their HR department stunningly nosy questions such as: 
  1. Does this job require a Criminal Record Check?  Driver's abstract?  Access to a vehicle?  Do you have to be Bonded? James Bonded?    
  2. Have you hired people in this occupation in the past two years and will you be hiring people in the next two years?  Really use those psychic powers!
  3. Do employees generally start out permanent, casual, term, seasonal, part time or detained illegally in the storage closets?
  4. What post-secondary training is necessary to gain employment in this occupation?  Will my mail-order certificate from the South Idaho School of Computerization and Cosmostology be good enough? 
  5. What opportunities for advancement are there?  How long does it take to get a key to the executive bathroom?
Now, can you imagine working in a busy HR department and some jerkstore calls up and starts asking all of these irritating questions?  Well, I'm here to tell ya, folks, it went over about as well as limited engagement for Michael Richards at the Apollo Theater.  

Nevertheless, I checked my self-respect at the door, filled out the 'effin thing and presented it to my councilor. He looked over the section which detailed the income of my infinitely better half.

"OoooooOoo," he said, like an administrative Merv Griffin.  "Just to let you know up front, whenever I've seen that annual income figure exceed a certain benchmark it usually means a lower result for funding."

I sat there for a bit and blinked out a Morse code message for confusion.  
"Um...really?  How...how much lower?"

"Well, y'know, we'll just submit it and see.  Oh, and another thing working against you is the fact that you already have a university degree."  

At which point I thought to myself: 'Y'know, I'm willing to wager dollars to donuts that this whole process is gonna be a complete and total waste of time.'

And sure enough, just last week I got a call and was told that the only thing they'd cover is a percentage of my tuition.  No books or living expenses would be covered.  And the unspoken reason for the low offer: my fiance would be expected to pay for all of our mutual living expenses as I went to school to study something I barely have any interest in.  

Well, I didn't start on this little venture to put any additional financial burden on her.  It's not her fault that I had this mid-life crisis (but she is somewhat relieved that it doesn't involve a small collection of Porsche's ). 

Which brings to me to an amusing side rant: why is it that you cease to exist as an autonomous human being and become a two-person collective the second you declare that you're in a relationship with someone?  Bull-s#!%, I tells ya.         

Now, you'd think I'd be pissed off, but I'm actually kinda relieved.  I'd been railroaded into picking IT as a career path, but above and beyond the web page design aspect, I really didn't give a crap about it.  Now, don't get me wrong, if they'd offered to pay me to take it I would have been all over it like a fat kid on an Eggo.  

But do you know the really sick part?  If they'd offered me the same deal to do Screen Arts, I'd be sharpening my pencils, polishing my apples and packing my Empire Strikes Back lunchbox in anticipation of my first day Back 2 Skool.

Instead now I'm faced with the prospects of working again at a call center.  Hopefully I can find one a shade or two above "24-7 PC Tech"  so I won't be forced to call you, Kind Reader just to tell you that "there's something wrong with your computer Window." 

EPIC:  Will I be the caller or the call-ee in this scenario over the next few months?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Down, Seven More To Go

Hello, All You Media-Savvy Types!

Welcome to my first ever podcast-only blog entry!

As self-explanatory as it may be, I still can't post it without running off at the keyboard for a bit, if only to give this special audio entry a bit of context.

As I've said before, writing my recently published book was easy, it's what to do after I was finished that caused palpitations.  After I opted to self-publish the novel, I began to wrestle with new complications.  Indeed, if a tree falls in the forest and someone makes a self-published book out of it, will anyone read it?

Chad Pelley told me in an email recently that "people have to hear about a book eight to ten times before they decide to buy it."  Well, as a self-published author, that kinda leaves me behind the eight ball.  I don't have a big-scale publishing house or agency booking me into signings, public readings or media interviews.  Whatever can the mute slash invisible indie author do?

Well, if there's anything my previous experience as a pushy call center sales drone has taught me: be aggressive and put yourself out there.

Just after the holidays I had the good fortune to appear on Stephen Patrick Clare's CKDU radio show "The Book Club" with my local literary co-conspirator Donal Power, editor of Halifax's guerilla poetry journal Open Heart Forgery.  At the time I made mention to Stephen that my own book was coming down the pike so, on August 9'th, 2011, he invited me back into the studio to talk about it.

Here's the resulting interview in its entirety:  

EPIC:  It's grassroots radio stations like 88.1 FM CKDU that really help out the indie writer.

EPIC TUNAGE:  I'm hearing what Faith No More is on about here, but I'd like avoid taking a shot in the mouth if at all possible...

P.S. FAIL The reason I haven't done a video for my book yet is because I want to avoid insipid disasters like this:


Monday, August 8, 2011


What's Crack-A-Lackin'?

I've written before about the idiotic archetypes that often populate outdoor music festivals but after witnessing the U2 concert in Moncton just over a week ago, I feel compelled to give a specific example.  So, without further ado here's:

Dave's Top Ten Signs That You Don't Belong At A U2 Concert:

  1. The highlight of the show was playing with the inflatable beach balls.
  2. You have to ask "Who's Larry Mullins (sic) Jr.?" when you spot a sign bearing the name of the drummer who started the band thirty-five f#@$%^& years ago! 
  3. If the mental catnip provided by the beach balls is trumped only by two fighter planes flying overhead then you may have taken a wrong turn en route to the airshow.  First test to determine if you're in the wrong place: ask yourself if you've heard "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by the Scorpions yet.   
  4. You stand as quiet as a church mouse while the bands are on stage but freak out like Steve and/or Doug Butabi whenever one of your baked-to-the-point-of-zombification cronies heaves into view.
  5. For some godforsaken reason you're chronically obsessed with taking off and putting on your "kicks".  My vote: keep those funky-smelling canoes sealed in their leather coffins.  
  6. Your concert attire of choice: a flat-brimmed Moncton Purple Knights (?) ball cap, baggy pants, a blood-stained wife-beater and facial hair so spotty and nasty-looking you look like an understudy to the cast of The Hills Have Eyes.   
  7. You have no qualms about getting back to your place by plowing though people like a bull moose with an erection.
  8. Your girlfriend looks as if she would take a cyanide capsule without pause if it were offered to her.  
  9. You're willing to risk life and limb to smoke up even while standing in the cross-hairs of a security guard who looks as if his only other gig was killing hippies during a Rolling Stones gig. 
  10. Gang signs are your default method of greeting.   
EPIC:  Classic...

FAIL:  This amazing doc captures the ultimate concert security FAIL.