The Death of Rock Music

November 28, 2011

After running on the treadmill next to John Norris, of MTV fame, I started to think about how for roughly 2 years (1998-2000), I used to see him every day from 3 to 4 on MTV, as apart of Total Request Live (I also thought that there is no reason why a 50 year old should have a Justin Bieber hair cut). It dawned on me that TRL pretty much defined a music generation and made certain kinds of music very popular, music genres that seem pretty much dead today. If you think about it, 1998 to 2000 gave us a time when the boy band scene pretty much got out of control (seriously, would any girl today bat at if Joey Fatone walked past them?) and when the modern punk rock was born (i.e. Blink-182, Sum 41, Foo Fighters). Oh yeah, and it created a rap monster in Eminem.

The music scene has completely changed since TRL went off the air and I think it has changed for the worse. Ten years ago, artists relied on music videos and outlets like TRL to get advertise their upcoming singles and albums. I can specifically remember a special on TV when they said that the Backstreet Boys’ song “Larger Than Life” cost something like $2 million (seriously, what the hell is going on in this video. Now, we’d be lucky if a band spends $2 on a music video (seriously, check out Blink-182’s latest music video here, compared to one of their best music videos here). Today, bands rely on the Internet and record companies have essentially stopped all marketing, except for people like Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers.

The reason why I bring all of this up is that I think MTV is one of the reasons why rock music is essentially dead. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain genres that are as popular as ever. First, pop music will never die. Neither will country. Also, there is this new genre called dub step that the college youngins like. Seriously, I tried listening to that garbage for about 2 minutes before I turned it off. Dance music? People like this? Unless it’s sung by La Bouche or the Quad City DJs, I don’t want to hear dance music. But for whatever reason, rock music is dead. I looked at the top 20 selling albums of the year for 2011 and one rock band made it: the Foo Fighters with just under 500,000 sales (meanwhile, that horrible, horrible, terrible, terrible person Lady Gaga has over 1.5 million). In fact, when I thought about the big rock and punk-rock bands that released albums this year, here’s the sales numbers I found:

  • Blink-182’s album “Neighborhoods” (which I can personally vouch for being awesome) sold under 400,000 since its September release, while their hugest album “Enema of the State,” which came out in the peak of TRL sold over 5 million.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album “I’m With You” is out of the Billboard top 100 after being released 2 months ago. Meanwhile, “Californication,” released in the peak of TRL stayed in the Billboard charts forever and sold 5 million copies.
  • Sum 41’s album “Screaming Bloody Murder” (which I can also personally vouch for being their best album) peaked at number 31 on the Billboard charts and has sold 36,000 copies in the United States. Their album “All Killer No Filler” went platinum when it was released in 2001.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between the music industry and rock music. For whatever reason, major record labels have dropped all support for rock music, and I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s the rise of iTunes. Maybe it’s the rise of pop singer-songwriters. Maybe it’s the rise of weird women who dress up in giant egg costumes who parade around like they were picked on when they were younger. I can’t figure it out. It certainly isn’t because the quality of music has dropped. Whatever the reason, I think it has something to do with the fact that TRL is dead. Back in its prime, Carson Daly, John Norris, and Matt Pinfield were very loyal to the Southern California rock music scene. Now, there is nobody who pushes this music and it has unfortunately led me to take a liking to a Selena Gomez song I heard on the radio yesterday.

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Complaining Just to Complain

October 31, 2011

A couple days ago, I went to the office hours of a professor (no I’m not a gunner, I just had a freakin question… Back off!), and as I was waiting, I overheard a second year girl say to another second year girl, “I would kill for one night of seven hours of sleep.” When I heard this, my brain almost exploded. In my almost two and half years of law school, I haven’t gotten less than seven hours of sleep each night. At this point I realized, yes, law school kind of blows, but at some point people complain just to complain and this is just unattractive and annoying.

If I go back to my blog posts about law school in my first year, I’m assuming they would say something like, “Wow, law school sucks. I can’t believe I have to work so hard. This is nothing like college where I had a Madden to work ratio of 5:1.” However, at some point you just get used to it. You get used to the mind numbing amount of work, and at some point you just have to accept that this is your life and deal with it. I certainly did. It became the norm for me to do a lot of work. I accepted that there would be no such thing as heavy drinking on Tuesdays anymore.

If I go back to my blog posts about law school in my second year, I’m assuming they would say something like, “Wow, law school sucks, but I’m used to it.” I’ve slowly come to realize that unless you are a professional athlete (minus A-Rod or Lebron–seriously have two guys ever been hated so much?) or a billionaire who did nothing to earn your money (like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian–seriously, who wouldn’t make a sex tape and become filthy rich and famous for no reason other than the fact that you filmed yourself having sex and your father made lots of money), your life kind of sucks. There is no such thing as no responsibility and not being busy.

I’m sure when I look back at all my social networking over the next eight months, it will say something like, “I miss law school. Why won’t anyone hire me?” It has become very apparent to me that the grass is always greener on the other side. Sure law school sucks, but is it any better being unemployed and having to move back home? And is it any better when you finally get that big paying job where you can’t enjoy the money you make because you are working 100 hour weeks?

The point is, people are always complaining about something, but at the end of the day, is there any situation where people aren’t complaining? It just seems like a cyclical process to me where people are never truly happy. I say we just all stop complaining and let future Mike or future [insert whining person’s name here] deal with whatever problems you have because quite frankly, your professional life is never going to get better… unless the Yankees finally sign me.


The Best Show On Television

September 26, 2011

What makes a good television show?  A good cast?  Good story lines?  Good character development?  So many of the shows that we think are the best shows on television have some major flaws.  For instance, Lost was a beautifully crafted show, but the writers lacked the foresight to fully wrap up the ending (and even if they planned to n0t wrap up anything, which is my theory, because they wanted to make the show relevant forever, they cheated the fans of the show).  Or how about a show like Friends?  That also had some major flaws (Ross cheated on Rachel and they still ended up together.  That just doesn’t happen).  Even what is considered the best late night show ever, The Daily Show, has some flaws (Jon Stewart, a self professed Jew uninterested in the religion, uses his religion as a cheap joke whenever he deems it convenient.  His closest connection to Judaism is the fact that he lives in New York).  However, one show gets past major flaws and is, in my opinion, the best show on television: Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Let me preface my argument with this: I have not watched every episode of this show.  In fact, I have only really watched this show twice.  The first was when the show debuted during the time I was studying for the LSATs over the summer of 2008, when I was studying in my college town when no one was around to chill (I had also already gone through all of the seasons of Entourage and Scrubs… had I watched more mentally challenging shows, I may be at Harvard right now).  The second was two weeks ago when there was a marathon on.  Based on these experiences, which is a pretty good sample size, I can say with confidence that this show is the best show on television.

First, the character development on this show is phenomenal.  When I first watched the show during the summer of 2008, we had three Kardashian sisters who were pretty immature and not really committed to anyone or anything.  Now, two out of the three are married and the third has a kid and a long term boyfriend.  They are more committed to their loved ones.  Additionally, we have the emergence as the Kardashian mother, who first played a non-role, but now looks for drama and has become a true life businesswoman.  Furthermore, the two youngest Kardashian sisters are starting to make a name for themselves.

Second, every good television show has polarizing figures, who people tend to strongly like and strongly dislike, and with the Kardashians, it is no different.  The show pits Kris Jenner, the mother of the Kardashian sisters, against everyone.  She has essentially become the bad guy, although she does tend to show heart and an emotional side (seriously, every episode I watched during this marathon she would get annoyed at something, have someone tell her she was a bad mother, and then she would cry and apologize).  Another bad guy is this Scott Disick character, Kourtney Kardashian’s long time boyfriend (side note: I had to Wikipedia this stuff to get all the names correct).  According to Wikipedia, this dude was a total dick to Kourtney for a bit.  Now, everyone in the Kardashian family holds a long time grudge against him.  I see him as a ridiculous rich kid who is pitted against 12 other people.  He’s in quite a difficult situation, and for some reason, as if this show was a real show, I sympathized with him.  You also have the super good guys.  The main one is Bruce Jenner, who essentially gets pushed around by his wife, pushed around by his kids and just sits in the back of scenes and shakes his head at the ridiculousness.  It’s pretty hilarious.  You also have mixed bags in the actual three Kardashian sisters.  It’s hard to empathize with these girls–they are rich, beautiful (well, for the most part) and well off.  Their lives consist of going to photo shoots and swimming in pools of money.  However, you experience a range of emotions with these people, something that only rare shows can pull off.  Sometimes you feel angry at them (like when they don’t show up to business meetings) or even happy for them (when Lamar Odom won the bronze medal and married Khloe) or even feel bad for them (like when Kourtney was concerned that Scott was drinking in Las Vegas).  Whatever feelings you have for these people, you actually have feelings towards these people, which is pretty remarkable.

Third, this show has some incredible longevity.  The show has been on for a number of years, and I’m pretty sure the E! Channel churns out a different spin off every week for this show.  In addition to Kim and Kourtney take New York or the Khloe and Lamar show, I have some ideas for spin offs:  The Bruce Jenner Slowly Dies Inside Show, The Show About The Two Underage Kardashians Where There Mother Whores Them Out, Keeping Up With The Amount of NBA Players the Kardashians Have Slept With.

In conclusion, I have to find a better hobby.  It pains me that I sat and watched this show a number of weeks ago for hours.  And for whatever reason, I can’t stop talking about this family.  As much as I think Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother are brilliant, the conversation about these shows usually starts and ends in about 2 minutes.  However, I keep on talking about wasting roughly 10 hours of my life between 2008 to 2011 on this family.  That, to me, makes it worth arguing that the Kardashian show is the best show on television.


Why I Despise Lady Gaga

August 30, 2011

As I laid on the couch of my apartment on Sunday, flipping through the channels on the TV, wondering if Hurricane Irene would extend my summer by one more day, I stopped on MTV because I was surprised they were actually playing music.  The Video Music Awards were on, and this brought back some good memories from my childhood.  For instance, for whatever reason, I could remember the 1999 VMAs (on 9/9/99), where Chris Rock (incredible monologue here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb61PfRAMW8) hosted the show.  Without even Wikipedia-ing this show, I can recall Eminem and Dr. Dre performing Guilty Conscience, Kid Rock, Run DMC and Aerosmith performing Walk This Way, Lil Kim’s boob, and Tupac and Biggie’s mother on stage together with Will Smith.  I can even remember the following year when Christina Aguilera and Fred Durst performed together and Blink-182 closed the show.  I can remember that in 2003, when Britney Spears and Madonna kissed (this was awesome).  But that’s about as far as my VMA memory will take me.  Although this is not the point of my entry, how has MTV dropped the ball for almost 10 consecutive years?  Can anyone remember anything from the past award shows?  In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I watched the VMAs (probably sometime in high school).

But I digress.  So I was glued to the TV for about 5 minutes watching the VMAs.  Lady Gaga started the show coming dressed up as a guy and going on a borderline-retarded rant about how she is a man and Lady Gaga broke her heart.  She kept droning on, and on, and on.  She then played another one of her terrible songs.  I changed the channel.  I couldn’t bear watching that crap.  The next day, when I opened my homepage on Firefox (Yahoo.com) it had a summary of the VMAs and for whatever reason, I clicked it (to delay me doing law school reading?), and it said how Lady Gaga acted like a man all night and even took the spotlight away from Britney Spears who was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award (wait, isn’t she no older than 30?  Does this mean she is going to die or is retiring?).  

For these reasons, and other reasons, I strongly dislike Lady Gaga.  She is the epitome of what is wrong with popular culture today and society in general.  First, Lady Gaga is full of shit.  Her whole Lady Gaga persona is just some made up person.  She’s had a major case of revisionist history.  She claimed that she was made fun of and was a loser in high school.  I know someone that went to high school with her and she said that she was in the cool crowd.  Also, I’ve seen pictures of her in high school and there is no way a girl that moderately attractive could be a loser (this isn’t She’s All That).  Furthermore, she went to the NYU music school.  To me, this means that her well off family sent her to a school to perfect her music talents for $50k a year (if her family couldn’t afford NYU they would have made her major in something that you have more than a 1 in a million chance of being successful in).  Quite frankly, I think this whole persona is similar to Dennis Rodman, in that she dressed and acted a certain way to get attention, despite the fact that, just like Dennis Rodman, she has the talent to be successful.  

Additionally, the stuff that she says is just beyond ridiculous and all apart of her act.  At first, it was interesting to see what she would say or do because nobody had ever seen such a strange person (seriously, who makes a dress made of meat?), but now, her act is old and tired (seriously, who makes a dress made of meat?).  Also, how can any of those ridiculous outfits be comfortable?  This is why fashion in general annoys me like nothing else.  In no way do I think hiding in an egg is more comfortable than sitting in a pair of jeans on a chair.  I think for Halloween, while girls dress as Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga should dress as a normal girl (maybe, we will finally be able to tell if she is good looking or not).

Lastly, her music is average.  Yes, I think you have to be talented to write catchy, pop song that get played over the radio (which is why I think people like Kesha have talent, despite the fact that they are not artsy and make a ton of money doing what they do instead of playing at coffee shops and talking about their “art.”  Sorry, if you are a broke musician, you are doing something wrong.  Probably, you just suck).  However, her music doesn’t change people’s lives, like some people believe.  These are pop songs.  They aren’t messages from god.  In fact, the new songs that I heard on the radio (over and over and over) are not even that good.  They aren’t that catchy and the lyrics attempt to be deep, but come off as slightly ignorant (go ahead and try and call an Asian-American an “Orient” in the street.  See what happens).  But, people idolize every word she says.  She could take a giant shit in the street and someone will pick it up and say it is a metaphor for ending starvation.


Leaving DC Can’t Be Worse Than Entourage

July 28, 2011

On this past Sunday, one of my favorite (and all red blooded males) show premiered, as Entourage started its eighth and final season. To give you a brief summary (spoiler alert), Vince comes back from rehab so that means everyone cannot have fun around him (they can’t drink) and Ari’s wife, whom he is separated from, has started seeing another guy (that bitch!). While watching this episode with my DC entourage, we sat there in uncomfortable silence, as opposed to the past (when we were in college), where we would be laughing and generally enjoying the gratuitous boobage. At one point, I break the uncomfortableness in the room by saying, “Is it me or does this episode suck?” It did. They turned a show that used to be incredible and entertaining into a bad soap opera. Entourage used to make having to go to school/work the following day less awful, but I was actually looking forward to work during this episode.

This is just one of many examples of television shows that have stayed on the air for too long and just got awful. This got me thinking about other shows that may have done this. The first that comes to mind is Friends, when they had Joey and Rachel date. And I’m sure there are countless others. It becomes almost comical (kind of like the plot of the the Green Lantern movie) how writers just run out of ideas, but continue to air crap because they refuse to let go of their pet project. We also see this in sports. I can think of many athletes who stick around long after their prime, holding on to past glory. For instance, Brett Favre refused to acknowledge that he was an old, creepy, dick showing man who was a shell of his awesome All-Pro self (and I’m sure tons of reporters would have wanted to see his penis when he was a great star and John Madden was still in love with the guy). But, Favre waited too long and it seemed as if people were happy to see him leave (including myself). Unfortunately, we will probably see this with my hero, Derek Jeter (he is my hero for several reasons, including his incredible baseball skills, his clutchness, his class, and having hooked up with every woman in New York. Instead of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, people should be playing the six degrees of Derek Jeter hook up edition). We all see Jeter, last year and this year, as a shell of the player he once was, and because he is so proud he will never leave the game. This makes the divorce between fans and Jeter a long painful process (just like my coming to terms with the fact that Entourage is officially dead has been). Hopefully he doesn’t send camera phone pictures of his penis.

Sometimes, whether in sports, television, movies or in life, it best to leave on top and not stick around too long, so as to overstay your welcome. This is how I feel about my DC experience, somewhat, as it is coming to a close, and I return back to New York. First off, let me say, my presence in DC can in no way be compared to Derek Jeter or Brett Favre (well, unless you count the cell phone pictures). I am not a franchise player in any way here. I’m just apart of a dysfunctional, borderline alcoholic family in DC. With that said, I do feel like I am leaving at the perfect time, in that I think I will still be appreciated when I go (in other words, I haven’t alienated all of my friends yet). Leaving now, I can also appreciate the time I’ve had in DC. So, I think Entourage can learn a thing or two from me.


DC So Far…

June 22, 2011

So as you all might or might not know, I have taken my talents to DC. Unlike the only other asshole who uses this line, I am actually having a winning time (side note: I don’t think I’ve irrationality disliked someone this much in years. There is no reason why I should be hating someone who actually wanted to go somewhere just so he could be around his friends. Wait, when I put it that way, I should really be hating myself).

First, let me say: New York City blows this city out of the water. Now that I have alienated four out of the nine people who actually read this blog, let me explain, before you four leave. I love hanging out with the people in DC. Three of my closest friends live in DC and it has also been great to reconnect with girls from college (get your head out of the gutter). Quite frankly, as I’ve said before, you could put me and my closest friends in one of those padded rooms in a mental institute and we would still have fun (wait, that’s a bad example. There is nothing not awesome about having the ability to run at full speed into a wall and not get injured).  Additionally, I think DC is a beautiful city. It’s green, has warm weather, and is clean. But DC has a few fatal flaws that have destined this city to averageness forever (making up words is fun). Let me explain.

One of DC’s biggest flaws is traffic circles. What is the deal with these things? For the first week I lived in DC, I had a car. After the first week, I had to drive back to NYC to move out of my NYC apartment. Let me break down my driving time for you all:

  • Out of DC – 4 miles – 1 hour
  • I-295 – 30 miles – 25 minutes
  • I-95 – 120 miles – 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Turnpike – 90 miles – 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Parkway – 30 miles –  27 minutes
  • Into my hometown – 5 miles – 5 minutes

Does anyone see one portion of this trip that is grossly disproportionate to the rest? Of course you do: it’s DC. Granted all city traffic sucks, but on a good day I can get from New Jersey to my apartment in NYC in 25 minutes. Here, it took me an hour to drive four miles in DC. Why, you ask? Traffic circles. They don’t make any sense. They are completely unnavigable. People are merging from different lanes and it is super confusing. Also my GPS, which granted, may be the worst GPS ever created, couldn’t figure out the traffic circles. Not only that, but even if you don’t have a car, you put your life at risk just by crossing the street by one of these.  There are so many traffic signals going on, it is nearly impossible to figure out when to walk.  I have a slight fix for this that would make life quite easy:

As you can see, I eliminated Dupont Circle and created Dupont Square. Not only that, I have eliminated all those screwy diagonal cross streets and created straight streets, so no businesses will lose their place on the street. Suck on it Pierre L’Enfant. I just designed a better DC. No one will be confused about it and resident DCers will not complain about tourists not knowing how to drive. Your welcome in advance, America.

Another awful thing about traffic in DC is the fact that most streets are two lanes, but on the right most lane, you can typically park there on given days. So, one faces quite the dilemma while driving in DC: First, you could avoid parked cars by driving in the left lane, but this generally results in getting stuck behind people making left-handed turns. Or, you could take your chances in the right lane where a car may decide to park and you having to attempt to merge into the left lane with some of the worst drivers in the country driving (sorry DC-Maryland area drivers). If I had to compare this to fighting a MMA fighter to the death, I would fear for my life more while driving in DC (side note: No matter what I do, I cannot get into MMA. I would rather watch a movie about Mark Wahlberg training to become a boxer or Hugh Jackman training a robot to become a boxer).

Another issue I have with DC is the inconvenience of public transportation. In NYC, there is a subway station roughly every 3 to 5 blocks (I just made up that statistic, but it seems about right). In DC, I live in Georgetown, where there is no Metro station. In fact, the closest Metro station, is 0.5 miles away from my apartment, roughly a 10 minute walk because there is no direct route. In comparison, my apartment in NYC is less than 0.3 miles away from a subway stop and a 3 to 5 minute walk. Additionally, I have access to numerous lines and can essentially get off within 3 blocks of any of my closest friends, whereas in DC, even if I was to take the Metro to a friend, I would either have to switch lines or walk more once I get off the Metro. Throw in the fact that the weather down here resembles that of a swamp in Louisiana and you have a sweaty time.

This brings up the weather. Granted, all cities are hot. I think I wrote in my lone Cardozo Jurist editorial that walking from the PATH train to my apartment, just 4 city blocks, meant that I had to shower once I got into the apartment. DC is no better. It’s brutal. Throw in the fact that you have to walk everywhere because the public transportation system is incredibly inconvenient, and it is brutal. I’ve actually thought about bringing a change of clothing everywhere I go, but this brings up some dilemmas. First, where can I store my sweaty clothes in a bar? Second, why would I want to do double the laundry? Third, I, for some reason, only brought one pair of khaki shorts down to DC, so would bars let me in with basketball shorts? All brain busting dilemmas.

But alas, my friends, I like my job, like my friends and like Adams Morgan (but don’t get me started on early closing times at bars. I’ve heard before that nothing good happens after 2 a.m., but this is incorrect. Everything awesome [i.e. seeing girls crying at bars, bar fights, classless actions, eating large slices of pizza] occur after 2 a.m.). It’s not awful. Granted, I miss NYC like Christina Aguilera misses not being fat, but it’s still a good time.


The Weekend of Sequels

May 31, 2011

This past weekend was a big weekend of sequels for me personally and for the country, and I think, from both, we could learn a valuable lesson. Let me start with all of you. This past weekend, The Hangover 2 came out. This had to be the most anticipated sequel for any red-blooded American between the ages of 18 to 30. The first movie was brilliant and essentially made the three stars superstars in Hollywood. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen The Hangover 1. Pretty much any time there is nothing else on, it would be on HBO and I would watch it. Any time I was nursing a 24 hour hangover after New Years, I would watch it. It is just comedic gold. So, when a sequel to this movie was announced, I was pretty excited. However, the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I began to believe this sequel had bust written all over it. How can the same characters get a second hangover and shenanigans ensue again? When I saw the trailers, my suspicions deepened and I knew this movie was setting itself up for failure. Well, I went to see it last night. My reasoning for seeing it opening weekend was that the first movie was brilliant and I didn’t want any one liners of the second movie to be ruined by my friends who can’t seem to stop quoting movies and awful television shows. I won’t ruin anything for you, but if you saw the trailer, they gave you the entire plot. The jokes were recycled and the movie was so formulaic that it was pretty much unwatchable. Of course there were funny lines here and there, but whereas the first movie was one of those once in a generation type comedies, this movie will easily be forgotten (think American Pie 2).

This weekend was also a big weekend for me. Last year, my group of friends from college and I created Lake House, a Memorial Day weekend extravaganza where we rent a lake house and just party all weekend. The memories we created last year will certainly stick with me for a very long time. So, this year, just like The Hangover 2, we created the sequel, and, as opposed to The Hangover 2, this year did not disappoint. This year’s Lake House was a completely different feel from Lake House 2010. First, it was less rowdy. You would think this would be a bad thing, but it created a completely different feel. Whereas last year, where we were so focused on competitive drinking games, this year was different, as there was less competition outside of wiffle ball, basketball, seeing who can get the worst injury, and trying to get into a canoe before everyone else (which has left me bruised all over my body). Second, the house was way different. There were a million different things for us to do inside and outside of the house, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a classic weekend, and although your first time is always extremely memorable, it doesn’t mean the second time can’t be.

My point of bringing these two events up is to make the point that recreating times in your life is not always the greatest idea. I feel like when you have an incredible experience and try to recreate it exactly, it always ends up disappointing. You have heightened expectations and if any little thing changes, you just end up frustrated. So, with The Hangover 2, they literally followed the exact formula as the first movie, and it was incredibly disappointing. I certainly had an expectation that it would be as good as the first movie, but the sequel didn’t meet those expectations. However, with Lake House 2011, I had expectations that it would be a great time, but I went into the weekend not expecting the same exact thing. The weekend would have been completely cheapened if we had a marker fight on Sunday night like we did last year. There were different characters and different unique experiences that made the sequel to Lake House 2010 just as good, but in an incomparable different way. This is the same mindset I am taking to Washington, D.C. this summer. This summer will certainly not be a re-creation of college just because I am taking my talents back to the D.C. area. Although there are a lot of people from college there, 2 years has passed. People change and so have I (for the record, I am way more awesome). I keep in touch with fewer people outside of my crew. I am just looking to have fun and not worry about making a sequel to college.