Another Unsurprising Blog Post Regarding Music

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, but life got in the way.  Where shall I begin?

Let’s start positively, shall we? I had the fucking time of my life two weeks ago with good ol’ Penguin at a free Coheed and Cambria concert in Brooklyn! I can count the number of times I’ve been to Brooklyn on one hand, pretty much, so this was a big deal for me.  First thing I noticed after I got off was a music store, but it was closed! I shall be back for you!! Anyhow, we had to walk to the venue (Williamsburg Waterfront on Kent Avenue), and it was a huge outdoors place, about three blocks long! The line was ridiculous, which was unexpected, and went around the corner after the third block, but it actually moved pretty quick.

Once we got inside, I bought the customary concert tee, as did John — quite shocking, to me, since I’ve usually known him to wear solid colours; please don’t let me have broken the boy’s standards! The show was standing room only, so it was a decent view.  We weren’t TOO close to the stage, but had a very nice spot.  We missed the first opening band, Tigers Jaw, but I heard them outside the gates and people said good things about them.  The Adrian Belew Power Trio was on next, led by the singer/guitarist from King Crimson.  It’s always strange to me when I see legends opening up for modern bands, regardless of how huge they are (Brian May opening for Guns N’ Roses, The Velvet Underground opening for U2, etc.).  They put on a nice show to warm everybody up, though.

So Coheed rolled out on stage shortly after, first for a nice, intimate acoustic set.  People say this often about bands, and I’ve said it about some others, but Coheed’s music really got me though a shitty point in my life, and hearing some of the more poignant songs I remember from that period (like “Mother Superior” and “Wake Up”) done acoustically was indescribable.  I really don’t have the words to articulate the feelings hearing those songs again gave me, but I hadn’t heard most of them in YEARS and remembered every word.  There wasn’t any nostalgia or bitterness, just a feeling of peace (as well as the realization that if you’re going to pick “a song” for you to “have” with your girlfriend, make sure it’s one you BOTH like, and that it IS a love song).

Once the acoustic set was done, there was a short break, then the band came back out to play their entire Second Stage Turbine Blade album, as well as a selection of songs from their other albums after.  From the minute the first note of “Time Consumer” rang, a huge fucking mosh pit broke out! The entire crowd was just thrashing about, and the entire night I exchanged looks with John of complete awe and brotherhood.  Again, I hadn’t listened to Coheed and Cambria in quite some time, but it all came back to me, and I forgot how much I loved their music, especially the first album.  My dream of one day standing in a crowd, shouting along to “Devil in Jersey City” and “Everything Evil” was at long last being realized! At one point, during “Devil in Jersey City,” my friend Mike got thrown at us from the pit: we said “hey” and pushed him back in! Great seeing him again! As for the band, they were tight as fuck! Claudio’s voice was dead on that night, and everybody had so much energy.  Hands down, it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to! John and I might actually be seeing Coheed and Cambria again, when they open up for Soundgarden in two weeks at Jones Beach.  Don’t think it’ll have as big a pit, or at least one that people will be doing jumping jacks and push-ups in during the calmer parts of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” (seriously), but definitely looks like a promising show, and we’d love to check it out.

Well, you had the good news, so here’s the bad: as some of you probably saw, Hope’s New Fear broke up.  It is for personal reasons between Michelle and I, most of which I’d rather not get too deep into on this blog.  Pretty much just woke up on Sunday morning, and got a big “fuck you” text message after we’d already patched things up over a different issue.  She is my cousin, and at times she felt more like a sister, but it’s disappointing to have a close relationship with someone for 21 years and then one day they suddenly don’t recognize you and second guess everything you do.  Unfortunately, she’s already done some things out of spite, which is why I’ve seized our band’s name and site.  In the grand scheme of things, nobody gives a fuck, but it was something we’d set out to do at the end of high school and I still feel that connection with the name and concept, even if the partnership was pretty much D.O.A.  That said, I’d love to get a real band together under the Hope’s New Fear name and put something out.  Any takers? I know it’s a low blow, but I really want to “brand” the name so nobody else uses it, be it my cousin or some garage band in Arkansas.

Finally, on positive notes about my music, I’ve gotten myself a SoundCloud page.  I’ve archived every surviving Peter Mixx/Miss Frotrap/dj Nibiru/System X recording I could find, mainly for posterity’s sake.  I also recently released a Christmas single, “Gristle Bells,” on the page, along with an “acoustic” b-side.  Everything on the site is downloadable, so if you like what you hear, share it, burn it to a CD, put it on your MP3 player, whatever.  Also, comments on the page are much appreciated!

With regards to new material, I’m still demoing songs for my project with Mia, as well as churning out demos for my band with Felicia (The Hotel Chelsea) at an alarming rate.  I don’t have anything ready to show the world right now, but structures and lyrics are all in place, it’s just a matter of expanding the arrangements (read: adding drums, mainly), and other finishing touches.  I’m also working on a pet project of mine that I conceived last year, entitled Rooftopballads.  Its name is derived from my friend Alex’s old website, and it’s pretty much a concept album about the club we had back in the day, the Wrenchbearers.  I wrote up lyrics for all the songs last year, as well as a tracklist, but I hadn’t been able to find it until last night.  I did a one take demo of one of the songs, called “(Put a Little) Wrench in Your Soul,” and so far it sounds great! It was completely improvised, musically, but sounds just like I’d imagined it should.  I’m gonna keep doing that, and hopefully have it done one day so I don’t look like any more of a crazy than I should, talking about my grand plans.  So yeah, bye!

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Social Issue of My Blog (RE: MTA)

So starts summer with a bang! Felicia graduates on Saturday, which is also probably the last time I go out of my way for Prep.  It’s weird to keep visiting a place I despised going through it but I made some close friends there, towards the end and through the first few years of college.  Felicia and I had a lovely time at her prom, which I will go on record as saying was better than my own in presentation, company, and overall tone.

Isn't she beautiful in burgundy?

The day after prom, I wandered back to my house for another party, this time with friends from when I went to Prep.  It was great to get everyone together and just relax.  We wound up playing Clue, Apples to Apples, and drinking a metric fuckton of beer! AND I FINALLY GAVE KIMMY HER CHRISTMAS GIFT!! I’m looking forward to seeing more of everyone over the summer, especially since I’m free all of June.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a true break during the summer, and I intend to squeeze as much out of it as I can.

Penguin, Mia, myself, Albert, and John are the Knights of the Burger King Table! And Kimmy's our photographer!

Thus far, I’ve only experienced one downside to my summer: discovering first hand that the JFK Airtrain is a fucking ripoff.  When I left Felicia’s on Saturday morning, I wanted to get back to my house as quick as possible to change clothes and what have you.  Now, the Airtrain takes about 20 minutes to get from her house to a bus near my neighborhood, which sounds like a sweet deal for only $5 or so.  However, I didn’t realize that the MTA charges you coming and going! That’s right: you pay your $5 toll to get on the train, then they hold you hostage at the station until you fork over another $5 at your destination! I can’t decide what’s more criminal: charging people twice for a single ride, or the MTA having the chutzpah to raise the fucking transit fares all the time while they do it? God, this was going to be such a happy blog until I remembered this incident!

Let’s rejoice with some good news, though: Ozzy Osbourne’s first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman have recently been re-released.  While I’m sure EVERYBODY has listened to at least a few songs off these albums ad nauseam on their MP3 players (I’m looking at you “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley!”), these reissues are the first time in 10 years that the album’s original performances are available on CD.  Due to legal disputes among former band members, the bass and drum tracks were re-recorded for the 2002 reissues of the albums, not to mention the sound was compressed to hell and back.  So, how do the remasters of the original mixes stand up? I won’t lie: the albums are noticeably louder than some of the previous versions, but they’re a lot more clear than the 2002 re-records and there’s definitely not as much brickwalling/compression action going on as with some albums I’ve sat through.  If you’ve never heard these albums before, these are the versions to get!

A picture of the Super Deluxe Box Set which I will never be able to afford on my meager salary.

So, I’mma go listen to more Ozzy.  Later.

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Religious Imagery Not Included

Been a while, huh? Well, hope you had a good Easter/Passover/other spring holiday.  Mine was pretty decent, if only because I made the most amazing chocolate discovery:

Peepsters!

Peepsters! That’s right, everything you love about Peeps is now available in a milk chocolate shell the size of a nickel! They taste like a s’mores, oddly enough.  I picked up a few bags before the holiday, but I’m just about out now.  Also, 3 Musketeers released some special edition fun-size candies with real marshmallow filling, instead of the yummy nougat they normally use.  I can’t really taste the difference so much, but that isn’t really a bad thing.  How’d everybody else’s candy exploits go?

Speaking of special edition sugar-based goods, it gives me great pleasure to find out that PepsiCo’s Throwback soda line has done well enough to warrant it becoming a permanent fixture!

You've done us well!

For those who don’t know, these sodas are made with real sugar (as they were in the old days) instead of high-fructose corn syrup.  I’ve almost completely cut soda out of my diet, except for the odd one or two over the weekend, but this makes me feel a lot less bad about doing so, plus the taste is THAT much better! No more disgusting aftertaste from the sodas.  If only Coke would release some vintage pop with sugar (or cocaine!)…

I’ve finally discovered the wonderful TV Tropes site, which has some really entertaining articles about some of my favorite shows and (oddly enough) bands.  It’s actually really helpful to me, as an English major, to be able to identify some of these themes shared between stories and media, so I’ve been taking frequent Wiki Walks on the site the past few weeks.  It also gave me a classification to identify with: a Cloudcuckoolander.  So often my mind just feels out to lunch, and I’ll eventually snap back to reality with a strange quip or thought.  Who says art doesn’t imitate life, right Osaka?

Buy it, use it, work it, break it...

And while we’re on the subject of strange people, the new Lady Gaga video is out! My reaction to the video: “…’Kay.”

It’s the first time I’ve actually heard the song in full, since every version I tried downloading was distorted to oblivion! The song’s pretty cool: I don’t know if it has the staying power of some of her other hits, or even the superb album tracks off The Fame Monster, but I dig it more on first listen than “Born This Way” (which really grew on me). As for the video, it summarizes Gaga and her appeal to me: it’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or new, but it’s got great imagery, and the whole thing’s executed in a way that, for the duration of the song/video/concert, you don’t mind.  Nothing too deep here, but it’s good to have something listenable in pop and dance music after a long dry spell.  What concerns me the most are her most die-hard fans.  As a pop artist, it’s no surprise that a lot of her fanbase is primarily the middle-high school demographic.  However, I feel like a lot of them take her far too seriously; I’ve heard her fanbase of “Little Monsters” being described as “a cult,” and I think both quotated phrases aptly describe a good chunk of them.  Especially the brown-nosers who think that this (the new Lady Gaga album art) is some kind of revolutionary masterpiece! I’m all for art being subjective, but even from an objective perspective, can anybody tell me that’s a picture they want in their record collection?! Gaga’s fans are still young, though, and hopefully their cultural tastebuds develop so they can realize it’s okay not to agree with every creative shot called by your favorite artist.

Another band with a very devoted fanbase (and amazing TV Tropes section!) is The Birthday Massacre.  They’re not a “new discovery” for me, since I was supposed to see them open for Mindless Self Indulgence many years ago, which would have been my first concert but my grandfather was being waked that day (even in death, his reputation as an asshole proceeds him).  I didn’t delve so much into their music to prepare for the show, since I kind of wanted to be surprised, so I’m hearing most of their songs for the first time.  Suffice to say, I’m hooked now, thanks to a girl who sits in front of me in one of my English classes (she was wearing a The Birthday Massacre shirt one day, I wonder where she got it? Maybe she went to the TBM/MSI show!!).  They’re from Canada, too, so that’s like a million in awesome points, by me! I highly recommend tracking down the band’s music, if you’ve never heard of them.  I’d personally recommend “Happy Birthday,” “Blue,” “Looking Glass,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and “Shallow Grave” for first timers, or the entire Violet album (very solid, runs the emotional gamut).  Also, the band’s making a huge push to be on the Rock Band games as DLC, which I think is great (especially with keyboards)! Go here, and request some The Birthday Massacre! Use the suggestions above, or dig more into their catalog and find your own suggestions.  Feel free to comment on your recommendations or opinion of the band’s music below.

So that’s been my life in a nutshell since last blog entry.  I’m gonna go live some more.

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Charlie Don’t Surf

Seriously, something has been bothering me for the past few weeks: Charlie Sheen.  WHO THE FUCK IS HE?!?! Google’s usually helpful for answering questions, but this is one of the times it’s failed me (other times have included trying to find copies of X b-sides and a list of French military victories).  I get that he’s an actor, famous for Two a Half Men, but why is he relevant all of a sudden? What is “winning?” Haven’t people known the man’s drug problems for some time? Why is he doing comedy tours? Seriously, people, I want answers!

As for things I do know about, I’ve recently been turned onto the stylings of the indie band Tegan and Sara: another miracle from the holy land above — Canada! I picked up a copy of their 2007 album, The Con, on sale at a closing Borders and it’s a really solid album.  Each song is catchy and slowly works its way into your subconscious, and it’s definitely best enjoyed from start to finish.  I’d heard the title track a few times in the mall and as part of the Rock Band 3 setlist, and it’s definitely more memorable than most indie music these days.  Besides “The Con,” other standout songs include “Like O, Like h,” “Are You Ten Years Ago,” and “Knife Going In.”  The production on the album is top notch, with no harsh clipping going on.  The album’s perfectly crankable on your hi-fi, so you can enjoy the smooth harmonies of those Canadian identical twins at the highest of volumes.  I’ve heard people say that The Con is their best album, which I don’t have a hard time believing.  It’s definitely got my vote as a starting point for the band, and I’m gonna buy and explore the rest of their discography now (knowing only “Walking with a Ghost,” besides this album).

So that’s pretty much all my ramblings for pop and indie culture for now.  I’ll have a writeup on my personal life soon, I suppose.  Expect some fun on Facebook and Twitter this weekend! Until then, dears.

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Fuck the DJ: Hang the Record Labels!

I usually don’t put any personal stock in religious laws, but I must admit that the problem of people looking to false idols has become increasingly more prevalent as years go by.  Of course, I’m not going all Jesus freak on you, dear reader, but rather I mean to discuss the problems surrounding American Idol, record companies, and an insatiable American lust for new, less permanent forms of entertainment.

Good ol’ Mia has done a very good post examining the problems of exploitation surrounding the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black, which is making rounds on the internet.  Most of the people posting it are not amused, and I’m among them.  Mia’s post and my comments speak for themselves, so I don’t think I have much new to offer you here on that subject.  While some kids are definitely more talented than others, the majority of kids who would be involved in such an obvious marketing ploy have not yet refined their talents as singers and/or songwriters, have not yet learned the ways record companies use artists for their own gain, and have delusions of “rock star” grandeur from MTV.  The parents of these children are either as clueless as the child about the exploitation, or may even know what’s going on and just want the fucking money! It really sickens me when children are manipulated for financial gain, as it should sicken anybody with a soul! It happens all the time, though, be it in the music industry, in films, or even domestic issues such as divorce.  To me, giving a child a record contract and a hot-shot producer to make a hit record is akin to raping their talent, exposing it to a reality that they don’t yet have the maturity to face and make sense of.  It’s one thing to have a chorus of children sing on your album, but forcing them into the limelight can be quite damaging.  If they had potential for great and creative things, they’re used up by the time that they’re old enough to realize that potential and everybody will look to the next kid instead of sticking around.

Teenagers and adults face that same danger in the music industry: a little something the public likes to call American Idol.  This show really bothers me for a lot of reasons, and I see it wasting more opportunities than it creates.  The operative word of that sentence is “create,” because that’s just what seems to be discouraged by American Idol: the show is pretty much a glorified karaoke event, judged by people who have little or no concept of what it truly means to be an artist.  Fuck the current lineup, let’s look at the original judges:

-Randy Jackson, again, is a session musician and producer.  He’s worked with prolific artists, but not in a meaningful capacity.  I’d be genuinely surprised if he has a writing credit to his name.  Even on his so-called solo album, there isn’t one goddamn mention of his name in the writing credits! Whoop-dee-fucking-doo, Randy: you produced your solo album!! Didn’t even sing or write anything on it, just produced it!!! Why are you judging a TALENT show!?!?

-Paula Abdul had some hits in the 80’s, but has a grand total of 10 writing credits across her entire solo career!! Everything else? You guessed it, outside songwriters! And there is no song solely written by her, as I had expected.  Another case of knowing nothing about creating anything, but still being successful.

-Simon Cowell runs a novelty label, publishing company, and is responsible for Frankensteining pop acts like Il Divo.  Motherfucker knows LESS about creativity than Jackson or Abdul (if possible), and speaks only the language that is killing the music industry: money.  It’s not about being creative with Simon, but cashing in on popular tastes and building on hype.  Simon Cowell is not, nor has he ever been, an artist, but rather an opportunist.

Now, the premise of the show is not unfamiliar at this point: contestants audition on national television for a chance to win a record contract.  Didn’t make the cut? Hey, that’s cool, you get an album and a tour too! Consolation prizes are cool when you’re a kid, but this sort of pandering, to me, is evidence of the show (and America, by proxy) not caring if the contestants are talented or original: if there’s a market for these people, the show and the labels are going to jump on that cash cow.  Like I’ve said, Simon Cowell is an opportunist who’s looking to make as much money as possible from an unsuspecting public that feels like they can associate or identify with a certain person, after they are bred by publicists and studio magic (be it producers, songwriters, or what have you).  Some such “successes” for just showing up have included Adam Lambert and the notorious William Hung.  Obviously, there is a vast chasm of talent between these two individuals, but they both got seen by America on Idol, and neither one has really written songs on their albums, which were released so that they might have struck while the iron was hot.

As you’re well aware by now, the lack of creativity is really bothering me about American Idol.  The labels already rehash this weeks pop trash every few months, do they need to show their puppet screening process on television? Do they want their public to be sick of their new monsters that much quicker, to feed of their market’s increasingly diminished attention span and ever-growing hunger for fast food music? The show is pretty much a karaoke competition, with each performer singing already popular songs.  Why not have contestants write their own material by themselves, after the initial audition? That would make for a more interesting show, I think: seeing who could actually create and perform their own songs.  It’s one thing to belt out a song that you’ve had constant exposure to for years, but it’s another thing to make your own music by your own standards and be in control of how it is initially presented to an unsuspecting audience.  I’d like to think, that left to their own devices, there would at least be a true showing of who among the contestants is serious about being an artist, and who just wants to be famous and cash in on their attention.  Sure, real art doesn’t always make money.  As a punk fan, I’ve come to terms with that a long time ago, but the essence of music is to be passionate; what could be more passionate than words which are your own?

It’s very telling that a man such as Wesley Willis has a better grasp on what it is to be an artist than these wannabes on television.  For those who don’t know, Wesley was a paranoid schizophrenic born in a very poor Chicago neighborhood, but he supported himself through selling drawings and making music: no major labels, no production values, just unbridled passion.  Seriously, the guy just read his poetry over some keyboard presets, many of which were the same between songs! Some might see it as William Hung-like exploitation, but fact is that Wesley wrote everything he recorded, and was an original.  His lyrics were full of such a simple fascination with the world around him, and from the interviews and even songs he had, he loved nothing more than sharing his music and meeting fans.  It was funny, but not really at his expense, more because it was so simple and catchy.  He got himself to where he was, without fancy corporate pedigrees, stability, or even financial backing.  Sadly, Wesley Willis died of cancer in 2003, but his vast output remains, and is a touchstone for what many right-minded and privileged people can only hope to aspire to.  That’s real inspiration, to me, not the sob stories on American Idol.

Rock over London, rock on, Chicago! J-E-L-L-O: It’s Alive!

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Gone Global

Sup, bitches? It’s Miss Frotrap, talkin’ ’bout dat Pee Ess Triple! Naw, just fucking with you, I wouldn’t know video games if they fucked me in the ass these days.  So, what’s new and exciting in my life? Not a hell of a lot!

Fucking old school!

I found my old Game Boy Advance a few weeks before my break ended, and lo and behold I found two old Pokémon games with it: Crystal and Red.  Red was an old file that I hacked with a Game Genie (points if you remember that and not Gameshark): I had Mew, Mewtwo, and a few other high level Pokémon that I probably shouldn’t have.  Also, none of them knew Surf, since I had a surfboard item that was hacked in.  Good times, even better kicking the Elite Four’s ass! Crystal was pretty much unplayed, and I only made it up to the third gym before I got bored.  Not much of a gamer anymore, I guess.

Except for Rock Band! The Fender Squier Pro Guitar is coming out on Tuesday!

Play THIS, fratbitch!

If it looks like a real guitar to you, it’s only because it IS! Rock Band 3 has Pro Modes now, which teach you how to play songs note-for-note.  The guitar also plugs into an amp and functions as an ordinary guitar outside of the game.  Now, I’m probably not going to invest in this right away, but I think it’s pretty fucking cool that Harmonix are continuing to bridge the gap between their passions for music and games.  I’ve been a fan since their first console effort, FreQuency, and they’ve always had fun games to offer.  They’ve come a long way since then, making games that are both more accessible and realistic in their simulation of creating music.  I’ve been having a lot of fun with Rock Band 3 and its Pro Keyboard mode, and it’s definitely improved my fingering on the keyboard.

Speaking of keyboards, I’m getting back to my electronica roots with my Miss Frotrap moniker! As anyone who’s stalked me on Twitter or Facebook knows, I’m working with my Kawaii Neko Desu bandmate, the lovely and talented Mia, on  some material that we’ll hopefully have ready by summer for you all to fistpump to, or whatever the fuck kids do these days!

Still looking for girls to join my band, The Hotel Chelsea, on drums and lead guitar.  So far it’s just me on bass and the pinnacle of beauty herself, Felicia, on vocals but goddammit we need more people! AND I NEED A BASS!!! Rehearsals have been mostly reproductive. As a result, we haven’t rehearsed much.  Still, the offer stands.

And lastly on the band-related front, Hope’s New Fear finally has some semblance of percussion and rehearsals going down.  Michelle and I cut a demo of “California Dreamin'” last month, and were working on a b-side last week.  We’ll let you know on our Facebook when that happens.

Anyhow, I grow weary of telling you my plans of global domination.  Be gone with you! Leave comments and money!

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It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

‘Sup cocks? Been a while, yeah? Well, my break’s over now, thus sapping a lot of valuable blog time.  Still, I’ll try to sporadically be as self-important as I was the last couple of posts.  Let’s do this in chronological order, shall we? First, a look at my final FYE purchases:

Jane’s Addiction – Kettle Whistle [I still own absolutely no Jane’s Addiction studio albums, but the two rarities albums I picked up at this sale are pretty stellar.  I’m usually not a big fan of stuff like that, but this band had chops on the live recordings here!]

KoRn – Good God: French Remixes [Very rare import EP that I saw in the bargain bin.  Sadly, I couldn’t find Life is Peachy so this single from it had to do.  Not disappointed, though, it’s better than the “Freak on a Leash” mixes.]

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Nuthin’ Fancy [I have it on two formats now, motherfuckers! I’m interested in A/Bing the vinyl against the CD to see how they compare.]

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping [And now my Skynyrd discography is complete! (read: I have all the studio albums from before the plane crash)]

The Runaways [Amazing movie about one of my favorite bands of all time.  I might do a review of it, but I highly recommend that you see it for yourself.  Lita Ford and Joan Jett are heroes of mine, during and after their time as The Runaways, so I had to see this when it came out in theaters.  Don’t let the cast’s names scare you, this isn’t any Twilight bullshit.]

Serj Tankian – Imperfect Harmonies [No lie, I’m almost frightened to listen to this one.  I heard a preview clip of one of the songs and it sounded LOUD.  That’s another blog from me, but I firmly believe that if an album is meant to be played loudly that the listener should put it on at a higher volume rather than have the album be mastered loudly.]

I’m pissed off that there’s no place for me to get new releases in my neighborhood anymore, but I’m in the city so often I don’t think it really will affect me too much.  Hell, I pass a Best Buy on my way to work twice a week! We’re good, I think.  Still, I’ll always remember my high school days of plundering the racks of FYE with my very disposable income. I’ve gotta wonder where the fuck that money even came from? Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.  Goodnight sweet prince.

Let’s see, I’m in school again now.  Taking mostly English classes, naturally, since the decision to do education was a recent one.  So far so good, though, my English professors are all pretty entertaining.  I’m also taking History and Culture of Islam as an elective, which is exciting.  I’ve always had a fascination with Eastern and Middle Eastern religions, and find a lot of Islam’s philosophy to be something I believe most people could benefit from (as I believe about ANY religion, not that I think people should subscribe to labels and beliefs so much as ideas).  I’ve got a trip to the Metropolitan Museum lined up for April to see an Islamic art exhibit, so I’ll have a writeup on that when the time comes.

Lastly, I’d like to throw my two cents in about this Black History Month bullshit going on at Prep: it AMAZES ME when holidays and months that have been put together to celebrate a culture bring out the worst of that lot.  We see it at Christmas and Hanukkah too, people getting in each other’s shit because some people don’t share an understanding about what’s going on.  Now, I don’t believe that a Black History Month is any more important for black culture than winter holidays should be for people in general.  If you need a day or month to feel that you, your family, or your culture are entitled to respect, you’re missing the point.  Respect should be shared all year round, not just holidays.  If someone doesn’t understand why a culture is celebrating their heritage or traditions, being an asshole is only going to give them the wrong impression.  You absolutely don’t deserve the respect, then.  More respect for Dr. King or even Obama, then! Those are the types of people that should be celebrated, for bridging gaps in cultures.  Adding to stereotypes just makes you look as ignorant as anyone who believes them.  On that note, I’m fucking out.

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