Sunday 29 November 2009

The Golden Age of the 1990's

Wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, listening to Len's "Steal My Sunshine" and Sugar Ray, reminiscing about Giga Pets and Furbies, my friends and I realized how much we miss that wonderful time, when everything was perfect and the streets were made of gold: 1990's.

Were the 90's really a golden age, when everything was better, or does it just seem that way because it was the decade and culture in which we (myself and my peers) grew up? Does the grass seem greener only because we're now on the other side of the millenium?

The clothes were more comfortable: basically anything you wanted to wear, have no concern whether or not it matched. Overalls, flannel shirts (which, in response to my frequent prayers, God has brought back into style), scrunchies, plastic jewelry, minimal make up; it was all about convenience and individualism. Then again, if you do some research (watch Friends or Boy Meets World), sexy women's clothes meant gratuitous amounts of leather.

Music from that era has not yet been forgotten, and perhaps it's because mainstream radio has been taken over by drastically different styles. Rap, which gained popularity in the previous decade, has changed drastically in subject matter, beginning with celebratory party jams and becoming poetry about violence, sex and crime. Everything I hear on the radio seems to be about getting money and fucking hoes.

On second thought, any popular mainstream music today holds not so distant roots in music trends of the 90's: Destiny's Child has lived on through Beyonce, who is as popular as ever; The Jonas Brothers are picking up where the Backstreet Boys left off; Lady Gaga is our generation's Madonna. Some 90's legends are still on the scene, as Third Eye Blind just released a new album, Hanson is touring, and Dave Matthews Band is still alive and well (with the exception of LeRoi Moore, may he rest in peace).

Stupid, useless toys of our childhood have merely changed form: they no longer exist as hard copies and have moved to the internet. Spending hours on a screen keeping something alive? Giga Pets and Farmville are essentially similar, if you think about it.

It's not the same though. Have you ever been in a big room (or drunk bus) of people singing Third Eye Blind's "Jumper"? Current songs don't compare, right? If you had a Furbie with you right now, would you not have twice the gratification than playing Farmville? How much more comforting is it to watch an episode of Seinfeld or Friends after a long day than watching Two and a Half Men, or whatever the current sitcom is? Aren't this year's fashions just as comfortable as those of 1999?

I believe that the only difference between that blessed decade and the present is nostalgia. While I'll always look back to those times with adoration and longing, the truth is it wasn't any better or worse: it was long ago, and so our memories have, as to favor the past, erased the bad and glorified the good. My generation is now getting to the age that we can look a little further into the past and remember, we can now compare and contrast, laugh at old trends and scoff and new ones.

It won't be long, perhaps, until we look back to the past decade and wish we were once again in the 00's, when life was good, Lady Gaga ruled with world, everyone watched Gossip Girl, Farmville was a way of life, and Uggs were in style.

Thursday 19 November 2009


Come home, pass out, wake up paralyzed, hallucinate: story of my life.

Right now I'm sitting here with this headache, which is most likely caused by the three hour nap I just endured - yeah, endured.

At several points I woke up, thinking I should get up and get moving, studying for my test tomorrow or writing an article. I couldn't. It's not that I'm too lazy or I was too tired, my legs wouldn't move... and neither would my arms, or my fingers, or my toes, or anything.

Once during this nap, I thought my dad was trying to wake me up. I tried to tell him that I couldn't, because I couldn't move, but he didn't understand. Of course none of this actually happened, because I'm in Albany and my dad is in Rochester. Was it a dream then?

No, it's sleep paralysis, the most bizarre part of my life. I wake up, cannot move for a few minutes, and then either fall back to sleep or regain movement. During these episodes it's not uncommon for me or anyone else, let me stress, to see hallucinations or hear voices. In fact, these hallucinations often cause people to pass such experiences off as dreams. At a young age, when I would wake up immobile to images of monsters and the like hanging over me, I certainly thought I was simply cursed with horrible nightmares. Most people experience sleep paralysis at least once in their life. It doesn't mean anything serious, health-wise, unless it happens often.

Since I've been at college, I've experienced this at least twice a week, and sometimes several times a day. I struggle to go a whole a day without napping, and sometimes awake totally disoriented and confused (and my roommate Bridget will tell you, sometimes incredibly bitchy). I even had a Tyler Durden moment: upon waking up, I had a full conversation with Bridget one night before falling back to sleep. I had no recollection.

What does this mean? Well I think it means I'm narcoleptic. The frustration of this is waking up at 4 O'clock in the afternoon, after lying down to watch TV for a moment, finding myself out of it and dazed. It's frustrating to wake up at 5 O'clock, to a dark sky, when I planned on running around campus that afternoon. The most frustrating part is when I actually do make it through an afternoon, and I finally get to spend time outside, being productive, doing something with my day; I realize everyday could be like that, but for me, it isn't. I'm an active person, but this issue makes me feel as though I'm sleeping through life.

Hopefully I'll get some answers when I go to my doctor over Thanksgiving. This is a big step for me - anyone who knows me knows I'm not a fan of asking for help.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Woes of an Upstater

"Western New York? There is no such thing as Western New York."
Someone has actually told me this.
"Rochester? Oh, so you mean, you're from outside of the universe."

Oh, the surprises of wandering from your home region.

Upon my arrival at UAlbany, I learned an important geographical fact: that Long Island is the center of everything. Prior to this, I had considered anything that wasn't directly connected to the large part of the state to be the same thing. In other words, Long Island, New York City, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island... all the same to me. No difference, whatsoever.

Yet here I am, an upstate-dweller, at an upstate school, the regional minority. I get labeled a redneck and a farmer and sheltered because I'm not familiar with the greatest city on earth. Downstate kids deal with probably more intense labels - although the few that like to advertise their home as "Strong Island" certainly do not negate their labels of "douchebags" and "assholes".

Sometimes I wish I could take everyone at UAlbany to my hometown, Le Roy, for a day. While we might not have sky scrapers or exciting clubs, there is undoubtedly a charm and romance to living in a rural area, as I've described in several previous blogs. Maybe some day these downstate kids will visit Western New York and learn not only that it exists, but also that it's not such a horrible place to grow up. Until then, I'll just have to live with the frustration of my portion of the state being invaded by southerners.

Monday 16 November 2009

copper, you're my best friend

Born like sisters to this world
In a town where blood ties are only blood
If you never say your name out loud to anyone
They can never ever call you by it

If I kiss you where it's sore
Will you feel better,
Will you feel anything at all?

Regina Spektor

(my first attempt at an artsy style post)

Saturday 14 November 2009

Albany: Yankees Fans Haven

I wrote this for the Albany Student Press, but sometimes newspapers mess up and have two people writing the same article.
Luckily, I have my own publishing means.

If you were wondering why there was toilet paper all over the fountain Thursday morning, you must have been one of the few to sleep through the raging Yankees fans’ celebration the night before.

Immediately after the win, students on Indian began running through the halls and cheering outside. The noise could be heard from the 21st floor of Mohawk Tower.

Fans were cheering, chanting “27!” and playing “Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z outside the tower, toilet paper flying and energetic boys running around shirtless in the cold Noember air.

“More people joined as the chants grew louder, and more people showed up. Then all of a sudden everyone started running towards State Quad,” says Freshman Tim McGreevy.

At State, fans celebrating inside heard the noise and joined the mob outside, which continued to Colonial and Dutch Quads, and finally ended at the fountain. The rowdy crowd managed to cause some havoc, knocking over some garbage cans.
“They got pretty much every trash can on the way,” McGreevy recalls.

Singing Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” the middle ring of the fountain was packed with students, with more standing around it and on the stairs.

The celebration continued well past 1 a.m., when the ecstatic students finally began to return to their dorms.

“It meant the world to me, it ended all the frustration of no World Series wins since 2000,” says Jordan Schantz, a freshman.

Not everyone was elated over the win.

“It was hard to sleep through,” said an unhappy low-rise dweller.

What about the seemingly few non-Yankees fans on campus?
“Well I was kind of confused why they were yelling ‘Red Sox suck’ when they weren’t even playing the Red Sox in the first place,” Taylor Bulman, a Boston fan remarked.
“I only know one other Red Sox fan on campus,” said Bulman.

The large amount of students from downstate and Albany’s proximity to New York City makes UAlbany a haven for Yankees fans.
“I don’t think another team’s victory would bring on a celebration of that caliber, I don’t think that can be topped,” says Schantz.

Hometown pride was strongly displayed, as many native New Yorkers were especially passionate about the victory.|
“I’m not a bandwagon Yankee fan, I’m a true fan, so when I saw all those people out there a rush of adrenaline just shot through me cause I knew all those people felt the same way I did,” says Ronald Baez, who is from Brooklyn.
“All in all it was just a beautiful experience and I’m glad I got to see that.”

Saturday 7 November 2009

weezer please!

I love Weezer very much.

Therefore, all SUNY students should be voting daily for this, so Weezer can come to our school and blow our minds with their hardcore nerd pop rock.

If you DON'T think you need to see Weezer live, here's a video to change your mind featuring not one but TWO cover songs, one being MGMT. (!!!!)

OH and check out their new album Raditude, I like it, then again I'd like anything Weezer created. You can stream some of it off their MySpace right now.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

The Saints Aren't Coming to Albany

Sunday was All Saints Day. In theory, I should have now seen Boondock Saints: All Saints Day.

This is not the case.

After waiting 10 years (slight exaggeration), I could not even see the sequel to my beloved violent cult classic the day it came out. Why is this? Because God hates Upstate NY. All Saints Day is only playing in Manhattan & Long Island, as far as NYS goes.

They could have given me warning, could have told me it was going to be in select theatres. Might be something nice to include in the trailer.

Then it hits me, though: why I am making such a big deal about this? I never saw the first one in theatres... it was never in the theatre. My optimistic approach to looking at this ultimately grim and disappointing situation: perhaps Boondock Saints was not meant to be seen in theatres.
Maybe this is a way of continuing the cult-ness of this classic.

Also, if it was in theatres near Albany, I would have written a review on it, that would without a doubt have been incredibly, incredibly, biased.