Sunday 28 June 2009

On A Rainy Night in LeRoy

I've been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I've cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell

I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms
I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys

I'm not singing for the future
I'm not dreaming of the past
I'm not talking of the fist time
I never think about the last

On the eve of the last day of school, the last real "school night", I stayed up half the night talking to my childhood best friend. We'd gotten into different groups and interests in high school, but managed to stay close, even if we didn't talk often or spend much time together. We sat in the gazebo next to the creek until about 2 in the morning, talking about high school and the future and our fears and ambitions. We realized how lucky we were to still have each other after all those years and changes in our lives. Some of my peers will struggle to remain extremely close with all their friends; others might never be seen again. I think this Pogues song gives a great outlook on this subject; on leaving friends and cherishing memories without holding onto the past.

People come and go, some go onto better things and some go onto worse. While you're together, enjoy the ups and comfort each other through the downs. Old friends bring part of your past into the present, but know that not every friend will be permenantly held onto. Don't spend too much time dwelling on the past, or planning for the future; instead, take a quick look around, see who is there with you, and be thankful for them. To the class of 09: enjoy your summer before college, and time in college, and after college... Just enjoy it all, and be thankful for any friend that happens to be around.

Friday 26 June 2009

Fallen King of Pop

Upon exiting this world, the light in which people are shown often suddenly changes hue. Michael Jackson has been viewed as an incredible humanitarian, a wretched child molester, and a performing demigod.

Of course, in the past 48 hours, the words associated with his name have frequently been "icon", "talented", "compassionate", and "revolutionary". While my generation may have more or less missed the boat on Jackson and his music, it's obvious, even to me, that he was both exceptionally talented and active in bringing social change. It doesn't take much speculation to realize he was an incredible dancer, singer and performer. My AP English class learned that this year as we attempted to learn the Thriller dance.

Several of his songs expressed the need to accept and celebrate diversity, one being "Black or White". He not only participated in, but actually wrote the song "We Are the World", performed by a supergroup of popular artists, which benefited Africa and promoted the need to end Africa's poverty and hunger. The King of Pop was also a conservationist, writing "Earth Song" about the need to save our planet and minimize our damage to it.

Prior to his cardiac arrest yesterday, many had recently viewed Jackson in a considerably different light. Between the well-known child molestation charges, his large amount of debt, altering his appearance to be relatively grotesque, and his obvious personal turmoil, he could easily be seen as creepy. I think the child molestation trials alone ruined the image of him for me, and many others. So while he was talented, it's hard to honor a person who was associated with such horrible things.

Anyhow, it's often the case and rightfully so that people are viewed as their best after their death - it's how you would want to be thought of, right?

One thing that does bother me, however, is how Farrah Faucett's death was overlooked by this. We're told Farrah was a strong, brave woman, who was willing to be completely honest and open while creating a documentary about her battle against cancer. Her death occured just hours before Jackson's. This morning on one talk show or another, I saw a slideshow of photos of BOTH Faucett and Jackson, which I think is outrageous. I would absolutely hate to be associated with Michael Jackson forever just because of my - or his - untimely death.

In conclusion, we all have good and bad characteristics and things we've done. This is even true of the King of Pop himself.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Advice to the College-Bound

If you're starting your college search now, you're about to be subject to a whirlwind of information, deadlines, propaganda, and emotions. Don't lose your head.

When you visit schools, they're going to: 1. show you the campus 2. talk about dining, housing, classes, extra curriculars, and study abroad 3. mention big name bands and celebrities that visit campus (these will include third eye blind and John Stewart... always.) 4. ask you to ask yourself if you can "imagine" yourself there.

Some schools will tell you that your task is to find the school that fits your personality. This is completely false. As you will find out, probably around April, is that you're actually looking for a school that fits your career ambitions and your checkbook.

I would suggest looking at all sorts of schools - small and large, near and far, private and public. You might initially think you need a small school because your high school was small... this isn't always the case. Personally, I think going a few hours away is a good idea - you'll be isolated enough to not hang on to your old life, and you'll make new friends while learning a new area.

While the social atmosphere is important, know that wherever you go, there are bound to be people that you'll get along with. This is especially true at a large school. Obviously, if you're into partying, you shouldn't be going to a quiet christian school, and if you're really into nature and the environment you probably shouldn't be headed off to an urban campus. Just don't read into everything too much, because chances are you could make yourself happy at almost any school.

Sometime in the spring of your junior year, the FAFSA will give you this lovely little number of how much money you are able to pay per year for college. It will probably make you sick. Almost every college you apply to will then give you enough financial aid to meet that exact number. "Financial aid" will consist of scholarships, grants, and LOANS which you probably shouldn't really count. You'll then do the math and figure out how much debt you'll have at each college you're looking at (and there will be debt).

Then you decide what school is worth what amount of debt.

I would advise everybody to apply to a SUNY (or state school, if you're not from NYS). That's what I landed on, it's a good education for a good price. Of course, that's just me; it's different for everybody. Just take comfort in the idea that whever you end up, you'll make friends, and you'll meet people with interests like yours. If you don't, you can transfer. While it's a big decision... it won't make or break your entire life. Probably.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Murder in the White House

Okay, we get it, you're the fucking man. lets tackle some other problems please.

The Tweets of Rebellion

Unless you live in a shed, you've probably all heard of the "wanna-be facebook" site known as Twitter. Most of my peers view it as rather pointless, after all, we already have medium with which to update the world bi-hourly on our exciting lifestyles and opinions - Facebook status. So why Twitter?

Regardless of what it was intended to be, Twitter is not your hometown, circle of friends social networking site. For example, on Facebook I am "friends" with a few hundred people I know from the area, or have met through various activities. On Twitter, I follow 47 people, including a few reporters like Anderson Cooper, George Stephanopoulos, and of course John Stewart; a few politicians like John McCain, and the big guy himself Barack Obama; a few governments, like Downing Street (who also follow me, hmm..); a few public figures like DaveJMatthews ( <3 ), Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk; and news networks like CNN and NPR. In addition, I also follow a couple friends, including Beans, and my aunt Connie.

So do you think I'm on there posting DMB lyrics, hoping my buddy Obama will recognize them and "like" my status? Certainly not, in fact, I think I've only updated my status four times in the several months I've had Twitter. Really, I only have it so I can read what other, more intelligent and interesting people have to say. I get to read what's recently been going through Anderson Cooper's mind, or what's the big story of the day from CNN. Twitter is really just another convenient news feed, with the benefit of sometimes getting a more personal opinion from important people.

In the past few days, however, Twitter has become a bit more than frequent news updates - it's become one of the few forms of communication available to the people of Iran as they rebel against a rigged election. Journalists have been thrown out, and communication out of Iran has been extremely limited. Even with strict Internet censoring, a few Iranians have been able to upload video, photos, and audio to sites like Facebook & YouTube, broadcasting their situation throughout the world. Twitter has become a valuable source of information as Iranians use the networking site to update the world on Iran's current state.

Personally, I think it's wonderful that the Internet is starting to make the world smaller in ways it hasn't before. But it does get on my nerves a bit, when reporters take five minutes to report the Iran story and ten minutes to pat themselves and other reporters on the back for knowing how to use the web.

(kind of like how I just did.)

Saturday 6 June 2009

Music Snobbery Shoved in my Face.

In my previous blog, I used Rihanna as an example of a current popular artist, whose fame I only expect to last until a new fad takes over.

I must confess that, since I wrote that blog, I've become a huge fan of "Live Your Life" by T.I. featuring none other than Rihanna.

Funny how these things work.

Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King

Overall, I think it's an awesome album, possibly DMB's best yet. Now that I actually know these songs, I'm super pumped to hear them at Saratoga (wooooooo)!

Here it is:

Grux- Nice little intro. Saxxxx pwn's.

Shake Me Like A Monkey - Meholick wants to play this in jazz band next year, and with good reason. The brass all but punches you in the face. Good luck finding a precussionist at LHS that can do this justice, though, because Carter tears up on this track.

Funny the Way It Is - The single. I've heard it so much that it's not my favorite, but I'm a fan of the lyrics and it's got a clear message. Good choice of a single.

Lying in the Hands of God - Not always into the slow tracks, so this one isn't a favorite either. I think it's got to grow on me.

Why I Am - The guitar part is reason enough to like this song, but the lyrics and melody make it awesome to sing along to. The winds really make this, in my opinion. One of the best on this album to dance to.

Dive In - I'm usually not one for chilled out tracks, just because I'd rather be crazy dancing, but I really like this one. I like the complex guitar part within the chorus. The lyrics are also pretty neat, who doesn't like a song about the seasons.

Spaceman - Big fan of this. It seems pretty Jack Johnsonesque to me, but it's a nice summer track. Especially the chorus. Some of my favorite lyrics so far:"I'm not all bad but I'm a faithful sinner/I might get lost but I'll be home for dinner/If God don't like me he can send me to hell/But I love the way you love me, girl". Mrs. Lawrence, however, does not like this song very much. Don't play it around her.

Squirm- The creepy, dark, badass song. I'm a fan.

Alligator Pie- I like running out here in the countryside to this, by fields and farms and woods, because it makes me feel like I'm in the deep south. It's comprable to Louisana Bayou, but I like it even better. The banjo is pretty badass, and I especially love when they break it down a bit in the middle and then at the end. I forsee some really great crazy dancing to this.

Seven - My personal favorite track. It's awfully complex. Dave's falsetto the start with sets up the funk feel of it, and it's got some really crazy rhythms - especially the chorus : "Mama told me boy someday that girl's gon' take your mind". This is the tolken song about Dave's facination with oral sex.

Time Bomb - Starts off soft but with unmistakable energy, and it just builds from there, until everything just goes nuts (much like a ticking time bomb).

Baby Blue - The beginning of this song is the same as sister which kind of wierds me out. I like sister better... I was actually surprised by the use of symphonic strings in this, it seemed a bit uncharacteristic of the group. Sort of neutral on this, I think.

You & Me - I'm not a huge fan of this, and I think it's just because to me, the chorus sounds sort of corny. It's pretty catchy and I wish it wasn't. I usually skip this one.