Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Bad-iversary!

This month marks another one-year milestone for me.  I don't remember exactly when I started working in the department store I currently work in, but I know it was some time in March.  When I started the goal was to make enough money to keep up with my student loans while trying to figure out what to do with my life.  I knew I would be at this job about a year, perhaps longer.  Now it's looking like I'll be there another four months or so.

Still, I never though about what this job would feel like after a year.  Without going into too much detail, since I plan on talking about work for one of my A-to-Z Challenge posts, serving America's shopping public feels a lot like being punched in the face.  But you know what?  After taking so many hits, most of them just can't hurt me anymore.
So go ahead, lady, scream at me for trying to keep your children from playing on the escalators (which is hella dangerous), and go ahead sir, ignore everything I tell you about the work boots just because I have boobs and take my male coworker at his word even though he said the exact same thing.  I don't care.  It's all happened so many times now that I've developed an exoskeleton of apathy impervious to any insults you can think of.  Of course, it's not all a horror show, there have actually been some very genuine and pleasant experiences.  It's just that the bad ones are so much easier to remember.
To commemorate this bittersweet anniversary, I'd like to feature another bittersweet thing.  There's a band out right now called Karmin with an album coming out this April.  They've been gaining popularity, I guess, and I recently heard this song on the radio:

Not bad.  However, whenever I hear "Karmin" I think of the Christian singer Carman, most famous (to me, at least) for this 80's classic sic:

Just a little bit different.  Anyway, sometimes a word becomes associated in your mind with something terrible, like this Karmin/Carman example.  In the same way, "shopping" in my mind will always be associated with misappropriated anger and barely controlled chaos.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Life in an Upturned Boat

So, I'm usually not all like "hey, you should watch this music video", but I happen to really like this one, so hey, you should watch this music video:

I've talked before about choosing how to remember someone, especially if that someone is family you should have been close with but weren't somehow.  It's strange, but sometimes a whole person can only make sense in retrospect.

There are lots of good and terrible things buzzing around my life right now.  The most important thing right now is to decide if I want to stick around this town for the next couple years, or move it on to somewhere else.  Money is a big factor, obviously, but I can't help but feel like I'm caught in some kind of holding pattern here at home, like my existence is on pause.  But moving away might not end up fixing anything so much as just distracting me.  I need to give myself some kind of jolt, but I'm not sure what it is.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

If There's A Theme Here, It's Vehicles

As I've said before, my mother is a huge TCM movie buff, particularly films from the '40s.  Since many of these films don't end right on the end of the hour or half-hour, they often put on some informational tidbits, old news reels, or short films to fill up the extra time.  This was on the tail end of some movie or other, and I absolutely loved it.  I wasn't the only one, either, since all the YouTube comments on the first page say something to that effect.
My mother and I were particularly excited to see this because it reminded us something we'd seen Big Chuck and Lil' John do on one of their shows.  They never said this earlier short was a reference, but I don't see how it couldn't be.  Of course, the original is supposed to be about road safety, whereas the Big Chuck and Lil' John version was purely for humor's sake.

If you're not from the Cleveland area, you probably have no idea who Big Chuck and Lil' John are, or Hoolihan, or Ghoulardi.  Do other cities have local shows like these?  Does everyone have access to the mocking and butchering of B movies and Saturday morning skit shows?  I hope so.  Even though Big Chuck and Lil' John called it quits in 2007, they've started reshowing some of their best stuff on Saturday mornings again, which I would love to watch but working night shifts pretty much means I never get up before noon.  If I am, it's because my car is broken down and I'm pissed.

Yeah, that new car I got?  Stopped working.  I would be driving along and the engine would suddenly cut out for a second, which was, to put it lightly, exciting.  Something was wrong with the electronics in the engine.  So I took it to be repaired, and they said they could either replace the malfunctioning bit for $600, or try to recalibrate it for about $180.  I went with the latter.  Two days later I went to pick it up, only to discover they'd left the keys inside the car, presumably for my convenience since they knew I was coming and this way I could just get in it and go.  Unfortunately for them my car automatically locks if no one touches it for about thirty seconds, so my keys were locked inside my car.  Since it's a Volkswagen it's harder to break into than other cars, so no one could open it.  I had to go all the way back home, get another set of keys, and come all the way back only to find on my way to work that the problem wasn't fixed.  The engine gave out on a busy highway on-ramp, so me and a bunch of other people almost died.
I took it back to the repair shop again.  Turns out the computer they used to fix my car's computer was broken.  The mechanics seemed to think this was kind of funny, like "Oh, silly us!", but I just thought I wanted to punch them all in the face.  Everything's working fine now, though, so I suppose they can be forgiven.  It was kind of awkward for me to depend on other people to take me to the library, work, and the post office for these past few days.  Now that my car's back I feel like I've regained my independence.  This must be the feeling the people behind all those power wheelchairs are playing off of.

Ah, freedom.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sometimes Nothing Happens

My goal to post at least once a week has, as it was inevitably fated to, failed.  The problem is that this past week was uneventful, almost hilariously so.  I tried to blog a couple times week only to find I didn't have a single thing to say.  However, I should still try to do something in order to get back on track, so I figured I'd talk about some new music I found.  I'll try to think of something interesting soon.

By "new" I mean "new to me", by the way.  Some of these guys have been around a while.

So these guys have been around since 2004, but I just found out about them the other day when I heard this:

I've always liked reggae-esque music like Sublime, 311, Matisyahu, Marley, Rome, etc., especially anything with more of a ska influence.  This whole album has a nice feel to it, and if you get the deluxe version you get two whole extra disks, one with an acoustic version and one with a dub remix.  Give those links some clicks if you want to hear either version of "Sky is the Limit", the song at the top of the paragraph.  For a while I've been drifting away from this kind of music but now I'm getting back into it.  It's mellow, and I can always use a little mellowing out, especially now that I'm trying to make decisions about grad school.  Yeah, I just said grad school.  I'll talk more about that later.

Of Monsters And Men

These guys actually are new, and they're also from Iceland.  They won some kind of major Icelandic band competition in 2010 and released an album in 2011.  One of their songs, "Little Talks", got some radio play in the U.S.  Now said album will be available here in April.  In the meantime there's an EP you can get your hands on, which is how I came across them.  It sounds quite nice.

For a while I refused to listen to anything that sounded like this because it reminded me of what the idie/hipster kids I met at college who told me punk rock was "outdated" and "cliche" listened to.  Punk was my first love, and I didn't like anyone talking mess about it.  I still don't like anyone talking mess about it, but I got over the idea that I have to choose my music based on what group I'm supposedly a part of.  If I want to put Katy Perry, Bad Religion, and Tupac on the same playlist, that's my business.  It seems trivial now, but this was such a big realization for me towards the end of my freshman year.
Side note: notice any similarities between Rebelution and Of Monsters and Men?

Kristoff Krane
I love this stuff so much I'm actually a little mad I didn't know about it sooner.  Kristoff Krane (Christopher Keller) has only has three solo albums, but he's been in all sorts of little projects for years.  He was also close with Michael "Eyedea" Larsen, of Eyedea and Abilities, which is probably my favorite rap outfit ever.  This isn't just rap, though.  In 2010 Kristoff Krane released two albums, "Hunting for Father" and "Picking Flowers Next to Roadkill", and their content ranges from rapping to singing to a mixture of both.  All of it has such a relaxed, almost folky feel to it.  This is my favorite of what I've heard so far:

Both Kristoff and Eyedea are from Minnesota, which seems funny to me.  Who would've thought there'd be a rap scene in Minnesota?  Who would've thought that if there was one that Ohioans would be listening to it?

Last year these guys had a hit called "Sail", and I absolutely hated it.  That scratchy voice screaming "sail!" over and over again grated on my nerves, and for a good minute the song seemed to be everywhere, so it got stuck in my head a lot.  It finally went away and I once again felt peace, but then this song happened and I found myself liking it.

Just recently I got around to hearing more AWOLNATION's debut album "Megalithic Symphony".  Yes, that's a bit of a pretentious album name, and yes, the band name really is in all caps, but you know what?  It's a good album.  It's interesting, and by listening to it as a whole I even managed to gain some appreciation for "Sail".  Not that it's my favorite song out there, but hearing it in the context of the album helped a lot, or maybe I just got used to the style so it didn't bother me so much anymore.  Either way, I've grown to like this band quite a bit.  It only took a year.

I had a minor crisis in that last paragraph when I typed "anymore" because I couldn't remember if "anymore" is actually a word or not.  Apparently I'm not the only one.

The End

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I've Been Interviewed!

The online journal r.kv.r.y. has a blog where they do features on the writers that appear in each issue.  I had the honor of being a part of January's issue, and now my feature, a short interview, is up on said blog to be read and judged however you see fit.  Hopefully I did alright.  When it comes to questions about my writing process, I feel like I have to have some kind of really deep or literary answer.  Like if I do it wrong the Poetry Police will come take me away, stamp "FAKER" on my forehead in bright red, and I'll be forever shunned or something.

All insecurities aside, The Miracle is significant to me, as it's been the only poem of mine to be published that was written pre-breakdown.  It was kind of fun to look back on it and realize how differently I used to think.  My thanks to Mary Akers, the editor of r.kv.r.y., and Joan Hanna, the assistant editor who handled my interview.  Great people, awesome journal.  Glad I got to be a part of it.