End of Year Playlist + A Few Musical Highlights

The other day my friend me sent me this article, which lists several reasons why twentysomethings should find and invest in a “side hustle.” That is, find some sort of side activity, business, or interest that will allow you to explore your passions, flex your creativity, and/or (hopefully) bring in extra cash, all while you buckle down and begin your journey into that scary world of first jobs and life without the safety nets of college and your parents. We were inspired after hearing how our other friend had made a shit ton of cash simply by operating her own little side business creating and selling these beautiful hand-beaded bracelets. While I doubt I’d ever have the artistic flair or patience to painstakingly put together something someone out there would ever pay for, our conversation and the article made me think of my own passions and interests. What could I claim as my own “side hustle”? I feel like I’ve dabbled in so many different things, but have never found that TRUE PASSION of mine. I’ve always had an interest in music, movies, and television, as well as the other aspects of pop culture, so much so that I’ve gone on to study media in grad school. But that activity clearly isn’t going to bring in the cash, at least, not yet. So while I continue praying that my get rich side hustle will easily fall into my lap, I will go back to blogging and exploring my interests without pay. To be honest, I do consider this blog, despite my inability to update regularly, my side hustle. I created this page in attempt to both create a “professional” web presence and an outlet where I could challenge myself to focus and discuss my interests without slipping into tangents about what I did that day or what my class schedule looks like (see: my xanga). So. I will now give my beloved blog the half-yearly attention it deserves and update it NOW.

Let’s start with this music round-up post for 2013. Firstly, here’s a nice Spotify playlist of my favorite tracks from 2013. I realize that some of these songs technically came out in 2012, but I complied this list based on what I found myself enjoying or repeatedly listening to this year (RIP repeatyoutube btw).

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“So roll me further, bitch.”

August 11 is quickly approaching and for many people, this day could not come faster. The majority of them have been waiting almost a year for this day to come, and some, like myself, have only been waiting months (or weeks or days). What exactly are we all waiting for? Well, to be precise, we’re all waiting for SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT a DEA agent/brother-in-law to get off a toilet. Yes, we’re all waiting for Breaking Bad to come back after the first half of season 5 ended with Hank Schrader discovering this his brother-in-law, Walter White, was in fact the elusive Heisenberg. It just ended up being a bonus that Hank was sitting on the toilet when he found out and of course, the Internet has fully embraced this iconic moment.

I’m getting a bit off-topic, but as you can tell, I absolutely love this show. This might be controversial, but I truly believe this is the best show on television right now and one of the best shows that has ever graced the medium. I used to be a staunch supporter of the “Mad Men is the best show on TV” camp, but after the sloppy mess that was season 5, I’ve lost that love I had for the show. I will always be Team Peggy though and sorry, I still have a soft spot for the Peggy/Pete relationship and will remain hopeful that they’ll get back together. My interest has waned so much that I’ve only watched the first episode of the most recent season and haven’t found the urge to continue. If you’re caught up on Mad Men, let me know if I need to catch up immediately (I mean, I will eventually), otherwise I will look into other shows that have been deemed must watch by my friends and critics (I’m hearing so much about Orange is the New Black; don’t worry, I’ve started it). My sudden loss of interest in Mad Men may have also been aided by my Breaking Bad bingewatching this past December and the realization that YES THIS SHOW DESERVES THE HYPE WHY DIDN’T I WATCH THIS EARLIER?!  In any case, I did sit on my butt for several days and caught up with the series during my Winter Break and I am so glad I did. I’ve mentioned in several past posts just how much I love and am enthralled by the writing, story, and cinematography of Breaking Bad, so I highly recommend starting the show if you haven’t by now, just to get a glimpse to see what you’re missing out on and why the show gets such high praise.

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“But it’s free!”

I’ve made a post in the past detailing how to take advantage of cultural happenings in San Francisco on a student budget (which you can read HERE) and now I’m going to try to do the same for New York City. I’ve been here for almost a year now and I don’t think I will ever get over how expensive and out of control some of the prices are here (this may be due in part to the fact that I’m on the hunt for housing right now and I just want to weep while scrolling through Craigslist; must avoid places like these listings). Almost everything here, from produce to housing, is a lot more expensive than I’m used to and as a result, I’m always on the hunt to save a few bucks here and there. New York’s crazy prices shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the multitude of events and activities the city has to offer, I tell myself. Personally, it’s pretty pricey living here, all the way across the country, away from my family, friends, cheap produce, cheap Mexican food, In-n-Out, and so on. I force myself to go out and really enjoy the city because not everyone can say they live in New York City, right? So I will now present a taste of some of the FREE (or super cheap) activities I’ve partaken in this summer so far.

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R.I.P Xanga//Some Gems From My Own Xanga

Years before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even MySpace, the preferred choice for social networking was Xanga. Yes, that blogging website that you either used to detail every single day of your middle or high school experience or used to keep in touch with your friends via comments and eProps. The new crop of social media websites have left Xanga to rot in recent years and now the website is on the verge of shutting down. (You can, however, donate to keep the site afloat if you’re feeling particularly generous and/or nostalgic.) Upon hearing this news, I realized that I had to save and archive my old blog entries! I haven’t been really consistent with updating this blog, or my previous blogspot blog (Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog?), but I was pretty good with updating my Xanga all throughout my four years of high school. I started blogging right as my freshmen year of high school began and kept up with it until the summer before college. I never really look at it anymore, except for the rare night when I’m feeling really nostalgic. So, if you’re like me and want to preserve all of those high school (or middle school) memories of failed tests, first concerts, Quizilla results (YES), movie nights, make sure you create an archive of your entire website!

Due to my embarrassment (and the sheer volume) of the cringe worthy and mundane material found on my Xanga, I’m not going to share the link here (if you do know it, let’s all recognize the brilliance of my username), but I will share some of my best (AKA stupid) entries.

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Opening Credit Mash-Ups

This week, Mad Men wrapped up its sixth season and the online/blog world has been spotlighting one particular fan made video in which the show is re-imagined as the early 2000s teen classic, The O.C. But before we move into that, can I make a confession? I’ve been a horrible Mad Men fan this year and have yet to watch this season, minus the first episode (which was really more like a tv movie) which I finally caught two days ago. I know. I know. This is super shameful, especially coming from someone like me who sat on my ass for days on end marathoning the show four summers ago and later spammed my Facebook with not-so-cryptic-actually-probably-were-spoilers statuses and posts. To be honest, I think season 5 just left a bad taste in my mouth with its extreme heavy-handedness and not-so clever imagery. However, I’ve heard this past season has sort of redeemed itself and managed to set up a possible interesting story line. From what I’ve gathered (I’m not a fan of spoilers, okay?!), Don, Megan, Stan, and Ted have headed out to the Best/West Coast, hence the wonderful fan-made mash up below.

http://video.vulture.com/video/Mad-Men-Goes-OC

This past semester I took a class on digital media and we touched upon the idea of copyrights and constructing creative works based on images or material that have been copyrighted. Fan videos are some of my favorite things to watch, if only because it’s fascinating to see how people can build upon or manipulate an already established piece of work to create something entirely new. When we discussed the issues surrounding copyrighting and the argument over whether creativity is hindered, I immediately thought of fan videos and artwork. YouTube, Tumblr, and DeviantArt are just some of the websites where you can find a multitude of art, videos, and music inspired by various tv shows or books. For many young artists, this is how they begin tapping into their creative skills. If you take the time to search, you’ll find tons of impressive works, much like the Mad Men/The O.C mash-up above. Because I’ve been inspired by the video and the possible cameo appearance by Adam Brody on the next season of Mad Men, here are a few more hilarious and brilliant opening credit mash-ups.

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Happy Summer!

We’ve now reached the most joyous time of the year – no school, vacations, outdoor movies and concerts, ice creams, melting in the heat…So the last one isn’t so great, but it’s all I’ve been thinking about since returning to NYC. I am not sure how people who live here do it because all I want to do is shower. All time time. I feel sticky and gross and I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to sweat out most of the liquids in my body (seriously, how am I not dehydrated…yet?!).

I haven’t updated in forever because of school, but now that I’ve got more free time on my hands, I’ll try to keep up with this blog. There’s a bunch of that I want to commit to memory via electronic paper, so I will try my hardest to not be so lazy and actually write. In the meantime, here’s a quick little Summer 2013 playlist that I’ve put together of some of the songs that I have been enjoying for the past month or so!

Like I mentioned above, there are a bunch of awesome events going on in NYC this Summer and I’m hoping to go to as many as I can. Tonight I managed to catch Comedy Central’s Stars Under the Stars event as part of the NYC SummerStage series and it was great. Gabriel Iglesias hosted, while the main performers included Adam Devine, John Mulaney, Jeffrey Ross, and Amy Schumer. The other three were decent (Jeffrey Ross made the whole audience uncomfortable though when he started roasting two 13 year olds), but Mulaney was my favorite. He was absolutely hilarious and unlike a lot of comedians, did not have to rely on racial  or overly sexual jokes. Maybe I’m getting older (or my taste has changed), but I’m more impressed when comedians can do a great set that isn’t riddled with cheap jokes. Not to say that I don’t enjoy “low-brow” humor, because I do (just saying, I absolutely loved This is the End), but after awhile it gets old and feels lazy, as though the audience were stupid. Anyway, it was still lots of fun and I had a great time!

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What I Learned Over Winter Break

Because learning never stops OKAY

  • The Aladdin show at Disney’s California Adventure is still the best place to take a nap in the parks. It’s heated/air conditioned, dark, and has comfy chairs. Obviously this only applies when you have seen the show before because it actually is a really great adaptation of the movie and the guy who plays Genie improvises (I think) and it’s great. 
  • It’s a really bad idea to go to Disneyland without checking their Twitter to see if it’s a busy day. Imagine a normal day at Disneyland…then multiple that crowd by 10.
  • Davey Havok from the band AFI, or some guy who looks suspiciously like him, eats at Urth Cafe.
  • The new Ke$ha album is actually really, REALLY catchy.
  • Breaking Bad is really great and actually deserving of the hype.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio never getting awards/recognition is one of my favorite running jokes.
  • They still play Drake and Josh reruns on Nickelodeon.
  • Catfish is absolutely hilarious only because you sit there going “WHY DID YOU NOT USE SKYPE? DID YOU REALLY THINK IT WAS NORMAL TO NOT TALK TO THIS PERSON ON THE PHONE? GIRL YOU LIVE 15 MINUTES AWAY FROM THIS PERSON AND DIDN’T THINK IT WAS WEIRD YOU NEVER MET IN PERSON? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF GOOGLE?!” and so on. Also it somehow doesn’t phase the Catfish people that some girl pretended to be a guy on Facebook for two years so she could distract her boyfriend’s other chick (hay Mhissy hay). Continue reading