Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back To School

Next Saturday I'll be back at U of I, so this is my last post coming to you from Springfield for awhile. I thought I'd take this opportunity to beat the dead of what going back to college means for me.

1. It's college
2. Ultimate freedom
3. I have a cool major so I actually enjoy learning things
4. A whole new social group to be part of
5. I actually conserve money better in college because of my lack of income
6. Meals that feel free but actually aren't (they're just prepaid)
7. Reuniting with college friends
8. Everything I need in one (relatively) small area
9. I don't have to drive anywhere and therefore don't have to pay for gas
10. Did I mention it was college?

1. No mo family
2. (Half) my Springfield friends will be elsewhere
3. I have to do laundry
4. I have to pay for laundry
5. No more home cooked meals
6. Homework
7. Smaller living space
8. No video store
9. More tuition payments
10. I can't take the Wii with me


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Concert for Bangladesh

by Brendan Cavanagh

Sometimes you get really into an album or a specific artist or band for a while, and it dominates your vinyl-turning, or your iPod-scrolling or vehicular cruising. And then one day, you're listening to something else and your fixation transfers almost entirely to the point where you forget that you have the music you were previously listening to. This is unfortunate. However, that album or whatever is made infinitely better when one day you listen to it again and not only does its value hold up after time, but it sounds even better when revisited! That's when you know you've chosen a solid album that will remain in your collection for a long time (hopefully forever).

One such album is the Concert for Bangladesh, put on by George Harrison, his close friend Ravi Shankar and many of his most notable rock 'n' roll friends. This is a compendium of concert recordings I've had in my possession for quite some time, but at the tail end of Summa '11 it's received a considerable amount of listening.

When exposed to the abject poverty and malnourished suffering of the deprived citizens of Bangladesh, Ravi Shankar, a brilliantly talented Indian sitar player, turned to his close friend George Harrison of the Beatles to help him aid the starving masses. Consequently, Harrison decided to put on two benefit concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden to raise awareness of the sad situation and accrue a healthy amount of monetary contribution.

To open each show, Ravi Shankar and a team of three or four other Indian musicians set the mood for the pending rock portion of the show by opening up with a lengthy, albeit intriguing and entertaining set of traditional Indian music. I mostly skip over this portion when listening to or viewing the concert, but it is still definitely enjoyable.

So many talented rock stars joined him in celebrating a jiving and animated second half: Eric Clapton on guitar, Billy Preston on the organ, former fellow Beatle Ringo Starr on drums, Leon Russell on piano and guitar, with special guest Bob Dylan, whose songs are stripped down and soulful. And there were countless backing vocals, bras, string and percussion accompaniments.

Some highlights:

The high-spirited, super-collaborative show opener, "Wah Wah:"

Billy Preston's frenzied, interpretive dance that accompanies his heart-rending "That's The Way God Planned It:"

Leon Russell expertly constructing a playful medley of "Jumpin' Jack Flash / Youngblood:"

Bob Dylan shyly walking onstage from the wings to kick off his mini-set with "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall:"

And the show-closing theme song, "Bangla Desh:"


Corner cutting (extended edition)

Mostly inappropriate,
socially dope but bogus wit
a side of champagne for ya dumb brain
got no problems except dealin with pain
dealin and administration
waiting for my turn
yeah i'm real fuckin' patient
nothin' to do, but think about you
you might as well quit dancin'
and tell me somethin' cruel
or maybe somethin' cool
or maybe somethin' else
statistically irrelevant,
i try and tell myself
now i'm waitin' on wealth
and i'll be waitin' in a few
got red money for days but
what the fuck can i do
just a man on a mission
a plan on which im pissin
a stand that im takin'
a dream i'm mistakin'
my misfortunes are wakin'
me up from my dreams
like tellin' me to get real
life ain't what it seems
to be
or maybe just not what it seems to me
it seems to me that this shit's obscene
but ey, it's free
you could take it you could leave it
don't matter to me
just another soul
who don't want it anymore
and yeah i hit the floor
live it up a little bit
make myself look like an ass
try and donald glover it
a white black nerd
who get down a little bit
like its cool to piss yourself
where the fuck is billy at
dumbass in a philly cap
in the place that we get silly at
nah it's really that
i ain't got time for ya'll
motha fuckas gotta ball
8-5 at the mall
got so much money that i don't know what to do with
so many problems that i don't know how to deal with
like how i ain't got money yet i still sit here and say shit
this rhyme's a funky thought, just somethin' for you to play with
and you know you don't rap, so i know you can't say shit
but when may hits, you'll be out there lickin my pay slips
look it up on ya bracelet
see what that fuckin play meant
these words are just my chess pieces
i need an X to play with
see damn son i got it
this flow inside my noggin
you're readin this and noddin
tryin' to think of what i've thoughten
and yeah i'm makin' words up
and yeah i got my courage up
and yeah i've got a surplus
of bullshit i can serve ya
but damn i hope you like me
my lyrics and my typing
my ranting and my writing
my bullshit and insighting
can't say i'm bottled lightning
but yeah i'm throttled, fighting
striving for the top of
whatever mountain i'm climbing
don't let me get you off track
and bring this classic shit back
to something that is in tact
and not a fuckin' train rack
i mean a fuckin' trainwreck
im groggy yo, my brain's wet
i'm soggy 'cause my brain's wet
i'm ballin' with no paycheck
just cuz i ain't got paid yet
don't mean that i don't got bread
throw some butter on that Wonder
after i toast it way black
that's burnt, get it?
the metaphor's dyspeptic
my flow is straight up septic
my breath smells straight like pickles
and my brain is always hectic
i am a frantic freewrite
with no aim and no guide
it's so plain, it's so nice
i'm so plane, i'm so high
i'm not though, chicago,
sealevel, el lago
here i go, espanol
this shit's too much to handle
if you don't like what i say
click any link and go away
i promise you this shit i made
was instant like the package say
and instinct like it's what i say
if you ask me to write a rhyme
so please don't write a complaint
i wish i had a refrain
some relief
some nice peace
where i could make this rhyme lead
where i could make this rhyme go
it's fuckin' silly, I know
i'm sorry bout my swearin,
mainly only to my parents
cuz everyone else who reads this
already know that we're friends
i'm hatin' on my blog,
i'm hatin' on myself
i guess this makes it pity rap
which means that i can go to hell
but yo i know you're tired as fuck
of readin' shit like this that sucks,
so i'm about to cut it off,
like a corner of a street
but i can't even cut off shit,
cuz' i don't even have a beat
so i guess i'll just stop writin' words
and hope you'll like in your head what you've heard.

random freestyle inspired by Kanye and Jay-Z. I just picked up Watch the Throne, and as someone with thoughts, I feel obligated to shine my light on the superduo's album.

Kanye West and Jay-Z have different styles. If you pick up their own work, you will hear much different brands of hip-hop. West tones down his evil creative genius, Jay-Z opens up, as it just feels like he's trying on Kanye's vision for size. It's a happy medium. It's a play album. This album is a hip-hop slumber party. Jay's stayin' at Ye's house! I picture them in one piece pajamas, eating pizza and playing Grand Theft Auto IV. It's a one player game, they can't both play simultaneously, but they naturally trade off missions and keep each other engaged.

Presenting this album to you is a crazy awesome amalgam of producers, spearheaded by Kanye. Kanye only made one song (Otis) by himself, but had a part in all but 3 songs of the original album. Swizz Beats put together beats for two of the songs, which makes me pretty happy. It's interesting to see how the different styles present themselves in a cohesive album, with Kanye making sure to be the unifying overseer of the tracks.

My tally has Kanye leading off 7 songs and Jay-Z dropping the first verse on 5 of them, and I'd say that's a pretty accurate depiction of how much of Kanye's fingerprints are on this compared to Jay-Z's. These guys rap like D-Wade and King James play basketball. Different styles, but both involve lots of scoring. They trade off being the guy and occasionally work together for a supreme highlight.

I can't pick a favorite song. Of the 12 tracks, 12 are full-blown songs. 12 of them have potential to be best and I like 12 of them. There is no outstanding winner to me after my first (and a halfth) listen. Favorite beats are "No Church in the Wild," "That's My Bitch," "Welcome to the Jungle," "Murder to Excellence" and "Why I Love You." There's no Power or Empire State of Mind from the album to tower over the rest, and I like that. Because I feel like these 12 songs and I have a long way to go yet.

Despite occasional overindulgence (see Beyonce on Lift Off) and no real home run song, a stylistic compromise, and the unfortunate lack of exceeded perfection, this album is fun. Can't wait to buy a physical copy tomorrow. 

--Eliot Sill

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Five Things I've Learned In New York City- Mada

1. You cannot assume streets are parallel. Just because You can turn right in a block and follow it to Broadway Avenue does not mean you can turn right here and expect it to take you anywhere near there.

2. One scoop of ice cream is worth five dollars. Well actually it's not but if you want ice cream that's how much you're going to pay.

3. Crosswalk signals are irrelevant. You are allowed to walk across the street whenever there is the slightest break in cars. Go ahead, make that guy slam on his breaks, it's his fault if he hits you.

4. You will never be the hippest person anywhere you go. No matter what you are doing or wearing, someone will be doing something wayyyy cooler and wearing an infinitely more avant-garde outfit.

5. Don't even bother going into designer stores. The workers can tell you're not going to buy anything and you will never feel comfortable touching any of the merchandise.

Monday, August 8, 2011


My grandparents came over for dinner yesterday. Know what the best part of that is? Before you guess some shit about "family," I'm just gonna tell you: those motherfuckers brought an ice cream cake.
And that bastard is fucking delicious. Yeah, I've heard you haters. I know what you say. "The cake just gets cold," you say. "It's just less cake," you say.

Well, you can criticize all day. But while all y'all are trying your hardest to not have fun, I'm eating an ice cream cake. Dumb motherfuckers.

Ice cream is the best, ever. And if I could eat ice cream all the time without stopping ever, I would be happy.

But if I could eat ice cream cake all the time without stopping ever, I'd be fucking ecstatic.

This is because ice cream cake transcends the plain of normal food, and rules above it all like a delicious fucking tyrant sex god.

It's lifted above the limitations of mere ice cream, or simple cake, and becomes a deity of deliciousness. My love for ice cream cake knows nothing of hunger; it's straight up lust.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Columbus Reports On His Findings

Robert Langellier

For a kid that has grown up in a couple Midwestern towns, there's a lot to take away from a vacation to a big ol' city like Boston. Here are some of the things:
  1. There is too much waiting in the city.

    Today I spent 20 minutes waiting in line for an IMAX film, 30 minutes waiting in line for the city aquarium, probably 60 minutes waiting for meals, at least 50 minutes waiting for various mass transit trains to arrive, 60 minutes waiting for those trains to piggyback me across the city, and at least 20 minutes waiting for other pieces of my family to meet me from other various mass transit trains. Then you have your universal waiting things, like waiting for people to wake the fuck up, waiting for the light to be walkable, waiting for people to hurry the fuck up because they missed the walk light, and waiting for people to decide what the hell they want to do next on this whimsical vacation. Overall, I probably spent about five hours of my waking day waiting for things. What I accomplished was a movie about orangutans, an aquarium, and McDonalds. That is bullshit. I demand for only two things — cater more effectively to my money-wasting city needs, and inject my parents with adrenaline at least once an hour — and this city provides me with neither.

  2. Older parents are older than younger parents.

    Old parents rapidly transform over the course of a vacation. At first they are economic protectorates, providing delicious semi-high-end meals and airplane tickets. Very soon they become silly characters, stumbling about the city chaotically with wide eyes and confused brains, not knowing what the hell is going on and running entirely out of HP by 4 in the afternoon. These are like kittens that run around and play joyfully in front of you while you're walking until they poop themselves out ever so cutely. After about four days, you will find that they have become no different, except that they are no longer silly but explosively aggravating. They are like kittens that run around and play joyfully in front of you while you're walking until they poop themselves out, for four consecutive days. I've taken to live texting my girlfriend every time my parents do something inexplicably dumb, and it has resulted in many many wistful wishes that I had a Twitter.

  3. Homeless people < Regular people < Homeless people with instruments.

    Cute novelty panhandling signs like "I just want to get drunk. Please help." and "Zombie Slayer 4 Hire." are no longer funny, thanks to the internet, and they're certainly not worth my parking meter gold. Darwinism will certainly have finished consuming those poor urchins within the close of the decade,* and all that will remain will be those wonderful homeless we all love to be entertained by.** Soon, there will be only electric violins, steel drums, Latin guitar and Stomp-inspired bucket drums asking for our money. And on that day, I assume, homes will be considered marks of public shame and individual failure to hone musical skills. As a prospective journalist who plays some instruments better than others, I'm not fully sure which side I will fall into in five years.
*That's sick, Robert. Wait, that's how evolution actually works.
**Robert, most buskers actually have homes.***
***Yeah, okay.

Ask me how I'm doing in Boston!