One Minute Till The Oscars Start: My Predictions

Movies excite us, anger us, and challenge us. The artistic form of movies is something I have always loved. The Oscars are often called superficial. If you can look past the Glitz and Glamour you will see that the event is a celebration of film. It’s about awarding excellence. I don’t agree with many of The Academy’s decisions. Though as an event The Oscars are extremely important for those who love and are directly and indirectly involved in it. It’s not just about awarding actors and directors. It’s the sound editors, cameraman, set designers, costumer designers, writers, editors, and visual effects people who are the backbone of creating a good film.

I’m extremely excited for this years Oscars! My predictions are as follows.

Best Picture: Her

Best Actress (Lead): Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

Best Actor (Lead): Leondaro DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Best Actor (Supporting): Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)

 Best Actress (Supporting): Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Animated Feature Film: The Wind Rises

Cinematography: Gravity

Music (Original Score): Her

Biggest Snub: Joaquin Phoenix (Her)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Before Midnight

Writing (Original Screenplay): Blue Jasmine

I don’t have the time to finish this list as the Oscars are about to start. I felt as though there was categories I couldn’t speak to. I should have put more time and effort into this list. There’s always next years Oscars!

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It’s all par for the course

Image

Photo © Anton Zhyzhyn

Direct intervention, subtle sedition.

Ignorance and apathy; a system.

Don’t Push. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid!

The battle cry of the indifferent. The illusion of change. The illusion of justice.

The failure of one. The failure of all.

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Writing a Novel is Like Starting a Long Term Relationship

Photo  © Jhayne 

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a long format story. I recently wrote a short 20,000 word Novella and self-published it via Amazon and Smashwords. The process was daunting at times. I experienced a lot of ups and downs, from challenges with grammatical errors to the success of seeing the first copy sold on-line. I learned a lot about formatting, publishing, and the challenges of being an indie author. I set my expectations accordingly when I published my work. I sold a couple virtual copies, and even had some decent reviews via Amazon – but for all intensive purposes the book never took off. I did promote my work, and even submitted it to some magazines and on-line book reviewers. It’s definitely not the best thing I will ever write, though I feel as though there is some value in it. I think it’s perfectly okay for an artist to admit when they have created something exceptional, as well as mediocre. Being honest with yourself as an artist will only improve your craft.

I’m probably in the red for the amount of money I’ve invested into the creation, formatting, and promotion of my book. I’m okay with this. I never wrote a book to get rich. I write because it’s one of my passions. Very few people can make a living out of what they truly love to do. It’s a goal, one which we should all strive for.

The publishing industry has changed drastically in the past ten years. Authors do not need a publisher, or an agent to sell their book or content. Though the e-Book market is saturated with indie authors. Through websites like Amazon and Smashwords users are able to upload their own content and sell their work to readers in various formats. I pursued this option for several reasons; one, it was the easiest and fastest way of getting my work out there, and secondly a Novella isn’t something most agents and publishers are interested in. It’s a niche market.

I completed an Author Interview for an Indie Author Blog around the time I published my Novella. One of the questions asked was if I was interested in writing another book, and when? I said that I needed a moment to breathe as I had just ended what I liked to call a long term relationship with a piece of writing. The relationship between an artist and their work can be turbulent at the best of times. It’s unhealthy to end a relationship and immediately begin another. It is necessary for an individual to pause, reflect, and analyse the experience. If  people do not give themselves the necessary time to reflect, mistakes may go unnoticed. Growth may be inhibited by a person’s ego. Some of the questions I’ve asked myself is, why didn’t the book sell better than it did? What did I do well? and lastly, what can I do in the future to improve my writing? I’ve developed a way of thinking to keep my ego in check, not that I consider myself an egotistical person. I am generally open to the possibilities that I may be wrong in almost all situations. I give every person the benefit of the doubt that they may have more knowledge, experience, or understanding than I do. People who are closed minded think they are the best suited, smartest, and usually the most qualified person to have an opinion on a specific topic.

As I write this post I have begun the process of writing a new Novel. I have supports in place to make sure I attain this goal. I recently downloaded a program called Scrivener. The program helps structure a story by visually arranging characters, chapters, and the plot. There’s a ton of other cool features that I haven’t figured out yet. When I wrote my Novella I used Word for the entire process. I was flying blind and relied on paper notes to help create a structure. Part of the process that scared me about beginning another long format project was the organization needed to complete such a project. I feel confident that I have the necessary tools to make the writing process a smoother transition this time. My current goal is 40,000 words. By breaking the book down into parts it’s approximately 3,500 – 4,000 words x 10-12 Chapters. One of my challenges I face as a writer is my word count. I prefer to write simple to the point sentences. Elaboration isn’t a challenge for me, though I tend to steer clear of long winded sentences that amount to nothing more than fluff.

My goal once completing the work is to find an agent and share my work with a larger audience. Publishers generally do not deal with unknown writers. Getting an agent is essential for any writer looking to sell their work to a publishing company. I’d like to share this experience with people on WordPress. I will upload some of the content once I feel as though I have made significant headway. For anyone thinking about writing a Novel or Manuscript, Scrivener is an easy to use program that helps compile and present your work in an aesthetically pleasing way. Presentation is important, but what’s more important is that writers concern themselves with writing. That is why I’m extremely excited to be using Scrivener.

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Why Facebook Should Have Never Bought WhatsApp

Photo © WhatsApp

Recently Facebook bought WhatsApp for 19 Billion dollars. For some people they may be asking themselves, “what the hell is WhatsApp?” and “really, 19 Billion dollars?”

For those unfamiliar with WhatsApp, it is an instant messaging service that is available on all smartphone platforms. The service allows users to create groups, similar to how BBM groups work. You’re able to share pictures, text, and videos with multiple users as opposed to one single individual.

Here’s why this purchase was a reckless waste of money.

1. The service is easily replaceable

Just like Facebook the service is easily replaceable. The market is saturated with good quality messaging applications like Viber, BBM, LINE, etc.

2. The product isn’t ground breaking

The product itself is not revolutionary or ground breaking. Lots of people use the service, but that does not mean these individuals will always use the service. The ways in which we communicate online is constantly evolving and changing. Facebook is a great example of this, as its predecessor Myspace held dominance over Facebook for several years. The potential for another company to develop a product similar to Facebook or WhatsApp and steal its user base is a serious and real concern.

3. There’s no way to recoup 19 Billion Dollars from WhatsApp

Any attempt to charge a monetary fee for the service will encourage users to find various other free messaging applications. People will not pay for a service they can get for free. This is no different than news companies charging users to read or view their content online. Some people will pay for this service, though the majority of people will go to a competitor who won’t charge them. WhatsApp lets users use the service for one year, afterwords they are charged 99 cents to continue using the service. This has been successful for two reasons.The first being that they do not ask for any money upfront, and give you a ton of time to use the service. The second is that the money they charge is not significant to most people.

Facebook and WhatsApp revenue streams are mostly limited to advertisement. Up until now one of the key selling points, which is a huge contributing factor to why WhatsApp has been so successful is that there is absolutely no advertisements associated with the application. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook believes that “Facebook’s future depends on enabling users to access Facebook’s services on mobile devices, and generating ad revenue from those mobile interactions”. (Financial Post)

The problem with putting advertisements into a clean crisp platform such as WhatsApp is that it is a deterrent for users to use the service. It will push people away. I don’t see people responding well to any of the changes Facebook would like to make to the application.

4. Forcing integration pisses people off

An example of this would be what Google did to YouTube users by forcing integration with their social media platform Google Plus. Not very many things collectively piss the internet off; this was one of them. If advertisements won’t be used on WhatsApp, then Facebook will likely try to merge the service with their existing services and transfer over WhatsApp’s user base to their mobile platform. This will probably be done in a shady back handed way that will require users to have a Facebook to login to WhatsApp. Some people don’t have Facebook and choose to not use the service. I personally don’t see the need to integrate my Facebook with my instant messaging service. Then again, that’s a personal decision. I do know that if Facebook forces my hand I’ll respond by finding another service provider. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way.

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Daily Prompt: West End Girls | The Politics of Starving

Photo © USDAgov

Cities are often plagued with assumptions. Some of these assumptions are that cities have a mix of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It’s a clear divide of rich and poor. Upper and lower class. The lower class encompass the working poor and homeless. Poverty exists, but the divide isn’t as clear cut as people may think, especially in a city like Toronto.

There’s a ton of pull factors for a lower class individual to choose an urban surrounding to live in as opposed to an suburban community. Some of these reasons include better outreach, services geared towards low income earners, and access to treatment and government centres. The other is rapid, cheap, and accessible transit. A monthly Metropass in Toronto is roughly $122 a month.

Being able to get around easily increases a person’s odds of locating and maintaining employment.

A friend of mine just found a bachelor apartment near Pape Subway Station in downtown Toronto for $600 a month (all inclusive). I make no claim that their place is the Taj Mahal. Though, it isn’t a Rat Den either. The location isn’t necessarily “downtown”, but it’s within walking distance of a Subway. This allows that individual to be anywhere in the “core” within a short period of time.

I’ve lived the majority of my life in the suburbs. I have seen policies, governments, and individuals have a false idea that the majority of people who live in the suburbs are well off – or to some extent not in need of assistance or support. The current need does not adequately match the services, programming, or supports in place.

When I work with students the first question I ask in the morning is, “have you eaten today?” followed by “do you have a lunch?”. The suburbs aren’t devoid of the same economic and social problems the urban communities have. The urban communities have a better time recognizing, helping, and supporting these individuals. The urban communities have a long history of tracking and responding to these problems as opposed to the various suburban communities. I’m not trying to downplay the services being created or the ones already in existence, but it’s clear that it’s not enough.

What I’m asking isn’t for people to give more generously, or to change their political affiliation. These are personal decisions. What I am asking for, and what I truly want is people to look past a person’s residency when determining the financial needs of individuals and families. Before money, supports, and services are increased we as a community have to first recognize the problem. The process is long and tedious. It may take many years, but these are the type of conversations we need to be having right now.

One day I hope that my first question and concern won’t be trying to figure out whether a child has gone without food or not.

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Change Has Come

“The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.” – G’Kar, Babylon 5

I feel like I’m walking a fine line in this post between blogging and writing a diary entry. I’ve been scouring through news feeds, reddit, and the blogosphere for inspiration. Unfortunately I’ve come up short. It’s been over a week since I last posted, which has slightly bothered me. I told myself I’d be a consistent blogger. Consistency is how a person gets better, but also grows their reader base.

At the same time I’ve got a laundry list of excuses why I haven’t been active. I recently was hired in a school in a semi-permanent position. I’ve also come down with a terrible flu, which I am still feeling the affects of. I think I’m on day 7 today. No end in sight. I was just whacked with a $100 bill for medicine. Thankfully my benefits should be back dated to my first day of work, and that would cover that cost.

Money and Commitments

I’ve been thinking a lot about money and commitments. I’m going to Europe in July for six weeks. The majority of the trip has been paid for, but I still need to be banking Euros and Pounds for food, activities, and other travel expenses. I’ve taken care of the various hostels, flights, and hotels I will be staying at. There’s a couple more trips and hotels to still to book. One of the big ones is London, which will make my wallet bleed. Per Hostel World’s suggestion I was looking at campus accommodations at Queen Mary, University of London. For $70 a night Canadian to get your own bed and wash-room, it sounds like a steal. I’ve stayed at various campuses throughout Canada and have an idea what to expect. It might not be a hotel, but it’s definitely a step up from sleeping in a room with 20 strangers.

The Canadian Dollar is on a downward spiral and it would be a good opportunity right now to stash away some foreign currency.

My European trip will take me to countless cities and countries. I’m thinking about blogging the experience here, or creating a secondary blog for this experience. I’m not exactly sure which would be better. I’m leaning towards using this blog to track and record my experiences, and just use the categories to help separate my writing. I’m rolling around some ideas in my head for the series. I’d love some suggestions if anyone has any.

Out of all the cities and countries I’m going to, I’m looking forward to Barcelona and Scotland the most. Barcelona, because it’s culturally rich and has some amazing beaches and galleries. Scotland is steeped in history. The history, culture, and landmarks are some of the reasons Scotland has always been on the top of my bucket list. The other reason is that my father and his family immigrated to Canada from Scotland when he was a teenager. I have never been to Scotland, so I am really looking forward to this trip. My father has spent countless hours over the years telling and re-telling the same stories about his family and his experiences growing up. Some of the stories I’ve heard many times, though I still enjoy them. I’ll be visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as some of the outlining towns. It’s an exciting time to be Scottish. The country will likely break ties with the rest of The United Kingdom in the September 18th: Independence Referendum. It’s a bit hairy right now, in terms of if and how that will all work out. Visiting a place during a moment of transition and change tends to thin the blood.

Change Has Come

I have not been able to write as much as I would like to. I landed consistent work until the end of the school year. This will further my need for stable experience to further myself in my career. It will also help me have a predictable income, which will allow me to better manage my finances. Substituting sounds amazing on paper. You get to pick and choose where and when you want to work. Sometimes there is no work, and sometimes you get too accustom to being picky with jobs and schools. Since I’ve started working in education I have not had a pay cheque that is the same as the last. It’s hard to plan out how much money you can spend each week when you have no idea what your pay is going to be. Over the past year I’ve created a list of schools I like to work at. I’m not always able to work at these schools, and sometimes I have to venture out into new territory. This has yielded positive and negative results. Every time I take a shift I don’t know where I’m going, or who I’m supporting. I feel like I’m rolling the dice. The process can wear a person down. On the positive side this process has taught me that each school is unique.

That’s it for me. I’ll be working on a few ideas over the next week. I might write a Daily Prompt or two depending on what they are.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Relaxation

On the sandy shores of Lake Huron I see the sun setting over Michigan. It is late July and the wind is calm. I have a towel at my side and a bathing suit on.

Previously I had made my excuses. My group had settled into the cottage where we would be staying for several nights. My friends prepared for a long night of food, alcohol, and song.

I was stealing a moment for myself.

This is the moment I told myself. The moment where I can be alone. A moment to reflect, listen, and be calm.

I drop my towel and take off my shirt. I place the items on the sand below my feet. I enter the water. Warm. I dive in and start to swim out away from the shore. After several minutes I stop. I look around; nothing.

I lay on my back and float as my eyes are fixated on the sky above. The waves were gentle. I slowly rock back and forth as if I’m being cradled. With each wave my body gets closer to the shore.

I did not fight the waves. They would eventually take me back. The moment I stole was fleeting; I accepted that.

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College and Predatory Statistics: How Students Are Being Exploited

Life is difficult. There’s plenty of directions our lives can take. It’s a daunting task, that isn’t always clear. I’ve tried things that didn’t necessarily work out. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at trying to direct myself down roads I think I can be successful in. I’ve been able to accomplish this task largely in part to me figuring out who I am as a person.

I know my strengths, as well as my weaknesses. A student fresh out of high-school doesn’t always know this. When I was a teenager I was vulnerable and susceptible to the opinions of others. Regardless of how strong willed any teenager is, they are all impressionable. Going to school and getting an education is important. I would say that this isn’t the route that everyone should or has to take. However, I will always advocate the importance of higher-education.

For many we see it as the logical next step when transitioning from high-school to the real world. Gearing our passions and dreams into our work allows us to take ideas and concepts and evolve them. I once read an article that made the point that many architects have one thing in common – they all played LEGO as a child. Our interests grow over time and change, just as we do.

Youth are vulnerable at this time in their lives. What I wanted when I was navigating my life through the treacherous waters of career planning was cold hard facts. I wanted it straight up, not watered down. I wanted to know what my Return on Investment was if I spent x amount of years and dollars in a program. I wanted to know what my job prospects were. I wanted statistics.

I wound up getting statistics, just extremely biased ones. I was told about a Key Performance Indicator or KPI Study Sheridan College does every year. The study is completed by recent graduates. The KPI chart includes the pool from which the statistics were drawn, or the number of students who completed the survey. The following columns are for employment rate and satisfaction rate. I was lead to believe that the industry I was pursuing was one of growth and prosperity. Of course there is some fault I will take as an individual, but I didn’t really understand post-secondary education at the time. Like many students you don’t fully understand that it’s more of a business than an educational institution until they’ve got your money.

gb

The picture above is an ad campaign used at George Brown College in Toronto. The ad promises that grads get “the job” within 6 months of graduation. It doesn’t specify what that job exactly is.

I received a call a couple months after graduation from Sheridan College asking me to answer a survey. I was asked once I graduated if I had a job, which I did. Like most of my peers I was gainfully underemployed. I wasn’t asked if I had found work in my chosen field of study. All they wanted to know was whether I had a job or not. The majority of my peers all went back to working the same jobs they had before they entered College. The program was obviously not overly successful at helping students find employment. I’d put the numbers at under 20% for the amount of students who found jobs related to Journalism, and that number is being generous. Though if you read the KPI you wouldn’t know that.

At the time it stated that the program had an 88% Graduate Employment Rate. Currently the program has an 80% Graduate Employment Rate. For any prospective student looking at this information the logical conclusion is that their future job prospects look rather good. These studies are disingenuous and harmful to students. They paint a false picture of the labour market. In many ways these statistics attempt to exploit and manipulate students. This is not a one College problem. Many educational institutions are guilty of this.

There will always be people who have a passion to do something, and will want to go to school for it. They are the people who will fight against all odds to do what they want to do in life. They are the people who will see the Graduate Employment Rate at 20% and say, “I’ll be part of that minority”. I believe that the majority of people aren’t like this, and those are the ones who suffer.

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Daily Prompt: An Open Letter to Generation Z

Photo © of : : U N I Q U E : :

Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us AGE.

I am part of Generation Y. We are often called The Millennials.

Some people refer to us as being selfish. I’ve heard comments that state we are also the Instant Gratification Generation. There’s a lot of documents to prove that Millennials are generous, caring, and compassionate. Personally, I don’t judge a person by their age, as that is no more right than judging someone by their race, their belief, or the colour of their skin. Age does not determine maturity or intelligence.

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Dear Generation Z,

Welcome to adulthood! It must be a scary time in your life. You’re likely trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do with your life. Plans are important. What’s also equally important is flexibility. Shit happens and things don’t always work out how you planned them.

For anyone who wants to do something that requires six to seven years of education please consider investing some time in learning about the profession. Do you have any clue what the job is like on a day to day basis? Shadow, volunteer, and research. Judging a profession based on images you see on the Internet or TV perpetuate a false sense of what the job actually entails. We paint pretty pictures. Find the cracks.

Money

Money is important. However, if it is the only factor in planning your life then you’re most likely either going to hate what you do or be extremely unsatisfied. Try to strike a balance between a career that satisfies you and one that compensates you. Don’t let anyone, even your parents pressure you into a specific career. Your parents are trying to help you find a path that they think is “right” for you. This doesn’t mean they are right, or that you’re going to be happy with what they picked for you.

There’s a lot more to life than your pay stubs, but like Kanye said – “having money isn’t everything, not having it is”. Yeah, I just quoted Kanye. This is real life.

Education and Job Satisfaction

It’s an incredible and scary time to be a graduate and recent graduate of my generation. I can only imagine what it must be like for you. There’s a value each piece of higher education holds. I’m talking about real world value, not how it makes you feel kind of value. That paper qualifies you to do certain jobs and be compensated for that work. This does not entitle you to find a specific job or make a certain amount of money. That’s the wonderful part of the whole process. Investing time and money into education can turn out to be bunk. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s reality. You might as well get a glass of water ready, life is full of shitty pills to swallow.

The best advice I ever received was rather simple. “Pick a career that provides you with the ability to transition into a new career”. If my earning potential is slightly above minimum wage I won’t be able to pay off any current student loans I have in order to take on new ones – and potentially a new career. Give yourself outs. Never pigeonhole yourself into one thing for the rest of your life. Follow the chart below when considering higher education;

COLLEGE UNIVERSITY
  • In this job in demand?
  • Am I academically capable of completing this program? I.E, do I have the capability of being successful?
  • Can I transition into another career if I hate it?
  • What will I need to do to progress in my career? Does it require more school or job experience? What links does this College have to other Universities?
  • Am I ready to sink 4 years into a Bachelor?
  • Am I academically capable of being in University? I.E, do I have the capability of starting and finishing a degree?
  • What am I going to do after I graduate in terms of more school? If you think your B.A in Fine Art or English is going to land you a job, you’re dreaming. Most people end up going back to College or University to supplement their Bachelor Degree. On average look at going to University as a minimum six year investment.
NO: Re-evaluate your career objectives. What are you capable of doing. For example I suck at science, so the medical field just isn’t in the cards for me. You know yourself better than anyone. We all have limitations.

YES: Awesome! Hopefully you picked a career that provides you with good compensation, and links to further education if you choose to grow in that specific field. A lot of College programs focus on paraprofessional roles. That means you’re likely someone’s subordinate.

NO: Get work experience. Look at College as a potential option.

YES: Enjoy! You’re ready for a long expensive road. Hopefully you have a parent or guardian who is going to support you through this process. If not student loans payments for the next ten plus years!

Learn From Us

Hopefully my generation has proved that we learned from our parents mistakes. Probably not, but we can always hope. If not learn from us, or fail. Hopefully your children will learn from you.

Re-Invent the World

Use the systems in place to change the world. If the systems aren’t in place, create them and change them to meet your needs. Laws and policies that govern you were created by men and women of a different era. Stray away from oppressive laws that challenge your rights and freedoms as an individual. Never lose sight of the values and beliefs that protect all of us. Some laws are worth fighting for, even dying for. Some aren’t.

In the context of history a hundred years is not a long time. The ability to create and change has never been actualized in such a period of time as it has been in the past hundred years. Keep progressing. Reach the stars, and beyond. If someone tells you, “no you can’t”. don’t tell them “yes I can”. Just do it. Actions will always speak louder than words.

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My Top 5 Most Impactful Albums

This isn’t an ordinary list. These albums have at one point in my life helped me understand something about myself, develop a new appreciation for a particular genre of music, or helped me relate some of my personal struggles to others. Music is all about making relations.

clash

The Clash: Combat Rock

This album was one of the first albums that drastically changed who I was in my early teenage years. This album opened my eyes to how music could be an outlet to talk about politics. The Clash is the reason I fell in love with punk music. Listening to punk music helped change my perspective. I started to think about how others viewed me, and how I viewed them. I started to alter my style to fit in with other punks. It was actually a lot of fun in some ways. I was able to experiment with style, hair colour, and what others viewed as socially appropriate. As I got older, I got lazy. These days I find it much easier to rock a pair of jeans or slacks and a t-shirt. I also spent a fair bit of time in the washroom every morning putting glue into my hair to make my Mohawk stand up. It turned out to be a lot more preparation than I thought it would be.

I let myself get reckless and became part of a scene. I started going to a lot of concerts, drank alcohol too frequently, and experimented with drugs. There was a ton of positives though. I learned a lot about myself. Combat Rock was the first album that sent me down a road of music and self exploration. Through listening to The Clash I got into bands like Propagandhi, NOFX, Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, etcetera. Some of these bands I still listen to today! My interest in politics started with music. It’s kind of strange when you think about it.

blinkBlink 182: The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show

The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show was the first live album I ever bought and thoroughly enjoyed. The banter back and forth between Mark and Tom made the album what it is. The album was an accumulation of the best of Blink. My appreciation of live albums started with Blink 182; for that I am extremely grateful. I picked up bass guitar in my late teens  and started to learn Blink 182 songs. The bass lines were simple, quick, and fun to play. I still listen to this album today and enjoy it just as much as I did thirteen years ago.

Brand_New_Deja_EntenduBrand New: Deja Etendu 

Music is about sound, but it’s also about words. There is as much skill in telling a story as there is in writing one. Brand New’s album Deja Etendu was one of the things that helped get me interested in writing. I would spend a lot of time researching lyrics and exploring some of the meanings behind them. Jesse Lacey is someone who is blessed with the skill of writing and singing. It’s a deadly combination. Through Brand New’s music I was able to explore written text and ways in which I could evoke emotion in my own writing. There’s an intrinsic quality in Brand New’s music of being genuine. Often artists get put in boxes, and produce the same exact music over and over.

Brand New to me adopted the philosophy of progressing and writing music that was relative to their age and experiences. I’ve been to countless Brand New concerts and watched several interviews with Jesse Lacey on the topic of not playing old material at new shows. From what I interpret, and what Jesse has stated is that for a long time people would go to their shows and want one or two things from him. The songs on Deja Etendu and Your Favourite Weapon are written when Jesse was in his early twenties. The bands sound and lyrics have evolved over the years, which shows the members of the band changing as a group and individuals.

It might have been hard for some fans to get over. I myself have struggled at times to get into their new music. Once I got past the fact that no album will ever be the same as the one before I started to appreciate each album individually. As a writer I have adopted this philosophy with my writing.

6432-give-upThe Postal Service: Give Up

This was a transition album for me. I was still into punk music, but I was feeling burnt out and worn down. Punk music is intense; it can be extremely enjoyable in small doses. In large doses it can get on your nerves. The Postal Service was something new. It was a mixture of electronics mixed with heartfelt melancholic lyrics. It was the right album for the right time in my life. Ben Gibbard’s lyrics hit home on sadness, loss, and strangely enough optimism. I remember listening to tracks like Sleeping In and Recycled Air and feeling a great deal of release.

Kanyewest_collegedropoutKanye West: College Dropout

This album was pivotal for me. It helped me to appreciate a different type of hip hop. The music was fun, catchy, and had some great lyrics. Kanye’s skill of mixing tracks, and beats was impressive. I was able to relate to the lyrics about money, family, and the struggle to be successful. Kanye poured his heart into this album, and touched on subjects many artists only talked about on a superficial level.

The depth of the album is seen where Kanye shows his versatility as a rapper on tracks like Through the Wire and Jesus Walks. He then transitions into being soulful and sweet by revealing intimate details about his life and family on tracks like Spaceship and Family BusinessLast Call is part song, part story. It helps close the album in such a way that gives the listener a great deal of context into how hard Kanye had worked to be looked at as an artist, and not just a producer.

Kanye surrounded himself with talented musicians on this album. The tracks are made better by the collaboration. This album made me look outside the box, and discover what is currently being done in mainstream music – and more so what someone can do. Talented people feed off of other talented people. This is something that transcends all type of art.

“Now the music divides us into tribes” – Arcade Fire

Looking back, I couldn’t see this. My eyes weren’t open to other genres of music. I’m glad that my music palette has grown and evolved over the years. I’d love to hear from other people about how music has had an impact on their lives.

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