Justin, practice

This  gone be quick because GoT comes on in 17 minutes.

I just watched a show of our from two days ago and I had to turn it off. I suck. I suck at the drums and it bums me out. Music is such a big part of my life and I’ve been playing the drums since I was eight. The drastic downturn in skill in the past two years is extremely disheartening and honestly it’s nobody’s fault but my own. The past two years I have lived in apartments that do not have basements. Back at all the previous iterations of Halfro house, we had basements and I had time. I would play nearly everyday and there was a point where I really felt improvement. There was confidence in ability, the feeling that my hands could do anything I thought of. Halfro was still playing a decent amount but Flounder Warehouse was starting to play more shows. I was able showcase my progress and it felt like even those around me could tell that I had improved.

Then we moved to West Philly. We were on the third floor and had a cool attic that I eventually did play (even if quietly) in but it wasn’t the same. The drums are loud. I need to practice at voice strength to get some licks down but I couldn’t because I was worried about the neighbors. They never said anything but still, I wasn’t comfortable. A couple times….

8 minutes to GoT.

Several times I would contact a friend of mine who had a studio with a drum set and I got to practice there. This was amazing but because of scheduling and money, this never became a steady option. Now, I live alone. I definitely cannot play in my apartment. I feel stressed out that I can’t play as often anymore. I hate inconveniencing people so playing at someone else’s house seems like such a bother to them even though they say (and probably mean) it’s not.

My confidence is gone. My fear is back. I can’t perform to the standard that I know I have in the past and it frustrates me to no end. People always come up to congratulate me after shows and I’m always appreciative but on the inside I feel like I let people down. This wasn’t my best because I’m out of practice.

So far, 26 is a great year. I want to be the best drummer I can be because not doing so or at least making an effort will continue to stress me out. Instead of spending money on dates, I should spend it on practice space/time. Instead of beer…drums. My contribution to the world is the emotion that I bring people when they hear me play. If I’m not at my best then what is the point?

Thrones has started so I’m done.

Sit Down, Don’t Bumble

Exploration through definition. Also the title…I…I’m sorry.


The App: I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about dating and honestly…who cares, y’all aint reading this anyway. Bumble is miles better than Tinder and it’s not even close. First, let’s lay out the facts. I don’t look like…uh…idk Micheal B. Jordan. I’m average looking and a bit overweight. My good qualities need to be experienced and not just seen with a couple carefully chosen pictures. There is a societal onus on men to be the one who starts things off by messaging or approaching women initially. Bumble said bump that, you men are gross and stupid, we’ll make it that the girls have to message you first. I think this is so cool. It forces women who usually just sit and wait for all their matches to do something…to do something. Now women know the struggle of coming up with something other than “Hi” or “Hey” to kick off a conversation.

This is the app icon

Sike.

Men are dumb and that stuff they complain about will totally work…BUT NOT ON ME! A big thing for me is that I need for someone to be able to hold a conversation. It bugs me to no end if you can do this. Bumble makes women do that or at least start AND ANOTHER THING…nah, I’m kidding. Anyway, Bumble is cool and I’ve been much more successful on there than Tinder.

The Verb: I trip over things constantly. Randomly run into stuff and accidentally knock stuff over. I have no clue why this happens. My loyal date stamp could honestly sue for battery for the treatment it’s endured. Also, there have been several times when I turn the wrong way when I’m walking somewhere and I have to awkwardly change directions. Taking corners to fast and smashing my hip on something, dancing too hard and punching a wall. I’m out here bumbling through the physical world. I think it’s a synecdoche of my entire life at this moment.

The Other Verb: My tongue is too big (Ayy) and it causes problems. I talk weird. I have a slight lisp and it seems like there’s something in my mouth when I talk. THERE IS, MY BIG ASS TONGUE. For reference, I can pick my nose with it and touch the bottom of my chin. In any case, sprinkle in so awkwardness and I sound garbled…or bumbled.

 

via Daily Prompt: Bumble

Quickie: Years & Years-Desire

Throwback ya heard


I don’t listen to this band as much as I used to because…reasons. Yet, the other week this song randomly popped up and I realized (again) why I love it. “Desire” was part of an insane run of singles by the British electronic trio. This is because there album is straight up amazing, every song is good…EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. I discovered Years & Years on a playlist on YouTube with the song “Real.” The almost hypnotizing (go watch the video) instrumental mixed with Olly’s special vocals created an amazingly groovy electronic song. Add in Justin’s favorite, claps, and we have success! After that came “Take Shelter” and then “Desire.”

“Desire” kicks off with some layered “Oh’s” and a slow build with the bass drum and the main synth line matching rhythmically. Olly sings about the struggles of a relationship emotionally and he’s unsure of whether he’s feeling love or just lust. He may be trapped and disillusioned by it’s physical aspects. The chorus is great. The drums straighten out and the energy level rises (as with most choruses) Simple, catchy, dancey and almost soaring over the beat. The drums are straight forward but have some interesting rhythmical parts that spice things up. The song is short and sweet and great.

Now, I don’t know why this happened but there is another version featuring Tove Lo that I also greatly enjoy. Tove Lo adds a feminine voice to the choruses, ad-libs and the “Ohs” that flow throughout the track. She brings a new, relevant verse and an added bridge which honestly just works as well, if not better than the original.

Peep…but probably not at work:

Jacked Up

It’s story time nerds. Buckle up, it’s a long one.


I was talking to this girl last night and I shared one of my favorite songs of all times with her. It’s “Troll Nacht” by The Dodos just in case you were wondering. I’m not going to review it in this post but maybe I will later. All you need to know is that this song was the theme to my life back when I was like 19-20. I love it and strangely only recently cared about the lyrics above how they perfectly fit the instrumental. They also made me reminisce about a lamer part of my life several years ago. This is about a particular girl that I was absolutely in love with during the time.

This is going to be hilariously embarrassing.

The year is 2009. I’m away at college and ready for all the weirdness that I assumed would consume my life for the next four years.  Now, real quick, the 2nd Fl Edge was the greatest freshman experience one could ask for. A majority of our floor hung out together and for the most part we have fond memories of each other. We did a lot of ridiculous things in the common area and it was all crazy fun.

I didn’t drink or particularly feel the need to go out that first year but my roommate was a gregarious fellow. He wasn’t afraid to talk to people and quickly made friends. He became friends with this girl who was in turn friends with another girl down the hall. Now this other girl was, in my opinion, stunning. A beautiful black girl; athletic (HER BODY WAS A1), funny, fearless and a bit flirty. Now, she wasn’t even the first girl I had a crush on in college but once like mid spring semester hit…it was a wrap. Everybody knew I liked her and I’m sure she did too. The thing was that I was waaaayyy too much of a pussy to do or say anything about it. So what I did was play the proximity game. If I’m near her all the time, something romantic will eventually happen. Play the good guy long game and you’re in there like swimwear.

Literally nothing happened.

I remember one summer where we texted NON. STOP. We actually turned into really good friends but I was smitten and blinded to the facts. My love was unrequited and I was absolutely useless as a single man in my prime (I’d lost a significant amount of weight and was SO swole. THANKS JON). I was a lap dog, incapable of seeing that I was being strung along for a simple platonic friendship but also adoration and attention. My role was like a stereotypical gay friend from a TV show or movie. It was pathetic. I remember we were at a party once and they tried to get me to talk or go dance with her. The move was to slowly rearrange the circle we were standing in so I was next to her. I did nothing. I remember another time, at the late stages of a hangout we were trying to figure out what to go eat. We had narrowed it down to two places and while we were going around trying to pick, another friend said “Justin will just pick whatever *her name* chooses.” I vehemently denied this accusation but he was completely correct. Burn.

I was probably unknowingly giving up buns because of this infatuation. Which probably affected things rather recently. People were starting to talk shit about her and my infatuation was waning. This was like a year or two of my life spent obsessing over this girl but now we were no more than really good friends. At this one party,  I was hanging out with one of her good friends (who I later developed some feelings for, I think had a golden opportunity with and AGAIN pussed out…she also peed in my bed so that happened). In our drunken state, she revealed that my friend had a boyfriend.

Wait, what?

I was crushed. I remember confronting her about it and texting her some really mean things. Why hadn’t she told me? Was she so manipulative to think her slave boy would leave her side with this information (probably yes and definitely yes). Why did this hurt so much? I remember laying up late some nights wondering why this happened to me. How many chances had I passed up? I thought about sex constantly…well not much has changed but my roommates were seemingly swimming in it at the time. Confidence was gone. We were done. Our friendship was practically over.  I really hated her for a long time after that whole thing but I hope she’s doing well. The last time I contacted her was to tell her not to open a snap of a dick pic I’d drunkenly sent her (this was a while ago, those come at a premium now).

Thinking back on it now, I cannot believe how pathetic and naive I behaved. I will never let a woman have that much power over me again. I should have been a gross young man, trying to smash everything that blinked at me instead of pining away for a girl who didn’t reciprocate my feelings but kept me holding on to a sliver of hope. I should have expressed myself so I could have moved on. First loves are weird but I was wimp.

 

But anyway, go listen to The Dodos, they are dope.

Whitney Houston’s Star-Spangled Banner

I love this song. This is the best version. Happy July 4th.


Here’s a random factoid about Justin: I love the “Star Spangled Banner.” I don’t know, I just do. It is a beautiful song that has been performed millions of times, millions of different ways. The tune is so popular that when you get it wrong, people throw mad side-eye and you end up on the news. It’s about as American as you can get. I really don’t care how you feel about the state of the nation and it’s very real injustices on this particular day; I’m gonna talk about the best version of one of my favorite songs.

Whitney Houston is inarguably one of the greatest singers of all time, I will fight whoever says otherwise.

The year is 1991, (the year I was born and the year Dr. Seuss died-breaks even I think) the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants are set to battle for glory in Super Bowl XXV. With all sporting events, things need to be kicked off (I’m so sorry) with the national anthem and apparently this one needed to be special (Persian Gulf War). So they kept it simple; have an orchestra play the tune and bring one of the greatest vocalist of all time to sing. Whitney decided what if I sang the song without too much sauce and just give the people these notes.

And she did.

Jesus Christ, help me today.

 

Here’s the video, so we can point out some special moments:

I’m not a singer, don’t judge me.

1:28-“What so proudly we hailed” The purity of “proudly” and the whatever you call that on “hailed” is beautiful.

2:06- The power behind “And the rockets’ red glare” to the softening at “Gave proof…” a couple seconds later. DYNAMICS BABY!

2:32-The simplicity and rhythm going into “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave” ending with a FLAWLESS run on “wave” not detracting from the melody like many have done.

2:53-“Free” Here’s these effortless high notes.

3:00-“Brave” The decision making to just hold that note is so professional. Add the visual of arms spread wide on the first hit, right fist up on the second and then both up on the final hit with the band

G O O S E B U M P S 

It’s perfect. I don’t care AT. ALL. that it was pre-recorded. IT’S PERFECT. Whitney’s voice is absolutely incredible, sailing over the familiar tune. The band does their job, jets fly over and the crowd loses their minds.

I’m not crying.

 


Real quick, another one of my favorite anthems is when the Cleveland Cavaliers have the home crowd sing it:

WHEELIN’ AND DEALIN’

I like the word “Wheel” for several reasons. Reason one: it’s invention was one of the more important ever, enabling so many things not possible to exist. Reason two: secret H that could easily mess up someone learning our recklessly hard language. Reason three: there have been thousands of rappers who have rhymed/word-played “wheel” and “will.” It is also apart of classic cliches such as: “You can see the wheels turning,” “Trying to reinvent the wheel,” “Squeaky wheel gets the grease,” “Big wheel,” and a ton more.

“YOU KNOW THAT BIG WHEEL KEEP ON TURNIN’,” exclaims Tina Turner in “Proud Mary.” The eponymous title of the post is an album by The Prestige All-Stars, an group including popular jazz musicians, most notably John Coltrane.

Teens getting awkward handjobs on Ferris wheels, people guessing letters on Wheel of Fortune or hoping to hit a dollar when they spin the wheel on Price is Right.

Here are some popular examples:

Sumerian Wheel

Bike Wheel or “Tire”

Color Wheel

WHEELS ARE EVERYWHERE

via Daily Prompt: Wheel