Kanye West: "Power"

'Bout damn time. Love this beat.

Kanye West: "Power"

"How 'Ye doing? I'm surviving. I was drinking before, now I'm driving."

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at last...

Finally the new Arcade Fire single, "Month of May", has been released. Also check out the other "A-side", "The Suburbs" below.

Month of May - Arcade Fire

The Suburbs - Arcade Fire

Can we hear the rest now please?

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International Banter

Top Country Categories

So in my worldly travels over the past four or five months, there have been many new experiences. I have eaten a lot of food, met a lot of people, drank a lot of alcohol, stayed in a lot of places, experienced many different cultures, seen many beautiful women, seen a lot of weird shit, etc. This post is a list featuring the top city/country for a particular category. You may find this very interesting/boring or maybe even useful for planning a trip to a country based on the following given this is just my own personal opinion. These are going to be pretty random categories in an even more random order. Just a heads up. Without further ado...

Best Food:

Best Weather (while I was there):
Greece (everywhere)
Italy (hit or miss.)

Worst Weather:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Paris, France

Best hostel I stayed in:
Mina Studios in Mykonos, Greece
Funny Farm in Interlaken, Switzerland

Worst hostel I stayed in:
Boat hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands
runner-up: Jacob's Inn in Dublin, Ireland (rip off)

Best nightlife:
Dublin, Ireland
Amsterdam, Netherlands/Munich, Germany

Worst nightlife:
Venice, Italy

Best beer:
Munich, Germany
Dublin, Ireland

Worst beer:


Preview New Arcade Fire Single

As if they could tease us any more. Bastards.

A. The Suburbs

AA. Month of May

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New Menomena

After a three year hiatus from releasing any new material, Menomena are about to release their third LP. After the wildly successful Friend and Foe from 2007, they'll make their return this summer with new LP Mines, due July 26 in Europe from City Slang and July 27 in North America from Barsuk. You can download a new song from the album, "FIVE LITTLE ROOMS" (yes, all caps) for the simple request of an email address below. Apparently this is also the album artwork, but it will be in 3D of some sort when released in stores.The track list for the new album is also below.



Wet And Rusting - Menomena

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Best Coast

Another one that has taken me a while to actually write something about, but I figure better late than never. Garage-pop, dream-pop, blisswave, chillwave, whatever you want to call it, this sound has summer written all over it. Another up and rising artist, Bethany Cosentino, aka Best Coast, has quickly become one of indie-dom's most promising new acts.

In 2010, she's looking to make good on her success so far with an as-yet-untitled and label-less debut LP due out sometime this summer, though I believe she hasn't officially said when. Releasing a number of 7" and mp3 singles, she has created quite a bit of buzz around her name. For good reason. Her sound is fairly innovative as it's hazy chorus lines lull the listener into a friendly, warm buzz that embellishes you sit back relax and lay in the sun. It appears as though Bethany has a pretty good sense of humor judging by the Ronald McDonald cameo in her video for first real single, "When I'm With You". Best of luck to this happy couple. Look for Best Coast's debut LP later this summer.

When I'm With You - Best Coast

Up All Night - Best Coast

Sun Was High (So Was I) - Best Coast

Far Away - Best Coast

Our Deal - Best Coast

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Life and Living It.

I have a friend, I have a really great friend, I'm going to call him Shrett. I'm sure there are a ton of ways I could describe the old boy, but if you don't know him it's just a bunch of hollow adjectives and vocab words, because you can't put a lust for life into words. Shrett exists in overdrive, a frantic, kinetic rush through the day. Shrett's standards are king in his world. Shrett will be immortalized in my mind as he was a couple nights ago, shakingly, unflinchingly drunk, slumped against a couple stairs, and when I walked by he looked up at me and snarled, "Do you think you can live fast and still die old?"

Now, on the initial receipt this could be interpreted as the usual cliche James Dean bullshit kids write in each other's yearbooks the day before graduation. Honest mistake, really, it does sound like something Marlon Brando says in a motorcycle film. But give it a shot, it's got a little more gravity to it than that if you give it the chance. This is not James Dean, this is not Hollywood, this is not a movie about motorcycles. This is real life stuff. This is what David Foster Wallace calls the capital-T Truth, this is life before death. And you have to choose how to live it, I guess, because no one can tell you how to do it, and if they even tried it would be all wrong.

Life can only move so fast at a time. You can fly through it, hard as possible, but you can't do that forever. Everything has its breaking point. Limits exist. On the other hand, you can't just sit there. You can't just grind your way through the day, never taking the time to risk flying past something. I realize the levels of pseudo-intellectual pontification bullshit are going through the roof right now, but it's late and I don't really have much else to say. You've got to enjoy life, but you can't lose yourself in it. There are some mornings, when it's still early, where I sit and think if this is really the best way to be living. Couldn't I do so much better? Is it really such a necessity to get drunk as possible, to see as much a possible, to shout as loud as possible? Can we live in all that noise or do we need quiet? Sometimes I tell myself that the quiet will come later, when I've had my fun, when I've burned up my feral and breakneck years. But what if you burn those years up too fast? What if you burn them up so completely that you get caught in the blaze before you can slow down enough to put it out? Is this a risk worth taking; is this danger inherent to our condition? I don't know and I can't pretend to know. We are moving pretty fast, and it seems like there's not much to stop and look at. We might never know. I can feel myself wanting to slow down. I'm not sure if Shrett will ever want to. Sometimes you just have to go and go and go.

And go and go and go.


See You Never.

I woke up at 7:30 this morning and I only knew two things. One, I had to be at work in a little over an hour, and I couldn't be late on my first day. Two, I felt like hell. I jolted awake at the sound of my alarm, somehow thinking that I had overslept, giving me a momentary flush of adrenaline that propelled me through my hangover, enabling me to--somehow--put myself together and get on my way to work. As I went through my paperwork with the HR lady, I pieced the night before together, slowly but surely.
The night started out innocently enough, as they all do. I was invited over to a pal's house for a "few beers" and things just got out of control after that. Out of control, in this instance, meant a jaunt to a few random bars and a strange amble through the rain.
So, we went over to aforementioned house and slugged a few Natty Lights. Then the call came--only girls have this power over my associates--to swing by The Neighbers, a bar so ghetto it's sweet. Things proceeded from there as the siren song of Eat the Worm and their devastatingly tasty/strong margs rang out to our wayward ears. Needless to say, we ended up there, downing a scrumptious 'rita. Someone taunted Beechnut and I, so we made a quick sprint to the Dubliner for an Irish Car Bomb. Yes, I just used "sprint" and "Irish Car Bomb" in the same sentence without also including "vomit" or "trash can." Crazy, huh?
Anyways, we came back to the Worm, drilled a tequila shot, and headed home. We were sidetracked in the always awesome Pioneer Courage Park, where security reprimanded us (a few times) for funning about on the statues. I'm sorry, sir, but we will dance with the metal lady if we please.
Anyways, I returned home way drunker than planned, six hours from having to report at work. Oops. I fell asleep on the couch and got what I could for sleep. Such is life, yes? I woke up this morning head churning, heart burning and headed to work, where my hangover punished me till well after lunch.
Despite the crappiness, I learned something today. Hold on: I didn't learn it, I guess, but was shown the cold manifestation of previously hinted-at fact. We can't live like this forever. Today was my first hand witness at the friction between the life I'm living and real life. If I go out and get blasted the night before a 9 o'clock class, it's no big deal. I zonk out for a few hours and get the notes else where. Go to work still reeling, and I'm screwed. You can't cheat when you're a copy editor. Trust me, I've tried. At the risk of "waxing philosophical" (Harrison sucks) I won't keep talking about being a grown up or whatever, or how old we're getting, or how the wraith of own illusory maturity has somehow ossified overnight. Instead, I will try to part with a ray of hope. I'm going out again tonight, and I'm going to get drunk. If I show up to work hungover everyday, they might just assume that I'm not a "morning person."

Here goes nothing.

Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Capri, Positano, & Pompeii)

Rhineland (Heartland) - Beirut

This was it. This was my last trip while abroad. I decided this would be as fitting as any as it would keep me in home study country of Italy, take me to the Southeastern coast which enters a completely different domain of Italy, and it was going to be nice and warm. I have enjoyed the warmer excursions. After some advice from my family and friends back in O, I decided that this would be a fitting last journey despite it's price. I did this trip through Euro Adventures, as I did Switzerland and Venice Carnevale. They come recommended from Fr. Bruno and do a great job. The guy who runs it is a class act and extremely personable.

So we left for Sorrento around 7:30pm and got in around 12:30-1am. It was a long bus ride, but it was made shorter by the fact there were movies on playing on the bus and I was one of about 8 or nine guys. Okay, so that was good and bad. There was a group of about 7 of us from ISA on this trip, including my roommate Andrew's cousin, Adam. Once in Sorrento, we were all cashed and immediately made we to the bungalow that EA had us staying in. There were 7 of us dudes in the one bungalow. We really didn't get to know the other guys that well as we kind of had differing schedules and we knew how to party. Anyway, we crashed that night and got ready for our excursion to Capri the next morning.

In the morning we all made our way down to the bay area and rode a ferry that took us to the island of Capri (C-ahh-pree in Italiano). Once we got there, we had the option of hiking to the highest point of the island or to just chill until we the cruise around the island was offered at 2:30pm (which we all knew we wanted to do). Most of us had gotten our fair share of hiking in the last weekend in Cinque Terre (10 miles of treacherous terrain), so it was a no brainer for us that we wanted to stay back and check out the island and the beach. So after walking around the island for a bit, we decided to go chill on the beach until our boat tour around the island. So we relaxed on the beach had a few drinks and admired the fantastic views and took in the amazing weather we were blessed with. So we did start to have a few drinks around 12pm, but then again it's 5 o'clock somewhere, eh Jimmy? So after chillin on the beach and jumping of this weird rock, we headed back over toward the docks and got ready to go on the boat tour. I have failed to mention to this point that Fr. Bruno actually accompanied us on this trip as well. He joined us on the boat tour and the craziness ensued. The boat tour was absolutely gorgeous. Riding us around the island we took in the breathtaking scenery with the fresh sea breeze wisping past our ears and the kiss of the sun glancing down on our cheeks and shoulders. We continued to have a few drinks and occasionally our driver would stop the boat to let us jump off and refresh. During this time, being the males we are, we decided to throw this random ball that we had found on the island into the air and jump off the boat and attempt to catch it. Now this is by no means out of the norm of any boat trip to your local suburban lake, but one particular throw was a bit high and carried over into one of the other cruising boats that was also full of students. Of course they held the ball hostage until our next stop until they proceeded to make the same mistake we did. After recovering our ball, perhaps due to a little a liquid courage we decided to razz the other boat a bit. After thinking the 10 seconds or so of taunting the other boat, Fr. Bruno proceeded to back us up by starting up the chant, "Your boat sucks!" Even though I know Bruno to be quite the character, I was caught quite off guard by his provocation. The rest of the boat tour was fantastic as we checked out all of the grottos (white, green, and blue), while only the blue is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. As we came into shore, we hopped back on the ferry back to Sorrento and made our way back to the bungalows. On the way back, we decided to make a pit stop for margs with Fr. Bruno. If you are given the chance to have a marg with a priest (especially one as cool as Bruno), you take advantage of it. That night, we went and walked around Sorrento a bit more and checked out one of the bars that EA personnel recommended to us, The English Inn. This place was pretty cool, as you go inside there is a bar on the main level but then you climb the stairs and are taken to a beer garden outside. It was neat-o.

The next morning came around 11am and we decided to check out one of the nearby cliff villages, Positano. Paul and Adam decided to rent vespas while the rest of us took the local bus. It was about a 45 minute trip with spectacular views on the way there. Positano wasmy favorite place from the weekend. As you can see in the pictures, it was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you walked in the city gave you an amazing view of something. It amazes me how Italy has all these little gems of locations that are relatively unknown to many people. The weather once again was perfect. The day pretty much consisted of walking around Positano, a little more beach time, and just taking in the stunning vistas. I saw what was probably one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen while in Positano. It ranked right up there with the ones I get in my backyard back home in SoDak. That evening was pretty similar to the one before except we sat down for a nice seafood dinner and rode vespas around the city of Sorrento. More bar action and we called it a night.

The next morning, Fr. Bruno took a group of us to the ancient ruins of Pompeii. After a short train ride there, we checked out the ruins and received a partial guided tour from Bruno. The ruins were pretty amazing and it was astonishing to think about how long they had been around what sorts of things those ancient rocks had seen. That kind of stuff is all over in Italy and never ceases to amaze. Nothing I have seen as far as ancient architecture goes can compare to the ruins vastness. It was a sight like none I had ever seen. After walking our way through the ruins, we hopped on the train and made our way back to Sorrento to get on the bus to head back to Florence. On the bus ride home, I couldn't help but feel the first of several bittersweet feelings that my trip was coming to an end. After taking my last trip, it had really hit me how close I actually was to making my way back home. Nevertheless, this was an absolutely amazing trip and it was a fitting last journey.

As far as my abroad posts go, they aren't quite done. Though my journeys are done, I still have a few posts left and a wrap-up in mind. I know that just made your day. Till then, I currently have 2 finals left and 3 days to take it all in. Arrivederci!


toro y moi x yours truly

via gvsb


Cinque Terre

So this was my last excursion through my abroad program, ISA (International Studies Abroad) and my last chance to be with the majority of people in my program. The ISA ladies had this one all planned out for the most part, so all we had to do was show up and bring monies for food.

We all met in front of Santa Maria Novella (the main train station in Florence named after the famous cathedral right next to it) and got on a regional train to Pisa and then switched trains in Pisa to make our way to Monteresso, one of the five villages (hence "cinque" = italian "five") and the one our hostel was located at. Once we were settled at our hostel, everyone had about an hour or so to grab a bite before we had the option of taking a hike through the five villages (Monteresso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore). Of course I am not really sure why you would come to Cinque Terre unless you planned on doing a little bit of hiking, seeing as how it is pretty much renown for its hiking and gorgeous scenery. So most everyone decided to hike and we took a train from Monteresso to the furthest village south, Riomaggiore. Once we got to Rio, we started the hike through "lover's lane". Lame, I know. Still, it was beautiful and after we got to the next village everyone started to break away from the group into smaler groups and do their own thing. I broke off into a smaller group of guys and we continued to hike. The views that were given to us on this hike were breathtaking to say the least. Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.

As we continued to hike, we were about to come to the middle village that is Corniglia. To get up top to the peak of the cliffs in where Corniglia lies, we had to climb a brutal set of stairs taking us up the cliffs to the village. The hiking in Cinque Terre wasn't what I would call physically demanding, but you definitely need to be in some what decent shape to make it through all five cities. Some of the girls and people who aren't necessarily in the fittest of form (aka fat people), bitched about it. Once we reached Corniglia at the top of the cliffs, it provided some of the most amazing views of the coast. We decided to make a pit stop for gelato at this point and decided we wanted to find somewhere we could jump in the water and cool off. One of the guys who was with me had been to Cinque Terre before and told us he had found a little spot between Corniglia and Vernazza that he referred to as "the cove." So we let him lead us to this cove as we climbed down to where the water met the rocks. This cove was probably one of the coolest things that we did while in Cinque Terre. It was relaxing as we dove off a good-sized rock that was completely surrounded by water. After diving off the rock, we just layed on it soaking up the rays and letting the sun and the cool sea breeze beat us dry. Needless to say, it was a relaxing little pit stop and made the rest of the hike back to Monteresso much more enjoyable.

Once we got back to Monteresso, we made our way back to our hostel and refreshed a bit. We picked up a couple of bottles of home grown, Cinque Terre wine. Both were white wines, which I usually don't prefer as much as red wine, but in this case they were both spectacular. So we chilled in the hostel for a bit, sipping on the sweet nectar that Cinque Terre provided us with. We then decided to make our way to dinner to a little seaside restaurant. Cinque Terre is also renown for it's pesto sauce as it is actually the birthplace of pesto. So of course most of the dishes that were ordered were either pesto or seafood courses. All of the food was fantastic. After dinner, our group made it's way to a bar to have a couple drinks at. After a couple margs, we headed down to the beach to chill for a while. For the most part, relaxing on the shore at night it pretty calming especially with a little booze in you, but after a while the booze kicked it up a notch for a few of the people in our group as there contests of wrestling, "finger-jousting", seeing who could throw a large rock into the water the furthest, and seeing who could pick up and carry a dead weight person the best. Yes, as some pictures would reveal, it was an interesting night on the beach. It was a lot of fun as it was one of the last times all of us would find ourselves together in that large group.

The next day was beach day for those of us who had hiked the day before (which was the majority of us). We found a vacant area around noon on the main beach in Monteresso and basked in the sun for a while. The afternoon consisted lying in the sun, walking around on the beach, people watching, jumping into the water, and basically just chilling on the beach. It was an awesome afternoon of Cinque Terre beach action. It was a nice way to end a spectacular weekend on the Italian Riviera as we hopped on our 7pm train and made our way back to Santa Maria Novella.


Stay Young and Wild Forever.

Ok, before I write this I have to fess up to something. Never before have I ever gone into an evening's activity thinking, "Alright, this will be something I can blog about later." That is, I haven't done that until today. In my defense though, I have to let everyone know that today was the last day of finals and, thereby, the last day of the semester and the last day of the school year. So I feel like I'm owed a little slack in the "pre-supposed" blog post planning, because we did, in fact, have a ridiculous day/afternoon/night. I have to commit this now because I have no idea how much I'll remember tomorrow.

Alright, here's what happened. This morning I had my last final at 8 am. I showed up, took the test, turned it in. I don't know if I did good or bad, all I know is I took the test and it was done. The year was over. Good times would ensue. I went back to the house and talked to my lovely girlfriend while enjoying few whiskey and orange juices (or as I like to call them "whimosas") before I had to make a quick trip down to my place of work to sign a few papers. It was, at this point, around 10 in the morning. Carrying on, I caught word that a few of my associates, namely Beechnut and Incrediboy, were picking up a year-end celebratory keg. My ears perked up, and I was in. The keg was taken after with a considerable gusto. There were only five of us, but we proceeded, undaunted. Eventually the crowd grew to a good-sized group of the fellas and we enjoyed each other's company and the company of a barrel of easy-drinking monkeys. About halfway through the keg we were informed that a friend of ours--call him Moose--was in posession of half a keg that was left over from a party his girlfriend had thrown the night before. Our beer supply grew. We finished the first keg around 3 in the afternoon and turned our attention to the leftover halfie. I took a quick nap and woke up to be roundly ridiculed. It was around this time we learned of a party down the street. We wanted to attend, but it would be hard to tear ourselves away from the keg-shaped altar. Inexorable, we hefted the keg into a gold upholstered office chair and rolled it down the street like some kind of weird barley parade. Passerby marveled at our audacity and we earned many an appreciating nod and wave from the rough mustaches who inhabit our neck of the woods.

We got to the other party and turned our focus on the keg once more. Dominated. It is unreal what we did to that keg. Well, the party we were at had their own keg, so we turned our attention to it. Once again, we worked, slow and steady, and drained that one as well. In case you weren't counting, that is 2 and a half kegs that we had a hand in bringing down. It was about 9:30 pm at this point, and many of us were nearing the 12th hour of consecutive drinking. Turn your cameras on. Rrroo's antics were amazing as usual. We retreated back to one of our domiciles for a few quick games of Jager-pong (exactly what it sounds like) and decided to head downtown.

Downtown. We were already completely boozed out when we got downtown, but we headed towards eat the worm anyways. We slugged a few margs then hit the sidewalk for Mr. Toad, the best bar in Omaha. When we got there, Scott, the best bartender in Omaha, poured us 5 random well shots and we played a game of "shot roulette," the worst game imaginable, as I ended up with a shot of cheap sloe gin. We then decided to take a stroll to the pedestrian bridge that spans the Missouri River. Things got a little weird here.

Incrediboy, Beechnut, and I set out. We made a quick pit stop at 'The Slides,' where Incrediboy proved himself an amazing speedster on the sloped metal raceway. We then proceeded through a shady bridge area (hobo Hilton) before we wound our away around the Qwest Center to the bridge. Here we were met by Pistol P, KMart, and Beechnut and Incrediboy's respective lady friends, prepared to cross the bridge. The bridge (pictured above) connects Iowa and Nebraska. This evening was particularly breezy, but when we neared the mid-point--the state line--a huge gust of ice cold wind came up. Incrediboy and I hit the ground, screaming, "This is God telling us to stay out of Iowa!" Everyone else, numbed with cold and booze, turned back to their ride home at this point. Incrediboy and I, always the intrepid journeymen, soldiered on, accompanied by his girlfriend.

It's a good thing she came, too. For starters, her presence encouraged Incrediboy and I to act like a couple of tough guys rather than quake in our shoes. To clarify, once you get to the last third of the bridge there are almost no lights, leaving you in darkness with the eerie gray outline of riverside trees in front of you. Second, she was carrying Mace, which also put my mind slightly at ease. Even thought it was one in the morning, we encountered two people on the bridge. The first was a guy on a bike, who, at a distance, appeared to be gliding toward us. It may not sound like much in writing, but when you are piss pants drunk in the dark of the middle of the night and you think you see someone gliding towards you, it is the most terrifying moment of your life. I was a weird sound away from dead sprinting all the way home. The second person we saw was a guy with a long white beard (probably a drifter/bum type) walking towards Omaha. For a second we entertained a notion that the "glider" and "long beard" were the respective agents of evil and good, battling for the fate of our (semi)pure and innocent souls. Then we realized they were just a couple of weirdos on the bridge in the middle of the night. We descended further into darkness, bearing a determined heading to a rumored playground on the Iowa side of the river. However, when we reached Iowa, we saw that the playground had been bulldozed to build some cookie-cutter tract housing development. Totally lame. We made for Nebraska in a hustle, fearing the reappearance of the glider while still trying to act tough in front of Incrediboy's gal. It was freezing by this point.

We got a ride back to the neighborhood from Incrediboy's girlfriend to find an extremely drunk Rrroo watching TV in his room. We "tamed" him (wrestled him to the ground and pinned him to the floor) a few times, then cut him loose. I decided to walk home at this point, and, upon arrival, felt all my energy drain from my body. It was time to hit the hay, but not before I committed this tale to hardcopy.

What have we learned? Are our wayward, shitfaced adventures just hallmarks of our glorious low culture? Is this the paramount experience of our rowdy and riotous young manhood? I can't be sure but it's nights and days like this that, while some of our most glorious and agreeable, remind me that we only have so much time that we can get away with stuff like this. So, although I know it's impossible, I'd like to close with these words that I wish everyone could live by:

Stay young and wild forever.


See You On the Other Side

Last night I went out to blow off a little mid-finals week steam. I was accompanied by a few cats who had already concluded their examinations, thusly putting them in considerably higher spirits than me. One of these characters, who we'll call Rrroo, was especially jubilant over the culmination of the last academic term of his junior year. Rrroo was a sight to behold. He was grasping beers by their necks, three at a time, waving them around like a pigeon wringer as he navigated the crowded confines of the local watering hole. As closing time approached, it seemed like he had de-evolved a couple of species into a staggering, sputtering, sweating ape-creature. As we walked towards the door, he got a fevered look in his eyes, shouted, "We can't leave till I find some tail!" then turned and ran back into the shoulder-to-shoulder packed crowd. He emerged later, sans "tail", asserting that he had almost successfully chatted up a babe, but she "was dating some guy that played for the Yankees" so we continued our walk home. Rrroo continued to bounce off the walls (the expression fails considering we were outdoors) as we ambled down the street. When we finally got back to the neighborhood, Rrroo collapsed in the grass of his front yard, ignoring all hazards of broken glass, nails, dirty syringes, rolled around and half-muttered half-shouted to himself, "Senior year, senior year, senior year!"

Now, contrast the enraptured Rrroo with another buddy of mine I saw on the shuttle this afternoon. Like Rrroo, he had just taken his last test of the year. He, however, was a senior and the test didn't only mark the end of his year, but of college altogether. He was not happy. He sat slumped in his seat, floored by the weight of what was happenng. Four years had led him to this moment, and here it was. Instead of the glee of completion, he felt the finality of conclusion.

The differences here can be roundly blamed on the most basic strand of the tragedy of the human condition. We are terminal, we exist on a resolute trajectory, one day turns to another, then it's over. Everything we have ever done ends. Nothing lasts.
When we take up the mantle of anything, we are sending it towards its end. While this doesn't seem like a big deal for the little things like mowing the grass or making a pot of coffee, undertaking an endeavor like four years of college requires a huge emotional investment. This explains the exuberance of Rrroo. He had achieved a goal. He had reached a milestone, he had taken another step towards the end. He had earned his roll in the grass. My friend on the shuttle, though, he was done. The milestone's were over, and the destination had been reached.
We love progress, we celebrate it everyday. We fear conclusion. At conclusion, we retreat, we take a step back, we linger. We aren't ready for the next journey, not after we've come this far and put so much into this one.

So, to all the graduating seniors out there, let me say, with almost zero authority, it's okay to be scared, it's okay to be a little bummed out. But don't forget what you had to do to get here, don't forget what you've done, what you've accomplished, the people you've met and the people you're still with.

I'll see you on the other side.

Drake: "Find Your Love"

It was about a year ago that Drake dropped everyone's summer 2009 anthem, and I have a suspicion that he may have just done the same in 2010. The Kanye-produced "Find Your Love" screams "808's and Heartbreaks" and as a guy who finds that album underrated and unnecessarily hated on, I am thrilled. Drake has put the voice away for a while after "Best I Ever Had" which I thought was unfortunate. This is what makes him different, and what made me so excited when I first heard him. Why hire Trey Songz to sing your chorus when you sound like this? Anyway, crack a beer, go outside, and enjoy this absolute jam.

Drake: "Find Your Love"

Milan, Italy / Munich, Germany

This was quite an eventful trip. A lot, a lot of things went wrong on this trip. I mean so many things (though most were rather small) to where it was almost getting pretty ridiculous. Despite all this "bad luck", my trip to Munich was one of the funnest weekends I've had abroad.

So the trip started off great by me missing the train to go to Milan with my Fashion Marketing class. Nice. The worst part was that I packed and got everything ready the night before and was probably the most prepared for a trip I've been since being here. So once I finally get on a train, I'm only an hour behind them. Of course my train makes a little pit stop in Bologna. Yeah this pit stop ended up taking over 2 hours because of "mechanical difficulties". Eventually I get there and meet up with Kelsey and Kate. Kelsey is actually an old comrade of Lightweight's from page school back in high school. She is a great girl and has become one of both Kate and myself's good friends while abroad.

So we spent the afternoon in Milan checking out the more urban, fritzy lifestyle of the Italians. It was an interesting city and home to one of the most badass churches (can I say that?) I have ever seen. We got on a train around 6:30-7pm and made it to Verona. In Verona we had a long layover in waiting for our night train. During this time we entertained ourselves by "people watching". Much like an airport, the people watching in train stations is rather superb, especially late at night. We saw some interesting characters to say the least. We finally got on our night train around midnight and were in for a long ride to Munich. While I am very glad I experienced riding in a night train, I hope to never have to do it again. Cramped, hot, and tired, night trains are a lot of fun.

We got into Munich around 6am. We made our way to our hostel after some helpful advice from a friendly bloke working at a hotel near the train station. Once we arrived at the hostel, we found out we couldn't check in until 11am (of course). So we killed some time by picking up a croissant and coffee at a nearby cafe. We then proceeded to go back to hostel and crash in the lobby until our room was ready. Once we were done "napping" we decided to find the metro and make our way to Springfest. Munich's metro system is one of the best I've ridden as it's extremely efficient and clean. Once we got to Springfest, I came to the conclusion that none of us really had any idea what to expect. It's basically a huge carnival that specializes in beer drinking (as I find the Germans do in general). Not wanting to disrespect the local culture, we decided to find a tent and drink some delicious steins of beer. We found a table to sit at with this older German couple. They were great fun, especially the man with the incredible mustache. This leads me to elaborate on how friendly and fun the German people are. They are some of the friendliest, most down to earth people I have met since being in Europe. Extremely warm and courteous, they also know how to have a good time. Perhaps it was my blonde hair and blue eyes, but I felt very "welcome" while in Germany. I also found the German women to be exceptionally "warm", if you will. They also happened to be some of the best looking women I've seen while abroad.

After a while in the tent, we decided to unknowingly buy the worst cigars I have ever had and take a nice little ride on the ferris wheel. This provided us with a great view of both Springfest and Munich in general. After the ride, we met up with the rest of our crew from Florence and headed back to the tent. Yeah, we did our fair share of beer drinking in Munich. But for good reason. Not only is it the local custom to throw a 'few' back, the beer is delicious and the best I've ever had. After a few steins and great music from the jam band in the tent, I feel as though most people in the tent found their way on top of the seats at the tables. We had a blast in the tents.

After the tents closed, we met a couple very friendly German fellas who took Kate, Kelsey, and I to a local club. On our way to the club, I thought it was a great idea to slide down the railing down some stairs right outside of the venue. This was not one of my bette ideas. Once I reached the bottom, I found a tear down the seaming of my cords from just below my hip to my shin. I liked those cords too. Torn pants and all we decided to go in the club and had a good time. The German dudes we were with even bought me a beer. Cool. After overpaying the cab driver, we got back to our hostel and passed out.

The next day were all a little slow getting up. Understandably so, but we did get a great complimentary breakfast which helped start our day off on the right foot. It soon found the wrong foot. On our way to our next hostel, we stopped in an internet cafe briefly to print out our boarding passes for the plane ride back to Italy the following morning. Once we got online, we found out that our flight back had been cancelled due to this...

Damn you Eyjafjallajokull. So we had to figure out how the hell we were getting back to Florence the next day for classes. We decided that train was the best option so we went to the train station and got tickets for the next morning back home. At the time of purchase, we had no idea how lucky we were to even have the chance to buy tickets to get the hell out of there. We found out later on that we had paid more than necessary for the tickets (of course) and that trains were sold out everywhere due to the volcano acting up. Once we had the ticket situation under control, we spent the rest of the day checking out the city of Munich. Awesome city. Germany is awesome. Definitely want to go back. We decided to have dinner at the Hofbräuhaus brewery. This place was sooo cool. Beer drinker's paradise. The beer was delicious and served, once again, by the stein. If you have an appreciation for beer, or just like really good beer, you need to make your way to Germany some day. It spolied my taste buds. After the Hofbräuhaus brewery, we made our way back to the hostel for drinks at the bar inside. It was a cool bar and we got to meet out Aussie buddy, Steve. Though the girls give me shit that he was hitting on me, I think they were just jealous that he was buying me more beers than them. They got their share of jagerbombs though. After an interesting night at the bar with some interesting people, we cashed it in and called it a night.

The next morning we caught our train and made our way back to Florence. The tickets we bought didn't have assigned seating so I was constantly moving the entire train ride until I finally said screw it and rode in between cars right next to the shitter. It was a long ride home. On the bright side, I had an amazing trip to Germany with great friends and had gorgeous views of the Alps and Northern Italy on the train ride. I threw on a little Beirut once we got into Lombardia as it seemed only appropriate.

If you care to see just how many things went wrong on this trip, take a look at "THE LIST" Kelsey and Kate made on the train ride home. You probably won't understand a good portion of it, but it's still an entertaining read.


A Lovely Time of Year

Spring has definitely arrived. Not only has spring brought back fantastic weather and baseball with, it has also brought some new tunes to groove to. What a wonderful time to be a person who loves music. There is so much good, new music coming out these days. I can't really remember a time span like this where every week there are at least a couple new albums that drop that are just fantastic. 2010 is kicking some serious ass on the music scene.

So I have had some people asking me about new music dropping of late. Some of these tunes have been out for quite a while in 2010 and some are so fresh, you didn't even know they were out yet. I am playing catch-up on posting new music since being out of the country, so these are some new 'guys' I have been listening to over the semester. It's not been easy keeping up with it while I've been away, but luckily I have had some help from reliable sources.

While I love a good mix just as much as the next guy, I find nothing more fulfilling than listening to an artist's complete work in an album. So if you like any of what you hear below, I encourage you to check out the rest of these artists' work and consider buying their full-lengths or at least something more from them. With that said, here is a little mix to get you through the upcoming days and into the beginning of the warm summer months.

Take It Easy - Surfer Blood

Promises - The Morning Benders

Angel Echoes - Four Tet

I Feel Better - Hot Chip

Wide Eyes - Local Natives

Soft As Chalk - Joanna Newsom

The High Road - Broken Bells

Jamelia - Caribou

World Sick - Broken Social Scene

5 minuter med jj - jj

Wait Up (Boots of Danger) - Tokyo Police Club

In The Sun - She & Him

Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells

Bhang Bhang, I'm A Burnout - Dum Dum Girls

Bang Pop - Free Energy

Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons

Shadow People - Dr. Dog

Burden of Tomorrow - The Tallest Man On Earth

Dance Yrself Clean - LCD Soundsystem

Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix) - Small Black

Vietnam - Crystal Castles

Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National

Lady Daydream - Twin Sister

Subliminal Message - Happy Birthday

Tin Man - Future Islands

Next Girl - The Black Keys

Factory - Band of Horses

Born Free - M.I.A.

This is by far the biggest mix I have ever put together on this blog. Then again, this is by far the most amount of good music that has come out in a short period while this blog has existed. It has the bigger guys and the little guys, trying to make a name for themselves. Some really great tunes come from the smaller bands, so don't ride them off. Hopefully you can find something you like here. If nothing else, you can't bitch about not having anything to listen to. If you hear someone who does bitch about it, send them the link to this page. Enjoy.



As we begin the month of May, lets not forget what April had to offer us. A friend, pike alum, and music fan BGlass has been producing some of his own dope beats. Being a fan of his facebook page I get the honor of hearing his monthly remixes. I know that the modern jam has recently drifted into "mashing," such as The Hood Internet; however BGlass stays true to the classic remix. From what I have heard of his (approx 3 - 40 min remixes) music he has a great feel for smooth transitions, house beats, and consistent flow. He composes each months mix with the top songs of the time. I wouldn't be surprised to hear it bumping at a future house party. I enjoy it and look forward to what he has in store for us in May.

April MixtapebybGLASS


So, gang, here we are. Finals week has rolled around and we are reveling in its presence. "Reveling" may not be the right word, but I'm going to use it. Why? Because I don't really mind finals week. I know this is going to catch a lot of stricture from the "fuck finals" and "school is so hard" crowd, but when you stop and think about it, finals aren't that bad.

Let me restate that: finals week isn't that bad. The finals themselves, the actual tests, are pretty terrible. Yesterday, I took two finals (Early American Literature and Critical Issues in Native American Studies) and proceeded to fill up an entire BlueBook on one and 3/4 quarters of a BlueBook on the other. So, yeah, that part was not fun at all. But after the tests were done, I was free from obligation. Today, I didn't have any tests. I slept in until 10:30. You know what time I usually have to wake up on Tuesday? 7:30. Finals week isn't all that bad, I guess.

Here's another reason finals week is awesome. Alright, let's pretend for a little minute that you're taking a final. It's a tough one, and you need to do reasonably well on it. You've been studying for a couple days, and you're a little bit nervous. The test comes to your desk, your pencil's out, and it's go time. You do all right. You leave the room feeling like one million dollars. The test, over. The thing you've been dreading is passed, the burden lifted. Anyone who has felt this feeling and done cocaine can equate them as existing on commensurate scales. And, since you probably have more than one final a semester, you are afforded this opportunity to chase the dragon multiple times.

The resolute will still still riposte, "But when it's finals, I have to study a lot!" Well, I should hope so. You are in school. There's an old saying that Beechnut and I like to toss around, "School's always getting in the way of college." Well this may seem, at first, as an axiom to our love-of-the-party lifestyle, it's also a subtle restatement of priority. True, college is supposed to be the most awesome four years of your life. But the awesome times have to be earned with a little hard work from time to time. If you have spend Tuesday night in the library, that's your way of earning all those Tuesday nights in Billy Frogg's.

Another point: with no finals, there would be no point for the pre-finals and post-finals party. On Friday, I plan on getting a case of beer, turning some music up loud, and getting utterly obliterated. This will be viewed with little opprobrium from my peers. Why? Because finals are over. If we hadn't endured this arduous and formidable week of academic gauntlet-running, we would be little entitled to the firewater shellacking we're going to give ourselves at week's end.

Finally, let's keep this in perspective. Yes, we have finals. Yes, they are hard and kind of suck. Yes, it would be great if they were over or we never had to take them. Now stop and remember that you're in college. You're not working in a coal mine. You're not in Iraq or Afghanistan getting shot at. You're not trying to raise a kid on a waitress' salary. We're lucky to be here. So stop complaining, study what you have to, take the test, and get fucked up when it's over. We don't have much time left here, so let's make it count.

Summer 2010 Reading List

Here is my reading list for Summer '10.
I may or may not post my occasional thoughts on these books as I work through them.
Feel free to read along, if you please.

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon

This Means This, This Means That: A User's Guide to Semiotics
by Sean Hall

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

by Karl Marlantes

The Good Soldiers
by David Finkel

Bank Notes by Ken Harbata
"My love's another kind."
-daniel rossen


Why LeBron James Is Cool

Obviously, there are a multitude of things that could be said under such an umbrella-like topic. For one, dude's on the cover of GQ in a suit that makes Don Draper look like he runs a counterfeit purse racket out of a dumpster. And even if we ignore the fact that when he isn't crushing ass on the court he is slamming beers with Jay-Z, he is still awesome. Why? He gets it. You probably know that he won his second MVP award over the weekend, and that is pretty cool in itself. What makes that especially cool, however, is how he chose to receive it. Normally MVP acceptances look like a post-game interview in the bowels of some stadium with a few reporters asking questions and the athlete looking like he won a box of Lucky Charms instead of a prestigious award. A little something like this. LeBron doesn't mess around. He held his press conference in the stadium in which he played his high school games in Akron, Ohio. He opened the event up to the public (for free), and invited his entire family, his high-school teammates, and the 2009-2010 Cleveland Cavaliers to join him. The rest of the Cavs later joined him onstage to further the open atmosphere of the event and pretend that they are as thoroughly hard ass as their captain. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it's why I think he is so much fun to root for. It's a pretty great bonus that he is the best player on the planet, but what really makes him so likable are events like this, his honesty and candor with the media (read that blown up quote), and his ridiculously cool outfits. The Cavs play the Celtics in game two of the Eastern Conference Semis tonight. Watch it. LeBron is going to do at least two things that you wish you could but will never be able to.

New Wolf Parade album EXPO 86

After seeing their live set with Pistol about a year and a half ago after the release of At Mount Zoomer, I have to say I'm pretty excited about this one. Wolf Parade has announced that their new album Expo 86 will be released on June 29 via indie powerhouse Sub Pop.

An interview with Wolf Parade co-leader, Dan Boeckner can be read here via Pitchfork. You can stream two new songs from the upcoming album, "Ghost Pressure" and "What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)" down below. I have to say this is probably the coolest album cover I have seen in some time. Not to mention how much ass these two new songs kick. It's a sincere amount. I dig it yo.

Wolf Parade - Ghost Pressure

Wolf Parade - What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)

The Bulleted List, May 3

Coinciding with AP's outstanding and excellent 'One-Year' post, I have decided to dust The Bulleted List off, marking its return after a long hiatus. Here we go.

Ways We Could Celebrate 31/Chi Turning 1

  • return to original red/black color scheme
  • a pizza and a bottle of wine
  • see what's going on down by the bridge (could be cool)
  • reappraisal of what's really important in life
  • semi-random spouting of quotes from our favorite movies and television shows
  • roller skating in the park
  • keg


One Year Anniversary of 31st & Chi

A couple days late with this, but I just wanted to recognize that May 1st, 2010 marked the one year anniversary of 31st & Chi. It's really not that big of a deal, but in many ways it is. For the five guys who decided to start this little "culturally relevant" blog, it's a landmark occasion and a time to celebrate (as if we needed another reason to party). So if you're reading this now, get off the chair/couch and go crack open a beer to read this post with. I just wanted to make a little documentation noting some memorable moments in 31st & Chi's short lifespan thus far as well as give our readers a little prediction of what to maybe expect this upcoming year. I also can't really tell you why I am the one writing this post. I think it is mostly (100%) due to the fact that I was the only one who remembered our 'one-year'. We probably should have left this one up to the English major.

Memorable posts (in a very random/not really that selective order):

Any of Lightweight's Bulleted Lists. As far as my favorites go, the accessories list, the bad version of the accessories list, a well-deserved self-esteem boost, and Pistol Pete's life analogies, to name a few.

K-Mart's fantastic photography. Like these and these.

K-Mart's insight and perspective into the life of a male nursing student.

Pistol Pete's helpful suggestions on finding that oh so special cure for hangovers. By the way, he's still looking.

Lightweight's introspective look into loose skin and old balls. Also, his life lessons on knowing thy enemies. Also, Lightweight revealing what he had been up to all summer while out west (via the picture in this post).

The first post ever (laughs).

Lightweight's reflection on the passing of a legend.

Stronghand's call on this. Just because :)

Recapping the journey that was Lollapalooza 2009. Still waiting for K-Mart to recap Sunday of the festival. Won't hold my breath on that one.

K-Mart informing the world that none of us were actually dead.

Trying to decide on our mantle's family picture theme. Still working on that as well..

Weird days in the parking lot at Primus.

Trying to realize my old-man tendencies.

Deep thoughts from Lightweight.

Analysis of Facebook.

2009's 25 top albums, top 10 awesome things, and Pistol's x-mas list top 10.

BIG moments.

Playing Doctor on the diabetic kid.

31st & Chi's version of 'super bowl coverage'.

31st & Chi's review and analysis of a shitty blog. (1.3 'slins out of 5)

Random coverage on Nathan Williams' antics.

Stronghand's reminder of old favorites.

Dedicating this post and that post to our favorite reader.

Recommendations for your next road trip.

Lightweight's 'rant' on gays. Not really though...we love the gays.

Analysis on the many personas of bars.

Who smokes what and why and also why you should.

A writer's coverage from another country/ies.

These are of course just some of the highlights for the first year of 31st & Chi. It will be exciting to see where the blog goes from here. As of right now, the team of writers here at 31st & Chi consists of 5 dudes. Will this change in the future? I can't really say for sure. The 5 founders are here to stay. That much I can guarantee. Here are a few predictions on what the future may hold for 31st & Chi:

More bulleted lists. Equally as great as the prior ones.

More photography from K-Mart and maybe even some from AllejandroPablo.

More music updates, both old and new.

More year-end lists that are more collaborative.

More commentary from Harrison and "conman0008".

More updates on trips possibly including, but not limited to: Lightweight and AllejandroPablo's upcoming trip to KC to mentor young ones while having bronsons, Pistol and K-Mart's adventures in the DR, Stronghand's expeditions in Danish country, another possible trip to Cooltown for the 4th of July, Lollapalooza 2010 coverage, where ever Fall & Spring Break takes place (perhaps speculation on the choices), and many more.

Coverage of life at 3111 Cass St.

More IV's.

More English papers.

More forgettable quotes.

More stories about booze and its effects in general.

More posts from Pistol in general (hopefully).

Better posts from AllejandroPablo (doubtful).

While our first few weeks were a bit shaky: finding what the hell we actually wanted to blog about, changing the horrendous look of the blog, helping Lightweight figure out how to post something; we now kind of, somewhat have a feel for things. We would also take this time to get some input from our readers. What would you like to see from 31st & Chi in the upcoming future? Should Lightweight write less about booze? Should AllejandroPablo get a life and realize no one cares about his music updates? Should Stronghand learn how to better HTML and post 'not completely legal' tunes? Should K-Mart learn how to write something in less than 2 months? Should Pistol try to remember his password to post more frequently? Some of these will happen and some won't. You will just have to keep coming back to this site to find out...please.