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Artsy

Christmas Music is the Worst

The first draft of this post started like this:

Christmas music is the best. It’s cozy, it’s nostalgic, it’s an excuse to stop doing real life things and say, “hey, you know what? Let’s go bake some chocolate chip cookies.” There’s nothing like a few Now That’s What I Call Christmas! songs to awaken the holiday spirit.

But that was all a lie, because Christmas music is actually the worst.

Here I think it’s important to explain that my name is not Ebenezer, and I love Christmas just as much as the next guy. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m half Jewish (Jewish, some might say), so my family hits the holiday jackpot. My sister and I light a few candles for Hanukkah, stick some ornaments on the tree for Christmas, and have little to no knowledge regarding the religious value of either celebration. It’s a charmed life we lead.

But anyways, the music. For the first few days, Christmas songs can be nice. They can make you feel all cozy and nostalgic, like you want to put on a Snuggie and watch The Year Without a Santa Clause. But then they turn on you. If you’ve ever been on the “It’s a Small World” ride in Disney World, I’ve found that holiday music works in a similar fashion. For the first five minutes of the ride you’re like yes, great song, love the multicultural puppets. Then about halfway through you’re begging PLEASE, I WILL PAY ANYONE ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY TO GET OFF THIS WEIRD BOAT AND AWAY FROM THE CRAZED PUPPET LUNATICS.

It’s the day before the day before Christmas, and holiday music has become my it’s a small world after all. Don’t get me wrong, caroling with my family at not one, not two, but three Christmas parties this weekend was both cheesy and delightful, but if I hear one more soulful rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by (insert pop star name here), I might have to leave the country.

Shout out to anyone who works in any place that sells anything, because the holiday music torture fest started on December 1st. You’ve been fighting this fight WAY longer than I have. Stay strong, retail workers.

Over the years I have compiled something of an alternative holiday playlist, because at my core I am a horrible hipster person who uses words like alternative to describe her interests. Most of the songs are pretty mellow, but I really do love Christmas and Hanukkah and snow. When I’m looking for some holiday tunes that aren’t sung by the cast of Glee, these songs get the job done. Feel free to take a listen.

[youtube=]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8&w=420&h=315]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGPplaRh-2c&w=420&h=315]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E1hCYVTvZ4&w=420&h=315]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkOKCWDJ4iA&w=560&h=315]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jHtU6-FhCU&w=420&h=315]

No matter what you’re listening to, have a safe and happy holiday!

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College

Dear Professors on the Last Day of Class

Dear Professors on the last day of classes: I remember the first day of the semester like it was only three months ago. I arrived early, a little too early, and plopped down in the middle of the first row. My notebook and folder were both purple with Clinical Phonetics written in the top right corner of each. I had both a pen and a pencil. My books didn’t come in until three weeks later, but perfection is elusive. I was ready to rock this shit. Then, at some point in the semester, I was ready to kill you. As I began my third page of notes with fifteen minutes left of class, I may or may not have been plotting ways to stop you from talking about intrinsic muscles of the tongue. You must have conspired with all of my other professors to assign massively time-consuming projects all in the same week. I could not help but resent you for making me walk back from class during a torrential downpour. When I took an introductory physical science course, I did not expect you to hurl quantum physics at me, you malignant turd. I’ve cursed your name at three a.m. in the library and made jokes about your plaid-on-plaid ensembles. (I’d like to apologize for that one, I support your unorthodox fashion choices. March to the beat of your own drum).           But on the last day of classes when you stood before us and calmly wished us a Happy Holiday, I could not help but feel nostalgic. My mind conveniently blocked out the feelings of dread that filled my gut as I walked to your class every week. I remembered the time you told us that our final exam was going to be a take-home (elation as I’ve never felt before,) or the time that class discussion turned to a heated debate about Halloween costumes. I’m going to miss your unfunny jokes about anatomy waiting for you to show up ten minutes late to every class. I’m going to miss wreaking havoc in the unspoken same-seat agreement amongst students by always sitting in the lefty desk, no matter where it is. In this moment, I am sure that I am going to miss this class. (Then finals are over and end-of-classes-nostalgia is replaced by post-finals-freedom and I’m totally fine). Love,Girl Scribbling Furiously in the Front Row

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Artsy, College

Panic! at the Desk (oh)

“Let’s get these teen hearts beating, faster! faster!” -my AIM profile circa 2007

So I’m currently writing a paper on Emo music and culture. Yes, I’m serious. Our final assignment for Music and Social Change is to examine music and collective identity. I think my professor was trying to send us in the direction of German Romanticism, Beethoven and Brahms and whatnot, but I figured My Chemical Romance and Dashboard Confessional might be a little more interesting.

If you weren’t in middle school sometime between 2005 and 2008, let me give you a quick recap. “Emo” music, short for “emotional hardcore,” is a kind of rock-punk-indie-acoustic hybrid whose lyrics emphasize emotional experience. (Not happy emotions, though. Just despair and depression and heartbreak and that type of thing.) Think pale guys in skinny jeans with long hair and troubled pasts. In my paper– which I’m actively procrastinating doing right now, by the way– I’ll be exploring this Emo stereotype and how it has affected American youth culture. (Liberal arts assignments are just so fulfilling, you know?)

So I’ve been doing a lot of research in preparation for the paper-drafting process. And by research, I mean watching lots of nostalgic music videos on YouTube. Somewhere between “Helena” by My Chemical Romance and “Thnks fr the Mmrs” by Fall Out Boy, I came across the pinnacle of my middle school experience. The artist I considered my favorite for a solid two years, because they were edgy and cool and no one really knew who they were. Okay, everyone kind of knew who they were, but that was only because they’d heard “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” on the radio, not because they really liked the band. I was a true fan because I had like, six of their other songs on my iPod Nano, none of which were ever played on the radio.

“Wow, Panic! at the Disco is still kind of awesome,” I thought to myself two days ago, feeling 1) surprised to find that my twelve year old self had such good taste in music and 2) a little bit like I had hopped into a time machine and been spit back out in the middle of seventh grade.

Sometime around 2009 it became markedly less cool to like Panic! at the Disco, but counterculture be damned, I am still a fan. They’re weird. They’re angry. They have that exclamation point. Their music videos belong in a haunted house circus tent.

Scary wedding circus!

Scary strip club circus!

Weird perverted mime that should never be allowed in a circus!

And they released this song a few months ago. Holy jam.

You just can’t beat the angst-ridden sound of some boys singing about creepy hotels and failed weddings and being young and messed up and stuff, am I right? Anyone else? Just me?

Alright, I think I’ve procrastinated enough. Time to go throw on some skinny jeans and show this paper who’s boss.

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College

Post-Vacation Apocalypse

Hi guys! I swear I didn’t forget about you. I’d like to take some time on this Monday night to write about the unpleasant phenomenon that I like to refer to as, “Post-Vacation Apocalypse”.

Let me set the scene: It’s Monday after Thanksgiving break and you just lugged your laundry basket stuffed with clean clothes and an ungodly heavy backpack up the stairs to your dorm room that’s been vacant for the past six days. The shades are drawn and your entire room looks like it’s been overcast by a shadow. Significant amounts of dust have somehow gathered on all open surfaces. You flop onto your bed, fresh off a week of overeating and watching more T.V than you have all semester combined, and tick off everything you have to do in your head today.

Two classes, fine.

Work, you can handle that too.

Wait, do you have an exam in your 2 o’clock class? No professor is that heartless as to schedule an exam for the day after vacation, right?

You definitely have a paper due in your other class too. Goddammit.

Not to mention you register for classes tomorrow, what are you taking again?

Oh, and at some point you’re going to have to think of something interesting to write about in your blog. (Why did you start a blog?)

And you didn’t even get to eat breakfast this morning. A travesty.

 

If you’re like me, you humored yourself and brought home some books and stuff to do homework over break. Then you got home, took a nap, ate unspeakable amounts of food at Thanksgiving, and hid your backpack in some dark corner of your house, not to be seen or thought of again until you arrived back at school Monday morning. Here’s the issue with getting back from breaks on Monday mornings: you are plopped back on campus with hoards of responsibilities that you’re not even remotely mentally capable of handling. You were at home two hours ago! How are you to be expected to transition into the mindset of fast-paced productivity to deal with the impending doom of finals? You’re in no way prepared for this.

Without option, your day begins. Here are some tips that I used to get through this Monday.

 

Take five minutes, curl up into a ball on your bed, and listen to a song that’s comforting. I picked We Will All Be Changed, by Seryn. It was nice.
Make a list with boxes to check off. Either it’ll all be put in perspective and you’ll be wildly relieved or it’ll seem marginally worse. Either way, the boxes are fun to check off.
Hug your roommate (thanks, Hann).
Consider that, even a week from now, these worries will all seem distant and silly.
Deep breaths.

 

I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and Hanukkahs, I’ll talk to you next week!

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