Friday, June 6, 2014

Pulled Pork Sandwiches Are My Life

This weekend is the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, the most magical time of the year. For one weekend, all the best barbecued meat in the country can be found in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. For several blocks, the wonderful smell of meat surrounds year.

Sunday will be the third year I have attended such a glorious celebration. For the past two years, I have gotten a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and beans. I can honestly say it's the best meat I've ever eaten. Usually, I don't finish my meals, especially when they are high in meat-content, but I always eat every single bit of that sandwich. It's an experience. I recommend it to everyone.

Besides pulled-pork, one can also see a number of other things at this glorious celebration, including free pickles, whole pigs, ribs, mediocre bands, and people who understand the importance of barbecue.

BUT FREE PICKLES MAN

I LOVE PICKLES

THERE ARE JUST STANDS THAT GIVE AWAY PICKLES

They give me life.

I walked by like 4 of those stands and some of my friends don't even like pickles so I got their pickles and had the time of my life.
Yum

So yeah I'm hella pumped for Sunday when I can go once again. It's gonna be amaaaaazing.

Also, while not part of the barbecue fest but still integral to the experience, is The Strand..

The Strand is a bookstore in the same way that Costco is a store. Sure, that's its label, but once you get inside, it is so much more. 

Its claim to fame is having 18 miles of books. You could spend years in there and still not even read the title of every book. You can find sections of the bookstore that are completely desolate of people. In the middle of New York City, you can be completely alone. It's amazing! And books! I love books! And there are so many!

Just thinking about the place gets me all excited.

Well, I have English homework that I should get around to. Adieu.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Focus, or: What I Have To Show For Hours of Working On A History Project

Over the past couple week's I've been given copious amounts of time to work on our dreaded combined History and Software Apps project. That is precisely why I've accomplished absolutely nothing. Literally nothing. I really can't do work at school. If it's not due immediately, then I'd rather just save it for home. It's a terrible work ethic, but I just prefer doing things when I'm alone. If I'm near other people, then I just have to talk to them. It's a terrible compulsion. It probably comes from all of those years of having no friends. I stocked up all these words and need to let it all out now. Hopefully, it'll all balance out soon.

So, since I've done nothing in History, I'll tell you what I have done! Today, I bought four Sufjan Stevens CDs! I blog about my pal Sufjan a lot. I love him. He gave the best concert I've ever seen. He recorded one of my favourite albums of all time. He wrote the best Christmas songs. He wrote some of my favourite sad folk songs. 

And today, I realised I only own his 10 volume Christmas album and his magnum opus, Illinois. That's it! I've listened to his other stuff but I haven't purchased anything else. That's why today, on Amazon, I bought Seven Swans, The Age of Adz, Michigan, and a fourth album I can't remember which one. A quick order history check reveals that the fourth album is Enjoy Your Rabbit. What's fun about Sufjan Stevens is how all of these albums are different genres. Seven Swans is folk, Michigan  is baroque pop, Enjoy Your Rabbit is avant-garde electronica, and The Age of Adz is ??????

????? is truly the truest genre of Sufjan Stevens. That's the only way I could describe his concert at least. It started with a string quarter playing arrangements of the avant-garde electronic songs off of Enjoy Your Rabbit. That alone was brilliant. Just that made the concert worth it. Then. when it was actually Sufjan Stevens on stage, things got cray. I can't use words to describe it for two reasons: it's too beautiful for words to justice and I also suck at writing.

I want to go back to watching Psych so I'm going to end this post. 

You should totally check out this website: http://music.sufjan.com/ . You can stream a lot of Sufjan Stevens' music there for free! I recommend starting with Illinois.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

All Shore Jazz Festival, or: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Tomorrow, is the All Shore Jazz Festival, at which I'll be performing. There are three major issues with that unfortunate truth:

1. I hate performing
2. I'll be there, or doing jazz band-related things, from 3:45 to 10:00.
3. I don't think of I actually played one of the songs that I'll be performing with tomorrow.

Performance and I have never been friends. Practicing is great, because if something doesn't sound quite right, it doesn't matter. Performance is terrible because other people actually care how I sound. Usually, I can just pretend I know what I'm doing and get by. That's how I've gotten through school this year. However, tomorrow requires me to be competent and well-practiced. I am neither of those things which will make performing even more terrible.

I'm going to be spending over six hours at this jazz thing. SIX HOURS. The next day I have 3 to 4 tests,  none of which I know particularly a  lot about. So I have to find time to study for all of these things. On top of that, the big research proposal is due Friday. I should start that. Six hours is a huge amount of time to spend on something that I don't really care about. I'd much rather be home trying to pass all my class than at the jazz festival. Hell, I'd rather be home practicing classical piano than performing jazz.

It turns out that I don't like playing jazz. At least, I don't like playing jazz arranged for a high school piano. It's just extremely boring. None of the fun stuff is actually left in the music, so I'm just playing chords which is terrible. I'm probably dropping jazz band next year. I don't really enjoy it, so why bother? Yeah. Dropping out sounds like a good idea.

Finally, the most pressing matter: I can't play the music. I mean, I could play both. If I had ever played them before. I've missed the last like three rehearsals. When I do have free time to practice, I play classical instead of jazz. I think my ego prevents me from enjoying jazz band. I'm rhythm section and not the star! What fun is that? With classical, I'm doing something interesting in every measure. Jazz just ends up being chords and stuff, and my conductor doesn't really want me improvising over that. My job is rhythm and rhythm only. With classical, I can do whatever I want! Solo is really my style. So yeah, because of that I haven't actually done any practicing of my jazz band music.

That leads to another story!

Today, at concert band rehearsal, I left all my music there. Including my jazz band music. I was extraordinary screwed! I need that music. I need to learn it. Right now. I should be practicing. But, alas, my music is trapped in a hell called Middletown South. Luckily, I could buy the sheet music online and print it out. Only six dollars to ensure that I won't sound like trash tomorrow!

I'll probably sound like trash anyway.

C'est la vie.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Guess This Is Goodbye, Old Pal...

Tonight was opening night for our school's production of Into The Woods. Unfortunately, we are not doing the full version of one of Sondheim's many masterpieces, but the show is still fun all the same. This week was Tech Week, which is affectionately know as "Hell Week" at our school. Today was the big day! And it wasn't terrible. We got off to a rocky start but we found our footing by the second scene. The biggest success I thought we had was, of course, my magnificent song. Despite it being written for a tenor (I'm a baritone), I managed to hit the high f-sharp at the end. Initially, I had no chance of hitting it, but after much work and singing in my bedroom for hours on end, I reached that note. 

All the funny scenes got the laughs they deserved. Of course, the best part of the whole show was Shane and his cow death. That one scene is brilliant from start to finish. Also, the love song I sing to Shane, the cow, "I Guess This Is Goodbye," received plenty of laughter. I didn't screw up (too much)!

However, the title of this post is not only fitting for my love affair with a cow. This week, it was made official that our high school would be cutting the French program.

Obviously, this is total trash.

I'm not going to write about this today because I am too upset. I'll end up offending someone and getting myself into trouble. For now, I will bite my tongue and wait until I collect my thoughts.

Also, this week, was the midterm for Algebra II, which I self-studies.

That was also trash. 

A majority of the topics covered in the textbook were not even features on the exam! What the Tech!

I have to take off my makeup soon. The problem, though, is that I look so good with eyeliner and my eyebrows all done. Like seriously. I wish makeup were socially acceptable for guys to wear, because I would be doing this every day.

This post has been all over the place because a lot happened this week. 

Either way, this week has marked the end to the beloved French program, my chances at skipping Algebra II, and Milky-White/Shane.

Come see the musical! It's good! The critics are raving!

"Jack: good job" - Sean Hennessy (It's important to note that Jack is the name of my character. Sean always calls me Jack and he calls everyone else by their real names. C'est la vie)

MAYBE IF YOU DIDN'T CUT THE FRENCH PROGRAM, YOU'D KNOW WHAT I WAS SAYING WHEN I SPRINKLE FRENCH PHRASES INTO MY VOCABULARY.

Yeah.

I'm upset. 

But the musical was good!!!!!!!

I didn't vomit!!!!!

Despite eating all that greasy food!!!!!

I hit the f-sharp!!!!!!!

Our school is cutting an important part of the curriculum!!!!!


Well, tomorrow will be another performance. Hopefully, this one will be much better than tonight's.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Buzzfeed Quizzes, or: Discovering New Things About Myself

As a hard-working student at one of the best high schools in the country, I spend most of my time taking quizzes on Buzzfeed. There's something just endlessly entertaining about clicking on pictures and then being told which 90s something I am. Today, after I got home from a night out on the town (I went to Surf Taco, yum) I watched episode after episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? I love  that show and I just found a website that has every episode of it! I'll be busy for a while.

But anyway, I then started during Buzzfeed quizzes. Here are some things I learned about myself:


Which Iconic '90s Teen Girl Am I?

Tai Frasier!

I think she's the girl from Clueless? I love that movie. Hold on, let me check.

I was right. I'm honoured.



Which Haim Sister Am I?

Haim is one of my favourite bands at the moment and you should totally go listen to some of their songs right now. Apparently, I am Este Haim. Buzzfeed describes me as: "SOMEONE CALL THE FUN POLICE CAUSE YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL!!! (meaning, too much fun, although can there even be a thing??) You’re also really nice and everyone wants to be your friend/have your hair."

It might be accurate?



Which Music Era Do I Actually Belong In?

Grunge! That's what I expected. The whole flannel and self-hatred deal is kinda my thing.



Am I Human or Am I Dancer?

Dancer. Obvi.




Which Disney Princess Am I?

Surprisingly, it turns out I'm Jasmine. I've always had myself pegged as a Belle but Buzzfeed is never wrong!




Which TV/Movie High School Would I Attend?

Sunnydale High School. That's the one from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I honestly wouldn't want to attend. Too dangerous.





Which Classic Author Is My Soulmate?

Langston Hughes. Another surprising one! For some reason, I thought it'd be Oscar Wilde. I mean, we're both flamboyant and self-obsessed. It would only make sense.




What Should I Be Binge-Watching on Netflix Right Now?

Portlandia! I mean, I already binge-watched every episode of the summer, but I would totally do it again. Portlandia is the right balance between really weird and super weird.




Which 2014 Best Picture Nominee Am I?

Once again, Buzzfeed hit the nail on the head and said that I am Her.




See! Buzzfeed quizzes are quite informational. I should really get off the computer so I'm gonna stop blogging now. Until next time... Adieu...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 31: Paul Simon, or: Where Have You Been All My Life?

Several weeks ago, I was making a trailer for a fictional movie. In that trailer, for part of it, I put the song "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard" by Paul Simon because that song just screams quirky indie comedy to me. I was first exposed to this song because it was used in a Wes Anderson movie, though I forget which one. A quick Wikipedia page check reveals that it was in The Royal Tenenbaums. I love that movie so much; I should watch it again.

Anyway, that song became part of my life again recently. I started listening to it all the time, perhaps even too much. I never get sick of it. There's something about the song that's just so fun to listen to. Paul Simon's voice is so light and his guitar, played effortlessly, actually has a lot of cool stuff going on.

However, that was the only thing I listened to by him. I never actually checked out a full album. Yesterday, I checked the shelves of my parents' vast CD collection to see if I could find anything. Initial perusing found that he was nowhere to be found: he should be next to the Carly Simon CDs, but he was gone. It's not like this was intentional either. I know that my parents like Paul Simon; we have to own his CDs.

I ask my mom. After further search, we find two of his albums: Still Crazy After All These Years and Hearts and Bones. However, neither of these albums were the ones that I was interested in. To make matters worse, Hearts and Bones didn't even have anything in its case.

My primary goal was Paul Simon's self-titled album, whose name you can guess. This was the CD that had "Me And Julio..." on it.

My secondary goals was Graceland which was Simon's most critically-acclaimed album, notably for its heavy influence from African, specifically Zulu, music.

I inquired about both of those CDs to my mother.

"I know for a fact that we own Graceland, though I'm not sure about his self-titled."

Eventually, my dad comes home and he find Graceland. Unfortunately, we don't own the self-titled, so I just purchase the CD on Amazon. Luckily, Amazon's CDs come with an digital download so I would have access to the songs immediately.

For two days now, I've just been listening to Graceland and Paul Simon on constant repeat. Both of them are perfect albums: every song is perfect, yet sounds so effortlessly. His songwriting skills are remarkable; his lyrics are funny yet meaningful. I looooveeeeee him. Wow.

I haven't listened to any of his other albums yet. I'm kinda afraid to because they might ruin my perfect image of him. What if he has bad songs on the other albums? I don't want to be exposed to that. Paul Simon should remain untarnished. That's also the same reason I've never listened to another album by The Sugarplastic besides Radio Jejune. Nothing can beat that album so why should I listen to their other less-good things?

I don't think I'm ever gonna get tired of these two CDs.

Also, finally, today is my last Slice of Life post. I'll still post occasionally, but not with the same frequency.

So yeah. Go listen to some Paul Simon!





Song of the Day: "I Know What I Know" - Paul Simon

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 30: Mangoes & Salsa, or: Writing Short Stories At 3 In The Morning

Last night, the strange and short Maggie texted me because her parents had abandoned her and she was afraid of like ghosts or something. It was my duty to fix the situation.

So, logically, I began to write a short story about a frog and his love for a beautiful panda. This story was only partially of my invention; Maggie requested that the story be about a panda and a frog. Naturally, this quickly become a poorly written tale of love, romance, drugs, depression, and racism.

I partitioned the story into short episodes, about one page in length. According to my email, I sent the first episode at 11:21, however, I spent a lot of the time before that coming up with ideas and over-thinking it. In response to this short story, Maggie sent me a video of her eating a sandwich with a soundtrack of "Talk Dirty." It was one of the stranger experiences in my life.

While conversing with Maggie about existentialism, I set out to write part 2 of The Panda and the Frog.


The story got really weird. Lions were drug addicts. Zebras were drug addicts. Pandas were clean! Frogs had southern accents. Their voice poured like molasses.

Yeah, I don't know. Things got odd.

Maggie continued to send me videos of her giggling while dancing with her bottle of tea. She's really weird. Like really weird.

Anyway, one thing led to another and it was 2 AM and we were having a metaphorical mango and salsa party while I made her watch slam poetry. Neil Hilborn is my life.

"OCD"

"Audiobook"


There are better performances of this one, but this one is special because it's for Shane Dolan.
"Kissing You Shane"

Apparently, Maggie enjoyed these thoroughly as well. I've converted another person to loving
Neil Hilborn.

When I grow up, I wanna be just like him. He's all I aspire to be. Unfortunately, I'm neither creative nor interesting enough to write anything like this.

This strange yet entertaining night ended at around 3 AM when I realized that sleeping was probably a thing I should do. In the end, I hadn't completed much of my story: 3 episodes along with 3 dramatic retellings that I recorded. I started to write part 4 but I haven't gotten back to it. 

Originally, I was thinking about sharing my story on this blog, but then I realized that was a terrible choice and I should never let anyone see them ever.

I enjoy staying up until 3 in the morning. The night comforts me and I feel more capable once the Sun sets. Unfortunately, the man says I have to sleep from 10 to 6 like some sort of dweeb. Tonight, I'll go to bed early because of school. It'll be another boring day.




Song of the Day: "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" - Paul Simon