Meditations: The Gang Makes a Top Ten List

Image result for it's always sunny in philadelphia

So I’ll just come clean and say that I really don’t watch The Office. Now hold on, before you reach for that molotov cocktail, let me make it absolutely clear that I have seen a good chunk of its episodes and have found most of them to be pretty enjoyable. While I do like the show, I could never really get into it too much. Call me an intolerable postmodern pseudo-nihilist sludge hipster, but, I like my sitcoms a little bit spicier than your average bear. That’s why when I’m looking for something to watch while eating an amount of Chick-fil-a most doctors would call “questionable”, my first choice is always FX’s black comedy sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Created by Rob McElhenney in 2005, the series has graced us with twelve full seasons worth of the depraved and twisted adventures of, “The Gang”, which is basically what would happen if you were to boil the very worst that humanity had to offer down into five people named Charlie, Dennis, Frank, Mac, and Dee who own a bar called Paddy’s Pub. From musical theater to cannibalism, the gang does just about everything but actually run their bar as they try to find more and more depraved ways to bide their time. While each of the show’s 134 episodes share an equally warm little spot in my heart, the title of this article says that I’m going to rank them, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Keep in mind that this is just my own list and that opinions are normally pretty awful so break out your finest rum hams and milk steaks, because things are about to get extreme.

Continue reading “Meditations: The Gang Makes a Top Ten List”

Advertisements

There Is Good Hip-Hop Out There

180125-payroll-giovanni-cardo-IG-800x600

As of recent, I have been seeing many individuals complain about Hip-Hop and how it is in a very bad state currently. As the genre continues to get bigger, of course there will a lack of diversity in most popular songs and can be easily shown by just looking at the Billboard Hot 100.

Continue reading “There Is Good Hip-Hop Out There”

Meditations: John Adams Strikes Again

cq5dam.web.1200.675
Look into my eyes and tell me that John Adams isn’t our sexiest president. Photo courtesy of  HBO.com

Picture yourself in the palace of Versailles in France during the revolutionary war. An ornate carriage makes its way through the gold plated gates and into a large stable. The side door opens, and onto the precisely crafted brick road walks a plain looking figure that would spark a feel of deja vu in anyone who has seen Big Fat Liar.

He looks tired, and by the way he walks you can tell that his shoes barely fit. His triquarter hat and wig hangs awkwardly to the side while his vest and and coat do their best to stop the advance of a ravenous beer gut.

Greeting our friend is a man ten or so years his senior with some very distinct looking circular glasses. Pleasantries are past over in favor of business, as our hero is eager to sit down and get to work after a long harrowing journey across the sea.

His colleague stops him mid sentence, and breaks the news that most of the work our man had intended to get done during the trip had already been finished while he was traveling. Although you can’t hear it, you can almost feel a sad trombone go off in the background.

Continue reading “Meditations: John Adams Strikes Again”

Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment To Produce ‘Black Panther: The Album’

C4ZbbIbY_eTHOawTjmVs2QtJU4X-bQ1QMbev8ZqKSSw

2017 was easily a successful year for Top Dawg Entertainment.

With SZA’s rise to stardom with her debut album “CTRL” that as an album, showcased a woman’s growth throughout to becoming an individual that is more independent and requiring less validation from others. Many of the songs did very well on the charts and SZA is now on the forefront for the label with great potential to be a great artist. Also with legendary artist: Kendrick Lamar dropping his 4th LP: “DAMN.” that solidified the artist’s ability to delivery from all forefronts of Hip-Hop. “DAMN.” was easily his most successful album in terms of sales to date with many tracks such as DNA, LOVE, and HUMBLE charting very high on the Billboard Hot 100. The way Kendrick was able to appeal to a more mainstream audience without sacrificing his quality of music was incredible.

Continue reading “Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment To Produce ‘Black Panther: The Album’”

Fact Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Part Two

7gjUMZh

Mistakes can and do happen, in all fields and by all people. As you may have read in the previous “Fact Check Yourself,” many times these mistakes can be made due to pure miscommunication. Occasionally, this does happen, and while it could be something that’s easily correctable, it could also potentially change the public’s viewpoint in a possibly disastrous way. This counts for both stories and current events, and guests who appear on programs.

Take, for instance, the appearance of Guy Goma on BBC News.

Goma was at the BBC for a job interview in their IT department, but due to a mix-up in a waiting room, a producer who was tasked with finding a “Guy Kewney” who was scheduled to appear for a live interview accidentally found Guy Goma instead, and the rest is history.

But what happens when guests who are scheduled to appear aren’t who they even claimed to be to station staff?

Continue reading “Fact Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Part Two”

I Shared a Room with Nick Offerman for 2 Hours and My Will to Live Has Been Restored

nicky.jpg

If you haven’t been able to tell by the copious references and GIFs strewn about my blog posts, I love Parks and Recreation. A lot.

So when I learned Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson (a.k.a. my favorite character), would be headlining a comedy show at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee I did not hesitate. I expected an evening full of laughter while I fan-girled over Offerman’s precious, iconic giggle (which is in fact his real laugh).

nick offerman ticket

But I experienced much more.

Sadly, I was not allowed to take any photos during the show, but I would feel quite selfish if I kept all of Offerman’s sage wisdom to myself.

I really don’t have a smooth transition for this, so I’ll just go right out and say it: The big take away from his show was that we should all learn to go “full bush.”

Now, I know how this sounds and, I admit, he did talk about pubic hair for a bit, but it was only a third of the equation. Offerman explained to us that “going full bush” means: embracing your body and becoming less dependent on modern technology.

Offerman provided a better explanation about the ‘birds and the bees’ than my public high school health class—which in hindsight I now realize doesn’t mean much—and I wish I had heard these words as a sexually spouting, awkward middle schooler.

Do you remember being in like 5th-6th grade and receiving several extremely unhelpful pamphlets about your ‘changing body’ and (sorry, this one’s for the ladies) a care package of a singular pad, maybe a tampon, and a mini stick of deodorant? Well, I sure do because it was T R A U M A T I C. I went from being a little kid who didn’t even care about whether or not my clothes matched to a mini woman-in-training who went on 24/7 paranoia alert over having body hair where society was telling me not to have it and keeping my armpits fresh at all times.

Now, there is nothing  wrong with removing body hair—and smelling great is always a welcome plus—but the way women young girls are socialized to feel ashamed of their bodies, for something as natural and non-indicative of their worth as hair, is truly awful.

And Offerman agrees. His “full bush” message was one of unrelenting body positivity. He shared his belief that both men and women alike should embrace the natural state of their bodies and I all but died. One of my heroes, a MAN, was telling us all to love our bodies and for women, especially, to raise a big middle finger to society.

It was quite an uplifting ‘first’ for me, but Offerman is no stranger to feminism. He attended one the Women’s Marches that occurred across the nation, Pussyhat and all, in Park City, Utah.

nick offerman pussy hat
Image: Twitter

Bless you, Nick Offerman.

If this wasn’t encouraging enough, he also shared his concern for our obsession with social media and modern technology.

Now, whenever someone above the age of 30 tries to tell me that I spend too much time on social media, I typically roll my eyes so hard that they pop out of their sockets. Though he had the chance, Offerman didn’t lecture us, a theater full of college students, he outed us all.

Young and old, he believes we spend too much time on social media, Facebook specifically, watching videos and reading posts that, in the long run, have little value: a picture of your friend’s meal, yet another selfie captioned with an ‘inspirational’ quote, your aunt’s status update in which she inquires for the best crock pot recipe.

I’m seriously guilty of it all and, sometimes, I really hate myself for it. I spend so much time watching others rather than participating in my own life. I’m fairly certain it’s a sort of addiction at this point.

Offerman shared his solution, which is to try and make things, and fail often in the process. He led by example and brought out a ukulele that he had made himself, and I honestly thought I was about to experience cardiac arrest—Nick freaking Offerman, a feminist ally who plays ukulele.

He was like a schoolboy who made his first piece of macaroni art, beaming with pride over something he put great effort into crafting, but what made the moment truly noteworthy was that he also pointed out the instrument’s flaws. He had left a spacious gap between the top part of the neck and the first fret, and the frets themselves had been measured incorrectly or were mostly improvised.

“But it looks like a ukulele,” he told us, “and sounds like one too.” Despite its flaws, he was proud of his creation and encouraged that we take the time to make things, even if they are misshapen and imperfect.

“Take the time to make something, whether it be art, music, food, items, etc. regardless of the possibility to failure,” Offerman said. “We are mean to fail. It shows that we’re trying to contribute to our communities.”

X,

Katerina

My K-Pop Awakening Part 2: K-Dramas Are Ruining My Life

안녕하세요! UIC Radio 소니아 입니다.

Hey there! It’s UIC Radio’s Sonia!

If you’re reading this blog, you may know a little bit about my emergence into the world of k-pop, but if you don’t, be sure to check out my previous k-pop blog My K-Pop Awakening! In this series of my K-Pop Awakening, I hope to enlighten you in my discovery of K-Dramas and how they quickly took over my life, thoughts, and emotions, as well as recommend some really good (and some questionable) dramas for you to check out!

The ever-evolving k-pop void consumes me once again.

When we last spoke on this subject, I told you all about the ~*cultural awakening*~ I experienced back in mid-September, in which I discovered my now favorite k-pop group, EXO. I briefly mentioned my discovery of a K-Drama titled Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, which lead to my k-pop expert/friend/roommate Pearl to point out which actor is in EXO. What I didn’t mention was that I actually got into the show, and actively kept up with it until its completion.

And man, was it a wild ride.

When I found the initial 6-minute trailer for Scarlet Heart, I immediately knew it was going to be over the top and super dramatic (hence the key term “drama”). But my incessant need to lovingly troll my roommate fueled me to pursue the drama further and actually invest time into watching it.

For some context, as Pearl Girl explained to me upon my discovery of this trailer, Korean dramas were “unoriginal, over-dramatic TV crap with terrible casting and acting.” Naturally, this ignited the incessant troll in me and I couldn’t help but try to bug her more by watching the first episode and annotating each scene as she tried to hide *evil laugh*.

Somehow I managed to talk her into watching some of the episodes with me and, luckily, I dragged her down with me as all my free time became devoted to obsessively waiting for another new episode to post on my new best friend Drama Fever, a free online service where you can stream literally hundreds of dramas.

While it was my first official drama and holds a place in my heart, Scarlet Heart turned into a hot mess halfway through the series. The story was hard to keep up with, the main characters were doing inexplicable things that were beyond any comprehension, and I was immediately salty at the screenwriters following the death of my favorite character (who was arguably one of the best characters, if not the only one).

Was it trash? Yes. Did I love it? Heck yes. Do I hate myself for loving it? Slightly. Would I binge all the episodes in one go to get the nostalgia out of my system? Absolutely.

Since the finale of my first ever drama, I like to think my K-Drama palette has since improved. With that being said, here are a few more recommendations of some of my favorite dramas I’ve seen so far: Continue reading “My K-Pop Awakening Part 2: K-Dramas Are Ruining My Life”

Some People Choose To Hear the Beauty In This World

“PAINT IT, BLACK! IT’S PAINT IT, BLACK, OH MY GOD!”

ww1
Poster for the 1973 Sci-Fi film starring Yul Brynner that inspired HBO’s TV show of the same name. 

I had to call it before any of my friends figured it out. And I couldn’t hold it in; I was so excited. If you’ve ever wondered what The Rolling Stones would sound like if they had to write a spaghetti western theme with an orchestra at their disposal, that’s reason enough to check out Westworld.

This show scored major points by contracting Game of Thrones’ composer Ramin Djawadi to arrange classic songs in a style fitting for the wild west and its many veneers.

ww4
Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Season One’s line up includes songs from:

  1. Sound Garden (Black Hole Sun)
  2. The Rolling Stones (Paint It, Black) (Obviously)
  3. Johnny Cash (Ain’t No Grave)
  4. Radiohead (No Surprises, Motion Picture Soundtrack, Fake Plastic Trees, Exit Music (For A Film)) Djawadi actually uses a cover of MPS by the Vitamin String Quartet for the show!
  5. The Cure (A Forest)
  6. Nine Inch Nails (Something I Can Never Have)
  7. Amy Winehouse (Back To Black)
  8. The Animals (House Of The Rising Sun)

These songs eerily fit into moments where Westworld’s main characters become consumed with curiosity, self-doubt, risk, and disbelief. The tunes echo a sensation of unrest in the characters and their audiences. If you’re a lyricist, you’ll notice the meanings of each song mesh with the on-screen drama in a way that makes your jaw drop, like you’ve just solved a riddle. You’ll hear House Of The Rising Sun play in the town’s brothel and realize that Ain’t No Grave could be referring to the hosts. Or the guests. Or the programmers. Or everyone.

ww2
Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Does Djawadi select modern songs so the modern guests subconsciously feel at home while visiting the new “Old World?” Does he want the audience to feel this way, too? The songs are certainly hard to pick out when they’re partially buried under the din of gossip and shoot-outs that push the plot. Often, they’re played on an out-of-tune player piano, a novel piece of mechanized art for the portrayed era. Hinting at automated humanity while producing a hollow, creepy sound are Djawadi’s version of hitting two birds with one bullet.

ww3.jpg
Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Whatever his reasons, this soundtrack has been added to my trail running playlist. Motivated by such an emotional, underdog-chiding echo, maybe I’ll finally make it to where the mountains meet the sea.

Have a Scien-tastic Day!