The Daily Blend’s March Top Ten 2018

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Yo, people of the internet! I am BACK for the month, and I’m so excited for this blog. March is one of my favorite months of the year, and this year’s March just happened to be an amazing month for music!

With everything that is played on my show, you all probably think I have way too much happening in the skull area of my body. So, I want to give everyone a little insight as to what’s going on in my brain, without having to look at the “Recently Played” section on my Spotify. The solution I came to was to tell everyone about the hidden (and not so hidden) gems in my music library for the month. Some of the music I post will be at the top of charts, some of the music won’t be your style, some will be a band’s biggest hit that I’ve just been happening to listen to a lot, and some will be completely unknown to you!

So, to start it off, here’s just a couple of my favorite artists for March, a little bit about them, and some song suggestions:

Continue reading “The Daily Blend’s March Top Ten 2018”

The Daily Blend’s February Top Ten 2018

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Hey guys! So, uh, sorry in advance for the lack of variety in this month’s edition of good music. It’s been kind of a pain to put this together because I’ve been REALLY into like three bands all month, so I was definitely scrambling to get all of my eggs together for the month (did you see what I did there??). Regardless, I would never leave you guys hanging; I promise, I’ll always have some good music on here, and I won’t just put stuff on here to fill the blank spots. BUT ANYWAY, let’s get into the prerecorded message for every single one of my blogs!

Continue reading “The Daily Blend’s February Top Ten 2018”

Getting Over Writer’s Block Via Dinosaurs In The Hood

Any artist of any medium has experienced some form of lame “block”, whether it be writer’s block, painter’s block, choreographer’s block, etc., everybody has experienced a really. annoying. block.

For me, writing this blog post came with some excruciating writer’s block. I had never written a blog post before in my life, so naturally, I had absolutely no idea what to write about.

But through a conversation via Snapchat, my cute friend Elijah suggested the following: “Read ‘Dinosaurs In The Hood.’

With a title like that, my mind immediately imagined some weird fan fiction cross over between Jurassic Park and Boyz N The Hood. Thankfully, it wasn’t that.

Instead it was a much cooler, deeper, engaging poem by Danez Smith about an idea for a movie; a Black hood fighting off dinosaurs.

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The Daily Blend’s October Top Ten 2017

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Hey everyone! My name’s Sam, and welcome to my blog! I will be doing this blog once a month along with my show, The Daily Blend, which is every Monday at 4 PM. So first, introductions. I am a first-year student from Rockford, IL, which is like two (ish) hours north of here. I went to a high school with a performing arts program, which I was heavily involved in! I have also been a dancer for the past 14 years. When not doing my show or homework, I play for UIC’s rugby team and play and write music with some friends (not that it’s actually going anywhere…). I love all different styles of music, although I tend to favorite anything with guitars and drums over other music genres (oops). On my show, I play so much different music to give everyone something diverse to listen to, because let’s be honest, no one listens to only one style of music their entire life. Continue reading “The Daily Blend’s October Top Ten 2017”

Writer’s Block

Has anyone else hit a brick wall that they’ve become stuck and uninterested in something you like to do?

I’ve hit writer’s block recently in writing raps/songs that it’s made me a little uninterested in writing, and it’s been hard to write about what I’ve wanted to write about, and it becomes more and more overwhelming in my head as time progresses. I usually write about a need for intimacy, my shyness, how life is going, and other things, but it’s been difficult to write and get out what I’ve been wanting to get out, because it’s about what you say and how you say it. I’ve made a playlist to help me try to get out of writer’s block, and get back into my groove of writing, whether it just be technical or writing full songs.

So in this playlist I’ve included mostly Hip-Hop songs with a few alternate rock and pop rock songs. I included some songs in this because they’ve helped me write before such as: “What’s Understood (ft. Joey Bada$$)” by Nyck Caution and “The Way I Am” by Eminem. Other songs, like “Illuminate (ft. Kendrick Lamar)” by Ab-Soul make me think about writing. Meanwhile songs, “Train Your Mind” and “State of Mind” by Dizzy Wright, “Enter the Void (ft. Ab-Soul)” by Joey Bada$$, and “YMF” by Ab-Soul make me think and overthink about what I want to say. Then there are songs like “Chum” by Earl Sweatshirt, “Hard Times” by Paramore, and “Slow Down” by Phora which I relate to personally as I go through problems and try to get through them. Lastly, there are songs about pushing forward such as, “Sing For The Moment” by Eminem. Many of the topics in these songs I’ve wrote about in some way, and can probably help me get through writer’s block and get me back in the moment. Maybe it can also probably help those out there struggling with writer’s block or if you’re stuck on a project.

A Fine Line Between Literacy And Love.

When I gently flip open the worn out pages someone else has written, chaos still flows around me, but all is calm in my mind.

I go through the routine motions of my everyday: walk, bus, sit, listen. Searching for the perfect times to put my headphones in and read, and scribble in the margins.
The day and night pass, almost unnoticed to me, while my pierced nose is still stuffed in the pages of different worlds and eras, with unordinary characters that comfort me more than the people I call my friends.

When I put pen to paper
Or my fingers to the keyboard,
All the thoughts passing through my mind shine through and I’m set.
I’m free, I don’t have to be outspoken as long as I’m not out worded on my word doc.

I haven’t forgotten about you, my most honest friend, sometimes the only one I can turn to. you know everything, there are no limitations between us except maybe the limited word count on my text message drafts or memo notes, where I can easily and quickly write down my thoughts at 2, almost 3 am, before they slip away.

Why do you write if no one reads it?
I write for me.
How many thoughts do you have jammed in your mind?
I’ve lost count.
Picking at my mind, I comfortably reveal beliefs, and disbeliefs I didn’t even know I had.

All I hope for is to carve out letters, form words, create sentences, and paragraphs to calm his mind as well.

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Writing Junky

I’m shocked that I haven’t annoyed myself with how much music and writing consumes my life. I’m sure this isn’t something new, music and writing consume my life like it does for others. Sports may consume someone else’s life, maybe reading consumes yours, or exercise.

To me, when something consumes my life, my life revolves around it. I’m constantly thinking about the things I’m writing, when I’m writing, what I’m writing for, is my handwriting neat enough? Whether I’m writing a small note at work, my homework for the day in my planner, or an essay for a class, I worry about the appearance of my writing. I don’t know if I do this because I’m a “writer” (it has taken me years to be able to call myself this) or if I do this because I’m just crazy and over analyzing things. Either way, writing is a permanent part of my life. It can start with a word, a picture, a sentence to spark an idea and in my mind it’s as if the piece has already been written and my brain is just waiting for me to put pen to paper or keyboard to Google Doc.

Just this piece of writing started with an idea I had to write about different genres of music. Now that I think about it, only I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about writing. But this, this is my passion. It consumes my time, my thoughts, my days and nights. I can’t remember a day that has gone by when I didn’t write.

The connection between writing and music is as present to me as the connection between doctors and hospitals, for me there can’t be one without the other. I have always idolized Billie Joe Armstrong’s song writing, the front man of Green Day has written almost every song on their 13 studio albums. While reading and rereading his lyrics when I was younger all I hoped for was to be able to express myself through writing as well and artistically as he did. Reading and rereading Green Day lyrics in the thin booklet that comes with CDs while the music played is what got me so interested in writing. As soon as I realized that these lyrics were words someone thought of and jotted down, maybe not even meaning for it to be a song, it was like a light bulb went off.

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I began writing any little phrase that came to mind, or feeling I had. Four full composition notebooks and a couple years later here I am still completely in aw when I listen to music or read the lyrics. I still remember the first green day song that amazed me lyrically, “When I Come Around.” At age 9 I wrote out the lyrics in my notebook and told my mom I had written them. Really? She said, “No” I admitted but I remember thinking “but I could write something like this.” Ever since then everything I have written has had meaning: a word, sentence, paragraph or essay. 10 years later, I’ve written so many essays, poems, and response papers I lost count. I don’t know if I’ve even come any closer to being as good a writer as Billie Joe Armstrong but I do know l will continue writing.

Doubt, Stress, And Genetic Professors

My original plan was to write about my experience abstaining from sugar this past week, which has also carried into this week, but I wasn’t able to do the research that I wanted to make it sound legitimate and knowledgeable in all the ways sugar is not so good for us. I didn’t have much time to do so because I spent all weekend trying to breathe life into a paper I’m writing about Hillary Clinton and her lack of situated ethos, or why people seem to really hate her.

This leads me to this Monday’s blog topic. HRC’s ethos and I wrestled all weekend, and well into this morning, which won me only four pages out of the ten I need to write. Basically I didn’t get much done and feel that I’ve wasted a ton of time that I could have spent studying for my other classes. That is rather beside the point here because what I really felt during my peer review in class today is that I’m not even capable of writing well, which is something I take some pride in. So if I can’t write, then what can I do?

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’m a Neuroscience major, but I’ve fought my entire way through it. I’m not naturally good at math, nor do I excel in the sciences. But the brain, and especially the mind, fascinates me. From a more practical standpoint, I also felt secure studying a hard science. What I do well is be stubborn and work hard. I’ve accepted my inability to maneuver through coursework with ease, but I’ve also accepted the challenge. However, today was a day where I questioned my major, my capabilities, my aspirations, and of course, my existence because stress isn’t as much fun if you don’t over do it.genetic-ethics1Today I thought a lot about whether I had made the right decision or if I should have chosen something that was better suited to my strengths. I still don’t have a single clue what I’ll be doing once I graduate, but struggling in my science classes makes me feel that I’m not cut out for graduate school, or anything at all really.

I caught my breath and stalled my brain, and made sure I didn’t complain to my friends. I bought myself an almond latte and listened to Frank Ocean on repeat while I did my homework. I thought about the work, instead of if I could do it or not. Then, I turned on lecture capture for a class I had missed, and listened to my genetics professor talk about an experience he had in graduate school.

He told the class how, after an exam, his professor called him to his office and told him that he shouldn’t be in graduate school because he had confused transcription with translation. After looking over the exam, my professor acknowledged his mistake, but let him know that he was aware of the difference. And as he walked out of his office he told him that he most certainly belonged in graduate school. My professor finished his story by reminding us to never let anybody, especially a stranger, tell us what we can’t and cannot do. The class applauded, and I too applaud.

He also didn’t fail to mention that his professor died prematurely of lung cancer. So, ease the mind and collect yourself. Don’t let the bastards get you down, and don’t be one either.

The Best Of Both Worlds

Being Mexican-American I get the best of both worlds.

Cheeseburgers and tacos de al pastor,

Pizza and tamales,

Sandwiches and tortas,

Hot chocolate and champurrado,

Popular music on B96 Radio and corridos on La Que Buena,

Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos,

Fourth of July, and Dia de Independencia,

Christmas and Dia de Reyes,

Christmas stockings and shoes under my bed,

The boogeyman and la llorona,

Twix, snickers and duvalin, mazapan,

Coca Cola and agua de horchata.

American & Mexican Flag

Continue reading “The Best Of Both Worlds”

Put Your Kilt On – It’s Time to Mosh

Alright guys, I am going to another concert this weekend. Who am I seeing, you may ask?

Dropkick-Murphys

Why, none other than the Dropkick Murphys! This timeless Irish punk rock band is back in Chicago on February 23rd at the Riviera Theatre, just in time for the city to begin prepping for its St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

I’m super stoked to get the opportunity to see them live for the second time. These guys are wildly energetic, fun, and foul-mouthed.

There is only one question left to be answered:

To mosh, or not to mosh?

Check out one of my personal faves by them, “The State of Massachusetts.”