The Objects Of My Distraction 

Over the past two months or so, I haven’t really written anything…I’ll be honest…I’ve been ‘neglecting’ my love of writing by not really writing much at all. I used to think that inspiration would just hit and I could write something that came to mind just like that, but that’s the problem…Inspiration doesn’t always strike at the right time, and right now is no exception. Yeah, I’m writing but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m inspired by some force other than myself…No, I’m just determined and motivated to make a change for the better.

I’ll be honest, I miss writing on this little blog of mine. I really do. You’re probably asking why I haven’t been writing and I have the answer…I found myself too busy with work/life/everything in between and unusually unmotivated to write at all…It’s honestly pretty terrifying, going from writing almost all the time, to finding yourself hardly writing at all. I find it kind of upsetting that I put something I adore on the back-burner as such, but I suppose that things you love have to become accustomed to the backseat sometimes.

Now that we’ve established that I’ve neglecting my passion of writing and what not (only to resurrect it back from the flames of its undying glory), let me just say that I’ve kept it in the dark for a good reason…A little thing called Life decided to struck like lightning and insisted on staying longer than expected. Through all the so-called torrents of rain and chaos that come with Life, there are always silver linings and rays of perpetual sunshine. Yes, I know what you’re thinking…Did she really just type that? Truth is, yes I did. It just came to mind and formed into words on this entry you’re reading, but yes it’s the honest-to-something truth.

These past three months sure have been an adventure to say the least. It’s safe to say that I now know what getting seven staples in the back of my head feels like, both put in and taken out…I know that just by that statement right there, the question of ‘What the hell?’ comes to mind, correct? Well, let me make a long, very fuzzy story short…And believe me, it was fuzzy because I don’t really remember it happening. Without sugar-coating any of this story, I fainted at work (how? the world may never know…), thus hitting the back of my head on the cold concrete that makes up the foundation of our lovely stockroom. Needless to say, I was rushed to the emergency room, not far from where I work, and my work day (and week for that matter) was cut short. But the tale will not be complete without adding all the parts that were not so fuzzy, right? Thankfully, I do remember everything after I fell, just not really the actual falling part. Go figure.

The worse part of the whole ordeal was the neck brace and endless waiting at the hospital. Yes, its standard procedure when dealing with head/possible neck injuries that the patient is fitted with a neck brace, which are very uncomfortable I might add. You did hear right…The worst part was the awkward neck brace and all the waiting around, somewhat, if not totally unsure…Not the actual process of finding out that you indeed need staples and that someone is actually going to be stapling the gash in your head closed with said staples. The ambulance ride to the hospital from the store where I work seemed to be somewhat of a blur. I remember being asked multiple times what happened by the EMS gentlemen before and after I entered the ambulance and honestly, I was starting to get frustrated and kind of pissed off…Yes, I indeed know my name, date of birth and all of that. Yes, I know where I work, that I indeed did faint, and that I am bleeding from a gash in my head. All of this I’m fully aware of, just not the full extent of the situation. The very reason why I’m going to the hospital. I can’t say that I blame them though, asking me those questions was just the standard, everyday protocol and I wasn’t really objecting to any of it…Mainly because I couldn’t, thanks to the neck brace and I just wanted to not move at all.

After a series of x-rays and such, I was informed that my head/neck/spine and any other parts of my body that would’ve been affected by the fall were totally fine, and that I could go home once the gash in my head was taken care of. Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, (and the fact that my loving mother and boyfriend were there, making me laugh and being the best distractions…) the only thing I felt was a little bit of pressure from the staples as they were going in. Yes, my mom and boyfriend were both there, keeping me company and listening to me complain about how much the neck brace sucked something awful. 10, maybe 15 minutes give or take some minutes later, I was on my merry little way. In pain nonetheless, with seven staples in my head and careful instructions on how to care for them and that I should be back in about 7 to 10 days to have them removed, but all in all, peachy keen…Peachy keen with a bloodstain on the neck of my pink and black flannel, a promise of whatever I wanted to eat and absolutely no explanation for why I fainted. Yes, you heard right. No explanation. Apparently, my blood work showed no levels of anything out of the ordinary and as far as everyone could see, I was perfectly ‘healthy’. Sitting here now writing this, I still have absolutely no idea what exactly made me faint that Tuesday in November, but it is safe to say that I’m one step closer to getting my health in check and under control, via the reason why ‘healthy’ was written as such.

Let’s face it: I’m not a shining beacon of perfect health. No one is. We all have our fair share of things that are wrong with us and I’m no exception…Now, enough of my droning on and back to what I was saying before…I’m one step closer to getting my health under control because, honestly, if it’s not one thing, it is indeed another. First let me just make a long story very, very short and cut to the chase. I have had asthma for as long as I can remember and I spent the majority of last year being told that I have/don’t have something called Crohn’s Disease, only to find out in November that I indeed do have the illness…

Please, before you continue reading this, don’t feel sorry for me. Please. I honestly hate when people feel sorry for me just because I have health issues. Everyone has health issues. I’m actually beginning to wish that everyone in this world could just be 100% sickness/illness/disease-free, that’s how sick I am of everyone having something wrong with them. People I know that could be used as poster children for perfect health suddenly have some kind of random health issue that you honestly never thought they would have. It’s just scary. The whole world just needs to be healthy already…Yes, I know I’m going on and on and what I’m asking for will probably never happen in this lifetime, but what the hell? It honestly doesn’t hurt to hope every once in a while.

…As I was saying before I went on about my feelings toward health, I have Crohn’s Disease. It’s honestly kind of weird because this around this time last year, I was dealing with it…I just had no idea what it was called and I seriously had my doubts that I even had the said illness. Once again, making a long story short, I had surgery on my stomach last year (one of the main reasons there were practically no entries for the months of May and April) and after that, I thought that I was pretty much cured of any and all stomach issues that had been plaguing me for some time, but of course that wasn’t the case. One minute, I was being told I had Crohn’s Disease and the next, I was being told I didn’t. As it turns out, every doctor looks at things differently because, well, no two doctors are the same. Sure, they practice the same thing, but let’s face it: They all have their own way of looking at things and giving their honest, educated opinions. Why was this such a big deal? My surgeon was completely convinced that I didn’t have the disease because everything came back negative after the surgery, and I honestly agreed with him. I wasn’t really going to second-guess someone who just spent roughly 5 or 6 hours cutting and sewing my stomach back into its correct state of being. My gastroenterologist was still convinced that I had the disease…And sure enough, some odd months later and almost a year after my surgery, I find out that I, do indeed, have Crohn’s Disease…Apparently, I had the intestine-inflaming illness the entire time, the fact that I needed surgery just masked the fact that I had it. Go figure. If it isn’t one thing, it surely is another.

Steering away from all the negativity, it’s safe to say that trying to keep my health in check hasn’t yet stopped me from putting my other passion on the back-burner. Music. Yes, if you’ve had the chance to read one of my many random music posts, you’d know how much I love music and love to write about it. Call it nerdy or whatever you want, but once again, I don’t care. Music and writing are my passions and that is that. These past three months, I’ve found that I’ve definitely broadened my horizons on the music front. I’m always trying to listen to something new whenever I can and now is no exception. There are a lot of bands that I’ve fallen in love with and some that I’m re-discovering, but there are two that I’ve found myself listening to a whole lot lately: The Damned Things and Florence + The Machine. I would go on and on about both musicians and other musicians that I’ve just recently fallen in love with or have been involved with for some time now, but I feel like I need a bigger space to express such findings…Which I fully intend to sooner or later. ūüôā

There are more than likely a lot of other things that have been going on in Noelle’s little world of chaos and excitement…I just can’t for the life of me think of anything else that could be of any real importance right now or appropriately fit in with everything I’ve said so far. Granted, I’ve written things of no significance before and probably pieced different topics together hundreds of times, but still. I’m trying to make a change for the better this year, no matter how cheesy it sounds. As I’ve said before, I love writing and I honestly don’t want to see it become charred on the back-burner again. It just wouldn’t be cool, not one bit. Fear not, possible followers of this blog, there will most definitely be more to read. Without a doubt, there will be more to substance on this little piece of sanity I call my blog.

These are the objects of my distraction…Plently more where those came from, and finding more and more everyday.

Oh, That Shining Realization 

A couple of months ago, well sometime last year (if you want to be critically technical and correct) I wrote about how there was the unbreakable camaraderie that my friends and I shared some long time ago. I now realize that maybe it‚Äôs better that bond decided to break.

I honestly think that if I was still friends with the majority of the individuals I was some now 6 or 7 years ago, I would amount to nothing. Yeah, that sounds a bit harsh but, that’s just the way I see it. I think that if we’d all kept in touch, it would either be the greatest thing in the world or the greatest personal tragedy. As much as I used to love them all, I think it would have been a complete downfall.

You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about people I used to love so dear and care about almost with my life so bitterly, and I have the perfect answer. I’ve seen the kind of people they’ve become. I know they say everyone changes and indeed everyone does, but it seems to be so different now. Looking back at who we all used to, and who we are now, it’s safe to say that I’m relieved to know that we’ve lost our hold on each other. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I don’t need them. I don’t need certain people around me just to get through my every day, just to breathe. Sure, there are sometimes when it could hurt, the fact that they’re not here mainly, or where I miss them, but I then I wonder…Do they feel the same? If I had to take a good, educated guess, I would have to say no. I often wonder what it would be like, if we all remained friends, if nothing changed at all, but then I realize that I don’t think I would have it any other way.

It‚Äôs better that they‚Äôre not in my life anymore. It‚Äôs better that they‚Äôre just fleeting memories. It‚Äôs not like we would talk like we did back then, when things seemed endless, almost untouchable. Some 2 years ago, when we were in a sense ‚Äėreunited‚Äô, there was this feeling of emptiness in the worse kind of way between us all. Granted, the circumstances weren‚Äôt exactly pleasing, but still. It was the greatest shock of my natural life so far that day, to be struck with the news that impaired me to feel and to be among the ones I once felt about so dear.

After all the useless calculating and grinding of memories and thoughts in my head, it all comes down to the one solid fact: I’m so glad I don’t associate with the people I used to. I think that if I did, then I wouldn’t be the type of person I am today. I think I would more than likely become the type of person I don’t really like, someone who I honestly couldn’t see myself being. For what might be better and at the same time possibly worse, I’m who I am and no so-called friend can change any of that. I’m just happy I realized that before I started to actually care too much.

Oh, that shining realization…Better late then never.

Newsflash From “Heaven”: I’ve Descended Into “Hell”

There’s something that makes every one of us on this Earth question things that we don’t understand, can’t understand or just simply refuse to…Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that it’s safe to say that the concept of religion has always been something that’s second-guessed or questioned.

And if I question that, then what kind of person does that make me?

I honestly never used to question religion. It just wasn‚Äôt something that was questioned. You just go with it, and think that it‚Äôs something you personally believe. After awhile, it‚Äôs all you‚Äôre willing to believe. No one can change your mind; your heart is set on that way of life. It can turn you into something you‚Äôre truly not, while on the other hand can bring a whole new perspective on things. Which ever you may choose, there‚Äôs always questions that will arise that are going to make some wonder and others won‚Äôt even pay attention to.

I first started to question religion, being the foundation for my day-in, day-out education at school. I‚Äôd been at a Catholic school from Kindergarten to the first half of the 6th grade, and being at a Catholic school, I‚Äôd have to go to church every Friday with the rest of my class. There wasn‚Äôt an option of not going, and I honestly didn‚Äôt mind. We would be rewarded if we were good, anyway. I remember in Kindergarten, I literally thought the priest at my school‚Äôs church was a cannibal. I literally thought that when he said the ‚Äúbody and blood‚ÄĚ, he really did mean the body and blood of someone. How crazy is that? Really?

What kind of person does that make me?

I began to ask questions about the religion that I‚Äôd learned about five days a week and sometimes on Sundays. Whether the questions made sense or not, I have no idea. They probably made absolutely no sense, the reason why no one could give me a straight answer. The questions made all the sense to me though. If Jesus died for everyone‚Äôs sins, why do people still sin? I distinctly remember that was one of the questions I‚Äôd asked. Yeah, a pretty stupid question. All my teachers probably thought it was, or maybe they thought I was crazy or something. I look back on that now, and think that it was a pretty foolish, but it also makes me realize that any other outrageous question I had would be let right in with all the eagerness, only to be shot down for being utterly stupid.

Now what does all this grade-school reminiscing have to do with my feelings toward religion now? It proves that there are questions that either can‚Äôt be answered or are being pushed under the rug. Let‚Äôs face it, who wants to believe in something that can‚Äôt be answered or proven? I don‚Äôt mean to judge anyone here. What the next person believes may not be what I believe, but that doesn‚Äôt mean I‚Äôm gonna jump down their throats about it. That would just be ignorant, and I absolutely hate ignorance. People are more than entitled to have their own beliefs and opinions, despite what other individuals think or say. I firmly believe in that, and truly have the utmost respect for that fact.

I would be much more comfortable knowing that what I’m believing in is, well, worth believing in. Sometimes, I believed that there possibly could be a God, but there are things that come in the way me truly accepting that fact. There are facts and reasonings that are so hypocritical and no way near logical. Say one thing and it doesn’t add up to what’s being said next…Yeah, that makes a hell of a lot of sense…I myself have a hard time agreeing and believing everything I hear because it all just doesn’t sit right with me as a whole. I suppose somethings could be plausible, but that still leaves others unaccounted for and to me, that isn’t good enough.

What kind of person does that make me?

I’ve been asking that question all though this post…What kind of person does that make me? Honestly, it makes me a goddamn human being. Most would say that questions and questioning isn’t the way to go because it will either get you nowhere or everywhere you don’t want to be, but I don’t find that the case. People don’t know if there is indeed a ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ because no one has ever been there. Some are so fixated on something they’ve been feed throughout the years or what have you, and can’t comprehend that maybe there isn’t anything after you die. Maybe there is just nothingness, a creeping sense of darkness that’s just out of our reach with every passing second. Maybe not. ..Does death scare me? Damn right it does. Do I believe in something after death? I’m not sure. There could be something amazing beyond anything we’ve ever seen above and something else amazing in quite another sense of the word way down below, but who am I to know? Exactly. I have absolutely no idea and I think it’s best that way.

If people really (and I mean really truly) knew what happens when you die, they wouldn’t take any risks. If people knew what happened when you die, they wouldn’t be living. The entire point of living is taking risks and taking whatever comes at you, not matter the speeds or intensities. I think that knowing where you’re going to go when you die, totally dictates one’s risk-taking and therefore the entire concept of Life. Some people live that way already out of faith or whatever you choose, and that is entirely their choice. I have absolutely nothing against people with healthy convictions in what they believe in. I think it’s the best thing in the world, please just don’t try to press it on me. While some completely discreet and totally polite about brandishing their beliefs, not pressuring others at all, there are other people that think they know everything that the afterlife has to offer (or religion in general for that matter), down to every detail and I personally don’t believe any of it. Yeah, that probably sounds pretty bad, but notice the things I’ve said so far. My brutal, honest opinion.

I honestly don’t believe what people have to say about what it will be like when you die because they don’t know, they’ve never been there. No one knows, no ones ever been there. Unless of course with the exception of a near-death experience, that’s the closest thing to the afterlife you can get without feeling death unfortunately pull you out of this natural life permanently. Other than that exception, I don’t believe.

I love how the subject goes from the disbelief concerning religion to the disbelief an afterlife. They’re two different subjects that sometimes (maybe more often than none) become intertwined and discussed on the same playing field. I suppose that this is no exception to the conversations on the subjects that came before it. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I honestly don’t know.

When all is said and done, I just don’t believe…Yeah, it might sound like I’m just another teenager (technically I’m not really a teenager anymore, but whatever) who listens to death metal and is ‘brainwashed’ by the ‘Satanic’ lyrics, but I’m here to clarify. While I do listen to my fair shares of black/death/heavy metal, my musical preferences in no way impact my views on religion or the afterlife, as which was mentioned earlier…Or rather there isn’t anything good enough for me to believe in. That probably sounds pretty arrogant and whether arrogance plays a part at all or not, it’s true. I don’t think it’s that there’s nothing good enough for me to believe but actually nothing I feel comfortable really believing in. Hopefully there will come a time when I find something that I indeed feel comfortable enough with to believe in without questioning or second-guessing. Until then, only time will tell.

So I ask you now, as I’ve been asking throughout this entire post…

What kind of person does that make me?

Newsflash from “Heaven”: I’ve surely descended into “Hell”.

The Nerve/The Legend

Something just came to my attention. Well, a while ago actually…I’m not sure if it matters or if it’s that big of a deal, but I think it proves a fact. People will gravitate to¬†someone after something very tragic happens. It’s almost like no one pays that much attention to that person, and then when something unexpected happens, they flock to the scene. It seems like that’s sort of what happened with late actor Heath Ledger. My friend brought it up, and it had me thinking a bit.

You’re probably asking how I came to this realization…I saw the movie Lords of Dogtown for the first time, and my friend brought it up before the movie started.

As bad as it might sound, it is true. After people learned that Heath Ledger had passed, it seemed like all of a sudden people were huge fans of him. It seemed like everyone immediately recognized him as the Joker in The Dark Knight, completely forgetting about the movies he’d played in before, probably because they didn’t know the movies he’d played in prior to The Dark Knight. Focus only on a movie everyone knows, instead of the ones that got him the start to be able to play in his most well-known picture. That’s original.

With all honesty involved here, I first fell in love with Heath Ledger as an actor when I saw 10 Things I Hate About You. I didn’t know that it was a modern adaptation of The Taming Of The Shrew¬†until I’d seen it a couple times and found out from my sister, but that didn’t really make a difference. He¬†played the character of Patrick Verona perfectly, and I¬†don’t think the movie would’ve been the same without him¬†as the rebel who ends up having a little of a soft side.

The next movie I’d seen Ledger in was The Patriot, as a part of a school project in the 8th grade. I’m pretty sure I’d missed the beginning of the movie because I wasn’t in school when it started, but I’d seen the rest of it. His role as Gabriel Martin, a patriot’s son, is a far-cry from that of Verona in 10 Things¬†but that’s the entire idea of acting. I distinctly remember that some of the girls sitting in front of me thought that he wasn’t bad-looking, which honestly, he wasn’t. They thought this for most of the movie until…They found out that he was one of the main characters in the controversial, award-winning film Brokeback Mountain. I can’t say that I wasn’t shocked upon learning that Heath Ledger was¬†to play opposite of Jake Gyllenhaal in the particular role he was in, but I didn’t lose any respect for him. Yeah, I was pretty surprised and what have you, but whether you’re in a provocative role or not, something new to you or not, it doesn’t change you as a person. You’re still the same person once you leave the set of whatever movie you’re shooting or whatever it is you’re doing. Some people, I think, don’t understand that.

Another Ledger film, that I still haven’t seen all of, is Candy, filmed in his native of Australia. From what I saw of it, the movie isn’t hard to follow, but is very raw and real. The story of Candy revolves around the complicated and deadly love between artist Candy¬†and poet Dan. Their love that was once strong and stable, gives way to Dan’s heroin¬†addiction and swirls into something they never saw coming. Like any movie that focuses on more of the real world than some are willing to accept, it really makes you think about how some people live their lives and what happens when some kind of dependency¬†ruins a part of them or in the process, destroys someone else. The other film I still haven’t managed to watch all of is A Knight’s Tale.¬†I swear, it’s been on a million times and I’ve never seen the whole thing. A Knight’s Tale,¬†inspired by¬†The Canterbury Tales,¬†came out¬†after 10 Things and¬†seems to be¬†one of the movies other than¬†The Dark Knight that people seem to recognize him in. Don’t get me wrong, The Dark Knight displays one of Ledger’s best performances via the Oscar that he won, but there was more that led up to that point. While Candy shows¬†real life¬†in a¬†present-day, on the receiving end of an addict in love with the two very different things in his life, A Knight’s Tale shows real life in a completely different time, on the receiving end of a squire who fills his dead¬†master’s shoes, literally, with his jousting talents.

The last movie I saw Heath Ledger in was, as¬†with¬†almost everyone in the entire world, The Dark Knight. Before I’d seen the movie, I heard a lot about how the classic villain wasn’t the same criminal that was portrayed by¬†Jack Nicholson or that of¬†Cesar Romero¬†before¬†him.¬†Every actor has¬†their own¬†way of portraying characters and Ledger’s rendering¬†was no exception. While Nicholson and Romero’s interpretations of The Joker seemed clean and well-kept (for a criminal) as far as make-up and clothing go, Ledger’s version¬†was more gritty and rough, via the smudged¬†make-up and cleverly stylish mismatched clothes. Out of all three actors’ perspectives on the classic character and his deranged nature, it seems like Ledger’s interpretation was unexpected. The very core of his character bleeds with the corruption and insanity of a society driven under, something that previous outlooks didn’t display in such the manner that you get chills down your spine.

Most people are quick to believe that The Dark Knight is the Australian actor’s last movie before his untimely passing…and they’re right for the most part. The fantasy film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, would have been Ledger’s final finished movie, but everything doesn’t always work out how it should…Oddly enough, the movie still manages to work out. The main character, Tony, is able to go travel through¬†this imaginarium¬†(via the title)¬†and as he travels, his image changes. Upon Ledger’s untimely departure, the role of Tony was taken by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, working out perfectly since Tony’s character looks different every time¬†he goes through the imaginarium. Even though the film didn’t finish with Ledger fully¬†present, I would still like to see it for myself and see how good it is.

The whole time I watched Lords of Dogtown, I wasn’t thinking about the comment my friend made beforehand, but how I would’ve like to live in California in the 1970’s. I could honestly picture summer, the sun all around, watching people skateboard in empty swimming pools, so care-free without a worry in sight. Aside from the fact I was thinking about summer in California, I felt pretty educated because I honestly never knew where the sport/culture of skateboarding started. I had really never thought about it, and after the movie ended, I still felt proud that I knew how it all started. It’s pretty amazing how something so simple as a way to kill time could be the next big sport. I was also¬†amazed¬†to know that the movie¬†was written by Stacy Peralta…The Stacy Peralta. One of the three individuals that started the¬†skateboarding movement and went on to¬†become a legend. That definitely made me smile. Just learning and knowing how the legends actually became legends, it was 100% worth it.

Seeing Dogtown was (as I just said)¬†definitely worth it. Not only did it feature the beloved and missed Heath Ledger, but it also showcased the origin of how skateboarding started and how the legends came to be. That’s the beauty about movies sometimes, you learn little (or big) facts that you never knew before. May Mr. Ledger rest in peace and the heart & soul of skateboarding live on.

Life is a joyride of non-stop ups and downs. Live every day and regret nothing.

A New Appreciation

It seems like it’s been “forever” since I’ve written something music-related. But it honestly hasn’t, it’s just a new year.

I have a new-found respect for music. I have a new-found respect for bands I’d either never heard of, or wasn’t a big fan of before. For some unknown reason, I’m drawn to bands I wasn’t drawn to before, and honestly never thought I’d like. Things definitely changed. For the better.

It’s safe to say that I really like Flyleaf now. I mean, I never fully got into them in 2005 when their self-titled CD came out and everyone seemed to fall in love with them. Strangely, I just didn’t. I’ll admit, I’d fallen in love with “Fully Alive” and “Breathe Today”, but never got into them as much as I would some other band. Call it the rebel in me, but it just wasn’t something I was listening to. Now, that my musical tastes have evolved, along with the help of their new album, I have a massive amount of respect for them. 

I honestly had no idea about their new CD, Memento Mori, until I saw the video for “Again”, and saw the CD on iTunes. When I heard the beginning of the song, I immediately fell in love with it. As it progressed, I fell even deeper in love. Lead singer Lacey Mosley’s voice is just incredible. Her vocals are a lot cleaner and easier to understand. She’s improved on the vocal front, and paired with the rawness of the instruments, it’s just amazing. The whole album is swirling around the need for freedom, while still incorporating their faith and religion in every intricate lyric.

I’m not usually a fan of Christian rock bands, but Flyleaf is definitely an exception. For some reason, I always thought that Christian bands would sing about how their religion was better than every other religion, but that’s not the case with Flyleaf. I guess that’s what I get for assuming. Made an ass out of myself.

Obviously, I’m not as keen on the concept of religion as the next person might be, but music is music, and if it’s good, then it’s good. It honestly shouldn’t matter what type of faith is put into it, it all goes through your earbuds/headphones the same way anyway.

Music is music, and it’s definitely safe to say that I’m a new-found fan of Flyleaf.

The next band on my rather lengthy appreciation list is another female-fronted band, known to the majority of the world as Paramore.

It is extremely safe to say that I love Paramore again. I first fell in love with them when I saw the video for “Pressure”. I honestly had no idea who they were at the time, but the song just grabbed me. I then fully recognized them when I  heard the song “Emergency”. One of my friends bought me the Warped Tour Compilation 2006 CD, and that song was featured on it. I instantly fell victim to Hayley Williams’s one-of-a-kind voice, and the band’s all around sound.

After their debut, All We Know Is Falling was Riot!, and once Riot! came out, it seemed like everyone was listening to them and saying that they were a Paramore fan. Now, I have absolutely nothing wrong with someone who listens to Paramore because I do too, but things like that aggravate me. With the songs “Misery Business” and “Crushcrushcrush” being what everyone was listening to, I stopped listening to Paramore for a while. Call it stupid, or dissing the band, but I needed to be away from what everyone else was currently listening to.

Despite the fact I stopped listening to Paramore for a while, there’s no sure-fire way to ever stop listening forever. Needless to say, it’s kind of impossible not to listen to Paramore, especially since their newest release, Brand New Eyes.

Paramore prove that they’re so much more than the band they were in the beginning. Having dealt with conflicts, and the near break-up of the band, they’re definitely stronger, and the music on Brand New Eyes totally shows it. Hayley’s voice is better than ever, fitting perfectly with the new-found aggression and strength. The videos for “Ignorance” and “Brick By Boring Brick” should be good demonstrations. Proving all the more that Paramore have grown up not only as a band, but as individuals as well.

I congratulate Paramore on finding their brand new eyes and only becoming stronger. Music is music whether you accept it or not.

The next band I have a huge amount of appreciation for is hardcore act, A Skylit Drive.

I had never heard of Skylit until earlier last year. I found them courtesy of iTunes, and figured I’d check them out. Upon my first listen, the element that surprised and grabbed me the most was lead singer Michael “Jag” Jagmin’s voice. His rather high-pitched voice incorporates with drummer Cory La Quay’s screams beautifully. I think if his voice sounded any different, then it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be A Skylit Drive.

I immediately found myself falling into a trance listening to their EP, She Watched The Sky. All 7 songs are amazing, and their full-length debut, Wires…And The Concept of Breathing, released in 2008, is no exception. Everything about Wires is crushing and brutal, while is managing to be incredibly crafted and beautiful. I find myself listening to “Knights Of The Round”, “Wires…And The Concept Of Breathing”, “I’m Not A Thief, I’m A Treasure Hunter”, and “All It Takes For Your Dreams To Come True” countless times a day.

Their newest release Adelphia, has a very different sound than Wires but it only proves that A Skylit Drive can break out of their genre a little and still create something hard-hitting and original. Jag’s vocals are clearly a lot cleaner and seem to be more present than they were on Sky and Wires. The vocals were obviously always there, but now they seem to be the main focus on the album, rather than Cory’s screams combined with the clean vocals.

Despite the mixed reviews I’ve read about Adelphia, my mind hasn’t changed about the band or the CD. The band is truly original, and Adelphia is genius. Every song is its own entity; no two songs sound the same, making them a stand-out among most bands today. The song “Prelude To A Dream” makes me swoon, and “Those Cannons Could Sink A Ship” and “Eva The Carrier” make me attempt to sing along. Not very good, I might add. The beginning of “Prelude” is just amazing. Jag’s voice is so soft you almost can’t hear what he’s singing, and then the screaming comes to proceed into a damn-good song. The lyrics in “Cannons” and “Eva” are both infectious and you’re kind of entitled to sing along because they’re so catchy.

While I think it was pretty hard to top Wires, it’s safe to say that Adelphia does come close. I love Wires, but I’m beginning to fall in love with Adelphia. Only time will tell which one I end up loving more.

Kudos to A Skylit Drive. Music is music, and I’m happy to say that I’m a fan.

The next band on my pretty lengthy kudos list is Every Time I Die.

I’d more than likely seen them a million times before on TV or something. I just never knew who they were. I remember I’d seen the videos for the songs “Kill The Music” and “The New Black” on FUSE and I thought nothing of it. “The New Black” was featured on the same Warped Tour Compilation 2006 as was Paramore’s “Emergency”, I just don’t think I ever took the time to listen. I figured that they were just like any other band out there. Every song sounded like a carbon copy of itself. Once again, that’s exactly what I get for assuming. Made an ass out of myself yet again.

This new-found liking for Every Time I Die came accompanied with their new CD, New Junk Aesthetic. The first song I’d ever fully listened to by them was “Pretty Dirty”, and that song caught me. With all honesty, despite the fact that I had the song on my iPod and all, I forgot about them once I erased the contains and started from scratch. The song that truly hooked and held me was “We’rewolf”. The overall song itself was unlike what I was used to hearing. The lyrics were twisted into some kind of new perfection, and Keith Buckley’s voice was actually pretty refreshing.

I knew absolutely nothing about New Junk Aesthetic until I’d heard the song “Roman Holiday”, and read an article in the November issue of Revolver. Leave it to Revolver to fill me in on things in the music world I more-than-often miss. In the article, it talked about how the CD had a more rock-and-roll type of sound as oppose to their previous releases.

Their debut EP, The Burial Plot Bidding War, as well as their full-length debut Last Night In Town, had the hardcore sound they became famous for. While the albums that followed, Hot Damn!, Gutter Phenomenon, and The Big Dirty still radiated that hardcore/metalcore sound, they also incorporated a Southern-rock tinged sound in the guitar department, and Keith proved to have a killer singing voice, in addition to his signature screaming. Compared to their other albums, Aesthetic is definitely more rock-and-roll, but that’s not a bad thing at all. It still shows how talented they are as musicians, and that they still have the “hardcore/metalcore” sound people usually associate them with, just with a different kind of intensity.

Regardless of how New Junk Aesthetic sounds, where it be rock-and-roll, hardcore, or a strange combination of both, there’s no doubting that it’s well-crafted, with flawless instruments and Keith’s better-than-ever vocals. There’s also no doubting that it’s just down-right kickass. Every song is well pieced together, where one dims off in brilliance, the other picks up the light not shy of a few seconds after. It’s honestly no surprise that I probably go from “Wanderlust”, “White Smoke”, “Buffalo 666”, and “Goddamn Kids These Days” and back again in a 40 minute class period of gym. Those songs alone are that awesome and badass.

I would like to congratulate Every Time I Die for being kickass, and for once again reminding me that you shouldn’t judge a band before you actually listen to them.

The last but definitely not least band on my finally finished, very lengthy appreciation list is the Danish act Volbeat.

Once again, with all brutal honesty accounted for here, I had no idea that Volbeat was even a band until I saw something about them in the back of one of my many issues of Revolver magazine. I didn’t look back on it until I found myself looking for a new and interesting band to listen to, which wasn’t until a couple months ago. Last October actually. It’s honestly kind of weird saying ‘last’ October because it still feels like 2009, but that’s not correct. It’s 2010. But enough about the fact that it’s a new year, back to what makes Volbeat original and one-of-a-kind. 

Like the majority of new bands I’ve listened to, I had no idea what to expect when it came to Volbeat. I didn’t assume I had with Every Time I Die or Flyleaf, as previously stated. I just listened…and I found myself in almost a whole other niche in time. Everything about their sound resonates the old-school music that came before them, and that’s not a bad thing at all. They’re like a violent blend of Metallica and The Misfits, along with a splash of Johnny Cash and Elvis mixed in. I think that most people aren’t drawn to the old-school sound because nowadays it seems like it’s all about the next big sub-genre.

When I first listened to Volbeat, I was taken aback (in the purest contradiction of those words) by frontman Michael Poulsen’s voice. The deepness of his voice sort of reminded me of the vocals of Type O Negative lead, Peter Steele, even though their vocal styles are no way near the same. Despite the partial coincidence, his voice is the most unique thing I’ve heard in a while. His voice wraps around the crushing drums and heavy guitars perfectly, only in a way that he can. Volbeat wouldn’t be the same kind of band if his vocals were different.  

Their latest release, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood is just amazing in every way possible. Amazing is a word I use a lot when talking about music, and when I say it’s amazing, it truly is. Everything about it is fresh and original, while still having enough venom and bite to surprise and entice. It’s not your typical CD by a band that’s sporting today’s latest sub-genre, nothing even remotely close…

Most bands today, with the exception of a great few, are afraid to break away from the genre they’re currently in and take a chance. I have an extreme amount of respect for bands/musicians that break the mold, while still managing to stay true to their signature sound. It’s like, their signature sound combined with something new and innovative, to create something new that’s all their own. The bands that refuse to go out of the box, and crush the hell out of that mold, seem like they’re either scared to lose fans or afraid of what the so-called “scene” will think. They’re not living up to their full potential.

…Volbeat isn’t one of those bands. If you thought their brilliant, fresh sound was only on Gangsters & Blood, then you’re wrong. Their debut CD, The Strength/The Sound/The Songs released in 2005, displays the same kind of bone-breaking mix of rockabilly, metal, and punk, giving Volbeat their one-of-a-kind sound. I honestly never thought about what it would sound like, mixing three different types of music that all had similarities, but now I’m happy to say that I know exactly what it sounds like. Strength/Sound/Songs is a 15-song joyride that’s just as explosive, as it is in-your-face. It has the same brutality as Gangsters & Blood, only it’s more gritty and rough around the edges. Their follow-up, 2007’s Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil is no exception to the originality and impressive sound. According to my iPod, I’ve listened to the song “Radio Girl” off Rebel/Devil over 30 times, and something tells me that it’s true. It’s a great song; the whole album is pretty great.

Out of all three releases, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood is the best. When I first heard “Still Counting”, the first Volbeat song I’d heard…ever, I was in complete shock and awe because of how incredible it sounded. The first thing I heard was the almost Southern sound of the guitar, then the drums came in to coincide with it perfectly. With the assistance of Michael’s branded vocals, the song then totally does a 360 and guitars and drums are leading a full-scale assault on your ears. The title track, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” and “Back To Prom”, almost remind me of the 1950s’. Just the whole feel and sound of the songs echo back to a time vintage cars and gorgeous pin-up girls. “Hallelujah Goat” and “Wild Rover Of Hell” beckon to the metal sound that came before them, executed in perfect heart-pounding harmony. “Find That Soul” reminds me of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I honestly don’t know why, but the feel of the song reminds me of the part in the movie where Santa is confronted by the Boogieman, and then the song proceeds to play and that’s when you know that Santa isn’t going anywhere. Call me crazy, but that’s what I thought of when I first heard the song. No matter what the song reminds you of, it’s awesome nonetheless. As is all of Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood.

I take my hat of to Volbeat for being the most original thing this way out of Denmark. Music is music, and I’m without a doubt a Volbeat fan.

I’m happy that my musical tastes changed because if they didn’t, I don’t think I’d be listening to the great bands I just expressed my appreciation for. I’m happy it changed for the better.

Music is the safest haven. When the rain falls too hard to think and the snow falls too lightly to hear a whisper, you’ll always have its comfort.

Procrastination At Its Finest?

Procrastination. It’s completely normal. Almost like human nature. Almost, not quite yet. People become preoccupied with a hundred different things at once or something called laziness takes over and what needs to get done won’t be finished ’til the last-minute. Sadly, I have succumb to dreaded procrastination more than once, but for some reason I think that streak of surrendering is somehow coming to an end.

I’ll be completely honest: I’m not a big fan of research papers. The first research paper I had to do was last school year, and it wasn’t that fun. Being a new school year now, I have to do another required paper. Thankfully, this paper is easier and not due at the¬†end of the year, as with the latter. There is a topic, not a thesis. An author, not an issue that we agree or disagree with.

Needless to say, this year’s research paper is on an author of our choosing or one that we were reading. Chosen by the student, nonetheless. It seemed like most people picked the first author that came to their head, like they didn’t really think about. Their brains just said ‘write down this name and pass the paper to the next person.’ I had no idea what author I would do a paper on. I had about five lined up, with obviously one being the victor. Unsure which author should be cut from my list, I chose two. Yeah, that probably sounds like a hassle or that I’m being a ‘teacher’s pet’ or something, but that’s not it at all. I thought the only way to get some kind of point across would be to do two papers on two completely different authors.

I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by the reactions I got when I was asked by fellow students what author I was doing my paper on. It’s not like the answer was different each time, it was the same every time. Dante Alighieri and Hunter S. Thompson. I got this bleak, almost dumbfounded look each and every time. Granted, I didn’t fully know about Dante until I saw something on the History Channel. I knew that he wrote Inferno, but didn’t know THAT much about him. As with Thompson, I didn’t know he wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas¬†until¬†I saw the movie starring the beloved Johnny Depp. I did a little research after seeing the movie, thus finding even more about him. So, I guess I can’t really say that I’m surprised, but it sort of just shows that either I read too much or other people don’t read at all.

If anything really surprised me, though, it would have to be the fact that I’ve already gotten the majority of the information on my idols. Which isn’t something I usually do. For my previous research paper, I procrastinated and I felt like it wasn’t the best I could write, or write and research. I just flat-out wasn’t very happy with it, and I actually want to be happy with the things I write. Whether it be recreational creativity or not. The entire reason why I’m starting this paper a month early. Call it me breaking the curse of procrastination or not, but my motivation is probably at its best right now. I can’t say the same thing for volleyball, though. My motivation for that is still up in the air.

My motivation for writing definitely doesn’t lack foundation and the breakdown.

Tear It Right Out Of Your Chest

I’m beginning to think that either there’s something wrong with other people, or there’s something wrong with me. I know I’ve already established how people can be today, but for some unknown reason, this has me thinking, and asking:

Does the music I listen to suck, or are people just ignorant?…

I’ve been reading¬†music reviews¬†lately on iTunes, which is very rare for me. I hardly ever read reviews because I don’t usually think twice about reading what other people have to say about music. Like I’ve said before, I listen to the kind of music I want to, and don’t pay attention to what other people think about what I listen to. For some reason, I’m partially drawn to the bottom of the screen, below the tracks and recommended albums, where the criticizing reviews ominously rest.

Don’t ask me why I started reading reviews because I don’t know why. It first started when I pulled up Aiden’s Knives. My eyes instantly seemed to travel to the bottom of the page, to what people had written. All of them were pretty mixed. Some saying it was a great CD, others saying it was horrible. More people seemed to choose the latter compared to good.¬†In my honest opinion, it is a short CD, but it’s not bad. There are some songs¬†I can do without, but the ones I can’t do without are really good. The release of the album didn’t¬†weaken my liking for the band. I’m still a fan. Sure,¬† Knives¬† is different from their past three releases, but it proves that sound doesn’t really matter. It’s still Aiden.¬†That sort of made me think a little bit, then I remembered that everyone has their own opinion and are totally entitled to it.

The next attraction at the iTunes amusement park that I visited just last month was AFI’s newest release, Crash Love. I saw it on iTunes the day it came out and wanted to see what other people were saying about it. I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about it. Even though I’d already listened to the whole album, I still had the awkward desire to see what other people had thought about it. My eyes again, trailed down to where the reviews were. The reviews, just like with Knives, were mixed. This surprised me. Crash Love¬† was anticipated for a while, and I didn’t think it would get the reviews it did. Granted, just because something is greatly anticipated doesn’t mean everyone will find it good. Some said it was good, great even, while others didn’t like it, and¬†were begging for the “old” AFI to come back. I guess this is how some people react to change: They either love it or hate it. I personally think Crash Love¬†is pretty good, different from anything they’ve ever done, but still good. It’s still AFI.

I think this is what truly got me thinking and asking. The last attraction at the iTunes amusement park that really, really surprised me, was Lady GaGa’s The Fame. Once again with my brutal honesty, I’m a new fan to Lady GaGa. I’d first seen the video for “Poker Face”, and didn’t watch the whole thing, but then I fell in love when I saw “Just Dance”. I didn’t think I’d like an artist that was so different from what I usually listened to. It’s just feel-good music. Like the two times before, I found myself overly curious to what other people had to say. Let the mixed reviews pour down like the hardest rain.¬†Like the Crash Love and¬†Knives reviews before it,¬†there were a lot of positive reviews, but at the same time, there were an equal number of not-so-positive ones. It seemed to me like most of them were trying to compare her to other musicians before her, which sort of annoyed me, but that’s¬†always bound to happen. People compare bands/musicians to others all the time, and like I¬†said before, everyone’s entitled to their¬†own opinion. Whether I happen to agree or not. ¬†Needless to say, none of these reviews changed the way I felt about this newly found, infectious music. I’m still a newly born Lady GaGa fan.

Right at that moment, I was asking myself, Does the music I listen to suck, or are people just stupid? Like I’ve said probably a million times over, opinions don’t sway me, especially when it comes to music. I’m just not moved by what people have to say, but reading these reviews on three artists that I listen to, kind of had me thinking…And I finally came up with a pretty obvious, maybe way too obvious answer: The music I listen to doesn’t suck. Sometimes people can say things that lack common sense, but¬†they’re more than welcome to state their opinions because they have every right to. Plain and simple. I had the thought in my head without really knowing why I was thinking it. I’d already had the answer. It just needed to be confirmed. I think it’s better when thoughts aren’t over analyzed.

Tear it right out of your chest. To be loved. To be criticized. Take a bow.