What’s Up? (3/2/16)

Vaporwave
I’m falling into a vaporwave rabbit hole. What the hell is vaporwave? Good question. Honestly, I don’t even think the internet exactly knows what it is. It’s a genre of music and art that has evolved greatly from its origin point, and in a short span of time. It’s defined largely by 80’s and 90’s nostalgia and commercialism,  and whether artists are embracing or criticizing that differs from case to case. One of my favorite artists used to go by the name Saint Pepsi; his album Hit Vibes is a collection of sampled funk/disco beats, sometimes slowed down, sometimes chopped together — not unlike what a low rent Daft Punk record might sound like, and I don’t mean that insultingly. One of the more popular tracks on the album, “Cherry Pepsi” is just a slowed down version of “BYOB” by Sister Sledge, but looped in an infectious way that required a lot of talent. I know first hand that sampling music is harder than one would think.

Still, as I think about why these stolen funky / elevator music tunes from the past are so great to listen to, I think it’s more about welcoming nostalgic/commercial feelings into yourself and rejecting them. Listening to Cherry Pepsi doesn’t make me want to drink a Cherry Pepsi, in fact, associating the word “Pespi” with a musician takes the power of Pepsi branding away entirely. A fun Pepsi commercial will only make me want to listen to Saint Pepsi’s music, instead of pursuing the product. Likewise the echoey songs of MACROSS and Master Stryker may remind me of 90’s shopping malls, VHS rental stores, and the good old Playstation and Nintendo 64 days – but carrying those memories in your pocket via Mp3’s completely removes the power that nostalgia has over you. When people remember what malls and Blockbuster Videos used to be like, they have this rose-colored glasses thing going on. They think about VHS rental stores once a year maybe, and say “wow I miss those, remember them?” But when you carry music that evokes those feelings, and listen to it regularly, it’s like you have a more well thought-out nostalgia. “I think about those every day, and while you may remember them fondly, there’s something eerily unsustainable about those businesses. If we think long enough about malls, and VHS stores and whatnot, their demise by the hands of the internet is so inevitable — and the internet didn’t destroy those businesses so much as it freed us from them.”

Dieting?
I think I can only go so far with all of my exercise before I face the unfortunate truth that one of these days I’m going to need to go on some diet. I really do mean unfortunate, because damn it, I love junk food. And not like fast food and potato chip junk food, but rather your hamburgers, fries, and cheesey sandwiches junk food. Carbs and fats. And pizza. Oh god I need to cut back on pizza. There’s only so much I can work off with exercise and sooner or later I’m going to need to find a way to cut a lot of meat, a lot of cheese, and a lot of breads from my daily routines. I’m not making any promises because, well:

That never worked in the past. 

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On Eating Clean

They say addicts have to hit rock bottom before they seek help, or seriously try to get clean. Can the same be said for those of us who eat poorly? The physical and emotional pain experienced just after eating Five Guys was just so overwhelming today, I feel like I should never go back, I feel like getting clean. I need fruit, vegetables, and water as soon as possible.

A bag of iceberg lettuce, and apples sits in the fridge at home. The time is 4PM, I’ve been awake since 11 AM and I haven’t had time to eat yet. Surrendering to a hunger, and need for a quick meal, I stopped at Five Guys. How many times over the last three years at Pitt does this make it? The hamburger itself was delicious as always and inspired no great guilt, yet when faced with a greasy paper bag of fries, I started to break down.

Physically, I feel bloated, full, big. Like I could throw up. Emotionally, lonely, tired, stuck. Full of regret, wishing I hadn’t done that to myself. Over an hour after finishing, the pain hasn’t gone away. Burping, remembering the taste of onions and pickles, smelling of fast food, feeling oily.

This person is at odds with the person who, on Tuesday, pulled himself together, got to the gym, and rowed. I mean, my goodness, how could these be two sides to the same coin? Why don’t I eat clean from now on? Look at what I did to myself by eating Five Guys, could you imagine how much better I’d feel if I just walked another block and got myself to Panera Bread? No more, period. This is cold turkey quitting, starting today, no more Five Guys.

Whats Up? (1/6/14)

There’s an important source of guidance in my life who suggested meditation; which is something I have tried on my own a few times before, but considering that we’re in the swing of the year for resolutions and reinventions, I decided to try meditation by-the-book this time. I tried to eliminate distractions, I lit a candle in my room to look at, and I focused on my breathing. I didn’t get quite there yet, but it felt good, I didn’t regret the time spent, and I didn’t feel frustrated. The source I got these tips from suggested meditating in the morning, which I’ll try to do in the future, and committing to a meditation schedule, which I’ll have to figure out over the course of this semester.

I came up with a few other resolution-ish ideas today, though I get nervous at the thought of calling them resolutions. I feel like resolutions don’t work. They’re non-committal things you only do because it’s January. I need to do things for myself, make changes, and if they happen to occur during January, then so be it.

I’m going to start looking for ways to better express my character through clothing. That may seem like a shallow thing to start with, but hear me out. There was a floral woman’s cardigan on Threadless that I really liked. I’ve never worn a cardigan before, so I was a little apprehensive, but what really killed it for me was that none of the woman’s sizes would fit me. Now, I love the t-shirts I have, don’t get me wrong, but I think in a way I might have been tricking myself into thinking that they were expressing my character. They’re unique sure, some of them odd, some of them not very masculine – but they’re still all just t-shirts. I want something more dainty, floral-print shirts or dress-shirts, infinity scarves; something that says something different than “this guy has an interesting choice in t-shirts.”

The other change I’m trying out today, besides meditation, is salad. Not dieting. Salad. It will be a cold day in hell when the month comes that I don’t eat pizza, or any number of unhealthy but delicious foods. That being said, I’m hoping that I find the delicious side of salads; which I’ve always found boring. It’s 10PM right now, and I first ate, and last ate, at 2PM. I’m freaking starving, and a bag of Dole Spring Salad, a Granny Smith Apple, and a Sunkist Orange are going to have to settle for dinner. I’m hoping that this turns out to be a tasty, and filling combination of fruits and veggies.

And if all of these fail, I can go back to being content with the way I’ve been living life for the last two decades.