Category Archives: Memory

“Stripped Tour”, Meet Culture Room! – Starring Phil Barnes and We the Kings

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We arrived early and were lucky enough to make our way to the middle of the venue, just five people from the front. The bottoms of my feet were starting to ache from my heeled leather boots, but I shook off the feeling to maintain my place in the crowd. If any of you have been to an intimate venue, you know that it’s almost impossible to retain a spot if you leave for a moment. The concert go-ers were packed like sardines, and I had to wonder whether it was a hand or someone’s chest rubbing up against my back.

After thirty minutes or so of listening to some pretty vintage bands that I can honestly say I’ve never heard (for good reason), the lights began to flicker. The crowd was growing restless and you could feel the excited energy growing as we awaited the performance. I was under the impression that the show would strictly be We the Kings, but was pleasantly surprised by the stage entrance of an artist I had never seen or heard before: Phil Barnes.

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At first impression, he was handsome. Well dressed, a little scruffy, and it was apparent that, unlike many other music artists, he was humble even when on stage, in the spotlight. He began to strum, and suddenly the whole venue fell in silence. The warmth he brought to the stage could be felt for miles. He captured our attention and, despite everyone initially coming to the show to see We the Kings, cultivated a new group of diehard fans, me being one of them. However, I did have to roll my eyes from time to time between songs, as the rest of the crowd was still focused on the fact that he was attractive. “You’re hot!” they’d shout, laughing amongst themselves. His performance had me absorbing and internalizing the lyrics, swaying and singing along. I don’t think We the Kings could’ve ever had a better preliminary performance. Phil Barnes is a talent worth recognizing.

Shortly after, We the Kings made their way to the stage. This has been about the sixth time I’ve seen them live, but this time around, I would have to say, was better than the other performances I’ve seen by them. Three of the guys in the band, Charles Trippy, Danny Duncan, and Travis Clark, have YouTube channels which they essentially post their entire lives on, documenting each day through their vlogs. From watching these videos, you see the kind of friendship they have amongst themselves. The intimacy of the venue and the small-scale show cultivated their humor in a way that I had yet to see beyond their channels. It wasn’t just their music. The audience got to see the kind of people they were. Their silly jokes, banter amongst themselves and toward the crowd, and the awkward moments when the rain stick took the stage and blew everyone out of the water. I was so moved by the music that I only noticed the uncomfortable bruised feeling on my soles once I was able to make my way back to our car. You know it’s a good show when you forget that you’re in pain!

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My favorite moment in their set was when Travis Clark took to the piano in his poem/song about living your life, called “Is This the End?”. I was immediately drawn to his passion and emotional connectedness toward the lyrics. Even from the audience, I could feel the strength of his words. The piece deviated immensely from their general musical style, but I think that the deviation was an immensely positive one and I definitely think they should explore that style of expression in future pieces.

The dynamic that the band has when they’re together is something that many individuals, including me, would desire to have in their lives and even more so in their careers. They have friends for life within their group, a mutual desire for a larger, shared purpose, and I think that having that kind of family away from your own family is crucial to a fulfilled life. I could only hope that one day I could have a group of people that I could consider my own family as well, a group that supports and cultivates the same aspirations as forcefully and passionately as they do! I also thought it was incredibly admirable that they made the choice to do a “stripped” tour, a completely acoustic set, and traveled as lightly and minimally as they did on their very first musical tour. With a band as big as theirs, it’s important to acknowledge the roots from which they grew their career, and I believe that is a key to their success. They’re still willing to show their fans that they appreciate them and to express gratitude towards the support they’ve received from the start. Thank you, We the Kings, for bringing us back to where it all began once more. The nostalgia was worth every moment.

What was your take on the “Stripped” Tour?
Comment below!

Grateful and Guilty – Barnes & Noble: The Scene Before Me

Grateful and Guilty – Writing Prompt

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Note: The prompt asks the writer to discuss a guilty pleasure. If you haven’t guessed, my guilty pleasure is spending my free time in Barnes and Noble, preferably in the seated cafe area, and soaking up the environment. There’s so much more to learn beyond the books that line these aisles. Following this statement is my description of the scene before me on today’s trip to Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

As I sat on the floor of my local Barnes and Noble accompanied by my purse and laptop, the building swamped with locals taking shelter from the rain, I took a good luck around at the faces present among me at the filled seats. Students, potentially from my university, families with small children giggling at the sight of a new picture book, middle-agers catching up on the latests magazine publications, hot coffee warming the palms of their hands. There’s a lot you can learn about the people you see around you just from observing their choices. What do I mean by that, you ask? What they’re eating, what they’re dressed in, how they present themselves among the crowd. Do they smile back when they catch your gaze? Are their faces buried into a novel, concealed? There are so many factors that come into play when you’re evaluating strangers. I often do this before I sit down, if there are choices to be made between seats. I like to scan the area and make mental notes. Who could I see myself talking to? Who seems to have the same interests? Are they reading that psychology book for study, or for pleasure? Do they look intrigued, bored, indifferent? Are they accompanied, did they bring their work from home?

This time, however, there are no seats. I begin fiddling with my fingernails, picking off the remnants of my icy blue nail polish. I can feel my leg falling asleep, and shake it out from under my other leg, stimulating the blood flow to my dead limb. I look up to see a woman packing her work in a rushed manner, the individual on the other side of her phone line consuming her thoughts. Purse and laptop in both hands, I wait for my approach. As I wait, I catch a glimpse into the conversation of the woman sitting behind her joking with the cafe cashier about prioritizing the production of the pumpkin spice latte. I feel like gagging at the mere thought of pumpkin. She evacuates, and I claim the table before anyone has the chance to grab it first, a little table in the center of the room. The room has grown silent, aside from the scattered orders at the cafe every couple of minutes. An increasingly apparent chatter has grown with the expansion of the cafe line, attracting the attention of the readers. They seem agitated by the sudden introduction of noise. And that is simply what it is at this point: noise. Words exchanged between the ten individuals are essentially indecipherable. Even with such a diverse audience, such a broad spectrum of types of people, Barnes and Noble still captures the essence of calmness, focus, productivity. It’s an environment that sparks and nurtures my creativity.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Comment below.

The Secret’s Out, and “Secret” Wasn’t In On It

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I remember the short-lived fad of Formspring back in the days when we used to pull each other’s hair and play lame pranks to exhibit our affections for one another: the infamous and unflattering middle school days. But when we weren’t writing silly love notes and learning the true meaning of cliques, we were in the confines of our bedrooms at home, scrolling through the accumulation of anonymous posts that had congregated on our profiles throughout the day. Some were positive (“Nice hair”, “You’re cute”, whatever, blah blah blah), but the majority of the posts that I had read on Formspring were comments that easily took it too far. Yet users were hooked, obsessed even, with being able to express all the thoughts they had been itching to say without experiencing the consequences of their words . We were finally able to tell the people we had issues with, anonymously, how much they suck. Needless to say, the word of the power of anonymity spread like wildfire.

As we’ve reached this point in time, however, we are far past the Formspring age. Technology has advanced tremendously since the common use of flip phones and the rage of sidekicks. Now, many of us have Apple products, iPhones, and we find ourselves consumed by smartphone apps that claim anonymity for those who wish to post their “secrets” online without being traced. Just for the adrenaline rush of the world being able to know and access the information but not determine the source. I admit, it is somewhat exhilarating. But I don’t believe in online anonymity.

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With that being said, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I read one of CNN’s latest technology articles confronting the realization that the app “Secret”, similar to the concept of “Whisper” (an app that I had previously explored) allowed users to be able to trace back posts of the friends that they had linked the app with, essentially defeating the purpose of the anonymously-posting app. Why are we surprised that technology isn’t yet perfect? Why are we surprised that it has hitches and glitches sometimes? No technology is perfect and 100% reliable, and these types of “anonymous” apps are still relatively new. They’re still being improved upon, reworked, and criticized. There is still room for them to grow and develop. Everything in life requires trial and error to improve, and this was an error on their part that I honestly feel like they’re going to be taking much more seriously now that it has been brought to light. I doubt it was their master plan all along to tell the world about your raging foot fetish.

The verdict is essentially this: If you’re fearful of your secret ever getting released to the public, whether it be online or otherwise, with your name attached, it’s best that you leave it for the mind to bear. The internet isn’t always the best place to harbor the truths we sometimes wish we could forget.

CNN Article Referenced: ‘Secret’ app didn’t actually keep you anonymous

What are your thoughts on apps like “Secret”?

Comment below!

 

 

Collegiette Clue-Ins: 5 First-Hand Realizations About Making the Big Move to Off-Campus Housing

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Since the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was a dormy. I had the little shared room, which later turned into a little non-shared room, but still, it was a dorm. A dorm is a dorm is a dorm. This goes without saying, but dorms do not accommodate free-flowing space and the habitation of one person, let alone two. If it weren’t for the experience, I would’ve kicked the idea of living in a furnished closet to the corner, but that exhilarated Freshman inside of me begged to be confined by these bare white walls and the concrete-esque mattress of this twin-sized board they called my bed to embrace the independence, cooperation, and infamous struggle required as a newly instated collegiette. Now that I’ve gotten past that horrid phase in my college career, I’ve branched to what I had long considered the unknown: school-affiliated apartment housing that is off campus. Yes, I’ve finally done it, the big thing. So to kick off this semester of new beginnings and unexpected struggles, I would like to reiterate the realizations I have made as a campus outsider looking at the whole big picture of my housing experience.


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1. You never really understand how much space you’re missing out on until the moment when you arrive at your first real apartment. I can legitimately breathe in here, deep breaths!  I can extend my arms in both directions, stretch real hard, and not touch both walls. I can smell the freedom, and for once, it doesn’t smell like dirty carpet or an unkept common area. I think that’s exciting! Excitement is actually an understatement. It’s invigorating. And not only that. When I enter my room, I’m not already standing in front of my bed, nor do I have to kick and shove things aside to be able to close my door. I have a good amount of feet before I even come close! I could tell it was a blessing when I unpacked my belongings and the room did not induce a stress-related panic attack.

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2. I finally have a mailbox that isn’t a P.O. box. It’s an ACTUAL, real-life MAILBOX, guys. I never realized how irritating it can be to have a P.O. box when I want to order samples of products (Yep, it’s a new thing I’m trying out, and yes, I promise I’ll include all the details when I actually receive said samples!). A chunk of them won’t even let you if you’re unlucky enough to have a P.O. box, and it’s not really like I had much of a choice coming in to decide where I wanted my mail to be dropped. Having an actual mailbox gives me the freedom to be the scavenger I am for online deals. It’s a win-win. I save money and companies get another (hopefully) happy customer that may or may not consume based upon happy sampling (or sad sampling, if the product makes me break out even more so than my skin does).

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3. The walls are, in fact, still thin. Queue the “boos” and other groans of discontentment. If someone turns their head in the building next door to me, I can hear it. I guess I wasn’t really expecting thicker walls anytime soon, but it was worth the hopefulness. But now, I have the added benefit of creaking floors and creaking ceilings from my neighbors above my apartment romping around, doing what they do on a Wednesday night. However, don’t regard this as a complaint. I am madly, deeply in love with the new apartment I call my home. It really is a home. There’s not a single part about it or my residence community that makes me feel like I’m in confinement.

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4. I’m a rent-paying adult. Ew, adulthood. And I have to pay my rent on time. By a deadline. Like everything else. It’s one of those realizations that only begins to hit you when you’re filling out the check, dotting the “i”‘s, and carving in that finalizing signature. It’s not like the thought hasn’t grazed your brain before, but being the individual that the deadline addresses…it’s so odd. Dorms force you to pay basically upfront. There isn’t a monthly payment that needs to be issued, so the thought barely crossed my mind. I could fill my brain with all of my other obligations (which happily accepted and inhabited the space). I was a little overzealous this month, paying my next month’s rent 10 days before it’s actually due, but I’m an anxious person that knows for sure that I’m going to trip over myself one month and realize that I have yet to pay my rent. So here’s a toast to the overachiever in me, and although overzealous me will get over this next step up, the daunting signs of adulthood that are looming upon me will put me back into this strange little worried state. It takes time to become accustomed to backpacking my responsibilities.

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5. Shuttles are convenient. So convenient. TOO CONVENIENT. The claim is that they arrive every 15 minutes, but….I guess…..15 translates to 45 in a conversation between bus driver and the average punctual, logical, time-telling-and-comprehending student. If you don’t have a car, and you can’t find a friend with a car, and you have free time to wait for an hour before your class to ensure that you get there. And you can’t possibly walk, and it’s not urgent, and the class is optional, and it’s not an exam day, and you don’t mind sporadically rubbing up against strangers, and if you want an arm workout from holding on to the bars too tight while you’re standing in the middle aisle in the hopes that you don’t come crashing through the emergency exit when the driver makes a sudden stop. So….yeah. Shuttles are….convenient. They’re great, if any of those reasons are applicable. But don’t take my word for it. Take them for a spin. You’ll enjoy every sweaty, anxious moment that accompanies this intimate experience. 

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What did you come to realize when you moved off campus?

Leave a comment below! 

The Curse of Closeted Introversion: “You’re not an introvert! You’re so happy and friendly!”

Let me take this moment to address the word “introvert”. We cringe at it because we’ve learned that it’s not something anyone wants to be called and certainly not a characteristic any company would admire, according to common belief. It’s gotten such a bad rep in today’s world because opportunities are reaching out and grabbing at people that have the “loudest and proudest” personalities, leaving the people with the same intellectual capacities but a less dominant demeanor to wait for the next round of opportunities, fully aware of the kind of discouraging environment they face. I mean, who wants the quiet guy or girl, right?

Actually, wrong. Very wrong. See, the belief that an introvert would not be as successful as an extrovert is completely outlandish because the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” simply classify one’s interactions with their self and their environment, completely and totally separate from intelligence, ability to cooperate with others, and one’s personal initiative. These labels aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I know people label everything and everyone they interact with and that is how they classify and remember their surroundings, but how do you think I feel when others respond to me that “there’s no way I’m an introvert” because I’m friendly? When did anyone say an introvert can’t be friendly? It’s hard enough having to label myself, let alone try to explain it to another individual in a comprehensible way that, just because I can be loud, charming, and humorous, I know myself better than anyone else and that if I’m not an introvert, I lie close enough.

Deep down, I know I am an ambivert, but that term is such a foreign concept that holds all kinds of shades of grey, and it’s all about black or white with labels. Ambivert doesn’t classify in anyone’s folder, and the monotony of explaining being an “ambivert” deters me from using the term all together.

Introvert, ambivert, or extrovert, we all still have our own skills. We’re all talented, and a lot of us do need to care about society’s perception of us to some degree because of our future involvement in the workforce relies on it. Let’s try to redefine what is believed about introverts so they are given an equal shot at changing the world as everyone else. Introverts aren’t broken isolationists that can’t handle anything. We’re strong on the inside as much as we are on the outside. Our abilities should not be define by our tactics of socialization but by the character that we possess and the work we put forth to bring forward the talents we cultivate.

What are your thoughts?

The Terrible (And Relatively Tolerable) Truths About Being Twenty

Twenty. It’s an awkward age. And I thought I was awkward then. Psh. I’ve only blossomed. When I was younger, I always thought that twenty was going to be such a grand thing. I was going to have everything in my life together, wrapped neatly in a white picket fence and bow. Well, not yet, but on my way toward the like. But as a current twenty year old, I can honestly say that it isn’t as glamorous as it seems (self-kick to the childhood). Here are a few terrible truths about being twenty that I never would’ve even thought about as a kid, that I now know to be inevitably true. The fantasy has officially been extinguished.

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1. Life: “You need to get your act together. You’re an ADULT. You need to have job experience. Nobody’s gonna take you seriously unless you start taking on more than your schedule can hold. Do it for ME–I mean….employers.” Love always, Your Parents (and supposedly your greatest support system. Hrm. It’s just tough love. Right? Riiiight?)

Reality Check: You’re too young to have a full-time occupation but still too old to “babysit”. At this point, it would just be weird (“You little slacker, you. Nobody’s gonna look at that babysitting job on your resume and say, “Wow, this kid’s a catch. He can whip up snacks and make sure kids don’t die while their parents “visit grandma for dinner”. Hurry, grab him while he’s still available. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHY ARE YOU NOT ON THE PHONE WITH HIM AS WE SPEAK?! These qualifications are rare.”). If you’re not an intern for a major corporation by 20 (If you’re not already owning it by now, because you should really be trying to get ahead of the pack, you slacker), you’re the epitome of a failure. Embrace the failure stink. It’s all that you’ll ever know.

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2. Life: “You know Josh? Do you remember little ol’ Josh? Well, Josh works for the FBI now–he’s in charge of the FBI–oh excuse me, he CREATED the FBI. And he’s only 19. And he’s also cured cancer, built homes for the poor, completely ended world hunger, and invented a flying car, all in one weekend. Could you imagine what he could do in two?! Josh was always such a good boy, but wow! Josh is so great now! Why can’t you be like Josh? You should call Josh. Hang out with Josh. Love Josh. Love him. Josh. Josh. Josh. Josh. Joshjoshjoshjoshjosh….(“Josh” chant that leaves you in a state of eternal hell, kind of like the ending to the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” chant at the end of his intro. Ring a bell?)” (The name “Josh” is hypothetical, but I guess if you’re an awesome Josh, I’m talking about you, buddy. You’re making my parents and everyone with high expectations of me hate my freakin’ guts. Good job. HOPE YOU’RE PROUD.)

Reality Check: We all know a Josh. Ugh. Kinda wish he’d go away and take his Facebook full of all of his stupid milestones with him. He makes my own major accomplishments look like mere blips on the radar, and then I get verbally paddled (with a gentle voice occasionally to cushion the blow) because he’s the next young genius of geniuses in all of Geniusville. This is why Netflix exists. Not to entertain us (me). It’s so we (I) can wallow in our (my) disappointed existence because Josh ALREADY FIXED ALL THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS SO THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO DO. JOSH HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT, DOESN’T HE?! But think of it this way. Because of Josh and all of his perfections that you lack, your services are no longer needed. You’re free. Roam, my child.

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3. Life: “Here, have some homework. Wanna hang with friends? Here, have some homework. Got some dishes to do? How about some homework? Family is packing the van and driving for several hours, updating you every five seconds to ensure that you’re waiting at the apartment like a dog that hasn’t been fed in months, so they can see you for the first time in what feels like centuries? It’s a great time for a research paper that has to be a minimum (minimum. not maximum.) of 800 pages, single spaced, due obviously tonight. That’s enough time, right? That was rhetorical, by the way. Eh, who cares. I most certainly don’t care.” -Life

Reality Check: Any and every time you have plans, there will be some homework knocking on your door. True fact. The only way to fight against the buildup is to either get ahead or build a pillow fort out of your whole apartment and become a total shut in, avoid eye contact with your roommate who already thinks you’re a nutcase, and close off all connections to the real world. Nothing can come with you on this journey of seclusion. No laptop, no ipod, and no, not even the smart phone. That phone will know if you’re hiding, and it will notify all of your contacts (including Facebook friends, maybe even the ones you don’t like and don’t know why you ever added) that you’ve completely lost your marbles, as the newest feature of the newest iPhone obviously does. Before you know it, they’ll all come ruthlessly banging on your paper-thin door begging you to gather some sense. Just kidding. You’re gonna die alone in there. With a heavy head and an empty stomach. Nobody is going to realize you disappeared. All because you didn’t want to do your homework. Kinda seems silly now, doesn’t it? Just whip out the 800 page paper. It’ll only take you about an hour. Or a million hours. Something like that. I’m not good with numbers.

Parents: “See, Josh was never afraid to–“

Me: “SHUT UP. Just shut up”.

Parents: “But Josh always did his homework before it was due and he still managed to–“

*mysterious disappearance not caused by prior events/conversations at all but definitely by something else, yeah*

*Oh no, where did my parents go? Oh it was an accident. Oh it happened all of a sudden. Oh*

 Can you relate?

We can bask together. Share if you dare.

The Phrase That Pays (in Good Karma and Peace of Mind for the Both is Us)

Another workout had been successfully completed, and my clothes were, at this point, plastered to my skin by the accumulation of sweat. The satisfaction of the hard work I had put in had left me with a bubbly feeling. My mind was clear, a smile was beaming on my face. We were on our way out of the gym when something very unsettling occurred. A man and what I believed to be his five children (hopefully they were his) trailed behind me. As I always do when I see that I am not walking unaccompanied, I held the door. He walked in the doorway, paused, and legitimately turned around to talk to one of his youngsters. No joke. Mid doorway, did not say one “thank you” nor did he even acknowledge that the door wasn’t, in fact, holding itself. I was honestly infuriated. After what felt like a good 2 minutes or so, they managed to all squeeze their way through without a single word. Angry now, I turned and yelled, “you’re welcome, sir”. He then turned, glared as if I had been the one overstepping some boundary (HOW DARE I HOLD THE DOOR?! How classless!), and continued walking.

Why is it so incredibly difficult to acknowledge that someone, a stranger, is consciously doing something nice for you, when they could just as easily take the door, wait until you’re about to go through, and send it forcefully back in the hopes of smacking you in the face just for sh*ts and grind? I mean, realistically speaking, I probably wouldn’t do that. But why is it so difficult to give a half of a breath (not even!) to show that you’re not taking the action for granted? I’m a total germaphobe so if I open a door in a public place (which I do often), that’s a pretty big thing. I’m obviously not doing it for my health.

I used to think that “etiquette school” was a thing of the past, but I have to wonder if it actually is. Why is it that humanity has to be retaught to people who consider themselves “human“?

What’s your take?