Summer Bucket List

My first year of university is coming to an end and summer is quickly approaching. Odds are, I’ll be staying in Ottawa for the summer (it all comes down to whether or not I get a job I just had an interview for – fingers crossed!) so I figured, “Hey, I’m in the capital of Canada during it’s supposedly best months with no school and homework to focus on. I sure as hell better make the best of this!” So, with that, I’ve composed a list (as you’ve probably guessed by now – I really love making lists) of five things I’d like to do this summer.

1) Attend Bluesfest

I’ve always wanted to go to Bluesfest! They always have such a great lineup and if I’m in Ottawa, I should take advantage of it! Also, I’ve never actually been to a music festival and where better to start than this one? I’ve heard nothing but good about it.

2) Go Skinny Dipping

I know I could do this anywhere but I’ve always said I wanted the experience and just haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. The way I look at it, I just finished my first year of university and made it through exams – Time to finally get this experience.

3) Start Learning Italian

Here’s a language I’ve always wanted to learn. Mainly because I am Italian and I think it would be really cool to have a conversation with my Papa completely in Italian. But also because honestly, this language is romantic as hell. It’s such a beautiful language. Through this past year I’ve realized how much more there is to the world and how much culture I’ve missed out on living in such a small town for so long – It’ll be great to say I can actually speak the language of most of my extended family.

4) Travel Somewhere I’ve Never Been

This shouldn’t be a difficult one to complete considering the fact that I haven’t travelled anywhere. Seriously. Hull, Quebec is the furthest I’ve ever been. And the only reason I’ve been there is because it’s beside Ottawa and the drinking age is eighteen. So far, I have two plans to complete this item on the list. Firstly, I’m going to New York City with a friend and her family next month. Which I am SO excited about! Expect numerous pictures posted. I’m also hoping to plan a weekend trip to Montreal at some point. I’ve never been and it’s only two hours away so there’s no reason not to go.

5) Do Something FulFilling 

That sounds so extremely terribly cliche, doesn’t it. And it probably is just really cliche. But truth is, for the first eighteen years of my life I lived in a small city and knew nothing of the “real world”. This year I moved away, learned how to adapt to the so-called city life, and how to take care of myself without family constantly around to help me. And as much as this year has been new and exciting and dramatic and all around something I would never take back, I want to do something big. I proved it to myself that I could be on my own but I feel the need to take one more big step. I’m not sure what it is yet but I’ll get there.

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Status Updates on Valentine’s Day

Anyone who is involved in some form of social networking website will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that we are plagued annually by four distinct types of status updates. These updates happen in the week or so upcoming to February 14th – Valentine’s Day and are as follows.

Status Update Type One: The Relationship Person 

This person just so happens to be in a relationship on Valentine’s Day and is very clearly ecstatic about it. Their status may or may not be extremely annoying and they usually seem to think everyone is as happy about February 14th as they are.

A typical status by The Relationship Person may be something along the lines of:

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I love you, [insert name here]. You’re the best boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/significant other/whatever your heart desires to call your “valentine”

Status Update Type Two: The Bitter, Angry Single

This person is very obviously single and very obviously unhappy about it. They take their unhappiness and let it out with a nice bitter status, usually not realizing that they aren’t covering up being upset very well. This status type is always annoying.

It may go something like this, but is usually much more overdramatic:

Ugh, Valentine’s Day is just so stupid! It’s not even a real holiday. Who cares about hearts and chocolate and relationships? It’s the stupidest thing ever.

Status Update Type Three: The “Forever Alone”

Even more annoying than the bitter single is the emotional “I will never find love” single. They don’t hesitate to pour their entire lonely heart into their status update. This person needs the whole world to know how desperate they are to find a relationship.

A typical “forever alone” status update:

Another Valentine’s Day spent alone… Siiigh- Will I ever meet my Prince Charming? I doubt it. I’m doomed to be a crazy cat lady. At least chocolate goes on sale tomorrow…

Status Update Type Four: The “I don’t care about Valentine’s Day”

This person does not care whatsoever about Valentine’s Day. They do, however, care enough to make a status telling everyone how much they don’t care.

A typical I’m-too-cool-to-care status update:

Lol why does everyone make such a big deal about Valentine’s Day? It’s not even a real holiday, it’s so superficial. Stop whining about being single and stop bragging about how much you love someone.

 

Regardless of which status category you may or may not fall under, have a good day- whether you take that as a “happy valentine’s day” or just a general good day.

The Best Alternative Albums Released in 2011

2011 was a year of many events and changes. What better to get through these changes than a soundtrack made up of some fantastic new albums released this past year?

The first album I’d like to praise is Cage the Elephant’s Thank You, Happy Birthday which was released on January 11. I’d never really listened to Cage the Elephant before but decided to check this new album out because of a friend’s recommendations. The song that really caught my attention was Shake Me Down. This song struck me as powerful and determined with it’s straight forward and to the point lyrics. “I’ll keep my eyes fixed on the sun.” Take that and pair it up with an extremely catchy beat and original voice and you’ve got yourself a hit that a girl moving away and leaving everything she knows behind can really relate to. The rest of the album follows this same tune of raw and pure, original power.

Tracks I Recommend: Shake Me Down, Around My Head

The next album is Codes and Keys by Death Cab for Cutie, released on May 31. I’m just going to be blunt here and say that the moment I heard this album, I fell in love with it. Although that happens with most Death Cab albums. Codes and Keys maintains the original Death Cab sound but there’s something more that you can’t quite figure out. It’s as if the band took their earlier albums and said “Okay let’s keep the main tone and atmosphere but tune it up a bit” and ended up with a more mature, even catchier masterpiece somehow with the same amount of emotion they are famous for. My personal favourite track is You Are a Tourist. It has the usual clever lyrics paired with an insanely mellow, slightly melancholy beat. Then the voice of Ben Gibbard- angelic, smooth and melancholy perfectly matching the beat. Another track perfectly depicting the feelings of someone leaving their hometown for something bigger. “If you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born it’s time to go and define your destination, there’s so many different places to call home.”

Tracks I Recommend: You Are a Tourist, Stay Young Go Dancing

Bon Iver, Bon Iver by Bon Iver was another amazing album released on June 21. I’ve got to be honest- At first I much preferred For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver’s first album. But after giving it more of a chance, I ended up falling in love with Bon Iver, Bon Iver. I feel like Justin Vernon grew so much as an artist with this album. It takes on a much different sound than For Emma which maintains the pleasant strumming of an acoustic guitar all throughout. The sound of Bon Iver, Bon Iver is more drawn out and smooth. It keeps the mellow, melancholy tone of For Emma. The lyrics seem to flow together even more so than Vernon’s first album. He did an excellent job of not changing the way he writes but letting it grow. “Hip, under nothing, propped up by your other one, face ‘way from the sun. Just have to keep a dialogue, teach our bodies: haunt the cause, I was only trying to spell the loss.” From Calgary, the lines in this song all link together flawlessly while painting a picture of the scene in the listener’s mind and giving a sense of deep sadness and loss. One thing I found very interesting about this album was how Vernon titled his tracks, such as one simply named Calgary. Another named Holocene which is a geological epoch.

Tracks I Recommend: Calgary, Holocene

I basically ran to HMV on my birthday, September 27 to buy Neighborhoods by Blink 182. I was immediately drawn into this album because of it’s single, Up All Night. The same old moody Blink sound but with more of an edge to it. One of the characteristics I like most about Blink 182 is that they’re one of those bands that maintain a distinct sound without all their songs sounding the exact same. I can always tell apart Blink 182 song the moment it begins. The lyrics are always simple and straight forward. “All these demons, they keep me up all night.” (Up All Night) What stood out to me about this album is how the band added in a more edgy, hard tone. It’s different than more upbeat, punk-y sounding tracks such as First Date and slow, emotional tracks like I’m Lost Without You. No, Neighborhoods is more raw. It has more of a harsh edge. It’s more full of angst than anything by them I’ve listened to.

Tracks I Recommend: Up All Night, After Midnight

Before anything I just have to state how insanely catchy Michigan Left by Arkells is. It was released on October 18 and since I heard it, I’ve become obsessed. Their upbeat tune is one of those “instantly catchy, I need to start dancing right now” kind of tunes. Their lyrics are light and easy to sing along with. They always seem to be narrating a scene from a story. “Then we hum along to some familiar tune, ‘I like women and songs’, you said ‘It’s from volume two.” (Book Club).

Tracks I Recommend: Book Club, Where U Goin

To end 2011 off, the Black Keys brought us El Camino on December 6. This band is just so original and I have yet to hear a song by them I don’t find extremely catchy. When the single Lonely Boy was released, I knew this was going to be an excellent album. Their overall sound is unique and interesting. Their tone is upbeat and hard not to start dancing to (I almost dance like this guy every time I listen to them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_426RiwST8). Their lyrics are catchy and original; they always seem upbeat even if they’re actually sad. “Oh-oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting.” (Lonely Boy) Overall, a great album and perfect way to end the year.

Tracks I Recommend: Lonely Boy, Sister