15 Second Waterfalls and the Dangers of Toilet Assassins

As I was taking my post-8 am-lecture toilet break I heard someone come into the bathroom. This person swiftly occupied the stall next to mine (there are only two anyway), and started breathing extremely heavily. As strange as that sounds, it got stranger. After a minute or two of huffing and puffing his way to an empty intestinal tract, he promptly left the stall and went to wash his hands. Washing your hands is great; it’s fun, it’s hygienic, and it’s like your own personal 15-second waterfall. But this gentleman decided that his waterfall would be forever, defying both time and space… in other words he left the tap on and rushed out of the bathroom. All the while I’m sitting there wondering what on Earth just happened to my peaceful potty break.

This experience opens a whole new can of worms. Was he in such an unimaginable rush that he couldn’t turn the tap off? Why did he need to breathe so heavily? What will Slade do with Thea!?! Oh, the humanity! Ok, so that last one is a slightly different issue, but seriously, what was this guy up to? I have a theory that just might help us uncover the world’s greatest conspiracy since last week.

Toilet-Guy is an assassin. An assassin sent by the United Nations to kill the greatest mind of our time… Me. I am, after all, the man who picked the winner of The Mole two seasons in a row – from the first episode. I am the guy who tipped Gold Coast to beat Richmond when no one else had any clue how much they have improved over the off season you guys. And of course, I’m the employee who finally solved the biggest problem in my work’s history; where to put the cutlery we use at the front of the store (in a bucket, right next to where we used to put it, you’re welcome).

But lo, the assassin could not succeed in his impossible mission, for despite his attempt to poison the air by breathing out a minutely higher amount of CO2 than usual, or his dramatic last-ditch effort to flood the room and drown me, he was no match for the wit and wisdom that resides within this mind.

Will they try again? Perhaps. Let them try, for they shall never prevail. The question remains – why do they want me dead? Only time will tell, and I was actually just on my way out to ask him. That bastard, always knowing stuff… I’ll show him.

Either that, or Toilet-Guy was just really constipated, in a rush, and forgot not all taps these days turn themselves off. But I choose to believe the former.

Until next time, Toilet Guy,until next time…

-Josh-

 

iTunes Top Whatever Review: 19.03.14

It’s that time of the week again, the segment where I subject myself to the musical nonsense that is the iTunes Top 10. Today I have a grand total of 4 tracks to dissect for your pleasure (but mostly mine), and they are all at a pretty low standard this week (the songs that is, not my impeccable review writing). Enjoy!

*today’s picture represents what I believe is the main requirement for top 10 success

#7 – #SELFIE by The Chainsmokers

Dear god, why?? This is terrible. Unbelievably bad, and undoubtedly the worst song I’ve had the misfortune to review in my short time as a blogger. And it’s at NUMBER 7. This makes me very angry. Some part of me wants to believe that this is some kind of ‘musical satire’ of today’s club goers, but it’s neither clever nor funny enough accomplish this. In actuality, I certainly don’t think this is supposed to be a joke. This is the product of ‘musicians’ (I actually prefer the term “doofdoofians”) so lazy they can’t even borrow, let alone write actual lyrics, or even a catchy doof! You had ONE job guys, one job. It’s a sad day when a song fails to be listenable as both club and mainstream (everything not club) music, but this… this is just that bad.

0.1/10 (jeez that’s a low rating…)

#9 – The Power of Love by Gabrielle Aplin

As the great Ron Burgundy once said, “I don’t believe you”. I’m sorry Gabrielle, I just don’t believe you truly mean anything you’re singing. If you read my review of We Are the In Crowd’s ‘Weird Kids’ you’ll know how important this is for me, especially for a song like this. I need to feel what the singer feels, understand why they were driven to put these words on a page and record them for everyone to hear. I’m not saying that Aplin didn’t have cause for writing this (if she even did write this), I’m just not convinced by her performance that she cares much for it. There are a couple of reasons why. Number 1, the lyrics are… not up to standard is the best way to put it. A love song needs truth, and sentences like “make love your goal” sound like something next year’s birthday card from Nana will say. It pulls me out of the song, and makes the lyrics feel robotic or impersonal. Secondly, the music is just too much. It overpowers her voice to the extent where sometimes it’s hard to hear what she’s saying. Not hard to understand, hard to hear. That’s an issue. This track needs to be stripped down, and Aplin’s voice should be the focus of every musical climax, not the swell of the cellos or other such accompaniments. It’s not a terrible effort, but for the most part it’s a below average love song with greater potential that what was achieved.

4/10

#10 – High by Peking Duk

I’m clearly missing something here. In the Youtube comments for this song’s music video, people are saying things like how “amazing” this song is, “I want this song inside me”, and “this song is way too good for the commercial/mainstream success it’s about to get”. It’s not a good song. It’s not fast enough (or catchy enough) to be a good club song, and it’s too boring and annoying to be on any reasonable person’s MP3 player (yes, I could have just said iPod, but I’m trying to be multi-brand inclusive…).The chorus is a beat with a bunch of off-pitch squeals, and the verses are almost as annoying. Yes, it’s a little bit more articulate than other similar tracks, but I still have no idea what’s going on. I certainly don’t believe lyrics should be straightforward with no interpretation possible, but there’s a limit. Also, I’m tired, so that might have contributed. I didn’t enjoy this song at all, and I can say with confidence that I do NOT want it inside me.

2/10

#11The Man by Aloe Blacc

(This was inside the Top 10 when I decided to write this earlier today)

Well good for you sir. It’s nice that Blacc has so much self-confidence to share with us all… even if it does come off as a bit of an ego trip. Sure, the man has accomplished great feats during his time on earth… like featuring in a chart topping Avicii song… but even such an incredible person can come across as another arrogant musician. I don’t know him personally, but I’m of the opinion that there are very few people, living or dead, who could write a song about how ‘they’re the man’ and still be as humble and awesome as before they put pen to paper. In terms of the actual music, it’s all kind of repetitive. The song is understandably focused on the lyrics, and as such the musical aspect is forgettable at best. Even the melodies get a little old after a while. Lyrically, it’s well written (ignoring the actual subject matter), and this is one of those cases where the fact that these lyrics could apply to almost every (non-atheistic) person is a good thing. Well, that is if you don’t mind people constantly telling you that they are, in fact, the man.

5/10

IMAGE

 

-Josh-

The Avengers, The Justice League, and The Council of Financial Regulators

In a secret lair hidden deep within Melbourne’s CBD they wait. Wait for the lives of the citizens to whom they’ve sworn to protect to be endangered once again by greedy CEOs or unethical business practice. They didn’t choose this life, no one would choose such a great burden. It’s a burden they must carry through the recessions and through the pain of depreciating dividends. They are:

The Council of Financial Regulators

So I’m back at university for another year of study in sports science/sport management. This semester I have the joy of partaking in both ‘Business Law’ and ‘Fundamentals of Finance’. Echh. No thanks. As someone who has never done a business or finance subject before (accounting last semester doesn’t really count) it’s been a bit of a swim in the deep end so far. But, as with all my subjects this time round, I’ve got a new positive attitude. Now this positive attitude has helped so far, but it’s soooooo hard to keep up. So, I’ve invented silly ways of trying to retain information, such as imagining the world’s greatest heroes in finance and economics. Sure, it’s extremely strange and possibly distracting from my actual study, but anything that helps me remember something as dry and boring as what the “Australian Prudential Regulation Authority” does is bound to be beneficial in some way or another. APRA is their leader by the way, with the power of supervision and prune teeth.

Finance is haaarrd guys. It’s just so difficult to take in. All I want to do is watch TV, play Ocarina of Time and Build Lego, but instead I have to study for a real job. I could be a professional Lego builder if I put my mind to it… I could.

Then we have the issue of breaks. Today, I have a break from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm. That’s a LONG time. And miraculously I did managed to study for the first hour and a bit, but after only two days of uni so far, there’s really not much I can actually do other than read over the same notes, and make notes about the notes, and then procrastinate by writing a blog partially about said notes-of-notes. I even spent 5 minutes peeling a sticker off my pre-owned text book. Sometimes I wish I had more work to focus on, but then I remember how sucky work is and change my wish to “I wish I was the Avatar”, or “I wish St Kilda would WIN A GODDAMN PREMIERSHIP”.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself struggling to take in the thousands of little squiggles in front of you, just imagine a better world in which the squiggles are superheroes, or unicorns, or little tiny space ships that can fly into your brain. And then stop it and do some proper study you lazy piece of procrastination.

-Josh-

iTunes Top 5 Review (kind of) 11.03.14

Some more avid readers may have notices that the past two Sundays have been lacking in a certain promised segment. I’ve encountered an issue with my “iTunes Top-5” reviews. Turns out that the songs are more stagnant than I first thought, and I don’t really feel like reviewing the same 5 songs every week until they are eventually replaced by another song that sounds exactly the same to me. I really enjoy writing these reviews, so my solution is to review between 3 and 10 NEW songs in the iTunes top 10, meaning I can write one of these pretty much whenever I want! It just so happens that there are 4 new songs in the top 10 today, so after a long hiatus (and completely ignoring the name of this post), here’s the newest edition of “iTunes Top 5”. (wooo)

#3 Shot Me Down – David Guetta ft. Skylar Grey

This track frustrated me a lot. It is all too common these days for ‘artists’ like David Guetta to use older, mostly forgotten tracks to base their new house/trance/noise off. In this particular instance, “Shot Me Down” takes its lyrics and melody (in the verses) from the original track by Cher (or the somewhat better-known cover by Nancy Sinatra). Guetta’s version adds nothing lyrically, in fact it uses only the first verse of the original. Without the remainder of the story, it’s hard to know what on earth Skylar Grey is singing about. What Guetta does add is a terrible repetition of a monotone synthesiser, finished off by a random squeal from his female support. There’s not much more to say because the whole song is one verse and a section of squeaks repeated over and over again. In her defence, Grey does exactly what she’s been paid to do, and her voice is the only positive in a disaster of a song.

2/10

#5 Magic – Coldplay

Coldplay is arguably one of the world’s greatest bands, and it’s not hard to see why. It seems every time they release new music it manages to bring in new fans while still appealing to the old and faithful, something very hard to accomplish in music. “Magic”, the first single off their newest record “Ghost Stories”, is a simple love song done right. It does just enough to not feel repetitive or overly simple, but is still easy listening with easy-to-follow lyrics, making it possible for just one listen to hook you. As it progresses, the raw melodies are added to, creating points of complexion and intrigue. The overall arc of the song is basic enough, but somehow every time a lyric/hook is repeated it sounds and feels different in one way or another. “Magic” is the perfect way for Coldplay to slide (rather than burst) back on the scene in true Coldplay style (even though it has a very Maroon 5 vibe here and there), and it will surely find a place on my iPhone.

8/10

#6 When You Were Mine – Taylor Henderson

Cashing in on the popularity of down-on-their-luck boys with guitars is Australian (woo go us) Taylor Henderson, a singer-song writer with a broken heart, what I believe is a somewhat unique phenomenon. His song “When You Were Mine”, is actually pretty good. It’s well written, musically interesting and his voice is really, really good. He is what music producers see in their dreams; good looking, good at singing, and able to write his own material (I think…). It’s no surprise to see an Australian song this high on the charts. We LOVE ourselves here in Aus, but Henderson truly deserves his spot at #6. The thing I like most about this song is something I look for in every song; does he/she mean what he/she is singing. In this case, I’d have to go with yes. Good on ya’ Taylor.

7.5/10

#8 She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer

Let me get this straight. Pop/punk is my shtick, it’s my jam, and it’s what I devote most of my listening hours to. Maybe that’s why I’m so taken aback that there is (seemingly) a pop/punk track at #8 on the iTunes chart. It’s just so uncommon, but after listening to the song, it’s not hard to see why. “She Looks So Perfect” is everything today’s youth wants in a catchy pop song; simple tunes, gang vocals and obscure product placement. Lyrically it’s not the greatest song, but it’s 10x more complex than most of the songs that it stole the #8 spot from. If I was taking this track at face value it would probably score a little higher than it will, but unfortunately for 5SOS, I know their genre, and there is MUCH better material out there than this. Also, I misheard a lyric on the first listen as “I’ll slow down” (for his girlfriend), a good message for a lot of kids out there. Turns out it’s “I’m so down”. Come on guys… Seriously?

5.5/10

-Josh-

How To Be A Respectable Human Being

I work in hospitality, and last night I was taking payment from a customer who had ordered some food to pick-up. His order came to $27.75, so I informed him (as I would to any customer) that we have a $30 minimum from credit purchases, a policy clearly signed above our till. Sure, it might be inconvenient, or even unnecessary, but that’s the policy I have been told to uphold unless otherwise advised. So I tell the customer “sorry, we have a $30 minimum for credit”, to which he responds “that’s all right”. Assuming he’d agree to use cheque or savings, I asked which one he would like me to pin in, to which he responds “no, put it on credit”. Somewhat taken aback, I once again told him about the minimum for credit, but he says “I don’t care, put it on credit”.  So I turn to my boss, who (not knowing how rude this guy was being), said it was fine. The customer then gave me a rant about why I would make him pay extra for his debit payment to be processed, and I told him that as an employee I have to uphold all policies management puts in place. Then I politely asked him if he wanted a receipt and walked away.

There’s a right and a wrong way to interact with hospitality (or any other service industry) staff. All this guy needed to do was politely ask me if I could check with my boss if I could put through his payment (which was, in fairness, very close to $30). That’s it. He didn’t need to bribe me, he didn’t need to get down on his knees and beg, and he didn’t need to be a douche-bag about it. No one benefits from being rude to staff. It puts us in a bad mood, and the customer in more of a bad mood than when they came in. In fact, believe it or not, if you are nice to staff, they might actually give you exactly what you ask for! Stop the press! Stop the internet! This is amazing!!

Continuing with a horror night of annoying customers, my restaurant had a reservation for 25 people at 7:45 pm. Now, 25 people is a big booking for us, and as such we gave them special treatment not necessarily given to every booking (“special” meaning giving more leeway with arriving/ordering on time, etc.). By 8:20, only about 10 of them had arrived, and by 8:40 there were about 14 people. We take last orders at 9:00, something which the group was informed of upon making the reservation. 4 people walked in at 5 to 9, and by close there were about 18 people all-together. To put this into perspective, downstairs we have three 6-person booths, and one 10-14 people table. For this group we had reserved two booths and the big table. There were at least five groups throughout the night that would have been seated on a table any other night, but were forced to sit on the benches along the wall while the booking slowly drizzled in. Not only did this booking cost us some business, they forced us to provide sub-par seating to other customers by not arriving punctually and in the promised numbers.

Now we come to the people who made this booking. I’m sure they are nice people, and I’m certainly not having a go at their personalities. HOWEVER, it is extremely disrespectful and, in some way immature to come into any restaurant the way they did. We understand people run late, and often we receive calls from people to tell us so (which is greatly appreciated). What we can’t tolerate is people treating our work as a house party, rocking up whenever they feel is fashionably-late enough, and then have the nerve to get angry when we tell them we close because it’s inconvenient to them.

People need to learn that everything runs smoother when both the staff and the customer do what their jobs. Be nice, be punctual, and don’t be an asshole.

-Josh-imagien

Album Review: ‘Weird Kids’ by We Are The In Crowd

When I first heard the music of We are the In Crowd I knew how much potential they had as a band, so I was pretty disappointed listening to their 2011 release ‘Best Intentions’. There were too many average, generic tracks that overshadowed the decent ones, and the album as a whole failed in my eyes. Understandably, I was sceptical to buy their newest record ‘Weird Kids’, afraid that it might destroy any last hope I had of the band producing what I still believed they were capable of. And I’m glad I did, as ‘Weird Kids’ is easily my favourite release of 2014 so far.

In a genre dominated by male leads, it’s always refreshing to hear the voice of a powerful woman leading the charge. Tay Jardine’s performance on ‘Weird Kids’ is both commanding and loving, varying perfectly to suit the mood of each track, making me believe every word she sings. Despite not being the strongest vocalist himself, Jordan Eckes (also one of the band’s guitarist) plays his part perfectly, adding to each harmony and providing the other side of the story for the band’s classic back-and-forth lyrics in tracks like “Manners” (the album’s 3rd track).

The best part about this record is that every song feels necessary, something which their past studio album couldn’t accomplish. It’s not often that every track is noteworthy (in one way or another), and the band deserves the highest praise for this. It’s hard to pick stand outs, so I’ll just write about every song…

‘Long Live the Kids’ is the opener of the album, and it perfectly sets the tone of what’s to come. It’s a catchy ‘call to arms’ of sorts, detailing the struggle of maintaining our youthful side when dealing with the struggles of growing up. It might seem typical from a pop-punk band, but that doesn’t make the lyrics any less relatable.

The next track, ‘The Best Thing (That Never Happened)’, was stuck in my head for about two hours, and that’s a good thing. It’s well-written, well-worked, and a great listen every time.

Track number 3, ‘Manners’, is that classic back-and-forth song I was talking about before. It’s something that WATIC do so well, and it’s easy to find yourself heavily invested in the song. You feel the emotion from Eckles when he shouts “I kept my mouth shut, I kept my mouth shut” while Tay sings “We tried, oh we tried”.

‘Come Back Home’ might not be the best track on ‘Weird Kids’, but it gets me every time. This song has a personal meaning for me, signifying the strength of the bond shared by old friends.

‘Attention’ picks up the pace again, and is an honest self-reflection of the band. An almost title-track, it puts into words what pretty much every teenager feels at some point in adolescence. It’s an extremely relatable anthem for “weird kids” everywhere to sing along to.

Opening with a simple yet strong guitar riff is ‘Dreaming Out Loud’, and the guitar is arguably this tracks greatest asset. It’s not the strongest song lyrically, and I’m still not entirely sure what Tay is on about, but that doesn’t stop me slightly bobbing my head in time with the beat.

‘Remember to Forget You’ was a bit too ‘Best Intentions’ for me, and it’s definitely my least favourite track on the album. Having said that, it’s still enjoyable enough, and the bridge is awesome.

I’m a sucker for songs written about family members, and ‘Don’t You Worry’ plays right into that. The lyrics, while clearly addressed to someone in particular (I would put my money on Jardine’s sister…), are still applicable to any family members/friends that are having a hard time. Once again, the bridge is the highlight of the song, combining motivation with unconditional love for what it one of the album’s most memorable moments.

‘Windows in Heaven’ follows on from ‘Don’t You Worry’ almost seamlessly. When it starts, it’s almost disorienting, and you can tell something is wrong. The simplicity of the song’s chorus allows the meaning to be easily taken in, and that means the emotion can take centre-stage, rather than the words. The lyrics could be about anyone who’s ever lost someone important to them, and it’s one of few songs that benefits from not being too specific. In short, it’s a beautiful song about living through death.

It’s almost a shock when the last track, ‘Reflections’, suddenly starts after just hearing ‘Windows In Heaven’, and it’s almost a parallel to Jardine’s own moving-on. This is what I like from an album-ending track. It sets the tone for what’s to come, not necessarily in the lyrics, but in the way it’s performed. “Destiny is overrated, so I think I’ll write my own” Eckes and Jardine sing, and it’s a perfect way to sum up ‘Weird Kids’.

In case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Weird Kids’. It’s got everything a good record needs; the catchy songs, the powerful songs, the sad songs and the fun songs, but most of all, it has the personality and individuality that is so important for a band, something to set them apart from the rest of the crowd. ‘Weird Kids’ is awesome, and I’m truly excited for what the band has in store for the future.

(Although, Tay does need to work on her music video acting… The song’s still cool though.)

8.5/10

-Josh-IMAGE

Isn’t Hummus Just the Best?

I remember the first time I ever tried hummus. I was about 12 or 13, and my mum was eating some with those tasty corn thins. Looking at the hummus I couldn’t understand how anyone could eat such a yucky-coloured, gloompy dip. My friends know how picky I am with food, so it was a minor miracle that I mustered up the courage to spread some on a corn thin and stick it into my food chasm. But I’m so happy I did.

Hummus is great. It goes with anything, you can eat it whenever, and best of all, it’s apparently not bad for you! In fact, an article a recently read lists several benefits of being a hummus enthusiast like me, benefits such as managing your weight, lowering cholesterol, or even reducing your risk of cancer. Who knew?

There are so many different ways you can make hummus. Sure, you can add different flavours/toppings to it, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the actual hummus. Adding more/less lemon, garlic, or other spices can completely change the taste of the dip. Not enough to make it “unhummus-like”, but enough to feel new and fresh.

Despite there being so many variations in the recipes, I do have a favourite hummus. If you ever find yourself in the Middle East (Israel specifically), head down to Yafo in Tell Aviv. I can’t remember the exact name or location (sorry), but I’m sure if you ask some locals they will direct you to the right place. All they serve here is hummus and pita, and for a reasonable price you can get a full bowl of the best hummus you’ve ever had the honour of tasting with an unlimited supply of pita (and a drink, wooo). It doesn’t get better than that.

There’s really not too much more I can say about hummus. If you haven’t tried it you’re missing out big time, and if you have tried it, well you’ll understand the delicious simplicity of the dip that I’m trying to convey.

Eat more hummus.

10 Reasons Why We Should All Be Eating More HummusIMAGE

-Josh-