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"F*** Kevin Durant" - Lil' B.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

(PSA) Acoustic vs Electric: What are YOU listening to this summer?

NOW that summer is upon us, music festival season is here and in full bloom. Across the world, thousands of artist from all walks of life are playing on some form of stage for people willing to give a listening ear, and in some cases, a hefty price tag. Regardless, music and summer time go hand in hand, and that's a fact Jack. But what kind of music is right for the dog days? I not here to tell you to listen to music, nor am I telling you what music to avoid. Just don't go off being a dingus and not knowing what type of music to play at whatever event you venture off to this summer. So listen up folks, this is a guide for getting you're party set no matter where you may be under the sun.


The cool of the cool, the chill of the chill. Acoustic music is basically your "I don't have to work today, so I'm going to the river" type of music. Remember: Just because a song makes use of an electric instrument, that's not what determines what makes that song acoustic or electric by my definition. What makes a true acoustic song is it's tempo. It can be slow, but still upbeat; fast, but relaxing. If a song can get an uptight person to sit back and worry solely about chillin', you've got yourself a good acoustic song. The only draw back to acoustic songs is that one should not expect to show it off to his or her friends. We're not here to try and interpret the struggle an artists has faced conveyed through their lyrical and songwriting ability. Acoustic music is like that old late-night TV infomercial that had the tag line "Set it and Forget it!" I'd recommend sifting through some Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Dave Matthew, Daft Punk, Prince, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, or any type of classic surf music and pick out some of the more melodic and harmonious pieces. Don't try to stray into your deep cuts collection unless you are certain they fit the acoustic mold. Here's a personal favorite that I use as a marker in a lot of my acoustic playlists:


Alright, new scenario: you've worked all week. Once you get home late Friday afternoon, you start to get a second wind. You're still in a funk though, and you need a small boost to get you into Crunkmode. Trust me, we've all been there. Have no fear, electric music is here!
Make sure to put on a something that sounds good loud. No one ever successfully pregames to a Taylor Swift break up song, 'cause quite frankly, ain't no body got time fo' dat. Everyone likes to turn up a little bit differently, and I respect that, but if you're gonna party with me, you gotta bring the funky fresh beats. Always be looking for songs that are a constant build up; the last thing you need is a dreary down beat to ruin your good mood. Like acoustic music, there are some cons. The biggest problem is police. Sometimes, I and others have been known to get a little too hyped, resulting in various noise violations in both car and house forms. Electric music is VERY distracting, so make sure you're in an area specifically designated for hardcore swerving and maximum air guitar space. My recommendation is podcast, premade playlists, album mixes and remixes, or anything else specially made to flow. Creating an electric playlist can be very tough if you don't know the ins and outs of rhythmic structure and BPM. In need of a quick pick-me-up right now? I got you, son:

As mentioned in the intro, I didn't write today to say this artist is shit or this song is dope. I wrote this article to help out people in need of the age old question "What kind of music should we play?" Don't be the guy or gal in your circle of friends who gets banned from being DJ at get-togethers. Know your surroundings and get a good feel for the vibes. Don't blast the new Skrillex banger at a church barbecue and don't try to turn up to a Simon and Garfunkel ballad (I'm looking at you, Taylor). The best advice I can give is to always play it by ear.


Monday, 15 June 2015

Kat Fish: a Tinderella Story

Ray explains how to use Tinder.
If you're in your 20's, chances are you're familiar with the speed judging dating app TinderTinder is great in theory, but kind of painful if you're actually trying to meet people, not just boosting your ego for 15 minutes a week. For guys, the Tinder process goes something like this:
  • Swipe "yes" to 50 girls.
  • Match with five of them.
  • Message four of them.
  • Recieve only one message in return: it is a one word message.
  • Get angry, swear you're going to delete the app off your phone.
  • Don't actually delete the app. 
  • Forget Tinder exists until roughly a week later.
  • Repeat.
Being an average dude, I've always wondered what it would be like to be a beautiful woman on a dating app. I figured seeing how fellow guys approach the Tinder game would give me some insight into what to do (or not to do) when messaging girls on dating apps. So last night, I created a fake Tinder profile of a beautiful woman and swiped until my 100 free "likes" were up. What I found out is that guys are really, really fucking boring.

My profile. Accidentally misspelled Sapiophile lol.
Having discussed Tinder with female acquaintances, I was expecting to be bombarded with a lot of attention, and I was. I swiped "yes" to about 75 per cent of the profiles I saw, and I would say that out of the 100 dudes I swiped "yes" to, 85 of them were instant matches. The sheer volume of matches was a bit startling, but the big surprise came once the messages started rolling in. It wasn't the amount of messages that overwhelmed me, it was the amount of boring, uninspired stock messages I was getting that really made my time as a woman on Tinder a nightmare. With maybe ten exceptions, every single message I received fell into one of the following four categories: 

1. Hey/Hi/How was your weekend?

I'm like "Hey, what's up? Helloooo..."
About 30 per cent of the messages I received started and ended with some variation of "Hi." A couple dudes spiced the pot up a little bit by asking me softball small-talk initiators like "how are you doing tonight?", but for the most part, one word greetings were the best these guys could do. Guys, if you're thinking of sending "hey" without following it up, don't even bother. There are 50 dudes in every woman's inbox who have sent her the exact same thing, and unless you look like Brad Pitt, you're not getting a response back.


Zohaib has no chill.
This seemed to be the de facto conversation starter for Arab bros/sketchbags; and unsurprisingly it was often followed with a message that conveyed a strong tone of thirst/creepiness. One guy was the exception and actually pulled it off, but he was good looking, flattered me, didn't use emoticons, and obviously understood spelling/punctuation. This approach might work for you, but if you're gonna try it, make sure it's a genuine compliment and not the digital equivalent of yelling catcalls from a moving car.

3: Are you a bot lol?

I can't tell if this guy was curving me or if he didn't get the joke.
These dudes were all self-effacing nerds, and when I tried joking with them they seemed to be genuinely clueless. Unless you want to belong to a sub-species of human jellyfish, don't send messages like this.

4: Really uninspired question about my profile

Your mom must be proud.
The only information I put on my profile was my height, the fact that I was Australian, and that I was a sapiophile. As a result, I received the questions "what are you doing in Canada?" and "what's a sapiophile lol?" about six or seven times each. At first I thought they were good questions, because they gave me an opportunity to reply with a snappy, catchall comeback. Eventually, however, the repetition, coupled by the inability of the dudes who asked me the questions to hold any sort of interesting conversation became too much, and I stopped responding to these messages. Guys: if you're gonna ask a question about a girl's profile, put a little bit of thought into it. Girls: put more than six words in your profile description and you'll probably get some more interesting messages.

What I learned:

I think this guy was on to me.
Look, I'm not a woman, so I can't tell you what really works or doesn't work, but I can tell you that I got bored of the four questions I just discussed really quickly. Bored =/= sexy. I'm assuming a strong picture game more than compensates for effortless messages, but if you're matching and not getting responses, it's probably because -- like 80 per cent of the guys who messaged me on Tinder last night -- you're sending boring ass messages. 

It wasn't all bad though, these dudes had some serious game:

I thought this guy was pretty funny; I was playing hard to get, but would've more than likely tossed him the drawers eventually.

... and of course, this dapper young man impressed me a lot. 

So there you go. I hope this piece sheds some light into the complex world of being a woman on Tinder, and gave you some good pointers to sharpen your game up. Happy swiping!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sportsology: X-Games Edition

Oh my lordy lord lord. What a superb weekend for sports this has been; the horse racing triple crown drought is finally over, NHL and NBA finals are shaping up to be great, UEFA Champions finals, Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his career, French Open upsets and milestones, the list goes on and on. But after watching nothing but sports the past 70 hours, I have to say the X-Games were by far the most interesting and intriguing. I'll be honest, I know nothing of the Super Truck Competitive Race Series or whatever it's called. But I do know that I like 600+ horsepower engines and high speed hi-jinks, so of course it was the greatest thing of all time. So it got me thinking, "What were the top X-Games moments that I remember growing up?" And then I remembered I haven't wrote something in a while. That's how we got here. Just watch the videos, trust me.

Tony's 900 was cool, but...

Let's be honest, things have changed since Tony Hawk did the first 900 back in the day. I'd like to post an old school video though, and this is just absolutely surgical:

Metal Militia Represent

Mike Metzger is the man, hands down. How to win silver: do something that changes the sport of freestyle motorcross forever. How to win gold: do it again, twice as big.

Snap Back to Reality

Want to talk about the world's toughest man? Jake Brown gets a look for sure. Spoiler Alert: he ends up winning gold later in his career.

Legends. That is all.

Colin McRae.

If the X-Games ever taught me one thing, it was that the medal counts and the winning wasn't what really mattered. The X-Games are about pushing the boundaries and putting everything you got on display for one night only. These are not athletes. These are some of the craziest lunatics walking the planet right now. But come on, would you rather go to some silly Cirque du Soleil show, or experience true feats of danger and peril, and quite possibly even history? On that note, I'd like to leave you with not a legend, but more of a godly figure in the extreme sports world, one who really shows what X-Games is all about:

How to Write a Good Album Review

At risk of sounding immodest, I have the skills to be the G.O.A.T. when it comes to music criticism. Unfortunately I'm not gonna waste my time trying to be a music journalist, mostly because some asshole invented the internet, so there's no way to make even an iota of money writing about music anymore. Also, being a professional music critic means you have to spend most of your day trying to formulate an opinion on the completely unremarkable music your boss has mandated for review, which is a great way to quickly take all the fun and passion out of listening to music. Personally, I'm not about that life.

That being said, some of you poor souls are either delusional or self-depricating enough to believe you can be a professional music critic in the year 2015. If you're just starting out, writing a good review can seem like a daunting task, but it's actually kinda formulaic and super easy. However there are also a lot of opportunities for critics to stumble. If you want to write music reviews but don't know where to start, fear not! I've developed four tips to make writing good reviews easier. Here they are:

1. Keep your review between 250-550 words

Yo, real talk -- if your review is over 600 words, you're either rambling or talking out your ass. As a critic in 2015, you are no longer a gatekeeper of public opinion; you're a salesperson who's job is to tell us whether or not the album you're reviewing is worth listening to. We don't need a fucking dissertation -- provide us with some background info, talk about what you liked, talk about what you didn't like, conclude and BOOM, you're done. It goes without saying, but the length of your piece should be relative to the length of what you're reviewing. A two song single probably doesn't warrant a 500 word review, whereas a full length review shouldn't be under 300 words. In my opinion, mastering your word count is the most important skill when it comes to writing reviews.

2. Press kits are your friend 

Sounding like an expert is really easy when you're talking about your favourite bands/genres/producers/whatever, but if you wanna write reviews with any regularity you're eventually going to have to step out of your comfort zone and cover something you have no reference for. When this happens, get your hands on the album's press kit (or talk to a member of the band) and refer back to the information when writing your review. The press kit puts the album in perspective and will give you a blueprint when trying to pinpoint references to the band's influences/earlier work. However (!!!), don't rely too heavily on the press kit. Make your own opinions up, or you'll sound like a poser to the band's fans/fans of the genre you're talking about.

Lie to yourself all you want, hxc kids. This is good music.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague

"Wall of sound", "poppy melodies", "smooth vocal delivery". As somebody who's spent more than their fair share of time reading about music, nothing jumps out and says "please disregard anything I have to say" more than when a reviewer pulls out a lazy cliche. Don't be like every other asshole and tell me the metal album uses "buzzsaw" guitars; explain what the guitars sound like. Is the guitar tone similar to the tone of another band? Did the guitar playing evoke a specific emotion in you when you heard it? If the answer to those questions is "nah, but it sounds like a buzzsaw" then the guitar playing is unremarkable and there's no point in talking about it. Please, for everybody's sake -- don't be lazy, use your own words.

4. Keep it in perspective!

This is big for me, as I can't tell you how many times I've looked back on something I wrote in like 2011 and thought; "damn, I can't believe I said something so stupid!" Look, I know you're 19 years old and you think you know everything. I'm sure you genuinely believe the new Turnstile record is gonna save hardcore and that Taylor Swift is literally worse than polio, but the fact of the matter is, your opinions are incorrect. There's nothing wrong with really liking or disliking something, but when you take that opinion out of the personal realm and start making grandiose statements about the band's legacy or whatever, you're entering dangerous territory. The impact of an album is something to be retrospectively decided years after it's release, not boldly predicted in your review. Trust me, if you start making outrageous statements about legacy, you will regret them.
Those are the four biggest pointers I could think of when it comes to writing album reviews. They aren't Sharia Law, but if you use them as guidelines, you'll be living your dream of getting paid peanuts to essentially provide free promotion for a multi-billion dollar industry in no time! There are some other important pointers to mention like "know your audience" and "use AP/CP style" but I'm not your Journalism 1 prof so I'm not gonna bore you with that stuff. Stay safe, and good luck with reviewing!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Requiem for You Valiant Souls!

Some asshole's opinion: #1 trend on Facebook for 18 hours straight.
In the 48 hours since Caitlyn Jenner announced her transformation to the world, a lot of hateful nonsense has come to my attention through social media. From off-colour jokes and careless pronoun fuckups to straight up trans-bashing, I've seen pretty much every type of transphobic insensitivity imaginable cross my lap thanks to the valiant members of the "new left" I follow on various social media platforms.

See, I never spent any time in high school gym class, so I had no idea that redneck morons were insensitive to the plight of the transgendered. In the last 48 hours, my eyes have been opened, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. I would even go as far as to say that, for all the hard work they put in reblogging Buzzfeed articles and fighting with trolls, the faceless internet mob -- not Caitlyn Jenner -- are the real heroes of the trans community right now.

And heroes deserve to be recognized! So to you brave internet warriors, you last bastions of progressive liberalism; I extend my gratitude. Thank you for keeping vigilant watch on the safety of the trans community from your ivory towers! It was your furious typing and poignant, thoughtful sarcasm that, for 18 consecutive hours, cast the brightest of lights on the unforgivable transgressions of extremely relevant pop-culture icon Drake Bell. It was you, my brave knights, who unearthed the damning Instagram post that brought about the unfortunate, yet appropriate fall from grace of one Snoop Lion. It was your 800 word tumblr diatribe of poorly-regurgitated Gender Studies 101 rhetoric that renewed and revitalized the trans community in their fight for basic human rights! To you, the world is forever grateful.

I have no idea how you stayed so strong. There were plenty of opportunites to be distracted over the last 48 hours. You could have lost focus and started praising Jenner's unheralded courage, or applauding the remarkably talented Annie Leibovitz for composing the photograph that will be this generation's V-J Day in Times Square. You could have chosen to let the haters die on the vine, ignoring their shitty jokes and obvious trolling. Instead you pulled it together and did the right thing -- re-posted millions of articles from godawful content aggregate sites "calling out" random assholes. So on behalf of the entire trans community (who, as a cisgendered heterosexual, I'm apparently qualified to speak for) I would like to thank you for singlehandedly eliminating transphobia from the face of the earth. They literally couldn't have done it without you!

If only we could all be as brave as you, keyboard warriors. Keep on fighting the good fight.