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Words I'd Never Say
Grammy Picks 2012
02/06/12 at 09:25 PM by KingOfSpain
Record of the Year

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Who Should Win: Adele

I really want Bon Iver’s “Holocene” to win this, because if he did, it would be the best thing to ever happen to Wisconsin. But after last year’s Arcade Fire debacle, I doubt it will happen. Besides, Adele really deserves it.

Song of the Year

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Who Should Win: Adele

I just don’t think any other nominee can justifiably claim either of these awards. However, Kanye’s “All of the Lights” is deserving of some recognition, and, of course, “Holocene” is nominated.

Best New Artist

Who Will Win: Skrillex
Who Should Win: Bon Iver

As much as I hate dubstep, it’s difficult to ignore Skrillex’s meteoric rise to fame in the past year. Bon Iver deserves to win because he is the only nominee in the category who I can consider a true artist. His self-titled album is absolutely magnificent. If you haven’t listened to it already, please do so.

Album of the Year

Who Will Win: Born This Way by Lady Gaga
Who Should Win: 21 by Adele

I just hate the current state of pop music. I want Adele to win, but I just have a bad feeling Lady Gaga is going to take this one. I don’t want it to be true, but my gut tells me this is how it will be.

Rock Album of the Year

Who Will Win: Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul by Jeff Beck
Who Should Win: Wasting Light by Foo Fighters

Wasting Light is a killer album, but the Academy loves having a couple of tricks up its sleeve. I think Jeff Beck takes this one. I’m not quite sure why it’s nominated, so the Academy must know something I don’t. I think Wilco’s The Whole Love might be the dark horse in this category.

Best Alternative Album

Who Will Win: Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Who Should Win: Bon Iver by Bon Iver

While most of the other nominations are great albums (see My Morning Jacket and Radiohead), Bon Iver is head and shoulders above the rest. I don’t think Foster the People or Death Cab deserve to win this award for putting out run-of-the-mill albums.

Best Rap Album

Who Will Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
Who Should Win: Yeezy

MBDTF is just that: dark and twisted, yet beautiful. I’ve never been a big fan of rap, but this album is totally unique and powerful.

In conclusion, I just want Bon Iver to win all of the awards he’s nominated for, not because he’s representing my home state, but because he hates the Grammys so much and I think it would be funny to see how he handles it.
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For All You Reading Nerds...
09/05/11 at 10:30 PM by KingOfSpain
I wrote this essay on Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass". Read it. Comment if you wish. But I hope you enjoy.

Throughout Walt Whitman’s poetic masterpiece Leaves of Grass, the reader gets the sense that the author believes he has it all figured out. Line after line, we feel Walt’s swagger, as if he is calling out, “I am America. Do as I say, and become fulfilled.” But along the way, the reader might become irritated. How can this man -- whose writing seems to be mere rambling -- possibly expect that anyone would take his words to heart, let alone read them to begin with? Many people agree with this sentiment. They believe Whitman is cocky, self-centered, and an obsessive patriot. In the end, some (like one of my classmates) might even say it is “rubbish.”
Although his writing might be sporadic, the argument cannot end there. Writing is not just about the words on the page at face value, but about motives and emotions behind those words. So what if instead of looking at just the words on the page, we look at the motives behind the words and the effects afterwards? I believe that if we look deeper into Whitman’s intended influence, there is a lot of truth to be found. I’m not saying that the man is a genius, but we should not dismiss him completely simply because we think he’s unorthodox.
When I first began to read Leaves of Grass, I was bored and confused and did not care much for what Whitman had to say. I think I went into the book thinking that I would be disappointed. I had often heard about what a great book it was, but I’m not one to take suggestions very often. However, I was not going to be dismayed. I did something I rarely do and read the book again. This time, line after line jumped out at me, captured me, and captivated me. By the end, I was speechless. I honestly was not sure how I was supposed to write this essay. I had a million thoughts racing through my head about how brilliant this work was that I did not know where to begin.
For starters, I knew I was impressed with Whitman’s boldness. To me, Whitman’s attitude does not seem selfish, it seems confident, and it is an attitude we should all carry. I had an experience this past summer where some of my coworkers were patronizing me for doing certain things that I enjoy which they considered to be ‘weird,’ such as spending my breaks reading instead of napping. When I was asked why I chose to do these things, I replied, “Because it’s what makes me happy. I do things that make me happy, no matter what other people think.” I think this is similar to what Whitman was implying throughout Leaves of Grass. Do what makes you feel alive. Be happy. Be confident in yourself, even when the world is against you. In Whitman’s words, “Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
It is obvious that Whitman and Leaves of Grass blazed a trail for a new brand of poetry. Before Whitman, we imagine the poets as the educated sages and bards, writing in a standard form for the upper class intellectuals. However, Whitman broke the mold by writing for the ‘everyman’ in a way that was new and unusual, but still understandable. This opened the door for anyone to try to write poetry. Whitman stressed that as long as a person had emotions, experiences, or opinions, they could become a poet. Although proper writing is learned from books, substantial writing that just nails you in the gut comes from the heart. Maybe Whitman did not mean to change the standard for poetry, but I cannot imagine what it would be like if he had not done so.
I believe that even though Whitman’s influence on the art of poetry was great, his message to the nation was much greater. However, the former is more evident than the latter. By this, I mean that while Whitman tried to inspire a nation and future generations to be lovers of freedom, it is something that is often taken for granted or ignored. He wanted his readers to fall in love with America. He wanted them to embrace the American spirit and the idea of individuality. Unfortunately, this is something that the reader often overlooks. If the American population had gotten a better grip on what Whitman had to say, maybe we could be more patriotic, more thankful for our freedom, more individualistic, and more proud of our nation.
I do not believe that just a few hundred words in an essay can do Whitman justice. I believe that what Whitman had to say is much more deserving of a brief summary. Whitman’s work is so unique and superior, that I believe that to give Whitman the credit he is due, I would have to write something that reached beyond what Whitman said and match my actions with Whitman’s words. Practically, he changed the face of American poetry and literature. He genuinely captured the ideal spirit of humanity and described what it takes to live a more fulfilling life. He provoked and continues to provoke discussion and change. I’m not saying the man is worthy of our utmost praise, but he certainly is worthy of more credit than we tend to give him. His writing might have been strange, but that does not mean it is wrong.
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Check This Out
08/30/11 at 06:37 PM by KingOfSpain
I've discovered/heard of/known a few local bands from around the country in the past few weeks that I'd like to help out, so if you could take a quick listen to one or two or all of these bands, I would appreciate it (and I'm sure they would, too). To help you out, I've linked all the names to each band's Facebook profile.

The Desarios

This band, recently formed in Crystal Lake, IL, has an old school rock 'n' roll feel. They've only posted one song, "I've Never Felt So Cold", but it's catchy as hell. If you're in the Chicagoland area, try to catch these guys live.

20 Days In

Recommended for fans of Dance Gavin Dance and Circa Survive. This Philly-based five-piece only formed a year ago, but they've earned opening spots for Silverstein and Conditions, and rightfully so. These guys really know how to rock.

You Me and Apollo

Brent Cowles, the one-man band behind You Me and Apollo, has a very unique folky sound. The new album, Cards and Cheats, is now up on bandcamp.

Again, please check these guys out. I wouldn't promote anything that I didn't believe in, and I think these three small bands have tons of talent and promise to make it big.

Peace out.
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Honda Civic Tour - Milwaukee, WI
08/24/11 at 06:32 PM by KingOfSpain
I can’t imagine a better way to end my summer than to see some of my favorite bands from high school - Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, and Manchester Orchestra - with some of my best friends. With classes starting the day after this show, I was hoping it wouldn’t disappoint. My expectations were not only met, but greatly exceeded.

Manchester Orchestra - the band I was most excited to see - ended their run on the Honda Civic Tour with a half-hour set that consisted mainly of tracks from their 2008 release Mean Everything to Nothing. The five-piece powered through their set at a blazing pace, bringing heavy, heart-pounding rock and roll to a demographic mainly attracted by the other bands on the bill. Even though most of the younger crowd seemed uninterested in ManOrch, I was captivated by their energy and passion. I headed into this set with hopes, and I was pleased with the powerful (albeit short) set.

I was not as excited to see My Chemical Romance on the bill. While Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade are two incredibly nostalgic albums for me, I was not impressed with their latest release, Danger Days. I had heard that earlier in the tour, MCR was not playing any material from Danger Days. However, in Milwaukee they opened with the lead single from Danger Days “Na Na Na” and “Planetary (Go!)” back to back. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the studio material, MCR absolutely rocked these songs live. In addition, the band played many of their earlier hits, such as “Helena”, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, and “Welcome to the Black Parade” (although “The Ghost of You” was notably missing). Overall, the set really impressed me. The band was full of energy, the light/visual aspect of the performance was outstanding, and the sound quality was impressive. With all the energy coming off of this set, I had high hopes for Blink 182.

I became a fan of Blink 182 during the hiatus, so I’m not someone who can wholly appreciate the comeback as others might. However, that didn’t prevent me from appreciating a high quality live show. The trio came out swinging early, performing countless hit after hit. They played four new songs, including “Up All Night” (a single that closely resembles Angels and Airwaves material) and “Heart’s All Gone” (which resembles Dude Ranch-era Blink). As a surprise, they played fan favorite “Happy Holidays You Bastard”. The infamous Blink-182 banter between Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge was slightly above average at best, but it didn’t distract from an otherwise spectacular show. The band knew what the audience wanted, and they went above and beyond to deliver. The visual effects were incredible, the group’s stage presence was unmatched, and even though the venue was massive and my seats were in the nosebleeds, I felt as if I was front and center. It’s common knowledge among the music community that Blink 182 knows how to bring the house down, and they proved it last night.

When all was said and done, the 2011 Honda Civic Tour will go down in my personal history (for now) as the best live show I have seen. A high-energy show packed with three incredibly talented and popular bands was just what I needed to end this summer the right way.
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Welcome Back.
08/22/11 at 04:13 PM by KingOfSpain
I spent my summer working in the kitchen at a camp in northern Wisconsin. It sucked. I wish I had more to say about it, but it was empty of any value whatsoever. On the surface, I missed time with my best friends (including tons of concerts), lots of great music releases, freedom and personal space. But enough about that. I'm over it, and I've caught up with any important music that came out over my time there.

I had 36 hours off between my job at camp and moving back to school to start my new job as an RA. I'm glad to be back. I'm two and a half hours away from my hometown, but I'm definitely at home here. The people I love most are here. It's where I'm most comfortable. This year is looking great so far.

I've started a tumblr account. Now, I don't ask people for much, and I'm not one to beg, but please please please PLEASE check it out. Follow me. I'll follow you. I've just started it, so there isn't much right now, but I'm looking to do concert and music reviews, starting with tomorrow's Honda Civic Tour in Milwaukee. Again, please look at it. I'd appreciate it greatly.

It's good to be back in the AP community. I missed all you idiots.

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No Sleep Til....
05/26/11 at 12:43 AM by KingOfSpain
We've all been there. Those nights where we can't sleep because our minds are racing 100 miles per hour. And it's not that you aren't tired or don't intend to sleep. Your mind just gets a hold of your body, and you lie there, thinking.

For myself, tonight is one of those nights. I have things that I want to say, but don't know how to write without sounding pretentious or ignorant. As much as I want to say things, I want to keep quiet, because I don't know it all. Even in my own personal struggles, I can't say that I fully understand everything. Why do I occasionally miss my ex, even though I'm in a completely different phase of my life? Why did I tell one of my best friends that I have feelings for her? Why can't a nice guy like me just find a normal girl for once?

It's not just relationship stuff. I tend to have my mind focused in that direction, especially when I begin to have problems. "If only I wasn't alone, then I would have fewer problems." But I digress. What am I going to do next summer? Can I find a solid internship? If I do, I might have to move, and where will I live? What do I even want to do with my education? What kind of job should I get? I have lots of different abilities and interests. What's it going to be like getting my own place?

In the end, it all goes back to my feeling that I need to be on the move. I lived in the same small town for 18 years, and once I moved to college - right in the heart of the sprawling suburbs - I felt the need to move again. One year there seemed like enough for me. But I've got commitments for the next school year, so I can't leave now. Besides, I'd miss my friends. I just want to go on a trip, but where would I go? I'm worried about the money it would cost to go somewhere. And what if I end up staying? I feel like I could go to a big city, like it, and just not go back home. I suppose that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but what would I tell my parents? They would hate me. But do I really care what they think anymore? My mother is crazy, but I would miss my father.

My parents are going to get a divorce. Let me rephrase: I could see my parents getting a divorce in the next five years. My sister is the second and youngest child, and she's moving out in about a year. My parents focus all of their time and energy on making her happy. When she's not around, they either argue or just sit there in silence. My sister says the atmosphere is already tense ever since I left. I would be sad if they split up, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised. I would pick sides, for sure.

Part of me feels like I've said enough, but part of me feels like I should keep typing until I'm tired.

My ex-roommate jokingly came out to one of our friends. He said that he was gay, and then immediately retracted the statement by saying "Just kidding." It wouldn't surprise me if he was, but I don't think he'd ever come out. The kid is studying to be a pastor, and there is no way he would get a job if he were openly homosexual. The sad part is, the only thing he's interested in or passionate about is becoming a pastor. He's never worked a day in his life, and he just goes around talking about Jesus all day. If he were gay, it would cause quite the ruckus. I feel bad for the guy. He has to choose between being honest about himself, and holding on to the one thing he loves. If he comes out, he would have to give up his only passion. If he were to stay in the closet and become a pastor, he would be lying to himself and to his congregation. Like I said, I wouldn't be surprised whatsoever if he were gay, but I would be surprised if he came out.

I think I'm finally tired and in a calm state of mind. I didn't mean to rant and ramble about my life and stuff. I wanted to write something deep or inspiring or thought-provoking. I don't know. Maybe some other time. For now, this is what you get. So long.
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What Have We Done?
04/21/11 at 11:54 PM by KingOfSpain
When we met, you told me you already knew me.

When we started hanging out, you told me about yourself. I can't say that I was ready to hear about all of your exes, but I took it as a sign of trust...a sign of you wanting to share yourself with me.

When we started talking about what we wanted our futures to look like, I felt like you were including me in your life. I felt like you wanted me along for the ride.

When we stopped hanging out, I felt at ease. I was worried about falling for someone so soon, and the silence between us didn't hurt. If anything it helped end the confusion. I felt like I could move on.

When we started talking again, you told me what you were thinking. You told me that me taking you out for coffee felt too much like a relationship, and you weren't ready for that. You were scared of not knowing what you wanted and risking it all on me.

When you told me that, I told you that I had feelings for you. We defined the relationship, realized that we should just be friends, and moved on.

When you told me that our friendship felt too much like a relationship, I made an effort to avoid those situations. I wanted you to feel comfortable, not scared.

When you wanted to meet my family, spend all night talking, and send me letters, I was cautious. Those weren't things that I did with all of my other girl friends. I didn't understand what you were after.

When I decided to stop pursuing the possibility of a relationship with you, you pursued me instead. I wanted it and hated it at the same time.

When you told me that you wanted to live with some of your guy friends for the summer, I was hurt. I knew that I didn't have say over what you did, but I felt disrespected. You knew how I felt about you, and you had to know that that would hurt me.

When I told you that that was a stupid idea, you listened. You thought about it. You agreed.

When I told you that I was ready to stop caring about what people thought of me, you told me not to give up. I told you that I had no one to impress. You told me that maybe I did, and I just didn't know it.

When I said goodbye, you held me. I tried not to think too much of that moment, but how was I supposed to avoid those feelings?

When we spent all day talking on the phone today, I felt like I was making a mistake. I felt like I was wasting your time. I felt like the conversation would end eventually, but you just fell asleep on me.

When I wrote down what I was thinking, I read it and I realized that I love you.

When I wrote down what I was thinking, I read it and I realized that you probably love me too. But we're both too scared to admit it.

When I see you again, I'll know for sure.
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Date A Girl Who Reads
03/16/11 at 04:05 AM by KingOfSpain
I stumbled upon this a while ago. It pretty much describes the girl of my dreams and how I wish my life would work out. Enjoy.

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."
— Rosemary Urquico
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