Are Songs Good Or Just Familiar?

A while back, I started doing this thing where I’d pick a singer/band whose music enjoy from what I know and listen to their whole discography from start to finish. I need music on while at work, and this project allowed me to put something on and not constantly fiddle with changing songs. Mostly I do this with singers/bands from the 70’s and 80’s who I obviously couldn’t hear during their prime. It’s been very cool to expose myself to new songs and see how an artist can change over decades.

Listening To Music  while i work gif.

But one thing I’ve learned and find very interesting is that the songs we know and love may not be that great, they’re just simply very familiar to us. There are artists like Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, or Blue Rodeo where I really liked all their songs/singles that I knew going in (or all the ones that my local oldies radio station plays at least). So I thought I’d go into their albums and find many more great songs I’d love just as much. But I did not. Yes, there were some songs that jumped to my attention, but overall, no matter who I listened to (the one and only exception being Billy Joel), I just found a bunch of mediocre songs. So were the singles on the radio the best of the best? Unlikely. I think they’re just ones that are familiar so I guess our brains appreciate them more.

Of course, I didn’t and don’t expect every single song an artist releases to be a perfect hit, instantly classic, and ideal for my tastes, but still. I went through whole albums for so many artists finding nothing that I really latched on to.

I was expecting more gif.

That being said, I do realize that there are some issues with how I consumed all this music. Firstly, I only listened to the album once. I don’t have the desire to give it all multiple listens to better absorb them (especially for some artists like Chicago who have literally 30 full albums. Bros…chill…). Secondly, as I mentioned, I’m listening while I’m working. So my brain isn’t in the mode to process the music fully because I’m busy focusing on my job. Perhaps if I was just listening and really able to completely focus, I’d better appreciate some songs more. Maybe.

The title of this post makes it seem like songs can’t be both good and familiar, which is not true, but I guess it has made me question things a little. Are the artists I like genuinely great, timeless creators or has my brain tricked me into thinking a few familiar songs are enough to cement that person into history? Did they just get lucky with those big songs and really have little else to show for a career? Much to think about. I’d love to know if anyone else has dove into full discographies of artists and found similar things.

Now as I said, there were some songs that I discovered in the albums that I did enjoy. Maybe this is me exposing my music tastes or exposing that I’m young and don’t know songs that perhaps everyone else knows, but every time I found a song I liked, I added it to this Spotify playlist. Take a listen if you want.

Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Is there an artist who you think has a bunch of hidden gems in their discography? Is there a song from an artist in this playlist that you think I should give another go?

That’s all for now!

 

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A Rant About Redbubble And Similar Sites’ Inconsistency

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good ranty post, I think. Buckle up.

Are you ready gif.

For those who may not know, Redbubble is a website where people upload art and others can buy that art on products like shirts, bags, pillows, laptop cases, a so much more. This service is called Print On Demand because the items are only made and shipped by Redbubble when they’re ordered, so it’s not up to the artist to manage stock. Society6 and TeePublic are similar sites, as is TeeSpring, but TeeSpring doesn’t have a public-facing marketplace anymore like the others do.

The sites take a huge cut, but there are a lot of artists who still make good money selling their designs. Especially because these sites are popular for fanart. If you like Lord Of The Rings, for example, you can easily search for that and find hundreds of designs. And this is where I come in. I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog before, but last June, a friend and I started running a virtual quidditch game of sorts for friends. It’s been so fun and our friends love it. Recently, someone suggested we make merch. My very talented friend made amazing team logos just for fun and did a bunch of art for game assets, and people have been playing as these teams for over a year now. So we looked into it, uploaded all the images, and now we have merch! I’m wearing a sweater right now and I adore it.

This is all context though. Here’s the real problem and the reason for this post: our merch is on three different sites because things kept getting taken down from them. Because the team logos and assets are related to Harry Potter and quidditch, they’re getting flagged right away. And that’s understandable. I do understand the basics of copyright laws. But I also understand the rules of parody! All our logos and names are jokes. They’re mostly dumb puns that serve as a mildly threatening team name (Ravenclobber, Dumblescore, Knight Busters, Ministry Of Savage…). The art is all original, and nothing is trying to seem like real Harry Potter merch. On the basis of parody, almost all of it should all be fine.

Some of our team logos.

But what angers me even more is that our stuff is getting taken down, but if you search ‘Harry Potter’ on these sites, you’ll find hundreds of designs that are blatantly there. Direct quotes, pictures of characters, and clear imagery that is in no way a parody the way our stuff very much is. How is that allowed up still? If all Harry Potter art was being taken down, then fine, we’d accept the ruling. But it seems to be a genuine coin toss as to if you slip it through or not. And submitting an appeal isn’t helping either, because we tried, and basically got “sucks to suck” in reply.

We made the merch for fun, so our takedowns aren’t the end of the world, but I feel bad for the people who are trying to make a living off of their art. Knowing that you may get the short end of the stick for no good reason sucks and is so angering when you can’t do anything about it. I saw one girl on YouTube say her popular art got taken down eight months after she uploaded it and sold stuff, and it wasn’t even Harry Potter merch, so this is happening in probably all fandoms. Redbubble has a partner program where they allow certain fanart, but it’s limited. Harry Potter is not on the list, but as I said, there is no shortage of very clearly Harry Potter art on their site. It’s frustrating.

Frustrated Reaction GIFs.
Me every time we got another takedown

To Redbubble and other print on demand sites, you suck and need to do better to ensure that all artists are treated fairly. Get better bots or hire people to manually do it, because it’s honestly annoying to know that honest people are at the whim of such loose and inconsistent rules.

And to everyone else reading this, if you’re looking for some fun Harry Potter adjacent parody merch, check out what we’ve got on TeeSpring, Redbubble, and TeePublic. No pressure, but I love all the art my friend made, and you may too.

Rant over. That’s all for now.

 

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: August 2021

Welcome to August! I don’t feel like July flew by, but it’s wild that we’re already at August. It’s the last full month of summer! Here’s what I’ve got going on this month:

monthly look ahead logo

  • Season two of Amazon’s anthology series Modern Love is out on the 13th, and I’m excited. Not only is it a show from my boi John Carney, but it’s just a pure, sweet show. My mom and I enjoyed season 1 last summer, and I’m looking forward to more stories from the star-studded cast.
  • The new Suicide Squad movie (with a The) is coming out. While I didn’t hate the first one, it was messy, and this second one seems better. Maybe because we all trust James Gunn. Could this be the first movie I see in an actual theater in over a year? Time will tell.
    The Suicide Squad poster.
  • In other DC news, Stargirl‘s 2nd season begins on the 10th, Titans is on the 12th, and Supergirl begins the back half of the final season 6 on the 24th. Honestly, all of these shows are ones I’m not wildly super excited for, but I will keep watching anyway. I don’t hate them, they’re just not sparking joy the way they used to, ya know?
  • The last season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine starts on the 12th. I enjoy this show and I think they’ll close it out well. And I’m interested in a general sense to see how they work in the whole defund the police and BLM stuff that they said they’re going to be addressing. It’s not exactly comedy material.
  • I got summoned for Jury Duty! There’s no guarantee that I’ll be selected to actually be on a jury, but this month I will have to take a day off work to go in and answer a bunch of screener questions. I’m very interested to see how that process goes.
    Justice will be served gif.

What’s in your August? I’d love to know! I hope it’s a good month for you, though!

That’s all for now!

 

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6 Things I Didn’t Miss In This Pandemic

We’ve been in this pandemic for over a year, and it has certainly been an adjustment in nearly all aspects of life. But not all those adjustments have been bad (for me at least)! In fact, there are some that are good. As people get vaccinated and things start opening up again (I went downtown and saw friends for the first time in over a year!), I think we’re all really thinking twice about the last year and deciding what new behaviours to keep. Here are some things that I really did not miss whilst in this pandemic:

I Don't Need You GIF.

  1. Having to drive my brother places – my brother has a far better social life than I do, and everyone once in a while, he’d ask me for a ride to some restaurant or pub or buddy’s house so he could have a few drinks. It was never a far drive and obviously I’m going to do it so there’s no drinking and driving, but sometimes he’d ask when I was in the middle of a movie, which was annoying.
  2. Eating onions and having to brush my teeth – I love raw onions, and probably munch on them several dinners a week via salads or just whole chunks, and it was very nice to talk to friends over video calls right afterwards and not worry about my breath being gross.
  3. Spending money on drinks – I am not a big drinker at all, but at a party or after curling, I’ll have one or two. In the pandemic, though, those events took a hit, and my wallet benefited. At curling, it’s usually customary to buy your opponent a drink if you beat them, but that tradition was removed during the pandemic in an effort to limit socialization and contact. So just having to buy one drink for myself was great, though I did miss the socializing a lot.
    Drinking Alone GIF.
  4. Seeing friends only once in a while – when the pandemic started, there was a big push to reach out to friends, chat via video calls, and stay in touch. Over a year later, and I still do interact with people a lot online, and it’s been great. As much as it’d be fun to interact in person more, we’re able to still play games, watch movies, and chat at no cost.
  5. Disagreeing about restaurants – to give my mother a break from cooking and to support local businesses during the pandemic, my family and I ordered in every week or two, and that was fun. Ordering in to eat has been wonderful because there’s no need to argue about where we eat. If I don’t want food from the same place my parents want, there’s probably a McDonalds or Burger King on the way that’ll work for me. It’s simple.
  6. Early in-person interviews – in 2020 when I was job hunting, it was really great to have video interviews. I could sit in my room, in my element, and not have to take public transit for two hours just to chat with someone for fifteen minutes. For first-round/preliminary interviews, I think it should stay that way.
    Job Interview GIFs | Tenor

Finding good things in what is otherwise a pretty hellish and complicated year and a half is always great. What do/did you not miss from the pandemic? I’d love to hear.

That’s all for now!

 

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It’s Time To Get Rid Of Introverted And Extroverted Labels

I said what I said.

We as a society love to label everything, but lately I’ve just not been feeling the introverted and extroverted ones. For a while, they were a binary. You were either one or the other, and it was literally on some job applications, so it was something you had to know about yourself and really be. And then, at some point, we went a step further and started saying “oh, I’m an introverted extrovert” or vice versa, which is just kind of dumb in my opinion. I’d rather ambivert, but honestly, just say that you’re a normal human capable of more than one emotion and have different comfort levels in different settings. It’s normal.

it's really common gif.

I’ve been to parties or events where people are constantly asking if I’m okay because I’ll be sitting very quiet and out of the main group. I don’t think these people would believe that at home my parents often tell me I’m too loud or that I have other friends who think of me as a talkative leader. I’m just not comfortable or secure in some of those parties, so I’m quieter. Maybe we like to see others as one-dimensional and understandable, so we tend to lean into these binaries when considering others.

Don’t get me wrong, I do it too. There was this one kid in my elementary school who would literally not talk. He’d say maybe 100 quiet words the whole year. He’d just sit quietly and read whenever he could and not really engage with anyone who tried to talk to him. We all just accepted it. But then one time my friend said he saw this kid playing road hockey with a neighbour on a Saturday. He was laughing and talking and participating. I didn’t believe it, but my friend insisted. To us at school, he was very introverted, but I guess classmates were never who he connected with, and he was more comfortable with this neighbour.

Ok Shrug GIF.

The thing about introversion and extroversion is that it’s only slightly about personality and more about mental and physical preferences. A lot of people think that ‘shy’ and ‘outgoing’ are synonyms for introverted and extroverted, respectively (and because of this, introversion was seen as less than), but this is not entirely true. It’s more about if you feed off others in groups and if you need alone time either to reset or as a preference.

And I can respect that some people really value alone time more and that some people need that mental break, but I feel like the need for solo time to oneself is true for basically everyone. We all need moments alone and we all need time to calm down, whether you enjoy wild parties or not. So why bother with these labels then? Why make it so we feel like we have to pick one when we do personality quizzes or, as I mentioned, job applications?

why do we keep doing this to ourselves? gif.

I feel like even the ideas of being ‘shy’ or ‘outgoing’ aren’t understood to be as encompassing or full-time, but as soon as we slap a psychology term on it, it’s an unwavering life sentence.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Do you feel like the terms introvert or extrovert perfectly capture your essence? Do you value alone time more than others? Do you think we should stop using these terms?

 

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