Monthly Archives: July 2009

I don’t care if you feel fat, now I’m self-conscious!

Did you know that clothing manufacturers have been slowly increasing the sizes of t-shirts, following the growing trend of obesity in America? Yes? No? Well, we’ll get to that later. In the mean time, let me tell you a story.

Almost two years ago my friend who lives in Colorado sends me a song called “Holler Til You Pass Out” by a, then, little known white rap group. He’d been seeing this group all over the place playing shows around the Boulder area relentlessly. At this point they hadn’t released anything and this one demo was the only song he had, but I listened to it several times and laughed at the ironic lyrics and bizarre whiteboy rap style, then misplaced the file and forgot the whole thing. This group was called 3oh!3, sound familiar to anyone?

A few years later, I stumble across the band by accident in a ipod touch application where one of their songs, “Don’t Trust Me” is featured and I go, “Whaaaaa?” Apparently this little Colorado based rap/electronica group has some recognition now. A lot of the bands in this particular app were sort of lesser known groups, though, so it didn’t strike me as being too weird, just a bit odd.

Later that day I was playing a game of naming song lyrics with some friends, where one person would say or sing a lyric and the others would try to say/sing the next line in response before anyone else (it’s a lot more fun than it sounds) when something strange happened. I decided to test my friend’s memory by singing a line from “Don’t Trust Me” as he and I had been listening to it earlier. So, I sang the line “Shush girl, shut your lips,” but, to my shock and surprise, before my friend could even start to respond another friend who had not been playing (and who was mildly inebriated) jumped in with “Do the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips!”

I’m not kidding, that’s actually a line from the song:

The only thing to do at that point was to download the album and give it a spin, so I did, and while at first I was puzzled and unsure of what I was listening to, I was soon entranced by by the knowingly over the top lyrics, catchy synth-hooks, and pounding beats. As someone who dabbles in dance music (both as a DJ and an artist), I was soon sold to it. Before long my friends started seeing me pull up to their houses blasting 3oh!3 and singing/rapping along. The amazing thing was, once I put it out there that I knew them and liked them, fans started crawling out of the woodwork. A friend who is well on her way to becomming a professional flamenco dancer insisted I play the song “Don’t Trust Me” again and again as we drove around town, another friend had me burn him a copy of the CD with overjoyed squeals of, “I heard this song but I didn’t know where to find it, thank you!”

So, the little white rap group I’d written off back then had some recognition, but I wouldn’t know just how much recognition they had until I ventured into the cesspit of angsty teenage culture that is Hot Topic. Before you judge, keep in mind that for someone who is reasonably tall (just over six feet) and rail thin, it’s hard to find clothing that fits me well, but the clothing carried by Hot Topic happens to be perfectly suited for people of my particular size. Besides, I like band tees and skinny jeans, so sue me.

One of my greatest weaknesses in this world is band tees. I think it comes from a guilt brought on by music piracy, the only cure for which seems to be to support the band by spending money to then advertise them on my body regularly (seems odd, doesn’t it?) and after a while it became clear to me that 3oh!3 definitely deserved the privledge of using my body as a billboard. Finding their shirt in Hot Topic, while only a small addition to the overall surrealness of the situation, was the icing on the cake for me.

Standing in the store with some friends, I picked up a 3oh!3 t-shirt (a black and white astronaut with colorful lettering and a pink lightning bolt overtop) and held it up to my body. “What do you think?” I asked. My friends responded that it looked good, but that I’d picked up an extra small tee.  We laughed about it and I grabbed a small, but as I checked out I wondered if I could have worn the extra small.

In the past I could remember buying medium, or even large shirts and having them fit comfortably, but as the size of t-shirts had gone up, I’d moved down, which is a pretty weird thing to do growing up since traditionally one does the opposite. Trying on the t-shirt later, I knew I was right. I could have bought that extra small.

Like many of you ephemeral readers I’m sure were I was brought up on the five paragraph system of writing, and thus and the end of this rambling blog I feel the need to come back to some kind of thesis, but I’m not sure what my thesis is. Am I writing about obseity, 3oh!3, the mysterious ways of popular culture, or my own self-consciousness. Damned if I know, but I’m going to go stuff my face with junk food and crank up the stereo with some 3oh!3. Then maybe I can wear a medium tee, if I don’t dance off the pounds too fast!

HelloLion is a regular contributor to projectgroupthink. You can follow our tweets @PGTblog if you’re cool like that.

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What Is This Blogging?

If you’re reading this, you are probably at least vaguely familiar with the phenomenon known as blogging. I don’t think even we understand quite yet what it is, but it is certainly being done. There exists a universe such that it blogs – whoa.

As members of that blogging universe, we must ask ourselves – why does it blog, why do we blog, why do I blog?

Is it because, at the influence of mass-scale technological karma, we have isolated and alienated ourselves to the point of crying out to strangers? Or because, with the advanced specificity and range of data provided by Google and its ilk, we can simply reach out electronically to the universe and request like-minded companions? Is it to advance a cause, or to create beauty for its own sake?

Moreover-what the hell are our grandkids going to think of this blogging nonsense? Should the human race elect to continue reproducing, this phenomenon will prove an interesting sociological dig for some grad students’ theses in a half-century’s time.

Blogging is akin to jumping through microcosms. You see an article by someone you know – maybe relate to? – and you recognize it as the comfort of a familiar world. You click a new link, and you’re sifting through foreign territory, at the mercy of fate’s cruel whims and your browser’s back button.

There really are a myriad of factors at play here – looking at each of them is oddly analogous to the incomprehensible intricacy of our complex universe. Maybe that’s why we do it – for the moments of insight and bits of magic that we come across when we traverse the blog-o-sphere, whether borrowed or of our own discovery.

This blogging is what people are thinking. This blogging is who we are. This is blogging is one

*moment*

in history.

Why we do it? What is the voice of one hand clapping? Why does it matter – whoa. False dichotomy – shouldn’t we first establish that it matters all?

Freaky business, this blogging. A brand-new kind of art – not a novel, a play, or a symphony. Like a public library, filled with the private accounts of strangers. Strangers that are breathing, somewhere, right now. Most to all of whom will likely breathe tomorrow.

And if perchance they shouldn’t, what will they think of it in retrospect? A necesseray catharsis? Perhaps. A useful “product” in the ideational ecosystem of memes? Arguably. An ego-catalyzing impediment to Nirvana – whoa and a half!

Whatever they (we?,I?) might think…will that make any of this blogging less right or wrong to have blogged?

It doesn’t matter yet – right now, blogging IS.

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter; username PGTblog!

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The Real World, or Whatever I Can Tell You.

Since I’ve been out of school and back in the “real world” I really haven’t noticed that much of a change. Sure, there are more babies, children, and families. But it’s actually not all that different. People still just want to have a good time, you still have to do the dishes, go grocery shopping, and somehow obtain money.

So last night, I went out to a new bar with my friends. I had a fun time. There was dancing, drinking, socializing, the usual. What has changed from OU has to be the smorgasbord of new, available, and wanting guys. The bar is bigger, there are more people, and everybody was an unfamiliar face. Yet, the guys were such huge horndogs. I was amazed. My friend and I were hit by three guys as soon as we were spotted at an empty table. Upon their leave, I asked one of him for his name.

“It’s Jordan.”
“Oh, nice to meet you. I’m Jade.” He turned away before even hearing my name, following his friends.

Earlier that night, as Dani and I were walking by ourselves into the bar, a guy who stood outside said, “Hey! Hey! Can I talk to you girls for a minute?”
“Umm… sure,” I mumbled, as we hurried inside. We never talked to the guy.

Later on, while we sat at our again-empty table, a group of about five guys grabbed the table beside us. They walked past us, staring and smiling awkwardly. Two of them tried to be sneaky and sat on the stools that accompanied our table. I had noticed one of them had been checking me out for some time across the room. He got up to play an electronic game of bowling, therefore, requiring that he stand beside me. After he solicited my general area for a good minute or so, he asked me.

“Hey can you bowl??”
“Uhhmm.. yeah!” I replied enthusiastically.
He asked that I bowl the next round on the virtual game, to which I gladly accepted. A free game is a free game. He flirted with me for a few minutes before deciding to run off with his friends as well. Disappointingly, he too, did not ask for my name. Throughout the night, Dani and I spotted him macking on several different girls. Tsk, tsk. Guys these days.

Perhaps it was the fact that Dani and I had arrived with our two male friends, and possibly, our group as a whole was the driving-away factor for those young men. There had to have been three times as many guys as there were girls in the large, wooden bar that was reminiscent of a ski lodge– deer heads on the walls and a dancing bear (no kidding).

The thing is, having been through college, high school, and everything in between– family vacations to populated cities, beaches, boardwalks– I’ve learned what a guy wants:

To Get Laid.

No guy walks into the bar thinking, “I hope I meet a really intellectual, smart woman tonight.” How many young men asked for my name? How many numbers did I give away? Zero (I’m not complaining). All I can say is, I’ve met better young men in Athens. I could at least go somewhere and the person would engage in a conversation, but maybe that’s just because they knew me. Either way, I’m tired of the charade. So they can dress up all nice and look good, and they’re clean and wearing a nice shirt. The truth is, guys are not really like that. When they’re with their friends, they’re talking about who they banged and giving away intimate details, or else they’re farting or talking about shitting. They put on this big facade when they’re out looking for girls. They try to say, with their appearance and demeanor: “I’m the whole package, baby.”

Well, news flash, they’re not. The whole package to me is a guy who is simply, himself. I’m not saying, don’t shower for five days and then go out. I’m just saying, don’t be afraid of who you are. Guys don’t have to impress girls. What radiates is a person who knows themselves. It’s so easy to tell who plays a part and who doesn’t.

Anyway, I miss all my guy friends in Athens. I kind of took for granted how respectful they are. They don’t try to get my attention from the doorway (unless I walk down south Court), and there’s no unwanted grinding on my ass (unless it’s international dance night). The guys I saw last night stuck together in packs, like a gang of dogs. It didn’t even look like they were approaching us, but rather, they were attacking the next available girls. And they couldn’t do it without their crew. I’m just not used to it. Do I really have to go through all these guys, and more, just to find the one that I want? This is horrible, annoying, and terrifying. I thought that college would be it for me in the weeding of guys, and I wished that it would be. Oh well… I guess this is the real world– a complete jolt from my comfortable little bubble in Athens.

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Life’s simplest (and greatest) pleasure

Hello all, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tommy, but you can call me Hello, Lion! (or HelloLion without the punctuation for you lazy, punctuation hating types). At the invitation of Red Pill Neo, I’m going to be writing things on this blog every Friday from now on for your reading pleasure. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hello, Lion! you are truly a gentleman and a scholar, and while we certainly trust that whatever subjects you choose to write about we will be thankful for what we get, perhaps you could just give us an idea of what wonders we may hope to behold each Friday, henceforth!”

Well, since you asked so nicely, I think it’s fair to tell you that, although I may drift about from subject to subject quite a bit, that I love music and I love to write about music, so you can expect that I will have a lot to say on the subject of what you should listen to, what genres are up and coming, what bands aren’t worth the instruments they play, and whatever else suits my fancy.

Today, however, is one of those days where I am drifting. I thought that I could, perhaps, give you, the faithful reader, a bit of extra insight into my character by writing about one of favourite simple pleasures in life.

In my not-so-humble opinion, one of the greatest pleasures in this world is taking a crap at work. For most people, taking a crap is one of the day’s least pleasant activities; it’s a disgusting, but tragically necessary function of the body that we all must observe regularly or pay dire consequences. Many people would avoid it altogether if they could, I’m sure, and I’ve known several people to try to, including my uncle who will not go number two anywhere but in the safety and privacy of his own home, even to the point of making himself ill. He’s not alone in this desire to keep his bathroom habits to himself, I’m sure. And I’m sure we’ve all been there, when you’re on a first date and you don’t want to excuse yourself to the bathroom so you just keep shifting around in your seat uncomfortably while your date raises an eyebrow at your sudden (or, depending on how well you do in these situations to begin with, not so sudden) awkwardness. However, much like sleeping, eating, drinking (water, not beer, that’s optional for most of us) and playing Super Mario Brothers, shitting is something we have to do whether we like it or not.

In spite of all that, there is one time where taking a crap is the best thing in the world, and that’s when you’re at work. “Why,” you ask, “is that so wonderful?” The answer is simple, you’re getting paid to do, that which is arguably the most unpleasant part of your day at any other time. Getting paid. To shit. It’s beautiful; you’re taking care of a natural process and wasting company time and money as you do so. What makes it even better is that it’s something that they can’t complain at you for doing. There are plenty of things it would be nice to get paid for doing (sleeping, smoking pot, brushing your teeth, playing with your cat, etc), and many of them are things you could technically do while at work, but you may find you don’t keep the job for very long if you do so, but who can get mad at you for shitting?

And if you’ve gotten to the end of this tiraid and you’re wondering, still, what’s so wonderful about shitting at work, look at it this way:

In some parts of the world you have to pay to go to the bathroom at places, so enjoy your paid shitting while you can!

HelloLion is a NEW regular contributor to project group think. You can follow us on twitter at pgtblog.

A small note: This post was supposed to debut on Friday, my chosen day for posting, due to technical errors that totally were not my fault this post was delayed until Saturday. We apologize for this mistake; it won’t happen again.

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The German Education System

Hi *insert smiley* I am Tom, and I will be a writer for this snazzy little blog. I may not be the most poetic writer. I tend to write from inside and outside of the box. I am one of those people who are stuck with half of my body hanging outside of the box, and the rest dangling inside. So my writings can come in some varying forms, but I do what I can with what I have.

Now onto the post:
—————————————————————————-

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with my German friend about the American education system. Basically, he wanted to know how it works. He said it seems like every American that he knows goes to college, but in Germany only students who went to “Gymnasium” go to the Universities and such. I’ll cover Gymnasium shortly.

I gave him a brief run-down of the American education system. And yes, I am sorry that I am the one representing Americans. It could be much worse! If anything I enhance our image. Ha ha ha Actually, I seem to click quite well with foreigners.

Back to topic.

From what he told me, the German education system makes sense (to me). In the American education system we have everyone trying to obtain a High School diploma, and then we split-off for a bachelors in varying degrees and so forth. Their education system is broken down into much more than ours is.

They start off in primary (Grundshule) just as we do.  Then they go onto a middle school like setting, Hauptschule.

Once they finish Hauptschule most go to technical school. Basically, look at this like you are in high school. You have been given the option to go to a vocational/technical school to learn trades, or generalized job fields like administration. In the states most of us would paddle on through 11th and 12th grade and then onto college. Here, only a select few go onto Gymnasium, which is the highest level, what we might call in high school 11th and 12th grade.

Most Germans go on to learn trades. Only people who have excelled at school continue onto Gymnasium to receive the further education they need to go to the Universities. Here is the catch. You can go as far as you would like. You just need to pass to continue on to the next level. Also, education is 100% completely free from primary to university. As long as you can keep passing classes and going forward you can stay in school until you’re a doctor for all they care.

There is much much more to the German education system, but this above was the jist of it.

I was impressed by their education system. I felt a system like the German education system would better suit most Americans by giving them necessary job traits needed to make it in the capitalist world we live in.

It’s an interesting system, and it seems to work quite well from what he was telling me. Initially, I thought that placing students in classes and scooting them in certain directions was a bit, tribal? Everyone would be assigned their jobs, but what really caught my attention is when Derrick said he completed the 11th grade, and if he felt like it he could continue on and then go to the University if he wanted to. So you’re not stuck, but you are given opportunities to survive (trade skills), and then if you are unhappy with your education and/or job you can continue, FOR FREE!

Any thoughts on a system like the German one? Can it work in America? Is our public education system flawed (I mean……. I graduated without one ounce of effort)?

ElTigreTom is a contributing writer of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Intellectual Property (A Fresher Perspective)

There are those who might refer to me as a geek. A writer of fantasy, I have eagerly consumed the works of Tolkien and Salvatore; often asking myself why I would start a new book when I could simply read the Silmarillion a third time. I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons since the seventh grade (second edition, thank you very much), and once suggested to less socially adept friends that we crash an anime con to score with chicks (can you say “niche market?”). I even listen to metal albums about fantasy, such as Blind Guardian’s “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” and Kivimetsan Druidi’s “Shadowheart.”

Now that I have established my credibility in all things geekoid and alienated any female readers that may previously have swooned at my faux-poetics, I am compelled to relate a tale about the works of Terry Brooks. I first picked up “The Sword of Shannara” in high school, and enjoyed the novel for a little while. As the story progressed, however, it became abundantly clear the Mr. Brooks had ripped off Prof. Tolkien’s work in a staggering number of ways – I put down the book in disgust.

 Six or eight years later, I was advised by a friend to reconsider. I began the book a second time last night, taking the first few pages to re-learn how to read as a consumer and not a producer of fantasy. I do not know if I will finish the novel immediately, as there are a number of other fantasy titles competing for my attention, but I am considering reversing my earlier judgment if the rest of the book is as enjoyable as the first chapters have been.

The reason I bring this up is neither to wax poetic about the intricacies of fantasy, nor to apologize publicly to Mr. Brooks (who would never have known of my discontent prior to this writing.) Rather, I would like to address the implications of Brooks’ “infraction” as they relate to intellectual property and the ethics thereof.

In undergrad, a mythology professor explained to me the Greek interpretation of intellectual property rights: there were none. Shouldn’t this view gel more harmoniously with my own socialist tendencies? For fuck’s sake, the above-mentioned Dungeons and Dragons game impinges frequently and unapologetically on the work of Prof. Tolkien, yet I can barely constrain my fervor when a good second ed. campaign takes form!

Musical artists, too, are afflicted by such misconceptions. Did the Chili Peppers really “rip off” Tom Petty, as so many fans implied, or did they utilize a simple chord progression in a key that rock musicians, due to the structure and requirements of the genre, might frequently be inclined to play in?

Of course, as a writer I should probably careful here. I can only imagine logging onto the interwebs tomorrow, only to find snippets of my own poems re-crafted into shite-mongering emo sonnets on some jack-off’s myspace. Nonetheless, I believe the insights raised here are more than poignant, and that we should proceed into this still new-ish millennium with the good of the people in our minds and hearts. The alternative, of course, would allow a capitalist definition of “ownership” – a tricksie concept, on its best day – to impede the public welfare by compromising our aesthetic experiences and our composition thereof.

 

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think.  Follow us on Twitter (username: pgtblog.)

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A New Era Dawns…

The attentive reader may have noticed something interesting about this week’s articles: there weren’t any.

Recently, the staff at Project Group Think was unexpectedly reduced from seven writers to three. The losses included Po, Merkaba, Soahki, and Eelliso1; leaving Jakefunc, Davidrsheehan, and myself (Redpillneo) to carry on. All parties left on good terms, and Project Group Think officially wishes these individuals the best in their respective futures.

That having been said, Project Group Think will resume operation tomorrow with a new post by myself. Potential writers have been contacted, and if all candidates accept we should have a full staff within the week.

Also, in addition to each of our weekly postings, under the new system any author will be encouraged to add aditional work on off-days at their own discretion. If you notice a post by a known writer on a day that is not theirs, I encourage you to scroll down and see if there mightn’t also be the days regular offering beneath.

Thank you for your patronage and patience. My colleagues and I are embracing PGT 2.0 with vigor and ambition – we hope you do the same.

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for ProjectGroupThink. Follow us into a new era via Twitter (username: PGTblog.)

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