Monday, October 15, 2018

Thoughts on Neon Gravestones by Twenty-One Pilots

Found this picture on Reddit - thanks user mikronaut

Twenty-One Pilots' new album Trench just came out! I won't be reviewing EVERY song but I do want to review the songs that stuck out to me. Let's first talk the song that was the most jarring to me - "Neon Gravestones."

The line that was most jarring to me was, "Promise me this/If I lose to myself/You won't mourn a day/And you'll move onto someone else." DANG. The words, "if I lose to myself" really got me as a person who also struggles with depression. It just is a constant fight with yourself!

When I first heard the song overall, I did see it a little negatively. Tyler is criticizing all these celebrities for taking their own life just to get more fame - which will lead more people/celebrities to do the same. I see where he is coming from but when a celebrity does take their own life, I do try NOT to think those thoughts. When I see everyone talking about Avicii and how great his music was posthumorously, sometimes a little voice in my head asks, "did he do this for fame?" But "No!!!" I tell myself. He was facing a tough disease...no one would take their own life for fame. They would only do it if they are suffering.

But I do see where Tyler is coming from. Tyler is being hard on these celebrities who committed suicide. "It's with the people we praise who may have assisted." Every time a celebrity commits suicide, there is a spike in suicides for the general public - that's just basic facts. Tyler is being very hard on them - but it is true to an extent. Being a public figure means you will be talked about if you commit suicide so you have even more of a responsibility to fight the mental illness.

"We don't get enough love?/Well, they get a fraction/They say, "How could he go if he's got everything?/I'll mourn for a kid, but won't cry for a king."

Tyler saying he won't cry for a king is another sharp way of criticizing these celebrities. He is saying these celebrities (he uses the pronoun "we" because he is one) get a lot of love because they have many fans. The "they" he speaks of is the general public. Tyler says he will mourn for a non-celebrity suicide more than he would for a celebrity suicide. Regular kids who are suffering with mental illness and may not have anyone to help them. These kids might not have had enough money for treatment. They might not have had a support system. Celebrities, usually. do have more resources to get mental help than the general public.



I do see the song in a more positive light now because I know what the thesis statement of the song is.

"I'm not disrespecting what was left behind/Just pleading that it does not get glorified."

Tyler's main message is that the media needs to do more to not glorify suicide. This means not promoting, "13 Reasons Why," which glorifies and uses suicide for drama.

However, when a celebrity dies by suicide - are we not supposed to mourn for them? I say we have to! Especially those who value the art that they created. The collective public does need to talk about the life and art of the celebrity to come to terms with their death.

I am not sure what the solution is. How are we supposed to prevent the spike in suicides after a celebrity death? I can't answer that...



I also like the ending of the song. "Find your grandparents or someone of age/Pay some respects for the path that they paved/To life, they were dedicated/Now, that should be celebrated." I like the idea of celebrating old people for living. They suffered, they probably had mental health problems, but they fought and they lived for such a long time and that's beautiful.

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Why I Am Not A Hufflepuff Anymore

I was looking at my old website on wayback machine. By "old," I mean the website I created when I WAS IN THE FIFTH GRADE. Wild. I had more of a passion for coding then than I do now. Here's a small snapshot.


Yes, in the fifth grade, I was a proud and out Hufflepuff. And I continued to be a Hufflepuff for many years after that. Let me do the math: I was 10 in the fifth grade, and I was 24 when I stopped being a Hufflepuff. So that is FOURTEEN years of identifying as something I am now rejecting. I even wrote an article called, "Why I Am A Hufflepuff" on my old website in 7th grade, but I can't find it on Way Back Machine. So as an ode to that lost article, here is "Why I am Not A Hufflepuff Anymore."


First, let me talk about why I identified so strongly with Hufflepuff. One of the main values of this house is fairness. As I've mentioned before, I have always been a feminist. My mom likes to joke around and say that it is just in our genes to always call out the sexist things around us. I try my hardest to make things fair for everyone around me - especially when I am acting as a leader or part of a team.

Helga Hufflepuff once said, "I’ll teach the lot, and treat them just the same." I have always felt this way. I have never wanted to exclude anyone, because as a child, I was excluded by my peers plenty of times for being to shy or weird. I liked that Helga Hufflepuff loved and accepted everyone. I don't believe in excluding others. As a child, when I saw bulling I never wanted to be a part of it. I remember a bunch of girls in 6th grade who were bullying this one girl and saying they didn't want to hang out with her.. I asked, "Why?" and they said "because we just don't like her," and that is when I was like "pass." I can't get behind excluding someone...especially without a reason. And even if there is a valid reason, I believe in making that judgement for myself. 

Another reason I was drawn to Hufflepuff is that I like to support the underdog. I like to think kindess can win the day.

But as I talked about in my blog post, Why Don't I Connect With Nice, Warm People Who Want To Spend Time With Me?, I was recently betrayed by my friends. And in that betrayal, it wasn't loyalty or fairness that saved me - it was bravery. My friends were not loyal to me; they didn't have my back like true friends should. They actually put me in harms way. I might have had loyalty towards them. I would never have done what they did to me because I believe in doing the right thing.

I guess I don't believe loyalty is the best trait anymore. It's too external, it's too needy to expect it from other people. And when you give loyalty - it comes with great risks. Instead, I want to embrace being brave. You know, where I am going with this ~

I am now a self-identified Gryffindor! 

Except...that I'm not. I just took a quiz on Time.com that told me I am still a Hufflepuff. It's true, I'm a softie at heart. I can't help it. But listen, I really value Gryffindor values. In life, you have to be brave. You have to be brave to go through trials and tribulations and face them dead on. If you aren't brave, you could die from all the hardships life throws at you. As a person with mild social anxiety, I had to force myself to do things that were scary since Kindergarten. I am not naturally a brave person, but I want to cultivate that value.

And when my "friends," hurt me the way that they did, I was brave. I pulled myself up. I found safety for myself. I found power and independence. I was brave enough to try to love again with new friends. Every day I have to summon bravery to let people in and that's why I am now a proud Gryffindor.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Is the Boston Go Card Worth It? - A Travel Blog

I went on a family vacation recently to New England. Groupon was offering a 2 day Boston Go card for 73 dollars (regular price: $81) so I took the plunge and bought it for the fam. I believe it was worth it but you have to do your own analysis to figure out if it is worth it for you.

I wanted to use this blog post to offer some tips and ideas to consider before buying one. I also wanted to show you an itinerary on how my family used the Boston Go Card.

Parking and Transportation: The attractions in the pass are sometimes no where near each other. If you want to go to multiple places, be prepared to spend money on either 1) public transportation or 2) parking. Boston has zero free parking places so you have to be careful. This can add up your costs significantly. As you'll see in the itinerary, my family spent money parking near the Museum of Science ($11 dollars) and Skywalk Observatory ($15 dollars) for just a few hours of fun.

Also, something to consider is Boston Traffic. It is horrible. I live near New York City so I know if you try to drive to the city during rush hour, you.will.die. For some reason, this thought didn't occur to me for Boston. A lot of the attractions in the Go Card are open from 9-5 which is why I wanted to drive in by 9am. This was just a pain - we ended up coming in around 10am or even 11 - which means we missed a few hours of the pass. In the Boston Go Card, there are many "out of town" attractions like Cape Cod Cruise or Salem Witch House. Be careful, and don't underestimate how much time it will take to get there.


Look for better deals on the attractions you want to see: Check out Groupon or Goldstar or even the attraction's website. Even if the Go Card's website says an attraction is worth a certain amount, you may be able to find a better deal.

Boston, MA

My Family's Boston Go Card Itinerary:

Day 1:
We parked near Long Warf for $25 dollars.
10AM-11AM: USS Constitution Cruise ($25). This is a 45 minute cruise if you don't get off at the USS Constitution.
11AM:  New England Aquarium ($28). This place is near the USS Constitution Cruise which leaves from Long Warf. We spent an hour here just because we were dying from the sun and wanted air conditioning. We were very unlucky - there was a heat wave in Boston when we visited and the weather was warmer than where we came from even though Boston was up north! We only checked out the first floor and the penguins and sea lions were cool but I wish we had explored the other floors. Though this attraction is valued at 27.95, I don't think we got our moneys worth. We explored maybe $10 worth of the aquarium. Also, we did get to skip the line - a perk!!!
12-1PM: Lunch at Quincy Market. You gotta eat fam! The water and soda was so expensive here (3 dollars a bottle). My advice: find somewhere around the area to get your water and soda before eating.
1PM: CityView Hop-On Hop-Off Boston Trolley Sightseeing Tour: 2-Day Ticket (43.00 on website, $17 on groupon): We actually did hop and off. This was useful because we didn't have to pay for public transportation all the time. It's also nice that it was a 2 day ticket which helped us see the city both days! The website says it is 43 dollars, but Groupon was offering a one day ticket for $17 dollars so make sure to look for better deals for all these attractions. I did like the tour guides and it was nice to feel the breeze of the bus on a hot day.
1 PM to 5PM: We visited stops in the freedom trail using the bus and our feet. We got a canoli at Mike's Pastry. We visited Paul Revere House ($5) and Old State House ($10).

And then we were tired and ready to go home. But oh no, it's 5pm!! Time to drive 45 minutes to our hotel during rush hour.


Day 2:
We parked near Boston Commons for 15 dollars.
10:30ish: Swan Boats ($5): It was pretty neat going on the water and seeing the ducks. We looked around Boston Commons and Boston Public Gardens.
12: Back on the trolley. Explored Chinatown, ate snack
2pm: USS Constitution (free!): I definitly reccomend going into teh USS Constituion - it was nice to visit a free attraction.
4pm: Ate some food near Boston Commons where we parked.
5 pm - 7pm: Museum of Science ($25): This attraction was open until 7 which was very cool!!! We had to spend $11 dollars on parking (it would have been more if we had entered earlier). I wished we spent more time at this place. This is one of the few attractions that I would want to go to again. The fam got memorized at the exhibit where you learn about your body. The exhibit gives you a wristband and tracks your data as you do activities such as measure how well you walk or how big your ear is. We are very self-absorbed people - we love learning about ourselves!
7pm - 9 pm: SkyWalk Observatory ($20): This attraction was open until 10pm so we knew we could save it for last. We paid $14 dollars at the Prudential Center mall for parking (we had to validate the ticket at the gift shop though!). We were able to see hints of the sunset and also see Boston at night. I do recommend coming at day time because you can spot buildings better.

I totaled everything I bolded in dark purple.
Day 1 Total: $85
Day 2 Total: $50
Both Days Total: $135

135-73= $62 dollars in savings!

I guess it was worth it for us. But then again the Go Card made us stressed for time and see the attractions for only a brief period of time. I wish we had more time to see Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium! So maybe it wasn't exactly 62 dollars in savings. Up to you to analyze and decide!

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Twenty One Pilots Are Back With "Jumpsuit" and "Nico And The Niners"

Twenty One Pilots "Jumpsuit" and "Nico And The Niners" Review



"We've been here the whole time. You've been asleep. Time to wake up"

YAAASS I HAVE BEEN SLEEPING.

no, but seriously, I have been sleeping on Twenty-One Pilots while they were on break. I had no idea what their secrets clues meant. I have no idea who Clancy is. I have no idea who Dema is. I have no idea what Nico and The Niners are. I am clearly an old 25 year old FAKE fan.

I want to know what all those things are and I will do my research when I have time. But there is so much information to process that I haven't had the time.

In the meantime, I wanted to post my reactions to the song.

JUMPSUIT: I love the drumming in the beginning of the song. When the song first started, I was like, "yes!! They have delivered." I like the emotions this song evokes....the feeling of trying to get away from something that is scaring you. There are moments when you feel calm and moments you feel like screaming which this song executes perfectly. There's a moment when it gets quiet, and then the build up to Tyler's scream. LOVED IT.

The jumpsuit is supposed to represent protection. The few clues I have read about this new era is that the color yellow is supposed to protect either Tyler or Clancy? I thought that was really cool because I remember when the Heathens music video released, I was like WOAH YELLOW BLAZER. That really stood out to me.

I used to joke that Tyler is definitely going to write songs about how intense it is to get so much fame and success from their last album, Blurryface. And lookie here, I was right!! Tyler's first few words for this new era were, "I can't believe how much I hate/Pressures of a new place roll my way." They are so predictable (in a good way, of course!).


Nico and The Niners: As I've said, no idea who this nico is or these niners are! I do like the song...in the beginning, I liked it more than Jumpsuit. It's familiar. Now that I've listen to it quite a few times, I feel like it's very similar to their previous songs...which makes it a little less original. I can hear similar reggae beats from some of their older songs. This song reminds me of Message Man for some reason. I feel like the rapping is similar here too.

"Save your razor blades - not yet." I feel like this line should have a trigger warning. It is jarring. I don't think I'm going to listen to the song as much because of it.

Nico and The Niners has a lot of call backs. It has call back to East which I believe was a clue. It has a call back to Dema, what ever that is. It even calls back to Jumpsuit! I wish this song was easier to understand if you didn't follow the clues. I actually wish that of both songs - that it was more catchier, that it had a better chorus that actually says something meaningful.

Anyway, those are just my initial thoughts. Let me know if you agree or disagree with me in the comments!!

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Hunger by Florence + The Machine, a lyrical analysis


New York has an alternative rock station now!! Though I don't follow Florence + The Machine, I do like many of their songs and when I heard Hunger playing on the radio, I was immediately impressed. It sounds so good and deep so let's analyze the lyrics!!


Hunger by Florence + The Machine, Song Meaning and Lyrical Interpretation

At seventeen, I started to starve myself
I thought that love was a kind of emptiness
And at least I understood then the hunger I felt
And I didn't have to call it loneliness

When I heard the first line, I felt so sad at the idea of Florence starving herself. That is a gut-punch opening line. Then as I listened to the rest of the song, I was like oh wait, she isn't talking about literally starving herself from food. The hunger and starvation are supposed to represent something else. Maybe she is starving herself from human connection. She was afraid of love (calling it emptiness) so she starved herself from connection.

Then I went on genius.com to see what they had to say about it. Looks like I was wrong!! Florence did have an eating disorder. That fact made me change my mind about how I interpret this stanza.

Maybe Florence thought she had to be skinny to be beautiful. Only people who are skinny can get love so "love was a kind of emptiness." The last two lines are saying, even then, she still knew her thinking was wrong. She knew, even then, that love was complex and more deep than the superficial notion.


"And I didn't have to call it loneliness," is one of my favorite lines. I still stand by my interpretation that hunger is supposed to represent that primal need for human connection. She doesn't want to call it loneliness. She doesn't want to call it an absence of human connection. Instead, she wants to call it the intense need of human connection. She is coming from a place of abundance in this way. She doesn't lack love, she is just passionate about it instead. She has a hunger for love.
Tell me what you need, oh, you look so free
The way you use your body, baby, come on and work it for me
Don't let them get you down, you're the best thing I've seen
We never found the answer but we knew one thing
We all have a hunger
Who is this stanza talking about? Sometimes, I feel like she is talking about her lover but other times I feel like she is talking about her self. Her lover's body may not be perfect but she still loves it. He or she looks free and beautiful. By seeing how she feels about her lover's body, she can also feel love for her own flawed body.  "Don't let them get you down," is saying don't let the media or society's standards of beauty get you down.

The hunger, or the primal need for love and connection, is more than the superficial
And it's Friday night and it's kicking in
And I can't dress, they're gonna crucify me
Oh, but you in all your vibrant youth
How could anything bad ever happen to you?
You make a fool of death with your beauty, and for a moment. 

The "I can't dress," may be saying she can't fit into her dress (on a night out when she is supposed to be mingling with potential mates) and now society will look down on her. But then she tells herself, she is full of so much life and hope. She should stop focusing on the superficial and take everything life has to offer in.

I thought that love was in the drugs
But the more I took, the more it took away
And I could never get enough
I thought that love was on the stage
You give yourself to strangers
You don't have to be afraid
And then it tries to find a home with people, oh, and I'm alone
Picking it apart and staring at your phone
She tried finding love in drugs and in her career but it wasn't enough.  When she does try to find love in other people, she feels alone. She feels like she has to dissect and understand it ("staring at your phone"). Instead, she just needs to understand that this need for love and connection is just as natural as literal hunger.

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