Thursday, February 26, 2009

Inking It for Attention

The need for ink starts early. For me, it was half way through the first session my forearm. I knew that as soon as I got out of there I would start planning my next one. But once you have touch of ink in your skin, do you become a different person socially? Do you modestly hide the art on your arms, lower back, or legs? Even people who hate needles find the act of getting tattooed overwhelmingly satisfying.
Even in moments of drunken stupidity, tattoos seem entertaining and absolutely worthwhile. On a college campus, countless stories of regretful decisions to get inked can be heard. Whether it is the Pantera themed gates you have on your arm in honor of a fallen guitar player or the stick figure celebrating pleasant days on your inner thigh, they're still there for show and tell. I will put off credit card payments and other financial necessities to spend a paycheck on a tattoo. 
Tattoos without meaning are obvious. They're either poorly done or are so idiotic on first impression that you are baffled at the idea that someone would actually pay money for such a thing. A good friend of mine receives tattoos all the time when he hangs out at his local shop. He knows that a majority of his tattoos are out of vice and don't have a lot of meaning.  I find myself trying to get my friends to join me in getting ink with me, simply because I want to hang out, and why not get a tattoo to commemorate? With all this in my mind, I like to pursue my tattoo endeavors abiding by the Jesse Hughes theory which is based on not having your tattoo necessarily be important, but as long as it reminds you of period or time in your life. 
Another weird aspect of tattoo culture is how artists always have some of the worst pieces. The best and first artist I went had some of the worst looking devils and skulls all over him. Skulls seem to be an artists must, like they had to get them in order to become really talented at giving other people tattoos. Maybe all the best tattoo artists in the world got the worst work done, realized, and then decided to help everyone out by giving them great work? I don't know, that just seems to be a constant when I go see someone to get work done. 

John Reardon Tattoos

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What if Pitchfork Rated Your Life?

As an avid reader of sites like Pitchfork Media and BrooklynVegan, I tend to enjoy the obnoxious analysis of the hierarchy of hipsters. Between record reviews and general band news, those sites spread the wealth of their pop culture knowledge to anyone who will read while they decide what records are worthy of listening and which band should be shunned from festivals and Brooklyn pool parties. 

Pitchfork is notorious for their brutal social commentary. BrooklynVegan on the other hand, is merely a display for hipster culture and updates for selected bands and events. If you have received a poor review or post from a Pitchfork reviewer, then they will consistently bash you for your poor music or live performance. This aspect is a rather unfortunate blemish on this site's reputation. 

For instance, the latest album from the Black Kids "Partie Traumatic" received a hilariously insulting assault from Pitchfork. They had been praised for their first EP, but then their full length came out and was deemed terrible by Pitchfork. Also, if you're interested in comically negative feedback, then check out the review of Jet's latest album. 

Though at times it seems like a committee of music snobs runs the site, they are in fact the epitome of hipster culture and pompous music criticism. It is impossible to ignore their acclaimed status on the criticism front, no matter how degrading their words may come out. Their reviews, for the most part, are in depth and analyze the artist's new work with loaded criteria. So, even if they offend you for not liking the latest Kings of Leon album, you must abide by the mighty pitchfork as a member of the hipster community. 

So, if Pitchfork rated your life, what would they say? Would you clear the rarely seen 5.5? Maybe they would comment on your barely there middle aged hipster street credit. Perhaps they throw a few jabs at how you're still using "Time to Pretend" as your walking down Bedford Ave jam. They might commend you on your low income and mint condition Wayfarers. Either way, Pitchfork crushes many aspects of the hipster culture in order to build it back up and inspire new ridiculous trends to emerge. 


Monday, February 16, 2009

Dining Halls and Credit Card Debt

Why does Aramark make me feel more and more comfortable with my credit card debt? Each weekend I fear the options that will be offered to me from the sparse kitchen of the south campus dining hall. Due to the commuter based population here at UML, for some reason they cater to about half of the people who are actually here and present rather depressing entrees and sides for the Friday through Sunday menu. Not to say that their standard weekly menu is much better, but the weekends just feel so much more like a hunger punishment.
This just heightens my dependency on new fast food sandwiches that stain my credit card debt with delicious trans fat. Quizno's put me in the hole over $100 last year alone, but I mean I enjoyed every bite of it. My lack of interest in my prearranged/prepaid meal plan at UML keeps me anticipating the next "Loaded Steakhouse Burger" from Burger King. Yes, this may sound pathetic, I'm glad to be the go to guy in my group for what the new sandwich at any landmark on Burger Row may be. What can I say, I really enjoy knowing how to proper utilize the dollar menu to its full extent.
The Aramark provided food at our dining hall at UML is disheartening and leaves everyone I know unsatisfied and miserable. Considering the economic situation and cutting of state funding, one must accept the unavailability of certain food luxuries at a university. However, I also tend to consider the overwhelming amount of student loans I'll have to pay off once I'm out of here in a year and have a heavy load of credit card debt to deal with because of nights where going out to eat was of course the better option. All we're asking is to spice up the menu, put a little ingenuity and love in it so that I can stop looking for waffle sandwiches from Dunkin Donuts and Baja Chicken sandwiches from Quiznos.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Computer Illiterate

There are plenty of people who remain computer illiterate and accept their generational ignorance. As a college student and a federal work study employee, I'm forced to deal with these people everyday at the reference desk of my campus library. Today I had the pleasure of helping out a young woman who needed to find journal article via the Library research service online. This woman claimed she was in the process of receiving her doctorate degree, yet she was completely incapable of maneuvering around a Windows desktop to get to the internet. 
"I need journal articles for my 'Second Language Acquisition' class," she said. I told her to first start by clicking on Internet Explorer. She began to click the embedded text on the desktop rather than the actual icon. This may sound technologically snobbish, however, I feel like if you're receiving higher degrees of education and plan on pursuing a higher state of intelligence that it would probably be rather intelligent to keep up with the common practice with computers. 
This woman was merely a standard middle aged stranger to the internet and modern technology in general. My father is what most would consider "hip" for his age. He loves new alternative rock and follows popular culture closely. However, the idea of the cell phone baffles him. He has had the same brick, Nokia cell phone for the last four years, but he really doesn't understand how it all works. When it comes to computers, he truly struggles in comprehending the idea of the downloading/uploading of music online. I try to explain it to him in the simplest of ways, but he gets flustered and returns to enjoying his My Chemical Romance album in the living room. 
What is it about a majority of the Baby Boomers that deem technology inaccessible? Why wouldn't you want to explore and understand the options of the internet and new computer software? Every semester, my friends and I witness a number of professors who become frustrated on a daily basis trying to utilize the new computers suggested for use in the classroom. Watching them try to figure out Powerpoints and newly designed overhead projection units is depressingly entertaining. This of course takes place in a class room not normally based on technology. 
At this point I'm just hoping that I can maintain my technology savvy state through my middle age years and not end up scared and frightened from the post-Ipod generation.