Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On getting old

Lets try this again, eh? I've got probably 5 or 6 posts started that I haven't finished as of yet, so I may or may not get those done but I figured I may as well get this one out. And hey, even if I don't thats okay. I mean, if you hit 1 for 5 for your career you still make it to Cooperstown. I doubt the same principle applies to blogging but lets pretend it does.

Not a lot has gone on in life to tell you the truth. Last week was a bit ridiculous because of committee deadlines and then you had the whole Voter ID thing taken up in the House and then the Senate a couple days later. I actually had to sit through the whole House floor session on Wednesday-- at least I think it was Wednesday, maybe it was Tuesday. Anyways, it started at 5pm and went until 2am, and I took a grand total of two and a half pages of notes throughout. It was a forgone conclusion that it would pass the House (and the Senate, for that matter) although since it was a constitutional amendment it needed 2/3 of the total members in each house. Without laying all my political views on the table, I think Voter ID is a great idea, I really do... in principle. You should have to prove you're a real person and live in this state in order to vote in this state. However, the bill is filled with flaws and could have used way more time in committee. Now, if you're a pessimist, than I guess you'd say the Republicans passed the law as is because passing it without amendments bars more voters who would probably vote Democratic from voting, but I'm not going to go down that road. The two big complaints I heard were "could University students (specifically MNSCU students) use their school IDs to vote in substitute for a State ID?" and people physically having trouble getting to the DMV to get an ID. Both issues went unaddressed. It was funny however how people were complaining that they couldn't drive the 10 miles to the DMV to get an ID but they were willing to drive down from Northern Minnesota to protest the amendment outside my office (which is right next to Senate Chamber). I know they're not the people we're worried about when you talk about having trouble getting from point A to B (we're talking about the mobility impaired and the elderly) but still.

So there's that. I also read a play the other day. Its the first play I've read since Othello in 9th or 10th grade. The play is called Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw. The play's a great look into our militaristic, cutthroat culture that not many people see, though it was written in 1905. I won't pretend to be cultured, but it was good stuff for what its worth. I also finished reading a book called Warriors of God: Inside Hezbollah's Thirty Year Struggle Against Israel by Nick Blanford. Really, you won't like that book unless you're interested in that region. Even then, the book's incredibly dry at times, but its also really interesting and informative.

If you haven't guessed, I really don't get out much. Yep, this is me, getting old at 21. Stay in school kids, real life is more overrated than you can imagine-- or maybe I'm not doing it right.

Anyways, I've got to run. I should probably go 2 hours today, since Eugene is coming up faster than I would like. Its weird, last week it was 80 and I was running in shorts and no shirt. This week its barely 40 and its shorts and long sleeve T weather. Crazy, man

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can't stop, won't stop

Thats another album title for ya. If you haven't guessed already, I'm not very creative at all. "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" is The Maine's second album, you really should, they're pretty great. They're pretty much my favorite band right now, and I may or may not have payed way over face value for tickets when they come to Minneapolis. Seriously, I don't know why they don't get more play on the radio because they've been on the scene for a while, plus they're amazing to run to.

Anyways, I had a good weekend, putting in a halfway decent 30 miles- 14 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. The bands of the day were Howler and Fun. on Saturday and The Maine and Passion Pit on Sunday. I'll tackle Sunday first, since thats pretty straightforward. As I kind of hinted at, The Maine already has a pretty big following and they're decently well known, so I won't touch on them all too much. Its kind of cool because all their albums tell a story, and its easy to relate to all of their songs, so thats pretty cool. They're primarily a rock/ alternitive band, but their acoustic sets are tremendous as well. I'm not a huge fan of their newest album, Pioneer (although there are three or four tracks on there you should hear), but their previous two are great.

Passion Pit is also really great. Its kind of an interesting pop/ electronica niche genre, so as much as I'd like to I'm not going to say you're an idiot if you don't like them. But for real, they're straight up amazing, and catchy as hell. Just the beats themselves are reason enough to keep them on loop but the vocals are pretty great too. The music itself is pretty upbeat, but not overly loud or energetic or anything, but not too mellow either-- its good stuff and the courses in all the songs are oh so catchy.

So, Howler, Fun., and Polica (I posted about them a week or so back) are some of the bigger names headed down to SXSW (south by southwest), the big indie music fest in Austin in a little bit. The reason I bring that up is because Fun. and Howler are playing a set together and Polica is playing the main big party (I forget what its called, but its a big gig) and Fun. is actually opening for Howler. This is of some significance because Fun. is somewhat known (their song We Are Young is actually played on the radio and stuff) and they're... yeah its a big deal. But anyways, Howler is right up there with Polica as the best thing to hit Minnesota this year. Howler's kind of this punk rock- esque sound straight from the 70's or 80's, so they don't cover up bad music with tons of f- bombs and loud guitar like today's punk. Its great. I mean, fine, their lyrics are kind of cliched or whatever, thats fair, but at the end of the day its not canned garbage music, its not corporate; its pure, unbridled fun.

Also worth mentioning is Russia. I know you probably don't care, but nobody reads this blog anyway, so I'm going to go there because I think its hilarious. Russia "elected" a new president the other day, or rather an old president. Putin got 60 something percent of the vote, but does it even matter? Russia's not as ridiculous as its Former Soviet Republic and all- too- close trading partner Belarus has been, which has helped keep its egregious election- related human rights violations on the down low. This is Moscow on election day:
Yep, those are Russian Army troops who answer to the weak willed Dimitri Medvedev who is a mere mouth piece for (then Prime Minister) Putin. They are there to "maintain order," but actually ended up arresting around 600 at a post- election protest. Vladimir Putin's new political slogan: The Putin Presidency: reliving the glory days of Stalin's Gulag Archipelago."

Also worth reading: Foreign Policy's article "This Is How You Elect a Fucking President?"