Thank Me Later

I am wholeheartedly surprised by how much I enjoy listening to Drake's new album, Thank Me Later. I am no fan of mainstream hip-hop. The only hip-hop groups that I can say that I actually enjoy listening to are Digable Planets, KanYe West (basically just this latest album though) and Aesop Rock. I've tried to get into other hip-hop, both mainstream and underground and it's just not resonated with me.

I remember when Drake blew up. I was surprised and amused - I remembered Drake (nee Aubrey Graham) from his long-running stint as character Jimmy on The N's imported pre-to-teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation.

It was actually an excellent show. I would go as far as to say it was to our decade what Freaks & Geeks was for the 2000s and My So-Called Life was to the 1990s. The show used actors the same age as the characters they played, unlike, say, the OC, and dealt with hard-hitting issues (Degrassi tag line: "It Goes There").

Anyway the transition from Jimmy to Drake was interesting to me because was a very kind, sympathetic character. He had strong personality characteristics - was accepting of gay friend Marco's coming out, forgave Spinner for stealing his iPod, got back with his girlfriend (whose name escapes me now) after she went to drug rehab and turned goth even though the popular kids (one of whom he used to be) made fun of him for it. I stopped watching the show when I went to college in 2005 (no Satellite TV there) so I missed some of the later developments - Jimmy's confinement to a wheelchair, for example.

Seattle Pride - Leather, Nudity, & Condoms?

Went to the Seattle Pride Parade + Festival today. Afterward, a friend asked us how it was. "There was a lot of leather, nudity, and we got a bunch of condoms." Is that what being gay is all about? Is it all about unabashed promiscuity and the celebration of fetishes?

After hearing our description of the festival, the friend responded "yeah, that sounds like Pride." I suppose as an outsider that's what you would gather from the parade and party afterward. What do you think?


Nothing to say today except that Hey Marseilles, my favorite local band, is finally officially releasing their album next week. They made a sillie video to go with the lead single. It's embedded below; enjoy :)

Oh also I'm working on an update to the "Cohabitation" post from last week. Finished the book, talked to my friend about lotsa stuff, and came to some conclusions.

Bite-Sized Musings: On Male White Men Punching Female Black Teenagers

As though Seattle Police didn't have enough controversy to deal with, on Monday a video surfaced of a Seattle Police officer punching a young Black woman in the face. Video below:

The back story is, from what I can gather: the Police officer was arresting another (Black) man for jaywalking across Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Some people on the street objected and approached the officer (albeit somewhat violently). There was a confrontation, and as you see in the video, when the situation got heated, the cop punched the woman in the face.

The main question that's come up is: is this racist? The officer was clearly outnumbered, and the women were somewhat violent and confrontational. Should cops be allowed to use force in the face of violence on the part of citizens? Was he "protecting himself" or "controlling the situation?" Was his behavior in line with his duties and responsibilities as a Police officer?

"A Little Bit Married"

A friend of mine and his girlfriend are, for a variety of reasons, considering moving in together. In the (Christian) communities they were raised in, this is called "living in sin." Other communities call it "cohabitation."

While most Hollywood movies and sit-coms consider this a normal stage in a relationship's progression, for these two it's quite a big decision (which it probably is for most people, though definitely for those with a somewhat conservative or religious upbringing). Conservatives love to throw around the "fact" that cohabiting couples tend to divorce more.

One Less Reason to Hate Starbucks

Starbucks Corporation tweeted a surprising and heavily re-tweeted announcement today:
"We're very excited to announce that coming July 1st: Free. 1 click. No registration WIFI at all US locations! :-)"
To anyone that's ever utilized a coffee shop before, this is surprising only because it's taken this long - every other (non-enormous global conglomerate) coffee shop in the United States has offered free Wi-Fi forever.

I wonder what the collective reaction is here in Seattle, Starbucks' hometown. It's easy to hate Starbucks here - there's the faux-independent coffee shop across the street from an actual independent coffee shop, there's the buying out of another local chain, there's the whole debacle with the Supersonics - granted, I don't know how Starbucks is related necessarily, as I moved here long after the Sonics were gone - but it has something to do with Schulz, Starbucks CEO.

Five Things: Musical Talents/Abilities Edition


Five Musical Talents/Abilities I Wish I Had / I Hope to Cultivate
  1. Ability to whistle like Andrew Bird
  2. Ability to emote like David Bazan
  3. Ability to harmonize like Fleet Foxes
  4. Ability to write like Colin Meloy or Joanna Newsom or Aaron Weiss
  5. Ability to sing or play guitar at all, perhaps?

Five Ways to "Do Something" about the Oil Spill

Remember "Five Things?" It was a new blog theme/meme designed to further appeal to the tl;dr crowd. Here are five new things and this is a BONUS because it also deals with current events.

Five Ways to "Do Something" about the Oil Spill
  1. "Boycott" BP while continuing to consume as much oil as before from other oil companies
  2. Buy an expensive, useless product that garishly proclaims your aversion to oil spills and/or love for seabirds (preferably a t-shirt or bumper sticker) and/or gives at least 1% of profits to conservation/environmental causes
  3. Get angry at the government for not cleaning up the spill quickly enough
  4. Add some "oil dripping" graphic to your twitter avatar (via green Iran activism)
  5. Write a blog post or two offering one-sided opinions, freshman year-level philosophy, and largely unfeasible "solutions" without considering the unique circumstances of readers

Bicycling as a Response to the Oil Spill

I am not giving up on how much of a monumental disaster this oil spill is. Pretty soon we'll be seeing the end of mainstream media coverage of the spill - I give it two weeks. See my previous post for some perspective: how much is 70,000 barrels of oil a day? For the next two months?

I think it's important, though, to not just vilify BP or Big Oil in general or the government or the "drill, baby drill" Republican blowhards, but instead to use this opportunity to spur debate - how do we prevent this from happening again? And I don't mean, how do we create better technology so that when the next oil spill happens we can cap it more quickly. I mean, the reason that we are drilling oil off shore, the reason we are importing oil from the Middle East, and then sending troops over there to protect the stability in the region and thus the stability of our oil supply, is because with the status quo, we need oil. We demand it. Supply = demand. Basic econ.

We are the reason for the oil spill. We, with our cars, our heated homes and showers and laundry machines, our demand for meat, and out-of-season and processed and packaged food, our comfortable lifestyles - we demand the oil and we demand it cheaply. We see in the photo above how costly oil really is.

Top Kill

Update: Check out this image of how large the oil spill is in relation to your city. Here's how much of the Seattle metro area the oil spill would cover - and remember, it's not yet HALFWAY DONE SPILLING!

It was announced recently that "Top Kill" has failed, and that the next realistic option for plugging the Deepwater oil leak will be the relief wells BP is drilling - slated to be finished in AUGUST.
“After three full days of attempting top kill, we now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options,” Mr. Suttles said.
The abandonment of the top kill technique, the most ambitious effort yet to plug the well, was the latest in a series of failures. First, BP failed in efforts to repair a blowout preventer with submarine robots. Then its initial efforts to cap the well with a containment dome failed when it became clogged with a frothy mix of frigid water and gas. Efforts to use a hose to gather escaping oil have managed to catch only a fraction of the spill."
Two more months of up to 70,000 barrels a day... How much is that? It's hard to fathom.