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The Brand New Challenge. The purpose of this video is to encourage others to try this challenge;

Play an album on your instrument of choice from start to finish with no retakes, no words infront of you and no regrets. Rehearsing beforehand and looking at the track list is discouraged.

It’s called the brand new challenge because I made it up today. Today I have prepared for you Brand New’s 2006 LP- The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me from start to finish from memory. For lent I will be doing one Brand New challenge every single year!

Track List;

0:00- sowing season
3:30- millstone
7:14-Jesus Christ
12:01- “Degausser”
15:52- Luca
19:55- “Limousine”
21:51- Not the Sun
24:22- “Welcome to Bangkok”
25:50- The Archer’s Bows have broken
28:44- “You Won’t Know” (how to play this song)
31:15- “Handcuffs”

Mid Degausser is when it dawned on me that this might be challenging. Memory fails me, voice fails me, fingers fail me. But I pressed on.  Comment. DO the CHALLENGE. BE SHAMELESS.

The Entitled Fan is Raging ...

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The Tumblr site dedicated to documenting all of the “disappointed” Brand New fans from their recent The Devil and God is Raging Inside Me and Daisy New York album shows is maddening. It showcases the worst of the this entitled selfishness that I have felt festering in our music world over the past couple of years. There’s a tendency to over inflate the problem when it’s so easily noticeable in today’s world of social networking — and reading through some of the comments leaves me trying to laugh it off instead of focus on the sad reality. If I can try and find the humor in the absurdity it gets less obnoxious. I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on the entire thing for the past few days.

The Phones

I am not one of those people that thinks having our phones with us has ruined social events. I like the idea that if I’m at a show I can snap a couple pictures and remember the night. Hell, I’ll even toss out a couple tweets during shows every now and then. My thought process is more about documenting the event and what has taken place vs living the event through my phone. It’s when everything about a night is projected through your iPhone lens that I feel you’re living a distorted reality. There’s a fine line between documentation and remembrance, and spending the entire night looking at a screen. It’s a little like going to a sporting event and watching the game on the jumbo-tron even though the real thing is right in front of you.

Augment — don’t replace.

The night you’re not checking your phone every few minutes will feel different from any other night. Those nights will resonate with you longer. You’ll feel more connected and involved — present. The “fear of missing out” bug has caught us all. We spend so many wasted minutes wanting to make sure we’re not missing something that’s going on without us. But here’s the secret: Everyone wanted to be at that Brand New show. You’re the one that everyone else is jealous of because you’re living it. I feel as though we should try and live our lives as though others are missing out on what we’re doing right now, not as though we’re missing out on everything else.

The Entitlement

The most depressing part about the entire thing is reading people talk about how Brand New let them down because they did exactly what they said they’d do: play two of their albums at a show. If you’re buying one of these tickets — you know going in you’re going to get to see two albums. If you, for any reason, didn’t want to see a certain album … then you shouldn’t have bought a ticket. These shows weren’t for you. Chanting a different album while the band is performing is a whole new level of disrespect — it’s almost mind numbingly stupid to think about.

The Band

If you’re the band … isn’t there a part of you that’s like “fuck this?” … isn’t there at least a little part of you that’s tired of this sort of thing? I know Brian Fallon has written about it before, and I can absolutely see where he’s coming from. Brand New is in a spot where they can’t win. At times I feel like reason and logic goes out the window when this band is discussed. I’m surprised Jesse addressed the incident the next night — but aren’t you, as a fan, a little bit ashamed that he had to?

Daisy

I find something new to love about this album each time I listen to it. If you’re still pining for Your Favorite Weapon — you don’t get Brand New. I can even understand not liking this particular album and being a fan of the band’s previous two; however, seeing some of the songs live does take it to a whole new level. Even if you don’t like the album — if you bought tickets to these shows appreciate seeing a once in a lifetime performance and maybe even just try going into the experience with an open mind. I mean … or throw a temper-tantrum like a petulant child.

Final Thoughts

At the end of all this nonsense is one simple question: Isn’t music and our scene supposed to be above this? The community and the love and passion that fans have for the bands in this (relatively) tiny part of the music world is supposed to be above this kind of thing, right? What happened to that community? What happened to respecting the musicians when they’re performing for you? When did it become all about the guy in the crowd with his twitter and not the band on the stage? We’re here to watch, to be entertained, to get lost in the music — we’re the fan — we’re not more important than the musicians. It feels like somewhere along the moment where everyone started downloading music for free that we lost track of our own role and place in the entire food-chain. It became all about “me me me” and “I made you because I listen to you” — the balance feels like it shifted when music became almost interchangeable and instantly disposable. Now fans feel like they were doing a band a favor by listening to them at all.

Can we go back?

Can you believe these people? Getting mad because the band didn’t play the album they wanted. I am sure some people would be mad no matter which 2 albums they chose, but whatever. This happened in 2013. I know there are more pressing issues out there but who is even this petty?

Playing the Victim

"There’s a sign on the PA turnpike that says your sin will find you out. That’s fine, it’s about damn time."

-Could be Better Forever- Snowing

This is just a clusterfuck of thoughts I have right now. I’m not sure how to rationalize what the FUCK I’m feeling so I have to write it down to see.

Every time I say “you” I am moreso talking to people with similar thought processes to the ones I mention or to myself. So it’s not you, it’s me. I don’t mean to step on any toes here. Better yet, stop reading now because this is really long.

Spoilers

So essentially I was reading Scott Pilgrim book 5 and 6 this morning after being wrought with sadness for the the past 18 hours and I came to some conclusions. I really resonate with this Scott Pilgrim fellow but not for the cool reasons. I am not really a good fighter, I am not playing bass in a band and I don’t have a magic pixie girlfriend and the ability to travel subspace. However, I DON’T have a job, feel like a bum and waste a lot of time moping around (see book 6)

In my dream when I was running away from unseen giant ants through a cathedral type thing, I attained lucidity somehow and tried to conjure different things unsuccessfully. If I’m being honest I tried to conjure the time I was at the Christmas banquet with ol’… what’s her toes. I became semi-awake and lost sight of the dream, started remembering the past, things like Christmas banquet, falling outs and dropping out of people’s lives. The time I left my highschool friends for YWAM, and how after YWAM I didn’t see or talk to half of my so called best friends forever. And how Melanie dropped out of school and said she was seeing someone else. All that shit. I realized when Juan left that I don’t have a best male friend anymore, or a best friend at all. I thought to myself once “when I get married, I think I’ll pick Juan as best man.” Who will be my best man now?

Friends, don’t take it personally when I say I don’t really have a best friend. If someone asked, would you say I am your best friend? No? Then carry on.

I complain to people sometimes but sometimes I don’t know how to get the words out. Sometimes I don’t even know what it is that I am thinking, so how can I say it? I don’t consistently hang out with any one person anymore. Who can I depend on to always be there? No one.I have a lot of friends but no one that I hang out with every day or even every week.

It’s like that story so far song. I’ve got nothing in common with anyone anymore. I don’t even know my brother that well anymore, honestly. We have nothing to talk about, he talks about video games and hopelessness and I talk about music and imply my own narcissism. I talk about how humanity as a whole are pretty decent and he says the world has gone to hell. Why wouldn’t I pick him as my best man? Well there’s the fact that I haven’t talked to him since the 6th and that he’s a major bummer sometimes. I feel bad though, because he probably has depression and my dad doesn’t think depression is a real thing and complains about how he mopes around.

I mope around, but just hide it, I suppose. Every time I go for a nature walk or if my door is locked, or if I am singing Say Anything on guitar chances are its because I feel shitty.

There comes a time in one’s life where they realize they have been jocks/jerks/pricks and Scott has that realization, faces up to it and becomes a better human. I want to BE that better human. Whether it’s not putting hoes before bros or just plain not even really being there for any of those hoes at the same time.

It’s like when the kid I was kind of watching/playing with falls down and starts to cry and I’m like “well, guess I’ll just stand here like an idiot.” I was never really good with dealing with someone who is crying. Maybe that’s why people don’t come to me during their life crisis.

No one could have said it better than Wallace when he said something along the lines of  ”Well, you have to figure out why she left or you’ll never become a better man.”

I treated one girl super shitty and just severed all ties without giving a reason last year after 2 dates. I feel shitty about it, but it’s way too late to do anything about it. I used to treat my sister like shit too, mostly because she acted and sounded amusing when upset, God, I was such an asshole. That’s not even an isolated incident. I was mean to several classmates over the course of elementary and middle school. Too much to go into.

I think movies like “the way way back” help people to be ignorant to how shitty they are. The protagonist is a mopey recluse with no redeeming qualities. Most of his family and their friends seem like boisterous douches but at least they try. The kid doesn’t really learn much and plays the victim for most of the movie, acting belligerent and secretive. It doesn’t end too great but still. Perks of being a wallflower is the exact same. It’s painted as a look into the lives of introverts with a so called “relatable” character, but the guy has no redeeming qualities apart from thinking he is so unique and quiet because he’s smarter than all those other assholes. He thinks he deserves Emma Watson because he has feelings and he’s “nice” and because he’s so deep and so indie. He treated that black haired stocky punk girl like shit and still plays a so called nice guy. I guess he got some backlash from that but he really deserved it. The problem I have with this is that the protagonists have no real personality, and the movies seem full of personality only because of the supporting characters who act fun around the mopey introverted main character. Everyone thinks they are totally that guy, the problem isn’t themselves it’s everyone else. All those other people that just don’t understand you. 

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It’s bullshit like the above that glorifies people who are quiet. It’s like they think that because they keep quiet and know what goes on in their own mind they know what goes on in other people’s. I can guaren-fucking-tee that all those loud extroverts that you think must be stupid and simple have thoughts just as intricate as you. All those “sheeple” on the bus who are chatting or plugged in with their headphones. Yeah, it’s OK to keep to yourself, but people act like being shy means you are so much smarter and better than other people. I guess it’s better than the notion that quiet people are creepy and weird. There was a better example on 9gag way back that got called out for this sort of thing, but I couldn’t find it. I myself seek solitude for hours at a time once in a while and sometimes it is great. Sometimes the quiet people turn out to be really interesting and become great friends. I read “one day I was swimming.” I know about these things because I have periods of introversion. I’ll spell it out.

Extroverts aren’t necessarily stupid just because they say a lot. There is just as much that they aren’t saying.

People understand the persona I put on just fine. They probably could relate maybe (unless i am actually a basket case) to the real me better, but you can’t just be a recluse and think it’s everyone else’s fault that you are lonely and things don’t work out for you. That’s actually how I thought when I was in high school. And the quirky cast of friends that brought me out of it were my DTS buddies. Looking back it’s because I was lame.

The reason why I didn’t get the girl in DTS is because I had no redeeming qualities> apart from being “nice” and “funny.” I probably reeked of desperation and I wasn’t even that funny. I got by with either rude, self deprecating, pop culture, or pervy humor. I wasn’t even that good at drawing either. My spiritual life wasn’t that great and I think Christian girls have a sixth sense for that kind of thing. So it’s no wonder. I acted like Scott in the beginning of the 6th book, when he was tries to get a one night stand with every one of the girls he knows. Except what I was after was a relationship and they all knew that I had hit on all their friends first. I was more brazen with flirting back then.

I’m willing to bet most people go around thinking no one is as unique and introspective as they are. I think it’s healthier to realize people are more like you than you think. Listen to the Fleet Foxes song “Helplessness Blues” to know what I mean. My parents never said anything to imply that they didn’t really know what they were doing or that things don’t magically make sense when you turn 18. So I thought maybe I was one of the only idiots who didn’t have it all together.

5 things I need to do

-Get better motivation for doing school work

-Keep working out, and consistently

-Spend less time refreshing boring websites- IE 9gag facebook whathaveyou

-Get a JOB hippie!

-Get a HAIRCUT, hippie!

-Be content playing music by myself until the time comes that I can start the band that I want to be in.

That last bit is literal.

I also need to practice a little humility. It’s made clear by the end of the 6th book that a lot of the events that happen over the Scott Pilgrim series are very skewed by Scott’s own perception. So is he actually the best fighter in the province? Deas Ex Machina saves him in a few of the fights. He also seemed blissfully unaware of his effect on others for the most part.

I don’t know if you know this, maybe it’s better if you didn’t. But here I go. Sometimes I walk around and think to myself “haha, I am so much better looking than that poor sap.” or “wow I can sing / play instrument X way better than that poor sap.” and act all smug. Of course, half the time these inclinations aren’t even true. Perhaps instead of acting smug I think “How the heck can a person like this have X if I don’t? How did they get the job/girl/prestige if they are like that?” 


That time I posted the “Baseball but Better” cover on my wall, I posted it because I saw someone else’s facebook acoustic song and thought to myself that I needed to show off my own skills. I thought I could do it better, that I could sing louder with more passion and get more likes. Same as when I am in my room singing and playing really loud. I know you can hear it outside the door, and it’s better that way. Because then I can subtly lord it over people that I can consistently hit that C#5 that they can only dream of doing. It’s awful that I think that way, but my vocal did used to suck. I got it up there by admitting to myself that it sucked and practicing.

When I start thinking of why someone has something I don’t have, sometimes instead of thinking I’m better than them I think I must be worse. Thinking maybe I totally DO suck. Grab my phone, sing a line and record it. Listen back and I can’t believe how shitty I sound. Look in the mirror after a shower and can’t believe how puny I look. Or how my ribs are totally showing. Or maybe my face is kind of weird- like why is my chin shaped like that? Or that the back of my head is way wider than my face, my head is like a trapezoid. I totally have a mullet.” Then I get all sad.

The problem with that is that self depreciation isn’t even humility. It’s still thinking of yourself. 

This girl of the week that I like said I have a good jaw, so I got that going for me, which is nice. But then when I didn’t get a text back I just start rationalizing all these different things like “Am I just a dweeb? Am I kinda ugly? Does she think I’m totally lame? Or is she just a hussy?” It’s absolutely ridiculous that not getting a text message ruined my self worth for like probably a few days, unless I randomly get a response in that time. What the FUCK?

I say girl of the week because I am really fickle. My closest friends often say to me “who is it THIS time?”

Any facade I put on of being one of those “nice guys” must have been pretty elaborate. I tricked myself into thinking I was nice and people just don’t see me right. I have been on the internet long enough to know how many guys think they are nice and that women are mean for not seeing them for who they really are. I don’t think that nice guys exist if my thought processes are so selfish. You don’t “deserve” a girl just by virtue of being nice. Everyone acts nice when they want something. I think maybe the problem is that the women DO see you right, and see that you are full of shit.

It’s the exact same for girls too. Chad McWashboardabs won’t fall into your lap unless you actually go out there and interact with real humans. If you aren’t as hot as Jessica or Shannon then maybe try to have some good qualities instead of reblogging and retweeting things about being God’s perfect princess. Goddamn, at least act like it. I know so many people who externalize their problems or think that being “broken is beautiful” makes me SICK. I guess that makes me God’s perfect prince no matter how fat and ugly and insufferable I get, and that he will send a perfect princess to me when I haven’t left my basement for 10 years at 35.

Everyone has insecurities. The culture here is that it’s totally OK because God says you’re great. Great! By virtue of being born he is obligated to love you. But it isn’t everyone else’s fault when things don’t turn out right. Sometimes (gasp) it isn’t even GOD’s FAULT or PLAN when things go foul. It’s yours, because in this culture every fault has to be externalized to things beyond your control. Otherwise it means you have to actually put work into yourself. The nauseating quote that gets tossed around is “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

My advice is to stop acting like an entitled insufferable child if there are people who can’t handle your worst. There is a chance that this person who can’t handle it is kind of lame and fickle, but look in the mirror for a second. If you ever get called an asshole maybe there was some merit to that. Chances are that the more assholes you meet, the more likely it is that the common denominator is YOU.

You can’t blame all your problems on God, being ugly, your peers, or fate or your race or your gender or random bad luck. You can only blame a few of them.

So yeah. I’m just as shitty if not more-so than a lot of people. At least I can admit it. I pent up rage against people who got to be in this worship band or that one, people who didn’t accept me into those previously mentioned bands, jobs, people who left ambrose that I don’t see anymore or who didn’t come along to things I asked them to. People who quit my band, people who didn’t respond to texts and people who aren’t dating me for reasons that I couldn’t figure out without hitting too close to home. If I had a little self awareness I would notice how often I flaked out of things I said I would do, or acted like a prick. I should notice all the things I have that other people wish they did. Not to sound arrogant, that is, but I’ve got it made. I don’t even have a job and I own 3 instruments, my parents pay for a good chunk of my tuition. There are people who have to take fewer classes and a part time job just to be here. People who had to sell their prized possessions to still be here.

I try to write songs about depression when I get down but can’t think of a good reason for why I feel depressed. Maybe I should have taken that as a reason to stop moping around.

I diminished every good thing I had and emphasized the things I wished I had. For eons.

My biggest vice has to be envy if it isn’t a lack of self awareness. I don’t know if anyone else does this but I have this thing. There are probably 7 or 8 girls that I talk to and hit on from time to time that I am not really interested in, yet I get jealous whenever they talk to other guys. It’s fucking retarded. If the girl I like hit on as many guys as I do girls I would probably drop them like a rock, feeling like I was just another one of their sources of opposite-gender-attention. Feeding into their inflated ego. If you never saw me acting like this, well it’s probably because I’m actually not really that good at flirting to begin with. But I try. Believe me.

A little bit of this self actualization has been welling up for a while, but it came to the surface in a cocktail of different related stimuli. A quote from a facebook group I am in said something along the lines of “if I hear another song demonizing exes again I’ll stick a screwdriver through my eardrums.”

Just the other day I wrote a shitty (not really an understatement) song called “tiltawhirl,” basically about funneling all the blame onto someone else. Typical. So what DID I learn? I don’t even really have a real ex. I haven’t really even gotten past the 3rd or 5th date or being facebook official. Or even a kiss. Goddamn, I sound pathetic.

What I did learn is that my problems are either made up or I made them into real problems with my fucked up attitude.

Basically I learned something else. When I am through being arrogant and jealous, I’d rather be wallowing in pity, cursing my cruel fate. Sometimes I’d rather dwell on how I got shafted than wonder why it happened. That feeling of mild existential despair just makes me feel alive, it’s weird. My mottoes come from, other than Say Anything, Weezer’s Pinkerton. Lines like;

"Why bother? It’s gonna hurt me."

or “I can’t believe how bad I suck, it’s true. What could you possibly see in little old 3 chord me?”

Hence the moral of the story is to stop sucking and be awesome instead, and enjoy the fruits of that. You can’t change your face but you can change your clothes, your body. Your mind. And maybe realize a few problems in your life are actually your own doing.

The end.

What do your Google searches say about you?

Here is a short list of recent google searches. It actually shows the sort of thing you have been thinking about in that time period I reckon. Behold the list. 

-Fermentation of Molasses

-So I got her phone number now what

-what is a cervix

-snowing tired of being alone lyrics

-sadness

-why am I so - (autofill) good looking

-has anyone ever actually gotten a free cruise from a phone call

-communion which first

-boys round here tab

-burlesque definition

-project M

-ness brawl wiki

-akimbo definition

-lying prone

-how much is meth per ounce

-said the whale narrows chords

-lyrics city’s a mess

-what are those things pharohs hold

-ankh

-what are russians famous for

-onion raw nutrition facts

-how to sing like parker cannon

-potatoes in the fridge

-reality check lucid dreaming

-canker sore tongue

-ghost pepper

-stow independance declaration

-touchy feely

-rule of Ds

-horchata

-danger barch

-hugh jackman

I thought some of these were amusing anyway.

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