Sunday, November 4, 2007

Grabs + Devours

Sincerest apologies to the few people who check this for not updating in a while - I swear I have been legitimately busy. Edge Day Observed 2007 gig - total blast. New York City vacation - ur moshing, Floorpunch reunion - fuck yeah. It's been an interesting month or so. Dad went in and out of the hospital, and I've begun No Shave November with my roommates. Halloween was disappointing, basically missed out on that entire thing. Baseball season came and went, I listened to the Red Sox win the World Series on the radio on an uncomfortable van ride from Philly to Boston while sleeping on a pillow of Have Heart shirts. Basically it's been a while and there's too much to say so in essence I have nothing to say. Here's some pictures of my vacation and some pickups. Thank you to Apps for the Mental handmedowns and everyone please listen to The Rival Mob.

Triple B Thank You Very Much

You Won't

Girls Love Me
and pickups...

Step your Mental game up

Welfare Records in Haverhill is awesome

Supreme Sport Cap (more tan than pictured)

Some new denim from Rugby

Check back in soon and be sure to look out for Casual Pizza Fanzine and Think Right Fanzine both dropping in the next month.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Polo Ralph Lauren Longsleeve Buttondown (note the elbow pads)

Righteous Jams "Invasion..." White Shirt (shoutouts to Asya Han for the trade)

The North Face Windbreaker

Causin' mad trouble in '07

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Popularly Cultural

Mandy Moore covering Rihanna's "Umbrella" (Official Video)

My sister clued me in about this - go figure. The image quality is weak but the video ain't much to look at in the first place, just peep the song.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Here's an interview I did with my boy JP from the hardcore punk band Evasion. This was supposed to go into Life Is Stupid #2 but there simply wasn't enough room, and you tend to cut your friends first cause they're the most understanding. It would be too out of date to throw in issue #3 so enjoy this web exclusive brought to you by LIS Fanzine. This is also my first piece I layed out on photoshop. Enjoy.

Click on the images in order to make them full size

Thursday, July 5, 2007

YouTube Update Pt. 2

Morrissey and Johnny Marr visit a primary school

Years From Now perform "You're Living a Mediocre Life, Pal" at Significant Fest in Tampa, FL with a special appearance by myself on guest vocals

An old ad for Nike's Air Max line - first advertisement to ever use a Beatles song.

And cut

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I'm reminded it's Monday because the hospital is busy again.
Saturdays and Sundays are calm and most of the staff and visitors aren't there, also most of the discharing of patients is done before the weekend on Thursday or Friday.
On Monday every one is back and subsequently the line for the coffee shop is long and the elevators are packed.
I'm waiting for the elevator and I may or may not be carrying 1-3 hot beverages and/or an elephant ear.
I most likely am not wearing headphones.
Elevator doors open, a crowd of people inculding myself enter, I assume the position against the right side [if you are facing the door] of the elevator.
Movement starts and stops.
Older Doctor looks at me for long enough that I'm now uncomfortable.
Level 8 - Elevator stops upward movement, doors open, Older Doctor exits, a pretty nurse waits outside the open doors for a downward moving elevator, I stare at her ass until the closing doors have completely obscured it.
Movement starts and stops again.
Level 14 - Elevator stops upward movement, doors open, I exit, my head moves in the wrong direction, my body moves in the right direction, I say hello to familiar faces, one or two people may or may not be making jokes about me sleeping late.

(24 hours pass and our hero sits on a plane [I am perpetually in uncomfortable situations] waiting to take off.)

I just saw the Turning Point handprint logo but there's no way that was the intention of its existence.
Recalling yesterday reminds me that yesterday was Monday, though I know for sure today is Tuesday or else I wouldn't be on a plane.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Above the Fold

From today's issue of the Boston Globe
by Florence Graves and Hadar Sayfan

First things first
'Housing first,' a radical new approach to ending chronic homelessness, is gaining ground in Boston.

AT THE LATIN ACADEMY, a majestic former school built in 1900 near Dorchester's Codman Square, Joe Jeannotte is participating in a social experiment.

Jeannotte lives in a sparsely furnished new two-bedroom apartment. Light streams through large windows, and a burgundy and forest green couch faces a small television. He looks older than his 38 years -- gaunt, scruffy, with dark brown hair -- and shares the place with his girlfriend, Judy, who asked that her last name not be used. Often, the noise of construction filters in as workers rehab other apartments, but the couple doesn't complain. Not long ago, they were convinced they would never have a place to live at all. When they moved into the new place, at public expense, they had no home and no money, and both had been struggling for years with heroin addiction.

In the past, society's approach to homeless people with chronic health problems such as addiction has been governed by tough love: Stay in treatment, or you don't get the opportunity for publicly supported housing. People who could not confront their addiction, the thinking went, could not handle an apartment.

But a new approach, called "housing first," is gathering momentum. The idea is to target the most difficult cases -- the chronically homeless who make up between 10 and 20 percent of the homeless population and spend years cycling between the streets, shelters, jail cells, and emergency rooms -- and give them apartments without requiring them to get sober, in the hope that having a place to live will help them address their other problems. More than 150 cities or counties around the country already have programs of some kind or plans to initiate one, and last month the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee recommended doubling the size of a small pilot program in the state. If the pilot succeeds, proponents say it could force dramatic changes in homeless policy -- and a recognition that the current shelter system, built on what they call a punitive moralism, has fundamentally failed.

"Shelters have become the poor houses of the 21st century," said Joe Finn, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), who is administering Home and Healthy for Good, the pilot program.

The program's appeal reaches across the ideological landscape. In 1999, a Republican Congress endorsed the concept, requiring that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development devote at least a third of its homelessness funding toward putting the chronically homeless and chronically disabled in permanent housing. Cities like San Francisco, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregon, have become proponents after successful tests. The Bush administration has also been enthusiastic. In 2002, it hired Philip Mangano, who spent 25 years in Boston as a homeless advocate, to head its homelessness efforts, and he has evangelized widely for the housing-first approach.

Part of the program's broad appeal is its counterintuitive claim: That it can often break even or save money while providing housing. Academic studies, based on programs in New York City and Philadelphia, have found that cities spend almost the same or less money on the housing and other services than they would on shelter beds, emergency rooms, and other health care costs.

"Cost-benefit analysis may be the new compassion," said Mangano, the founding executive director of MHSA. He's now executive director of the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness.

There are also critics across the political spectrum who are uneasy about what they think amounts to rewarding bad behavior -- putting drug addicts and alcoholics at the front of the line for housing.

Yet the housing-first movement is part of a broader, more ambitious agenda: ending homelessness, not managing it. Many Americans forget that widespread urban homelessness is a recent problem that began in the early '80s, not an inevitable price of capitalism. For years, a great deal of money has been spent managing homelessness in various ad hoc approaches, particularly shelters.

In pushing the housing-first approach to municipal, county, and state governments, Mangano (and, by extension, the Bush administration) is rejecting the idea that chronic homelessness will always be with us. The problem can be solved, they argue, and, eventually, much of the social-services industry built up around it can and must be dismantled.

It is an argument that longtime advocates say brings a mixture of excitement at the possibilities and fears about what it might mean in practice. Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, says some shelter providers have said to her, "If we end homelessness, what are we going to do for a living?"

Many observers credit the birth of the housing-first concept to Sam Tsemberis, who calls himself a "recovering psychologist." While treating homeless people for their mental health or substance abuse problems, Tsemberis, who is based in New York City, recognized that "business as usual" was not working. His patients invariably told him that, before they could work on their other problems, they needed housing first. In 1992, he founded Pathways to Housing to provide mentally ill and substance-abusing homeless people with their own apartments immediately.

During the 1990s, Dennis Culhane, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, started collecting and analyzing the data on all that spending and its effectiveness. In a series of studies, he revealed, among other things, that the chronically homeless population -- the mentally ill and addicts who were spending years on the street, in and out of shelters -- made up only 10 percent of the homeless population but were using 50 percent of shelter resources. In follow-up studies, he revealed that by focusing on housing this subgroup, communities could better keep down costs and help turn around lives.

A landmark 2002 study by Culhane found that providing housing and other assistance to the homeless could bring down nonhousing expenses almost enough to pay for itself. The study followed mentally ill homeless people between 1989 and 1997 and found that each permanent supported housing unit saved $16,281 a year in public costs for shelter, health care, mental health, and criminal justice, offsetting most of the $17,277 cost of housing and other services.

Mangano, a former seminarian who had focused on housing for the mentally ill in Massachusetts, said he was so impressed by the New York Pathways to Housing program and Culhane's research that he decided to take the ideas and disseminate them nationally.

"[We] committed an act of legitimate larceny," Mangano said.

Medical bills for today's homeless are a large expense. For example, between 1999 and 2003, the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), a group that provides primary care for people living on the streets, tracked the medical expenses of 119 chronically homeless clients. All told, the group racked up 18,342 emergency-room visits, for an average of more than 36 visits per person each year. At a minimum cost of $1000 a visit, that's an annual emergency room bill of ,at least $36,000 per person. Lack of stable housing makes it hard for people to rehabilitate after an illness, properly care for wounds, or take medication consistently, according to Dr. Jim O'Connell, the president of BHCHP who headed the study and is also involved in the Home and Healthy for Good pilot in Massachusetts.

Last year, the state legislature allocated $600,000 for that pilot, which is being tried in locations across Massachusetts. Preliminary data from the program indicates that it is saving the state money, according to MHSA executive director Joe Finn. Home and Healthy for Good has put 155 formerly chronically homeless people into stable housing, paid for their apartments, and assigned them social workers to help them find the services they need. Finn's group concluded that the Commonwealth saved, on average, $918 a month during the fist six months in shelter and service costs (including health care, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, incarcerations, drug detoxification, and shelters) for each person housed. That's a projected annual savings of $11,016 per person. Federal figures suggest that there are at least 3,137 chronically homeless adults in the state.

The savings are impressive, but some worry they may be inflated. Jim Greene, who heads the city of Boston's Emergency Shelter Commission, suspects that some of the success stories from around the country are misleading, worrying that the people who ran the studies were selective about who they enrolled. But the Massachusetts program has specifically asked for the neediest and most challenging street people, according to Dr. Jessie Gaeta, an MHSA Physician Advocacy Fellow and a clinician for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program who is one of the study's investigators. Still, she said, she will not consider any of the results to be valid until they have at least a year's worth of data.

Even if the program does save money overall, it still poses a political problem: The agencies that save money on health care, for example, are not the same as those that spend money on housing and other services. That could lead to a budget turf war.

The program could also force changes in the shelter community. Romney appointee Linda Barton Fosburg, executive director of the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Homelessness and Housing, says that some advocates "don't want to see the shelter industry dismantled" because "they don't want to let go of their piece of the pie." Robert V. Hess, commissioner of New York City's Department of Homeless Services, said he has seen "a fair amount of push-back" from shelter providers to the idea of housing-first in New York, as well as in Philaldephia, where he introduced it.

But housing-first advocates say that some shelters can adjust programmatically and financially by becoming providers of transitional and permanent housing. Several homeless shelters in the area, such as Father Bill's Place in Quincy, have already started converting.

Yet even as the Massachusetts pilot has shown promise, critics have begun to express other concerns. One, they say, is that success would distract attention from the 80 to 90 percent of the homeless population who are not chronically homeless. Another is that lawmakers will be too quick to reduce funding for the state's many homeless shelters -- or that they will try to do housing-first on the cheap, which will cause it to fail.

"We don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul," said Lyndia Downie, president of the Pine Street Inn. The state is in dire need, she said, of a comprehensive plan to address homelessness.

Last October, the legislature created a commission to be co-chaired by Rep. Byron Rushing and Tina Brooks, Governor Deval Patrick's Undersecretary for Department of Housing and Community Development, to do just that. But Patrick, who has said he is committed to ending homelessness in Massachusetts, has not yet appointed any members.

Another open question is how much housing-first helps the homeless with their underlying problems. But advocates say that this is a very high bar; addiction, for example, is a notoriously difficult problem, and even modest goals make the idea worthwhile.

"If you measure success as complete abstinence, success rates are very low," said Culhane. "Many people relapse." But "in the public health field, there is a countervailing view, sometimes characterized as harm-reduction." In this view, minimizing harm -- as in the case of clean-needles programs to reduce the spread of HIV -- is every bit as important.

Joe and Judy, the couple who recently moved into the Dorchester two-bedroom, met five years ago at the Long Island Shelter in Quincy Bay while handing out blankets. On the street for years, they had both spent their nights bouncing from Boston Common park benches to various shelters and back to hang out on the Common during daylight hours. Now HIV positive from sharing needles, Joe says the simple act of taking his life-saving medications was often thwarted when his small bag of possessions was stolen as he tried to sleep on the streets.

For now, the two appear to be functioning well: They say they have been attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times a week, keep the place neat, and cook for themselves. Both say they are clean and want to kick cigarettes next. They say disabilities have kept them from working, but Judy wants to find a job.

"I have a lot more hope," she said.

Florence Graves is founding director of Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Hadar Sayfan is a senior research assistant at the institute.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"To all the kids in the USA who will always KEEP THE FAITH"

an ad appearing in the newest issue of Think or Sink Fanzine

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm a playa yeah it's true

Just a few things to address:

1. One of the tightest exhibits of classic HC gear has appeared on eBay

New Age Records sleeve print. The way the text on the back fades colors. The design on the back in general. Probably the coolest Turning Point shirt I've ever seen, and the seller is letting a couple of other similar ones go as well.

2. Sick People recorded some practice tape jams, peep them here.

3. Apps (you may recall him from a previous post on this thing) interviewed me for his blog. We discuss Sick People, LIS Fanzine, and Piebald. You can read the whole thing on Aaron's blog.

4. Moved into a new apartment in Beacon Hill with the family. It's small, but making for a good summer spot, in close proximity to MGH.

5. FL week long vacation June 26 - July 2

More updates to come shortly

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Message

Dear Mr. Sayfan and his most loving family,

I am Michael (medical graduate from Hong Kong) and about to depart Boston for L.A. and soon will be flying back home.

Thank you for letting me participate in your care. I understand your inner turmoil and fears - which is natural in the circumstances, but at the same time I am in awe of your courage and positive outlook in life and have been also been most touched by the loving bonds in your family.

My heartfelt gratitude for your kindest encouragements as I begin my practice in medicine next month. When I endure hardship in the future, I will remember you and be inspired by your example in facing adversity, and recall your kind words for strength.

I will be praying for you. You are in the best hands possible and thereafter, we will hope for the best.

My best wishes for you and your family,


Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Think Right (To Unite)"

My dear friend and co-worker Matt Pick hooked me up with a link to an old Straight Ahead interview where Tommy Carrol answers the questions. I've been down with the Craig Ahead interview for a little bit now, but had never seen or even heard about this one. In my excitement I figured I'd share it with all my loyal readers.

This is taken from District Eleven Webzine, and they took this from Definite Choice - International Hardcore Fanzine. D11 reproduced the text as it is from the fanzine, providing for lots of misspellings and awkward grammar which just makes the interview cooler in my opinion.


Me (Tom.C)-vocals, Rob on guitar, craig.s on bass, and filling in on drums in Arman. Craig and I are 16, Rob and Arman are 18.


Fast with crucial mosh! very generic at some points, like old minor threat sped up a lot, you have to hear it to judge.


The lyrics 'cause I write them, the lyrics because that is the main thing to be in a band, to express your views, trying to make a better tomorrow for future generations. We put a lot into the music too!!


We sing about unity, peace, carring, loving...etc. hoping for a better world, helping people in need, never forgetting to care. I, Tom.C that's me, write most of the lyrics. It's time to help others, unite to fight the enemy, our fucked up system which only supports the rich. People have to start helping other people to make things work. We're much stronger when we stick together to destroy: Sexism, Negativity, Fascism, Nazism, Racism, We are the youth, the future it's up to us to make a better world!


We practise 1 or 2 times a week, sometimes 3 times. Yes it is easy to find a room here, we rehearse for $5, - at Giant studios in N.Y.C.


New York is a good place, a strong united scene, not much fights i'm happy to say but sometimes stupid shit starts for no reason. BANDS: T.F.Numskulls, Youth of Today, Fit for Abuse, rest in pieces, token entry, letch patral, cro-mags, sheer terror, murphy's law, crippled youth, there are many good N.Y. bands. Too name a few good zines: Attitude, guillotine, tse-tse fly, smash apathy, bullshit monthly. Gigs every week at cbgb's, sometime even 3 gigs a week....very strong scene & good bands.


No, well oh yes! i played in N.Y.C. MAYHEM for almost 2 years before we buske off and a couple of joke around bands before that.


I did and yes much meaning, it describes our music, attitude and the way we think and live. We're proud of what we do and who we are, we walk STRAIGHT AHEAD, straight to speak with fairness, truth and honesty and ahead to try to succeed in our fight for unity, caring, and peace.


We play 1 or 2 times a month this summer we tour the U.S. we might go to europe this summer also. The atmosphere is good, no fights only 1 or 2 fights in all the time we played that were serious. No violence almost, it's kind of easy to get gigs you just have to meet people in other big bands.


People come to see us, but i don't know about any fanatic following, mabey? who knows?


Concerned...we're not really a political band although we know the U.S. system has to be changed to help everybody not just the rich, don't get me wrong i don't hate them, some of them worked hard for their money, it's just that they got so much and we got so little. Our system must be changed or improved but we the people must stand together to make a change.


Yeah!! There's squats, also real punks. The clubs i really don't know of any clubs owned by punks mabey runned by punx but not owned by them.


Wow! many, too name a few it has to be: T.F. NUMSKULLS, SHEER TERROR, WARZONE, YOUTH OF TODAY (ct.), REST IN PIECES, MENTAL ABUSE (n.j.), CROMAGS, and so on.


If that's what they want to do then i guess it's fine. As long as they keep the heart, trust, spirit and hardness and don't forget the people who supported them in the beginning. Stay loyal!


I'm straight edge the rest of the band doesn't take drugs or shit like that, they drink beer once in awhile. Plus they have girlfriends and shit, that's fine if they really love them. Yes too many people get drunk and start fights, if they can't handle alcohol they shouldn't drink. Drugs, not that much just smoke, that stuff is stupid and a losing game, STAY STRAIGHT, stay pure and stay hard, especially when it controls you instead of you controlling it.


Too many too name ,put it this losy band i've listened to since i've been into music. I listen to a lot of south california bands like Doggy Style, Scared Straight, Unity, Uniform Choice....etc. I like good positive thinking bands.


We should bring it to an end DISARM!, why should we pay for our government's ignorance and angry. We're people equal as they are, the first thing to do it to unite and stop this mad obsession with power.


Yes, very much but i wish i had a car or money to travel. I've been here to long i need a vacation.


The cops are pretty cool lately but i don't know, you give somebody a gun and a badge and they think they're better and stronger than you, alot of them are very ignorant and don't care about helpin', just killing or beating up people. But there is good & bad too everything and everyone. I'm only one voic e that will never stop expressing his vieuws!


That was 2 or 3 years ago not now, it's mellow alot. The scene is smaller more united. Sure, there's fights but nothing like there were back awhile ago. Besides they're weaker and we're getting stronger, we'll take a stand for our scene.


No, but we're recording 10 songs for a comp.ep in feb. That should be out in late march or april (It's out now!!!!!) LaRM, PILLSBURY HARDCORE, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT will also appear on it. MIKE RUBENSTEIN is putting out the record called: END THE WARZONE. Then we record a 7" E.P. and we're looking for a co label to press it up. We might put out an official live tape in march too.


We're getting stronger, the scene is more united and i see many improvements. Nothing dies in my heart, it just makes changes for the better.


I help fanzines out, but i'm not a studyworker or writer for one yet. I woorkout, practise (i play drums), work sometimes, hagnout with friends, write lyrics...stuff like that.


Bob works, Craig goes to school and i work sometimes at a moving company. It's hard to find a job and even harder finding a good job, but we manage.


Records, tours and looking for a better world for you and me.


Stay pure, stay straight, stay true, stay hard. Keep the spirit and never loose the heart. Think right (to unite) start to care for others. Take a stand for unity and wipe out all negative ignorance, watch out for a group of kids from washington D.C. calling themselves POSITIVE FORCE, they sound like the got cause, spirit, and heart. Take care of yourselves...thanks to Paul from larm for the interview, rock'on hard!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Came To Win

My to-do list looks impressive but I've got little to show for it. All I want is to hold Life Is Stupid #2 in my hands while high-fiving my mom about my exemplary grades while jamming to the Crossroads, Sick People, Ice Age, and/or Think Right demo(s).

The Triple B Records Message Board is red hot right now. If you're not on it, well, get on it. Some of my finest Internetting is being done on there currently, and if you know anything about my resume you know that I am an above average messageboard poster (see my username).

Yesterday, in the midst of the finest episode (or radiosode - I'm looking to coin that word in the near future) of Culture Pop to air yet I officially announced the changing of my DJ name from DJ Cro-Magnon to DJ Cro-Mag 69. I figure Dan G already staked his claim in Rosenthal 69 (see his username), so I might as well meet him halfway. Other than this groundbreaking change of namesake the show was pretty good, probably my favorite one to date. My four co-hosts and I now live by a new mantra, "Safety in segments." I'm a segment-making powerhouse.

This is what a re-blizzard looks like from my dormroom window.

This hat (pictured), after months of wear, finally fits the way that feels right on my head and looks good in the mirror. I took a picture out of satisfaction.

My next update is going to be an album review of 2003's The Greatest Story Ever Told by The Lawrence Arms. I'm stating this mainly to obligate myself to actually write and then post said review. I may even include ten words John Park has to describe an unnamed Chinese buffet in Daytona Beach, FL. You know, the one.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Vacation - all I ever wanted"

Reporting from the parents' crib...

This short vacation from school, work, and Boston winter has proven to be a relaxing one, save a trip to the dentist and Orlando traffic. There is very little to post about currently, though I do have some shhh cooking that will hopefully entertain. Years From Now and Blacklisted on Friday, then Make Or Break with Barriers Now Bridges on Sunday. A time to mosh...

One thing I do, however, have to post is a spectacular movie review by my close friend and fellow Years From Now Pit Crew member, John Park.

"Friends, tonight i come to you to talk about something serious. A huge problem i have with the way things are going lately, what is it I'm talking about? The way most of you probably haven't seen Norbit yet of course.

I'm going to ask a question now, a pretty general question but I want you all to think long and hard about your answers, ok? Ok here goes...

Do you love laughing?

If you answered "no" then you are a piece of shit and i don't really care what you think, go fuck yourself seriously.

Now, if you answered "YES" then Norbit is the feel good, side splitting all out laugh riot of the year, decade, century, forever. Look out Criterion collection, you've got another title coming your way! Seriously, this film is on the same level as "Casablanca", "Gone With The Wind", or even "In The Army Now"

Anyways, Eddie Murphy has really outdone himself this time, playing not one, or two but three characters, seriously how does this guy do it??? One of them is even an old asian man!! i tell you, i tried to keep the LOL'z from coming but it was fucking impossible.

Norbit's wife, Rasputia is the kind of lady any guy would want, that Norbit really is one lucky son of a gun, from the way she constantly accuses him of "adjusting her seat" to her he-freakin-larious catch phrase "howYOUdoin?" which was always perfectly timed to send me into a spiral of uncontrollable laughter, at one point i think i shat myself in the theater but didn't dare get up and miss a second of this comic gold.

Really what can i say about this movie that hasn't already been said? Genius, Amazing, Brilliant, 15 stars, 11 thumbs up, you get it, this movie will forever change cinema, forever. All in all what I'm saying is, go see this movie, do yourself a favor, it'll change your perspective on everything, and you'll forever be a better person."

Stay tuned in,

Thursday, February 8, 2007

72 Hours Down the Drain

2 days with an old friend at his new spot...

...then one night seeing the band that started it all for me.

Headcolds and homework are nothing anymore.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

TV Party Tonight

After a month long vacation in beautiful Orlando, Florida I have finally made my return to Brandeis University. Getting back into new classes feels great, and re submerging myself into productive life feels even better. The vast differences in my mentality and feelings between the time spent in Florida and time spent in Massachusetts, more specifically the space between feeling braindead and feeling viable, have gotten me thinking a lot about the benefits of education. Coincidentally, an assignment to read Francis Schrag's Back to Basics has shed some light upon these thoughts. Schrag believes there are three goals we as a society should have for our great-grandchildren.

From Schrag's Back to Basics
1. Our great-grandchildren should care about arguments and evidence bearing on any course of action or conclusion they are contemplating.
2. They should be disposed to continue their own learning.
3. To the extent possible, they should have developed the capacity to continue that learning.

I think it was my Junior year of high school that I told my parents that I don't care about learning. My father, though a stubborn man, could not empathize with this position at all, as knowledge and learning to him have been commonplace necessities throughout his life. This attitude of mine persisted through all 12 years of my public education, up until my first semester here at Brandeis. Upon beginning higher education I truly felt a shift in my personality, many of my views changed, many of my interests changed, and more than anything a desire to learn emerged. My family and close friends who had known me for years noticed, I noticed as well, but figured it was the result of finally growing up.

I now believe that this abrupt change is mainly due to the way I'm being educated. Schrag's belief is that the current educational system (Back to Basics was written in 1995) is not sufficiently nurturing the future existence of the three goals for our great grand-children. My time spent in public schools made me an apathetic person, made me someone who does not care about or value learning. I did well, obviously well enough to get into a respected university, however I can remember none of what I had "learned." I got the top score possibly on the AP Exam for the highest Calculus class available, and cannot remember a single fact, nor did I attach any emotion to the subject. High school was a game and most importantly a mission to get the right scores in order to attain a scholarship to the right university. Going by the standards of the three goals, I can say that I, along with all my teachers, failed high school.

Why has the US become apathetic? The finger should not be pointed towards the Internet, TV, drugs, etc. Instead let's remember the SAT was introduced in 1901. Since then the popularity of standardized tests has grown significantly. We now find even elementary education is geared at the passing of specific tests, and around the 8th grade the potential life-ruiner SAT, what could be better identified as Suffering Academic Trauma, is introduced. School is not fun, grades are given inaccurately, all knowledge is temporary, and certain children are left behind because of an inability to achieve a minimum number. The arbitrarily granted successes and failures of public education are breeding students who do not value expanding their minds. This is why people care so little about their own society, or care little to look past their already existing political views. Schrag explains that a student may learn the scientific method expertly, but as an adult will never appreciate what made it a valued part of the informational sphere. If we raise children who do not want to learn, they become drones in the democratic process. No one will be there to listen to the arguments of Presidential candidates, the one with the more aesthetically pleasing tie will win. An off-color liberal university saved me. Who is going to save you?

I realize this offers few answers. Schrag notes that there truly is no easy way to grade one's successes when put in the context of the three goals. However, one must bear these in mind throughout the schooling process and while observing one's own children's progress. Getting an A in a history class is an achievement, however it can only be considered a success if this gives the student insight into the workings of the world in his or her adulthood.

All in all, I'm off to dinner then to see Howard Zinn read segments of his new book. However, I'm ducking out early to catch the new episode of The Office. Ironic this may be, but I must know what happens to Dwight.

Much love

Monday, January 8, 2007

An Evening with Aaron Bloomfield...

Yesterday evening, I sat down (on the Internet) with Boston resident and all around great guy, Aaron Bloomfield. We discussed his many current projects, opinions on the scene, video games, and choice meals. Be sure to check out his blog and keep up with this guy because before you know it he will be on ESPN 2 playing poker. Enjoy.

Gil: What’s up Aaron? How is Boston doing right now?
Aaron: To tell you the truth I'm not really sure. It's been a few weeks since I've actually been in the city to hang out or do anything related to the core.

Gil: What's been keeping you in the 'burbs?
Aaron: The recent acquisition of a Nintendo Wii mostly. Plus some of my friends from high school are around for the first time in a while so I've been catching up with them and playing a lot of cards.

Gil: You're a well-liked man around the city, especially in the Hardcore scene. When did you first become involved in Hardcore?
Aaron: Damn, good question. I guess it depends on the definition of "involved." I didn't start going to shows until 6 years ago maybe? But i grew up in Southern California skating and listening to various punk bands when I was in middle school. I probably heard Black Flag for the first time when I was in 6th or 7th grade but it took me a little while to get into the more modern core.

Gil: Which would you say is more important: New kids getting in touch with old bands, or old kids staying interested in new bands?
Aaron: I'm sure people would disagree with me but I think it’s more important for kids to get down with newer bands. There should definitely be a balance, but the currents bands are what are here and now you know? How shitty would it be to go to a show and have a bunch of young dudes saying, "this band sounds like they want to be the Cro-Mags but can't pull it off," instead of having a good time and appreciating what's around now?
Gil: I definitely agree, my friend Sergio who is sitting next to me says "Oh yeah Aaron, straight on! Straight on!"

Gil: How did the nickname Apps originate?
Aaron: Apps started because of my voracious appetite. When I was working at B9, we used to go to this spot Red's. Dudes used to try to get me to eat the largest amount of food possible and I would, and then wash it down with a slice of chocolate thunder cake. Some notable meals are as follows:

The Ribs-This is a plate covered in a rack of ribs. Once you negotiate that layer there are thick helpings of mashed potatoes and corn beneath to do you in.

The Half Chicken/Half Ribs-Same as the first except you get half a rack and half of a chicken.

Chicken Parm lying on a bed of French fries-no explanation necessary. The ribs have also been had on a bed of fries.

I once ordered an omelet made with 6 eggs and filled with steak tips, cheese, and mushrooms.

Gil: You do The Business Journal Fanzine. Would you like to give the readers a little background on this?
Aaron: I don't even know what that is

Gil: Any future plans for The Biz Jurn?
Aaron: Like I said man, I've never even heard of it

Gil: You've also been playing in a new band called Frozen Wave. How is that going?
Aaron: We had one practice and recorded a song into a tape player. I'm pretty happy with it. I don't want it to be a full time job or anything. Our one song sounds like a Foo Fighters b-side which is cool. Hopefully we can get it going again in the upcoming months.

Gil: What is your involvement with the Bridge 9 Records Message Board?
Aaron: HAHA, well I'm more of a lurker now. I post every once in a while if I feel compelled to or especially interested in the topic at hand. What I like to do now is ban people or change their posts to make the board a funnier place to kill some time.

Gil: You have an especially keen relationship with Brandeis University, more so than most non-Deis Bostonites. Why would you say this is?
Aaron: Well, like 4 years ago there used to be this band in California called For The Crown. I met those dudes on a tour they did in SoCal and when Posi #s of ‘03 rolled around they were looking for a place to stay. So basically what ended up happening is these two guys Andrew and Donald came and brought their friend Sofy with them, and they all stayed at my house and we drove to PA together. Fast forward now like 2 years. Sofy goes to Brandeis and we start hanging out regularly. So that's pretty much how I have met everyone at Brandeis, except you. Also, I'm a Jew and we all know each other.

Gil: You and I both love the ladies, in fact, a conversation of ours prompted me to write an article about how to pick up women (entitled How to Pick up Women - coming soon). How would you describe the struggle in Boston?
Aaron: Haha, yeah. The obscure compliment actually isn't even my move. I have to give credit to my boys Justin Garcia and Kyle Knox, who will probably never see this interview, but they are the ones who came up with that (as far as I know) and also "So are we gonna hook up or am I just wasting my time?" As for me, what I like to do is wait until the summer when I am selling semi-offensive t shirts outside of Fenway Park and then make bird noises at girls way out of my league when they pass by. So yeah, I guess "struggle," is actually the perfect way to describe it.
Gil: Don't forget the struggle.
Aaron: Don't forget the streets bordering Fenway Park.

Gil: You're about to embark on the Semester of Gaming. Are you excited?
Aaron: Oh fuck, you have no idea. First of all, I have a Wii. I'm working on Zelda and I have some select Gamecube titles to fuck with also. Then there are the virtual console games, hopefully some old SNES RPGs. I also have a Nintendo DS on the way and Harvest Moon for it, which is my favorite game series ever. On top of this I am going to get a 4.0 GPA.
Gil: Sidenote: My friend John Park, who is sitting right next to me as well, is a big fan of Harvest Moon.
Gil: However, Sergio is not.
Aaron: Sergio wouldn't know a great game if it cast a level 60 spell on him.
Gil: We are all laughing. That's going in the interview.

Gil: As a fellow rookie blogger, what can you say about how has improved your life? I know blogging has brought mass joy and recognition to my life.
Aaron: Shit man, I like my blog a lot. I need to be better about updating it. I like writing about poker hands a lot. Hopefully when I start school again I will have some stories about how stupid everyone I go to school with is.

Gil: Well Aaron, that's all I've got for now. I'm looking forward to seeing you once again next week. Any final thoughts/shoutouts before we part?
Aaron: Shoutouts: Gily F. Baby, Link, The Blue Ocean Strategy, my puppy, Mental, and most importantly Sergio.
Gil: Hell yeah!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

This Is For You Fest 2006 Day #3

The lateness of this post was slightly more than expected due to the quest for batteries for my digital camera, however the pictures are finally loaded and ready to be elaborated upon. It may be 2007, but I think I'm still capable of giving an accurate representation of Day #3 at Florida's best fest - This Is For You Fest.

We woke up tired from the previous night of partying. I was sad to leave the Chris Tharp HQ as it had been so good to me the previous days. We thanked Mrs. Tharp for letting us into her home and said our goodbyes to the faulty shower and nail impression that sits on his coffee table.

This is Kim Kuhn. She takes awesome photos and is always taking pictures of bands. A lot of people complain about the amount of time it takes for her to post pictures on the internet, I'm one of these people (however most of the time it is in jest). Check out her photos here. Oh, and Kim has a fancy fan as shown. How fancy is that?

Expired Youth played. These guys drove from Chicago just to play the fest and left right after. That's fucking dedication. Their singer wore an awesome Straight Ahead longsleeve, I was impressed. Definitely best shirt of the day, if not the fest (stiff competition from a Biohazard tour shirt). I picked up their 7" on Think Fast Records and it definitely does not dissapoint. Check these guys out and go see them as soon as you can because word on the streets is that they won't be around for much longer.

Here's Chris Tharp eating another PB+J. He won MVP of Day #3 not only because of how often he ate this sandwhich, but just overall by being one of my favorite kids, being the only guy in Daytona who likes clothes, loves Years From Now and Crime In Stereo, is my long lost brother, and is hilarious. Our boy Clay accidentally knocked over a YFN CD while attempting to say goodbye to people and Chris screamed at him "Go already! Just go! Leave!" It was spectacular.

Newest addition to the LIS Fanzine Crew

We concluded the day by going back to the Chinese buffet. It was even better the second time. This time we got one huge table.

Noteworthy bands

Expired Youth (Youth Crew from Chicago done extremely well)
Foundation (ATL mid-90s style Hardcore go buy the demo it rips)
Years From Now (It is no mystery that I love this band and that I love these guys. Go buy the full length CD out now and find out how much you've been missing.)
Make or Break (Orlando old school style HC)

Day #3 was really all about being tired and sore from the previous days, checking out new bands, going off for your friends' bands, and saying goodbye to the kids you had so much fun with. With those things considered, and despite Iron Age and Iron Boots cancelling, it was a success.

My pickups from the fest

Years From Now Daytona Seal Shirt
Cro-Mags Overpower Overcome Shirt
Expired Youth "Where We Stand" 7"
Better Than A Thousand "Self Worth" 7"
Years From Now "We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat" CD
Foundation Demo
Shelter Demo
Permanent Teaser
Meantime Demo

Check in soon for an interview with Aaron Bloomfield.

While I typed this up I listened to Token Entry, Turning Point, and Straight Ahead. You should do that as well.