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Tag Archives: vinyl

20 People Who Accomplished More Than Me Before They Were 20

9 Nov

This cupcake symbolizes the defeat of teenage pregnancy

So this weekend I turned 20. The celebration was excellent, and the weekend was replete with friends, family, Lupe Fiasco, inexplicable football victories, a seemingly insurmountable stockpile of baked goods, and innumerable abuses of new Sherman Ave writers-to-be. But at some point during the frivolities, somewhere in between heinifying the Shakespeare Gardens and shouting Taylor Martinez-related obscenities on the El, I was struck by the realization that I had suddenly graduated from being merely a teenager into the vaunted world of the 20-something.

Now, I’d like to think that I fit into the 20-something club quite nicely. I publish self-indulgent blog posts, live in dire fear of missing a party, and am woefully unemployed. I vote Democrat and laugh at the word “clitoromegaly.” I buy records on vinyl, wear flannel, and spend an obscene proportion of my income at either BK or EV1, which suits me just fine. I fervently and irrationally believe that Steve Kerr was one of the most important guards in NBA history, and will be a drain on society in general for the next five years or so. Needless to say, I play a good deal of Sporcle and Civilization IV.

This 20-something is a Starbucks barista and staff writer for Thought Catalog

Besides being a great excuse to drink Andre and treat my friends as dutiful subjects to the Birthday Boy for a day, turning 20 is also a good milestone to size up the accomplishments and failures of my life. Even if I never played first base for the White Sox or fronted a touring rock n roll band, I’d like to think I’ve accomplished a fair deal, including roadtripping to LA and founding the most atrocious blog known to the greater Chicagoland area. But no matter what I’ve done, here are the 20 people who accomplished so much more than I could ever dream of before they were even able to legally drink in Japan.

1. Beyoncé’s Unborn Baby
That fetus was still only 5 months old when it garnered 8,868 tweets a minute at the MTV Music Video Awards. To be honest, the only time I can ever hope to gain that much recognition in social media is if Ross Packingham mentions me in one of his status updates. The progeny of Ms. Knowles and Mr. Z will almost certainly emerge from the womb with more talent, beauty, and hedge fund investments than five generations of Rees’ will be able to amass. If this kid doesn’t have a hit single by the time she’s 7, Amy Winehouse will turn over in her grave.

Jesus getting hammered, like a proper 20-something

2. Jesus
Although by the time he was 20 the God the Son incarnated hadn’t quite gotten around to teaching the word of God, performing miracles, or founding the Church, he was at least gainfully employed, which is much better than I can say for myself. You can rest assured that the Messiah was a really fucking good carpenter, as evidenced by his prominent position on Wikipedia’s “Notable Carpenters” list.

3. Harry Potter
Defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Check. Graduate school? Check. Bang a butterface ginger? Check. The kid did it all, which is even more impressive considering that he never once succumbed to the distraction of working alongside Emma Watson.

I'm going to grow up to do WHAT???

4. Michael Jackson
Despite being born in the eternal hellhole of Gary, Indiana, MJ quickly rose to prominence. At the age of eight, a time when I was mostly concerned about training my Bulbasaur and watching The Bachelor when my Mom wasn’t home, the kid was opening for stripteases with the Jackson 5. If the vocal talent wasn’t enough, he also sported the greatest afro any prepubescent boy ever possessed.

5. Koko the Gorilla
It took me nearly two years to master elementary Spanish, but this adorable ape mastered American Sign Language and English in a few short years. She also had a kitten, and apparently assaulted more women than Herman Cain, both of which prove her superiority to me.

Morty as a child

6. Morton “Morty” Owen Schapiro
The man could grow a full grown beard in first grade in the same time it took me to read a page of Good Night Moon. But for a more complete examination of his exploits in the early years of this man’s life, I suggest you reference Chloe Woodhouse’s expose on the legend himself.

7. Macaulay Culkin
This kid was uglier than what I imagine Steve Buscemi to have looked like as a child, and yet he was still fucking boss. Not only did he single-handedly defeat Joe Pesci in the highest grossing comedy of all time, he also got to live the life of the richest boy in the world as the son of the founder of Rich Industries. The icing on the cake: Mila Kunis.

She also accomplished scaring the living shit out of me as a child

8. Matilda
So smart she could develop telekinetic abilities with the unused part of her brain, she was able to defeat Miss Trunchbull and form a happy, loving family with Miss Honey all before graduating elementary school. Although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive her for the nightmares I suffered after watching the chokey scene.

9. Willow Smith
This video has over 64 million views. The most popular video I ever starred in was of me doing the “Single Ladies” dance in my senior year econ class. Either there’s something wrong with America, or I just got my ass handed to me by a 10-year-old. Or both.

He also managed to get arrested before me.

10. Bill Gates
By the end of sophomore year, the nerd had set a record for the fastest algorithm produced in his Harvard combinatorics class that stood for 30 years. Then he founded Microsoft. By the end of my sophomore year, I intend to have decided upon a concentration and get Sherman Ave to generate enough revenue to pay for beer.

11. Jane Austen
The woman had written most of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice before she turned 20. Not that I really care about the morals, scandals, and marriages of the early 19th Century landed gentry of England, but I’d just about die if Colin Firth ever portrayed one of my characters. Just saying, he’d make a great Sir Edward Twattingworth III.

12. Peter the Great
Dude was 10 when he became Tsar. During his reign he transformed Russia from a freezing, backward, and destitute rural society into a 5,000,000-square-mile freezing, backward, and destitute society. All while suffering from epilepsy.

Despite a lack of physical presence, he still dominated in the paint.

13. Air Bud
That golden retriever probably scored more points in one season than I did in my entire rec league basketball career. Second only to Michael Jordan’s role in Space Jam for convincing kids that they were better than basketball than they actually were, the only downside of Air Bud was the experience of overwhelming disappointment when you own dog couldn’t drain a three-pointer.

14. Lindsay Lohan
Herbie: Fully Loaded aside, The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Mean Girls are some of the greatest acting performances I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’m pretty sure most guys my age have harbored a life-long crush on her ever since she valiantly challenged herself to a fencing match.

15. Michelangelo
Probably one of the best artists in Florence by the age of 14. No big deal.

16. Eliàn Gonzàlez
Not only did Gonzàlez cross from Cuba into American waters in an aluminum boat with a faulty motor, he also survived a sea storm while floating on nothing more than an inner tube. He also accomplished more in politics than any MTV Rock the Vote campaign ever has, quite possibly costing Al Gore the 2000 presidential election.

17. Madeline
The girl got her appendix removed and acted like it was no big deal. She also survived a fall off a bridge into the Seine River and ran away to join a group of traveling gypsies before she learned long division. That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.

18. Beethoven
Sure, as a child his father made young Ludwig stand at they keyboard until he cried. But it all worked out, right? He was seven at the time of his first public performance, and was publishing original compositions before most kids his age had mastered the art of five-paragraph essays.

Adorable

19 and 20 (tie). Eng Seng Ng and Cheng Yen Ng
Eng Seng Ng is a 19-year-old grad student at Stanford. Most people that age are busy playing National Treasure drinking games and sleeping through 11:00 am discussion sections, not completing their master’s in mechanical engineering at the top school in the country. Ng’s sister Chenny is just as amazing. The renowned master of the Hoedown Throwdown, Chenny is also an internationally-acclaimed practitioner of all things heinous, not to mention the most adorable member of Sherman Ave.

Honorable Mentions:
Adele, Kain Colter, Sasha Obama, George Harrison, LeBron James, Achilles, and Charlie Young.

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Album Review: Extreme Measures’ “Extremities”

6 Sep

It's rumored that Sherman Ave's own Ross Packingham was the leg model for the album cover

Some say that Radiohead’s Kid A was the most important album of a generation. Other music aficionados declare that the Beatles were the best band or that Sam Cooke was the best singer modern music ever saw. These debates have raged for years and will continue far into the future, but nobody doubts that all of the aforementioned artists look and sound like tone-deaf taintfaced 12-year-olds playing “Louie, Louie” at a midday suburban block party when compared to the debut album Extremities by the renowned a cappella group Extreme Measures.

Founded four years ago by Dan de la Torre, Extreme Measures follows in a long line of successful, talented, and unbelievably peppy a cappella groups here in Evanston ever since the Northwestern University School of Music dean Peter “That dude who won’t stop belting Journey covers in Burger King at 1 am each Saturday” Lutkin popularized a cappella in America with the founding of the A Cappella Choir in 1906. Extremities is the exquisitely angelic culmination of a year of recording by the group (with production by Ben Lieberman), and is the greatest thing that my ears have had the good fortune to hear since “Born to Run” on vinyl. Featuring covers of acclaimed artists like OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, Yellowcard, Christina Aguilera, and the Backstreet Boys, Extremities has the power to transport you to a wondrously magical time in your life — right around 6th grade — and keep you there until the album finally ends, an experience you won’t soon forget.

The enchantment starts right from the beginning.

There are certain moments that occur right at the opening of truly great music: the rimshot before Dylan launches into “Like a Rolling Stone;” the riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that channeled every conceivable emotion of a generation; and that moment when the beat finally drops in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony all immediately come to mind. But the opening line of Extremities, a cover of Yellowcard’s “Breathing,” is so stunning that it immediately warrants consideration as one of the best album-openers of all time. In the first few bars, Extreme Measures already establish themselves as the most illustrious a cappella group in America since four insufferable pricks from Yale first donned tuxedos and formed the Whiffenpoofs — who incidentally only have the second-most obnoxious name among a cappella groups at Yale.

But what makes this album so bewitchingly radiant is the caliber of the rest of the tracks furnished by Extreme Measures. Stunning and sublime songs like “Brand New You,” “I Don’t Want to Be,” and “The Call” all exhibit more pop sensibilities than if Hall & Oates got together with Huey Lewis to cover Rihanna’s discography. Each of the ten songs are probably catchier than the hypothetical musical lovechild of Michael Jackson and Will Schuester, and any random song you select will display more technical virtuosity in a three-minute auditory frenzy of delightful harmonies and resplendent melodies than John Coltrane could ever hope to produce in an entire gig. The vocal percussion is ravishing, production on the album is supurb, and the vocals mesh in only the most tantalizingly mesmeric combinations that make your heart (and groin) go pitter-patter.

Clearly, upon my first listen of Extremities I experienced a slight tingle in a particular extremity of my own. But multiple listens of the album can prove invaluable, providing a deeper sense of the true meanings behind Extreme Measures chipper vocals. In “The Voice Within,” for instance, the line “dum dum dmmmmmmm da da” subtly hints at a hidden darkness lurking in the hearts of man, which we all feebly try to cover up by surrounding ourselves with material goods and unsubstantial romance, while in “Ignorance” the interplay between lyrics about how much Hayley Williams likes change and more incomprehensible lines like “sjaw dot du chaut jot sjaw dot du chaut jot” evoke the inner turmoil that can arise in your soul when former loved ones start treating you like a stranger.

When the album comes to a close with “Sound of Silence,” you will probably be left with only your thoughts about the astounding beauty you just experience and a pool of your own urine — an unfortunate side-effect of aural pleasure as powerful as that produced by Extremities. Luckily, this predicament can easily be cured by purchasing more copies of the album. Scientific studies have already determined that owning a copy of Extreme Measures’ Extremities will make you five times cooler, six times more intelligent, and last at least 12.78 minutes longer in bed.

OVERALL RATING: Drip drip drop there goes an eargasm

Extremities by Extreme Measures can be purchased from iTunes HERE.

Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Making Friends

4 Sep

I see 2,000 future friends

One of the best aspects of the college experience is how many fascinating people you meet and subsequently engage in raucous shenanigans with. A good collection of bffles can be an essential asset in all of the tasks that you will face during your freshman year, from drunkenly yelling at buoys in Lake Michigan to figuring out how to torrent The Lion King 1 1/2 without getting caught.

At first, making friends with complete strangers in a strange, strange land replete with fraternities, an all-night Burger King, and theater students can seem like a frightening challenge. But that’s no cause for alarm. Everybody is in the same boat as you, and upon completion of your freshman year you will be astounded by how many cool friends you have made and how many mysterious names still remain in your phone’s contacts — the forgotten identities of all your over-eager peers who decided to try and befriend you due to your proximity to one another at March through the Arch. Just remember that friendships grow organically and cannot be forced, unless, of course, you follow our sage wisdom on how to meet new friends.

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