Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My favorite hip-hop artist of all-time is Nas. After seeing him for the fifth time total and second with Damien Marley at Syracuse last weekend, I began my monthly Nas music binge. The depth of his music surprises me every time I listen to his music. Aside from all of that I came across this gem of a video:

Unfortunately, it seems that mainstream hip-hop is already being diluted by clowns parading as “artists”. For some reason, a monotonous flow and bad lyrics can be overlooked by cash and clothing (Lookin’ at you Drake).

Just looking at the top 10 on the Billboard’s top 100 for Hip-Hop, http://www.billboard.com/charts/r-b-hip-hop-songs#/charts/r-b-hip-hop-songs , I came across the only actual rappers being Lil Wayne, Kanye West, And Wiz Khalifa.

“6 Foot 7 Foot” by Lil Wayne is alright. The most notable line from that song is “paper chasing, tell that paper, “Look, I’m right behind ya//bitch, real G’s move in silence like lasagna.” The rest of the lyrics are just annoying to be honest. There seems to be no substance except in the fluidity of the way it sounds/flows. That is a skill unto itself and Lil Wayne excels at that empirically derived from his record sales of songs that offer no lyrical substance. I have not heard enough of Cory Gunz’s other work to judge, so I’ll just leave his verse be.

“All of the Lights” by Kanye West is a pretty good song but not traditional hip-hop. It’s more of a pop song to be truthful. Kanye West is an amazing producer, no doubt. He’s a great musician overall but his rapping is a far cry from his initial albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration. In my opinion, he seemed to have shifted his primary focus from rapping back to what he was fantastic at, producing and making music. You can see the transition in Graduation. 

“Roll Up” by Wiz Khalifa is okay. I’m not the biggest Wiz fan but I respect his music and style. I like this song, it’s catchy and pleasant.

I grew up listening to Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan. A couple of months ago I finally listened to Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt and that was straight fire. Throw in random phases of Big L (RIP) along with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Redman and one of my favorites Papoose, I feel I have been exposed to some high quality hip-hop. I remember listening to Nas’ “One Mic” the first time on MTV and I was blown away. I delved deeper in his music due to mainstream exposure and found greatness. If it was not for this exposure then I do not know if I would have ever found Nas or hip-hop in general. Being a first generation American from Pakistan, mainstream media and friends were all I had in my assimilation to American culture. It greatly pains me that people nowadays will not have that type of exposure to great music. They do not have the opportunity to listen to greats right now unless it is watered down and catchy for the public. Jay-Z’s evolution (or de-evolution, depending on who you talk to) is a prime example. His career should be the subject of the Dave Chappelle’s “When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong” skit.

Anyway, what keeps me afloat nowadays are artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi and J.Cole. For the love of all that you value, if you have not heard any of J.Cole’s mixtapes then immediately go here, http://www.datpiff.com/J-Cole-Friday-Night-Lights-mixtape.168650.html and download Friday Night Lights. 

Here’s a sample, “Farewell”:

Peace!

Advertisements

I was 16 and my family had just finished moving from a bustling city to a secluded, affluent town surrounded by trees in the summer. An actual law in this town is that a residence must occupy at least 2 acres of land. Ergo, our closest neighbor is about a 10 minute walk away. Coupled with the fact that our drive was now a legitimate 5 minute drive from mailbox to the actual house, it was eery.

The move went well and smoothly. However, during the move I found this plastic ball the size of a basketball. It was half white and half a light hue of violet with the colors intertwining throughout the circumference of the middle. During some downtime between moving and unpacking, I always tried to get my dog, a cock-a-pooh named Krispay, to play with the ball. She’s a small inquisitive dog that always took on the maternal air of responsibility with my younger sister and I.

Krispay just hanging out

My intention was to merely add this violet/white ball to her assortment of toys. But as with every toy we introduced to her, we had to “break it in”. For some reason, she refused to play with it. I attributed it to her stubbornness or preference for her tug-o-war rope or squishy squid ball. Figuring Krispay would eventually come around to it, I put it in my room.

Size of plastic ball

The following three days Krispay  staying in my room for an extended period of time throughout the day. I even began bringing food up to my room for her. She wouldn’t budge to come downstairs, even for food. It is odd because one of her favorite past times was to sit on her doggie couch in the living room with my family. Her gregarious and propensity for human affection made alone time foreign and even undesirable to her. Anyway, the move was finally done as my sister, parents and I were just systematically unpacking dining room boxes downstairs. Krispay had been lollygagging around upstairs and we figured she was just acclimating herself to the new house, especially my room. I went upstairs to check on her as it was increasingly disturbing that she wasn’t attempting to jump in and out of any boxes as we unpacked. I found her lying down in my room intently watching the lightly colored plastic ball I had found during our move. She was finally coming around to liking the ball I decided.

I began advancing towards the ball when all of a sudden Krispay began growling at me. A soft yet vibrant growl resonated from my tiny dog. I halted my advance towards the plastic balls and left the room. I chalked it up to Krispay’s own little doggie process of initiating this ball to her toy collection, who knows. I finished helping my family unpack and returned to my room to sleep after two hours. Krispay was still in the same position with her gaze intently on the plastic ball. I began chuckling at how silly this doggie ritual of integrating a new toy was as I drifted off to sleep.

That night I had a vivid dream and to be honest the only thing I can remember was just a heightened sense of urgency. An echo of foreboding seeped into my immediate concerns as I recall waking up in the middle of the night to my dog wildly barking. I don’t know if it was the fear or the sound of Krispay barking that awakened me. As I got out of my bed, I saw Krispay now growling at the plastic ball, again. Only this time it was vacillating from left to right in akin to a rhythmic beat. Probably a draft of wind from my windows I thought at the time. I closed the one window that was slightly ajar. Still growling at this lightly colored plastic ball, I walked over to the ball to show Krispay it was just the wind. The moment I started to walk over, Krispay began barking rapidly, a panicked pleading if you will. I’m sure every dog owner knows when their dog begins barking with high-pitched screeches lightly littered in between wails. She was scared but I stopped the ball from moving with my foot. I picked Krispay up and put her on my bed to sleep.

The next night, I remember waking up again with that sudden weird feeling of fear. It was odd in that I was afraid but of nothing. It was as if my brain was foreshadowing something and my primitive instincts of fight or flight were kicking in. Again, Krispay was barking at that same damn ball and it was vacillating back and forth again. I got up to close my windows but to my dismay and shock they were shut. Now I got scared and decided to pick Krispay up and run to my parents room. My mom got up and laughed at me, a grown 16-year-old dude who was due at football summer session in a few hours holding a cock-a-pooh telling her he was afraid of a plastic ball. I slept downstairs for the rest of the night.

The next day after I practice I remember just being tired from being woken up the night before. Fuck it, I was going to throw that ball out and be done with it. I got home, picked up the ball and went to my car. Krispay tagged along but sat in my lap while I drove. The plastic ball was in the passenger seat much to Krispay’s chagrin. We drove out of my driveway and a few minutes along the road to town. I chucked the ball out the window into the street where it rolled onto the side of the road. Krispay reclaimed her natural spot in the passenger seat and we both just felt a little lighter. It was oddly relieving but I think I was just glad to be able to sleep that night.

The next day I came home from practice around 5pm. Lo and behold, that same fucking plastic ball was in the living room. And Krispay had resumed her watchful position on the ball. I didn’t really know how to audibly respond at the time save for the “What the fuck?”. I asked my sister where that ball came from and she said my father and her had found it on the way home from the grocery store. They figured it would be a good toy for Krispay. Speechless, I wondered why the hell they thought it would be a good idea to pick up a plastic ball from the middle of the street and bring it home. Aside from the fact that this ball was the bane of my existence for the past couple of nights, I was fed up with this whole ordeal. I took the plastic ball out to our patio and just straight punted it into the surrounding woods.

Krispay and I were fine for the next couple of days. Her behavior changed dramatically and she returned to her once awesome ways of being a carefree dog.

Happy Krispay

The weekend had come and I went out with friends on a Saturday night. I came home around 2-3 AM and pulled into my driveway. I remember putting the key code for my garage door when a lightly circular object gently entered my peripheral vision. I turned around as the garage was opening and it was the same ball gently rolling. At this point I was just angry that I was being coerced into feeling fear because of a plastic ball. I ran inside, got a knife from the kitchen and came back outside. I popped the ball and put it in the trash.

Looking back at it now, it was a ridiculous set of coincidences involving a plastic ball. I was never more freaked out in my life than that time. But I’ll tell you one thing, I am probably one of the few people who has smiled at the decline of big plastic balls in supermarkets everywhere. Fuck that shit.

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

When I first heard the news last night, my initial reaction was not happiness or anger. Truthfully, I was indifferent. Indifference is a type of emotion that evokes no emotion. To me Osama’s death does not matter. He was a sickly man needing constant kidney dialysis.

The estimated cost of the war in Iraq is $806,000,000,000+ (1). The estimated cost of the war in Afghanistan is $444,000,000,000+ (1). A combined $1,250,000,000,000 was spent finding one man as we were lead to believe. Over 7,100 coalition deaths incurred with 2,441 deaths in  Afghanistan and 4,770 in Iraq (2,3). So let me get this straight, 3,000 of our own were murdered on 9/11 and then we go on to kill an estimated 140,000 civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan combined (4,5)?

I liken the United States to a bully in an elementary school playground. A bully will bother other people who are just minding their own business. Push a person down or cause general mischief at the expense of others, you know the usual. Remember when we would see a bully focus his efforts on one person? The bully would do anything to get their hands on that one individual who kept inciting them but always got away. The bully would run after this one individual only to be eluded by the one individual’s ability to climb trees or get away in some other manner. The one individual would pelt rocks at the bully repeatedly till the bully found a way up the tree. To which the one individual would jump down and start the chase all over again. This back and forth would continue for a while. The bully would get increasingly frustrated and start sacrificing his own well being in an effort to catch that one individual who agitated him the most. The bully will get angry, kicking his own toys or dirtying his own clothes in the process.The reckless abandon we see in these exchanges by mere children is unfathomable to adults. Or is it?

There are always at least two sides to a story. This fundamental truth we often forget and as a people, we have succumbed to being force fed what the government has told us. What if the war on terror was Osama’s war of attrition against us? You could liken Osama as the one individual who incited the bully, the U.S. Except his plan was was just to perpetuate the chase and allow the U.S. to destroy himself. The United States in his reckless abandon, destroyed his economy through deficit spending, infringement on constitutional rights through the unlawful TSA searches and the recently renewed Patriot Act and finally the war on unions.

So today the bully finally caught that one elusive individual. But at what cost to himself? Looking at our current affairs, I can confidently say that Osama has won the war of attrition. How do you think Russia collapsed?

You say Osama is dead. I say, so what?

Bibliography:

1- http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf

2-http://icasualties.org/OEF/index.aspx

3-http://icasualties.org/Iraq/index.aspx

4-List of links on civilian deaths:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/aug/10/afghanistan-civilian-casualties-statistics

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/may/20/afghanistan.comment

http://www.matrixmasters.com/world/america/afghanistan/warafghanistan%20home.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16883222/

5-http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/numbers/warlogs/

Hello world!

Posted: 04/30/2011 in Uncategorized

Ah, Hello World! is the default title. I encountered that phrase a couple of weeks ago as I finished one of the first tutorials in this Python begineer’s guide, http://inventwithpython.com/chapters/. I’m starting to learn Python for two reasons. 1. It adds versatility and opens your career opportunities. 2. I am interested in one day making a “Roguelike” game. A roguelike is a sub-genre of  role-playing video games. In it you assume the identity of a character you make and attempt to take on randomly generated worlds. It goes into detail and planning as it is turn-based movement. You navigate randomly and sort of create your own story dictated on your actions.

It is interesting because you could dictate the outcome of game events and experience it from your perspective. For instance, you can cause trouble in a town or help out local villagers through quests. A good example of what it could entail are the numerous amount of places you could go exploring in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. They were not random but the decision of a casual player versus a complete gamer was important. You could go through the game’s main storyline and have fun. Then after that, you ‘beat’ the main objective of the game. But you haven’t even touched on the “complete” object of the game, the experience the developers invite you to have. A complete gamer would explore out into the woods. I remember looking up what people found in addition to my own exploring. For example, Umbra’s miniquest was great but it was not required to beat the game.

I feel as if Bestheda said to us, “Here’s a game world we made, we created. We want you guys to play it but there here’s a storyline we setup as it provides how we see our game world’s storyline. Then we’ve provided an abundant amount of side events that you could engage in, make your own story.” It was great. It provided a great experience with excellent graphics. A different type of graphics engine is ASCII, on which many roguelike games are based off of. These type of games are a sub-genre of a sub-genre to say the least. For example, I am currently playing Tales of Maj’Eyal and T-Engine4. The engine they utilized is often referenced in its colloquial term, ToME 4. It’s pretty fun, I made a sword and board fighter on the the normal difficulty. I could be resurrected a limited number of times for free instead of having to find an ingame item that grants the same function. I made use of that free resurrect twice and have gotten frustrated. I would stop playing and then play again at another time. The experience of making these decisions offers a new view on how to play games.

The first reason I did not touch on was opening my career opportunities. It gives me some functional versatility in the workplace. I currently looking into jobs pertaining conservation policy and campaigning. I know any potential company I work at will welcome opportunities to streamline and make information more available basic functions to the public. With computers now considered the primary medium for news, advocacy groups are not heard from enough. There are some commercials but truthfully, the issues need to be spoken more about. A majority of people do not know the plethora of conservation and green issues that we face. We need to make decisions everyday as a society. With my enhanced ability to inform more people what is going on, I will be happy. Knowledge is power, France is bacon.

Hence, all of this has gotten me acquainted with the phrase, Hello World!. In honor of the humble phrase, I think it is just proper to say for the first post, Hello World!