Welcome to the Good Life

Like a lot of people, I like to listen to music when I’m working on assignments and doing homework. Even as I type this I have some David Bowie playing in the background.

Some like to listen to music to have something on in the background as they can find the silence distracting, which I can totally relate to. There is nothing more annoying than that high pitched ringing sound you hear when it is completely quiet. Being able to hear my house move and settle in the middle of the night is beyond annoying, edging on the terrifyingly scary side of the sound spectrum.

Headphones in, scary house sounds out

I’ve heard people say that music keeps them focused when writing a paper. I guess if you try to sync the beat or rhythm of a song with how fast you type you tend to write more fluidly. If you subscribe to this method of music-while-you-write than trying to avoid those long and slow songs is a must. If you are unsure as to what song could fall under the category of being too slow and too long just think about songs that you wouldn’t want to slow dance to in the seventh grade because you’re stuck with the boy or girl who hasn’t discovered deodorant yet. Those types of songs.

At the risk of sounding pretentious, I tend to listen to music that will inspire my writing… but not necessarily in the way you’re thinking. I listen to the lyrics of songs and pick and choose lines that I can use to title my essays. Surprisingly, there is one artist in particular that has provided me with quite a lot of titles for my essays in English, History and even my Education courses. This artist is one Mr. Kanye West.

Stay humble, Kanye.

Now before you start to judge me on my musical tastes, hear me out. Mr. West is a great lyricist and has a tendency to be rather political in his songs. He uses similes, metaphors, alliteration and other literary terms your twelfth grade English teacher made you memorize, which makes him a prime candidate for titular inspiration.

For example, in my second year English literature course I chose to write an essay on Beowulf, opting to title it “To Whom Much is Given Much is Tested: an Analysis of Heroism within Beowulf”, the first part of the title taken from Kanye’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing. I was inspired by another line in the same song for a paper later on in the year entitled “They Say I Talk With So Much Emphasis, They’re So Sensitive: an in-depth look at the use of satire within Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal”. Great stuff from Mr. West on that one, it’s almost too perfect. I like to imagine that these works of English literature inspired Kanye to write those lines, and my use of them is a sort of Lion King-esque circle of life situation.

What I hope Kanye would think of me using his lyrics

Granted, a lot of Kanye’s lines are NSFW (Not Safe For Writing), but if you dig hard enough you might strike gold. The best part about this in my opinion is when my professors compliment me on my creative title. One professor, within a span of one lecture, talked about how much she hates Kanye (pronounced by her as “Kane”) because he is so egotistical and then handed me back a paper with a Kanye West lyric as the title circled with red pen and a comment complimenting me on the title. Kanye would probably get a kick out of that. Then he would maybe rant about it and talk about how much of a genius he is and take credit for my paper. You win some, you lose some.

When I’m scrolling through Kanye lyrics and I find the perfect one to use

Everyone has their own way of writing essays and mine just happens to be Kanye West inspired. It keeps me from stressing out in a way because it allows me to have fun with an essay I may have no interest in. I really want a prof to catch on and ask me if it’s a Kanye lyric. Even more so, I want to respond by saying I have no idea what they’re talking about, and then hum Bound 2 on my way out the class. A man can dream.

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Detours and Destinations

Although I may proclaim to be quite skilled in the art of commuting, I do tend to get lost more often than I should but I promise that it is often not my fault. I take all the necessary precautions whenever I decide to travel from the far corners of Richmond Hill. I consult Google Maps to tell me when I should leave and what buses to take, I make sure I have my handy dandy Presto card and TTC tokens on deck, I make sure my phone is charged (as garbage as the battery is), and I make sure to give myself plenty of time to spare. How do I still manage to get lost? I talk.

Whenever I start to talk to people on public transit…

No matter who I am with, or where I am going I always end up engaging in a conversation with someone I don’t know. Just last week I was taking my girlfriend out to a French restaurant called ‘Batifole’ on Gerrard, when we sat across from an elderly man on the 506 streetcar. Within a minute of sitting down, we were in a conversation about the Toronto mayoral election and how the planned construction to extend the TTC was never going to happen. It may have been due to this man’s negative opinion on the TTC expansion which breaks my little York Region heart, or I might have not heard the automated TTC voice announce the stop for Degrassi, but either way we ended up missing our stop and being late for our reservation.

When I realize we’ve missed our stop

We ended up getting off 7 stops further than we planned, but quickly hopped on the next streetcar headed the other way to get to the restaurant and try to get a table. After a quick and light hearted scolding by the maître d we were able to sit at a table in the corner of the restaurant. Better than nothing, right? I mean, we were going to have delicious French food, share a nice bottle of wine and enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant with its intimate setting, candlelit tables and… fishnet leg lamp from A Christmas Story? What.

Must be Italian.

It turns out that this restaurant, before it started serving delicious French food, was a Chinese Restaurant used as the setting of the famous duck scene from the movie. If it hadn’t been for the man on the TTC, we would not have been sat at this table and probably wouldn’t have noticed the lamp in the corner, but now we learned a little bit of Toronto film history. More importantly we now  have a fun fact to bore our friends to death with. Double win.

Even though I may preach about finding ways to make time pass by quicker on my commute, sometimes getting lost along the way makes you arrive at a greater destination. Or you could just be lost on a cold night with no more buses for another hour. It’s something like 50/50.