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Thursday, February 24, 2011

American Idol's James Durbin.

---Hey guys, I'm doing an opinion article today, so I know a bunch of you won't be completely interested in it but it's something I've been following for a while. I love American Idol, I've watched it since I was a kid and now it's a tradition to watch every season. This one is by far one of the best, the judges are great, the show is just top notch and there are SO many good singers. Well if you follow this season at all, hope you enjoy the article.---

Throughout American Idol's season 11, one contestant has truly shined for me: James Durbin, from the San Francisco auditions. His first impression was great for me. He has a grunge style, wearing a bandanna out of his back pocket, often black vests, and fingerless gloves. I had no idea what to expect, but my first impression left me in a state of amazement. He starts out softly, and his vibrato rings beautifully. Then it happens. He lets out this scream, and my first thought is "Another Adam Lambert?" He carries this note out and ends the song perfectly, and I'm just stunned. I looked at my friend who was sitting next to me, pointed at the screen and said "Him. He's going to win."

James Durbin is a fantastic singer, there is no doubt whatsoever about that, he's proved himself time and time again on the stage, and his last solo before the judges blew everyone away. His screams are not only passion filled and heartwrenching, but they are in tune, which takes ridiculous amounts of pure skill. On the emotional side, I think he's a little overwhelmed, but it can be understood. His father died while he was younger, and he's living on low income with his fiance and their child. It doesn't impact his performance, but you can definitely see it in the interviews. There are a few controversies I've seen so far that I really must express my opinion on, though.

Is James Durbin copying Adam Lambert? I've been hearing dozens of people say "How dare you compare him to Adam?", or "This guy is no Adam Lambert, he should be kicked off." And the latter is correct, he ISN'T Adam Lambert. He's James Durbin. It's obvious Adam is a role model for him, he mentions him in one of his interviews, but they are drastically different. Their singing in general is. While Adam can reach notes that are extremely high, James establishes himself in a low, growly tone at times. Adam is gay, and while this might make some of you think I'm being offensive, I'm not: he SOUNDS that way at times. It's part of who he is, and it resonates in his singing, which is why his higher notes and screams reach their way into people. James' screams, however, are just slightly different.. It's hard to tell for normal ears, but he uses NO falsetto, those are his lungs purely pushing out those notes. Adam Lambert is amazing, yes, but stop comparing the two. They are different people, and while they may both scream, they most definitely specialize in different vocals.

The second "issue" I'd like to address is his background. People tend to compare sob stories to see which is "better", or whoever's life is worse. This is just sick. Does it really mater who has gone through more pain and obstacles? In the end it's a singing competition, and those that cannot sing will not make the cut. James has been through a lot, and he is a fantastic singer, so he is being compared to others, who they say he will have to "compete" against. I really believe that the true idiocy of America is starting to show with all these ridiculous comments. No one really cares who had it worse, they watch to see people sing, and see them do it well.

While I am defending James Durbin heavily, I want people to realize there is a bigger picture than just Durbin vs. Lambert, or if James' story is sad enough for us all. There is a genuinely good person and singer up there, giving his heart, soul, and very well his life to compete in front of us and win. I'm not afraid to pull out the "You couldn't do that" argument, because you COULDN'T. It takes a lot to get on a stage, yet alone scream with all your breath in the correct tone. So stop the hate, and look at the person he is, not others he is not. If you genuinely dislike his voice, or his singing, then fine. But don't bring someone down and announce it to everyone (including him), just because you happen to think someone else is better.

---Comment about what you think below, if you agree or disagree, or what you think about the show. I must admit I was a bit late today because I had a concert to play, but I should be fine for tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and please tell me if you like my editorial articles!---

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lifehacks #1 (1-5): Some easy ways to make extra money.

---Hey guys, today I'm going to give a few personal tips to make money easily, or save it. They are relatively easy and I recommend all of you to give them a try!---

5 tips that will help you make or save money:

1: Ebay. 
Find some extra stuff you have laying around that you don't want and is worth a few bucks, could be furniture, cards, parts, anything useful that would sell. Make an ebay account and put it on up for auction! Make sure you search up the item you're selling first so you can get a sale by undercutting others and price your item fairly. If you have extra stuff and a little extra time, this is a great way to make some more cash.

2: Collect your change.
Don't tell me, you're asking "How does this make you some REAL extra cash?" Well let me tell you something, I went around my house and looked for quarters. I searched in my wallet, in jars, around the furniture and on the counters. I found TWENTY DOLLARS. Now take ALL the change from all the money you spend, put it in a jar. This will add up fast, I've been doing this for the past month and I've saved almost $100 bucks already. 

3: Invest in stocks. 
This is a FANTASTIC way to make money. Research in companies you like, or companies that make the products you use. Watch the market trend and wait for a low price, then buy it and wait. Not only is buying multiple stocks and creating a portfolio a fantastic way to store your money, it also can help you earn money easily. While it is a bit of a luck game, if you spread your funds evenly you will almost always earn money, and  definitely stay even with what you invested. A good example is I bought ATVI (Activision Blizzard) when it was priced at $10.71, then sold it at $12.54. I made 200 bucks easy, just by watching the market. 

4: Tutor or teach.
Chances are you are good at SOMETHING. If you're in school, it could be math, science, history, any subject. Maybe you're an athlete and can help people with working out or improving their health. Do you play an instrument? Visit Elementary or Middle Schools and give students a free lesson, then see if they would like private lessons. You can make 30 bucks an hour and easily more doing this. Definitely a great way to make money. 

5: Don't buy or spend money on things you don't need.
This is by far the best thing you can do to save money. If you see ANYTHING you don't need, don't get it. There are so many things in your daily life you can avoid spending money on. Today I bought a drink from 7-11, bought Chipotle, and got dinner from my friends restaurant. If I didn't waste that money and got water from a fountain, and ate at home, I probably would have saved close to $30 bucks, easily. Now think, that was just FOOD. If you cut back on other things in your life, clothes, toys, online services, collectibles, anything that is just there to make you happier, then you'll be saving hundreds upon thousands of dollars easily.

---Hope you enjoyed my first Lifehacks article, if you have any questions about saving money or any tips you want to add to this, definitely go ahead and comment! Tell me what you think and share your ideas, until next time,---