Average Heroes #4: The Sound Advisers


Whenever I feel like I’m not sure what I’m doing or where I’m going in life, I consult my board of trusted advisers: The music artists in my mp3 player. Within this device are hundreds of creditable people who know just what to say when I need advice or just listen to a nonsense pick-me-up. Although most of these people are/were celebrities, and their lives are probably anything but average, the sounds they make connect with us strongly.

Shuffle Is Your Best Friend

Because amazing things happen at random. Get out your handy-dandy music player, press shuffle, and see what happens.

I got out my iPhone, hooked up my headphones, opened the Music App, selected ‘Songs’, scrolled all the way up above the letter ‘A’ and pressed ‘Shuffle’. Of the 2207 songs, these are the first 3 consecutive ones that played:

Beck – Peaches & Cream

The first track that comes up is Beck’s “Peaches & Cream“. Don’t tell your right hand, baby, what your left hand do. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to not talk to your hands at all. That’s just weird, man.

Sublime – Burritos

Next is Sublime’s “Burritos,” which names of a bunch of stuff he doesn’t wanna do and suddenly, you think of a bunch of stuff you don’t wanna do, either. I have my own ever-growing list of stuff I don’t wanna do. And I don’t even wanna write out that list. And I sure as hell don’t wanna eat burritos. They don’t go with my coffee. In case you missed it, here’s the hidden gem within this song: none of us ever have to do anything that we don’t wanna do!

Matt & Kim – Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare

Then Matt & Kim’s “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare,” comes on and reminds me that what has happened on the side streets of your life can really define a big part of who you truly are and showing the side streets can determine who your true friends are. You may be very disappointed when you realize which people were never truly your friends, but it gets better. After riding trains to end of lines for a while, like you’ve got nothing but time, you’ll move on. With your left foot in front of right, you’ll meet more new people along the way and make new friends. Friends who accept you as you are. People who prefer the main streets and hide the side streets, never really belonged in your life in the first place.

Just For Fun

Check out if your music player has something along the lines of “Top 25 Most Played” list and see what the #1 song is on your list. My top song is “Miss Me” by Andy Grammer.

An Open Love Letter To Art: For The Love Of Art

For The Love of Art

Art is patient,

Because sometimes it takes days, weeks, or years to create a piece of art. Just sitting there, tinkering with paints, clay, glue, glass, or wood, to express themselves and create something — it seems like the artists are the patient ones. But, really, you have to be pretty patient with the artists, who are such uber perfectionists. In this case, art, you’re more of the therapist and the artists are the patients.

Art is kind.

You always understand, art. Like that time when I spilled a bottle of ink on white carpet in the middle of my old bedroom. While trying to clean up a 2-inch spot, it somehow spread to about 3 feet in diameter. Thanks to you, art, it looked like an ACME portable hole that I could crawl into if my mom would have seen what happened.

It does not envy,

You KNOW you’re the only one for me, art baby. Those other activities like grocery-shopping, laundry, and dish-washing mean NOTHING to me, I tell ya! Enjoying a nice walk, a hanging out with friends, or swimming? Psh, who needs all that when I’ve got YOU. My night job at the printing place? It came onto ME! It doesn’t have what you have, art, it really doesn’t.

It does not boast,

Because you don’t even have to. Your awesomeness is simply felt. You quietly lead seduce and excite, seemingly like when the McRib is back.

It is not proud.

Well, it’s kind of hard to be proud of artwork while knowing what goes on beyond the surface of the canvas. Like, who has the time to waste on stuff like getting dressed and showering when I’ve got this article to write about you? Art, you and I both know that right now, I’m sitting here in a tank top and pajama pants, my laptop at one edge of the desk, my illustration in progress on the other. Meanwhile, I try really hard to keep in mind which glass I’m drinking my coffee from and which glass use to clean my brushes.

It is not rude,

Because me revealing my charming scene above doesn’t make you go, “Eww.” Yes, art, you might be thinking “Eww,” but you know better than to say “Eww,” because you know that all of the above is happening only because of Yoouu.

It is not self-seeking,

But that doesn’t even matter to yoouu because you do not let this article define yoouu. You probably didn’t even expect this kind of honor of being featured on IllustrArticles, because this is your 15 seconds of fame. It’s all downhill from here, bro. But even that doesn’t matter, of course.

It is not easily angered,

Because if you were easily angered, art, then it would take me years to create a single piece of artwork that would be to your liking. Thankfully, your sense of humor is refreshing. Like, thousands of times, when I thought that what I really wanted to do is photography for a living, again. And you just HAD to put ideas in my head, like, that one time, to go outside in the dark and freeze out there till 12 a.m., with a set of flashlights, drawing figures in the air and taking photos of them. Again and again, you never showed up to comfort me. You just let me to continue to knock myself out until I realized that illustration really is better for me.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Like, that one time, when I wrote a really long article about you, art, and you weren’t sure if it was a compliment or an insult. So, in case you were wrong either way, you pretended that you didn’t read it.

Art does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Like, that one time, when I told you that I’m wearing a tank top and pajama pants and haven’t showered yet while drawing and writing this article, and you didn’t take it as an opportunity delight in something like, “So, below the surface, filthy wife-beaters wear the pants and spread dirt. Awesome.” You only rejoice in the fact that you didn’t really just read this article. And that fact that you’re not really my wife.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Art, you like me! You REALLY like me!

Art never fails.

Because when art fails, it is still a work of art.

3 Reasons Why Your Flooded Basement Is A Great Thing

Last week, homes, businesses, cars, and streets in my hometown Galesburg, Illinois were damaged by floods resulting from heavy rain. I looked for photos online and found that the streets on which I used to walk and drive looked like something out of a movie. I can only imagine what some people’s basements must have looked like and the devastation that they’ve had to deal with since the flood happened.

This is probably what it looks like underwater.

So, as someone who no longer lives in Galesburg and doesn’t own a basement (and as someone who’s never owned a flooded one), I’m practically an expert who can give you advice on why a flooded basement is a great thing. When life gives you water, make:

1. An indoor pool
If there’s one complaint I’ve heard again and again while living in Galesburg, it’s that there’s nothing to do in town. Not anymore! Invite your friends over and swim in your new indoor pool, rain or shine. Of course, if it rains again, that’s even better because then there will be more water to refill your pool for free. If you’re into swimming for exercise, paying to use the pool at YMCA and then having too many people hogging the lanes is a thing of that past. By swimming laps in your basement, you body will be a little more toned and your wallet will be a litter fatter.

2. Your own, private fishing pond
Just add fish. You can throw in some little goldfish or catfish to start, and they will grow even bigger than they ever would in a regular aquarium. You won’t even need to worry about having a fishing license. Make your basement pond fancy by adding a fountain in the middle and some pebbles around the entrance. Get out the picnic basket and your fishing pole. But, if you get arrested for fishing without a license in your basement, you didn’t get this idea from me.

3. Drinking water!
Alright, so this may sound gross, but hear me out here. I’ve been living in Chicago for over 2 and a half years now and I would drink the water from your basement before I’d ever dare to drink the city water from my faucet. Back when I lived in Galesburg as a kid, I’d cringe when my friends drank water out of the garden hose. Today, as an adult in Chicago who has to spend tons of money on water filters and bottled water (that, I can only hope, has already been filtered), I finally understand what kind of freedom I was missing out on.

If, by chance, my 3 reasons above still don’t convince you to appreciate your flooded, half-full basement of water, then try to keep in mind these 3 words I heard in a movie once:

“Just keep swimming” – Dory

Dory may be a cartoon character but she is a fish (who seems to have dealt with her share of hardship and devastation but doesn’t remember much), so she knows a thing or two about water.