Arts & Entertainment

Top 5 Songs off of “Certified Lover Boy”

After much anticipation, public online beef with Kanye West, and a controversial album cover reveal later (seriously- what is that cover?), Certified Lover Boy is here for our listening pleasure. Full disclosure; I absolutely love Aubrey Drake Graham. I have been a fan since I was 13 years old and there is a Drake song for every major era of my life. So at first it was hard to put that aside and listen to this album objectively. But, after listening for the last month (I’ve listened all the way through at least 20 times) I have come to the conclusion that; it’s a really good album, but not a great one. 

Drake is never going to make a bad album. He and his producer Noah “40” Shebib don’t have it in them to make a BAD album. But, for the last decade, Drake has been the innovator in the rap game. He’s genre bended, experimented with different music styles and sounds from all over the world, and gave us greatness time and time again. This album didn’t meet those standards, it’s a good album and I enjoy it, but he didn’t quite deliver on the expectations we had. CLB is regurgitated beats and flows from his previous works, but to be fair- his previous works are great. We got more of the same when we typically expect amazing and trendsetting newness from Aubrey. That being said, I love the album and listen to something from it every day. So here are my top five songs off of Certified Lover Boy:

5. Fair Trade– This should’ve been the album single. “I’ve been losing friends and finding peace” is a bar that many of us relate to, and will be captioning our instagram photos with. Also, “the dirt that they threw on my name turned to soil and I grew up out it,” is now one of my favorite motivational Drake lyrics. If that doesn’t make you want to wake up and crush the souls of your enemies with your success then I don’t know what will.

4. Champagne Poetry– What a great way to start such a highly anticipated album. The samples and harmonies are such a beautiful welcome to something we’ve been so excited to hear. The switch half way through is seamlessly done, two great songs in one.

3. Pipe Down– I love a good, petty, hurt, Drake song. He is a man scorned in this and he is not holding back. “If it was ride or die, you should’ve been dead right now,” wheeeeew! Who hurt you, Aubrey?! Beautiful production on this song as well. Solid beat, great melody. The best song on the album to scream-sing in your car when you’re driving alone.

2. You Only Live Twice– Rick Ross goes on a Drake song like pineapple goes on pizza (it’s delicious, I don’t care if you disagree.) Drake’s verse is great but then we get Lil Wayne with the best feature on this entire album. Drake and Wayne together create such a beautiful nostalgia for a time before many of us had student loans and unmitigated anxiety to deal with. The sounds of simpler days. 

1.  Race My Mind– This is the most underrated song on the album and it’s the best one hands down. The HARP??? That harp makes me feel like I’m ascending into the heavens while being serenaded by Drake’s vocals and honestly, if that’s not what happens to me after the sweet kiss of death then I want a refund on this life. This song is special. A singing Drake, pleading with his love to give him more time and affection. A classic Drake ballad. You all owe Race My Mind some respect.

What do you think of this list? What are your favorites? Let us know!

Culture & Student Life

Adulting 101

Leaving home and being on your own for the first time can be a lot. There are a lot of new things you’re suddenly responsible for. It can feel weird having to pay bills and remember to schedule your own dentist appointments if those aren’t things you’ve had to do for yourself before. You might be wondering when that kind of stuff will feel like second nature, when you’ll actually feel like an adult. Maybe when you graduate from college or when you get your first real job. Maybe when you turn 21 – or 25 – or 30 you’ll finally feel like an adult and not an imposter who breaks out in a sweat every time you have to talk to someone on the phone. I don’t know what that magic number is, but until you reach it here are some tips to help you get there!

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Start Saving Money

You might still be years away from a 401K, but it’s never too early to start saving for a rainy day. Just getting in the habit of putting fractions of your paycheck into a savings account or rounding each bill up to the nearest dollar and putting that change in a jar can add up. What you do with the money is up to you! An emergency fund is very important to have, you never know when your car is going to need a new battery! Likewise, your favorite band might be doing a once-in-a-lifetime show nearby and you’d be kicking yourself for twenty years if you missed it. Your whole life is going to be a tug of war between spending money on things you want and saving money for things you’re going to need, but the best way to walk that tightrope responsibly is to start putting the money away early. The earlier you do it, the easier it will be to put away increasingly larger amounts of money without drastically changing your budget.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do Laundry Once A Week

Whether you have a washer and dryer where you live or you lug your duds all the way to the laundromat, having a specific laundry schedule can benefit you in the long run. Doing small, manageable loads once a week is so much easier than hauling twenty pounds of clothes and bedding to the laundromat. Besides, you should be changing your bedsheets once a week anyway. Bonus tip: have at least two sets of sheets that you can alternate between.

Photo by Wesley Hilario on Unsplash

Call Your Grandma

She misses you, and she’s probably not on Instagram so she’s harder to keep in touch with than your high school friends.

Photo by Nathan Shurr on Unsplash

Buy Your Furniture Second-Hand

It’s super easy to go to Target or Walmart and furnish your new apartment or dorm with fun and trendy furniture, but those pieces are a dime a dozen, and their costs add up. You can check on sites like Offer Up or Facebook Marketplace and find people selling used versions of those same bookshelves and desks in varying states of wear. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it to save the money or stick with something brand new, but seeing how well these products age should give you insight one way or the other. My best advice, though, is to skip the MDF altogether and look for used furniture that’s made from real wood. It might cost you a little more upfront, but it’ll last you a lot longer.

Photo by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

Learn To Cook

Knowing how to cook doesn’t have to mean anything as daunting as cooking a turkey or baking bread from scratch. There are ways to keep it simple and still make things more exciting than top ramen (or to make your top ramen more exciting). Start by learning from your parents or grandparents. If there’s a dish that you grew up with, ask them if you can help make it next time you’re home. Meal kits like Every Plate (who offer a student discount) and Dinnerly don’t just take the guesswork out of cooking but teach you fundamentals along the way. After a few months you’ll be able to mimic the recipes you’ve learned and get experimental, substituting ingredients and making new meals entirely. When you learn simple recipes that you can keep revisiting and reinventing, you won’t be overwhelmed by the idea of making dinner every night.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Bonus Tip: Have extra smoke detector batteries on hand. Always.

Smoke detector batteries always go off at the most inconvenient time, which is usually in the middle of the night. If you have more than one in your house, they will without a doubt die within a couple days of each other. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have extra batteries and something safe to stand on so that you can reach the ceiling (i.e. not a swiveling chair). When you wake up to incessant beeping at 3:00 AM the morning of your midterms, you’ll be glad you did.

Arts & Entertainment Culture & Student Life

What Does The Future Hold for Ventura College’s New Media Gallery?

#VCSocial Contributor Jason Brock talks about his experience as a student worker in the gallery you’ve probably walked by a hundred times, and never took the chance to see. 

Ventura College New Media Gallery.  Photo by Jason Brock

Let’s flashback to the start of the spring semester of 2019. It was a time before masks and wristbands and QR Code check-ins. It was a time when we weren’t hypersensitive to gathering inside. And in March of that semester, (unknowingly to me in the moment), it would be the last time that I would prepare for an opening reception at the best kept art secret on the VCCCD campus–The New Media Gallery (NMG)

You’ve probably walked by it a hundred times and you might not have known that the NMG was the place to go to see new student and faculty art on campus.  It was built specifically for that purpose.  Now, in the fall semester of 2021, in our post pandemic reality, I look into the gallery windows, with my pandemic long hair and beard, and wonder-”What is the future of the New Media Gallery going to be?”

Jason Brock looking into the New Media Gallery. Photo by Jason Brock.

The New Media Gallery looks and feels a lot like me…unkempt but ready to start again.  

Yeah yeah, I know I might look like I’m related to Sasquatch, but back then I was clean cut and I was playing the role of gallery assistant in between my art classes. During that time I enjoyed working at the direction of Professor and NMG Gallery Director Jesse Groves and also with my school mates. I was also personally excited to be in a creative work environment once again.  Why exactly? Well, I have another story to tell about that. It’s tragic, but with a happy ending. 

Could this be the topic for my other blog, or a book?  I think so.   

But the short story for now is–I was discovering new opportunities and friendships in the New Media Gallery. Art was alive! I was stoked. Little did I know that we were all about to get blindsided by a global pandemic.

Now, eighteen months later, as we’re all venturing back on to campus, the New Media Gallery is a stark reminder of the impacts of a global emergency that changed the way we live, the way we interact, and the way we enjoy art. It’s an interesting and difficult time for arts and culture and though we’re still in recovery mode, I have a feeling the New Media Gallery is going to lead the way once again.

As I mentioned earlier, I went by to take a peek in the windows the other day. The art that we hung for that last show is still hanging, waiting to come back out of the shadows.  Coincidentally that show is called Shadows and Currents. The leaves and dust and debris have piled up in the entrance way. The New Media Gallery looks and feels a lot like me…unkempt but ready to start again.  

In closing, I don’t know what the future of the New Media Gallery is going to be. But I do know someone who does. Professor Jesse Groves. I’m hoping to interview him in the near future for a #vcsocial podcast. 

Quick update: I just spoke with Proffessor Groves! I have a lot of really great information to share with you in my next blog. Come back and find out what’s next. 

Thanks for reading!  -Jason

#VCSocial is where you’ll get all the most up to date and interactive happenings in the school’s art scene. Stay connected! Stay inspired!

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Photos by Jason Brock 2021