TIB Rough Draft

During Spring Break of my senior year in high school, I decided to do something different. Along with 14 other students, I traveled to West Virginia to help people recover from a recent flood. The trip would consume my entire spring break, but I didn’t care. Helping out others and experiencing West Virginia seemed much more exciting and rewarding than sitting around at home. Crammed into a bright yellow school van, we left at 7:30 am for Logan County, West Virginia, almost 9 hours away. The trip was rough, but in no time we were crossing into Logan County. When we first arrived, I was amazed to see how devastating the flood had been. Chunks of wood from homes littered roads, and mud covered everything. I figured the town would be in bad shape, but jeez did I underestimate its condition.

The first working day in Logan county we divided into two groups to help two separate families. One group went off to help a single mother while my group went to help and elderly couple with their home. The couple, George and Marie, was in their late sixties but they had the youth of newlywed 30 year olds. Our task was to rip out moldy parts of the house and replace them. George told us that during the flood, the water level reached almost 3 feet high. It was no wonder so much damage had been done to the area.

During that first day, we pried up floorboards, cut open walls, and ripped out insulation. The work was tough, but it felt good. The second day was much of the same, breaking and replacing, breaking and replacing. It was on the third day that things became a little different. A few hours into working that day, I remember vividly George approaching me while I pried up a floorboard. He began talking about how happy he was to have our help and how great it was for us to sacrifice our time. He kept rambling on and on, eventually reaching how today’s youth are losing sight of the importance of such work. After about 20 minutes, he told me to follow him outside. I put down my crowbar and followed him down the hall, out the door, and into the garage. As he lifted the garage door, I saw a spectacular sight. In that garage was one of the oldest and well-kept cars I have ever seen. For the life of me I can’t remember what year or model it was, but it really didn’t matter. It was in that garage that George began sharing more about his life. He told me how he enters the car in the local car show every year. The car was his pride and joy, an attachment to his youth that he cherished. From there George continued to talk about his life; about his childhood, about his job, and then about his oldest son, who had committed suicide just a year ago.

Watching a grown man cry is one of the saddest, but also most beautiful things in the world. George opened up to me in a way that many people rarely do to even those they love. Out of everything that I did during those few days in West Virginia, talking with George was most important. The work I did on his house meant nothing. His house can always be rebuilt. Sure, it may have taken longer without our help, but it can be done. By spending time listening to George, comforting him, and showing that I gave a damn was more important than anything else I could have done. In one year, the man lost his oldest son and his house and was broken from it. I can’t go back and change either of those events, but I at least showed I cared. In life, sometimes all anyone wants is to be heard. However, there isn’t always someone there to talk to. Showing a genuine interest in who someone is and they’ve experienced is the greatest form of respect I know of. I believe in the patience to listen, and the power it has between people.

Let’s get electric!

Everyone knows CO2 emissions from cars do absolutely no good for the environment. This fact has been drilled into every Americans’ head. To combat this problem, we’ve been offered alternative electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius. However, these alternative vehicles have been slow to grow in popularity. Why would anyone want to trade in a perfectly good car for one that’s more eco-friendly? Although companies have pushed for these alternative vehicles, most people haven’t been buying them because they don’t need a new car. And even if they did, the struggling economy certainly doesn’t help people to throw down extra money for an electric car. Aside from not needing an electric car, many people don’t want to switch because electric cars are slower to accelerate and have less power. Cars a like big toys. The rush when accelerating and flying down a highway is something  a lot of people wouldn’t give up just to be eco-friendly. For this and many other reasons, the switch to electric cars is an uphill battle.


The Toyota Prius, one of the most popular eco-friendly cars.

While skimming through the business section of the New York Times, I came across an article on General Motors (GM) and Nissan changing their approach to selling electric cars. At the Detroit auto show this past Tuesday, both GM and Nissan showed off more models of eco-friendly cars. GM showed off the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Chevy Volt. This past year, GM sold only 23,000 Volts, totaling less than 1% of total sales. Ouch. By providing more options to consumers, GM hopes to increase consumer interest in going green. Unlike GM’s plan to create more models, Nissan is scaling back prices in hopes to make people switch. This past year was tougher for Nissan, who sold half the number of Leafs they expected.  If a surge in sales doesn’t occur soon, the cost of Leaf production will far outweigh revenue. Nissan hasn’t lost confidence, however, as they’ve introduced another, more moderate Leaf priced $6,200 cheaper. While the switch to electric cars hasn’t been exceptionally successful, both GM and Nissan haven’t lost sight of their goal.


The Cadillac ELR at the Detroit Auto Show.

Switching to an electric vehicle is something many people won’t do for awhile. No matter how strong the incentive may be, there will always be those who don’t want to switch. Regardless, companies like GM and Nissan have been working with the government to do their best to coerce people to switch. One of the biggest ways they’ve done so is through providing tax cuts. According to the article, “Volts, Leafs and other electric cars typically qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and sometimes state credits that lower the effective purchase price” (2 Makers Press the Case for Electric Cars). By providing tax cuts as large as $7,500, these cars become a lot less expensive. However, such a large tax cut is still not enough to beat the price of many other conventional cars. For less than $20,000, consumers have a variety of options from many different manufacturers (Best Cars for Under $20,000).


The Nissan Leaf is a 100% electric car.

It seems that for every step car manufacturers and the government make to push electric cars, there’s always another reason why people won’t switch. Perhaps the biggest problem with switching to electric cars is that there is no immediate reason to. Sure, the amount of CO2 emissions released each year is alarming, but do we see a difference in our daily lives each day? Not at all. Some reports even indicate that air today is cleaner than 30 years ago (E.P.A. Calls US Cleaner and Greener Than 30 Years Ago)! How could anyone see this switch as necessary when there is media that makes it seem so much less important?pollutingfactory2

Nowadays, factories can no longer pollute like they used to.

In my opinion, a real change won’t occur until the issue becomes serious. For years, the issue of gun control was discussed in Congress but no definitive answer was ever found. Now that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred, the topic of gun control has become a serious issue that people are discussing. Although no simple answer may be found, people are much more motivated to find one than they were before. In the same way as gun control, the switch to electric cars will not occur until something serious occurs that forces people to do something. This may mean something as serious as all the polar ice caps melting, but until then people won’t take this switch as seriously as they probably should. People just don’t like change.


Losing these little guys may be the only way we see change.



1) 2 Makers Press the Case for Electric Cars


2) Best Cars for Under $20,000


3) E.P.A. Calls US Cleaner and Greener Than 30 Years Ago


Wiz Khalifa’s “Medicated”

While I referenced O.N.I.F.C. last semester during a post, I never talked about how I felt about it. For those who don’t know, O.N.I.F.C. is Wiz Khalifa’s newest album which was released on December 4, 2012. It was originally scheduled for last August, so the album has had some pretty high expectations for being delayed so long. On many levels, the album succeeds. It refreshes Wiz’s library with more music true to his style. His last album, Rolling Papers, was unlike Wiz’s typical work, which is why die-hard Wiz fans didn’t like it. Making O.N.I.F.C. more true to his style was a smart move by Wiz. As a fan of Wiz since the beginning, I have to say O.N.I.F.C. is a great album.



The album consists of a great mix of songs. Wiz’s typical “chill” music is here, along with a few songs that are harder are more tailored to fans of harder rap. Of all of the songs on the album, I’ve found myself liking “Medicated” the most. Yes, “medicated” refers to marijuana. Although some people are turned off to Wiz because of his marijuana use, I don’t have a problem with it. In some cases, his attachment to weed has positively influenced his music. This song clearly exemplifies this.


Wiz and smoke go hand-in-hand.

The song’s first verse reflects on when Wiz was younger:

Back when I was young I had dreams of getting richer
Then my homie Breeze set me down schooled me to the picture
I was with some wild niggas put me on the game
Told me if you tryin’ to make your move you gotta know your lane homie
All you got your name and your words will never break
For this life you pay a price you get a chance you gotta take it
Cause most niggas never make it they stranded where I’m from
Ain’t no conversation all they understand is get a gun
I was riding in my Bona Ville hoping I could make it
Out selling peas and smoking weed avoiding police right up the street
Way back in the day before I had all of this paper
Before I had all of these diamonds, before I had all of these haters

Some key phrases from this verse put Wiz’s success in perspective. The first part of the verse, “Back when I was young I had dreams of getting richer / Then my homie Breeze set me down schooled me to the picture / I was with some wild niggas put me on the game / Told me if you tryin’ to make your move you gotta know your lane homie”, discusses the time before Wiz even decided to try and become famous. While he dreamed of success, he didn’t have any real intentions to achieve it. However, his friends supported him and soon he was on his way.

The second half of the first verse further explains Wiz’s situation: “For this life you pay a price you get a chance you gotta take it / Cause most niggas never make it they stranded where I’m from / Ain’t no conversation all they understand is get a gun.” The first line, “for this life you pay a price you get a chance you gotta take it” refers to how rough life is for people who grew up in cities like Pittsburgh. Sometimes there may be only one chance at escaping the streets, and that chance must be taken. As Wiz explains in the next few lines, those who don’t take the chance may be “stranded where I’m from / Ain’t no conversation all they understand is get a gun.” Instead of seeing success, most people fall victim to crime because of where they live.


An older picture of Wiz. Over time, his style changed a lot.

The second verse continues where the first ends by explaining what it felt like to finally feel fame. The repetition of the phrase “I remember when” at the beginning of many lines connects all of the different feelings Wiz had once he saw fame. From there, the phrase “Now everywhere we go” is repeated. This repetition acts as a transition from when Wiz first saw fame. Now that he’s established, he gets to see the world with his friends, experiencing a life he never thought he’d have.

wiz khalifa tour_jpg_630x400_q85

Wiz performing at a concert.

A final part I want to touch on is the hook, which references the title:

Now let’s get medicated
Man, let’s get medicated
Let’s get medicated
Man I’m hella faded
Man, let’s get medicated
Let’s get medicated
Let’s get medicated
Man I’m hella faded
I’m hella faded

Obviously the hook is all variations of saying “let’s get high”, but it’s more than that. The song as a whole is a reflection on Wiz’s journey to becoming famous. Although Wiz has a ton of mixtapes, this is only his second album. This song acts as a reflection on his past work now that he has finally released a second album. For Wiz, getting “medicated”, or getting high, is a form of celebration. As he thinks about how things have changed, lighting up some weed seems like the best way to sit back, relax, and reflect on his journey. While not everyone would agree in Wiz’s marijuana use, there’s really no reason to hate on him for it. Music is an artist’s expression of themselves. In “Medicated,” Wiz expresses himself exactly how he always has, and I love it.

If you have the time, go ahead and listen to the song yourself: