Thursday, June 11, 2009


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Every once in a while you get an album that you don't know what to expect from it. You don't know whether it's going to suck, be so-so, or just flat out rock the house. Uplifter is one of those albums.

When the package arrived in the mail, I ran to the computer so I could start listening to the long-awaited album. I didn't know what to expect from it, but I was pretty sure since it's 311 we're talking about, it was going to rock. The first song, Hey You, is definitely my favorite song off the album. It gets you pumped for the rest of the songs. Like I was hoping, it turned out to be one of their best albums yet.

It doesn't really sound like anything we've heard from them before. It's different, and that's what makes it good. There are people out there who complain that 311 has changed, and that they don't make any more albums like Grassroots or Transistor. I'm not going to lie, those are incredible albums, but I praise them for changing it up. Would you really like it if they just played the same stuff over and over again? I know I'd get pretty sick of it.

Overall, I'd give the album a 4.5/5. There are a couple songs that I didn't really like, but that's just my opinion. Just about all of them are rockin'! I'm going to their concert tonight at the USANA Amphitheater, so I can't wait to see the songs live!

If you want to hear the songs, they were streaming on (seen below) earlier this week, I'm not sure if they're still there... I think they're also on the bands MySpace page!

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The End

Wow! This has been one crazy, whacked-out year! And boy, has it flown by! It seems like only yesterday I was walking into Biology without even knowing my locker com. Remember that, anyone? We didn't get the right coms at orientation, so by the time school started, we still didn't know how to get into our lockers! Man, it's little things like that that makes this year one to remember.

I just want to reflect a bit on my freshman year at Fairfield Jr. High. Ninth grade, like I'm sure you all know, is your last year of junior high before they ship you off to high school. Naturally, you should try to make it the best out of your three years. I know I sure did. I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to be bold, be different, and try new things. Anything that wasn't working for me before, I would change. I was determined to make this the year to remember. Sure, I made a few mistakes along the way, but that's bound to happen, right? I mean after all, we're all only human! Do I regret anything? Of course not. We learn from mistakes; they make us better people! That was the attitude I went through the year with, and it worked for me. I got my same 4.0 as the previous years, I made awesome friends, and I had a blast doing it! 

There are many people I would like to thank for this insanely outrageous year, but there's one person I'd like to thank specifically:

MRT, this may sound corny, but you're one of my favorite teachers I've ever had. I've never learned more in an English class, or actually enjoyed an English class as much as I have this year. You actually make it fun! English has never really been one of my favorite subjects, but you've taught me to appreciate it. You've taught me to think, to question things that are going on in the world. Also, I've never had an English teacher as cool as you are! You hang Kiss posters all over your room, you show us clips from Conan, you let us watch The Simpsons (the one with Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven), you giggle to yourself when we read about flatulence, and to top it all off, you understand your students! You actually get what's going on in our lives! Most teachers aren't like that, but you are. You have a special connection with the students. It has been one wild ride in your class, and I'm gonna miss walking into your classroom every day. Thank you, and best of wishes to you and everything you do!

Still though, I can't believe how fast this year has gone by! I guess it's true though, time flies when you're having fun! School-wise, this year has been relatively easy. Sure, there have been a couple nights of late night homework (e.g. tonight. I'm scrambling to finish this blog, color something for science, study for a scripture-mastery test, write two current events, finish my 7-Habits workbook, and read 250 pages by tomorrow, all the while it's 11:36 at night!), but my classes really haven't been that difficult. Mostly, I've just been enjoying the year and trying to make the most of it. Everything from trying to be closer to friends to running track for the first time, this year has rocked. I really couldn't have asked for better friends or teachers. There's absolutely nothing I regret about this year or anything I would change. I want to thank everyone that's been a part of me the last year for the best year of my life! And with that, I'll say my final good-bye. Dallin Johnson, over and out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

21st Century Breakdown Part II

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I know I did a review of 21st Century Breakdown last week, but it's all that's been on my mind the whole week! The album was officially released Friday the 15th and it's all I've been listening to ever since. Plus, we got tickets to the concert the day they went on sale, so I've got to get pumped for it!

This week I'm going to write a little review of each song, and I've included a Playlist of them all in case you want to follow along! Just a warning, a couple of the songs swear, so those of you with tender ears may want to be cautious before listening to any of the songs (namely Before the Lobotomy, Horseshoes and Handgrenades, The Static Age, and American Eulogy).

Song of the Century:
This is the opening song for the album, although it's more of an introduction than a song. There is no music; all it is is about 40 seconds of Billie Joe singing what I would call an introduction. I think it's a cool edition to the album.

21st Century Breakdown:
This was the first song I ever heard from the album. A couple months before the release, someone obtained an illegal leak of the song, so naturally, I downloaded it. The first time I listened to it, I wasn't really sure what to think. With powerful lyrics mocking the chaos of the 21st century, it was edgy and bold. That's one thing I really like about Green Day; if they disagree with something, they're not afraid to say it. Anyways, the song started growing on me the more I heard it, and now it's one of my favorites!

Know Your Enemy:
Know Your Enemy was the first single off of 21st Century Breakdown. It's definitely a hard rockin' song, which you've always gotta love! It, like 21st Century Breakdown, is bold. Put hard rockin' and bold together and you have an awesome song! The only complaint I have about it is how repetitive it is... At least half of the song is "Do you know the enemy / Do you know your enemy / Well gotta know the enemy right here!". I'm not gonna lie, it's an awesome song, but I think they could have been a little more creative!

¡Viva la Gloria!:
One might call the beginning of this song a ballad. It starts out softly on piano and then drives into a fast paced song that kind of reminds me of Letterbomb from American Idiot. The first time I heard this one was on a live YouTube video before the album was released. It's not my favorite song, but it's definitely a good one! It talks a little bit about Gloria, one of the main characters in the rock-opera.

Before the Lobotomy:
Before the Lobotomy is one of my favorite songs from 21st Century Breakdown. It starts off soft with a slow, catchy chorus and then, once again, drives into a rocking song talking about how our society has pretty much just fallen apart. It compares us to the past and makes you realized that we are in chaos, and it's all our fault.

Christian's Inferno:
I would say that Christian's Inferno is Green Day's most punk rock song on 21st Century Breakdown. With heavily distorted guitar and Billie singing in his darkest voice, how could it not be? The song itself is about the other main character, Christian. Nothing is going right for him, and he essentially breaks down.

Last Night on Earth:
This song is Green Day's slow song for 21st Century Breakdown. It's a love song that Billie Joe wrote for his wife. I think it's a beautiful ballad.

East Jesus Nowhere:
To be honest, I'm really not sure what to think about East Jesus Nowhere. Even though it's a rockin' song, it's a rant against modern religion. Basically, it calls us all hypocrites. In a way, some of it is true for other religions out there. I believe there are immoral church leaders out there, but I like to think that us Mormons are, for the most part, good, honest people. It really makes you think...

I think this, along with American Eulogy, is my favorite song of the whole album. It's different, and that's what makes it good. It kind of sounds Spanish or something European... Whatever it is, it's awesome!

Last of the American Girls:
This is a great song. Last of the American Girls tells about a girl (presumably Gloria) who, according to the title, is the last of the American girls. It tells about little things she does that makes her different and American. It has a great beat to it, so it's alltogether a great song.

Murder City:
Not one of my favorite songs, but it's still a good one. Fun beat, powerful lyrics, adds up to a pretty sweet song!

¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl):
Like Peacemaker, Little Girl is another one of those songs that is different. It stands out. It sounds Italian or something, and has a good beat. I really like it! Definitely one you should listen to.

Restless Heart Syndrome:
Once again, not one of my favorites. It's kind of like a lesser Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It has a lot of the same chords and beats. I love Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but this one definitely is not one of my favorites.

Horseshoes and Handgrenades:
This is an incredible song! It has some a bit of language, but it's another great punk-rock song. The music is fast and powerful, and the lyrics are pretty much an in-your-face screw-you to society. I love how Green Day's not afraid to say stuff like that!

The Static Age:
Another incredible song! It sounds a lot like Church on Sunday from their album Warning. Church on Sunday was a great song, so naturally, this one is too. Plus, the lyrics are great. It's about living in static; we have to watch closely if we want to be able to know what's going on.

21 Guns:
It's not a fast paced song, but it's definitely one of the great ones from 21st Century Breakdown. It questions if what we're fighting for is really worth it. It's a thought provoking song and I really like it.

American Eulogy:
American Eulogy is divided into two parts; Mass Hysteria and Modern World. They are fast paced rockers talk about how screwed up society is. The first part is about the hysteria we are in while the second part merely states that "I don't wanna live in the modern world!" It's definitely one of my favorites along with Peacemaker.

See the Light:
See the Light is an excellent way to close the album. It starts off with the same guitar riff that started 21st Century Breakdown and goes into lyrics about just wanting to see the light. With all the chaos, who wouldn't? It would be nice to be able to know that we're almost through with all that's going on, have a little hope. Altogether, it's an incredible ending to an incredible album.

Well I hope you liked my review! I had fun writing it, so I hope you had run reading it! If you didn't listen to any of the songs, make sure you do! You will not regret it! If you only have time for a couple, make sure you go for Peacemaker, Last of the American Girls, The Static Age, and American Eulogy! They're my favorites!

Until next week, peace out!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

21st Century Breakdown!

If you've been following my blog, you've probably noticed the two widgets I have on the right advertising Green Day's new album 21st Century Breakdown. I have been waiting for this album for about three years, and it will finally be here on Friday! I've actually already had the chance to listen to it. VH1, Rhapsody, and a couple other websites "leaked" the album a week early. They've been calling it "The Leak", but I honestly don't get how they can when they have the band's permission. A leak is when someone gets illegal copies of the song and/or album early and releases them without the band's permission... But that's really not important! The biggest point I am trying to make is that the day I have been waiting for for so long is finally here!

First off, I'll give a review of the album. 21st Century Breakdown exceeded my expectations, which were already pretty high to begin with! Like Green Day's previous album American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown is written in a rock opera format. All the songs played back to back kind of tell a story. In the new album, the two main characters, Christian and Gloria, try to deal with the mess that President Bush left behind, hence the name 21st Century Breakdown. The lyrics have a powerful message about the band's opinion on pretty much everything that's going on right now. While I don't agree with all of their songs (i.e. East Jesus Nowhere, which is Billie Joe's rant about modern religion), I have to give them credit; they are not afraid to say what other bands are afraid to say. In their song American Eulogy (which is one of my new favorites), Billie sings, "The class war is hanging on a wire / Because the martyr is a compulsive liar / When he said / 'It's just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the hysteria' ". He uses the the word "nigger", which you know is going to get him accused of being racist against black people. However, he used it in a context that makes it so he's not. He was mocking what "the martyr" would say. I'm not exactly sure who he's singing about, but he's taking a stand against someone. It was kind of like in Holiday on their previous album. Billie sings,"Zieg Heil to the president gas man / Bombs away is your punishment / Pulverize the Eiffel towers / Who criticize your government / Bang, Bang goes the broken glass / Kill all the fags that don't agree". One again, he uses a word (fags) that's been tabooed by society to get his opinion out there. American Idiot was a purely anti-Bush album. Billie Joe was mocking the way our 43rd President was running the country, with references to different things they believe he's done wrong. When he said, "Kill all the fags that don't agree", he was referring to Bush's stance on gay marriage. 

Not only are there powerful lyrics, but 21st Century Breakdown will rock your socks off as well. Billie, Mike, and Tre have matured, for lack of a better word, since their days playing at Gilman. They have gone from being a couple of punk kids to full-blown musicians. They're range is huge on this new album. They have their signature punk-rock songs, they have songs on piano, they have slow songs, they have songs with multiple parts, and they even threw a love song in there. No matter what style they play, it's amazing. 

A few of my favorite songs are Before the Lobotomy, Christian's Inferno, Peacemaker, Last of the American Girls, ¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl), Horseshoes and Handgrenades, The Static Age, and American Eulogy. If you listen to them, you'll know I'm more of a rocker kind of guy, but I also like the stuff that sounds different. Peacemaker and Little Girl are both songs that are kind of out of the ordinary. Peacemaker has kind of a Spanish or Italian sound to it, I haven't really decided yet. I think it sounds Spanish, but then Billie starts singing "Vendetta / Sweet vendetta" which I know is Italian. Either way, it's an awesome song! Little Girl starts off sounding Italian. It kind of reminds of the Godfather. I'm not sure what type of music next; it may still be Italian, but it sounds like something else to me. I can't quite think of it, but it's something European. Once again, it's stupendous no matter what!

If you want to, you can listen to the new album right here. Honestly, I think it's my favorite album yet! You should definitely give it a listen as long as you're ears can handle a couple f-bombs!

Monday, May 4, 2009


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After my friends constantly bugging me about it, I decided to run track this year. I'm glad they did, because it has been an awesome experience! At first I was a little hesitant to try it, but I'm glad I decided to. My friends have all ran the last two years, so I decided to give it a shot. I almost did last year, but for some reason, I didn't. I wish I had though, because it has been a blast!

The first few weeks of it weren't as fun. The season hadn't officially started, but there was conditioning for people who wanted to get into shape before the season. Being in horrible shape, I decided to go to the conditioning. It was pretty fun, but once the season started, it was a lot better! The first week was pretty much pure conditioning. The distance runners ran a few miles every day while the sprinters worked on, well, sprinting! I decided to go with the sprinters so I could run hurdles. I really like hurdles because they're not just about how fast you are. It takes getting the form down. Not being as fast as some of the other people on the track team, this is probably my favorite event.

However, two meets out of three into the season, I still haven't run the hurdles at a meet. You're probably thinking, "Dude, if you haven't made them yet, why keep trying?" Well, the thing is I should have been running them at at least the last meet. The first one there's no way I should have. I had strep the first couple days of the week while they took timings, and I still wasn't feeling great the day of the meet. I would have done awful. The next meet I think I should have though. My uncle who ran hurdles in college came and helped me get the form down. I improved my time quite a bit. That day I asked the coach if he would be taking timings, and he said probably not. Not wanting to tire out my legs, I took off for the day. Turns out he did take timings, so I missed out that meet. He did a couple practice runs the day before the meet, and I honestly had a better time than a few of the people who ran them. Hopefully I'll get to run them this meet!

I really have loved track though. At both the meets, all I've run is the 800. That's two times around the track, and translates to about 1/2 mile. The first meet I was still recovering from strep. I ran it in 3:08, which isn't that great. The next week, I was feeling a ton better. I ran it in 2:53, which was 15 seconds faster than the week before. I haven't ran the mile in a while, so I think I'm going to run the 800 again, the mile, and hopefully the hurdles at the next meet! I really want to make this one count, since it's the last meet!

Overall, I am so glad the I ran track this year! If I had known I would have had such a good time running track a couple years ago, I would have done it in 7th and 8th grade as well. Most of the time, I'm just talking with friends. On top of that, I've met new people and gotten in better shape. It's been a great experience!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music Today

Hey everyone! This is my entry for the Change My World Essay Contest. If you want to read it, go for it! Any tips before I submit it would be much appreciated! :)


If I could change one thing about the world, it would be the music that people listen to. Music has been proven to have an effect on people. It can change you for the better or for the worse. Today, the popular music that people listen to has horrible messages. There are songs that swear just about every line, there are songs that talk about the "positives" of drugs, fighting, and sex, and there are even songs about killing people. That's not how music used to be. People used to sing about things that are positive and uplifting. There's still music like that out there, but it's hard to find when everyone's listening to whatever's at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

One of the reasons that I think music today is so bad is because we have lowered our standards over time. Back in the 1950s, Elvis Presley's dance moves were considered vulgar. One man threatened to have him arrested if he shook his body at all while on stage. By today's standards, that would be nothing. You probably wouldn't make it today if all you did on stage was shake your hips a little bit. Over time, people accepted it. One thing lead to another, and eventually society started accepting dance moves that really are vulgar.

Lyrics to songs have also become more and more explicit over the years. In 1970, John Lennon released his song Working Class Hero which used the f-word. It was banned by radio stations, and a senator in Washington D.C. threatened to sue after hearing it on the radio. Like dance moves, lyrics started getting worse. More topics and words became acceptable. A few weeks ago, my friend was listening to a song on his iPod. He counted how many times it used the f-word. In four minutes, there were forty f-bombs. If you do the math, that's one every six seconds. Really, that is pretty dang bad.

Another thing that has changed is live shows. Back in 1969, the Woodstock Festival took place. It was advertised as “3 Days of Peace & Music”. That’s exactly what it was. People attended the festival to see their favorite bands and just have fun. In 1994 and 1999, they tried to recreate the festival. Woodstock ‘94 was advertised as “2 More Days of Peace & Music”, but it was far from this. While the original Woodstock was remembered as being three days of peace and music, Woodstock ’99 was remembered for violence, fires, rape, and the eventual closing of the show. Sound like peace to you? Didn’t think so. Live shows have changed extensively, which has lowered the grade of music.

If people listened to music that is positive, uplifting, and has a good message, the world would be a better place. There are still artists out there with good music. Jack Johnson and John Mayer are probably my two favorite guitarists. They both sing songs that are inspirational and have great messages. One of my favorite Jack Johnson songs is Better Together. Instead of singing about getting drunk at a strip-bar, he sings about friendship. If everyone would give good music a chance, the world would be a better place. Bob Marley believed that you could literally cure racism and hate by injecting music and love into people’s lives. I don’t think he was to far off.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Apache Trail

Ok, I know I said that I would be writing about my bands again this week, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. I had to write this for science, so I’m going to use it for my blog today. For our term project, we had to go on two field trips to an educational place. My first one was about the Grand Canyon and this one is about the Apache Trail in Arizona. You really don't have to read this... It will probably be pretty boring for your. But if you do choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!


While we were in Arizona, we also went to the Apache Trail. It was a cool experience. We got to see a ghost town, learn about the Saguaro Cactus, and see the Superstition Mountains. Overall, I was glad we stopped there.

In the morning, we drove about a half hour past Phoenix. Our first stop on the Apache Trail was the ghost town. Back in the 1800s, they found gold in that area. Everyone rushed in to get rich. After a few years, it turned out that there was no more gold, and the city was abandoned. Today, it is a popular tourist destination. There are a couple of restaurants, a place to get your picture taken, a church, and occasional gun fights. They aren’t real fights, but it was pretty cool to see.

While we were in the ghost town, we had some questions about the Saguaro Cacti that they have in Arizona. They really are an amazing plant. They can grow to be more than twenty-tall. The thing that’s really amazing about them though is how long it takes them to grow. We were talking to one of the workers at the ghost town, and he said that some of them can live to be 300 years old! Just to grow the first arm, it takes 75 years. That’s a long time!

The Superstition Mountains were really cool. My dad said that they are used in a lot of western movies. It makes sense. They have a western look to them and they are beautiful. We didn’t have time to hike to the top that day, but I would have loved to. The view must have been breath taking. We did get to drive around them though. We got out at a lake on one side of them and just got to enjoy the surroundings.

Our trip along the Apache Trail was a great one. Not only did we have a blast, but we also learned a few things about Arizona. I still can’t believe those cacti. They are protected, so they can’t be moved or destroyed without the permission of the government. But 300 years... I still can’t believe that! It’s truly amazing!

If you are ever in the Phoenix area, I strongly recommend that Apache Trail. People of all ages will have fun there. Kids will get a kick out of the ghost town, and parents will love just being there.