Monday, July 30, 2007

Come Original

WEQZ Fest was tonight at SPAC, feauturing a slew of bands including TV On the Radio, The Urgency, The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello), Matisyahu, and 311. Awesome show.

The main reason I went, besides low ticket prices, was to see Tom Morello perform--something that seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That man is very intelligent, besides being a ridiculously amazing guitar player for two very influential rock bands of our time (Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave). Now he is pursuing a solo career with a political purpose. He wants to raise political awareness about our current situation, and he's using music to communicate. Check out his single, "The Road I Must Travel."

A big surprise, I found a band that I really appreciate. I did not think I would come out of this festival with a new band in my head, but Matisyahu really stuck with me. They have a different, edgy sound: like Sublime mixed with the Roots. The lead singer looks like an Orthodox Jew (not characteristic of someone who is the lead singer of a band), and he raps, beat-boxes, and sings really well. The guitarist really knows how to play too. They have a fresh sound, different than other bands that try to make it by mimicking other popular bands. Listen to Matisyahu live--they're really, really good.

A thought that I had tonight: you really know how musically talented a band is when you hear them live. Musicians who are brilliant can really jam out and take pre-existing songs to new levels. They can bridge their songs together really well because they have a knack for understanding melodies and music. They can go off on a five minute solo, taking the song to new heights and getting a rise out of the audience. Playing live is pretty gustsy for a band, for real talent is exposed on the spot. Some bands are incredible live performances, perhaps better than recorded on a CD track. Matisyahu really impressed me in this way. They encouraged my thought.

311 put on a good show, but they seemed to be on the latter side of my argument above. It seemed as though they focused on playing their singles; each song was isloated and would end as soon as the song "should" end on its track. Each song was broken up, not coasting from one song to the next. It just seemed very rehearsed and focused on crowd pleasing.

In their defense, are popular bands stuck in that situation, like 311? Don't they have to play certain singles that their fans come to see them for? Even though I think they have to (and they must get sick of playing them over and over again), they could get creative and manipulate their songs. They could change them, mix them up, or add a slight variation. It's not the best situation for artists like that, for if they don't play their singles, their audience will be upset because they came to belt out their favorite hits, but if they do play them, they're play selection is only limited to the same songs they repeatedly play on the tour. Is there a way out?

311 did impress me though; they performed a stunt that I have never seen live. The drummer went on a ridiculous solo as the other members stepped off stage. Then each member returned with his own large drum, snare, and symbol. The whole band jammed out to a drum session, going completely percussion-happy. I thought it was extremely talented and unique. The crowd went absolutely wild, and it provided for an energetic transition into "Flowing." I wouldn't have minded if they just jammed on the drums the whole night. Sometimes just free-flowing music on stage is better than singing along to singles, in my opinion.

I saw some really cool jobs there too, just for a quick additional comment. Which job would you like to have at the venue? You could be a backstage manager, camera crew (video or snapshots), sound/lights guy, tuner, security, vendor, etc. There was one guy there who managed the camera, probably for a local paper or station. He looked so cool, and he had this VIP pass. I was really envious. Now that's a sick job.

That's my concert review for the night. I have other concerts I'm going to this summer that I will most likely post a comment about: Allman Brothers, Incubus, Dave, Velvet Revolver/Alice in Chains, and Hootie/Counting Crows. So stay tuned for some summer concert reviews...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


What do you watch, or like to watch?

I was thinking about this question this weekend when I'm up at my lake house with my friends. We're sitting out in front of the fire and the lake, and I love that this is the scenery that I choose to watch--not some television program that is meaningless to me, something that progresses my thinking and gets me to interact socially.

When I'm not here, which is most of the time, I have my front and back yard to ponder, which is really just a set of trees and backyards or a housing-track development. Normally I'm watching people talk and live in my house, which I enjoy watching a lot too. During the day I watch people work in a business setting and interact with strangers in the city (a wild experience for me too). Soon, I will watch classrooms, but it all changes depending on where we are and what we're doing. I just wonder if it somehow has something to do with our psyche, how we think of things or how it effects our moods and opinions.

I feel more calm this weekend in this setting--the environment must be key. I'm just curious as to what other people watch when they're inside/outside, at work/at home, etc. What are your constant watching observations?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


A few weeks ago, I posed this question in my away message: if you could be any kind of artist, which would you choose to be?

You could choose anything from dancers to singers, painters to musicians, writers to mimes, etc. I got a mix of answers--a couple writers, one musician and a dancer (Jenna). I think it's interesting to see what talent one would love to be an expert in; obviously we all see what I would choose...

The idea came up again to me when I was driving home from work today. I was listening to Dave Matthew's Everyday (yesterday was Live at Red Rocks), and I was thinking about how amazing it is that he can write music so well. Not just music even, but Dave writes incredible poetic lyrics. He has multiple artistic creativities (how fortunate!); don't we all wish that we could be so lucky.

Would we want to be incredible painters who leave deep imprints on their viewers like Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, or Escher?

Would we want to be amazing vocalists who give you goosebumps when they sing powerful music lyrics that make you feel the emotion evoked from the words like Natalie Merchant, Chris Martin, Adam Duritz, Norah Jones, Anthony Kiedis, or Rusted Root's ensemble?

Would we want to be ridiculous drummers, like Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters or the talented boy who rocked out to Carlos Santana's rendition of "Soul Sacrifice" live at Woodstock?

Would we want to captivate our readers with our incredible precision of the everyday world or a fantasy world with our powerful word selections and gripping stories, like Khaled Hosseini, Ernest Hemingway, Anthony Burgess, Dave Eggers, etc?

How would you like to creatively express yourself to the world? If you could have any talent, which would you choose?

The Crucible

Today, I finished Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Come next fall, I'll have to teach it at Marathon High School to 11th grade students. I thought that when I read it, I would be hit with instant lesson ideas or interesting activities that I could include in the classroom. Nothing really jumped out at me. I haven't really given it much time, I still have a month or so before I really need to get going on this, but I'm trying to slowly discover what I can do with this text.

Has anyone read The Crucible and has ideas that would be fun/interesting for a high school class setting?

I'm just seeing if there is anyone out there who learned it in school and remembers fun activities or someone who has read it and has ideas for how to make the book come alive to uninterested students.

I want to go on basic themes of morality, conformity, justice, power, and perhaps love, because the central love triangle in the play is similar to something that anyone in high school would encounter. Anyway, send me some ideas if you have any. I'd really appreciate it.

Lacking Inspiration

There must be some time when we all falter in the area of inspiration or motivation to do what we love to do--in my case, do something creatively productive like reading, writing, or discussing. But, there are times when some outside factor causes us to not want to do what we love (i.e. social problems, "bad days," or physical illnesses).

This week I acquired a cold from the boat, and I was pretty miserable because I am a baby when it comes to diseases. Anyway, I lacked any interest to post on the blog or write anything, or even do anything whatsoever besides plopping myself on the couch or blowing my nose.

Physical illnesses really drain my creativity and energy out of me, but this whole situation made me think: what else drains my creativity or energy besides sickness? This question is meant to make you, the reader, think about yourself--what drains you from doing what you love or from how you creatively express yourself.

Obviously, social and emoitional problems with friends, family, loved ones, or peers in work or school-related situations really suck the energy out of me. Long assignments at school make me not want to associate myself with anything with writing (which hurts my creative drive during the school year), but I am trying to get over that so I do not silence my creative energy inside.

So, I have already posed my question. What makes you creatively drained?

Bank Rant

Is it just me, or is it that when you walk into a bank, you warp into some time zone that transports you back to 1990? Why do all banks sport technology dating back to when I was in kindergarten? Is anyone with me here?

I was in the bank today, and there was a pretty decent wait which allowed me time to analyze my surroundings. I just found it very amusing that so many other places of business have made significant efforts to keep up with the times and changing technology, but banks have made no efforts whatsoever to keep up with that. They use clunky, beige-colored machines that made gadget-like noises which probably sounded really sophisticated back in the 90s. I am just surprised that they are still in the technology stone age.

Am I alone with my bank observation?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mexico Pictures

Here is my narrating slide show... I hope it's not too long for you, or too redundant.

The resort, with a nice little tiki swim-up bar...

The beach at sunset...

My Mom and I with a Mariachi band...

Hangin' out...

The city of Puerto Vallarta...

My Dad and an insane tree...

An elementary school in a local, rural town...

Scenes from town...

Iguana in the pool...

Poolside, reading and relaxing...

Michael and I...

My Dad and I at a rural restaurant...

A peacoack...

Sand sculpture of a god...

The mercado...

Cool sculpture in the mercado...

They are very religious. Check out all of the churches...

Inside the church--I love the yellow...

Aerial view of a church in the city...

Lastly, the tequila experience: the blue agave plant...

...fries in a rock pit...

...becomes these circular pits...

...which go into these devices...

...and become tequila bottles...

Let me know what you think. Comments or anything at all...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Life Is Beautiful Around the World

Upon returning from my reiki session about two weeks ago, I discovered this beautiful sunset on my drive home. Reiki, as defined on Wikipedia, is an energy reading session, more or less. I ran into my house to take this picture--breathtaking.

After traveling the past few weeks, I've seen some beautiful places, but some incredible sights are also seen just around where you live. This picture was taken from my driveway, but if I had been stuck inside my house just watching TV, I never would have seen this. There are so many beautiful and scenic places even around where we live; we just need to explore them.

I will end with two stanzas from The Red Hot Chili Peppers' lyrics to "All Around the World," which I think sums up my feelings about this picture.

I know I know for sure
That life is beautiful around the world
I know I know its you
You say hello and then I say I do

Around the world
I feel dutiful
Take a wife
cause life is beautiful

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chris Cornell

Happy Birthday to Chris Cornell, who recently turned 43 over the weekend (July 20, 1964 to be exact).

I couldn't believe how old he is when I heard it, but it's not surprising. You just don't think about how old your favorite musicians are when you hear them play. It's like they're immortal or something.

His age is understandable though, from playing with Soundgarden back in the 90s to Audioslave as of late. Now he has a new album coming out, which I am so excited to hear. He's leaving a deep imprint on rock of our time; I am very content that he continues to keep creating and creating, evolving and evolving throughout the years.

Check out this old picture of him from back when he was in Soundgarden:

I discovered Soundgarden when I was in college, around when Audioslave was becoming popular. I was hit with both of his bands at the same time, as I explored his musical genius. Soundgarden ranges from excellent songs with "Outshined," "Blow Up the Outside World," "Burden in My Hand," "Pretty Noose," "Spoon Man," "Black Hole Sun," "Fell On Black Days," and "Just Like Suicide," just to name a few. Audioslave adventured into a new realm, courtesy of the guitar brilliance of Tom Morello, with songs like "Like a Stone," "Cochise," "Show Me How to Live," "I Am the Highway," "Your Time Has Come," "Be Yourself," "Doesn't Remind Me," "Revelations," or "Dandelion."

Which songs do you personally enjoy from either Soundgarden or Audioslave? How do you feel about your favorite artists becoming older, but they are still so young to you in your mind?

One of my absolute favorite songs (especially by Soundgarden) is "Black Hole Sun." I'll end this post with the lyrics.

In my eyes
In disguise
As no one knows
Hides the face
Lies the snake
The sun
In my disgrace
Boiling heat
Summer stench
Beneath the black
The sky looks dead
Call my name
Through the cream
And Ill hear you
Scream again

Black hole sun
Wont you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Wont you come
Wont you come

Cold and damp
Steal the warm wind
Tired friend
Times are gone
For honest men
And sometimes
Far too long
For snakes
In my shoes
A walking sleep
And my youth
I pray to keep
Heaven send
Hell away
No one sings
Like you

Hang my head
Drown my fear
Till you all just


So, I've never been a huge Monopoly fan, but I played more games of Monopoly this week than I ever have in my life (as I mentioned in my previous blog). When we were setting up a game one time, the inside of the box had all these interesting facts posted on the inside. Immeidiately, I decided they were blog-worthy.

--The creator of Monopoly was unemployed, but now I am sure that rakes in millions of dollars since over 250 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide.

--Monopoly was rejected in 1933 by Parker Brothers, but was picked up shortly after.

--The spaces on the board are taken from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

--The three most-landed-on properties are Illinois Avenue, “GO” and the B&O Railroad.

--Monopoly is licensed in 80 countries and published in 26 languages. It's even published in Braille.

--The character's names on the board: Mr. Monopoly is the name of the MONOPOLY® man, the character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird, and Officer Edgar Mallory sends him to jail.

--Craziest games according to this website:

--On a Train:
In 1967 while finishing off a $2 million train robbery, the trains hijackers played a game of Monopoly® with the stolen money.

--On a Ceiling:
Two University of Michigan students painted an 8 x 8 foot Monopoly® board on their dormitory ceiling and played the game using helium-filled balloons as tokens.

--In a Tree:
In Louisville, Kentucky, six teenagers played in shifts to set the first "treetop" Monopoly® record.

Seven Colorado teenagers dug a backyard cave and played the first recorded underground Monopoly® game.

--On a Mammoth Board:
One of the largest Monopoly® games was played on a board which was laid out on the streets and sidewalks at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Players cast huge foam dice from the third floor fire escape and they were informed of their moves via walkie-talkie and messengers on bicycles.

Think about how the creator was unemployed when he created the most popular board game of all time. That's encourgaing for anyone who has creative ideas and inventions in mind... Imagine if he had just given up and sat on his idea. That's why we should always explore our creative imaginations.

I was most surprised that this board game has been around for over 75 years, and it still is one of the most widely recognized and played board games, not just in this country, but worldwide. Everyone has played it, and either loves it or hates it. We have memories playing it with family members and friends, whether over a matter of hours or days.

For Monopoly stories, I remember Ang telling me about playing with her father. He talked her into a bad deal, which she accepted since she trusts her father, and then cried later when she realized the bad deal. That story makes me laugh.

Anyway, share any good Monopoly stories here. It's an incredible game.


I have returned from our trip out to sea. I will definitely post some pictures from our extravaganza as soon as I get up enough energy to upload the files onto my laptop. I still owe Mexico too, so look forward to a nice slide show.

I played more Monopoly and Scrabble, heard more of Outkast's "Hey Ya," and hung out in the sun more than I ever have in my whole life.

It's nice to see your whole family in one place at one time and see how each person is growing--especially the younger ones who are maturing and becoming his/her own individual person. I enjoy getting away and devoting my time to my family because, I have learned, family is so important to one's life. Blah blah, enough preaching.

Watch out for some new freckles and stories.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stay Tuned

Just to inform all of you (whoever may read), I will be traveling with my extended family for the next week and change. Keep posted afterwards though--I love my readers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tie Dye

My family is going away on a trip within the week, and I got this brainstorm to give everyone a personal present. My first idea was to tie dye a shirt for everyone. After some manipulating and talking into, my mom complied. So, over the past two days, my mom and I tie dyed sixteen shirts in various sizes. That's a lot of work.

I love the process of making tie dye--physically creating a shirt that you're going to wear that is so unique, something that will never match up to anyone else's clothes that you'll pass. You can't manufacture the same one in a department store. They're like fingerprints, each having their own distinct mark.

I asked my brother if he was excited to wear tie dye, and he said no. When I pressed him for why, he says that tie dye says something about you; it gives you an image of a "hippie stoner," one that he does not want to associate with. I guess that the tie dye image does go with that stereotype, but I never wear it because I want people to think of me like that. Am I ignorant?

I wear a lot of tie dye, and I do it because I like it--not because I want to put out this hippie image of myself. I just like to wear unique clothes, clothes that are not too similar with everyone around me. I don't like to be another white sheep in the herd.

When you see someone wearing tie dye, do you immediately stereotype them or think something about them based on what they're wearing? What are your tie-dye thoughts?

Here's a quick tie dye slide show from my pictures:

Andy's tapestry

Our tapestry from junior and senior year

Kelly's guitar box

Kitchen tapestry senior year

My mom and brother dancing before a prom of his

Me and She

E and Kelly (incomplete trio)

Lastly, me, courtesy of Jenna DeMayo


Browsing the summer reading section, I was captivated by a book on display called Sophie's World, which is a novel by Jostein Gaardner about the history of philosophy. It was more expensive than I wanted to spend, so I didn't buy it. The following week, when I went to Ithaca's Book Sale, I saw it there for 10 cents, and I had to get it. So, I'm reading it right now, and I love it because I am constantly learning new things as I weave in and out of a story.

First of all, a "philo-sopher" really means "one who loves wisdom." Food for thought. Use it to sound smart some time.

"Sopho-more" means "wise fool"--makes sense. See the common root?

Another word that originatates from philosophy is "cynical," which comes from a group of philosophers called the Cynics. "The Cynics believed that people did not need to be concerned about their own health. Even suffering and death should not disturb them. Nor should they let themselves be tormented by concern for other people's woes. Nowadays, the term 'cynical' and 'cynicism' have come to mean a sneering disbelief in human sincerity, and they imply insensitivity to other people's suffering."

SOCRATES--The only interesting one to quickly mention in my blog because it refers to Socratic Circles which we use in the classroom. In Socratic Circles, students ask questions to formulate their own answers, sitting in a circle.

"The essential nature of Socrates' art lay in the fact that he did not appear to want to instruct people. On the contrary he gave the impression of one desiring to learn from those who spoke with. So instead of lecturing like a traditional schoolmaster, he discussed."

"Socrates saw his task as helping people to 'give birth' to the correct insight, since real understanding must come from within."

Socratic irony refers to his interactions with people: he would play dumber than he was and ask people questions to let them talk through the answers and arrive at their own conclusions. He would ask you questions in return, leading you to a conclusion that he intended to lead you to from the initial question. Isn't this what we want to do with Socratic Circles?

Anyway, Socrates was a portly, ugly man with a large nose--so the book describes. He ended up dying from his interactions with people and "wild views." He was sentenced to death by a committee, and his death sentence was drinking a cup of poison in front of a crowd. How crazy is that--picking up your own cup and drinking what you know will kill you? That is strength.

Transitioning, the philosopher in the book describes thinking about philosophy and the world like a rabbit in the hat of a magician (just think about this paragraph):

"A lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity as when a magician suddenly pulls a rabbit out of a hat which has just been shown to them empty. In the case of the rabbit, we know the magician has tricked us. What we would like to know is just how he did it. But when it comes to the world it's somewhat different. We know that the world is not all sleight of hand and deception because here we are in it, we are a part of it. Actually, we are the white rabbit being pulled out of the hat. The only difference between us and the white rabbit is that the rabbit does not realize it is taking part in a magic trick. Unlike us. We feel we are a part of something mysterious and we would like to know how it all works.

PS. As far as the white rabbit is concerned, it might be better to compare it with the whole universe. We who live here are microscopic insects existing deep down in the rabbit's fur. But philosophers are always trying to climb up the fine hairs of the fur in order to stare right into the magician's eyes."

I love the analogy. That's why I love to ask questions, to always ask questions because we can never receive enough answers.


I miss my friends this morning. It's strange: this morning I just wake up with a song in my head that reminds me of them, and then I'm filled with this sudden nostalgia.

Sometimes late at night, if I'm really bored during the summer and resort to some stupid activity like watching TV or talking online, I think about the nights we used to spend at school. Like the picture above, I miss just sitting on the cheap kitchen floor, drinking wine, and talking about nothing, but about everything. I miss those deep conversations that promote more thinking for the morning after. I miss laughing really hard until you think that you're abs are getting an extreme workout. Those are my girls.

I woke up with Pearl Jam's "Unemployable" in my head--who knows why. I'll include the lyrics below just for a good time I guess, but the song reminds me of living in my junior year house on Tompkins where we would also have the same conversations and hang-out nights. It also reminds me of our road trip to Toronto to see Pearl Jam live. What a gorgeous city to explore. What memories.

He's got a big gold ring which says Jesus Saves
and it's dented from the punch thrown at work that day
when he smashed the metal locker where he kept his things
after the big boss say You best be on your way

So this life is sacrifice
oh yeah
jumping trains just to survive

Well his wife and kids asleep but he's still awake
and his brain weighs the curse of thirty bills unpaid
gets up, lights a cigarette, he's grown to hate
thinking if he can't sleep, how will he ever dream again?

So this life is sacrificed
oh yeah
to a stranger's bottom line
oh yeah

I've seen the light, oho oh ohhhh oho oh ohhhh
I'm scared alive
nearly dead
oho oh ohhhh oho oh ohhhh
I've seen the light
Still alive

So this life is sacrificed
oh yeah
Was a dream that had to die
oh yeah

I've seen the light, oho ohhh ohhhhh oho ohhh ohhhhh
I'm scared alive
Near to death
oho ohhh ohhhhh oho ohhh ohhhhh

I've seen the light
scared alive
oho ohhh ohhhhh oooohoooo
I'm here to die
here to die
scared alive
Here to die
Here to die
Scared of life

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Power Outages

Is anyone else experiencing extreme power outages across their counties? Maybe if you are, you aren't reading this blog, so disregard my stupidity.

I was able to come online to check my email and blog really quick, so I am taking advantage of the situation before it slips away. It's crazy to see how much we rely on electricity. You really take small things for granted, like turning on the light when you go to the bathroom or being cooled off by a fan or air conditioner. Our lives revolve around so much power that it seems crazy when it goes off. People get so angry and frustrated, but this is how it used to be years and years ago. Some countries are still like this today. Why do we get so angry when the power goes out?

When the power went out, my dad and I decided to take a bike ride around the neighborhood. Everyone was outside. But it's so hot and humid outside that no one would normally be outside. I wish people spent more time outside, not just when they depended on it for light and had no other choice but to resort to being outside.

It's funny just to see our reliance and how people react to such drastic changes. It's like the world stops when the power is gone. What's not using some sort of electricity anymore? It's weird to think of life without it. But that's why I like camping. You get away from all the electricity and the noise and return so a more primitive state. I think it's good to get reconnected to those roots from time to time so you don't become lost in the ignorant bliss of our industrial lives.

So, keep cool and dodge the power outages. Light some candles and enjoy a break from the noise.

Send a Song

I was thinking about this in my car on the way home from work today in the extreme stifling heat...

You know how you send messages through IM or texting? You just want someone to receive a message, just a couple words or an idea. Well, I wish that there was a way to send someone a song. I wish, somehow, that I could give someone a song.

I was inspired today because I was listening to a 90s pop song "Closer to Free" by the BoDeans. The song may seem foreign, but if you heard it, I know you would recognize it. They probably played it on a few episodes of Friends.

"Closer to Free" is such a happy song that reminds me of the 90s, kind of reminiscing on the past. I had the greatest inkling to send the song to someone, but we have no means to do that. Wouldn't that be cool though? If I wanted to cheer someone up, I could send them a cool song, or if someone heard a song and it reminded them of me (or vice versa) you could literally send them the song. It's nice for someone to type it, but actually hearing the song provokes so much more feeling.

I think it would be cool to send one song a day to someone, both showing each other new songs that either of them might not know. Just an idea.

Hidden Nerve

When I was in Mexico, I read a book that was given to me as a present called Writers on Writing. It was a book that SUNY Cortland used for a Professional Writing class. The book is composed of many scholarly articles from published authors on writing. I read the book from cover to cover, annotating like a wild fiend. It really inspired me to do something more than just blog here or journal in my out-dated purple spiral.

This was the first essay, one of my favorites, written by Andre Aciman about the hidden nerve:

“Don’t all writers have a hidden nerve, call it a secret chamber, something incredibly theirs, which stirs their prose and makes it tick and turn this way or that, and identifies them, like a signature, though it lurks far deeper than their style, or their voice or other telltale antics?

"A hidden nerve is what every writer is ultimately about. It’s what all writers wish to uncover when writing about themselves in this age of the personal memoir. And yet it’s also the first thing that every writer learns to sidestep, to disguise, as though this nerve were a deep and shameful secret that needs to be swathed in many sheaths. Some don’t even know they’ve screened this nerve from their own gaze, let alone another’s. some crudely mistake confession for introspection. Others, more cunning perhaps, often tempting shortcuts and roundabout passageways, the better to mislead everyone. Some can’t tell whether they’re writing to strip or hide that secret nerve.”

Think about that. Personally, just using this space to expand my own thoughts, as much as I like to be sullen or darker when I write, I think that humor suits my writing the best. I think I need to switch my writing with an eye on that hidden nerve, because I really hadn't discovered how "funny" some of my writing was until I read it out loud to others.

When I was in tenth grade, we had to write a speech about the person we admired the most. Of course, I wrote about my grandmother. During one part of my speech, I mentioned how I loved how my grandmother was always there for me, for she got my head stuck out of the refrigerator when I was three. I was michevious, always trying to search or figure things out. Anyway, the class laughed really hard, to the point where I had to pause and wait for silence to continue. I was so surprised; I didn't think that I could be funny. I didn't think that that was funny. I was also encountered with a similar occurence during my Teaching Writing class last semester. I didn't think I was funny.

Anyway, I'm not trying to flatter myself. I think we all should embrace something positive about our writing because we are usually critical more than supportive. Positive feedback is always good to hear, just as criticism is. If anyone would like to comment on anything positive/negative you've noticed with my own writing, I would really appreciate it.

But, what is your hidden nerve?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Live Earth

7/7/07--Live Earth.

I missed watching the shows live. I am really disappointed that I didn't see them live on TV as they actually happened.

Live Earth, a worldwide concert raising awareness for global warming, hosted free concerts with famous musicians to play at different venues all around the world.

In New York: Smashing Pumpkins, Kelly Clarkson, AFI, Bon Jovi, Akon, John Mayer, Kieth Urban, Alicia Keys, Fall Out Boy, KT Tunstall, Taking Back Sunday, Ludacris, Melissa Etheridge, Kanye West, and Dave Matthews Band.

In Australia: Jack Johnson, Crowded House, John Butler Trio, Wolfmother, etc.

In Japan: Linkin Park, Xzibit, and Rhiana.

In Germany: Shakira, Snoop Dogg, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Cornell, etc.

In the UK: Genesis, Razorlight, Snow Patrol, Damien Rice, David Gray, Black Eyed Peas, Duran Duran, John Legend, Corrine Bailey Rae, Keane, Metallica, Spinal Tap, James Blunt, Beastie Boys, Madonna, Foo Fighters, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

In Brazil: Macy Gray, Pharrell Williams, and Lenny Kravitz.

I think it's incredible that we're using music to promote awareness. Al Gore is doing such an amazing thing: reaching the public about global warming through video documentary and nationwide concerts. Al Gore for president.

Check out the website or some live footage; it's really good.

Of all the concerts listed above, which one would you have wanted to witness? (My vote is in the UK--you can't beat Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, David Gray, and a little Madonna or Metallica to really kick the mood).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Time Keeps On Slippin' into the Future

Quick thought from the car: I was driving back from the lake, listening to our classic rock station, PYX106, and "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band came on. Normally I don't intensively listen to the lyrics, but I must be in a pensive mood.

The line reads, "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future."

Wouldn't time be slipping into the past, since you're passing the time?

I asked my dad, and he says that he thinks the lyrics are right because if you think of a child, you look at him when he's older and think "where did the time go?" The time that passed was the future, once the present, now the past. The child's years slip into the future because they age; their years lost into the "future."

I see both ways, but which do you think is the most accurate?

Saturday, July 7, 2007


No pictures from Mexico yet, but I have returned. Viva Mexico.

I just want to use this space here to sort through many of my thoughts that I went through while in a resort crowded with gluttonous Americans and native Mexican workers.

First of all, the physical landscape is breathtaking. The wildlife is incredible; it's like walking through a tropical location so distant from Upstate New York. Around the resort, different variations of peacocks would just walk around, iguanas would slowly perch by a rock or swim in the water, stray cats would loiter around for some spare food, and so many different birds were constantly circling around the premises. Not to mention, the trees and flowers were unbelievable. I've never seen anything so gorgeous and healthy.

The weather was extremely hot. Perhaps not something I would like to live in day-to-day. Could anyone live in a hot, humid environment that always ranged above 90 degrees? It was just too much for me, someone whose skin is prone to burning and freckling...

No bugs. No mosquitos. That's a dream for me. I wish we had that in Upstate New York. Our weather here would be a dream if we had no bugs to eat you alive when you sit outside at night or in the afternoon, or long, extreme winters that last through March and April. Yuck. Otherwise I love the weather here.

Back to my Mexican commentary: I realized why so many foreign countries hate us so much. I came into contact with so many American strangers who were very pompous and arrogant, very gluttonous and self-centered. Their attitudes came off when they would interact with the resort staff, which made me want to slap them right across the face.

One instance which I think clearly illustrates my point: at the swim-up bar, a bunch of people were sitting at stools waiting for their turn with the bartender. A young boy swims up to the bar and sits down. Both bartenders are in the middle of making drinks. "EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!" The boy keeps yelling at the bartenders, wanting to be served immediately. Of course, a bartender goes to him to silence his rude screams, and he does not ask for his drink, he commands it: "Strawberry/Pina Colada Virigin Daquiri." If I was the bartender, it would make me sick to my stomach to wait on someone who treated me like such an animal. I also saw this same kid at a restaurant later in the week. He came with a small list of food that he wanted (four items with lasagna at the top of the list), and handed his list to the server at the buffet line whose job was to simply just cut meat. It was French night. When the server told him that what was on the buffet line and menu was all, he stomped back to his table in a fit. He filled his plate with more food than he could eat and wasted the food in return.

I saw many more instances of food wasting and ill treatment to the resort staff. Now think about the staff: these people do not have much money and work full days at the resort. We would go in for an early lunch, and they would be closing by dinner time working almost 7 days a week in the extreme heat. Some of them would act in a resentful way towards us, when I would ask for something, I could feel their contempt against me (not specifically, but a guest like me), for I know they are acting out of defense for most of us are conceited, rude, and ignorant of their lives. I didn't take it personally.

I really got a feel for how they live when I traveled through the downtown city one day, and another day we traveled through the rural area. I am not admitting that I know how their lives are. I don't at all. I can infer from my observations how severely different we have it from them. Their battered housing conditions alone made me feel so greatful for the house I currently live in. It makes me feel selfish when I would gawk at some of the student housing I rejected at college. Perhaps I am a bit snooty in some areas.

You could tell how desperate they are for many when you would walk through the streets and they would just hound you to buy anything. You couldn't walk three feet without someone yelling "senorita!" or "miss, miss, some jewelery for you?" or "silver, silver!" It was constant.

Even when we would sit at a small restaurant on the beach at the resort, we were elevated on a deck but were kind of fenced in from the actual beach itself, and vendors would walk along the deck and yell at us from the beach. While we were eating, they were trying to sell us merchandise. Mostly jewelery. One woman asked me at least two times a day for one week if I wanted my hair braided. My long hair had dollar signs on it. I must have been asked dozens of times if I wanted my hair braided. I hated feeling the harassment from their haggling and yelling. I wanted to be left alone as I walked through their marketplaces and shops. The more yelling they did, the more I refused to buy anything. I understand why they're being so nagging, but it really turned me off. I ended up buying a couple items, but I bought them in stores where people left me alone. I learned that I take that for granted in any store I've been in. More or less, sales reps will leave you alone. They might greet you, but they won't literally follow you around the store, commenting on each item you slide your finger over or comment on to your mother.

In one shop, I picked up a small turtle with so many vibrant colors on it, and the woman working there scooted up behind me between my mother and I, took it out of my hand, and said "Would you like me to wrap this for you?" And I was like no, no... I walked out because I felt violated. She then chased me out of the store holding other items in her hand that I might want to buy. Eek.

They must be so aggressive because some vendors would work all day and get no sale. That must be so hard. Can you imagine working 8+ hours every day and returning with no money? That must stew their behavior.

I was so impressed with the natives' abilities to speak both English and Spanish. Why can't we do that here? I wish we could. I tried to speak Spanish down there, but I am only at the level of like a three year old. My brother and I tried, but it was difficult. We actually saw a toddler speak nasty Spanish, and it was a bit discouraging that someone so young just owned us in the language.

They learn to speak both languages at a young age, which I think that we should do in this country, especially since we're becoming more global and multicultural even within our own borders. We passed by a few elementary schools in rural Mexico, and I felt very fortunate for my own. They have tall walls surrounding the school with gates and bars on the windows to keep them in. It seemed very much like a prison, like they had to conceal them inside. They all wear thick uniforms in the hot weather. If American students have problems focusing once the weather turns nice, I can't imagine how these students behave. Kudos to Mexican teachers.

I also went to a tequila factory and saw how they actually make tequila from green or blue agave plants. It's such an interesting process. I love tequila, so this experience was amazing. We tried different flavors of tequila, from the original to almond, chocolate to mandarin orange. Mmm.

But, the cultures are vastly different. I'm glad I got to see another side of the world, giving me different viewpoints on different styles of life and even new perspectives on people in our country. It was a humbling experience, as I am sure that any trip to a different country is.

I just wish I spoke Spanish, too.

Sex and the City

I turned on the E! channel and I've already got two blog ideas right off the top of my head. A Sex and the City movie and Spice Girls returning.

HBO broadcasts some of the smartest, wittiest, realistic, monumental, and deep television series. I closely watch the majority of the programs they put out because they are very intelligent and say something greater about our world. They're not necessarily focusing on the quick laughs that don't plunge too deep beneath the surface like prime-time, half-hour, comedy shows. They make you think a little bit more than that.

Excellent programs include Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Entourage, Six Feet Under, Lucky Louie, Big Love, and John from Cincinnati.

I was a bit upset when Sex and the City and Six Feet Under ended, both bringing me to tears when I'm not one to cry over television or movies, but Sex and the City drew in more attention. It had a bigger fanbase, and audiences craved more.

The show grabbed me so much because it really dealt with honest issues facing females, especially in the sex arena, hence the name of the show. I loved that the premise of the show centered on a writer who would pensively sit at her laptop and write about her dilemmas. Even though some of the week's questions would seem a bit silly or worded in a corny way, I thought they were intelligent and true to life.

I heavily enjoy that the series is based off of a novel by Candace Bushnell, published in 1997. Check out the book that began the series on Wikipedia.

The series was so popular that fans were heavily upset about the end of the show. Even though I love the show, I think it was a good time to end. They were getting older, and the show should end on a high note (like Seinfeld did). Don't drag things out too much now. The finale was highly anticipated, and on that late Sunday night in college, I sat closely on dorm beds with my friends and cried at the ending with them. Shout out to Sheila. She was my Sex and the City buddy--we obsessed together. We love our HBO.

Everyone wanted to have a movie follow-up, which was actually in the works before Kim Catrall rejected the offer due to a lower money offer than Sarah Jessica Parker. Now, after a few years, they have finally settled on a Sex in the City Movie. Each actress has signed on the project (no word if the boys have signed on yet though), and filming should begin in the fall.

The movie is coming, but we'll have to wait. I can only hope that they don't butcher the series, that they don't ruin the series on a movie (which sometimes happens with TV-shows-turned-movie). Hopefully this will be as witty, clever, and hilarious as all other episodes and that it lives up to its hype. We'll be waiting.

Spice Girls

Wow... Speaking of reuniting bands at the bottom of my blog, I must have to mention that Spice Girls are returning to the stage.

Good lord. They really must need some cash.

Alright, teenage girls circa 1990s perhaps had some slight fanatacism with the band. I must admit, even though now I am not drawn to pop music, I was into the Spice Girls. I used to dance to their songs off of their CD Spice. Songs like "Wannabe," "Say You'll Be There," or "Who Do You Think You Are" made us dance. Songs like "2 Become 1" (which is extremely sexually explicit for young adolescent girls) made us sing slow and dramatic.

But can they come back? Do they really still have a fan base? They say they're coming back for the fans, but is this a good idea?

Put it this way: if you sold mega records to a specific crowd, ten years have passed, and you want some cash, would you sell out to earn back some more money? I think many people would. I think many people understand where Posh, Baby, Scary, Sporty, and Ginger Spice are coming from.

Now crazy Halloween costumes can return.

So, bad or good idea?