October 31, 2013

Day 159

Me as Malcolm Reynolds and my friend Davis as Spike! Whedonverse people right here!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I'm super excited because this is one of my favorite holidays, the others being Thanksgiving and Christmas... pretty much the last three months of the year are just amazing! Anyway, today was pretty cool. The AYS concert was not nearly as dreadful as I initially thought, and I had a great time with it. I think what really helped was that it was a new environment and a new stage on which to play, and that always excites me (because I'm young, and thus don't have much experience with this stuff; I'm sure that in like ten years I'll be like "good God people, why can't you just make the lighting right?") The concert itself was okay, and I got to get some of my English homework done for tomorrow.

So, Halloween! My school puts on a pretty good Halloween parade, in which both the Middle and Upper Schools come together and those in costume parade around the pavilion before dispersing for class, and it was pretty cool this year. Some friends of mine dressed up as Homestuck characters, others dressed as characters from Greece, which I have not seen, but apparently it's really popular, because like three girls dressed up as the same character, all of whom had not coordinated with each other. Aaron had this creepy clown mask and a fake exploded chest that was all zombie-like, and it was pretty badass! For myself, my costume was put together kinda last minute last night (we had all the material, but as is our way we naturally put off construction of the costume until the night before). Only three people knew who I was without me telling them, which just kinda makes me sad that no one has seen or heard of Firefly.

Started off the day with STAM, and we were all a buzz about not learning anything today... because it's Halloween, but we did get the introduction to our next unit. Aaron and I continue to doodle our awesome mural thing in my Math notebook, and today we created Octomus Prime (because, in Aaron's own words: "why not eight arms?")

Post was very good. It was about the only serious class today, and boy was it intense. We watched a documentary called Two Days in October about the Madison Wisconsin student protestors against the Dow Chemical company and the Battle of Ong Thanh. What I liked about this documentary, based on the book They Marched into Sunlight (which I now really want to read!), was that it showed both sides of each conflict: they had interviews with the 28th Regiment but also the Viet Cong generals, and they had interviews with some of the teachers and students of the Madison protests but then also had some of the police tell their side of the story. It was very powerful because it showed that the belligerents on both sides of each conflict are people, and that they have ideas and feelings and ideologies just as you and I do, and I thought that was a nice touch, and certainly one that is more often than not left behind to skew a conflicting issue one way or another.

Advanced English was nice today. We had a work day, and since I was mostly done with my play, I worked on revising it and then worked on inputting Davis' guitar tabs into my Phantom of the Opera Medley arrangement, just so I could have the complete set of what we did! We finally had Strings today, and we talked about our trip for Monday. On Monday, we're going to see the Santa Fe Symphony perform a pops concert of sorts. It's this "music and math" thing that they're putting on, but I'm calling it "Santa Fe Symphony performs Star Trek Through the Years and it's awesome!" So we talked about that, and then we played through this arrangement of the Hallelujah chorus for strings orchestra (obviously; we didn't sing it). It's okay, I guess. My teacher now wants parts for my concerto! So excited!

I'm surprised that I enjoyed that AYS performance so much tonight. The energy is I think what made it good. While I would have much preferred to be home handing out candy to little awesome cute costumed kids, I can appreciate the fact that we did a pretty kick-ass job at this gig, even though the audience was outright rude and needs to be burned for their rudeness (just kidding). Tomorrow, I head out early because Aaron has morning detention, and I figure I'd be a friend and go with him, because I try to be supportive of other people... in detention...

October 30, 2013

Day 158

There is something ecstatic about intelligent conversation, about engaging your mind in a discussion to the point where you actually think about the topic at hand long after the school day is over. Such happened today... really the whole day was full of thought-provoking discussions, interactions, and even just one-off interactions with teachers and friends full of stuff that I just kept connecting with other conversations that I'd had over the course of the day, and it felt so cool to be making all these connections!

What started as a rather boring day (I had that STAM test that actually went okay despite me not studying as much as I should have) turned into a great mind exercise. I suppose it started with my Modern History class in which we talked about the Enlightenment. Fitting really, as the rest of the day was full of intelligence and awesome. The class itself was fun too. The teacher gave us a rundown of the philosophers and types of government throughout history, and it was really cool.

The big thing that made the day what it was today was English 12. We talked about The Tempest as usual, but then the teacher had us do a great thought-experiment in which we thought about our lives when we were near retirement and she asked us to think about what advice we would give to our peers and the younger generation. That in and of itself was already cool; in my Focus Free-Write, I wrote about how all you need do in life is try something, do something that means something to you and you'll feel accomplished. But then we got into a great discussion about what makes you happy, and the amount of sides to this argument that my peers and I were on astounded me. I liked how everyone kept it rational and calm, even when someone disagreed. I feel like this is what college is like, y'know? Just intelligent people talking about an interesting topic. Anyway, that was fun. We then talked about this in relation to Shakespeare and how he probably thought about material wealth as a high point in his life at least, and that was interesting. Oh, and during all of this, my brain was running another thought experiment about the idea that Prospero is pretty much the cast of The Avengers rolled into a guy: he has power over the elements, he's very strong, he's very old and feels out of date with the other people on the island, and he's representing machinery in this place of nature, so I kinda see the Avengers in him a little bit.

I worked on my play before going to talk to a teacher about college stuff, and we instead got to talking about the idea of everything, every situation has a silver lining, and how optimism is clearly superior to pessimism. I got to thinking about how this related to our Shakespeare discussion, because in that we discussed how in order to be happy in life, you need to be able to see the good in people and situations. I liked that notion, and I liked that this conversation with this teacher tied back into my English class! That's really cool.

Cross Country was okay today. It was an easy day, and it rained! Woot! A short run later, and Aaron came to drive us home. Once home, I looked over my Common Application, and then submitted my first app! To Oberlin! Sweet! I'm so excited!!! Had spaghetti tonight, and then I made a whole lot of luminaria phone calls. It was a great day, and I"m looking forward to tomorrow. Holy crap! Tomorrow's Halloween!!! Awesometacular! And the new X-Men: Days of Future Past came out yesterday and I finally saw it! So great!

October 29, 2013

Day 157

Today, I'm just going to say, was a hell'a lot better than yesterday! Not only did I have Advanced English today, I also had a particularly good composition tutoring lesson, and it almost made up for yesterday's crappy beginnings to the week. The amount of information that we think about and process in a single day is astounding to me. Today, as I was doing intervals at Cross Country, I thought about so many things about myself, like how far I've come as a person in the past seven years, how now that the season is almost over, I'm finally enjoying Cross Country as a sport, how I might be able to make my play more fluid, how when I get a MacBook Pro I'm totally getting that Iron Man decal that my friend has because she's awesome! Stuff like that, and a whole lot more besides floated into my brain, and that was only when running.

Post was good as the second start to the day. I say second start, because STAM is kin of a crappy start to the day, and we have a test tomorrow, so that sucks! Anyway, Post was interesting. We talked about the ending of Cuckoo's Nest and about the implications of the book, as well as our assignment/project revolving around the book. The project is an interesting one, because the teacher left it up to us what to do. In the past, he's had students write music or draw pictures or create cartoons, or if you're super creative, just write a normal English paper about the book. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm kinda leaning toward the music thing, but no matter what we do, we're all going to have to do some type of writing supplement. It sounds like a fun project!

Advanced English was very fun today. For the first half of class, the teacher was observed by the Golden Apple award judge people, and as a result was very nervous it seemed to us. The second half of class, we split off into groups and shared our plays. I was the only one in my group to actually have a finished play, and so it was a little weird hearing bits and pieces of my cohorts' drafts of their plays. One of them didn't even get to share hers because we were running low on time. My play was also quite long, so that cut into the time a bit too (sorry). My peers' plays were fun; one of them was about a crossing guard and a homeless man, and the girl who wrote it is really not the type of person whom I would see as someone who would write such a quirky story, but it was fun, and I liked it! I'm looking forward to editing my play; there are some spots in there that should get cleaned up because they don't flow with the rest of the piece, but that's okay for now. Next time, we'll have a work day, which'll be nice.

We had our annual pumpkin-flinging contest today between our third and fourth class. It's where the whole upper school gathers to watch this giant five-man operated trebuchet launch these pumpkins at this castle, each decorated by the advisory of an upper school teacher. My advisory's pumpkin was decorated as Mike Wazoski, painted up green and such, and he looks so cute! My friend's advisory (who has always won the pumpkin-decorating contest), did theirs as a zombie. That advisory is up against some pretty stiff competition this year, though ,so we'll see who wins! The flinging event was awesome! My advisor was the announcer person, which was just great, 'cause he has such a booming radio voice!

Fourth block was free for me today, because my strings teacher is nice and merciful. I spent the majority of it reading my Tempest reading for tomorrow. Cross Country was, as mentioned above, intervals. I'm feeling very strong now! Intervals no longer hurt me; in fact I feel stronger after I run them than I do when I begin, so it's a cool feeling and  I feel so accomplished! We're all so pumped for Friday's districts meet (hopefully we won't get flooded like last week!) and I'm looking forward to it!

Composition tutoring was pretty fun. I showed my tutor my first full orchestral piece, and he liked it. I couldn't get it to play the recording on my phone though, so next week i will do that. My tutor also gave me this beginner's piano book. THis one is unique though because unlike normal beginning piano books, this one's material is aimed at older people, people like me who have some music experience, but don't know how to read one clef and not the other one, or for people who know some theory but are just starting out on the piano. In other words, this book was made for me! So I'm really happy he gave me this to borrow and study.

I came home and we got my Senior pictures picked out for the yearbook! Hooray! I also practiced the violin. I dragged out the first movement of the Bach A Minor concerto, and it went better than I had expected, as I had not played it in a year! I'm looking forward to Sunday when I can work on it with my teacher. Well, it's getting late. Better hit the hay, lest my math test goes awry tomorrow (it probably will anyway). Goodnight all!

October 28, 2013

Day 156

I don't know if any of my readers out there are musicians or singers or performers of any kind (chances are that you are, at least in some respect), but y'know that feeling of whenever you finish a concert and you just feel like you could have done so much better because in rehearsal you knew you had that one passage down pat? Well, that's exactly how I felt after performing the Phantom of the Opera Medley today. Don't get me wrong, it went well, and the crowd really enjoyed it, but I just feel that things didn't go my way, or rather, things went my way but the things that went wrong outweighed the things that went right.

First off, there was a lot of stress leaving the house this morning. Aron and I had to get up pretty early to meet the 7:30 deadline, and so we were kinda grumpy. Then, once at school, we had to drag the piano out ourselves because I hadn't clarified with the tech people what we needed, and then to complete the drama, our sound check person didn't show up (for a perfectly legitimate excuse, I will grant them). So, even before performing, I was already a little flustered.

Morning Meeting commenced, and announcements were made, and then it was time to perform. The beginning section started off great! I remembered my counting and rhythms and played it beautifully, and then the backing rock band came in and it was awesome. Then somewhere in the middle (and I know exactly where it is, which makes it all the more infuriating), I lost my spot, and the whole band kinda receded in tone, because we were all nervous that we were going to lose it. So, that was the first problem. I managed to get back on track, and we played through the slow section very well. Then the next big notey section happened, and I knew as soon as I started playing it that it would be bad. This was a section that I had worked on and struggled with ever since I first saw the sheet music for the piece, and I knew I would never nail it perfectly. But even I didn't think I'd screw up this badly. Really, it ended up messing up the whole fast middle section, because my violin was all screechy throughout it. Then the last third of the piece happened and that went pretty smoothly. The ending was badass, and it's aways nice to end on a strong note. After that ,we got our picture taken with our Phantom masks and instruments, and it was a good time. Later in the day, I found out that my amp was actually turned all the way down, so bringing it in was completely pointless! No one noticed it, because I played so loudly but for me, that was just the last straw.

And really, here's my big problem with this whole thing, and then I'll move on (seriously, I will): this piece was very special to me, and it was the best representation of Lindsey Stirling that I've heard to date. As such, I not only wanted to make this a badass rock concert-type of thing, but also pay respects and homage to Lindsey. And I didn't do that. Not coming down on my fellow group members, 'cause they did an awesome job, and I'm so thankful for them and for the fact that I can just call on friends like this and they'll do this! That is so great! No, I'm talking about only me and my mistakes (because that's the only person I have any right in judging). I was talking with my outside thesis reader about this issue of doing your best, and he said that if that's my best then I should run with it. But that's not good enough for me. Not entirely, anyway. This piece was something that I wanted to present to the world as the thing that I did and totally owned. I wanted this to be my thing that I could look back on and say that I put in a year and a half's worth of effort and practice in and it resulted in something awesometacular! And that's not what happened. And it pisses me off. Every other performer that I know performed at least once flawlessly, and that has't happened to me. Now, obviously I'm being too hard on yself, and I won't deny that. I'm just saying that I put my best foot forward today, and I stumbled. And sure, it happens, but that doens't mean I have to be ahppy about it.

Okay, rant over. That was the start of a really crappy day (actually, everyone else loved the piece; it was only me who found fault in it). Had Modern History today, and it was a thesis work day (thank God). We first completed this stupid school survey and then I worked more on my Secondary Source analyses. English was the high point of my day. In there, we talked some Shakespeare, and then we drew pictures of the characters or situations or island maps and hung them on the wall. I got to do my Ariel/Tony Stark idea! That made me happy, because I just went crazy with it! My English teacher loved it too! She loved all the other drawings I did of Antonio and Prospero as well, so that made me happy!

Third and fourth blocks were free for me today, so I just hung out, read Scene Four of The Tempest, and then finished off Cuckoo's Nest! It's such a great bool! Met with my outside reader, as mentioned above, and we talked about thesis stuff and about what it means to show the world who you are, and he was actually very encouraging and insightful (obviously not enough for me to get over my petty whining and such, but he was still very nice, and I appreciate his council).

Then, at the end of the day, the next bad thing happened. I was all set to go to Cross Country, and then Aaron decided that he needed a new phone, because he dropped his old one or something. So, instead of making a rational decision, I stupidly agreed to go along with him to Best Buy and get one, instead of going to Cross like I should have done and let him come back and pick me up. So, I missed Cross today, and instead went with Aaron in search of a new phone. We got to the store, he bought the phone, we came home, and then my Mom came home. She was... less than amused, shall we say even a little pissed off! There was a whole to-do with Aaron's parents about sanctioning the return and subsequent re-buying of the phone... I don't even know; it was really long and complicated, kinda like my AYS rehearsal tonight!

Yes, while my Mom and Aaron went back to Best Buy to return and buy a new phone, I went to AYS. The first part of that was okay (my stand partner wasn't here, so I had the stand to myself; yay!) We rehearsed our pieces, and went over what we're going to do on Thursday. It sounds like its gonna be awesome, actually! Sectionals though... that took forever tonight. And it wasn't even like the stuff we were practicing was hard; I was just so tired and had had it for today, that I just didn't care anymore. So, those went on for a long long time, and finally I returned home.

Today was admittedly not as bad as I'm making it out to be. The concert went fine because everyone enjoyed it, and really, that's the important thing, right? I''m just mad about it... I'm not even gonna go back to that subject. *Ahem*! I hope today is not an indication of my mood or my luck for the whole week, and I'm really hoping tomorrow will be better.

October 27, 2013

Day 155

I find that whenever I am at a concert, particularly if I'm seeing an orchestra or symphony perform, I find that my thoughts tend to wander. Such happened today when Aaron and I went to see the Albuquerque Philharmonic perform Dvorak's Ninth Symphony. I began thinking about the fact that I'm playing Phantom tomorrow (more on that below), about orchestration and what I like and don't like about music, form and such, and a host of other fleeting thoughts that ran through my head as this awesome piece full of character filled the church hall. I tend to think of symphonies as novels: they're long and sprawling, and if written and performed correctly, tend to leave you with wanting more while still wrapping up all the major themes within the piece. Every section of the orchestra is a character, every movement a chapter, and every theme within the piece a chance for us as listeners to get to see into the mind of the composer, or into the minds of the instruments, as the composer is able to utilize the strings or brass or percussion in their own ways to form a unique and powerful experience.

I got to thinking about this, because this morning I finished off my one-act play for Advanced English, and I was like "holy crap. I just wrote a play!" And that thought stuck with me until that concert this evening. I had never written a play before, and to complete even a rough draft of a one-act really made me happy. I love writing, and listening, to dialogue, yet have always found it difficult to imagine nothing but dialogue as the makeup of a story. So, when I learned that we were going to do a playwrite unit in Advanced English, I was downright pumped! This is something that I don't know how to do, and today I finished a rough draft of my play, and I'm just so happy. So, anyway, I wrote this play, right, and I'm thinking okay, now what does this do differently than a short story or a book? I actually found the whole play writing thing not very difficult, and I approached the project no differently than I do when writing stories. I just didn't include pages of description and inner thoughts from characters. It was a fun experience, and I'm so proud of myself for writing a first draft today!

The gang came over and rehearsed Phantom today. They loved the masks that we bought yesterday! Can't wait to wear them tomorrow! The whole thing went pretty well. We're all a little nervous about tomorrow, but I'm sure it'll go fine. As long as I remember all the tricky spots and I don't lose my place, then I think we'll be good. Our guitarist brought up the idea that we should form a band... like our group should do more covers of songs, and we were totally into it! I'm hoping that we continue to collaborate in the future, because I like our style, and I think we have a real spark that connects us.

Went to Flying Star tonight for dinner. All of us got breakfast items to eat, and Aaron and I split some awesome carrot cake for dessert. Yum! Then we went to Smiths to get groceries. We came home and I made some more luminaria sails calls. They're getting easier, so that's nice. I'm really tired now, and my Aunt and I are in a heated discussion over the new Captain America trailer, so I should wrap this up! Wish me luck tomorrow, everyone!

October 26, 2013

Day 154

Thank God it's Saturday! What's more, I didn't have a Cross Country meet today either, because we were supposed to have one yesterday, and I just like the idea of sleeping in on Saturday again! Woke up and updated my computer to Mavericks, which is so not different than the previous systems update, it's not really worth anything to me. Glad it's updated all the same.

My Mom and I cleaned the house for the next two hours. I cleaned my bathroom, reorganized my Transformers collection so that it takes up less space now, and spent the rest of the morning on Tumblr (seriously, there's like no end to the awesomeness of that site)! Aaron came over at around 1:00 after he finished taking the ACT. He said it went okay. We were going to see Twelve Years a Slave, but apparently Albuquerque doesn't get the movie for another two weeks (weird), so we saw Gravity instead. It was Aaron's first time seeing it, and he loved it. I enjoyed it a second time too; the suspense in the movie still got to me, and I loved the effects!

After that, we returned home and set up Halloween decorations. I did some great work on my Senior Thesis project, and then we all got ourselves something to eat. My Mom took us to the Owl CafĂ©, and it was delicious! I had a Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato sandwich (a BLAT, if you will), and it was super yummy. Found out that Vanessa was going to a Halloween party tonight dressed as Harley Quinn, and that just made me smile! Once we finished our meal, we all went to Target to buy Iron Man 3, then went to Party City to buy Phantom of the Opera masks for Monday. Super cool.

Came home and promptly watched Iron Man 3. It was such a great film, and I'm so glad I now have it on DVD! I love the movie because it not only has a great story, but Tony Stark is able to not just carry the film, but also have the film be about him as a person. Iron Man 2 had none of that; it was all about the suits and joking around, while also being a shameless plug for The Avengers. But Iron Man 3 returns to the first film's roots: it has plenty of action and comedy, but also a great thematic presence and character development, all of which comes back to Tony and how he feels about the events in The Avengers, and how those events affected him in very human and realistic ways. I might do a review of this sometime; I don't usually do movie reviews because they're long and daunting and I'm lazy as hell, but this one might get my treatment of ego and pontificating because it's so good, and I have so much to say about it.

Off to bed now. Tomorrow should be fun, because I have the Phantom gang coming over along with Aaron being here, so that should be interesting...

October 25, 2013

Day 153

There's something to be said for a cloudy, gloomy, rainy day in the Southwest. It makes you tired, but not frustrated; like, it gives you this feeling of serenity and easiness that just makes you want to curl up and take a nice long nap! That's what today was like: cloudy and rainy and gloomy (but in a good way). The Cross Country meet was cancelled today due to Grants being flooded... that tends to bench the running sports, unless we wanted to swim which just no. So all of us had classes in the afternoon, which would have been fine had most of us remembered to bring our stuff. I was actually okay, given that I already had my Advanced English play in my backpack and my laptop in there, and then in History we didn't do anything (more on that below), so it was okay.

Apparently there's been a lot of internal drama going on in my head, which I absolutely hate. I hate this whole teen drama thing, where we have to make everything into a big deal when really it isn't. I mean, I guess on some level it is, because we're making a big deal about it, but in the end, we'll forget about it by next Tuesday and it just won't matter to us anymore. So yeah, drama going on in my head: today in History we had a substitute, which sucked for two reasons. First, I didn't get to have my normal history teacher teach his class today which was awful because he's a badass! Second, the substitute who we got and the lesson plan were both boring and bland. Having read all I wanted to read out of Cuckoo's Nest for the day, I had very little to do in that class (because that was the lesson plan: to read as much of the book as we wanted... and that's it). So I sat there, watched the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer a few dozen times and got onto Tumblr after that.

During all of this, three students up and left; took all their stuff with them and left. The substitute didn't even notice, so I was like "okay, so I guess we can go." So of course, as soon as I start packing up and get up to leave, this substitute turns around and is all in my face about leaving. At this point, I was tired (because the day's forecast was cloudy and rainy and thus indicative of sleep for me), and a little pissy that these other students could just leave, as though their lives and circumstances excuse them from having to stay to the bitter end like the rest of us. So, he finally lets me go on the grounds that yeah, we actually only have like ten minutes of class left, and given that I'm done with everything, I might as well go. Now, obviously those other students were able to get out of there because they were quiet about it; I was apparently not quiet about it, but the whole ordeal just pisses me off. This is also why I don't like drama, because stuff like this should not piss me off. I also know that what I did was probably not the smartest decision, and yet I can't bring the part of my brain that is angry at the other students over the the idea that I attempted pretty much the same thing... anyway, I'm complaining because I guess that's what this has become: a chance for me to vent to the whole world about my insignificant and boring problems that in any other context besides my own life would make me just want to take a knife to the person having those problems and replace their eyes with logic boards.

Of course, I'm the one having these stupid problems, which aren't even problems (they're just excuses for me to complain and feel better about myself), so no, I'm not going to take a knife to myself (that would be stupid and not result in anything but physical pain, and really who wants to deal with that on a Friday night at 10:20?) Anyway, I'm the one having these... pseudo problems (?) and that just makes me angry that my mind is still developing, and it's so clear that it's still developing because I'm complaining about trivial issues like this. I'm very smart, and so whenever I get something wrong I'm always really angry about it, because I know I'm smarter than that. Likewise, whenever I complain about something superficial, I get angry at myself because I know that complaining about superficial things neither increases my experiences of the day, nor does it make others' experiences any more fun (unless they hate me). And before you roll your eyes and just say "well, stop complaining then", I'd like to remind you that I am sadly a hormonal angsty 18-year old guy who can't even stand to be in the same room with a person who thinks feminism means female superiority (which is actually called sexism), when in reality it means female equality, so my mind is not really in the most logical of places right at this moment.

I think though that the fact that I recognize how obnoxious I and many other teenagers can be about trivialities like this says a lot about my character, and says a lot about my fellow students' characters as well (for many of them are like me: smart and insightful- unless they're talking about feminism). So, anyway, rant over. I just wanted to run around in circles with that story and it's implications and outcomes for a little while to get it out of my system.

After all of that mess was over, I had a lovely conversation with several members of the Cross Country team (we all thought there was no practice; apparently there was, though I didn't find this out until my Mom came and got me). We talked about a whole bunch of boring stuff, but one particular topic came up that I found quite interesting. We began talking about parental expectations and how we as teenagers tend to veer from our parent's expectations and personalities (most of the time). So, we get to talking about this, and I'm all like "yeah, my Dad went to Harvard, my Mom went to Berkley; there's no way that I could make it into those schools, but my Mom knows that and she's supportive of the schools that I want to go to", and everyone else was like "well, that's good. It's good that you have a supportive family, because a lot of parents are like 'no, you need to get into this college', or 'if you don't get into this college I'm disowning you' or something like that".

And I got to thinking about how lucky I am that my Mom is embracing the whole backing off thing and letting me evolve into my own person. That's a sign of good parenting (thanks, Mom), and apparently a few people at my school don't have that. Many of my friends do, but a few don't, and that baffles me. Not that my friends are complaining about it (as I mentioned above, we do plenty of that already), but that parents can and are that demanding to the point of quelling creativity and dreams just so that one could supposedly measure up to them... even though often times the parents are wrong about how their child's potential will only be reached if they get into a school that probably would not make them vary happy. Granted, I haven't visited Harvard as a prospective student, but I would probably find it very overwhelming in terms of campus size, I'd probably find it uncomfortable in terms of relationships with people and professors, and I'd most likely not enjoy my stay there simply because of how my personality totally doesn't click with what Harvard has to offer. Am I smart? Sure, but that doesn't mean that I need to go to one of the Ivy's simply because I'm smart. I'm a lot of other things too, and many of my characteristics I think would not suit Harvard's standards. Anyway, to make a long conversation short, we all eventually left with the idea that we are our own persons, and that our parents should not need to have us measured against what they've done. Obviously, there are caveats that come with that statement: obviously, we all want to be the best that we can be, and a large part of that comes from emulating our parents (I myself find that I channel my Dad whenever I have to present something to a teacher or to the class), but I think my point is clear.

Not sure why I chose to rant about either teen angst or parental expectations, but I did, and I'm sticking to it. I had dinner with Aaron and his family (he's staying over at my house next week, dear God), and it was great. I had this lobster ravioli, which was superb, and we all got into a multi-sided conversation about grades and college (not unlike the one my friends and I were having above... kind of), and then we went home. He's coming over tomorrow! Super stoked! Going to bed now. If you got to this point in this painfully self-centered and winy post, I congratulate you. See you all tomorrow.

October 24, 2013

Day 152

So, I had this dream last night, one of the ones where when you wake up from it you internally hate yourself because it was such a great dream and you've now woken back up in reality, yeah, one of those. In this dream, I was married and had two children. It turns out that in the span of eight hours of sleep, I had lived out a lifetime in a dream. Like, from us getting married to me dying (or slightly before; the details are kinda fuzzy), but yeah, everything was there. I remember some stuff very vividly: the daughter in the dream had wide green eyes and a cute smile; the son had a badass haircut and travelled around on a skateboard, and my wife was kinda familiar, but y'know, it was a dream, so I couldn't quite place my finger on who she reminded me of... when I woke up; it wasn't like in the dream I was searching for who my wife was! Anyway, I wake up, and I'm all happy, 'cause this dream was great. And then reality comes crashing down. It was like my head hit a brick wall. Must have had some physical impact too, because when I came out to breakfast, my Mom said that I looked like I had been hit by a train: my hair was all up on one side of my head, and I guess my face was crooked... I don't know, I was still kinda asleep.

So, I get to school, and I remember why my wife in the dream looked so familiar. She was my mind's image of a friend of mine. Now, I don't know if my mind was telling me that subconsciously I have feelings for this person; probably not. I had been texting her last night before I went to bed, so maybe my mind came up with her image... I don't know. so anyway, I wanted to tell her about my dream, right, but of course that would be a little awkward... so instead I'm telling the Internet about it. Yeah, that's not gonna bite me in the ass later on down the line.

Not sure why I'm telling you guys any of this. I guess I want to get this down on paper, and instead of keeping a private journal, I instead broadcast my uncomfortable dreams and messed up fantasies to the world at large... because that's just how I am. Is that selfish? Probably, but this is my blog, and I think I have a right to put on here what I wish (as long as its not incriminating; it's not like I woke from the dream with a sudden urge to kill someone).

My friend and I continued our mural drawing in my sketchbook in STAM, and also managed to get the homework done at the same time! Yay (because we're just that good). English was actually really cool, because I came up with what I think is like the best idea for a paper ever: relating The Tempest's Arial to Iron Man 3's Tony Stark. Think about this for a second: in class, we were talking about how Arial is a spirit, and thus longs for anything human to grasp (no pun intended). She is devoid of physical contact with anyone, and all she has is her wits and people to envy, people who have the ability to touch and experience tactile sensation. This makes her feel small and insignificant; the idea that she is so small, missing so much of what it means to be human, that is her struggle. Tony Stark is also feeling very small in Iron Man 3: he's just faced down an alien army and interacted with Gods and other dimensions in The Avengers, and this affects his psyche to the point where he feels so insignificant next to  all these big things around him. All he has are his suits, and he's tinkering with them because he needs to feel important; he needs to be able to try and defend against things like the things in The Avengers even though he knows that he alone probably won't be able to. I just thought the connection was very cool, and while I'm probably not explaining it very well here, in my mind it is clear, and I really want to write a paper on it now!

Cross Country today was an easy run. I'm running a meet tomorrow (get out of school at 11:30 for it), so that's pretty cool, though I'm missing Advanced English and Post, which kinda sucks. Anyway, the run was good today. It helps me think. Violin was pretty fun. I'm working on the Bach A Minor 2nd movement, and I'm loving it! My Mom mentioned that when I hit those ringing tones in the piece, I sound like a flute. I'm sure it was meant to be a compliment; I'm just not sure if I like being compared to a flute, because violins are infinitely more awesome!

Then we had this freaking chess meet! Okay, this thing was ridiculous. I played this game where I totally trounced this guy (he wasn't very good), and then in the end, he ended up mating me with a back-rank mate! Damn! This was after an earlier missed opportunity where I totally could have won had I not traded my queen! Stupid blunder (both times really)! Argh! But, I actually still really liked that game! I think I started off the season strong, even though I just had a few slip-ups that ended up costing me the game. It was a great game though. I liked it. I came home and we watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and man is it getting... better. I think this show's biggest weakness is that it's trying too hard to be intelligent; it just winds up coming off cliché and not natural. There are some elements of it that work; this episode in particular: the ending was pretty good. I think a stronger focus on Coulson would help out the series a lot. Get more into his story and really make this his journey. Anyway, I should get to bed; I do have a meet tomorrow after all!

October 23, 2013

Day 151

Had a great day today! I am in high spirits because I just had my strings concert, and I think it went pretty well! We all played beautifully, and the energy in the room was clearly on the high end, so we had a great time performing!

I've been thinking a lot about the past seven years of late, seeing as how I am a senior and I'm going to be graduating this year, and I've been thinking about my Dad and how he's (hopefully) proud of me and my accomplishments. I'd like to think that I've lived up to him and what he's taught me. I bring this up because I got my senior pictures back the other day (I look damn handsome, if I do say so myself), and in one of the pictures, I look so much like my Dad, which is odd, because the picture is of me playing the violin, which my Dad never did, but just my expression and my stance and the whole thing... I just look so much like my Dad, and that makes me so happy!

There's been a lot of other things on my mind too, like violin and all the stuff I have to do in the next couple weeks, and colleges (I still have to submit the Common Application and all my supplements, even though I've been done for two weeks, WTF?!) and also writing. I want to write so many things, most of which would be so simple to put down on paper... like, I want to write about what I loved about Iron Man 3, or maybe talk about Buffy, and Star Trek, or why I hated Star Trek: Into Darkness, or maybe just write more of my Transformers fanfics, or continue my Prime reviews... there are just too many things in my head and I can't get them all down on paper. I wish I could just yell at the world about myself, about what I love... I suppose that's what I'm doing right now, yelling at the world. My Mom was really funny: she just posted on facebook "why isn't the laundry basket the symbol for infinity?" I can't argue with that!

This is turning into a Focus Free Write. We do those at school where we write for ten minutes or so about a certain topic, but the actual goal is to just keep generating ideas or just keep our fingers moving across the keyboard or keep our pens moving. That's pretty much what I'm doing now, if you haven't noticed. Putting yourself out there (provided you don't do or say anything incriminating on the Internet) takes a lot of guts, and while I sometimes dread the blogging, stuff like this... I like it, y'know? I like that I'm able to do this. I think it helps me write, or at least keeps me writing.

That's really why I took on this project. I want this to be more like a Focus Free Write than just me taking you through the same schedule every day. Talking about what I love, what happened during the day, not just academically, but also socially. Did I laugh today? Why? Was there a particular moment in today that stood out for me? These are the questions that I want to indulge and I think I've kinda missed that for the majority of the time that I've been doing this. I've been trying to get better (my recent posts have been longer, if you've noticed), and I think now that I've said this on paper, I'll have a better chance of doing it. I really just need to sit down and write. Not from my phone, but from a laptop or desktop, where I have space to think and brows other places and catch glimpses of the sun through the window... I don't know.

So, what happened today? Strings concert, as mentioned way above went well, and I had a great time with that. I had a lovely conversation with a friend of mine about Tumblr (he just got one, see) and about what it's used for. It was funny, 'cause somehow or another, we got to talking about Spain (he went there on a trip over the summer), and he told me all this stuff that they do there, like for breakfast, they have warm milk and cereal, chocolate milk (also warm), and crackers. Like... that's so alien! I can't even believe it.

Today in STAM, Aaron and I had a great time trying to figure out how to use a certain graphing function on my calculator (dear God), and we continued our doodle mural in my math notebook. It's completely insane! That class was great though, because we had a sub, and he and I know each other pretty well, so we were just bickering in good fun at each other the whole time! It was so great!

In Advanced English, we read this play called Good People. It's pretty good, I guess. My teacher read a play that he wrote last year following a certain format that we are supposed to follow when writing our first one-act, three-scene play, and his was kinda creepy. It was about this priest who impregnated a teen girl and the climactic line was "Why don't you keep your dick in your pants?" Like, Jesus Christ! From a school teacher! What made this even better was that immediately after the teacher's play was done, a friend of mine came in to class late, and we all burst out laughing because she had missed the shock of hearing that line by like a minute, and the teacher (who I'm almost certain is insane), just doubled over laughing, and it was just the greatest thing, because the shock value was pretty intense!

Anyway, that was a portion of my day today. I really can't write any more. I am exhausted and tomorrow is looking like it's gonna be another long day. I have a chess meet after my violin lesson, so that should go well (I hope). I'm at least looking forward to it. I'm also glad that I've settled into my new format of this project. I think I'm going to like it a lot more.

October 22, 2013

Day 150

The next couple of weeks (months... years... whatever) are going to be really busy, so I'm holding off on doing any major reviewing of Prime. You might get one or two "mini-views" I guess of plays that I'm going to see for my Advanced English class, but as far as the main reviews go, I'm focussing my attention on school right now, so sorry. Hey, if one of these days I feel inspired, then you might get a review early, so there's that!

Today was... really long. I don't know; I look back on the past two months of school, and I'm thinking, "okay, so these last two months have just flown by, right, and then here I am only a day into this week and I'm already done! How can that be?"

So, I get to school and I'm all set for my History presentation! I've got my notes, my lecture all planned out complete with opening joke and ending quip, transition onto the next person presenting, etc. So I'm all excited about that, and then my Advisor and I talk about Buffy, which, hey that's a great way to start off my morning. Go to English first, though, and we discuss some Shakespeare... not the greatest thing in the world, but I'm liking it all the same. Took a reading quiz in there, and it's all good, right?

So, I get to History, we sit through this other presentation, and then we get up to present our thing... and when my slide comes up, my partner totally usurps my position and sums up the slide in two sentences and then they move on, like "yeah, just ignore that guy in the corner there". Now, admittedly, I didn't speak up on my own behalf, which I probably should have done, but really? Like, we had talked about the plan not five minutes ago! How do you forget something like that so quickly?! Not to mention then that some other people in the group had a completely separate presentation that they then had to upload and get to and do their thing... the whole thing was just really rushed and half-assed.

Now, obviously, speaking up would have been the thing to do, and I'm not one to dispute logic here, but at the time I thought I'd look childish and bitchy... like I am now, and it was a bad call on my part, but the thing that irks me most is that the person who took my slide also didn't really know what she was talking about, certainly not as much as I did... and she's the one who did ninety percent of the research! All I did was skim a few articles and look of the definition of our topic (we were studying philosophy during the Scientific revolution); she did the bulk of the research, so what the hell?

Anyway, I talked to my History teacher about it at the end of the period, and he said that I could present to him privately during fourth block, and that's what I did, and we had a fine discussion on the differences and relationships between science and religion. So, I guess it was fine, but that is clearly not how to work a presentation. Ugh. Anyway, after the school day, I went over to composition tutoring, and that was fun. Yay! I'm looking at movie scores and we talked a little bit about orchestration. I love my comp tutor at the end: he's all like "here, have some twenty-stave paper and just go to town orchestrating something!" And I"m all "aw hell yeah!" Great! So now I have to come up with something by next week with undertones and multi-voicing and polyphony and all this stuff that he's going to be analyzing and... OMG my body is not ready!

Well, I'm pretty tired now. I'm off to bed so that tomorrow can come more quickly and I can be that much closer to being done with this week. Goodnight.

October 21, 2013

Day 149

Got up and immediately felt like I just wanted to die 'cause of this awe flu cold, but my Mom sent me off to school anyway. But it turned out to be a great day, because my Advanced English teacher performed his own song about Amelia Erhart and it was great! Just a bright way to start off the day!

In Post, we talked more Cuckoo's Nest and then looked at the Beatles and their music evolution and talked a little bit about the Rolling Stones. It was a fun class, and I'm liking just how laid back it is in there.

Advanced English itself was pretty fun. We talked about this play called The Mountaintop by Katori Hall. It's really good. We also are now writing our second scene of our one-act play! Pretty exciting!

In Strings, we went over our pieces for Wednesday's concert. Being sick, I messed up and sucked more than usual, and it didn't help that the teacher took my stand-partner's spot when they went to the bathroom, so I wax also nervous on top of everything else! Anyway, then she gave us the last fifteen minutes to work on All State stuff, so I just practiced the school music some more (because I'm not doing All State this year... thank God).

STAM was okay. We learned some fancy operations on our calculators to calculate a best fit line and find the equation and all that. Pretty standard stuff. Also got my homework done in that class too. Yay.

Didn't gp to Cross Country today because I was sick and kinda dizzy at the end of the day. I had some leftover cake that a fellow student brought in that day (which probably didn't help), and completed my Tempest reading for tomorrow.

AYS was really fun tonight! For the fist half of rehearsal, we sight-read this opera film score from The Fifth Element, which I have unfortunately not seen. However, we rehearsed it with the singer, and man, can she sing! It's a very zany piece. The section directions say Punchy Techno Beat, and so our conductor was all over this "start at the Punchy!" thing, and it was so funny! Then in the second half, we had sectional rehearsals, and that was actually enjoyable, and our section leader let us out on time!

Now headed to bed, looking forward to what will hopefully not be a complete train wreck if a History presentation tomorrow.

October 20, 2013

Day 148

Okay, so I'm doped up on NiQuill, so needless to say, Imma make this short. I'm siiiiick! I spent literally 95% of the whole day in bed. Only got up to fold Luminaria bags and watch Prime. Other than that, I got my homework done for tomorrow (just reading), and then slept some more. Read more of Clash of Kings, and now headed back to sleep. Not sure if I'm going to school tomorrow (probably will). Goodnight. *sniff*

October 19, 2013

Days 146 and 147

Sorry about missing a day (and for the fact that my iPhone Blogger App didn't publish Thursday's post for some reason...) Anyway, here's a two-fer. Friday was good; I'm so glad it's the weekend. This week seemed to go on and on. Yesterday we worked on our Power Point presentation in Modern History for Tuesday. We have it all figured out now, and that's a load of stress off of my chest, which is good.

English was okay too. Talked about The Tempest, and my teacher discussed the controversy surrounding how the text should be taught. Interesting stuff. Then we analyzed the text itself, and looked at character motivation and complexities. Big fan of that stuff.

The rest of the day was pretty standard stuff for me. STAM and Strings were alright, and I got to fill out more of my Common App; almost ready to submit it, and I'm super stoked about it!

Today, I spent a good half of the day at the Cross Country meet up in Rio Rancho. I ran with the C team, which ran last, so I slept and sat around and cheered for the other people who ran before my race. It was a good race. I felt strong by the end, and the course, while all little hills and challenging, went quickly and by the end, I was smiling because I knew I had done it all without stopping to walk or rest! Yay!

Got my Senior Photos back today! Lookin' sharp. Then came home and folded some Luminaria bags while watching Buffy, and I can say proudly that I am doing my thesis work in watching the show! Cool.

Finally saw Gravity with Vanessa! We were both kinda like "wow" the entire time, and there were some teary parts and the visuals... oh my God. Just looks spectacular! Lots of spinning, though! We were both glad we saw it, and I had a great time. Watched more Buffy once I came home, and am now going to bed. Sorry for the rushed post; had to cram two days in one thing, and unlike a week's worth of material, there's not much I can add retrospectively to Friday. Whatever. Tomorrow, I rehearse Phantom again, and this might be the final weekend rehearsal before the big Musical Monday! Woot!

Day 145

My teacher and the Santa Fe Symphony are playing this!!!! One of my friends is sitting in for a member of the orchestra, and I'm super lealous of her, but happy for her too!

Started the day out with STAM. My friend and I doodled in my notebook, and we created this whole alien battle scene! Still got the notes for the class, though, so that was good.

Talked about the Beatles and The Who in Post today! Also talked more Cuckoo's Nest. I'm really loving this book and the analysis were doing on it! Had Advanced English after lunch. Started writing our plays today! Mine is about these two violinists and I'm loving writing it! Monologues are cool!

Read more thesis material and then headed over to strings. We had seating auditions for this solo thing, but only the first violins got to go today. The rest of us had our backs to them so we could judge which of them we liked without knowing who they were. It wax okay, I guess. Some of my friends were less than pleased at the prospect of being judged, but we were really judging the music, not the person, so I found it okay.

Violin lesson, my teacher and I talked about audition material for college music auditions. Learning the Bach A Minor for my slow piece, but we're not sure what my quick flourishy piece would be yet. Then she showed me that they're playing the Star Trek Through the Years Medley, and that made me super happy! What's more, my school strings teacher is taking us to it for a fix trip, so that should be fun!

Tomorrow's Friday! Thank God. This week's gone on long enough!

October 16, 2013

Day 144

Senior App day was a blast! I actually didn't have a lot to fill out in terms of supplements: I filled out one for Oberlin, and that was the only big one that I wrote. All the rest were already partially written, so my process was less daunting than some of the other people. Seriously, some of my classmates had only one college that used the Common App, so that meant that they had to fill out all the grueling questions over and over and over again! That sucks! :( I was done at around 12:00, but my edits for my Common App essay don't get done until tomorrow, so I can't actually submit anything yet.

I mostly read for the rest of the day. Cuckoo's Nest is super neat now, and I talked with my Post teacher about it (he and my 10th grade English teacher were both right there, so we got to chatting about things). I read more stuff for thesis, and I'm really enjoying it! At the end of the day, we were all so tired and happy and done that I kinda wish it was summer now.

Cross Country was an easy day to fuel our laziness, and I came home with literally nothing to do. I watched Prime and folded Luminaria bags (yes, we still have some) and then worked on getting all the bowings right in my concerto. Overall, this was a badass day! Oh, and I finally received that article from the author herself for my thesis! Hard core stuff in that thing, man!

A Plane to Catch

So, this is a personal essay/story that I submitted to TeenInk, an online publication of fiction and non-fiction of teenagers. This is from my Advanced English class, and I'd thought I would throw this up because I am proud of it, and more proud of the fact that this has gotten recognition from TeenInk's editors and that they had the niceties to publish such a work! Thank you to them and enjoy. If you want to see it on TeenInk, the link can be found here.

A Plane to Catch

The ice cold fragmented air, the long gusting of wind, and sharp needlework of falling snow was all but a picture from within the vehicle, blue and low riding, a sheen of ice coating the roof and water trickling down the windscreen. Inside, Luke was warm. Too warm, he thought, a sheen of sweat running the length of his face as he reacted to the blasts from the car’s heater, attempting to cool himself off while bundled in his many layers of jacket and sweater. He tore his gaze from the mesmerizing window to delve into the contents of his phone, the phone that he had received for his birthday last year. A sprinkle of music whistled into his ear from his headphones: a violin with a hint of backing base. He had wandered through countless songs prior to this one, Luke’s mood not in sync with what his phone had churned up for him to listen to, but this song was pleasant enough.

Keeping rhythm subconsciously, he waved his fingers about his phone’s display and opened up the text-messaging icon that served as his connection to his friends. The tether was already set to the one to whom he wanted to talk, and he typed in a quick reply to a half-day’s old question, and closed the application again, his mind racing with excitement. He did not know what to do with himself. He was late, he knew, and time seemed to mock his slow progress. This song will never do, he thought. After a few taps, he came to another one of his favorites (the violin replaced with trumpet and orchestra; a soothing melody), and his mood settled again. The car jerked to a stoplight, Luke’s body bouncing as the car’s suspension took him up and down in his seat.

The car ride dragged on. The sun was high though the clouds masked the brilliance of its light so that only a sliver could break through the storm. Luke stirred in his seat, shifting his weight so as to better distribute the pain that now coiled from his upper back. He had horrible back problems he knew. Hours of reading, typing, web searching, and violin playing had made him a rather hunched fellow when seated. The knot in his back loosened as he arched backwards.

A rattling in the back seat made his left ear (the one unoccupied with the music) perk up. The bottle is still there, he thought, his feelings running a quick loop around turmoil and annoyance before coming back to happy. The plastic water bottle had been with them since last week he remembered, and neither his mother nor he had bothered to dispose of it. Rattle, rattle, rattle, the bottle went, rolling back and forth along the floor mat, bumping into the back seat and the rear of the front. He would fix that once their destination was met, provided he could spare a hand with all his luggage plastered about the back seat.

Two hours prior, his mother had picked him up from school, having just gotten off work early to be able to do so. Luke himself had finished his exams early, and had taken to sitting by the fireplace with his friends. The fire was warm, he remembered, though then he had not had to contend with having five layers of clothes on at once, as he did now. His friends were all alive with excitement. As their exams were now over, they were free to roam the world as they saw fit, their destinations similar to his he suspected in terms of relation and reason. He, like all the rest, was to see his family this Christmas, and he had smiled longingly all through the first half of the day, beaming even when he had handed in his Geometry final, on which he knew he had scribbled incoherently if only to put pencil to paper. But neither the final exam nor the knowledge from the class (which he had sworn up and down to his mother that he knew all too well even though he knew none of it) mattered anymore. The holidays were now here, the burdens of school and student life eschewed in favor of celebration and family tidings.

The drive home had been full of talk. His mother wanted to know all about his final day of school for the semester, berating him with questions from how he felt about the exams of the day to how his friends were feeling that day. Luke would have none of it, however. He answered each query passively, his mind wandering to other places. What would his cousins be like? Would they have changed so much since his last visit six months ago? Probably not, he thought to himself. He did this every time he was to visit them. For a brief moment, his mind slipped back to school, where he began to question his answers to various Geometry problems on the test. Luke’s was a mind that could not leave well enough alone. Had he paid more attention to the information given over the course of the semester, he might have avoided such a haphazard performance. But there was nothing to do about that now. It would be three weeks before he would get that test back, he knew, and deliberating over it would not speed up such a lapse in time.

The car veered left, making the long freeway loop over to his house, the grey of the clouds making everything a dull pigment of the normal brightness on which his eye so often rested. Then Luke’s house came into view. The lawn is as much of a mess as my work on that Geometry test, he chided himself. His mother muttered as much, pulling the car into the driveway. The snow had gathered there heavily, and crunched under the weight of the car, thick and crackling. Upon his arrival, Luke hopped out of the car, running up the steps of the porch so as to reach and turn off the house alarm. Sprawled about the living room were several suitcases, a myriad of clothes, and some toiletries. Evidently his mother had not thought to pack the night before. She entered behind him, shoving past her son to reach the bathroom. This is a quick stop, hopefully.

Luke shouldered his pack, eyed the clothes warily before making his way down the hall, and entered his room. Luke’s room was where he brooded most of the time, though today his thoughts were bright and happy. The thought of reuniting with his cousins made him smile. His body danced around happily, his mind giddy with excitement. Then his mother called to him to help her pack, snapping him back to reality.

The packing had taken a good deal longer than expected. Entering the living room once more, Luke found himself staring at an even greater mess than before, if that were possible. His mother seemed to have several projects going on at once, though knowing her packing skills this seemed at odds with her normal execution of efficiency. Bewilderment played across his mother’s face as she looked up, motioning for him to help her pack. It was a rough job at best. Having wasted all the time that could be spared, he and his mother made their way with their belongings out to the car, shoving everything for their two-week long trip carelessly into the trunk and back seat, their panic evident in their motions alone. Luke had had time to pause his music, store his phone and headphones, and put on several sweaters and a jacket to combat the cold, though he had not thought about the fact that he would be in the car and then in the airport and then on a plane for the majority of the trip, and hardly making contact with the outside environment for any length of time.

He was regretting that now as they pulled into the On Time off-airport parking structure, the car’s wheels screeching along, his mother ordering a covered spot in a voice that brooked no small talk. Luke was sweltering as the car sped about the lot. They were sent down to Row F, squeezing between two large vehicles, the drivers of both having failed to park within their own space, so his mother had to first swear at nothing and then manage with maneuvering her car as best she could in between the two monsters. There would be hell to pay when they got back, Luke suspected; were the two trucks still there, it would be a challenge to back out, having parked so crookedly, but that would not be for another two weeks, and during that time, Luke’s attention would be solely devoted to his family, and of course to gifts. Let it never be said that I am without greed, he thought, his mouth tracing a thin smile about his face. He hoped they would make it on time. He checked his watch. They had a good forty-five minutes before boarding, though that meant little, since once the time had been spent at security, there would be little room for error. He took a moment to take out the bottle of the back seat, and held it awkwardly for a time before locating a trash receptacle. His music continued to blare in his head, and he smiled.

The van that would take them to the airport arrived moments later, pulling up with a hiss and spraying what little snow had stuck on the ground up into the air, showering Luke and his mother anew. Shaking the flakes out of his hair, Luke grabbed his suitcase, foisting it aboard the luggage rack and taking a window seat. There were several occupants already aboard. A balding man in a green raincoat, a grey-haired woman with a long black scarf about her neck whom Luke suspected of being the man’s wife, and their son with his great bushy beard, and granddaughter, who looked as excited as Luke felt, her eyes bright orbs of blue. They were all squished in the back of the van. Luke was grateful for the space, though rather puzzled that all of that family chose such close quarters. Luke nodded in their direction, his grin surely looking stupid to these strangers. His mother entered next, lumbering up the steps unevenly due to her bad knee.

And then the van was off. It was a bumpy and cumbersome ride, the snow making the driver cautious as ever, the van creeping along the road at what must have been two miles an hour. Luke was growing impatient. They were already late, and this slow vehicle was doing nothing to hasten their journey. He closed his eyes, calming himself, and was soon lost in thought and music, imagining all the great things he and his cousins would do once they were reunited. Conversation by text and call did not suffice for their conveying of information. So much to discuss, Luke thought. The Avengers, Ice and Fire, school, bitching about teachers! His thoughts made the time pass quickly, for when he next acknowledged the world at large, the van had stopped at the entrance to the airport, and Luke was beckoned by his mother to help her with their luggage. The family in the back of the van smiled as he looked in their direction, the granddaughter whispering something to the elderly man with the green coat.

The airport was a bustle of activity. Luke was herded along with the rest of the crowed, lugging his suitcase along while trying to keep a watchful eye on people whom the universe might employ to run him over, for that seemed to be a theme in his life. His music paused as he stored his headphones and phone in his backpack. Announcements of departures and arrivals ricocheted in his ears, the noise of half-heard conversations wafted over him, and the smell of activity was putrid and stale. Luke did not enjoy this hurtle of the journey.

Having gotten his ticket in a daze, Luke found himself at the security line, his mother fumbling with her purse and shoes. Luke took off his shoes as well, unlacing them hurriedly and grabbing the first bin that he saw and dumping all of his personals into it. Wallet, phone, headphones, jacket, sweater (too many layers, dammit), what else? Ah! His belt! He hated having to take off his belt. Ripping it about his waist, the black leather whipped about before he plunged it into the bin with the rest of his materials, all jumbled and unsorted; it made his OCD kick in if only for a time. The unloading of his backpack was next, though this was easier. Hoisting it up onto the conveyer belt, he unzipped the backmost zipper hurriedly, snatching the laptop from within and dropping it lazily into its own bin, per the ridiculous protocol. He abandoned his material and stepped in line to be X-rayed and poked and prodded and shouted at and whatever else they did while he stood within that claustrophobic tube.

Stepping out of the tube, he retrieved his things, put on his shoes, weaved his belt around himself again and grabbed his laptop, then waited patiently as his mother followed suit. Their gate was B25, and their timetable was not looking kind now. There were only minutes left before their plane began boarding, and with his mother’s limp, his lazy legs, heavy backpack and both having to contend with a suitcase each (having checked the other two), there would be no time to lose. Luke found himself whisked along at a brisk walk, his mother keeping up as best she could. Move, legs! Move! he thought.

They moved.

Out of breath, he spied the gate number and made a dash toward it, suitcase and various coats and sweaters billowing behind him. His mother had a face as red as a tomato, her mouth making a great O as she panted up to the ticket counter. Following her motions, Luke handed his ticket clumsily to the man who manned the desk, who smiled and handed it back, the red light flashing green to permit Luke passage. He was in! Delusions of missing the flight cast aside, he made his way to a middle seat, his mother taking the window.

He was on! Relief spilled over him as he settled into the seat that was oh-so-close to being comfortable, the cushion a flat plaster of mush beneath him. The trip would be long, but they had made it. Luke’s smile came back. He pulled out his headphones and phone and made the music sing in his ears again, the orchestra swelling like the ocean. Luke closed his eyes and dreamt of snow.

October 15, 2013

Day 143

Started the day off with STAM. Went to the computer lab and looked at how to creat a best-fit line in Excel. Then we went back to the classroom and took some notes. A friend of mine and I talked in pirate voices for this class, 'cause we're weird and apparently take our excellent education for granted.

Speaking of excellent education, next came Post. We talked about our latest section of Cuckoo's Nest, and then looked at JFK and his impact on the country ANC his assassination's impact on the country. Pretty depressing, but interesting stuff nonetheless!

In Advanced English, we started our playwriting unit! I'm so stoked about this; have been since I got into this class, because this is a weak area of writing off me, and I really want to improve here! We didn't write anything today (that starts next class), but we fix read some plays on how to write plays! Pretty neat concept. Oh, and another friend of mine got her senior photos taken today, so she wasn't in class, which made me sad. But she said her photos turned out great, so we're all looking forward to seeing what they look like!

Had a neat reminiscing discussion with a group of friends about our seven years at my school. It of course turned to the pessimistic and unflattering memories, but it was a good talk, and it got me thinking about how far I've come in the last seven years of my life. Especially after talking to my outside reader yesterday, who was my Sixth Grade English teacher, this has really made me see that yeah, I've made some mistakes, but we've also all grown closer as a class and I know I've grown stronger as a person. It was just a nice conversation and thought-provoking look at our lives.

Strings was last. My teavher's really stressed because we have a concert nest Wednesday! I didn't know this until today, so now I'm of course stressed about it! We played through our pieces, but we need work on most of them. Little things really on some of them , though our intonation is pretty bad on this one piece. I'm sure it'll be fine; it almost always is.

Composition tutoring was really fun today! We listened to some of Brian Tyler's Transformers Prime music, because I wanted to talk to my tutor about film scoring. I love all the color you have in a full orchestra, and the way they utilize that in a film score is fascinating to me. So, my tutor then talked to me about chord structure and we analyzed Tyler's style and musicality and it was a fun time!

Watched last week's Person of Interest, because I needed to get caught up, and I'm loving what's going on! Amy Acker plays such a chilling role, and I'm liking that Shaw is part of the unit this season! Then we watched SHIELD and this was one of the better episodes! I'm liking Coulson and Shaw's (different Shaw) relationship and Coulson's relationship with May. Really , I just like Coulson. Tomorrow is Senior App Day, where we fill out all our supplements for the Common App schools and just lazy around and have a good time! Should he a nice break from the norm! 

October 14, 2013

Day 142

It's Monday. I hate Monday's. Actually, today wasn't so bad, but this week I just know is going to be hard. We have Senior App day on Wednesday, and that sounds great, but there is so much room for distraction and not getting things done. Also, I had AYS tonight, and I'm really not liking the conductor's attitude about everything. He's vague, sarcastic (not in the good way, but in the mocking, mean-spirited way), and he's sexist- kind of.

Had History first. I got done with my portion of my group's PowerPoint! Woot! Also had a discussion with my teacher about my thesis, and he outlined for me which of my sources. Would be considered academic and which ones would not. It was grating, because I really don't like the academic system of its only academic and viable if published by a university press. Ugh. Anyway, he was understanding and said that I just needed to provide context when I use my non-academic sources, so that's fine. I'm just really not happy with this absolutist attitude that academia has towards small-time articles and books.

English came next. We've started The Tempest! Happy day! I think I'm gonna love love love this unit! It's so cool. We read a little bit in class, and I'm loving the play so far! After that, I had free the rest of the day, and last block I talked with my secondary reader! Our discussion lasted a good hour, and he's very encouraging!

Didn't go with the cross country team on the field trip day, because they now get back at 6:00, and I have AYS at 6:15; not really enough time to get from my school to the building. Instead, I and a group of people ran a quick loop and called it a day.

AYS was tiresome. Kinda liking the new music, but it's barely enough to carry me through all the bad that is the conductor's attitude and views on things. Really not happy with him. Had pumpkin pie afterwards, though, so that was fun! Now really worn out. Tomorrow should be fun; we have Advanced English tomorrow! Yay! 

October 13, 2013

Day 141

Woke up late today after staying up rather late last night due to reading more thesis stuff. Seriously, this is becoming a fun thing; I thought school was supposed to be hell and torment! Saw Captain Philips! Man, that was just a great film! Made me cry at the end! Spectacular acting by Tom Hanks and such emotion and tenseness. Wrote up my review of "Flying Mimd" today and posted it! I'm glad I'm still able to do these; schoolwork has been so occupying that I kinda forgt that this is what I do for the blog. It's nice to have written something that wasn't one of these P365, y'know? This should be a good week!

Shadowcon Reviews- Flying Mind

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 11: “Flying Mind”

Welcome back to Season Two of Prime. Did you miss it? Yeah, I’m not really leaping with joy either, but it’s okay, because today we’re looking at a Decepticon-focused episode (kind of), so it’s not all bad. In fact, this is one of the strong episodes of the season, and part of the reason for that is the writers’ ability to make this both a thematic piece and include something that I think much of this season was missing: fun. The fun factor is sorely lacking throughout much of the middle of this season’s run, but this episode manages to convey a sense of adventure and lightness despite the rather dire situation. Its good writing, and that I am always happy to applaud. I think part of that is due to the visuals (which we'll get into later), and also due to the fact that the humans are fun characters for this show, and that's a bonus in any Transformers series!

October 12, 2013

Day 140

Slept in late today because it's Saturday and it's awesome! Got up and read through some Buffy articles, making notes as I went along. I'm really loving this whole research thing for my thesis. My brain feels smart! Drove to the airport at around noon, and ate lunch at this great deli shop. I had clam chowder in a bread trencher. Yum! After that, we boarded the plane and headed home. I had a nice trip to California, and I enjoyed seeing the schools and all the yummy food. Once home, I discovered that I got a new Buffy book for my thesis (thanks Mom; I guess I'm sitting out on the finding sources task). It's actually pretty cool because there's a whole essay on why the Cheese Man is the most important element of the show! Yeah, pretty cool.

October 11, 2013

Day 139

Visited University of Redlands today! It was interesting. First came the tour, which was fun, because the guy presenting it was witty and I liked his casualness. I had hiccups the entire tour, so that must Haagen been lovely for everyone else (I know it was for me!) Next, mt Mom and I had lunch with a very nice sophomore student. She talked about student life and asked me what I was interested in, and I asked her about her classes and why she chose Redlands over other schools. She said that she chose it because of how good the financial aid program was.

By this point, my hiccups had subsided and I met with the dean of admissions for the school of music. It was a fairly standard meeting. He died me what instrument I played, what I was interested in studying, etc. and he gave me a handy sheet of when all the audition dates are! Great! This saves me so much time and swearing at the website, so thank you!

After that, I attended an English course. They were talking about Huck Finn, so I actually knew what was going on! The class was really cool. They really analyzed the book pretty thoroughly, though I will say that I'm starting to now really appreciate my education, as I think I did about this much analysis and such last year when I read this. Anyway, I then had a sit-down with the really nice teacher. She was this kinda quiet, mousy but confident person, and I liked her. She talked about what types of books they read over the course of the year, and I was impressed. My hiccups then returned, and I went back to the hotel.

I read a lot of my new Buffy books, and took copious notes within the pages. I felt so proud of myself! Had a lovely dinner at this English pub, and now my hiccups have returned again with a vengeance and I'm going to bed so I can stop feeling pain. Goodnight!

October 10, 2013

Day 138

Richard Nixon's alumnus brick at Whittier's walkway. Pretty cool!

Went to Whittier for a college visit today! It was pretty fun. Our tour guide was excellent, and she explained things very clearly. I liked that she touched upon many subjects without going into full detail about any one of them. The atmosphere and the tightness of the school really reminded me of my high school where I go now, and I think that speaks a lot to how comfortable I'd be at Whittier. It was a fun experience.

After that, we went back to the hotel. My mom took a nap and I read some more of my new books. Then we went to dinner and I had an excellent cioppino and some wonderful cheesecake to top it off! Yum! Now headed to bed with the rotton hiccups. Dammit.

Day 137

Got these three books for my thesis today! I've started the top one, and it is just intense! I feel so smart, and thats only after reading the introduction!

Whew! What a day. School was pretty good, I guess. I had Strings and STAM first again, and we worked on All-State practice in strings. In STAM we basically went over how to effectively cheat on the SAT, and then I had some lunch. Advanced English was fun. Having already completed all of the assignments, I worked on my Transformers fanfic for a little while, before the teacher talked to me about my latest essay and how awesome it was. I appreciate a little stroking now and then, okay? Post was fun too! Learned about JFK, LBJ, and Nixon (sort of). It was fun. I like learning about the US Presidents again; continuing from last year is always fun for me.

After school, my Mom and I left for the airport to catch a plane to LA. The plane was actually really cool. It was like one of those new planes that has the blue space-agey lights and its all awesome and condusive to sleep! I read more Percy Jackson and started Sex and the Slayer (again, I felt so smart after reading the introduction; that wasn't even the meat of the book, and I still felt all advanced and intellectual!) Once off the plane, we had a whole to-do about the rental car we got. This thing is like the Fantastic Four bathtub car, y'know, the one from the '70s, and its just so tiny. And really, who puts the window controls down where the stereo goes? Anyway, we've finally made it to the hotel, and I'm really tired. I'm headed to bed. Tomorrow I visit Whittier!

October 8, 2013

Day 136

It's here!!!!!!!

Okay day today (though now awesome thanks to this book)! I had strings and STAM first, then English 12 second. English was okay. We talked about feminism and our objectification of women in Western society. As the only guy in the class, I felt it kinda transcended the equality for women objective and went for the putting down men thing. Not purposefully, of course, but there was this energy of mistrust (?) toward men during that conversation. Just interesting.

Had Modern History last. We split off into our working groups, and mine barely got anything done. Seriously, I need to focus and just do this research. I don't know; philosophy sounds like such a cool subject on the outside, and then when you get into it, it's like, well this is just the most boring thing ever! Sorry to those who are philosophers.

Middle school cross country had a new today, so the high school team had to help out with that. It was okay, but by this point in the day, I was just kinda done with everything. Composition tutoring was kinda like that too: just going through the motions of understanding, without really feeling that sense of excitement to learn!

S.H.I.E.L.D. was okay today. I'm feeling like the show is just going to suddenly transform into this masterpiece project of a thing in its second season, and this is the stuff that we'll all look back and go "man, remember when the show was like this?!"

Now I'm going to return to House of Hades and not get any sleep tonight! Bye!

October 7, 2013

Day 135

I just love the responses to this!

Performed at Middle School morning meeting today. Had to get up early, but it wasn't too bad. And the performance went quite well. Those middle schoolers, man! They're so tiny!

Had Advanced Emglish first today. Submitted my essay to Teen Ink, an online and in-print journal that publishes works from teenagers. Mine made the editor's choice spot, so that was exciting! Also during that class, I checked my email and found that an author of an article that I need for my thesis emailed me back today saying that she does in fact have copies that she can mail me! How cool is that?! An author emailed me back! Sweet!

Didn't have strings because we played in the morning, so this was like our reward. I of course did not take advantage of this in the slightest, and instead of working of the many things I could have worked on, I instead talked with a good friend of mine for the block.

STAM came third. We learned about two-variable statistics and scatter plots. Nifty stuff. After that, my friend and I continued out kind of insane conversation and annoyed the faculty to no end, I'm sure! Seriously, there's this one picture that I think would be so much improved by being taken at just a slightly different angle, but no one else agrees with me. Anyway, then my friend mentioned centipedes and I had to run away after that!

Post was fun, though kind of depressing. We learned about the rather tragic end to the Kennedy family, and how all of their lives went down. Then we talked about Cuckoo's Nest a lite bit, and that was cool. I'm loving this book!

Cross Country was a lot of running up and down sand dunes. Horrible stuff, really. And I hate Goethe coach is all cheery about it. Makes me kinda sick. AYS was fun! Got new music (and I got a stand partner)! Huapango was fun to play , and I liked the Mendelssohn once I got it. It's the easiest of our new pieces, but it's still a fun thing, partly because we're playing it with the choir! I'm kinda into the new pieces, though much of the music is hard to read.

Tomorrow my Works Consulted is due! Crazy!

October 6, 2013

Day 134

We're playing this in AYS! So pumped!

Woke up and got to reading my assigned reading for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! It's so good, I can't even believe it. Just what a great story; really eerie and dark! I kinda slept along the way, because it's Sunday and I was tired, even though it was 9:00. Had scones that my Mom made, and they were yummy; the perfect breakfast to wake up to! Thank you, Mom!

Edited a friend's paper, then went to my school to play background music with the rest of the Strings people. We had this great music pun back-and-forth through group text messaging on the way there! I started it off because I noticed a typo in the teacher's initial text, and then a friend of mine just took off with it:

Teacher: "See you at 1:30 in the strings room with Bsoqeu Strings shirt. Please be in time."
Me: "Yes, but should we be in tempo?"
Teacher: "It would be a good measure to do so."
Friend: "I don't know where my key is, though."
Teacher: "You will need to shift positions to find it."
Friend: "Found it. I'll make note of that for the future."
Teacher: "Glad your situation modulated in your favor."
Me: "It's so good to know smart people!"
Friend: "Indeed. All I had to do was turn, and viola! There it was."
Me: "It's like we're talking in some kind of coda."
Friend: "I'm taking a break now, but I'll be Bach."
Me: "Yo! Are you Haydn from us? It's 1:32!"

It was great! That's the abbreviated version, by the way; the full thing is so long, and quite tedious, but also funny. Hope you liked that! After that (and after we played for two hours), my Mom and I went to the UNM Library to find some books that I need for my research. I found the one I needed, and two more besides, so that was nice. Looking forward to reading those!

Came home and watched more Buffy before going out to dinner. I had a lovely breakfast sandwich and now am headed to bed. Have to get up early tomorrow so I can play for the Middle Schoolers with my strings class. They just don't give us a break!

October 5, 2013

Day 133

Got up early for Cross Country meet today. It was up in Santa Fe, so I did get a bit of shut-eye on the way there. I ran last, and the race didn't go as well as I'd hoped it would. For one thing, it was flat, and while that my sound like a good thing, it only served to remind me how much further I had to go! not my worst time ever, but on this course, it wasn't great.

Came back home and had a nice long shower, then had lunch. Went to see Gravity, but the friend with whom I was going to see it canceled on me. I was pretty let down that I couldn't see it with her , but we 'll see it together some other time. Came back home and watched The Emperor's New Groove, which I hadn't seen since I was like seven! It was still pretty funny and awesome, plus it had Patrick Warburton in it! Cool.

Tomorrow I play for a school event, and I intend to get some homework done too.