Tag Archives: Homework

Procrastination Holiday Mash Up

Since high school my Christmas list has gotten shorter and shorter. There’s usually one or two things I want that I’m too cheep to buy, and one or two things I need, and that’s what I ask for. Otherwise I just buy stuff myself whenever I need/want it. It’s partly because I learned how to save money, and partly because I’ve had a mini-job for the past couple years so I can do said saving of money. It’s also because since probably my junior or senior year of high school, I feel weird asking my parents for things that I can afford and don’t necessarily need or that I can wait for.

The thing is, my parents like buying stuff for my brother and me. We have an obnoxiously huge beanbag chair (it’s not actually a beanbag chair but I don’t exactly know what to call it) in our kitchen in front of the TV. Our kitchen is obnoxiously huge, so it’s basically part kitchen, part dining room, part living room. Anyway, two summers ago it was ridiculously hot, and because of that (or maybe just because of coincidence) I got sick and projectile vomited all over the nest (that’s what we call it). We went 4 or 5 miserable months without a nest, but our parents surprised us with a new one that Christmas.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made sense to get a new one if my brother and I weren’t home all the time. Sam and I are both in college, but I commute, and he comes home every weekend. We’re both about half an hour from home in opposite directions.

Last year my parents surprised me with a 5 gallon fish tank and a beta fish for Christmas. His name is Raskolnikov because Dostoevsky is a genius. I know we have a ten gallon tank lying around somewhere, so I’m thinking about upgrading and getting a few more fish. I don’t think I’d move Raskolnikov because he seems quite content all by his lonesome, but it might be nice to have some more little friends. I’m weird. I talk to my fish.

I do need a new set of headphones for my computer. Last year my aunt got me a wireless set, and they stopped working. I’ve decided to ask for a set of wired ones for Christmas because wireless anything and I have never been friends. In fact, technology and I have never really been friends, but that’s a whole different story. I know it’s the thing you plug into to charge them, and it’s not the charger itself that isn’t working because I’ve tried a different one and it still doesn’t work.

My brother and two of my cousins and I did ask for the new Pokemon game for Christmas. Yes, I’m 21 and I shamelessly admit that I like and play Pokemon. There’s quite a bit of nostalgia involved. When we were kids, Star Wars and Pokemon were our obsession. That and, gosh darn it, they’re fun!

Otherwise, that’s about it. My list is short this year. It drives our parents crazy, and it drives our aunts and grandmothers crazy, too. I could use a new amplifier for my guitars, but that can wait. I suppose I could ask people for Guitar Center gift cards. I’d like to go and try things out for myself. That upgrade probably won’t even happen for a few years anyway, though.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like Christmas and Thanksgiving are really close together this year. Thanksgiving is kind of the start to our Christmas season anyway. The past few years we’ve gone up to Maine and gone out to eat with our family. We used to have it at our house, but my grandfather got really sick, and my grandmother didn’t want to go far. We’ve just gotten used to doing it that way, I guess. We used to stay for one night, but last year we stayed for two because my grandfather died two days before Thanksgiving and we had to stay for the funeral. This year we’re staying for two nights again just so we can have time to see everyone and hang out. We usually go and get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but since we’re staying for two nights we’re doing that just before we go home. It’ll be fun just to hang out in Portland and play with our cousins. I think we’re going to bring the Wii so we can play Mario Kart in the hotel room.

Our family is insane. My oldest first cousin is 9 years older than me, and my youngest second(third?) cousin is 16 or 17 years younger than me. My mom has about 50 first cousins, which means I have over 100 cousins of varying degrees. On my dad’s side I have 2 second cousins who have no kids, and 2 fist cousins. One is my age and one is two years younger than me. For Thanksgiving this year we’re meeting up with 27 people. Some people have asked why we go out to eat instead of going to someone’s house. Part of it is that we have too many people, and part of it is because it’s significantly less stressful. It makes it fun.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook about people stressing about Christmas already. There are ways of making it less stressful. It’s not that hard. I’ll admit that there are things about Christmas that bug me. It’s almost like there are two holidays going on at the same time, and a minority of people remember the real reason why we celebrate it. The point isn’t to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood (we have the 2nd biggest only because our neighbor has taller ceilings). The point isn’t to get the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to give the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to have the most decorated house (our mom goes nuts anyway, and it’s fun!). The point is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and that’s WAY less stressful.

I know some people freak out about the “secular” stuff and say it’s creepy or evil and that Jesus was born in April, which may or may not be true. The same people don’t celebrate Easter for the same reason: it’s become too secular. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. The point is that we remember the real reason why we celebrate. The other stuff just makes it fun. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have fun. The only thing I might do differently if I had kids is I’d probably skip the whole Santa Claus story. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I’d still get a tree, I’d still eat massive quantities of junk food, and I’d still get together with all the magnificently crazy people.

I think it’s true that people get a little nicer around Christmas, and a little more generous. Maybe the love gets thrown around for some of the “wrong” reasons, but the point is that the love gets thrown around, and I am perfectly okay with that. So have fun. Don’t stress out. Go to church if you want to. Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Just remember why this holiday exists.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Monday Morning

Yesterday was a long day. Mondays are always long for me. I usually get up early, around 7:00, to finish the weekend homework I didn’t get to. Then I have class from 11:30 to 2:00, then I come home for about an hour and a half, at which point I have to go back to school for a class from 4:30 to 7:30. Then I come home and watch The Big Bang Theory and Scorpion with my dad.

Mondays are a bit stressful, but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this in the middle of the week. It’s good to get it over with.

Yesterday was a pretty exceptional Monday, however. I got up and was eating my toast with humus, when I felt like I should probably read something from the Bible. I don’t read it as much as I probably should, but yesterday morning I wanted to. Sometimes, the honest reason I don’t is because I’m a little afraid of what I might find. There’s probably something very questionable about that.

Anyway, so I decided to jump to Psalm 64. I picked it because 64 is my favorite number, and here’s what I found:

1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
    protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
    from the plots of evildoers.
They sharpen their tongues like swords
    and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
    they shoot suddenly, without fear.

They encourage each other in evil plans,
    they talk about hiding their snares;
    they say, “Who will see it?”
They plot injustice and say,
    “We have devised a perfect plan!”
    Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.

But God will shoot them with his arrows;
    they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them
    and bring them to ruin;
    all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what he has done.

10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in him!

I’ve been praying about the Middle East, specifically the problems caused by ISIS. It’s a really dire situation and I really do feel for the innocent people over there. Yesterday morning it was like God said, “I’m listening. Everything will be okay. Just keep it up, and do not give up hope.” The psalm just seemed to reflect so strongly what’s been going on in the world, and what I’ve been feeling. I was in a good mood for the rest of the day yesterday.

This weekend I started writing a new song. I got the idea from the priest’s sermon on Saturday. He talked about how the joy of the Lord is different from superficial happiness. It’s a joy that we can feel even in the darkest, nastiest places. He used the example of Saint Paul who freaked his prison guard out by singing, and who later wrote the letter to the Ephesians, which our priest called “the epistle of joy.”

All I’ve got so far is the chorus, but it goes like this:

This is a song to sing in the dark
This is enough, a spark to start a fire
This is a prayer you answer with love
Because you are God, and you are with us.

I don’t know what to do for verses yet. I ran into this same problem when I was writing “Good In Things,” where I had the concept and the chorus for the song, but I didn’t actually know how to concretely “talk” about it.

Anyway, my point is that God answers prayers. He doesn’t always answer them in the way we expect him or want him to, but he does, and he is always good. There’s a lot of crap going on in the world right now: war, disease, sickness, struggles within families. It’s always been this way, and it probably will be this way for a while, but God is listening, and it’s not going to be like this forever. I have no idea what he’s doing most of the time, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing anything. It just means he’s a lot smarter and sneakier than us silly people.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Faith, Doubt, Patience And Getting Famous

I wonder what it’s like to be the friends and family of U2 or Pearl Jam or Paul McCartney. I wonder what it was like growing up with them, having no idea they would become huge, international rock stars. I wonder if there were doubters. I wonder how their parents felt about the fact that they spent hours on end writing songs and playing guitar in their basements instead of doing homework. I wonder how they feel now.

I know there are doubters among my friends and family and acquaintances. I won’t say who they are. It’s annoying to me that people ask, “well, do you know what you would do if music doesn’t work out?” It’s just their way of saying, “You’re destined to fail. You need a backup plan.” Maybe I’m crazy, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I’ll make it. I don’t care about being famous. I just don’t want to have a day job. More importantly, though, I want to dedicate my life to music because it’s my most meaningful way of dedicating my life to God. I know I’m a good songwriter, and I know that talent came from him. I can’t do anything else because I feel like I would be wasting that talent.

Furthermore, I’ve already put so much time, money, effort and prayer into this dream of mine. I feel that, as a Christian songwriter, I have an obligation to spread a message. A week ago I was thinking; why did God make us in the first place? It’s not a thought that had ever really struck me. It had crossed my mind before, but I had never really thought about it. The conclusion that I came to after some reading and thinking was that God made us because he loves us. Before we were made we were loved. Furthermore, God is good, so we are good and the world is good because he made all that exists. I feel obligated to share that message LOUDLY.

Admittedly, I do want music to work out for selfish reasons. I don’t want to sit behind a computer for several hours a day researching or editing articles or whatever it is most English majors end up doing. I don’t want to teach either. I definitely don’t want to teach. All of it sounds boring, tedious and unfulfilling. I get so much joy and fulfillment from performing and writing songs, partly because it’s fun, and partly because I know people are hearing what I really want them to hear.

Sometimes trying to get gigs and only getting to play two songs at church open mics or tiny restaurants is frustrating, but I know it really is all worth it because it’s better than nothing, and will amount to something eventually. I do believe that God will open doors for me, like he already has, and this project will go somewhere. I have found that I get in my own way sometimes. It’s easy to forget that it’s all for his glory and not mine. I get a giant ego trip from applause and compliments after my sets, and I have to be careful of that. I’m not too worried, though. Doubters can be frustrating, but I know this is going in the right direction. I just have to be patient. That’s something I have trouble with sometimes. I’ll get to where I need to be eventually. I’m just a passenger on this crazy road trip anyway.

The Latest Version of “Passenger”

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Almost The End

Yesterday was a good day. It was 70 degrees outside and sunny. I had half meant to do some homework yesterday, but it was too nice out, so I didn’t. I had gone for a walk and talked to the neighbors for a while since they were out, and I cut through their yard to get back to my house. Then I went inside to work on a song, but was drawn back outside by the weather and a need to void my bladder (I had to find my dad to help me with the restroom). When we were back inside he told me that he heard one of the neighbors playing an electric guitar. He didn’t know who it was, but I decided that I needed to be louder than them.

I brought my Les Paul out to the driveway and plugged into the wall in the garage with an extension chord. Then I cranked the amp and played all the loud songs I know. Admittedly there aren’t many. I write and play mostly mellow songs, and it’s hard to make them less mellow even with a noisy electric guitar. Eventually Ben came over to see if it was in fact me who was making all the noise. Ben is around 10 or 11, and he and I are the only people in the neighborhood who play guitar. Our families live about 3 houses apart. When he came over my dad and I had him play something on my guitar. He’s getting pretty good. I think he takes lessons at the studio I record at.

I also finished learning “Guess I’m Doing Fine” by Beck yesterday. I had to change the key because Beck sings too low, which involved more effort than I was hoping, but I have it down pretty well now. I also started learning “Lay My Burden Down” by Alison Krauss yesterday. Normally I wouldn’t think of covering it just because it’s not my personal style, but my songwriting partner and I agreed on it because there isn’t a whole lot of music that we both know and like. Her musical background is Christian Pop and Country, whereas my background is more Alternative Rock and Folk. We’ve finished writing a song together, so I think our stylistic differences work well together.

Last night a friend of mine and her parents came over and I showed them all a demo of my album. We had dinner, hung out for a while by a campfire my dad made and then we watched Star Wars VI. Alycia hadn’t seen the series before, so I showed her IV and V a few weeks ago. It’s my mission to get all my friends and family obsessed with Star Wars. I’m really looking forward to the release of the new one, but I’m apprehensive about Disney working on it. As long as they don’t try and make it kid friendly I’ll be happy.

I’m almost done with my Junior year of college, and I’m really ready to be done. I’m really tired of doing homework, and I need time to get planning my CD release party, promotion, etc. I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and I need to sort out the bad ones. I’d also like to start performing more, but I’m having trouble finding time because of school and because I’ve been trying to get in a few hours of studio time every week.

The past few days I’ve just been in a slump. I just haven’t wanted to do anything despite the fact that I have too much to do; possibly because of this. I just want a few days to goof off, play some video games and then get to work without anything getting in my way. It’s very annoying having papers due and reading to get through and whatever else. It’s always towards the end of the semester, where I have trouble caring about this stuff. I’m definitely not meant to be an academic. I hate doing research, and I like thinking about art and philosophy and whatever else on my own terms.

Anyway, I’ll stop complaining now. I’ve developed a pretty bad procrastination problem in the past few weeks, but I only have a few weeks of school left. I can do this!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

On The Horizon

I just finished my paper MUCH earlier than I thought I would, which is AWESOME because I didn’t and don’t have to stress out about it. For ONCE I planned my time well. I’m so excited my head might explode because after I do my presentation in class today I’m DONE with that class and that professor. Let’s just say he and I didn’t exactly see eye to eye.

Anyway, I thought since I have time to write a good, long blog post that I’d tell you all about some cool stuff that will be going on this summer. As mentioned a thousand times because I’m obsessed, music will be happening this summer! In other news, a girl named Hope from my Creative Writing Nonfiction class had a lovely idea. She sent out an email to the whole class suggesting that we make a list of everyone’s blogs, since apparently half the class or so has a blog. It’ll be pretty cool to see what the peeps are up to. It’s funny because I checked out Hope’s and Kat’s blogs and they’re both a lot more organized and in a way, more serious than mine.

I also had a cool idea as a result of taking that class. One of my essays (writing about faith) was about how I write worship songs (so I could avoid writing about faith) that I titled “Passenger,” which is the title of what is probably my favorite song (out of the one’s I’ve written). My idea was to write a bunch of stories or essays based off of or at least sharing the titles of all my songs. It’s not a huge, crazy endeavor because my “Passenger” essay was around four pages long, and I would sort of model the rest after that. It would be mostly just for fun and I’d probably just publish them on my blog.

That’s about it in terms of cool stuff other than reading and making noise. I’ll probably end up going to Canobie Lake Park with either my cousins or my friends once or twice, ’cause it’s just kind of what we do. We might go up to Portland for the Fourth of July. We haven’t done that in several years, and it would be really cool to do it again. We are going up to Montreal to visit my cousin Amber in a couple weeks. As I mentioned, she was here on Friday, but it’ll be cool to hang out for a whole weekend. She has a job up there this summer, so she won’t be coming home again until Christmas. She’s super nerdy and super fun to hang out with. She’s going to force me to eat french fries with gravy and cheese on them because apparently that’s a thing up there. I can’t decide if it sounds disgusting or pretty good. We also might go to a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness to experience what it’s like to be blind. It’s a cool idea.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

“Don’t Stop The Madness”

I saw Tenth Avenue North on Friday. Their latest album is called “The Struggle.” I’ve been listening to their song “Worn” a lot because I’ve been getting about 2 to 4 hours of sleep during the week for about a month now due to final papers and such. I don’t know the story behind the song, but it’s basically about being tired and really needing God’s help.

Another song on their album that I haven’t listened to much though, is called “Don’t Stop The Madness.” Mike (their lead singer) told us a story about a horrible car crash he was in when he was 17 or 18. He almost died, but he didn’t, and even though he could have got mad at God, he didn’t. Instead, he got incredibly bored because he had to lie on his back to heal for many weeks, so he got a guitar to pass the time and that was how he learned to play

The point of the story is that when things are going wrong for us, or we feel like we’re in a hole we just can’t dig our way out of we pray for God to stop the madness. I know lack of sleep is no comparison to a nearly fatal car crash, but I’ve been in a really bad mood for the past few weeks because I’m rather sick of it and I just want a way out. Well, the only way out is to finish the semester and complaining to everyone I know, including God isn’t going to change anything. So today I’ve decided to just be in a good mood. Good things can come from the messes we get into, so we can gripe and moan, or we can get through it and learn from it and laugh about it later.

Have a super awesome day peeps! 🙂

Words

Today I started reading a book called “Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies” by Marylin Chandler McEntyre. She talks about how words seem to have lost or are losing their worth in a culture where everything is based around exaggeration, propaganda and marketing. She laments the misuse of words such as when young people use the words “like” and “whatever” far too frequently and in the wrong places. I am entirely guilty of this misuse in my speech. I know proper grammatical constructs, and I think I have a larger than average vocabulary, but I speak like a buffoon (awesome word).

It’s interesting that I speak one way and write another way. When I am writing less formal pieces, people will often say that I “sound” like myself, but when I speak I use so many erroneous words and phrases that I often have to take considerable time and think things through very carefully before I say them. This is partly why I dislike giving oral presentations. I know that I can sound far more thoughtful and convincing in writing rather than speech.

I dislike arguing very much for this reason. In writing I can look things up and present my point of view in a well informed and logical way, but I am not good at responding to arguments from others “off the top of my head.” In speech I think I also tend to repeat myself sometimes. When I run out of ideas I just hold on to whatever happened to be my strongest one and try to hold it up like a shield as best I can.

McEntyre’s book was not entirely a rant about the misuse of language. She also talks about how people should step back and enjoy words for what they are. She mentions that people often say to her, “I like the word, ‘pie,'” for example, for no other reason than it sounds nice.

Some of my personal favorite words are:

ErroneousShenanigans
Comandeer
Eclectic
Bulbus
Absurd
Bucket
Idiosyncratic
Nice
Loiter
Ketchup
Flippant
Totalitarian
Megalomaniac
Tortoise
Snarky
Quirky

Most of these I like for the way they sound. I know what they mean, and some of them are not good, but they are fun to say, which is why I can put “bucket” and “totalitarian” in the same list.

Well, I should get back to work. I’ll have another tangent for another time.

Making Colorful Things

Well peeps, it’s getting late, and I still have a bunch of homework to do, but I felt the need to take a momentary break and write a post.

For the past couple weeks or so I’ve been emailing back and forth with a lovely girl named Rose. We found each other through a website that helps people find other people to write or email to. You might be interested to know that Rose has an Etsy shop where you will find some super cool and useful stuff! She has given me permission to post a link to her fancy little shop, so I am going to do that right here! Rose’s Etsy Shop

Anyway, I’m rather caffeinated, so I should get back to work before it wears off!