Mustard on my knee.

Concert band sucked. The section is very young and inexperienced, and unfortunately, so am I. I haven’t had to be a leader in a long time. Not since my high school days when I was drum major of the band. Now I find myself in a weird and uncomfortable position where I must take some responsibility for others. This is fine and all, only if the day wasn’t so difficult.

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Click image for source! 

 

Last night I was told that my taxes were filed as a dependent. I made less than $4,000 so my mom was able to file my taxes while I was still a dependent on hers. This means that the government (FAFSA) will be less likely to give me any money for college, meaning that I won’t be able to go to college for another year and a half. And that’s what I woke up with. Disappointed, I gathered myself and left for school, 7 am rolled by. I meet Will for a warm-up session every morning at about 7 am, and this time he was upset too. Girlfriend troubles. But we both sat and warmed-up our chops before band. I already wrote about band earlier. Fortunately, we were let out 20 minutes early and had time to get breakfast. We first went to Pizza Press (a make your own pizza place), they were closed. We hurried over to Fatburger, they were closed. Then we settled for Subway and ate quickly. I somehow managed to get mustard on my converse and my BLACK pants and it stained. (Thus the title to this badly written essay.) We hurried to our chamber tuba ensemble. That was a mess. Everyone at different levels in their musical skill. Some barely understanding sight reading, others much more advanced. This caused chaos. We were never able to make music. Just stopping and starting, attempting to finish a piece. This left me in a rather grumpy mood. I don’t want to be apart of a group that I need to babysit. I then left to my concert attendance class where we listened to 55 minutes worth of continues piano music. Despite my efforts, I found my self nodding off and fell over in my chair, abruptly waking myself up. This made a few people behind me chuckle and me thoroughly embarrassed. Now I am drowning my sorrows in pizza from Pizza Press, that opens at 10:30. And time to move on.

 

Life isn’t tragic. It’s moving, changing, evolving, and constantly new. I believe that we must embrace these changes. The only way to do this is to take things as they come, one step at a time. Constantly moving forward, the only way to survive. On to the next story.

 

-CV

15 minute write #5: Do things not for the award, but for the knowledge of your capability.

Do things not for the award, but for the knowledge of your capability. This is what many if not most struggle to do today. Everything is about what’s in it for the parties involved. What many don’t realize is that so much can be avoided if efforts are done, not for a reward, but for the soul. **straight cheese**

 

Recently a very good friend of mine has gained a strong interest in a girl he’s known much of his life. He had always taken an interest in her, but never “went for it”, as it were. He thought that she was the one he’d like a long relationship with and that he’d have his fun before settling down with her. How arrogant, right? Well he was young and now, 6 years later, he’s found himself in a position where both him and her are single. **Side note: If you read my last post, you know that I went on a camping trip. He invited her.** My friend asked for advice. He wants to get the girl. I told him my theory on love:

Heart Eyes

Love is very much attention. (Insert credit to the film, Lady Bird) Love can be summed up into attention and the amount of it. We spend time on the things we love and even if not originally loved, develop feelings for the things we spend time on.

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GIF from the film Lady Bird. Click GIF for link. 

My friend replied that he calls this girl about every day if not texts. I told him that’s great, but that wont cut it this time. Flowers are the way to go, and often. This lead to me thinking about the association between doing things like being attentive and reward. So here comes the best advice I’ve probably ever given. I told him to do all of this, the flowers and phone calls, to prove to himself that that’s the man he is. That he is thoughtful and kind because that is who he is. That is the goal, and my new goal for everything. I don’t work hard and demand that I be accepted into the top schools of our time. I work hard because that is who I am. I am a hard worker, determined I stand.

 

-CV

15 minute write #4: One step at a time.

The new semester has started and I am stuck at Pasadena City College. Although I was accepted to the University of Redlands with a massive scholarship, I received nothing in FAFSA. This left me with a balance of about eleven thousand dollars and no way to pay it. So I continue at Pasadena City College. For most of this past winter I was very down and blue. I was so sad. I worked so hard this past semester, waking up at 4 am 4-6 days a week and going to bed at 11 pm or so, all while working two jobs and being a full time student. My reward was getting to leave PCC. Since that never happened, I was left devastated and depressed. Fortunately a good friend of mine invited me on a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park Presidents Day weekend, the weekend before school started. We went out with a few of his friends. Emely, Khalil, and Aketza all came along and I got to know all of them. Since everyone except Aketza lived closer to my friend, I was left to pick up Aketza. Aketza is a strong Latina girl who had a mind that enjoyed exploration. We talked the whole way to Joshua Tree, not turning on the radio for even a second. She explained to me her dislikes, and among them the horror of expectations of young people. She told me that it was crazy that the world expects everyone to get to a 4 year in a way I never heard before. She explained these things to me in ways that penetrated my thick, hard head. From this, I finally understood that it was okay that I continue at Pasadena City College. That I was allowed to take my time and finish classes. That I could work and take classes, all while being happy, not stressed. This has brought me to a better place where my motto is, “one step at a time” and “buen dia (good day)”. Happier, I approach things with stride and gusto. I wonder why it never registered in my thick head. I’ve heard about not having to fit into a cookie cutter world, but I never believed it until now. I wonder why. Why am I now of this new found thinking? Is it my last resort for sanity? Or have I just discovered it?

 

Things are better now.

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Picture of me at peace. Buen Dia Amigos. 

-CV

15 Minute Write #3: Just an update.

First of, my grandfather is doing well. His vicious cough attacks seem to have subsided and he is feeling much better. This happened just in time for him to see his youngest son come home from Arizona to visit. My uncle Moises is my favorite out of the two, and maybe my grandpa’s, too. Moises leaves today, but had been here for about 4 days. During his visit, we went out to eat a few times on top of my grandma’s famous dishes that she prepared just for this occasion. Needless to say, we ate a ton while my uncle was here. Now I really have no excuse to not practice. I said I would begin practicing in my last update, but it never happened. I’m still struggling with motivating myself. It’s terrible really. I feel as though my love for the instrument isn’t enough. But this is just the lack of practice talking. Once I put my lips to the instrument, I’ll remember the passion.

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Picture of my favorite practice spot and my horn. 

The passion one feels for music and their music making machine is incredible. I feel like the only way those who don’t play can feel that same passion is through listening to it live. Of course, I’m talking about classical music. Going to a concert hall that was made with an orchestra in mind is always a treat. This last week, I had the pleasure of attending a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to hear Bach’s First Violin Concerto, Brahm’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, played by the world famous Los Angeles Philharmonic. This was a huge treat. For those of you unaware, these popular concerts can run very expensive; cheapest seats were $100. But students and seniors get a massive discount, and I pad $10. All the pieces were played wonderfully, especially the Enigma Variations. The piece can drive anyone to tears if played well enough. I felt my eyes swelling repeatedly throughout the piece. You feel the true force of the orchestra, unable to fight the emotions the musicians bestows upon you. Helpless, you emote and are one with the piece. This happens easier to some, but everyone is touched. To me, it hit hard. I was saddened by my lack of practice. I felt as if the whole orchestra was disappointed in me. And I felt disappointed in myself. Unfortunately, my uncle arrived that next morning, and I was unable to practice due to the noise and my availability. But now that he is flying home, the house is mine to make noise. I’m off to practice.

-CV

Tommyjohnson
Click photo for source. This is a picture of Tommy Johnson, legendary Tubist. He is one of my inspirations. 

15 Minute Write #2: A teen over thinking relationships… again.

Here’s the thing about me and love. I don’t know what it is, but I’m totally willing to give it to any half decent chick I meet. I don’t mean sexually. I haven’t even, if you know what I mean. I just mean that I convince myself that these girls are the one. Part of me realizes that people come and go, knowing you can’t force these types of things. The other part has hope that it’s a girl I’ve met and hit it off with. Issue with the only girls I have in mind is just distance. One live about an hour and a half away, the other is in Indiana (while I’m in Los Angeles). I once was at a place where I would talk with hours with those girls, and now we’ve gone our separate ways. Maybe I should too?

Heart Eyes
Click GIF for source. 

 

Moving on seems to be difficult for me, especially since my confidence isn’t super high and I hate rejection. But most people are built that way. I figure it’s about time I start putting myself more out there to meet new people. It couldn’t hurt and I do like meeting new people. I also think my standards are a bit too high or maybe just not possible as of now. I mean, I would like a girl who is a great student and a diligent worker. Someone who is passionate and isn’t afraid to back down from discomfort. Girls like this are too busy studying and making the right decisions to get caught up with a guy like me. I don’t mean to say I think I’m a bad guy. I just think that I’d be too clingy for them. I feel as though I might hold them back from becoming great. I absolutely believe that a couple should bring out the best in each other. Maybe not all the time, but with the intention too. The issue I think I have is that I’m too willing to investigate and give chances to girls who I have no business being with. I waste my time, get hurt, and at the end of the day I’m still alone.

Lonely
Click GIF for source.

Do I keep pursing this girl or not? It has been made obvious that I am a “life long friend” for this girl. I’ve been friend zoned, if you will. And now I need a game plan. I am absolutely ready to send her an even bigger bouquet to her for valentines day , than  her birthday. My question is if it is unnoticed. Am I just another friend for her (,OBVIOUSLY I AM..)? Or is she just smart enough not to go down this long distance road with a “safe choice” guy like me? This is when the over thinking kicks in. I just don’t know what to do or what to think. All I know is that I want to be proactive and not reactive. To keep digging until I find an answer, only that I don’t want to find the wrong answer.

-CV

15 Minute Write #1: Stuff happens.

Since my last blog, much has happened and not in my favor. I was accepted to the University of Redlands and with a ton of scholarship, about $45,000 a year. But 4 year privates are expensive and I needed to pay an additional $7,000 out of pocket, and I couldn’t. This was due to my home situation, being that my grandparents live with me and my mom supports them. Because my grandparents insurance is paid through the government, my mom can’t claim my grandparents as dependents on her taxes without my grandparents insurance going away. This means, when it came to financial aid time, FAFSA saw that my mom is making all this money with only me as a dependent – they didn’t give me crap. So now I’m stuck. I need to find away to not pay for college at all, and that’s difficult to do now in days. But it’s my only option now. So life goes on…

tyoing gif

Now that I’m on break, I’ve just been working more. I should be practicing more and taking lessons, but I’m burned out, unmotivated and just depressed. I haven’t picked up my horn in days and can’t seem to find the will to practice. But I’m going to force myself to play today. I know that I’ll feel better once I get into a proper practice routine. The routine has been difficult because… well, life. My grandpa got sick last Tuesday and we spent an entire 17 hours in the ER, from 7 pm-12 pm. Then, I wasn’t able to practice those two days. My room is also wicked small for an instrument like a tuba, let alone, practicing with an instrument that big. So normally I like to practice in the living room, and I can only do that when my grandparents aren’t home, which is never. Really, most of this stuff is just an excuse and I totally could have practiced. But I hope to be turning a new leaf soon and get out of this funk that I’ve been in. Tomorrow is a fresh start and I can decide whether it’s on the right foot or not. Here’s to fresh starts!

-CV

Writing can be fun… I guess.

I started this blog only because it was required for my college English class. I was certain I was going to hate every second of blogging and that I wouldn’t do it if it was apart of an assignment. But now, I’ve learned to love writing a blog. These blog assignments have helped me understand my own writing style. Now I am a more capable writer and have figured out how to practice writing. Not only has this blog helped my writing, but I have been exposed to many young writers like myself. Just averages Joes who write for fun. I have learned from them and all the other wonderful writers on this site. In the process of blogging, I was challenged to blog daily in the month of October, and didn’t do well. I did, however, blog 19 days of October. In that time, I realized how easy a 300 word entree could be. I was challenged to come up with new topics and explore my writing style, challenging myself to write in different ways.
In the process of writing, I was able to explore a different side of me. I found that I am more opinionated when I write, rather than my seemingly unbiased self. I began writing with purpose and intention, instead of writing because it was required. Writing became more pleasurful, and I look forward to improving my grammar. And with all of this, I began to read differently.
Reading is easier now. I can read much faster and with more accuracy. Now that I have stepped into my own head, it is easier to allow myself to wonder in the authors world of thought. Ideas within a book are easier to grasp and more accessible to me. Books become more interesting, if anything because of the writers individual style. Reading to see what choices the author makes with grammar and punctuation becomes more normal. I’ve become more curious and more open to ideas.
Blogging has helped me understand myself and how I see literature and writing. I have gained perspective and skills from blogging, and I don’t plan on stopping just yet. I plan to keep blogging from time to time. I can see no better way to exercise and practice my writing.

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My take on Of Mice of Men. The young adult perspective. (SPOILERS… kinda)

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Click photo for caption.

“I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time.” – George, Of Mice and Men.

Of Mice of Men is a novel written by John Steinbeck in 1931. For those of us who have read the book, you understand the confusion and at times, discomfort that is felt through the novel. Right when things seem to be going smoothly, something happens and everything is a mess again. This was not a pleasant read for me, at this point of time. I’m dealing with a lot, juggling school, work, a social life, and practicing is just some of the chaos that rules my world. Also, the fact that I knew the ending of the book didn’t help me. The ending of the book was unsatisfying and just out right sad. It felt like I got little to no closure and for a second, I just felt hopeless. As soon as I came back to the real world, I realized that the book offered a fantastic story about friendship, sacrifice, and compassion. For a second, I was on the fence of the argument for and against the book and why it is on the band books list. I feel as though it is necessary to show our children this book. I am a strong advocate for not keeping the young in a bubble. But at the same time, the book is graphic in many respects. Parents should have control of what their children are exposed to but they need to be informed. This book is a classic, must read for a reason. It teaches us valuable lessons and even allows us to explore sensitive, unsettling situations within ourselves.

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Weekly Check-in!

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Click photo for the source! 

“I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time.” – Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck.

 

This past week, I’ve picked up the classic, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I am almost done with the book (page 148) and I have to say, I’m conflicted. Knowing how the book will end, I am reading much more carefully and even too carefully. I’m not enjoying the read as much as if I were unaware of what is to come. But then again, I might be equally as upset. But all of that put aside, I really appreciate Steinbeck’s writing and am looking into other books written by this author.

 

Of Mice and Men has always been on my reading list. I remember everyone I knew was reading it in high school. They’d get into deep discussion about the book as well as giving their critiques. Most of them said the same thing which was basically siding with what Mark Twain had said about the book. Non the less, I am enjoying the read more or less.

 

Reading has been fun for me and has helped with the stress of school. But the fear of me having to withdrawal from a course such as English has kept me up at night. I am scared that I will be forced to spend another year and a half at the Jr. College. I feel as though I am rotting away. I might as well join the military at the rate I’m going. It irritates me how difficult this English class is. It’s by far the most difficult class I’ve ever taken and it’s being taught by a teacher who doesn’t teach. Most people would’ve dropped the class already and many did. Less than half the class we started with remains. Those who remain are either stupid, crazy, or have strong faith in their God. Either way, the class is gruesome.

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The Slice of Life Reflection.

Although I did not Blog everyday of October, I benefited greatly from this challenge, writing 19 blog posts. The challenges I faced were mostly due to my busy and inconsistent schedule. I eventually figured out that I can write two or more blogs when I had the time and could schedule them for future dates. This was the biggest contributor to my success in this challenge. Had I know that this was possible, I think I would have gotten all 31 days.

 

Blogging daily gives a person the unique opportunity to exercise their writing and communication skills, daily. I noticed a vast improvement in my grammar and the smoothness of my writing. Although my writing is far from perfect, I have grown tremendously as a writer and reader. Writing daily also gave me an opportunity to explore who I am as a writer. I got a chance to see what tone I favor and was able to try writing in different styles. I wrote causal blogs, informative blogs, attempted academic types of blog, and a blog that was more of a diary entree. My favorite blog has to be “Making music and the ultimate goal” because I was very passionate in writing it. I plan on becoming a music educator at some point in life and enjoy exploring the conceptual side of music making. This topic came about when it was brought up in a lesson, and I’m still thinking about it today.

 

The process I used for finding topics consisted of finding inspiration from life or just random thoughts. This also contributed to the eclectic nature of my blog. You might also notice how my blogs slowly became more personal and emotionally driven. This is likely due to my increasing stress level and added anxiety from thought of failing courses. But never the less, it shows me how my writing changes as I change. I am curious to see how my blog entrees will change as I go into winter break. I look forward to blogging in the future and seeing how my writing has progressed and transformed.

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