Thursday, July 31, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Q: Where have you been these past few weeks? You haven't posted in a long time.
A: The main reason is that I spent a week in Hayward, Wisconsin, with my family. My uncle rented a house on a lake in the area and much of my mom's family was there. I have never been in that part of the state--it's amazingly beautiful. Just the variety of trees alone is impressive: aspens, firs, red pines, oaks, and quite a few more that I can't name. The lake was also very pristine. And the sunsets alone were worth the trip. Since the house faced to the West on the lake, we got a postcard sunset every night. I'll admit it was nice to get away from the city for awhile, but it was also difficult in some aspects. In the end, we felt it was too soon to gather for a week. Everyone was still very emotional and we weren't sure if the subject of my mom was taboo or not. My dad mentioned it would be a good idea if he, my brother, and I went on a trip just by ourselves later this year. It seemed there were just too many people and too many emotions for one house.
Q: Marching band season has started and you have a new director. How has that been going?
A: In a nutshell, not so good. A few months ago, our middle school band director was laid off because of budget cuts. She was also our head marching band director. When her position was cut, the other two marching band directors turned in their resignation so they could spend more time with family. So, basically, our marching band was left with only our color guard instructor. We were able to hire a new director, who we have worked with for the entire season so far. He is very experienced (a Milwaukee police officer and retired Marine Corps band member) and has a lot of new ideas. These new ideas, however, are replacing the techniques which we had used in previous years. I have a lot of confidence in his ideas and don't mind doing something different, but many others are resisting this change and morale is very low as a result. He is also a bit out of touch and seldom listens to a lot of our own ideas. What I am afraid of is a mass dropout, which would ultimately destroy our band because of its already small size. I can only hope that we can reach a comprimise with our director and work toward a decent score at the State competition.
Q: Are you still working at Hollywood Video?
A: Yes, although I am not glad to say so. The main problem is the store manager. She is constantly disregarding my schedule requests and is giving me more hours than I can handle. I had told her that I need Wednesdays and Thursdays off for marching band, yet she has scheduled me for Wednesday the past two weeks. I gave her my band schedule to reference, but she also managed to have me work during one of my parades. And when I trade with someone to work around those days, she gets angry and asks why I can't work. I also have not gotten a single raise since I began eight months ago, even though the company policy is to offer a raise after ninety days to workers who pass their performance review, which I have not gotten either. I'll be bringing these issues up with her next time I see her...If she doesn't change anything, I could always bring it up with the district manager. The silver lining is that if she fails another store audit, she will likely get fired. We can only hope.
So that's my update on the last month in a nutshell. There's much more to it, but I don't have much time to write about it. Sorry if this sounded a bit like an angry rant at some points. There really are a lot of negative things in this post, but this summer has not been going so well. On a positive note, the past few days have been quite good. I have had a bit more spare time to be with friends and relax. Hopefully, my up cycle will last awhile longer.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Since I started volunteering at a nature center roughly a half hour away from my house, I have seen it as a brief escape from the city. I am not sure how large it is in acres, but I would say it is at least fifty if I were to guess. I feel at peace when the sun radiates upon me in the prairie, when the blooming spiderwort creates a sea of purple that rocks in the breeze. I love hearing the water crash down into the river from the waterfall at the edge of the lake. The mosquitoes are especially vicious this time of year, yet I have somehow grown to appreciate them as they symbolize the roughness of nature. They show how not everything in nature is beautiful or perfect--they just are.
My first day at the nature center was just over three weeks ago. Each day is centered around a certain project. Mondays, which I usually attend, are dedicated to the phenology hike, where a chart is filled out to show which plants are in bloom. I am the youngest person in the group, by at least fourty years. I was taken aback by their age at first, feeling slightly out of place.
"Who needs to use a big pen for their arthritis?" one of the volunteers had asked.
I simply smiled politely and declined her offer.
The rest of the group, though, contains some of the friendliest and smartest people I have met. Many of them are retired teachers, who have a great knowledge of the local flora and fauna. On Tuesdays, the projects require more manual labor and attract a younger crowd. It is focused around trail maintenance--things like spreading woodchips, pulling invasive plants, and repairing broken bridges and boardwalks. A few weeks ago, after the local flooding had done incredible damage, I helped to repair a broken footbridge and clear the sticks and debris that were damming a creek. Yes, the work is quite exhausting, especially when it is humid and the mosquitoes are dense. But it is the rewarding kind of exhaustion, the kind that lets you know you've worked hard and accomplished something. And there is always something new to accomplish.
I was reluctant to start volunteering at first. After my mother had passed away, I didn't feel a desire to do anything--work, band, seeing friends. I thought my entire summer would be drastically altered. Everything I wanted or had intended to do would be put on hold until the situation would clear up. But I knew such thoughts did not make sense. Change is sometimes inevitable, but the results of change do not have to be. I knew that if I let my grief consume my summer, I would regret it and learn nothing. I knew that my mother would have wanted me to make the best out of my summer, despite the situation. So I decided to give the new project a try and make something of the next few months.
Thus far, I am very satisfied about my decision to start volunteering. It is an important step to becoming an environmentalist, if that ultimately is the field I go into. I have met some very interesting people there and listened to their stories. Some of them are teachers, some are environmentalists, and others are everything from software engineers to construction workers. One of the things I have noticed is the diversity among the volunteers. Before I started, I expected everyone to be either an environmental scientist or a teacher or a naturalist. Contrary to what I first thought, everyone there is decicated to something different and has different stories to tell. I am happy, now, to be a part of that group and preserve a chunk of nature for others to enjoy. It helps to know that I am able to escape the concrete jungle I call home whenever I need to.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I first saw this commercial roughly a week ago and the fakeness of it was immediate. Sure, it shows how McCain disagreed with the President on several environmental issues. He aknowledges the threat of global warming, he voted several times against ANWR drilling, and he even supports alternative energy sources, proposing to lift the fuel efficiency standard to 35 mpg on American cars. These are all things which I stand for and would make it seem as if John McCain is genuinely concerned with the environment.
However, the commercial failed to mention his inconcistency with ANWR drilling. Although he did vote against it several times, he voted to preserve the existing budget for it. He also proposed a lift on a federal ban of offshore oil drilling in certain areas, letting the decision come to the individual state governments. His so-called plans for conservation do not agree with his funding methods. In 2007, he sided with President Bush, who vetoed $2 billion in funding for restoration of the Everglades. The funding should have been $7.8 as stated in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. I know our government doesn't exactly have money right now, but that whole problem is a result of the tax-cutting, laissze faire policies of him and his fellow Republicans anyway. Instead of standing for our natural resources, McCain sided with Bush and the real estate developers to cut the CERP funding even further. I know I'm throwing out different stats and facts at a rapid rate, but I'll just do one more. McCain voted against funding for solar power research as well, and we all know that solar power could have a promising future in areas like the Southwest, where it is usually sunny.
It is clear that the 2008 election is about change and both candidates are trying to portray that aspect in their campaigns. McCain is trying to distance himself from the Republican Party for that reason. My problem is that, if he wants to look pro-environment, his voting record should match up with that. He is playing the typical Republican game of skewing the truth (in this case, his voting record and who he sides with). I already know he generally does not support environmental change. But when he campaigns that he does support this, it is just another game of politics which we have seen for the past eight years. I am not disregarding any instances in which the Democratic candidates have done something like this. No candidate is perfect, of course, and we have seen it from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as well. And if, for some reason, I was running for president, I would have made many more mistakes than they ever did. But this sharade is big. He is creating a false image blocking out years of inconsistency and anti-environmental votes. So when he bullshits us on TV, it further strenghtens my dislike for him as a candidate. And I'm sure that most other environmentalists see through this commercial as well.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
But one of the strangest things was a journal that was sent to me last night. It was sent by a coordinator from the Wisconsin Donor Network, whom my father and I worked with in the hospital. There was an envelope from her, addressed to me. So I opened it, and in it was a copy of "The Healing your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens". It is a book filled with advice and open-ended questions with space to write in. When the answers are well-thought out, they can be very thought provoking and helpful as well. The strangeness about it, though, is that I destroyed the last journal I kept only a few days ago. I had been writing an entry, but I found it difficult to even think. Everything seemed so overwhelming. My brain felt like a fog of grief and frustration. Struggling to think about the past few days, I simply crumpled the pages. That was it. My entire journal with months of writing was destroyed, and I felt a sense of bitter satisfaction by doing it. I thought I would never write again--not in a journal, not in this blog, not in stories. I thought I had lost not only my ability to write, but my desire as well. Having this journal sent to me, I think, is a sign. I have to keep writing. I have written about everything since I learned how to do so. Giving it up would be unfair to myself and to my mother.
Last night, I began to read and write in the journal that was sent to me. I knew it would help and it did. The first section of it was about my relationship with the person and some of our memories. It made me think of the time we had spent at our cabin near Lake Sherwood--sitting by the campfire, playing croquet, riding our bikes to the gas station. Those memories hurt as much as they help. And I think it will be that way for awhile. Even though my fondest memories of her are painful, I think bringing them back is important. Shutting them out would make things even more painful. Part of the grieving process is remembering the person who has passed, and I find it a necessary thing to do. This journal will allow me to do that. Having the journal sent to me, I know that I must continue writing.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I was awoken Saturday morning by my dad, saying that I needed to get up because there was a problem with Mom. So I got dressed and made my way downstairs to the kitchen. There she was, on the ground, aided by the paramedics. She was completely unconscious. Our first guess was that she had had a heart attack.
We rushed to the hospital, where she was sent to the cath lab to detect any possible blood clots. For a few minutes, my dad and I waited in the guest area, completely in shock. We knew she was going to be okay--maybe she would need a heart medication or surgery, but she would be okay. When the doctor came to see us, he said there was no blockage in any of her blood vessels, and the problem was likely neurological. I knew that either meant a stroke or some type of aneurysm, but I asked nothing. If it was a stroke, I knew it would be a long road to recovery. If it was an aneurysm, well, it couldn't have been.
A few minutes later, she was taken to a room in the cardiac intensive care unit. My dad and I entered the room to see her, hooked up to IVs and breathing tubes. She seemed peaceful, yet it hurt to see her in a condition like that. A few months ago, my aunt was waiting in the hospital for a liver transplant and she became very frail and sick. It was difficult to see her as well, but now I believe seeing that prepared me for seeing my mother.
The nurses and doctors began to run heart scans, brain scans, and blood tests. While that was happening, my dad scrambled to notify our family--some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, who were camping together; my grandparents, who were in Seattle; the rest of my family, who was at home; and my brother, who was at college nearby in Waukesha. Shortly before my brother arrived, the doctor talked to my dad about the prognosis. I had overheard him saying it was an aneurysm and that the brain was damaged completely. There would be no chance of recovery. After the doctor left, my dad came back into the room and said, "You know what's happening?" I nodded and we both lost our composure. Even though it was my toughest experience so far, I am glad I knew what was happening then. Any bit of hope for recovery was destroyed, and I am thankful for that. Unrealistic hope is terrible for the mind. If I would have spent the next day thinking there was a possibility of recovery, I would have been crushed.
Over the next few hours, our entire family began to show up in the waiting room. The only other person who knew the exact prognosis was my brother.
The next few hours were very emotional as everyone came into the room to see my mother. The feeling of disbelief was undescribable. She had been so healthy, so young. She would always walk every day after dinner. The night before, there had been no complaints at all. There was no family history either. Why would this happen?
Naturally, the doctors decided to run a few more tests and scans to confirm what was happening. The results, of course, were the same. And by that time, everyone knew what was going to happen. There was no more denial. The chaplin joined our family in the room as we said a prayer of sorts. It was the most emotional experience of my life. Everyone was in tears and I must have hugged everyone as well. I still remember my uncle's words to me: "You have to stay strong, okay?" Technically, my mother was in a deep coma and the only sign of brain activity was a few labored breaths. Once it was determined that she could no longer breathe on her own, she was announced brain dead at 10:10 PM.
My aunt, as I mentioned, received a liver transplant roughly six months ago. She has regained a lot of weight since then and is healthier than she had been in years. Because of her experience, there was no question that my mom would become an organ donor. Until the next day, she would be kept on life support until the transplant operation. The operation, evidentally, went very well and she donated her kidneys, liver, pancreas, lungs, and heart valves. Until the next morning, though, my dad and I stayed overnight in the hospital. We tried to get a few hours of sleep, although it was hard because of the constant beeping and chiming of the hospital room. Not to mention, the stress of the situation made it difficult to sleep.
We are thankful that my mother's parents were able to make it to the hospital. Since there were thunderstorms and flooding around Wisconsin, their flights were cancelled and they spent the entire day in an airport. In fact, since they could not call us from the plane, we didn't even know which flight they were on. We used the nurses' computer to find that out and when they would be arriving. They finally arrived roughly an hour before my mother was sent to the operating room. So the four of us said goodbye and a few other things until she was taken away.
The funeral was Wednesday with a viewing on Tuesday night. So many people made it to the funeral--my dad's co-workers, my mom's co-workers, our extended family, and some of my friends and teachers from school. I want to point out how helpful everyone has been lately; donations to the school my mom worked at, giving us meals, helping with grocery shopping and laundry, and simply providing moral support. Our living room has been filled with the various flowers given to us. Yesterday had been our first opportunity to transition back to "normal". The funeral arrangements were finished and we had some time to ourselves for once. Of course things weren't normal then and they probably never will be. Obviously, we're discovering how difficult it is to run the house without Mom. I've learned how to do laundry, how to care for the garden, and how to clean. Besides that, it hasn't been easy to wake up knowing she isn't around. For a split second in the morning, I expect her to be downstairs making coffee or talking to our bird. Then reality sinks in and I realize things will never be how they used to. However, I'm confident that the hardest part is over. I know some days will be good, and some will be painfully hard. The only thing to do is to make it through each day knowing that, eventually, things will be closer to normal.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The coming night was seemingly still
It was lit by the moon and shining stars
Until the masses came, ready to kill
The town we knew would no longer be ours
They circled the wall in a great big mass
While the mothers and children hid inside
The guardsmen took posts and shot to their best
But the enemy just threw them aside
They charged in through the gates and filled the streets
They raided homes and turned them into flame
Their mercy was not present in the least
Their so-called honor was all put to shame
Fathers, mothers, and even young children
All killed through swords, maces, arrows, and gore
The town was then open for pillaging
And all of it was in the name of war
I didn't have much time to put it together, but it's just a few of my thoughts on the subject. This project has been relatively tolerable, actually. I don't mind English projects so much because I like writing and giving speeches. The truth is, I haven't written a whole lot lately, besides in my journal and on this blog. I am finally finding some time to do that, so I have been thinking of a few ideas. I was hoping to start writing a short story last week, but things like that never go to plan. I have a nicely developed idea to use, though, so I will be expanding on it when I am ready.
Ironically enough, the idea I have been considering is slightly war-related. The basic idea is that it involves a young man who was deported from his home with his family. He had lived on a farm, which was raided by a "superior" race that sought to turn the area into a gigantic manor farm. He now lives in an urban slum and struggles to adapt to a new lifestyle. This should make a good premise for a short story or novella, but we'll see how it turns out.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Such a powerful message, I admitted while listening to the new Coldplay song for the first time. Once I heard that Coldplay would be releasing a new album in June, I suddenly felt anxious to get it. Although I can't buy the album yet, I just bought the singles for "Viva la Vida" and "Violet Hill". Those have, in fact, been the only two songs I've been listening too for the past half hour. I have everything short of an obsession with Coldplay--their music is beautiful and deep and meaningful. I am only judging from the lyrics, but they both seem like strong anti-war songs. "Violet Hill" makes a reference to the Crusades. I think it brings up the backwardness of war and the consequences of honor. I'm pretty anti-war myself, but these songs are just pleasing to listen to.
Again, I know I have become lazy with posts lately and this one is quite short as well. Perhaps later I will organize my thoughts and just write whatever comes to mind.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
This shot was taken from the 2008 Green Festival at the Chicago Navy Pier! I know my posts have been infrequent lately, mainly because I haven't had much to post about except for the AP exam (which is over now). But one exciting thing I've been lucky enough to do was attend my first ever Green Festival.
"I hope so," was his reply.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This past month has been a scramble, though! I've been attempting to re-read the entire textbook, write essays, and quiz myself. There are been two study sessions this week (which help a great deal). The wierd thing is that I've even had some dreams about world history. Like, when I was taking a nap, I had a dream about the spread of Islam through sub-Saharan Africa. The textook is beginning to control me...it's a conspiracy. If this is a sample of what college is like, I'm in for more than a treat. Although, there will be a brunch the morning of the exam, which may lighten the load just a little. I'll just be happy to be done with the test to get rid of all the hooplah. Only eight days and counting...
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The issue that has gained my attention has been the social situation in China. If you want to see oppression of the poor, low life expectancy, and lack of environmental sustainability, look at China. It's frightening that, as the world's largest industrial nation, China has virtually destroyed its landscape. A huge supply of water for China, the Yellow River, is at a tipping point. Much of the river is polluted (and in many parts, undrinkable), and the only clean areas are near its source in the Himalayan Mountains. Acid rain seems like an issue in America's most populous cities, but it damages buildings and crops in roughly thirty percent of China. And, given the fact that much of the population is concentrated in a fraction of China's landmass, that's a terrible number! Overpopulation is also becoming an alarming burden that continues to crowd major urban centers. Is it fair that their government regulates how many children a family can have? That's a tough call. If the United States had the same problem, what fair measures could we take to solve that problem?
The problem is that we're looking at a period of social unrest in China. And why not? Chinese citizens have every reason to be dissatisfied with the lifestyle they have to put up with. All of the environmental and social issues that China is facing today affect the lower classes the most. And every year, we see the conditions worsening. Could China face a revolution in upcoming years? The government is relatively strong at this point (for now) and seems able to supress any uprisings that could occur. But revolution is a possibility and we've seen it through history. Governments change in China like the sparks fly up. And China has experimented with more governments than any other country has. Perhaps the communist system has been abused and is failing China at this point. Whether a revolution occurs or not, status quo can only be maintained for so long.
If a revolution were to take place in China, what could that mean for the rest of the world? What could that mean for consumeristic Western nations? Through history, we've seen that periods of disorganization or even anarchy follow revolution. That could mean a major slowdown in China's production. A friend and I discussed that it could possibly cause an economic crisis for the rest of the world, which relies heavily on imports from China. The globalized economy which we've built on so much would virtually come crashing down. Someone has to make the products we live on--that "someone" would have to change in order to meet our needs. Perhaps India. But that chance relies on the political situation of China in the future. I'm not at a point where I would panic about the future, but the thought of political in change in China is interesting. It would definitely mean a shift in industrial power. Nowadays, it seems like power comes from industrial strengh instead of military might. That's both good and bad, I suppose. We're seeing that the industrial nature of China is creating a poor quality of life for the working class and something should be done about it before the situation worsens. Since the Chinese government won't likely change things, it may be up to us to do so. Our reliance on Chinese exports is at an all-time high and is creating a house of cards. I'll bring back the theme from my "Consumerism Kind of Sucks" post and say we should stop buying things we don't need. We're creating a reliance on a single country, which is risky to say the least. Of course, American businesses should do something about this as well, like having less Chinese children assemble their products. Our dependence on China will only increase if people remain ignorant of the problems the country is facing. While everything may seem peachy keen right now, think of the hole being dug for the decades to come.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Q: You aren't in tennis anymore, you lazy, out-of-shape degenerate! What are you doing to me?
A: Good God, calm down! Competative tennis didn't make me happy, I told you already! I'm having no regrets about my decision, which is good. I've been keeping somewhat active since I quit the team and I'm actually trying to jog every day after school.
Q: You quit tennis because you want to be with your vegetables, didn't you? If you say one more word about that damn garden, I'm going to...
A: I like my garden! It's been coming along compared to when I first mentioned it a few posts ago. I started a compost pile and I should have a nice, fertile mulch to work with in a few month's time. I've also started growing a few spices inside as well, which have begun to sprout. It's nice to be outside and work in the dirt, knowing my family will be spending a bit less on pesticice-ridden steroid vegetables from Pick 'N Save. Gardening is a perfectly manly activity in my opinion...
Q: Have you been writing a lot recently?
A: Besides this blog, not so much. I have been thinking of a few story ideas, though. One of them may be a keeper after a bit more planning, but we'll see.
Q: Are you studying for the AP exam as you should be?
A: Yes sir.
Q: And eating lots of fruit?
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I still cannot let my lazy self get the better of me. I still need to do something. For once, I have the time to do environmental volunteer work, which I've wanted to do for awhile now. I'd be extremely happy to work at the Wehr Nature Center or the Urban Ecology Center, but I should keep other options open as well. I'm also growing enthusiastic about my organic vegetable garden (it sounds hilarious to say that, but those are words of truth). I'm doing some raking for compostable materials--mainly leaves, grass, and table scraps. By Memorial Day, things will be set up quite nicely.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
It seems the endless chronicles of going to the beach, napping, thiking of story ideas, and participating in Earth Hour (shown above in the Chicago skyline) are over along with spring break. Tomorrow I continue my life as it normally progresses, going to school and usually spending a significant amount of time there after class for some type of activity. "Daily grind", I guess, is an inaccurate term to describe everyday life at school. I like how it is. Yes, it's stressful, and I enjoy it thoroughly. Having limitless amounts of spare time is thrilling for awhile, but soon enough there isn't anything to fill it with. By nature, I'm more of a dreamer than a doer. I think of fun and exciting things to do, but I have to work myself to actually do them. Like, if I want to go for a hike in Grant Park and I've just taken a really good nap, it's not so easy to leave my nap. Of course I know hiking would be more fulfilling, but that nap was just so amazing. Tennis season officially starts tomorrow so I'll be happy to spend more time outdoors. To be honest, I'm not good at tennis nor do I pretend to be--it's mainly to get outside with friends. If we had a hiking or fishing team (sports which require little physical aptitude), I suppose I would enjoy that a lot. So here come the next two months, two months of the hecticness which I've grown accustomed to this year. Let's hope I make it through intact.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
On living for the moment, I decided to take the bike out yeserday instead of a nap, which I don't regret one bit. Today I was able to cycle up to the South Shore Yacht Club (near the Hoan Bridge) and back. Just being outside and feeling the cool wind brush against my face was well worth it. That's what the philosophy of Into the Wild is about--enjoying each moment. And I like the sound of that.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
1. Move into my new room. Since my brother is going to be renting a house soon, I'm moving into his room because it's bigger than mine. My dad and I painted it yesterday (a nice "Yosemite Pine") and I'm going to slowly start moving in furniture, books, and decorations. So far, it's turning out nicely.
2. Build a composting area. I want to use some chicken wire to fence off an area to compost dead leaves and table scraps. This is actually part of a bigger project to create an organic vegetable garden, complete with composted dirt. Organic foods are healthier, better tasting, and environmentally friendlier than the stuff you get from Pick 'N Save. The composting project, however, has been delayed because of a spring snowstorm (that reminds me, it did, in fact, snow on the first day of spring).
3. Build a massive snow fort. The dumbest thing to do is to give something up because you're too old for it. If it's fun, go for it! Besides, this won't be an average snow fort--it'll be an architectual marvel. And because the snow is wet and heavy, I'll be able to manufacture some snow blocks for an igloo-style structure.
4. Lastly, spread awareness about Earth Hour. It's a worldwide event from 8 pm to 9 pm local time where we turn off our lights to make a statement about global climate change. The website for this is http://www.earthhour.org/. Sign up and pledge to turn off your lights on Saturday, March 29 for an hour. Simple. We need to spread awarness about global warming and live greener lifestyles. But besides turning off our lights for an hour, we can make other green choices, which can be found on the website I provided. So I have a week to hit up as many businesses and people as I can about this event. You, all five of my readers, can spread the word as well.
Over and out.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Moving on, yesterday was District Solo and Ensemble Festival at Cudahy High School. I performed in three groups--Brass Ensemble, Low Brass Ensemble, and Trombone Choir. I'm excited to say that Low Brass and Trombone Choir are making it to state! That will be at University of Wisconsin-Parkside in a few months. That means more morning rehearsals! Yay!
Mrs. Bedwin (Nanci) and Mr. Brownlowe (me)--the ultimate duo.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
In other news, I'm happy to say I've finished a short story, which I'm titling, Meanderings with Time in your Pants. This is the first story which was inspired by one of my dreams. The dream I had a few months ago gave me a vivid picture of a wonderful setting and I built the plot around that. That's all I'm saying for now. Currently, I'm in the editing stages, though I'll soon be letting a select few people read it. Ideally, I would really like to get this one published and I think it has potential to get to that level. Until then, I'll be spending the next few months editing and looking into literary magazines. Cheerio.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
If you're wondering what this is, it's a project called Brotherhood 2.0. So here's some background information on it. It's about these two brothers who only communicate via video blog. They posted a video blog every day (except weekends) for a year until 2008. Now they just send two videos a week and can communicate by any means they want. Their video blogs are extremely hilarious and once you get to know them and their inside jokes, it's a really fun project to watch. This is actually one of their older videos, but it's one of my favorites (the "in your pants" joke is introduced earlier and is a term put at the end of any book title). I recommend starting from their very first blog so you can get to understand what the project is all about. I don't want to explain any more of it--see for yourself. These guys are very smart and do some pretty awesome stuff.
Go nerdfighters! (That's one of the inside jokes you'll get to know.)
Thursday, March 6, 2008
No, I don't have a life during this production and it's pretty fun that way. I've had trouble sitting down to update this blog regularly. When the musical is over in two weeks, I'll actually have spare time again. What to do? Maybe I'll take up jogging again or train for tennis season.
Monday, March 3, 2008
This is the amazing Milwaukee Art Museum with a big skyscraper behind it. Amanda and I hung out downtown for awhile today. When I was thinking of things to do, I began to realize how boring the suburbs are. Really, there's nothing to rave about. Parking lots, identical houses, and WalMarts start to get old after awhile. Howell Avenue is like our "strip", with basically all of the fun stuff suburbia has to offer: Starbuck's, the airport, and Panera Bread. When you can't go to the park because of the cold weather, fun levels really start to decrease! To me, there are only two great places to live: downtown or in the countryside. Anything in between sucks.
So about our day downtown...We went to the art museum to see all that it has to offer. There was one exhibit which consisted of a dark room lit only by blue lights dangling from the ceiling. It was definitely one of the highlights, especially because it was so disorienting. We even went for a nice walk around the city with some expensive coffee. Ah, I love downtown. Except for the ten dollar parking.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
"It was a bright and sunny day...well, not so sunny when you're in a submarine with no glass roof!
You see, there lived two people who were both braniacs. One was named Mark, and the other named Mr. Braniac. They were on a cruise ship and Mr. Braniac wanted to have some fun, so he took Mark and went to first class even though he was told not to. The security guard caught them. They ran and ran until they found a submarine. They went into the submarine, turned it on, and dove into the water. Just then, they heard a CRASH! The ship slowly sank. Mr. Braniac and Mark didn't know how the ship sank, but I the narrator, knew. A boat drove in the way and the ship hit the boat. The boat was made out of metal just like the ship."
I especially like the "submarine with no glass roof" part. Can a submarine have a glass roof? It's funny looking back and seeing how my writing has changed. I'm really glad to remember where I started and how differently I'm writing now. My current novel is still "on the back burner" but I'm happy to say I'm almost finished with a short story. The premis is really starting to turn out the way I'd hoped. If I could only find some good publishers to send it too, that would be wonderful. I'm hoping that in eight more years, I can look back at this one and reminisce too.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The final vote by the school board took place that evening and some of us showed up to saw a few words and support our cause. Unfortunately, the school board still voted to continue with the cuts. All the while, our administrators are receiving huge raises. So that's crappy. But what made me happy was that we do have a voice and we can get together for a common cause. Maybe it didn't provide instant gratification this year, but it made people aware of the issue and may help us for next year.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Q: How is your mental health as of late? Has your shecule driven you up the wall yet?
A: Yes, it has! I've hardly even had time to eat this week. Oliver rehersals are going until six now and I'm working 16 hours on weekends. I've been snapping at people on random occasions to channel some of my aggression. But a busy life is always a fulfilling one.
Q: How is your book going? You know, the one you keep talking about...
A: Bad! I'm doing what many writers call "putting it on the back burner", which is to really say, "forgetting about it completely". I've read it over and it has a lot of direct characterization in it, which I don't want to have too much of. But I'll probably be writing a short story once I find the time.
Q: What about your job at Hollywood Video?
A: Well...it's a job. I work.
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up for this week?
A: An anthropologist! Other cultures are fascinating and I want to learn more about them. The pay is a bit on the low end, but the real reward is in travelling and learning. I would have to get a PhD, so that would definitely be interesting.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Sorry to get all political on this post, but damn, if so many wealthy people weren't getting tax cuts then maybe our school would have a decent amount of money to work with. So that's my rant for tonight.
Monday, February 11, 2008
I think I'll tell a little bit about the plot at this point--but not too much because I don't want my ideas running loose on the Internet. Essentially, it's about the collapse of society as we know it and the few survivors who endure anarchy, chaos, and violence (most people reading the blog know the reason behind this). I've tried several times to write a full-length novel and failed, but I think this may be "the one". I just need to keep the willpower to write on and keep the plot moving as it should. I should be able to get back to writing later this week, after the school board meeting on Wednesday is over with. I'll tell more about the meeting on Wednesday, but basically the administration wants to cut more teachers! Bad!
PS: I'm actually listening to REM right now instead of Colplay for once.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Why is my schedule so hectic? Well, rehersals for the school Musical, Oliver, have recently started and we meet every day after school to sing, choreograph, and block the show. On top of that, homework, my job at Hollywood Video, and my friends keep me pretty busy. I'm also in the process of writing my first novel, which is untitled at the moment. As much as I'd love to say what it's all about, I want to keep its content on the down-low because I'm only about 30 pages into the story. But I will say that it has bits of adventure, action, mystery, philosophy, and a love sub-plot in it. I'm trying to provide some background information about myself so people who don't know me so well will have an easier time understanding future posts. Hopefully, my next few posts will have some interesting stories/experiences in them, seeing as interesting things always happen when I am busy. That being said, I look forward to my next post and a bunch more to come.