Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

 
 
Ok, back to the ole’ blog again!  So the other day I hosted a get together for some classmates and friends. (Do I have an aversion to the word party?  Maybe.  It seems like there’s a negative connotation to the word.)  Anyways, in addition to friends, I had family members over as well.  Since I didn’t take any pictures of the day (and I’ve lost my last 2 years worth of pictures any how), the blog entry will have to suffice.

Not that I remember a whole lot now.  A lot of stress before people were here.  But afterwards, it was pretty fun.  Water balloons around on the side yard.  I think they’ve pretty much become a staple of our summer gatherings by now. Derek brought his water gun too, for added excitement.  So that’s always fun.  Lobbing, throwing, and aiming at people filling up the water balloons. Until someone hits you on the back and it feels like a brick! Besides that, there was the badminton, where the birdies inevitably land on the patio cover. Lots of fun in the pool when I went in with Brian, Derek, Tim, and Nick – making a whirlpool in the shallow end created a current strong enough to carry us all the way across the pool.  Lots of food throughout the day too – and Christina’s homemade cookies were verrrrrry good, despite my teasing.  And the water balloons that someone threw on top of the patio cover that rained down on everyone. Thanks to Patrick for bringing strawberries also!

At first, I was really worried about all the people actually - lots of people from groups what while, aren't mutually exclusive, are pretty seperate. But it seemed like it worked out. Socially interesting, how people seemed to self divide themselves. But I think it worked out in the end - no fights or anything, so I'm a happy camper.

There were fun moments of sitting around talking.  Around tables, out front, inside or the pool.  Like the elite erudite Berkeley circle!  Hahaha.  Fun and teasing and whatnot - almost like school again! The intense Monopoly game, Apples to Apples, and more.  Anyways, it was great to see everyone again, before leaving. I’m sorry everything here is so general, I can’t remember a whole lot!  It was a much fun filled evening, and hopefully I’ll get to see everyone again soon!

I don't think it's hit me that we graduated. I wish I was this involved with everyone last summer. But today I realized my summer is more than half over - less than a month now until school starts for me, so the end is approaching quickly. But then again, the last month of high school was one of the most exciting and fun times for me, so why can't my last month of summer?
 
 
Like the continuity in the title? Feeling much better today from yesterday's low - thank you to everyone who reached out to me.  (I'll respond to you in the mailbag a bit later on).  So today I got back to work and put in some hours on the Rincon Website - yes, it's good to have something to do; I've probably had too much time to sit at home and worry about things.  I'm not sure about taking Chinese or Spanish, but I'll figure that out, I've got a few days still. I'm not quite sure about the other classes either, but I feel more confident that it will work out. And with the realization (or re-realization I suppose) that hard work isn't something to run from.

Though I think writing is somewhat theraputic for me. And it's good to know that people care; that you can go to others for help. I think too often, so many people (including me) don't go and ask for help when they need it. Which is a shame because there are so many people out there willing to help. I'm glad to have a structure of friends here, and while the internet and technology can help me retain that, I think one of the harder things for me next year is to rebuild (or build new actually) relationships.

And for now, I think it's time to turn this blog from my rant space back to random thoughts about life, the universe and everything.

I'm reminded of the end of the first episode of The West Wing, which seems to apply to my current situation, where Martin Sheen as President Bartlet speaks to his staff, saying:

"Seems to me we've all been taking a little break. Thinking about our
personal lives or thinking about keeping our jobs. Breaks are good. It's not a bad idea taking a break every now and then. I know how hard you all work... My point is this: Break's over."

Mailbag!

Kevin writes: Maybe you're just not seeing the benefits and rewards of all the hard work you've done for the past 6 years.
and Alexander writes: Like people have said before, you have achieved much more than most have achieved. Just keep running and never slow down.

@Kevin and Alexander - thank you so much guys, your comments have really helped my ego! =D Haha, joking about that, but thanks for reminding me about the benefits and whatnot of what I've done.  Sometimes it feels like there's no point or goal in what I do, but you guys reminded me of what I've worked for, so thank you.

Jessica writes: but i think ur frustration came from a feeling of isolation.. plus a feeling of fear of the future =] (along with an essay)

@Jessica - yup, I think you hit the nail right on the head there. I'm a bit envious of all the california kids because you're all either in a school with other Rowland kids or near them. Though I'm sure everyone's going to split up and make new friends - it's like a safety net at the start I guess. I kinda talked about it earlier; it's like all the stuff Mr. Withers said. I'm feeling better today since I started engaging myself in working on stuff. Haha yes, I think that writing's good for me (especially my mental health and sanity!) - I just hope I don't get so overwhelmed in the next few years that I have enough blog entries to write a book!! Though maybe that's not actually such a bad idea...hahaha. Thanks for your support past, present and future - haha maybe I'll try to webcam with you when I'm up doing problem sets or something at 2am!

Mr. Houghton writes: So, is this unrelenting drive to be successful a blessing or a curse? It is both, but I think it is far more positive than negative. It is very likely to help you to achieve success, and a great deal of satisfaction can come with that.
 (along with an essay length response as well!)

@ Mr. Houghton - thank you very much for your comments and humor Mr. Houghton, and sharing your own experiences and conflicts you've come across in your interests and teaching. (And I think your advice is worth a lot more than free!) I think the drive to be successful tends to be more positive than negative in the end as well. It's just sometimes in the thick of things (like yesterday), it's hard to see the positives. Though when I think about it, not settling for the status quo or the average seems to be a pretty integral part of who I am. I've always enjoyed challenges, (well not always, but generally), and I don't think that's going to stop anytime soon. Thank you for reminding me about that. And thank you for your advice as well! - maybe you should start charge for it!

Thanks to everyone who commented both on here and facebook, it means a lot to me, it really does. And now, break's over.
 
 
Ok, disclaimers here before I start. This is a rant. I will probably exaggerate in the heat of my stream of consciousness. I do not intend to offend or portray anyone or any institution in a bad light, I am just letting off steam.  I will not cuss in here, because I have the decorum not to, but believe me, I’d love to. So when you read it, feel free to insert or substitute a choice word every now and then to get the true fervor of the passage.

Alright. So I’m not happy with things. Sure, that’s good. It means we have to work toward making things better. Like this summer. A whole lot of stuff to do. Driver’s license. I’ve been putting that off. And I really need to do that. But the big 3 electronics – ipod, phone, computer. I probably could have done that at one time at the apple store. But I’m a pc. Screw imacs. So I have myself an ipod, and still need to get a phone and computer. Because my stupid old phone isn’t working – won’t receive or make calls. Not that people call me. But if I’m planning something or going out with people, or away from home, it’s a nuisance. Especially since I don’t drive. See how all problems are interconnected? Welcome to reality. Computer. I need one too. So I’m not on this old dustbucket of a laptop, and my mom can use the desktop instead of fighting over it for time with me. Like now. Why am I ranting on an internet blog? Well, I’ve talked with my parents, and while they have some words of support, I don’t want to start yelling at them and trying to make them feel sorry for me or anything. One I’d feel guilty. Two, it wouldn’t work. So I’m on here, typing away. Because I can’t call anyone and talk about it because of my stupid phone, and this darn laptop doesn’t have enough power to run the webcam so I can’t talk to people in person, and my mom’s been busy doing important stuff with the desktop, so I can’t use it. No meeting up with them because I can’t drive. Besides, I don’t think you’d want to hear me rant on for half an hour anyways. Or more. And I don’t want to type this much wall text on AIM or twitter or facebook. So I’m here. I guess it’s better than jumping. Got to watch out for that next year. Seriously. So finding ways of relieving my feelings rather than holding them in like I usually do is a good thing. Sorry you’re sitting through it. 

I shouted in the shower and pounded on the tile wall. I tripped over my pants and cussed really loudly. I’m not a happy camper right now. I’m not sure about anything anymore. I was cool, I thought I had my classes scheduled out for Cornell next year. Gov intro, Science and Technology studies intro, web design, freshman writing seminar, Spanish. And PE. For a total of 16 credits out of a 15 credit average. Then comes the kicker. Should I add a math course? It’s pretty intensive, so I think I want to take it a different semester than physics, because that’s really intensive. But then what to drop? Web design probably, the only fun class out of the bunch. But then I want that for PHP for Rincon, so I have an idea what the heck I’m doing when I’m doing PHP codes. See, I was going to do a calc class spring, so I could do physics fall/spring next year. But THEN I find I got a 7 on IB physics. So theoretically I could skip fall physics and start in spring semester (2nd half of the course). But that pushes the calc back, and I forget even more of the BC stuff, like this past year. So maybe I’ll wait until next year. But wait there’s more. Chinese and Spanish. I could take 1 semester of Spanish and be done with language requirements. Thanks AP 5. Or 2 or 3 semesters of Chinese. I’m taking Spanish as of now. But I want to take Chinese. But most courses are 3-4 credits. Spanish is 4. CHINESE IS 6. Now am I really going to take that next year with physics meeting 6 FRIGGEN TIMES A WEEK?  I either start this fall or next fall with Chinese. But then that brings me to 18 credits. 19 with PE. I don’t want that heavy a load. In fact, screw that. Maybe not. But for the last 4 years I’ve had 7 classes each year. Yes, my own choice. But now doing that so I can start 19 credits a semester for 4 years? With a 15 credit average? I mean, it’s like the finish line always gets moved further and further away. It never ends. I saw my friends leaving after 5th period. Or coming at 2nd. Or leaving after 6th. Why can’t I be like them? Why is this going to happen again? Sure it’s nice, but at some point it gets to you. I wish I had more time senior year to stop and smell the roses. And I regret missing some opportunities with people that I didn’t do. Here’s  what I’m seeing. I want 2 years of Chinese. So 6 credit Chinese, a 4 credit gov, a 4 credit STS (because I want to double major), gives me 14 credits. So I get one class a semester – and I’m sure both majors will require semesters of 2 classes in that field -  maybe not even one class a semester to do something fun. FUN. Isn’t that what college is? Time to go and explore new things? What about that psych class? Music theory? Oceanography? Java? Logic? Astronomy? Dinosaurs? And those are just intro classes. I want to take more classes. I want to learn more. And it seems that I won’t have time. Because the way things are now, I’m gonna spend my middle two years of college DOING NOTHING BUT GOVERNMENT, STS, AND CHINESE. Plus, I need to fit in those distribution requirements. I have no idea when I will find time to do that. Maybe I’ll spend a summer/winter there for classes – no more visiting home and friends. Maybe I’ll have a working phone or webcam by then. Yes, I can and will talk with my advisors. But enrollment is now. I don’t want to get put in the last open Chinese class because that’s what’s left and everyone hates that professor. I spent so much time trying to nail down my schedule, and now it’s all unraveling. All that time finding the right profs, the right timings, cutting out – sacrificing - classes I wanted so it would fit my schedule. I have no idea what I’m doing now. 

Going into high school, I had a good idea of what colleges wanted. And it didn’t really matter for graduating, because anything I took would take me on a graduation path. Not so anymore. It’s my responsibility now. I need to figure out how to fit in all the graduation requirements. And on top of that, I have no idea what grad schools look for. Or various professions. What skills they want. I HAVE NO IDEA. I AM LOST IN THE OCEAN. And cornell is a big ocean. 14,000 undergrads. Maybe I should have gone to Swarthmore,where it’s closer to 1400. At least you don’t need to pay for every tiny little thing there like the ability to use the gym, play pool, practice music, or get them to open your room when you lose your key. That’s what I get for going to an eastern elite establishment school. Draining out my wallet. 

Of course, you’ll say don’t worry. It’ll work out. You’re fine. You’ll do great. Don’t worry about the future. It all glosses over. I do worry about the future. That’s part of my insecurity. Worrying. I worry too much. Which is why I haven’t gotten my license. I can’t even reach out to get that false sense of security or comfort from people because I can’t call/webcam/visit them. And AIM is  NOT the best way to comfort a person. So you know what – I am going to worry right now. I think I need something better than a “You’re Richmond” right now. So if that’s all you’ve got, thanks, but no thanks.

So much on my plate right now. College classes. I need to get a phone/computer/license. Heck, I don’t even know what phones these days can do, I’ve got a 5 year old one. Computers, I’m a bit better, but stupid Windows got rid of movie maker, so I’ve got to invest in a program that does way too much for what I need, or find a copy to download of the old movie maker – which brings its own risks. I’ve got to put out social fires caused by facebook. Maybe it’s better to leave altogether. Which I’ve been on the verge of doing several times. So if you’re reading this, don’t make me do that. I’d rather not, but sometimes it’s easier to shut the door on a fire than waste water putting it out. And I have to find a clarinet audition piece. Or pieces. For the Cornell Wind Ensembles. I have no idea what I’m doing there either. I never had any lessons or formal training. I’ve never tried out for a group. I’m completely lost there – and I’m not even sure where to go for help! I’m just a high school player who can play somewhat decently and would like to continue.   

Yeah, here’s where you say “if there’s so much to do, why not get off you butt fuming at a computer and do something about it?” I don’t have a good answer. This is easier. I’ve been doing something for the past 6 years non stop. I just want to be able to stop and smell the roses. Is that too much to ask? I want to stop before I hit working life. Working hard for 2 years, so I can work hard for 4 years of high school to get into a good school to work 4 more years to work another 40-50 years. Life’s great. Just a year, or a semester where I can lay back and enjoy my place in life. Darn, I just want to do that – is that too much to ask? I’m sitting here fuming, so I don’t go out and cuss the next person I talk to, ok is that a good enough answer for you? I’d rather get my anger out here than take it out on a person. So I can be the happy jolly Richmond everyone sees. 

Yes, a lot of stress. A lot of text too. I’ll get over things eventually and move on. That’s life, isn’t it? Lost in an open sea. Always going toward a finish line that keeps moving. The green light from the Great Gatsby if you will.  If you’ve made it down here, thanks for reading this far, it means something to me, I guess. I’d ask you to call me, but my phone won’t answer. But leave a comment or something if you’d like.
 
 
I loved that Perry Como song in middle school. And I still enjoy it. Anyways, I was just thinking about some really good days in High School this past year. My Magic Moments as they may be. I probably talked about them before, but hey, this is my blog, so here goes.

Marching Band!
There was one field tournament this past year where we basically won a bunch of awards and there weren't enough seats for us and we stood on the sideline. I think it was South Hills. Anyways, this was an amazing year, with the success that we had. But the best part was the end of this tournament - when Peter and the captains came back carrying all these trophies, and the band just ran up to them and we had a huge group of hugging, crying, laughing high school kids. It seemed like the end of a movie. And a magic moment.

Star Wars Concert
This was pretty cool - for our Spring Concert, we played music from the 6 Star Wars films, and Mr. Alvo came to me with this idea of making a video to go along with the music. So we floated around doing a Star Wars spoof with band kids, but ultimately that didn't happen due to the timing of AP/IB testing, and the enormous pile of other proejcts going on at the same time. So I ended up getting video clips from the films, and put them together. The fight scene with Darth Maul for Duel of the Fates; various Naboo scenes for Across the Stars; the battle over Coruscant, various scenes of Princess Leia, the forest battle on the moon of Endor, and a montage of battle clips with the second Death Star. Anyways, it was cool to run back and forth to the AV room in the gym - made me feel like my 8th grade year at Rincon, running the AV equipment in the DMP. But the magic moment was seeing my creation on screen! And it synced perfectly in the bandroom - that was magical too - and almost perfectly during the concert. But then the Death Star explosion synced perfectly with the last duh duh duh duh. And that was magic. Special thanks to Victor who got the timing down for the video clips so that everything synced well!!

Speech and Graduation
Speaking in front of 5000 people. That's something I never thought I'd do - and it's the biggest audience ever. I usually start shifting around when I have to speak in front of the small IB class! But I remember sitting on stage the Tuesday before graduation, in front of 500 and being freaked out. Though after a few hours, it felt completely normal to me, and so did practicing out on the field Wednesday and Thursday. I thought I'd be scared to death in front of 5000 people, but I felt quite prepared. And that in itself was magic. But then people clapped when I was finished! I'm sure at least half the people were asleep, but hearing the applause at the end was magical!

President Obama "Race to the Top" Contest
http://vimeo.com/10196566
First let me say thanks to everyone who helped in this - Jessica, Christina, Benson, Frances, Tim, Olvidio, Alyssa, Ian, Mrs. Phillips, Mr. Falk, Mr. Brunyer, and everyone else. So I found this contest the White House was doing for the President to speak at a high school commencement ceremony. (Obviously we didn't win, because they got stuck with me!) This was a fun process for me. Getting called out of class for a meeting with the group and Mrs. Phillips, rushing the final copy from Mr. Houghton's room to the library to Mr. Brunyer's office - almost very West Wing-ish. But I was thrilled by it. And one of the best parts was the Sunday before it was due, and most of the group was at my houe writing the application. And we had notecards of ideas taped to the walls, surrounding us. And an alarm ringing every 15 minutes to keep us on track. And in the end, Jessica, Christina, and I stayed working up toward the 11th hour - quite literally. Anyways, magical process working on that application!

Every 15 Minutes Funeral
Well okay, this was sad too, but it was magical as well. Walking in was hard - especially when I had to walk by my IB classmates. I saw Mr. Suradeth as I came in the entry way - he sort of looked at me and gave a nod and a caring expression. I sort of nodded back and looked at the ground. And yes, I cried during the "funeral." But like I said in my original Every 15 Minutes post, the ending was amazing. Everyone backstage hugging and crying - most people who I had just met a mere 24 hours before were like family. All of us together, embracing, one last time together as a group. There was a bond there. It's hard to put into words. But those few last minutes together were like magic.

Filming our Bee-6 "Don't Stop Believin' Video"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZbciyckDyk
This is the one that made me start thinking of all of this. The preparation in Ms. Woo's class (complete with pelvic thrusts all around) was great, especially with the tape lines and moving all the desks - how often do you get to do that with a teacher? But the real fun was the morning of the filming. Thank goodness that we had done the band concert the Wednesday beforehand. We filmed on a Friday; the same Friday as the junior/senior assembly. Getting there in the morning, I was super excited. The Friday before, Rita had gone through the basics of lighting the hideout with me at the Jazz Band concert.
Anyways, I suppose the magic of this moment was at the beginning of the day. I was the first one there. I went to the back of the room to the sound box, got out my bag of wires and stuck in my CD with the Glee version of "Don't Stop Believin." And hearing it come out of the speakers and echo around the hideout was, well, almost magical. It was a great moment, just to hear it, and the excitement built up within me. One by one, the group members filtered into the hideout. Rita even came to help out with lighting! Oh my goodness, the lighting was just as magical. I am so thankful that we were able to use the lighting set up for the choir show. The fade out at the end of the video - that's not a computer effect, THE LIGHTS ACTUALLY GO OUT! Shooting stuff practical instead of using the computer - that stuff makes me giddy and bubbly inside! It just seemed so...much more professional than other things I've done. Chase lights during the guitar solo; lights on max at certain music notes; and DOING THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SHOT! Well almost one shot. Technically it was two - the first half, and the second half, with some audience shots in the middle to show something during an instrumental break. Ok, technically three, because I snuck in a second shot in the first half. But it's hard to tell! Anyways, making it look like it was one shot gave it another level of professionalism, and I loved that too! More movie magic happening! Anyways, that morning was magical to me - even though ASB kind of interrupted the ending; that was one of the best hours of my high school life. The music echoing through the room, lights flashing - I felt like I was in the middle of a real show!
 
 
Some things are just not worth getting in a fight over. Especially on the internet. So often, people hide behind their avatars and their monitors and type out offenses they would never say to someone else in person. And for what? A picture? A different political belief? The mere fact that someone likes a television character that they don't? I mean seriously, start a whole argument over a fictional character.

But then we get drawn in. One of the flamers lines with our belief and as others get behind the other person, we race to get behind the person who shares our own beliefs. And soon the happy utopia of a forum, a Facebook account, or a YouTube video becomes the battleground in which people waste hours and hours - and for what? In the end no one changes their minds, and everyone walks away more polarized than when they started.

Though now looking in our country's politics, it seems that we have both a polarization and what seems like a breakdown in decorum. The forum of politics at times seems almost like a telvision show forum. From opposite sides people find it easier to throw bombs at each other rather than find common ground. The flamers know that like on the internet forums, it'll be easier to gain support by throwing bricks at the house, instead of trying to build a new house together. At all levels - from the grassroots to the politicians in office. And this polarization is probably what leads to the disillusionment and apathy in the American people with politics.

Look at our Constitution (Happy Independence Day while I'm at it) - 4 pages long. No legislation as widesweeping and powerful as that will ever come out of our Congress with that brevity. And it was written in secret. In our time of so called government transparency
, it could serve to be our downfall. I'm probably too extreme. And transparency is good too. I guess I'm just saying that it may be that always being in front of the cameras probably causes politicians to speak like a campaign - saying something that will get them publicity or votes; throwing bricks instead of building them.

So what's my point? I really don't know. Just some thoughts. But it goes back to the internet. I think some people just get offended too easily. And often times (myself included), we jump to defend ourselves or others, thus provoking the other side and going back and forth. Sometimes it's better just to take a few deep breaths and think about it before hitting that comment or post button. After all, some things are just not worth getting in a fight over.