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music

Ramblings About Winter Break

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It’s been quite an interesting break. I’ve had a month of hanging out with friends (including meeting some new ones and catching up with some old ones, as well as the usual suspects like Jen, Allie, and Tori), spending time with family, having a bonfire, and seeing lots of good movies (I went to see seven or eight). I also had lots of new experiences (like going clubbing at Have A Nice Day Cafe on New Year’s Eve) and learned valuable lessons (such as to not put myself out on the line as much when it comes to girls in general, but particularly this girl I really, really like (who is pretty much amazing, has a terrific personality, has a lot in common with me, and seemed like a great match), because I ended up getting hurt in the end, I guess because of my own lack of knowledge of women and knowing how to accurately judge whether or not a girl truly likes me back as much as, or in the same way that, I like them).

A month is a long time in the Winter. It seems like Christmas was forever ago, when in reality it wasn’t that long ago at all. It’s one thing when it’s Summer and you can do stuff outside and there’s just generally more going on, but I would have been happy with two or three weeks. After New Year’s, everything just kinda drops off. I’ve been out most every night doing something or another, but some of the nights it seemed like there was just nothing to do. I spent many a night driving around aimlessly, blasting (and singing to of course) XM, but even that, after a while, starts to get old. It’s amazing how, despite being very commercially-populated, there’s nothing to do in Short Pump (and the traffic, wow- I have a post about that coming up soon). I guess that’s why me and my friends have ended up downtown a lot of nights. But even that’s lacking the luster it had at the beginning of break. I guess what I’m saying is I’m just ready for a routine to set back in (yeah, I know, that will probably change a week into classes).

One thing I wanted to touch on that came to me recently (and please comment and let me know if you’ve experienced this, too) is how freaking difficult it is to make plans with friends sometimes. First off, as I alluded to in a previous post last week, I have a very diverse group of friends, spanning college and high school and from all walks of life. It’s very interesting to see how they mesh well together sometimes, but other times they won’t even give each other a chance. I’ve had many a night’s plan fall through because certain people don’t want to hang out with other people, sometimes when they haven’t even met before. Nothing ever turns out like you think it will, either. One person can be ten minutes late meeting you somewhere and before you know it the whole night’s gone awry and someone’s angry.

Anyway, as break comes to a close and I start my second semester at VCU, I look forward to some quieter nights and want to solely focus on school (in some ways I put it second or third last semester and that’s not ever going to happen again because I’ve come to some realizations and now I’m completely self-motivated to do well this semester). It’s back to classes, long nights in the library, and lunch and dinner at Shafer with Jen.

By the way, Jen, if you’re reading this, I know I say stuff like this all the time, but sometimes I don’t know where I’d be without you. You’re more than my best friend, you’re the staple that holds my day together sometimes. Not only have I had days when you’re the only good thing that happens to me, but it’s just the fact that you’re pretty much the only constant in my life. People come and go and things change, but you’re always there to talk and laugh with, and you give me a swift kick in the pants and straighten me out when I need it. For all that, I truly love you more than you know.

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough. It’s two in the morning, anyway. Overall it’s been a good break, and now I’m ready to work hard and achieve all that I know I’m capable of.

Music Monday: Linkin Park – “Shadow Of The Day”

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Linkin Park has done it again. Another great song. The music video is really powerful, too. It says a lot about the fragile state our world is in today, with all the hate and violence that abounds in many places. It’s kind of depressing, but still a really great song. It’s off their album, entitled “Minutes To Midnight,” which also says a lot about the state of the world, in it’s eleventh hour so to speak I guess. Anyway, give it a watch and listen.

Across The Universe – Review

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I went to see Across The Universe with a big group of friends last night at the Byrd Theater. I can summarize it best simply in one word: trippy. Of course I don’t do drugs, but I think that watching that movie shows you what it’s like to be on an acid trip in the same way drunk goggles show you what it looks like to be completely wasted. The plot of the movie is built around the most popular songs of The Beetles. While the songs are great and the singers’ renditions were very good, I (along with most people in our group of about eight) had a hard time following the story. I got bored and a little restless about half way through, and when I was finally able to pick the plot up again (after an extremely odd scene of someone throwing strawberries all over the walls while the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” played), I found it dry and uninteresting for the most part. The best part about this movie? It was at the Byrd so it was only two dollars. Glad I didn’t waste ten bucks on it at Short Pump when it was playing there. Nice try, but you guys lost me.

Overall rating: No stars.

Song Of The Week: Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Wizards In Winter”

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Okay, so you got gypped last week with no song of the week since I haven’t been posting later, so in order to catch up, here it is, almost a week late (that’s right, that means you get another one tomorrow, too). It’s hard to find music videos of Christmas songs here in this festive time of the year, so you’re gonna end up getting a double whammy. Here’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s song “Wizards In Winter” along with a Christmas light display that was timed to the music by computer. I’m going to see them in concert in a couple weeks, too. I wish I had the time, money, and skill to do this. One day I hope to do something even half this cool at my own house.

Song Of The Week: Lou Gramm – “Midnight Blue”

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I know it’s Wednesday and I usually do the Song Of The Week on Mondays. I’ve been really busy painting my room and doing other stuff I’ve needed to for a while. Sorry for not keeping up with posting. I’ll be back on track in a couple days.

Anyway, I like pretty much all kinds of music, especially some of the older stuff. Here’s a really good 80s track I heard on XM this week. It’s called “Midnight Blue,” and it’s by Lou Gramm, lead singer from the band Foreigner. Good stuff. Check it out.

Enjoying Life

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This article comes from a blog I frequent called Dumb Little Man: Tips For Life. Despite the name, it’s actually a great resource. This article is all about taking the time to enjoy the little things in life, stuff we often take for granted because of our hectic schedules.

There are so many delicious, comforting, joyous moments in our life every day, but they are lost on us because we are often going too fast to savor them.Take a moment to answer the call of the good in your life by sensing it and fully enjoying these little gifts that are there if you slow down long enough to grab them. Here are a few to consider.

Quiet Morning Stillness: Ahh, the serenity of quiet early mornings. Instead of being upset about having to get up early, drink in the gift of early morning peace.

Long Hot Shower: Instead of the daily 5 minute shower, take a day or two off from showering. Unless you’re getting really dirty and sweaty everyday, we often never really get dirty enough to feel and appreciate the clean that comes from daily bathing. Next time you do shower, stand still with your head under the hot water. Notice the droplets all around you and how the light hits them. Maybe light some candles before you get in the shower. Take notice of the scents of your soaps and shampoos and immerse yourself in the luxury of it all.

Hot Morning Drink: In Japan, there are elaborate rituals for preparing, pouring, and drinking tea. What this does is elevate the tea drinking experience into something special. Why not establish your own ritual for your morning coffee or tea that involves enjoying the process of preparation, savoring the aroma, and slowly experiencing the first sips of your hot drink. Notice the warmth as it goes down the center of your body and spread out to heat you from the inside out. The slower you go, the more you notice, the greater the experience.

Alone Time: Are you troubled by waiting in line, waiting in your car in traffic, sitting in a waiting room? Turn that coin around to the other side. Recognize that what you have there is precious alone time to think and daydream. Don’t spend that time being annoyed. Use it and enjoy it!

Dessert: Who doesn’t enjoy dessert? Yet, when we eat our sweets we eat them fast and afterwards we feel guilty. We rob ourselves twice. First we lose out on the enjoyment of the experience by eating fast, and secondly by not embracing the reward. For some people in some countries where life is hard and the people are poor, a small sweet is a tremendous luxury. Next time you have a sweet, have a small bit, eat it slowly, and savor it. Imagine that it is the one luxury in your life. Allow yourself to fully enjoy it. And when you’re done, grin gleefully and be happy. Relish the memory and move forward having been justifiably rewarded.< Clean Teeth: Is brushing your teeth a chore? Or is it a luxury? Could it be a time to be thankful for your teeth? Could it be a time in which you are caring for your teeth, which is at the root of good health, and in reality caring for your whote self? Ah the feeling of clean teeth. Imagine life without being able to care for your teeth. Let that thought facilitate your appreciation of it.

What You Saw Today: What did you really see? Look for the beautiful, the miraculous, the wondrous, the spectacular. Look for it everywhere, especially in small places. What grand masterpiece is nature displaying for you today? See it. Drink it in. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to write a little poem and give it to someone you love or to someone you want to thank. Find some way to share that beauty. Remember, all it takes to capture that beauty is to pay attention.

Relief from the Elements: Close your eyes and imagine entering a warm home on a cold day after a walk in the brisk cold air. Can you feel it? Or how about during warmer months, when was the last time you truly appreciated the cool air of a fan cooling your face and body? Sometimes it is good to experience real heat or cold so we can grasp the luxury of a comfortable temperature.

Music: Have you ever listened to music without doing anything else? Probably not in a while. In my humble opinion, if there is a heaven, it must feel a lot like the joy of listening to music. Next time you listen to music try to melt into the sound. Try some classical or other music without words, and imagine what the message is. Does the message speak to you in words, pictures, feelings, or something else? And speaking of feelings, go with your feelings when you listen to the music. Let the music cleanse you completely!