sleep

Or rather, lack there of.

I have never been a good sleeper, and it’s my own fault. I drink way too much coffee at obscure hours of the day. I stress about things that I shouldn’t even bat an eye at. And most importantly, I can’t find my way out of these thought spirals where I keep replaying events of hours earlier. Sometimes the events are from days earlier. Or even worse. Years. Always questioning what I said. And most importantly, becoming mad for what I did not say.

These thought spirals have lead me to wishing time travel was a real thing at this time, and that theoretically, it could be possible and not create wormholes in the progression of time that would lead to crossovers, which have always sounded cool and edgy in movies, but come on, who in their right mind wants to live through that? That stuff is for Hollywood.

I’ve tried to not drink coffee, but that always ends poor. And in the rare occasion I don’t consume coffee for roughly 72 hours, well, actually that never happens because I will promise myself that I won’t have a cup, then I look to my surroundings and there I am, an absent mindless being who is pouring herself a cup of coffee. It’s another spiral.

Like take today, a day I vowed to myself that I was going to have a personal day. Just me in my house all alone. Trying to fight through life and heartbreak and trying to find a new normal. A couple friends made me leave my house, saying it was good for me. I wanted nothing of it. I couldn’t bring myself to being joyous at viewing fireworks and being surrounded by friends. Here I am, trapped in another thought spiral of wishing I just stayed home and tried to sleep. Maybe they would of been happier with that rather than me trying to hold together my moopy self. Crap. Another spiral.

I’ve always experienced these, but I never had a word for them until last August when John Green had released his most recent book. It finally gave a name to the endless circles that my mind gets trapped in and suffers to get out of. It gave a way to explain these ferris wheels that never end.

I like to think I’m a better writer at the late hours of the night. I feel it’s where my creativity can flourish. Or, maybe it’s just the extreme lack of sleep that gives my brain this artificial feeling. Anyway, this is the time of night when all of my high school papers were started and completed, so, like to think my brain doesn’t produce crap at this hour.

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late night saga

What is one supposed to do

when they don’t know what

to do

anymore.? When they

feel

like they

don’t. even. know.

what. they. want. How is someone

supposed to feel safe? To be in a

supportive

caring

two sided conversation filled

relationship.

Where they are supposed to trust

their life in another hands. How are humans

expected to do this?

When will everything feel safe and secure?

 

Inspiration from a Coffee Shop

The long summer is 

approaching 

reaching closer and closer 

pulling me in each time 

it gets warmer 

then pushing me back each time 

it gets colder.

I await for the warm days when I can run 

farther 

and

farther 

without feeling like i’m burning alive.

Summer calls for 

stress free enjoyment 

no AP’s

no more long sleeeved shirts 

it calls for

beaches and sun,

roller coasters and fireworks,

lakes and boardwalks,

and 

most importantly,

senior year.

Propaganda in Commercials

After I tweeted that I had not seen any accounts of propaganda recently since I do not watch much television, I was perplexed. Had I really not seen any propaganda? A couple hours after completing that assignment, I checked twitter to see what propaganda they have noticed recently, and then it hit me. I had seen propaganda in a commercial that I believe was aired the day of the Super Bowl (which I also did not watch.) In this one minute long advertisement for Budweiser, we follow the journey of Anheuser Busch’s; creator of Budweiser, journey from Germany to the United States of America for the purpose of “brewing beer.” This short video shows the hardships of coming into a country as an immigrant. I feel Budweiser choice to produce this video in response to Trump’s “Immigrant Ban” showing that we are all immigrants, even those who produced product that is still highly used today. Immigrants then and today take on a grueling hard journey in hopes of a better life. They come here and get negative responses from those who are not open to people in search of a better life. People like the creator of Budweiser take on horrific jobs that do not pay well, and that most people would not even come near. This short video shows the “American Dream” that our ancestors came here to achieve.

Upon multiple viewings of this commercial, I noticed syllogism. The syllogism that is this Budweiser commercial is that these hardworking people who immigrated had hopes and dreams they wanted to accomplish here in the new world. These people were very hardworking in everything that they did. If these two statements are true, then the desire for accomplishing these dreams must be true. Anheuser Busch traveled across the ocean from Germany with a dream in mind. A dream to create and brew a new beer in America. He even had the way the bottle would look all drawn out and ready for manufacturing. We know as viewers that he went through a hard time with immigration dude to the large cut that is shown being sewed up on his forehead. He must of been struck or harmed in some other way to have received that large cut. We are shown in this commercial that not everyone was accepting of an immigrant coming in the United States of America. One man yells at him that he doesn’t “belong here,” and to “go back to where you came from.”

The only question I have following my viewing of this commercial is if these are actual historical accounts of what happened to the creator of Budweiser beer. Did he actually come from Germany, and did he experience all of these events. Traveling here on a boat? Being on a boat on fire? Being told that he doesn’t belong here? On his travels here, did he already have this dream? Was his sole purpose of coming here to create beer? Or is this really just a way of the mass marketing ways of America to evoke emotion out of the viewers and to have more people buy their product?

Relating this to the Orwell essay that we read in class today, I feel like George Orwell would of hated propaganda and would have ranted about how improper it is rather than using “ready made phrases” and being to the point. Orwell would have claimed that propaganda is “writing without passion” and that people are creating “paradoxes” in their writing. He would of wanted the truth to show, and since we do not know if any of these accounts actually happened, the truth is not being shown.

Men Vs. Women- The Wage Gap Crisis

Dear Future President,

 

Imagine two kids, same age, different genders. The little boy has a dream to become an engineer, same with the little girl. But the little girl is bullied for her choice of career, the little boy is not. Imagine that they get hired at the same place, doing to\the exact same job. The little boy is happy about his pay, but for every dollar the boy receives, the little girl gets 66¢. Even though there has been a desire and a fight for equal rights since the day men and women were not treated the same, not much has changed. What is the reasoning for the pay gap other than direct discrimination? Why do people tend to say that their is an “unexplained pay gap” when there are facts that prove it?

For some reason in our country, this issue exists. Women are not paid as much as men are. Some people believe that this accusation is faulty, but there is evidence to prove this financial difference between males and females exists. Men, on average are paid ⅓ more than women are. Also, the difference in their hourly wages is 16% in the United States. When you factor in how much each gender gets paid based on the hours they work it is a 4-8% difference. Also, for every child a woman has, her wage can decrease as much as 8%, while her husbands can increase as much as 9%.  The truth of all of this is that the gender wage gap is not a lie, it is our reality. Women are getting paid less than their male counterparts for the reasoning of direct discrimination towards women and businesses base their proposed wages for new employees based on their prior learning. Most likely, their new wage will never exceed their first one if they stay in the same line of work. Massachusetts recently passed a law that restricts employers from asking about new employees salary histories. California also now has a law that prohibits employers from penalizing workers who discuss wages and salaries. I believe that the Federal Government should call to make these laws nationwide and to enforce them.

Even though the wage gap is a legit problem in society, there are arguments against the validity of it.  Some people argue that “women chose to study less lucrative subjects,” and this in turn, gives them a lower wage in comparison to the jobs that men tend to strive for. People argue that women tend to enter lower paying professions and stay towards the bottom rungs of the career ladder. By doing this, their wages are obviously going to be less than the people who strive for the higher paying jobs such as being an engineer. Stephanie Thomson, the writer of “The Simple Reason for the Gender Pay Gap: Work Done by Women is Still Valued Less” argues that women in lower paying occupations, such as childcare workers, have no reason to complain about the wage gap because they are not doing anything to resolve it for themselves. They should “start moving towards careers that pay better” than their current ones.  Though throughout all of these remarks, she does agree that the gender gap is an issue and what she claims to be the biggest threat to the incomes not being equal is that “jobs dominated by women are seen as not important” in comparison to those dominated by their male counterparts.

A reason why the wages between men and women are so different is because the starting price that employers offer to their employees is already lower than that of what they would pay a male performing the same duty, no matter what the job is. The two laws that have been passed in Massachusetts and California are going to mean nothing because the actual impact of these laws will depend on their enforcement, and just as important, on education campaigns to let workers know these laws are on the books. Also, the banning of the use of salary histories in setting pay will matter only if workers and hiring managers are aware of these laws.

The truth of all this is that no matter what, the wage gap does exist, and it is a major problem, and it must be resolved.

Will you, as our next President, be able to close the gap between men and women’s wages?

Sincerely,

Dallas S.

Art of Jazz

 

An art that brings value to my life is the art of jazz music. Jazz is my art because it’s incredibly diverse and all styles of it are so beautiful. Jazz music can be anything from a happy cheerful second-line to a sad and somber ballad. All are exquisite. Also, it is impossible to hear the same style come from two people. Sure, some musicians copy others to sound like alike them, but no two players create their art the same way. Some put more emphasize on other things rather than their neighbor, but it’s all jazz. Jazz has multiple styles of art inside of it, so it becomes a bigger, more complex piece of literature as you look deeper into it. You need to read between the lines of the music.

The way a musician produces sound is also art. The insane complexities that come with making an instrument speak. For saxophone, it is top teeth on the mouthpiece, having enough mouthpiece inside of your mouth so it doesn’t squeak, but not too much that it does squeak. You must find the happy medium between the two. You need to “not compress your spine,” as I like to say. You must have your neck strap loose enough so this does not happen, but not too loose that the neck of the instrument can never comfortably meet your face. You must line your reed up and tighten your ligature perfectly, or else sound cannot be produced. This is just the beginning of the long list complexities that make playing a saxophone art.

The art of playing jazz saxophone has its own list of complications upon the ones stated in the paragraph before. Unlike concert band music, every note is long unless it is short. Without doing this, you do not get the “jazz sound’ that is necessary. It is vital for the survival of the jazz musician to do this, or else they will never make it. Another skill that is required is confidence. There is no way that you will ever play jazz the way its supposed to be played unless you are confident. You must have the ability to stand up in front of tons of people and play your horn like there’s no tomorrow. If you are incapable of doing this, the truth of the matter is, you will never play jazz. You’ll try to hide behind the music (if there is any) and you’ll pray for the show to be over. You must have the same amount of confidence that an artist must have paint to make a 20ft by 36ft canvas painting, and it must be well crafted.

The way I feel when I play jazz music is unbelievable. I’ve never felt more happy or more engaged. Playing my art form makes me feel like I am on top of the world, and nothing could ever bring me down. The best part of my life was when I was on tour traveling throughout Europe this past summer playing jazz 24/7. I was ‘high on life” as my peers tend to say nowadays. The way that I know playing jazz music is my passion is because as soon as I came home from my month long tour, and wasn’t playing jazz music 24/7, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what I was good for. Getting back into the swing of having summer off from my tour,  city, and school  jazz bands, took a long time, and as soon as it came back, I felt complete again.

Another reason why jazz is my art form is because it has helped me break loose of this shell that I have been trapped in forever. I am not going to stay that I am totally not shy anymore because that would be a lie. But playing music, especially jazz, has helped me break lose. In a concert band setting, you can hide behind the whole ensemble, or behind your section, but in jazz, it’s all you. There’s no one to blame for your mistakes. Rarely anyone has the same part as you, so you’re on your own. It has helped me become a better musician and a better person because when you are put right on the spot to play a solo in front of 500 people in Strassfurt, Germany, what else are you going to do? You get over your fear for those 12 bars of four counts. Yeah the fear may come back, but it disappears as soon as you’re put on the spot again. Before I got really involved in jazz music, I was a shy person and even more shy when it came to music. I was able to do so much due to how much I loved it and how much I wanted to practice, but it was hard for me to do this because of my fear of people hearing me when I play. I was always fine in a concert band setting, where rarely you are the only one playing at a time, but as I got better, and the band got smaller, I learned that it was all me. I only used to practice if I was home alone, and it took a lot for me to get to the point of practicing with my parents home, but that would only work if I was in my room with my door locked and headphones on, music blasting at full volume. Somehow, this tricked my brain into thinking I was alone. I was so afraid of being heard. Playing in a big band setting, you don’t have anytime to be afraid, you learn to get over your fears of playing because you could be the only person playing for a bit, or the whole song could feature you, or you could have something as simple as a four-bar four-count solo.

Jazz is my art because how how incredibly diverse it is. There’s Dixieland which had four main influences; ragtime, military brass bands, the blues, and gospel music. Then there’s Kansas City Blues which is a genre of intense blues music. Then, there’s my all time favorite, music composed by Duke Ellington who had an early “jungle style.” This style is the perfect combination of Dixieland and Kansas City Blues.  Duke Ellington remains the most popular jazz musician/writer of the big band era long after his death in 1974.  Playing Duke Ellington’s music is one of the most beautiful things I have ever done. Even though Mr. Ellington and I did not play the same instruments, I feel that we have a bond. And though, I never got the chance to know Mr. Ellington, I feel as if he wrote, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” just for me. This piece is what finally broke me out of that shell, and I have him to thank.

When I first joined the world of jazz music, I was so lost. I didn’t understand any component of it, and to be brutally honest, I hated it. It wasn’t until I started researching key role model players that had lived before me and my love for the art took off when I started to emulate their tones and styles into my daily playing. I soon learned lots, and got into both jazz bands here at ROHS, an honors city jazz band, and eventually got into my dream; The Blue Lake International Jazz Ensemble. All of this is because of those late nights of researching Duke Ellington and Gerry Mulligan. Gerry Mulligan’s ability to play the baritone saxophone changed my life, and left me wanting more, and he was just what I wanted to be. I wanted to be like his him,playing as much as was humanly possible. That day still hasn’t come, and may never, but I still look forward to very unlikely possibly that I will perfect the saxophone.

Jazz music is timeless and I believe that’s why I love it so much and call it my art. I chose jazz music to be my art because of everything it has done for me and for all the people who have died before me who loved it just as much as me and for all the future people who will play the same arrangements of the top pieces 100 years from now. Jazz music has become my escape route out of my shy old being, and because of it, I have become a better person.

The Worst Way to Tell Your Roomate you ate all of their food 

Scene takes place in on a college campus somewhere in the state of Michigan in a college dorm room of two girls named Sam and Joanna. Joanna recently went home for the weekend and brought food for herself that was cooked by her parents to last her a couple meals.

Sam: Hey Joanna! You’ll never believe what happened!

Joanna: What?!

Sam: While you were out studying, a mouse broke into the house!

Joanna: Ew! Did you get it out?

Sam: Yeah but-

Joanna: Did you kill it or what?

Sam: -only after it got into the fridge.

Joanna: Okay… Did you clean out the fridge?

Sam: Yeah I did but there’s a problem-

Joanna: Please tell me it didn’t die in the fridge. All of our food will go to waste.

Sam: Yeah about the food in the fridge-

Joanna: DID IT DIE IN THE FOOD?

Sam: Oh my goodness no!!! But it ate some of it.

Joanna: Did you throw out what it ate?

Sam: No, but I cut off the portion that it ate.

Joanna: Okay, I suppose that will be fine if you cut off enough of whatever it ate. 

Joanna not thinking much about the issue doesn’t check in the fridge until dinner time.

Joanna: YOU DID NOT TELL ME IT ATE MY FOOD AND THAT YOU THREW IT ALL AWAY?

Sam: Wait, what ate your food?

Joanna: THE MOUSE!

Sam: Oh yeah, that thing. 

Joanna: Wait… DID YOU EAT MY FOOD?

Sam: Maybe.

Joanna: AND YOU LIED ABOUT THE MOUSE?

Sam: Maybe.

Joanna’s eyes practically to the back of her head and she storms away. 

Sam: Sorry!

What in The World is Art?

 

A statement in John Berger’s, “Ways of Seeing” Episode One that confirms my understanding of what makes something ‘art’ is his statement of paintings being silent, and because of this, their meanings are transferable. This confirms my understanding of something being considered  ‘art’ because art can be absolutely anything, and the same piece of art can be interpreted 100’s of ways. Examples of this are viewing the same exact painting in a museum in comparison to seeing it in an ad for something that could be completely unrelated. Having the piece of art in a museum, the viewer is able to choose how they wish to think about the painting. When the painting is re-purposed into an ad, the painting could have nothing to do with the ad rather than to bring attention to it. It could be an ad about a house and they could use the painting American Gothic to help bring a familiar face to the ad.

The question that arises to my mind while writing this is, what is your interpretation of art? The truth is, I believe that anything is art. The clothes on your back are art, your body is art, and even that clock hanging on the wall of your living room can be art. Personally, my most loved artform that I take place in is playing jazz. But my peers arts vary from writing, to cheer, to hockey and to the art of flag making. Anything can be art from the eyes of the beholder.

But at the same time, there is a possibility that not two people can agree on what the definition of art is, and as I brainstorm words to fit into this piece of writing, I have come to conclusion that there is no defined definition of art because art is everything around you and me, and him and her. That stapler is art, that pen is art, your brain is art, this paper is art. Most importantly, you are art.

Summer Homework 

We’re all scurrying to complete our summer homework before we get home. I’m staring at a textbook trying to complete my last two problems of APES homework and I’m so close to being done. 

I’m ready for summer to be over. I’ve had a great time. I got to tracked the world and spend time with my best friends. Now it’s just time for for one of the most stressful weeks of my life. First day of school, Adele concert, gig at cliff bells, and picture day. It’s going to be intense. 

Camping 

Today is Labor Day and I’m coming home from up north. I’m currently in a car with all of my best friends. We’re all completing our summer homework, deciding what to wear for tomorrow, and talking about college. 

None of us really knows what we want to do when we graduate but we all have ideas. 

We swam, kayaked and fished everyday for four days and we all had a great time.