And not in the sense that I found the love of my life or cleared my debt or got into the school of my dreams or anything. But for the first time in a long time my routine was nearly flawless. I woke up early enough to pack a lunch and make a breakfast, including some coffee for myself. Work was productive and swift and I was in good spirits. I didn't get tired at any point and felt energized most of the day. Then I went home and ate a dinner that was extremely enjoyable. After a 30 minute power nap I headed to Accounting class and felt very alert and took in everything very well. Finally, I got home, chatted online for a bit, then worked out for an hour and a half. The workout was great. Two mile runs, 30 mins of basketball, and 30 mins of weights. Finally, I got back home, chatted a bit more, and wrote a blog. I'm gonna shower now and then study for my Calculus test tomorrow.
If only every day could go this smoothly I would be able to get through this semester relatively unscathed. We will see how that all works out.
Anyway, to make this blog meaningful, I'll post a few recs:
Two relatively unknown pop acts may be difficult to find, but worthwhile if you can find them.
The first one is Ryan Gilmor. Kind of a Dashboard Confessional feel mixed with Rocket Summer. Good voice with a bit of adolescene. Simple, but fun and catchy songs. Youthful and generic lyrics that are certain to relate to anyone. Either way, a fun artist reminiscent of that pop-punk acoustic era that happened a few years ago.
The next artist is Justin Nozuka. Mix of Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. Very funky feel. Gotta love his voice and his style. The lyrics are honest and bold, the music is fun but also very melodic. This is the kind of stuff you just wanna dance to. You'll want to sing along and it brings a smirk to your face.
I have a playlist on my iPod that I've been overplaying for the last week or so. I call it my 'MVP' mix. Why?
M - The Mile After
V - Valencia
P - Promise of Redemption
And these three bands have put out some of the best albums I've heard this year, in the pop-punk genre at least.
The Mile After has a raw sound with a great attention to detail. Their harmonies and breakdowns are incredible for such a rookie band. Not every song is amazing, but more than half on their album Armada are incredible. "Piano Song", "The Only One", "So Damn Easy", "That's The Way It Should Be" and "Money Is Not A Thing" are all great songs that range from unique poppy gems to power ballads to epic marathons. I'll review this album soon enough, but I thought I'd recommend it now so people can start to hear about this band.
Valencia went from being somewhat of an afterthought to maybe one of my favorite bands and definitely one of my top-10 albums this year. Not only do the lyrics have more meaning and substance than any other pop-punk album I've heard this year, but the songs are solid, well-crafted, catchy, and have the 'in-your-face' quality missing from the genre lately. I don't understand why a band can't sing pretty while rocking? Why does it have to be all about auto-tune and synth lately? Valencia brings back crunching guitars, driving drums, and a singer that has a solid voice without singing through his nose. "All At Once" is maybe my favorite song I've hear all year, "The Good Life" is the perfect summer sing-a-long, "Where Did You Go?" makes me smile and want to cry at the same time (smile for the upbeat song, cry for the emotional lyrics), and "I Can't See Myself" is a sick jam. Valencia's We All Need a Reason to Believe IS the reason to believe in pop-punk again. And I say this knowing that it has been said by many people already... but it really does live up to the hype.
Promise of Redemption released their album When The Flowers Bloom months ago, but I finally checked it out to see the contrast with Valencia. Shane really pours his soul into this album. The title track "When the Flowers Bloom" is heart-wrenching and powerful, "Remember the First Day", the alternate and original version of Valencia's "Where Did You Go?" is beautiful and touching, and "How Fast" is the song that defines me. The album is chalk full of ballads about Shane's girlfriend who passed away, which really powers the emotion behind the record. While the album is not completely perfect, it has more than enough to be worthwhile. If anything, the pure emotion behind the songs makes this album worth having.
Hey everyone. I'm not usually one to ask for money and everything, but this is a really good cause. I'm doing the American Heart Association 5k Heart Walk in Sacramento, CA and would really appreciate donations of any kind to help support the cause. There is nothing in it for me, as I have requested to have all the prizes I receive for raising money donated to charity. The only thing I'm going to get is a t-shirt and some good exercise!
Any little bit helps and I'd really appreciate it. Here is the info below:
Hey everyone! I'm doing the Sacramento 5k Heart Walk on September 20th! I want to try to raise some money for the cause so I'm asking for donations.
Everyone knows someone affected by heart disease or stroke. For those I love, I will be walking in this yearís Start! Heart Walk. I have set a personal goal to raise funds for the American Heart Association and need your help to reach my donation goal. We are raising critical dollars for heart disease and stroke research and education.
You can help me reach my goal by making a donation online. Click on the link below and you will be taken to my personal donation page where you can make a secure online credit card donation. The American Heart Association's online fundraising website has a minimum donation amount of $10.00. If you prefer to donate less, you can do so by sending a check directly to me.
Your donation will help fight our nationís No. 1 and No. 3 killersóheart disease and stroke. You are making a difference. Thank you for your support.
I haven't been writing reviews or any parts of my stories or working on homework or doing entertainment blogs. Sure, I've written poetry, but none of it recreational. I've ditched the one word poems. I've been loving music and writing nothing about it. I've discovered all kinds of new movies and TV shows and I've been inspired and yet my last 5 or so posts have been medication to me.
I've been writing a lot of personal stuff lately. I don't know if it is the end of summer or the fact that I'm finally coming back into a routine instead of this spontaneous, sultry lifestyle. I don't know what it is, but this is what I've been inspired to write about lately. I get it. I know people don't want to read it. But I don't care. People are disappointments. People are unreliable. People are selfish. So I don't care if I'm doing a bit of that myself.
I've been thinking lately. Thinking about friends and who you think they are. I've been thinking about how much you are supposed to keep in touch with people you live far away from. I don't know what an acceptable amount is. I don't know how busy life is supposed to keep all of us. I don't know how much time we are supposed to set aside for our friends and the people we care about.
I used to believe that real friends make time and the people that matter are priority. I used to believe that we can struggle and look out for ourselves and still be there for each other. I used to believe in courtesy and righteousness. I used to believe in being there for the people you care about.
I used to believe I had a lot of people that I cared about that cared as much about me.
Hard to believe now. Very hard to believe.
I have a few people that keep me here. I don't need to name the few. I think if you assume you are one of those people, you should take a hard look at where you have been and how you've acted lately. I think the people who know they matter to me don't even need a second to consider it. They know it.
Everyone else? I don't know about any of you. I was willing to do almost anything for so many of you. Maybe we are just too young to be able to have responsible friendships. Maybe everyone is right when they say people our age are just selfish and there is nothing we can do about it. Maybe none of you really cared and enjoyed what I had to offer at the time. Whatever the reason, I don't care.
Quality over quantity. I don't need the big numbers as long as I have bigger people with bigger hearts around me.
So for those of you who don't care about how much I care? Those of you who want to tug me around and give me mixed signals? Those of you who feel like you are fine without my support or love?
Iíll do this the right way, and dig myself out of this hole.
Itís frightening that I donít know which way I can go.
It might be that everyone around me seems cold.
And I think I need to do it all on my own.
And if I try to turn my life back around its so hard
cause Iím on a path that Iíve never been down.
And Iíve got I think that this might be the one way that I can go.
I've realized lately that people are unreliable. I've learned that I can't trust again until I find who I am and what I am all about. I'm walking alone and that's the path I need to take right now. I'm finding my reason to believe.
You have faith in me. And this is all for you.
And Iíve been thinking that you and I just need a little time.
Weíll figure out where we go when wrong, and weíll make it right.
Iíve been wishing on every star thatís hanging up in the sky.
Just hoping that I can find a little bit of time.
I have a lot of dreams. I have a lot of goals. Especially this year. I don't plan on burning out like I did last year. This is serious now. I'm not going to let something derail me like last year. No one is going to stop this train.
Now that Iím stuck in the city with spring rolling in
its so hard because I donít know where to begin.
And thereís just never much time these days,
and I stayed up all night trying to say.
Iíve got, Iíve got to get this all off my chest.
Iím so sick of living my life in suspense.
We both guessed Iím getting my life rearranged,
and your god damn right my life has changed.
My life is different. I have things to say to people who have been in my life. I have feelings I want to get out. But before I can do that, I have to get where I need to be.
Thereís so much more that I wanted to say.
I guess it didnít turn out that way,
so Iíll step back and never let go to the past,
and hope Iím never alone and nowÖ
Iíve been thinking that you and I just need a little time.
Weíll figure out where we go when wrong, and weíll make it right.
Iíve been wishing on every star thatís hanging up in the sky.
Just hoping that I can find a little bit of time.
As alone as I may be right now, I know I have a few people I can rely on. I'm learning how to not be alone when I'm by myself. I'm loving my own company more and more each day. I've never been happier with myself. I don't just wish for good things anymore.
I wonder what life would have been like
if you were still by my side.
I try to push the idea that these dreams
live and die with this pretense.
I've fought for almost a year now
and your memory is so persistent.
I've nearly died from this pain
I'm thinking I may never love again.
I once dreamed of a world with you and me
A world where you was all I could see.
I made this mistake and you led me there
and now I'm stuck with my reflection in the mirror.
I see you now and I don't see you.
I see other girls and they don't compare to you.
I wish I could hear something else
besides the echo of my voice.
I wish I could see you again
I wish we could make the past pretend.
So today, and now, and for the distant future
I walk alone with your ghost on my shoulders.
You are practically dead to me
Because I haven't heard your voice in forever it seems.
This is worse than it seems
This is me losing you completely.
This is me trying to figure out things
Without you, it doesn't seem like reality.
I really do love them. But I hate them almost as much. I understand the frustration it brings to many people. I don't understand, however, how people can just not care about the leadership of our country.
Never has the entire world been so accessible than now. I can miss something on TV and catch it by recording on my DVR or viewing it online anytime I want. I can have a presidential candidate email me about what he is doing next, hell, this candidate can even text me updates on my phone.
With all this information at our fingertips, it boggles my mind that my generation is not only misinformed, but doesn't care to be informed at all. And then many of those who do listen to what they see on TV or in other various media outlets accept what they see blindly. I'm going to use a few analogies to help explain myself.
If an ESPN analyst tells you that your favorite team or player is going to have an awful year, you may accept that as a possibility, but do you just accept that as an absolute truth?
If a reviewer says one of your favorite albums or movies is crap, do you accept that as an absolute truth?
If you are religious and your pastor/whatever tells you that your way of life is wrong, do you go and change everything about your life just because he/she said so?
You see, we've reached the point in the election when it isn't about politics anymore. Right now, it is about who can fool you the best. Every stupid little detail is going to get hashed and rehashed over and over again. Every word will be scrutinized. Every voting record reviewed. Every absent glace mocked.
So, this is your job as an a citizen of a country that likes to boast its prominence and dominance and superiority to actually live up to the name we try to create for ourselves as U.S. citizens. Don't be part of this bravado and don't be part of the ignorance. I'm not telling you who to vote for, I'm telling you to vote and be informed when you do.
I, myself, am not afraid to voice my support for Obama/Biden. I'm not some bandwagon supporter either. I've supported both candidates since 2006. I saw Obama speak in Arizona before the primaries (coincidentally right before I saw Bill Clinton speak a few days later), and I saw Biden make an appearance on the Daily Show around that time. After seeing both men and hearing what they had to say, I researched their rhetoric and voting records. I liked what I saw from both: Obama being an eloquent speaker I felt could rally the youth who had a good voting record and pretty typical Democratic agenda, and Biden a firey, experienced policitian well-versed in foreign policy.
So last Saturday, when Obama texted me his choice of Biden as his VP candidate, I got my own version of the 'dream ticket'.
And as I've been watching the Democratic Convention, I've been thinking about the history being made here. I never thought that the first election I voted in would mean so much. I never thought I'd actually look up politicial news and keep track of primaries and make donations and watch videos of speeches and be moved. I never thought I'd do any of this. That in itself is a good sign for young Americans who have been moved by this coming election.
Seeing Hilary Clinton speak on Obama's behalf was also surprisingly touching to me. I saw something I liked in her, considering I wasn't a big fan for quite some time. I never thought Obama, the guy I liked so much back in 2006, would actually be where he is right now. I relate to him, he feels like a human to me. He is flawed but strong and persistent. He plays relatively fair and is geniune.
I understand why people would want to vote for McCain. People are resistant to change. People are self-involved and feel that as long as they have been okay during the last 8 years, they shouldn't have to worry about what others have gone through. People think a slowly declining system is better than exploring something new.
I just don't see how people don't want to bring our troops home, provide more people with healthcare, help our middle and lower classes achieve some financially stability, improve schools, etc.
I know what all of this is like. I work in the health insurance industry. I've talked to people absolutely devastated by a lack of health coverage. I was lucky enough to receive a surgery costing over $30,000 for a few copays because of my coverage. I have a cousin in Iraq. He is a proud soldier and has volunteered to go back. I just hope that he doesn't die in vain for being so loyal to a country sending him to fight a war that has an unclear purpose. I had to take an extra year to save up money just so I can go to college. I've already accepted that to get where I want career-wise I will have to get into a hole of debt. I have another cousin who has over $300,000 of loans from dental school, and even he goes to third world countries to provide dental services to the needy.
These people are who we need to support. We can't always be about ourselves, it isn't a good way to live. If we look after our fellow men and women we will get the same in return. I have no problem paying a few extra taxes if my parents will recieve better care when they grow old. I have no problem doing what I can to lower college tuition and improve high school education. I have no problem doing what I need to do so my friends and family can get the same kind of health coverage I have.
And if you want to argue that I haven't doine anything? I'll let you know that I have worked in the health insurance industry at a not-for-profit company and sent letters to legistlation to advocate changes in healthcare. I have offerred to speak at high schools about financial responsibility. I have expressed interest in going on mission trips but don't have the money to afford such a trip at this time. I have given $1000 of my own money for a scholarship that I gave to a graduating high school student who needed some extra aid.
I'm asking you all to think outside yourselves. I'm asking you to vote with your best interests as well as others around you in mind. I'm asking you to research the candidates and really think about who is going to do a better job. I'm not asking you to vote Obama over McCain, I'm asking you to vote well informed.
To preempt this blog, I'd like to say that I don't really feel like writing right now. Which is a rarity in itself.
I'm sitting here on the last day of summer (for me), completely unaware of the fact that I just wrote.
You see, I lost the idea of summer 2 years ago. I lost the idea of breaks and vacations altogether a year ago. I work full time. I don't get a summer. School has been secondary for me, so spring break and summer break were just times that I could only focus on work. But something weird happened this summer, I actually had a summer vacation.
Maybe that was the reason for the whole San Diego thing. Moving there was stressful, but it sure as hell gave me something I thought I had lost forever. I got nearly two months off of work and I survived. During that time, I drove wherever the hell I wanted and had a ton of fun. I didn't worry about waking up early or having to call in sick or anything. I just woke up and decided what I wanted to do and did it.
During my actual summer vacation, I took time to myself to write, watch movies, relax, exercise, play video games, read, and whatever else I felt like. But I also partied, visited many parts of CA, laughed, done crazy things, and just had an amazing time with my best friends.
I topped all of that off with an amazing last week of summer full of good times, good laughs, and good friends.
So I get home tonight and I feel motivated again. I feel like this year isn't going to be about heartache or depression or disappointment, but instead strength, happiness, and success. I only have two classes, I'm starting a new (and better) job next week, and I have a newfound appreciation for myself. I don't fear being alone anymore because I love being alone. But I don't fear people because I love my friends and most shockingly, I get along with my family very well right now.
I realize who I am. And I love who I am. This is somewhere I haven't been often. So now I find that I have a lot to do. I'm not scared and I'm not overwhelmed. But you are damn right if you think I'm being a perfectionist about what I want to do with the next year of my life. I feel a tiny bit unsettled right now because I have a lot I want to do. Simple things like redecorating my apartment and more complicated things like moving ahead at work and getting into the school I want. I'm setting high standards for my health by continuing to exercise regularly and I'm setting high standards for my creative self by promising myself to write more and about more topics.
I need to finish editing my reviews, I need to work on a few of the stories I have, I need to organize my room, I need to put up my new artwork, I need to get my stuff for school ready, I need to do all my doctor stuff before I start work again, I need to perform extremely well at work and school, I need to make sure I see my best friends at least once a month, I need to still take time to myself to relax, I need to exercise 4-5 times a week at the same level I have been, I need to continue playing music, I need to sleep well.
This is my last week of summer. So I'm going out in style. A week-long road trip to three areas.
1st stop: Santa Barbara
2nd stop: LA and Westwood
3rd and Final stop: Fullerton
I've spent the last two days in Santa Barbara and have had a blast. I can't wait to go to LA and Fullerton.
This has been a rough summer in many ways, but I also think it has been the best summer of my life. I don't think I've ever had more fun and I don' think I've ever been happier with my life and where I am.
I'll post more thoughts later and I will also finish some reviews as well as give some recommendations when I get back home finally.
There is something about death that is so unique. It is the one thing that unites us all. Every human, every animal, every plant, every living thing. We all die, we all have a set time period, and we all cease to exist eventually.
And I guess thats another thing about death. When someone or something we care about dies, we always take that time to remember and reflect and appreciate the time we have a little more. This is a somewhat sad sentiment about the way we live, that it takes a loss before we really focus on the good around us, but it is what it is.
We can't expect to live every day like it is our last. That in itself is too much to ask of us. We can't wear our emotions on our sleeves all the time and we can't constantly live every moment like it is our last. We would all falter, our lives would be too dramatic, and we wouldn't be able to handle it.
So, it may sound silly or ridiculous, but I got to thinking about all of this because my dog died today. My family has had our golden retriever Kiley for over 11 years along with our other golden retriever Casey. Kiley was about 6 months younger than Casey and from a different breeder, but those two were brothers. According to my mother, Kiley was dead sometime last night and they found him this morning.
I know Kiley is just another dog, but he was my dog. I grew up with both of them and I was the one who convinced my parents to get him when I felt like Casey needed another dog to be with him. We got Kiley very young, he was the most adorable little puppy ever. I took care of him after walking home from elementary school. Both my dogs would keep me company for hours and hold a great piece of my childhood.
When we moved to the Sacramento area, our house was bigger but the backyard was designed differently. I never really liked the area we had for our dogs and I was reluctant to spend as much time with them. Not just because it was a smaller area, but because it was dirtier and I was getting older and busier.
Of course I'd say this now, but I wish I spent more time with both of my dogs. Casey and Kiley are and were the sweetest dogs you could ask for. Kiley loved to eat food, all the time. He always was willing to let Casey get more attention and was very self-sufficient. Kiley was never really a problem at all, Casey was the one who always tore things up or barked too loudly or was too needy. Kiley just always seemed happy and content. Always loved a little bit of attention, some food, some water, a comfortable place to sleep, and a good walk or swim.
I didn't realize how attached I was to my little golden retriever. But I always felt like he was my dog. And now I worry about Casey, because he lost his best friend and must be so lonely. I'm glad I didn't have to see Kiley dead, he always seemed so alive to me. In 11 years he always acted like a puppy and now he's gone.
I hope he was happy before he died. I know that Casey put a treat next to his body after he had died. Kiley wouldn't have had it any other way.
So RIP Kiley, my favorite little dog from my childhood. I'll miss you and I'll always remember you.
People have been telling me for years to take a step back and just enjoy things for once. To stop thinking about a year from now or 5 years from now and just enjoy today.
I guess I finally see what everyone was talking about.
Things have been crazy since I turned 20, thats the understatement of the year. But since that point in my life, I have been living like I always should have. Taking everything a day at a time, not stressing so much, having fun, and taking more time to myself.
So I sit here now, I've been unemployed for over a month now, I've been all over the state in the last month and had all my plans go wrong and ended up back where I started...
And I couldn't be happier.
I'm scared because I think I'm actually starting to like it here.
And I think I know why I like it. There isn't any pressure on me here, just like how it was in San Diego. Sure, I have to work and take a few classes, but I don't know many people up here anymore just like in San Diego. I think that while I was stressing myself out before with work and school, I was pushing myself over the edge by never taking any time to myself.
But during my month in Southern California and now, I've done all the same things I always do: work, organize, figure out my situation, go to school, hang out with people, etc. The only difference is that I've also taken time to myself to read, exercise, play video games, watch TV, write, play music, etc. I can't even believe how enriched I feel just to be able to explore my passions and unwind from everything I do.
Have I lost the motivation and drive I used to have? Absolutely not. Have I chilled out and slowed down a bit? Yes.
I've gotten to the point where I will be driving and a smile will come to my face naturally. That is unbelievable. I don't have a girlfriend, I don't hang out with people every day, I'm not out saving the world or anything... but I'm still happy.
For the first time in my life, I'm just happy with who I am and what I do. I don't worry about what people are thinking about me or if they are going to call me back, I just let it roll and enjoy whatever is going on.
I woke up this morning expecting to work another day at my new job in San Diego, then look at a few places where I could rent a room.
I ended the day back in my apartment in Folsom (near Sacramento).
So, what the hell happened in between?
A little back story. I was $10.00 overdrawn when the day began. I figured I'd be alright if I could find $20 on the street, put it in my account, and wait it out for my 401k withdrawal from Blue Shield to come, or for my check from my first three days at the new job to come, or for my unemployment check to come. One or all of the above would have been nice.
So I woke up a bit late. I've had an awful time sleeping lately and I don't really know why. I got to work about 10 minutes late and walked upstairs to apologize. I had no number to call anyone to let them know. I tried calling my temp agency, but no answer. So I go to my manager and she tells me to go downstairs and talk to the HR guy. I go talk to him and he tells me things have changed. His tone is immediately stoic and I know that he's about to terminate me. I'm a bit flustered and I ask, "Why? What did I do?"
"You slept on the job."
That's when I got defensive. I didn't SLEEP on the job. I was on my lunch break and I was sitting at my desk and relaxing. What, am I really supposed to eat for an entire hour? He asks for my badge and tells me to call the temp agency. They call me first and chew me out as well. Then they say this,
"They said you smelled like alcohol on your first day."
Again, what the hell is going on here? I haven't had a taste of alcohol in days, weeks even. Why would I smell of anything besides a mocha frapp or cereal in the morning?
So then, the temp agency tells me that coming late was the 'final straw', which I feel is bullshit because it's obvious they were coming after me anyway. I ask if they have anything on the dock, any jobs I could possibly interview for, and they are very vague and tell me they have nothing. I get off the phone.
So at this point I'm sitting in my car in the parking lot. I have negative money, a maxed out credit card, no job, no place, no way to attend school. I start thinking about the month I've had and how it was so great and how it taught me so much about myself. I persevered as long as I could... to the very bitter end. I literally tried and tried until I was absolutely knocked out. And the funny part is that I almost made it. I would have had a rough few weeks, but had that job worked out I would have made it.
But, another one of those 'almost' moments in my life wasn't enough for me at that time. The tears came, and the call to mom came.
"Well, you obviously need to come home now."
So I went to my cousin's place, packed my stuff, and just drove back. I called my friends on the way up and cried and laughed and talked about how everything is going to be alright. You know, the usual.
I have an interview at Blue Shield on Monday, in a different department doing a job better suited for me. So I hope that goes well. I have this apartment until September, and then me and my older brother might move in together. I'll figure all that out later.
I know things will be alright and that I will make the most out of this year. I know that I will end up where I want to be eventually, at a good school in a place I want to live with good friends.
I guess I'm just sick of the failure. I'm sick of the cards never falling right. I'm sick of the disappointment. I can only stay honest and motivated and pure for so long.
And something about this place makes me feel so alone.
Most of my best friends are down in southern CA, I have a few good ones up here that will help me get through all this though, so I'm happy for that.
I just hope things slow down for a bit now. I'm fine being back here and working for another year and taking a few classes and actually having a better plan this time. I'll actually have money saved up and no debt and all that when I move next.
I just don't know what to say. I want to make things work for myself, and that is harder for me to believe every day. But for now...