Friday, May 27, 2011

Tired Post of Tiredness

Right now I am sitting at the front desk of main hall. I volunteer at the front desk here at school during the summer. And today it is super boring and I am falling asleep. So I decided to write a post cause I thought it might be funny as I will either wake up or write silly thing as I fall asleep. So I will not pressthe delete button. If I write it it stays.

I'm just scared that I will sit here and be super tired and write something offensive or embarrassing. Not that either of those things would be weird for me. I feel like I'm always offensive. It makes me feel more tired just thinking about it for some reaseon.

But being offensive can be fun. its why so many tv shows are popular today. If you are offensive you win. Which often means losing in real life. Sad truth
but a truth nonetheless.

And I just got woken up by someone. So I am packing up and going home to take a nap. See ya.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Funeral

Olivia Streeter Reed passed away on May 8th, 2011. What was she doing during the weeks before her passing? Why planning her funeral of course! But first, the story:

I was asked to sing at a funeral last Saturday. I did not know the deceased, but I had met one of her children before, who has several children of her own now. I said yes, as I believe in sharing my talents, and because I like to do my part to help bring some happiness to those who mourn.
The funeral was held at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Glasgow VA. Just help you put this into perspective, Glasgow has a population of 1,046 (down 94 people according to the 2000 census). Their only retail store is the Glasgow Wal-Mart (which is actually a Dollar General. But they honestly call it the Glasgow Wal-Mart). The church was across the street from an apartment complex that I am 99% sure was at one time a small elementary school (it even had little covered breezeways. No way it wasn't a school once). In short, it is a tiny, and beautiful place.

The funeral service was lovely. There were hymns sung, prayers said, scriptures read, and remembrances given. And during the one remembrance, I learned about Ms. Reed's funeral planning. There was to be a reception after the funeral. She decided what food would be there, secured the venue, and made sure directions from Glasgow to Lexington were printed. AFTER the funeral I was approached by the husband of Ms. Reed's daughter, and he offered me an envelope with my name on it. I thanked him, but assured him that I needed no payment, because I was glad to do this for the family. He offered it to me again, this time saying, "Oh, this isn't form me. It is from Ms. Reed. She had this all planned out. The money was all set apart from her estate before she passed." I accepted the envelope and thanked him.

Now, I didn't know Ms. Reed, but apparently she knew who I was. And she had even planned me to sing at her funeral (I didn't actually get the call to sing until Monday, the day after she had passed, so someone took her instructions VERY seriously). I decided then and there that I was very sad that I did NOT know Ms. Reed, and that I await meeting her in the future. But I digress.

On the drive home, I thought about how well she had planned this. How she had picked the hymns. She had picked the songs that I was to sing. She had secured her favorite pastor from Northern Virginia to officiate in the service. It was all figured out and letter perfect. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do the same thing. So here is the plan for when I die:

First of all, no one is to wear black. Its dreary. Everyone will wear white preferably. It will say such on the invitation. My family will sit in the front near the casket, which will be open so everyone can see my beautiful red hair (which I will still have thank you very much.) The opening prayer will be given by a member of my family. My current bishop will officiate. He will welcome everyone and thank them for coming to celebrate my life. The word "funeral" will not be used at all during the service.

I then want Samuel Barber's Sure on this Shining Night sung by my sister Taerra. For some reason I kept picturing her singing it. Apparently I will die young (No older than 40), naturally of something tragic, and she will most likely be in her vocal prime, so it will be epic. I then want my best friend (TBA, but I think I know who it is now. I do not foresee things diminishing between us, mostly because I am too selfish to let go) to tell two or three stories about me. Nothing touching. Just funny stuff. Then that person will sing the song of their choice. Other people may be included if desired. Something light, but heartfelt. I trust this person. Don't screw it up.

Then a small choir (most likely my family) will sing Homeward Bound by Marta Keen. Then my Bishop will read my personal testimony which will be prepared beforehand. Then a slightly larger choir (probably still my family, lets be honest) will sing Pilgrim's Hymn by Stephen Paulus. Then the Bishop will announce a moment of silence where people can cry and blubber all they wish. This is to get it all out of their system.

To help shock the congregation from their emotional torpor, the choir will then sing Bach's Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden. It will be accompanied by the Organ and may be sung in English if desired. They should not be afraid to be as loud as they would like. Following the number, any of my siblings who would wish to do so may share a story or two or three about me from childhood. It should be a funny thing. Be nice guys. The bathroom curtain story is off-limits.

Then the bishop will say some final words. It should be about how I am now with Heavenly Father and QUITE happy, thank you very much, so everyone should quit sniffling and get on with their lives. The choir will then sing How lovely is Thy Dwelling Place by Brahms. Then a closing prayer.

Here is where we come to the alternate endings:

Ending #1 - My body is taken to the cemetery for a quick burial. My family just needs to say goodbye and put my body in the ground, cause IMMEDIATELY after the service there will be a reception. With LOTS of good food. I dont really care what. It just has to be yummy. And there needs to be Cheesecake for dessert. Several kinds.

Ending #2 - This is necessary. Because if things go as I REALLY want them, I will actually still be alive at my funeral. Either I will be in the last stages of the terrible disease that, although it has destroyed my body, has still left me with my cheerful and delightful attitude, or the horrible accident that damaged me beyond repair (most likely because I was saving a small baby from some inexplicable horror which then befell me in my heroism) is taking its final toll. SO, after the service which I rather enjoyed, there will be a reception, as outlined above. The only difference is, there will then be a roast. The roast is ONLY ok if I am still alive and there. If I am in a coma, no roast. There will be jokes and laughing. We will then go home and remember the wonderful evening. When I really die people will call each other and let each other know. No Facebook, no email, no texts. Phone calls or personal visits only.

While I was a bit jokey, this is actually how I would like things to go. I think it will be nice and It fits me.

And I planned it so you had BETTER do it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Most of My Friends Have Grandchildren

Some people (namely my friend Kyle) make fun of me because I am friends with old people (and I very loosely classify old people as anyone over 40). In high school I was in the band, and on trips I was more likely to hang out and talk with the parents on the trip than with the students my age. And its true. I do. I love grown ups. Why? I shall explain.

#1) THEY LOVE ME! It's true. I'm not sure why, but they just do. Maybe I'm an old soul and they can relate. Maybe they see me and say "Dang that kid is crazy. We better watch after him for his own good." and so they keep close. Whatever the reason, they love being around me. And they are fun, so I love being around them.

#2) They know stuff. They always have something to say that invariably makes my life easier. I think its so cool to hear some of the experiences they have had. They have generally lived through SOMETHING cool, even it is was just the 70's.

#3) They are nice and do awesome things for me! Just last night I was in a concert with some of these "old people" (they really aren't old at all, but again, the whole over 40 thing) and we had a little party afterward. A few of them were asking about my plans for when I graduated and while talking it came up that I needed to get some recordings done, and Dennis (husband of one of the women I sing with) offered to do the recordings. FOR FREE. Because he has the equipment. And then Bill McCorkle, a disgustingly talented man, offered to play for my senior recital (he studied in France with Nadia Boulanger, who studied with Gabriel Faure. Kind of a big deal). What he actually said was, "Well, I shouldn't say this, because I am already overbooked, but I want to play for you. And only because it IS you." Needless to say, I felt special. :)

See the benefits people? Old people kind of rock. Like, a lot. So go a head and poke fun at the fact that I have friends two (and even three) times my age. I'll laugh as I drive away in the nice new car one of them buys me.

Hint, hint...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

FOOD!

I love food. In fact, I would probably die without it. Even if going without it somehow didn't kill me, it still would. That's how much I love it. I also love making food. Especially for people who aren't me. Even though I get to eat it too and enjoy it as well. Because its food. And, as I am sure you can see by now, I love it.

Well tonight I went over to my friends' (Kyle and Tricia Nielsen) house to have a housewarming dinner, as they have just moved in. And it was awesome. I made homemade ravioli. Like, from scratch all the way. I took eggs and flour and mixed it all up and then put it through the little machine to help flatten it. After a while I had to make the filling and Kyle took over the machine cranking. It was not an easy job. After seeing what went into making pasta, Tricia vowed never to do it. Ten minutes later she was helping Kyle. Marriage is precious.

The filling was made with chicken, and the following cheeses: ricotta, asiago, parmesean, and romano. Was it brilliant? Yes. Why? Because I served it with a piccata sauce that I made myself and it was AWESOME. Wipe the slobber off of your keyboards now. You might cause some damage.

Now the next bit is something that I happen to love, but Kyle was a weenie about because he apparently hates Garlic. Not garlic with a little "g" but Garlic. It is something universal and incredible. Cultures who don't use it are bound for destruction. Most likely at my hands. I love Garlic. And so this bit of the meal has to have lots. It consists of fresh lemon juice, Garlic, a liiiiittle bit of soy sauce, and enough salt to take the edge off of the lemon juice. Top it off with some olive oil and then you dip fresh veggies in it. It is incredible people! DO IT!!

Then when I was about to leave, I realized that I had some extra ingredients and so I used the leftover ricotta cheese and cream, some sugar, vanilla and a few drops of juice from an orange (not to be confused with orange juice, which comes from a carton, is usually from concentrate, and it GROSS). I whipped it up and then they made brownies and cut strawberries. I left, but I hope they enjoyed it.

The point is, I went home and felt so happy. I made the food all from scratch like a grown up and ate it all like a grown up too. Food just gets better when you are older. Chicken nuggets and ramen noodles are great and all, but things just get so much better than that you know? Anyway. That was my day. It was great. AND I JUST REALIZED THAT THE BREADSTICKS THAT I MEANT TO TAKE OVER THERE FOR DINNER ARE STILL SITTING IN THE FRIDGE! So pardon me. I have a bit of snacking to do. Waist line, say hello again to those lost ten pounds.

Also, don't forget to vote on the right for your favorite type of food. Because food rocks.

Friday, May 6, 2011

BRILLIANT!

I love creativity. LOVE. When something is unique and different I generally tend to connect with it. Now, that's not to say that I like difference for difference's sake. I like it when it is out of the box, and it has a point to make. It has to make me think. for example:

-I hate most pop music. But when someone writes something with a unique choir progression and a phrase that is more than just the same four measures over and over, I love it.

-I really like a good movie. but it has to keep me guessing, and it has to have a good message attached. I recently watched a movie with some friends and didn't like it. Yes, the ending was a surprise, but that's not enough. Every other scene I announced an event that would happen soon, and five or ten minutes later it happened. My friend's dad kept asking if I had seen the movie. Nope. It was just so guessable! Be original people!

-People might not know this about me, but I love reading. I'm not the best writer, but I love a good story. And I have such a respect for people who can come up with their own story and make it work. Didn't much like the Eragon series, cause I just thought there were too many similarities to other fiction writers. I actually only read the first book and half of the second. I just couldn't stomach it anymore. But when someone makes a world that is just impossible for me to forget or hard to doubt, I love it.

So, here I want to pay homage to something I consider brilliant. Someone took something well known and transformed it into something else, while also at the same time sticking it to the man (I am secretly very rebellious). My friend Sam Benson showed it to me, as it was his cousin who wrote it. SO worth the read. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Effective Writing: The New Spanish 1

So... I dropped Spanish 1 at the semester... I couldn't take it any more. But never fear-- the public education system has set me up with another ridiculous class. My effective writing class is taught by an old man who used to teach German 1&2, Mr. Brown (he prefers to be called Herr Brown). My latest work of art really captivated him. He was so moved, in fact, that he had to read it to the class. Here it is:


Journey
A small-town girl, living in a lonely world, was waiting outside the train station late at night. She wanted to get away from her confined community; she took the midnight train going anywhere. A city boy, born and raised in South Detroit, was waiting outside another train station. Like the girl, he needed to get away from the hurried city life that he has been accustomed to his whole life. He took a train departing at midnight to anywhere.
After they both had endured long train rides, they arrived at the same destination. not knowing where they were, they tried to find a place to go. Strangers, waiting, they walked separately up and down the boulevard, their shadows searching desperately for someplace to go in the night. The streetlights above them lit the pair, who were living just to find emotion hiding somewhere in the night. The girl, desperately trying to find a place to sit in anguish, stumbled into a nearby lounge. The boy, having the same urge as the girl, followed close after her.
At a first glance, the lounge was nothing to speak highly of. The boy and the girl, being outsides, seemed a little out of place from the shabby room they had just entered. There was a singer sitting on a stage in the dimly-lit and smoky room. The room, smelling of wine and cheap perfume, had a few people entranced by the singer. Perhaps for a smile, the singer would humor them and share the night with one of the enchanted men.
Another set of businessmen, behind the eager watchers, sat gambling with one another.The boy and girl could tell by the look of the businessmen's suits and loosened ties that they had worked hard to get their fill. The pair could assume that the businessmen had mundane jobs. Not getting any sort of excitement, they just wanted a thrill, paying anything to roll the dice just one more time. Of course with gambling, some will win, and some will lose. However, with some of those businessmen it seemed like winning was not the objective. Not caring if they were the winners, they were born to sing the blues. The misfit small-town and big-city couple felt as if they had just stepped into a movie-- not just any movie, but a small clip on a reel going on and on.
"Don't stop believing," the girl on stage sang wispily,"Hold on to that feeling." Although this was the message that the pair of outsiders needed to hear, it would fall on deaf ears. Wallowing in their own self-pity, they may never go back to the lives they once had had. They were trapped in their own minds, searching for something that could not be found.


If you don't get it:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

File: Edit

Editing is such a convenient thing. If I didn't have an edit option, this whole blog would be MESSED UP. I'm always typing something crazy. And sometimes it takes me a while to see some of the mistakes and I fix them a few days after I post them. So yeah. I like the idea of editing things.

Well recently I have started a major editing project. ME. Its not too bad, just some things I want to do better with, and its been pretty fun! I've started getting up early to go play racquetball, as I mentioned in my last post, and just being more physically involved in general. I've been eating healthier as well (and not as late) and have lost 10 lbs. I cleaned out my car. My room is next. I am volunteering at SVU every day from 12:00-4:00. I'm saving up money. And that just feels good. It was just time for some changes and I'm glad to be doing them, you know?

I'm also doing a few changes to the blog. Ive decided to put up a poll that will change every week. Hopefully this will encourage me to get on here more. I'll create a page to show the results of all the past polls.

So, do something new. Get out of a rut. Don't work on breaking an old habit. Rather, just start a good one. The bad ones tend to fade away when you have something better to replace it with. Go change! And have fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Death

So I got up early (like, 6 in the morning) to go play racquetball with my friends Jon and Kevin. I was VERY tired. They asked why, and I told them it was because I was up late trying to find any video I could referring to Osama bin Laden's death.

It was a shock to be honest. I thought that he would never be found (if he was even still alive). But lo and behold President Obama makes an announcement telling us that a team found and killed him.

I first found the news out from Facebook. All sorts of posts were up. Most of them had lots and lots of exclamation points after them. There were some Wahoos! and Git er done!!!'s and lots of All right!!!!!!!!!!!'s and so on. More and more of them were happening. People were getting on just to comment on the news or post a patriotic video or something of the sort. I would guess that at LEAST one half of the stories on my news feed were about his death. Some people even texted me. I had one friend who simply asked if I had heard about it, the rest were straight up celebrating and spreading the joyous news. AND IT MADE ME ANGRY.

Why? Well, this first. Some may have thought that it was indeed joyous news that needed to be spread, but he wasn't the Wicked Witch of the West people. He was a real person. He helped orchestrate a terrible attack on the U.S. that killed many, and he led a group of people bent on inciting fear in multiple countries. That was horrible. He was clearly an angry, hateful, and even a very fearful man. But I do NOT think that these facts make it ok for American's to cheer and dance at the news of his death (which, I might point out, was not unlike the celebration that members of Al Qaeda partook in just after the 9/11 attacks).

I just don't think people see that they are celebrating, even REJOICING in his death. I just cant help but feel a little uncomfortable with that. True, I am not sad he is dead. Its does seem just. Hopefully his death will weaken the resolve of the splinter terrorist groups who have carried things on. But celebrating at his death will only breed anger and contempt. No matter how terrible, a life has been lost. And I feel pity for him. He has a lot to answer for.

Sociable