Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 DoB 19/20: 30 DoB No More.

Okay, I'm tired of writing disappointing blogs and I'm tired of feeling disappointed that I didn't meet arbitrary goals that I set when I have been somewhat productive during the day.

For example, today, I wasn't awake by seven, I didn't read much, I didn't exercise, and I didn't blog yesterday, so for all intents and purposes, I'm down to 0/4. However I was awake by 9, which is still pretty early considering, worked pretty darn hard on several things for Music for Muggles, and worked on something that I still, unfortunately, have to keep secret because it pertains to next year.

So I may have failed the goals, but I succeeded in the day... which makes me wonder whether this project is worthwhile. The point was to keep me from refreshing Tumblr and/or playing The Sims all day or something like either of those. This wasn't one of those days and I don't know that I'll have those days very frequently... and most of the time I can feel when I need them, and I don't want to have to explain them away.

So I guess what I'm saying is I'm done doing this 30 Days of Blogging project because my heart's not in it and I don't really need it. I could be doing so many other things with the 20 minutes or so it usually takes me to write. I have so many projects I want to do and I don't want to have to give up on some of them just because 30 days ago I decided that such-and-such was more important. So I'm not going to. I'm just going to do what I want to. After all, it is my last summer before being an adult... I should be doing what I want.

So thanks for your support and I look forward to hearing from you guys in the comments on my videos ^_^

Thursday, June 9, 2011

30 DoB 18: Yeah.

So if you haven't noticed, I have had increasingly less to talk about in my blogs. Something has happened this week to where I've just kind of snowballed out of control in laziness... I've gone from really getting stuff done, especially in terms of reading, to getting virtually nothing done. As usual, it seems to be related to my sleep habits, but I don't know what is changing them. I accurately predicted yesterday that I would not get sleep, and lo and behold! I did not. I was in bed, sure, at about 11:45, but I did not get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. This made my wake-up this morning rough, which made my day go by much faster than expected because I had no morning of which to make use.

I have also had more IRL contact, which is both a good and a bad thing. I need some semblance of a schedule in order to get the proper amount of sleep in order to get the proper amount of stuff done--I'm no workaholic, but something about such an imbalance really does a number on me. Perhaps everyone needs that system in order to stay productive in a healthy way, which is why I seem to churn out more work than a lot of people expect. However, because my friends do not operate on the schedule as I and because it would be not only ludicrous but downright rude to expect them to do so, I have to sacrifice it if I want to hang out with them, and obviously that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. (Side note: I wrote that whole passage with Tom Baker's voice narrating it in my head. Can you tell what I've been doing?)

Anyway, basically what I'm saying is that there are excuses and what I need to do to break the cycle is be aware of them, but also just suck it up and deal with it. Those of you who read last year know it is near impossible for me to re-start late in the day if I did not get a good morning in; I shall do the best I can tonight (Good lord, Tom Baker. Get out of my head!) but will give myself the signals for my wake-up tomorrow to set things straight.

At least I have perseverance :/
Sleeping: O
Blogging: X
Reading: O
Exercise: AOOO

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 DoB 17: DONE!

So... today I finished the last official class meeting of my undergraduate career.

What did I do with my free time?

Well, I only ate at Mother Bear's (a celebratory necessity), went to Lauren's BlogTV show, made a video, and then watched So You Think You Can Dance for the first time ever because my roommate's girlfriend came by because she was near campus and we were the only place with a TV. I was intrigued, to say the least.

But now all is done and I should probably head to bed, but I don't find myself really wanting to. I have a lot on my mind, mostly involving things that I shouldn't really think about until tomorrow or Friday because there's nothing I can do about it now. Oh, summer insomnia!
Sleep: X
Blogging: X
Reading: O
Exercise: O

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

30 DoB 16: Full Day

Bleargh. I'm so tired. There are many reasons for that and right now I just feel like recounting them instead of saying something useful, and I wield the power to do so! So there! (I love you all)

I woke up rather early this morning because I wanted to see my students whom I taught in the Spring semester. It was their second-to-last day of school and I missed the day I was supposed to be there last week (a long story with many different sides that don't really matter.) So I woke up at my normal time for going to that school, which was about 5:30 AM. I went there and sat with my students; there was nothing really interesting going on, but that was exactly how I liked it. We just talked about what they were doing next year and what I was doing next year, and it was a nice, relaxed time.

When I arrived back home, it was about 11:00 and I finally got to catch up on Tumblr--speaking of which, allow me to reiterate that the Stay Focused application for Google Chrome is fantastic!--and ate some lunch and went to my class.

After class, time kind of disappeared. We all decided to capitalize on a local bar's $2 Tuesdays; I got dinner and two drinks, and ended up sticking around until about 6:00 PM, which was much longer than I expected to stay. But it was worth it to hang out for what could possibly be the last time with my classmates, who on Friday will all begin dispersing themselves around the country.

When I returned home, I got to have a wonderful long chat with Will (WillsOdyssey) with whom I have not spoken in ages, which is a real shame. I love my YouTube friends and it is lovely when I get to catch up with them, especially when it involves many of us at rather pivotal points in our lives when we get to make big, impactful decisions. I got to catch him up on several such decisions I have made and to talk about VidCon and the Bath gathering and mutual friends and possibly-to-become friends and such. It was really nice.

Anyway, it's been a long day and I'm just exhausted and not at all ashamed that most of my goals have not been met because I feel fulfilled and that's that. See you all tomorrow!
Sleeping: X
Blogging: X
Reading: O
Exercise: AOOO

Monday, June 6, 2011

30 DoB 15: Reconciling "High" and "Pop" Art?

I did so. much. reading. today. I don't think I bit off more than I can chew in reading The Fountainhead but man, that book is long. I read about 150 pages today and should probably read about 50 more before going to bed... and then maybe I'll have made a dent in the book.

I'm definitely enjoying it, though! It presents some really interesting ideas using the contrasting practices of two architects - one who kind of manipulates his way through life and gives exactly what people want, the other who has almost no emotion at all, but builds perfect buildings, but no one likes them. And when the latter corrects the work of the former, everyone calls it a masterpiece. Of course, that's only Part I of I think five parts? Not sure. I've got some way to go.

But it does present some interesting ideas about art and I found a lot of strange parallels with the time period in music. It takes place in the late 20s, around the time Schoenberg had fully developed his 12-tone technique and was teaching it to Berg and Webern, if I'm not mistaken. That was music that was taking Roark's (the second architect's) approach: music very aware of its past and continuing it, but music which was made only for the 20th century and which didn't mash together bits of previous music that people found "pretty" just because the public thought it was pretty.

Unfortunately for music, Schoenberg became associated not only with intentionally ugly music (he called it "the emancipation of the dissonance"), but with the Nazis being opposed to it, which meant that his music came to represent the music of the Free World and anyone who didn't write in his style was a Communist. At the same time, the music which was approved by the Nazis and later the Soviets is what people wanted to hear--Orff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich, to name a few. As a result, people couldn't stand what they were allowed to hear and weren't allowed to hear what they could stand.

Sure, there were some exceptions, mostly in America (Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein), but even they were ostracized by their peers who preferred industrial-sounding, experimental music by composers most of the public hasn't heard of--Cowell, Boulez, and Ruth Crawford Seeger, for example. What's curious to me is how many of them actually were Communists, regardless. Copland, for example, when he started writing very "American" music was supposedly writing it as "music for the people."

To put it in short terms, this time period was pretty much the breaking point when "high art" got put on a little too high of a pedestal, to the point where the average passerby would only have seen the column and not been willing to climb to see the beauty on top. The process had been in place for about 100 years, but I would say that this is the time when people really stopped caring and instead turned to pop art that "cultured" people have been trained to turn their noses up at. And for me, personally, the most devastating part of it all is that I still deeply love high art, but I also deeply love "the people," and reconciling the two has been an incredibly difficult process that I daresay I will never complete.
Sleeping: X
Blogging: X
Reading: X
Exercise: OOUF (I don't know that I mentioned it, but yesterday was the first day I actually recorded on my numberless calendar; I'm also working on a good routine for the first two categories.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 DoB 14: Brothers and Like-Brothers and Brother-Like

Okay okay okay so I know some of you out there are keeping count and will note that it's after my bedtime. To you I say, the IRL exception is in full swing. My cousin Jeremy just got back in town and I can't not hang out with him. I haven't seen him in weeks! He's a cool singer a year behind me in the music school and we were roommates last year but he moved in with his other roommate from the year before. I miss having him around all the time.

Anyway, we chatted on skype with his parents a bit before watching the first, like, half hour of The Tenth Kingdom which is a really bad 6 1/2-hour-long movie. We couldn't bear to watch very much of it. We chilled out a little bit and talked about how we realized how obvious it was that our dads are brothers, and then on the way out the door just a bit ago we did the same hand gesture simultaneously when talking about a joy ride from his place to my place. We were like "and we're definitely related too."

Rewind a bit and some of you may remember a conversation on Tumblr between me, Rohan, Ryan, and my brother Tim about how Tim is my brother and how Ryan loves our interaction on Tumblr. I mentioned this to Jeremy and we talked about how growing up, we hated our brothers and they hated us. It's a lot of fighting and rivalry and stuff, and all the old fogies (particularly our fathers) would say stuff like "You hate them now, but once you guys grow up you'll come to see how much you like each other." It's so true!

I remember coming home from various breaks at college as my brother started maturing and realizing how mature he had become. I remember being completely shocked when he made a well-researched and well-defended point in a dinner conversation and being shocked that he wasn't a little kid anymore. I admit to getting a little jealous one of the last times I was home because he and Dad started discussing some really complex physics things that I can't even begin to recall except that it involved several ways to keep ice cream nice and soft in the freezer. I couldn't help thinking to myself "No! I'm supposed to be having the intellectual discussion with Dad and you're supposed to be playing video games like the kid you are!" Well, he's not a kid anymore. But I've realized more and more that he's just an awesome dude about to go into his second year of college. And I love that I get to talk to him through tumblr and text messaging because even though I'm like 1500 miles away, it doesn't feel like quite as much.

Plus, I have to stay on his good side because he's probably going to be the one with money in the family ;)

I guess what I mean to say is that there's that adage that says "It takes a village to raise a child," and if you take my huge family as the village, I'd concur. They're all awesome and I'm very glad to be a part of it! I should show them more in videos. I'm sure at least some of them would be willing to partake.
Sleeping: ? (another midmorning nap. I don't know if those count.)
Blogging: X
Reading: X
Exercise: R (Rest Day)

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Doctor Who. I'm sorry. I won't say anything. But really. Moffat! Agh. Ugh. Asldkfjhs.

Okay. Moving on.

Fun story! My "wake up early" theory seems to be incredibly accurate. I actually woke up completely on my own at 6AM today, way before my alarm was set. I think I'm going to stick to this schedule because it felt so good to have some early-morning reading when the sun is in just the right place by the window. Oh yeah, life is good.

I finished Mr. Toppit today. It was okay. It had some fun characters. I did find myself strangely connected to them, so that was a plus. It was kind of a hot mess of a dysfunctional family story, and I don't know that the title was really appropriately chosen, but hey. What can you do?

I've started reading The Fountainhead now. It's actually a surprisingly engaging book. I was initially daunted by how long it is, and I'm only 50 pages in so I have a long while to go, but I have time. It's the summer. I should probably get all the long books out of the way while I can!

Anyway. Ay. I'm gonna go to sleep and ponder over the majesty that is Steven Moffat. Oh, you!
Sleeping: X
Blogging: X
Reading: X
Exercise: OBLF

Friday, June 3, 2011

30 DoB 12: Story Time!

Just a quick update on yesterday before going on into today's activity: contrary to my expectations, I actually finished The Fellowship of the Ring yesterday. Today, I re-started Mr. Toppit and expect to be through it tomorrow--I'm already just past halfway done, and I have plenty of time left to read. Tomorrow I hope to make a video. I've been wanting to make one for a while, I just haven't really known what I wanted to talk about, so I think I might just do it tomorrow and see what happens. As for waking up, I tried something really daring this morning and woke up earlier than usual and it was much, much easier, actually. I suppose I just picked a strange time of the morning as far as my biological clock goes to wake up, so if I wake up earlier, I'm fine. Of course, that does mean I'll have to go to sleep earlier, but I've kind of been wanting to do that anyway. My body just doesn't work on the normal college student's schedule, I suppose. Anyway! On with the story.

THE TALE OF _________
Once upon a time in a far away land lived a species of animal called the Zarkski. The Zarkski were an unusual species which had a triangular head with bulbous puppy eyes in the upper corners, a stout orange beak, long, spiny arms and short, stumpy legs, each ended with a narrow claw for burrowing. They had a plume of spines on their backs and shiny, pitch-black fur covering every square inch of their bodies. They had such a strange collection of features that the first full remains discovered by human scientists were affectionately referred to as "Henry the Praying Puffin-Hedgehog-Mantis." Believe it or not, the Zarkski were the first sentient beings in the solar system, though their society had long fallen into oblivion by the time any other sentient beings had been around to notice. They had a vast system of underground tunnels and actually developed the fastest route from one side of the world to the other by cutting through it rather than across its surface.

In the Middle Age of the Zarkski, there was a Zarkskino named Simon, a favored youth in his burrowpolis for his supreme athletic skill. He was so adept at clay-burrowing that when Mayor Ricardo signed the bill which would add 3 miles to the Western Burgh, Simon was the first he called on.

Simon began work immediately and burrowed for three days straight, already nearly 30 yards into the project, when suddenly he felt his claw catch on something. He knew he was too deep to be finding iron ore, but it felt very similar, according to his refined senses. He dug around the obstacle and discovered, much to his surprise, the largest trove of unicorn chocolate he had ever seen. He knew this would be big news, but did not know who to tell, as he remembered the Great Unicorn Chocolate Rush of 552 from his Zarkski history books and was not tempted to repeat such a tragedy. After some deliberation, Simon ran to his childhood friend Yaneli's house to ask for her input.

"Unicorn chocolate?" she asked doubtfully.

"At least two quaxios of it!" Simon insisted.

"This is big," Yaneli said. "Maybe we should talk to Isabel?"

"She's the biggest loudbeak in town!"

"I suppose you're right."

"Yaneli, do you know what this means? I could have all the towels in the world if I sold it."

"I do know how much you like those towels," Yaneli admitted. Suddenly, she snapped her fingers as if she had had an epiphany. "Let's talk to Elder Juan! He's always been the voice of reason."

Simon jumped out of his seat. "You're right! Make sure you bring one of your famous bowls of chicken soup so that we have something to thank him with."

"How nestroculous of you," Yaneli said, clearly impressed with his courtesy. She grabbed a bowl from the shelf and they were on their way.

When the two arrived at Elder Juan's burrow, they tapped their claws on the oksdig, a device with similar function to a doorbell (as there were no doors.) Elder Juan came to the entrance of the tunnel and greeted them kindly.

"And what brings you here?" he asked, shaking their hands.

"I have a bit of a dilemma," Simon said.

"Oh? Please, come in, sit down!"

"We brought chicken noodle soup for you," Yaneli added as she stepped inside. His burrow was always so tidy and impeccably decorated that it almost felt like they would soil the whole place just by looking at it.

"What seems to be the problem?" Elder Juan asked kindly, bringing bowls for the soup.

"Well, I was digging the tunnel for the new addition the other day," Simon began," when I came across a rather unexpected obstacle."


"Yes... quite."

"Do tell!"

"Well, I was digging, and I felt something that was like iron ore, but I knew it wasn't..."


"Well... itwastwoquaxiosofunicornchocolate."

Elder Juan spat out a mouthful of soup. "Two quaxios of unicorn chocolate?"

"Two quaxios."

"That's unexpected indeed! And think of what that can do for our town!"

"Well, that was my dilemma," Simon said. "I wonder if I came out of the tunnel with two quaxios of unicorn chocolate, wouldn't everyone in town want to start digging hoping they would strike big?"

"Absolutely!" Elder Juan said. "Who wouldn't?"

"Well," said Simon, "What about the Great Unicorn Chocolate Rush of 552?"

"I see why you may be nervous," Elder Juan admitted. "But surely you don't remember the Rush of 573?"

"No, I suppose I don't," said Simon sheepishly, ashamed of the apparent lapse in his knowledge.

"That's because there wasn't one," said Elder Juan, laughing. "But Elder Ricardo did find unicorn chocolate in 573. Five quaxios of it, I'd say."

"Five? How did they avoid a rush?"

"Simple. The Mayor declared that only Elder Ricardo had the right to dig there, and that any treasure he found was his to do with as he pleased."

"But then wouldn't there have been people at his door begging for money?"

"Well, of course! You could hardly expect any less."

"I don't want anyone coming to me begging for money. If I can't pay everyone, then I shan't pay anyone!"

"Then it seems you've made your decision."

Simon was shocked in how quickly he had come to realize what he had to do.

He immediately reported the find to the mayor, who again declared that it was only Simon's right to dig there. Simon went on to find two hundred fifty-three quaxios of unicorn chocolate, all of which he donated to the City, and which was sold at an auction. Because of the auction's success, the city was able to fund an entirely new athletic complex for the school in Simon's honor with top-of-the-line equipment and a full-time staff which also ran several other youth programs, thus reducing crime in the burrowpolis for years after the discovery.

Well, I suppose it was slightly inaccurate to say Simon donated them all. He kept the first two quaxios for his own and traded them for a top hat so that he could fulfill his dream of performing a Fred Astaire hommage, jazz hands and all.

And they all lived happily ever after.
Sleep: X
Blogging: X
Reading: X
Exercise: OOUF

Thursday, June 2, 2011

30 DoB 11: A Post I Didn't Expect to Turn Into a Thank-You

So I gotta be honest, I knew I was biting off more than I could chew when I made today the day I was going to write a story. Which means I'm not. Ha. I control this blog and there's nothing you can do about it!

On the upside, I only have about 20 pages left in The Fellowship of the Ring and the night is yet young.

I have still been having trouble sleeping though. Any suggestions? I think what I'm going to try for tonight is to just get in bed like crazy early and if I fall asleep, yay, and if not, I'll just read a bunch of my next book.

On the upside, I got suddenly inspired about the background of a story that I've been kind of letting spin in my head and I just may start writing it. I'm glad that I have found the resources and inspiration to pull off projects like this.

We were just talking the other day in my post-student-teaching seminar about learning as much information as we can about every subject, but also specifically about the arts. I didn't realize how "duh" of a fact this has been for me for forever... but I really think I have YouTube to thank for that. I've been expected to stretch my creative output past just reading and performing music. I've always written music, but even that is strange for lots of classical musicians. I just don't get it.

But now I've learned a bit about graphic design, animation, video making, photography, acting, and also lots about world cultures and stuff. YouTube basically came for me when I needed it most. I know I've said it in videos before, but if it weren't for YouTube, I think I would be pining for all this creative output and wouldn't know I was. I would think "I should just go practice more." I'm so glad I didn't fall into that kind of rut.

I could go on for years about this and I don't know what it would really add... basically all I want to say is thank you to everyone who inspires me and who helps me learn more about the arts, the world, and most importantly, myself. If it weren't for you guys, my life would not be so fulfilling.
Sleep: O (I really want to get this in order.)
Blogging: X
Reading: X
Exercise: O (I'm so sore....)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 DoB 10: Midweek Re-Evaluation

Looking back on the last few days, they have not really been that successful in terms of this project. Some of that has been because I have been focusing on other things which I have been trying not to mention in my blogs because they involve planning for next year, which is getting more solid but isn't announcement-ready yet. A lot of it has been because I haven't been sleeping well, and if I know anything about myself, it's that a tired Steve is an un-motivated Steve. But I have been (mostly) sticking to my bed-time and all of those infractions haven't been because of intentionally staying up late--they have been because of not waking up on time. Why do I have so much trouble getting to sleep and waking up?

I think I've found the solution.

It's inactivity. I went from walking an average of two or three miles a day, five days a week, to walking perhaps a quarter of a mile a day, four days a week, spending the rest of my time sitting around rather than standing and teaching. This change surely threw my body for a loop. And judging by today, it certainly did.

I decided that I would turn my inactivity around by re-instating last year's exercise regimen because it seemed to work really well, and I never really finished the 100 push-up challenge. I got even closer than I ever have, by getting to week 5, which is really frustrating because there are only six weeks. But you know what they say, fourth time is a get-it-over-with-already-you-lazy-piece-of-weakness. That is what they say, right?

So I re-took the push-up and squat test and did a basic crunch test. I was impressed with how much my body retains strength-wise, actually. When I last took the push-up test, I believe I got somewhere around 39 push-ups, and this time I got 24. That's much better than my last initial test, which was 17, which was better than the time before that, which was somewhere around 5, I believe.

What I found funny was that when I went through my stretch routine today, I felt my body get really excited. I don't know that that's ever happened for exercise. I started with the leg stretch, and I just felt every cell in my body start screaming "Aww, hell yeah! We gonna get blasted!" (Apparently, my body is a 'bro when I leave it to its own devices.)

But yeah, after doing that, I feel adequately sleepy, so I think it may have done the trick. I'm gonna celebrate with a brewski and some Doctor Who and then hit the sack extra-early tonight in the hopes that tomorrow becomes the productive day I need after the last few days. My biggest goal for tomorrow is to finish The Fellowship of the Ring, which will take some work because I think I have about 250 pages left. It'll be a stretch, and I don't expect to succeed, but if I do, I will be completely ready for many more books to come and can hopefully start churning through them the way I want to.

I feel like I need to do something to get you guys involved, too. Anybody want to do the hundred push-up challenge with me? I'm thinking I could start a facebook group and like message everybody every day I do it to remind them and then like include everybody's stats or something as I get them. Or give you guys accountability partners or something. I mean, if you want to do the challenge. But I'd also like to get you guys involved in the blogs so that this isn't just me talking.

I've got an idea. Tomorrow, I'll write a short story. A really short one, don't worry, but a story. What I want you guys to do is to copy-and-paste the following into your comment and provide an example of each category you want to after the colon.

A word you made up:
A boy's name:
A girl's name:
An action you can do with your body:
A desirable item:
A substance:

So, for example, if you can only think of a few, you might comment with:

A word you made up: balufatrix
A boy's name:
A girl's name:
An action you can do with your body: wiggle
A desirable item:
A substance: poop

So yeah. Leave a comment with that and we'll see how it goes.
Sleeping: O
Blogging: X
Homework: X
Reading: O
Exercise: OBULF (just a refresher: the code is A for Aerobic, B for Abs, U for Upper Body, L for Lower Body, and F for Flexibility)