Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Little Things

Sometimes during the summer, before I go to sleep, I'll crack my window open a little bit so the birds will wake me up at 6:30 in the morning.

Mostly I do it because it's nice waking up with the whole day ahead of me.

But I also do it so I can step outside in my pyjamas, the only one awake in the whole world.

I love feeling the cold stone of the porch steps on my bare feet.

I love the dark orange disc of the sun above the mountains.

I love smelling rain in the air, or morning dew, or whatever type of moisture is creating that wonderful earthy smell.

I love gazing out at my dozing neighborhood and I love that even though there's frost on the rooftops (because it is Colorado, after all), what I'm seeing is so unmistakably summer.


I miss being able to post songs on here, but for some reason the Grooveshark widget thing isn't working.
So until I figure out a new way, I'll just do this.

Test Drive--John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon Soundtrack)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I never really understood why everyone complains about having Jazz band first thing in the morning. To me, the sleepy transitions from the first fumbling long tones to the experimental fiddling with jazz riffs to the warming up as a group to the razor sharp precision we execute as, like clockwork, we run through our pieces, is akin to waking up from a long night’s rest. It’s something I’ve come to need before truly starting the day.
Lately, everything frustrates me. And not just frustrates, but enrages, depresses, upsets. It’s not just the problems I’m having in school, though admittedly that’s probably the center of it all. My life is a cycle of self-destructive bad decisions that I always tell myself I can fix later, being the overly-optimistic-to-the-point-of-delusion girl that I am. Lately though, that girl is nowhere to be seen. Lately, everything frustrates me.
Everyone blinks sleepily as they retrieve instruments from cases. The rhythm section is ready to go first, while other meander around doing their various established routines. Will obsessively polishes his trumpet to molten silver perfection, while insists on getting Ashleigh’s stand and instrument ready as well as his own. I tease him about it while secretly thinking it’s sweet. Aaron lets loose a few good-natured jokes, mostly aimed at Jacob and David (who are totally asking for it, like always), and Corinne sings one of several Queen songs while running a brush through her trombone slide, seemingly unaware of the other people around her. Gradually, everyone drifts into place, and Mr. Hermanson comes out of his office to join us.
Most days I end up coming home from school and sleeping or reading, effectively shutting out the world. Maybe reading is the healthier of the two to do excessively, but it still manages to pull me away from my life and responsibilities while pulling me into whatever nonexistent fantasy world I happen to be engaged in. It’s a comfort to imagine I’m part of a wizarding school or a legacy of dragon riders, where I don’t feel like a useless loser, where I’m not burdened by crushing depression half the time, where I’m doing something exciting and important. Still, the world continues to turn, and I refuse to turn with it.
We start to tune and warm up. There are gaps between the long tones we play as we adjust our horns, which the rhythm section feels inclined to fill. Anthony starts; like most drummers he is chronically unable to keep still and ends up tapping out a rhythm with the cymbals and snare, Kyle and Grant on the bass and electric guitar start almost simultaneously, somehow exactly in sync with Anthony as soon as they begin. The three continue on their created tangent until one decides he wants to change it up, and does, and the other two follow at the speed of thought, meshing together again instantly. They flow, incredibly, almost supernaturally tuned in to each other, like a flock of birds in flight.
Occasionally something will arise which has the power to wrench me out of my dream state, and I blindly follow its authority. I slump in the back of the ban on the way to my trumpet lesson, English assignment in hand that I have no intention of working on. I pull out my iPod and switch it to shuffle, intending on losing myself in the music as I had learned to lose myself in so many other things. But as soon as the first jaunty Weezer song begins to play, I realize that isn’t going to happen. Instead I feel myself lifting, like I’m waking up from a long sleep. I feel lighter, happier than I have all day, and a slow grin spreads across my face.
The first song Mr. Hermanson has us play starts slowly, clumsily, as we get our bearings and make adjustments. It’s Monday, and we haven’t truly used our ears all weekend, so we open them to each other, altering the balance of sound until we suddenly find the right combination of high and low voices and it blends in a rush of color. Mr. Hermanson cuts us off and directs us to start again, and this time it’s there immediately, so together that the sound pierces the air like an arrow. It builds on itself as the song progresses, individual sections rise like waves when it’s their turn for the melody and ebb away when it’s not. It feels like we’re painting a picture with our sounds, like the lines of notes which emit from my bell are brushstrokes, changing hues as my tone shifts from dark to bright for my solo, and back again. Together we shape the music we’ve brought into existence, we push it forward and hold it back, we build it up to a triumphant climax and then release it, slowly coming back to ourselves as the echoes of it continue to ring in the air.
I can’t even begin to understand why something as simple as a punk rock song would affect me like this. Something about the combination of guitar chords, drumbeats, and witty lyrics is inspiring me and motivating me like nothing else can. A Mika song follows, then Ben Folds, then Queen, and each song has the same effect. Though they pull me into their world, just as books do, they somehow simultaneously integrate themselves into mine, turning the car ride into a daze of foot-tapping happiness in which I have to refrain from bursting into song. The combination of the music and the view of the sparkling city emerging through the windshield create the illusion of moving forward; not just in physical space, but in life. Everyone has their driving force in life, and mine is music without a doubt. I need it to the point that it’s music running through my veins rather than blood. It makes me feel alive, it motivates and inspires me and can draw me out of the deepest state of depression. Words do a poor job of describing how it makes me feel; perhaps a song would do a better job of it.
I smile and pick up my pencil, deciding to make a start on that English assignment after all.

Somebody said, all the world’s a stage, and each of us is a player
That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you
And Act One, I was struggling to survive
Nobody wanted my action dead or alive
Act Two, I hit the big time
Bodies beat all up on my behind
And I can’t help myself, ‘cause I was born to shine
If you don’t like it, you can shove it
But you don’t like it: you love it
So I’ll be up here in a rage
‘Till they bring the curtain down on the stage.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Band

Haven't written in a long time. There's a lot of things I could have written about, but just didn't get the time. I've been doing homework and such. So I might as well post this essay I had to do for english...

Syntax Imitation Exercise #1—Of Band
Band serves for talent, for friendship, for personal growth; its chief use for talent is in teaching discipline and skill; for friendship in lasting bonds with fantastic people; and for personal growth in learning who you truly are; for a jock may say that football is his chief pastime, but a band geek may say that band defines his life. To spend too much time practicing a song is obsessive, to talk about band an excessive amount is annoying, but to base your life and morals off the lessons you learn is the humor of a band geek.

It perfects the incomplete high schooler, and is perfected by the directors who dedicate themselves to it.

Jocks ridicule it in their ignorance, nerds are oblivious to it in their own dedication to studies, and any other average high schooler wonders at it, for though it teaches skills needed in the field of music, those who learn from it demonstrate these skills in every area of their life. Play not to play better than your rival, or to impress those whom you wish to be admired by, but to improve upon yourself and promote inner growth. Some songs are meant only to be played as quick riffs during warm-ups, some to play all the way through in order to get better, and a few to dedicate yourself to fully and completely, to throw yourself into with careless abandon. Marching band makes a strong and disciplined man, jazz band a relaxed and quick-witted man, and concert band a man who works well with others; therefore, if a man isn’t in concert band, he will struggle to listen to and understand other men; if he plays little jazz, he must work harder to enjoy life; if he marches little, he must pretend to have the inner strength that he does not actually have. Salsas make men dance; ballads smile; marches perspire; solos shine; duets listen; full ensembles and marching bands enjoy the fullness of life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we’re not wise enough to see
He said, “You’re looking for a clue; I love you free…”

Relay for Life gave me a lot of time to think. It also gave me sore legs, exhaustion, and a bad rash, but that’s another story.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, while walking around the track for the seventeenth some time, the topic of religion came up between me, Sami, and Andrew. It might have been something about the magic and peacefulness of the darkness, or the rush of inspiration that walking for a long time gives me, or maybe even the Java Monster I had drank the hour before…but I realized that I finally had myself figured out. What I think about life, and God, homosexuality, and all those tricky controversial topics: I finally knew how I felt about them. It was the shining point of clarity I had been waiting for. I was able to talk for hours about the things I believed in, and listen to what Sami and Andrew thought, and I felt…really free.

I was brought up in a fairly Liberal environment. My dad was my inspiration, a hippy, loving life and music, and while my mom wasn’t quite as extreme, she always voted for the Democrat, and was fairly open-minded about everything. While we went to church, God was never a huge factor in our lives. This is pretty similar to how I live now. How you’re brought up has a huge impact on how you think later in life. There is one major difference, though: God is a huge factor in my life. I still don’t go to church as often as I should. But I talk to God all the time, and He keeps me going, and He’s helped me discover myself.

First issue in question: homosexuality. I’ve never really been against homosexuals. But only in the past few weeks have I really become outspoken against people who prosecute them, trash-talk them, or say that being gay is a sin. There are grounds for this accusation; Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” So yes, the Bible says it’s bad. Seeing as the book of Leviticus is basically the good Christian rulebook for life, it makes sense that devout Christians would take this to heart. But let’s look at some other Leviticus verses.

Leviticus 11:6-8 says, “The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.”

Leviticus 12:2-7 says, “Say to the Israelites: A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for several days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

Leviticus 23:3 says, “There are six days when you may work, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.”

So according to the Old Testament, we can’t eat bacon or sausage (damn, my church is guilty, we’ve been putting sausage in those breakfast burritos), after women have a baby, they are considered unclean (also, they have to atone for their sins and make a sin offering …since when is having a child a sin?!), and we can’t work on Sundays (on our church mission trip, we worked just as hard on Sundays as we did any other day). Do we do any of these things anymore? No, obviously. We may have waaaaay back in the day, but things have changed. This says to me that the Old Testament is as outdated as the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. The idea that being gay was detestable is an old idea: the period in which that verse was written was a period in which being gay was looked down upon. Unfortunately, we seem to be going through a similar period now.

Here’s another way to look at it: there is solid proof that being gay is chemical; you’re born with it. So if God creates all of us, knits us together in our mother’s womb, and makes sure we all have the potential to be wonderful people with an amazing, fulfilling life, than why would he add in a trait that he despised? Being gay or a lesbian is about LOVE. Just like any other good romantic relationship. It just so happens that some relationships happen between same-sex partners and others happen between a man and a woman. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

It’s not just the verses in Leviticus that I have a problem with. Honestly, it’s almost the entire Old Testament. God as he is portrayed in that half of the bible is different from the God I know, and he’s not a God I’d agree to worship. He destroys whole cities, he turns his back on sinners, he forces people to make offerings to him. He’s a supreme overruler in the sky who sits on his golden throne, manipulating the world to his liking and terrified that his royal subjects will decide to worship someone other than him. He’s jealous and vengeful and bent on “justice.” He kind of reminds me of Hitler or Stalin. It’s this that has made me turn me back on the Old Testament completely. It holds no credibility for me anymore and I’m really surprised it ever did. If it weren’t for the New Testament and how radically different it is, I don’t know if I’d be a Christian anymore.

1 John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

God is love. This one phrase embodies everything I believe and love about the Christian religion. In the New Testament, God is suddenly no longer the vengeful, hateful God that we read about in the Old Testament. Suddenly he is worried for us, and the things we are doing, the sins we are committing that are messing up our lives so badly. Instead of trying to make us obey with fear, like in the Old Testament, he uses love. In the form of his son, Jesus Christ, he walks among us and shows us how to love again. He’s like the bearded white-robed Biblical version of Martin Luther King Jr., the way he uses peace instead of force to get his message across. He dies for us, so that we may be forgiven for all our sins and mistakes. And he rises again, creating an explosive new religion, telling his disciples to spread the word. The New Testament is so overwhelmingly positive compared to the Old Testament. They contrast like black and white. This is what I was thinking about the most when freezing my butt off walking around the track over and over last night.

I think that God is a completely positive force, and the devil is a completely negative one. I think that God manifests Himself as all the positive forces in the universe. He is in all love, whether it be between great friends or between lovers. He is alive in the powerful force called music; He’s there whenever I turn on my iPod or whenever a group of people bursts into song, and He’s in that breathless, intense, frozen moment that occurs just after the last shining note of a great marching band show. He lives in the wind, the trees, water and fire, earth and air, He’s the beauty and ferocity of the wilderness, he’s the stillness of a star-filled night, He’s the infectious hope of the first rays of sunlight after a long night of walking the Conifer High School track over and over. He peeks out behind every smile, every laugh. He shines out of the eyes of every person who has discovered his love and uses it as a driving force in their life. In addition to being a force of the universe, I do also believe in God as a sentient being. I think he created this wonderful life for us, he created us individually, and he watches over us and loves all of us every single day.

In contrast, I think that Satan manifests himself as all the negative forces in the universe. Sadness, anger, lies, hate, murder, poverty, jealousy, death, suicide, war. The list goes on. Whether Satan is a sentient being as well, I don’t know (though I certainly hope not), but I do know that Satan and God live in all of us. We all have good and evil inside us, but it’s our choice which we choose to act upon. We can turn to Jesus for that, because he died for our sins, and whenever we mess up or do something wrong, we know we can rely on his forgiveness. The entire past, present, and future of the human race is a struggle between good and evil, love and hate. On a small scale, the struggle is inside each one of our minds, every second of our lives, with every decision we make. On a larger scale, it’s between countries, and trying to replace war with peace. On a cosmic scale, it’s a war between God and Satan. Things can look pretty dismal. But in the end, do you know what’s always, always, always going to win? Love. God and love.

I don’t know if there’s a heaven. I don’t know if there’s a hell. If there is a heaven, I want to live a life full of love and living like Jesus so I can go there after I die. If there’s a hell, I definitely don’t want to go there, and I don’t want anyone else, even people I don’t like very much, to go there either. But if there isn’t either of these things (or even if there is), I know for a fact that heaven and hell both exist on earth. If there’s a possibility that this life is all we have, why don’t we make the best of it? We can’t live out our lives looking for answers, we can’t treat this life like it’s a test, or this earth like it’s disposable. Even if heaven is our eventual destination, this is where we are now. We need to create heaven on earth, and live like Jesus did. I hate the way most Christians are presenting themselves to the world: hypocritical, biased, hateful Conservatives driven by fear of what will happen to them if they do not obey their God. It seems like a lot of kinds of evangelism these days are fear-based. It’s good to be an evangelist, and to open people’s eyes to Jesus and his love for us. But we need to do it peacefully, and with love, like Jesus did. It’s our duty as Christians. I know I’m not the only one who thinks things like this. Maybe if we all began to see things this way, the world would be united by God, the way it was meant to be, and love will triumph over hate for good.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cynder's New Song of the Month

Once a month, I'll post a new favorite song on here. Here's May's song:

Secret Machines is a newly discovered favorite band of mine. :) Normally I'll write more about the song but I don't have time right now, too much homework.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Top 10 Things I Do When I'm Home Alone, etc.

10. do homework (psshhh yeah right)
9. draw various random pictures
8. play MarioKart
7. suck at MarioKart
6. read Harry Potter for the 20th plus time
5. play piano
4. play guitar
3. play trumpet
2. blast music at the highest possible volume
1. sing at the top of my voice like there's no tomorrow

There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him
Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, Come over me

He said,

Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see

Then he said,

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

Summer is so damn close.
I can't wait <3

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Little Glimpse of Perfection

1. Don't stick more than ten band kids in a pool at a time. It might not be a good idea to stick any in a pool, actually. It might be safer to keep them locked up in an isolated place where they can't hurt themselves or anybody else.
2. If you are going to fill a pool with band kids, brace yourself for some traumatization and/or injury.
3. Mad libs with band kids high on sugar=epic win.
4. When you think you've forgotten about something, it can come back to haunt you at any time, when it's least expected.
5. Life is good. It will always be good. Keep that in mind, no matter how bad things seem.
6. The reason life is good is because it is filled with individual, different, amazing people who all cheer you up and make you laugh in their own special ways.
7. It's easier to accept disappointment if you brace yourself for it.
8. The high school world of love is mostly infatuation. That's what my english teacher told us, anyway.
9. Also according to my english teacher, Romeo and Juliet were not really in love. Why the hell did Shakespeare write the stupid play, then?!
10. I really like C.S.I.:NY. I know that. But the obsession doesn't go so far as to blind me when a corny, soap opera scene shows up.

Yesterday, my dad, my sister, my dog and I took a walk on my suggestion. The weather was so nice, closer to summer than anything else so far this year. Jenna and I both rolled up our jeans to our knees and rolled up the sleeves of our shirts to keep cool. We walked down to the pond, which is starting to fill up again because of all the snowmelt. I let Sophie off her leash, letting her run around crazily. She would go in the water, drink about a gallon, run out again, shake herself off, run around like a maniac, and repeat. I took off my shoes and socks and followed her in, which felt really nice. My sister and I started to teach her how to fetch sticks from the water (unsuccessful experiment, she won't go in further than her belly fur). And at one point, I just stopped and looked around at everybody, my dad standing there smiling, Sophie grinning goofily, my sister crouched down looking for frogs, and I thought, this it what summer is. This is what life is.
Just thought I'd share that. It's nice to know I can be that happy, even not around my friends, and it's nice to know such happiness still exists, even with everything going on in this world.