The Secret Project, At Last

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So, my best friend graduated on Friday. I really wanted to do something epic for him because I wasn’t going to be able to be in Florida for his graduation. (Damn you, Grad School finals.)

So, in January, I was thinking about what to get him. I remembered an off-the-cuff remark he made around Christmas about how awesome it would be to be an action figure.

It’s general knowledge (although, maybe not on here) that I’m a crafter. I generally like to share the process of my crafts as they come to fruition. Because of the surprise associated with this one, though, I couldn’t do that. So, this is a post-creation recap!

You a TL;DR person? Just skip to the bottom for the final pics.

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Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.

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So, I’m sitting here watching Star Trek: Next Generation having a bit of a pity party right now. 

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I got some bad news earlier. Didn’t get an internship I was really hoping for. Part of me feels like an idiot because I (now) know of TWO stupid mistakes I made in the submission process. Things that I KNEW not to do, but somehow they slipped past my umpteen revisions. 

But, another part knew I wasn’t going to get it.. And a niggling little voice in my head has been murmuring nasty things. Like I’m not good enough. Like I’ll never find a full-time job. And I’m going to die a crazy cat lady

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Did you ever see Robin Hood? The remake a couple years back with Russell Crowe? One like has stuck with me since I saw it in theaters: 

 

Rise and rise again until lambs become lions. 

 

Feeling like you’re not good enough isn’t a fun experience. I’m not sure how to stop feeling like this except to keep trying. And trying. And trying. Until this lamb becomes a lion. 

 

Real Talk: Applying For Jobs/Internships is Terrifying

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Yes, you read that right. TERRIFYING.

Let me clarify: I don’t mean any old job. I mean, the kinds of jobs that turn into careers. Or that are your first REAL (read: grown-up) job.

For me, this apprehension comes from the fear that I’m somehow not good enough. And, even though I know there will always be someone out there who is better than me at something, it still frustrates and scares me. The job market is so competitive right now that it sometimes feels like you’ll never hear the magical phrase, “You’re hired!” 

Another (probably common… or at least, I hope) factor is the fear of rejection. I can’t count (okay, I probably could) the number of times I’ve applied for a job and heard NOTHING back. Not even an “I’m sorry, but the position has been filled” or a “We’ve received your application/resume.” It’s quite upsetting. 

But, you do your best to keep your chin up. And work hard. And keep applying. And hopefully, fingers crossed. You’ll find the right place and they’ll want you, too. 

 

The State of Classical Music, Apparently

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Do you ever wonder what makes people like or abhor certain types of music? 

Part of me wants to believe it solely depends on personal taste. (N*Sync is the greatest boy-band of all time. See? Easy, right?) But, that can’t be right.

In fact, that statement probably… definitely drastically simplifies it.  The who/what/when/where/why of introduction has to play a larger role in the process. 

I grew up liking a variety of music. I was blessed (and I realize this now) with parents who were never into the billboard top 10 music of the day. Growing up, sometimes I silently stewed in the car wishing my parents would just switch to pop radio. Occasionally, you just need to hear the latest mind-numbing hit, ya know?

With my dad, I listened to jazz and the oldies of the 1940’s and 1950’s. And, in the car with mom, music selections varied from classical music to Broadway hits to the musical stylings of the 1960s and 1970s. My oldest sister introduced me to the wonder of 80’s music. (Rock me, Amadeus!) And, then I was along for the ride that was the 1990’s and 2000’s. This jumble of sound? A certifiable melting pot of American music of the last century. 

I know I’m still unacquainted with a lot of genres. I’ve tried a few new ones and had trouble getting into them. Example: Rap is very much hit-or-miss with me. Screamo? It’s just bad. Don’t understand the appeal.

So, what makes someone like a genre? 

I have no idea. But, I do know that everyone has an ear. I don’t mean a physical ear because, duh!, we each have two of those. (Except you, Van Gogh, but that was your decision.) I mean, you hear a song and you have a feeling about it. Love, hate, ambivalence. But, there are also genres that have to grow on you. Like Broadway. Or, in my case, rap. And, especially, classical music. 

This post started because I was thinking about how under-appreciated classical music is. I enjoy listening to music with no words when I’m reading for class. It helps me concentrate. Generally, I’ll stick to composers or pieces I know. Beethoven, Haydn, and John Williams (yes, of film soundtracks) tend to be the most popular. 

I was in the mood for something new today. Spotify has a radio feature that, generally, I just ignore. Not today. 

After a few tracks, a familiar piece came on. I didn’t know the name, but I know I’d heard the theme somewhere. It was beautiful and simple and absolutely wonderful. 

I was hearing Smetana’s Vltava (The Moldau). If you haven’t heard it, you should. Right now. 

It paints (yes, music can paint. Now, shh.) the story of the Vltava, a river in the Czech Republic, as it winds its way through the country showcasing its charm and landmarks.

“The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer’s wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night’s moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John’s Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German).” [Ma Vlast, Wikipedia]

 

This particular piece is part of a larger collection written by Smetana as a way to promote the beauty of his homeland. The entire collection consists of 6 pieces and, if you have the time, I highly recommend them. 

Classical music is such a diverse and fascinating genre, it’s a shame that it tends to make people feel ‘bored’. I’ll admit, I get bored listening to some pieces. Keeping the mind focused on ONLY what it can hear when there are no words to ground it is definitely challenging. But, it’s a challenge I wish more people could and would take.

I really didn’t intend for this post to be about a push for Musical Education. But, apparently, that’s what it is.  And I think I’m okay with it. 

VIVA LA CLASSICAL MUSIC!

 

Anyway, if you have a few minutes and you’re interested, give this piece a try. You never know, you might like it. 

 

 

“Behind the curtain’s mystic fold, the glowing future lies unrolled.” – Bret Harte

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Lately, I’ve been trying to figure what I want to do with my life. I say ‘lately’ and, while that’s true, it’s also not a new occurrence. It’s been a monkey on my back since my history-studying undergrad days. Historian, teacher, lawyer. It kept changing, until I discovered at the end of 4 years of college, I didn’t really want to do any of those things. 

I think it’s important to note the difference between ‘doing’ and ‘being’. Now, you may think I’m just begin nit-picky, but in my mind, the act of ‘being’ implies all facets of your life. It’s your job, your relationships, activities your participate in, etc… all rolled into one (sometimes) messy ball. It’s everything that makes you, you.  It’s possible for jobs to define part of who you are. There’s an argument to be made that you take on aspects of your job. But, your job shouldn’t be the all-important part of your life. It’s one piece of a greater puzzle. So, is it fair to blame all of those people who ask us as kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Yes, dammit.

Alright, maybe not…

I guess what I’m getting at is this: I want to DO something I enjoy, but I want to BE more than just what I do. 

So, what do I want to do? Good question. 

During a class lecture, one of my professors told us something he tells all his freshman and it’s stuck with me for the past few weeks. He said, “Use your 20’s to figure out who you are and what you love to do. Don’t focus on where you want to get.” 

I think that’s been part of my problem. I’ve been so focused on where I want to get (through school, get a job, etc) that I didn’t really stop and think about what I love.

So, starting today, I have a new plan. I’m going to compile a list of all the things I love doing. I’ve never been very adept at personal reflection, so one of my goals for 2013 is to work on that. This list is going to be the beginning of that. Thoughts come to me in the weirdest of times and it’s those moments that are the most liberating.

First start: 

1. I love learning new things. 

2. I love helping people.

3. And I love using technology to bring 1 and 2 together. 

On This Election Day

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Put aside partisan politics, disregard the talking heads on cable news networks, and strip away the millions of dollars that fund enormous presidential campaigns.

 

What remains?

 

Two guys. One is the president. The other, a hopeful suitor of the seat.

By tomorrow morning, we will know who our President will be for the next four years. Should the President be reelected, he will renew his vow of office to the people of the United States of America. In the event he is not reelected, he will willingly give up his power. For the ‘Leader of the Free World’, that’s a heluva thing to do.

Every four years, the United States undergoes a voluntary revolution. No bloodshed, no (violent) fighting. It’s a testament to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers that 200+ years later, the process they instituted is still in place.  If that’s not something to venerate, I don’t know what is.

 

Do your duty. Exercise your right. Vote.