Sunday, May 31, 2009
Over a year later, in July 2007, I went to Power Chord Academy. On the first day, the counselors were introducing themselves, and I noticed that one of the counselors looked familiar. Then he introduced himself as Ryan Kienle, former bassist of the band Matchbook Romance. I realized that the reason he looked familiar was because his picture was on my wall, and I had been looking at his face every day for over a year. It turns out Matchbook Romance had broken up.
Just over two months ago, my good friend from Power Chord Academy informed me that Matchbook Romance was going on tour, and invited me to a concert in their hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York. I bought my ticket, and made a tshirt. We talked about the concert almost every day, and hoped to meet up with Ryan.
Yesterday, I drove up to meet my friend, and then we drove to the venue in Poughkeepsie. We were early, so we walked around and got drinks at a convenience store. It was sort of a "sketchy" area of Poughkeepsie.
The entrance to the venue was in an alley. We had a perfect view of the bands loading equipment into the venue. We saw some cute guys, some really cute guys, and some not-so-cute guys.
Eventually, we got in line. Doors were supposed to open at 5pm. We had been waiting for awhile, when some guy announced that Just Surrender (one of the bands that would be playing) was starting to film their new music video that night. So everyone gets in a straight line, and we all go crazy as some guy runs down past us, filming the whole thing.
We got in to the venue a little after 6. It's a small venue. Of course, my friend and I wanted to be up close. So we stood right up against the barrier. Right next to us was a guy wearing a wristband signifying that he was older than 21s, who appeared to have taken advantage of the beverages at the bar available only to those that are of age. He was kind of creeping us out, so eventually, we moved.
The first band was The Hill Valley. They were okay. Then there was Searching for Skylines, and they were awesome! Their keyboard player was barefoot on stage, which was kind of weird. But they put on a great show.
After that was Show Me The Skyline. Show Me The Skyline was AMAZING. After their set was done, my friend and I went to their merch stand to buy a tshirt and CD. We saw their bassist and lead singer, and got the lead singer to sign our tshirts (!!!). Yeah, it was awesome.
Next was Crush the Everlasting. They were good- not as good as Searching for Skylines or Show Me The Skyline, but better than The Hill Valley.
After that came Just Surrender. I hadn't heard any of their music before, but they were good. A mosh pit formed, and my friend and I were at the back. We didn't get thrown around, but the people that were getting thrown around did get thrown at us. It was somewhat painful; a few times, people slammed into me so hard (I was standing with my back against a barrier) that I felt like I couldn't breathe momentarily. I got continually stepped on by god knows how many people.
Finally Matchbook Romance came on. Yeah, my friend and I screamed when we saw Ryan. Matchbook Romance was amazing live- possibly better than the last time I saw them. The mosh pit during Matchbook Romance was less violent. Also, I started getting into self-preservation- rather than just stand there, I shoved people around when they got too close (although I myself didn't actually get shoved around).
After Matchbook Romance was done, my friend and I waited outside of the venue- we wanted to say hi to Ryan and see if he remembered us. We waited for awhile and didn't see him, but the drummer from Crush the Everlasting said he liked my hoodie. We saw guys from the other bands in the show, and even one of the other members of Matchbook Romance, but we were waiting for a long time before we finally saw Ryan.
Finally, we saw him. He was cursing a lot, and appeared to have taken advantage of the bar- one of the other musicians asked him if he had consumed a certain beverage often made in Mexico, and he said, "Yes, I did!".
Anyway. Then my friend and I talked to Ryan for a few minutes. He did remember us, and it was good to see him again.
When we got in the car after midnight, I was still feeling the effects of that minute amount of Red Bull. When we got home and I got in to my pajamas at 1:30am, I was still feeling it. Then, at 1:35, while brushing my teeth... I crashed. I was tired and went to bed.
All in all, I had an awesome time.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I've always thought fire was kind of cool- scary, but amazing.
When I was in chemistry, my favorite chapter in the book was the one where they talked about flames, and how different chemicals produce different colored flames. I thought it was pretty cool. Once, my teacher chased around a bubble with a burning candle (it was a small votive-type candle, attached to a meter stick). Another time, he poured alcohol onto the tables (they're "lab" tables, I think made of stone or something) and then lit the alcohol, which produced spectacular, (approximately) 1.5 foot tall flames (which is pretty spectacular in a classroom setting, about 5 feet from where you're sitting). One of our labs involved heating... um... something?- and so each lab group had to light a match so the flask of... something... could be heated. For some reason, I was designated to light the match. The first time I tried, it didn't light. Then, when it did light, I was so scared that I dropped it onto the table (at least I didn't drop it onto my foot).
You know how sometimes, the bathroom starts to smell- well, like a bathroom? Well, once, one of the bathrooms in my house started to smell like that. There was no air freshener, so my mom suggested I use a match. I lit a match, and then dropped it into the garbage can. Um, apparently there was some lint (this particular bathroom is right next to the washer and dryer) in there, and apparently, lint is flammable. Thank god there was a sink there- I dumped some water on it and it was fine.
One of the coolest shows ever, Time Warp, showed a grease fire in slow motion. It was pretty darn scary, but in slow motion, it looked pretty cool. Another really cool show, Mythbusters, lit a million match heads (yes, a million) on fire. It looked awesome. Actually, come to think of it, pretty much every myth shown on Mythbusters involves fire.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
1. Kneeling for any extended length of time WILL cause your knee to be sore for a day or two afterwards. Especially if you've had a menisectomy. So far, for my senior project (volunteering at Susan G. Komen For The Cure) I've done a variety of things. One of these was taking inventory of supplies. When taking inventory, I was kneeling on a cement floor for about an hour. Three years ago, I had a menisectomy (I tore the meniscus- cartilage- in my right knee; instead of repairing it, the surgeons just removed the torn bit). But now, since I don't have that bit of "padding", my knee gets sore when I kneel on cement.
2. Carrying 1 brochure is nothing. Carrying 100 brochures is still pretty easy. Carrying 2500 brochures is basically impossible. On Monday, I had to count and sort brochures; there were bins that (I'm assuming) held about 2500 brochures. That's a lot.
3. In the same thread, 1 key chain doesn't take up a lot of space; 150 key chains will fill up an entire bag; 500 will fill up 3 boxes.
4. Apparently, Excel has a function that automatically sorts, counts, and adds data. Who knew? Well, when I was spending hours trying to count by hand, I didn't. I've worked with 2 spreadsheets of over 8000 rows, and had to separate them in to categories, then count the number in each category.
5. Being done with all of your high school classes forever is exciting. The idea of going off to college in just a few months is even more exciting.
6. If you are running low on contact solution, do not automatically assume that you will have enough for tonight and tomorrow morning. You might not. I ran out of contact solution when I was in the hotel in the Pittsburgh airport, and then again last night.
7. If you haven't looked at your windowsill lately, there is a good chance that some pretty nasty stuff will have built up. I looked at my windowsill last week, and it was... covered in dirt. There might've been some other stuff, too. I cleaned it.
8. Moshi pillows make the perfect knee rest. I say that because, as I am writing this block, I have my right knee resting on one. Normally, my knees are a bit hyperextended. When they're sore (like my right one is now) I like to rest them on something. Regular pillows are an awkward shape. These moshi pillows (the "cylyndrical" ones) are the perfect shape to rest your knee on. My knee isn't hyperextended; but unlike couch pillows, which are often stiff, it's soft and sort of... moldable? Moshi pillows are also the perfect laptop rest. My laptop is (obviously) hard; the pink, furry, circular moshi pillow is much more comfortable. It's also nice for when my laptop gets really hot.
9. Sleep is good. Lots of sleep is better.
10. Broccoli nuggets might sound gross, but they're actually really yummy.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The album hasn't technically been released yet, but you can listen to the whole thing on MTV's The Leak here (http://www.mtv.com/music/the_leak/green_day/21st_century_breakdown/#).
American Idiot was definitely a departure from anything Green Day had done before. It was very political, and a lot of fans turned on the band- saying that Green Day sold out, and that American Idiot was a horrible album. Personally, I don't agree. I liked American Idiot, but I liked the older Green Day, too. American Idiot is a rock opera, and it's very political. Musically, it was quite a change from Warning- the instrumentals were layered, and much more complex. Lyrically, it was more mature, and told a story throughout the whole album.
I was pretty excited to hear 21st Century Breakdown. I think it's a good album. Rolling Stone gave it 4.5 stars. If you're expecting to hear Warning, Nimrod, or Dookie, you'll be disappointed. But if you're a little more open-minded, you might enjoy it. 21st Century Breakdown is also a "rock opera", but it's not the sequel to American Idiot. It's somewhat political, but (to me, at least) it feels more personal and emotional than American Idiot did, and less-self-indulgent. It follows the story of Christian and Gloria- possibly the couple we see represented on the album's cover (although the artwork was not actually commissioned by Green Day for the album- it seems to fit perfectly, though). American Idiot had 2 songs ("Jesus of Suburbia" and "Homecoming") that were over 9 minutes; 21st Century Breakdown has more tracks (18 vs. 13), but only 2 ("21st Century Breakdown" and "21 Guns") are over 5 minutes.
The instrumentals are more powerful and resonant than the pre-American Idiot albums, if that makes sense. There's also more use of piano ("21st Century Breakdown"), and I think it works really well. Billie Joe Armstrong is 37 years old now, and Green Day has definitely grown up. Some of the songs are repetitive, and catchy ("Know Your Enemy", "Before the Lobotomy", "Christian's Inferno"). My favorite song is probably "21 Guns".
21st Century Breakdown is a good album because it's definitely not Dookie 2, or Nimrod 2, or Warning 2, or American Idiot 2- it's its own album. It's mature, but it definitely recalls older Green Day. I love that it's a rock opera/concept album. The songs really tie together quite well.
In summary: 21st Century Breakdown rocks. Check it out. If you're a Green Day fan that didn't like American Idiot, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you're not a Green Day fan, you might also be pleasantly surprised. If you're a Green Day fan, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you've never even heard of Green Day, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
See, last week, I was talking with a friend of mine in my Reserach & Experimental Design class about majors in college, and she said she wanted to major in biology and be pre-med. I said that I want to major in biomedical engineering and also be pre-med. Somehow it came up that I had never dissected anything before (although the 9th grade biology classes at my high school- a private school- dissect frogs, sheep hearts, and cow eyes, I took biology as an 8th grade, at my local public high school, and was conveniently absent the day they were dissecting worms; the smell of formaldehyde also made me feel sick). So the teacher asked if I wanted to dissect something- I said sure. So yesterday, I began to dissect a grasshopper. I did it under a fume hood, so it didn't actually smell too bad, and I think the smell was most of what made me think of dissection as "ew!" before. It was definitely kind of weird looking at a dead grasshopper under a miscroscope, but it was actually pretty cool.
Anyway. Back to today.
Thankfully I woke up at 8:30am, because it turns out I had a dentist appointment at 9. I got dressed, quickly ate breakfast, and brushed (and flossed!) my teeth, then headed out the door. My dentist's office is on a one way street. So I drove down the street and turned into the parking lot. There were no spaces. Literally zero. I left the parking lot, and turned my car around so I could get into a spot. I tried to parallel park, but I didn't really succeed- that is, the car wasn't quite "parallel" to the curb. After several tries, I figured it was good enough, and got out of the car.
My dentist is a pediatric dentist, so the receptionist was surprised that I came there alone. I'm 17, and I have a car, so why wouldn't I come alone? What's cool about my dentist's office is that there are several small flat-screen TVs installed in the ceiling- today, Ice Age 2 was on. The dental hygeneist, after inspecting my teeth, told me that, except for one possible cavity (which turned out not to be a cavity after all- thank god), my teeth looked "great". Instead of that foaming fluoride stuff (you know- they put a tray of this flavored foam in your mouth, leave it there for a few minutes, and then you can't eat or drink for an hour or so?), they used a paint-on fluoride. I was allowed to eat and drink right after, but I had to avoid anything crunchy or hard (carrots, chips, pretzels) and any really hot liquids (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup). I can feel a sticky residue on my teeth, but it's not really visible. After my apointment was done, I went home (getting out of the parking spot was much easier than getting in).
I had some time to read at home (currently, I'm reading Love, Stargirl- it's awesome). Then, I went off to school. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue the dissection today, as my teacher was busy (something came up- totally understandable). So, I read, and played Sudoku on my iPod touch (it was a free app, and could keep me entertained for hours, seriously).
At 1:00pm, I went to my AP Physics class, where we went over old AP multiple choice questions. When I was walking down to my car, it started raining. Hard. And thundering. I love thunderstorms in warm weather (okay, it was only about 65 degrees, but still...). I don't really know why. There's just something comforting about it.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
I thought I'd write a blog about some of my favorite authors and books.
Catcher in the Rye- by J.D. Salinger- possibly (easily) the best book I have ever read for school. If you haven't read it, you should.
Midnighters 1: The Secret Hour, Midnighters 2: Touching Darkness, Midnighters 3: Blue Noon; So Yesterday; Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras; Peeps, The Last Days- all by Scott Westerfeld- Scott Westerfeld writes science fiction, but in a totally non-dorky way. I know some of you might think all science fiction is dorky, but this isn't Star Trek (not that there's anything wrong with Star Trek). These books are all geared towards teens. The Midnighters series is about a group of kids who, because they were born at midnight, can live in this special, "secret", 25th hour of the day. So Yesterday is really good because it makes you question everything you know about what is "cool". Uglies, Pretties, and Specials describe a post-apocalyptic society in which money doesn't really exist, and everyone when they turn 16, gets an operation that makes them "pretty"; Extras, the "sequel" to the series, is sort of a like a post-post-apocalyptic society. Peeps revolves around a parasite that turns people into cannibals and makes them hate everything they used to love. The Last Days is, like Extras is to the Uglies series, a sort of companion sequel to Peeps.
The Harry Potter Series- by J.K. Rowling- anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter describes kids that live in a fantasy world where brooms fly and animals and inanimate objects can talk, which makes it an exciting escape from everyday life. But the characters go through a lot of the same problems that real kids go through- love, friendship, difficult teachers and challenging courses- which makes it something I can relate to. Seriously, I've read lots of awesome books, but there's something about Harry Potter that makes it just amazingly extra-awesome. Harry can play Quidditch, and Hagrid may be half-giant, but their personalities make them seem so real to me.
Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn- by Stephenie Meyer- oh, come on. You know you love the Twilight series. I loved it, too (remember my summary?). Honestly, I could've written Twilight. Well, maybe I couldn't. I don't think I ever would've thought of sparkly vampires.
Wringer; Loser; Stargirl, Love, Stargirl- all by Jerry Spinelli- Jerry Spinelli is a really cool author. Loser is written in third person, and there's a bit of a disconnect between the narrator and the main character, but it's totally cool. Stargirl is totally real-life, but at the same time, the book's title character, Stargirl, is so out-of-this world.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, Forever in Blue- all by Ann Brashares- about a group of friends who find a pair of jeans that magically fit them all. It's kind of dopey, but at the same time, something every girl can relate to.
If I Stay- by Gayle Forman- Mia is a talented musician, with many wonderful choices, until suddenly, everything changes one winter morning. Only one choice is left. If I Stay is really sad, but beautiful, too. If you enjoyed Lovely Bones, you should really check out If I Stay.
***EDIT- I almost forgot...***
The Chronicles of Narnia series- by C.S. Lewis- another fantasy series. Like Harry Potter, there are 7 books in the Narnia series (maybe there's some magical thing about the number 7?). What's cool about Narnia is that it tells you the stories of so many different characters, rather than focusing on (primarily) one character's storyline (like in Harry Potter), so you really get a picture of the whole universe. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first, even though, chronologically, it's the second in the series (though the first one published). The Narnia books were some of favorites when I was younger (before I read Harry Potter), and I think they will definitely endure the test of time.
******EDIT2- I just realized I have over 30 "favorite books". Wow.******