Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ode To My Life

Spring has been a very good thing.  My stress levels have been healthy and I've been motivated to live.  In my life I have always lived while thinking of the future, and it's always payed off.  People dream.  I dream.  Then I try to act and work towards making those dreams a reality and to become part of my life.  These dreams aren't necessarily big dreams, but rather things and activities within reach if one only decides to act.

I have been blessed with a wonderful supportive family who I feel has played a big part in who I've become.  As a teenager my dad got me some some software for Christmas which allowed me to make movies.  His video camera (and my mom's video camera) was free for me to reign at any time and place.  Was I spoiled?  Of course.  Looking back I can see the wisdom in my dad's purchasing of such software.  With such tools at my hands I would spend my time shooting movies, editing, being productive with friends, etc.

My mom is a concert pianist.  Growing up I have never once been told to do this or that.  I was never signed up for any sport or music lesson with out me first approaching one of my parents first.  My parents did a good job in building confidence in me, making me believe that I could literally do anything if I only wanted to.  With this mindset the world was mine.

With such good energy coming from my parents I was motivated to make them proud.  They taught by example.  I wanted to do well in school because I knew in the end it would help my future.  I also didn't want my parents to be disappointed in me.  I knew if I did something stupid they would be disappointed, but not angry.  Anger wasn't part of the picture.  I loved them and they loved me and so I wanted to make them happy.  After all they're the one's who showed me I can do anything I want.  Not once was I grounded or abused in any way.  I never heard them raise their voices at me, not even once. I was never told to do my homework because I would always do it.  I do not mean to come of as boasting but feel it's safe to say that a large portion of my productive behavior can easily be accredited to my parents.

I recognized at an early age that the education system is simply some very small curriculum a small group of adults created that has been chosen to be taught to kids and youth.  It's robotic.  My dad calls it "jumping through hoops".  There is a video at about how education kills creativity.  I can see where that's coming from.  I saw the education system not as a way to actually educate young one's minds, but rather allow them to play the game "Compare Yourself To Everyone Else".  I don't mean to bash on the education system, this is just how I saw it.

Now that I was convinced that true education didn't come from the system that I was enrolled in, it was time to become educated.  I didn't need a teacher to teach me, I just needed the raw material.  My dad again paid half for a pretty heavy online training class for a program Adobe After Effects.  I mastered it.  I began to love music more and more.  I taught myself the piano, guitar, and had some drum lessons in my early years (which in turn laid down a great foundation for the rest of my music career).  I sang in choir at school and took a college music theory class which has made all the difference in my current music writing adventures.  I began to wonder about my religious beliefs.  Well, it was time to find for myself.  In high school I began to wake up everyday at 5:00am and read the Book of Mormon for one hour.  I was young and looking for reason to rebel, but I couldn't.  The Church is true.  Dangit.

I wanted to do gymnastics again, so I did.  After all I could do anything I wanted right?  I played the trombone in Jr. High which allowed me to play in a ska band in high school, "Top of the Playground" where we got first place in several Battle of the Bands.  My movie making skills allowed me to take part in my schools student government program where I became a Student Body Officer.  I was a skilled gymnast that could tumble (I was convinced) better than any cheerleader at my high school.  I did a few stunts in front of my school a few times.  I made the 9th grade Symphonic Band as an 8th grader and made the Layton High School senior choir as a junior.  My dad paid half for me to travel to Germany with my best friend one summer giving me one of the most eye opening experiences of my youth.

I never once felt pressure to take part in any of these things, but rather ran to them with nothing but excitement.  My mom has been and still is my #1 cheerleader showing that she supports my every decision which in turn builds more confidence.  My dad obviously supports such things by the help and support he's given to me in each aspect of my learning.  It is great to have support from my parents.  But they're not the only ones I feel are supporting my decisions.  Many of the big decisions I make are backed by a "This feels right.  This is good.", and I know who is talking to me then.  I gladly act on such decisions with nothing but the future in mind.

Was I the best movie maker?  Perhaps, but only because I was pretty much the only person making movies at my high school.  Was I the best singer?  No.  Was I the best pianist?  Heavens no, but I didn't really care that I wasn't.  Guitarist?  Nope.  Gymnast?  Maybe.  So now my confidence was high yet I wasn't really a shining star in any of my life's activities.  Was/is this a problem.  No.  I had already accomplished so much and had a lot of fun.  My life was great!  I do believe that such a wonderful lifestyle can largely related to how my parents raised me.

I went on my mission which is easily the best thing I have ever done.  It was a necessary humbling experience.  With my extremely active high school lifestyle pride was definitely part of who I was.  It still is, but my mission reduced it tremendously.  It was hard.

College!  College destroyed everything about me that I just wrote about.  No music, athletics, movies, or friends even.  Life became dull.  In high school I wasn't that good of a test taker.  In college I put that to the test.  I soon became that person in your class that you're afraid of because they will ace a test and make the curve less generous for everyone else.  So I rocked school.  Life sucked.

I chose a difficult major, Computer Science.  In high school I was an OK student, so how was I going to do with this major?  I didn't know, but while I was studying at Nanjing University in China Computer Science just 'felt right', so I chose it.  After all, I could do anything I wanted.  In high school I wanted to play the piano, the guitar, the trombone, do gymnastics, etc, but I didn't really care to ace tests.  In college I wanted to ace tests, so I did.

My mom always told me, "I wish you would do something with your music."  There was no time for that.  Wait, hold on.  'That guy over there is taking one more class than me and doing quite well in his classes and we have the same major.  Yet I feel like I'm trying so much harder!  Man I suck.  Wait, what else does he do?  Oh, nothing.'  I honestly began to feel stress coming from a new source.  I had previously cultivated so many attributes and then merely thrown them away.  Wasted talents.  This could not have been part of the plan.  Right, that guy over there will get that monotonous job of sitting in front of a computer all day with out ever socializing with people.  His pay?  Probably really good.  So I should stress myself out to do the same as that guy in order to qualify for such a job so I can get the job and get a nice salary.  Then life will be as it was in college.  Nice and dull.  Awesome!  No thanks.

On the other side of things I cannot believe how much time people waste.  I often speak with my dad about life and he recently asked me, "Do you ever look around and feel like your life is in fast-forward?"  "Yes!" I replied.  As I've gone through college and lived close to other people I've seen how they can aimlessly do nothing everyday all day and be content with their lives.  You could take the 30+ hours you spent watching TV/YouTube last week and put that into your schooling, or you could pick up a new hobby/skill, live a dream, etc.  TV/YouTube watching isn't going to give you ANYTHING in return.  In fact it's detrimental.  Not only does TV/YouTube watching prevent productivity, it makes you lazy.  How are people content with literally doing nothing with their lives?!  Such behavior aggravates me and frankly pushes me away.  I want to surround myself with productive people who support my ambitions.

College is college and there are times when you simply need to pull a few all-nighters in a row.  But if you are to completely suppress your other parts of life then something needs to change.  I am making that change.  I actually just got done writing a song about it.  I am in the process of recording it (with software given to me for Christmas from my dad.  I've spent hours learning it and love it!).  I guess what is ideal is to integrate who you are into your schooling.  I'm only taking one class right now, Computer Graphics, and can see myself perhaps heading in that direction.

I now have a video blog, or YouTube Channel rather.  I have it to keep me sane.  I release a new video every two weeks, so I'm always working on something.  It's nothing special, but I'm having fun doing it and hope that I'll occasionally get something really good up.  The hardest thing so far is finding people willing and able to help.  Ugh.  I'm either shooting a video, editing a video, writing a song, recording a song, producing a song, writing a script, brain storming ideas, practicing the piano, practicing the guitar, practicing the drums, learning Pro Tools (recording software), and recently have started studying how to make apps for Android and and absolutely loving it.  Oh, and school falls in there somewhere.  Basically I'm starting to live again.  I feel more like myself than I have in a while.  I sure am excited to graduate.  Less than two years left!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Didn't Believe In Summmer... Until Now

Wow, so this last term/semester is over and I'm free!!!  I took one class, CS 455: Intro to Computer Graphics.  It was awesome!  Our term project was to make video game in 3D.  Nozomi and I teamed up and made a game "The Breakdancer".  Basically it was Iron Man in the middle spinning around crazily and he would hit Woodys (from Toy Story) if the player didn't play well.  The game is played with an Xbox controller.
Our video game, "The Breakdancer"
When we presented the game the whole class was laughing pretty hard, including our professor who is a hilarious person.
Us presenting our game.

Buddy and Scott are gone.  What are the chances that the three of us would have been going to school together for this long?  It was so great while it lasted.  Buddy was in my 5th grade class.  I met Scott in 6th grade.  They are both going to Washington because they just graduated and found work there.  And get this, Scott will be living with Buddy.  Crazy!  So I'm probably going to visit them sometime this summer.  We went to Scott's mom's place recently to play games. It's always such a joy playing games with them.  We share a certain kind of humor that pretty much no one else I know understands (few exceptions).

"The Flying Squirrel", one of our favorite poses to do while doing a flip.

Our goal was to jump in the air but make it look like we're standing normally.

Buddy and I we active gymnasts back in the day.

This break is kinda a big deal.  First, it's the first break I've had for two years.  Last year I had school all through spring and summer, so this past year I was going a bit crazy.  Nozomi is in the same boat as me, first break in two years.  This is the perfect summer to do an internship, but it didn't feel right.  I don't know why, but I'm ok with that :)  Instead this summer is full of crazy ambition.  But first I shall talk about last weeks FHE (Family Home Evening).

Last week I went to FHE at this pretty cool place just 20 minutes away from where I live.  There was a sweet zip-line and a huge super fun slip-n-slide.  There was a cool party barn and many other fun things including tennis courts, basketball courts,  paddle boats (which aren't fun in my mind), etc.  Here are some pics.
This is Jackie, and cute girl from somewhere that gives her what seems to be a South American accent.  She was tough and got up and did it again right after, only this time she hung on.  I showed this to my Elders quorum this past Sunday when I taught the lesson.

Kurt about to go on the zip line.

Me doing the zip-line.

I can't just go down something in a normal fashion, I have to do flips or something.

Nozomi and Kurt going down the slip-n-slide.

We got going pretty fast.  We got to know each other pretty well whether we liked it or not.

I should have taken a panoramic shot to show the cool barn as well.

Kurt and Des.  They're engaged btw.

Nozomi doing the dangerous zip-line.  This one comes to an abrupt stop so you end up swinging WAY up.  Nozomi almost racked himself pretty bad.

Getting ready for the end.

The cool barn.  Nozomi, Ryo (roommate), Me

 OK, back to summer time.  I'm free!!!  Wow, I feel so alive and so blessed.  I am so blessed.  Nozomi and I had a great time making that video game for class.  Now Nozomi and I were pretty chill in the game's creation.  In fact after we presented the game Nozomi continued to make tweaks to it.  We have conjured up a desire to continue to create our own games/programs, so now we're actively studying Android! I love it!  We can basically make any app we want.  I have a few in mind that I'd like to make, but they'll come later.  I've been wanting to learn Android for a while, but didn't have the time.  Now I do!
My current book.  I have the e-book version.

Music.  I have written a song.  It's a decent song and it finally came time to record the vocals.  I recorded them and they sucked.  A few days later I tried again but couldn't even sing a high G full voice.  I was like, 'crap, I wrote a song I can't even sing.  I suck!'  It was disappointing.  Also, recently I had been feeling really tired.  Yesterday I woke up and was super tired with a swollen throat.  I was getting sick the whole time!  Yes!  This is one of the few times I was glad to be sick.  When I was writing the song I could sing it OK (not great), so it's a relief that my inability to sing recently was related to me being sick.  I probably won't be better till next week, but next week I'll be in California, so I'll have to wait to record it.
Part of my set up.  I tried recording acoustic guitar today.  I was not satisfied with the results.  Looks like more research is required.  I recorded my acoustic-electric nylon stringed guitar and thought it sounded pretty good.  Microphones are a complicated thing.
Basically I'm loving the whole recording/producing thing.  I love photos, journals, videos, and now I see recording audio as another thing.  They're all just different methods of journal keeping.
I am still injured and can't run.  It's killing me.  There is ALWAYS something wrong with me.  I'm slightly bitter.

I am going to California next week with my family.  I am so excited to get away!  The rest of my summer will be pretty chill.  I plan on going to California again later to visit Jolie if all goes well.  I landed a job as a youth counselor for 160 youth from China.  That will last two and a half weeks and I'm pretty excited about it.  

Other than that I'm a pretty free spirit just waiting to do what feels right.  

I am reading the Ensign again.  Wow, I love it.

Yesterday we went to McDonalds.  We go there a lot because it's cheap and tasty.  We ordered salads.  I got two side salads.
Well, I spent a lot of time on this post.  I make these for my family and me.  It's kinda like a journal.  I'm going to learn some Android right now.  Yes!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Opposition In ALL Things

So lately I've been praying to become more patient.  Today I felt it paid off a little. I went to Blimpie for lunch. It is located inside of my favorite gas station in Provo. I go there all the time and can tell you that the store manager is a genuine kind man. In the drive thru today I ordered my sandwich from the man and then he delegated the sandwich making to someone else. That 'someone else' then forgot about me. I sat at the window for 15 minutes. I normally would have left, but I remembered my prayers and felt I should stay. Sure sitting there wasn't fun and normally I would have scoffed within my head at the poor service, but I'm human and fall short all the time in all aspects of life, and this was just a sandwich. The manager eventually came by the window and noticed I was still there. I tried to remain friendly, but could have one a better job. He quickly got my sandwich ready and apologized for the wait. He apologized again and offered to give me a free drink to make up for the time. At this point had I have scoffed these folk for this minor mistake I would be feeling regret because of this man's attempt to compensate. I cheerfully agreed to have a Mt. Dew. He gave me a large one. I didn't want it, but I acted like I did so that he could feel good about giving to me. I then pulled forward and while nobody was watching proceeded to throw it into a nearby garbage can LOL!

I am currently watching the new show "Duets" as I type this. I watch it because my all time favorite sing Kelly Clarkson is on it. It blows my mind how amazing she is. Wow, she is singing a opening number now and I'm blown Anyways...

I like changing my perspective, literally.  So I decided to read the Book of Mormon while sitting on the floor in my bedroom.  While peacefully reading a big ugly brown spider decided to join me.  After I vacuumed it up I couldn't read with out thinking, "If there is one then there are more."  That, Christy and Mom, was today's opposition :)

The location where I was sitting when I saw the spider.