First and foremost, I'd like to put it out there that my main intention for this post is to inform my zero population of readers that I'm back after yet another hiatus and will be posting a new playlist of mine soon. The last one I posted, in late Spring, was a summer-themed playlist. Since Autumn is approaching, I thought that I would soon post a playlist with songs that are perfect for leaf piles, pumpkins, and heartwarming bonding time. /Martha Stewart

Now, less importantly: my reasons for being gone. Obviously, since my last post was months ago, I can use the excuse that I was enjoying my summer. Gratefully, that's not just an excuse, and I really was enjoying my summer. School started again in early September, and it's been a busy but exciting year for me so far. My class lineup this year is the most challenging that I've ever had, but overall I've been having a lot less homework than I expected. As usual, though, the main thing that is occupying my life right now is music. I'm in my school's first year ever marching band. I took up clarinet, which I used to play in 5th grade, and the more I play it, the more I love it. I'm also currently learning alto saxophone for leisure. Also, I recently joined a hip hop dance class that's in a surrounding neighborhood, and it's been great. It's good exercise and a lot of the choreography is fantastic.

I could not have kept track of anything I've done this year if I didn't start writing things down on a calendar. I HIGHLY recommend it. The most convenient way to do this is usually through a calendar application on your cell phone, but I understand not everyone has that luxury, and writing it down the old-fashioned way works just as well. I use the pen-to-paper method, actually, in an agenda I have. Not only is it a great way to remember when I have plans with friends, family, and my boyfriend, jazz band rehearsals, dance rehearsals, and performances for marching band and dance, but it's also a good way to keep track of memories of good times. Basically, everything you hear about organization being FANTASTIC is true.
A little under a year ago, I had to swim for PE class, and we had a lifeguard named Tim. Tim and I instantly bonded because of our common good tastes in music. Throughout the entire duration of the swimming session, I kept telling Tim I was going to make him a mix CD, but I procrastinated and never actually got around to it. Tomorrow, I start my swimming session for this year, and I decided I'd do what I was supposed to do long ago. Here's the playlist, which I've titled "Super Summer BBQ Road Trip Surfer Jamz Volume 1":

1) Vampire Weekend - "Bryn"
2) The Flaming Lips - "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song"
3) Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun"
4) Passion Pit - "Moth's Wings"
5) Weezer - "Island in the Sun"
6) No Age - "Eraser"
7) Nirvana - "Seasons in the Sun"
8) Mystery Jets - "Veiled in Grey"
9) The Strokes - "Someday"
10) Deerhunter - "Never Stops"
11) Iron & Wine - "Naked As We Came"
12) Pavement - "Range Life"
13) Cold War Kids - "Saint John"
14) Spin Doctors - "Two Princes"

The playlist really does reflect the long and almost comical title. You know it's going to be a summer playlist when three of the songs have "... in the Sun" in their titles. The mix opens excitingly with the twangy guitar work of Vampire Weekend on "Bryn", and the middle tracks are a compilation of songs that make you want to be outside somewhere, whether it be on the beach or a friend's patio. The playlist starts to resolve towards the end to a more laid-back acoustic track with soothing vocals from Iron & Wine; "Naked As We Came" The following two tracks after that are a happy medium between being upbeat and relaxed, only to finish off the CD with the early 90s hit "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors.

It's finally warming up in Chicago, so a mix like this is definitely going to be needed soon!
A short time back, during another one of my blogging hiatuses, I had a typically insignificant experience that I got a much deeper meaning out of, something usual for me.

There were a few feet of fresh snow on the ground; the really glittery and untouched virginal type of snow. I was walking down the street, on my way to the store, feeling kind of giddy and just generally in a good mood. At one point an impulse in me decided to lean over and using my finger as a pencil, draw a heart in the snow. As I'm in the middle of drawing the left candy cane to complete my heart, I hear a strong voice behind me.

Startled, I say "What?" before the man, at least twenty years older than I, who turned out to be the owner of the voice, could even finish his question.
"I asked if you're in love!"
"Yes, I am!" I reply with a childlike giggle and a smile, to a stranger. A stranger with a large backpack, a mentionable height of at least six feet, and most importantly: a brogue.

As I continue to walk with a cautious distance of at least two meters between myself and the man, he proceeds to ask about my age. After a few seconds of hesitating, simply because I'm unsure if I should answer honestly, I tell him my age in truth. He tells me that I'm young; this is expected, but I don't take offense to it as I normally would (because that's normally said to me in a negative way) Seconds later, I tell the man it was nice to meet him and cross the street. At this point the reason I crossed the street was not because I feared the potential danger of him, but because the store I was intending to go to was across that street.

The Irish backpacker interested me. His vulnerability and lack of direction in a city he was not native to is what made me feel like I was not being violated when he spoke to me. In Chicago, it is normally frowned upon if a middle aged man starts a conversation with a teenage girl on the street. No matter how naive it would be considered by many, I will forever be convinced that this man was completely harmless and had no wrong intentions. Although he interested me, I still made the choice to cross the street and go to the store. Normally I would procrastinate buying whatever it is I needed to buy if there was a distraction similar to this, but I felt very content with the cliffhanger of a conversation I had with him. I did not learn his name, age, or reason for visiting. This is why some may question what reasoning I have to believe that he didn't set out to harm me. However, the main thing I'm taking out of this experience is this: You don't always have to overindulge in things you find nice. In many cases, less is more. The sense of wonder that remained after I left was a very fulfilling feeling.
A few months ago, my computer ultimately crashed and was officially done for. This, in addition to my sudden lack of interest in blogging and lack of things to write about caused me to stop writing. Sure, it's an outlet and I actually do really enjoy it, but I feel like I'm writing for no purpose. The only person who actually read my blogs and conversed with me about my topics was my music teacher, and he along with everyone else has probably forgotten that I ever used to do this.

Anyway, I've gotten a new computer and there is a chance that I may begin doing this again, if I can find the inspiration.
I'm back! (Hopefully)

I haven't been inspired to write lately because I've been so caught up with life. Not really though, I'm just saying that to sound important. However, something I notice increasingly often around me is how racist people are. It's pretty gross.

A common situation I find myself in is one where someone is about to tell me a racist joke and I decline that offer as soon as I realize it's racist. In defense of their racism, the person normally says "Stereotypes exist for a reason.", which I can argue against easily.

Obviously the root of racism is stereotyping. I don't have solid research on this but common sense says that most people wouldn't be racist if their parents hadn't etched stereotypical ideas into their minds. Stereotyping is wrong because you simply can't blame an entire group of people for the actions of one person. You also cannot associate a certain act or crime with one group of people. People of every single race have commited each crime... none of this is unique to one certain race.

One thing I can't stand is when people use race adjectively, for example "Look at that ____ guy over there!" When I call people out on that they normally try to say that they only said that because they were trying to describe the person so that I would know which one to look at. Couldn't you have described them by their shirt color, a distinctive hat, or shoes? In most situations it is ignorant to describe someone by their race because you could be wrong. For example you could describe someone as Mexican when they're really Peurto Rican.

The reason I finally exploded and blogged about racism is because I truly do not see why people have such an issue accepting people who aren't of their own race. I also wanted to exert all of this anger somewhere since people don't seem to grasp this concept when I talk to them face to face. Is it really that bad that I have to put it in writing?
(Click to enlarge)

Recently I got addicted to this one webcomic called Questionable Content because of its infinite obscure indie references and cute characters. (oh please tell me I did not just call fictional characters cute) After reading every 1,300+ comic in the archive I feel so empty that I actually have to wait for a new one to come out daily. So today I went through the "other cool comics" recommended by Jeph Jacques (author of Questionable Content) and I came across a much less lighthearted one... A Softer World. Some of them are really funny and simple but the one above has a lot of meaning to me.

It made me think about how pathetic it is that it's now considered "cool" to hate your parents or disrespect them. There are things that my mother did that I truly hate, but recent events have made me realize that hate is a very strong word. I can hate how she acts, things she does, but I can't sincerely hate her.

Basically all I wanted to do was blog about something semi-meaningful since I've been lacking good posts, and I wanted to put out there that there are so many great webcomics that should be read. This is a short one because there are so many things that I could say regarding parental hate, but I'd rather have people figure out for themselves...
As much as I hate the idea of having a post explaining what I've been up to lately, I feel obliged to inform you why I've been on a blogging hiatus. If you really don't care to hear my reasoning for my absence, then I'll let you know now that I should soon be back. Here's the backstory though, just in case you're wondering.

Recently, I went through this academic epiphany. I concluded that it would be best for me if I finished high school on time with passing grades. I want to get a job sometime this year, hopefully around when the next school year begins (the sooner the better though, money is a nice thing to have) and if it's hard for people with master's degrees to get jobs, then it would probably be beneficial and drastically increase my chances of actually being hired if I had a better GPA and attendance record. I figure if I've come this far I might as well finish what I started instead of dropping out. Some people have told me that I'm way too smart to even fail one class, which motivates me to try harder. That's precisely what I've been doing. I could be doing even better, but I'm trying to enjoy the last quarter of semi-slacking off while I can before I actually have to put a lot of effort into it. Another reason why I haven't been posting is because I had a terrible case of the worst thing someone like me could imagine -- writer's block! I was actually reading so many books, magazines, webcomics - you name it - which threw me off on my own writing. I'm still sort of recovering from this, which is why this post is really egocentric and boring, but it's slowly convalescing. I just had to write something here because things just felt so... empty.

However, there's very good news. Today's the start of spring break, and in just an hour I've successfully written the bulk of two songs that I'm fairly happy with! You see, writer's block for me doesn't just limit to my blogging/personal writing... it also applies to my songwriting and lyricism. I've spent the past month or so forcing myself to write songs that I would get so frustrated with because they weren't what I was trying to write. Today these two songs came with a lot of ease, and I'm really excited to see how much they'll improve and how they'll sound when they're finished. I'm also pretty happy that my drumming and guitar skills are progressing.

Basically, I've been working on a few creative personal projects with things I like to do. I revamped my room, found new clothing stores that I like, reconnected with a few old friends, started reading a hilarious webcomic, and got creative with little things such as how I make my tea. At the beginning of writing this entry I was angry with myself for posting about my life and how I've been because I normally blog about my opinion on things unrelated to me. However, I don't really plan on writing stuff like this much and I think that when I do it will be a bit of a break for anyone who reads this since it's a little more personal and lighthearted, not so cynical and angry. However, I need to bring this to a close. I'm going shopping for new shoes.