A Transition

It is so difficult for me to believe how quickly winter is approaching, and it kind of scares me. Today, I went to Penfield with a couple of friends to do homework at around 3:30 or so, and by the time we were done at the library and therefore heading back to Waterbury (which was a little after 5), it was starting to get dark outside, and by the time we were back at Waterbury, it really was dark outside. The days are beginning to get shorter and shorter, and night falls earlier and earlier. Winter is right around the corner.

I don’t understand and I have never understood why some people love Winter, but that’s just my opinion. It gives me a feeling of being sheltered. Practically everything in nature is covered by a cold, white substance which dominates the earth for months, and I guess that it makes me feel the same way. It makes me feel cold and sheltered. In addition, most plants and trees are dead, and everyone, myself included, is more inclined to spend more time inside since it’s so cold out (and here, windy, too), and I hate that. The season itself affects my mood for the worse, and that is why I say that the approaching months scare me.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas, and I love the snow when it’s here around the holiday season, but I often find myself (every year, in fact) wishing that it would go away afterward. Right now, I am really happy, but I suppose that my fear is that this current state is the “calm before the storm,” if you will, and that I don’t have very long before an end is put to it. Last year, my most difficult times, not only of my freshmen year but of my entire life thus far, were spent during the winter months, and I really don’t think that that is a coincidence.

Everyone enjoys “alone time” every now and then, myself included. However, I am pretty sure that I’d go clinically insane, as I think a lot of people would, if most of my time was spent alone, and last year, that’s how it was for me. I was primarily alone probably 80% of the time, and that time alone was primarily spent doing homework and studying. It was just an all-around difficult year for me, and at the end of the year, I made a pact that I was going to do everything that I possibly could to make this year a better one, to make it exceed last year on so many levels, and so far, I have done just that. I have been getting more sleep, I have managed my time more effectively, I have had a lot more fun, and I have had a much more accelerated social experience.

It’s kind of sad when I actually stop and think about that, because as happy as I am now, if only I had had everything last year that I have this year, if only I could have been as happy. If I had been, a great deal of pain would most likely have been prevented, and next year, I have a couple of friends who want to live in the townhouses, and likewise, that scares me, because even though I know that the townhouses aren’t exactly in the same vicinity as the residence halls on that side of campus (Oneida, ‘Daga, Cayuga and Seneca), but they are still on the same side of campus, and I’m so afraid that being on that side of campus again is going to bring back memories. I left that side of campus to avoid the trauma, and I love this side of campus.

You, whoever you are reading this, that is, might be wondering why it is that I don’t just tell them this and stay on this side of campus. “Surely, you have other friends,” you most likely wonder, and yes, I do. I have plenty, in fact. However, this particular group of friends is the closest to my heart and has been since I first started here last year as a freshmen, and I really don’t think that I could realistically live here without them and be happy. I will follow them wherever they go, and sometimes, although not always, there are ways around pain. Sometimes, there is help available for you, and that is yet another reason why I have not said to any of them that I don’t want to live in the townhouses. I know that if I am in pain for whatever reason, they’d be there to help me.

In the meantime, I am just going to relax and enjoy life and enjoy this school year. My problem is, I suppose you could say, that I fear change. When my life takes a turn for the good, I fear that something is going to ruin it, and when I become vehemently comfortable in a certain situation, the idea that it isn’t always going to be like that, that it is one day soon going to be drastically changed, really scares me. I have a lot of friends that I know I won’t be seeing too much of next year, especially on weekends in the winter time when there are no buses available, and no matter where I want to go on weekends in the winter time, for that matter, I’ll have the choice of either staying cooped up inside or venturing out into Oswego’s Winter chaos. There are a lot of aspects to the experience, such as those just mentioned, that I’m really not looking forward to by any means, but like I said, for now, I think I’m just going to look to the future as a positive enforcement and hope for the best, because after all, what else can I hope for?

Happy Halloween!

Well, I’m finally starting to feel a little bit better, and needless to say, this past week has not been easy. All of a sudden, all of the work that I need to do is going to hit me like a ton of bricks right in the face, and that will be a wonderful feeling, and I also have to worry about whether or not my professors are going to be merciful in excusing my absences. As I said before, though, there was no way I could have made it to class if I wanted to. I could barely think let alone even walk, and I certainly couldn’t talk. I’m still not all the way there yet, but I sure do feel a lot better than I did last night. I’m not sure what caused the sudden transformation; I guess that I’m just thankfully starting to get over it, thankfully.

On a much happier note, however, today is Halloween, which is always exciting. Of course, it would be a lot more exciting if the weather wasn’t so lousy. I don’t mind it being cloudy, because that helps set the mood, but it’s raining, and it’s also rather chilly, both being reasons why I’m hesitant to go anywhere tonight. I have a group of friends that want me to go trick-or-treating, which sounds like fun, but first of all, as I said, I really don’t want to go out in the cold, and second of all, what would I do with all of that candy? I’m certainly not going to eat all of it. I have a couple of other friends who are going to a friend’s comedy show at the campus center, and I kind of want to go to that, because something tells me that on Halloween night, they’re going to be starving for an audience, so that might end up being what I do, but half of me is tempted to dress up for it, because otherwise, my Lady Gaga costume is going to kind of go to waste.

I’m kind of randomly ranting from one topic to another, but I guess right now, more than anything, I am nervous about my professors. One of them sent me an email and seemed very understanding, telling me not to come back until I felt better (I plan fully on returning to classes on Monday since I foresee myself making a full recovery by then), but I have one who didn’t answer me at all, and he’s the one that I’m kind of worried about. I did receive a message from someone, though, that if I go to the Point, they might be able to help me out, so I may just have to do that. It seems to me like if you’re so sick that you don’t even want to eat, then you shouldn’t be expected to attend classes, especially since that just increases your chances of spreading it and also especially since if you can’t even think, you’re not going to be learning anything anyway. More than anything, all I did, all I wanted to do, was sleep.

Returning to the trick-or-treating idea, however, I was told today that cops will be clearing the streets at 9 p.m., which is another reason why I don’t think it would be all that much fun, anyway, even if I was feeling okay. I’m sorry, but that’s so ridiculous. I understand the fact that they don’t want kids out late at night, drunk and likely to hurt either someone else or themselves and that they don’t want kids out wreaking havoc, but 9 p.m. seems a little strict to me. At least make it 11 p.m. I mean, essentially, I say “kids,” but we really aren’t; as college students, we are adults, and ultimately, we have the right to be out. Something tells me, however, that they’re just going to be sending people home who look like they’re either drunk or up to no good, because what if it’s just a group of people going to the movies or going to the store to pick up something? What if whoever they see isn’t even a college student? How would you go about making that determination? Like I said, it just seems ridiculous to me. I guess that’s about it, though. I hope that everyone has a fun but safe Halloween!

Down with the Sickness, I Hope

Wow, this has been one crazy week! Basically, today is Thursday, and I haven’t been to classes all week, because I have been that sick. This past weekend, I started to feel a little weak, and I felt a minor pain in my throat, but that has happened to me before, so I just drank some water and turned in early, assuming that it didn’t mean anything, but Monday morning, I knew that I was coming down with something serious, and as the week has passed, my sore throat has only gotten worse and worse to the point where it was completely unbearable. Last night, I felt short of breath, because my throat was swollen, and it therefore felt as if it was closing up on me. I called my friend Kim, and she rushed back to the dorm and had SAVAC pick me up and bring me to the ER.

Here’s what’s really ironic about all of it, though. I was in so much pain that I needed an ambulance, and yet, I waited in that hospital for five hours until I was treated, and as it turned out, it isn’t the flu or strep or anything to that effect; it is a severe case of viral pharyngitis, which looks and sounds a lot worse than it is. It’s merely a sore throat caused by a bad cold, which I suppose doesn’t really go to show too much less of a serious issue, because I was in a lot of unbearable pain (I couldn’t even swallow), but still, considering the kind of pain that I was in, I was definitely expecting to have been diagnosed with strep.

Of course, there is still a chance that I could have it. The doctor gave me a throat culture, and the results will be back within two to three days, but he said that he doesn’t think that it’s strep, because he couldn’t see where my throat was swollen or anything, which is odd considering the fact that when the nurse first examined me, she said that she couldn’t believe how swollen it was. I’m not really sure what that signifies to me, but I just find it very odd that the nurse would say one thing (she even specifically said that it looked like strep to her), but then the doctor would say the opposite. I would have argued that point to the doctor, but it was 4:30 a.m., I was in pain, and I just wanted to get out of there, to be honest.

Being this sick has shown me what great friends I have, though. Let’s see, I have one friend who picked me up Gatorade (my mom suggested I drink that, because my younger brother and my younger sister just got over being really sick, and it really helped them) from the store, as well as cough drops and a stuffed manatee named Mr. (Mana) Tee. I have another friend who has been worried sick about me (no pun intended) and has been bringing me soup from the dining hall since I don’t have much of an appetite for anything else (actually, there are a few friends who have been bringing things to me from the dining hall), and then there’s Kim, who stayed with me at the hospital last night until 2 a.m., even though she had an 8 a.m. Philosophy class today. I seriously never did anything to deserve friends like this.

I am feeling a lot better today, though, thankfully. I have not gone to one class since Monday, because I have had no desire to leave my dorm room, and hopefully, my professors will be understanding of this. My mom brought me medicine today, and it’s helping me a lot. It feels so good to be able to swallow again. It still hurts but not unbearably so like it did before, and hopefully, I’ll therefore be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight, something I have not been able to do in two nights in a row. My hope is to go to classes tomorrow and get back on my feet, but my priority right now is to get betters, so like I said, hopefully, my professors will understand. I just figured that I’d write about this since it’s something at least semi-interesting that occurred in my otherwise relatively mundane life.

Feeling Good

Here I am, sitting in my room, and of all things, I’m actually thinking about how much I absolutely love college, and no, I ensure you, I am not insane. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was completely and entirely stressed, because I was so overwhelmed with work that needed to get done, and at this point, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but a reminder to all that feel as if negativity is consistently slamming them in the face is that life is full of lessons to be learned, and therefore, every experience becomes an opportunity. There was a quote that I read once, and as a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that it was on an edition of Toilet Talk that I read it, but it said something like a pessimist sees failure in every opportunity while an optimist sees opportunity in every failure, and I think that that speaks a great deal of meaning.

I’m, of course, not at all saying that when times are tough, you should just try to ignore them and think ahead, ignoring every conflicting situation that you are currently experiencing. “Everything is going to be okay” or “just look at the bright side” rarely, if ever, work, at least for me, anyway, because when you are experiencing a situation that is vehemently difficult to deal with, that’s all that’s on your mind at the time, and although you understand that whoever is trying to help means well, their words mean nothing at the time, but keep in mind that usually, if I’m correct in saying this, you’ll end up thanking them, because as it will turn out, they were right. There was a bright side, there was something to look forward to, and most importantly, there was something to learn, and as long as we do in fact learn the lessons that life so desperately wants us to learn, then we’re on the right track.

Just this past week, I kind of had a breakdown, because, once again, there was so much going on, and it seemed as if one unfortunate event right after another was hitting me like a brick in the face. I had a History paper to write, and I didn’t think that I had any idea whatsoever how to write it. Also, the last time that I went home, I discovered that my father had somehow discovered that I am in a relationship with a male, and since he is extremely religious, he believes that being gay is a choice and that it’s a sin, so he told me that Ray (my boyfriend) could no longer visit me anymore, specifically because he is a “bad influence” on my two younger siblings (a sister, 13, and a brother, 17), and the reality of what that meant caused me to hit rock bottom this past week as well. Ray and I have been together for almost eight months now, and never in my life have I been happier, and his coming over to my house was an easy and convenient way for us to spend time together; now, it’s not so easy, and when we do spend time together, it’s for much shorter periods of time, and we’re never alone.

This was eating away at me as well as a number of other problems, and as I usually do in situations such as this, I panicked, unsure of what to do. However, a friend of mine once said that the universe has a way of self-correcting itself. He didn’t come up with this on his own, of course, but I give him credit, because I am pretty sure that he is where I first heard it. Back when he first said it, I thought that it was utter nonsense, but my recent experiences have showed me that he was right. Almost everything that goes wrong results in something right, and what went wrong happened, because we were meant to learn something from it, and that is indeed something beautiful.

Just as a small example, college is obviously very stressful. As a student, I am consistently being challenged, and there is rarely a time that I am completely free and am able to do something relaxing. However, at the same time, there is a reward at the end of almost every long and winding road. I feel accomplished when I complete a challenging paper (which is exactly what I did this weekend, having worked for about four hours on my History paper), and I feel accomplished knowing that as a college sophomore, I have made it really far at this point, and continuing in this same direction is going to one day soon result in teaching high school students English Literature, something that I have been wanting to do for years, basically for as long as I can remember. I really do love college, because every now and then, I do get those relaxing moments where I can reflect on life and how good it has been being to me lately, how rewarding it feels to be productive and to get work done. Ultimately, going to college is a decision that I’m really glad that I made.

A New Day in the Old Town

It’s so hard to believe that we’re nearly halfway through the semester already. Tomorrow, well technically today, I suppose, I have to take my English 304 midterm, and I am very nervous about that, because I remain pretty confident that I am going to get a pretty terrible grade on it. I am just not used to this kid of English course. Ever since middle school, English classes did not involve actual assessments but instead portfolios which consisted of written work throughout the year, and now, I have to take an actual written assessment in the traditional sense, and I have a multitude of different terms that I need to know the meaning of as well as a multitude of different names that I need to associate with literary periods, and I am really stressing out.

Basically, this semester has really been pretty on and off for me; it’s been pretty bittersweet, in other words. A lot of goodness has come out of this semester, a great deal that is much different than my situation last year. For example, I have an awesome roommate who I am so happy I asked to room with last year; there have been absolutely no issues whatsoever thus far, and I don’t foresee any taking place. There’s a great deal of respect between us, and I definitely think that that is the main reason why this is really working out for us. So, anyway, I am really happy with my living situation, which is currently Waterbury, and apart from the ear-piercing fire alarm, I love everything about it.

Other than that, though, like I said, I’m kind of struggling to sync myself with this English class, and additionally, I am taking Biology, and I am having a really tough time with that as well. I got my first test back last week, and I remember leaving the class in which I had taken the test, thinking that I had managed to pull of a solid C grade, but no, I didn’t have any such luck. I failed it miserably. I was really upset the day that I found out, but not that I’m the type to blame other people for my mishaps, but in this case, I really do think it’s partly my professor that is at fault for this grade, because she flies through the slides, and when a student will ask for the slide to be brought back up, because he or she didn’t have enough time to get everything down, she will say, “All of this is in the book,” so what I’m wondering is why I’m wasting time coming to class then if all of my learning is to be done from the book.

I learn by taking notes in class, letting that sink in and then going over my notes and deciding on what I understand and what I don’t, and what I am not quite absorbing, I resort to the book for, and I am having trouble doing that now, because I’m not learning anything in class. She did say the other day in class that all of the notes are on Angel, so I might just have to go there to read up on the notes, because this really is pretty ridiculous if I may say so myself. I cannot allow myself to fail this class; I really want to put all of my general education courses behind me so that I can get into my major. I honestly do not understand general education requirements. I’ve never in my lifetime going to use anything that I am learning in Biology, for example.

Anyway, I went home this past weekend, and that was really nice. I love this weather; and I love this time of year and everything that it involves. I love the Autumn air, leaves, apple cider and Halloween, of course. The only thing that I don’t like about is that almost all of the things that I love about Autumn, with the obvious exception of Halloween, are indicators that winter is coming, and I hate winter. I can’t stand snow, and I can’t stand the cold, and yes, I chose to Oswego, but don’t ask me why. Everyone always asks me that when I declare my detestation of the winter time, “Why are you going to Oswego then?” Well, I suppose that’s about everything that I wanted to cover this time around. Hopefully, I will be writing a bit more often, but there is just always something occupying my time, and it’s usually not something I’m having too much fun doing. I hope to write again soon, though!

500 Days of Summer Review

A few months ago, I saw the trailer for the film 500 Days of Summer, and it instantly went on my mental list of movies that I had to see. Although I can’t recall the exact date, I remember that it was supposed to come out sometime in July, and when that date came, I realized that it was only playing in certain cities, and my city was not one of them, unfortunately, which I was pretty upset about, because I had been waiting and looking forward to it for so long. Thankfully, however, it just opened in my city this past weekend, so I finally got to see it.

As a whole, I really liked it. I thought that it was really cute and original. At first, I didn’t like the whole idea of time jumping around so randomly, but eventually, I became used to that, and now, I see it as one of the ways in which it was original. I really wish I could go into all of the ways in which I thought it was original, but if I do that, then I will be getting into heavy plot details, and I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone. I will do my best anyway; this is the type of the movie that is somewhat difficult to discuss and review without getting into plot details, so I will try to be as vague as possible.

I thought that the choice of acting was really good, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen and Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn. I really liked the way that Deschanel dealt with the character. Summer Finn is a firm feminist who doesn’t believe she has to give herself to any man, and her firm beliefs sometimes initiate stubbornness in her character, and I personally thought that Deschanel played this out so well. Gordon-Levitt played Tom’s role really well too, the casual, somewhat awkward Michael Cera-like dude that you would just naturally expect to be with a girl like Summer.

The plot follows the two of them who meet at a club and pursue a friendship. However, Tom likes Summer as more than just a friend, and even though the relationship starts to get a little bit more serious, such as the two of them becoming intimate, for example, Summer doesn’t want anything serious with him, and she doesn’t want to call what they have a relationship. Another reason why I found this movie to be original is that you see right at the beginning of the movie that she breaks up with him, but you don’t really know why or if they’ll end up back together or not.

However, my biggest problem with the movie was a personal one, which is why I say that overall, the movie was really good. I honestly couldn’t really connect with it or understand it, because I’m not in the same boat as the theme of the movie is. I am in a very serious, loving and trusting relationship, and I wasn’t really sure what this movie was trying to say. Perhaps, it was trying to say that love is only a fabrication, that it doesn’t actually exist, but I see that as being ridiculous. I offer that as a suggestion, because a line very similar to that is actually in the script. Another message that it could have been trying to convey is that events don’t happen because they are meant to be; everything is coincidence, but I don’t believe that either, so ultimately, I wasn’t really sure what to make of the movie, but like I said, it was really cute. The acting was really good, the soundtrack is exquisite, it’s cute, and the plot is original. Ultimately, it’s a decent “summer” movie.

New Year

Welcome back, or for any freshmen reading this, it’s a mere welcome! So, here we are are back at college, and for me, the summer seems as if it really flew by! It doesn’t seem like that long ago at all that I was packing my bags and heading home for the summer, and now, my sophomore year has begun, and I’m thinking, “Wow, one year of college is already behind me,” and the thought is rather daunting to say the least. Forget about the summer flying by; everything is flying by! It doesn’t even seem like that long ago that I was in high school let alone a college freshman!

This year, I am living at Waterbury, and I actually really love it! The only part of it that I don’t like is that there is no dining hall connected to it. Lakeside and Cooper are approximately the same distance, with Lakeside perhaps being a bit closer, and right now, I don’t mind in in the least, but when it starts getting really cold, and the snow starts to fall, which basically always guarantees for ice, then it becomes something that I mind. Other than that, however, I really feel as if Waterbury matches me; whereas last year, when I moved into Oneida at the start of my freshman year, there was quite a bit that I didn’t like.
There’s always the homework, which never seems to end. For any freshmen reading this, keep that in mind. I made the mistake last year of assuming that college was going to be high school with a dorm room, and it’s not by any means. College gives a lot more homework than high school, and you need to do your best to manage your time, because I myself ran into a lot of problems last year with that, literally being driven insane with the homework and feeling as if I didn’t have enough time to do it. Already, I have been given a great deal, but I have figured out what to do differently.

The work actually doesn’t take as much time as is usually taken to complete it. The problem is when your mind wanders and wants to check Facebook, or go on AIM, or talk on the phone, or text, or eat, etc., and I therefore learned that I needed to go somewhere where distractions such as these weren’t going to be an issue, and what better place is there than the library? That’s therefore where I have been doing my work, because I have come to find that the work gets done a lot faster there. I feel more concentrated and “in the zone,” and things like Facebook and AIM don’t distract me, which is surprising, because if it’s not reading out of a book or something to that effect that needs to be done, I am on a computer, which still gives me the opportunity to steal time and hop onto Facebook, but for some reason, I don’t feel the temptation like I do in my dorm room. I think that it might be because in my dorm room, I am in a tighter, more enclosed space.

Another thing that I vowed to change about this year as opposed to last year is a more appropriate bedtime, which, so far, I have been doing a very good job upholding. Last year, I often went to bed at like 4 or 5 a.m., and that simply didn’t work, because then I had class, and I was exhausted, therefore taking a nap in the afternoon, losing more time. The first night that I was here, I went to bed at around 1, and last night, I went in at around 10 (I am currently sick and therefore felt pretty tired early). It’s been awesome, because this morning, I woke up at around 9:30 feeling totally revived and awake and got right up and went to the gym to workout. I even had time to do a little bit of work.

I know that this year is going to be better, despite the fact that my current issue with books is looking like a bad omen. I tried to get a job over the summer, but my attempts were futile, because no one was hiring, and I therefore have no money for books. Yesterday, I got my refund, which totaled over $300, and I figured for sure that that was going to be enough, but it isn’t. I bought everything yesterday except for what I need for two classes, Psychology and History, and that came to $213. My Psychology book is going to cost $90 used, and the books that I need for History are going to cost $40 and $60. To break it all down for you, I still need almost $200 and only have a little over $100. I’m trying to figure something out. My Psychology professor brought up a really good point in my class last night. He said that in the book that we will be using for our class, there will be roughly thirty pages out of the 150 or so that are really going to count, and yet we pay $90 for that book, which breaks down to approximately $3.00 per page; it’s ridiculous. Books are so expensive. I’m not looking at this as a bad omen, though, because I just have a very strong feeling that this is going to be a great year.

Looking Forward

As the summer is very rapidly dying off (there is only a little more than a month until we return), I am beginning to seriously think about this coming year and what I am going to try to do in order to make it better than my freshman year. I didn’t really have the best year last year, and I know that that really is more or less the case for most if not all freshmen (since they’re in a new environment and are just beginning to learn the ropes), but for me, it was more of a personal thing. I made a really stupid decision, and it seemed like I was becoming something I didn’t want to become, and I blamed it on so many things, including myself. The point is, however, that I am actually looking forward to my sophomore year, because it seems as if so much is going to be different.

Yes, there are some of the usual things that bothered me during my freshman year, one of which was my roommate and I coming from very different environments and attempting to tolerate each others’ very different personalities and lifestyles, which, I admit, was not very easy for me to do, even as accepting of a person as I am, and this year, that’s going to be different. I am rooming with my friend Allain, and he’s a really cool kid, so I’m looking forward to that. I also know of a lot of friends who will be living in the same residence hall as me (Waterbury), on the same floor even, so that will be great as well!

There are some people who don’t think so because they see a totally different side of me, but I am a very social person. I don’t like being alone (I vehemently loathe it, in fact), and I don’t like feeling isolated, which I did almost all of the time during my freshman year, and that became a very serious problem for me. I like being with people, even if it’s just to watch a movie or even just to do homework together. Like I said, though, I will be with a lot of friends this year, so I think that things will be a bit different.

I definitely need to try to improve my sleeping pattern; that’s for sure! That’s because, for the most part, during my freshman year, I didn’t have a sleeping pattern! There were times that I would walk to class in the morning like a zombie, because I didn’t make it to bed until 4 or 5 in the morning, and obviously, that’s just not acceptable. I can’t and won’t do that this year! I am making it a mission to be in bed every night by 1 a.m. at the latest. The biggest issue last year was the unbelievable amount of homework I had (which will most likely, God forbid, only be worse this year), which I stayed up very late doing, but my hopes are to try to manage my time better, which, I know, is easier said than done, because as a college student, you kind of just want to have fun and be free of authority and responsibility, but my education is very important to me, and I don’t want to screw it up. I want to be responsible, and I want to do the very best that I can do, which I don’t feel as if I did my freshman year.

As far as my summer is concerned, it has been relatively uneventful so far. I have spent a lot of time with friends, sure, but it’s not like I’ve taken any vacations or anything like that. I have had a massive amount of dentist appointments (bleh) thanks to my inexplicably massive amount of cavities (I rarely ever drink soda, and I brush all the time), so that hasn’t been much fun, but taking it easy is nice; that’s for sure. It’s certainly a very different lifestyle than what it was like in college. I very much enjoy not reading ninety pages out of my Astronomy book or writing three papers all due in a week’s time. I have been tutoring a kid who is in transit between sixth and seventh grade, and of all things to be teaching, yes, I am teaching math! Let’s just say that it has been rather interesting. Well, I’m going to run for now, but I hope to write again soon!

My First Ghosthunting Experience

Last weekend, I took part in my very first and long-awaited ghosthunting experience. I would really like to focus most of this blog on what it was that I did that weekend, which, as I just said, was investigating the paranormal. I did not uncover as much as I was hoping, but the evening was far from being eventless. I was once again reassured that there are forces out there beyond what we perceive as normal, what many of us even deny. However, the truth is out there.

I have been a believer in the paranormal for years, basically since I was a young child. When I was really young, maybe eight or nine years old, I saw a middle-aged woman standing outside the doorway of my bedroom. Mind you, there were no lights on in the house besides the small lamp that my parents had on their bedroom, so I didn’t get a good look, but from what I could tell, she was wearing a white nightgown, and her hair was tied up behind her head. She turned away after a few seconds and walked down the hallway.

There was also a time when my brother and I woke up in the morning to find scratches on our chests in the exact same place. The scratches were identical, and like I said, they were in exactly the same places on our body. Now, is it plausible that during the night, during a half-awake state, I felt an itch on my chest and therefore scratched it a little too hard? Yes, of course it is, but I don’t believe in coincedences, so let me rephrase the question. Is it plausible that both my brother and I felt an itch during a half-awake state and therefore scratched ourselves a little too hard, leaving identical scratch marks in exactly the same place on our chests? Like I said, I really don’t believe in coincedences. Ray says that scratches usually signify demonic forces, but that is the only time that I can remember something like that happening, so I’m not sure what to think.

The final example I’d like to offer is the time in which my sister-in-law came to my house when none of us were there. We were eating lunch out somewhere, but the garage door had been left open, so she sat and waited for us in the garage. The garage, mind you, is a part of the house. Above the garage is the bathroom and three bedrooms. When we got back, she asked my parents who was home, and when they told her that no one was, she responded by saying that that was odd, because she heard someone walking back and forth upstairs, which would have been approximately if not exactly where I had seen the woman. Of course, this was not a firsthand experience; she experienced it, not me, but what reason would she have for fabricating that?

Well, now that I have given a very condensed explanation of why it is that I’m a believer, now let me explain what exactly it is that happened that night. Well, actually, it might be more appropriate to provide a background on the house that I investigated. Four people previously died in the house, and as far as I know, they were all natural deaths. However, the most recent inhabitant, an eighty-six year old man, was shaving in the bathroom when he fell and hit his head on the wall.

Now, strange things have happened in the house before. For example, with his amazingly awesome digital recorder, Ray (who I investigated with) has retrieved audio coming from the tunnel in the basement, a male voice whispering “Help me.” In addition, his brother sometimes slept there to take care of the elderly man overnight, and he once heard pounding on the walls, pounding that increased in violent intensity. Last night, he called us crazy for not only going in the house but for staying overnight, but I guess I’m just a brave soul.

Anyway, let’s get back to what I was saying. There is a little bit more to some of the strange things that have previously happened in that house, such as Ray hearing the piano in the basement playing by itself, but the first really strange thing that happened to me is that before leaving my house, I grabbed my audio recorder and made sure that it worked, which it did. It played, rewound, fastforwarded and most importantly recorded, but when I went downstairs to the basement, it didn’t work. I therefore put a new battery in it, once again making sure that the recorder worked before going back downstairs, which it once again did, but again, when I went downstairs to the basement, it didn’t work.

I have heard reports of this type of thing happening to other people while they were ghosthunting, that is, electronic equipment such as cameras and recorders suddenly not working when they were working fine before, so it really didn’t surprise me. However, as we began to further explore the creepy basement, we heard knocking and what sounded like light thudding. When we went back down later (we went down a good three or four times thinking that maybe results would vary during different times of the day), I suddenly felt an uncomfortably cold sensation on the back of my neck, almost as if someone had placed an ice cube there. The lights flickered a couple of times, which was really weird, because it wasn’t just one or two lights; it was all of them.

Now, here is where it gets even more strange, where I have evidence to counter you non-believers who will most probably try to argue with me. Ray has a reader. To be honest with you, I forget what it’s called, but it reads energy. There is a meter on it which reads and reports to you how much energy is in the room depending on where you move the detector. The places in the house where it was higest were near the piano (which, again, Ray says he has heard playing on its own), the exact place in the tunnel where Ray has picked up on the voice asking for help, the old man’s bedroom, the exact place in the basement where I felt the chill and the exact place on the bathroom wall where the old man fell and hit his head. I would very much like someone to try to explain that to me.

I am really looking forward to doing this again in the future, maybe not the same house, because I want to branch out my investigations, but I am very interested in this and always have been. I just hope that I will eventually see something. I have heard that that it’s very rare that you actually see something, and on the off-chance that you do, it’s usually on camera, so I don’t know, but who knows? Maybe someday I’ll get lucky, but I would love to get something on camera so I have proof. Of course, I’m sure some would say that I doctored it or whatever, but I really don’t care. It would reassure me that my desire for the truth has paid off.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Concert Review! (4/26/09)

On Sunday, April 26, a total of five bands played at SUNY Oswego in the Campus Center arena. The show featured Los Angeles-based Drive A, Medina Lake, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Secondhand Serenade and N.E.R.D (with Pharell), respectively. I was very surprised by how few people there seemed to be at the concert, especially with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus there. I thought that it was going to next to impossible to even breathe in there, but it wasn’t that bad at all. Overall, however, I vehemently enjoyed the show for the most part and was especially impressed by Drive A and Medina Lake.

My friends and I were all under the impression that the show was only three acts, with N.E.R.D., Secondhand Serenade and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus playing, but when we got there, we were surprised to find that there were two other opening acts as well. I found it odd, because as I found out later, Medina Lake is actually somewhat popular, and I heard that of a lot of people who didn’t go to the concert were extremely disappointed, because Medina Lake was there, and this was because Medina Lake was not advertised at all. I know that they were booked late in the game, but there still could have been some notification beforehand.

I seemed to be the black sheep of the family when it came to Drive A, the first band that played. When they got up on the stage, the first thing that immediately caught my attention was how young they were, especially the lead singer. I therefore wasn’t expecting much. However, I thought that they were amazing. Even though they seemed to receive a good response from the crowd, a lot of my friends didn’t have very many good things to say about them afterwards. One of my friends said that they were “Jonas Brothers wannabes,” which I didn’t understand in the least bit. They didn’t look or sound anything like the Jonas Brothers. Someone else said that they thought that they were cool but that they really weren’t.

It seemed to me like the people who didn’t like them ridiculed them because of how young they are, which I found to be unfair. In fact, their age is what impressed me. If you visit the band’s MySpace or download their single called “Are You Blind?” from iTunes, you’ll hear the pipes on that kid, who apparently is sixteen years old. I was very impressed with their performance and can’t wait for the album to be released, which is mid-May, not sure of the exact date. They didn’t play very many songs, but I really enjoyed what they did play. I thought that they were very fresh and energetic and that they really blended in with the rest of the bands that played.

Secondly, we had the pleasure of seeing Medina Lake live, a very pleasant surprise. As soon as the band walked onto the stage, the first thought that ran through my head was My Chemical Romance because of the symbols on their sleeves and the white-blond hair, which reminded me of Gerard Way during the Black Parade era. Some of their music, however, really reminded me of Muse. They put on an excellent show, and everyone who I spoke to about them after the concert agreed with me. I really liked their musical style, and it was great how they got the crowd engaged, especially by throwing oversized balloons into the crowd which resulted in everyone engaging in what I could best describe as volleyball without a net.

After Medina Lake came The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I was very disappointed with them, especially since they were who I was there to see. First of all, Ronnie has an amazing voice, and you couldn’t hear him. I don’t know if it was because the volume on his mic was turned down too low or not, but I think that’s what the problem was. You could just barely him. I mean, it was bad to the point where I often found myself not knowing what the song was until the refrain began. Not only that, but I felt that, for the most part, they chose some of their weaker songs to play. In my opinion, their greatest and most powerful songs are “Misery Loves Its Company,” “Godspeed,” and “Believe,” and they didn’t play any of those. One of the main reasons why I couldn’t wait to see them live was to hear them play “Godspeed” live, and I was vehemently disappointed when they didn’t.

Lastly (I didn’t stay for N.E.R.D.) was Secondhand Serenade. They were also very good. The singer, John Vesely, was very easy to hear, and his performance garnered a very strong response out of the crowd. I was very surprised by how many people in the crowd knew so many of the songs apart from “Fall for You.” I knew a few, including, obviously, “Fall for You,” and I also knew “Your Call.” I wasn’t as familiar with their music as I’d have liked to have been, but I thought that their performance was very impressive. However, I thought that Drive A and Medina Lake were the best, and overall, I felt that my twenty dollars was definitely worth it.