Tag: Rain

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.

Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.

The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.

The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.

Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.

While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.

Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:

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The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.

I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.

That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.

The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.

After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.

Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.

But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.

All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.

For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:

I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.

Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.

But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.

… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.

Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.

As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.

Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.

AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.

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In other words, they swept the floor.

This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

That’s pretty cool!

Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.

Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.

Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.

Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.

Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.

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Hi, welcome to Chili’s

A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.

Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.

A symmetrical birthday

A symmetrical birthday

Another year, another trip around the sun.

Turning 22 doesn’t offer nearly as many significant things to talk about as the ‘milestone’ 21, where drinking and properly oriented drivers’ licenses were officially on the table.

I won’t be starting this post off with a deep, important-sounding remark on the different milestones one hits in life.

Rather, 22 mainly stands out because… It’s symmetrical? I guess?

To be fair, 22 does have some things going for it. Most notably the fact that I’ll be graduating from college during that year. Yikes.

All of that is pretty forward thinking, though. Today there aren’t a whole lot of exciting things going on, as I’ll be saving the friend gatherings for later in the year when more people are back in town.

What I have gotten is a lovely breakfast made by my younger sister:

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Homemade waffles with fruit compote and whipped cream? I’ve been spoiled.

And a couple of birthday gifts from the family that I definitely did not know about from being in the store with them.

That would be ridiculous! I was honestly, truly surprised.

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Look at this adorable surprise!

Aly must know me real well if she thought to get me a Mimikyu-related gift again, totally without my input.

As much as it messes with my head that Sun and Moon came out almost three years ago, my love for this Pikachu lookalike remains strong. Even if I had to pull a Scizor out to take advantage of her weakness.

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Get it?

While Mimikyu and that new Switch controller are the main physical gifts I’ve gotten thus far, I have been eagerly watching all of the digital presents from various organizations roll in.

Like this cute little email from Nintendo helping me celebrate with all those Marro brahs:

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C’mon Bowser don’t be like that. Have some cake with your son.

Unfortunately platinum coins mean basically nothing next to gold coins, which would allow me to buy new video games.

Just give me more gold coins, Nintendo. I promise I’ll keep shilling for you if I can buy more games.

Until you do, I’ll just go back to Planet Fitness for my free water bottle.

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Not a joke.

I think it’s hilarious that my gym wants me to go spend my birthday working out as I’m sitting around eating ice cream cake, but to be fair I am planning on going tomorrow.

So I might actually use a free water bottle, as silly as that is.

At the very least water seems reasonable as an immediate necessity to keep my body working, which gives it an edge over this offer from Facebook:

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I get the sentiment here, getting members to create fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. It’s a nice goal in-and-of itself.

But one dollar? Seriously, Mark?

Pretty sure you could stand to offer a bit more of a generous care package all things considered. I know you have a bajillion users and that money stacks up in the long-run, but even something like $5 would look less silly as a ‘present.’

Alright, I’ll stop fruitlessly complaining at social media companies. I just honestly don’t have all that much more to say. After breakfast we went out for a bit to visit my Grandpa and buy special pasta ingredients for dinner.

We were greeted by a little bit of rain while out shopping, keeping up the tradition of water falling on my birthday.

Though it wasn’t near as bad as my 20th when I brought attention to the issue on the blog.

So that’s not an exciting direction to head down. Nor is all the homework that I’ll unfortunately be stuck doing tonight due to deadlines that leave no room for extensive birthday fun.

I think I’ll just wrap things up here, then. Get back to relaxing, spending some time with family and… Yeah, homework.

Just one more semester and I’ll never have to deal with that again.

As usual, thank you all for the support here on the blog and in my real life endeavors. Particularly to my old colleague/friend Ashlyn Ramirez who gave me shout outs on all the social media platforms unexpectedly.

That girl works hard, she deserves a little extra support!

But for all the rest of you as well, hope you’ll stick around for however many birthdays are still to come.

Just rainy day things

Just rainy day things

Just a quick Editor’s Note:

This was the post I had mostly written up on Thursday before everything got sidetracked by my Grandmother.

Today I’ve spent just about all of my time working on homework. Considering rain has been the backdrop of a good portion of that time, I figured I would bring this back around with some minor editing.

It’s goofy and dumb, thus much less heavy than what I’ve been writing lately. So I thought it would be perfect!

Enjoy.


Now before you read on, I know what you must be thinking.

Writing a whole thing about the rainy weather in Southern California while huge patches of the East Coast and Midwest are frozen, to the point where railroads in Chicago are being set on fire to keep trains running, seems pretty self-centered and blind to the world.

Well now that I said it, you officially can’t levy that criticism at me.

So there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not trying to start some “woe is me” weather war with places that have it far worse right now.

There are plenty of other people far more deserving of your scorn.

It just so happens that my neck of the woods hasn’t seen heavy rain like we got this week in some time.

On Thursday I may have missed the thunder and lightning back home in Redondo, but my car got a hell of a wash out in Fullerton after I got it back from the mechanic.

That was only slightly more of an ordeal than I expected, and as soon as I got my car back I had to give away my keys for assisted parking. Ironic… But possibly a topic for another day.

The thing that drove me the most crazy about having to use assisted parking was that I was in early that day. Gave a pitch for our upcoming SPJ meetings around 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the College Park building, but I still couldn’t catch a break on finding a parking spot.

The sky was relatively calm when I went underground, but not ten minutes later I emerged to a torrential downpour. Especially fun considering I had to cross campus for my 1:00 p.m. class.

I’m somewhat ambivalent to the rain.

If you’re not doing anything, the rain makes for wonderful sit at home, drink hot chocolate and play video games / do homework weather. No denying that, given its what I did today.

But when you’re stuck out in the stuff, forced to navigate sopping wet hallways, packed in like sardines during campus rush hour while surrounded by fences due to construction…

It’s less great.

Plus rain sucks in Breath of the Wild. So like there’s a big strike.

There is one thing I do tend to adore about rainy days, even if it is innocuous.

I’m talking, of course, about standing under my umbrella.

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… Ella, ella.

Hope you enjoy having that song stuck in your head now.

While I know it sounds ridiculous to tote “umbrella holding” as one of my favorite pluses to rainy weather, It’ll sound even more ridiculous when I elaborate that arguably the best thing about an umbrella is carrying it when it’s not raining.

Crazy, right?

Whenever the rain ceases, that’s when the umbrella becomes a perfect surrogate for imagination.

In my case, that means I’ll be swinging the damn thing around like a sword 99 percent of the time. So long as there aren’t people around to hit.

… Or judge me for being a crazy weirdo.

I’ve always been a fidgeter, handling things like my phone or video games idly. So a sword-like umbrella fulfills that inherent craving in a way I rarely get to play around.

However an umbrella still serves an imaginative purpose even when it is being used as a shield from inclement weather. I always enjoy spinning my umbrella as I stand out in the downpour, reminiscent of Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS.

Just look at her.

She’s cute even when her magical anthropomorphic umbrella is eating her head.

I want to be that cute sometimes.

But hey, these are just the weird associations that are forged in a mind as complex and bizarre as mine.

So if you’re also weird and imagine bizarre things when you’re holding an umbrella, let me know! I’d love to find out once and for all if I truly am the only freak in the universe.

Aches and pains

Overall this Winter Break has been strange.

I spent the first week or two sick in bed, and kept the sore throat for some time after.

Figured that was going to be the end of my rainy season hardships. But then it actually started raining hard in SoCal and everything fell apart again.

Just after finishing my Breath of the Wild post yesterday, I’m pretty sure I was hit with some kind of strange bug. I tried to sleep from 5:00 p.m. or so until this morning and honestly had trouble because I couldn’t warm up and all of my joints hurt.

What made it especially strange was that it seemed entirely confined to one night. By the time I woke up this morning, the sensation had passed.

Really the only effect of that brief, yet intense little cold was the fact that it sapped away all of my sleep. I’m sure you’ve all had those nights where you didn’t get any in spite of losing a number of hours laying in bed.

That was me.

Unfortunately, that lack of sleep came back to bite me in the ass this morning twice over.

First when I had to wake up extra early, around 6:00 a.m. or so, to take out the trash since Thursdays are garbage day and I happened to be so out of it that I forgot to pull it together last night.

Then when I had to re-wake up not much longer after to go to my 10:00 a.m. orthodontist appointment.

A few weeks back the permanent retainer on the back of my top teeth broke. I mentioned it briefly in a post where I was venting about a lot of stuff, It was an issue I meant to resolve much earlier, but that big bout of sickness happened to come about right when I had my first appointment scheduled, so I had to cancel it.

Can’t really justify forcing some poor folks to dig around in my mouth while I’m coughing and probably breathing out all kinds of nasty particulates.

Unfortunately that kindness toward the orthodontists was a double-edged sword. Apparently in the few short weeks since that bracket broke, my two front teeth have already started to drift apart. By this point the gap, as relatively unnoticeable as it is for me, was big enough to warrant not moving forward on repairs today.

Instead I’m going to wear my regular retainer 24/7 to try to bring my teeth back into place so we can seal them in place again.

On the bright side, that meant we didn’t have to pay for anything today because no work was done besides cleaning the cement where the old bracket was.

On the less bright side, wearing that thing so much after admittedly not doing so over the last few years makes for a very uncomfortable sensation in my mouth.

Thus it’s been a few days of joint pain and gum pain. As per the advertised joys of being 21.

Hopefully as the rain starts to fade into the weekend, all will start to feel better. That’s all I can ask for with school starting next week.

New adventures (real and fake)

New adventures (real and fake)

So I broke my New Year writing streak yesterday. Unless you want to substitute in that day I did two posts in one, in which case I’m right on track!

But if you don’t count that, I have a good excuse.

It was raining a lot, and that made me lethargic.

Plus I was playing a lot of Breath of the Wild.

That’s right, after talking all about my desire to return to Hyrule earlier this week, I actually went through with my threat and popped the game back in.

Frankly?

After a year-and-a-half break, everything about this open-world Zelda experience feels fresh again. It seems like I’m getting through the map way faster with just as much of a fine-toothed comb.

I actually cleared out two portions of the map in just the last two days, which included finally making my way into Death Mountain…

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… finding my second Divine Beast…

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… and destroying the blight inside…

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… to bring peace to Goron City!

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Primed and ready to fire.

I think the most astounding thing about Breath of the Wild to me is how easy it was to pick up and play again after so many months.

It only took a few minutes to re-familiarize myself with the controls before I was running all across Hyrule, solving puzzles and slaying baddies with a bunch of very powerful weapons I saved up. Even most of the side-quests came right back to me as soon as I saw brief reminders in the Adventure Log.

For having such a large map, Breath of the Wild actually has a lot of landmarks that made it feel like I haven’t taken a single day off. It’s a bit uncanny, honestly.

Oh and in case that video I put on Twitter didn’t make it clear, I’m having a blast doing neat things. Plus the NPCs are far funnier than I remember!

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I don’t know who you are random Hylian lady, but you have a great little backstory packed into one line.

So yeah. Breath of the Wild has actually been a godsend for the end of my Winter Break, where I haven’t had too many chances to see my friends. Perhaps it’s less of a godsend for the work on my novel I was planning to finish but…

I’ll get that done.

I swear.

To be fair, BotW hasn’t been the only distraction in my life. I went on a strange adventure with my Mom today.

About a week ago I got a letter from the State Controller of California.

As it turned out, I apparently had some dormant savings account at a bank that isn’t what my family uses. We don’t remember making it or anything, but the Controller let us know there was about $80 in the account — and that if we didn’t claim it soon, the money would go directly to the State.

I’m not one to let $80 slip away that easily.

So I followed through with that bank and went over there with Mom today, assuming she set it up the account considering it has been dormant since 2010.

However, when we arrived, it turned out there was no longer that much in there.

For some reason the information we got from the State Controller just a week ago was accurate to the balance over a year ago? As a result of the upkeep cost, by the time we showed up there was only about $20 to pull out.

Hurray.

Don’t get me wrong, $20 is $20 and I was happy to get a little extra cash in my pocket. It’s just strange that we had gotten such a misleading number from the State.

So… I guess moral of the story is… Get your records together State Controller Yee.

The rest of my afternoon was right as rain — in the rain. Mom and I got coffee, then picked up my sister, came home and I pretty much just played more BotW.

Before stopping to write this post, of course.

I’ll probably be playing Zelda a lot in the next few days, so I’ll try not to bother you all with it unless some really cool stuff happens. It just felt pertinent to give the world an update on how my prior indecision turned out to be a net positive.

Sometimes the world just needs some feel-good stories like that.

Changing of the seasons

Changing of the seasons

If I have any people to thank for just about all of the great stuff that has happened to me over the last three+ years, Bonnie Stewart has to be a big one.

Today, current and old members of the Daily Titan staff threw our favorite advisor a surprise party before her retirement from CSUF.

It was a sad day not just for all of us in the newsroom who have come to love Bonnie over her last five-and-a-half years advising the school’s newspaper, but also for nature in general apparently. The universe itself seemed to cry at the idea of her moving on from all of us students.

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Easily one of our heaviest rainstorms in years.

Not sure why pictures of the Pollak Library seem to be my barometer for things happening at Cal State Fullerton, but between this and my empty library picture from before Thanksgiving break I seem to be developing a pattern.

In this case I suppose I can blame it on the torrential downpour, which necessitated me to take a picture from inside the cozy warmth of a Starbucks post-meeting in the Honors Center rather than getting my phone drenched. I’m not kidding, it really came down like cats and dogs.

Pretty sure I hydroplaned at least once on the freeway going in this morning, and it was extra fun having copious amounts of water splash up against my windshield from adjacent cars.

… Alright maybe that’s enough complaining about the rain. This is supposed to be something of a celebratory ‘thank you’ kind of post after all.

Plus the rain had dried up by the time I left at about 6:00 p.m., four hours or so after the party for Bonnie began.

Nailed the transition

I wasn’t expecting the party to be very long or busy, but I’m glad I was wrong. Not only was it great seeing a packed newsroom show up to celebrate Bonnie, but a lot of those people were friends I haven’t had the chance to catch up with for a while!

Also, it gave my mom an opportunity to do some holiday baking for a crowd outside the usual suspects. By the end of the night there were only three pieces of her coffee cake left, and Bonnie liked it so much that she was happy to take the recipe.

While it was nice catching up with people like Kyle Bender, Amy Wells or Darlene Casas, meeting some older staff members like Samuel Mountjoy, Julia Gutierrez and Michael Huntley, and just generally schmoozing with a bunch of people and food, obviously Bonnie was the lady of the hour.

I’ve actually known about her retirement longer than most (from what I’m aware), as she was one of the first people I had approached to possibly be a mentor for my Honors Project. She had to turn me down since she wouldn’t have been around long enough to see the project through, and since then I’ve had to keep that little secret under lock-and-key.

Feels pretty nice to not have to hold onto it any longer… But it feel even more nice knowing that she trusted me with the secret in the first place.

Three+ years of working with Bonnie has undoubtedly made me a better person and a better journalist/writer/academic/anything, really. Any award I’ve received while at Cal State Fullerton, as well as any internship I’ve gotten as a result of my time at the Daily Titan, can all be tied back to her influence in some respect.

It was bittersweet to imagine her not having that same influence on others going forward as a result. But I know she’s off to do great things even in retirement, and I’m as excited to see where she lands as I’m sure she’s excited to see me (and all her students) land in jobs they deserve.

Another year older, 20 years in

If I had any sense of comedic timing, I would’ve figured out that a year ago I should have waited a few extra days to create my blog so I could coincide that birthday with my really for real birthday today.

Oh well.  Water under the bridge I suppose.

And water everywhere for that matter, since the sky has opened up here in Southern California.

​To be completely honest, rain on my birthday is a bit of a tradition at this point.  My parents still love to tell the story about how my first birthday was washed out by a typhoon.

Enough thinking about the past though, because now that I’m 20 years old and officially no longer a “teen,” it’s time I start thinking ahead to the future.

The first thing I find myself thinking of is whether or not it seems conceited to be writing myself a post about my own birthday.  Like sure, it’s my blog and everything, but it still feels strange.  

I’m not even entirely sure what to say past reflecting a little on my hopes that 20 will be a great year for me, just like 19 was.

Maybe it would be easier to think of things I’ll miss now that I’m another year older.  If I had to pick one thing about being under 20 that I’ll miss… 

It would be no longer getting meal discounts.

Was this whole post just an excuse to fit this surprisingly well placed joke out there? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Rest In Peace oh great deal of the century