Music To My Ears

Recently I saw two art forms that reminded me of how real music sounds like. The first being La La Land and the second seeing Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Both of these have jazz influences and brought me back to how real artist are.

They believe that real music is felt not just heard. They don’t stand on stage with their lips pressed on the microphone, they take you on a journey and let you peek inside their window of pain or glory. Even playing an instrument isn’t just playing notes, it’s painting them for all of us to see.

La La Land immediately made me want to go to a jazz club. No structure, just play. Yes of course you go to a concert now and artist have solos as well, but nothing beats hearing someone wail on a saxophone or dancing across those ivories. A lot of people don’t like jazz music, they say it’s to chaotic, but isn’t that the point. Isn’t that life? Before even seeing this movie I had a jazz station set on my radio and I find it relaxing or energetic depending on what’s playing. Hearing the rawness of jazz just makes you feel human. There are no right or wrong notes, it just is.

Which leads me to the concert. My best friend got me tickets to see Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox and honestly they left me with hope for real musicians. Some of the singers have been contestants on American Idol while others were equally talented vocalists. A little background, PMJ was started in NJ in Scott Bradlee’s basement. He just wanted to take songs of today and set them in past eras, from the 20’s-50’s. I fell in love with, well it’s hard to say them because there are many different artists, but anyway I fell in love with their version of “Creep” featuring Haley Reinhart. It’s bluesy, sultry, and heart wrenching, both vocals and music wise. After seeing the show I fell even more in love with the lineup they brought and their versions of “Call me Maybe, “Stacy’s Mom”, and even “Mmmbop”. This singers pleaded their souls with every song and the musicians were extraordinary! They got to show off there skills with solos in multiple songs and their was even a tap dancer who acted as part of the percussion. The audience sang to every song, danced along in their seats, and hoot and hollered with “Yassss” and “Woo!” towards notes that were being hit or just because. There was no pyrotechnics and no fancy dance breaks. Instead the whole cast spread their contagious love for music and genuinely enjoyed every second they were on stage.

Those are the concerts I love to go to. Where the band sweat every once of their performance because they lay it all out their. Where the vocalists take you to a place that you see their emotions. Not where an artist stands in front of a mic for two hours stoned or too drunk to play. Not where the theatrics are more important than the music, with the exception of Gaga because she puts on one hell of a show and we know she can sing from the Oscar’s a couple of years ago.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the roots of music are lacking in today’s music. The younger generation are growing up with an appreciation for “dance” music, which if that’s your fancy good for you. Don’t get me wrong I dance to today’s hits when I go out but nothing beats sitting in a small venue and really seeing the music come to life.

-AMP

Happy….Tuesday!

I bet you were thinking I was going to write the V word because of today’s date. Well truth is, I never liked this “holiday” and I have a boyfriend. I don’t feel the need to splurge on something vomited with red, pink, & white to remind the person I love that I love them especially on February 14th.

I bet you were thinking I was going to write the V word because of today’s date. Well truth is, I never liked this “holiday” and I have a boyfriend. I don’t feel the need to splurge on something vomited with red, pink, & white to remind the person I love that I love them especially on February 14th. I don’t expect flowers or to go to a fancy restaurant for dinner. In fact, the past two years there just so happen to be Devils games and I have asked my boyfriend to go. Literally I said “What are you doing February 14th?” He asked, “I don’t know what’s February 14th? I responded with, “Well its Valentine’s Day, but more importantly its a Tuesday and there’s a Devils game. Can you go?” He obviously responded yes, so that’s our plans. No pressure for gifts, no stress on if the night will be a perfect one filled with love and admiration, oh and don’t get me started on people who get engaged today. Like seriously dude…can you be any less original?

Besides the pressure and stress on couples, lets realize that the single people of the universe get a huge slap in the face because of all the PDA that goes on this glorious day. They are reminded that they haven’t found someone to share love with, which leads to their parents asking “Are you dating anyone? You’re not getting any younger you know.” Ugh, thanks card company. Oh, oh, and now the day before is “Galentine’s Day”. What the hell is that? Just another reminder to your single friends that you can’t hang out with them on the 14th because you’ll be with your boyfriend. What about the gays? Is there a Brolentine’s Day? No…why…because it sounds stupid! Celebrate and adore the one you love everyday. Show that you love them with small things throughout the year, as oppose to a blowout on one day. You’re wallet will thank you later. Rant over!

Now I must say sorry for being on a hiatus. The past week has been a whirlwind of chaos. I lost my Aunt in her battle with cancer and it hit me real hard. Too many people are dying from this and “they” say that there is no cure. I think that’s total bullshit. There’s so many different forms of cancer and we haven’t found a cure for any of them? Nothing can kill this disease that doesn’t care who you are or how old you are? I don’t believe it. I think that its just easier for the government to watch people die from cancer than save lives because America is overpopulated. Its a death wish just like when you join the military, you never know if you’ll come back from it, but who cares you’re fighting for your country. What are we even fighting for right now? At least people who have cancer are fighting for themselves to survive until the next holiday or someone’s wedding. They have no choice in what this disease does to their body, it just eats away at you until its won. How can you not get angry that there is no cure yet? There’s millions of dollars that go towards walks and research and still there’s nothing?

It seems like these past couple of months anyone who’s died, has died from some type of cancer. My uncle, two of my friends dad’s, my aunt. It gets really depressing. Its hard to just sit there and accept that there is nothing you can do for the person who is fighting. You can pray, spend as much time with them as you can, but in a second they are gone and you’ll still have regrets on not seeing them more often. You’ll blame yourself, the doctors, God, anyone and everyone. What we need to realize is that when they pass, they are finally free. There’s no more pain, no more needles going into them, no more hoping that a miracle would happen and they’d be cancer free for the rest of their lives. They are now looking down on us and smiling because we don’t have to see them deteriorate before our eyes anymore and if you don’t believe in heaven then you think they’ll be reborn as something or someone else. And if you don’t believe in any of that then you at least know that they are released of their demons.

This week has been a reminder of where my priorities are and who they are with. Every time there is a funeral everyone thinks I have to make more time for family or to see this person more often, but do we really do it? Do we succeed in making plans to see these people once or twice a month? Do we stop coming home just to do nothing and go over so and so’s house? I’m hoping to see people more often and all of us making the time instead of having plans that fall through. Especially family, these are the ones who stick by you no matter what. Anyway, I hope ya’ll have a happy Tuesday and tell the people that you love them everyday and not just today!

-AMP

 

All we need is love…

I’ve recently watched a movie called Cyberbully and I couldn’t help but think, thank goodness I grew up during a time where social media wasn’t a huge deal. Bullying has always been around, however there are so many more outlets now that people can spread rumors or make fun of someone on. While watching this movie I couldn’t help but think how many people have committed or thought about committing suicide from being bullied. How do people get joy out of making others feel miserable about themselves? What happened to them that they feel the need to do this?

In a previous post I have admitted on being a victim of having rumors spread about me. I have to say in this case it wasn’t a malicious attack. I liked one of my guy friends, someone said we were dating, he stopped talking to me, and my friends started to ignore me because they had a crush on the same guy. Did I get depression from this? No. Was I pissed? Hell yeah! That’s middle school for ya! So and so said blah, blah, blah, and everyone believed it instead of going to the source for the truth. You know what….it’s still not okay.

When I was young I went to a dancing school outside of my city at the age of seven. Shortly after I was asked to be on the competition team and all anybody could think was that I got on because the director knew my mom. Instead of being welcomed I was blatantly secluded during practices when we were asked to go in the other room and run the dance or moves we just learned. Its tough when you become a fourth person in a tight trio. My love for dance helped me push through, but as the years went on more people were added to the group and welcomed with open arms by my “teammates”. I get that I didn’t live close to hang out on the regular and they did include me in dance outings, but they always grouped in a corner and whispered. No matter how much I tried to be friends, it just felt fake or forced. One year for my birthday they made it out to seem like they forgot it, when usually we’d get a card and balloons. I felt stupid and insignificant. I always chipped in on their birthdays, what the hell did I do to be overlooked? After class was over they finally revealed balloons and a card, saying something along the lines of, “we got you.”

Was I supposed to be relieved? I felt like screaming. I hated feeling like a project they were semi interested in. I didn’t have that popular gene in my body like the rest of them had. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I just wanted to dance. I remember getting into my mom’s car one night saying, “I don’t know if I want to dance anymore”. She couldn’t believe what I said and immediately asked why and what happened. I told her the team made me feel like an outsider and I hated it. Being the loving mom, she said it was up to me. The more I thought about it, the more I’d get pissed that I’d let people come between my love for dance. I ultimately decided that I wouldn’t let them get to me and if they kept shutting me out I’d just work harder. That seemed to get them off my back and start to make an effort in being friends.

Soon after I got them off my back, their next victim came walking in. I noticed right away how they excluded her and I made it a point to get to know her. She was different from everyone, just like me, so I understood her. Unfortunately they got to her worse than me. She isolated herself and seemed to start a spiral into depression and an eating disorder. I graduated shortly after leaving all that behind. Or so I thought…

I went off to college and joined the dance ensemble and dance team my first semester. The people were extremely nice and I thought I finally have a dance family that I’ll feel included in. The girls I became close to left after a couple of semesters and I was left with the new tide rolling in. I went from one of the loved dancers to being pushed out again because of my love for dance. I didn’t make excuses, I did whatever the choreographers wanted me to do without question. That’s what I learned, so I couldn’t believe how many times I heard, “I can’t do that, you have to change it, I have bad (insert body part here)”. If you’re not going to give 100% than don’t be in a dance ensemble. That sounds harsh, but it was how I felt at the time. Certain dancers thought I took it to seriously, well yeah this was my life, my career.

I graduated and went on to a program in the city where another student auditioned and got in also. I was livid because I wanted to experience something by myself without drama. I became just like my teammates in thinking she didn’t deserve to be there. I somehow became a bully and made smart comments under my breath when she made a mistake. Who am I? Why was I doing this? I think I just didn’t get how she got into the same program when my dance technique was clearly better than hers. Better than hers. What the hell was wrong with me?! My competitive nature got the best of me and I made a few enemies in the program. I couldn’t wait for it to over.

With my certification done I got asked to be apart of a company with other dancers I had danced with in college. No brainer, of course! I couldn’t wait to keep dancing and see everyone again. With rehearsals underway and everything flowing smoothly I thought this is great! Finally a place to just dance. After the first show we did another, this time I saw that specific people were being picked for specific dancers no matter their talent. It became extremely biased on friendship and I was only picked for two or three numbers out of ten. Am I that difficult to work with? I know its not my dance ability. I started to feel secluded and after three shows decided to withdrawal from future shows. I wasn’t going to let people get to me again and get in the way of dance. I wasn’t going to feel unworthy.

When I found out that Lady Gaga became an advocate for bullying, because she herself was, I was ecstatic! Finally someone who made herself into something when everyone said she’d be nothing. She proved them all wrong and her fan base are a bunch of little monsters who are all different types of weird. A perfect fit for me. I’m a weirdo, I know. I enjoy singing and dancing where ever I can and I am a goofy goober. I don’t want to be perfect or want to impress everyone. I don’t feel the need to love the latest trends and I grew up with a diverse group of family and friends. I don’t discriminate against anyone because I believe people should love who they want to and be who they want to. Gaga’s music tells a story and she is 100% a true artist. She struggled, but still keeps it real. She was a victim  of sexual assault, multiple eating disorders, and bullying throughout her life. She is not afraid to speak up for those who can’t and her Super Bowl performance was definitely top three of all time.

Which brings me to today, political correctness is ruining this country, people feeling the need to tell others who they can or can’t love is ruining this country, and coming in hot for round two: sexism is ruining this country. Why can’t we all get paid equally? Why can’t men be stay at home dads without their egos getting bruised? Why can’t people let others be themselves without judgement? This world needs love and understanding that everything doesn’t need to be understood. Stop bullying people you don’t get and give them a chance. The world would finally be able to breathe and that is all we need.

 

-AMP

Just Be

Why is it that when the moon is bright we try to capture it in a photo? Instead, can’t we just be?

The moon smiled at me tonight as I drove home, it’s secret guarded by the halo emanating off of it. The shape was of the Cheshire cat, all that was missing were those yellow eyes.

Why is it that when the moon is bright we try to capture it in a photo? Instead, can’t we just be? Everything has to be videod or photographed….isn’t the memory more alive when you think back at it? Or do we do it so our minds won’t misconstrue what we see?

Although one person’s perspective is never the same as another’s. We can interpret something as simple as what’s out the window an infinity amount of times. Right now I see the stars peeking out of the navy sky, while another person might just see the apartments across the way. Is it just me or do others look at the sky and realize there is a whole other universe out there and we are a small speck?

I remember as a kid laying on the grass and observing the clouds slowly passing by. I thought this is a reminder that Earth spins while we live our life, this grounded me and made me take in the happenings all around. The breeze kissing my skin, the grass that collapsed from my body, the color of the trees; it’s bark and leaves.

We all should appreciate nature more. Close our eyes and get lost in the sound of the neighborhood. Go camping and leave our devices at home. See the Utopia that is staring at us, but we are too blinded by technology to see it. Instead of capturing a sunset, just watch it. Take it all in: the colors, the way the sun descends into the horizon, the change in temperature.

This generation of kids need this the most. Disconnect from the cyber world and look around. They need to not get so caught up in selfies, musical.ly, and snapchat. Parents should take cell phones, tablets, and any other electronic devices away for a couple of hours and sit outside with them or go on mini adventures. Remind them that there is so much to see outside of the glowing screen their hypnotized by. Stop and just be. Take a deep breathe and just be. Just be.

-AMP

The Parting Glass

Is it a sad song of a goodbye or is it a song to say see you later?

Take a listen to this song….

 

Done?

Beautiful right? So what exactly is the meaning of it? Is it a sad song of a goodbye or is it a song to say see you later? The meaning of the word and phrase are very different. Goodbye is more formal and final compared to see you later, which is more casual and commonly said when in fact seeing someone later.

So what started my mind wondering about the meaning of this Irish/Scottish folk song? Well, a friend of mine randomly sent it to me. This is someone who was in my life during high school and continued to pop in and out over the years. We’ve recently reconnected a couple of months ago and randomly send texts here and there catching up, basically trying to include each other in our lives again. After listening to it the first time I thought, this guy has a great instrument, his voice glides over every word, like butter melting over a baked potato. Then I listened to it again and paid close attention to the lyrics, because I’m a girl and overanalyze everything, I started to panic and think is this a way of saying goodbye? Or is this just a song they liked and wanted to send it.

So it true AMP fashion, I text said friend this:

Okay I’m dying, why did you send me that song? You know my brain I can’t just listen to something without over analyzing it haha. I thought maybe it was because you were peacing out of my life again, but this time intentionally lol or was it just a nice song to have me listen too and I’m just being crazy?

That was around 10pm Monday and I haven’t heard a thing. Now after going back and finding it on soundcloud again I noticed there were other posts, so I took a listen. How dumb of me! This is probably his station and his cover of the song. He always had a great voice, but I couldn’t pin this to him because of the accent he used while singing. Should I text again and say, “OMG I just realized its your voice! Disregard that message!” or wait for an answer haha.

Honestly, this song made me think about other relationships…even ones that weren’t a thought during the time. I’ve always been the girl who gets along better with guys, trust issues started in middle school with catty girls (God forbid you’re friends with a guy you like and don’t pursue it because you don’t want the friendship to get ruined. People just have to butt in and ruin a good friendship by telling your guy friend that you like them, just to have them stop talking to you), I’ve never been the same.

Quick insight I was a driven person, one who was focused on dance and didn’t have time to date boys, instead I just fantasized about it. I had more guy friends than girl friends in high school and the girls I made friends with, except the three I’m still friends with today, always got in the way of relationships, so I gave them a grand exit out of my life. I was easy to get along with, a go with the flow kind of person. I could spend a Friday night with a guy friend driving to nowhere just to park and look out the sunroof at stars or go over their house and listen to them play guitar with no added pressure. Conversation always flowed and it was never awkward to say goodbye, because there was no anticipation of a kiss. I was blinded by a long time crush, who was more of a man-whore, over great guys sitting right in front of me.

After graduating high school, I saw old friends at parties, at trips to AC, and of course got messages on FB asking how I’ve been. All these encounters had one thing in common, them saying, “You know I wanted to ask you out during high school, but you were so driven that I knew you wouldn’t have time for me.” Here I thought I wasn’t liked by many guys in high school, because I was always the friend or the girl who danced, and little did I know even popular guys had crushes on me. Was I that blind? How much more different would my life had been if I noticed? I was frustrated at them for telling me all these years later, instead of then and of course I was always dating someone at the time of these unveilings. Would I have secured a prom date well in advance, instead of asking a junior only to find out how sleazy he was and take back the invite a couple of weeks before prom?

Prom! Oh lord, word got out fast that I didn’t have a date and honestly I was hoping at the time my crush came to the rescue. To no surprise he asked a junior and my guy friends, the gentlemen they were, tried to swoop in to save the day, but I was stubborn and wanted to go alone. When prom finally came my amazing friend, who also went stag, became my pseudo date and made me take pictures with him so I wouldn’t be alone. We called ourselves, Bond, James Bond, and his Bond girl and I had a blast busting moves on the dance floor, dancing with who ever I wanted and not getting into a fight with my date. Looking back at it now, I wonder if Bond would have danced with me (which I asked him to do) if things would have changed, with all that prom air floating around. Would we still have been just friends or would there have been a spark on my side that I didn’t see before then? Would my outlook on my other guy friends have changed into wanting to pursue feelings that were pushed aside out of not wanted to interrupt the easiness of a friendship?

All this just from listening to one folk song! One song about leaving a gathering of friends with hopes of seeing them again in the near future. A song that took me back to when times were simple and I decided to hang with dudes because they were easier to get along with. I miss those times and I miss those friends. I’m chose to not text him again and wait it out. I decided that the song to me wasn’t a goodbye or a see you later, it was a new perspective on relationships that could have been if I wasn’t so blind. With that I leave you, “Good night and joy be with you all.”

-AMP

 

 

 

The daunting process of finding an internship…

I recently graduated with my Bachelor’s from Southern New Hampshire University in October. I left with a 3.7 GPA, a couple of honor societies and great reviews from my teachers. Career services has been nothing but great to me and helping me find internships to apply to….so what gives?

First, I’d like to say that I’m completely changing careers, going from dancer to working in a publishing house, so most of my qualifications come from my work in school with no “real” experience. Second, I didn’t write for the newspaper or anything like that while I was in school, which I probably should have done to have something to put on my resume but what ever. Third, well every job wants experienced writers straight out of college….cause that makes perfect sense. While in college shouldn’t you be focused on your grades and assignments and extra curricular activities to make you look marketable to companies. I guess I went wrong by not getting involved more in the writing aspect of the school.

Anywho, I’ve applied to about 10 internships so far, went on one interview, and followed up on the ones I haven’t heard from, but still nothing. Seriously, not even a thank you for your interest, but the position has been filled type of email. Not to mention most of them are in the city (NYC) and I live in NJ so maybe that’s a factor as well, but there’s hardly anything writing wise in NJ. So at this point what do I do? Well for one thing I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a couple books in fiction, because ultimately I will be a  writer of teen fiction/fantasy, and I felt great doing this. I applied to a couple more internships, started this blog, and am just playing the waiting game. Oh yeah, I’ve also submitted one story to a literary magazine but they turned it down. Which is fine because dance taught me how to deal with rejection real quick. Maybe I’ll try to find local newspapers to submit short stories to? For right now I think I’ll continue writing and creating new stories for myself….who knows I might even share one on here?

-AMP

20-20-9

WARNING: This is a straight up hockey post so be prepared.

So last night I decided to get dressed and go to the Devils game after feeling like crap all day (thanks Aunt Flow). The Devils played Saturday against the  Philadelphia Flyers and actually looked like they were on the right track, the same as when they started the season, so I figured I’d go and see them kick ass against the LA Kings. Now the Kings played Monday against the NY Rangers and ended up losing 3-2, which means they were out for blood on who ever they played next.

Fast forward to the game where Corey Schneider was in goal after being sick for the past couple of games. Game starts and the LA scored two goals in less than a minute. Great way to start a game, especially at home after being away for 4 games. The next shot Schneider faced he saved, receiving sarcastic applause from the crowd. Somehow the Devils ended up getting a 5-3 after the Kings took a couple penalties and with plenty of shots hitting the goalie none went through. As if 2 goals weren’t enough the Kings scored one more with about 4 minutes left in the first. The crowd, which was less than normal, were getting restless, talking about firing the coach, trading away Schneider (which we can’t with his no trade clause in this contract), or losing the rest of the season on purpose so the Devil’s can get a good draft pick for next season. End of the 1st and the Devils down 3-0. On the one hand the dreaded 3-0 is a good thing for NJ, they’ve made the comeback before, but on the other hand they looked like they played last night instead of having two days off.

Second period starts with Keith Kinkaid leading the team out, which means Schneider was done for the night. The crowd perked up after seeing this and the mood shifted to a more hopeful outcome. There was more fire on the ice as the Devils nearly got on the board after a scramble in front of the net. Unfortunately, Jordan Knoll just so happened to push the net off leading the Refs to blow the whistle. The place went nuts with Boo’s and other banter and all the Knoll got was a penalty for delay of game. We’ve seen this play before by players and usually that’s be a penalty shot, but of course its the Devils and the Refs hate them this year so it was just a power play for them. Now if you follow hockey you know that the Refs have been on everyone’s shit list, but the Devils don’t need power plays they need goals because their power play record is horrendous. Kinkaid made some great saves clearly proving they made the right decision to place him in net. Miles Wood gets a nice opportunity to take it in but ops to shove it back towards Henrique who is to slow to reach it. End of the second and no goals on either end. The second intermission consisted of a shootout challenge of four kids and was easily the most exciting part of the game.

Finally the third period is underway and the Devils finally get on the board with 7 minutes left in the period, a nice screened shot from Kyle Quincey. With not a lot of time left NJ needed to fight for every faceoff win and every battle on the boards. About 2:20 left on the clock the Hynes decided to pull Kinkaid for the extra man advantage. LA never let up and had a couple of chances to score the empty netter but the Devils didn’t give up either. The game ended the 3 game winning streak of the Devils and with only 34 games left the playoffs seem to be slipping away again.

When the team didn’t have offense at least they had defense and now that the team has offense they are lacking a consistent defense. Their road game is strong, but once they get home they shit the bed. The Rock’s attendance is piss poor because of the constant up and down of this team since the 2012 cup run and what’s even sadder is that it’s the only team left in NJ constantly struggling gaining fans from their river rivalry brothers the Rangers and Islanders. I root for my team in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, but somethings got to happen so this team is a playoff contender again.

-AMP