Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mixin' It Up

For months now I've been anticipating the arrival of my car. My grandmother gave me her 2000 Honda Civic as a gift. Of course, there were no iPods in 2000, thus there would be no fancy plug to hook up mine. Needless to say I got a bit excited about creating mix CDs for the car. Maybe too excited.

The thought of creating whatever mix I wanted gave me musical freedom from the often questionable selections on the radio.

I love making mix CDs for all occasions-- birthdays, holidays, new cars. I am also the queen of themes. If something can have a theme, it will. I've made CDs for when I'm having a good or bad day, guilty pleasures (like Britney Spears or the Jonas Brothers), and for when I'm in the mood to party.

With the holidays quickly approaching, mix CDs make great, personalized gifts for friends. They're inexpensive, and they allow you to not only introduce your friends to new music, but also remind them of songs that you have shared together.

A simple mix is all you really need to get your feelings across to someone. Maybe for your best friend you play them a little "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts. For your boyfriend or girlfriend you might want to hit 'em with some "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder.

I finally received my car the other day, and while I worry about safety on the road, I'm also concerned with my musical choices coming from my stereo. I just pop in a mix CD and I'm ready for anything.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gone Too Soon?

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of music from musicians who have died at an early age. I may sound a bit morbid by saying that, but I find it heartbreaking and fascinating to listen to the immense amounts of potential in such young artists.

One of my favorite bands is The Doors. The lead singer, Jim Morrison, died at the age of 27 from an alleged overdose. He was part of the "27 Club," or celebrities who passed away at the young age of 27. He was a singer, a lyricist, a poet, a young star who died too soon.

Another young talent lost was Bradley Nowell, the lead singer of Sublime. The band's sound with Nowell as the original lead singer was like no other. Their songs were full of depth wrapped in humor, and they were one of the best ska punk bands of the 90's.

All these early deaths make me wonder about how these bands would have sounded if they had been able to continue to grow as musical talents. Would their fame even be acknowledged as great, or would they be cast aside as just another band from that generation? Would their music be as influential as it is today if they hadn't kicked the bucket?

It makes you stop and think about music today and who is becoming famous for what. Is talent measured in longevity or instant popularity? I believe that regardless of age, good music is good music. All that a band really needs to become successful is passion for their craft and determination. And I don't necessarily mean monetary success. If today's musicians could pour their heart and soul into their art, the music scene would flourish with originality again.

Who knows, the next Jimi Hendrix (another "27 Club" member) could be in our generation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Matt and Kim!

Matt and Kim is an energetic fun band that just released their new album "Sidewalks". Their unique beats and great sound just makes you want to get up and bust your best dancing moves. Matt Johnson is involved with the vocals and plays keyboard, while Kim is also included in the vocals and plays the drums. This dynamic duo started their music adventure as "Matt and Kim" in 2004. Ever since they've been rocking out and creating music for everyone to enjoy. I had the absolute pleasure to interview Matt and Kim.

Rachel: How is the tour going for you guys?
Kim: It's good.
Matt: It's awesome actually!

Rachel: How is it living on a bus?
Kim: This is kind of our normal life where going home is strange now. We're only home like three months out of the year.
Matt: I mean a lot of it's different, a lot of it is doing shows where we fly in and fly out on a daily basis. It gets pretty stressful, but doing the bus...the bus ain't bad!

Rachel: What other bands inspired you guys? What inspired you to start making music?
Kim: It wasn't like we were trying to start a band, I just wanted to learn how to play drums and Matt had a keyboard he wanted to figure out. In Brookyln the scene we're in it's a combination of artist, musicians, and people who are just down to party. Coming from that background it was very easy to start. I mean we got forced to play our first show. We weren't trying to start a band.
Matt: But I think in the end it was more inspiration from friends then like "Oh hey there's this big band" or whatever. A lot of it was bands that we loved and we loved to see. They were doing rad stuff. We were really just messing around and that was really what inspired us. It was just a close nit music community in Brooklyn that we just fell into by accident.

Rachel: You guys are so fun and energetic. How do you keep those qualities while performing all of the time?
Kim: Well, we get to play all the time. (laughs)
Matt: As tired as you can be or whatever, the second we go out to play, to have a bunch of people super stoked is what helps. Whatever bad situation I may be in I snap out of right when I get on stage. We love what we do and we don't take any of it for granted. Kim and I write exactly what we want to hear in music. You need to do what you love.

To learn more about Matt and Kim visit their site at Mattandkimmusic.com

Posted by Rachel Gonzalez

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Music is life...literally

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved listening to music, sitting in the car with my mother and singing along to artists like Bon Jovi, Leanne Rimes, Vanessa Carlton, and an assortment of 80s and 90s music. I had never really actually listened to the lyrics and the deep and sometimes powerful meaning behind them.

Songs like "A Thousand Miles" (Vanessa Carlton) talks about the distance between two lovers and doing everything in the young protaginist's power to go back to her dearly beloved.

"Love Drunk" (Boys Like Girls) expresses the resentment of an ex and the lack of attention of the relationship which led to major heartbreak-issues we as teenagers seem to deal with a lot.

I personally have never appreciated the life lessons these songs seem to provide us with until just a few years ago when I was really down in the dumps, and then I realized that all the answers I wanted were right in my Ipod.

Wether you're dealing with heartbreak, being incredibly angry with the world, feeling rather lonely, or just want to jam to something fun, music is incorporated to each and everyone of our lives every single day.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Here is yet another blog relating to the new popular series, Twilight. A lot of people seem to be freaking out about this and I personally don't see the big deal. I've never read the books I've only seen the movies, but people are really over reacting about this series. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against the author. It is a very creative story, and the fact that it became a series of feature length is quite impressive. Its almost genius if you think about it. What I'm complaining about is the fans.
I'm a horror fan and I've seen tons of movies involving the good old fashion vampires. The ones that would attack there victims and make them their undead servants, or burn to dust when they step out of the sun. Now because of the fans, I'm afraid that sparkling "Edward Cullen" will replace Dracula or Nosfetratu.
I recall a time when I went to the DVD release of Twilight, because some how my friends (who were female), some how convinced me to come with them. Lines of these obsessive fans reached all the way to the parking lot. I kept asking myself, "This is all for a DVD!?" I feared my safety due to all the "teams". Actually these "teams" are more like "gangs". I was waiting for gun fire to break out due to an argument between Edward and Jacob.
Another main issue I have a problem with is the fan's attitudes toward the actors. It appears to me that most of the people only learned about Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner because of their roles in Twilight. Only after this movie did people care about their past movies. I guarantee you that if other actors were chosen to play Edward and Jacob no one would've made as big of a deal. Its amazing what a few fictional characters can due to a whole teenage generation. In a way, its kind of disturbing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pretty Little Liars

ABC Family’s new series Pretty Little Liars, which is based off of the novels written by Sara Shepard, is a new breed of television shows; mixing Nancy Drew with Gossip Girl. The show has brought a new Tuesday night activity to the table and viewing parties have become the new trend.

Alison DiLaurentis (played by Sasha Pieterse) was the It Girl and leader of the popular clique at Rosewood Day. That is until she went missing…

Spencer Hastings the boyfriend stealing honor roll student (played by Troian Bellisario), Hanna Marin the newly skinny popular girl (played by Ashley Beson), Aria Montgomery the English teacher’s pet and Daddy’s little girl (played by Lucy Hale), and Emily Fields the swimmer girl who has no use for boys (played by Shay Mitchell) have found themselves observed by a secret stalker, who calls him or herself “A.”

When the girls start finding messages with threats to tell about Spencer’s stolen kisses with her sister’s fiancĂ©, Hanna’s bulimia, Aria’s English teacher slash boyfriend and cheating father, and Emily’s homosexual tendencies, they start to think that these secrets, which only Alison knew, may be not-so-subtle-hints that Alison’s back in town.

That is until full year after Alison’s disappearance when the new girl, Maya, moves in to the house that Alison lived in when she went missing. A certain backyard renovation may stir things up when Alison’s body is found. In order to save their reputations and their lifestyles, the pretty little liars have to determine who “A” is and get him or her to keep their secrets.

To find out more about the Pretty Little Liars you can read Shepard's novels, watch the show, or visit their official site: http://www.prettylittleliars.com/tv/

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Secret Life of the American Teenager Twist!

When this show started in 2008, it was about Amy being pregnant with Ricky's baby but is going out with Ben and really likes him and Adrian is going out with Ricky. But now, Adrian is pregnant with Ben's baby and not only is she pregnant, but she is having the baby. When Amy finds out, after everyone else, she gets really angry and doesn't talk to anyone but her kid, John, for days. After Amy becomes furious with Ben and not answering his phone calls and text messages, he decides to go out with Grace. When Amy does talk to someone, it's Adrian and Amy says she wants to be friends.

While all these are going on, there is something going on with Ashley and Ricky which is breathtakingly surprising. Also, Jack moves into Grace's guesthouse which makes
Madison very unconfortable.

The next few episodes for the rest of season 3 will make everything clear about what Amy feels about all these and if she will ever forgive Ben and go back out with him and what will happen with everyone else.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book series has nourished story lovers with tales of amazing and literally magical things. When the movies came out, tickets vanished from the box office. On June 18th something absolutely magical has happened to our muggle world, the wizarding world has finally come off the movie screen. A theme park dubbed the name “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” opened to Universal Orlando. On its first day of opening people fled in from around the world to marvel at the park’s attractions. Accompanying the flock of Potter fans was the complete cast of Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliff (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) toured around the park, stopping at sights such as the Three Broomsticks for a mug of Butterbeer and Honeydukes the infamous candy store for a taste of the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
At the theme park, visitors are able to go to various places such as Ollivanders (where one can purchase a wand) or the Hogwarts Castle where you can tour Dumbledore’s office. Tourists can also ride on a fearsome new attraction at this park called Dragon Challenge. This is a ride that involves two roller coasters that each has their own dragon as a theme: a Chinese Fireball or a Hungarian Horntail. Much like the Dueling Dragons ride that was housed in Islands of Adventure until it was closed, the roller coasters intertwine with each other as if the two dragons are fighting it out.
This is a sequel to the Harry Potter adaptations that will have people talking for a very long time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sweet Sweet Music

Something that's been buzzed about for the past couple of weeks has been the upcoming annual Vans Warped Tour. This all-day show basically features a wide assortment of artist from different genres that range from hip-hop to hardcore and is sure to have a little something for all it's attendees. This music festival is definitely something to experience at least once in your lifetime. Kick back in the lawn and relax to the melodic lyrics of your favorite band, crowd surf among the fans, make a couple of new friends, mosh it out, scan the merch tents... The list of things to do is endless. My personal favorite is when you can meet the artist and have some one on one time with them and who knows maybe you'll meet someone before they go big. Just a few big names among the Warped tour alumni: 3OH!3, attended 2-3 years before their first song came on the radio, Katy Perry, attended in '08, All Time Low, The Maine, Cobra Starship, and Gym Class Heroes. It doesn't matter if this is your 1st time or your 10th time attending Warped; if you love music this is for you!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Twilight Success

Vampires, muggles and werewolves have been enchanting us for so many years. J.K Rowlings Harry Potter remained unchallenged until the day beau of Twilight by Stephanie Meyers mostly inspired by the first movie coming the theatres November 21,2008. It was said by Time magazine in 2008 that her first 3 books had sold over 5.3 million copies in the U.S beating Harry Potter 6 out of top spot. What made it so successful? "You can relate to their feelings and emotions." Jazmin Sellars, Western High sophomore said. If you compare it to Harry Potter something both novels accomplish is giving the reader a sense of escape from reality. For some teens today it can be a gift to escape their stressful lives within a few pages.

The main art of Stephanie Meyers is the ability to describe emotions teens tend to feel which is why the book targets most high school students. The skill both authors possess is the ability to engulf readers into their imagination which is the reason they deserve top spot. And their writing inspired more than just movies but fashion fads like nerdy glasses and colored contacts. Twilight has become everything from party themes to heart racing conversations. It's the hot guys, dramatic scenes that draws teens in for more. For many, its something to look forward to and line up at the theatre for.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dirty Dancing at Parties !

So it seems as if dirty dancing at parties is the new trend ! or at least its always been. I thought going to parties used to mean a celebration is happening. But now all it looks like is were celebrating our bodies and sex. I hate that I may just want to go to a party to respectfully enjoy myself or be supportive of whoever is throwing that party. Yet I meet guys who cant control themselves and I have to suffer the consequences. And I'm not a rude person but inevitably I have to result to the rudest actions to show that there are certain boundaries that you cant pass.

And let me be clear here its not all about the girls being disrespected and what not. Not every guy wants all these girls all up on him! What happened to the old days where we would ask each other for a dance ? We shouldn't assume that everyone wants our booties. Like seriously, sometimes its better to save the embarrassment. AWKWARD !

Dancing can be fun without being seductive and ridiculous. If you like dancing like that I'm not bashing you. Just don't dance with me...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hello Cello!

I think it is fair to say that the cello is one of the most unique instruments around. Capable of producing a deep thunderous sound and a high-pitched harmonic sound, the cello is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments to date. With this wide musical range, the cello can produce a hard rocker sound or a soothing classical masterpiece. Often times people don't recognize the sound of a cello, but in reality this large instrument is synthesized in many songs.

I've played the cello now for nearly two years and I can honestly say it is unlike any other instrument. I used to play the piano and I was constantly told to "feel" the music--a concept I had never really understood. When I began playing the cello, I was finally able to grasp this concept. The cello becomes like an extension of my body, in which every note I can feel. The beauty in the instrument is thus truly revealed.

Photo taken by Katelyn Chesonis.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What's the Hype About Silly Bandz?

They're everywhere. Kids love them. Teens love them. Celebrities love them. So what are they?

They're Silly Bandz. First sold exclusively online in 2008, BCP Imports' Silly Bandz now occupy the shelves of 8,000 stores in the U.S. and are on Amazon's list of best selling toys and games. These inexpensive and colorful rubber bands can be found in a variety of shapes, from dollar signs to butterflies to guitars. They've swept across the U.S. and can be now found on the wrists of children everywhere.

I first came across them while volunteering in the Religious Education program at my church, where I worked with 2nd graders. The kids would come in with both arms covered halfway to their elbows with these rubber bands and trade them. Those who didn't have any marveled over their classmates. Not long after, my little sister came home with a few Silly Bandz of her own and pleaded that we buy some more.

I personally didn't find them of much entertainment or collecting value. The coolest part of them was the fact that you could stretch them out and they still retained their original shape. I have to admit, some are a little cute, like the elephant or dolphin. They're still not something I would spend my own money on. However, celebrities have been swept into the craze as well. Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Kate Olsen are a few of the more fashion-forward fans.

Just like Pokemon cards, Tamagotchis, and Neopets, Silly Bandz will probably fade away into just a childhood memory for most. But for now, they're a thriving and harmless trend.