Unhealthy ways to deal with a breakup

So when I had the idea to write this article…(tangent coming). Oh sweet baby Jesus it feels so good not to be in English anymore!!! I can start my sentences and end them where I want and. It feels so good! Ja feel?  (End scene). When I first had the idea to write this article I had idea after idea, just rolling off my brain like the head and shoulders that I am buying today (yes my brain has dandruff, who are you to judge me?  I’m still standing, I’m still strong!!). So I’m going to try to go down that path, vamos!
In this world there are things that I am not good at.  Such as: flipping burgers, flipping pancakes, most things that need to be flipped (except for these bricks). However, I am great at certain things like! Not dealing with my emotions.  (Segue).  Along this vein I am going to explain to you several ways I have dealt with my recent breakup (Iphone style (only because IPhone corrected Iphone to look like iPhone. Brand, what brand? Ain’t no brand big.))
It was a beautiful day outside.  I had on my apron tending to my flock of European platypuses (platypi sounds better but autocorrect assures me that it is in fact wrong). All of sudden I see my girlfriend of the time , standing on a woolly mammoth, with her heavy metal band, playing a cover of single by Natasha Bedingfield (wrong genre, and those caveman outfits are a fashion no no).  Just when I thought that I got the message, the lead guitar player jumped of his stead (if you can call a woolly mammoth a stead) and screamed in my face, conveying the weight of the situation, and proceed to kill my precious European platypuses.  Hurt, I look at her, high upon her beast, and she speaks.  
“My son, take this platypus, in remembrance of the good times and the bad, and remember to always hang loose.”  Shaking my fist I shout out to her.
“You gnarly bastard!  How will I ever gain the platypus following that I had”
As her band starts to ascend into the heavens, she says to me
“Believe!!”
After the devastating loss of my platypuses, I tried to practice my saxophone but I only how my platypuses loved when I played Sonny Rollins solos to them.  I kept flashing back to the lead guitarist smashing my babies with his appropriately shaped axe guitar…(get it, Slash?? Killing platypuses with an axe shaped guitar, this is primo stuff guys).  I had to retaliate!  I immediately put together a creepy heavy metal group, fitting myself with the perfect wig for the occasion.  As my lead guitarist, I afforded Prince the opportunity to join my ranks, with the promise of being Knighted by my platypus.  Needless to say his agent said that Prince was not interested in the playing, but he had always wanted to be Knighted by a platypus.  He was in.  We chose a song with the most CPE (creepy potential energy) and rehearsed it day in and day out.  (The song was bohemian rhapsody).  With AFKAP (the artist formally known as Prince) leading the charge, we descended from the skies and started shooting lightening into her vineyards.  She tried to retaliate but our ban had successfully destroyed the vineyard.  AFKAP descended down to her, tossing her a single seed.
“I expect you to have grapes for me when I come again.”  AFKAP dissipated into the night, sends us all to our various places of residence. In the past few days I have tried to reach out to AFKAP, but he has not been reached since.
Obviously this is not how it happened but this is a lot better than the actual happenings of the day.  I had decided after the ordeal to retreat to my bed, leaving practicing to tomorrow, but my roommate Jacob inspired (forced me) to go out with him to a jam session.  Arriving at the Jam session knowing that I should probably play more than just ballads all night I put together a list of songs I had been working on.  None of them went well. It was kind of like when you challenge  your teacher to a cutting session, except the other saxophone player was my age (because I ain’t shit).  However, I took a great solo on Autumn leaves (that’s probably a lie I probably sounded like dog food tastes…delicious!!).  I decided that in order to get over my funk, I had to flirt with my waiter.  Which went like this:
“Hi, my I take your order?”
“YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL SKIN, WHAT’S YOUR NAME??”
“Ummm, Ativa”
“YOUR NAME IS BEAUTIFUL!  LOVE ME!!!”
(Side note if you are flirting with a waiter, you have to buy something and leave a tip.  I was not prepared to do either of those things.)
When I got to the room, I almost got down into my feelings but instead I started calling people down a list of like three people (including my mother).  And I spent a lot of time laughing and saying this isn’t that bad.  Enter day two.
I wake up feeling like I have little orphans in my head looking for a family.  (Get out of my head Annie!!). So I think to myself let me send her a little message.
“I woke up with a headache…because of how much you have been running through my mind…(imagine me bobbing my head and pointing sporadically)”. And after that I made up my mind to only practice, and I went strong for a good 4 hours, then I says to myself I says, Shaquim, deserve a break.  I got on Facebook and started critiquing myself in videos, because that’s how I take breaks, I put myself down.  After that was done, I checked Instagram and saw a hilarious picture.  

  

I immediately sent it to my nongirlfriend and then continued to practiced.  Then she called me and this is how that went:
“Omg, I didn’t know you were going to call, do you want some coffee, I can make you some coffee!  I never made coffee but I can get ASKAP to send me there to make you coffee.”
We got off the phone soon after because I successfully made a fool out of myself.
Lastly on the final day that I have experienced, I woke up and listened to Hunnid Stax by Ab Soul.  I decided today, that I will cook myself a nice meal, something healthy and filling, delicious and nutritious.  I made hamburgers.  As I was making them I had an elaborate daydream about cooking out with her family with the way that I cook with her dad saying things like:
“These hamburgers are burned, what did you do?  Have you cooked before?  Do you have a working nose?  These smell burned, what do you mean that’s how you like it?  You like your food burned?  It tastes like Coal, you have found a way to increase one of our most precious nonrenewable resources, congratulations!  You should be a scientist, that is how bad this meal was, your meal tasted like a science experiment from 2nd grade.”
My mind is subconsciously telling me to work on cooking things medium well, and maybe one day I’ll make to rare, for the people who like knowing their cows name before the dig into.
In all actuality this is been a weird experience but I’m just really going to focus on becoming more solid as a musician to the point where my bad days only sound bad to me.  So in a way it is good because I can refocus on myself.  Thank you all for reading and feel free to leave comments on what you thought.
(Side note, my roommate saw me typing this and asked me, “omg what are texting her, that’s too long man!”  Thanks for having faith in me Jake!)
(Double side note, I thought about not texting her, and my first thought was, should I let her know that I am not texting her, what if she’s worried?  If I tell her does that defeat the purpose of not texting?  So many questions, so little answers!!)
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Eating Clean

I want to start this post out by saying…I’m not in shape (Big Boned).  Because I’m not in shape, I decided to take 30 days and dedicate them to eating clean.  The process of eating clean involves thinking about what you reeealllllly want right now (Chocolate) and not eating it.  Actually, you eat whatever you think that you don’t actually want (spinach).  Do that enough times and you will be eating clean.  So instead of eating all of the white chocolate chips my aunt has in her cupboard (all 326 of them…) I decided to share how these three days have been.

December 10- This was the beginning of the change.  If it didn’t start today, when would it start?  NEVER!  There is no other time but now.  I cautiously took the first step of self deprivation, at an IGA in Dunn, NC.  The thought crossed my mind “Where is Dunn?”  My mind responded “It is the beginning.”

Way to make it dramatic huh?

At this IGA I bought a golden delicious apple and two packs of peanuts (I mean it was 99 cents!(Minus the apple)).  I felt like a child who hadn’t experienced the tooth decaying goodness of high fructose corn syrup.  Who actually eats apples unless you have dentist appointment the day after Halloween?  I finished the apple and a pack of peanuts (saving the others for when my stomach was about to really eat itself.)  It was not as bad as I thought.  I was full(ish) until about 7 o clock, when I had to beg my mom not to force me to eat cookout with the commoners (I love cookout!!! And all the oil and …I need a moment.) On this outing, I searched for some sliced pears and peanuts (again.)  The pear juice was different and so were the top three pear slices, begging the question, do I even like pears?  The answer is, not a lot blog readers, just a little bit (If you read those last 9 words like 50 cents we’re probably friends..if not, you now know where we stand.)  Once my family arrived in Atlanta we went to Kroger where I bought some fruits, vegatables, and unsalted legumes (I’m bout that life).  I know what your thinking, “No chocolate?”.  No chocolate.

Decemeber 11-  The walls close in, encasing me like Hershey’s chocolate wrapping.  “I’m so hungry, but where to find the food beneficial to my nourishment!” This cry echoes outside of the delicious space I’m confined to, into the cupboard where the relief lies…is this really how it ends, covered in chocolate flakes?

I’m going to go ahead and tell you it wasn’t that bad.

For the better part of the day my stomach cooperated with me, I had an apple and some peanuts for breakfast, some tuna for lunch and some bag chicken for dinner (that tastes exactly how you think it does…DELICIOUS!! Not really.)  I went out to buy the chicken and some eggs (because I love eggs!!)  But after my dinner, my stomach begged for more..or for sleep, I can’t actually tell the difference.  So I fed it and orange (I haven’t had an orange in soooo long!! It was too good.)  Unfortunately, I found out my Aunt has a plethora of chocolate chips hidden that night which really did a number to my will power.  I really sat there for like ten minutes thinking if I should just tell Demetria that there were too many chocolate chips and not enough self motivation, or should I value my health over 326 chocolate chips…

December 12- The enemy jeers at me from its trench. “Look at him tremble! This ‘man’ isn’t worthy of our sword, but we will bring back a victory in honor of the kingdom!”  Despite my best efforts, my body stands, facing the adversity.  I have been put in command of this place, so it is my duty to protect and serve.

In that little snippet of my upcoming novel, I am using personification and hyperbole to make my chocolate habit seem more difficult to overcome than it is.

I did not eat the chocolate chips.  There was definitely an internal battle and some divine intervention involved in that but I overcome

That was for Autumn Rainey lol!  I ate some eggs for breakfast (Soooooo gooooooodddd) with some spinach (Not nearly as good but it’s healthy though.)  Part of me would like to reward myself for eating so healthy, but it feels like that would take away from the actual process of eating healthy.  My sister is about to make a peanut butter and jelly and also had a taco bell burrito…right in front of me.  That’s ok, because she can’t have none of this tap water I’m sipping on…exclusively in Chamblee, GA, what you know bout it!

In these dark times I think of the friends I’ve left behind, and their delicious.  Shout out to Akilah Morgan!!  When I was sick Akilah made some Chicken Noodle soup from scracth just for me (That is not true, she had leftovers and let me have some of it to nurse me back to health.)  Since I was sick, I don’t know if it was actually good or I was just dying, but knowing Akilah’s track record as a cook, I can without hesitation say that it was definitely both.

Lastly I would like to acknowledge Krista “Chicken Wife” Bradley for our experience together freshman year.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Through the blinds, all I could see was despair, but this trip couldn’t be postponed.  Krista had gotten my message urging her to provide whatever she could to the infantry.  The men looked at me for support to make it through, but I knew the treacherous journey that awaited us outside of the walls.  This would be our last march together, but it would be a march nonetheless.

Long story short, I lived, and when I arrived at Corson Hall, Krista brought out some Ramen Noodles…not just any Ramen noodles, but the best Ramen noodles I had ever tasted.  She didn’t just casually dip her feet in that, she let it soak, she had probably been letting her feet soak in the water she used for a week.  It was that good!! The downside is that I lost her microwavable bowl, but the positive is that my hunger was satisfied and what else can you ask for!

5 reasons I hate the bus

Some of the funniest things I’ve encountered in my life have been on buses.  Buses are filled to the emergency exit with ackward potential energy (Ape for short…filled to the emergency exit with ape…sss).  So I will use the power I hold as a writer to share 5 of these ape moments.

1.  Sleeping of the bus can potentially ruin everything you have worked for in life.  Especially if you snore.  I can only sleep for about 5 minutes at a time because I suffer from Snape.  Snoring awkward potential energy (Who knew acronyms could be so fun!!)  My friends occasionally tell me stories of me snoring (snories).  While I was preparing to play for graduation at my old school, me and my friend Malcolm shared a room.  Before I passed out, we talked about life, the future and things of that nature.  When I woke up, I was by myself and the room was bare! (Not because I was robbed but because my roommate had already moved out.)  I called Malcolm to make sure he was good and his first words were, “You snore soooo loud.  I thought about just walking over and suffocating you; instead I left.”  If my Snape could cause a close friend to teeter on the edge of homicide, imagine what could happen when a complete stranger stumbles into the slate of sadistic sonic sounds spewing from my vocal folds.  (I may or may or be in admiration of the alluring attributes of alliteration.)  So every time I sleep on the bus my brain sends little though dwarves (dwarves are the little people with battle axes) to remind me that my slumber could lead me to an early demise.  I am forever in dept to these dwarves…Thank you.

2.  Sleeping on others.  This is potentially the most awkward moment even if you have the awareness to thwart you laziness (in the face.)  In middle school, the bates middle school bantams traveled to Carowinds to celebrate not failing the fitness test (I failed but was still allowed to go.)  As we rode, I fell into a light slumber.  Light because every time I would lean too close to one side I popped up, only semi conscious.  When I did gain full consciousness there were a group of people looking at me laughing.  (They were laughing because it was pre-Snape).  This event caused me to fear sleeping on buses.  If this was high school I would have been the star of a popular youtube video. (Darn you technology!!)

3.  Sleeping on strangers.  There is a huuuuugggggeee difference between sleeping on a friend and sleeping in tandem with a grown men that you haven’t met before.  This is actually the inspiration for this blog post.  Sitting directly in front of me are two black men who have never met.  The one next to the window was getting comfortable thinking he had a seat to himself.  All o a sudden a guy walks up after searching for a seat to no avail, asking “Is this seat available?”  Window seat guy says “….Yeah: and proceeds to move his carry-on closer to the window.  Feeling generous, he offers some of his Twizzlers to the stranger who of course politely refuses.  About 10 minutes of silence go by before they start to doze off.  Initially they lean back, but gravity takes over and says, “You won’t sleep normally today!” and they start to lean awkwardly into each other.  This goes on for about two hours before gravity leads window seat guy to the window.  Here is that whole story from window guys point of view.

Seat by myself, seat by myself, all these passengers?  It can’t be passengers, too many syllables.  I would use nigga but that’s so cliche.  Why does this have to be so difficult!  What?  You want to sit here?  You didn’t hear the song.  Seat by myself?  There aren’t any other seats available?  Man whatever!  I guess you want some o these Twizzlers too!  Here!! Dang!!!! Oh, you too good for my snacks?  Don’t ask for nothing else!  Taking myself to sleep.  It’s like you can’t have no good thing.  Swear!! Tell you what.  *Falls alseep for a short time*  Is this nigga leaning on me?? THAT’S GAY!!! Wake up!!!

I’m going to stop there

4.  3 to a seat.  I lived in a relatively small town in a small neighborhood.  When I rode my normal bus it was beautiful (for a bus shuttling us to the hood.)  I had a seat to myself, I could sit in proximity to my friends, it was all I could ask for.  But when the bus driver was sick, terror enclosed our little bodies, as we walked down the crowded aisle, the seats filled with unfamiliar faces. All of a sudden the driver shouts “three to a seat.”  My heart falls, gripping the ground, yelling “My Baby!!”  The unfamiliar faces turn into unsympathetic faces.  “No room here.”  “No.”  “I wish you would.”  Finally someone let’s me slide a quarter of a cheek into the seat.  Can this really be life?  I ca’t deal.  No man should have to live like this!!

5.  Rain.  Everytime it would rain in school or it had recently rained, riots ensued.  We were going to get wet.  There was no way around it.  Since the buses were so poorly maintained, water was your seat mate.  The window seat had no glory.  The army of water droplets marched through the leaks, soiling your shoulder.  The emergency exit assaulted whoever sat too close, establishing it as a supreme force.  Kids tried to avoid the onslaught of liquid and all attempts ended futilely.  Soggy and hopeless.

These events are all very funny in hindsight but are extremely traumatic and stressful in the moment.  The moral of this story is to avoid buses (and cliches) like the plague.  Because your phone will die, you will trade a perfectly good seat for a window seat, by yourself until you either have to force an old man to keep moving or indulge in your Twizzlers.  You will not know how you are getting home.  Do not risk it.  Stay at home, love your family and stay safe.

P.S. I thought about a lot of people that I miss during this.  Like! Jacqueline Pleasant, Betty Pride, Malcolm Brown, John Babbitt, Nidja Muldrow, and several others I hope ya’ll are doing well and I hope you read and enjoy this.  (And share it with everyone!!!!)

Cool Personified

I have not gotten better at introduction sentences during my transition into NCCU. But I have gotten better at playing saxophone (and segues) opening me up to many more playing opportunities. I am going to use this blog post to tell one of my performance stories and compare it to one of my offstage stories.

During NCCU’s homecoming I was asked to play with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble in the Chancellor’s dining hall (which is fancier than Iggy Azalea). During this performance I did not have a chair and was confined to a smaller space than usual, so I took most of my solos leaning against a counter. Most of the songs went pretty well and the crowd liked it (which is all you can really ask for.) So after this performance we were required to unload and a man recognizes me from ten minutes prior (who looks very similar to Dizzy Gillespie) saying “You sir, are Cool Personified!” (Trademark, it’s mine and you can’t have it). He went on to explain that my demeanor during my solo was relaxed and akin to having a conversation. I told him I appreciated it, while my inner nerd pushed up his glasses and laughed nervously. This made me think to myself, what if I really am cool in the deepest part of my being? Which leads me into my next story.
About a week after this event I realized I had a paper due that I need to get like three more sources for. I thought to myself “Bet” (my new word, you can borrow this, I’m test driving it right now). After this realization, I decided to go to the library…right after I listened to Partynextdoor. Of course as a jazz musician I couldn’t let my day be fully influenced by non-jazz music (I’m a Nardis), so I turned on You don’t know what love is by Sonny Rollins a song that I am currently trying to learn because I love ballads.

After getting a ways through it, I thought I don’t know the lyrics!! How can I play a song I don’t know the lyrics to, which lead me to Karrin Allyson’s version. Then my friend called and asked if I had ate, and since I hadn’t we went to the café, and decided, we look kind of scruffy, I think we might need a shave (No Sweeny Todd). Needless to say, I spent a large portion of my day just procrastinating and listening to great music (including Mos Def, Joe Lovano, Illinois Jacquet and many more). By the time I actually decided to go to the library it was about 8 o’clock. I suited up for the weather, preparing for a battle already in the opponent’s favor. During the walk I saw very few people in the library which made my brain happy because I wouldn’t need to walk past people seventy three times. Come to find out, I wouldn’t even walk past them once. The library was closed. The library is open on Wednesdays. The library is contributing to my procrastination, but this time I was prepared for work. And it was so cold. Ohhhh so cold. I walked back to my dorm where I saw some of my RA’s and one of the said “Hey Shaquim!” and I waved like a cool guy while sipping water, like a cool guy, and then I choked on the water…in front of my four RA’s…like a cool guy? I sat in my room for a while and contemplated my coolness (or lack thereof). Then I laughed and wrote this post.

On a semirelated note, do you know the only time you will really see a blind snake (no pun intended)? When you are supposed to be editing your essay that is due on Tuesday. I’ll give you the link just in case you are there too. Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading!!! http://didyouknowblog.com/post/102472256596/in-2011-engineers-building-a-dam-in-the-amazon

Final Exams

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Final Exams are generally the hardest part of the year.  It’s like having an important test that you forgot about, all..week..long.  On top of Finals, as a sophomore music major, I have to take the Sophomore Proficiency Exam.  As a freshman, this was explained as “The hardest thing you will ever do in your college career.”  Don’t worry, I brought enough diapers for three daycares.  Needless to say, I was very, very, nervous.  Like my hands are shaking and someone needs a triple bypass type nervous.  So I did what I do best! Procrastinate.  I found this beautiful app called Duolingo where you can learn spanish german and most Western European Languages (This knocks out my studying for spanish).  Another helpful procrastination tool is Candy Crush (Only if you don’t mind waiting 2 hours after you lost on level 73 five consecutive times to continue procrastinating.)  But wait, if you start now (but later is better) you can read blogs about how to stop procrastinating and do more productive things.  You usually don’t find these articles until you have a paper due tomorrow that you haven’t started.  In between my procrastination sessions, I had panic sessions.  Like when you have a paper due at 11:59 and it’s 9:26 (don’t worry, you still have time.)  Someone else generally starts it by letting you know how much time you have left with a statement like “OMG!! How are you going to finish it before twelve.  you have like 2 hours!!!”  (Thank you lord for my pampers).  Then you start typing the best paper of your life, from the perspective of Maya Angelou because from your perspective there would be too many analogies (just me?).  When all is done it is about 11:56 and you turn it in and feel accomplished.  Note that all of the steps learned in High School about the drafting process have been shortened to the final draft, with no peer editing or even self editing, just faith that Maya Angelou’s spirit will flow through you.  Needless to say you barely pass on the paper and your grade is a 87.3 and you think to yourself…”I could’ve done better.”  In all actuality I have been experiencing that feeling a lot lately.  Generally I could have done a lot better but I waited until the last minute, giving a half-hearted attempted and not really growing as I should have from a specific course or opportunity.  One of the ways to try to combat this is to make an agenda (or do your work when you get it).  By getting an agenda, you can start to organize due dates and work on it little by little.  If you write down goals for each day, the fruits of your labor shall be plentiful (let the organs play here).  

Another thing is to nag yourself. I am in the process of developing someone that is generally displeased with me to say, “Really”, “Are you serious”, and various expletives. This is how I wake up early, practice classical music and various other things I don’t like. Try it out!! Let me know how it goes!!
(Note: that I started this post about 2 weeks ago, our whenever finals were xp)

Isolation (Time at Claflin’s Health Center)

I always start off my blog like it’s not a blog. The first sentence was going to be very essay like stating “Sickness has inflicted me with such consistent force that effort has been thoroughly drained from me”. Now, I feel like this is a terrific sentence, but it sounds like I haven’t spoken to actual people in a while (As opposed to theoretical people).

Last week, I had caught the itis (the nurse never told me what I actually had, just some prescriptions (Thank you Claflin University Health Center) so for ease, it shall be referred to as the itis). This was a very difficult time for many reasons and since my health doth runneth over, I can make fun of the situation. 1. Do you know how fast people will end a conversation with you when you say you aren’t feeling good? It will take about 3 seconds for it to fully register, 4-5 seconds to say they’ll pray for you, 6 seconds to be swallowing hand sanitizer hoping it’s not too late. If this is the way people are going to react to illness then there should be a designated section where sick people communicate with the outside world. I’m picturing some plexiglass and a telephone, even then you might need to keep your holy oil on you to anoint the plexiglass. 
2. “Take these at night, gargle salt water after every meal, take these with food, don’t take this the same day you take these, and make sure you aren’t standing up for this, and try to drink 32 Gallons of water because you might catch kidneys stones”. It’s not very easy to feel better when you are worried about what the side effects of all your different drugs, what not to take with what, how often to take it and such. There were nights were I was really researching why I was taking these pills, what these pills actually did. All the nurse actually told me was “Wow, red red red”. I know kindergartens who would’ve gave me a more colorful description. In fact, I might have felt better playing doctor with some 5 year olds.
3. (Actual Conversation) Me: Wow this tea makes my throat feel terrific. Nurse: I’m make you some more. (Uses same tea bag) Me: Do you mind if I could get some of this tea to take home Nurse: THIS tea is expensive, we can’t do that. I couldn’t actually respond because my justice gland was swollen. Are you telling me you can let me pop as many pills as I want, but the tea is too expensive to give away. To have that sort of attitude over tea, those tea leaves better have each been divinely inspired as they grew in gardens that only nourished their plants with water, miracle growth and Bob Mintzer. Anything short of that is tea for us common folk.
4. So since I’m sick, I get to ride with campus police to the health room (since I live off campus). I call that first morning, and everything is peachy, I ride up there and they check me out and tell me I have a sore throat (Thanks). I call them the next day at about 3, and the guy says, we don’t do that. “Wait, ya’ll did it yesterday.” “Who did!!” “You want me to walk to the health room?” “I’m sure you could find a ride.” “You are supposed to provide transportation for me…Hello? Hello!???”. I call my friend to pick me up (who is perpetually late) and sat in the freezing lobby to catch a ride. As I get to the health room they ask me how I’m getting back to the dorm, I say I guess I’ll walk or teleport, I’ve been working on that option. She tells me “Oh! Well campus sercurity’ll take you”. 5. I had been so thoroughly disappointed through this process of Claflin’s health center, that every little good thing was a MARVELOUS thing. They have honey in the cafe, I really was on the verge of crying. My friends called sporadically to check on me, and I told them how much they meant and then I started making prophesy for them. I found the power of Nyquil, and I finally slept which ended my feverish delusions. 6. Bonus (One of my feverish delusions) I am naturally very paranoid, I just use my logical mind to get away from that, however my logical mind was on a vacation. This let all my paranoia run wild throughout my mind’s playground. I sat in the office for like 20 minutes by myself with some green tea. I was soooo sure that they had put some psychedelic drugs in my beverage. With that thought, my mind was trying to see how that would feel, producing the most vivid colors and tie dye type scenery. I wasn’t sure if this was due to my fever, or to only being able to sleep for 30 minutes at a time. It was very i

nteresting to see what the brain can produce (In hindsight).

Onward

Today is March 3rd, which is an important day in an important month.  Today! Is my sister Nidja’s Birthday!  I called her at about 12 last night to tell her Happy Birthday, and we talked about her new job and her plans for my spring break.  March 1st was my 2 year anniversary with the beautiful Valencia Abraham!  Throughout our relationship she has been a constant source of encouragement and a motivation to better myself (and I’d like to think I provide the same).  I remember when I asked her out the first time through text message, and said, “maybe we should goeth outheth” and she responded “Maybe we shouldeth”.  I ran around the band room at least 5 times and fell on the ground, responding something like “Cool!”.  The next day I told her that I wanted to ask her out differently, and asked her out on the balcony, (where she was on my right) and her smile illuminated my soul.  Illuminates currently, will continue to illuminate.  My soul is brighter than easter dresses because of her smile!  It really makes me happy to be able to call her my girlfriend and just love on her!!!!  The 24th is Valencia and her mom’s birthday, and of course, march is when I prepare for my mom’s birthday in April.  Currently I am traveling to Alabama with the Claflin University Pep Band to cheer the University’s basketball team on!  I’m actually just excited to get out of Orangeburg and into a city.  I’ll probably go over to University of Alabama to see what the music department there is like, maybe get a little jam session going.  (Does he even go here?). Then spring break is next week, then! Is the boston trip with the Claflin University music department, for another week, giving me time to network with some Jazz musicians, and again, experience a big city.  I love the opportunity to step out of what I’m used to and experience life!  That’s the best part of college for me, the experiences preparing you for everything from 8:00 mornings to jazzed out nights.  (I prefer the jazzed out nights xp).  I’m just feeling really appreciative today for all the things I’ve been afforded in life so far and the things that will come.

 

I wrote this two days ago, but I wasn’t near my laptop, forgive me!

Things you can’t say on a gig

The reason that I started this blog was to explore all of the random thoughts that I have in random situations.  One constantly present thought is the old “Things you can’t say” social appropriateness….thing.  I would never ever say these things, but they cross my mind in a what-would-happen-if-I-said-this type of way.  At a performance, things are bound not to go particularly as planned, so for instances like those, these are the thoughts that were in my head, as bad decisions.
1.  I swear on everything I love, if you miss this ending, I will cut your strings/break your sticks (Whatever is applicable.). 
Have you ever rehearsed a song and taught your bandmates a specific ending and they struggle with it for a while.  And you KNOW they haven’t practiced?  What are the options that you really have on the gig?  You aren’t able to just kick someone out, but you know that they are about to mess it up, like…their finger is on the red button.
2. Drums, play louder!
Do you remember the last time you were taking a solo and you just felt that the music was too balanced.  I know personally that happens to me constantly.  In these instances I turn to my drum and say “why am I able to make cohesive ideas!!!”.  We all know that situation never, ever, evvvveeeeerrrr happens.
3. Sweet Jesus!!! You didn’t suck!!!
This line is always great for making people not ever want to associate with you musically (or personally).  Even though the grammatical setup is compliment styled, the actually meaning is “You know, usually I would have swore when you played that, but somehow you progressed just enough to where I could bear it”.
4.  Can you accelerando to about double the time throughout the solo sections, turning Misty into a bop head?
A lot of music from the postbop era such as Coltrane, and more emotional artists depended on energy for solo sections.  Sometimes the entire rhythm section would be so passionate that it would slightly rush, adding to the emotional content of the song.  HOWEVER, (comma) that does not mean that I should be taking In a Sentimental mood at 200 bpm.  Certain things are not done, not because it doesn’t sound good, but because it will unravel our perception senses.  It would break the world.
5. You don’t need to know the changes, just play what you feel.
So imagine me at a gig, calling out Giant Steps at regular tempo, but playing a slow blues on the solo section.  Imagine me playing Donna Lee blazing fast over Polka Dots And Moonbeams.  It’s great to play what you feel, but if you don’t know the changes, you have no musical foundation and should not solo on this particular song.  Now on a blues, you can go to town!! Everything goes in blues, however it’s up to you to sound listenable.
Since these thoughts of what not to say are very common, you can expect this to be a semi-frequent occurrence.  I would also like to thank everyone who reads this blog! I really appreciate your support and good vibes and look forward to more helpful hints and constructive criticism, thank you!  If you have things that you shouldn’t say, put them in the comments! (But I’m really not trying to be an accomplice)

Introverting

There are many things that I have realized about myself recently (or rediscovered).  Most of them are personality attributes and things that influence my communication (or lack thereof) with people.  The main identifier is: I am an introvert.  As an introvert, I am not extremely good at talking to people, small talk, and many, MANY other social events.  However, I have tons of opinions and thoughts which is why I started a blog.  When I try to express these thoughts it is either extremely eloquent or.. Bleeeeeegggghhhh.  It comes out more nonsensical than a Dr.Suess book.  Here is an example of a “conversation” I had when my introvert was on high.
Me: Hey! How are you?
Responder: I’m doing pretty good, how are you?
Me: Well, I saw you right? And I told myself, I’m going to say hello, but since I’m generally nervous talking to people I was like, “No”.  Then I says to myself I says, “Shaquim?”. I respond “Yes Shaquim?” “Put your man pants on” “Put I’m an introvert” “But that’s your friend!!” And I say “You are right, thank you Shaquim!” So I come over here and say “Hello”. But I don’t want to keep you too long, so! Goodbye!
Classy Huh?  So I’ve tried to counter these responses with a change in mindset.  I have labeled it, “The Cool”.  Basically, when I do anything, I think, Relaxxxxx, it’s all good, just be cool.  Which takes me a tad bit further until I end up in a conversation about a topic I know little to nothing about, like!  Cars.  There are other things, but Cars are common for guys to talk about.  I try to prepare myself for conversation through lots of analogies and stories.  Unfortunately when I am in a car conversation, this is my story.
“You know, I was in a car once….it drove.”
Sometimes I might throw in some exaggeration.
“Morgan Freeman crafted this car for me when I was a child, and I have to go to him to fill up on gas because it is fueled by freckle sweat.”
This may be my subconscious mind fighting off other members of society to fully isolate me to make space for: Saxophone, Homework, and Latin American cuisine.

  Sword Fight

Brain Chill

However, I have to train my mind to be more socially acceptable and plan out more spontaneous  dialogue (Ironic isn’t it?). Oddly enough, I have little to no trouble talking about engaging subjects such as politics, music (things that I am interested in.)  Which shows my inner GOOD-BAD-GOOD.  (Great article, great website!!).  So after reading that article, you now know that I should have amazing social skills, however I just have enough social awkwardness to make people think I am hilarious. (I’m going to write an article about that very soon).  But! Feel free to ask me when you see me how am I doing on my small talk/introversion, thank you for reading and special thanks to my beautiful girlfriend for the pictures!!  I told her the idea and she drew it perfect!!

A Night with The Cool Kids

On February 4th, Claflin University students decided that instead of waiting on “legislation” to certify events, they would just start scheduling them when they wanted.  Fortunately my friend Jacqueline Pleasant invited me to be apart of this momentous occasion (Which my introverted side thought of passing up, but my inner Saxophonist made me consent to).  This was an event hosted by the ever poetic Shaketa, whose words always resonate deep within my heart.  The crowd wasn’t large, but people just kept showing up, presenting their talents with other students.  In between sets the musicians got a chance to shine with musical selections (and at the end of my short stay I presented a saxophone solo that was very decent).  It was so inspiring to be apart of a gathering that was semi impromtu, with people putting themselves on display.  Not some fictional character to impress people, but the emotions they feel, and the thoughts that accompany them throughout their life.  Several of my friends sung songs (Jackie even did a few freestyles including “Is anyone else cold” Featuring Krista Bradley lol!) And people I’ve never met blew me away with their talent and soul.  This whole gathering was incredibly soulful which was helpful as a musician.  Freedom engulfed everyone present, allowing me to stray away from chord changes, licks and theory, and really get back to the basics.  The unadulterated emotions that get lost in the many practice sessions and the repetiore.  Sometimes you just need to step back and ask yourself, what am I saying?  When the audience listens to my music, do they care that I substituted the V with a b2 or used a different scale? NO!! All they want is to be moved in some way, and playing Giant Steps in all 12 keys doesn’t mean anything unless you are saying something.

Before I went to the poetry event, I listened to John Coltrane’s live version of Resolution from the Suite, A love Supreme.  Growing up, this album played several times through my youth.  When I picked up Saxophone, I listened to the Album, and said “I can make those noises”. So I made a couple of noises and realized that me and Coltrane sounded vvvveeeeerrrrrryyyyyy different.  I didn’t know why for a long time.  However, at this point in my life I understand that it is more than just notes, more than licks, it is about emotion.  Note that John Coltrane was not alone on that stage, he shared/portrayed his emotions with 3 other musicians.  They had a musical conversation in a language that not everyone can speak, but can understand PERFCTLY if you listen right.  Needless to say, when I got on my saxophone in front of those people, I became a canvas.  I left all my tools (Licks and rep) and I aimed for feeling.  After I was done with my last improvisation, I felt like I had finally expressed myself, and it was a extremely fulfilling experience.  To know that people left, feeling what I conveyed…that is powerful.  I would like to extend thanks to my friends Jackie, Krista, and Shaketa for allowing me to create music and be apart of a potential culture growth at Claflin University.