In 1998 my arrival at 9lbs 11oz defied the prognosis of several medical professionals. I returned to a Hyde Park home and became the first American born Nixon.
I climbed on everything, including my father. Soon I acquired the nickname ‘monkey’.
In words of my own, I began an emblematic reach for basic phonics and spoke with anyone willing to listen. I learned conversation was good for the soul.
Memories of my elementary days are filled with irrepressible laughter and irreplaceable friends. We played pleasantly and worried seldom. Soccer was my world. In 4th grade, I stood before a man as he blazed a trail toward freedom. He whispered the words of slaves and abolitionists, pioneers who urged on in the wake of discovery and I believed him: “yes we could.”
My father taught me to always be a little kid at heart. But sometimes I worry I grew up too fast.
I believe in the power of laughter. The power of humor. The resilience of hilarity in the darkest of situations.
In confidence, I have found the cure to sweaty hands. Though my hands still perspire, I’ve learned it’s best not to sweat it.
Sometimes I feel trapped by a societal endemic there stems a mindset unlike my own. For fear that it may affect me too, I try and let other ideas carry me away.
Often I smile and others wonder why. Seldom do I regret a day well spent.
I seek to live every moment like it’s my last and though my body would argue differently, I believe that sleep is for the weak.
I am the creator of art and I believe that art is in everything. I write to paint my world with color and paint to know we all see the world differently.
I want from this life what it wants from me. I wonder where life will take me and revel in its mystery.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and that with reason comes responsibility. I remember I am the decider of my destiny. I am the skipper of my soul.
Last week the focus was music and I want to keep that rolling by drawing attention to the latest drop in the hip hop world. This weeks shout out is to the hardest working man in the music biz. Future Hendrix. Shortly after Future dropped his album FUTURE, he is set to drop another 17 track album titled HNDRXX this Weeknd. And if that wasn’t enough, the rapper has dropped 2 albums (totaling 5 in the past 13 months), announced a tour with Migos, Tory Lanez(?) and Kodak Black, and managed to hop on a Maroon 5 track.
Though the Atlanta based rapper who burst on to the scenes in 2012 may not always enunciate all of his words, his style is infectious. And that’s not the only thing as the rapper has one of the coldest get up’s of the 21st first century.
However, though he may be extremely talented and very stylish, the rappers qualities weren’t enough for R&B singer and former fiancé Ciara who left the rapper in 2013 for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Accusing Future of unfaithful actions, Ciara left the rapper originally taking full custody of their child. And Future hasn’t forgiven his former consistently littering his music with ‘hurt’ bars about the subject. Future even went so far as to make comments on Ciara & Wilson’s relationship choice to not have pre-marital relations. Future’s publicist has since had the video taken down but here’s an article detailing the situation.
I’ll admit the first time I heard the guys I labeled them as repetitive trash that would likely soon fade into musical purgatory much like Yung Joc, J Kwon and many other 1 hit wonder club bangers.
Though I thought I’d never say it, the guys are talented in a very basic way. You could literally give them any word and they turn it into pure musical genius. And even though your 80 year old grandfather who spends his days whittling away at doll houses listening to Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 might not consider it music, their dynamic between Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff is undeniably infectious.
Their latest album released on February 18th, 2017, which will likely turn out to be one of the hottest albums of 2017 is titled Culture, and appropriately so as they are the truest definition of a Culture Vulture. The Atlanta based rappers are like musical trend setting machine producing Bad and Boujee, undoubtedly one of the hottest songs of the year and don’t forget they are the creators of one of the most popular and saddest excuse for dance move ever created.
The group even earned a shout out from Childish Gambino, musical artist, comedian, television actor, producer, and a long list of other professions, at the Golden Globe’s.
I’m probably one of the few people who can say they had a Jim Croce phase when they were 11. However, it wasn’t until recently, in the kitchen of my grandparent’s home, that I found myself decidedly perturbed by the lyrics of his No. 1 hit “Time in a Bottle.”
Amid the preparation of dinner, as the sharp tune of the harpsichord echoed from my grandparents’ faded blue speakers, I began to subconsciously sing along in my best folk impression. However, as I did, Croce’s recurring complaint that “there never seems to be enough time/ to do the things you wanted to once you find them,” struck a chord within me and made me realize his perception of time is not one I can agree with.
As a highschooler, it’s very easy to fall victim to a sort of forward-looking state of mind. We are asked by our parents, educators, and peers what we want to do with our lives, where we wish to go to college, and how we plan to impact the world. This notion is not only impossibly perplexing in its nature, but also something I and many of my future college-going compatriots spend the majority of our days pondering. And in the midst, our continuous search for an ever-elusive answer to appease the curious adults, it is easy to forget that I am living a life right now. In the grand scheme of things, I can nearly guarantee that I value my happiness now just as much as I ever will. However, rarely do I or anyone else ask what I want out of my life right this moment. If I let the pressures of an impending future, I have realized that if I live life in pursuit of one destination, the enjoyment of the journey will soon pass me by.
Already facing multiple “lasts” in my first few months of senior year, I have quickly discovered that endings come and go without any regard for sentimentality. So instead of wishing for an impossible hold on time, I have learned to appreciate the aspects each day that make high school one of the most enjoyable times of my life. Because, after all, time is ceaseless, endings are inevitable, and sadly days don’t last forever.
Fresh hits from musics latest flower children, these unknown tracks promise to please.
~FOR STEREO USE ONLY~
FOREPLAY jalen santoy
This track is undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of all time. Santos’s vocals are fantastic and the Phil Collins trumpet solo is unexpectedly elegant.
HOLLA IF YOU HEAR ME kweku collins
03′ MALIBU marcellus juvann, kali
FEED THE STREETS helper
This songs so fresh and hot out of the oven, literally. Inspired by a hot meal, the songs lyrics revolve around the process of preparing Hamburger Helper. And its piping hot…
LIVE FROM THE CHATTANOOGA tut
The background track of this lyrical caviar is absolutely flawless. Don let the piano and violin intro fool you, this track is hard as heck. Words don’t do it justice… (WARNING!!! NOT FOR DELICATE EARS)
SHEEPABAAAD sweet da kid
HEY YA sweater beats, kamua
A fresh twist on an old classic.
CASH MACHINE d.r.a.m.
Alright maybe you’ve heard this one but it was to woke to not include.
This past weekend I found myself in the midst of an………altercation. The truth is I still don’t really know what to call it because nobody would share the details.
Late Saturday evening, after attending my Grandfather’s 80th Birthday, I decided to stop by the GWL lounge where my relatives had made the interesting decision of shacking up for the weekend. I arrived to find my family sipping from hotel cups as they discussed subjects that didn’t concern anyone under the age of 30. Suddenly the clamor of the adult humor was pierced by the small voice of my 9 year old cousin, “Daddy there are guns.”
The 5-0 had entered the lower lobby just 20 steps below us and descended upon the halls 2 by 2 each carrying a 2 foot long assault rifle. Shocked by the gravity of the situation, everyone froze. We had been left completely vulnerable to whatever situation was going on and reaching any of the exits would require us to cross a completely open lobby. After about 20 minutes we came to the group consensus that we would try to make it out the front exit with great expedience making sure to stay low. Upon reaching the lobby my Uncle began a rather frustrated interrogation of the manager who tried unsuccessfully to convince us that the “situation” had been taken care of but that he couldn’t actually tell us why 30 police were currently occupying the halls of the hotel. After promising us that everything was 100% okay my Uncle asked if he could hear the same from the Sheriff. The Sheriff confidently informed us that “Everything was ok….for now”. After hearing this we abruptly ended our stay at the Great Wolf Lodge and decided that it would be safer to crash on the couches of my grandparents house.
Last night could have, and for a moment, seemed like it would be the last time I laced up (even though my boots don’t lace bare with me). And it was odd.
As I entered the field for my last night at Kusel Stadium, the aura was unnervingly bizarre. With the somber October sky loomed over at my last time at Kusel, I kept telling myself that it couldn’t be my last time. Even as the 0-0 reading scoreboard slowly counted down into the low twenties, not a bone in my body was willing to believe that this might be it. But the scary fact is that it very well could’ve been.
I think I’m coming to realize that it’s never gonna feel right. Soccer is something I’ve dedicated a great majority of my life to and consequently I think it will be comparative to the loss of a loved one. While I recognize thats a seriously dismal and depressing thought, I don’t think I will ever quite be able to grasp the final moment of my career until it happens. I think I expected some sort of supernatural surge of adrenaline that would help me to lead my team to victory. I’m not saying that I wasn’t content with my performance or that I wish I could’ve played better. But in the moment when I realized it might be my last, it felt, for lack of a better word, eerily normal.
On a more uplifting note, we were able to advance to the third round of the tournament. We play Indian Hill on Monday at Kings Highschool. Everyone go. I even gave you the directions.
At dusk the ants gather,
seeping from the mouth
come foam and lather
like an stampede of wildebeest
or a native tribe rather
Behind the company They chant song and dance Following their leaders They march in a trance Resembling a fabled cult At first glance With steady eyed focus The warriors advance
At dusk they gather
and stand before the fire
enduring the blaze
they bravely perspire
and prepare the sacrifice
to throw upon the pyre
eyes fixed on the flames
a victory is dire
after the body burns
exits the great
“You’re quiet Gunnar” “You seem like your acting funny” “Hey do you feel okay” “Where are you right now”
These are just a few of the questions and statements I’ve heard over the past few weeks. And I’ve come to the realization all of which are somewhat frustratingly unanswerable.
Two weeks ago I suffered a somewhat mild to moderate concussion in a soccer game against Seven Hills. The incident occurred when I went after what I had judged as a 50/50 ball (when in reality it was more of a 70/30). Needless to say, the odds were on the side of 6’4’’ Sophomore defender. I collided with his elbow full sprint. Jarred from the hit, I was unable to regain any sense of gravity and my head was the only appendage moving fast enough to break the fall. This dual collision left me crumpled on the ground for about 15 seconds. But for fear of being subbed off, my instinct told me to wipe my turf covered face off and get back up. Running off solely adrenaline combined with some minor brain damage, I told myself I was okay and my body soon believed it. But unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
I continued to play the game out, recording an assist as well as few more head-balls that undoubtedly secured my state of concussion. Following the game, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary apart from a mild headache which I believed to simply be a result of the aforementioned head-balls I had taken.
Afterwards, I stopped by friends house in Indian Hill. It was on a Graffiti-ed couch in his IKEA furnished room that I think I began to feel it. As I listened to a group of my friends talk, my brain struggled and searched for words, but I could make no contribution to the conversation. Irritated, I looked down at my phone only to discover that I my text responses were a struggle to formulate as well. This was probably a marquee sign considering I’m rarely at loss for words. But at the time I simply decided it was exhaustion and dismissed my worrying. Over the next few days I debated on telling someone about how I felt. Foolishly fearing missing sports, I kept quiet about my symptoms. Unsurprisingly, the high energy 6th graders combined with activity packed days at Camp Kern only exacerbated my symptoms and by Wednesday I was struggling to get through the day without experiencing throbbing headaches. Surrendering to the pain, I decided to inform my mother of my symptoms and shortly thereafter I was diagnosed concussed.
Bear, a labrador retriever,sits in an ink stained chair in which my symptoms first became apparent (PHOTO BY CAWDREY).
A wave of emotion soon consumed me. Not only was I dealing with worsening symptoms but I felt I had let multiple people down. Instead of reporting my issue and sitting in a dark room with no mental stimulation like I should’ve been doing , I was at camp continuing to worsen my condition. I had consciously prolonged my recovery period and inconvenienced my coaches in the process.
The past week has been kind of a blur of frustration. My expectation that the symptoms would subside like the common cold was entirely false. For the first few days, I spent a lot of time in my room with the lights turned off. Since screen-time only worsens concussions, I found myself eerily in tune with the emptiness of the pitch black room. As I lay in my bedroom for hours on end accompanied only by my thoughts, I became much more aware of how much I rely on some sort of stimulation from human or technology.
For some, today is Thursday April 28: the day before Prom Friday. For others it’s the long awaited Kiss Your Mate Day . But for Drake fan’s, it’s a day that seemed would never come: the release of Drake’s 4th studio album and it’s arriving with a slightly refined name: VIEWS
The album, hinted at beginning in June of 2014 in Drake’s single “ 0-100/ The Catch Up”, will make its heavily anticipated debut during Drake’s Global listening Party happening at 10pm eastern on Apple Music. But before the Canadian native releases his passion project, here are some things you should know:
Drake isn’t a satanic lover of the number 6
Since the release of the unanticipated mix-tape “If Your Reading this it’s Too Late”, it seems Drake has devoted himself to full fledged promotion of the so called “6”. And if you’re questioning how “devoted” Drake really is to the 6, the aforementioned “mix tape” featured the number 6 in 5 of its 17 songs:
You & The 6
6PM In New York
But for the uninformed listeners out there that throw Drizzy on the aux only occasionally for his pure vocals and relatable lyrical narratives, it is easy to see how listeners could develop curiosity as to what the “6” is and why Drake is running through it with his woes. So, in light of all the confusion, I’m here to tell you that the 6 actually refers to the Toronto area code: 416.
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Here goes Drake and his mysterious numbers again. For those confused, when Drake refers to “40” he is referring to his main producer Noah Shebib. The 33 year-old fellow Toronto native has been with Drake since the two teamed up on Drake’s first mix-tape “So Far Gone”. Despite 40 recently being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the two have remained an inseparable team since their 2009 debut. In “0-100/the Catch Up”, Drake reveals that he expresses concern that he and 40’s workaholic tendencies could be harmful:
I got 40 in the studio, every night, late night
Gotta watch that s**t, don’t want to make him sicker
And it seems Grammy award winning producer has been working right up to the buzzer after sending out a series of tweets that teased fans regarding the status of the album:
Fun Fact: 40’s Father, Canadian Director Donald Shebib, directed the well known classic movie: A Christmas Story.
Drake’s very own View may not be as nice as it appears.
On Monday, Drake released the cover art for the hometown dedicated album featuring Drake atop the city’s iconic CN tower. But shortly there after, the image quickly sparked controversy over whether or not Drake was actually sitting atop the tower. However, all inquisitions were quickly put to rest after the tower itself confirmed that drake was not actually on the tower and instead photoshopped.
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The image, which could actually be quite prolific if he had truly sat atop the tower, is disappointingly boring knowing that Drake and his crew photo shopped the photo. Just as well, internet freaks who have far too much time on their hands have discovered that if the 6 God’s proportions were accurate he would stand at lengthy 12 feet tall.
That being said, I think it the image’s should be appreciated for it’s seemingly modest meaning that even though Drake has come far, he will still never be as big as the city he has grown to know and love. Also I was able to have a little fun with the album art using this cool website: http://www.drakesviews.com/#!/
In preparation for his album drop, Drizzy dropped a fresh pair of singles this month. In “Pop Style”, Drake manages to resurrect The Throne, the group that Jay Z and Kanye created in 2012. In one of the hardest rap track’s all year, all three legends have something to say about there success thus far. However, while a confident Kanye fresh off his album debut spits a expectantly boastful verse, Jay Z add’s little more than a bar to the pre-album single.
In One Dance, which has surprised me with its rise to popularity, Drake explores a somewhat melodic Jamaican flow over a track that features dance-hall inflections. The single that now sits at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 features vocals from singer Kyla as well up and coming Nigerian artist WizKid. Hints at a new direction and cadence in Drake’s sound are very apparent in “One Dance” and something that fans are undoubtedly excited for.