My Visit to the Sokiku Nakatani Tea Room


Recently, I visited the Sokiku Nakatani Tea Room here on campus. I was initially surprised AS I thought it would just be the small space of the tea room but that space was actually on display in a larger room. It reminded me of a stage because of the raised platform and it being on display for the rest of the room.

The one idea I would associate my visit with is Time. When you first enter and sit down, you are given time to quiet your mind. We sat in silence, to let the rest of the world and anything that might be floating in our minds, fade away. One of the major thing discussed was the idea of the “natural clock.” They talked about how, for the tea ceremony, one thing that might be done beforehand is picking a flower. They pick a flower that is very close to blooming and then display the flower.

Sometimes, the flower will bloom during the ceremony or it will wilt during the ceremony. Both outcomes showcase this idea of time, of everything having a natural clock. We talked about how we, ourselves, are a natural clock. A 10-year old boy, in attendance with us, did a great job of explaining the idea that people are a natural clock. The woman who talked to the crowd made him repeat it so all the adults could hear him. He said that all of our senses can work together to keep track of time. For instance, our eyes can see the light from the position of the sun.

Another thing we talked about, relating to time, is being mentally present in the time you are in. We were told that one of the lessons of the tea ceremony is not to have your mind thinking about another place and time. Instead, we should make our mind be present in the moment we are in and, if we can accomplish this, studying would be a lot easier. Personally, I’m still working on that last part.

I would definitely recommend this to other people as it not only is a free experience, but you also get to learn something about another culture. You can volunteer to be a more active participant in the ceremony and actually go inside the tea room setup as well as try some of their tea. It was fun.

For more information on visiting the Sokiku Nakatani tea room, go to their website here.

You can also listen to my show, Poli-Psycho with DJ Traysquat, every Wednesday from 4-5pm on KSSU.COM.

 

Written by Tracy Jordan a.k.a. DJ Traysquat

Pink Floyd: One of the Greatest Bands to See Live


If you’re a fan of rock, you have doubtlessly heard of Pink Floyd. The psychedelic rock band of the 70s made waves in the music world with a legacy that lasts to this day. Their most popular album, The Dark Side of the Moon, “topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988.” In addition, the album has sold an estimated 45 million copies sold and is one of the best-selling worldwide. If I could pick one band to see live, it would definitely be them.

Pink Floyd was also known for their innovative live performances. They often used new techniques at their shows including the then newly introduced quadraphonic speaker systems, which projected the sound 270 degrees around a venue. One of their most memorable performances, the In The Flesh tour, employed the use of a large inflatable floating pig named “Algie”. The pig was filled with helium and propane and exploded mid-concert while floating above the audience.

One of my personal favorite performances, however, is the 10-minute version of “Comfortably Numb”, one of their most popular songs, which was performed in 1994 as part of their The Division Bell tour. This version included a 6-minute guitar solo combined with a dazzling light show and a giant disco ball which would descend and open in the middle of the show.

All in all, Pink Floyd’s live performance experimentation made them one of the most entertaining bands to see perform live. I would pay a considerable amount of money to see all of them perform live again. However, given that one of their key members, Richard Wright, died in 2008, this would involve some sort of time travelling device.

What about you? What band would you love to see live? Write about it and get an entire hour of volunteer time! It couldn’t be easier!

I Used To Cosplay in My Free-Time, But Now, It’s Just Depressing


Image courtesy of Hope Smith

I’ve been part of the anime fandom for years. I enjoy reading manga and being involved in discussions about current anime and poking fun at my friends who liked the ones that “weren’t that great”, or went down hill (I’m looking at you, Sword Art Online fans!).

I also have been involved in the cosplay community ever since 2008, and I’ve always loved seeing people put in effort each year at the conventions. I was amazed at how someone could spend so much time on a cosplay, that I wanted to take a stab at it myself.

In the past 9 years, I’ve cosplayed many characters: Jack Frost (Rise of the Guardians), Nick Wilde (Zootopia), Danny Phantom/Fenton, Tadashi and Hiro Hamada, Bill Cipher, Dipper Pines, Sombra from Overwatch, Yuri Katsuki from Yuri on Ice, Sans from Undertale, Adrien Agreste from Miraculous Ladybug, Peter Pan, “Other Mother” from Coraline, Happy Tree Friends characters, Dark Link from Legend of Zelda, Kevin from Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Sock from the YouTube short Welcome To Hell, Nagisa Shiota from Assassination Classroom, Prompto and Noctis from Final Fantasy XIV, and more! I love to do a range of characters from different shows and video games.

Though, I have little money to spend and only so much time to put together a cosplay, I’ve found myself using clothing I already have in my closet to recreate a character. This is called Closet Cosplay (really original, huh?). I’ve been closet cosplaying for 8 years, and I only started getting sick and tired of it after seeing how much the community has thrashed my side-profession/hobby.

It’s really interesting how people will find anything to complain about, especially in a community that is supposed to have the nicest people. The toxicity of the community has pushed me over the edge multiple times, and it was only a few months ago when I decided it best for me to get out while I still could.

From body shaming to the minimal impact of one’s skin color, I find myself almost disgusted at the thought of judging a cosplayer by anything other than the level of craftsmanship they have. Even then, it is constructive criticism. It’s depressing to read about my community being so nasty to others within it, and I will not stand for it. I will back up the victim in any means necessary, because being shamed for cosplaying a white character, when your skin is darker, shouldn’t be reason enough to start a comment war on Facebook, nor say it to that person’s face.

I have a cosplay account on Instagram, and I’ve hardly touched it since summer because I didn’t feel welcomed in the community anymore. I am of African-American and Asian ethnicity. My skin is darker, but I will still get into any character that intrigues me.

I’ve been told, on multiple occasions, that I should stop what I love because I don’t look “exactly like Peter Pan”, or  I’m “too dark to cosplay Moana.”

I’m sorry; Since when do you run this account?

How people have the audacity to tell me to my face that I’m “too black to cosplay a Disney Princess, other than Tiana,” is beyond me.

I was a coward and ran away from what a lot of cosplayers deal with on a day-to-day basis. I’m sensitive when being critiqued, but strong enough to hold my own when it comes to something I love.

To the men and women who deal with people like this each day, I must say ‘thank you’. You deal with what I can’t, and that makes me no better than the people spewing hate your direction. but I will always stand behind you when the time comes.

Cosplay is meant for everyone. We’re all just a bunch of nerds who still play dress up!

Daylight Savings


downloadOkay, so is it me or is this time change effecting everyone? I love daylight savings in the Fall because the sun rises earlier than usual. I am a morning person, so when I leave out the house for class or to study the sun is out. I dislike daylight savings because it gets dark outside too early, and time is going by super fast. Ever since the time has changed I feel like I am doing so much work and still have time left over to spare. Also, I sleepy all day because I feel that I am lacking sleep, although I slept a full eight hours. I don’t know, maybe it’s me. All I know is there should be a warning that people may become sleep deprived due to time change. I was so used to the long hot days during the summer. Now the days are short and cold. Which makes me want to stay in my bed and watch Netflix all day. I think my main issue with daylight savings right now is it happened during the middle of the semester. I would not mind if the time change would happen during winter break because I would already be at home with family with no worries to get up and study, work, or go to the gym.

I would like to give a suggestion for this time change. First of all, the semester is almost over. Thanksgiving is in ten days, and there are three weeks of school left when we return. That sounds like a great time to relax, and come back to finish off the semester and year with a lot of homework and projects. I am sure plenty of students are working on assignments, projects, and exams for this upcoming week or the week after thanksgiving. I do not understand why teachers give students a work load after a holiday but it works out for some students. Hopefully you all are ready for this upcoming week to have some time away from school. And hopefully this break can give us students the break that we need, without making us lazy or exhausted from classwork.

I am honestly a procrastinator when it comes to assignments due later in the semester. If you all have something due the week after Thanksgiving break, try to start some of the assignment ahead of time. A start is better than rushing at the last minute. By doing this, there will be less work to due and worry about when coming back to end the semester.  As I stated before, I dislike daylight savings because of the time change. I am trying to look at the time change as a positive. By doing this, I think about the fact that the semester is almost over. I feel like we really just started this semester and it is already ending. Although the time is flying by and we will be in a new year soon, I am excited to see how this year ends. My advice is to enjoy this time change, get your classes done, and get ready for the holidays because they are coming. It already feels like Christmas outside. Good luck to all of you with these last few weeks of school, and I hope you all are doing well with these short days.

I wish you all luck with these next few weeks, and good luck completing everything in a timely manner. Until next time take care of yourselves.

Favorite Spooky Song


Michael-Jackson-Thriller-3d-promo-billboard-1548One of my favorite spooky songs is Michael Jackson’s classic song Thriller. Every Halloween I have to hear the song to get into my spooky Halloween spirit. Without that song my Halloween will not be complete. This is something that transformed into my yearly tradition as I became older. However, it was not always like this when I was younger.

When I was growing up the video of Thriller used to come on television often. I used to be so afraid of the video that I had nightmares for until almost two years ago from watching scenes of the video. Not even the full thing. For those individuals who are familiar with the video, you are aware of how scary the scenes are. Michael Jackson has zombies as a crew and they were very realistic. What really got to me is the last scene of the video when Michael Jackson looked into the screen and his eyes changed with a guy in the background with laughing with an evil humor. As you get older it the entire video is not so bad to watch, but it could still give you the chills.

A way that I got over my fear of the video was because of my cousin. One day we were watching Thriller’s video. I was turning my head to not be afraid. I hear my cousin moving, and as I looked up he was dancing. I realized that the video was just dancing and having a good time. So we replayed the video and watched it from the beginning. I was laughing at the the beginning of the video when Michael Jackson was in the movie theater eating popcorn, smiling, and enjoying the movie. That is my favorite part of the video. Then as the song continued my cousin showed me the dance moves to the song and we were dancing along with Michael Jackson and the zombies. We had a great time. After that I don’t pay too much attention to the video, but listen to the song and try to practice dance moves to the rhythm. That’s was the greatest way to get over my fear, was to enjoy the video instead of watching the details. Just like any other song, enjoying the song is better than picking out the flaws of a song.

Without my cousin I would have never gotten over my fear of the video, and I would have never learned to love the song. Especially on the day of Halloween. I still get afraid from the last scene of the video with Michael Jackson’s eyes changing, but my Halloween day will never feel complete until I hear that song. I am honestly unsure if that song was made for the day of Halloween, but that song is classic to play for the day of Halloween.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my favorite song, and how I over came my fear of watching the video. I am sure that there are plenty of individuals who witnessed a fear of the video as I did. But somehow enjoy hearing the song on Halloween day. That is all for this post. But I will like to end this with saying one thing.

Enjoy your Halloween day, stay safe, and play Michael Jackson’s song Thriller as a memory of me. Yay Halloween!!

Movie Review: Stephen King’s IT, 2017


UntitledWARNING: SPOILERS!

Over the weekend, I visited my boyfriend at his family’s house. While I was there, I suggested we go see IT.

I usually hate watching scary movies, but this was one that I decided, “Why not! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Everything. ‘Everything’ was the worst that could happen.

Although, I found myself enjoying the film immensely, I still have a hard time sleeping.

For those who don’t know, IT was originally created by Stephen King as a book. In 1990, IT got a movie adaptation that was created by Tommy Lee Wallace and starred Tim Curry as the original Pennywise The Dancing Clown.

In this new, remastered version of the movie, Bill Skarsgård brings Pennywise back to life in a chilling, horrifying, thrilling way. I thought Bill did a fantastic job at portraying the evil clown, especially with his smile and off-set eyes. Which, I found out, he could do ‘on cue’. Meaning that he could intentionally drift his eyes 2 different directions. This was one of the creepiest factors that caught me off-guard, but I found to be the most useful for his roll.

The movie takes place during a summer in the 80s, as 7 kids set out to defeat a living nightmare. Losers’ Club leader, Bill Denbrough, played by Jaeden Lienberher, has a strong belief that his younger brother Georgie, played by Jackson Robert Scott, isn’t dead. He is dead-set on the thought that his brother came out of another end of the sewers, after falling in to reclaim a paper boat Bill made for him to play with in the rain.

Throughout the movie, Pennywise takes advantage of Bill’s fear; finding Georgie truly dead. This was the main plot of the movie.

In my opinion, I thought this movie was very well-made. Just within the first few minutes of the movie, I was already in tears (Poor Georgie!).

There was always that feeling that Georgie wasn’t really dead, and was simply taken as hostage by Pennywise. I wanted to believe that the boy was alive the whole movie, but I don’t think anyone would’ve survived getting their arm bitten off and losing that much blood. Still, I have a huge soft spot for children, and I honestly wanted to believe Bill that Georgie was alive and well.

Bill was always full of hope, and would do anything to make sure his friends were safe and okay with his decisions. He was brave when entering the house on Neibolt street, and Richie even comments on his monologue, “He didn’t stutter once.” Which was a noticeable trait of Bill throughout the movie, and he would try reciting poetry to help him get over his stuttering habit.

Though, my favorite part of the movie had to be the ending scene where the kids go and save Beverly in the sewers. This was my favorite scene because it shows how Pennywise knows the fears of each kid, and uses it against them while they make their way through the sewer pipes. I enjoyed seeing the CGI effects when Stanley’s face was being engulfed by his fear, which was a women in a painting with an off-puting face. She is creepy in her own way, and reminded me of the Mother from Mama.

But I also liked this scene because we finally see where Pennywise hides and takes his victims. It’s oddly appealing to the eye, as you get a glimpse of all the children Pennywise has taken and killed over the years- which is hundreds. The pile of lost toys and clothes from his victims pile up in the center of the sewers, creating a mountain of sorts. Floating around it are all the children the clown has taken and feasted upon.

If that doesn’t creep you out enough, you must not like children.

Another scene I enjoyed was when Eddie fell from the ceiling and broke his arm, only to wake up to find Pennywise “untangling” himself from inside a fridge. This was a scene from when the kids went into the Neibolt house the first time.

The whole process of him getting himself out of a knot was disgusting, and made me cringe from my head to my toes. The discombobulation of body parts irks me to no end, but this was a scene that sent chills down my spine in a good way.

Altogether, I give this movie an 8.9 out of 10. I’m docking points because I would’ve liked to see more “scary” aspects than creepy. Not to say there were hardly any- there were- but I think the movie could’ve had more jump scares than just a creepy clown staring at children from afar holding balloons. I also thought- when a jump scare did occur- it was too obvious, and people knew when it was coming.

I highly recommend seeing this movie sometime before Halloween, so you know what to expect from your crazy neighbor who enjoys scaring the living hell out of children.

 

Ashes by NateWantsToBattle: Song Review


Untitled

WARNING: Spoilers!!!

 

You ever have a song that you listen to one time, and end up keeping it on repeat until you get sick of it? Well, I’ve been a victim of this ever since I heard the song Ashes, by NateWantsToBattle.

Let me tell you a little about the artist, first.

His full name is Nathan Sharp, and he creates song covers. I’ve been listening to him for about a year now, and I haven’t hated a single song he’s remade. He is from Richmond, Virginia, and specializes in Alt/Indie and Rock songs.

This song- Ashes- in particular gives me chills because the lyrics are a mix of creepy yet have a beat that makes me want to head-bang in my car and sing out loud with the windows rolled down on the freeway.

I also really love this song because it’s actually about a video game. The game is called Undertale, and-for those who don’t know- it’s a “Choice” game.

This means that whatever choices you make in the game will determine how the game is played and how it ends. It can be played on PC, and is hours of fun with a very dark undertone. If you like that sort of thing.

One of the endings is called- SPOILER- “Genocide Route”, which can only be achieved if you kill everyone without mercy.

Pretty depressing, huh? But I promise; it’s a good game!

Anyways, one of the lines in the song is, “Made your decision now you’re gonna have a bad time.”

This line particularly stuck with me because one of the characters you meet and befriend is a skeleton named Sans, along with his brother Papyrus. Sans is meant to be the comic relief of the game; cracking jokes and making horrible puns. When Sans gets upset or angry, he tells others that they will have a “bad time.”

Near the end of the game, once you’ve killed everyone in Undertale, your last opponent is Sans.

In short, a talking flower manipulates you to kill all your friends.

NWTB’s song Ashes is about how you became this monster who only kills for enjoyment, rather than trying to see the good in people.

I honestly thought this song would be used in more AMVs on Youtube, but I wanted it for myself and ended up buying it on iTunes instead.

Anyways, I’ve had this song on repeat for the past 3 weeks, put it as my ringtone for everyone in my contacts, and made it my alarm song.

I regret nothing!

To further explain how much I enjoy this song, another like is, “And in the end they’re gonna fall and fall to your hand.”

This line is a direct description of the manipulative, talking flower- who’s name is Flowey. He tried very hard to get you to kill everything and everyone, but you do have the option not to listen to him.

If you enjoy listening to songs that sound like they would be played at the end-credits of games, I recommend listening to NateWantsToBattle. He’s a really great artist, and I hope this review has intrigued you even a little bit to go have a listen.

The Sacramento Sound-A Local Band Review: Face the Horizon and Occupy the Trees


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The Sacramento Sound-A Local Band Review
Face the Horizon and Occupy the Trees

Sacramento boasts of being the birthplace of greats like Deftones, Cake, and Tesla, to name a few. If I try hard enough I can actually picture them on the cluttered stages of small suburban venues, fighting to differentiate themselves from the unceasing shuffle of sound. I am more than excited to be a part of sharing the beginnings of what I hope are the next generation of greats, starting with two bands I have some serious admiration for.

Occupy the Trees: A fun loving Sacramento Alt-rock band with curious deviations into the world of ska with a dash of skate punk

Charlie Sand-vocals guitar
Parker Barnes-lead guitar
Chris London-Bass
Nathaniel Wilson-Drums

Occupy the Trees held an opening slot in a recent local showcase at the Boardwalk; tasked with setting the tone, Charlie Sand and the band did not disappoint. They took to the stage with a gusto born of genuine boyish enthusiasm and it didn’t take long for the energy to catch on. Lyrically the band delivers an entertaining and relatable slice-of-life story full of satirical anecdotes. Sand on lead vocals has a catchy, adaptable style complemented well by a solid walking bass line and whimsical guitar riffs. Favorites of the night were the songs Words Like Bullets and Sorry, the latter was a blast live as the whole band joined forces to get the audience to sing along. Their musical style ranges from an upbeat punk/ska hybrid reminiscent of Sublime to the fast-paced melodic sounds of the early 90’s. Check them out on sound cloud!

https://soundcloud.com/occupythetrees

Face the Horizon: All the things you like from a heavy-experimental sound and none of the things you don’t

Robert Lynn-Vocals
Hal Trevor Williams-Guitar
Keywan Ryland-Drums
Chris Crimson-Bass

Front man Robert is right at home on stage, his charisma and obvious enthusiasm translates to the role of an entertainer well. He’s something like a heavy metal MJ, the passion for his craft is evident in every exaggerated move. Big kudo’s to the nod they gave the late Chris Cornell, pulling off an exceptional cover of “Like a Stone”. Cornell’s renowned range is not an easy one to replicate, let alone pull off with a grit and passion worthy of the man’s legacy. From twangy guitar solos and perfectly timed drum fills to the funk-rock heartbeat of the bass, Face the Horizon succeeds in putting the elements of their music together in a way that complement not competes. All in all they have made my ‘must see’ list and I encourage you to check them out when given the chance, you won’t be sorry. Check out a Face the Horizon original, “Cutthroat” on YouTube!

https://youtu.be/7JTubi_mOVk

-DJ Chy

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s.

The journey each of us takes with music is an intensely personal one, my hope for this series is not to take away from your journey but to share my own. I will work hard to cultivate objectivity in the hope that it lends creditability to my opinion. But it’s just an opinion.

 

Album Review: Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?


Black Lips’ new album is just like any other album they’ve released in the past 15 years, exciting and very different than any other release out there right now. In Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?, they’ve introduced a full time saxophonist Zumi Rosow, while two long-time members, Joe Bradley and Ian St. Pé, left the band. Black Lips’ sound has been altered since the original drummer and long time guitarist have left, but their reckless and eclectic sound has shown itself in this album as well.

Points are given to their attempt of making Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? a conceptual album, but it wasn’t quite executed in a creative and consistent way. Had there not been short interlude tracks that feel like filler songs and no sense of consistency, it would have definitely exceeded expectations. Even though it was produced by Sean Lennon and had background vocals from Yoko Ono, it felt like they were just hanging out; you couldn’t feel their presence throughout the album. Maybe they were just there as a big names to get people to listen to this release?

As a conceptual album, I didn’t feel the vibe of a overarching theme or influence. Most of the tracks had okay vocals, but nothing throughout the album excited me to be a repeat worthy album. I would give “Can’t Hold On” and “Crystal Night” a listen when you first dive into the album. They’re easy listening tracks that had a road-tripping kind of sound but have them in the background at a party as well.

All in all, I didn’t love Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?. It feels like Black Lips need to evolve their sound and change it up a bit. A few songs are worth listening but definitely not my go-to for hot new albums of 2017.

 

 

Twombly, Twombly!!!


 

I recently visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is one of the exhibitions that caught my eye.

Cy Twombly was an American artist, who belonged to the same generation as Robert Rauschenburg. He was a painter, sculptor, and photographer. He was born in 1928, died in 2011. In 1954, Twombly served as a cryptographer for the U.S. Army. In 1957, Twombly moved to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life. His work was mostly Abstract Expressionism.

 

Second Voyage to ItalyCy Twombly, Second Voyage to Italy

 

Twombly lived in Rome after World War II. He ended up being among a generation artists, in 1950’s Europe, that were trying to forget about the war. For his inspiration, Twombly used his surroundings in Rome, combined with the new style of American painters. He used these sources, and combined it with his own emotional reactions to them.

His paintings mostly had a solid color background that was usually gray, tan, or off-white. On top of the solid color background, Twombly scribbled. A few of these, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, resembled a chalkboard. And, what looked like chalk, was in the form of scribbling. Many of his paintings use this scribbling style, which sometimes resembles cursive handwriting (a calligraphy style). Other times, Twombly’s work resembles grafitti. One of the large paintings, at the Museum of Modern Art, looked like random chalk marks. But, some looked more like cursive handwriting. Though, there were no actual letters represented, just vague shapes that resembled the structure of letters. Later in his career, he would focus more on romantic symbolism.

Untitled Cursive-style piece

Cy Twombly, Untitled

Cursive-style piece

When I stood next to a large Twombly art piece “Untitled, 1971,” a museum employee told me that it was worth $1 Billion dollars. That intrigued me. I looked into why Twombly’s work would be worth so much money. Twombly was a big influence to generations of younger artists. He is considered a very important artist. He is said to have influenced Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anselm Kiefer, Francesco Clemente, and Julian Schnabel. Another reason that Twombly’s work is so expensive now, is scarcity. Twombly has a small body of work, only creating about 650 paintings. When compared to artists, such as Andy Warhol who created over 10,000 works of art, Twombly has a relatively small amount of completed works. If every major art museum in the world sought to acquire an important Twombly piece, there wouldn’t be any his artwork left.

 

Untitled 1971.jpg

 

Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1971

Me Next to a $1 Billion dollar art pieceMe next to a $1 Billion dollar art piece

I liked the artworks by Twombly that were more of calligraphic style, that looked almost like cursive handwriting. My favorite piece of Twombly’s, n the Museum of Modern Art, was a piece titled “Note I” from the series “III Notes from Salalah” 2005-2007. It had that chalkboard aesthetic, the forms that resembled cursive handwriting, and drips. The calligraphic-style faux lettering looked watered down. And, the letters were dripping.

Note I from the series III Notes from Salalah 2005-2007Cy Twombly, “Note I” from the series “III Notes from Salalah” 2005-2007