Summer In Smoke (Play Review)

•January 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Summer and Smoke was theatrical brilliance at its best with an all-star cast that gave a stellar performance of the play. Set back in the early days of what seemed to be the 1940s or later, the costumes were appropriate for that time. The set was very changeable and the spotlight dictated where you should focus your attention. By the end of the play, the story had the entire audience sucked into amazement. The intermission had everybody on the edge of their seats. Then, arguably the best part of the play is the finale. The stage goes black and the curtain goes down. The play has come to an end.

The audience gave the entire cast of that night a standing ovation. The audience went wild with unspeakable excitement that electrified their theatre-going hearts. I believe that Summer and Smoke was one the best plays MTSU has ever seen and will ever see. Whether you went for the play, have love for theatre, or had to go for a grade, everybody who went enjoyed the play. From dynamic acting skills to the strength of the actors, from the set sensitive lighting to the people who helped back stage, this play was a must see for everyone, including teachers, students, professors, community members, and children. It’s a very enjoyable play and everyone should take part to see it.

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Interview With Shawn Mayer Assigment

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I recently had an in depth interview with Ms. Shawn Mayer. Yes, that Shawn Mayer. She is a singer/songwriter from a town of about 42 people in Northwest Ohio. She started her music career at the age of 15 and she’s been singing every since. She was recently on Season 6 of Nashville Star. When I asked her how she attained this position, she simply answered, “perseverance and hard work.” When she moved to Nashville, she got her first job as a staff writer, writing with many different writers from the sources and contacts she made on Nashville Star.

            She, like many others, admitted that in this business, there is no typical work day. I quote her saying, “Being an artist, there is no typical work day [laughs]. It’s all depending on what I have scheduled for the day. In the morning, I take care of all of my sites on the internet. In the afternoon, I have songwriter sessions booked. And later in the day, I’m usually in the studio recording demos or performing at shows that usually carry me through the night.”

            Being as young as she is, she has a great amount of accomplishments under her belt. She’s already signed to an exclusive publishing deal. She won second runner-up on Nashville Star. She went on two major US tours – Veteran’s Tour and The Nashville Star Tour. Even with all these major accomplishments, she still has some goals that she strives for. She said, “I’m striving to achieve a record real. I want to get my music out to a large mass of people.”

            I also asked her what advice she had for me as a student who wants to break into the business and accomplish some of the things she has. She said, “My advice would be to make a promise to yourself that this is what you want and pursue it. You only have one life to live. I say take the good with the bad and chase your dreams.”

            As you can see, I really had a great time interviewing her. Shawn Mayer is a Pretty cool, laid back artist who loves her fans. “I’m the same person I was before I was on a reality show.” she says, “I’m just lucky enough to wake up every morning and be able to do what I love doing.” I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed interviewing her for this assignment. She is a true joy and an amazing artist. Thank you!

The Music Of Today

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello My Readers, This is a paper I turned in for class along time ago. I hope you all enjoy!

The music that is on the radio today is lackluster to say the least. I do not mean the commercial jingles and the music that plays during the 30 minute commercial break; I refer to the actual music that these hackneyed artists are filling our brains with. So many people today are so imbedded in the music that is offered to them, they refuse to venture out and discover the music that is worth listening to. They accept the “radio trash” as music, when it’s merely nothing more than a bunch of record companies trying to make a dollar or two off of some half baked artists. The music that I speak of undermines the original definition of talent, corrupts the minds of anyone who listens to it, and simultaneously skews their values.

America is known for its great singers who make great music. For the most part, it has been a longstanding American tradition to have songs with powerful meanings and intelligent topics. If artists did talk about secular things, such as intercourse, it was executed discretely. Children listening had no clue of what the song really portrayed. These were the songs that were broadcast over the radio and this is what people liked to hear.

Today, if it’s all about sex, it will sell. The number one album of 2008 was Lil Wayne’s “Carter 3”. The album has sold more than 2 million copies to date and shows no signs of letting up. The album was filled with rude, crude, and inferior songs. The lyrics of these songs were disrespectful to women, consisted of vulgar and disgusting sexual content, and condoned the use of recreational drugs. As previously stated, this was the number one album in America for 3 weeks straight on Billboard. What happened to us? What happened to our music? What happened to our self-respect? I guess sex sells, but it comes with a price – dignity. This is just one of the millions of celebrities out there who have taking over an industry that used to belong to talented and worthy artists.

I recently sat down with a friend of mine who disagrees with the way I view the music of today. I told her I feel that music today lacks meaning and substance. It’s more about the music instead of it being about the lyrics. She said some music still has meaning, it just doesn’t appeal to people. I disagree with this statement. I believe that if the media attempted to focus on decent music, then we wouldn’t have this issue. Her statement was also very illogical, because even though good music is not what’s on mainstream, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a fan base. They have fans who continue to support them throughout their career. There is always somebody to appeal to.

She also said the record labels won’t promote those artists, because they won’t make as much money as the talentless and pointless mainstream artists. I also disagree with this illogical statement. The record companies want to make money. This is true. But as long as the artists have a fan base, they are making money. They wouldn’t keep a contract with an artist who didn’t make them any money. Also, it is the job of the manager to promote the artists, not the record label.

So, in conclusion, we ask ourselves, “Is today’s mainstream music really worth listening to?” I say no. There is too much good music for us to support, regardless what your taste in music may be. You should be able to find something that has meaning and tranquility, something that will make you think, or even something that will make you smile. Music has the power to do all of this, but the music that’s on radio isn’t up to par. That’s if you can even call “radio trash” real music. Let’s band together and support those who deserve to be supported. Don’t let them sell you anything. We are the buyers and we decide what is sold. Turn the radio off.

Raymond’s Random Rants (Part One)

•January 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I want to see changes! It’s almost like this new generation of people have been completely born without morals. I can’t even walk around a college campus without running into someone or some people who clearly have no home training. I have a saying for this nonsense – “You’re acting so 3rd grade!” LOL I made it up when I was talking to my mother. I know whoever is reading this is probably thinking about the next person you change say this to! LOL Seriously, though! I thought that I was in college. I thought that we were the mature people that made it out and we’re working toward having something of value in our lives.

 Why is it so hard for people to realize that you are whoever you want to be? I’m afraid that they truly want to be like this. I used to think that people were ignorant and didn’t know any better, but now that I see that they’ve made it to a stage of higher learning? Come on! You can’t tell me that you’re still trying to impress people!

You’ve gotten to a point now where how you were raised and how you were brought up is starting to look minimal. It’s all about who you want to be and where you’re going. At least that’s what I thought college was about. Maybe I’m wrong! Who knows I’m just tired of seeing them. It’s like decency and culturedness (I know this isn’t a word, but it is now. Coinage!) have gone out of the window. What is wrong? I know some of their parents must be really proud of them! (sarcasm!) or maybe they don’t know how their children are! Who knows! Who cares? I mean, I do, but not about them, if we’re going to be honest! I care about the kids that they are going to have.

These people should be legally barred from being able to conceive. They are only going to raise their children up to be just like them. This is why 2 year olds know all the words to Beyonce’s Single Ladies, but don’t know their ABCs. This is why they can curse before they can even walk! This is why they know how to play all of the Playstation games and XBOX games before they even know how to pick up a book and read! It’s bullchips! I mean, seriously? Get the baby Leapfrog or something! LOL Take the baby outside. Teach it how to ride a bike. Get Active with your children. Stop trying to be their friend and start acting like a parent. Summed up nice and sweet? OK… RAISE YOUR MOTHER FUDGING CHILD! 

To Be Continued….

Hold This! (A funny, sad but true story)

•January 13, 2010 • 1 Comment
This is an oldie but goodie. Just in case you didn’t catch this on my facebook page then at least you can catch it here. I hope you all enjoy!
“Hold This”
I woke up late for school again! It must be time to replace my alarm clock, since it only works when it wants to. I rushed out the door to the bus stop, but to no avail. The big yellow bus looked like a yellow dot in the distance. Determined to make it to school, I caught a ride with my mother. She was not happy about having to drive all the way to another part of town. When I arrived to school, I zoomed into the building with my belt around my neck, a wide open book bag, and my English book in my hands. I glanced at the clock on the wall and found out that I had ten minutes to spare. I was thrilled to know that I was able to get breakfast.

So, I went into the cafeteria and got breakfast. I ran into a classmate of mine while exiting the cafeteria. We decided to walk to class together. When we reached the top of the 40 steps, I decided to put on my belt before I went to class. My hands were full and there was no way I could pull this off without a little help. I handed my friend my breakfast, and my books. I took off my book bag, turned and whispered, “Hold this.” As I did this, I realized that I was falling backwards down the stairs.

I did what I like to call “The swift tuck and roll” down all 40 of the stairs. I ended up sliding, feet first, down the last few. I was hurt a little bit, but my pride was shredded when a small crowd of people turned into a stadium of laughter. I had completely embarrassed myself in front of a good portion of my high school. This was the beginning of my reputation as “The guy who fell down the green stairs.” What a way to leave your mark, wouldn’t you say?

My Mother (April 30th, 2009)

•January 10, 2010 • 2 Comments

It all happened so fast. I didn’t sleep that night. I had plans on skipping class and sleeping all day anyway. I can’t remember the exact time, but I just remember Quita (my sister) calling me crying saying momma wasn’t answering her phone. This wasn’t that unusual, because Quita was always sensitive when someone didn’t answer the phone. She still is. She always thinks the worse. Well, this time I guess was right, because, skipping a lot of details, my mother friend Carlos and my friend Danielle found her there. I’m glad that is wasn’t me, because they would’ve found two bodies! LOL When I called Carlos, he told me and I lost it. I don’t even remember. I just remember feeling my heart drop and it stayed there for like 3 months.

                Skipping some more parts, I found myself in Nashville about 2 or 3 hours after the call. It all happened so fast. When I got home everybody was there. My grandmother, My granddaddy, my aunt deb, my Uncle Jeff, my uncle thad, my aunt Brenda. Pretty much everybody (and two random old ladies that nobody new!) LOL I really didn’t speak. I had nothing to say. I couldn’t even cry. I just wanted to see Quita, because in my mind, if I saw Quita, I would be fine. I went upstairs to my room. I wanted to be as far away from my mommas room (who’s room is downstairs) as possible. I couldn’t take it. The house still smelled like her and her cigarettes. I laid on my bed and couldn’t really do anything. I just laid there, hoping that I would hear Quita soon.

                All types of thoughts were going through my mind. All the people I still had to tell. All the chicken I would have to eat! LOL All the people I would have to see and listen to the same old, blah-blah story over and over again. “If you need anything, let me know”, “She’s in a better place, now” , “She’s looking down on you”. You all know the routine. What a lot of people don’t know is that my mother’s passing was not the first, but for me, it was definitely the biggest and worst one. My father passed away when I was 5. I used to think I was 4 when he passed, but Quita corrects me everytime I mess up! (Thanks Quita!) Then, my sister Prudy passed when I was 11. So, I was pretty use to death, but each one stung worse than the other. I guess the older you get, the deeper it cuts.

                When I finally heard Quita, I flipped out. I was super excited. When I finally saw her, she was crying. She was not okay what so ever. Either was I, but when it comes to death, I was always stronger than Quita. She knows this! We even talked about the day that mom would pass away. She said that I would have to make the plans all by myself, because she would be in the corner holding tissues crying! LOL But, when I saw her, I knew that I would have to protect her. To hold her and tell her that everything was going to be okay, even though I wasn’t sure myself. I had to be the brother. I had to be there for her, so I put my feelings on pause. I stopped crying, especially in front of people. If I did catch myself slipping, I would run to the bathroom and cry in secret. I didn’t want Quita to see me like that, especially since I was trying to comfort her.

                We went through all the motions and things. Getting paperwork filled out, picking a casket, what she was going to wear, just everything basically. As the days went on, reality started to set in. She wasn’t just at work or on a women’s retreat with the church. She wasn’t at the corner store getting cigarettes , Ice, and a Dr. Pepper. She wasn’t at church. She wasn’t with Buck or Carlos. She was really gone. It almost seemed like it was all getting worse with time. Then, I realized that I was finally leaving that state of denial and becoming more in touch with reality. I just remember everything moving so fast, but so slow at the same time. It was a weird time. Especially, the visitation/viewing of the body day. I was out of it. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I had completely forgotten about me. All I could think about was the only one thing I had left – Quita. I knew she was doing worse than I was. I soon as we walked in, I could tell she was breaking. I swooped right in (Quita! Cleo! LOL)! I did everything I know she would’ve done for me if she could.

                Then, the funeral. I don’t even remember the funeral. So, I can’t really say. I just remember that it went really fast. It wasn’t a long service, but there was lots of singing. I do remember that. There was also a lot of people. Some I knew, most I didn’t. I’m sure they missed my mother, though. You could just tell. When it was over, the walk back to limo was long. I didn’t want to do it. I held myself together the entire funeral. I was doing good. Being there for Quita, that was my job. When I lost Quita in the crowd, I knew she was back at the limo. So, I made my way in that direction. Everybody wanted to hug and cry and talk and give me the “after death speech”. I completely understood, but at the moment, I didn’t care. I wanted to be with my sister. That’s when I made to the limo and I see a sister from my church. She was an usher that always made me smile.

She was my favorite church member for a long time. I look at her and she grabs me and squeezes me. She holds me really tight. Not too tight that you’re uncomfortable, but just enough. I could feel the tears start to come to my eyes. She says, “It’s okay. You don’t have to be strong. You can cry!” I was breaking. I was crying so hard, but as soon as she let me go and I ducked into the limo and saw Quita, I broke. I was crying harder than I’ve ever cried in my life. What she said kept running through my head. I couldn’t stop crying. I fell into Quita. I was not okay. I finally got myself together enough to stop crying. I just sat there. That familiar feeling of nothingness swept over me again. All I could think about was making sure Quita was okay.

                We make it to the burial site, and this is where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it. Seeing them lower her casket into the ground was an image I thought would do me in. Surprisingly, I made it through the whole thing without one single tear. I think I was too numb from the limo ride to really take everything in. My Pastor spoke, but I really don’t remember what he said. I really didn’t care. I just felt like nothing. I felt distant and cold. The only person I cared about was Quita (I know I’ve said this a lot, but you guys just don’t understand!). I said my final goodbyes to the woman who raised me with a single flower I was given to throw on top of her casket. It was like I threw half of myself with that flower.

                Now, I’m doing so much better. That feeling of emptiness has gone away. I still miss my mother deeply and I will never be the same, but I really think I’m heading toward okay. Everyday I’m picking up speed. I get stronger every morning. I know that everything is going to be alright. I talk to Quita everyday and I feel like now we are even closer than ever. I love my sister with all of my heart and I know she has my back for anything and everything, likewise with me for her. This was a really hard post to type and I cried a couple of times, even though I left out a lot of details, but don’t cry for me. I’m doing okay. I’m surrounded by a loving, supporting family that will always be there for me. I’m in school living the dream. So, I know I have a lot more than a lot of people even still to this day. I’m sad that this happened when it did, but I would rather carry the pain of losing her and seeing her having to carry the pain of losing me or Quita. Thank you all for taking the time to read this! New Post will be up as soon as I come up with a new Idea! LOL

 

Love you all,

Ray

Official Start Up Date & Other News

•December 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hello Peeps! Raymond here, with some incredible news!

Like Rihanna said ever so retardly – THE WAIT IS OVA! (Even though it’s really not)

My official first blog will be Jan. 10th, 2010! I will try and blog Every Sun., Wed., and Sat. if possible. I’m sure that won’t last!

Also! I’m accepting questions for the “Ask Ray!” segment of my blog! So, if you’re having problems in your life, love life, or whatever you want to ask, send me your questions to RayAdvice@gmail.com I can’t wait to hear the crazy questions you ask me (and the serious ones too, of course) Also, e-mail me at the same e-mail address if you have a topic you want me to tackle. I will do it.

I want this to be a look into my life. I want it to be interactive, so please comment, e-mail, whatever. Just let me know you’re reading.

Well, that’s it! Thank you guys for your time. Keep Checking back and remember JAN. 10th, 2010! THE WAIT IS OVA!