Just Write

Ella makes me write blog posts

she says “just write”

i don’t want to

Im not very good

One Hundred and Fifty words

That’s not even that much

but I can’t get it out

words and words

I can’t just stop

I need to hit the limit

for me to be on top

is that it yet,

hold on, let me check

dammit that’s sixty-four

I guess here are some more

I don’t get it

Second semester senior

and I’m still stressed

Even this poem’s a mess

Still have more to do

Im getting blue

Face puffed

mouth stuffed

With some Journalism snacks

Brought by Fred Alvarez

and his pesky crew

that’s me, and probably you

Who reads these anyway

probably just Ella Shoot

If you’ve gotten this far

I guess, Good for You

not that good tho

cause you have to read this bit

poems are not my strong suite

after this thing, Freddy gonna give me the boot

Oh that’s one sixty-four

I went over

so at least there’s no more

well all I did was “just write”

sorry if you read it

you’re a good bloke

My Common App final draft

I love old technology. The analog feel of buttons and dials under my finger, the lights of a stereo amp, the crackle of vinyl, and the warped sound of an overplayed cassette tape––all create beauty we so often lose in the digital world. The beauty of chaos, the unorganized, and the functionless. These devices hold value in their aesthetics but also through the stories that define them.

Such objects fill my room with stories from my own life and the countless others they’ve encountered. Next to my bed sits a CRT TV I found abandoned on the road. It works surprisingly well for a piece of technology made before Facebook, though, like the person who left it behind, not many would think much of it. It’s been replaced by two decades of 4K ultra-HD developments, which produce bigger, brighter images. Why would anyone watch a special effects masterpiece on something with the quality of a cave painting and a screen smaller than a shoebox?

 I see its beauty though, the way it needs to warm up before turning on, the way it cracks and clicks when you try to push its archaic buttons, and the decaying colors of the few remaining VHS tapes, long-forgotten. 

I imagine this TV didn’t change hands many times. It was probably bought new at Radio Shack in Ventura, six years before I was born. It probably sat in someone’s living room playing movies for their kids on family game night, and then their grandkids, and then it probably sat in the garage taking up space until they finally decided the black hunk of metal, glass, and plastic was an eyesore whose good days were as long gone as its remote. Now it sits as an exhibit in my room, a reflection of others’ memories and a piece of art for me to admire. 

Like this old TV, I, too, can easily be overshadowed by things bigger and brighter. I surf with more passion than I’ve ever felt before, but by most standards, I’d be considered unremarkable. 

Surfing’s the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered: walls of water like moving mountains, foam like a powerful avalanche, a board that goes from being your greatest ally to greatest enemy the moment it’s freed from your grip. Is the feeling of a wave worth the pain of falling? Often, it is. Small waves, no biggie, a couple seconds of being under frigid water, and then you paddle back out and try again. But when the waves become giants and the board a brute-force weapon, that fall begins to exceed your limits. 

I remember going out on a day with waves far beyond my skill set—Goliath and Polyphemus in watery form. Before I even paddled for a wave, a set came in. The first wave blocked the sun as it groaned past me, the second feathered as I crested its peak, the third, I wasn’t so lucky. The avalanche hit me, immediately tearing the board from my hands. The wave was now groaning on top of me, thrashing my body like a ragdoll in a washing machine. Then, it was over. The wave passed, and I was okay. So what pushes me to surf in these conditions? I think it’s because putting myself in places beyond my skill set and comfort, where I’m deeply flawed, has shaped me. I find love and beauty in the places where I know I’ll fall, for it’s there that I find who I am.

I climb, hike, surf, and run, but most athletic is an unlikely yearbook superlative.  

Like the TV, I, too, crack and click when I’m pushed too hard. If all that made me was performance, I, too, would be left on the street without a second thought, but I am my story not my statistics. I too, have beauty, which lies not in my achievements but in my imperfections.

Car Garage

I don’t like to be a car kid but man cars are awesome. Here are some I love:

e30, e36, e46 bmw 3 series

These three cars are just so pretty (the last one is my car, although admittedly I’d prefer a different one) the e30 is iconic and overdone these days but just such a nice boxy design with that little grill and the two lights. e36: cool and has a really nice interior plus a little more modern still with that retro boxy thing. e46: I love my car

1955-60 Mercedes Benz 300sl gullwing 

I mean this is probably the best-looking car ever made.

Honda nsx 1991 

Just look at those tail lights

Porsche safari 911 

It’s an off-road 911. What’s not to love.

Lancia delta

Iconic in rally racing, similar to MKI gti but just super unique widebody on this car.

Porsche rwb 

911 but like PHAT

1986 mr2 

My dad had this car in 1986, it is so cool looking and has pop-up headlights and with the stock wing just is a very cool mid-engine Toyota

Detomaso Pantera GTS 

He made a new one recently but those old ones are just so nice, really stunning from every angle.

Lowered Toyota hilux (1969) or Datsun 

These trucks are so cute my old ceramics teacher had a Datsun in baby blue, awesome car

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300sl, pc: i dont know ive had this photo on my computer a while

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Pantera, pc: Shannons Auctions

Creativity PIQ

My creativity is expressed in everything I do––from the blog posts I write for journalism, to the way I dress, and even how I move along a wave when I’m surfing––but ceramics is the place where my creativity is communicated best. It wasn’t always this way, though… 

From the time I started in fourth grade, all the way until junior year, I believed that the ceramic pieces I created needed a function. I thought throwing a cup, bowl, or vase made more sense than making a sculptural piece. It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value of a sculpture or a piece of art, rather, I did not believe myself to be an artist, and so, my job was to make utilitarian items. I didn’t know it then, but how I treated my ceramics tied deeply to how I thought about the world. I believed that utility was more important than beauty. 

The shift occurred after a new ceramics teacher came to my school––she pushed me to use ceramics to express myself. I began to infuse my pieces with creativity, and, just like that, my life became full of creativity too. I created pieces whose sole purpose was to be viewed: teapots that would never hold tea and bowls that I’d never eat cereal from. I put concepts into my work, and my pieces or collections meant something—they didn’t just fulfill a purpose, they stood as a physical representation of an idea. This allowed me to better understand what a piece will mean rather than what a piece will do. The saturation of creativity in my ceramics changed how I thought about the world. I now understand that there is value in something that is simply beautiful. 

We all are artists inside––all we have to do is add a little creativity to the many mundane tasks we complete. Now, even when I write a regular essay, or get ready for the day, I push myself to instill elements of creativity into my presentation.

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PC (your mom)

Reading Journal on Dr. Faustus i was kinda proud of

Beginning in the 1500s when Dr. Faustus was written and spanning to the modern era, the human race has pushed the boundaries of what is natural and tried to become gods. We invented the astrolabe, conquered the seven seas, built nations on the destruction of entire peoples, and constructed skyscrapers which seem to defy every idea of what is possible. Our health has improved, we’ve made life convenient beyond belief, but despite all this achievement we, like Marlowe’s arrogant celebutante “yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man.” 

For the past few hundred years mankind has become increasingly involved with the same internal struggle as Faustus. Each new level of knowledge we acquire we become more careless and ignorant. Everytime some new process or physic principle is discovered we slip deeper into the Faustian bargain we call progress. This rat race for discovery becomes paired with this nonsensical notion that we are the only important thing on the planet and that we deserve everything which we can fathom and more. This is the mindset which sent Faustus to eternal damnation, and this is the mindset which plagues the modern world. Regardless of all the power we may accumulate over the natural world we still are humans, flawed forever by stagnant ideas and held to earth by the unrelenting and unstoppable march towards death. 

 As private school educated students from generally wealthy families, fiscally or situationally, it is easy for us to fall into the Faustian mindset. I’ve been at fault of this, my friends, my family, and classmates––all at some point have looked at the world and thought “I deserve more”. This mindset ruins the last humanity which wisps gently between us, we become stale, ignorant, and spoiled, unable to understand that there are other people around, and even more so, other things. We all too easily divulge in the trap that we can do what we want to the world without consequence. 

Just as Faustus enjoyed his twenty four years of power which ended in a no bit unexpected end, mankind is still enjoying its twenty four years marching towards an end we can all see and yet choose to believe is not real. Like Faustus, humans are just people who happen to be in situations of extraordinary power. 

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Meh.

I just suck at writing anything important

like literally what is the point? 

I surely am not a writer 

Im yet to get any better 

Even when I try 

Lela writes some ballad 

And mine are overlooked.

Honestly, 

I just kinda feel shitty. 

I mean 

It’s such a vulnerable thing 

For so little reward. 

When I write for college 

I get something out of that 

When I write essays 

I can see the reward 

But blog posts 

Another 10 points in my derelict grade book 

Im writing bad poetry right now 

So at least 

People will know I didn’t try 

And that way 

When im vulnerable 

I can just blame it on 

Not caring 

Seems to be the trick 

No matter how much you actually care 

If people think you don’t 

You have nothing to lose 

If you care 

Emotion gets in the way 

And feeling conflict with each other 

So why don’t we just play cool 

Put our feet up 

Relax 

And pretend 

Nothing really matters. 

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pc me

Semi-Complete list of the cool things in my room

I gonna start with the things hanging on my wall (in no particular order besides the order im looking at them. 

  1. Carnegie melon flag (my sister got in and it pissed her off that I put it up since I have no desire to go there) 
  2. My two running medals from 7th and 10th place, as if that’s worthy of metal 
  3. Anderson Paak jumping crocodile cliff Poster, I don’t even like Anderson Pack 
  4. Odesza weird looking man poster, I dont listen to them either 
  5. Anderson Paak sitting on hummingbird poster
  6. North African guitar stap, its my dads 
  7. A painting my mom did 
  8. A porsche decal design my dad made for some dude on vinyl car wrap 
  9. Micheal Jackson off the wall album, who’s Micheal Jackson? 
  10. A photo of a car that I took 
  11. A photo of a Vespa that a took, these are back from my photography days 
  12. Mercado Segrado market poster
  13. Spacship mini poster 
  14. C Street mini poster 
  15. Three vinyl records, daft punk, Salt n Pepa, MJ off the Wall 
  16. Skateboard grippe with a painting Logan did for me for my birthday on it 
  17. Mami Wata power of the African Surf poster 
  18. Mindsurfing a Conner coffin story poster 
  19. Odesza woman and moon poster 
  20. New York abstract art piece 
  21. My cassette collection 
  22. Italo Ferrera Stoke-ed poster 
  23. A ma Maniere Jordan 1 shoe box cover 
  24. Coach shoe box cover 
  25. Jordan 1 pollen shoe Box Cover 
  26. Lost boys shoes 
  27. Jason Bua “The Dj” poster 
  28. Wax Trax! Records poster 
  29. A bunch of shoes on a shelf 
  30. My VHS tape collection on the same shelving unit 
  31. Art beyond Survival Shepard Fairey event flyer 
  32. My clothes 
  33. Trestles surf comp display
  34. Restroom sign
  35. skateboard deck

Not on the walls: 

  1. Plant 
  2. Plant 
  3. Plant 
  4. Plant 
  5. Plant 
  6. Plant 
  7. Plant 
  8. Plant 
  9. Plant 
  10. Mini TV 
  11. Mini Tv 
  12. Blue Yeti microphone 
  13. 2011 MacBook Pro 
  14. Kenwood turntable 
  15. Skateboard
  16. Onkyo Amplifier 
  17. Tury’s ceramic piece 
  18. Lava lamp 
  19. Percival Lafer Livingroom set including the smoked glass coffee table 
  20. Nike coffee table book 
  21. Kai Lenny coffee table book 
  22. Broken VHS tv 
  23. Functioning VHS tv 
  24. Box covered in stickers ive collected 
  25. Mirror covered in stickers ive collected 
  26. Old UC Berkley bio department microscope 
  27. Perfect condition MisEducation of Lauryn Hill album on CD 
  28. Mammoth stuffed animal 
  29. Moroccan lamp on its side acting as side table 
  30. Rug 
  31. Space Helmet
  32. Book collection 
  33. The front passenger seat of my car 
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Dust

I try to clean once a week; today was the day I did that cumbersome ritual. I wiped my coffee table and picked up the clothes and paper that propagate atop the carpeted flooring. I grabbed all the trash on my bedside table and desk. I even made my bed (a task not typically high on my to-do list). Yet, there is dust all over my room, no matter how much a clean or wipe it off it never seems to go away.  Every week I fight it and every week it returns, I mean how do you even get rid of it; when you wipe it away half of those pesky particles fly into the air, only to land back where you just cleaned just after you finish. Maybe the dust is why I keep getting sick, full Interstellar mode. The reason I’m thinking about dust though is that today during my incumbent chore the dust was floating through the air really beautifully, it was sparkling in the sunbeams coming through my window and just caught my attention. I wish it wasn’t so dirty, otherwise, I might add more dust to my room. 

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My room pc me

What makes good music 

I’ve always appreciated music, but for most of my life, I never listened to it. I consumed what my parents and friends listened to, there were songs I liked, and artists I didn’t, but never did I voyage to discover “new” music. Even in high school, I was the kid who said “oh I don’t really listen to music”, then, one day, something changed. It came in leu of befriending Adam who I greatly looked up to, he, like the others who have surrounded me, changed me through pointed jokes towards my seemingly ever-lacking personality. The first songs I listened to I played relentlessly and then disposed of when they no longer brought me joy, were decades-old pop songs such as 99 Luftballoons, You Spin Me Right Around, and Kiss. I liked these songs and still do, but they still didn’t feel right for me. These songs have millions of plays on Spotify and thousands may consider them the best of all time—at least in their respective genres—but I still couldn’t connect to them in a way I now knew possible as a result of the passion I saw in Adam for excellent music. I didn’t know it yet but I was in search of the perfect song (something I likely will never find). After old pop, I moved into rap, not the good kind, honestly like bad music, although I do appreciate them for what they are artist like bbno$ and Young Gravy has no place in the search for the best song of all time. It’s not to diss them but they create music not for the soul but for the pleasure of the masses. Now, I think I know what you’re thinking, “this kid just said popular songs can’t be good, twice.” While I do think there is a correlation between production for mass markets and production for emotional expression, many popular songs are that way because they truly tap into a deep human feeling that people can’t turn away from. Latino artists do this incredibly well. I recently played mi gente in the car with Logan and he called it “cringy” still, that song, despite its incredible popularity infuses you with energy in a way most songs could never do. Is Mi Gente the perfect song? No. Is it worth listening to? Absolutely. Another artsiest who accomplishes this emotional feat is Lauryn Hill. I know I’ve already talked about her but she has the infusion into her music that grabs your soul and holds it right in the rhythm and beat of the music. I think this is the beginning of a formula for a perfect song. Though like John Keating with poems, I really don’t think there can be a “formula” to a perfect song, rather, qualitative aspects add up to create something perfect. 





Running

This is not just to make Mr. Alvarez happy. I am beyond angry that I got covid, not because of the amount of late work I’m doing this fine Sunday night and not because of the stress I currently face around college, but because it likely destroyed my shot of finishing my last cross country season successfully. For three years i have struggled, fought, and cried over my times in cross country and each year i’ve gotten a little but better. This year, before I even had covid it felt like I had reached a plateau in my running yet every day that passes that I sit in my room I get more and more hopeless about running in the 18s this season. Cross Country is very strange, as far as running in total goes my times are dismal and downright bad but the amount of effort and work I’ve put in makes me proud of them, in the end though it’s futile because I will never go anywhere with running i’ll just finish this season and likely never run in the same sense again yet still I have this need and desire to keep trying my best and keep pushing beyond what I’m capable of. This stretch of covid has just made the fight so much harder and it’s difficult to keep going especially with a positive attitude that’s necessary for captainship.

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CIF runners post-race last year, pc: Ms Wachter