Offbeat #07 | Thanksgiving

In this episode – “Picture Time with Tom”, with pictures of people fighting “The Battle of the Bulge” (and no, not the World War II battle); Thanksgiving recipes get healthier!; and a special turkey edition of It’s Viral Daddy-O!

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Offbeat #04 | Halloween Special

On this special Halloween episode, we feature the restriction of sexually explicit dancing by a California high school, the curse of the Duck Hunt dog, and a special costume surprise!

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Friends, New and Old, Collide (Thinking about the Future)

I recently made a new friend whom, despite our brief time talking to one another (and ever briefer actually seeing one another), I’ve already picked out to be a very adventurous and outgoing person. I love people like that, because they really take things like “Live your life to the fullest” to heart! All that “life’s too short, so enjoy it while you can” business is the heart of their lives.

As is likely a popular prospect amongst teenagers, the age where you can start driving comes soon, and the day you get your car; sometimes even sooner. For my new friend, this is the case – from now on, let’s call her Miss America – she’s going to be able to start driving by the first months of 2010. I mentioned to her how momentous an occasion this is , not just for her, but for anyone in the same boat. I’ve always seen driving as being the first expression of adulthood, and one of the catalysts behind being deported from childhood! Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see driving as an adolescent activity, despite the fact that most people start driving individually before they’re 20. In my opinion, adolescence is a confusing holding stage for those leaving their childhood yet struggling into adulthood.

So anyway, I told her all this, and I was met with a belittling response – “So?” I’ve been met with the response too many times to be offended or anything, and my opinion is strong enough to withstand it. Miss America and I were talking about how she would drive her friends places, and how she wouldn’t have to bother her parents to go out to the mall anymore. And frankly, this event of later surpassed independence (later surpassed because you can’t consider yourself independent if you’re still living with your parents) is tremendous, and when I see all my friends going through it; it’s something I’m going to have a hard time coping with! My friends see it as a cool commodity that they’ll be able to go to the mall by themselves soon, I see it as an entire new dimension that opens up one more door into adulthood. Just the fact that this following scenario between one of my friends and I:

“Yo, can you drop me off at the station a few blocks from school? ‘Cause the buses aren’t running today. Thanks!”

, is bound to happen someday soon – is just unfathomable.

You could most definitely say I’m having, and I’m going to keep having, a hard time growing up.

A few days afterward, I talked with another friend of mine – let’s call him Mr. Mirald – about our plans for college; yet another event too momentous for one Tomás to take. And well, yeah, we’re going to college! But we’re not going to go straight after college. Instead, we’re going to take one year off, and travel. Be it a roadtrip to West Palm Beach, or a concert tour to New Zealand (not that we have a band or anything) we’re going somewhere. We all agreed that going to college right after high school is just not right – you gotta take a breather before plunging into the pool that is the rest of your life, right? – and so, those are our plans. We also fantasized about the bachelor pad we’re gonna have. Get one together up in Boston, so that the both of us – as well as the third member of our trio, The Fresh Prince (and no, not the actual one starring Will Smith; let’s call my friend Prince 305 instead); the three of us then, would have a place to um … drink tea with our chocolate bar purchasing dates?

The future’s coming way too soon.

Hopefully, Miss America, you’ll help me make the most of it.

As for you guys, Mr. Mirald and Prince 305 – damn right we’re getting that bachelor pad! damn right we’re taking that year off!   

And even if we’re in Boston, we’re still gonna go pick up my sister at 3 PM every afternoon when she gets out of school! We’ll make it work!

Tom’s Recap (Nov. 2009)

There’s so much I should tell you guys, that I’m intimidated by the very idea of writing a blog post that aims to recollect everything that hasn’t been said. But here goes (no way this is going to cover everything).

Let’s start where I left off. The last post I wrote that was about what I’ve been doing (“Optimism in a Nutshell” was simply an excerpt from my Positive Psychology report, which has been one of my great academic endeavors this year) was a podcast about how the summer of freshman year, before sophomore year, had come to a close. I distinctly remember that I made that podcast on the Sunday before the first day of school, a few minutes after I had finished my summer assignment that’d been assigned *cough* two months before then (it came out very well, though – no joke!).

Well, sophomore year has been … interesting. Initially, I didn’t know what to think of it. But it didn’t take long to see that this was the turning point year. Ever since freshman year summer was about halfway through, and I began to reflect on freshman year, I saw that it had gone so well, and that I’d passed it with such high-flying colors (in terms of grades and in general), that as a result, I remembered very little and I paid attention to very little. Quite honestly, I enjoyed and let it flow by like a long gust of wind. It was a great year, but it was a passive year that came and went. Kinda like the ice cream man.

Sophomore year, by contrast, has been one where I’ve constantly stopped to think about the state of things. About my friends, about what I’ve been studying in class, about the massive amount of projects/clubs I’m embarking upon/participating in (respectively). It sounds like that’d be a bad thing, but it’s not. Sometimes, it can cause you to over-analyze things, but for the most part, it helps, because by stopping to think about the little things, you’re actually doing a much better job of making and preserving memories.

For me though, sophomore year didn’t start the first week of school. Realistically, it did, but my mind didn’t take notice until the weekend of that first week of school. It did that on Saturday morning, in fact:  when I parted ways with my significant other since middle school. We were best friends, but for reasons not fit to mention here, we went our separate ways, and now, we mutually agree that it was for the best. It seems cliché – for a teenager, how earth-shattering and momentous the effect of breaking up with a two-year girlfriend, right? – but she was my best friend, the one who was there always. Amongst the bliss comfort of freshman year, she was there, and in a sense, I think she was part of the pillow I rested on during freshman year. That’s why that morning meant what it did. It was like removing the training wheels from your kid’s bike. “You can do it now. Just keep pedaling.”

Indeed, that’s what I did. That very Saturday night, one of my good friends that I’d met the former freshman year was having her quinces – for those of you not in the know here, it’s customary for a girl turning fifteen to have a lavish party and dance, much like it is for an American girl to do the same when she turns sixteen – and that night was the night of nights. It was the defining moment for the start of sophomore year, for reasons I’m still trying to find and understand. One of them however, was because I began to develop an affinity towards another friend that I’d been talking to lots over the summer and that I’d also met the former freshman year. Not only that, she’d also been one of the ones there for me when Tomás at Large Online became an official project.

She – or rather, the concept of me with her – isn’t going well, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother day (or blog post, for that matter). But by the fact that I’m mentioning it in a separate paragraph – you can judge (correctly, I might add) that she means a lot to me, but that meaning is being forced right now. “Think of it like a business investment – if it’s not profitable, don’t invest in it”. That’s the crude theory of how one should react in such a situation, but with love and with human beings in general, it’s unfairly hard to follow.

In terms of academics this year – over the summer, I’d been told that I wouldn’t be able to take the elective I wanted to (TV yes, but no AP European History). At first, I was helplessly furious (largely cause I’d already hassled my parents to buy the summer reading book for that class) but the class I got instead – Psychology 1 and 2 (they’re semester courses) – couldn’t have been a better replacement. That class has opened my eyes to the world, it’s increased my appreciation of the human mind and what people think and how they behave. Let that be my personal homage to Ms. Pino’s 4th period, 3rd floor Psychology course.

Tomás at Large Online, as you know was, very unfortunately canceled a few months ago. But on the flip side, Offbeat News with Tomás Monzón, on the SMSH newscast, has been going great! I truly enjoy making the segment, and it’s extremely fulfilling to be able to continue the exact same thing I did in middle school, here in high school.

Right now, in TV, we’ve been assigned to make a music video, just like last year. Only last year, our amateurism swam miles across my group’s video. Nonetheless, shooting it was a great experience – a learning one at that – and moreover, it reminds me of when I used to carry – on a daily basis, I might add – a miniature messenger bag filled with cables to school, in addition to my bookbag. Another memory to put on the unfinished scrapbook that is “The Memories of Freshman Year at SMSH”.

For the music video, I’ll personally be shooting a music video of Toto’s hit, Hold the Line, in a one-man style (i.e. I’ll be playing all the instruments). I’m so excited about it! I have a bunch of ideas, and best of all, the main lyric is awesome!

♫ “Hold the line! Love isn’t always on time!” ♫
There’s lots more I can tell ya, and I will. Spurred by an upcoming autobiography project for Psychology, but more importantly, by my devotion to this blog, I’ll tell ya what I’ve been up to this year, little by little.

See you guys again soon.

P.S. The last picture is me with a few good friends, from when we went together to celebrate the little guy’s birthday. Fun day.