Ignorance is Determination



At the football game, with the band once more. Being the homecoming game, the entire student body is dressed in school spirit clothes galore, and visiting Marching Band alumni come back to the football stands to talk with their old professors, as well as play in the stands with their old friends once more. The Director herself picks up a snare drum – having always been an expert percussionist – and jams out with current and former students alike.

Then comes halftime, and it’s obvious that none of these fine football spectators know just what goes into making the band. They don’t know about the long hours we spend outside practicing, they don’t know about the frustration, endurance tests, and hard work we undergo. Sure, some of them can imagine so, but some can also not. At the competition football field, everyone quieted down as soon as each competing band entered the field. Here, the rattle only grows louder when music stops blasting over the PA. The band is dressed in their professional uniforms for the occassion, the drum major features a delightful black dress, the Color Guard is looking their best. This is our time to show everyone what we’ve been working so hard towards, another chance to demonstrate our latest marching skills to the public.

Yet, we know for a fact that this crowd could care less about the band. Of course they appreciate that the school has a marching band to lead them in football game halftime shows – but they’re not at the football game to watch a band. They’re not here to watch halftime (which in my opinion, is a waste of a break between quarters). So, what is the function of our performance?

To practice. The crowd that will be watching us is at competitions, at concerts, at college football games. And when a sabre tosser fails to catch her sword; instantly I hear an “Oh!” from the crowd. She knows very well what she’s doing, though, and she quickly picks up the sword with a grace that made it look like the toss was part of the performance. In that instant, I saw the role of disinterested peoples’ ignorance in determination. This isn’t an attack on football game spectators – but the reality is, as I mentioned before, the audience doesn’t know what goes into learning that toss. They haven’t the slightest about how the marching is organized, about the theme behind the three Movements … and yet, it is that very same ineptitude, dare I say, of common people, that keeps the marching band so committed. The simple fact that every brass player, every percussionist, every Color Guard member is out there breaking their backs, doing their best to ensure the best performance yet, knowing full well the crowd knows little to nothing about the virtue, about the hard work that goes into marching – is the most unwavering demonstration of their passion for the sport, of their commitment to their team and their profession.

We exit the football field, our school having won 48 – 8, and our halftime show having been the best performance yet. “Piano Man” plays over the loudspeaker (which in retrospect was a very poor choice of a victory song) as we dawdle towards the buses on our way back home.

Psychology, The Universal Tool

The following is a little spiel about psychology. The above picture represents a very true phenomenon.

As you can expect, when I was in Psychology II last year, our teacher often preached about how wide-spread psychology was, throughout the world, in absolutely everything we do. Of course; how could it not be. After all, it’s the study of behavior, and behavior is a part of every living being, human or animal.

And even though she repeated this self-evident truth so often, I don’t think any of us – pre-programmed to hurdle over the idea whenever it was told to us again – ever really sat down and thought about what she really meant. Because if you do sit down to think about it, it’s truly wondrous how widespread psychology is, in the sense that even the coldest, most matter-of-fact person – in fact, this is most of them – knows a fair share about the considerably warm study of psychology. Think about it this way – when an artist is contracted to develop a new poster or design for Pepsi-Cola, he doesn’t just put something together that looks nice and displays well at a high resolution. He has to think about his work, not only in terms of artistic technicalities and other expected considerations, but also whether people will be stimulated by the design, whether people will be able to remember it, whether people’s minds will quickly react to it and say, “Hey, it’s a new design for Pepsi-Cola!” The artists does it second-nature, but as he’s moving around a touchpad mouse on his digital artist-oriented MacBook, he’s constantly processing the various psychological factors playing into whether his design will succeed or not – and ultimately how fat his paycheck will be. That is, the cold matter-of-fact person making the ultimate psychology-based decision isn’t the artist – it’s his entrepreneur of a boss.

Another example would be television network bosses and head honchos. Sure, they deal with insurmountable tonnes of paperwork on a daily basis and they likely resolve legal and copyright issues every other day – but they also communicate with the editors and scriptwriters of the network, and they ultimately impart the final word on whether a show will pass pre-production or not. And on what does the head honcho base his considerate response? On psychology, of course! An experienced NBC editor-in-chief or general manager has seen his network progress through the decades, and he knows very well what kind of niches Americans enjoy; just what kind of comedy and hilarity Americans, young and old, enjoy viewing on their television sets on weekday nights, after a 9-hour workday.

If we’re talking television psychology, though, I’d like to finally take the chance to mention Disney Channel. Perhaps someone will make fun of me, but no matter what show was playing on the channel at the time, be it Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, or Unfortunately, Sadie; there was just something about that channel that immediately grabbed mine and my friend’s attention. I could go into detail about the times this has happened and such, but I’d probably not be able to describe my point too well. I guess you only get it if it’s happened to you before, so I’ll just ask: has anyone ever felt immediately entranced by Disney Channel?

I could go on with more examples, but time’s running out as I’ve got to return to Biology homework. My point is, psychology is everywhere as even the coldest of business decisions rely on an innate knowledge of what will stimulate the human mind. Some food for thought for you intellectuals and such.

Spectator

Found this on the net; probably from several classes ago. 
I’m sitting here in the backseat of the family car, writing a blog post on an underpowered yet undeniably reliable Pentium II laptop. The monitor is dimmer than dusk, the eraserhead is uncomfortable like my sister’s computer chair … it’s a work of art. Besides it being enough of a novelty to be able to blog whilst on the road – that road being a very long one on the way back from an extended children’s birthday party – what I’m thinking about is also something quite newfound. I wrote a post, some time ago, about the importance of documentation throughout our lives, in the form of in-your-face candids that girls can output so quickly, easily, effortlessly. Well, building on that ideal, I went ahead and wrote a preliminary draft about my blog. Now standing at 80-some posts – counting this one – it’s without a doubt a window into my former self. That “former self” being one that’s so drastically different from the one now with only two or three years in the middle.
It’s different in a plethora of ways.  Now that I have this ancient laptop in front of me and surprisingly, it’s holding a charge I’ll mention one small difference by talking about this upcoming week.
It’s Homecoming Week at South Miami High – our homecoming football match against our athletic rival happening this Thursday – and despite the fact that I have a Biology test on Thursday, a news report to finish for TV, and a cavalcade of other things that never seem to stop rolling in … I couldn’t be more excited.
Just this year, I realized the social, psychological prowess of high school football games. Not being a sportsman, or rather, one who likes football, I’d been putting off going to a football game since my freshman year, ignoring the stereotype painted by cheesy 80s era high school movies of worthwhile football games that served as seasonal get-togethers for the best of friends. Well, luckily, thanks to my filming the Band, I’ve been attending almost every football game this year so far (well at least the home games). And in ways that can only be provoked by the most thrilling of outings, I genuinely get excited at the prospect of being a spectator at a football game. I mean; sure, half the reason why is because I get to do what I love by filming the Band’s halftime and stand-side performances, thus exercising my nascent camera skills … but I’ve discovered something else in football games that may just be that social prowess so eagerly advertised by every other attendant since freshman year. When our team wins – not an event bound to happen often, unfortunately – there’s a sense of pride and victory that, even though you might not like football, you involuntarily share with both the varsity football team breaking sweat and tears out on the field, but also with the cheerleaders on the stands, with the security guards at the gate, with the Band on the field at halftime, and most importantly, with your dear friends that have taken time out of their schedules to attend this community event. It’s something I’ve never experienced. Never before have I shared such a sensation with so many people.
That sensation being one of sports-related pride. When I’m on the halftime field, looking towards the home side stands, gawking at the amazing turnout, I feel unmatched felicity in being able to say, “Go Cobras”. Here’s to the Homecoming Game!

Practice Writing a Personal Narrative, OK?

You’ll see why. 

In my AP Language and Composition class, we were analyzing and annotating Gary Soto’s personal narrative about his guilt-ridden experience with a stolen pie; I believe it was an excerpt from A Summer Life, an autobiographical text. As our little project for the weekend, we are to draft our own personal narrative. Of course this is going to take some heavy mental activity and physical stress to figure out just what personal narrative I want to produce – yet the biggest challenge in that is to wrangle my mind earlier than 9 PM on Sunday. So here’s the story of … well, let’s see where this goes.

Well, when I was in first … no, that’s a medical experience. Oh, I know! When I used to be … eww, no that’s nasty. Uhm … well I could tell you about the first time that I ever … nah, that brings back memories too sweet to put on paper. Gosh darn! I think I’m doing a good job of making sure to work on this earlier than after dinner on Sunday! What I haven’t done a good job of … in the past, of course … is documenting those things I find memorable.

You know how girls take pictures all the time? Give them their own camera, and they’re likely to come back with a roll of, if nothing else, canted in-your-face pictures of themselves with their friends at school, at the mall, at a party. And this trait isn’t one that they had to be particularly mature to establish. It might as well have started in kindergarten had our parents entrusted us with hundred-dollar cameras in our hands. Actually, no, scratch that! It probably did start in kindergarten because back then, $10 dollar 35mm disposables were in! So, yes! Our generation got to start taking pictures deliberately at a very young age, and in my inexorable wisdom, I didn’t really partake in, or find attractive, the art of taking pictures of just about everyone and everything around me until I was maybe in 8th grade. Not only that, I only started taking pictures of memorable moments – last days of school, outings to the mall, bike rides in the neighborhood – towards the latter part of that 8th grade year.

My, so far, wordy and overly restated point is that documentation is important. I should’ve been smart enough to realize that taking pictures of all those fun things that happened in my life that I’d like to have a browsable record of now – that party in 6th grade that landed the teacher some flak from the administrators, the first time I went to the mall with friends, the day I Met Your Mother – was going to end up being the most useful thing I would’ve done! How awesome would it be if now, to select the most inopportune, crazy, but ultimately impacting anecdote to write about in my draft, I could turn on the computer or open a scrapbook or enormous plastic tupperware container, look at a corresponding picture, and sit back and relish the overwhelming amount of memories and feelings of, amongst other things, certain nostalgia, as they come into and overtake my mind in an ethereal moment that can only be experienced by a person that kept his history in war torn scrapbooks because he knew it would help him impress his AP English teacher this coming Tuesday, a day before the practice SAT.

Bottom line: document your life.