How to start a band

Are you a musician? Do you ever dream of jamming with other musicians, maybe even writing songs and performing together? If you’ve got the time and the drive, then it’s time to get serious and start your own band.

  1. Find musicians. Ask around at school, work, or even post on Craigslist to find a drummer, guitarist, bassist, singer, or whatever instrument you feel is necessary to make your band complete. If you’re serious about your band, don’t just choose your friends who may or may not be musically talented. Choose based on actual musical skill.
  2. Decide on a genre. While you don’t really have to limit yourselves to one particular genre, you can at least pick a general idea that will appeal to everyone’s musical tastes.
  3. Once you’ve got your group together, find a practice space. Your garage? Basement? Where will you keep all of the equipment?
  4. Pick a few times a week to practice. In order to actually get good, you need to practice playing together a lot. As they say, practice makes perfect.
  5. Somewhere along the line, pick a band name. Anything goes, but preferably make it something easy to hear, read and spell – that way it’s easy to remember.
  6. Start writing your own songs. Once your band has gotten to the point where you can play together pretty well, try coming up with some originals. Write together, write individually – everyone should write as much as possible.
  7. Get some gigs! Do some research on local venues that will let you play. While you may have to accept playing for free at first, as you gain a reputation you should be able to score some paid gigs. Look for bands that might be willing to let you open for them, and eventually you should be able to book your own show.
  8. Record a demo. Save up money for a recording studio if you can – if not, there’s almost always someone you can find who goes to your school or your work who has recording equipment and knows how to use it. Otherwise, save up a bit of money to buy some basic equipment and learn how to record it yourself.
  9. Get your demos out there. Send them to record labels and sell them at shows! This is how you get your music heard.
  10. Also, make sure to put your music online. Create a Facebook page, a SoundCloud (where fans can listen to your music), and perhaps even a YouTube channel to post videos of your band playing. In our modern age, the internet is the most effective way to build your fanbase.
  11. Don’t get your hopes up too high – making it in the music industry is incredibly difficult – but if you’ve got your heart in it, don’t give up. It’s a long way to the top, but it’s not impossible.

The Theater

Nowadays, seeing a movie in the theaer is far from cheap. Not only do you have to pay for a ticket, you also have to pay for food, and if the movie is 3D or IMAX, the price only goes up.

That being said, I try to choose the movies I see wisely. I want to make sure that I am spending my money on something truly worth seeing, because it is easy to just watch it on Netflix.

The movies that are most fun to see in theaters are usually action films. I mean, do you really need to see the newest Nicholas Sparks movie and cry your eyes out in front of a whole group of strangers? ….I didn’t think so.

Another characteristic I look for in seeing a movie in theaters is ratings. I know the common saying “If everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you?” always stands, but it actually helps more than hurts in this case.

So spend your hard earned cash wisely, and happy viewing!

Rhinos: On the Road to Extinction

Rhinoceroses, the thick-skinned mammals trademark to Africa, are being wiped out at an alarmingly high rate.

While most people would guess that the animals are endangered, few know how coveted the rhino horn has become. Worth almost $30,000 a pound – more than gold – the horn has grown astonishingly valuable.

Rhinoceros hunters and dealers have developed a massive illegal trade industry.  In South Africa, the number of poached rhinos has increased from 13 in 2007 to 668 in 2012 – an appalling 5000 percent increase. Although the rhino is native to Africa, Irish gangs have become active by stealing ancient horns from museums across Europe. There was even a Texan who bought dozens of horns through hunters he found through Facebook.

Sadly, the coveted horns are not even as valuable as poachers believe, meaning the rhinos are dying for no reason. It is mistakenly believed in Asian countries that the horn can cure cancer and other diseases, prompting criminal organizations to heavily target rhinos.

Illegal wildlife trade doesn’t just threaten rhinoceroses; it has also become a dangerous threat to elephants and tigers. Luckily, countries such as Vietnam and South Africa recently signed an agreement to increase law enforcement. Matthew Lewis, Senior Program Officer of the African Species Conservation Program, says “Poachers are stepping up their game and we must do the same. We need to increase protection for rangers on the frontlines and curb the demand for rhino horn in consumer countries to stop this heinous wildlife crime.” This crime must be stopped before these amazing prehistoric animals are completely wiped out – at the current rate, rhinos could be extinct in several years.

As of 2013, the rhino horn is worth more than gold.

Introduction to a Californian Adventure

It’s Seattle and the rain is back, yeah or nay depending on who you are. I was going for a quick walk the other day and all of a sudden the weather transformed from a sprinkle to a downpour. I was thinking about what a walk like this would feel like in Palm Springs, and I realized that while I love Seattle, I wouldn’t mind a vacation to Palm Springs. Palm Springs is like my second home, and every time I go there I create the best of memories.

Located about two hours away from Los Angeles by car, Palm Springs might sound like a retirement community to some, but it is actually a lively city. Palm Springs is a perfect destination for relaxation or days by the pool. Palm Springs is quite easily reached by car or plane and the options for lodging and dining are copious.

For the next several posts, I will be doing a series on Palm Springs in greater details of the must see and do activities here.

Restaurant Finder

It’s hard to know where a gluten intolerant person can eat out, especially when on vacation. But websites like Urban Spoon and Yelp have made it easier.

Urban Spoon has a very useful and easy restaurant finder. You simply go to Issaquah (or whatever city you happen to be visiting), scroll down to features, and click “gluten free.” Choices are immediately displayed for you, along with prices, ratings, and cuisine type. It makes gluten free dining so much easier.

Yelp also has a gluten free restaurant tool. Type “gluten free” into the first search bar, and whatever city you are in into the second. Results similar to those displayed on Uban Spoon will show up, with ratings and address/phone number.

It is easier than ever to find a place to eat gluten free!


A new semester, a new series!

It is a brand new semester in Issaquah High and I thought I’d kick off the new semester with a brand new idea for my blog!

I love books, but just reviewing them can be a little boring for the writer. So I decided that along with my book review I would post short stories I write to liven things up a bit.

Also, in each of my reviews I will be suggesting a tea and a fun place to read!

If you have any requests regarding the content of my short stories, I could gladly use the inspiration!

Happy Reading!

Broken Bones

Momentary break (no pun intended) from the saving money posts, today I want to talk about breaking bones. Over the past weekend, I  had the displeasure of fracturing my little toe. It was a small injury, but it hurts so much more than many could imagine. I got it checked out by a doctor, and now I have to wear a medical boot that stabilizes my toes in order to help them heal.

But when it happened, I completely ignored the problem. I stub my toes all the time, so I didn’t think much of this problem. I went about my day limping through the mall and wincing every time I landed on it the wrong way. When I got home, I took of my shoes and found that my toe was completely black and blue. It was concerning to my mom because normal stubbed toes don’t look like that. So the next day she took me into the doctor and I got x-rays and it was concluded that it was fractured.

The lesson to be learned here is that, no matter how small the injury, it is best to get it checked immediately. Learn from my mistake; it will help you in the long run. If I hadn’t gotten my toe looked at, chances are that it would have gotten worse because I would have carried on with my life just like everything was normal. Even if it turns out to be nothing more than a bruise, it is so much better to be safe than sorry.

Impressive Weekend

This weekend, overall was a good weekend for IHS basketball. On Friday, Issaquah defeated our bitter rivals Skyline by a score of 53-43. I was so disappointed I was unable to attend the game, but from what I heard it was a great game. The Eagles shot the ball really well, and played as a team.

Seniors Grant Bair and Ryan Sexton were tops amongst their team in scoring, which usually doesn’t happen. Grant finished the game with 13 points while Ryan finished with teams high scorer of 17 points. It’s great to see the seniors play well in their final season. Not only did we win the game, we also won the stinky sneaker competition. Issaquah usually has good look in this friendly competition which goes on during half time.

Unfortunately on Saturday, the Eagles lost a close game against Garfield. The final score was 63-60. The Eagles lead or most of the game, but had trouble handling the press defense, which was a main contributor in the loss. Garfield is one of the top teams in the state so it would have been a great game to have won.

fashion crazy

I know tons of people who spend countless amount of money on tons of clothing. Mindlessly trying to follow the crowd, people grab tons of pricey clothing and stuff them into their shopping bags. Days like Black Friday and after Christmas sales make people go crazy for sales. Is it alright for people to spend so much money on so much clothing? It’s awesome to spend and have new clothing, but smart buying might be a better idea. Looking around different stores and such opens your eyes to different types of clothing. A true fashionista is also a smart buyer.

-Fashion Femme

Weekly Playlist: Upbeat

Feeling a little down? This week’s playlist is full of upbeat songs (as promised!) that are sure to lift your mood. Most of them are dancey-happy and I tried to pick mostly ones with more uplifting lyrics. The epitome of cheeriness on the playlist for me is Imagine Dragons’ “On Top of the World.” Music can have a powerful effect on your emotions, so I like to listen to this when I need a bit of a boost. Hope you enjoy!

1. Next in Line – Walk The Moon
2. Oh Love – Green Day
3. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
4. At Least I’m Not as Sad (as I Used To Be) – Fun.
5. Junk of the Heart (Happy) – The Kooks
6. Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs
7. AM/FM Sound – Matt & Kim
8. I Can Talk – Two Door Cinema Club
9. You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid – The Offspring
10. Unstoppable – Foxy Shazam
11. Immafish – Mighty Mongo

Gluten free athlete

Nutrition is very important to athletes. As a competitive swimmer for 10 years, I understand this obsession. But what about the gluten free athlete? Can he or she get the necessary nutrition? With these tips, yes.

Carbs are very important to athletes, either on race day or the night before. Carbs in gluten free products can be found, with ingredients like rice, corn, tapioca, and quinoa.

Choose fresh fruits and vegetables. While this is important for non gluten free athletes, too, it is especially important for those who are intolerant because they need all the extra vitamins and minerals they can get.

Emphasize naturally gluten free foods in your diet, like fruit, vegetables, rice, and gluten free whole grains. This can also help you avoid processed foods, which can be detrimental to your body.




Why Public Presidential Campaigning should be Restricted

A presidential election is a long and tedious battle. Although most campaign spending is privately financed, public financing is available for qualifying candidates for President of the United States during both the primaries and the general election. As these elections go on for nearly half of a presidential term, our deficit grows. These elections are not cheap and a waste of governmental time and energy. American citizens deserve straight points from candidates to make the right voting decision, without any controversies and overused publicity. Limiting all qualifying presidential candidates to a six-month time period of public campaigning will do just that. This does not limit all campaign organizing; just attempts that are made to catch the voter’s interest such as advertising.

In conclusion, a regulation of US Presidential candidates and their public commercial campaigning until six months prior to US Presidential Election Day should be applied. This regulation should be applied to all major, third party, and independent candidates. A committee of Congress should ensure that no party or candidate puts out any form of advertisement prior to six months before Election Day. If a candidate is found to have put out advertisement before this date, a one-week penalty into campaign season will be applied.

Then again, this is solely my opinion.


Working: Part I

Working 1
Michael Bunch tapped his foot impatiently as the buttons of the Sweet Embassy Hotel’s elevator lit one by one. Michael had worked as the hotel elevator man for 36 years, and today was no different than any other day. Mostly Michael brought rich business men up and down the lavishly decorated floors of the only six star hotel in Kentucky, occasionally he had to awkwardly sit through a newly-wed couple passionately kiss with no regards to his existence.


Went the bell of the elevator and Michael opened the doors for the small group of women to ext the elevator.When the hustle and bustle died down a faint “Click, click” of shoes danced their way onto the marble floors of the six by six box Michael spent 12 hours of his day.

“What floor ma’am?”

“Thirty one,” she sang, her voice smooth and low.

“We don’t have a 31st floor.” Michael said annoyance hanging in hit bitter tone. He glances into the reflective walls surrounding them. The woman was tall and slender, she had a thick mass of unruly curly hair atop her head an with a pink scarf around the crown. She wore what seemed like pounds of gold glittering jewelry. It hung from her ears around her neck and rings on her fingers. The oddest thing, perhaps, about the woman was the black cloak fastened tightly around her neck reading all the way to the floor.

“Look again.”

The woman made eye contact with hm through the walls, her piercing green eyes making him uncomfortable. She looked at him like she knew all of his secrets, fears, it was as though she was peering into his soul and getting comfortable.

Hesitantly, Michael glanced at the buttons on the panel of buttons, and sure enough there was a 31st floor. Trying to mask the shock that was surely plastered to his face, Michael calmly pushed the button and the elevator rumbled to a start.

The two strangers sat in scilence on the ride to the 31st floor, and when the elevator sputtered to a stop Michael jumped. The doors opened to a hall just like the other 30, and the woman stepped out, and just like that she was gone. The elevator hesitated before dropping a few floors to welcome a group of business men.

“Excuse me, sir, is this yours?” one of the men asked holding a small white piece of paper with Michael’s name on it. Michael quickly snatched the paper from the mans hands and punched the buttons the other men were demanding.

When the men left, Michael opened the letter to find a message scribbled on in hasty cursive. The content troubled him greatly, and when he went to push the 31st button he realized it was gone.

France and Britain Aid Mali

The West African nation of Mali is in a state of disruption as the government, aided by France and Britain, try to regain control of the country’s northern region. In March of 2012, soldiers rebelled against the elected President Amadou Toumani Toure. They were protesting the government’s reaction to a separate Tuareg rebellion several weeks ago. The soldiers then seized northern territory from the Tuareg rebels, stirring concern from the international community – this territory could easily become a respite for terrorists.

Since then, political upheaval has left the Malian Army vulnerable in the north. Confirming international concern, it has become a training ground for radical jihadi groups, including Al Qaeda. In January 2013, France began a military intervention with some success. However, it is uncertain whether they will be able to drive the terrorists completely from the vast desert in the  North. News surfaced last week that Britain is preparing to send some troops in to aid France in trying to drive the Islamists out. Britain’s troops, in combination with French forces, should be enough to surpass the terrorists and reclaim the North – however, Mali will most likely endure a wave of internal political and military conflict after. Therefore it is key that France and Britain invade carefully, and that the Malian government handles the situation diplomatically with regard to the different parties.