Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music Today

Hey everyone! This is my entry for the Change My World Essay Contest. If you want to read it, go for it! Any tips before I submit it would be much appreciated! :)


If I could change one thing about the world, it would be the music that people listen to. Music has been proven to have an effect on people. It can change you for the better or for the worse. Today, the popular music that people listen to has horrible messages. There are songs that swear just about every line, there are songs that talk about the "positives" of drugs, fighting, and sex, and there are even songs about killing people. That's not how music used to be. People used to sing about things that are positive and uplifting. There's still music like that out there, but it's hard to find when everyone's listening to whatever's at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

One of the reasons that I think music today is so bad is because we have lowered our standards over time. Back in the 1950s, Elvis Presley's dance moves were considered vulgar. One man threatened to have him arrested if he shook his body at all while on stage. By today's standards, that would be nothing. You probably wouldn't make it today if all you did on stage was shake your hips a little bit. Over time, people accepted it. One thing lead to another, and eventually society started accepting dance moves that really are vulgar.

Lyrics to songs have also become more and more explicit over the years. In 1970, John Lennon released his song Working Class Hero which used the f-word. It was banned by radio stations, and a senator in Washington D.C. threatened to sue after hearing it on the radio. Like dance moves, lyrics started getting worse. More topics and words became acceptable. A few weeks ago, my friend was listening to a song on his iPod. He counted how many times it used the f-word. In four minutes, there were forty f-bombs. If you do the math, that's one every six seconds. Really, that is pretty dang bad.

Another thing that has changed is live shows. Back in 1969, the Woodstock Festival took place. It was advertised as “3 Days of Peace & Music”. That’s exactly what it was. People attended the festival to see their favorite bands and just have fun. In 1994 and 1999, they tried to recreate the festival. Woodstock ‘94 was advertised as “2 More Days of Peace & Music”, but it was far from this. While the original Woodstock was remembered as being three days of peace and music, Woodstock ’99 was remembered for violence, fires, rape, and the eventual closing of the show. Sound like peace to you? Didn’t think so. Live shows have changed extensively, which has lowered the grade of music.

If people listened to music that is positive, uplifting, and has a good message, the world would be a better place. There are still artists out there with good music. Jack Johnson and John Mayer are probably my two favorite guitarists. They both sing songs that are inspirational and have great messages. One of my favorite Jack Johnson songs is Better Together. Instead of singing about getting drunk at a strip-bar, he sings about friendship. If everyone would give good music a chance, the world would be a better place. Bob Marley believed that you could literally cure racism and hate by injecting music and love into people’s lives. I don’t think he was to far off.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Apache Trail

Ok, I know I said that I would be writing about my bands again this week, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. I had to write this for science, so I’m going to use it for my blog today. For our term project, we had to go on two field trips to an educational place. My first one was about the Grand Canyon and this one is about the Apache Trail in Arizona. You really don't have to read this... It will probably be pretty boring for your. But if you do choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!


While we were in Arizona, we also went to the Apache Trail. It was a cool experience. We got to see a ghost town, learn about the Saguaro Cactus, and see the Superstition Mountains. Overall, I was glad we stopped there.

In the morning, we drove about a half hour past Phoenix. Our first stop on the Apache Trail was the ghost town. Back in the 1800s, they found gold in that area. Everyone rushed in to get rich. After a few years, it turned out that there was no more gold, and the city was abandoned. Today, it is a popular tourist destination. There are a couple of restaurants, a place to get your picture taken, a church, and occasional gun fights. They aren’t real fights, but it was pretty cool to see.

While we were in the ghost town, we had some questions about the Saguaro Cacti that they have in Arizona. They really are an amazing plant. They can grow to be more than twenty-tall. The thing that’s really amazing about them though is how long it takes them to grow. We were talking to one of the workers at the ghost town, and he said that some of them can live to be 300 years old! Just to grow the first arm, it takes 75 years. That’s a long time!

The Superstition Mountains were really cool. My dad said that they are used in a lot of western movies. It makes sense. They have a western look to them and they are beautiful. We didn’t have time to hike to the top that day, but I would have loved to. The view must have been breath taking. We did get to drive around them though. We got out at a lake on one side of them and just got to enjoy the surroundings.

Our trip along the Apache Trail was a great one. Not only did we have a blast, but we also learned a few things about Arizona. I still can’t believe those cacti. They are protected, so they can’t be moved or destroyed without the permission of the government. But 300 years... I still can’t believe that! It’s truly amazing!

If you are ever in the Phoenix area, I strongly recommend that Apache Trail. People of all ages will have fun there. Kids will get a kick out of the ghost town, and parents will love just being there.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Break in Scottsdale

Ok, I know that last week I said I was going to keep writing about my favorite bands, but I’m skipping a week. I want to write about my spring break trip while I can still remember it! Don’t worry, you’ll get some more bands next week!

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For spring break this year my family went to Scottsdale, Arizona. First off let me say “Thank You!” to whoever plans the calendars for actually giving us a spring break this year! Geez, last year we only got one real day off… Anyways, back to our vacation! We left Friday right after school. We only drove to Kanab that day and drove the rest on Saturday. On Saturday we went to the Grand Canyon. It was my first time there, and I was amazed at how pretty it was! Seriously, if you’ve never been there, you need to put it at the top of your to-do list. It’s a beautiful sight.

Once we left the canyon, it was about three hours to where we were staying. Once we got there, we were excited just to get out of the car! We had done probably thirteen hours of driving over the last couple of days. We got settled into our room at the Marriott Canyon Villas. It was an awesome place! There was a pool with a waterfall, a lazy river, and a waterslide. We spent a few days out at the pool. But the day we got there, we were exhausted. We watched a little TV and pretty much just went to bed.

The next day we hiked to the top of Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak. It wasn’t that hard of a hike in my opinion, but my mom and sisters thought it was. They didn’t make it to the top, but my brother, my dad, and I did. The view was sweet you could see all of Phoenix from the top! The rest of that day we just spent at the pools.

The next few days we spent pretty much at the pool. On one of the days we went to a ghost town. It wasn’t that exciting, but I’m glad we went. I got a lucky rabbit’s foot! Another day we went to a Diamondbacks. It would have been better if the Rockies hadn’t been mauling the D-Backs. When we left in the 8th inning, they were down 6-1. It wasn’t a great game.

Probably the most unique part of the Phoenix area are the Saguaro Cacti. These cacti grow to be crazy tall, and it takes them decades to grow! Some of the oldest are 150 years old. They look just like the cacti you would see on movies. They have arms that grow to be the size of the cactus itself. While we were driving down, my sister kept saying how bad she wanted to see a cactus, and I didn't get what the big deal was. But then we saw some of them, and it all of a sudden hit me. There aren't words or pictures to describe them without seeing them for yourself.

One of the most memorable parts of the trip (for me at least) was In-N-Out. I’ve eaten there many times before, and they make the best burger of any fast food restaurant out there. What we discovered this trip was their “secret menu”. Pretty much anyone who’s a regular In-N-Out goer knows about its most famous item, the Animal-Style Burger. It adds a few ingredients to its normal burger. There are only a few who know about some of the other items on the menu. There’s the 3x3 (pronounced 3-by-3) and 4x4, which is 3 patties and 4 patties respectively. I tried a 3x3, and let me tell ya, that is a lot of meat! Holy cow! But I get bragging rights now, and I don’t ever have to do that again. I’m not going to tell you everything on the menu, but I’m going to tell you the name of one last item. Next time you’re at In-N-Out, order a Flying Dutchman. I’m not going to tell you what it is, just order it and tell me once you have!

Overall, it was a great vacation! I’m kinda bummed to be back at school now… Oh well! It’s the last term now! Just gotta make it about 35 more days!