Writing the Self 2: Parade Day

[Writing the Self #2]

As we stood over by the grain bins on the east side of town, my soccer teammates and I whined over the delay of the start of the parade. It was supposed to start at ten, and it was nearly ten-thirty by this point, and we were getting restless. Not surprising, for a bunch of ten-year-olds, but I’m sure the adults there didn’t appreciate the noise we were making. The head of the soccer committee – my Dad – told us to quiet down for the umpteenth time in the past half hour. He was trying to have a conversation with someone to figure out what the cause of the delay was. None of us really paid much attention to him, however, continuing to cause a ruckus among ourselves. We were excited. We were finally able to participate in the Canada Day parade, how could we not be? Suddenly, we heard a shout from the front of the line and the floats in front of us started moving. We all let out a cheer – it was finally starting!

Eventually, our float made it’s way to the front and we turned on to Grand Avenue, the main street of the parade. Almost out of nowhere, we were bombarded with the sights of red and white. Flags, clothes, decorations, streamers and so much more. It was all decorated to look “Canadian”. It was an incredible sight. Our float made its way down the road, and the audience standing along the road started clapping and making noise as we passed by. We laughed, waved back and, most importantly, threw candy at them. The kids – some young, some older than us – rushed onto the street to collect the scattered candy and to throw it into their bags for later. I knew exactly how they felt – candy truly is the greatest part of the parade, especially for a kid.

Our float eventually reached the end of the street, turned around the corner, and it was over. All of the Canada themed decorations were out of sight, though we could still hear the deafening sound of the cheers for the other floats that remained behind ours. As my teammates and I started cleaning up the float, I felt an intense pride that I had never felt before. I couldn’t place the reasoning behind it at the time, but it was  definitely the pride of being Canadian. Never before had I experienced something like that – a celebration of Canada where I was one of the main focuses. It was exhilarating. I loved every single moment of it.

On that day, I truly felt like I was Canadian.

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Learning How to Sit, Among Other Things

A new week, a new progress report on my piano learning journey!

This past week has been the bulk of my learning so far. In the past week, I’ve learned proper sitting posture, finger numbering, and the proper fingering to play scales up and down the piano.

For posture, I learned it mainly from my music class at the University, but to brush up, I used this video on YouTube that I found to be a lot more in-depth at explaining the proper piano posture and why it’s important to be sitting with good posture.

(apologies for the poor camera angle on the video, it was the best I could do!)

The above video shows my most recent progress in playing as of this week. I can play the given piece rather well (in my humble opinion), though there are some flaws with my technique. Especially noticeable when I’m using my left hand (the second half of the video that’s in the lower register) is that I am using too much of my wrist to push the keys down, when I should be mainly using my fingers. Using the wrist like I do makes it a lot “louder” and is more “accented”, which, when playing the piece I am, isn’t the feeling that I should be trying to go for. Other than that,  my technique isn’t horrible and I feel like the fact that I can play this is a miracle in itself, especially after such little time.

Regardless, the progress I’ve made over the past week has been quite nice. I still have yet to purchase my own keyboard, so I still am limited in  how much I can actually practice per week, but I am working on finding one soon, as it will help me practice SO much more than I already can.

Until next week!

Feedly – All the information you need in one nifty website!

So Feedly is quite a nifty little website. It takes a daunting task of following multiple different news sites, blogs, and other article-posting websites and throws it neatly into one website. It makes it a LOT easier to follow the many different sources you can find all over the internet nowadays. It’s quite helpful in finding new information on the things you’re interested in.

My Feedly page. Information!

I have two different categories on my Feedly page – Ed Tech, and Math/Music. The names are pretty self explanatory, but I’ll go a little deeper into each of them.

The Ed Tech category is for all things related to technology in education (as to be expected by the category title).  I follow a few blogs/sites that are dedicated to posting about new discoveries in technology for education, or new ways to use current technologies effectively in the classroom. The many different articles are very interesting to read to see the many different perspectives on how technology can be used to make teaching more connected to today’s culture.

The Math/Music category is for the posts related to my major and minor in education. One of the blogs in particular is  the ‘dy/dan’ blog. It’s a blog run by a teacher named Dan Meyer, who is a Math instructor. He has many different types of posts, ranging from posts about teaching Math,  to technology in the classroom (it’s almost like a double whammy!). His posts are very intriguing to read, as the way he writes is a mix between professional and humorous, which make them a blast.

I’m still looking for more blogs to add to both of the categories I have set up, so if anyone has any recommendations for either category, be sure to let me know so I can get to filling up my Feedly feed!

Oh look, another musical instrument!

I thought long and hard about what I should do for my learning project. It had to be something that I actually wanted to learn, but never had the true ambition to do before. Something out of the box for me, something outside of my comfort zone…

I couldn’t think of anything that fit those criteria so I chose the piano instead.

A classic piano! Photo Credit: rhett maxwell Flickr via Compfight cc

Piano was actually the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the learning project, I was just hesitant to choose it as I had actually just started piano lessons for my music theory course that I am taking this semester. I felt that the fact that I was doing it for a course might make the learning process less, I don’t know, “validated”? I don’t know why, it was just a weird thought I had in my head. Thinking it over rationally, I feel there’s nothing wrong with choosing to go with the piano for this assignment, mainly since I have never played piano before.

My base line? Well… it’s right there, I’ve never played piano before, so my physical skills are next to non-existent. On the theory side of things, however, I am already quite knowledgeable about many of the more basic aspects of piano (and other musical instruments, for that matter), such as finding notes on the piano and scales.

My plan for learning the piano is quite simple. I want to gain the finger dexterity to be able to at least play piano sections with some ease. I also want to be able to gain the left and right hand independence that comes with playing piano. I feel this skill would help me with my other instruments, guitar especially. My end-all goal is to be able to play the first fifteen measures of the piece below (at least, with the right hand).

Piece I want to be able to play by the end of the learning project. You can find the score by clicking here.

This is a small section from one of my most favorite songs of all time, “I Won’t See You Tonight Pt. 1” by Avenged Sevenfold. A fair warning if you do decide to search this song up, the song leans a LOT on the “heavier” side of the “Metal” genre, so it will definitely not be for everyone. Regardless, it is one of my favorite songs, and the intro piano section I think is especially beautiful. The original tempo of the song is quite fast, which is where most of the challenge will come from, plus the double (harmonized) notes on the right hand. If I can play those efficiently, I hope to be able to add the left hand in, but I understand that that may be pushing the boundaries, so if I can’t get that far, it’s completely alright with me.

So this is my goal for the semester. My biggest challenge for now will be actually practicing piano, since I don’t actually own one yet! The only way I can currently play is using the University pianos in the basement of the Riddell Center, but those aren’t always available. I plan on purchasing a keyboard for my computer that I will be able to use to further my learning, but that may have to wait a little while. Hopefully it won’t be too long, though!

That’s it for me today. Have a great morning, afternoon, evening, or night, depending on when you read this. Toodles!

Who Even AM I?

Good question!

I’m Jesse Simpson, and I hail from Indian Head, a small town fourty-five minutes East of Regina. I went to the only high school in the area – Indian Head Head School – and graduated in the Spring of 2017.  After school ended, I decided to move away to the city, to truly search for myself and figure out who I really am, and to find the hidden, deep meaning life that I longed to find for the past eighteen years of my existence…

Not really.

I moved to the city because I applied at the University of Regina and got accepted into a Bachelor of Education with a Mathematics Major and Music Minor.  Why did I choose those two? Well, it’s pretty simple. Math is cool. Like, really cool. That may sound “nerdy” to some people, but I’m being completely honest when I say Math is something I really enjoy doing. As for my minor, Music, well… I love music! I, at the time of writing this, play three instruments – guitar, drums and trumpet – and am always looking to learn more (hint hint). I like music so much that I often record some of my own tunes and then do nothing with them because showing it to other people is super embarrassing! It’s almost poetic.

As for my hobbies, well, music is still a huge part of it. In fact, I am in a band! As a matter of fact, my header picture (at least, at the time of writing this!) is a picture that was taken at one of our recent shows, where we played in a friends basement. The band consists of four of us, one drummer, one bassist, one rhythm guitarist and singer, and one lead guitarist (that’s me!). My bandmates all come from Qu’Appelle (a town about 10 minutes West of Indian Head), so I’m kind of the odd one out in that sense, but that doesn’t really bother me. We play a variety of genres, though we generally stick to “Punk” music, similar to The Clash or Green Day, though we all take inspirations from many genres, anywhere from “Metal” to “Folk”, even to “Blues” (well, for me at least).

Picture taken of all the bands to come one of our shows on the night of August 29th, 2017. Quite an awkward-looking bunch of individuals, aren’t we? Picture credits to Sarah Kalmakoff.

Another one of my hobbies is computers. I am an absolute computer enthusiast, but not in the way one might suspect. I’m not particularly interested in programming,  or computer science or anything like that. No, my interest lies in the computer itself. I love BUILDING computers. There’s nothing quite like dropping the money on all the separate parts for a computer (including, but not limited to the graphics card, a processor, memory, coolers, and much more) and then spending some hours just building it. It’s almost… intimate, as strange as that sounds. The biggest problem with this hobby is that it’s very, VERY expensive. I’ve only built my own computer once, but I have helped my family and friends build multiple computers over the past few years, and it absolutely never gets old.

My current beauty of a computer. Is very gorgeous, 10/10 would build again.

That’s really all there is to say about me. Well, I guess I could also say my favorite food? Yeah, that sounds good. It’s pizza. A very creative choice, I know, but it is what it is. It’s almost fitting considering that I sold pizza for a summer at my last summer job. As well as ice cream. So pizza and ice cream are my two favorite foods. How generic can you get, am I right?

Regardless, I am who I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Writing the Self 1: Home Away from Home

[Writing the Self #1]

 

Most people can’t wait until the end of a work day. When they get to go home, lay back, relax, and spend their free time doing whatever their heart desired. I wasn’t much different, but I didn’t mind work too much. I had probably one of the most comfortable jobs that I could imagine. Coming to work, I was instantly enveloped by the intoxicating smell of fried food, one that I had become very used to. Entering the kitchen, I see my boss, Georgette. The mother of one of my almost-lifelong best friends. She smiles and welcomes me the moment I come in, taking away her time from the multiple food orders she has in front of her to still give me a warm welcome. I greet her back and head over to my area of expertise – the ice cream machines. There, I am greeted by one of my other best friends, Duncan. Duncan and I had been best friends since early elementary school, and we were extremely close with one another. He was extremely funny, always knowing how to brighten someone’s day.

After once again exchanging greetings, I get right into the swing of work. Taking orders, making soft ice cream, mixing milkshakes, or scooping hard ice cream. All of these things – and more – were things I did day in and day out. Yet, I never grew tired of them. I get lost in my work and my environment, enjoying every moment of it. Customers come, they ponder over the menu for a bit, then come to the window to order. We take their order, charge them, then spend the next moments creating their order. Whether it be a simple cone, an intricate banana split, or the middle ground of milkshakes, a great amount of effort was put into each and every item. The item then goes to the customer, and if all goes well, the customer leaves with a smile on their face and their sweet tooth satisfied.  Work was satisfying. It was fun. The fact that I was surrounded by familiar faces, in a familiar town, even serving familiar people, just added to the experience. I loved every moment of it.

The time passes by, and before I know it, the day has come to end. After finishing cleaning and clocking out, I leave the restaurant, satisfied with my work of the day. Even though I do look forward to going home and relaxing, I would say my eagerness to return to work the next day is even greater. After all, work with these people who I consider family felt just like home.