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Friday, July 18, 2014
5 Basic Tips for Entering College
5 Basic Tips for Entering College

Upcoming high school graduates, you hear that college will be the best four years of your life. That is, only if you choose to make it that way! Here are some tips to make the most of your year:

1. Dorm.
Living in the dorms is a unique and amazing experience that you will, most likely, never again have the opportunity. You meet so many new people--some international, some out-of-staters. Hang out in the common room and get to know your neighbors.

2. Exercise.
You will gain weight. It might seem harmless to have a couple late nights spent with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but those little things add up. Put that together with spending more of your time sitting, studying, or hanging out in friends' rooms and you've got the perfect formula for the Freshman 15. Check out your school's gym or take a 30-minute run each morning. Start making good habits early!

3. Join a social/active club.
While some shy away from becoming active so soon, others quickly develop a bond within their outside groups. Not only that, but this is a great networking opportunity. If you're in a specific career club, you'll be with like-minded people you can work on projects with. If you're in one of the more exploratory clubs (try a cross-stitching or rock-climbing club!), you'll have chances for cool collaborations with people outside of your field.

4. Have friends outside your friends.
Maybe your roommate becomes your best friend. Whoever your closest friends end up being, make sure to have a circle of friends that do not include them. No matter how much you like someone, too much time together can be detrimental to the relationship. Time apart makes the time together more precious.

5. Be yourself.
This might sound a little easier said than done. But with the meeting of so many new people, it's easy to become a people-pleaser, rather than your own person. Don't be afraid to drop some lame jokes (if you're like me) or be honest about your opinions. If you stay true to yourself, the people who will matter the most will stick by you.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” - Bernard M. Baruch

College isn't so scary! Have a great year!

Posted Friday, July 18, 2014 2:04 AM    0 comments

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chris Botti and Chris Isaak at the Hollywood Bowl
Chris Botti and Chris Isaak at the Hollywood Bowl

As you can read from my bio here on Learn By Cam, I have a deep love for music. So, I’m currently taking a music appreciation class in college. The class has been fantastic (great professor) and very interesting (listening to music, pop or classical, will never be the same). The only “homework” assigned by the professor was to go see some live music and fill out a “concert report.” I had no idea the words homework and live music could exist in the same sentence!

Well, living in LA, I’m lucky to have so many options. The closest venue was the well-known and well-liked Hollywood Bowl. I made the proper arrangements with a few friends and we bought tickets for the July 12th concert, headlined by world-famous virtuoso trumpeter Chris Botti and talented, and funny, veteran singer Chris Isaak. As if that wasn’t enough, they were backed by a small ensemble of other extremely talented musicians and also the LA Philharmonic, conducted by the amazing Bramwell Tovey. It should be obvious by now that the concert was fantastic.

So, using the always dependable Hollywood Bowl shuttle service we got their easily and made our way to our seats. We were in the 2nd furthest section, but it’s actually not too far from the stage. There are also 4 giant screens off to the side that show you the action down below. For those of you who have never experienced the Hollywood Bowl before, the view is amazing; the famous Hollywood sign is easily visible just above the stage and you’re surrounded by hills on all sides. It’s truly beautiful

It was especially beautiful this night. The stage was tinted a dreamy orange, while a setting sun highlighted a purple/golden sky.  Everyone was seated, and then Chris Botti came out. But he said nothing... he instead played the intro of “En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor,” a song off his Grammy-award winning 2012 album, Impressions. All noise from the audience had subsided and all attention was on the stage.  Soon the orchestra joined in, but the rest of the song was Botti constantly impressing on the trumpet. He sounds good enough on a recording, but I was blown away when I heard him live. But there were also other musicians of note on stage. Richie Goods and Ben Butler were great with the bass and guitar, respectively. Caroline Campbell was fantastic with the violin on the song “Emanuel,” a tribute to her daughter who was in the crowd. George Komsky and Sy Smith both impressed with their singing. Billy Kilson had a crowd-awing drum solo. But it was Geoffrey Keezer on the piano who stole the show. His piano solo was probably the single best moment of the concert (2 words: piano pizzicato!). But let’s also not forgot that every member of the orchestra is extremely talented, it’s the LA Philharmonic after all (it doesn’t get any better). But, of course, I can’t list all their names here!

The music played varied in style; some songs had a slower tempo and were serious in character. Others were more upbeat and “dancy.” The overall sound can be described as a very successful fusion of Classical and Jazz. The first half of the concert was easily the best performance I’ve experienced in live music.

After the intermission, Chris Isaak came on stage. I’ve never heard of him or his music before, so I had no idea what to expect. I soon realized that Isaak’s style was very much like “rockabilly” (a mixture of rock and country), and while that’s not my favorite genre of music, he managed to keep me interested by making each song have its own distinct flavor. One thing Isaak most certainly did better than Botti was his interaction with the audience. He made some absolutely hilarious jokes (he actually had a one about the contrabassoon, truly impressive) and even ran off the stage at one point to get closer to the crowd in the further sections. While the performance by Isaak was good, it came nowhere near Botti’s. As time passed, the crowd became a little stale. I began to worry that this concert could actually end as an anti-climax, since none of Isaak’s songs seemed powerful enough to finish the night with. I was relieved, however, when Isaak casually asked if Botti was still available back stage. We were finally going to have both stars performing at the same time.

They met at center stage and the audience grew lively again. The difference in their styles had never been more obvious. Botti, rather reserved gripping his trumpet, in his all black suit, was standing next to the more outgoing Isaak, who was holding his custom guitar, and the mic, in his flashy jacket. He also donned his signature slick-back hair. It was slightly jarring at first, but they quickly melded. They were at full swing by the time Botti asked for the microphone and said (and I paraphrase), “I’m so annoyed at how underdressed I am today!” Someone then brought out an even flashier, blue-version of Isaak’s jacket. It was a crowd-pleaser and gave the strange pairing of stars some actual substance and personality (previously it seemed that the only logic behind their grouping was that they shared the same first name). While still not quite as strong as Botti’s opening statement, the music in the 3rd act of the concert had its own great moments. The definite highlight being when the Chris’s began performing “Besame mucho” (a song written by Consuelo Velázquez in 1940 which has been covered by countless other artists). They struck a perfect balance between their respective styles and talents during that moment.

As usual, the post-concert walk down the hill to our shuttle, which was taking us back home, was congested and slow, but no one seemed to mind. The entire audience left with an upbeat and satisfied mood, as they should have.

It was a great concert. It had no actual faults, but in certain places it could have simply been a little better. Also, the performers showed no signs of fatigue or boredom despite having performed the same material the previous day. In fact, in one moment during the concert Isaak turned to Botti and said, “Frankly, Chris, I think we were holding back on Friday for today!”

So, would I go see the concert again in retrospect? Yes, of course, and I’d be sure to buy an official concert tee this time (that actually has the stars' names spelled correctly; who's Chris Isac?) rather than the cheaper knock-offs people sell outside

Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 4:47 AM    0 comments

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The 7 types of people we are attracted to
The 7 types of people we are attracted to

As dating platforms like Tinder and OkCupid are rapidly increasing in popularity, we can learn one thing: our society is starved for romance. However, the types of comfort we seek vary with each partner. But what are these types? And why are we attracted to them?

1. The Rebel

Maybe they come into class late, fully decked in loud red plaid and an oversized leather jacket. Or they might be the student who isn't afraid to talk back to the teacher. Either way, the Rebel strikes something within us. It could be their bravery or devil-may-care attitude that draws us to them. Oftentimes, girls love a bad boy because they think they'll be the one to change them, bring out their best, or heal a tortured soul. Or simply, they like the danger that the Rebel can bring into their otherwise vanilla lives.

2. The Adventurer

AKA the Dreamer, the Optimist. This type is not one to shy away from a 100-ft. cliff jump or explore an abandoned building. Always down for an adrenaline rush, they take you along for the ride because they feel invincible. And that makes you feel invincible. The fact is, we let them take us along because we like it - one can't help but be excited for what's to come when around the Adventurer. If you stick with them, you're always bound to have a great story to tell.

3. The Spitting Image

Much to your horror, you may find that some people you've dated resemble someone you know very well... a girl who takes care of you well. A guy who makes you feel safe, a safety that other guys cannot provide. Ringing any bells? I think the answer is pretty clear here: they remind us of home. And if you don't have the best of connections with your parents (note Lily from HIMYM and the similarities between Marshall and her own father), sometimes we're drawn to them because it seems like a second chance at this relationship.

4. The Bookworm

For all the intellectuals out there, the Bookworm is a pure scholar. Loves to learn and strives for perfection in their knowledge. Their intelligence might be intimidating, but it makes them seem more important. A critical thinker, they are usually quite devoted to their area of interest; this is what catches us. We like feeling important - and this person will make us feel that way because we rival their academic passions once their curiosity shifts to us.

5. The Girl/Guy-Next-Door

Sometimes mistaken as the Nice Guy or Nice Girl. Similar to the parent type, this one will make us feel at home, comfortable as if you'd grown up together. There is nothing particularly intimidating or shocking about them - but we love this. We don't feel the pressure of having to create a whirlwind romance (though this does not detract from their ability to be intimate). Very often, this is the type that we imagine being married to.

6. The Forbidden One

It could be a handsome poetry professor. Your older brother's cute friend. Anyone who is off-limits instantly sets off a poisonous, yet enticing, "what if" in your head. There's an air of taboo about a relationship developing between you two, a risk not unlike the kind the Rebel can give. Sometimes it might feel like the world is rooting against you, but if you can overcome it, you'll be rewarded with an even deeper relationship.

7. The Foreigner

Is it the British accent? How they carry unfamiliar fashions on the streets? Their hometown experiences that make them seem worldly and cultured? The truth is: foreign is fascinating. This is the type of relationship where you can learn things from each other and if gone deeper, appreciate the assimilation of each others' cultures. Plus, you'll have extremely good-looking babies.

Sometimes we want to be them, sometimes we just want someone to complete us. But really, anyone (these seven types clearly do not cover every single human being) can become the Best Friend - that's when the two are able to stand the test of time and distance. In this day and age, it's important to remember that...

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
-- Sam Keen

Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014 6:19 AM    0 comments