I applied to participate in Mizzou's Alternative Spring Break program in September, and I cannot believe I am leaving for Delaplane, Virginia next month. In case you thought I was kidding about the "alternative" aspect of this program, we are renting two minivans to travel safely from Missouri to Virginia and back again. I literally cannot imagine a vehicle that would be more of a chastity belt than a minivan. "Hey, sexy, wanna come back to my place...in my minivan?" says no one.
In all seriousness, the minivans will probably be very comfortable, allow for ample personal space and be very safe on the road. (I swear while writing that sentence a fanny pack briefly appeared around my waist.)
I am very excited for this environmental trip, but there is a significant amount of planning that needs to occur between now and then. For starters, my group will be restoring hiking trails from winter erosion, and while I am eager to begin this task, I need to make sure that I am in excellent physical shape. I don't want to be the annoying person that cannot do any physical labor, or the fool who injures himself the first day and is forced to spend the rest of the trip alone in the cabin. "Go on without me; I love sitting in my bunk, waiting for everyone else to return," I would say before eating everything in the refrigerator while they were gone.
I also need to work on my credibility as a hiker, because when I told my brother I was going on this trip he actually thought I was kidding. "Wait...you are going on a hiking trip?" he asked while coughing up his beverage. "Yes, Max. I know it's hard to believe, but I can count the number of hiking trips we took where I didn't cry halfway through the trail on one hand," I said before pausing. "Never mind, we are descendants of farmers; I will be fine," I lied.
While Missouri has shown me the "wonders" of living in the middle of nowhere, I will need to work on vacationing in a town where the Wikipedia page brags about its post office and antique shop. (I'm sure they are just being modest and I can really hop on over to Cafe Nordstrom for a fresh salad with grilled chicken and iced tea.)
We are also planning to venture up to Washington D.C. for a quick day trip, and I am positive we won't be taking any touristy photos in front of any historical buildings. I'm also really positive that I won't use every possible moment to brag about how I was a Summer Organizer for President Obama's reelection campaign and how he has surely made dinner plans with us.
In case it wasn't clear enough from the amount of humor I interjected into this post, I am very thrilled to be going on this trip and I cannot wait to tell everyone about it once I return. However, I will only be able to go on this trip if I can receive additional funds from generous donors who care about my well being and don't want me to cry myself to sleep for the next 50 years. *Ahem* I know anyone who reads this blog has supported me in some capacity in my life, whether it be my academic career, the production of my recent short film or just with love and kindness over the years. So, if you would like to keep the awesome train that is my happiness moving, please donate a dollar or two on my fundraising page. I really do appreciate any amount given, and I will make certain to love you all the more for doing it.
I enjoyed visiting with my friends and family in Austin over the past few weeks, and I regret there wasn't time enough for me to see all of them. It seems like no matter how long I spend in Austin, I always want more time spent here. As usual, I love the abundance of delicious local restaurants within a few miles of my parent's house; new to this winter was my appreciation of the warmer weather and Austin's array of movie theaters. I had a fantastic time celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah in December, and I loved being able to supervise the completion of TIM after a lengthy editing process. I also enjoyed the time off from school that allowed me to catch up on some of my favorite television shows.
As I sat writing this post, I looked around at the bedroom I used to consider home. Since I am leaving early tomorrow morning to return to a room I have lived in for the past few months, I have difficulty knowing which room is really my home. I guess they are both my home in their own way; one to house memories and one to house the present. (The really weird part is that one day they will both house memories. Spooky.)
At times it seems like I just left home to attend TCU, but in all reality I am preparing for my second semester at Mizzou. As such, I find it hard to believe half a year has passed since I started my education there. This isn't to say that I haven't enjoyed my time there, which I most certainly have, but rather commentary about how my life is always stuck in lightspeed.
However, time has been moving slow enough for my family to adjust to having two adult offspring in college. Perhaps the most significant sign is that my parents and I are getting better at making college road trips, because my car is already packed for tomorrow's drive. (For reference, I remember throwing everything into my dad's car a few hours before I was supposed to check into my residence hall at TCU.) We even have enough room to transport some items for my next door neighbor Will, who also attends Mizzou. This was worth mentioning because I excel at packing unnecessary items, like 10 pairs of shoes or all of my writing materials. (Okay, my parents are fine at packing a car with all of my college items; I am the one who needs some improvement.)
Fortunately, this is only my second year of college, so I have more time to enjoy my stay in the Midwest. While Mizzou recognizes my academic standing as that of a "Junior," I prefer to use the Canadian term "Second Year" since I will spend four years working on my undergraduate degree. Hypothetically this differentiation could alleviate confusion that I will graduate next spring.
My goal for this semester is furthering the relationships I made last semester and to join more organizations on campus, which will conceivably help with the formation of other friendships. I also plan to submit TIM to numerous film festivals over the next few months, so I will keep everyone updated on whether it is accepted anywhere. (While I have made numerous short films, I have yet to submit my own work to a film festival.) Yes, I realize this post could seem boring in comparison to other entries of mine, but I felt like starting the year off on an honest note.
In my opinion, every day is worth celebrating. Since one year contains 365 days, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year filled with wonderful moments that lead into beautiful memories. Even though the world we occupy is the same as it was yesterday, that doesn't mean that you have to be.
I finally recorded a new Mason Planet video, which you can conveniently find below. In case you need encouragement to click "play," I not only provide a TIM update, but I also explain why I've had a limited online presence lately. (Hint: It has something to do with my education.)
Interestingly enough, although I have been spending time promoting my new videos, my old YouTube account has become legitimately popular on its own. In fact, several videos from The Mason Show achieved enough views that I was able to monetize the account this past weekend. (Yes, I am kicking myself for uploading 58 videos to an account named Martian34567.)
I have important news and wish to tell it as few times as possible. I also would rather someone heard directly from me, and it is next to impossible for that to happen with everyone. All right enough delay, drum roll please...
After much thought, I will not be returning to TCU in the spring.
Yes, I will no longer go to the only college I applied to for admission. There are several reasons, but primarily the degree I was to receive (a BS in Broadcast Journalism) is no longer offered there. Instead, I could get a BA in Journalism. Adding to my frustration, TCU waited until I was a student there to tell me this information. Note to all colleges and universities, please let perspective students aware of major changes that might affect whether or not they will choose your school. Notice the pun there? Har Har Har.
Sadly TCU isn't alone though: thanks to media convergence, other universities are offering only a BA in Journalism. Ten Second Explanation: The removal of specialization allows for journalists to have knowledge in writing, broadcast and online. Experience with all of these skills will come in handy with budget decreases and changes in how people obtain news.
It would be easy to stay at TCU and simply change my degree, but I am not going to pay over $160,000 for a degree I do not want. It isn't good business and not very nice to my parents. I also don't want to see what other surprises might be in store.
I would like to apologize to TCU's chapter of Circle K International. I was elected President of this club in August, and I regret that I won't be there when it will be officially recognized this January. I know great things will come of this currently small club and I look forward to hearing about them.
While I love the campus, my social organizations, and the friends I have made, I think this decision is for the best.
Yes, I will be moving back in with my parents. Yes, I will no longer attend a prestigious university. And yes, I am aware of how well the TCU football program is currently doing. But at the end of this semester, I will have 47.5 college hours. With that number, I think I can take a little time off to figure things out.
I enrolled in three classes at Austin Community College today, and I plan on using the spring semester to figure out my next move. And let me tell you right now, it will be great.
With Halloween 2010 already fading into the past, Americans seem to have moved their focus towards the next big Holiday: Christmas.
Now, I'm sure some of you are asking, "What about Thanksgiving?" Don't worry I'm saying it too, but we need to look at the shopping season from Wall Street's viewpoint. Unless retailers sell cooking supplies, they make less from Thanksgiving than they will from Christmas. Hence, advertisements are going to showcase "amazing deals" for possible Christmas gifts.
While it is easy to get swept up into buying hundreds of dollars worth of presents, this year I have a challenge for those reading this blog: only ask for two gifts. Yep, you read that right: two. It might sound difficult, but the modern point of Christmas isn't just about presents; it's also giving to others and spending time with your family and friends.
Simply put, reducing the number of gifts you ask for will decrease the unnecessary emotional and financial stress of buying others the "perfect" gift. Asking for two gifts also helps bring back the importance of gift giving; presents are a representation of the gift giver and their relationship to the receiver.
Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed the importance of a personal connection with the gifts you give when he wrote:
"The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief or her own sewing. That is right and pleasing... when a man's biography is conveyed in a gift."
There is something inside all of us that seems to explode with delight when we open a wrapped gift (or in Katy Perry's case whenever you're happy). This feeling is not enough to warrant excise items that we don't need. Adding to this, if you are going to ask for several gifts, why not make them things that others can benefit from as well, like donations to various charities or humanitarian efforts? Considering this is a blog, and not a professional journalism outlet, I feel comfortable saying that my charity of choice is The Humane Society of the United States.
Putting up decorations, baking cookies, and watching holiday movies are great ways of spending time with those you love, without breaking the bank. With many Americans, and humans, still facing tough economic times, who wouldn't celebrate this?
So, besides me, who is going to accept this challenge? Write comment below if you like this idea or if it makes your Christmas Spirit Radar scream "Scrooge."
P.S.-You might consider being nice to your friends and family by announcing this before they spend time and money buying various gifts for you.
Two years ago today I posted my first episode of Decorating with Mason: Halloween Prep onto YouTube. While I have no regrets with the series, as of this writing that first video has reached only 170 views (to give you a frame of reference this website generated 334 views in its first day alone).
Quite frankly I have no idea why the view count is so low. It seems people are always looking for ideas on new decorating tips and tricks, and YouTube gets millions of hits a day. In theory I would have tapped into both markets. Yet for some reason, my videos have managed to stay unwatched by the masses. I credit myself for it mostly; my videos tended to last around 5-10 minutes, which seemed to scare people off in the long run. Last year I even made fun of the low view count in the second season of Halloween Prep, but again no one was watching.
While it is easy to look back on the videos with a jaded perspective, I had so much fun making them. It was a series I created so I could talk about my Halloween decorating tips with the world. Talking and decorating are two of my specialities, so it was a welcome break from school. Also on the risk of sounding cliche, I learned a lot about filmmaking. Before Decorating with Mason my experience in front of the camera was minimal at best. Yet over time I learned to adjust my body composition, vocabulary and facial expressions for the camera. Writing and editing the episodes myself proved taxing, but it allowed a better understanding of all the hard work that goes into producing a daily series. All of this experience proved necessary training when I became Executive Producer of Trojan TV last year.
While I hate endings, I am going to use this anniversary to announce the cancellation of The Mason Show. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise: my last episode was in March. Even with a format change, the lack of viewers seemed to ruin my desire to create new episodes. I plan on keeping all of the episodes online.
For old times sake, here is the first episode of Decorating with Mason: Halloween Prep. Enjoy!