Friday, July 29, 2016

Go Pokémon Go

I see them everywhere now. Young people roaming the streets like zombies trying to catch a Pokémon. I had this long conversation with my hair stylist about how you play. She explained PokéStops/Gyms to me and why so many people are wandering around aimlessly waving their phones in the air. Why they stand on street corners turning in circles looking for paw prints. 

I've never played the game, haven't downloaded the app. I like the idea of kids getting outside -- that's almost revolutionary thinking for gaming company Niantic. It feels like an old-school scavenger hunt with virtual creatures overlaid on the real outdoors. 

I know there have already been some stupid and tragic events that resulted from playing Pokémon Go. On the stupid front, two adults broke into the Toledo Zoo in the middle of the night and were later arrested. On the tragic front, Pokémon Go players are being robbed or worse of their expensive phones while out at night playing the game. 

A group of my son's friends have been going out at night in Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport to play Pokémon Go. I've been in Mountain Grove on my own during the day, and while beautiful, it's also a bit scary. Like "no one can hear your screams" scary. 

In two weeks, our son leaves for college at Loyola New Orleans. I told him, "Listen Will you need to be careful in New Orleans if you're playing that game. You can get in trouble quickly in a place like New Orleans."

He nodded his head as if in agreement. Then he said, referring to himself and another friend headed to Tulane as a freshman, "Me and George are going to Pokémon the shit out of New Orleans."

Great.  Another relaxing thought for me as Will heads to Loyola NOLA in the fall. Pikachu that!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sucking Up Is Not A Skill Set

Dear Will,

I know it's been a tough week and you're under a lot of pressure between school work, choir commitments and college applications. I thought your audition of Marc Broussard's It's Almost Christmas song was amazing, especially when you sang it with your original partner Sarah Rexford (It's Almost Christmas - the prequel with Will in his PJs). I thought it was worthy of a featured spot in Warde's Carillon program, but it was not meant to be.

Will, you have an amazing voice. You would've killed it in my opinion. But your choir teacher chose the ensemble of the usuals -- her favorites that you can't seem to infiltrate. Let them sing their song, because they've earned a spot in her inner circle. Just make no mistake, you should've earned a spot too.

As I said to you today, sucking up is a skill set that can get you somewhere -- in work for example or in high school choirs. But it's not a real skill set. Because it's founded on copying the behavior that someone else dictates to you, not following your own heart and thinking for yourself. 

Looking back at what happened this week, I would have given you better advice. First, your teacher made you change your partner because she wasn't in a school sanctioned choir. Second, she partnered you with a substitute not nearly as well suited as your original partner. Third, she pitted you against her choir favorites -- and then chose them.

Knowing what I know now, I would have told you to stick to your guns, stand by your original partner, and know that you probably had no shot because of the politics involved. But also know that high school is high school, and once you leave, merit and talent will be rewarded.  

Not always. Sometimes, the guys who sucks up wins. But the older I get, the less room I have in my life for people with that skill set, and the more room I have for people with actual talent. People like you.


Everything Just Flows

Our son won a music scholarship through a town scholarship committee. It was sort of surreal because our long-time neighbor gave him the award. But she had to act all casual and didn't tell us before hand. So it was a complete surprise. 

As a researcher, I am naturally curious. I looked into the memorial scholarship. It’s a memorial for a young guy who sadly died at age 20 back in 1989. I can’t really figure out what happened — I think because newspapers were not online yet. His name was
David John Nogan.
I did find that he died here in Connecticut, but he was born in Louisiana where Will is going to college. And on his headstone are two carvings, one of a guitar and the other a peace sign -- two symbols I associate with Will. We’ve pledged to go and leave something at his grave site here in Fairfield -- maybe Mardi Gras beads and flowers for
David John Nogan. We want to say thank you for the generous scholarship before Will leaves for Loyola. But how weird is that? From one young man at the end of his life, to another young man just beginning his. From Louisiana to Connecticut and back.

Maybe everything just flows.

This is amazing! In the days after, Will received an email re: the scholarship as follows:

Hi Will,

I am the Vice President of Scholarships for the High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield.  My husband and I were having dinner tonight at the Old Post Tavern and we struck up a conversation with a lady dining alone who, it turns out, is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Fine Arts.  She grew up in New England and was visiting her mother who lives in Fairfield.   I mentioned that we had given a scholarship to a Fairfield Warde graduating senior who was going to major in music at Loyola, gave her your name and suggested she look at your performance of Hey, Stranger on YouTube. 

She said you should contact her if you have any questions before you leave for New Orleans and offered to help you adjust when you get there by introducing you to other students in your situation so that you can begin to build your network.  It’s a great city to be a music major!

Just tell her that you are from Fairfield and that you were given her contact information by the lady who ate dinner next to her at Old Post Tavern.  That should jog her memory.  She was very sincere in wanting to help you.

Her contact information is:

Dr Serena Weren
Phone: 508-865-2027
6363 St. Charles Avenue
Campus Box 8
New Orleans, LA 70118

Best of luck in the coming year.

MaryKay Frost