Mario Kart 64 Horoscope

We all have heard of the Age of Pisces and Aquarius, the Mayan calendar, the Chinese Zodiac, Ms. Cleo, etc. but let’s be real. If there’s any way to tell what kind of person one is and how one will fare in life, it’s this:

mario kart 64 home screen

That’s right, friends. No matter how the planets align or what your moon sign is, most personality traits can be deciphered by what character one chooses while playing one of the greatest video games of all time, Mario Kart 64.

mario kart 64 characters

Some are speed demons, some are middle of the road, and some just like to push others into molten lava – all in the name of a virtual trophy and living room bragging rights. But hey, I mean isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

1. Mario

mario

Moderation, balance, self-control is the name of your game. You powerslide along sharp turns like an stunt driver in Fast & The Furious : Tokyo Drift and keep things moving at a swift, yet manageable pace. You can handle the rough and tumble of playing with the big boys and although you’re not the fastest driver in town, you’ll probably be the only one who gets the girl in the end. Know yourself, and trust your judgement. Remember, you are everyone’s hero, but if you don’t trust yourself, no one else will either.

2. Luigi

Moderation and self-control is also your bag, baby, but for some reason you can never shake this feeling of being outdone or overshadowed.  You’re a middle of the road kind of driver and have great handling down the stretch. You can be a leader when needed, but are not used to the role due to a close friend or relative who is accustomed to holding the reigns.  Be patient, and run your own race. You may find yourself with a mansion of your own one day.

3. Peach

Some may consider you to be a bougie, spoiled diva, an archetype you continually reject. You move fast and don’t look back, regretting the days you waited for a significant other to rescue you from a time in your life that felt like you were trapped in a castle with a giant lizard as your oppressor.  You strive to assert your independence and are not afraid to bump fenders with the bigger riders. Even though the big boys might make you might spin out, the effort you make to be known as your own person is satisfaction enough to go for the gold time and time again.

4. Toad

You’re the happy go lucky type. You’re very agile on the pavement and get along with just about everyone. When life throws you a curve you powerslide into the storm, using your speed and nimble maneuvers to find the best way through any challenge. Don’t be intimidated by those who may want to push you around on the road of life. You may be small, but the wisdom gained through courage and conviction will be so great it may even seem that your head will eventually begin to resemble a mushroom.

5. Yoshi

You’re the fastest racer on the track without a doubt. Bigger and smaller racers alike make you laugh as you wiz past your competitors.  You’re just as bad at self-control, however as you are good at pushing the pedal of life to the metal. Don’t let the fast life get the best of you. Don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses amidst all of the glitz and glamour of your epic journey.  Also, remember that moderation is key; it’s easy to gun it while your tank is full, but not so much when you’re running on fumes and and you’re lost without GPS. Cocaine’s a hell of a drug.

6.  Donkey Kong

The original Nintendo bad boy. You have a big name to live up to on the road of life and are not afraid to get your wheels dirty, nor your cart dented by bumping other riders off the track. Just remember that what goes around comes around (especially on a looped road)  and at the end of the day you’re not the biggest bulldozer plowing over fellow racers.  You like to push the enevlope, but have a big soft spot for your family.  You tend to be a loyal, gentle giant to your close friends and family. Everybody else can run into a coconut tree for all you care.

7. Wario

You’re the mischeivous one in any given situation. You pride yourself to be at the right place at the right time to wreak havoc on your unsuspecting competitors. Be careful; all work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all play and work doesn’t do much, except for polishing your skills in Mario Kart. Not exactly a skill to put on a resume. Play hard, be crazy, random and awesome, but always strive to work harder than to just cause mischief. Remember, life is not one big practical joke. P.S. Nice moustache, hipster.

8. Bowser

Big man on campus. No one tells you what to do, and you like to be in charge. When someone tries to be a hero, you remind everyone just how bad of a villain you can really be.  From NES to N64 and well beyond, you have left a legacy of domination and frustration over anyone who tried to go against you. Despite the fact that you enjoy your alpha-lizard ways, it may find you in a bind one day. You may not want to spit fire on everyone who comes your way. Who knows, you may find yourself in a relationship where your beautiful princess leaves you for some charming plummer. Be a little nicer, dull down your spikes a little bit and you’ll be amazed at how much better you will be received.

-RSM

Love Is But A Cheap Flint

Love Is But A Cheap Flint

by Ruben Muniz

Servants line the halls of the seemingly rich man

whose smile hasn’t shown since he was a penniless hopeful;

Now his lips know only a grimace

and have met many women,

but he would build up his deck of cards

into a miniature bungalow and trade it

for the one ace of spades

who he couldn’t win over

because of pre-existing conditions

and his own sins.

The only skeleton in his closet

dons a white dress.

The music man plays his tune with a smile

and gets a roar from the crowd of onlookers

and leaves the stage at the night’s conclusion

with an empty feeling,

because his biggest fan never showed up.

So he goes home alone

drum sticks in hand

as his mind plays a percussive onslaught

of indifference, depression, and longing

for that big break to come, someday.

A dancer shines his shoes

and has moves that would impress a Russian ballerina,

and takes home another gold medal

to hang on one of his dozens of trophies

on his mantle.

He rips off his bowtie after the show

and throws it into his fireplace

and cries to himself

about that one move he just can’t seem to make his own.

A writer who has penned quite a few stories

in his day fears he will not live to see

his own perfect ending.

Deceptive emotions reign,

a tyranny of torturous thoughts

bombard their minds with angst.

It seems as if they’re fighting a war

that they were drafted into against their will;

with weary feet these men trudge on

not knowing if I’ll ever come home.

The spark comes and goes as if

love is but a cheap flint,

but the embers of their memories serve as emissaries

to reignite the flame in their minds of what could be.

Top 10 Things To Do When Unemployed For The Hopeless & Frustrated.

In an effort to better practice many of the points I’m about to delve into, I’ve comprised a list of things to do when you’re unemployed and sick of it. I have recently been freelancing for different publications, but in terms of official employment, I would much rather do 8 hours a day to keep the broke doctor away, if you catch my drift.

With an economy recovering, at best, and underemployment for young professionals at record highs I have not been dealt the best hand in terms of a fruitful job market. However, when life gives you time off you find ways to make the most of it. That’s what I have been doing the past few months in order to make the time off more bearable and less boring, unproductive, and excruciating.

I’ve realized something about myself in the past few years: the only thing I do better than party my ass off is work my ass off. So after a couple of months without a day job it has gotten very frustrating to have no day job to dedicate my time to. Usually my schedule between good times on weekends and productive hours on weekdays would work itself out pretty nicely. For example, as with most people, working from Monday-Friday produces enough income for whatever you wanted to do on any given weekend, and with every paycheck cycle the sequence would repeat. When unemployed, money never seems to stretch far enough, even when festivities on weekends are scaled down a great deal. It sucks, I know. Not only have I been there, I’m there right now still, sort of. Here are a few tips of things to do from someone who is still technically unemployed:

10. Relax.

meditation-pose1

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. You can’t find a job? Got laid off, or even fired? Great! Now you can begin a new adventure. Think of it that way, it could turn your frown upside down. Try doing little things daily to take your mind off the angst and stress. Try meditating, even if you’re not into it at first. Watch your favorite show or childhood cartoon. Hang out with your friends. Get out of the house. I can’t stress that last one enough.

9. Exercise.

original

I’m a bit guilty here of not practicing what I preach, but nevertheless getting a daily dose of exercise can make all the difference between a boring day with time inching along and a wonderful use of extra time. I haven’t been exercising daily in the conventional sense, but whenever I get some exercise in the endorphins kick in and nothing matters but that runners high or the satisfaction of finishing up a set. Exercise as much as you can when you’re unemployed. Who knows, you may land your next job at a modeling agency!

8. Clean.

Cleaning supplies with bucket

Another one I need to work on myself. Keeping a clean home is just as rewarding as exercising daily. It’s a very productive hobby and will result in a beautiful and attractive living space, which will serve as a breath of fresh air if you’re frustrated with your job situation. If you have nowhere to go all day, you might as well keep the place clean.

7. Record a journal of some kind.

This is a great thing to do your whole life, not just when you’re unemployed. When you get home, just like you would clean for an hour or exercise, try writing for a little while. No matter your mood, try writing about it and how your day went. Express your jubilant thoughts – and dump your sad thoughts – into a journal or diary.  Write about absolutely anything you want, it will make hard times way more bearable and will eventually double as a nostalgic keepsake of a particular time in your life.

6. Spend time with family.

Family outings and hangouts can be a great way to take your mind off being unemployed. Above is a photo of me, my sister and several cousins at my uncle’s wedding this summer. Family members who are your age probably know exactly what you’re going through or have known at some point, and older famalams can offer insight and maybe even a connection to a new employment opportunity. You never know! Your crazy aunt from Minnesota may have a good surprise up her sleeve for a change!

5. Have fun!

at stj

This is a photo of my band and I performing last year. Aside from the shameless plug, I chose this photo because this is what I enjoy doing the most with my free time. Whether it’s rehearsing, recording or playing live my favorite thing to do is to play music with my band. What do you like to do most? Don’t tell me, do it! Do whatever makes you happy when you’re unemployed and have nothing to do, it will make such a big difference. Aside from playing music, I love writing, hence, I’m writing right now to kill time and add to my blog. See what I mean? I’m having an awesome time being unemployed, at least at this particular moment. Woo!

4. Work on acheiving other goals.

One goal I have in mind is obtaining a Master’s Degree in Spanish. In my time off I’ve visited colleges and asked about their programs as well as have started refreshing my knowledge of the language by working on a self-teaching advanced Spanish grammar workbook. You can do the same, whatever your goals are outside of getting a job, work on them in your time off. It will pay off greatly and may even help you land something better than you thought you could, job-wise.

3, Polish your skills.

infinidad writing

Right now, I’m working on my writing skills. I play guitar and sing at least for 20 minutes or so a day. I practice speaking, writing and reading Spanish almost every day and also practice French sometimes too. What things are you good at? What did you go to school for? What do you like to do that can you can use work on? Try doing at least one thing that fits into each of those questions.

2. Volunteer your time.

This is the next best thing you can do for yourself besides landing a new job.  Volunteer work looks amazing on a resume and can provide skills and experiences necessary to land the next job you’re hoping to do. Can’t find a job? Try helping out somewhere. Anywhere that needs help and has a setting that you can learn new skills from, or could just make a positive difference. I volunteer my time at Soka Gakkai International – USA’s Culture Center. I learn how to basically be a part of a security detail and building maintenance team, all while learning more about Nichiren Buddhism. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. Get out there and find a resume building, skill learning and awesome volunteer experience!

1. Apply to jobs!

If you’re complaining about being unemployed and haven’t applied to any jobs, punch yourself in the face. Right now. That was from me.

Now brainstorm: what kind of job am I looking for? What are my short term and long term goals? Do I need a job or have time for a job right now? How practical would it be to land job type A over job type B?

Make a list of at least 10 employers you would like to work for. Apply to all of them ASAP. Keep looking for opportunities that fit your needs and wants at all times and all places possible.  If you start feeling like there’s no hope and you want to bang your head against the wall, try suggestions 2-10 but eventually get back this one.

I hope this list helps in your crusade for employment. Even if it seems like there’s no hope, don’t despair. The more you apply, the better chances you have and doing things that are productive and also fun can help your chances of landing your dream job, or any job, tremendously. Hope you find something soon! -RSM

First Fall Out Of School Since 1993

Yup, for the first time  since I was 3 years old I am not enrolled in some form of an educational institution. 20 years of school from Pre-K to undergrad has led me a long way, and now I’m in a weird middle ground that many recent graduates are in in terms of a career and continuing my education and the options that lie in both routes.

My plan is to apply for graduate programs that begin in the Fall of 2014. I’m weighing my options in terms of studying either Spanish or Linguistics for my Masters. I also plan on continuing to play music with the band and writing for CrustNation, as well as finding a job during the day to kill time and make money on the side.

It’s interesting to not be in school while many of my friends still are, be it for their bachelor’s or master’s. If anything I would say it’s sort of like a vacation I don’t want or need, but have anyway. It’s not a bad thing, this time off from school has been a great way to clear my head and evaluate my life and career goals, as well as build experience to strengthen my resume. A creeping sentiment of negativity has been around, however, that time off is time wasted. I guess it depends on how one looks at the situation.

For the first time in my adult life I can enjoy the fall without any obligation to educational endeavors. As you can see I have mixed feelings about it, but ultimately it’s a blessing, as most things are in the end. The hiatus from education is a perfect way to regroup and come back with a vengeance hopefully come next fall. -RSM

Why It Sucks And It’s Awesome At The Same Time To Be A Performing Artist

I’ve been a performing artist for a few years now, be it solo with my guitar, with Solitaire Revival or doing spoken word poetry sometimes. Being on stage has its fair share of perks as well as challenges, just like anything else.  The experience of performing your own creations on stage, be it poetry, music, theatre, etc. is truly exhilarating and rewarding, no matter how much money one makes doing. I would know, being a musician that doesn’t have a lot of money to throw around. Since I always like to deliver the bad news first and the good last, I’ll start with why it sucks to be a performing artist:

WHY IT SUCKS:

1. Haters.

When I first started playing guitar I felt a little behind the curve, considering I was 18 going on 19 with absolutely zero musical experience or background, save for classes in school that never put an instrument into my hands. I never joined the school band, was not confident in my singing voice and didn’t know the first thing about guitars.

For the most part people were supportive. I learned from a friend how to play the basics and eventually took lessons, which amplified my progress a great deal. It wasn’t very fun though when I would encounter a few negative remarks here and there in regards to my new venture into becoming a musician.  Some people I would talk to about it would tell me that I had started too late and wouldn’t get anywhere. Starting a journey into an art form is a lot like wearing a new piece of clothing: many people admire the new look, but the few that notice that tiny little imperfection on the right sleeve are the few whose comments you can’t seem to forget.

I got a bit more flack when I started singing. I knew my voice was lackluster but I just did it anyway. I figured I wasn’t getting any younger and I have my whole life to improve, why not try and sing? Once again many of the people around me told me I sounded nice and to keep working at it, but the few people who told me I sounded horrible or shouldn’t try were the comments that stuck. I had one friend tell me that if I didn’t sound good already there was no point in trying.

I still getting the occasional negative comment on my Youtube channel or what have you, but I’ve learned to shake off the negativity and if anything to use it to improve my skills.

2. Finding places to perform.

In a place like New York City, there is no shortage of places to play by any means, but a lot of places want experienced artists. If I learned one thing from job searching this year it’s that you need to have experience to get more, and to initially get anywhere you need to be humble and start smaller than you may originally want to.  I began going to open mics and performing my original songs, starting with a very supportive crowd where I had my guitar lessons, The New York City Guitar School. There’s actually a video on Youtube of my very first performance there! My voice was very shaky and out of key, and I was extremely nervous but afterwards I felt the stagefright lift from my shoulders. I was lucky to have the resource of a supportive atmosphere for an open mic, because many musicians just starting out don’t know where to begin.

3. Hobby? Or Job?

Where I currently am on the spectrum of my musical career is trying to turn my favorite hobby, performing with my band, into a paid gig. It’s way harder than it seems to keep up with bandmates, draw enough people to get paid for live shows, pay for studio time, etc. Everyone in the band has their own personal, work, and/or edcucational endeavors to deal with in addition to the band, which is the case for most young musicians in any sort of musical group.  As a hobby it’s already an amazing experience, but the dream has always been to get paid to play one’s own music.  It takes a lot of hard work and diligence as well as creativity and good chemistry with the people around you to do this. It’s very hard to break through into paid gigs, but I’m sure if I acheive a level of skill where I can live solely off musical earnings the rewards will be vast.

 

WHY IT’S AWESOME:

1. Creativity coming to fruition

There’s nothing better than putting a brainchild of yours into the universe and having it received well by your peers, especially strangers who have never seen you before and will offer a truly unbiased opinion of your work.  I wrote most of the lyrics for my band’s songs as well as over 50 solo songs, and there’s nothing better than getting positive feedback from a song I wrote myself or had a part in creating somehow. Whether its someone rocking out to our music when we’re on stage or if it’s someone commenting on Youtube or Facebook that they like a video of mine, I feel the utmost appreciation for whoever sent that love my way, and love my own creations all the more at the same time.

2. Performing artists make great friends

It’s true. Many startup artists become friendly right away when in the same room, because no matter what venue of the arts one is in, the struggle is shared of looking for work, picking one’s own brain to write/compose more works of art, and most of all the all-too familiar feeling of being on stage where as proud and vibrant one may look, they are actually at their most vulnerable point. It’s one thing to be on one’s own at home, ‘woodshedding’, or practicing and rehearsing to yourself, but to share your art with others who do the same is one of the best pleasures I know. It’s so great to find someone new to jam with, to write poetry with, or to be in a band and to play a song together.  Also, I have found through my journeys as a musician that performing artists of any kind are usually the most chilled out people alive and are great to have around, whether you yourself are an artist or not.

3. Immortalization

Now I don’t mean that I’m invincible. What I mean is that hopefully after I’ve left this earth, my great grandkids will ask what I was like as a person, and someone down the line will have saved recordings of my music.  To publish art, be it paintings, illustration, jewelry, music, theatre, literature, means that it is out there in the universe and you never know where and for how long it will float around, but if you’re an artist of any sort you may like to think that your creative endeavors may have resonated somewhere with someone in the world and hopefully helped them somehow in their own life.

4. “Hey, I’m in the band,” is an excellent pickup line after a show. – RSM

Weird Dream Log 1

SO i had this very ridiculously weird dream.

I dreamt that I was in some town where I had a few friends and drug dealers would hang out with tables on the street selling some kind of drug that you smoked that wasn’t weed, and it was legal there. I remember being high on it the whole time I was dreaming. I remember seeing a lot of really odd happenings.

For instance, there would be cars that would pull up to places completely encased in a thin layer of white, wavy ice with layers. I remember parting ways and then rejoining groups of friends in different houses. the entire town was built on some plateau-like land. I remember going to the play ground in the town and it was completely normal that I was playing in the same place as little kids high off my mind.

Alot of people were my age and wore neon colored clothing. The weirdest part was that people would consciously engage in really odd behavior and it was just part of the town’s society and culture. So it was normal toward the end of the dream when I was sitting in a cafe with clear windows as walls to a neighboring firehouse.The firetruck in it had the look of a prop of a movie set and at one point I saw three guys put on yellow bicycle helmets and red and yellow children’s size backpacks and then 2 of them rode bikes into the night while the other jogged behind them. I asked someone who I was friends with in the dream what they were up to and i got a reply that went something like “Dude, yeah. That’s the fake firehouse. duh!”

Weirdest experience ever in a dream. – RSM

A Few Goals

I tend to be very ambitious when setting goals for myself. Especially in recent years I’ve adopted a ‘shoot for the moon’ mentality when writing down my dreams. In the word of an Emmett Smith biography I read in grade school, “Goals are just dreams until you write them down.”

Here are a few goals I would like to accomplish within a the next few years in my life:

– Complete a master’s degree in Spanish

-Complete a Ph.D in Linguistics

-Be fluent in 6 different languages in 6 years.

-Publish a novel within the next 3 years.

This is the first step in becoming a linguist. I want to master my native tongue at the level of an academic in order to better communicate with other Latinos, have better marketability in the job market and for personal peace of mind.  I’ve always wanted to be fluent in Spanish and have made leaps and bounds in learning the language as an undergrad.  I would like to eventually travel to Latin America when my Spanish skills are developed enough to get around by myself.  This will open the door to my next two goals. I would like to enroll in a New York City based college or university by the Fall of 2014 for an M.A. in Spanish.

-Complete a Ph. D in Linguistics.

I’ve always dreamed of speaking mulitple languages, and using this knowledge to travel the world.  I figured there’s no better way to study language than the field of linguistics.  I see it like this: I’m a musician and in order to learn how to play any instrument, one must have a working knowledge of music theory. Linguistics is the music theory of language.  This goal may take a while to complete but rest assured it will happen eventually.

-Be fluent in 6 languages in 6 years.

Although it may sound very challenging on paper, this goal will work hand in hand with the first two.  I’ve picked up different languages while studying abroad very fast and have learned that full blown immersion is the best way to learn a language.  I want to be able to speak, write, read and understand Spanish, French, Japanese, Cantonese, and Arabic apart from already knowing English.  With any of those three languages mastered, I could land a job translating, pehaps even for the U.N. That would be amazing. I figured I have 6 years and change to master 5 languages, 2 of which I have studied before and one (Spanish) I already know pretty well.  My goal is to be fluent in all of these by the time I’m 30.

-Publish a novel within the next 3 years.

My lifelong goal has been to become a published author. Techinically I have many published works already in the field of journalism, but I would like to take my authorship a step further into the realms of fiction and non-fiction.  I would love to write any and every kind of novel, and already have a few solid ideas and short stories to build on.  Although many may say print is dead, that is not the case at all for the written word itself.  The way I see it, like many industries the publishing industry is being changed by recent technological progress we have acheived as a society and will continue to grow albeit in a slightly different avenue from that of the traditional.  Whether it’s in print or if it’s on a Nook or Kindle, my goal is to become a bestselling author at some point in my life.

Hopefully one day I’ll look back at this post and reminisce about my journey toward accomplishing all of these.  I guess until then, I’ll have to take it step by step and hope, and work for the best outcome. Peace -RSM