Saturday Morning Thoughts.

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One of the beautiful art installations at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best of it or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“in a world of my own.”

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I would create my own dream world, full of love and beauty and the moon’s translucent energy. If I could not have it in reality ~ I would construct it myself, through my mind and my words. It would smell of jasmine and incense; the walls would be cream, serene. There would always be music playing, floating on the breeze filtering in through the open windows. It would forever be a sunny, mild California evening in the spring time, much like those coloring the very best of my memories. You could come and live there, with me, maybe. Because why would we need to bother with anything else, then — like the world outside my own? We’d have colorful tapestries and swirling canopies stretching above us from the ceiling; we would have a dozen fairy lights strewn across the bed frame, lighting up the room around us in a haze of dim and psychedelic dreamy vibes. Waves of shimmering dusky light would refract from the disco balls turning gently in the corner of the room. Steaming chai tea lattes would rest in the mugs clutched by our impatient hands. Fragrant candles would throw back shadows of our monstrous selves, made larger than life against the walls of my room as we hide beneath the tented canopies. Nothing but the sound of our hushed laughter drifting in the still air. We would have novels and music and the sweet knowledge of certain best kept secrets decorating the corners of our upturned lips. And we wouldn’t need anything else then, would we? I wouldn’t need anything else.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The Evolution of Your Consciousness

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Some thoughts on the evolution of “our” collective consciousness as people: or why each step you take is a part of your own personal evolution. . . . 

At times it can be jarring to reflect back on the most important events of our lives. It can be hard to accept that whether these events occurred as recently as a couple months ago, or if they’ve been passed over by the brunt of years — that regardless of however much time has passed, and regardless whether the effects on each and every one of us were positive or negative, they’ve happened as part of a larger driving force to make us into who we are today.

Whatever you may have felt then — happy, sad, angry, confused, blissfully unaware, heartbroken, whatever the case may be — it takes the work of a moment’s time to realize that this was all a part of none other than the evolution of your own consciousness. Every step you took is what brought you here, to this place: the present moment. The here and now. Things are fleeting here, but achingly beautiful. And if you don’t take anything else away from this (and admittedly, I haven’t posted in here even half as much as I originally meant to), take away a snapshot memory of the present moment — the fact that you are here now. Alive and awake and aware. Whatever your past was, whatever your future may be: you have arrived. You’ve made it! Right now, at this very second: you are fully present.

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It can be difficult to write something like this without coming off as corny or cheesy. Oh, not that “love yourself” bullshit again. Not that “you are unique” BS. Not some mindless drivel about how you should “live in the now, appreciate your time here before it’s gone” reiterated over and over and over again. And definitely not that time-worn spiritual touchstone, “everything happens for a reason” (although I am a firm believer in that cliche myself). Well, maybe I’ll give you a little dose of reality instead, then. Because maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have messy hair and chipped nail polish. Maybe you’re just a little bit strange (okay, maybe a lot strange).

Or maybe you’re not like me. Maybe you walk with your head down in public or you’re on your phone way too much. Maybe you’re one of those people who never takes the time to look up.

Maybe you’re all or none of those things. Maybe you dance to the beat of your own drum. Maybe you don’t stare at the ground, but up at the sky. Maybe you lose yourself in the music coming from your headphones, at all moments of the day — while walking in the streets of San Francisco. While on public transportation during your early morning commute to work. (Guilty.) Maybe you smile at strangers when you pass them on the street, especially when they look stressed or upset or unhappy. Maybe it absolutely makes your day when they smile back at you, bemused and uncertain. Maybe it makes you happy that it’s that easy to make a stranger’s day.

I certainly hope so.

And I do think that however “corny” the message, we are all here for a reason. Maybe it’s even as simple as making a stranger’s day. But after all, why shouldn’t we be here? If nothing else, we can garner that: we are here to learn to embrace this moment. To embrace our individual struggles, and our collective awakening as people.

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Embrace your struggle. Whatever comes, let it come. What wants to go, let it go.

I think that in this moment I am more myself than I have ever been. In the past I have felt overcome by insecurities, like any person struggling to find their way. But now it’s as if I’ve finally gotten my head screwed on straight (well, as much as that’s possible for a space case like me, anyway). I’m raw. I’m honest. Probably a little too much for my own good, sometimes. But the truth is that I wouldn’t censor myself, or my writing, for the world. So take me as you will. Or don’t: It’s not like I take myself completely seriously most of the time. I will, however, say this . . . it’s all a part of the journey. And right now the most important thing for me is just that; for I’m setting sail on mine.

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W i d e A w a k e : All Day & Night. My Experience Volunteering at EDC Vegas 2013

Sorry for the lag in posting on here guys! Part of me originally starting O.K. Dynamo was to fully update you on all the positive changes I would be implementing in my life — which I have, admittedly, been failing at lately. (Not the positive aspect; but of course on filling you in!) I will try to keep up more often now, especially since I’ve got so much to update you all on. (In case you’re still there… Hi. Hello? Anyone?) Anyway, as most of you have undoubtedly heard, the Electric Daisy Carnival took place in Vegas — its 3rd year there! — a couple weeks back, and this year I was fortunate enough to be selected as a volunteer. What does this mean? Essentially, I was able to attend the festival for F R E E, in exchange for working one day. There are no words for some of the weirdness and utter insanity I encountered, but let me just try and fill you in!

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Day 1 entering EDC! Those bleachers were also the perfect spot to watch sets at the HARD Stage (:

This year was my second EDC (!), and my first time volunteering as an Insomniac Night Owl. Great experience — making new friends and being able to attend the festival for free! The only downside in my mind was that as a completely new organization, the Insomniac Night Owls were not as organized as I would have preferred. Night Owls are not to be confused with Ground Control, as those of you who attend Insomniac events regularly will no doubt have heard of or seen walking around said events; they operate as a sort of official “rave buddy system”, keeping ravers safe and healthy. Night Owls, on the other hand, work the water refill stations and merch booths, etc.

On Saturday, Day 2 of EDC, I was working a merch booth right by the Neon Garden stage; meaning I was in full view of all the amazing tech house talent all night long! The only thing I really minded was not being able to leave and wander around to different stages (missing Tiesto’s set that night at the main stage :(), BUT working with chill managers meant that when my friends came to visit me I got to leave to go see some of Dog Blood’s amazing set… which definitely was a highlight of my night. I would absolutely suggest those of you who are interested to apply to volunteer for next year’s EDC! It was great meeting so many new people and being able to take in the festival from a new perspective — one which included leaving Day 2 at 7:30 am. Let me tell you, the Speedway definitely looks different that early in the morning.

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It’s a little difficult to marshal my thoughts on the entire weekend because there was just SO. MUCH. GOING. ON. The first EDC I attended, back in 2011, we knew they were only putting about a quarter of the Speedway into use; this year, the entire thing was packed. Imagine 200,000+ ravers wreaking havoc in the desert… Yeah. Yeah, that’s about right. Plus, there were so many more stages (Kinetic Field — or the main stage — still remaining my absolute favorite).

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My favorite things about EDC, not necessarily in order:

  • Making and meeting new friends, especially those I hadn’t had the chance to meet in real life before! I can’t even tell you how many people I met whom I had previously only interacted with via social media — Twitter and Instagram especially. It was fantastic to put faces to (user)names, to say hi and take pictures with people I had only previously shared likes and comments with, and to feel as if I was a part of something far greater than just myself. Raving really is a beautiful thing.
  • The variety of extremely cool art installations and different stages — brought from different events; for example, the HARD and Tomorrowland stages, the Altervision tent (a mindblowing art installation/tent which literally took you into another dimension when you entered… Imagine glow-in-the-dark EVERYTHING, blacklight art, and pictures of Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole, and you will understand my obsession) — and more. Also, the HUGE ELECTRIC DAISY which literally attracted ravers like bees to honey.
  • The m u s i c. OF COURSE. My favorite sets being Armin van Buuren from the first night, Dog Blood the second, and Jack Beats, Knife Party and Laidback Luke from the third. Unfortunately, due to volunteering, I couldn’t see all the artists I wanted to on the second night; but definitely made up for that on the last. Being able to move from set to set, stage to stage, with my best friends was the best part of my entire weekend. Let’s just say that our second time attending, we fell in love with EDC all over again. :)

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Mesmerized by the electric daisy, and sucked into the Altervision tent! I even found a little glow-in-the-dark parasol to play with… Or maybe it found me. ;)

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More from the Altervision tent. I did not want to leave! @__@

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Volunteer friends!

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The view from my spot volunteering.

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The amazing firework shows and displays all 3 nights of EDC… Put the 4th of July to shame!

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My sista & I. She literally decided to go to EDC the day before (!) and drove down to Vegas from LA Friday morning. I could not be more ecstatic that she did; wouldn’t have been the same without her.

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With our friend Vanessa by the coolest little mini-stage. Fell in love with it! Wanted to dance on it! I swear, I need to look into gogo dancing at events… it would pretty much make my life.

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EDC, you did not disappoint. Till next year… I’ll be waiting with stars in my eyes and the electric sky in my heart. Can’t wait to dance under it again.

One of the most gratifying feelings there is.

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I have to say, it has to be one of the best feelings to receive a comment like this on a paper. Nothing more gratifying than to see the hard work you’ve been putting in all semester actually being appreciated. Especially for the class the above pictured essay was written for; entitled the “Experimental Novel”, this class has been pushing my buttons for the past 14 weeks, at times frustrating and intriguing me. It’s different than any other class I’ve experienced so far in college — and not at all in a bad way. But the novels we’ve been assigned (William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch being one example, A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector being another — the one I wrote this paper on, in actuality), have been challenging and sometimes disturbing, and always completely outside-the-box. Not that that’s a bad thing; when it comes to A Breath of Life, I loved it. As for Naked Lunch . . . not so much.  But I do feel that reading novels which challenge the genre, which challenge your normal way of thinking, and which challenge society in some way or other is an absolute necessity for every writer, reader, artist, or any kind of would-be “cultured” person. Quote unquote.

A little more about A Breath of Life: if you are at all interested in experimental writing, novels or not, this one is worth checking out. Just to touch on a few central aspects of the novel — begun by Lispector in 1974 and finished the day she died in 1977 (edited and published posthumously by her close friend Olga Borelli), A Breath of Life questions life, death, the cosmos, and the creative process. My essay, written according to the prompt my teacher assigned the class — in the form of a dialogue between two characters, or two people outside the text (I chose my “Self”, and the protagonist Angela Pralini, a character created by the “Author” of the text, another constructed character within the novel), attempts to explore many of the same issues.

An excerpt from the last page of my essay:

SELF: Who are you really?

ANGELA: I am Angela Pralini.

I am my own Self, and I am you — you and yours. I am God. I am the Creator, and the created. I am the Author, and his character; the puppeteer and his plaything. I am a magical being. I am nothing but dirt. I am everything and nothing all at once. And yet, I am the Universe: in its moment of birth. I am a seed. I am the meaning of life, the “vortex . . . of the creative state” (66).

I struggle with Death in every single moment, because my entire life consists of separate climactic moments. There is no build up. There is no come down. There is only now.

The Self cannot comprehend this. It is too much.

ANGELA: (continues speaking) Now, with all of its failings. With all of its perfection — an ecstasy of imperfection. Too much, you say? It will always be too much. It will steal your breath away. Because, after all, the human mind cannot properly understand: and that is why it Creates. That is why it will forever Create, will forever live, will forever die. There can be no end, just as there is no beginning. And I will live on and on, forever in your mind’s eye. . . .

Maybe this is just gibberish to you. Maybe it’ll make you go out and buy the book (kudos to you if you do! It’s a good one). But I think that more than almost any other “artist”, writers doubt themselves. Writing is a secret art — it’s not like painting, or photography; it’s not like modeling, drawing, or any of the other modes of taking part in art and creation… It’s almost like a love letter, kept close and secret to the self. I used to find it very hard to put myself out there, especially when it comes to my writing. For me to experiment a little (which this class gives me the room to do), is a beautiful thing, in my opinion. And for my teacher to respond in such a manner is that much more gratifying to me.

If there’s nothing else you take away from this, take this — because in the end, I think that whether you are a writer or not, it’s an important thing to remember. That for most people to do this, to let go of their doubts, to be confident in themselves and their talents is one of the hardest and greatest things that they will ever accomplish. And I’m working on myself to do that every single day. I guess you could say, one blog post at a time.

The magical fantasyland that was Coachella 2013.

I know it’s been a long time coming, but here goes: My recap of the magical vibes, dirty funky beats, incredible visuals, and desert sandstorm madness that was Weekend 1 of Coachella this year.

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Like being transported into another magical time and place.

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Taken from our campsite.

Car camping was an experience, let me tell you. As it was my (and my sister’s) first Coachella, we knew we just had to experience it… Though I’m not sure it’s something I would repeat ever again. Just tooo dirty, and having to use the Porta Potties for an entire weekend was not exactly my idea of a good time (though partying for 4 nights straight at the campsite definitely was). Luckily, one of my cousins had the foresight to bring a portable shower head — and we passed by campsites with an entire portable shower set up by their cars, GENIUS I tell you – so that saved my hair on the first day. On the second, a family friend was kind enough to pick up 2 of my cousins, my sister and I, and bring us back to her rented condo in La Quinta. A swimming pool and shower after was just what we needed to rejuvenate us for Day 2 — but don’t let me get ahead of myself here!

ImageThe boys at our campsite on the first day. We left from San Jose around 4 in the morning and trekked it over (even after running out of gas on the way!!) Made it in pretty good time — got in around 2ish on Thursday, but I do have to say, the line waiting to get into car camping was nothing short of ridiculous. Well, the lines for ANYTHING all weekend, really.

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Oh, just a little flower child blowing bubbles at the campsite. :)

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Thank god for that portable shower head. Ha, ha.

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Just before we headed in on Day 1! This picture evokes so many great memories. I went with such a great group of people — several cousins, my sister, friends, and happily ran into friends I haven’t seen in forever! I’m so glad to say I was able to experience it all: soaking up the Indio sun and all the weirdness that went on in the desert that weekend. (*insert swirly blue Iphone emoji here*) Tehee.

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Taken from inside the Heineken Dome with my fisheye lens. Cool life. 8) it was a dope spot, I loved the vibes in there!

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They had the greatest art installations/structures. Whoever is designing the amazing art at Coachella, I give you mad props! I wasn’t able to get a good picture, but my personal favorite was the trippy swimming pool where they had a hologram of a woman swimming in an old school 50’s style bathing suit. Way cool.

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OUTSIDE THE SAHARA TENT. Things got very, very weird in there.

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Dillon Francis throwing it down HARD in the Sahara Tent. I’ve seen him 4 times now, and I can’t lie, this was the best I’ve ever seen him. I’m a big fan, but not so much of seeing him live; every time I have so far, he’s offset awesome sets by awkward closings, or by building up songs and not dropping them; simply by closing the set off right in the middle of a song. This time, however, I was groovin hard the whole time, and enjoyed the last couple minutes of his set just as much as the first. Plus, it’s always great when you can see how into playing the DJ is — and Dillon was most definitely PUMPED on playing Day 1 of Coachella.

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My friend Chloe & I by the ferris wheel :)

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With our friends Andrew & Rumiel

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The Do Lab! Otherwise known as my new favorite place EVER. I should have just camped out there the whole weekend, I swear.

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ImageDog Blood! Aka Skrillex & Boys Noize, this duo tore it UP. Lots of energy, killer drops & absolute filth the whole set through. I however am not a big fan of the way Skrillex closes his sets — all that discordant noise threatening to blow out my eardrums? No thank you. Doesn’t sound like music to me, just straight up garbage. Not to be a hater, I loved their set, but you can tell Skrillex was behind that all the way.

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 Awesome visuals and crazy lasers during Dog Blood’s set @_@

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Trippy art structures!

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Tommy Trash! My fourth time seeing him live, and he never gets old.

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For someone who’s been in the game as long as Benny Benassi has, he absolutely KILLED it. Like Tiesto, he’s still with it! Not going to lie, I doubted how awesome his set would be at first — but as soon as I arrived, cramming into the back of the Sahara tent, and heard Benny yelling enthusiastically to pump up the crowd, I completely lost it. Videos I took of the set include him screaming “I FUCKIN LOVE YOU GUYS!” and my absolute favorite moment, “THIS is EDM!” It’s all about love for the music, and for a DJ to acknowledge that live during his set is just incredible. One of my favorite sets of the weekend by far.

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Inside the Yuma tent. It was a new addition at Coachella this year, and it would be a crime if they didn’t bring it back next year. Deep house, tech beats — going inside the Yuma tent was like being transported into another world. I wish that I could have spent more time in here! Sadly, the line was uber long everytime I passed by; when I did get the chance, the glitter from the disco balls, lights, and good vibes from both the DJ and crowd made me feel like I was just d r o w n i n g in happiness.

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My cousin Mahyar, sister Kiana and I taking a breather on Day 2 to laugh and laugh and laugh on the grass. A friend of mine, on seeing this picture, aptly pointed out that it reminds her of the movie Across the Universe — and now I’ll never be able to look at it without being reminded of that. I can truly say that this was one of the happiest moments of the weekend.

Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on & on across the universe . . .”

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Just making friends with the polar bear crew. NBD.

Okay not even going to act like it wasn’t a big deal. You have no idea just how much this MADE MY DAY and/or life completely. :D

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 “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Wise words from the gigantic Coachella snail. He was our group’s meeting spot whenever we lost each other. I can remember hardly being able to receive any texts or calls on my phone (and having no interest in being on it whatsoever, obviously), except to text my cousins to COME TO THE SNAIL!

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When we first discovered it, we just HAD to take about a couple hundred pictures in front of it.

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I think I might have fallen in love with that snail. Even though when I leaned against it, some random Coachella staff/personnel appeared out of nowhere to tell me not to lean against the snail. I’m sorry, Coachella gods. Don’t hate me. I just wanted to touch it.

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 Insane visuals during Moby’s mindblowing set on Day 2. (Notice the whale floaties going around — Moby Dick, anyone? Very clever. ;))

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My man Adrian Lux.

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 He is just the cutest thing. I adore him! Enough that my cousin and I got up early and arrived on Day 3 earlier than anyone else in our campsite to catch his 11:40am set. Really a shame they put him on so early, but everyone who made it to his set was loving life, including myself.

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See? Front row all day, baby.

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Just goofing around at our campsite after Adrian Lux’s set.

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 Eric Prydz closing on the last night amidst a DESERT SANDSTORM. Yes that’s right, I said it. An actual sandstorm — desert dust and high winds combining to thoroughly ravage the campgrounds and the people in attendance at Coachella. Already filthy from the weekend’s festivities, I can honestly say that was probably the dirtiest I have ever been in my life (and being able to take a shower the next day was positively rapturous). I will, however, admit that it was completely worth every second of dust and dirt to be able to catch this set. My all-time favorite of the weekend.

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 I think I died and went to laser heaven.

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Holy amazeballs.

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Frolicking around the Empire Polo Grounds on the last day with my sista. Wish more than anything else that I could return to these unbelievable, magical and memorable 3 days. Coachella was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life thus far — a truly mindblowing weekend. Don’t get the hype? Consider experiencing Coachella for yourself at least once in your life! Trust me, you won’t regret it.