Happy Birthday John Steinbeck!

“We find years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”

– Travels With Charley In Search of America: John Steinbeck


Sungha Jung – Hot Chocolate

I was on my way back to my dorm room via bus when this song came up in my playlist. I had almost forgotten that this was in the playlist at all, so I was filled with glee and surprise when it came on.
The bus itself was nearly empty and people were scattered all about, avoiding sitting next to a stranger. But then as the bus neared the stop near my dorm room, a hoard of people came on board even though it was close to 11 at night, but then again, it is exam week. So as people rushed in trying to grab the nearest seat or pole, almost everyone avoided the back of the bus where I was because you would be forced to sit next to a stranger in a two-seater arrangement. But while people were scattering about, I was listening to this song, humming to myself, and swaying my head side to side with a smile on my face. And all of a sudden, a complete stranger, most likely an upperclassman, plopped himself next to me and tapped my shoulder. So I took out my left ear headphone and he said to me “I just wanted to let you know that you were the most pleasant person in the back of the bus and couldn’t help but to sit next to you. What song are you listening to?” Although I was taken off guard, I gladly gave him the left ear bud and let him listen from the beginning of the song.
When I got off the bus, he thanked me for sharing my music and said that he hoped to see me again since he is on that same bus around that time. I always knew that music can bring people together, but stories like these were something I thought couldn’t happen to me. I’m glad I got to share my music with him because it reminded me that music does bring people together.

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

In my opinion, this is a pretty well known classic rock song. It has been used in multiple movies, mentioned in many movies, and always finds a way to play on the radio. I’ve known this song and memorized the lyrics for as long as I can remember. The first time I heard it, I was about 5 or 6 years old and I was sitting on my mom’s lap while listening to her cassette tape that had almost all of Led Zeppelin’s songs from the Led Zeppelin IV album.
Each song became engraved in my heart and my mind, especially this particular song. I still have that tape that my mom has kept since she immigrated from South Korea to the United States. It belonged to her older brother who was CRAZY about all the music from the 60’s and it transferred onto my mother who to this day, still influences my taste in music and the artists and bands that I listen to.
I swear I can still remember the look of excitement, shear joy, and bliss on my mother’s face as she held me in her lap, closed her eyes, and let the music fill her head. That is how I feel when I listen to that tape and just music in general. I have my mother to thank when it comes to my love for music and the impact that music has had on my life and continues to have on my life.
Even to this day, whenever the live version I have of the song plays in the car when I connect my iPod to the car, my mother or I (whoever is driving the car) will pull over and let the music sink in as it blasts within the car or through the windows (depending on the weather). To this day, this song can always bring me back to the first time I remember myself falling in love with Led Zeppelin and more importantly, falling in love with music.

Sebastian’s Voodoo

It’s been a few years since this short film first came out, but I still had it saved in a playlist for the last 5 years. I came across it again when I was clearing out videos I didn’t want saved anymore and I’m glad I did.
I was reminded again of its suspense and story of sacrifice. To this day, I don’t know exactly what it is that triggers my tears about this short, but it goes beyond the one voodoo dolls sacrifice. I give major props to Joaquin Baldwin to created this short, there hasn’t been a short since that has been as heart-wrenching as this one.