Year One

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Self Reflection, Uncategorized

Yesterday, September 10th, marked the one year anniversary of my current job’s start date. One year ago, I started a new path in my career that I considered risky on many accords. For starters, it took me away from the only comfort I’ve ever had since I entered my profession: retail pharmacy. Secondly, I entered a realm where I considered myself to be a serious underdog: becoming a managed care clinical pharmacist without having completed a residency…something not unheard of, but a rarity in its own right. And lastly, I made the move back to the Bay Area from Southern California which not only took me away from the single place I knew in my adult life for 10 years, but also put me in a long-distance relationship. And aside from the professional growth that I have achieved at work and the personal growth that my girlfriend and I have sustained, there is one experience in particular that occurred this past year which stands out in my mind: the bonds I have strengthened with my family.

During my time in LA, my photos, posts, and verbal proclamations all indicated that I was 1) extremely close-knit with my Bay Area family and 2) longing for the day when I could live in closer proximity so I could relish in all the opportunities I would be privileged to have with them. With this new job and relocation, the time would finally come. But even I could not predict how significant this experience would be, and nothing would prepare me for the magnitude of emotions I would feel this past year.

Not long after I returned, my uncle from Napa passed away. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer earlier that summer, which was essentially the last time I saw him somewhat healthy. I had been up north for a different job interview, which I was hoping to be the one that would take my career in a new direction. That situation did not work out, and another month or so passed before I relocated to where I am today. Unfortunately, by the time I made it back to visit him again, he was worse, and in the hospital. The time after that, he was in hospice care. And finally, the last time I would see him, was at his funeral.

That entire chain of events was what seemed like an infinite sadness. My uncle impacted so many of us during his life and I could write an entire post about how he helped my family settle in Napa, how he treated all of his nieces and nephews like his own children, and how great of a person he was to each and every person he interacted with. But something else unfolded during this mourning period that I will never forget. Though there may not be a valid reason why my uncle had to leave all of us, there was something so painstakingly beautiful that ensued after the fact.

After paying my final respects, I walked over to hug his children, my cousins, who were observing. One of them said to me, “Look at you, Matthew. You got to see all of this; everything that has happened.” Another said to me, “Before he passed, I told him that you were on your way back. He thought you got that first job, and you were already home. I told him that you would be home soon. You would be home soon.” I took a moment to let that sink in–to better understand what exactly had happened in only the two and a half weeks that I had been back. I had just witnessed so many facets of my uncle’s last days that many members of my family did not encounter. From seeing relatives for the first time in years as I entered that hospital room, or praying over him in his home just hours after his last breath, to enduring the heartache of his casket finally closing. I witnessed all of this, because I made it back home.

Death is something that many usually fear. The emotions it brings are inevitable, so many individuals do whatever it takes to suppress that grief in order to stay strong. Not my family. We connect with death. The more we prayed, the more we mourned, the stronger we became. The timing of my uncle’s death and my return home was no coincidence. It was providence. Although the circumstances for me seeing old faces more frequently were initially unfortunate, it would not continue as so. This past year has given me some of the most memorable experiences with my family, both immediate and extended, that I could ever imagine. What I once considered to be a lost cause during my time in LA, has now become a dependable consistency. I have connected with some of whom I never expected, and become remarkably closer to those who have been there my entire life. I never want it to end.

However, we all know that the future is uncertain. I could spend the rest of my life here, or pick up and go again. My closest friends and family who I hold in high regards can do the same. And unfortunately, this will not be the last death that my family will endure. But wherever I may be, I hope to keep these kinships and continue to nurture them. Regardless of the future, the events that have occurred in this past year will be forever etched in my mind, and I will be forever thankful that I made it back.

And I am now home.

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Thirteen

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yes, hip-hop has returned. Happy Independence Day everyone!

thirteen

Download: http://www.mediafire.com/?cp8e3ied4d6wxpd

  1. Wale Ft. Sam Dew – Love Hate Thing
  2. Chris Brown – Fine China
  3. Mariah Carey Ft. Miguel – #Beautiful
  4. J. Cole Ft. Miguel – Power Trip
  5. E-40, Too $hort – Say I
  6. Iamsu – 100 Grand
  7. Young Jeezy Ft. Kendrick Lamar, YG, Chris Brown – R.I.P. Remix
  8. A$AP Rocky Ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar – Fckin’ Problems
  9. Red Cafe Ft. Trey Songz, Wale, J. Cole – Fly Together Remix
  10. Sean Kingston Ft. Chris Brown – Beat It
  11. Elle Varner Ft. J. Cole- Only Wanna Give It To You
  12. Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie Terry Hunter Mix
  13. Afrojack Ft. Chris Brown – As Your Friend
  14. Usher / Swedish House Mafia – Euphoria
  15. Jason Derulo – The Other Side
  16. Robin Thicke Ft. Pharrell & TI – Blurred Lines
  17. Lil Wayne Ft. Drake & Future – Love Me
  18. Kendrick Lamar ft Jay-Z – Don’t Kill My Vibe Remix
  19. Kid Ink – Bad Ass
  20. DJ Khaled Ft. Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne – Take It To The Head
  21. DJ Drama Ft. Roscoe Dash, Wale, Tyga – So Many Girls
  22. Usher Ft. Rick Ross – Lemme See
  23. Fat Joe Ft. Chris Brown – Another Round
  24. Joe Budden Ft. Fabolous, Twista, Tank – She Don’t Put It Down
  25. J. Cole Ft. TLC – Crooked Smile
  26. Ariana Grande Ft. Mac Miller – The Way
  27. Keyshia Cole – Enough of No Love
  28. Drake Ft. Wiz Khalifa – Started From The Bottom Remix
  29. Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne – High School

I’m glad I’ve been able to keep these coming more frequently. Spurts of motivation have been all around me and what better way than to channel some of it into music. Hope you enjoy it!

kuts

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/?wdn62faja8aph8p (1hr 3min)

Track listing:

  1. Daddy’s Groove – Stellar
  2. Avicii x Nicky Romero – I Could Be The One
  3. Showtek – Slow Down
  4. Afrojack – Rock The House
  5. Hardwell – Spaceman
  6. Zedd – Fall Into The Sky
  7. Vicetone – Stars
  8. Dimitri Vegas x Like Mike – Mammoth
  9. NERVO – Hold On (R3hab x Silvio Ecomo Remix)
  10. Starkillers x Richard Beynon – What Does Tomorrow Bring
  11. One Republic x Alesso – If I Lose Myself
  12. Letthemusicplay – All I Can Give You
  13. Eric Prydz – Everyday
  14. Tiesto x Swanky Tunes – Make Some Noise
  15. Showtek – Cannonball
  16. Dimitri Vegas x Like Mike – Wakanda
  17. Sandro Silva x Quintino – Epic
  18. Sebastian Ingrosso x Tommy Trash x John Martin – Reload (Vocal Remix)
  19. Krewella – Alive (Hardwell Final Remix)
  20. W&W – Moscow
  21. Style of Eye x Tom Staar – After Dark
  22. 2pac x Dr. Dre – California Love (Dash Berlin Rework)

The Lent Project

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Self Reflection

Many people were unaware of this, but I embarked on an additional Lenten discipline rather than simply giving up coffee for 40 days. I wanted to do more than just deprive myself of an every day pleasure that is supposed to help us understand Jesus’ fast through the desert during his ministry. I wanted to learn more about the meaning for this season. I wanted to know Him better.

Now, those who know me know that I am quite religious and spiritual. But I honestly know nothing about the Bible. You can try to quote any verse or reading and I cannot tell you what it refers to. I admittedly don’t even understand a lot of the traditions within the Catholic church and why the religion operates the way it does. However, the one thing I do pride myself on is the ability to listen to and comprehend spiritual concepts. I am able to find meaning behind religious teachings and apply it to my life. Doing this helps me maintain my value system and keeps my faith as strong as it does.

With that said, my Lent project, simply put, was to study each gospel reading from every Sunday during Lent and see how it relates to my everyday life. It was inspired by my cousin who is also our family priest. In addition to delivering sermons every week to his own parish, he continuously finds amazing ways to make these sermons easy for his young nieces and nephews to understand. By no means am I priest-like, but I wondered if I could somehow do something similar. I welcomed the challenged.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you for your interest. I didn’t want to publicly display this mission, as Christianity and Catholicism has faced much scrutiny lately and I didn’t want to add any unnecessary fuel to fire. This was done for me and only me, to grow and learn. However, I still wanted to provide the opportunity for anyone else in case they were interested, and I’d rather do it once than be a consistent flood to everyone’s news feeds. Below is a link to the posts I made on my private blog. For each Sunday’s gospel reading until Easter (and not including Easter), I have written an excerpt on what the Bible has taught me. Thank you for listening.

http://prayery.wordpress.com/category/lent-project/

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It has been a year since my last recorded mix. If you have been following me since I started learning how to DJ, I think you might agree that I have come a long way. Not only with the quality of the recordings, but the style and vibe of the environment I try to convey. This mix is quite different from what I typically blend: it contains no hip-hop. Yes, this recording is 100% inspired by the emerging electronic music artists from the past year. My true love is still with hip-hop, but I felt that evolving and experiencing with the times will make me much more versatile and cater to a larger crowd. Maybe it will pay off someday. I hope you enjoy it!

d/l mp3: http://www.mediafire.com/?ewm8hfoa7dq56

Disclaimer: This link may change in the next few weeks. Once Ingrosso releases the vocal version of “Reload”, I intend to replace it!

Here is the tracklist:

  1. Nadia Ali – Rapture (Avicii’s New Generation Mix)
  2. Morgan Page- Fight For You (Beltek Remix)
  3. Kaskade vs Qulinez – Stars Troll
  4. Dada Life – Feed The Dada
  5. Swedish House Mafia – Antidote
  6. Bingo Players – Out of my Mind
  7. Kaskade ft. Neon Trees – Lessons In Love
  8. Zedd – Spectrum
  9. Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)
  10. Nervo – You’re Gonna Love Again
  11. Nicky Romero ft. Nervo – Like Home
  12. Steve Angello – Lights
  13. Alesso – Clash
  14. Wolfgang Gartner – Red Line
  15. Miike Snow – The Wave (Thomas Gold Remix)
  16. Steve Angello – Yeah
  17. W&W and Ummet Ozcan – The Code
  18. Nari and Milani – Atom
  19. John De Sohn – Long Time
  20. Heat Maxwell – Uprising
  21. Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound
  22. Fedde Le Grand and Nicky Romero – Sparks (Turn Off Your Mind)
  23. Hardwell – Apollo
  24. Dirty South & Alesso – City of Dreams
  25. Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso Ft. Ryan Tedder – Calling
  26. Morgan Page – In The Air (Hard Rock Sofa Remix)
  27. Pendulum vs Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Island vs Other Side
  28. Calvin Harris & Nicky Romero – Iron
  29. Sebastian Ingrosso – Reload

It’s so interesting to go back and read my old posts from this blog. My thoughts are not far from what most people would say when reading their old material: Did I really just say that? Is that really how I felt? What was I thinking?

Actually, those are the questions one would ask when looking back at something like, say, Facebook posts, photos, or old text messages. When I started this particular blog (I have had many), I intended it to be some of my proudest writing samples. I wrote each and every post with a purpose and intent that I would be making some type of impact on those who read it, rather than just spilling out my thoughts and emotions like one would do in everyday social media. And for the most part, I feel that I have fulfilled some of that purpose. Although not as transparent, I have had positive feedback regarding the subjects of my posts, and that is what keeps me writing, even if it’s not as frequent as I would like.

But what really fascinates me about looking back on the last four years of writing is not so much the feelings of “I can’t believe I said that” or “that couldn’t have been me.” It is, in fact, me–my purest and most genuine thoughts…at the time. It is remarkable to remember how confident I was about a given topic during the time the post was conceived. It is even more interesting to see how my thoughts on those topics have changed over the years, to see that present-day Matt would have put up a great debate with the Matt of the past. Yet, through all of those differences, they all still somehow align with who I am as a person, and witnessing that is a very humbling experience. I have truly grown up, at a rate more rapid than I could ever imagine.

The only way for me to keep up with it…is to keep on writing.

Father’s Day

Posted: June 17, 2012 in Self Reflection, Uncategorized

Today is Father’s Day, a day set aside once a year to honor the man who, with your mother of course, brought you into this world. It is a day that is supplemented with the commercial promotion of handy tools and electronics for sale, special brunch prices at restaurants, and local parks filled with canopies and mesquite-flavored smoke in the air. It was a day that I wish I had been able to spend with my father this year, but because I have now entered the work force, one which often requires weekends, I was unable to make that trip up north and join my fellow siblings for a relaxing day in the Napa Valley enjoying great food, wine, and company.

But I did not feel too much remorse, for I had a great share of memories with my father years before that I am more than thankful for. But even with these memories, the last place I wanted to be was at work. Though my day was only a short, six-hour shift, it still contained a fair share of those “special” customers who apparently had nothing else to do on Father’s Day than to pick up medication, and who also knew the right things to say to set it off some negative emotion. Nevertheless, the day soon ended and my patience-tested self eagerly left the building and tried to enjoy the remainder of my Sunday.

I sped home on the freeway to make it on time for the five-thirty mass at my local church, but still found myself about twenty minutes late. I had crept in the back door, and stood for most of the priest’s homily as my eyes scanned the back pews for an open seat. I was soon offered one from a young man, maybe even a teenager, who was sitting with a slightly hunched elderly gentleman who appeared to be his grandfather or uncle of some sort. I thought nothing of the two at first, but could not help but notice the subtle gestures that went on next to me. The young man would occasionally have his arm around the elderly man, hold open the Missal for him with his fingers following the prayers being read, and held his hand standing up during the “Our Father”  while the elderly man sat. At the end of mass, a prayer was said for all of the fathers in attendance and ushers passed out small gifts for them. The young man, for fear of the ushers skipping over the elderly man who did not stand to be identified, anxiously raised his hand to accept the gift for him, even if it was just a small prayer booklet and a pen. Though it is absolutely none of my business, I could not help but wonder: Who are these two? Where are the young man’s parents? Were there any other family members? And if there were, why were they not here together at mass on a day like Father’s Day?

After asking all of these questions, I realized that through this experience, the answers didn’t matter. What I witnessed with this pair was nothing but pure, profound humanity. On the one day that is set aside for treating your father extra-special, this young man probably does so most, if not all days of his life whether he chooses to or not. The compassion that I was privileged to witness tonight was simple enough to alleviate any minor frustrations from everyday life. If I should ever be so lucky, one day I will be living close enough to my parents to show both of them this kind of compassion on a more regular basis, holiday or not. But until that day comes, I shall be reminded of experiences like this to keep life positive. Not just for me, but for others who may be not be as fortunate or who are enduring temporary hardships. Though walking this elderly man arm-in-arm down the aisle to receive Holy Communion may not be a hardship, it never hurts to use these awe-inspiring visuals to bring peace into others’ lives.

My first order of this statement? Upon exiting the church, I stopped to shake both of their hands and said with truth and sincerity, “Thank you for the seat. Happy Father’s Day.”