I keep a very eclectic agenda during the school year. I doodle in it rather intensely, and often times address myself directly. In a way, the thoughts I jot down there have made it into a proxy of a journal. I enjoy this, because, when looking back, it gives me a window in to my state of mind as well as my state of affairs.

Below, I have transcribed each extraneous little comment from all of first semester.


  • senior year, bitches
  • viva la suffering
  • It’s always a pleasure to be here [written in elvish]
  • this is where the fun begins…
  • I’m a philosophy major!
  • #raisesenioritisawareness
  • I’m a graphic designer!
  • Lit paper due: finish it!!! god damn!
  • Out Sick – rest rest rest
  • Learn the solo, crush opposition
  • Finish essay
    just two pages
    you can do it
  • Shabbat Shalom! (hey!)
  • period death
  • masquerading as a man with a reason/ my charade is the event of the season
  • It’s going Down
  • find pen find pen find pen
  • you loose @ therapy rip
  • stoptalkingstoptalkingstoptalking
  • you are the worst * the actual worst
  • 14 days til DragonCon!!! 2 weeks!
  • DragonCon is getting…closer…
  • we stand at the end of the longest times/came back to homes we don’t recognize [additional lyrics written in elvish]
  • email Lena, apologize, schedule…. aaaa
  • Jacket expected to arrive?!
  • Quartet…………… I guess……
  • welcome to sickness n depression land
    welcome to college stress hell
  • Nerdy shirt day tomorrow!
  • you need to get it together
  • Lena?
    nope u suck
  • 1 week till DragonCon!
  • we have been damned/we have survived
  • why do I have to endure this [in elvish]

Continue reading


Stand Partners & Drift Compatibility

“Drifting” is a notion from the 2013 movie Pacific Rim. In the movie, the world is under attack by giant godzilla-inspired monsters, called kaiju, from another dimension. The most effective way to combat these  proves to be the construction and operation of massive robotics called jaegers. These mechs are controlled via neural uplink to two or more pilots within the body of the robot – the neural stress proved too much for one pilot alone. These pilots have to mentally synchronize with each other to operate one mech fluidly and effectively. This synchronization is referred to as “drifting,” or “the drift.”

The Pacific Rim wiki contributes the following:

“The process of Drifting is a type of Mind Meld[4] that requires the pilots to share memories, instinct and emotions. Drifting allows them to act as one and control the very movement of the Jaeger itself, one pilot controlling the “right hemisphere”, the other the “left hemisphere”. Rangers who pilot on the right side of the Jaeger are considered the dominant pilot.”

This process results in subtle impressions of personality traits transferred from one pilot to their partner, and a muted ghost of the drifting effect remains even after they leave the jaeger behind.

This is all very fun and juicy for a whole lot of lovely relationship dynamics and fun AUs taking the concept in all sorts of different emotional directions. But I am taking the time and space to explain all this because for a while I have considered sharing a stand partner for long enough establishes a sort of drift compatibility.

Playing orchestral music with your stand partner is an exercise in mutual contribution and compromise. Particularly when you sit in a front stand, in leadership positions. As I experienced for three years of high school, the assistant concertmaster must defer to the concertmaster in terms of bowing, articulation, and dynamics, just as the right-hemisphere jaeger pilot is considered “dominant”, but when the concertmaster falters, they rely on their co-concertmaster to catch them with the correct rhythm or an established fingering in a difficult technical spot. They learn how to exaggerate together, how to play with abundant and quite unnecessary flourish, or how to play emotionlessly and hunched in, in protest or despair. They establish a rhythm of page turns, of marking their music, of looking at each other when something amusing happens in another section, of exchanging confused and alarmed glances when they get lost.

Justin was my stand partner for three years, and over those three years, we acquired a musical rapport unlike anything else I’ve ever had. There’s just no other way you can get such a high level of instinctive, empathetic intuition in a musical setting with another person. I knew how to follow Justin when he sped way up as a joke, I knew how to glance at him when I messed up, or when he did. I knew when we were about to stop playing to laugh. I knew how to imitate his tone – if we were moving way more than we needed to, sliding around and elongating our vibrato, I had a setting for that, a mode for each of his modes.


I still channel him, this year now that he’s graduated – my own version of ghost drifting. I play a g major chord at the end of any scale we play to warm up as a class, because he isn’t there to do it. I slide up an octave sometimes, like we might do together, or trill when I feel like it. I channel him in my solos. I channel him in my silent rebellions against the conductor, the way I slouch in my chair sometimes, the way I call out encouragement to other people as they play.

This year, I’ve been concertmaster. Which means that I only follow the conductor, and the other section leaders. It cannot be my responsibility to mold my playing against the shape of my stand partner’s. I have to set the tempo, I have to set dynamics, I have to be bold and confident. I have a responsibility to lead, and to compromise, but in the midst of playing it is their responsibility to follow me.

And so I miss that sensation of having my drift partner alongside me, of being able to read someone else’s signals and surf on the wave of their musicality. All this to say, my music is a collage of impressions from other people. Sometimes I channel Uzuki in my movements and my intensity, sometimes my Dad, often times other players in a present chamber music engagement, but most of all, in orchestra at school, I find myself synchronizing in accordance with Justin’s impression on my music and my memory.



Surface Tension

AP 4 (CollageFace)

Items included:

  • A page from the notebook my mother kept when taking notes on my early violin lessons. Evidently on April 7th, 2006, I was working on Bach’s Minuet #2 out of Suzuki Book 1.
  • A blank index card
  • A shred of a physics assignment in which I answered everything correctly and Mr. Gcbasche initially awarded me a 79.
  • Part of a CVS sticker label.
  • A British stamp depicting the antiquated European style of illuminating choral music, such as hymns. This was sent to me by my grandfather, who helps me with my stamp collection.
  • Part of a scantron for a chemistry test that I got a 121 on.
  • A fragment of graded chemistry work.
  • Part of an instruction manual for a TI 84 graphing calculator.
  • Part of the receipt for a paycheck from my job as a madricha (assistant teacher) at my synagogue’s Hebrew School. I teach fifth graders, earning $7.50 per hour on that paycheck, $8.25 per hour as of this year.
  • A random map of Ohio that my parents let me cut up. I don’t actually care about Ohio, I’m afraid, but neither do my parents, and my father can be pretty fiercely protective of Things? At least it has Beaver Falls on it, in close proximity, in fact, to Beaver the city itself. Wonders never cease.
  • Part of a sudoku puzzle in a book of 400 Sudoku puzzles gifted to me by grandmother years and years ago. This is an excerpt from one of the puzzles rated “Beware! Very Challenging!”
  • Part of a chemistry progress report from last year. The grades are obscured, but they were actually all very high, which is hilarious to me, because for most of my career in chemistry last year, they were not. I couldn’t find one with lower grades.
  • Part of a picture day order form.
  • An out of date CVS prescription label for 20 mg of fluoxetine
  • Some graph paper for formatting in graphics.
  • The little calendar things that show the months before and after the month depicted in the big calendars in the pages of my agenda.
  • An excerpt of my French dictionary, which I no longer need because I took AP French last year. It was terrible; began to panic at the mere mention of French as a language in my vicinity, because I was sure that someone would ask me to speak it and I would Be Inadequate. I got a 2/5 on the exam.
  • A receipt for some art supplies at Binders.
  • An excerpt from this notebook I kept second semester of ninth grade where every night I’d write down all the things I’d done wrong that day? I’d get an average of nearly a page in every day. It was a really unhealthy thing to do and I just got increasingly mad and verbally violent at myself as the thing progressed? Reading through it again was an odd experience. The excerpt reads as follows:
    • So unproductive in Music Theory
    • showoff
    • So determined to be sick you fucking freak stop wasting everybody’s time
    • Not paying attention
    • Not paying attention
    • Messing with Alex shut up leave her alone
    • Not enthusiastic enough, try harder.
  • A red scrap of magazine for composition purposes, some blue graph paper, another excerpt from a picture day order form.
  • An appointment card for my psychiatrist
  • An excerpt from a course catalog that I got from Washington University in St. Louis, which is currently my top (but restrictive and super expensive) choice for college.
  • Part of a baseball ticket to a game that I attended at nerd camp over the summer. I don’t like baseball, but I do like nerdy friends, so I had a good time.


College Material

I was routing around in my google drive, and discovered this actual assignment that I actually wrote and turned in for my graphics class, in which I was supposed to be researching different branches of the graphic design and printing industry. Some of these I had rewritten in serious paragraphs below, and there were two others unmarred by foolishness. But aside from that:

Commercial printing is important because it prints all the commercials. How else would one advertise? Not. There would be a DERTH in advertisements in our physical realms. Thusly, commercial printing comprises a SIZABLE portion of the printing industry.

Book printing is what happens when a person loves their written narrative very much and the book printers help that writer give a stack of paper a special hug with a bunch of printing machines and then swaddle the product in a book cover. There are a fair amount of jobs in this industry, because books are #radical.

Package printing is the printing of packaging materials with branding and product information. This is the largest part of the printing industry. If you see an Amazon(tm) box that says amazon(tm), you have been DUPED by the package printing industry, into getting advertised at by your packaging. There are tons of jobs: people who run machines, and people who raise cardboard in wholesome cardboard raising foster care program across the nation.

Miraculously, despite this demonstrative genius, I have yet to receive full ride scholarships to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, but it’s only a matter of time.

Serious talk, though: I love my Graphics class, because it is a relaxing and friendly environment where there are always opportunities to test out my design/production chops, but no shame or pressure when I instead prioritize other work. Graphics class is what made every other school day bearable, and something I am greatly looking foreward to resuming next semester.

Sleep Is Important

One might think that this isn’t an argument that requires making, merely supporting with additional scientific discovery, at this point. But apparently, one would be wrong.

This is a response to a certain art teacher, who says certain unhelpful things such as “find the time, find the money, stay up late”, “stay up late, get it done”, and “as they say in college: when you are partying or sleeping, someone else is working.”

I have several issues with this.

  1. Factually, this sort of advice/chastisement is drearily off the mark. Sleep is a basic and essential human need for survival. Sleep is a priority. If you can sleep and still have your other essential needs – food and shelter – the next morning, you need to sleep.
  2. Ideologically, I find this even more grating. If sleep is beneficial, and it is, then no one should be trying to idealize the deprivation of sleep. Point blank, you cannot and should not shame people for looking after themselves. Taking care of yourself is good. Knowing what you need and letting yourself have that is good. Supporting your brain in its need to function is good.
  3. Practically, this is completely ludicrous. Losing sleep is not going to make you a better student, in high school or in college. By staying up to finish one project, you sacrifice much of your cognitive ability, physical and emotional wellness, and energy to address classes and additional work for the following day. Even if you’re trying to prioritize your academic performance over your own health, this is not an effective way to go about it.
  4. Logically, this is the wrong argument to be making. Yes, we high school students do tend to stay up late to finish our work. Situations can vary, and occasionally we do in fact have to. But oftentimes, in the case of my fellow art students and me, we only have to stay up late because our time management skills are abysmal. If you are trying to coach us into being more effective students, you should be targeting our methods of managing our workloads.

A lot of my personal anger at how frequently he delivers such harmful remarks comes from my experience with sleep and sleep deprivation in combination with a major clinical depression. I have learned, through a long journey of self examination, that I Need To Sleep. This is not unusual. Everyone needs to sleep. Everyone feels better and performs better when they are well slept. For me, though, I have learned that the less I sleep, the less I am able to perform basic daily functions such as getting out of bed, performing facial expressions, and sometimes even moving. Not that I have ever been immobile for an entire day just because I didn’t get enough sleep, but exhaustion exacerbates my depression, and my depression likes to give me brief episodes of fairly severe executive dysfunction when it’s provoked.

I know, that for my success in addition to my safety, I need to put sleeping well before anything else I could possibly do. I know that I need a full night of sleep, or else I risk spiraling into a cycle of failure to complete important tasks, consequent self loathing and decreased motivation, and an increased compulsion towards self destructive behaviors. That is my personal experience, but to varying degrees these sorts of consequences are present for all humans. Humans need sleep. Some neurotypical people such as yourself, Mr. Brandhorst, might be able to lose sleep, suffer, and shrug it off, but that’s not necessarily the case for everyone else. Even if it were:




It’s honestly such a misuse of your authority as a teacher and adult to encourage and enable the devaluing of sleep by teenagers and society as a whole, which is already a huge problem. Teenagers don’t get enough sleep. Teenagers need to get more sleep. Our brains are not fully developed. Even if they were, sleep deprivation causes minor but permanent degrees of brain damage. Furthermore, losing sleep isn’t helpful in any sort of long run. Senior student Emma provides testimony that “literally almost all of my day to day troubles arise from or connect with not sleeping.” The message you spread is detrimental to health, self image, and academic performance as a whole. You cannot pass this one off to society or “just the way it is,” when you bring it up so frequently.

And you say this not as a warning, not as a helpful tip, not in conjunction with any actual advice about managing your time or surviving societal demands, but as simple brute intimidation to a class of overworked, anxious, neurodiverse individuals. I find this unacceptable.

I’m trying to speak logically and objectively, but to be quite honest, this makes me so furious that I could just as easily (and certainly as willingly) fill this long a post with cursing and vitriol. I’ve restrained myself thus far, and yet I will allow myself to conclude this post with the following.


Shut the fuck up.

10 Things To Tell

I have a vivid memory of scanning articles in my freshman yearbook and coming upon a list of “10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Freshman Self”, and as a then freshman myself, I found every item extraneous to my own personal experience, and rather condescending. Things like “your grades matter” or “your work freshman year will impact your GPA as a senior” – things I didn’t need to hear. I was a bit rankled, but decided it wouldn’t be fair to critique the list fully until I was a senior myself.

I’ve been waiting three years to produce an adequately informed list of my own, and now here I go! Dear Freshman Julia:


(Disclaimer: your hair doesn’t actually look quite that cool this year)

  1. You are actually, literally depressed. You’re not imagining it. You’re not making things harder for yourself deliberately, or sabotaging your work ethic to feel “special”, or any of those things you think. Major clinical depression. Have some validation, kid.
  2. Things get harder. And then they get better, and right now they’re harder again. The point is; this too shall pass. Things always have the potential to get better, and you are always growing more equipped to combat the darker times.
  3. You have the most generous, supportive, hard working friends on the entire planet. I know you know you’re lucky, but you haven’t had the experiences I’ve had in order to realize just how lucky. Your friends are there for you and will work hard to make sure you are safe.
  4. You owe it to your friends to do everything you can to support and cater to them. Nothing you can do will even approach what you owe them, but it’s important for you to keep trying. Don’t let them go.
  5. Speaking of things to not let go: your grades. I know how hard you work, and I know how harder it’s about to get for you to maintain that same level of performance. You’ve done me a solid all throughout high school so far – honestly I only have beef with earlier-senior-year me. Point being: you are capable, you are intelligent, and you are driven. Your depression does not change that. Trust yourself.
  7. Some actual advice here: keep taking therapy at the beginning of 10th grade, that was Rough. Also, there’s nothing wrong in asking for therapy later just because a) you said you thought you were fine earlier or b) your parents haven’t pointed out to you that you’ve been struggling. You know yourself best. No one thinks you’re making anything up. Shhhhhhh.
  8. Right now you’re of the opinion that you’re too young to really date. And I agree with you! But nonetheless, you’re gonna. I don’t even know what to tell you about that. I won’t say that you shouldn’t date Emma, because that is mostly a fun and good time for you and has ended up as well as it could have. No regrets, I guess. But also. Just. Maybe try to be less of a blundering idiot, yknow?
    But hey, here’s a real tip: there’s nothing wrong with kissing someone before you’re 15. It’s okay.
  9. Justin and Uzuki become good friends. You’re already in love with Uzuki, but Justin will become just as important to you in different ways. Treasure them while you still have them with you, please. I don’t have them with me, anymore, and that has been one of the worst parts of being a senior.
  10. You are really, really, really lucky to have the parents that you do. I know you love them as you are, and you’d never want to fight with them, but you still have a lot to learn about how well off you really have it. That’s going to be an upsetting process for you, but it’s worth it to be able to better help other people. Mom and Dad try so hard to help you. Right now, they have it easy. Please don’t take it personally when it gets harder for all of you to make yourself function.

One Year Later

It’s hard to believe that I made this blog over a year ago. And abandoned it too, probably, I didn’t check the exact date of my last post.

But I’m feeling a need to post written content somewhere again, and I still really like the way I’ve set up this blog, as rusty and unreliable as it might be! I’m not calling this an “end to a hiatus”, nor would I even bother labeling my year long absence a “hiatus” – no one visits this blog, so timescale is irrelevant.

Anyway. A lot of things have changed, probably. Most of which I will address individually, which is why I have come here again anyway. But let me list a few:

  • I’m officially and primarily a huge Tolkien fanatic now. This, a fact also coming very soon to its one year anniversary, feels very strange to have to announce as a new aspect of my life.
  • Consequently, I create mostly Tolkien art, although I’ve been creating very little of anything recently. I haven’t improved as astronomically as I wish I could announce, but I have produced some very quality new content, if I do say so myself!
  • Benjamin has had his Bar Mitzvah, which is too much to talk about in even one entire blog post six months after it has happened, but it was delightful and he did very well and I held up my end of things.
  • Benjamin is taller than me, which is bad. The situation has not stopped growing more drastic since June.
  • I’m… a senior. Obviously. And that’s mostly what I have to talk about, because that’s all that my life is or means right now. So. More on that later.
  • I am still on Fluoxetine, and now I’m also on Brupropion. Or. Something like that, which is supposed to help me have focused energy or something. It helped me out of a really bad spot, but it’s not like I suddenly became a good student or anything.
  • I am also still in therapy! Lena has moved buildings, to a place that is further away and less relaxing to get to, but the building is Really Cool, and I am now a super expert marta utilizing commuter, a la big city. I feel very accomplished!
  • I took the SAT again and did way better. That’s the kind of thing that feels important to mention to me now, apparently.
  • Oh also I got a 5 on my ap calculus exam soooooo take THAT but also on the one exam in class so far this semester I got a 67. So. Ahahahaha I don’t even know where to start with that.
  • Yeah my grades are lower than they’ve ever been at the end of the semester, and this might be the first time I don’t scrape by with all As on my transcript. Stay tuned.
  • Oh also Alex and Emma are dating, lmao, but my relationship with both of them is stronger and snugglier than ever, so really everything is quite good!
  • I’m concertmaster this year, which is exciting and scary, considering we’re doing everything we can to get ourselves to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall in a couple months. The level of orchestra drama has been through the roof this semester, c’est la vie.