The Great Gust of 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19th, 2010 by J Prime

Gather ’round and let old man Prime tell you the tale of the Great Gust of Wind of 2010!

I was deep in my studies at the time on that day of days, September 16th around 6:00pm. Sealed away in my micro fortress of solitude, a practice room in the music building working on my piano skills. I glanced down at my watch and noticed that I had just about enough time to pack up my study materials and walk across campus to my French class. I stepped outside and froze dead in my tracks. The pathway leading to my next class was obliterated by felled trees. Looking slowly around me it became clear that it was going to be easier to count the trees that still stood than to count those that now lay in pieces on the ground.

It was so quiet outside. I knew that this was storm damage. The buildings around me seemed unharmed so it had to be the wind that caused this destruction. I am from California and damage of this magnitude out there tends to be from earthquakes, but this was something I had never seen before.

A group of fellow students stood nearby and were talking in hushed voices, as though being loud and boisterous might draw the unwanted attention of the storm back to campus. They took note of me and I could only mutter at them, “Did this really just happen?”

I slowly picked my way to French class, unsure that there would even be any students there. As I navigated my way through the wreckage the magnitude of destruction came into greater focus. I saw sixty-some-odd year old trees that had fallen and destroyed parked cars. I saw the child development playground half buried under fallen trees and debris. I thanked God that there were no little kids playing in there at the time. The size of some of the branches in there would have easily crushed five strong men, let alone a few little kids.

Later in the evening I found myself having to walk to down town Flushing. I have walked there before on a more pleasant day for the exercise and that took about forty-five minutes. This was much different. I was weaving my way around fallen trees, crushed cars, damaged store fronts, and downed power lines. An endless dissonant chorus of car horns assaulted my ears as hundreds of motorists trapped on the impassable roads chose to express their frustration in this annoyingly typical New Yorker pastime.  It took two hours to walk to the 7 train and then almost another two  hours to get the rest of the way home.

Here  is a nice look at a small amount of the damage. This video was taken shortly after the storm by a student I don’t know, but my thanks to him for posting it.  This footage is taken mostly in the main quad across campus from where I was at the time, and the damage you see seems to be just a little less intense than the damage near the music building, but that is just my opinion.

What was your storm experience like?


Try before you buy.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10th, 2010 by J Prime

My fiancé and I have been together for years now. She is a Theatre teacher and with my background in both music (sax player for a quarter century now) and wood working (just over twenty years in manufacturing) she tends to tap me as a resource for productions she is involved with. Sometimes I find myself designing and constructing props and set pieces. Other times I may be playing music, conducting a group of musicians to accompany a musical, or musical directing a youth theatre company. Most recently I even had the chance to perform as a puppeteer in the New York International Fringe Festival. Constantly being ‘dragged’ into the world of theatre leaves me with only one regret, and that is that I wish I had more expertise or training in the theatre arts so that I could contribute at a higher level. This has driven me to strongly consider a minor in Theatre at Queens College.

Impulsiveness being rarely a good thing, I do not wish to charge headlong into a Theatre minor without finding out if I will be both happy with, and passionate about the program. To this end I have been lucky enough to have been awarded a Federal Work Study grant and have chosen a position in the scene shop on campus. By semester’s end I should know if the Theatre minor is right for me.

The concept of ‘try before you buy’ is one which I have preached to friends and colleagues for years now. Here is what I mean:

Want to be a nurse/doctor/first responder? Try and arrange a couple of ride-along sessions with a paramedic unit. See firsthand what it is like when a life is on the line. Don’t wait till you have gone three years into medical school to find out you can’t stand the sight of blood.

Want to be a teacher? Volunteer with any number of youth organizations to find out if you can stand other peoples kids for more than an hour.

Want to be a mommy/daddy? Babysit/Foster.

I could give countless more examples. Basically I am saying, if it will be a big part of your future, find a way to ‘sample’ it first.

What are your future goals, and how are you going to try before you buy?

‘till soon,

J Prime

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8th, 2010 by J Prime

Hello qwriting blog community!

I want to say what an honor it is to have been selected as one of a very few student bloggers here at Queens College. As my first posting I wanted to provide you with the actual sample writing which I sent in as my blogger application. Here follows what you need to know about me. Thanks for reading, and please respond in kind.

~J Prime

Fun facts about me: As a child I was deaf and didn’t have full use of my hearing until age twelve. I have played the saxophone since 1986 and can play all styles of music. I am from San Diego, California (born and raised)  and I am what most people consider a ‘non-traditional’ student at Queens College. You see, I graduated from high school by the skin of my teeth back in 1991. I took a job in manufacturing while attending classes at my local community college. I was not working toward a degree back then because my manufacturing career seemed to be stable and secure. This left me the freedom to choose courses of study that held interest for me. I enjoyed taking classes such as music, marketing, meteorology, and math. Guess I had a thing for the m’s.

Fast forward almost twenty years and our economy is dust, my manufacturing plant is no more, but somehow I find myself engaged to a wonderful woman named Jamie. She has earned several degrees from very prestigious universities, is both smart and beautiful, and I constantly find myself wondering what I did to have such a special person in my life. We relocated to New York City a couple of years ago so she could earn her master’s degree. Well, Jamie just finished up her studies at NYU and the opportunities open to her through higher learning have had a major influence on my own goals. I’ve decided that now it’s my turn to go back to school and finally earn a degree. Enter Queens College.

I am now starting my second semester at Queens College. Through this blog I would like to share with you what life at Queens College is like for a ‘non-traditional’ adult student working toward an undergraduate degree and, ultimately, a new career as a fine arts teacher. “Teaching what?” you might ask. Music. Music is a large part of who I am and always has been. I constantly hear music. I dream in music, walk to the rhythm of my thoughts, and honestly don’t think I could function in society without a song in my heart. This is my passion and this is what I want to do. I want to teach music. I look forward to reading your comments and responding to your questions too.

 So, until soon…

Justin “J-Prime” Tinker

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