Friday, February 24, 2012

Connie Conway, Republican Leader in California State Assembly

Assemblywoman Connie Conway
Republican Leader
Assemblywoman Connie Conway is the Republican Leader in the California State Assembly. She works with the Speaker and the Governor and the two leaders in the State Senate to get laws passed in California.  I really appreciate Assemblywoman Conway taking the time to do this interview!

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway: First and foremost, Julian, I'd like to thank you for all of your hard work. You are a terrific role model to other young people and I'm honored that you asked me to participate in this interview.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books and why are they your favorites?

Assemblywoman Conway: Serving as Assembly Republican Leader keeps me extremely busy so I don’t have the time I’d like to have for pleasure reading. Since this job is so fast-paced, I spend a lot of time reading the news. I’m a little bit of a news junkie and I’m always reading newspapers, magazines and blogs and watching local and national news shows to keep up on the latest events.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite songs and why are they your favorites?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tom Torlakson - CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

Tom Torlakson is a really busy guy! He is responsible for MILLIONS of students in California!  I have interviewed a few people who are involved in education, like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, CEO of StudentsFirst Michelle Rhee and my school district Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.  I thought it would be interesting to talk to Mr. Torlakson because he is responsible for all of California's students.  Thanks Mr. Torlakson!!!!

PMAKid: I have interviewed a few people involved in education like my school district Superintendent, Jonathan Raymond and Michelle Rhee who runs StudentsFirst. Can you tell me what exactly your job is at the state level. Are you just like Mr. Raymond, but with more schools and teachers?

First of all Julian, I want to say you are a remarkable young man doing a remarkable service to your peers – and, really, to the entire state – with this Web site. Thank you for that.

To answer your question, I am State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. I was elected by the people of California on November 2, 2011, as the state’s 27th State Superintendent. My office is nonpartisan, and my term runs four years.

I run the California Department of Education that oversees our state’s diverse and dynamic public school system. That means that I’m the elected representative of about 10,000 schools and more than 6 million students – greater than the entire population of many states.

We enforce education law and regulations and work every day to improve public elementary school programs, secondary school programs, adult education, some preschool programs, and child care programs.

So some of what I do is similar to Supt. Raymond, but my job is also very different in a lot of ways.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits
Walter Schreifels has played in a lot of bands and wrote a lot of the music for some of the biggest hardcore bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today.  He has done solo stuff and produced records for other people.  My friend Carlos Izurieta helped me to get this interview with Mr. Schreifels (thanks Carlos!).  Mr. Schreifels is a really cool guy and I can't wait to meet him at Revelation Records 25th Anniversary show in June!

PMAKid: You have been in a lot of bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand and Civ. My friend Carlos from Police & Thieves said you wrote a lot of the songs in Gorilla Biscuits too. I know that you are also a music producer too. Do you like writing and performing your own music or producing music for other people more? Or are they just really different?

Mr. Schreifels: Even though I'm more focused on writing and performing my own songs, I also enjoy the contrast and challenge of working worth other artists. Through producing, co-writing or other means I always find collaboration to be a learning experience, a way to understand and (hopefully) compliment someone else's creative process. With my own music, the rewards for good work are greater but I also have a tendency to sweat the small stuff more than I should, it's a difference in perspective.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vancouver Straight Edge band Out of Sight

Chad, Alex and Stephanie of Out of Site plus me too

Out of Sight is a really cool band from Vancouver.  I hung out with them a lot on the first night of the last React Records Showcase.  They are all really nice and cool!

PMAKid: When I first met you guys, it was at the 2011 React Record showcase when I was selling my wristbands (Thanks again Aram!) next to you guys. You were totally cool! I know that you guys are a pretty new band. What made you start a band in the first place?

Chad: We all thought YOU were totally cool as well! Very inspiring to see someone so passionate about hardcore at your age! Well myself, I've always wanted to start punk/hardcore bands ever since I first got into punk when I was thirteen/fourteen. Playing in punk and hardcore bands is awesome because you have a wonderful place to express all of your frustration/anger/disgust with issues/problems in the world/your personal life. That's why I always wanted to start a punk band, because as a socially awkward, angry freak who never really fit in with "conventional" society.. I was constantly searching for somewhere to rage about injustice, personal issues, and things that made me mad! So for me, Out of Sight was basically started as a positive, productive way to let out some anger and sing about issues that bother me in the world/our scene/my life.

Chris Mahon of Bang Bros

Bang Bros (Chris Mahon on vocals)
Chris Mahon is a friend of mine from Dublin, Ireland.  He sings in a REALLY great band called Bang Bros.  You should check them out! They are awesome!

PMAKid: You were one of my friends that helped me out (by doing a video) with the presentation I gave to my school about making the choice to be drug free. (That Champion poster you have on your wall is AWESOME!) You ended your video clip by saying "I guess I am just out of step". I bet you were using that song from Minor Threat, right? What are your thoughts on being straight edge and making the choice to stay away from drugs and alcohol? Were you always straight edge like Toby Morse or did you switch to being edge like Aram Arslanian?

Chris: You bet I got it from Minor Threat. That band are as important now as they were when they started. Plus I needed something to add to my part. I have nowhere near enough charisma as Dave Outlast. 

Well the way I see, straight edge is its a personal choice and people embrace it for many different reasons. It can be a good common ground to meet people and share a connection but it doesn't define me as a person. I still have as much fun with my friends who drink as I do with my edge friends.its definitely a part of me that I'm proud of. 

I used to drink when I was younger but nothing crazy. I just realized this was pretty crappy and I could be using the money to buy sweet nikes. Alcohol is expensive.