Happy New Year 2015

We’re already almost halfway through the first month of the year. These twelve days have been so fulfilling. You won’t believe the reasons why. Firstly, I signed up for a wilderness course in my county. I’ve wanted to sign up for this course for several years. I finally collected the money to do so. Included with the class is a trail hiking book and compass. The 40+ staff all volunteer to teach students how to be prepared and trek in the wilderness safely. To know that I will be wilderness capable by mid March is wonderful. Secondly, my dad bought a new car, so he told me his 2012 van (valued at about $30K) was mine. I said okay, but I am going to give it to someone who needs it. For I already have a car that I love. I’ve taken care of it and it’s taken care of me. So the person the van went to was a 16 year old girl who has no use of her arms and legs, goes to regular public school facing so much bullying. With the van her uncle and parents (anyone available) can drive her wherever she needs/wants to go. To be apart of helping out someone like that is worth more than owning that van. For a long time I’ve known money isn’t everything. It sure helps pays the bills, but what after that. Does it make you happy if you’re an already unhappy person? I don’t think so from my experience. It’s another sad, but true fact of life. It’s never too late to change how you look at the world. Since it’s the beginning of the new year, many people are making resolutions that they may or may not keep. If there is any resolution worth keeping it’s to help someone out, even if it means just moving some boxes, saying hello to a neighbor who you know has been in the downs, anything that will brighten someone’s day. In the long run you will feel better too.


Jenji Kohan Hit Television Shows

Weeds aired for eight seasons via Showtime. I watched them all via Netflix. From the title alone you can guess that the show is going to be risque. Any show can have drama, but can the director/creator give it an edge? I think that the show’s creator Jenji Kohan did just that with this show.

Every disturbing or controversial topic you can think of was in this show. A recently windowed mother turns to the business of drugs to maintain a family of two boys. One of these boys has an attitude issue, but it’s all right because it makes for shocking television viewing. Also, during the course of the show the boys’ uncle gets into making porno movies and running a store that sells bicycle accessories that he himself invented. Furthermore, there aren’t just drug battles within the state, but also across the border. Jenji Kohan ingeniously finds ways to make the story exciting while still showing how dangerous the whole gig of drug manufacturing and selling is. When you get right down to it, it’s good entertainment.

If you or I were to meet any of these characters in real life, we would run away or, perhaps, be intrigued for the first few hang outs. It’s sort of like going on a date with someone who seems to be exciting, but they are merely crazy.

People who live mundane lives love a good fictional story. Sometimes the people we find entertaining in our lives wouldn’t be so to millions of viewers who show creators are hoping to get. So it’s no surprise to me that Orange Is The New Black seems like a story with a few exaggerated characters. It seems to me that this is done because the real story might not be as well-received a few crazy female prisoners here and there.

Piper Kerman is a real woman who wrote a memoir about her own experiences in prison. I haven’t read the book, so all my theories are just theories. I have never been to prison, so I don’t know just how crazy the women were whom Piper Kerman interacted with.

Crazy Eyes is one of the characters I think is more exaggerated even though the actress who plays the character does an excellent job. I don’t like Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom, but that’s probably because I never liked any of the characters Jason Biggs has done that I’ve seen.

The only two things I want to find out at the end of this story is if Alex Vause really betrayed Piper Kerman and if they end up back together in the end. It seems to me that Alex is genuinely sorry that she and her ex-girlfriend were both sent to prison (the same prison no less). I just want to know if it’s all a ploy to lure Piper into a love/drug business trap.

It’s also humorous to me that Nicky Nichols keeps taunting Piper to come “out” as a lesbian while she is there in prison. It’s almost as if the show is foreshadowing the ending, but I can’t really know. It could just be a tease, plain and simple.

I have only watched three episodes so far. I wanted to write down my thoughts on the two shows and make a prediction (and hopes) on Piper and Alex getting back together  at the end of the series. It’s hard to know because there is a curve ball in the mix. Larry Bloom is married to Piper Chapman. That’s pretty official. It makes it seem that much more difficult to have an ending where Piper and Alex end up together.

Human Nature, Social Standards

The World

Today I heard someone refer to “the world” when they were talking about something they didn’t agree with. It’s a kind of reference that I hear many religious people use when talking about people who do things “against the Bible” depending on what translation you follow. Using “the world” in that way isn’t just used with religious people. It can used by anyone who doesn’t agree with something.

Everyone has had their own way of being raised. Even the upbringing of my older sister and younger brother is very different from each other as well as different from my own. People are unique and some are more different than others. We all know how it feels to be different in at least one way if not more. So why is it that minority people are against people from other minorities? I don’t have the answer, but I would like to explore the possibilities.

The other day I read this quote by an author (sorry I can’t remember), it said that no matter what intellectual conversation was being had, there will always be someone who will dissagree. So why try to figure out why people who are different and know what it feels like be against someone else who is different. My theory is that most people really don’t like things that are different. Also, most people don’t like change. if something that has been around for thousands or more years has been working, why try to fix it? My answer to that, is that it may have been working for a group of people, but it wasn’t working for another group of people. There are so many instances in history where that was evident. Slavery worked out for the “masters” who owned them, but not the people enslaved. Marriage worked well for the people allowed to be married, but it did not work out for the people who couldn’t be married. In addition, teaching Deaf kids worked out well for the hearing people who didn’t want to give Deaf people their own language and avoid having to learn sign language work out for the instructors, but it didn’t work out for the Deaf kids who spent mass amounts of effort with one pronunciation alone. Even left-handers have to live in a right-handed world. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some left-handed doorknobs? Maybe some higher ceilings and archways for taller people?

If someone doesn’t like certain foods. They don’t eat them. If another girl doesn’t like pants, she will wear dresses. Once you start telling someone who lives differently from you that they can’t have the same thing you have or that they have to be treated differently because of it, that’s where inequalities happen. And that’s when people start to refer to things they don’t like as “the world”. Crime happens. That’s the way the world is. It doesn’t make it any less important.

Next time you’re talking with someone who brings up something they don’t like, listen to see if they refer to “the world”. You would be surprised at how many people use it. To me it is almost saying, “I give up,” or “I can’t change the way the world is”. Alcohol Anonymous even has a motto that says, “Let live and let God.” Can you imagine if we had that motto for everything from “I’m failing Math” or “My job sucks”. I don’t think anything would get done. We would just be stuck in the same ole place.

Here is a quote that I do have the author for. Just something to think about when you go out there in “the world”.

“When any prevailing prejudice is attacked, the wise will consider, and leave the narrow-minded to rail with thoughtless vehemence at innovation.” By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Human Nature, Social Standards

Fruitvale Station 2009

Five and a half years ago, my brother, our friend and I embarked on our first road trip together. We drove eight hours to San Francisco. We stayed at a friend’s apartment on the first floor. We chose this time in particular so we could be in the city for New Year’s Eve/Day.

My brother and our friend went out clubbing while my friend we were staying with and I went to Tank Hill. We took three cars to fit everyone in our group. We were all very close in those tiny cars, but we made it. Everything was all and well. We enjoyed our time together. It was a lot of fun.

Little did we know that eighteen miles away at the Fruitvale Station, some people were wrongfully taken off the Bart due to some fighting that went on while on the Bart. All I know about the event was what I saw in the Sundance Independent film “Fruitvale”. What I saw was some other guy started the fight. And this particular group of friends got the entire blame for it. And the rest of the story you just have to see for yourself.

My brother had the opportunity to work at Sundance in 2012 and this year. He said that the people whose lives the film is based off were there at the screening. They said that the film was accurate and “it was like reliving it all over again.” Which tells you a little about how well the independent film was made.

Today was the last day the film was showing in the theatre closest to me. You might be able to see the film in a theatre near you. See the film in theatres if you can. If it isn’t available in a theatre near you, watch it on dvd.

Michael B. Jordan, Melanie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer all did an outstanding performance on screen. Michael played the role of Oscar, the guy trying to make a living for his girlfriend and daughter. Melanie played the role of his girlfriend. Octavia played the role of Oscar’s mother. All really difficult roles to play, but all three achieved it.

There is a scene at the hospital where Oscar’s mom, keeps the boys waiting with her in check while maintaining positive vibes. The whole scene is tense. It takes a very strong woman to keep her head up until the verdict is known.

The actors who played the policemen involved also had a hard role to play. To play someone who is so despised for their part at Fruitvale Station, can be a lot to bare. You really hated them.

At the beginning and the end of the film, they played lived footage from the event. It really brought all the emotions home. As someone who was close-by, but did not experience the event like the real people who did, I feel emotionally connected to the incident. I cannot imagine how much emotional pain has taken place because of someone’s mistake. But I know that the family can get by each day a little easier knowing that their story is out there and people are watching it and joining their side.

Ranting, Raving

Fake Friends 101

Joan Jett has a song called “Fake Friends” where she sings “You don’t lose anything when you lose fake friends.” It’s true to an extent. What you lose is the time you’ve spent making plans, hanging out with them, and confiding with them about things that are important to you. I have encountered many people that have wasted my time, so I have come up with a list of things to look out for.

First of all, if when you first go out with them and they are busy looking at the things behind you or around you guys, he or she isn’t really interested in what you have to say. Even if there is nervousness, they will meet eyes with you while you talk. I drove 20-30 minutes out of my way to meet a friend. They didn’t focus on me at all. The meeting was unimportant in their eyes.

Secondly, if you meet up somewhere for food, and he or she orders and eats their food without waiting for you, they care more about themselves that waiting for you. I was about a minute late to meeting a “friend”. This person was sitting down to a fat burrito. They said, “Oh, I hope you don’t mind I already ordered. That’s not rude is it?” The fact of the matter was that it was rude. The fact that they pointed it out meant that they knew and didn’t care.

The third thing to watch out for is have similar interests. Just because you have one thing you both like to do, let’s say biking, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with negative behavior the person does. Now, I didn’t have anyone to bike with. I really wanted bike. I ignored all the negative things they said in order to have a biking partner. This is not worth it. Wait for someone you actually like to do activities with.

Another test to see if you have (a) fake friend(s) is when you offer them a few packets of “emergency” packets for water flavor because my stomach disagrees with it, and they ask for all the packets, you have a selfish friend and possibly a fake friend too. They just want and want. You want friends who give and take as much as you do.

If someone says they don’t like drama or call themselves peaceful people, but get drunk and make fun of people behind their back, they’re being hypocritical. I had a friend one time who got in a yelling spree the weekend before. They were drunk, yelled to all her friends that they weren’t their friends anymore, and blacklisted all their numbers. I went to a concert with this person and voiced my worry that she would do the same if they drank. That time nothing happened, but the following time she slapped my face across the cheek just for touching her hat playfully. Some people and their hats, man. What is that? I was never apologized to. “It was no big deal,” she said. “I’m taking it too far,” said their roommate. I never spoke to that person again. And ignored them when I saw them at a gig I was freelancing at.

There are many more ways to find out if you have befriended a fake friend. These are just some of the few. Hopefully it will help you make your life more positive.

Love, Music, Spiritual

Pride Weekends

In honor of San Diego Pride Weekend, I’d like to post a quick summary of all the prides I’ve been to:

San Diego Pride (2006-2013)

Long Beach Pride (2 times)

Los Angeles Pride (1 time)

San Francisco Pride (2013)

Out of all the pride weekend events, I enjoyed San Francisco Pride the best. I took the train up the west coast to arrive in time for Friday night Pride kick-off. This was a kick-off unlike any I have ever experienced. Not only was I in an unfamiliar city, but I was still very new at using public transportation. When I didn’t want to walk eight blocks, I took the bart.

As I slowly crept up the stairs from the underground station to the street level, I saw the backs of dozens of people lined up around the street. They were watching what was literally a six-hour parade. There were so many floats and people walking alongside them. After some searching, I finally found a spot to stand with only three heads in front of me. Each hour each person left along with their friend/group. At about 3pm I had a front row standing position to the parade. I saw my brother march with his friend’s float in time. Everything was great.

Then I made my way towards City Hall. There isn’t any way I can describe the noise and the sights in order to prepare you for what you what experience. There were literally four or five dance floors. All of which had bass turned up all the way and then some. Every kind of person from different backgrounds and fashion styles were all dancing like their feet were indestructible and their energy unlimited.

On Saturday, every lgbt person and their friends gravitated toward Dolores Park. There is a paved road on a steep hill that you have to climb if you want to get to the good parts of the grassy park. To the left is a playground for kids. Then two rows of rolling hills where people set-up their blankets and alcohol (allowed for Pride Weekend) begins. At 10am there were a few people here and there (we were one of them). Then slowly, but surely the park was flooded with people. I have never seen that many lgbt people and friends concentrated in one area. It was great.

The thing about Long Beach Pride was that the first time I stayed over at my friend’s two-story house. We played drinking games all night. The next day’s Parade and Festival were fun, but did not go above and beyond any other city’s festivities. The second time, my friends and I rented a boat off the pier. We drank and played games again. On Saturday night, we went to a club with $10, which is pretty cheap considering it was Pride Weekend. This was also fun, but nothing too different other than where we stayed the night all weekend.

Los Angeles Pride was unique in that, I went to the Dyke March for the first time. I didn’t even know such a march even existed. It’s simply a bunch of women who identify as such marching together in solidarity. Sort of like, “Here we are. We are here together.” It was interesting.

All in all, I had a fun time each pride weekend. All the pride festivals charge $20 for regular admission with discounts for military, except San Francisco Pride. SF Pride was completely free to enjoy. They have it in their budget to hire workers to set-up stages and musicians to perform on them.

I look forward to experiencing Pride weekend at different cities. If you have never been to a Pride weekend event, you should check it out. It doesn’t matter what your background or preference is. It’s fun for all. It definitely tests your comfort zone if you have a small/select group of people you hang out with all year round. I highly recommend it.

Human Nature, Love, Social Standards, Spiritual, The Law

You’re Different. I’m Different.

Inspired by my previous blog post “Your Rush. My Rush“, I am continuing the idea that people judge other people’s preference, personality, and importance based on things that don’t matter. What I mean is that one person may say another person’s god is wrong because it’s different than their own. Why can’t we live in a world where we accept that other people view things differently? It doesn’t make them wrong. Religion is a huge hot mess of conflict. Even people who believe in the church branch out from their original church to establish one based on what they believe. Different is not wrong. It’s just different.

Why should your difference override my difference? The USA was founded upon people who wanted a new life and an escape from religious persecution. And you know what ended up happening? In Jamestown, when it was established, people were fined $20 for missing church. That was a lot of money back then. As a country, we have become the judge of what’s right or wrong on things that has nothing to do with the church or state. And I think having a law based on one person/religion/political party’s idea isn’t fair to other people with different ideas.

I’m talking about love. It’s no one’s business who loves who. It’s more important to focus on the people who are hurting other people, not loving another person no matter what their ethnic background, skin color, or spiritual beliefs are. Just because someone else’s love looks different than yours, doesn’t make it wrong. It doesn’t mean you have to love like them either.

Why do some religious and political people reject same-sex marriage? There are many theories: It goes against their special interest groups. It goes against their religion via the Bible, Quran, etc. The psychological theory is that deep down inside, they aren’t sure of themselves whether they are gay or straight. It’s always easier to follow a book or rules. Seeing someone else fully embrace themselves for who they are makes the people trapped in society’s webs jealous. If we could all get past comparing ourselves to each other we can stop competing for the right way and start competing for human equality.