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The Week I Lived Without A Phone

Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr

Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr

I noticed a change in my behavior that weekend in the woods. I had noticed the crisp air and the clear pale blue sky that sat above the tops of the tall green treetops. I had seen every lizard that hid in the dark cool cracks on fallen logs where dead trees gave way for new life to live and find shelter, and I could truly appreciate the thousands of dazzling white lights that nestled themselves against the black abyss that was our camp’s ceiling. I would look at all that surrounded me, and when I glanced at my fellow campers to discuss nature’s wonder, I saw faces glued to iPhones, eyes looking at front facing cameras, and fingers tapping impatiently as their owners waited for Wi-Fi.

I noticed that I had missed out on so many Snap stories that weekend, and realized that I didn’t really mind as much. I was in the woods, and not having a phone with me kept my focus there. I realized that the best time to have your phone stolen was right before a camping trip in the woods. Read the rest of this page »

How Lack of Funding Fueled A Forest Fire

Dark black soot covered the earth’s dirt floor. I had spotted burnt trees chopped down to save the ones surrounding it, charcoaled and black colored wood scattered all around our feet as we moved further up into the mountain. We followed the path that was once covered in flames up in to the mountains and out from the green meadow separating us from our campground. The sun was beating down on the six of us as we hiked higher into the mountain of trees all the while looking down at the aftermath of the forest fire that had just been calmed after weeks of burning.

The San Bernardino, CA forest fire broke out near Mill Creek Canyon, near Highway 38, and Bryant Street just north of Yucaipa. The towering flames had forced an evacuation of four homes on the Yucaipa ridge, campsites had been shut down, and fires were temporarily not aloud in the campsites that happened to open back up right before my group’s planned trip. The fire had burned at least 35 acres and was fueled by chaparral plants.

After hiking behind the campgrounds where we stayed, the six of us went back to camp for water to cool ourselves down and to clean up. One of the friendly campground hosts had driven up to a few of us who were washing away the dirt and grime from the afternoon’s hike. He asked us where we had hiked and told us all about the scorched earth behind the camp. Read the rest of this page »

Under the Twirling Strobe Lights

I looked around the dance floor at the wildly flailing 20-somethings vibrantly moving and singing to the Katy Perry song that was blaring through the nearby speakers. High heels had already been thrown alongside the venue’s walls where flowers and table decorations had fell during the enthusiastic celebration. Among the faces of young adults spotlighted in yellow lights was a group of people who I had come to know over the course of 10 years. I laughed as we brought back terrible dance moves that no sane person would attempt in public.

“I think I’m bringing back the shopping cart, you guys,” I said raising my hand from the imaginary shopping cart to grab the invisible grocery product. I managed to carefully place the product in the cart.

A friend who was happily twisting her hips in the washing machine motion had screamed. “Ah! Prom!” Read the rest of this page »

The Legacy of A Life Online

Photo by mkhmarketing via Flickr

Photo by mkhmarketing via Flickr

Facebook has recently been gathering old posts from our early years on Facebook to share with us each day, and has given us the option to share these memories with our Facebook friends to look back on as well.

Each day Facebook shows you all of your stories from the same date on different years. Photographs, status updates, and wall posts involving your closest friends and family are displayed on your timeline for the world to see, and it’s definitely interesting to see your online life get drudged back up from the past. Read the rest of this page »

White Noise

Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr

Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr

A thousand heavy roars of thunder rolling over an abandoned sea,
Aims to drown out the interruptive sounds of chatter, while I write and sip my tea.
I check out of the world for a moment, as I rest the tips of my fingers on top of the keyboard.
The constant static continues to deafen the surrounding air, with the pleasant buzzing of an angry insect horde. Read the rest of this page »

Chapters Of Our Perception

They say that, before we die, our life briefly flashes before our eyes. We get to see a glimpse of the impact that we have left on the earth. As we leave this life we notice all of the people we have interacted with, the people we’ve lost, and the people we have loved. But what we don’t get to see is the perspective of life on earth from everyone else.

We learn about the history of humanity in segments, or chapters, and never give piecing together the overlapping puzzle of history a second thought. In the YouTube video, Our Narrow Slice, YouTuber, Vsauce, tells his viewers that Ann Frank and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were both born in the year 1929, a fact we never think of because they were taught during two separate lessons in elementary school.

The way the majority of us humans view our world is very much one sided—our own. It’s as if we only try to process the world a little bit at a time and never bother to see the world as a spherical place of billions of perspectives.

At the end of the video created by YouTuber, Vsauce, the viewer gets to see the impact of our lives in modern society relative to the entirety of human existence. In The final minute or so of the video shows the history of humans, and in the time it takes to show all of humanity’s recent accomplishments in the modern age just flashes for a half of a second on the screen. Blink and you will definitely miss it.

Get Into The Discomfort Zone

Grad Pic 11Every day my boss forwards everyone in the office an email from his mentor, Michael Hyatt. I usually skim through whatever tips the virtual adviser lends to his audience, and then swiftly move it to another folder where I can unintentionally forget to read the email in its entirety. The other day my boss, however, added a note to his email asking for us to listen to the This Is Your Life podcast associated with Michael Hyatt’s post, as well as a thoughtful response.

Hyatt’s main point was for individuals to embrace uncomfortable situations. He goes on the say in his podcast that, “discomfort, when viewed correctly, is a sign we’re making progress.” Hyatt advises his listeners to acknowledge the value of this discomfort, lean in to the experience, notice your fear, not over thinking it, play it full out, celebrate the victory, and then pause to reflect the change. Read the rest of this page »

The Meet and Greet with Laverne Cox

My sister sent me a text a few weeks ago about a talk Laverne Cox was giving at our university. She asked if I wanted to go, and then forwarded me a link to the university’s student government page where students with tickets to Laverne Cox’s talk could win a chance to meet the famed actress and activist by submitting a short writing response.

“Yeah, maybe I’ll do it,” I said to my sister. “I’m sure I wouldn’t win it, but I could always post it up on my blog.”

A couple of weeks went by before I thought about the writing submission again. I wonder when that short response is due?

I looked up the text on my phone that my sister had sent me and noticed the familiar date. I realized that I only had a few hours before the time would be up, and so I quickly grabbed my laptop and began writing on the day the writing submission was due. Read the rest of this page »

What Martin Luther King Had Said

baltimore-cover-finalIn April 2015, Baltimore police had arrested 25-year-old African-American, Freddie Gray. He had sustained injuries to his spine and larynx, fell into a coma on April 12, and despite multiple surgical attempts, he never regained consciousness. Gray died a week later in police custody. Six police officers have been suspended pending an investigation, but not much else has been done to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics latest available report, published in 2011, at least 4,813 people have died while in custody of local and state law enforcement between 2003 and 2009. Sixty-one percent of those deaths were classified as homicides.

There were an estimated 98 million arrests in the United States by local, state, and federal law enforcement from the years 2003 to 2009, according to FBI statistics. However fifteen states, not including the District of Columbia, did not consistently report deaths in police custody during that period—and Maryland, along with Georgia and Montana, didn’t submit any records at all.

What started as peaceful protests voicing their concern for their lives in Baltimore, gave way to civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray. As of April 28, at least 250 people have been arrested, thousands of police and Maryland Army National Guard troops have been deployed, and a state of emergency was declared in the city limits of Baltimore. Read the rest of this page »

The Fourth Roommate

Every year that I was in college has resulted me living with a roommate or two. The first year I had two roommates who ended up being pretty cool. I was a nervous freshman who didn’t have a clue about life as an adult, and the roommates that had shared our little closet of a space on Cal Poly Pomona’s campus helped me navigate the very awkward transition from high school into all things college.

Then there was the second year. I had three other roommates who were nice, however, dishes kept piling up and were constantly being stacked like Jenga pieces in the sink. Just one wrong look at the filthy pile of dishes would send the tower of grime tumbling down. Ignoring that, and the time one of my roommates ate raw uncooked spaghetti nervously in the bathroom, they were all incredibly good people who were there for me when times grew difficult. Read the rest of this page »

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