Why I Kidnapped My Friends

I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.

Continue reading “Why I Kidnapped My Friends”

Who Still Blogs Anyway?

bloggingThe first 10 notes of Beethoven’s Fur Elise rang from my phone notifying me that I had received a text message. I unlocked the iPhone that had been decorated with a brand new navy blue and rose-gold case and read the message to myself.

“Jas!” I could feel the shock and excitement emanating out from behind the words that I was reading. “Catching up on some of your blog posts and ‘A Collection of Memories’ had completely inspired and touched me!”

I don’t think that I was able to wrap my head around what she was trying to tell me. Clearly my friend wasn’t referring to any of the posts on my blog. However, I responded with appreciation for the kind words. Continue reading “Who Still Blogs Anyway?”

A Collection of Memories

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Photo by Hans

The first family road trip, that I can remember, happened sometime around the age of eight or nine. I was handed a Kodak disposable camera and carefully tried to ration the allotted photos that could be taken on the wind-up-operating device. However, because I was only eight and had no experience with cameras and didn’t feel like using the view finder, I quickly went through the film reel by taking terrible pictures with thumbs partial blocking blurred views of ordinary trees from the inside of a moving car. Continue reading “A Collection of Memories”

The Los Angeles of Old and New

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La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA

The four of us stared down at the black sludge bubbling up from the short blades of green grass that had been blocked off with black iron gates. A small gust of wind had picked up a smell, of what seemed like burned tire rubber, and found its way into our nostrils. I instinctively moved my feet around a bit as if to sidestep the process that was taking hold underneath my boots.

“This all seems very unsafe,” I said as I continued to look down at the ground that was pushing up this dark liquid from decades passed. The ground at La Brea Tar Pits looked like some sort of horror scene nestled between the picturesque LACMA and LA Brea Tar Pits museums. Continue reading “The Los Angeles of Old and New”

Across State Lines

13083371_10209041309613957_6841760751063450198_nI glanced over at the odometer and watched the digitally scribed numbers on my dash grow as I crept forward through the California desert. Death Valley’s hot breath blew past my windshield and into the open windows of my mid-sized vehicle as my tires continued to spin over dusty asphalt roads that were beginning to sizzle in the late spring heat.

The car full of people that I was towing were all headed over the first of three state lines that I would end up crossing within a month’s time frame, and with every border I crossed, and every mile that I traveled, I could only hope for more to come. Continue reading “Across State Lines”

After The Thirteenth Mile

798514_1003_0012Rubber soles pounded the warm asphalt creating a steady, but rhythmic, slow-tempo drum beat. They had carried my legs with ease for nine miles on the winding streets of Eugene, Oregon before I felt the slowly creeping soreness of a run that was lasting too damn long spread through my overworked leg muscles. I did my best to breathe in the cool and refreshing air that had been warmed a little more by the bright sun since the start of the race over an hour before. I had enjoyed the run, glancing over at the tall green trees that proudly stood as they decorated the Northwestern track town, for two more miles before thoughts of confusion snuck into my mind.

Why the heck did we pay to do this to ourselves? I thought as I continued to place one increasingly heavy foot in front of the other. Everyone here is absolutely nuts.

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The 10K

FullSizeRender 5The bottom of my feet grew warmer as they hit the pavement which lied next to the sandy beach. The ocean breeze hit my sweaty face as I threw one leg in front of the other. I could feel the muscles in my thighs and calves move and tighten, and as I passed the halfway point of my first 10K race, I looked over to my race partner quietly huffing and wiping sweat from his brow.

My boyfriend smiled, “We’re almost there! We can do it! We’re going to make it!”

I shot him a glance in my exhausted state. “I’m going to finish, but we’ll see about running the whole way to the finish line.” Continue reading “The 10K”

What Will Kill the YouTube Star?

Backlit keyboard on my MacBook Pro
Photo by Casper Folsing

The Buggles once sang, “Video Killed The Radio Star.” The Limousines sang, “The Internet Killed The Video Star.” However, as time goes on, and future generations give birth to new inventions, we are left wondering what, if anything, will kill the Internet? After hearing a story earlier this week about a couple of prominent YouTubers, I assumed the answer would be the inevitable evolution of building the Internet through commercialism.

It all started with an announcement from Fine Bros Entertainment, run by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, announcing a new plan to license out its React brand and video format on a profit-sharing basis. Anything resembling their incredibly general video format would be scrutinized, and the act called attention from a very angry YouTube community who pointed out how much of a slippery slope having ownership to any reaction videos would have, since no one needed a template in the first place. Continue reading “What Will Kill the YouTube Star?”

Faith and Religion: Why Are They Even A Thing?

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Photo by Michael Peligro

The other day a friend of mine had brought up her attendance of Catholic confirmation classes at her church in a group text message with me and one other friend. The other friend had chimed in with her experience of having been confirmed in the 4th grade.

The first friend voiced her confusion about her statement. “You don’t get confirmed until 10th grade in high school.”

I agreed with the statement. I remembered how my friends who had gone to Catholic school with me did their confirmation their first year of high school and asked a coworker sitting next to me, who was also raised Catholic, about when confirmation usually happens.

“Yeah, it’s usually like the first year of high school,” I responded.

I have to admit, I gave my friend a hard time about it, not necessarily because I didn’t believe that she was confirmed by the Catholic Church, but because I found it strange that everyone was okay with having a sheltered child, who had not yet learned and experienced all that was out there, commit the rest of their lives to the only religion she knew about. Continue reading “Faith and Religion: Why Are They Even A Thing?”

Hating Millennials And Why There’s Nothing New About It

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Photo by Anthony

Millennials—everyone’s talking about them, writing news articles, or trying to research their thought processes. They poke fun at their tendency to connect and share with their friends and families online through new and innovative digital technologies, and they don’t particularly care for their desire for wanting to create a purposeful life by doing meaningful work while still taking a moment to spend time with those most important in their lives.

Millennials seem as though they are something strange and new, but when you really think about it, you realize that the Millennials are just another generation of passionate young people that are trying to make the most of their lives and change the world for the better. Continue reading “Hating Millennials And Why There’s Nothing New About It”