What I Learned While Floating Down The LA River

Jasmine in a bright orange kayak holding a double-sided oar and floating down the LA River

 

I ventured out on to the actual LA River this past weekend with the group, Black Girls Trekkin, and had fun kayaking and meeting our tour guide and four-time Naked and Afraid contestant from LA River Expeditions, Gary Golding. He took his time instructing everyone on how to navigate our watercraft and he really made the outing fun. However, my favorite part of the entire kayaking trip was the time he took to speak about the river’s history and how it wasn’t even considered a river at first.

 

I had briefly heard about the documentary that he mentioned before, Rock the Boat, where local satirical writer, George Wolfe, boated down the fenced-in waterway, hoping to have the EPA declare the river navigable. Wolfe was hoping that it could gain protection under the Clean Water Act if he took the time to film himself kayaking down the river. He was, obviously, successful and I also enjoyed floating down the river as a result of his environmentalism, but I also couldn’t help but notice that there was still trash in the river.

 

I wrote a poem with the LA River in mind, but I also drew parallels between the river and the highways that weave in and around Los Angeles. This week alone, I witnessed three people on three separate highways throw trash out onto the road. Cups, a whole take away bag from In-n-Out, and— cigarettes. I’ve witnessed so many cigarettes thrown out of the window that I no longer find it surprising why California has so many brush fires along the side of the roads. I thought about how hard people, including me, work to clean hiking trails and the LA River, but it pains me to see people throwing their trash out on the road.

 

Yes, the river still needs a little more cleaning, but I also know that we can aid in the cleanup by first reducing the amount of trash that ends up outside in the first place. It’s not one person’s job or responsibility to do this, but as a group of mindful people, if we all at least make sure we throw away our own trash in designated trash receptacles, then we can make Los Angeles and California a better place.

 

 

The LA River

 

I was floating down the LA River

in a boat that weighed a ton

and I couldn’t help but notice

all the trash that lined the wet highway.

Rusted shopping carts

and plastic bags

clogged the pathways

and rising smog

sat between me

and the LA skyline.

There were people causing traffic

and accidents along the way,

and traveling several feet ahead

took what seemed like a lifetime.

 

We traveled with the current

and didn’t move very far

and I swear that 20 miles

shouldn’t seem that long.

Tent cities lined the river

and clothes hung off of bushes.

A man smoking a cigarette

nodded in my direction as I drifted by

and I couldn’t help but notice

the trash near his living space

while I floated down the LA River

in a boat that weighed a ton.

Poetry For The 21st Century | The Ocean’s Greetings

I was greeted by the warm rays that rained down from the summer sun
And felt the cool kisses quickly land on my cheek from the ocean’s salty breeze.
I looked for the usual crowd of people relaxing on the sand but found none
And left the quiet beach alone to do as she pleased.

I wandered off into town and stumbled on to the Spanish Father’s mission,
An old building for church service long before there stood a town.
I walked along the waterway listening to the sound of rushing water in repetition
And walked across the wooden bridge while trying to avoid looking down. Continue reading “Poetry For The 21st Century | The Ocean’s Greetings”

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?”

The Legacy of A Life Online

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. Continue reading “The Legacy of A Life Online”

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.

While Studying Abroad: Benvenuti in Italia

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Today, I woke up to my alarm, grabbed my running shorts, and shoes and left my Italian apartment to go running around the Fiume Arno river. The cool breeze brushed my sleepy face as I tried to take it all in. It was then, even after the fourth morning doing so, that I realized I was running not too far away from Cathedrals built during the turn of the Renaissance and in a country housing famous art pieces such as Michelangelo’s David, and the Pope. I managed to make it back to my apartment and headed for the shower, but several seconds after I shut the door I heard the water coming from the other side of my bathroom entrance. Continue reading “While Studying Abroad: Benvenuti in Italia”

#NotAllMen Are Dangerous, But #YesAllWomen Live With That Fear

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Care because she’s a person, not just because she’s someone’s anything.

“Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence. If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race…There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female […] The first strike against women will be to put all of them in concentration camps like the plague they are. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death […] A few of them would be spared, however, for the sake of reproduction. These women would be kept and bred in secret labs.” -Elliot Rodger

It wasn’t just an issue of perspective, a chip on the shoulder or a bad experience or two in life that drove 22-year-old, Elliot Rodger, to go on a rampage through Isla Vista, the UCSB college community in Santa Barbara, on Friday, May23. Rodger had killed several students before taking his own life because he believed in something that is actually quite prevalent in today’s society. It was the evil blind hatred of women that fueled Rodger’s rage, and this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Continue reading “#NotAllMen Are Dangerous, But #YesAllWomen Live With That Fear”

The Real Trouble With Parking On Campus

For spring 2014 semester, it cost students $229.00 for a parking permit.
For spring 2014 semester, it cost students $229.00 for a parking permit.

As of 2013, there were a total of 8,640 student parking spaces on campus…Enrollment for the fall 2013 semester was 38,325,” according to information gathered by The Daily Titan. After looking at the numbers one sees that there clearly is an issue.

The campus is aware that The Daily Titan has covered the topic of the student success fee and many of the students’ concern for the raise in tuition. However, were not aware until recently that this success fee doesn’t seem to ease the concerns of some of the other larger issues on campus such as parking. Continue reading “The Real Trouble With Parking On Campus”

Coachella Recap: Weekend 2

coachella-sunsetFlashing lights, cool sounds and the hot desert. Coachella ended its two-weekend event yesterday with amazing performances from the last line up of artists for the 2014 season, however, it wasn’t all cheers and smiles.

Unfortunately, Chance the Rapper pulled out of his second weekend performance due to being in the hospital for an undisclosed reason, however, Arcade Fire was the one who made the most news by bringing out a fake Daft Punk duo during their set, which sort of upset some people, even if they did close Coachella with a great performance.

Beck was real though.  

Here’s a video of Calvin Harris performance of his song, Summer at Coachella last weekend. Continue reading “Coachella Recap: Weekend 2”

Things I Have Learned From Blogging

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Sometime in 2009 I sat down at a computer, created a Blogspot account and began publishing posts to the web. At the time, the recent economic downturn and cuts to higher education fueled the fire for Jasmine on the Issues, and then a couple of years later, my interest in telling stories led me to create Jazzed About Stuff. When I received a message from WordPress reminding me that I registered on the site three years ago, I was shocked at another realization.

I have been talking to strangers online from all over the world for about five years now. Continue reading “Things I Have Learned From Blogging”