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.

Heartbreakfree by Ji Nilsson

Get Heartbreakfree by Ji Nilsson here


Ji Nilsson is a singer and songwriter from Stockholm, Sweden. Nilsson’s soulful pop voice fits perfectly with the tropical undertones in Keljet‘s remix of her song “Heartbreakfree.”

Her latest song, “I’m Her,” was released on March 5, 2014 and she can be found singing with artist, Marlene, in the song, “Love You Anyway.” Nilsson definitely has an amazing voice, and I can’t wait to here more from this artist.

Go ahead an listen to Keljet’s remix of the song, “Heartbreakfree,” below.

 

Watch the video for the original “Heartbreakfree” song here.  Continue reading “Heartbreakfree by Ji Nilsson”

The Unicorns Opening for Arcade Fire

Get The Unicorns’ latest EP, 2014, here.


So, I went to a concert this weekend in Inglewood at The Forum on Arcade Fire‘s Reflector Tour and was able to see The Unicorns open for the band. They played again the next night and plan on playing Barclays Center August 22 through the 24. The band from Montreal, Canada, who was formed in 2000 and is made up of Nicholas Thorburn (Nick Diamonds), Alden Penner (Alden Ginger), and Jamie Thompson (J’aime Tambeur), has launched a Twitter account, and a Soundcloud page.

The last EP the band put out in 2004, titled 2014, totally makes it seem as though the whole thing was planed this way from the start. During the hiatus Nick Thorburn formed the band Islands, which Jamie Thompson was an on-and-off member of, and worked on other projects such as Mister Heavenly and Human Highway. Alden Penner formed the bands Clues and Hidden Words and released a solo album called, Exegesis.

Here’s a look at the bands first gig back together. (Sorry for the quality)

 

Also, take a look at some of the band’s other work. Continue reading “The Unicorns Opening for Arcade Fire”

Un Amore Cosi Grande 2014 by Negramaro #StudyAbroad

Check out Un Amore Cosi Grande 2014 by Negramaro.


Almost every other band in Europe had a song associated with the World Cup and Negramaro  is no exception. Negramaro is an Italian pop band that formed in 1999 and became successful in 2005 thanks to the Festival di Sanremo. Their name stems from Negroamaro, a wine produced in their native region, Salento. The song, Un Amore Cosi Grande, translates to “A Love So Great.”

The band is made up of Giuliano Sangiorgi, on vocals, guitar and piano; Emanuele Spedicato, on guitar; Ermanno Carlà, on bass; Danilo Tasco, on drums;
Andrea “Andro.i.d.” Mariano, on piano and synthesizer; and Andrea “Pupillo” De Rocco. Check out their song below.

Humanos A Marte by Chayanne #StudyAbroad

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a sucker for those really sappy Spanish Pop songs, and Humanos A Marte is definitely one of my favorites right now. The song, Humanos A Marte by Chayanne, translates to “Humans to Mars,” and it’s mostly about a lonely guy who loves this girl that he can’t be with. It’s a catchy beat and the music video is hot.

Chayanne’s actually Puerto Rican, and has recorded  5 albums as member of the popular boy band Los Chicos, and 15 albums to date as a soloist with his label Sony BMG. Check out the video below.

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”