Dante Didn’t Even Know The Half Of It!

March 8, 2010

Dear Dante,
Your inferno was missing something. I think somewhere around the 4th, 5th, or 6th level of your hell is a little something called J202 Information Gathering. Haven’t heard of it. Maybe you know it by its moniker, Info Hell. Ringing a bell now? Hell’s Bells? Yes, punny, but I digest….

Dante, my dear friend, I know we haven’t spoken since Senior year, but if you could help me navigate out of this rung of hellish activity as you did when I was stuck in a boring ass classroom (H216 if my memory is correct) with a terrible teacher (not related to Roman) I would greatly appreciate it.

In the meantime, please make sure you properly place J202 in your Divine Comedy and let it sit and rot there. Again, greatly appreciated!

Give my best to Virgil,
Alex

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Leadership

February 15, 2010

Your entire life, you always hear leadership talk. You can do this, you can do that. Some is inspirational (“Somewhere in the world right there is someone your age that will one day change the world. Why not you? You can do whatever you want to!” -Rick Horwitch). Some not so much (“Study hard, play hard, but no throwing chairs!” -Steve Wilkos).

Tonight I got the opportunity to listen to 3 amazing speakers at the University of Oregon Presidential Leadership Symposium. Starting with President Richard Lariviere, the speakers all urged the 200 to be the best we could. Then, Ana Maria Merico began her speech. She started by having everyone close their eyes and envision a 21 year old immigrant, not speaking English, pregnant, with $400 total dollars. She came to America from Argentina and sought greatness. People told her she couldn’t do it, she asked why. Her message rings true with the quote from my dad above. You can do whatever you want! Just don’t let anything get in the way!

Finally, Rev. Jesse Jackson took the stage. Starting slow and quiet, as he has thousands of times before, he slowly grew into a heated, fast paced, passionate, loud speech. His message? Champions play through pain. “You must bloody up the uniform some times! Champions play through pain!” He spoke of Dr. King’s famous speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet he said that while the famous message of having a dream was what was taken away from the speech, that it was not the message delivered. “Dr. King looked to the statue and said ‘Mr. Lincoln, you gave the proclamation, but did not grant emancipation!'” He gave a timeline of change, starting in 1948 and ending on a November night in a Chicago park. How did we, as a country, go from WWII African-American veterans not having the same rights as White veterans, to having an African-American President? Students. We have the power. We are the most powerful demographic. We need to “Democratize Democracy!” Make Democracy a Democracy. We all need to have our voices heard!

“When Rosa Parks sat down on that bus, she broke the law. The driver needed to save his job. The police were called.” There is a difference between moral right and legal obligation. Which do we go by? Which do we choose? The US Government allows the free speech that the Pacifica Forum is participating in on this campus right now, but that does not make it right. Moral right, legal obligation.

He then continued on about students. He asked who in the crowd was on some sort of aid at the University. When a few hands went up he corrected everyone. “Surprise, you all are! This is a government funded facility. You are all being aided by the government. You are all on some sort of aid!” He told a story of a man who had a MediCare card in one pocket, a Social Security in the other, driving down a major US highway. “The man said to me ‘I do not want the government aiding and funding my actions.’ Then how are you going to survive?”

Finally, he turned his speech to the welfare of the students. “You can get a car with 0% interest. You can get a bank [account] with 0% interest. But when you take out a student loan, after you graduate, you’re in debt. You get married into debt, and your first mortgage is payed by an IOU. We must get rid of interest on student loans. We must allow our students to graduate and be free!”

The final thing he said to the crowd was during a Q&A session. He was asked if people should be Color Blind. His response, “Do not deny who you are. We are all black, white, yellow, red, brown. Do not be color blind, be color tolerant. Be aware. Thank you. God bless you. I love you Eugene!” And he walked off the stage.

What did I take from this? Everything. Do what you want. Why? Why not?! Do what is morally right, not necessarily legally mandated. We, the students, can make a difference. “Democratize Democracy!” Don’t let things get in the way. Achieve greatness. “You can do whatever you want to!”


The Official Blog of an Unofficial Reporter

December 30, 2009

This afternoon, my very first article was published for the Oregon Daily Emerald Click Me! I’m a link!. Being able to go to Disneyland, sit with the media, interview the players and Coach Kelly, and then write about it for the Emerald has been an amazing, educational, and exciting experience. I don’t know if this is the path I want to take with my Journalism degree (in process), but it was an experience I will never forget and has helped me to continue walk down the road of “what do you want to do after college.” Even if this is not what I choose to do with my life, this will help me in whatever field I do choose.

Everything is a learning experience, and this was no exception. I’m proud of myself and hope you enjoy the article…all 5 of you who read this…

ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE: I have discovered why I really like the music on Space Mountain at Disneyland. Michael Giacchino (he does the music for all the JJ Abrams projects, like LOST, Cloverfield, Star Trek, and MI:III) composed it. Just a fun fact for you.


Avatar

December 18, 2009

Every so often there is a movie that comes out that changes everything about the industry. Star Wars, Toy Story, Titanic, Lord of the Rings; they all changed the way movies were financed and made. These movies stay in the memories of the viewers for the rest of their lives. When I talk to my Dad about movies, he tells me about how he remembers the first time he saw Star Wars. Nothing like that had ever been made before. No one had ever thought of something like that, and no one had ever seen anything like it on a screen. Toy Story was the first time a computer made an entire movie. Titanic was (at the time) the most expensive movie ever. Lord of the Rings changed the way CGI was used within a film. People remember seeing these things for the first time and remember that sense of awe walking out of the theater. I will always remember when I saw Avatar.

Without trying to explain anything else about the movie to someone asking for just a brief overview, I would explain it as “Fern Gully in Space.” But it goes so much further than that. The plot is fantastic, the story is amazing, and the script is very realistic. However those aspects are only the half of it. When I first saw the original trailer for Avatar, I was not very impressed. “It looks nice, but it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. It looks just like every other CGI driven movie.” Saying I was wrong, is a major understatement. The Na’vi people featured in the movie (the blue people you see on the posters and everything) never seemed like CGI characters. The motion capture technology used in this movie are the beginning of a new type of CGI filmmaking.

IMDB says the following: “James Cameron originally attempted to get this film made in 1999 as his immediate follow-up to Titanic. However, at the time, the special effects he wanted for the movie ran the proposed budget up to $400 million. No studio would fund the film, and it was subsequently shelved for almost ten years.” $400 Million. Cameron wanted to make this movie so badly, he helped CREATE the technology. He says that once he saw the motion-capture in Lord Of The Rings: Two Towers, he knew that it was time to create this masterpiece. His magnum opus.

Avatar was not a movie. It was an epic. It was a TRUE experience.  The only way for you to truly understand what I am saying is to see it. It’s long, yes (about 160 minutes). You do realize that it’s long while you are watching. However, you are never taken out of the movie. You are drawn in from the start and never want to stop paying attention. If you reach to see what time it is, it is to make sure that you still have more to watch rather than seeing when the movie will end.

Beethoven’s 5th. John Glenn. The Beatles. Star Wars. SNL. Aerosmith/Run DMC “Walk This Way.” Pixar’s Toy Story. Lord of the Rings. What do all these things have in common? They made their given medium change forever. Avatar has successfully added it’s name to that list. The motion picture industry has been changed forever…and for the better.