Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lynbrook High School

Take a quick look at these first:

"Data is based on the 2009-10 school year." (Beneath the comments section)

This article was written when I was a senior at Lynbrook High school. I Just had an interesting conversation with a stranger while I walking Lucky- who is still limping at times- who told us that he graduated Lynbrook High school in 1980. He asked whether it was true that students over here put hours of studying in everyday after class and on the weekends as well. I told him that I did have to put in hours for classes, grades, and the SAT's especially during sophomore and junior year and that is the general norm for students that attend Lynbrook. I was a bit amazed to hear from this stranger that Lynbrook is ranked number 22nd in the state of California. I knew that Lynbrook was a school with students who placed a lot of focus on academics, but I did not know our rank number. One of the main things that differentiated Lynbrook from many other high schools in the nation is our extremely high minority population. Asian enrollment is at 78% with Whites at 17%. The black population is nearly nonexistent with just 0.4%. Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander is also at a meager 0.4% and the Hispanic Enrollment at only 3%. It's not just Lynbrook since other high schools in the Fremont High School District also have a very high minority population. Unsurprisingly, these other schools also rank high in state and nationwide as well.

I do feel a sense of pride being from Lynbrook. My overall impression of high school is mixed. I do have a fond feeling of high school in it mixed with some unpleasant feelings, but talking with my friend yesterday while playing basketball, where he briefly broached on the subject, I will say that there are parts of high school that I miss. I miss the feeling of being able to relax and enjoy my time relaxing with friends senior year. Now that college has been in session for more than two years (junior in college), I wish we could have more astronomy club days or be watching the nba finals at our friends' houses. The summer after senior year was a nostalgic bittersweet summer. Perhaps the reason I feel a yearning for hanging out with those people I knew again is because I don't see two of them very often anymore. We've just had a decrease in time and opportunity to catch up with each other. Playing ball again would be nice, but I really would like to catch up with them and see how they are really doing. Bittersweet. Absolutely bittersweet. Sigh

Emotionally Powerful Songs that Remind Me of the Grandeur of Nature

   1.                                             Immediate Music- Believe (No Choir)

The song is also called "Surrender to Hope".

    2.                                                    Sunshine- John Murphy

This song is more commonly known as "Surface of the Sun" by John Murphy.

3. The Secret to You..A Gift From The Secret Scrolls/ The Secret to You

         Amazing soundtrack from "The Secret". I'm not sure if this scene is part of the actual documentary or not. I think this part is called "The Secret to You".  

YouTube Search: gift from the secret 

     4.                                                     The Secret- Planet Earth                                                                                                 

                                               This clip is a gift to you from "The Secret".

YouTube search: the secret planet earth

Earth Songs: Mountains, Water, and the Healing Power of Nature

I just got back from an open house my mom wanted to see when I turned on the television and switched to see what was playing on KQED. Immediately I was captivated and drawn into the beauty of the mountains and scenery. My first thought was literally, "wow!" as I could not look elsewhere besides the screen for those blissful seconds. Inside myself, I knew that place was somewhere I yearned to be at and experience. I had to find out the name of this documentary. It is called "Earth Songs: Mountains, Water, and the Healing Power of Nature" narrated by Michael York. In this documentary, it taught about the spiritual healing abilities being in nature has. This documentary answered a question that has perplexed me every time I watched a nature documentary and that is, "What is it about nature that I absolutely love and yearn to experience?"

Brian Luke Seaward sums it up well in his blog post:

"There is a good reason why people head to the beaches or the mountains for vacation; being in nature is a great elixir for stress. Oceans, mountains and cathedral forests tend to dwarf our problems into a size that becomes quite manageable. Moreover, taking time away from the stress of everyday life is necessary for better clarity of these problems. Breathing in rhythm to the ocean waves, being caressed by gentle summer breezes, or finding yourself completely mesmerized by the colors of a butterfly or the large eyes of a white tailed deer. Typically, we turn to nature to find a respite for the soul. We come searching for solitude and we return refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated. Due to our love affair (some would even say “addiction”), with technology, many people today have what is becoming known as “nature deficit disorder;” not getting outside enough. For the first time since public records have been kept in the United States, health experts suggest that Americans are becoming Vitamin D deficient (Vitamin D is synthesized via natural sunlight hitting the skin). Vitamin D deficiency can have many health implications. Nature can be a wonderful healing agent for stress, when we take the time to step outdoors and reunite with a world that we never should become separated from.                                                                                          "

I would absolutely love to get a copy of this dvd. I have always wondered why I have such a strong love for nature. This documentary has given me a better idea of why that is.

Link for Earth Songs: Mountains, Water, and the Healing Power of Nature:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Official Time at Yosemite

I am back from Yosemite. Two days of nature’s splendor. I’m not sure how I feel coming back from this trip. There were some things I learned from this trip though. I went quite unprepared. Here is a list of things I will definitely consider bringing and doing next time:

-          Bike to explore Yosemite valley
-          Backpack
-          Binoculars
-          Hiking shoes
-          Swim trunks
-          Sun block
-          Mosquito repellant
-          Weather check
-          Detailed research of Yosemite map, trails, and scenic points of Yosemite

The first day, my mom, brother, and I spent a couple hours driving around and navigating Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Valley is not very big but there were certainly a lot of cars for a Monday. I feel like I wasted time just getting used to the valley. Around 1:30 my brother and I took off in our sandals on the lower Yosemite falls trail, hiked onto the valley loop trail for about 90 minutes to reach Mirror Lake which was sadly quiet dried up. The beautifully immense rock walls surrounded Mirror Lake. They looked close, almost as if I could touch them, but yet looked so grand that for a second, the size, color, and detail of the cliffs seemed to be an illusion. I could feel the warm breeze blowing by my sun-exposed skin. For moments, I closed my eyes and pinched them with my index finger and thumb, only to open them to try and clear up my vision through my contacts. I thought how much greater the sight would have been if I only had perfect vision. Frolicking around by the “lake”- I say that because the lake was dried up to a pond that was one to two feet deep- I basked myself in the peace and quiet of nature and wilderness. With just my brother, and not seeing anyone nearby, I looked around hoping to confirm my security that no animal was in the vicinity. However, at the same time, part of me did want to see a bear in the distance. Turns out, I’m not alone. I can see a few hikers here and there in the distance. I immediately felt safer. By this time, it was around 4:30. I would need about 90 minutes to get back as I had told my mom, who was waiting by the car, that we would be back from our short hike around 6. Slightly disappointed, a knew what I need to do next time I come to Yosemite. I learned that I need to be prepared in terms of the hikes I want to do, the activities I want to participate in, to the equipment I need for the hike and for worst-case scenario survival in case I get lost. On our second day, we stopped by at Olmsted point. There was a warning sign beginning with: “Hiking from Olmsted Point”.

It continues by saying:

“Caution, Tenaya Canyon is a stunning scene. However, hiking through the canyon is extremely dangerous. It may appear to be an easy shortcut to Yosemite Valley, but many have lost their lives in the attempt. Even experienced climbers and mountaineers have found themselves in precarious situations."

As brother, my mom and I climbed to the overlooking point, a view far and wide can be seen:

The warning sign reminded me of the danger and precariousness human being’s love for nature can be. Men climb the highest mountains for the sake of experiencing something so grand and beautiful. Nature can be and was a death sentence for many and it will surely continue to do so unfortunately. On the way back home today after exploring Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, and Tuolumne Meadows- all three which were over a span of 40 to 50 miles- my mom asked me why people go to such lengths to experience nature. Initially when she asked me, I didn’t have a reasonable answer. I mean, “Why do people put in effort, time, money, and even risk their health and lives to experience nature?” Is it because we want to be at one with nature? What does that even really mean? For me as I write this, to be at one with nature, personally means to be able to feel a peace, wonder, curiosity, and awe at the sight of being on top of a mountain. But as I was driving home, the sky was filled with patches of light, white clouds mixed with a few grey clouds which combined to reflect the sun’s piercing light off of the peripheries of the white clouds. Parts of the sun’s rays shone through the clouds and illuminated the hills of yellow grass. This image reminded me of times past where I would be sitting in the window seat of an airplane and with my window cover up, I could look out and see a sea of white clouds below the aircraft that would expand as far as the eye could see into the horizon of the beautiful blue sky. The subtle yet noticeable transition of blue in the sky and intricate details of the contrast of white in the clouds rendered me the reason of why people go to experience nature. Nature is detailed and artistic. It is the most beautiful sight in its depth and variety of colors, sounds, and shapes. Few things are truly hard to describe fully with just words. Nature is certainly one.   

Tuolumne Meadows from an adjacent mountain
Tenaya Lake
Half Dome from Yosemite Valley

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Similar Attributes Between Small Towns and That of My Hometown Suburban Neighborhood, Yet Why Do I Feel a Dislike for The Small Town?

I am currently in a hotel in Sonora, California. It is 6:44 of Sunday; August 12, 2012. Tomorrow, I will be  in Yosemite for the first time in 15 years! My mom told me we went to Yosemite twice: once when I was two and when I was five. When I was five, I was only in Kindergarten and I certainly do not remember any of it. Perhaps a few memories will be jogged tomorrow. I'm not sure what to expect. I'm a bit scared I will be disappointed. When a place you've never been to before but have heard about and held in awe is about to become a reality, I certainly feel that fear of disappointment is only reasonable.

After checking into the hotel and putting our stuff into the room, my mom, brother, and I went to drive around the small city to see what was around us. Although not completely new to me yet still foreign, there is still a sense of cultural shock that hits me. I immediately notice my heightened awareness to the fact that I am the only Asian in my vicinity. Everyone else is of Caucasian descent. I don’t have a particular dislike for Caucasian people, although I do feel like Caucasian people generally value partying more than socializing to getting to know someone. Obviously it's a generalization but honestly, that's how I feel about it. I do try to accept those of any race though. Race is not a criterion of my judgment; however, the way one dresses, acts, and their level of social class does impact my judgment. One’s personality, whether they are nice, hard working, and humble all stand out as characteristics I look towards in people I would like to be friends with. 

The main reason I felt like writing this post is due to the fact of the similarities I noticed between rural small towns and suburbans but the seemingly dislike I have for rural small towns/ cities. I love where I live; it’s the place that I grew up. On the drive over to our hotel today, my mom was telling me about how the neighborhood we live in has changed since 30 years ago or so. My mom worked as an active real estate agent in 2004 through 2006 and during on open house, she talked to a neighbor of the house for sale of how the neighborhood, about 30 years ago, was much more noisy and loud. The teens growing up then played loud music and loud cars, my mom said. I thought to myself, “I think many teens are still like that today”. Hearing my mom tell me how our neighborhood used to be more noisy and filled with raucus made me feel glad that I grew up there in a time where it was already quiet. Don’t get me wrong. The people here are more introverted than you’d might find elsewhere but people here are nice. People are not angry hot heads who ignore each other. People are nice, the neighborhood is really quiet, and I love the scenery of blue skies, moderate Mediterranean temperature, and the perfect amount of greenery and trees for my taste. People are nearby although you can’t hear them being loud and noisy. The problem with small towns is the fact that it feels so isolated and lonely. Sonora is likely a town of tourists. There are no neighborhoods. It’s that small of a town. We drove the circumference of the town in less than 10 minutes. There is anomie here: people are disconnected from one another here. At least it seems to be that way from my perspective. It’s a quiet town besides the main road. It’s in the mountains so there’s greenery as well. The buildings are quite run down and the designs resemble that of cowboys and old western country.  I’m sure the people are mean or rude individuals either although it seems not to be a town with people in the higher middle class. It’s very hot here: 105 degrees according to a sign. Besides the weather, it has the same attributes of my home. It’s quiet, there’s greenery, and decently nice people I suppose. The social class and weather differ.

I absolutely love upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods that are quiet with educated and well-mannered individuals with relative diversity as well. The neighborhood I live in has a high Indian community and the vast majority of people I know are Indians as well. Yet this fact has not and does not make me feel like I am different and stick out like a sore thumb. When walking in the parking lot of our Sonoran hotel, I felt that self-consciousness feeling of being Asian. This relates to the interesting fact I learned in sociology this past summer at De Anza that a White man who is of the same class as an Asian man automatically has a tacit degree of higher status, simply for being Caucasian. From rereading what I’ve typed, I realize that the environment, social class, diversity, and personality of the individuals all matter when it comes to where I come to call a place reminiscent of home.

Qualities of My Hometown Neighborhood that I Love:


-          Higher-upper middle class area
-          Relatively wealthy families
-          Very quiet, but you know that people are around in their houses or out in nearby businesses or work
-          Comfortably sized and well-developed houses and backyards
-          Lots of greenery reminiscent of forest and mountains with a bit of a Hawaiian feeling but not too crowded with trees that elicits a feeling of being in the middle of the wilderness
-          Clean, well-developed parks, neighborhoods, schools, and businesses with no obvious qualities of drug activities
-          Comfortable Mediterranean weather

The People:

-          Individuals with more introverted qualities: people tend to value academics, hard work, humility, cooperation, and getting along rather than valuing having fun through partying, enjoying the here and now over working hard, attitude, and competitiveness.   
-          Nice people
-          Little people participating in activities associated with the lower social class or immaturity such as drugs, smoking, alcohol drinking. If there are, it’s not obvious or apparent to everyone. ß done in privacy if present.
From typing up this list, I realize the importance of identifying my values and living in accord with them. My values that I discern from this list:
-          Quiet
-          Being in touch and having a sense of connection with people (not being in the middle of nowhere with no one around in the nearby vicinity)
-           Working hard
-          Being relatively successful despite of strife
-          Being in touch with those of similar (Upper) social class
-          Being in touch with nature although not being psychologically alone
-          Value hard working people who focus more on being cooperative rather than competitiveness, understanding of oneself and of others rather than judging, focus on getting along, and humility despite of success earned.

Our friends are usually those who have similar beliefs and values as we do ourselves. In a way, it feels great to understand what I value and know why I value these things. On the other hand, it makes sense why I seem to have a harder time forming relationships with people who have been exposed and converted to America’s extrovert ideal. Susan Cain’s book: Quiet: the Power of Introverts is book full of insights that help me understand who I am. I may want to keep note on all the parts of the book that stand out most to me.

Dynamics of a Conversation Between My Brother and I

This post was typed up Wednesday; August 12, 2012:

Things I noticed regarding the dynamics of my conversation with my brother while we were walking Lucky:

-          To become more talkative, start saying what’s on your mind. Get into a roll to start saying the thought out loud as soon as it registers in your mind. Say it no matter whether it seems trivial or not. If you worry what you say may seem stupid, ask yourself if you really think what the majority of other people are saying is insightful either. The answer is most damn likely, NO. Even David Wygant has mentioned in his email newsletter that many times, his clients are surprised at the fact that the things he mentions to start conversations are simple and obvious. They aren’t something that is insightful or super-duper impressive. Being able to say a simple observation and starting the conversation in itself is already impressive. No need to impress the girl with some seemingly smooth pick-up line. I also notice that there are times, if I think about several thoughts that lead one to another in a sequence and I don’t say it out loud or write it down, I may lose the exact train of thought that led me to a certain conclusion.

 This is from David Wygant’s email newsletter:
“It's funny how many men love to over complicate things in life.
Think about these scenarios...
 When you get a brand new gas grill and you're going to put it together, do you read the directions or do you just try and figure it out on your own?
 When you go and buy a brand new big screen TV, do you just figure out what plugs into what or do you do it by the book?
 When you go and get a brand new car, do you EVER crack open the owner's manual?
Let me take a wild guess -- Never, right?
 Why then, do so many men think that women should come with a manual?
 Let me tell you something:
When you first talk to a woman, it doesn't have to be so complicated.
It really doesn't!
 The obvious things are the best things because it means that you are paying attention to the little things.
 If you think about what past girlfriends and other women have said - it's all about the little things.
 All the little things make life so much better.
 If you pay attention to the little things, women will feel like you've actually connected with them.
 They'll think, "Wow! This guy actually paid attention! He was actually present. He wasn't just trying to pick me up with some type of ridiculous routine."
 It's the obvious things.
 You need to start thinking and picking up on everything that is obvious.
 If you don't, you're just going to be looking at a barbeque gas grill manual for meeting women that is WAY more complicated (and SO much less effective) than it needs to be.
 Everyone who has worked with me for a weekend always notices the same thing about me and how I function when I approach women.
 Like John, a client of mine.
 Here's part of our conversation when he spent a weekend with me recently...
David: What do you notice about my behavior?
John: What do I notice about your behavior? It seems very natural, very easy to you. And everything you say is very obvious. But once I'm not with you, it seems like I'm reaching again for the perfect thing to say, and then I'm waiting. And finally it's like, ugh, I've waited too long, now do I move ahead or just let it go?
David: Right, and that's why repetition is important. You notice that we're doing the same things over and over again, right? Did you talk to those women in the Pinkberry store?
John: No, I wasn't attracted to them."
David: I'm not attracted to 90% of the people I talk to, but I'm getting to know some great people. Just because I don't want to go out with someone doesn't mean that they're not a great person worth talking to. It doesn't mean that I can't learn something from them. It doesn't mean that I can't meet their friends down the road - it's all about building up that power and social network.
John: And the fact that those girls at Pinkberry were looking at that furniture book - even if we hadn't been to that furniture store I still could have just picked up on that and said something about it.
David: Yeah, it was the obvious thing. Furniture shop, redecorating your house... think about the things that come to your mind. An exercise that I tell guys to do is to take 20 common, everyday words - like coffee, groceries, furniture, fresh fruit, gas stations, whatever - write them down and create a story about each of those words. If you think about it, you can say something about every one of those twenty words.
 Every word.
 For gas stations, you think: gas is under $4.00 a gallon now. So then the next time you're filling up at a gas station, you can say, "Wow, gas dropped below $4.00 a gallon!"
 Everything can be created from that story.
 The obvious things are the things that you already know and things you can talk about.
 Furthermore, if you state the obvious, you won't break her train of thought, and if you don't, she's going to wonder why the fuck you're talking about something that's out of left field.
 So do you see the difference there?
The difference is huge!”  
In my g-mail; title of the email called: How To Keep Meeting Women SUPER Simple

-          Whether you want to talk about something important and have that intimate closeness feeling when talking about something that makes you vulnerable (which is needed to form deeper emotional connections) or want to have more laughs- which one you want at that particular time is purely your choice (more intimate connection vs good feeling laughs) is determined by how much and the type of energy you put into your voice as you say what comes to your mind. If you opt for more connection when being vulnerable, speak in a softer, slower, quieter tone of voice, as that is what happens to your voice tone as you talk about something that has caused you some pain in your life. if you opt for good feeling laughs, speak with more, but not overboard level of energy in your speech. Appropriateness is important. Speak with positive energy but appropriate levels. Many times when starting to get into a topic that has caused you pain, start out with this energetic energy. A few reasons why: energetic energy will first get the listener to pay more attention to you. It will draw them in as they will feel that extra yet appropriate difference in energy and will want to hear about it. Another good reason is because difference in voice tone and energy will emphasize and make different parts of your story more interesting. Imagine if someone told a personal story in monotonous voice. Their voice may be quiet but monotonous voice will bore people so varying voice tones and energy appropriate to the circumstance will help your story to come alive easily.

When talking to extroverted individuals, speaking with more energy will help them get that stimulation they need. Introverts are known more for engaging in “problem talk”- as stated according to Susan Cain in her Quiet: The Power of Introverts book- which isn’t a bad thing when both sides show understanding, acceptance, acknowledgement, and empathy as it leads to closeness. I thought that was an interesting point as I can understand what she means by that. Extroverts tend to enjoy competition as they get stimulation from it which is why they also tend to be more prone to and comfortable at verbal jousting and banter.  

-          It does annoy me a bit when people agree but all they say is “yeah”. I don’t mind them agreeing as long as that’s what they really think and feel and I would like them to say and express their thoughts and feelings after they say, “yeah, I know what you mean”. When people do that, perhaps I should ask them, “elaborate more on what you are thinking”.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

15 Pages Today

I typed 15 pages on word document today which made up my last four posts. My most ever in one day! I feel so productive.

The Difference Between Men's Rights Movement (MRM) and Feminism

At first glance, the question, “How do Men’s Rights Movement and Feminism differ?” may seem obvious and idiotic. It’s easy to assume what each side stands for. Men’s Rights are for men, Feminism is for women, and both sides just want equality. However this seemingly obvious assumption is not correct. The word Feminism is often associated with the term, women’s rights. However feminism’s focus is not truly dedicated to solely bringing equality for women. It is also about oppressing men. Granted there are different types of feminists whose beliefs differ based on their levels of extreme. I believe most well-intentioned individuals who stand for women’s equality do so because they feel there are parts in society where women are treated unfairly. Women do get paid less than men for working the same job and I absolutely see that is an injustice. This is evidenced as seen here: “According to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report GAO-04-35, the weekly earnings of full-time working women were about three-fourths of men's during 2001” (Longley). The argument that women should get paid less for doing the same job is simply because, “Women in the workforce are also less likely to work a full-time schedule and are more likely to leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men, further suppressing women's wages” (Longley). The fact that they shouldn’t be paid more because they are likely to take on maternity leave is purely an excuse to keep women oppressed.
Those supporting women’s rights should be commended. However, the term feminist is not the same as women’s rights advocate. The difference is something that all men’s rights activists feel strongly about while hardcore feminists strongly deny: the fact that there are unfair laws and policies set within our government by feminist influence that allow legal discrimination against men while there are no longer any laws or policies that discriminate against women in the books. According to the law, men and women are supposed to be compensated fairly although in reality, it is not exactly true. Just as how the discrimination against women in terms of compensation should be changed, so should the discriminatory laws against men. Many feminists, not women’s rights advocates, vehemently deny that there are prejudiced laws or policies in our legal systems. Some feminists justify their rationale that if there are unequal laws set against men, it is excusable or justifiable since laws against women were allowed in the past.
Most men’s rights advocates (MRA) want to get rid of the discriminatory laws that are unfair to men. Unlike hardcore feminists who wish to oppress men, MRA is not looking to oppress women. An interesting note to make is that most hardcore feminists conflate the term, MRM or MRA, with the word men. Hardcore feminists tend to view the Men’s Rights Movement as men in general, and not men and women who are against bigotry of men. Just like how Women’s Rights Activists can be both women and men, so can the MRA. Hardcore feminists tend to be against men in general. They are not pursuing equality. They are seeking for oppression of men as men oppressed women in the past. This is the ultimate problem however. Most average people without much knowledge of either movement believe that it is simply men versus women and not about bringing equality to both genders. The Men’s Rights Movement has not attempted to set discriminatory laws or policies against women, whereas feminism influence in our government has set discriminatory laws against men.
Many ask why reaching common ground between feminists and the MRM is so difficult. The fact is that no common ground can be reached because hardcore feminists will not acknowledge the fact that their movement has caused discrimination against males. Until then, there can be no common ground.
One of the discriminatory laws that favor women over men automatically is the fact that women overwhelmingly get custody of children after a divorce. “According to some estimates, only about 10 percent to 15 percent of divorced or single fathers have sole custody of their children. The remaining fathers have either joint custody or no custody of their children” ( Courts today use the “best interests of the child” method to determine which parent is best suited to care for the child. One of the factors to determine this is the parent’s bond with the child. Usually, the younger the child, the closer the bond is with the mother than that with the father. This is not an analysis of the characteristics and personality of the father but the following of a stereotypical parenting role. Another factor that determines who should have primary custody is the primary caregiver factor. The parents who takes care of the child’s daily needs such as feeding, bathing, playing, and so on is the one who is seen as the primary caregiver and the courts favor. As one may see, these two factors are automatically unfair to men and is one of the goals of the Men’s Rights Movement. Men’s Rights Activists urge for an initial 50/50 custody of children after a divorce. This means that the wife or husband can debate over the custody of the children unless there is at least circumstantial evidence for abuse towards the child. Custody of children is often used as a weapon against men in divorce because women know that they have a much higher chance to win custody. God forbid, if your marriage didn’t work out, and your wife filed for divorce (majority of divorces are initiated by the wife), that you would very likely lose custody over the children you worked so hard for raising them simply because the two factors: caregiver factor and parent-child bond automatically favors the wife in most cases. You’ve never abused your child by any means, yet because of the stereotypical male gender role of working to bring money in, the husband is very likely to lose custody battles. 50/50 custody is the only fair way unless there is evidence for abuse towards the children.
Another related issue that the MRM wants to draw changes to is the forced child support payment of the non-custodial parent, which as shown before, is most often the male. “Every state allows a court to order a non-custodial parent to pay child support after a divorce” ( Alongside with the 50/50 custody of the child idea, MRA feel that since both parents have the children for an equal amount of time, then both parents should support them when they have custody. Right now, many men who cannot afford to pay child support are sent to prison. Child support is meant to cover means that the child needs, however, in many cases, child support isn’t directly used on the children. It’s really another form of alimony. An interesting case that depicts men who are forced to pay child-support is of television star, Jon Cryer, most well known for Two and a Half Men. According to an article written by Robert Franklin, Jon Cryer must pay child support for his son who he has sole custody over. “Yes, it’s true.  Jon Cryer has almost sole custody of his son with Sarah Trigger Cryer.  She has 4% of the parenting time; he has the other 96%.  So you’d think she’d be paying child support to him, but no.  It’s the other way around.  He’s paying her because a Los Angeles trial court ordered him to and the appellate court upheld the order. As you read the appellate opinion, continually ask yourself that tried and true question ‘what would happen if the sexes were reversed?’” (Franklin) Frankly, to answer the question posed by Franklin, I highly doubt Sarah Cryer would have to pay child support and take sole custody.
When “accidental” pregnancies happen, the man should be given an option besides paying child support or going to jail. Hang with me here. When undesired pregnancies occur, it is the fault of both. Men who do not want kids should use a condom. To have unprotected sex otherwise is completely irresponsible. Women who do not want kids have many options. Women have the right to choose whether they will have a baby or not. Men do not have this choice. There are no accidental births. If a baby is born, it is because the woman has decided to have a child. If a woman becomes pregnant, it is the woman’s choice, not at all the man’s. Women have 12 different forms of birth control available, there is also morning after-pill or RU486, and abortion available to them. Women in our society are allowed to make the choice of having a baby or not. If abortion is not an option for her due any reason, she can still leave the child up for adoption or abandon it legally. Men do not have any of these options. Men’s Rights Activists support an option for men to be able to abdicate the financial and emotional responsibilities of being a parent before the child is considered a child, just like how women have the option of abdicating her financial and parental responsibilities before and after a baby is born. Most hardcore feminists claim that for men to do this is selfish and irresponsible but a woman doing this through an abortion, legal adoption, or legal abandonment is a freedom that they should have as a form of “female empowerment”.
Men are also highly likely to be the ones arrested during domestic violence calls. This is true even when men are the ones who call asking for help. Husbands who defend themselves when being attacked by an angry wife and ends up bruising the wife, will almost certainly be the one hauled away by the police. While a woman with a bruise is treated as the victim. The argument is that men are too strong for there to be a fair fight against a woman, thus making men the issue in domestic violence calls. Men are arrested in a domestic violence case because they are bigger and stronger than the wife regardless of who was being the actual aggressor. MRA reasonably argue that if police cannot find out who the aggressor was, both the man and woman should be arrested. Obviously if the man was the aggressor and the man was injured while the woman was trying to defend herself, the man should be arrested, but only if the man was the primary aggressor. Size and tears should not be the factors that determine who should be arrested.      
This may be the most unfair policy there is against men that is influenced by feminist movement: false rape accusations. Similar to domestic house disturbances, men are falsely accused of rape by women because women know they can use this to their advantage to get back at their men. False rape accusations have destroyed the lives of men accused. Unsurprisingly enough, false rape accusations are not given a serious prison sentence. Now one may argue that this is done to prevent the falsely accused from being punished too long as those raped may accidently accuse an innocent of being the rapist out of making a mistake and not malice. The problems with this is that innocent men accused of rape are often sent to prison for many years while women accused of rape often slip through the cracks of our legal system. The case of Brian Banks, an ex-high school football star was accused of rape by Wanetta Gibson is a perfect example. “It was his word against hers and prosecutors threatened him with life imprisonment if he went to trial, so he pleaded guilty to a rape that he did not commit. He spent five years in jail. When he was released he was surprised when his “victim” asked to befriend him on Facebook. She later admitted that she made the whole thing up but did not want to give back the $1.5 million that she won in a judgment against the school district for her alleged rape. She retains the money despite admitting to lying about the rape” (Turley). Men’s Rights Activists suggest that the men accused of rape are kept out of the media like their accusers are and are innocent until proven guilty. The MRM also supports the notion that women who falsely accuse men of rape are given equally long prison sentences as those innocent men would receive if convicted.
Equality is what the MRM is about. It is about the removal of laws and policies that discriminate against men. The Men’s Rights Movement is not about oppressing women. This is the difference between the MRM and feminism movement. Feminism movement has allowed the empowerment of women but is also focused on oppressing men. Was it fair that women were oppressed by the laws men created? Of course not, and feminists want pay back. Do I understand why feminists are angry? Yes, I do. We all struggle with inequality in our lives. Right now in America, there is a staggering income inequality between the 99% and the top 1%. Many people who support feminism may be doing so without complete realization of the fact that feminism isn’t truly about equality for women. Women’s Rights Activists are about equality for women. Feminism is not.      

My Final for Mythology and Folklore Class: Propp's Morphology for The Lion King

Click on the Link First to follow along. It lists the 31 elements of stories that Propp identified, plus their symbol, interpretations, and discussion. It's a method to analyze Folktales and Fairy Tales. Works well for Disney movies. 

There is darkness but sounds of nature can be heard. Birds are chirping in the vicinity. Suddenly, the sun, bigger than most have ever seen, rises above the horizon and pierces the darkness with its orange rays, and a Zulu chant fills the previously peaceful atmosphere, “Nants ingonyama bagithi baba. Sithi uhhmm ingonyama…” In translation, it means, “There comes a lion. Oh yes, it's a lion…” Birds fly across the Zambezi river as elephants walk by a mountain in the distance, possibly emulated to be Mount. Kilimanjaro. Herds of antelope and zebra gallop with purpose and a baby giraffe, walking with its mother, overcomes a hill and gazes into the vast distance of the savannah. All the animals are headed towards one direction: Pride Rock. There on top of the rock, the king Mufasa stands proudly as Zazu, his Red-billed Hornbill messenger, lands and greets Mufasa. A baboon named Rafiki arrives and also greets the king. Mufasa and his queen, Sarabi, have had a cub. Rafiki cracks open a fruit and marks the inners of the fruit onto the cub’s forehead. After tossing some dirt onto his forehead and the cub lets out a sneeze, Rafiki carries the cub, walks towards the precipice of the overarching rock, and raises the cub for all the animal spectators to see. All the animals erupt into noise to cheer and bow towards the cub named Simba who is the destined future king.          
That opening scene is well known as “The Circle of Life”. It was the presentation of Mufasa’s son and future king. All the animals were present except for Mufasa’s brother, Scar. The Absentation of the 1st sphere or Introduction occurs here. After the morning ceremony, Mufasa and Zazu pay a visit to Scar to demand for an explanation for missing the ceremony as seen when Mufasa vehemently states, “Sarabi and I didn’t see you at the presentation of Simba.” It is here where we first are introduced to Scar and understand his lack and desire for power and to become king. Scar cunningly responds by sarcastically saying, “That was today? Oh, I feel simply awful (as he scratches his nails against a rock wall). Must have slipped my mind”. As their conversation ends, there is an interdiction for Mufasa as Scar states, “Oh no Mufasa, perhaps you shouldn’t turn your back me”. It is also in this scene we can see Scar’s cunning intelligence and trickster nature when he proudly reminds Mufasa, “Well as far as brains go, I got the lion’s share, but when it comes to brute strength, then I’m afraid I’m at the shallow end of the gene pool”. The actual interdiction for Simba comes when Mufasa and Simba sit on top of Pride Rock and Mufasa is showing Simba their entire kingdom. Young Simba inquires about the shadowy place: “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there Simba”. Mufasa continues to teach young Simba about the importance of understanding his duties as king. “Everything you see exists in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance, and respect all creatures…” After Mufasa leaves to deal with hyenas in the Pride lands, Simba states his frustration and desire to explore as seen when he exasperates, “I never get to go anywhere”. The reconnaissance, delivery, trickery, and complicity all come before the violation of the interdiction. Scar, the villain, seeks to be king and in the next scene when Simba excitedly tells Scar about his future kingdom, Scar takes his chance to deceive young Simba. His trickery is as seen in their conversation: “So, your father showed you the whole kingdom did he? Everything! He didn’t show you what’s beyond that rise of the northern border? Well no, he said I can’t go there. And he’s absolutely right! Far too dangerous, only the bravest lions go there. Well I’m brave. What’s out there? Well I’m sorry Simba, I just can’t tell you. Why not? Simba, Simba, I’m only looking out for the well-being of my favorite nephew. Yeah right, I’m your only nephew. All the more reason to be protective, an elephant graveyard is no place for a young prince. Ooopps! An elephant what?! Oh dear, I’ve said too much! Well I suppose you would have found out sooner or later, you being so clever and all. Just do me one thing, promise me you’ll never visit that dreadful place. No problem. That’s a good lad. You run along now and have fun. Remember, it’s our little secret”.  
After running off, Simba goes to find his best friend, Nala to tell her about an elephant graveyard. The unwitting complicity is seen when Simba and Nala ditches Zazu who was suppose to be their chaperone throughout the “I just can’t wait to be king” song through the help of a parade of animals. As they begin to explore the elephant graveyard, Zazu finds them but trouble has arrived. Scar has sent three spotted hyenas, Shenzie, Banzai, and Ed, to kill the cubs. The cubs are trapped and are about to be killed when Mufasa overpowers the three hyenas and says, “If you ever come near my son again…”. And so that was the violation of the interdiction.
The 2nd sphere begins with Villainy and lack and is seen when Scar finds out that he will need another plan in order to become king and the unavoidable necessity: to kill Mufasa. Banzai: “Well you know, it wasn’t like they were alone Scar. What are we supposed to do? Kill Mufassa?” Scar: “Precisely”. This scene follows with the song “Be Prepared”. The Mediation does not occur until the very end of the film. Even near the end of the film, Simba believes he is responsible for his father’s tragedy. Instead of a counteraction and departure, there is another set of trickery. Scar is walking with Simba in the gorge and tells Simba, “Now you wait here. Your father has a marvelous surprise for you…well, I’ll go get him” and when Simba replies, “I’ll go with you”, Scar persuades him to stay with the guilt ploy: “You wouldn’t want to end up in another mess like you did with the hyenas”. This guilt ploy convinces Simba to stay on the rock and by doing so unwittingly complies. While waiting on the rock, young Simba mocked Scar’s taunt, “huh, little roar”, and Simba practices his roar. On his third attempt, he lets out his loudest roar yet, although still incomparable to that of Mufasa’s. Surprised himself, he smiles and looks up a cliff, only to feel the ground beneath him to shake. A gigantic herd of wilder beast chased by Scar’s three hyena followers runs down the cliff down into the ravine where Simba is momentarily paralyzed with fear. Simba’s eyes widen and he takes off running. However, his tiny size does not allow him to outrun the full-grown wilder beasts. This is the scene where Mufasa is warned by Scar that Simba is in danger and after Simba is safe on a ledge and Mufasa is on a precipice, out of Simba’s view, Scar devilishly says with glee, “long live the king”, and aids in Mufasa’s fall to the king’s death. Simba sees his father’s fall but not Scar’s push and believes he is responsible for his father’s death for putting himself in a dangerous situation that resulted in Mufasa’s death. Scar tells Simba to “run, run away and never return”. When Simba has ran off and turned a corner, he instructs Shenzie, Banzai, and Ed to kill Simba. Simba narrowly escapes and runs as far he can away, ridden with guilt and shame.
Now the third sphere begins. Testing: Simba must survive in self-exile as he can’t go home. The next scene with Simba depicts him lying on the desert ground passed out from heat and exhaustion. It is here when Timon and Pumbaa, find Simba passed out and get him into the shade by an oasis and wakes him up. Simba, dejected, responds to Timon’s question of: “hey, where are you going?” with “Nowhere”. And when Timon further inquires with, “So, where are you from?”, Simba gloomily responds with, “who cares, I can’t go back”. The acquisition of the magical item is when Timon and Pumbaa tells Simba about their philosophy which is known as “Hakuna Matata” or better yet, “it means no worries for the rest of your days…it’s our problem free, philosophy”. The Guidance is seen during the Hakuna Matata song where Timon and Pumbaa show Simba where they live. They live “wherever they want” but it is in a jungle/ forest (belly of the whale) where grub is as delicious and nutritious as you can get. This is where young Simba remains and grows into his adolescent, teen, and early adulthood years.
There are two scenes of struggle. The struggle is initially with Simba himself as evidenced in a scene where Timon, Pumbaa, and adult Simba are lying on the grass at night looking up at the stars. Timon and Pumbaa both give what they think the “stars” are and when it’s Simba’s turn to share, he hesitates. After telling his two friends: “Well, somebody once told me, that the great kings of the past are up there, watching over us” in a voice indicative of something more than he’s saying, Timon and Pumbaa erupt in laughter in an unintentional yet hurtful way. Simba then mutters in a quieter voice, “haha yeah, pretty dumb huh”, though it’s obvious from the viewer’s perspective that his running from his past is killing him inside. Simba quickly walks off, looks up at the sky, and collapses from emotional pain.
The second struggle is not between the villain and the hero either. It is in fact between Simba and when fate allowed, his best childhood friend, Nala. Although they met under pure chance, and their childhood love for each other developed into romantic interest in the emotionally powerfully Can you Feel the Love Tonight scene, Simba is afterwards confronted with his predicament that he has been running from for so long. He is facing the predicament of facing his responsibilities and taking his place in the circle of life versus his feelings of guilt and shame. This is evidenced throughout several dialogues, several with Nala, and the one with Rafiki. Simba: “No, no I’m not the king. Maybe I was going to be but that was a long time ago”. “So many things to tell her, but how to make her see, the truth about my past, impossible, she’d turn away from me…” and lastly with Nala and Simba’s dialogue: Nala: “But I don’t understand something, you’ve been alive all this time. Why didn’t you come back to Pride Rock?” and Simba can only respond, “I can’t go back, you wouldn’t understand…sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it, so why worry?” Nala vehemently presses: “Because it’s your responsibility…I left to find help. And I found you. Don’t you understand? You’re our only hope” to which Simba only says, “sorry”.
The victory is seen after Rafiki talks some sense into Simba after Simba storms off from his argument with Nala. The Villain isn’t defeated but there is a resolution. Mufasa comes to Simba through the heavens and reminds Simba that, “You must take your place in the circle of life…remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king”. “I know what I have to do but going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long”. After saying this, Rafiki immediately strikes him on the head with his staff. Simba reacts: “Oww, geez, what was that for?” to which Rafiki responds, “it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past”. Simba replies, “Yeah, but it still hurts”. Rafiki acknowledges his pain with, “Yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it, or, learn from it”. It is now Simba decides that he is going back to Pride Rock.
The 4th sphere begins with Simba’s return home. Simba is not chased by any villain but after Nala finds out from Rafiki that the king has returned, the four of them pursue Simba to aid him in his battle against Scar. The pursuit ends with Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa discussing with Simba about what a desolate land his Pride Rock has become and how they plan to take down Scar. Simba arrives unrecognized as demonstrated after Scar slaps Sarabi and she is knocked down to the side. Scar mistakes Simba for Mufasa as seen when he says, “Mufasa? No you’re dead”. Recognition occurs immediately as Simba identifies himself and Scar and Sarabi are surprised. Simba tells Scar to step down. Scar cunningly brings up his unfounded claim that Simba is responsible for Mufasa’s death and Simba, still unknowning of the truth, admits to being responsible. Scar uses this to intimidate Simba and Simba backs up until he is hanging onto the overarching rock of Pride Rock. As Scar plays stupid, he bends over and whispers Simba his little secret that, “I killed Mufasa”. Upon hearing this, Simba with a surge of strength, pushes Scar and overpowers Scar. Scar is forced to tell the truth to everyone and the battle ensues. The task is now to fight for Pride Rock. Simba is attacked by some hyenas and Scar slinks off. Rafiki joins the battle and attack several hyenas. Simba track Scar down until Scar is trapped with nowhere to go. Scar begs for mercy and tells Simba the hyenas are the real enemy and that they are responsible. Simba does not believe him and tells Scar to “run, run away Scar, and never return”. Scar begins to slink off when he tosses burnt dirt at his eyes. The final fight ensues and Scar is kicked off a ledge. The hyenas confront him on his comment of them being the enemy and finish off Scar, thus his punishment. The solution has occurred as the fight is over. After greeting his fellow pride, Rafiki tells Simba, “It is time” to ascend the ledge of Pride Rock. As he walks up, rain washes away a dead skull and when he reaches the precipice overlooking the Pride Lands, Mufasa’s voice saying, “Remember” can be heard while the cloudy skies begin to depart. Simba roars to ring in his reign. This was Simba’s transfiguration. Peace, order, and harmony is restored to the Pride Lands as life returns. Animals gather to cheer for Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu, and Rafiki as they celebrate (wedding) the return of life to the Pride Lands and the birth of Simba and Nala’s cub.  

I Can Only Imagine Right Now

I know what it feels like to be inside on a beautiful summer day with not a cloud in the sky and to only look out and imagine all the scenic places in the world, exciting things to do, things to see, things to explore and experience. To think that I’ve done so little in comparison to the vastness of things to experience has me yearning for freedom and adventure. I understand why The Lion King affects me so profoundly. It has been almost a year since the movie came out in 3d, September of last year, and when I saw it sometime in October, and I still think about it. The moment I came home after seeing TLK in 3d with a good friend of mine for the first time since I was kid, I sat on the couch overwhelmed with a feeling of lack in my life. Something very important to me was missing in my life that I had experienced as a surrogate while I watched TLK that night. On a new sticky note that I had opened, the two terms of desire for adventure with strong, deep relationships struck me. As soon as these two terms entered my mind, something told me I’ve hit it exactly on the mark. These two things have eluded me for the vast majority of my life and these were things I desired for. I didn’t have to think long and hard for these two answers to come to me. As I sat there, thinking and typing, “Why would the lion king make me feel like there was a giant hole in my soul, a giant hole in my life?” or something to the extent of this, the two answers were nailed right into my mind. As soon as I wrote them down, I felt this feeling of “this is it. This is exactly what I felt was lacking in my life and during the movie I felt it”. Many months have passed since I saw TLK three more times after that night for a total of four times, and after doing my Mythology and Folklore final essay on Propp’s morphology for The Lion King, having to watch the movie, I always get sad when the movie is nearing its end. These intense emotions of excitement, adventure, sadness, despair, love, hope, and power that stimulate me during the movie are gone when the movie ends. I always feel a little lost after watching the movie, feeling like I still have to work hard in school and work hard in relationships to earn these powerful emotions such are adventure and having strong, deep, close, and open relationships with emotional intimacy. These things have to be worked at. I’ve heard that the journey is more important that the actual attainment of the goal but I don’t think it should minimize the importance of attaining the goal though. I know my goal to have true freedom of time, money, and independence so I can pursue adventure, excitement, and ever deeper forms of love will take time. I just hope it’s not too far down the road and that it’s around the corner.

When I visit my Lion King playlist in my YouTube account, I have noticed that some videos have been removed. Around the time last year when TLK came out in 3d, there was a time around then that more videos of the lion king were being removed and although it has slowed down now, it still angers and saddens me that YouTube is removing these videos. These videos are a way for me to experience the parts of the movie with those emotions again with the comments and view count of other people. It is not just the video that I love revisiting. It’s the videos with lots of comments and views daily that I like to visit to share my love for this movie. It feels lonely to watch a video I love so much and has affected my life with only sparse views. I have grown an emotional attachment to these videos and their removal hurts me the same way if you’ve lost something of emotional value to you. I know that YouTube is not for posting copyrighted material, but damn you YouTube. Damn you.

Am I Interesting?, One-Worded Introverts, and Why I Likely Won't Conform to go to Parties

I just came back from walking my dog Lucky, with my brother. I felt we had an interesting conversation and I made some points that were insightful.

-          I once heard Mukhil say, “Noel is so boring. He doesn’t go to any parties”. Noel is an introvert. I haven’t had the chance to sit down with him and really talk about life in private but he doesn’t seem to be a man of many words. Although that is not a fair assessment as introverts tend not to be too interested in everyday small talk. I thought about the statement Mukhil made. I’m not too talkative in general and I don’t go to parties either. Was I boring? At the time, I felt Mukhil may be right unfortunately as one time while with my good friend, I told him, “to be honest, I can’t say I’m too interesting myself, I mean, I don’t have anything really interesting going on right now. It’s all school related stuff that I spend most time on.” My friend’s response intrigued me. He said, “I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. You’re actually quite interesting with the things you think about and the questions you ask.” After telling me that, I felt good and thanked him. Now what’s the difference? How can one individual say that people like me were boring and my friend say the opposite? Was my friend just being nice? The difference lies in personality of the evaluator. Mukhil, although I doubt is an extrovert, is a major conformist and does what he thinks society deems is cool. That means he thinks whoever doesn’t go to parties and do things popular people are supposed to do, are boring. Extroverts get stimulation from the outside world so external events excite and interest them. Through those lens, those who don’t go to parties are according to their definition, boring. While if the evaluator is more introverted, he has a rich inner world full of thought and depth. He may find the inner thoughts, desires, fears, life stories, and deep conversations they have more interesting than going to a party where none of those things listed are abundant. That is the difference. I personally don’t find what the more extroverted individuals talk about very interesting, because I have more introverted tendencies. I have a rich inner mind and love poking and prodding to see what other people are thinking deep down and love to hear about life stories. Therefore an introvert may seem more interesting to me. Whether you find yourself interesting should be based on which of these two lens you pick yourself. I choose to base my level of fascination with myself with the things I think and ponder over, not solely with what external events have been happening with me.

-          In a post some time ago, I said that to have a deeper conversation, it should be best to find more introverted individuals. I still agree with this statement but want to make a clarification. Introverted individuals tend to enjoy one on one conversations more than extroverted individuals but extroverted individuals can make for good one on one conversations as well. There are some introverts who seem to have very little to say. There is one person in my De Anza Mythology class who seems to be like this. I found out he was a marine so I asked him several questions about his motivation to become a marine and why he is no longer a marine. Seems to be a relatively interesting conversation that doesn’t invade too much privacy but he gave one worded answers and he never got going about talking about his experience by any means. I know that introverts tend to prefer having privacy when talking about themselves so perhaps the fact that there were other people around made him hesitate about talking about himself. I know if I were to talk about myself, I don’t like having other people around who can eavesdrop on what I am saying. It could have been a possible reason for his one worded answers. I like talking to people who prefer these one on one conversations that go in depth, have emotional intimacy, and can be decently talkative. I know introverts can be very talkative when it comes to something they are interested in so perhaps finding what they are interested in and discussing things in depth are the keys to getting them talking.

-          My friend that I used to spend time with during the school year on Friday nights and weekends is leaving for Davis. I wondered to myself what I would be doing Friday nights from now on. I made a point discussing how I don’t view college as this great time, or best four years of your life time. I feel that for many conformists who aren’t good at parties or authentically enjoy them due to their more extroverted nature, they feel society says that college is supposed to be this huge party and the pinnacle of human experience. I feel like I can strongly state that I won’t conform because I know I don’t get the stimulation extroverts do from parties, college parties are not likely to be the place to have a personal and logical one on one conversation that I enjoy, and that I view conforming as a sign of weakness. College for me is purely a way to get to where I want to go in life and be able to live a lifestyle focused more on my freedom and pursuit of adventure and relationships. College is not a place for me to live it up. I know that if I work hard, I have a solid plan that can get me to live a life where I can focus more on what I want. My party is after I get my 18 months experience and can start working per diem or travel nursing which can help me attain freedom of time and money. I believe most conformists who try to live it up in college, do so because they know they will have to work a job that ties them down and limits their freedom. I believe they feel that college is their pinnacle of human experience to a certain degree. Whereas I simply do not see it that way. That’s how I view it right now. I certainly hope to find one or two people  I can  socialize with in more "introverted-style" but I think I'd rather keep myself busy and find my way than conform by going to a party where unless I drank, would probably be standing in a corner out of place.