Family History

Quite frankly, it’s pathetic how little I know about my family lineage. While most of my family lives out of the country, it isn’t a great excuse. My mother’s family and father’s family live in Korea. My father may or may not have remarried, I have no clue as we don’t communicate except during some summers when I visit. My step-dad has two sisters that live in College Station and the Temple area. My grandparents (abuelitos) from my step-dad’s side are the most distant relatives I have that I can talk about with the smallest shred of exactness.

When stood next to my abuelitos, I obviously have no blood relation to them. However, I love them with all my heart and cherish the few times I have the opportunity to see them a year. Despite my longing to see them, I have never taken the chance to call and simply talk. I’m not aware of the reason why I don’t do this. Maybe I’m too shy, but that’s illogical. Maybe I’m too busy, but there’s always time for family especially since my abuelito doesn’t have much time left to live. Once he passes, I know there’ll be a large void in my heart for a long while. I know that I want to spend as much time with him as I can.

My abuelitos haven’t done something all that spectacular. They immigrated from Mexico when my step-dad was just a babe. With little to their name, they settled in Cee Vee, a minuscule town within an hour drive of Amarillo, Texas. My abuelo works on a farm growing cotton and raising cattle for the majority of their income. My abuela is a stay-at-home wife. My relatives have never been well-off either, but they haven’t done anything to cause them to be in the financial situation they are in. Even though they earn much, they spend large amounts of money supporting my cousins and I. I am grateful for ever penny they send, as they can stretch their dollar rather well and would be better in their hands.

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Vinyl

My favorite song is “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. Most of the music I listen to was introduced to me by my dad; classic and alternative rock, heavy-metal, etc.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listened as the crowd would sing
Now the old king is dead long live the king
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
Missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
Once you’d gone there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was a wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn’t believe what I’d become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
I know St Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
I know St Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Each member of the band contributed to the writing of this song. Chris Martin, the lead singer said that the title of the song is taken from Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s artwork of the same name. Martin said he loved the boldness of the name which means “long live life” or more literally, “the life lives.” The album this song was produced on, also Viva la Vida, was a hallmark for a new era of Coldplay. The majority of the tracks on this album shared a similar theme of “trying to remember what’s important in your life, rather than being carried away by the trappings of other things.”

I am able to connect with the song because of the loss I have already begun to experience in my life. Even as I write this post, my grandfather is being torn apart by one of the most vicious cancers–pancreatic cancer. After he is gone, I hope to cherish the memories he left behind, and not dwell on his passing. The song itself is about a king who has lost everything, yet calls for the word of God despite knowing his denial into heaven. Many of the lyrics of this song have biblical references. For instance, “pillars of sand” refer to the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders. The parable is about two types of people and how their hearts are revealed through their actions. The lyric about St Peter refers to St Peter guarding the gates of heaven and the king’s denial to pass due to his deeds during his kingship. The “mirror, sword and shield” are references to the Bible itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE

The List

Having the opportunity to voice one’s opinions is rewarding. However, this can lead to more harm than good. Highland Park ISD’s decision to suspend several books due to controversial material covering topics such as sex and abortion.

The media has transformed the issues that were shrouded in a mysterious veil of assumptions and false-pretenses of conservative America into humor and entertainment. The major starting point was in animation, because killing a person, gore and all, was more palatable than the use of fake props. The ever popular The Simpsons is a prime example of this. The show has become so popular that it is the longest-running American sitcom, longest-running American animated program, surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted prime-time television series in 2009, and the airing of the 26th season began September 28 of this year. The show is known for its obscenity; Homer strangling Bart, the bloody separation of bodily appendages, and gun violence among many others. Despite watching the show as early as elementary, I’m confident to say I have turned out to be an upstanding citizen and am proud to serve as a role model for younger generations.

Many Americans have been exposed to the world of video gaming, more specifically the violent end of the industry. Teens spend hour upon hour shredding, slicing, decapitating, incinerating, punching, electrocuting, and generally obliterating a wide plethora of digital things. While there is nothing directly wrong with this practice, the gaming community has gone through obstacles surrounding the protection of the younger members. To meet the demands of censorship, games now commonly have profanity filters (that depending on the developer can be turned off at the users discretion).

While protecting the children is admirable, high schoolers should not be coddled about “hardships and controversies of adulthood” they will be most likely sent off to college within four years, not much time to expose them to the grit of the real world. For instance, Shipler’s memoir of an alcoholic father and eventual homeless mother, is a real eye-opener for kids with wireless Beats headphones and with the Vera Bradley handbag that doesn’t match her purse and backpack. The story recounts her and her siblings struggle in a dysfunctional home. However, it isn’t limited to her unfortunate childhood, but her eventual success in society as a writer, editor, and journalist.

There are dozens of quality films that have been produced throughout cinematic history. Any one of those movies would be more beneficial to high schoolers than the newest Transformers series of movies Americans gorge themselves on.

However, I would have to agree with the decision of Highland Park ISD. The parents advocating the ban of these books could react in a number of ways if it had decided otherwise, but probably the most severe would include the departure from the district’s schools, crippling thousands of dollars from the loss of students. On the other side, the parents that don’t mind the reading of these books in English class will, if they have not already exposed them to literature that discusses these topics. And the risk is too great for the ISD to take.

Sports

I’m creating a new post because I feel it important for my response to a comment in my “The Dark Side” post, and others who read it to understand where I’m coming from.

By no means am I dissing sports in general. I am aware and have experienced personal growth through my involvement in sports. My beef is not with the simple act of participation in sports and the practical effects of said involvement, but with the concept of its over importance.

Is being on a varsity team all that worth it? Will it land you that perfect job? Introduce you to your future spouse? While these examples are unlikely the case for anything you do, doesn’t that justify experiencing a broader childhood?

Music seems to fairly popular with most people. Learning an instrument isn’t for everyone, I understand that. But the experience of at least attempting to do so is worthwhile. Wouldn’t you agree that it would make you appreciate your favorite artist more? And with the type of music we decide to listen to reflects a part of our character. Songs about sex, money, drugs, etc. it’s all entertainment and there’s nothing wrong with that. But a refusal to sample other genres is rather shallow and narrow-minded. While I’m not saying that we should all listen to Mozart and Bach for the rest of our lives, but isn’t refusing to have a wider experience rather juvenile?

Now I regress. I love my sport, while else would I have competed internationally for it? Not only did I practice three times the amount I normally do in preparation for the contest, I had to fund raise, which mostly consisted of donations from friends and family. I did all this, and ended up getting disqualified on a technicality. While the experience was challenging; I certainly would go through it if I had the choice to redo that experience.

My point is that there are benefits to sports, and almost everything we do in life, but it’s going a little too far. Do we really need to pay athletes millions of dollars to compete and spend more money to watch them do so? I believe the activity should be reward in of itself. But it is a socially accepted custom to throw money at entertainers while our neighbors struggle to find a meal. I have accepted that it is a person’s prerogative to spend their equity in any way they feel like, but how are we benefiting society?

If you have managed to get this far in my post (or even begin to read) I thank you. I may have harped on the negative side of the argument. But I felt it unnecessary to mention the positive, most of us are already aware of them.

My 2 Cents

Unfortunately, I have yet again managed to post Saturday evening as late as possible, I’m not even sure if my latest posts have been graded. But as I have said, the grade isn’t what matters to me. It’s the understanding and accomplishment of the task.

Here are the three unfortunate souls I have decided to feed upon.

http://notanothercatblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/read/comment-page-1/#comment-24

https://bambi1998.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/flaws/comment-page-1/#comment-5

http://saradactylssuperblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/does-stealing-my-cousins-lollipop-count/comment-page-1/#comment-9