Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The mean dad of our country

As I was watching the news yesterday, I came across one of the funniest things. With GM and Chrysler getting closer and closer to bankruptcy, President Obama had to tell them that they had to get their act together to receive anymore bailout money.
Even though I'm not a taxpayer yet, I must complain as the rest of the country, and say that these bad arrogant companies deserve no more money at all. And while some people may say that Obama hasn't done very much of what he said to better the economy, I can say that it is for various reasons. For one he has done nothing more than have to be the mean dad of our country. Repeatedly letting the country know that we have gotten into this hole ourselves. Having to tell big company CEO's that if they don't clean up their act, they won't be helped anymore. It's almost as though he has to be the tough parent who doesn't let you go out after you missed curfew. If people could just simply make more sophisticated decisions, Obama could more easily make his transition as maybe one of the best presidents that we have ever had.

Journalist forced to throw change up

Growing up my parents seldom told me I was cute. It's not that I wasn't but more so they wanted me to realize how smart I was and could be if I focused more on my brain and not what surrounded it. So inevitably in high school I became one of the smart kids ... oh and the jocks and the journalists and the students leaders. I guess you could say I got around, but in a good way. Yet even as my cute plate continued to become more full, I remained at the top of the pack ... that is until now on this chilly Tuesday evening as I sit with a laptop on my lap and a not so happy look on my face. Why am I so frustrated?

Well I just came home from softball practice and frankly it was awful. I love softball I really do but I just wish everyone had the same attitude and drive to win I do. As the captain and only four year player, I have realistic expectations. I don't expect the Stagg softball team to earn any league titles or dominate against teams like St. Mary's or West but I do expect us to at least be competitive. I would much rather get spanked and have the other team say "Well Stagg  always tries" than have them walking away knowing they would have had a more difficult practice. I'm not trying to take anything away from my teammates. They're a great group of girls who I love but I just think we need to stop letting the name of our school dictate how we play and what we expect for ourselves.

So for now, as selfish as it sounds, I am going to focus on personal victories. As a team we may get killed but I'm going to make sure I get hits and make plays so at least I can say I was at the top of my own game. And if that doesn't help keep my head up, I can just smile knowing that not very many of the girls I play against could beat me in a page design contest or on an in class essay. That I'm sure of that.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last day of spring break means beginning for responsibility

Nobody gives better hugs than my 3-year-old brother. I nearly fell trying to clasp onto my door.

"Alisya! Good Morning!" He yells in my face. I picked him up and sat him on the table for breakfast; possibly the last of breakfasts we will be able to share until the next school break. I pulled out the almost empty bag of Fruit Loops and poured them until his eyes popped out; just one of many little games we play.

Everyday of my break, my brother and I have been able to spend a lot of time together. It is unlikely we ever get to play during school and on weekends. This break has came to us fast, but it sure didn't take it's time to stay. We never had to go to any Incredible Chuckie's of some sort, but just stayed in the comfort of our own backyard. Many adventures digging up stuff we weren't suppose to and playing catch with our dog became a part of history back there.

Now that today happens to be the last day of spring break, he's become tired and doesn't realize it's hard to keep playing as soon as I start school again. I may have broke the little guy for all he does is lay down and watch DVDs. As he's sound asleep, I only wish break could be longer.

School has it's upside, but this ultimately is it's down. During the break I had reading logs; courtesy of Dei Rossi. I quickly got them out of the way but it did end up making him cranky that I couldn't fix his Ice Cream Truck made of a beaten cardboard box and duct tape. I sigh not able to wake him up, and wonder if I could limit on the responsibilities I take on at school and after.

Two weeks may sum up others as they visited Paris, France or even San Francisco, but home is the only place I want to be. Last day of spring break only starts a new day of having to ignore my little buddy. I hope there will be enough time to play games as there is responsibility. May I treasure his funny dances and dirt filled hair as he continues to peep through the holes of our neighbor's fence. Oddly during our time, no pictures were taken, but as long as we are able to keep enjoying ourselves, we won't need any.

Hope everybody had a fantastic spring break and see you soon!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Save some Power, It's Earth Hour!

If you haven't heard, today is Earth Hour where many people are expected to turn off their lights and other electronics from 8:30pm to 9:30pm local time. Today is the third annual worldwide event. It is a time when we as people can appreciate our planet Earth and at the same time show how easy it is to conserve. Millions of homes and businesses and hundreds of major landmarks will go dark for one hour to show that energy conservation is important and to send this message to political leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009.

It is said that lighting accounts for about 11 percent of a typical American homes energy bills, while computers and electronics add another 9 percent. So by shutting off these things when were not using them, we can lower our load significantly.

Major places around the world are supporting such as Las Vegas whose bright lights will shut off for a complete hour! Literally everywhere around the globe from New York City to Paris, France will conserve energy as we support our Earth on this pleasant day.

Remember, there are also many other ways we can keep our Earth healthy and spare some bills by checking out
The Daily Green today! Just remember to have a wonderful night!

When Vampires go...good?

..... Yesterday, after Stations of the Cross at church (It isn't a Jeremy D.C. blog if it doesn't have religion!), me and my girlfriend, Sanae, where getting a ride to my aunt's house when I mustered enough courage to ask her to get her Twilight DVD so we could watch it. It's been a long time coming. With Twilight fanatics for friends, one's own struggle to boycott this movie madness crumbles away slowly. Plus with a girlfriend all fired up about the vampire series, why not try to connect with her on an emotional level? Isn't that what guys have to do or something?
..... So we pop in the DVD at 9:00pm, judgment hour. Sanae's already warning me that I'll think the movie sucks. Apparently she has this idea that Jeremy is a nonchalant, indifferent, un-romantic guy. Well she got down the first two adjectives, but un-romantic? Please! I've done my share of itsy-bitsy, teensey-weensey, lovey-dovey activities. But I digress...(oh! I always wanted to use that word!)
..... Anways, so there we were, curled up on the couch, holding hands and all that, and the movie opens up with a deer? Is this Bambi? Where's the blood and gore of vampire movies like Blade? So I made sure to fill most scenes with my side commentary until Sanae threatened to turn the movie off. Close call.
..... Finally, I got swept by the movie. Once it hit the end credits, I knew I had to admit it. Twilight is...ok. It actually has an interesting story, some cheesy parts, and some great songs. Sure it's a genuine chick flick, but it still hits that sweet spot in every person.
..... If Twilight was indeed a guy movie, the main character would have been on a quest to kill every singly vampire. But instead, Bella Swan falls in love with one!? Doesn't she realize she's falling in love with a dead person!? But anyways, so they go through the lives of two "normal" teenagers. The infamous biology room and baseball scenes were pretty funny. Except, why are two juniors taking biology? Poor grades?
..... Why was everyone so pale in the movie too? I mean I know they're vampires and all but is that really the skin tone of people from Washington state? Bella hits on this in the movie when she jokes that she got kicked out of Arizona because her skin wasn't tan enough. The glittery skin of vampires in sunlight also kind of over did it for me. That was so gooey that it was cheddar cheesey.
..... The songs were pretty awesome, however. Especially "Flightless Bird" by Iron and Wine, which by the way is our song now! hahaha I'm not going to go on a description dervy talking about how the lyrics painted vivid pictures of their struggle to love each other and how the music complemented the storyline, so I'll try to save space and say it was awesome. Again.
..... My question here is why are girls all over the world falling in love with the idea of a romance with a vampire? Where has the fear gone? Where's the mob mentality that spurred people to grab their torches and pitchforks to drive those blood suckers away? Have we really come to the point in our cultural development where vampires have become sex symbols instead of frightening individuals born from evil!? Some explain that vampires represent the wild, untapped tendencies of human nature. It seems that only vampires can offer a rugged romance and if given the chance I'm willing to bet that Sanae, along with many of her Twilight colleagues, would gladly dump their boyfriends to go out with an Edward Cullen. So the thoughts of every boyfriend in the world now revolve on several things: "Where do I keep that crucifix, spare holy water, and that wooden stake I got for my birthday?"

- Jeremy Dela Cruz, Vampire Hunter

Thursday, March 26, 2009

American Idol has my vote!

American Idol last night has ultimately changed my voting style. I am one of the few who actually dislike Danny Gokey for it seems he's getting unnecessary praise. Okay he can sing, but I disagree he's the best. Adam Lambert, on the other hand, I've always had a little fond over. He's so weird and has that rocker voice from famous 70's bands. But last night may have seriously decided who is capable of winning American Idol. Last night Lambert sang "Tracks of My Tears," and not only did he dominate the song but he managed to create an unforgettable moment. Nobody expected his soft and soulful voice to come out. Simon praised him and said "That was the best performance of tonight," rather than new coming judge Kara DioGuardi's comment of just being "One of" the greatest. Grr, she's annoying. He doesn't seem to stop surprising fans and I don't expect to see him at in the bottom three tonight. "TEAM ADAM!" I'll shout.

The worst of the night who may have saved a lot of behinds was the "Elaine Dancer," Megan Joy. Not only can she not dance, but WOWZERS, she cannot sing! She always plays the same tune of trying to soulfully jazz everything out, but what kind of artist are you? Yes, jazzy I suppose, but contestants should know that they are fighting to becoming the next American Idol, someone who can sing just about anything. These songs are meant to test how well your vocals are and what you are capable of doing. If a contestant chooses to stay with the same routine, how are we suppose to choose an artist? There is no uniqueness. However, Megan Joy's voice style is the least of her worries. Her voice is, how would you say, wobbly? Out of tune and out of charm she needs to go home once and for all.

American Idol is on tonight at 8 p.m. Hope you join me as I cheer for Lambert's safety and ironically Joy's departure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disabled dolls and animated tweens: Is it wrong?

On Time Magazine's website, a thought to be light-hearted story of a woman, by the name of Mary Ann Perry, trying to buy the perfect doll for her daughter, turns out to be an issue. The doll bought was a Down Syndrome model; the condition Perry's daughter has. It was bought out of love to stray from the curvy and flamboyant Barbie dolls of today.

The sale of disability dolls are becoming popular, however some think they rather define people and not provoking the ideal of equality. And now with the change of Dora the Explorer, it has become the battle of the parents.

Girls' role models are leading a trail beyond the candy and curvy plastic parts: Truth. I find the disability dolls very cute and actually quite caring. The dolls are not pigeonholing people to where they say, "Well you're different so you might as well play with this." It's saying who you are is not to be ashamed of and difference is a good thing. Why must we keep playing the twisting of the equal card? We are equal beings as no one is better than another, but we share different traits and purposes to the world. The dolls are only comforting girls who feel they must have the Bratz outrageous lips and Barbie pointy bosoms to become loved and considered beautiful. Society has said enough with what beauty is and the dolls are assuring that true beauty starts with loving yourself.

As for Dora and her new tween look, I feel parents are a little too worried as well. Yes, she may have become older without her signature hair and orange and purple outfit, but she doesn't stay young forever. Perhaps it may have been too soon, but when is a child going to grow up? Parents are constantly trying to control the growth of their children in fear of losing their sweety-pies. Dora's age difference is proving that parents mustn't fear and pretend children are never going to someday go off into the world and venture themselves. She's no different and will forever be the same little girl who asks a bunch of questions when all she has to do is turn around. I feel that is the same with children growing up. Aging and blossoming into stronger people is a natural process as well as parents fearing it. Dora will certainly show children that growing up is a as fun as being little.

To wrap these two situations up-why shed actuality with tons of sugar? Beauty is beyond looks and age is an uncontrollable natural way of life. You can't hide everything when you know for certain it'll come out sooner or later. And now a cheap way to end my discussion, but relevant towards our time: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Inspirational Interviews

..... Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, a holiday featuring green, green, and more green. To continue this tradition, I am now green with envy after meeting a man by the name of Gerry Esker at the O'Connor Woods senior living center. Good job for reading this far after experiencing that painful cliche!
..... Esker is indeed a part of history. In addition to experiencing The Great Depression, he was also featured in Life magazine in a short article about tires, which earned him only $1 even though it was printed worldwide. Esker can also take credit for being involved in the creation of a local building here in Stockton: St. Mary's Dining Room. He is also a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic fraternity. As a brother knight he says that their main goal was keeping people fed in those hard financial times. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre are also proud to claim him as a member, meaning that Esker has visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
..... But why am I so inspired by this man? Is it the fact that even during the Depression, he shared what little he had with the community? Is it because he's a brother knight in an organization I hope to be a part of one day? Or is it that even though he has accomplished so much, he still has a humbleness about him? Well in truth, it's all of these things and then some. Esker embodies the sort of generosity not found these days. From the rest of the senior interviews at O'Conner Woods, I realized that the Depression moulded generations of good neighbors. Of the three seniors we spoke with, not one of them ever said that the Depression was a horrible time in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, they said that it though rough, it was still a great time to live in.
..... Back then, they said that people where friendlier and the community was closer. Nowadays, you're lucky to even know your neighbors last name. Two of the seniors were from the Midwest so they related their memories of pie socials, county fairs, and snowstorms. Being from Illinois, it was nice hearing about such things from my home region.
..... Esker also expressed the idea that religion helped him and his family cope with the Depression. This is evident from his work with the Knights of Columbus and his involvment with St. Mary's Dining Room. During the Forties, Esker also remembers being part of the Stockton parishes of St. Mary's, Annunciation, and St. Bernadette's. An interesting thing I found out was that though Esker's childhood was marked with poverty, his family still found it appropriate to keep religion central in their lives by paying for the sacraments of their children from First Communion to Confirmation. Esker in turn raised his four children Catholic and instilled in them the values of generosity by leading by example. One of his sons also became a Knight of Columbus.
..... History can indeed come alive when you talk to someone who has experienced it. The elderly have so much to give us young people, whether its their memories or general advice. They have been through life and so are qualified to give advice. Let's try and spend some time with people like Esker. You just might be surprised by what you find.

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Lazy Religion!!!

..... In Colossians 4:2, St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Well the makers of Information Age Prayer had this in mind when they created their website that essentially prays for the faithful.
..... Their website says that "Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget." Once the electric can opener was invented, it was only a matter of time before people were letting machines pray for them. What's next, robots celebrating Mass? TVs teaching catechism? Radios hearing confession!?
..... This is just pure laziness. It's basically just a way for people to skip their spiritual duties. IAP says that their services should act as a supplement and that traditional prayer shouldn't be abandoned. Well when newspapers started placing articles online, I bet they suggested that subscribers shouldn't abandon the print edition. Now look what's happening! Print media is slowly becoming obsolete.Most subscribers to this website will probably just skip their daily prayers since they'll be comforted that a machine will be repeating it for them. If this service became a mainstream activity, how many people do you know would keep praying on their own? We already live in an environment where spirituality takes a back seat to secular material. I'm sorry to say, but IAP is an insult to every member of the faithful, regardless of religion.
..... The next thing that grinds my gears about this website is that it treats religion like a flea market.

IAP: "You're Roman Catholic you say? Well have I got a deal for you! The Lord's Prayer can be yours for just $3.95/month. And why not spice things up and add a rosary for $49.95/month!"

..... Of course that's just a dramatization but it's basically what this service is doing. Jesus Christ himself drove out the moneylenders and vendors from the temple after all. With this in mind, one can understand how offensive IAP is to Christians. But don't worry, the nice people at IAP also have a collection of Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant prayers.
..... So, for any of your lazy religion needs, go to Information Age Prayer, which probably is going to offer eternal salvation for $500!! And for your real spiritual needs, go to your local church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. Don't waste your time on that website!!

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Root canal: The best words I could ever hear!

I just got back from getting a root canal. All day I feared what many had said about it. "That's a killer! You know they're digging inside your root while you're awake?" Not to mention their dramatic expressions like I was entering brain surgery. It was this shrieking look. I thought I had massive booger or something.

Sitting in the car on the way to the death chair, my heart pounded enormously just thinking about the tools. I imagined sharp knives and drills all over the place. When I entered the office I felt like I was experiencing my last moments. Weird thing was, it happened to be in the lumpy, awkward patience chair watching "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" Not the ideal circumstance, but possible.

"Alyssa More," the dentist's assistant calls, and as usual I answer. I immediately sat down and got a cotton swab thrown in my mouth. Waiting as the stinging swab began to make it's course, my hands got numb and my throat felt dry. However, I have to say, waiting there did make me feel a little better. It was a stall from all the excruciating pain that was to come.

Just as I felt comfortable and guessed all the wrong answers during the T.V. show, the dentist came in. I tried to relax as much as possible by slouching in the throne of terror. It was as if I was some slick delinquent just waiting for my punishment. He greeted with a "Hello there," and asked what would I like to eat today. "We have root canal," he said and ended with a geeky laugh. I forced a chuckle and began to think happy thoughts.

"Okay you're going to feel a sharp pain as I enter this needle. After that you're lower left side will be completely numb." All I noticed was the assistant glancing at the television. I cringed and took a deep breath. A couple of seconds later my lip felt huge! I laughed when I looked at myself through the mirror on my left. He then threw in a jolly laugh as to counter mine. For all knew he could have been the big man himself.

Before I knew it, he began and I started shaking uncontrollably while watching the next showing of dramatic soap operas. It was some "All My Children Who Are Brave and Restless" junk. I then took a peek at their expressions and noticed they made that shreiking look. However, it wasn't like they seen a booger but rather a morphing alien.

Just then, out of nowhere, the girl on the television started sobbing. I thought she was shot so I laughed. "Jimmy would rather go through a root canal than to sit through this!"

"Oh my!" I thought. Odd coincidence? I then thought, "Wait a minute, this isn't that bad!" I became so relaxed I didn't realize what was going on.

"The numbing must've really worked or you would have bit me by now!" He said as he drilled away. The only displeasure was that I was not allowed to close my mouth at all. "Oh how I now wish to shut up!" I cried inside.

Then, in about 20 minutes I was cleared. He gave me my prescription, said he'll see me in a week, and I headed out with an awkward, numbed smile. The scared-y cats who gave me the unpleasant horror stories now seem quite silly. What was the whole fuss about? My only answer to that is that they're just grouchy bunches who had too many cookies. Maybe they should visit the dentist soon with their awful habits.

It still is the last thing anyone would want to get and I don't recommend it. I really now believe dentists are there to ease your pain, not make it worse. However, their masks! You'd think they're getting away with something.

It was cool and unfortunately I may be hooked on those dramatic goons on television. In the end, I thought it was great. I'd do it again anytime as long as the shooting water reflects off a tooth and onto their faces! But seriously (If I haven't been), I'm hoping I don't ever go through this experience again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Designer babies?!

So, I'm writing this column about the designer babies. You know those babies where parents will be able to choose what they want their kids to look like, and maybe even what they want their personality to be like. Sound crazy doesn't it! While thinking about what I wanted to say, I'm came across so many things. Like wouldn't this actually be pretty cool, to think that science has come this far. But most importantly, why would anyone ever want to do this? I mean we are all given this birth right, where we know that at least we are different from everybody else is some way.

Most importanly though, I came across the fact that my morals are still very rooted in my religion. Up to this point, I have always considered myself a cafeteria Catholic. The type of Catholic were I choose what I want to believe, and to disbelive. With this column I have come to realize that this designer baby idea is really morally wrong. I don't want to sound like a super conservative, but would God really have liked this. But most importantly would our society like this.

I know I'm going on a whole other tangent now, but have you ever seen that Fairly Oddparents episode where the pink-hatted Timmy Turner wishes for everybody to be a gray blob. What I'm trying to say out of this is, is that what our society has come to, just everybody most likely looking the same and having the same characteristics.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Abortion of 9-year-old angers Brazilians: How the face of society is captured

In Brazil, a 9-year-old chooses to have an abortion when impregnated with twins by her stepfather. Doctors believed it was critical for her to get the abortion due to health dangers.

However, the Roman Catholic Church found it unnecessary and rather a blessing the young girl was pregnant with twins. They then decided to excommunicate the family due to their actions against "God's laws." They also banned the doctors who operated on the young girl.

Abortion is illegal in Brazil unless certain circumstance apply, which they did. So why is the country deeply offended of the child's act? The girl was nine and considered to have "immature hips" making the labor quite challenging. Religious beliefs aside, the family did the right thing and it was all legal. My only concern would be the stepfather's actions and how come the church isn't taking a bigger notice on that?

Now, like most people know, world issues are definitely the world's issues. When someone else's eyes are looking at a situation from afar, things tend to be

My point is this. If we do decide to put our two cents into society's manners, let's be critical of it. In other words, careful on how we analyze manners. What the church did was fine, but to criticize someone else's view on their own issues is sort of... rude. Silly perhaps, but I find it incredibly unfortunate the family had to go through such hatred because of their decisions as a family. Yes, we have a right to say what we please and put our pocket change in there if we like, but there comes a point of common decency.

Beliefs aside, the girl was nine! A minor laboring twins is outrageous enough. Abortion is a controversy that will never be settled, but our attitudes alone can. No support came to this family, and even if something is not to your liking, a decision has been made and the best a person can do is accept. Whether it's household issues or societies problems, we have a duty as people to come together and make the best of these situations.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

MySpace Addicts, this one's for you!

Status Report: Day 10 of MySpace Fasting

..... I never knew it was so hard to give up MySpace. Sure I knew that I would be losing a part of my social life by going without the interactive web Site, but it's for my own personal growth this Lent. 
..... Besides, I reasoned that I wasn't that addicted to customizing my profile or updating my mood every second so it would be a piece of cake right? Wrong! This past weekend I fought the urge to check my MySpace. I longed to see whether I had any messages, comments, or any new truths in my Truth Box. Oh, to peer into the screen and see what people thought of me is what Emily Dickinson would put as "divinest Sense." 
..... But alas, I'm way too religious to go against my little MySpace fast, even though it's not so little after all. Personal growth is something we all need. While some choose to read self-help books or watch a TV therapist talk about what's wrong in society, I found my own path: Lent
..... But why am I suffering from MySpace withdrawals? Is it because I thrive on the thrill of photo comments? Or maybe it's the joy of friend requests, or better yet, answering those page long surveys on that sacred bulletin board. Whatever the case, I, Jeremy Dela Cruz, am addicted to MySpace. 
..... It's nothing to be ashamed of. In reality, it's accepted of our generation to have an affinity for technology. After all, this new era of YouTube and Wikipedia have ushered in the age of Web 2.0, a concept describing how individuals are starting to interact with web Sites instead of just getting information from them. The Internet has become more of our own personal sketchpad instead of a simple portrait on which to gaze upon. Therefore, everyone has a responsibility to be addicted to technology, only in the sense that one should start sharing ideas via the Internet by uploading videos and writing blogs like this. Of course getting drunk off of texting or craving your IPOD every second is a sign of an excessive obsession. Like everything in life, moderation is the key. Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Even if that good thing is MySpace...sigh...

- Jeremy Dela Cruz, MySpace Addict