Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guinea Pig

Why do we use the word guinea pig when one is being studied? Are we being stereotypical? Are we being judged? How is it that we began testing on animals? Now we also run tests on humans? Have we become guniea pigs? Why do we compare ourselves to guinea pigs?
Well even though I have bombarded you with questions believe it or not i don't have the answers but, I do consider myself to be a guinea pig. I go wish that I weren't a guinea pig but in my situation there is not much i can do about it.
When I found out that my surgery was canceled I was not sure what was going to happen to me. Soon after a confrence was held, it was then that the doctors told me that I had one last option at Stanford.
My last option here is to have more chemotherapy. This chemo is an hour once a week, but the down fall to this treatment is it is still being studied. Even though we don't know whatthe outcome will be we are very faithful and we live a normal life. Well as normal as possible. We hope that this chemo will decrease the size of my tumor.
Even though I do not know what is going to happen I am holding my head up high. I am who I am and nothing ever changes that. Nothing in me or what I have to go through defines me.


What do I do? What do we do? What is left for me to do? Having hope and having it ripped to pieces like a piece of paper hurts. It leaves you to wonder what will happen next. I thought only of the worst possible cases that came to mind.
Finding out that my last surgery was canceled because it was growing again and it would not help to have the lung surgery. If I had gone through with the surgery I would have been putting myself in danger.
With a two hour drive home I was in denial trying to come to terms with it. My eyes burned with the tears that began to run down my cheeks. Not knowing what would happen next I thought just of the words the doctor said. Phrases like "rare cancer", "it's growing really fast", and "it's growing over the pulmonary valve" leaves me with fear and sadness that drowns my body in chaos.
Finding out that my surgery was canceled really did hurt. I was devastated and had no idea what would happen next. the fact that synovial sarcoma is very rare means that they really have no way in really helping me. It is a trial and error experiance that fills youup with mixed emotions.
At the time the first chemotherapy may work with your body, but after the first cycle which is like six to nine treatments your body can become immune to the treatment, in other words it will no longer work.
What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? i wonder how i will ever be a normal teen or fulfill a meaningful life. I know I am strong but I do get shaken up. I will regain my strength I MUST.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Clearly Claire: The Promise of a Perfect Game

I have never been that into baseball. I don't watch it on television and except for the occasional Port's game, I don't really go to see baseball, but my dad has always been a fan. I know enough about baseball that when a man pitches a perfect game, you stand up and take notice.

Stockton, in my lifetime, has been the forclosure capital of the US, the most violent city, and the second most depressing city in the US. But these things didn't seem to stop Dallas Braden. He was the pitcher who pitcheed that perfect game. He was the one who let ball after ball fly over the plate and didn't give up a single run. He dreamed to be better than what he was, where he came from, and what he'd done, and accomplished his dream. (he also happened to go to my high school, which is pretty awesome.)

I have always loved my town. There is not a street in this city that doesn't have some kind of fond memory for me, but that doesn't mean that I want to stay here all my life. I have never been the type of person who was happy where I was. I aways dreamed of bigger and brighter things than what I saw surrounding me, but I never saw a way out. But seeing Braden not only pitch a perfect game, but pitch for a major league baseball team helped me believe that I can do it. I can conquer the world I happen to be in now and come out better on the other side. I don't have to be depressed and violent just because I live in a city that says I'm supposed to be. I can go on to do something great, like Braden.

But more than just that, Braden still loves the city he grew up in. The violent depressing, foreclosure and during my entire dream to leave this city behind I never thought of doing anything to help the city improve after I was gone. I do love this town, but I always said that I was going to get out and never come back except for occasional visits to my parents,but Braden has changed my mind. I don't have to be afraid of being here. That doesn't make me a failure, which until a few months ago I thought. I thought that if I stayed here, I was giving up on my dreams, but Braden showed me that my dream can include a better Stockton.

So when Braden tossed that last ball over the plate and his team yelled and screamed and hugged their superstar, Braden didn't know it, but he had changed my whole life.     

Friday, May 14, 2010

KARINA 360° & A. Cordova : A Predicted Future - Orwell and Bradbury

Books were banned, and privacy invaded. Thoughts were destroyed and brains manipulated.

These were the visions in the 1950s by Ray Bradbury and George Orwell. Throughout the duration from the time those books were published – till now - we can see examples of this occurring in our everyday lives.

A few weeks ago a
good Samaritan died on the streets of Queens after saving a women from being assaulted. He himself was stabbed and fell to the floor helpless. During a duration of about 2 hours, 25 people had passed by him not responding to the situation. Of those 25 people, some took pictures of him with their camera phone. Some stood and stared and did nothing.

He later died.

This scenario is mirrored 50 years ago by Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451

Today, as a whole, people are distracted and are less alert to their surroundings. “Denham’s Dentifrice” is an example of an advertisement that was used in Bradbury’s novel to brainwash and to distract civilians in a subway.

On a walk everywhere and anywhere, ads bombard us. Bradbury describes in his mind 200 foot long billboard ads, it seen as though as a form of brainwashing. Today it is the same idea.

“Buy this and buy that! This will make you skinny! Your skin will glow!”

More than ever, sleeping pills have exploded and are a necessity for many Americans. In 2005, 42 million sleeping pills were prescribed.

Why is it that so many people have such a problem sleeping? Of course there are those with medical problems, but that a different story. We’re talking about those who are simply stressed out. Those who are so bothered.

In the New York Times article by
Stephanie Saul, she wrote drug companies spent $298 million in 2005 to “convince consumers that the sleep aids are safe and effective.”

‘“Experts acknowledge that insomnia has become a cultural benchmark — a side effect of an overworked, overwrought society. "Clearly, there's a significant increase in people who report insomnia and, from my perspective, that is the result of our modern-day lifestyle," said Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs, a psychologist.”’

Safety or Privacy is what the average American must choose between. As technology continues to advance and crime increase the safety has become a main priority. But are the many advances just taking it a little too far?

According to an article in
USA Today 10 airports have installed full body scanners. Full body scanners are scanners that one must go in to pass security. An image will be produced of the full naked body in detail. Although it is such a great machine that insures our safety, isn't it taking our privacy away?

With the full body scanner all privacy is eliminated and is exposed to strangers that work with the scanner. Not only that, but where do the images go? Are they completely eliminated from the system?

Maybe airports aren’t a big deal to many, but the everyday use of the internet can be. Millions have an email account and are registered in Google mail, Facebook or other similar internet sites that offer free internet communication to loved ones.

It’s free in the sense of no pay, but those who use this websites and have accounts are selling their privacy.
Daniel Lyons wrote, “Our privacy has become a kind of currency.”

How else would these sites make a profit if they are free?

For example Google, reads one’s e-mail and based on the keywords in the private messages, ads are directed at you. If one types about soccer, they might get a soccer ad.

So in other words internet services sell ones name to advertisers for profit. So much about caring for our privacy!

Bradbury said if a disaster was to happen hospitals and libraries should be the first to be rebuilt. And it's alarming that in our day, because of budget cuts, those two are the first ones being cut.

The next generation will be robbed of the true history. Texas, the largest buyer of textbooks, is somewhat in charge of what children will learn. Recently conservatives morphed the “liberal” historical figures.
The Texas Board of Education did so without a historian present. Thomas Jefferson was an inspirational revolutionary writer. His part was downsized and replaced with more conservative figures.

James C. McKinley Jr. wrote, ‘“Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”’

The fact that people can warp the past into what they please is a direct example of what Orwell described in 1984.

While reading these books we have both realized the effects of a society that has accepted the term “ignorance as strength.”

Not only has it triggered us to think about the future but it also has made us more aware of our surroundings.

It leaves us with just one question.

What will 2050 look like? Thats your choice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

That Religious Guy: Languages are awesome!!

..... I've gone through so many introduction sentences for this post that I'm starting to see the irony between this momentary lapse in writing and my subject: Languages are awesome. I can't even describe how languages have expanded my world, making it more alive and open to others. There's nothing like learning a new tense in French or memorizing key phrases in Spanish.
..... The concept of words is an amazing one. Words give form to our thoughts, our emotions, and our desires. They've evolved from simple gurgles and mumblings to full-fledged "tier-3" titans as Mrs. Weir-Graham would say like "maladroit" and "gregarious." Coupled with various pronunciations, regional accents, and numerous definitions, the language salad is further tossed and turned. One cannot forget about how grammar, both academic and colloquial, spices this green creation even more (Hey, I like putting hot sauce in my salad, making it into a forest fire, but that's another post for another time.) But I myself have only nibbled on the leaves of this language salad (Talk about extended metaphor huh?).
..... Alas, I can only speak a few languages: English with a California neutral accent, Filipino with a ManileƱo twist, French with an American feel, and Spanish with a Filipino lleismo. To enhance my learning experience, I started participating in the forums on, a Web site dedicated to helping people learn English as well as other languages. During my short adventures on the site, I realized how much languages not only unite but divide. For hispanohablantes, the topic "Hablemos Espanol" provides an outlet to practice the Spanish language. There's also a pretty generous peppering of other topics on French, Dutch, German, Chinese, and other tongues. It seems that the language world is divided into teams based on whatever language you speak. Therefore, on, los Hispanohablantes hate les Francophones, Chinese speakers are ridiculed, Germans keep to themselves, and the Dutch apparently hate their language. There's one thing that unites everyone who knows another language however and that's the conclusion that English sucks! Being only a novice in the languages I've taken on (French and Spanish), I see myself inferior to the other polyglots, but I can't help but see the idiocy in insulting other languages.
..... The rants and ravings against other languages are mainly based on false stereotypes. For example, someone posted concerning my topic, "Philippine Spanish Accent," that "it is very important for a Filipino to learn Spanish in order to effectively communicate with the other chief source of low-cost labour, the Mexicans." Apparently, there are people in the world who are quick to generalize all Spanish speakers as uneducated dunces. Then there's the stereotype that the French are sissies or that the Chinese are a sneaky people. These stereotypes have nothing to do with the languages themselves, just overlapping histories that have festered into hate.
..... It's important to note that I go on for the content, not the conversation. This is to say that petty arguments and debates don't really affect or matter to me when I'm on this Web site. What matters most is the tiny treasures I learn about like how "vosotros" is more popular than you think and that lleismo isn't that archaic. So beware of ignorant individuals who will be quick to insult, but even quicker to back down once they find out you're not a primitive islander living in the Philippines but a headstrong Filipino American. Get out there and learn a language but be proud doing it!

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Monday, May 10, 2010

CrazyFaithy: I now have a new respect for baseball

Okay, before I begin blurting out a ton of things that you probably won't understand, let me go over some basic info for you:

A no-hitter is when the opposing team in baseball has absolutely no hits. Though it may not seem like much, it's very uncommon. The last MLB no-hitter before this weekend was made by Mark Buehrle on July 23rd of last year.

So why am I telling you this? Well, it just so happens that a former Stagg student, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics, pitched the most recent perfect game on Sunday, May 9th against the Tampa Bay Rays.

(Several articles can give you a behind the scenes look if you're interested.)

Now on to the real story...

Dallas wasn't always the picture of success. In fact, when he attended Stagg, the words that people would use to describe him were quite the opposite. He was known as the slacker, the lazy dude, and the occasional "intelligent but lazy" student. (Did I mention he was lazy?)

This one of my problems as well. I am constantly told that I have the upmost potential to be something great, but usually I just roll my eyes and say "yeah, thanks."
Dallas Braden has officially inspired me. :) If a former Stagg student can have such a cringingly low GPA and leave here to pitch a perfect game in pro-baseball, then America really is the land of opportunity. I really can be anything I want to be!
Don't misinterpret what I'm saying here; high school is one of the most important steps we'll take in life. It prepares you for everything. However, Braden shows that even if we make some bad decisions, there are always opportunities for those that seek them. There is always a way to make your life better if you have the willpower and integrity.
Baseball itself never interested me. I must admit that I now have a new respect for the sport, though. Seeing how somebody can use it to turn their entire life around was amazing. The respect I have for it is now indescribable
What made this game all the more heartwarming was the fact that Braden was inspired by his mother, who died of cancer. His grandmother was at the game, and she supported him the whole way through.
Keep your heads up and keep working hard. You never know what opportunities could be heading your way. :)

photo credit: Lance Iverson/The Chronicle