Saturday, January 29, 2011

That Religious Guy: All the world in your webcam!

..... Whoever said that one couldn't see the world while staying at home was definitely living under a rock.
..... But of course, if he was living under a rock, he probably couldn't see the world, so we'll forgive him this time. That's the beauty of aboveground housing: Internet capabilities. As in many posts, I tend to digress and meander, making my way by some sheer luck to the whole point of why I'm writing... Skype!
..... Skype is not only a great way to distract friends from home work on a Saturday afternoon but is also a tool to get to know people from other countries. I've met a few individuals online on forums and Facebook groups myself. It's one thing to talk to someone online via IMs or e-mail but it's another thing to actually speak face-to-face. Of course, I don't recommend simply going online and meeting total strangers. Get smart before you Skype with someone!
..... There's basically two different ways to use Skype: the call function and the video call option. The former is basically a hands-free telephone; you'll be talking to the other person using you're webcam's mike. This is probably the safest and less expensive way to get to know people from other countries. No more racking up the phone bill with calls to France... In order to utilize the video call function, one needs a webcam however. This feature allows you to actually see the person you're conversing with and so it's like you're speaking to them in person. I do want to stress once again that people should be familiar with Internet etiquette and such before meeting random people online!
..... From speaking with "foreigners" (a word which I place in quotation marks since it's sounds negative) on Skype, I've learned a lot about how others perceive America and our values. Practically everybody I've met from the UK to Canada loves Barack Obama... One also gets to hear different accents and forms of slang (i.e. in Canada, people say "settle your kettle" to say "calm down"), which is something we language nerds love! All in all, Skype allows people to become well-rounded in terms of knowledge about the world. You also get to appreciate fun facts you pick up along the way like how the British refer to AP Calculus as Further Pure 1-2. Sounds so futuristic right?
..... Any technology like Facebook and Skype, however, has it's cost: safety. Be sure to get to know the person you want to talk to on Skype before actually calling them. Anyways, one can always have fun simply speaking to friends from school so people, Skype on!

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fanatical Faith: "The Dei Rossis"

Yes, that's what our wonderful Stagg teachers, Erica and Kyle Dei Rossi, are often called- "The Dei Rossi's." And personally, I think they are grouped together this way because they are so connected. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were the same person.

For the most recent issue of the Stagg Line (Distributed January 28th) I decided to take on the story of the Dei Rossi's for our features page. I went into the interview thinking it would be a simple love story about how these two teachers came to be together. Once they started talking, I immediately knew it was going to be much more. I quickly noticed how perfect this couple was together, and it made me further realize the importance of compromise and understanding. Not only in a romantic relationship, but in a friendship as well. In order for people to get along, there has to be that sense of "give and take."

The Dei Rossi's are a perfect example of this: Erica doesn't mind doing laundry if Kyle prepares their lunches. And even though she's not the biggest sports fan, Erica agrees to grade students work while Kyle cheers for his teams.

Though these may seem like small things, they're extremely important in any kind of a relationship. These kinds of agreements, combined with a great deal of unsderstanding, make for a more mutual relationship. With this sense of togetherness, it's almost inpossible to feel controlled.

Even our high school couples could benefit from trying to compromise. Rather than seeing the chick flick that the girlfriend wants to see, or the horror film that the boyfriend wants to see, why not see a comedy?

Small compromises like these can help a relationship better than you'd think. Always having one person make decisions, or having everything going one persons way is no way to have a relationship. If one of them feel like they have no part in the relationship, they may not be happy in it, and they may feel controlled.

Compromise takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice, but it will definitely better any kind of realationship. The Dei Rossi couple showed me that. They are so happy, and it's because they know what it means to give and take.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

That Religious Guy: Perfect Rhythm

..... I have maybe the oldest New Year’s resolution in history: exercise more. Unlike previous years, however, I’m actually doing something about it. On January 2, I purchased myself some running shoes from WalMart. The only painful thing about the transaction was that I was cutting into my Christmas financial loot.

..... About an hour later, I gave my new size 11 Dr. Scholl’s Relays out for a spin. That’s right. No fancy jogging gear for me. Just some cheap footwear from WalMart which comes in a wide selection of vibrant colors: red or blue. I chose blue.

..... So for the past few days, I’ve been trying to squeeze in a few bursts of running into my daily routine. I usually run at night. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be seen huffing and puffing. Maybe it’s because it was nighttime when I purchased my shoes. Maybe it’s a mixture of both reasons. Anyways, I simply prefer the cool, evening Stockton air when I’m running in my Stagg shorts.

..... Tonight, however, was no ordinary night. Tonight, I realized a couple of things about my personality. Tonight, I found some temporary peace in my currently fast-paced life.

..... As you all may know, the seniors have less than five months left of high school. Before you guys pat us on the shoulders and tell us how lucky we are, just remember this: once high school ends, a whole chapter of our lives does to.

..... Amid all the college applications and scholarship essays, my life has been pretty hectic for some time now. I’m experiencing a wide array of emotions, from jealousy because my friends are already receiving acceptance letters while I have yet to receive mine to fear because I’m afraid I’ll be losing some of the greatest people I’ve ever known…

..... Running tonight helped me gain some momentary peace for a while. I’ve always enjoyed running. Ever since sophomore year with the cross-country team, my passion for the activity has grown. When I run I try to achieve what I like to call the perfect rhythm. It involves maintaining a brisk speed, while inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. So when I’m running, it sounds a lot like “Sniff sniff, huff huff.” Breathing too much will give me a stomach cramp while not breathing enough will just make me fall into a dead heap. Finding a middle ground is the key, finding the perfect rhythm is my goal.

..... I guess what I’ve learned from tonight’s run is basically that I need to find my own perfect rhythm when it comes to life in general. I need to stop comparing myself to others (especially to my evil arch nemesis, Jose J., who also doubles as my best friend) and to stop overloading my plate with too many projects. Life is hard as it is without making it more difficult. All I need to do is just go through life at my own pace.

- Jeremy Dela Cruz