Bad drivers

Wednesday night I was in Kung Fu and we started talking about bad drivers. We did not know that very close to us an accident had just occurred (full story)

Two teenage girls were struck by a car Wednesday afternoon as they crossed Jefferson Avenue with the help of a school crossing guard, leaving one of them in critical condition.

The incident occurred at 3:04 p.m. at the intersection of Jefferson and Chapel Lane when 79-year-old Kathleen May Fournier, Midland, disregarded a school crossing guard who was helping the two girls, both age 13, cross using the crosswalk, Midland Police report. Fournier was headed north, as the girls crossed to the east.

I was recounting how there had only been one real bad incident where someone had cut me off. The bad part is that they were oblivious of what had happened. The lady driving a minivan that pulled in front of me seemed to not see my car skidding sideways toward her. Thank God I missed her car and nothing happened. Then the next morning I hear about the accident on the news. The other people in class commented how Midland was just horrible because of old drivers. One of the younger kids in the class said but why do they drive? I tried to explain to him how driving is a sense of freedom that no one wants to lose.

I feel really bad for older drivers, they are not all necesarilly bad drivers, but some of them don’t have the vision, reflexes and skills necessary for safe driving. I am torn about this, especially because in some cases they have no one to rely on for some of their needs. Also who wants to lose their sense of freedom?

Stupid Girls

Before you continue to read this entry I invite you to go over to this website and watch the Stupid Girls video. I have liked Pink since her first album, even though I have to admit that I thought she was black before I saw her first video. She has a very soulful voice and can transmit emotion with her voice in a way that I have not heard a white singer do. The first single I listened to ‘Most Girls’, was a very cool R&B hit. Her career has evolved and she has jumped genre and is now more of a pop rock kind of act, but her music is still very good, in my opinion. While other singers like Christina Aguilera have touched the subject of “our society wanting to turn girls into babies that wear a size zero dress” with the song Beautiful, Pink’s all out attack on the current “celebrity” craze is blunt and nails a straight punch into the real problem.

Webster defines celebrity as a celebrated person. When you look up celebrated, it does not state that being followed by a group of people taking pictures of you while you try to take a step just because you are in a movie, or you are rich, that you should be celebrated. I admire people’s talents. I love certain actors and their performances, they should be recognized for the work they do… but I don’t believe in the whole celebrity idea. I am not going as far as saying that celebrities are destroying our society, but people’s misunderstanding of what they are is really hurting all of us.

Just because a celebrity looks a certain way does not mean that every single woman in the world should look like her. I like fashion, my sister wanted to become a fashion designer and even though she chose a different career she still managed to make her own prom dress that came out beautiful. Fashion is cool when it shows creativity, but when a celebrity wears a hat or some kind of shoes and then everyone stars wearing it, kind of makes me sick. I wear stuff that I like, that looks cool and I feel comfortable in. I don’t wear stuff because someone else wears it. I would wear a Vote for Pedro shirt, because I love the Napoleon Dynamite movie and think it is hilarious, but not because everyone else is wearing it.

Today’s problems in our society have to do a lot with lack of identity. We are not encouraged to come up with our own identity but to pick one from a variety of established ones. We are either pro something or anti something… there is no middle, there is no gray areas and we have to adopt labels at every step we take. Since when is being a individual became an almost insurmountable quest?

Pinks video shows one of my dreams. I want to see a woman president. While the prospect of Hilary Clinton or Even Oprah becoming president scares me, I do think we need to see a woman as the president. It makes me sad when I see so many young girls wanting to look like the people they see on TV. I am even sadder when those same girls want to be older than they are and jump into adulthood when they are only 12. Is the information age overloading our young ones brain with so much information that they are confused about what they should become? I know I don’t have all the answers, I know I am still confused even though I am getting close to being 30. I also know that I am an individual and even though I ended up being defined by an array of labels like, Hispanic, Martial Artist, Biker, Geek and Gamer, I still chose to be all of those things, I am not ashamed of being called any of those things, instead I am proud to know that I can be several different things and that no label will ever define everything that I am.

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Am I watching a movie or a commercial?

When I watch a movie I do not expect to be bombarded by product placement. It is bad enough that watching the super bowl has turned into a lets watch the super bowl commercial affair. The game could completely be mediocre but we watch just to see what Budweiser uses for frogs this year.

Man has Nick Cage done a 180 on my book. He used to be an actor that I though was excellent, Raising Arizona, Face Off, even Gone in 60 seconds. Now he just seems to want to be the center of the movie that is narrated by him, with only the product that he is pedaling to compete for camera time. It was an all out assault on my wallet to watch weatherman. It seemed like the guy selling the product placement during the movie had a fast food addiction. I think every single place for fast food was represented either as being eaten or thrown at Cage.

The movie also seems to be getting paid to drop the F bomb. Almost every single character in the movie uses it like it was part of their contract.

That was not the sad part about the movie. One of the characters was reduced to being a smoking kid that is called camel toe… and while the kid seems oblivious to what the insult means, the movie does a very graphic job at explaining to us what camel toe is. Keep your kids away for sure. While the movie does do a couple of PSA with don’t let your kid smoke, and don’t let the guidance counselor fondle your teenager, I recommend you stay away from this movie. It will for sure make you want to throw some junk food at the screen.

How far is heaven?

I have been saving this topic for quite some time. It is one of those topics that runs around my head, sometime just at a slow pace, sometimes running as if stole something. It has been just a rant about heaven but it was brought to the forefront of my mind this weekend. I was asked do I know for sure if I will go to heaven? I did not hesitate to say sure. I am not sure why Christians have such a complicated way to look at the concept of eternal happiness. It seems to want to become the most complicated question that transcends even existentialism. The why am I here? becomes, I should want to be somewhere else, I should long for eternal happiness. Then you mix in the whole “Salvation” concept and the “rules” that one must not break so that St Peter meets us at the Pearly Gates and lets us into heaven. Being Catholic complicates matters just a little further with the concept of Purgatory.

It would take me years to fully explore those subjects. A process that at times seemed to me the only appealing thing of becoming a priest and joining the seminary. I would have joined if I could accomplish quest for knowledge and understanding of all those subjects that I stated before. The whole rest of rules that becoming a priest involve kind of shut down that idea, but Theology has always been an interesting subject and one I feel I have not studied enough. I have visited plenty of Churches and even worshiped with the for periods of times, but it would almost be like saying that I am an expert on Mexican cuisine just because I eat quite often at taco bell.

Personally I believe in a very simple way. I know I am a good person, I know I try to do the right thing in most situations and truly try not to harm anyone. Am I perfect? Of course not. Am I still making mistakes that I should have put behind me years ago? Yea, that is what makes me human. However I do follow a path that involves a lot of self-reflection and self-actualization. Before I completely get off the subject I want to state something that bothers me about the concept of heaven.

Why don’t we have heaven here on earth?

It really bothers me that religions (at least most of the ones I have studied) believe in another plane, an afterlife, another universe where everything is happy and ok. Why don’t we believe in making our life here and now heaven? Why do we have to wait to go to heaven to be truly happy? Why can we truly be Christians and be happy about our time here on earth. I have always thought that Jesus was a very cool guy; to me he is the ultimate friend. I think the Christian religion missed God’s point of sending Jesus to earth. I think God send Jesus not just to save us all, but to show us that life here can be heaven on earth. If we follow his message and love one another and everything that the thought entails I think heaven can be here on earth. Let me know what you think.

You don’t speak Mexican?

If Mexican were a language, it would still be hard for me to speak it. The biggest reason would be that I was in Colombia and not in Mexico. Even though I was born in Colombia, I don’t speak Colombian. I know it seems strange doesn’t it. Now if people put a little thought into it, they would realize that words like Hispanic, Spanish, and Latin have more to do with language than actual ethnicity. Not too long ago I wrote about the subject and how I am proud of in a way being Mexican by being Latin.

There is something to be said about the American school system. I remember in Colombia learning about every country in the world, knowing what language they spoke, their currency, population, flag and type of government. I knew that in the United States they spoke English. While it could be debatable if Americans really speak the Queen’s English or an American version of it, the language is still called English and I have never asked anyone if they speak American. That would make a lot more sense since even the aliens on the movies speak English. The bad guys for some reason have an English or French accent but that is a whole other post.

Yesterday enjoying lunch with some coworkers the subject of ethnical identity came up; it was stated that to most non-Spanish people, when they see someone that looks Spanish they are automatically deemed Mexicans. Now this has been true for both Michigan and Illinois. I am not sure if in New York people think all Spanish people are Puerto Rican or in Miami everyone thinks they are Cuban, but in the Midwest being Spanish automatically makes you Mexican.

I had experienced this same conversation before with various groups of people. Most people then get very defensive when I tell them that I am not Mexican, and ask why do I care if I am called Mexican. I have nothing against Mexicans, my sister is married to a Mexican, I have Mexican friends, love Mexican food and furthermore I think that the Aztecs and Mayans were civilizations to be admired. However I am also very proud of my own heritage. I am very proud of being Colombian even though my country does not have the most positive image in the world’s eyes.

The other question that is often asked is: “What is your real name?” A lot of people, including some Spanish people think that I changed my name once I moved to the United States. I’ve had people try to call me Juan, which is the translation of John to Spanish… but not my name, I was born John, it is the name my parents picked. So talk to them about naming me with an English name. Do me a favor and don’t accuse me of “Americanizing” my name.

While language unites Spanish people, or Hispanics, or Latinos, or whatever it is politically correct to call us these days, we are not a united front. There are very deep division lines betweens people from different Spanish countries and a lot of people outside of our ethnicity do not realize that. People from different countries seem to just dislike you for being from a country different that theirs; I have experienced this dislike first hand. I do seem to get along with pretty much anyone, but because of food similarity, or music taste I have always seemed to get along with Cubans and Puerto Ricans. But it does not stop there, I am also a big fan of Spanish rock and thanks to it I was got to meet couple of guys from Guatemala during high school. I believe the only person that I know from El Salvador is JorgeQ. I hope that I never experience that country segregation and that someone will not read me just because I am from Colombia. Overall though there is a division, I am not sure if it is Central Americans vs. South Americans or what, but what I do know is that no one likes Argentineans, “they are kind of stuck up.” (Joking)

I am not trying to offend anyone here; I like everyone for who they are as people and like to find out where people are from just because I love to learn about cultures, not because I am not going to like you because of where you are from; Even if you are from Argentina. I am trying to point out how ridiculous it is to have all the prejudice that we see between Spanish people, or for that matter between humans of all races. It is cool to be proud of where you are from, of who you are, but make it a springboard for unity, find common ground. Do not make the color of your skin an excuse to find differences and things to divide you from your fellow humans. I am extremely proud of my flag and I wear it on my arm (literarily), but I want it to be taken as a sign of pride and not arrogance. While Colombians are very proud people, at times a little too loud and at times just annoying, I can tell you that as a group of people we have “ganas” (drive) and hearths as big as our houses.
On the spirit of humor one of my coworkers found a little Homies figurine depicting a Mexican Mariachi. I thought it was hilarious, now it is going to be eaten by my dragon.