“It’s almost 2am in Egypt, and amid all the drama on our screens and rumours zipping around on the web, we shouldn’t lose sight of one basic and incredible fact – for the ninth night running, ordinary Egyptians are on the streets in their thousands, still bound together with remarkable social solidarity, still battling their three-decade-old dictatorial regime, still holding their ground even as it is rained on by rocks and molotov cocktails.
Downtown Cairo is aflame tonight, its streets playing host to block-by-block, roof-by-roof, corner-by-corner urban warfare – but it’s the bravery behind those fighting that battle that should really be leaving people open-mouthed.” — Jack Shenker
For all those kids who ask me what I plan on doing with my life…
As soon as you see how long this is I guarantee you won’t read it. So first I’ll give you a treat to make this post much more epic. This song-a cover of The Climb! A song I absolutely hated till now. Funny how these four guys lend this song an air of legitimacy that Miley seriously lacks.
So. I don’t know exactly what it was about today that felt so good. It had all the ingredients for disaster: I overslept my alarm, stared at a computer all day, then spent 45 min in traffic to get 3 miles back to my house. But do you know what? I felt rested all day, my boss didn’t care at all, I got to meet the new intern, found some cool new facts while researching films, and managed to catch some of my favorite songs on the radio. And I managed to have an epiphany, so allow me to indulge myself for a moment as I work this stuff out in writing.
I think the tendency to dichotomize has become pretty popular in this day and age. For me it’s always been grad school or travelling, nursing school or film school, LA or LB, medicine or creativity, money or broke-ness, friday or saturday, peaches or pineapples, etc. etc.
Here’s the problem-I’m starting to realize life isn’t constructed into perfect either/ors. Maybe it was back in the day where half these modern industries don’t exist, long distance travel wasn’t feasable, and women weren’t even working. But heck! There’s a reason they call this the land of opportunity!
I used to wonder when I was younger why my life was different from so many other kids. In a weird way I’d feel guilty that my family was so strong, that my friends supported me, and I was able to go to good schools. This isn’t to say I never had any problems growing up, but I certainly wasn’t worried about getting shot outside my house or my parents abandoning me. Yet I felt like I needed to suffer, that those things made me spoiled, and that I was a brat for enjoying it. But now I think I’m starting to get it. God gave me a good family so that I could share it and even build a family that went farther than the blood in our veins. He taught me to love and I think that’s why my heart tends to burst into joy explosions at the tiniest hints of goodness.
To be honest there’s nothing I like more than cheering people up. I’m not always happy, goodness knows I’ve had a few heinous mood swings in my day, but the fact is no matter how crummy I feel I have this thought in my mind that this self-indulgent depression is both selfish and ridiculous. I wish I could say that snaps me out of it right away, but the fact is it doesn’t. I’m working on that though.
So how does this relate to futures?
Life isn’t about pleasing yourself
It doesn’t matter what job you do, because the reality is that no matter what if your heart’s in the right place God promises He can and will do craazy things
Work on yourself before you expect to see those results in your pals (trust me on this one, learning it the hard way isn’t fun)
LOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
I don’t know why I made those bullet points because they aren’t even my main point. Here’s the thing kids-WE CAN DO ANYTHING WE WANT!!!!
And as of right now-today-this very second-I want to change the way we think.
What are the biggest problem for non-profit organizations? Well first and foremost money, and secondly applying research/knowledge to create the most effective intervention possible.
What does Hollywood clearly have too much of? Money!
What do schools and average people have? Knowledge of things that do and don’t work and ideas for change in the future!
So why aren’t we putting these things to use?!?! I don’t KNOW!!! But what I do know is that it’s going to have to change. And if no one else is going to do it, well let’s get started!
Couldn’t we build some sort of nonprofit production company/studio that acted as both a nonprofit and a creative film/video/whatever maker?! We’d either partner with pre-existing organizations or build our own. Who knows, maybe we’ll make some hospitals or something! But what we will for sure do is team up with student researchers to determine which areas have the greatest need for which interventions. We’ll build lasting relationships (we don’t dine and dash!) and really try to help out the community as a whole. Of course these interventions will also provide permanent training and employment for some people in the area. We could also give them a chance to tell their stories in their own ways, from their own perspectives, that way they can be actively involved in creating a better future.
The best part of this is that it’s a model that could be replicated for any population. Whether it be kids in America that have a rare type of cancer that isn’t being researched, or poor fishermen in Indonesia whose homes have been devastated by a storm, it’s all possible!
And on the creative side, we’d never run out of material! We could work with a wide variety of directors and writers, so long as they understand that we need to keep the budgets as low as possible. The revenues would go primarily toward the charity projects, but also toward financing future features. We could do music videos, animated shorts, feature films, whatever! Because basically we’d just be a network of creative people with a passion to do something more with our money than buying another flat in the city! Who knows, maybe someday we’d even branch out of film into music and graphic art!
So maybe I don’t know where I’ll be in ten years, or even who I’ll be with. I’m no hurry though-God’s time is good, as are his plans. I’m confident that no matter what happens it’s gonna be okay. So I’m gonna start my EMT program in the fall, and hopefully get a job soon after. I may apply for UCLA/USC film school, but I may not. Then comes graduation, hopefully followed by an adventure to discover the world I’ve never seen but am so passionate about. Maybe the next fall I’ll be going back to LA for film school, or maybe I’ll decide to finish my prereqs for nursing school at LBCC before applying for a nursing program.
But what I do know is that the crazy place this world is, we can change it kids. And if we don’t try, no one ever will. Let’s not let our passions get swallowed by dreams of fame and money-that’s of course a risk in this business-but it isn’t a necessity. We can change that.
or “How I Cracked the Biggest Case Since Watergate”
If you are not a cyborg, chances are you love paletas. Who could refuse this frozen treat’s delicious fruit chunks or smooth taste?!?! If you are a cool human, then you will most enjoy guava-flavored paletas. Exotic and soothing, I believe they are one of God’s gifts sent from heaven to man.
However, if you’ve ever craved a paleta, you’ll know that can be difficult to find. Most often they are only available from a Mexican him/herself, and frequently vendors just “happen to be out of” guava pops. Now, having been trained in academia to never accept such a casual answer without asking questions, I knew I would have to investigate why this is so. Yet while on my quest I have stumbled upon what is perhaps the most well-conceived conspiracy since the ET cover up.
I will begin with the Hermanos.
Hermanos Unidos is a student group at UCLA that claims to be a cultural association, fostering brotherhood and unity. However one look at their logo will tell you this is not the case-Hermanos is, in fact, a small group of Latin elites that have managed to take over all paleta circulation here in campus. They hold the strings to every paleta that ever sets foot in Westwood.
Sure, you may say, but why should I care?
Well. Here’s where it gets messy. In every paleta is a a full ounce of crack cocaine. It’s a well known-fact within the Mexican sphere, allows old guys to make a lot of cash in a little time. Usually the crack is put in guava paletas (hence why they are much more rare then any other flavor) and sold by Wal-Mart greeters pushing popsicle carts. But when I saw this old PSA PeeWee did against crack use, something clicked. Remember when PeeWee got arrested for indecent exposure awhile back? Well turns out the arresting officer’s name was…wait for it…Officer Juan Valdez. I did some more investigating and found out Valdez was, in fact, of Mexican heritage. Apparently PeeWee’s PSAs had been incredibly effective in turning kids away from the drug scene, and the Hermanos were not very happy about this. Paleta revenues actually decreased by 12.8% in a span of 7 weeks. The Hermanos needed this guy stopped, and fast, so they sent Valdez to do the dirty work.
You may say that while this is all interesting, the fact is that these events are all in the past. This, however, is precisely where you (and most historians) are wrong.
Ever hear of the Illuminati?? Well if not, here’s a basic rundown-born in Bavaria, this secret society has orchestrated numerous government takeovers and been behind every major assassination in the last few hundred years. The Illuminati is also a primarily Caucasian society that has frequently fraternized with ancient aliens. They are more currently known for their opposition to immigration laws and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as for their involvement in recent American government experiments of questionable taste . (They hold a grudge against Mexicans in particular because Pancho Villa killed 19 of them in his revolutionary quest.)
It is in the face of this threat that two very different and very powerful groups-the Hermanos and the Black Panthers-have united. Though largely a sympathetic union in the past, recent events have called the alliance out of the woodwork. With paleta salesmen skimming the top of guava-pop sales, revenues are still down. Separately, the groups grow weaker while the Illuminati gain headway every day. But together, these brave soldiers still stand a chance to win this age-old battle against aliens, fascists, and lameness.
I tell you these things because I want the world to know the truth before it is too late. I know too much for my own good and the Panthers have already begun surveillance. I was followed on campus today from one side of campus to another, causing me to grow increasingly suspicious. While I have uncovered many strange and interesting truths, the distrust of the Hermanos/Panthers suggests to me that there is still one more pivotal piece missing from this puzzle. I will not rest until I have solved the mystery-even if it means my own demise.
Do it all out of love and joy for your Lord-not out of duty (for frankly, a kind deed done purely out of obligation can be cold and offensive), but let them flood as the overflow of your heart. Perhaps the heart is not near overflowing and is, in fact, much closer todrying up completely. If this is true then immerse yourself in worship. In this God will demonstrate His faithfulness through your life; for your life is not your own, and all great works of man come from the hand of God.
Therefore, if your “Christian track record” is not as “impressive” as those of the missionaries and church planters next door, doubt not—your faith is fueled by the Lord and His plan is perfect in creation and fulfillment. Christ has given us every tool we need to testify of His divine beauty through even our most flawed endeavors. In our weakness and vulnerability His power and glory shall be illuminated, for we are His lights in this world. We are not, then, to be passive pack-mules who simply carry the gospel down a trail—nay, we must be “passionated” servants who delight to take God’s very words and scream them into the most forsaken jungles of our deprived world!!
It’s funny how the things we work hardest for don’t even matter. This school man…this school has us so programmed that we avoid even being with our families in work’s name. If you look at Facebook statuses (a truly valid data set) you’ll find that 90% of UCLA students address their overwhelmingly large load of schoolwork on any given day. Do you realize how terrible that is? 90% care more about finishing papers and studying for tests than we do our friends, our families, and our Gods. I spend probably 970x more a week stressing about school than I spend thinking about God and eternity. How distorted a ratio is that?
What will our good grades and finished papers get us? Let me tell you. Maybe 20 years ago they would have put us at an advantage when looking for a job, but not anymore. Not when all incidences of grade inflation and cheating abound. Your degree means nothing except that you have the rest of your indebted life to look forward to. Has it trained you for a post-school job? Mine hasn’t. Absolutely no vocational training. If I want to work for anyone other than McDonalds I’ve got to go to at least a year and a half of grad school. No one even knows what my major means-for Pete’s sake, it was suspended for almost a year! It means you can take random classes and get some knowledge, then have a ton of pressure applied to you because you’re at UCLA where champions go. Seriously, if these sleep-deprived stress cases are our “champions,” I have absolutely no desire to fit that mold. I don’t want to be in the library with my face in a textbook until 4am-I want to be talking to people, building relationships, changing the world, and having a life! I wonder sometimes, why college is glorified so much. Sure, it’s fun at times, but it’s funny how the campus tour guides conveniently leave out the fact that you’re life stops the minute you walk past Bruin Walk. Your life is school-all other priorities are abolished, and work becomes your utmost concern.
Nope. The best skills this school has taught me is how to procrastinate and stress-2 things I think I already knew enough about.