Damselfly

•May 2, 2013 • 8 Comments

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Since I don’t have too much time for writing long posts anymore, I thought perhaps I would post some pictures I’ve taken recently. I’ve dabbled in freelance photography for magazines and every now and then I take a good one.

This little damselfly wouldn’t leave me alone the other day in Fort Worth. He even stayed on my thumb long enough for me to get a good picture of him. He was super cute.

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Liebster!

•May 1, 2013 • 4 Comments

liebster award logo

I’m really happy to say that I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by Nadyess at Wordsandroses.wordpress.com, who has a really sweet blog (see for yourself: http://wordsandroses.wordpress.com/).

Liebster is favorite in German, from what I hear. This award is for new-ish bloggers who as of now have less than 200 followers.

To accept the Liebster, you have to link back to the nominator’s blog, answer 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees. Then, you nominate like three to five blogs with less than 200 followers that you think deserve recognition, and you post the award on your blog along with your answers, random facts, questions for your nominees and links to your nominees’ blogs.

Here are my responses to Nadyess’ questions:

1. What do love the most about blogging?

I like reading the thoughts and ideas of writers who who have a lot in common with me. I didn’t know there were so many people who think like I do.

2. What`s your favorite food?

I like cultural and ethnic foods! Which is mostly Chinese around here where I live.. I also love seafood. I don’t really have a favorite food. I like it all.

3. What makes you very happy?

My secret nerd addictions, like comic books and geeky obscure heavy metal bands.

4. What`s the best book you ever read?

Whatever I happen to be reading at the moment. I just finished The Picture of Dorian Gray and I’m working on The Arabian Nights, which I’m really enjoying. If I had to pick one I would say maybe 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 (well, that’s two). I’m about to start reading Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury who also wrote Fahrenheit 451. He was a great writer so I have high hopes for it.

5. Where is your favorite vacation destination and why?

The coast. Any coast really, and because the ocean is beautiful. And if you live in Texas like I do, it’s not all that expensive to drive down to the gulf or even over to the east coast.

6. What`s you favorite season of the year?

Spring, because it’s so pretty. Green is my favorite color and I like seeing it everywhere after a long winter.

7. What advice would you recommend a new blogger?

Keep going, even if your posts aren’t very good and even if you don’t have very many readers, because I’ve noticed that you gradually get better at it (for me, it’s a very slow process).

8. What made you happy today?

Having nothing in particular to do today, and taking the morning slow. I made some hot tea, listened to some of my old records, and my chihuahua Fernando fell asleep in my lap while I finished this post. It’s only a little after noon though, so I may actually get out and do something later. The weather is great today.

9. Who is the most important person in your life?

My sister, who is also my best friend.

10. Is there anything you love to collect?

Guitars and vinyl records, mostly. Also I’ve recently noticed that I’ve accrued a surprsingly large amount of dragon stuff over the years, particularly oil and incense burners. I didn’t intend to collect stuff like that but people always buy this sort of thing for me and I guess I can’t complain. I certainly can’t blame people for buying me nerd stuff.

11.Who is your favorite historical person and why.

George Orwell maybe. I don’t know. Maybe Napoleon because he’s really interesting to read about.

My eleven questions:

1. Who is your favorite musician?

2. What was your biggest childhood dream? Did any part of it ever come true?

3. If your life could be made into a movie, what genre would you want it to be?

4. What is your most irrational fear?

5. How do you feel about the hairstyles of the 80s?

schenker and mccauly

(wow..)

6. Name a song that really blew you away the first time you heard it.

7. How do you define success in life?

8. If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

9. How long has it been since you rock and rolled?

10. What kind of animal is this?

whatisthis

(I’m running out of question ideas.)

11. Do you agree that 11 questions is a little too many for the Liebster award?

I’m glad that’s over. Now, here are some blogs that I picked to nominate. Picking nominees was the hardest part of this because most of the blogs that I love have more than the allotted 200 followers for the award. I hope all of my choices have less than 200 followers, I’m not really sure. I may have screwed up. It does happen from time to time.

Anyway here they are:

http://albertmoyerjr.wordpress.com/

http://notewords.wordpress.com/

http://petspeopleandlife.wordpress.com/

http://rickydeanhall.wordpress.com/

http://alifeintheshire.wordpress.com

http://heavymetaloverload.com/

http://frombooktobook.wordpress.com/

Photos from Google Images and Pinterest.

Fernando

•April 29, 2013 • 15 Comments

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I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I’m not completely off the grid yet. I lost my job and I’ve been very busy looking for a new one. I recently recieved a Liebster Award nomination and I’m still working on the acceptance (it’s actually kind of time consuming looking for blogs that fit the nomination criteria), but I’ll post that soon. For now, here is a series of pictures of my little dog Fernando after his bath, for no particular purpose.

Happy Birthday, David Gilmour

•March 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

david gilmour photo

Photo from guitarparty.com

David Gilmour, best known for his time as the lead guitarist and vocalist for Pink Floyd, turns 67 today. My Fender guitar calendar on my office wall says so. So I thought I would post a little something today to wish a happy birthday to a man whose voice used to put me to sleep when I was a baby.

You can read his bio here at his official website:

http://www.davidgilmour.com/biography.htm

 

Some of them standing, some are waiting in line

As if there was something that they thought they might find

Taking some strength from the feelings that always were shared

And in the background the eyes that just stared

What was it brought you out here in the dark?

Was it your only way of making your mark?

Did you get rid of all the voices in your head?

Do you now miss them and the things that they said?

 

On your own admission you raised up the knife

And you brought it down ending another man’s life

When it was done you just threw down the blade

While the red blood spread wider like the anger you made

I don’t want this anger burning in me

It’s something from which it’s so hard to be free

And none of the tears we cry in sorrow or rage

Can make any difference or turn back the page

~Murder, by David Gilmour

Some Advice to the American Education System

•March 4, 2013 • 4 Comments

Multicultural Harmony by Sara 10, Zehra 12, Ayla 11

Image from www.funkorchildart.com

Here in the U.S. we all know the education system could use some work. We have high dropout rates and a general lack of enthusiasm about learning and self-improvement throughout our country. It’s a picture that would make anyone cynical. One of the biggest boats I think we’ve missed here in the U.S. is the lack of language and culture education in our teaching systems. I’ve been working on getting a bilingual education certification along with my teaching certificate, so I’ve been studying how our country stacks up against countries like Germany, Canada, Finland and Nigeria in the education department. I must say after some research, I’m quite disappointed that our great country is so far behind, and so detached from the rest of the world culturally. We’re supposed to be the melting pot. We should embody those values and embrace other cultures instead of putting our faith in assimilation and pretending the U.S. is the only country in the world like we seem to do. I think our education system is suffering and even failing in many areas because of it.

Apparently, according to my study materials and personal research, students in Germany are commonly educated in French, English, Spanish and Dutch as well as their native language. Students in China and Japan also study English. Students in Luxembourg study French and German along with their native language, Luxembourgish. Through Canada’s immersion programs, students are educated in English and French, and encouraged to learn about different cultures and develop true bilingualism or multilingualism as opposed to having a majority and minority language. In Nigeria, students are taught in English along with another national language such as Hausa, Ibo, or Yoruba. In Singapore, they teach English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. And the examples go on and on. And here in the U.S., students are taught in English only, usually. Why don’t we teach more languages and offer more immersion programs in our public schools? Why don’t we encourage multiculturalism and multilingualism more than we do? Especially in small school districts like the one where I work, we scrape by the requirements by offering a Spanish class here and there. But most of the students get through the classes and never actually learn the language. We seem to have a prevailing opinion here in the U.S. that English is the only important language to know and our own culture is the only one we need to learn about. I’m sure education in our country would greatly improve if we could get out of this mindset.

I know I need to study more on this to get my facts straight, but so far it looks pretty disappointing for us Americans. We tend to force assimilation without meaning to. When a kid comes from another country and enrolls in one of our schools what do we usually do? We want to teach the kid English and Americanize him. We unwittingly try to blot out another native culture and replace it with our own. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with learning English of course, because I know if you live in the U.S. English is the prominent language and it will be much more convenient for you if you know it pretty well. But I don’t believe in an “official language” for our country. I see us as a country that was built on diversity, and I think we should embrace it in all things, especially in education and language. What if, in our schools, we learned from people who immigrated from other countries instead of trying to make them learn from us only? We could really make some progress.

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” ‒ Frank Smith (voxy.com)

Sources and resources:

In Germany, the Future is Bilingual: http://www.dw.de/in-germany-the-future-is-bilingual/a-15401189

Cambridge and Bilingual Education in Europe: http://www.cie.org.uk/docs/qualifications/bilingual_education/Bilingual%20Ed%20factsheet%20v3.pdf

Texas A&M Bilingual Education Certification Course Materials

All original content copyright S.D. de la Rosa, 2013.

Why Buckaroo Banzai Made Me Want to Study History

•March 1, 2013 • 4 Comments

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Scene from Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Photo from http://www.filmlinc.com.

Robocop 1 and 2 and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension have ranked among my favorite movies since the first time I saw them, so it makes sense that I would become a fan of Peter Weller, though I didn’t know his name until recently. It’s also no surprise that movies like this would have an effect on my life’s aspirations, especially as a kid, because anytime you watch a movie with a cool hero you want to be just like him. I think Robocop would make any reasonable person want to be a cyborg and Buckaroo Banzai definitely makes you want to be a scientist (even if that means switching brains with an alien from another dimension and going insane), but it wasn’t until I happened to see Weller on the history channel talking about the Aztecs or something that he actually notably influenced me.

It was totally by chance that I walked by the TV and saw the end of his documentary. I was like, “Hey, that’s Buckaroo Banzai!” I didn’t know his real name, but I was still enough of a fan to sit down and watch the documentary. Right after it ended another one came on where he was talking about the Great Wall of China, so I watched it too. I finally learned his name from the China documentary and now I sometimes actually refer to him as Peter Weller instead of Buckaroo Banzai (he probably wishes his name was Buckaroo Banzai). Apparently he retired from acting some years ago and became a historian. I think that is so cool. He looked like he really enjoyed studying history and telling other people about it. It really made me want to do something like that too.

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Robocop. Photo from screenrant.com.

I’ve always wanted to be some sort of historian or scientist, and it seriously bums me out that I went to school for journalism. Looking back I can’t remember exactly why I gave up my electrical engineering major to study writing. I think I was just looking for something more creative. My engineering classes were disappointing. I always loved sciencey stuff and imagined that being a scientist or an engineer would be more like something out of the comic books. I wanted to build giant robots or invent a new kind of car or study alien biology. I thought electrical engineering would be cool because maybe I could work for a company like Marshall or Fender and design guitar amplifiers and equipment. I thought maybe later I could go on and study entomology or some kind of earth science and then maybe travel around studying life in different parts of the world. When people started laying out more realistic career goals for me, I backed out. At least with writing, if you think of something that can’t be done, you can create a world of your own where it can be done. Maybe that’s what drew me to writing.

Still the fact remains that the real world is much cooler than anything I can come up with as a writer, and I would still love to study it. I’m still young, so I don’t see why not. I took an archeoastronomy class in college that really piqued my interest in ancient world cultures. We studied Stonehenge, the pyramids (both Mexican and Egyptian), early Native American art and architecture, and much more. I want to study anthropology now, and so I’m saving up money to go back to school. There are so many things you can do in a lifetime, but we usually only pick one dream to follow, and sometimes don’t even see it through. I think it’s a tragedy. Buckaroo Banzai was a scientist, inventor, neurosurgeon, musician and martial artist all at once. I don’t see why I can’t do something like that. It’s totally doable.

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” – Vincent Van Gogh (brainyquote.com)

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai (imbd.com)

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Buckaroo Banzai. Photo from msulearntech.pbworks.com.

All original content copyright S.D. de la Rosa, 2013.

A Hanging, by George Orwell

•February 27, 2013 • 2 Comments

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Photo from http://www.guardian.co.uk

I was looking around for a good short story the other day to use in one of my teaching certification class assignments, and I came across A Hanging, by George Orwell, who is one of my favorite writers. I was really struck by this short narrative, because even though it’s a pretty famous piece, I had never read it before. I really admire the way Orwell puts the reader into his own shoes in this story, and makes you feel what he must have felt, watching a man die under such sad circumstances.

I’m not sure but from what I glean, I believe the story is a relation of an actual occurrence in Orwell’s life that happened during his service as a policeman in Burma. It’s a good, very introspective read that kind of makes you examine yourself and your own beliefs. If you want to read it you can find it here: http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/888/. It’s a very short little tale so it won’t take you much time to read, and it’s well worth the time.

“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” – George Orwell (brainyquote.com)

All original content copyright S.D. de la Rosa, 2013.