Friday, April 28, 2006

Flashback Friday: Lite-Brite

Does this jingle ring a bell? "Lite-Brite, Lite-Brite, Turn on the magical shining light!"…No? Perhaps this one might? "Lite-Brite, makin' things with light. Outtasite, makin' things with Lite Brite."

Ahh…Lite-Brite, that wonderful invention that kids just can’t get enough of. It’s simple in design really, black peg board that’s backlit. You place simi-translucent colored pegs into the board, and wait till its night time to really see that Lite-Brite magic.

Lite-Brite itself was introduced to the market in 1967 and it’s pretty impressive to see it still around when many toys fall out of fashion soon after its release. Furby anyone?

I can’t speak for everyone but I know there were a good many youths that got stuck playing with Lite-Brite for hours on end. Is that a bad thing…No. It actually allowed for kids to be creative and make something without creating a big arts and crafts mess. The only down side really is that you’d have to clean up all these little pegs…well then there’s that occurrence when you ran out of that one color of peg that you really wanted to finish up your sweet artsy picture. But other than that, all was well in the world.

Those were good times looking back on the Lite-Brite days. Sometimes I wonder why we enjoyed such a simple little contraption then I remember it could have been that I just enjoyed being a kid, then again I still think its fun…

If this blog has piqued your interest to relive some of those old memories, or perhaps start some new ones try out Lite-Brite online at the following link.

If you would like to learn more about Lite-Brite then check out Wikipedia:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What's In The Numbers?

""If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remainingthe same, it would look similar to this: 57 Asians; 21 Europeans; 14 from theWestern Hemisphere; 8 Africans; 52 would be female; 48 would be male; 70 wouldbe non-white; 30 would be white; 70 would be non-Christian; 30 would beChristian; 89 would be heterosexual; 11 would be homosexual; 6 people wouldpossess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the UnitedStates.; 80 would live in substandard housing; 70 would be unable to read; 50would suffer from malnutrition; 1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth; 1would have a college education; 1 would own a computer: When one considers ourworld from such an incredibly compressed perspective, the need for bothtolerance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent."

Really when you break down those numbers it’s rather staggering what all that really means.

So we really don’t see these types of imbalances living in America. I can definitely see this as plausible though when factoring 3rd world countries, which we don’t really hear about the majority of the time.

Now living in America we’re fortunate enough to allow every child an equal opportunity to succeed, what if it wasn’t that way? What would America be like if only a few privileged few kids got to go to school? That doesn’t sound too fair to me.

That’s the everyday reality that some of these kids out there have to deal with, sometimes it really can seem hopeless when you really don’t know your place in the world. What’s even worse is that from the information that I’ve seen the majority of the uneducated are females.

In many parts of the world females are still considered only good enough to do housework and raise kids. A woman’s value far surpasses this, and while it’s their culture and in some cases their religion. However since this is my show I can say what they believe is the truth is a veil of archaic beliefs that cloud the true beauty and potential of a woman.

What’s even more shocking in those numbers is that only 1 would have a college education and only 1 would own a computer. These things are something that we take for granted without a blink of an eye.

In America college doesn’t always seem to be of importance to many people however when people put their lives on the line just to get an education, we should feel more fortunate. Yeah, you don’t always need college to make something of yourself but it sure does help. Sure, many people are confused when they get there but that’s part of the journey as a person…it only makes you stronger.

College may not be all for education in essence, it could be more about the travels your take, and the experiences that you’ve gained. Be glad we live in a society in America where you can partake in that. It’s not something that should be taken lightly.

In all, cherish what you have, be fortunate for where you are, hope for a better tomorrow, and make a better today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nuclear Effects

Today marks the 20 year anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster, and possibly one of the worst ecological disasters in recent times. Yes, it’s been 20 years since that faithful day in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and we’re still feeling the effects of what happened.

What can you really say about what happened?

The short term consequences of what happened led to the hospitalization of 203 people of which 31 died, 28 of which were from radiation exposure. This also had an adverse effect on living conditions in the area causing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

We’re only starting to see some of the long lasting health problems the people in the surrounding areas are faced to live and in some cases die with. Thyroid cancer is fairly common amongst those who live in the surrounding areas touched by radioactive fallout and future generations may have health problems as well, this however remains to be seen. The Ukrainian Health Minister suggests that more than 2.4 million Ukrainians suffer from health problems related to the disaster

San Onofre, nestled snug between Los Angeles and San Diego, is home to a nuclear power plant. This hits a little close to home when hearing about Chernobly because the fallout from the coast will probably hit both Los AngelesSan Diego, two huge metropolitan areas. and

It’s a scary thought to think that if a meltdown occurred in San Onofre, how would a large scale evacuation work…would it even work? I can recall with vivid recollection what the evacuation was like when the coastal cities along the gulf, it wasn’t a pretty site. The highways looked like parking lot for miles, and it would take hours upon hours to go one mile due to stalled cars, cars with no fuel, and a myriad of other planning problems.

No, I don’t believe Los Angeles, San Diego, or any other city in America is really ready to up and leave with the populations the way they are, and the real lack of good freeways away from the major metropolitan cities. Going eastward from the bay cities of California is a pick your poison of 2 lane freeways.

Sometimes the numbers don’t always tell the tale, paper doesn’t show the emotion, and nor can it give you the profound images that linger in the minds of those who were affected by this. I found the images in the following links a somber reminder of what remains and I was humbled by them. Feel free to visit them if you would like to check them out as well.

And with that I'll leave today with this quote...
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mondays and there after

The day has come to an end and frankly I think everyone tends to get a “case of the Mondays” sometime or another. A bad day isn’t really avoidable but persevering through it ultimately makes for a more fulfilling day, much more so than focusing on the negativity that it instills.

Getting up in the morning isn’t so bad, you know what to expect and in general you’re ready to go without too much of a problem. Take your morning shower, get dressed, and a pick your poison shot of your favorite energy drink and off you go.

Making it to your destination is sometimes a chore in itself that’s more fatiguing than some people think. Yeah I’m talking about morning traffic. The majority of us aren’t fortunate enough to wake up and get to work down the street, yes the majority of suburbia has to get up and make that dreaded 7 letter word a reality…C-O-M-M-U-T-E.

Some sadistic, masochistic, or some other “stic” type person may actually enjoy the commute. I can’t speak for them but when you have see people in L.A. and other places getting into road rage over trivial things you know the commute is getting to them.

I’m not going to sit here and preach about “road rage” and on road mannerisms, or lack there of. It’s a huge discussion and deserves its own write up. Now Back to Mondays…

Once at work things get flowing pretty well and the day is over before you know it.

I suppose most people get a “case of the Mondays” because they enjoy not having the responsibility to be somewhere at a certain time with certain accountabilities associated with that. It’s all well and good since it’s only once a week and before you know it, it’s Wednesday and you realize the weekend is no more than a few days away.

Try to look at Mondays and everyday for that matter with a positive attitude; be fortunate you can do the things you love to do. Every day, every moment, every breath, be thankful. Cherish what you have, for every day is special.

The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.” - Elbert Hubbard

Monday, April 24, 2006

Saluting Earth

Earth Day has come and gone, but have we really learned from it? There’s a multitude of factors that play into if we’ve really learned anything, but I would have to say unequivocally no.

Just one look at the gas stations around and you can tell, we’re using up natural resources and fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow. These fossil fuels and such do burn, and last time I checked things that we burn end up in the air. Part of what Earth day is for is to appreciate where we live but the unfortunate circumstance from burning all these fossil fuels is that we’re making that wonderful place where we live uninhabitable.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure to drive through Los Angeles or any other major metropolitan area, you’ll see a great deal of cars sitting idle during rush hour traffic. We rely so heavily on fossil fuels to just sit idle while we’re burning them all away. What if all those cars in LA were converted to Hybrids that, when idling they burn no gas. I’m sure we’d see some improvements in air quality and fuel consumption.

Earth day may not have as great of an impact on people perhaps because many live in metropolitan areas. The sight of nature is few and far between now a day and oftentimes we’re only fortunate enough to come across a small patch of land once in a while in the form of a park. Then there are those lucky enough to live in a coastal region and aside from having to weave your way through the multitude of beach front properties, it’s genuinely a nice place to be…when there isn’t a surf advisory for raw sewage (as we frequently see living in San Diego).

I’m not innocent either; I drive a car like pretty much everyone else when I could be carpooling or taking public transit. I don’t always recycle because it’s not convenient, and the last time I checked I didn’t save any trees by using that fresh white paper to make some great looking airplanes to toss around the office.

So in all we really can’t put the blame on any one person, when it’s everyone’s problem. Earth day is a start, but we should be reliving Earth day every day. Last time I checked good old Earth wasn’t complaining because it wasn’t convenient to have billions of people around. Maybe we shouldn’t complain so much when it’s not convenient to do something out of the way to help Earth out.

If you would like to read more on Earth day check out:

Friday, April 21, 2006

A walk in the clouds…

I like to think of the weekends as a time to renew and rejuvenate your spirit and your soul. We focus so much on the here and now that we tend to forget about our self in the normal pandemonium that we consider a daily routine.

Now I’ve always thought that it’s important to remember the other parts of your well being such as mind and soul, but what’s truly remarkable is how big of a difference it really makes to take that extra time to refresh. When you hear that saying “Mind over matter” you quickly think of someone thinking their way through a problem, but I also see it as your mind’s strength to do something.

We really only use a fraction of what our brain can mature to be, why is that? What have we not tapped yet, that our brain can do? Some of the greatest thinkers ever may have only used 10% of their brain’s capacity, so there has to be more that it can give. Is this possibly the “Mind’s Eye” that lay within untapped potential?

I suppose you can sum it all up with a bunch of questions but little answers, but I do know that without the mind and soul you’d never see people realize full potential. From observation athletes tend to push themselves not only to their physical limits, but mental limits. Often times you’ll see people fatigue more mentally and make mistakes whitest the stronger willed person will prevail.

Taking a look at martial artist who break boards, stones, and various other inanimate objects you normally couldn’t break, isn’t only training of the body, but a training of the mind and soul. I recall the term “seeing through the object” coming into play where you don’t focus purely of what’s in front of you but what’s behind as well. I suppose you could use that saying for life as well, but that’s another discussion all together.

So what I propose that you treat yourself, sit without too much distractions, turn on some soft music, drink some tea or a hot beverage of your choosing, and just sit for a while. Close your eyes after a bit and just enjoy not having to do anything, it’s a rare pleasure in this day and age to sit and reflect upon the melodic harmonies strung through the air.

"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities." - Aldous Huxley

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Knowing your role?

I thought I would start this entry off with a little inspiration in the form of a haiku that I wrote

Staring into moon
Thinking what tomorrow brings
Im not lost anymore

Now that we got the introduction out of the way I had an interesting day to sit and lament over knowing your role. What does that really mean? Im not sure, and Im probably not qualified to tell you what your role is but why is it that society puts roles on everyone just to pass judgment on them. For one reason or another someone got the bright idea to give everyone a once over looking at them and say thats where you belong, which in turn puts a check mark next to your name and who you are to be.

I disagree with how society judges people for various reasons but its shameful that we think we give everyone an equal opportunity when thats far from the truth. Why are there shows on TV that interchange Caucasian and African Americans with each other, pigmenting their skin and having them live a life on the other side of the fence?
If that doesnt tell you theres obviously something askew with societys labels then perhaps I can open some eyes.

I'd like to think that I myself give everyone an equal opportunity at showing me who they really are. I guess were all quick to judge, but in time you learn to have a little more faith in humanity and let people show their true colors to you. Many times first impressions, while always important, dont genuinely show you who that person really is. Give them a chance to come out of their shell a bit and express who they are and what they like to do. Theres nothing worse than telling someone who they are before theyve said it for themselves.

I've seen plenty ladies out there who love to participate in kickboxing and even quite a few who weight lift. Im not sure who really passes judgment on them but I notice they get some strange looks. Why is that? Why is that lady whos bench pressing as much as any guy getting those looks as if you swallowed a lemon?

Now I applaud those efforts because not only are they doing something they love to do, but they are doing it despite what society believes is acceptable for them to do. So next time, when you see that lady in the gym, give her a thumbs up.
Oh, and it doesnt stop there. This is more of a male stigma towards women but just listen for a second. Remember that one girl that you see all the time, you know the one that all the guys stare at and think shes gods gift. Well ever stop and think what shes all about? What if shes a med student at a prestigious university, most people (READ: guys) dont see past that, which is a shame.

This type of stigma happens to me quite often in fact. I suppose I dont look like the type of person who enjoys cooking, museums, and some classical music. Sure I have some A-typical traits, but when I share what I enjoy doing with other people I get some strange responses. You get the Oh no way to the Yeah right answers typically, however some are more accepting than others. What happens all too often is people are hesitant until I start popping off answers to their barrage of questions.

There was a time in which I recall mentioning I cook to someone, in which they quickly snipped back So what did you have for dinner? I suppose at this point they were expecting a candid answer of Mac n Cheese from a blue and yellow box. That wasnt the case at all as I simply replied Well I got home and made herb crusted pan seared lamb with a red wine vino sauce. The look I got was priceless.

Now what does that say about the society that we live in? Well I can tell you that were all quick to judge a book by its cover and we rarely take the time to read its pages. Last time I checked that book on the shelf, it looked a little worn but I use it every Sunday.

So Ill close this entry out with a simple quote..

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -Voltaire

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A day to remember...

Seeing as this is my first genuine attempt at creating a blog or something even close to it, dont expect anything fantastic as I wouldnt want to let anyone down.
I thought I would start off with simply rehashing something that happened in history today April 19th.

The siege at Waco, Texas, ended when FBI moved into the Branch Davidian compound with tear gas and cult members set fire to the compound killing over 80 people.

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla., was destroyed by a car bomb. 168 people, including 19 children were killed in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history up to that time.

Germany's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

So it seems as though today really has some violent recent history as well as a rebirth of sorts for the Catholic Church. I hate thinking that the only news we hear is bad news but this is typical of what we tend to see on the evening news while flipping through the channels.
In 93 I recall seeing the Waco standoffs but little did I know all the meaning behind it. I looked at the situation as little more than a crazy cult of religious nuts gone askew.

Now looking back and actually reading up about the situation there were many lives that were affected many of which were negatively affected. When you think about all the aspects in which the whole ordeal touched individuals, from those sitting in front of their TVs shaking their heads in disgust as the complex is ablaze, to those who were actually there trying to negotiate with irrationality, it seems disheartening in a way. Why is it that you cant stop time and help, or just try to do something differently?

Take a moment and think, now how many lives were lost through the whole ordeal, especially the younger victims. Its mind boggling to really think about that, but you have to think that they could have been something in this world, but all theyre now known for is their name attached to such a negative piece of time.

Taking a quick little trip down to 1995 when pogs were the hot commodity, not Pokemon or Yugi-Oh. Pop in some Hootie and the Blowfish I Only Wanna Be With You and just take a step back for a moment. Oh, you dont like Hootie? Well perhaps in the vast archive of music theres something 95 that will get you in that time frame.
Ok so in 95 we see a disgusting terror attack on Oklahoma Citys Alfred P. Murrah Federal building. This attack killed 168 people. Frankly it takes your breath away when you imagine each of those people as babies, walking and chatting amongst each other, then their life ending in a blink.

I recall seeing the pain that all the families went through during this time, its even more vivid in my mind than that of which occurred in 93. I hate to think that society breeds hate but what can you really say when you mindfully go out and make a bomb to blow up a building. This hits a bit close to home as were still reeling off the 911 tragedy in 2001.
I cant speak for everyone but I know that I try to look at things in a different light now. I mean what is really a suicide or terror attack, perhaps a failed cry for help?

Not everyone will get along but you can always hope that by you doing something different that one day that you can touch a person in a way that theyll consider doing something just a little different. Talk to that neighbor thats right next door, maybe they lost their job today and could use a friendly hello. Say hi to that stranger on the corner as you make your way to Starbucks, what if thats the only nice thing hell hear that day?

Were not all perfect but I think we can all make a difference in each others lives, I know I feel that if I can have a positive effect on just one person that my life isnt in vein. If I can help one person Ive done something right in the world, in society.

Speaking of righteousness today, last year to be exact a new leader of the Catholic Church was selected. Pope Benedict XVI became the 265th reigning Pope and took over for the only Pope Ive really known much about, Pope John Paul II.

It was an interesting occurrence to see thousands of people make their way to the Vatican to take part in all of the ceremonies for the Papal election. I should also say that it was even more touching to see the lines to wish and pray for the deceased Pope John Paul II a safe ever after.

I suppose this would be the best time to wrap things up and until next time Ill leave you with a quote that you can take with you.

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. - Arthur C. Clarke