Start With Your Family: Go Green

If you can’t educate your family, how can you get the general public to listen? If your family can change for the better, there’s a chance that strangers will also as well.

Some Go Green tips our family has done:

  •  Recycle
  •  Install a low-flow toilet
  •  Turn off lights and computer when not in use
  •  Set the thermostat at constant 70 when it’s cold.
  •  Use the sun to dry items  Grow plants
  •  Buy food from the farmer’s market occasionally
  •  Occasionally bike/walk 25 min. to get shopping done

I had no influence in any of these tips whether it is to save money or to benefit the environment. Living in NYC, we have mass transit.

Being a part of the Go Green club in high school, we decided to campaign for energy-saving tips. We sold compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to students and teachers.

I have been able to convince my family to change our incandescent bulbs to CFLs. Not only do we save money, we save waste and energy. I bought several CFLs from the school and told my parents the benefits to switching. Today, we buy and use CFLs.

Saving water

If you think there’s plenty of water, you’re living under a rock.

Five-minute shower uses about 12.5 gallons of water. The average shower (10 minutes) uses up to 25 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The average family of four can use 400 gallons of water every day.

I only take 5 to 10 minutes in the shower. My brother on the other hand, takes 20 minutes in the shower. That’s 50 gallons of water. I have tried to tell him to use less time (about 10 minutes). My mother steps in for my brother with the lame excuse that he cleans better than I do. I comment that my father takes even less time about 5 minutes. I only time my brother’s shower time because he takes the longest. I should calculate my mother’s time as well.

How long do you take in the shower? What’s your bill?

Artist: Bryant Arnold

In NYC, tap water only costs $2 per liter. One water bottle costs around the same. NYC water comes from upstate NY where the water is already treated. My family buys several cases of water bottles wasting lots of money, plastic, and water. They don’t trust the water from the tap. There’s nothing wrong with drinking straight from the faucet.

Do you buy water bottles or drink in a cup/nalgene bottle?

Personally I haven’t tried very hard to educate my family or follow my own advice (water bottles). Hence, I’m not very good.

I will put more effort into saving water this Thanksgiving break.

Goals:

  • Shorten shower time
  • Lower water bill
  • Buy nalgene bottles and not buy water bottles

Maybe you can join me. Start with your family. What will you change?

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Breaking Barriers

Music in itself is a language. You don’t have to understand the words to the meaning, tone of the song, or what the artist is trying to portray. If the song has reached your ears, chances are that they may also enter your heart.

Music is universal. There are billions of people in the world who listen to songs and artists in another language, but they don’t understand what the artists are saying.

1. What is the point if there is a disjunction between the artist and the audience?

People connect through music. Millions of people today listen to songs and artists in another language even if they don’t understand the words.

2. What if the artist’s limitation from branching out to other countries is because of the language barrier?

Language did not appear yesterday or instantly.

3. Should foreign music be ignored just because they are unfamiliar?    

The answer is No.

Ignored isn’t the right word…Or foreign music? I have not encountered those songs. I just listen to English music.

Most likely, foreign music has not entered your musical database. But haven’t you seen the music page on YouTube or through the news some sort of music that’s not English?

Currently there’s a Latin Music section and Girls’ Generation-Video of The Year section. There’s always a song that’s trending, but it’s in a different language.

Curious? Would you give it a glance? Maybe not right?

I was in your situation years ago. I only listened to English songs because I was exposed to those songs by my friends. Of course, I found American/Canadian/British artists that suit my type of music, alternative rock. I could list and sing the lyrics to my favorite artists.

In 2008, I got a strong exposure to foreign music from my cousin. I just listen briefly to one of the song playing on her iTunes called 10 minutes by Lee Hyori. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on with my life. Not much longer, I looked at a song because my friends raved about it. I finally looked at it because it was on the YouTube music page. It was Hug by TXVQ. I admit that they sang pretty well a cappella since I checked out a few of their other songs such as My Little Princess by TVXQ. I had also didn’t think much of the song, Gee by SNSD (Girls’ Generation).

I went right back to Avril Lavigne, Secondhand Serenade, Pink, Hinder, Nickelback, Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Green Day etc. When I’m sad, I would listen to their songs. It makes me feel better. Or so I thought.

I struggled my way through my teenage years with a grim smile in order to graduate high school. I can’t say I hated it, but it wasn’t the best. I only focused on schoolwork so I was really stressed out. Music makes me feel better. All those artists that I mentioned before have made me feel that I am not alone.

A Second Glance

In 2010, I thought I would grow out of the awkward and moody teenage self. College was stressing me out and the songs I listen to in times of trouble weren’t helping. I wanted a change.

I wanted to listen to happy music so I could feel happier. I wanted to feel the bond of family even if they weren’t my own. (I have moved away for college.) And that’s when I gave a second glance towards foreign music. I found myself looking at the songs sung by SNSD again.

It wasn’t their pretty looks that got my attention. Looking beyond the appearance, I saw their hard work and their shining, different personalities. They were nine young girls brought together by SM (their agency). They were able to become family and sisters through obstacles they faced by having the same passions and goals. Their songs brought strength and happiness with bond of sisterhood. They have brightened and revitalized my outlook in life.

Songs that made me a fan (SONE): I really like ballads.

Complete by SNSD “You make my life complete” -my favorite line

Forever by SNSD “I want to dream with you forever” -my favorite line

I have become a kpop fan just at the beginning of the Hallyu wave (South Korean wave). I am not Korean, but I like Korean songs. Through kpop, I have gain great knowledge about South Korea, their culture, other artists, dramas and entertainment shows. One day when I have time, I will learn the language and visit the country.

I still listen to English songs. Korean, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese songs have expanded my love for music and occupy a grand space in my music collection.

Why not take a glance? Of course, the translation will always increase your appreciation for the song. To me, there is always a song playing as you live your life. You might as well listen to SNSD’s new Japanese song My Oh My or see their popular song Gee.

I did.

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Do You Give Good Advice?

I am a woman of few words. At best, I can answer any questions in one word. I can answer most questions in concise and clear sentences. I do not give good advice as my words stumble when I mutter. I am not the Dear Abbey columnist.

Ask me for advice. Go ahead! I will throw the question back, intentionally not answering the initial question. I would rather direct it away or apologize and shrug my shoulders. At best, I would provide both sides and make no definite conclusion.

Why?

1. For fear that the Advise decides to follow my words, and it doesn’t end well.

2. Lack of experience, wisdom and age.

3. Lack of magical automatic happiness powers in my words. (The ability to make people feel better.)

I can still help. I just don’t like to give bad advice. I always thought that I am not a good person to offer good advice. It turns out that I’ m one of those people that would rather listen to your troubles, tell you to follow your heart and see for yourself what’s best.

It’s not easy to string together words and speak to someone who is seeking advice. I suggest you look elsewhere. Or perhaps I am writing to one with potential.

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The Unwelcome Guest

A while back, I had an unwelcome guest. I still remember it as if it was yesterday. Shiver!

Dash! Crash! Clang! I rushed to the kitchen once I heard loud sounds. My eyes widened at the pots on the floor and the chewed up pieces of food. I could feel my heart beating rapidly. What I didn’t know was that this was the beginning of a pure hatred and fear for a particular species.

The black squirrel.

Drawn by Girl On Green

This species might look “cute”. Gray squirrels are everywhere, everywhere I tell you. You can see black squirrels when you head up north. The color of the fur makes no difference, black or gray. They are all ‘evil’.

How to outsmart a squirrel in your home:

1. Try to not be home alone too much during Thanksgiving break or at all with a damaged roof. It feels like a horror movie come alive. It might not end well for you.

2. Squirrels are smart so don’t be fooled. Squirrels know that it is better to be in a warm house especially where there’s free food. They know there’s more than one way into a house.

3. Lure them out with ketchup packets with an open window. Optional physically being there to see it occur. Squirrels like ketchup packets a lot or just the particular one. It may not work the first time. Test out other foods.

4. Don’t break down out of hatred and fear. Stay far away so you don’t get bit. May sure you have a weapon of some sort (broom).

5. Get your roof fixed quickly.

6. If you have a squirrel in your home, you can get it out. I did. I was amazed that I was able to draw out the squirrel by myself. Laugh because you deserve it.

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Walking On A Thin Thread

One day, I swear that I will pack everything up and leave the mess of a CW show that is The Vampire Diaries (TVD).  I will ship every character in a box (if I have to) on the TVD to the new show The Originals (TO) except Elena and Stefan. Stelena fans can have their show. Julie Plec, the rest of writers and crew already ruined the show for me.

Going into TVD season 5, I wasn’t expecting much, but I had some hope. If the current Damon and Elena couple is already showing signs of trouble this early, there’s not going to be good news in the near future. Perhaps the strongest reason what TVD lacks is ironically family.

The bond of family blesses us with an immeasurable power. But we also must accept what comes with it. It gives us a responsibility to love without condition, without apology. We can never waver from the power of that bond, even if it’s tested. The bond nourishes us, gives us strength. Without that power, we are nothing.” – Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals Season 1, Episode 1)

In the first episode:

Stefan, who is trapped inside of a box, dreams that Damon tells him to turn off his humanity and then dreams that Elena tells him the opposite. In Stefan’s mind, Damon is not a truly brotherly figure (I know Damon cares for his brother).

This is a sign that Stefan truly doesn’t like his brother Damon. (Sadly, it’s also a sign how the TVD crew hates and loves to torture Damon.) If your subconscious dreams of your ex-lover and brother and you choose to listen to the less obvious one over the other, it’s a sign that you don’t think highly of your brother.

I’m only sticking to the show a little while longer because I’m hoping that some characters, especially Caroline, move over to the new show, The Originals and I’d love to see Ripper Stefan in action. Probably after Ripper Stefan, TVD is over for me.

The Originals is promising because the Mikaelson is all about family and possibly the introduction of a little Mikaelson.

“Family is power, Niklaus. Love, loyalty – that’s power. This is what we swore to one another a thousand years ago, before life tore away what little humanity you had left, before ego, before anger, before paranoia created in this person before me someone I can barely even recognize as my own brother. This is us, the Original family, and we remain together, always and forever.” – Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals Season 1, Episode 1)

Even though Klaus “likes to” stab his siblings and coffin them for years, he cares for his family and listens to them. Rebekah and Elijah still and always and forever stick with Klaus because they love each other.

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What’s The Point?

For those out there wondering why watch this “Erin Brochovich” movie?

Julia Roberts playing as Erin Brochovich
Julia Roberts playing as Erin Brochovich

What’s the point? Why should we care? Who gives a damn about Chromium 6, groundwater contamination or anything environmental?

For one, I don’t know what it is and don’t give a fuck. Excuse my language. You should watch. And I care after watching this truly inspiring movie.

10. The well-directed movie is based on a true story in Hinkley, California.

9. Over 600 people were lied to about their water and Pacific Gas & Electric tried to cover the fact that the water was poisonous for over 30 years.

8. PG&E wanted the owner’s homes to look for Chromium and they sure didn’t say what type of Chromium they were really looking for.

7. You can be like everyone or be you.
In the movie, a woman customer didn’t want to give a lawsuit or listen to Erin’s little speech. If everyone stands together, we can solve an environmental problem.

6. Erin Brochovich is a wonderful, raw on the edges, strong woman who has tenacity and spice. She cares about this case and is not afraid to fight for what she believes in and with no educational background; she cared. She dedicated her time instead of spending time with her children because she knows a little something that others may have forgotten.

5. Justice should be served on a plate.
Between good and evil, Erin wanted to make sure everyone gets money so they could pay for their hospital bills and more. Also PG&E had to make changes so there isn’t any groundwater contamination.

4. Your future, Your children’s future, and Your Grandchildren’s future.
If you don’t care about the environment, the animals or plants, you should at least care about the little ones, the ones who will be running the country as young smart leaders and living a long and healthy life.

3. History.
It’s always important to know your history so you don’t make the same mistakes twice or know how to help the environment.

2. Other Environmental issues have similar cases. Rachel Carson and DDT banned, Chernobyl nuclear disaster etc. People with health problems. And there are real cases today such as disappearing honey bees (forshadow: world hunger), coral reef threatened (Foreshadow: diversity, marine animals, natural disasters) or loss of quality lumber or food crops due to diseases.

1. Who should care and why should we care?
There are many reasons to say we shouldn’t care or think twice about this movie made in 2000 or about something that hasn’t affected us directly. You can say that those few who do care about something are on a dead end because they aren’t getting paid for lots of money.

It’s the same for those who focus their lives in art, music or writing. Many of them are barely getting by. Somehow they have to figure out how to get someone to care and love them. Does Erin Brochovich remind us of someone? Hopefully with the blood, sweat and tears being put in, people can see how much their lives can be better if they took the time to listen to one voice.

This movie is based on the case and this blog post is about the review or how it may turn you to being an environmental activist. But it’s more than that.

Our voice. We have our voice to speak out for those who can’t.

Have I made you care?
Go watch this movie if you haven’t. The story is directed brilliantly. Julia Roberts is a great actress in this movie. There are sure a few great lines/comebacks that I haven’t included in this review because I definitely want you to watch this movie. If you want attitude, there is definitely plenty of in your face, risk factor, ammunition, and bravery. And if you like happy stories, it’s better than fairytales. Let me know what you think about this movie and if you are moved.

It’s exhilarating, right? Because you read to the end, I made you care a bit more.

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Spoiling My Appetite Reading Vampire Diaries Books

vampire-diaries-season-5-cast-poster

Photo credit: The Vampire Diaries on CW TV show

Have you ever read an amazing novel and questioned the integrity of the film or show?

Most of the times, books are always better than its counterpart.

Books provide detailed explanation that somehow the films always miss.

The directors have no choice in a two hour time limit, but to pick what stays and what goes.

Of course there are some films that are completely horrible that they should never begin filming in the first place.

And there are television shows based off of books. Because the shows are longer than two hours, there is character

and story development. You would think the books would be great because the show is great. Not really.

I’ve read five books of the Vampire Diaries series just because I couldn’t wait for the next episode. I couldn’t read any longer due to poor writing skills no matter how much I wanted to find out what happens next.

What I learned:

Vampire Diaries is just based loosely on the books.

Pros: There are a lot more detail and excitement in the show compared to the books. The Ghost writer, also known as , left during the middle of the series due to conflict with the publisher. There is more development in all of the characters making them more realistic.

Cons: She left because she wanted to make a Delena ending. The producers are famously known as Stelena shippers and the show toggles between different love couples and teases the audience far too often than a writer would have.  Despite that, there are a lot of people tuning into the Vampire Diaries show.

Relatable, average, and nice girl is more appealing than a cold witch for a main.

Pros: In the show, Elena Gilbert is nice high school girl who is suddenly out-of-place because she suffered an ordeal being the only survivor from that summer. High school is just a small challenge she has to face.  That appeal more for young adults than a cold and popular high school student who finds an attraction to a pale face high school boy who is the least bit attracted to her after dumping her boyfriend easily.

Cons: Granted throughout the tv series, Elena Gilbert can at times be selfish, rude, heartbreaker, and unappealing to our eyes at times, Elena is still a nice girl.

Better Writing style/Directing style

The writer, L. J. Smith, was a ghost writer for the Vampire Diaries Series. Also the books changed authors and direction in the middle of the series because they wouldn’t let her end with Delena (Damon and Elena loveline). Sadly that’s the only thing I agree and liked part of the series.

The books were not as compelling as the show. The VD show is directed very well with great actors. The scenes are very real and personal. Mostly characters are built up nicely.

What the Books are completely lacking compared to Vampire Diaries TV show:

-Bromance between Damon and Stefan Salvatore brothers

-Friendships between Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline

-Being on your toes as you turn the next page to find out that you have to get or wait for the next book in order to continue.

Of course the Vampire Diaries TV show is not perfect and can’t satisfy everyone.

When the TV show writers painfully teases the audience by bringing harm and hatred to one of the main characters. It’s not just once, but repeatedly especially during Season 3. It’s very unpleasant when the character you’re rooting for is tortured and feeling rejected. But I stuck through the show with one last chance for Damon Salvatore of course.

Conclusion

I wanted to read the books so I could get spoilers about the TV show. I could only handle up to book five before I realized how mediocre it was and how the show is very loosely based on the books. I do think the show is doing pretty great considering that the books were not a success. The idea about vampires, werewolves, and originals is an appealing concept for many young people.

It’s a tense relationship as they’ve thrown out a good and potential storyline out the window. As much as Klaroline (Klaus and Caroline) is missed, the only thing making me continue to tune in is the brotherly Salvatore relationship, the bad-ass attitudes and maybe Delena.

I’m not one to ignore an interesting story.

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