Saturday, May 31, 2008

Plane Tickets Purchased!

It's official, I'm headed back to my homeland, the Philippines for the first time since 2003. The best part is that I'm flying by myself, and it's pretty much my first big adventure. I shall be enjoying the exchange rate, interning at my family's Travel Agency and just sightseeing in general.

Bummer I don't get to spend a night in Japan like I originally planned on doing, but perhaps I can later on down the road.

I'm going to be dressed like the stereotypical asian tourist that visit museums in groups here in the U.S., complete with the asian salute.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Re-visiting NC Primaries

In an earlier post, I made a big deal about switching parties in order to participate in the pivotal Democratic Presidential Primary. I wrote about how my political ideology must have changed gradually since I switched from the GOP to the Democratic Party.

Well, I was reading some news online regarding the Oregon Primaries. The article stated that many Republicans changed their affiliations temporarily just to partake in the more interesting Democratic Primary.

So I'm not special.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's Worse Than Soccer Moms?

Tennis Moms. I've noticed them before, but today, I chaperoned my brother to a tennis tournament in Statesville for 12 hours, and I am ready to contribute to the characteristics others have associated with Tennis Moms/Dads. Here is the entry in Urban Dictionary:
Like a "soccer mom," but with more money: drives an expensive SUV and her children attend private tennis lessons. A derogatory term for a rich (non-working) 30-40 year old woman with children.
I agree with that "definition", as I do notice the trend in SUVs for the Tennis Moms rather than the Minivan for their soccer counterparts. And in order to be excel in tennis (excel as in, playing competitive tournaments year-round), the children must receive private lessons (mostly at country clubs) at a young age.

As a result, these tennis parents tend to be in the upper middle class and above, and here's my evidence:
  • To be competitive, the child must be a member of the U.S. Tennis Association in order to enter tournaments. This fee is rather insignificant.
  • Tournaments themselves average $50 each to enter, and during the peak tennis season, players often find themselves in a tournament every weekend. There is also an incentive to enter more tournaments, as it raises your Rankings, and who wouldn't want that?
  • The Lessons or Clinics. I myself attended these for a few months, and the rates hovered around $60 per month. But this particular country club was not as exclusive or lavish as others, and that rate is generous in my opinion. Additionally, after the clinic is over, some parents opt to enroll their children in Private Lessons for an additional fee. This is usually done during the week prior to a big tournament.
  • Equipment is EXPENSIVE!! And the kids only want what the pros use.. My own little brother's Babolat racket frame cost $120 on eBay. It is also suggested that you keep 3 total rackets during tournament, there goes more $$. Then there are the latest shoes, clima-cool shirts, shorts and hats. Not to mention that competitive players opt to have their rackets strung in accordance to the tension of their playing style, another $20 please..
Why are they annoying? Below are more of my observations:
  • They have a tennis ball magnet on their brand new, sparkly SUVs. Okay, my parents are guilty of that.
  • Being an individual sport, there is immense pressure on the players to perform. The tennis parents usually have their fold-in chairs propped near the courts, and it has the same effect as when a teacher is looking over your shoulder as you're taking an exam.
  • And the funniest part... They attend tournaments dressed as if they are about to play themselves. They wear official tennis shoes, tennis skirts, visors and sometimes match outfits with their kids. Talk about living the dream..
Having said that, tennis is a wonderful sport. It is a sport that one can play as they get older, and I thoroughly enjoy playing it myself. I'm not saying that Tennis moms should be a negative connotation, I just lament the fact that in order to be competitive in this sport, your parents must be fairly wealthy. I am not bashing this social niche, but simply making an observation, and I have concluded that it is not my scene. I would rather my future child/illegitimate children out there to know the value of teamwork instead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Books That Have Made Me Cry

This list of books, are mostly from when I was younger. I stopped crying not because I've gotten tougher emotionally, but because I stopped reading midway through high school.

Warning: Spoiler Alert.
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, 3rd grade-To me, it symbolized the sacrifice good parents make for their children. I was resentful of my parents at the time, and this book made me realize how ungrateful I have been. And I'm pretty sure I cried in the middle of class.
  • Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, 4th grade- You would have to possess a heart of stone not to cry after reading this book. A young boy, with two loyal coon-hounds that he saved up money to buy and raised, hunting in the Ozarks. One of the dogs get mauled by a cougar and dies, the other wounded and eventually loses the will to live. And then, a red fern grows at the dogs' burial site. Beautiful. Good thing I wasn't in the middle of class for this one, and it also caused me to hate cougars.
  • Night by Elie Wiesel, 10th grade- Ideal conditions to make me emotional: Nazi concentration/labor camp, father and son trying to survive together. I believe the father dies as the detention camp was being evacuated by the Nazis, as he was sick and exhausted from the long march.
I'm sure there was a couple more, but these stood out in my mind.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kal Penn Part II

As promised, here is the picture of Marcus, Kal and myself. Like I said before, real nice, unassuming guy who visited campus to promote Senator Barack Obama's campaign.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Lawing

Friday, May 9, 2008

Americans and Geography

Geography. A personal interest of mine since childhood. I loved looking at maps, atlases and books about foreign places. I was even a state competitor in the Geography Bee during my elementary and middle school days. The competition there was unreal, I was in the company of some serious talent.

Yet, Americans are notoriously bad with Geography. Why? Some have attempted to answer that question, but the solution is unclear. I think we are becoming a laughingstock to the rest of the world due to our lack of knowledge.

North Carolina's own Kellie Pickler, a former American Idol contestant made people including myself cringe when she was asked a Geography question on a game show. Then yesterday, I told somebody that I am from the Philippines and visiting this July. She then asked me if i spoke Korean. I am accustomed to close friends poking fun at my ethnicity, but this girl was serious.. I was a bit speechless, and our mutual friend was embarrassed for her. The sadder part is that she is a college student.

So, why are we so bad? What can be done? Well, I personally believe that it should be incorporated further into the curriculum of elementary school children to hopefully foster an interest in the subject. They can cut out parts of U.S. History that children are taught EVERY year up until high school. The world is becoming more global anyway.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kal Penn on Campus!

Kal Penn, from the Harold and Kumar movies visited campus today to help promote Barack Obama. He was real nice, laid back and was kind enough to have photos taken with him although his schedule was tight.

I even had a picture taken with him, and I waited for my friend to send it to me, which he has yet to do so. Which is the main reason why I haven't posted since Friday. I will post the photo as soon as it is sent to me.

On the election, primaries officially opened today, and North Carolina is an important state for once. Last time I checked, Obama had a 14 point lead.