Archive for the ‘My Perspective’ Category

Homeless man’s honest act goes viral
February 14, 2013

I wanted to write a post that would be relevant to Valentine’s Day, but I absolutely couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t cutesy or cliché. Then I remembered overhearing a story on the news this morning that put a smile on my face. Perhaps a story about a heartwarming act of integrity is just as relevant as any other post I could have written.

Earlier this week, a homeless man in Kansas City, Missouri was asking for change as he usually did. A woman dropped some change in his cup, and accidentally left the man something else as well – her engagement ring. Instead of pawning the ring for thousands of dollars, Billy Ray Harris waited until the woman returned and immediately handed it over. The story has since received national media coverage.

We can all learn from Harris’s level of integrity. He chose to do the right thing, even when he could have greatly benefited from selling the ring. What would you have done if you were in his situation? I can honestly say that I am unsure.

Valentine’s Day exists to remind us to show love to others. Showing a stranger love can be a powerful act, and I think Harris acts as a great example of this. Today, I hope that we all remember to “love thy neighbor” just as much as we love our significant others, family, friends, pet, etc. Wouldn’t this world be such a happier place?


A True Fan
September 13, 2011

Sanford Stadium

The Georgia Bulldogs are currently under a lot of scrutiny after losing their first two games this season. As an SEC team, football fans are surprised that the Bulldogs have not had better luck on the field last season and now this one.

While last season may have proven to be a very bumpy ride for Bulldog Football fans, Mark Richt pointed out in an interview Saturday night that they started the season playing teams ranked much higher than them. “There is still a lot of football left to be played.”

Georgia Football is not simply about the players on the field and the coaches on the sidelines. It is about the fans as well.  If the crowd is not supporting their own team, than how can anyone expect their team to play well?  Lately I have been disappointed in the lack of support from so called “avid dawg fans.”  A true fan of the Georgia Bulldogs supports the team until the very end.  That means staying until the end of the game even if the team is losing.  That means NOT grumbling about how lousy the team is doing.  In fact, the bulldogs played a great game this past Saturday against the University of South Carolina.  A true fan would be proud of the hard work and impressive plays by the dawgs even though they did not win.

If you are a TRUE BULLDAWG FAN, you will NOT complain or say the dawgs are terrible. By supporting your team no matter the circumstances, you are guaranteeing your team to play with a higher morale.

As a Georgia fan myself, it bothers me that some fans are not standing by the team. They need our support! We are going to have a great season as long as they see that the fans still care. SO STOP COMPLAINING!

How Unsafe is Mexico, Actually?
August 17, 2011

Impoverished community in Tijuana, Mexico

As an American, traveling to Tijuana, Mexico is frowned upon.  Most people treat Mexico as a forbidden country where Americans simply should never go.  However, I ignored the horror stories and words of warning this summer when I took on an intern position that required trips to Tijuana.  Skeptics warily attempted to persuade me not to go, but I was determined to make my own opinion about a country so many are quick to stereotype.

Inevitably, my first visit of three was accompanied by worry.  I crossed the border into Mexico with wide eyes, watching for any sign of danger.  However, the fear was quickly replaced with intrigue.  Tijuana was a different world compared to San Diego, and I believe it’s this stark difference in cultures that scares so many people away from the borders.  Yes, there were several people begging for money at stoplights, but don’t they do that in Atlanta too?

Small children play with donated toys in the dirt road in front of their house.

When I began talking with the locals, I realized that most of them aspire to have a better life and are hardworking people.  They just do not have the resources or knowledge to pull themselves out of poverty.  As Americans we stereotype Mexicans, but the truth is, they are more grateful for much less than Americans.  The Mexican locals I spoke to showed a humility that is much rarer to find in America.

Overall, my trip to Mexico gave me a higher respect for a group of people living in conditions out of their control.  Most Mexicans are just as scared of the drug cartel as Americans are.  They want the violence and crime to end too!  I truly hope that more Americans will feel compelled to not only visit Tijuana, but help the people.  There are many organizations through which Americans can get involved.  The locals thoroughly appreciate all the efforts Americans have made to help them.  I promise that you will leave with a vastly different perspective and respect for the Mexican people.

Of course, I would strongly recommend against visiting Tijuana alone or after dark.  Find a reputable organization that know the area well and can guide you.  Travelling in a group is a fool-proof way to avoid conflict over the border.  I personally recommend Corazon Inc., the nonprofit that I interned for over the summer.  Visit Corazon’s website or call 714-547-0357.

Discovering Ocean Kayaking
July 28, 2011

Photo courtesy of Beach Shoot San Diego

Blessed with the opportunity to spend my summer in the beautiful city of San Diego, I have discovered a newfound passion – kayaking in the ocean.  I was hooked and determined to buy a kayak one day after only experiencing it twice.  Surprisingly, you do not have to be tremendously strong or well-educated on the subject to get the most out of kayaking.  You simply need an open mind and maybe some sunscreen to be guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

The beauty and spontaneity of the ocean create a unique environment for kayaking as opposed to a lake or river.  At the beginning, the kayaker must face the crashing waves, which was personally the most exciting aspect of the entire trip.  However, once the kayak has passed the initial waves, the water becomes significantly smoother, making it the perfect condition to simply observe the surrounding environment.  The ocean water offers the chance to catch a glimpse of many interesting creatures such as sea lions, dolphins, and elaborately colored fish.

Another plus of ocean kayaking is the amazing whole body workout.  Though you may think the hobby only works the arms and possibly the back, I found that my legs and abs were also sore the next day.  Kayaking is so exciting that it never feels like a strenuous work out, but in fact it has been the best workout I have had all summer.  If only I owned a kayak, I would do it every week!

Prices to kayak in La Jolla, the best place in San Diego for the sport, start at around 25.00.  The first time I went out on the water, I used San Diego Bike and Kayak Tours and a group of nineteen other people accompanied.  Bike and Kayak Tours sends a tour guide with the group who explains the history of the surrounding waters.  The second kayaking trip I endeavored was through Beach Shoot San Diego, a company that supplies their customers with a kayak and photographer for a semi-private day on the water.  Beach Shoot’s prices are hefty, starting at around 400, which does not even include the price of the photos.

Kayaking will be among my list of favorite things to do for many years to come.  I have made genuinely wonderful memories through the hobby and got a full body workout in the process.  For anyone who enjoys the outdoors, water activities, or the beach in general, I highly recommend trying a hand at this wildly entertaining sport.

My First Experience at Comic Con
July 25, 2011

Comic Con 2011

I have never been much of a comic book/video game fan.  My knowledge of science fiction is essentially compiled of Star Wars and the recent major Hollywood films such as X-Men.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to find myself walking alongside the geekiest of costumed nerds into the biggest comic book/science fiction convention of the year – Comic Con.  All that changed when I was offered a highly coveted, totally cost-free opportunity to enter into the San Diego Convention Center doors for a look into the world of magic and super powers.

Transformers Robot towers over crowd.

When I hopped onto the free Comic Con shuttle, my first surprise was that there were actually totally normal people on the bus.  A feeling of relief washed over me; I was not the only average person attending Comic Con 2011.  Perhaps there were several other people like me who were blindly walking into the convention with little previous knowledge of comics.

The shuttle arrived at the convention center, and I picked up my press pass.  Then the adventure began as I entered the Exhibit Hall.  Thousands of people filled the hall to view everything from the actual transformers robot to Playboy Playmates.  Overwhelmed, I wandered around viewing the booths and snapping pictures.  The more I absorbed it all, the more I realized I actually enjoyed much of what was being celebrated at the convention.  Maybe Comic Con was not just for nerds after all…

Jeffrey Weissman and I pose for a picture.

Jeffrey Weissman who played George McFly in Back to the Future2 & 3 was the first actor I encountered.  I have grown up adoring the movie, so I asked if I could snap a photo with him.  Only when I flashed my press pass did he happily agree.  He currently lives in Northern California and is continuing to pursue an acting career.

I naively attempted to attend a panel session with the Napoleon Dynamite cast and showed up twenty minutes before it started.  Around five hundred people were already anxiously in line, and the room filled up far before I ever got a chance to enter.  It became quickly obvious that the only way to attend almost any panel session would be to wait in line for well over an hour.  With no patience and an empty stomach I soon gave up.  However, as I was walking away I did catch a glimpse of Diedrich Bader before he entered the room.  He stopped to pose for a couple of pictures and seemed very friendly.

Elijah Wood talks to ecstatic fans while promoting his newest movie, Wilfred.

The highlight of my day was easily when I saw Elijah Wood up close and personal.  I have watched Lord of the Rings countless times and consider Wood an amazing actor.  While signing autographs, he saw someone he knew and the two of them began to make conversation.  It was exciting to watch him interact with a friend and show his true personality.  He really does have piercing blue eyes in person, by the way.

My afternoon at Comic Con 2011 turned out to be very insightful.  The following tips may help other newbies walk into Comic Con a little less blindly than I did.

1)      Review a map of the Convention Center before you arrive.  I spent too much time staring at the map and asking people where certain exhibits were located.  If I would have known my way around the building beforehand, I would have had more time to attend panels and hunt down celebrities.

2)      Bring water and snacks.  At many events similar to this one, security makes you throw away food and drink before entering the building.  However, there were no rules against carrying in food or beverage.  Prices for snacks at the convention were unsurprisingly inflated, and I really regretted not coming more prepared.

3)      Do not be afraid to go alone.  I bravely attended the event alone and had the freedom to do and see whatever I wanted on my own terms.  Though the experience would be fun shared with a friend, going alone has its advantages as well.

4)      Ride the free Comic Con shuttle.  Do not attempt to park downtown!  The free shuttle comes as far as Hotel Circle and was not crowded.  While other modes of public transportation are also helpful, they are not free like the shuttle was.

5)      If there is a panel or screening, show up EARLY.  Depending on the popularity, you may have to wait in line for hours.  Bring a book or game, or just enjoy the chaos around you.  “The key is to view the smaller panels.  They are actually really fun and the lines are not as long,” I overheard some Comic Con pros telling a rookie.  Seems like good advice to me!

Taylor Leigh Photography: Behind the Lens
July 14, 2011

Not every nineteen year old girl can brag she has already founded a successful business.  For Taylor Leigh of Ringgold, Georgia, she has had these bragging rights for over a year.  What started as a humble hobby turned into a thriving, self-established business when the community noticed her natural talent.  Though the upcoming sophomore has only taken the base art classes at Jacksonville State University, she has already illustrated her ability to take captivating photography.  Leigh regularly photographs family portraits, senior pictures, model portfolios, and maternity shots along with other various types of photography.  Her most recent accomplishment was scoring the title “Official Photographer” for the annual Ringgold Run.

Leigh’s ultimate vision for herself is to graduate with a Fine Arts degree with a focus in photography at Jacksonville University.  Her vision is to work as a National Geographic photographer.  Photography is more than a hobby for Leigh; she feels that it is her calling.  “My goal is to share God’s love through the shutter of my camera,” Leigh described,  which explains what is motivating her at such a young age.

Taylor Leigh has an eye for the beauty in little things such as the texture of the red brick wall or the simple elegance of freshly polished shoes.

Family Portraits are one of Leigh's most popular requests. She is able to capture a genuine happiness that many photographers are unable to achieve.

Along with great family portraits, Leigh photographs maternity shots. Mother's love being able to capture such a special time in their families' lives.

Rising model Jade Patton posed for Taylor Leigh. The shots were extraordinary, proving both model and photographer have great potential.

As Leigh's popularity has risen, her range in photography has grown to include wedding photography. Model Morgan Brittany Walker is seen posing in a wedding dress.

For reservations or more information about Taylor Leigh photography, email or like her Facebook page.

Casey Anthony Trial: The Bottom Line
July 6, 2011

By now most of us are very familiar with the Casey Anthony case.  What started as a missing child report in June 2008 ended up becoming a controversial story of a broken family, death of an innocent child, and the brutal response from the American people.  Yesterday, Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all charges related to the murder of her daughter, much to America’s surprise.  The media turned the entire trial into a riveting play-by-play that resembled a Law and Order episode.  The coverage of Caylee Anthony’s death and the events that followed reflected the revolutionary way the media and the American people react to current events.

Social media sites were the perfect outlet throughout the case for people to give their own two cents.  While Nancy Grace ranted and raved about her (educated though sometimes annoying) opinion, everyday people were able to write a blog, note, status, etc. from their perspective.  Sites such as Facebook and Twitter were a perfect place to vent, and the trend soon became a phenomenon.  According to a recent article on the Boston Herald’s website, the phrase “Casey Anthony” was used on Twitter 34,000 times within an hour after the verdict was announced.  Such an immediate public response made it almost impossible for the everyday internet user to miss the trial’s verdict.

Heated debates shown on national television were a popular way to cover the Casey Anthony case.  While greatly entertaining, these debates were based highly upon speculation as opposed to only stating the hard facts.  Fueled by opinion and driven by TV ratings, head-to-head arguments were on display for everyone to watch.  Every twist in the story gave analysts on television something else to debate, no matter how truly trivial it was.    Talk shows and debates are growing more and more popular over the traditional straight-to-the-facts news coverage.  Unfortunately, a little of the media’s reliability has been lost along the way.

When the verdict was announced “Not guilty,” most Americans were stunned, outraged, and confused.  But it taught us a lesson.  No matter how many Facebook updates and Twitter trends agree she killed her daughter, Caylee Anthony, only the jury and judges ultimately could decide Casey Anthony’s fate.  Even if at times the news spent half their broadcasts on the trial, in the end, it held little value in court.  We may all THINK our opinions matter, and we may all ENJOY giving our two cents, but maybe we should leave it to those who truly know all the facts.  Most of the time, the majority of us are not actually the experts (even though we like to think we are).

June 23, 2011

        It’s happened to all of us – the moment when there is nothing to do and we proclaim, “I’m bored!”  Lately, however, I have begun to question what boredom really is.  Are we in fact completely unable to find ANYTHING to do, or are we too lazy to find something interesting?  Technology has made many of us forget the joy of riding a bike, painting/drawing, reading, or whatever else used to be entertaining before iPods and laptops.  Life offers so many wonderful experiences, but YOU are responsible for making them happen.  Next time you find yourself overwhelmed with boredom, find something creative to do; discover a new hobby!  Don’t let boredom be your excuse to be lazy.