Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Plastic Surgery: Right or Wrong

For the longest time when I heard "plastic surgery" I thought of Joan Rivers or Michael Jackson. I thought of liposuction and breast implants. I saw plastic surgery as a shallow industry giving people false hopes and allowing people to chase the unobtainable: perfection. I then realized that pop-culture has presented the average person with a small fraction of the procedures that make up this practice. Nose-jobs, lyposuction and breast implants are a few that many are familiar with. However a great deal of plastic surgery, while still cosmetic is quite amazing. I have recently enrolled in Boces which is a program that offers college preparation and career training. I plan on taking pre-medical classes when I get to college, but for now Iam taking a surgical assisting class. I have learned a great deal, mostly about the art of plastic surgery. Here are a few procedures performed by plastic surgeons that take a great deal of talent, experience and skill, I believe them to be an art.

Nerve Reattachment: We all have nerves allover our bodies, there nerves can become severed and disable whatever function they are intended to preform. In my class we learned about a man whos face was badly cut, one of these lacerations severed the nerve(I forget the lengthy medical name) that allows us to smile. Plastic surgeons where able to use a donor nerve from the mans calf and reattach this nerve in his cheek, allowing him to smile again. Nerves aren't the only thing that plastic surgeons are able to reattach. They can reattach fingers, tendons. Plastic Surgeons can give us back what would be considered gone forever twenty years ago.

Breast Reduction: Cows are given hormones, primarily estrogen so that they can produce more milk. The downside to this is that these hormones are in our milk, our cheese and other dairy products. Girls as young as seven are showing breast development and beginning to menstruate! Not only are these hormones making these girls develop early they are giving them very large breasts. This can drastically effect there lives, making them unable to run, or play sports even with sports bras. But now there is a surgery that can reduce the size of their breasts, preventing back troubles and allowing them to be more active.

And perhaps the most amazing of the procedures preformed by plastic surgeons is the facial transplant. Although a full facial transplant has not yet been done sucessfully, partial transplants have been preformed on burn victims. I made this post so people can see the real plastic surgery, the repair, reattachment and reconstruction of what has been destroyed, scarred or severed. Although these advances in plastic surgery are astonishing the industry is still plauged by the simpler cosmetic procedures. Which brings up the real question: Can you sell beauty? Can we modify ourselves surgically?

Please post comments with your opinions on plastic surgery.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A movie with something to uncover(contains spoilers)

Last night I saw Syriana, starring Matt Damon and George Clooney. I really enjoyed this movie; it has politics and drama and is composed of many small stories from different people on different sides of the oil industry to uncover how everything is connected in this Industry. From the billion dollar deals made by Texan oil tycoons, or the investigations by CIA operatives out of Washington D.C to the days work of immigrant workers in the gulf coast. It weaves all of their stories together into these two and a half hours of drama and suspense. I haven’t had to tell people to "sshhh" in an R rated movie with a theater composed of adults before but this movie was so suspenseful and in a way confusing I heard many people whispering "who's that" or "what does that mean". I think what happens for many people in a movie like this is they focus on one of the many stories, one aspect of the film captures them the most. For me it was the story of two immigrant Pakistani workers and their life of labor, religion and love. They work hard in the refineries all day and live in immigrant housing complex; these "houses" are small trailers with nothing inside but beds on the wall. What was most entrancing about their story is how the charismatic leader of a religious cleric quickly got them devoted to his cause, and how they worshiped him in a way because that was their only vent. The only other thing in their life asides from work. Towards the end of the movie two major companies merge and they begin to fill a tanker with oil, and shake hands: people applaud and take pictures. Then one of the teens asks his father for bus money gives him a hug and leaves without a word, doesn't look back. Then you see hundreds of little boats and the two teens operating one of the many. One teen drives the boat and the other played by Mazhar Munir grips the rail at the front of the boat and whispers something about the next life. Before the boats collide the screen goes blank but it is evident that they were suicide bombers and the boats were filled with explosives. This was the real turning point in the movie; this is when the tagline "everything is connected" makes sense. This when you finally saw all the hardships and struggles of this industry. This when you saw how SUV driving soccer moms and poor immigrant workers and connected. This film uncovers the oil industry and what it does to millions of people around the world and how recently this industry is becoming more of a fight to the death battle for the remaining supply of oil. Oil: the greatest natural resource in all human history is running out, and unless we find alternative sources of energy it will be just as this movie depicted a fight to the death. The story of these two teens is particularly entrancing, it gets under the skin and lingers long after it is viewed. In Christianity suicide is a sin, and it is possible that one might not go to heaven if they commit suicide. But from the teachings of this charismatic cleric death by suicide is the greatest honor that life has to offer. This is what to live for. These two teens were so young, there was so much they hadn't experienced or done yet. At one point in the movie they reveal that they are both virgins this is how young and unexposed they were. Yet they gave their lives for this ambiguous cause. I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in the economics and/or politics of this complex industry.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

War under the Christmas tree this year

Before I dive head into this rant, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts, I have been ridiculously busy lately, but plan on getting back to blogging. I missed it in my time away.

To my disgust, I saw a advertisement on television today for a videogame. "Rise of the Soldier", the only video game created by the U.S army. I was never big into videogames, I have owned a few consoles over the years, but never got really into it as some people do. Isn't that lovely, more than two thousand American soldiers have died, some of them because the army failed to properly equip them with armored humvees and suffice weapons, yet our armed forces has the time to create a videogame. Not only have they wasted time, resources and money when we as a country are in enourmous debt creating a videogame, this game is going to sell out, they are releasing it just before the holiday season. So this year all across America you'll have endless people, most of them young under the age of 18, killing Arabs via their living room for entertainment. I just don't see how anyone, let alone the army could want to create anything that glamorizes this war the way this game does. They of all people, the ones that are seeing first hand, can create something as interactive as a videogame that glamorizes it. Milking this tradegy for all it's worth. I have no problem with violent videogames, I have no problem with war games, I have played them and enjoyed them. But a game based on a Tom Clancy Novel and a game based on a war that is currently underway is absurd. Why on earth is our army creating video games?! How can they try to glamorize this war, this war that has killed thousands and is still so far from any end peaceful or violent.

As if this wasn't enough, rapper 50 cent has also released a videogame to follow up his movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin' ". From what I hear in the beginning, the main character 50, the one you control is shot a few times. He gets right back up on the horse and starts chasing down the culprits only to uncover some international political crisis. I think its safe to say that Curtis Jackson(50), has officially sold himself out. I was shocked when the pathetic excuse for a rap song "In da club" hit number one, now I just don't know what to think. Only in America can war and the drug using, bitch slapping, violent gangsta lifestyle be glamorized.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My Quote

Nothing in our world makes sense, but somehow it's senselessness makes it all comprehensible.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

This is the first picture I took for my series, Im not happy with it. Everytime I see a good picture I don't have my camera. They say all photographers work from luck. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I've decided..

I have decided to do a photography series, I have always wanted to go further with my photography and do a series, but have been lost as to what to photograph. I kept asking myself what can I possibly do, and then it struck me, I looked around and saw all I needed to photograph: the place I live. I live in a town called Ossining, our only claim to fame is we house the notorious high security Sing-Sing prison, but there is so much more to Ossining than that. Ossining is a river town located on the Hudson river a few miles north of the Bronx, the north-most borough of New York City. Ossining is one of the most diverse towns in this area, African-Americans and Latinos make up the two Majorities, and Whites the minority. It is easy to drive a few miles through my town and see upper-class areas, and then down the road low-income housing projects. I look around when Im in town, or in school and I see such culture, so much flavor. As much as we remain who we are here, we also become a agglomeration of ourselves. At times my school is a place of racial harmony, at others a place of racial animosity. I want to document the place I was born and raised before I leave it for what I plan to be forever. I want capture all the aspects that make my town and school what it is, like how Newport cigarettes have replaced the American Dollar at the steps in front of my school. Or how on a friday night, a walk down Highland Avenue means bumping into atleast a dozen people you know and spending the night with them in good company.

I plan on carrying around my camera snapping pictures here and there, editing them in photoshop and either posting them here as they come in or all in one set when I have collected a few.

Suggestions welcome...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A rather entrancing mural Posted by Picasa

Who would of thought you can find philosophy in the streets? Posted by Picasa

How true. Posted by Picasa

A chalked wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Posted by Picasa

Street Art, and a little bit of Mary too. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What have our Schools Become?

I often think about what we as humans are supposed to do, supposed to be. How are we supposed to act, or respond to things. Is there a definitive answer, I doubt there is: but just because billions of us do something does that make it right? Billions of teenagers go to school, it has been that way in the U.S for over eighty years, but what did teenagers do before there were schools to go to?

We were Apprentices, young people who wanted nothing more than to become older and begin to work. There has always been some sort of ageism, but before there were public schools we worked low-rent jobs until we became older and skilled enough to get "real jobs". But now things are different, we are part of a system. Everyday millions of us are filtered through this system they call "school". Its a building with rooms, rooms that contain places for us to sit and absorb whatever there is for us to learn.

We had no power or standing amongst eachother before schools came along. We were young and that automatically made us less, we had no say. But now its so different, we go to these buildings were we learn and interact with eachother. We create our own societies, we re-create every part of real society in our own way. We create stereotypes, we create classes: The superior arise out of what seems to be nothing, their power dwelling from the others sub-conscious view points. We have our own currencies even, our own way of communicating, our own ways of doing what we enjoy.

We have been born into this system and we have literally created our own worlds, with all the aspects of the real world, just in whatever form is obtainable for us. Each society is different as you go from school to school but they have the same concept(s). These are harsh realities for us, but we must accept them. As you walk through the hallways from class to class, you see people, some of them you may have never spoken to before. Not even knowing their name or anything about them you know where they stand. You know what others think about them, you know whether he/she is a potential threat, you know whether you are better then them or not. These are the societies we have sub-consciously created just by attending school. This is our adaptation, our way of accepting the system that is so abruptly thrown at us, but is it the way it should be?

Schools have become a standardized way of life for us, which is good we become smart and educated people that go own to live great lives. But who designed this definitive system that has become part of our lives? Furthermore did they do a good job?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Gaza is Free!

Gaza is free! A few days ago Israeli troops pulled out of Gaza. Some people are calling this liberation of whom I believe to be the most oppressed people of our time, an act rewarding terrorism. It sickens me that people can just dismiss the Palestinians and ignore their rights. Liberating Gaza is not rewarding terrorism, its returning to these people what belongs to them, when Israel was formed it never included Gaza. But the Israeli's claimed it just as they did Sinai. It puzzles me why they stayed there, all it did was cause them trouble. With the troops gone Hamas and other terrorists have less of a motive to attack, and many Palestinians are happy. Infact since the pullout there has been minimal violence, the only major violence was commited by a Jewish man who fired a gun into a group of Palestinians killing three people. What's saddening is that the Israeli government is forcing Jewish settlers to leave their homes, just pack up and move. I don't think that a victory for Palestinians calls for a diaspora, and I don't think another diaspora will do any good. Although the tanks and troops are gone Israel still controls the Gaza airspace and part of their coast which I think is wrong.

Iam happy for the Palestinians, and hope this pullout brings the Israeli's and the Palestinians closer to peace. I remain a supporter of the Palestinians, and while Gaza's liberation is a victory for them, they are still far from freedom, but perhaps this pullout is precursor of further liberation.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Capitalization of Che Guevara

Che Guevara, yes the Communist Freedom Fighter who fought side by side with Fidel Castro to liberate Cuba from Batista. I read about him, read his biography, saw "The motorcycle Diaries" I liked it, I don't completely agree with his every action or view but I have respect for him. I see people wearing shirts with his face and the word "Revolucion" on it with the Cuban flag in the backround. I can't help my self but ask "Do you know who he is? Do you know what he has done?" I admit it was rude of me to challenge complete strangers knowledge, but many had no idea he was a communist or he fought with Castro. Many were outraged when they found out and asked why a terrorist/guerilla is being glamorized. The truth is, he's not being glamorized he would roll over in his grave if he saw how capitalistic American franchises are using sweat shop labor to make clothing with his face on it. It goes against everything he stands for, the worst part is half the people buying them are pseudo-intellectuals who buy them because it makes them look politically active when they really don't know anything about him. Anyone who actually does know about and supports him and buys these posters, shirts, pins etc. are hypocrites, not only are they doing the late Ernesto Guevara Lynch a great disservice by supporting this capitalist trap they are going against what they say they believe in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What I think about the bombings in London

I don't support terrorism, and I defiantley don't support war: but I do support the Arab World, and all the people in these various countries who are being oppressed by their western big brothers.
I support the Free Palestine movement, and I support all Palestinians that are freeing themselves from the Israeli government's oppressive and tyrannical rule. I do not support suicide bombings, or any violence, I support the marches, rallies and demonstrations in the streets throughout Palestine that take place everyday. I think the Israeli government is horrified just thinking about having to "co-exist" with Palestinians, I think they will do anything in their power to prevent them from ever having any governmental representation or equal rights. I find the Israeli police and armed forces to be racial profilers, that stop people with dark skin that happen to be walking in the wrong neighborhood.
I support the Iraqi's in a realist way, I support an end to the violence and the handing over of power to the new government. I never supported the war in Iraq, but two years later I can do nothing but hope that things get better there and the US leaves the Iraqi's to their country.
I support the whole nation of Iran, although Iam not fond of their regime, I support them and the people of Iran for being strong and even stubborn with the US government who has been after their oil since the 1970's. I don't see why a nation like Iran can't prosper and better themselves by introducing nuclear power without the US and the UK after them with threats. The nation of Iran should be able to develop and their development shoudn't be hindered by Western Powers who are afraid of their potential, afraid of anyone else but them having any kind of power.
I was very offended and even disgusted the morning the bombings occurred in London, how the BBC and CNN were blaming these events on "Islamic Fundamentalism" and were quick to blame it on Al-Qaeda. In a few days the world would learn that these suicide bombers/terrorists were British-Born men. I think it disgusting how people are labeling people not by their race, but just by the way they look. Non-Arab, non-Muslim men and women are being racially profiled all across the US. Persians, Sikhs and other Asians that look the least bit arab in the eyes of ignorant Americans are being alienated: its happening across the US, I have seen it in airports, stores and on the street.
Rather then acting quickly and ignorantly retaliating, the British government should try to see the message behind this heinous event. Maybe if they listened to their people and the people that they are so quick to attack they would actually be able to solve the problem, rather then just thin the chances of its re-occurrence.
Africa is stricken with poverty, the average life expectancy in many African countries does not exceed forty five. Africa is a mess, and the world is looking away, our men with power are out to get more by eliminating their opposition. Lets not fight to the end and have innocent lives slain over power and greed. Lets solve the problems that our small world is stricken with. Lets prosper, not as a nation: but as a race, a race of the same species. Lets better ourselves by investing in man. Save the war until we are invaded by other intelligent life, we need to stop pulling guns on our own.
Let's re-invent our world, because anyone who says its fine the way it is, is lying.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I never laugh as hard as I do when Im with Courtney. Posted by Hello

Friends: what are we without them? Posted by Hello

Monday, May 30, 2005

Reconnecting with our humanness, or just plain cruelty

The other day I was outside with a group of people coincidently all males, we were enthralled in a game of T.A.P.S. Then I spotted a rather large green moth perched on a brick wall about 10 feet of the ground. I pointed to the interesting creature and told others to look. Instantly the expressions changed on their faces, they began to run around looking for rocks and sticks. They then began to chant "Kill it!", "Knock it down!","Get a rock, quick!". They all began jumping up to hit it, slapping sticks at it and throwing rocks at this poor moth. There were fists in the air, people yelling: and when a stone finally struck the moth, they chanted, clapped, and disturbingly celebrated. This really made me think, why did they do this? Why did they kill this defenseless animal in vain? Its not like there were young kids amongst the group, many of them over 16. This made me think about our race, the human race. We started out as nomadic hunter gatherers, then as time went on we became more civilized and our world slowly evolved into what it is today. Was this slaugter of the moth, a group of males reconnecting with their humanness? Bear in mind we didnt get together and have a talk about human civilization and say we were going to go hunt something. This all happened hap-hazardly, they all saw the moth and had the same idea, the same motive and the same goal, it came so natural to them. Was it a struggle to be the alpha-male, was it a struggle to see who could kill it first? Me personally, I was on the moth's side, encouraging others to simply "let it be" but they had this rage to them, this urge to kill the poor thing. As disturbing as this may seam, it is also so natural when you think about it. I believe this hunting down was our instincts, our humanness permeating their 21st century minds and allowing them to reconnect with what ours did when we didnt have all this modern technology.

Society may condemn things, and suppress them: but we must embrace our humanness for all its beauty and all of its not so beautiful qualities. We need to listen to what our minds and bodies are telling us, rather then society. Im not saying whenever you see and animal, kill it and after raise your fists in celebration. But try to reconize your humanness, and embrace it. Be yourself, its all you can do, we are human. Ours is a gift, we should be proud of who we are. We should be proud that we can sweat, bleed, cry, be attracted to another and all the other amazing things we do. We must remember that although we are so significant and advanced we are still living, breathing things that walk this earth. We aren't that different from the other creatures that walk this earth, we must compare ourselves to them, perhaps there is something we can learn from these simpler creatures. We need to embrace and accept our imperfections and differences, because we are nothing without them. We are gifts, we are incredible creatures worthy of such praise. The things we do, our natural instincts are beautiful so don't supress them, accept them. When there is an unpleasant odor, embrace it because you can smell. When there is bad music on the radio, listen because you can. When you are served a dish you don't favor, eat it because you can taste, and not only that you can enjoy and not enjoy. Form your opinions, because your are smart enough to be able to think about such things. Consider yourself a gift, a gift to everything: this earth and beyond. Ours is worthy of praise, study ours, examine us, perhaps you can find something about the race in which you are a member that you can look at and say "Wow, we do that, we are able to do that.".

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Racism I encounter

I have friends from all walks of life, their race means nothing to me. But I realize amongst my peers there is a lot of racial animosity, particularly my caucasian friends. Here is just a little sample of the racism I encounter amongst friends and aquaintances regularly.

"He started smoking Nigger-ports" Here this person is refering to Newport cigarettes which are notorious for being strong menthol cigarettes.

Just to set the plot, I was walking late at night with a friend when we saw a drunk driver hit a parked car, my friend responded: "God damn yan-yos". Yan-yo is a racial term used to label Latino immigrants.

"Its getting harder and harder to be an American in America, no one speaks your language, the ones that do are fucking niggers. I feel Im the immigrant, in a way Iam, Im the minority here: out numbered by the rest of them." I work with the person that said this, he is in no way, shape or form my friend.(for the record).

-Can I borrow a dollar?
-Sorry I dont have enough
-Stop being a jew and loan me a dollar

This was a conversation I saw between two people when I was getting some lunch the other day. The man who asked for a dollar later recieved it after his use of a racial analogy.

Why does all this racial animosity engulf America the way it does? It goes deeper than just racial slurs, people are seperating themselves by race, is it because they feel more comfortable amongst their own race? Why can't they be at ease in the prescence of people that are different from them? And my final question, although it is already becoming one of those irritating cliches we all kno and hate "Why can't just get along?".

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This pic was also taken in Guilin, I believe this to be a cave. Posted by Hello

Here is another picture of the moutains in Guilin Posted by Hello

This is a pagoda, it was in the middle of a Buddhist place of worship located in Xi'an. Posted by Hello

Inside the vast ways of the Forbidden City, orignal Beijing: built when Beijing was still known as Pinying. Posted by Hello

Mural of Mao the communist founder of The Peoples Republic of China. Posted by Hello

Central Monument at the sqaure. Posted by Hello

One of the many ominous soldiers at Tiananmen Square, it seemed o me like they were there not because they needed to be. They were for the people to see, whether Chinese or Foreign. There was also a big police influence due to the anti-Japanese protests. Posted by Hello

A market place in Xi'an I walked through. Posted by Hello

These peddlers came from the shore, and rowed quickly to our boat in order to sell things. With their frail bamboo boat and wooden oars they reached our boat, latched on and began waving their goods. Posted by Hello

The vast underground ways filled with the thousands of Terra-Cotta warriors. Posted by Hello

Globalization at its best, even inside the remote and isolated city of Xi'an.
 Posted by Hello

I took this in Beijing, I Love the shape. Posted by Hello

The great wall, flooded with thousands of tourists from all over the world. Posted by Hello

Two Monks in a buddhist temple in Xi'an enjoying a conversation over some sort of Melon. Posted by Hello

This is one of the many mountains that surround the Lee River and the city of Guilin. Each one of these mountains are so different in shape, its astounding Posted by Hello

This is a waterfall in Guilin, one of the many waterfalls that feed the Lee River. Posted by Hello