<![CDATA[Composting Writing Volume 2 - Project Space]]>Sat, 20 Feb 2016 20:27:32 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Life is Beautiful]]>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:31:31 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/april-15th-2014Picture
The piece I've decided to chose to right about is "Life is Beautiful" by infamous graffiti artist Mr.Brainwash. This wheat paste and painting was put up around November of 2011 and was originally made to advertise his art show that would only be a couple blocks away. This piece was made sometime around after the film Exit Through The Gift Shop was made through Mr.Brainwashes inspiration by Bansky. This artwork is posted up on Highland and Santa Monica near the new and up coming local restaurant called Fat Sal's. So far this mural has had much publicity and is well known around the Hollywood area. Many graffiti artist such as Shepard Ferry, Bansky, and Mr. Brainwash have different pieces of art displayed around Hollywood. However, the use of Ghandi and Einstein both turn small phrases into large messages. The aura of this mural is peaceful beauty.

Justin Maciel is a student attending California State University Northridge, majoring in Biotechnology.
<![CDATA[Transport Through Time and Place]]>Tue, 15 Apr 2014 01:01:54 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/transport-through-time-and-placePictureSanta Paula Mural
After going around my home town searching for a good mural to write about I finally found the perfect one for my writing assignment. It’s a painting on the side of a building near the train station. The masterpiece is named Vendell Dovling and was created by Lynne Dovling. The mural was painted in 2001. I find it very interesting because it’s an exact painting of how the railroads and train station looks like. It’s extremely detailed and once you stand in front of it you can feel the aura.

As I arrived to the mural I parked my car at the park that’s located about 100 feet or so away. The mural is on the side of a building that I separated from the housing by a narrow street. I actually sat on one of the benches the street had. The rush of the runners and dog walkers made it feel like a movie where there is a person in the middle of life and seeing everyone being so active and happy I felt like that person. The setting and the view helped me feel like I can stop and take a breather from everything that’s going on around me and let me feel happy too.

The setting of the painting was around the 50’s and by the vehicles in the painting the aura I perceived was the sense of an older less modern society. The guy on the motorcycle looks like a greaser to me and the girl’s on the right side on their beach cruisers look like the good girls from the movie Grease. The cars on the left seem ancient, I don’t think I see them around anymore unless I go to a car show where they are fully restored.

The reason I am very interested in this city mural is because it tells so much about my town that it makes me feel great becoming a part of its history. The big tree on the far left is still around and looks exactly the same as it does in the painting. That tree is such an important part of history that you will not find a caring or vandalism on it. Like the tree the two buildings on the right are a part of this city’s history I remember when  the red building was a art museum then it became a rental place for large parties like quinceneras for about six or seven years. But now it has become a Christian church and is still running smooth, every other day people in suits and dresses enter the building for their daily prayers.

Understanding the Mural
This mural helps me understand the history of the town I live in I cannot imagine that busy street without the tree and red buildings. It’s a mural that touches a lot of hearts. My dad says that for every individual part of the mural has a story behind it. He believes that I must have had a great story to tell if it made it up in the mural. I have heard that this was a painting of an old picture that was saved in our city historical museum. My Grandmother says that the mural has always been there but ever twenty or thirty years it gets its touch-ups. After my grandmother said that I was puzzled. Knowing that made me see it differently because it’s not original anymore. Like the video we saw in class explained we copy masterpieces but it can’t ever be the same originality.  

I was told that the only people that are eligible to repaint it have to be in the family line of the original painter. That makes the aura seem original because the legacy it left is passed on to future generation of the same family which is cool because it’s not just a stranger coming and painting here and there. The family members keep the aura of the old setting it was first given.


This mural is a story of the city, the audience of this masterpiece can definitely see it as original if they are aware of the history of it. People who are unaware just see an old school painting that was made about fifteen years ago.

Since I am a local here I’m happy to play a part of my home town’s history by letting my peers and siblings know about the history of murals and painting and monuments this town as. The building that the mural is on is actually in the mural itself, it’s the far back building behind the train cars that is only revealing the roof and right back side of itself. Like I said before everything in this mural is said to have a significance that made it on the painting, 

My name is Eric Salgado and I am good at drawing. i also enjoy listening to Rebelution.
<![CDATA[The Beauty of the Past]]>Mon, 14 Apr 2014 06:03:11 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-beauty-of-the-pastPicture
When I went to go visit the San Fernando Mission, it was really a unique experience.  That is because there is so much history in one single location, and this isn’t some painting where you have to guess what their meaning behind the piece of art was, rather there are hard facts of what actually happened. Over 200 years ago is when this beautiful gem of a place was founded, in saying that its crazy to think about all the important footprints that walked across the grounds. That is why I wanted to go and visit it, because this building made a huge impact in the way California was set up.  That was a huge reason for me wanting to go and visit one of these places. 

Feeling Out of Place 

Standing in the middle of the mission, I looked around and I saw a bunch of other people looking around at the scenery just like I am. The was a ton of greenery, but I thought to myself, “Was there this much when they first started out? Or was it a dirt lot?” Trees, bushes, flowers and the sound of birds is what also greeted me as I walked through it. For me personally, however, I am not really religious myself…so to be in a place that was basically like a church was weird for me. Felt out of place, the way I was dressed wasn’t the same as the people around me. Jeans and a shirt, compared to others that wore dresses and suits. Like should I have gone home and changed, or not? It was really weird and I didn’t like the fact that I felt so out of place. All in all, no matter how awkward I felt, I still kept my composure and walked around and took in as much history as I could. 

Facts and Purpose 

Here are some facts that I learned about the mission:

-between the years of 1834 and 1861 is was not catholic

-the goal of the mission was to get people to convert to their religion and also to turn them into good Spanish colonists.

- they were taught European-style farming, animal husbandry, mechanical arts and domestic crafts

            The whole point to the missions up and down California was that they wanted them to change everything about how the natives lived. To make them come out and become just like them, so that they could spread their beliefs faster. And since there was 17 missions, that wasn’t going to be an issue whatsoever. 

Jennifer Juarez is a student at CSUN, that has changed her major multiple times, to the point where she still doesn't know what she wants to do for the rest of her life. But that is what college is for, to figure out what you want to do. 
<![CDATA[Our Lady of Guadalupe]]>Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:39:17 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/our-lady-of-guadalupePicturePhoto was taken next to a flower shop
An image can have so many meanings depending on so many things. The simple environment around the image can change the meaning of it .The picture that I picked was a painting that was on a wall of a local flower shop. It is an image that pops out on you when I was there it is a regular street and there’s barber shop next to it and other small shops that image is important because it is a religious image it is an image of the virgin Mary an important god in my religion.

When I was there where the image is located it is next to a really busy main street many cars and people walk by that image there are other images around that image but they all have graffiti on them and the only image that doesn’t have anything on it is the painting of the virgin Mary the image makes you feel like if you’re at church or somewhere peaceful and it is a very pleasant place to be. There is many other images around my neighborhood that have the Virgin Mary and to me they all have important meaning. The painting also shows another important figure in the catholic religion by the name of Juan Diego he is paying attribute to the Virgin Mary by bowing down and bring flowers to her there are many stories behind this image. This image itself is very popular in the Catholic regions. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin states that the image changes its meaning that every image has an “Aura”. An Aura is a special meaning that an image has because of its origin. The paintings aura changes this is because of photography there is a huge difference between seeing an image on a picture or actually seeing the image or painting in person the surrounding of the object or image itself defines the image if you were to see a photograph of that same image the meaning of that picture would be completely different. The surroundings of the painting, well there wasn’t much around there is usually many people around on Tuesdays when the street is closed so that a market can sell fruits and other things. The reason why I picked that image was because it has always caught my attention every time I would pass around. The image dates back to the year 1531 it is said that Juan Diego saw the Virgin Mary on the hill of Tepeyac near what is now considered Mexico City. The Virgin Mary is also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is know that the appearance of The Virgin Mary occurred 10 years after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire. Many Latinos call her Our Lady of Guadalupe because of her skin color. It is a combination between the native and Spaniards. This image has so many meanings to it but it is significant to the catholic religion because it is the first appearance of the Virgin Mary. When the image is viewed from a photo graph in a way it has almost the same meaning because it is a religious image but when your there where the painting is actually there it makes you feel different because of the surrounding it is true what it is stated in Benjamin’s article that cameras make the images lose their Aura the more it is mass produced it loses its true definition and what the image really means this might apply to all of the images, sculptures, and on and on.  A religious image might not be affected in total by the aura because a religious image is always going to have the same meaning behind it because of its origin despite this in a way it counter argues itself because if you were to go to where the origin of the paintings they might have a completely different meaning to you.  

My name is Raul Leal I am a freshmen at CSUN and my major is Manufacturing System Engineering  
<![CDATA[“The Point”]]>Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:31:50 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-pointPicture
I was fortunate enough to spend my spring break back home in northern California with my family. I had often been told by friends and family members about this art structure located 2.3 miles from my home. I figured this assignment would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally stop by the interesting looking structure. I had visited Baylands various times before but I had never done very much exploring of the area in which the art piece was positioned. It is situated on a far end of a nature preserve in East palo alto. I arrived a little after six in the afternoon, so the sun was beginning to set and just at the right angle for me to snap a few photographs. And now thinking about it, it really did added to the initial aura I experienced when first observing the design.

Initial Thoughts 

I remember slowly approaching the structure, I crossed the parking spaces and at arriving in the back of the structure, I instantaneously felt an uneasy breeze sweep all my hair into my periphery.The smell of bay water and the sound of noise segals filled my atmosphere. Large shrubs seemed to be obstructing my vision of the piece of art from a distance but the closer and closer I got, the larger and more complex the art piece revealed itself to be. I stood nearly four feet away from the structure for about five minutes. First surveying my surrounds, I noticed the place appeared completely desolate for a long period of time, it struck me as being very unkept. Then I realized how large the preserve was, and lastly, I had the desire to continue exploring the reset of Baylands.

I took a few pictures from a distance then slowly and cautiously worked my way closer while simultaneously documenting the experience and my initial reaction with a video recording. The first things I mention in the video is how rearrangement of the concrete blocks reminded me of war, destruction and demolition of a strong and solid building. I thought I was looking at the ruins of a building and the art piece served as a memorial of all those whose lives were lost due to some tragic event concerning the destruction of the structure placed before me. I had come to the conclusion that in view of the of troubling and upsetting emotions built up within me, evoked only by piece of art itself. it had to be regarding unfortunate events but to my surprise it wasn't.


After doing some research on the art piece it was established that

  • The structure was called  “The Point”

  • It was brought about by Richard F. Shirley and John M. Kennedy

  • it was dedicated in 1980 "to the beauty and poetry of the Baylands.”

Relating back to the point brought up in Ways of Seeing, the difference between experiencing a piece of art in person as opposed to through a photograph is very different in more ways than it is similar. However having a clear memory of what it was like standing before the piece of art and then later looking at the picture you took of the piece of art is more similar than it is different. Looking at the picture before me I can still distinctively describe the sound, the smell, the feel of being there in person. The piece of art still means the same thing to me as it did when I first stood before it. The image of the structure still brings me to imagine the event of a natural disaster or war that demolished every structure in sight. Although everything lies in ruins there still remains hope for the future, for a tomorrow, when the sun will rise again and life will go on for everything it reaches. I don’t think this concept of the relationship between the before and after thoughts, feelings, experiences of a piece of art when you've viewed in in person and in a picture is mentioned by John Berger in Ways of Seeing. Nonetheless it does highlight an interesting notion of art. In my experience, the reproduction of art serve as reminder of the initial aura.
Avisely Solis is a second semester freshman at California Sate Northridge. She is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Psychology. She hopes to one day travel to foreign countries as an archeologist. 
<![CDATA[Evolution of Perception]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 06:57:18 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/evolution-of-perceptionPicture
Perception and originality is everything, this is the message that Walter Benjamin stressed in his article Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.This brilliant man shed light on how originality is drifting away due to the invention of the camera which caused loss of aura and authenticity. Many people had a hard time grasping the concepts that Benjamin was trying to project in his article so a man by the name of Mike Poster developed a film called The Aesthetics of Distracting Media to help viewers understand the message that Benjamin was trying to share with his audience through his immense use of comparisons and analogies. Although these two people themselves have different perceptions of how they view are they can still reach an agreement on how many people blindly see works of art and are fooled into believing that a replica of a piece of heart has equal value of an original piece of art. These two men stressed how important it was to recognize true art in different environments and also how people perception of true art has shifted throughout the years.

The two readings, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin and The Aesthetics of Distracting Media by Mike Poster, are very contradictory. The first reading seems to challenge the second reading. In the first reading, Benjamin thinks that the reproduction of the filmic work of art is possible but reproduction do not have the same value and originality as the original work of art. Poster thinks the reproduction completely destroys the traditional form of art. Also, Benjamin pointed out that cameras can enhance the meaning of traditional art.  Poster thinks that cameras intervene between the actor and the audience. Therefore, cameras destroy the traditional form of art. Poster also states that the viewer of film must have a 'heightened presence of mind' to follow the shifts in perspective affgorded by montage and shifts in the position of cameras. However, according to Benjamin, the audience does not need to have a heightened peace of mind to follow the shift in prospective.

In Ways of Seeing by John Berger, the video agrees with Benjamin in how cameras can have different prospective of audiences. Cameras provide different ways to see the audiences from different angles. Therefore, it does not destroy the traditional art. It only changes the meaning.

In the essay by Walter Benjamin, he describes aura to be a unique atmosphere that cannot be replicated. He uses aura to describe how each piece or art is original and it brings its own original and authentic atmosphere. In the video “Ways of Seeing” it explains how music can change how a work of art is viewed, music changes the mood or aura of the piece. Along with music, commentary also changes the atmosphere of an artwork. The video also showed how silence when viewing art intensifies the experiences, it gives the admirer time to really process and evaluate every detail of the work. The aura of an artwork is adjusted or changed through replication; being in the actual original presence of an artwork allows one to experience its actual meaning and aura that was intended. The reproduction of art manipulates its original meaning and oral through the way it is presented. Benjamin argues how almost every aspect of a piece of art is altered through film. These aspects include the aura, culture, and authenticity.

In Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, he says that if a work of art were to stay authentic, it has to be based in ritual.  The ritualistic basis should still be able to stand out right away, if it isn’t there that means that work has been tampered with and no longer has an authentic basis to it. If for example, there was a photograph taken, you can make endless copies of the single image, but if there was a painting that becomes a lot more challenging as far as having to recreate the same image. What he was trying to get at was that, once there is a painting recreated/repainted, the original piece is the only item that holds true to the authenticity, whereas the copies don’t. For example, the Mona Lisa is an original piece of art that millions have tried to copy and sell for a really high price. Which are ridicules because there are certain aspects that art dealers can look at to tell if the piece is original or not. And that comes back to the authentic part of what Benjamin is trying to say, you cannot take an original piece and try to recreate it.

Art is a topic that can be discussed as both an argument and a way of connecting the wonderful ideas of two or more people. Art is seen through the world around us and can be interpreted in many different ways. Many may take the side of Walter Benjamin and state that reproduction of art can tamper with the originality of many works of art. Many people have argued the same such as Mike poster who stated that art is demolished by the mocking reproductions. In the end it comes down to a person’s own opinion of how art is portrayed. Some like to reinvent different works by imitating original pieces and putting their own touches to it. Others choose to just admire and stand in awe at the beauty of original pieces. As time has progressed individuals have advanced and used new technology to find a way of making art more modern by using tools such as cameras. Cameras help to capture a moment and share with others that were not present at a particular moment in time. Things such as editing have emerged due to the creation of cameras. The more society grows the more the way that art will be further constructed and understood, people’s thoughts of originality and authenticity will continue to fade as technology grows.

Cynthia,Allen,Albert,Jennifer, and Emely are all freshman students at CSUN
<![CDATA[Two Main Points: Aura and Perspective]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 05:11:01 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/two-main-points-aura-and-perspectivePictureA beautiful painting
As we viewed the video about art and how it changes with modern technology, my group and I began to interpret the video with critical analysis and thinking. We came into a conclusion of agreeing with the video in the topic of art changing through time. The video argues Benjamin view on aura and how he was right about technology eventually pushing the authenticity away from an original painting. The video argues that different perspectives of a painting can change the entire mood setting of the tone it is trying to place on the audience.

     Along with other key points Benjamin’s argument about aura brought forth to my attention that the way art is viewed by television or photographs we perceive a new form of art that is presented to us. As we see the paintings from a setting other than its original face front we can’t see the authentic emotion it gives the viewer. Benjamin’s argument became clear that technology has a large role in the misdirection of an artworks originality. Reproduction of art will always replace the real meaning of it by allowing us to see a misdirected message that we make up by judging art with our personal views. The message and aura a painting is trying to show the viewer will be different by being able to see the texture and techniques with the naked eye instead of seeing a picture of the painting on television that seems vague and hard to interpret. Benjamin explained the way art is changing today back during the period of time where pictures were still black and white. His arguments are supported by facts and statistics that prove his points on the changing of aura in a painting. My group is convinced that his views on art became very similar to ours after watching the video that expressed Benjamin’s argument.

     We recently watched a video in class, which explained multiple things about art. The one topic that was the most interesting was when the narrator talked about how the movement of a camera could change the appearance of artwork. We disagree. Just because the camera is moved or zoomed in does not mean that the meaning of the piece of art is changed. It is just showing a zoomed in version of the original. It may look like a different piece but it is not. Before admiring artwork, you take a look at the artist that drew the painting and the paintings name. The painting’s name should give away what the artist was painting. For example, it would not make sense if you saw a pink picture and it was called, “Ocean.” If the painting were blue, it would make more sense. The video explains that if the camera moves closer and focuses on a small part of the drawing then it changes the picture completely. We believe that each little part of a picture represents the picture as a whole. Each small detail is there for a purpose and with that section missing, the picture would not be complete.

     Even though the authors of the articles we read had multiple ideas and a strong argument, we consider ours better. When you look at a painting painted by any artist, you could stand there quietly and it will tell you a story. Each detail in art is going to tell some sort of story and when you put them all together, you come up with a beautiful painting and beautiful relation between the big picture and all of the small details.

     One of Walter Benjamin’s major points was the loss of aura in reproduced art. Benjamin explains that without aura the art works loses it sense of authenticity and originality.  Aura can be explained as the abstract feeling that one feels as they witness the original work of art.  As mentioned the aura is something that is not tangible but felt within by each individual. However, aura will soon become obsolete by the mass reproduction of art we are creating due to the advancement in technology. Extensions to all kinds of art and media have been created as theorist Mcluhan explains in Marks Poster’s article “The Aesthetics of Distracting Media.” The greatest extension that has “extended the eye’s reach throughout the globe” is television and film. All kinds of people from all over the world are able to witness art all at the same time as Mcluhan illustrates. We must agree that art is easily accessed and is easily spread throughout all individuals all over the world or even at the exact moment but the art has no meaning without aura. Restating again, art loses complete meaning without aura. Aura is the key component of art. No significance is shown, felt, or appreciated without the art’s authenticity. As television and film advance more and more the less we will be able to experience aura. The true meaning of art is to acknowledge or enjoy the great talent and dedication that is being portrayed in the piece. Art was never meant to be unoriginal or meaningless.


     To conclude, we agree with John Berger’s Ways of Seeing video. There are two main reasons that were explained previously the aura and the perspective of the camera which we did agree with John Berger. John Berger emphasized that changing the perspective of the camera changes the meaning of the painting, but in reality it is a small contribution to the big meaning of the painting. The true meaning of art is to acknowledge or enjoy the great talent and dedication that is being portrayed in the piece. Art was never meant to be unoriginal or meaningless. We agree that aura is the key point in every painting and it should not lose its originality because that is what it is value for. John Berger also explained that by zooming in or out the camera the meaning of the painting changes in contrast we believe that each little part of a picture represents the picture as a whole. Each small detail is there for a purpose and with that section missing, the picture would not be complete. Therefore no matter if you zoom in or out the painting the meaning or the way you see the painting would not change because each small part of the picture contributes to the meaning of it.
Paulina Negrete, Xiomara Arnao, Eric Salgado and Elias Leon attending Cal State University, Northridge.
<![CDATA[Recreation of Our Perspectives ]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 03:55:43 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/recreation-of-our-perspectivesPicture
In Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, he introduces the ideology of artistic forms such as paintings losing their aura. Originality of aura seems to be manipulated with the invention of technology such as film and cameras. Creating variations of perspective manipulates the human ideology of aesthetics by creating false introspection between the object and the eye of the beholder through film and pictures.  An actor is only seen from the point of view of the camera.  The actor himself is manipulated by the “camera” being his director.  He also introduces that all forms of art can be reproducible, and that men can imitate any kind of artifact.  Even though credibility of such authenticity is being changed, Benjamin agrees that “mechanical reproduction of work of art, however, represents something new”, but fears that the mass accelerated progression of aesthetic slowly loses its uniqueness. It loses its originality because people do not process that it was one a master piece.  They are fooled by the reproduction that technology has created. He believed that it would manipulate the future to lose the true value of art. Human perception through history explains how so by capturing human satisfaction through popularity of technology from the lithograph to photography. Mass reproduction of art forms advanced swiftly throughout the centuries, which replaced authenticity of true aura with mystification.      

            In Mark Poster’s essay “The Aesthetics of Distracting Media”, he introduces the idea that the transformation of art through technology is not an act of manipulating perspective, but rather is a progression for reinforcing completeness of possibilities through new opportunities. He introduces the aesthetics of art by revealing his perspective, undetermined art. His ideology accepts the counterintuitive awareness of reproduction, which relies heavily on the work produced by technology which manipulates time; not an art form which was formed by a determined mastermind at a specific moment which concentrates on communication for essence of true introspection. Even though Poster’s ideology seems rational and is functionally understandable, his published work does not evaluate the criteria in which experiences of collective work enhances extraordinary differences from one person to another. Instead he attains the belief that progression of technology impacts all of society at once with great progressivism, and uses this analysis to create a purpose to make technology a necessary component to understand human understanding of aesthetic.  Even though Poster explains that “art is not a delimited object but an undetermined space in which subject and object, human and machine, body and mind, space and  time all receive new cultural forms”, he does not give credibility of the aesthetic being created by originality of aura from an art form. The author points out the problems he found in Walter Benjamin’s essay.  He argues that art requires technology that takes time.  Mark Poster does not think that the reproduction of paintings makes the original painting lose its aura, but he sees the reproduction as a way of building up.  He argues that human sense requires new aesthetic theory, but the new art form does not initially explain its objective to interact such proposition to society.

            In John Berger’s video Ways of Seeing, he provides how technology tries to institutionalize aesthetics by explaining how it is possible for media to manipulate art meaning. Berger explains and clarifies how the distinction of the connection of art is being limited for the viewer by media intentionally for marketing purposes. The viewer can be distracted by the art that is in their house if there are other things around it. The perception of art through media produces human popularity behavior that creates a blissful connection, which intensifies mystification as reality. It is true that paintings are still and silent, but the message obtained by such source can transform creativity of art into power that seeks domination over the majority of society. Even though the existence of power in art is obtainable, describing true aesthetic seems to be uncertain of its full potential. In the video, John Berger is standing in front of a painting done by Leonardo da Vinci.  The authentic painting is displayed in the National Gallery.  He talks about how although the viewers of the video can see the authentic painting through the screen; we still are not seeing the actual painting.  Also, he states that since these paintings can be reproducible, the paintings have lost some meaning behind them.  With the use of camera movement on a painting, it can go from a shot of the whole painting to a face on the painting.  Appreciating the true meaning of are can be influenced by your surroundings.  If you are watching a pumped up video then switch to a painting you can not grasp what the painting is supposed to make you feel.  A painting can very moving when it is portrayed in complete silence.  They were meant to be experienced in silence with gives a dramatic feeling.  Knowing about an artist’s background can affect what you see in an art piece.  Music can also change the meaning of an art dramatically.  Because of the movement that is being done by the camera, the meaning behind the original painting has been lost.  Walter Benjamin states, “The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.”  

           In Walter Benjamin’s essay, pictures lose their aura because of mass production. In the video of “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger, it is described that the image changes its meaning by its surroundings. Both the article and the video describe how an image is not the same when it has been mass produced, and instead, changes its meaning. The difference in the article and the video is that in John’s Berger video, images that are mass-produced are better known and people are more familiar with it. Also, in the video, John Berger states that images that have been mass reproduced can change its meaning because of different situations such as environment and other things while in Walter Benjamin’s article he states that when an image is mass reproduced it loses it aura and its complete meaning.  Both of these articles have very similarities but in a way they counter say each other.     

Nikita Zaman, Kristen Santos, Raul Leal, and Pedro Jimenez are all students at California State University of Northridge, and their group is called the Genies.
<![CDATA[The Most Important]]>Tue, 18 Mar 2014 03:08:08 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-most-importantPicture
 A sport can change the lines of millions of people. A ball can change your life. A soccer ball is a very precious object to me for the reason that my life has been surrounded by it. I have a huge passion for soccer my family is hugs fans of soccer. I’ve had the opportunity to play with a professional team in Mexico. All that I owe to my parents because of their support and time they helped me get where I wanted.

My Background: 

  I grew up around a soccer ball due to my father always taking me and my brothers to the park to just kick around the ball. At the age eleven i joined a team in a local soccer league. I was not good at all when I first began to play in my league and consider myself as the worst player in the league. In the league they started me off as a forward and later on they change my position as goalie. When I started as a goalie I was not bad at all for a starter and really liked the position. I stayed playing that position for several years, and when I turned fifteen years old I became an academic player after playing with a Mexican club called Morelia I had the opportunity to play in Tijuana. The years flew by as I was playing part of a professional soccer club. As I got better I had the chance to join the club I always dream to play for America I was able to play with the club due to all the hard work and commitment and my family support.  

 Soccer was brought into my life owing it to my parent’s effort they would take part of their time so much they would take me to my practices every day. In a way if it was not for my parents I would not have had the chance to play it or even is part of a professional soccer team.  Due to all the support and confident they gave me I would not have pushed myself to keep moving forward and putting to mind that practices makes perfect.

   My parents were born in different parts of Mexico my dad is from Guadalajara and my mom is from Durango they come from a family that loves soccer. My dad went for the rival team which was Club America instead for Chivas which was a club that was from where my dad was born.

I grew up my whole life watching Club America and to me they were the best team no matter if they won or lost. In a way that made me push myself to become and get where I wanted even though I didn’t get what I really wanted was to become pro. I had the chance to become professional soccer player but due to an injury that suddenly changed my future with the club I didn’t reach my goal in life but I learned other important things in life there.

The Clubs History

 Club America is one of the most popular and high prestige team in Mexico. They have won many tournaments and are constantly fighting for the league title against Chivas. Club America has been in the final for two tournaments straight and won one of those two finals against Cruz Azul and lost the other finale four months ago against Club Leon.

  America was founded on the 12th of October of 1916. The club is one of two clubs owned by a media company called Televisa. The clubs soccer stadium is the largest stadium in Mexico and Latin America, and the second largest football-specific stadium in the world. The club has eleven national titles. The clubs name was originated by any regular team the team was looking for a name for the team so one of the players by the name of Pedro “Cheto” Quintanilla said America because the team was formed on Columbus Day. There logo consisted of a map of America and the “C” for Club and an “A” for America on each side.

The Teams Colors

   The team colors were decided by the team the colors were brought by one of the players called Rafael Garza Gutierrez brought some blue shorts and a yellow shirt and the team decided that they would be the colors. In order for Club America to become part of the Mexican League which consisted of five teams in order of America to become part they had to play three games and win all of them. But they only won two and tied the last one but despite that they were accepted to the league they  shorty changed their name due to bad results but then decided to change their name back to America.

  Club America was the first Mexican team to play out of Mexico. The founder of the club was Rafael Garza Gutierrez. The rivalry team Guadalajara was born and the rivalry became most noticeable during the 1945-1946 season which America lost 6-4 and 4-2.The team was then bought by a soft drink company and then was sold to a its current owner.

Because of Them

A soccer ball is a simple object that can change the world, a person. A soccer ball changed my life my parents helped me get where I wanted to be if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been where I am if not for them I probably wouldn’t be writing this essay I did have a chance to become a part of great club but things didn’t work out my parents and friends pushed me so that I could work my hardest in a way I realize that thanks to my parents hard work , sacrifices that they did so that I could have a chance to become a great part of something big. Even though my parents didn’t have the same chances as me they tried their best to provide not only me but my two younger brothers my father always told me that “If you did nothing then you shouldn’t expect anything to change” this in my head made me push myself not only to try my best in soccer put get to where I wanted to be college. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been writing this essay or would have gone to college.

They were both born in México with families that came from low budgets they didn’t have the opportunities that I have had or that my brother will my parts opened the doors for me so I could have the chances it was really only up to me if I would take advantage of what I had in front of me despite not having reached my goal to become a professional soccer player I had many opportunities and great experiences even though I am young I can happily say that my life has been awesome despite the challenges that I’ve had in front of me and I am really happy in a way that actually had that chances to do what I did. It’s true what the saying says “If you don’t take the risk you will never know what you missed out of course there are a lot of things that I’ve wished I should have done different but it’s a way of life how things happen to me a simple ball can change someone’s life as an event can too. The most important things in your life are your parents despite if you have a good or bad relationship with them they are the ones that can only really teach you things about life of course you have to experience them sometimes to get the true feeling of what they are telling you, but I believe that they should always be your number one thing because to me they are soccer is something I love with a passion but my parents helped me get that opportunity to enjoy it even though right now club America isn’t doing so good in the current tournament I am still proud to say that is my favorite team not only because I grew up watching them but also because they gave me the chance to be part of their team might of not been first team player but proudly I can say I was the U-18.Anyone can have something that means a lot to them and to me it would be soccer and my parents.




My name is Raul Leal I am a student at Cal State Northridge and I am majoring in Manufacturing Systems Engineering
<![CDATA[The Kick to My Journey]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:47:50 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-kick-to-my-journeyPictureMy purple cleats I used during my sophomore year and junior year.
Soccer is one word that describes me as a person. Soccer is my passion, my love and my life! Ever since I arrived as a freshman at Heritage College Ready Academy High School I knew I had a goal in mind and I was eager to accomplish it! Beside from earning good grades in school, I knew I wanted to be part of the Heritage High School soccer team. I knew that it was going to be tough to make the team especially as a freshman with the abundance of competition. But I was ready for the day of the try outs to hopefully accomplish my goal.

A Legend is born            

     At the age of 16 was when Cristiano Ronaldo accomplished his goal when he first signed with his first team called Sporting Portugal in 2001. That was always his dream; he had a great passion for the sport ever since his father brought him into a boy’s club where he was introduce to soccer. Cristiano would sneak out through the window of his bedroom with a soccer ball in his hands and go play soccer with friends, when he was supposed to be doing his homework.

The Journey Begins   

     I did not do my homework on the day of try outs, I remember this day like if it was yesterday. I was on my way to the park and as I was close to arriving, I suddenly felt like I had weights on my legs. I felt that my legs weighed over one hundred pounds. I knew that this was the sensation of nervousness. When I arrived to the park, I was astonished by the amount of students that attended the soccer try outs it looked like a commodious crowd of fans coming out of a stadium! With fear inside me I hurried to put on my purple nike cleats from Cristiano Ronaldo I bought these cleats on August a month before soccer try outs and that is where my journey begins. When I heard the whistle I knew that Coach Juan was ready to begin try outs and I felt unsecure, nervous and unprepared.

     We were set in teams of six. The team I was in was going to play first. Coach Juan was ready to observe the following teams and everybody glared at the ball like if we were dogs after a piece of meat. The ball rolled and I was ready to take control over it. I juke players here and there, ran through the sidelines like a cheetah and controlled the ball like if they glued the ball to my purple cleats. The mini soccer game had ended and Coach Juan asked me “Hey, what is your name?” I replied, “Elias Leon” I knew right away that I had hope!


     Hope, hope was exactly what Cristiano Ronaldo had when his team Sporting Portugal played against Manchester United. At the age of sixteen in 2001 they faced each other where Cristiano amazed the Man U teammates and the head coach as well. At the end of the game the Man U players told the head coach that he should do anything he can in order to sign Cristiano Ronaldo into the team. The Man U coach approached Cristiano and said, “So you are Cristiano?” Cristiano replied, “Yes sir.” The coach replied, “You played great out there.” He then said, “Thank you.” It was not before that Manchester United and Sporting Portugal came to an agreement about Cristiano’s transfer to Man U, where Manchester United paid 12 million euros for Cristiano’s services. That was a big amount for a young player like Cristiano, breaking a record fee.

     The following week everybody was eager to know who had made the team. Everybody was questioning if they made the team like if they were detectives. As soon as they announced the list was going to be up during lunch, everybody was full of curiosity, but I felt nervous at the same time. When lunch arrived I saw a lot of students rushing out the classroom like rhinos. As I approached the list, I saw happiness in many shouting “yes!” and in others disappointment saying “maybe next year.” I perused the list and... I saw my name, Elias Leon!

The Second Step

     After making the high school team I always wore my purple cleats, I worked hard to get on the team. Now the second step was to win myself a spot on the starting squad. It was a very cold and dark night around 8:20 p.m. with 25 minutes left on the referee’s watch the score was one to one; it was a tie a game. Coach Juan tells me, “start warming up really quick, you are going to go in on the next play” with nervousness and determined I simply replied “ok.” As soon as I was ready, Coach Juan called in the substitute right before going in Juan tells me, “I want you to run up and down the sideline…I need you to get them tired these last twenty minutes.” I simply nodded, touched the field, touched my purple cleats and blessed myself. First ball I touch as soon as I step foot into the field the first ball I lose I felt like a dog running down the streets. It did not take me long to actually find myself inside the field, I did exactly what the coach said, on the last five minutes of the game the players from the opposing team were exhausted. Everybody in the crowd was anxious to know how the game was going to finish. In the last few minutes one of my teammates crossed the ball to the other side I ran with full speed to the center I passed through the whole defense stopped the ball with my chest and kicked the ball inside the goal and scored!

      Throughout my high school years I did not want to let go of my purple cleats, the cleats I scored my first goal with the high school soccer team and stayed champion for two years with my purple cleats.


     Sophomore year, this is my year, I am captain this is the year we are named champions! I remember this game like if it was yesterday we played one of our main rivals College ready #11 it was a rainy day on the month of January around 6:00 p.m. the park was full of people, families and students eager to watch the final. This game went all the way to penalties, every player was exhausted it seemed like we could not even take a step because then we would fall. Our first four players scored the penalty shot then the fourth player from the opponent team missed it looked more like a field kick like in football rather than a penalty kick. Lastly it came down to me if I scored the penalty we were champions! I got the ball and kissed it then I put it right down the goalie approached me and told me “I’m going to block this penalty” with confidence I responded “ok it’s going to your left.” So the referee whistled as soon as he whistled I pointed to the goalie’s left and shot it there and scored the penalty. I shouted from the bottom of my lungs and everybody ran to me after I scored the penalty kick!

The Goal

     Purple cleats, what I thought were some simple cleats like any other, now they are meaningful to me. They represent confidence and perseverance. My cleats have represented how my life has been during a soccer game; life can be tough like any intense soccer game you might think that you lost everything and you cannot accomplish a goal in mind but in the last moments if you give it your all you score! Till this day I still have my purple cleats I accomplish a lot with them I made the high school soccer team as a freshmen, scored my first goal with them in high school, named captain during sophomore year and champion as well and finally in my senior year in the final I wore my purple cleats just for that final and was named champion once again!

   This built confidence in me because when I first arrived at the park I doubted myself and my talent. This made me reflect that whatever I put my mind into I know that I can accomplish it. There would be a time where I know that at a certain point, I would doubt myself, but all I can do is not let insecurity get in the way of what could be a talent, an accomplishment or in my case “The Goal!” 

Elias Leon attends California State University, Northridge. Majoring in Business management.
<![CDATA[Learning from the Past]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 07:17:04 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/learning-from-the-pastPictureMy Dad and I
As everyone walks into my room they have all asked me the same question. “What is happening in the poster? It looks like a picture of something that’s just there.” They call my poster boring but I know what makes it exciting. The memory that is holds is extremely dear to me. My dad and I hardly past good times when I was younger. He was a strict man, at times stubborn, that always punished me for the smallest things. The way I was punished was by getting hit. I would always have a bruise on my body every week in a new place. I don’t remember a time where I lifted my shirt up and didn’t see purple on me.

The Experience’s

                As I would get home from school each day I would come home to my dad waiting for me on the couch sitting down watching old movies that where still black and white. “Eric ponte hacer la tarea,” he would tell me as he saw me walking in. He made me do my homework every day after school. Without a look to his face I walked into my room and began my homework but I wouldn’t always understand it but I would never ask for help when he was around. I asked him for help one time and as I bothered him from his daily movie watching he turned off the television looked at me with his eyes getting smaller the more he frowned. Then with his angry face he yelled “Necesitas ayuda!” As I began to regret asking him for help he stood up walked to me and grabbed me by my hair dragged me to the door of my room then pushed my head against the door while I felt a cold wood feeling on my cheek I would felt a much stronger feeling on my back that was from his belt that made a smacking sound every time it hit me. As I cried “Apa por favor no me peges nadamas necesitava ayuda con mi tarea!” He would yell at me “No te poertes como un menso con migo tu vas a la escuela pa que aprendas no pa pedir me ayuda!”

After yelling that at me he hit me more and harder every time. As I fell to the ground not being able to breath I would scream for my mom to please come home to protect me “Please mom come for me please help me!” I was nine years old when this happened and till this day I remember the pain that was making my back and ass throb so much that I could not move without my body aching for almost an hour I remained on that same spot with tears coming out of my eyes slowing after every blink I had staining the rug with a puddle of tears that gently rolled off my cheek. Once I was able to struggle onto my bed my back was so bad that I wasn’t able to attend school the next day and my homework was due the next day but my dad was sure to let the school know that I wasn’t going to make it because of illness issues.

This is just one of the many bad experiences I had as a little kid with my dad. I don’t have that many good memories with my dad as a child. The good memories where all the same. Whenever we went out to a party or to someone else’s house he would tell people how masculine I was and how much of a man I was, even as a little kid always trying to show me off. That was the only time he would talk good about me even though none of it was true. I would always pretend that he would say I love him in one of his remarks about me. It made me feel like what he said was true that I am the boy that he always wanted.

The Changes

Over the years my dad began to realize how bad he treated me so one day out of the blue he tells me to get dressed, “Eric ya vistete te voy ah llevar a la escuela.”  Thought it was weird because my mom always took me to school. “Ok ya voy,” I replied. I put on my blue shirt that had a car in the front and racing flags on the back. My pants were black Dickies that were a little loose so I grabbed my black belt that had a rolling dice pattern all around it.

As we headed out I was still in shock that my dad was taking me to school. That morning was grey and gloomy that actually put me into a lazy mood. Once I saw that we headed towards the freeway I knew I wasn’t going to school because my school was literally down the street about five blocks away. I had the curiosity to ask him where we were going. All he told me was “It’s a good thing there is a car on your shirt.” I still didn’t know what he was planning, then we arrived to my cousin’s house and picked him and his dad up. My cousin and I looked at each other with surprised faces.

It wasn’t too long before we knew we were going somewhere far because we bought McDonalds and every time we buy McDonalds we travel far. So eventually we arrived to L.A. and ended up getting lost so we stopped for directions. Our dads took us to the annual Los Angeles Car Show. My cousin and I were stoked and we began to get hyper in our seats. My dad gave me his signature look that meant if I was getting out of hand something bad was going to happen to me. So I calmed myself fast because I didn’t want to ruin the day by getting hit by my dad.

The Made Memory

We arrived to the location of the car show and as excited as I was I jumped out of the car and onto the not so empty parking lot just around the corner of the building we were heading to. As we got closer to the entrance I couldn’t help but run to it and yell, “Here’s my ticket can I go in now?!” The nice lady smiled and said, “Why sure, I just need to stamp your hand and you will be on your way.” My dad told me, “Calm down your making us look like rookies.”

As we wondered around I was collecting posters and free items at stands from each manufacturer. Eventually we entered the Underground Zone as they called it. The underground floor was full of custom cars and really beautiful girls that modeled for nice looking cars. That’s where I came across the poster that caught both my eyes and my dad’s. It was the poster with the old road and white bold lines. As we picked ours up a lady passed right by me and smiled at me then said, “You like that poster? Let me sign that for you,” then gave me a kiss on my cheek with her bright red lipstick and beautiful long eyelashes closing as she approached my cheek. I was in total shock, I saw all the guys around me looking at me with envy and my dad with the biggest smile I have ever seen him show. As she left walking with her long tan soft looking legs into a tent she was followed by a lot of paparazzi’s. I was going to ask my dad who she was before he grabbed me and said with an excited face, “That’s Natasha from the movie!”

It turned out that she was the main actress in the racing movie “REDLINE.” And I always look at my poster and remember how lucky I was to meet a famous person because of the attraction my poster gave me.   

The Moral of the Story

                My dad and I actually made a memory that day. I was so happy but not because I met the actress but because my dad gave me the biggest smile from the joy he had with me. We had fun that day and after that he never treated the same, he gave me the respect I deserved for always putting up with his anger issues towards me and now till this day he still cries every time we talk about the past. He regrets doing the thing he did to me. He tells me “No puedo dsirte que me perdones por que lo que hice no se puede perdonar,” so he told me he can’t ask me for forgiveness because his actions were so bad that he cannot be forgiven.

                Well I am proud to say that I forgive him because it takes a man to say I’m sorry but takes a bigger man to say its ok. Especially after what he put me through as a child. So I became the big man he always told people I was in the end. I love my dad I forgave him for all he has done though I will never forget the things he did to me but what can I do, at the end of the day he is my dad and the person that is most important to me in my life.

                “Eric why do you still have that poster it’s so old and lifeless,” my mom say. “If only you knew,” I tell her.

Eric Salgado and i had a hard childhood but never changed the person i am because of it. I am recently joining a soccer team in my town.
<![CDATA[About Steve Jobs]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:48:07 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/this-is-why-steve-jobs-is-an-influential-personPictureSteve Jobs when he was young and old.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.”  -Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs changed computers, phones, laptops and music players forever. Those devices will never be the same because of him. He made technology so advanced using his intellectuality and his creativity. He invented many of Apple's products as well as created the animation company, Pixar, which won 20 Academy Awards and generated over 7 billion dollars. He impacted mine and everybody's life by making technology better and easier to use.

There were plenty of MP3 players before the iPod, but Steve Jobs invented an iPod with one button so that a two-year-old could use it. The reason why every product at Apple syncs in so perfectly together is not a coincidence. Steve made sure that iTunes works with your iPod, that email addresses are harmonized between the mail on your apple Mac and with your iPhone. He also made sure that when you plug in your camera into your Mac Book, iPhoto will automatically launch and sync your photos. These weren’t five products in Steve’s mind, they were one product. That only happened because there was one man with a vision of the whole, who got people to do it his way.

Why Steve Jobs Made My Life Easier

Steve Jobs has impacted my life by making things easier. For example, he made computers small enough to fit in a bag. Remember how 10 years ago a computer was like a giant cube, because of him they are small and portable. That is good for me because it saves a lot of space on my desk and I could do homework pretty much anywhere with wifi. When I was really young if I wanted to listen to music I had to go out and buy CDs and carry around a big CD player , but now I have a small, easy to use iPod that carries thousands of songs. Steve Jobs also decided to make our phones play music, so now iPods aren't even necessary because one iPhone can also be used as a music player.

Steve Jobs Early Life

Steve Jobs was born on, February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California. His biological father was Syrian, Abdulfattah John Jandali and his mother was American, Joanne Carole Schieble and both of his parents were University of Wisconsin graduate students. When Steve was born, Joanne's parents didn't let her keep him because the father of her baby was another ethnicity, so Steve Jobs was put for adoption the moment he was born. Steve never wanted to meet his biological father, but met him in the 1980s. 

He was adopted by Paul Reinhold Jobs and Clara Jobs who was an Armenian American. Schieble signed papers with Steve's adoptive parents as an agreement to make sure he goes to college. His adoptive parent's named him Steven Paul Jobs.

In a biography, Steve said that his adoptive parents “were my parents 1000%”.

Steve grew up in Mountain View, California. His mother, Clara worked as an accountant and his father, Paul was a Coast Guard Veteran and machinist. When Steve was a young boy he and his father would work on electronics in their garage. He would learn how to take apart and put back together electronic parts which eventually became Steve's hobby. In elementary school, he was a prankster. His fourth grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Steve did study and tested really good in school that the administers wanted to skip him 5th grade and go straight to high school. His parent's didn't want him to skip too many years of school, so he just skipped 5th grade and went straight to middle school.

Meeting Business Partner: Steve Wozniak

In 1971 Steve enrolled at Homestead High school. That is where he met his future business partner, Steve Wozniak. Wozniak said in a 2007 ABC News interview that the reason they became good friends was because :

"We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people, especially back then had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests. We both had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in the world."

How Apple Started

After graduating high school Steve attended Reed Collage located in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out second semester. According to Time magazine, it was because it put too much of a strain on his parents' finances, Reed is a very expensive private school.

  • In 1974, Steve worked as a video game designer with the company, Atari, but he quit that job after a few months.

  • In 1976, Steve and his high school friend Wozniak started Apple Computer. They started that company in the family garage. They got the money to start Apple by Steve selling his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak selling his scientific calculator.

The Reason Behind the Name “Apple”

Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson of 60 minutes that they named their company “Apple” because he was "on one of my fruitarian diets" and had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not intimidating”.

Writing in his 2006 book, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak explains it this way: 

"It was a couple of weeks later when we came up with a name for the partnership. I remember I was driving Steve Jobs back from the airport along Highway 85. Steve was coming back from a visit to Oregon to a place he called an “apple orchard.” It was actually some kind of commune. Steve suggested a name – Apple Computer. The first comment out of my mouth was, “What about Apple Records?” This was (and still is) the Beatles-owned record label. We both tried to come up with technical-sounding names that were better, but we couldn’t think of any good ones. Apple was so much better, better than any other name we could think of”.


The Beginnings of Apple's Success

Steve Jobs hired John Scully of Pepsi-Cola to be the president of Apple. Apple became so successful.

  • It earned $774,000 in its first year.

  • Within three years it earned $139 million.

  • By 1980 it had a market value of 1.2 billion dollars.

Steve's Jobs Getting Fired

The apple company started to lose money because costumers weren't liking the new designs and resulted in many recalls.

“In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM compatible.” PC's were dominating Apple. John Scully thought it was Steve's fault for ruining apple and fired him. John Scully explains the situation like this:

"Steve went into a deep depression," As a result, "Steve came to me and he said, 'I want to drop the price of the Macintosh and I want to move the advertising, shift a large portion of it away from the Apple 2 over to the Mac."

I responded, "Steve, it's not going to make any difference. The reason the Mac is not selling has nothing to do with the price or with the advertising. If you do that, we risk throwing the company into a loss." And he just totally disagreed with me. Well, I'm gonna go to the board."

Steve said, “I don't believe you'll do it.”

And I said, “Watch me”.

Steve Jobs Meeting His Biological Dad

As I mentioned earlier, Steve Jobs did not want to meet his biological father but, ended up meeting him by accident. Steve said in an interview for, CBS 60 minutes, he met his biological mother and father in the 1980s. Here is what Steve Jobs said in the interview:

"When I was looking for my biological mother, obviously I was looking for my biological father at the same time. I learned a little bit about him, and I didn't like what I learned. It turns out he managed or owned a restaurant, and I was in the restaurant once or twice, and I remember meeting the owner, who was from Syria. I shook his hand, and he shook mine."

Steve also met a woman named, Mona, who was his biological parent's second child that they decided to keep. As the interview for, CBS 60 Minutes continued the host, Mr. Isaacson said: "Mona goes to the coffee shop, meets this guy, Mr. Jandali who's running it, who says among other things when she asks, how sorry he is. Then he said that he had had another child. Mona said: 'What happened to him?'

Jundali replied: 'Oh, I don't know, we'll never hear from him again'.

Steve Jobs remembered as a child that when his neighbor found out that he was adopted.

"She said: 'So does that mean your real parents didn't want you?'

Steve said, “Lightning bolts went off in my head, I remember running into the house, I think I was like crying, asking my parents. And they sat me down and they said: 'No, you don't understand. We specifically picked you out.'" Then Steve added: "From then on, I realized that I was not just abandoned. I was chosen. I was special".

Steve Jobs - Legacy and Death

Steve went on to change the world. On February 3, 1986, Steve Jobs bought an animation company from George Lucas for $10 million. It was named, Pixar Animation Studios. Steve invested $50 million of his own money into the company. You may know Pixar as the produces of very popular animated movies like “The Incredibles”, “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story”. Pixar Films made a net worth of $4 billion dollars. In 1997, Steve jobs went back to being Apple's CEO. As years went by Steve created the iPhone, Macbook air and iPod. Later Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion dollars and made Steve Jobs as a board member of Disney.

Steve jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. That did not stop him from working to change technology reinventing new products. “In 2008, iTunes became the second biggest music retailer in America-second only to Wal-Mart. Half of Apple's current revenue comes from iTunes and iPod sales, with 200 million iPods sold and six billion songs downloaded. For these reasons, Apple has been ranked No. 1 on Fortune magazine's list of "America's Most Admired Companies," as well as No. 1 among Fortune 500 companies for returns to shareholders”. Steve jobs died on October 5, 2011 in Palo Alto, California after battling eight years of pancreatic cancer.

In Conclusion

He has been influential in my life because technology is a big part of it. Since I'm in college, many of my homework assignments require a computer and even some of my tests are online. Steve Jobs has also been influential in every other students' lives and also he created jobs for thousands of people. There are over 400 apple retail stores around 14 countries. Technology is easier to use, cheaper, smaller and accessible to everyday people because of Steve Jobs.


Smith, Austin. "Dad Waits for Jobs To iPhone."Dad Waits for Jobs To iPhone Comments. New York Post, 27 Aug. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

"Steve Jobs Biography."Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Swaine, Jon. "Steve Jobs' Unwitting Father Boasted about Meeting the Apple Boss." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

Rivkin, Steve. "How Did Apple Computer Get Its Brand Name?" Branding Strategy Insider, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

Terdiman, Daniel. "John Sculley Spills the Beans on Firing Steve Jobs." CNET News. CBS Interactive, 09 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

Elizabeth Balkian enjoys being with her family and shopping.
<![CDATA[The Physical Memory]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:31:53 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-physical-memoryPictureActual cigar box given by my grandfather.
            I remember coming back from school, it was a bright but scorching Friday, and I could see the sweat stains from my backpack straps start to form. I saw my mother’s red Jeep Cherokee parked in our drive way, which was always the sign that she was home, so I rushed towards my front door. As I walked in I could see my grandpa’s old cigar box sitting on the dining room table. “Finally your home! I have something I’ve been wanting to give you.” she said as she walked towards the dusty box. I followed her towards the dining room and she asked “Do remember this?” “Isn’t that the box grandma gave grandpa?” I replied. “It was. But I know he wanted you to have. So now it’s the box I am giving to you.” Given to my grandpa by his wife and then passed on to me by my mother. This was one of the best things I’d ever receive.

What it Looked Like

Many people look at a box and presumably think of the contents inside of it. The outside is usually ignored unless there is some significant feature on its exterior. Looking at what holds the content rather than the content itself is just as important. It’s almost like a first impression, you meet a person but only their exterior it takes time to really understand who they are inside. Even though this box had the simplicity of any ordinary cigar box, it took me time to understand the relation between what was inside and out.

The old cigar box, made of stained maple wood, with two golden handles that rested on its side, reminds me instantly of when my grandfather use to carry it. He would never use the handles causing them to make a high pitch jingle every time they collided with the wooden wall that supported them. I thought it was an interesting piece of work not having ever seen it up close before. The top has a diamond trimming embedded in it that draws the eye straight to the key whole. Once opened there is a gold and black thermometer surrounded by two filters that allows you to keep your cigars at a safe temperature while keeping the smell inside the box. There was also a thin wooden tray inside that had incisions made to place more cigars that covered the inside of the box. There was a slot to insert a cigar butt cutter and a handle you could slide side to side to prevent cigars from shaking inside the box. The box itself was a beautiful work of craftsmanship. Upon receiving the box I had no clue what to do with this giant hallow piece of wood. 

Losing the Best

I am the youngest in my family, or what everybody calls the “baby of the house.” I was given the title by my grandfather who at this point had given just about everybody in my family a nickname. My mother was called “Rose” short for Rosalie, my middle brother Jeremy was called “Henry” after his father, and my oldest brother “Jon” short for Jonathan. My grandfather’s name was Ernesto but we called him “Ernie.” He was a businessman always dressed in his grey or black fancy suits topped with a round hat. He sold cars for a living, not just for a specific company, but for a lot filled with an array of different cars from Mustangs to the Chevell SS. He had been working at a dealership called Trust Auto Sales for about 15 years. Due to his years of experience he was an amazing story teller. This is the reason why my brothers and I would love listening to him talk. He would also do a lot of extracurricular activities with us. We would go eat, go play at a park, go fishing, and just about anything that would get us out of the house.

Sadly my grandmother passed away before I was born in 1992 due to the severity of her breast cancer, but my grandpa would always speak of her. He told us about their 17 year anniversary at which my grandma gave him the box. He would always laugh thinking it was a funny gift considering that he didn’t smoke, but she did. Despite losing the love of his life I could still remember the calmness in his eyes and soothing smile he tried to hide every time he opened the cigar box. He would occasionally wipe it down, and reorganize everything inside it. Even though I watched him clean it year by year I never really knew what was inside it. I just saw a lot of papers and little nick-nacks he decided to keep. Some of them metal and some of them paper. One of the things I remember most was always seeing stamps. He would always show different types of stamps. He had an array of stamps from 10 cent stamps to stamps that dated back to the 1990s.

My grandfather was later diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and although he was a great salesman he was also a sugar fanatic. After his diagnosis my mom became the anti-sugar captain. Anytime she saw Ernie with sugar or anything sugar related into the trash it’d go. He used to sneak apple pie by telling my mom he was taking me out to eat. We would go to McDonalds and he would order at least a couple apple pies as he watched me have fun in the play pen. I knew whenever I could smell the sweet aroma of warm cinnamon and apples, my grandfather was near. However all those pies he had eaten had finally caught up to him. He began to accumulate low blood pressure that led to bad circulation is his leg. Due to that reason he later had his left leg amputated. After his amputation our physical relationship came to a halt. Because of his removed limb we would hardly go out, or do any of the memorable things we used to. However, emotionally we were still the best of buds. We would always talk and I could never get tired of his stories.

            Later on July 10, 2002 my grandfather passed away at 75. It was one of the hardest things for me to deal with as a child. At two in the morning the ambulance came to pick him up and I could hear everyone frantically saying all types of things. He was the father figure I had in my life and was the person I aspired to be.

Understanding a Little Better

            When I first opened the box what I found was pretty interesting. I found letters that my grandma and grandpa had sent each other, pins from clubs he was involved in, two Hotwheels dated at 1995, more stamps and a bunch of little nick-nacks, photos of our family, and the butt of the only cigar my grandfather had ever smoked. It was pretty cool looking at all these little memories my grandmother and grandfather shared, but what was more emotionally striking to me was my grandfather had made sure he kept them. As I grew older I would occasionally look through the box, but mostly saw it as just the memorable love my grandparents shared.

            In their letters they would talk about how much they loved and cared for each other. Some would even go back to when they had just started dating and wanted to meet each other’s family. It was heartwarming to see how my heritage began and how these two individuals would talk to each other. My grandmother was always more emotional than my grandfather. He would always try to keep his masculinity up and be careful with how he expressed his emotions. However some letters didn’t make sense talking about how they missed each other and were so far about.

            One day I asked my mom what the stamps on the back were for. She had told me they were stamps from my grandmother when my grandfather would travel with his family. She explained that my grandfather used to love traveling and went to places like Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, and Mexico. However my grandma was the complete opposite and despised traveling. That explained a lot to me such as why in the letters they talk about missing each other, and speak of normal daily activities. This just fueled my fire to curiosity so I decided to look up information on the box itself.

Cigar Boxes and Where They Come From
According to the EHow and Stringtickers website here are some facts on the cigar box:
·      Do to the United States Revenue Act of 1864 cigar packaging into boxes was made a legal requirement 
·      Majority of cigar boxes are made of “Standard Nailed Wood” which is a design that has six pieces of wood nailed to each other.
·      In 1870 a law was passed allowing the use of tin a legal material for the creation of boxes.
·      During the late 1800s and early 1900s cigar box art or “tramp art,” was very popular, with artist making pieces such as furniture and frames out of cigar boxes.

·    During the Great Depression the cigar box was also made into a musical instrument relatively the same as the guitar.
The cigar box has a lot of history in American culture but it is used in many different ways. The use of just a box could vary depending on the creative mind that owns it. I now understand a little but more on how just important a “box” can be.

Just as My Grandfather Did I Will as Well

            The box I now own is not just any ordinary box. It is the physical memorabilia of my family. Every item inside and outsider physically represents a moment that my grandfather sought as important to him. Although I may have never met my grandmother, I can still gather these pieces and get a little taste of who she is. In addition even though the most influential man I know is above the heavens I still have a piece of him with me always. Just as my grandfather did, I will as well. I have covered the box with stickers of my own that represent me as an individual. I also have added a couple of things inside the box that were important to me as well. I can now see why my grandfather would smile even before he opened the box. He taught me a lesson without physically doing anything. Nobody or anything can really die, not unless you let it. 
Justin Maciel is a student at California State University Northridge that enjoys socializing and meeting new people.
<![CDATA[Dreams Come True in Different Ways]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:08:31 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/dreams-come-true-in-different-waysPictureMy parentals.
A relationship in which one person is more dependent on the other is not healthy at all. One does not have to be a certified doctor to know that. In this case, the prime suspects for my story are my father and mother. When my mother wanted to go away to a 4-year university, instead of going to a community college, my dad asked her to stay behind. And of course, my mother, being head over heels in love with this man, consequently obliged and ended up never following her dreams.

Growing up however, my mother always knew that she was going to go to community college. Only because it wasn’t a topic that was talked about around her house and also the fact that there were seven mouths to feed, money would end up becoming really tight. But once her senior year came around, she told herself that she would do everything in her power to get herself away from her family and be able to experience living on her own. All she was going to need to do is take out a bunch of loans. In her eyes, it would all be worth it as long as she could go and do something that she would know in her heart would be the right choice for her. Sadly, little did she know that all of her planning was about to go straight down the drain. That same year, she ended up meeting the love of her life. And due to the fact that he couldn’t see himself living without her, he asked her to not go away and go to the local community college. Her love for this man kept her away from the dream she wanted to achieve. 

College Decisions 

Fast-forward thirty years… to my senior year of high school. It was around the time when college applications were being sent out that my mom really got on my case about turning them in. Coming into my room, “Jennifer, college doesn’t wait for anyone, finish those applications.” Every chance she got she would ask me how far along they were coming, and what other actions I was taking to further my chances of getting into a school. That woman was so determined to get me to go away to a university, instead of going to the same community college that not only she went to, but also my father and my brother. Once I was finished, we all patiently sat around and waited for months until I got news of my acceptances. Just my luck, I was accepted to every school that I applied to. No matter what, that feeling of receiving my acceptance letters was amazing. Just the fact that I was able to say, “Yes, me out of all people, made it into college all on my own.”  Now the hard part was just choosing which one I wanted to go to. My mom was not able to be there every step of the way, but she was definitely a huge factor as to why I am in school now. In all honesty, I would not be here at CSUN today if it weren’t for her pushing me all my senior year of high school. Having known that she wasn’t able to pursue her own academic dreams in the past, I felt like I should make her proud and do this one thing she asked of me. I have a whole life to live, what’s four years out of my life that I can fill with memories and better my education.

Since taking this leap into the college world, I can say that from the bottom of my heart, this was the best decision I have ever made. And it breaks my heart that my mother was not able to do this because she chose love over her dreams. Sometimes it feel like I’m living a dream that she wanted instead of myself, but with the memories and experiences that are coming along with this, I would not trade it for the world. The thing is, I want to learn from my mom’s mistake and not let a man come into my life and make me step back from a dream I want to live. Not only would I regret it in the end, but I know it will cause a drift in our relationship causing future fights over something that can easily be fixed. Following the decision would obviously be heartbreak, but if it is something that I planned out and really wanted to do, nothing and nobody should stop me whatsoever. If they really loved me, they would respect my decisions no matter what they shall be. Not only would I feel horrible for dropping my plans, it would also make the other person feel subliminally guilty for stopping me from doing something that could potentially make me a lot happier than I am at that moment. 

Who Would Have Thought? 

Actually, here is a funny story; a few years ago my dad got his Bachelor’s degree from La Verne University. Shortly after this, I myself moved out and went away for school, leaving my mother and brother wanting a better education for their own selves. My brother is currently waiting to hear back from the universities that he applied to, and my mother is enrolled at California Lutheran University. Thirty years later and she’s finally getting the education she had always wanted but never had the chance to fulfill. And while it might not be exactly what she had in mind when she was 18 years old, it is never too late for someone to do something that will make him or her happier and have them feeling great about themselves. I'm proud of the fact that she is still pursing her life dream; my mom is living proof that if one puts their mind to do something, nobody and nothing can stop them from getting what they want.    

To Stay or To Go 

I believe that from the beginning, my mother should have put her foot down and told my father no, that she was going to go and be who she wanted to be. She should’ve told him at that moment that if he really loved her and really cared for her like he said he did (and does), he would understand her leaving off to college. They probably could’ve made it work. And it would’ve saved our family a lot of tears, fights, and pointless drama. To be completely honest, I fought with my mom as to why she stayed with my father and her answer to me was not a very convincing one. “Oh, he just asked me to stay…and you know your father, he just asked me to stay, okay?” She just played it off, as if it was his entire fault, when it was in actuality both their faults. Either one of them could have been the bigger person and let the other go. Knowing for a fact that my dad is a very dependent person, he probably would not have been the one to say go. So, in the end it all comes down to my mom wanting to please him and stay. And yes, she beats herself up for it everyday, only causing her to be unhappy within the relationship. Why would she do this to herself, knowing what the outcome would be? The answer to that I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand, mostly because she doesn’t want to tell me. I hope one day she will be able to swallow some of that pride and tell me everything she has been hiding from me. 

All in All: Mom Knows Best 

Everyone has their own reasons for coming to college, and I feel that one hundred percent of my decision is because my mother was not able to. Everyone else says things like, “I came to better my education” and “I came to make a lot of money based on my career.” Those are all typical phrases one would expect people to say, that they came for themselves. Then here I am, with my main reason of going away to college was to make my mother happy and follow a dream she always wanted. I am going to do everything in my power to make her proud and show her that all of her help along the stressful process was not for nothing. And again, I am going to learn from her mistake and not let anyone hold me back from wanting to do something for myself. If they never want to be apart from me, they better pack a bag and book a plane ticket to come with me, because that’s the only way we will never be apart.  

Jennifer Juarez thought very hard about what she should do with her future, to the point where her own mother was one of the main reasons for why she is now attending CSUN. 
<![CDATA[A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 05:34:35 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-wordsPicturePhoto booth pictures
            I pass by an old, black and white picture taken by a photo booth every day. It hangs by a folded piece of tape on the wall right next to the light switch in my bedroom. It’s a simple four-stripped photo of my grandfather and I that was taken in a Las Vegas mall about 10 years ago. Every time I stare at this photo, it takes me back to that hot summer day. His silver, shiny hair was always slicked back and his face was always nice and smooth. He always smelled like the cologne I got him one year for Christmas. I see the picture and it’s like I can smell his cologne and hear his voice and his laugh. He had such a good laugh. This photo is so dear to my heart and I will keep it for the rest of my life. It reminds me of his huge arms squeezing me until I couldn’t breathe. It reminds me of how hard he could make me laugh about anything. It simply reminds me of him and I would do anything to get him back. 

History of the Photo Booth

            Did you know that an ordinary mail artist created photo booths in 1888? He was an excellent photographer who took pictures of the beauty of life. He didn’t enjoy the beauty of world until he was diagnosed with AIDs, which eventually killed him. Before his death, he would admire people’s happiness, which is why he created the photo booth. Everyone taking a picture in a photo booth is always happy. It’s actually a cute story. It’s a reminder to always enjoy the little things and that’s exactly what my grandfather did.

History of my Family

            My grandfather grew up in a small town in Mexico and did not live a luxurious life. Lucky for him, he met my grandmother in that same town when they were 19 and got married. Together they had 8 children and lived a beautiful life full of love. My grandfather never wanted to retire. He used to always say, “I’ll rest when I’m dead. I need to live my life to the fullest.” He sold buttons all of his life. He would sell them to art supply stores and eventually he opened up his own factory. He traveled all over Mexico for months at a time. My mom told me a story about one of his trips. She gets a little teary-eyed every time she talks about her dad. She said that she used to love to go with him because it was like a mini vacation. They would stay in the nicest hotel and go swimming in the pool. These trips are one of my mom’s best memories with her dad because it was just them two.

            Everyone loved my grandfather. He was a man who was admired by most and rarely had enemies. He was such a role model to his children and his grandchildren. He enjoyed having a good time and liked to celebrate life and the people in it. Everyone looked up to him because he was not like anyone else. He was his own person who had his own beliefs and own opinions. I admire the fact that he didn’t let anyone get in the way of what he wanted. My grandfather would learn from his mistakes and learn from other people’s mistakes to make himself a better person. He was a great, hard worker and an excellent father and grandfather. He went above and beyond for his family.  I’ve always looked up to him and I always will.

My grandfather has seen me at my best and at my worst but that’s what they are there for. They are there to comfort you when you’re down and love you no matter what you say or do. I’m lucky enough to have actually spent some time with my wonderful grandfather because he had such a huge heart. I don’t know what I’d do without him by my side; there or in spirit. He has shaped me into the woman I am today. I’ve been lucky throughout my life because I have always had two loving parents and four loving grandparents who would do anything for me. He was the person that would be on the first flight to Los Angeles if he heard I was sick. My grandfather has taught me how drive a car and taught me how to play the guitar. I wish that I visited more when I could of. He lived so far away but we still had such a strong bond. He was one of the people that I admired so much.

The Memories that Will Last A Lifetime

One of the best memories I have of us is of him letting me sit on his lap while we drove around in a golf cart. I was six when he finally let me in the driver’s seat and I would feel so cool steering the wheel while my feet would dangle and hit his shins while he operated the gas and break. He wouldn’t mind though. He loved seeing me happy. We would drive around the country club by his house and would people watch and make fun of everyone in their goofy golf outfits. He would always bring a loaf of bread and drive us down to the pond, which was always filled of ducks. I remember him making me laugh and saying, “Te amo con todo mi corazon” which means I love you with all my heart in Spanish. My yearly trips to Mexico were always so much fun because I got to spend every waking moment with him by my side. I remember him always taking the grandkids from my aunts and uncles so he could take us to buy new toys and go get us ice cream. He used to say, “if I always knew how much joy it was to have grandchildren, I would have had them first.” He loved us and we loved him so much. I wish everyone knew my grandfather because this man was so loving and had such a kind soul.

My grandfather loved to golf so every year I would send him pictures of myself golfing with my dad even though I had no idea how to golf. Over the years I stopped doing it but I know that it meant a lot to him just knowing that I thought about him from time to time. Surprisingly, he was always on my mind. When I did something wrong, he would be the first I’d call. We would send each other letters all the time just to see how we were doing. Pictures and letters were one of the ways we would always communicate.

Saying Goodbye

The night he died. I remember sitting next to him on his bed with the tubes in his nose and the machines being so loud that it was making everyone impatient. He told me that he promised that we would go feed the ducks tomorrow and he would let me drive the golf cart all by myself. He promised that we would go explore and walk the dog and find deer climbing the hills on the mountain. I laughed because I wasn’t a little girl anymore but I was more excited than I have ever been because I knew that it would be one of the last times with him. I never got to go feed the ducks with my grandfather because he passed away that night around 3 in the morning. My aunts and uncles were crowding around the bed with tears slowing dripping down their cheeks. I didn’t cry. I just stood there, thinking. I was in shock and I really didn’t know how to react. I was sad because he left us but I was happy because he wasn’t sick anymore. Was it selfish of us to still want him here with the family? He was gone and there was nothing we could do about it. I know that he watches over us. He was a great person and I will cherish his gift for the rest of my life; the photo booth picture and a priceless gift of all our memories together. I smile every time I walk by and sometimes cry a little. It always will remind me of our Vegas trip that one summer. That trip was a great beginning to our friendship. I do not just see him as family but I see him as one of my best friends and I always will even though he’s not here anymore. He will always be my hero and I will always love him. 

<![CDATA[Love That Lives On : The Taj Mahal]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 03:53:22 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/love-that-lives-on-the-taj-mahalPictureThe Taj Mahal located in Agra, India
The Taj Mahal
There is a souvenir sitting in my showcase symbolizing years of intense love and  is also known as one of the seven wonders of the world.   It has been sitting there for four years glorifying its value every single day.  There is not one speck of dust on this souvenir because it is kept safe and cleaned. This white smooth stoned beauty is the souvenir of the Taj Mahal that my grandfather bought for my grandmother.  It has all hand carved details that is on the real Taj Mahal.  Even though this little Taj Mahal in my house is the imitation of the real one it has  a deep meaning  to my grandmother and my mother. 

The miniature Taj Mahal is made with a copy of the actual stone the real Taj Mahal was made out of.  It smells like it’s from an authentic place made by hand.  There are four pillars surrounding the center.  The texture is very smooth and is almost milky in color. 

  • The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and it was dedicated to his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. 
  • It was made in the grief of her death after the birth of her fourteenth child. 
  • The Taj Mahal is also a mausoleum for emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
  • It is a beautiful example of Muslim art in India and is kept in good condition because it a big symbol of Agra in India. 
  • The emperor believed in symmetry therefore there is a river Yamuna right in front of the Taj Mahal that gives the reflection of the building as if there are two Taj Mahals.
  • Legend says the emperor cut off all the hands of the workers that built it so that another Taj Mahal could not be built.
  • The Taj Mahal is called “the jewel” of Muslim Art and it’s an admired masterpiece.
  • The tomb in the Taj Mahal is also known to be the central focus of the entire complex.

Trip to India

            When my grandfather went to India he picked this miniature Taj Mahal for my grandmother because he saw it as a symbol of love and he loved my grandmother dearly.  He saw it to be a big symbol because he always told my grandmother if he could he would  have built such an iconic piece for my grandmother.  For my grandmother it meant the world because she felt like the queen whom her king loved.  She kept the Taj Mahal safe and cleaned it every day until one day her husband passed away and then it became even more meaningful to her.  My grandfather passed away one year after he brought the Taj Mahal.  It was ironic because the Taj Mahal was built for grief and he giving my grandmother the Taj Mahal would make her grief about his death.  It was a huge memory of him which was very important to her because it made her feel closer to her husband. 

            The souvenir now just didn’t mean happiness to my grandmother it meant sadness and hurt feelings.  I remember when she told me “sometimes I feel like his death was attached to this souvenir.”  She thought he died because he bought the Taj Mahal.  Even though she knew he died from a liver failure she believed that it was the souvenirs’ fault.  It was as if she had lost the sense of reality and common sense and believed in a superstition.  My mother told me “your grandmother was very ill and only focused on this Taj Mahal.”  It was a love hate relationship with this ionic sculpture because it had brought my grandmother love and pain. 

Falling In Love “Bollywood” Style    

My grandparents love story was something else they literally “fell” in love.  When I heard their story I couldn’t believe it because it seemed like the classical “Bollywood” movie.  They met at a very young age in their University through a push from another person.  My grandmother was walking to her classroom and my grandfather was walking with his friends when suddenly she was pushed and fell on him.  She was frightened and so was he but when they tried getting up they became acquaintances. 

My grandmother thought she would never see him ever again but she was wrong.  The next day as she was walking to class again my grandfather was waiting for her to say sorry for what had happened the day before.  They met and exchanged stories and told each other their names. As days progressed they talked to each other more but secretly because in Bangladesh boys don't really talk to girl a lot.   Back in the day when my grandmother went to school she was the very few people that went to a coed University.  In Bangladesh  male and female students were often segregated and put in different schools.

My grandmother knew they were falling in love but she also knew that she had to follow traditions and get an arranged marriage.  In Bangladesh  it was very common to get arranged marriage, if an individual marries without the consent of elders it is frowned upon.  My grandmother was devastated when she found out that she was set to get married soon.  She told my grandfather they have to be apart since they couldn't be together forever.  The day came when she had to meet her future husband and it was surprising because the arranged marriage they picked was my grandfather.  My grandmother never told her parents that she already knew him neither did he.  So they received a love marriage that was seen as an arranged marriage and my grandmother couldn’t have asked for something better.

The Taj Mahal is Now a Part of My House    

            The way this miniature Taj Mahal got to my house was it traveled with us for 23 hours in our luggage when we were coming back to Americana from visiting Bangladesh. We went to Bangladesh four years ago and ever since then it has been in my house.  My mother asked my grandmother permission to bring this token of love with her so that she can have a piece of her father in her house.  My mother’s other sister’s wanted it too but my grandmother knew my mother was my grandfather’s favorite daughter and therefore gave it to her. This is the way I can remember my grandpa as a lover that loved my grandmother a lot and it warms up my heart. 

What I Make Out of It

            Even though this is a little souvenir in my showcase it has a value that nothing else can have.  Whenever I take a look at this Taj Mahal it teaches me the value of life and death.  Small things can help a person remember many memories.  It also signifies to me that life is very short because one day a person can come into your life and make you feel loved and when they leave they leave all their memories for you.   It makes me understand that we should cherish everyone in our lives because they may not be alive the next day.  Love lives on in many forms in this case it lives through this Taj Mahal.  My grandmother passed  it on to her daughter and  in the future I will pass it on to my daughter as a symbol of love.  That love does exist in the world and can be expressed in many ways.  I know this will forever remain as a staple piece in my home and it gives a touch of history and comfort for me. 

Nikita Zaman is a student at CSUN and she loves to swim in the summer time. 
<![CDATA[My Greatest Influence ]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 03:50:24 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/my-greatest-influencePictureMy dad and I
My father knew that he wanted to do great things in his life, so he tried really hard in every thing that he did.  He graduated from high school, and went to college at a local school nearby his home in the Philippines.  He went to study zoology, and realized that zoology was not for him.  He did not know what he wanted to do with his future.  He spent time thinking it over, and he eventually ended up dropping out of college.  He later met my mom after he moved to the United States.  He had been working multiple jobs at a time during his first few years in California.  Although being a college drop out, he knew that he wanted to make a name for himself and he wanted to be very successful.  

My Father's Life
He was born in Pasig City, Philippines to an upper middle class family.  My dad had the best grades in his class, and always wanted to be the best.  During his teenage years, he loved to ride BMX bikes with his friends.  Also, he learned how to drive when he was only 13 years old.  Later on his life, he married my mom, Ana, in 1991.  Two years later, they had their first child together, which is my brother.  Then two years after that, they had me, then my sister in 1999.  Since my brother was born, my dad was working at a title company.  He worked in a title company up until the time we moved to Valencia, California.  After working a couple years in the title company, he realized that this was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.  He was getting too bored with this job and wanted something that he would enjoy doing every day. 

Why It Means So Much 
My father would always tell me to “always reach for the stars, and if that doesn’t get you anywhere, then I don’t know what will.”  He encourages me day by day to make the right and the best decisions for myself, and this was also his motto in his life.  Because he always aimed to be the best he can be, he eventually found what he loved to do the most. 

How It All Started
My dad loved to drive all over the place and never got tired of doing that.  Because of that, he applied to multiple limousine companies to be a driver.  He was hired into one that was located in Manhattan Beach, and he stayed in that company until he found another limousine company that was located in San Francisco and it paid more and had more customers.  Although it was far away from home, my father had to make sacrifices in order to provide for his family.  In this new company that he started working with, he was out everyday and night.  In the limousine company, he is paid by hour depending on what kind of service it is.  Whether it is driving a town car, or an SUV like a Suburban or an Escalade.  On top of that, the customer can decide if they want to give a tip to the driver.  Sometimes, a driver alone can make over $100 just on tips if the driver did a great job.  My father got paid very well at this company, but it started to get tough for him being so far away from his family, so he quit that job and started heading down to another limousine company.  In this company, that was located in North Hollywood, he had a lot of customers as well, and got paid a decent amount, but not as great as the one in San Francisco.  He spent a couple years in the North Hollywood company until he finally realized that this is what he enjoyed doing.
            My father later realized that after working in the limousine business for a couple years, this is what he really wanted to do.  He ended his job at the limousine company that was located in North Hollywood, and decided to start his own limousine business. 
            Like any other businessman who is just starting their own company, my father was having a difficult time managing things.  It was not until a couple months later that he started to get the hang of how to operate his own business.  Because he was familiar with the limousine business, he knew the right people to hire, and what exactly he needs to keep the business running.  In the beginning, my dad started out with two town cars.  This was enough to start, but as the business grew, he needed more cars.  My father did everything to make his business a successful one.  He advertised, he went to other local limousine companies and asked for their help, and he also did some of the driving as a chauffeur.  My father’s company is called Green Leaf Luxury Transportation.  He started out with two cars, and today he owns more than ten cars, and it is more successful today.

Limousines and It's History 
The idea of limousines comes from the concept of a chauffeured vehicle and this idea has been around since the early 1700s.  The whole idea of limousines originates back in Limogoes, located in France.  It was a wealthy and rich province that used horses and carriages as a luxury mode of transportation.  In this, the driver and the passengers were completely separated and this is where the limousines began.  It was not until 1902, where the very first limousine was ever created.  The demand for more space in a limo was so high that a company called Armbruster, located in Fort Smith, Arkansas created the first stretch limousine in 1928.  Limousines started to gain their popularity in the 1920s.  They started to gain even more attention in the 1930s, and celebrities and high profile corporate businessmen mainly used them.  Limousines are known to be the most elegant and luxurious mode of transportation.  The word limousine comes from the region of Limousin in France, and it is defined as the cloak and hood that the shepherds used to wear in this region.  This is because the entire interior of a limousine looks just like the cloak and hood of a shepherd.  Today, there are multiple kinds of limousines in every limousine business.  

Why is My Dad My Greatest Influence?
My father started out not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, to being a college drop out, to being employed in multiple companies, to owning his business and being successful in it.  My dad is the most influential person in my life because even though it took him a while to realize what he wanted to do with his life, he still pursued a career in other things and never gave up.  It led him to be the successful man he is today, and it encourages me to try my hardest and to never give up even if I am having trouble with deciding on what I want to do with my future.    
Kristen Jannelle Santos is a freshman at the California State University of Northridge.  She is studying to be a nurse in the future, and she loves to spend time with her family and friends.  
<![CDATA[The Black Dress]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 03:34:06 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-black-dressPictureMy parents & me at my quinceañera
A quinceañera is every young hispanic girls dream. Quinceañeras are the celebration of a young girls crossover into woman hood. The quinceañera celebration roots are believed to come from the Aztec society. At the age of fifteen Aztec girls were prepared to become and take the roles of women. Today, these celebrations have extended through out all hispanic cultures.  Each quinceañera festivity is portrayed in a unique way.

 Each girl decides on: 
  • The colors they want to use through out the event 
  • What beautiful ball gown they will wear 
  • What special people she will have as her honorable court
  • What her big entrance will be like

This night is also consisted of many traditional practices. For example, the quinceañera wears flat shoes through out the night and then has her father replace those shoes with high heels. Her mother also gives her last doll as a symbol of her innocence. This symbolizes the passage of the young girls childhood into becoming a woman.

My Magical Night

April 3, 2010 my day had finally arrived. All the planning and hard work has paid off for this special day.  Today was the day that I would become a woman.  My day started bright and early. All the finishing touches had to be done before we could begin to prepare ourselves.  Metal trees with purple flowers and butterflies were placed at the center of each table. White sheets placed over the chairs topped with a lilac tool bow. Tied around the back. The cake had violet ribbon wrapped around all three tiers and silver pearls that covered each side. Purple flowers petals surrounded the cake as well as the precious moments doll my mother had made for me to be given to me as my last doll. After placing all the last minute decorations my family and I started to get ready. My first stop was the beauty salon. I had my hair and make-up done. My hair was done in half-up half-down hairstyle with curls and make-up consisted of soft lilac eye shadow. My last step was to finally put my dress on. My dress was huge ball gown with a purple rhinestone and beaded corset. I truly did feel like a princess.

As guest arrived, I greeted each person with a tight huge, kiss on the cheek and thanked him or her for sharing this special day with me. “You look Beautiful” they would say as I smiled with my big ruby red cheeks. All the people that I had invited attended. My best friends from my middle school and high school, each and every one of my close relatives, and all the family friends that have always been there for us.  All ten tables were taken with exactly ten guests. My night had just begun.

A Dance with my Dad

The moment I danced with my father was magical and memorable. We danced the waltz to a song in spanish called “ Quinceañera”. My mom and dad specifically chose that song for the father and daughter dance. The song is about a father who sings the song to his daughter who is turning fifteen. The meaning of the song fit perfect with the dance we shared. But the best part was hearing my father sing the song in my ear as we shared our magical dance together. 

“Hoy es un dia muy especial para ti mi niña."
"Today is a very special day for you my daughter."

My quinceañera was the best night of my life. I was able to share this huge celebration with the people I loved. My night was filled with nothing but joy and happiness. I thank my family for really making my night special. They wanted me to have the best time of my life as much I did too.  My dream as a young girl had come true. I finally had the opportunity to pick:
  •  the colors I wanted
  •  the beautiful dress I fell in love with 
  • arriving on a blue BMW convertible. As the singer Selena Quintanilla (Famous Hispanic Texan singer) did at her last concert in Texas.  
  • the opportunity to dance with my father as I always wished for. 
  • Most of all it was the last night I truly got to spend an unforgettable with my family and friends. 
The Dress
The one thing that has always reminded me of that magical night was the black dress my mom wore. She wore a long elegant black dress with a hot pink satin material at the waist. The one person who shared the same happiness as me on the night of my quince was my mother. The whole night she had a huge smile on her face and enjoyed herself to the fullest.

I can remember the day we went to buy her dress. We drove to Downtown Los Angeles to visit all the dress shops. We spent the whole day there and she narrowed her choices to two dresses. A black satin dress with a low cut in the front or the black dress with hot pink on the waist.

I told her “But I’m wearing a strapless dress, do you want to wear one too?”
From the moment that she put it on I could see how much loved the dress. It choice became easier and easier the more she stared at herself in the black dress.  From that moment on I didn’t realize how much simple black dress would affect me through out my life.

As I walk by the black dress hung in my mom’s closet I smile and reminisce the wonderful unforgettable memories of my quince. The dress reminded me of the joyful night I shared with my mom. Her dress placed me in that night of all dancing, all the joyful tears, and the unforgettable moments. That simple dress reminded me of the best night of my life.

The Worst Night of my Life
Without knowing her life was coming to an end. No one had expected such tragic news. How could this happen to her? My life became incomplete. We just had and unforgettable night and now we had to suffer with this pain. I have never seen my family suffer so much. We weren’t ready to let go. It was too soon to say good-bye. I wasn’t ready to let go of the most important person in my life.

At 7:05 pm of November 18, 2010 I saw my mom take her last breath. My mom laid on her rest bed surrounded by family and me. More than twenty people crammed the small bedroom. The room was filled with tears and pain. No words were said.

Eight months after my quinceañera I lost my mother to stage four stomach cancer. We were told of her diagnosis two days after my celebration. For eight long months my mom suffered this horrify disease. Each day she fought more and more to remain with us for a little bit longer

About two days later the funeral planning began. My aunt and uncle began to notify everyone when the burial would be held. The day before thanksgiving the burial was going to be held. The one important question I was asked was,

“What will she wear?” 

And of course it was the elegant black dress that reminded me of wonderful memories. We all knew that, that black dress would have been her choice.

Happiness and Sadness

The day of her viewing was the last time I ever saw her and the black dress. I don’t see that black dress hung in mom’s closet anymore. That dress doesn’t bring anything but horrific memories.

Now that dress only reminds me of her death and the last time I saw her. All the wonderful memories were taken away.  That Black dress has shown me the beauty of life and the pain of death. I saw my mom’s beauty and rejoice in that dress as well as the sufferings she faced.  The same dress that brought happiness now brings me sadness. That black dress followed me to my good times and my bad times. As I have learned to cope with my mother’s death I’ve tried to restore the beauty in the dress. The dress has only been seen as painful but without that dress I wouldn’t be reminded of the wonderful night I had spent with my mom.
                                                                      Photo Courtesy: Xiomara Arnao
Xiomara Arnao is a student at California state University of Northridge. She dreams of one day becoming a nurse and helping those in need.
<![CDATA[Is It Always Just a Dream?]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 03:14:00 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/is-it-always-just-a-dreamPictureI wake up feeling something is terribly wrong.
Drenched in cold sweat, I could feel my heart jumping in my chest, I could feel it in my throat and in my head, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. It was the dream again, the one where my oldest sister, Maria dies before my eyes. Different scenarios, but all ending the same way, my sister dying in front of me and can’t do anything about it. I wake up needing to call her and making sure she is alright.

PictureThe dreams feel so real it is scary.
To begin with:

I have two sisters but I only dream about my oldest dying. My little sister, Jacky rarely appears in any of my dreams, most of my dreams revolve around Maria. It is always her. In my sleep the images play so vividly that I can’t tell if I am dreaming or not. I wake up in cold sweat and crying, longing to see my sister. Maria’s death is usually caused by me or by a something I have no control over.

I haven’t lived with Maria for about three years now. When she moved out it was very strange I felt like I lost my other half because we were very close as children. We shared a room and a bed and when she moved out I got my own room and bed, but lost a sister. I get to see her in the weekends but it is not enough compared to what I had with her before she left home. I miss her and what used to be of our relationship.

Is it a Dream or a Nightmare?

In my latest dream she was in a car accident when she was on her way back home for the weekend. In the dream I could see it all happening, it was like watching a movie, always switching from scene to scene. In my dream I had just got back from school and had bought a bar of World’s Most Famous Chocolate from a small boy and his mother raising money for a fundraiser. Earlier that day on a phone call with Maria, she had just mentioned that she was craving chocolate. The dream then switched and I was able to see Maria loading her weekend cloths to her car, and was on the phone with our mother telling her that she was on her way and to be expecting her in an hour or so. At home my mother and I were getting dinner ready. We were talking and laughing when we got a call on the house phone, which was very strange for us to get calls from it. My dad decided to answer it which was also strange because he had never gotten up to answer the phone, not since when my grandmother passed and he received the call. While on the phone his grin from the previous joke I just told disappeared instantly in to a thin line on his face. His eyes started to water and he started to shake, and that is when he dropped the phone, my mother rushed to pick it up and talked in to it. Her reaction was the same although she was able to hang up ad she just stared in to the abyss. I was scared I could feel my heart racing and I started to tremble. Finally my father mumbled “She’s gone. She’s gone.” It wasn’t heard to piece everything together and I started to cry uncontrollably, and started to blabber in between cries, “She can’t be, she just can’t be because I just bought her, her favorite chocolate and she hasn’t had the chance to eat it.”  I woke up yelling no and had hot tears were running down my face.

It felt so real because it was a scenario in which could have happened. What really made me believing that it was real was buying the chocolate because that day I had bought her some chocolate from the small school boy selling them for a dollar for a fundraiser. When I woke up crying I thought that event had happen and I was just having nightmare of the events that had happen earlier that day. I just had to call her and see if she was okay.

Whenever I call early in the morning or in the middle of the night Maria is already used to it and knows why I am calling.

“Hello?” she sheepishly answers.

“Maria is that really you?”

“Yeah it’s me. What’s wrong? Is everything okay? Did you have a dream where I died, again?” she asks with concern but in a playful manner, “Is it like the time where Lord Voldemort decapitates me or the time I had the accident?” She already knows, and she is always comforting and reinsuring me that she is alright and not in danger or dead or an imposter. I usually just stay quiet and cry of how foolish I was but she just asks questions about it and switches it to make it seem like a silly dream and helps me go back to sleep.

Questions the Dream Bring Up:

Once Maria moved out was when I started to have the dreams more frequently, before it was once in a blue moon and not as threatening. I was able to just vaguely remember what it was about but now it is more of a lucid, and more vivid, which make them much more intense. After the dreams I always ask myself “what if’s”:

What if it did happen?

What would I do, would I react the same way that I did in the dream?

Am I mentally ready to handle this, am I strong enough or will it break me?

·These are some of the questions the dreams leave behind along with, why these types of dreams?

The Path I Took to Find Out the Meaning of My Dreams

In The Psychology of Dreams by Paul R. Robbins, he states that long ago in early civilizations people perceived dreams as having meaning to them, they were not just random ideas in some one’s head. A meaning of the dream could be interpreted and served as messages from a god (4). It is human nature to want to find meaning to things especially vivid images we create on our minds that seem to not make much sense in the first place. We interpret dream to what we have knowledge of our own lives and symbolism that we have created. Dreams are one of the few ways we have used to see into our unconscious and interpret it, to understand what is beneath the surface of our consciousness. Some people have stated that upon waking from an intense dream, holding on to the feeling we felt once we woke up could help us better interpret our dreams.

Edgar Cayce, a twentieth century psychic and Medical Clairvoyant, states that dreams are one of the few ways that we get to see a glimpse of our unconscious mind. Dreams can just be as simple as to trying to organize the events of the day into our memories or it can be your mind foreshadowing events. Many people believe that dreams can be a way of interpreting the future. It might not be spot on but they hint on clues and symbols that can be associated with future events. Cayce suggested that dreams open out unconscious to poke around to help find solutions to our problems. For example if someone is struggling with a change in their lives and doesn’t know how to make the transition, a dream can hold the key in to finding out how.

The most famous psychologist that is associated with dream interpretations is Sigmund Freud. He focused on the more latent interpretation of dreams that help the dreamer see what he truly wants. Freud believes that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language: id, ego, and super ego. He suggests that when we are dreaming we express id, which is centered on primal impulses, pleasure and desires. He also suggest that when we cannot remember our dreams, it is because our superego is preventing us to remember our desires. Superego is associated with enforcing the moral code we have grown to know, it is like censoring the id. Although Freud was mostly preoccupied with the sexual content of dreams, he believed that everything in our dreams had an association with sex.

One Way to Look at It

According to How to Interpret Your Own Dreams by Tom Chetwynd, dreams are part of the evolution of the human being because they are things that we try to use to fill in holes in our life. They tell us about what we need in our lives or what we desire in order to be complete. The book suggest that my dreams are associated with aggression against my sister, because I always see her dying in my dreams dying it means that I want her out of the way. But it also says that it can mean that subconsciously I am picturing her death in a way to see how I would react to the day that she is to be absent in my life and makes me appreciate her even more when I wake up (76).  Chetwynd also gives an explanation why I only have dreams of Maria and not Jacky. Because of how frequent Maria appears in my dreams usually suggests my continued love for her. The fact that Jacky does not appear in my dreams as often, Chetwynd suggests that I am trying to deny the existence of her in order to keep my anxiety under control. If she does appear in a dream I might have wish that she hadn’t because it pains me (133).

The Way I See It

I had the chance to sit down with Maria and ask her some questions about her thoughts about the dream. I explained to her my findings and we agree on some or the interpretations but we do not agree with most. When Maria first heard of my dreams she thought that I hated her because I had these dreams, but soon after she saw the way that it was affecting me in a negative way she reached out to help me get through them. I also explained my dream to Jacky, she didn’t take it very well. She thinks that I do not love her because of what the dreams suggest but that is not the case. I love them both and I just hope they know that by know, but because of the dreams I feel that it can cause a bit of a misunderstanding. I do believe that the dreams are trying to help me prepare to when the day does come because just the thought of anyone in my immediate family died, I think I would lose it completely.

Regardless these reoccurring dreams has brought the relationship that I have with my big sister closer as sisters. Maria and I have a better relationship than the relationship I have with my little sister, Jacky. Although now I can see how my dreams may relate to my relationship with my sisters but it does not change the fact that I love them to death. Although with what some interpretations of my dreams may be, I don’t believe them to be the absolute truth. I believe that they have a meaning to me but I am still in process of figuring it out and it will not be much greater than the importance of my sisters being in my life.

Works Cited

Chetwynd, Tom. How to Interpret Your Own Dreams: An Encyclopedic Dictionary. New York: Peter H. Wyden, 1972. Print.

"Dream Moods: Dream Theories: Sigmund Freud." Dream Moods: Dream Theories: Sigmund Freud. Dream Moods, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

"Insights from Dreams." Insight from Dreams: Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Edgar Cayce's Associations for Research and Enlightenment, 2007. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

Robbins, Paul R. The Psychology of Dreams. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1988. Print

Selina Salazar is a freshman at California State University Northridge. She is working on her degree on Visual Art and hope to be part of movie productions.
<![CDATA[Nurse Mom]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 02:48:45 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/march-16th-20141PictureMy Mom and I
Everyone knows that to be successful in life you need to be educated, but sometimes education goes beyond the classroom. The environment in a classroom can be recognized around the world, when people think of classrooms they typically think of young students sitting in a room diligently working on a paper that their teacher had assigned to them. My mother was lucky enough to be apart of this environment when she came to America, it was here where she learned the same generic information that everyone else learned such as how to multiply and divide fractions or how millions of people died during the Black Plague. Neither math, history, or any other subject sparked her interest.What she was really interested in was not offered at school, she found her interest at home where her family needed her.

Significance of a Stethoscope:

When I was younger I found a stethoscope laying around in some boxes I was looking through, so I asked my mom what it was. She then went on and explained to me the story of her in nursing school, then leaving because she had to be with her family. I had no idea that she was even considering to be a nurse before she was pregnant with me, I thought that my father had just picked her up and whisked her away to never work. Along with her telling me about her previous interests she proceeded to tell me of her mother’s story, my grandmother. Then and there I knew this little contraption was more than just an aid to listen to a heart beat, this stethoscope symbolized the goals that my mother was never able to reach. It is funny how fitting a tool that literally touches hearts everyday, is so close to my heart and my mother’s heart.

My Inspiration:

My mother is a very hard working, honest, and caring woman. At first glance she seems like an ordinary cute little mom, a five-foot woman emitting energy and care for her family. Never missing a soccer game, always attending her children’s school activities, she is like a modern day wonderwoman. Behind the dedication to her family, before she had me at age twenty-one and my brother at age twenty-seven, she had dreams of her own. The story can begin as far back as middle school for my mother, when she met my father. Their love bloomed and remained strong to this day, so twenty-one years. He always wanted to take care of my mother, he would do anything for her and wanted to give her the world, but even so, everyone has aspirations. My mother aspired to become a nurse. She always possessed a natural sense of taking care of people with her kind-hearted personality. She was meant to be a nurse, she had all the qualities of a nurse just like the first known nurse who, Phoebe, who is mentioned in the bible. She was recognized in the early years of the Christian Church in Rome.

Coming To America:

In 1993 after high school, when my mother and father were already madly in love, my mom attended nursing school and was on her last stretch and final year, but that all came to a halt with her pregnancy of me. She only had one more semester to go be a registered nurse, her dream. This dream of hers first appeared when she realized she wanted to help people on a medical level, her mother, my grandmother helped her realize this. Before my grandmother and my mother moved to America they had a completely different life, in Mexico my grandma was married to a horrible man who had no respect for her. Her marriage was not by choice and neither were her pregnancies, when my grandmother and grandfather met back in 1968 only one was interested in the other. My grandfather was bewitched by my grandmother and my grandmother had no interest in him. She knew he was a terrible man, when my grandfather rejected her he went up to my grandmothers house and told her parents a horrible lie. He told them that had a sexual altercation and back in the day when people had those kind of altercations they were forced to marry one another. My grandmother had no say in this, she was forced to marry a man she did not love. Not only did she not love him but she was physically abused by him, this went on for 20 years. From 1968-1988 my grandmother lived a life of abused and torture and my mother saw it all, she saw her mother filled with bumps and bruises and she had no idea on how to help her heal from her wounds.

When my grandma finally developed a plan to escape from my grandfather's rath, in 1988 my grandma hired a coyote took all 5 of her kids to America. When she made it to San Jose she moved in with her sister she quickly went to work at a restaurant, she is a fantastic cook. While she worked at the restaurant she noticed that at lunch time a group of construction workers came in every single day. One the man's name was Roberto Rodriguez who was a young intelligent man who had a great heart and a big stomach, he especially took a liking in my grandmother’s food. While eating his food on a particular day he decided that he wanted to meet the cook, my grandma was ecstatic that someone enjoyed her food that much. When she went out to meet her satisfied customer she noticed that he was a handsome man, she immediately blushed and nerves surged through her body. She approached him to thank him for his interest in her food but he soon made it obvious that his interest was not only in her food, and from there their love flourished and they were married 3 months later and to this day they are still happily married.

Not So Happy Ending:

Their marriage wasn’t always a pleasant one though, my step-grandfather went through a stage in his life where he was an alcoholic and it took its toll on his marriage and his relationship with my grandmothers children, including my mother. This went on for 10 years, in 2011 right when my grandma was preparing to leave my step-grandfather, he had a terrible stroke that caused his memory to be lost, he did not remember who I was or who any of his family were. He thought he was back in Mexico working on his little farm. My grandmother, being the angel that she is, didn’t have the heart to leave him in this state. So she took care of him as best as she could but my step-grandfather needed a nurse. When my grandmother hired a nurse to watch over my step-grandfather it helped him tremendously, his shots were given and she helped him remember where and who he was with daily and over time he remembered everything but one thing, he forgot that he ever picked up an alcoholic beverage. He was free from his alcoholism and once again my his and my grandmother’s love flourish, it was a beautiful and inspirational thing to watch.  

Seeing that nurse help my step-grandfather over the years confirmed that I wanted to be a nurse when I was older but not only did she inspire me but so did my mother. Forced to drop out of nursing school, my mother sacrificed her dream for me, so I feel like it is prominent that I fulfill this dream for her. I want to make her proud and I want to be able to help people on both a medical and personal level just like that nurse did for my step-grandfather many years ago. My family is full of good hearted people who all aspire to help other people but no one ever had the opportunity to do anything with that aspiration, I want to be the one in my family to fulfil everyone’s dream and help others for a living. Just like my mother I will go to nursing school after my time here at CSUN and I will finish my time at nursing school to be a certified registered nurse. From there I will further my education and take the CEN test to become an emergency room nurse for those in desperate need of my help and the help of the other nurses at the hospital. An average emergency room nurse sees minimum 65,000 patients a year and because of this and my drive to complete my mother’s dream I can oversee the rigorous hours I will have to endure which can range from 8 to 12 hour shifts a night by knowing I will be saving lives like my mother would have liked to do. Like other nurses, I will have a stethoscope, like the one I found in my mothers box many years ago. Derived from this stethoscope are three stories, all related, and all significant in my life and future in becoming a certified emergency nurse.

Cynthia Sanchez is currently on the girls soccer team here at CSUN and enjoys reading.
<![CDATA[The Most Important Person ]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 02:13:27 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-most-important-personPicture
Throughout life there are many people and things that can be influential, whether it is in a good way or in a bad way. In my life, the single most influential person would by far have to be my aunt Dora. My aunt has been more than an aunt to me since I was born, she has been the mother figure in my life and she has always been there for me and my dad. My aunt came to the states when she heard I was being born, and little did she know, from that point on she was going to be my mom. Nobody ever asked her to leave her family in Colombia to contribute to her older brother’s family and we are all very thankful for that. Since then my aunt has been nothing but sweet, caring and exactly what a mother should be like. My aunt is influential in my life because of all the sacrifices she has made for me and my dad, because of the great hardworking woman she is and finally because of the great mom she has been to me for almost nineteen years. 

she is and finally because of the great mom she has been to me for almost nineteen years.

The Story Behind what she did

            My aunt made many sacrifices when she decided to leave her family and home in Colombia to come to California and help my dad. Back home my aunt had one son who was eighteen at the time she left and she also has three sisters who were all very young at the time and an older brother who were all very sad when she left. Even with all these people left behind at home my aunt still decided to leave to be with me and my dad when I was born. My aunt came to California to help my dad not only with taking care of me but to also help out with my dad’s tailor shop. Without my aunt being involved with me and my dad’s lives I don’t know where we would be today. This has influenced my life because I know how many sacrifices my aunt made in order to get me where I am today and I now understand that in life I must make some important and well thought out sacrifices in order to succeed and to be happy and to be where I want to be later on in life.

What she does

            My aunt works for our family business. About 30 years ago my dad started his own tailor shop in Westwood. With my aunt coming in from a different country she didn’t really know where to begin working, so my dad suggested that she could work for him. Since she didn’t really know anything about the business yet my dad had to teach her the basics. How to hem pants, alter dresses and iron the clothes. Those are the simplest things, my aunt sort of got attached to ironing the clothes and doing small repairs before handing the clothes over to the customers. To this day she irons every day, and because of that she has begun to lose feeling in her hands. The iron is pretty heavy after a while, and since it radiates heat afterwards she can’t put her hands in the fridge or wash her hands for a while because it could give her arthritis.  

The Research

             Ironing is the use of a hot tool to remove wrinkles from clothes or fabric. The temperature of the iron at varies upon the type of material of the clothing. It works by loosening the bonds between polymer molecules in clothes.  The first iron was said to have been used in China. The electric iron was first invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley. The iron weighed about 15 pounds and took a while to get hot. Since my dad and aunt have worked in the tailoring business for so long they like to use the heavy iron for the best results. The only problem is that my aunts hands start to hurt her even more since the irons are more old fashioned and weigh a lot.

What she means to me

            Even with all those sacrifices made, my aunt is still the sweetest most hardworking woman I know. My aunt works long days taking the bus to and from Santa Monica but she still manages to be best mom I could have ever asked for. She has always protected me and taught me what is right from wrong and she is more than welcoming to all my friends and my boyfriend. The family business would have not been possible without all my aunts help. She has never asked for any type of thank you but she is just grateful to have been living with me and my dad and to be able to see me grow up. My aunt has shown me that family always comes first. She has also taught me how to be a stronger woman for myself and to always look out for myself and to be a hard worker so that I can be happy in the future. I have learned to be responsible because of all the responsibilities my aunt has as a sister, aunt, worker, daughter and most importantly my mom. I have learned what it means to be a family and what I want for my future because of my aunt’s impact on my life.

            Finally, the most important reason my aunt is the most influential person in my life is because of course she is my mom at the end of the day. My aunt has been a mom for almost thirty-eight years and had eighteen years in Colombia to practice becoming the best mom she could possibly be for me. She has taught me what it means to be a mom and how important it is for a girl growing up to have a mother figure. Like I said before, I have no idea where I would be today without my aunt. She was the one taking care of me all those years while my dad was away at work and when she couldn’t take care of me herself she would make sure my grandma would be there for me. She has never let me down and I hope that she know how influential she is to me.

            In conclusion, without the most influential person in my life I have no idea where I would be today. I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for me and my dad all these years. I hope that everyone can find someone that is influential enough to motivate and teach them things in life like my aunt has to me. I think that it is important and helpful to have someone to look up to who is influential especially when finding yourself in life. 

Celeste Restrepo I am a student at California State University Northridge. Majoring in Biology to become a surgeon.
<![CDATA[March 16th, 2014]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 01:45:11 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/march-16th-2014PictureMy mom and I
Many people are fortunate enough to have a mother that shows them unconditional love and support. My mother is like any other mom. She loves me and my sibling to death and would do absolutely anything to see us happy. However, it is sometimes hard for her to do so because of her health issues that do not always allow her to be her normal self.

Life Before Marriage:

            Celina Lomeli was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on August 24, 1965. She was raised by her two loving parents and is the second youngest of her twelve brothers and sisters. Growing up they did not live a wealthy rich life, they owned a small market in their town. When my mom was six years old her parents decided to make the big move to the United States. Nine of the twelve children moved to the US. Due to the family’s financial hardships seven of the children moved into a four bedroom home. All together nine people were living in a small four bedroom house in East Los Angeles, California. My mom attended the local public schools which were filled with gangs. Even in middle school, she was exposed to drugs and gang members. It was tough for her to stay away from the gang affiliated people since there was so many of them. However, she was able to stay away all throughout middle school and high school. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1983.

Starting a Family:

            After high school she had to find work to help support herself and her family. She had many different part time jobs until she found a full time position as a receptionists at a medical office. At that medical office she met my dad, Martin Lomeli. After only a year of dating they got married on December 6, 1986 and they moved to Mid-City Los Angeles and had their first child Jonathan in October of 1987. Following their son they had two more daughters, Jacqueline in May of 1990 and Emely in November of 1994. They lived in the same Mid-City home for twenty-two years. 

            Throughout the years she stayed working at that medical office. She slowly made her way up from receptionist to team leader, supervisor and now to office manager. She is a Site Manager for a UCLA Health System Medical Office in Santa Monica, CA. My mom had to work hard to get to her position. English being her second language has definitely made it hard for her to be successful. She has been able to overcome that language barrier and be successful. The language barrier was not the only hardship that she had to overcome. She also suffers from Fibromyalgia. Despite all the symptoms she feels my mom has still gone above and beyond with her job to be successful. Her job requires her to be available 24/7 and it has caused her a lot of stress and headaches on top of her Fibromyalgia. Since it is a syndrome it cannot be cured but I can be treated with many different medications. 

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia: 
  • affects the muscles and soft tissue 
  • chronic muscle pain
  • fatigue 
  • sleep problems 
  • painful tender points or trigger points
  • chronic headaches
  • excruciating back and neck pain

My mom’s life is a roller coaster with many ups and downs. She lost her parents when she was just twenty-two years old. It deeply saddens her that my siblings and I were unable to grow up with my grandparents around. My mom never stopped working hard despite all the pain she felt. She always strived to work hard because she wanted to keep her children in private catholic schools in Santa Monica since the schools in their neighborhood were very poor and in bad neighborhoods. She wanted her children to get a better education than she did. 

Caring for the Family:

My mom’s health issues have always been a struggle for her. Some days she is unable to even get out of bed but she pushes herself to keep moving because she wants the best for her children even though they are all grown up now. Despite her always being tired and in pain she never showed it. Instead of complaining about her condition she would share her love and kindness to everyone around her especially her children. She never lets us forget how much she loves us. Even on her worse days when she is in the most pain, she put her children’s needs before hers. If one of us had a cold she would take care of us before herself. She is very selfless and is always putting others before herself. She never forgets about other people. 

Putting others before herself is definitely a high priority for my mom. There has been many occasions where she has chosen to fulfill someone else’s happiness rather than her own. She works extra-long hours at work just so that she can send me to college. Her children’s success is very important to her and it makes her happy. 

She has had to deal with numerous health issues not just including her own. When her son was only ten years old he nearly lost his life. Like any other mother, she was absolutely devastated and heartbroken when he was almost taken from her. She is eternally grateful that she still has him. He suffers from epilepsy and is in constant worry that he will have a seizure at any given time. She never stops taking care of him. To this day she makes sure he takes his proper medication even though he no longer lives under her roof. Her maternal love is everlasting and beyond expectations. She is first a mother and then a wife. 

Being a mother is her accomplishment and success. She is a mother not just to her children but to everyone around her. She always knows when someone is feeling down and needs someone to just listen to them. She is always willing to help others and lend her helping hand. Many of the people she encounters adore her for being such a great, compassionate, and understanding friend. 
Emely Lomeli attends California State University of Northridge as a Child and Adolescent Development major. She enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family. 
<![CDATA[ What Matters Most ]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 01:36:50 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/-what-matters-mostPictureFather and son cannot be broken
February 20, 1965 had to be one of the most amazing days. A man by the name of Saul Valente Salas was brought into this world. A baby with huge eyes, fat cheeks and crying with all his might, it seemed as though this baby was going to be just like the rest. Growing up moving from California to Mexico and back to California, Saul was always trying to make the best of every situation. In a family with four boys and one girl he was the third oldest but, he acted as if though he was the elder of the group. He struggled most of his life, as his family would fight to make ends meet. He was forced into working at an early age, which led him to become a bus boy and pizza boy. Asking him how his bus boy experience was he stated, “ Being a bus boy taught me how tough it is to earn a dollar, you are constantly moving around and always have work to do. If you are sitting down then you are not doing your job correctly.” That shows that this man must have been very hard working and was always looking for ways to keep himself busy. He knew he had a big responsibility of having to help support his family and he was also aware that the way out of his tough situation was through school.

Education is the Key to Success

School was a pleasure for him, he loved to be around friends and learn about new things. He studied hard and took the community college rout to save up his money so that he can purchase his car. He loved that car so much that he would sleep in it. When going to college sometimes that wasn’t an option, he was living away from home and when he didn’t have a place to sleep, he would be forced to bundle up in his car. This taught him the true value of having many things that society today takes for granted. Living without a roof over your head, no running water, or even lacking heat is a tough life to live. He never gave up, he continued to struggle but he kept telling himself, “In the end it will all pay off.” He finished his general education and was admitted to UCSB. There he said he had some of the best memories of his life where he would attend parties, go out on dates, and remembering to keep his priorities straight and staying on track with his schooling. He would continue to do his work and strive to do what was necessary to get a good job and eventually have a family. His graduation came and he said that was one of the happiest days of his life. All his hard work and dedication had paid off he was now a college graduate at a very prestigious university.

The Hunt for a Job and Life Profession

Right away he looked for a job, he was looking at a profession in which he could give back to the community and change peoples lives. Well he decided on becoming a probation officer. Though some may degrade this and label it as an easy task to do, taking care of rebellious minors can be very tiresome. He has gone through various injuries some of which affected his everyday tasks such as taking a shower. Not only has this occupation been physically draining, it has also taken a toll on him mentally. Some of those minors have stories that people cannot even think to imagine. These young men have dealt with drugs, violence, abuse, and abandonment. Anything that you can imagine that has a negative impact these kids have gone through. Saul saw this as an opportunity to change the lives of many. He started a program at his probation camp called Gangs for Peace. This program granted minors in his camp, that realized that they have done wrong, a way to better themselves. They would do community service and help those in need. They were rewarded quite nicely too, attending professional baseball and basketball games depending on the season. Once these inmates left the program they became changed men. They returned home to their families not as thugs but as young men that were aware of the mistakes that they had made. They knew that they had been given a second chance and it was time to make the most out of it. Today, many of them have very nice homes, cars, children, pets, and finally got married. Some of them even have their own businesses.

A Father’s Two Loves

Cars were one of Saul’s passions, something that you can say rubbed off on the former juvenile delinquents. One day when he had his own son Saul would purchase him a car of his choosing within reason. Also, that car had to be at least ten years old so it could be somewhat of a “classic” and so that his son would know the value of cars. He would then go on and continue to date but wouldn’t seemingly find the right woman for him. He eventually found her and took her for what she was and what she had. She was previously married and had two relationships that ended unfortunately by death. She also had three children, an eighteen year old, a fifteen year old, and a baby that was just two years old. He loved kids and he and her began dating. Since then they have both succeeded together raising three kids and purchasing rental property to support the family and supply them with things that they did not have when they were of a young age. That two year old was the one he was closest to. It probably is because it was a boy and he always wanted to raise one for himself. That young boy went by the name of Albert Miramontes. When I was first born I was the only boy to be born in that hospital that day and was surrounded by females in the nursery. “He was like a diamond,” the nurse stated. Well that was almost my name until they decided to name me after my father that had passed away before I was born. However, the day Saul was born would serve to be of the utter most importance to me, as I now had a man in his life that would act and serve as my father. This man supplied everything he could for me, whether that would be an education, money, clothing or sports. Anything that I wanted and deserved, Saul would do his best to attempt to bless the me with. Right off the bat Saul and I had a wonderful connection even though he wasn’t my biological father, I knew he was like a guardian angel sent down from heaven. Time came when the I began to grow older, start dating, start going out with friends, and Saul believed it was time for my first car. That car would turn out to be a silver 1996 Honda Civic. That car would serve as a child to me. I would constantly wash it, take it out for a cruise, and pick up friends to go on adventures. Once I put a new radio and speakers in the car it became my second home. Just going cruising in there was one of the biggest luxuries I had. It was like I was in another world. From hearing the lyrics that would explain my day or the base of the music that would go with my heartbeat it is something that I will cherish forever There wasn’t a time when I would not be in his car at least once a day. It was a get away spot for me, one in which all his worries and trouble would go away and it would just be car, the music, and me. Music was like another world for me. It represented my moods and sometimes shaped his actions. Don’t worry even though I like music that promoted violence and degraded women, I would do the complete opposite. Being a very peaceful young man, many saw me as the kid that did not seem to have problems. However, everyone knows that people tend to have their fair share of problems. I was not the type to sit around and just mope being a sad person. I would get up, go to my car, play music, and think of a way I could get put of the slump that I was in. No matter the situation I would do my best to find a solution and be the happiest that one could be. The car was a useful tool in helping me carve his happiness and be the person I was striving to be.

The Finishing Touch

I loved those two things so much but I was always grateful that my parents were able to supply me with that. I cherish each and every moment I have in that car, whether it is when I am singing to Drake at the top of my lungs or listening to some chaotic techno music. Whether it is the best day of my life or the worst day, I always would have my parents. They have been there since day one for me and I am ever so grateful that God has blessed me with the best parents a child could ever ask for. There are not that many people out there that would be willing to make sacrifices to make a child happy. I am happy all thanks to my father. 

Albert Miramontes is currently attending California State Northridge. He enjoys spending time with his father and talking about cars. If Albert is not with his father he is probably playing sports.
<![CDATA[The Carpe-Diem Heart]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 01:24:43 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-carpe-diem-heartPictureA Heart Pendant
“Oh Jake, I almost forgot!” my aunt said as she reached into her pocket on her green plaid shirt. “Do you remember this?” She had pulled out the heart pendant my brother and I gave our grandmother several years ago. I took it from her, held it tight in my hand and closed my eyes.

What It Looked Like

            The heart supplies oxygen and blood to all parts of the body, without it we would cease to exist. Anatomically, the heart looks like a strawberry, protected by our ribs, lying in the middle of our chest. Everywhere we go, we see images of hearts though not anatomically correct but represent love. Love is a powerful emotion that we all experience. The classic shape of the crimson red or hot pink hoops that are seen everywhere come February. For these purposes we will be referencing the cartoonier version of the heart representing the emotion of love and it’s attachment to our feelings.

             The pendant was not larger than a quarter and was completely made of miniature red, translucent beads. The right hoop of the heart was a tiny bit larger than the left so the heart always lay on an angle on my grandmother’s chest. I forget when we gave it to her but ever since then she never took it off. It became a part of her and went with her wherever she went. I knew once I got it back from my aunt that I would never see it lie around my grandmother’s neck ever again. Memories were all what I had left to remember of my grandmother with the heart.

            Growing up I had trouble pronouncing names so I made nicknames for everyone. I had two grandmas, one on my dad’s side and the other on my mom’s. I was smart enough to know that one wasn’t better than the other, so I couldn’t call one of them grandma #1 and grandma #2, I had to come up with something else. My grandma on my dad side’s name was Marlys and my grandpa was Marlyn. It was easier for me to just call them by the first three letters of each of their names, so I called them Grandma and Grandpa Mar Mar. That is probably the earliest memory I have with them and ever since then memories continued to be created.

The Gift was Given

            “Jake, why don’t we give grandma mar mar this?” My brother asked as he found this small paper box that had a small heart shaped object just lying on some soft cushion inside the box. We found it in an old dresser where we kept our favorite movies. “Sure, but I don’t know if she is really going to want this,” I said. I had already opened the box and saw the heart there but then put it back in the drawer because I just didn’t think much of it. We decided to give it to her and we were so glad we did because it meant so much to her.

              Every birthday, holiday and celebration she would always have something waiting for us. If it was our birthday she would have a cake and ice cream waiting for us at her house. Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter were all filled with candy and small goodies. She would always go to so much trouble to make someone else’s day just a little bit better. She really loved having all her loved ones together and enjoyed all the good times we experienced at her house. Oh, and her cookies! Sometimes they were homemade and others they were store bought but who cares; a cookie is a cookie.

Refrigerated Cookies?           

              One thing that stuck with me and made me curious as a kid and still does to this day, was how she treated her chocolate chip cookies. We all know the stereotype as to grandmothers and their famous chocolate chip cookies, but I have never seen anyone do what she did with them. She would refrigerate them! Can you believe it? I couldn’t either but it makes the cookie so much better I don’t know how, it just does. Usually you want them fresh out of the oven, when the chocolate chips are melting and as you break apart that deliciousness the chocolate stretches until gravity gets the best of it and it drips. Next comes the gulp of milk and your belly is happy. Nope, she liked them cold and that’s how she served them to us whenever we went over to her home. She would sit by the bar window that opened up to the outdoors smoking a cigarette and when we arrived she would go to her fridge and pull out those cookies.

               My grandmother also had this strange obsession with cows. I never knew why she did but everything was cow themed at her house. I’m sure if she could she would have bought a cow to have as a pet. She loved taking care of pets but she always had too many, then again, at the same time I think it gave her something to do every day because she was retired and so was her husband.

Towards the End

                Smoking had made my grandmother’s health deteriorate gradually but that couldn’t stop her. She would travel as much as she could as long as she had someone to watch her pets and if she was up for the adventure. Every time she got home she would always have pictures from her disposable Kodak Camera of her and her adventures and in every single picture you could see the heart pendant we had given her around her neck. I don’t recall her ever wearing any other jewelry other than the necklace we gave her and some small turquoise ear rings she picked up on one of her trips. We started visiting less often and calling less frequently once my parents got a divorce because it was harder to balance both sides of the family. We would mainly send cards back and forth, unless a holiday came up and she would make a surprise visit to us or she would pick us up and take her to her house. She started driving less and less and eventually only went out of her house for doctor appointments and to go marketing.

                 There was one visit that I do remember quite clearly and that was the time I cooked dinner for her and my grandpa. I made a classic Italian dinner that consisted of: Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Salad and Garlic Bread and for dessert Lemon Bars. It was great because it was as if I was giving a part of me to my grandparents after not seeing them for so long. That’s why these visits became so much more important because we didn’t know when the next visit would be.

                  She had been in and out of the hospital after that visit and things weren’t looking too good after her third hospital stay. We went to the hospital after such a long hiatus since our last visit and noticed that our grandma probably would recover after this visit. A few days later she was released home to be with her husband for her final days. That next day she passed peacefully surrounded by her loved ones. This funeral was my first funeral and I’m glad it wasn’t the somber, “dressed in black” type but rather a celebration of life. She had lived a long and happy life and there was no reason for her to be alive and struggle in a body that was just holding her back.

Carpe Diem – Live Life to the Fullest

               Fanny-pack around waste, my grandma was off to a better place, now leaving a place filled with excitement and thrills and embarking on a new adventure. She lived a Carpe-diem themed life. She took every opportunity she had and went for it. She would get in her camper and travel to New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona or wherever sounded exciting with or without her husband. I always enjoyed looking over pictures of her recent trips and thinking, “Wow, I hope I have this much energy this late in life”. She had the classic “Granny” look in all her pictures: white curly hair, glasses, and that fanny pack! If you looked close enough you could even see the heart necklace she was wearing and that really made me realize how much that small heart pendant we gave her so long ago still meant so much to her.

                 Though regret did fill my mind when I thought about my grandma, I know that she would never have wanted me to ever associate that with her. The regret I feel is that I should have visited, and called more often because now I can’t know, but dwelling on it isn’t going to change anything. Learning from our mistakes is what life is all about and if I could learn to put more time aside for the more important things in life, wouldn’t that be the greatest thing ever learned, if anything at all?

                    My grandmother did not live a short, undeveloped life, but rather a complete opposite. She found the man of her dreams, had a great job, had kids, her kids had kids, and got to retire to the joy of spending time with a new generation in such a different world from when she grew up, grandchildren. A woman of courage and strength is what my grandmother was made of. Always there when you needed someone to be there for you, but now what? Life continues for you but not for her, not for such a wonderful human being? Why? That’s life. Life is a constant struggle and once you think you are on top of things it just falls down and must be rebuilt. It’s about how each life is lived out and whether as you take your final breath, you are satisfied with what has happened and what has been accomplished in this life.

                     Life is not about winning or losing, rather it is about living. It is about how you spend your time with your loved ones and how you build those relationships throughout life. That little heart that was given has now returned to its home to which it was given from in the beginning and will know be passed on from generation to generation to follow. It was once just a symbol of love and affection but now so much more than that. A heart symbolizes the journey a person must take to feel accomplished in life and realize that all the hard work that took them to get that far all paid off.

                     The only thing that should engulf our minds before we pass on is relief. Relief that we accomplished everything that we could and now our physically bodies are worn out and need a break. Our soul and memories will live in the hearts of everyone we have inspired in our lives. The greatest hope we can ask for is that breath of accomplishment and relief as we exhale for our last time.

Jake Hagen is a freshman at Cal State Northridge and an aspiring chef, often found looking through cookbooks in search  for the latest and greatest recipes to try out.
<![CDATA[The True Meaning Behind the Mineral Rock. ]]>Mon, 17 Mar 2014 01:20:16 GMThttp://composingwritingv2.weebly.com/project-space/the-true-meaning-behind-the-mineral-rockPictureMy Mineral Rock
Obtaining this mineral rock has opened up to me huge part of history that I would have never learned. What seemed as another souvenir became not only something correlated with a lost part in history but also part of my families history. Its amazing how something so small that can fit in hand or pockets can hold so much importance. It doesn't have to be something as grand as the Eiffel tower or the pyramids of Egypt to have a sense or importance.   

Obtaining the Mineral Rock 
Entering fortress like wooden doors of the old train station I was flabbergasted to find shops that covered what once was a very elaborate European style train station both the first and second floors. As I walked around I stumbled one shop on the second floor, it was plastered with all type of colorful souvenirs that in some way represented some a famous monument. As I walked toward the table a basket caught my eye inside I found some rocks. I grabbed a the white chalk surfaced rock that was cut in half but was held together by an old black rubber band. As I held it in my hand I asked the sales women for the price, she quickly glanced over to the mineral rock and said “ 10 pesos”(the equivalent to the American dollar). I handed her the money and grabbed two small rocks as I detached the rubber band I was amazed to find minerals inside like quartz and silver. 

History Behind the Mine
        The city of Guanajuato was actually created due to it vast amount of minerals. The city was established in 1553 by the colonization of the Spanish. (Mines of Guanajuato, Merico: GEOLOGY of the MINES) Since the very beginning the Spanish came in with the purpose to extract the seven minerals them being platinum, gold, iron, copper, lead and quartz. I was able to find out that the two rocks contained both quartz and platinum, which in its natural state is black. Not only did I find out what minerals were found inside but from what mine it came from. It turns out that it came from one of the last mines that still have been in action for 500 years the “La Valenciana”. La Valenciana at one point was the leading center for mining silver in the entire world.

The Founder

The mine “La Valenciana” was first opened in 1553; it was discovered by Spaniard Antonio Obregon y Alcoce. Mines of Guanajuato, Mexico: (GEOLOGY of the MINES). Antonio Obregon y Alcoce would then become the owner of the mine in which he would enslave the local indigenous population now as the “Chichimecas”. They would then be exploded to mine for the mineral in which they worked in horrible conditions.

Working in the Mine
As it was written on paper the workers were paid three Reales (Spanish Currency) for a 12-hour workday. It was stated in a 1913 Los Angeles Times Article that it was reported miners were paid 37 ½ cents per day. (Mines of Guanajuato, Mexico: GEOLOGY of the MINES) When in truth they were paid in food that was just rubbish and rags for clothing. Their workday started at 5a.m end ended at 5p.m, there only light inside the mine were oil candles that barely illuminated the mines so people could work. The mine actually went down up to 1950 ft. at that depth there is very little oxygen plus there was a huge lack of ventilation. The idea of working in those conditions is terrifying, just imagine working 1950 ft. underground not true ventilation, your already breathing hard because the lack of oxygen and your only light is a candle that is in the verge of extinguishing due to the lack of oxygen. Yet that is your only illumination. After the mining the gold or silver the worker would have to carry 143 pounds of what they just dug up on there bare backs and take a huge flight of stairs due to the fact that at the time they didn’t have carts to push on tracks. The indigenous miners would have to zigzag there way up the flight of stairs this was a technic they used to help them not fall back. Due to their heavy loads and it was way to help them breath with a little more ease.

When one of the workers did fall the injuries would be fatal or severe. If some how they managed to survive the fall miners were told to finish them off. Their mentality behind this was that they would help the poor miner by taking him out of his misery.

 Life Expectancy
As I researched even deeper I found a online video of a former indigenous mine which is a tour guide and explain the life expectancy of the miners. Many indigenous boys were forced to mine as early 15 to 16 years of age. The oldest were around 25 to 26 years of age. The reason behind this was because their life expectancy was five to ten years, which was the longest. This was due to all the exposure to the deadly chemicals found in the mines. By the time they were reaching 10 years most of them were coughing blood, their lungs on the verge of collapsing. 

Personal Connection 
After those four hours of lecture from my grandmother and my research I must say that I was mind blown at how much these rock symbolize to the city of Guanajuato and the indigenous miners. As I would later interview my grandmother I would find out that I personally have the blood of the oppressor and the oppressed. I have a mixture of feelings, one side of me feels anger and the other feels embarrassed for the inhuman acts that my Spanish ancestors did to extract these minerals.


Martin Vargas Vazquez is  currently a freshman at California State University Northridge. He is majoring in History, and is planning to become a Military Historian in the future.