Lessons I learned through teaching others

I’ve worked as a tutor for years, and one of the things I like the most about it is that I learn alongside my students. Helping them with their schoolwork forces me to review, learn, and relearn concepts that I would have otherwise not learned or forgotten.  Algebra, Geometry, and Science terminology are now still fresh with me.

One of the most important things that I get out of tutoring is the need to keep myself to the same standards that I expect from my students. I ask them to read everyday, to practice math everyday, and to work hard at whatever they try to do. This, in turn, encourages me to do likewise. When I found that one of my students needed a personal planner to keep track of his assignments,  I felt obligated to set the example and buy one of my own to keep track of my goals.

Also, I think that tutoring has taught me that I should also stop and reflect on the lighter side of life. The kids I tutor remind me (sometimes explicitly) that I should not take everything seriously and that I should just try to have fun. That is a lesson that is worth remembering, as we in the world of adulthood sometimes we forget that joy is the reason we live to begin with. Ultimately, I get paid to teach, but perhaps I’m also the one getting tutored somehow.

Fact Checking the Politicians: Trumps Speech against Clinton

 

On June 22, 2016 The New York Times wrote a reaction to Donald Trump’s speech entitled Donald Trump’s Speech: What you Missed and our Fact Checks.  It was very informative and worth the read, and I recommend that you take a look at it.

Politicians are very skilled at using their rhetoric to mold our thinking with their agenda.  Trump is a businessman who simply transferred his skills of persuasion from his business life to the public arena. His rhetorical skill employs plenty of hyperbole and sometimes, flat-out lies as well.  This is not to bash on Donald Trump, but just to recognize that he fits right in with the politicians of the establishment who do likewise.  It is to your advantage, Americans, to see past the rhetoric and do fact checking whenever you get the chance so as to be an informed voter.

A foreigner’s thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election Season

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I, as a foreigner, can only weigh in so much on who your country chooses to be the next president of the United States.  As a Mexican, I can say that both candidates are a threat to the sovereignty of my country:  Trump by scapegoating Mexico every chance he gets, and Hillary for secretly pushing for the privatization of Mexico’s oil industry (as was revealed by leaks).  But, we must admit that the office of president of the United States is a global one, given the superpower status of your country, and the fact that your country has so much influence in world events.  Therefore, people from all over the world have an opinion, and the following is my own.

I don’t think anybody could have predicted that Donald Trump would make history by being the first orange clown-man with a titanic ego to take the Republican nomination, or for Hillary, the first candidate under FBI investigation, to grasp the Democratic nomination.  Nobody could have predicted that also Bernie Sanders, a European-style Social Democrat that looks like he just escaped a retirement home, to grasp the hopes and admiration of millions of youth across the country. This campaign season has undoubtedly been entertaining, but thanks to the fact that this is reality and not a T.V. Sitcom, it’s also terrifying.  What we have now is a campaign between a proto-facist, Trump, and an imperialist, Hillary.

Don’t think I use those words loosely.  Trump is not a fan of free speech and has always been trigger-happy to sue those who, as Hillary said in a speech, “get under his very thin skin.”  He wants to change the libel laws to sue journalist who cross his little line.  He bans certain outlets, like the Washington Post and Univision, from covering him in his events.  He wants to go after civilians in war, and make the U.S. into a police state, by instituting further domestic spying, to protect it against terrorism.  Which would be fine, if you don’t mind police states. He centers his proposals and speeches on ardent nationalism, and asked his supporters to pledge that they will vote for him by raising their hand, which they quickly did in a way that is too reminicent of the Hitler salute.

As for Hillary, she really is “crooked,” like Donald says.  She awards favors and concessions to those who donate to the Clinton foundation.  She wont release the transcripts to her speeches to Wall Street.  She created her own server in her home to keep secrets from the government.  And, like I mentioned earlier, she is also an imperialist.  She supported the Iraq War.  She violates the sovereignty of Latin America by secretly pushing for petroleum privatization in Mexico and backing an illegal coup in Honduras.  She pushed for U.S. military intervention in Libya, which “coincidentally” wanted to get off the dollar and use the gold standard for their currency value,  which is now a disaster zone.

Basically, it boils down to this: both candidates attack each other, and their attacks are true, but the image they create of themselves is false.  Trump is not a master mind in business, as his multiple bankruptcies attest, and Hillary is not the liberal lioness she wants Bernie supporters to think she is.  Both her and Trump are (cliche warning) birds of a feather, two sides of the same coin, and they flip flop so much no sandals can rival them.

The choices that you as a voter have are similar to choosing between Pepsi or Coke.  Both will cause took decay, but they have a certain following and debatably, their own unique tastes.  It’s not the fruit smoothie that most adults (when it comes to political maturity) in the political arena were pushing for (Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein), but it’s what the people voted for.

Of course, there are many third party alternatives.  I know many of us want them to be more nationally relevant, however, keep in mind that if you allow the voices of one third party organization, then the voices of others, which may be extreme in a way that you don’t agree with, can also come to the fray. For example, you might be in favor of the Tree Huggers United Party (I made up the name just now), but then you also have to tolerate the Racist Solidarity Party (also made up).  The point is, if you want a system similar to those parliaments in Europe that have a spectrum of parties, you may indeed hear your views may be represented by one of them, but that party’s voice might be drowned out by by the screams of other parties that have extreme views in the other direction of the political spectrum.  If that is tolerable to you, or to the country in general, which likes to fancy itself a democracy, then by all means go full-Europe.

Americans, this is your country.  I don’t know what you’re going to do and I have no recommendations for you.  Will you vote for the lesser of the two great evils?  Or will you vote third party?  It’s up to you.

Latino Graphics, Latino Gamer, and the L.A. Anime Expo

The 2015 Anime Expo in the Convention Center was just the thing for the Gaming Archaeologist to look into.  With financial help from Claudia and Ruben of Latino Graphics, he was able to have access to very interesting news in the world of anime and video games.  A future post in Latino Gamer will have a summary of what the Anime Expo had to offer.   Stay tuned.                                                                  IMG_20150705_113634949

The background of Downey California’s Latino Graphics

(Published in Latino Graphics and shared here as part of my writing portfolio.  Spanish language version found when you scroll down on the version published in Latino Gamer.  Also note that all underlined text is a hyperlink to related content)

claudia y ruben

Ruben Chávez and Claudia Hernández immigrated to the United States with the goal of acquiring a higher standard of living. Ruben has a BA in Computer Science from Instituto Technológico de Aguascalientes (ITA), and Claudia has clerical experience, but in their home country of Mexico, their ambitions could not be reached. As a newly married couple, they felt the need to explore a new world together in America.

In the beginning of their journey they both had to endure many hardships as they struggled to find employment and proper housing. There was even a time when they had to sleep on the floor without a bed. Eventually, Ruben and his wife acquired housing in the city of Anaheim since he found employment washing dishes at the world renowned Disneyland Theme Park. They were grateful for that, but when the opportunity to work for El Clasificado came along, Ruben took the job after much consideration and this allowed him to use his computer skills which he learned while attending college.

Claudia, not to be outdone, studied graphic design at Cerritos College. She then used her newfound knowledge to start her own business: Claudia Designer. She designed flyers and business cards, decorated calendars, and organized brochures for businesses. Soon, however, Ruben joined her, and together Latino Graphics was born. Latino Graphics is a local business in Downey, California, that offers services such as:

and many more services that reach all the corners of this beautiful country. With affordable advertising, Latino Graphics is here to help the community and meet its needs. Latino Graphics serves English and Spanish speaking customers with friendly bilingual employees. Ruben and Claudia started with a dream, but with the help of satisfied customers, it is rapidly becoming a successful reality. Discover why so many customers are satisfied with the work of Latino Graphics by utilizing whichever of their resources is right for you.

The following is a link to the Facebook page

Latino Graphics Facebook Page

The following is a link to the official website

Latino Graphics 

Thank you for reading

Saint Patrick’s Batallion

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Saint Patrick’s Day is the day people see as an excuse to drink or to pinch those who forgot to wear green.  Beyond that, though, is a chance to learn something about our home, California, and the rest of the American South West for that matter.  There was a time when these lands were ruled under Mexican law.  The process of turning them American involved a controversial war between the United States and Mexico, in which America took about half of Mexico’s vast territories.

Irish immigrants, who were Catholic and victims of oppression under British rule, were drafted to join the Army to invade Mexico.  Some of them questioned the legitimacy of the war, and after an act of courage, or some might say, foolhardy rashness, they switch sides and fought for the Mexican state.

Picture yourself in their shoes.  Imagine leaving your home island, wrecked by famine and imperial rule from England, migrating to a hostile United States, joining their armed forces, and then being forced to be the oppressors to a nation of fellow Catholics.  If you already lost your nation, your family, and the respect of those around you simply for being Irish, wouldn’t you find desertion easy, especially when it’s for a cause you relate to?  Perhaps this internal struggle was the main cause of the Irish American soldiers (though some were also from other countries) to switch sides and help Mexico in its war of self defense.

The reasons are still debated today, but among them are their mistreatment under the American officers, the promises of land that the Mexican government made them, and a solidarity to Catholicism.

They were the strongest and bravest fighters, threatening friendly fire on any soldier who would not stand up and fight against the U.S. in the heat of battle, and are remembered to this day.

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I recommend you continue to look into this interesting piece of history that is often overlooked.  Library books, websites, and documentaries are great sources.  I also recommend you see the movie One Man’s Hero (1999).  The following is a clip from the movie.

Interview with Gamesanytime shop owners

gamesanytimeowners

I conducted an interview with the owners of Gamesanytime shop in Bell, CA.  Funny story how that came to pass:

I was riding my bicycle down Gage Ave. one day and noticed a closed video game shop.  At the top of the entrance was a big sign that said “FOR LEASE.”  I assumed it was an old store that was shutting down.  I peeked inside and saw Super Nintendo cartridges, old Game Boys, and classic consoles.  I had a brief and powerful nostalgia trip at that moment, which made me feel absolutely horrible about the notion that the shop might close down.  “If I had money, I would buy things here all the time to keep this shop from shutting down,” I thought.

Fortunately for me, the opposite of what I feared was actually true.  The shop wasn’t shutting down, it was establishing itself.  It wasn’t an old shop, it was new.  I introduced myself to the owners, and asked for them to grant me an interview for an article to be published in latinogamer.com

They kindly agreed.

The following is a link to the published version in the Latino Gamer website.

Interview with Gamesanytime store in Bell, CA. 

Interview with Loco Coco

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Loco Coco: A clown that enjoys puns, jokes, street theater and juggling.  His name implies that he has a crazy mind (loco = crazy, coco = head, in colloquial Spanish), but his real name is Siddhartha, just like the Buddha.  Once president of the Philosophy Club in East Los Angeles College, with ambitions of being a graphic designer, Sidd has found in Loco Coco a persona that not only makes him some money in birthday parties, but has also been a source of emancipation for his inner child, a medium for his endless energy, and an art form that lets him enjoy the lighter side of life.  The following interview lets us see some of the intricacies of the clown business.

How important is a clowns name to his persona? Why did you choose your name to be Loco Coco?

A clown’s name is very important because you have to get the crowds attention. Having a funny, quirky, rhythmic name, so they can remember you.  I chose Loco Coco because it had a good sound to it.  I used to do shows with another clown, and he would always call me “Loco”, which is a common nickname in the Hispanic community.  I got the Coco nickname from Conan O’Brien, so thought I would be the Mexican version of “coco” hence Loco Coco. It rhymes and it sounds funny.  Clowns need to have a memorable name.

Do people need to have a certain unique personality to be a clown, or do you think anyone can do it?

I don’t think anyone can do it.  You have to have heart, the love of art, and the capacity to inspire imagination in kids.  It is an art, and you must have appreciation of it.  Some people do it only for the money; that’s not me.  When I see joy, laughter, and happiness in others, it makes me happy as well.  Some people don’t have that personality.  You have to be animated, energetic, and the center of attention.

What is it about your personality that makes you a fit for the art form of family party entertainment?

I did not always see myself doing parties for kids.  I saw myself as an entertainer for young adults, but it was with the kids that I thrived the most.  I was surprised at how successfully I worked with kids.  A clown told me that the invention of a clown is from a Child’s imagination.  I try to be the most professional when it comes to working with children. Some kids are shy, others quite the opposite.  I focus on bringing a smile nonetheless.

Do you believe that clown humor has a healing effect for people?

Yes definitely, like the movie Patch Adams. Except I’m no doctor but I’ll play one on TV.

What have your experiences been like as a clown?

It’s been up and down.  Most of the times pretty up.  There have been lots of laughs.  The most memorable was seeing the clowns I grew up seeing as a kid.  My mom would take me to Plaza de Armas in San Luis Potosí in Mexico.  I would see the jokes and pranks, or “pikadría” of the clowns.  One day I was lost. Not Jimmy Hoffa lost, but just lost! I did not know what I wanted, what to do, what I wanted to be.  I saw these clowns perform again, when I was 20 years old.  I told myself, I want to do that, street theatre. That way I can work and do art at the same time.  It was an extraordinary experience meeting clowns in Mexico.  I was in an urban roach hotel that was packed with professional street clowns.  I was amazed.  We had a kinship.  One clown introduced me to a clown I had seen before as a child, his name was Meme.  I extended my had to greet him, as I did… I slid and fell on my back.  He asked, “Did you do that on purpose?  Or was it an accident?” I responded; “ I don’t know.” It dawned on me that as a clown, falling on your back is funny.

What should our readers look for when hiring a clown?

They should look for face paint, balloon animals, juggling, magic, and games:  if you have all that, then you will have a great party.  And of course also look for LoCo CoCo “Quack! Quack!”