A Relay Lost

Next month, OVS will be participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Buena High School in Ventura. I, for one, am very excited to see our school be so involved in something that could quite possibly change one in five of our lives in the future. I cannot wait to see people of all different worlds join together to fight one of the biggest killers today and have fun while doing it. To top it all off, this will be the first cancer-related cause I have attended, and I’m quite nervous. I’ve always avoided them because I have a problem confronting what has thoroughly turned my life upside down more than once and stolen the one person who, above all, meant the world to me.

My mom was a remarkable woman. Standing at 5’10 with tight curls the color of embers she wasn’t a woman you could easily forget. She fought for what she believed in and would seldom take no for an answer, which only made her all the more admirable to all that met her. We were all shocked when the news finally reached us. My mom had ovarian cancer and had up to two years to live.

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(My mom second from the right)

How could someone so strong let cancer take a hold of her?

For three months her body deteriorated from a combination of chemotherapy and the cancer itself to a frail shell of a woman with only one spot of her once fiery hair barely holding on. A woman who had once stood so tall and who was so outspoken was confined to a wheelchair and an oxygen mask at all times. It was at that time I was taken to go live with my dad after living practically my whole childhood with my mom.

No more than four months after her diagnosis I was called into the hospital to see my mom propped up onto a hospital bed unconscious and on a morphine drip. My heart must had fallen through the floor and my stack through the roof. This was my mother. A once divine and beautiful woman was spending the last few moments of life in a lifeless shell. How could something do this to her?

This disease, this cancer had taken everything from her. It had taken everything from me. A perfectly good woman was drained of everything and left to suffer, and left those around her to suffer. No one meant as much to me as my mom did. She was my only friend and the only person I could talk to, that I can still talk to. For ten years she served as my idol, now seven years later she serves as my inspiration.

Cancer isn’t just a disease that affects one person, it affects everyone around that person. It’s ruthless and merciless and won’t stop at anything once it grabs a strong enough hold of you. If there’s any way to help those who suffer from it, or have been closely affected by someone who suffers from it, it’s to get the word out. Cancer kills. Help others, help yourself.

The Secret Life of an Abandoned Band Room.

The cramped room has faded white walls with various cracks that run like spider webs along the ceiling. There rectangular light on the ceiling flickers occasionally, casting a dull fluorescent glow around the room.

There is a large window covered by shut and dusty blinds, hiding the room from any passerby outside. Opposite of the window is an old door that never fails to creak upon someone’s entrance; it’s rusty handle jamming every third turn. There is a massive black amplifier next to the door with countless amounts of lined papers atop it; each one with at least seven scribbled out lines that had to be rewritten.

The amplifier is attached by a winding black chord to a beaten up and dented microphone, carelessly left at the foot of its towering stand as if dropped by its owner. The once perfectly rounded head of the microphone points to a wooden chair with two electric guitars leaning against it; one is black and sharp, the other orange and rounded.

The bodies of the guitars are almost touching a menacing bass drum precariously placed on a weak stand; one hard kick from its pedal would make it shudder and squirm, as though it was discomforted. The drum is attached to an entire kit, but its crash cymbal has a large crack that splinters out from the center of the dull gold cylinder. In front of the unsteady drum kit is a single sheet of lined paper, resting face-up on the musky blue carpet.

The paper is slightly crinkled around the edges and bright blue ink litters the page in an unceremonious scrawl. The violent markings on the paper form silent words and unfinished thoughts, starting strong with personal ramblings, “Time has frozen the lives we chose.”

There are so many things I would do to escape back to the wondrous place of Power Chord Academy. It’s enchanting with its college-dorm-rooms-turned-band-room and its dingy rental drum kits and its ever musically gifted and ever smiling students. PCA, you’re only a summer away.

A Double Standard

BREAKING NEWS: A family in Texas was massacred in their sleep. A bomb hits bus #74 outside D.C. convention center injuring dozens and killing at least one. More than  50 rockets and missiles continue falling in Fairfax, Virginia.

If this were what you read in the newspaper today, you would panic.  You would demand those responsible be brought to swift justice. And when the “bad guys” are killed and airplanes are flying bombing runs, you will say it is deserved and right.

Now what if I told you all these things happened in Israel?  Your response most likely would be along the lines of “it doesn’t concern me, its not my problem.”

But when Israel responds with airplanes and tanks, the world cries out injustice.  How can a world that claims to be democratic and fair hold Israel to a double standard.  the world calls Israel’s actions unjust.  The true injustice is that a world that condemns terrorism and the killing of innocence will so quickly jump to the defense of those they have vowed to stop.  Since the creation of the State, Israel has fought for recognition. Israel is recognized by the United Nations, therefore giving it equal standing and rights in the World Court. Yet still Israel is held to a double standard.

Qatari Clouds

Today the tiny country of Qatar produced a great idea: make a cloud to hang over a soccer match.

An artist's impression of the Al-Rayyan stadium for the 2022 World Cup finals

Qatar has run into a problem (many actually) after winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. The major problem is that it gets well over 120 degrees in the months that the World Cup is supposed to take place.

But FIFA Rules dictate that there cannot be indoor stadiums and that the games cannot be played in the Winter. I still do not see why FIFA then picked Qatar for the World Cup when there are rules in place that make hosting the tournament very difficult.

But Qatar is already taking real strides to solve the problems they are faced with. Their latest proposition is to make artificial clouds that would hang over the stadiums and block sunlight and provide a moist and cool environment.

They have many plans to do wild things to their stadiums such as one that is totally surrounded by media screens, 420,000 square feet of them. Incredible things such as that would make the World Cup very cool if they can pull it off.

In theory it sounds like a great idea but I do not know how feasible it is. I do know that after seeing the pictures of the stadiums Qatar is planning on building and hearing all their crazy ideas, I am ready to pack my bags for the Qatari World Cup today.