Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Remembering Michele Cassiano

Media Credit: Michele Cassiano's Family

On Tuesday and today I had to be and wanted to be present for the remembrance of my former yoga teacher Michele Cassiano. I was there because this woman who was only 41-years old affective my life in more ways than one. When I walked into the room and met Tina and Michele and (later) Monica on Jul. 1, 2001 I would have never imagine myself loving Michele for what she did for me. So, today at the funeral I thought of all of things I talked to her about, the jokes that she said about me, and the love that was present before and after her death during the burial of this remarkable woman.

For example, I remember that I didn't attend yoga class because I had to be at my sister award ceremony for the AVID program in Echo Park. As soon as the time hit 7:30 p.m. I said that yoga class was now in session. For the next hour I remembered that it was my duty, or job to push a button so the curtain would leave out the lights and I would take my seat. The next week when I returned Michele said, "Norma, don't you ever leave me again. Last week, all of us had trouble with the blinds and we didn't know which button to push to release them." The blinds came down by a push of a button. I could only laughed when I heard that. To me that is a day I will never forget. That to me said that she loved me. That meant she cared for me. I can only laugh and say, "THANK YOU, Michele!"

Another is when I had noticed that I was starting to lose weight and I was noticing the weight loss quick but I did see it. One day I walked in and I don't remember what I was wearing exactly but Michele exclaimed, "Norma, you are losing weight!" I thought again that she cared and loved me. I have tried throughout my life to find someone that would have treated me like an equal and I found her. Her name was Michele, her name is Michele and her name will forever will be Michele Cassiano. She was one of the most bravest, kind-hearted people that I knew. One of her martial arts students said it best at the rosary on Tuesday; that people like Michele only come once in a lifetime. How true.

Again thank you to everyone involved, her sister Tina, their yoga sister Monica Estrada, Michele's daughter and son and granddaughter. I love you Michele forever and ever. You were a true jewel of this earth and I would hope that you are teaching God martial arts as well as yoga. Love; Peace; Happiness.

The following is what was in the pamphlet:
"You are a fully matured soul, sent to Earth for the test of facing the Heavens and the Earth and returning back home Victorious." Yogi Bhajan. Michele returned home victorious for she found Peace in the knowing that nothing ever really dies it only changes the way it exists!"

Sat Nam
(Truth is her existence)

Michele Cassiano
Apr. 12, 1965-Jan. 24, 2007

More ASCC members appointed

Well, well, more students are being appointed to the ASCC Senate and that's a good thing...finally. It will take a while but it is slowly moving in the right direction. Students are getting involved and wanting to help out. That was the opportunity that I didn't take advantage of in high school. I love college life better, but of course with you the student, being responsible for yourself.

That's something that I have struggle with as I further my education and want to become a journalist with my parents, being the fact that I am committed to my education. However, when I look at the students who have committed themselves to serve as Senators, I admire them greatly. I know that they will be there when they have to be. And I do believe that communication is key in any working relationship and I would hope that is what I have done.

Over the course of two semesters, I have grown to love the ASCC as a whole. You will meet one of the most generous, kind and understanding people that are there. NO one is ever treated differently and I see that every Monday and Wednesday as I do attend the Cabinet meetings on the Monday too. With each passing day, I understand the amount of time and commitment is take, I mean look at what I'm doing for Talon Marks? I am married to the newspaper!

Dear God:
I am in love with the newspaper that unfortunately I have to stop one day. I have decided that I will this semester. I want to move on but, I want everyone to know that I appreciate everything, everyone has done.

Thank you and good night!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance hold auditions

Media Credit: Norma

Today the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance held auditions for its upcoming performance of "The Vagina Monologues" that will be performed at the Teleconference Center. These auditions were actually fun and I didn't mind the explicit content because how often does one have the liberty to cuss during a performance and I had to read up on the Monologues myself.

Of the six students who audition none was more inspiration that the last one from a woman named Adelia, (last name later) what a performance I say and boy did it turn me on. Oh, God did I just say that? YES! I did. But again it was empowering to see and hear more women go up and talk about vaginas. I know I wouldn't be able to do it because I would be laughing myself off.

Anyway, yeah so as Adelia Momya (pictured above) was performing my face got red cause I could feel the heat on my face, hee hee, but I know that my job was to only keep shooting the photos. Afterward, the feedback I received was great. These women were not ashamed to "branch" out as I like to call it. But, yes I admit again I was blushing when I heard the content of the Monologues. I was asked by an FMLA member if I was there to audition for a part, (I use the word loosely) but I told her no, and she tried to tell me it was all right but I told her I get stage fright, and I get nervous.

Anyway back to the audition of Momya boy, I felt her energy just being thrust into the performance, I dare say, it turned me on. NO! really it did! But anyhow, I was not surprised at the response of those who performance. Female empowerment is great! and whatelse is there to say but I LOVE every minute of it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Commissioner wants students to speak out against war

Media Credit: Norma

Commissioner of external affairs Michael Barrita (pictured in the foreground) will be holding a campaign for students to have the opportunity to speak out against the Iraq war on Thursday he announced today. This will give the students the opportunity to express concern if not, anger over the fact that President George W. Bush wants to deploy an additional 21,000 more troops to the Middle East.

As with attending Saturday protest in Downtown LA I can see the opportunity those folks have to say something, the only thing is I wish that those who were there all came to Cerritos College. But hearing what he had to say I know that those whom I talk to that nothing much is going to change as far as Bush being told what to do. However, this is America people and we do have the right to b---- about what is going on in this world right now. I can understand the fear and hate everyone here in California has for Bush. That's why I loved hearing the words, "Impeach Bush!" at the protest.

But in talking to two students who attend Cerritos the sentiment was that Bush is stupid and he's made stupid decision since he took over the oval office in 2001. Now, that makes former president Bill Clinton look like a saint. But regardless every president who has sat in the oval office has done something out of stupidity. Bush is just the latest one on that list. Nobody perfect. Nobody.

I can see the enthusiasm Barrita has as he takes the role of President(?) if I'm not mistaken of the Political Science Club and what he was to do this semester and that to me is cool. I find politics to be fascinating too, but of course at Cerritos with the Associate Students of Cerritos College you get the student version of what really goes on in the U.S. Congress, sorta speak. Not bad, and no all of the meeting are not that boring whatsoever and no I don't fall asleep either and that's what so great about the ASCC. So, the only question that remains is are you going to speak out or what?

Anti-war Protest calls for troops to come home

Media Credit: Norma

More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Downtown LA and called for President Bush's impeachment and said that all of the U.S. troops should come home on Saturday. This was my first protest and I could see out of the 3,000 or so who showed up were passionate and saying that Bush was and has been a liar since he took office in 2001. I was actually nervous when I got there because I had to take the Metro Rail train to get there. But it was not a problem; I got there safety.

As I got to the station platform I arrived at 9th/Figueora I saw people with signs and chanting "Impeach Bush!" "Impeach Bush!" and that all of the troops have done enough and should like I said, come back home. You could actually see the anger in the faces of all the men and women and college students that were present there. Even though it started to rain about 1 p.m. that didn't stop from taken as many photographs as I could. I was like, "That's mother nature" and what could I have done...Nothing I tell you.

How did I honest feel just being there? Well, I was worried about tripping as I walked backward to get the photographs I was taking but I made it through all right. There was nothing that was going to stand in my way....that included the LAPD but the officer who saw me was cool when I arrived he just said to stand at the curve so that way I won't get run over by a car. As people were by the walkway, people in their cars honked as if to say, "Get Bush Out!" Nice! However, I was also impressed with the diversity that was presented there at the protest. But not be outdone Cerritos College was also represented there.

That is what I was looking for when I got there. I also ran into Jim Lafferty, the executive director of the National Lawyer Guild. He took my hands and asked if I had a posse with me, I told him no and that I was looking for them. So, as you can see above Cerritos students were there; Audrey Silverstre, women's studies major and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance member and Adriana Cervantes, journalism major and Students for Social Justice member. It took me an hour to find them, as the crowd passed by because I don't know maybe I was blind but the end result was that I found them. The march marched toward the Federal Building but I didn't feel the affects of the walk that was worth it until Sunday.

The good thing is the I made it unhurt or unarrested through the day. Imagine if I was. I had wondered what that would be like. I know that people have been arrested before last semester when the hotel workers were protesting the unfair wages and a Cerritos student was arrested. But the police saw that this protest was peaceful and no violence ensued. I did walked away with something. I want to go to the next protest to be held on Mar. 17 on Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood. There is no stopping me from going to that one. Seriously, though the protest enabled people to voice their concern and frustration with the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Again that's why I love the first amendment of the United States!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Madonna ballad dedicated to Michelle Cassiano

This song by Madonna is dedicated to Michele Cassiano who lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday. The words to the song, fit how I feel about her passing. I know that I had told her numerous times how much I loved Madonna. But I know that I drove her crazy. But listening to the lyrics is something that will help me deal with the loss of this woman. I would that she is listening and know that I loved her every day. She was my inspiration for writing. Thank you.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The passing of Michele Cassiano

Media Credit: Michele Cassiano's Family

On Jul. 1, 2001 I walked in my first yoga class, and I didn't know what to expect. It was the first time that I allowed myself the time to take a yoga class in any given day. But I decided that I would give a try and have an open mind about this class. What I didn't know is the yoga instructor I met along with her sister, would be the day that the aspect of life would change forever. Michele Cassiano and Tina Zweygardt were the two instructors I met and from the moment I saw them I knew that these two were the people that I would forever own a debt too.

Both were certified yoga instructors who had taught me a lot in how to take care of myself and love each other for the difference that makes us. What I didn't realize was that I would be commitment to yoga as I have been with the Talon Marks. But there was something different that I learned in yoga that I can say compare to anything else and that is the real meaning of being a human being from both these women. These two were as close as any sister could be and that was reflected every time I saw them every Tuesday and Thursday night at the Town Center Hall in Santa Fe Springs, CA. Having been living in Santa Fe Springs for almost 17 years I would say that I was fortunate enough to meet this two when I did.

I was at a point of my life when I thought that I should die for all the bad things I had done. At that time, I was also not in school and was fighting with my parents every day about not wanting to go back. And I tried several times since I was 14 to kill myself with sleeping pills, in addition to gaining weight. At the point when I was 19, 20, and finally 21 my mother had suggest that I should take a yoga class in the residential catalog that is mailed out in the city. I knew that I had to say yes, but instead it was a, "Sure why not?" Soon after signing up I walked in and I walked out a different person, however I didn't realize that for the next five years I would come back and took what I learned and apply it to my life. I did and I have until the time I left last June because of the commitment to being one editors of Talon Marks.

There is so much I learned about both of these women. I learned that they had wanted to open their own yoga studio called United Hearts Yoga, and they had in 2002. Tina had spent more of her time at the studio when it opened that August while Michele taught at the Town Center Hall. It was Michele whom I had been accustom to seeing since after the opening of the yoga studio and it had been that way for what seems like forever. Michele taught me a lot about life and with yoga it was all about, "Comfortable, discomfort" within the practice. And if "Something hurts we don't do." But it is where I truly owe this woman a lot that I will forever remember the moment. It was where she read the poetry of Oriah (once known as Oriah Mountain Dreamer) that her and I saw a common interest.

Oriah's books titled, "The Invitation," "The Dance," and "The Call," were the books that dealt with life and spiritually. What she read during yoga class where the poem, "The Invitation" that partially reads as follows:

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I know to know what you ache for in meeting your heart longing

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I know what to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love
for your dreams for the adventure of being alive

There are words within this poem that absolutely pull at the heart that when she read it I was moved to tears, and my love for her as a teacher grew strong, and that is when I realized I had made the right decision to stay, and stay I did. Every single passing day for the next five years I was enthusiastic about yoga and it helped me lose 20 lbs. in the process. Michele must have read that poem at least more than 500 times and to be honest I will miss that about her and she was the most gorgerous woman who would have ever laid your eyes on. I'm not just saying that because it's true.

Sorry I don't have a picture of her but I would hope to get one of her soon so you will see what I'm talking about. Not only that but I had the opportunity to tell her in letters and in person about how much she meant to me and changed my life. I told her I was focused in school and that the poetry she read inspired me to try out to be a journalist. Michele was the only reason for inspiration and although I didn't get the opportunity to say this to her face-to-face, but I owe her my life, and love. As the griefing process of her passing for her sister Tina and her daughter, son and granddaughter and others within the family begins, I must tell you that for me it means one of the biggest losses I have ever felt.

For me there is not enough words to describe what she did for me as a person, student, daughter and friend. There are no words to describe the affect she had on my life from a personal and social standpoint because what she did for me was to help me understand who I was. That is what yoga teachers do...and that holds true for this yoga teacher.

To her sister Tina I like to say that you also have affected my life for the better, and I would hope you know that I loved you for what you did, as I did love Michele. Both of you have been the ray of sunshine that will shine on forever. Michele's life and love with never be forgotten by me and those she knew, but for me I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever forget what a bright spot she was for me and I had was so glad to have gone to yoga when I did. I love her forever and I will always love her until I die. Thank you Michele for living the life you did. I thank you for the numerous lessons of life.

Apr. 12, 1965-Jan. 24, 2007

Spoken Word 2007: Is it Feb. 15 or March 15?

The Spoken Word event will perhaps be held on Feb. 15 or Mar. 15 depending when the Students for Social Justice will be able to know whether or not they can hold it at the Student Center at Cerritos College.
For what I understand at the meeting, to ask for a room is done electronically and right now the club doesn't know if it has gotten the Student Center as of it. The SSJ members were excited about the Spoken Word event and would like to hold it in on campus but, there is a possibly that it may not happen. When I went to the event, last November I was actually impressed with everyone, all 15 performers. Held at Cafe Kashmir in South Gate, it was amazing to see that more than 70 students from Cerritos came to see it. The unfortunately thing, was that people had to be turned away because it was a packed house.

Media Credit: Norma

That was something that I found out much later but, spite that in person the event was amazing all the way around. I saw the sides of person that I had see and not met in a new light. I was NOT surprised however, that Cerritos students came out to support because these were fellow students among fellow students and that to me stood out. I was fortunate enough to paid attention when it was necessary and I was in a phase of awe all around the entire event. These people need to publish their work in magazines, books or newspapers that allow explicit content. Damn it!!

As for going to the SSJ meeting, for the time I was there I saw the passion these people had and they were asked to describe the feeling of being at the Spoken Word event last essentially describe what the event was about. The three that spoke said that it was an amazing event and one mentioned that the event did get coverage from the Talon Marks but as for this time around I will be on top of it myself and make it a story that is worth reading for the students of Cerritos. Right now the possible dates are like I said Feb. 15 or Mar. 15 at 6-10 p.m. and I'm keeping a close eyes on the event itself.

When there is a definite day I will no doubt take on the story again. After the Spoken Word event last semester I probably talked to at least 10-12 people and got their point of view of the whole night and I was thanked by one member of both the Puente club, as she told me, "Thank you for coming out (to South Gate)." I was all soft and was glad to be there because it was more than just an amazing is more of having one day to be who we are as human beings and contributing to acceptance around the world.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Breaking News: Former Senator denied a second chance

Media Credit: Norma

In the two semesters that I have been covering the ASCC Senate meeting at Cerritos, this was the first meeting that I have witness where a former Senator was denied a second chance to return. Today, that happened to former Senator Leo Zambrano (pictured on left with a black Cerritos College t-shirt) who was seeking to return after resigning last semester because he said that he was trying to focus on his education and walked away from something he could have commited to.

I was like, "Whoa!" when he was denied that second chance but that to me speaks volumes when one makes a commitment and than decides that he realized there was a mistake that he or she has made. Tell me about it. It took me a long time for my parents to trust me and for me to commit to going back and staying in school. I had to work hard (and I still do) to say that I have kept my commitment to something that I would not want to break again.

I remember being there that day, that Zambrano said that he was resigning and I had to cover that, that day and I was just wondering if he could go back to that position again, but today proved that he didn't and wasn't sincere about what he wanted to do and those within the Senate saw that. It is called fear. Once someone has a fear and isn't sincere about what they have done in the first place; it all backfires. Again, I know what I'm talking about.

However, what I noticed throughout the questions that were asked toward Zambrano I noticed that he was prepared for the onslaught that he faced today, and that to me spelled trouble and it only got worse. But when he was asked to comment about what happened he said that he wasn't that concerned about it, it was just the Senate. He had to look forward to other opportunities. He is looking to join the ASCC Cabinet. But who knows if he will be able to.

That is not judgement on my part, I'm just making an honest observation. I do however, praise his effort to come to the ASCC and say that he had made an honest mistake. I have done the same thing when I know I have done wrong, but what I do is show sincere emotion of regret for whatever I have done. That was what I was waiting to see, but unfortunately it did not happen. But again I commend his effort to be honest with not only himself, but with those representatives of the ASCC Senate.

Zambrano did say that he was honest and to me that is what counted the most. May he have success and luck throughout the semester and may be know that I for one applaud him for coming today.

Internation Student Assn. encourage success at Cerritos

How fun was this yesterday the International Student Assn. orientation as new and returning students got to meeting people from different countries. How fun it was that these people are out there in the community of Cerritos and are very willing and dedicated to learning the culture of the United States. Admittedly, I only spoke to a student who was from Greece when I first attended Cerritos back in 1998. He and I did speak much but I enjoyed the fact that people from other parts of the world were here.

I don't know, what I saw was unity among those who were from other countries and I have a deep appreciation for those who have struggled with learning the English language. I won't understand it from the point of view of my mother who came from El Salvador in 1980. However the strong will and determination of my mom in wanting to learn to speak English was amazing. She sometimes talks about what she went through to get to California and what she had to do to learn English. I admire my mom for the ---- she went through.

I didn't realize all of the struggles she had to endure but she has told me before that the only way she learned to speak English was to listen to, read English. I think that is the same way that these students from the International Student Assn. do everyday. However, there were students that I spoke to who say that they were glad to be involved within the club. The one common theme among them was the fact that all those involved get to bond with other no matter the background of the person.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Looking back: Dr. Judea Pearl talks peace for humanity

Media Credit: Tanya Bermudez

Yes, I remember the all too well the death of journalist Daniel Pearl who was held hostage and murder for something he did not do. I know that in the heart of heart this could have been prevented but this world that we live on is full of ---- but that is how the world looks like right now. But there is one thing that I did admire about him and that is that he was willing to talk about something that was tragic. That to be was honorable. But I hadn't seen the Teleconference Center so crowd last Nov. 28; that was so wild.

However, there is something that really really did bother me after I did write this story. That is the president of the Global History Society had the nerve to say that he was disappointed about how the way the story was written because I didn't mention the instructor who was hosting the event. Now, that really, really ------ me off. But again the evening was about Dr. Pearl not the instructor holding the event.

Even the brochure that was handed out at the event said, "An Evening with Dr. Judea Pearl not the instructor in question. As I was on my way to cover an event, called "Are You An Ememy Combatant?" sponsored by the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance he came up to me as I was walking in and said that he was disappointed in what I wrote. However, my first reaction was to tell him tough but I held my tongue and told him that if he had a problem with the article itself to contact the office and talk about why it was covered the way it was covered. I WAS NOT offended which, is something that assumed I was. But he was wrong.

What I got out of this event last year was just the man himself and those I spoke to after said that what he had to say was important and noteworthy of the audience that was there. Students as well as those who work at Cerritos say that his message was powerful and it was. I would hope that he decides to return and speak about with The Daniel Pearl Foundation does.

Note: I know that Tanya Bermudez did not get this picture published in the Long Beach Press Telegram, but I want to thank her for being there that night. She is extremely talented and I would hope that she decides to build a career in photography she is beyond talented than I am.

Monday, January 22, 2007

ASCC Vice President Jason Macias takes his position

Newly appointed ASCC Vice President Jason Macias attended as the newly appointed at today Cabinet meeting. The former commissioner of information technology has to get used to his new position because I imagine it is hard. Anyway, I liked the fact that the group of people that are there are not that serious about what they have to do. I tell them not to worry about me, I'm just a woman who is trying to be photographer for a newspaper.

It was a short meeting anyway, and starting this Wednesday another staff writer will start writing the ASCC Cabinet and ASCC Senate meetings instead of me. I will try this semester to focus on the clubs on campus and as I know myself it will be hard just to be the "photographer" instead of both the photographer and writer, but I know that she will do well with what she has to do. So, I have that much confidence in her.

Well, to be honest, I don't say that a lot about a lot of people but I know that I will have to begin to trust, and trust me that for me is not easy. Like I have repeated I know that it will be hard for me to step back, but who knows she or someone will be willing to return to Talon Marks after I leave this semester and I do plan to leave the mark that I know I have left in the newsroom. I like to work but apparently, people that have interviewed me for jobs don't see that in me, and that is what I've been fighting for years. I'm just looking for that one chance and I will not fail.

See trust is a hard thing, so I understand. But in a positive note to all those in the ASCC, I have greatly appreciated the chance to cover all of the meeting, I have in the last two semesters, however, I know that it is time for a change of hand, to have someone get their shot at the spotlight besides me.


She can write, but can she...sing?

Media Credit: Ryan Edquist Mutant "Castillo" X-Men: The Last Stand

That's a question I will answer this semester as a Campus Correspondent. However, I have also come to a decision that has been very difficult. I have decided that this semester will be my last on the Cerritos College Talon Marks newspaper. It was something that I didn't want to decided on until I was really sure about it. That in itself doesn't mean that I will lack off and do nothing, it means that I will push myself even harder until the very end of the semester.

But there is something else I plan on doing before I leave the Talon Marks and that is...yes, it is true...I will sing one Madonna song. The one thing that I know everyone knows about me is that I totally love that woman's influence of music. THAT'S why I love her. There is a catch, you the audience will decided what song, I will sing. Whatever floats your boat. Is it the 80s Madonna? Everything from, "Everybody" to "Like a Prayer" or it is the 90s Madonna from, "Erotica" to "Beautiful Stranger" or is it Madonna now with the songs, "Music" to "Jump"? I don't know what you like but whatever it is you tell me what song to sing and I will.

I haven't done a lot in my life and I sometimes, wait...I do think what I do is worthless, but the one thing I never have done is sing. I think of it as my "American Idol" moment now that the FOX smash is back. Why not? Rarely if every do I give myself the opportunity to have fun, and singing is the only way that I can think of to release the possibility of talent that I have?! But, more than anything it is all about giving something to those who have treated me with kindness. As for telling you where I am going to sing this Madonna song, yeah right! You can play investigator but there is no way I'm telling you.

I'll let you figure that one out. One of the things that I am learning this semester is to appreciate everyone for who they are. Oh, what a time it turned out to be to figure that out. I have learned through reading a lot of material, and more so now that when I was in high school. When I first came to Cerritos I didn't know anyone and look at now...some say, "Hey you!" or "Don't you write for the Talon Marks?" and half the answer are, "Who the --- are you?" I know it sounds dumb but it's true.

Well, as I look back at the time that I have had on the Talon Marks staff, I have absolutely no regrets...but, I have done my course and now it is just focusing move past the time and looking ahead. But again if you do have a Madonna song that you think I should sing, don't hesitate to say so...I love the first amendment of the United States.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why do I take on so much?

Media Credit: Werner Gomez

I'm sure that you have been asking yourself that question too. Here's my opinion as to why I take on so much, all at one time. I love a challenge that's why and the challenge for me this time around is to actually get better.

I don't know, before Cerritos College was back in session for the spring semester I counted as to how many stories I had done. The count was at 157 or something like that. I'm actually shooting for more than 200 stories this semester. So, you see I am ambitious when it comes to writing.

As to where this all comes from, I mean the loving the writing and talking to people I don't know, but I have gotten out of my shell. Look at it this way, without the press badges I am Clark Kent, with it I am Superman. Nice analogy, huh? Well, that's what I think has happened. I didn't get the opportunity to write for my high school's student newspaper because after only being there for two months the funding was taking away. I only saw one copy of the newspaper, and to be honest it wasn't that great. The Talon Marks is far and away better than the diminutive newspaper Santa Fe High School had.

Besides, there is another reason why I do it, and that is, it my mind working all the time and in addition to, keeping me out of trouble. Again, like I said keeps me out of trouble and there are so many interesting people to me that the ASCC knows me all to well. Not only that, but a few clubs members from different clubs talk to me. And I am also interested in what they have to say. I have put myself I there, I think. Don't you?

In 2005, I read a book by the author Oriah (once known as Oriah Mountain Dreamer) and she had released her latest book titled "What We Ache For." On her website, there are writing exercises that help create and help keep people creativity flowing.

I also read her other three books, "The Invitation", "The Dance," and "The Call," a trilogy dealing with not only life, but living the life that you command to take. I highly recommend reading those books but the drive or ambition that has me wanting, loving to writing was with "What We Ache For." Throughout, she keeps suggesting that if we keep writing it will maintain our "creative juices" flowing.

How true that has turned out to be, and I was fortunate enough to meet her in person on Apr. 22, 2005 just a few days before my 25th birthday and my emotions got the best of me when she rited the poem, "The Invitation." Afterward, she signed copies of her latest and previous books. Until this day, that book is a keepsake of mine. Now you understand where it has all come from. One person did for me. Oriah lives in Canada miles away from the the city of Ontario, Canada but her words, her writing, her poetry keeps me going and I have not forgotten.

The one person who found out about Oriah was my former yoga teacher Michele Cassiano. She had read the poem, "The Invitation" numerous times and at the time she said that she didn't know her by name but I found her and gave her the books, expect the 2005 release. BUT she is the reason why I have felt so inspired.

To her I owe her more than a thank you. She is recovering from cancer and I hope that she knows her strength, her words as she read from Oriah's poetry have kept me going. In the inside of the book, Oriah signed, said the following, "Norma, may you create from deep within." Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I have and will continue to do so. Thank you for listening, and now I hope you understand.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Club members protest Bush's call for more troops

Media Credit: Norma

Four clubs yesterday came together to protest President George W. Bush's call for more troops to go to Iraq, Iran and continue the fight on the war on terrorism. The clubs that were involved were:
Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance
• Puente Club
• MEChA Club
• Students for Social Justice

But this clubs were there to speak their minds on what is going on right now and since I found out about the protest I thought that I should be the one to tell you what I thought of the protest. That's the whole purpose of Campus Correspondent, right? Well, to be honest I was glad to be there to cover it. I know that it takes guts to have something to say about the stuff that happens throughout the world.

I admire the fact that all of them are not afraid to speak out about what is effecting the world right now and the those students who I talk to where split on the fact that more troops will be sent overseas but it was more than that, those I talked to say that having the clubs just standing there will signs and yelling out for Bush to stop was just a waste of time; while others said the members had the right to free speech. I say Amen! to that one.

There were students who stopped to read the signs and some where like just staring but this one student did come close to FMLA member Gredma Casasola (pictured with the sunglasses on) and when the unidentified student can close to the sign she was holding that read, "How Many More Deaths Until You Give A ----?"

I was waiting for a shouting match to ensued but to no avail. I was like ---- that! I wanted something to happened but nothing did. However, I do think that, like I said, they did what they needed to do and more clubs should do this. This were the people that spoke at the Spoken Word event last November. I would hope that other clubs would do the same.

This, seeing at least four or five clubs do this is refreshing, and interesting. These people I have come to know. They are not the enemy. But I must admit something, there were three students who refused to give their names. I was like, "If it were me on the other end of the situation and they ask for my input I DO think it matter, but again we at the Talon Marks are the "media" and that's what scares the ---- out of them.

The media has no control. IT'S a job and I wish that more people would understand that. Sure the media take punches and body blows but that happens with any profesion if fact, ALL professions. NO ONE is safe. And beside publicity can also help or hurt and my job is to inform if you don't like that, TOUGH! But again this people know I do my best and I hope that they know I was there because I cared about what they had to say.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cerritos Men's Soccer Team speaks to Board of Trustees

Media Credit: Norma

Coming from its first state championship the Cerritos College men's soccer team head coach Benny Aritaga address the members of the Board of Trustees yesterday. I had to capture the moment that made me proud as a Cerritos student. And you want to know why? The reason why is because it gave something for someone to be proud of and I was proud of them. Among the players themselves I feel the unity a family all around when I interviewed them. I can feel it when the words were, "It was a great season," or "Our coach pushed to the limit and the hard work paid off." In additon, to the why each of them describe the moment when they realize they had won the championship against Taft College 1-0 on Dec. 9.

All the men on the team looked great in their suit and stuff. I was impressed but I look at the group and they are really united as a family and that was theme throughout the time I spent with them. I don't think another college can say that they are close when it comes to teamwork. I know that, that's what teamwork is all about; just like running a newspaper it's all teamwork.

That to me was cool because a lot of stuff you can't do alone and now that this semester is ahead into the semester like it should I have help from someone with the ASCC Cabinet and Senate so the stress won't be that much and the effort of teamwork is there. I like that better than it just being about me and that's it. That is where teamwork shines the bright. OK, but if you think that all of this is corny or stupid it really isn't. Could you know all of what needs to be done for anything more than just the newspaper itself is important. I having a better understanding of that since joining the Talon Marks.

That is what I walked away with being at the meeting last night. This men did that for me and it means a lot for that to effect someone like me. By the way, I think that the men look sharp in their suit. As they walked into the room this were men and it showed as the coach introduced each member of the team and they also posed for picture with Board President Tom Jackson. Cooooool!

In addition, there is a goal of returning to the winner circle and winning another state championship next season all of them felt that they deserve to win it, in spite of being ranked No. 2 in the country. But they told me that included team captain Joshua Myers and middlefielder Juan Huerta, who scored the winning goal that the goal is to be No. 1 in the country and the work ethic of Artiaga in the two years at Cerritos will continued to inspire them to continued education...that has been the message taught to me and team will be successful. I say Congrats to everyone involved they all deserve the honor of being champions!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Senate gets new Vice President and begins to fill seats

Media Credit: Norma

Alas, the ASCC Senate has filled in the void left by former ASCC Vice President Alex Armendariz today. The Senate appointed former commissioner of information technology Jason Macias (pictured right). Afterward, he said that he is really nervous to fill the shoes of someone like Armendariz because of his commitment to student government. It was my first time talking to him about something like this and I do think that he will do a good job...because there is no need to be like someone or should I say a copy cat of that person. But I realized that he was nervous but it all honesty I know that those within the student government want to see involved because it will give those an opportunity not just to sit at home and do nothing.

All of those involved in the ASCC all know me and to that means a lot, more than you think. I've been covering them for the last two semesters and know I feel like I've been part of this family for a long time. God, I don't know what to do. My first time I was completely and totally nervous. I could go back and remember what I was feeling. Having to fill in the shoes of the Talon Marks former Copy Editor John Duncan after he left, I thought I was dead. But no, that is not the case now, I feel free to ask and they come to me and it is like nothing to them.

As for the appointed of the six people who attended today meeting, I know that they would do a good job. Sometimes I wonder what if I was involved? But I have come to the decison that there is NO way I would because it is journalism that I love the most. I look forward to going to the meeting as a begin to let another staff member write the story. I know that I will have to adjust to being a spectator. My priority begins with get more clubs in the Talon Marks and so...I leave it at that.

Johnie's Broiler a restaurant that wasn't given a chance to stay

Media Credit: Susan Edquist

I ask myself why did the city of Downey make this restaurant turned car dealership a landmark. I have been reading up on what happened that Jan. 7 by reading the Long Beach Press Telegram night when someone, some idiot decided that it should be demolished. I thought my God, this person or persons heart has been done wrong in some way to do this. Although I don't live in Downey, there is something that I could relate to: there was a time where there was a place I used to go as a kid.

I know that we all have had place we come to and are familiar with. When my family and I were living in the city of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks are place every weekend was Bob's Big Boy restaurant. I remember that it was a place we used to go to every so often that I thought that we should have lived there instead. Take some extra clothes or have the owner of the place build an extra room for us. At that period of my life I didn't care too much about my weight problem but I remember that enormous statue in the front of the restaurant smiling back. And we did come back.

From the photographs taken of the demolition of Johnie's Broiler residents have a damn right to be mad, in fact more like ***** at what transpired. I asked myself the same question when I interviewed the one person who said her sister and her went to the joint. What was it? Was it the fact that it was so older you did decide to landmark it like the first McDonald in Downey that at one time was shut down in the mid-90s? That's crap!

Heck, was there was still time to do it, but instead took away the place that was featured in the "X-Files" series, "The Country Bears", "What's Love Got To Do With It," and if I'm not mistaken Madonna's "What It Feels Like For a Girl" music video. Justice had no voice for the place and it should have had one...Egos...that is just wrong!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Pristines look toward music success

Media Credit: Jonathan Sanchez

Here is Daisy Salas, 19 and Long Beach City College student, bass guitar and vocalist and Jamie Salas, 22, drummer and backup vocalist and a Cerritos College student and also a psychology major and a Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance member.

I interviewed them yesterday for a feature on the duo also known as The Pristines and from what I got from this interview is the fact that both are very supportive of one another. There's no this doing thing separate from one another like siblings Jessica and Ashley Simpson. No, they were both honest about and also passionate about music. In addition, one of the things that I asked them was who were their musical influence but the eldest Salas told me, "We both listen to anything, but there have been people that say we sound like the Bikini Kill or No Doubt."

She added that for her it was hard to categorize the music that they play but what they are looking for more than anything is to inspire the people around them. That was cool. However, what struck me the most is when the youngest Salas told me that when it comes to the lyrics that she doesn't write anything down, it's all memorized and than I thought, 'I wish I could do that!'

The elder Salas commented that her first instrument that she played was the accordion but it was until she received her first drum set that the idea of starting a band with her sister came into play. "I thought about it," Salas said, "and that's when I said, 'Do you want to start a band?'" and in addition, that she also came up with the name The Pristines.

There is no way that these two can compare to the celebrity like of the Simpson sisters because they are supportive of each other. Another thing to is the fact that they love creating music together and I do think that celebrity siblings can learn from that. I know for a fact that if I did interview celebrity siblings like Nick and Drew Lachey or the Simpson and Halie and Hilary Duff sisters there is no way I would see the honesty that The Pristines gave me. Celebrity play the cover-up game with the media and that only when the spotlight hits them in the face.

That's what I loved about this interview. I however, was also honest with them in the angle I was going with this feature. I said that I was going to focus on them as a duo and I realize that they have played at venues and it was an opportunity for audience to know how these two are.

Currently, the duo is working on its yet-to-be-titled debut album that is tentative scheduled to be released at mid-year. They also praised their manager who has been with them for two and a half year.

I give a big thank you to the Salas sisters. What I do for the Talon Marks is meaningless because it is people like you and other people I talk to that make the story happen. Also, thank you to Jonathan Sanchez who took the photo of The Pristines. Thank you for the time you took to pick me up. I am grateful to all those who were involved.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Who's this Campus Correspondent?

Media Credit: Tanya Bermudez

Why, here I am in the flesh or should I say in the photo. Yes, hello the name's Norma and that's all you need to know about me. I gave myself the nickname forevermadonna, and guess why? Because I love Madonna! Duh? I am the one who will be giving you my thoughts all the stories I have written for the Talon Marks student newspaper at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA.

Although you see my picture from the previous semester at the right, this picture will soon be in its place. I love to update pictures something and no before I get the question I DON'T have a MySpace account. I refuse to have one but there have been times in which I have been tempted to have one but so far I have kept away because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has one.

OK, so I have been exposed and on Monday I will get to work on the feature for The Pristines for the newspaper and the first issue of the Talon Marks come out on Wednesday. If you wish for the Talon Marks to send you a newspaper letter of our online edition go to the award-winning website. You will receive the newsletter for this semester that the fall semester publication. So, enjoy the stories and opinion I have about the story I have covered.

Note: I will go back to previous stories I have covered from the last year and a half as well.


Friday, January 12, 2007

The Pristines: Duo on the rise

Media Credit: Norma

For our first issue of the Cerritos College newspaper the Talon Marks I will be doing a feature on the duo The Pristines. One of the two comes here to Cerritos and the other goes to Cal State Long Beach. This photo I took was from the promotional concert held last Nov. 9 that the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance planned. It turned into a great story for me and for those who were there. However, this time it is about the Pristines and when I go to see them on Monday (no school because of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday), I will focus on the fact that they are sister who decided to focus on the indie rock genre.

From there I will ask them everything as to why they chose that music to how they feel about the fact that they are sisters and have done what they have done and have support of friends who attend Cerritos, and where they plan to go from here. Any idea of releasing their music with a record label or to an independent label? Things like that. When I talk to them at the FMLA promotional concert both were very kind and from the first stroke of music to the last song that was performed I had the idea of running a story about them. The duo, Jamie Salas and her sister Daisy were one of a kind, and from looking at the way that they performed they were not only sister but also best friend.

I spoke to Jamie last night and she said that she looked forward to talking about what her and her sister do. That to me speaks volumes. The fact that Jamie thought is was cool...was also cool with me. The reason why is because I know that I wil get to know who they are. Why not expand myself to music I am open to and when I heard them perform so where I was told to do something about it. I have and hopefully this time I get everything right, that includes that they are The Pristines. Well, I will leave it at that and come Tuesday I will share what I learned.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Student government become a ghost town

Media Credit: Norma

Twelve. Yes, 12 Senators returned from the previous semester to serve on the Associated Students of Cerritos College government yesterday. I was stunned to find that 17 seats were vacant and those 12 who did return were determined to beginning recruiting for new faces in the ASCC.

ASCC President Joe Cobarrubio said that there were reasons for those who didn't return and they were:

• Students transferred to universities

• Students didn't meet the requirement of maintaining a 2.0 grade point average and/or fail a class in the fall.

• Students either were working and going to school at the same time

As a student I fully comprehend the first two but the last one was something that caught my attention. I am fully aware that college is a tough thing but to receive an F if you have been committed to serve on student government tells a lot. No, what I'm not doing to slamming those who were unable to maintain the requirement because I have failed classes, dropped out of college and have been working toward doing better with the commitment of not blowing it this time.

However, what it is I'm saying is that with the amount of students who were not there I am saying that being fully commitment, fully responsible in college is essential to one's education. How do I know this? I have gone through it myself. Back when I was 18-years old and in college I took five classes at one time and that was one of the biggest mistakes I made as a student and that included taking my FIRST class at 6:30 a.m. yes, 6:30 a.m. What was I thinking?

Within each of the five class I enrolled in there was massive amount of work to be done, reading, note-taking, worksheets, you name it. I was given truck loads of works and the fact that I don't work, (even now) I didn't the stupid thing of dropping out. For the next three and a half years I was dealing with emotional issues and fighting with my anger because I was clinging to the past I refused to re-enroll back at Cerritos. That was until I attend my first yoga class in July 2001.

Everything I learned in yoga was applied to my life and my attitude in regards to college changed and I came back in 2003. Before I was initimated by asking questions about the content I was learning, not anymore now that my focus is a career in print journalism. A journalist has to come out of his or her shell and I have done that. Thank you to our Talon Marks adviser. I love college life now more than I ever thought possible. Now if only I can the support of those I know.

So, what I'm saying is failure happens to everyone, even those who have always gotten straight A's in classes. Show me who has never done a mistake and never has done what those who were in student government done. I do believe in change, after hitting a block in the road. But if there is anything that I can say about being given a second opportunity to learn from mistakes...there is a way for those who encourge you I know that you will succeed.

Spoken Word: A revealing event

Media Credit: Norma

Last Nov. 30 five clubs (and others) held a Spoken Word event that to me was one of the most fun and most revealing nights. Poetry, music, and dialogue were the themes throughout the night and I am aware that it will be held again this semester. As of right now the clubs are looking for a location to hold the event. But more than anything, club members told me that they would like to hold it at Cerritos College.

I was first scared of this event, and I was honesty lost with what was about to happen. I know that what I was feeling inside of me was, more of "What the hell did I get myself into" mentality. I was there between 5:30 p.m. on that day, and I was looking at the event starting at 7 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. and so I prepared myself with meditation and yes, what I learned in my yoga class did come in handy. More often than anything I think people should take yoga more often. It does slow down the aging process.

Well, anyway, I was there and Cafe Kashmir in South Gate is a very tiny location in itself I was struck by the intimate setting of the place and it had the tinniest stage I have seen. Having lived in South Gate and having known the city like I do what I didn't know was that there was people that knew where and other who didn't know where Cafe Kashmir is.

Furthermore, like I said at the start five clubs (and others) were represented and they were:

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance
• Puente Club
• MEChA Club
• Students for Social Justice
• Writer's Anonymous
• Gay and Straight Alliance
• Pacific Islanders Club

There were other member representatives as well from the Gay/Straight Alliance, and the Pacific Islanders Club. I thought that is gave the night a new meaning and interpretation of what was about to take place. And to have as many performers as there were (15 to be exact) every issue, and political stance was talked about.

There is a plan to hold it again for this semester and I will no doubt look forward to having a better understanding and appreciation for what this people talk about because to me the explicit content of a night like this DOESN'T matter. Yes, the Student for Social Justice who hosted the event thought of such a thing like the Spoken Word event that I found out about when I attended a club meeting the week it was going to be held. Imagine the luck I had to know what is going on.

Whoever says that there is nothing going on with clubs on campus was wrong. I want to let you know that being that I am the News Editor for Cerritos College student newspaper the Talon Marks I am looking toward clubs on campus who have events planned. This was a planned idea and due to the unfortunate thing that it was NOT held on campus it didn't stop more than 70 students who packed Cafe Kashmir to turnout.

NOT one seat was left empty and I was fortunate to have been able to be take photographs because if I didn't have the flash on, the pictures would have been too dark. I kept playing with the camera to figure it out. And another thing the battery keep die, what a bust! Damn it. I ended up taking close to 100 pictures these two are just a slice of what I saw but that was not the whole story.

I took pics of all of them, and caught moment that were authentic, such as people laughing at jokes about what they heard, cheering about what the world has been molded into in more than 500 years, feminism, sexism, homosexuality, sex, or such I saying the f-word but I was like, "Where was THIS when I need a place to come out to let loose." And the not be missed performance of the opening dialogue from the Vagina Monologues which is schedule to open in March and the hope to be performed at the college.

After, more than three hours of the events I was exhausted with a night that I think somewhere in the world, said I NEEDED to be there and I was. I didn't care I had a blast, I saw sides of people I had spoken to before in a different light, and I would go as far as say that I MYSELF wanted to be a performer but, I had a job to so, and I was. That is I was a picture performer.

IF anything there is as the message, as when I took this story, that we are all human being no matter who you are. I loved every minute because I took it all in.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My pad and pen is at the ready

Having been on the student newspaper the Talon Marks at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA I will give you the reader a "word-eye view", (to quote the legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn) about the stories that I will cover throughout this semester.

I will give you my opinion as to what was said at the Associated Students of Cerritos College meetings as well as the Board of Trustees meetings that occur bi-weekly as well as any features, review for arts and entertainment and anything else in between. This will give you the opportunity to comment, criticize, or not, to anything that I write about but most importantly it will give me the opportunity to inform you about what is happening at Cerritos and its students. Any breaking news also will be included.

It will also be a first that I get to comment on the stories that I have been able to write about and that is one of the reason I love freedom of speech. I welcome your comments as well. Go ahead and b**** about what I think and I will answer you back if you do b**** back. Trust me I can take the heat and don't mind getting burn or inflamed.

My pad and pen is at the ready.