What not to ask a DEA agent.

The DEA other wise known as the Drug Enforcement Agency is an organization in the United States which was founded during the Nixon Presidency in 1973. Their job is to diminish the manufacturing and sale of controlled substances by means of gathering intelligence, analyzing the information, and determining where to take down a potential drug lord. One local DEA agent came to speak at Colorado Mesa University for the Criminal Justice Club where I had volunteered to write my first ever newspaper article for the school newspaper, The Criterion. During the presentation, the DEA agent explained the day to day job opportunities for students who are interested in a future career as part of the DEA. A lot of the images and things shown in the video could have been summarized by looking at DEA agent Hank Schrader who is a character on the hit AMC television series, Breaking Bad. The agents entire presentation honestly had little to no depth and could have been explained much more simpler by comparing it to what we already see on movies and television shows. The only thing that I did learn was that during the government shutdown, major government bureaucracies were forced to lay agents and employees off due to budget cuts. I guess that’s one way our government is attempting to dig our country out of our incredibly deep debt. After the presentation I asked Agent Jim Schant if he could spare some time so i could ask him a few questions for the school newspaper. He accepted but not without some hesitation, for the following twenty to thirty minutes were hopefully going to make him feel very uncomfortable. I wanted to fully understand what it was exactly that they did to the Mexican cartel as well as citizens within our borders to invade our privacy by listening and reading our conversations.

How to have a reputation of having a plan to over throw the government by asking the right, or wrong, questions:

I notice that you have a Black Berry and I do not know anyone who still uses a Black Berry, can you comment on that? Most people who work for the government use Black Berry’s. 

Do you guys hack into peoples Facebook accounts, twitters, emails, text messages, or snapchats in order to gather intelligence? I can’t comment on how we gather intelligence, but we do not hack.

Are you carrying? Yes. Can i ask where? No.

After not getting much information out of the agent, I decided to ask something that may have crossed a line or two, in order to get a reaction out of him.

If I told you I had cocaine in my pocket what would you do? I wouldn’t believe you. 

Though I did notice he started to get uncomfortable and asked why I hadn’t been taking any notes. I replied with I’ve got it all in my head. To which he notified me that I had ten more minutes with him. For the following ten minutes I tried to figure out how much of the NSA’s Prism or Big Brother Theory is real by trying to figure out how much technologic privacy they “hack” through. Eventually he let me know; Anything you do online or on a technologic device, we could see.

After the interview I let him know that I respected everything that he does in order to keep the town of Grand Junction safe from controlled substances. We walked out of the room in the same direction though I was following him and he awkwardly tried to avoided me by taking a different exit. When I walked out of the building he was already outside and was now following me, since we were headed to the same parking lot. I hollered at him and said, “You got to stop following me man.” He very nervously asked what I had said to which I replied, “It was just a joke, take it easy.”

The angle that i was asked to write this article on was not one that I agreed with ethically or morally though I needed to try  since I had volunteered to write it. My article was not accepted by the editor so I decided to write about my experience here to let the world know what really happened and why I now have been called a conspiracist and apparently have a plan to overthrow the government. In the end I can say that the DEA agent, Jim Schant, was the shadiest person I have ever had the pleasure of talking to. Shadier than any drug dealer, alcoholic, or mentally unstable person I have ever encountered. I do not believe that what the government does is ethical nor do I believe they respect the people’s privacy. The following week the head of The Criterion  had a talk with me to let me know that I did not conduct a professional interview and that the agent had complained to the newspaper with a claim that I had a plan to over throw the government. Call me a conspiracist, but my experiences are real. They Are Watching, THEY KNOW.

Homophobia

What is homophobia? Wikipedia claims that it is a range of negative feelings towards people who are identified or perceived as gay, lesbian, or transgender. It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, may be based on irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs. The other theory or aspect to homophobia is the fear of oneself being homosexual without one’s knowing it. We all are aware of the nature versus nurture argument of whether it is by choice that gays are gay or whether they are born that way. Personally I believe that not only is homosexuality a choice but it is an act of rebellion. Several studies have shown that gays often have drug problems or come from a shattered home and unhealthy family life. In a sense it is a cry for help, a way to beg for attention not only from those of the opposite sex but the same sex also. Allowing gays to marry and be protected as couples by law is an issue that not only this country faces currently faces but the issue is also happening on a global scale. Where we as a country choose to draw the line is going to determine the future for our entire planet. Though homophobia is a real issue in adolescence all across the United States, especially with several forms of media supporting gay pride. Though some artists choose to approach the issue from another perspective. Eminem sheds a different form of light on the issue in his song Criminal, where he says, “My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge, that’ll stab you in the head, whether your a fag or a lez, or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest, pants or dress, hate fags? the answer’s “yes” Homophobic, nah you’re just heterophobic.” Claiming to hate “fags,” while at the same time calling the listener heterophobic, Eminem shows a different way of examining the situation by saying that gays maybe scared of heterosexuals, or just scared of being heterosexual. Thus the form of rebellion from the normal heterosexuals that we are so accustomed to. A long time fan of Eminem is an up and coming rapper who goes by the stage name, Tyler, The Creator, he is the leader of the rap group Odd Future. A member of the Odd Future group is singer Frank Ocean who is openly gay, this does not change how the group treats him nor does it effect his role in the group. Although Tyler often gets criticized for saying the word Faggot in his songs. One of his albums titled Goblin he has a song also called Goblin. The entire album is recorded in a way where Tyler is in a therapy sessions with his psychologist Dr. TC. In one part of the song Goblin, Tyler says, “The nigga thats in the mirror rapping its made for him, but they do not have the mindset thats same as him, I’m not weird, you’re just a faggot, shame on him.” In which Dr. TC replies with,  “It is, but Tyler, you’re going to have to cut it down on that faggot word, Thats very, thats a bad word, “Im not homophobic,” I mean I don’t think you are but, “FAGGOT.”” This feeling of wanting to be accepting of people who are struggling with curiousities of possible homosexuality is pounded into kids heads now a days. People will make their own choices and choose who or what they want to be, and we as a nation and as a society are told not to judge them for these choices. Having said that, if someone chooses to be gay it does not make somebody homophobic if they call the gay person a faggot, it is a label that the homosexual chose to be called and chooses to take offense to. Similar to how African Americans choose to keep racism alive by taking offense to white people saying the word nigger or nigga, while they call each other “nigga” until the cows come home. If gays try to claim that there is nothing wrong with being  faggot, then there is nothing wrong with people being homophobic. Now a days, acceptance is encouraged while prejudices are frowned upon. Personally my religion lets me judge people if I so choose, it also allows me to accept or reject people if i so choose. I have no problem with people choosing to be gay, just be straight with me, what you choose to do in the comforts of his or her own home is their own business. Just make sure that it stays at home, much like how people are told to not let their work come home with them. So the questions I will leave you to wonder about is, Where do you draw the line? Where will we draw the line? And Where should we draw the line?

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The Deathly Hallows x 30 Seconds To Mars Triad

The Deathly Hallows x 30 Seconds To Mars Triad

A simple combination of two triangular graphics. The Deathly Hallows of course from the award winning Harry Potter series. The vertical line symbolizes the elder wand which is a wand that cannot be beaten by any other wand to wield it. The cloak of invisibility represented by the outer triangle and the resurrection stone is represented by the ring which connects the three sides of the triangle. In the Harry Potter books, each of these objects are believed to be used in order for death to be cheated. I suggest reading the entire Harry Potter series for an in depth summary or simply watch the movies. The second triangle figure is the 30 Seconds to Mars Triad. The triad means many things in several different cultures. In China the triad refers to the many branches of Chinese (Cantonese) transnational organized crime organizations based out of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. This underground society is also alive in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The equilateral triangle (all equal length sides) with a horizontal line segmenting it comes from one of the five “glyphs” the secular group 30 Seconds To Mars have placed on many of their albums. The band 30 Seconds to Mars has not released any information on the symbols official meanings to them or to the world, therefore we are forced to find meaning in between the lines of these very ambiguous symbols. The triad has several other meanings in science, religion, music, sociology, etc. Philosophers and interpreters can spend a great deal of time analyzing the meaning of the symbol to the band members, to the fans, or to society as a whole. The bottom line is that the triad symbol is worldly recognized to be apart of the 30 Second To Mars’ music. Therefore I have to give credit where credit is due. The great thing about the bands controversial music is its efforts to allow listeners to come up with more than one interpretation because no set meaning has been given. What I personally find most interesting about the two pyramids or equilateral triangles, is that when they are combined together it creates an upside-down cross by the two lines that intersect in the middle of the triangle. As some might know the upside down cross is not a symbol of satanic worship, as it has been used more recently. Instead it has deeper meaning that can be traced back to the times of Jesus and his 12 disciples. The Catholic tradition believes that the disciple Simon Peter, later known as St. Peter, was crucified upside down, as told by Origen of Alexandria. It is believed that Peter requested to be crucified this way since he felt unworthy of being crucified the same way that Jesus had died. Though the Saint Peter’s cross gained popularity for anti-religious groups when heavy metal grew in popularity, now a days the rap group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) lead by rap artist, Tyler The Creator uses the symbol in order to gain attention. The symbol is placed in many graphics in different assortments on album covers as well as on clothing designs sold in the Odd Future store as well as skate shops across the globe, or online. Tyler The Creator is an independent, 22 year old, rapper who pushes the limits on what is right and wrong in life as well as in modern day society. In my last blog post I said how some might claim that the music I chose to listen to may disturb others. Tyler’s music is the music I listen I choose that I know disturbs many other people who are forced to listen to it while riding in my car. Sadly I could keep going all day and night about interpretations of Tyler’s music, 30 Seconds to Mars music, and the Harry Potter stories. But I am afraid that it is besides the point. The point is at the top of the pyramid. I will allow the readers of this to come up with their own interpretation of this wild collaboration of two worldly recognized equilateral triangular symbols.

Disturbing Media

Media is around us every minute of every day, especially when we least expect it. It comes from our television, our computers, our radios, our cellphones, in public places, everywhere imaginable. When I was told to write about the source of media that disturbs  or upsets me the most, my mind went rolling and the gears started moving. At first I thought media from the internet is pretty disturbing, but I don’t know if it is the most disturbing. Then I thought about the music that I listen to and how some might say that it is very disturbing. Considering that music is a form of art and that one of the beauties of art is that it disturbs the comfortable while comforting the disturbed, I realized that a lot of disturbing medias are forms of art. This logic pretty much ruled out music, movies and video games right off of the bat as not disturbing. But what other sorts of media can be considered art by the person witnessing it? I think that blogging and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and Tumblr could fall under the category of art, therefore ruling them out of the disturbing category. Though that is not to say that there are not some extremely disturbing things that can be found on any of the social media sites listed above. I know for a fact that some very disturbing things can be viewed especially on Vine, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, yet these disturbing things have to be discovered. They are not shoved in your face like advertisements on google searches or Facebook ads are. These social networking sites are all based online so truly if you’re going to blame the sites for being disturbing, you might as well blame the entire internet for its lack of censorship. But this isn’t communist China, we have freedom to explore the world wide web without limitations. The point I am trying to make is that though there are disturbing things online, in music, movies, television, and video games, the only people to blame for the disturbing parts, are the ones who go searching for them. It is all in the users perspective to find disturbing facts, images, animations, videos, or literature. The truly disturbing form of media, as far as I can tell, is Snapchat. Snapchat is a peer to peer picture or video messaging application that is used through mobile devices such as iPhones or Androids. The brilliance and reason for popularity of snapchat is the fact that once the video or photo is viewed and the time limit has passed, the media cannot be viewed ever again by the receiver. This gives the sender a false sense of security which can and has lead to explicit images being sent to other Snapchat users. Although once the video or photo has been opened and seen, and cannot be reopened, the media is however saved for a certain amount of time on the Google Drive server before being flushed through Snapchat’s system.  This server can and has been hacked to expose photos and videos that were not intended to be publicized nor should they have been. To me the disturbing part about Snapchat is that the naked photo a girl may send to her friend could potentially be viewed world wide without the young girls knowledge, through the window of the internet. The bottom line is that for something to be disturbing it has to be perceived as disturbing by the personal perspective of the viewer of the media. Thus qualifying it as disturbing.

OLD MAN

The movie “The Lords Of Dogtown” is one of my all time favorite films. It tells the story of where and when skateboarding in southern California originated, with the true stories of Tony Alva, Stacey Peralta, and Jay Adams. The movies first scene is of the three boys going down to the local surf spot underneath the Santa Monica Pier. Zephyr surf shop owned by Skip, begins selling and creating skateboards when the urethane wheels get brought into the market. The story goes on and the three boys get placed on the Zephyr shops skate team, the Z-Boys. After they get a name for themselves by winning a couple local skate contests, each skater gets approached by other sponsors offering them more money. Though not all the skaters take the offers; Tony Alva gets rich with a big name sponsor and becomes a want to be bad ass with all of his fame. Stacey Peralta gets sponsored so much that he gets dressed up like a NASCAR everywhere he goes to skate. Jay Adams, the youngest of the three, is left behind having to support his troubled mother. He gets a poor sponsorship that doesn’t give him what he needs nor deserves and ends up walking away from the competitive lifestyle that his friends continue to pursue. After a party where Tony and Stacey are offered and accept more money with their individual sponsors the Santa Monica pier burns down. Jay officially leaves the Z-Boys team when he exchanges words of sorrow and memories about what the pier used to be with Skip who is played by Heath Ledger. Right after this scene the movie begins to play the song Old Man by Neil Young, the first time I saw this the song instantly became a favorite. As the song continues to play it shows Jay Adams in his bathroom shaving off his long golden California locks, down to the scalp becoming a skinhead. This scene shows how Jay Adams was not going to be like the rest of the Z-Boys by going off leaving everything that they once knew and loved. He was going to stay supporting what family he had left while doing the only thing he knew how to do. Which was being reckless, skating with friends, and getting in and out of trouble. “Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you, I need someone to love me the whole day through,” are the lyrics that are chosen for this scene. Jay’s dad left him and his mother at a young age and these lyrics represent a lot of Jay’s character, past experiences and how he will always be a kid at heart.

Week of September 17th

Well since we didn’t have a prompt due this week I figured I would put a post up about my week. It was a very busy week. It started on Monday back at my home with my family in Highlands Ranch, CO. My girl and I had plans to go to a concert at Red Rocks that night; Kid Cudi, Juicy J, Logic, Schoolboy Q, and Tyler The Creator were on the line up. Though Schoolboy Q apparently flaked out or something, the main reason I wanted to go was to see Tyler. The crowds reaction to Tyler’s music was hysterical, while I was rapping along to the lyrics and having the time of my life, everyone else didn’t know how to act. It is common knowledge that Tyler’s music is a bit edgy and crosses many lines, but that’s why I like it. The next day, Grand Theft Auto 5 was scheduled to release at midnight, so we planned on leaving the concert early to get on the road and head back to Grand Junction. On our way back I stopped at a GameStop in Avon and picked up the game, then continued our way to Junction. On Wednesday the new operating system for the software on my iPhone 5 became available.. Even though I had previously downloaded the software via backdoor third party unregistered downloads, I had subsequently gone back to iOS 6 so I could legitimately upgrade to iOS 7 like everyone else when it became available. I love iOS 7 though there are something’s I would change if I could. All week my routine consisted of going to class, coming home, eating, and playing GTA. And by Friday the story mode of the game was completed, although there are several side missions that still need to be finished. Monday is the start of a new week, who knows what it has in store for me.

The Memories Hidden In The Music

Everybody has a song that takes them back to a certain memory, time, place, and/or event from their past. Sometimes its not even their personal past but a time in history that fascinates the listener. That is why I hate this prompt so much. I have over 7000 songs in my iTunes library and listen to and know at least 80% of them. Of those 7000 songs i have just under 2000 individual songs on my iPhone that i listen to on a regular basis. Though I have certain playlists that I listen to more than others       I like to have my variety of music. At least 50% of that music in particular takes me back to a certain time or place in my past. The hardest part about this post is figuring out which song, time, and place of my life to discuss within the world wide web on this blogging web application known as WordPress. To name a few; I Go Back by Kenny Chesney, Growing Up by The Maine, Into Yesterday by Sugar Ray for some obvious reasons. I’m sure if anyone listens to any song by Kenny Chesney there is one or two lyrics in any song that takes them back to a happy time of their life. These are my top three songs for reminiscing on old memories, but if I had to pick one song that really sticks out to me as a song that takes me way back to a time in my childhood that I truly adore and miss dearly it would be Rodeo by Garth Brooks. My dad was the one who showed me this song when I must have been somewhere in my elementary school years. One thing you have to know about my dad is that he was pretty much the coolest guy in the world his entire life. He was born south of Chicago, grew up in Redondo Beach, went to college at a small Christian college in Indiana, and after college went to work as a wrangler for a dude ranch near Deckers, Colorado. It was at this dude ranch that he met my mother and began the rest of his life where my story began. Even though he was a California boy, my dad loved Colorado scenery and always wanted to be a cowboy. When Garth Brooks started changing the way that normal country music was and revolutionizing it into what it is now. What I mean by this is that before Garth country music was a guy standing on a stage holding a guitar strumming along with no excitement or anything, but Garth brought excitement similar to that of rock concerts to the country stage. The song was released two years prior to my birth which has little to do with my story but is a fun fact to know along the way. This is how the song opens up and is every reason why this song reminds me of the similarities in me and my dad. 

His eyes are cold and restless
His wounds have almost healed
And she’d give half of Texas
Just to change the way he feels

She knows his love’s in Tulsa
And she knows he’s gonna go
Well it ain’t no woman flesh and blood
It’s that damned old rodeo

Well it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd, it’s the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle he’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo, it’s the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain and they call the thing rodeo

Growing up those lyrics just sounded harsh, powerful, manly, raw, emotional, and just plain awesome. Whenever I hear the song now or am even just reminded of it in some way shape or form, I still feel those same emotions about what it is describing as I felt when I was just a child. Though being a “cowboy” or “ranch-hand” is not what I am, it could be something I take part in the near future. Even if it is not, I will always be my father’s son and that song will always hold sentimental meaning to the strong relationship built between him and I.