nothing to do on sunday? do a 5k run/walk… if you’re not a soul-less monster

taking steps that matter

taking steps that matter

i, for one, think that going to church on sunday is fantastic! i think it’s even more fantastic when you put your faith into action by doing something for somebody else. this sunday, the houston chapter of the network of arab american professionals is holding a 5k run/walk for gaza.

if you didn’t get the facebook invite, go check out the naap 5k run/walk site and register to participate in this awesome cause. the donations will be distributed through anera to help the people who have been affected by the recent events in gaza.

here are the specs:

when: sunday, march 1, 2009
time: registration: 9:00 – 10:00 am, race starts at 10:00 am
where: eleanor tinsley park, 500 allen parkway houston, tx
how much: $15 and open donations will be collected
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don’t forget to register! online registration closes at 10: 00 pm tomorrow on february 28

hannah waggett, i’m looking at you! (don’t make me into a soul-less monster… seriously, i don’t want to go unless you go haha)

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ororo munroe, will you marry me?

lately, i seem to be having to explain to people about my life–my background, motivations, interests… whether it’s with people i’m newly getting to know or current friends i’m getting to know better, people have been reciprocating by wanting to get to know me better. while i hate the part of this scenario where i’m expected to spew out facts about myself, i always seem to find a way to talk about one of the greatest loves of my life: storm of the x-men.

it is no secret to my friends that i have held a certain amount of fanaticism about storm for nearly most of my life. once in the 8th grade, my friend thuy bought me a storm doll (complete with the white costume and alternative green “african-inspired” outfit). heck when i worked at schipul, one of my co-workers attempted to give me the nickname of storm. i think you’ll be glad to know that i nipped that one in the bud… what my friends probably don’t know is why it is, above any other superheroine, that i love storm so much.

it all began when i was about 8 or 9 with the classic pryde of the x-men movie/pilot and its companion arcade game. between the two featured female x-men on the team, i of course would choose the one with beautiful long hair, the flowing cape and the black tiara (she also had a wand in the arcade game, if i remember correctly). i suppose i was too girly to find any interest in dazzler with her pixie cut. anyway, how could i not love her? she could fly!

it wasn’t until a year later when the famous x-men cartoon made its debut that i was able to indulge myself in some more of this white-haired goddess. i still remember seeing night of the sentinels for the first time and watching storm raise her hands in the air and transform from her pink civilian outfit to her white storm costume, shoulder armor and all! can i just say that brown boot/trouser/pink blazer combination is just too fashionable for a cartoon character?

as i got older and became more socially aware, i began to really appreciate storm for what she represented. even before i knew it, storm was iconic for the very things that made her unique. she was a minority of several kinds–a woman, black, african, an immigrant and a mutant. storm is the most recognizable black superhero and one of the most recognizable superhero characters. as a person of color, that speaks to me in a way that no other female superheroines can.

perhaps the most personal reason i have for my admiration of the character is one that arose not because i grew older and became socially aware but because i grew more mature and became more self-aware. storm’s mutant ability of atmokinesis is directly linked to her emotions. in order to master these abilities, she had to learn to master her feelings, to control her emotions so that they do not overwhelm her. this sense of balance is something that i’ve been trying to maintain my entire life. too often, i let my emotions get the better of me despite the fact that my brain knows the disastrous results that can occur. not only do i seek to have balance in terms of my emotion, but i look for balance in almost every aspect of my life: spiritually, socially, in my identity. i may just be the classic libra in that regard. ororo munroe is someone who struggles with these same issues or she risks destroying the entire eastern seaboard.

to me, ororo munroe symbolizes the very person i wish to be: a woman of strength, beauty, intelligence, kindness, balance, humility. she has the power of the elements at the tip of her fingers and yet she chooses to commune with nature as a friend would with another. through overwhelming circumstances, she made it through, not unscathed but unmatched. in the battlefield, ororo may be storm but in spirit and in character, she is a force of nature.

update (7/19/10): storm did have a wand in the arcade game.

foreign music week: sarafina!

gah it’s friday evening and i almost forgot to post today’s musical choice: songs from the musical sarafina! here is an excerpt from the wikipedia entry of sarafina!:

Sarafina! is a south african musical by mbongeni ngema depicting students involved in the soweto riots, in opposition to apartheid. it was also adapted into the 1992 movie starring leleti khumalo, whoopi goldberg, miriam makeba, john kani and tertius meintijies.

i first saw this movie around the time i was enamored with the lion king (when am i not?). naturally, i was fascinated with all things african (when am i not?) and was drawn to sarafina! (side note: sarafina was the name of nala’s mother ANNNNNND whoopi goldberg voiced shenzi in the lion king) not only that, but my father raised me on oldies music (oldies 94.5, holla) so i’d already loved whoopi goldberg because of song selections from sister act.

i have to admit that as a young kid, i couldn’t have understood the message of the movie and it was only years later when i sought out the dvd that i could appreciate its power. it reminded me a bit of the book cry, the beloved country by alan paton. that’s another post, however.

 

watch the videos. they’re good.

foreign music week: dil to pagal hai

today, i bring you not an artist but a couple of songs from the soundtrack of the bollywood movie, dil to pagal hai. the first song is le gayi, a song i first heard in the 8th grade. my friends sunaina, neethu and brittany performed this song for the international festival. they were so amazing that by the end of the year, a group of us had talked them into showing us the choreography and we were doing it in mr. sauter’s history class during lunch (yes, we were the nerdy kids who voluntarily ate lunch in our teacher’s room). this fascination with the song and dance lasted longer than the rest of 8th grade and some even expanded into an interest in the indian culture (ahem, anna), which i think is pretty cool.
i should also note that later that year, dil to pagal hai won something on the 1998 mtv vma awards… i think… right? maybe it was best foreign something.

hope you like the videos!

by the way, i’ve got le gayi on my itunes so i still listen to it =)

foreign music week: celtic woman

today’s foreign artists hail from the the land of winter. celtic woman is a group of five female artists who perform celtic songs and covers of contemporary music. they occasionally have their shows broadcasted on pbs whenever the network is trying to raise funds. personally, i’ve never donated money to pbs but i’ve enjoyed many of their shows so a big thanks to those kind enough to provide me with entertainment as well as information. celtic woman currently has four albums out, which i, regrettably do not own. if anyone would like to purchase me a copy of any or of all, please don’t hesitate to do so.

ok so i guess this post has two points: the first is that i love celtic woman and you should, too! the second is that i’m too cheap to either donate money to pbs or buy celtic woman cds myself. 

 

enjoy the videos!

foreign music week: jonatan cerrada, je t’adore!

today, i bring you jonatan cerrada a belgian spaniard contestant and winner of france’s answer to pop idolà la recherche de la nouvelle star (on the search for the new star). to be honest, i don’t really know how i came across jonatan cerrada… it could be from my hours of downloading music, hours of trolling myspace for new music or hours of youtubing for… uh, music? who knows. anyway, i dug him and actually ended up buying 20 bucks worth of his share as a believer on sellaband. if you don’t know what sellaband is, you should check it out. it’s a good way to get to know some prit-ty jammin’ unsigned artists from around the world (i should actually do the same… i haven’t been in a year or two).

in any event, here’s jonatan cerrada. the first is a video of mon paradis from the french version of the movie robots. unfortunately, the embed code was “disabled by request.” here is the official video.

 

this one is france’s entry for eurovision song contest 2004 called à chaque pas. ok they keep doing the disable thing. here’s the official video for this one.

and finally, a man who can sing suerte by shakira (avec modified lyrics, of course)!

look, ma! it’s the game of life!

growing up is a funny thing. there are these milestones that you’re expected to cross at certain times and in certain ways. it’s like a game. if you do it all correctly, you pass go and collect your winnings. if you don’t, then you’re left wondering if it’s ever going to happen, if you’re ever going to grow up. i guess in some ways, i never did grow up: i still love cartoons and i still believe i can be anything i want to be. In other ways, i grew up too much: i’ve learned that life will treat you badly sometimes and you can do nothing except wait. fortunately, the wait can prove to be fruitful as well. you get to ask questions and figure things out. so this is what i’ve figured out: i’m never going to be the girl next door but i’m never going to be that girl sitting at the bar either. i’m just going to be me and that’s fine.