Sunday, April 27, 2014

"David in the Middle" (profile) 4/26/14

          What if you were living a lie? What if someone told you, that you were a mistake, that if the ‘condom did not break that night you would have not been born’? David Moreno was introduced to this idea after I spoke to his father and stepmother, they had told me not to tell him, it had slipped out by accident. Soon after, I told him his reaction was heartbreaking; I did not expect him to be very sentimental about it, telling me it would have been better not to know. He states, “My whole was a lie, I was told I was planned and that they were happy to have me.” Both his mother and father were having protected sex with a condom, until it broke and David was conceived that night. After talking to both of them they told me they both were not ready for kids they were only 22 and 25 years old, when David was born.

At age 9 David was diagnosed with ADD. His family could not find an explanation for this? The only thing that came to mind, was when David was about 2, he had fallen on a sharp edge of a table and cracked open his forehead. In a panic they rushed him to the hospital, he was loosing so much blood, it was sure he was not going to make it. After a while he was okay, and had stiches. During the same year, again he fell on the tile floor and cracked open his forehead again. This time it was not that serious, but he did have another stich. Leaving him with two scars on his face that is visible if you looked closely. His family based his disorder on those two incidents. Another assumption is that David’s Aunt has a small percentage of ADD, that could be why David got it, but the results of the reason are unknown.
According to ADDitude Magazine, “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD ADHD) is a brain disorder that may have a number of different causes. Studies of families suggest that genetic factors contribute to ADHD. It seems to "run in families", at least in some families. When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, there is a strong possibility that it will be found in other blood relatives, too. For example, studies have shown that one-third of all men who had ADHD in their youth have biological children with ADHD.” It is s normal for children to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, act without thinking, or get fidgety at the dinner table. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), which can affect a persons’ ability to learn and get along with others. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that appears in early childhood. ADD/ADHD make it difficult for people to inhibit their spontaneous responses, which can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness. David like most, suffer from this disorder and struggles to comprehend why he is the way he is because of it. He agrees with his family he believes it was his accidents, he explains he researched the frontal brain is the memory part and he suffers with memory and suffers to pay attention on things only exciting to him, that is why he has ADD.
David is a tall man about 5ft 5”, he wears glasses, he is skinny, and his favorite colors are red and black. Paying closely attention to David when he sneezes, he gets an inflammation in his cheeks that the doctors cannot explain, he also is allergic to the sun, every time he is exposed to it he gets itchy red bumps all over his boy, the doctors explain this as ‘hives.’ When David was young he had to get an MRI from grease buildup in his stomach, because of eating too much popcorn chicken, since then he is very carful about his health, so that he will never get sick again. David Isaac Moreno is a 21-year-old sophomore at the University of San Francisco. His major is media studies, and minor in film, because he wants to pursue movie directing as his career. David has such a talent, last year he made his first film with his girlfriend called Viral for Campus Movie Fest, and has many more good ideas, he is not willing to let me discuss in case someone stealing them.
In spite of his success, since the fourth grade, he struggles and gets frustrated about not being “normal” or “smart” as others without ADD are. Now in college he is struggling even more, he is at risk of failing and being kicked out of USF, I talked to his University Advisor, she said he must get at least a 2.0 overall GPA in order to get out of Academic Probation, if not he will fail and be dismissed from the school. His father mentions, “David has dropped out of 3 classes already, and needs to make them up in the Summer and Winter semesters of else he will not graduate in 2016, or be kicked out of school if his grades do not improve.” He is concerned, because USF is the only school he can afford, if he fails out he will have to drop out of school entirely. He hates having to visit the Student disabilities office for help on assignments or to get “more time” to do projects or tests; he refuses help from anyone, he wants to be able to do it like everyone else can. The first year he was going to SDS, but the next year he stopped, he thought he could do it and since then he had to withdraw out of 3 classes and D’s and C’s in his other courses. In the beginning he was prescribed pills, but as time went on he had gotten sick and had to stop taking the medication, ‘thinking he would be fine without it.’ Not to sure he is okay without it, but does not wish to continue medication.
David is an atheist; he does not believe in religion, he knows there is a higher being, but not sure about ‘God.’ When David was 8, his grandfather passed away, he was very close to him and made him very sad, “I was his favorite, he would always give me a present, like a red truck, in which I still have and admire it in remembrance of him,” he states as he gets upset at God for taking him away for him, ever since then he does not believe. Relating to his ADD, this could be the reason for his failing in school not to much ADD.
 David was born in St. Paul Minnesota, at Regions Hospital on February 12, 1993. David’s parents had separated before then. He live with his mother (Linda Jimenez) in Minnesota, while his father (Julio Moreno) moved to San Francisco, to be a Professor at USF. Throughout the years in Minnesota David felt out of place, he was the only Salvadorian/ Mexican in his whole school. Also because of his disability David had failed the fourth grade and had to repeat it again. Soon after he kept getting below average grades, his mother thought it would be best that he move to San Francisco with his father. At first David was upset at the idea of moving away, he only saw his father once or twice a year, and hated him for leaving. He knew living with his father, a professor would be hard on him about his grades and he did not want the constant lectures. After some time he had to get used to living away from his mother, who he loved more than anything in the world. “I regret ‘my world’ (David) moving to San Francisco, he belongs here with me” (Linda), she told me one phone call I gave her about a month ago. Both of his parents got remarried, and have two stepsisters from both families (Italia and Ivana, both 6, and born 8 days apart). David does not feel part of either family both his mother and father moved on and he feels as if they do not care about him anymore. In spite of the fact his mother calls him ‘world’ and weeps every time they talk on the phone. How he wishes for his family to get back together, but now it is too late.
David moved to San Francisco when he was 13-years-old, and visits his mother twice a year, in Christmas and summer break, for only a week or so. After the transfer, possibly it was not so much ADD anymore, but abandonment of his mother. David had to transfer to (Star of the Sea Middle School) midway in 7th grade. During his middle school years he said that he did not have much friends, because he was timid and fairly anti-social. A few years passed and he was ready for High School (Archbishop Riordan High School), an all boy school. “The first year was torture,” he said judging from his ID card photo you could tell how miserable he looked. Sophomore year until senior year he felt better, he had met his best friends: Kevin, Patrick, Manuel, Jeffery, Celina, Laura, and Romina. Being a year older than his friends he seemed to fit into their clan, because of so much they all shared in common. In the duration of high school David had the pleasure to go on a Kairos Retreat. It was in the summer of his junior year, and he got to go with his best friends. He also went to New Orleans, Louisiana (to help build houses for the Katrina victims); spending about 3 weeks there, he learned a lot about getting things done and felt accomplished. ADD was not much an issue anymore, but has been more of an issue at USF.
In 2012 he graduated with his fellow classmates, “it felt good to finally pass something” (David). He had done well upon graduation getting a 3.0 as his overall GPA. Once he graduated, he was sad to leave the life he was now so used to. Within the first year at USF, he did not like it; his friends had all separated to other schools far away from him. He had to go to USF, because his dad worked there, and it would be free tuition. During his first year, he met his match (his girlfriend Kimmy). They both met in a Spanish Core Class, in October 2012, she is Irish/Mexican and a junior, she three months older than David, but they are both okay with that ‘calling her a cougar.’ She is a short girl with brown hair and brown eyes. She was such a sweet girl answering anything I had asked her about David. At first she thought his ADD was not real, she could barley notice it, but as time went on his failing grades and withdraws were serious and wanted to help him as much as she could. They took classes together so that they could study together whenever he needed her. She spends the night at his house so that she is there to keep him on track. They have been dating for almost two years, and already want to get married in the future. Though not until October 2013, on their 1 year anniversary David had given Kimmy a promise ring in order to express his love for her. They both want to pursue the same careers; she wants to be a movie producer. He has never been so happy to find someone. He explains that in high school all his friends had found their soul mates, but he was the only one all alone dating girls he did not even care about, because he was so desperate. But with Kimmy, he knows he loves her and that she is the one. He had thought because of his disability he was not going to find anyone to love him and was going to die alone. He admits that sometimes he gets jealous of her, because she has no disability and it is so easy for her to study and gets A’s but for him it is so hard to be under so much pressure. He only takes 3 classes a semester because he cannot handle so much, and at times has to withdraw because he is failing. His current GPA is 2.50, and the media studies department has to follow the rules, even though he fails, they are not making accommodations to help him out. I spoke to his teachers for this semester, Ed Lenert and Juluri Vamsee, they mentioned he was an excellent student, little timid, participates when he can and feels comfortable. He has a tendency to miss deadlines and turn in things late by procrastinating until the last day when everything is due. He yelled at me when I asked him, why he does not do assignments on time, and I had to back away and give him space a few times.
I met David October 4th 2012, at the learning Disabilities office my first year at USF. Being a person with a disability also, we got along and slowly became friends. The duration of a year since I met David I noticed his frustration and lack of good academic skills. He gets upset when having to drop a class or having a failing grade (academic probation). He not only affects himself, but also affects people around him. Instead of doing homework, David rather play video games (Halo), hang out with friends (Kevin), or his spend time with his girlfriend (Kimmy). I asked some of David’s friends and family, how his ADD affects them. Kevin Chavez states, “I have to repeat my thoughts multiple times in order for David to understand, also he is always late when we ask him to be here at a certain time.” Kimmy states that she “also feels tired of repeating, his laziness, or being late,” but no matter what she still loves him. His father Julio Moreno states, “He is lucky he does not pay for tuition, he could not afford to pay for dropping out of classes,” like David was forced to do. His mother was compassionate with David, thinks he is perfect “nothing is wrong with him, but he does ignore me when he is ‘busy’ doing homework.” As I continued to get more out of him, he slowly was refusing and getting agitated, that I had to stop asking questions after spending 5 months with him. Going to restaurants, his house, walking in the park, the movies, stores, and the gym.
I asked the disabilities center at USF, how do they treat those with ADD? They responded, “Just like others with a disability they all get treated equally, all the same opportunity for help, for ADD patients, they just have to, in advance give teachers a heads up they need SDS and come in for a test or help on anything.” The mission of Student Disability Services, (SDS) is to help USF students with disabilities serve as fully contributing and actively participating members of the University community while acquiring and developing the knowledge, skills, values, and sensitivity to become women and men for others. Toward that end, SDS promotes a fully integrated University experience for students with disabilities by ensuring that students have equal access to all areas of student life and receive appropriate educational support and services to foster their academic and personal success. They do not disagree about taking medication, but it is up the student if they need to but they do encourage it. They were unable to talk about specific students files, when I asked about David they were unable to say, but did give a brief description of SDS in general.
In conclusion, David’s family suggests that sometimes it could be ADD that is affecting him, but at times he also could be using it as an excuse, just to get out of the situation of his laziness or procrastination. His grades might improve in the future, as long as he works harder and seeks help whenever he need it, not just give up and blame it on the ADD. Hoping the best for David, I hugged him and told him to keep going and never give up, maybe one day he can fight through the disorder and be “normal” like he wants to be. As I turn and close his front door and leave on the bus back home.
Methods Box: The challenges of this essay was making sure not to share too much information so that it would be fair to the subject, but at the same time, squeezing it out of him until he eventually cracked and was getting frustrated at me towards the end. The solution was to take him to his favorite place (the Rose Garden) to try to calm him down while asking for more details on his story. Countless times I spoke with David, since the first day in January 27th until May 18th, I had been with him asking questions, and waiting for responses for hours and hours all day long. We spoke on the bus (5, 28, L, 31…), also at an iHop, Denny’s, and Olive Garden with his family and his girlfriend Kimmy. I spoke to his parents, and his close friends Kevin and Patrick, they all said mainly the same thing on how the ADD affects them. I spoke with SDS, his professors, and his advisor about how they were also affected about his ADD. I also looked up background information on ADD. His phone # is 650- 302-6156, and lives in the sunset area. He refused to answer questions about ex-girlfriends “they are a thing of the past,” he told me. Overall he enjoyed this paper, he learned so much about himself and how different he wants to be for his family, friends and Kimmy. And that was the end of my dear friend David Moreno.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"The Unexplainable Truth" (death story) 4/19/14

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beeeeeeeeep! The sound plays over and over in the mind, resonating like a song stuck on replay. The job of an ER nurse is traumatic, patients die every five minutes each day, and all one can do is try to stay strong. Forty-one year old Rosa Estrada has been a registered nurse for about five years now. She is recently divorced with two kids, a sixteen-year-old son named Michael, and a twenty-year-old daughter named Lisette. She works at a small hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada called North Vista Hospital. She works thirty-six hours weekly, and twelve hours daily for three days a week. She explains, “I get up at 5 am, get dressed, leave the house by 6 am get lunch from Albertsons, (no way do I eat the cafeteria food), get a coffee from Starbucks, get to work by 7 am and start, then by the end of the day if I do not work overtime I get home by 8 pm.” It is a rush she says right after you clock in, “all hell breaks loose… literally.” ‘Ring’ a call comes in that an ambulance is on their way, all the nurses’ rush to get a room unoccupied.  If all the rooms are occupied they move a patient that is not that sick to the waiting room while they take care of the urgent call. Once the room is emptied they move in all the equipment (a shock machine, IV’s, and repertories), three or four nurses and a doctor are notified about the situation immediately and are ready as the ambulance arrives. Once there, they get a Gurnee for the patient rush them to the room and start CPR. Once the patient is unresponsive they do drastic measures, like the shock machine (if there is no pulse they do not use the shock machine). After 10 or 15 minutes of no response the doctor pronounces the patient dead. “The guilt of not being able to save a life is the hardest, especially the young patients not so much older ones, because at least they had children and had a life, but the young ones have just started living.” Another hard part is telling the family she says, “the look on their faces is the worst, cursing, yelling, the agony is what taunts her at night.” She told a story of a woman who was 65 years old, she had arrived from an ambulance, just had a heart attack in which was fatal and explained how she tried and tried to bring her back to life, the family was outside waiting for the results when the doctor had pronounced her dead. The family was devastated and started to blame Rosa accusing her of murder and the doctor had to calm down the family, and she was sent back to her duties. “At first it hurts, but if you do not move forward you will not do well in this job.” She was inspired by her ex-husband to become a nurse (he was a ER nurse as well); she thought she would do better than him, because “he kept bitching about it.” She got her nursing license in 6 years. I asked about her idea of death, “I am not afraid of death, I have not thought about it much, also it does not affect me as much being surrounded by it, “I just hope it is when I am old and useless,” she giggles. She is fortunate to only work with patients between ages 27-52. She explained that her job affects her lifestyle and social life a lot. She is on foot 12 to 13 hours daily, no desks, there with the patients all the time giving them pills, vaccines, doing paperwork, and checking all their charts of when they are able to go home. It also affects social life “I get home so late, I do not get time to go out with friends or even the gym.” Lastly I asked if she enjoys her job? She responded “yes! I do, I would not change anything, even if it were stressful and affecting socially.” She recommends to all future nurses, “if you have the patience for it for all means do it, it feels so good to be able to save lives and help people.” “I once saved a man named Julio with breathing problems, I had lost him and within three minutes he came back and thanked me it was the best feeling in the world, that reminds me why I am meant to do this job.” In the end I asked her it is worth it? “Yea, but I did tell my daughter to become a pharmacist instead less stressful then a nurse,” as she ended with a chuckle.     

"Jennifer Maerz" (speech story) 4/6/14

Jennifer Maerz is the Managing Producer at The Bold Italic, a San Francisco community site that encourages locals to get off their butts and do something awesome. She states, “I am an experienced content producer who can work in print and online and I have a talent in writing, editing, and sourcing new contributors to write for a publication. I am also interested in innovative ways to tell stories in media through written and visual formats and in forging connections with different, unique voices.”
Maerz explained Thursday to a USF feature writing class, that The Bold Italic is an online magazine, shop, and events hub in San Francisco. It publishes first person stories by locals on issues and topics that are on the brains and lips of San Franciscans.  She states that, “the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Bold Italic, but they are the true opinions, experiences, and thoughts of writers from the diverse community we live amongst.” As she writes on the TBI website, “If you have a unique message that begs for to be told, get the attention of our audience through our website, blog, active social media channels, newsletter, and curated online shop.”
Maerz 40 is tall, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and four visible tattoos on each of her arms. She came in wearing a dark blue dress with yellow stockings and black-heeled ankle cut boots. A yellow bracelet hung around her wrist, while a large crystal took place around her neck. She also had long earrings and an engagement ring that fit perfectly on her ring finger. From first appearance she seemed tired from a long day, but at the same time was very enthusiastic about pitches or questions. She explained that she was a pop culture critic for many years, and has her work published for SF Weekly, Rolling Stone, Vice, and The New York Times. She has spent much of her adult life standing near stages and has been exposed to enough variations on the live music thing.
Maerz said The Bold Italic “started four years ago” as an “experimental publication,” from Gannett, one of the biggest newspaper chains in the country. Her writers need knowledge of social media outlets like, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. She said she got many internships while in college in Santa Cruz- where she majored in creative writing and minored in journalism- and encouraged us to so the same. She started out with small publications, including an art and fashion Magazine where she became senior editor. For a while she wrote about music in Seattle, Washington. Later wrote for SF Weekly.
Asking about her age, she said she was 40, which surprised some members of the class- “I guess writing about music makes you very young.” She said stories for The Bold Italic vary from opinions, to personal essays, and videos. The demographics at The Bold Italic are people who range from 20 to 30 years olds. Working there you could see an even amount of females and males. They invite people from the outside or even find writers from the comment section. They need people who are social media savvy, have a strong personality, a good writer and are very online present.
She declined to talk about her salary, but did say her writers get, “$300 for an opinion piece.” Writers who have video and photographic skills are also welcome, the more experience one has the better they are for the job.
Once she got done with all our questions it was time for pitches. She answered everything thoughtfully and gave us good advice on why or why not our pitches were appropriate for The Bold Italic. Many had two or three pitches; I only had one it was, “Is Facebook or (social media) stalking your boss appropriate before applying for a job. She said it was a good pitch but it had a few problems, such as it was not what they were looking for, or that they had heard a similar story that was already published like that. I took her criticism into account for my future papers. After the clapping as the speech cam to a close, I introduced myself to her and gave her a handshake, thanking her for giving a terrific speech to the class. I may have mentioned I might drop by her office for further conversation after I graduate.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Fun Day at the Zoo" (travel story) 3/23/14

I have been to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and the San Diego Zoo, but never, until last Saturday, the San Francisco Zoo. Mid-day, soap bubbles from children’s toys filled the air as I waited in line to enter the Zoo. I could hear the sounds of animals, nature, and seagulls from Ocean Beach, playing over and over in my head like a song. The weather was quite chilly; and I had to leave my sweater on at all times. Next! A cashier yells, as I snapped out of my daydream and rushed to the window. I asked her I wanted to purchase a “one adult resident ticket,” and shared my address with her (so that I could get three dollar discount). After purchasing I set for my journey.
As I walked inside, on my right were giraffes; this must have been the African Region I thought, and began my quest around the zoo. All the animals seemed to be peaceful and tired. Here and there zebras, gorillas, ostriches, the sight was beautiful. I then moved on to the Primate Discovery Center, where there were chimps, monkeys, and lemurs. A specific detail I remember from the chimp’s habitat was a mother playing with her baby chimp, stroking his head while he slept on her arm, such a memorable, and adorable scene, I wanted to cry. At this time I was a bit hungry, I stopped at the Leaping Lemur CafĂ©, and ate a greasy dripping pizza with a small soda pop. I ate on the way to the cat kingdom to that I would not miss a single moment. Right in the center as you enter this kingdom is the penguins and the rhinos on the left. The air smelled of fish and salt water, as I kept walking through to the hippos, bobcats, and other cats. Then came the terrifying part, the lions and the tigers. Remembering the incident that happened on December 25, 2007, I got a little uneasy to see these cats. There have been two tiger attacks at the San Francisco Zoo, both involving a four-year-old Siberian Tiger named Tatiana. In the first incident, a zookeeper was bitten on the arm during a public feeding. The second incident two people were injured and one killed, before the tiger was fatally shot by police officers. The story goes that in 2007, Tatiana escaped from her open-air enclosure, and attacked three visitors shortly after closing time. After escaping from the tiger grotto, Tatiana killed one patron, Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr., and injured two brothers, “Paul, and Kulbir Dhaliwal. The scene was chaotic, and 13 minutes after the initial 9-1-1 call, police officers and fire department paramedics reached Carlos Sousa’s dead body and found his throat slashed. When four officers and a zoo shooting team member reached the tiger, they found her with one of the brothers (back in enclosure). They did not shoot Tatiana immediately; just to be sure the brother would be okay. After some distraction, the tiger turned towards the officers and was shot through her forehead and was killed instantly. After shooting, Tatiana’s head, paws, and tail were removed by SF Police Department forensic investigation unit. Soon after the zoo was closed in order to make better security for the animals in case of escape again. The zoo remained closed until January 3, 2008. Sources told the SF Chronicle that pinecones and sticks that might have been thrown at Tatiana had been found; later one of the brothers admitted that the three of the men were yelling and waving at the tiger before the attack had happened. The wall the tiger jumped was 12.5 feet tall; she also could have used her claws in order to climb up the wall, sources are not sure of how the escape had happened. Knowing about this story and I just around the corner of these habitats not sure what was to come. I walked calmly around, and immediately saw electric fences and tall glass windows making it safer for them not to escape or being thrown things at. Later I enter the South America Region where I saw a huge anteater, capybaras, and the greater rhea (a type of bird). The only disappointment was that the South America Tropical Forest was closed for renovations. Going further the Bear Country Region was next, polar bears, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and sea lions. Entering the Outback Trail, there were kangaroo’s and koalas. Lastly I entered my last region on the map the exploration zone. I moved forward to the insect zoo, ewe! I felt as I walked in with giant cockroaches right in front of me, I quickly ran out and decided to move on. Then came the Native American animals together with the family farm. There were horses, goats, sheep, rams, pigs, alpacas, and wild turkeys. The goats were roaming around me leaving its droppings in site and people were able to pet them. I felt like it was time to head home. With my last two animals (meerkats and prairie dogs) I was ready to finish up. I had filled up my phone with pictures and videos of these majestic creatures. The last mental thing I noticed that throughout the park are these shh signs, telling the people to be silent when in fact the zoo was roaring with noises of kids yelling and bothering their moms for food, while I on the other hand was calm and quiet enjoying the animals.

Before I departed home I went to the souvenir shop in the main entrance. I got a small stuffed white tiger plush. After purchasing the animal I waited for the muni train to take me home. I had such an exhilarating day at the zoo, and cannot wait to come back.