Results tagged “2009” from Hawk Talk - Christian

The first day of college is about 4 weeks away and I'm already seeing the "Back-2-School" signs in retail stores, such as Target.  Usually this time of the year, I start preparing myself for a full year of academics (and late nights studying).  Surprisingly enough, it's going to be different this year.  After going through a lot of thought, I am not planning to head to school this fall for a certificate in Nutritional Sciences.  After looking over my financial situation, and other personal and general issues, going to school this Fall may be a little unrealistic, especially since I haven't found a full-time job that is suitable for me and relates to my field of study.  Right now, the Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) grad school is still my aim for the 2010 Fall academic year.  I'm planning to take the GRE (aka the SATs of College), get my letters of recommendation, and application ready soon.  While the DPT program is still a main focus, I'm still open to other options, like other majors, other job paths, and so on.  I'm an open-book that is blank and ready to be written.  I know for a fact that there are tons of options out there; I just need to do the research and look what's right for me right now.  I am just hoping that I find a "good" paying job that will give me a little peace of mind in this tough economic time. 

Those who are heading back or are heading to UMass Lowell for the first time, I want to congratulate you in getting accepted to your major.  UMass Lowell is a competitive school; thousands apply every year to go to this great insitute of education.  You should be proud that all of your past experiences and achievements have brought you this far.  Don't let it stop now.  Continue to bring your talents, skills, and motivation into your new chapter at UMass Lowell.  This university is well known in developing well-rounded professionals, so expect to be one of the very best when you cross the stage four (or less) years from now.  Like I have mentioned in other blogs, please get involved in the Riverhawk community!  You will feel like you are part of a family if you do (and yes, that means you "Commuter Students!").  Keep your head up through your college career and you will suceed.

Here are a few links to my older blog posts to help you out for the new school year:

High School - College Transition 
GET INVOLVED!!
Forever Bound to The River
Commuters Prepare! (2008)
Gas Tips (2008)
Gas Tips 2 (2008)
Small Blog Post About Summer Classes
What is my drive like to UML? (Video)


GOOD LUCK!!!

- Christian


Abbey Denaro's Commencement Speech at UML's 2009 Graduation. 


Our journey through college is over.  Those four long years of writing papers, cramping our hands during long exams, and endless nights of studying is a distant thought.  We are here looking back at the memories, both good and bad, and how much we all changed.  Sometimes, we think that a "change" can be a bad thing.  A bad "change" throws us off to a different path that we are not ready for or something that we just cannot adapt to and further better ourselves.  Fortunately, this type of change doesn't match the one we all have undergone at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  We all have changed in a way that our dreams are a reality and our future becomes brighter like the sun illuminating the clear blue sky or like the moon shining among the twinkling stars of the velvet night. 

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Abbey Denaro, who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, gave everyone at graduation the perfect metaphor for our journey through college and life; our journey is like the Merrimack River, which cuts through the heart of UMass Lowell.

Here is part of her speech that explains the metaphor:

"In reflecting upon my years at UMass Lowell, I realize that the Merrimack River is a principle symbol and life-force of the University. It is deep, wide, and clear; it is powerful, enduring, and brilliant. But further down the river you can see the strong rapids with trees and rocks in its way, interfering with its path. The Merrimack continues on this journey, from calm and unobstructed to occluded and strained, until it reaches its final destination into the open and free Atlantic.

 

We have all been making our way through that river our whole lives, and now is the time that we get to go full steam ahead to the open expanse of the sea. There is no doubt that there will be rough waters along the way, but they are there to strengthen us, just as the waterfalls strengthen the Merrimackís power and beauty. UMass Lowell has provided us with the skills to create our own unique means to successfully navigate to the ocean of opportunity... If we all use the skills that we have been developing here at UMass Lowell, and if we continue to be motivated in the manner that got us here today, then no obstacle will ever block of prevent the journey of our future.  We, as graduates of UMass Lowell, are forever bound to the Merrimack River..."

And you can't write anything better than that... Abbey wrote/spoke it beautifully.  The river is very relatable to our journey through college and life.  We all experienced its turbulent obstacles when the flowing water hits the rocky section of the river, and the calmness and beauty of success when the river passes along.  Our life can be chaotic, unpredictable, and fearful, but with our newly learned knowledge and skills that was passed on through generations of Riverhawks, we become the navigators and forgers of the future.  We can direct ourselves over and through these obstacles to reach our goals and dreams of success and happiness.

So here it begins.  My journey through life continues.  I was once a naive child who held his wooden ship on his hand and dared to sail it on the mighty river.  Now, I'm happy to say that I finally know how to navigate "to the ocean of opportunity." I'm the captain of the ship fighting the currents of that same river.

Let me sail away with the Class of 2009... we're heading for the ocean...

- Christian
  UML '09

It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning.  The sky was blue, the air was warm, and the birds were chirping like there was something big about to happen.  The garage was a bit empty with a dozen cars littered here and there.  Nearby a stocky police officer stood at the corner of an intersection, directing cars of lost souls looking for a place to park...

... And there I stood at the East Campus garage alone, waiting for my good Exercise Physiology buddy to arrive.   I was armed and dangerous with my academic attire (my "Harry Potter" gown, the cap and tassle, my cords and stole), my cell phone, and my camera.  Here and there, I saw people who I haven't seen in years walking towards the shuttle area.  I could tell from their smiles, chit-chat with their parents and friends, and their proudly worn cap and gown that they were extremely excited.  I looked around East Campus and I told myself, "Dang, I'm probably never going to step foot on East ever again."  At that point, all the memories of Exercise Physiology II Labs, workout sessions with my friends, basketball, and a pool tournament filled my head.

 

Finally, my friend arrived, and we walked towards the shuttle area.  In the shuttle, we both caught ourselves saying the infamous group of words that seems to come out of our mouths a-billzion times:  "I can't believe we did it.  How come it doesn't feel like the end yet?  Dang, it feels like we have another semester left!"  Oh, at that point I got sick of those words (even if I knew I might splat it out of my mouth days after graduation). Well what can we do?  We're done.  Our four years is finally over.  We have to believe it.  In my head, I said, "Dang, I'm going to cross that stage and this major chapter of my life is over."

We arrived at the Tsongas Arena to a crowd of black-bodied people who look just like us... the caps, the gowns, the cords, the stoles, and the smiles.  We definitely felt the excitement suffocating the air around us and I can tell you that it was a great thing.  My friend and I walked towards two gigantic tents filled with graduates.  Fortunately, the great UML staff organized the tent into "schools" so it easily found those familar faces of the Exercise Physiology program.  From that point on, we went on a photo hunt.  Everyone tried their best to get a photo of each other, while trying to sustain a conversation.  That wasn't too hard (ha).

Here are a few pictures:

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Walking into the Tsongas arena was probably the second (or third) best thing of the day.  When we all poked our heads out of the tunnel and into the open, all we could see was a sea of proud families and friends.  Honestly, it was the first time I saw the Arena completely filled to max capacity.   We all had that warm feeling inside when we saw our loved ones in the crowd.  All I could think at that point is my parents and siblings.  Without them, I wouldn't be walking across the stage...  They made sacrifices to help me succeed in college and I love them for that and many other things.

After getting everyone (2,000 graduates) in the Arena, the Commencement Exercises begun.  The Sheriff of Middlesex County gave a loud, well presented opening to our graduation.  Heck, I can't even explain in words on how he opened the event.  I guess you had to be there to understand (Ha).  Out of all the speeches I heard, Abbey Denaro, my good friend and a fellow Exercise Physiology student had the best speech.  It is such a great speech that I plan on dedicating a future blog post on it (STAY TUNED).  I actually recorded the speech and I will post it on that blog also.  

Obviously, our commencement speaker, Harold Ford, Jr. who is the Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council and a former Tennessee Congressman also had a great speech!  Before he went on stage, we all saw him writing notes.  We were all amazed at his ability take in what other speakers have said and sneak it into his speech.  He mention parts of Abbey's speech many times.  You can watch it here:  Ford Commencement Speech

Then it was finally time.  After 4 years of waiting, our time finally came: Walk the stage to a new chapter.  Little by little (when I say little, I say a group of hundred or more) students lined up to cross the stage to receive their degree holder.  My EP buddies and I waited (a bit inpatiently) for our chance to walk the stage.  It got to a point that some of us had the idea to sneak into the earlier lines... but we were too good and nice to do that!!  I think it was a good 45 minutes wait before we had our shot to line up to "cross."  Waiting in line, I could see the smiles on my family's faces.  I knew they were proud of me of my accomplishments of UML. 
 

A few minutes before my turn to walk, my best friends from the major crossed the stage.  I was so happy for them.  At that point, I thought about our hard study sessions for classes, our times in the commuter room and at Weed Hall, playing basketball at the Rec Center, and eating out.  Before I got into a deep thought, it was my turn to walk.  I gave my name card to the name caller, turned and walked.  To tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous of falling than the namer caller not pronouncing my name correctly!   I walked in a fast pace across the stage, gently received my degree holder from one of the deans, shook his hand, walked to the other end to shake Chancellor Meehan's hand, and stepped off the stage.  It was probably a ten second thing, but it felt like a lifetime.  It was like a slow motion 4 mile walk across stage.  In my head, I was definitely taking in everything.  My four years was over after walking off the stage.  When I got back to my seat, I was greeted with hugs and handshakes.  Oh, I can't explain the feeling of being done and graduating.  Excited and happy are EXTREMELY weak words for that feeling.  

After waiting for 1,000 more people to graduate, the commencement was over.  I was very surprised that only a handful of caps were thrown in the air.  I heard from many people that we weren't allowed to throw our caps in the air... it didn't stop the few of us who did. 

I will never forget that day in my life.  It was the day when a journey ends and another one begins.  It was the day when my Exercise Physiology buddies were together in a group for one last time.  I can tell you that I'm going to miss my buddies... 

I'm going to leave you, the reader, a few more pictures of that day...

- Christian EP '09

 

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The Advanced Study in Exercise Physiology presentation was not my final obstacle before Commencement.  I had one big final that was worth 20% of my grade on my way.  In my head, I said, "Oh this is going to be cake.  I did very well in this class and getting a 50% will still give me a B in this class... so I'll be totally fine."  The only problem about the final was the day and the time... My last day of classes was on May 13th, which was a Wednesday, but my final happened to land on the VERY last day of finals in the VERY last hour to conduct finals.  So yes, it was on May 21st, 3pm.

Ridiculous huh? 

So what did I do for a week and one day?  I can honestly tell you that I didn't start studying until the Tuesday before the final.  I know, I know, bad me, but I was very productive during my mini-pre-final vacation.  I went on a super job hunt, and ended up applying at a hospital that is looking for an Exercise Physiologists, and a few personal training positions.  So far, as of May 24th, I have my second interview for Bally's Total Fitness this Tuesday, and having my first interview at L.A. Fitness on Thursday.  I'm very excited, yet a bit disappointed that I haven't gotten a phone call from the EP job yet... I had my EP cardiac pulmonary rehab clinical during the spring semester, so I hope I can continue working at a similar facility. 

So how did my final go?  Well, with my two days of studying 4 note packets full of information, I think I did fairly well.  There were a lot of easy questions, and a few tough ones, but I finished it in about 30-40 minutes.  Then that was that.  As soon as I left the room, I felt free!  After my week long wait, I finally took my final final of my final semester and IT'S OVER!!!!!  I can tell you straight out that I wanted to run down the hall and say "YEAHHHH, SCHOOL IS OUT FOREVER!!!!"  But I knew that as an UML alumni, that was not the way to act (until I left the building).  Again, the same theme from my past blogs came up again:  I can't believe I'm done.  My two EP buddies continued to say that they can't believe it either, even if one of them is heading to Physical Therapy Graduate School next semester. 

Well, now that's over, all I have left is Graduation!!!!!

AND I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


- Christian UML EP' 09


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For those who don't have tickets to UML's Commencement, do not worry!  UML will have a live stream on May 30th, 10am.  Just click here (http://gse.uml.edu/commencement/) to watch it! 

Also UML will Twitter the event!  Follow them on
www.twitter.com/umasslowell
It's been four years since I stepped foot into UMass-Lowell's Exercise Physiology program.  Four years ago, I did not know where the ulnar collateral ligament on the elbow was, nor did I know where the Recreational Center was.  Now I feel more knowledgeable, like the big man on campus.  It feels like senior year of high school. 

It's true that I've mentioned in my other blogs that I still haven't felt like the big man on campus or feel like I'm going anywhere.  I guess I feel like that because I never motivated myself to capture the opportunities for further learning or dared to apply what I learned to everyday things.  But ever since I've entered the Practicum portion of the Exercise Physiology program, I feel like I finally placed all my knowledge into something more practical (duh, that's why it's called a practicum).  Basically, a practicum is like an internship.  You can pick a site from list, which consists of research facilities, cardiac and/or pulmonary rehab clinics, athletic centers, gyms, and nursing homes.  The greatest thing about this is your choice of sites and the ability to create a site if none of those places interest you.  One of my classmates is working at a facility that supposedly trains the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics, and she is having the time of her life. 

My Exercise Physiology Practicum site is a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation facility.  The reason why I picked this site over an athletic center is the fact that I want to have experience as an actual Exercise Physiologist.  Many people would pick an athletic center over a site like this because they don't like the hospital setting or they can't do an exercise blood pressure (which truthfully can be a pain the butt)!  Another reason why I chose it was my interest of the "works" of the heart and lungs, and how diseases lessen its function and overall affects the body in a negative matter.  It's amazing how "bad" unhealthy habits contribute to heart, lung, and peripheral diseases...

So far, my experience is great.  First of all, the staff is amazing.  They are extremely helpful in trying to give me the full blown exercise physiologist's experience.  Another thing about them is their humor.  I've never met a group of professionals who would joke around with the patients in an appropriate and professional matter.  Oh man, the exercise physiologist over there is a riot.  His personality definitely lightens up everyone's day at the clinic.  When I first started, I thought that place would be "depressed city" due to the fact that many people are often "down" when they know they have a disease.  But it was the total opposite.  Everyone is laughing, sharing Red Sox stories with one another, talking about their family, and making fun of each other.  No wonder many patients have been attending rehab for 20 years! 

What's even better is my observation opportunities.  The clinic gave me a list of procedures that I am required to observe.  This includes an exercise stress test, pulmonary and cardiac entrance, an echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization.  Trust me, observing all those sites were amazing and very interesting!  I got to see how certain procedures work, how the staff works as a team, and how they interact with the patients so they can be nice and calm.  I honestly think that's the best part of the experience.

Unfortunately I have seven practicum days left... The semester was way too fast to grasp!  But I can say that I did enjoy my time at the cardiac pulmonary rehab.  As an exercise physiology student, this is something to look forward to!  It makes you feel like a true professional in the rehab setting, gym, training facility, research facility, and many more.  It will help you gain the experiences for future jobs.  Wow, I bet you want to be in my position... don't be jealous :-)

- Christian

 
As a baseball fan and a strong supporter against drunk driving (and drinking in general), I feel the need to step away from my series of UML-related blog posts and talk about something that really hit me hard this week. 


On April 9, 2009, a future baseball pitching star and two other people were killed by a drunk driver.  Nick Adenhart, the 22-year old Los Angles Angels starting pitcher, and two other people affiliated with the team were driving through an intersection in the wee hours of the morning.  Suddenly, a minivan, which was driven by a drunk Andrew Thomas Gallo ran the red light and struck Adenhart's convertible.  The impact caused their car to collide with a telephone pole killing them instantly.  The minivan tried to speed away from the scene, but was later caught by police.  Gallo is charged with DUI, vehicular manslaughter, and murder.  Gallo had a history with drunk driving and also had his license suspended. 

Earlier that day, he told his dad this: "You better come [to Wednesday's game]. Something special's going to happen."  On that same day, a few hours before the tragedy, Nick threw 6 shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics.

This is a heartbreaking story.  I felt my eyes watering up when I found out that this young and talented baseball player who had a great future ahead of him was killed by a reckless individual who decided to get drunk and drive.  Another drunk driving death.  Another life lost.  Another day of mourning.  When will this ever end?

I remember a similar event a few years ago.  My friend's sister, who was in high school, and her boyfriend were driving down a bypass road in Everett, MA... I believe they were on a date or something.  A drunk driver, who also had a suspended license, sped down that same bypass road, steered onto the opposite side of the road, striking their car, killing my friend's sister instantly.  The day after, there was a huge candlelight vigil for her at the crash site.  Everyone cried.  Those who were tough as a nail sobbed like there was no tomorrow.  You can feel the sadness in the air as everyone mourned the death of an innocent person.  Even if I didn't know her well, I felt the pain from her family, friends, and those who knew her... It was hard to take in... especially with blood stains on the road... 

It's hard to type about a topic like this.  It's hard because you know that life wasn't suppose to end for the people I knew and for the people I hear about in the news.  Stupid decisions, drinking alcohol as a way to have fun, and other stuff can cut a person's life in half... One person's trageic death doesn't only hurt his or her family... it hurts their friends... their teachers... their bosses... everyone they've touched... and everyone else who gives a care about the world around us. 

So when will drinking and driving end?  When will drinking to get drunk for fun stop? I'm sick of tragedies like this... 

Rest in Peace #34.

NICK ADENHART 1986-2009

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www.daylife.com


- Christian


 

It's officially a diagnosed disease for seniors.

Senioritis.

What is the definition of that word?

According to urbandictionary.com, senioritis (n.) is (comically) a "virus which seems to affect mainly second semester seniors... This virus can be deadly to one's grades, as the carrier becomes totally apathetic about their grades, classes, homework etc. This results in many 'Zeros ( 0 )' or failing grades - ultimately leading to the drastic lowering of the grade in the carrier's classes. Side effects include: Failure to give a (crap), complete and utter apathy, and not graduating with the carrier's class." 

Rough stuff, huh?

Unfortunately, my diagnosed senioritis is not that serious or grade-threatening (so far).  I really don't know why I'm slacking off so much.  Is it because this is my last semester and graduating is very possible?  Is it because I'm mentally tired from 4 years of academic hardship, lack of sleep, and hours and hours of work?  Or is it seriously the fact that I don't really care anymore?  Maybe its a mixture of it all.  Truthfully, I'm just physically, mentally, and emotionally tired.  I haven't had a good 8-10 hours of sleep in months and my free time to do homework is dwindling thanks to my senior practicum and my three paying jobs that I work (even if I work one day per job per week).  Many of you have heard me recite what I want to do in the future:  work at a cardiopulmonary rehab or personal train, get my CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning) certification, then apply to PT school after.  Honestly, I don't know how well my plans will work out.  For the past few months, my self-confidence has been in an all time low, and I really don't know why.  I just feel down all the time, and it's affecting my work, which actually might have caused my overall senioritis.  I just still haven't really recovered from a few incidents... that's all.  And I guess those events have caused me to think less of myself, which made me slack off even more.  Sure, my best friend told me to knock it off because I'm doing so well, but when will I ever listen to what they say and get out of this hole?  Deep (deep deep) down I just don't feel happy.  Surprising huh?  Most of my friends and people I know would see me as the happy kid, who drops a few jokes here and there.  But I don't know.  Maybe I just need a distraction, a new scenery, or even a vacation.

Wow, some tangent, huh?

I would like to hear what you think.  Leave a comment and I'll answer back through a comment.

- Christian
 
My first day back on UMass-Lowell soil was uneventful.  Actually, it was the worst first day of classes I've been experienced.  Figures, it's my last semester as an undergraduate at the campus, too! 

Let's start out with some positive aspects of my first day.  I woke up at a reasonable time that morning, which gave me enough space and time to watch T.V., catch up on the news, take a shower, have a "good" breakfast, and warm-up my car adequately (Sweet).  My drive up to Lowell was also pretty awesome too.  The drive was a good 35 minutes without any hint of traffic, slow downs from state trooper speed traps, or even a splash of icy patches.  Heck, even my trek through the back streets of Lowell was very smooth without any red light stops or construction.  But as soon as I turned into Broadway St. and entered the Riverview lot, my commuter nightmare begun. 

Let's just say that my journey in the parking lot took a good... 45 minutes to find a LEGAL parking space.  First of all, it seems like UML decided to dump all their snow on one corner of the "Big Lot," which eliminated a good 40+ spaces.  Why on Earth did they do that?  They never did that stuff before!  In the past, the crew usually would dump all that snow behind the softball fields, where the temporary overflow lot was.  I guess this time, the university decided to just pile 20ft mounds ON the active parking lot.  With those mounds, many people decided to parallel park next to them like there was no problem narrowing the space to drive.  Also, many people just decided that there were no such thing as parking lines.  I saw people continue to add more "imaginary" spaces, which also obstructed driving.  Come on folks, I know the unverisity screwed up by not removing those mountains of snow before the first day of classes (and the annual first day parking auto-fill), but at least don't be stupid by making driving difficult for that lot.  So basically, driving in that lot was like a Pac-man game without eating ghosts - we're all "Pac-mans" who were hungry for a clean parking space.  Luckily for me (after 45 minutes of car "Pac-man," I found a space in the Mahoney parking lot.  Thank God I gave myself a lot of time that day.

Here's the picture of the snow mounds from the top of the Mahoney parking lot:

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Sorry for the crappy picture, but you can tell that those hills are noticable in the picture. 

I wonder where all the new snow will be dumped tomorrow... I hope they plow all that stuff onto the unused overflow lot.  At least get rid of those hills so I (and the rest of the commuter population) won't spend 45 minutes of my life looking for a space.

- Ian

Today is the day the United States and the rest of the world see a change in leadership, a change in everyday life, and a change that will impact our future.  This is when you can say there is a "change of guard" of the President of the United States and the President-elect.  Many people have waited for this day when George W. Bush is no longer the forty-third president, and Barrack Obama becomes the forty-fourth leader of our nation.  This will probably be one of the most memorable historical events I'll ever witness on T.V - from the swearing in of the first African-American president, to the first democratic president of the new Millennium, the end of the reign of a president who went through a lot, from 9/11 to the war. 

I know the last inauguration is a blur in my memory, but I don't remember any inauguration being so up-beat, happy, and exciting.  About a half-hour ago, I watched the motorcade drive down the streets of Washington D.C., and all I could see is a sea of people cheering for their new president of the United States.  Was there this many people in the last inauguration??? There are literally millions of people jammed from the Capitol to the Memorial.  That was pretty cool to see the crowd happy for once, despite the economic crisis, the war, and other hardships during the past decade.  All I could hear from the television is people cheering "O-BA-MA!  O-BA-MA!"  Again, I never heard of a "BUSH" chant in the crowd during the last inauguration.

It's 11:40am, and the chant of "O-BA-MA" starts up again at the anticipation of President-elect Obama's entrance into the Capitol steps.

It's now 11:43am, and President-elect Obama just entered the stage.

There you have it folks, the start of the new, and the end of the old. 

If you are reading this and not watching the Inauguration, go to cnn.com and you can watch it via live streaming video.


I'm signing-off for now - I'll blog about my thoughts after the Inauguration.


Here's a quote to leave you thinking:
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
-John F. Kennedy




- Christian 


2009 Poem

|
It's finally a new year
And I'm ready to start over again with
A new, clean piece of lined paper.
I'm holding a "clicky" pen
That contains 4 colors
black
blue
red
and green;
I'm not a monochromatic individual,
you know?
I like to add color to my story,
so that means I'm not
that boring person who makes
everything restricted and boring.

You know what?

Let's bring in
the watercolors,
pastels,
colored pencils,
and even the crayons.
Let's make this story creative,
adventurous,
and worthwhile -
let's add all the mediums
into this work.

Remember, this is the
whitest piece of paper -
no dirt,
no smudges,
no flaws, nothing.

It's clean.
It's mine
and I have the ability
to create a picture
so unique
that no one will ever
recreate it. 

That is what
the new year is to me -
a work of art. 
A piece that is
so elaborate,
yet abstract -
a piece that contains
a deep meaning,
yet is so simple -
a piece that is
established through
a single first person
perspective, yet
can be viewed
through the eyes of
everyone.
It's my work of art
and I'm going to
share it with you.

Here's to 2008 2009.


- Christian J. Tiongson




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I still promise to continue my Winter Fun blogs - just a little break from formalized casual writing (if that makes sense).  Plus, I was in a poem making kind of mood.  Happy New Year! - CT

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