Results tagged “MA” from Hawk Talk - Christian

It was May 13, 2009, and the time was 4:45pm.  Our professor wished us good luck and congratulations.  I looked around the lecture hall as my classmates were leaving.  I said to myself, "Wow, this is my last lecture class as an undergrad."  I looked at my friend, signaled him, and we left the hall.  The first thing my friend said was, "Dude!!!  We're done!!!  I can't believe we're done!"  Trust me, I can't believe it either.  My friend and I walked towards that massive mass of pavement we call the "Big Lot."  During that typically 5-minute walk, we went through our massive filing cabinet in our brains and reminisce on the good and bad times at UMass-Lowell.  When I say our memory cabinet is massive, it is MASSIVE.  Even when we reached our cars, we still 1/1000 of it to go.  So we leaned against our cars and stood there as the sun went down, talking.  I think we stood there for a good hour before the chilly air finally reminded us that it was time for us to leave UML one last time before graduation (and a final for me). 

Like what I said for my last blog, it's just weird to not come back.  Sure, I'm coming back as a part-time student to get a graduate certificate in nutritional science, but coming back as a full-time naive, not-ready-for-the-world undergrad?  That's history.  We're not coming back as undergrads.  We're already called alumni.  It's just weird, weird, weird, and weird. 

I can tell you that I don't regret going to college.  College was a major chapter in my life when I finally grew up to be a better person, academically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and so on.  Physically... eh, I need to work on that (Ha ha).  Going to college was the best choice I ever made in my whole entire life.  I feel like I am ready to take on the work world and go to graduate school down the line. 

And who should I thank?  UMass-Lowell off course.  UMass-Lowell is the school to go to if you want to make a difference in the world.  Everyone here is awesome and extremely supportive beyond belief.  You can't get anything better out there.  Financially, the tuition here is affordable compared to big-time schools.  Come on, who would turn down affordable tuition with phenomenal education?  And sports?  All the sports here are extraordinary.  Come on, Division I Hockey East Riverhawks?  It's true that the university is young and lacking in traditions, but that is where you, the perspective and current student, comes in.  You have the ability to make a change for the better.  UML will give you the best education out there, and you should give the best of you.  I did and now I'm graduating.

It's your turn to make a difference and to create life-long memories for your cabinets in your brain.  It's worth a shot.  You won't be disappointed.

- Christian EP '09  


Okay, what do you think?

Is H1N1, also known as, the Swine Flu, a big deal?  Or is it just an overblown illness that can be easily treated?

As a health student, I'm concerned, especially when two known cases of the H1N1 virus was found in Lowell.  Like all airborne illnesses, it is always good to take as many precautions as possible, even if the "cold" is going around.  These precautions include washing your hands with soap and water (and singing "Happy Birthday" to yourself), sneezing straight into your sleeve instead of your hands, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Most of all, if you are feeling sick with flu-like symptoms...


...sorry I needed to vent that...

Ever since the Swine Flu took the top shelf of the News, newspapers, and health websites all over the world, I've seen a rise in people taking precautions, especially with my School of Health and Environment buddies.  A few days ago, my friend and I decided to go to Walmart in Drum Hill to buy Purell hand sanitizers so we protect ourselves from "dirty and germy" hands.  My buddy from the Exercise Physiology program was giving everyone a little squirt of Purell to everyone she knows.  My community health buddy said she'll take every chance to wash her hands.  Another said a professor actually passed around a big container of Purell to his/her students as a precautionary prelude to their health lecture.  My best friend locked himself in a closet and told me to stay away from him until this scare is over

So here's my question:  Why do we all of a sudden take these precautions, when we are supposed to do it everyday even without H1N1 in the picture?

In my opinion, we don't think about these precautions unless the situation presents itself, like working in a hospital or collecting money from a customer in a retail store.  Also, we never think about getting sick.  Everyone goes around giving people hugs, kisses (well... not me), and hand shakes without having the thought of getting sick from the other person's germy hands.  Yep, we always have some type of germ on our hands.  And yes, we ALWAYS transport that stuff to each other.  The thing is, are we doing our job everyday to kill those dang germs? 

I guess you can say that the H1N1 is a wake-up call to everyone.  Now everyone is taking every step to stay healthy.  This virus has proven the world that it is lethal and can make anyone from age 0 to 100+ sick no matter how healthy you are or how sick you are.  I believe that we all should be concerned about this, but not to the point where you are going to isolate yourself from the world around us, like the band Oasis who is touring in Venezuela (Story: OASIS Stuck in Hotel Room Because of SWINE (3rd story down)). 

All I have to say is please protect yourself from this virus, and continue on with your everyday routine.  The U.S. government will tell you when it's time to panic... okay, nevermind, you have to decide if you're going to panic or not... they will tell you when it's time to halt your routine and take EXTRA EXTRA precautions like using masks.

If you want more information about this, click on the following links:
- Center of Disease Control: Swine Flu Updates
- MA Department of Health: Swine Flu Updates
- Talk to you doctor
- Go the the Student Health Services in South Campus, which is an awesome place to get info about protecting yourself and the Swine Flu.  The staff is great there!

- Christian

Oh yeah, here's my P.S.: If anyone sneezes around you, don't freak out, especially if that sneezer is allergic to the floating pollen in the air.  It's just allergies, not the Swine.   Just a friendly reminder from a person suffering from allergies. :-)


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.



- Christian


As I sit here in my warm and cozy blue-walled room, I began to reminisce on the past week.  From December 19 to December 27, 2008 (9:26am to be exact), tons and tons of things happened - finals, two winter storms, the holiday rush at Hallmark, finishing up Christmas presents,  Christmas, "The New Black Friday," and my friends' little Kelly's Roast Beef Christmas party.  It doesn't seem like a lot to many people, but to me, as that laid back kid who takes everything easy (kind of), it's definitely enough for me to stay in bed for days! 

So to make life simple for my blog readers, I'm going to blog about my experiences during that small week and give you the inside look of what I did and how I felt during the storms, Christmas, and others that I mentioned before.  Honestly, I'm not here to blog all about me (even if it's going to end up like that), but I'm just putting myself out there just to see if you all had the same experiences during this week.  I'm definitely welcoming all of your comments!!!!

So let's start off my first blog in the series with a bunch of photos from the first Winter Storm:

This is me driving in Wakefield by the lake.  You can't really see it, but it was snowing very heavily.  This was part of my 2 hour trek home from Wilmington to Malden, MA.

Here is the picture of the lake... oh, I mean snow and fog hovering over the lake.  The storm #1's visibility was probably less than 100 feet.  That itself made my commute home even worse.

That white thing in the back is my car covered in snow.  My family was in the process of clearing out my dad's car.  My car was never really cleared off until Monday due to ice and more snow.

This is the Malden Station intersection at Exchange St.  Obviously the storm blanketed the streets and sidewalks.  You can't even tell where the sidewalk is!!

I think my photos basically tell you this:  THIS STORM WAS BAD HORRENDOUS!!!!  My street was never plowed completely either.  When they finally plowed my street out, they dumped everything on front of my house.  So my shoveled out driveway was once again (actually it happened three times) covered in snow - thank you plowers!  Despite the circumstances, I still braved out the storm with two LONG drives.  My first drive was from Wilmington to Malden, which took two hours.  I seriously thought I was not going to make it because my Mazda 3 was slipping everywhere!  I've never had problems driving in the snow with my car, since it's has front-wheel drive, but I guess the storm was too strong for my little car.  My second drive was my trek to pick up my sister at Malden Station.  This time I used my dad's Subaru Outback, which has 4WD.  That trek took 45minutes to an hour which included waiting for my sister's train.  After the end of a night full of daredevil driving and shoveling to exhaustion (sorry it's not called the Wingate Anaerobic Test), I jumped into my bed and went to sleep.

Since my car was buried in snow from Storm #1 and Storm #2, and altogether iced up for days, I had to get rides home to work the next couple of days to and from work, which was also not pretty commute-wise.  In a sentence or so, Storm #2 was like Storm #1 except that it didn't dump that much snow and it was shorter.  But they both had the same results - horrible driving conditions, near-to-blind whiteout driving, and a major headache at the end of the night.

Through all of this, I'm happy to say my back did not hurt from shoveling!!  You have to thank the physical therapists at work for showing their patients and me how to shovel correctly!

That's enough about the "Twin Storms" for now...

My next blog will focus on the Holiday Rush. - CT
I was browsing through one night and I came across one of their famous "best of the best" or "top something" lists.  This weeks special was the best places to raise your kids, which labeled the best city in each state.  Curiously, I clicked on Massachusetts.  Next thing you know, the name "Malden, MA" came up.  Oh man, I started to crack up laughing.  How can my hometown be the best city to raise your kids?  Before I start typing a storm of pros and cons, here's some extra information about the selection process.

Cities were picked with at least 50,000 residents and a median family income between $40k - $100k.  Then they had to have good numbers/characteristics in the following criteria was that was listed on 

- Affordability (MAJOR PLUS!)
- School Performance
- Number of Schools
- Household Expenditures
- Crime rates
- Air quality
- Job growth
- Family income
- Museums
- Parks
- Theaters
- Diversity, etc. etc.

And with all those standards and criteria, Malden, MA manages to be the top city in the state of Massachusetts.  If you think about how the research was conducted and presented on the site, Malden, MA is actually part of the top 50 best places to raise your kids in the United States.  How crazy is that?

Here are the pros about Malden: 

- Like what the website said, Malden is very diverse.  Honestly, I don't see a majority or a minority in this city.  It seems that all the "races" are equal to each other, meaning they all have the same number.  Everyone gets along, which means there is absolutely no type of racism here. 

- School-wise, there are many schools in Malden.  The city built 5 brand new public elementary schools, have 3 high schools, and have two private elementary schools.  Plus there are many great small "schools" within the community.  If you want to learn how to play from the best musicians in the area, look for BMR Music off Salem St!!  

- Sports-wise, Malden has the best recreational and high school programs in the nation.  Malden Babe Ruth continues to offer young players a low registration fee with the best competitive baseball league in the state.  Malden Pop Warner A Squad was so good that they went to the Super Bowl of Pop Warner in Disney's World of Sports Facility in Florida.  It was also aired on ESPN.  Malden High School and Malden Catholic continues to build high caliber sports teams in the Greater Boston League and Catholic Conference respectively... heck I can go on and on about sports! 

- Accessibility is probably the most well known factor.  Malden has two "Orange Line" MBTA subway stops and one commuter rail stop.  Malden is near and is surrounded by major highways:  I-93, Rt. 1, Rt 128 (I-95).  Boston is literally a good 10-15 minutes drive away, so accessing major historical points, entertainment, and sporting events is no problem.  Shopping centers are scattered around Malden also. 

I can go on and on about the great stuff about Malden.

Here are the cons (which actually came up first when I started laughing):

- I think the crime rate here is high with the increasing levels of gang activity, drug trades, and other stupid stuff that goes on during the day and night.  Malden is located near some crime-ridden cities, and it seems that more criminals from other places come here to do their stupid stuff, like drug trades, gang stuff, or stealing products from Stop and Shop. The police are working their butts off trying to get criminals off the street, but crime continues to happen (not their faults).  Honestly, I would not walk by myself in Malden in the early evening to late night hours.  I don't want to get jumped.

- The MCAS scores for Malden increased just a little, but wasn't enough to make Malden Public Schools look like the best of the best.  The program is so obsessed with the MCAS that the majority of the teaching staff only focuses on that test, and not learning outside of it.  Malden is trying its best to promote the arts and increasing their quality of education, but putting their 100% effort on the MCAS lags from actual learning.

- Pot Holes:  Seriously, Malden has some pretty bad roads.  Many major roads still haven't been repaved or totally reconstructed, which is actually hurting the commute.  I've noticed more construction activity during the summer, but I still think Malden needs to fix their roads so the commute would be less bumpy.

- Malden Square??????  Seriously, that square is completely littered with dumb dollar stores.  What happened to the "golden age" when Malden Square was always busy?  If you stepped on the Main St. / Pleasant St. "T" intersection and looked into the square, I bet you would've thrown up at the site of it.  The area just looks so gray... the concrete road doesn't make it look better.  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but Malden Square is sooo boring.  It is true that Malden is trying to improve the square so the "Golden Age" would return again, but right now, it looks like its not happening.  The only three major changes I've seen is the construction of a new apartment building, the new building for the Department of Education, and a new Senior Citizen Community building.  Other than that, the ugliest looking city hall is still sitting on the middle of Pleasant St, which continues to detour traffic since the 1950s (or even later).

Again, I can also go on for the cons.

So in conclusion, I was a bit surprised that Malden was the best place to raise their kids.  I just had a conversation with my dad about this shocking finding, and he just had the total opposite reaction.  He told me that Malden was very good to our family.  My siblings and I never had a problem living here and had the best education from Malden.  And look at us now, I'm a senior in college, my sister is a junior in college, my younger brother is a freshmen also in college, and my youngest brother is a junior in high school.  So, my dad thinks that we got the best out of Malden, from sports to education.

So hats off to Malden, MA for being the best city to raise your children!


September 11, 2008.

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Seven years ago, I was in Malden Catholic High School.  I was just a freshman who started the first few days of my high school career.  I was young, naive, and unaware about everything around me... until the attacks happened.  Throughout the early morning, there have been rumors going around the school that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.  At first I didn't believe it, since seniors can make up crap about anything and make freshmen feel uncomfortable.  But then the rumors kept on going.  The whole school was talking about it.  There were students with blank faces on them, some with tears streaming from their eyes of fear.  I knew there was something wrong.  

During homeroom time, which was after my first few classes, the headmaster came on the intercom and made the painful announcement:  "America was attacked.  Two planes hit the World Trade Center and another hit the Pentagon.  There are rumors that the Chicago Sears Tower was struck..."  My heart sank to the ground.  How could this happen?  Why did this happen?  The United States of America?  We got attacked?  I thought we were impenetrable from attacks.  That whole day was torture for me... I did not know what to do... what to say... I basically just sat there and stared at the television and watched the replays of the planes hitting those two towers.  Then something hit me even harder.  One of my teacher's brothers was in the plane that flew into the towers.  It was hard to sink in... Was this the end of the world?

Going home from school was just as numbing for me.  Instead of the buzzing and loud environment of students on their way out of school, there was this eerie silence... just complete silence.  My dad looked very worried when he picked me up.  It looks like he haven't slept in days.  On the way home, we were listening to the radio for updates from the attack sites.  It was already 3pm and the towers were already long gone... collapsed.  When we got home, I went to the backyard and just stared at the sky.  I knew that one of those planes went over my house, since I live under an air route from Logan Airport in Boston.  But at that moment, the sky was silent.  No clouds, no planes, no birds, just plain blue.  There was just a deep pit in my stomach when I saw fighter jets scrambling the skies around Boston.  They were ready for any other attacks.  They were ready to protect us again.

As years passed, the pain is still felt from that horrible day... "a day which will live in infamy."  Everything around us changed.  Our lives changed.  The way life was viewed changed drastically.  As I sit here typing out this blog for all of you, I still have that awful feeling in my stomach.  I still can't believe that happened. 

Please don't forget about that day.  Remember those who lost their lives, and those who fought hard to keep us free.  Pray that something like that will never happen again...

I'll leave you one thought before I sign-off from my blog:

Where were you on that day?

God Bless America,

New Hampshire Tornado

Imagine yourself sitting in your screened porch reading your favorite summer book.  In the distance you can see clouds building up.  The first thought is that it might be a passing shower, since its hot and humid outside.  Your parent comes into the porch and says there's a thunderstorm warning and tells you to get inside.  Lazily, you sluggishly hop off your chair saying, "Not another thunderstorm again."  The wind picks up, the cloud gets closer and closer. You start hearing raindrops pounding your window.  The frequency of the raindrops increases, and next thing you know you hear a noisy sound of a downpour.  The winds start picking up even more, and from your T.V, a red banner runs on the bottom of your screen, repeatedly saying "TORNADO WARNING - FIND A SHELTER NOW!"   Next thing you know, you see branches flying everywhere and the sky getting darker and darker.  You finally say to yourself, "I don't think this is no regular thunderstorm..."

When I was younger, tornadoes (mostly weather in general) fascinated me.  When I was around 7 years old, I understood what a F5 tornado meant, and what channel I should click on to check if there was any type of weather warning if the sky turned "black"  in a hot, humid day.  Still to this day, I get excited when the sky turns gray, rain falls hard, and lightning races the sky.  I guess I had the weather-man instinct in me, I don't know. 

Most of you probably know what happened in southeastern New Hampshire a few days ago.  A tornado, most possibly a EF1 or EF2 (which generally means that its a weak tornado, but can produce damage like downed power lines, trees, and damage to houses - the "E" on the code is part of the new tornado scale).  Like what I said above, I was fascinated with the weather, so I basically stuck my eye on the T.V. to find out what happened.  After reading a few articles in the Internet and keeping my eye on the T.V., the tornado was a big surprise for the citizens of New Hampshire.  As far as I know, I never heard of a tornado that created this much chaos in New England in my life.  Usually, I would hear about a tornado touchdown in the south or around "Tornado Alley," which is the area of the U.S. where many tornadoes have been recorded.  I've looked through the pictures and maps of the damage from, and overall I was shocked about the damage.  Probably the worse thing I got from all of this is that 1 person died trying to save her grandson. 

Tornadoes are generally rare in the New England area especially near Boston.  But imagine if something like that happened around here?  Do you think we're prepared for such a disaster?  Ironically we almost had that tornado funnel touchdown near the UMass-Lowell area.  I saw how the storm moved; it was heading straight up north, with probably a little northeast movement.  I think that even its such a rarity to have a disastrous phenomenon hit us, I think we're due for one - we have to know what to do when something like that happens.  Not even a tornado, but a hurricane, an earthquake, a major major blizzard, or anything that is listed with that group.  I feel that MA is not prepared for any summer storms at all. 

Wow... ironically the sky is dark right now and there's a few loud rumbles of thunder... time to watch the sky.  (Sorry I'm a nerd!   Hahaha.)

- Christian

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