The American Dream

Before I start, I’d just like to put it out there that I’ve just begun high school, less than a month ago, and so far it’s been great. I unfortunately have not been able to get around to writing a blog post I originally planned to write about my first impressions of this new stage in my life, but I’ll get to it one of these days. For now however, I have a thing or two to say about one of the most famous phrases, piece of terminology, expression, whatever you wish to call it – “The American Dream”.
The American continent was populated in about 20,000 to 13,000 BCE, when peoples from the opposite side of the world crossed the great land bridge of Beringia; which unfortunately is now no longer existent. The earliest civilizations developed in Mesoamerica and South America, particularly in the mountainous, Andean regions of the continent. These left their marks and extended their influence not only in geographic terms, but also in terms of time – the present-day states that control these regions, such as Mexico and Peru, still exhibit the characteristics they’ve inherited from these ancient civilizations alongside other ones that they’ve acquired from other places in the world.

The story of the American nation is not one of extreme length; when one comes down to it, it reaches an expanse of only about 500 years. When compared to the extremely lengthy histories and heritage of other civilizations, such as those in Asia, the Middle East, the various Chinese dynasties, etc. it actually pales in comparison. At the same time, this new nation has influenced others worldwide greatly. Throughout those 500 years, the nation has become a great economic power that has extended its political and social and cultural influence to many nations of the world. Without a doubt, it has developed at an extremely accelerated rate – in only that time frame, it has gone from a few colonies along the Eastern Coast to a full-fledged urban nation reaching to the other end of the North American continent. Hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecues can be found in Argentina, China, and France as well as the United States, partly, because that’s how far American influence has gotten.

But what perhaps makes the history of the United States ever so interesting is the fact that it is a land of immigrants. While many historians are without a doubt correct in claiming the Native Americans the original populace of the American nation, the US, as it stands today, is a land composed not only of North Americans, but of hundreds upon hundreds of people from just about any country but the homeland – as close as Mexico and Canada, and as far as France, China, Brazil, Japan, etc.

What has allowed this nation to attract so many people? What is so prestigious, what is so great about this nation that has attracted many? The values and morals of the Americans as a united people are not the answer here. It does not involve physiological or philosophical responses – it involves what many today call ” The American Dream”.

Many, if not all people in the world, have heard of this phrase. What it signifies is unanimously agreed upon; while it is an expression open to interpretation, the interpretations of many are rather alike. The American Dream signifies hope; signifies economic stability. It is characterized by Hollywood-esque symbols of a family – the nice house in the suburbs, with the white picket fence, the car, the two children playing in the backyard, the mowing of the lawn, the mother, the father, the family gatherings, the occasional puppy. These are elements that represent the American Dream the same way that an icon represents a piece of computer software. When people see this, they think of the American Dream; they think of hope and of good living.

In essence, the American Dream is a state of welfare, of stability, of a good standard of living, for the one living the dream. But it also means hope, as aforementioned. Many come to the United States, not necessarily to visit the Rockies or take a cool picture of Mount Rushmore, but instead to chase the dream. Many immigrants in the US have come from third-world nations where finding work, maintaining an abode; things that in the US we may take for granted, are hard to do. These people have come to the US to have a better life. And many immigrants who have come here have come with their children.

Children are the only way we have of attempting to fix the errors we’ve made in the past. It was Columbus, not his father, that took on the task, amongst various protests and disapproving remarks, of journeying out into the great unknown waters of the other side of the world to find land that many endured hardships to reach otherwise. And it’ll be the son or daughter of two parents, that will get the chance to take advantage of the educational and working opportunities that the United States, as a world power, provides for its up-and-coming lawyers, doctors, journalists, editors, artists; what have you, and truly excel in the small, but still challenging world of today.

The American Dream, for those who have accomplished it, is truly a dream come true. In the majorly democratic world of today, where we have as a privilege, freedom, but as a duty, independence, accomplishing the American Dream is akin to winning a war. It gives us a sense of pride, a sense of victory; a sense that we’ve really done something for ourselves. The American Dream is one that is in the minds of many who pursue good living not only for themselves, but for their children.

It is three different words for hope of a better life in this vicious, little world of today that we call “The Blue Marble”.
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Summer 2008 from the Former Eight Grader – A Precursor to Something Different

This entry is dedicated to the first graduating class of Coral Way K-8 Center, from 2008. A tribute to our friends, our adventures, our mischiefs, and everything else that we all went through.

PRE – P.S. – click on the title of the entry to see pictures from the last days of school! And, visit www.tompics.tk for my entire photo collection!

“Yaaaaahooooo!!!!!” screamed the students of my school during the last day of classes, as they went racing through the hallways, throwing juice up onto the roof (maybe I’ll put up the vid one of these days). At dismissal time, however, things were a bit more calm, particularly because everyone came to terms with the fact that, well, we’re not coming back to the school next year. We’re not gonna pass through the same color double doors every morning anymore. We’re not going to have the same teachers mortify us; different ones will. We won’t eat the same bad lunch in the same dirty cafeteria anymore’; we’ll do it somewhere else. That’s what was going through everyone’s mind at dismissal time, and without a doubt, these thoughts were one of the reasons why many lingered, as much as possible, around the exit, some crying, many not wanting to leave, all in a pensive mood, until our parents pulled our hairs and ears into the car (along with our bodies too). We did our best to ccme to terms with the uncomfortable truth that we were all growing up, and it was time to leave the K-8 school we’d been at for almost a decade.

It may not have hit me as hard as it hit others; I’d only been at the school since 5th grade. However, I still understood the painstaking task that it must have been for others to comprehend the aforementioned. They’d been there since they were little “tikes” running around stark naked around the pool; since they first learned their alphabet and numbers. They’d come to know all the teachers, they’d come to know the school better than the architects who designed and built it. It was hard.

Now, almost three months afterwards, on the penultimate day of summer vacation 2008, I sit here, at my laptop, typing up this blog entry, and I start to remember all this. It tells me many things, but the most painful one is the fact that we’re growing up. We used to be little kids, whose height didn’t even reach the door knobs, walking in a line, behaving our best, not saying so much as a single syllable to another student so as to not get in trouble and get a time out. Then, in the same halls, years later, we were the “big kids” we’d aspired to be, with facial hair, deeper, but crackly, voices; and other things particular to each gender (:D). We started forming our opinions about things; we came to understand what was beyond the city limits, we learned how babies are really made, and a bunch of other things. We changed, basically. We weren’t the cute little silent kids anymore. We were different.

When I went home the day after that lingering dismissal, I went to the infamous “End of the Year” celebration. Before that, however, I was with two other friends enjoying a hearty meal that’d been prepared for us as a grad gift, of sorts. That was the beginning. It was the beginning of a transitional period. A transitional period that, well, would transition into something new, something unlike what we’d done and experienced. It was the last breath, perhaps, that the little innocence in us gave. We’re “high school-ers” now, we’re freshmen, we’re “grown-ups”. Pretty soon, we won’t be riding bike or the bus to school, we’ll be driving our own cars to school. We have more responsibility now; we can watch PG-13 movies now (legally), and within a few years, the R-rated ones too. We’re cool!

All this might seem like high school’s going to be the time of our lives, and it probably will be. Without a doubt, it’ll be an interesting, fun time. But we must never forget where we all started. Sometimes, we should just sit down, fire up the PC, and look at all the pictures we took the day of the juice incident, the day of the band concert (or the various band concerts, I should say), the day of the field trip to Universal Studios, the day of the Social. Who can forget the History and Geography Bees, Ms. Schenquerman’s wild party. We should do this to just refresh the folder in our mind that’ll store all this forever. We can never forget the times we had with our friends. We might forget our homework, our chores, our responsibilities, and without a doubt, what we had for breakfast this morning; but we’ll never forget this.

Summer 2008 was no longer a closure, but a transition, as aforementioned. After this, there’s no turning back. Sure, we’ll visit our old teachers at every chance we get, but we can never be taught by them again. We can never sit at the same chair and fall asleep at the same lectures ever again. What we can do, however, is appreciate how much those same lectures meant to us. How much those teachers valued us; how much we loved them. Although I’ve been at the school a shorter time than most of my compadres, I think I speak for all of us when we say that forgetting about Coral Way – the good and the bad times, the friends we made, the crazy stuff we did and experienced – and Summer 2008 – water parks, beaches, movies, and maybe movie shoots too (in my case :D) – it’s just not doable.

To the former students of Coral Way K-8 – hope you guys have an awesome time in high school, and college; wish you guys the best of luck in your professional careers, and I hope to see you guys again someday. After all, we’ll all stick together – no matter what, no matter how,

-Tomas at Large
August 16, 2008

Things in Life

A short clip (for which shooting did not finish) about a girl whose family is forced to move out of their home; and learns to appreciate the better things in life; it is dedicated to celebrating family and friends, as well as a compilation of the good times I had with my friends this summer ’08. Hope you guys like it!

Tomás at Large | http://www.tomasatlarge.blogspot.com

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Living in an Internet World!

The original idea for this article was suggested by my girlfriend, Gia. Half credit goes to her.

“As of March 31, 2008, 1.407 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats.”

Whoa.

Every morning, those of us who have computers turn it on and immediately start doing something. Most of the time it involves the Internet, which much like the PC itself, is an indispensable tool. We being to do stuff, and then we become a bit bored, and what do we decide to do? Play some music! Oh, no, wait – this is my new PC; I don’t have any of my music files here. Wait, I also have none of my games here. And Mom took the laptop on her trip, so.. I can’t get to them either! Man! Well, it wouldn’t hurt to download some more stuff, I mean; this PC does have that 250 GB hard drive… might as well!

Then you start to get all this stuff off the Net – wallpapers for your desktop, music for your iTunes, games for your emulators, coffee for your cup (it might as well be possible) And what allows you to get all this? THE INTERNET!

The Internet has become such a huge commodity, that sometimes we just stop and look at the download log. Half the fun in computing, at least in my experience, is downloading stuff. Download games, music, even entire operating systems (Linux!) The grand number of things you can download off the net is simply ginormous (is that a word?)

In the early 90s, when PCs were somewhat new, and were only then being introduced into the common American household and only then being made accessible to those with little to no knowledge of DOS or any of those hard-to-learn systems, the Internet wasn’t that fast. Heck, it was barely available. I mean, yes it was there, but it only allowed for viewing of text, and images, and other small little things that nowadays are something that we think of as small elements on a page which load super-fast. I mean, now, the Internet, as well as the community of developers and technicians that make ever so many website, applications, videos, games, and more for it; both these things are huge. Just look at the spectrum of things we can do now – watch entire movies, find a date, buy a car, rent a house, play games, listen to music, talk to people, keep up with our blogs – and so much more. The Internet has indeed grown to be a part of our lives, so much that those days that Mom forgets to pay the bill, and I’m without Internet, a part of me dies.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit too exaggerated.

Every great thing in the universe, however, has its disadvantages. The Internet, as useful and revolutionaryas it is, has also brought problems that would have never occurred before. Sites like MySpace and Facebook have, for a long time, been criticized as places where criminals are able to abduct children, where people fake their identities to get whatever it is they might want; where fraud is more likely to occur, where secret information can easily be shared, when privacy becomes a privilege, etc. These things cannot be ignored, but the Internet, like I said, is at the same time so useful, that it cannot be abandoned, despite the problems it’s caused, in addition to the great things it’s done.

The Internet is a powerful thing, and without a doubt an icon of modern-day technology. Many inventions are developed every day, every month, every year, but only a handful of them grow to not only have a great effect upon society, but become an integral part of the common Joe’s life. The Internet, which had its beginnings as a military experiment, was fortunately one of those.

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