Monday, March 7, 2011

Hollywood: Lights, Camera, Action

     Hollywood is just a small portion of the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, but it is a name known worldwide as the film capital.

     "And that's what dreams are made of," said Sam Spade, (Humphrey Bogart) in the film "The Maltese Falcon."

     These words ring through the ears of those that are seeking fame and fortune, hoping for their big break or standing at the arched gates of Paramount Pictures gazing upon the famous Hollywood sign ready for their close-up.

     Hollywood is alive during the daylight hours with people and cars moving and bumping into each other like the blood cells coursing through their arteries.

     Tourist from all walks of life, carrying cameras, filter in and out of shops and museums, taking pictures of the star-studded sidewalks and the wannabes who work the sidewalks of fame, hoping to get a glimpse at stardom.
Tourist have their picture taken next to the star of Muhammed Ali

     The names of famous celebrities, both living and deceased, are immortalize in brass and terrazzo on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard, and Vine Street . Near the grand staircase in the Kodak Theatre mounted on the wall is the star of Mohammed Ali, the only star that does not rest on the sidewalks.

     "I heard that he didn't want his star to get walked on," said Ana Martinez, vise president of media relations and the producer of the star ceremonies.

     "His star was the only one not created on-site, but at the factory and presented to Ali on an easel."

     At night the city morphs into a different animal like a werewolf searching for prey. Music from night clubs that were once hidden away in light, come alive with music that flows out into the streets. Men and women now line the walkways waiting for their turn to be granted access into the clubs. The select few are given passage by the gatekeepers that guard the entrances.

     The men are sharply dressed wearing mostly black clothing, standing with women wearing tight black outfits, who are constantly pulling at their clothes up and down to cover their barely-hidden womanhood.

     In the early morning hours the air grows still. The heartbeat slows down and allows for a resurgence of vital nutrients that supplies the people with energy. Television and film production trucks move through the quieter city streets to locations unknown.

     There's a calming in the morning air while the city sleeps.

     "The morning hours are like the breath before the plunge," said Jacob Ontiveros, an employee at the Hollywood and Highland complex.

     The shops are empty but the work remains as street cleaners work to clean the city before the giant awakens. People are asleep in their homes and beds, even those that have found a place in the recesses of a building or the ground, who huddle in their sleeping bags or layers of clothing.
A man and woman sleep on the sidewalk of North Gower St in Hollywood

     Tinseltown is the place where dreams can come true and is also the same place where shattered hopes and despair fill the air like the smell of wet moldy clothes, discarded cigarettes and deteriorating cardboard.

     Beyond the glimmer and glamour there is life that struggles everyday to survive with continuing hopes that one day they too will make it in the place called Hollywood.

The lights of Los Angeles glow bright

At a glance;

Contact the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce at (323) 469-8311
Or online at

As of March 2011, there are 2,434 stars on the Walk of Fame, with Director Zuban Mehta being added in February. The stars are made of terrazzo and brass stars are embedded at 6-foot intervals over a combined 2.4 miles. There are five categories of the entertainment industry are, Motion Picture, Television, Recording, Radio and Live Theater.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Defining Bad Drivers and Driving Bad

There are several types of drivers that share the road but they can really be placed in three classes. Good drivers, bad drivers and those that drive bad.

Driving is a privilege that so many people take for granted. From the road to the track there is power that comes from being behind the wheel of any automobile. "With great power comes great responsibility," said Uncle Ben, from the Spider-man comic.

A bad driver is over aggressive and takes risks that put themselves and others in harms way. These are the drivers that will drive too close to the car in front of them not matter what the posted speed limit is.

Don't worry, they will always blame you for being in the way!

Here are some common driver distractions:
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Sending text messages
  • Reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle
  • Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle
  • Reading a book
  • Eating food
  • Applying makeup.

    • Those that drive bad are ones without experience or over time have lost the skills that driving requires. Young drivers should be taught basic skills in recognition and eye hand coordination. That doesn't included sitting in front of a tv or monitor. Only practice can hone the reflexes and train the eye to see things before they happen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where on Campus

Surrounded by green grass fields, it's red color stands out from the background.

The silver roof line blends well with the white rail fence.

The smell of wood and dirt are prominent as you walk through the door way.

The musty smell of wet sweating animals is common and surprisingly inviting.

As you walk away from this somewhat secluded place, the aroma lingers in you nostrils for hours.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clearwire is not "Clear"

Clearwire announces that "Clear is the first network to provide a true seamless Internet experience wherever you go. We’re committed to giving you a fast, reliable Internet experience with customer service that puts you first"

Is this really what you'll get form Clear or is this just an empty promise?

If you live outside of the 4G range the only equipment that will work is a 4G/3G mobile Wi-Fi unit. The only way it could be sent to me was if I used my work address which is in a 4G area.

I talked to a  representative at a the Lancaster mall in Salem, Ore., and got some information about the service plans and costs.  Once I was satisfied with the information I received I did some research on the service they provide which led me to believe that this service would be what I was looking for.

I pulled up the Clear website and followed the prompts to call the sales department to order. After placing my order I was then told that if I was not satisfied I could return the Wi-Fi unit within seven days and only have to pay for restocking.

This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard!

I read in Clearwire's agreement that I could return the unit and cancel within 14 days if not satisfied without paying a restocking fee or any penalties.

I’m sure that all the customers will agree with me when I say that Clear has then worst web site of any service provider. The site is set up for sales and is not user friendly to account holders.

I followed the directions to find my account information just as spelled out in the FAQ and from the online help but to no avail. It wasn’t until I clicked on support instead of choosing the drop down menu did I find the option for accounts. Even then I had to select it once more before I could see my information.

Is this really good for customer service?

I found that many of Clearwire's customers are not happy with their service. "Clearwire (aka Clear) Poor Service & Treats Long-Time Customers Poorly," said Scott, a long time customer from Nevada.

The Better Business Bureau gives Clearwire an A+ rating even after having 1537 complaint filed against business.

I discovered that a class action law suit has been filed against Clear for data throttling. I also found that Clearwire's 3G service is provided by Sprint.

Buyer beware! Clearwire is not clear.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Three Things That I Learned in Feature Writing

What are the three things? Writing is a process that takes creativity, patience and a willingness to get out of your comfort zone and investigate your story ideas. I love to write about things that interest me whether it be about a good movie or a problem that effected me or the community.

Finding a good place to set down and write is very important. You have to get rid of distractions and be comfortable. Schedule some time for yourself in your daily routine and let others know that your not available. If you have children, this doesn't always work out but keep trying.

Research is essential for a great article. The more research that is done, the more information you have to use. Wikipedia might be a good place for story ideas but the information you find is not always correct.
Double check your sources and make sure the facts are just that, facts.

Never forget that what you write whether it be in print or online, people will read it. The internet is world wide and you never know where your stories will end up.

At a Glance

There are several sources you can turn to for help in making your good story great. Attend a class at a community college and visit the college writing center. Writing centers like the one at LBCC are full of people that love to share their knowledge.

Another good source is magazines on writing like the Writer's Digest.

If you are interested in writing screenplays, fiction or news, remember to protect your work. Register your script's with a writers guild.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Happens When Your College's Financial Aid Makes Changes Without Informing You

When you attend college on a limited budget, financial aid is often a major source of income. Students' depend on aid to pay for tuition, books and living expenses but what happens when the government or college departments make changes to your account that affect your financial aid?

After standing in long lines to get into the LBCC Bookstore and then stand in another line to the register, the last thing anyone wants to hear is "You have no money in your account."
Students wait in the cue outside the LBCC Bookstore

This is what happened to several students trying to purchase books, and they did not realize it until they arrived at the bookstore checkout counter on Jan. 5.
"I was told that I had a negative balance when I should have had a positive balance," said Whitney Bruce, a student at LBCC.

For students depending on funds to be available on Jan. 5, there were immediate feelings of panic. Would they have to withdraw from school? How would they be able to meet their financial obligations?

Lines rapidly shifted from the bookstore to financial aid.

For most of the students there was immediate relief, for others problems remained.
"We understood that students were frustrated," said bookstore manager Lawrence LaJoie. "We held the students books for them and gave them a pass to bypass the lines once the problem was corrected."

What happened?

"Financial aid had added a software patch to the Banner operating system that caused the student account to show a zero balance," LaJoie said.

Banner is an operating system that integrates all student systems from Financial Aid, Admissions, Registration, Bookstore and the Business Office. In order for the system to function correctly, upgrades and patches are done routinely.

This patch had to be in place in order for students to get their actual disbursement of credit balances on the correct date. The problem was brought to the attention of financial aid that morning and the assistant  director and computer services Banner consultant were able to find a solution by 2 p.m.

"This problem was not limited to LBCC. It was a software problem that affected all schools that use Banner software," said Bev Gerig, the director of financial aid.

LBCC routinely installs software upgrades and patches. Any time a law is enacted related to federal student funding, it impacts financial aid. Multiple changes are done in software every year in order to process changes in the FAFSA and to be able to deliver federal financial aid dollars to students.

"It is sometimes challenging but we spend many hours testing and analyzing upgrades and patches to make sure they work and will not impact students," said Gerig. "Unfortunately there will always be times when we miss something or Banner misses something that can cause problems beyond our control."

Will it happen again? Yes, as long as changes are mandated there is the possibility that it will happen again.

At A Glance

What can students do to prevent holds on their accounts?

Dropping classes after the tuition refund deadline or withdrawing from courses may impact you. Students who drop classes after the tuition refund period or who do not complete classes may owe a repayment of their financial aid and may be denied financial aid at LBCC and all schools.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS: Financial Aid monitors your academic progress each term. You must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to be eligible for your financial aid.  SAP failure revokes all your financial aid for all terms unless you petition this office for reinstatement.

REPORT INFORMATION:  Did you receive a scholarship or attend another college, university, or trade school this academic year? Failure to report this information to the LBCC Financial Aid Office may result in you having to repay your LBCC financial aid.

For questions about your financial aid account, contact;

Financial Aid at Takena Hall, room 117 ·· 541 917-4850 ·· Email Financial Aid