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Stop Shark Finning

If today is Wednesday, then over 548,016 sharks have had their fins illegally cut off for soup since Monday. This articles purpose is to inform you about the mass slaughter of these creatures, but more importantly influence as many people possible to help protect these animals that cannot protect themselves. Let cut to the chase, why should we care? These fish are crucial to our oceans ecosystem which in turn controls our land ecosystem, the mass depletion of sharks has already created a vicious domino effect, however it can be stopped. These beautiful beasts are scary because of a few reasons that we will discuss soon. However It’s a very common disbelief that sharks are flesh-eating killers, a myth birthed by hollywood.  Before anything lets begin by debunking some of the myths associated with sharks.There is something universally creepy about the unknown and the fact oceangoers can’t see beneath them is a common cause for concern. Local Santa Cruz Surfer Ryan Chang comments on his instagram “ The scariest thing in the water can be as harmless as sea weed because it just wraps around you and you think you’re gonna die next”. This paranoia is said to be influenced by sharks misportrayal from the media in movies such as jaws,sharknado, or the shallows where a great white literally terrorizes a girl on a rock for three days. If you can mentally transition them from malicious man eaters to creatures crucial to our very existence we can begin to appreciate the true beauty behind these beasts. Appreciation begins with respect, so naturally we have to respect them for what they are. One doesn’t go into the jungle and try to run with the Lions but people test sharks everyday by swimming amongst their waters. This isn’t to say that we shouldnt go to the ocean rather we should respect this area as theirs and remember the Lion metaphor because it is parallel to this situation. Next, yes as Ryan said what we can’t see is unsettling, but the fact of the matter is that a 6-12ft fish can do whatever it wishes with us and there is little to nothing we humans can do, but they don’t. Sharks simply don’t like the way we taste, this is why they kill on average one person every two years in the United States. To put that statistic into perspective: champagne corks kill 24 each year, illicit drugs kill 22,000, 6,000 people die from tripping and finally ants kill up to 50 people per year…ants kills more people each year than sharks. So, now that we have addressed common myths surrounding sharks lets transition into why they are being killed at such an alarming rate. Within the Chinese culture the shark is regarded as a delicacy to some, and is consumed at special events like weddings or other celebrations. The belief is that sharks don’t get sick like other animals that they don’t get diseases like cancer or if you eat it that power can transfer to you. This has been proven to be more cultural than spiritual for there is no scientific back ground that proves shark fins can cure cancer or give you special powers. Despite this factual absence a pound of fin sells for more than 200 dollars (90 dollars a bowl) in the black market. The incentive is like most things, monetary, the shark industry is a billion dollar juggernaut, effectively making any thug with a boat(among other tools) a potential kingpin. The inflation rate is absurd as well, the price goes from 8 cents to 200 dollars through the middle men process and some large fins go for as much as 10,000 dollars. Such greed has taken it’s toll on shark populations. Over one hundred million sharks are killed each year by a process called long lining. Long lining is a fishing technique in which there is a line for a hundred miles with hooks that catches and drags sharks and other animals for miles before killing them. On top of dragging them for miles the fisherman cut off the fins and throw the sharks back into the water, leaving them alive to sink to the sea floor and get eaten alive or die slowly. Another issue is their reproduction rate.  It takes sharks up to 20 years to reach sexual maturity and with such as mass decline juvenile species are getting wiped out effectively depleting reproduction rates. There is a common misconception among some Chinese chefs  that sharks will continue to live despite the fact that they are consuming without giving anything in return. This attitude is completely erroneous for obvious reasons. If we viewed land creatures with that mindset it would be stopped immediately. Imagine bears, dogs or deers killings being justified by “they’ll be okay because they keep having kids” it’s simply unsavory. The bottom line is that nobody is looking after the sharks because of the irrational fears associated with them. Conservationists preach that it is our duty as humans to do what we can to help those who can’t fight for themselves and this belief is keeping the fight against shark finning alive. Sharks are some of the oldest living creatures on earth. 

imgres-5.jpgThey have been here before our continents took their form, before Spain or the US were even a thought, before organisms were even alive on land.They have remained the same/unchanged animal and survived for 400 million years, some 150 million years before the dinosaurs and miraculously survived 5 major extinctions. We are  more of a threat to them, then they are to us and we need these animals to survive here on land. Fishing and cutting away the food chain is causing problems within the ocean which is essentially the life support system of our world. This means that when our oceans change life on earth changes. Sharks presence is said to provide a framework for the populations beneath them. For example, carbon dioxide eating phyto plankton provides 70% of the air we breathe on land, and the phyto plankton rely on sharks for nutrients. Scientists say once we realize that the ocean is imperative to the health of our eco system is when real progress will be made. The recurring theme among the research is that through the preservation of these creatures we are preserving our life here on earth for future generations. Sharks are an apex predator, king of the seas but somewhere along the way we portrayed them as savage creatures and turned them into a soup, but as you have read today we need them as much as they need us.  Our “world shark population is estimated to have declined by 90%”  The reality that they are almost gone is absurd,  us humans kill carnivores at nine times the rate that carnivores kill each other. The sad fact that we decide what lives and dies has caused irreversible damage on our planet not just in the oceans. Sites such as sharksaver.org encourage everyone to help because we  humans are the only ones with the power to protect these fish. Shark finning hunters “ Every social justice we have fought for has been started by single individuals. If you want to take part in such preservation efforts you can do so by visiting sharksavers.org where you can sign petitions regarding shark conservation efforts. Something as simple as talking about this with your friends has the power to save a couple of sharks. Thank You. 

Here is an interview with a shark conservationist and marine enthusiast as well as short video.

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Valentí Sanjuan

In the beginning of this class we were told that we would have two guest speakers. Both of which we should research ahead of time. With the first speaker being Valentí I didn’t hesitate to dive into his youtube channel. Upon visiting his youtube channel you meet a very inspirational even eccentric Valentí. The Valentí that made himself his own brand and has been profiting off of it and living life to the fullest ever since. I rightfully glorified who he was because of his youtube followers but when we met him in person we met a different side of Valentí, the human aspect of him if you will. Not to cause confusion, Valentí’s personality and kindness is very transparent through his videos but listening to him in person taught me something else that his videos didn’t. It taught me that he was just a normal person who has learned to adapt to his surroundings in order to stay afloat sometimes literally and is just as curious about where the world is going as we students are. This fact was refreshing in that we talked about this man so much yet he was humble enough to ask us what we watched and why most of the girls in the class aren’t his target audience. On that subject, in class upon being asked who uses youtube regularly me and maybe one other student raised there hands which alarmed Valentí. I however wouldn’t be alarmed because the demographic of the class is to blame for their lack of youtube use. Of course a group of 20 year old sorority girls is going to say that they would rather look at pictures on instagram or watch netflix than watch a youtube video but this is because of who they are and the abroad world they are living in now at 20 years old. Perhaps down the line in their professional lifes they discover how much information youtube has to offer through Ted talks for example than Instagram through pictures they will begin utilizing this tool, or not. Whichever the case this demographic in my class has never been Valentí’s target audience per say, I understand that his message of inspiration doesn’t have an “audience” but his action sports motive does and this audience is very alive and not going anywhere on youtube.  I look up to how he has made a market for himself and his ultramans on youtube, that in itself would be enough to follow him but he has also his digital storytelling team behind him helping produce content nearly everyday which is an amazing feat. One of my biggest issues with youtube is the amount of time a viewer has to wait until a channel uploads a new video but with content coming in everyday Valentí keeps his audience engaged on a daily basis. I’m curious to see where this road takes Valentí, I have no doubt that his creative and down to earth nature will forever put him in a position to be his own boss. Respectfully, I also hope he doesn’t worry too much about what he learned in class for the future of his spanish action sports channels success and market shouldn’t be evaluated through the opinion of 20 or so college girls. They may not be his audience now but somewhere down the road I wouldnt be surprised if they stumbled across one of Valentí’s videos and one video is all he need to gain someones interest.

The myth, the legend, Mavericks California

Mavericks is A place that was once surrounded with myth and speculation just off the foggy coast of small town half moon bay breaks a wave bigger than five-story buildings. A break that would forever change the history of both the california coastline and surf history forever.  The ocean covers more than 70% of our earth & nearly 95% of it remains undiscovered. Mavericks used to be within the 95% of the unexplored until 1967. Although I have never surfed this break, my fascination with this wave came at ten years old when my dad showed me a picture on the front page of a magazine featuring a guy riding a mountain of a wave. The fact that this wave was 30 min. from my house only added to my juvenile stoke. In the following segment, I will detail the history of Mavericks, explain how this particular wave is generated, and how surfers survive this wave.

Currently the wave Mavericks breaks about half a mile off the coast of Pillar Point harbor in half-moon bay California, just 30 min. from the San Francisco bay area. But the story of Mavericks begins 49 years earlier when three local surfers paddled out and watched the massive waves from afar when Alex Matienzo’s pet german Shepard named Maverick swam out to the lineup, this prompted them to name the wave after him. Mavericks was once one of the best kept secrets on earth, and the pioneer who first rode it Jeff Clark, is responsible for keeping this notorious wave a secret for some 25 years.  Although Jeff was 17 years old when he first tamed this 40 ft beast, a 16 year old santa Cruz kid named Jay Moriarty was featured dropping in on a 45 ft. wave on the cover of surfer magazine in 1994.

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What causes such colossal waves here is due to a few factors. One being it’s geopgraphic location. Deep water storms from Japan or Alaska generate powerful swells. Once they reach the Californian coast the surge of water funnels through an underwater canyon caused by a fault, the water is then kicked up off a 20 ft. reef causing a perfect double up (Two separate waves merge to one), generating waves bigger than 60 ft. when it’s firing.This environmental phenomenon is only possible during october through early spring, although it’s said to be the biggest during december and january.Finally, how to survive this wave. There are quite a few cringe worthy factors that make Mavericks so unique.The obvious fear factor, the fact that it’s in the red triangle (shark conservation sanctuary), the water temperature and the deep reef. “If you want the ultimate ride, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price.”-mark Foo (1994). One cannot simply surf this wave without training. Jay Moriarty trained for four years previous to surfing it, and others train their whole lives for a wave the size of that. Surfers stay safe by firstly knowing where to paddle out, triangulating rocks and stationary objects to keep position. In conclusion, Mavericks is the only known big wave surf spot on the CA coast, with most of the Northern CA coastline still unexplored the next Mavericks could be just an adventure away.cropped-mj-618_348_mavericks-a-brief-history-of-riding-giants-california-style3.jpg

La vida

I have been in Barcelona for a couple months now and time couldn’t be moving faster. The emersion in the slow paced life is ironically making my time here feel fast. I think having already been through the culture shock when I was 14 has made me much more eager to explore, effectively desensitizing any feelings of “shock”. I think the key to overcoming any major homesickness is keeping busy and briefly in touch with life back home via social networks. Things such as watching movies and listening to music makes you still feel connected to that american world. At the same time It is also necessary to limit some of that American influence. Limit in the sense of turning off your phone, or not using snapchat all day. It is good to connect but people often mislabeled obsession with connection, including me! For example, I notice when someone sees something pretty instead of enjoying it they shuffle in there pockets for their phone so that they can post it on their snapchat story that their friends don’t even fully watch. What I’m trying to say is actually be in that moment and although you might get a good flick nothing compares to that initial feeling of actually being there and in that aura. In terms of keeping busy… on a tour of the city the guide identified Barcelona as 60 miles long. With a mere 120 days here, I have an unthinkable amount to explore. Not to mention weekend trips to neighboring countries. There simply isn’t enough time to get caught up in shock like emotions surrounding travel. Keeping busy keeps us sane and the same holds true no matter what part of the world we’re in. There is empowerment in the most simple things such as walking or reading and what better place to indulge in such activities than Barcelona. In addition to Barcelona, another European gift is how insanely close other countries are to one another. A couple weeks ago I visited Nice and was amazed to see how close and different the cultures were. I also distinctly remember crossing from Malaga into Morocco on a Ferry and Spain and Morocco are two very different countries. Again the close vicinity of them is fascinating to me.

Heath Ledger

 

 

lords_of_dogtown_185x270The inspiration for this post came after re watching my favorite movie in high school, Lords of Dogtown. A fast paced surfer movie about the birth of skateboarding and a skate culture that would rule the Californian coast for decades to come. In Lords of Dogtown Ledger plays a strung out beach bum turned store owner/ skate team manager. He plays a character that the audience doesn’t like but his role compliments the movie so well. This is why I value his work so much, even as the villain i find myself rooting for him. It’s not very often that one comes out of a movie and compliments the villain. In Lords of Dogtown Ledgers physicalization is immaculate down to the bone. His every movement complimented and helped develop his character as Skip. Through his body language he made  his character emotionally felt by the audience. In one scene he is drunk hanging off the side of his shop building and his whole demeanor in this scene was controlled but in that moment it’s as if he was a better version of the shop owner from the original story they were recreating . Ledger is the type of actor that you forget is acting, and that is one of the most magical skills an actor can have. Another great example of Ledgers on screen finesse is his role as the Joker in the Dark Knight. The Joker and Skip are similar roles yet Ledgers plays them independently with great success. According to Tim Teeman of The Times Ledger “delivers a career-defining performance” as the Joker. Ledgers acting in The Dark Night is superb to say the least. He was connected to his role as the joker, and his physicality defined his character. From head to toe his posture was that of a “deranged lord of chaos”-Marc Lee, The Daily Telegraph. He carried himself in a contradicting manner, he was lackadaisically with his arms and posture but would straighten up and be direct when scaring someone. Code switching along the way. He mislead the audience a lot, from the illusion of choice with Harvey Dent to the manipulation of the Gotham city police force and government. His voice was too pristine. In a defining scene, Ledger is in a car running away form batman and he sticks his head out of the window and rolls his eyes while letting out a sadistic laugh that just sends chills up your spine. It was minor uses of voice like this that made Ledgers performance as the Joker so great. Ledgers internal work is difficult to articulate with his role as the Joker because his character is so misleading and devious. His tactics were beyond inventive and know one could anticipate the Jokers next move, yet his choices where consistent with his psychology. He was consistent with his inconsistencies, if you will. Ledger had everyone at the edge of their seats with this performance. The entire movie is one big game and the Joker in a way ends up winning.gkvyil