As a student with a disabled parent and also a brother of a University of Arizona student, I have watched my family’s first hand struggle to make ends meet while trying to provide financial assistance for my brother’s college education. My hope is that MESA will consider helping to support my goals with a tuition waiver or scholarship. With the organizations help I would be better able to concentrate on studies without having to be concerned about adding to my family’s financial worries.

    Education is of paramount importance for me, regardless of the any challenges I may face. My parents were always active during my childhood, taking an interest in what I did by spending hours taking me to libraries, museums, zoos and community events. By the time I was eight my mother became disabled and had less time to guide my education or contribute financially, so my father began working twelve-hour days. I was left on my own to forge my own path in life. I am proud to say that with the assistance of many incredible teachers and due to my hard work my, grades are excellent.

    Another test that I faced was the severe lack of exposure to even the basics of engineering. I had always wondered what tasks an engineering career encompassed, but never really had the opportunity. That’s when my counselor suggested I look into MESA and I’m glad she did. MESA introduced me to all of the interesting programs, classes towards my major and friendly students at the University of Arizona. MESA has been important in laying the groundwork for my future career in engineering. After enrolling in Mr. Campbell’s MESA class at Flowing Wells High School, I was offered hands on experiences with real engineers and establishing lasting friendships while gaining invaluable insights through brainstorming and collaborating on projects. I was able apply what I’ve learned about engineering to the following competitions: Siege Saturdays, MESA Regionals, and MESA Days.

    On Siege Saturday, 2002, our team arrived with our trebuchet only to discover, to our dismay, that we had interpreted the instructions of eight-- 8 foot two by fours to mean we could use sixty-four linear feet in our construction. Disqualified, we took the trebuchet off to the side and after a few quick measurements determined a way to meet the criteria was to remove lengths of wood from the base so that it would not reduce the overall efficiency. We asked Dr. Ortega if he would please reconsider our project for the competition and were ecstatic when he said we qualified. It was very gratifying to win in several categories and it was an incredible experience it was to learn how to handle unpredictable conditions. By rethinking and rebuilding the trebuchet, our team achieved great success at the competition.

    Since we did so well at Siege Saturday, the same competition in 2003 became battle to beat our previous records. We did not take home any trophies this year we still believed we succeeded. We had gained so much confidence from the previous year’s experiences that we looked for a novel way to improve distance and accuracy by adding rockers to the trebuchet. Many of the engineers at Siege 2003 applauded our ideas commenting, that it was an innovative design and well worth exploring.

    Siege Saturday competition is just one example of how MESA has motivated me to try my best in life through projects and to mingle with not only my teammates, but also professional engineers. One of the finest benefits of the MESA competitions is that I have regained lost time with my mother, who is now able to attend all of the events. This time has allowed us to grow closer in a way she and I have deeply missed.

    Today, my aspirations are to study at the University of Arizona in one of my three fields of interest-- chemical, optical or material engineering. I would also like to expand my social horizons through campus life at the University of Arizona. As a student of a disable parent I am trying my best to find several scholarships because I desire to earn an internship through the University of Arizona with a company such as Raytheon or Honeywell, so that I can go on to become productively employed. After I get established as a student, I look forward to joining the MESA organization at the University of Arizona and to promote the MESA program. Through MESA, one day I want to help junior high and high school students achieve their academic and career goals, by showing them that I could overcome life’s difficulties and reach my dreams.*

MESA is a national organization designed to attract students to industries based on mathematics, science or engineering skills. This is the essay my son wrote as part of the application process. Today he received a one-time award for a tuition wavier from the Office of Early Academic Outreach at the University of Arizona. Mr Leon writes:

    Your academic achievements and future goals are commendable and we are proud that you were a Mathematics, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) student. As a college bound senior you are an excellent role model for other program participants.

*Used with permission.


Sons are a heritage from the LORD , children a reward from him.
-Psalm 127:3

Devotion

Well that's it - it finally happened.
I've become one of those people who sit in a stinky coffee shop with their lil' laptop and being all lonely and chic.
Bah I tell you
Bah

So its been a while since I've really written anything on here, and I suppose its mainly because I have nothing to say - so why fill up space with empty crap-loaded babble. But I've now come to some sort of strange awakening being all alone. After a couple of breakdowns and stupid moves, I've come to terms with the daily life of a lonely person. Although I'm not thrilled about it, I'm not exactly depressed anymore. I'm actually getting used to it and finding that its actually not that bad...

yay indeed

Unfortunately, I still have a sense of uneasiness when I lay down at night. It seems as though I'm just laying down to get the day over with and then tomorrow I'll just start over with the same old craptastic shit. I go through my day

6:30 am - fucking cute puppy wakes my lazy ass up and eats my hair to get me up to feed and water him
8:00 am - i actually get up and do those things and go to school
3:00-sometime later- i come home and feel like ass for a while and then do homework or play the sitar or something
midnight - go to sleep and hope that tomorrow is better

lather, rinse, repeat

For some reason when I was with someone I didn't have this horrible empty feeling at night. But perhaps that was because I was focused mainly on someone else. I was reducing the 'I' as a certain Dr. Gucharadan Das said in his talk on Karma Yoga at UT a few weeks ago. He was speaking of the renouncing of the fruits of action and the like as found in the BhagavadgItA. The way one can acheive a life without suffering is to reduce the 'I'- perform your actions in life not for yourself but for the sake of the action. This can be accomplished by focusing on work, or others, or as in the bhakti tradition - in a god/God/gods/goddess.

This is super easy to do when one is say, performing in front of a group of people and you are in the moment- you are performing whatever and putting all your effort and thought into that action. The performance isn't yours, you can't keep it and take it home at night to cuddle up with, but you can just kick ass for its own sake. Recently, in my Bharatnatyam dancing I am finding solace in performing. The feeling that I get when I am up on stage performing these beautiful dances is unreal- It's as if I am there doing the dance, but when its over I can't even remember the details of my performance. That's exactly was Dr. Das was referring to, you should be performing the action with a reduced sense of yourself.

Genius!

I just wish I could do that all the time- then I could possibly cut out a lot of this MayA (worldly-illusion) and end the crap ass suffering of being alone.

Maybe.

Well, I don't daylog but I'm daylogging... here it goes!

I was listening to music as I always do while I'm at my computer, with random play through my 3000-song MP3 collection. Bruce Cockburn's classic "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" came up and one line caught my attention, more so than usual:

You've gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight

The violence of this imagery is quite striking, especially for one familiar with the pacifism of Cockburn's earlier work. Yet at the same time it seems so vibrantly true, especially when combined with the previous line "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight". This couplet seems to me the core of Cockburn's message, a terse and vivid image that ranks up with the best song lyrics of all time.

But this is a daylog, and it's supposed to be about me, not about Bruce Cockburn. I am currently in the final stages of my bachelor's degree in physics; in a little over a week I will be finished. This last term has been very difficult, in so many different ways. The coursework has been demanding, but if that were it I'd be just fine. But I've also had my honours laboratory and honours project to do, which are both a lot of work. This was really exacerbated by me not working on them between the middle of November and the last week of January, something that came back to bite me later. My honours project report is due next Thursday, which is an extension from last Monday. I finished making measurements last week (that is, to say, the last week of March), meaning that I started really working on the report two days before it was originally due. I also had one exam this week and will have two next week. So there is a lot of work ahead of me.

School wasn't the only thing that's happened so far this year, either. On a whim, back in January I started taking swing dance lessons with a club up at the university and while I was there I met this girl... Sufficent to say, I fell fast and I fell hard, and for the first time in my life it didn't quickly become clear that the interest was unrequited. We even went out for coffee once. But, eight weeks after it all began she made it clear to me that it was just as friends that that happened, as she was in fact seeing someone else beginning about the time we met. I got over this surprisingly quickly, considering my history (the last time I was rejected it took six weeks to really get over it, this time was closer to six hours), and with a wonderful boost to my confidence. (I was let down so gently that it didn't even really hurt). So this took time and attention away from school which desperately needed it.

I've also had to take care of my plans for next year, i.e. grad school. Filling applications, getting reference letters, and so on and so on, all of this needed to be done. In the end the choice was between the University of British Columbia and McGill University, and I officially decided to take a place at UBC on March 25. So that's one thing settled.

So what does all of this have to do with that Cockburn lyric? Well, about three weeks ago now I realised that I'd run out of steam. With everything I'd been doing, from schoolwork to dance lessons to grad school to several other important things, I'd exhausted all of my reserves and was left with a large pile of homework, exams, and my honours project to do. It became a struggle each day to do what was necessary and then get out of bed the next day. It was a fight, every step of the way (and I'm not finished yet...), and then I hear 'Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight' and I think "Yep, that's true..."

Forgive my ramblings, I didn't intend to write so much...

My writeups veer toward the factual when I'm in serious emotional turmoil.

It's true. Seriously.

When I've been blown off, insulted or left in the lurch by...whatever or whomever (generally whomever, these days) I write some of the most complete, factually correct and intelligent nodes I ever have. Except this one. There's a germ of truth here, but it's buried somewhere so deep even I can't find it anymore.

There's something about the comfort of this place. I can say, "Hey. I know I didn't get a call from (dot dot dot) when I was supposed to. I know I have no idea as to what's going through her head, whether she's seriously busy or if she's really at that orgy she was talking about, whether she's ignoring me or playing some game. Ha ha. Actually, I have no idea as to where I stand with her right now. At all. Not one bit."

"But you know what I DO know? I know that if I post something totally serious and completely factual over on e2, I'll probably be rewarded with up-votes and a kind message or two. Screw her. At least everything's dependable in a completely ambiguous, random and totally comprehensible sort of way."

THIS system, this collective we've forged out of nothing, I understand the workings of. Women, I don't think I'll ever understand.

Erica, if you pick this up today and read it, the entry I referred to yesterday is the next older one, not this one. I've been doing a lot of writing lately, and it's probably a lot to take in all at once.

Well, color me stunned. I wrote my writeup for April 8, 2004, expressed myself honestly and openly, and left things wide open for the world to see, flaws and all. I expected silence, or insults, or even the dreaded "get over it, you selfish asshole" response.

Earlier today I checked in to do some reading on E2, and noticed my message inbox flooded with messages. Nineteen in total, from people who seemed genuinely concerned about me. It gave me a spark of hope to hear such kindness from relative strangers whose only common bond is this vaporous nebula of content and thought that is Everything2.

I feel a little better today. Part of me says I shouldn't, since it's going to get worse before it gets better. I still feel this tremendous weight on my shoulders and I still feel like I'm collapsing from it.

While wallowing in my own miserable self-pity yesterday, I made a horrible mistake that affected my performance on the job. My employer talked about it with me, and has seemingly gotten over it and forgiven the choice I made and its resulting consequences. I still feel bad, though, as my selfish choice to try to get some sleep meant the phone calls that came through woke her up instead. She, too, has problems sleeping these days, and I hate contributing to them. Yesterday, I did. I will make sure I pay for that.

As I sit here, downstairs in her apartment on the futon that bruises me every night I sleep on it, I look around and notice a lot of cute things. My cat Maggie is curled up inside my comforter which had just come out of the dryer a few hours ago. I didn't even get to sleep in it yet and she's already got her fur all over it. Still adorable as hell though. One of Erica's cats is perched up on the cat toy calmly staring out into the back yard, hoping for something to entertain her. Erica's jacket and a bunch of shoes are on the floor over by her chair, reminding me just how beautiful and adorable her small frame are. She could probably fit both her feet into one of my shoes.

I still don't think I'm really feeling that much right now. As I described yesterday, it's cold and vacant in here right now, and it bugs me. I stand outside at night, when it's freezing cold, but I don't shiver or get chills. It feels like I do on the inside. I'm almost to the point where I'm willing to inflict pain on myself to see if I can still feel anything. Then again, I do get something pretty severe inside myself when I hear she's going off with her chosen partner for a weekend (next weekend).

Weird thing is she told him she had to be home by Sunday evening so she could do something special with me for my birthday.

... and that, my friends, is when my soul came back to life ...

She wants him. She's spending more and more time with him. She is putting him back in her life. Meanwhile I'm moping about, living with her so she sees almost every moment of it when she's awake, and having trouble even putting myself back together, much less living a decent life. I talk to her constantly about feelings I'm sure she wishes I didn't feel and wishes I wouldn't share with her. I'm clingy, needy, and lonely, and right now she's all I've got. That burden must be immense.

Yet with all that going on, she still tells the guy she's with now, who incidentally hates my guts and has told her several times he's sick of hearing about me, and that he wants me out of her life, that she has to be home in time to celebrate my birthday.

Now that is love. A person who didn't care about me, who didn't love me, who didn't feel something for me, would not do that. She's putting strain that isn't strictly needed on a fragile, delicate relationship that's still trying to get off the ground, just so she can spend time with someone she cares about on a day she thinks is special for him.

I'm just floored. I'm grateful that this universe has seen fit to put someone as special as her in my life. It gives me a ray of hope, which is enough to pull me through some of this for now. It's gotten me thinking "hey, maybe the universe has some more special things in store for you." It's still immensely painful to keep going, but slowly, very slowly, things are happening to me to dissuade my opinion that I'm done now.

This is still hard shit. Even with everyone's kind words and thoughts, I have real trouble finding hope and motivation to keep going on through all this. I still hurt. There's a gaping hole inside that's bleeding profusely, and I'm afraid that part of me is leaking out through it. I'm afraid the damage may be too much this time for me to heal properly, and I'm afraid of the scar it might leave once it's closed up and gone.

But maybe I can hold on until my birthday this year now. I've never really celebrated my birthday before in any special way... maybe she has something special in mind for me.

My shift starts in a few minutes, so it's time to wrap up for now. I don't know right now how I feel about trying to keep going. There's a lot pushing me to just give up. There's something, now, pulling me to hold on. I don't know which will win, honestly. I loathe not knowing what's going to happen to me, even in the next few days. There's still lots of real-life stuff outside this seemingly failed romance (it still pisses me off that he wrote it was "doomed to failure" ... thanks for planting that seed in her head, dude, thanks a lot) going on that really scares me. This contract thing might be running out of steam in the next few days, for instance. If that gets cancelled, I'll have been wasting time I could have been using to build something else that might make me some damned money -- something I desperately need fairly quickly.

The sleep problems persist. It is now almost 8:00am PST, and I've been awake since 4:00pm yesterday. I will likely be up all day today without the benefit of a nap or other form of rest. Uh-oh.

... did I just write "dude" up there? ...

Our universe was an an act of volition.

We are here. This had to have come about via some kind of mechanism. Someone or something had to put something in motion to create us. Why was there a big bang at all? "It's turtles all the way down" is not an adaquate answer. The universe exists, and we grope for reasons why it is so.

What threw the switch? What force or entity made the decision and/or intitiated the action to create the universe that spawned us?

Even if you are an atheist, you have to acknowledge that there has to be a beginning of some kind. Conversely, your favorite flavor of God may or may have not done the trick.

We may not know the nature of the miracle of existence, but that doesn't mean that we should not appreciate it. Whether you believe in Adam's rib or in Darwin' fish, you have to appreciate that once there was a time where we did not exist (and eventually will no longer exist). Some agent, be it divine or mundane, started a process that lead to us.


On a related note, the underlying fact that this universe exists and operates the way it does means that there are levels of complexity far deeper than we may probably ever be able to determine. Any theory we may put forward is an approximation at best. For example, Superstring theory is a mathmatical model at best, and does not describe with any reality the true nature of the universe.

Thanks to isogolem for pointing out Godel's theorem for incompleteness. Which makes me think of Plato's cave.

Things from my past keep coming back to haunt me. Every time I think I've escaped them, I hear a familiar line or get an old feeling that just makes me say 'oh yeah, I remember this place'.

Even the hurt is so familiar that it's boring. It's the frustration that kills.

So hard to know what I should do with myself when things are so out of my hands like this. And it's almost funny...trying to be a pretender in the land of the blissfully ignorant. I try so hard to be happy for others, even when I know they're making stupid mistakes of the heart and of logic. But it's so hard. Why do I feel like I've been down every possible road that I can go down here, like the only chance for something new...something, God help me, *satisfying* is somewhere else. I got into my car tonight and I screamed until I almost lost my mind, and yet almost found it at the same time. Almost. It's not the pain, it's the sheer and utter helplessness and futility that puts me so close to the edge, all I can do is look down and get dizzy from the height.

How can I even go to someone with this? I don't need words, I need someone to just be there, but no one understands that. Everyone that knows me has be there as their rock, but I can't do it for awhile. I need to break down, but I lost the manual in my long struggle to be strong. Is it possible for the rock to crack itself? I need some relief from the pressure before it breaks me and I end up in a rubber room somewhere. Even tonight, all the displays of people taking for granted what they have, the spiteful plans of revenge, the belligerent denial and outright rage at petty, petty things. I had to flee...I couldn't be there. I'm sorry to everyone who wanted me to stay around, but I just couldn't. There's just been too much confided to me in the past few weeks. And tonight was a cornucopia of jaded thoughts and situations, stabbing into me like hot knives. Who can blame me for screaming insanely in the car? I just couldn't take a second more.

The worst part is, I know I've got it easy, so I have no right to complain...compared to the things that people have been telling me about themselves. But I feel like by taking all of this stuff on, I also share in their hurt, their anger, their frustration. And it all piles up. It hurts.

I know I have to get out of here, but what then? I know if I do go somewhere else, I'll become so much of a hermit that I will have no one in my life. I already trust so few people, and some of them are people I've known for a long time. How am I to trust someone new? How can I trust anyone when they lay their previous deceptions bare for me to make judgment on? Who am I to forgive them of their sins like they so vainly want me to? Who does the confessor go to when he's about to break? God is there, but it's the holidays...he's busy.

One day soon, I will be gone and alone, far away from any drama and all of my past. I'll be smiling then, even if it is only to myself. And I won't be your fucking pincushion anymore. Who oh who will you tell your dark secrets to then, I wonder?

It's no secret I'm disillusioned with most teachers these days. Hence why I'm homeschooling 2 of my 3 kids. However, there is a reason that Max is still in school. Today was a very good example.

I got up this morning and took Max to school. I told Ms. Ashe that I would be back shortly with some eggs and candy and such to help get ready for the Egg Hunt and Party. A few of the other moms and I spent the morning stuffing eggs and writing the kids' names on them. 15 eggs per kid was the final tally. We went to lunch with the kids and then proceeded to run out and hide all 330 eggs on the playground and waited for the kids to arrive.

Imagine 22 kids, already excited and anxious, searching for eggs with their names. You'd probably expect at least ONE heated discussion, right? No. They each knew they were supposed to have 15 and would say "I'm missing 2" and another kid would be right there helping them. Lots of calls of "Ohhhh, Maaaaxxxxx" or "Darrian! I think I saw one of yours around here close".

Then we played some games. There was no intense rivalry. It was just fun for them. When one of the kids stepped in fire ants and I put him on my back and ran him into the office, the kids were all helping to make sure none of his stuff got left behind.

When we returned to the classroom, we had some activities set up for the kids. Decorating cupcakes (icing and all), connect-the-dots sheets, graphing with jellybeans and making bunny visors. You would think perhaps there would be some chaos. There was none. The principal even walked in at one point and we were all very proud to see her smile at this well behaved class.

Now, my middle son's former class was always quiet, but that's because they were afraid of their teacher. Ms. Ashe doesn't rule with an iron fist. She's caring and compassionate and helpful. She never gives up on a single kid. There are a few, my Max included, that have some problems. Max's happens to be speech and immaturity. He was just barely 5 when he entered Kindergarten and looking back, I might have waited a year, but I'm so glad I didn't. She hasn't given up on him and now we've gone 6 weeks without a single "Didn't get his work done" day.

I wish she could just follow him through all his years in school. If all teachers were like her, I'd probably re-think homeschooling.

At the end of the day as all the other parents and teachers had these looks of "Calgon, take me away", it was a testament to how great a class we have this year. Sure, I was tired...it was a long day...but I wasn't ready to run and hide. Neither were the other parent volunteers in our class. When you watch kids make a beeline to hug their teacher BEFORE running for the candy and cakes and goodies, you know there's something special about her.

I thank her for enriching the lives of not only 22 kids this year, but also the lives of their families that she has truly touched. I know Max will never forget the great experience he's had this year...and I know I won't either.

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