Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Dog Park

And Diesel, our cat...he hates being left out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wanted by the Police

Wednesday night a student was the victim of an armed robbery in Student Deck 2. The suspect, described as a 5'6" black male wearing an orange and black striped shirt and square glasses, took the student's personal property and vehicle (a black 2008 Kia Rio). The student was not physically injured. The College is working closely with the authorities on this investigation.

The safety and security of our students and staff are top priorities. As a result of this incident, we have requested that the Police Department increase its patrols and our own security staff will work to increase their visibility as well.

Please keep your safety in mind as you go to your vehicle on campus, particularly at night. Park in well-lit areas and walk with fellow students or co-workers whenever possible. Our security department will escort any student or staff member to his/her vehicle.

(Here's a thought...maybe it was Hamburglar?)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bizarre Drawings

My coworkers enjoy putting odd things on my door at work. Here's another example. I'm going to have to get the full story tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Influence and Power of the Media

The reports from Haiti is a reminder how influential the media can be.

Haiti is a third world country. When they report on the conditions, it's as if the living conditions there were fabulous to begin with. The TV screen showed an image of a child running around without shoes (as if that didn't happen before the tragedy). They report how the electricity is out (when it was probably spotty at best). People were lacking basic health care before the earthquake. Life was never "fair" in Haiti.

I don't by any means want to discredit the tragedy that has occurred 0r to downplay the amount of help that is needed. I think here in America it is easy to turn a blind eye to those countries which need assistance and it is not until the media gets a "good story" that the blindfold is taken off.

Millions of dollars and resources will funnel into Haiti now for the help they've so desperately needed for years. A good thing. A very good thing. Why can't the media just use this influence and power they have to highlight other needy people, countries, or situations to bring about welcome change and help before a tragedy hits? Why do we have to hear every night how "bad" it is here in America - how Obama's approval ratings have dropped, how there may be one more democrat in office replacing Kennedy, or how expensive this war is becoming? We should use the power of the media to help vs. agitate people.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Journey from Cameroon, Africa

I met a young man who was in our IT area. After 12 years here I would think I would have met most of the people or at least heard their names mentioned. But in IT, people seem to come and go so quickly.

This young, IT expert had an usual accent that I couldn't place. When I asked where he was from, he said, "Africa, the country of Cameroon." "Wow!" I thought, "I have so many questions." "How long have you been in the US?" "What is that accent?" "What brought you here?" "What's it like in Cameroon?" "Did you have a big family?" "Is your family still there?"

This is what he told me:
He was from a small farming community. He had 11 brothers and sisters. His farming father died of a heart attack (they think) in 2007 and shortly thereafter his mother died from surgery complications. He has felt responsible for his siblings ever since.

He had an uncle from the city who was well educated. This uncle was a role model for him and inspired him to go to school and get a job; to make his life "better."

After high school, in 2002, he joined the military in Cameroon. His military training was spent in Colorado and lasted two years. While here in the states, he quickly learned English. That accent I heard was French. He transferred back to the Cameroon, using his military trained IT skills to help the Cameroon army. He was given more responsibility and became in charge of the military budget. This job came with much anxiety due to the level of corruption. He said he was opposed to the level of corruption and ethically could not condone that behavior. His life was now in danger because of this dilemma. The level of corruption and crime runs deep in Cameroon and the military was no exception.

He put in for a transfer to the US. He said he wasn't "given a hard time" about it. In 2007 he was given a green card and offered a ticket to the US. He jumped on the plane and was excited to start a new chapter in his life, leaving his 10 siblings behind in Africa.

Because of his IT skills, he decided to start his own business. Things really took off - that was until the economy tanked. Customers vanished and he pulled the business out of the rental space back into his house and decided to look for a part-time job. He eventually landed at the college part-time and then became full-time.

In December, he successfully adopted three of his sisters and much like him, they boarded a plane for a new life here in the US. He had such a big smile on his face when he spoke about how fantastic Christmas was this year with family around. I asked him why just his sisters and why only three? He said, "it's too late for the others." "What do you mean too late?" I said. He said, "they are already corrupted or male and they'll be fine. It's very dangerous in Cameroon for women and these are the only ones I could afford to get out." Holy smokes - I thought. HOLY SMOKES! He said that there is so much poverty that everyone is a criminal of some sort. Stealing isn't even given a second thought. "You steal for money to just put food on the table," he said. He can't go back to Africa and live like that. He said he feels "it's not the right way to live."

His three sisters are having a tough time in school because of the language barrier. But he says they are excited to be here in the US. He proudly showed me a photo of them on the computer. Beautiful teenagers a bit "culture shocked (his words)"

He's been working on his computer certifications and still maintains his home business. He sends money back to the other siblings and is paying for all of their private schooling.

My time wound down and I had to leave. I thanked him for sharing his story with me and I congratulated him on having found a better life.

Savor the details.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't Smoke Crack...

I've had a cold for nearly three weeks. I took yesterday off to rest. When I returned to work, this sign was sitting on my chair. It makes little sense - but it sure made me smile. A good example of how goofy my coworkers can be. Plus, if you are a graphic designer, you can pretty much expect unusual printed "gifts" from your other design pals. Savor the details.