Personal Budget

I was watching the Spanish news with my parents yesterday and the story that grabbed my attention was about a family who were forced to sell their personal belongings for a quick buck. I can’t imagine myself selling my gold necklace that was giving to me by my parents for my quinceañera. I’m thankful that I haven’t seen myself in that need but I do understand the motivation behind it. It’s upsetting to see how the financial crisis has pushed people to the limit. I used to believe that the United States– being such a powerful nation and known as the land of opportunities– couldn’t suffer this way. I guess there comes a time where even the strongest ruler has to step down sometimes. Of course my family is not like the one I saw on the news but we are suffering some of the same problems. Take my own for example: I’m young and as teenager there are some rules I’ve come across such as having fun as much as you can. But with gas almost reaching 5 dollars I’m about to break that rule. I own a small Nissan Sentra that used to get filled up with 25 dollars and now it takes 40 dollars. If you ask me, I could have used that extra fifteen dollars to get my nails done or something lol. I’m not a parent or a homeowner but I’m still financially hurting. As a college student money is already short but with inflation raising my pockets have been shrinking. I’ve had to put my female needs to the side and start helping more at home. In a strange way this crisis has made me more responsible, but I’ve learned enough and its time that things start changing. I hate seeing families suffering because of this. It brings me flashbacks of how people in my home country were suffering. Don’t be mistaken and believe that this problem is only affecting US citizens, because most developing countries like mine are hurting even more. My family members in El Salvador say the cost of food has increased too much for them to consider having a decent meal everyday. Instead they have to get use to having beans and rice three times a day. So for now my nails are going to have to wait until this situation gets better.

What’s The New What? Yes, It Is.

Back in business after a Van Winkle-esque slumber, Youth Radio’s cutting edge culture blog What’s the New What returns to “Teh Interwebs” on the eve of the launch of the new What’s The New What segment on NPR’s Day To Day May 22nd.

Within its virtual pages you will discover how Internships are the New Summer Jobs, The Bathroom is the New Office, Rick Ross is the new Notorious B.I.G. and much, much more.

[What’s The New What @ blogspot]

Smoking Blues

[Unathi Kondile- Youth Radio Cape Town]

At first my affair with cigarettes was one of love and hate. As a child I actually enjoyed that rich smell of Benson & Hedges. My grandfather would sit in front of the TV canning himself with one cigarette after the next. He’d take us to school and we’d get to class reeking of cigarettes but no-one ever took note of that or maybe they did, but they just didn’t associate the smell with your own child habits.

Smoking was everywhere and it seemed rather normal. At times I’d even sit outside just to savour the gardener’s roll-your-own tobacco. You’ve got to admit it! That roll-your-own tobacco stuff really has a great smell especially if it was flavoured. Ask me I’ve tried it – from cherry to strawberry to vanilla – that’s me: been there. done that.

Then there was a time during early teenagehood, that I really hated the smell of cigarettes. It was awful. I couldn’t stand it. And I somehow think it had something to do with my grandfather being diagnosed with an acute smoke-related lung disease of sorts. He then quit smoking and turned to candy. Boy was that something. We’d watch the man whom we’d grown to know as an avid smoker sitting in his favourite couch, but instead of smoking, he’d be profusely going at a piece of candy. And just like the cigarettes – one candy bar after the next.

But things got worse. In high school I was elected as a prefect. It’s amazing the stuff that goes on at high schools that one never really sees unless they start looking for it. For instance there were these groups of boys who’d always head to the rugby fields during recess. They’d lie in circles, smoking and exhaling the fumes into the grass. It was truly genius of them and no one could see the smoke. Needless to say I busted them and they hated me. A few months later I was sitting with the very same boys I’d busted holding a beer and clutching a cigarette in one had. Don’t ask me how that started.

No serious, I really don’t remember how and why I started smoking. I wasn’t stressed or suffering from any anxiety. There were no smoking role-models at home – except for that quitter called granddad, but he quit. From 2001 up until 2007 I was hooked. Smoking like my life depended on it. Things got worse in college. In college smoking seemed like a fashion statement – everyone did it and they looked damn good doing it. It even had seasons and trends. In 2003 everyone was smoking Camel Lights. And then 2004 saw Marlboro hit the South African market. From 2005 people went back to their natural habits, the fuss of American branded cigarettes faded, and people went back to mild Styvesant cigarettes. By this time I could barely run on a treadmill without jumping off after a minute. Tennis became a nightmare and my nostrils constantly felt like they were blocked. I hated smoking, but still did it. The worst was waking up and having that stale cigarette taste lingering in your mouth until you had that magical early morning smoke.

I hated smoking and thank goodness for doctor Phil. It’s really embarrassing to say this, but I’ll say it anyway: Doctor Phil changed my life. I remember staring at the TV and doctor Phil lambasting a group of addicts on his show. And then out of nowhere he said: “The best way to quit is to stop!” I realised the redundancy of that statement but it somehow resonated well with me and made sense. The only way I could quit smoking was to stop, put the cigarette down and just not have the next one.

It’s now been 7 months since I last dragged on a cigarette.

Previously By Unathi Kondile:

Name Change

Obama-Clintonostosis

Question of the Week: Social Networking Time Suck RESPONSE

Seeing as I am a patron of both Myspace AND Facebook (shh, keep it on the DL, Myspace doesn’t know I’m with Facebook, Facebook doesn’t know I’m with Myspace…there could be some drama…) I spend quite a hefty amount of time wasting away on social networking websites. If you’d wanna whittle all the intricacies and details down to just an average, I’d say about 45 minutes a day. Yikes. Now that I say it back, I realize, that’s pretty bad. Dang that’s actually so much time that I should probably start putting that as one of my extracurricular activities on my college application.

Hmm, not so sure if Cal will like that…

It’s not that I feel guilty, I just feel…well…lazy. It’s a major distraction from all those other responsibilities like homework, chores, work, blah blah blah, but it’s almost become a responsibility in itself. When I get home everyday, instead of going to my room to start on my homework, or going to go talk to my parents about my day, I go straight up to the computer for some quality time. Sure, I use it to avoid chores, but checking my Myspace and my Facebook has become a chore in itself! It’s necessary. If I don’t, I’m pretty sure something will explode. Either that, or the time-space continuum will be…well…discontinued. I need to check it at least once every 3 hours…I’ll choose it over homework, chores, a call back, talking to my mom, almost anything. But I do know that when I’m gone allllll day, and I’m tired and feelin’ like sittin’ back in front of the tube with a good ol’ cup o’ tea, now, I’d rather come home to my humble little Myspace page and feast my eyes on that cherry red “New Messages” notification, the one that’s been neglected all day while I’ve been out living my life. And however jaded that may sound, as one of my coworkers would say, “Welcome to the thousands…”

NFCB Slideshow

A collection of photos from our trip to the National Federation of Community Broadcasters  conference in Atlanta last week.

Oakland Youth/Gary King Jr. Celebration

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This is a parking lot party celebrating the youth of Oakland, building the awareness of the violence going in our community. This event will also be celebrating Gary King Jr., the 20-year old who was shot and killed by Oakland Police last September. There will be an open mic for young people to rap, sing, dance or just speak about their views on the violence in Oakland. This is a peaceful celebration where creative energy can come together and strengthen the neighborhoods of Oakland.

Sweetie Pie & Poppy
5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 547-9743
From noon-6 pm

Chris Rodriguez Fundraiser

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Chris Rodriguez is a ten-year old Oakland boy who is currently paralyzed from the waist down after being hit by a stray bullet while attending a piano lesson on January 10th, 2008. His family needs support from the community with the mounting medical bills and a wheelchair accessible home .

To this end a fund raiser will be held at the Oakland YMCA this Saturday. Event Details:

The YMCA
2350 Broadway
Oakland ca
1pm-4pm
There will be games, Dj’s, performances.
Please come out and support the community.

Also coming up: Benefit Concert @ Yoshis in Oakland, March 24, 2008.