Long Hot Summer- Elon in LA in 50 words

Lessons learned in Los Angeles? Too many to name, but it’s not what you’re doing but who you’re with that matters: stuck in traffic or just feeling stuck. So, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for spending the summer with me, dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign.

A Day In The Life

Even before entering The Price Is Right lot in Hollywood, it was clear our group didn’t necessarily fit into the “ordinary” category of game show contenders. We weren’t all wearing matching shirts professing our love to Drew Carey, and it was clear we weren’t exactly the target audience. (As I for one have only seen the show enough to know the basic, and I mean basic, premise of the game).

Even looking past the debacle of slightly underestimating the length of the taping, it’s exciting to acknowledge the prospect of appearing as an audience member of a game show, especially one so renowned as The Price Is Right.

As we were all interviewed before the actual taping, by what must have been Drew Carey’s stunt double, I crossed my fingers hoping one of us would be selected to “Come On Down!” So imagine the look of my face (or just witness it for yourself on Decemeber 15th) when George Gray called my name, and I was thrust to the podium, realizing I know absolutely nothing about how much pool tables cost. Apparently, I overestimated just a tad. And although I left mostly empty handed (with the promise of my very own embroidery kit! and some sort of lighting gift certificate in the mail), I can honestly say my stint on The Price Is Right is a memory I will never forget.

Touring Los Angeles, the second time around

When my mother made her trip halfway across the country to make a very special visit to her favorite daughter, I knew I needed to make the most of her very short visit. On our drive back from LAX, we made a pit stop to explore 3rd Street Promenade and the pier and beach of Santa Monica. Once we decided we weren’t quite prepared for a beach day, we were off once more, driving the scenic route through the entire city. We stopped again at Griffith Observatory, after winding our way through those famous hills. The views were obviously breathtaking, and I tagged along close to a father and family so at least there was someone who could explain to my mother and I what exactly we were looking at.

Later, after much insisting on my mom’s part, I was coaxed into taking her on a tour of my apartment. Now I want it to be clear that I am in no way ashamed of the state of my room, but I also wasn’t adamant about making the Oakwood tour a part of our agenda. Being so close to my internship site, Glassman Media, I was also convinced my both my mom and my supervisor to drop in to show my mom where exactly I’ve been spending my time this summer.

Though nothing quite beats the stake out in our hotel, waiting for Will and Kate to arrive as part of their North American tour. With all the press and people waiting to catch just a glimpse, I feel proud to say I almost saw them and even more proud to say my mom actually did.

It’s very special to me to be able to share this summer and all that I’ve learned so far with my mom. She even commented that she was impressed how well I could maneuver myself around the city, a compliment I’m sure some of you would be shocked to realize I do not normally receive.

Getting There

So it’s the middle of our fifth week here, with four and a half weekends to go, and it’s finally come to my attention that we’ve reached/exceeded the halfway mark.  A lot of things have changed since June 3rd. I finally feel as though we’ve officially moved into our apartment. I’ve finally met my supervisor (absolutely adore her) and the big boss man. I feel like I’m learning a lot, both working at my internship and also, simply living in this city.

A lot of people may call me crazy for saying this, but one of my favorite parts of my day is driving about. Although I’m the first to admit traffic is not so much a friend as a foe, the opportunity to stare aimlessly out the car window makes every minute spent on the road worth it. Because Los Angeles is so spread out, I have officially decided one of the best things about arriving at my destination is getting there.

Is it just me or did June pass WAY too fast?

It’s hard to believe a month living in LA has already passed. We’ve been busy with work and class and trying to find the time to cross things, one at a time, off our bucket lists. As the weather gets warmer, the days simultaneously get longer, but it’s clear it’s becoming harder by the minute to squeeze enough sleep into a day already filled to the brim with endless hours of work and play.

I’m sure most can agree with me that Saturday afternoons at Elon are usually spent lounging in our living rooms with the lights off and greasy fast food in our laps, but Saturdays spent in Los Angeles are a completely different story. Having such a relatively small amount of time left to explore all the wonders LA has to offer, I feel guilty doing anything but taking advantage of these next four weeks.

With the longest weekend of my life behind me, it’s imperative I pick myself up, in between work and chores and work, and get ready for what is sure to be my favorite weekend of the summer. My favorite person in the world is visiting, my Mom, and no matter how much I’ve convinced myself I’m not actually completely exhausted, I can’t wait to show her around this crazy, hectic place I’m now proud to call home.

The Second Coming

Even before the move to Los Angeles, I had been informed (in other words warned) of all the characters I might meet upon my arrival. On our third day in LA, our tour of Hollywood Blvd, otherwise known as the ultimate in tourist destinations, made it all too clear of the extensive uniqueness of the people who coexist in this city. Almost everyday, I am reminded of the many reasons why people travel all over the world to live and work in LA, may it be the constant pursuit of success or the unique thrill the city brings to each of us.

Although I’ve been exposed to some characters in the past 4 weeks, none have been so aggressively oblivious as the West Hollywood Jesus. Spotted last Thursday at a new club off of Hollywood Way, the Messiah’s fresh white robes and long brown hair made me instantly curious. Not 30 seconds later was I informed that yes, WeHo was the home to a very distinct and well known character, perhaps the most well known of all time, JC. Although I’m sure not one of the club-goers was planning on being saved that evening, Jesus did provide some entertainment and photo opportunities. I wasn’t sure then, and it still puzzles me thinking about what Jesus was doing out past midnight hanging around a bunch-a sinners, but as the closest thing to a celebrity sighting I’ve seen thus far, I sure wasn’t complaining.

Below is my most challenged paparazzo attempt in capturing the one and only, WeHo Jesus.

The Death Penalty: Which Side Are You On?

The highly controversial subject matter became the topic of conversation when Rick Halperin, one of the top four authorities nationwide on the death penalty, made a visit to Elon Thursday.

By Sydney Williams

            The death penalty has changed over time, adopting different qualities through different circumstances. Amnesty International activist, Rick Halperin, continued this debate at Elon University on Thursday. “This is not a happy topic,” he said.
            It is Halperin’s life mission to demolish the foundation on which the death penalty lies, and he contends it is simply a matter of when, not if. For Halperin, the death penalty stems from the disease of violence in this country.
            Capital offenses have changed throughout time, from Colonial America to the present, but the death penalty still serves the same function, with the hope to deter people from similar behavior.
            In the United States, 34 states have the death penalty, in addition to the federal government and the military. But who exactly receives the death penalty? Halperin asks. “We want to believe it is the worst of the worst,” he said, adding that not all death row inmates are guilty. He noted that 136 innocent people have been put to death over the course of American history, “How many innocent people have to be killed before America says, ‘Too Many’?” Halperin asked.

            The human rights activist used the example of Kerry Max Cook, a death row inmate tried four times for a crime he did not commit. He was beaten and raped in prison and spent 23 years waiting for his freedom.
            “What is the nature of punishment?” Halperin asked, noting that this is where the debate has always been. “Society has a right to be protected from violent offenders but what does it say about getting rid of people like that?” He said even people who are guilty of the most vicious and horrendous crimes, are still people. Halperin is not interested in seeking freedom for people who may not deserve it, but only means to protect their lives. The death penalty raises disturbing ethical questions. “Is it justice?” Halperin asked and he answered, “Well, not to me.”
            Many Supreme Court cases have served the purpose of documenting how the criminal justice system has adapted and progressed. Cases such as Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright have established rights for the accused such as a court-appointed attorney. In the modern era, one must have to commit a homicide in conjunction with another felony to be sentenced to death.
            “This institution should raise really profound and disturbing questions,” Halperin said. “Is hanging, gassing, shooting, chemically poisoning or electrocuting people the very best solution to some violent offenders that this country is capable of doing? Is that the very best we can do as a nation?”