Thursday, January 27, 2011

Introducing Seer Farms Animal Sanctuary

I want to introduce everyone to an organization that is truly inspirational. Founded by an amazing lady, Laura Pople, Seer Farms Animal Sanctuary is truly unique. It's goal is to keep families together as they navigate various life crises and challenges.

For instance, a family's house is severely damaged in a fire, forcing them to rely on the kindness of friends and or family or hotels for housing while their home is rebuilt. But, they have several pets that can't be accommodated...instead of being forced to surrender the pets to a shelter that will try to place them in a new home they leave at Seer Farms. Seer Farms cares for the pets as long as it is needed. The family can come visit at any time. When the family is ready, they are reunited with their pets.

A woman feels trapped in an abusive relationship because the cats that have been her emotional rocks can't go with her to a shelter. She can't leave because her husband threatens to kill her cats every time she tries. Seer Farms can provide sanctuary for the cats until she is safe and in a position to take the cats back.

A family loses it home to foreclosure...
An elderly widow needs emergency surgery...
Flooding destroys home...

Seer Farms Animal Sanctuary is there to help smooth transitions. This unique program has been featured in People and the Star Ledger. Check it out at:

Keep in tune to this page too, because Seer Farms is gearing up for some major fundraising efforts.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Decisions, decisions, decisions about the blood drive

Actually, it really is only one major decision that I have to make about the blood drive. Do I organize it for near my house in the Morris County area or do I find a location down near Edison?

Obviously, near my house is more convenient for me, but I know a lot of people that live closer to central Jersey...

To some extent, it will depend on who will lend us space. I'm planning on approaching a couple of malls about using empty storefronts. Whoever donates space first might be the winner. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Did it again - and this time I need your help

Hey Everyone,

I did it again - bit off more than I can chew. I have volunteered to organize a blood drive. (I really should never be allowed to get bored.)

Seriously, NJ is facing a blood shortage - and not a minor one. Winter storms and colds cause cancellations of donation appointments leading to increased strain on a system that is already falling short of meeting our needs. More can be read about this at (I would embed the video, but I don't remember how to do this...will have to work on that.)

We count on the blood to be there when we need it. Most of us don't even think about it, but what happens if we run out? The thought is terrifying for people like me that rely on the generosity of donors to keep us alive.

So, I volunteered to try an help correct this. So, how can you help (beyond donating blood)? I need people to help me pre-register donors. I need help spreading the word.

The first step falls to me - finding a location. It's going to be about two months out. So, anyone that could give me a hand....

Getting back up to speed

Hi Everyone,

I know - a long time has passed since I posted last. I've decided to resurrect my blog in order to highlight some of my favorite causes and events. Here are some topics that I'm sure will pop up.

Seer Farms Animal Sanctuary - Seer farms is a truly unique concept founded by my good friend Laura Pople. The fundamental goal of the program is to keep families together - both the human ones and the furry/scaled/feathered ones. You'll hear lots more about them as we gear up our new fundraising program.

Equality/Diversity - Whether it is LGBTI * rights, gender rights, disability awareness, anti-bullying...everyone has the right to be who and what they are and without persecution ...what's that sentence on our Declaration of Independence?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Blood Donations -
Do you ever think about what would happen if you needed blood in an emergency and there was none available for you? I do, mostly because it is the generosity of blood donors that has been keeping me alive. Guess what - NJ is having a shortage of blood. So, I am encouraging everyone to donate (I would if I could). I'm also starting the process of organizing a blood drive. Details to come.

Enough for the moment. I'm off to organize something.

*LGBTI = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersexed - sometimes a Q is included for either the term Queer or Questioning.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Returning Home

Hey Everyone,

It has been a while since I posted and I apologize for that. However, I am going to be returning home, so you can beat me up next time you see me.

Talk to you soon.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vastly Different Study Styles

Today's photo is from yesterday's trip to see the Palace-Temple of the Old Mother, Laoma Gong. I just love these little guys!

This is just an initial impression, but it seems that I have a vastly different study style than the Chinese students that are in my class. Admittedly, my study style is also very different than many American students; I have a very strong geek gene - Thanks Dad!

None of the students really take notes in class. They might scribble a few things in their textbooks but that is about it. I also have yet to see any of them take notes from the book, but that could be that I haven't yet talked to the right students. Index cards! They don't seem to be readily available here...I have yet to find any and I am down to my last 10 cards. They are key to my studying.

I was talking to one student about how they study and he just didn't seem to understand how using multiple tools helps you learn material. He told me he just reads the book, comes to class and reviews the PowerPoint slides. He did say that sometimes he reads aloud, but that is it. I can't imagine learning without using all of the tools available to you, listening, writing, reviewing, drawing, practicing, diffusion...

The gentleman that invited me here also said that he wanted his students to learn more abut self-study and critical thinking. There has been little discussion in classes - they have been almost pure lecture.

I am going to continue to look into this, for a culture that has a reputation for being overachievers, this is very perplexing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Palace-Temple of Old Mother

So today I snuck off to the Palace-Temple of Old Mother. Shantou is a seaport and appropriately they have a gorgeous temple to the Goddess Matsu. She was a sea goddess that cared for sailors and fishermen; unlike many of the other sea gods, she was supposed to be compassionate. This temple is dedicated to her. I can't put all of my pictures up here, so I am figuring out how to put them up in an album on Picassa.

I had a little trouble getting there. First, I tried to walk, but I kept getting confused. Then as I was walking back to my start point this little old begger guy started harassing me. He wouldn't leave me alone for about two blocks. I wish I could help them, but I can't help them all, how do I pick?

When I made it back to the downtown campus of Shantou University, I ran into a fifth year gentleman who was very kind and helped me tell a "taxi" driver where I wanted to go. Look at the picture, I rode in a couple of them today. My new friend also wrote out a note for me in Chinese that said "Please drive me to Shantou Univeristy Medical Center" so that I could show it to a taxi driver and get back.

Off I go, it turns out I was heading the right way. I should have trusted myself, but then the taxi driver pulls off at a Christian Church. He took me to the wrong temple! So, I was pointing on my map to where I wanted to go and the driver didn't understand...he flagged down a gentleman on a moped. This gentleman happened to be an English teacher at one of the high schools and a graduate of Shatou University. He gave me a lift to the temple. It was the first time I have ever been on a moped. I exchanged emails with both of the gentlemen that helped me.

The temple was amazing. They used mosaic tile relief to create these pictures of a sea serpent and a tiger. Everywhere was covered in ornate reliefs and carvings depicting different battles and sea creatures. I can't describe it. Each item was covered in this amazing carved and gilded artwork. There were two sides to the temple, much of the artwork was similar. There were also these stone columns with serpents wrapped around them. In amongst the sea serpents coils where different men and women. Look at the pictures.

When I was done, I flagged down another of the "taxis" and went back to the college. The only downside of my day was that I lost my notebook...the zipper on my backpack is breaking and sometime pops open...I must have dropped my notebook when it did that. This means that I lost the emails of my two new friends...I gave them mine, I hope they email me.

If this works, there should be a slideshow of my photos from today...