Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Officially Fall!

Officially Fall!

Officially Fall!

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Today marks the first official day of Fall! And here in Virginia the season is already showing its colors! Took a walk through the woods and photographed some of the leaves that are already beautifully changing.

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Universities Show Solidarity for Fallen Student

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 09:39 PM PDT

Let me share a story, a story of the solidarity of the human spirit.


It takes a certain kind of tragedy to bring together a student body of 20,000 students. And an even more tragic one that garners the sympathy and support of rival universities.

On Monday afternoon, September 22, the students of Clemson University learned that one of their own was taken from them. The reasons for Tucker Hipps death are still uncertain, although no shortage of rumors are being voiced, but the impact is deep and aching as a dejected student body searches for answers.


I personally had only met Tucker once, at a pre-rush event where I was disinterested in talking to him and the other rushes, trying to get my name out to as many fraternity brothers as possible. I only remembered his face when it showed up on my newsfeed. Now I regret not getting to know the man that Tucker was; partly because I will never have the opportunity to, but mostly because of the type of person that peers are saying he was. It seems that he touched everyone's hearts wherever he went, always a happy and energetic individual who could make anyone laugh. That is how my pledge brothers described him, as well as the hoards of Clemson students voicing their experiences with Tucker online.


A social media platform, Yik Yak, blew up with positive and sympathetic posts. Even our rival school's page was filled with words of sympathy and condolences, stating that we are "One State, One Family." Other Universities have started a campaign to wear "Orange for Tucker" on September 23rd. The connection between students happened in a matter of hours after the news broke, not through major media outlets, but through word of mouth from one university to the next. Students from universities as close as Furman and as far as Florida State have stated their intentions to honor Tucker tomorrow by wearing Orange t-shirts.


What happened today was an unexplainable event that has left every student feeling hollow. It was through the pain and heartache that something beautiful happened, where schools that are normally divided by miles and allegiances came together as a single student body to show respect for a fellow student. The commraderie and altruism that these students have shown serve as a testament to the spirit of mankind. As one of the Clemson students who sits in his dorm room grieving, questioning, and empty; I thank you for standing with us.


Rest Easy, Tuck


There will be a candlelight vigil taking place at Bowman Field tomorrow, September 23rd at 8:00pm.

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Protesters “Flood Wall Street” in NYC on eve of UN Climate Summit

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 06:17 PM PDT

These pictures & videos were taken today (9/22/14) off Wall Street in lower Manhattans financial district. Protesters were participating in the "Flood Wall Street" demonstrations taking place the day before the UN Climate Change summit here in NYC. This happened the day after Sundays massive Peoples Climate March in NYC.

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People's Climate March

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 01:42 PM PDT

Over 400,000 people participated in People's Climate March in New York City, the biggest climate march in history. I asked attendees from around the world how climate change affected them personally. These are there answers

"Now, on Tuesday, when 125 heads of state gather to talk about the climate crisis, they'll be doing it with our voices ringing in their ears. They'll be gathering with the knowledge that more people than ever are taking to the streets demanding action, not just words, to protect the future of our planet." - People's Climate March

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Celebrating International Day of Peace with Ringo Starr With a Little Help from his Friends #Peacerocks

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 11:51 AM PDT

I was lucky to celebrate International Day of Peace with music icons Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band Edgar Winter, Steve Lukather, Mister Mister's Richard Page, Gregg Bissonette who performed an afternoon concert in an intimate setting packed outside the John Varvatos store in Los Angeles.

When Ringo Starr led everyone to Beatles favorite known as "With a Little Help from My Friends" even more cell phones and peace signs raised in celebration.

Joining the celebrations were Paul Stanley of KISS, Nick Simmons, Pamela Bach Hasselhoff, multi-faceted and talented Tommy Davidson, rapidly becoming a force in the entertainment industry Vincent De Paul, double trouble twins Gregory and Lawrence Zarian and John Cho of the new tv show Selfie who took a selfie with me.

The #Peacerocks campaign was launched on Ringo Starr's birthday on July 7th and was featured in the John Varavatos Fall 2014 campaign which is also a fundraiser and awareness campaign benefiting the David Lynch Foundation via The Ringo Starr Peace & Love Fund. Ringo Starr shared how they have discovered that mediation for veterans, women survivors of domestic violence and at risk students have help to bring peace. Bring peace through this means is what The Ringo Starr Peace & Love Fund is about. Starr mentioned from stage that peace now, is just a flicker of a candle.

For each photo or video snapped with your peace sign and posted on Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Facebook, and tagged with the hash tag #PEACEROCKS, John Varvatos is donating $1 to The Ringo Starr Peace and Love Fund.

Make peace long lasting with #Peacerocks.

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A Bit of Old China in Modern Shanghai.

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 07:43 AM PDT

My first views of Shanghai were of the skyscrapers and high-rise apartments that sit along the Bund River. I spent time in a car whizzing along the highways and strolling through neighborhood streets lined with American style homes. For two days, I felt like I was in any other major metropolitan city in the world except the signs were in Chinese characters.

I had gone to China in search of "old" China, the land that I had seen countless images of in magazines, on TV and in the paintings that hung on my grandmother's wall. I wanted to see the China she knew and it wasn't here as I had thought it would be. Therefore, you can imagine how sad I felt at the beginning of my trip. However, my initial disappointment soon turned to joy when I went to Yuyuan Garden, which is located in the heart of Shanghai.

An officer of the Ming court, Pan Yunduan built the garden in 1577 for the enjoyment of his parents. For nearly 400 years, the garden remained in private hands and was damaged and rebuilt over that time. The Chinese government laid claim to the garden in the early part of the 20th century and the government of Shanghai began the last round of extensive repair in 1956. The five acres that comprise the gardens have been open to the public since 1961. Here, you can see all the elements (pavilions, ponds, rockeries, plantings) that are typical of a classic Chinese garden. There are plenty of scenic areas where you can simply sit and take in the surroundings.

From the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, I was able to retreat to this beautiful, serene garden for some much appreciated tranquility.

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