The tipping jar

The tipping jar

Another good meal comes to a close and the bill comes much too soon. After pulling out the proper amount of cash to cover the meal, I quickly realize that I don’t have enough to even be a substantial or fair amount of money left for a tip. Having been in this situation before, the cash is then simply quickly replaced by a card so that an adequate 15-20% of the bill can be left for our waitress.

I think back to our meal, do I even remember what the waitress looks like? What extraordinary  effort was put forth that they must deserve my being tipped?

I know what you might be thinking. How dare I be so rude, so unethical, so demeaning and rude to the very person who just provided my meal and catered to my every want for the past 40 minutes. But the reality of it is, that is what they are paid to do. Believe me, I am now one of those underpaid servers wishing that someone will notice them enough to dish out an extra wad of cash. But it isn’t what I depend on, and it shouldn’t be.

So why is it a normality that we are forced by a societal pressure to tip?

The United States and Canada are two of the only countries who are fanatics about the tipping system and how we as humans treat our fellow servers. Believe it or not, it is actually frowned upon in Asian cultures to tip servers as it is taken in a demeaning manner. Our country has created a habit of tipping our servers by allowing our government to allow minimum wages to fall below the poverty line so that servers may depend on our tips for survival. By tipping every time we eat out, we condone this ridiculous meager wage and how we as a country see one of the most hardworking class of people in existence called waiters.

Take it from Steve Buscemi’s “Reservoir Dogs” infamous speech. Why must we follow what society says. Why can we only tip at restaurants and not at other places like McDonald’s or Burker King? Don’t they work just as hard and  grueling hours as those in a catered more upscale restaurant?

I obviously left the tip anyways, because it isn’t the waiters fault and they do still depend on that tip money for survival essentials. The problem isn’t going to just be fixed overnight, or by my protests to not leave tips in every other restaurant in town. I sadly admit that would only benefit myself and deprive the waitresses of what they deserve in the first place. Change must start with the government (gasp) and we must incite that change.

Who knew?


Life inside the lines

After graduating college, the plan seemed pretty straight forward. Get a job, keep studying for a masters degree, work off the student loans, and eventually get promoted within that same company for a possible job for the rest of your life.

That’s what you want right?

I didn’t even think twice. It’s just the normality of the process.

There’s a phase after college I have gotten some feedback about. The feeling of being thrown into the same pile as everyone else. I think once someone even told me “it’s normal to feel like you’re just following the lines, you’ll get over it”.

Is that really what we have to look forward to? Just getting over the feeling of being processed through a societal fitting block?

I’m not sure what the next step is, especially after giving into working a meaningless restaurant job while other career job offers weren’t exactly knocking down my doors and to at least start paying some of those minuscule student loans.

But I’m also not sure that this should be a “normal” phase for people to go through. The more I wait to be offered the job of my dreams, the more I question if it’s what I really want out of my life.

To live, to ones fullest potential, I believe you must be in a constant state of learning, growing, and wonder.

Maybe there is something waiting around the corner that gives all of these elements a chance to show itself within the boundaries of society. But I also have a feeling that if I want to experience all these things for myself, I must first commit to steering outside the lines.

Charles Labry Death

This story was published for LUTV News…

Lindenwood University suffered a tragic loss as a student athlete was killed last October. Teammates, faculty and friends tell us how they are coping with the sudden death of their friend.


Early Friday morning of October 17th, Charles Labry was killed as he was hit by two cars on I-70.

Police say Labry was trying to cross the highway when the accident happened. He was a rugby player for the Lindenwood Lions as well as an international student from France.

Head coach of men’s rugby, JD Stephenson tells us how Lindenwood has been very supportive throughout it all.

“I think firstly we would like to thank the Lindenwood family. All students, faculty, staff members that have been great during these troubling times. Just the out poor of kind of love and respect that Charles commanded has been great.”

The tragedy struck the hearts of many. His memorial service gathered more than 200 people on the football field. Labry’s teammate Christopher Reed says he will be missed in more ways than one.

Labry's Teammate
Labry’s Teammate

“Charles was just a really funny happy guy, always knew how to lift people up and he was always there. Always gave people rides whenever needed, he’s just a good funny French guy.”

Labry was quite the character. Yet as students and faculty may grieve his death, University chaplain Timothy Butler from the student life and leadership offices told us how they may be able to help anyone through some difficult emotions.

“I think since it is a shock and no one was expecting this to happen, each of us is going to be in a different place. Some people need to talk right away, some people just need to process. You might have a group of friends that are around you right now but as the days roll on and continues to eat at you that may be the time you realize you might need to talk about it.”

The rugby team honored Charles in their game against Davenport Saturday the 19TH. If you or anyone you know if struggling to cope, make an appointment with the student life and leadership offices by e-mail or by calling in.

Memorial Match Times
Memorial Match Times

Venezuelan Currency Problems- Cadivi

This story was published for LUTV News…

Venezuela is country that has been in an economic crisis for years. International students from Venezuela are beginning to see the consequences of an unstable government.

Money Exchange
Money Exchange

Venezuelan students are having trouble receiving money from their home country. Most of the problem lies with Cadivi, the Venezuelan currency exchange. As the government in Venezuela becomes more unstable Lindenwood University’s International Offices said the corporation is becoming more difficult to work with.

Cadivi's online homepage
Cadivi’s online homepage

Yet Lindenwood students like Sandro Perrino said Lindenwood needs to work with them more on an individual level.

“They say if we want them to go through each one of us individually and give us the proper documentation, it would take them a long time to do it… And what’s the problem with that?”

Yet, that isn’t so easy to do says another Venezuelan student, Napo Salazr,

“It’s kind of a complex problem because from the Lindenwood standpoint you want to standardize this for efficiency purposes. But when you come to this kind of process it’s not easy because every single student has a different question.”

With students unable to receive money it makes their future pretty uncertain. Lindenwood student Carmen Salazar worries that might be the case for some students in the future.

International Students Office
International Students Office

“I’m not sure what is going to happen to students who are coming next semester or those who are still here in Lindenwood and have two or three years left.”

Perrino adds that he believes they should be given more attention to.

“You know, i mean we are paying tuition, we are paying to stay here, and we are paying our careers. That’s the least that they can do to try and help us reach our goals and dreams you know.”

A Lindenwood business office representative didn’t want to be interviewed but added that it has been a difficult situation but its doing their best to fulfill the needs of all the students.

Lindenwood Synchronized Swimmer makes National team

This story was published for LUTV News..

Lindenwood synchronized swimming has a roster full of Olympians and national team members. Most recently Aly Haylor helped make that list just a little bit longer. She tried out and made the US national team one squad in synchronized swimming. This national team squad is USA’s hope for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.

Aly's National Team Photo
Aly’s National Team Photo

She currently swims for Lindenwood University. She was a freshman last year when the team won the national title. Aly says she chose Lindenwood after all,

“Up until a few years ago I didn’t even think about collegiate synchro and then Lindenwood gave me this great opportunity to come on a huge scholarship and swim for them.”

Aly is no stranger to national teams. During her synchro career she has made five national teams, two of them being national team one. She actually made team one her first time at just 15 years old. One Aly’s fans, Toma Ikonnykova explains what helps set her apart.

“Everytime I come here (the pool) to help she catches my eye a lot and I think she’s very motivating for the rest of the girls.”

Aly at practice
Aly at practice

A duet was only present at the 2012 Olympics including one of our own swimmer at Lindenwood, Mary Killman. But Aly is determined to change that and one of her coaches, Reem Abdalazem told us why.

“Aly has always been the risk taker. When she puts a goal in front of her and when she wants to accomplish something or do something she goes for it and she’s blinded by everything else. That’s what makes her so special because she really doesn’t stop.”

Yes Aly made the first cut but it doesn’t stop there. She has a long road ahead of her and helps explain what exactly it is that she has to look forward to.

“We train six days a week. Ten to twelve hours a day. It’s on land it’s in the water, its rigorous it’s long. It’s an outdoor pool so you’re in the sun all day. And that’s what’s in store for me for the next year and a half”

USA Synchro Logo
USA Synchro Logo

Aly will continue to swim for Lindenwood through the 2015 season. She plans to join the national team in the summer up until the 2016 Olympics.

It Is Just the Beginning

Wow. Hard to believe Super Semester is actually over. Not to be completely nostalgic but it did pass by a lot quicker than I thought possible. These past two weeks here at LUTV has flown by with every new project that I finish. Before I knew it I had anchored four times and done every other position at least once so that I knew what there was to expect. I also learned a lot while being in Super Semester… that goes from learning technicalities to learning how to work with my fellow classmates around me. It was by no means easy. But nevertheless.. it was fun.

News isn’t something you can sort of like and choose as a career path. You have to love it to do well and not get frustrated so easily. I learned that News has to be done correctly. If you do something, people are always there ready to critique your work in every way possible. It is up to you to make good content that is done correctly including the information said and shown to the public. That is something our teacher Jill emphasized, even while writing stories for our writing labs. The smallest details make a big difference in the end.

USA Synchro Package on the Chroma

That’s another big lesson; details matter. Not only does it matter, it is what makes the story go from an average one to a great one. It can be the Nat Sound before a package runs, or a tight shot that really consumes the audience, or the way the stand-up is shot so that it creates a different perspective. Those details are what separate a great reporter from every other reporter. Those details are lead by the love of the news and news coverage. Mistakes are hard to forget in this cruel world we live in that of the News.

For my last week at LUTV I was able to profile someone on my swim team that just recently made the US Synchronized Swimming National Team that is the hopeful team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This story I was able to really take a look at what I’ve learned over the course of this semester and just slow everything down so that I could really create some good content. The color came easier, the set-up came easier and all of my shots seemed to work out the way I wanted them to. I took my time to set everything up and really plan out what I wanted the story to convey. It also helped that my teammate is very easy going and let me shoot anything I needed of her to tell the story correctly. A dedicated swimmer isn’t hard to make a good story on, and that’s exactly how it turned out. All of the shots and even my last minute stand-up before we were kicked out of the pool turned out to be one of my best packages.

The next big step is getting better individual content for my demo reel, publishing my personal website and finally getting all my Graduate School Applications in. The deadlines are coming up quick and since this semester flew by I’d better get started sooner rather than later. All in all I’m very excited to see what I can do in Broadcasting. Coming into the semester, I was really hoping that these courses would me to narrow down my options as far as what position I would like in the broadcast world. Yet, I found something even better. I found that no matter what position, I still love to create something for the public that is important at the time, no matter the position I am in. If it were to be talent I am hired at a job for, that’s great. If it were a producer position that I am hired for as well, that would be equally exciting. At this point, I’m just glad that I wasn’t turned off by news by the end of the semester. While I still do have one semester left in my undergraduate degree here at Lindenwood University, I have the rest of my life to find out exactly what about Broadcast that I love so much. And that’s okay with me.

Last time; Reporting for LUTV News  I’m Dennise Ramirez.

Our final picture at the desk together!!
Our final picture at the desk together!!

Maybe You Shouldn’t Press That Tweet Button just Yet..

In the wake of all the violence and everything that is happening Ferguson it is hard not to wonder how and why it got to be so big. It should not be and won’t all be blamed on the media because it isn’t just them who are to blame here. Yes; there is a real underlying problem african-american minorities are facing here in the states. It wasn’t until most international student got to the US that they really understood the meaning of racism. Even in my home country, Venezuela, we don’t differentiate by color but by social standings. That is another problem on it’s own.

The point being, media and the news shouldn’t be singled out in this equation. Social media and the power that is provides to everyday people are what help to make this problem bigger and keep on getting bigger as time goes on.

An Article with the Washington Post helps explain how this is possible. They studied the effect of social media for over a year and how it is able to influence people in more ways than one. One of those being the urge to join in protest.

We are all not ignorant as to all the violence and damage that Ferguson has suffered over the course of the past 5 months. It is heartbreaking to see a town full of such potential being ruined by chaos and senseless looting over a problem much bigger than they realize to be.

Social Media has something news can never truly outbeat and that’s speed. Everything is updated second by second. It’s true even news media journalists rely on social media outlets to find out the latest news the quickest because that is where it will most likely be.

There’s no doubt that social media is able to influence our decisions, when it comes to protesting and getting involved especially with things like that of Ferguson. The real question is how and why it does?

Another article from Law Street Media talks about the same issues and how social media is a huge factor in how everything plays out in the end.

The real speech is that social media has become an outlet to just say whatever comes to people’s minds first and who will get the greatest reaction out of it. News should be about what is really going on and not gathering the opinions of people who may or may not know the entire story that was going on. Regardless, social media has a time and place for things. If we don’t want them to have an effect of the outcome of important cases like that of Ferguson then we need to see the difference between when it is appropriate and when it isn’t.

Who knows if that will ever actually be an option for people. People do after all love and good show and the more dramatic the better. Stl post dispatch had covered a lot of important issues that have come up because of Ferguson and now they are being looked at nationally because of how well they did in the coverage of it all.

Tweeting doesn’t always hurt people.. it can help too.

For those wanting to hear more about what CBS has to say about the situation in Ferguson, click here to watch their video on Youtube.