18 November 2008

President # 43

No, I'm not talking about George W. Bush. He's # 42. Duh.


That's Grovie Cleveland, btw. President #22.

And #24???? WTF!??!?!?!

That's like me saying I am the middle child but I'm the oldest. Or something. It doesn't make sense.

So, New York Times, that little graphic you have on your website of the White House that says "The 44th President" is totally wrong.


Hahahahha that's a funny picture.

I'm making a shirt that says '43' on it.

04 November 2008

A Picture of Election Day in Los Angeles...

As I walked down York Blvd to the Pyong Kang Korean Church to cast my ballot for Barack Obama and against CA Props 8 and 4 (among other things), it seemed like any other November day in Los Angeles. Clouds gave way to sun every few minutes, sirens and car alarms in the distance, dogs barked, cars zipped up and down the street...but squinting my eyes and gazing further down the block, I saw an American flag waving in the wind just above the heads of a group of people in a line. As I approached the group and took my place in line, I looked at the people surrounding me. I was one of about three white people in the whole group, and almost no one was speaking English. It was truly magical. For perhaps the first time in my adult life, I truly appreciated democracy.

As I punched in the bubbles on my ballot with my ink blotter mechanism, the click-clacking noises of the other ink blotter pens around me sounded like the pitter-pattering footsteps down the path toward history, the path toward change.

A friend told me this story:
At another polling place a few miles away, a woman had fallen and was bleeding. As the people around her helped her and called paramedics, in a timid but unwavering voice she said, "I'd like to vote first, please."

Driving to the grocery store with my roommate, political signs decorated lawns and sidewalks and billboards and anything to which they could be stapled, taped, hung. I honked and gave a thumbs up to people walking down the street wearing Obama tees or standing on the street corner with "No on Prop 8" signs. I smiled at everyone wearing an "I Voted" sticker because we shared a bond, a bond we'll probably never share again unless we both have dreadlocks or drive next to each other on the freeway in the same rare car.

Seriously, magical.

I'm saving my ballot stub. Someday I'll tell my great nieces and nephews about the historic 2008 election. Hopefully the rest of the story will be a happy one.

20 October 2008

Voting Matters

I had a fight with my housemate the other day. He says he's not going to vote. I think he should. Here are the top 10 reasons I think Cameron should vote.

1. It's our civic duty, and blah blah blah.

2. The president. Yes, it is unlikely that the California electoral votes will go McCain, but if you want Obama to be president, you should vote for him! (Or McCain, I guess...)

3. Prop 4. (Parental notification 48 hours before a minor under age 18 can get an abortion.) This is a terrible prop that has appeared on the ballot numerous times in various forms. This matters. It needs to be shot down and it could be decided by one single vote...you never know.

4. Prop 8. (Amends the CA constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, outlawing gay marriage.) This is a terrible prop. It creates second-class citizens. It is absolutely absurd. It needs to be shot down and it could be decided by one single vote...you never know.

5. History. Your own personal history. You don't want to tell your grandchildren that you didn't vote in the historic 2008 election, do you? You want to be able to get one of those hip bumper stickers that says "don't blame me, I voted for Obama" if McCain wins, don't you?

6. Hot poll workers. You never know.

7. Apathy breeds apathy. Apathy is bad.

8. Cameron is relatively educated about the issues. If you're educated, you should vote! At least you're canceling out the uneducated votes.

9. Karma. Think about it.

10. You get a cool sticker.

26 September 2008

Why Voting for Sarah Palin [McCain] Because She's a Woman is Sexist

I would say I'm a feminist. Not radical, but a feminist. I think there are lots of problems with many radical feminist groups, but that will have to wait until another time. Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, is running for vice president on the Republican ticket.

OK, so I'm not a Republican. I'm nowhere NEAR a Republican. If I ever vote for a Republican you will know that there is something seriously wrong in the world. (Not that it's all cakes and daisies at the moment...) So I acknowledge that my political bias plays a role in my belief that voting for Sarah Palin just because she's a woman would be sexist, but I do feel the same way about Hillary even though it's less ridiculous because HELLO it's Hillary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin.

So, for like a gazillion years women and men were not treated equally. Then came suffrage which sounds horrible but is actually really good. Then came WWII which changed women's roles in the US forever. The 50's, Vietnam, blah blah blah...I could talk about changing women's roles in US history forever but I won't. The point is, women have been striving for EQUALITY for a reallllly long time.

Think about it...if Sarah Palin were a man, everyone would think he was an idiot, ill qualified to be holding the second highest office in the country, and the media hype would be about as crazy as it is surrounding Joe Biden (who?).

Why should these self-proclaimed "feminists" be going out and voting for this incredibly stupid woman just because she is female? It's bound to be embarrassing later if (knock on wood) she does become vice president, or worse, president (AH!!!). These "feminists" are giving Palin special treatment--their votes--because she is a woman.

SPECIAL TREATMENT! ONE SEX OVER THE OTHER! Isn't that what we've been fighting against for generations?

Reverse sexism exists, and if a "feminist" doesn't see that, she (or he) is probably really stupid to begin with and would think Sarah Palin would make a good VP even if she were a man.

30 June 2008

How National Public Radio is Ruining My Life

I feel like I have three listening choices while driving on my way to work:

1. NPR

2. Ryan Seacrest

3. My iPod

I suppose I have a 4th one...

4. Nothing

Generally, I choose number 1 because I can't stand Ryan Seacrest and I'm too indecisive about my iPod and it distracts me.

So, I'm driving down the 110 through downtown at a snail's pace while listening to Anne Taylor or Robert Siegel or Michele Norris...and all they're talking about is gas, gas, and gas. All the while I'm watching my gas gauge slip further and further toward that terrible letter 'E'--the bane of my existence. "Oh crap," I think, "the truckers are striking in Europe again." "Oh crap, oil prices hit a record again." "Oh crap, I live so far away from work."

Then I get to the 105 and I'm sitting on the on-ramp for 20 minutes and they start talking about the economy. "Stocks hit bear market numbers today..." or "Record unemployment rates..." or "Tough getting jobs out of school..." or "Value of the dollar still dropping..."

These are just the obvious ones.

Then they have these guests on, like lawyers, doctors, historians, analysts, writers...the list goes on. EVERY SINGLE TIME anyone with anything REMOTELY interesting to say (that I think is smart and agree with) I always decide--DECIDE--that that's what I'm going to do for a living. So I get home and I say to my roommate, "Liz! I decided I'm going to be an international human rights lawyer!" The next day, it's "Liz! I'm going to be a politician!" The next day, it's "Liz! I'm going to go to law school and then become the youngest person ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court!"

I think she's starting to get sick of it. Sorry Liz!

Then there's the really really sad stuff that they report on, such as the earthquake in China, terrible conditions in the world's hospitals, the WAR(s), or just random sad stories from around the world. Sometimes they are VERY upsetting but often there's really can't do anything about it!

And of course, there's the election. Now that Hilary has endorsed Barack Obama, everyone's looking to November. All of this talk is just making me freak out worrying that John McCain will actually win.

This is not good for my blood pressure.

NPR is Ruining My Life.

But I cannot stop listening to it.

Does ignorance truly = bliss?

23 June 2008

"Viva la Vida" versus "Narrow Stairs"

Disclaimer: This writer does not actually know anything about music as an art. Please keep this in mind as you read. For real reviews of the following albums, click on the links below.

Rolling Stone's review of Narrow Stairs

Entertainment Weekly's review of Narrow Stairs

Rolling Stone's review of Viva la Vida

Entertainment Weekly's review of Viva la Vida

Last Tuesday, British rock band Coldplay released their fourth album, Viva la Vida. On May 13, Bellingham, Washington-based band Death Cab for Cutie also released a new album, Narrow Stairs. (Technically, Narrow Stairs is Death Cab's sixth studio album, but it is arguably their fourth mainstream album, and the first two were LPs.)

The music of these two bands has served as the soundtrack for many an angst-filled teenage life. As many twenty-somethings will now tell you, Death Cab and Coldplay played a large role throughout their pitiful high school existences. I am no exception.

Needless to say, I was excited when I found out about the new albums. I downloaded them from iTunes soon after their respective releases.

Narrow Stairs was out first. Death Cab's previous album, Plans, released in 2005, was good. Not as good as Transatlantacism (2003), but good. Enjoyable. There are some fantastic songs on that album. The Photo Album (2001) is definitely Death Cab's best album, but that does not diminish the grandness of Transatlantacism or Plans. Although I have always enjoyed Death Cab, was nervous about the new album from the moment I heard the single "I Will Possess Your Heart" on the radio. Death Cab has become so ungodly popular in the past 4-ish years, and I was worried how fame, fortune, and pressure would affect their newest music. Well, it's still got the classic Death Cab feel, but it's no Photo Album. It's not even as good as Plans. But it's good. I do feel a bit ripped off though, considering one of the tracks on the iTunes version is some guy reading the album credits. Not so pleasant when you're laying in bed listening to the soothing voice of Ben Gibbard and then some guy comes up through the headphones and assaults your ear canals.

The best tracks on the album are "Bixby Canyon Bridge", "Grapevine Fires", and the lovely 1:59 "You Can Do Better Than Me." The lyrics throughout the album are stunning as per usual for Death Cab. Where Coldplay's lyrics seem generic and cliche ("Every door I ever tried was locked.")

I knew right away that Viva la Vida wouldn't disappoint. After being somewhat let down by the 2005 album X&Y, I could not be more thrilled with Coldplay's new album. It is wunderbar! No song on this album is alike in any way, except for the fact that a couple of them have to do with death. Personally I would rather have a sincere, great song about death (as in Viva la Vida) than a crappy, weepy song about love (as in X&Y). Of course, Viva la Vida has its songs about love, but they are not so weepy and whiny. If Chris Martin came and sang them to me, I wouldn't gag!
The sounds on the new album aren't exactly "new" but they are certainly an update of the quintessential Coldplay sound. And it is music to my ears! My favorite track on the album is hands-down "Strawberry Swings."

So, in summary, if you're can only pick one album to buy, get Viva la Vida.

17 April 2008

Comps, aka AHHHHHH!!!!

Here at Occidental, every graduating senior must complete a comprehensive project in his or her chosen major field. In Economics, it's a test. In Film, it's a short film or a critical studies paper, depending on the emphasis. For my major, history, it's a long paper and a presentation. The paper is something like 20-30 pages and a 15-minute presentation. Yesterday I attended the first round of history presentations. They were interesting, I guess, but mostly I just freaked out the whole time because I don't have a topic.

I know, I know, these seniors probably didn't have topics at this time last year, right?? WRONG!!! Many of them have been researching since they were sophomores. Many of them have traveled to their areas of interest and dug around in archives and discovered some crazy stuff. Well, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I am very glad Occidental has comps. Other schools, especially public and/or larger schools, don't have anything resembling Occidental's comps project. Take some classes for four years and here ya go, here's your degree! Comps is a way to showcase what you've learned and done in your four years (or, in my case, three years) at Oxy. Comps also prepares you for grad school, if that's your thing...(???)

I want my comps to be AWESOME. I might even do honors (I should decide that...), but I don't have a topic!!!! Here's some of my ideas, most of which I hate:

1. The JFK Assassination: Did Oswald act alone? This would be especially interesting from a historiographical point-of-view.

2. Local resistance movements in Africa and/or Asia during the Decolonization Period.

3. Medicine and Ethics in concentration camps during WWII and modern implications (I'm writing a 12-pager on that right now actually.)

4. My most recent idea: Terrorist groups in Post-War Europe...did they accomplish anything? What made them "terrorists"? How has the meaning of "terrorist" changed since the '60s and '70s? etc etc...

Any other brilliant ideas...? Let me know because I'm about to have a nervous breakdown....

13 April 2008

Get People to Like You!

Friends, I have spent pretty much my entire life trying to get people to like me on some level or another. That's what we're all trying to do! Here are some things I've found especially helpful when trying to get people to like you.

1. Bake. You cannot go wrong with baking. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies (from scratch), or homemade honey whole-wheat bread, or homemade brownies (yum) or a grapefruit meringue pie. Whether for a stranger, a classmate, a friend, or a roommate, baking will always make people like you, at least until their cookie is gone.

2. Leave little notes for people. When they go to the bathroom write in their planner "Hey, buddy, hope you have a fab-u-lous day!" It will make them smile. Hopefully.

3. Remember their birthday. Less difficult in the days of Facebook now, but they will appreciate it nonetheless. Send an e-card!! People really like that.

4. Speaking of e-cards, e-cards are wonderful. To congratulate on a promotion, to send get-well wishes, to say happy birthday, or just to say Hello! e-cards are great. Even better when they are unexpected!

5. GUM. Gum is a GUARANTEED people pleaser. Carry gum with you everywhere. When you go for a piece, offer one to everyone around you! Casually, of course. People love gum!! Plus, you will be minty fresh, and no one likes someone with bad breath.

Follow these tips, and you'll be the most popular kid in school!!!

This could be you!!!!

10 April 2008

Home is where all your crap is?

That's a picture of my house.

HA! Yeah right.

Actually, this is me in my living room--

I know, I know. Not bad. I actually love my house. But that's beside the point.

This year has been different at school because my friends and I moved off-campus. Now that we have a house, it has become home. When we call each other and say, "Yo, where you at bro?" If we say "home" that doesn't mean Minnesota or New York or Concord, California. It means we're at our house in LA. Our new home.

I can no longer call the place I grew up "home" because I only spend a couple of weeks a year there. My parents turned my old room into an office, so now when I visit, I sleep on the floor, the couch, or in my brother's room. When people ask me what I'm doing this summer, I tell them I'm staying here in LA and going to visit my parents for a week or so before I start work here. Then I ask them, and they say, "I'm going home...I mean, to my parents' house." It is a transition period for everyone.

I'm not "homeless" in the normal sense of the word. I am lucky to have a warm bed and a roof over my head every night, but is it really "home" when I know I'm only going to be there for another year or so? All my crap is there, sure, but really I'm just squatting until I get out in the real world. I don't have a permanent address. Hopefully someday I will....eek! Until then, I'll just call my house in LA "home."

09 April 2008


If I hear someone say "Cali" one more time, I'm going to drop kick the ugly, annoying chihuahua that chases me down my alley into that person's face.

"Cali" is what you name your calico cat or call your baby who's real name is Callista or something. Cali does not mean California. At least not in California it doesn't.

I don't mean to sound like a snob and I am not trying to pretend to be native to CA or anything...but seriously. Give me a BREAK.

Please. If you decide to come to California, do not call it Cali. If you do, you will sound like an idiot. And you SHOULD come to California! California is wonderful! It is a great place!

Besides, if you're coming to California chances are you're coming to Los Angeles or going to the Bay Area (San Francisco.) So, to avoid any confusion, just say "I'm going to LA." or "I'm going to the Bay Area/San Francisco." This way you don't run the risk of sounding like an idiot.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day. I hope you learned something.

Go Dodgers!

PS: Just because Hollister says Cali doesn't mean squat. Do you know where Hollister, CA is?? Yes, it's a real city. It is in the Central Valley, aka the middle of nowhere. They have lots of gangs in Hollister.

07 April 2008

How the Internet Has Changed My Life

1. Fantasy baseball. I guess there was Fantasy Baseball before the Internet, but who wants to do that? That would take for-ev-er.

2. YouTube videos. Try "Snake regurgitating hippo" or "shark attack slow motion." HOURS of fun.

3. TV online! Namely House, 30 Rock, and 24.

4. Facebook. Dur. I would be in touch with many fewer people without the wonders of the Facebook.

5. Wikipedia/Google. We used to have to look up stuff in REAL encyclopedias! What a drag! I've learned so much from Google, including where medical waste goes, how anesthesia works, and the number for centimeters in a mile.

6. Phone numbers. Who needs a phone book anymore? Plus, I can find phone numbers for ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! and the WORLD!

7. E-mail. Another dur. Would not know what to do about bff Alex in India if it weren't for email. Mailing letters takes like weeks and the telephone is too expensive and too much time difference.

8. Skype. AMAZING solution to phone. It's a video phone! and it's FREE! And you can call landlines or cell phones from the Skype for really cheap. It's wondrous. You should get it. Keeps me in touch with my bffs Celeste in Chile and Becca in Scotland! Or, even my roommate in the next room!

9. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). Not so much anymore as I got rid of it, but remember in middle school when you'd just be in AIM for hours and hours until ungodly hours of the AM and then your 'rents would yell at you? AIM got really dramatic there for a while--people would ask each other out and break up over AIM. They would get in friendship-ending blowouts over AIM. AIM was the quickest way to spread a nasty rumor in middle school. Those were the days.

10. Online shopping. Need I say more?

02 April 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY for a ball game
A balllll game today.
My friends are out to get a ticket or two
From Walla Walla Washington to Kalamazoo
IT'S a beautiful day for a ball game
A ballllll game today.

Yes, friends. It's finally here. The season. The only season that matters. Baseball season.

Most teams opened their seasons Monday and Tuesday. The Twins opened at home against former team member Torii Hunter and his new team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They won! 3-2. The Dodgers had three exhibition games this past weekend against the Red Sox. I went on Friday night. The Dodgers won! It's their 50th year in Los Angeles so that's the main schtick for the season. On Saturday the Dodgers played the Sox in the old Coliseum in LA, which turned out to be the most-watched baseball game in history. Unfortunately, Boston won. But the Dodgers have won both of their regular-season games so far against the San Francisco Giants (sans Barry Bonds). So, yay!

Johan Santana also kicked some major Marlins butt in Florida in his Mets debut, allowing just 2 runs over 7 innings. Mets, those lucky dogs. Leaving the Twins behind with Boof Bonser to lose the second game to the Angels 9-1. Grr.

So there's my little FYI wrap-up of the first two days of the regular season. Expect more in-depth analysis etc etc as the season progresses. Until then, think SPRING!!!

01 April 2008

Earthquake in Los Angeles!










happy april fool's day!

31 March 2008

Je ne veux pas les enfants, Part II


1. Bringing a new life into this f-ed up world is plain cruel. Why would I do that? I am not a cruel person.

2. The world does not need any more of me, even if it's only half me. I don't want to pass on my craziness to another human being. That is also cruel.

3. Babies are a lot of work and I'm going to have enough work as it is.

4. Babies are expensive. I would rather spend my money on Balenciaga gladiator sandals and an All-Clad lobster pot than diapers and private school tuition. Judge me, I don't care.

5. I would be a TERRIBLE mother and as if my kid wouldn't already be messed up, it have SERIOUS issues starting at a very early age.

6. I don't need someone to do all the stuff that I didn't do, like become an Olympic gymnast or a movie star or be insanely smart. Having a baby is really a selfish thing when you really think about it.

7. I couldn't deal with having an ugly or stupid kid. Or annoying. Oh wait, all kids are annoying.

8. I would get soooooo fat and my body would never be the same. Judge me, I don't care.

9. Maybe if Eve hadn't stolen that g-d apple childbirth wouldn't be so painful. Thanks a lot, Eve.

10. I would have to kiss my social life good-bye. I don't want to do that. I like social life and even when I'm fifty I'll have a good social life.

30 March 2008

I'm Not That Into School

Only one month and seven days remain in this semester.


I'm really over school these days. Just OVER IT. Generally I don't mind school when there's fun things to balance it out and I'm learning things I enjoy. I'm not that into my classes this semester (except this one, of course) and no matter how much work I do I never seem to get anything done.

I have come to despise the library and avoid it at all costs.

I know that we have 27 days left of school. How do I know that? I counted. In my planner. Like a 5th grader.

27 days and I still have so much to do!

Then summer comes. I am sooooo excited for summer! Even though I'll be working 40 hours per week INSIDE for the first time EVER...I am still excited. At 5 I get to come home and chillax and do whatever I please until I have to leave for work in the AM.

And then school starts again.

The cycle continues.

Until....it all comes SCREECHING to a halt in May when I graduate. That screech is going to be deafening.

I'll just try to focus on the next 27 days.

28 March 2008

Je ne veux pas les enfants, part I, and a Tangent

When people say, "I'm having a baby!!" they aren't really telling the whole truth. Yes, they are literally birthing a baby, but they are having a person who will only be a baby for a couple of years. I feel like some people forget this fact when they get preggers.

That's just one of the many reasons I don't want to have children.

I like kids as much as the next guy, I guess. I was a camp counselor for five years and loved it, but that's about all I can take for the rest of my life. I don't want kids. I don't want to be a mother. I literally just shuddered at the thought.

"But Karin! You're only 21 years old! You will change your mind soon enough."

"But Karin! You don't have to turn out like other mothers that you don't like!"

"But Karin! But Karin! But Karin!!!!!"

Blah blah blah, I don't give a crap!

I have many reasons for not wanting to birth an heir. I will share one with you now and continue at a later date.

(NOTE: These are in no particular order!)

1. Lack of Male.

Word on the street is that it takes a male and a female to make a child. I'm only one half of that. YES I KNOW I'M ONLY 21!! That's not the point. Here is the tangent. I probably won't get married. Literally just shuddered again. I just can't see it happening. I can't see myself actually wanting to spend my entire life with someone. Sounds horrific to be honest, no offense to people who are married or plan to get married. UGH! Men! Not worth the trouble.

Which is why...instead of a wedding, I'm throwing myself a very extravagant 35th Birthday Party!!! To which you're all invited, of course. It's going to be AWESOME!!!!!

I told you I would go off on a tangent. I'll post more about les enfants soon!

21 March 2008

Pool Drains = Evil

Although I have the Star Tribune website bookmarked, I rarely look at the newspaper from my hometown. Today I decided to click on it, and I became very sad.

Abigail Taylor died.


Last summer at the Minneapolis Golf Club in St. Louis Park, the suction from a wading pool drain literally ripped out six-year-old Abigail's insides. She had transplant surgery at a Nebraska hospital to get a new small bowel, liver, and pancreas. She had one setback after another, undergoing 16 more surgeries. SIXTEEN!

Then at the beginning of this month she began chemotherapy for a rare cancer associated with transplants called posttransplant lymphoprolipherative disease, or PTLD. It affects some blood cells.

Abigail's parents are in the midst of suing the golf club and the company that manufactured the pool drain.

After Scott and Katey Taylor campaigned for new legislation regulating safety of pool drains, a new law was passed in Congress banning all manufacture, distribution, and sale of drain covers that don't meet anti-entrapment standards. The bill is named after Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven-year-old who was pinned to the bottom of a pool and drowned in 2002.

I vaguely remember reading about a story similar to this in some medical oddities book a few years ago. It was weird and sort of gross and amusing then. It's not so much anymore.

19 March 2008

Who Wants to Date a Celebrity?

Oh man.

On Monday I took my friends to West Hollywood because they are visiting from Minnesota and they wanted to see Hollywood. Ugh. Hollywood is such a pain in the ass. But that's a different story.

So we decided to see a movie at Grauman's Chinese Theater. It's very beautiful I've never actually seen a movie there before (probably because it costs $11.25). We saw "10,000 BC." It was...pretty bad. As a history major I was minorly disgusted. But that is also a different story.

The point is...the leading man in the film, Steven Strait, is HOT.

HOLY CRAP. And look at those LOCKS!

Naturally, I immediately looked him up on IMDB when I got home. He's 21! He's my age!! He turns 22 next week! Even better! I am used to Googling hot actors and finding out that they are 30-something and being crushed. (See Adrien Grenier, James McAvoy, James Franco.) Or worse, hotties that are YOUNGER! (See Daniel Radcliffe, Corbin Bleu.)

So I was very happy to discover this hott-ay Steven Strait. No word on his 'ship status.

Lately I've been kind of depressed about Zac Efron because he's dating that stupid chick from High School Musical Vanessa Hudgens. He's 20 and he's beautiful. I may have an unnatural crush on him. Every time I watch High School Musical (which isn't that often....but probably more than a 21-year-old should...) I just want to date him so badly!!! So I'm working on that, but we'll see...

Living in LA you'd think I'd have a really easy time dating a celeb. What's wrong with this city!!??!?!

Maybe if the guys at my school weren't such idiots my life would be easier. Alas. I'll just search for Steven Strait. And Zac Efron too.



18 March 2008

The Grand Canyon is Very Grand

Hello friends, I haven't written in a while because I've been on vacay. Spring vacay, to be precise. I went to beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona with my roomie to visit our friend. It was awesome! Mostly. I'd never been to Arizona except driving through on the way to Mexico. Arizona's weird. But that's a different subject.

Anyway, so my roomie and I decided to go to the Grand Canyon before we drove home.

It was Grand.
We went to the South Rim. It takes something like 5 hours to drive to the North Rim from the South Rim.

It was very cold at the Grand Canyon. There was snow on the ground!! I didn't realize that the elevation is about 7000 feet. I was wearing shorts (and a sweater!) and many people we passed commented on how crazy my roomie and I were. In reality, we were just tougher than them.

We saw mules.Mules are bigger than I thought! They also aren't as ugly as I thought. We didn't ride the mules because we are tough and we didn't need no stinkin' mule to take us down the canyon.

We hiked the Kaibab Trail. We didn't go all the way down, because that is really far. The bad thing about canyon hiking is that, as the signs say, "What goes down must come up!" But it wasn't so bad. Except it was sort of icy and there was snow. I slipped a few times. Liz laughed at me.I truly wasn't expecting the Grand Canyon to be as Grand as it actually is. It's very surreal. I am really glad that we went there, even though it was three hours out of our way and it took us 8 hours to drive home. It was totally worth it!! I highly recommend visiting the Grand Canyon!! I feel as though my life is just a little bit more complete because I went there. Ah. That feels nice.


03 March 2008

Why is Claremont's Food SO MUCH BETTER!?

On Saturday night I went to Claremont, CA to visit my friend Galen who goes to Scripps. Pomona threw their annual "Smiley 80s" dance party which was really fun. (Smiley is a dorm apparently, not just a dorky name.) Even better than dancing the night away with an aged 80s cover band, however, was dinner.

Students at the 5 C's (Claremont-McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, Pomona, Pitzer) can eat at whichever school they choose. On Saturday we ate at Mudd, but as I understand it the dining halls are pretty much the same and they have rotating special stations.

Some highlights:
  • There was sushi. FRESH sushi. Being made while you watched. (This station rotates around. On Friday it was at Scripps.)
  • The best veggie pizza I've ever had at any school anywhere.
  • Really awesome plates. Like, I would have them in my house.
  • 4 flavors of ice cream, plus two flavors of soft-serve fro-yo. And toppings.
  • PIE.
  • The biggest selection of the best cereals ever. Oh, the cereal!
  • All the disposable utensils and cups and stuff are totally eco-friendly and biodegradable.
  • A rotating special station. Saturday was Indian. Obviously not real Indian, but delicious nonetheless.
  • So many different kinds of pastas and raviolis and tortellinis.
  • VERY vegetarian friendly.
  • An awesome salad bar.
  • Lots and lots of fruit

I would get SO fat.

I know my frame of reference isn't huge as I've only actually eaten there once, but it was just so wonderful that I had to write about it.

Oxy's food isn't that bad. I've DEFINITELY had much worse. Oxy's food just gets incredibly monotonous, and I don't even live on campus. Plus, the main Marketplace isn't even OPEN on Saturday!! They get SUSHI!?

28 February 2008

Ethics and Pressure in American Schools

The cheating scandal at the prestigious North Hollywood private school Harvard-Westlake has my mind ticking. Six students were expelled from H-W for stealing world history and Spanish exams. Dozens of more students face punishment for looking at the exams.

What has become of our nation's youth?

While so many kids fall behind at inadequate schools, the lucky ones who get a top-notch private education cheat. Isn't this country supposed to be moving towards a more liberal, ethical, and educated future? Shouldn't kids be valuing what they're learning and upholding the highest ethical principles?

Either these kids haven't developed a sense of ethical responsibility or they're choosing to ignore it.

It's called....pressure.

I could write a dissertation on the absurd amount of pressure put on today's youth. From sports to grades to extracurriculars to standardized tests, these kids are getting crushed!

College is everything. If these students don't get accepted to a top-tier school, they can essentially kiss their lives goodbye. (Not really, but that's how they see it.) The college admissions process has become increasingly intense and competitive. In order to stand out to the admissions committee at a "good" school, students have to be involved in every area possible with the best grades and the best recommendations and the best GPA and the best test scores.

So really, it's no wonder students feel like they need to steal tests! It's for their own success! Failure isn't an option and they're willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, including abandoning all ethical principles.

While this is just one of the many problems with education in the US, it is still important to address. We need serious reform in K-12 education as well as in higher education. I don't necessarily have the answers.

Maybe Barack Obama does.

25 February 2008

The Oscars: Best and Worst Dressed

I know, I know. I'm probably the ten gazillionth blogger to write about some aspect of the Oscars today, but it's the most interesting thing going on in my life right now. It's the most interesting thing going on in most people's lives right now. Can't wait for People magazine to come out.

Here are my picks and pics for best and worst dressed at the 80th Academy Awards!

Katherine Heigl in Escada:

Katherine Heigl is stunning in this one-shoulder column gown and old-Hollywood hair and makeup.

Calista Flockhart in vintage Valentino:

I love this dress. I love Valentino and I love vintage. Perfect. Although I'm not so sure about her hair.

Saoirse Ronan in Alberta Ferretti:

A future fashion icon? This dress is beautiful and just right for the 13-year-old. She looks wonderful, not at all terrifying or horrible like her character in Atonement. (Note: She plays Susie Salmon in the forthcoming The Lovely Bones. Can't wait!)

Heidi Klum (sans Seal) in John Galliano:

I know it's Heidi Klum. If it were anyone else it would be 100 times worse. But in my humble opinion, it's just TOO MUCH! Her hair is awesome though.

Penelope Cruz in Chanel Couture:

This is not cool. The drape-thing in front is totally wierd and I have no idea what's going on with the fur/hair/tinsel.

Jennifer Garner in Oscar de la Renta:

She looks like a curtain rod. With ugly curtains. In an ugly room.

24 February 2008

Rules for a College Party

**Disclaimer: This post involves discussion of possible underage drinking. I do not wish to incriminate anyone at Occidental College or any other college. The author, who is 21, does not necessarily condone or condemn underage drinking. This post is not meant to advertise or encourage such behavior.

Loyal readers, I'm not going to lie to you or sugar-coat anything: This semester sucks.

All my friends decided to go abroad this semester. Literally.

OK, not literally, but pretty darn close to it. Last semester, when I had friends and a social life, we all partied together on the weekends and had a great time and everything was perfect. The same cannot be said about this semester. No one knows how to be a good guest or a good host.

Many students live off-campus and most of the houses host the occasional party. The party may be large or small, exclusive or open, fancy or casual. Regardless, there will be alcohol. It's college.

As a general rule, the house hosting said party provides at least some alcohol. Alcohol, unfortunately, costs money. Thus, hosting can get expensive. However, the same house almost never has two parties in one weekend, and rarely has a party two weekends in a row. Because of the rotating party venue, the alcohol money usually balances out. I say usually, but let's be honest here: This is Occidental. Some students can put the booze on daddy's credit card anyway.

Most of us, though, cannot afford to supply unlimited alcohol to the general public...i.e., freshmen. Or, gee, sorry, "Frosh" or "First-years" as we call them here at Oxy.

So, to the free-loaders and party-throwers, here are my suggestions to you:

1. Don't go to a party JUST because there will be "free" alcohol there. You should at least sort of know someone who lives there or have a good friend that does.

2. Don't expect there to be enough booze to get smashed. If you want to get smashed, hey--that's your prerogative, but do it on your own dollar and your own legal (and medical) risks.

3. Maybe...bring a 12 to share at a party once in a while. If it's an exclusive or small party, bring something for the host like a bottle of wine.

4. If you have a house, share the love. Host, please. It doesn't have to be a rager. Just host sometimes.

5. Don't be mean and charge people for alcohol at your party. If someone offers, you can accept if you really want to, but don't ask. Putting a jar out may be OK sometimes, but don't push your luck (or your popularity/reputation which obviously is everything at Occidental).

6. Love everyone as a guest and as a host. And just as a person in general!


20 February 2008

Lupe Fiasco at Occidental!?

Chicago-born rapper Lupe Fiasco is coming to Occidental College next week. Lupe's like, really famous. He just won a Grammy. He was on Ellen last week. He was MTV's Artist of the Week (as if that's a great honor anymore). His most recent album is barely two months old and he's pretty much bff with Kanye.

How, may you ask, was Occidental able to get Lupe to even think about coming here? Our fabulous Thorne Hall seats only 835 and general tickets are selling for $10. Recently Lupe has played at Ohio State and Yale, big schools with big budgets. The answer to the question...Julian Mitchell is magic. Julian, a senior here at Oxy, has a knack with getting the best people to come play here. Last semester we had an awesome krump dance-off with Tommy the Clown and it was awesome.

Mega props to Julian, Black Student Alliance, KOXY, and everyone involved with getting Lupe to come to Oxy. It's going to be badass.

15 February 2008

Top Five Presidents of All Time

In honor of President's Day, here are the five most awesomest presidents since 1776.

5. James Madison was the 4th President. He was the shortest President- 5'4". Guess how tall yours truly is? 5'4". PARTY HEIGHT!

4. Grover Cleveland was the 24th President. He was also the only President to get married in the White House. I don't think she was as hot as that supermodel Nick Sarkozy just married, though.

Nah, I'd say they're comparable in hotness.

3. Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President. He is like G-Dub because he didn't win the popular vote in the 1876 election. Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote. All the other guys who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote went on to eventually become President. Poor Al G. and Sammy T.

2. Gerald Ford was the 38th President. He was not elected to any office but followed Nixon's resignation. He threw his daughter's prom at the White House. Badass.

1. Warren G. Harding was the 29th President. He bet all the china in the White House during a single card game. He lost. Damn you, Harding! Those are my tax dollars!

For more fun facts, go here!

Or here!

Happy President's Day!!!!! Enjoy your long weekend. If you don't have a long weekend, I'm sorry for rubbing it in.

14 February 2008

Ten Things to do on Valentine's Day, with or without a Hot Date

1. Buy a couple dozen carnations (or roses if you're rich) and walk around the neighborhood. Scope out the loneliest looking girls and give them one. This will make them very happy.

2. Call ALL of your ex-significant others at around 11 PM and drunkenly tell them how much you love and miss them. If they say they miss you too, hang up immediately and proceed to number 10.

3. Make a trail of Hershey's Kisses (or another candy of your choice) and make a trail around your house. Wait a few hours, then go follow the trail! It will be exciting even though you did it yourself.

4. Go out to a fancy restaurant, ideally of European inspiration, and hit on the hot foreign waiters. Yes, you can do this even if you have a hot date, but beware: All the single people eating by themselves will resent you, as if they don't already.

5. Wear black.

6. Watch a slasher film with your dog or your mother.

7. Wear red and green and carry around mistletoe. Walk around yelling "Happy Christmas!" and hold the mistletoe over you and everyone you talk to. Demand a kiss. If they don't give you one, kick them in the shin.

8. Cross-dress. When you get asked what the hell's going on, act like you have no clue what they're talking about. Then ask them what they're doing for Valentine's Day and if they'd like to have a popsicle with you.

9. Buy yourself a three-pound solid chocolate heart, a giant teddy bear, a few cheesy V-day knickknacks, and whatever else you want. Walk around with them all day and exclaim how embarrassed you are! Or you could pretend to have a secret admirer. Bonus: Hire a barbershop quartet to come sing you a love poem in front of everyone.

10. Do the Lebowski Challenge.

12 February 2008

Pinkberry: Yogurt of the Present

I love Pinkberry. I mean, I love Pinkberry.

For those not living in Southern California or parts of New York City, a description of Pinkberry is in order.

Pinkberry is a frozen yogurt "reinvented" (according to the website). There is one original flavor, a green tea flavor, and a brand new coffee flavor. I really only like the original flavor. A medium with three toppings costs $4.95 and it is delicious. Pinkberry offers many toppings including...
-Captain Crunch
-Fruity Pebbles
-Chocolate chips
-Yogurt chips
-Cookies 'n Creme (Oreo)

and more!! Sometimes they have seasonal toppings as well. This fall they had pomegranate. Delish.

Usually my Pinkberry toppings of choice are strawberry, raspberry, and chocolate chips. The key to creating the most delectable Pinkberry possible is in the mixing. If you simply eat your Pinkberry the way they give it to you, you'll eat all the toppings first and when you get to the bottom you are left with plain yogurt which is not nearly as yummy. So you MUST mix up your Pinkberry!! It's tricky at first as you are trying not to let any toppings fall. (It's quite upsetting if they do.) But with some practice and skill, you'll be able to mix your Pinkberry to its utmost potential with few flicks of the wrist.

Whether the celebrities know the secret to the best Pinkberry, I cannot be sure. Yes, celebrities LOVE Pinkberry and many have been photographed outside of Pinkberrys all over LA. Kate Bosworth is a fan, and even Mike Tyson!!

If you are lucky enough to live in the Southland and you have not had Pinkberry yet, I pity you and I will pray for your soul. If you venture to Los Angeles or New York, seek one out! And beware of the slew of imitation yogurt shops that have appeared since the birth of Pinkberry. They are not as good!!

06 February 2008

Top Ten Reasons to Date a Middle Child

10. It is a known scientific fact that middle children always get the best genes. The first child gets the genes that don't really know what's going on. By the time the second child rolls around, the genes have figured out the perfect way to come together to create an amazing child. By the third child, they're tired and couldn't care less. Thus the middle child is the perfect mix of the best qualities of both parents.

9. The middle child won't care what you dress like because chances are he or she dressed ridiculously as a child because of hand-me-downs.

8. Oldest children get angry when they don't get attention. Youngest children beg for attention. The middle children don't care about the attention, so you can usually get away with talking about yourself all the time. But the middle child will be so cool that you'll want to give him/her all your attention anyway.

7. Middle children know how to share. They won't make you pay for dinner every time and they will let you borrow their toothbrush if you really need to.

6. Middle children are peaceful. They are in the middle. Neutral. Like Switzerland.

5. Middle children are used to sharing people with other people (i.e. parents with siblings), so they'll let you hang out with your friends and they won't get lonely. (Besides, they have lots of friends anyway because they're so cool.)

4. Madonna was a middle child. She's hot.

3. Middle children are funny.

2. Bill Gates was a middle child. He's rich.

And the Number One Reason to Date a Middle Child: Middle children are better in bed.

Why Can't We All Just Get Along??

Yesterday I voted in the California primary election. I "Baracked" the vote, if you will. Yes, I voted for Obama, but not because I'm anti-Hillary...I'm just more pro-Obama.

It makes me feel very sad when Barack and Hillary bash on each other. I know, I know, that's how the political process works at this point, but it's still crappy. When it comes down to it, Clinton and Obama are on the same side!! Why must they fight!?? Why must we all fight!? Obama doesn't think the lack of decisiveness in the party is a real issue at the moment. “I think it would be a problem if Senator Clinton’s voters disliked me or my voters disliked Senator Clinton,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case. I think our voters are passionate about bringing about change.”

YES!! Man, I love you Barack.

So how about whoever ends up winning the nomination picks the other as his/her running mate, and then the Democrats are unbeatable!! While McCain is the least frightening of the Republican candidates, I still do not want to see him in the White House. In order in ensure a victory in November, our party HAS to come together at some point. It doesn't have to be right now, but it should be relatively soon. I think it will happen...eventually. But we need to think about it. And get along! And stop fighting! I like Hillary, I do! I like Obama more but it's not as if I won't be thrilled if Hillary is the next president.

We Democrats just have to make sure that whoever wins the nomination will also win the presidency.

05 February 2008

Why Occidental Needs an English Writing Minor

Occidental College has an under appreciated English Writing department with amazing professors and awesome classes. If the department were expanded to add more professors and classes, an EW major would be possible. As it is now, a major isn't quite plausible. A minor, however, is totally doable.

Most departments require five courses in the department for a minor with perhaps one or two required classes.

According to Professor Deborah Martinson, a certain other department that shall remain nameless (but goes by the acronym ECLS for short) feels that all things writing and English belong to them. ECLS should embrace EW as their colleagues and equals, brilliant people who can complement the courses ECLS offers. ECLS has a few writing classes, so those classes could count toward the EW minor as well. While there are certainly not as many EW classes as there should be, there's no shortage that would prevent the completion of a minor. ECLS has a "creative writing emphasis" in the major, but writing can encompass so much more than just "creative writing."

I'm a history major. While the major requires a lot of writing, the wonderful human resources people who read my resume for any job probably won't make the connection between history and writing. They'll probably ask me who the 9th president was. I don't actually know who the 9th president was. (William Henry Harrison. Who??) With a minor in English Writing on my resume, it shows potential employers that I am, in fact, a good writer. An ECLS minor may just suggest that I can analyze literature 'til the damn cows come home.

As I prepare to enter the workforce, I want my potential employers to know how much I love writing and how capable I am by stating that I do indeed have a minor in English Writing.

31 January 2008

2008 Thus Far

Well, January 2008 has come and gone, my friends.

2008 in Highlights! (and lowlights)

1. Heath Ledger. Need I say more?
2. Johan Santana. Dur. See previous post.
3. Iowa Caucus. GoooooooooooObama!
4. The Golden Globes. Hahahaha. That was funny. But the winners weren't altogether disappointing.
5. Something that happened to my friend Celeste that I am not at liberty to divulge. Suffice it to say, it is both heartbreaking and too funny to handle all at once.
6. Juno. (Sort of 2007, but mostly 2008.) Amazing film. Seen it? Good. See it again. It's even better the second time. I haven't been to a movie twice in the theaters since 7th grade...Josh Hartnett in Pearl Harbor. Gag. Haven't seen Juno? You should.
7. UCLA gymnastics beating Stanford. I went to this meet last Sunday. It was awesome. UCLA beat Stanford 195.05 to 195.025. WHAT?!
8. Falling down the stairs at the UCLA gymnastics meet. I just ATE IT in front of all these people. Now I have a really gnarly bruise on my back.
9. The chocolate creme pie my friend Liz and I bought last night to ring in February. It was delicious. We also watched It Takes Two, that phenomenal old movie with Mary-Kate and Ashley. It was a great night.
10. The New England Patriots. They're undefeated and they've broken a number of records in '08 alone. The Superbowl on Sunday should be a very good game. The Giants will cry like the little girls they are if they lose. The Pats will then run amok in Arizona, led by Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney. Of course, Tom Brady will probably go back to his hotel room to drink a pineapple daiquiri and watch Steel Magnolias by himself.

A Vicious Cycle (or) I'm Just as Good as Al Gore

Did you know that Earth is warming?? Did you know that this is due to a phenomenon known as "global warming"? You may be familiar with the concept if you saw Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth. I'm about to share with you a disturbing little factoid that could make you think about your carbon emissions. Or it may possibly make you feel incredibly helpless and depressed for days. Let's hope it's the former.

Earth is a relatively dark place. That is to say, it absorbs much of the energy it gets from the sun. Just like your leather jacket starts to boil in the mid-day sun and your friend in his white sweater is peachy keen. The "whiteness" of Earth is called the albedo and it's measured from 0 to 1, one being 100% white. Earth's albedo is currently about 30%. That number, however, is falling. Earth is getting darker and absorbs more of the sun's energy.

Due to a number of factors, glacial ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, causing Earth's albedo to lower. This fall, the Arctic Sea ice loss was greater than ever before. Just one stop in the vicious cycle that is global warming:

1. Ice melts due to a warming atmosphere and surface.

2. Albedo decreases- more energy absorbed the sun- surface temperature rises

3. Atmosphere temp rises because of surface temp rise.

4. More ice melts.

Then we go back to number one. Each time the cycle starts over, more ice is gone thus Earth's albedo continues to dip lower and lower until there is no ice left. BAD news.

One thing we can do: reduce carbon emissions which will *eventually* slow the Greenhouse effect, thus ice melt, thus falling albedo, thus more warming and ice melt.

30 January 2008

Just Another Loss in Twins Territory

Yesterday the Minnesota Twins dealt their ace pitcher Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four prospects.

The deal hasn't been finalized yet, as the Mets and Santana are still negotiating a contract extension that will probably amount to 6 or 7 years and 150 million big ones. Santana also has a no-trade clause in his contract with Minnesota, so he'll have to officially waive that once they reach a deal.

So it goes.

Minnesota fans are no strangers to tearful goodbyes. Earlier this off-season we lost star center fielder and one of my personal favorite baseball players Torii Hunter to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (That name bugs me.) Luckily for me, I'll be able to see Torii play here in California whenever I want to drive to Anaheim. Last year the Timberwolves star and arguably the best player in the NBA Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in a deal that made history.

New England. Pshh. We've seen many of Minnesota's greatest sports stars planted in New England in recent years, most notably David "Big Papi" Ortiz who went to the Red Sox after the 2002 season. Chuck Knoblauch, the 1991 MLB Rookie of the Year, went (thankfully, really) to the Yankees in 1997. Most relevant right now, of course, is the NFL. The New England Patriots will play in the Superbowl this Sunday, showcasing ex-Viking Randy Moss and ex-Gopher Laurence Maroney.

Johan Santana: Just another notch on the Metrodome.

Later this week, I'll examine the Twins' four new prospects. Meanwhile, I will be wishin', hopin', prayin' that Francisco Liriano is ready to win the Cy Young this season!

29 January 2008

An Introduction to My Blog

Hello Friends!

Welcome to my blog. It's new. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do it, and suggestions are gladly accepted. Here are my plans as of right now:

  • Post 3-4 days per week
  • Posts may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
    • Baseball
    • School/History (my major)
    • Politics
    • Summer/Spring and Summer/Spring vacations
    • The future/careers
    • The craziness of the Interweb
    • My friends
    • People I see walking down the street
    • Fashion
    • Baking
    • Gymnastics
    • the Olympics
    • Minnesota
    • California/Los Angeles
    • Water
    • Planet Earth, the subject and the BBC series
    • Law
    • Occidental College
  • Read and respond to comments
  • Try to change my "Quote of the Day" every day, but at least when I post something new.
  • Figure out how to embed YouTube videos and do so.
  • Change my picture
So, that's my plan so far. Suggestions?

I encourage you to explore the links on the right side of the page. I will add more as time goes by.

That's all for now. My future posts will (hopefully) be much more interesting. The ideas fester in my mind. Can't wait to get them out.

Have a fantastic day!