Friday, December 30, 2011

Sick Day

I have a cold. I've had it for a few days now. So far I've sort of been ignoring it, I've been going around, seeing people, running errands, generally being normal. Today on the other hand I've taken as an actual sick day. Already I've watched a movie in bed and am about halfway through watching American Horror Story (I'm liking a lot more than I thought I would considering the title). What am I doing as I watch all of these? Making progress on the sweater I've been knitting since summer (to be fair I left the sweater yarn at home when I went to school and couldn't work on it for a few months).

I don't know if this is going to help with getting any better, but it's a nice change of pace.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

Hello! It's Christmas and that mean the Doctor Who Christmas Special! Just a reminder, there will be spoilers.

I liked how the opening just threw us right into the action with no explanation of why this ship was going to blow up earth. Even if you'd seen the prequel, it's never really explained, but to be fair it doesn't really matter or have anything to do with the rest of the story. I liked the introduction to Mag and her family. I loved when Mag gave a whole big explanation of where she was going to Cyril, who simply told his dad that she was going "out". I've totally done that before.

Picking the phone box lock with a bobby pin. Oh, that was just great, especially that little moment of relief when we learn it's not actually the TARDIS. Hopefully that's not how she got him into the real one.

Skipping ahead, I can say, with full confidence, I want the Doctor to be my interior decorator. That house was amazing. I loved the kids' room. Mag's conversation with the Doctor about not wanting to tell her kids that their father died was amazing. In a lot of ways I feel like they've made the point that the previous two Doctors were very angsty about all the Time Lords dying and what they'd lost, but that this Doctor while still affected by it isn't letting it rule over him the way the previous Doctor's did. This scene seemed to serve as a reminder (for me at least) and I liked that he touched on his great losses without making it about him.

I liked Lily's comment when she walked into the Doctor's room as well as his follow up. "You lied about the panthers." "Famous last words." At first I wasn't sure whether she know Cyril was downstairs and was lying to help cover up that he was sneaking a peek, or if she was really unaware that he had sneaked off.

The tree was very cool. When the Doctor and Lily went in after Cyrill and he explained about time moving differently, my only thought was, "well duh, anyone who's read a Narnia book knows that time moves differently there," but still appreciated the reference.

I'd seen the initial clip with Mag and the three people where they thought she was armed because of the wool before, but it still held up. I really liked where that scene went. From the woman lowering her gun because of the visual to the reveal that Mag was wearing wool and was armed.

The tree people were cool. I saw it coming that Cyril and the Doctor were weak because they were male, but it was still as nice touch. Similarly, that Reg survived (every time I say Reg, I think of Reg Cattermole from Harry Potter) was something I saw coming, though the way they did it surprised me. I also loved Mag's speech to Cyril that she'd always told him not to open presents early so "this was to be expected."

Finally, the ending with Amy and Rory. "I have a water gun!" That is one way to get rid of carolers. I was surprised that they had it be two years in the future for Amy and Rory since this places them, well, two years in the future and they're coming back next season for a little bit at least but I'm sure there's a plan.

Overall, I liked this Christmas special. Since the next season doesn't start until fall, I really hope they do make an Easter special to tide us over, but as there hasn't been one announced I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I've Been Up To

So I got home on break a little while ago. Unfortunately, most of my friends from hoe have only just started getting home from break. As a result, I've needed to keep myself occupied. Occupation has come in the form of:

Reading
Watching Buffy on Hulu
Knitting
Watching Firefly on Hulu
More reading
Going to the Post Office for my Mom
More  knitting
Volunteering/Helping out at my Temple
Going to the Post Office for Mom again
Playing Bridge with my Dad and Grandparents
Being Sick with a 24 bug

That last one hit yesterday.  Luckily I seem to be all better. Which is good because now I can hang out with all my friends who are back from school. After all, their families will still be here after January 1, but I won't. I go back to school before most of my friends. Isn't being on a quarter system fun?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Project For Awesome 2011

Today at noon the Project for Awesome begins. Technically speaking you're supposed to make a YouTube video about your favorite charity, but I have no knowledge of how to do that so I'm writing a blog instead because it still raises awareness. Please go to YouTube and like and comment on videos with the tag P4A because this is a day to decrease World Suck and make the world a better place.  More information can be found at the project for awesome website or at fightworldsuck.org.

Okay, now that I'm done introducing the Project for Awesome I can talk about my charity of choice.

I want to raise awareness for the Harry Potter Alliance. This charity was created in 2005 by Andrew Slack, who serves as Executive director, and Paul DeGeorge from Harry and the Potters. They have since grown adding more members. There are currently 60 chapters of HPA around the world. Essentially this is a real life Dumbledore's Army. Yearly events include the Accio Books campaign, where they collect books and money to buy books for underfunded or underprovided libraries around the world to help increase literacy for children and young adults. Last year my temple youth group held a book drive and donated hundreds of books towards this cause.

Other campaigns have included "Wrock the Vote" where the HPA along with Wizard Rockers have helped people register to vote, as well as "Wrock for Equality" which has taken an active role in getting and keeping same sex marriage legal. In anticipation of the final Harry Potter movie a Deathly Hallows campaign was started wit ha new issue every month, dealing with topics of bullying, self esteem and the climate.

An ongoing campaign from this is the "Not in Harry's Name" campaign, which asked Warner Brothers to use fair trade chocolate in their Harry Potter chocolate items. This campaign started November 1 2010 and Warner Brothers still has not made the switch, insisting that their chocolate complies with the ethical guidelines they have, but has produced no proof of these claims.

The HPA is giving Warner Brothers until New Years Day to provide proof or make the switch. If you wish to get involved you can send a cease and desist letter, create a Muggle Howler and even buy fair trade chocolate frogs being made by the HPA.

This charity is a great reminder of the power of books and reading and what can be accomplished when a group of people really work together towards something great. You can donate on their website. Even if you don't wish to donate, you should still go and look around to learn more about this great organization.

The Weapon We Have is Love. Happy Project for Awesome and DFTBA!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Next Few Days are Really Big

Just a reminder to everyone about the big events coming up in the next two days.

Tomorrow, December 15, the House Judiciary Committee will be voting on the Stop Online Piracy Act. This is not something that should pass. This bill will stifle creativity and hurt independent creators online. Please call or email your representatives and tell them not to support this bill. I'll put more information about how to help down below.

Friday is also a big day. December 16 is "Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day". This day was created in honor of Katie Goldman, who last year was bullied for having a Star Wars water bottle, because she's a girl. The original story can be found here. The idea behind this day is to celebrate geek pride, but also to encourage the breaking down of gender stereotyping. This is a cause I hold dear to my heart. While I have been fortunate in that those who bullied me never focused on my interest in things that are considered to be "boy things" (like Science, Karate, Math ect.) bullying of any kind is hurtful, but this type of gender stereotyping can be especially hurtful.

When I was coming home from school this weekend I stopped by the airport bookstore and overheard a mother talking to her daughter about the types of coloring books they had. The mom pointed out a Dora the Explorer book as well as a few other things, but what stopped me cold was when she said "They have Spiderman, but you're a girl, so you don't want that." It's one thing if another kid makes a comment like this but for a mother to say this to he daughter infuriates me. While I may prefer Batman to Spiderman, I get the feeling that to this woman both fall under the category of "boy things". Maybe this mother knew her daughter didn't like superheroes, but if that was the case, why not say "but you don't like that". Saying that her daughter shouldn't like something simply because she's a girl is only reinforcing an outdated cultural idea.

Please help celebrate "Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day" and put an end to gender stereotyping. For more information click here.

The final big event is the Project for Awesome, which begins Saturday at noon and last through Sunday as well. This is an event on YouTube where people are encouraged to make videos promoting their favorite charitable organizations, as well as viewing the videos made by others and liking, favoriting and commenting on them so that they are more likely to be put in the front page of YouTube. This is an annual event, and does a lot of good. Even if you can only look for a little bit, this is such a worthy cause. You may even find a new favorite charity. While I'm not making a video, I will be writing about some of my favorite charities on Saturday, as well as spending as much of the day as possible on YouTube liking, favoriting and commenting to help promote this great event. More information can be found on the project for awesome website, which will be getting updated more as we get closer to Saturday.

Here is more information about SOPA:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Music

Normally I would wait until tomorrow to post this, but I'll be traveling  home, so I'd rather just do this now and not have to worry about forgetting.

About a year ago I got the idea to put all the Christmas/Winter ect. music on my iPod into a playlist so that I could access it easily and put myself into the holiday spirit at this time of year. I never actually did it, but today the dining hall was playing Christmas music while I ate, so I decided to go ahead and do it. I found 16 songs that related to this season. If I find more I will add them to the playlist and this list, but for now this is my Christmas/Winter playlist:

Note: Songs can be played in any order, not just this one, though the songs from Nightmare Before Christmas are in the order in which they appear in the movie.

Another Note: I tried to find videos or streamed songs posted by the artists themselves. The only place where I couldn't do this were the songs from Nightmare Before Christmas. The Weird Al song might be pushing it as well. If for some reason any of the videos or songs are no longer available, let me know and I'll do my best to replace them.

1. Snow Day - ALL CAPS

2. Christmas Wish - ALL CAPS

3. Not Alone - ALL CAPS

4. Lumos Flies - ALL CAPS (Not technically a Christmas or winter song but it takes place at the Yule Ball so I'm counting it.)

5. Christmas is Almost Here - The Arrogant Worms (This is in the Christmas Turkey album.)

6. Santa's Gonna Kick Your A*s - The Arrogant Worms (This is in the Hindsight 20/20 album, and the Christmas Turkey album.)

7. WTFAMP (The Christmas Song) - Letters to Cleo (It starts about 8 seconds in.)

8. What's This - Danny Elfman (This and all the Nightmare Before Christmas Songs are the original ones that appeared in the movies. While I have cover versions of some of these on my iPod I decided not to have repeats and just stick with the original cast recordings.)

9. Town Meeting - Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

10. Jack's Obsession - Danny Elfman/Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

11. Making Christmas - Danny Elfman/Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

12. Kidnap the Sandy Claws - Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman & Paul Reubens

13. In the Absence of Christmas - Charlie McDonnell

14. Black Santas - Lauren Fairweather (On the CD version one line is changed to "and frankly I can't wait. You'll know which one I mean.)

15. The Night Santa Went Crazy - Weird Al Yankovic (Scroll down for the full music video.)

16. Jesus Gets Nothing for Christmas - Hank Green

I think the part of this list I find funniest is that I'm Jewish and don't have a single Hanukkah song on here. That and the fact that except for song 4 the most "normal" Christmas songs are by ALL CAPS.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Step Inside my Brain

It's finals week so here's a list of the various things currently on my mind.

1. I should be studying for math.
2. But I did so well on my midterms that I don't need to worry.
3. Except I know I need to review.
4. Maybe I'll watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special Preview again.
5. Now I want to see some Doctor Who fan vids on youtube.
6. Liisakee is really good. Why aren't all vidders as talented as her.
7. Right math.
8. I know how to do this stuff.
9. This one's a little trickier, but I can handle it.
10. Wait, why isn't that working?
11. Seriously, why isn't this working.
12. Maybe I should study a little more.
13. But first I'll write my blog post.
14. Thirteen thoughts? That could be the next YA book after 13 Little Blue Envelopes or 13 Reasons Why.
15. Except now it's more than 13.
16. Okay I will end this post, put a link on Facebook, then get back to studying.
17. Seriously, that's what's going to happen as soon as I put in the links above.
18. Okay I've done that, now I just need to do the labels, then I'll hit publish and post a link on Facebook.
19. Seriously, as soon as I figure out a title for this post.
20. I now have no ideas.
21. Wait yes I do.
22. I was going to do something about the number 21 but changed my mind.
23. Okay I have a title I like mostly because it makes me think about Inception and the new Pixar movie.
24. Okay I'm really done now.
25. Really, I just wanted to end on 25, it's so much more fulfilling than ending on 24, or 26.
26. See what I mean, wouldn't it be better if I just stopped at the last one?
27. This is getting out of hand.
28. Okay, I'm really going to hit publish now.
29. As soon as I get to 30.
30. kthnxbye

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thursday was a Good Day

On Thursday:
1. I only had one class.
2. The dining hall had curly fries.
3. The package from my parents containing my old cell phone arrived.
4. When I got to the phone store the employee I'd spoken to before was there, so I didn't have to explain my problem and get him to suggest the same solution of mailing in my warranty phone to get a new one again. I could just get the issue formally filed and the address to send it to.
5. The guy at the UPS store laughed when I explained that my email was "Madhatter, like the Alice in Wonderland character."
6. I went to Barnes and Noble.
7. I got to help the store employee recommend books for a woman to get for her daughter and she actually listened to my advice and got them.
8. She specifically didn't want to get her daughter anything like the Twilight books, because she wanted her daughter to branch out into other types of books.
9. Barnes and Noble had stacks of books that were listed as "Must Reads, Buy 2 get 1 free." I approved of many of the books they had, particularly Looking for Alaska, Anna and the French Kiss, and Thirteen Reason's Why.
10. I resisted the urge to purchase the above three books, even though I love them and don't own copies of them because I didn't want to carry them in my suitcase when I travel home in about a week.
11. I did however buy a new Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
12. Which I used both my parent's Barnes and Noble membership to get at a discount, then a gift card that I can still use for at least 2 more books, so I got it for free(ish).
13.The Salvation Army guy outside of the store wasn't just ringing a bell, he was dancing around to Christmas music.
14. When I called my mom to tell her the phone thing was resolved she told me to expect more mail within the next few days.
15. I got to have latkes and jelly doughnuts.
16. Two nice boys walked me back to my dorm since it was pretty late and dark.
17. When I got back to my dorm I found out that my mom's package had arrived.
18. It was full of candy and chocolate and other winter wonderfulness to help me get through finals next week.
19. It snowed a little. Not enough to gather, but still. I like snow.

If you're curious as to whether my good dayness continued on Friday, it didn't. I fell on the stairs on my way to my first class and different parts of my body keep hurting or being stiff intermittently.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update on Goals

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was going to try and finish the current draft of the novel I've been working on for the part few years. Currently I have two more chapters left to write. However, it has become clear that even if I do finish (which is doubtful due to other academic obligations) there is still a lot of work to be done.

This month is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words or more of a novel. As it stands, my work is just below half of this. Clearly, December will involve a lot of editing and trying to find more stuff to put in.

In a way this is good, as it gives me the chance to add subplots and more detailed and expanded back-stories.There were ideas for chapters that I decided against that I can now put back in.

On the other hand, I've had this order of events and chapters planned out for years now. I will probably have to add in new chapters, and expand upon those currently written, but that means reordering events, or creating new events that I never even thought about putting in before. Basically, I have to do what took me three years in much less time.

Ideally I'd have all this work done by the end of my December break. But I think we all know that's not going to happen. I'll be going out with friends, helping out with some volunteer stuff I used to be a part of and procrastinating from working on the book. Those will all take time away from writing.

Maybe, if I really focus I can use the time between my parents going to bed and me going to bed for writing. After all, I don't really do anything then. I just don't go to sleep until really late because that is the obligatory collage student thing to do. Maybe if I use that as writing time I can justify it to my mom. And then I can sleep in.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Heard Somebody Say... (1)

Sometimes you just overhear a stranger and have to laugh. Or cry. Or scream. Or mock them to your friends. For this first edition, it's about laughing.

I was flying back to school this afternoon and was seated next to a couple with an eight month old baby. The baby was generally quiet for the duration of the flight, a little fussy when she got hungry but otherwise fine. After the flight we were sitting on the airplane, waiting to be allowed off and I think... how to phrase this... the kids diaper played it's role well. Since we were still in the plane there wasn't much the parents could do about it. The dad passed the baby off to the mom. The mom then proceeded to softly sing "Smelly Cat" to her daughter.

I think this qualifies as awesome parenting. Of course, this may be a direct result of having a dad who sang the George of the Jungle song when I got behind the wheel with him as a new driver. Either way, I was entertained.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First Time Home

Happy Thanksgiving!

After a long delayed flight I made it home for thanksgiving. Yesterday all I could think was how much I wanted to go home. One of the things going through my head was the song "Gone" by Lauren Fairweather. Although it has pretty much the opposite intention of the original song I ended up making my own version of the lyrics. The original version can be found here.


The dorm is starting to empty
Everyone is heading home
Of course I should pack up but
I know it’s so early so why
Should I do the work right now
It’s far in advance

But it won’t be that long now
Till I’ll be home
I can almost count the hours
I can almost count the hours
Till I get on that plane
And come on home

Will it be any different this time
Just because I’ve been away
I know it’s my family and they
Love me but it’s been so long and
I’m afraid that I’ve changed or that they have
but it can’t be too different
And it won’t be that long now
Till I’ll be home
I can almost count the hours
I can almost count the hours
Till I get on that plane
And come on home

Sunday, November 20, 2011

13 hours

Last week was midterm week. There were lots of late nights, lots of studying. There was the smoke detector in my room going off at 4 AM as loudly as possible because it wanted a new battery waking up myself, my roommate and the people in the rooms next to us. All in all there wasn't much sleep being had.

Until last night.

I was reading in bed and fell asleep. I woke up about 3 hours later at 11. I was then faced with a choice. Go back to sleep, or go out. I picked go back to sleep. And I slept until 9. Then stayed lazily in bed until about 10. But in terms of actual sleep I got about 13 hours. This makes me very happy.

I didn't have the greatest week so this was really good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Funny College Stories Part 2

It occurs to me I might want to change the name of this section to "Embarrassing College Stories" but I think "funny" better captures how people who aren't me find my predicaments.

The theme of these stories is "I'm having a bad day."

1. I was late to my first class this morning. Now I'm sure this seems not funny and only slightly embarrassing. After all, I'm in college, I stay up late. It's natural that I might oversleep one day and be unable to get to class all the way across campus. Why I shouldn't be embarrassed at all. Here's the thing. I didn't oversleep this morning. I actually got up and started studying for my chem midterm (more about that later) half an hour before my alarm went off. Also, I only left my dorm about five minutes later than usual. I should have been able to get to class on time by just hustling a little, right?


Here's the thing. My class was not across campus. It's right next to my dorm. Pretty much all my classes are in that building. I have my "leave for class" times down to an art. 

When you have a five minute (max) walk to class, getting there late really shouldn't happen. It didn't seem so bad though. The classroom is a smallish lecture room so I could just sneak in the back. My teacher didn't have to know I was late.

Except this was the day we were going over the midterm and I had to go all the way down to the front where he was to pick mine up.

2. As I mentioned, I had my chem midterm today. I don't want to talk about how I think I did, other than to say I probably passed but by how much is the question. Even if I failed it that wouldn't be the embarrassing part. It's chemistry. It's a hard class. There was an article in the school paper a few days ago about how people would switch majors just to avoid having to take more chemistry.

No, my shining moment was after I walked down to turn in my test. The class is in one of those huge lecture halls, with the long staircases for people to walk up and down. On my way up those stairs to the exit I tripped. More accurately, my foot wasn't as completely on the step as I thought and when I lifted my other foot it slid off, propelling me forward.

I don't know how many people saw me and how many were looking their tests, but I'm sure someone saw.

And that's how my day is going. How's yours?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Science and Baby Chicks.

This weekend was parents' weekend. I went with my parents to the museum of science and industry in Chicago. Can I just say how amazing this museum is? They did a demo with lots of fire. I got to push lots of buttons. We went into a coal mine.

The best part however was the baby chicks. In the genetics exhibit they have this hatchery of baby chicks. They are the cutest things, all fluffy and adorable. They also had a side with eggs that were hatching and two newly hatched not yet fluffy chicks.

Some cute baby chicks.

These weren't the chicks we saw but you get the idea of how they looked.
Anyway, as adorable as the chicks were in general, seeing baby chicks at a science museum had a special significance to me. A few years ago when my sister was in school we went to the Boston museum of Science for parents' weekend and I got a sweatshirt that had pictures of baby chicks on them and said "Science Chick" (or something like that, I don't have the sweatshirt anymore and couldn't find a picture online).

It seems it is my destiny to associate science with baby chicks. To bad I'm not a biologist. Oh and before you go...
From the MSI website
Chicken for dinner anyone?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apparently Math Isn't a Priority

So, like all university campuses are obliges to be, mine is undergoing construction. And, like all construction, it is inconvenient. There's the early morning wake-ups from banging on the building next door. There's the parts of the sidewalk that haven't been filled in yet, meaning that when it rains (cough today cough) you have to walk on mud while trying to avoid getting stabbed in the eye by other people's umbrellas.

The worst of all however is trying to get into my math class. To be clear, that white patch is tarp, not sidewalk.

Now I only have math there once a week. That being said, it is the main math department building. There are people who have math there every day. The only was in is through some small bushes that are currently in the mud.

Good job making it easy for us to get to math.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Should be Writing (but I'm not)

I publicly made it my goal to finish the current draft of my book. Yet here I am, with a few free hours and what have I done?

I wikipedia'd Chuck Palahniuk. I read a magazine. I started writing a blog post. 


It's not like I'm doing NaNoWriMo. I'm not trying to write 50,000 words. I just trying to finish a (very) short novel (probably more of a novella when I think about it) that I've been working on for a few years now. Most of it just requires me to type what is hand written. And yet, here I am, procrastinating. 


*sigh* I'll start working now. Except I'm probably just going to open a book, or go on hulu or find some other way to distract myself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Goals

A lot of times when I give myself a goal, I set two deadlines. One is the absolute deadline, the other the dream deadline. For example, today is Tuesday. If I have an assignment due Monday at 2, my absolute deadline is Monday at 2. My dream deadline however would probably be Friday at 6. That is I want to try and finish it by then so I have the weekend free but know that if I don't well, I have time. I tend to finish things by the absolute deadline more than the dream deadline.

Sometimes goals don't have specific deadlines, but rather levels of completion. I gave myself the goal of not drinking any soda in October as a dream goal, but gave myself guidelines in which I was allowed to drink soda without it counting against me (this was mainly just that I was allowed to have ginger ale if I got sick). As it happens I did achieve my dream goal of no soda in October. I gave myself this goal because I noticed that I was drinking more soda than I normally did before since it was now readily available in the dining hall.

Now that October is over I decided I need a new goal. This one will be more traditional in terms of deadlines. I began writing a novel nearly three years ago. I finished the first draft after a year and a half, though interestingly enough the last third of it was written in the space of a week because I was able to give myself a scheduled writing time everyday. Once I finished my draft I stopped allocating time. Which is why it's now almost a year and a half later and I have only about 2/3 of the book edited into a second draft. And since the first draft is hand written it also means I only have the first 2/3 or the book saved somewhere besides a binder. So since November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) I am taking this opportunity not to write another novel, but to finish the current draft of the one I've been writing for the past three years.

Here's the thing. I have classes. And homework. And a second round of midterms. So I've decided that while my dream goal is to finish my current draft by Novermber 30 at 11:59 PM whatever timezone I happen to be in, my absolute goal is December 31 at 11:59 PM whatever timezone I happen to be in, since my quarter ends December 10, and I have 3 weeks off from school with no homework or anything. Although to be fair I managed to do almost no work all summer even though I had pretty ample free time (I was also working at a day camp which is very tiring though, she said unconvincingly).

Considering that I just spent a good chunk of free time writing this longer than usual post, I think this will be an interesting month or two.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Identity Crisis

That's what I'm dressing as for Halloween. I'm not having one. Just to be clear. Also it's what I'm dressing as assuming I can actually get some "Hello my name is..." name tags. In the meantime I thought I'd share some of the identities I'll be trying on/sticking all over my body. See if you notice a common thread.

In no particular order:
Hermione, Ginny, Buffy, Winifred, Willow, Cordelia, Luna, Molly, Rose, Martha, Amy, Rory, River Song, Donna, Jack, Micky, Harry, Neville, Angel, Eloise Midgen, Xander, Wesley, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, Inigo Montoya, Rowena, Cimorene, Ender, Valentine, Petra, Morwen and Sarah Jane.

There may be more, there may be fewer, but this is the list so far. Basically I'm also going as a huge dork, but that's no different from any other year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Today the dining hall served pumpkin ice cream. I love pumpkin ice cream because to me, this symbolizes the fall season, particularly Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving because it will be the first time I'll be seeing a lot of my family since arriving at university (and if it wasn't for parent's weekend two weeks before that it would be my first time seeing my parents since arriving). But before I can talk about Thanksgiving, I want to address Halloween.

Halloween is on Monday. I plan on dressing up and I encourage everyone who reads this to dress up as well. The current plan is to go as an identity crisis (dressing in black and wearing multiple name tags with different names upon them), thought I may change my mind. Either way, I will also be eating a boatload of candy. And the best part? Mom and Dad can't stop me. I just need to make sure I don't go into a sugar coma. That would be bad. Really bad. Anyway I'm excited for Halloween. The chemistry department puts on a huge show where lots of things get blown-up and set on fire so I'm excited for that.

So after Halloween comes Thanksgiving. Scratch that. After Halloween come a few more weeks of classes, the next round of midterms and then Thanksgiving. There shall be turkey. And sweet potatoes. And other deliciousness. And I will be home for it all. It's weird to think that for most of my classmates this is the first family holiday potentially spend away from home this year, while I've already missed out on two holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). The gist of it is that I'm excited to be home for a holiday and see my family. Especially since after I return to school, I have only two more weeks until winter break. Unfortunately, those two weeks are reading week and finals week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homecoming

Today is my school's Homecoming Game. I've never really been the biggest football person. I went to zero games in high school. To be fair, my highs school didn't have the greatest school spirit. The Homecoming dance my senior year was canceled due to lack of interest. This is why my dad finds it hilarious that I go to Northwestern, a big ten school. He also finds it funny that I actually show school spirit. However, despite my new found school spirit I still have yet to go to a football game. Today, that changes. I am going to the Homecoming Game today. In honor of this, I am going to explain football as I know it. Comments in italics are my friend Kate who knows football like some one who actually watches it. Because she does. Comments in bold are my response.

Teams want to get touchdowns. Touchdowns are worth 6 points (impressive, first fact is right Yay!), but they can get an extra point after if they kick the ball through the goal post things (Really Kara? Things???? You actually got the name right, so admit your awesomeness. I am awesome. Also, they can technically get two extra points if they make a two point conversion, but I don't want to confuse you). Touch downs are scored by getting the ball all the way down the field into an area that's painted a different color (Endzone....do you really not know what it's called?I really didn't. Shut up.). Someone has to be holding the ball when it gets there though, they can't just have it land there (Correct theoretically, although explained like an imbecile. Hey! It was correct, that's what's important.). Teams can also score points by getting a field goal. This is worth 3 points. I think field goals have something to do with kicking. There's also some way to get 2 points but I'm not sure what it is (Are you referring to a touchback?Quite possibly. Let's just go with yes. You of course have no idea what a touchback is, but it occurs so infrequently that I won't confuse you by explaining it...you' don't really need to know what it is.  I'm just impressed you remembered enough about what I told you to know you can get two points.  Good job!  "A" for effort.....not).

Games are divided into four 15 minute quarters, yet the games themselves take about 4 hours to play because the universe has a weird sense of humor (That's why my friend likes rugby: football without the stoppage. Also, less safety equipment for more violent manly fun. She's a girl, btw). Teams get possession of the ball for 4 downs and they want to move 10 yards forward during that time (Yay!). Depending of something, the number of yards can go down or up, but it's usually 10 (Come on.  Penalties are something you should understand.  If you do something bad, you have to go backwards.  If the defense does something bad, you get rewarded and go forward.  Simple enough.  Also, I mean, you always have to make 10 yards from where you start with the ball on the first down, so I will say that this is technically an incorrect statement). Sometimes teams can steal possession (Fumbles and interceptions....how do you not know the names?  Do  you even know what a fumble or an interception is???? Yes. Don't answer that.....Too late. A fumble is when they drop the ball. An interception is when you catch the other team's pass).

The main guy is the quarterback. He calls the plays and lead the huddles (And throws the ball....and has an earpiece in his helmet so the coach can call the plays....Having an earpiece in seems dangerous. What if he gets hit. Couldn't it rupture something?). Football huddles were invented by a schools for the deaf so the other team wouldn't see them signing fyi (????? It's true I swear!). There are also other roles, like running back and left tackle but I don't know what they do (Haha, don't worry, most people don't know what they do.  I mean those are more generic, so assume tackles knock people over, and running backs run with the ball....but knowing what position does what is superfluous knowledge. So I'm not dumb for not knowing it then.). Some people get tackled sometimes and can get really badly hurt. This is bad (The end.....).

I swear, I'm smart about other things. Kate didn't want to bore you guys by mentioning all the rules to football that I forgot, which are many, I assure you.  So just bear in mind that this is still a narrow version of football as I know it.  Also, take note that Kate wrote the last two sentences....and this one too.....

Update: We lost. But I had fun anyway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Midterms

It's the first midterm week. What's that you say? First? Isn't there just one midterm per class? NO! There was one last week, two this week (as well as a host of paper as and lab reports). Then just before Thanksgiving Break it happens again. Basically, I'm eating a lot of ice cream. And procrastinating by writing this so I don't have to do homework. Or study. Or other things I need to do. Basically, this weekend's post will wither be a happy shiny "I'm done with midterms yay!" post or I'll spend the whole weekend asleep and will forget to write it. It's pretty much a toss up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Disappearing Roommate

I have my room to myself this weekend. I also had it to myself last weekend. And the weekend before that. My roommate tends to leave on the weekends to visit family and friends. At least, she claims that's what she's doing. I think there may be a more interesting explanation. I think she doesn't exist during the weekend. I think a witch put a spell on her that makes her disappear during the weekend and that's why she's not here. It's clearly a much more logical explanation than that she's visiting friends and family who live nearby so she can sleep in a real bed and eat real food. She claims that she will be here next weekend. Maybe she gets a reprieve from the witch's spell once a month. Maybe she's figured out how to break the spell. Maybe there's no spell at all. I guess I'll find out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

hogwarts


I'm starting to really enjoy using mystery seeker to figure out what to write about for these posts. It told me to write about Hogwarts. I'm not going to object to that.

Hogwarts is a school of magic located in Scotland near the village of Hogsmede. It has several protection charms to keep it safe from muggles. It is a castle. Notable alumni include Albus Dumbledore, Tom Riddle and Hermione Granger. Harry Potter would be on this list except that he didn't actually graduate, though I suppose one could count his final year as one big pass/fail independent study.

I wish that I had received a letter to Hogwarts when I was turning eleven. That would have been amazing. However, I have instead made do with reading the books an obsessive number of times, criticizing the movies for getting things wrong and going to wizard rock concerts.

I was unable to get into Pottermore early unfortunately, so I haven't been officially sorted but I think I am a Ravenclaw, and hope to be sorted there when I am allowed onto Pottermore (I'll keep you posted).

Hogwarts is a place that invites people who, in the outside world are a little different and allows them to have a home where they have something in common with everybody else. This environment helps to remind us that no matter how different we may seem, we are more similar than we think. At the same time, not everyone gets along perfectly at Hogwarts, reminding us that just because we have one thing in common doesn't mean we are exactly alike.

Hogwarts is the most amazing place on earth. May everyone find their own Hogwarts one day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

horse. cow.

I didn't know what to write about so I asked mystery seeker. It told me to write about "horse. cow."

I like horses and cows. They can both be very cute but very smelly. I used to do horseback riding and I enjoyed it a lot. I haven't done it in a while though. Cows are yummy. I have never milked a cow, but I think I would like to try. I have been drinking more milk lately though, which I think is good.

I'm sorry, I know this is kind of a sucky post, but I wrote something. Also I have this thing called homework. They do that in college. I should go do some more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funny College Stories Part 1

I plan on making this a feature of my blog. Not necessarily a weekly feature, but a feature. There will be more than just this one part.


The theme of these stories is drunken behavior whilst completely sober. The first story at least would be less embarrassing had I been drunk.

1. Today in the dining hall I was walking to put away my dishes. I had two bowls, a plate, a glass and a water bottle. All were empty except the plate had a heap of rice on it because I had discovered that I didn't actually like the rice they were serving that night very much. I had stacked the dishes so the the bowls were nestled and the plate was on top. I was holding the glass and water bottle tucked in the crooks of my arms and was gripping the bottom bowl. I was walking behind a friend and arguing about whether an actor was alive or dead (I was right that he was alive). Anyway, I slipped or skidded or stopped or something and the plate flipped over sending rice flying everywhere. The plate hit my friend's ankle then the floor. But it didn't just hit the floor, it kind of vibrated loudly. I reached for it and some nice guy picked it up first and handed it to me (thank you!). Basically I accepted it, thanked him and ran off after my friend. So, that happened.

This one's more funny than embarrassing.

2. I had to meet a study group at 8 in the library, about a 10 minute walk from my dorm. When I left my dorm at 7:52 I noticed that a Safe Rides car was waiting outside the door. I went over to the driver's side and knocked on the window. The driver said nothing but waved her hands weirdly. I opened the door to speak with her. Immediately she said, "No you sit in the backseat." My only thought is that she thought I was so drunk that I wanted to sit and drive with her. I quickly explained that I was not drunk, but lazy and wondered if I could get a ride to the library. As the actual car passenger got in the driver explained that I would need to call first to actually use Safe Rides. So not only was I mistaken for a drunk, I had to walk to the library.

Anyone want to share their own funny or embarrassing college stories?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Wedding of River Song

I am very happy right now. This week's episode was amazing. I loved seeing the world where all of time was happening at once, "Don't Feed the Pterodactyls" was great as was Winston Churchill "informing" the Doctor of downloads. I liked how they flashed around with the Doctor getting the different bits of information, I especially loved the idea of electric chess. I had heard that Dorian was going to be back and I assumed it would be a scene taking place before his beheading, but I liked how they did it, and also how they implied he would.could be back again.

I liked how they interspersed scenes from Impossible Astronaut into the episode until it all changed. I liked how they made it seem like Winston might have been ordered by the Silence to kill the Doctor, until they showed the Doctor with a weapon of his own. Alterna-Amy and Alterna-Rory were awesome. "What's Captain Williams first name?" "Captain."

When Rory was standing alone to hold off the Silence, even with his eye piece malfunctioning I was just so... For a second there I really thought they might kill Rory for real. Especially when the Silence referenced him dying multiple times (seriously are they ever going to explain that?) I got a little nervous. But then Amy came back for him!!!!!!!! And I loved her scene with Madam Kovarian. "The Doctor isn't here." And then when she put the eye patch back on "She didn't get it all from you." Chills. I had chills.

As one of my friends who watched the episode with me noted, the line "We got married and had a kid. That's her." is a lot more reasonable in the 'all of time at once' universe than in our normal one. I like that Amy and Rory end up together no matter what.

The wedding was very sweet. "I need a strip of cloth about a foot long." Bow ties are cool. River:"What am I doing?" Doctor: "As you're told." Then they got married and the universe went back to normal. I had the question of whether the Doctor actually loves River or if he just married her because he had to, but I think the end of the episode indicated that he really does love her back. "Her days in jail, but her nights, that's between us."

So the big twist. I loved how the Doctor managed to escape his own death. That beat where he walks away from the offer of help and then pops back. I'd heard people speculate that he'd use a Ganger and I was pleased that he didn't. I also think that what they did was different enough that it isn't a potato/potahto situation.

Amy and River at the end was very sweet. I liked the moment when Amy realized she's the Doctor's mother-in-law. "Dad, I think Mummy needs another drink."

I like that the Doctor is trying to go back to just being an adventurer who helps out. It gets back to the heart of the show while still acknowledging the history of what he's done. I'm curious if they are going to have people report "Doctor sightings" similar to Elvis sightings. I wonder what's going to happen when he again runs into a major enemy, like the Cybermen or the Daleks.

Finally, the question hidden in plain sight. Doctor Who? I think a lot of people expected something along those lines to be the question but they did it very well. It reminded me a bit of how they did the reveal of who River was. It had been leaked what her identity was but they revealed it so well that it didn't matter that we already knew. I'm looking forward to Christmas.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanah Tova!

Tonight is Erev Rosh Hashanah! Which means that at sunset it becomes Rosh Hashanah! Which is the Jewish New Year for those of you who were wondering. Now, in high school and earlier, this would mean a day off from classes so the Jewish students (such as myself) could go to temple and pray and all the gentiles (or goyim or non-jews or whatever you want to call them) had a day off from school to spend merrily. But that's okay because we got apples and honey.

Anyway so it turns out that at university (or my university anyway) Rosh Hashanah is just another day. I mean, there are services and dinners and lunches. But there are still classes. And labs. So there's a lot of emailing professors to be done. Or a lot of energy drink drinking to be done.

Obviously, this happens every year, so the professors are prepared for it. Also, my schedule is such that I only have two classes this Thursday. That's the good news. The bad news is that my morning class is doing an online lab, at the same time as the morning service. And while I can attend my afternoon class and the following 2 1/2 hour lab without a problem, there is Tashlik an hour later. And a dinner two hours later I'd like to attend so I can get some more cultural fun in. Not to mention the lab report due within 24 hours.

At first I was panicking a bit at all this. Currently, I'm cautiously optimistic. My morning class teacher still hasn't told me when I can do the online lab, but those tend to not take very long and I can probably do it on Friday afternoon (here's hoping I don't have to squeeze it in later on Thursday, I may be able to but I'd rather not be held to that). The chem lab I'm also getting hopeful about, since I will have time at night (a little) not to mention 2 1/2 hours after class gets out on Friday to finish the lab.

Of course, I also just spent 15 minutes writing this post instead of doing chem problems so maybe I should be a little more worried.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Closing Time

This episode was a fun experience, both in terms of what happened in it, and my experience in watching it. I watched with two friends, one of whom is a fan of the show, and one of whom had never seen it before. So there was a lot of explaining of certain things/making references that were followed by "we'll explain later".

First off, I loved seeing the Doctor's ability to speak baby being showcased again. "He prefers Stormageddon Dark Lord of All." "Not mum. I'm 'also not mum' and everyone else is 'peasants'". Also "shh". That baby was adorable by the way.

Anyway, I liked the Doctor trying to resist investigating, especially since he seemed to realize last episode how much he put people in danger, having him trying to resist that, especially with Craig was good to see. Of course, he's been traveling around for two hundred years, and has presumably been having adventures with River (at least Jim the fish), and he may have even had another companion in the meantime who we will meet in novels and audio adventures.

I liked the little Amy/Rory cameo. Honestly, when the girl asked for her autograph and then pointed at the Doctor I thought it was going to turn out that Amy had written children's books about the Doctor not that she was a model, though considering she was a kiss-o-gram modeling probably fits in. Anyone else wondering if she signed it as Amy Pond or Amy Williams?

Overall I liked the episode, though I thought the whole "defeating the Cybermen with love was very reminiscent of Night Terrors when the Dad just had to tell the kid they wouldn't send him away. Or last week where it was the breaking of faith that saved the day. Or the gas mask zombie episode where the mum had to hug her kid and say she's his mum. It's a good ending, I just feel it's a little overdone.

That being said the ending with River was amazing! Just wow. I am very excited for next week and really want the ending to amaze me. (Oh, let's not forget last season when Amy brought the Doctor back by remembering and believing!) (Sorry I just couldn't resist.) (Also, at least Doctor Who is creative with how they get to the ending unlike every crime show which follows the same plot structure for every episode.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Definitions

So I've been thinking lately about the way we define ourselves versus how we actually are. For years I was able to read in the car without a problem, even though others in my family couldn't. Recently I've become aware that I might not have this ability anymore. Mostly because I got sick after the drive to the airport to come to school after reading in the car. Yet, because I define myself as someone who can read in the car without a problem I still don't think of myself as someone who gets carsick. Currently I'm blaming the fact that the road leading up to the airport was very bumpy, and have therefore amended my definition of myself to someone who can read in the car as long as it's not bumpy.

A more positive proof of definition failure is that for years I got really puffy and red whenever I cried so that people could tell I'd been crying literally hours after the fact. I still think of myself as someone who gets this way even though I've noticed that it isn't really true anymore (YAY).

The point of all this is that I'm starting university now. I've always thought of myself as a good student, particularly when it comes to math and science. I don't know if this definition is going to hold true for university, but I hope it does. There are somethings about ourselves that must change and somethings we pray never do.

Update: I went to my first class in the middle of writing this and it was awesome! Obviously the first class will be very different in terms of difficulty from say, the final, but so far I'm feeling pretty good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The God Complex

This episode was amazing, both emotionally and visually.

The opening set up the episode very well, in terms of the plot and the overall tone. When the Doctor first arrived at the hotel there was the obligatory description of the world they meant to go to. I liked how the other characters were introduced (for a moment I wondered if Lucy would be one of them and we'd been started at the end but the picture on the wall showed that this was wrong).

I like how much of this episode was in the details. The Doctor miming "Call me" to Rita after fake firing Amy, Joe's cufflinks, the Rubix cube (when did he learn to solve those? He couldn't do it in Night Terrors), Howie's stutter, the goldfish Gibbis ate, the duality of who the creature's last words applied to and the Doctor having room 11.

I just wanted to say that the way they did the "Praise him" snippets was amazing. I loved the quick cuts to the different faces and the interspersing of the written words. The shots of the hotel were amazing.

One thing that bothered me was that once again we had the Doctor "figuring out" what was happening only to realize his advice is wrong and may have made things worse. I understand that it would be annoying if he was always right the first time this is also getting a little annoying.

That being said when he realized what he had to do to Amy to get the Beast to stop made me so sad. That scene was heartbreaking, as was the scene where the beast died. The ending was wonderful and sad all at the same time. Something I missed upon my first viewing was Amy telling the Doctor "If you bump into my daughter, tell her to visit her old Mum sometimes." That line is interesting to me because obviously River is he daughter and she's her mother, but at the same time she isn't. If Amy and Rory have more children it's going to be interesting since technically they aren't first time parents but they never did the whole raising a child thing (I know they sort of raised Mels and acted as sort of parents to her but it doesn't quite count).

I just want to take this moment to discuss how much I love Rory as a character. I've seen websites that have compared the development of Rory to that of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce on Buffy/Angel because they both start as somewhat goofy characters and developed into BAMFs but I think a better Buffy comparison is Xander. On Buffy Xander was "the one who saw things" and the heart of the group. He noticed things about the other characters and wasn't afraid to speak up when they got out of hand. Similarly, Rory sees people more clearly than others. In Vampires of Venice he tells the Doctor "you make people want to impress you" and points out how dangerous the Doctor's actions are to those around him. Last week he chewed out the Doctor for turning him (Rory) into him (The Doctor). He asked if the people in the time stream facility were happy, something the Doctor recognized as a very Rory thing to do. And then this week he was the one who knew that Howie had just overcome his stutter and he reminded the Doctor that not all victories were big and grand. I love Rory. He can be a BAMF when he's dressed as a Roman and he can also be the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful person ever. He waited 2000 years for the woman he loved, was relatively calm when he learned that she ran off before they're wedding and his relationship with River Song both before and after the big reveal was quite sweet.

Finally, some favorite lines.
"Our high school motto was 'resistance is exhausting'."
"I want to go home and be conquered and oppressed."
"I plant trees so the conquering armies can invade in the shade."
Howie: I've worked out where we are.
Rory: Hmm?
Howie: Norway.
Rory: ...Norway?!
Howie: See, the US government has entire cities hidden in the Norwegian mountains. You see, Earth is on a collision course with this other planet. And this is where they're going to send all the rich people when it kicks off.
Rory: Amazing.
Howie: It's all there on the internet!
Rory: No, it's amazing that you've come up with a theory even more insane than what's actually happening.
"Don't talk to the clown."

Next week looks really good!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Read it First

So there's this new website called http://readit1st.com/ that's all about the idea that it's better to read the book before the movie version comes out. Now I support this idea, although I don't always follow it. There are plenty of times where, because the movie is coming out a lot of people check out the book from the library so they can read it first. Again, I support this. However, it means that I don't get to read the book first unless I go on a reserve list, which I think takes the fun out of it a little (Not that I won't use reserve lists, I just think it's less fun than scanning the shelves). That's why I like that the pledge is to read the book first when possible, not always (There's also an alternative pledge about just reading the book whenever).


I think this pledge to read the book at some point, though not necessarily first is what's most vital about this website. So many people don't read who should and some people miss out of watching great movies because they were waiting to read the book. Speaking as someone who's read the book before and after it's an interesting experience.

When I saw the Harry Potter movies I spent a lot of time criticizing what was done wrong (like here). It's hard to not look at what's missing when you see an adaptation of your favorite books. But at the same time, I've also had the experience of seeing the movie first and then reading the book. For someone like me who is quick to criticize a movie for being "wrong" (though I've gotten better at differentiating between good movie and good adaptation), sometimes it's more enjoyable to see the movie first. Since books tend to be more in depth rather than complaining about how much was left out, I can enjoy the movie and then afterwords learn how much more was under the surface. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I'll read a book and start getting mad that things were left out of the movie, but in general if I read the book second I'm more accepting of changes in the story.

I still try to read the book first when possible, but I don't want that to dictate my enjoyment of the movie.