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19 May 2007 @ 01:46 am
You all need to see this. Matthew Fox, of Lost and Party of Five fame, was the Columbia College Class Day speaker. Everyone, including me, complained about the choice, and then he gave quite possibly the BEST SPEECH EVER. Matthew Fox, please forgive me.

Dean Colombo's introduction:
The legendary speech:
31 January 2007 @ 12:43 am
So, I just discovered this website where you can make a virtual model of yourself, and I decided to make two: one of what I look like now, and one of what I will look like when I get to my goal weight. I know I'm not overly fat now, but it really is a big difference! Check it out:

Me now:

Future me:
08 July 2006 @ 02:15 am
I've noticed a few people giving summer reading updates, so I thought I'd do the same.

So far this summer, I have read:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I thought this book was excellent, but I don't think I can recommend it because everyone else I've talked to who has read it didn't like it.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown - I figured I'd see what all the fuss was about. The best I can say about this book is that, yes, it kept me entertained. The plot is utterly ridiculous and Dan Brown is honest to goodness the single WORST writer I've ever read. I don't see what all the hype is about.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon - So it's definitely not up to Kavalier and Clay's greatness, but this was still a damn good book. As far as I'm concerned, Michael Chabon could write about the contents of his garbage can and I would read it.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - I read this one after hearing how much Anna and Caitlin liked it. Damn good book. Russell has some incredibly interesting thoughts on religion/the nature of God, but I'm not sure yet how I feel about her treatment of the relationship between discoverers and discovered. Has anyone read the sequel, Children of God? Is it worthwhile?

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - Wow, just wow. Thsi book completely blew me away. It started off as one of the funniest books I've ever read and ended up as one of the saddest and most poignant. Foer tries to say a lot in this book, and I'm still trying to digest it, but I feel like this is a book that will stay in my mind for a long time.

Sandman 4-8 by Neil Gaiman - The only thing I don't liek about this series is that I'm getting dangerously close to the end. In order to prolong the pleasure I've been reading these in between other books as a sort of palate cleanser. Neil Gaiman is my god, that is all.

Next on the list:
Sandman 9 - I'm sure this one will be just as awesome as all the others.

Grendel by John Gardner - I'd never heard of this book until tonight, when I saw it while browsing through the high school required summer reading section at Barnes and Noble, which is guilty pleasure of mine. I find it's a good way to remind myself of the classics I haven't read yet or should re-read. Anyway, this is a retelling of Beowulf from the monster Grendel's point of view. I love stuff like this and since Beowulf is very near my heart I figured I'd give it a try.

So what have you guys been reading? Any recommendations/warnings?
05 July 2006 @ 11:09 pm
Well, boys and girls, I just got back from Seattle, and I figured that it was an interesting enough trip to merit an update. I'll post pictures on Facebook as soon as Rob gets around to sending them to me (I forgot to bring my camera), but for now you will just have to make do with your own mental pictures.

I had an afternoon flight to Seattle, which seemed longer than I expected. I think it was 5 hours of flying time total, which is about the same as going to NYC, so I'm not sure why it felt like so long, but it did. In any case, I read a good bit of my book (The Sparrow, which I borrowed from Caitlin ages ago, we shall have to discuss it in depth soon, Caitlin and Anna) and listened to the entire Rent soundtrack on my iPod (and I'm no longer sure why I thought it was so great when I wa sin high school, most of the songs now sound pretty awful to me). We passed over some beautiful mountain ranges on the way, and the view of Mount Rainier when flying into Seattle is absolutely breathtaking. Rob picked me up at the airport and we drove to Redmond/Bellevue, which is where his apartment is and where Microsoft is located. It's a pretty impressive area, but a little too suburby for my tastes. The rest of the night was general hanging out kinda stuff.

Rob and I went to lunch in the cafeteria located nearest the building he works in, and I determined that working for Microsoft is essentially extending the college experience. The cafeteria looks very much like an on-capus eating place (mostly like a big Cafe 212) and everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts (absolutely no business attire to be seen), and Rob even told me that you can put money on your Microsoft ID card to use like Flex or Dining Dollars. It was basically geek central, and that made me very happy for Rob. Microsoft employees also apparently get all the free soda they could ever want, which I found funny. Then Rob snuck me into his building and I got to see his workspace, which, because it was Rob's was completely devoid of personality (not even a picture of me!) Then we went to the Microsoft Visitor Center, which is like a tiny Microsoft museum and where you can play with "cutting edge technology." I found it fun, but mostlybecause Rob was so very unimpressed by all of the technology we were supposed to be impressed by. Then we went to the Company Store, which has all sorts of incredibly discounted Microsoft stuff that only employees can buy. Rob got me a t-shirt that says "Microsoft." I will wear it proudly. Then we had substandard Chinese food with some of Rob's friends and another night of hanging out.

So on Saturday we finally got to go to Seattle itself. My impression of the city is that it's a lot like New England, but with more hippies and the crazy homeless people were actually up to NYC standards. Seattle definitely doesn't live up to how I feel about New York, but I think I could be happy living there for at least a little while. We went to Pike Place Market first, which I LOVED. It's like the French Market, but more organized and superior merchandise. Lots of people selling fresh seafood, and fruits and veggies, and flowers, and handmade things. We ate there, and I had fish n'chips which I found delicious. In the downstairs area of the market there was even, I kid you not, a Museum of Giant Shoes. I was very impressed by that, but Rob was not. Then we went to the aquarium, because we could see it from the market. I had lots of fun there too. The otters were definitely the best part. I even got socks with otters on them from the gift shop. We also saw the seals being fed, which was pretty awesome. After that we journeyed across town to the Space Needle, and paid more than it's worth to ride to the top. It was a good view, but certainly not worth $14 per person. Now, I would very much like to eat in the restaurant there, which rotates 360 degrees as you eat, but Rob said it was too expensive (I think I will insist on going next time though). The Space Needle is surrounded by all sorts of cool-looking stuff, like a Science Center, and this Music Project thing, and a Science Fiction Museum, but we didn't have time for anyof that so we plan on spending a day there next time. Dinner that night was at the Cheesecake Factory in Bellevue, which was quite enjoyable ( I got totally smashed off of one ultra-strong cosmopolitan).

On Sunday we journeyed back into the city and then to the outskirts and actually went to the beach! I hadn't been to a beach in forever, so I found it very enjoyable. The beach itself was pretty neat because, unlike most beaches, you could see trees and mountains when you looked across the water. We had a picnic and met lots of other Microsoft employees and their significant others. I made friends with a gay guy whose boyfriend was a Microsoft intern, and he and I founded the Microsoft Wives' Club. That night we went back to the Space Needle area and saw Superman Returns in 3D at the Imax. Ok, say what you will, but I really enjoyed the movie. The only thing I wish is that we could have seen a litle bit more of Clark Kent, because I think he's what really makes the character interesting. Rob's not a Superman fan at all, but he admitted that the movie was pretty good (or as good as a Superman movie can be). If you're considering paying the extra to see the movie at an Imax, my advice is to save your money. The 3D scenes were either lame or distracting, and they also gave me a headache.

Rob had to go to work for a little while on Monday, so I just hung out and read and whatnot. That night we went to a place called, again I kid you not, Celtic Bayou - which serves both Cajun and Irish food. It wasn't as bad as I predicted it would be. I had the red beans and rice, which were decent. Rob and his friends go there every Monday because they have a trivia contest. Rob had told me that I would be helpful at this because they ask a lot of literature questions, so I was all ready to validate my existence. Unfortunately, the vast majority of questions that night centered on either sports or classical music. Oh well, perhaps next time.

All I did Tuesday was fly home. Amusingly, my flight from Seattle to Houston was flight number 1776. Get it? My flight from Houston to Lafayette was supposed to get in at 8:30 but ended up arriving right around midnight, so I became very familiar with the Houston airport. And that's all.

Well, I hope this journal didn't bore anyone too much. I considered this a pretty important trip. See, if Rob does well as an intern, he has a really good chance of getting a full-time job there after he graduates, and I know that would be an amazing opportunity for him. And I'm in love with New York City, but there are no comparable opportunities for me there. Everywhere needs teachers. So this trip was very much like a test drive for me, I had to constantly ask myself if I could be happy there are on more permanent basis. I think I could, especially if we could live in Seattle instead of the suburbs. It's certainly no NYC, but it is a super-nice place, and I'd be willing to make the sacrifice to give Rob the chance to live his dream.
14 June 2006 @ 02:00 pm
So, this morning I was getting ready for work, and The View was on TV (no, I do not watch The View, the TV was still on from Good Morning America), and I saw the weirdest thing to ever appear on daytime television. David Lee Roth, yes the former Van Halen front man, was singing a BLUEGRASS version of JUMP. It was absolutely horrific. If you don't believe me, here's a video of him doing it on some other talk show:
07 June 2006 @ 02:33 pm
So, Mom very generously offered to trade laptops with me, and as her's is much nicer and newer than mine, I readily accepted. All was fine and dandy until I reinstalled itunes and my ipod on the new laptop. As I was setting things up an innoucuous looking pop-up asked me if I wanted my iPod to now be associated with this version of itunes. I was like, well, yeah, ok. Turns out it was asking me if I wanted my iPod to be associated with the songs currently in the library of the new itunes, a grand total of ZERO SONGS. Therefore, I just lost EVERY SINGLE song my ipod used to hold. That's right all THREE THOUSAND of them. God, I am so pissed. Then, I try to call customer support only to learn that Apple, lovable companys that it is, charges you $5 for EVERY support call. Bastards.

Luckily, Rob found me some software that might be able to recover my songs. It's searching now and it seems to be finding stuff. The only problem is that if I want it to actually recover the songs for me I'm going to have to pay $70. GAH!

So, I'm fairly pissed off right now. So pissed off that I'm thinking about just buying a new mp3 player. One NOT made by Apple. This version is currently at the top of my list: http://shop.resellerratings.com/xPC-Creative_Labs_ZEN_Vision_M_30_GB_Light_Blue~PD-28597703~FD-89~kworg-~DMT-199~VK-. What do you guys think?

And is anyone interested in buying my old iPod? I'll be accepting offers.
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: NONE! MY IPOD ATE IT ALL!
24 March 2006 @ 01:40 am
I added another album of Spain pictures on Facebook. A couple weeks ago I discovered two undeveloped rolls of film. Check 'em out!
22 March 2006 @ 06:58 pm
Because really what is so sad about a lonely, abandoned child and a deaf and blind baby fox named Helen Keller?

09 March 2006 @ 01:49 am
Ok, so I know this is pointless, but something has been bothering me lately, so I figured, hey, why not bitch about it on Livejournal? Feel free to tell me if you think I'm over-reacting, but at least give my point some thought first.

There's this commercial that I've been seeing on TV a lot that's really started to bother me. (And I've been seeing it a lot because my TV viewing time is increasing exponentially - thanks, Caitlin!) So, the ad is for some sort of fancy cell phone, I'm not sure what brand, but the ad goes something like this:

Setting: Bus

Nerdy white guy: You two, fight.
(Old man and biker dude fight each other)

Nerdy white guy: You, turn it up.
(Guy with boombox turns up volume)

Nerdy white guy: You, shake your junk.
(Large black woman starts pole dancing)

Nerdy white guy: You two, make out.
(Two women make out)

Ad voice: Hey look, you can get all these nifty things anywhere you want on your cell phone!
(Cell phone with some sort of physical sport, music, junk shaking music video, girls making out)

Now, before I go any further, at this point, do you see anything wrong with this? Really, like, respond and tell me if you do, because I want to know if I'm the only one.

The part of this that really doesn't sit well with me is when the guy makes the black lady "shake her junk." It actually makes my stomach turn whenever I see it. Not only do we see some pretty historically meaningful power relationships (man to woman, black to white, hell, white man to black woman), it's the fact that he COMMANDS her to do what he wants and, as the audience, we see her immediatley comply. Not only that, but she does so with this totally expressionless face and while making eye contact with him, like she's looking for his approval, and what she think couldn't possibly matter.

And I know that the objection to this is, "well, why doesn't it bother you when he makes the two men fight?" Well, it does a little (I've always been a respect your elders kinda gal), but it doesn't seem as bad because there's not that nagative power relationship. In the case of the "junk" lady it just seems to hit too close to real-world conceptions of women. I'm not saying that boys will see this and think they can command women to do whatever they want, but it still perpetuates the very real objectification of women in our culture. And, unlike in most music videos or even porn, we don't get a sense that this woman is even complicit in her objectification. All we see is that she does what she's told, which to me is similar to rape scenes in porn - even though we know it's an actress it's still too much of a societal reality to take it lightly. Why would a multi-million dollar company produce an ad that shows a minority woman as the sexual plaything of a white man who doesn't even have a will of her own?

Am I totally off-base with this? Too much liberal education maybe? I don't know, it's such a negative gut reaction for me that I can't think this is a result of me being trained to read things into the media. And why don't the two making out women bother me? I'd say either because I'm already so horrified by junk lady or that at least it's conceivable that those women are getting something out of it. What do you guys think? Any opinions?
04 March 2006 @ 05:01 pm
So this year I'm participating in Columbia's Relay for Life to raise money for the American Camcer Society. I'm really very excited for this because I so rarely get off my ass and do something good. Anywho, if you'd like to help out by making a donation (every little bit helps!) you can just follow this link:


Thanks guys!