Monday, September 24, 2012

Tis the Season

Warm pumpkin spice coffee cake and piping hot, spiced apple cider. The perfect after school snack. Now it's really starting to feel like autumn.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rejected Cartoons

While I'm talking about things that are funny, my roommate showed me this video the other night, and I've got to say, it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. It's a bunch of cartoons saying random things. It's really dumb, simple humor, but that's what I love. Parts of it are a touch gory, but it's well worth it. In case you were wondering, my favorite part is when one stick figure says to the other, "I live in a giant bucket!" Watch it to see what I'm talking about...

The Chilling Sound of Clam Laughter

I have always admired Steve Martin's sense of humor, and recently I was discussing his comedic capability with a friend. He is quick to praise humor in others, and this is just an example of that. He is commenting on the things his Twitter followers say on his feed. I'm still hoping to see him play the banjo someday

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Dissect a Whale

Ever wondered how to dissect a 65-ton marine mammal? Look no further than the New York Times to give you step-by-step instructions. Back in early February I grabbed a copy of the paper on my way down to the dining hall for breakfast. Little did I know that possibly the funniest diagram I have ever seen would be waiting for me between those crisp, gray pages. After reading a fascinating article about a researcher who has dissected countless whale species, my attention was diverted to a sidebar next to the article. For all of those do-it-yourselfers out there, the New York Times assembled a step-by-step instruction guide for the standard procedure of whale dissection.

My favorite instruction: "...step into the whale to extract it's inner organs" ...Wait a minute... Are we on planet Hoth? Is this whale being mistaken for a ton-ton? No, it's just a freaking enormous specimen. Thank goodness we didn't have to worry about dissecting one of these in biology lab. I remember having to go pick up my fetal pig back in freshman year. Imagine if every freshman had to go pick up their own whale specimen. I am just picturing hordes of freshmen trying to drag a stinking whale carcass across campus.

So next weekend when you head to the beach and happen upon a beached whale, you will be totally equipped to do your own scientific research. Just remember to bring the backhoe

Study Bungalow

Soft lighting is not only romantic, but also a great study environment. The other night I had the house to myself, so I lit some incense, along with a bunch of pillar candles and tea lights, and read up on Wilderness and the American Mind. Simple indulgences like this make college living a little more luxurious.
Put some tea lights on the dresser!

A few pillar candles on the nightstand

Got that candelabra for $3 at a second-hand store (candles not included)

This little feller gives off a lovely glow

Pickled Pride

Last night a great speech was given by a great president. What better way to savor the evening than with a sampling of some homemade dill and bread and butter pickles? I hoped that the bread and butter pickles would be sweet and tangy. These words that normally describe taste also describe my feelings as I watched Obama's speech: the sweet feeling of excitement, and the tangy sense of apprehension as election day inches closer. What will be the fate of this great country?

The pickles I would be testing had been assembled in jars last saturday. It was my first attempt at pickling anything, and I was excited but apprehensive about how they would turn out. As a financially deficient college kid, spending forty dollars on pickling ingredients and supplies was a stretch, but pickles are one of my favorite comfort foods.

In the middle of President Obama's speech seemed as a good a time as any to test the finished product. Starting first with the jar of dill pickles, my roommate had to help me unscrew the lid since I had so tightly secured it in the first place. It wasn't easy to open that lid, but it had built up even more anticipation for how those pickles might taste. It reminded me of how a new policy goes through the motions of becoming a law. It can be costly to get it through Congress; maybe it will cost taxpayers money, or it will mean that another faction who does not favor the proposed law will be agitated. Hopefully the law will act in the name of the greater good. Citizens wonder the far reaching affects that this law might have. Will it accomplish what it's originators meant it to? Will these dill pickles I made taste as good as the one I had at the State Fair?

No. They were too salty for my taste. Luckily, my roommate loves salty foods, and she was more than willing to chow down on those salty pickles. If that jar of dill pickles had been a law, then it failed in my eyes, but for Sonya, they were just right. Policy isn't a one size fits all procedure, and the message of compromise that was reiterated over and over last night seems more important as this country becomes more and more divided on big issues.

Compromise: I didn't like how the dill pickles turned out, so my roommate suggested changing the salty brine for plain water so some of the salt could diffuse out of the pickles. We will check back on them in a few days and see if the taste has improved. Like a well thought out policy, it takes time to get it just right, and tailor it so that it can positively impact as many people as possible.

After a disappointing taste test with the dill pickles, I had to try the bread and butter variety, crossing my fingers all the while and hoping that my investment had produced something I was proud of. The jar of sweet pickles was much easier to open. Gingerly plucking a chunk out of the jar, I bit into it, and smiled. It was perfect. My hard work had paid off. Even though I wasn't happy with how the dill pickles turned out, this was the best way to learn how not to make dill pickles.

Everything is a learning experience. Even the politicians have to do a bit of experimenting to figure out what works best. I think the biggest take home from last night is that we are all in this together. Whether or not we agree on certain issues, we have one planet and one lifetime, so we should work to make the most of it and make it a valuable learning experience for future generations.
Dill on the left, bread and butter on the right

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time to Take a Breath

The past few weeks have been a nonstop frenzy of activity as summer came to a screeching halt. I was called at the last minute to be an orientation leader at my school, and ended up moving in three days after getting the call, and a week ahead of my original move in date. These past few weeks have also been an exciting and amusing time as I have gotten to know my three roommates, all of whom transferred in from different schools in the northeast. It was a hectic end to a great summer, but also a great way to start the school year.

I feel ready for anything now, but especially some quality time with the good ol' outdoors. One of the best qualities that all of my roommates share is that they all love spending time outside.  It is sort of a requirement to fit in at my school though... Last Saturday I hiked around Labrador Hollow with two of my roommates, and we were rewarded with this incredible view once we reached a clearing in the trees. In the past week and a half we have already hiked this area twice. A good indication for future outdoor adventures in the coming months.
Soakin' up some sun