About Me

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I like running and science and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. So I'm writing a blog or something.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walking Walls, or how you can help a journey for peace!

My friend (and former awesome roommate), Kate, is raising funds to walk along physical, political walls to document the real, human divisions in the communities affected.  I'll let her explain:

Click here to help out, either monetarily or just to spread the word!

Fun fact: it was with Kate when I first started to blog.  We started a blog, for reasons I can't remember, while living together my Junior year at Carleton (http://shesrealfinemy409.blogspot.com/ if you're so inclined to read some ramblings of ours from 2009).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reason #1 Why I Love Davis

*Note, the "#1" does not refer to the top reason why I love Davis; rather, it is the first post I've written on this topic.  And now for the reason:

I bike 3 miles to and from work every day.  For 2.5 of those, I don't have to leave a bike path- not even to cross a street.  There aren't words to describe how relaxing it is not to deal with cars and traffic and polluting and hop on my bike to propel myself somewhere.  And the best moment of all: reaching the top of the overpass and seeing all the people stuck in traffic on Interstate 80.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Straight floatin' on a boat on the deep blue sea

In a little less than three months, I will be on a boat.  Specifically the R/V Melville:

"During a career now in its fourth decade, Melville has cruised over almost all the World's oceans in the pursuit of scientific knowledge."
And why, you might ask?  Well a fellow Carleton AND Williams-Mystic alum is getting her PhD in marine geology at OSU and her lab needed volunteers for a dredging and mapping cruise of the coast of- get this- South Africa!  So at the start of February 2012, I will be flying to Cape Town and embarking on a two month research cruise, all expenses paid.  Hooray for science funding!

Among other things, I'm ridiculously excited to:

  1. be on a ship (on the ocean!)
  2. do geology again
  3. see penguins in the wild (or at least I hope we're in Cape Town long enough for me to do so).
There will undoubtably be more blog posts on this topic as the trip gets closer and I get more information, so stay tuned!  I might have to change the name to A is for the Atlantic!

Monday, October 24, 2011

In which I recommend you go see a movie (or two)

I recently saw two movies in the theaters of which I had never seen previews for: Drive and 50/50. I loved both of them and will review them with NO SPOILERS and recommend you go see them! And by "review," I guess I really just mean why I liked them, since I don't want to give anything away.


All I knew going into this movie was that it's about a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver. Which is true, but it's much more than the action/chase scene flick you might expect from that description.

Aside from the fact that Ryan Gosling is incredibly easy on the eyes, Drive was a fabulous movie. It reminded me of Burn After Reading in a weird way- the way the first half of the movie has a certain tone and then all of the sudden something happens and it just spirals off... I won't elaborate too much so as not to spoil it for anyone. The difference between the two movies is that I loved Drive, but didn't really care for Burn After Reading.

What made the movie, though, is the soundtrack. The choice of music was clearly thought through, and each song was perfect for its scene. I really can't get over how good the music was.


I knew two things going into 50/50: it's about a guy who gets cancer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it. The second thing
had a lot to do with why I agreed to see this movie; cancer doesn't seem like the subject of a fun Friday night movie.

But the movie was hilarious! It was also sad and emotional and above all, real. Like, these could be the reactions and conversations and emotions of real people. I laughed, I cried, and I came out feeling blessed that, at least for now, I'm healthy.

If nothing else, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are stellar actors. And the girl from Twilight is pretty great too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Maybe I Could Live in Minnesota Afterall (until Winter comes, of course)

Anyone who knows me, knows that while I loved Carleton, I was not as thrilled about it being in Minnesota. There are two main reasons: winter and distance from the ocean. I just spent two weeks in Minneapolis, and while I'm not about to move back, I was greatly persuaded. Here are three reasons why:

1. Minneapolis is easy to get around, and flat. I had to go downtown many days during my visit, and while there are busses, I opted to walk or bike since the weather couldn't have been nicer and I could enjoy the beautiful autumn air. Uptown (where Amy lives) is an easy distance of a beautiful cemetery, a number of lovely lakes, multiple fun bars/restaurants/cafes, and young people. Which brings me to #2.

2. Uptown is basically a grown up version of Carleton dorms. I swear half of all recent Carleton grads live in Minneapolis and most of them live in Uptown. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but my point is that there is a very active Carleton community, and to be honest, I love hanging out with fellow Carls.

3. There are a lot people who want me there. This may seem like a silly reason, but so many people tried to persuade me to move there during my visit. One friend even threatened to break my legs so I couldn't leave.

Bonus Reason: The Summit Brewery is in St. Paul. And I love Summit Beer. Both times I visited and toured the brewery I had a great time, especially sitting in the sun with their free samples and friends enjoying it with me. You can't get Summit beer in California, a fact that makes me very sad.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

and there's glitter on the floor

Yes, I paid money to see Ke$ha live. Yes, she was pretty bad. Yes, I wore a ton of glitter. No, I don't regret it.

LMFAO (one of her openers) were awesome, however, and damn, those guys could break dance. This video doesn't really do my previous statement justice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear San Francisco Giants,

One of these days you will win a game I go to.

Love, Kim

It's Timmy!

Pablo being congratulated after a splash hit home run:

Matt Cain pinch running!

Is this a beautiful ballpark or what?

Vogelsong is a beast

(First three pictures from Giants vs Padres on Independence Day, last two from Giants vs Pirates 8/8/11)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wynton Marsalis- belated review

A week and a half ago, my dad and I went to the Mondavi Center here in Davis to see Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. They were fantastic.

We had good seats, though bringing binoculars was a good call on my dad's part. I loved watching the other players while one soloed. The drummer, Ali Jackson, especially looked like he was just having a blast. Every one of the trombonists and trumpeters were excellent, each in their own way. The sax/clarinet guys were great too, but being a trumpet player, I think I appreciate brass players more.

I enjoyed the concert more than I had expected. It's not that I expected not to enjoy it; I suppose I had forgotten how much I enjoy jazz. It made me miss playing in the Jazz ensemble at Carleton. I did see my band director from high school, though he didn't recognize me. This was hardly surprising as he could hardly remember my name even when I was in his class. Saved me from some awkward small talk in any case. It wasn't a sold out concert, but fairly full and the audience was very appreciative. For good reason, these are probably some of the top jazz musicians of today.

My favorite piece they played (a hard choice- they were all so good!) was part of a Marsalis piece called (if I remember/scribbled on my program in the dark correctly) You Got to Watch the Holy Ghost because all of the instruments had parts where they made really crazy noises. It was written for a church I think, and it would have been cool to sit in a chapel and hear it.

Bottom Line: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are stellar.


A year ago today, it was 102ºF. That's pretty normal. Maybe a little hotter than average. Today it's like 60º and thunderstorming. What is this, winter?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Railroad Revival Tour

Well, I'll get my complaining away first off and then just focus on what was awesome about this concert. My mom and I arrived a little late, so it was partly our fault we missed Old Crow Medicine Show's set, but the line was absolutely ridiculous (literally like a mile long) even 45 minutes into the show. They really should have opened the doors earlier since even people who arrived early missed some of the show. But we got in during the set change and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes were next.

Now of the three bands, they were my least favorite anyway. And they just didn't bring it. The first two songs sounded better live than on their album, but it just never took off. So I went and found Ale and a couple of her friends and got a beer and danced to Home and then Ale and I went back to where mom and I had set up chairs.

And then came Mumford and Sons! Even though I was in line for the bathroom for their first two songs, from the beginning they were awesome. They brought so much energy to the stage and were absolutely amazing to see live. I love their sound anyway, but it was so much fun to hear them live! They played a couple of new songs too, which while I couldn't sing along, had a great sound.

Then of course members of all the bands came out for an encore in which they sang what I am guessing is called "This Train is Bound for Glory." So that was fun. The entire show had very good energy, and even when waiting in line and clearly missing the first act, everyone was in good spirits. And of course there was all sorts of flannel and hipster hippies (for lack of a better term). Also, that Middle Shoreline Park in Oakland is a fabulous place for a concert!

Bottom line: Mumford and Sons kick ass.

Aside from the girls behind me loudly singing along despite knowing none of the lyrics and the point where I help Ale onto the ledge I was standing on and the fact that I was excited and bouncy at the end and quite far from the stage (thank you 10x zoom), this video I took isn't bad. Plus it's my favorite song. I can even play it on my uke.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Black and Orange! or: How I Learned to Love Baseball

I used to think baseball was a stupid sport. True story. Now I can't get enough of the Giants.

It all began last spring when my best friend was dating a member of the Carleton baseball team. I went with her to all the home games; we sat in the grass, in the sun, and would watch the games. Sometimes we would only go when we knew her boyfriend was pitching, but regardless, I enjoyed spending time at Carleton's diamond.

What really drew me in for good though, didn't happen until the World Series began, and I emphasize began, because I'm not like the bandwagoners who hopped on the Giants train because they won. If the Giants had lost every game, I would have still become a fan, and I'll tell you why.

At this time I was living in southeast Texas in, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. After work and on weekends, I had nothing to do, very few people to hang out with, and limited internet. My new best friend became our old TV and its five watchable channels (I say that as we actually got about 10 channels, but 5 of them were some variation on Nuns 24/7 or God rocks!). But this was southeast Texas, and you could tell, not just from the dorky local commercials, but the news and sports as well. I probably learned more about the area high school football teams than I ever knew about my own high school football team. I also knew what time and on what days every sitcom known to those 5 channels were on! Fountain of useful information I was in my free time.

Back to baseball.Maybe it was because the Rangers made it so far, maybe they would have shown the games anyway, but once it got down to the National and American League championships, thankfully all of the games were broadcasted in my little corner of Texas. And I watched all of them, all of the Giants games that is, because after all, I am a California girl and anything reminding me of home was welcome when stuck in Texas.

My point in all of this: the San Francisco Giants were a good friend of mine while I was stuck in Texas, and because of that they have one more loyal fan. Also, baseball rocks and I'm doing pretty damn well in the fantasy league I'm in. (Fun fact: my fantasy league team includes: Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Aubrey Huff, and Matt Cain; aka some of my favorite players of the Giants)

Watching opening day:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GRE words in action!

From a Sunday NY Times opinion piece on CA governor Brown (thanks to my dad):
Some of Brown's ideas that seemed wacky in the '70s have now gone mainstream. When I ask if he's less flaky, he replies, "That was a canard." Then he goes off on a semantic tangent. "Canard. That's a good word. It's hard to use, though, without being awkward. I've not found too many sentences I can put it in." Then he resumes defending himself: "I'm open and innovative and experimental, and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't work."

Friday, March 4, 2011

words words words

So I'm studying for the GREs. I took a practice exam to see where I need to study and the results were (unsurprisingly) that I rock at the quantitative sections (read: math and interpreting graphs) and kind of fail at verbal (except reading comprehension- I'm a good reader!). Anyway, to remedy this, I've been studying flashcards, first some handmade ones but now some actual ones (thanks Colin!).

Now a good portion of the words I know or at least have a general idea of what the word can be used for. There are a lot that I'm working on learning, but sometimes I wonder the choice of including these words. I mean, "distaff" for instance. Who uses that word? It sounds like a disease or something. And "canard." Canard is French for duck and that's really as much information on that word my brain seems to want to remember.

Then again, they used the word "chicanery" in an episode of The Mentalist and I only truly knew what it meant because of the GRE. And "nadir" was in Thursday's crossword (clue: rock bottom- I'm still working on that crossword by the way, Papa).

I guess my main beef with the GREs is that I could have studied and in all likelihood done just as well on them after high school as I will now. Maybe my writing has improved since high school, but not my ability to learn words or solve the level of math problems I'll need to solve.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The chapel is always photogenic.

Sometimes I miss Minnesota...
...but then I have a February afternoon that looks like this:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Acappella post 2.0: video edition

My Hellacappella 2011 favs:

Also, the Carleton Singing Knights!

Rich Girl (I love this almost more than the original)
Harder Better Faster Stronger feat. Daft Hands (poor quality, but still, it's Austin!)
Cupcake (so good)
Oxford Comma (fun fact: I can play this on my ukulele!)
Pop! Goes my Heart (the bridge at 1:46 is great)

really, I could just link to billions of their videos, because let's face it, acappella is pretty great and so is Carleton.

In which I review Hellacappella, 2011

Last night my mom and I went to Hellacappella at UC Davis, which was basically an acappella concert with groups from UCD, Cal, Stanford, and UC Santa Cruz. Overall, it was very enjoyable and showcased a lot of talent. After we got home, we tried to make a list of all the songs we heard which just proved how bad even our collective short term memory is. And it wasn't as if I only remembered my favorites. I could write down every song of a group I didn't much care for, but for my favorite group, I can only remember one song!

Anway, I should say that I tend to compare almost everything college related to Carleton, and I love Carleton, so I'm a little biased when I say our acappella groups generally put on better shows than Hellacappella. And despite there being in the audience probably more people than the Carleton student body, Carls cheer louder. Then again, it's usually more enjoyable watching people you know perform. Also, I started judging the show pretty harshly since they didn't even have all the seating set up 15 minutes after the show was supposed to start. Then again, for a remodeled building, Freeborn hall is kind of awkward. The use of Christmas lights were nice though. And there was no will-call line- we had to wait in the super long line with people who hadn't bought tickets yet. It was ridiculous. But I digress; now I'm going to break it down group by group in the order they appeared.

(Disclaimer: I may have mixed up a few of the group-song matchings, but this review is from the best of my memory)

The Spokes (female, UCD)
They sang throughout the evening as they were the hosts. Their choreography started out a little rough as they weren't well coordinated which was distracting from the music, but improved a lot by the end (choreography wise anyway). They had a nice sound and did a fun Ridin' Solo/Replay medley, but I'd have to say their best song by a landslide was their Abba medley, which was very well done. Other songs they did: Heartbreaker, King of Anything, Breathless

Stanford Fleet Street (male, Stanford)
These guys were a lot of fun and actually started their set with a song on urinal etiquette. The shortest member of the group had an incredible (and deep) voice and I was very pleasantly surprised that it came from him; I would have like to have heard him featured more. Their inter-song banter was kind of goofy, but they looked like they were having a good time. The last song they sang was a pretty awesome medley of Disney Princess songs.

Acquire (coed, UCSC)
Wearing matching green sweatshirts, they had a pretty solid set. I especially enjoyed their mash-up of Teenage Dream and Just a Dream, mainly because when it melded into Just a Dream, they got really good. They also sang Linkin Park's In the End which grew on me as they were singing it. I think this group started each of their songs a little off, but were able to pull it together and finish strong.

The California Golden Overtones (female, Cal)
There were a few members of this group who had amazing voices; I mean, they were all good, but one in particular actually stood out who soloed on U2's Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. They did a good job with California Girls (especially the Snoop Dogg rap) though some of them couldn't quite get the oooh ooh oh oh oh part (if you know the part after "now put your hands up"). Good choreography though.

Dil Se (coed, Cal)
They were stellar! All around great singers and well done choreography. They're music was, I believe, in Hindu, so I couldn't tell you what they sang, except for the one with Bruno Mar's Grenade. Definitely a different kind of acappella, and even though I generally like hearing songs I know better at an acappella concert, I thoroughly enjoyed Dil Se.

Harmonics (coed, Stanford)
They started with Soul Meets Body, and I really liked the guy's voice who started it, but when it became a duet, the girl kind of overpowered him which I didn't like as much. All around enjoyable performance though with all of their songs (in addition to Soul Meets Body they sang Dreamweaver and something else).

The Liquid Hotplates (coed, UCD)
All I remember from them was their Michael Jackson medley, which was excellent, though they needed to work a little more on when and who should stand where near the mics. Though I feel like I'm more inclined to praise acappella medleys because they tend to show more innovation than just singing a song well.

Men's Octet (male, Cal)
Easily my favorite act of the evening. Every member was very talented and their choreography was fun and diverse. I can't for the life of me remember their first two songs, but their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody was just incredible. They really made it their own, but in a way that really honored the intensity and emotions of the original Queen version. I would love to see these guys again. (Edit: They also sang Just the Way You Are and Rock With You)

Cloud 9 (coed, UCSC)
Aside from the groan-worthy singing runs in our genes joke (they were all wearing jeans outfits), this was a very talented group. Their first song, Wine Red, was incredibly well done in my opinion. The soloist for You Gotta Be was very talented, but the choreography (and song) was repetitive. Their final song, a tribute to the Backstreet Boys (Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely) and N*SYNC (It's Gonna Be Me) was fun, but it was really their choreography that stood out there.

Artists in Resonance (coed, Cal)
I hate to say it, but I didn't really care for this group. Not because they weren't talented (all around, their singers were very, very good) but they were just kind of bland. Maybe I just didn't care for their song choice or maybe I was just tiring on acappella at this point (but that's unlikely as I just went and watched a bunch of you tube videos of Carleton acappella groups). Their Celebration medley also needed a bit more work- it didn't flow so well. I think their last song was I'll Cover You.

The MCs were pretty entertaining too even if they were a bit over the top. Their rap made me miss Ben's (a member of the Carleton Knights) incredible beatboxing. Also, while I enjoy hearing Top 40 pop hits in acappella, I kind of miss the random indie songs Carleton groups did. Maybe that's why I enjoyed Dil Se so much: they were unique and couldn't pass as just any college acappella group. One thing I did not miss from Carleton is everyone introducing themselves and their majors and year and crap.

In summary:
  • Hellacappella was very entertaining and there was a lot of talent there.
  • It's like Glee or the Sing Off without all the drama or getting to know the groups clips!
  • The Carleton acappella groups will always be better in my opinion, but then I'm biased and will still watch the Knights on youtube, as good ol' Colin Steers of Make Me a Supermodel fame has uploaded most of the concerts from when I was at Carleton.
  • Maybe if I start putting hella in front of everything I can Amy will realize how silly prefixes can be coughamerieverythingcough.
So I'm clearly not a professional music critic and if you made it this far into my post, I commend you. I pretty much wrote this so I can more or less remember the groups than for other people's enjoyment.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

3 things

skype is "sky pipe" in facebook pirate speak.

I miss stalkernet!

Even though I'm not in Texas anymore, I'm going to keep the blog name because I like the song that inspired the title.

Adventures in the frigid north

Things that happened in Minnesota:
  • little kids MAJORLY freaking out because "there are two miss Amys!!!!" it's like they'd never seen twins below. My presence was mindblowing to them.
  • Carleton hasn't changed. I thought I'd feel weird, but I didn't. And seeing everyone (especially my Australia ladies) was awesome. I'm not sure if awesome really sums that up.
  • Visiting the very pregnant Annie. soon to have 4 children, 4 dogs, and a parrot- I don't know how she does it!
  • I actually understood most of Chris's physics comps talk.
  • Amy and friends! Cheers to the governor, taboo, Archer, Glee, good times. oh, and Pippa came down from St. Cloud!
  • skyping with Lauren with Colin!
While I'm not about to move to Minneapolis, it was nice to be so conveniently located near so many people I love.

To counteract that last post...

Here's a few things I actually miss about Texas:

1. Playing cards with Jalyn at lunch

2. Wildlife in my backyard (including, but not limited to, armadillos, deer, lizards, and woodpeckers)

3. Academy (the outdoor store with good cheap stuff!)

4. Summit Beer because I can't get it in California

5. Snakebites at Major League Grill (though I suppose I can make those here)

6. The people at Big Thicket- almost everyone from the superintendent to tech guy to biotech were awesome.

But really, I'm glad to be home!