Friday, February 29, 2008

One Dumb Squirrel

Bah ha ha. This is great. I found it floating in cyberspace. I do have a thing about squirrels--their squirreliness. I do have to admit, however, this little guy is kind of cute. (Although he might be a chipmunk. We can't see his tail, so it make it difficult to tell.) I personally like image 4 the best.

Squirrel eating a nut
Hmmmmm, maybe I can fit this thing in my mouth. La la la la. Yes, yes. Almost got it. Too big, no, no, choking. dying. Ugh, whew.

A Hop, Skip, and a Leap

Happy Leap YearToday is special in case you forgot.

Happy Leap Year!!

Gee, this only comes around once every 4 years...

Do something daring.

And something daring for me too.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

The art of non-fiction

I went to a creative non-fiction reading by Kim Van Alkemade tonight. She is a professor at Ship. I had never considered nonfiction "literature" before today. I was amazed by the beauty of language and craft of story within the confines of actual experiences. I have been so busy creating pure fiction inspired by one or two semi-true events, that non-fiction blipped right off my radar. My favorite thing she said in regard to researching for creative non-fiction: "Honor how you remember it." That, I realized, is how you get a true story colored with the beauty of language--through the real, visceral memory of your mind.

I don't believe that I will switch over to non-fiction, but I will rely on my memory more for description rather than conjurations. Dr. Van Alkemade read "Hitching" published in The Rambler and "Spinster Punk." Her writing was certainly laudatory. Her life was clearly one that would produce enough inspiration for writing, my goodness. There is an excerpt of her one story at the journal link provided.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are PiercedInto Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced by Catherine Barnett was the last book of poetry that I read. It is largely dealing with grief and accepting (or even refusing) loss. Some of the poems were highly meaningful and well-crafted. Others were lackluster to me. But that is just me. I'm a staunch critic. It has recieved a glowing reception in other areas of the writing world. The best way I can describe my level of interest in the collection is this: The poetry did not leap off the page and wrestle me to the floor, neither did it cause me to grab an ice-pick and gouge my eyes out.

Here's the best one from the collection (which not surprisily shares its title with the whole work):

Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced

We unstrung necklaces into two glass bowls
and passed them round to the mourners.
The beads were onyx, agate, quartz, all manner

of stone. Everyone was to take two
and at the end of the service
put one back in my sister's hands.

What could she do but collect
the round weights all night?
She has not restrung them,

not wanting to be finished yet with death.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Inner Economist Says...

Discover your Inner Economist My latest read was Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist. Although I am a self-professed skeptic of self-help books, this book is great. I learned endless 'useless' information from how to write an attractive personal ad to how to resist torture if suspected of being a CIA agent while really vacationing in Lebanon. I also learned more practical information like how to find tasty ethnic food and how to give to charities with maximized benefit. I really liked being exposed to the world of markets in everything (such as in services to find misspelled eBay listings or animal penis restaurants). Cowen's insights and data collection are impressive. The book was largely amusing and, at the very least, helpful.

I am willing to admit that I may (or may not) have an infatuation with the works of Tyler Cowen. I'd probably recommend anything he publishes, because he's just so darn interesting. But that is not to discredit his latest book; I flew through it in about two days because I couldn't put it down.

Here's my favorite quote:
I am a strong believer in an ethic of individual responsibility, so I do not think we can or that we should look primarily to the law to prevent our moral mistakes. In many area of life, people need to be free to fail if their lives are to have meaning, or if virtue is to be possible. Often paternalistic laws cannot be adequately enforced, or those laws create harmful and counterproductive black markets. No matter what options market offer, social regulation has to start at the level of the rationally prudent self.

Tyler CowenAlso check out Dr. Cowen's blog. His co-authorship of Marginal Revolution is by far my favorite daily read and strong personal impetus for hunting down new and exciting blogging inspiration. I really am a big fan of Tyler Cowen.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Which do you like better?

LikeBetter asks you which photo you like better and then tells you things about yourself. The 'brain' was right when it said I'd prefer to be a pirate over a ninja, but wrong when it said I prefer spicy food over not-spicy food. Either way, picking my favorite photo was fun, even if the conclusions are neither accurate or scientifically inclined.

At first I wondered whether they meant a split second response, or a carefully calculated opinion of the photo. Then I wondered whether they meant if I like the subject matter of one over another, or if I liked the artistic quality of one photograph over another. I quickly realized it didn't matter because this site is not a cognitive science revelation but a rather an easy breezy time-killer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton Remember the guy from Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton? Of course you do...if you had a meaningful childhood. Well, he came to Shippensburg Thursday night. I was super excited to meet him and hear what he had to say.

He talked a lot about his role on Roots, Star Trek, and Reading Rainbow. He said if you had to tie him down and whip him to pick his favorite, he'd pick Reading Rainbow. That made the crowd clap. He he.

Levar and me!He also talked a lot about religion or rather his disdain for it, and his belief that there is no "capricious energy" in the universe. I believe his philosophical bent was perhaps not appropriate for this audience, but if he wants to promote his own agenda, whatever.

Every time he opened his mouth, his voice reminded me of his show. I grew up with that voice. It's just so soothing, and distinctly LeVar Burton. It made me happy.

Reading RainbowAll day I have had that theme song stuck in my head; I can go twice as high, take a look, it's in a book...Reading Rainboooooooow. Meeting Levar was like reconnecting with my childhood. And he ended his talk with "But you don't have to take my word for it."

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Anti-climatic. That is all I have to say about the lunar eclipse last night. It wasn't as spectacular as I was expecting. I believe the media hyped up it up too much, and as a result it left me wanting more. Way to dissappoint moon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Heart

lunar eclipseTonight there is an total lunar eclipse at 9:01 Eastern time. I hope, oh I hope, I can see it. Supposedly, the moon is to be a copperish red when earth's shadow blots out the sun's rays. It has been snowing here all day, so I'm afraid clouds in the sky will ruin our eclipse. I guess we'll see later this evening. Here's MSN on the event.

I would also like to go on record saying that I know who is going to win American Idol Season 7.

David Archuleta It is going to be David Archuleta. He's super adorable, personable, and a good singer. I'm telling you--I'm good at picking winners for these types of shows, and this is my guess after only the first real episode while there are still 24 remaining contestants. Place your bets now, folks. Mr. Archuleta has this competition wrapped up like presents at Christmas time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of all Invention

The Fizz Add On Float CupStrange New Products is a drop spot for all those things you'll never need, but surely somebody must. Sometimes I wonder who on earth creates these things...but even worse who buys these things? Obviously they wouldn't market them, if they didn't think they'd sell. Hmmmm? The newest products on the market are things like the:

The Fizz Screw-on Ice Cream Float Cup
Reserve a Spot in Heaven Kit,
Subtle Butt Fart Pads,
Hillary Clinton Toilet Bowl Brush,
Golf Club-Weed Wacker Combo,
Gourmet Bagged Ice In Resealable Bags,
and Wedgie-Proof Underwear.

Ice in a Bag, for sale All clearly important inventions for the betterment of society. Thank you America. Check out the Strange New Products Blog for more products and descriptions of all those things we can no longer live without. Great stuff. Great stuff. I have a few ideas for products that might end up on blogs like this...

Monday, February 18, 2008


Wii GameThis past weekend I got a chance to play with the hottest toy of the year--the Wii. Thanks Em. And i have the lingering "claw" hand to prove it. Ha ha.

You get to make a mini you, known as the Mii. Unfortunately, we were not really adept enough to make one look exactly like me. I suppose I don't transpose into mix-and-match pre-fabricated digital body parts so well. But that's okay, Mii's are only used in the sports such as tennis and golf.

Wii Rabbid with a PlungerMost amusing though, was the Rayman Raving Rabbids Game. You embark on various trips and perform different tasks to beat your opponent (or the computer), like shooting little rabbits with plungers, chucking spit balls at the teacher when his back is turned, shaking up colorful potions, goofing off at work while the boss is in the other room, gliding down hills in carts, and swiveling the chair in a photo booth. Note: some of the messages taught in this game are deceptively cute while tip-toeing into the morally questionable... But anyway...

None of us hurled the device into the television either.
For Nintendo itself, it's fessing up that the wrist straps on the wave-me-like-a-madman remote control aren't up to being waved by a madman--or even your typical 13-year-old game player.

Wiiiiiiii fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

Look at my beautiful Valentine's roses. They are so gorgeous, they really budded nicely these past few days.

Valentine's Day Roses
I love them. They smell like purple, he he. I sniff them as I eat my chocolates. Mmmmm.

Oh, and don't forget to check out Post Secret this week. Today's bunch are especially good.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

Bling BlingCheck out the Global Rich List. How does that make you feel? It makes me feel good. Good. Good. And then sad. And then more sad. Sad.

Maybe Get Rich Or Die Tryin' isn't good advice afterall. Way to mess us up 50 Cent. Thanks.

A little perspective is always helpful.

Friday, February 15, 2008

How do you feel about...

Electoral Compass USA
The Electoral Compass uses scientific methods to position YOU on the political graph and compare your stances with the candidates running for the 2008 presidential election. There is a wealth of information within these interactive results. You can see the breakdown of each candidate on each issue from gun control to immigration and where your position compares as well.

My results? Most Like Ron Paul. Least Like Barak Obama. Interesting. Interesting, to say the least.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine ♥

Red RoseHappy Valentine's Day!

This year's Valentine's Day looks to be promising. No drowning my sorrows in cookie dough icecream, sweat pants, a box of tissues, and Matthew Mcconaughey movies. Ha ha.

But I just wanted to take this day to give each of my sexy blog readers a big kiss. So mwah!

You are a beautiful special person.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


When I peeked outside this morning and saw several inches of snow and an unplowed road, I was sure classes would be canceled. To my dismay, they weren't. I wrapped myself up in a hundred layers of clothing, scarves, hoodies, hats, gloves, coats, and boots and armed myself with an ice scraper in a effort to rediscover my car somewhere in the white abyss. After driving at about 10 miles per hour with a death grip on the steering wheel the whole way into campus, I cursed whoever decided that it would be safe for us to be out on those icy roads.

Snow Scene Shippensburg
My day was painfully boring. I met with a professor, sat at work with no tutoring appointments, watched white flakes fall from the sky out the window, and checked my email every five minutes waiting for a cancellation. Just when I thought the university was cold and heartless, the announcement came that evening classes were canceled. Thank goodness. I rejoiced that my American Lit test will be pushed back as I shoveled my car out for the second time today.

Snow by PamukOn a brighter note, I just discovered EZ Borrow in the library. Yes, I know--I'm a senior English major, and I've never used the service before, shame, shame on me. It turns out all Pennsylvania schools have a system of sharing books between university libraries. I am not confined by the choices good 'ole Shippensburg and other state schools offer to me. I have been eyeing Snow, by Orhan Pamuk, a modern Turkish classic in Borders for the past few months, and now I can read it for FREE! If I love it, I can buy it, if not, there's no loss. Why didn't I discover this system years earlier?

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Spoon Full of Sugar

Lipton Green Tea BoxIn bad news, these past few days I have been feeling terrible. I have had a sore throat, drippy nose, headaches and stomachaches. And on top of that, the wintry wind around here is biting. On my drive home, as my fingers just about froze and cracked off, I questioned why humans live in cold weather when there are places like Florida and Texas? I swear I was born at the wrong latitude. What I wouldn't give for a little heat?

In good news, I have discovered Lipton Premium Pyramid Teas to make me feel better. They are ultra tasty. They come in these fancy-smancy little pyramid-shaped tea bags and great flavors. My favorite is the Green Tea with Mandarin Orange that comes with pieces of real apricot, peach, and mango in the tea bag. Also yummy is the Bavarian Wild Berry. The ingredient list reads: black tea, dried fruit pieces (apple, blackberry, black currant, blueberry), rosehips, roasted chicory root, cinnamon bark, licorice root, orange & ginger peels, and natural flavors.

The 4 flavors I want to try next are:

Tuscan Lemon
Red Tea with Harvest Strawberry and Passionfruit
White Tea with Blueberry & Pomegranate
White Tea with Island Mango and Peach

Warm tasty tea makes a scratchy sore throat feel better.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Post Secret

I am in love with Post Secret. It is an ongoing project by Frank Warren that I have been interested in for the past three months or so. People anonymously send in postcards on which they write a secret that they've never told anyone before, and they are published on the Post Secret Blog for the world to read. It is updated every Sunday. I actually get excited to check Post Secret every Sunday. Here's a few samples of what you'll find:

I suggest you check in every Sunday. The secrets are amazing. Someday I determined to send in my own. Post Secret

Saturday, February 9, 2008

You've got to move it move it

Giving HandsAccording to an article in Boston Globe, "Don't Just Stand There, Think," everything we understand is confined to and defined by the movement that humans make. They refer to this new theory as embodied cognition. The article says:
But today, neuroscientists, linguists, and philosophers are making much bolder claims. A few argue that human characteristics like empathy, or concepts like time and space, or even the deep structure of language and some of the most profound principles of mathematics, can ultimately be traced to the idiosyncrasies of the human body.
I think that is an interesting concept, especially in linguistics. When learning a new language, one of the most confusing things is whether you are saying "I gave the pop rocks to you” or "You gave the pop rocks to me" for example. Hand motions make conceptualization a lot easier, and you would never point at yourself if you really meant 'you'. I totally believe that our understanding (at least through language) is contingent on bodily movement.

Alexander CalderI decided to post a photo of artwork from one of my favorite artists of all time, Alexander Calder. His works are kinetic.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A penny for your thoughts

Stack of Pennies"It now costs 1.4 cents to make a penny" according to Citizens for Retiring the Penny It is a waste of money and of time to even bend over and pick up a penny.

I'm not going to lie, the thought of abolishing the penny makes me sad. Call it nostalgic, but the penny is quintessentially American.

I saw this in a Stephen J. Dubner article, "What Do You Do With Your Pennies?"
The most ridiculous pro-penny defense I’ve seen in a while appeared in a full-page ad in the Times on June 21, 2006... "New legislation will attempt to DO AWAY WITH THE PENNY. What’s next, puppies and rainbows too?"
Big PennyHe goes on to further criticize the quote and statistics included in the ad. But, really, I agree. I like puppies. I like rainbows. And I like pennies. Don't take away our shiney penny happiness.

Also check out the interesting NY Times article by Austan Goolsbee , "Now That a Penny Isn’t Worth Much, It’s Time to Make It Worth 5 Cents" that suggests to rebase the penny to make it worth five cents.

Can't a girl have some penny love?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sad? Give happiness a try.

I think that the Happiness Project book/blog is a good idea. I quote from Gretchen Rubin:
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT--a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will gather these rules for living and report on what works and what doesn’t.
The Happiness Project

I think happiness studies are so intriguing. I really think happiness has a lot to do with personality and environment or perception of relativity.

Happy FaceAlthough shifting the topic a little, one of my favorite quotes of all times is by John Tomlinson (although I think he was quoting it from Katz and Liebes) "Unhappiness is the greatest leveler."

Think about that in your social stratification, globalization, and economic welfare studies. Who cares what you've got if you are less unhappy than others? If people who have everything are still unhappy, and people who have nothing are unhappy, is it really a redistribution of wealth that is indeed needed, or something else?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ice Fest

Eskimo Snow SculpturesThe Chambersburg Ice Fest was this past weekend. It is quaint little community ordeal. Fireworks and sculptures carved out of ice. I saw eskimos, a house, several half-melted things, Ben Franklin, a horse and sleigh, a snowman throne, and a train to name a few. Chainsaws and ice, bah ha ha.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Ads

Who saw the super bowl ads yesterday? I don't think they lived up to my expectations, but I did pick a few winners.

My Favorite Five
1. Diet Pepsi Max Head Nodding
2. Fed Ex Carrier Pigeons
3. Doritos Mouse Trap
4. Tide Stain Does the Talking
5. Bridgestone Screaming Creatures

Bridgestone Super Bowl AdUSA Today's Ad Meter tracks the second by second response of viewers watching the ads and groups the information according to age, gender, and income. I think it's interesting to look at their research data.

The USA Today test group favorited the Budweiser dog and pony one which didn't even make it on my top 10 list. Hello, been there done that, couldn't they gone for something bigger?

Some of my running commentary:
The Bridgestone Richard Simmons one, you knew everyone was screaming, hit him, hit him. And the Toyota badger one--gross, brinking on inappropriate. Garmin GPS Napoleon navagating to Paris too hard to follow, although very funny once understood. The worst ad was by far the Career Builder follow your heart one. Ugh.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Picture Perfect World

I'm telling you, icy trees are perhaps the only redeming quality of snowy cold weather.

Shippensburg Snow at the Duck Pond
I can't help but think that these photographs look like Bob Ross paintings--only they're real.

Snowy Shippensburg
I am captivated by icy tree beauty.

Friday, February 1, 2008

And Fulbright Says...

Sometimes I wonder it is possible to have too many good things happen in a lifetime? Yesterday, I got an email that my Fulbright application has been passed onto the next level of competition.
I am pleased to inform you that the National Screening Committee of the Institute of International Education (IIE) has recommended you for a grant under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the academic year 2008-09.
Now, my application will be sent to Argentina, and they will decide whether or not they want me.

It's a gorgeous day outside--beautifully icy.

Snow in Shippensburg
I don't want to get my hopes up because passing the first round by no means guarentees a grant, although it is a significant step toward getting one. In some ways, I am surprised. I was worried that going to a relatively unknown school like Shippensburg would be harmful to me, but apparently not. I guess those laborious hours working on the application were worth it.

I am still in a pleasing shock.