Monday, December 28, 2009
I'm not typically a fan of daytime soap operas (though I do know all the major characters of Day of Our Lives, thanks Mom!), but it looks like there is some interesting stuff happening on One Life To Live. Not only are there major characters who are gay, but ones who have an interesting ongoing relationship with good dialogue, not to mention a whole lot of make-out scenes, and even a bedroom scene! I'm imagining female retirees and stay-at-homers watching this - wondering about the reaction. I love it.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I can see how at first, gentrification may not seem like a win-win scenario. Rent prices rise, families can no longer afford to live in a neighborhood, one in which they may have lived comfortably for many years, and eventually they find themselves in a predicament to which relocation is the only solution. It sucks. But you know what sucks even more? The death of a city, firms choosing to relocate to other metropolitan areas with better reputations, and young adults choosing to start families in other cities with better school systems and safer streets. In my opinion, the on-going remixing of middle-class and upper-class with the working class is absolutely essential to the health of a city. At the moment, relative to other American cities, St. Louis features a dramatic segregation between the classes. Any St. Louis native can describe to you the difference between a typical North County citizen and a typical West County citizen. And weighing St. Louis County against St. Louis City? The difference in poverty rates, unemployment, and crime is shocking. Why is gentrification a bad thing for St. Louis? Are St. Louisans satisfied with high crime and a city that becomes a ghost-town at night?
I would like to see a St. Louis with good public schools and a bustling downtown. I'd like to know how far off it is, if it's possible at all. I want to know exactly what is needed to jump-start the gentrification of St. Louis. It would take more than a couple of billion-dollar companies, more than a few new condo developments. I'm going to look further to see if anyone with power/money has taken this issue to heart.
Photo: The Olive Street of 2010? I think we're gonna miss the deadline. Sorry 1910. (via)
EDIT! I didn't find any blogs that focus strictly on gentrification, but there are a few concerned about St. Louis urban planning: Dotage St. Louis, St. Louis / Elsewhere, Vanishing STL. All very good blogs.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I just want to say that I love how Fox News often includes commentary on how people feel, like when they say that the emperor and his wife looked uncomfortable. Did you ask them? Is there an interview on record, in which someone representing the emperor says that he, the emperor, was uncomfortable? No? Then don't include it in the story and pass it off as legitimate journalism. The addition of emotions into a report that may or may not have a basis in reality is no more than a subdued version of sensationalism.
On the subject of "protocol" that "has been the constant since the country's founding" my thoughts would be that in the eighteenth century, our prime concern was not bowing to European powers - it probably wouldn't have been cool for George Washington to bow to George III. But Japan wasn't really on the map in the 1700s, much less our fourth largest trading partner. Surely, if "protocol" had been written properly back in the day it would read "don't let the President bow to people unless it's the Emperor of Japan 'cause that's what they fucking do in Japan!!!" Obama isn't exactly prostrating on his knees or kissing the emperor's rings. The end.
Oh, and here's this picture that I borrowed from Fox News. I thought it was worth noting that when I downloaded it, the suggested filename was "obama_japan_monster." Obama Japan Monster. Hmm. You're so totally a legitimate news organization. Good job, Fox News.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
River Front Times
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Also, I thought Metro was a newspaper for Swedes, but I just looked it up on Wikipedia and it seems to be all over the place. Cool.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I was just looking at Al Jazeera's uploads on YouTube (I'm a subscriber). Somehow I missed this one from last year. Note: this would have NEVER appeared on CBS or NBC or CNN, definitely not Fox News. I would like to know how many people continue to think of Barack Obama in this way. The first issue preventing its broadcast would be one man's casual use of the n-word in describing then Senator Obama...just see for yourself.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
My first non-alien explanation would be a bizarre natural phenomenon, but news agencies are saying it's a Russian rocket launch gone awry. Hmm. Maybe I don't know very much about rockets, but I have trouble imagining how a rocket, even one spiraling out of control, manages to make a seemingly stationary perfect spiral appear for several minutes. Just don't get it. I would have more believed "time-space rift anomaly."
On my way to class, I comfort myself by picking out people who aren't dressed appropriately. Honestly, there was still at least one person wearing flip-flops. I checked the temperature when I got home.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The part I want you to see starts at 9:52. One of Al Jazeera's reporters is interviewing "The Yes Men" who are two American guys who make it their job to go around the world while posing as representatives of huge corporations, like Halliburton and Exxon, so that they can basically spread happy lies in an effort to awaken the public. For example, one of them posed as a Dow Chemical representative, live on the BBC, and apologized for a huge hazardous waste disaster that Dow Chemical previously (or so they made it seem) had nothing to say about. Apparently this was a big news for a few days on the BBC, but I didn't hear anything about it. I've never heard of the Yes Men before today, either. I wonder why - they're pretty funny.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
YouTube has only been around since 2005, but to me it feels like it's been so much longer. I signed up for my account the summer of 2006, which was only a year after the site was born. And I know by that time, it was already a pretty big part of my teen culture. I remember that when I signed up for my account, I was also lamenting the fact that I been putting it off for months, and therefore thousands of people had gotten in line in front of me. Anyway, interesting video.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
It's a boring video. If I had had any sense, I would have taken a proper video camera and my laptop, so as not to be restrained by my regular camera's memory (among other limitations). But it's certainly better than no video at all! This video is only a compilation of the videos I took at the Bethsaida dig. I have plenty more 13 second clips of Israel where this one came from! I used iMovie to upload directly to YouTube - it was painless, actually.
I always laugh at myself when I tiredly say,"And this is Israel." I also like my heavy sigh at the very end. Haha. Few times in my life have I been that tired, which probably tells you something about my life.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
It's possibly my favorite Alias quote from the entire series. It's the last line Sydney has before she has a massive throwdown with Doubled Francie, passes out and then wakes up two years later as Season 3 Sydney. I'm sure 99% of people will not know what I'm talking about. A few entries back, I actually linked my blog to a YouTube clip of this scene. I love it.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I was pitying myself because while I have tons of online friends, like on facebook and AIM, I only have a few who ever initiate conversation with me. I have a couple (two) of friends who regularly comment on my facebook updates, but out of 500 people, that's not saying much. And out of the three dozen people who are on my AIM buddy list, only two of them ever EVER initiate conversation with me, regardless of their online statuses. I suppose we don't really have that much to talk about. Those two people find me highly amusing, but I have to wonder what the rest think. Maybe they're just not that into me? Maybe they're not actually there? One of the two is actually a German, and I'm pretty sure half his motivation for talking to me is practicing his English.
Back to the video - I experience this situation frequently. A person ends the conversation somewhat abruptly, saying they have to go immediately, but they remain logged in, leaving me wondering if they really just didn't want to continue the conversation. It's even worse if you've only exchanged a couple of sentences, and the other person suddenly has to go....and then remains "available." It's awful.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
1. Awkward pictures of Hannah Fuerhoff (Hannah's in the background)
3. Star Trek
4. my parents
6. T9 word
7. credit cards
9. my health
11. Westboro Baptist Church
15. German tourists
16. the fact that Pepsi/Coke can be bought anywhere in the world
18. indoor plumbing and related inventions
19. my American citzenship!
20. Stephen Colbert
21. Celtic Woman
22. my 1990's childhood
23. my travel experiences (thanks to my parents again!)
25. having access to a plentiful water supply
26. this song
Friday, November 20, 2009
When I was in Israel, I listened to Lily Allen on repeat for hours at a time - while carrying buckets of dirt, while riding on buses, while sitting by the sea of Galilee... *sigh* So, I can't keep myself from thinking of Israel when I hear Lily Allen. If I had to choose one of her songs, it'd have to be "Chinese." It just puts me in a different world... ...it just seems so close. I really want this song to be true for me. It just sounds so nice, so comfy. The video is a re-imagining of "Chinese" by a children's choir. It's pretty amazing. And by amazing I mean ethereal.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I have an irrational fear of spiders, as does Natalie. I have to say that Natalie's neurotic inner-monologue is exactly like my own. Every time I kill a spider, I'm afraid that another spider witnessed my crime and is going to try to take revenge.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
My brother is slightly darker than I am. He's more athletic, too. He was in the army and the navy - he tanned. And just a few years ago, him and his wife went on a big tanning bed kick. Now that he's in his 40s, the sun damage is beginning to show up. I asked him how he felt about tanning. Bad idea, he says. He told me to look at Bernadette Peters - hasn't aged in like 20 years. Apparently she's never been sunburned in her life. Then look at Keanu Reeves. He may be immortal. Or maybe he just doesn't tan. Actually, I know two things about Keanu: he's Canadian and he played hockey growing up. Maybe that's the secret to looking immortal. Get a lot of exercise, while simultaneously avoiding the sun. Sounds promising.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Although that dream did startle me enough so that I had to wake up and turn my bedroom light on, I wouldn't say that it's the best example of how weird my dreams are lately. I have this thing, where as soon as I wake up, my internal dialogue will be "What the hell was that dream? Where the f*** are you pulling that shit from mind? Like what bizarre horror movie did I see when I was 12 that enables you to incorporate these images in my dreams?" I talk to dream like they're a human to whom I'm giving money for a service...if you didn't pick up on that. I wake up and basically get mad at my dreams, as if I'm have no power over them at all, like I'm just a paying consumer hoping for a good show. It takes me a few seconds to realize how ridiculous that is, but I do it anyway.
I woke up from my last dream out of annoyance because I was basically watching two people argue whether wine was better than beer. I listened to a lot of it before I said, "Why the hell am I dreaming this?" But that's pretty typical - me just watching people I don't know in painfully every day scenarios that don't interest me...but I watch them anyway.
There's another kind of dream that involves people I do know, usually the people who I think of as my best friends. It goes something like this. I find myself somewhere (basically anywhere that I've ever been), standing alone idly. The friend comes out of nowhere, briskly marching toward me. They've made obvious changes to their appearance that I don't care for. They'll have gotten a nose job to make their nose larger, or dyed their hair an unflattering color. But really the problem is that this person suddenly doesn't like me, and that's the reason they're in my dream. It's not so much that I've done anything (after all I'm just standing alone minding my own business, right), rather it's just that we don't get along anymore. Sometimes it's a basic personality change, other times it's that the person has seen the light and thinks that we never really should have been friends to begin with. This is usually such an unpleasant scenario that I wake up, after a brief stint of in-dream crying.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I started using my old LiveJournal again... I'm just so used to divulging intimate information on LiveJournal, that it was hard to do it anywhere else. I was trying to use this journal/blog to write musings on things other than the trivialities of my own life, while also being more positive. I know that some people claim to be able to write better when they're in love, or when they're not happy, or after they've had a shot of whiskey. I was making an effort to prove that I'm not that kind of a person - that I can write about anything, no matter where I am in my life. I have to say, despite my best efforts, that it's not as easy as it sounds to just sit down and write about something. Those LiveJournal entries usually had some passion behind them, some chutzpah, which definitely helped my writing. I'm thinking the trick isn't so much practicing my writing as it is kindling my ability to become suddenly passionate about any selection of subjects.
I've decided my blog needs to be more visually interesting, so I plan to post more fun stuff...which will help the project seem to be less about me. Which is good.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
But as much as I loathe spiders, they typically keep to themselves. The real invaders are flies! Last week, a remarkably large fly found itself in my very small apartment. It kept flying at me kamikaze-style. I could feel my basic instincts kicking in, hastily deciding whether to risk my life in order to slay the beast or just leave for a few days and hope it starves to death. I turned the AC down, hoping that the cooler temperature might slow it down a little. I armed myself with a rolled-up GQ in one hand and a newspaper in the other. This was not a normal fly - it was like something from the Amazon, and it was in for the kill. At one point I had it shut in my bedroom, but it figured out an escape through the vent and resumed torturing me with its unpredictably timed assaults. This is when I assumed I was dealing with an intelligent lifeform and began talking to the fly. I eventually opened the door to the hallway and allowed the fly to leave on his own accord, but it was still a very tense moment.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Certainly people who are born into millionaire families go to college, albeit much more comfortable, more celebrated colleges. But if tomorrow someone were to give me a check for 200 million dollars, I can see college suffering a significant drop on my list of priorities. Ideally, you go to college to learn, to expand your mind, but I've never thought of it that way. I've always seen it as a way to earn more money and to prove my worth. It was a matter of what kind of lifestyle I wanted, not what I wanted to do research in. I feel like that is pretty consistent with the aims of most people my age who are going to college. If I had millions of dollars, my reasons for pursuing a degree would probably be more social than financial. You might choose to go to Harvard so that you can remain on the same level as the kids you went to Exeter with, so that you can still party together and share the photos of your safari in Botswana...and so that you can maintain your lifestyle. I'm just imagining, I don't have any research to back this up.
I was thinking about this because this last week I've read some about studying in Paris. One of the schools I'm interested in had a "the cost of living in Paris" page that I examined very closely. In the section covering the renting of apartments, there was a little note about "students with higher incomes" that made me open my eyes a little wider. Of course, I had been mostly looking at the price of living in what's called a "chambre de bonne," which is basically an extra room, historically intended for maids and such, and usually found on the top floor of an old building. I searched "chambre de bonne" on Google and found some fairly posh-looking examples, so it's a matter of how you fill the space. But I'm curious about these students with "higher incomes." It'd be amazing to study in Paris without having to stress about the horrible exchange rate, or to have to wonder why coffee in one neighborhood costs 4 euros more than coffee in the next. I should probably worry about improving my French first.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I was heading out to the dumpster to get rid of a particularly disgusting bag of fast food that I couldn't finish. He was sitting on the stoop, right outside the door. It had been drizzling for a few hours; he was noticeably rained-upon. He was wearing a blue running outfit. You could probably imagine the conversation. I asked if he could ever hear me. No. I told him that I'm going to MU, that I'm a transfer from Truman. He gave an "Oh" response, like "Oh, Truman..." which I'm not sure meant that he actually recognized the name. He's a photographer for the Columbia Tribune. For some reason, I got the sense that he wasn't a Columbia native. I wanted to ask him a few more questions, but didn't want to impose on his quiet post-running stoop time. I'd say he's an attractive guy. He's also a Nick.
So, I searched him. Seems like he does mostly sports photography, but I've found at least one non-sports collection. So many photos come up - I feel like I've chanced upon some Columbia celebrity.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I've been having weird dreams lately, like some with familiar faces that I haven't seen in ages, all saying things that bother/anger me. Mostly it's just me seeing them and being excited. It's usually that I've walked somewhere unfamiliar. I think I'm lost but then I see them and become hopeful. But when I try to talk to them, there's something so fundamentally different about them that I have to question whether or not I truly have stumbled upon someone I actually know, or an impostor. It usually wakes me up.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
I only have two more weeks to finish my Middle Eastern studies class. It's really not so bad, but I'm still putting off reading An Introduction to Biblical Archaeology. Ugh. When I was at Mizzou today I picked up my ID card before stopping by the library. I recruited a librarian to guide me through Mizzou's search engines. I mentioned that I was from Truman and she gave this, "Oh! Truman!" response... but oddly, she's one of a few people who've said anything at all. I'm so impressed with Mizzou. Every thing. I try not to beat myself up for not going to Mizzou to begin with. I'm excited about the new Harry Potter film. Joey said the ending was weird, but I don't remember how the book ended, so I won't be expecting anything. Probably for the best.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
It's probably for the best that we didn't stay any longer than we did. I had found trouble effectively communicating with several of the people on the trip, and that's never fun. Israel was beautiful in its own way, and the warm, dry climate is very enjoyable, but I was more than ready to trade Roman ruins for the grassy green hills of Missouri. ...and for television that wasn't in Arabic or Hebrew. One night while in Bethlehem, I was watching TV alone in my room while making notes about the past day's events. I watched Al Jazeera in Arabic for a solid 30 minutes... I was probably very tired, but I was still perplexed with my own behavior when I realized what I'd done. If it was the night that I'm thinking of, I woke up at 3 in the morning to throw up and do other things until I was so weak that I couldn't pry myself off the bathroom floor. My roommate was Jordan Buchheit. I genuinely thought that I was going to blackout...possibly with my boxer briefs around my ankles, so I started yelling for Jordan. He got up and went to find Loren, the nursing major of our group who came to help me. Though by the time she came just a couple of minutes later, I had gotten half my sense back and completely regretted waking up Jordan. Ah, the joys of travel.
For the past week, my top priorities have had mostly to do with transferring to Mizzou. Except for financial aid, every thing is in order. My major now is "International Studies," which was a surprise to me when I logged onto MyZou. Clever name. Better than "TruView?" I think maybe, I filled out some form a while back on which I ranked my top choice majors...somehow Political Science got the boot, and International Studies won. Originally International Studies struck me as a poofy major, not a real major, like Gender and Women's Studies. But I took a look at the course listings and the International Studies classes are shared with several other majors: Poli Sci, Psychology, Sociology, Economics... It seems perfect for me at the moment.
My parents helped me find an apartment. My dad found a place just a few blocks from campus - I could ride my bike to class. The man who owns the place told Dad that he usually rents only to graduate students and adults, and that he'd have to meet me in person. I guess he liked me well enough. The rent is cheaper than other places we had looked at, and the location is so much better. It's a one bedroom with a good-sized living space and and a small kitchen. I think it's exactly what I was looking for. It's on the basement level, so not an abundance of natural light, but on the other hand, my utitlies should cost less. The neighborhood seems quiet and there's a park with a bike trail directly across the street. I'm letting myself have only positive thoughts about getting a good job to pay for my apartment and food costs....cause I have to.
Friday, June 5, 2009
I'm not sure what we're doing tonight. I know we're having a special Sabbat dinner, which is supposed to be a bit more formal... Some people from the other groups are planning to climb Mt. Arbel this evening, but I think we've decided to try next weekend. I know that I can be very afraid of heights, but ...it'll be fun. I still have dirt on my arms from digging. It makes me look like I have a nice tan going. Tomorrow is going to be so busy. We're starting at six in the morning and then we'll be gone all day long, touring ancient sites.
We do have lectures every evening - last night's lecture was an overview of the Crusades in the Middle East. A woman we know as "Kate" is an expert on medieval architecture - she recently finished her doctorate at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I thought I was already well versed on the basics of the Crusades, but I hadn't really been familiar with fortifications in Israel. I love her voice. Interstingly, scholars back in the day had come to believe that fortifications in the Middle East were positioned to defend borders, but in actuality they were placed wherever trade was lucrative or the land was fertile - it didn't really have anything to do with defending frontiers or laying out borders between kingdoms.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Today is Wednesday, and my fourth day in Israel. Today I went swimming in the Galillee for the third time. The top portion of my back is fully sunburned, so much so that one of the girls suggested that I just wear a shirt in the sea instead of having someone else put sunscreen on me while I try to keep from flinching. I wore the shirt that I wore for the dig yesterday, which was filthy with sweat and dirt. The Galillee is beautiful - the color and the way the high, high hills rise up all around it. Mount Arbel is particularly striking, as it rises especially high, then ends in a dramatic cliff. Kinda Grand Canyon-esque. Lauren (Greenspan) has gotten all of us wanting to trek up there this weekend. One of the guys who joined our group in Tel Aviv, Justin, said that when he took the trip several years ago, the hike took over an hour and involved climbing up metal spikes that the Israelis had installed to facilliate climbing on the more vertical part of the mountain. We've had several people tell us that after climbing so far, it is nearly impossible to go back. Once you reach the summit (and taken loads of photos of the sea), you have to take a different trail for the descent. We already have a lot planned for Saturday, so if we wanted to climb it, we would have to start early. We have to walk to the mountain from the kibbutz first, which I imagine is what will take the longest. I shoud explain that Justin went on the trip with Dr. Appold in 2001, and graduated from college two years afterward. He's been on duty in Afghanistan, and is currently attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He's shared many insights into Arabic customs and so forth that he's absorbed from his experience in the military as well as his own travels. It's interesting. He's also one of my roommates.
Sorry if I'm jumping around too much with this entry.
Today was my third day on the dig site at Bethsaida. Monday we were given a tour of Bethsaida, with explanations of the history, as well as all of the various levels of the city. Tuesday was the first day of actual digging. At the last moment, I chose to work with a group of students from West Virginia who I had been talking to. They were happy to have me. The most difficult part of the dig is arguably setting up the tarp at the very beginning, which serves to make shade for working. Israel is hot and dry. I felt like I was drinking tons of water, but strangely I didn't have to make a single trip to the restroom any of the days we have been on the site. Just fyi. So staying away from direct sunlight is very important if you want to avoid dehydration. In fact, the director of Bethsaida who shows us how to do every thing has told us that we are not allowed to work unless our site is under the tarp.
We wake up at 5 every morning and get on the bus by 5:30. We have breakfast at 9 o'clock on site. Breakfast is actually pretty wonerful; today there watermelon, boiled eggs, zucchini, tomatoes, and hazelnut spread to put on our bread, and this wonderful spiced coffee. It's curious that in Israel they sell 3% milk instead of 2% milk. Israelis just need an extra 1% I guess. More to come.