Monday, December 28, 2009

One Life To Live

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

What I Did Last Night

What the heck? I don't know why iMovie put bars on the top and bottom?! I'll have to upload it again...meh.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saint Louis Gentrification

I was digging around online looking for articles about the status of gentrification in Saint Louis, Missouri, my hometown. There isn't much, and of what I did find, there's nothing recent. Not looking good. In those articles/blogs that I looked at (the old ones), the idea of gentrification was being demonized, as simply a process that forces working-class populations out of their current neighborhoods. That's true: those with higher incomes must replace poor and working-class people as they leave their neighborhood for gentrification to really work. But to me, and to many of my peers, gentrification sounds like a really good thing, especially for St. Louis, a city that many readily describe as dying.

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.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama's Bow to Japan

 I love Japan. Japan has done wonderful things for my life. Sony anyone? Pokemon? Instant noodles? Japan deserves a high-five. But not everyone thinks so. Some Americans are still bothered by President Obama's bow to the Emperor of Japan a month ago. Now, anyone who's even briefly acquainted with Japanese culture knows that bowing is an important Japanese social custom - like saying "hello" when you answer the phone - if you don't do it, it's weird or rude. Actually, not returning a bow is probably worse than not saying hello...  Nevertheless some people are outraged by Obama's disgustingly blatant display of subservience to a foreign leader. Fox News anyone? 
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

St. Louis Zoo Features Electronic Polar Bears!

I have high regards for the St. Louis Zoo (not only because I grew up in the St. Louis area). And I always like to go to the Zoo during winter to see the polar bears frolicking. They have a deep pool of water and big rubber balls - it's amusing to watch them jump in the pool and bounce and toss the balls up in the air and such. Well, not anymore! Apparently, polar bears are extinct at the St. Louis Zoo. And they've replaced them with electronic ones! For me this just echos that fact that polar bears are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, and eventually electronic zoo versions are going to be all there is for anyone to see. Also, I wonder if this could also be taken as a metaphor for the dwindling status of St. Louis as a relevant American city.

Huffington Post
River Front Times

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I saw this on TheBobBlog. I thought it was funny. I'm not sure how I should go about citing photographs. I assume citing the stolen-from website is sufficient?
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

Love Al Jazeera

I have a tremendous respect for Al Jazeera. As far as televised media goes, the BBC and Al Jazeera are the only organizations I'd put stock in when it comes to good, undiluted, uncensored journalism. I know that they are often the only trusted source of news in the Middle East. They're not always perfect, but they're more valuable than the "journalism" that comes out of NBC and CBS.
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

Also, Aliens in Norway

This is CBS coverage. And this is a report from the Christian Science Monitor

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."

It's Really Cold

Haha, I'm posting this December 10th, but it's about December 9th, yesterday. It was really cold. I wasn't properly prepared for the sudden drop in temperature. I have a nice new semi-wool coat (with Thinsulate!), that goes almost to my knees, but it was barely enough to keep me warm. I only left my apartment to take my final sociology test for the semester. I always park in the Hitt St. Parking Garage because it's pretty convenient to all of my classes as well as the library and Memorial Union. I was kinda in a hurry because I wanted to look over the review questions quickly before taking the test. So I the far end of the garage away from the ticket machine. I ran to the machine, only to find an elderly man had was doing maintenance on it. I experienced a quick moment of simultaneous frustration and concern that an old man was doing machine maintenance without gloves at subzero temperatures. Okay, I run back to my car, drive to the other side of the garage, this time closer to a machine. Only when I get to the machine, it doesn't have a place for my student ID. Damn, good thing I have a healthy stock of quarters in my car at all times for exactly this purpose. In the few seconds it takes me to jog back to my car, my fingers begin to hurt. It must be colder than I thought. Oh, crap I need another quarter! Back to the car again. But the machine has mistaken my delay for incompetence and issued me a ticket with an insufficient amount of time on it! NOOO! So I place two tickets on my dash, one with 15 minutes on it.
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 Yes Men

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

Required Viewing For YouTubers

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.


One of my best friends in middle school had a pug named Maddie (short for Madison), and I could not look at that dog without laughing. I don't know what exactly it is that I find so funny about them. Just love them. I don't know if this is common with pugs, but when Maddie got excited, she would start wheezing (which I found both adorable and hilarious), which after a while would usually transition into a dramatic sneezing fit. Sometimes I would get concerned that she wasn't going to make it through. She also always had trouble jumping up onto beds (also amusing). Anyway, this website makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Israel Digsite Clips

I probably should have uploaded this to YouTube months ago...

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

Awesome Alias Reference

I was looking at wordreference recently and stumbled upon this:

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

Online Friendships

This is Natalie's newest video, and it's come at the perfect time for me.

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.