In 1987 (the year you were born)

Ronald Reagan is president of the US

Wall Street crashes sending the Dow Jones Industrial average down 22.6%

President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev sign an unprecedented missile reduction agreement

Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns amid accusations of sexual infidelity and financial impropriety

Wall Street financier Ivan Boesky is sentenced to three years in prison in an insider trading scandal

Gary Hart withdraws from the 1988 presidential campaign under accusations of infidelity

The Food and Drug Administration approves anti-AIDS drug AZT

Prozac makes its debut in the US

Bow Wow, Joss Stone, and Hilary Duff are born

Minnesota Twins win the World Series

New York Giants win Superbowl XXI

Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup

Three Men and a Baby is the top grossing film

"Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles spends the most time at the top of the US charts

Full House, Married with Children, and Star Trek: The Next Generation premiere
What Happened the Year You Were Born?

Interesting. Anti-AIDS drugs? Not too bad. Giants winning the Super Bowl? At least it wasn't the Patriots. Wall Street crashing? Thank goodness for Prozac.



I never thought I'd get to say this, but it's finally starting to sink in: if all goes well, at this time in about five months I'll be getting ready to leave for Japan!

That little red dot on the map is Sapporo, the capital of the island of Hokkaido. It's there that hundreds of Yosakoi groups meet to perform and compete in an annual dance festival. This year, my Yosakoi club is planning to be one of those groups. And what's even better is that we'll be able to perform our own original dance. This is a very special privilege, because normally each Yosakoi song has a traditional dance to accompany it that might vary slightly from place to place, but not by much.

Of course there are a lot of preparations to do before then. I've started applying for a passport. I've purchased a Japanese phrasebook from Lonely Planet. I'm honing my eating-with-chopsticks skills. But most of all I'm just looking forward to getting to see a country I've never been to before. Five months is a long time to wait.


mark your calendars

It's getting to be that time of year: florists are having sales on their dozen-rose bouquets. Stores are putting out those chalky candy hearts with cheesy sayings on them. There are decorations everywhere involving hearts and little cherubs with bows and arrows. No silly, I'm not talking about Valentine's Day. To think that all that commercialism and depressed/nervous/apathetic apprehension culminates with just a single day? Pish tosh. No, I'm talking about Singles Awareness Week. SAW, if you will.

Now, I don't have anything against those of you who actually have someone to spend a romantic evening with on the approaching holiday. (Of course I'm not bitter. Why would I ever be bitter?) In actuality, I've never spent a Valentine's Day with a significant other, so I can't justly comment positively or negatively on the virtue of using the day to declare your affection for someone special. It just seems somehow strange that there be one specific day set aside for this purpose...what about the other 364 days of the year? Aren't those just as acceptable for telling someone you love them, or buying them a present? I can't help but feel a little bad for the thousands of young men in America shaking in their boots as we speak, trying to come up with a Valentine's Day date that will be especially "magical" or "romantic."

It just seems to me that in America at least, Valentine's Day has become just as much about the sterotypical depressed single who becomes painfully aware that they lack a significant other at this time of year. But what about those of us who are (maybe blissfully) single? There's nothing wrong with waiting for the right person to come along; maybe you've decided that dating isn't the right thing to be doing at this point. It seems that this holiday advocates those who are in relationships and assumes that those of us who aren't must be feeling dejected and miserable (an article on depression.com listed 'related topics' to Valentine's Day depression including 'Disability Rights', 'Grief and Loss' and 'Suicide and Self-Injury'.)

So, if you're a single, the upcoming Singles Awareness Week could be a time to wallow in said depression, or it could be a chance to realise how many options there are besides going on a date. I think a group of people from my dorm are going to go ice skating or bowling - something like that. I'm not saying I don't think it would be great to spend Valentine's Day with someone I could look forward to spending the rest of my life with. I am saying there are a lot of other fun things going on out there for those of us who have decided it's not the right time to find a partner. For some of us, it still might be a little disheartening to know we don't have someone who wants to spend the day just with us. And for those, there is the slightest bit of comfort...at least chocolate is on sale.



Apologies to those who might have been confused while visiting the blog earlier on tonight. I tried to post 'here it goes again' with the OK GO video last night. When YouTube popped up with the message 'the video will appear shortly on your blog', I didn't think it would take 24 hours, hence the three copies of the same post. I've also added some links to my sidebar...check 'em out, if you want. There's some good sites to while away a boring afternoon, if nothing else.

here it goes again

It's starting to feel like the beginning of the school year all over again. Only this time the syllabi are coming faster, the classes are more intense, the teachers tougher than last semester. I guess as time goes on it can only be expected. That doesn't make it any more fun to hike across campus to look at chloroplasts under a microscope before the sun has come up, or keep my skin from crawling in a small journalism class, hoping I'll know the answer to the pointed questions our instructor fires at individuals without warning. It's going to be an interesting semester.

In Sociology, things are going pretty smoothly. It's just the same old lecture, notes, exams format. My teacher is pretty good. I don't agree with her all the time (No, not everyone in America was brought up to believe that individualism is best. Yes, I would love to boycott Wal-Mart, but what happens to the sweatshop workers who provide their products when the mere cents per hour they earn are taken away?) All in all, no surprises thus far.

Botany is, well, botany: cells still contain a nucleus and DNA; plants still produce sugar using energy from the sun. Nothing has changed there since freshman year of high school. What has changed is the pace at which we're learning these things. And lab is so...early. But one perk is that our professor teaches the early lab: "You don't get students that are going to fool around in the 7:30 section; that's why I teach it," she told us. She's 65 years old and this is the last section she'll be teaching at this university. She is very strict, but carries on lecture like she's talking about one of her favourite hobbies, and will occasionally throw in an amusing expression (grana in chloroplasts are "stacks of green pancakes"; if you mess up a slide under the microscope, it's "gone gollywobbles.") "She's just like my grandma," some boy behind me is fond of saying.

The most intimidating class is News and Feature Writing. Not only is the professor the most no-nonsense teacher I've ever had, but this is exactly what I'm majoring in, so I feel like I have to do a lot to measure up. And her standards are high. Up until now, I've done some creative writing, and more informal yearbook features. I have not done any AP-style stories. I have not read the newspaper religiously. I do not have a picture of Walter Cronkite on my desk. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do, even though I am one of two freshmen in the class. Some of the other students are already reporters for the paper or do broadcasting for the sports station in town. One even did publicity for our nearest NFL team. Either I'm going to discover the journalism is not for me, or I will adapt to the situation and do what it takes to get good sources, and a good story. I'm shooting for the latter.

As for the video, I thought it seemed appropriate because of the title. And it has guys dancing on treadmills. Just watch it already.

photos of the day 1.19.07


because everyone else is doing it

Have you ever tracked a meme? I did. I got this one from The Thinker who got it from Terra who got it from Gem who grabbed it from Linda who nicked it from Skittles...you get the idea. Here are my answers to The Silly Question meme.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Why did I go to sleep without drying my hair?
2. How much cash do you have on you? I don't have pockets, if that answers your question.
3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR? Adore.
4. Do you label yourself? Oh yes. And it changes every day.
5. Bright or Dark Room? Bright. I need the sun. Plus, the monsters can't hide in the room when it's bright.
6. Why is there always a missing question? Because if we knew the question, then the answers (which we already have, of course) would make sense. We would know everything, and then the universe would unravel.
7. What does your watch look like? Nonexistent
8. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping. I'm exciting like that.
9. Where is your nearest 7-11? No idea.
10. What’s a word that you say a lot? 'Sweet'. Or 'Oh, good.' Basically little words that make it sound like I know what's going on in every conversation I have.
12. Last furry thing you touched? A scarf that one of the ladies at my work made me for Christmas.
13. How many rolls of film do you need developed? Nada. I have digital.
14. Favorite age you have been so far? Nineteen. It gets better every day.
15. Your worst enemy? Myself.
16. What is your current desktop picture? My entire Yosakoi group having a mock fight at our Christmas party. I crack up every time I see it.
17. What was the last thing you said to someone? "Sounds good," in response to my roommate who wants to have lunch tomorrow.
18. The last song you listened to? Show Me the Money by Petey Pablo
19. What time of day were you born? 2:15 in the afternoon.
20. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? I can't remember the last time I used a vending machine. I would probably pound on the machine before walking away depressed.
21. Do you consider yourself kind? Most usually
22. What’s your life motto? "Preach the Gospel always and, when necessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assisi
23. Name three things you have on you at all times. University ID. Keys. Ummm...clothes?
24. Can you change the oil on a car? I've witnessed the act several times. Does that count?
25. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? I wrote a letter to my pen pal right before Christmas.


if it fits...

Sometimes you find that a situation just fits. So far, that's what I'm feeling with this semester - I love my roommates (not that I didn't last semester, but sometimes switching it up can be for the better), I'm less shaky about my major, and I have a good church, a job, and I can relax and make the most of things. The last few days have been some of the most fun since I've been at school. My roommates made me a collage (above). I've learned how to play Guitar Hero (getting better) and Dance Dance Revolution (I'm hopeless). I spent the afternoon thrift-store shopping and went for coffee to a cozy little bistro where I had a great time eating lemon bars and laughing hysterically with eight girls on my floor while it snowed outside. Today I went sledding with a group of people from my hall at a hill near our parking lot. It was a blast, but painful. I disovered that I am not the best at steering (it is not the best to discover this at high speed, careening toward a light post.) I tried to bail. Didn't make it. Got a nasty jolt...but ended up laughing anyway. I realise that at some point (soon) it's not going to be all fun and games, and I'm going to have to buckle down and focus on things like sociology papers and less-than-enjoyable botany labs. But it just seems like a good foot to start the semester off on.


getting colder as we speak

It's late January and we're finally getting the first really nasty winter weather of the season. It started with frigid temperatures, then freezing rain, then super-icy sidewalks, and then ice pellets. Now it's finally snowing in slightly fluffy flakes that wouldn't actually make a mark on your skin if you walked outside right now. After some serious thought, I've come to the conclusion that it should be illegal to be this cold. Not that making a law against it would change the temperature any; it would simply give me some consolation to know that it was actually a crime to be so terribly bone-chilling.

Classes are off to a start, and only one has me shaking in my boots thus far. Sociology doesn't look too bad. According to my teacher, we're going to be discussing things like politics, religion and money in addition to sociological topics; things "you probably haven't discussed in any college class so far." Apparently she has never discovered what we talk about in cultural anthropology. Sociology seems similar to my anthro class, except slightly more biased and definitely more scientific. Botany, the bane of my semester schedule thus far looks to be the most intimidating class. Nothing a lot of studying won't cure; it's just that I'm not fond of labs of any kind. At least we get to walk around and pick up leaves and pine cones. Linguistic Anthropology looks like it's going to be one of my favourites. Among other things, we'll get to create our own language and do projects with a conversation partner from another country.

Sounds like it will be really fun. That is, if I don't freeze first...


christmas stuff

Yay! I finally have internet in my room. A "squirrely" connection at times (according to my roommate), but it's better than nothing. As promised, here are the pictures of what I got for Christmas. I'll admit, I mostly just happy to be able to publish pictures again. Anyway, here's what I got: A stocking from one of my friends who go to school in Chicago. It's a very sunny yellow colour, and matches my walls at home exactly.
These bamboo lanter lights weren't technially a gift, but I bought them with Christmas money so they count. Now they're hanging up under my lofted bed right here by the computer. Only problem is, there's no extension cord to allow them to reach the outlet. Good thing they look pretty.

Chinese soup spoons. Very colourful. Very useful. Very coordinated with pepper-and-corn ramen.
A "bonsai tree". I use quotes because it is the Wal-Mart brand, and I don't think it's actually a tree. Not like the really cool "real" bonsai trees. But this is one gift I can criticise - I picked it out myself. Nonetheless, it's still a really cool looking plant, and it's sitting on my bureau at the moment.
Wooden chopsticks! They're supposed to be disposable, but they're so pretty I don't want to use them once and throw them away. Maybe I'll make an art project out of them?
Icon Christmas tree ornaments. Except they didn't get put away with the Christmas decorations, so they're now decorating my dorm room. Very cheery.
Boots! My mom got me these...they're very soft, very comfortable and very warm.

Baby beginner's chopsticks. (Does something about me scream Asian eating utensils magnet?) These are from my Yosakoi white elephant Christmas party. Maybe studying them has done me some good...lately, my chopsticks skills have gone from laughable to passable.
All in all, very thoughtful and useful gifts. I'm lucky to have such generous friends.



...for classes to start. For a stable work schedule. And most of all, for someone who can help me get the internet hooked up in my room.

I'm back at college three days early. I thought I would spend the time working, but it turns out there are too many employees, not enough computers and one really bad internet connection at the little bookshop where I price books on Amazon.com. So, until Thursday morning I'm basically killing time by reading, moving my stuff into my new room and surfing the internet at the library.

The room is nice. My new roommates (one an art major, one in family & consumer science) share my love of bright colours and lots of posters on the wall, so my random posters and gaggle of origami cranes fit in nicely. But there's still a lot of moving in and cleaning up to do. Which I should probably get back to...


i heart chinese food

I am full. As a last-day-at-home outing, my family took a trip to see Night at the Museum (a pretty funny movie, actually) and ate at our favourite Chinese restaurant.

The difference between this trip to the restaurant and the other trips that we usually make is that today is not a Fast Day. In the Orthodox Church we fast on certain days and seasons to remind us of the sacrifice Christ made in giving up his life (we figure giving up certain foods for a little while might not be so bad), and also to remind us of the simplicity in the garden of Eden before living things ate each other. On these days we don't eat meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy. In other words, most of the other trips to the Chinese restaurant involved eating fruits, vegetables and sea creatures that don't have backbones (in ancient times things like shrimp and other spineless sea-snacks were considered 'trash', and therefore are ok to eat.)

That's just fine with me, because even though today we were able to enjoy honey chicken and an unidentified meat wrapped in bacon, I was also able to ingest the food of the gods. Yes, I'm talking about coconut shrimp. And when I say food of the gods, what I mean is that if I were suddenly whisked off to Mount Olympus in a parallel universe where Greek gods are real, and was offered the choice between a container (platter? goblet?) of nectar and ambrosia, or a plate of coconut shrimp over rice, I would consider (for a good three seconds, at least) and choose the coconut shrimp. It's really that good.

It was a nice end to a long stay at home for the holidays. Tomorrow it's back to work, back to school, back to chaos. Right now it's time to pack...wish me luck.


happy theophany

"When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son! And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee!"

from the mouths of 2-year-olds

My godbrother is learning new words. His latest favourite is 'awesome', usually an exclamation used after seeing a cool car or figuring out that he can actually feed himself with a spoon now.

Yesterday he was playing with his toy cow, a plastic animal figure. After studying it intently for a few minutes, he turned to me and exclaimed, "His neck is awesome!"



some random things

I've really wanted to upload some pictures lately, but since my USB cable is 70 miles away and my brother's doesn't fit my camera, that's going to have to wait until I finish settling into my new dorm. I've got a photo essay on what I got for Christmas in the works, but it's not finished yet. In its stead is a meme stolen, once again, from Sonnjea B. I'm going to try to limit myself to one of these a month. Maybe two. But while I'm waiting for high speed internet and photo uploading capablities, here is the Alphabet meme, each question starting with the letters of the alphabet (in order). Enjoy.

Available/Single? Depends on who wants to know.

Best Friend? Confusing question, this. If it’s asking if I have one, I would say yes. Probably two. Maybe three. If it’s asking if I am one…you’d have to ask someone else.

Cake or Pie? Pie. And none of those fruity things either, although rhubarb and mulberry pie must be given credit where credit is due. I usually go for the denser ones: pumpkin, chocolate, coconut crème. The more calories per square inch, the better.

Drink Of Choice? This honour absoloutely goes to grapefruit-tangerine juice. Though to be fair, passionfruit chai and hot cocoa have their merits as well.

Essential Item You Use Everyday? Hooded sweatshirt, now that it’s winter. An online quiz I took about ‘what part of fall are you’ had it right when it compared me to apple cider: ‘downright nasty when cold.’

Favourite Colour? Don’t have one, although there are shades of every colour I like. The blue of sky in September, green of spring leaves, maple-leaf red, pumpkin orange and sagebrush purple are just a few that amaze me.

Gummy Bears Or Worms? Neither. Haribo wine gums would be my chewy candy of choice, although I’ve decided that I don’t like ingesting candies whose primary ingredient is…fake sugar? This includes fruit roll-up and Jell-O.

Hometown? Small. Farming community. Midwest. Where exactly? Wouldn’t you like to know.

Indulgence? A beautifully bound journal and nice pen. There’s nothing like opening up an inviting-looking binding and flipping through miles of empty pages…and thinking of all the things to fill those pages with!

January Or February? I honestly don’t know. January has New Years, February has Valentine’s Day. January is partially taken up by winter break, but February is closer to summer vacation. I don’t know…I guess it’s January now, and it’s not so bad, so January it is.

Kids & Their Names? Not quite there yet. Although I’ve been thinking about names lately, mostly boys’ – Neville, Seamus, Ambrose, Audio Science…oh wait, that one’s taken. In all seriousness, I would never give my kid a first name that would cause them to be taunted for eternity, or at least have a passable shortened form. However, middle names are up for grabs.

Life Is Incomplete Without? Love. I know, so cheesy. So cliché. So true.

Marriage Date? Not there yet either.

Number Of Siblings? One brother.

Oranges Or Apples? Hmmm, a conundrum. Oranges are so juicy without being over-sweet and they make killer cider. Apples are crunchy and tangy and you can make pies out of them. With oranges, you can’t eat the outside. Apples, you can’t eat the inside. Both make great juice. With apples, you can spread them with peanut butter, and stick in a toothpick with a piece of cheese and call it a boat. Can you do that to an orange? I didn’t think so. Apples win this round.

Phobias/Fears? Oh, there are so many. To name a few: busy traffic, small dogs, clowns, falling and hitting my head while running and having no one know where I am, oversleeping and missing class, speaking to large groups, walking in front of the fire station while there’s a fire across town and getting run over by the hook-and-ladder truck that suddenly appears out of the garage, the monster I know is lurking under my bed…okay, so maybe I have an overactive imagination…

Quote, Favorite? I have waaaay too many. In that case, I’ll go with my most recent, from The Matrix:
Oracle: I’d ask you to sit down, but you’re not going to, anyway. And don’t worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase? *Knocks over a vase of flowers and breaks it*
Oracle: That vase.
Neo: I’m sorry.
Oracle: I said don’t worry about it. I’ll get one of my kids to fix it.
Neo: How did you know?
Oracle: Ohh, what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?

Reason to Smile? What? There are reasons not to smile?

Season? Probably fall. Changing leaves, cool nights, warm days...ahhh.

Tag Three People? Never. I want absoloutely everyone to do this meme, if they so desire.

Unknown Fact About Me? I like jazz. Wow, it took long enough to come up with something...

Vegetable you don’t like? Used to be most of them, but I’m getting better. The untouchable list has diminished to only cauliflower, most squashes and the occasional radish.

Worst Habit? Talking about myself all the time. Oh wait…

X-rays You’ve Had? None that I remember, unless you count the zillion dental slides I got before getting braces.

Your Favourite Food? I’m going to make that foods. Right now I really like sushi, Indian food, chicken shawarma and chicken enchiladas. Oh, and anything you can eat with chopsticks.

Zodiac Sign? Capricorn, but I have no idea what that means.


punctuation education

Since I began blogging and reading the blogs of others, I’ve discovered just how entertaining the little quirks of the English language can be. I think there should be a beginning blogger’s manual to take advantage of some of these quirks. It would sound something like this:

Bolding a word can give it emphasis; as opposed to the method of typing in all CAPITALS, bolding conveys more serious or intriguing importance, rather than being the typographical equivalent of YELLING.

Italics: They’re no longer just for titles of books. In my experience, italics come in handy when posting a poem or passage of someone else’s, or a foreign phrase.

Ellipse… These are useful when conveying a deep thought or unresolved opinion, in order to leave the reader with a sense of pondering. They’re also great when you can think of a great beginning for a sentence but don’t really know how to finish it properly…

“Quotation marks”. This is a wonderfully simple punctuation trick. You can put quotes around “anything” and readers will automatically “wonder” what you’re trying to “imply”.

TyPiNg LiKe ThIs: I actually have no idea what this technique is used for, other than annoying the reader.

Emoticons: These interesting ^_^ little faces can convey a variety of emotions like anger >:-( , happiness ;P or even a queasy stomach :$.

The Dash - the typgraphical equivalent of a dramatic pause or flourish - Voila!



Listening now: Makes me feel like baile!



Winter break: T- seven days and counting. It's been nice - I've been able to hang out with family and friends returned home for Christmas; I've also been able to put some of my Christmas gifts to good use. Money spent at Barnes and Noble yielded some books to hold my interest; a guide to kanji and kana writing is helping me gear up for Japanese I next fall, and a copy of Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by Alice Steinbach has been a very entertaining travelogue.

New Year's Eve was a low-key but highly enjoyable day. I spent the morning at church, then hung out with my cousins in the afternoon, reading, playing board games and making messy poster-paint pictures. A Harry Potter marathon at another friend's house brought in the new year, followed by noisy yelling of 'Happy New Year' and ringing bells outside. I usually don't make any rigid resolutions, but here are a few I want to keep in mind over the next year and try to do better at:
1. I want to take better care of my body - exercising more, eating better food, and trying to eliminate more sweets. Yeah, yeah, easy enough to say...
2. Develop better study habits and learn to focus.
3. Get more involved at school, if just by attending more lectures and exhibits, or discovering new stores and activities in the area.
4. Do more photography.
5. Spend more time reading my Bible and spiritual books.
6. Be more consistent at blogging.
We'll see how that goes...