Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thomas Creek Trail

Today, I went on a 14-mile hike on the Thomas Creek Trail which runs through the Mt. Rose Wilderness area. It was beautiful! I can't believe that I've lived in Reno for almost 2 years now, and I've never even been up to that area. I'm so glad that I'm finally starting to just do things. At what was the midpoint of our hike, we stopped at a pretty little spot by the creek where there was a perfect log for sitting on while we ate our lunch of salami, smoked cheddar, crackers, apples, and carrots. There were a lot of aspen trees right along the stream where we stopped, and in that little area, people had been carving initials and dates in the aspens for quite awhile. We didn't look too hard (we were pretty tired), so the farthest back we found was a carving from 1931. It's really cool how the tree scars around the carving. This carving from 1961 was my favorite (I'll post the picture when I get home today). I love how bold and bubbly it is--it seems very 1961 hippie to me. My friend was telling me about all of the tree carvings up in the Ruby Mountains. They were left by Basque sheep herders and they date back to the 1800s. I guess these carvings are a lot cooler because the Basque would also carve pictures and dates into the trees. Here is a cool web site that tells the history of Basque Ranching Culture.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Movie Review: Sex and the City

Jen, Jackie, and I headed down to the movie theater an hour before the movie was supposed to start because we didn't want to take any chances. We knew that the show was sold out, so we wanted to make sure that we got good seats and were able to sit together. It was kind of funny to see all of the girls dress up for a movie. I think that dressing up to go to Sex and the City is the same as dressing up to go to Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Pirates of the Carribbean: it's silly, and a little bit weird.

Don't take your boyfriend or husband to this movie--it will be awkward. There is sex in the movie just like there is in the show, only this time, it's on the big screen. I didn't think that they would include that in the movie--for some reason I didn't think that it would be allowed. So, that was kind of shocking. But, the story line is still amazing and true to the show. The fashion is AMAZING (of course)!

Go see it! That's all I'm going to say about it. : )

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Because, occasionally, you spot a good one...

Spotted 5/29/08 on the drive to work:
That Which the Good Lord Giveth...The BLM Taketh Away

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer laziness sometimes makes me feel guilty...

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." ~John Lubbock

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Bachelorette: Week 2

Okay, so I wasn't liking "I'm Greek" Eric so much anymore--I'm kind of glad that she gave him the boot. I feel bad for saying this, but I'm also glad that she got rid of the "Christian" football player. It's cool that you're a virgin, but why do people have to make such a big deal about it when they are? Maybe it's just me, but whether or not we're virgins doesn't come up with my friends until we're good friends. It's kind of private. Also, if you're a Christian, why are you going on a show to meet a girl whom you know is probably not a Christian? I just don't understand the inconsistency there... He was super uptight, too.

I'm really bummed that she got rid of Chris from Dallas and kept Twilley. Twilley is weird. He talks too much, and he seems incredibly insecure. And, Chris is way cuter than Twilley.

I'm not really sure how I feel about Graham anymore, either. The beach date looked like fun, and he seemed nice enough. But, he doesn't seem very interesting. We'll just have to see. I'm loving Jeremy--gotta love a guy who can hit 6 home runs when everyone else hits one or two. He is also hot! We'll have to see how he plays out. If he really lost the push up competition on purpose in order to keep some of the animosity at bay, I think that was a smart move. I'm also liking the snowboarder a lot more. I liked it when he sat down with DeAnna after winning the push up contest (with 98 push-ups!) and talked about wanting to be home with his kids making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I'm interested in seeing how DeAnna reacts when Jason tells her about Ty, his 3-year-old son. I'm also kind of liking Ron, the divorced guy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Recipe: Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

Here is a really yummy vegetarian breakfast burrito recipe that I got from Fitness magazine. It is easy to prepare in the morning, and it's very filling!

Ingredients:
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T. salsa
2 T. shredded low-fat cheese (I used a 4-cheese Mexican blend)
1 small whole-wheat tortilla

Directions:
Scramble eggs, black beans, and salsa and cook over low heat. Fill tortilla with egg scramble and sprinkle cheese over the top. Enjoy!

Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy your day off, and don't forget to remember our veterans.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

Since I was down in Carson and spent most of the weekend alone, I decided to go see Iron Man. I have never read any of the Iron Man comics, and I had no idea at all what the plot line was going to be, but it looked good in the previews!
I really enjoyed this movie--I was exhausted when I went, so I was a little worried about staying awake through the entire movie. But, there was no need to worry about that as this movie seemed to fly by.

Tony Stark is on top of the world--he has "more money than God" and smarts to give Einstein a run for his money. As the head of Stark Industries, the arms manufacturer, he heads out to the Middle East to demonstrate his new Jericho missile. After the demonstration, the military envoy that Tony is with gets attacked, and Tony is taken by the enemy. While being held hostage, Tony's cell mate, Yinsen, performs a surgery on him and places some sort of magnet (or something, I don't really remember) into the middle of Tony's chest to keep the shrapnel from penetrating his heart and other vital organs. This is obviously his Achilles' heel and is later used against him by his enemy. Why is Tony being held hostage? The enemy (who happen to have an arsenal of Stark weapons) wants him to build one of his Jericho missiles for them. Instead of putting such a weapon into the hands of terrorists, Tony uses the materials that they supplied to build the Iron Man suit which gets him out of the terrorist camp. He ends up in the middle of the desert and is rescued by a military helicopter containing one of his best friends, Col. Rhodes ("Rhodey").

When Tony returns to civilization, he is a changed man. He announces at a press conference that Stark Industries will no longer make weapons, which obviously creates quite a stir. Tony basically holes himself up in his lab and begins to make a new and improved Iron Man suit that he can use to defeat the enemy. His trusted assistant, Pepper (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is one of his only friends, and she begs him not to put himself into such danger. He says something to the extent of "I have to."

Definitely go see this movie! I'm loving all of the comic book movies that have been coming out. I loved Superman, loved Batman, and now I love Iron Man. I'm really looking forward to The Dark Knight coming out this summer. I gave this five stars for "loved it" and I'll probably end up buying it. : )

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Adventures in Doggysitting

Since my parents are camping up in Oregon this weekend for my little sister's soccer tournament, I offered to watch their dog, Cash. Cash is an adorable miniature schnauzer. I've been really wanting a puppy lately, so I was excited to have a dog at my apartment for a weekend. Key word: was. I do love the dog, but I did not love having a dog in an apartment. I think that he was mostly irritating to me because I had to keep him quiet so as not to disturb my neighbors. Then, I had to walk him about a mile every time I had to take him out. Then, I had to pick up after him. When I did walk him, he had to sniff out every little thing because everything was so new and exciting.

Well, this morning, despite the rainy weather we have been having for the past week, I decided to take Cash on a walk down to the river. So, I did, and he was pretty good--he didn't bark at any people. We walked along the river walk, and he didn't like the river at first--it kind of freaked him out for some reason. But, then he got used to it and we had a lot of fun. When we got home, he was exhausted and we laid down and took a nap (I'm exhausted because he operates on about 5 hours of sleep per night).

As much fun as we were having, I decided to pack Cash up and take him home. So, I went down to Carson and I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend down here where he's more comfortable (and hopefully, less annoying). It is fun to have a little living creature to pet and hug or walk when you need some sort of contact or exercise, but I am not ready to have a dog yet. I like being responsible only to myself. I treasure my independence a little more after this little adventure. I'll take a picture of the cute little puppy later and post it up here for you guys.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Well, well, well. Who would have thought that another Indiana Jones movie would be coming out after all these years. I think that George Lucas & Steven Spielberg have just run out of ideas. First, Lucas decides to make three more Star Wars movies. Now, Spielberg has revisited Indiana Jones (and it wouldn't surprise me if we saw more--you'll know what I mean if/when you see it). Despite the old line, I was really excited to see this movie. I love the old Indiana Jones movies, and I love Harrison Ford (he still looks good, btw).

This movie is set during the Cold War. Indy is kidnapped by some Commies and taken out to a warehouse in the middle of Nevada where crates and boxes and stacked up to the ceiling. The Commies (the leader is played by Cate Blanchett) want Indy to find a certain crate containing a highly magnetized corpse that he dug up in Roswell, New Mexico. The ingenious Indiana Jones finds the crate by throwing gun powder up into the air. After this ordeal, Indy escapes and gets back to the University where he finds out that he must take a "leave of absence."

While getting on a train, Indy is chased down by motorcycle-riding Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf. Mutt has a letter from a colleague of Indy's, the "Ox", and he tells Indy that his mother has been kidnapped. During their meeting, Mutt and Indy have to run from some agents. "Ox" has been imprisoned and his letters are almost nonsensical. He claims to have been to El Dorado. The pair head down to South America (I believe) with Mutt's beloved motorcycle. They go to rescue Mutt's mother as well as Professor Oxley, and Indy discovers that the mother is Marian Ravenwood, his former love from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystall Skull is not as cool as the original movies, but it's definitely a good movie to check out on the big screen this summer. It's an exciting adventure movie with a kind of far out plot. It's a fun movie, and if you enjoyed the previous Indiana Jones movies, you'll enjoy this one. I gave it three stars for "liked it."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Definition of a Good Book

Kimbra and I were talking about A Wrinkle in Time this morning. This is one of my favorite books--I think that everyone should read this book at some point in their lives. Perhaps like the Chronicles of Narnia, it is a book that one should be read to as a child, then read during college, then again when one is old. I remember the first time I read this book. We were living in the Pinebrook house. It must have been summer because I holed myself up in my room for the entire day and read through without even stopping for meals. When I finished it, I was exhausted. I felt as though I had lived through Meg through the entire book. I think that reading this book began my fascination with time and space.

"The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it." ~ Elizabeth Drew

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Remember DOS?

I do! When I was younger, my parents bought Jackie and me this amazing DOS game for the computer: Jill of the Jungle. We didn't grow up with a Nintendo 64 in the house, so we thought Jill of the Jungle was amazing--we had to learn how to throw Jill's knife, find all of the "hidden" apples and gems. We could turn into flame birds or frogs for fish depending on the level. In the 90's, it seemed so cool. I happened to think about this game tonight as I was searching Amazon for the mythological version of Age of Empires (yes, I'm a nerd, but this is the only game that I like to play). So, I ran a search on Amazon for Jill of the Jungle, and nothing came up. I was just thinking about how old I must be getting when I thought to google Jill of the Jungle. Guess what came up? A free download of the first segment of the game on dosgamesarchive.com! I was so excited to find this amazing game from my childhood! So, I downloaded it, and then it wouldn't run on Vista. So, I downloaded it onto my old laptop that is still operating on XP, and it worked!

Unfortunately, this game was not as cool as I remember it being. I completed all 13 levels in about half an hour, and now I think that I'm going to delete it from my computer. It was a fun little trip down memory lane, and I'm only sharing my super-nerdiness with you in case you have a favorite DOS game from your past. Check out that web site--they have a bunch of games and the downloads are free and clean. You don't even have to set up an account or anything. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Bachelorette: Season Premiere

Since I don't get any television channels at all, I had to wait until last night to watch the premiere of DeAnna as the Bachelorette. I really like her, and I thought it was fun that she brought Jenny back to help her out. These guys were crazy, but I think that's just what you get when you throw a bunch of guys together for a few hours and add a serious element of competition.

I wish that she would have kept Chandler, the guy from Virginia Beach who gave her a turkey call. He seemed a little intense, but he also seemed like a gentleman, and I think that the intensity may have evened out once things got slightly more normal. But, he did cry at the end, so maybe she did make a good decision there. Thank God she sent Greg, the Personal Trainer home. Gentlemen, ripping your shirt off and flexing your muscles does not do it for the ladies--at least, not as a first impression. I kind of liked Jeffrey from Miami, too. I thought it was cute when he said that his mom was so glad when the other guy didn't propose because it would give Jeffrey a chance to win DeAnna's heart. I think that she made a good move sending Jon home--my personal opinion is that guys should not be that concerned about their hair. He did seem like a nice guy, though, so who knows? I was so bummed that she sent Luke the oyster farmer home--even his exit let us know what a really quality guy he was. I thought he was cute, and I wish that we were going to get the chance to know him a little better.

I wouldn't have kept Jesse, the guy who wore jeans. He seems a little too chill. I also don't really care for Jason, the guy with the kid. I also didn't really like the divorced guy.

Right now, my front-runners are Graham and Eric, the Greek guy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recipe: Lemon-Braised Artichokes

Here is a recipe that I found in the May 2008 issue of Real Simple. I usually really enjoy their recipes. I'm not as creative as Bex and can't simply throw things together and come up with something fabulous. : (

Spring is my second favorite time of year for two reasons: flowers and produce! I especially love Spring because it means that artichokes and asparagus will be on sale. I usually just steam artichokes and melt some butter to dip the "leaves" in, but that gets unhealthy quite quickly, so I've been looking for some new ways to eat them. Real Simple is always so timely in that regard, as I often find an article on something I've been thinking about in the next issue.



Enough with my rambling--here is the recipe:



1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

8 sprigs thyme

4 cloves garlic, smashed

Kosher salt and pepper

2 medium artichokes



Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium Dutch oven, combine the oil, lemon juice, onion, thyme, garlic, 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Trim the top and bottom of each artichoke. Using scissors, snip the tip off each leaf. Cut the artichokes into quarters and scoop out the fuzzy chokes. Toss the artichokes in the oil mixture. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Divide among individual plates and spoon the cooking liquid over the top. Yield: Makes 4 servings



For the nutrition information, go here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I know that it's belated, but she agreed to celebrate the weekend after finals so that we could actually do something for her. I spent the weekend down in Carson at my parents' home. This morning, Mom and I opted not to go to Matt's lacrosse game so that I could stay home and plant her gift--a lilac bush that will be the beginning of a lilac hedge like my grandmother used to have! I was so excited to give this to her. My parents are still in the process of configuring the landscaping for the backyard, so I was excited to be able to contribute to the plan. It was also a somewhat selfish gift, as I will definitely be coming down here to pick bouquets of lilacs for my apartment as soon as it begins to bloom! Lilacs are such romantic flowers--they are so reminiscent of the Victorian era to me for some reason. I forgot my camera, so I will take a picture of my hard work (I had to dig a hole) next time I am down there.

After we cleaned up, Mom and I headed "downtown" to
The Firkin & Fox directly across from the Legislature building and the Capitol. It has a great atmosphere. We sat out on the patio where they have put up some absolutely beautiful flower boxes. The chairs are great and very comfortable. There is a big fire pit in the middle of the patio for the cool High Desert evenings. The food was great, too. Mom said that her quiche wasn't amazing, but I ordered the C.O.B. grilled sandwich with the Bourbon chipotle chicken, and the flavor was amazing! I would definitely go back and order that again. Overall, I give this restaurant a 4-star rating for Carson City. It's in a cute part of town, and they're teaming up with some other businesses on the street to do barbecue nights on 3rd Street every Friday during the Summer. It sounds like fun!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Movie Review: Prince Caspian

I headed down to Carson today to spend some time with my Mom (to celebrate a belated Mother's Day) and my Dad (to celebrate his Birthday). As part of the festivities, the family (minus Valerie) went to the new Chronicles of Narnia movie that came out yesterday.

Prince Caspian begins with the Pevensie children in London clearly having a rough time dealing with life outside of Narnia. They do not fit in (something that many Christians should feel more than they probably do. They are "in the world but not of it"), and they wish that they could return to Narnia. They finally get the chance while sitting in the train tunnel when they are instantly transported to the beach just in front of Cair Paravel, which they soon discover to be ruins. While 1 year passed for the children in London, 1000 years had passed in Narnia.
The children had been called back to Narnia when Prince Caspian blew Susan's magic horn. Caspian was in trouble because he lived with his uncle, Miraz, who had murdered Caspian's father, and had only kept the boy around because he was the only heir to the throne. But, when Caspian's aunt gives birth to a baby boy, Miraz gives the command for Caspian to be executed. Fortunately, Caspian's tutor had foreseen the danger and helped him escape (through the wardrobe). While Caspian becomes the leader of the Narnians, he is actually a Telmarine--a race of humans who conquered Narnia and aided the "extinction" of all Narnians. Telmarine children were raised to believe that the stories of Aslan and Narnia were simply fairy tales.
When Caspian and the Pevensies finally meet up, High King Peter (the Magnificent) and Caspain butt heads as they sort out their leadership roles. Of course, the friction between the Narnians who must now live in hiding and the Telmarines breaks out in a war.
This is truly a remarkable film. It is incredibly inspiring as Peter and Caspian are truly men of honor (are these men only found in fantasy films these days?). When Peter strikes out on his own power for his own glory, he fails. But, when he trusts and believes Aslan, he is victorious. He and Caspian both get an opportunity to kill the evil Miraz, but neither of them is able to go through with it. It is a great tale of good versus evil. C.S. Lewis was truly and amazing allegorical writer.
On my Netflix account, I gave this movie 5 stars for "loved it." This is definitely a movie that I will be buying as soon as it comes out on DVD. Go see it in the movie theatres so that they will go on to make The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
P.S. - While checking William Moseley out on IMDB, I noticed that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is in pre-production! Yay!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Evening Solace

Charlotte Bronte (1848)

The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;­
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.

But, there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart's best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.

And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly back­ a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others' sufferings seem.
Oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie !

And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress­
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
Seeking a life and world to come.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mission Accomplished: I Can See the Surface of My Desk Again!

Finally! After three weeks of living in a disaster area, I finally had time to clean my bedroom tonight. And, I mean clean--I tidied, cleared off my desk (which took about forty-five minutes including filing and recycling time), dusted, vacuumed. Next to do is take all of my papers and phone books in for recycling and take a box of things into Good Will. Oh, and get a new goldfish! : ) I always feel so much more at peace when my bedroom is clean. It's still feeling a bit clutter-y, so my next mission (after basic cleaning the rest of the apartment), is to go through everything in my room and get rid of everything that I don't use/need. That is one of my favorite things to do. Oh--I'm so zen!

I'm looking to buy a hardcover set of the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. Does anyone know where I can find one? I'm even willing to buy the books separately. I'm going to check some of the local bookstores, like Dharma Books downtown. I was going to check out Sundance Bookstore over on 4th Street until I checked out their web site and found out that they were "excited to welcome Harry Reid."

Also, below is a little poll that I have going. As most of you know, my dad is a bridge engineer. Well, his Birthday is this weekend and I finally came up with a gift idea for him! I am so excited because I can never think of anything good to give to him. I have some cool vertical pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge and the George Washington Bridge that I took while I was in New York last summer. I want to print them in black and white and frame them for him to hang up in his office. I want to make it a trio, and I can't decide whether to go with another picture of a bridge that we took in Central Park (in keeping with the bridge theme), or a picture of the Statue of Liberty (in keeping with the New York theme). Normally, I would just go with the bridge, but the Central Park bridge photo is horizontal while the other two bridge photos are vertical. But, I thought that maybe I could make this a gift that I continue to add to every year. As I travel to different cities, I can take pictures of different bridges for him. What do you guys think? If you don't have Kaboodle accounts, go ahead and just leave your feedback as a blog comment. Thank you in advance--I really appreciate your help!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Bachelor Proposes To Shayne

They are cute together. The way she speaks just gets on my nerves.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The First Night of My Summer

This semester is now officially over! I took my Calc exam this afternoon, and now I am done! I feel pretty good about that exam. I would be surprised if I got anything lower than a B. To celebrate the end of the semester, I met up with some friends at Pub 'n Sub (of course) to celebrate and say goodbyes before everyone heads home for the summer.

When I got home from the Pub, I was too tired to tackle any of the cleaning that I need to do. I was also too tired to go out again with anyone else. So, I decided to check to see if the season finale to The Bachelor had been posted on abc.com. I got all ready for bed, and it was posted! Yay! The Bachelor is my total guilty pleasure television. For some reason, I love this show. It's so ridiculous, and yet, I do believe that people can fall in love like that. It's just a bizarre situation for women to be competing for one man. That's why I think that The Bachelorette is more successful. It is more natural for men to compete and put their hunter instincts to use. At the end of this finale, they said that The Bachelorette is starting next week featuring DeAnna Pappas who got rejected by the Texan last season. I'm excited to watch that--I really liked her! Maybe I'll discuss that on here (you guys should all watch it with me!)...

Anyways, Matt (this season's British bachelor) chose Shayne. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. She was the youngest of the girls, and seemed incredibly immature at the beginning of the season. She kind of grew on me by the end so that I almost like her. She's just a little much in my opinion. I'm not at all sure why he kept Chelsea around as long as he did. There was absolutely no chemistry there. I feel like he chose her as one of the final two just to make the decision easier for himself. Anyway...we'll see if Matt and Shayne are still together a year from now. It actually wouldn't surprise me if they were...

P.S. - I'll post a video of the proposal later tonight. : )

Monday, May 12, 2008

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Last semester, I was really sad at the end of the semester. I really enjoyed by classes, I enjoyed my professors (with the exception of Mitchell, whom everyone hates), and I enjoyed my classmates. It was the end of my first semester at Nevada, and the end of my first semester of marketing classes. This semester, however, was an entirely different story. I did not enjoy any of my classes at all. Buyer Behavior should have been fun, but the lectures just put me to sleep. Taking Calculus and Stastics I in the same semester should have been avoided by more careful planning. I never got into any sort of routine this semester. I wasn't as diligent as I was last semester. I'll be more faithful to my studies starting with my summer courses.
Well, now it's almost over. I had my Stats final today. It was not at all what I was expecting. She changed the entire format of the exam to multiple choice (I don't actually believe that multiple choice exams should exist in universities outside of the sciences). So, we'll see how that went...Tomorrow is my Calc final, and after that I will be free!!! I can't wait for this semester to finally end.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anything but studying...

At the end of last summer, I bought these adorable floral paper lanterns for $4.99 at Pottery Barn with plans to put them up out on my patio for this summer. Well, with all of the beautifully distracting weather that we've been having in Reno lately, I decided to put them up. I found a string of globe lights at Raley's for $6.99 and put them up yesterday. They look beautiful--I love "mood lighting." I always have twinkle lights and paper lanterns up because the lower lighting just relaxes me and makes me happy. Anyway, I'm really excited about making my patio beautiful this summer. I'll post picture of it as it progresses. Here are my little paper lanterns--they add such a festive air; they just make me happy!

I walked down to Starbucks to "visit" Jackie at work today. The weather is so sunny and perfect, I couldn't stop thinking about all of the things that I could do this summer. It would be fun to ride my bike downtown every Saturday morning to read and have coffee at Java Jungle down on the river. I think that I'll do that--even if my reading is for class. : (


Tuesday afternoon I will be free!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie Review: Death at a Funeral

I went to Jen's Birthday Barbecue tonight at Rancho San Rafael. It's always fun to have these little get-togethers where I see people that I don't run into anymore otherwise, like Adam, a friend from elementary school and College Republicans, and also Sabrina, Jen's friend whom I only see at these sorts of things. A park ranger came over to inform us that the park closed at 8pm (what?), so we packed up and some of us headed over to Jen and Karl's sweet little house to watch a movie. Jen and I stopped at Blockbuster on the way to pick a movie. We wanted something funny, but can you believe how few comedies have come out lately? It came down to deciding between Heartbreak Kid and Death at a Funeral which I just happened to spot on the lowest shelf. We decided to go with the latter hoping that it would end up being along the lines of Waking Ned Divine.

Boy did we luck out! This movie was somewhere between Waking Ned Divine and Hot Fuzz. It's a typical black comedy in line with the dry humor which I always prefer. Our entire party was laughing non-stop throughout this movie, mostly when it felt quite wrong to be laughing.

Death at a Funeral begins classically, with the wrong body (of course) being delivered to an at-home wake. The dead man's two sons are as different as night and day. Daniel is dutiful, married to Jane, and planning to start a new life away from his parents post-funeral. Robert is a successful writer who has just flown in from Manhattan after being away from home for years. There is (again, of course) a typical dispute about money brought up by the irresponsible brother. The wrong body was just the beginning of the absurdities that make this a funeral not soon to be forgotten. There is a drug element that ties the entire movie together brilliantly (NOTE: I do not condone drug use, but...this was funny), which begins with the uptight fiancee of a cousin accidentally taking a hallucinogenic drug leading to a series of hilarious interactions (did I mention that her father already hated the fiancee a great deal?). Another fantastic surprise at the funeral is a mysterious 4-foot-tall guest who tries to blackmail the brothers.

I gave this movie 5 stars on my Netflix account, which means that it's a movie I would like to buy in the near future. This is quite a clever comedy. If you enjoy dry humor, you will love this!

P.S. - Today is Jen's Birthday! Happy Birthday!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Higher Education is to Video Games as _______ is to ________.

"If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to get the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude. See in college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall learn what you have no taste or capacity for. The college, which should be a place of delightful labour, is made odious and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits. I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 8, 2008

You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

I may have to bump my reading list a bit because I've been feeling a serious need for intellectual stimulation lately. It's quite wrong that I should be saying that at the end of a semester, isn't it? After sitting through three painfully long semesters of "Core Humanities" which I'm sure the delusional heads of UNR's colleges feel are incredibly thought-provoking for the masses of Nevada students. But, they are not. They are shallow. Kids sit in discussion groups spouting whatever crap they see in Michael Moore movies. None of them are really thinking for themselves.

It doesn't make you sound really deep when you preface your response to a question with "I'm the sort of person who doesn't believe in absolutes." Yes, you are--everyone believes in absolutes. Is it wrong to kill someone? Yes. There, you go, that's an absolute. People who claim that there is no right and wrong claim to be wronged a great deal in their lives. There is right and wrong, and that is nothing to fear. The absence of absolutes is far more terrifying a concept than is the existence of them.

Back to my original thought...I've been really craving C.S. Lewis lately. I started re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia, but I really want to read something else right now, perhaps Mere Christianity. I thought that I had a copy of it down in my old room at my parents' house, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. My recent Lewis craving was only compounded this morning when I was listening to a radio show about the new Prince Caspian movie coming out this month. C.S. Lewis's stepson is one of the producers of the movie, and he was the featured guest on the show. For some reason, listening to this show this morning stirred something in me. I realized that more than anything, I want to be a woman of honor. I want to always do the right thing no matter what the cost. I need to give everything 100% of my effort, which I definitely have not been doing lately.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This is My Life

No, I don't have teen angst. "This is My Life" by Fefe Dobson is one of my favorite songs ever. I finally bought it tonight on amazon downloads (which, by the way, is the greatest thing ever) after years of wanting it. I like the way this song makes me feel--it reminds me of earlier days when I was more carefree and fun. Sometimes I feel like I act far too old for my 23 years, but then I realize that I just don't enjoy house parties and getting wasted.

But, the odd thing about Fefe Dobson is that I can't connect it to any certain point in my life. You know how songs usually take you back to a certain time? Jewel's Hands takes me back to the 8th grade when I first started listening to secular radio up in my bedroom really low so that my mom couldn't hear it (sorry, Mom!). The Backstreet Boys Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely takes me straight back to the beginning of high school and Capital Christian. Destiny's Child's Survivor takes me back to my old basement bedroom in Michigan. Lonestar's Amazed was my first kiss song on my sophomore class trip to Branson. Shania Twain's Up album got me through my first heartbreak (I'm not sure which was more tragic, the breakup or the Shania Twain listening). Identify by Natalie Imbruglia takes me straight back to Fall 2004 when Kimbra and I became the best of friends. We listened to that song on repeat for 3 hours straight while driving up to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles. I also listened to a lot of Britney Spears that semester while I was working out, which consequentially makes me think of Angevine. I fell in love with The Strokes that last semester at Biola, too. I was in love with The Veronicas when Joel and I started hanging out, and I listened to a lot of Rihanna when we broke up. I've had some good times with some great (and not so great) albums.

Fefe Dobson takes me back to a time when I felt very free, but I can't recall anything else about that time. I feel like it may have been during the summer. It's so odd. Maybe I'll remember later.

Random: There was just a rather large earthquake while I was writing this accompanied by a rather large afterhock. The report is saying that it was a 3.8. That one felt different from the others. I didn't like that at all...
Even more random: I missed gas day yesterday, so I went today. I drove 265 miles last week. Gas was $3.65 today, so I got 16.398 gallons with my $60. I really need to fix my bike...after finals...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All You Need is Love?

As much as I love the Beatles, when it comes to relationships they are just wrong. I wish that love was all that I needed, but I've come to realize that there has to be more than love--and I think that element may be compatibility. I never lay awake at night wonder whethering I'll ever love again, but I do wonder whether I'll find someone who can put up with me for the rest of our lives (and vice versa).

Years ago (I think it was my freshman year at Biola) I made a list of all of the qualities that I wanted in a man. With all of the things I've had on my mind lately, I recently re-opened that file on my computer, and I was surprised to find that I still felt that it was a pretty reasonable list. There are a few things that I would change, but overall, it is still what I hope to find one day. Obviously I will never find a perfect man (although my mom still tries to tell me that Prince Charming is out there--thank you, Mom, I love you!), so I know that I will have to be willing to give a little bit on some thing(s), but how do I decide which qualities I am willing to bend on? How do I know which things I can be happy without for the rest of my life? Am I going to pass up a good man because he doesn't love sports? I feel that I might. Where are all of the good men hiding these days? They're obviously not running for political offices, so they should have plenty of time to date me.
People always say that "you just know" when you're with the right person. I really hope that they're right...

Monday, May 5, 2008

In Honor of Cinco de Mayo...

I will write a post about a subject which I avoid in day-to-day conversation: illegal immigration. This post is also inspired by the second Annual "Day Without an Immigrant" on May 1st.

Dear Illegal Immigrants,

I am not heartless (contrary to popular belief). I understand why you are here. America is the Land of Opportunity--a place where people who are willing to work hard are rewarded regardless of their last name or the color of their skin. I don't believe in building a wall because that goes against the freedom that this country stands for. Partly I hate the idea of a wall because a little part of me fears that one day, that wall will be used to keep us in instead of to keep others out. I believe what Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address to us, that our "doors [should be] open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here." We Americans have created this mess that we are all living in by not doing the right thing. Instead of enforcing our laws, we turned a blind eye because it may have helped us get ahead a bit at the time. Now, we are complaining because we are seeing the effects of illegal immigration on our economy, on the quality of the education in our public schools, and on our health care and insurance institutions.

You and your advocates often say that most of our citizens are the children of European immigrants. We are, but if you want to make the comparison, then I would like to remind you that the forefathers of our families who came over to this country illegally lived in constant fear of being discovered and deported. So, if you're going to make the comparison, then do live in fear.

Do not promote a "No Gringo Goods" day. That is an absolutely ridiculous title--you are in our country. We are not "gringos" here--you are the "gringos." Do not try to justify your crime by claiming that we need you to support our economy. We were doing just find before we created this problem, and we would continue to do just fine without it. Just tell us the truth--you are here because you want to pursue the American Dream and create better opportunities for your children than you had available to you in Mexico.

It really bothers me that you send your children to our schools and expect me to pay for them to learn to speak English. It really bothers me that one of your 19-year-old sons was driving his girlfriend's parents' car when he hit me while on his way to pick up his 2-year-old son for a doctor's appointment. What really bothers me about that incident was that he was driving without insurance and without a driver's license. What really scared me was that as soon as he hit me, a few of his gang buddies showed up on the scene just a few minutes after he hit me.

The thing that bothers me most about your May 1st holiday is that you are demanding rights in a country in which you are residing illegally. This sounds harsh, but technically, you are criminals. Smart criminals do not draw attentions to themselves, they fly under the radar. This is not a civil rights movement. You are not being treated unequally because you do not claim the same rights that American citizens do. If you come here legally, then America will grant you the same rights that she has granted her new citizens for the last 200 years.

Sincerely,
Rachel

P.S. - If you really want to be treated equally, I would lose my job if I didn't show up for work for a day.

I'm sorry that this post was no fun. I have just been very frustrated this week by this issue. I need to get this out. I will probably continue to edit this post over the next few days/weeks to make sure that it is logical and not simply emotional. I am not nearly as frustrated with the illegal immigrants as I am with our politicians who have not made any move whatsoever to solve this problem. It has become a problem; we must face this truth and deal with it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I promise to be interesting again after finals.

Today was kind of a nice day. It would have been much nicer if I hadn't had so much homework to finish for tomorrow. I'm still not done with most of it yet. I got up this morning and ran down to Starbucks to have coffee with Mom until Jackie got off work. It started off really sunny and beautiful, and then it got rainy and beautiful. I love the rain and the way that the air smells in Nevada after it rains. Someone should make a candle fragrance of it--Great Basin Rain. I would buy it...

My goal was to finish my very last ever Core Humanities paper today. I'll be finishing it in the morning. I'm writing it on the American Dream as the Land of Opportunity. It's pretty interesting and something that I believe in, but I just DO NOT feel like writing a paper right now. I would rather go to the dentist or clean my toilet. My dentist doesn't work on Sundays, but I was able to clean my toilet before finishing this paper. Oh well, this is the last non-marketing related paper that I'll ever have to write. I know that I need to just suck it up and get it done, but I just don't want to.

I am a professional procrastinator. I really hate it, but I really do my best writing at the very last minute (I blame journalism school and Dr. Bateman for that). I also have my last ECON homework assignment and two Calculus assignments due tomorrow. Then, I am done with homework for this semester! I'm going to leave these words to myself, and then I am going to finish my paper:

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work." ~Pearl S. Buck

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Just" and "Unjust" Laws

This was the last Core Humanities response paper that I will ever write (yay!). It is written on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The citations are from Five Hundred Years: America in the World by Casper and Davies, but you can also read this letter here. I highly recommend reading it. It is very powerful and eloquent--I highlighted nearly the entire thing!

1. What is Dr. King’s distinction between “just” and “unjust” laws?

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King stated that the difference between “just” and “unjust” laws was morality (Casper 350). “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law” (Casper 350). King had been criticized the contradiction of urging men to obey the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, while also urging them to disobey segregation laws (Casper 351). King explained that he was not contradicting himself because the 1954 decision was a “just” law that needed to be obeyed, while segregation laws were “unjust” laws that were morally wrong for any to obey. All men were created equally, but not all laws were. King made the point that segregation laws were “unjust” because they “degrade[d] human personality” and did not “[uplift] human personality” (Casper 350-1). Segregation laws were “morally wrong and sinful” because they made one party feel superior and made the other party feel inferior with no true foundation for either feeling (Casper 351). Segregation laws destroyed the American Dream by creating a false sense of inequality among citizens of this nation. In America, people were supposed to be equal. Nothing was supposed to stop a man who was willing to work hard to achieve his goals and make his dreams a reality—not who his parents were or were not, not whether he was educated, and certainly not the color of his skin. King’s final test regarding “just” and “unjust” laws was this: the majority was willing to enforce, but unwilling to obey the “unjust” laws. “Just” laws were those which the majority was “willing to follow itself” (Casper 351).