15 December 2011

Testing 1, 2, 3,

A song that's been on my mind recently...Also, this is actually a test because I changed my url (so if you had it bookmarked, it won't work. This is the right one!)

Testing 123 by the Barenaked Ladies


Time to get back into blogging...

Hey everyone...

I have been not writing recently.

That's a lie. I have been writing. I recently wrote 16 pages for my English final. Which made me remember how much I love blogging, especially in relation to writing silly scholarly essays in MLA format (I actually have a rant about MLA format, but I'll leave it to later because I want this to be an upbeat post).

I have not, however, been blog writing. And I really like to. A lot has been going on. I write things in my head a lot, think about how that blog post would look, all formatted on the computer screen. But college is one of those places that there's always something going on, and I haven't really sat down for some good, down-to-earth writing. So now, with finals next week and everyone holed up studying, I can finally write about what's been going on.

So: the basics. I am about to finish my first semester of college at University of Alaska Fairbanks. I'm studying foreign languages and started learning Russian this year, which is cool! I really enjoy the cold weather and windlessness of Fairbanks.

I am surprised at how much I like Fairbanks. I really love college here. I have so many wonderful, amazing friends, and its so easy to become involved with something exciting or random or meaningful or silly.

I like my classes too! I keep having confirmations that studying foreign languages is the right way to go. Some are little, like getting good grades on my Russian final (yay!) or realizing that the reason I like the Disney movie Atlantis so much is that the main character is a linguist who speaks a bajillion languages and then discovers a whole other civilization!! Not that I think this is plausible, but...I would like to be that guy. Some confirmations are bigger. I really, really like Russian. And I really, really like Spanish. I thought my approach to Russian would be "Oh, hey, Russian is one of those languages that is really good to know because a huge percentage of people speak Russian, and since there's a lot of Russian influence in Alaska, UAF has an awesome program." But as it turnes out, I love saying Russian words, and listening to people speak Russian, and writing in Cyrillic (after an initial WHY CURSIVE moment), and...I really like that its so different from Spanish. I'm just very excited about Russian. ето отлично!

Don't worry, everybody, I still love Spanish. This semester I was in a 300 level conversational Spanish class. It was awesome to finally learn some words I had been searching and searching for last year, (like cheesy!) and I feel like I'm actually advancing a lot more than I thought I would in terms of speaking. I'm sure that I still hago muchos errores, but I feel like my level of speaking has gone up. So that's happening...

I was also in a pretty exciting English class (and all three of my languages were on the same day! whoo!) that focused on Detective Fiction! So I got to read lots of Sherlock Holmes stories, and lots of less-famous detective stories. Probably the best required reading I ever had for a class.

Because classes do not make up the majority of my school experience (I show up to class and do my homework and pay attention and even get good grades and all, but still) Here are some other things I do on a regular basis:

1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen on Sunday Mornings with the Bahai club. This is really amazing and I really love to do it. I usually cut potatoes and onions (I am becoming a super fast chopper with amazing knife skills!) and then make about 300 sandwiches to be used throughout the week. Its one of those good-feeling experiences, but its also a fun thing to do in itself. I am learning/solidifying some things about me, and one of them is that I like working in big kitchens.

2. Sleeping in. 9:45 was my earliest class this semester. I kind of love it. Because you get enough sleep on the average night! And sometimes, on days like today, I decide to wake up early, and then you can get SO MUCH DONE in the morning! Also, early morning is the best time to do laundry because of the lack of other people doing their laundry.

3. Crazy things. Not like Animal House crazy. Just stuff like wearing a banana suit to hockey games, playing capture the flag in the snow at 2 am, being a lumberjack at the lumberjack show, etc.

4. Broomball, because it deserves its own number. Its a pretty awesome sport, because if you're not very good (like me) you can still have an amazing time sliding around on ice and "accidentally" sliding into your opponent. And even though I'm still not very skilled, I've definitely gotten a lot better than when I played my first game. Also, I have the element of surprise on my side because I just slide around like a ditz sometimes, and then I decide to start playing so they don't expect me to be able to run or steal the broomball from them!

5. Acting like a cat. This is self explanatory. Everybody wants to be a cat.

Anyways. One of the things that is absent from that list is taking pictures. I recently realized, when looking for a photo to add to this post to make it look less scholarly, that I have no good pictures of myself since this summer. SO, my mission is to take photos that are less "hey look at this weird face I can make" and more of "this is what my face actually looks like" in the next few weeks. I'm also going to try to blog more, because I'll be going to TURKEY AND ISRAEL AND I AM SO SO SO EXCITED! So, expect more photos in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, since you probably forgot what my face looks like:

And, because jumping photos are AWESOME:

Photo by Karl Schleich

So, thanks for reading! Sorry about the length of this post. And the narcissistic nature. I can talk about other things then myself next time.

Love to everyone who has stayed up with my blog! Or even if you never read it and just accidentally clicked on the link. Or even if you are just randomly google searching and landed on this blog. Because everyone deserves a little love!

09 October 2011

I miss Elika

I think I'm going to become a vlogger...I just need to figure out how to work imovie.

29 September 2011

It also makes me happy...

So, some things from last post's Happylist that people have commented on that may need some explaining:

The folks at Nerland: You know how in Jellicoe Road* they have Houses (also Harry Potter, but this relates more to the ones in Jellicoe Road) and each house has a 'personality'? Well, Nerland has this quirky, strange personality. Their programs inevitably include My Little Pony. When you're there people randomly ask you to model for photos and then bring you flowers (which, I'll admit, was a little creepy. But in a sweet, slightly socially-awkward way.) Also, Nerland is home to Morgan, which is reason enough to put Nerland on the happylist.

Liver and Onions: This came out during a campus devotional we were having. We were talking about topics for next week and I said it didn't really matter what the topic was because I'm interested in basically everything. My lovely friend Jamie then replied "Even Liver and Onions?!" And then I thought about it. And you know what? Liver is really cool. How many vitamins and minerals (good source of IRON, people!) and the form that its in? Or its function?! And then you think about how people have evolved to eat liver. And then, from a whole different angle, you can explore the flavor profile of the liver, and learn why it tastes better with onions, and why the onions taste better when they've been carmelized instead of sweated. And you can think about the taste buds and how they react and the social reactions to liver and the cultures in which liver and onions is a staple food and GOSH.

Yes, its interesting. It can blow your mind, how interesting something is. If you think about it.

Anyways, thanks to everyone who commented! Here's part 2:

It Makes Me Happy (cont.)
22. Snow!

23. Engaging required reading

24. Poetry slams

25. Brett Dennen's lyrics

26. Pure Empower Mint

27. Vegetarian Cooking

28. Twinkly lights

29.  Vlogbrothers proposals

30. Serendipitous encounters

31. Phone conversations with good people
*Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. If you haven't read it, go read it now. It trumps every reading. Homework reading. Newspaper-after-momentous-event reading. If you told me "Sorry, I can't read your blog because I'm reading Jellicoe Road" I will totally understand. And forgive you. And commend you on your reading tastes.

26 September 2011

100th post! It Makes Me Happy...

Hi everyone!

This is my 100th post. A momentous occasion! When I started this over a year ago, I don't think I expected to keep it up this long. And yes, there have been long dry spells. Typos. Tears. (Maybe not tears, but a lot of frustration with internet at least). And it all worked out so far.

This past week, I've been thinking of something big to post about for my centennial post. (is it centennial if its the 100th, or is that 100 years? I'm not sure). I spent a good portion of my time wondering, and finally decided that I don't have anything super huge.

And then today I came home from Feast. And my heart was smiling! And when I got to my room, my roommate got to hear me gush about all the random things that are making me happy. I decided to write it down, on my favorite medium (sorry blog): Yellow legal paper. My plan was to carry around my list in my pocket and add to it as I find things to make me happy.

Rest assured that I'm not trying to quantify happiness. I think its a combination of my love of list making and that huge feeling of gratitude that washes over you when you see that with almost no thinking you have this huge list of things that you're blessed with. I look at that list and think "I'm such a lucky person. I have all of these things to be grateful for" and its just this happy...ness. Try it sometime. Because I bet you that even if you're having a sucky crap day, you can come up with a list. Because these things don't have to be big. Number three on today's list is "squishy firetrucks". I'm not talking top 10 here. I'm talking top as-many-as-you-want.

How does this relate to your blog?? You may ask. And so I don't have a SuperEvent that makes my 100th blog special. But looking at your life and thinking "I like it! I'm happy!" is something to write home about. And so here's the deal: I'm going to start an online version of It Makes Me Happy. I'm not going to explain a lot of the things. So if you want to hear about them, you have to get interactive (this is the fun part)! It can be as easy as leaving a comment like "#3!" (anonymously, if you so desire) or as in depth as an essay (please include the bibliography). I'll read comments (I do that anyway, rather obsessively actually) and then go into a little more detail about whichever numbers you want in my next It Makes Me Happy post. That way, my dear readers, YOU can decide what I talk about (efficacy! Great, huh?) and I get to continue what I love doing: making lists!

Here's the first installment:

It Makes Me Happy
1. Broomball Games
2. Getting texts from Elika
3. Squishy Firetrucks
4. Going to Feast
5. Sending packages
6. NPR podcasts
7. Unity and harmony in Barenaked Ladies songs
8. Unexpired milk
9. The folks in Nerland
10. Bollywood movies
11. Being remembered by people who I didn't think remembered me
12. Free hot dogs
13. My sister
14. Getting Mail
15. Cute relationships between friends
16. Bunk beds
17. Talking with Ecuadorians
18. Deep rock climbing discussions
19. Liver and onions
20. Regina Spektor
21. Goldfish at the Tilly

Don't forget to write comments on which you want to hear more about!

18 September 2011

Ukuleles and Places.

I love ukuleles. Because lets be honest, I am not really at all proficient on the guitar. And ukes are much more portable than pianos. I love playing them, that they have 4 strings, you can bar chords, and that when you play even a wrong chord it still sounds, you know, not like a cat is dying.

I could spend hours talking about the brilliance of playing ukuleles. But today I'm going to talk about the (somewhat hipstery, sorry) theme of photos, and how ukuleles greatly enhance photos.

First, lets think about why we take photos. There are three main reasons:

1) To show the world where you've been (facebook profiles, sign photos, tourists, etc)

2) To be creative, and capture the beauty of the photography subject.

3) To hear the shutter sound of the super beautiful Nikon cameras that I dream about. (Yes, I understand this could be just me. But its seriously the MOST AMAZING SOUND IN THE WORLD.)

Usually, these three goals are supposed to be simultaneously met. Because I don't know anyone who wants to hide the location of the beautiful photo they took, or to be really ugly and uncreative in a photo showing where they went on summer vacation. And shutter sounds are inevitable.

This is where ukes come in. Take pensive photos: looking into the distance, communicating your deep thoughts to the great unknown. But in reality (unless you are Angelina Jolie or Brett Dennen) you just look something like this (Exhibit A):
Awkward pensive photo
Which nobody really wants on their facebook profile anyways.

Add a uke, though, and the whole pensive idea is achieved so much more. Exhibit B:

much less awkward!
And don't think that its just because of the cool background! Because even in gorgeous areas, with good photography, your hands are always hanging limply at your sides, silently longing to hold a small stringed instrument. (Exhibit C):

The arms are saying "We want ukes! We want ukes!"

Ukes jazz up any old photo. For instance, the overtaken photo of "Tourist, next to large pumpkin at county fair" receives a whole new light in the warm glow of the uke (Exhibit D):
Tourists, awed by the combined glory of ukuleles and large gourds
Here are some other uke photos. I'm sure you'll agree that, without the uke, they'd be way less awesome. (Exhibits E-I)

Thank you to Ley, Katherine, and Zayn  for their photography. And whoever took that photo of me and Elika in my English class...