Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Well, I made it through the first semester of my sophomore year!  I flew home on Friday, and have been enjoying (slightly) warmer and sunnier weather.  Christmas preparations are well under way: tree and house decorating, menu planning, last minute shopping, and choir practices.  And, before it gets too late, I thought I would share some pictures from my last couple weeks in San Francisco, exploring the docks of Sausalito.

Wishing you wonderful holiday preparations.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
416 pages

I normally never review books that are considered to be "classics" or "great literature."  They obviously don't need my endorsement or otherwise, and, quite frankly, I'm not a real literary critic.  Just a college student who reads way too much and likes to share her opinions.  However, after reading this book for the fourth or so time for a class this semester, I decided that, due to the controversial nature of the novel, I'd just weigh in a bit.

Although Twain began writing this novel with the intention of making it another "boy's book," a sequel to the engaging and light Adventures of Tom Sawyer, it is quite clear that Huck Finn is in a class all of its own.  It still maintains the boyish adventure narrative of Tom Sawyer, and even more so due to the first person narrative.  However, it is completely saturated with many different mature themes, such as racism, critiques of religion and American society.  What makes this book highly controversial, however, is its use of the "n-word" in labeling its African American characters.  Throughout the country, schools have banned this book from their classrooms and libraries.  Parents are horrified at the idea of their impressionable children being exposed to this word in such casual usage.  Huck himself refers to his slave companion Jim this way!  The compromise has often been to teach a censored version of the text.

As a literature student and a lover of Twain's writing, this latest read-through inspired me to put my own opinion out there.  I think that assigning students the censored version of the novel takes so much away from their learning experience.  First of all, it takes away from the genius that is Huck's completely honest and realistic narration.  As a child growing up in the antebellum South, Huck never would have said "slave" or "negro;" he would have used the "n-word."  Second of all, it creates a safe atmosphere in which the students can discuss the reasoning behind the word, why it was used, the historical background, etc.  One learning experience comes out of another.  As for myself, my mother bought me my first copy of the uncensored novel when I was in sixth grade.  I devoured it as I had Tom Sawyer, and it created an opportunity for us to talk about not only the "n-word," but about other things that we should never do or say.

Besides, if we are that concerned about what our children were being exposed to, we should looking at the images and ideas that modern media is filling their heads with.  That's what I think we should be concerned with.  I would love to hear any and all reactions you all have to this debate over the banning or censorship of an American classic.

Until then, happy reading everybody!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy December

December is my favorite time of year, simply for the fact that it means Christmas is just around the corner.  My roommate Christine and I decided to get started on our Christmas shopping yesterday.  We hit the ever cool and trendy Hayes Valley shopping area, and had a great time stopping in all the little stores.  She is a major foodie, and we spent lots of time eyeing little candy boutiques and organic food trucks.

Happy December, everyone.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little Ladies in the Kitchen

This past Friday, I took another trip to Sausalito with Justine, to surprise her dad with dinner.  We battled the wind and rain to get there, and when we did, immediately took over the kitchen.

The cupcakes were amazing, especially after we added homemade cream cheese frosting!  And aside from a slight mishap with the chicken, our dinner plans went well, too.  I now know not only to double check the date on meat before you buy it, but also to bring a cooler-bag if you plan on taking said meat on an hour long jaunt from city to city.  That's what college is about, right?  Learning from experience?

Wishing you a good week, friends.  Look for more food pictures as Thanksgiving approaches!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things Change

Do you ever get bored with your space?  It happens to me quite frequently, especially when I have spent my year crammed into a dorm room with very few arrangement options.  Still, I get restless and feel the need the switch things up a bit, even if that means trying something a little unusual.

And last night, that's exactly what I did.

It's a little different, because it sticks straight out into the room in front of the closet, but it's weird enough to satisfy my need for something entirely different.  It also means that I have an entirely new wall space to decorate!

What's boring you in your life, friends, and what can you do to change that?

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Before I get started, I just want to mention that I am a huge Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan.  I fell in love with him watching the clever and amazingly filmed (500) Days of Summer, and then proceeded to work my way through many of the major films he's done over the years.  What I love about him most is his uncanny ability to morph into whatever character he's playing.  I don't think I've ever watched him give the same kind of performance twice.

And he does not disappoint in the self described "cancer comedy" 50/50 with Seth Rogan, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard.  It was actually my dad who first told me about the movie, remembering my fondness for Gordon-Levitt.  I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing the movie at first, for fear of it being really sad.  Boy, am I glad that my curiosity won out over this fear.

This was, without a doubt, one of the best movies I have seen all year.  It is not flashy, and despite the subject matter, does not continually shove the "cancer thing" down your throat.  It's really just film about a guy living a boring life, just existing, really, who is faced with the most unexpected of obstacles. He gets the ultimate wake up call, if you will.  The acting was absolutely amazing, portraying completely real characters from every awkward moment to every glorious triumph.  By the end of the movie, I felt personally invested in the lives of nearly every single character.

The other reason this film has such a ring of truth to it?  Well, it could be that it's based on a true story.  If you're interested on hearing the writer/inspiration's story, I encourage you to check out this NPR interview.

All in all, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone with a craving for genuine characters and a great story.  It will make you laugh, cry, and want to jump in right along side them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trying Something New

Thought I'd try something a little different, this time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Sunny Day for a Birthday

Yesterday was an amazing day. Not only did I turn a whopping 20 years old, but it was probably the nicest day we've had so far. This made it the perfect day for my friend Justine to complete what was possibly the greatest assignment ever: walk through Golden Gate Park to the beach. I tagged along while she took beautiful pictures in sunny weather. We looked at the trees...

petted adorable dogs...

played with balloons...

and got lunch at the cute little cafe called the Java Beach Cafe. Even though they were recommended to us based on their coffee, we were happy to discover that their sandwiches are just as tasty. Their menu is seriously impressive, with tons of sandwiches, pastries, and both hot and cold drinks. I personally enjoyed the ice tea, though it was a little bitter. Over all, it's good food in a cute, beachy atmosphere!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Brother, the Funny One

Hi, everyone! I know that I am a little behind on posting pictures of my adventurous first couple of weekends, but I will get to them eventually. I have literally been constantly going for the last couple of weeks, with not much time to sit and come up with good posts.

That being said, I wanted to share this video with you all. My brother, who has wanted to be a film maker for as long as I can remember, has recently set up a YouTube channel where he is posting weekly videos. As the good big sister that I am, I watch everyone and comment. But I wouldn't be sharing this with you if I didn't think that it is actually really funny and may in fact make your day a little bit better. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wall Wednesday: Week 3

Okay, so I admit, nothing much was added to the wall this past week. That is, beside this cute little wall decal-calendar that I picked up at Paper Source. Isn't it adorable? It comes in a pack of four, and is also dry erase so that you can change it around as much as you want. So cute, and so much fun!

Today was my first day of work, and it couldn't have gone better. Because I work the very last shift, I get the least amount of action. That means I had to answer the phone a grand total of two times, and there were  no guests of big events going on. Essentially, I got paid to do my homework. The only problem I foresee in the immediate future is being able to memorize the names of every single Jesuit living in the building. And that's quite a few!

I've got touristy pictures , food finds, and a video to post which I will do soon, I promise.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wall Wednesday: Week 2

I know it is technically Thursday, but as I have yet to go to sleep, I'm just going to call it Wednesday still. And look, the wall is slowly getting bigger! My next step is to start drawing things to hang about the room.

In other news, today I finally managed to get a job on campus! I will be receptionist at the local Jesuit community house. Should be interesting.

Keep smiling, everyone. The week is almost over!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wall Wednesday: Week 1

I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this post, but the past few days have been pretty crazy! School has started back up here in San Francisco, and we've all been settling into both our new living situations and classes. All I really have to say is, so far so good. All of my professors seem fairly nice and all my classes extremely interesting. My class titles thus far are: 19th Century American Classics (English Lit), Introduction to Islam, Art History 101, Prometheus Rising (Lit), and American Sign Language 101. Over all, I should have a very interesting semester, as well as one slightly less frantic than last.

Now, I've been trying to come up with projects to do here on the blog to make reading it a little more interesting. I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't always have a lot to talk about. And when I don't have a lot to talk about, I just don't post, and that's not fun for anyone.

So I am instituting "Wall Wednesdays." Remember the collage that I created on my wall last year? Well, I'm doing it again this year, and have decided that every Wednesday I will post a new picture of my wall so you can follow its progress. I guess it will be over either at the end of the year or when I run out of space, whatever comes first. It's a pretty blank right now, but I plan to rectify that soon enough.

My dad found this in the morning paper the day that I moved back to campus and thought it was perfect for me. Don't you love short jokes?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello Again, San Fran

Hello, friends. Yes, it's true, I'm back in the city by the bay.

My dad, brother and I drove up yesterday with the dogs, and my mom is flying into town to meet us tomorrow.  Classes start Tuesday and I move in this weekend, but until then we're crashing at my grandparent's house.

This morning, we decided to take a little walk into the Presidio, which can be conveniently accessed through the park a block away from my grandparent's house. Once walking, however, it turned into a four mile hike (yes, with my very little dogs) to a lookout point over Crissy Fields. It was perfect weather for a hike, and overall very beautiful. Although I'm a little reluctant to let go of summer and my SoCal living situation, I have to admit I'm glad to be back.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Voting Crunch Time!

I recently submitted another design to Threadless, so it's voting time again! This design is a little more fun, a little less funky, but I love it just as much. Something I learned from my first submission, however, is that if you don't get enough positive votes in the first 24 hours of scoring, than you get dropped from that round of voting. So I would really appreciate it if you all could support me and vote well. Unfortunately, you do have to create an account to vote, but it's free and you can even submit your own designs or sayings.

If you'd like to help me out and vote, check out my design HERE!

In other news, earlier this week I got a surprise root canal. I went to the dentist for a cleaning and they noticed a dark spot on my routine x-rays. I checked in with the specialist they referred me to, and he confirmed that the nerve inside my tooth was completely dead and infected. That same day I went back in for the root canal. I knew nothing about root canals aside from the fact that they made most people I know flinch at the very thought. So I was happily surprised when it only took twenty minutes and I have not experienced  any major pain. I go back next week for the final visit, but it seems like everything went well.

I also got a new iPhone 4 to replace my poor, falling apart Blackberry. And this means that the days of a lack of pictures are over! The iPhone's camera is so amazing, you may actually start to get annoyed with the sheer quantity of random pictures I'll be taking. My dogs have been amazing models so far!

Well, hope you all have an amazing weekend. Don't forget to drop by Threadless and vote. Thanks!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Poem for the Week

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay great
happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears are awake and
the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e.e. cummings

Happy Monday, everyone.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Art in the Streets

Hello, everyone. I hope your summer is treating you well, and that, wherever you are, it is not too hot. I've been lucky so far, as the hottest day I've had to deal with so far has been about 85 degrees. I'm rather behind on reading my latest book (Emma by Jane Austen), so I thought I'd share some pictures from my family's trip to LA instead.

Back at the beginning of July, we decided to take a trip up to the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA. They are currently having a huge exhibition called "Art in the Streets," featuring street and graffiti artists from all over the place. Right in the heart of Little Tokyo, the exhibit is held in a big wear house of sorts where they have constructed ramps, temporary rooms, and even miniature city. It was really quite something, and as someone who loves street art, I was very excited to be there.

There were multiple old cars that were painted, and the very first picture shows a wall that was entirely covered in little prints of photographs of the graffiti-covered trains in New York City. Some people credit the tagging that first occurred on these trains as the start of what has become street art and graffiti today.

Although there was a large number of canvas paintings and photographs, my favorite pieces were those that had been constructed on the walls themselves. The first picture above is a rather terrible shot of a huge LA mural, featuring the emblem of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The other picture depicts the dozens of boxes that were mounted on a wall, all painted to look like faces. Some of those boxes actually contain speakers, and there were instruments set up for later use.

All in all, I was amazed by the diversity of the exhibit, and would definitely recommend going to see it if you are at all interested in street and contemporary art. I'm not sure how much longer this particular exhibit is up, so I'd check their website soon.