Thursday, May 31, 2007

I know this is sort of lame and belated and it's not my job to play Time magazine and analyze what is happening to childhood or whatever, but:

Michelle Dale, a second-grade teacher in Brooklyn who works with the youngest of the tweens, said she is “always blown away” by all the things her students know about. “The movies that these little second graders have come in and watched,” she said, “I’m like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ ”

Second graders are considered tweens? When I was in second grade, I was 6, and then 7. Ignoring the fact that I was young for my year: SEVEN! How exactly is seven years old "tween" anything? I hate everyone.

(From the NYTimes article about little girls reading gossip magazines.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Making love in the green grass?

Hi, my name is Adam Brody. My life is a walking American Apparel/Nylon Magazine spread.

(All I can think, besides the above, is: wow, that looks scratchy.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cadet Azia Kim

I swear I'm not doing this just to up the traffic on my blog, but there's more on Azia Kim:

Kim — the 18-year-old from Fullerton, Calif. who was revealed by The Daily last Thursday to have been squatting in Stanford dorms since September despite not being affiliated with the University — duped ROTC officials into thinking she was an honor-roll Stanford student for eight months. She took classes on Army tactics and history, received military equipment worth more than $1,000 and even earned official military awards for her top grades at Stanford.

Captain Michael Regnier taught Kim, Ally Ha ‘09 and Michael Rice ‘10 a weekly military lab and a weekly class on topics ranging from land navigation training to rifle marksmanship to battle drills. Because of Stanford’s ROTC ban in the 1960s, cadets must commute to other Bay Area schools. Kim excelled in the courses at Santa Clara, particularly wowing her classmates with presentations on Dwight Eisenhower, Robert E. Lee and military values.

If you click through to the article you will also find that the dorm staff in Okada printed out a sign for her door (like all residents in a dorm get). I love how they did that without thinking to themselves, "Hmm, maybe we should check with ResEd to see why we never were notified that this person was going to be moving in?" I'm stating for the record that my dorm staff would not have done that.

And read the comments on the Daily article. They're pretty hilarious. I particularly like this one:



(Don't get it? See here and here.)

and this one:

I'm still waiting for a Tom Feliz article.

(That one may only be amusing to people who have attended Stanford within, like, the last 8 years.)

Seriously though. I have to say that I do agree that there's something seriously wrong with the family and/or the society that leads someone to do something like this. But I also don't think that just growing up in a culture that puts high pressure on success and achievement, even if it is extreme pressure, leads someone to do this. I feel like something else must be wrong.

That said, I also think the fact that she is Asian and the general stereotype of Asian-Americans is that they are crazy studiers and have crazy school-success-obsessed families is not helping the evaluation of this story in the media or the public. It's just too easy for people to let their natural prejudices inflate their natural shock/awe at this story. I don't know what to do about that, but I do think it's out there. (Sophomore year cultural psych rears its ugly head.)

Finally, I think this has raised a lot of negative comments about Stanford this year. As a Stanford grad and a former RA and a member of "When I was your age, Stanford was fun" group on Facebook, I do have some things to say about all of this in regards to Stanford and their polices and practices. But I also don't want to get stuck in a huge argument/debate about all of it. I loved Stanford and I had and have issues with it as well. I think that most college students would say that about their alma mater (unless of course they genuinely did hate it). It really bugs me when people let their criticism get out of hand or let one incident drive their entire opinion about their school or let one incident justify their own particular grudges. Call it like it is. That's all I have to say for now.

(Update: Sorry, forgot to include link. It's there now.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

This is really awesome. It's a map of what an LA subway should/would look like if the map looked like the London Tube map. I'd be way out on the yellow line somewhere between the Colima and Beach Blvd. stops. In Zone "I say I'm from LA but when I say that to people who are from LA proper they get a funny look on their face."


Friday, May 25, 2007

More Azia Kim

From my friend:

speaking of which, this girl is my personal hero.
she's awesome. someone give her a medal.

and really, so easy to do. no one checks anything at
stanford. and remember freshman year -i lost my key
in like november or something. so i just climbed
thruogh the window every day.

Yeah. Kind of true.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Creation Museum

My dad sent me this hilarious and terrifying article about the new Creation Museum opening up in Kentucky. It's worth reading the whole thing but here's a taste:

Located in Petersburg, Kentucky, near Cincinnati, the museum has an elaborate walk-through exhibit of Noah’s ark. As you enter the giant exhibit you encounter 12 animatronic figures building the vessel. You can then meander around two floors of animal pairs, walking both inside and outside the ark. There is also a display of the design plan of the ark to lend scale, demonstrating to visitors that this massive diorama represents only 1 percent of the total ark space. The walls are covered with mural paintings that show how Noah’s family took care of the animals, including engineering speculations about food and waste management. And crucial to the logic of the entire ark display is the exhibit showing how two of every “kind” of animal was brought on board, not two of every “species.”

If Noah had to get every species on board, then Ham and the other Creationists would be in deep trouble. The Amazon rain forest alone, according to some researchers, may contain as many as 20 million species of arthropods, which are themselves only a piece of the rain forest biosphere. The popular college textbook Biology (Campbell, Reece and Mitchell) sums up the numbers by saying that, “To date, scientists have described and formally named about 1.5 million species of organisms. We can only estimate how many more currently exist. Some biologists believe that the number is about 10 million, but others estimate it to be between 30 million and 80 million.” Even if we take the most conservative numbers of species and then add the staggering numbers of now extinct species (like the dinosaurs), we have an insane amount of animals to fit on a boat that’s less than two football fields long.

But the Creation Museum argues that Noah never had to take two of every species, but only two of every “kind,” and that cuts the numbers enough to reasonably pack the boat. What is a “kind”? Creationists are invoking the next level up on the ladder of taxonomy, the genus. To skeptics who think there were too many species of dinosaur to fit on the ark, for example, Ken Ham responds: “there were not very many different kinds of dinosaurs. There are certainly hundreds of dinosaur names, but many of these were given to just a bit of bone or skeletons of the same dinosaur found in other countries. It is also reasonable to assume that different sizes, varieties, and sexes of the same dinosaur have ended up with different names. For example, look at the many different varieties and sizes of dogs, but they are all the same kind — the dog kind! In reality, there may have been fewer than 50 kinds of dinosaurs.” In reality, scientists estimate that there were over 2,000 genera of dinosaurs.

My favorite thing about the article is that the guy in charge of the museum or the tour or what have you is named HAM. Like, as in, the son of Noah. Sometimes these things are just too tidy.

Oh, and, just in case you don't feel like reading the whole thing:

The socially conservative political stance of the museum is prevalent in almost every exhibit, but the coup de grace is the “Culture in Crisis” exhibit. Here the museum gives us a “natural history” of the breakdown of the American family. Visitors are invited to look through three windows of a contemporary American home. Videos loop to show two young boys looking at porn on the computer and experimenting with drugs. Another window shows a young girl crying, surrounded by abortion pamphlets. And finally the parents are shown arguing. A recreated church facade stands at the other end of the room, but the foundation of the church has been damaged by a large wrecking-ball labeled “millions of years.” The signage explains that the cause of all this misery is our move away from Genesis and toward the scientific ideas of geology and evolution. Ideas about an old earth make people feel small and insignificant, so naturally they do drugs and have abortions.

Hot Trends

So there is this new Google thing called Hot Trends that documents the top spikes in searches every day. So not the most popular, but just the most rapidly popular. Kind of tracks where the cultural moment is. I played with it on Tuesday and there were tons of results for things like "andy and tessa" and "tessa horst" and "the bachelor after the final rose" because, in case you are not aware, the Bachelor's finale was Monday night. (Yes, I sort of started half-watching the Bachelor because my roommate works at the same place as the girl who got second place and who got totally screwed over because Andy Baldwin the "officer and a gentleman" told her that the connection they had was electric and then dumped her the next day for the other chick. And so I half watch at home and then Monday night I was at a friend's house channel surfing and what do you think was on? So I watched.)

This is kind of awesome.

Hot Trends hasn't gotten the best reviews and such (if you google "hot trends" the first link is to an article saying it's "not so hot" - don't you love the ridiculous titles people come up with for news?), but I love how temporary and shallow and stupid it is. How it shows this insane weird web community of people all searching the same things. Everywhere, and on the same day. And to top that off it also shows a great little compilation of news and blog posts and web articles all at the same time, which I find very helpful. Like, today for a while the highest search was, of all things, because they apparently released 90 million war records since 1607 and so you can get all this new data. Of all things! Now, of course, that has been replaced by Azia Kim, the imposter girl at Stanford that I wrote about earlier.

The best thing about it is that it shows that the day that the Office season finale was on, a crapload of people were searching for "Creed thoughts."

Just a little later we have another demographic, the "I like music that plays on Grey's Anatomy" peeps.

Oh, the Internets.
This is crazy!!

Azia Kim was like any other Stanford freshman. She graduated from one of California’s most competitive high schools last June, moved into the dorms during New Student Orientation, talked about upcoming tests and spent her free time with friends.

The only problem is that Azia Kim was never a Stanford student.

Kim, an 18-year-old from Orange County who graduated from Fullerton’s Troy High School, lived in Kimball throughout fall and winter quarter. She lived in Okada, the Asian-American theme dorm, until Monday night, when University staff finally caught onto her ruse.

To avoid suspicion while in Okada, Kim pretended to be a sophomore majoring in human biology, going as far as to buy textbooks and study with friends for tests she would never take. Residents of the 94-person dorm were none the wiser.

“She really knew her stuff, and really knew the schedule,” Zhou said. “For HumBio, she would say, ‘I have a midterm Monday in this room,’ and I knew that was true because my friends are HumBio [students].”

I really don't get how someone can a) do this or b) want to do it. But seriously - I don't really know what to say. How does this happen? What does it mean?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Office.

I might die.

It's just... I can't express. I really, really cannot express how I feel right now about that finale. It was honestly, just, too perfect. I spent the last three minutes of the show STARING at my computer (oh btw, I watched half of it last night when I got home from pub night, and then I bought it on iTunes because I had to see it and there was no other way to see it before Sunday, and I watched the last 20 minutes at work. Don't tell anyone).


I feel the way you feel before a first date.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I am doomed. I just added the RSS feed of recent updates/reviews from my friends on to my Google Reader. Which is already excessive. And the fact that Casey manages to review like 438492 books a day, with COMMENTS, and GOOD MEMORIES of them, does not help this situation. Not to mention every time I sign in there I feel panicked about all the great books I will never have time to read. How do you do it, Case?

I will say, for the record though, that Mom is a good reads stud. She writes good comments. I feel very related to her on there. (I mean, obviously I am, but sometimes it's magnified a bit more.) The fact that it's her and me and Casey on there going nutso for online book reviews-in-brief makes so much sense it kills me.

Also, I bought five more books yesterday with a gift certificate I had left from my birthday last fall. I don't know why I felt compelled to use it all now. I have like 80 books to read as it is. The scary thing is, most of those are sitting in my room right now. I don't have enough space for anything and I'm starting to develop stacks. Ack! English major nerd!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Facebook is evil. And awesome. And evil.

I have been using it a lot more lately, for some reason. It's part of my general effusiveness of the moment. Oversharing. That is the whole point of Facebook and boy am I taking advantage of that.

Yesterday I purged my groups section. I deleted around 20 groups (you can't see it on my minifeed, because I have that set to private. Yes!). I decided it was no longer time to be in a group if it wasn't one I created or one that was really important or something related to my friends or current state of being. Hence, I deleted my membership from "Carmex Lovers Anonymous." Turns out the two girls who invited me to that group a year ago and were its only other members had also cleared themselves out so when I deleted myself I also deleted the group and removed one, just one, useless page from Facebook's annals. I took myself out of "Fans of Seinfeld." Because isn't that what the "TV" category on Facebook is for? For that matter I took myself out of "TV Lovers" or was it "I love my TiVo"? I can't tell. Whichever one, I'm out of there. Then I took myself out of groups like "Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs" (it's sarcasm, isn't that hilarious!?) because I was already in "Pro Gay Marriage." I took myself out of "Students who feel sorry for students who think Stanford sucks" because, well, I am in "When I was your age, Stanford was cool" and I espouse that philosophy a whole lot more now than the former. I took myself out of "Students against students joining band" because I was one of only two members anyway and it's a losing battle and I'm not a student anymore. You get the picture. I did some editing. I left in "Joey Potter is a whore!" because we're geniuses. I left in a lot. I only managed to weed my groups list down to 48 or so. ADULTHOOD TRIUMPHS.


So today I was browsing and on someone's site I found myself pondering the entry "Looking for." See there is "Interested in" (Men), then there is "Relationship status" (I leave this blank. Otherwise people stalk you), and then there is "Looking for." Well I never bothered to have that, thinking it's just a companion to "Relationship status" and what's the point, but then I thought, I can fill this out without having my status. I sat there and pondered. I looked at my profile. I considered what I would put there ("Friendship. Dating. Random play"). I moused over the "Edit" button.

And then I realized, what the hell am I doing?

I believe our generation is one that doesn't believe things are official unless they are documented in detail somewhere online. So, a relationship is official, or officially over, when it is on Facebook. I am not "looking for" anything unless that little box is filled out. If I don't manage to complete all my book reviews on, well, have I really read those books? Just askin'.

So I resisted. I closed Facebook. I angrily messaged Cristina and Becca and told them how much I hate Facebook for feeding in me this desire to document and list everything to make it "real," despite Facebook existing in a virtual environment. I thought seriously for a few minutes about the implications of this, you know, what it means to be part of our generation (an interest, I might add, that I had until recently listed on Facebook), the obsession with lists, that plan I had to write a non-fiction piece that was a) entirely composed of lists or b) a take-off on a Facebook profile or c) (tangent) a take-off on a blog entry. (Kill me now. And don't steal my damn ideas.)

Then I was talking to Renata and she mentioned someone who I wanted to look up online and so I did. And I was looking at the listed groups and I looked at them. And this one was hilarious! And I joined it!

So. Like I said. Facebook. We hate and we love it. God damn us, Generation I/ME/YOU.

(On another side note. Anyone notice how all these books/movies are coming out with long titles and lots of pronouns? Like I Love You More than You Know, Me and You and Everyone We Know, No One Belongs Here More Than You, You Don't Love Me Yet. WHY! Is it part of what it means to be our generation!? A trend? It's got 4 examples so according to the Times/Gawker it is a trend. Or since two of them are Miranda July, does it not count?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summer Manifesto

For a long time I have been wanting to write a spring manifesto. I bombed all my New Year's Resolutions and spring is a time of renewal and this spring especially for me is a time of renewal and recharging and rearranging my life. But spring foiled my manifesto with fever and gorgeous weather and good friends, and now it's the middle of May (no matter what the weather in Mountain View thinks right now). Almost June. Therefore, almost summer.

Here, then, is my summer manifesto:

This is the summer I will go outside every weekend in the sun. I will go camping at least once. I will go to the beach. I will kayak at least once. I will go swimming.

I will eat in season - tomatoes, berries. I'll go berry picking. I will do my best to eat naturally. Avoid Splenda overdoses.

I will remember how good it feels to run in golden afternoons. I will buy a bike, and use it.

I will barbecue, have picnics, make cucumber salads and tomato tarts. I will make sangria. I'd like to make sun tea.

I will wake up early on weekends and enjoy the whole day.

I will meet people and catch up with people and value the time I spend with people.

I will take my time. I will write more. I will sit still sometimes, paying attention. I will divorce myself from mediocrity, boredom and superficiality.

I will have at least one party in the hot weather when the nighttime breeze is your only air conditioning and you feel purified by sweat. A party that goes long into the night and is like a beacon of light in the dark summer evening.

I will go to Costa Rica and to Chicago.

I will take time out for solitude, for reading, for cooking, drinking iced tea and iced coffee alone.

I will force the rest of you to join me!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I finally have my new computer. It's freaking tiny. But functional. And light. And it has Vista.

I'm still buying a Mac next time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What I've been up to...

I've been busy! What follows is a brief photo essay of my last few weeks:


Berkeley for Brunch, Playgrounds, and Wiffle Ball with Kevin

Wine with Amelia, Renee, and Laurel for Amelia's birthday

San Francisco with the Google admins to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge

Dolores Park for barbecuing on Saturday

I love spring.


The Office season finale is next week. This week, I guess. I might die.

Watch this NBC "preview" to catch up and prepare. Oh Jim, do the right thing! I don't even want to start making predictions, but I have a feeling it just might blow my mind.
After planning for weeks, I finally made sweet basil bacon for breakfast today, and had it with some scrambled eggs (with tomato and basil) and toast. Yummm. I didn't quite make it right (too much sugar) but I made enough that I can use the leftovers for BLTs tonight. In my family we make BLTs with peanut butter (peanut butter, mayo, bacon, tomato, lettuce) and they are absolutely delicious. I think I'm going to make another variety, with basil and spinach instead of lettuce (I don't have lettuce). I am already kind of dreaming about dinner.

Now I need to force myself to write a non-fiction piece for class instead of sitting around and reading blogs and not cleaning up my breakfast mess.

Also, last night I got further on Mario 3 than I've ever gotten. I mean, not single-handedly, I had help. But I'm still rather proud, despite restarting multiple times starting in World 3 and warping to World 8 and restarting many, many, many times there. Maybe I will finally win!
For the record:

I did like John Mayer before he was cool.

(Or uncool. Or both. But the point is that it was before the bad haircut, the good haircut, the blog, the bluesy jams, Perez Hilton hating/loving him, him loving/hating Perez, all the bad girlfriends, the John Mayer Dundee Award, the Time 100 Most Influential, and anyone in the blogosphere admitting that he's kind of funny.)

For some reason I felt the need to state that. Also for about 4 months my jam was "I'm Gonna Find Another You." I especially like the line "Now I'm gonna dress myself for two - once for me and once for someone new." This isn't really so much a reflection of current things going on in my life as an appreciation for the phrase "dress myself for two."

Ugh. I'm a geek. Consider this my PopWatch Confessional.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's official. Memorial Day weekend I am going here.

Led by the ever intrepid Dan, I'll be hiking in 11 miles and camping and then hiking out 11 miles.

I can't wait for sore muscles, sleeping bags, nature, fresh air, quiet, sunrises, and dinners of vacuum packed tuna.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Let's all take a moment to recognize the fact that it's already May 7.



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Absolutely hilarious Onion article.

CBS To Release Own Version Of NBC's The Office

The producers made several other changes to the show in order to promote a greater crossover appeal. The faux-documentary format has been dropped in favor of a traditional three-camera setup, and a laugh track has been added to fill in any painful, awkward pauses in dialogue that might slow down the show.

Dan alerted me yesterday to let me know that Cafe Amelie, this tiny little courtyard cafe restaurant we went to in New Orleans on our road trip, is still open. Despite the fact that less than three months after we ate there, Hurricane Katrina hit. And despite the fact that when we did eat there, only about 2 other couples were eating in the restaurant and it employed 2 people, which includes the owner, who was a transplanted New Yorker who I suspected, but hoped, would never have weathered the troubles in NOLA post-Katrina. Turns out he did! There isn't really any information about the restaurant on the web, but it's in this courtyard and on a certain level I am thinking to myself... damn, that would be a good place to get married! Not that I am getting hitched ANYTIME soon, but if I was...

Anyway I love the idea that the owner of this restaurant stuck it out and stayed. It was such a beautiful, tranquil, not to mention delicious place. I really want to go back.
I really admire the determination that this girl has... She is reading all 160 or so Babysitters' Club books over again. (Or some for the first time I imagine.) On one hand I'm like... you've been doing this since 2005! You have read nothing else for two and a half years! On the other hand, I'm like... you are AWESOME and I want to be friends with you. The excerpts she pulls out describing the "cool" outfits that Stacy and Claudia wear are pretty much to die for:
  • Stacey dresses up to pick Laine up at the airport train station [Oops. Thanks for the correction...I think I've been in the Midwest too long]: "a purple shirtwaist top over flowered leggings, my cowboy boots...a purple hair ornament made from shoelaces, and long dangly silver earrings." [Sounds like the outfit on the cover of Mary Anne's Makeover. Wild!]

  • But Laine out-fashions her: "She was hard to miss, considering she was wearing a jean coat with a fur collar (I sincerely hoped the fur was fake), black capri pants edged with lace, very chic black ankle boots, and on her head, a brilliant red oversized beret." [There are a lot of outfits in this book! Fuckin' sweet!]
One of the most tragic days of recent memory was when I went to the library to reread some old BSC books and found that they were gone. I'm sure Patty, the children's librarian at the Whittwood Branch Library, couldn't wait until that series was finished and she could sneak them out into the dumpster, but I really, really wanted to re-read book #4 where Mary Anne ends up babysitting the girl who gets a crazy fever, and she has to be independent and grow into herself.

(Side note: I feel about Mary Anne cutting her hair in later books the way the rest of America felt about Felicity. It just wasn't the same anymore for me once she had that awful bowl cut look.)

(Second side note: I actually REMEMBERED accurately without checking Amazon that my favorite book was #4. I shit you not.)

The Baby-sitters Club was truly awful. Each book started with a full on chapter describing each character in massive detail in the worst tell-not-show way. But it has such a firm place in every woman's memory if they are under the age of like 28. (See also: The Baby-sitters' Little Sister, Sweet Valley Twins - NOT High, that was for sluts - and Sweet Valley Kids.) When I was in the Columbia Publishing Course we met Ann M. Martin's editor and as soon as we found out she was responsible for the series, we pounced on her and all told her who was our favorite and how we remembered X and Y about the books. My clearest memory is when Janine, Claudia's bossy smart older sister, comes up to their room and critiques their spelling/punctuation of Baby-sitters. She debates whether or not they need an apostrophe at the end of "Baby-sitters." At another point she criticizes someone for saying "Hopefully" instead of "It is to be hoped." These are, swear to God, my clearest memories of the books apart from Book #4 and vague memories of a haunted house involving Dawn (the hippie blonde California vegetarian girl) and the one where Mary Anne gets a boyfriend (Logan, he was a hottie).

I think I've got a problem. I really, really want to re-read or at least buy some of these books. For posterity, you know?
Holy shit.

I love this part:

Before we discuss the findings, though, we need to clear up a little matter. It’s come to my attention that some people believe martinis are made with vodka. I hate to get snobbish about it, but a martini should be made with gin or it’s not a martini. Call it a vodkatini if you must, but not a martini. Gin and vodka have as much in common hierarchically as a president and a vice president. Vodka can fill in for gin from time to time and might even be given certain ceremonial duties of its own, but at important moments you need the real thing. Vodka generally makes a poor substitute for gin in a martini or any other gin cocktail.

The panel found common ground here. Each of us is partial to the classic martini made with gin, although Audrey was sensitive to the desires of her clientele.

“You have to revisit which generation is drinking the martini,” she said. “We might be classicists, but is the newer generation?”

Still, after perhaps 8 or 10 martinis, Audrey fessed up, referring at one point to “a generation lobotomized by vodka.”

That's my generation!

(Thanks to Pablo, who introduced me, not to the martini but to the gin & tonic.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


This is excellent. My daemon is a fox. Named Apollonius.

Take the test!