Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Literature and Proofreading

My very first semester at UVA, I took a class on Shakespeare.  I can picture the immediate reaction of most people as they read that sentence.  Usually something along the lines of “Why would you subject yourself to that?”  Well, I happen to like Shakespeare, although I get why most people don’t.  It’s kind of like reading in another language and takes a certain kind of brain shift to do easily.

However, I’m not writing this to defend Shakespeare—he can do that well enough on his own.  The reason I bring this class up is because I have no notes from it, which seems like it could mean I didn’t learn anything.  On the contrary, this was a great class where I learned a lot.  It just didn’t involve lectures, but rather consisted of some really great class discussions, the kind that I was too involved in to write down.

I also really loved the professor, Hoyt Duggan, who unfortunately retired at the end of that semester before I could recommend him to other people.  He had an amusing habit of reciting things in proper Middle English pronunciation in class and confusing the heck out of all his students.

He also gave us the few notes I do have left from this class, which offer great, but slightly sarcastic, advice on grammar and on what I’m going to cover today—writing a literary essay.  I have abbreviated these slightly, but Prof. Duggan’s instructions on how to write a literary essay are such:

Sunday, September 26, 2010


It’s always interesting to talk to people during a difficult economic time in the United States.  At some point during most conversations, someone will make a reference to how the US might do better on its own, rather than worrying about the rest of the world’s issues.  While these statements are usually presented as jokes, they speak to a very interesting and significant aspect of US history—isolationism.  In case you’re worried you don’t know nearly enough about something this historically important, never fear!  I learned a great deal about this topic in one of my favorite undergraduate classes, Domestic Politics and US Foreign Policy, and now will pass it along to you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looking for Aliens

So I feel like I've kind of digressed from the original purpose of this blog recently, but I intend to get back to it today.  Earlier this week, I saw this interesting article regarding one of the Vatican's astronomers and his feelings towards extraterrestrial life (often abbreviated ETI for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence).  Considering I took a class called "Life Beyond the Earth" last semester and wrote my final paper on the potential religious implications of finding ETI, this really caught my eye.  

However, the religion aspect is not really my focus today.  What I am going to talk about is the statement made by Guy Consolmagno, the astronomer in the article, when asked about finding ETI-- "The odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it – when you add them up it's probably not a practical question".

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I believe I've mentioned this a few times, but in case I haven't, I am going to grad school for Media Studies or Communication Studies, as my program calls it.  I am interested how media affects people and also what it says about individuals, society and culture.  More specifically, I want to look into how the Internet and video games fit in with or challenge traditional concepts of community.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Mario!

For those who don't know, Monday marked the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Brothers franchise.  Can you believe it's still so successful after such a long time?  In honor of this event, and because of my own academic interest in fan culture, I've decided to post links to two of my favorite Mario fan creations.

Sticky Note Super Mario is a stop-motion animation made entirely with sticky notes by students in Japan.  Sort of wish I could take that class, but I wish even more that I had this much spare time!

The second one I've decided to post is the adorable Mario Kart Love Song.  I find it to be incredibly creative and, of course, sweet in a very nerdy way (arguably the best way).

Have a favorite of your own?  Share it in a comment!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

My apartment here is fantastic, but unfortunately, I have developed a small problem-- fruit flies.  While not particularly dangerous, especially with winter approaching, they are annoying and kind of gross, so I decided to get rid of them.  Thankfully, this is something I've handled before, so today you get advice on what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.  You will need:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New Apartment!

I am now successfully moved into my new apartment in Ann Arbor!  Hurray!  There are still a few things to sort out, such as having my carpets cleaned because the hot water tank flooded my place the day I moved in, but all in all, I'm close to being settled.

On top of that, I managed to finish a project I had set for myself this summer.  My mother keeps her recipes on index cards in a box, sorted by type, and I've was trying to create a recipe box for myself, copying over all of the ones she has that I'm interested in.

There were two minor problems with this.  First of all, my mother has a lot of recipes, so my hand kept cramping up from copying them over.  Second, copying a recipe isn't much good if you can't follow it.  While I know most cooking terms, one area I do get confused about occasionally is mixing.  There are a lot of different ways to mix ingredients together, usually dependent on what the ingredient is or what effect you want to get.  And mixing incorrectly can really ruin a recipe.  When I was watching "Good Eats" the other day, the host, Alton Brown (one of my favorites, since he's the geek of the Food Network), said that something as simple as stirring muffin batter for too long can ruin its consistency, making the muffins tough and leaving "wormholes" in them when they bake up.