Springtime!

I’m not reliable when it comes to updating my blog. I received a comment last night on one of my posts, which made me come back and notice that I had a blog in the first place. Aren’t blogs soooo 2008? Anyhoo, here’s an update of what’s been going on:

1) I’m still in school. Wanna fight about it?
2) Summer is almost here, and I am thrilled. I’m not going anywhere this year – I’m doing a very in-depth chem course on campus. In-state tuition is something I’d like to take advantage of.
3) No, I’m still not a resident of Oregon, despite living here since 2004, not going to school for 1 1/2 years, and doing everything a resident does: pay income tax, property tax, own a car, vote, participate in outside of school type things… grrr.
4) I still haven’t had a relapse. Whoooo for that! I have maintenance drugs and check-ups every six months now, and that makes me feel good.
5) My hair is almost to my shoulders. For someone who was bald for 2+ years, I’m happy to have long hair again. It’s getting there!
6) My brother graduated from the French Culinary Institute and is now a badass fancy cook at a place called Lyfe, in Palo Alto, CA. They work him to the bone, but he’s getting good experience.
7) I fell down a volcano at field camp last summer. Yeah, only I could fall down a cinder cone. It was slippery and I was trying to get downhill like all the other people. Unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned.
8) I’ve been doing well with the violin and now play with Pro Musica, a string orchestra in Corvallis, OR. I also play Violin II for the Willamette Valley Symphony (where I played oboe before I switched due to inter-section BS politics). My new teacher challenges me at a higher level than I though I could achieve, and I’ve improved dramatically over the last year or so.
— Recently, I hurt my elbow from over-use, so I’m taking a week to two week break to let it heal. I was an idiot to rush back into playing sousaphone after my shoulder surgery, so I’ve learned my lesson. It just took…11 years. I never said I learned quickly. (Actually, I typically learn very quickly, but I like to ignore past experiences as flukes, and just wing it.)
9) I’ve started to edit other peoples’ stories again (for experience!) on FictionPress.com and FanFiction.net. I recommend Fiction Press if you want to read unique stories by regular people. FanFiction.net is the powerhouse of fan fiction archives. They have everything! Want some smutty Dumbledore-on-Hagrid action? They have it. Twincest? Yep. Weird Naruto / Pride and Prejudice cross fiction? Uh huh. It’s a bad habit. (note: not all stories on FF are sexual and weird – many are VERY long tales of love, action, horror, misunderstandings, and mystery using pre-established characters and worlds. FanFiction is a fun way to dip your toe into writing without having to invent your own settings and characters.)
10) I just wanted a round number for my list. Oh! I got a new cat! His name is Stupid, and he’s a Siamese-mix. We used to take care of him when he was a kitten, then my neighbor moved to Washington and couldn’t take him with her. So we acquired him, and I love him to death.

That’s about it. Back to work! 😀

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Can you believe it’s May?

The last time I updated my blog, it was 2010. Now, the school year is almost over, and I’ve had a few “life-changing” moments. No, I don’t have cancer again (thank goodness). I’m still in remission. I have lost nearly 20 lbs on a new diet (the hCG diet), and I’ve gotten rid of my physics major. I do want to graduate in the next nine years, you know 😉 So, for now, I have geology, and soil science. Yes, soil science! It’s fun, interesting, and it’s the first time I’ve ever really enjoyed myself in school.

What is soils, you ask? Well, let me tell you! Soil science is the study of the soil as a habitat. Yes, I study how the soil is formed, the minerals it’s formed from, the fungi and bacteria that live in the soil, the plants that change the soil pH to keep competition low, and even how to improve soil for crops (add organic matter!). I literally have this joy when I hold a clod of soil in my hand. Texturing it releases this smell that I adore – you should know the smell. It’s that smell after the rain falls, the smell when you till your garden for the first time in the growing season. I like to pull out my Munsell color book and color the soil (my favorite color? 7.5YR 2/2.). Most people hate keying soil out using the Soil Taxonomy book from the USDA, but I enjoy it. It’s like I’m the soil science Sherlock Holmes, and using what I know about the soil, I can determine it’s true identity.

How is soil science useful? Well, you do like to eat food, right? Do you like beer? Wine? Wherever a crop is grown, I can guarantee a soil scientist touched that soil at some point. The best part of soils, though, is playing in the soil pit itself. Soil pits are like giant holes in the ground (and have been compared to open graves or empty hot tubs). We go play in a soil pit every Tuesday for my Soil Taxonomy class, and that’s how we learn how to do our future jobs. With this class, I have a renewed vigor for school.

Unfortunately, that vigor doesn’t carry over to geology. Structural Geology should be my favorite class, but it isn’t. I absolutely hate it. In fact, I’ve been ditching lab, which spells failure and disaster for me. I will most likely fail the class, and be put on probation, unless the teacher (who highly dislikes me) will give me an incomplete so I can finish it over the summer or next year. I hate this so much. HATE. Grrrrr.

That’s about it for me. Now, for one last thing: my brother, Steven, has started a blog called “Beer Daily”. He’s determined to taste every beer Bevmo has to offer. Bevmo is like the Costco or Sam’s Club of booze. So, he has quite a daunting task set for himself. You can read his blog here. I hope you enjoy it! He’s an excellent writer.

Have a good Memorial Day, and a good Summer Vacation!

WordPress 2 iPhone App = thumbs up

It’s nearly 4 am, and I’ve had the flu (and a fever) for about two days now. For those who have cancer, they know how dangerous this can be, but I think I’m fighting it off pretty well. So, with all of my free time just lazing about in bed and using my iPhone as a VLC remote to my mbp, I started to peruse the App Store. This always happens when I have nothing else to do! I end up downloading games or whatnot, and I’ll play them three times before deleting them. (I have a very short attention span.)

But, I came across WordPress’ new iPhone app update, WordPress 2. The UI is very clean and easy to grasp without too many problems (read: a chimp could use it, which means most bloggers could use it too). I absolutely love the tabs along the bottom for pictures/comments/previewing/etc. My mother could use this app! And I say that in a nice way, of course 🙂

For anyone who has an iPhone, and has ever wanted to start blogging and didn’t know what free service to use, check out WordPress. It’s absolutely amazing!

Modest Dress for Catholics

When I go to mass, I get distracted, and it’s not because the homily is boring, or because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. From where I sit with the choir, I can see the entire congregation, and it doesn’t look good. Save for a few select families, we all look like a bunch of bums. I remember how we would dress up in the 80s and 90s to go to mass. What happened?! Why don’t women wear something, oh, feminine and modest, and why don’t the men at least put on a button up shirt and slacks? Is it THAT difficult to look nice for God?

I realize that with the changes of Vatican II, people seemed to think they didn’t have to look nice, or cover their heads to pray, or anything like that. The Vatican never, ever said that we were allowed to nix mantillas at mass. We’re a very liberal state, and I understand that, but that doesn’t excuse wearing daisy duke shorts and a boobie shirt for 90 whole minutes on a Sunday morning.

I am very, VERY disappointed in all of you. Yes, especially you, right there, the one in the pajamas. That is NOT OKAY. …rant over.

Local Ag and Organics

I’ve been listening to Science Friday on NPR for the last hour or two, and the topic towards the end was local produce. I used to care less about where my food came from; Mexico, Peru, out of state, whatever, as long as it was easy to acquire, I would buy it. But, my ex-boyfriend introduced me to the wonders of the veggie box and buying local produce both at the farm or the farmer’s market.

Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, OR is about 3 miles from my house, and the majority of my food comes from there. They have a program where you sign up for a box, and each week you get a giant tub of veggies. It’s big enough that four large people could share it, and there’s always a variety of greens, tubers, fruits, etc. You even get a giant bag of salad greens. So, Jason gets this box every week and I was enjoying better-tasting veggies on a regular basis. When we stopped dating, I missed the box and looked to see if I could register for one, but they have a waiting list almost 2 years long. Phooey. So, I buy from the co-op, or I drive out to the farm. If I’m feeling especially motivated, I’ll ride my bike.

My oncologist recommeded I eat organic while I was sick, and even now because he firmly believes in eating healthy, without pestacides, preservatives and hormones. The only downside is how ridiculously expensive this diet is.

I wish there was a way to eat local and organic that won’t make me flat broke.

The Science Friday people brought up a good point that I never thought of. Buying food from, let’s say, Kenya, helps their economy. Kenyan farmers get a giant boost from sales of greens to the UK, who get 90% of their green beans from Kenya. I had absolutely no idea that our purchasing habits effected third-world countries. This might seem like a “no duh” moment to you, but I never, ever consider how I’m helping or hurting others by buying certain foods at the store.

This revelation isn’t going to make me more inclined to buy from some horrible little country. Who knows what they put on their food to help it grow! I want my money to help my own community. So, I’m going to continue to buy local.

Of course, one could argue the whole gay “carbon footprint” thing, but I frankly don’t care. Telling yourself that you’re saving gas by buying local instead of buying food from across the country really isn’t going to do anything except make you feel better.

All this talk of food is making me hungry. Time for some tasty Swiss chard methinks.

Iranian Protest

The more I read about the Iranian Election and look at protest pictures, the more nervous I get.  After I looked at the latest slew of pictures posted by @phirm (on Twitter), I could feel my heart breaking. Americans take voting and democracy for granted everyday, to the point of not participating because whomever is running for office doesn’t mesh with their personal views 100%.

I really want to help the Iranians, in any way I can.  Here are some actions you can take, if you blog or have a Twitter account. (List has been compiled from various tweets and this site).

  • Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.
  • Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don’t retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.
  • Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.
  • Don’t blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don’t publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don’t signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind…

I asked Mike Phirman (@phirm) how to change my Twitter settings, and he replied: “@irishswtpea  Yeah, you can change it in the “Settings” menu, under “Account” (Tehran is pretty far down the list.)  Crazy stuff, right?”  Seriously crazy.  Oregonstateuniv (our official OSU Twitter account) posted: “Some really moving photos from an Oregon State alum in Tehran: http://bit.ly/mzHIo via the Oregonian #IranElection“.

If you use Twitter, please RT: RT @irishswtpea Iranian protestor pictures: http://bit.ly/1k9Zd  Share with your friends! Spread the word. #iranelection

Hopefully this can help garner support for those in trouble in Iran. I know we can’t go over and manhandle them like we would secretly like to, but prayer always helps.

Why I’m Not Watching the Academy Awards (again)

This’ll be a quick post since I’m writing from my Blackberry Curve 8330, and although I have tiny hands, they aren’t so small that this can be comfortable for long. I still have no idea how my dad, at 6’4″, could power-use a Blackberry for years at work. Bleh. My thumbs hurt a bit after typing so much.

Right, the Academy Awards (Oscars since the buttons are tiny). Award shows of any sort fell out of favor with myself a few years ago. I just stopped caring, because the people who put on the shows seemed to think they were the most important thing on television. I have HBO and Showtime, and all the best shows are on Sunday nights, so why should I divert from my normal schedule when I can just look up the speeches the next day on YouTube, or look on Google for the winners? Seriously, who wants to waste 5 hours of their life watching self-important actors and directors wank on about how awesome their indy movie that no-one’s ever heard of was? I sure as hell don’t. The Oscars are long over (I think) at the time I’m writing this (I think its about 11:45 pm, and I can’t be bothered to get out of bed). Apparently the Academy got it wrong again and think a (pardon my language) shitty indy film from India deserves 8 Oscars when The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight were in contention for the best picture award as well. This is percisely why no one watched last year (not to mention that Jon Stewart is over-used and over-rated). I’ve never heard of that indian movie! Wjy doesn’t the Academy start picking pictures that the general public has actually seen and enjoyed instead of a film that hasn’t even grossed 100 million dollars? Lame.

I watched Flight of the Conchords, Season 2, and Newhart, instead of watching the Oscars. To be honest, Sean and I had no idea the Oscars were even on tv until it was halfway over. Neither of us cared. Flight of the Conchords, on HBO, is a show I can whole-heartedly recommend. It’s NOT a waste of 30 minutes because it’s funny, creative, and you’re guaranteed a laugh or two. Bret and Jermaine’s music is both genius and comedic, and the structure of the show is endearing. This latest episode, Kristen Wiig from SNL co-starred as a woman who had lost her epileptic dog, and had won the hearts of both Bret and Jermaine. They vied for her attention, even switching clothes to seem more like the other in case she liked the other’s style, and eventually wrote a song for epileptic dogs and held a charity event. Of course, the comedic genius is their ‘remix’ of the song had a strobe light and phat beats, which led to all the epileptic dogs in the audience to have seizures (and some died, I believe). You should watch the show if you have HBO!

I think I’ve gotten to the point where my hands are tired of typing on a tiny keyboard, and I should go back to bed. To recap: don’t waste your time with award shows, since there is ALWAYS better tv on a higher channel. Goodnight 🙂