Monday, June 29, 2009

New (temperary) toys

I'm borrowing a couple of pieces of equipment from the Communications dept right now: a logitech USB mic and a Nikon D80 digital camera. I'm a little in love with each of them, though initially I was really frustrated since neither come with a manual and both needed some figuring out. I had to reconfigure some stuff on my computer to get the microphone to work; it's not great audio quality but not terrible either- better than just the internal microphone. They run about $25, so I think I am going to invest in one so I can do more podcasts, since checking out equipment is a bit of a hassle.

The camera, on the other hand, runs around $1,000, so I will not be investing in one any time soon but will check it out repeatedly until I graduate. It has both manual and automatic options; I had to think back to my high school photography class in order to get decent pictures (apertures, f-stops, etc) but I am really pleased with the results.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Tree-hugging Hippie Vegetarian Rant

I'm tired of people telling me that I should eat meat because it tastes good. It's like saying you should use cocaine because it makes you feel good.

Every time I go in for my internship I am asked another question about what I do and do not eat. My coworkers are all foodies, and they have a very Western idea that only food with animal products can be gourmet. I suppose I understand: meat has traditionally been a global luxury, therefore "meat" is still equated with "good." My favorite cuisine has long been Indian food, even before I went vegetarian. Indian cooking does use a lot of animal products; even if there is not meat or cheese the dish is often prepared with ghee (clarified butter), but because Hinduism reveres cows and supposedly respects all creatures, I've found Indian dishes to be very vegetarian-friendly and still delicious. Also, since meat is scarce in many places, the vegetarian dishes of these regions are spectacular. India, China and Ethiopia come to mind.

At the same time, I'm pretty much convinced that PETA, Greenpeace, etc are all right-wing conspiracies to make the American public look down on the environmental and animal rights movements. The local PETA group hired a homeless man at the Pride festival today to hold a sign saying "Save the Cows- Go Vegan"; how does that make veganism look? First, I don't give a damn about the cows. Don't get me wrong- I like cows on an individual level, but cattle are a huge detriment on the environment. Second, the alcoholic, most-likely mentally-ill man who begs for money and cigarettes outside of QFC should not be the face of the movement. Again, I am not trying to pass judgment on this person as an individual and I do not know his story. My point is that PETA should be making a convincing argument for their case. PETA is essentially applying for a position in people's lives; if an applicant walked into a job interview having not showered or changed his clothes for days, the company would immediately show him to the door; a man in a suit would have a chance. If PETA truly wants change, they should be transmitting a convincing message of legitimacy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Great Alaskan Adventure

I spent a few days last week visiting my brother in Anchorage. He's been up there for about 3 years for school, though he stays on during the summer as well. This summer he is working as a dishwasher in his school's cafeteria. He had to work almost every day we were there, but since his shift is 5:30 AM to 1:30 PM we still had the afternoons to do things. Plus, since the sun never completely sets, the day seems like it has more hours.

The first day whole day I was there (Wednesday), we went to the Native Heritage Center, which has an outdoor exhibit with recreations of 6 different native dwellings. Then we went for a hike:
His band played that evening, so we went to see them; they were pretty good- very different from bands Carl has played from in the past. The next morning, I biked to the Anchorage Art and History museum and the Russian Orthodox museum. The Russian museum was small and pretty lame but free and interesting enough, and the Anchorage Museum had a great exhibit detailing Alaskan life through the years, from the ice age to the present. When Carl got off of work, we drove to Seward, which is about 3 hours away. Along the way, we stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. There were all sorts of cute and uncuddly creatures (bear, moose, musk ox, elk, bison, caribou, etc) but my favorite was this little deer:

Seward was an ok little town; pretty small and kinda boring, but the drive was worth it:

I saw a couple of bald eagles in the trees, which was the first actual wildlife I had not paid to see. We had dinner at an Italian/Greek restaurant and Carl took me to a beach, where we skipped stones for a little bit. The scenery was pretty much what you think of when you think of Alaska:

We got home around 11 and watched some YouTube before going to bed. Carl didn't have to be at work until 10 the next day, and I went for a nice bike ride through Earthquake Park (the landscape was altered by the 1964 earthquake) until he got home. We went to the gym, and then the drinking began. We hit up the Midnight Sun brewery and then went out on the town.

Saturday morning, we woke up, rehydrated, talked about how hungover we were, and then drove to the airport. So, in a nutshell, that was my trip! It was fun. Today, we went to the Washington Brewers Festival (more beer...) and tomorrow classes begin again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

School's out for summer...

...only I'm taking summer school.

Friday, June 5, 2009

National Donut Day!

Today was National Donut Day. Translation: free donuts! I went on a donut run (literally: walked about 1/3 of it though) to Mighty-O donuts, my favorite donut store. They're vegan and organic. Along the way, I saw a few things, like a paper crane girl:

a severed head:and the angriest cat ever:

After about an hour, I made it to the donut mecca.

They had free mini donuts; I took a glazed and bought a regular-sized cocoloco, a chocolate donut with cinnamon sugar.
You can also watch them making the donuts:The mini are probably better than the regular because they have more crispy surface area, but both are quite good.
Mmm... donuts.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The final version of my personal podcast- I'm screening if for class tonight!