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Friday, October 31, 2008

Gone Camping

I'm going backpacking this weekend in Haunted Canyon. I hope everyone has some good ghost stories.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Whew! Yoga was hard today. I wound up by the door, which I don't usually like, so I'm not sure if my chi was off or what, but I was off balance a lot, I got tired in easy poses, & I was sweating like I was in a Bikram yoga class. I needed Sweaty Bands!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Me Talk Pretty One Day

My Chinese tutor was so impressed with me today.

I went hiking on South Mountain this morning. Since I knew I'd be out here for a while, I brought along my MP3 player so that I could listen to my Chinese lessons. I hiked for about three hours, so by the end of it, I was full of all kinds of useful phrases in Mandarin. When I met with my Chinese tutor, I showed off my new skills. She was utterly dazzled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Choppin' Broc-o-laaaay!

I stopped by Baker Nursery yesterday after having coffee with the Cool Chix & bought some broccoli starts, as well as some strawberries. I planted four of the six broccoli plants, which I think will produce plenty of broccoli for me. I have two plants left over if anyone wants them.

This will be my third attempt at strawberries. The first time, I think I planted them in too much shade. The second time, it was in the spring time. I planted them in the sun, but they didn't last long enough through the heat of summer to produce any berries. This time, they're in the sun, & they should have plenty of time to grow & grow before the spring harvest. That is, unless they die in the cold. But they told me at Baker's that they'll do fine. Only time will tell.

Anyway, now I feel that my garden is complete. It's all over but the waiting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Muy Interesante

I was reading one of my favorite magazines "Muy Interesante" today. There was an article about birds & how some species can recognize themselves in the mirror. How do the scientists know? Well, they put a powder mark on a spot on the birds' heads that they can't see unless they look in a mirror. When the birds saw their reflection, they noticed the spot & cleaned it off. Pretty amazing. Looks like birds don't get as much credit as they deserve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Empty Pockets

Looks like people are starting to change their priorities. Attendance at the studio has dropped considerably. Maybe learning Spanish is a luxury, not a necessity. I'm curious to see if the trend continues.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meteor Shower

I'm heading out to watch the meteor shower tonight. I'm hoping it will look like this:

But I'm pretty sure it will look more like this:

Either way I'm sure it'll be really cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Itty Bitty Teeny Weeny Laptop

I went to Best Buy today to check out the mini laptop. They only carry the 8GB version, but they confirmed that it does come with up to a 360GB hard drive.

I spent some time typing on both the mini & the regular-sized laptops to see how much different they are. The mini is definitely harder to type on, especially if you're typing fast. I had to slow down quite a bit & concentrate to be able to type legibly on the mini. I'm not sure if that is just a matter of getting used to it or if it will be a persistent problem.

While I was there, I saw the new super thin, ultra light MacBook laptop. It was soooo cool, but with a price tag of over $1500, it's way out of my league.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Check It Out!

In case you didn't notice, I've started two new blogs with the ever so creative titles: "My Reading List" & "My Movie List". You can find the links over there in the right-hand column. Check out what I'm reading & watching - & post your comments!

Friday, October 17, 2008


I've got sprouts!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mini or Maxi?

Last week I was having computer problems. The hard drive didn't crash, but my friend Michael thinks that it was a warning sign. I want to get a laptop for my travels anyway, so now might be the time to go ahead & buy one.

I've been looking at the Dell Inspiron 1525, which seems reasonably priced, has a pretty big hard drive, & comes in lots of different colors.

But then one of my students came in with a cute little mini laptop. It has a 9" screen, is available with a 120 GB hard drive, & comes in lots of different colors.

I like the mini laptop because it's small, easy to carry, & easy to hide. It's cheaper, with seemingly the same functionality of a regular laptop. But the full-sized laptop might be better for watching DVD's. The smaller screen might get annoying after a while, even with just general internet use.

Does anyone have an opinion?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Economic Gloom Continues

With a headline like that, how could it not?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I slept on the couch for the first time last night. The new roommate, who will be taking my bedroom, hasn't moved in yet, but I wanted to move to the couch anyway, to try it out. It was definitely different. I awoke slightly uncomfortable, but I'm sure that's just because I'm not used to the couch yet. The dogs weren't so much of an issue, though, since they weren't on top of me like they have been when I was sleeping on the floor. That's an improvement.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Garden Party

Thanks to all my friends who helped me pull weeds & plant my winter vegetable garden! We worked all morning on Sunday to clean up the yard & get the garden area ready for planting.

We planted carrots (both orange & purple), snow peas, beets, a variety of lettuce-like plants, & parsley. I'll probably also put in some broccoli in the next week or so.

In a few months, I'll have lots of yummy salad for everyone to enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blue Pill Red Pill

The Matrix (1999) was a great addition to Pop Culture, in spite of Keanu Reeves. The blue pill vs. red pill question is still being discussed, nine years later. Almost everyone that talks about the dichotomy, however, says that they would definitely take the red pill. I think they're all liars.

I see so many people every day who have without a doubt been taking the blue pill for a long time, myself included. When we see someone who has taken the red pill - or is considering it - we don't understand. We ask questions, try to convince them to back away from the red pill, try to steer them over to the blue pill. Why? Because even though we like to think that we are red-pill takers, we're all very happy to swallow the blue pill. Maybe ignorance really is bliss, & we know it.

The movie Equilibrium (2002) makes this point as well.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NPR Plays the Race Card

I rarely engage in the media these days. I don't own a television. I don't read the newspaper. I am almost entirely disconnected from the mass hype, sensationalism, brainwashing, (insert your own word here) that many people receive daily.

I do get the news, though. I just listen to what the people around me are talking about. I know who is running for president. I hear about earthquakes & tsunamis. I know what Brittney Spears is up to. It's amazing how much news you get without watching the news.

Anyway, this morning I decided to turn on NPR to see what was on, which I rarely do any more (just more hype). On Talk of the Nation they were discussing how Barak Obama's race will affect the election. One man was on who interviewed people in Ohio, West Virginia, & the surrounding areas, where he says racism abounds, even though people don't want to admit it. Another man, presumably a psychologist of some sort, was on saying that we all have racial prejudices, even if we're not aware of them.

I listened for about 20 minutes.

My take on Barak Obama is this: Yes, his race is important in that he is making history, even if he doesn't become president. But what's more important to me is whether or not he is capable of running this country.

The program on NPR didn't mention anything about whether or not Obama is capable of holding the presidential office, or whether or not the people in Ohio, West Virginia, & surrounding areas think that he is. They spent the whole time talking about race & how prejudiced people are. After listening for just a few minutes, I caught myself wondering if I too am affected by race. The man on the radio said that I am, even if I don't know it.

After I turned the radio off, I realized that that's not what's really important. I was caught up in a discussion that has no bearing on whether or not Barak Obama can run this country.

So my question now is this: Is race really that important? Or does the media make it important? That is to say, does the media spend too much time talking about how racist we all are, in effect making race a prominent issue in our society? Does life imitate art?

Not to say that we should ignore racism, because it surely exists. But what would happen if the media focused on the political experience of the candidates instead of arbitrary attributes like the color of their skin? Would we all then make intelligent choices at the polls?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On Being Jewish

This website: lists differences in cultures around the world. One of the items on the Mexico list (written by Mexicans) was:

"If you're Mexican, you're extremely likely to believe in God; if you don't, most often you're Jewish."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I haven't posted since last week. My computer at home is down, so I have limited access to the internet right now. I'm sitting at one of the public library's computers checking email & reconnecting. I hope to be connected at home soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Teach Me Chinese

I've been feeling more motivated lately to study Chinese. I've spent about five years dabbling in the language, but without much progress.

I have a Chinese tutor, Juliana, whom I have been meeting with for most of my Chinese studies. She is learning Spanish, so we have an exchange going: she helps me with Chinese, & I help her with Spanish. Over the years, we've become friends, & I look forward to meeting with her so that we can chat. The problem is that, because of our schedules, we can only meet once every two or three weeks, which gives me plenty of time to not study.

So I went on Craig's List looking for an additional tutor. I came across a PhD student at ASU. Her name is Meng Ying, & she's from Hu Bei Province, the green one in the middle of the map above. She was looking for a conversation partner to help with her English skills, so I thought it would be another good exchange.

I met with her for the first time on Sunday & again yesterday. She's very nice & tries to speak slowly for me in Mandarin, although I don't know much vocabulary, so most of the time it doesn't make any difference how slowly she speaks. But she says she has lots of free time, so I hope that we can meet often.

Soon I'll have mad Chinese skills!