Saturday, December 31, 2011

a new years resolution

when i was a small kiddo learning to write, my parents and teachers were slightly concerned with my "work"; i was left-handed, so i was at a disadvantage, because watching others to mimic writing posed a problem. also, my teachers would tell the class to tilt our paper a particular way, and then start at the opposite side of the paper as our writing-hand. while im sure my teachers gave me individualized instruction, it was clear i was still trying to write the same way as the other kids in my class. The result was writing that would start on the right side, and loop back around, as space ran out, as the picture below demonstrates (its hard to describe so just look at the picture).

as you can see, i started writing "nickel" at the right side of the page,  ran out of room, and then just wrote "el" in the open space. KID GENIUS CHILD PRODIGY. (the black marker was my teacher's writing, as IF MY PICTURE DIDNT MAKE IT CLEAR WHAT I WAS WRITING, whatabee).

what is more, my handwriting was terrible (i like to blame it on being a lefty, as well). in 4th grade (mind you, by now i had figured out how to write left to right) i remember practically crying when i received a UN, unsatisfactory, for my handwriting grade. after years of penmanship woes i finally took it upon myself to have nice handwriting. i would lay on the floor in my bedroom, pop in a mix tape of my favorite songs, recorded from the radio onto cassette, and spend hours writing my name, my friends' names, states, days of the week etc. with markers and pens. i had found a scrapbooking-type magazine that had cool handwriting throughout it, and worked on replicating that. eventually, like after years, my handwriting improved, and now i think i write quite fancy! 

i tell you this story about a now antiquated skill (penmanship), because i feel it demonstrates something i have come to notice about myself... while i think i am a successful person, and someone who has excelled at a few things in my life, i would never, EVER, describe myself as a "natural" at anything. ive always had to work really hard, and often over time, to do things just at par. for example, in high school and college i played volleyball, and had a really great jump serve! but what i dont think a lot of people know, is that multiple times a week my dad would take me down to the school gym (lucky for me, he had keys) and while he worked in his office i would jump serve for hours against the wall in the gym. also, in high school, i was a pretty good point guard on the basketball team. but this was because when i would go on runs around the neighborhood, i would dribble my basketball the whole time, alternating hands.

i know we all have things we practice at--athletic, academic, even epicurean--but as we get older (or at least me) i have stopped taking to practicing things. i think by now i had assumed things, like my job, would just come natural to me; but thats not the case.

my mom and dad are excellent examples of adults who continue to practice at what they love, and improve all the time. my dad still wakes up early to stretch, and rides his stationary bike before bed--every day. my mother still does puzzle games, and takes on new sewing techniques, to stay sharp. and she is!

i guess as a kid i associated adulthood with being lazy. ha! but as it turns out, you still have to practice writing, to write well. a paraphrased quote from playwright tennessee williams sums up what it took me several paragraphs to say: i became a writer by writing everyday.

this is to say that he didnt write because he was good at it--he was good at it because he wrote--all the time. and as a result we have A Street Car Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Glass Menagerie.

for the last year i have been resting on my laurels, as they say; i havent been practicing much or working hard at really anything... well, its been a relaxing year, but ive decided to kick it back into high gear. and this is my new years resolution.

happy 2012! may it be the best year, yet.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

while i enjoy christmas, and the nice long break from work, christmas is more fun when youre a kid. christmases for me are some of the best memories, and i dug up a few old pics of me with my presents, and the tree as a happy kid.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!
6 years old. i wished for a cherry merry muffin doll on a star every night for a month. and i got her! ha
4 years old. i got lots of barbie furniture that the old lady down the street used to make. it seems weird now, but when i was a kid i would love to go to her house and admire the small couches and beds. now, as an adult, i am glad i do not make mini furniture. 
3 years old. santa is clearly trying to choke me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

merry christmas (music)

THIS WAS TOOOO GOOD (from snl last saturday with jimmy fallon). I WISH THIS CHRISTMAS CD REALLY EXISTED.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

soccer cat

its 2am on a monday night/tuesday morning, so naturally i am training my soccer cat.

Friday, December 9, 2011

change is a comin'


I STILL havent received any calls re: job applications. i am not sure if i should be totally bummed out, yet, though. the only real hints i have about the job market right now are (1) this terrifying and dumb blog moderated by other phds that attempts to update other phds on the status of open positions. so far, from the blog, there is only one job i applied for (william & mary) that is moving forward with interviews. so according to this (as i said, obnoxious) blog, most of the places i have applied to have not yet made calls. the second hint is (2) occidental college is hiring a comparative politics professor (not my field) and are moving forward. so either they are totally on their game (which i think they are, given the incomparable professor heldman), or the obnoxious blog has bad information.

that being said, i have applied to a couple more places, so i am adding these cities to my LIST OF POSSIBLE NEW HOMES FOR THE 2012/2013 SCHOOL YEAR!

Chicago, IL
brrrrrr. but i love this town, and some of the people in it. plus KANYE WEST YA'LL
Boise, ID

home! lol

Pomona, CA

Schenectady, NY

i suppose i could live in a town i cant pronounce...

so my contract with occidental college is up at the end of this school year. ive really enjoyed my time there, but alas, all good things must come to an end. thussss, i am applying for jobs at different schools, and am getting kind of excited at the prospect of moving somewhere new (if someone hires me). here are some of the places i may be living in 2013!! i thought i would post a picture for each of my potential new homes!

Laguna Nigel, CA

oh please oh please, God!

Salt Lake City, UT
old friend!

 Santa Cruz, CA

 Merced, CA
lol, so desolate!

Claremont, CA


Annadale on Hudson, NY
so east coasty.

 Providence, RI
near some water is sort of a must have for me.

 San Antonio, TX

Towson, MD


ill keep you updated... unless i get no jobs, and end up moving home to idaho (mom and dad would LOOOVE that, not)... STAY TUNED!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

tis the season to be sexist

tonight, ive seen three sexist commercials and ive only been watching tv (comedy central) for an hour. and they weren't even AXE commercials, where we've come to expect over the top sexism. when its over the top i feel like its less harmful. More on that in a bit.  here are two of the sexist commercials ive seen, tonight. the first is a commercial for AM/PM. It begins with 2 big guys making hot dogs, who are soon upstaged by a small weak lil guy because the wimpy guy makes a 5-patty burger. This burger is the more masculine creation and the wimpy guy exits saying to the seemingly tough guys "thanks for playing, ladies".

The next commercial I saw tonight is essentially the same commercial. But instead of selling food it's selling a video game. The man selling the game is demonstrating the game to a crowd of memorized men, and yells "speak up lil' ladies!"

Both commercials are targeting male audiences, and persuading men to buy their product by threatening their masculinity. While I don't think most men will consciously see these ads and run out to eat a 5 patty "inferno" burger to uphold their machismo, I think subtleties like the ones on display in these ads are important.

I've long been a student of studying gender inequalities and have recognized not only the negative portrayals of women in society, but the unfair portrayals of men, and an unrealistic expectation to uphold preconceived notions of what it means to be "a man." while there are a number of adjectives that I could use to describe what it means to be a man, the most dangerous to women is "not a woman." by subordinating females, through associations of the feminine with weakness, these notions of masculinity hurt both sexes.

While watching tv tonight I couldn't help but recall an educational movie i watched as an undergrad in a gender and politics course, called "tough guise." this really good but now dated film highlighted how the "media system" perpetuated unrealistic norms for men, and a culture of inevitable violence.

the overarching premise of "tough guise" was that the media, in video games, movies, and commercials, construct violent masculinity as the norm, and any deviation from super macho is weakness.

if you want to watch this film, Tough Guise, its here:

While I'm not suggesting that playstation is inherently evil, I do think that an increasing number of casual references to what is female as weakness is alarming. It's something I'd expect from AXE but not from rando AM/PM ads (this is not to say AM/PM are virtuosos of equality of course but I think you know what I'm getting at).

On the other side of the same coin are the ads that portray married men as whipped and dumb. For example, the yogurt ad below suggests not only is the wife the boss, but the man lacks any independence to even go out and buy his own dessert. In other words, as soon as men give in to women, they've lost all sense of autonomy. there are SO many of these ads on tv right now (here's another one I am sure you've seen).

In sum, popular, and casual portrayals of men in commercials hurt men (with unrealistic expectations of masculinity) and hurt women (by portraying the subordination as the feminine as necessary to uphold masculinity). What a sorry cycle.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blustery day

This week Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area was hit by one heck of an angry wind storm. I know there are far more serious natural disasters out there, but to survey the damage that was caused by mere wind the morning after the storm was something to behold. I believe Pasadena saw some of the worst winds. Old towne Pasadena was especially messed up. Here are a few pictures I snapped. Most of these were taken about two blocks from my house at Green and De Lacey. Enormous trees were uprooted. The debris is still all over despite a pretty concerted effort by the gov to clean up the mess. In case this is a sign of the end of days, I just want to say I hope kittens go to heaven.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marcel Marcel

at long last, a sequel to the greatest internet video of all time, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, is upon us! i give you MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, TWO!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

new baby

so, i broke down and got bangbang a lil bro, much to the dismay of everyone in my life. his name is bowser.

BUT, he is the best! he falls asleep everywhere and anywhere. he has an underbite so he always looks mad. but he aint mad! hes a lover. hes the softest thing in the world.

he loves me.
halloween unhappy frog!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

9 days in my office

im still getting the hang of this job, and as a result, some days i get it together, and other days, i do not. i thought i would document it... here is the start of this documentation!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Save the Polar Bears


so i got a mail-in survey from Defenders of Wildlife, yesterday.

as a social scientist, and someone who often relies on others to complete surveys for research purposes, i usually take pity on other survey administrators, and fill them out, or respond to automated questions, via telephone.

but being a social scientist im also trained to recognize leading, or double barreled questions, and assume the survey admin has ulterior motives, when the questions are especially leading.

but im pretty sure the following survey and definitely question 8 is entirely objective, and not at all leading...

"wealthy" americans is my favorite part. i feel like the majority of americans would have responded "no" without the added "wall decoration" phrase. whatever. there were other ridiculous questions, but this one was my favorite. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

i quit

im quitting my job. as you can see, ive successfully incorporated a miley cyrus song into an academic publication, so its really all just down hill, from here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Chicago!!  I made it.

getting to chicago and seeing emily and megan was such a thrill. it was as if nothing had changed, even though the last time we were all together was in 2006, also in chicago...

megan, cait, em, and me in march 2006

as soon as we were all together, we hit the town.

first on the list was dinner at a lil (huge) place called the Pump Room.  the pump room at Public Hotels was just recently renovated and is AMAZING. i wish i would have gotten more photos of the interior, because it was nutty awesome.

i had gotten in pretty late, so we didnt sit down for dinner until 10pm. once we were seated, we got a smorgasbord of tasty eats, and for sure (fancy rosemary) fries were a must have.

not pictured: cait

megan and em

the next day i enjoyed the view from megan's 20th floor loft, went shopping, and drank hot chocolate. it was cold, after all--but sunny the entire weekend.

it was so much fun to hang out with old friends, in a great city. we caught each other up on our lives, and had such a good time. also, apparently i laughed in my sleep both nights... creepy, i know. but i guess an indication that i was having a fun time!! hopefully we dont wait another 5 years to get together, again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


in 2004 i had an internship in London, where i met three radical ladies, who also had internships across the pond. we lived in the same south kensington flat, and kept one another happy and sane.

this is us in 2004 at a christmas party we threw at our flat. it was a dress up party. cait is an elf, megan an angel, im snow (im wearing a sheet, clearly lacking creativity at this moment) and em was a sugar plum fairy.

we have all since spread out around the country. cait is in orlando, megan is in chicago, i am in los angeles, and emily is in boston. cait is engaged, and em is married. i have cats. megan and cait work in finance. em is a fierce red sox fan, and cait bleeds yankee blood. we are all pretty unique, but we get along so well, and i am happy to have them in my life.

tomorrow we are going to reunite in chicago. its just what i need!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

best vegetarian lasagna

i was looking for a good vegetarian lasagna that wasn't chock full of broccoli or eggplant. no offense to either one of those vegetables, they are so good (and good for you!!) but i was going for savory and cheesy, as opposed to broccoli-y.

AND I FOUND THE RECIPE DREAMS ARE MADE OF.  the result is the delicious lasagna you see, above. if you want to try it out, here is the recipe:


10 oz frozen chopped spinach
a handful of parmesan cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese
16 oz mozzarella cheese
5 slices garlic
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
28 oz spaghetti sauce
Lasagna noodles
1/4 cup flour


microwave the spinach for about 3 minutes
boil water and cook the lasagna noodles
grate the mozzarella 
stir together the spinach and ricotta and the parm
preheat the oven to 350 degrees

cook the white sauce:
in a saucepan, melt the butter on medium
add the garlic
add the flour and salt
add the milk a little bit at a time, keep stirring, it should be thickening up REAL GOOD
you can remove it from the stove when its fluffy and smooth. you can add some parm, too, if you want.

get started: 
in your glass pan, spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce
cover with a layer of noodles
add dollops of spinach mixture over the noodles
spoon the white sauce over the spinach mixture
sprinkle mozzarella cheese, like whoa
add a bit of sauce
AGAIN with the noodles
and the spinach mixture
and the white sauce
sprinkle the mozzarella cheese
add spaghetti sauce layer
then more noodles
spaghetti sauce
use remaining mozzarella and some parmesan if you want

BAKE for 30 minutes at 350


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

primary season

the race for presidential nominee(s) comes earlier and earlier every year. this year, for repubs, i feel like newt started it. which sucks for everyone. for candidates, who have to spend (waste?) their resources well before the general election, and sucks for you and i, because we have to listen to a myriad of politicians cut each other down for month and months.

but early primary coverage may not suck for the opposition, Obama, as there are a lot of theories which suggest the more competitive the primary, the less likely the candidate emerging can win, given the insults and criticisms that have been thrown at the "winner" from his/her own party for months (run-on sentence). i think Obama would do well to ignore what is going on, and just be president.

but im not blogging to give advice to Obama (who is most definitely reading this blog). instead i thought i would just blog some of my thoughts about the current pack of republican candidate hopefuls, and maybe make a few predictions...

and here they are--some of them!! bachmann, romney, paul, huntsman, gingrich, perry, santorum, and cain.

the actual VOTING wont start until february and will run through june. but we all know the victorious candidate usually emerges well before june...

and so who is it going it be??

as ive blogged before, moderates dont win primary nominations.  well, i dont think there is a moderate in this whole bunch.  maybe huntsman. but he is a relative unknown... i suppose mitt would be considered moderate, given his tenure as the gov of liberal MA, "RomneyCare" and his former stances on abortion (pro choice). but FORMER is the key word. he is doing all he can to separate his current self from his old self. i have SOME sympathy for him.. he has been in politics since the 80s, its not improbably that he would change his stance in the interim. but FLIP FLOP is the worst label in politics.

since everyone is extremely conservative, im not entirely sure what else it can boil down to...  we hear all the time you vote for someone "you could see yourself having a beer with" and although while two of the candidates are mormon, i think it applies to this crowd.

for the most part we want to hang out with people that think the way we think, believe what we believe... and the "we" in this case is the Republican base, because the base is who turns out to vote in the primaries.

in that case, i think perry, although the arguable front-runner (along with mitt romney) is in trouble. although he has the hoke-y appeal that woos Republicans, he is a former Democrat, and is going to have a hard time disassociating himself with the HVP shot for young girls, executive order. Not only is it an intrusion on individual liberties, evidence now suggests the organization given the responsibility to provide the vaccine has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Perry's campaign.

i actually think bachmann probably has the most personal appeal, but lacks the perception of experience, and is a woman, which unfortunately does not work to her advantage--its not her fault--centuries of patriarchy, girl!! but you're helping break it down. if perry had never entered the race, i think she would still be a serious contender. but i think her and perry appeal to the same lot, and he seems to have won them over... for now.

romney probably has the best name recognition--this isnt his first rodeo. and name recognition is name recognition. so although a lot of the time romney's name is associated with negative adjectives, his name is still out there... and someone once said "there is no such thing as bad publicity." but paul has also ran for the nomination many many times before. what separates them, in my opinion, is that paul is a libertarian, and although some aspects of libertarianism appeal to Republicans, others do not. i also dont think he has the coffers full o cash that are necessary to run a successful campaign in 2011.

if romney gets the nomination, it would really break down a lot of theories that suggest the most ideological candidate wins... but probably pad theories that suggest its about money and resources. he has a lot of that ca$h money$

k, im pretty invested in this primary season, so ill keep watching and blogging... even though ultimately i see an obama white house in 2012.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

see ya, summer.

TODAY i go back to school (to teach, dont be ridiculous). this signals the official end to the best summer, yet.

bitter sweet, as they say? kind of just bitter, though, dummies.

remember this DBC song?

"hey, thanks. thanks for that summer." !

also, just a general "thanks" to anyone and everyone in my life who prevented me from making these kinds of videos for the internet.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

peanut butter buttons

so this recipe is the best peanut butter cookie recipe i have ever tasted. im blogging it so i never lose it, and also so you can try it out, too. !

1/2 cup of butter at room temperature (1 stick)
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1 1/4 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Granulated sugar for rolling
Hershey Kisses, or chocolate squares

Mix together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and peanut butter and stir well.

Mix in the flour and baking soda. Add the flour a bit at a time to make sure the dough doesn’t get too dried out. You should be able to roll the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands.

Roll the dough into about 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls, roll them in the granulated sugar, and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes.