Monday, December 15, 2014

SNL did it!

I seriously relate to this sooooo much!

I was just home last month for thanksgiving, and will head home for christmas, soon. Whenever I go home my mom has a few of my favorite snacks (hummus, veggies, chex mix), and i head for the refrigerator almost immediately! Also, I fall asleep on the couch in the living room. Oh, and the neighbors/parents' friends always ask whats up. And I sometimes stay up late eating chips and cheese.

I am pretty lucky to be able to be such a "baller" when I go home for the holidays :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

alpha house

As if I needed another show about DC politics to watch (I did), I've just started watching a new one: Alpha House.

Alpha House is a political satire produced by Amazon.com and written by Gerry Trudeau (creator/author of the often political Doonesbury comic). Trudeau is famously critical of Republicans. I actually talk about one of his infamous comics in my book manuscript (more on that in the not-to-distant-future); he labeled George H. W. Bush as a wimp and said he "put his manhood in a trust" (WTF that means) by joining the Reagan ticket, so Trudeau's foray into politics did not start with Alpha House.

But in this interview published last week in the New York Times, Trudeau mentions that Alpha House is written to entertain audiences, and the decision to focus on the Republicans (the 4 main characters are Republican senators who share a DC house) is because the Republican narrative is just more interesting. Thus, he is not necessarily attempting to make any political statements, or mobilize any opposition, with this show.

I think Trudeau is meeting his goal--its wildly entertaining. I love it. As I mentioned, its about 4 Republican senators, sharing a house. The 4 senators are all really different, and definitely represent the variety of Republicans out there--which isnt *that* diverse, so you can do it with 4 characters ;) Oh, but the 4 main characters do not include a Tea Party Republican. If anything, the show's only political statement is sympathy to "old" Republican Party values and representatives, in the way the show endearingly portrays Republicans who reject the Tea Party ways. And the way the show portrays the ridiculousness of the Tea Party with one member legally murdering 3 people, and another carrying her handgun on capital hill.


The four main characters represent more moderate Republicanism. John Goodman plays a former basketball coach, current senator from North Carolina. Clark Johnson (I haven't ever seen him in anything before) plays a black Republican from PA. Mark Consuelos (Kelly Ripa's husband) plays a young newly elected latino Republican from Florida. And Matt Malloy a Mormon Senator from Nevada. There is also a reoccurring role for Haley Joel Osment (I see dead people) and Bill Murray! I just checked, you can get all that info from Wikipedia, ha. But I just wanted to talk about something I keep noticing in the show that is bugging me (but I'll keep watching obviously), and that is the portrayal of the Mormon senator from Nevada.

Mormons, and people who know Mormons, understand them to be pretty distinct. And even though its a Christian religion, there are a few things we do different. For example, one thing a lot of people tell me they notice as distinct about Mormons is the way we pray--we fold our arms. Others may claps their hands together, or interlock their fingers, but mormons fold their arms and bow their heads. This is actually something the show got right, and it was hilarious.
the UT senator and his wife saying a prayer
But what the writers got wrong about Mormon prayers is the way we open and close our prayers. Mormons begin with "Dear Heavenly Father" and close with "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Always. While the church doesn't have any verbatim prayers it relies on, the intro and conclusion are pretty standard. In the show, his wife says a prayer, and doesn't get that right. It really disappointed me!

Next, there is a scene where the Mormon senator is skyping with his daughter, who is in her dorm room at BYU. In the background is a Cross, obviously to  decorate the set to remind viewers that they are a religious family. But the Mormon church actually discourages displays of the cross/crucifix, out of respect, and as a means to direct focus on Christ's life. SO, another point they got wrong. In subsequent episodes I didn't see the cross, and instead they had a wooden sign displaying "Family, Faith, and Love" in cursive. That's more like it. 

Another mistake is where the Mormon senator's wife orders him his favorite drink, an ice tea with 3 Splenda. Another misstep!! Mormons don't drink iced tea. No way, no how. 

I guess the point of this post is to show that Alpha House needs to hire a Mormon writer, ha. So, if you know a writer for the show, give them my card. I'd be happy to serve as a Mormon consultant. Also, I have a PhD in political science, so I'm pretty much a twofer. Also, despite these lapses in script and set, if you like comedies about DC, you should check this one out. Its fannnnntastic. 



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Big Sky Country

I spent this past weekend visiting a really cool guy in a really cool state, MONTANA! It was my first time, which is a little ludicrous since i am from Idaho, which neighbors MT. Alas I waited three decades to come visit. Here are some photos from my adventures there with Kyle, the best host of them all. 

We hiked rattlesnake trail/canyon/notsureitstechnicalterm, went ice skating! And ate at some of the best spots I've ever eaten. My favorite was the cheese fondue from Red Bird. I hadn't had fondue in years. Decades without fondue is gunna change starting now; looking up fondue recipes as soon as I have time. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

cookie cookie cookie

tonight some of my good friends came by to help me with some finishing touches on my new place, so i made them these cookies, to say thanks. this is the mrs. field's choc. chip cookie recipe. they turn out perfect every single time. blogging the recipe here so i always have it on hand, and to convince you to try it to (despite the call for 1 lb. of butter haha).

1 lb. butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 eggs
6 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
4 cups sweet chocolate chips
2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350°F.Combine butter, brown sugar and sugar and beat 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla, eggs, flour, salt and soda. Stir until sticky. This cookie dough will be somewhat dry. Do not overmix, or the cookies will be tough. Add chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated oven.
NOTE: This recipe makes a large quantity, you may want to divide the amounts of the ingredients in half or else you can freeze a portion of the dough to use later (or can be refrigerated until the next day).


Monday, August 11, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

sum sum summer time

i'm teaching summer school, so my full freedom has not yet been realized for the summer, but so far its been pretty great.

there are a lot of political topics i want to blog about, but i just haven't gotten around to it. for now, here are some pics of my summer escapades.

baby shower for my former roommates, both due in July!


dodger game! sorry i'm such a good model.



Robyn at the Hollywood Bowl.
stupid girl behind us ruined this beautiful moment! 
4th of July in Huntington Beach with my best gals.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

TV

without exception, i present to you, the best 3 minutes of television of any time, ever. forever. the end. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Graduation

I look like I fell out of 16th century England. 


Cheers to all the 2014 grads!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Life dump

Last month I attended the western regional political science conference in Seattle where I presented a paper and served as a discussant and chair for a panel on media in politics. I had a great time even though it was a work conf.

The best part was when my very first graduate school advisor, Dr. Clawson showed up for my panel. I was SO happy. Even better was that I was presenting a research project I started in here class about 7 years ago. So either good research takes a LONG TIME, or I am terribly slow. I hope it's the former. Here is a picture of us afterwards, both so happy! She had such a big impact on my graduate career and what I do now. It was awesome to see her and tell her so.  

Lots of other good stuff happened too, like i went on a ferry boat and met some cool people. 

Next update, I went to the beach in San Clemente 2 weekends ago and saw all (minus 1) of my former Huntington Beach roommates. We planned this mini reunion and it was so great to see everyone. Three of my former roomies are pregnant. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It's crazy. But I'm so happy for them. Also, can you tell if any are pregnant from these photos? YOU CANt. Because all of these babes are too fit. Knock it off, right?

  
Finally, last weekend I was babysitting my friends puppy and got locked in her bathroom. The deadbolt for the bathroom broke and there was quite seriously no way to get out. Fortunately I had a friend over on the outside so I wasn't all alone. But we still had to call the (very good looking) Beverly Hills fire department to rescue me. 

Finally, here is a photo of myself, wesley and melissa, my LA church crew, modeling at church, a typical church activity for us. 



It's been a very busy month of April, I'm hoping May is much less exciting so I can get some work done.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

we bocced

last weekend my friend wesley organized some bocce ball at her neighborhood bocce park in the cool town of beverly hills.

i loved it! i was pretty good when the "jack" was at longer distances as opposed to close distances. so much fun. got me excited for summer.







Sunday, March 16, 2014

Palm Springs



At long last! My LAand Orange County friends decided to come my way for a weekend! Since moving to the inland empire I've been a li'l lonelier bc everyone I know in so cal tends to stick to the coastal areas. I don't blame them. And I visit as often as I can. But at the end of February a handful of my friends entered a triathlon in Palm Springs so we all decided to make a weekend out of it.

I for sure didn't run/swim/bike (in fact I was the only one to stay in bed while the others raced or watched/cheered ha!) but there was plenty of other stuff to do. Lots of hottubbing and board games and good food and catching up with old friends. Here's the proof :)


the house
the bae

the crew

Sunday, January 26, 2014

stop doing these things to our young girls



in doing some research today, i read this Forbes.com article that talks about ways our society is hurting our daughters, especially in terms of thwarting their ambitions, their confidence in themselves, and the potential to see themselves as leaders. here is the summary of the seven things we are doing that hurt our young girls.

First, we tell young girls to be quiet and polite; that old adage "girls are sugar and spice and everything nice" actually discourages young women to stand up for what they deserve. which is something i see everyday in the classroom--women are less likely to speak up, contribute to discussion, or raise questions. this severely limits the perspectives shared in class. i work hard to encourage girls to speak up in class, because i know they have something to say!

Second, we buy our daughters (and sons) gender specific toys. or, when we make the crossover, we usually opt for the alternative, but in pink, to maintain gender distinction. one of my favorites are these girl branded Nerf guns, called the "Rebelle" line. a "Dart Diva Bag"? its hilarious, but also sad. the Forbes article suggests that most "girl" toys are about appearance and beauty, while "boy" toys encourage activity and exploration. in that sense, the Rebelle Nerf products accomplish marketing "activity" (albeit violence) to girls, but the design still bugs me a bit.


Third, we narrowly compliment young girls on their appearance, instead of broadening our praise to include their intellectual, athletic, musical or other pursuits. this is an easy fix, and the article suggests matching every appearance compliment with a compliment about something non-appearance based.

Fourth, we over encourage our daughters interests in princesses! and princesses are not necessarily empowered. indeed, cinderella, sleeping beauty, jasmine, ariel etc etc are all in need of rescue by men. furthermore, they are hyper sexualized. seriously, wth is jasmine wearing? my mom would have never let me leave the house in a top like that! some of these princesses are less reliant on men, like the Tangled main character. Also, the proposed change in Merida (from Brave's) appearance from an athletic young girl to a more glammed up curvy women was met with huge outcry, and Disney dropped the proposal. this is a win for women and princesses everywhere!

Fifth, we give dad's all the physical tasks around the house. its no secret that children mimic what they see to an alarming degree. by giving dad's or the men in their lives all the physical tasks, it prevents our young girls from wanting to take on these sorts of challenges and pursuits. the article suggests splitting these tasks up, so our children don't see them as sex-specific tasks.

Sixth, we only let our daughters hang out with other girls. this can lead to self segregation of skills and styles, that may limit their development. my own friends with children don't seem to follow this one at all. instead, their kids hang out with their friends' kids, regardless of sex. good job friends :)

Last, we critique our own bodies, as women, or the bodies/physical appearances of other women, or talk about dieting etc. in front of our children. in my house as a child there was never ever a diet version of crackers or food in the house. in fact, i remember being at a friends when i was about 13 and trying reduced fat oreos for the first time. i spit it out (SO POLITE) and said, these taste old! that's how little exposure i had to the dieting culture. furthermore, my mom didn't buy fat-shaming magazines, and i wasn't even allowed to have those teen mags as a child. it wasn't until college that i became obsessed with the dangerous beauty culture. in other words, kids/adolescents will be exposed to this stuff, eventually. we might as well try and limit the exposure!!

in conclusion, im not a parent. I'm not even ever around small children. i hung out with young kids one time last year, at the beach, with my gal pals who are now mothers. so i am not claiming to be an expert. but as i mentioned, i see young girls in my classroom every day, and witness the obsession over appearance and body, which distract our young girls from other, higher, pursuits. so i wanted to share this article with my blog readers (all 6 of you). <3 comment-3--="" nbsp="">

Monday, January 6, 2014

holy cow its 2014 !

as I've now noted a few times, i LOVE a new year. i get that nothing really changes but the date, but i like to think of it as a fresh start. by the way, so does like the majority of the rest of the country, so i don't think i need to feel so bad or corny about this sentiment. 

for new years eve i snapped a pic of myself with the always enthused bowser, and then headed to la to get dinner with a few friends at A Frame. it was tasty. We then went to a small party and waited around for midnight. crazy night! not. but a fun one with close friends. 

he loves nye
A Frame crew

i didn't blog any resolutions for 2013, which is a big bummer! but in 2012 my main resolution was to practice being a better writer. i've had lots of opportunities to do so since that post and I'm happy to report Ive gotten a lot better in that department. in 2011 i just wanted to be better at teaching and also vacuum more? real ambition, meredith. and in 2010 i got real deep and resolved to try and help people in need of help. wow, 2010 meredith was way more selfless than 2014 mere.

This year is a going to be big one, for me! At least I hope. At this time last year I still wasn't sure whether or not I would have a job in the fall! I was still on the market, vying for a tenure track gig, and in the mean time adjuncting at four different places. I was living in Newport Beach, which obviously isn't the worst place to be waiting it out, but I was certainly not enjoying myself that much. Having now got a full-time gig i really like in the bag I get to focus on other things. I'm pretty pumped about it. 

First on the list is getting my book manuscript published. I'm working on a project that I started in 2007!! and then put off while I did a dissertation on a different topic. But now I am back at it, looking at how media portrayals of presidential candidates impacts gender representation in the US. its a big project, that's going to take a lot of time in terms of data collection and analysis, but it's number one on my list in terms of professional goals. 

my main personal goal is to go to Bikram yoga 3 times a week. I got a pass last week, and so far so good! i've been sweating out all my sweat, and feel really good as a result! the hardest part is just getting myself to the 90 minute class, in a 105 degree room… but like most difficult things, the pay off is pretty good. I used to go to classes just about everyday! look here at me in 2006! its not quite full camel pose, but it was getting close. also that t-shirt belonged to my former college roommate, so those aren't my pit stains. i feel the need to clarify that. currently, i won't attempt this pose because I am old and out of shape, right now. HA. 

a younger and more bendy me

this is full camel pose. can you image? i think its so radical. so maybe by 2015 i will be able to do it. that's a fun goal, no? 



my second personal goal is to not buy any new clothes FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. i have so much stuff that i never wear, so i'm going to practice restraint by not purchasing any new clothes, and try to wear out the stuff I've currently got. 

as I get older the years fly by much faster. so to start of my 2014 i want to remember some wise words from Ferris Bueller: