Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 of 30: Getting Closer

"If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: 'He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.'"

- Epictetus

24 of 30: Our world, Our lives

Mass Media Professor: In the '60's, I was a bank teller. How many of you have actually interacted with a bank teller?

(sheepish raising of hands)

-Oh, almost half! Good!

23 of 30: Not quite going to make it to 30...

Now that school has started again, my ability to log on and post has more or less gone down the tubes. However, I'll try to get as far as I can in the next three days. I am sitting in my Mass Media and American Democracy class, listening to my professor describe the media as the "fourth branch" of government. This is not the first time that I have heard this speech--it brings me back to the days of AP Government and looking at similar PowerPoints in Eulau's class. In a way, my professor reminds me a little bit of Mrs. Eulau (not quite as fit, but just as excited about democracy in action).

However, the part of this that is more interesting is the fact that I heard this term "fourth branch of government" in one of my classes this week. Yesterday, I was told in my Environmental Law class that the fourth branch of government is not the media, but the governmental agencies that have executive power to enact statutes legislated by Congress. So, what is the 4th branch of government, the bureaucracy or the media? Do we have 5 branches of government? While I have heard this idea of media as a fourth branch more often than the bureaucracy, the latter seems more concrete as an idea. Perhaps my exposure is more a result of my interests up until this point rather than the actual popularity of one idea over another.

Are there 5 branches of government? Can you think of agencies as an extension and a media at the same time, or are they mutually exclusive?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

22 of 30: Questioning the randomness of life

What exactly is the science behind those people who write on your Facebook wall for your birthday? It sounds like a ridiculous question, but I the more I think about it, the more it seems to be completely random, and at the same time representative of the social system of my generation. There are certain social norms that you follow, and new ones that we are making up as we go along.

There are so many people that wished me a happy birthday on Facebook. Most of them I rarely talk to. At first I thought it was strange, but as the day progressed, and more and more people started writing on my wall, it began filling my bucket. Is this an indication of how many people in life I have had an effect on? Or is it simply an indication of who is glued to Facebook? I am inclined towards the former, though I know that my viewpoint might be a little skewed. I think of all those who I would want to wish a happy birthday, though, and it is a lot more than I would normally be able to before Facebook. It's not that I didn't care before, but through facebook, I can act on it without struggling to keep up with the hundreds of people that I have built up relationships with over the years.

Maybe I am too much of an optimist, but I think that Facebook is great. Maybe it is shallow, but it actually made me feel special on my birthday.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

21 of 30: Four Star Generals!

...and elementary school friends.

20 of 30: Back Home

And all I do is write about Washington...



and here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

19 of 30: The Inauguration of my Future

It's too late to give a full play-by-play of today's festivities, but let's just say that I was one of a crowd of 2 million today, and at a party with 4 star generals and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff tonight. Yes, yes we can.

Monday, January 19, 2009

18 of 30: What happens when...

What happens when I wake up with absolutely no expectations and just decide to go with the flow?

I end up selling Obama earrings to hoards of tourists in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. I also make new friends and she reconnect with old ones. And...surprise, surprise, I drink several Starbucks in one day.

17 of 30: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

The Old: I'm currently sitting at Starbucks, clicking away at my laptop over a soy misto.

The New: I am in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Borrowed: I found a free place to stay for inauguration! Diana's family is amazing.

The Blue: My favorite blue jacket, my Obama shirt, the beginning of a beautiful, Democratic executive branch.

I have no idea what the hell I am doing from here, or how much it is going to cost me to get a cab to Johnny's house from here, or what is in store for me over the next two days, all I know is I am about to find out. History, here I come.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

16 of 30: More snow!

I've been thinking a lot about the weather lately. It is difficult not to after a 70 degree shift in temperatures over the past few days. 14 degrees just hurts. However, as I was walking back to my dorm last night, in about 20 degrees, I was struck by how much comfort I get from the austerity of the current climate. I don't really mind 20 degrees more than I mind 80 with east winds. There is something calming about the cold--it allows you to bundle up and hide yourself underneath layers of clothing.

There is also the dangling hope of Spring. The great thing about winter is it is the precursor to spring. I have never been happier than I was at the first glimpse of spring last year.

Friday, January 16, 2009

15 of 30: A high of 15 today...

And this about sums it up (plus a shirt, maybe):

Thursday, January 15, 2009

14of 30: The View From Thursday: Claremont 41C

At 17 degrees, it snows. And I'd still rather be here than in east-windy Ventura.

13 of 30: Books?

I've been watching too much TV lately. And too much internet. I spend so much time on the internet for Spectator, then there is the endless questioning--I am constantly googling things. I need to stop. And read. Reading...I think I remember how to do that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

12 of 30: Stepping back into the groove

I walked off the plane into crisp 37 degree weather and all I could think was, "Thank God I got away from that damn wind." It is so much more pleasant here with snow on the ground than in Ventucky with dust in the air.

Monday, January 12, 2009

11 of 30: Liveblogging jury duty

Every person that I know has groaned when I have mentioned my jury duty today. Besides the fact that it is a blip in routine, I am not sure why. Sure, there are tons of people here, it's crowded and I am sitting on the floor, but what better way is there to really observe the underbelly of our political system. This is politics at its most base: the citizens that are fulfilling their civic duties, from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, with all different attitudes and ideas about being here. It is one of the most basic ways to be an American.

Perhaps quite obviously, I am not a huge fan of patriotism. I think a lot of it is unnecessary and frankly quite ignorant. I am not a flag-waver. But there is a difference between flag extravagance and actually performing service. I am not a military type. I just don't like the idea of killing people just because they happen to be born in a country whose leaders we cannot get along with. But this is a type of patriotic service that I can give. It is a small price to pay for the opportunity that I have been born with simply by virtue of being an American citizen by birth.

10 of 30: A day for 'cross

What is it with me and throwing myself into crap I've never done before on a bicycle just because someone tells me I should? That was the thought running through my head as I ran up a dirty hill in a vineyard in the middle of nowhere Arroyo Grande this morning with my bike slung over my shoulder. It turns out that 'cross is pretty fun, albeit much different than I expected. Perhaps I should have ridden off-road at least once before getting on the course. Maybe. But then again, I threw myself into it and I did okay. Now, I know that I like it, I need to practice it if I am ever going to do it again (probably), and I am pumped to start racing on the road. On the flats I was the most comfortable. I picked up time on every straightaway. It wasn't enough time to make up for all of the time that I lost getting off and on my bike, but it taught me a few things about where my strengths lie, and where I need to do some work.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

9 of 30: Food and lack thereof

I have an aversion to dairy. Me--cheese girl, ice cream girl, addicted-to-cafe-au-lait girl. Ugh. At the same time, eating it is also "ugh." I can't win. AND, I am not even cool enough to become a vegan. Poultry is making its last stand against my impending veganism. And honey, of course. So now I am relegated to chocolate sorbet and tacos with no cheese. Ah! the goat cheese! What is a self-rspecting foodie to do? Oh, wait, I forgot that I never really respected myself as a foodie. I refuse to eat fois gras, for chrissakes. I am a damn good poser, though. I think that has always been more of my forte anyway.

8 of 30: Behind a day

It's too beautiful outside for me to write. I've been through two tanks of gas in the last three days. Cross tomorrow!

Friday, January 9, 2009

7 of 30: Santa Barbara to Santa Monica

I've wasted almost an entire tank of gas today. While bad for the environment, the time spent was well worth it. Diana and I have hit the Santa Barbara Mission, State Street, Mexican food in Carp, Malibu, the Getty Villa, coffee in Santa Monica, and dinner in Westwood today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

6 of 30: At the Movies

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made me cry (in part because it was three hours long, and it was finally over!). Movies never make me cry. I did that wiping-of-the-eyes-pretending-you-have-an-itch-thing, but I don't think I was very discreet. In other news, Diana is here. I'm having a great time showing her suburbia.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

5 of 30: I'm getting regular

I am sitting in Peet's, with my soy Cafe au Lait, as I have forgone dairy after being inspired by Fe Bird. Before I was writing, I was enjoying Harry Potter à l'École des Sorciers, my favorite new way of keeping up with my French while I'm away on vacation. As I write this, I have switched to RFI, my other favorite way of keeping up with French while I'm in Ventuky. The news is always more fun when you only understand some of what the journalists are saying.

I can't say that I am going to be glad to leave this wonderful amount of personal space that I enjoy here in Ventucky. Emotionally, perhaps I will be glad to leave, but physically, it is nice to sit here in this coffee shop and actually have enough space to breathe, and have only a moderate noise level surrounding me. I can take up a whole table to myself without anyone giving me a dirty look. True enough, I could probably get about the same thing at Think or Aroma at the right time, but they are simply too far away. Of course, there is Starbucks, but the atmosphere there is just awful. I suppose that I should really frequent Hungarian more often...perhaps that should be one of my New Year's resolutions.

Peter and I canvassed W. Ventura yesterday and took pictures at key scenic spots. I'm excited to finally have some decent, recent pictures of myself to post on Facebook. Is it sad that this sort of thing excites me? Perhaps, but it is better than not getting excited about anything, I presume...

4 of 30: New Day, New Post

Not tons of change from yesterday. Here it goes again...

Monday, January 5, 2009

3 of 30: Social Anxiety

I can't seem to relax in the presence of other people. What is this about? I always feel like I need to leave, regardless of whether or not I actually have somewhere to go. Stef was pretty good at getting me to relax and go with the flow--I haven't really met anyone else who was able to do that yet. If I don't have a definite plan to be with someone from a certain time to another certain time, I tend to freak out. Why can't I just pick up and go with the flow? I seem to be able to do that fine when I'm with myself, but with other people I freeze. I'm not sure if it is a control factor or what, but add it to the list of things that are starting to scare me (slash, things that I am becoming more aware of).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2 of 30: An Ungrateful Morning

Oh Ventucky, how I wish I could get out of here. I've been asked several times in the last few days whether I was bored out of my mind, and could I not wait to get back to New York? Originally the answer was no, I am quite content to stay here and relax away from the winter and the hubbub of the city. Yet, either because of being a few days wiser, or perhaps because of all the questions, I am now fully ready to embark. Sitting around all day is nice, but I would rather be in the craziness of the city, which can envelop my thoughts and make me forget my worries.

It's difficult to lead a double life. Where did my friends go in this town? They have dispersed like the wind. Bad metaphor, but they have dispersed. I seem to do nothing here but ride my bike, which turns into a worry in itself. If it takes up so much of my time here, then how will I ever continue when I go back to school, to Spectator, and to life? How did I make it through first semester?

I'm a little overwhelmed by life right now. Part of me wants to hide in this little corner of my house, and the other part knows that I'll never face anything if I don't get out. Que drama.

Friday, January 2, 2009

1 of 30: Taking Stock

Why is writing so hard for me lately? It's a dilemma that I cannot seem to get a handle on. Every time I sit down to my computer, I feel the need to write a blog entry, but every time I get distracted and end up doing something else. No longer. I am determined to write something, even a little something, every time that I sit down to my computer (okay, well, at least once a day). 30 entries in 30 days. Can I do it? I think it's not that difficult. The more that I start spilling my emotions onto the page, the more I will pine for blogging every time I have an emotion--I just have to start the ball rolling.

Coming home seems to me to be a time for reflection, at time to take stock, and a time to reorganize my life. The inevitable emotional crises that I have been putting off in New York can now come to the forefront of my conscious and I can start to deal. It's time to dust off those things that I have compartmentalized and shoved to the back. I can't use life's ambition as an excuse to roll over the things that matter to me, no matter how shallow or "unimportant" I deem them to be. I avoid exposing the flaws that I know that I have simply because I know they are flaws. I should stop hiding things. It might just make me more personable.

Okay, that's my grand thought for the day. At least I have some goals for the start of the year. I should also learn to type better. And to spell.