Sunday, June 20, 2010

News Story Sunday: Her Death Gave A Face To A Revolution

***I usually stay on top of current events and news stories, especially when it comes to American politics. This blog post is to discuss the story I found the most interesting the last week. Enjoy!***

So, I've been MIA for quite a while, I know. Between travelling to South Carolina for my cousin's graduation, travelling to St. Louis to visit my friends from college, and applying for jobs and doing family stuff in between, it's been a very busy June. But hopefully now that I'll be staying in Chicago for a while, I'll be able to get back to it.

Today's post is a new feature I've been thinking about doing for weeks. The only thing that has stopped me is not actually getting around to posting on a Sunday. But finally, I'm doing it. There are a lot of interesting things going on right now to talk about. The question is what to talk about. I could go super obvious and talk about the BP oil spill. I could go sports and talk about soccer, hockey, or golf. I could go emotional and talk about the puff pieces in the news in honor of Father's Day. What shall I do? I just don't know.

I'm going to hop over to and see what strikes my fancy. I've found it! Americans have such short memories. I'd like to talk about a story that happened a year ago but whose effects are still felt. And no, I don't mean the death of Michael Jackson. I mean the death of Neda Agha-Soltan.

In Iran, there was civil unrest after Iran's bogus election. They tried to make sure the protesters stopped protesting. According to CNN, the protest has just gone underground, which today means online. They are getting help from around the world. Tech-activists are getting them online when the Iranian government tries to stop access. This allows Iranian protesters to convene on websites and chatrooms set up expressly for the purpose of subverting the government and planning a way out of their current situation.

The last line of the article reads, "One year after Agha-Soltan's death, Iranian officials have yet to announce a single arrest in connection with her killing."

It's said when the government cares more about their stranglehold on power than the people they are put in place to serve. But we have not forgotten Neda and we are still supporting those who want a better Iran. I don't want my ideal of democracy forced upon them. I just want them to live in a country where they won't get shot in the chest for standing up against an unfair election.

If you haven't seen the video yet, watch it. Google her and learn about the fight the Iranians still face as they march toward a government that works for them, as opposed to oppresses them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins: #180

Thursday, June 10, 2010

#180 we go!

1. Knowing the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup feels great!!!!!!

2. The solution is easier to discover than to implement.

3. Alcohol never makes me fall asleep.

4. How about those Cub fans? They seriously never care if the Cubs don't win a baseball game.

5. Embracing life is something I highly recommend!

6. Imagine a perfect world in which you have everything you always wanted. Would you be happier than you are right now?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing, tomorrow my plans include taking a trip to Rockford and Sunday, I want to pack for my trip to St. Louis!

Friends & Family Fridays: My Father Breaks Things... A Lot

***So this is Friends & Family Friday!! This is my day to talk more about my friends and family (aside from sharing waaay too much about their love lives on my other blog, lol). My friends and family are lovely people, that much I know for sure. Have fun getting to know them through my eyes.***

This week's post is about my daddy. If you know and watched The Cosby Show, you have a pretty basic idea of how my family is. Fewer children, but the same basic family vibe. I think I'm a cross between all their girls, except Denise, and my brother is definitely Theo. My dad has some Cliff Huxtable-like qualities.

Thankfully, he doesn't wear those God-awful sweaters. But he does have a DIY spirit that can sometimes go awry. The latest example would be our backyard project. We're working on re-doing the whole backyard... by ourselves. It's very hard work, and the whole thing feels two steps forward one step back sometimes. But at least he's staying away from the doorbell, lol. My dad is also generally fantastic with technology. Every VCR is programmed, every laptop updated with the latest software. His favorite toy store is Best Buy.

Lately, he's had a string of bad luck with his DIY and tech loves. The wheelbarrow that we so desperately need for the yard work has a flat tire. I didn't even know wheelbarrows could get flat tires! His cell phone is broken. When we were in South Carolina, he and I were hanging out by the beach. He had my mother's digital camera and managed to take lots of pictures of my cousin and I playing in the water. He was at the water's edge and the waves came above his waist at times. But he managed not to do any damage to my mother's camera. After we went to lay down on our beach towels, he realized his cell phone was in his pocket. The screen had a pretty rainbow under the glass. It hasn't turned on since.

He also broke his glasses. And the particular pair he purchased were from a boutique glasses store; it was the only place near his job authorized by his insurance. The piece that broke is apparently super defective because it's on back order until August, two days after the BP spill will be fully capped without leaking. I'm wondering if he broke a mirror recently or something.

But, my daddy is a trooper. He put his name on the eyeglass waiting list. He's picking out a new phone today. He has a blackberry, I don't know how he managed to do the one thing that will break them besides throwing them out a third floor window. I don't know if he'll get another one or not, but I hope so. With his luck, anything less than that brick that is a blackberry will certainly get broken.

So, that's my dad. Cliff Huxtable, with better jokes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

TMI Thursday: My Date To A Wedding Was A Little Too Well Known

***Alright, folks, you know the rules. Join us all in humiliating the crap out of yourself every Thursday by sharing some completely tasteless, wholly unclassy, “how many readers can I estrange THIS week??” TMI story about your life. Or hell, about someone else’s!***

This week's TMI is about my friend's bachelorette party. I wrote about it back in March, but I didn't tell this one story. The first part of the party was at a hotel. It was at Embassy Suites. Anyone who has stayed there knows they have a happy hour that is not to be missed.

We were all sitting and enjoying drinks and talking. One of the subjects that comes up is the brides exes. The women in attendance were a combo of undergrad and grad school friends, so the undergrad friends had to fill us grad friends in on the exes. We only know of the groom. One story that came up was this guy who wasn't actually an ex, but who tried to "seduce" the bride (we'll call her Angela) simply because his friend was dating her friend.

They all start laughing and begin sharing stories about this friend, who they had to cut loose because she was a bit... promiscuous. Angela tells the whole story of how she had to set seducing guy straight that she wasn't like her friend and wasn't going to sleep with him just because they were both sitting there. He told her she wasn't going to leave her friend there in the bedroom, that would be rude. He started doing a strip show for her. She quickly weighed the variable and then decided her friend, who was back in the bedroom with a guy, could handle herself. She left the seducing guy, half naked, in his living room. He was of course pissed, but what could he do.

The rest of the women at the bachelorette party laughed in remembrance of that story. Then they tried to remember who the promiscuous friend was in the bedroom with. Suddenly, they remembered. The guy they named was a guy I know. He was in fact my plus one for Angela's wedding that was two weeks later!!!

I didn't know whether to bring it up then or not. Angela didn't let everyone bring a plus one because she was on a tight budget, so I didn't mention to anyone that I was bringing a guy, let alone a guy they all went to college with. I was slightly embarrassed to see that their opinion of him was one step above a girl they all decided to un-friend. But I was amused to see the looks on their faces at the wedding when they realized he was there with me. I also felt a bit better because it wasn't a serious date or anything. He was just my plus one for the evening. But I do know that I will play 20 questions and six degrees of separation a little better next time, lol.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In My 20s Tuesday + Post-It Notes: The New Types of Families Aren't Readily Accepted By Some Elders

***In My 20s Tuesday is all about things that should matter (maybe) to someone in their 20s. It's about life as we head into real adulthood. It's about laying the groundwork for a life: starting a career, setting up a home, starting a life with someone, etc. It's about things that will affect our lives down the road: politics, current events, pop culture, etc. Well, it's not about all those things at once (that'd be near impossible, lol). But hopefully it will reach someone in their 20s who's looking for someone to feel them and what they're going through.***

This post came to me through a discussion I had with my grandfather over the weekend. I was with my parents, my paternal aunt and cousin, and my paternal grandfather down in South Carolina for my cousin's graduation from high school. It was a lovely experience and we got to spend a lot of time with our each other. We were all grateful for that time since we're spread out between Chicago, Myrtle Beach, and Washington, D.C.

One evening, we went to dinner at Ruth's Chris. That is definitely one of my favorite places to eat. They have a New York Strip Steak with a bleu cheese crust that is my absolute favorite steak on the planet (so far). But I digress.

At dinner, my grandfather and I got into a discussion. I won't go into details because it will make him sound incredibly bigoted (which he might be) and incredibly ignorant (which I'd like to blame on his age and reclusiveness). But he was speaking of his desire to have great-grand children. I told him that with my brother getting married next summer and me seeing someone with a child, he might get his wish sooner than later.

He first expressed his doubt that my brother would actually get married. He felt that such a long engagement didn't bode well for actually ending up married. We had to explain to him that people more likely are engaged for a year plus these days because it takes that long to plan a nice wedding. And my brother's wedding will likely be huge. I'm talking at least 600 people, so having a 18 month engagement is smart for planning and finances.
Then he turned on PT's daughter. He expressed that she would not count as his great-grand-daughter because she's not blood. I was incredibly shocked and didn't know immediately how to react. Then I told him he was going to be sorely disappointed because I also intend on adopting. So if I end up with PT, at least half our kids wouldn't be "blood relatives" of his. My mother, father, aunt, and cousin all told him he'd be the only one who wouldn't readily accept the little girl into the family and he ought to be ashamed. He said he preferred a more traditional family and I told him he shouldn't be surprised that I will not let him near any of my children.

Whether or not I end up with PT is a while from being decided, but I'm so glad I brought it up because I now know how he truly feels about such things. With or without PT, I intend to adopt. It'd certainly be an easier thing to make happen because he's already into the idea of adoption. His brother is adopted. But now that I know my future adopted children will be treated worse than those I give birth to by my grandfather, I know better than to try and have them develop a relationship with them. He's in his mid-80s and I don't know if he'll even be around long enough to wonder why he's not allowed around my children. But I do know that the thought of worrying about a complex he may give my future children gives me pause.

I know that older people are stuck in their ways, but damn! With all the blended families out there, I wonder how difficult it becomes for people who have to deal with other family members who believe in a more traditional family. It's disheartening and a couple of other things I'll not write because it's too disrespectful.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Science & Medicine Monday: TV Dinners (And Breakfasts & Lunches) Are Very Bad For You

***This blog post is dedicated to Science & Medicine. That may include important medical and/or scientific knowledge and developments. It may just be about my life on the path to becoming a research scientist. Whatever it entails, I hope it's not too dull, lol. If you have any medical questions or suggestions of what to write about, let me know and I'll do it in an upcoming Science & Medicine Monday posting!***

First let me say that I'm sorry I haven't posted in a number of days, but I was gone to South Carolina for my younger cousin's graduation from high school. It was an exciting time. I covered it (very briefly) on my travel journal. You can see that webpage here.

Today's post is about an article I read on the New York Times website. I like to check out their science and health pages occasionally, and this article really got me. I am such a sucker for effective marketing. I have always known this about myself. But I never thought about the effect lovely commercials were having on my diet.

I've recently changed my eating habits pretty drastically. I decided that if I were to have a flat stomach, I would be such a hot commodity because hardly anyone has a flat stomach anymore. It's a two part plan. Step 1: do at least 100 sit ups/crunches each day. Step 2: Stop eating so many damn carbs! I have a love affair with all things carb-y and gluten-y and generally flour-y. Yeah, I'm looking at you Krispy Kreme. So, I've recently cut way down. Even though I dream about Cinnabuns dancing around me tauntingly, it's not so bad in the waking hours. And because I'm in my 20s and still have a roaring metabolism, it's already made a big difference. As long as my boobs, butt, and hips don't get smaller, I'll keep this up. For some reason, I feel like I have more energy now, how weird is that? I suppose my body has concentrated on breaking down all those stored carbs and starches, etc. so now there is just extra energy floating about.

If Americans ate only foods advertised on TV, a new report says, they would consume 25 times the recommended amount of sugar and 20 times the amount of fat they need, but less than half the dairy, fiber and fruits and vegetables.
That's a direct quote from the article. How scary is that? Do your eating habits reflect your TV watching habits? If so, you should try and focus just on the E-Trade baby. That is, unless you're both a compulsive gambler and a DIY-er.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In My 20s Tuesday + Post-It Notes: Are You Really A Grown-Up?

***In My 20s Tuesday is all about things that should matter (maybe) to someone in their 20s. It's about life as we head into real adulthood. It's about laying the groundwork for a life: starting a career, setting up a home, starting a life with someone, etc. It's about things that will affect our lives down the road: politics, current events, pop culture, etc. Well, it's not about all those things at once (that'd be near impossible, lol). But hopefully it will reach someone in their 20s who's looking for someone to feel them and what they're going through.***

I came across a very interesting article on CNN today. It was posted yesterday. It's an article entitled Are You Really A Grown-Up? I had to take a close look at this article and its 10 things you have to do to be a grown-up. Let's see how I measure up.

• Face life's challenges head-on.
I would like to think I do this. I've dealt with the death of my boyfriend. I've dealt with up-rooting my life for a reason hardly anyone else thought was good enough. I (so far) can't imagine backing down from a life-sized challenge.

• Make peace with your body.
I have accepted that I am 5'0". I have accepted that I have fat cheeks. I have accepted that aside from a boost from birth control pills, my breasts aren't going to get larger. Aside from that, I refuse to accept the recent weight gain and therefore am eating better and working out more to fix it. But that's not a crash diet, that is a lifestyle change. I will be such a hot commodity because hardly anyone has a flat stomach anymore.

• Take responsibility for your heart.
I don't think I can claim to have this one taken care of. I often ignore my heart. I guess I just don't trust it to make wise decisions. I've so often regretted the choices I've made based on emotions. I think taking responsibility for your heart means being cognizant of decisions of the heart and accepting all consequences like a grown-up. Yeah... I'm still working on this one.

• Build a meaningful career.
Now that I've sorted out what exactly it is I intend to do with my life, there is much planning and organizing to be done. This one is definitely a work in progress. But I've got the meaningful part down. I just need to get the career part in order. Lord, I need a job!

• Learn how to handle the tough times.
I tend to withdraw into myself when times are tough since I feel I can handle it best alone. I think if I were really doing the grown-up thing, I would learn how to let others help me handle things. This is specific to me, not everyone. I like to have people around and involved in my life, except I shut them out of whatever part isn't going well. If I'm going to be a people person, I think I'd do better to be like that even when I'm not at my cheery best.

• Face your anxieties.
Eh, I sometimes face my anxieties. For instance, bringing up conflict makes me nervous. When someone else brings it up or starts it, I'm all over it. But starting it myself makes me anxious and nervous. I still haven't decided whether or not that's a good thing.

• Take ownership of your finances.
Having a source of income would make this one easier. I do have a pretty good idea of what my working budget would be based on the type of job I want and the type of apartment I want to live in. But that's not the same as actually doing it. I suppose I can claim some ownership since I've already worked out how I'm going to begin to repay my student loans. I only wish I were financially independent. That will come in time, I suppose.

• Master the use of your time.
Nope, never been good at this. I will get lost in a book or in a mall or at a beach and lose my entire day. I tend to work better with strict deadlines. Without them, I work on laissez-faire time, lol. I still get everything done, but I've never felt that I make the most of my times. I wonder if I could change that about myself, would I actually feel more grown-up, or just more stuffy? I suppose it'd be a good skill to learn before I have to balance career, hobbies, family, etc. It would be nice to have good time management when I don't have much to manage.

• Practice dynamic communication.
Listen and respond. Listen and respond. Hitch had it correct when he told his clients to do this. In order to be a good communicator you have to talk and listen. You also have to understand that communication is not just what you say, but how you mean it and how the other person takes it. Without paying attention to all these parts, communication falls apart. Yep, I think I've got this one covered, but like some others, it's still a work in progress to constantly improve my communication skills.

• Find the right level of flexibility.
I think I may be too flexible. But it's usually easier for me to be flexible more so than others. I have the least responsibilities and the most free time. I'd like to think that others would be flexible for me if the situation were reversed. I'm going to say yes for this one.

I think I have about 6 1/2 of these. Not bad. I'm 65% adult, lol. I could be better. How do you measure up?

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