Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What happens?

What happens when Happiness’ knees buckle? What happens when Laughter’s smile fades? What happens when Optimism just wants to cry?

What happens?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Step It Up

Here is the link to a very fun, very snazzy, very cool movie we watched yesterday. Yes, it's full of hip-hop. Yes, it's full of "street" and rap-ish music. Yes, it combines ballet and breakdancing. Yes, it's a cross cultural dance movie. And yes, it rocks.

Very different. Very alive. Perfect for my feelings right now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Academic Purposes"

Frequency histogram.
Double-blind experiment.
Chebychev's Theory.
Pareto chart.
Stratified sampling techniques.
Relative and cumulative frequencies.
Hawthorne effect.
Randomized block design.
Qualitative data.

Shhh. I'm in the library and my computer time is supposed to be dedicated to "academic purposes." I've been studying for Tuesday's statistics test for the past 3 1/2 hours and my brain is finally starting to recognize and attach meaning to the flurry of definitions I've been bombarded with. It's exciting and I'm discovering a strange new love of math. Bizarre. I swore I would hate math until the day I died. But slowly, unconsciously, I think I'm falling for this dizzying dance of numbers and data and graphs and charts. It's addicting. Who knew?

On test day, my teacher is allowing us to bring one sheet of paper with whatever notes we'd like to refer to. Yay!! I have a gorgeous sheet now with beautiful mathematical scrawls all over it, color coded, of course. When I get home I'll try to take a picture of it so you can see. *beams* It's a statistical work of art. How nerdy.

Well, I should get off before one of the room monitors squelches my creative writing juices. Hmph. Writing is "academic" too... Oh well. I'm off to finish homework. Pick Sara up from her Algebra class in 45 minutes. Take her and Blanca to the gym. Head of to work where I close the shop again. Get home around 10:20ish and work on a 5-page essay. Photography homework will have to wait 'till tomorrow (shutter-speed experimentation and panning on the agenda. Whoo-hoo!). It's an exciting time; being a student. It's meant well-past-midnight homework sessions, dragging myself out of bed at 5:45am so I could get to school on time, living off of protein bars, bottled water, baby carrots and ice-cream, and making nerdy math and poli-sci flashcards...but I love it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Matthew 25

"Matthew twenty-five," said [Dr.] Farmer. "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." He went on, paraphrasing, "When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you took me in. When I was naked, you gave me clothes. When I was sick, when I was in prison, you visited me. Then it says, in as much as you did it not, you're screwed." He smiled...

"When I was sick, when I was in prison, when I needed clothes, you gave me, et cetera. We got those covered." He went on, "One thing that comes back to me...if I saved one patient in my whole life, that wouldn't be too bad. What did you do with your life? I saved Michela, got a guy out of jail. So I'm lucky. To have a chance to save a zillion of them? I dig that."

Dr. Paul Farmer, the doctor who would cure the world.
The book Mountains Beyond Mountains (which I just finished) is a fantastic chronicle of his story, his struggles, but more importantly, his little victories that are saving the patient at a time. Read it. It's good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Escape to The City

My alarm went off at 5:15 this morning; certainly an ungodly hour of the morning, but today I was up and out of bed in an (very) unusually short amount of time. An hour and a half later, after packing lunches, grabbing camera batteries, picking up a friend and plugging the ipod into the stereo - the four of us girls were off to The City. Trick was, each of us had only $20 to spend. It was a grand and exciting game of how-to-have-the-most-fun-and-spend-the-least-amount-of-money...and I think we pulled it off pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.

We rode the BART from Richmond to the Embarcadero and tromped around Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 for a couple hours. We watched beat-boxing mimes, artists, desperate bums begging for more beer money (they admitted to it!), European tourists and hundreds of hungry seagulls fighting over leftover clam chowder bowls. As we ate our lunch we sat next to a small group of steel-drum players and listened to their Caribbean reggae sweetly resounding over the cry of the gulls and the tugboat horns. Steel-drum music is probably one of the happiest sounds I know, and when one is happily munching on a PB&J in the middle of's magical.

After lunch, we walked down Grant, through Little Italy and Chinatown and past many quiet, beautiful houses and side-streets. The handiwork of man constantly amazes me...really, it does. We passed fascinating sculptures, colorful houses, artistic PIPES, and after winding through the noisy, colorful, crowded Chinatown, we emerged at the more peaceful Union Square. Right in the heart of downtown SF, Union Square has this mysterious sense of excitement. And that's not even the right word. It's like this feeling that, if you only looked in the right corner, if you only stood still long enough, if you only managed to find the right place to focus, you're bound to find something incredible. You just want to hold your breath and wait for something tantalizing to happen.

Well, we discovered the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (a.k.a. SFMOMA). An intriguing, 4-story building containing all sorts of artwork; from the bizarre to creative to strange to....well, modern art. It was fascinating and I discovered modern art isn't as "dumb" as I had thought. Sure, there were a couple "unique" pieces of artwork that consisted of a plain white canvas with a black dot in the corner...or a lump of twisted wire...or a pile of garbage labeled "The Untitled Opus", but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting modern art really is. I guess I let some preconceived ideas taint my opinion of modern art - and I am glad to say, I'd love to go back!

After walking about 7.5 miles all around The City, we were sore, sunburned, blistered, and exhausted, so we hopped back on the BART, found our car again, and drove to Fairfield for some In-N-Out and McDonalds. After such a spontaneous and adventurous day, however, we felt it was quite unacceptable to eat our "gourmet" dinner in a fast-food joint, so we decided to hunt down a park where we could have a good and proper picnic. Lo and behold, however...parks are quite scant in Fairfield! So, after a while of driving around and exploring yet *another* city...I suddenly pulled over on the side of the road, we hopped out and claimed a large patch of grass in front of a gated community (right below the sign on the street corner that reads "Goldenwood Court" or "Wealthy Commons", or something like know what I'm talking about?), spread our burgers and salads and milkshakes on the cool grass and enjoyed ourselves quite immensly.
Driving home on I-80, the moon was incredibly big and dazzling, so once again, I decided to suddenly pull over on one of the side streets and admire the beautiful orb dangling right over downtown Sacramento. It was the perfect ending to a very happy and refreshing day.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Sound of Silence

"Fool said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells
Of silence.

No-one dared disturb
The sound of silence."
-Simon and Garfunkle