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Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

On the dangers of Sporcle

In the past couple of weeks, my apartment mates, friends, and I have all gotten addicted to Sporcle.

What is this strange-to-pronounce name, you might ask? It is a dangerously addicting website where users can play “mentally stimulating” games on a number of topics, which range from the very specific (“Shakespeare Plays” to “LOTR Races”) to the extremely broad (“Countries of Africa,” or “Major Wars”). Each “game” is timed, and afterwards you can also see the statistics of “most missed” and pride yourself on the fact that you knew the answer to a question that 80% of Sporclers missed.

 

Sporcle.com: the worst diversion since Wikipedia.

 

 

One of my apartments and I share a passion for trivia–in fact, we’ve been trying to get our hands on a copy of Trivial Pursuit for over a year now. As you can imagine, this coupled with the “challenge” of the time limit had disastrous consequences. Apt 205 and friends stayed up once until 4 A.M. playing it, until the will to play was reined in by sheer physical limitations. We played on topics across the board–including “Original Pokemon” (extremely difficult because of spelling) to my personal favorite, “Opening Lines” under Literature. We’ve also brought Sporcle to large gatherings, playing Time’s 100 Best Television Shows with 15 other people.

Sporcle seems harmless enough, but what can start off as just one game can quickly spawn into a Sporcle marathon. Save yourselves–do NOT play if nearing midterms/giant papers or labs/finals. Dear reader, you have been forewarned.

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I’m in Boston/Cambridge area visiting a couple of friends for the weekend. This is very unusual for me since I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve traveled alone to visit people. I also usually don’t take “weekend getaways,” but Anna convinced me to come out this Columbus Day weekend.

The beginnings of autumn in New England.

The beginnings of autumn in New England.

I flew in last night — flight was enjoyable, my plane arrived more than thirty minutes early! Anna met me at the airport, and I got to take in a beautiful view of Boston/Cambridge while riding the T. I walked around a bit last night and had Herrell’s ice cream and a much-appreciated dinner with Bhavna.

This morning, I sat in on a Harvard Law School class on legislation and regulation. It’s Family Day at HLS, so I wasn’t the only visitor (maybe I should parade around as Anna’s sister?). The class was so interesting, and the students were very engaged. I think I’ll enjoy the atmosphere when I eventually enter law school. After that I met Eric L. for breakfast and a tour around campus. I met Anna after class for hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick –yum!

Anna's chai and warm rasberry tart -- perfect snack on a cold day.

Anna's chai and warm raspberry tart -- perfect snack for a cold day.

Harvard is so pretty. It almost feels like Disneyland because of all the bricked roads. I’m enjoying my trip so far, especially the leaves and the food. More later.

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Excuse the brevity — I’ve got “real work” to do and have already wasted enough time online. 😦

What’s been going on in life? A few notes:

  • Extremely busy with a club that serve as president for. I guess I didn’t realize the time commitment would be so great when I took on the role. I’ve been running around, making sure office hours are okay, double checking the happiness of interns, worrying about little things the other directors aren’t responsible for, etc. Welcome back to management life, I suppose
  • I’ve also been helping two clients for mentioned club last week. There are some really messed up landlords in Berkeley–and they can even be students! I’m glad somebody cares and can help
  • Recently succumbed to a Twitter account (for class)–but now I fear I might be addicted to finding pseudo-celebrities and chasing trending topics. Why, why, why??? What can possibly be said in 140 characters other than some narcissistic, unnecessary glimpse into one’s life? (But then again, what is a blog?)
  • Also recently discovered how great Thucydides is. That guy rocks! It’s like reading 300 in a book. Personal favorites: Mytilenian debate and Melian dialogue
  • Still cooking+blogging away at Foodie Friday
  • Caught up on a lot of TV the other day. Not a good sign
  • On another note, should cancel Netflix as soon as I am caught up on How I Met Your Mother and Entourage. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to think to really take advantage of Netflix

See you in ~2 weeks!

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…as you can tell. I’m not a regular blogger, just someone that blogs whenever I feel like I have something to say.

HOWEVER…my friends and I recently started a food blog, Foodie Friday, where I am a more regular poster. So far I have written two, one on a summer pasta and another on Elmo cupcakes. We have a lot of posts to retroactively put up — like actual Foodie Fridays — and other recipes, etc.

Bon appetit, and I’ll blog a “real post” sometime soon.

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Sometimes, I wish that I could put everything (work, clubs, etc.) aside and just study. Words cannot adequately describe the giddiness that comes over me when I accomplish a load of studying, or the feeling of excitement I get when I open a  textbook, take a deep whiff of “new book smell,” and dive in.

If there’s anything I have discovered during college, it’s that the world is painted in shades of grey. I’m confused now more than ever. Decisions that were once black and white are suddenly hard to make. How do you balance economic efficiency with dreams of equality? Safety and the right to privacy? Responsibility and forgiveness? I’m arguably still a romantic, but I have also been dared to examine a text or idea and draw my own conclusions. As a result, I have discovered that I am not the liberal I thought I was, and that I am increasingly hesitant to fire off criticism prior to considering multiple perspectives.

My favorite class this semester is a rhetoric course entitled “American Idiot: Anti-intellectual Discourse in Modern American Political Culture.” The class has prompted many questions of identity, all of which I have yet to find answers to. What does it mean to be truly American? Does it mean that you’re a greedy capitalist, a gun-toting fundamentalist, or a person unable to control your impulses and desires? Does it mean all three, or none of these? What does it mean to be authentic? Why do we celebrate the rugged, primitive self-made man?

Someone once told me that college isn’t supposed to teach you how to do things, but that it’s supposed to teach you how to think. In my experience, college has continually questioned my assumptions about the world. It has forced me to reexamine what I really believe in and why.

And I’m loving it.

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The Daily Cal is currently selling back copies of the November 5th edition for $2 each on Sproul.

The Daily Cal is currently selling back copies of the November 5th edition for $2 each on Sproul.

Do you want a piece of history? Yes, you do! I was walking down Sproul this morning when I passed by a Daily Cal table (a rare sight), where a girl was stationed to hawk the post-election issue of the paper for $2 a piece.

The Daily Cal is only the latest newspaper to charge a premium for the November 5th (post-election day) back issue. The Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Times are charging much higher rates for the November 5th paper, at $10 and $14.95 respectively. The Times online store has suffered from such heavy traffic that a click on “buy paper now” will occasionally bring up an error message with an apology promising, “Don’t worry, we still have an abundance of November 5th papers!” And those are the cheap ones…apparently there are issues of the Times going for over $200 on eBay. Luckily, the Daily Cal isn’t so vicious; you can find a complete PDF version on the web for free. Still, it’s a good thing I grabbed 3 copies yesterday…who knew they would one day have market value?

While I don’t think newspapers should be charging so much for back copies, I do see the no-brainer business sense behind it. You have a coveted item, so why not sell it for more than its face value? I just find it surprising/amusing that the trend trickled down to the the college newspaper level.

You hear that MVers? Go stack up on those El Estoques while you still can!

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At 11:40, I got back from what has got to be one of the most memorable moments of my life – an impromptu street celebration in the streets of Berkeley. Apparently this was just one of many street celebrations across the nation, but Berkeley still got its 15 seconds of fame on CNN and KGO.  What started as a grouping of about 100-150 students when I arrived at around 9:30 quickly ballooned into a thousand people (maybe even thousands?) by the time I left.

One word: amazing.

I can tell you that standing in the middle of the intersection at Durant and Telegraph was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It was absurd, enthralling, and chaotic, all at the same time; we’re lucky that no one got hurt (at least not yet), and that it wasn’t a full-on riot. You could see the elation in everyone’s faces and feel the excitement behind cheers of “Yes we can,” “Yes we did,” “Obama,” and “No more Bush.” Drivers honked while pedestrians responded with screams of “OBAMA!” People sang the national anthem, popped champagne, patted the sides of the buses (the 51 driver honked back), climbed onto street lamps, trees, and traffic lights. Anna carried me on her shoulders for a bit (then again, this was the girl that spun me around 19 times on my birthday, so I guess it’s no surprise). Some fireworks were even set off. I saw one student draped in an American flag; others were banging pots in rhythm to a saxophonist’s tune while people danced around them.

(Photo credit: Albert Lin)

Parth called it “our generation’s Free Speech Movement” (right before he said, “ONWARD TO PEOPLE’S PARK!” He didn’t end up going, though). Rohan and others have agreed that Obama is “our generation’s Kennedy.” I’m proud to say that I cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama in 2008, and I wish I could be in DC on January 20th to see him sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Someone donate a plane ticket and let me crash at their place, please?

One thing is for sure: history was made tonight, and we were a part of it. Congratulations, and here’s to the change that will come in the next four years.

P.S. Join the “I was in the Obama parade” facebook group if you haven’t already.

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