Friday, October 30, 2009

T Minus 364 days...

DJC and I will be married exactly one year from yesterday. We were a bit concerned with how the weather might be so late into October, but if yesterday's weather is any indication, we've got nothing to worry about. It was gorgeous. Warm, sunny, lovely. Perfect for our outdoor ceremony. It's all so exciting.

Speaking of exciting, I recently went for my first wedding dress appointment. My mother and my sister came with me, which was good because I was a little freaked out. I am not a size 6...hell, I'm not even a size 10, and I was a pretty worried that I would have a difficult time finding a dress that fit. I'm VERY broad through the shoulders, chest and back and I knew that these features would present some issues when trying things on. And I wasn't wrong. Basically, I will have to find a dress that fits my upper body and tailor the ever-living hell out of it to fit my hips and waist. As Evelyn, my consultant, said in her heavy Russian accent, "You are all boobs. No butt. All boobs". Yep. That pretty much sums it up. Needless to say, a strapless dress wasn't going to work. Straps were needed...and quickly.

However, despite all of the challenges, I did manage to find four dresses that I am in love with. Unfortunately, the salon I went to last week didn't have five out of the six dresses I found on their website and wanted to try on. Luckily for me, though, my friend MC's adorable wife is THRILLED about helping me find a dress and has offered to join me for an appointment at a salon in the South Bay (secretly, I think she's just thrilled that MC has a female friend). They carry the same designers as the previous salon, so perhaps I will have more luck finding the remaining 5 dresses that I want to try on. I honestly can't make a decision until I can try those last ones on. But my goodness, this whole thing is overwhelming! And despite my worries, it was also a lot of fun. My mother and sister were very honest, but not brutal. I can't wait to go through the whole process again with JAC.

My parents are moving to Florida in about two weeks, so I am doing my best to do as much wedding-related stuff with my mom as I can before she departs. I can't believe I'm going to have to do the bulk of the wedding planning without her here...but plenty of people do things all by themselves, so I shouldn't whine too much. But still, it'd be nice to have my mom here. Oh well.

This whole wedding thing is crazy and fun and totally daunting. But I'm starting to enjoy it...finally. =)

Monday, October 26, 2009

An open letter to Bay Area radio stations

Dear Live 105, 104.5 KFOG, and 106.1 KMEL,

Due to some sort of electrical glitch in my car stereo, yours are the only radio stations I am able to listen to. Hence, I've heard every song you all seem to play in an hour long rotation every time I drive to or from classes. I've had it with the repetition and the lack of playlist imagination. I'm prepared to bail on you once and for all if my demands are not met. Here's what I want:

*Live 105: Please do not play the following Sublime songs ever again: "Santeria", "What I Got", "Caress me Down", Wrong Way" or "Doin' Time" ever again. The last song in that list is especially out of place seeing as that its now almost November and clearly not summer time when the livin's easy. I mean, c'mon...Sublime was a most excellent band and they had WAY better tunes that these. Finding a few shouldn't be all that difficult, if you actually tried...or cared.

*And while you're at it, Guns N' Roses and Metallica DO NOT belong on the same station as Death Cab for Cutie, The Cure and Weezer. Seriously, pick one genre and stick with it! Are you an alternative station that plays cutting edge modern rock or a station that will mix in the redneck stuff just for variety?

*KFOG, this one's for you, but not exclusively because Live 105 is guilty as well...PLEASE, for the love of decent music, can ya'll retire the Bob Marley songs already? You may ask yourself, has anyone made ANY respectable reggae since Bob Marley? The answer is probably, however you all seem to think that Bob is the end-all be-all of this annoying genre of music and play the same five songs over and over and over. Again, Bob had quite an extensive repertoire...dig a little and give "Three Little Birds" and "Buffalo Soldier" a freaking rest! Oh and Live 105, you can also retire Damien Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock". If I hear the lyrics "Out in the street/they call it murrrrrrrrrrrder" one more time, I might lose it.

*A number of artists have covered Bob Marley songs over the years. One that comes to mind is Annie Lennox, who did a lovely cover of "Waiting in Vain". It really doesn't sound a whole lot like the original because Miss Lennox was smart enough to cut the reggae beat out of it. Perhaps this is why I enjoy this song so much. Anyways, there's a ton of stuff like this out there. Look, mmmmkay.

*Alright KMEL, you're up. As the best choice for hip hop and R&B in the Bay Area, I PLEAD with you never to play "LOL Smiley Face" by Trey Songz again. The lyrics are astoundingly asinine: "Shorty sent a TwitPic/Said come get this/L-O-L smiley face, L-O-L smiley face". The first time I heard this song I had to wonder whose fucking idea was it to actually produce this piece of shit? I can't believe someone at Atlantic Records didn't slap Trey Songz upside his fool head when he pitched this idea to them. Its quite literally the LAMEST song I have ever heard. The previous owner of this title: "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. I didn't think it could get worse than that...but I should know better. It can always get worse. Fuck me.

* And while we're talking about crap, what exactly is an "Ice cream paint job" anyways? God, has hip hop really been reduced to this kind of suckage!? Can't you all just replay some old Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul? Somewhere, Tupac and Biggie are rolling over in their graves.

* Overall, all of you, PLEASE try to expand your playlists. There was a time where I was in the car between 5 and 5:30pm daily. I knew that I could hear "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters on Live 105, "Jackie and Diane" (Really!?! How is this still on the air?!) on KFOG and "Here I Am" by Rick Ross on KMEL. EVERY DAY. The same songs at the same time. It went on like this for about a month. The complete lack of interest in actually playing something different or effort on the part of the "DJs" was not lost on me. There's SO much music out there in your respective genres. Please try to broaden your horizons and play something not so common and sucky and expected. Or else.


The Enforcer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sometimes, my commute doesn't suck all that much

I was on my way home from class today, angry that I could have gotten an extra nine points on my most recent exam had I only given my answers in the correct units (damn it!), when it started to rain. "Big whoop," I thought. It had been raining all day. At times, the ferocity of the downpour was such that seeing through the windshield became difficult.

But on the way home, the sun broke through the thick grayness while the rain came down steadily creating a gorgeous full rainbow. Luckily, I glanced over, smiled, and then immediately grabbed my camera. Note that I took the pic through my window which was covered in rain drops. If you look closely, the beginning of a second rainbow is there, too. Pretty cool. It definitely snapped me out of my angry funk. Suddenly, sitting in traffic wasn't so bad.

Good thing I always carry my camera with me...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The carnage

The Bay Area experienced its first good storm of the season today. It was a doozie, for sure. This picture was taken right down the street from my house. Even though it blocked nearly four lanes of traffic, the huge tree thankfully missed all the power lines and more importantly, the Comcast lines.

You see, I seem to have picked up a nasty little cold and all I wanted to do after physiology lab was curl up under a blanket and spend some quality time with the DVR. When I saw the tree, I panicked a tad. But all was well with the cable. Wish all was well with me...

See you all soon. *sniffle...sneeze*

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Early lessons learned...

After a little searching, a lot of worry and a metric F*CKTON of stress, DJC and I have booked a venue and set a date for our wedding. Believe me when I say that this was no easy feat. And its a HUGE relief to have that very large hurdle taken care of. I've honestly never been so stressed out by something in my life...not by midterms and finals, certification exams, car accidents, money issues, parental sicknesses, etc. When faced with the task of finding the perfect venue that would allow for the things that DJC and I want, I quite literally became sick to my stomach. More than once, I verbally said that I didn't want to do all this...I wanted very much to marry DJC, but I became nauseated at the thought of planning it all out. City Hall would have worked just fine. Everyone kept telling me how much fun I should be having, but I just felt ill and overwhelmed.

Single ladies, take note: No matter where you are in your relationship, its never to early to start thinking about what your ideal wedding would be like. I think part of my problem stemmed from the fact that I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted in terms of a venue, or anything else for that matter. It should be easy, right? Girls think about this type of thing all the time. I know some ladies who have every single detail planned, and they're not even in a relationship. For them, I can imagine that settling on a venue, caterer, dress, etc, would be a breeze. But for me, someone who thought she'd never be getting married EVER, I haven't actually spent any time thinking about what I wanted. And thus, choosing a venue became a huge stress for me.

I haven't started shopping for a dress yet, but again, I find myself in the same boat. I have no clear idea what I want. The only thing I do know is that my dress will not be white, ivory, cream, eggshell, or anything resembling those colors. But as far as silhouette goes, I'm totally clueless. I faithfully watch TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress", but all of those dresses are so over the top and *totally* out of my price range. The only thing I've seen on that show that I really dig is this, and talk about over the top...sheesh! Perhaps I should start looking at dresses, or at least start thinking about how I would like to look on the big day...

The take home message here is that its always better to have a game plan when taking on a new endeavor. I had no idea what I was up against with this whole wedding thing and I'm just starting out! I know it should be fun, and I'm sure it will be at some point. But for right now, I'm just going to enjoy the relaxation that comes from knowing that we've got a venue and a date locked up. Onward...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Monkey see...

Major dork-out warning. Read on if you want to get your nerd on...

When I registered for physiology this semester I thought to myself, "How much could have changed from when I took it during my undergrad days?". BTW, that was in the late 90s. The answer is, of course, LOTS. Some of the things that happen within the human body remain largely a mystery with new discoveries being made all the time. Naturally, there's plenty that I didn't learn back in the day.

During the neurological unit, the professor presented a short video about mirror neurons which was especially interesting for those of us in the class who play sports or dance. The basic idea is that the more athletic ability you have, the more you enjoy watching sports and the more you emotionally invested you get. Watching the sporting activity or dance produces the same neurological response as if you were doing those actions yourself.

Mirror neurons are located in the premotor cortex of the inferior parietal lobe of the brain. Recall that the parietal lobe plays a role in coordinating the body's motions and integrating sensory information. The video presented a study with individuals doing certain simple physical tasks, such as opening closing one's hand. EEG data shows that the area where mirror neurons are located fired strongly. Then, the same subjects watched a video of the same task. EEG data showed the exact same area of the brain fired strongly again, leading researchers to conclude that, as far as this area of the brain is concerned, watching the activity is the same as doing it.

Of course, this finding has implications that reach into a great many fields. One such field is childhood development. Current research is looking into how infants learn and understand actions from simply watching them. If you think about it, this makes sense. I know that I've successfully gotten more than one baby to clap his or her hands after demonstrating how its done a few times.

The mirror system has also been linked to empathy, emotions and intentions (or goals). Studies have been done on autistic individuals that have showed that the mirror neurons do not fire as strongly in autistic individuals, either when they are performing the task or watching it. They are able to imitate the action, but don't understand why they're doing it. Anatomically, these individuals have thinner regions of mirror neurons, leading researchers to suggest that perhaps autism is caused by a lack of mirror neurons, thereby leading to deficits in social skills, emotions, empathy and understanding the goal of various actions.

Basically, what all this means for me is that because I am a fairly athletic individual, I understand the goals of sports and dance, and therefore become more emotionally invested. My mirror neuron system is responsible for this link between action and emotion. This is why I get so mushy gushy when I watch ballet or why I find certain sports (OK, all sports) so interesting and entertaining. Chances are, if you played sports at some point or possess a fair amount of athletic ability, you like watching other people play sports, too. Suddenly, it all makes sense. Fascinating.