Friday, June 4, 2010

Mini Vacation #2

Again to Minnesota.

And a week in Madison, where I got to be lazy, sleep in, spend every possible moment outside, and get paid way more than I should for babysitting two adorable children. Life is good. A high school kid told me I looked like a smoker. (?) I ate lots of delicious food. I fed the ducks.

Mini trips keep things from getting mundane. I like it. It should happen more often. Now all I need are people willing to go with me. Volunteers? Seriously, anyone. Let's go camping.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mini Vacation # 1

Only a week into summer and I've already embarked upon my first mini vacation (as it should be) all the way to Minnesota. So far the highlights have included playing peek-a-boo through the headrest of the front seat of the car for an hour and half straight, watching wolverines do the dirty, and kicking some serious butt in Super Smash Brothers.

I've also come to the realization that I need unhealthy processed food to survive. I NEED it. This past week I've been at home eating "healthy" and "natural" food with no candy or soda; and consequently getting sick to my stomach after every meal. But the first time I get my chicken tenders Culver's kid's meal with a chocolate shake on the side, BAM!!!! no sickness. Clearly I've become adapted to our modern society in ways that I never thought were possible.

Another observation of modern society that came up last night was the dreaded "sex talk." My cousins and I were sharing with the rest of the family how we witnessed the mating techniques of wolverines at the zoo that morning (which, by the way, resembles an incredibly violent rape. The male was trying his best to bite the female in the neck to hold her down and make her submit but she was a fighter, and quite frankly I'm surprised there wasn't more blood). This lead our grandma to tell us the story of how when she was in high school she got kissed on the cheek and was terrified that she would become pregnant. This, in turn, lead to the discussion about how nobody knew anything about the dirty bits until they were seniors in high school or well into college. Odd. It's crazy to think about all that. She continued to lecture my two cousins (both boys) about how they better not take advantage of girls who just desperately needed to feel loved and attended to. (At this point one of my cousins found it necessary to very bluntly change the subject to how it looks like it may rain)

Later on that night after dinner we were discussing how totally awesome and rad it would be if scientists could finally harness and control nuclear fission as a main source of energy. You know, a common topic of conversation. After we had cleared the table my grandma pulled me aside and told me that she never thought she would hear a young lady know so much about science. (?!?!?!) Uhh...I'm not that great at science. But...sure Grandma. Surprisingly my aunt said the same thing a few minutes later. So now that we've fully established that I'm incredibly intelligent, I really don't see why I haven't been more heavily compensated for it.

Generation gaps are so interesting...but I have to go make a graduation poster now so I suppose I'll reflect more on that later.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Summer?

Today, May 10th, 2010 was my last day of school. Yeah, yeah, not ever but for this year. (Just think of how excited little kids get when they're done....yeah....that was me this morning.) I completed my second year at Madison at approximately 2:10 p.m. It is now 6:23 p.m., and I am BORED OUT OF MY FREAKING MIND!

I haven't spoken to anyone face to face since my exams this morning, and I'm already lonely from it. I thought about going back to the library just so I could sit with my friends and be around people. I'm naturally a people person anyway. Maybe it's my nature, maybe it's the fact that I have never had to be alone. I was an only child for the first 2 years of my life, which I remember fondly....ha. There have always been other kids around. There have always been neighbors and friends coming in and out of our door like as if they, too, lived there permanently. Then I moved from that to a dorm where, once again, neighbors and friends were coming in and out of our door like they, too, lived there. Then to the apartment I'm in now....ok so the open door policy kind of took a downfall this year but I hope to resurrect it starting next fall.

Now everybody is off in the library studying, or locked in their rooms studying, or just plain old not talkative due to some other kind of finals-related stress. And it's cloudy out. I hate being alone when it's dusky/cloudy/depressing.

However, my room is now cleaner than it's been in weeks. I finally picked up my ski lessons money, I sold some of my text books back, I sat in the Bookstore for an hour thumbing through various books, I worked out, I showered, and I called both sets of grandparents. All in 4 hours. Now I've set high standards for myself. Now I sound like I'm bragging.... Blahhhh...

Speaking of high standards, I've come up with some summer goals for myself. Nothing too extravagant, just those little things that will probably make me a better person both physically, mentally, and philosophically.
1. Finish the Fort Half Marathon
2. Stop drinking soda
3. Wear my retainer regularly
4. Skydive
5. Camping/Road Trip with a group of friends
6. Read

I can do that, right? Right.

Now I'm talking to myself. Well, on that note, I'm off to reheat myself some spaghetti.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The past week or so I've gotten significantly better at the whole "buckling down" thing. Clearly, considering the amount of study breaks I take during said "buckling down", I haven't mastered it yet, but practice makes perfect. For example, I just studied for an hour straight. Like, real studying; reviewing studying. Crazy. Granted, I've been at the library for 2.5 hours and spent the first 1.5 on the UW Job Center attempting to figure out how I'm going to fund the advancement of my education, let alone where I'm going to live in 3 weeks time. But whatever; I spent a full hour actually studying.

I am now fully convinced that unless there is some threat to my success I have no motivation to do anything. Or, at least, do anything above and beyond what my social life time constraints allow. There's a slight chance that I won't be able to major in Com. Dis., aka there's a slight chance I may have a mental breakdown 'round about...Tuesday night. I'm not scared, not as much as I feel I should be. At least I pretend I'm not scared. Like I said, I don't even know where I'll be living in a few weeks time, so anything that dares to threaten my pathetic excuse for a "plan" isn't exactly welcome at the moment. Knowing what I'm majoring in the one thing that I've got above other people, the one thing that I've accomplished that they haven't, the one step in life that makes things that much easier.

There's no use in me claiming to know anything more than that, to pretend to schedule or adhere to anything more than that. Planning things is one of my epic failures in life. I have ideas, I always have ideas. I make my own my head. Sometimes I even get them down on paper. On occasion I'll share them with other people. Rarely to they ever become a reality. I was supposed to road trip to Colorado last summer. I was supposed to drive to Florida over Spring Break. I'm supposed to be getting on a plane to Santo Domingo in three weeks. I'm supposed to run a half marathon in six weeks.

Only one of these has a minute chance of actually happening; and it's the least fun event on the list.

I don't want a big, extravagant, detailed plan. I don't want to know what I'm doing every week of every month of every year from here on out. But it would be nice to be able to follow through on the little things every now and then. It would be nice to have things planned out in advance so as not to run around frantically at the last second every single time another issue arises.

Actually following through on that half marathon is one of the reasons I want to live at home this summer. It's a shitty reason, but it's a reason. I'll be able to train, I'll have someone to call me at 4:30 a.m. every morning and make me get up to run with them, I'll have finally completed something I made up my mind to do. It's something insignificant, it's something small, it's something that I can do next year and every year after that; but if I do it now...if I do it now I may be able to put an end to this viscous cycle of me making empty promises to myself, of me getting myself excited and enamored in my grandeur plans to live a fuller life only to keep "waiting"...waiting another year, another month, another never.

Graduate from UW Madison. Grad school at U of M. That's all I've got now. That's my grand adventurous "plan". Sure, I'd like to throw a few road trips in there, a couple weeks in Europe, some volunteering in whatever third world country catches my eye at the moment. Sure, I'd like to fully live up to the whole "college experience" of spontaneity and bildung adventures. But the whole 'one-step-at-a-time' theory seems to be taking hold here. Come on School, just let this one happen.

And yes, I know it will all be fine. It will all work out. But it's finals time so I'm allowed to complain, just a little bit.

Hey look, here's an adorable baby chinchilla!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Take Pride in the Small Things

I'd like to take a moment and brag about the amount of bullshit that just gracefully flowed from my mind down through my fingertips into a Word document containing my end-of-semester research paper. The paper is on "The Rose Elf," a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. "God, that's easy, how difficult is it to write about a little kid's bedtime story?" Well, there are two things wrong with your condescending inquisition.

1. This is by no means a 'little kid's bedtime story'. The general plot? Girl likes boy, boy likes girl, girl's brother doesn't like boy, brother stabs boy to death in the woods and chops off his head then buries him under a tree, elf sees this and tells girl, girl digs up body but is too weak to carry the whole thing so she just takes the head home, girl plants head in flower pot, plant grows from head, girl dies of sorrow, brother takes nice looking plant, elf and plant join forces to kill brother, the end.

2. No, it shouldn't be that hard to write about this, you're right. The catch is that you're told to write a ten page researched paper with multiple sources on a three page fairy tale. Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch, hence the large amount of bullshitting involved.

But I'm not here to whine about school, as I'm sure that blog post will come soon enough. (Most likely in the next day or so, so get excited!) I'm here to rant and rave about the 1.5 double-spaced-times new roman-twelve-point-font-one inch-margin pages that I just churned out in no more than 20 minutes; all of which is complete (excuse my language) hogwash and contains no intelligent or awe-inspiring revelations. Then why am I so proud of myself? Well, you see, these 1.5 pages of complete bull contain no interesting information according to your everyday, sane, average Joe. One must remember one's audience. I am writing this for a Scandinavian Literature guru, one who, every time we meet in discussion, is taken aback that we don't make the connections he does between the wording of a sentence and the political and religious goings on of the time. (Personally, Andersen was writing fairy tales. Yes, they had lessons, all fairy tales do, but come on, you're making this WAY more difficult than it needs to be.)

20 minutes later

And I've just taken a slight break from the computer and no longer have any real desire to continue this post. And I'm hungry. But the point is, I'm darn good at making things up. Go me. Rah rah.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Weekend of Spontaneity

I'm tired of reading about the history of Christianity. So, logically, here's my weekend (in chronological order) via Google images. You can fill in the details yourself.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dream Job

There's a book display in front of me filled with volumes designated to get kids excited about going out into the working world (Ha!). Many of them are titled "Top [#] Jobs in [insert field here]". The first book to catch my eye is called "Top 175 Jobs Not Behind a Desk".

Dolphin trainer wasn't even in the top ten. Seriously? That would be the most amazing job ever! If I were any good at science I would undoubtedly be on my way to becoming a marine biologist. No questions asked. It's still my dream job; if anybody offers me a position at Sea World working with the animals...well sorry little kids, go find someone else to teach you how to talk, I'll be hanging out with Shamu.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Food Diary

On multiple occasions I've considered starting a food diary. Not to eat healthier or anything crazy like that, simply so I can feel better about myself and the amount of garbage my body can handle on a daily basis. It's impressive, really.

This all became a reality about five minutes ago when I realized that I am currently sitting on my couch with my feet up on the table, watching bad daytime TV, and drinking a soda while eating a bag of gummy worms as dessert to my lunch of an entire box of mac n' cheese.

Metabolisms are truly a gift from God.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Joelle: We just left a little early because I was getting tired and didn't want to try too hard to stay awake while driving.

Grandmom: Well you worked so hard doing all that work. I don't ever want you to do that again.

Joelle: It's really not a problem. We do it all the time at home.

Grandmom: But those bags of salt are just too heavy for you. You shouldn't be lifting those. And you especially shouldn't be lifting two at a time; that's much to heavy for a girl!

Joelle: It's fine Grandmom.

Grandmom: I'm just saying, I have a dolly that I can get down the stairs with one bag at a time and that works much better than having you and your brother carrying them all the way downstairs.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why I Love Babysitting

Voicemail I received this morning:
"Hi Joelle, I was wondering if you could come over and babysit for a few hours today...And let me know if there's anything I can do for you, like, pay you money, or bring you Frosties, or, umm, anything else you can think of, just let me know. Call me back."

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Most Important Benefit of Visiting Home

I think I'm going to go back to school a good 15 lbs heavier after Spring Break. There's this constant supply of food at my house. It's amazing! Not only is there a constant supply of food, there's a constant supply of snack food! And junk food! And soda! It's truly a glorious existence.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Chocolate Milk and It's Consumption

It is physically impossible for me to drink chocolate milk in any manner other than "chugging". This is disappointing, because I'd quite like to savor the taste of the delicious nectar of the gods as is flows ever so smoothly over my tongue. But my body just wants more, more, more.

This is why I must restrict my chocolate milk purchases to one pint or less. It's a sad, sad existence.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goal: March 29th

I will have access to a piano again during Spring break next week. I'm giving myself 2 days to master this, which shouldn't be too hard if I can motivate myself to sit at the piano working on one song for more than ten minutes. Except I'm changing the ending.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Things One Notices in College

This past week has been one of profound enlightenment (well, not really enlightenment, I suppose, since I've yet to discover the answers, but more quizzical enlightenment), and since I'm a pretty nice person, I'll share it with you.

Cousin's Subs, a local venue that has bargained away a large percentage of my savings, has one entrance. This entrance has two flights of stairs leading to the door, one directly in front and one to the left, and these stairs are the only way to get to the door.. Let's disregard the fact that it is impractical to have two flights of stairs to access the same very small porch. These stairs are rather steep, and in the winter quite slick. There is also handicap automatic door opener next to the door....

Always remember to open a packet of Starbursts at the end that begins the word (aka the "Star" side as opposed to the "burst" side). This way, you will end on a delicious red fruit chew instead of a eh-so-so orange one. I continually make this mistake, and regret it every time. Also, Starbursts are packaged Red-Pink-Yellow-Orange, but on the wrapper the "original fruit chew flavors" are sequenced Pink-Orange-Red-Yellow. Those tricky bastards. On the outside they present a visual variety of sweet and tart, but on the inside said flavors are grouped together forcing you to eat your delightful fruit chews with out being rewarded with the good flavors at equal intervals. Actually, we should be able to pick our Starburst flavors. Same for skittles. Nobody likes green Skittles. And nobody likes orange Starbursts.

Ok I lied, that isn't a week full of enlightenment but those two things had me reconsidering what it meant to be human for a while.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I know this is old, but it is one of my favorite arrangements of all time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2 month attention span

I've been sitting at the library for about 2 hours now, distraction free, and have completed a mere bullet pointed list of things I could consider including in my 5 page semi-research paper due tomorrow. That "wall" they speak of has officially been hit.

In fact, I think I crashed into it head-on about a week ago; I've been sick, tired, distracted, and anxious. The sick, tired, and distracted I don't mind. The anxious I do, because I can't figure out why. I've been busier than I am now, I've been more stressed than I am now, my friends have been in worse moods than they are now; there's no explanation for it. Regardless what I think about that gut-wrenching feeling that something is wrong pops up every hour or so, with a headache on the side. Regardless of who I think about, from my best friends to classroom acquaintances, it keeps appearing too; which I think is a good thing, in that I'm hopefully not subconsciously churning inside about one person in particular.

The only thing that makes it go away is thinking about going home and hanging out with my sister and brother and all the little munchkins I babysit. The only thing I want to do is get away from everyone, everyone everyone. Which is weird...I'm a big fan of company. This has a point, really, I'm not just complaining:

In conclusion, there needs to be an extended break period for college students at least once every two months. We're pushing 2 months...and chaos is ensuing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Super Sprayer - More free videos are here

Responsibility is Overrated

I keep telling myself that my Friday afternoons in the library are productive. Who spends Friday afternoon in a library? I must be an exemplary student. At least that's the little white lie I've ingrained into my head. In reality, though, I'm getting absolutely nothing done. Instead I'm staring at the lake; the smooth, beautiful, frozen land perfection that I've yet to explore this year.

This past week I've been overtaken with an intense need to "figure things out". As a general rule, arriving and going is my preferred method of living, but I guess that's not how the real world works. At least that's not how the worlds of my trusted adult advisers work. Although, I also feel like said advisers have a severe case of bipolarism. One day they're encouraging me to "follow your dreams" and "do what you think is right". The next it's all about "being responsible" and "securing your place in the working world". I like option 'A' better.

This summer I want to travel to the Dominican Republic for a month long volunteer project through Orphanage Outreach. This summer I will also officially have run out of money. The program has three sessions, May-June, June-July, and July-August. Ideally I'd like the May-June session for multiple reasons, the most socially accepted being that job hunting should be easier if "Oh hey, by the way, I'll be leaving for a month in the middle of the summer along with quitting once school starts back up again in the fall. That's not inconvenient for you, is it?" isn't part of my interview process. I'd also be giving up a net total of 2.5 months summer income, and missing my sister's high school graduation (the latter I'm not too concerned with, although apparently I should be. She's a big girl, she'll survive.).

The whole money thing doesn't actually concern me. I already owe the government copious amounts of money, and if you consider the spectacular amount of debt I'll be one once I finish grad school, what's a couple extra thousand dollars? I'm financially responsible for myself and my why does the parental guilt still get into my head? I know I won't regret going, that is the one thing I am sure of. Gah...I don't want to have to fight to achieve this. I want it to be figured out for me and to have someone tell me where to go and when and have a nice trip don't forget to drink bottled water.

Then I need a job. I real job. A grown up job. Actually, now that I think about it, this is the only thing that I really want to have figured out. I've given up all hope of making a profit this summer and my only goal is to come close to breaking even with the total cost of the volunteer trip (trip cost + money I could have been earning). Sometimes I wish that I could coast through life and simply call up Mommy and Daddy whenever I needed more money for my frivolous entertainment. That’s a complete lie, I don’t wish that at all; but still, on occasion I can see its benefits.

That can be my new Lenten promise: no spending money apart from laundry and necessary groceries. (I started with giving up candy, but that was an epic fail if I’ve ever seen one.) We’ll see how this one goes.

A friend recently emailed me asking for a few sentences in response to a question to help her with an Anthropology project. Q: What do you want from life? A: To live in the moment, have a peaceful mind, and be seriously injured doing something thrilling. To have no fear, no grudges, and no regrets. To smile every day and have stories to tell when I'm old. But, for the sake of only a few sentences, most importantly, to have a positive impact on someone's life, so that my time here will have been truly worthwhile.

I can’t let myself down, can I?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Our teacher, she made us into a rainbow."

Every Tuesday I go down to Head Start and hang out with some of the coolest little kids you'll ever meet during their preschool. Half of them don't speak English. Of the other half there is only one little school who speaks Standard American English. Some have learning disabilities, some have SLI problems, some have amazing parents, and some are being evaluated for parental abuse. Some are loud and rambunctious, some refuse to speak unless directly asked to give an answer. Some understand what the teachers are saying, some don't.

And yet, when they all think none of the teachers are looking, these kids are the most harmonious group I've ever seen. There are only 3 kids that have productive bilingual skills yet it's non uncommon to see the 5 yr old hyperactive African-American boy with (presumed) ADD taking the hand of the youngest child in the class, a 3 yr old incredibly shy Mexican girl who doesn't speak a word of English and barely understands common phrases, and lead her over to his friends and help her join in whatever activity they're doing, never letting go of her hand the entire time. It's one of those, "If they can do it, what's wrong with the rest of us?" moments.

Regardless of whether or not the kids are little angels, Head Start has made Tuesdays my favorite day of the week. For a full afternoon I get to hang out with preschoolers with my main goal being to instill some confidence into these kids. "Good counting!" "You dance really well!" "Tu dibujo es la mas bonita flor que he visto en toda mi vida!" "Gracias por ayudar!" These simple compliments put the biggest smiles on the kids' faces, and it's sad to think that some of them never hear these things at home.

Today we covered the tables in shaving cream and dyed it with food coloring: let's learn how to write our names. Then we took out hula hoops and made human bridges and played leap frog to the Gummy Bear song and You Make Me Want to Shout: build motor skills and coordination. Then we played hospital, during which one little girl had a baby but the mommy died because her heart stopped working and so the baby was sent off to live with its grandparents ( these days watch WAY too much TV): let's learn real life applications and erase the fear of doctors.

Tuesdays are my favorite. I really hope this turns into a job opportunity; I would literally jump around and scream like a little girl.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

NDSS Dream Video

Due to regulations I can't upload the actual video, but check out the link:

If the little ballerina doesn't make you smile you have no heart.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Social Experiment

I thoroughly enjoy messing with people. My most current method of trickery was inspired by facebook. I get a good chuckle out of those who wish their facebook friends a "Happy Birthday" when, in reality, they haven't talked to the person in years. To test this, I switched my birthday on facebook to 10 days before the actual date...just to see what would happen.
More people wished me happy birthday when it wasn't my birthday... Oh facebook...

Friday, February 19, 2010

So this was the first picture that showed up on my sidebar slideshow...

...moral of the story is - I've been ruling the world since birth.

The Pros and Cons of Being Twenty

I'm 20 now. Twenty. I'm a real adult. Twenty.

This fucking sucks.

Everyone says you're an adult when you're 18. That's a downright lie. You're still a kid when you're 18. All you get to do is legally ingest tobacco while getting off to the Miss January. Clearly becoming a legal adult is a way bigger milestone for men than women. For boys than girls. Nobody takes you seriously, your ideas don't matter, and you know nothing about the big wide world to ever successfully survive. And...well, come on, that's pretty much true.

You become a real adult when you're 20. Take the -teen suffix off of your age and suddenly you gain the immense insight and wisdom it takes to become a productive member of society. Which is also a load of donkey poo. You're still a kid when you're 20. I'm still a kid (and yes, while I'll always be a kid at heart, that phrase doesn't apply until you hit 30), no doubt about it. My roommates who were just watching youtube videos of Raffi concerts (and singing along - enthusiastically) are still kids. My next door neighbor who has an unhealthy obsession with Zac Efron is still a kid. The kid who sits in front of me in Audiology playing World of Warcraft throughout the entire lecture is still a kid. My best friends who can't suppress their giggles at a dirty joke and let out high pitched squeals when anything cute, fuzzy, or covered in glitter enters the room are still kids.

You're not a real adult when you're 20, you're a productive member of society. Scratch that, you're a working member of society; it's highly unlikely that "productivity" is high on your list of priorities.

I apologize for sounding cynical, I'm really quite exciting for all the new opportunities the addition of a decade will open up for me. Since I'm ping-pong-ing back and forth, I feel as though a Pro-Con List will better dictate my pensive meditation of my existence.

- the "adults" (professionals, businessmen, old folks, anyone who didn't [key word didn't] know you as a child) of society will begin to consider you as "one of them". Don't let this scare you - It doesn't mean that you will instantaneously sprout gray hair, develop arthritis, or need to rush out and buy a pack of Depends; only that after you've finished sharing your opinion with one such "adult", they will consider taking you seriously instead of smiling and thinking, "My, isn't that charming that that young fellow thinks the world is so small and innocent."
- "2"s are way more fun to write than "1"s, which are easily mistaken with "I" or "l"
- you enter the workforce as an educated adult. You look better than the majority of your coworkers. And you're in better shape. And it's not because you're "still just a kid".
- there is still one thing that age legally forbids you to do. Yes, this is a pro, because who wants to go through life constantly abiding by the law? I mean, apart from J-walking, what other seemingly innocent activity are you going to do to stick it to the man?
- your hourly wage will go up. Correction: your hourly wage should go up.

- my hourly wage will not go up
- you can no longer use the excuse "sorry, I wasn't thinking" without being severely judged
- you're expected to have your life in order. Ha, what a joke, that will never happen.
- the expected level of responsibility will raise. The output level of responsibility will not.
- when you say something stupid or embarrassing, the "adults" of society won't smile and ponder your innocent mind, they will stare, raise a bushy brow, and begin to tell whomever is around about how when they were our age they had a much better concept of the real world. Nonetheless, they are most likely correct.
- your parents are less likely to buy you fun and utterly nonessential things
- you feel REALLY REALLY OLD AND DECREPIT and wonder what you've wasted the past 20 years of your life doing, because all you've got to show for it is an exponentially increasing amount of student loans and the ability to say that you grew up without a cell phone.

Fare-thee-well 19, I thoroughly enjoyed you. You made my last year of being a teenager quite memorable. You even had enough sense to make my last day of being a teenager one filled with irresponsibility and frivolous choices. I skipped class. I put off homework to go shopping. I bought two new dresses and over-priced shoes. I put of sleeping to do homework. I put of homework to write this blog post. I gave up dessert foods. I ate a birthday cupcake. (because on your birthday it doesn't count). I put off homework to watch youtube videos. I ate another birthday cupcake.

I suppose now that I'm twenty and "responsible" I should do my homework....maybe....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I'm at the library. I'm getting absolutely nothing done. My brain is a giant oozing mass of moldy tapioca pudding.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Well there was a Valentine's Day Party...

This is, by far, the best facebook chat experience I've ever had:
Joelle: Enough about boring ol' America. How's Thailand?
Friend: Did you hear about my weekend?
Joelle: No, I don't believe so...
Friend: Well there was a valentines day party/dance. During which I threw up for the first time in 5 years and made out with a burmese guy in the bathroom resulting in several embarrassing hickeys.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Letter to My Body

Dear Body,

I realize you are not very happy with me right now, and for this I apologize. But it's for your own good, really, it is, I promise. I know I haven't been treating you fairly for the past...lifetime or so, but I hope you can understand why and forgive me.

Legs, you have a right to be angry with me. I understand this, and I don't blame you. I've been favoring you, in the sense that you are the only part of me that I make an effort to keep in shape. I've worked you quite hard this past week especially, and, believe me, I've heard your protests. I heard every single whimper and pathetic whine that you uttered as I walked up and down the stairs to my apartment. I felt you beating and stabbing me as I forced you to walk up Bascom. I was going to give you an easy day today, but once we got going you seemed to quiet down. No worries, though, you get the day off tomorrow. Not only do you get the day off, but Mom is going to bring you delicious treats like brownies and chicken wings.

Arms, I would like to sincerely thank you for all your hard work. In the past year as I've sat merely existing, you have magically grown and become stronger, and I truly appreciate your self-motivation. This is a good system we have going. You keep up the good work. I'll keep doing absolutely nothing.

The rest of my body, I'm sorry I neglect you. I know I neglect you. I'd give you some TLC every now and then, but frankly, I can't justify paying any attention to you. You don't specifically need any work, I'm quite happy with you (this is a compliment - be happy!). See, you don't help me in any way, shape, or form. I don't need you to run, or ski, or bike, or climb things. All these activities involve my legs. The activities that involve the rest of you (swimming... lifting.... umm.... not-so-fun things) I have no interest in. I really am sorry. Perhaps you could take on the same outlook as the arms have; you do all the work to look "toned" and "pretty" while I sit around and eat doughnuts.

Please consider this my most sincere apology. I promise I will try to cut back on the caffeine. Maybe we'll only have two cups of coffee a day instead of three or four. I will also try to put more nutrients in you. While the cocoa beans in chocolate has sufficed as a source of vegetables for this long, I understand that you'd like some variety. We'll try some fruit snacks instead.

Remember, it's all for your own good. And I am never wrong.



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Notes of a Dedicated Student

I have a Neurology exam on Thursday.
Here's my notes from today's review session:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In Memory of Bailey and Alan Calvillo

Rest in peace Bailey and Alan. Send Wendy and the kids the strength to survive yet another difficult and heart-breaking day without you. Always remembered. Never forgotten.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Panda Dog

This dog looks like a panda! Ha!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sudden Inspiration

I'm currently sitting by the window on the top floor of the library, coffee in hand, listening to Claire de Lune and pondering the physics of heavy machinery, specifically the multiple cranes swinging mere inches away from my face. I feel as if I should now say something inspirational or share the epiphany this tranquility has offered. Except the scene in my head keeps switching back and forth between a concert hall and a log cabin with a roaring fire. Why? I have no idea. Nothing revelational there. That's just what happens when I stare out windows and listen to classical music.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Youth of the Nation

The recent State of the Union Address given by President Obama has seemingly riled up quite a few fellow Americans. I'm not talking newsworthy marches or protests of grandeur, today's youth has chosen one of the current technological fads to discuss and make known their political opinions: facebook. The past few days I've spent quite a bit of time reading, contemplating, and outright laughing at the statuses of various facebook friends.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for sharing your views with the world. This is America, after all, where the freedom of speech is practiced relatively freely and without harm. Each and every individual has the right to tell their peers what they think about our government; which is something that should not only be taken advantage of but encouraged, because how else can we hold on to the "for the people, by the people" ideology?

The problem that my generation seems to be encountering, however, is what is means to "share one's political beliefs." The large majority of the of statuses I've viewed contain no political ideologies whatsoever. Young adults left and right are making highly judgemental blanket statements, not about the Presidential Address, but about which political association is better/smarter/kinder/etc. Do we, as passionate advocates, lack the knowledge to differentiate between a criticism and slur? Do we, as educated college students, suffer from the inability to form a simple argument? After reading the facebook statuses of outraged Republicans and satisfied Democrats alike, my faith in the youth of the nation has been significantly diminished.

The following are examples of some of the statuses I found related to the State of the Union Address. I am in no way trying to point out specific people and insult their beliefs, I am only showing examples of intelligent people who, had they proposed an actual criticism, could have made much more of an impact and encouraged a respectful reaction rather than a dismayed one.

You may have noticed that most of these statuses and posts are from people who disagree(d) with some aspect of the Presidential Address, President Obama, or some political issue. This makes total sense, as most people are more driven to make their feelings known when those feelings are of frustration or anger. I searched the pages of several friends I have that are incredibly liberal, and yet only two had statuses referring to the Presidential Address (and one was talking about turning it into a drinking game, so I've neglected to include that in the above sample). Again, this is logical. You don't watch a TV show you love and then post a status about how good it was. However, if you see a TV show that you have certain expectations for and then it disappoints you, your facebook friends are sure to know about it within the hour. (Remember what happened when the latest season of "Scrubs" started? There was an uproar!)

It's not the emotion associated with the posts that bothers me, as I was definitely one of those people verbally protesting Scrubs this past fall. It's the complete and utter lack of an informed criticism that makes my heart bleed for the future of this country.

Not one of these posts mentions why they think the Address was a joke, or what policies they disagree with, or how they think our government should be handling any given situation. Had I been able to find statuses of people stating that they loved the Address I would have the same complaint: why do you love it?

We are adults. Reading these posts reminded me of the answers my parents would sometimes give me when I asked questions as a young child.
"Mom, why can't I stay up later?"
"Because you need to go to bed now."
"But why?"
"Because I said so."
"But why?"
Even at the age of four and five these responses infuriated me. What gives a person the power and authority to use "because I said so" as an adequate response to anything? Now, had my mom told me, "You have to go to bed now because if you stay up later you won't get as much sleep, which will make you very tired. If you are tired tomorrow you won't be able to pay attention in Kindergarten or run as fast at recess. You may even fall asleep before the PBS Special on polar bears is finished," then I would have shut my little five year old smart-ass mouth and gone to bed.

If you're going to make a remark on politics of any sort, you must back up that remark with legitimate reasoning. By not making an informed criticism about a policy or political happening and simply generalizing and simplifying your thoughts, you unintentionally come off as someone who really doesn't know anything about politics at all. This was an issue during the 2008 presidential elections as well. Thousands upon thousands of students would proudly wear an Obama or McCain sticker or button and excitedly join in the shouting and cheering of a rally, but when asked what policies they favored the most, over half these seemingly passionate students couldn't give a concrete answer. "I like Obama because I'm a liberal" means nothing. "I like McCain because I don't want to raise taxes" means nothing. "I'm in the middle because they're both good options" means nothing. Why? Why is that such a difficult question to answer?

Think of it this way: Let's say some big golf tournament is going on. (I know absolutely nothing about golf, nor I know if there are even any big golf tournaments, but just go with it.) I really don't care for watching golf, even though the rest of the nation (remember, hypothetical situation) has called in sick to work and canceled their doctor's appointments to make sure they can watch this tournament, so I change my facebook status to, "Joelle Bender would rather watch grass grow than listen to the polite and mundane clapping of the golf tournament." I am entitled to my opinion, so what's the problem? It's incredibly easy to rip my statement to shreds, that's the problem. What reasoning do I have to make such a cold blanket statement towards not only the people in the tournament, but the golf organization as a whole, as well as the millions of people who wanted to watch the tournament? If people comment on that status and ridicule my opinion, then I deserve every bit of it. I offered no back up. I made no attempt to defend my opinion. Hell, I never even gave an opinion; I merely used one of the most generic sarcastic phrases of all time to hint at my distaste for golf. Now, had I said, "Joelle Bender isn't enjoying the golf tournament because it is moving very slowly and there is a considerable lack of excitement, suspense, adrenaline, and violence, all of which are key characteristics to my personal definition of an entertaining sport. Perhaps they should add more obstacles such as rabid zombie gophers and sporadic fire holes," then I would have posted an acceptable opinionated status. People could argue my points, offer their own, and I could respond to their points, and offer up more of my own. This is how arguments work.

It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democratic, Conservative or Liberal, Communist or a supporter of the United States Marijuana Party. Using uninformed blanket statements when it comes to something as important as politics is unacceptable. As cliche as it sounds, we are the future of this country. We are the people that will be making important decisions that will affect millions of people. We are the people that have an opportunity to impact our world. How can we ever dream of accomplishing our goals if we can't peacefully work side by side? How can we ever dream of peacefully working side by side if we can't respect each other's beliefs? How can we ever dream of respecting each other's beliefs of we can't intelligently share our world views?

Your opinion matters. Express yourself.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Things I Learned the First Day of Class

There are 6912 languages in the world.

Papua New Guinea speaks more languages (820) than any other country.

English has the most words; Taki-Taki has the least.

Kamir has the largest alphabet with 74 letters. Rotokans has the smallest with 12 letters.

Hans Christian Andersen was a bloody liar.

Every time you hear a tuning fork you have NEVER heard that exact sound before in your life.

Ogliodendrocytes are a type of glial cell that produce and maintain myelin. They're also fun to say.

The olfactory nerve is the only sensory nerve that doesn't take a detour through the thalamus before heading to it's appointed association location.

Rostro is another word for "face" in spanish.

Agua is a masculine word. Apparently I should have learned this years ago.

Scandinavian countries are generally very progressive, and the president of Iceland is not only a woman but is openly gay.

The Ugly Duckling in the original version was quite the smart ass.

Goodnight Hall is far away. From EVERYTHING.

Engineering Hall, on the other hand, is fantastic, conveniently located, and my new favorite building.

It's cheaper to buy bottled soda at the library than Walgreens.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wikipedia, The World's Most "Credible" Site

  • Butterflies and buttercups do not relate in any way to the dairy product butter or flies.
  • The Bayeux Tapestry is not an actual tapestry. It is an embroidered cloth.
  • Guinea pigs are not pigs and do not come from Guinea. The "Guinea" may be a re-analysis of "Guyana", though they originate from the Andes and not Guyana.
  • A multi-valued function is not a mathematical function in the proper definition.
  • The same can be said about a generalized function, as such a function cannot be evaluated in some point(s); only the integrals of such functions have a 'common sense' meaning.
  • A disk laser usually is not disk at all; only the pumped region (sometimes) has a disk-shaped form.
  • A lead crystal is not a crystalline solid but an amorphous glass.
  • The Nintendo GameCube without an attached Game Boy Player accessory is not a cube because the sides are not all squares.
  • The Hundred Years' War did not last for 100 years but 116. It was actually a series of separate campaigns and battles which continued for 116 years (from 1337 to 1453).
  • The First World War and the Second World War were not fought throughout the entire world.
  • The Blitz was the sustained bombing of the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 16 May 1941. Although the word Blitz is a shortening of the German word blitzkrieg, meaning "lightning war", it was not an example of blitzkrieg but was an early example of strategic bombing.
  • Catgut is made from sheep intestines.
  • Podcasting is not limited to the iPod, nor does the technology involve any casting as the consumers pull audio data onto their audio players. However, like broadcasting, it is a way of distributing audio or visual data to large numbers of people.
  • Heat lightning is actually lightning that is too far away for the thunder to be heard, but generally occurs during hot weather
  • Sugar soap contains neither sugar nor soap.
  • Smoked glass is so-called because it is stained to look like smoke, not because it is literally kippered.
  • Salad cream (a mayonnaise substitute) is so-called because mayonnaise is often (although not exclusively, as implied) used as a salad dressing. Unlike mayonnaise, salad cream is not particularly creamy.
  • An egg cream is really chocolate flavored syrup with seltzer and milk. It typically contains neither eggs nor cream.
  • Eggplants, although egg-shaped, are not ova.
  • An egg roll is an appetizer usually made by wrapping a combination of chopped vegetables, not eggs. It is actually so-called because the dough is dipped in egg or an egg-wash before frying.
  • The English Horn is, in fact, neither English nor a horn.
  • Head cheese is actually a meat product.
  • Grape-Nuts are made from neither grapes nor nuts.
  • A Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa) is a primitive rodent unrelated, though fairly similar in appearance, to beavers not usually found in mountainous areas.
  • "Horny toads" or "horned frogs" are actually lizards.
  • In baseball, the common term "ground rule double" does not refer to ballpark-specific ground rules but is, in fact, provided in the standard rules, such as in Official Baseball Rules, Rule 6.09(d) through (h). Likewise, an uncaught third strike is often referred to as a "dropped" third strike, even though it is not necessarily dropped but it is simply not legally caught by the catcher. In addition, the foul lines on a baseball field are located in fair territory (Rule 2).
  • At Stanford University, the term "Stanford Cardinal" is often thought to refer to the bird. It actually refers to the school's team colors.
  • Photoshopping maybe done with image editors other than Adobe Photoshop, such as GIMP or Paint Shop Pro.
  • Vinho Verde is often supposed to be pale green, due to a too-literal translation of its name; in fact, in Portuguese as in English "green" is a metaphor for "young", and most Vinho Verde for the export market is white (and a pale yellow in colour).
  • Though from above a starfish resembles the popular five-point artistic rendering of a star, it is not, in fact, in the shape of a star, which is spheroid in shape. In addition, it is not a fish.
  • An inchworm is neither an inch long, nor a worm.
  • The English present and past subjunctive do not relate to the present and past in the literal sense, but are so named because they resemble the indicative present and past tenses in form.
  • A velvet ant is actually a type of wasp.

- Source:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kidnapping Success

Tonight I kidnapped a friend for a surprise birthday dinner. She hates surprises. She hates even more to be given special treatment. Unfortunately, the fight she put up was nothing like I expected; no rope or multi-person brute force was needed.

Success 1: I kept getting death stares and angry glances from her as we drove to dinner.

Success 2: Olive Garden

Success 3: There was no bloodshed.

Success 4: There was cake. Funfetti cake. And champagne.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowblades :)

These things are really really fun. All I want to do is ski, why is that such a problem?

Mission Stop Being Such A Pathetic Human Being

Today was day one of Mission Stop Being Such A Pathetic Human Being (Mission Stop, for short). The goal of this mission is to regain, if not surpass, the level of physical fitness I was at approximately a year ago. The short term goal is a half marathon in April....we'll see if that happens. Anyways..

Day One: It's snowing. This didn't by any means affect anything, I just felt the need to share it. I headed for the ever-popular Glacier Drumlin Bike Trail, and headed south towards the river. Not only is this part of the trail much prettier than the downtown portion, but it also smells significantly less like a pile of poo that's been lit on fire. I accomplished 2.5 miles of movement, about 2 miles of if was actually running. So, overall, I'd consider day one a minor success. I was pretty excited about one thing, however - there is no problem whatsoever with my legs. Therefore, lung capacity and endurance are my hurdles. I see this as a good thing because it's incredibly less painful to have your chest burning for a few minutes than to have sore legs for a day. Go me.

Then I came home and had hot chocolate, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and Tostitos. I never said anything about eating healthy.