Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Scary

Riddle me this, readers:

Swing set
Clown doll
Electric fan

How do you make these things as scary as all get out?

Happy Halloween, everyone.

*(Alternate Post Title:  "Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am!")

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Crashing like a tidal wave, that drags me out to sea"

This is what the news website looked like.
I've hit another "first" in my Hawaiian experience:  my first tsunami.  I was sitting in my apartment alone watching a movie on TV* when a banner flashes across the screen with a weather advisory.  Canada has been causing all kinds of trouble, it seems:  in addition to Frankenstorm on the East Coast, an earthquake off the coast of British Columbia caused a tsunami to head south to Hawaii.  A warning was issued along with the statement that the first (but not necessarily the biggest) wave would hit at 10:28 pm.  There was a siren outside.  And also cannons, maybe.  It was all very loud and alerting.

After some checking online and some texting with my home teacher (yes, I finally have one of those now), I figured I would be basically safe on the 18th floor of my relatively inland apartment building.  Even so, I was glad for the amount of prep time that they gave us.  I was able to finish the movie, fold my laundry, take a shower, and fill up various receptacles with yucky-tasting (but clean) tap water.  Then I watched the news and waited.  10:28 came and went with no waves.  Nothing happened, and I was getting sleepy, so I went to bed.

Nothing kept happening even as I was asleep.  (Thankfully, no more sirens.)  I woke to find out the "warning" had been changed to an "advisory."  It seems to be a pattern for me that all my natural disasters keep getting downgraded.  I guess that's a good thing, though.  But at least that's one more "crazy" thing I can add to my life resume.

*I'm not going to say the name of this movie, because I'm a little ashamed of it.  In fact, when I was at the peak of my worry about the tsunami, I thought, "oh no...I can't believe I spent my last hours on earth watching --------"  But for the record, I'm totally Team Jacob.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Music: Halloween Edition

Of course I have to make a playlist for my second favorite holiday!*  Here is my Halloween Playlist, in the order that the songs are in after I hit "shuffle" just now:
  1. "Witchcraft" (Frank Sinatra)
  2. "Witchy Woman" (Eagles)
  3. "I Put a Spell on You" (Nina Simone)
  4. "Jack's Lament" from the "Nightmare Revisited" album (The All-American Rejects)
  5. "Werewolves of London" (Warren Zevon)
  6. Danse Macabre, Op. 40 (Saint-Saëns, composer)
  7. "Organ Donor" (Jeremy Messersmith)
  8. Theme from "Beetlejuice" (Danny Elfman, composer)
  9. "Ghostbusters" (Ray Parker Jr.)
  10. "Time Warp" (Cast of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show")
  11. "This is Halloween" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (Danny Elfman, composer)
  12. "Skeleton Song" (Kate Nash)
  13. "Witch Doctor" (Sha Na Na)
  14. "Monster Mash" (Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Cryptkeeper Five)
  15. Theme from "The Addams Family"
  16. "That Old Black Magic" (Louis Prima and Keely Smith)
  17. "The Purple People Eater" (Sheb Wooley)
  18. "Thriller" (Michael Jackson)
  19. "Spooky" (The Classics Iv)
  20. "Love Potion No. 9" (Clovers)
Happy Halloween, everyone.

Update:  here are some new songs that I'll have to acquire for next year!
  1. "Knock Three Times" (Black Tape For A Blue Girl)
  2. "Dead Man's Party" (Oingo Boingo)
  3. "The Zombie Song" (Stephanie Mabey)
  4. "Nightmare on My Street" (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)

*I bet you all thought that Halloween would be my favorite holiday since I'm so inherently spooky, didn't you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Bought an Ukulele

My cheap camera doesn't really do it justice.
Also, it's not pronounced "you-kulele" but "oo-kulele," hence the "an" and not "a."
Maybe I've given up on many of my "how to enjoy Hawaii" plans, but I had to follow through on at least one of them.  On Saturday, after a wonderful morning at the Temple,* I got back on the 55 bus and continued my magical mystery tour of the North Shore until I ended up in Haleiwa, home of the Ukulele store (among other things**).  I almost didn't go, thinking I would be "practical" and not spend a ridiculous amount of time on the bus to go buy something I didn't absolutely need, but then I thought, I'm going to buy a musical instrument to develop a new talent; it's not like I'm going to buy something stupid.  Also, waiting for the bus, I met these two guys from California who were visiting the island, and one of them had an ukulele in his bag and he said that although they were "trendy" (darn you Zooey Deschanel!), they were fun to have and easy to play.  So it was Fate.  Off I went to The Ukulele Site.

The guys at the store were incredibly nice.  There were even two who didn't even work there who helped me pick out an ukulele and who showed me how to play some chords.  So my mission was accomplished:  I bought a concert-sized Cordoba ukulele!  It was reasonably priced, and as a bonus, it came with a "gig-bag," though I will probably buy a real case at some point because I don't think the canvas bag will travel on a plane very well.

My dad was excited about my purchase; I think because he wants me to learn the Hukilau song.  My mom couldn't seem to wrap her head around it.  She was like, "that's so odd that you would buy such an instrument," because the ukulele is humorous to her somehow.  I was like, "would you think it was weird if I told you I bought a guitar?"  She said no, so I told her to think of it as a guitar, only smaller and with only four strings.

Even though the price was reasonable for a musical instrument, it was still a decent amount of money, but that's a good thing, because it motivates me to practice daily (though I did make a promise to my roommate that I'd limit my playing to normal awake hours).  I already have the C-Am-F-G7 chord progression pretty much down, which means I can play about 83% of the songs.  G7 is hard, but it's slowly getting into my muscle memory.  The next big one to tackle will be Em.  Now that's a man's chord.  I'm already starting to get some fun calluses on my fingers that I can show off to people to let them know that I'm a legit ukuleleist.

I don't presume that I'm any good, or that I will be any good anytime soon, but I have a goal (because I'm all about the goals, you know) to play in public in the year 2013.  So we'll see how that goes.

*Okay, the monthly temple visit is another goal that I'm actually keeping up with.
**Like the really famous Shave Ice place and the less-famous but apparently better Shave Ice place.  I did not go to either Shave Ice place as both had very long lines, and I was on an ukulele-buying mission.  Also, all the bus-waiting and walking around left me super sunburned, and also with an unsatisfied craving for Shave Ice.

Friday, October 19, 2012


My absentee ballot arrived in the mail yesterday and I realized I have a decision to make pretty soon.  Am I a terribly ignorant person for not knowing whom I'm voting for yet?  Sometimes I feel that I am, that since I'm an adult of 27 that I should have strong political opinions and maybe a t-shirt with somebody's campaign slogan on it.

The internet is little help.  Ninety percent of Facebook political posts are something to the effect of "why we should NOT vote for so-and-so" or "why such-and-such is a liar."  Telling me why I shouldn't vote for Candidate A is not the same as telling me why I should vote for Candidate B, you know.  I took one of those online political quizzes and it said I should vote for Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow* party, who, as far as I can tell from her webpage, believes in everything but doesn't seem to have any concrete plans about how to accomplish any of those things.  But I guess she doesn't have to.  Being a Green-Rainbow or Libertarian candidate is a pretty low-stress gig.  You don't even have to go to the debates.

Watching (and by "watching" I mean "reading the transcripts online the next day") the debates doesn't move me in either direction.  All I've learned is that each candidate is above-average at arguing most of the time.  And sure, I could vote based on what a candidate says he's going to do if re/elected, but come on now, how much of that stuff is he actually going to do in four years?  It's kind of a lot of stuff for someone who is going to get checked and balanced all the time.  I could say, "yes, I'll vote for you if you do this one thing, but I don't really care about most of that other stuff, so if you're only going to do that stuff and not the one thing I do care about, I don't really care."

I have reasons to like each candidate, or rather, I have reasons to want to like each candidate, but nothing has been said or done that has made me love one particular candidate.  Then again, I'm voting in a state that's pretty set in its ways politically, so I could vote for anyone and it really wouldn't matter, and that takes a lot of the stress out of things.

*I was hoping that Kermit the Frog and "Rainbow Connection" were somehow endorsing this candidate, but apparently Muppets are politically neutral.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Stinky Dead Cat...or a Live One That's Pretty Angry at You

I don't know to whom this image belongs; if I did, I'd credit them.
I think I figured it out.  Well, at least one of many "its."  I submitted my first of seven grad school applications today, only a half-hour after submitting the manuscript of a portion of my thesis research to the Journal of Forensic Sciences.  Before you applaud my motivation to do these things (on my birthday, no less!), let me tell you that these are things that could have been finished ages ago.  So why have they taken so long?  Sure, I was fussing over word choices here and there, but apart from that, the answer lies in Schrödinger's Cat.*

As long as my manuscript sits on my flash drive, unsubmitted, it has not been accepted by the Journal.  However, it also has not been rejected!  The same thing goes for my grad school applications.  It's comfortable; however, although I can certainly be a success in this scenario, I'm also simultaneously a failure.  And I don't like failure.  So I hit "submit!"  Let's see what happens.

*I'd like to say that this was an original idea, but it was inspired by Laura, who at a certain point had simultaneously passed and failed the bar exam (upon opening the box, she found that she passed!).  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


In some parts of the world, it's already my birthday.

Actually, this is the least excited I've ever been about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

[Name Withheld]*

Ode to [Name Withheld]:

Oh, [name withheld], how you terrify me.
If I had a Boggart, it would look like you.
If I were choking to death on a grape, and you were the only person who could give me the Heimlich maneuver, I would die pacing back and forth in front of your office working up the courage to go in.
No, I wouldn't.
I would die at my desk crafting a meticulously polite email asking you if you wouldn't possibly mind saving my life if you had a spare moment and if it wasn't too much of a bother.
And I cited your paper in my thesis.

*Because it would be not professional to use his name in a blog post.  Also, I'm afraid if I type it three times, he might magically appear.  Like Beetlejuice. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

An Abomination Worthy of a Blog Post

No, little Tiger.  You have to earn the right to put your shoes on like that.
I was flipping through the channels, and I saw a listing on PBS Kids for something called "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," and I thought, is that...?  No...they wouldn't. 

But they did.  They made a cheap animated spin-off of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."  Is nothing sacred anymore?  There is nothing antiquated or obsolete about the original live-action show; this is clearly just an attempt to squeeze more money out of a dead childhood icon.

Why can't people leave well enough alone?

How to Ride "The Bus" Like a Hawaiian*

*I use the term "Hawaiian" to mean "lifelong resident of Hawaii," regardless of ancestral origin.

  1. Don't give up your seat for anyone.  Not the woman who is obviously struggling to carry an extremely heavy shopping bag.  Not the thousand-year-old Chinese lady.  Not even the blind guy who just got on.
  2. Sit in the aisle seat.  Put all of your stuff in the window seat next to you, or better yet, just flaunt its emptiness to all of the people standing who aren't going to attempt to climb over your legs.
  3. Stuff too heavy?  Just set it down in the aisle, no problem!
  4. Take a load off.  Put your feet up on the seat across from you.  You've had a long day; you deserve it.
  5. Be the first person off the bus as soon as it stops, because it's totally a race.  Get up and move to the door even while the bus is still moving.  Make other people stand up and let go of the railings to let you through.  It's okay, it's Hawaii, so obviously everyone surfs and therefore has a great sense of balance.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, ride with "Aloha."  That means no matter how much any of the above-mentioned things piss you off, you just smile and deal with it.
Sigh.  Well, it's still cheaper than a car.

6:30 PM

I hate this time of day.

Everyone I could talk to is asleep.  Or should be asleep.

If they aren't asleep, any conversation that could be had would involve me feeling guilty for keeping them up so late, and them insisting that they'd be up anyway, and me not believing them.

Or the conversation would swerve dangerously close to "heartfelt feelings talk" territory.

As a matter of fact, the conversation would only be happening today for one of us.
For them, it's already tomorrow.

But for me, it's still today.  And I still have to do the stairs.
I've got to ignore the temptation of the green robots somehow.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yet Another List

But this one is relevant!  I'm back on the PhD application train (third time is the charm, right?) and have finally made a list of schools.  I'm not going to bore you blog readers with my entire thought process behind choosing these schools, because really, you don't care (and I'm not going to make my hardcore "pro/con" lists until some of these places actually accept me).  But maybe you do care about the various locations wherein I may find myself next Fall (or at least I'd like to think you do).  So here they are, in alphabetical order, with their pros and cons (and I've only actually been to three of these places, so some of them I'm just making up).

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD)
  • Pro:  It's only an hour away from Washington, D.C., Laura Taylor, and Cafe Rio.
  • Con:  I'll probably get shot.
Boston University School of Medicine (Boston, MA)
  • Pros:  I can navigate the place blindfolded; most of the people I like are there; it's just freaking amazing; UBurger.
  • Cons:  I would have said things are expensive, but that was before I moved to the Island of the Six-Dollar Box of Cereal (that's actually what "Oahu" means in Hawaiian).  I got nothing; Boston is absolute perfection.
University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)
  • Pro:  Living in Missouri might be kind of cool.
  • Con:  Living in Missouri might be kind of lame.
The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
  • Pro:  It's only a three-hour drive from my parents' house.
  • Con:  It's only a three-hour drive from my parents' house.
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
  • Pro:  There's a really good Greek Pizza place in East Lansing.
  • Con:  The really good Greek Pizza place is pretty much the only thing East Lansing has going for it.
University of Connecticut Health Center (Farmington, CT)
  • Pros:  It's New England (i.e. practically Boston); I can pretend I'm friends with the Gilmore Girls.
  • Cons:  I have never heard of Farmington, Connecticut before.  And probably neither has anybody else.  
Penn State Hershey (Hershey, PA)
  • Pro:  Chocolate.
  • Con:  Hershey's Chocolate.
University of Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Pros:  How cool would it be to say that I got to live in South Africa?
  • Cons:  I will probably get shot more often than I would living in Baltimore.
If anybody has actually been to these places and would like to chip in useful living advice, please comment!

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's a Monday kind of day.

Today is one of those days when I'm far too realistic about all of my goals.  Not about achieving them so much as my motivation for them.  Every little "project" is just some temporary distraction from the fact that I hate it here, and serves no real purpose.

Learn to make Haupia pie?  Why?  So I can eat it by myself when I'm feeling terribly miserable for one reason or another?

Re-learn German?  Let's face it, I'm never going to go to Europe, no matter how much I talk about it.  I'm not that kind of Alexandra.

Climbing all of the stairs in my building to get in excellent shape?  Okay, exercise is good for the ticker, to be sure.  But why do I care what my butt looks like?  So I look cute in a swimsuit when I go to the beach with all of my friends?

I haven't given up hope on the ukulele.  I did fork out $5 for the chord chart, after all.