Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Relevance 101

I feel so sorry for my English professor sometimes. He picks out deep, thought-provoking essays for us to read and discuss in class, and makes up good discussion questions to go along with them. Even when I don't agree with him or everyone else, we've had some awesome discussions and even debates on some great topics. I have a handful of really intelligent classmates (almost all guys, incidentally) and most of the time it's me and them tossing ideas/thoughts back and forth. On those days I leave class with my brain on a kind of high--I just love thought-provoking conversation.

But on some topics, things go completely awry. Without fail on these days, one of the, er, less bright members of the class always derails the discussion with completely irrelevant and unhelpful comments. Take today, for instance. We were discussing an essay by Virginia Woolfe, "Shakespeare's Sister," about the oppression of women throughout history. Very good stuff. It could've been a very interesting discussion, too. But no, it was not to be. The professor read this quote out loud:

"Indeed, if woman had no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance; very various; heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as a man, some think even greater. But this is woman in fiction. In fact, as Professor Trevelyan points out, she was locked up, beaten, and flung about the room."

Immediately a female student's hand shot up. "I just don't get that! I've told all my boyfriends, if they EVER hit me, they better hope I'm not able to get off the floor!"

Umm, okay. Thanks for completely missing the point of the entire discussion (sexism in history). I'm glad you won't ever be the victim of oppression, Classmate, but Virginia Woolfe was talking about how women in the old days didn't have any choice but to be oppressed. But no, we didn't get to discuss that for more than a few minutes, since the topic went to the birds after that. Especially after that same classmate, after expressing extreme disgust with men who look down on women, turned right around and started talking about how men are so much dumber than women and how her husband hates it when she crushes his ideas. (Poor guy. And that's not sarcasm.) Professor S. tried valiantly to bring some depth back to the topic but it was in vain.

If I could teach a college success course, I would teach one on "Relevance: How to Intelligently Contribute to Class Discussions." Dream on.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life lately

This has been a nice weekend. For one, I got a 3-day weekend from school--no class on Friday! I took the day completely off from all responsibilities (except for work =P) and relaxed. It was a beautiful day so I invited a group of girlfriends to go to the Olympia farmer's market it with me for part of the day. I really love that place. So much unique, local products, yummy food, and--of course!--weird people to stare at. ;-) Andrew and I also grilled out for dinner for the first time this year! And Friday night I saw Water for Elephants with was good but sad! I need to pick up the book now.

Yesterday I started off the morning with running 3 miles with Kelly and WB:R2R (abbreviation for the awesome running group I have mentioned here before, Wear Blue: Run to Remember). The weather was beautiful again and warm enough that we felt really heated when we were done--gonna have to start getting used to that! I've gotten so good at running in the cold, haha. Anyway, I was supposed to run 12 miles but it just wasn't going to happen. I've been having some back trouble and running 8 miles last week before I was completely better caused a major flare-up. I have plenty of time though; the 1/2 marathon is still over a month away and so far my longest run has been 11.5 miles at a pretty decent pace. I'm starting to feel pretty confident that I'll be able to accomplish my goal of finishing the race in under 2 hours! Btw, here's a recent professional photo of my afore-mentioned running group (I'm standing, 5th from right):

School is going well. I can't believe there are only 4 weeks left though! I have an essay to BS my way through this week for English class--all the topics to choose from were completely uninspiring, but I've managed to pick one and have a good headstart on it. I'm definitely going to get an A in this class. =) My business class is going to be a little more stressful but I've been making pretty good grades so far and should be able to keep it up if I really buckle down the next couple weeks. My teammates and I have a big project due and then I'll have some big-time studying to do for the final. math. I'm doing okay, but am a little behind. That's the only thing stressing me out slightly, but I'll finish.

We are officially moving to Texas in August! I'm pretty excited. I'll do a separate post about that soon. =) It's completely different from WA (or FL!) and definitely going to be an adventure!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Technology Sucks

Apparently Blogger decided it would be okay to delete the comments to my last post when they did whatever-it-was-they-were-doing to the site this week. Me no appreciate, Blogger!

The argument could be made that I have no business complaining really since it's a free site, but my counter-argument is that I would gladly pay a little to use Blogger if they could guarantee they won't just delete stuff on my site. =P

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Of beans and chocolate chips

Today I'm going to pass on two cooking/baking tips that I have added to my repertoire of cooking/baking skills! One I cannot take credit for at all, but the other I like to think is mostly my own innovation. If you think it's not, that's fine, but keep it to yourself. Everyone deserves a little glory. ;-)

So, #1. If you are like me and love a big pot of beans, but think the process is a time-consuming drag, I've learned a way to eliminate the "soaking" step! A commenter on explained that you cover the beans with cold water, bring it to a boil, and boil for about 10 minutes. Then put the pot in the sink, and throw in 1/4 cup of baking soda. Start stirring it around and an amazingly disgusting-looking green/yellow/brown foam starts boiling up. Keep stirring vigorously til the foam disappears, and then rinse the beans and pot thoroughly. Put the pot back on the stove and start the cooking process! I am used to having to carve out about 4 hours to make beans, but this method shaves off about 1.5 hours. Awesome!

#2. After receiving a ton of mini chocolate chips leftover from Christmas baking items at my job and not sure what to do with them, I decided to throw them in some chocolate chip cookie batter. Voila! My new favorite cookie (and everyone else's, apparently--I have gotten rave reviews on these cookies whenever I make them)! I use the basic recipe that's on the back of most chocolate chip bags, but when it comes time to add the chocolate chips, I add a ridiculous amount of mini chocolate chips. You definitely don't buy one bag of minis for a batch of these cookies; buy a couple. If you're not willing to do that, well...why are you bothering in the first place? Skimping on the chocolate in chocolate chip cookies should be a crime.

Anyway. Basically, my rule is: if you add the mini chocolate chips to the dough and it looks like enough, add a little more.
This tip is what takes your cookies from the "oh nice, you brought chocolate chip cookies," level to the "OMG! These are the best cookies ever!" level. =) They stay chewy, moist, and immensely chocolatey in every bite. YUM!