Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Impressions Thus Far

A lot of my weekend was spent watching the Olympics. Actually, I'm watching the highlights of the US Men's Gymnastics Qualifications now. As it is fresh in my mind I thought I would share some of my observations. And because I'm Type A and like to organize things, I put it into categories.

Opening Ceremony
First, the ceremony was definitely good, but it was also random. 
  • The first thing I thought of when I saw the beginning was Lord of the Rings. Why? Take a look at this and tell me you don't think of the Shire!
  • Also, Voldermort was in it, which was pretty awesome. But then he was banished by Mary Poppins. She is cool, but I didn't know she was akin to Harry Potter! Don't believe me? Watch this.
  • However, having the athletic youth light the Olympic torch kind of took me by surprise and I still don't know what I feel about it. I'm used to what's traditional. You know, the famous older Olympian or something and it being so exciting. This one seemed a little anti-climatic to me, personally. Thoughts?
  • The Queen of England is very cool. 
  • Of course we all know that Mr. Phelps didn't do too well on his event on Saturday, but thankfully our other star swimmer, Lochte, did fabulous. 
  • Gymnastics is still amazing to watch and I am shocked at what people can do with their bodies!
Jake Dalton on the rings; source
  • Fun fact for you, Texas A&M (my alma mater) has 23 athletes and 1 coach competing in the Olympics. That is more than any other university in the US. Gig 'em Aggies!
Matt and I do not have cable and thus rely mainly on the internet for our Olympic watching needs. In case you haven't noticed, NBC is not being the best in terms of their streaming. 
  • As you probably know, in the US, there were no (legal) live stream of the opening ceremony. NBC was going to wait show it at 6:30. Well, they also weren't planning on having that delayed showing online, either. Booooooo. Though they were able to live stream the Super Bowl, they couldn't do it for the Olympics? Silly.
  • There is also an overall lack of adequate coverage. For instance, even if you wanted to watch the swimming final match that Lochte won on Saturday, you couldn't despite all of NBC's promises. That video didn't get posted until Sunday!
  • Their live streaming is pretty horrible. We have fast internet, but when trying to watch one of the events yesterday, it kept on freezing. Come on NBC, you knew a lot of people would watch. Keep up!
Despite my complaints with NBC, it is still an amazing two weeks! Have you noticed anything? Do you agree or disagree with any of my points?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics!!!

I think you get the picture. I'm so excited for tonight! Matt and I have big plans for the evening:


Tasty Beverages
Opening Ceremonies

Sounds like a perfect way to start the weekend!
My favorite summer Olympic sports are swimming, diving, gymnastics, and track & field. What about you? Have any other events to recommend to me? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In light of the previous post

Which was unusually serious for my blog, here is something to make you extra  smile.

Yes, those are penguins wearing sweaters. Why are they in such cute sweaters? Well, they were involved in an oil spill and are waiting to get cleaned. The sweaters are to prevent the little guys from ingesting oil when they preen themselves. 

Sad reason, but at least some individuals made some solid effort in knitting! The website I found this from had some really funny comments. My favorites are below.

  • No, no, no. These are Christmas presents from Mrs. Weasley.
  • I didn't know Neil Patrick Harris & Bill Cosby were friends.
  • The one on the right is redundant.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Observations from the weekend

I feel I can't let a post today be anything but about what happened in the early morning hours of last Friday. It was and is a tragedy. It is heart breaking. It is difficult to think about. What would cause a person to do such a thing? 

But I also can't help but think about the 10,000 plus people that have been killed in Syria in the past few months. Or the unknown number of people starving in North Korea, either in their villages or in prison camps. The list could go on, but it doesn't need to. 

So many tragedies, so many seemingly senseless deaths. I daily look at my news sources and read about how 200 more people were killed in Syria that day, and my heart goes out to them. Then I forget about it. Come Friday morning when we woke up to hear about the Colorado shooting, things become different. It is different when it happens here, in the US. Mass shooting rampages and other attacks just don't happen here. 

We stare at the picture of the shooter and speculate what was going on in the months leading up to the event. We argue about the need for tougher gun control laws. We post that our prayers and thoughts are with those in Aurora, CO.  

But it is equally heartbreaking, if not more so, to hear that thousands of people, many of them women and children, are being killed in other nations. However, I don't see that on Facebook. Regardless of what should or should not be done politically, it is not something talked about in day-to-day life.

I don't have a solution. I know we gravitate and pay attention to things that are more relevant to us, that are closer in proximity to us. It's what we do as a society. However, I have been reminded that my prayers should also be with all of those around the world, not just those in our country.

Again, no grand solution on my part to these issues. I don't mean to downplay what did happen on Friday, either. Just food for thought. If you have any thoughts on this issue, feel free to share. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

San Marcos Fun

When Matt and I went to Austin to celebrate the Fourth of July with his family, a few of us took a little roadtrip down to San Marcos. While there, we had a fun trip on a glass bottom boat! 

We went to the Aquarena Center at Springs Lake, where the San Marcos River begins, bought our tickets, and got on the boat.
The water is so clear! 

Matt and his brother Jordan
This area is fed by an aquifer, so we got to see several of the springs from which the water in the aquifer comes up to form the headwaters of the river. They didn't turn out so well in the pictures, but we were able to see tons of bubbles to indicate where the water was coming from. The sand you see in some of the pictures is actually limestone-- that only appears where the spring is as it is coming from the aquifer.

We also saw a lot of cool wildlife and plants, including this guy- a spotted gar!

Inside the center, they had some nice exhibits. One of the animal displays had the Texas Blind Salamander-- not something you see everyday! Anyway, if you are ever in the Austin area and get a chance to go to San Marcos, I highly recommend checking out the Aquarena! It was fun going on the glass bottom boat, seeing the springs, and checking out the local wildlife! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Numero dos

Last week I got some very exciting news- I'm going to be published! A while back in September, I submitted an abbreviated version of my undergraduate thesis for publication in an academic journal. In December, I got an R&R on it, which means revise & resubmit. This past May, my professor from Texas A&M and I met and did the suggested revisions and submitted it once again for publication.

Well- it was accepted! Yay! 

This aspect of grad school/academia is something I'm really beginning to enjoy. This wasn't for a class or anything, but each publication I get goes on my CV (curriculum vita) which will make me a more attractive job candidate once I earn my Ph.D. This is my second publication thus far and it is really cool to see the research I'm doing get published. I want to continue taking advantage of the connections I have and write more articles because it will pay off in the long run. 

Anyway, to celebrate my first published article of which I was the first author, my husband surprised me with flowers on Thursday. Then Friday we went out to a nice restaurant where I stuffed myself silly and learned I cannot split an appetizer and then eat even half of my entree. Guess weight loss has its disadvantages! But anyway, for my mother, here is a picture of the flowers:

Aren't they pretty? 

Monday, July 16, 2012


On Saturday Matt and I joined our friend Maddy and some of her friends at the Dallas Zoo! We went to celebrate Maddy's birthday and had a really fun time. I haven't been to that particular zoo in a really long time and they had just added a koala exhibit, so I was very excited to brave the Texas heat and check it out.
The birthday girl and me!
Their elephant enclosure was really impressive
Seriously, it was way bigger than this shows and they had probably 7 or so elephants!
In the same enclosure, the zebras!

For $5, you could feed the giraffes with romaine lettuce. 
Can't say I've seen a giraffe from this angle before!
Why, hello there Mr. Ostrich!
Matt with his favorites, the penguins!

The only koalas in Texas!

Do you see the little guy? So cute!
And can't forget about the tortoise!
If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it! We had a really fun time and they allow you to bring in outside food/drinks so you can go and have a fun time without spending too much money (aside from park admission & parking).

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CDC Warns About Weddings

In case you didn't know, about a year ago the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released on their blog what to do in the face of a zombie apocalypse. It's pretty excellent and good advice in my opinion. 

Well, they are at it again. This time, they are offering advice on surviving a wedding, whether you be the bride, the groom, family, or simply a guest. You can read the article here, but here are some of my favorite snipets:

  • The bridal kit should include extra safety pins, makeup for touchups, maybe a few sedatives.
  • If a tornado warning rips through the area, would you know what to do?  200 guests are not going to be able to crowd into the one windowless bathroom.
    • This is a valid point actually. Something I didn't think of...
  • Emergencies could range from a tear in your wedding gown, tornado, health issues, monster-in-laws, or bridezilla on the loose.
Also some of the comments are pretty humorous, too. For instance:
  • One should also use the Incident/Unified (bride and groom to be of course) Command System or ICS for your wedding plans as well as any other large family event……Operations, Logistics, Planning and most impotantly, Administration/Finance.
  • You can cover all of these areas (and more) without lifting a finger by hiring a professional and experienced wedding planner!
    • Hmmm... wonder what they do for a living!
Of course there were the individuals who thought the CDC's use of blog space on this topic was a waste. In my opinion, these posts get people looking at the CDC's website and they may see the more 'important' information. That, and being involved in a wedding can be stressful, thus is a valid health concern.

So anyway, what do you think? I hope it made you smile like it did for me! We're almost done with the week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If only...

If only weathermen did this every day...

Hope your week is going well so far. Definitely a rough one coming off of a holiday, but this made me smile and I hope it makes your day a bit happier! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

My PSA: People are special

First, I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! We spent the holiday with Matt's family and are having a great time visiting with them! Did you do anything special? Any cool firework shows?

But, on to the main topic. This special trend was recently brought to my attention and I'm not sure what to make of it. What is it?

People are posting pictures of their debit cards. On social media sites. For the world to see. There was a twitter account dedicated to rounding up all such posts from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the like to make this insane behavior public. Don't believe me? Here's the twitter account: @needadebitcard [it is my understanding this was shut down a few days ago, though]. 

As this article pointed out, those individuals are making it much easier for identity theft. Most places require the CVV numbers (the 3 digit code on the back of the card) to place an order by phone or electronically, but not all. Thus, by posting a picture of the front of the card, any identity thief has all the information they need to use that card. 

So please, as my PSA for the month, please be smart before you post anything online. It is never as private as you like to think. 

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. To help put a positive spin on this Friday's post, here is a cute animal!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

25 years

I wanted to write a post today just for my parents-- today marks their 25th wedding anniversary! They will be going on a cruise down the Rhine River to celebrate and I know they will have an amazing time! My parents are so special to me and I am so impressed by their amazing marriage, especially now that I am married myself. On several occasions I have had others mention to me how much in love my parents are and it is so true-- they are so good together and it is evident that after 25 years, they are still going strong.

My parents on their wedding day, plus my brother

I love you, Mom & Dad, and I hope you have a joyous anniversary! May the next 25 years be just as amazing! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Classical Mystery Tour

On Saturday night, Matt and I went to a really fun concert put on by the Ft Worth Symphony Orchestra as part of their Concerts in the Garden series. I'm sad we didn't know about this sooner because it is so fun and relaxing, but we did catch it for what was probably my favorite concert they were playing-- the Classical Mystery Tour! 

It was a full orchestra playing 30 of the best Beatles tunes, along with a fairly decent Beatles cover band (though come to find out the 4 guys are all from the states... psh, posers). It was a blast! After the hard week we just finished, it was so great to relax, listen to some good music, and just have quality time with my husband. Oh, and thousands of others.

So. Many. People.
Being summer time in Texas, we were concerned it was going to be very hot. Fortunately, the high that day was only 99 and there was a decent wind. The piece of lawn we picked for ourselves was in the shade, and with the gentle breeze blowing through it actually felt good. The fact that the concert didn't start until 8:15 definitely helped, but we definitely felt blessed to have such great weather!

The performers were great. The composer took great care to get every single note of those songs and transpose them to sound amazing with a full orchestra. Even though we were outside sitting hundreds of feet away from the stage, with the help of the speakers, the sound was amazing and really put me in the mood to go see Beatles LOVE again! Matt enjoyed himself too, and wasn't in the least bit embarrassed when I sang every word of every song. Mom & Paula- you would be so proud, I was the only one under the age of 40 to do so, I believe. 

The Beatles in the early years' black suits

And the Sergeant Pepper costumes! They changed into others, but there was no way of getting a good picture post-sundown!
Probably the best part was the encore-- playing Twist and Shout to a fireworks display! So fun! And yes, I did dance, just a little. How can you resist this song?

Anyway, this concert was so much fun and we will definitely have to remember the Concert in the Garden series next year! If you're in the DFW area, be sure to check it out in the future!
Did you do anything fun this weekend? Can you believe it's already July?? What?