Sunday, October 31, 2004

Tonight we headed over the watch the Lakeview Halloween parade. It wasn't as crowded as I expected, but it was still good to get out and see what was going on. Photos below!

Northwestern represents at the parade, yo! Posted by Hello

Kevin as "Grafitti" and Jessica as a leper and me sandwiched in between my two costumed honeys at the Lakeview Halloween Parade. Posted by Hello

This is so, so WRONG. My brother and his Halloween costume. I feel dirty even posting it, but I can't help myself.  Posted by Hello
Oui, Monsieur!
In my day as a shut-in yesterday, I watched the French documentary, "To Be and to Have." In it, the documentarians filmed the goings-on of a rural schoolhouse in France. It was pretty wonderful and poignant. Some reasons why you should run out and get it:
1.) It's quiet, but it's moving.
2.) Fat cheeked moppets...speaking French and learning their letters and numbers!
3.) Pre-adolescents who are heartbreaking in their vulnerabilities.
4.) The teacher, who is seriously like Jesus. This man had the calmest, most wonderful manner. He could make millions as someone's therapist.

Did I mention the fat cheeked moppets?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Best Halloween Party Ever
I went last night with Jenny, Brendan, Amie, and Hilary to the Cheetah Gym Halloween Party in Andersonville. They cleared out the equipment and had set up for a Boogie Nights party. Let me list why this party was so fab: $10 "suggested donation" for an open bar AND a buffet; live band that played awesome 80s hits; spotlight outside the door along with a red carpet; again, $10 for an open bar! One of the women in my program had sent info about it to everyone in the department since she was working the bar, and it was seriously hands-down awesome. Best costume of the night: a bill from Schoolhouse Rock. As Jenny would say, that is "co-bit-ment."

Jenny was a mean Misty May. We accentuated her six-pack with a sharpie. Brendan was her coach, and was hot in his ladies exercise shorts, and I was the easiest costume ever. Thanks to Robin for suggesting that I attend as an "Identity Crisis." All it takes is sticky nametags, which ended up being free. It was successful as well, since throughout the night I was approached by various, curious people and high-fived by a few. Seriously, people without a costume: get on the "Identity Crisis" wagon. The best part is that it doesn't stand in the way of your partying ability.

Misty, Identity Crisis, and the best coach ever. Posted by Hello

Misty May and her our apartment! Check out Misty's abs. Posted by Hello

Go USA! Posted by Hello

Friday, October 29, 2004

Thank you, thank you, thank you
To Anne for mailing me a tape of "The Office" 2-hour special AND a "60 Minutes" interview with Jon Stewart. You, my friend, are a tried and true Queen.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Taking a break from studies of the Laryngeal system to post some photos from last night. I joined Laura and Katie for a clinic fundraiser at this kitsch-laden bar called Hogs and Honeys. Needless to say, there was a mechanical bull. Katie and Laura tore it up, dude. I was way impressed!

Laura: woooo! Posted by Hello

Katie, kicking it on the bronco Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

See if you can make this out: one of the shops in the neighborhood has decorated one of their favorite mannequins for Halloween. Posted by Hello
How lumpenproletariat
Cool: the Guardian reports on the buzzwords for each year over the past century.

1909 tiddly-om-pom-pom

Anyone know what that means?

Plus, maybe it's a sign of how unhip I am, but I have no idea what 2004's word, chav, means. Does anyone else know??

(via tmn)
Mmmm--vegetable dumplings
For those familiar with the Bad Attitude Dumpling Place outside the East Gate of Beijing Normal University, a certain Carrie C. has frequented there just recently. My mouth slavers at the memory of those tasty morsels and let's not forget the Mongolian Lamb. Oh my gah.

Here's what Carrie reports:

For the record, Bad Attitude is as good as it gets. I had a rolicking blast there k-solo, NYer in hand, Tsingtao flowing and the good proprietier, Mr.Zhe, remembered me, dragging me back into the kitchen and announcing "Wang Chun Mei is here!" much to the consternation of the wait staff and cooks. We all took it in stride.

I've been trying to convince Robin to name his dumpling joint Bad Attitude, but he shirks off the suggestion. Continue the greatness, Robin, continue the greatness...
No more...
...large, coffee drinks for me in the afternoons. Yesterday I got a coffee freeze from this noodle place in Evanston and stayed up last night until about 2:30, still vibrating from all of the caffeine. I chose poorly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Passive Aggressive Letters to fellow Library Patrons

Dear person sitting beside me listening to his iPod at Volume 11,

That's really annoying.

No, it really is.
It's a library here.


Dear gentleman sitting on the chair behind me snoring loudly,

Why are you napping here?
You run the risk of missing your class.


Apparently, Chicago's one of the most ghost-infused cities.
That stupid band
So it's about two days old now, but I still am hooked on the Ashlee Simpson debacle. What a fricking train wreck, yo. Jenny and I watched the whole thing a couple of times last night; she sent me the link so that we could watch watch "and judge." The Washington Post had an article about it today, and included some information that makes this entire thing even more ridiculous. Apparently, in the non-live West Coast feed, they edited out the vocal track! So all you saw was Ashlee dancing around to the music and then walking off the stage. See below:

Anyway, the official word from NBC yesterday was that "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels's position is that its musical guests perform live. To drive home that point, for the West Coast feed the network edited out Simpson's voice from the backup track that had taken her by surprise. Viewers in Los Angeles saw Simpson gyrate, appear to become confused because the band was playing the wrong song, and then walk off. Presto chango, no lip-syncing.

Just adding to the lameness with that move....

Monday, October 25, 2004

A great dinner *and* a free pizza stone
Thanks to Katja for hosting me for a fabulous dinner last night. Fresh eggplant and lentils were among other things is a savory casserole. She also shared some tapas that she had made for another occasion--dates and pistachios wrapped in bacon. My love for those tasty concoctions are beyond description. Apparently, they're super easy to make as well, so I will be recreating those in a jiffy. Oh my gah.

Katja also passed on a nice quality pizza stone that the person who had the apartment prior had left behind. Yay!

My study sight today. 70 degrees and sunny in Chicago. Rowr! Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bill's Life, According to Bootleg Chinese copies
Apparently, someone has taken some liberties with Bill Clinton's book, My Life, in the Chinese black market. Hilarious.

The fake version reveals a Clinton family obsessed with China's strong points, with how Chinese science and technology "left us in the dust." Readers will learn that the future president, to impress Hillary's mother, had rhapsodized about such things as the Eight Trigrams, documented in "The Book of Changes" several thousand years ago. Another retranslation of the pirated translation last summer has Mr. Clinton explaining to Hillary that his nickname is "Big Watermelon."

Remember when Juan the bear was trying to make a break for it at the Berlin zoo? Yeah, that was awesome. Posted by Hello

See how pretty it is today? Check out those blue skies! Posted by Hello
The $100 Philly Cheesesteak
With truffles and fricking foie gras!
For once the detractors and supporters agree...

Bush is like Bud Light.

Brand Associations to Bush and Kerry.
This is actually pretty fascinating. Both the dectractors and supporters of each groups AND undecideds agree that Bush is like Business Week Magazine and Kerry is like People. What's up with that?!

What is particularly interesting is Bush supports relate Bush to Subway and Kerry to McDonalds, and the Kerry supporters reverse that. The good news is that the undecided voters also relate Kerry to Subway and Bush to McDonalds, so maybe a sign that Kerry has an advantage? I'll hang on to anything.

Here's some analysis:

Among undecided voters: Kerry appears to have the advantage because undecided voters tend to associate him with certain brands based more on their positive than their negative attributes: Apple is "young" and "hip", Target offers "value for everyone", Starbuck's is "young" (but also "elite"), but on the negative side, BMW is "expensive"; among this same group, Bush is associated with certain brands based more on their negative than positive attributes: Kmart is "irrelevant", Dunkin' Donuts is "cheap", McDonald's is "bad for you", but on the positive side, Samuel Adams is "trustworthy" and "patriotic"
(Note that undecideds associated Bush with BOTH Sam Adams and Bud Light).

Spending my morning on the Post online

Jonathan Yardley hates Catcher in the Rye now.

...That's just easy exploitation of the reader's emotion. Give your protagonist a dead younger brother and a cute little sister -- not to mention a revered older brother, D.B., a gifted writer who sounds a whole lot like J.D. Salinger himself -- and the rest is strictly downhill. From first page to last, "The Catcher in the Rye" is an exercise in button-pushing, and the biggest button it pushes is the adolescent's uncertainty and insecurity as he or she perches precariously between childhood, which is remembered fondly and wistfully, and adulthood, which is the great phony unknown.

I still enjoy the book, though. It's funny and I still appreciate Holden's aversion to "phonies."
The Washington Post endorses Kerry for President!

That's awesome.
That's what the weather is like today. But, I have to do reading in the following subjects: anatomy and stats. That actually cracks me up, that combination. Each of those subjects is strongly unappealing, in and of themselves, but when combined in one day of study: the repellance factor is its own entity that is capable of mowing down small villages.

In other news, I have successfully finished all of the Netflix disks that I had for this weekend, so have few other distractions. I watched the first disk of HBO's "The Wire," and that stuff is good. I was awash in the David Simon oeuvre yesterday, and I was happy.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Campaign of a Comedian
More Jon Stewart, from today's Post.
So, since I'm dirt poor right now, my social life is a little more than curbed. I don't really mind too much, though, since after a long, test-ridden week, I was pretty exhausted last night. I lay in the living room last night, gorging myself on Season 4 of "Homicide: Life on the Street." I don't need to tell you how good it is. Maybe too good: one of the episodes, "A Doll's Eyes," which featured Marcia Gay-Harden, pre-Oscar, was about a 10-year old who got shot mistakenly and the parents had to make a decision as to whether to take him off of life support or not. Yeah, I was fricking SOBBING by the end of it. Nice. But, I'm thrilled to report that I have another disk of the season to watch today. Maybe more sobbing will occur.

It's a rainy day in Chicago today.  Posted by Hello

In case you forgot about the Asian Colonel. (RY photo again) Posted by Hello

Posting just because I can now. R.Yang photo from the China trip. Posted by Hello

I love the ADD (Thanks go to Bill for this picture...) Posted by Hello
Yay for Anne!
...Who directed me as to how to post pictures to the blog, using Hello. It's so easy indeed! This means trouble, I'm going to be posting pictures all of the time, and overloading the blog. Too bad.

Study time Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

So, apparently Singapore is now carving itself out as the gay-friendly tourist locale in Asia. Smart, since most of this population doesn't have kids and therefore more disposable income. I like this part of the article about it in the WSJ:

Mr. Ho, a 33-year-old information-technology consultant, was decked out in a T-shirt proclaiming "Choose Sin" in large, red letters and "gapore" in smaller print.

Sweet t-shirt!

(via tmn)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Thai Food and Friendly, Familiar Faces
Lucinda is in town this week for work, so she hopped on the El to meet me at Belmont and we went to have the signature Thai meal. I dropped her off again at Belmont just now. Here we are. It was nice to get the scoop on what's been going on at the office for the past month and a half. God, it really feels like longer than that.

Okay, back to lovely Phonetics.

Btw, I got an anatomy quiz back, one that I know I bombed. It's okay, since I can ditch one grade, and this will be the one, but I have to share it, since it's downright hilarious. I got a sweeeeet 33%. Woooooo! I'm considering hanging it on the fridge.
Not proud, but this is funny
Okay, so the tv is on in the background as I painstakingly go over Phonetics allophones for the exam tomorrow.

It's Maury's quality talk show, and his favorite topic of "who fathered this baby?" Actually, the exact title of this show is "Is Grandma's Ex-Boyfriend My Baby's Dad?"

One dude in particularly made me laugh out loud. He was contesting the idea of that he was someone's dad. The little slogan under him read Says Rosemary's Baby's not his because she has "Frankenstein eyebrows and big turtle feet."


Also, that's a one year old girl he's talking about.
He did turn out to be the dad, btw.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tonight's fun
Kevin and Jessica came for dinner tonight! We had chili, ice cream, and lots of chips. I love them.

Anyway, Kevin showed us some moves from Orchesex, his much bally-hooed two-man dance group from college. I particularly enjoyed the "slut crawl" myself. See here for the a list of each of the moves. Kevin promised that should I ever get married, he and Harvey would perform at my wedding, so I better get on the task of finding a dude.

Kevin was on a roll, telling me all there was to know about black women's hair culture, and then telling me like it was about whatever and whoever I mentioned. Here's a shot of Sassy, Telling-Like-It-Is Kevin.

Jessica, the best Little Sister Ever, brought over some free wine that she receives as the liquor person at the Field Museum. She is still the best and is taking Chicago by storm with the theater and the comedy. Check out how cute she is!
I'm on a roll today

From Craig's List Chicago

MC with bratty Loyola kids tonight

To the party of four Loyola students with whom I had the pleasure of sharing an El car with tonight on my way home:

You fucking ignorant twits.

Check out the site for more....

New Addiction
Jonathan brought me back some English Breakfast Tea from his trip to London all of those months ago, and I'm digging into the box with fervor now. My new favorite thing is to whip up some milk tea. I make that awesomely strong tea, add some milk and a packet of Splenda and my day is made. MMM.
From High Times Magazine
Short Answer: John Kerry

(also from tmn)
"Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions"
The Guardian apparently launched a campaign last week in which its readers wrote to undecided voters in the swing-state of Ohio to try to convince them of why they need to not vote for Bush. The Guardian has now printed some of the reactions to this campaign, which are nothing short of priceless. Of course, there are some that are gracious, but those aren't nearly as funny as some of the following gems:

Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals. Wading River, NY


(Oh my God.)

Who in the hell do you think you are??? Well, I'll tell you, you're a bunch of meddling socialist pricks! Stay the hell out of our country and politics. And another thing, John Kerry is a worthless lying sack of crap so it doesn't surprise me that a socialist rag like yours would back him. I hope your cynical ploy blows up in your cowardly faces, you bunch of mealy-mouthed morons! United States

Keep your noses out of our business. As I recall we kicked your asses out of our country back in 1776. We do not require input from losers and idiots on who we vote for in our own country. Fuck off and die asshole!!!!! Knoxville, Iowa

(Okay, that last line was kind of hilarious...)

And after all of that, there's a voice of reason:

Your idea is superb and frankly, we need a little help over here right now. Ohio

(via tmn)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Sunday nights rawk
Jenny came home last night, and she, Amie, and I sat and watched the new hard-cracking show on Bravo titled "Manhunt: the Search for America's Most Gorgeous Male Model." This show is so bad, so hilarious, and so, so delicious. This collection of aspiring male models...they're such jerks for the mostpart. I know, I know, big surprise, but they're even jerkier than you might imagine! We all picked our favorites, though, and I honed in on Rob Williams. How cute is he? Jenny and Amie informed me that he is most definitely a gay man, though, so I shouldn't go ahead and make that valentine heart and send it to him like I was planning to.

But seriously, look at how funny the picture is of the male models lined up in their white underwear (no, seriously...go and look). Last night's "challenge" was that they had to strip down into some Calvin Klein underwear (this show is not afraid to shill) and then go skydiving. I'm totally not even making that up.

Also, I totally think that most of these dudes made up their names. Seth, Hunter, Tate? Come ON.

One more thing, though. Last night, after they stripped down, they got treated to some very unclever critiques from some grizzled season male model. He called one dude, Blake, "pear-shaped." HA.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

To Noone's Surprise...
...I tripped and fell on the way home last night. Although I didn't even scrape myself (amazing), my knee is now kinda wonky and maybe a bit swollen. Nice.

But last night was a good time. I hit some bars in West Lakeview with some friends from my program, tagging along with an organized crawl. Nothing too much of interest to report except that I did pass The Golden Apple diner! This American Life did a show called "24 Hours at the Golden Apple," and I was thrilled to see that it's *kinda* in my neighborhood (a twenty minute walk, but in the neighborhood nonetheless).

And now I will spend the next few hours learning more phonetics.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Best Ever
James linked to the transcript of Jon Stewart on CNN Crossfire on his blog. So, so awesome.
My favorite two days of the week
Hurrah for the weekend! Friday was brutal in that we received our anatomy mid-terms back. Suffice it to say that I felt cheated in my grade in that I studied in the double digits for that test. Now I just need to make peace with studying anatomy every night so I can stay apprised of the information--and I will begrudge every second of that studying, have no fear.

In Phonetics, though, we have been learning about allophones of different phonemes (which are the ways of putting various spins on different sounds in a language without those sounds losing their meanings). So, you know how we sometimes say "teef" instead of "teeth"? There's a specific name for that. Who knew? There's also a specific term for using "smoove" rather than "smooth" (and, no, that term is not "correct usage").

Yeah, so my plan to take a picture a day kind of fell out the window, didn't it? It was taking a lot of time to sit down and download those suckers. Maybe I'll make it a weekly thing. Tonight, though, I'm joining some women from my program for a pub crawl in the neighborhood, so maybe I can take some shots there.

I hear through the grapevine that it's Homecoming at William and Mary this weekend: crazy! Someone eat a Hot Holly for me.

In other news, major congratulations to Annie and the super successful pledge drive so far at WETA! All you working folks should pledge and show your support for quality programming!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It was worth a shot
So last night, I had lab until 5:20, but had made plans with Laura and Katja to try to go and see Art Speigelman speak. He was talking about his new graphic novel, In the Shadow of No Towers, at this extremely cool comic shop in Wicker Park called Quimbys. His talk--free, btw!--was being held at 6:30. We gave it our all to get there in time for it, though. Luckily, Laura was driving, but we didn't actually get on Lake Shore doing downtown till about 6 or so. We found prime parking right in front of the bookstore (lucky), but by the time we walked in, Mr. Spiegelman was just finishing up (unlucky). Plus, the place was so crowded, that I couldn't even see him sitting down up front! We were in the book store for about five minutes when the whole thing ended. I didn't have anything to sign (which I kind of wish I did, since the man is way cool), but I did manage to sneak up and get a gander at him. So now I know what he looks like...and stood about seven feet away from him. I also took a picture of the crowds, but since I'm writing this at school, I'll have to download it later.

Afterward, we wandered around Wicker Park for a bit and stopped and had dinner as well. The neighborhood has a very artsy feel that's the slightest bit gritty as well. Jenny told me that's where they had the house in Real World Chicago, which seems like a bad choice: no wonder they got the treatment that they did, the neighborhood is too cool to have the Real World infiltrating.

So, although we didn't get to hear Art Spiegelman really, we did get to check out the neighborhood a little bit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Thanksgiving Removed
Good news! Since my wallet can't handle a flight back to DC for Thanksgiving, and I'm returning to DC for winter break about ten days later, I was gearing up for a lonely holiday in Chicago. But now, it looks like Annie and her brother will be coming and sharing the holiday with me. Yahoo!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

BK and its Quest for the Edgy
Slate has an article this morning about that new ad from Burger King featuring the King with the giant plastic head. It's creepy, but it also reminds me of the beloved Freaks and Geeks episode where Sam wears the giant Viking head as the mascot. Anyway, I admire Burger King for going out of a limb for weirdness. Because the commercial is seriously weird.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Columbus Day
I didn't realize that it was Columbus Day today until I read an email from Anne mentioning it. Things seem to be going on a normal here so maybe they don't celebrate it in this city.

Tomorrow is my first mid-term, and it's in Anatomy, my favorite. Luckily, my days end at noon on Mondays, so I came home, did some laundry and planted myself down in the dining room to do some studying. I actually just finished putting a nifty study guide on the computer (fun fonts on this version of Word). Really, that's all my day was: dullsville. Here's a shot of the study scene, sans me.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Weekend Report and Photos
Okay, so I was lax in posting yesterday. It was a good weekend, mostly composed of relaxing and enjoying myself with a small segment spent studying. I need to maintain the sanity.

Saturday, I went to see something at the Chicago International Film Festival. We went to see a collection of short films by Chicago filmmakers which were pretty cool. A varied selection or varying lengths and the filmmakers stood up for a Q&A at the end. Here's a photo of Katja, my German post-doc friend, in front of the theater.

Afterward, we met up with Richelle and Melissa for Richelle's last night in Chicago. She's off to London in a couple of weeks but she was leaving Chicago this morning. She was a trooper: staying out late and then getting on a plane to Pheonix this morning at 6 a.m. Anyway, here's a shot of the group of us at Glascott's Groggery.

This morning was the Chicago Marathon. The marathon ran through my neighborhood around 10 a.m. this morning, a block from my place. I went out there and joined the crowds cheering people on. Proof of my density: the group beside me was cheering people as they went by ("Go Katie! Keep it up, Rick!") and was high-fiving them. My first thought was: "wow, they know a lot of people running here." It wasn't till about 15 minutes later that I realized that runners had their names on their shirts. Nice. Here is a shot of the marathon.

This evening I had some women from my program over for a potluck. It was a grand time and lots of good food and wine were had and not a book was cracked. Here's a shot of the ladies, who are a lot of fun. Proof of the fun that they are: they turned the camera around and took a shot of me.

Monday looms, though...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A find
I stumbled upon the a blog where someone chronicles the growth of his daughter, one segment called "The Story about the Toddler." This guy slays me. One segment:

For the last year, I have done the opposite of making friends by describing babies as “dopey”. I still stand by this term. It’s sort of an affectionately insulting term for the impenetrable shield of obliviousness that is the normal baby state of being.

Now that I have had some exposure to a “toddler”, I have decided that the term “dopey” no longer applies. My operative description for toddlers is “perversely stupid.”

When Cordelia climbs onto a couch, her primary method for getting down is throwing herself off head first. When this had the predictable bad effect, she refined the technique by throwing herself down head first, HARDER.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Photos of the day
It was a crazy busy day again. I am so very looking forward to the weekend.
But, here are the daily photos.
The first one is an evening shot of Cornelia, right by my street.
The second one is the autumn cornucopia set up in our apartment courtyard. How cute is that?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Photos of the day
Today was a doozy.
I spent the morning in the little cafe nestled inside the library. I like this place since it's quiet, there's coffee, there's lots of sunshine and comfortable chairs as well as tables. Here's my view for the better part of the morning. Actually, no--scratch that: HERE is my view for the better part of the morning...studying phonetics.
Yeah, so want to get depressed?
I'm a sucker for those Chipotle burritos. They're so good, and you can totally fool yourself into the idea that you're being healthful since there's all of that protein and fiber in there! And come on, Baja Fresh--it's FRESH! It's got to be good for you.

I kind of knew this already, but the cat is officially out of the bag. The Center for Science in the Public Interest wrote an article trumpeting the calorie and nutritional counts of popular items from both Chipotles and Baja Fresh.

Check it out:

"Fresh Mex chains cultivate an aura of healthfulness, and sometimes it's deserved," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "But because Chipotle doesn't reveal calories or other nutrition information, most people wouldn't have a clue that a Vegetarian Burrito is the equivalent of an overstuffed corned beef sandwich--plus 350 calories. Chipotle's Carnitas Burrito is like an artillery shell filled with a day's worth of saturated fat and sodium."

Thanks for ruining the party, Michael.
(via tmn)
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Photo of the day
So I've decided to try to post a new daily photo of life in this new city for awhile. Anne told me that her friend Steve (hi, Steve, if you're reading this!) enjoys the shots of Chicago for a different scene than DC, so that inspired me.

Today's photo is from 12:20 pm while I waited for the Red Line to Howard on the Belmont El stop. It was really lovely out today.
Quiz down, test and quiz to go
I have like two quizes and a test every week. Next week we have our Anatomy MID-TERM. We've been in class for two weeks now! How crazy is that?

Anyway, today in Language Development our professor lectured on how babies learn to talk in the first year. We listened to recordings of baby talk: cooing, gurgling, laughing (the best!). It was awesome.

Study Facts of Interest
I have a Language Development quiz today. I'm spending the morning going over notes--the lay out is a lot like my undergrad classes in psych, so it's not as intimidating to me as Anatomy. The course is about how infacts acquire language, which I find interesting. Some of the stuff that caught my eye:

1. There are two schools of thought in terms of language acquisition: Innateness and Learning. Researchers tend to divide into East Coast and West Coast camps on this. Noam Chomsky, associated with MIT, is a proponent of Innateness and UCSD and USC are populated with learning theorists. When our professor discussed this in class, I could help chuckling to myself over the whole East Coast/West Coast rivalry. That's so awesome.

2. Babies can discriminate their own mother's voice when they're in the womb.

3. Babies up to four months old can distinguish their native language's rhythm, so English speaking babies can tell English from Japanese. However, they can't distinguish between rhythmically similar languages (English and Dutch, for instance). But, after 4-5 months, they can make that distinction. Even cooler, at that same age, biligual babies can distinguish between their two mother tongues.

4. Babies 6-8 months old can detect distinctions in languages like Hindi and Thompson-Salish (an almost extinct Canadian language). They lose this ability by their first year.

All the more reason to start language training early in them bitty babies. they're like sponges.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Perfect Soundtrack
I've found the ultimate music to study along to. I was having some issues over finding music that wasn't too distracting. I popped in a cd that Charles had given me several years ago, now: Spokane's Proud Graduates. It's mellow and pretty and not peppy enough that I want to listen to the words. It makes me want to sit here and ooze into my books. Score.
City walking and food stops
Des and Bryan left this morning at about 6 a.m. I remember blurrily bidding them farewell, but I hope that each arrived at their respective destinations safely. It was nothing less than fabulous having them here this past weekend, although I managed to spend a day and a half solid with them since those pesky classes got in the way.

Friday night we opted to stay in and cook a big dinner. Kevin came over, we parked around the dining room table, wine flowed and Kevin gave us the inside scoop of college admissions.

Saturday was our activity-filled day. What follows is the day's agenda:

1.) The John Hancock Building Observatory. My first time there! It was quite stunning, so the trip is recommended. Although Jenny just told me that you can visit the restaurant up there without paying an admission fee, and have an over-priced drink for about the same price as the normal ticket price. I took several pictures. Here are one, two, and three shots of the view. That last view is one of the courtyard of the church that's across the street. I liked it because it looked like a doll's house. Here are Des and Bryan on the skywalk, and here are Des and myself on the skywalk (the only place that we could take pictures without looking like dark blotches).

2.) From there we opted to walk uptown to see the city by foot and take advantage of some of that crisp, sunny Fall weather. We walked through the Gold Coast and stumbled upon a Farmer's Market that spanned for a couple of blocks. There were many baked goods and cheese products to be purchased: yum. Here's a shot of the Farmer's Market (not too fancy, but so you'll get the idea).

3.) From the Gold Coast we winded our way up through Old Town and it's main drags and neighborhoods. Very charming. I didn't take any shots of this, though, although we did go past a cinema that was showing "Resident Evil 2" and I tried to convince Des and Bryan that I had been leading them there so we could catch a matinee.

4.) From Old Town, we worked our way North to Oz Park. I had wanted to visit this for awhile, so I took a lot of shots. Here's the Cowardly Lion at the Southeast corner of the park. We walked north to see the more famous Tin Man. I love this guy's cranky face.

5.) Oz Park leads into the heart of Lincoln Park. We walked through the neighborhoods and then headed up Clark street before we found a place for lunch. Not too many exciting shots here, but I finally made good on my vow to take shots of all the places that we stopped in for food. Here are Des and Bryan at the Oodles Noodles in Lincoln Park (I don't think any tie to the Oodles of Noodles in DC). Food coma commenced right afterward.

6.) From Lincoln Park, we hopped on the 22 bus north to Andersonville. Andersonville used to be a Swedish community, but is now more known for its progressive feel and lesbian community (gay men like my neighborhood, hence its nickname, Boystown). Andersonville has a more residential feel, although it does have a little strip of shops, cafes, and restaurants that seem interesting. I liked that there was a fancy-ish restaurant called "Tomboy." Anyway, I felt like it looked like a movie set since there aren't any buildings in the background, and it looks like the street popped out of nowhere. Here are Des and Bryan gamely posing at the busstop in the middle of Andersonville.

While in Andersonville, we stopped at the famous Swedish Bakery. Des poses with the goods. Here is a shot of their mini-Swedish cannoli. Those are chocolate chips on the end. How perfect does it look?

7.) We hopped on the bus back from Andersonville to Lakeview. It was right after another Cubs game, so the bus was filled with a whole cross-section of types. Many of them drunk. Welcome to Chicago, Des and Bryan!

8.) An hour at home in Lakeview. I watched an MTV "True Life" that I had never seen before: I was happy.

9.) We then walked over the Theater Building on Belmont, less than a mile from my place, to see a production of "Matt and Ben." It was good to see it, although as we agreed over dinner afterward, it was hard at the beginning to get invested. Plus, Matt and Ben feel very 2000. Hell, even Bennifer is over. Anyway, I wanted for us to do something vaguely cultural while Des and Bryan were here, so hopefully that fit the bill. They were very game about all of these plans, btw.

10.) I mentioned dinner, and we had it at a one of a Chicago chain of Swedish breakfast eateries named "Ann Sather." Yum. They are famous for their cinnamon rolls and it's deserved. I tried their Swedish breakfast sampler, which was amazing. Here is a shot of the breakfast course. Their coffee is also good.

This particular branch turns into a danceclub for gay underaged teens during the weekend nights, apparently. I also found out that the one that we went to used to be a funeral home, which would explain the huge staircase and the dark paneling.

And that would wrap up the day. Quite spectacular in many ways. Now I'm left in the wake of friends' departure and sitting here surrounded by text books.

Must. get. work. done. today.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Hanzi messups
Okay, so this website might be the most amusing for those in the audience who actively read Chinese (I'm not one of those people), but it's still amusing for those of us who don't.
Well, while this week passed with a quickness, it was also some kind of intense. Remember before classes started, and I was bored and didn't know what to do with myself? Yeah, it's no longer like that...but that's good because I prefer productive over the twiddling of thumbs.

We had our first quiz in Anatomy this morning. The Masters students in the class all discussed it beforehand and I would say that we were treating it like a fricking mid-term. This quiz was ten minutes at most. I think it was a combination of it being the first tester type thing in our educational careers here and also being Type A personalities when it comes to grades--or me, at least.

Last night the professor in charge of our clinic had an open house for the department in her lovely house in Evanston. Some of these Evanston houses, dude, they're just amazing. This house was on a pretty tree-lined street, close to the lake, each house charming and different and all I could think was: "this would be a great place to trick-or-treat." Luckily, I got a ride home from a fellow student who also lives in the city afterward, though, otherwise it probably would have taken me a few days to get back to my place since the express trains stopped running by then.

I reviewed my anatomy notes last night in front of the debate. Edification from all sides.

But, I'm stoked for the weekend. I am going to check out the Reader to see if there's anything interesting for Des, Bryan, and myself to check out. I see that there's a Chicago run of the play "Matt and Ben" that's playing close to my house, so I might throw that out there.

In other exciting news, I just received my Chicago Plus card in the mail. It's like DC's Smart Trip card in that you only need to touch it to sensors to pass through, but this is even cooler because:

1.) For every $10 you add, you get a bonus $1
2.) You can add money online, and make it so whenever it gets low, it automatically charges from your account a specified amount.
3.) It also works for buses!

I'm slowly figuring out the bus system here, and it's pretty easy. Buses seem to go just straight up and down main thoroughfares, so you really can't get too lost.