Monthly Archives: August 2016

Advice for anyone off to College

My first bit of advice is that the student should have a general idea of why they’re going to college. It can be for specific training. It can be with an idea of what’s necessary for a particular job. It can be because of an interest in a particular subject. It CAN be because they have no idea what they want to do with their life and college seems like the “IT” thing to do in that situation. There are dozens of other reasons to go to college, but what’s important is that the student knows which is their reason.

The main purpose for knowing why you’re going to college is so that you pick the type of college that best fits your needs and budget. If you’re going for specific training, you definitely want to go to the school that is the best for this. There’s no reason to spend a lot of money on a pretentious private university when you only need to learn [insert your course(s) here].

Always address your budget. If you’re not sure where you’ll end up job-wise, you don’t want to end up with a lot of unnecessary debt. Some debt is fine, though, so don’t be terrified of it! Due to my parent’s economic situation, my student loan debt was capped at just under $20,000 for 4 years ($5000 a year; $2500/semester) for my top pick university, which I think is just about ideal given that I was attending the University of Virginia with no idea what I was going to do with my degree.

Yes, I attended the pretentious (public) university where it’s perfectly acceptable for me to announce that I graduated from “The College at The University”. Should you feel small because you attended the local community college for 2 years? HELL NO! (If I could make that a bigger font, I would!) What matters is that your college matches YOUR needs.

Guess what? Knowing yourself is the first step to becoming a responsible adult. You should practice this by choosing the right college for yourself instead of blindly taking the advice of the people around you who think that bigger and more expensive is somehow better. It’s not!


It would have been nice if I’d gone to college knowing that I had no clue why I was going and being comfortable with that thought. Instead, I kept that thought buried in the back of my mind while my outside alternated between faking “I’ve got this” and completely freaking out (seriously, I cried the whole drive to move-in that first day and was miserable for about a week). I regret a lot of missed opportunities because I wasn’t comfortable being directionless.

Okay, so now that you’ve chosen your school, now what do you do? Typically, you’re going to hear a lot of “have fun, but not too much fun!” and “learn something so you can get that fabulous job!” Yeah…that advice SUCKS!

So, here’s some practical advice: join a club. Or 10. Seriously, if you want to love your job, do something your passionate about. So, in college, where you have hundreds of clubs, causes, research opportunities, etc available to you, explore your interests. Even if you are in college for a definite “end goal”, JOIN A CLUB. Because you know what? Life is actually a pretty long time and stuff happens. What you love now can burn you out later. And that’s fine! When you’re middle aged and tired of doing the same old thing, you can look back at college and say “hey, I really enjoyed the time I spent ballroom dancing (or whatever your club was) and would like to do that again”. Do not spend all your time in your room or the library with your nose stuck in books. Get out. Meet people. Protest something. Get interested in something. Find yourself in something bigger than yourself. You know, all the crap like that!

My next bit of advice: Say yes. Unless any part of your gut says “DANGER”, say yes. Go hiking at midnight. Join a club by accident because a friend wants you to know something about his club so that you can help him out a bit. Go on a date that you don’t realize was a date until 3 years later. Go to Indian Culture night and eat food that’s way too spicy. Go watch a meteor shower at 2am in November on top of a mountain with no cell signal (because of a radio tower) with a girl you met 3 months before and her 3 male classmates even though you don’t have to do the assignment because you’re not in the class. Regret that you said no to the epic party because you had a final the next day (the party where your friend ended up in the closet wearing the Sorting Hat while singing…I still can’t get a straight story about what happened that night as they drank all the alcohol so they wouldn’t have to carry it home).

Don’t be afraid to be sober. I don’t like the taste of alcohol and have no desire to fight through the taste in order to get drunk. I’ve been willing to taste various drinks in hopes of finding something that actually tastes good, but so far, YUCK. My friends have always been cool with this and would hand me various drinks to taste (their drink, so I know it wasn’t spiked, not that anyone in our small group would do that–we never went out to proper clubs, bars, etc). Friends do NOT pressure you to drink. Period. End of Discussion. Friends don’t pressure you to do anything. They accept you for who you are and that’s that. If anyone starts to pressure you, leave.

Say yes, but do not feel pressured. There is a difference and you’ll know it. If you are not comfortable with any situation, leave. Do not worry about offending anybody. Like Dr. Seuss said: Those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.

My last bit of advice is that you should take as wide a variety of classes as you can for your major. I’d pick classes based on their name alone. That’s how I ended up learning about the religions of the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans instead of a class on Scientology, etc. I’d read “New World Religions” as “New AGE Religions”, haha. It took me a few weeks to figure out my error. I never dropped a course because even if I had no clue about the content, I figured I was learning something anyway. For instance: the history of philosophy course was not very much history, but a lot of philosophy that went over my head (I will never be much of a philosopher). And I can’t memorize from books. There was one class I nearly failed (besides statistics) and it was one that was recommended to me: Marine Biology (or something like that). It turned out to be a class about memorizing the Latin names and characteristics of specific marine organisms. Sorry, but unless I’m knee deep in sea grasses, I will never be able to identify one over it’s neighbor by it’s Latin name. EVER. In the field, sure (when I volunteered at the zoo I could rattle off all kinds of specifics about the animals), but out of a book? Hell no.

Hate. Fear. Ignorance.

 “Born of Legend (The League: Nemesis Rising)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon –

“Hatred is a blind and deaf, unreasoning beast that doesn’t stop to ask why it attacks. It simply slaughters everything in its path without mercy until there’s nothing left to salvage. It rots us from the inside out and leaves nothing of the host but an empty hollow shell incapable of compassion. It’s why you can’t let it take root. Once it starts to grow, it’s the hardest weed to prune. And just when you think you have it under control, it explodes and consumes you entirely. All it needs is one target, perfectly placed, and your soul is the price you pay for having courted that beast you thought you could keep caged. It’s the one beast we should never dare feed.”

 “Is this what happened to your family?” 

He shook his head. “Fear and ignorance, and lack of understanding more than hatred are what destroyed the Tris. They are an even deadlier beast, at times.””
Start reading this book for free:

Donald Trump and the Declaration of Independence


Earlier today I happened to pull up the Declaration of Independence in order to point out that that lack of a jury trial was one of the reasons the Colonists gave when they filed for Independence. Imagine my surprise when I easily spotted two more things that seem to be pertinent to this years Presidential Election. Without further ado, here’s a few things Donald Trump and George III have in common:

***Actually, since my process was to copy the list of grievances here delete the ones that weren’t applicable, as I find myself reading these, I’m finding some things that have something to do with other members of our government, so instead of deleting, I’m just going to give you the whole list of grievances and add my commentary to the side.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. Well, Donald Trump has, what 3000 lawsuits attached to his name and companies? Didn’t he say that the Judge presiding over his Trump University case can’t be fair because the Judge has Mexican heritage? It’s not so much that Trump refuses to “Assent to Laws”, but he seems to assent to them under protest. He thinks that the laws are wrong because they disagree with him.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. This sounds like the Governor of North Carolina telling the city of Charlotte that they can’t pass anti-discrimination laws.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. D.C. is in limbo because they’re not a state and therefore have no representation in Congress.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. Well, this charge can be put on Paul Ryan and previous Speakers of the House who have refused to call the House into Special Session for stuff like Zika Funding and the Budget. The Senate leader has not done their duty in holding hearings on a new Supreme Court Justice.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. Donald Trump wants to build a wall and start requiring entrance tests for immigrants. 
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. I think this one involves the Senate again.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. 
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. My husband is concerned about this one. He’s afraid Trump will create a Gestapo-like police force. I don’t really see that happening, but Trump seems to like power and the authority that comes with it. The way he can’t let the slightest disagreement go, I wonder what he’d do if he had the power to do more than threaten to revoke a newspaper’s credentials.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:–Trump wants to shake up previously negotiated trade agreements, which will lead to uncertainty at best in the business community and at worst will really hurt industries that trade overseas.
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences–well, anyone who agrees with the Guantanamo Bay Prison is guilty of this one. One can argue that the prisoners there aren’t American Citizens and therefore aren’t eligible for our rights, but since the US is founded upon “Certain Inalienable Rights that all Men are Created Equal”, and the US likes to pretend that it’s morality is better than anyone elses in the world, treating anyone like garbage and unworthy of our laws seems hypocritical.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: See above.
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. Oddly enough, it’s the act of calling foreigners “merciless savages” and striving to keep them out of the US that is “exciting domestic insurrections amongst us”. We  live in a modern globalized world, one where just because we have a different color of skin  or speak a different language doesn’t mean that we’re not all equal on the inside. To blindly label anyone is WRONG, yet Trump wants us to be against others.


 “Born of Legend (The League: Nemesis Rising)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon –

“Maybe they know me better than I do, really. Are we not all a thousand characters in millions of plays throughout our lifetime? Is Ushara the mother the same character as Ushara the daughter? Or Ushara the admiral the same as Ushara the older sister? Or the younger sister? Did your husband not know a different side of you than anyone else in your life? What about the male who knows Ushara the testicle-launcher? I’m sure he would paint a very different image of you than I would. Who among us is not ever-changing? Ever evolving into someone new? Maybe someone better … or someone worse.”

Start reading this book for free:

A lesson for Donald Trump

“Born of Legend (The League: Nemesis Rising)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon –

“Every word spoken had to be carefully weighed and considered for double meanings and how it could be twisted and used against him for harm by those who pretended to be his friends. There had been entire weeks and months spent in mute silence because it’d been easier than risking the fall-out of self-serving cruelty and double-dealing bullshit.”

Start reading this book for free:

No local anesthesia because it didn’t exist.

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“Hold on tight,” I instructed them. “This is the nasty part.” I didn’t look up, but worked quickly, opening the half-healed wounds cleanly with a scalpel, pressing out as much pus and dead matter as I could. I could feel the tension quivering in his leg muscles, and the slight arcing of his body as the pain lifted and bent him, but he didn’t say a word. “Do you want something to bite down on, Roger?” I asked, taking out my bottle of dilute alcohol-water mixture for irrigating. “It’s going to sting a bit, now.”

He didn’t answer; Brianna did. “He’s all right,” she said steadily. “Go ahead.”

He made a muffled noise when I began to wash out the wounds, and rolled halfway onto his side, his leg convulsing. I kept tight hold of his foot and finished the job as quickly as possible. When I let go and recorked the bottle, I looked up toward the head of the bed. She was sitting on the bed, her arms locked tight around his shoulders. His face was buried in her lap, his arms around her waist.

Start reading this book for free:

To Bill O’Reilly:

Slaves might be well fed, well housed, and maybe even well treated (by someone’s standard), but they’re still slaves.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré –

“You know , house-elves get a very raw deal!” said Hermione indignantly. “It’s slavery, that’s what it is! That Mr. Crouch made her go up to the top of the stadium, and she was terrified, and he’s got her bewitched so she can’t even run when they start trampling tents! Why doesn’t anyone do something about it?”

“Well, the elves are happy, aren’t they?” Ron said. “You heard old Winky back at the match . . . ‘House-elves is not supposed to have fun’ . . . that’s what she likes, being bossed around. . . .”

“It’s people like you, Ron,” Hermione began hotly, “who prop up rotten and unjust systems, just because they’re too lazy to —”

Start reading this book for free:

Just because a person doesn’t speak, it doesn’t mean they don’t understand.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré –

““Vell, ve fought bravely,” said a gloomy voice behind Harry. He looked around; it was the Bulgarian Minister of Magic.

“You can speak English !” said Fudge, sounding
outraged. “And you’ve been letting me mime everything all day!”

“Vell, it vos very funny,” said the Bulgarian minister, shrugging.”

Start reading this book for free:

Open Question: Climate Change Deniers

As this year marks 100 years of the National Parks in the US, NPR has had many articles on various parks that have been noticeably affected by climate change since their establishment (Glacier National Park and Joshua Tree National Park immediately come to mind). My question is “Since there’s so much evidence that the climate is changing, what are the various ways that climate change deniers blow off the evidence?” Of course, there are many different flavors of deniers: the ones who agree its changing, but say humans have nothing to do with it; the ones who flat out deny that the climate is changing; and the ones that say the climate can’t change are just a few. So, to best answer this question, it’d be important to specifically identify the type you’re talking about.

Thanks a bunch and I look forward to reading your answers!

Ann Coulter condones murder

“Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole” by Ann Coulter –

“We’ll talk about legalization as soon as it’s as hard to get into the United States as it used to be to get out of East Germany.”

Start reading this book for free:

A quick google search landed me on a History Channel article on the Berlin Wall where I found the following paragraphs:

“The construction of the Berlin Wall did stop the flood of refugees from East to West, and it did defuse the crisis over Berlin. (Though he was not happy about it, President Kennedy conceded that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”) Over time, East German officials replaced the makeshift wall with one that was sturdier and more difficult to scale. A 12-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide mass of reinforced concrete was topped with an enormous pipe that made climbing over nearly impossible. Behind the wall on the East German side was a so-called “Death Strip”: a gauntlet of soft sand (to show footprints), floodlights, vicious dogs, trip-wire machine guns and patrolling soldiers with orders to shoot escapees on sight.

In all, at least 171 people were killed trying to get over, under or around the Berlin Wall. Escape from East Germany was not impossible, however: From 1961 until the wall came down in 1989, more than 5,000 East Germans (including some 600 border guards) managed to cross the border by jumping out of windows adjacent to the wall, climbing over the barbed wire, flying in hot air balloons, crawling through the sewers and driving through unfortified parts of the wall at high speeds.”