Friday 30 October 2009

Swine '09: The Vaccine

Seems like everybody wants a needle in me this week.

It's been about 27 hours since I got vaccinated and I have not yet dropped dead. My head still functions, I'm not twitching, and I can still walk. My friends remind me, however, that it takes about three days to set in.

Seriously though -- no bruise, practically no soreness. I don't feel dizzy or disoriented or tired. I'm not coughing or sneezing or throwing up.

So far, those horror stories I heard from my peers are pure (dramatic) fiction. Meanwhile, back in LeRoy, my mom is surprised when I tell her of these rumors; they apparently are not circulating at home. One must wonder if my small town is ill-informed or, the more likely case: college students are a bit more dramatic in the face of crisis. The fact that we're all living together, constantly conversing and interacting, makes information - and misinformation - spread like lightening. Likewise, sicknesses are passed around rapidly - including swine flu.

It's hard to sift through the sensationalized media to get to the truth of this epidemic. I personally believe that, while dangerous, swine flu is not as big of a deal as the media makes it out to be. And I believe, hope, and soon will be able to tell you first hand, that the vaccine is not dangerous. From what I've gathered, the nasal spray is a live virus, however, and sickness can be anticipated or expected with that. I opted for the injection, which is made with a dead virus.

A final note, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reported that it's students were quickly spreading H1N1, and beer pong was the culprit. Careful students might not realize the obvious places they spread germs - drinking games is a huge one. A word of advice to the party-goers: use your own cup.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Someone Else's Blood

I took me a couple years and one persuasive friend, but I finally did it: I gave blood.

Being a bit squeamish, the idea of blood rushing of out my body into a tube never seemed like a good idea. I held a fear that I'd pass out, freak out, or hurt myself... until I stopped being so dramatic, finally lay on the table and let them stick that needle in me.

I breathed frantically for a little bit, overwhelmed with stress, paranoia and self pity. I kept thinking that, over on that side of myself I dare not look, a tube was carrying blood from my body to a plastic bag. After about a minute, I told myself to suck it up, and I got over it.

That blood may someday be used to help save a life. Somehow, that notion escaped me for several years. Perhaps I was too self-absorbed to think beyond how that action would effect me to think about the good it might do for someone else.

For anyone who hasn't, but is able to, I suggest giving blood. Set any invalid accuses aside, and just do it; you'll be helping others and feel great about it. It might be crazy and slightly morbid, but the thought of my blood in someone else's body is incredible. In a small way, it brings you a little bit closer to everyone else - all those people you know and all those you'll never meet.

And then you take that love you made

And stick it into some

Someone else's heart

Pumping someone else's blood.

-Regina Spektor

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Back in Business

Not to make myself appear to be: friendless, a loser, a stalker, a creeper, lame, or bored.

But my fellow bloggers have actually been posting blogs lately, and it's like an early Christmas.

They can all be seen on that massive list of blogs over there <---.
Not included on that list, however, is Joe & Drew's Podcast, Off the Record. I would recommend listening to these two brilliant minds debate today's important issues in the most entertaining way. Give them a visit!

I was also excited to see a few European posts from Cassette Musique - they're all studying abroad this semester, so posts are few but from a quite different perspective. Good stuff!

Children Don't Grow Up

Tonight I sat at my computer, listening to Wilco, explaining to my roommate what "Where the Wild Things Are" is about.

Sidenote: I'm dressed like Max.

Dressed like a boy dressed like a wolf dressed like a king.
Halloween is days away.
This may be a prime example that children don't grow up. (1)

The book is very much about how in the face of fear, children become wild things. The movie takes this a step further and assures us that adults do the same.

Go see this movie, and it will tell you about yourself.(2) It will tell you that we all have a wild side, and when the world gets too overwhelming, we visit it... and still make it home in time for supper to be warm.

(1) Says the Arcade Fire. I was extremely disappointed that they didn't appear on this soundtrack.
(2) Other reasons to see this include: Spike Jonze is a film god, Max Records is perfect as the role of Max, and the music is super. (Even without the Arcade Fire) (Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs nails it)

Monday 19 October 2009

Comedy: The Only Way to Make Us Pay Attention

As a journalism and political science student, I have been made incredibly aware that young people no longer read the news. While perhaps this can be generalized to Americans in general, it’s much more fun for teachers and adults to criticize the upcoming generation, and attempt to scare them into political and social involvement.

The most important thing to teach an aspiring journalist, it seems, is that journalism and the news industry are dying. News has been taken over by Entertainment (cleverly dubbed Infotainment). What are we to do? People are uninformed and apathetic, participation in government is dropping, and democracy is dying!

Along come two comedians to save the day. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the geniuses they are, seem to be the only people that can make young adults pay attention to current events. Their ridiculous bias makes their shows hilarious and entertaining to watch but, wait, isn’t bias something that should not be found in news?

Many feel that it is a crying shame that our generation’s main news providers are these two mock-journalists. I think, that while there are downsides to this type of “news”, comedy news is doing some great things.

Right after South Park, and before Tosh.0, a witty Jewish man from New Jersey pops up on the screen to deliver the day’s news and controversies with an incredibly liberal bias. Between the mocking of public officials and replays of their mistakes and mess-ups, the sarcastic observations of current social events, hysterical outbursts of frustration, and extremely uncomfortable interviews with real-live distinguished politicians, authors, and public figures, Jon Stewart might surprise you. What, what was that? Yes, it was, in fact, a moment of sincerity. Now and then, if only for a minute, Stewart’s acting talents slip him and his true beliefs and passion show through. It’s refreshing and somewhat incredible to see a journalist, if you can call him that, poke fun at an issue to lighten the mood and then actually deliver a point.

Immediately after, follows a egotistic “mock” super-Republican, Stephen Colbert. Actual Republicans, beware: he is not sincere. Stop nodding your head in agreement. He stole the words right out of your mouth? Republicans, I’m hoping you know and I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, Stephen Colbert is mocking you. He is, in fact, liberal (gasp). If you’re offended by this paragraph, thinking, “Of course I knew Colbert is liberal!”, well I’m sorry, but I’ve met several Republicans that were sincerely hoping that Presidential bid would work out for him.

The true danger of shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report are just that – people who don’t catch on to the sarcasm, who don’t understand that things on that show are biased for the sake of comedy. Most people my age are still trying to sort out politics, and figure out what they believe in. Shows such as these could impact their developing views drastically, if not taken in the right light, or in union with other news sources.

Personally, I would love to see a similar show from the other side of the spectrum. Stephen Colbert does NOT count as a conservative comedy news show, and I would like to see someone poking fun at liberals (someone who is not a real-life liberal).I’d like a mock-liberal news show, in the way that Colbert is a mock-conservative. I’m surprised this niche has not yet been filled, although I’m not sure what network would carry it. However, when taking the rest of the conservative media into account, I’m not sure I’d really like to add to that pile of extreme, incredibly biased programs. I suppose that Glenn Beck provides enough entertainment from that ideology. Sadly, most are laughing at, not with, him.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Keepin' the Peace

It's always made someone sound like a demi-god - "Nobel Peace Prize Winner... ". To rank up there with Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, you must have done something pretty extraordinary, must have made a huge impact on the world.

Suddenly, it's a bit less impressive.

Personally, it would not surprise me to see Barack Obama with a Nobel Peace Prize... someday. Someday, after he's executed the many promises, hopes, and goals he's told the American people about. He has great plans, and their success could lead to great things, and he'd be worthy of a Prize.

For the first time (at least, that I'm aware), we see this Prize as less of an award and more of a, well, guilt trip. It seems Obama was given this Prize not in honor of what he's done, but in hopes that he will do something worthy to deserve it. This puts quite a bit of pressure on our President to act as peacefully as possible, when the most peaceful choices might not always be the most beneficial to our nation's security.

So if I were to talk to Obama I'd tell him congratulations, sure that while he's flattered and honored, he's probably also a little uneasy about this burden.

Sunday 11 October 2009

And Dance Forever-ever-ever

I've always been a fan of dancing, whether it's at a school dance, birthday party, wedding, prom, bonfire, or my room. Since I've arrived at college, this habit has only increased. (1)

Dancing, to me (and I think many others) is the ultimate form of celebration. Classic rock or hip hop, M.I.A. or Miley Cyrus, it's all good as long as it makes you move.

I think these two videos demonstrate exactly how a wedding should be celebrated. Hopefully, when I get to that big day, I'll have friends that like to jam as much as I do. (2)While a classy, traditional procession might be sweet, it seems like a waste. Why walk slowly, when you could be dancing?!

*The Office spoofed this, it was almost as awesome (I cried)... but this is real life.

(1) Heavy on the "in my room"... or suite, now, I guess. Sometimes the best part of the night is our jam sessions as we're getting ready.
(2) More importantly, I better find a groom willing to dance like this.
(3) I'm not a fan of Chris Brown, because of his abuse of Rihanna, but I can't help but love this song. Why does Rihanna always make her way into my blog?!