31 July 2007

I Was Attacked By a Squirrel Masquerading as a Paper Bag

Things have been going well as far in the Epic Chronicles of Jonathan. The girl I am in love with is not talking to me right now so I decided to go and write an entry for this blog and enlighten the masses on how my life has been going about so. Let us see how it is. Living in the Berkeley dorms has its perks. You get the security, you get the swipes for the dining commons and you get the joy of seeing the same people over and over again everyday (the third is frequently cited as a perk but I doubt it so.) However, there are some awkward moments. For example I was in the restroom and after draining the lizard I washed my hands in a vibrant and vigorous manner. A guy comes out of the stall next to me and ... he walks ... right ... by ... me out ... the .... door. Oh my bejeweled chin fat flaps. What in the world did this guy just do in front of me?! Oh no he didn't. He just used the restroom without washing his hands. Now if I see him again, I will never shake his hand. Trust me. While I was walking to the BART I was hugging the side of the road particulary close because of bikers' tendencies to swerve the same direction I do. One time especially I swerved left and he swerved right and we juked each other out four or five times before he finally jack-knifed and nearly hit the ground. Luckily I finally just jumped off the road entirely and into the bushes. Anyways, back to the story. I was hugging the side of the road very carefully when suddenly I saw a sudden movement to my right! I leapt like a girl and almost ran out of there. It was very embarrassing when a person told me I was running from a paper bag blowing in the wind. Unfortunately my next line did not clarify things any further (though it made perfect sense in my own mind): "I thought it was a squirrel attacking me." O I have a quick quiz tomorrow. I am going to ace it. And by ace I mean fail and by it I mean miserably.

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 1:32 | Permalink

31 July 2007

Whew!

Today I actually went about my day without feeling extreme anxiety and stress. I think I've been in burnout mode. Berkeley summer sessions are not for the faint of heart. Really made a difference to finish my lab write-up early, then spend the weekend with family. I only had a little pre-lab to do before class today. I can't remember the last time I felt this relaxed. Goodness, this is a good day. Also of interest: Kyle (GPB adviser) approved an online statistics course. Nice! Now I can get started on that. Looks like I'm making progress to all these insane goals, like graduation. Only two states away and eight years after I started.

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Posted by Christina at 9:43 | Permalink

31 July 2007

Are social sciences more difficult than natural sciences (as disciplines…)?

A few college freshmen have asked me for my opinion on the difficulty of social science and natural science. I would say social sciences are more complex to study because you deal with human beings, which gives rise to special problems. Abortion, evolution, Darwinism, genetic engineering, capitalism, Marxism, culture, human rights, et cetera, are all huge topics and involve a lot of thinking. Natural sciences are much more rigorous, as they follow the scientific method. It still makes you think deeply, about the world around you, and how things operate. However, the thinking is much more abstract. By the way, there are currently changes in the way we distinguish between the natural and social sciences. Mathematical modeling is often applied to the social sciences - without forcing them to be reduced to more “fundamental” natural sciences. Indeed, both sciences are very interesting and I think they are complementary instead of arguable over "harder". Pick the one you like best to study.

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Posted by Yang Cao at 5:13 | Permalink

30 July 2007

Titan Arum

You've been waiting for an excuse to see the UC Botanical Garden, haven't you? Well, grab your (free for students) bus pass and hop on the Hill Line. This week is the time to go! A huge, beautiful, smelly corpse flower is about to bloom in the Tropical House at the Botanical garden! Her name is Titania, and she's taller than you are - go check it out! Article comes from this site: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/07/30_titan.shtml big stink to come at UC Botanical Garden Rare corpse flower to bloom – and send out its unique aroma – this week By Wendy Edelstein, Public Affairs | 30 July 2007 corpse flower Titania Standing more than 5' tall by Monday morning, the corpse flower Titania is expected to unfurl its putrid blooms within days at the UC Botanical Garden's Tropical House. (UC Botanical Garden photos) BERKELEY – When UC Botanical Garden's rare titan arum, Amorphophallus titanium (corpse flower), blooms this week, the flower will both attract and repel visitors. When the plant opens to a diameter of three to four feet, titan arum looks visually arresting, but it's best known for a characteristic that can only be experienced firsthand after it blooms: its distinctive odor. "It really does smell like there's a dead body in the room," says Garden Director Paul Licht, recalling his experience with Trudy, another corpse flower that blossomed in the garden's Tropical House in July 2005. The odor helps the plant attract insects that carry its pollen to other titan arums, since corpse flowers can't pollinate themselves. Titan arum specimens are rare enough to be named like pets. Garden staff call their soon-to-bloom plant Titania after the Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream." Titania was raised from seed in the garden starting in 1995. Not until July 19 did Licht and his staff know their plant would be one of the rare titan arums that actually flowers. On that day, Titania measured 36 ¾". By Monday morning, July 30, her spadex — the protuberance at the flower's center — had hit the 61" mark. The plant can grow up to 6" a day, notes Licht. Trudy in bloom Trudy in bloom in 2005.

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Posted by Christina at 6:22 | Permalink

30 July 2007

Butterflies on Moorea

Here's some fascinating research coming out of Moorea on butterflies! From this site: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/07/12_butterfly.shtml Researchers witness natural selection at work in dramatic comeback of male butterflies By Sarah Yang, Media Relations | 12 July 2007 BERKELEY – An international team of researchers has documented a remarkable example of natural selection in a tropical butterfly species that fought back - genetically speaking - against a highly invasive, male-killing bacteria. male h. bolina butterfly Male (above) and female Hypolimnas bolina, also called the Blue Moon or Great Eggfly butterfly. The proportion of females in some populations of H. bolina in the South Pacific reached 99 percent as a result of infection by a bacteria that kills males before they hatch. However, researchers recently witnessed a remarkable comeback of male butterflies on some islands thanks to the rise of a suppressor gene. (Sylvain Charlat photos) female h. bolina butterfly Within 10 generations that spanned less than a year, the proportion of males of the Hypolimnas bolina butterfly on the South Pacific island of Savaii jumped from a meager 1 percent of the population to about 39 percent. The researchers considered this a stunning comeback and credited it to the rise of a suppressor gene that holds in check the Wolbachia bacteria, which is passed down from the mother and selectively kills males before they have a chance to hatch.

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Posted by Christina at 6:02 | Permalink

30 July 2007

Alcohol & Sexual Harrassment

Before entering Berkeley, you'll get an online alcohol knowledge seminar and a mini test. While I'd love tell you to take it seriously, it is hard to take that 3 hr long seminar seriously. I was reading/surfing the internet while the powerpoint was running. Click click click. Use the info for your safety. There is a lot of alcohol available all over campus and off of campus. Drink safely, and wisely. I would rather say, don't drink, but I know that it isn't reasonable for all people. Always go with a buddy, and leave with your buddy. If your buddy doesn't want to leave the party, get someone else to watch over your buddy, then call bearwalk and have them walk you home. Bearwalk is a free service. You call the number, and a person in a bright yellow suit comes to pick you up. There are dark blue suited people too, so if you don't want to walk next to a bumblebee, you can request a non-bumblebee. ;) As far as sexual harassment... people don't think that you're as funny as you think when you are drunk. They're laughing out of awkwardness. Don't do it. If you get sexually harassed, report it. Don't just be like, "Oh, it's okay, I don't want to make a fuss." People that sexually harass rarely stop. They just move onto the next victim. Don't let there be anymore victims. Even if the school can't do enough on the first report, they will be able to if a few report it. So, report it! http://ccac.berkeley.edu/ It's nice that UC Berkeley is pretty on top of things and actually cares. So, don't be scared to report it. We're at Berkeley so that we'll make a difference in the world. Blending in and becoming like grass for people to step on isn't really a way to make a stand in the world.

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Posted by K. Lee at 9:40 | Permalink

29 July 2007

Stagecoach Inn

Memories of girl scout troop get-togethers, elementary school field trips, and good family times sprung to mind yesterday as Tom and I visited the historical Stagecoach Inn in Newbury Park, California. It's a little museum and historical site: A touch of the Old West with a reconstructed 19th Century Monterey Style hotel, a schoolhouse, carriages, phonographs, and a little village complete with volunteer docents in costume. It's tiny, nothing to step out of your way to see, but definitely a fun place to take kids. It seemed so huge in my memories, now visiting again it's just a little place. Still, the charm... Photos come from their website: www.stagecoachmuseum.org

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Posted by Christina at 1:15 | Permalink

25 July 2007

Money Matters

Before coming to Japan, I was thinking, "where in the world is Carmen San Diego!" no... haha.. but, "how am I going to bring my money over and manage it?" I'm a Bank of America loyalist... I've been raised in the good old American bank. Ever since my first ancestor came to the USA, we've always relied on Bank of America. However, banks have changed. They aren't as customer friendly as before. Doing my research, I found one awesome credit card / bank that didn't charge extra for international transactions: Capital One. It's a small bank in SoCal that has a good internet presence. I have a money market account and credit card with them. It's awesome in that they pay out of their own pocket the 1% Visa international charge and they don't have any other charges. The same with withdrawing from ATMs. They don't charge anything. So where Chase, WaMu, and BoA would have hit you with up to 7% in fees.... I don't pay anything. So I'm living a happy life here while everyone else is having a hard time accessing moolah. Oh yeah. I also have a Citibank account which worked fine, but some people have been getting hit with a 1% fee at non-Citibank ATMs. Since the nearest Citibank is a couple cities away, I've just been using my CapOne. Since I also earn miles/points on my CapOne credit card, I've been using my credit card whenever possible.

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Posted by K. Lee at 1:38 | Permalink

25 July 2007

Going Postal in Japan

The post offices here are AWE-some. In Japan, post offices have semi-banking ability. You can open a post office savings account to store that lovely cash sitting around. There really isn't an interest rate though. Since there are post offices all around Japan in every nook and cranny possible, you'll always have access to the PO ATMs. Note however, PO ATMs are only open during specific hours and aren't accessible on the weekends (fact check?). I had an interesting experience trying to open one, but you to can do it with basically no Japanese speaking/understanding ability. The best part about PO accounts is that even if you leave the country, you can still keep your account. ATMs aren't just depositories however....

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Posted by K. Lee at 1:26 | Permalink

23 July 2007

Craze

Saturday morning, bright and early, I walked through the house and realized that everyone was glued to the new Harry Potter book. They were sitting tranquilly on the couches, reading. Relaxing. One guy got up periodically to play the piano. It was a big project weekend for the CO-OP, other than the whole Harry Potter craze. Sarah helped Tom and I refinish the wood paneling on the spa. We sanded it down, then put the new finish on Saturday, then Sunday we put on the first coat of Polyurethane. By next weekend, it's going to be beautiful! this used to be faded light blue-gray. What a great weekend. A quiet house, and plenty of work completed. If only this would happen more often!

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Posted by Christina at 2:04 | Permalink

22 July 2007

The best golf course in the nation, no joke!

So I told you I was going to Asilomar in Monterey for the weekend and boy was it fabulous. Monterey is absoloutly stunning. The beaches, the trees, the houses...everything is extra beautiful! Out resort was very lovely, it consisted of small cabins with multi bedrooms. The rooms were very comfortable and old fashion. The resort did a very good job keeping the "cabin with no technology" theme we had no TV or internet in any of the bedrooms. If you needed wireless, you had to go to the main lounge to get some. The whale watching cruise was really nice but I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if people weren't throwing up all around me and if it wasn't 55 degrees. We saw pently of whales but by the time we got to the middle of the ocean people were already sea sick. Before you get on they tell you to take some medication if you know you get sea sick, what they dont tell you is that even if you don't get sea sick like me, you still should take medication because the boat rocks so hard and so much for such a long time you are bound to be sick. Will I ever do it again? NO! But I am glad I did it once! The best part of the entire retreat was Pebble Beach Golf Course. I had no idea but it turns out that Pebble Beach Golf Course is the nicest most beautiful golf course in the nation. My friend told me that in every golf video game or computer game Pebble Beach is always one of the option resorts. People travel very far distances to play at Pebble Beach. They really were not kidding either, the place was drop dead gorgeous. The further you got the more beautiful the course was. I was literally golfing towards the beach and sometimes I was golfing with dear right behind me. I mean the place was too beautiful to be true! For anyone that likes golf, I would highly recommend Pebble Beach. It is pretty expensive though, so keep in mind that you're dropping a few hundred for 18 holes! Here are some pictures from the trip: Our resort beach: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Pebble Beach Golf:
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I hope you're enjoying your summer!

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Posted by Rola Abduljabar Rabah at 3:31 | Permalink

21 July 2007

My Clash With Death Leaves Us Both Walking Funny

The Earthquake two nights ago was indeed a harrowing experience. I was awake at the time, having been awoken by a terrible dream of a B+ in Chinese 1, when suddenly the ground began to shake. There was no rumble, which is always the weirdest part. In the movies there is a rumble. In real life there is not. Hollywood needs to fix that. When I become the next Steven Spielberg, I'll fix that and give my heroes proper movie physics. Did you know that if Spiderman was real, he wouldn't be able to go around a building cause he'll be emaciated from all that webbing?! Anyways, the earthquake shook my building a bit and I thought the whole thing was going to go down like a stale piece of bread on a football field. The building I am in does not lend itself to confidence in the seismology department. I swear it has to be around 50 years old. Oh the wonders of living in a public institution. Great prices ... public bathrooms. - My sister yesterday asked me who was this Harry Potter fellow she kept hearing about on the media and why he is so deathly hollow. I could not stop laughing. - I have a friend who wants to go into the new Stanley Biosciences building and be the first to pee in the urinals. On Friday, I beat him to it. Muhaha! - My good friend Elizabeth texted me before a test going, I can has cheezburger?! I thought about it during the test and started laughing. Moral: College is fun when you know where the fun is.

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 1:54 | Permalink

20 July 2007

Earthquake and Pictures from the Fire Arts Festival

Earthquake last night, 4.2. No damage but being woken at 4 in the morning by all of ones cabinets smashing open and closed is no fun. On a completely unrelated note, I've uploaded some pictures of my recent adventures: Eriq's first burrito after his trip around the world: 860282821_b9379fe27d.jpg There is something singularly transcendental going on here. 860285979_14b3d06438.jpg This is a 45 foot tall cyclopean tripod monster. I made friends with it. 860302093_eb621c1e4a.jpg A huge flaming robot snake head. 861155522_7ca5de039e.jpg Huge flaming robot snake body 861159410_0e7518e7bd.jpg

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Posted by Eric Thurston at 4:00 | Permalink

20 July 2007

Family reunion

My family and I flew to Irvine, California for a family reunion/ Grandpa's 90th birthday. It was fun trying to speak Mandarin, actually, butchering and stuttering in all my broken sentences. It's actually only my second reunion and the first consisted of my other grandpa's funeral reunioness. So, anyway, it was fun... we gotta eat like 500 dollars worth of dinner and my cousins and uncles/aunts were very fun to be around. The most memorable experience during those three days though, was when we had to take pics. The place we were at was sooo hot and suffocating. Apparently, I wasn't the only one. My dad suddenly started breaking out into a sweat and feeling numb everywhere. We all thought it was a stroke. Lost, we called for an ambulance. Now, I know that a stroke only occurs on half side of the body, not the whole. Hint hint.He's fine now, thank goodness. Anyway, I hope that we'll have another reunion soon.

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Posted by Casey Wang at 9:08 | Permalink

20 July 2007

Quakey!

We had an earthquake this morning! Just a 4.2, at 4:44:22 am, how odd that those numbers are so similar. The epicenter was in the hills beyond Oakland, so we're within 10 miles. Living on the 4th floor, it definitely jolted us out of bed. Some neighborhoods lost power, nothing happened here. A couple of things fell off a couple of shelves.

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Posted by Christina at 8:28 | Permalink

19 July 2007

Lake Tahoe

Yes...another vacation for me this summer. Way different than Las Vegas! I think Tahoe has to be one of my favorite places to visit. I love how much there is to do there. You can swim, kayak, hike, bike, climb, and eat at the dam cafe (the BEST little cafe with coffee/pasteries/food). All of which I managed to do in four days. If you haven't been to Tahoe in the summer, it's a must. I think I'm probably the only person who enjoys it more when there's not snow there. The bouldering in Tahoe is awesome, a lot of high problems though. The Mt Rose hike is definately worth the huge elevation hike and is a great one day adventure.

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Posted by Marissa Ponder at 9:25 | Permalink

19 July 2007

Halfway Through!

Tarragona has turned out to be a beautiful place. It is the site of a lot of Roman history including aqueducts called Pont del Diable similar to Pont du Gard, except for the fact that the one in Tarragona was built more for aesthetic purposes and is a little better preserved, allowing for people to walk along the top of the aqueduct. We have visited Barcelona, monasteries, mosques, and can simply walk a few blocks to the beach, The Mediterranean Sea! It is a little funny that in such a beautiful place, we continue to talk about the the U.N, insurrection, violence, minorities within minorities, and the colonality of power, all of which complements the program. Spanish lfe in general has proven to be very interesting. In the U.S. it is so easy to get caught up, wrapped up, and completely swamped with the everyday things that just need to be done. Here life is a little more slow paced. People take advantage of siestas, little cafes and cervecerias stay open until the wee hours of the morning, and free performances are offered throughout the week on the streets and allyways of Tarragona. Last week we watched a "circus," complete with improv, juggling, and fire-tossing/breathing/juggling men. Yesterday we watched "arte visual" which was a little like modern art in the form of film.

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Posted by Nikki Fernandez at 2:52 | Permalink

18 July 2007

Summer is amazing!

Too many adventures not enough time to chronicle them all. In recent memory I've been to the Fire Arts Festival at the Crucible in Oakland. Its unlike anything else I've ever been to, imagine a micro-burning/mad max kind of vibe with 45 foot tall flaming robots and a "fire-opera" rendition of Homer's The Odyssey. They had some really astounding stuff there; maybe you've heard of the grease-nerd phenomenon called Dance Dance Revolution? At the Fire Arts Festival they had something at the Fire Arts Festival called DDI - Dance Dance Immolation! It works just like Dance Dance Revolution only the players wear asbestos suits and are shot in the face with flamethrowers when they screw up! It looks like this: click me for nerds on fire. I had an amazing time just learning about the crucible itself having once myself been keenly interested in learning how to weld. Basically The Crucible is a co-operative non-profit group of artists that teach metal work and pyrotechnic arts to interested parties. I want to take these courses and sometimes I feel like I need to take these courses and that is why they are dangerous! Check it out: http://www.thecrucible.org/

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Posted by Eric Thurston at 2:55 | Permalink

18 July 2007

Geckel

A funny new adhesive! Thought up by some wacky scientists at Northwestern, and Berkeley's engineers are helping to make it happen. Link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070718-geckel-glue.html Gecko, Mussel Powers Combined in New Sticky Adhesive John Roach for National Geographic News July 18, 2007 Give your tape some real "mussel"! So might go the ad campaign for "geckel"—a next-generation adhesive inspired by the legendary stickiness of geckos and mollusks—if the product is successfully brought to market. One of nature's greatest clingers, geckos have long fascinated scientists with the tiny hairs on their feet, which allow the tropical lizards to scurry up walls and across ceilings. But tapes made by a number of research teams in recent years lose most of their adhesive strength underwater. Phillip Messersmith, a biomedical engineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was intrigued by the problem. He has been making liquid glues for several years based on the adhesive proteins of mussels that allow the mollusks to hold on tight to rocks and docks in even the roughest of waters. "I thought, Well, what if we try to combine the mussel adhesive proteins ... with a gecko type strategy, which has its own set of properties?" Messersmith said. "We might have something new and interesting and useful."

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Posted by Christina at 2:21 | Permalink

18 July 2007

How often do you talk to your parents?

I was in a discussion recently about how often parents (moms) expect to hear from their new college students. One friend complained that his mom just had to hear from him every single day, which seemed a bit excessive to me. But maybe with cell phones and free long distance, it’s not excessive? Another friend is just tired that her dad would call her cell phone whenever he felt like it, since he was paying the bill for it. Another friend is comfortable with his mom calling him every day as he walks to morning classes. For me, I have the expectation that I would check in with my family every Sunday afternoon. I guess it is not easy to strike a balance between having independence while still keeping the lines of communication open. Maybe means of communication like IMs and email are the best bet? What do you all think?

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Posted by Yang Cao at 0:26 | Permalink

17 July 2007

Bleh Examness

The Organic Chemistry professor prefaced today's lecture with these words: "I have not graded enough of the exams to give a decent interpretation of the scores, but I will say this: I wrote this exam with an intended mean of 50%. If the class as a whole scores around there, I'll be happy. If the class averages better than 50%, I will make the next two exams more difficult. If the class averages worse, I will not change the difficulty of the remaining exams." In other words, he set it up so that at least half of the students would leave the exam saying, "I failed!!! What do I do now!!?!" So, we'll see. I still think I failed. Time to study the new stuff and eat a peanut butter & honey sandwich.

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Posted by Christina at 1:40 | Permalink

16 July 2007

Week two of ICU ILP study abroad

Yesterday was a national holiday, but we were lucky and had the opportunity to take a midterm. whohoo! There was also a earthquake in a nearby prefecture. We were able to feel it though. shakeshakeshake. Quite similar to the Berkeley shakes. Ah. which reminds me. Non-Californians should learn about earthquake safety before they come to Berkeley. Quite important to know how to duck and where the safest parts of structures are. Classes are quite intense. Three tests a week. 2 vocab, and one section/midterm test. It's a fast

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Posted by K. Lee at 2:32 | Permalink

14 July 2007

A Little Nostalgia

A little while ago, I went out into the hall to brush my teeth. My room is at one end of the hall and as I went to the bathroom, I notice this little girl sitting at the other end curled up clutching her knees and tucking her head in between them both. A little white phone cord snaked out the door and I realized that she was crying while talking on the phone. I wondered what the deuce was happening but then went in and successfully cleaned up my teeth. As I left the door I realized that she was definitely crying. Was it really my business to go over there and try and help? I've talked to this girl before and she was a Korean international student, her english not the best. If I go over there and help when help wasn't really needed .... awkward turtle! I went back in and got a box of tissues. Then I walked back down the hallway, put them on the ground and gently pushed them in her direction. She grabbed 5 at a time (God! Be economical!) and then honkily snorted in them while large, thick reams of Korean language peeled into the receiver. Now I don't know a lick of Korean other than that immortal line from that movie that every Asian girl has ever watched, My Sassy Girl ("Chugule?") and that line wasn't really appropriate to use in that context. (It means do you want to die?") So what could I do? I just let her keep using my tissues and stood there, watching her. It reminded me of the time when I first came out here to Berkeley and I saw my dad drive away at the McDonalds. I couldn't stop crying then too and I walked back through campus in tears. I had nobody then. I didn't want that girl to go through the same.

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 1:07 | Permalink

13 July 2007

Oh dear

You know you're in for a lot of studying when you walk into your Organic Chemistry midterm, see this on the board and your first thought is... "Why did someone write something on the board in Chinese?"

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Posted by Christina at 9:26 | Permalink

12 July 2007

First Week is Almost Done

It's been a crazy intensive first week already. whohhhh. Think intensive x5. 12 unit class. >< wah wah wah. haha. Two vocab quizzes for the two chapters that we've covered. We have a test on teh coming Monday. At least tomorrow will be a nice break. I'll be going on a field trip (wow! field trip! I haven't been on one since middle school!) to the National Theater in Japan for a Kabuki event. That should be superb. I'm not sure if I'll like it, but it'll be an interesting experience. Homework has been quite heavy and tiring. I have not taken Japanese in four years, so I'm quite a bit rusty. Wish me the best!

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Posted by K. Lee at 8:20 | Permalink

11 July 2007

Ridiculous Customer

Working at Sears as a cashier would seem like an easy, no- brainer job. Hah. Think again. I actually learned many skills there. For instance, learning how to fold clothes or dealing with difficult customers who want to return items that are pass the 90 day limit. Like this customer. Geez. She and her husband come in. I smile and greet them. When I look down, I see a toy that has been somewhat neatly placed back in its container, but the container was wrapped with clear tape, like attacked with tape more so. So, the lady asks, " I need to make a return, please. " Okay, so as I'm doing the return, the computer replied back as "invalid" I look down at the receipt and the DATE SAYS 01/13/04.!!!!!!!! I mean, c'mon. This is like three years old!!!!!!,. NOT only that, it's a toy!! It's probably cus her kid decided that he doesn't like the toy anymore and the mom wants her money back. I mean, you could put it up for a garage sale or send it to a place where the less fortunate kids can play with it. I kindly tell her about our Sears policy and she says," Well, I can't believe u aren't going to help me. I am never coming back." Whatever. But what I learned there was valuable, i mean, i kept my own opinions to myself and didn't even yell at her own mistake. Bye.

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Posted by Casey Wang at 9:22 | Permalink

09 July 2007

Linguistics - Chomsky debunked

Most people, if they've heard of Chomsky, think of his political theories and commentary. He's also a big name in the Linguistics world. Took a few classes in linguistics at my old school, considered majoring in it for a while. The big draw-back of that program for me was how the professors seemed to idolize certain theorists, Chomsky among them. I didn't like his theories. Always cringed whenever they mentioned his name. Now they've proven one of those theories to be flawed. Thank goodness there are people out there doing real research these days. Check out the article from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/16/070416fa_fact_colapinto?currentPage=all Dan Everett believes that Pirahã undermines Noam Chomsky’s idea of a universal grammar. Photographs by Martin Schoeller. The Interpreter Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language? by John Colapinto April 16, 2007 One morning last July, in the rain forest of northwestern Brazil, Dan Everett, an American linguistics professor, and I stepped from the pontoon of a Cessna floatplane onto the beach bordering the Maici River, a narrow, sharply meandering tributary of the Amazon. On the bank above us were some thirty people—short, dark-skinned men, women, and children—some clutching bows and arrows, others with infants on their hips. The people, members of a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Pirahã, responded to the sight of Everett—a solidly built man of fifty-five with a red beard and the booming voice of a former evangelical minister—with a greeting that sounded like a profusion of exotic songbirds, a melodic chattering scarcely discernible, to the uninitiated, as human speech. Unrelated to any other extant tongue, and based on just eight consonants and three vowels, Pirahã has one of the simplest sound systems known. Yet it possesses such a complex array of tones, stresses, and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonants altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations. It is a language so confounding to non-natives that until Everett and his wife, Keren, arrived among the Pirahã, as Christian missionaries, in the nineteen-seventies, no outsider had succeeded in mastering it. Everett eventually abandoned Christianity, but he and Keren have spent the past thirty years, on and off, living with the tribe, and in that time they have learned Pirahã as no other Westerners have. “Xaói hi gáísai xigíaihiabisaoaxái ti xabiíhai hiatíihi xigío hoíhi,” Everett said in the tongue’s choppy staccato, introducing me as someone who would be “staying for a short time” in the village. The men and women answered in an echoing chorus, “Xaói hi goó kaisigíaihí xapagáiso.”

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Posted by Christina at 1:59 | Permalink

08 July 2007

Yoga

Hey. So, this summer, I signed up for yoga classes. This yoga class definitely beats all the other ones that I have gone to. I see results, I have effective teachers, and I actually enjoy it. It's also very philosophy-like so I get to get more out of it(i like to think). For instance, every day towards the end we recite this saying: I honor the place in which the entire universe dwells I honor the light in you, which is of love, of truth, and of faith?( i don't remember) When you are in that place in you And I am in that place in me, We are one. Namaste. Yoga derives from different cultures and philosophies. Being able to be open minded allows anyone to experience new ideas and views that enrich one's life. I mean it. You should try it. Take it as a PE class for .5 units!!

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Posted by Casey Wang at 7:40 | Permalink

07 July 2007

Anemone genome - say that 10 times fast!

Ooo - little sea creatures! Looks like Berkeley's doing some interesting research. Link: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/07/05_anemone.shtml Anemone genome gives new view of multi-celled ancestors By Robert Sanders, Media Relations | 05 July 2007 BERKELEY – The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, and researchers say it provides major insights into the common ancestor of not only humans and sea anemones, but of nearly all multi-celled animals. mouth of scarlet sea anemone A view into the mouth of the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis. The anemone, only a few inches long and endowed with between 16 and 20 tentacles, lives in the mud of brackish estuaries and marshes. It is becoming a popular laboratory subject for studies of development, evolution, genomics, reproductive biology and ecology. (Nicholas Putnam/UC Berkeley photo)

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Posted by Christina at 1:28 | Permalink

06 July 2007

Free Bike

The campus is flat and wide. Well, flat except for these two lumps of hills in the middle of campus called Baka-yama and Aho-yama. (Stupid mountains) People who cut class tend to go there to sleep and hang out when they're cutting. There are lots of large tall trees. They're right outside of my window so its quite nice. My window faces the east which allows me to wake up with the sun on my face at around 8AM naturally! Isn't that amazing? Or maybe that's the jetlag waking me up. hahaha. Ah, and the free bike. There was a drawing for 4 free bikes and I won one. yay! Now I have a bike to get around and I don't have to buy one. I was planning on buying a bike to get around for the year, but this is much better. Now I can spend the ~$100 on food. Food is expensive. It's not more expensive than UC Berkeley campus food, but eating that everyday adds up. I went grocery shopping a few days ago so I've been cooking for myself mostly. Thus far, I've spent 10152 yen (~$88). That's not too bad as a week in itself, but I've actually only been spending money for 2.3 days. Now it gets scary. A nice thing I've noticed is that my skin feels nicer. It doesn't feel dry and scaly without lotion anymore. yay.

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Posted by K. Lee at 9:58 | Permalink

06 July 2007

Elegant Garden Nurseries

Today I went to see Elegant Garden Nurseries in Moorpark, California with my mom. She's been raving about this nursery for months and now I see why! So much variety! With 12 acres of plants and landscaping materials, there's no reason to not love it. Also - their prices are cheap but their plants are super healthy. Another plus - kind of rare to see, but they didn't have any black-market cycads. They had good horticultural stock of everything, including Gingers. No greenhouses, but dang - everything that you can think of they have it. I can't believe how much fun we had riding around in a golf cart with one of the hort guys, roaming from one side of the nursery to another in search of hibiscus and daylilies. We picked up a bromeliad, too! I convinced my mom that a drought-tolerant pink was a good idea for our little hill. Photos from their image gallery: http://www.elegantgardenscom.superpageshosting.com/gallery/

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Posted by Christina at 3:19 | Permalink

06 July 2007

Day Two - Japan - ILP

Die mosquitoes. DIE! I just got these two mosquitoes while walking through the foyer of the Global House, the dorm I'm living in. Yesterday, while walking I got 5 insects bites. I'm fully covered in long sleeves, long pants, sneakers, socks, etc. Yet these mosquitoes still find my skin in the tiny exposed crevices when I'm walking! I took the three hour placement exam this morning. It was quite grueling. Even with the review I've been doing, I've realized that I don't have much listening nor speaking experience. I have reading and writing, but aural listening and speaking are simply...impossible at this time. I hope to become decent and be able to carry on a conversation by the end of this summer. Dream high, reach high. Orientation. While the other, non-UC, participants of the summer program got a school tour, the UC students had Orientation number one. We learned about safety, the law, and safety. Follow the rules and you'll be okay. Don't follow them and.... good luck. At the end of the orientation, we received our housing placements for the fall. I got into my first

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Posted by K. Lee at 1:20 | Permalink

05 July 2007

The Late Night at Google

I have a friend who's friend interns at Google. God knows how she got it. God also knows that I am jealous as hell. Anyway, my friend (the first one) was invited to go and have dinner at the Holy GooglePlex and she got onto the bus so she can get to the BART. On the way she decided to call me. The BART leaves at 5:17. She calls me at 5:03. I live at Unit 2. "Hi Jonathan." "Hi. What's up?" "I'm headed to Google. Wanna come?" "Sure!" "Okay, meet me at the BART at 5:13." "Wait a second. It's 5:03. Should I take the bus?" "I'm already on the bus." This was as the movies call it, an "oh-god-no" moment. I threw on some clothes, rushed down the elevator and somehow managed to run to the BART from Unit 2 in 9 minutes. If you are even slightly familiar with the Berkeley campus, I know you are applauding right now. Carl Lewis couldn't have made it any better. Google was great. No words to mash about. It feels just like another Berkeley - alot of casual wear and a lot of relaxed environments. Gotta love it. Gotta want to go there. I liked especially how my friend's friend's friend kept saying stuff like, "yeah these people are all really nerdy" and "Look, these are people who were beat up in their high school." Gotta love how the green eyed monster makes her appearance. Oh by the way, the huge numbers of elementary kids are a bit on the short side for me. Considering what they feed these kids nowadays, and my own puny size. I am waiting for the day they will swarm me in a back alley and take all my food/money/possessions. Kids in packs are dangerous, yo!

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 2:01 | Permalink

05 July 2007

calso

Hey! This is Casey. CalSo for me, was about two weeks ago. It was definitely very exciting. The campus is soo huge and hilly. When I first got there, everything was very organized and welcoming. Very surprised, since I've heard all these crazy rumors about how Berkeley students are competitive and won't help anyone. My counselor, Joanna, was very very nice. She was very knowledgeable and friendly. The things that I enjoyed most about CalSo were the chants, the food.yuuuummm, and the bench. The bench, i don't know what it's called, but the one where you can talk into the stone and hear the other person from the other side of the bench!! Very cool. Even the weather was warm and cheerful!!! Sooo weird. One downside was the dorm-Unit 3. The rooms are so small and not enough closet space. Maybe all the dorms are like that?? Oyea.. i forgot my toothpaste so i couldn't even brush my teeth.. ehh. k. Tell me your experience at CalSo too or reply about anything. TTYL.

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Posted by Casey Wang at 6:26 | Permalink

05 July 2007

Day One - Japan - ILP

I hopped on the train to Mitaka and took a taxi to ICU. If you're considering ICU, take the taxi if you're coming with luggage. It makes life so much better to not have to lug luggage around. Everyone who's living on campus stays at the Global House for the summer. It's 4 little rooms set around a sort of living room. There's a washer, shower, bathroom, mini kitchen, fridge, etc. in the suite. It's lovely! Each room has a personal balcony. It overhangs to lovely greenery. I went out today to get my Alien Registration, Certificate, National Health Insurance, and cellphone. You need the Alien Registration to get the certificate and the certificate to get the NHI and cellphone. They make copies for you at the place for free, so you don't need to bring your own copies of stuff. If you don't have pictures already, there is a kiosk at the City Hall where you can get them taken. By bus 01 from ICU, its a 10 min bus ride. At first, I took the

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Posted by K. Lee at 6:39 | Permalink

04 July 2007

Arriving in Japan

I'm now in Japan. I left on the 3rd, arrived on the 4th, slept overnight at my cousin's church place, and in a few hours I will be heading to ICU. We took the Keisai Skyliner from Narita airport to Ueno before traveling by taxi. The taxi service was interesting as you press a button and a taxi comes zipping around the corner. I was a bit confused about the seatbelt usage though. The driver didn't put on his seatbelt until 6 minutes into the ride. In the backseat, there was a sign that said to please wear your seatbelt for safety. However, there weren't belt locks for the window seats. I suppose safety is optional. I didn't have a problem withdrawing money with my Citibank atm card at a Citibank machine. I had an exchange rate of 122.2 which isn't the best since its been at 123 these few days. I can always withdraw later I suppose. I didn't get hit by a transaction fee nor exchange fee which was nice. At my cousin's place, her roommates made us some nice cold soba and salad. The salad consisted of white turnips instead of the lettuce that we're use to. The sauces were light but delicious. Much better than the ranch but not as sweet was the poppy seed dressings. Temperature wise it is hot and humid though its said that it doesn't get really hot until August. I suppose that's reassuring? It was a bit rainy yesterday and the skies are gray. Ahh. I met the burnable vs. non burnable trash today. Paper = burnable. Plastic = non burnable. Except there's a PET plastic that is burnable. What is PET? I'll have to figure that out some other time. Research. One of the professors from ICU replied to my e-mail regarding research. He seemed very open and welcoming. He told me to drop by his office when I get to ICU. =) I'm not sure if I'll drop by during the summer or wait until the normal school year. We'll see. Internet will be spotty for a while. Until next time.

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Posted by K. Lee at 5:24 | Permalink

04 July 2007

Native Plants

Want to find a lily that will survive without water? Want to start a native garden but don't know where to start? Here's a great resource to help you learn what grows in your part of California. It even includes photos like this one! California Native Plant Link Exchange: http://www.cnplx.info/index.html It's easy to use. For instance, my parents live in Ventura County and they'd like to plant something that will flower year after year without replanting. So they click on "Ventura" in the county listing. It takes them to a new page that lists native plant nurseries in the area. If you scroll down on that page, they'll see a topographical map of the county, and just below that is a listing of native trees that grow in the county. They can then click on the "Perennials" link and that list will change to a massive list of native perennials that will do well in their county. Click on any plant and you'll see everything you could want to know about that particular plant, including a photo, common names, links to other sites with photos, and what nurseries should have it in stock. Here's a link to the entry on a native lily: http://www.cnplx.info/nplx/species?taxon=Calochortus+venustus

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Posted by Christina at 9:30 | Permalink

04 July 2007

And now from Spain!

On Saturday my alarm went off at 6:30 am and it was time to head off to the airport with my parents, brother and sister. After driving through a thick fog caused by a smoky car on the bridge, I knew this would be an adventure. I started at SFO and stopped over at Philadelphia and in Frankfurt. Actually, I almost missed my flight in Philly because our plane arrived late (something with overbooking, too many connections, being on the runway waiting to take off for over almost two hours, etc) and we had to run from one end of the airport to the other. Apparently I made it just in time but one of the other girls in the program came a little after i boarded the plane and was detained there with no luggage because they did not have a seat for her. I arrived in Tarragona, Spain only after almost non-existent plane flight, over eighteen hours on the runway or in a plane, two stopovers, interesting plane food, and a bus ride. The flight to and from Frankfurt was interesting because on the way there I actually sat next to an economics professor from Cornell who was headed for a conference in Germany and we were able to talk for a good bit. I learned that he went to Berkeley as a grad student and we talked about many aspects of Berkeley life. He told me about a few of his favorite spots around campus (including a few restaurants, book stores, and coffee shops that have since been closed). He also told me that one of the things that he really liked about Berkeley was the intellectual/scholarly community and culture, how students and faculty could be found in cafes having informal conversations about anything from daily life to questions about the meaning of life, how friends of his were able to spend some time talking to and dining with Berkeley greats like Alfred Kroeber and his wife. Events like these were very possible because finding housing within the city of Berkeley was less expensive and a bit easier to find and many people did not have to resort to living in surrounding cities. Interesting how things change in such a short time. Tarragona is beautiful. It is fairly small but it is costal and is rich with history (as is much of Europe), including Roman ruins and churches walking distance from our apartments. For four days this week there are fireworks on the beach to celebrate the patron saint of Tarragona. It is actually an international competition to see who has the best display and the winner will be in charge of the fireorks display that will occur early next month. More to come!

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Posted by Nikki Fernandez at 5:38 | Permalink

03 July 2007

What it's like in Berkeley (in no particular order):

Diversity is everywhere. People are generally polite. Lots of homeless people, which is a shock at first. The few white people you meet on campus will most likely be from some unexpected country. There's this awesome grocery store called "Berkeley Bowl" (odd name) that has tons of cheap produce. 2 botanical gardens within jogging distance: Tilden and UC Bot Garden. Redwoods all over campus, Eucalyptus all over the hillsides. Tons of nice places to go hiking: Huckleberry preserve, Redwood Park, and 5 others within a 10 minute drive of campus, and you can usually catch a bus to most of them. Crime definitely catches people by suprize. Don't leave your backpack sitting unattended in the library or sometone will snag it. Get a secure lock for your bike. People ride bikes like crazy everywhere around here. Tons of little cars, hardly see an SUV. Expect to see people wearing clothes you thought people stopped making in the 1960's. Sensible Asians, burnt out hippies, artists selling their work on Telegraph and bums harassing you for change at every intersection. Incredible selection of international food. Every kind of food you can think of, you'll find, and it'll be reasonably priced. North side of campus: "Holy Hill" with a representative church or educational facility for every religion and denomination that has had contact with the Western world. Calm, peaceful streets that are steep. Sidewalk cafes shaded by trees, an insane number of copy shops.

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Posted by Christina at 8:19 | Permalink

01 July 2007

Ready to head off

My passport arrived from the Japanese Consulate last Wednesday. It took them 3 business days to process and one day for the postman to bring it to me. I'm heading off this Tuesday on United Airlines, arriving on Wednesday, and beginning school on Thursday. There's this nifty video that teaches you how to buy a Japanese subway ticket. I found it quite informative. Here it is if you're interested. http://video.aol.com/video-detail/id/2428858945

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Posted by K. Lee at 1:22 | Permalink