Monday, January 30, 2012

Is 2012 the End of The World?

Planet Earth
Expiration Date: Possibly 12/23/2012 ?
With the end of January, we have officially elapsed one-twelfth of 2012.  Depressing, right?  Numerous predictions have been made about end of the world scenarios for 2012, including a break-up of the continents, a change in the Earth's polarity, Planet X or a giant meteor crashing into Earth, as well as the supposed prediction by the ancient Mayans calendar.  The way I see it, nothing happened at the millennium change with Y2K, so I have serious doubts that the world will actually end in December of this year. 

I am not the only person (obviously) to have doubts that the world will end by any of the numerous myths.  Both NASA and National Geographic have released statements on the web about these myths. 

As showin the the movie 2012, a city is being
taken into the sea as a part of an apocolypse.
Image courtesy Columbia Tristar Marketing Group
1.  A change in the earth's polarity is one of the numerous end of the world scenarios currently circling the internet.  NASA provides a very logical response, saying "Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."  Now while many other websites about the supposed end of the world quote themselves to have support by credible scientists, I feel as if NASA will have access to the most credible of all credible scientists.  I mean, they sent man to the moon and all--that couldn't have been a fluke!  NASA also addresses the polar shift theory.  There is evidence to prove that the Earth has previously shifted it's polarity, but the shift took millions of years!  Consider this theory debunked! 

A graphical representation of what we
imagine the original supercontinent
of Pangea looked like.
2.  Pangea is the supercontinent we all learned about in second grade science class.  You should remember that the shifting of the continents took millions of years too!  I can't find verification, but I think that I was once given a comparison that continental drift is approximately the speed of finger nail growth.  That is pretty slow.  Sure...their may be a new super continent that will form on the earth again, one day, but I'll trust that the general public would be made aware if a catastrophe is quickly impending (that is if it could be predicted).  It's not like the movie 2012 is a reality and seats to survive the apocalypse are being sold to the richest people on earth!


Is this what it would look  like if
a giant meteor hit earth?
3.  Countless movies have depicted planets or meteors crashing into the earth--Armogedden, Deep Impact, Asteroid, Without Warning, etc.  Small metors regularly hit the earth--aka shooting stars or metor showers--these small meteors are able to burn almost completely before hitting the ground.  Rumors have circled the internet that this exact scenario will happen this year.  Is is actually possible for a larger meteor or a planet to crash into the earth? Probably.  Is it going to happen by the end of the year? I sincerely doubt it.  NASA tells us that if "Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye." Do you see anything moving visibly closer to the earth? I don't either.  Therefore I'm willing to believe that NASA is giving us credible information.

A sample of what the
Mayan Calendar looks like!
4.  Now, the Mayans on the other hand may have a schred amount of truth to their supposed end of the world prediction.  However, I still don't think it is enough evidence to cause any panic.  The ancient Mayans created a calendar.  Then calendar as has been found/studied ends in December of 2012.  It is not a calendar like the ones we use today.  As National Geographic tells us, the Mayans used a 'long count' calendar which is "1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years" long.  After such a time elapses, the Mayans believed a new era would be born--similar to our out with the old/in with the new New Year traditions.  The long count of the Mayan calendar simply ends at the 2012 winter solstis, where if the Mayans were still around, a new long count calendar would emerge.

Special thanks to my online sources:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to Bake Delicious Cupcakes for your Manager's Birthday!

So, your manager (or someone else in your designated place of employment) is having a birthday.  The office is bringing a potluck lunch.  What should you bring?  CUPCAKES!!!  Not only are these yummy treats a great portion control snack when you inevitably sneak one on your drive in, they are also super easy and fun!

Step 1: Gather all necessary ingredients.  Needed: Cake mix, 3 eggs, 1 cup water, 2/3 cup oil.  Store brands are acceptable.  As are regular brands.  I happen to have a small budget though.

Step 2: Mix all aforementioned ingredients until concoction is smooth.

Step 3: Prepare cupcake mix in cupcake pan.  Fill the paper cup half full for cupcakes that look like mine.  Fill the paper cup 2/3 full for bigger cupcakes.  I like to spray the inside of the paper liners for an easy removal.

Step 4: Bake soon to be delicious goodness in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.  Test 'doneness' by poking the center cupcake with a knife.  If the knife comes out smoothly (aka no batter on the knife) then the cupcakes are done.

Step 5: Let Cool.

Step 6. Add sugar.  I mean icing.  Which is made out of sugar.  Anyway, add LOTS of it.  Please note that the brand name icing may or may not have been on super sale.

Step 7: Decorate cupcakes with Happy Sprinkles! (as if anyone could eat a delicious cupcake and not be happy!)

Step 8: Bring yummy delicious cupcakes (that you taste tested first) to your office party!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Think Positively!

I promise!  If you take a negative event in your life, and find the right way to think about the event, there will be a positive view you can take!  Thanks to the awesome positivity of one of my friends, KT, I always try to find the positive in every seemingly bad situation.  Thanks KT!

Here is a list of negatives:
     1. Overdrawn Bank Account
     2. Failed Relationship
     3. Sick, therefore missed school/work/you-name-it
     4.  Car Wreck
     5.  You are always seeing your shadow

The Hard Part: Finding the Positivity!

     1. You overdrew your bank account.  I've done it.  You've done it.  Your neighbors's nephew's best friend has done it too.  The good thing about an overdraft though, is that it means the people or companies you promised money to (via check writtem or debit card swiped) were paid and you do not owe any additional fees for having the item returned unpaid.  A second positive is that hopefully you have learned your lesson regarding money management!  Forgetting about a check you wrote can be an expensive error--possibly $25 to $36 dollars or more PER TRANSACTION!  Basically, keeping an eye on your finances is very important!  Use Online Banking frequently and match ALL of your shopping/dining reciepts to the charges against your account.

     2. Just like a bank overdraft, everyone seems to have had their heart broken once (or a dozen) times!  While the heartache may capture you now, just remember (I know this cliche) there are more fish in the sea!  Dating is a bit like an audition process for your future spouse/companion/helpmate/partner-in-crime.  If a relationship is not meant to work out (even after you try to make it work) then it is better to find out early!

     3. An unexpected illness has caused at least one sick day for all of us too!  Whether you missed school or work or an exam or whatever, tell yourself it happened for a good reason.  This is where I insist you ask yourself a "What If" question.  What if on the way to school/work/exam/whatever I was in a car wreck (or other injury causing accident).  Accidents do not usually make for good days.  Take your sick day and make it have a positive twist by telling yourself that nothing further negative happened by staying home!

     4. Car wrecks are accidents.  They are not something anyone plans (or so I hope!)  As long as you are able to survive the wreck, whether you walked away unharmed or needed medical attention, your survival is the most important thing!  Your life is irreplacable, where a car salesman can be easily found.  Sometimes wrecking your car can be a good thing, if you think of it in the right way.  You could end up with a newer, better car as a result.  For this positive to exist, several other things need to occur.  First, collision coverage is a must!  The day of a wreck is a bad time to realize you forgot you took collision off of your car insurance! (I know because I did this! Consider the lesson learned!)  Second, don't wreck on purpose!  I don't know who would make plans to wreck a car (besides a demolition derby contestant).  Insurance companies could get you for fraud (not a good thing) or worse, you could seriously injur someone in the process!  Don't wreck on purpose!

     5. If you are always seeing your shadow, then you may want to make the physical effort to move your neck into a position such that you can see the sun!  If you look toward the sun, then you will never see your own shadow!  All you need to do is make an effort to see the good things in life instead of just all the negative things in your past.  You may see your glass of milk/soda/adult-beverage as half empty today (the pessismistic viewpoint), but with a little effort to finding the good in all the seemingly bad things you encounter, your glass of milk/soda/adult-beverage can be seen optimistically as half full!  Remember, April showers bring May flowers!

Feel free to comment below if you have any other seemingly negative events that can be thought in positive ways!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

My DOD is awesome!  And learning to use social media!
Thanks to my sister for the photo!
As a recent college graduate living in the technological world, I am quite savvy with my use of social networks.  I have active profiles on Facebook, Google+, and Blogger.  As the child of a parent with a 'Golden Buckeye" discount card, I cannot say the same for my DOD (Dear Old Dad).  However, he is one (self declared) Old Dog that CAN learn new tricks!

DOD is an awesome dad.  He is even hip too!  Whenever we are both in the same proximity (I live in Cincinnati and he lives in a Columbus suburb) we go hang out at a local drinking establishment for a (as in singular) delicious adult beverage.  I don't say this to make us sound like alcoholics.  These adventures are few and far between, but fun.  In fact, I hardly ever go with anyone but DOD.  Including my sister, I think we may be some of the only people that will go to the bar with their dad.

Despite nearing his second retirement, DOD is still as hip as ever.  Don't let his age fool you!  As evidence, he even has his own (new) Facebook account!  I think it is so cute that he keeps updating me with the number of friends he has.  At the last update he gave me, DOD had finally surpassed 50 friends on Facebook! 

DOD rocking out at the Paul McCartney concert last summer!
Thanks to my sister for the photo!
For this past Christmas, my sister bought my dad a new laptop and I helped my mom pick out a new Kodak camera.  The camera is a touchscreen too!  Needless to say, DOD loved these gifts!  He has put them right to use--I even gave him a lesson last week in regards to creating a photo album in Facebook and tagging people in the pictures!  The pictures aren't recent from Christmas, but they are from a concert my sister took him to last summer for his early birthday present!  They both love the Beetles and saw Paul McCartney Live at Great American Ball Park!  We'll see if the Facebook lessons stuck soon enough when he tries to post more recent pictures!

Sofar, Facebook is the only profile that DOD is keeping, but I'm sure that may change.  I've sent an invite for Google+ but I'm not sure he knows what to do with it yet!  Before long, I think I'll have him set up with his own blog too!

To help him keep his life updated in the world of social networking, I showed him how to subscribe to my blog!  If he could figure out how to do it, so can YOU!  It is super simple!  If you use blogger, you can follow me by scrolling down a little on the right column.  If you don't use blogger, then you can subscribe via email, also in the right column.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Year's in Memphis: A Victory at the Liberty Bowl!

Bearcats are #1!  I'm super excited for my
first field interviews and the victory!

I'll admit, I sometimes wonder how much a certain event will cause affect to the rest of my life...Really, how will my experiences carry with me through life?  Will a four day trip to Memphis have any lasting effect?

To better answer this question, I should better specify that the four day trip was to the 2011 New Year's Eve Liberty Bowl and that I was going as the official UC Band Videographer.  That changes the context of the trip a little bit.  This trip was not the first time I traveled with the band in that role-->as a four year member, it was definitely not my first band trip!  As you can see below, I traveled with the band to Pittsburgh in early November as the UC Band's Videographer!

Starting quarterback Zach Collaros rushing past his
Vanderbilt opponents at the 2011 Liberty Bowl.
I suppose that since our memories are one of our most precious commodies, that an experience of any variety can have a lasting effect.  Some just might serve a better meaning later...Only time can tell :)

Eventually, you will have the awesome opportunity to see a video of the trip--Subscribe via email on the right hand collumn and you'll get the alert when the video is ready.  I have lots of awesome footage (5 full tapes worth!) and my goal is to edit a piece that the band will be able to appreciate in an awesome DVD format!  The only problem right now is I don't have a firewire cable!  The finished product will be available both here, YouTube, and Facebook soon enough though!

President Williams helping the
Bearcats celebrate Victory!
The most exciting part of the trip for me though was the game!  Not only did the UC Bearcats return victorious, but I conducted my first field interviews!  I was able to interview both the starting quarterback, Zach Collaros, as well as the President of the University of Cincinnati, Gregory H. Williams.  The UC Band photographer has pictures for me too!  I'll share them once they are available!
Of course, since I am:
          1) a long time band person, and
          2) I was traveling with the band, I had to ask questions about the band! 
Both Zach Collaros and President Williams said good things!  Zach is even friends with one of my friends from band because they went to the same high school!  As a video to be a memoriable keepsake for the band, I'm sure the inclusion of two big names recogizing the band will only add to the band's experience and memories!

Overall, I had a GREAT time in Memphis!  I suppose the true test to how the experience will effect me will be to let time play itself!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So...Job Please?

Now that I am a 'big girl' --you know, a college graduate and all-- I am on the hunt for my first 'big girl job.'

The search is rather frustrating...

Idealy, I would like to have my start in the world of talk shows.  I absolutely loved my internship with Daytime Columbus last spring.  My problem, is that I am having a difficult time finding entry level jobs with many of the talk shows.  That was my concentration of primary interest for the past few months.

What's next though?

One thing I had noticed in searching for talk show production jobs was 'related experience' in reference to news.  I have therefore officially begun to search for an entry level production position.  What I have found is that many stations are hiring for/continously accepting applications for production assistents (or something very similar by a different name).  Unfortunately, all the positions I have found are part time.

While I have always said that I am willing to move to where the job takes me, especially now so I can get the experience I need, I am hesitant to pack up and move to a different city for a part time position.  I already have a part time position.  I won't lie and say the pay is great, but it is above minimum wage and I am able to pay all of my bills without calling my Dad for help.

I did interview with a local station in Cincinnati recently for one of the above aformentoned part time jobs.  I think the interview went well.  I was given the follow-up writing assessment, which has been compleated.  Now I just wait.  I was told one week ago that I will not hear anything for two weeks.  The position is a 'News Content Specialist" position.  As it was explained to me, it is a glorified production assistent.  I'm completely OK with that.  I feel that I am a competent writer, I have confidence that I do good work in a professional manner, and I have previously completed the other tasks mentioned.  Something just felt right about that job.

I suppose that if I am not supposted to have that job, then it wasn't meant to be and I will find one later that will be right.  Until then....   :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

December 2011, Part 2

As a third generation student, I can now
proudly call this my Alma Mater too!
It may seem odd to call this part two when my college graduation occurred nearly two weeks before the events detailed in part one.  But as the rest of life, it is what it is.

December 10th was a day nearly five years in the making (or over five years... depending on how you want to think about it).

The Berne Union Golden Rockets
gave me just the start I needed!
I spent three-quarters of my career as a high school student saying I would not consider the University of Cincinnati because both of my parents were alumni, as well as three grandparents and a handful of my extended family.  Thanks to opportunities my high school band director provided me with in Audio Lab Production 1 & 2 during my junior and senior years, I came to realize that I was meant to go to UC.  In Audio Lab, I learned basic intricacies of the world of music production and audio post production.  Desiring to follow these skills to college in hopes of finding a career in music production, I braved to ask for a suggestion of where I might study further.

As I was already aware, the first suggestion my teacher gave me was Berklee College of Music, Music Production and Engineering Major.  Being from a very small town (excuse me, village), the [then] $36,000 annual pricetag for a prestigous music school in Boston (a 14 hour drive) seemed way out of the question of even discussing with Mom and Dad.  To get into that program, you also needed to be accepted to the school for music performance and switch during your second semester.  I was a part of a good band program, but I still doubt that I would be able to get into Berklee today even if I really wanted to.

The second option my teacher gave me is one I had not been at all aware of to that point.  By having kept in contact with a previous audio lab student, my teacher was able to recommend the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music's Electronic Media Division.  I went home, googled it, and told my parents that I wanted to look at their alma mater...after years of telling them I didn't want to consider it.

The rest of how I came to study at UC is history.  I submitted my application less than a week before the deadline, my supporting material (all from my audio lab classes) a few days later, and received my acceptance letter on January 25, 2007!  Nearly five years, fourteen quarters, 217 credit hours, one 3.613 Cum Laude GPA, and 1,773 days later...I graduated.

The Electronic Media Division of UC's prestigous College-Conservatory of Music
gave me the proper foundation I was looking for to build the career I am now seeking.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

December 2011 Part 1

So...December had both high and low points.  For starters, I became a college graduate.  We'll chat more later.  On the low points...I lost both my beloved Kitchi (guinea pig) and my Grandma Shaw.

Kitchi begging on the edge of
his cage for a carrot!
    Kitchi had his first respiratory infection in November just before Thanksgiving.  Knowing these infections can be fatal, we took a trip to the vet where he was prescribed an antibiotic.  He did get better, but within a few weeks, I was beginning to notice he was loosing weight.  When you weigh barely above a pound to begin with, any weight loss will be noticeable.  We went home home on December 22 to spend a few days with my parents and sister for the holidays.  That night I could just tell that he didn't feel well.  He loved carrots...possibly more than me...and he turned his face at carrots that night.  The next morning he woke me up.  I found him struggling on his side with only half of his body moving.  Not knowing what I could do to help him, I picked him up and held him as his body was shutting down.  He seemed to have trouble breathing too--which makes me think he had another respiratory infection.  I don't know if was aware of me or of what was happening to him, but I would like to think that I gave him a good life.

    Kitchi and I met at This Little Piggy & Me --a guinea pig adoption facility in Cincinnati.  My sister was still a student at Miami University and I was a student at the University of Cincinnati.  We were both happy guinea pig owners when we were younger and still love the cuddly cavy.  Sister found the guinea pig adoption facility online and told me.  We were both approved to become new guinea pig owners!  I adopted Kitchi on November 8th 2008.  He found his way to the adoption facility through a college girl (as told to me through the family that runs the facility) literally stole him from a party because his owners thought it was funny to feed him beer!  In his temporary home with This Little Piggy & Me he was given the name Kitchi--which means 'Brave' in the Native American dialect of Algonquin.  The little Kitchi was with me through the rest of my time in college but sadly needed to cross over the rainbow bridge on December 23rd 2011.  Now he gets to spend the rest of time buried next to my sisters "Piggy" whom Kitchi was very much in love with while they were both alive.

    My Grandma Shaw was a big part of my decision to choose the University of Cincinnati.  Knowing that my parents already regularly traveled to Cincinnati to see our extended family--always staying at Grandma's house in the process--made the decision feel practical.  Grandma's house is a mere 6.9 miles from the center of campus..  I had the opportunity to go to school away from my parents, but still be able to leave campus and see my family easily and at a moments notice.

Grandma and myself at my high
school graduation in 2007.
    This is the grandma that used to feed my sister and myself ice cream, even when mom said 'no.'  This is the grandma that used to let me come stay with her for a week (or so) at a time for what we called 'Grandma Camp.'  (I never really liked going to camp where I would make friends for a few days that I would never see again)  This is the grandma that would host sleep-overs for all of the cousins, stay up late with us, and give us a cookie before bed.  This is the grandma that used to give me a 'rub-a-dub-rub' with an oversized towel to dry my off as I climbed out of the bathtub.  Needless to say, she has had a big impact on my life.

    Her decline of sorts began on Easter of 2009.  That is the day that she broke (spiral fractured) her femur.  From there began other problems including trouble walking, eating, and general loss of strength.  She has had two extended hospital visits, each followed by stays in a convalescence center.  The end of the end was quick.  She celebrated her 88th birthday in October.  Less than a week before Christmas she was accepted as an at-home hospice patient.  That was a Tuesday.  Thursday she was barely conscious.  Friday she was peacefully sleeping.  Saturday was Christmas Eve.  She went peacefully during our traditional White Elephant gift exchange.  The game was originally her idea and she loved playing with us every year.

    To think of these events on a positive note, Kitchi was securely in my arms at the end and was able to have a happy life filled with treats and carrots with me.  Grandma lived a long life, she traveled the world, and was able to be in her own home, her own bed, and surrounded by family when she went.  She was, in a way, a Christmas present for family and husband.

    I'd like to believe that both Grandma Shaw and Kitchi are going to be with me for a very long time.