Student rejects Grad School Cafe

Logo for GradCafe.

Logo for GradCafe.

As if applying to graduate school isn’t stressful enough, now there’s an entire website dedicated to feed your mental breakdowns and make you feel even worse about yourself: It’s more of a time waster than Facebook, and it has the added benefit of making you feel hopeless about your future. The intent of Grad School Cafe is to create a forum for students awaiting responses from their respective graduate school programs. Users can post whether they have been accepted or rejected from graduate programs, thereby informing others users where they stand on the “rejected” list. For example, if scores of people have already been rejected from your university of choice and you haven’t received notification of anything, you know you’re safe until the next cut. It’s an excellent tool to keep you awake at night and leave you with fits of nervous vomiting and other severe gastrointestinal issues.

It’s an extraordinarily depressing website to peruse, as most of the postings are labeled “rejected.” You can even go back several months in time to see continued lists of “rejected” statuses and other assorted cursing. “Every one is freaked out,” said one student awaiting response from the Political Science Program at Columbia University. “There are more applicants, with more qualifications and less spots and funding than in previous years. I think that this is part of the crisis. The PhD application process becomes a job market.” Awesome.

Or, a personal favorite rejection of mine from the Philosophy Department at McGill University in Toronto: “Refused, then promptly shredded and used as bedding for my hamster’s cage.” What does Grad School Cafe tell you? It tells you your future is being shat on by hamsters. “Fourth rejection,” one applicant for the Musical Composition Program at the University of Pennsylvania writes. “The American dream is slipping out of my reach.” Oh. Good. Excellent. It’s almost as uplifting as the job market.

Southwestern University students seem to think we’re better off than most. “I transferred to Southwestern because I felt I was not being adequately prepared for graduate school at my old university,” said Lauren Margulieux, a senior psychology major. “I am more than happy with the coursework and professors at Southwestern because they challenge me and ask me to think at a graduate level. I feel that my background has made me competitive for acceptance into my graduate school of choice.” Do I believe it applies to all of us? I want to to believe it, and I think I do, and I think we all should believe it. It might be hard to believe, but we’re tough and we’re smart. We’ve got this. And if not, we can always just fill out our applications for McDonald’s together.

Artist of the Week: Miike Snow

Miike Snow's self-titled album from 2009. Courtesy of Google Image.

Miike Snow's self-titled album from 2009. Courtesy of Google Image.

John A. Logan once said, “Music’s the medicine of the mind.” When I heard this quote, I instantly thought about Miike Snow, the Music Artist of the Week.

Miike Snow hails from Stockholm, Sweden and was formed back in 2007. Two of the members of Miike Snow enjoyed success as producers and songwriters for several well-known artists, including Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears.

The band has released one album so far, also called Miike Snow, which was released on September 22, 2009 and consists of 11 songs. This album is great to listen too, combining great drums, rhythmic piano playing and synthesizers to create some really catchy sounding music.

The majority of the songs on the album really stand out, but the song that stands above the rest is “Animal,” the opening song of the CD. “Animal” is an extremely enjoyable song with an upbeat hook. Its lyrics are great, telling people to break free from social conventions and ignore materialistic values. “There is a hole and I tried to fill it up with money/ But it gets bigger till your horse is always running/ In your eyes I see the yes of somebody/ That could be strong.” “Animal” is a song that demands you to listen to it continually.

Interestingly, a very strong aspect of Miike Snow’s music is the ability to sing about grief and sadness but make it sound happy and joyful. For example, in the song “Black and Blue,” Mike Snow sings about
a failed relation but manages to maintain that uplifting, funky sound.

Miike Snow’s album strikes a chord that resonates throughout the entire body, making it impossible to hold still.

Hipsters Move To Georgetown For Some Reason

The material that nightmares are made of.  Courtesy of Georgia LoShiavo

The material that nightmares are made of. Courtesy of Georgia LoShiavo

This just in: The Sigs won’t be the only hipsters in Georgetown anymore. A ragtag band of metrosexuals, yuppies and hipsters are on an exodus from Austin because they believe that “a quaint small-town will totally be great fodder for an existential drama,” according to one posh immigrant. Upon further inquiry he said, “It’s going to be a lot like the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ – it’s a story about redemption and moving to the Promised Land. I think I’m going to title it ‘Grapes, and other non-meat environmental products from Whole Foods, of Wrath.’”

Not all residents are pleased. A local Sun City man was interviewed and said, “I hope those whippersnappers stay off of my lawn.” There is a committee to keep the hipsters and yuppies out. They will institute checkpoints upon entry into the city, which will check a new resident’s iPod. If there are any songs by Vampire Weekend or The Shins they are not allowed in.

Some Southwestern students aren’t happy either. One hipster student said, “This is horrible. Now when I go into Starbuck’s and drink my Chai Tea and write in my Moleskine notebook, I’ll be just like everybody else. I was so unique before I realized I’ve never been unique.”

Not everybody is against the migration. Poor people throughout East Austin are happy, in contrast with the general state of Georgetown. “I’m tired of them blaring Death Cab for Cutie at all hours,” said a local of the somewhat gentrified East Austin area. That wasn’t the only praise that was given for the hipsters’ move. Another man said, “I was always sick of seeing them talk about helping poor people and the environment and then they force us out and pollute the environment by driving to so many damn indie concerts. I was also sick of seeing them wearing those tight jeans.” When I informed him that tight jeans kill sperm count and would reduce the chances of hipsters having kids and further populating the area, he said, “Well, that’s alright.”

Some groups and tiny coffee shops around the Square are welcoming their newest customers. The proprietor of Cianfrani’s said, “Yuppies and upper-middle class white hipsters will put anything into their bodies if it is either called organic or Fair Trade. You could serve them Fair Trade and organic skunk testicles and they’d go wild for it. We’ll be rolling in dough.”

The mayor of Georgetown is crossing his fingers that, “none of our new residents realize just how crappy Georgetown is and how the most fun thing to do in this city is leaving.” Liquor stores are positive that the new residents will realize this. The owner of a local Twin Liquors store said, “They’ll soon understand how conservative, boring and Republican this place is and they’ll come here to drown their sorrows away. Just like Southwestern students do.”

SU Swimming Finishes Strong in Louisville

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

In Louisville, Ky. this past weekend, the Southwestern swim team was able to evaluate the efforts of its hard work at the Conference Championship.

On the men’s side, the first day of the meet resulted in a sixth place finish for the men’s 200 freestyle relay which finished in 1:29.81 and was swam by Patrick Flanigan, John Prater, Stephen Montes and Josh Stanfield. Stanfield, Jon LaRochelle, Flanigan and Prater made a seventh place finish for the 400 medley relay. First-year Flanigan, who is also a member of the men’s soccer team, finished 11th in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 22.24.

Prater finished 12th, five hundredths behind him with a time of 22.29. Prater also finished second in the consolation final of the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 48.95.

“My favorite part about SCAC was the way the team really came together. It is a great feeling to be a part of a team that respects and supports one another, and I think we saw that from the whole team this year at conference, from everyone cheering during a race to lifting each other up after a tough swim.” senior LaRochelle said, who has served as a team co-captain for two years.

On the second day, SU got this rolling with a seventh place finish in the 200 medley relay. The team of Stanfield, LaRochelle, Flanigan and Prater finished with a time of 1:42.51. The ‘B’ squad of Steven Weddell, Thomas Newman, Taylor Steele and Stephen Montes finished in 14th with a time of 1:51.77.

The men’s team shares many similar best strokes and events as Prater and La Rochelle took 12th and 15th respectively in the 100 breaststroke. Prater finished in 1:01.95 while LaRochelle came in at 1:03.98. Flanigan followed with an 11th place finish in the 100 back with a time of 56.42 while Stanfield come in 15th at 58.49.

Flanigan also finished in 16th place in the 100 fly with a time of 55.37, while the 800 free relay comprised of Steele, Montes, Weddell and Newman had the second highest finish of the day for Southwestern in ninth place with a time of 7:54.00. LaRochelle finished fifth in the consolation final of the 200 breastroke with a time of 2:18.59.

The team dynamic really became apparent when seeing the finalists, especially the seniors, take to the blocks knowing it was going to be their last race of the season or career even.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Such an ultimatum brought every swimmer poolside to cheer for and fuse with their family of teammates who mounted the blocks thinking ‘this is it,’” first-year Newman said.

For the women’s team, day one of the SCAC Championships concluded with the highest finish by junior Bailey Thompson in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:14.82. First-year Melissa Nelson finished 14th with a time of 2:18.84 and first-year Elizabeth Lewis finished 16th with a time of 2:20.38.

The Pirates’ other top 10 finish was in the 200 free relay where the team of Michele Comerota, Katie Coleman, Christine Moody and Sarah McCausland finished in seventh place in the 200 yard freestyle relay coming in with a time of 1:47.69.

Lewis also finished 16th in the 500 free with at time of 5:31.05. A 15th place finish in the 400 yard medley relay was achieved by McCausland, senior Stephanie Morton, senior Anya Lopez-Fuentes and Comerota who came in at 4:38.05. Thompson, Comerota, Ayers and Nelson finished sixth in the 400 yard freestyle relay.

The second day of the SCAC Championships, the women’s team moved up one place in the standings after four top five finishes in eight events.

Sophomore Ayers had a major accomplishment by placing second in the 100 back coming in at 58.97 for an NCAA DIII B Cut time and fourth in the 100 fly with a time of 59.40. Junior Thompson finished just behind Ayers in the 100 back, taking third place in 59.53 which was also an NCAA DIII B Cut time.

Ayers and Thompson joined up with teammates McCausland, and Melissa Nelson in the 200 yard medley relay and captured fifth with a time of 1:55.06.

The Southwestern ‘B’ relay team of Christine Moody, Stephanie Morton, Anya Lopez-Fuentes and Coleman came in 16th in the event in a time of 2:08.30.

“I think that all of the hard work we have put in, and the incredible amount of time we have spent together really comes out. It is the last and most important meet of the season, and I think that the energy we put in throughout the season comes out in full force during those three intense days,” LaRochelle said.

SPA: Have Peace In Mind

Last year, the SPA marched for peace in Austin.

Last year, the SPA marched for peace in Austin.

Editor’s Note: We had some issues in posting this article up in a timely fashion. This was written for before the SPA conference on the weekend of February 28.

Often, when I’m driving to or from school on I-35, I pass the time by reading bumper-stickers on the backs of cars and trucks. There was one truck in particular that I still remember to this day. Along with the usual conservative stickers (one advocating arctic drilling, another supporting the NRA, and yet another for the McCain/Palin ticket) there was one with the peace-sign logo with the caption: “Footprint of the American chicken.”

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but since when has peace been an ideological issue? As a member of the Southwestern University chapter of Student Peace Alliance, it’s natural for me to think that peace is a good thing, but why should peace be treated with a liberal/conservative divide?

It’s no secret that Southwestern is hosting the Student Peace Alliance National Conference this weekend. While Mr. Trucker might see the meeting as nothing more but a fancy hippie get-together, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The conference has speakers from a wide variety of occupations and ideologies. The first day alone will feature Colonel Jeffrey Peterson (Professor of Economics at West Point,) Ben Thomson (from Invisible Children,) and Southwestern’s own Dr. Eric Selbin (Professor of Political Science.)

It’s no coincidence that Common is performing the same weekend as the conference, part of his motivation to come was due to the conference.

An opportunity like this doesn’t come along every-day. It’s extremely gratifying to see that students who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in Student Peace Alliance are going to attend the conference. While it is bothersome to think that not everyone on campus is going to take advantage of the unique opportunity that the conference will provide, it’s encouraging to see the overall positive response from fellow students.

I sincerely hope that one truck’s bumper stickers are not an indication for the views held by a large group of people. The idea of peace is not something that should be scorned.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “There never was a good war, or a bad peace.” The idea of peace isn’t anti-American, it is fundamentally American. Perhaps being a member of the Student Peace Alliance gives me a biased outlook on the situation, but hopefully that’s a shared bias.

Photo Retouching is a Fake Reality

Lady Beydonna.  Courtesy of Caitlin McCown.

Lady Beydonna. Courtesy of Caitlin McCown.

“Sometimes when you work in advertising you’ll get a product that’s really garbage and you have to make it seem fantastic, something that is essential to the continued quality of life.” – Augusten Burroughs

Blame it on the media, if you will, but the idea of perfection is constantly being plastered in front of us and shoved down our throats. The models are getting skinnier, the quality of products is getting worse, and the pursuit for the ideal is getting tougher. As celebrities become more attractive, the average person’s self-esteem plummets in an inverse effect. And all of this has become a great deal easier thanks to technological advances including photo-altering.

Recently, photo-altering has become a controversy with the gained popularity and accessibility of photo-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Not only are big advertising companies and mass media able to change and distort reality, but so can you in your very own home! As the schism between what is real and what is not blurs, people have a harder time distinguishing the difference and the unfamiliarity becomes a discomfort.

The more righteous people in the world are taking strides in hopes of changing this. As an example, the company Dove launched a True Beauty campaign in which they try to advertise beauty in a more conventional way:

“We want to help free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes” as we “create thought-provoking ads, confidence-building programs and messages that embrace all definitions of beauty.”
A noble cause indeed, but to be quite honest a futile one. Although some people may commend the company for taking such actions, the influence of overall media is too great. In all honesty, people do not want to see other average people as an ideal or as something for which they strive. It only makes sense for advertisers to create a facade that is suited for their needs. It is just the game that they have to play in order to get to the public into buying into what they are trying to sell. Although most do not want to admit it, people also have the innate instinct to always want more and what is better than themselves. Though many may contest it, there is a bit of superficiality in all of us. Thus, it only makes sense that reality should be tweaked a little here and there.

Now, I am not condoning photo-altering that takes things to another extreme. It is not fair for the impressionable young girls to look at models who have been photo-altered until they are unnaturally stick-skinny. I am not agreeing with those who create and alter photographs from nothing and try to pawn it off it as real (especially in the cases of fraudulent journalism). Like everything else, with this new-found power, there needs to be a sense of responsibility from both parties.

The public needs to realize that the people who partake in such an activity are just doing their job. They are essentially taking an idea and representing it with an image that the audience can relate to in order reach a certain goal. The public should not succumb completely to such techniques of persuasion like a horde of excessively-impressionable zombies. They themselves should be able to judge for themselves what is attainable and what is not. They should realize that a celebrity sporting the newest fashion item is airbrushed or that a McDonald’s menu item will not appear the same as its picture counterpart.
In a way, photo-altering is not a deceptive form of influence, but rather just a fact of our consumerism. In order to keep everything in a working cycle, someone needs to take something ordinary and make it seem extraordinary.

Photo-altering should not be seen as a vice but rather a helpful resource in maintaining our fascination with the mundane, which is at times slightly transformed for our own benefit. Fashion Sophistication

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Lookbook is a little fashionista’s best kept secret. It is a website dedicated to the ins and outs of fashion with a mixture of brand names and treasures from thrift stores. It is a medley of indie-hipsters who have mastered the art form of taking self-portraits at the most flattering of angles and lighting.

The collections showcase many pieces that evoke a feel of Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, H&M and local thrift shops. This is where all the beautiful people collaborate and showcase their innate ability to dress well.

According to the Lookbook website, its goal is to form a community for those who appreciate art, culture and fashion that can be found in everyday people and their creativity. They celebrate people who express themselves through their clothing choices and the positive influence that street fashion can have on an individual.
“To bring together diverse, aesthetically talented and open-minded people around the world and showcase the best in international street fashion.”

And in this somewhat competitive community, people strive to make a reputation for themselves. In order to make themselves known, the fashion-devotees have to create “looks” that will attract a following. Other users can “hype,” or like, the look and the poster can earn “karma” or a reward for their stylish contributions. Thus, a Lookbook user has to prove himself or herself to the rest of the fashion community in order to gain notoriety.

Once the person posts a look, he or she can then match their clothes with a color scheme and then pinpoint from where they got their piece. The users share their closets with others in hopes of inspiring them to see the beauty in the ordinary and to be able to put together outfits that do not necessarily have to come from Abercrombie & Fitch or include the abhorrence of Uggs. Unlike mainstream fashion, these Lookbookers are not afraid to experiment with navy blazers, old-school oxfords, and grandmother-inspired scarves.

The posters usually consist of very attractive and young women and men with an artistic background (and messy bangs and beards). They photograph themselves in mundane or Vogue-esque situations from grabbing something out of their bags to just pouting at the camera. With this technique, they are trying to say something along the lines of “Hey, look at me. I can dress like a sophisticated model on a daily basis without even trying!” It is obvious that they take the pictures very seriously because of their attention to detail from soft lighting to the exact placement of hands relative to their legs.

One can browse through the site and come across a wide range of people from all over the world. This surge of sophistication comes from everywhere including Hong Kong, France, and Montreal, showing different styles and tastes on an international basis. The website offers an opportunity to view other people’s perspectives and styles fostered in a different environment. It also kind of makes America look like it is in dire need of a makeover.

After going through a few pictures and hungrily staring at the nice pair of heels a French vixen is sporting, you might want to join. But Lookbook is compromised of the elite of the fashion world, and the club is an exclusive one – so that means it is invite-only. But if you are desperate to start proving you have enough hutzpah to make it in the fashion world, you can apply to become a member.

And please remember every time you slip on a pair of Crocs, a kitten dies.

5 TexMex Restaurants in 10 miles

Today, I realized, for possibly the first time since I seriously sat down to think about my future, that I might be moving in the next six months.  Well, I definitely will be moving, and sooner than that, but moving away. Like far away…  potentially north.  Or east.  Maybe west.  But probably not  further south.  And any direction but south will only take me away from the food that I have grown to love over the past 21 years.  Mexican food, or more accurately, TexMex.  This realization plunged me into at least five minutes of deep retrospection over the necessity of moving… but, unfortunately, the most Mexican food I might be eating in the future is Taco Bell.  An extremely frightening thought, I know.  So, it became necessary for me to plan out the next two and a half months very carefully.  And I have strategically marked out the places I will be frequenting in my preparation for a future without enchiladas.

ChuysNashville1_118703cChuy’s—I feel embarrassed to even put this on the same list as some of these restaurants because Chuy’s has the best Tex Mex that I’ve ever had.  Ever.  My favorite restaurant in Austin, or anywhere, Chuy’s offers an eclectic environment full of idiosyncrasies plastered to the walls.  Amazing food, drinks and atmosphere.  The only complaint I ever has is that its always too busy.  But what do you expect with an amazing restaurant?

Favorites:  Deluxe chicken enchiladas and the creamy jalapeno ranch chip dip.

2320 North Interstate 35 (closest location)

Dos Salsas—Good chips and drinks.  Good environment, though frequently very busy for food that’s just good and not outstanding.  A favorite spot for my Paideia group’s dinners and the place in Georgetown for Mexican food with the best balance of quality and price.

1104 South Main Street

logo_freebirds-2-logo1Chipotle/Freebirds—Two different places.  Same idea.  Foil. Burritos.  To go.

900 North Austin Avenue/ 100 Center Ridge Drive, Austin

El Patron—A middle of the line kind of place with decent food, service and drinks.  A good place if everything else is too busy and you want some sort of Mexican cuisine to satisfy your appetite.

603 West University Avenue

El Charrito—Though I haven’t had their full menu, I have established a close relationship with the man that runs the window for breakfast tacos in the morning. Needless to say for a $1.50 you can get a pretty decent breakfast taco.  (The best I’ve found for the morning dash to class.)

302 South Austin Avenue

Not a fan of Casa Ole—Tex Mex has been described to me by a northerner as a “pile of slop that runs together”.  And though I resent hearing the food I love described in such a way, I’ll agree and counter with the argument that the taste makes up for the way it can sometimes look;  Casa Ole’s food doesn’t.  It tastes just like Canadians think Mexican food tastes. The moral of this story is, if you want cheap Mexican food, just go to Taco Cabana!

Now, I have specifically refrained from going in depth about margaritas in this blog, because I will be writing about the best margaritas in the area for spring break.  I’m doing careful research for this one, so don’t miss it!  Till then night owls!


hummus-ckeasy. delicious. healthy. happy.

someone recently reminded me how much ground up garbanzo beans are delicious. especially when doused in garlic. honestly, i don’t have a foodsabra processor- so for under $4 at [[devil market capitalism place-that-shall-not-be-named]] i buy Sabra, which is without a doubt the best hummus ever, and possibly better than homemade. [{roasted garlic. do it.}] & eat with quarters of those little flour fajita tortillas, which you can get 20 for a dollar. [[ much better & cost efficient than pita ]]

however, if you need a quick, impressive and delicious snack or appetizer and have a few bucks to spend or want to make huge quantities for cheap– here’s my favorite recipe:

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2-3 tsp cayenne powder

Throw it all in a food processor, adding more of the salt, lemon, or cayenne to taste. Should be an almost creamy almost paste texture. Yum. Serve with tortillas, cherry tomatoes (!!!), celery sticks, raw red bell pepper slices, or baked pita chips.

Baked pita chips:

Buy store-made pita, open and layout flat on cookie sheets, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and bake for 5 minutes at 375, watching closely, turning once. hummus-ck

Southwestern vs. Trinity: Tough Day for SU B-Ball

Although we lost, the Pirates fought hard against the Tigers.  Courtesy of Eric Gonzales.

Although we lost, the Pirates fought hard against the Tigers. Courtesy of Eric Gonzales.

In the midst of a crowd full of students and their visiting parents dressed in black, the regular season ended for the men and women’s basketball teams of Southwestern last Friday. Both the men and women fought hard, but came up short, and were handed losses by the Trinity Tigers.

The women’s team battled it out throughout the first half, but towards the end of the second half, their multitude of fouls and missed shots caught up with them. This slump led to the Trinity Tigers pulling ahead and never looking back. Around the two-minute mark in the second half, the score was 54-68. The Pirates pushed forward and closed the gap to 57-65, though they would not score again. The final score of the game was 57-68.

The Lady Pirates ended regular season play with an overall record of 10-15 and a record of 6-10 in conference play. The last regular season game festivities included senior recognition. Seniors Jessica Herbst, Narisa Trammel and Katie Kern suited up for their last home game on Friday night.

After the women’s game, the guys took to the court. Before the game, Coach Bill Raleigh recognized seniors Anthony Cox, Collin Kelly, Zach Bergstrom and Travis Barber for their dedication and extraordinary leadership they brought to the team.

“The men well represented the university throughout their years of play,” Barber said.

As for the game, the guys stayed close with Trinity throughout the first half, though they would never take the lead again after a score of 5-2 in the first two minutes of the game. Towards the end of the first half the team managed to tie Trinity at 23-23 and 26-26, but failed to comeback within that range again.

A big hindrance to the Pirates was the amount of missed shots that were taken. In the second half, the Pirates almost went a full five minutes without making any of their shots, a streak that was broken only by a successful free-throw.

As much as the team hurt from missed shots, Trinity also failed to capitalize on the difficulty the Pirates were having. They never managed to pull more than 9 ahead despite all the opportunities given to them and also failed to make many of their own shots.

The high amount of missed shots could be chalked up to lousy shooting or just good defense played by both teams.

Either way, the score remained relatively low throughout the game and no team hit the 50-point mark until only two minutes remained.
The score remained tight until around the eight-minute mark in the second half when Trinity took the lead, 40-33.

Though the Pirates remained strong, holding the Tigers in the low 40s for about four minutes, the comeback attempt was too late. Trinity called a timeout and came back to control the rest of the game, letting the Pirate’s only come as close as a 6 point difference for the rest of the game.

In the end the final score was 49-56. The men’s basketball team ended regular season with an overall record of 16-9 and a conference record of 9-7.

They currently hold third place in the west and will play DePauw in the first round of the SCAC tournament this weekend in Jackson, MS.

Another Writer Reminisces About Their Childhood

This is supposedly the 1990s in one picture.  I'm not sure if I agree.  Courtesy of Google Images.

This is supposedly the 1990s in one picture. I'm not sure if I agree. Courtesy of Google Images.

In the wake of beginning a new decade in the 21st century are you finding yourself missing the 90s? Being born in the middle of 1991 made me a little late to the festivities, but I can still party like it’s 1999. So sit back, grab some Kool-Aid, put on your N*SYNC CD, and join me in indulging in some 90s nostalgia.

Being a 90s child, I can remember having a Barbie bedspread and then a Pokemon one. For Halloween I dressed as Baby Bop, Mulan, Esméralda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Pink Power Ranger. I had a Lion King dress that I never wanted to take off. Birthday parties were held at Discovery Zone and the day I got my own pair of Jelly Sandals I wore them to bed. I prized my pretend doctor’s kit, Baby Tumble Surprise, CD player and Pokémon cards above all else.

I was obsessed with movies such as “101 Dalmatians,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “The Lion King,” “Matilda,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Space Jam,” “A Goofy Movie,” “The Little Rascals,” “Harriet the Spy,” “Home Alone,” “Free Willy,” “Toy Story,” “The Land Before Time” and “Aladdin.”
Some of the oldest memories I have are that of watching “Barney” and “Sesame Street.” Progressing to Saturday morning TV filled with “Thomas the Tank Engine,” “Gullah Gullah Island,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” “Sailor Moon,” “Rugrats” and “Power Rangers.” Then there were the after school and Saturday night line ups: “Powerpuff Girls,” “Pepper Ann,” “All That,” “Keenan and Kel,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Arthur,” “Doug,” “Recess” and “Pokémon.”

During these TV shows, we were subjected to all kinds of commercials. Being a girl, my memory of these commercials are biased. The big toys I remember are Sky Dancers, Care Bears, Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Polly Pockets, My Little Pony, Nerf, Nintendo, Pound Puppies, Operation, Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Silly Putty, Lisa Frank’s many muti-colored animals, Hello Kitty, Play-Doh and LEGOS. Remember the craze induced by Furbys, Giga Pets, Razor scooters and Beanie Babies?

Then elementary school: the great times of recess, P.E., trapper keepers and plastic lunch boxes with our favorite animated characters. Where we created paper fortunetellers that predicted we would marry the most popular kid, have two kids, a mansion and be an astronaut. The agony of getting our cards pulled from green to yellow to red depending on our behavior. Stressing over spelling tests and multiplication licenses. Constantly being told we needed to learn cursive because that was all teachers accepted in high school. When watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “Reading Rainbow” were staples of education. Also, having “I know you are, but what am I” wars and putting “not” after every sentence. Not.

Then the music, times of boy band mania such as 98 Degrees, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys – the list could go on. There was Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, Selena and the manufactured pop of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Hip-Hop progressed with artists such as Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Snoop Dog, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. Punk pop bands such as Blink-182 and Green Day also achieved popularity. And we can’t forget the one-hit wonders like “Mmmm Bop,” “Macarena,” “Baby Got Back,” “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” and “Mambo No. 5” to name just a few.
It seems surreal now, growing up in a time without texting, cell phones, iPods and personal computers, when taking a plane didn’t require an hour of going through security and neighborhood kids played outside instead of gathering around someone’s Wii. It is always fun to look back as the old times, and now, as we step into a new decade, we should always remember to, well remember our passed cherished memories by indulging in some nostalgia now and then.

For another viewpoint, check out this article by Ryan McDermott.

Animal Liberation Orchestra is the Artist of the Week

The band, Animal Liberation Orchestra.  Courtesy of Google Images.

The band, Animal Liberation Orchestra. Courtesy of Google Images.

Sergei Rachmaninov once said, “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” No words better describe the music of Animal Liberation Orchestra, the Music Artist of the Week.

Animal Liberation Orchestra, also known as ALO, is from California and has released two albums. “Fly Between Falls” was released in 2004 and contains 10 songs, and their second CD, “Roses & Clover” was released in 2007 and also contains 10 songs.

Both these albums are lot of fun to listen to, containing great songs that you will want to listen to repeatedly. The music of ALO is made up of many different genres; they blend together rock, jazz and blues to create a fun music experience. They have collaborated with good friend Jack Johnson, who sings on one of my favorite songs, “Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down.” This song, which is found on “Fly Between Falls,” is a cheerful sounding love song that best describes how to get intimate with your significant other. “Cook you up some dinner, a little pasta/ Listen to some music, a little Rasta”. This is a song that you will want to play over and over again.

A song that really stands out to me is “Try,” which is located on the CD “Roses & Clover.” This song is great to listen to you when you are feeling overwhelmed or down in the dumps. With its happy rhythm, great melody and beautiful lyrics, “Try” will brighten your day and make you ready for any challenges ahead. “We got to try just a little bit harder/ And let it shine just a little bit brighter/ We got to walk just a little bit taller.”

If you are looking for music to make you reminiscence about summer, then Animal Liberation Orchestra is the perfect band for you. Their music will stay with you for a lifetime.