Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What gives, Apple?

My class was canceled today, so I'm bored enough to write a blog post three days in a row. Yay. Today, I take on Apple.

Since I know people get rabid about this, let me start right off the bat by saying I'm not really a huge PC fanboygirl. I do prefer to use PCs in general because I like building my own machines and being able to replace parts, but I don't really have a problem with Apple's products (other than that I find them to be a wee bit expensive.)

I do, however, have a spot of trouble with the Apple Image™. It bugs me that Microsoft et. al (aka PC people) are the nasty corporationey corporations, and Apple is the friendly little guy. It may be that as far as companies go, Apple is friendly (I wouldn't really know), but they are just so damn proprietary. And as much as they appeal to "creative types," (and I'm being generous when I say that, rather than, for instance, "pompous hipsters") there are some issues with iTunes and the iPods that really eat at audiophiles and even some mid-upper level music collectors in general; the annoyance often extends to the point that many of those types of people look elsewhere for portable music players and music playing software. It's ironic that despite Apple truly mastering and maintaining the standard for portable music players meanwhile purporting themselves as an upper-echelon brand, they've failed to hold onto the truly elite music aficionados.

I don't even place myself in that category - I have way too much music in a lossy format that I don't have the energy to replace with higher quality audio - but it does bother me that when I choose to download *cough* buy music that is completely uncompressed (that is, it retains 100% of the original sound quality intended by the artist and production team), there is only one lossless format that Apple will allow to play on iTunes and the iPod, even though numerous other formats exist.

And since I kind of went there earlier, allow me to mention that you can only buy lowish quality 128kb/s bitrate Apple-coded files (AAC format) from the iTunes store the majority of the time. I believe one record company did authorize the release of 256kb/s (basically double the quality) songs for $0.30 more per song through the iTunes store, but as of yet that is all that Apple has done to acknowledge higher quality song files and provide them to the consumer. Considering how many people use the store and the iPod, I find that kind of sad. Apple would like me to believe that they are the kind of company that's giving the average consumer a better, classier option, but in their music-related market (arguably a huge aspect of the company) that's simply not the case.

On another note, I bought some awesome rain boots and they finally came yesterday. I'd never owned them before because I thought it was kind of silly to have hardcore rain boots here, but a combination of two factors made me reconsider my opinion:
1) Since I'm living at home again now, I don't really think that my mom would be super stoked about me wearing my flip-flops in the rain like I usually do. It's her job to worry, she's a mother!
2) With an El Niño coming this winter, it's likely to be rainier than usual. So why not?
Besides, they're so freaking sweet. I love houndstooth!

And with that, here's some more music...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Everyone knows I love bacon, but this will be new.

I love bean sprouts.

My choice sushi joint in the Valley serves a bean sprout appetizer along with miso soup when you walk in the door, and I usually end up eating several servings of them.

They weren't something I ever thought to pick up at the store, but when my mom needed some last night to go into an Asian-inspired peanut sauce pasta she was making last night, I bought a lot more than she needed - and I plan on cooking them up for myself for the rest of the week.

In addition to the superfluous playlist of the day, which will be at the end as always, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to one song in particular. I am sure it has been included on a previous playlist, but I think it's special enough to deserve its own spotlight. It has one of the sickest bass drops I've heard in awhile almost a minute in - a standout remix of an already great song.

And here's the rest...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Almost scary time

Halloween gives me anxiety. While I usually have nothing but love and appreciation for holidays that promote drinking and revelry in excess, the anticipation that surrounds Halloween gets me worked up about it to such an extent that I blow my excitement payload about a week too early. And the costumes. Because I'm so cheap, I refuse to buy costumes from the store on principle unless I can find a truly awesome one (Moses rendered transgender qualifies.) Among other issues, this is one of the main reasons why I've never bought a slutty women's costume - I cannot justify spending $80 per costume at Aahs for so little fabric. So in recent years, my costumes have been rather half-assed, but just ridiculous enough to make up for it. They're like the costume version of a dry, pithy one-liner.

I saw this costume and laughed to myself at how ungodly unreasonable it was for the designers to imagine women actually walking around in this (potentially NSFW):

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Egads! Precipitation!

I'm always gifted great amusement by non-LA natives going apeshit at the sign of the first rain. They'll either make the clichéd joke about how it's *actually* raining in LA, or they'll make the clichéd joke about LA people not knowing what to do with themselves in the rain. I feel like both of those jokes stopped being funny before I was ever born and had to hear them uttered. For one thing, jokes about the weather are still comments about the weather - you say them because you have nothing more interesting to say. Secondly, even though I'm not oblivious to facetiousness and I know there is a bit of that involved when people say such things about Angelenos and the rain, still - come on. Rain happens here. It's not news. It maybe doesn't happen as often, or as hard, but it happens. It doesn't send anyone into shock; it doesn't send anyone screaming for shelter into their homes destined to never emerge until the sun triumphantly pimp-slaps the rainclouds back up to the Pacific northwest.

So one may wonder why I used "amusement" to describe these bouts of hapless rain-related humor. Basically, it's because - as I mentioned - it's the non-LA natives that tend to be the ones making the fuss about it raining just by chiding [the perception] that we LA folk are making a fuss about it raining. It's very meta.

Here's how, as an Angeleno, rain actually affects me:

1) Our drought may be taken care of
2) People drive slower, but that may just counteract the fact that people drive like Speed Racer around here on a normal day
3) I get to wear disproportionately hardy winter clothing just for winter clothing's sake.

Pretty normal stuff, right?

So I'm tempted on a pretty daily basis by El Tepeyac. It's 2 minutes from the USC Health Sciences campus, and has the hugest burritos I've ever seen. More importantly, they're delicious. And since (I duly believe) most of you know that I could eat Mexican food/guacamole for every meal of my life, I'm in a constant struggle with my sensibilities not to go there every single day. But I'm going tomorrow for dinner. So I'll be able to feast freely and hopefully get a grip on those cravings for awhile.

Finally, since I've been neglecting you all musically over the past couple of posts (ha), here's another extra-long playlist.

Bored with all of my shoes, trying to remedy situation

Some of my friends and fellow bloggers (Laura and Tiffany) have actual good taste and confidence in that taste, and are therefore able to post sartorial items on their blog and proclaim their awesomeness. I lack said taste and confidence, and therefore will continue to call upon my [small] audience for suggestions (and since I know Tiff and LG are reading, this is good for me.)

Currently in my shopping bag - all good calls?

I feel like my current selection is woefully inadequate for fall/winter formal looks, and I think these could supplement what I have nicely. I'm also thinking about doing away with some of what I have entirely, so I'm not concerned about having - for instance - too many black shoes, since I kind of hate most of the black ones I already have.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quick poll :)

So, if I own


(ankle-high, med-soft matte leather, 3.5 inch heel)


(knee-high, studded/embellished, hard mild-lustre leather, 3.5 inch heel)

and these

(mid-calf, studded/embellished, med-soft leather, flat)


are these or something like them overkill?
Mid calf, flat, med-soft mild-lustre leather boots.

My rationale is that I should have a pair of plain black flat boots, but considering my three other pairs of black boots I'm wondering if I should just rock the embellishment (since clearly I am drawn to it) and forget about a plain pair. (The pair linked is less than $50 on ebay right now if that makes a difference.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Commenting issues resolved :]

So thanks to LG I realized that the layout I used to have that I thought was really cool was actually really shiesty and didn't let anyone comment. So I'm not really sure how many of you actually tried anyway, making this whole post a bit on the side of awkward, but I just wanted to let you all know that since I have a new layout that I hope is actually really cool, and since LG and I tested the comments, they work now. So go forth and write stuff, if you want.

Nearly speechless.

I'm sure this is breaking nationally as we speak, especially on the heels of the murder of Annie Le, a graduate student at Yale University.

Another female student in critical condition after she was attacked in the lab today by a male student. Where? Oh, actually it happened at UCLA.

I'm stunned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A quick musical note

I just wanted to thank So You Think You Can Dance for bringing a song I used to love back into my life:

"Touched" by VAST.

Also on that note, this site has a comprehensive list of all the music featured on the show, in case you wanted to know what a song was. (I know I have.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I wish I were a foodie.

So, how awesome is Top Chef this season?

I'm totally loving it! I love that they stepped up their game this season and picked a crop of chefs that includes James Beard Award nominees, a Michelin star recipient, protegees of extremely well-regarded chefs, etc, rather than the usual crop of caterers or would-be restaurant owners (not that there is anything wrong with them.)

There are two things that make me sad about watching the show:
1) I'm allergic to shellfish, so I can't eat about 1/3 of what they cook (hello, scallops? Freaking everyone cooks freaking scallops)
2) I don't actually have a very refined palate and tend to think everything is delicious, so I feel that I would be one of those diners that would just go "Wowee I just adored EVERYTHING!"

If I could, I'd hit up some of the better restaurants in LA from time to time, but being eternally a student does have its downfalls (i.e. I'm still pretty much below the poverty line, even if I am squatting at my parents' this year.)

This is my Top Chef fantasy team this season:

I learned about these goofy fantasy teams on this site Fafarazzi awhile ago, and I don't really do anything with them other than try to score points each week and feel proud of myself for pretty much no reason. I also have fantasy teams for Project Runway and America's Next Top Model at the moment, and I'm going to put one together for So You Think You Can Dance when the Top 20 is assembled. Anyway!

I think the upper echelon of chefs on the show at the moment are the brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, Kevin, and Jennifer from Philly. (That's her name to me.) The favorite chefs in the elimination challenge are usually some combination of these four, give or take, and possibly another chef who did well that particular week.

I love Jen from Philly. She's badass, trained/works with Eric Ripert, a top chef in NYC, and she basically just kicks ass and takes names in the kitchen.

My love to hate? Mike I. I knew I wouldn't like him when on Episode 1, he was racing against Jen from Philly to shuck oysters and he interviews "I couldn't believe that - no offense - a girl was beating me. I couldn't let that happen." And then he kind of proceeded to make several more comments of that nature in the first couple of episodes. Besides that, his food is so inconsistent. He's on the top one week, the bottom another, but more importantly, every single week he cooks some kind of obviously Greek food. It's not my favorite kind of food to begin with, but more importantly in this competition variety is the spice of life and he's really falling short.

I was bummed there was no new episode last week, but here's to drooling in anticipation until Wednesday...

America's Most Hated

I'm fascinated in spite of myself by the constant ill-will that certain pop culture figures earn just by, it seems, simply existing. I, like most people I'm sure, tend to view those people in any of three categories: 1) Don't hate them and don't get the hate, 2) Do hate them, 3) Understand the hate but like them anyway. To illustrate:

I don't get the hate:
1. Megan Fox
So first off I know that not everyone hates her. She's got a large male fanbase. But the males that aren't her fans, and most females, seem to have taken to rabidly hating her to counteract the lust coming from said fanbase. I can't for the life of me figure out why. Her "faults" as I've observed seem to include being too pretty (to which I say, whatever, haters to the left), not censoring herself in interviews (my comment here is that she's said a few boneheaded things but mostly I think her lack of filter keeps her interesting, so kudos to her), being an idiot (as I mentioned, she seems to have said in my estimation a few dumb things, but I think this is a harsh criticism, as even if she's no genius she's certainly not more stupid than several other less-hated starlets with her same level of celebrity), being a whore (so she plays up her sexpot image in photoshoots, but as far as I know she's been with the same guy for several years... and that's not taking into account the debatable merits of calling a woman a "whore" to discount her worth), and being a bad actor (which I can't disagree with, but again there are plenty of other celebrities that get away with murder on their projects acting-wise and don't get the kind of vitriol that Megan Fox gets.) So in general, if you were able to make it through the longest sentence ever, I think she's harshly judged and I don't get why.

2. Jennifer Aniston
This poor woman just can't catch a break in my estimation. I'm not on Team Jennifer vs. Team Angelina because I don't care specifically about that drama. I feel bad for her now because I do think that immediately in the aftermath of her breakup with Brad, she mistakenly played into the media's framing of her as the tragic dumpee because she perhaps thought it would gain her sympathy. At this point, I think she has tried to move past that, but she's still getting written about as if she were this pathetic person with a miserable love life. And even worse, the Internet bloggers eviscerate her by accusing her of loving that kind of media attention. I don't know Ms. Aniston personally (obviously) but I've heard enough in-person interviews with her to get the impression that she's pretty down-to-earth and totally over what happened several years ago, no matter how much others want to dredge it up.

I get the hate and fully co-sign:
1. Jon Gosselin
I so tired of hearing about this guy (and frankly all of the Gosselins), but at the same time, every time I hear some new stunt that Jon has pulled after the divorce I have a worse and worse opinion of him. Especially in the last week it seems that Jon has pulled out all of the stops in his Douche Quest 2009, whether it was throwing a hissy fit via lawyers and a poorly spelled sign on the property when TLC ousted his name from the title of the show, or the recent revelation that he emptied his joint account with Kate that is supposed to be for the kids (!!), this guy really screwed up the hand he was dealt. I mean, he went from having the sympathy of many for being married to ball-buster Kate, to an Ed Hardy sporting poster manchild of Extreme Douchebaggery.

2. Katherine Heigl
I don't like her because I think she is a hypocrite. She and Megan Fox have both been been lambasted because they had the gall to criticize directors or projects they've worked on in the past, which I don't think is inherently wrong or just cause for scrutiny. However, Katherine brought the level of a-hole up a notch when she basically gave the finger in print to the writers of Grey's Anatomy in announcing her non-eligibility for that year's Emmys while she was still on the show. Then, she mentioned that she felt her character in Knocked Up was a sexist stereotype, and I felt that she did have a right to say so. But my annoyance developed when she went on to choose even more one-dimensional, stereotypical characters (27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth), and I couldn't help but wonder if she wasn't just airing a personal beef with Judd Apatow et. al by trashing their particular movie. In that scenario, she's unprofessional at best. In another likelier scenario, she's just a hypocrite. She'll keep on choosing sexist roles as long as she gets her Almighty Paycheck, even if they are of the ilk that she's denounced in the past. And I just can't respect that.

I get the hate, but I don't care.
1. Lady Gaga/Kanye West
Both of these inhabit one spot because I feel the exact same way about both of them. I find both of their public personas irritating, ostentatious, and ultimately flash-in-the-pan. I don't consistently enjoy either of their music, but they both have released songs that I do like. However, I do think that (ESPECIALLY when compared to some of their contemporaries) they possess talent in their craft, and within the arena of pop music one could do worse than listen to Kanye or Gaga. People have been crowing with delight at the news that their joint tour was canceled, but I think it would have been a fascinating show due to both of their showmanship and particularly Gaga's proclivity to completely re-work her songs when she sings them live. So I kinda get why people don't like them, but I can't bring myself to hate them because I think they have redeeming qualities.

2. Jessica Simpson
I mostly would just like to see her left alone. She was a crappy pop songstress at the height of her fame, and she was able to capitalize on her (at the time) relationship with Nick Lachey. Now she's not really relevant in mainstream pop culture, despite releasing country records. So I just can't understand for the life of me why people get up the emotion to hate on her still rather than just leaving her alone and ceasing to write about her. She's a non-issue at this point, and unlike other has-beens of her era, she doesn't seem to be always attempting to draw attention to herself every time she goes out. This isn't a "LEAVE JESSICA ALONE!!!" so much as it is a "Why are we still talking about Jessica Simpson?" I'm just really neutral on her entire existence and am surprised that people still seem to take her so seriously.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pumped for the weekend

I pretty much have no plans, but I've been tired and feeling very pressed for time all week. I'm not exactly sure why. Well... I did have a midterm today, but it was open-note, so I wasn't exactly feeling the heat on that front. It was just one of those weeks, I guess.

This Roman Polanski shit really bothers me. I'm not even going to get into it. Suffice it to say that his supporters confound and enrage me.

What else... oh, there are a few things that I want/need to buy, but I overindulged a bit this month. I'd love to get a pair of black mid-calf boots with a low wedge, similar to a pair of brown Fryes I already have. Additionally, there is this black leather obi style belt on ebay that I keep almost buying, but then I'm never sure what I'd wear it with. New Rainbow sandals. Need some, wondering which variety I want. New black Uggs, since the ones I had were fake Uggs and just nowhere near as soft and durable on the inside (and frankly given how fugly Ugg boots are, the inside is what matters.) Shoes in general - I'm kind of over mine.

The lab I'm working in the semester promises to be pretty laid-back. I'm only needed twice a week, and I'm the lone (temporary) genetics person so it seems that I'm going to be doing a lot of stuff similar to what I did in undergrad in terms of analyzing genetic screens. I am kind of wondering if, despite genetics being my favorite thing to learn more about, I actually want to do genetics work. A lot of it is very data-processing oriented as it gets more and more into complex disease study, and that's kind of where the field is at right now. We'll see.

I really want to see Whip It, Zombieland, and Where the Wild Things Are when it comes out.

In honor of my anticipation building for the weekend, here's an extra long weekend playlist.