Saturday, February 28, 2009
It's no secret that I want to leave Ohio. One visit to this site and you'll know that I am indubitably obsessed with Minneapolis. To friends I have lamented that in lieu of my disdain towards Ohio I wish I could make myself enjoy it here. I've even asked for suggestions from many different people on how to like Ohio better, all whom had no idea how to help. However, I think I've figured it out.
I was reading an article today about a successful marketer. When asked what his greatest mistake was, he said that he wished he had fully experienced some of his earlier jobs instead of focusing all of his efforts towards a promotion. He said that many of the mistakes he made as a manager could have been avoided if he had spent more time learning as a regular associate, instead of making that big promotion his every yearning goal and purpose.
Here in Columbus, I am working towards that promotion. Every day I slash a number off my countdown to the day I leave Ohio, which has been going since it was in the 700-days number. I focus hard on school, but I'm only doing it so that I can prepare myself for Minnesota and for grad school. Essentially I am doing exactly what this marketer did; instead of maximizing my time here in Ohio, I only have the end in mind. It's like a race and I'm focused solely on mile 25, not caring about the first 24 that I need to go through to get there.
Clearly this isn't a revelation; I think anyone with a brain knows that focusing on the end goal while forgoing the steps to get there isn't a winning strategy. But, that's how I have been operating for basically the past two years. Reading this article made me realize that Minneapolis is the promotion I want, but I currently do not have the skills to maintain that job. I need one more year (385 days) to get those skills. So instead of whining and complaining that "Oh, I wish I lived in a real city", my new outlook is that I am simply not ready for that real city. I am not good enough. I do not have the skills, but I'm on my way there. And when March 21st, 2010 comes along, I'll finally the get the promotion I've worked for (then) 4 years for.
It's funny how perspective really changes everything. Someone I admire once said to me, "Perception is reality", and I've always liked that. (Philosophically speaking this is entirely wrong, but it's true to a certain degree of one's outlook on things). By this new perspective, the "I'm not ready" perspective, I really think I can do the next year.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Columbus' isn't working for some reason; maybe they have a new URL? Anyone know about this?
Monday, February 23, 2009
Granted, the above PDF is a guide, not the actual act. But at 62 pages it's enough to understand what the plan entails. After reading it, if you don't like it--no problem. Just be informed, which is a rarity among people who like to point fingers.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
“There’s a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig—an animal easily as intelligent as a dog—that becomes the Christmas ham.”
The New York Times Magazine, “An Animal’s Place”
by Michael Pollan, 11/10/02
I was a vegetarian for five years, and because of a missionary trip (back when I was a Christian) I was forced to become a meat-eater. Our team stayed in families' homes, and the program told me it would be rude to deny a meal that the family had worked hard on. I get that. But when I came back I never returned to my veggie-only lifestyle.
A few weeks ago I changed that. I woke up with a pile of Taco Bell wrappers around me, and I realized just how disgusting it is. Besides ethical and environmental reasons, the shit is just bad for you. How many calories are in a Crunchwrap Supreme? Oh, only 530...and it's not like I just ordered one Crunchwrap and called it a day!
(If you're curious about how much your meal at Taco Bell is, they have a nutrition calculator. I'm sure these numbers are far below what they actually are, though. Wondering what mine is? Well, I'm not telling, but I'll say it has more than 3 numbers. (oops).)
Ok, so back to the topic at hand--vegetarianism. So far I have tried a few new restaurants (Cafe Benevolence, which was FANTASTIC!) and I have made some very unique meals at home. It hasn't been all that difficult, and I certainly have felt more alert and better overall. But I then began to truly consider the motivators for this switch--was it just to keep me from eating crappy fast food, or was there more?
For long I've known that the cattle industry is the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the world--yes, more than all of our cars, trucks and airplanes combined. I've known that one can do more for the environment simply by switching to a vegetarian diet than almost any other lifestyle change. I've known that maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle would greatly enhance one's own health, while simultaneously lowering the risk of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and help to reduce any unwanted weight. Overall, the vegetarian lifestyle is just a great switch.
But are these my reasons? They're good contributors. But, in addition to all of this, I think it comes down to this small detail: in a civilized society, why must we reduce ourselves to slaughtering over 9.7 billion living animals a year? It's a sad day when humans can have the mental capacity to have babies born in a beaker yet not have the emotional capacity to see that the meat industry is a blatant torture of animals. At this point I'm not making an argument for everyone to give up meat; I'm just curious why we must treat these animals so terribly.
Cows spend the majority of the lives standing in their own shit. Female cows are repeatedly impregnated so that they continuously make milk; the average cow is milked about 50 pounds a day. That simply is not natural. The relationship between mother and calf is very tender, yet immediately after birth calves are taken away to either become veal or beef.
Piglets are castrated without painkillers so that they will grow faster and have a more pleasant taste to humans. Sick pigs are frequently shot in the head with a nail gun (cheaper to kill than to fix). Sows (female pigs) lie in such small cages they cannot even turn around.
Chickens grow so fast that if a human baby were growing at the same rate, they'd weigh 349 pounds by the age of two. Chickens are kept in cages the size of shoeboxes their entire life, never having the opportunity to do as much as spread their wings. Chicklets, when first born, have their beaks cut off, of course without painkillers.
By simply a concern of ethics, how can I support this? I'll stress again--at this point in the argument I'm not advocating a vegetarian diet. I'm simply questioning why the animals must be treated in this way. And the answer is simple--it's money. It's economically cheaper to force thousands of chickens into a barn the size of a 7-11 than it is to let them live a natural life.
I understand the answer, I just don't accept it. And this, along with all of the previously stated reasons, is why I am going vegan. You're welcome to call me crazy, and I understand the implications of such a decision, but I cannot continue to pretend these types of practices are not occurring just to satiate my desire for certain types of foods.
So, there. I've declared it. No more butter, eggs, steaks, chicken, fish...oh, gosh, this is going to be hard...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
This is an iconic part of The Ohio State University. The Oval is a central common area that serves to connect students to the densest part of campus. Literally millions of people have walked across this patch of land.
The buildings, from left to right, are Page Hall, Hagerty Hall, Mendenhall and Orton Hall. When the weather is nice, hundreds of students flock to The Oval to throw a frisbie, study with friends, take a nap or just walk around and enjoy the frenzy.
In reality millions of people have been to or at least know of The Oval. As the largest university in The United States, think of the thousands of prospective students and their families who have crossed The Oval while on a tour. Think of the myriad of international students whose perspective on America has been shaped by this one location. Consider the millions of memories people have of events that have taken place right here--proposals, breakups, hangtime with friends, study sessions, relaxation time, etc. It's a bold thought when you consider how this one little piece of land has impacted thousands of peoples' lives.
This is why City and Regional Planning matters.
(Click here if video does not show)
There are so many interesting things going on in Minneapolis, and this Art Sled Rally is no difference. Seriously. We need to do this in Columbus!
(Thanks Bill for the link!)
1) My main form of transportation is my bike--pending there isn't ice on the road. I have a car, but I just don't like using it.
2) I'm obsessive with being "green". I recycle EVERYTHING, bike or walk over driving, only use re-usable things (my green coffee mug is my best friend!), etc. etc. I'm the kind that will carry a coke can all day until I find a recycling can.
3) With everything I do, I throw myself into it. When I train for a marathon it's all I think about. When I am planning a trip I study every detail about the city. When I'm studying I'm in the library until 3 in the morning.
4) I love to cook, and after working in a restaurant for 7 years I've picked up a lot of useful things.
5) The day after I graduate from OSU I am moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's the greatest place in the country, if not the world. I am so in love with Minnesota--the culture, the climate, the animals...everything. I could go on about it for hours (and to some of you, I have!).
5) After graduating and moving to Minneapolis, I am going to be an officer in the US Air Force Reserves. For Logistics (my major), it simply is the best training in the world. I am so excited about this, I've wanted to serve for years.
6) I frickin' adore the Big 10. I am the proudest Buckeye (and soon to be Gopher), but I like them all. The culture, the Midwest, the size of these schools, their academic and sports reputation...I seriously think the Big 10 is the greatest college system ever. Screw those Ivy Leagues!
7) Winter is my favorite time of the year. (Why do you think I'm willfully moving to Minnesota?). I love icicles, heaps of snow, bundling up, warm coffee on a cold day, watching everyone scatter to get to a warm destination...I simply love winter. I'm most happy when it's below 0.
8) I study cities like it's my job--oh, wait, it kind of is (it's my minor and my blog!). I am simply enamored by cities and city development. Although I don't plan on being an Urban Planner, it is my favorite topic to study, and whichever city I live in I'll always be pretty active in it.
9) "Busy" is an understatement for how I schedule my life. I'll put it into perspective: 30 hours each week of work, 21 credit hours (5 classes on a quarter schedule), 5 hours a week of piano practice, and I run 3-4 days a week (training for the Pittsburgh half-marathon). That's just the basics, that doesn't include things like dentist appointments, doing my taxes, singing karaoke, reading the Wall Street Journal (which I do every day, thanks to Fisher College of Business!). I'm not busy--I'm swamped!
10) I pride myself at being good at staying in contact with people. Whether it's just an e-mail or text message, I'm pretty good at maintaining a friendship. I just think of my friend Emily in California, Dane in North Carolina, Michelle and Laura in Chicago, Colin in Scotland, and of course my bathroom friends--Jed, Molly and Abbie! I met all of these people in random ways, yet I've stayed in contact with them for years. I met Molly while waiting for a bathroom and ended up going to her wedding! ha! :-)
11) OBSESSED with grammar. (That's ironic since that sentence is a fragment). I even have perfect text messages.
12) Blogging is one my favorite things, though it's often hard to maintain frequent updates.
13) I don't watch TV. Seriously, my TV has not been plugged in for like two years. I'm too busy to waste time.
14) I don't have the internet. I have a computer, but I haven't used it since September. Like the TV thing, I'm too busy to waste time.
15) Working in a restaurant has taught me so many things about life and it has honestly shaped a lot of things about me. Even after graduating, I think for a long time I'll always be working part-time in a restaurant. It's stressful at times, but I love it and the money is really good!
16) I've played piano since I was 8. I have never counted how many songs I've written, but over these years I'd say around 50 or 60. I guess that doesn't seem like a lot...but since they're all committed to memory, it is :-P
17) My bucket list includes writing a musical and having it be performed in a large theatre. Good thing The Twin Cities has the second highest number of theatres in the country!
18) My attitude towards America is rather disdainful. It's probably because the majority of people believe that a man lives in the clouds and sends hurricanes to destroy cities.
19) Architecture fascinates me. The concept of a single building is rather awe-inspiring when you think of it. Consider that it is the culmination of human achievement, all coalescing into a single operating function that is as smooth as ice and as resounding as a symphony. Architecture isn't my calling, but I stand in awe of it.
20) Food is rarely too spicy for me.
21) Transportation is my gig. For my minor I have focused my classes on civil engineering and transportation planning; for my major I study the efficient flow of goods through transportation systems. Trains, Highways, Airplanes, Bicycles...anything transportation related gets my heart racing.
22) For a long time I thought I was going to be a writer. I even had a publisher interested in my work. But, truthfully, I wasn't good enough. Writing a good book is pretty effing hard. I am ok with this, too. I don't consider it a failure (since I had what most writers dream of--a company willing to produce their book), I consider it finding out what I want to do. :-)
23) "Living for the unexpected" is pretty much how I live my life. I like trying new things: new restaurants, new coffeeshops, new neighborhoods, new cities, etc. etc. It's probably why I am so unhappy here in Columbus--I've been here 5 years and there is NOTHING left for me to try!
24) I play five instruments: piano, guitar, djembe, handbells and I sing. I could also claim derivations of these instruments: organ, dumbek, banjo, bass, congos/bongos, dulcimer...but, I really don't frequently play those. so it wouldn't be true. But I technically could play them.
25) I love Moose.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The final phase of Columbus Commons, the plan that replaces the currently dead City Center! Downtown Columbus has all the news you need. The following image is of the first phase, scheduled to be finished in 2010 and cost between $15 -$20 million.
To what extent do we feel overcrowded, as a species? I’m not talking about resources; just psychological factors.
To create this chart I turned to the CIA Factbook, where I looked up the populations of various nations and then divided this number into their land area (excluding lakes and rivers) to get the number of square feet available per person. I represented the results in squares that are all drawn to the same scale.
Of course if you are in Australia, where each resident has almost 4 million square feet to play with, you won’t make full use of your land ration, if only because most of it is desert. On the other hand, when I was in Australia I did feel intuitively aware that the country was, so to speak, empty. As soon as I drove out of an urban area, the emptiness was right there. Conversely, in Hong Kong, where citizens have barely more than 1,600 square feet each, everyone is intensely aware of being crammed into a very crowded place.
Personally I enjoy wilderness areas, but I wouldn’t claim that open spaces are essential for my mental health. I do, after all, still have an apartment in New York City containing just 350 square feet. The apartment next to mine, identical in size, used to be a home not only to a married couple, but also their young child.
I suspect that our romantic yearnings for “freedom to roam” may be just that: Romantic yearnings.
Back in the day, cities used to have wide open commons with plenty of grass so you could bring your sheep for a brief stay and not worry about them while away from your farm. However, because of this free resource, it was in each sheep herder's self-interest to crowd the common with as many sheep as possible, since it was a free resource. With the commons overrun by sheep, the once beautiful meadows would eventually reach destruction. The moral of the story is that because of the self-interest of a few, the majority would have to suffer the loss.
In Paris, a new tragedy of the commons has been found: The tragedy of Bike Sharing.
A popular bicycle rental scheme in Paris that has transformed travel in the city has run into problems just 18 months after its successful launch.
Over half the original fleet of 15,000 specially made bicycles have disappeared, presumed stolen.
They have been used 42 million times since their introduction but vandalism and theft are taking their toll.
The company which runs the scheme, JCDecaux, says it can no longer afford to operate the city-wide network.
Championed by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, the bikes were part of an attempt to "green" the capital.
Parisians took to them enthusiastically. But the bikes have suffered more than anticipated, company officials have said.
Hung from lamp posts, dumped in the River Seine, torched and broken into pieces, maintaining the network is proving expensive. Some have turned up in eastern Europe and Africa, according to press reports.
Since the scheme's launch, nearly all the original bicycles have been replaced at a cost of 400 euros ($519) each.The Velib bikes - the name is a contraction of velo (cycle) and liberte (freedom) - have also fallen victim to a craze known as "velib extreme".
Various videos have appeared on YouTube showing riders taking the bikes down the steps in Montmartre, into metro stations and being tested on BMX courses.
Remi Pheulpin, JCDecaux's director general, says the current contract is unsustainable. "It's simple. All the receipts go to the city. All the expenses are ours," he said.
The costs, he said, were "so high that a private business cannot handle it alone, especially as it's a problem of public order. If we want the velib set-up to keep going, we'll have to change the business model," he told Le Parisien newspaper.
As much as I love the bike sharing program, I'm surprised no one thought this aspect of the program through. Why not require a credit card in order to rent the bike in the first place? If it is not returned within a long amount of time--say, a month--your credit card is charged for the amount of the bike? Maybe it's not a perfect suggestion, but it certainly beats how the program is running now.
Thanks to Stimulus Watch, I can finally feel satisfied. This website is tracking the spending plans of the stimulus by state or city and by project type:
Monday, February 9, 2009
...to see a certain show!
It's called The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and it's a rendition of an early Shakespeare play. Placed in the 1950's on the set of a TV show, the musical is literally in the process of being filmed as the story unfolds. (Can you see the black and white in the background of the photo?) Beyond this I have no idea what it's about, but I'm sure I'll be delighted either way. I can't wait!
Here is the basic plan (for now):
For now these are just numbers and promises. Fortunately the Obama Administration is setting up Recovery.gov, a website for Americans to watch exactly how this stimulus package is being spent. I am so glad they are doing this. What a shock it is to have a Presidential Administration we can trust and hold accountable for the promises they've made us.
- $850 million for Amtrak to achieve a state of good repair (Senate Version)
- $2.25 billion for states to build and expand passenger rail (Senate)
- $5.5 billion for a flexible surface transportation program for roads, rail and transit (Senate)
- $12 billion for transit (House); $9 billion for transit (Senate)
For much of its history, New York City has thrived as a place that both sustained a large middle class and elevated countless people from poorer backgrounds into the ranks of the middle class. The city was never cheap and parts of Manhattan always remained out of reach, but working people of modest means—from forklift operators and bus drivers to paralegals and museum guides—could enjoy realistic hopes of home ownership and a measure of economic security as they raised their families across the other four boroughs. At the same time, New York long has been the city for strivers—not just the kind associated with the highest echelons of Wall Street, butNew York Daily News summarized the report with these findings:
new immigrants, individuals with little education but big dreams, and aspiring professionals in fields from journalism and law to art and advertising.
In recent years, however, major changes have greatly diminished the city’s ability to both retain and create a sizable middle class. Even as the inflow of new arrivals to New York has surged to levels not seen since the 1920s, the cost of living has spiraled beyond the reach of many middle class individuals and, particularly, families. Increasingly, only those at the upper end of the middle class, who are affluent enough to afford not only the sharply higher housing prices in every corner of the city but also the steep costs of child care and privateschools, can afford to stay—and even among this group, many feel stretched to the limits of their resources. Equally disturbing, even in good times, the city’s economy seems less and less capable of producing jobs that pay enough to support a middle class lifestyle in New York’s high-cost environment.
The current economic crisis, which has arrested and even somewhat reversed the skyrocketing price of housing, might offer short-term opportunities to some in the market for homes. But the mortgage meltdown and its aftermath will not change the underlying dynamic: over the past three decades, a wide gap has opened between the means of most New Yorkers and the costs of living in the city. We have seen this dynamic play out even during the last 15 years, as the local economy thrived and crime rates plummeted.
Despite these advances, large numbers of middle class New Yorkers have been leaving the city for other locales, while many more of those who have stayed seem permanently stuck among the ranks of the working poor, with little apparent hope of upward mobility.
This is a serious challenge for New York in both good times and bad. A recent survey found the city to be the worst urban area in the nation for the average citizen to build wealth. For the first time in its storied history, the Big Apple is in jeopardy of permanently losing its status as the great American city of aspiration.
- A New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to have the same standard of living as someone making $50,000 in Houston.
- You knew it was expensive to live in Manhattan, but Queens? The report tagged Queens the fifth most expensive urban area in the country.
- New Yorkers paid about $34 a month for phone service in 2006. In San Francisco, similar service cost $17 a month.
- Home heating costs have jumped 125% in the past five years and are up 243% since 1998.
- Full-time day care costs can run up to $25,000 a year for one child, depending on the neighborhood, or about as much as some college tuitions.
- Meanwhile, wages in the city have remained mostly flat in all boroughs but Manhattan — even during the boom years from 2003 to 2007.
I have never desired to live in New York, which is strange considering how much I love enormous cities. NYC is just too much for me though. I'm quite satisfied with the Mini-apple over the big apple :-P.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Dec 27 2008.
It wasn’t long ago that thousands of moose roamed the gentle terrain of northwestern Minnesota, affirming the iconic status of the antlered, bony-kneed beast from the North Woods. In just two decades, though, their numbers have
plummeted, from 4,000 to fewer than a hundred.
They didn’t move away. They just died.
The primary culprit in what is known as the moose mystery, scientists say, is climate change, which has systematically reduced the Midwest’s already dwindling moose population and provoked alarm in Minnesota, where wildlife specialists gathered for a “moose summit” this month in Duluth.
“There’s not a lot of opportunity to turn this around,” said Mark Lenarz, a wildlife research specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Here in Minnesota, they [moose] have been weakened by climate change.”
Temperatures tell much of the story. Over the last 40 years in northwest Minnesota, the average winter temperature has risen significantly — 12 degrees — while summers are 4 degrees warmer. Solitary and temperamentally grumpy, moose have made it clear in their estimated 13,000 years in North America that they hate warm weather.
The mounting concern about the fate of the moose comes as the Bush administration in its last weeks is revising endangered species regulations in ways that prohibit federal agencies from evaluating the effects of increased global warming on endangered species.
Officially, the moose is not endangered in the United States. But it is in danger of disappearing from the Midwest, which is the far southern fringe of its range. Roughly 7,700 moose reside in Minnesota, nearly all in the northeast section of the state. That’s a drop of almost 50 percent in the last 20 years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job losses accelerated in January as 598,000 were slashed, the most in 34 years, and the unemployment rate soared to a 16-year high, pressuring lawmakers to act quickly to counter a deepening recession.
"The economy is just falling into oblivion and it will get worse," said Greg Salvaggio, vice president for trading at Tempus Consulting in Washington. The Senate resumed debate less than two hours after report was issued on a package of measures to spur the economy that could cost $800 billion or more.
Democratic leaders were pushing for a vote later on Friday on stimulus measures. Republican leaders branded the proposals as excessive and bound to drive up U.S. deficits but President Barack Obama wanted a speedy vote to meet the economic crisis head-on.
Last month's job cuts were the most severe since December 1974, while the unemployment rate hit 7.6 percent, its highest level since September 1992. The jobless rate, which stood at a low 4.9 percent a year ago, has jumped a full percentage point over just the last three months.
Ouch. As much as I am ready to graduate and be done with school, I'm kind of glad I still have another year. Hopefully by then we'll be coming out of this awful recession. Hopefully.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Face it--you wish you were Moose. I know you do. Any sane person would immediately trade places with a moose. Why do I say so? Well, because they are just the coolest animal ever. (And if you don't agree then shut up! You're wrong, I'm right, end of story! :-P )
So if you've ever been curious about where Moose live throughout the country, here is a nifty GIS application called "GAP Analysis" that lays out precisely where all the moose have been hiding. Unfortunately, the ONE state that I'm obsessed with does not have information here. No fair! They have fricking Wyoming but not Minnesota. Boo! (Especially since tons of Moose are in Minnesota).
The same GAP Analysis has plenty more information from this link here. You basically can retrieve any type of geographic information pertaining to a state--unless it's Minnesota. (Again, boo you guys!) Unfortunately since Ohio is such a lame state there is very little information. Sorry, not my fault guys.
His arms are as big as my head! Will, I'm scared of you now :-P
For the record, the UIllinois was one of the few teams to defeat my cherished Buckeyes in 2007. Luckily we kicked their tails in 2008!
He was always a really nice, funny and friendly person. He treated everyone equally, not your typical jock. From my understanding that hasn't changed. Congrats to Will Davis!
(P.S. The guy on the right is SOOOO batting on my team. Look at that wrist! Flamer!)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
You ready for it? Literally, here it goes.
"With God, All Things Are Possible."
I really have no problems with anyone who wants to believe in an invisible man flying in the sky. Sure, do what you want with your Sundays, no matter how unproductive you spend your time. It's not really hurting others. But do you have to bring me into it? Do you have to bring an entire frickin' state into it, too?
A few other (fake) mottoes I'd be equally upset about: "Massachusetts: Where gays are equal!", "Washington: Atheists are People here, too!", "Montana: Christ Compels Us to Obey His Word!", "Florida: Jews Retire Here!"...hopefully you get my point. It's not the title of 'God' that upsets me, it's that enforcement of one's particular viewpoint thrown onto every single person. A state motto should represent the WHOLE population, and a motto like this marginalizes people into two categories: the yays and nays. Even though a huge portion of this state does not believe in God, they must now accept that the only way anything is possible is through God. Does that mean us Atheists have no ability to do anything? What about Jews, Hindus, Buddhists; is their deity the same "God" whom all things are possible through?
Yet another reason I am so glad to be moving from this God-awful place. With that said, here is a map of all the state mottos. Pretty cool, huh? And Minnesota..."The North Star". Sure beats the bullshit we have here in Ohio.
(Click to embiggen)
P.S. I like Texas'. It's cute!