Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of a World

December 21, 2012: the winter solstice; my dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!); and...

 The End of the World.

This certainly is not the first time in recent memory that the end of the world has been predicted (see: The Rapture), but it’s probably the one that has been the most renowned.

In recent years, many people have looked towards this date as one on which the world will end, based on the  belief that it is the date that will mark the end of the Mayan calendar… the end of the “fourth world”.

Some folks have taken this quite literally in meaning that we will experience “Armageddon” on this day. Others have thought it meant that some cataclysmic event would occur. While others have merely turned it into a publicity stunt.

The Mayan calendar ending does not necessarily mean that the world will literally come to an end on December 21, 2012. Most scholars believe that the “end of a world” simply meant the end of a cycle.

Meaning there would be a time of transformation…and not necessarily a bad one.

Unfortunately, exactly one week prior to 12-21-12, for 26 families, their worlds did indeed come crashing down. For them, and for many other people touched by the Sandy Hook shooting, December 2012 will always be a time when life did not make sense and everything changed.

Photo courtesy of New Haven Register

For this reason, I think December 21, 2012 should mark the beginning of a new world; a new time.

I wish with all of my heart that a tragedy such as this did not have to take place in order to ignite a move towards a safer society, but fortunately, some moves towards change are already beginning. 

Did the world come to an end today? No. But many worlds were destroyed last week. I hope that through those ends, we can have a new beginning: a safer, more peaceful, world.

Last week, we all hugged our loved ones a little tighter to show them how much we loved and appreciated them. This week, over this holiday season, may we continue to show how grateful we are for our families and start off our "new world" with a pledge to do what we can to keep children and loved ones safe. Let's make this new world a more peaceful one. One in which tragedies such as this do not occur.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading Opens Up a World of Information, Imagination, and Education

For as long as I can remember, books and reading have been an integral part of my life.

From being read "Love You Forever" by my mom when I was a little, learning how to read Bearenstain Bear books on my own, discovering the magical world of Harry Potter, befriending Jane Austen and her ideas of romance, to studying research articles and textbooks on anatomy and physiology; I have been tearing through fiction books and soaking up every bit of knowledge from textbooks since I first learned how to read at the age of five.

Reading has helped to shape me into the person I am today. I learned important morals and lessons. I created memories with my parents and grandparents. I was able to open up my imagination to different worlds and perspectives, both imaginary and real.

It is the basis of my education and what will one day allow me to become a doctor. 

Unfortunately, there are people who were not granted the same opportunities at education that I was or are still becoming accustomed to the strange semantics of the English language (ex. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is a grammatically accurate sentence in the English language).

Fortunately, these people are able to turn to the YWCA Adult Literacy Program so that they too may create memories of reading to their children or grandchildren, or gain an education that will set them on a career path that they have always dreamed of. 

But the local YWCA Adult Literacy Program in Pottstown needs resources in order to continue to help people in the community. You can help by signing the pledge below. For every signature, an anonymous donor will give $1 to the literacy program to buy materials.

And just like that, with a simple signature, you can help introduce people in our community to a new world of information, imagination, and education.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm Playlist

I planned on putting together a Autumn/Halloween-ish playlist like I did last year, but then when I learned that my area was going to be hit hard by a hurricane, I thought about putting together another hurricane playlist like for Hurricane Irene...and then I thought: why not combine the two?

I therefore present to you my Frankenstorm Playlist; a collection of spooky-ish, storm-themed, "I need something to listen to that appropriately fits a hurricane in the middle of Fall", songs. At least, my interpretation of what kind of a playlist would be. 


  1. Silversun Pickups – Mean Spirits
  2. Mumford & Sons – Whispers In the Dark
  3. Cassino – The Levee
  4. Freelance Whales – The Nothing
  5. Agnes Obel – Brother Sparrow
  6. Band of Horses – Is There A Ghost
  7. Jose Gonzalez – Storm
  8. Feist – Caught A Long Wind
  9. Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project – Shelter From The Storm
  10. She & Him – I Put a Spell On You
  11. Ella Fitzgerald – Stormy Weather
  12. Maroon 5 – Come Away To The Water
  13. Neil Young – Harvest Moon
  14. Vitamin String Quartet – Sally's Song
  15. Bon Iver – Holocene

I hope you enjoy it. If you're on the east coast these next few days, please stay safe and dry. If you're not on the east coast, have fun trick-or-treating in normal weather!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Say You Want a Revolution, Well...Maybe Not This One

Our day-to-day lives revolve around technology. It is how we communicate, travel, work, play, cook, etc….everything. In fact, it was about a year ago that I wrote a blog about how Apple devices in particular have become fixtures in many people’s daily lives.

But it’s not just Apple products. We Google something rather than looking it up in a dictionary or encyclopedia. We email, text, and call (it seems that a phone call is also becoming slightly antiquated…at least “land-line” phone calls) rather than having face-to-face conversations. We drive our cars to grocery stores and restaurants where we purchase prepared food or buy ingredients that we take home and cook in ovens and microwaves rather than walking to hunt, gather, and grow our own food. We purchase medicine or visit the doctor or hospital for every little ailment.

The list goes on and on. We are a society that is evolving at the same rapid pace that new technologies are being invented and implemented.

The basis for all of these technologies (electronics, transportation, medicine, industry, etc.) is electricity. So what would happen if one day, the power simply went off? No electricity, no batteries, no engines…nothing. Everything would just stop working: cars, airplanes, cellphones, computers, refrigerators…even “basic” things, such as flashlights. Medicine could not be produced, food could not be stored, long-distance travel would be improbable, communication would be difficult, the consequences would be endless.

How does a society that is built around technology function when it’s foundation is taken away?

Well that is exactly the type of society that Eric Kripke has created in J.J. Abrams’ latest foray into science-fiction-y television shows: Revolution.

As I said last year, I am a total Abrams fangirl, particularly if a project of his involves even one LOST alum. Unfortunately, several of his television projects have failed in the past few years and there has seemed to be almost a “1 season science-fiction television show curse” (ex. Flashforward, The Event, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, etc.). So I was particularly wary (albeit, stoked) of this show when it was announced with the new Fall shows.

However, so far so good. I won’t go too much into the details since, only four shows in, the details are quickly changing. If I had to compare it to another show I would say the briefly-lived Flashforward (unexplained global event; possible conspiracy theory; JJ Abrams-esque characters) combined with The Walking Dead (post-apocalyptic type society; a journey; collapse of organized government, society, etc)…but with sword fights. Which makes me quite a happy camper since I love The Walking Dead but hate all the blood and gore.

One of the main characters is also a pretty awesome, crossbow-wielding young girl for all you Hunger Games fans out there.

But my favorite thing, as with all of these Abrams/science fiction/dystopia shows, for me at least, is that it makes you analyze the society we have created for ourselves. Abrams himself has stated that the show is not meant to be any kind of statement about our society blah blah blah, but I think it inevitably will make you question our unwavering and complete reliance on technology.

One of my favorite examples of this was when one of the characters, who has not seen her children since the power went out ( I can’t say “blackout” since that was the term used in Flashforward…these shows are getting tough to differentiate), explained that she has carried around her completely useless iPhone for the past 15 years because somewhere inside is the only picture she has of her children.

When was the last time you carried around and showed off actual photographs of your family, vacation, dog, etc., rather than simply whipping out your phone to show someone your pictures on there. Lose your phone or digital camera? No problem…because they’re stored on your computer. Computer dies…that’s okay, everything is backed up on the “Cloud”. Power goes out…forever, and you are left with nothing.

Am I being slightly overdramatic? Maybe. But it makes you think.

We take technology for granted, whether it is something as small and basic as a battery or the latest iPad, to the point where it wouldn’t hurt for us to get back to basics now and then, such as growing our own produce, putting together family albums (and not a “virtual album”), or simply turning off the phones, iPods, televisions…everything, and sitting by a fire and talking with your family or friends.

I really hope this show breaks the science-fiction curse and makes it past the first season mark, because it is definitely an awesome concept and has enough adventure/action and mystery/intrigue (with appropriate amounts of wit and romance) to appeal to a wide audience for an extended period of time.

You can check out Revolution, Monday at 10 pm on NBC and catch up with the first few episodes here. If you only have time to watch one new Fall show this year, make sure it's this one.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Listening as of Late

I suppose I must resign myself to simply posting now and again my favorite listening as of late rather than every Monday.

I will hopefully be able to get my act together enough to make another Fall playlist again this year before Fall is over.

Until then, here are some great albums that I have had on repeat lately.

Southern Air - Yellowcard

Yellowcard is one of the bands that will forever conjure up memories of past summers spent listening to pop-punk music. But Yellowcard I think is one of the few bands to have successfully come out of that period of music with their respect maintained and continuing to make good, not-embarrassed-if-you-catch-me-listening music: music that you still want to blast as you drive around in the sunshine with all of your windows down and with a few sentimental ballads that always make me tear up...just a little (damn you Ryan Key). 

With feel-good songs like Here I Am Alive and Always Summer:

And tear-jerkers (okay, maybe it's just me) such as Ten and Telescope:

Southern Air is just as memorable as their other albums.

Mirage Rock - Band of Horses

I was over the moon by the fact that I got to see Band of Horses play live back in August. Hearing them perform live has forever spoiled me and listening to a recording is no longer as satisfying. But the fact that their new album, Mirage Rock was released a few weeks ago certainly helped. I may need a few more listens before I like this one as much as their last album, but I'm on my way. 

If you have been living under a (mirage) rock and never heard of these guys, then now is the perfect time to become acquainted with this one-of-a-kind band.

Tempest - Bob Dylan

While I realize that Dylan is not exactly everyone's cup of tea, he certainly is mine, so I was super excited to hear that he had a new album come out, particularly since it's the first one on which he has written all of the songs for in a while. 

Cup of tea or not, everyone should experience at least a little Bob Dylan in his life.

Babel - Mumford & Sons

Considering Babel has so far sold the more copies in it's first week than any other album this year (take that Justin Bieber!), I certainly hope that you have heard about it. And I really hope that you have heard the first single since it is absolutely terrific.

This highly anticipated follow-up to Mumford & Sons' (or The Mumfords as some people I know call them) Sigh No More was well worth the wait. And if you spring for the deluxe edition, you get some great bonus tracks including a cover of The Boxer.

Here are a few random songs I've been loving recently as well:

Headlights - Morning Parade

Heart Sing - BIGkids

Skyfall - Adele

Agree, disagree?

Listening to anything good lately?

Favorite Fall songs?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Listen, Watch, Do, Explore: Past 3 Months

A very quick summary of...

...what I have been listening to:

The Lumineers

Seriously love every single song on this self-titled album.

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

Definitely lived up to the high expectations. Think more modern and more rock'n roll Bruce Springsteen.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - The Lion, The Beast, The Beat

Still a BAMF.

...what I have been watching:

The Artist

A poignant, fun, blast to the past. If you are a fan of old movies, this will be a new 21st century favorite.

The Dark Knight Rises

Effing brilliant. Perfect ending.

Breaking Bad

I jumped on the bandwagon, and am hooked. Although, I am currently on a mid-third-season break to distance myself from the violence, etc. 

NY Med

Forever the medical nerd, I was hooked on the documentary series John Hopkins four years ago, then Boston Med two years ago, and this summer, NY Med was no exception. 

Check out the 8-episode series here, as well as all 8 episodes for Boston Med here.

...what I have been doing:

"The happiest 5K on the planet"

How can you not feel happy going from this:

Yes, I am aware that I look like I'm 12. But a very excited 12 year-old. this:

Now a very colorful, very excited 12 year-old. 

The Color Run is a 5K run (run not race) that takes place all over the country. Anyone (we saw people from the age of 2 to the age of 72) can participate in this walk/run as long as you come equipped with a squeaky clean white shirt. Then, at each kilometer, you run through a "color zone" where you are hit with (all-natural) colored powder. After crossing the finish line, you then head over to the Color Festival where everyone is singing and dancing and hitting each other with colored powder. 

Someone asked me why I would want to run a 5K while being hit with colored response: "Why WOULDN'T you want to run while being hit with colored powder?!?!"

My friends and I had an absolute blast. Some people even had teams that dressed up in tutus, costumes, knee socks, etc. It's a great way to turn exercise into a really fun event without any kind of pressure. They don't even time it. 

Check out their website (link above) to see when and where a Color Run near you will take place.


Summer is the best time to make a dent in the book pile on your nightstand. At least for me. I really enjoyed making my way through some books that have been in my queue for awhile. My two recent favorites have been:

This magical story will capture your imagination like no other.

A beautifully written story of friendship and life in 1960's New York City, by the brilliant Patti Smith.

Time with Family

I'm happy to say that a good portion of my summer was devoted to some much needed time with my family and friends. I think my family has spent more time all together this past summer than we have in the past couple years.

Let's play "Guess which one is my twin"

...what I have been exploring:

I spy uncharted land!

Beaches I have never been to.

New cities.

Movie shoot in NYC!

A few roadtrips.

Back home

But most importantly, lots of laughs, lessons, and memories.

Hope y'all also made at least one good memory these past three months.

Now that I'm a little caught up, I can get back to more regular, one-topic blog posts.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another New Year

It's been a while (about 3 months, yikes!) since I have visited this little space of mine.

But for good reason.

I have tried to avoid delving too deep into what is going on in my personal life (partly because it's really not that interesting), and I haven't really mentioned what my future holds since my very first post, but I have a lot of recent activities, projects, and memories that I want to share on here, but I kind of feel that I can't without mentioning some recent developments.

1. I started a new job.

Even more importantly, I started a new job that is in my actual chosen field. It incorporates both medicine and writing, which I love. My previous job was one I had worked at since the summer before I started college so it was and still is a very big adjustment, but one that I am thrilled about.

Part of that big adjustment is having a commute that increased by about an hour each way every day. Thus, I have lost quite a bit more time (and gas money) each day (go figure) but it's a sacrifice that I am willing to make.

All of these adjustments were made slightly more stressful by the fact that on my third day of my new job, I came home to discover that:

2. I got accepted to med school.

This was the very last thing that I was expecting to happen.

Like I said, I haven't really mentioned my quest to go to med school since my very first blog post, mainly because I had another year with lots of stress, waiting, frustration, and confusion with nothing to show for it in the end but two spots on waiting lists.

And I was very much ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself. I realize that is nothing to be ashamed about, but as I have said before, I hold myself to sometimes impossible expectations...something that I'm working on.

But, I accepted the situation, came to peace with it, and was confident that I did absolutely everything that I could, short of spending a great deal of money that I was not comfortable spending. I was beginning to explore other options, and had even started to fill out an application for the Peace Corps, something that I was excited (well, more petrified than excited, but those usually are the best kind of experiences) about pursuing.

And then I got the letter from PCOM that they wanted to offer me a spot for the DO Class of 2016. That was starting in six weeks. And required a large deposit and an answer in one week.

Only three days after starting a new full-time job that I signed onto for two years.

No pressure.

To be honest, I had a feeling that was going to happen once I accepted the job offer, because life likes to throw you lots of curveballs.

Once I was able to wrap my brain around the fact that after three years of beating myself over the head with MCATs, applications, clinical experience, GPAs, interviews, etc. and convincing myself that med school was NOT the right path for me, I actually got accepted to medical school, I panicked.

My mind was a blur of figuring out what I really DO want to do with my life, feeling guilty for having to many good things at once, and feeling the pressure of a time crunch. With my mind that scattered, I did the only thing that I know helps me set things straight: I made lists.

Pro and Con Lists to be exact. 

Writing everything out helped lead me to the decision to defer my acceptance for one year.

I was very fortunate that everyone, the admissions department at PCOM, my new supervisors, and of course (but no surprise) my family, were all very supportive in my choice and agreed it was the best option.

So, I now have a full year in which I can gain more experience in my field, pay off my undergrad loans before going into an OBSCENE amount of debt, and have a little more spare time to enjoy life before throwing everything into learning how to practice medicine. 

It will be interesting. 

So, I'm launching another year in which I wish there more hours in the day to explore, learn, and create...before I launch a new year in which I will wish there more hours in the day to study. 

I hope after my long break, there are still a few of you out there who will continue to join me in my search for more time. 

Feel free to let me know how you may have spent your precious time these past summer months!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Fever: Music

I have not blogged in a bit. Nothing to blame but a scattered brain, busy-ness, and trying to spend more time outdoors. Summer fever. (In fact, I started writing this post over a week ago)

That probably did not make sense but my brain is not making much sense to myself lately either.
Here are some new things that I have been listening to lately to try to help keep me focused.

Edward Sharpe and the Magentic Zeroes - Here

Following up their debut self-titled album featuring the by-now staple song, Home, Edward Sharpe & the Magentic Zeroes have released their possibly even more soulful second album, Here.

Although, nothing can beat this:

The Neighbourhood

Indie? Rock? Pop? Hip Hop?

Indie-Rock-Pop-Hip-Hop? (Now say it five times fast)

Not sure. But I can't stop listening.

Some mystery surrounds this LA quartet, but I recommend downloading their EP for free here!

Charlene Kaye

I had the supreme pleasure of seeing Charlene perform live this week when she opened for these guys, and let me tell you: Girl can rock.

Theo Katzman

And while you're at it, check out Charlene's friend and fellow University of Michigan alum (seriously, what the hell was that school putting in the water 5 years ago?!), Theo Katzman.

Dude's got soul and funk pouring out of him.

Sara Bareilles - Once Upon Another Time - EP

Produced by Ben Folds, this EP is a small gem. But Sweet As Whole is particularly wonderful in my opinion, though surprising.

I think almost all girls will agree with me.

Imagine Dragons

I have to say, I'm not really 100 % blown away by these guys, but this song has been traveling the radio, movie trailers, etc. circuit, and is definitely a great "anthem of the moment" if that makes sense. And the rest of their EP, Continued Silence, is pretty catchy too.

Regina Spektor - What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Her best yet I do believe.

One more just for fun?

Again, nothing earth-shattering, but delightfully catchy!

What have you had on repeat these past few weeks??

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Film Festival

It is that time of year again...

Yes, it is the time of year for graduations, proms, and the start of summer activities...but it is also Cannes Film Festival time.

Le Festival du Cannes is the most renowned and prestigious film festival in the world, taking place in Cannes, France in late May over the course of 12 days, where new films of all genres, from all over the world are shown.

2012 marks the 65th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, therefore the official poster of the festival features the iconic actress.

This year is one year in particular that I wish I could attend the festival and preview a multitude of some of this year's highly anticipated movies.

The festival opened on May 16 with the premiere of one my favorite director's new movie, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, to positive reviews.

A few other features include On the Road, directed by Walter Salles and based on the famous Jack Kerouac novel:

as well as The Paperboy, Mud, Killing Them Softly, and Lawless, featuring actors such as Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, John Cusack, and Matthew McConaughey. 

Notable films from other countries include Amour, Rust and Bone, Cosmopolis, and Paradise: Love.

Many other full-length films, short films and documentaries will also be shown at the festival. 

Other notable parts of the festival are The Cannes Classics: "showcasing restored prints of classic films and masterpieces of film history", and the largest film market in the world where more than 11,000 participants and around 4,000 films and projects will be presented this year.

Other events include masterclasses, exhibitions, non-competitive screenings highlighting films from different countries and that are "cutting edge", and tributes. Overall, it is 12 days where actors, directors, writers, producers, and movie-lovers in general can come together to celebrate films new and old (while Marilyn looks over everyone this year).

But my love for films and France is not the only reason the Cannes Film Festival is significant to me...

Me and Olivia (incredible girl)

Yup. That's me. Standing in front of the red carpet for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

When I participated in a study abroad program in Nice, France two years ago, my very first weekend there our group of students took the short 45-minute train ride to Cannes to see all of the festivities.

We obviously did not have or could afford tickets to any screenings, and we knew our chances of getting to see any actual stars was slim, but we wanted to go and see the theater and simply spend time in the beautiful city that plays host to the monumental film festival.

A few hours later, you could not get anywhere near the theater as crowds gathered trying to catch a glimpse of this gal:

But Cannes offered many other beautiful sights other than just the celebrities.

While I would love to be able to go back and actually attend the festival, Cannes is a beautiful place to visit any time of year.

Keep your eye out for the movies that were featured at the festival, and if you ever get the opportunity to attend this, or any film festival, or visit the South of France at any time, take it.