Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brother Jed and Sister Cindy on Sally Jesse Rafael in 1988

Thanks to Marion for this.

The Cool Kids:

It's not a real music vid, it's one of those fan ones where they collage some photos of the artists, sorry. But it's still a bangin song, called '88.

The Cool Kids' MySpace

I heard about the Cool Kids off of Sasha Frere-Jones' blog. He does music reviews for The New Yorker. He has an imeem player with the best music ever on his site. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Question: chauvinism

So, chauvinist is the male equivalent of feminist? Well, not really, actually. But that's how the word is used. Chauvinism is any kind of irrational loyalty to an idea or nation. Weird.

Two of my friends, Jeff and Lauren, have read the book Female Chauvinist Pigs, they loved it.

Actually, the male equivalent of feminism is masculism or masculinism. Word of the day.

what's with the utopic communities?: Bicycle City

landscape models for bicycle city (

An ad in my gmail popped up the other day for Bicycle City, USA. What?

"City Highlights include a strong community; active and healthy lifestyle; vibrant economy with good jobs; top education and health centers; diversity of people and ideas; social justice; clean technologies; eco-friendly, sustainable development; eclectic urban designs and architecture; organic agriculture; alternative energies; and a celebration of the arts." (

How can you include "social justice" in your city highlights? I know that 'New Town' is actually legitimate because it's a capitalistic enterprise and someone (Whittaker, namely) is benefiting. But, the Bicycle City website says that it has raised funds and is looking for the perfect place in America to create its utopia.

Didn't this type of thing happen a lot around the turn of the century? A huge trend of utopic community upstarts? Bits and pieces of my history classes are running through my head. The Oneida community in upstate New York?

(Side note: here's a really funny wikipedia sentence, "The branches were closed in 1854, except for the Wallingford branch, which operated until devastated by a tornado in 1878. The Oneida Community dissolved in 1881, and eventually became the giant silverware company Oneida Limited." - what? our utopic commune failed? well, let's just make silverware)

Bicycle City says they gain a lot of their inspiration from the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and John Naisbitt (look up that guy - interesting)

"John Naisbitt in 'Megatrends' wrote about a 'high tech / high touch' future in that as we are inundated with more and more technology we will embrace the 'high touch' aspects of life to create a balance. For Bicycle City this means embracing the AND - the best, clean, safe and sustainable technologies AND the softer side of life: organic farming, sense of community, holistic, family, beauty, music, art, etc."

"There is a niche of people in the world who want to live somewhere better. Somewhere that isn't an asphalt jungle. Somewhere their kids are safe and won't get hit by a car. Somewhere with clean air, beauty and a good job. They want less stress. They want a new design for a city - a place that is designed and built now for this century not endless patchwork on top of designs from 100-200 years ago."

It just sounds like the rich people fleeing the city. More on that later with stuff about St. Louis' history. Thoughts?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Creepy New Town

"Crap, honey, I forgot which house was ours again"

So there's this development in St. Charles, MO, a large suburb of St. Louis called New Town. A few of my friends live in Hazelwood and Florissant, which are quite close by.

"However, the family envisioned more … they wanted to build a way of life – neighborhoods complete with fabulous on-site amenities that families could use, enjoy and make a part of their daily routine."

"And in 2004, Greg Whittaker, president of Whittaker Homes, decided to take this sense of community one step further with New Town at St. Charles. This traditional town is designed to accommodate a wide range of homes and businesses alike. New Town combines old with new, ultimately creating a town reminiscent of the past where children can ride their bikes to the general store and residents can walk to the local coffee shop. At New Town, the garages are in the back, streets are conducive to walking and biking, and people can live, work and play within the comfort of their own neighborhood."

So, basically, instead of trusting a community to build itself organically, New Town is a development that takes all that relationship-building into its own hands. Pre-fab life, pre-fab neighborhood. Creepy.

take a look at the houses (here)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Something I've had to look up from class: The Body Farm

In my Biological Anthropology class, my professor briefly discussed something called The Body Farm, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Basically, it is a three-acre lot where researchers from UT-Knoxville put human bodies out to decompose in various conditions (buried in shallow grave, submerged in water, trunk of car, etc.) and track their progress. Gory.

My Dad is really into the show Bones, for unknown reasons. The show is about a forensic anthropologist, which I thought was a made-up profession until I heard about the Body Farm. Basically, all of the researchers at the Body Farm are forensic anthropologists: people who study how bodies decompose, and a lot are criminologists.

One time he said he enjoyed the interaction of the two main characters: Bones (ISTJ) and the dude who used to be Angel in Buffy (ENFP). That will only be funny to people who know my Dad. Speaking of my Dad, we were having a discussion once and he proclaimed that he would never donate his body to science. My mom and I were astonished. Why!? Well, most of the bodies at the Body Farm are donated to science. Now I see why.

"Bodies are obtained from various sources. Some have lain unclaimed at the medical examiner's office, while over 300 people have voluntarily donated their bodies to the Body Farm. Between 30 and 50 bodies are donated to the facility every year." (wikipedia, "Body Farm")

KrewTube: Survivor Ninja

This video (according to some) should have won KrewTube this year. KrewTube is the annual video contest at my youth group back home (Krew). I will start my internship with them this summer. I love them.

...and my all-time favorite Krew video. It's so simple and so beautiful.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Duffy - "Mercy"

One of the coolest music vids I've seen in awhile. I like the guy dancers, because (most of the time) they're not doing anything really difficult, but look ultra-cool.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

this image is from Facehunter, one of my favorite international fashion sites. it makes me laugh, because the man in it looks undersexed (is that a word? i mean unsexy, or the opposite of oversexed).

the Gap is back?

...well, the Sartorialist says so. Looking online, they seem kind of the same as ever. Maybe a few less "what were you thinking?" pieces. The Gap has always been kind of bland to me, but I guess the reason they exist is to provide foundation pieces that anyone can look good in. Sweet, but kind of boring. Especially when fashion right now is all about oddity (it seems to me). Even their "European Collection" is kind of boring. Oh well. I really like the look above, but I'm pretty sure I've seen people at Mizzou sport it. And (as much as I love my state) if Missouri's doing it, something must be off in the design department.


I'm not pregnant. I thought I would get that out of the way before I write a parenting blog post. Also, I think more about parenting than I do about dating. I major in putting the cart before the horse.

There's something that I want to work on doing now, as a favor to any future kids I might give birth to or raise. And this thing does not rank high on the list of things you can do to screw up your kid.

I want to work on having an open mind toward ideas that I think are dumb, dangerous, or have never heard of before.

I have hung out with high schoolers before who feel so misunderstood by their parents. It's painful to watch. The kid is trying to figure out their identity by trying out different things and the parent (it seems to me) is kind of flabbergasted and resigns to saying "whatever, let me know when you've grown up."

Letting people I love change for (what seems to me as) the worse is one of my serious weaknesses. I can't handle it, I freak out. In the end, the whole thing is not worth the emotional energy I spend on it, because God loves them more than I do anyway and me freaking out about it doesn't help anything.

I don't know how I can go about trying to grow in this area, but I am seriously looking into it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Field Trip: Town Dump

For my Environmental Biology class, our lab went to the Columbia landfill. It was awesome. Here are some things I learned:
  • the cellulose cases that are used for hotdogs (the part that makes the meat stay together, not the packaging) can be made out of recycled material. I am ambivalent about this. Reason #453 to not eat hot dogs.
  • The stuff we put in the clear blue recycle bags in Columbia is hand sorted, mostly by temp workers who get no benefits.
  • There's something called an Eddy Current Separator that acts as a reverse magnet and repels aluminum. cool!
  • the recycling center sells ground up glass as sand for $5/ton. prank idea?
  • 20-25% of Columbia recycles. sad.
  • Columbia has the only Bioreactor landfill in Missouri. Here's how it works: you add water to the waste and methane gas comes off. You funnel the methane into energy, and it supplies electricity to 1,300 homes. Awesome.
I love field trips.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I found a link to this book while looking up Otherkin (thanks, Lauren). Very cool design.

* oh, and I just remembered that Cintra Wilson wrote one of the funniest holiday-themed short stories/articles I've ever read, (here) at And read her blog (here).

decisions, decisions

unrelated photo of my niece in the Florida Keys, shot through my Blu-Blockers

"Over the past generation, economists have paid increasing attention to the importance of norms and rules in economic life.  Ronald Heiner pointed out that as rational human beings we simply cannot make rational decisions at every point in day-to-day life.  Were we to do so, our behavior would be both unpredictable and subject to paralysis as we perpetually calculated whether we should tip the waiter, stiff the cab driver of his fare, or put away a different amount of your paycheck every month in your retirement account.  In fact, it is rational for people to impose simplifying rules on their own behavior, even if these rules do not always yield correct decisions in every circumstance because decisionmaking is in itself costly and often requires information that is unavailable or faulty." ("Social Capital" by Francis Fukuyama in Culture Matters)

My Global Perspectives professor gives his definition of culture as the thing that filters out 99% of the random data we encounter on a daily basis, so that we can make active decisions on the last 1%.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Faux Prank War

Awesome did this to my car. I poured middle school girl glitter all over Jeff and Chad's clothes on Tuesday, and so thought it was them that did this. She would have gotten away with it, had my neighbor not told me that it was a girl who post-it noted my car. The middle picture is Julie trying to act surprised when she had been in cahoots with Awesome the whole time.

Something I'll miss from college: Spring at Mizzou

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I love Lost. My roommate Rachel and I decided to start watching the episodes on a couple weeks ago and since then I can't think about anything else for any extended period of time. The same thing happened to me with Harry Potter. I am starting to decline social invitations in order to catch up (We're on season 2). When I'm not watching Lost, I am trying to guide the conversation so that I can talk about Lost. It's sick.

My favorite character by far is Claire. I think she's adorable. She wears these extremely hi-top Chuck Taylors in the show (this is honestly the best pic of her in them online, sorry) that are super cute. I finally found them online. I think my taste in fashion will be pretty affected by Lost in small ways. For instance, I am starting to wonder if I got the perm just to look more like Kate.

something I'll miss about Columbia: guy friends who dance at parties

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

culture, community, & balance, part 2

"...the strength of family bonds differs from society to society; it also varies relative to other types of social obligation. In some cases, there appears to be something of an inverse relationship between the bonds of trust and reciprocity inside and outside the family: when one is very strong, the other tends to be weak. In China and Latin America, families are strong and cohesive, but it is hard to trust strangers, and levels of honesty and cooperation in public life are much lower. A consequence is nepotism and pervasive public corruption." (Francis Fukuyama, "Social Capital" in Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress)

I love the word nepotism. I always forget it when I want to use it in sentences. Also, I went to a high school where there were multiple teachers and administrative staff who were married or related. This made it quite difficult to bring grievances about a teacher to the principal - who happened to be her husband.

This is a continuation of what I was trying to look at in the last post. Is there a link between how family-centered a society is and how corrupt they are? As a disclaimer (Ailsa), I don't believe that the two could ever be directly connected. But I'm wondering if the same cultural idea that puts a high priority on family also builds a distrust of those who are not family, which is bad for society in general. For a society to run well, there needs to be a certain level of trust between strangers.

Again, with the balance. We must (obviously) value our families. This is an interesting idea, and I want to see where it goes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Frag - art from Moleskine notebooks

To read: Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie/The Postal Service) on "The Meaning of Life" in Paste Magazine - thanks, Marty. "Liking interesting things doesn’t make you interesting."

I have to make a website for my Dad's book, does anyone know how to make a website? (here's the one he has already - Douglass and Associates), and yes, I'm an associate, thanks.

word of the day: sinecure - an office which involves minimal duties at full pay

Saturday, April 12, 2008

culture, balance, & community

"Balance" - won the 1990 Oscar for Best Animated Short

"The truth is that a large percentage of Latin Americans either nurture or tolerate relationships in which personal loyalty is rewarded and merit is substantially ignored. In Latin American culture loyalty rarely extends beyond the circle of friends and family. Thus the public sector is profoundly mistrusted and the notion of the common good is very weak." (Carlos Alberto Montaner, "Culture and the Behavior of Elites in Latin America" in Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress)

A couple weeks ago I was sitting next to Julie in church, acting like a brat. Being a cultural studies major I have a hard time listening to speakers talk about things relating to culture because I spend the whole time quibbling with the things they say inside my head. Also, I'm a senior in college and I think I know everything.

We've all heard the sermons and talks about how individualistic America is and how our utter lack of community is putting us on the road to hell. Right. Well, if I've learned anything from cultural studies, it's that every culture can turn good things into bad by taking them to the extreme. Just like in most things in my life, if I forget to maintain a balance, everything is ruined.

I've been slowly working my way through this awesome book (that I've talked about before) called Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress, and you could basically call it an anthology on how sin affects entire cultures and holds them back. It's sin's destruction and human depravity on a meta-scale: meta-depravity.

The quote above is how Latin America (and other cultures, too) has screwed up a good thing like community and family. When a culture gets to a place where they don't trust the public sector, where individuals cannot win elections or make business agreements without bribery, the reliance on community has gone too far. Henri Nouwen says that (I'm paraphrasing) if an individual cannot be alone, they should not be in community, and if an individual cannot be in community, they shouldn't be alone. Balance.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dear God


Dear God, kind of like PostSecret, except prayers and better photography. It was started by the guy who does The Cool Hunter (I'm a fan). Is this helpful? Or, like Liz Forkin used to say in high school, "emotional streaking?"

mullet vs. dreads...lesser of two evils


there was a Dutch girl at L'Abri in England named Carola who had a euro-mullet and it was super cool and looked great on her. When I asked her about it, she said that she had been going to the same stylist for years and each time she just sat down in his chair and accepted whatever haircut he gave her. I might just give the stylist this picture and take the leap. the perm worked out great, why shouldn't this?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008



Like the book Freakonomics? The New York Times has a blog on the book (here), with tons of interesting stuff.

Want to bet money on world events? The Freakonomics blog has an offshoot site: The Freakonomics Prediction Center, where you can bet on when the next US Political scandal will hit, who the 2008 NBA champion will be, and tons of other stuff. Zach Osborne, I feel like you would be good at this.

Anyone remember the show Freakazoid?

Senior Tour Update

We're making progress!

Mojo's - I went to go hear Bon Iver perform, and he was wonderful. I wanted to slow dance to his music. Mojo's is a whole lot more hipster than I thought it was going to be, which is cool. I kind of wish I hung out there more through college. Also, they have a Jamaican Jerk Hut permanently stationed there, which is pretty cool as well.

G&D Pizza - not bad, quasi-St.Louis-style pizza. We got Gyro on our pizza, which was pretty exotic and cool.

I haven't been to Generic yet, hopefully soon.

BUT, next week, I'm going to my first sorority function of my life: a Crush Party. My friend Lauren nicely asked me to go, and I'm pumped about the theme: "Dazed and Confused" - I'm about to break out the cutoff jorts. Here's the trailer for inspiration: (youtube)

Blacktrick from Adventure Week:

So...I got a perm

this is my first time posting something from my camera phone - i think it turned out pretty well.

I think I'm actually saying the words "jheri curl" to Emmy on the phone here.

...and today.

Do people even get perms anymore? Is it still 1984? Yeah, well, it's my senior year and I'm bored. Let's go get a perm. It took 2.5 hours of sitting with rollers and dangerous chemicals in my hair to end up with a jheri curl (a la Rick James) afterwards. Now it's kind of awkward curly/flat. Oh well, they said they'd re-do it for free if it didn't take. I'm still going through the cost-benefit analysis of going back to the salon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cool Blog: Strange Maps


While looking up info on the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World, I came across the blog Strange Maps. For all you map-lovers, here are a couple maps that are on the blog:

1. Functional Geography, bottle-opener in the shape of Taiwan
2. Where Neil Armstrong walked on the moon
3. The geography (and naming possibility) of the lakes on Saturn's moon.
4. A Surrealist's map of the world
5. Map of temperance
6. And, my favorite map (pictured above) "Area codes in which Ludacris claims to have hoes"

I'm Glad I Found You: World Values Survey

Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World (

There's such thing as a World Values Survey?! Awesome.

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life and two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values."

This stuff is fascinating to me, I believe that one's values are very influenced by the culture around them. I don't believe that maps like this are exactly true, or completely representative. I do think that they can be very helpful and quite interesting. Values and culture are very related to personality and type, I think. My Dad has an idea for a book that would describe the culture of each country on the planet through the Myers-Briggs type indicator. I think France is ISTP.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

this morning

I went to Jesus’ room
to wake him for church
bur he was already up.
I could hear the shower
running—steam was
pouring out from under
the bathroom door.

by Belz


Brazilian News...Raposa Serra do Sol reservation

Ok, so for my Global Perspectives and Realities class, I am trying to figure out what's going on with the rainforest in Brazil. I read in an awesome New Yorker article yesterday (Um, can't find it online, will add it later) that said something like that Indonesia and Brazil both contribute to 10% of the Carbon Dioxide added to the atmosphere because of their destruction of their rainforests.

Ok, I've known since 4th grade that destruction of rainforests is the worst thing ever (atmosphere, ecosystems, endangered species, the list goes on). But, it seems like it actually might be
the worst thing ever. So, I think I'm going to slowly build my project up here (via my blog), looking at why it's happening. Maybe we'll be surprised, maybe not.

When SustainMizzou (our recycling club/organization on campus) showed
An Inconvenient Truth last year, I was talking with some enviro-evangelists afterwards about what I could do and it seemed like the most proactive thing was to not eat meat from Brazil that was raised on rainforest land. Uhh...done.

So, I've been obsessed with Brazil for no clear reason for years now, and I want to figure more out about this. Come along!

The picture above is a map of where the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation is. There have been protests and bridge-burnings lately (nytimes article) because the government is removing non-Indians from the area. I don't understand this whole thing, but maybe I will soon.

links for next time:
nytimes: "
Brazil, Alarmed, Reconsiders Policy on Climate Change"
nytimes: "In the Amazon: Conservation or Colonialism?" "Rainforests of Brazil: An Environmental Status Report"

Travel to St. Louis!

This is for my friends Jeff and Patrick, who (hopefully) will be returning the favor and coming to visit the Gateway to the West soon. Since St. Louis is pretty spread out and favors the over-21 set, our options are limited, yet exciting. I'm going to give as comprehensive of a list (St. Louisans please add on) as I can for them for them to choose from when they come to visit:

The Obvious:
- the Arch (w/ ride to the top)
- Cardinals game (schedule)
- Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (menu)
- The City Museum (crucial)
- Westminster Christian Academy

- the Hill (Italian neighborhood) (restaurants)
- East St. Louis (guided tour)
- North County (guided tour)
- The Loop (shopping/bars)
- Central West End (shopping/bars)
- Laclede's Landing (mostly bars, some restaurants - kind of seedy)
- South Grand (shopping/restaurants)
- Downtown walkabout
- the Fox/Moolah theater area (SLU)?

Restaurants not by anything else:
- Carl's Drive-In (not actually a drive-in, just a tiny diner kind of like Town Topic in KC) (City of Manchester)
- Crown Candy (for the milkshakes) (Old North St. Louis)

Forest Park:
- St. Louis Art Museum (free)
- STL Zoo (free)
- general running around (map)

Places I've never been:
- St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum

Other necessities:
- riding on the Metrolink

(all images - STL Style)