The Windy City

The Midwest is stereotypically known for being flat and dull, but Chicago is far from that. From the smell of the water of Lake Michigan to deep dish pizza, Chicago is a great summer destination.

One place that is worth a visit is the Sears Tower, an iconic building in Chicago. If you ever have the chance, be sure to take the ride up over a hundred floors to the visitors’ deck. Be aware that you will be traveling very fast in an elevator up hundred of floors and the air pressure makes you feel like you are on an airplane. However, in the end the views are spectacular on the skydeck, which is on the 99th floor. There is also the 103rd floor open to the public and it has glass viewing platforms that stick out of the building for people to look at the view from. The Sears Tower is open everyday for visitors and is the perfect opportunity for some picture taking of the entire city.

The Sears Tower is just one of many places to visit but why not start from the top? For more about the tourist attractions in Chicago, the post for part two is coming soon.

Hansen Still Wants NBA

Obviously, there is no NBA back in Seattle quite yet. The Kings will not be playing in a new city, new arena, new uniforms, or under a new name. The Sacramento Kings are just that, in Sacramento and that is where they are to stay for who knows how long.  Seattle is without a team but the effort put forth by this city and by its large-pocketed leaders, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Bay area hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, has shown that Seattle is ready and eager for a team to return. They are proving that this is an NBA city and even though we have lost out on the Kings with the help of an NBA Commissioner that did the opposite when the Sonics were leaving, there is no doubt in any NBA analyst or businessman’s mind that there needs to be a team here. Chris Hansen has recently said that he plans on continuing to bring a team back to Seattle within the next seven years and the best possible option seems to be in the form of an expansion team. This could happen in 2015, after the NBA re-negotiates their television contracts. With Stern out, Silver leaves Seattle with the best chance as commissioner to bring a team back, saying that their view of expansion has lightened after recent events. Seattle needs an NBA team and the NBA needs Seattle, it is that simple.

 

Citation:

http://seattletimes.com/html/nba/2021075371_hansen29.html

Photo:

By: acidpix

Outfits of the Day

As summer is quickly approaching, it’s time for lighter and cuter clothing!

emma

Here’s a very casual outfit with shorts, a pair of vans, and a sweatshirt. This is great for any day!

cool

Here’s another summer friendly outfit, with a boho blouse and some skinnies. I love the shoes that pair up nicely with the blouse.

fun

This is also a cute date night outfit! I think the Micheal Kors clutch is a perfect accessory to the leather black skirt! If you don’t want too much dark colors, wear a pair of bright shoes or some cute neutral brown shoes!

-Fashion Femme

Jack Gellatly

Now that the 2012-2013 sports have ended we can now look ahead to next year. One exciting person to watch for next would be junior football player Jack Gellatly. If you asked anyone this year, fan or player, they would most likely say Jack is the best player on the team. I don’t think there was a single game in which Jack did not rush for more than 100 yards. Jack is very well known around the league and is considered one of the best running backs in the state. Currently Jack is being recruited by Cornell, Washington State, Army and partially the University of Washington. As of right now Jack is the 7th player in the state of Washington that UW is recruiting. Jack is an all-around student athlete. He is a very smart kid, and if football wasn’t meant to be in college, he can pretty much attend any college he wants to based of his excellent grades.

Evacuation Ordered in Chile and Argentina

Due to alarming seismic activity concerning the Copahue volcano, over 460 families are being evacuated from the region.

The Copahue volcano rests in the south of the border shared by Chile and Argentina and shelters many towns, including Caviahue. The volcano is one of the most active in the area, as it has had frequent blasts as well as a major eruption in 1992.

Chile issued a red alert Monday, meaning evacuation is necessary. Most families were sent to nearby towns like Loncopue. Argentina followed several hours later. Although it may be a false alarm, evacuation for at least 48 hours is the best way to ensure the safety of the 3,000 inhabitants.

Reporters Without Borders

In my last blog post, I talked about how my strong belief in the freedom of information is a top reason that I wanted to work with political media one day.
You might be wondering, “What kind of organizations and news networks provide such a service? Everything affiliated with the media is always biased!”
Well, some attempt to unbias their information significantly more than others.
I could sit here and attempt to convince you of how CNN is superior to Fox News because of this exact reason, but there are organizations that make it their primary goal to use their freedom of information to present the media as explicit facts.

One of the these organizations is Reporters Without Borders.

rwb logo

Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organization has consultant status at the United Nations.

Reporters Without Borders has two primary spheres of activity: one is focused on internet censorship and the new media, and the other on providing material, financial and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas. Its missions are to:

  • continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide;
  • denounce any such attacks in the media;
  • act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information;
  • morally and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families; and
  • offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety

Their head office is in Paris, but there are many other offices in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Madrid, Rome, Stockholm, Tunis, Vienna, and Washington, D.C.
In a sense, this organization is fighting for what they believe in. They attempt to fight censorship by attempting to create things like MIRROR SITES. Whilst scrolling through their SITE, one might come to the conclusion that their mirror site idea was their only successful one. With their site banner giving links to things like “Helping RWB journalists” and “Safety of RWB journalists,” Reporters Without Borders might lack some boundaries but they certainly do not lack exposure.

Labeling ambassadors, prime ministers, presidents and other respectable leaders of various countries as “predators” because of their apparent lack of internet freedom, this site earns a big thumbs down on my grading scale.
Claiming they “fight censorship,” this organization has achieved very little of what its initial purpose was:

press freedom barameter image

After all, isn’t the point of preserving freedom of information so that things like this^^ do NOT happen, RWB?
But hey! Don’t you worry, if you feel as strongly about the real meaning of their organization as they do, they have a big bright yellow “donate” button at the very top of their site. Mostly because this non-profit is $400,000 in debt annually. That’s every year.

Yet they still claim they spend their donation money on:

donation use image

In my opinion, the reporters from Reporters Without Borders should be reporting with more borders, perhaps with a less angry initiative.
-Libertarianliaisons

Grappling Hooks

A friend of mine recently loaned me a game called Just Cause. It has its ups and downs, and probably will receive its own post at a later date, but for now it brings to mind an interesting discussion I should have thought of before now.

Grappling hooks.

You heard right. I’ve noticed that a high disproportionate number of games have grappling hooks, and, being me, I want to know why.

The simplest explanation is that they are simply convenient. Video games tend to get bogged down by a lot of walking, and frankly, we do enough walking in our day to day lives. Grappling hooks provide a solution in that they make travel easier and more importantly, use of a grappling hook usually requires enough thought to be an interesting mechanic.

This is why even games like Just Cause, which otherwise employs exclusively real-world weaponry and gadgets (albeit with vastly exaggerated utility) will find it beneficial to their gameplay to include a grappling hook. That Mark of the Ninja game that I loved so much had a grappling hook as well.

It really says something about the medium that walking itself has become too boring for standard gameplay. Personally I enjoy the trend. Grappling hooks lend themselves particularly well to stealth based gameplay for their ability to let the player reach high places to observe and plot in safety, and I have always enjoyed good stealth mechanics.

Of course, if a game has easy-to-use teleportation, that is an okay transit option too. Many games are too shackled by realism, and it’s nice to see grappling hooks and teleportation make even basic movement fun.

1st Amendment: Where You At?

On May 1st, Cam was skipping school and messing around online. He posted some lyrics that included a vague reference to the Boston Marathon Bombing and called the Whitehouse a “federal house of horror.” Shortly after that he was arrested and charged with Communicating a Terrorist Threat, a felony that carries 20 years in prison.

The post contained no specific threat of violence against any person or group of people, and in the context of the rest of the lyrics and Cams’ rap persona, it was clearly nothing more than a metaphor. A search of Cam’s house found NO evidence that he was planning any violence, but a judge still ordered him held without bail for the next three months, pending trial.

Every single thing this kid did, while certainly rude and foolish, was clearly protected by the First Amendment. However, he remains in jail and has been smeared by local media, making a fair trail an ever more elusive hope.

Click here to read the full story and sign a petition against this outrageous abuse of our right to free speech.

As the petition’s headline comments, “After you read this kid’s story, you’ll think twice about what you post on Facebook. (And that’s the problem.)”

-Libertarianliaisons

Gluten Free chocolate cupcakes with coffee icing

I love anything coffee flavored. Being addicted to caffeine, I need my coffee. Luckily, I found this recipe for coffee flavored icing that makes cupcakes, cakes, or even cookies taste amazing. It is really simple, too.

For cupcakes, I like to use Pamela’s chocolate cake mix. Just follow the instructions on the package and it will turn out perfect and delicious. Wait for the cupcakes to cool completely, and then use this recipe for the frosting.

 

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat together confectioners’ sugar, butter or margarine, coffee, and vanilla until smooth. Add more liquid or confectioners’ sugar as needed.

The History of Books: Wax Tablets

My next part to my history of books series is centered around wax tablets, a part of books history that is often neglected.

Rome was a revolutionary city that discovered, developed, and improved many modern day inventions. So is it a surprise that Rome was influential in book history? Romans developed the wax tablets and they were very innovative for the time because you could write on them using a stylus. A stylus is a small writing utensil for making shapes. They were more commonly used for pottery, but also used for writing! At one end of the stylus there was a point used for writing, the other was spherical, used for easing. Which was the really cool thing about wax tablets is that you can erase your writing, something that could not be done up until this point in history. These kind of tablets were used in Roman culture for everyday purposes such as accounting, notes, teaching writing to children. Several of these wax tablets could be assembled together to forma  codex. Pretty interesting, right?

Modern Vampires of the City

So, this weekend, I made the trip to the West Seattle Easy Street Records location (since the more convenient location in Queen Anne closed). Among other things, I bought the new Vampire Weekend album. Now, I’ve never really been into Vampire Weekend, but after hearing the lead single from this album, “Diane Young,” I was impressed and wanted to hear more.

I was kind of surprised to find that I really love Modern Vampires of the City. Some of my favorites off the album are “Step,” “Finger Back, “and “Worship You.” I’m not sure what it is about “Step” that I love so much, but I guess the phrasing and interesting delivery of the lyrics are what captured my attention. “Worship You” is a fast-paced, drummy song with lead vocalist Ezra Koenig singing ridiculously fast. I’ve been blasting this album in my car whilst driving around and I’ve found it to be a rather perfect album for such. If you haven’t heard it yet, even if you’re not a big Vampire Weekend fan, definitely give it a listen.

https://i1.wp.com/vampireweekend.com/images/packshot.jpg?resize=408%2C408

Inhale, Exale

We are now entering the last couple of weeks of school and it is officially crunch time. During the year, most teachers tend to move forward at a leisurely pace, but once we reach this point, they tend to kick it into gear because they aren’t where they thought they would be once finals hit.

Because of this, our stress levels tend to go through the roof. For a lot of us, seniors especially, it is becoming increasingly hard to find motivation for these last couple of weeks, and the added stress definitely does not help.

Dealing with stress is different for everyone. I listen to music, some of my friends draw pictures, some people exercise. When you’re stressed, try different things to take your mind off of whatever is conflicting you, there is something out there for everyone.

One thing that we can all benefit from is taking a deep breath in through your mouth, and exhaling through your nose. It is guaranteed to bring your heart rate down and hopefully clear your mind. If you ever get to an overwhelming point in your day, just remember to breathe.

Mariners Break Losing Streak, Win Two in a Row

The Mariners bats are coming alive over the past two games, hitting multiple long balls. In the Memorial Day game, while wearing some stylish hats and lettering designs, the Mariners dominated the San Diego Padres. Having a boost from their offense and the strongest outing by pitcher Aaron Harang so far, the Mariners were able to ride nine runs to the end of the game while competing with none from the opposing side. The Padre’s bats were silent except for the first hit of the day from San Diego’s lead-off batter, who hit a lead-off double to start the game, leaving Mariners fans hoping that it was not just another poor outing from the veteran right-hander. The same cannot be said about the Mariners hitting, which came alive in the first inning with four runs with a lead-off homerun from Jason Bay and another three run shot from the Beast (Michael Morse). Throughout the rest of the game, the Mariners added to the total until Harang closed it out with a complete game shut-out. As long as the Mariners do not lose eight straight again, I am happy. Some more wins wouldn’t hurt though.

Citation:

http://seattletimes.com/html/mariners/2021070468_mariners28.html

 

Looper

This weekend I watched the movie Looper. It has Joseph Gordan Levitt, one of my favorite actors, and Bruce Willis. At first the movie was extremely confusing. It reminded me of Inception because of all of the time travel and the blurred lines between reality and fiction.

Overall, I recommend this movie to everyone. I am not necessarily an action movie lover, but I really enjoyed this. The young boy who plays Cid did an excellent job and really brought a different component to the movie.

It has crazy action, a little romance, loving mother-child relationships and of course lots of time travel.

This would be a perfect movie to watch on one of our rainy summer nights, but I hope the sun decides to come back!

Looper