Net Neutrality

Okay, so it's been a while since anybody (including me) has posted since our first little burst there. Raise your hand if you're surprised.
*chirp chirp*
Yeah, me neither.
So today I'm gonna let all yous guys know about something called net neutrality. In a layman's nutshell, net neutrality means that We The People get to control what we see on the internet and what the internet consists of. We pay for our access to the internet, but the internet's content's actual existence is free. This is how amazing people like John and Hank Green, Maureen Johnson, Luke Conard, and not amazing people like Justin Beiber and Perez Hilton got anybody at all to even know who they are.
Well, The Man is trying to change that. Okay, not exactly The Man, but The Companies. Basically they want to make it so that websites have to pay a bunch of money to make their website run fast instead of going back to the speed of the dialup days, and they want to make us pay money to get access to those websites' ability to run fast. This will mean that the big companies that can afford to dish out the money will get lots of traffic while the people who make awesome internet content for basically nothing, such as Youtube people, amazing bloggers (like us!), and people who run awesome websites but don't get paid for it, will suffer.
NOT COOL.
The following is the website that's working to make sure this doesn't happen, and on the front page is a video that can explain all this much better than I ever could.
http://www.savetheinternet.com/
All the people in that video are people who got famous over the internet (mostly YouTube) and would not have the awesome following and fame they have now without it.
So yep. Not that fascinating, I know, but I think people who use the internet, which is most people in America and everyone who is reading this, should at least know about it even if you don't do anything about it.
I promise now that summer's here and I've remembered this bad boy exists, posts will be more regular. :)
Mmmmbyyyyye!

The Post In Which I Begin Contributing To This Blog

Friday, April 23, 2010 7:49 PM Posted by Cole Freakin' Thomas 0 comments

When I started this post, I wanted to get a cool image to go along with it. Something that would personify my inner-self in such a way that reading this post would only make things more convoluted. That way, even illiterate people could get me. I know what you're thinking: "Cole, why in the heck would illiterate people poke through random blogs? It's not like they can...y'know... read them...". That's irrelevant at this point. The fact of the matter is that I have your attention, and I haven't even conveyed so much as a solid thought. It's all been a clever ruse to make introduction filler.
When I got the invite on Facebook from Mallory to write for this thing, my first thought was "Oh, jeez. I left that magnetic thingy at work, didn't I?". By 'Magnetic Thingy', I meant my name tag. Ever seen a magnetic name tag? Those things will save your clothes, but ruin your iPhone. Fair trade off, if you ask me. My second thought was: "Awesome. Mallory likes the cut of my jib when it comes to blogging.". I used to keep up my own personal blog, but once I started working full time, I put it on the back-burner. The invite I got was a good personal kick in the you-know-where to put down the guitar, take off the headphones and write about funny anecdotes and personal experiences again.

I'm a musician. You oughta know about music by now. It's like... everywhere and whatnot. But I'm not talking about any kind of music. I'm talking about music that brings people together. Music that can reunite families and turn a boring little get together into a grand masquerade. I teach piano and guitar as well as perform for weddings, restaurants and hotels. I've seen a child struggle with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for two weeks running, and come back a few days later to have a proud mother announce how well he's doing. I've had a guy (or lady... I had no way of knowing, to be honest) in a foam syringe costume dance to my ragtime songs for a Health Partners party. Which was without a doubt one of the most bizarre experiences I've had in the past few months.

So there you have it. I'm more than happy to put up some personal stories about my work and my life. Who knows; Maybe I'll contribute a (Better) photo or two if I have my camera handy when something awesome happens. I'm not fond of those "Shoot, I really really really wish I had my camera..." moments.

I hope this blog really takes off. I'm proud to be a part of it.

~Cole

Bighead Turtle


Things people ought to know: random facts about turtles!
As some of you may know, my campus job is to feed and clean the biology department's exotic turtle collection. There are 104 turtles in this weird downstairs closet at St Olaf, and I, the lucky one with an activated keycard, can get in for 6 hours every week and take care of them. I have a lot of stories about the turtles, and about random professors who walk in while I'm washing them, but I feel that I must tell the public about one turtle in particular.
Meet Chomper, the Christmas Turtle. As you can see, he's adorable in the ugliest way possible. In addition to being the only turtle in the room that squeaks/grunts, he also has the added advantage of being the most awesome species. Bighead turtles live in southeast asia, in fast-running cold mountain streams. Turtles are cold-blooded, so they need sunlight in order to get their food warm enough to digest; so these turtles have learned to climb 30-40 foot trees (they have a big head to balance out their shell, their tail can support their body weight, and their legs go straight forward instead of to the side like most turtles). Now the fun thing about this trait is that when they get scared, they don't climb back down the tree- they just let go. So back BEFORE devolopers came along and drove them to near extinction, canoeists would come along making a racket, and before they knew it turtles would start falling from the sky. I believe that is an awesome image, and thusly had to share it with you.
Yay for knowing something random! I'm pretty sure that if I was a witch, my patronus would be a turtle. Except maybe a giant mexican musk turtle- they're huge (shell as big as my torso) and can bite limbs off. Here's a baby: ain't he cute?
that's all folks. nullas problemas habemus, vita bullae est sub mare! (We got no troubles, life is the bubbles under the sea!)
Sarah M
P.S. Hi mallory. I think you're awesome.

Intro To Japanese Awesomeness

3:52 PM Posted by Cate 3 comments
So because I felt super special and awesome for being invited to write on this thing, I will. And what better way to start off my postings than with one of my largest obsessions? Anyone who knows me (or at least knows me well enough for me to admit my nerdiest interests) knows that I am thoroughly obsessed with pretty much anything Japanese. Why? Because for one, they have an entire country that was cut off from the world for two hundred years, which allowed them to create an entire belief system and culture free from outside influence. Well. Aside from what they managed to take from China before the Tokugawa shogunate closed off Japan to the world. We're talking about a culture completely different from our own. How awesome is that? Also, they have extremely beautiful shrines/temples.
And the Japanese sakura is possibly one of the most beautiful trees in existence. And even more awesome is that, unlike America, they aren't afraid of realistic endings. None of that "and they all lived happily ever after" junk that puts us all in a false sense of security. The Japanese love their drama, but as much as they love their drama, they also love to represent life.

Then again, when you initially watch or read anything Japanese, you'll find it hard to believe they're trying to describe real life, what with their gravity defying hair and ability to smash the ground to a pulp with one fist. But I'm talking emotions. I find I am far more emotionally satisfied when watching a Japanese film/show than an American one, simply because they don't always try to wrap up everything nicely. Then again, they DO have their own happy ending type stories, but I find it much easier to find the bittersweet endings in Japanese media than in our own. They aren't afraid to leave the endings messy, to make you WANT everything to be perfect. Which I find is much more successful in leaving an impression on me. Which is why Peter Pan still remains my favorite Disney movie.

And so, for a little taste of Japanese manga/anime, I introduce you to Rurouni Kenshin, possibly one of THE best ones out there.
This was the first anime I ever watched, and I've been hooked ever since. But the manga is just as good, if not better, than the anime, but I feel it is often overlooked because, let's face it--people like to watch shows more than read them more often than not. But the show leaves out a lot, as does any adaptation, and so I encourage anyone interested to actually take the time to read all 255 chapters of Rurouni Kenshin. If not, then at least watch the 99 episodes. This story is a great look into the end of the Bakumatsu and the beginning of the Meiji restoration--possibly one of the most fascinating historical periods, in my opinion. Samurai, feudal lords, underground conspiracies... it's great. It's also a wonderful look at humanity, redemption, and sacrifice. So take a look at it. I promise you won't be disappointed. Just remember--you always have to approach the Japanese with an open mind. :)

Rurouni Kenshin Manga

Cate

Pace Popsicles

12:21 PM Posted by Malallory 0 comments
I go to school in Utah, at BYU, which means that I live here 8 months out of the year. I don't like Utah in general. I don't like the dryness, the lack of lakes, the lack of green, the hot summers, the wimpy winters, and I especially don't like that awful square hairdo that half the females here have. You know, the one where they rat their hair so much it looks like the top of their head is either cube or roof-shaped.
I don't know about you, but I see nothing wrong with the shape of my skull.
But there are some things I love about Utah. I love how (if you're a Mormon, which if you're in Utah is likely) no matter where you live it's probably only a five-minute walk to church. I LOVE the mountains. I love my family that lives here, and I love BYU and my friends here.
And I LOVE Pace Popsicles.
My family has pretty much since I can remember come to Utah every summer to visit all our family out here. And every year we would buy a big ol' brown paper sack of Pace popsicles. They make them at these burger places called Pace's Dairy Ann (we always went to the one in Bountiful), and this was the only place you could get them. So imagine my joy when I came to school here and discovered they now sell them in grocery stores! Even Wal-Mart!!
If you think you've had delicious popsicles before, and you haven't had these babies, oh man. Oh. Man. You are so wrong. These things are the most fantastic, addictive treats on the planet. If they had any nutritional value whatsoever then I would be perfectly content to live off them. At the grocery stores they sell them in cherry, grape, peach, and lime. Lime's my favorite.
So yep. Post #1: complete! If you ever are in Utah anywhere near Bountiful or just a plain ol' Wal-Mart or Smith's or whatever, get yo'self some Pace bars. It'll change your life. Or at least make you really, really happy.

This is how it's gonna go down.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Nobody's reading this yet. And it's likely very few people will ever read anything on this blog. Like ever. But that's okay. I'm content to just talk. Or type. You know, creative outlet and all that.
So basically what this blog is going to be is a place for me to yap about about the things I love. Since my personal blog would probably get pretty obnoxious if I did that on it, I'm going to channel it here. I'll post about everything from music, movies, and books, to people, places, and cool facts. I figure each post will probably have some background info, why the topic is awesome, maybe some pictures or examples where applicable, and possibly links on how to find out more and get into the topic yourself.
Also, I'm thinking I'm going to invite some other people, some of my favorite people, to join in on this endeavor with me. People with similar tastes and interests, but who can contribute stuff that's not just me. I mean, I like to think I have considerably broader interests than your average young female Mormon, but there's a whole wide world of cool things out there that I know next to nothing about. Plus, I don't like pickles. Or dogs. That kind of rules me out of a few of the larger categories of humans. Or Americans, at least.
I really don't know why I'm doing this. It probably has a lot to do with the idea the Internet has given my generation that people actually care what we have to say. That they want to know about every little thing in our lives, and they want to hear us blather on about it. That we're entitled to be heard and understood, and that people actually read our blogs. I know that nobody's going to read this. Maybe my mom or a few friends will just to be polite. But I'm okay with that. Maybe it'll serve as a sort of "interest journal" for the future. Cuz I'm really, really bad at journaling consistently.
Alrighty, so most posts in the future will be nothing like this, just so's ya know, Mr. or Ms. Nonexistent Audience. Hopefully they'll be more interesting. Or interesting at all. And they won't be about me, most of the time. This one was a bit of a low-quality, silly self-indulgence. Like almost the entirety of the Twilight series was for Stephanie Meyer. (Oh no she di'int!)
Oh, yes. I most certainly did.